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text 2018-10-16 14:40
Reading progress update: I've read 272 out of 654 pages.
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe

 

You know, the thing I find most horrific about this tale is the lack of personal control any of the women have over their own lives.  They are always in danger of having some older man take over their property or decree whom they must marry.

 

I am so glad I live in the 21st century in a democratic society.

 

 

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text 2018-10-12 15:37
Reading progress update: I've read 160 out of 654 pages.
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe

 

It has taken a long time, but Emily is now finally an orphan.  Enter the Evil Aunt who is determined to run her life, that is until the Aunt remarries and the new husband decides to run everyone's life.  He breaks off Emily's engagement and is now preparing to drag the whole household back to Italy.

 

Let the Gothic goings on begin!

 

 

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review 2018-10-10 22:13
The Ghost in the Glass House / Carey Wallace
The Ghost in the Glass House - Carey Wallace

In a 1920s seaside town, Clare discovers a mysterious glass house in the backyard of her new summer home. There she falls in love with Jack, the ghost of a boy who can’t remember who he was before he died. Their romance is a haven for her from the cruel pranks of her society friends, especially her best friend, Bridget, who can’t wait to grow up and embark on romances of her own. As Clare begins to suspect an affair between her mother and Bridget's father, she retreats to the glass house. But that haven begins to crack when she realizes that Jack has lied to her about his name . . . From a dazzling and fearless new voice comes a shimmering story full of wonder and mystery, in a world where every character is haunted by lingering ghosts of love.

 

I read this book to fill the Ghost Stories square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I found this story to be somewhat reminiscent of Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree (or maybe it should be the other way around, since this was published before The Lie Tree.) I think it was a combination of a main character who is starting to question a parent’s choices and the time spent in the cave by the sea, complete with perilous journey to get there.

Strangely, it also reminded me of Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls, with the frenemy relationship between Clare and her BFF Bridget. Clare is a bit like Kate, with her desire to find true love and Bridget is a lot like Baba, longing to experiment with life, excitement, and boys.

Many people say that teenage girls become obsessed with horses when they are looking for a safe outlet for their love and attention. Clare hasn’t got a chance of finding a horse to lavish her care upon, but she finds Jack, the ghost boy in the glass house behind their rented summer home. What could be safer than a ghost for a first real relationship?

Not as strong nor as well written as either The Lie Tree or The Country Girls, it is still a pleasant story and I wouldn’t hesitate to offer it to a young adult.

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review 2018-10-10 21:52
Into the Black Nowhere / Meg Gardiner
Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel - Meg Gardiner

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI's serial crime unit discover the first victim's body in the woods. She's laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest's darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style--posed like Snow White awaiting her prince's kiss.

 

I read this book to fill the New Releases square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I read the first book in this series (UNSUB) last summer—it was an excellent summer book and I have been looking forward to this next step in the story. However, I’ve found myself a bit jaded with the mystery/thriller genre recently, so bear that in mind with my star rating of this book. For me, the stars reflect my personal reading experience, not an objective quality measurement and, as I say, I’m a bit off when it comes to this genre right now.

I was unsurprised to read on the dust jacket that this series is being made into a TV series. All the while I was reading, I was staging it in my mind’s eye to look like Criminal Minds! It reads like it is prepared to become a script. Looking at the GR description now, I see that this plot was based on Ted Bundy’s life of crime and I certainly notice the parallels now that I know to look for them. Using real-life details makes for a haunting plot.

So I was not at all startled when the book ended on a cliffhanger, obviously setting us up for the third book, due next year. I think I’ll be taking a hiatus from the thriller/serial killer category for a while, but I could see myself reading The Dark Corners of the Night eventually.

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review 2018-10-10 21:32
The Librarians and the Lost Lamp / Greg Cox
The Librarians and The Lost Lamp - Greg Cox

The story toggles between the past, as Flynn Carsen tries to find Aladdin’s Lamp before an ancient criminal organization known as the Forty Seals gets hold of it, and the future, when Eve Baird and a new group of Librarians — protectors of ancient artifacts like King Arthur’s sword Excalibur — stumble on a mystery in Las Vegas that seems to relate to the Lamp and the powerful djinn it can summon.

 

I read this book to fill the Relics and Curiosities square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

The relic in play in this book is Aladdin’s lamp. Usually, someone creative takes a book and from it produces a movie or a TV show. This book is the reverse engineering of that process and I didn’t really warm up to it. It is a novelization of the TV show The Librarians. Now, as a library worker, I am predisposed to like things like this and maybe I would have enjoyed the TV show. But I found the book rather boring. I was chatting with a colleague over coffee this morning and she said that she’d seen a bit of the TV show, but hadn’t really been very interested in it either. Your mileage may vary.

There is a distinct difference between what comprises witty dialog in a book vs. on TV. Where I can see that some of this novel would have worked on the screen, it was definitely anemic on the page. Aladdin’s Lamp and the Genie should not have to work so hard to create some excitement—the rebooted Forty Thieves were bumblers, rather than sharp competitors for the Lamp.

I guess Genevieve Cogman has spoiled me for the plot device of a central Library that collects important works of fiction from many different realities. If the description of The Librarians and the Lost Lamp sounds the slightest bit enticing to you, do yourself a favour and pick up The Invisible Library and get to know Irene, Kai, and Vale. The fifth installment of that series comes out in late November of this year and I have it marked on my calendar to go purchase the book that day.

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