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review 2018-09-26 08:59
The Shining Girls
The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes

While reading this book, I began to imagine a conversation that goes something like this:

 

A whole bunch of authors: “We like to try to confuse readers by making our stories bounce back and forth between three or four different time periods.”

 

Lauren Beukes: *indelicate snort* “Bitches, that’s nothing. Hold my beer.”

 

Which isn’t to say that I think Beukes drinks beer and calls other authors bitches, but you never know. I hear some of these literary conventions are pretty wild.

 

I don’t really know how to feel about this one. I enjoyed it, but like Moxyland, it feels like an amalgam of other books. It’s sort of like Slade House meets Dark Places and Sharp Objects. A supernatural catalyst in the form of a house. Lots of gruesome murders and a sole survivor hunting for the killer. Broken people and awkward, awkward romance. It all works together surprisingly well, but the shifts through time are quite disorienting at first, and the little vignettes of the victims’ life stories almost make the book feel like a short story collection.

 

Also, third person present tense. I don’t like it, but in my past experience with Beukes’s books I thought she wrote it so well I hardly noticed it was my least favorite narrative style. I noticed this time, and boy was it annoying. Overall, the book was just okay.

 

I think after three of her books, I can safely conclude that I love Beukes’s story concepts more than I love her actual stories, and I need to either manage my expectations or stop reading her stuff.

 

I read this for the Halloween Bingo 2018 Modern Masters of Horror square.

 

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text 2018-09-26 04:17
Reading progress update: I've read 32 out of 272 pages.
Hallowe'en Party (Hercule Poirot, #36) - Agatha Christie
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review 2018-09-25 09:24
The Wicked Rebel by Mary Lancaster
The Wicked Rebel - Mary Lancaster

Lady Arabella Niven, the youngest daughter of the Duke of Kilburn, is exiled into Blackhaven for not accepting the man her father had chosen for her. One day she's taking a boat ride alongside the shore, when she goes to the rescue of a supposedly drowning man.

Yet Captain Alban is far from drowning and the two strike a strange friendship that quickly blossoms into romance as both discover they can finally be themselves when the other is around.

But their love is star-crossed, since she's the daughter of a duke, while he's only a lowly sea captain...Or is he?


This was the best story in this series so far. The romance was solid on both parts, the supporting cast was a hoot (especially Bella's two aunts), it was lovely seeing Kate and Tris again), the suspense, though rather faint, struck the right notes.

I loved the two protagonists; Captain Alban with all his mysteries, idiosyncrasies and impeccable sense of honor and the sickly (it was all stress, mind you), quirky Arabella. I admit she started to get a little annoying in her incapability (or was it unwillingness) to stand up for herself, especially with that ass she had the misfortune to call a father and her smothering aunts, but as her true self slowly emerged, I (almost) forgot that particular character flaw.
Alban's don't-care-what-anyone-thinks-about-me attitude brought out the fighter in Bella, while her gentle nature smoothed out his harsher edges and showed him what he could have if he stopped being stubborn about it.
These two, utterly opposite characters, came together rather perfectly and created a sweet romance that brought a genuine smile on my lips. They were super cute together.

The rest of the story more-or-less paled in comparison to the two and their quest for a future together, but the tempo was spot-on with barely a lagging moment here and there, the supporting cast provided a good backdrop, the action scenes were intriguing, the humor was added at the right moments...

A very good read.

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text 2018-09-25 02:39
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 272 pages.
Hallowe'en Party (Hercule Poirot, #36) - Agatha Christie

Using this one for:

 

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review 2018-09-24 19:32
Witch Dance
Witch Dance - Lori Crane

Southern Gothic for Halloween Bingo!

 

Margaret and Thomas Speedwell are looking forward to a relaxing vacation with their twin girls Sarah and Emily at the Witch Dance campground near Margaret's home town in Mississippi.  The area of Witch Dance not only carries the story of the witches themselves, areas where the witches danced in circles, where grass no longer grows.  It is also where the people of the Choctaw tribes  settled and buried their people in what are known as the Bynum Mounds.  Sarah and Emily run off to play on the Mounds as soon as the family arrives, however only Emily comes back from the Mound.  Sarah has disappeared without a trace and Emily won't talk.  Margaret is desperate as search efforts and police turn up with nothing.  However, Margaret's childhood friend Rich digs up reports from the past about other children disappearing from the same area.  They are all children who are twins and none of them have returned.  Determined to find her daughter, Margaret will have to accept help from an unlikely and unbelievable source and dig into a story that is centuries old. 

 
An intriguing mystery that combines history and the supernatural for a chilling tale.  Lori Crane weaves together the legend of Witch Dance and the stories of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes  in order to concoct a compelling reason for the children to disappear from the Mounds.  I was pulled into Chicksah's wife, Salina's story as she dealt with tragedy and found her way into a life changing coven.  Margaret is a difficult character, she is a doting mother but clearly suffering from postpartum anxiety.  This was a fast paced read where time moved quickly.  The mystery and suspense intensify as Salina and Margaret's stories converge as to how and why Sarah was taken.  Clues are dotted throughout the book, however some of the twists were very surprising to me.  Witch Dance is a shorter read and the a so I felt some details were skipped that could have added a lot more ambiance and suspense to the story.  Overall, a unique thriller combining different aspects of historical myths and modern day sleuthing.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
 
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