Monday, September 17, 2012

August Reading Recap

Yeeeah.  I'm pretty late with this, but better late than never.

1.  The Book of the Living Dead edited by John Richard Stephens
This book of macabre short stories, all dealing with vampires, zombies, mummies, and/or a combination of all three, was supremely entertaining.  I had read several of the stories before, but I enjoyed all of them.  I think my favorite (which totally surprised me) was Mark Twain's tongue-in-cheek contribution, "A Curious Dream."  The scariest story was definitely "Thurnley Abbey" by Perceval Landon.

2.  The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
I read a few of Henry James's ghost stories in high school, and I thought they were spooky. This book was scary, too, but more psychologically frightening than anything else. 

The whole way through, I couldn't decide if the ghosts that the governess was seeing were actually real or if she was completely insane. Each time I would lean one way or the other, James would throw another wrench into my thought process.

Even after the last sentence, I'm still not sure.

3.  Snakewoman of Little Egypt by Robert Hellenga

The book synopsis sounded pretty interesting - a woman who has been in jail for six years because she shot her preacher husband after he forced her to put her hand in a box of rattlesnakes is released and moves in with an anthropologist who becomes fascinated with her snake handling past.

I just couldn't get past the fact that I really didn't like any of the characters, and I felt like Hellenga pulled out every backwoods and religious typecasting cliche he could find.

4.  The Surrogate by Tania Carver
I'd gotten so used to reading less-than-great thrillers lately, that I'd forgotten what it was like to read a really, really good one. This book was fantastic. 

Set in a small town in England, the police are desperately searching for a serial killer who is targeting pregnant women in order to steal their babies to create his own "family." There's a lot of fast paced action and unexpected plot twists -- I literally didn't see the final revelation coming. 

I've already put Carver's next book on my "to read" list.

5.  Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
Oh, I liked this. Set in Quebec, it reminded me of a good old fashioned Agatha Christie-type mystery, and I've already fallen in love with the quirky characters. Looking forward to another installment.

6.  The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan
This was a Kindle cheap buy, and I thought it was...ok. 

The story begins with the death of the town recluse (thus the title), and of course, she's not at all what people thought she was. Fairly predictable, but I will hand it to Chan for making the character of the priest thoroughly delightful (he steals spoons). Nice lazy-day reading.