An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
I can't decide if I was mis-sold on this book or not. It was about what I expected to read, I suppose, but not in the way I expected to read it. I dunno. I feel a little cheated but can't quite put my finger on why.
Ghostland is an exploration of American history through some of the countries most haunted locations. Houses, hotels, graveyards, and even whole cities are discussed because really, if you look hard enough, everyone has a ghost story to tell. Locations discussed include The Winchester Mystery Manor, Danvers Mental Hospital, Gettysburg, and the entire city of Detroit. It's definitely a different way to look at American history, especially if you're interested in the paranormal.
I think the biggest reason I feel cheated by this book is it did end up being more of a review and critique of American history than a book about haunted locations, which was what I expected and haunted. Some chapters, mainly in the beginning, were what I expected. For example, I found the chapter on the Winchester Mystery Manor fascinating due to it going quite in depth into ghost stories and the spiritualist movement while also discussing their historical significance. That to me was exactly what I wanted to read. An annoyingly large part of the book though was more like, "slavery is bad" and "ghost hunters are ridiculous." I'll talk more about that in a moment but it was not at all what I wanted to read.
This book was really interesting. It explored a lot of aspects of American history I was unaware of and when it did connect to ghost stories it was incredible. For example, in one chapter we learn how ghost stories in part inspired the formation of the KKK in that early members pretended to be specters of fallen soldiers to scare the newly emancipated slaves. That's something I never learned in history class.
There were some chapters that even if they weren't connected to ghost stories per say the history was presented in a new way that was fascinating. I particularly liked the chapter on haunted asylums since, even though the ghost stories were few and far between, Dickey a) didn't demonize psychology the way many people I know do when criticizing past practices and b) explored a completely fresh angle of the haunted asylums: why they were built they way they were. As a psych graduate I find the thought processes behind their architecture fascinating and I'm glad Dickey focused so much on that element, rather than just going "lobotomies are bad" and leaving it at that.
Also worth noting is the fact that Dickey explores ghost/creepy stories that don't always make it into the mainstream. I was particularly pleased to see that he included the stories of Elisa Lam and the history of the Cecil Hotel as well as the Lalaurie Manor in his explorations.
The biggest critique I have of this novel is that Dickey comes across as being incredibly full of himself throughout the entire thing. His writing style came across very much so like those "I, an Intellectual" memes and it was obnoxious. I think what got me the most is he came across as VERY disparaging of ghost hunters and tourists. His condescension towards those groups was unbearable. Judging only by the way he writes, he reminds me of the bullies from my English classes who never hesitated to inform you of how enlightened they were and how beneath them you were for not being as enlightened. That was definitely not what I signed up for and it made getting into the book very difficult.
Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars. The book has a lot of interesting information, but the author gets in his own way with his ego. Would recommend for those interested in haunted history but check it out, don't buy it.
Final thought: You can disagree with something without being a dick about it, Colin.
If we're just going by called squares I'm close to having a Bingo. XD Petsitting this weekend and I have Saturday off so hopefully I can get myself to do a lot of reading then.
Okay, home and cozy so time for a review!
The Snowman follows detective Harry Hole as he tries to figure out who is killing women and building snowmen. A weird connection but one that exists and becomes more and more sinister as the story goes on. Harry must decide who he can trust, figure out who is lying, and maintain his sobriety before the Snowman claims the one victim Harry cares about most.
As a mystery, I liked this one quite a bit. I predicted who the Snowman was fairly easily and wouldn't say I was surprised by any of the big revelations, but the smaller details really impressed me. For example, the significance of the third beheaded chicken. Seeing how all the little details came together to form the big picture was really fun and the climax of the story was very satisfying. I had a hard time putting the book down and in fact only did so to pick up Sean Bean and make her cuddle. So from a mystery perspective it was awesome.
As a book, though, I wasn't a big fan. I find Nesbo's style overstuffed. As we say in my family, you ask him the time and he tells you how to build a clock. There were so many parts of the book that were just so dull to me since they were just description or overstuffed story telling. There were also many parts that were like, why is this important? Which, to Nesbo's credit, almost everything in the book was used at some point later in the story and so it was important. It was just a pain in the ass to read, which is obviously not something I care for. There was also a lot going on and it became difficult to keep track of characters sometimes.
Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Nesbo can craft an awesome mystery, he just needs some work on the storytelling aspect.
Final thought: Reading the book does make me very excited for the movie coming out next week. Michael Fassbender is a perfect choice for Harry and I think this is one of the cases where it will make a better movie than book. JK Simmons is an odd choice for Støp though. So we'll see.
I'll review this fully but I wasn't too thrilled with it. I'd say it's a great story but with less than fun execution. Does make me very excited for the movie though.
