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review 2018-07-16 14:09
The Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchison

A serial killer called the Gardener captures young women, tattoos intricately detailed butterfly wings on their backs, gives them new names, keeps them in a secluded, secured location with a lovely garden and their own personal rooms. He clothes them, feeds them, rapes them and on their 21st birthdays, does something completely horrific to them.

 

The only other person who knows of this place of horrors is his son, Avery. Avery is allowed access to the girls and may come and go as he pleases. He is not kind to the girls at all, and enjoys causing pain and torturing them. This is a disturbing story told from the point of view of one of the surviving girls as she reveals to two FBI agents all that happened from beginning to end. Maya's depictions are not overly graphic despite all she had to endure, but explained in a matter of fact manner.

 

The biggest issue that I had with this book was being unable to understand why none of the girls attempted to escape. Not a real attempt outside of trying to peek at the door's security code. It is explained that they were afraid that if they failed and were caught, the Gardener would murder them sooner. Each of the girls seemed to be resigned to their fates, and even when they were taken off to be killed, they were terrified, but never put up much of a struggle.

 

I cannot imagine knowing that a psychotic man was taking me off to end my life and not fight tooth and nail! Not once did he use any sort of weapon. If they were going to die anyway, why not die fighting? Not only did the Gardener come to the garden alone, he was an older man and grossly outnumbered by the girls. I felt that the girls had so so many options and opportunities, but didn't even try.

 

They had a cave they could talk privately and devise a plan of action, they had access to the kitchen, they had trinkets and things given to them by the Gardener, surely they could have used something as a weapon. One girl was even granted a pair of scissors which had only been used for embroidery and to cut the hair off another woman for the sake of revenge.

 

There was a woman who had gained the Gardener's trust to the point where he did not kill her, instead he stopped visiting her bed, and even allowed her to come and go as she pleased. This woman was loyal to the Gardener and not once so much as considered going to the police to save the rest of the girls! In fact, she envied the girls and wanted the Gardener to love her.

 

The book, for me, had a satisfying ending. The twists and turns were interesting and despite the frustration of all the wasted opportunities to escape (many of which I am not even discussing in this review due to spoilers), kept me invested. Due to the subject matter, I would not recommend this book to everyone. It is a story that will stay with you long after you've finished reading it.

 

 

-Shey

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review 2018-07-15 21:06
Once Upon a Dark November by Carol Beach York
Once Upon a Dark November - Carol Beach York

I should create a shelf for the things I find at the recycling center, in thrift stores, yard sales....anywhere I need to surreptitiously sniff the pages to make sure they're not mildewed or worse. Carol Beach York  was a special kind of young reader's author, putting out yarns for the early chapter crowd, middle grade and, occasionally, for teens. 'Once Upon a Dark November' stars young Katie, a high school freshman, who has scored a job after school as a housekeeper for the wife of her dreamy English teacher. He's got a mustache and everything.

Things start going wrong when her teacher's strange brother visits. Soon after, the reclusive old woman who lives across from Katie is murdered! Katie begins to fear for her own life.

This was a lightning-quick novella. The content clearly skews it to older readers, but it would take so little time to digest I'm not sure why it wasn't expanded into something more substantial. The mystery is a solid one, with some unnerving moments for our young protagonist. Even with the dramatic shift in what's available for young adult readers, this one holds up well enough.

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review 2018-07-15 12:59
Review: “Boystown 5: Murder Book” (Boystown Mysteries, #5) by Marshall Thornton
Boystown 5: Murder Book - Marshall Thornton

 

~ 4.5 stars ~

 

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review 2018-07-15 11:33
The General Theory of Haunting by Richard Easter
The General Theory of Haunting - Richard Easter

TITLE: The General Theory of Haunting

 

AUTHOR: Richard Easter

 

PUBLICATION DATE: December 2017

 

FORMAT: ebook

 

ISBN-13: 9781977001245

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NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Book Description:

 

"Every haunting has a design… 

Winter, 1809. Lord Francis Marryman’s wife, Patience, is dying. In the madness of his grief, desperate to keep Patience’s memory alive, he’s compelled to build a memorial in the form of a remote country Hall. But as the plans move forward, Marryman Hall seems to become alive with more than just memories.

Francis, a brilliant mathematician and scholar, has built more into the walls than just bricks and mortar.

Autumn, 2018. Siblings Greg and Lucy Knights, owners of K&K Publishing Company, are seeking a venue to celebrate the 18th anniversary of their company’s inception. At such short notice, there is only one option that still has vacancies: Marryman Hall.

Winter arrives and as heavy snow falls, the guests drop out until a much depleted party of just 6 reach their destination and soon find themselves snowed in. As the guests’ private lives and demons are exposed in the increasingly awkward, claustrophobic atmosphere , the secrets of Marryman Hall and her history are also brought into shocking light from the darkness. In his grief, it’s possible that Lord Francis Marryman may have made a terrible mistake…

The General Theory of Haunting is the perfect ghost story to curl up with on the long winter nights - like Marryman Hall's guests, you won't know what's truly happening until it's way too late..."

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The General Theory of Haunting is a nicely-written, paranormal mystery thriller that moves slowly at first, picks up pace, has great character development, several surprises, and an absolutely fascinating theory on... well, hauntings.  Marryman Hall also manages to develope a personality of its own.  This isn't a horror novel, despite the hauntings.  But part of the novel make a beautiful love story.  Watching the time-spanning mystery of Marryman Hall unfold was just as exciting as the more usual action packed murder solving mysteries.  A lovely book.  I'm looking forward to more work from this author.

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review 2018-07-14 23:39
The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
The Cabin at the End of the World - Paul Tremblay

Eric and Andrew have taken their daughter Wen to a remote cabin in the woods to, what else, get away from it all. It is in a beautiful, remote spot on a lake. Wen has just turned seven and is enthralled with the world around her and her perspective informs the reader that she is old hat at the adopted with two dads business and completely precious.

Wen is outside when she is approached by a strange man. He's huge, friendly, and Leonard befriends her quickly despite her knowing better. He tells Wen that her daddies are going to have to let him and his friends in, that nothing is going to be her fault, and that her daddies have to help them save the world.

I was captivated by this, make no mistake. But there were elements of this that, while important to the plot, I couldn't accept as a reader. In many ways it was too unrelenting, too dark. An apocalypse novel shouldn't be light, but there was too much left unsaid by the last page for me to get over what had happened and call it fair.

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