Recommendations from a Virtual Bookseller

Last month, one of my favorite local indie bookstores launched a Virtual Bookseller tool that allows you to receive book recommendations from the staff of Porter Square Books in your email. It seemed like a pretty cool idea, so I filled out the form and (im)patiently awaited my results.

Continue reading “Recommendations from a Virtual Bookseller”

Review: The Grownup

Review: The Grownup

The unnamed narrator of this novella is a small time con artist who specializes in aura reading and sensual massage at Spiritual Palms. When Susan Burke hires her to cleanse her Victorian home of negative energy, which she believes is driving her teenage stepson Miles to violence against his new baby brother, our protagonist sees it as a way to make an easy buck and potentially gain some new clients.

But after several harrowing experiences in the Burke home, the psychic realizes that she might have stumbled into a true paranormal haunting, and is definitely over her head.

Continue reading “Review: The Grownup”

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I’m pretty stoked for this movie in the fall. Naturally, I figured I would sate my excitement by reading the book, which seemed like a great plan at the time. And I really, really wanted to like it…unfortunately, I didn’t.

Continue reading “Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

Review: Shelter

Review: Shelter

This is a slow, quiet novel that captures readers at the start with its intensity. The stakes are high for everyone, even before we discover the tragedy that has befallen Kyung’s family. In the beginning, Kyung is already faced with the necessity of swallowing his pride and moving back in with his parents. But when Kyung’s mother shows up in his backyard, beaten and battered, Kyung knows who is to blame before the accusatory words escape her mouth. He suspects that his father, who has a history of physical abuse, is the one who has beaten her. But this time, his mother’s wounds are far more severe than any he had inflicted before. When local authorities quickly discover that Kyung’s parents, Jin and Mae, and their housekeeper were victims of a violent home invasion, Kyung is torn between his despair at what occurred and the relief that someone else is to blame.

Continue reading “Review: Shelter”

Review: Sharp Objects

Review: Sharp Objects

I have determined that Gillian Flynn is the M Night Shymalan of literature.

…because boy does she love her plot twists, and throwing plot twists in the middle of her plot twists.

I probably would have enjoyed this book more when it came out, or before I had read any of Flynn’s other stories. Or before Gone Girl, and anyone who hadn’t read her books could remain ignorant of this reputation. But I have read some of her other stories, and I know all about her love of plot twists. I wasn’t really on the lookout for the Big Twist, but knowing that it was coming made both the twist and its red herring painfully obvious. I can’t say I’m surprised to find that her first novel contains the characteristics she’s become known for (twists, unlikeable female leads, shock factor). I guess it’s just good to know that she’s consistent.

Continue reading “Review: Sharp Objects”

Review: Through the Woods

Review: Through the Woods

I have a…complicated relationship with the horror genre. For most of my life, I avoided it entirely, more afraid of the fear and uncertainty that would come as a result of the scary thing than the scary thing itself. But I loved those books and movies that existed right on the edge of horror–Frankenstein and Dracula were just creepy enough to satisfy my desire for something mildly frightening, but weren’t so scary that I found it difficult to sleep at night.

Continue reading “Review: Through the Woods”

Review: King of the Cracksmen

Review: King of the Cracksmen

This debut from TV and film writer Dennis O’Flaherty, dubbed “a steampunk entertainment,” is an alternate history adventure that explores what 1877 in America might have looked like. What if Lincoln had never been assassinated? What if Andrew Jackson had sold the territory obtained through the Louisiana Purchase? What if Tesla had lived long enough to further develop his technology? King of the Cracksmen holds answers to all these questions and more.

After the Civil War, Secretary of War, Eddie Stanton stepped up to run things when an attempted assassination of President Lincoln leaves him mysteriously absent from government proceedings. Russia has purchased the territory west of the Mississippi, renaming it Little Russia. Secretary Tesla (yes, that Tesla) has advanced American technology far enough to create an army of machines: steam generators power Helios light globes, voicewire machines have revolutionized communication, automated soldiers called Acmes roam the streets, and giant Black Deltas patrol the skies.

Continue reading “Review: King of the Cracksmen”