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Archive for October, 2012

RIP Wrap Up

I think I did well this year.. I read 10 books ! (and one of those books was nearly 800 pgs!)

 

1. Nine Coaches Waiting……….Mary Stewart (352.pgs)

2. What the Dead Know…………Laura Lippman 376.pgs)

3. Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil..John Berendt (416.pgs)

4. An Unpardonable Crime………Andrew Taylor (485.pgs)

5. Drood…………………….Dan Simmons (778.pgs)

6. The Haunted  Hotel…………Wilkie Collins (129.pgs)

7. The Anatomy of Ghosts………Andrew Taylor (412.pgs)

8. Manna From Hades…………..Carola Dunn (320.pgs)

9. Blacklands………………..Belinda Bauer (240.pgs)

10.Sherlock Holmes:Army of Dr MoreauGuy Adams (284.pgs)

(3,792 pgs)

My favorite of the ten books  is Drood by DanSimmons.  It was the second time I read the book and I have to say it was as good the second time as the first! Although the book is fiction there is much that is true and by the time you finish reading this book you feel like you know a whole lot more about Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. (and indeed you will!)

The book I liked least (but I didn’t “dislike” any) is Manna From Hades by Carola Dunn. The only reason I have to say I disliked it is that I didn’t feel like I knew the characters well and didn’t really feel as if I was in Cornwall.

The most intense book was Blacklands by Belinds Bauer.  This book you got to know the characters well and you really felt like you were in the mind of a serial killer.  I’m betting the author had bad dreams while she wrote that book!… and I’m not sure I would especially want to visit Exmoor after reading this book!

Andrew Taylor was a new author for me. Of the two books I read by him I liked An Unpardonable Crime best.

As always I totally enjoyed RIP…and I hope Carl continues to host it for a long time to come!

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(book 10 for RIP)

Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr. Moreau by Guy Adams.

Paperback
Publisher: Titan Books (UK) (August 7, 2012)
ASIN: B009CRMOAQ

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Book Description

Publication Date:August 7, 2012

Following the trail of several corpses seemingly killed by wild animals, Holmes and Watson stumble upon the experiments of Doctor Moreau.
Moreau, through vivisection and crude genetic engineering is creating animal hybrids, determined to prove the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin. In his laboratory, hidden among the opium dens of Rotherhithe, Moreau is building an army of ‘beast men’. Tired of having his work ignored — or reviled — by the British scientific community, Moreau is willing to make the world pay attention using his creatures as a force to gain control of the government.
A brand-new adventure for Conan Doyle’s intrepid sleuth!

Hmmmm, ok well I sent for this book because of RIP and it actually was a fairly good read for it!

Some descriptions of “dead folk” found in the Thames was pretty gruesome and mentions of Dr Moreau’s work with mixing humans and animals is not the prettiest picture one could conjure up!

At first I thought that maybe this wasn’t my brightest move, on my part, to get a Sherlock Holmes book not done by Doyle… but then again Nicholas Meyer wrote 3 Sherlock books that were excellent, so why not someone else?

I think this was an enjoyable read.  It’s hard to let go of the original author if every word doesn’t seem to correspond with how it’s “creator” meant it to be..but then again.. do we really know what it’s meant to be??

So if you tend to like Sherlock and Watson…

And you know the basic story of Dr Moreau..

I think you will enjoy this book.

This is a quick read.  Short chapters. and just enough of “what next?” to keep you reading…

 

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Black-lands

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(book 9 for RIP)

Black-lands by Belinda Bauer.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster(January 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1439149453

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Book Description

EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO, Billy Peters disappeared. Everyone in town believes Billy was murdered—after all, serial killer Arnold Avery later admitted killing six other children and burying them on the same desolate moor that surrounds their small English village. Only Billy’s mother is convinced he is alive. She still stands lonely guard at the front window of her home, waiting for her son to return, while her remaining family fragments around her.

But her twelve-year-old grandson Steven is determined to heal the cracks that gape between his nan, his mother, his brother, and himself. Steven desperately wants to bring his family closure, and if that means personally finding his uncle’s corpse, he’ll do it.

Spending his spare time digging holes all over the moor in the hope of turning up a body is a long shot, but at least it gives his life purpose.

Then at school, when the lesson turns to letter writing, Steven has a flash of inspiration . . . Careful to hide his identity, he secretly pens a letter to Avery in jail asking for help in finding the body of "W.P."—William "Billy" Peters.

So begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.

Just as Steven tries to use Avery to pinpoint the gravesite, so Avery misdirects and teases his mysterious correspondent in order to relive his heinous crimes. And when Avery finally realizes that the letters he’s receiving are from a twelve-year-old boy, suddenly his life has purpose too.

Although his is far more dangerous . . .

Blacklands is a taut and chillingly brilliant debut that signals the arrival of a bright new voice in psychological suspense.

wow!…  talk about a psychological thriller! 

Talk about getting into a child’s mind. 

Talk about getting into a killers mind!

Talk about a lot packed into a small book!

Childhood sorrows.  Bullying. and a Serial Murder.   You can’t pack much more into a short book than that.  So if you like getting into the head of the main characters and you enjoy solving problems… you will like this book. 

Add to that that most of the story takes place on Exmoor and some on Dartmoor.. and you have yourself a story even Sherlock Holmes would be proud of.

The Amazon review pretty much lays out the book but even knowing all of that this is a book that will get into your head until it’s over.

This is book 9 for RIP and I think it’s the most intense book I’ve read in a long time.

