The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Book Description:

Published: 1959

Format: Audio/Audible

The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre. First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror.

It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting;’ Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Review –

I first READ this book in 2009, and then LISTENED to it in 2014, so this makes my third time.

The movie is one of my all time favorites (the original with Julie Harris) and is very close to the book. The writer of the screen play did a great job. There are, of course, a few changes, but they are very subtle and don’t change the plot or outcome of the story line.

Looking for a change in reading genre – give this gem a try.

 

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In the Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Book Description:

Published: April 1, 2016

Format: Audio

Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

Review –

I found myself feeling for Grace as representative of the young woman of her time, but had difficulty understanding  Mina as a contemporary woman. Her wise cracking didn’t make up for her refusal to own up to the realities of her life. The connection between Mina and Grace and their stories is weak and not integral to the other or their outcomes. The mystic elements are also minor and either explained away or easily resolved. In the Light of What We See was a  pleasant, fast read, but fell short of expectations.

 

Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here (The Others #3) by Christine Warren

Book Description:

Published: November 2, 2010

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Danice Carter wakes up naked and confused. She can’t figure out how she got into bed with a man she’s never met, because there is no way she would forget meeting McIntyre Callahan. The man is everything she’s ever fantasized about, a mind-bendingly mouth-watering hunk…who is just as puzzled about what’s going on as she is. When they discover the explanation involves a fugitive from Faerie, some very tricky magic and a theoretical hotel room, things start to get a little weird. Good thing the attraction between Danice and Mac makes all the sense in the world.

Review –

As some of you know, book covers call to me so when I saw the cover for this book on OverDrive I  borrowed it straight away. I didn’t read the blurb or synopsis. That was my mistake. It is a PARANORMAL ROMANCE. I used to read some books in this category but I hadn’t for a very long time.

Attorney Danice Carter gets an unexpected assignment from the head of her high-powered New York law firm: find his granddaughter Rosemary and convince her to file a paternity suit. Danice was already dreading the assignment, but things take a strange turn when she meets half-fae PI Mac Callahan, who is also hunting for Rosemary.

Mac’s client is an unnamed party in Faerie, but what do they want with a human female? To find out, Mac must enter Faerie, something he hasn’t done since he was an infant. When a determined Danice refuses to be left behind, Mac is concerned, for he suspects their trip may bring them into contact with the dangerous Unseelie Court.

Neither trusts the other nor appreciates the attraction they feel towards each other, but the sexual chemistry between them can’t be denied, BUT they hadn’t really connected beyond the physical attraction.  Although the description of the sex was good, the whole attraction between Mac and Danice was a bit too INSTALOVE.

I haven’t read the previous books in the series so I really didn’t know what to expect. Suffice it to say paranormal romance is still not my favorite.

 

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Book Description:

Published: November 3, 2015  

Format: Audio/Library Book

A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”

Review –
Always a pleasure to read a Stephen King book and this one was no exception.
The principal purpose of  the stories in this book is to entertain. Mr. King  says, “Although life experiences are the basis of all stories, I’m not in the business of confessional fiction.” No, he really isn’t, and the reason “The Little Green God of Agony” is one of the strongest stories in “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” is that in this one, at least, King finds a serviceable horror metaphor for what’s on his mind, rather than trying to express it more directly. (He wrote this during his rehabilitation after his near fatal accident and all the pain he suffered)
There were some stories that I liked more than others but on the whole it was a delightful (if anything about Stephen King can be called delightful) collection of short stories concerning  various life changing subjects. What’s unusual about the tales in this volume is how many of its deaths are ordinary, mundane sorts of demises: deaths by cancer or heart failure or car accident or simple, non-­supernatural homicide. 
If you’re a “constant reader” or have never (GASP!) read Stephen King this is a great book to add to your TBR list or pile. Since it’s a collection of short stories it’s easy to commit to the book because you know you can read one story and put it down, but I doubt you will want to put it down after you start reading.
Loved it!

