Tag Archives: murder

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

25 Aug

 

The Vanishing Season

author : jodi lynn anderson

pages : [hardcover] 256

memorable quote The living always think that monsters roar and gnash their teeth. But I’ve seen that real monsters can be friendly; they can smile, and they can say please and thank you like everyone else.

favorite character : maggie

summary :

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter’s come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I’ve watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I’m the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I’m tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I’m tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

review :

I love Jodi Lynn Anderson. Love her writing. I’ve read her children’s books and also Tiger Lily and all of her work is written so well. The Vanishing Season is no different because it’s very gripping and enthralling. I couldn’t put this book down and liked that it was so short because I could read it all in one day, yet I also hated that because it meant I needed to leave that world sooner.

What I really looked for in this book was great characters. Maggie was amazing, flawed, and just really entertaining to follow. She felt like a real person who could have lived down the street from me, had I lived in such an isolated little town. I liked seeing her interactions with the others her age and how they dealt with the deaths that were happening so close to their home. It felt like real reactions: first indifference, then laughing speculation, then paranoia.

What I hadn’t expected to love so much about the novel were the little interludes in between some chapters where the ‘ghost’ of the book would speak. You spend much of the book trying to figure out who this presence was while they were alive, how long they’ve been dead and hanging around this house on Water Street. Eventually I thought that I had the answer, only to have another twist happen that proved me completely wrong. I’m not sure if others would be able to predict it but there are several other twists in the story, so you’ll always be guessing even if you think you’ve figured out what will happen next.

I’d recommend this book to anyone. I got it from the library and I’m going to buy myself a copy so that I can read it again. This book is well-written and has memorable characters. It’s purely a beautiful, touching story that needs to be shared with more people!

5/5 stars

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

9 Mar

Burial Rites

author : Hannah Kent

pages : [hardcover] 322

memorable quote : To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.

favorite characters : agnes & margret

summary :

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

review :

I was very fascinated by the idea for this novel and nearly as soon as I began it I couldn’t put it down. Historical fiction for me can either be a hit or a miss. Burial Rites for me was a fantastically enjoyable read, set in an unfamiliar setting with struggling characters I couldn’t help but feel for. The book really explored how the thoughts and stories of others can affect how one’s life turns out and throughout the entire novel the reader is shown several perspectives. The characters speculate as to what could have truly happened the night of the murders and you’re left to wonder and read on to see if Agnes will take the opportunity to tell her side of the story or die with the truth still unspoken.

Agnes was a very complicated woman and I absolutely loved that. Flawed characters abound in this novel, making it more realistic so that I really felt like I was reading a historical account of what had happened. Adding to the effect were the letters and other documents posted at the beginning of every chapter. The author explains that these are translations from original sources. That’s noted at the end of the book, which makes me want to read through everything again so I can really put myself in the mindset of the times.

I can’t imagine what it would be like, being sentenced to death. Although at a few points in the novel Agnes seems very passive and I grew frustrated with her, I think this only added to the story. She chooses to deal with or ignore her problems as they come and we’re right there alongside her, viewing the days of a convicted murderer.

If you’re looking for a fascinating historical read based on actual events I highly recommend this novel. It’s very captivating and I flew through the pages, though the content was weighty enough that it will stick with me for a while. This is definitely a book that I’ll need to read again.

5/5 stars

The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten

12 Dec

The Tulip Eaters

author : antoinette van heugtan

pages : [hardcover[ 368

favorite characters : anneke & nora

summary ;

In a riveting exploration of the power the past wields over the present, critically acclaimed author Antoinette van Heugten writes the story of a woman whose child’s life hangs in the balance, forcing her to confront the roots of her family’s troubled history in the dark days of World War II…

It’s the stuff of nightmares: Nora de Jong returns home from work one ordinary day to find her mother has been murdered. Her infant daughter is missing. And the only clue is the body of an unknown man on the living-room floor, clutching a Luger in his cold, dead hand.

Frantic to find Rose, Nora puts aside her grief and frustration to start her own search. But the contents of a locked metal box she finds in her parents’ attic leave her with as many questions as answers—and suggest the killer was not a stranger. Saving her daughter means delving deeper into her family’s darkest history, leading Nora half a world away to Amsterdam, where her own unsettled past and memories of painful heartbreak rush back to haunt her.

As Nora feverishly pieces together the truth from an old family diary, she’s drawn back to a city under Nazi occupation, where her mother’s alliances may have long ago sealed her own–and Rose’s—fate.

review :

I’ve always been fascinated with the World War II era and just in the summary of The Tulip Eaters I could see there were going to be aspects included that I haven’t heard or read much about. The Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, the impact that this has had on the people there, was one story that I’d never considered researching further. Combining those aspects of history with modern incidents, this novel seeks to embrace and explain mysteries from both time periods.

I liked not knowing some answers until the end of the book because I found myself second-guessing my assumptions a lot and this helped me realize that this book is very unpredictable. The main, modern focus of the plot can get a little muddled because there are so many different people involved in it, some of whom are mentioned and never brought back into the story again. Nora sometimes makes leaps that I know, logically, would most likely never be made by people, even someone as desperate as her. Even though in reading the story I knew when she was right and wrong because I had more facts than she did, I also knew that she would never had that same level of confidence.

