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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-20 19:20
For me, it was meh. YMMV.
Home For the Haunting - Juliet Blackwell

I borrowed this from my public library's ecloud collection because . . . I did.  It has a lot of colors on the cover, so maybe I'll use it for that Festive Holiday square, whenever I get around to toting them up.

 

Mel Turner -- her first name is Melanie -- is in the process of taking over her father's construction company.  Mostly they do remodels and historic restoration, but she's currently involved with some volunteer group that rehabs older homes for low income people.

 

She also sees ghosts.

 

While she's working on this rehab job for Monty, a whiny guy who needs a wheelchair ramp added to his home and a new roof and a bunch of other stuff, she keeps seeing ghosts in the big, mansion-y vacant house next door.  Then a recently deceased body is discovered in a storage shed that serves both Monty's property and the vacant house.

 

The vacant house, she learns, was the site of a horrific murder-suicide.  Are the ghosts she keeps seeing related to that?  And what about the body in the shed?

 

For the uncritical reader who's looking for some light entertainment with a bit of a mystery, this might do fine.  For me, it was just blah on a whole lot of levels.  So, now there will be lots of little spoilers.

 

There was very little with the ghosts, for one thing.  Mel sees them in the house while she's working on the rehab project, but she doesn't show much reaction.  This isn't the first book in the series, so maybe there's more shock, surprise, disbelief, whatever in earlier volumes, but there sure wasn't much in this one.

 

The mystery to do with the two murders, both the body in the shed and the other one thirty years before, seemed a minor part of the book.  The information about the older crime was easily obtained from neighbors who had lived there at the time and from the lone survivor.

 

I'm not sure why I didn't buy the character of Hugh, the boy who escaped the murder scene and went on to an illustrious writing career.  He seemed too emotionally fragile.  Nor did I buy Simone, his wife.  Both of them lacked substance, though I'm not exactly sure why.  Maybe if I were giving this book a thorough analysis I would look at them more closely, but while I was reading it, I just didn't care about them.

 

There were a lot of secondary characters who never came alive for me either.  Mel's dad was a little better than cardboard, but not much.  Then there was Stan, and I didn't really know how he fit into the picture.  Mel's sister was just another cartoon character; there was so much room for development there that I could have wept when it all just went poof! in a happy smiley explosion of unicorn glitter.  The semi-sorta boyfriend Graham actually had more substance.

 

Two elements of the overall characterization rang sour notes for me.  Hugh and Simone were flat, but not sour.  Monty was just all wrong.

 

Supposedly he was in some kind of accident and that's why he's now unable to walk and in a wheelchair.  How long ago this was, I'm not sure, but he's been unable to leave his house unassisted ever since.  Now all of a sudden he's finally getting a ramp installed so he can come and go as he pleases.  There's no mention of any social services that come to his assistance -- shopping?  doctor visits? -- or what kind of income he has.  There's an assumption that he gets a disability income.

 

However, as soon as there are suspicions that Monty is in fact not disabled and is faking his reliance on the wheelchair, I saw lots of red flags.  Social Security doesn't just grant disability payments because you apply for them.  There has to be evidence, as in doctors' statements and so on, that the person really can't work.  He would have been found out a long time ago.

 

I also didn't quite understand how and where he originally found the body, but that may be due as much to my not paying attention because I had lost interest as anything else.  Nor was there ever a clear explanation of how that death tied in to the rest of them -- was the victim killed by the same killer, or was it an accident, or what?

 

Monty turned out to be kind of a slimeball, though he wasn't the killer -- ooops, sorry for that spoiler -- but the character who really wrinkled my nose was Mel herself. Her silly spangles-and-fringe dresses worn with steel-toed work boots just seemed . . . stupid.  Stupid as in gimmickry for the sake of gimmickry.  No reason was ever given, or at least not one that made any sense.  She's supposed to be running a contracting business; why dress like a phantom from the 1960s caught in a time warp?

 

This wasn't a particularly long book -- I read it comfortably in a day -- and maybe that was its problem.  With all the various threads going on, maybe it needed to be longer, more like the hefty books of Rendell and Grimes that allowed for the interweaving of personal and professional life along with the details and atmosphere of vocation and location.

