byslantedlight: (BD AllHallowsEve (empty_mirrors))
StringOfMurder-OscarDeMurielEdinburgh, 1888. A violinist is murdered in his home. The dead virtuoso's maid swears she heard three musicians playing in the night. But with only one body locked in the practice room - and no way in or out - the case makes no sense.
Fearing a panic over another Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate under the cover of a fake department specializing in the occult. However, Frey's new boss, Detective "Nine-Nails" McGray, actually believes in supernatural nonsense.
McGray's tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond reason. And when someone loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next...
.

This has been on my shelf for a while - though not quite long enough to count for my Mount TBR challenge, according to the photo of my shelves - but it seemed to fit the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge nicely, with a murder and supernatural elements... And I enjoyed it! In some ways I shouldn't have... )

SelectedGhostStories-MRJamesI also started my Peril of the Short Story challenge this morning, with two wee stories written by Mr M.R. James. The first was A School Story, about... well, I won't tell you what it's about, cos that's kind of a spoiler. *g* But it starts off with two men chatting about the ghost stories that schoolboys tell - and of course one of them has come across something himself... *g* Actually, what I thought was the spookiest bit has nothing to do with the story, it's the kind of throw-away that is done very well in this tale - one of the men is thinking of the different stories he'd heard - "Also there was the lady who, on locking her bedroom door in a strange house, heard a thin voice among the bed-curtains say, 'Now we're shut in for the night.'" - eeeh!

The second story was The Rose Garden, which is rather Nightmare on Elm Street in a way, because how often do we really know why that part of the house we've just moved into, for all its inconvenience, actually shouldn't be cleared away/altered/disturbed at all...? *g* Hmmn - it's hard, with short stories, to avoid spoilers, isn't it! I shall read more in this collection, though... *g*

2014RIP-PerilTheFirstBanner
Mystery - The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel
Suspense -
Dark Tides by Chris Ewan
Thriller
Gothic -
Raven's Head by Karen Maitland
Gothic - The Madness by Alison Rattle
Horror
Dark Fantasy
And actually that means I've successfully completed this Peril the First challenge (to read four books) even before it got to October! I shall keep going though... *g*


A School Story by M.R. James
The Rose Garden by M.R. James
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
Madness-AlisonRattleSomersetshire, 1868. Marnie leads a lonely existence in a seaside village famed for its 'sea-cures'. Visitors flock from London every summer, but the ladies in their fancy clothes are like foreign creatures to Marnie. When she meets Noah she can see a future for herself for the first time. A future where she is no longer an outcast; a future of love and happiness. But Noah doesn't share Marnie's vision. He thinks they're simply having fun. Marnie has to make him understand that they are meant to be together; she has to make him see the truth... no matter what it takes.
A completely engrossing story of love gone wrong...


I actually thought this might fit the Readers. Imbibing. Peril reading challenge, oddly enough, and it sort of does in a way, but I don't think I can actually crowbar it into any of the categories (Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic, Horror and Dark Fantasy). It's almost Gothic again ("combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance") but the horror element is probably a bit too subtle really, though I find it pretty horrific. The only creeping around in the dark is the exciting kind involved with a touch of romance, although there's certainly death. Hmmn! (ETA - actually I decided it would fit, in the end! Horror is perhaps what we find horror-ful?)

The Madness (spoilers abound, if you're likely to read it) )
byslantedlight: (BD AllHallowsEve (empty_mirrors))
I am so hugely behind in my book reviews on lj that I'm mostly just going to list what I've been reading since the last time under a cut, and then get on with being a bit more up-to-date (but there were some fab books, so if you're after recs, do look!)

When we last saw our heroine, it was... )

2016 RIPbannerI hadn't been sure whether I'd sign up for Carl Anderson's Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge this year (and review site here), but it turned out my penchant for books had other ideas, and when the 1st September hit, I was choosing a book from my shelves that fit the challenge perfectly - so here I am! Also, it's coming on for autumn, which is my favourite time of year, and somehow it seems right to turn to the darker side of the bookshelves... *g*

I'm going to go for Peril the First, which is "Read four books, of any length, from the very broad categories earlier defined as perilous. They could all be by the same author, a series of books, a random mix of classic and contemporary or whatever you like." The categories are Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic, Horror and Dark Fantasy. There's also Peril of the Short Story and Peril on the Screen, and I shall see if I can manage those too. Maybe this will be the year I finally watch Thirty Days... *g*

