Tuesday, 27 August 2013

My true love is come back to me, or how I found another book I'm desperate to read this fall

        For a year now, ever since I read Phantom by Jo Nesbo, I have been mourning my true love in the detective world.  I haven't reviewed Phantom because I didn't know how to.  I thought it was the end of Harry Hole. It was a mystery that broke my heart, with who the killer is.  I know the review is waiting to be done, but I couldn't bring myself to do it, because then the series really would be over.

So imagine my complete shock to see this on Amazon just now, tonight, 12:30 a.m.:

Yes indeed.  A NEW Harry Hole mystery.  Possibly.  He might be the one in the coma.  I don't care.  He's ALIVE.

I won't give away who shoots Harry Hole, in case there are still people who haven't read Phantom.  I'll write a review later (because now I can do one because he's ALIVE, possibly) when it's not 12:30 a.m.   For now, I am so happy, I'm so excited, Harry lives (possibly) for another day. Just the chance that he is alive is exciting. *Happy dance*  I'm so happy!!!!!!!!!!  Harry has come back to me!!

 So add this to my list of books I'm waiting for the this fall.  It's out Sept 17.

I feel spoiled:  two books that I really can't wait to get my hands on.

HARRY is alive!!!!!!

Here are some of my other reviews of his books:
The Redbreast (above link at the beginning of this post)

Friday, 23 August 2013

The book I am most waiting for this fall is......

   I am so excited.  I am starting to count down the days!  Needless to say, I'm getting this in hardcover the day it comes out.  What's that, you say?  Susan, you don't like hard covers, you can't carry them?  That's true.  But this book I plan on staying in and reading all that weekend.  I'm not going anywhere, dear readers.  The book I am talking about is, of course:

The new horror book from Stephen King.  Doctor Sleep carries on the story of Danny Torrance from The Shining.  The Shining is one of my all-time favourite novels, and is due for a reread, which is so handy considering the sequel is just about to come out!.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reading slump or no (see my  post  from yesterday), at least I'll have The Shining and Doctor Sleep read in September.  The hard part is waiting for RIP to officially start, so I can count it as one of my RIP books.  And Doctor Sleep.  I can hardly wait!!!!!  What happened when Danny grew up???????????

To get you (and me) into the mood for RIP, here is a link to an Entertainment Weekly interview with Stephen King from last winter, about how he came to write Doctor Sleep.

One month from tomorrow, my Gentle Readers! Doctor Sleep is out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Library books and August reading

      I've been taking books out from the library all summer. Last night I dropped by because two more had come in, and this is what I came home with:

Selected Poems - Sharon Olds
I Sit Listening to the Wind - Judith Duerk
In the Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems - Thomas Merton
Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain (finally! over a year to get this!)

I already had out:
After the Golden Age - Carrie Vaughn
Faerie Tales  ed Martin Greenberg and Russell Davis
Signs in the Blood - Vicki Lane
Love Letters - Katie Fforde
The Grimm Legacy - Polly Shulman
One Year to a Writing Life - Susan Tiberghien
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest - Charles de Lint
Alif the Unseen - G. Willow Wilson
Summertime Death- Mons Kallentoft
Fairest Wide Awake: new graphic novel from the creators of Fables
Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 - Elizabeth Winder
Twice Upon a Time - Women Writers and the Story of the Fairy Tale - Elizabeth Wanning Harries
At the Mouth of the River of Bees - Kij Johnson
The Writer on Her Work - ed Janet Sternburg, Vol 1.

Just looking at the titles to write them down here is making me want to read them all!!!  Just need to find the time.....which leads me to:

I am in a bit of a reading slump, mostly because I had to hand back the book on Sylvia Plath that I had out from the library and was really enjoying, Mad Girl's Love Song.  Also some personal news is distracting me, and with stress with my new temporary position at work, all in all I'm struggling to settle into reading this month.

How about you?  Are you reading much this summer?  Do you use the library more in the summer or winter months?


