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Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

Currently reading

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes Novel)
Brittany Cavallaro
Progress: 16%
The Small Hand
Susan Hill
Summer of Night
Dan Simmons
Progress: 52%
The Dovekeepers
Alice Hoffman
Burn for Me
Ilona Andrews
Progress: 75%
Naomi Novik

Reading progress update: I've read 52%.

Summer of Night - Dan Simmons

Arggghhhhh I knew it!


*cries forever*


Why whenever I love a character, do they die? WHY???


Now I'm just pissed off.

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes Novel) - Brittany Cavallaro

I've been eagerly waiting for my turn on this library hold, and I'm pleased to say that I've already fallen in love with Charlotte Holmes all over again. The fact that this story can touch on the aftermath of Charlotte's rape, in a way that feels genuine and thoughtful, has me rapt. I don't love that she's broken, but I do love that she's honest about it. Also that Jamie has thus far, through the last book and the first half of this, been so wonderful with her. He's properly annoyed at times, but still understanding. I want to hug him.


Who knew I'd love these books so much? I'm charmed.

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Little Heaven: A Novel - Nick Cutter

Some quick thoughts about this one, because I still can't make my brain write anything resembling a full review and, honestly, I don't really want to force it.


* The beginning was solid, and the Long Walker is a great creation! I almost felt like if he would have just stayed a mystery, like in the beginning, it would have made it more terrifying overall.


* The characters were all fairly great, although I wish there had been more time for more of their backstory. The fact that I felt so strongly for them, after only a few chapters, says a lot.


* The middle of this book was an uphill battle. At some point it became all about blood, gore, and as much dismemberment as possible rather than sticking to that original tension that was built. I found myself sighing and hoping people would just hurry up and die so we could move on.


* The ending was GOOD. Really good. Not quite as wrapped up as I wished, but it still definitely pulled this story out of the mud for me. If only that middle hadn't been so rough...


* I think Dan Simmons' book, since I'm reading it at the same time, ruined this a bit for me. His writing is so much more atmospheric, so much more realistic, that the paranormal aspect of Little Heaven was more difficult for me swallow. I wanted MORE.

Halloween Bingo - Update #3


Not that much different than the last update hahaha. I spent the weekend doing very fun things, with very fun people, but didn't read very much at all. That second row is looking very promising though!


Read and Called:

In the Dark, Dark Woods - Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

Locked Room Mystery  - The Burning Court by James Dickson Carr

Modern Masters of Horror - Little Heaven by Nick Cutter


Read, But Not Called:

Gothic - Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


Called, But Not Read:




In Progress:

Terror In a Small Town  - Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

Ghost The Small Hand by Susan Hill

Reading progress update: I've read 75%.

Little Heaven: A Novel - Nick Cutter

This is getting kind of monotonous. I normally love Nick Cutter's visceral writing, but this time around it feels like he let go of the tension that he normally builds in favor of endless gore and gratuitous violence. I'm not even afraid anymore. Just bored. And ready for them to kill the evil out there so that I can be done with this. :/

Good Vibes Appreciated!

The hubs has an interview for a promotion today, so all the good vibes you can funnel his way are much appreciated! :)


Sorry I haven't been around much. This week has been madness. I'm hoping tomorrow will be calm (Friday usually is) and I'll be able to update you better on my reading!

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

Little Heaven: A Novel - Nick Cutter

I am horribly behind on reading. I did barely any reading at all this weekend, instead choosing to binge watching movies and do a lot of cross stitching. I did, however, make it through another hour or so of this book on audio.


Nick Cutter is just evil. Brilliant, sure, but in that villainous way that makes you want to punch him because everything he's writing hurts your heart or is scary beyond belief. This book may not be as atmospheric as Summer of Night. It's also missing that special connection of being told through the eyes of children. Still, it has it's own draw. It's dark, visceral, and addictive.


I'm now reading three separate books and I need to focus on one and knock it out, so it'll probably be this one. Hoping to finish it by the of the week.

Halloween Bingo - Update #2


So I added another little marker, Mr. Smiley Pumpkin up there, to show the squares I currently have in progress. I like that he's slightly transparent so I can still tell which square he's sitting on top of.