80. The Raven's Head by Karen Maitland
RavensHead-KarenMaitland
This was a very dark story, although much of the darkness simply came from its medieval setting, and what people believed and so how they treated each other back then. It's a story of alchemists and men of religion, and girls caught up in it, but mostly of a boy who's too ambitious for his own good, and more lucky than clever alot of the time. To be honest, another part of the darkness of this book came from the fact that I didn't really like any of the characters - Vincent was a runaway librarian trying to better himself, so I was sure he'd grow on me when he settled into himself, but he didn't at all, he just didn't seem to be a nice person, and I do want to feel at least a bit sympathetic to the people I'm reading about. I suppose I did just a bit, just enough to keep going, and with Gisa too (who is oddly left out of most of the reviews I've seen of the story, though she's definitely a major character!) But not quite enough - I felt it was more a story about the times, and I don't empathise much with times, no matter how much I might enjoy reading about the people who lived in them. Definitely a good R.I.P challenge book - though which category it fits into is another question! It's got supernatural elements, but it's not a fantasy, it's a bit of a mystery I guess, but not specifically... maybe Gothic - according to wiki that "combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance", and there's elements of all those things, definitely!

83. Dark Tides by Chris Ewan
DarkTides-ChrisEwanOddly enough, this is a book I was eyeing way back in April - because it was on bookshelves on the Isle of Man, which is where it's set. I picked it up a few times, and wasn't quite convinced enough to buy it, but when I was in Wells Library last week it was on the shelves as the Somerset Big Read book, complete with author talk (tonight, as it happens) and what with it being about Hop tu naa (which is the Manx halloween, only it's not halloween at all, though they get confused nowadays of course) (pronounce it hop-choo-nay, btw *g*) - well anyway, I had to borrow it, didn't I? *g* I couldn't really tell it was set in the IOM, apart from the place names, and the childhood hop-tu-naa traditions (though I never heard of them when I was spending more time there, though to be fair I was never there in October - and when I asked my cousin when I was over, she said oh yes, hop-tu-naa!) but it was definitely a suspenseful read, and it kept me guessing, even after I thought I knew. Again though, I wasn't particularly fond of the characters - I think they were supposed to be realistic and flawed, but there was something missing for me that crossed them into properly sympathetic. If you like murder mysteries though, I'd recommend it. It'll be interesting to see what Ewan is like, and what he says about the story - he's from Somerset, and lives back here again, but he lived on the Island for eleven years (which is more than I've done! *g*)




The Perils I've Imbibed! )
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
My last post for the Readers in Peril 2015 reading challenge - with added screen challenge... *g* I had planned to watch 30 Days of Night tonight, which a friend gave me years ago, cos it's vampires in Alaska, but there was Doctor Who, and it got late, and there were noises outside (late girls with horses, it turned out, not a halloween special *g*), so... I didn't. But over the last few weeks I have rewatched Apparitions with our Martin Shaw.

Eeeeh - it's a bit spooky, innit! *g* I think what makes it so atmospheric and have such an impact is that even though it's clearly just tv drama, it doesn't begin to address the audience, or do that fourth wall thing even in a polite indirect way. It doesn't in any way say well, if you believe then... or we know you're out there, it's okay you can tell this isn't real cos.... It unapologetically, unremittingly believes in demons, and shows us that they're out there, and what they can do... and that's what actually makes it more scary, I think, than other shows of the genre. Things like X-Files and Sea of Souls give you a get-out clause for when things get too creepy - Apparitions just does not - you're there for the ride the whole way...
The thing is, there is something rather Doyle about Father Jacob, and there's a hugely intriguing moment - blink and you'll miss it - in the penultimate episode when someone asks him about his blameless, innocent past, and he looks sharply away, and we just know there's something... If nothing else, how in the world does a Catholic priest know how to use a gun so comfortably...? *g*

So here's a few of my favourite Pros/Apparitions crossovers. I could have sworn there was one by Angelfish too, but for the life of me I can't find it, so maybe I'm misremembering and it involves no more than a church...
Decrescendo by [livejournal.com profile] erushi
Allies by [livejournal.com profile] castalia
Christmas Wish from Father Jacob (a bit lighter!) by [livejournal.com profile] minori_k

All the Perils... )

So overall I don't think I've done too badly with the challenge - not nearly as much as I meant to read, thanks to being distracted by Antonia Forest, and even my short stories I hadn't meant to be Pros short stories... *g* But it was fun - it was definitely fun. *g*
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
LollyWillowes-SylviaTownsendWarner After the death of her adored father, Laura "Lolly" Willowes settles into her role of the 'indispensable' maiden aunt of the family, wholly dependent, an unpaid nanny and housekeeper. Two decades pass; the children are grown, and Lolly unexpectedly moves to a village, alone. Here, happy and unfettered, she revels in a new existence, nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover...

