Goal Reached

This year on Goodreads, I elected to read 30 books this year.  As of now, I am at 31 – whew, another goal met.

OK, I do have to say that I changed the goal several times – going as high as 60 and as low as 20.  It was such a struggle to find books I wanted to read – how sad is that? Yes, I know I am picky – I won’t read romances, historical fiction, or non-fiction.  My loss, I get that.

Still, I settled on 30 books and finally made it, so I am happy.  For next year, I’m leaning towards 30 books again – it was a decent amount for how busy I’ve been.

Maybe I will buy a new book for myself for Christmas.  🙂

The Sinner review


I’m a cemetery restorer by trade, but my calling has evolved from that of ghost seer to death walker to detective of lost souls. I solve the riddles of the dead so the dead will leave me alone. 

I’ve come to Seven Gates Cemetery nursing a broken heart, but peace is hard to come by…for the ghosts here and for me. When the body of a young woman is discovered in a caged grave, I know that I’ve been summoned for a reason. Only I can unmask her killer. I want to trust the detective assigned to the case for he is a ghost seer like me. But how can I put my faith in anyone when supernatural forces are manipulating my every thought? When reality is ever-changing? And when the one person I thought I could trust above all others has turned into a diabolical stranger?

OK, I am writing this review with a heavy heart.  I loved the Graveyard Queen series for the first three books – then I liked the fourth one but questioned the direction of the series.  Now I have completed book five and am not sure I will be proceeding with future books.

I love Amelia’s character but I liked how the first three books were more about the ghosts and helping them.  Now it is about some cults and sects that hold my interest not at all.  Who gives a shit about some secret societies and what they are doing in their bid to promote evil – or destroy evil by doing evil.

I am not one who enjoys conspiracy theories or that sort of thing so I found this book disappointing.  I wanted Amelia to go forward, help the ghosts and then move to the next graveyard.  But no, it all has to take a spin I care nothing for.  The author said she had changed her vision of the series with the fourth book that would continue with further books – I just didn’t realize the extent of the changes until this one.

How sad to me that this happened but I guess it is life.  I am so disappointed in this book that I’m not even going to rate it.  It could have been so good but yet, if you are into this kind of thing, you’d probably say it is so good.  Her writing and descriptive voice are still there in full force – she is very talented.

Northwoods review


Some borders should never be crossed.  Ex–Delta Force Davis Holland, now an agent for the Customs and Border Protection, has seen it all. But nothing in his experience has prepared him for what he and the local sheriff find one freezing night in the Minnesota woods.

Investigating reports of an illegal border crossing, the two men stumble across a blood-drenched scene of mass murder, barely escaping with their lives . . . and a single clue to the mayhem: a small wooden chest placed at the heart of the massacre. Something deadly has entered Holland’s territory, crossing the border from nightmare into reality.

When news of the atrocity reaches wealthy cryptozoologist Richard Severance, he sends a three-person team north to investigate. Not long ago, the members of that team—Ben McKelvie, Lindsay Clark, and Alex Standingcloud—were nearly killed by a vengeful shapeshifter. Now they are walking wounded, haunted by gruesome memories that make normal life impossible. But there is nothing normal about the horror that awaits in the Northwoods.

OK, let me say up front that I didn’t think this book was as good as the first one, “Beast of Barcroft”.  Probably because that one was more personal to the characters and I could relate to horrible neighbors.

However, having said that, this book is a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I thought it got a little overkill by the end.  Kept reading at work in between customers – which wasn’t hard considering we didn’t have a lot of customers today.

Loved the north woods of Minnesota and Lake Superior has always intrigued me.  Ben was his irritating self who jumps in without thinking things through which usually ends up with the rest of the group a bit miffed at him – but he always comes through in the end.  Alex was by far my favorite in this book.

Of course, having devoured the two books available from this author, I’m now left wondering what in the heck I’m going to read.  Don’t think this one will invade my dreams like the last one – hyenas have never been particularly scary to me…not that I’ve really seen any either.

I give the book an A and have to say I hope the writer is getting ready to release his next one because I am an impatient fan.

Beast of Barcroft review


Ben thought he had the neighbor from hell. He didn’t know how right he was. . . .

Ben McKelvie believes he’s moving up in the world when he and his fiancée buy a house in the cushy Washington, D.C., suburb of Barcroft. Instead, he’s moving down—way down—thanks to Madeleine Roux, the crazy neighbor whose vermin-infested property is a permanent eyesore and looming hazard to public health.
First, Ben’s fiancée leaves him; then, his dog dies, apparently killed by a predator drawn into Barcroft by Madeleine’s noxious menagerie. But the worst is yet to come for Ben, for he’s not dealing with any ordinary wild animal. This killer is something much, much worse. Something that couldn’t possibly exist—in this world.
Now, as a devilish creature stalks the locals, Ben resolves to take action. With some grudging assistance from a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the crackpot theories of a self-styled cryptozoologist, he discovers the sinister truth behind the attacks, but knowing the Beast of Barcroft and stopping it are two different animals.

