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Let's Talk About Books

An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading. 

Currently reading

Little Heaven: A Novel
Nick Cutter
Progress: 66/496 pages
Evil Under The Sun
Agatha Christie
Progress: 30/213 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 236 out of 550 pages.

The Snowman - Jo Nesbø

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.

Reading progress update: I've read 17 out of 1090 pages.

It - Stephen King

This book is something of a whale to me. I'm ready to conquer it.

Reading progress update: I've read 67 out of 336 pages.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey

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.

Cozy Mystery Suggestion

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! 

Bingo Update

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


Currently Reading

Murder Most Foul: The Snowman

Haunted Houses: Ghostland - Technically nonfiction but it's haunted houses so hey!

Classic Horror: In the Mountains of Madness 

Murder Past Due

Murder Past Due - Miranda James

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. 

Murder Past Due - Miranda James

At work so the review will have to wait. Overall though a very fun and enjoyable cozy mystery.

Reading progress update: I've read 10 out of 550 pages.

The Snowman - Jo Nesbø

Let's do this. 

Bingo Update

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. 



Into the Woods

The Ritual - Adam Nevill

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. 

The Good Nurse

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder - Charles Graeber

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.

Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 294 pages.

Murder Past Due - Miranda James

This one's been on my shelf for a while now. Thank god staff get longer checkout dates. It's a perk. I saw the cat on the cover, knew a character was a Maine Coon and couldn't resist. So far it's a lot of fun. Nobody is dead yet but yet is just the key word. Planning on using this for my cozy mystery square. 

Reading progress update: I've read 196 out of 418 pages.

The Ritual - Adam Nevill

Of course I get to a super creepy and intense part RIGHT when my big dog decides to snuffle. Super creepy at 12:30 am. Want to keep reading but I'll never sleep if I do. This book is so good. 

Reading progress update: I've read 41 out of 418 pages.

The Ritual - Adam Nevill

This one is SO good already. I could read it all night. Alas, I gotta stop somewhere and really savor this one, especially if I'm gonna use it for my Forest square. It's just so good!



Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Welp, it's finished. Don't really have too many strong opinions. We'll see how this goes. 


Hex takes place in Black Spring, a town cursed by Katherine Van Allen. She doesn't seem to actually do anything to you, but she can make you want to do pretty horrible thing. The town quarantines themselves in a Puritanical attempt at Apple Pie America and hopes that so long as the witch's eyes and mouth remain sewn shut, things might be okay. But the more progressive youth of Black Spring have other plans and things quickly spiral out of control. 


Yeah, I'm pretty lukewarm about this one. The book is getting pretty decent reviews, and the premise was awesome. It was an interesting story and I enjoyed many parts of it. It had some really creepy parts, like the details of Fletcher's death and some pretty chilling Crucible-like scenes. It just didn't mesh together well for me and I was left feeling eh when it was all said and done. 


Part of the issue was the writing style. There was something about the way Olde Heuvelt writes that made it really confusing for me to understand what was going on. Like, I understood the individual words, but the way they were strung together in the sentence didn't comprehend. A lot of parts just felt cluttered, which made it kinda tedious to read. The beginning was honestly kind of boring up until they actually explained who the witch was and the nature of the curse. Until then it was just day in the life of this weird town.


One big thing that left me particularly unsatisfied was there were a lot of unanswered questions at the end. I don't mind some things remaining a mystery at the end of horror novels, but it felt almost careless, like Olde Heuvelt threw out these plot points and never bothered to follow them up. For example, why did the recording hurt Tyler but not Burak or the Outsider kid? Seemed inconsistent. Why did Fletcher hang himself? Who put the recorder on Tyler's pillow? Why did Katherine's mumblings convince people to kill themselves when at the end we learn she didn't want more death and destruction? Really, the list goes on and on and it ends with a really disjointed story.


So I don't know. I didn't NOT enjoy the book, it just didn't satisfy the way a good horror novel should. Read if you want something creepy but don't care too much about whether Points A and B fit together. 


Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars. This would have been a terrific story if the writing had just been a little more solid. 

The List So Far

Starting to plan for bingo. Here's the list I have so far. Suggestions are more than welcome! I'm excited to get going.



Country house mystery

Murder most foul: The Snowman - Jo Nesbo 

Amateur sleuth: Murder Past Due - Dean James

Romantic suspense: The Hunting Grounds - Katee Robert 

Serial/spree killer: Over Your Dead Body - Dan Wells

Cozy mystery: 

American horror story: Mr. Shivers - Robert Jackson Bennett

Genre: horror: Disappearance at Devil’s Rock - Paul Tremblay

Modern Masters of Horror: N0S4A2 - Joe Hill

Supernatural: My Best Friend’s Exorcism - Grady Hendrix

Ghost: Heart Shaped Box - Joe Hill

Haunted houses


Werewolves: Hemlock Grove - Brian McGreevy

Witches: Vassa in the Night - Sarah Porter

Demons: The Boy Who Killed Demons - Dave Zeltserman

Classic horror: The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson

Chilling children: One Was Lost - Natalie D Richards

Monsters: Monster - Frank Peretti

80's horror

In the dark, dark woods: The Ritual - Adam Nevill

Terror in a small town: Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman

Terrifying women: And the Devil Crept In - Ania Ahlborn

Diverse voices