This book arrived from... )
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
Can you tell I'm catching up...? *g*

TaxidermistsDaughter-KateMosse The clock strikes twelve. Beneath the wind and the remorseless tolling of the bell, no one can hear the scream...
1912. A Sussex churchyard. Villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will not survive the coming year are thought to walk. And in the shadows, a woman lies dead.
As the floodwaters rise, Connie Gifford is marooned in a decaying house with her increasingly tormented father. He drinks to escape the past, but an accident has robbed her of one of her most significant childhood memories. Until the disturbance at the church awakens fragments of those vanished years...


Sounds good, doesn't it? And what a coincidence that here's another book that starts with a vigil in a churchyard to see the year's dead-to-come. Bu-ut... Despite it having definite gothic-y overtones and atmospheres, this story just never really grabbed me. I finished it in a rush, and I'm glad that I did finish it, but... I think it was that I just didn't warm to the characters, which is my main reason for reading, usually - connecting with the characters. It also dotted around a bit too much, from one person to another, which didn't help when I put it down and then left it down for a good few weeks, before picking it up again.

The end in particular felt alot like it had been written to be filmed, as if I was reading a television show, or a film. Perhaps once that was a good effect, and was all about the brilliant atmosphere and place built by the author, but if so my head's turned it around to "but I don't want to watch it on tv, I want to read it"... and somehow I expect more, deeper of a book. I feel oddly guilty for not liking this, as I know Kate Mosse is one of the current author-stars, but her other books have never grabbed me when I picked them up in bookshops, and I guess this one proved that I was right all those times...

All the Perils... )
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
I guess I have technically completed the Readers in Peril Challenge, cos I've read four books, read short stories, and even watched spookiness. But I'm going to keep going anyway... *g* My next book was...
BlueLilyLilyBlue-MaggieStiefVater This is the third book in the "Raven Cycle", and I felt like it might be a bit of a cheat to read it for this challenge, cos I also read it for the Once Upon A Time (fantasy/fairytales/mythology/folklore) challenge - but the thing is, it's sort of in both these place at once. The series starts with a parade of ghosts through a graveyard - those of people who will die in the coming year. That's RiPish, right? And dreams and nightmares can be physically manifested, and there are sleeper's underground, and madness and murder. Oh, and Noah is a ghost. *g* So it fits the challenge!

I wasn't sure about this third book at first, and even put it down for a while, but then I picked it up and rushed through it. I think partly it was that I had to get into the writing style, which isn't weird and wonderful, but does somehow feel fresh and interesting. And of course after several months since I read the last installment, I had to get into the characters again, all of whom I can feel for(okay, most of them - the villains were a bit Hollywood-smart-talking this time), so I like that. And the places are places that you can see and hear and smell and almost touch, and I like that too. I like to know where I am in a book. Even if that might be a slightly scary place... *g* But yeah - still recommending this series!

All the Perils... )
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
I managed to do that thing I do, where I commit to one thing and am then completely distracted by something else in the middle... so I've been re-reading Antonia Forest's Marlow Family books, which I've loved since I came across them as a teenager - they're both familiar (boarding school stories, adventure stories) and yet so different from other books (falconry! Nelson (and Hornblower) fandom! (I'd never heard of fandom when I first read them, but Nicola absolutely is a fan, down to the reading and collecting and... *g*) Catholicism!). But then I got to the sequel written by the author who wasn't Antonia Forest, and although I was ever so hopeful cos it had good review, it just isn't nearly the same - it's just a bit off to me, so I got bogged down and abandoned it...

...but I was reading spooky Pros short stories from the 1st of October, so I hadn't forgotten the challenge entirely! And my fourth R.i.P. book was finally published in paperback, and so I read that properly (it's never the same in ebook, it just isn't...) - The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, by one of my current still-favourite authors, KJ Charles. Yeay!

A story too secret, too terrifying - and too shockingly intimate - for Victorian eyes.
A note to the Editor
Dear Henry,
I have been Simon Feximal's companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide...


I won't quote the whole blurb, but the Samhain tongue-in-the-cheek warning is: Contains a foul-tempered Victorian ghost-hunter, a journalist who's too curious for his own good, villainy, horror, butterflies, unusual body modifications, and a lot of tampering with the occult. *g*

It's really a collection of short stories about Simon Feximal and his companion Robert Caldwell, but they're linked together as a book, so I'm saying novel. They are, of course, reminiscent of Holmes and Watson, but they're not any less their own characters for all that, and I do like Charles' Victorian London world. Another of her strengths is the way that she pulls out real old stories and myths, and spins them into something completely new and wonderful (and awful!) You wouldn't think butterflies could be made into a supernatural horror type story, but Charles manages it! There's a feel of writers like M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft to it somehow, and I definitely recommend it!

