Friday, September 30, 2016

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

I picked this up on a whim at the library because of the cover. I had no idea this book is actually well known and quite old. The library calls this a horror novel. It's weird and strange, I'll give you that, but I'm not sure it's really a horror.

This book is about a girl who lives with her sister and uncle in a big house. They live pretty much isolated from everyone because of something that happened to the family. There is a routine that the family lives by and when another distant family member comes to visit, it throws it all out of whack. I don't want to say more about it because I don't want to give anything away. It really is worth finding out for yourself.

This is the kind of story that you need to read more than once in order to fully appreciate the different aspects of the story. It was totally apparent that I had totally missed some pretty intense nuances of the story once I read the introduction. I made sure to save the introduction till the end because I knew it would talk about this old story and reveal some plot points that I didn't want to know ahead of time.

I don't know how to describe this story, really. It's strange, but so compelling. It kept me glued to the page and I had no idea what would happen next. I got so into it I almost missed my bus!

I'm totally bummed I found this by accident and I hadn't heard about it before. If you have heard of this and haven't read it yet, I really suggest that you do. It's pretty darn interesting.

Recommendation: For the lovers of a good story. It's not too scary, I promise!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

This book was a random find at the library. I was looking for another book when the spine caught my eye and of course, it makes reference to Sherlock Holmes, so I had to read it!

The Sherlockian is two different stories wrapped into one. One story is about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the end of 1901, the period of time just before he decided to resurrect Sherlock Holmes from the grave. Conan Doyle kept diaries throughout his life but the diary covering this period of time went missing after his death, and with it, explanations as to why he resurrected Sherlock. 

The other story is about literary researcher Harry White who after being inducted into The Baker Street Irregulars (the Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society) during the present day must solve a murder of a fellow member who claims to have found the missing diary that has been missing all these years. 

The author alternates between each story as the book progresses, but I feel like this way the stories got condensed too much. I wanted more from them. I think that each story could have been so much more on its own. I kind of found myself getting bored in parts because one story was progressing a lot slower than the other. 

The whole thing left me with so many questions. I wanted more. 

The other issue I had with this book was that I feel like it didn't ring true. There was so much going on that just fell flat for me. I know this book was a work of fiction, and although there were little bits and pieces of fact in the stories, most of it was just pure fiction. Still, actions some of the characters took, their attitudes, how things progressed, I don't know. It just didn't ring true. 

Recommendation: This one is way down on the list for me. I would say it's a miss, but if you enjoy stories about Sherlock Holmes and his wonderful creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, then perhaps you may still want to read this. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

This was a short story that was originally part of an anthology. You may recognize the name of the author as the one who wrote the book Gone Girl (among other novels)

Thing is, I want to like her work. I really do. There's something that just ruins it for me. The beginning starts off great, her writing really sucks me in, then the ending kills it for me. Every time.

The Grownup was a hell of a story. It starts off quickly, pulls you in, and totally takes over your attention. Then.... it falls flat. Utterly flat. I think maybe it's because I feel like her stories just don't ring true and you can tell. Like something is off. It just didn't thrill me.

The story was about a woman, a con artist working a bit of a weird scam where she is pretending to be a medium. She meets a woman with a weird family and a weird house. Things don't go the way she plans.

I went into this with no reservations, totally ignoring my feelings about her other work, but it still let me down. I feel like she could have done so much more with this story than she did. Glad I picked this up at the library!

Recommendation: If you like her writing, this one is for you. If you've never read anything else she's written, pick this up. Its a super short read but you'll know if you want to read more of her longer works by the end of this one.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith

Okay, you know I've been ranting and raving about these books since I discovered them but lately, my feelings have changed.

This book has the brothers heading back to San Marcos to solve the murder of Old Red's fiancee from years before. The boys don't get the sweetest welcome and a whole bunch of bad things happen in their pursuit of the truth. There are old friends, old enemies, and trouble around every turn.

The first book was great. You can read all about it here. The second one was pretty good and my thoughts are here. The third was just okay and my review is here. This one....

It's just not quite the same. There was a lot less fun, less humor, and a lot more destruction then before. There was so much stumbling around of the characters that it just all feel into place, albeit awkwardly. The deduction portion of these books that I had loved just seemed to be missing here.

At first I was a little sad that there was so few of these books written but not anymore. I am okay that there was only a few, and I don't think I'm going to be reading the last of them. These books are turning out to be more violent then I really like without needing it to happen.

I wasn't super happy about the ending either, I really wouldn't have written it this way. I didn't even really like how the title was so connected to the core of the story. It was just a little too obvious for me.

Recommendation: If anything, read the first one, and the second one. Those are gems. This one kinda wasn't.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

This is the first book in the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood. 

I've talked about another other one of these great books here and if I can keep getting my hands on them I will keep talking about them!

In case you didn't know, there has been a t.v. show based on this lovely series of novels, and let me tell you, the show is just as amazing as the books! Honestly, I feel like reading the book is like watching an episode of the show. Every time I have to put the book down to get on with life, it feels like I just hit pause on the show. 

This one is great. Perfect introduction into the characters too. I know of all the main ones because of the TV show but the introduction of them in the stories was perfect. If you've seen the show then you'll find a couple differences between the introductions to the characters in the book, but honestly, I love them both.

It's just the perfect 1920's style mysteries set in Australia. It's got the clothes, the company, the mystery, and the experience of the 20's that just make this book and this series great. 

Cocaine Blues follows Phryne as she heads to Australia to investigate the daughter of a family friend. She finds herself immersed in the drug world and in the company of strange characters. She meets some new people who will become her close friends in the books to come. 

This is a short read, but well worth every second. Perfect introduction into the world of Miss Fisher. She is a younger, more stylish, and a more diva fantastic version of Miss Marple. 

Recommendation: If you love mysteries, novels about the 20's, and a really good story, then this is for you! This whole series is for you! Also, the show is great. And it's on Netflix!!