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review 2018-09-16 02:31
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black

  Clever chicks who kick ass and go back to save people and are kind to smaller children...I love Tana. There's plenty of creepy atmosphere, and vampire slaying, and gore for days, but there's no swearing or sex (if that's something you look for) and in its own way it's rather wholesome. Tana and Buffy would get along well together.


Library copy

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-07 04:17
Halloween Bingo 2018 - CREEPY CARNIVALS
Carnival Moon (Covencraft) - Margarita Gakis

Disclosure:  This is one of the thousands of Kindle freebies in my collection.  I don't know the author, have never had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.


Okay, so I read this for Halloween Book Bingo because it was short and I wanted to have at least one square blocked on my card!


This is obviously part of a series and because I haven't read any of the other entries in the series, I wasn't exactly sure what was going on.  Jade is a witch, but sort of in training and at the bottom of the witchery totem pole as a result.  Sometimes she has to clean sewers of discarded spells and spell materials.


Her mentor is Paris, who appears to be an older male witch, but I'm not really sure.  I guess all the explanatory information is in the other parts of the series.


Jade is invited to attend a celebration "carnival" hosted by the local band of werewolves.  I'm not sure why she was selected for this honor, but apparently there used to be bad blood (sic) between the witch community and the various shifters in this locale.  They send her special clothes and everything.


She has a good time, the werewolves like her, and that's about it.  There's no real story, no plot, no tension, no nothing.


There's little description of Jade or Paris, or their relationship, or any background.  The writing was more or less competent, other than the usual all-too-common errors like "stationary" that should have been "stationery" and "chaise lounge," among others.  It's not great writing, it's not much of a story, but it fits for the Bingo and I got it done!


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review 2018-09-04 22:39
Not what I expected, but I could not stop reading
Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith

I think I enjoyed this one exactly for the same reasons everyone disliked it: the characters were so messed up it was nerve-wreaking to read.


I've likely commented many times before how I love those books that engage me enough for me to get emotional over the characters, even if it is rage enough to want to strangle them, and that's pretty much what happens here. Bruno is a messed up cookie, and Guy is a derrotist moron, and that's what drives the slide-down-the-slope plot.


There is the thing too. I think most people think this will be something that is not. It is not a mystery. It is not a heist type of book of two guys planning perfect murders. What it is, is the very, very, very messed up relationship between a sociopath and a coward. The murders are just the thing that binds them and the theme is something like "all the wrong choices". While it made most dislike the book, it made me want to bitch-slap Guy and continue to read the train-wreak.


I think Highsmith was trying for this high-minded "either guilt or law will punish" poetic thing at the end, but it felt like an unnecessary convolution that made me go "NOW you find your spine/brain/cold-thinking to live with your actions, you moron", which, yeah, OK, poetic irony or something but... 4 stars



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review 2018-09-02 23:05
The Devil Comes to Chicago
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America - Erik Larson

If I had to rate the Henry H. Holmes sections I would give it 5 stars, the same for the Daniel Hudson Burnham sections. Together though, this is a solid four star book. I think trying to mesh Holmes and Burnham together doesn't really work in the end. Probably because we follow Holmes after the Fair and we see what he got up to. I wish that Larson had provided more details, it seemed fairly short in the end. We just hear how Holmes was encased in cement, his grave missing. Burnham died after learning of a friend dying on the Titanic. 


Daniel Burnham c1890.jpeg

Daniel Hudson Burnham



Related image


Henry H. Holmes


Larson starts his tale with going into Burnham's life as he goes across the ocean and then jumps back to his beginning and how he and his former partner, John Root would  oversee design and construction of the World's Columbian Exposition otherwise known as the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Burnham seems plagued with bad luck while the other subject of this book seems to have the devil's own luck.


Henry H. Holmes was a serial killer who took to Chicago quite easily. Larson traces how he came to Chicago and charmed a soon to be widow who then disappeared after their acquaintance. Holmes seemed to have an uncanny ability in attracting men and women alike. Married multiple times, he seemed to always be several steps ahead of the police, creditors, and others when they came looking for money or missing family members.


Larson eventually loops in the man who will bring down Holmes, Frank Geyer's sections of the book were so engrossing. This is a man who hoped to track down missing children who were last seen with Holmes, never understanding that the man had something missing in him that many others had remarked about before.


The writing was too clinical at times, though it's a nonfiction book, I would have liked to see more passion by the author. The flow was not great up front. I know a lot of reviewers got annoyed by the Burnham sections. They tended to get better at the halfway point once Larson included other real life people such as Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and many others. I think if he had split this book into two it would have many people exclaiming how good it was.


The setting of the book is Chicago and Larson does his best to set a stage of Chicago in the late 1800s. You could practically smell the stench while reading. Larson includes fires, strikes, and many other things that occurred in Chicago at the same time as Holmes and his infamy. 

The ending needed a bit more oomph in my opinion. We hear about Holmes end, but I wanted to know more. Considered America's first serial killer, I wanted to know more about Holmes poor victims and what happened to the families after his death.


Burnham we find died in Germany in 1912, sixteen years after Holmes was sentenced to death. 


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review 2018-09-01 18:52
Creepy Urban Legends
Creepy Urban Legends - Tim O'Shei,Kelly Garvin
I came across this book while doing inventory at the library. I thought it looked interesting. An urban legend, “is a surprising, often scary story that is told as if it were true.” These are usually spread by word of mouth or by e-mail and happened recently or not that long ago. They prey upon an individual’s common fears (babysitting at night, sleeping at night) and they usually teach people a lesson.
I guess I didn’t realize that an urban legend had all these traits associated with them. Inside this non-fiction children’s book, you will find examples of a few urban legends which are arranged into three sections, Scary, Very Scary and Freaky Scary. There is also a section titled Fact or Fiction? There is a Glossary that lists a few words and their definitions, another page which lists internet sites and books if you want more information on urban legends and finally, on the back page an index.
I found it interesting that each section wasn’t labeled. There is nothing to tell you what type of story you are read: Scary, Very Scary or Freaky Scary when you are on that page besides by going to the table of contents.
Did I think they were scary? A couple of them were pretty good. A couple of them I have heard before (a slightly different version) and two of them I didn’t find scary at all. All the stories have illustrations with them and sometimes a fear fact. The wording is not hard to read (perhaps 4th or 5th grade). The pictures are not gory but a few are mysterious. For children, I think this depends on the reader and whether the child can handle this material.


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