(I'd also read three short stories even before I was distracted by the Marlow family books, but I got distracted from posting about them by looking up the true stories - but I will post them! I've also been re-watching Apparitions, for the Screen Challenge, but got distracted from that by having forgotten that they really are rather dark, aren't they - I lived in a house with other people the first time I watched them!)

All the Perils... )
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
GhostsOfMotleyHall No one lives in the empty old mansion any more, but Motley Hall is still home to a thriving community of ghosts, who are more than a match for any psychic investigators or building speculators who come nosing around. Another hilarious comedy by the author of Catweazle.

I first read The Ghosts of Motley Hall when I was Quite Young, having borrowed it from the library, and I was desperate to see the tv series, because the book made me giggle and I liked the ghosts, and I liked Catweazle and Richard Carpenter's work in general, and it wasn't fair that I lived in Australia and the tv series was only on in England.

Since when I grew up, and only remembered the book in passing, and then barely at all. Only in the meantime I also moved to England, and YouTube was invented. *g* I can't remember where I came across a copy of the book again, but it's been sitting on my shelves for a while now, and of course it's perfect for the RIP challenge, and I remembered YouTube! And sure enough someone has posted episodes, and I have fulfilled another childhood dream - and watched something for Peril the Screen. *g*

The Ghosts of Motley Hall (with added video!)... )

Peril the First: Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux… or anyone in between.
1. Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman
2. Bedlam by Ally Kennan
3. The Ghosts of Motley Hall by Richard Carpenter


RIP2016-PerilTheScreen Peril On the Screen: This is for those of us that like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show, like Dark Shadows or Midsomer Murders, or your favorite film.
1. The Ghosts of Motley Hall (Granada Television, 1976-78)
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
Bedlam-AllyKennan Everyone says the old asylum is empty. The grounds are overgrown, the wards are deserted and the building is slowly crumbling to the ground. But Lexi is sure someone is there. Dogs are disappearing from the village. There's an unsettling howling in the night. And Lexi has a feeling... A feeling that someone is watching her.

I went out looking for RIP books last weekend, and despite going to two different bookshops (okay, they were both Waterstones, but the second one was a bigger version *g*), nothing really grabbed me. I don't want anything too horror-ish, or too spooky, and I was in the mood for something set in Victorian times, but couldn't see much that wasn't a later book in a series (has anyone read any of the Bryant and May books?), and... and so this was one of three books I took home. (See that? I can find no books that I want to buy, and still buy three... natural talent, that.)

I was a little dubious about the wisdom of Bedlam, because look at that cover! Screaming and mental asylums, and... and there I didn't want anything too horror-y. But it turned out to be not quite what I was expecting... It's actually a Young Adult book, for a start. That wasn't where I found it in the bookshop, and the blurb on the previous edition is different - it starts When 16-year-old Lexi is forced to move in with her estranged mother.... Instead I was told by The Guardian that it was a "Nail-chewing thriller". It's kind of a combination of both those things...

It starts... )

Peril the First: Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux… or anyone in between.
1. Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman
2. Bedlam by Ally Kennan
byslantedlight: (Books-RIP2016 (AbigailLarson))
Hurrah - my first book for the Readers In Peril Reading Challenge! This one came to me by way of a fellow reader, and I've been saving it up, because it has ghosts and mysterious murder - what more could you want in an RIP book?

NightOfTheLivingDeed-EJCopperman7 bedrooms. 4 baths. 2 ghosts. Newly divorced Alison Kerby wants a second chance for herself and her nine-year-old daughter, so she's returned to her home town on the Jersey Shore to transform a fixer-upper into a charming - and hopefully profitable - guesthouse. But when a bump on the head leaves her seeing not only stars but spirits, Alison realises the real challenge she's facing is out of this world. The two residing ghosts are Maxie Malone, the foul-tempered former owner of the house (who has definite opinions about Alsicon's design plans), and Paul Harrison, a private eye who'd been working for Maxie - both died in the house on the same night. The official cause of death was suicide, but the ghosts insist they were murdered and they need Alison to find out who killed them - or the next ghost in the guesthouse will be Alison herself....