The Operator (There Peri Reed Chronicles #2) by Kim Harrison

Book Description:

Published: November 22, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

On-the-run ex-agent Peri Reed returns bigger and bolder than ever in this second highly-anticipated installment in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s new suspense trilogy, The Peri Reed Chronicles.

Peri Reed’s job eats her mind, but for a special task agent in hiding, forgetting the past can be a blessing.

Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and the agency who turned her into the very thing she fought against, Peri abandoned the wealth and privilege of Opti for anonymity riddled with memory gaps and self-doubt. But when a highly addictive drug promises to end her dependency on those who’d use her as a tool for their own success, she must choose to remain broken and vulnerable, or return to the above-the-law power and prestige she once left: strong but without will—for whoever holds her next fix, will hold her loyalty.

Yet even now as then, a love based on lies of omission might still save her life.

Review –

Poor Peri finds herself in hiding after leaving Opti fearing her handlers will erase her memories. Both Opti and the CIA want her on their team, but both have their own agendas making Peri very much a pawn. Peri may be the ultimate weapon, but she isn’t going down without a fight.

The beginning started a little slow ,but it was neat seeing what our girl Peri has been doing without Opti. The story began to take off at the thirty percent mark when Bill and his newest Drafter, Michael, try to bring Peri back into Opti. Bill tries to lure her in with the promise of not being dependent on an Anchor. After a near escape, she reaches out to Silas, and the two soon find themselves unwillingly assisting the CIA. Peri wants out but both sides are determined to have her. Neither would be beneficial and both spell an end to her freedom. The tale that unfolds has twists, turns and hold your breath moments. Peri must use her wits against both opponents and time is running out.

The storylines of the Operator are more intense than those of The Drafter. We have intrigue, treachery and action-packed scenes that will leave you breathless.  Peri interacts with friends and co-workers from the past, and we meet new acquaintances as she tries to determine who is her ally and who has their own agenda. Allen, Bill, Helen and Michael are pretty obvious but then there is Jack. Jack the hallucination and Jack the man, her former Anchor, betrayer, and lover. Secondary characters are developed enough that readers will become emotionally involved. I found myself fearing, caring or utterly loathing them.  Harrison provides some of their points of view which help validate Peri’s concerns.

Peri is tested when Opti dangles a big carrot in front of her offering something she desires. We get a taste of Peri’s strengths and her brilliant mind. The obstacles she faces only prove how truly badass she is. The last three-fourths of the book had me holding my breath as we faced trials, deceit, and danger.

The Operator wrapped up nicely but has me eager to return for more.

The Drafter (The Peri Reed Chronicles #1) by Kim Harrison

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Bourne Identity meets Minority Report in this first highly anticipated installment in number-one New York Times best-selling author Kim Harrison’s sexy new romantic suspense trilogy, featuring a brilliant special task agent at the top of her field and set in a futuristic Detroit.

During a routine but dangerous Opti task, Peri Reed finds out her trusted partner has made her a corrupt agent. Her unique ability to jump back 40 seconds in time to correct a mistake leaves her vulnerable when her partner, who is responsible for replacing her memory of the event, gives her a false one. But Peri lives and dies on her intuition, and she begins to piece her twisted reality together as she flees her one-time secure situation at Opti and tries to find the truth with a sullen but talented psychologist named Silas who works for the very agency trying to bring the Opti corruption to light.

With Howard, tech and med specialist, and Taf, gun-toting daughter of the opposing grass-roots agency, Silas and Peri try to rebuild her memory of the night she killed her partner, knowing it will put her mental stability in danger. Peri remembers, and thoughts of revenge keep her alive and moving forward as she tries to put an end to Opti, working with the very faction that wants to see her dead.

