Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Book Reviews! New Kittens! I missed the party again.....

I am hanging my head in shame.  *hangs head down*  I cannot believe a whole month has gone by in Carl's challenge and I haven't reviewed a single book, even though I have been very busy reading!  C'mon girl, wake up!  *shakes self*

I am most especially embarrassed because I seem to have missed my third anniversary as a book blogger!  No cake for me!  I could excuse myself, and say we have been extraordinarily busy:  school started, there were two weddings, three colds (two of us are still getting over them), and two new kittens to play with, but really, I am sorry.  I like cake!  And I do love my blog and talking books with all of you, and getting to know you all, and I LOVE reading. 

The New Kitties: 

And Rose

The new kittens came into our home in mid-September.  They are wonderful kittens, playing all night, eating everything that falls, knocking things over, and dragging my tasseled bookmarks out of books to chew on.  They also purr and cuddle and are adored already.

 Books I Have Read:

I have been busy reading.  And I see by some of your reviews that some bloggers have been busy reading the same books I am.  So I've linked some reviews already below, and please send me a link if you have reviewed a book I've just read here:

Carl's RIP V Challenge

I have been reading to my heart's content this fall all the ghost, spooky, and downright horror books I could want.  Here is the list, along with a short review - I'm afraid that if I wait to do a long post some other day, it won't get done. 

 The Darkest Room - Johan Theorin -  Amazing mystery/suspense/ghost story.  Set in Oland, the island off Sweden's coast as his first one Echoes From The Dead, the landscape once again plays a role in creating isolation, loneliness, and it plays a real part in the outcome of the mystery.  In The Darkest Room, blizzards, the coming of winter, the loss of light, increase the melancholy that overhangs the recent death of one of the characters in teh beginning of the book.  But this is more than just the story of the Westins, it's also the story of all the people who have lived at the home since it was built in the 1700's.  So many ghosts.....I loved this book.  The characters, the setting, the return to Oland, which was so evocative in Echoes From the Dead, and the languid melancholy, and the presence of unseen from the corner of the eye, plus the menace from real every day threats - this is a very good novel. Highly recommended.

Soulless - Gail Carrigher - This is a fun supernatural novel, mixing Victorian England, manners, with vampires, werewolves, and the Queen of England. it is the first novel in the Alexia Tarabotti series. She is a spinster, almost past marrying age so this gives her a delightful sarcastic edge as she fights to retain some dignity in her role as spinster.  She also happens to be born without a soul, which is very handy when it means that anything supernatural loses its ability around her.  She is also very opinionated, and the dialogue and her observations are hilarious.  This is also a romance, as well as a mystery, charming, and delightful.  The vampires and werewolves are interesting, the idea of having a soul - or not- is believable and what it means makes for a very entertaining read.
Other reviews:
Kailana at The Written World

Greywalker - Kat Richardson.  The first in the Greywalker series featuring Harper Blaine, a PI who dies for three minutes and when she is brought back, discovers she can see into the Grey, an area that spirits can go into after death, before moving on to the light (or Dark).  It's not purgatory, it's a place that overlaps our world, but only the dead and the supernatural can exist there as well as on earth.  Only a Greywalker can see into that world; Harper is even more rare, as she can cross physically into that world after her death experience.  I loved the supernatural aspects, the Grey and how the vampires and ghosts move here and there.  How Harper finds out what is happening to her, and how she begins to attract a different set of clientele, who have special needs that involve the Grey in some way, make for a very good read.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much that at the bookstore tonight, I ended up buying book two in the series, Poltergiest.  Harper herself is also a realistic PI, and I really enjoyed the PI skills put alongside investigating the supernatural. 

The Secret History of Moscow - Ekaterina Sedia.  One day Galina discovers that her sister has turned into a bird, a jackdaw.  Galina goes in search of her and finds a way below Moscow to another world, the secret world of myth, fairytale and legend, Russian style.  Her sister isn't the only one, and in order to stop people from turning into birds, they must discover who is using the old stories - setting them free - on the streets of Moscow.  A beautiful story, with very different fairy tale figures that somehow feel similar at the same time to some characters in the Western fairytale canon. .I enjoyed the unfamiliarity of the fairy tale and myth figures, and what really impressed me was the sense of Moscow that comes through the book.  For the first time, I have a little inkling of how both wonderful historic and horribly scared by this century Moscow is.

Ghost Road Blues - Jonathan Maberry.  Straight up horror, and fun!  I enjoyed the sense of menace, the very visible presence of ghosts, evil, and history in this book.  A tiny town 30 years ago experienced a serial killer, who was brought to justice, but evil is in more than one heart, and another crime is also committed that same night.  It's in the present day, and old evil stirs in the swamp behind the town in Pine Deep, Pennsylvania, and calls out to and draws in greater evil to this little town. The dead will rise, and ghosts walk about the streets of Pine Deep, but no one is prepared for the three killers who make their appearance one night and change the town forever.  Ghost Road Blues is the beginning of a trilogy.  I will most likely seek out the other two books in the series, although I will admit I was disappointed that it was a trilogy, certainly it gives room to explore questions like can evil ever truly die?  what happens when people don't deal with their memories of the past?  There are very likable characters, and the town is fun and it's a very good setting, among the fields of corn, as the murderers strike.  Enjoyable read, some creepy atmosphere, tense killer moments.

More reviews to follow! Have run out of time, will return tomorrow with more.  It's been fun reading all these horror novels.  I have fully immersed myself in the spooky nature of this time of year, as well as the melancholy as the light slowly fades.  I love autumn, and this year, reading horror and ghost stories is adding more to my pleasure!

I hope you are reading some good books for the Challenge. Do you find that reading ghost stories at this time of year comes naturally for you, or are you finding it is too much with the growing darkness outside? 

I made some chocolate chip cookies yesterday, perhaps you'd like to share in some as I celebrate belatedly my blog's birthday?  Happy birthday, book-blog!


Molly said...

Happy (belated) bloggiversary!! I think a cookie celebration sounds just perfect :)

The kitties are adorable - and I am rather envious of all the good reads.

Susan said...

Molly: thank you! I do feel so badly, I had planned a lovely post and everything. The kitties are adorable, thank you for saying so too! Have you read anything for this challenge yet?

Jodie Robson said...

If I had new kittens I wouldn't get any blogging done at all! The minute I see small felines I am instantly mesmerised and become a creature with no will power at all - the perfect lap, in fact.

Nicole said...

Happy anniversary, and I am glad all is relatively well on your side of the world domestically. You have been missed. Your new feline friends look typically mischevious and cute, the latter will no doubt save them when they get into the former. Broken sleep from kittens dashing through the house & bounding on the bed has been a long time in the past, I & now I just have three aging felines, who sometimes dart about the place in a fit of revisiting kittenhood. Brave you for taking the plunge into broken sleep & potty training.

Bybee said...

Happy birthday, little bloggy! Ooooh, cookies. Crunch..umm, good.

Susan said...

Geraniumcat: Rose likes to climb on me as soon as I get to the computer, so that's my excuse for not being able to blog much even when I have time! lol She is very cute and cuddly. Sam tends to play with the keyboard and send mysterious messages......

Nicole: hi! you have a blog! Ok, I'm coming to see it, this is great! and yes, the kittens are all over the place, and like to chase our feet and nip and wake us up long before we need to be up.

Bybee: See? you can never be too late to my party! lol