Saturday, 17 August 2013

the start of the English Premier soccer league.....and what the photo showed

   So my husband turned to me last night and he said, "I think it would be fun if we all wore our team shirts tomorrow for the start of the EPL - English Premier League (football in the rest of the world, soccer in North America). Now, I am a huge Arsenal fan, he is a long-time Chelsea supporter, and our youngest son Graham has become a Manchester City supporter (of all things).  So our daughter Holly-Anne who doesn't like footie and doesn't support a team, took the photo:

What I find hilarious is that I didn't even think about the bookshelves behind me, until Pat over at Here, There and Everywhere blog pointed out on Facebook that it was a shame I didn't have anything to read behind me. I burst out laughing!  So you can get a glimpse of some of my shelves behind us.  They are along one wall in the living room, where I will be getting a new chair and a lamp, to set up my reading corner in front of them.  The shelves need tidying, they are double-packed most of them, and have assorted figurines stuck in corners that normally I have space for.

The life of a bookaholic.....always trying to find more space for books.  Seriously, you can never have enough books.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Twelve - Justin Cronin

   So all last weekend I had The Twelve beside the computer, planning on writing my book review of it.  Then company came over, and I got sidetracked by pretty butterflies and life events, so here it is, Wednesday, and I discover that my friend Bride over at Bride of the Book God has already written a review of The Twelve today!  So here is the link to her fun review.

    I pretty much agree with what she says, so I'm going to say what I want to say about the book, starting after (and which includes) everything she says.
Mainly, I am disappointed it didn't have the creepy factor with the vampires.  It is still a well-written series, excellent characters and pacing, thrilling tension as they try to avoid the vampires - but that danger, that terror of them that prevades the first book, The Passage, is missing.  I know we have all seen the terror, but I want it to continue through the books. Not that the vampires have to develop into anything new, or unbelievable - absolutely not.  I wanted - want -that horror back, that creeping sense that we had all through The Passage of the wrongness of the vampires, of the sense of unease, the dread, of them.  Even though The Passage was about what caused them and how the world so drastically changed in the event, I think that a 100 years later of dealing with the vampires, that horror would still be there.  I think maybe there wasn't enough attacks, enough fighting them off, though there is one - In the beginning of the book is the set-up to an attack that I wish we had gotten the full details of , that we got to see it in full.  I think this is what changed the book for me, that we don't get to see the characters die, so the immediacy of their deaths is missing. This attack turns out to be important to the plot of Book 2, and some characters, so I think a chance was missed to make this a full horror novel here, and an outstanding one.  We do find out in flashback, what happens to the survivors, but I have to say, I like straightforward writing too.  As Bride calls it, timey wimey can be interesting, but it has to be carefully done, and maybe this is where that sense of distance comes in The Twelve, so that made it less of an impact that The Passage had.

 The evil of the Twelve is what they do to their followers, as the vampires are called (each main vampire spawning his own group of vampires).  Maybe it was just the sense of menace was missing, because the groups had defined - the survivors in their areas, the vamps in theirs.  Although the vampires are still hunting whoever they can find, and leaving a known safe area is still extremely risky.  I just missed the real wrongness that is a vampire, although there is plenty of darkness, and some horror, and lots of bravery and good souls in this book.  I do enjoy this series very much, and highly recommend it.  These are mostly minor quibbles about why I found this book less scary than the first one, and I'm in this series to be scared.  I want to see it written to scare, to terrify, like the first book, so I'm hoping Book 3 will be all that, and more.

       Amy is still a fabulous character, and developing along interesting lines in the book.  I like Peter, and Alicia.  Alicia is kind of scary, actually.  

 I will be reading Book 3 whenever it is done!  I also really enjoy the different covers, interesting how the publishers thought it would appeal over in the UK, and here.  Nothing about Fear the Dark, as her book cover has.

I also read this book in less than two days, that's how much I enjoyed it and couldn't put it down.  So if you are a little bit worried about being too scared, this is a good book for you  :-)    A very good vampire series, so far.

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers
S Krishna's Books
Coffee and A Book Chick

If you reviewed this book, please let me know and I'll link to it.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


A very special visitor came to my garden today:

I am so thrilled.  I've designed my garden to be a bee and butterfly garden, and this means I've done it right.  The phlox is the flower the butterfly is on, and it just bloomed earlier this week. The butterfly is a giant swallowtail, the largest kind of butterfly found in Canada, rare in Canada, usually found only in Southern Ontario at Point Pelee when it does come.  Only recorded once before in Ottawa, in 1992, according to the Butterflies of Canada government site I found.  So I am awed and feel like I've been visited by a very special butterfly indeed. (You can click on the photo to make it bigger.)

