Spooky Reading Wrap-Up

Well throughout most of October I was craving mysteries, thrillers and creepy, spooky reads. With admittedly mixed results.

And then Dune hit and now all I want is to read sci-fi but that’s for November’s wrap-up I suppose. So here’s the good, the eh, the unexplainable and the one I should have probably DNFed.

Should Have DNFed

All's Well

Miranda suffers from chronic pain all the while trying to put on a production of Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well. When she meets three mysterious men in a bar and somehow finds herself able to give away that pain.

And honestly Miranda is so unlikeable I know that’s harsh to say but the whole thing is just so weird and it really hinges on her but she could have gone and fallen off a stage for all I cared. Plus I kept waiting for it to be better explained and it just wasn’t. I assume it might have some allusion to the play but I didn’t like it enough to want to read the play. This was a shame because I’ve been wanting to read the author’s Bunny for a while. Maybe I should have started with that one? Or maybe I should avoid it?

Recommend: Nope.

The Hard to Recommend

The Library at Mount Char

This is a weird secret library book about the denizens who have know been locked out of said library after spending most of their lives training in things like death and communing with animals by their highly abusive father.

There’s some animal deaths at the beginning that nearly made me stop reading. I had no idea where this thing was going but at least it made up for that. And yeah it was certainly different. The characters do take some time to grow on you though.

Recommend: It’s so weird I can’t like recommend for everyone. But definitely if you are looking for something different and out there might be worth a shot. In the end I was glad I read it.

For the most part: Meh

The Wife Upstairs

Jane Eyre but as a dog walker in an upper class suburb who meets and moves in with a guy whose wife disappeared and was proclaimed dead like a couple of months ago.

Bad idea.

I also will say there were certain parts I didn’t see coming.

I must say it’s an okay quick read. It knows what it is (although some of the legally stuff about this book I couldn’t help but nitpick including the ending.) So I was grateful the author kept it quick and moving at least. It would be a good pick up for a quick read during holiday times.

Recommend: Overall yes.

Good but Not What I Expected

Shadowplay

So I admit I didn’t overly research this book. I just read Bram Stoker while he ran the Lyceum Theater in London and Jack the Ripper and I thought, hey that sounds like a good idea. Oscar Wilde cameos are always welcome 🙂

And while I did really enjoy the book as historical fiction and the messy relationship between Stoker, theater owner and legendary actor Henry Irving and the famous actress Ellen Terry it’s definitely more about those relationships and at times where they fit into the mythos of Dracula.

The Jack the Ripper stuff is more incidental some good scenes about how it changed peoples lives and habits during that time period. But it’s definitely a character/writer book. We probably spend as much time with Mrs. Stoker stoking the fires of copyright law as the Ripper. If you want scares this isn’t it but if you want a good messy character study Shadowplay will do nicely.

Recommend: Yes.

Strong in Most Parts

Small Favors

Big on atmosphere and a definite for the most beautiful covers of the year list Small Favors had some of my favorite tropes of a spooky book…

Small town (this case a mountain village) looked away from the world and unraveling under pressure being one. The other being child with imaginary friend who everyone ignores or thinks is so cute and only after being drilled over the head do they start to wonder if the friend isn’t so imaginary.

Atmosphere also a plus especially for a fall or winter read. I liked the main family involved. I think the unraveling of the town plays nicely and some of that actually is quiet creepy. The idea of the monsters in the woods is nice…

But that part I didn’t like the payoff. Also wasn’t big on the relationship or how that played out.

Recommend: Overall yes. Craig’s writing is strong in character and atmosphere which made up for the deficiencies for me. Also I give her extra points for stand alone novels.

The Best of the Lot

I know I’m a late comer to Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five but it really was a good read and a top book of the bunch.
I appreciate her attempt to tell the story of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Especially about how that is not something that just happened with time but because even then the press generally sucked and just wanted to sell.

That’s the whole if it bleeds it leads thing.

It does get a little repetitious at times but it’s also gets the point across and it’s sad to see how for so many people (women especially) one little push, one bad day or wrong choice could take you into a pit you could never climb out of and don’t even wonder about undiagnosed addictions and mental illness.

It’s a very worthy read and in so many ways still relevant today and not just to the Jack the Ripper legend.

Recommend: Yes.