This is Sean Bean. She is the runt of the litter of fosters my mom just got, four in all. I love her.
That is all.
I'm hoping to finish this by the end of the week. It's not bad but it's dragging. I'm ready to be done.
I'm debating not finishing this one. It's not bad, but with Halloween Bingo I'm not sure if it's where I want to put my reading energy, especially since it's not as interesting as expected. I have time so I guess I'll just wait and see.
If anyone is looking for a cozy mystery for Halloween Bingo or just because and you want to support a fellow Booklikes member, check out Demon Spirit, Devil Sea. Its the second in Charlene D'Avanzo's Mara Tusconi clifi mystery series. I haven't read it myself, but as many of you know I do social media for Charlene and am always happy to recommend it.
Also if you read it, please review it on Amazon. Either of her books really. Pretty please. :D
It's available for Kindle here: http://amzn.to/2xYKkGI
If nothing else, it's a bingo square! Just saying!
Only 2 'staches on the board so far. Have some ideas for strategizing though.
Read + Called
Cozy Mystery: Murder Past Due
In The Dark, Dark Woods: The Ritual
Murder Most Foul: The Snowman
Haunted Houses: Ghostland - Technically nonfiction but it's haunted houses so hey!
Classic Horror: In the Mountains of Madness
From the comments I've been getting, quite a few of you have read this book so I'll keep it brief.
Murder Past Due follows library archivist/amateur sleuth Charlie Harris and his trusty sidekick Diesel as they try to solve the mystery of the murdered mystery writer. Trouble is, Godfrey Priest is disliked by the majority of people in town and the suspect list just seems to keep growing. Can he solve the crime before his young boarder, Justin, is wrongfully arrested? Will Diesel ever get the head pats he so desperately wants?!!!
Silliness aside, I really liked this one. It's probably the most solid cozy mystery I've read. The plot was focused and there were a lot of clues leading throughout the story. It was a lot of fun to read and see what surprising twist lay ahead. The who-done-it made sense and didn't feel cheap at all. Overall this is just a really nice, really solid mystery.
Diesel is, of course, my favorite character. In my opinion he's the best character in the book. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. On the one hand, should a cat really be outshining all the other characters? On the other hand, is it possible for a cat NOT to outshine everyone else?
My biggest critique is sometimes the dialogue, specifically the character's speech patterns, drove me nuts sometimes. For example, the way Justin called his mom "Mama" every time. Just felt weird for an eighteen year old to do. I speed read through Peter's scenes because I just couldn't stand the way he talked. I give James credit for really giving her characters unique voices, I just wish she made it more realistic because it did get very obnoxious.
Final rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars, amended from the 4 stars earlier. It's a great book, little cheesy, but it has a cat and is just really cute.
So, 'staches = read, aviators=called. I'm counting The Ritual as a square even though I started reading it in late August because at the rate I read it's not going to help me get a bingo anyway. More for pride than anything else.
FYI this is really fun to read while sitting outside and hearing a deer stomp around in the bushes by my apartment.
The Ritual follows a group of four friends as they holiday in the Swedish wilderness. They brake the first rule of all horror movies and decide to take a short cut, leaving the path and going deeper in to the forest. As you might expect, things get all Blair Witch as they stumble across a spooky cabin used for ancient, pagan rituals and it leads to something unnatural following them through the woods.
I really loved this book. It sucked me in from the beginning and kept me going with very few breaks in between. It was exactly what I wanted in a creepy forest story, what with them being lost and hunted by Moder. And once Moder and her family got to them...Well it was amazingly horrifying.
The way Neville built up the tensions was incredible. It was so hard to stop reading because you knew something incredible was waiting on the next page. I think part of that has to do with him ending most chapters on cliffhangers. He was really terrific at this and it made the book a super compelling read.
One drawback of the book is I felt the two halves didn't mesh very well together. In one half you had lost in the woods, Blair Witch chasing after them, and in the next part it was Deliverance. The two did mesh together in the end, and did so fantastically, but there was a really awkward, disjointed period for a while. I definitely enjoyed the first part of the book better 'cause Deliverance just wasn't quite what I expected.
Final rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Everything I love in creepy forest stories wrapped into a fun package.
This was a good true crime read. Solid narrative, interesting investigation, and a really interesting case. I had never heard of him before so it was fascinating to learn about him. The writing style was a little too fiction-like for my tastes. Like, it read more like a mystery than an actual true crime book at points. Overall though it was a really good read for those interested in serial killers, especially of the killer nurse variety.
I might expand on this review more tomorrow but I'm beat and my head is killing me. So that's all for now.