One other part of the book that distracted me somewhat was the prose. Sometimes when the characters were speaking the dialogue was written in a way I knew no one would naturally say.

Of course the plotline was interesting enough to grip me so that I didn’t consider these aspects constantly. I liked the suspense built over time and the dangerous situations Nora placed herself in because she wanted to get her daughter safely back home. I liked the air of mystery around the crime and the historical significance of it. This makes me what to read more by this author to see what else she might come up with!

I’d recommend this book to fans of history, crime novels, and suspense.

5/5 stars

Blog Tour! Second Verse by Jennifer Walkup

24 Nov

Second Verse

author : jennifer walkup

pages : [paperback] 261

memorable quote : My eyes meet his and I understand exactly what he’s saying. He’s my person. He’s my home.

favorite characters : Lange & Vaughn

summary :

Bad things come in threes. In Shady Springs, that includes murder.

Murder Now
Lange Crawford’s move to Shady Springs, Pennsylvania, lands her a group of awesome friends, a major crush on songwriter Vaughn, and life in a haunted, 200-year-old farmhouse. It also brings The Hunt: an infamous murder mystery festival where students solve a fake, gruesome murder scheme during the week of Halloween. Well, supposedly fake.

Murder Then
Weeks before The Hunt, Lange and her friends hold a séance in the farmhouse’s eerie barn. When a voice rushes through, whispering haunting words that only she and Vaughn can hear, Lange realizes it’s begging for help. The mysterious voice leads Lange and Vaughn to uncover letters and photos left behind by a murdered girl, Ginny, and they become obsessed with her story and the horrifying threats that led to her murder.

Murder Yet to Come
But someone doesn’t like their snooping, and Lange and Vaughn begin receiving the same threats that Ginny once did. The mysterious words from the barn become crucial to figuring out Ginny’s past and their own, and how closely the two are connected. They must work fast to uncover the truth or risk finding out if history really does repeat itself.

review :

There is so much more to this book than immediately meets the eye. So much mystery and suspense comes into this plot, and there are so many twists and paranormal elements that I loved and just hadn’t been expecting! Some of it was a little much to comprehend, at first, as it was integrated in the plot. I ended up loving all of these extra elements, even with the building intrigue of the Hunt and the violent past that comes with Lange’s house.

I was trying to solve the mystery alongside Lange and wrongly guessed at what was going on several times. Unlike most YA novels that follow murders and intrigue, I wasn’t actually ever able to come to the right conclusion! I only started to get a feel for what was happening as soon as Lange started to expect it and by then I just couldn’t put the book down because I needed to see how it would all play out.

I really loved Lange and Vaughn. They were so cute together! I like how he kept trying to come up with creative nicknames for her strange name. But didn’t he ever notice that he has an odd name, too? Their personalities meshed so well, I think, because they’re both incredibly creative and really care about the people around them. I liked seeing how they were going to face certain situations and handle the new revelations that were flying at them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and think that a wide variety of people can as well. It’s written in a simple way yet the style still has a beautiful, ghostly tinge to it that only enhances the plot. I’d recommend this book to fans of mysteries, paranormal books, and YA novels that keep you guessing.

4/5 stars

Darkest Hour by Meg Cabot

17 Aug

Darkest Hour

The Mediator #4
Book 1: Shadowland
Book 2: Ninth Key
Book 3: Reunion

author : meg cabot

pages : [paperback] 316

memorable quote “My mother’s psychologist says I have a over active anger switch, but people just keep pissing me off.”

favorite characters : suze & jesse

summary :

When the nineteenth–century ghost of Maria de Silva wakes her up in the middle of the night, Suze knows this is no ordinary visitation — and not just from the knife at her throat, either. In life, Maria was the fiancee of Jesse — the same Jesse who was murdered a hundred and fifty years before. The same Jesse Suze is in love with.

Maria threatens Suze: The backyard construction must cease. Suze has a pretty good idea what — or rather, who — Maria doesn’t want found. But in solving Jesse’s murder, will Suze end up losing him forever?

review :

This series is just so incredibly brilliant, fun, and gripping I can’t take it any longer. This is a review from a reread of the book, which I haven’t read in a few years and remembered I loved it. It really shows just how clever and awesome a book (especially a YA book) is when it can be read at any point in a person’s life and be enjoyed. There are serious, action-packed parts to this book, funny moments, romance, suspense . . . Anything you could ask for, this book delivers it exceptionally well.

First of all I just need to comment on the writing style and how fabulously it brings us into Suze’s mind. Told in first person, the way it’s written really makes you feel that she’s sitting there telling you this story. It’s wonderfully informal and addictive, like you’re talking to a very articulate best friend. Who happens to have a hot ghost as a roommate, and other murderous ghosts coming after her every so often.

We get to actually hear Jesse’s backstory in this one! Up until now he’s been pointedly mysterious and I love him anyway for that. He’s always been there for Suze and I love the twist in this one-now she needs to be the one there to save him!