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Manna From Hades

Manna From Hades by Carola Dunn.

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(book 8 for RIP)

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books;(October 16, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1250014751

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Book Description

Eleanor Trewynn, recently widowed, returns home from years of working overseas to retire to the cozy village of Port Maybn in Cornwall, England. Even in retirement though, she continues her charity work, leasing out the first floor of her house to a charity shop. One morning as she opens the shop, she finds both a particularly valuable donation and a corpse stuffed into the storeroom. The donation is linked to a violent robbery in London but the corpse looks nothing like the robbers being sought by the police. With the help of her niece, Detective Sergeant Megan Pencarrow, and, begrudgingly, Detective Inspector Scumble, Eleanor is determined to unscramble this confounding case of daring theft, double cross, and murder most foul.

The murder/ mystery surrounding Eleanor Trewynn started off slow but half way through it picked up considerably and got much more interesting.

I am afraid I felt a little disappointed though.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, and it could be because of the last book I was coming off of (at times that effects the next book I pick up).  But I didn’t feel as if I was in Cornwall, and I didn’t feel that I knew the characters well enough.  I say that because most of the book is dialogue and although I tend to enjoy that, it’s not as good when you don’t feel you know the characters well.

So… I would  have liked to know them better.

Considering that… the mystery itself was flushed out nicely.   I am more the mystery person then I am a “murder lets find the person who did it”.  I like more stuff behind why things happen.. finding out the secrets as it were.

But this was a nice quick read, something that would go well when you don’t want to have anything too heavy on your mind once you set it down.

I felt I was just getting to know the main characters when the book ended so I wouldn’t mind another mystery using the same characters… maybe I’ll check that out one day. (yeah and maybe my tbr pile will mysteriously get smaller… yeahrightsure!)

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New & Used

I get so many used books that it’s now unusual for me to get “new” books… but I like Kate Morton and so I had to get her new book and bought the Sherlock book which was on my wish list and gave me enough so I didn’t have to pay shipping.

 

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I don’t think to photo all the used books that I get (generally one at a time) but here are a few .. one from amazon, 2 from Friends of the Library (1.00 each) and I found the Bryson book at a thrift shop.

And I wonder why I never get my tbr pile down! 

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(The old du Mauier book has Frenchman’s Creek in it but the print isn’t the best so I hope I can read it!  I’ve been looking for Frenchman’s Creek for a while now.)

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(book 7 for RIP)

The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Hyperion (January 25, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1401302874

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Book Description

1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge
The ghost of Sylvia Whichcote is rumored to be haunting Jerusalem ever since student Frank Oldershaw claimed to have seen the dead woman prowling the grounds and was locked up because of his violent reaction to these disturbed visions.
Desperate to salvage her son’s reputation, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts–a stinging account of why ghosts are mere delusion–to investigate. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts an uneasy status quo as he glimpses a world of privilege and abuse, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr. Carbury, ever could.
And when Holdsworth finds himself haunted–not only by the ghost of his dead wife, Maria, but also by Elinor, the very-much-alive Master’s wife–his fate is sealed. He must find Sylvia’s murderer, or else the hauntings will continue. And not one of this troubled group will leave the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem unchanged.

This is my second book by Andrew Taylor, and although this book was fine, I found the first one, An Unpardonable Crime, more to my liking.   And yet I have a third book by Andrew Taylor waiting in the wings, but I think I will break from him and read something else first.

This book related a great deal about college life back in 1786, along with a mystery of a young man who has gone insane, and a murder.  It has quite a number of things to follow, but in the end, they all come together (as well they should!).

The book description is accurate and tells enough for one to determine if you would be interested in reading it or not.  I believe the reason I liked Unpardonable Crime better was that much of the book was written around the college and it’s goings on and for whatever reason that didn’t hold a charm for me.  However, I have to admit that Taylor made a number of very interesting characters and that alone had me reading each time I sat down.  I sometimes think that when modern day writers write things from the 17 an18 hundreds that they feel obligated to make characters as well defined as  Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins did…. and that’s probably wise of them!

I think if others like early England mysteries this one would fit the bill.  It was refreshing not to be in the London underground for a while :o)     But I know I’ll be back Britain as much as I can with my gothic mysteries!

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Haunted Hotel

 The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins.

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(book 6 for RIP)

Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (June 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 1419165488

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Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 – 23 September 1889) will never be as well known as one of his friends, a fellow writer named Charles Dickens. But Collins was an established playwright and author in his own right. Collins and Dickens collaborated frequently, but Wilkie also produced hundreds of his own works, ranging from novels to literary articles and short stories, including The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Armadale and No Name.

A beautiful tale of super-natural that amalgamates mystery and adventure. It professes that evil will finally be punished with evil. With a lot of twists and turns, ups and downs, this is one of the most amazing tales. A psychological thriller with tight narrative, ghostly terror and persistent action, this is a masterpiece by Collins.

After reading Drood, I had to read something by Wilkie Collins in hopes he really wasn’t quite the person that Dan Simmons made him out to be ! (enter: spooky music)

This short book is a mystery more then a haunting. 

Wilkie’s writing is so precise that you never have a problem seeing everything he writes! I don’t want to give away to much because it is just a short novella (so not a lot of reading.. )although in those 168 pages the printing is so small that with my bad eyes each chapter (short though they were) could have been one long running word! lol

As in other Victorian mysteries there is “the woman’s place” in the scheme of things, and the righteous men that surround them.  This is also a love story…. and a murder.

Wilkie Collins packed quite a bit into this small but excellent book!

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