OK, this is more my speed.  This book started off with a bang and kept on delivering through the entire thing.  I started this last night but had to put it down because I was certain it was going to give me nightmares.  It did.  I finished it today.

I loved the mythology and lore surrounding the creature and it’s motives.  Really an improvement over serial killers who torture people.  This book also was more my speed when it came to gore.  You knew the creature killed people but there wasn’t the blood and guts that other books have lately.  The creature was scary and creepy – it made me think twice about going out the back door to let the dogs out to go potty.

Great descriptions, interesting characters, and smatterings of the supernatural…doesn’t get much better than that.  What fun! There is a sequel out, you know I’m going to be checking that out!  I give the book an A+ – it is one I have to own for sure.  🙂

White Bones review


An ancient Irish mystery, and a ritualistic modern-day killer: Ireland’s first female detective Katie Maguire must find the connection. The first in a mystery series from a master of horror.

One wet November morning, a field on Meagher’s Farm gives up the dismembered bones of 11 women. In this part of Ireland, unmarked graves are common, but these bones date to 1915, long before the Troubles. What’s more, these bones bear the marks of a meticulous executioner. These women were almost certainly skinned alive. Detective Katie Maguire is used to dead bodies. But this is wholesale butchery. Her team think these long-dead women are a waste of police time. Katie is determined to give them justice. And then a young American tourist goes missing, and her bones, carefully stripped of flesh, are discovered on the same farm. With the crimes of the past echoing in the present, Katie must solve a decades-old ritualistic murder before this terrifying killer strikes again. Previously published under the title A Terrible Beauty.

This was not my first Masterton book but I do believe it will be my last.  I like his style and the descriptions are excellent but when it comes to torture – it is way too graphic for my tastes.

Honestly, I hate books where they try to make you feel each cut of the knife wielded by some maniac.  I don’t need those descriptions in my brain – tell me he killed her, that is all I need to know for the story to be good.

The idea was decent and I liked his characters though Katie did some rather shady things that made me like her less but overall the story itself was good.  I did figure out the killer almost the moment they were introduced but not the motive till the end.

Overall, I give the book a B- for violence.  If you like gore, this one is a decent one.

Pretty Girls review


#1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter returns with a sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance, and unexpected absolution, in which two estranged sisters must come together to find truth about two harrowing tragedies, twenty years apart, that devastate their lives.

This book reminded me so much of that movie Halle Berry was in with Robert Downey Jr that I had to make sure the movie hadn’t been based on the book.  I couldn’t get rid of the association as the book unfolded even though the two were in no way associated.

It was a decent enough story and I did like the sisters though I found Claire a trifle stereotyped.  The pace was decent but I often thought about not finishing it.  There was no real twists – you knew quickly what the outcome would be.  There was too many coincidences not to put it together relatively early on.

I do agree with one reader – the explicit torture, rape and murder details were too much for this to be a “light” read.  Personally, I don’t like it.  I can use my imagination if I want details on how a character was tortured – you don’t have to lay it out in graphic scenes.  It is the same with sex scenes – tell me they “moved to the bedroom” or something along those lines – I don’t need a thrust by thrust dribble.

So I can’t give the book an A – too gory and violent for my tastes.  Of course it is only my opinion – also my blog.  I’m afraid the best I can do is give it a B- and warn you that it is not for the faint hearted.

The Ice Queen review


Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into a new beginning.

She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead, then simply got up and walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets–what turned one to ice and the other to fire.

I don’t know if I should review this book or not.  On one hand, the story was incredibly depressing to me but on the other hand, it was interesting too.  Her first idle wish wasn’t the one being struck by lightning – her first one was when she was just a child and then she blamed herself for the outcome.  She blamed herself her entire life for something that was in no way her fault.

The whole Lazarus thing could have been left out and it would have been a trifle better to me but then again, maybe it wouldn’t have.  At least Lazarus helps her begin living again – even if only a little.

Someone else wrote that the book is depressing to the reader and keeps kicking you deeper and deeper.  I can see that – it is a sad story and I don’t think even the ending can undo the sorrow the book can hoist on this reader.

So, how do I rate it? Um, I give it a B+ because it did begin to feel long and a bit tedious towards the end.  I enjoyed it – and yet, I also hated a lot about it – and yet…

Basically, you will have to read it yourself.  I am not certain I will read more of this author – this book is so dark and bothersome that I can’t see reading another.  Of course, who knows?