 

The details of a single historic San Francisco home would have made wonderful atmosphere, but author Blackwell didn't dwell as much on that as she did on the two smaller homes in the neighborhood that weren't involved in the mystery or the ghosts.  The "Murder House" should have had star billing, and the appropriate weight in the text.  I felt it got shortchanged.

 

The writing was okay, other than that one horrible paragraph where everything sat, sat, sat, sat, sat on Hugh's desk, but it wasn't anything special either.

 

As I said, other readers may enjoy this.  It just wasn't all that great for me.

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text 2017-11-19 01:49
Reading progress update: I've read 67 out of 270 pages.
Home For the Haunting - Juliet Blackwell

I grabbed this off the pubic library's digital collection because . . . because.

 

It's okay.  Nothing great, but nothing terrible either.  Except that I'm not really crazy about the character's frequent defense of the 1%.  Sorry, that's just the way I am.  And I'm becoming more that way.

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text 2017-10-29 16:07
Halloween Bingo -- Supernatural -- I TOLD YOU SO!
The Haunting of Ashburn House - Darcy Coates

 

 

 

I read The Haunting of Ashburn House on 4 September 2017.

 

This gives me two more Bingos, center row vertically and bottom row horizontally.

 

 

But, I told you American Horror Story would be the last square called!

 

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1611347/halloween-bingo-classic-horror-opted-out-so-no-change

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review 2017-10-19 16:58
Haunted House Square
The Bell Witch: An American Haunting - Brent Monahan

Before I start the review proper, I should note that one really get thing about this audio book was the reader. He was great.

The Bell Witch is a famous American haunting. Monahan claims that this is an account written by Richard Powell who married Betsy Bell, the young woman who was one of the people haunted by the Bell Witch. So this is one of those fact mixed with fiction books that yanks my chain.

The problem with the claim is that the narrative doesn't quite make sense and is put in a vaccum. I think the conclusion is interesting, but Powell's narrative leaves out certain details, like all the time he was crushing on Betsy he was married. While a narrative written to your daughter wouldn't mention that, if this was truly a work of non-fiction shouldn't the editor note that?

And if you don't, why don't you edit out the problematic language?

And those are major problems. And yet, I wonder if this version isn't simply about gender and victimhood. Considering that the teller is a man who married a girl who is younger enough to be his daughter and who he has been in love with since she was 12, he is, in fact, a bit of predator. Considering her parent's history this too is rather interesting. So I wonder if that is the deeper point here - a point about gender and abuse.

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review 2017-10-19 16:17
Ghostly Review – The Haunting of Hotel La Belle by Sharon Buchbinder @sbuchbinder
The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle - Sharon Buchbinder

I love the beautiful cover for The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle by Sharon Buchbinder. I am always eager to pay a visit to a haunted place and this is the perfect time of year to do so. Come and in…if you dare.

 

Cover:  Rae Monet

 

 

The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle

 

Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Amazon CA  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle by Sharon Buchbinder starts me out with a laugh and I love that.

 

The story begins at Hotel LaBelle in 1905. Finally Lucius’ dreams came true. He’d worked hard, sacrificed much, including his love. He was ‘left’ with a curse from Mourning Dove’s powerful mother.

 

Present Day:  Tallulah was at the Hotel LaBelle to find out why the hotel’s renovations were being delayed. The outside looked like Hotel LaHelle. She hadn’t had a vision in a year and she wondered, “Why now?”

 

Enter Lucius:  who is neither alive nor dead. My thoughts are of a very unusual romance. Is it possible?

 

Both the living and the dead want her there, to fix what is broken, to save Hotel LaBelle.

The Native American mysticism adds that extra element that intrigues me, that takes this creatively written paranormal/supernatural read to a special place. I love haunted buildings and ghosts. Tallulah also has a dog, a pug. Any time a critter appears in a book I am reading, it adds a little spice to the story. The writing has a humorous side, along with the mystery, and all I can say is, “I want to return to Hotel LaBelle:”

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle by Sharon Buchbinder.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/ghostly-review-the-haunting-of-hotel-la-belle-by-sharon-buchbinder-sbuchbinder
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