Read and Called:

In the Dark, Dark Woods - Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman


Read, But Not Called:

Gothic - Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Locked Room Mystery  - The Burning Court by James Dickson Carr


Called, But Not Read:



In Progress:

Modern Masters of Horror Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Terror In a Small Town Summer of Night by Dan Simmons


Reading progress update: I've read 31%.

Summer of Night - Dan Simmons

Ugh, this book! I'm so attached to so many of these kids. So totally in awe of their bravery in the face of some terrifying occurrences that, let's be honest, would send me running for home and screaming my head off the whole time. I think I've said it before, but what's so powerful about books like this is the fact that all of this happens to kids. Parents are gone. Busy with their own lives. Unaware what madness their kids are currently facing. Or, worse yet, uncaring. It breaks my heart, but also makes me feel proud of these characters. They're made of stronger stuff then I would ever be.


Someone should have warned me though that a beloved pet dies in this book, rather unexpectedly, because this was me on the train this morning:



Don't worry, it's nothing gory. Just sad. And the scene later on in that chapter just made me want to sob more. I am nothing if not a sucker for good animal companions in stories. 


Also the relationship that one of these characters has with his bed-ridden grandmother has me equally feeling like this. Simmons is just tugging all the strings. Here making me feel dread. There making me feel pure terror. Then just making my eyes tear up.


I'm in love with this book. And also scared to finish it.

Reading progress update: I've read 9%.

Little Heaven: A Novel - Nick Cutter

Okay, how does Nick Cutter keep figuring out EXACTLY how to get under my skin. Argh. I'm listening to this on audio and the first 30 minutes was just totally horrific and nasty as all get out. I don't want to spoil at all, but the creature that he builds within those first few chapters is the stuff of nightmares. Seriously. I'd be surprised if I don't dream about that tonight. 


And yet, I'll keep listening because I'm now hooked. The fate of three people that I've only just met, yet somehow totally care about, hangs in the balance. This nameless, shapeless thing lurks in the shadows and moves the characters around like marionettes. I'm equal parts terrified and fascinated.


Nick Cutter's writing always drives right to the core of me, and I don't know why. I'm scared.


Reading progress update: I've read 16%.

Summer of Night - Dan Simmons

I had to renew this book, because it's really good but also a really slow read. Much like my favorite King books, the writing draws you in and makes you savor every word. I'm not going to lie, I skim read a lot of YA books. I'll get to a page where nonessential things are happening and kind of just glean what's happening before moving on. This book doesn't allow you to do that. It holds your attention, clamps down with an icy cold grip on your bones, and won't let go until something breaks you out of that spell. In my case, it was the train signaling that I was about to miss my stop hahaha. I ran through the doors at the last minute. Darn book.


I think it's safe to say that this book is definitely not one I'll be able to read before bed. The terror built here is REAL. It's through the eyes of children, so it's pure. I legitimately felt terror at part of this last night, and had to stop reading.


That being said, this book is also a tome. So it's going to take me a while to get through. I think I'm okay with that though!

Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman

So I decided to go ahead and use this book for the In the Dark, Dark Woods square, because it actually does take place pretty squarely in the woods and it helps me keep the mystery secure of what actually lies beyond the river! Trust me, to spoil that would be to spoil the enjoyment of this whole book. So you're welcome. Hahaha.


Truth be told, this book read a little slow at the beginning. A lot of attention was paid to Frank's backstory and, although I felt like it was important, it started to feel a little drawn out after a while. Frank is a veteran, and Buehlman shows how much that still haunts him through the use of dream sequences. Which is actually a good idea! However there are a lot, and after a while they're repetitive. I felt like I could easily understand Frank's head space without the monotonous use of these dreams. Plus, and I'm not being a prude here at all trust me, there are also a LOT of references to sex is this book. If you're not comfortable with some steamy scenes, you might want to skim read. Let's just say that Frank and his beau have a very, very healthy sex life.


Now, to the part that made me whiz through this book! Buehlman puts a character into the mix that is fascinating, mainly because he's so secretive. As the book progresses, and he becomes more essential to the plot, you begin to realize what really lurks beyond the river. I do think he could have been used a little more heavily, but I was happy with his interactions with our main characters. He pushed the book forward, keeping things mysterious, and really upping the tension.