There is so much more to this story than the previous three books. Now there’s a deeper plotline and everything isn’t wrapped up so neatly by the end. There’s still a little edge to it, leading you to wonder what exactly will happen in the next book. Which I must start reading immediately!

Because the ending of this one . . .

I’d recommend this book to anybody, any age! There’s always something to enjoy in this series! :D

5/5 stars

Frozen by Mary Casanova

17 Dec

Frozen

author : mary casanova

pages : [hardcover] 264

favorite characters : owen & sadie

summary :

Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose hasn’t said a word in eleven years—ever since the day she was found lying in a snowbank during a howling storm. Like her voice, her memories of her mother and what happened that night were frozen.

Set during the roaring 1920s in the beautiful, wild area on Rainy Lake where Minnesota meets Canada, Frozen tells the remarkable story of Sadie Rose, whose mother died under strange circumstances the same night that Sadie Rose was found, unable to speak, in a snowbank. Sadie Rose doesn’t know her last name and has only fleeting memories of her mother—and the conflicting knowledge that her mother had worked in a brothel. Taken in as a foster child by a corrupt senator, Sadie Rose spends every summer along the shores of Rainy Lake, where her silence is both a prison and a sanctuary.

One day, Sadie Rose stumbles on a half dozen faded, scandalous photographs—pictures, she realizes, of her mother. They release a flood of puzzling memories, and these wisps of the past send her at last into the heart of her own life’s great mystery: who was her mother, and how did she die? Why did her mother work in a brothel—did she have a choice? What really happened that night when a five-year-old girl was found shivering in a snowbank, her voice and identity abruptly shattered?

Sadie Rose’s search for her personal truth is laid against a swirling historical drama—a time of prohibition and women winning the right to vote, political corruption, and a fevered fight over the area’s wilderness between a charismatic, unyielding, powerful industrialist and a quiet man battling to save the wide, wild forests and waters of northernmost Minnesota. Frozen is a suspenseful, moving testimonial to the haves and the have-nots, to the power of family and memory, and to the extraordinary strength of a young woman who has lost her voice in nearly every way—but is utterly determined to find it again.

review :

I was originally interested in this book because the concept of an event being so traumatic that it leads to over a decade of silence was interesting to me. But the novel behind the idea seemed to fall flat. It almost felt like there was a good idea, right within reach . . and then everywhere it could have turned in that direction, it went the other way.

I’m trying not to spoil, so one of the main things that annoyed me cannot be detailed. But things from the past that I thought she would have trouble remembered, she recalls with intense detail at the strangest moments and it makes it feel as though she has had these memories with her all along. More than that, she can’t seem to decide whether she wants to fight for herself or give into other people’s expectations of her, sometimes in ways that make no sense.

The romantic interest seemed to be thrown in as a last minute detail. Actually, many parts of the story seemed to be underdeveloped, something I think could have been solved by making the story longer. There were portions of it that were interesting and I wanted to learn more about that were simply left behind and never mentioned again, something that greatly distracted my reading.

I had high hopes for Frozen, but they grew colder the longer I immersed myself within the pages. Especially the ending. While I did like the turn that it took, again, it fell flat and just felt monotonous.

Jennifer’s Body by Diablo Cody

2 Jul

Jennifer’s Body

author : diablo cody

pages [paperback] 192

favorite character: chip

summary:

Someone needed to put a stop payment on Jennifer Check.

The sign says Welcome to Devil’s Kettle, Pop. 7,036. Come See What’s Cookin’  No, seriously . . . that’s what it says.

Some people find it hard to believe that a babe like Jennifer Check would associate with a dork like me, Needy Lesnicki. But we had history. We’d been the Wonder Twins since we were preverbal, and sandbox love never dies. Or at least that’s what I thought.

But after that night in the woods, Jennifer was different. She “looked” different. And then the killings began. . . .

A lot of people ask me if I’m sorry I did it. I’m only sorry I didn’t do it sooner.

review:

I don’t know when, exactly, I got it into my head that it would be a good idea to read this. It was like seeing an accident and not being able to leave without finding out the details. Because I’ve only seen parts of the movie, and this actually looked vaguely interesting, so . . . Well. It was an . . . experience.

The parts that were supposed to be funny (I assume they were meant to make me laugh. Otherwise I would be more horrified) were simply cringe-worthy and all of the gory, gruesome details that I knew were coming (because, c’mon, it’s a book about mysterious ‘killings’) were just laid there plain and simply while Needy didn’t seem bothered by it in the slightest. There was no emotion from her, nothing really from internal dialogue, although it was in first person. But, really, I shouldn’t have expected much more from a novelization of a screenplay.

I really don’t recommend this book. Particularly for those looking for a fun, easy read that is partly horrifying and partly humorous. You won’t find anything to take away from this. It contradicts itself, leaves some things unanswered, is very bland and boring. Even when people are dying.

How do you make that boring? How?

Search elsewhere for better, well-written horror stories. You’ll be a happier person.

2/5 stars

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