Review –

In 2030, Agent Peri Reed works for Opti, a secret government organization that’s been capitalizing on abilities like hers since the 1960s. Peri is the drafter of the title, someone gifted with the rare ability to rewind time for about 30 seconds; the downside is that she not only forgets the original 30 seconds, but longer periods of time (minutes, weeks, even years). Her partner and lover, Jack, acts as her anchor, working to tie her to the new timeline and helping her recover lost memories. But when the two of them uncover a list of corrupt Opti agents and Peri’s name is on it, she learns that both Jack and what she believes to be her past are suspect.

Unfortunately, the more information she uncovers about Opti and its nemesis, the alliance, the harder Opti works to erase Peri’s memories, leaving her either confused and gullible or confused and angry through much of the book. 

Fans of Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series maybe hoping for another strong woman character who kicks butt, be alas, Peri is more a victim, though she has impressive combat skills. She’s frequently distracted by the lures of sex, good food, and expensive, well-tailored clothing. She’s too focused on the adrenaline rush and privileges associated with being an elite, pampered agent to convince us that she’s capable of selflessly serving a cause. Maybe she is a corrupt agent after all, hhmmm.

Great read and really looking forward to the next installment in The  Peri Reed Chronicles.

The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder #6) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: July 8, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.

On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they’re both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?

When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.

And, as Kate knows—the past never truly dies .  . .

Review –

The story begins thirty-five years earlier as a young Billy Hochstetler is awakened in the middle of the night by intruders threatening his family. During the burglary, his father is shot and killed, his mother is forced to leave with the three men, and he and the children are forced into the cellar. Billy decides to try to save his mother and after escaping through a window, goes after her, leaving his brothers and sisters by themselves. He chases the get-away car, but is unsuccessful in rescuing his mother. He returns to the house to find it engulfed in flames. In one night he has lost his family.

Fast forward to present day…Painter’s Mill Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a supposed suicide. After checking the scene and looking into other facets of the dead man’s life, it is determined that he was murdered. Inside the mouth of the murdered man was a small carved Amish doll with the name Hochstetler on it.  Circumstances in subsequent murders also  seemed to bring the Hochstetler incident into the mix. But are there any other connecting threads?

Kate and her officers, including over seventy Pickles, have to work around the clock to solves theses crimes and harm comes to some.

John Tomasetti is dealt a blow when one of the men responsible for the murders of his wife and daughters is let go-free as a bird.  Tomasetti has to do something, but will it be legal or ethical?

Kate and John have been living together now for about six months and she’s afraid that now that she’s given away her heart John will hurt her.

Great read and I can’t wait for the next one to become available on OverDrive.

 

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Book Description:

Published: February 11, 2014

The New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters . . . sometimes too unbreakable.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie.

Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace.

Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

“The first time I saw a sleeper, I was nine years old.”

Best-selling author Jennifer McMahon (Promise Not to Tell) opens her new novel, The Winter People, with a sentence that offers a tantalizing glimpse of the horrors to come in this marvelously creepy page-turner.

In The Winter People, the author  gives readers just what they want from a good thriller: can’t-put-it-down, stay-up-until-dawn reading. In addition to being downright creepy, this novel is also a poignant reminder of what grief can drive humans to do. Lock your doors, check under your bed and soak up The Winter People, a legitimately chilling supernatural thriller.

Fantastic book!

Five stars *****

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Book Description:

Published: May 13, 2014

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This book was very  Stephen King-like and also reminded me of Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines both of those authors are at the top of my favorites list.

There is a strange phenomenon causing people to go blind worldwide and aren’t told right away what exactly that is, but later we do find out that there are creatures from another place (world, time, parallel universe ) and they have some how found their way into our lives.

To survive one must always be blindfolded because it was discovered that just a glance at the unknown creatures causes blindness followed by madness. During the madness people kill others and sometimes themselves.

It’s the story of a mother and her “twins” and her desire to find a safer place to live.

The story is told in alternating past and present chapters and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is mesmerizing and will keep you turning pages to the end.

It is fantastic!

Five stars *****

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