The other great part about this book is that once the action gets going, it is like a freight train! There are definitely some gory scenes in this book, just to warn you, but it all fits perfectly where it should. "Those Across the River" is an apt title, and all I kept wondering is why everyone didn't just run away and never look back. Yes, I know there wouldn't be a story then. That's what I'd do though. I want to live. LOL.


Overall, a solid book! Buehlman intrigues me, so I'll be searching out more of his work.



Reading progress update: I've read 75%.

Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman

I was really feeling this book, as you can tell by the fact that I listened to the majority of it just yesterday! I was cooking for a party, and listened to a lot of this while prepping dough for rolls and baking a pie. It's a pretty weird backdrop for such a creepy story.


Now that I've figured out the twist though, I'm mostly hoping that it doesn't go off the rails. I think I was expecting something more paranormal, and less supernatural. But hey, this book has been amazing so far. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.


Also I now know what square I could put this, but won't do it because it will definitely spoil this book for others. Hahaha. I'll keep it as a free square.

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman

I'm starting this for my Free Space! It seems like it can probably fit a lot of other squares too, but I'll figure that out when it's done. I needed another audio, and noticed that Char loved this book, so here we are!


Let's hope that it's not too spooky, and I don't ruin the food I'm cooking today because I'm distracted. Hahaha.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier, Sally Beauman

Ah, this was excellent! Both because the audio version was brilliantly done, and because the story itself is just superbly written. I can't say that I ever quite fell in love with our young protagonist, because honestly she was naive as all get out most times, but I definitely fell in love with the story surrounding her. I am SO glad I finally read this.


I love that "the second Mrs. De Winter" never actually gets a name. It was one of the first things that struck me about this story, and I could never shake the feeling that it just pushed her further into the shadow of the ever present Rebecca. She dominates the story, Rebecca does. Her name invokes this pristine, well-bred, shining light of a woman who charmed everyone around her. Except, as we all know, there's always more to a person that what is on the outside. Oh, and Daphne Du Maurier has no problem at all with digging straight into that dark and sometimes ugly inner person.


Better still was the copious amount of descriptive writing surrounding Manderly and Mrs. De Winter's time there. I felt like I lived there too. I saw the big, arching trees in the forest. Smelled the flowers that ringed the estate, and even saw the dusty rooms that once housed the woman who would never quite be gone or forgotten. As the book went on, I fell more and more in love with this place. I understood why Max loved it so very much, and why he would want to protect it.


Which is why the ending broke my heart. It was perfection, but still my heart is broken. This was just too good. One star gone, only because Mrs. De Winter drove me bonkers the majority of this story. All I have to say is MAKE SOME DECISIONS WOMAN. I know this book was aptly written for the period, but lord. I could not have been alive during this time. I would have murdered someone myself.

The Burning Court by John Dickson Carr

The Burning Court - John Dickson Carr

I've actually been meaning to read a John Dickson Carr story for quite a while, so I was glad that Halloween Bingo gave me that chance! Is it any wonder that I ended up choosing the one that had a supernatural bent to it though? I'm not as much in love with mysteries as I probably should be normally, but add in some supernatural elements and I'm definitely in!


Unfortunately for John Dickson Carr, that addition actually seemed to throw his story off a bit. Don't mistake me, this book was overall very well done. It's one of the few mysteries that I've read where I had no idea, literally the entire book, who was responsible for the murder. Alas, the supernatural elements kind of just sat in the background though. There, but not fleshed out. Annoyingly vague and, frustratingly enough, only hinted at to keep that thread moving through the book.


Until the end, that is. Although, truth be told, I have no idea what that ending actually wrapped up for me. After reading this, and being completely baffled at the epilogue, I went out and looked for some information on this. As it turns out, that helped! But I wish I would have been able to glean what happened for myself.


Fun note: I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that has all the old radio shows where books like this were turned into a 30 minute play. The Burning Court is great! And it takes out the supernatural elements, to make it more straight mystery and a lot more palatable. I think I'm going to go back and listen to a lot of these. Link is here.