I am having a lazy, lovely sunny Sunday, and am about to settle down with Devil's Peak by Deon Meyer, one of his early mysteries featuring Benny Griessel.  I hope you have wonderful surprises in store for you today, and a lazy day as well.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

2 mystery reviews, and and some book links

    This sounds so interesting: Over at BBC online site, Ann Morgan, a writer, set herself the challenge of reading a book from every UN-listed country, in a year.  196 books in 365 days.  Here is a link to the bbc article.  She talks about what she learned during her year of reading, and what it was like to read a book from each country.

   Over at Book Marks magazine online site, I found a link to some Great Mysteries vol 2, a selection of some of the very good mysteries, featuring international,  contemporary hardboiled and noir, and psychological authors and books. I am happy to see that I have read some of the authors featured, and several I have been meaning to start reading.
Two book reviews: 
   Now You See Me - S.J. Bolton - The first Lacey Flint mystery.  It is excellent. Lacey is a Detective Constable, who when the book opens is investigating an unrelated crime when a woman falls into her, stabbed and dying.  The crime is not in her district, but because she is an eyewitness and the only one, she is brought over to the other division, putting her right in the middle of the investigation.  She is an interesting character, smart and yet vulnerable and young, and makes mistakes during the progress of the investigation.  She is also a character who doesn't want to draw attention to herself, and during the book this is slowly revealed why.  Although I was ready for some of the ending, some it came as a huge shock, breathtakingly audacious of the author.  Brilliant.  Jack the Ripper also features, as does the faintest hint of a romance, sharp dialogue, and some of the best mystery plotting I've seen in a long time.  Suspenseful, a police procedural that has interesting secondary characters, and a real pleasure to read.  I will be looking for book 2, Dead Scared, this weekend.  Here is a review I did last fall about another of her books, Blood Harvest.  She is definitely a writer worth seeking out.

The Girl on the Stairs - Louise Welsh - This is one of  the books my husband brought back from England for me earlier this month.  I was anxious to read it, since some reviewers, like this one over at the Guardian site, links it to Daphne Du Maurier's Don't Look Now, a movie that I love (and am scared to watch), and a book I am looking for.  I read it once, and have seen the movie a few times.  Don't Look Now is a ghost story and a love story and a scary story, all at once.  Both are set in foreign countries - Don't Look Now in  Venice, The Girl on the Stairs in Berlin, and this atmosphere of not being able to communicate clearly, of being cut off from the main stream of life going on for other people, pervades both. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to live in a foreign country, and not feel like people are watching you for being different.   Both the main characters in each novel are in a numinous space - John Baxter has lost his young daughter before going to Venice to recover, and Jane Logan, whose last name we only are given later in the book, is heavily pregnant when she arrives in Berlin to start her new life with her partner.  This emotional instablility increases the unsettling space in each book, leaving the characters open to perceiving things that may or may not be there.

Would The Girl on the Stairs live up to its billing?  Oh yes, it did.  It is not like Don't Look Now in the psychic sense, which disappoints me - I am always on the look out for books like that.  It is  however a creepy book,with a modern gothic sensibility, and dark.  As the Guardian reviews says, the danger isn't just where Jane finds herself - it's what she could do to those around her. It is deeply unnerving, and I found myself yelling at Jane to not do what she does, at the end. " No Jane, don't go! " I said out loud. I was glad I wasn't on the bus at the time.  But Jane goes, and the ending is devastating.  And frightening.  It would be perfect for RIP.  There is real horror here, but you see it sideways, at a glance, and it's only later, after the book is done, that parts of it creep back and say, look.   Very good, and suspenseful.  Don't Look Now is the scarier book, by far, though.  Eerie, too.  The Girl on the Stairs is  psychologically dark.  Both are very good books.

I am beginning to wonder if there is such a thing as a modern Gothic atmosphere in literature. A kind of gothic sensibility in literature today.  It would feature weird and wonderful things, creepy things, like southern gothic films often do.   I think there is.  Movies like The Skeleton Key,  books by Karen Russell, Charlene Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, Sharyn McCrumb's Nora  Bonsteel series (the ballad series), are just a few.  I enjoy these atmospheric books and movies.  Do you, Gentle Reader?  Do you have a favourite or new 'gothic' book or movie you love?  Flannery O'Connor was one of the first, and of course William Faulkner.  That's southern Gothic.  Is there a gothic author where you live?