I've got, for some reason, a bit of a kink for books set on the north-east US coast. I also have a recurring short-circuit in my brain that insists New Jersey is mostly north of New York City, despite having lived there for a month. *headdesk* Not on the shore, mind you. And the bit I was in was north of NYC. Still - this book is set on the Jersey Shore, which is south of NYC, but my imagination insists this is Maine-ish and that it therefore counts towards my kink. It doesn't hurt that the cover shows the haunted house as one of those huge and gorgeous mansions that everyone in books and movies lives and has adventures in. And Practical Magic. *g* Big enough for adventure, but cosy enough to come home to and be tucked up in bed - the perfect haunted house, really.

Night of the Living Deed... )

Peril the First: Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux… or anyone in between.
1. Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman

September!

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 11:35 am
byslantedlight: (Slanted autumnleaves (justlook3))
It's September, the nasssty noissssy festival is over at last, the sun is out, and it's the beginning of the RIP reading challenge - I always think that's October, but it's now! It was a gorgeous morning too, so I went out first thing for a quick hacktrack walk...
2015-09-01 02SpiderWebMorning 2015-09-01 09SpiderWebMorning
...and the world was spider-webby! I love autumn... *g* I even managed to write a wee bit of my Victorian story too - and I'm wondering if there's some way I can commit to it alongside the RIP Challenge, and [livejournal.com profile] eldritchhobbit's Month of Halloween October posts, cos it's actually on-theme. If I did it'd be in a wee lockedy series of posts, only for anyone really brave, but... maybe that'd work... of course I've said that before...

RIP2016-banner
The RIP Reading Challenge at The Estella Society begins today and lasts all the way through two months to 31st October - and I am going to keep up with my book posts and the challenge this time - I am. I keep faffing about bookblogging too, so I think I'm just going to do it here (until I eventually stop faffing... *g*) So, via the host site - here's what the Reading Challenge is:
Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural.
Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.
That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.
As time has wound on, we’ve discovered that simple rules are best:
1. Have fun reading (and watching).
2. Share that fun with others.


I'm going to have a go at... )
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
CharmOfMagpies-3books(KJCharles)
I know, you only saw this picture a couple of days ago, but I did read these books again and they are all about the darker side of real-magic Victorian London, and so I think they do actually count for the R.I.P challenge - though one of them is a short story, so I will bundle it up with one of the other two, to be fair! You know what I don't like about e-books, though? No blurb for me to read, and pages to flick through to remind me of the good bits... On the other hand, I can (mostly!) just cut and paste a blurb from t'interweb, so...

A Case of Possession: ... As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes watching him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. And Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to.

A Case of Spirits: There is rain in London, and Vaundrey wishes he was in Shanghai, except that Stephen wouldn't be there. Of course he has a minor case of the occult to sort out - again...

Flight of Magpies: With the justiciary understaffed, a series of horrifying occult murders to be investigated, and a young student who is flying—literally—off the rails, magical law enforcer Stephen Day is under increasing stress. And his relationship with his aristocratic lover, Lord Crane, is beginning to feel the strain. Crane chafes at the restrictions of England’s laws, and there’s a worrying development in the blood-and-sex bond he shares with Stephen. A development that makes a sensible man question if they should be together at all. When a thief strikes at the heart of Crane’s home, a devastating loss brings his closest relationships into bitter conflict—especially his relationship with Stephen. And as old enemies, new enemies, and unexpected enemies paint the lovers into a corner, the pressure threatens to tear them apart.

Although these are also m/m romances, there's something rather dark about them - the Judas jack of The Magpie Lord, the giant rats of A Case of Possession, and then...well, it's not just Victorian London with magic, it's Victorian London with a kind of dark magic, the oily actual kind that you can feel between your fingers and it comes with all the unpleasantness that humanity is capable of - luckily tempered and dealt with by a good dose of Lucien/Stephen, and all the other interesting characters in this world. Readable and hot and I would like more of these books and stories now please!

All of which brief reviewing means that at 23.34pm on the 31st October 2014 I think I can safely say that I've Imbibed my last Peril for my first R.I.P. challenge, and although I enjoyed it I wasn't quite as much in the spirit (ha!) of it as I'd planned to be. Next year I shall try not to move house (twice) at the same time! But I do rather hope that I can give it another go - when Halloween rolls around again...

2014RIP-PerilTheFirstBanner
(Four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature.)
Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman
The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
The Heresy of Doctor Dee by Phil Rickman
Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll
The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
A Case of Possession and A Case of Spirits by KJ Charles
Flight of Magpies by KJ Charles

Eleven Halloween reads - not bad for a first, distracted attempt though! I'm also halfway through another book that I'd bought for its potential ghosts, but I keep being distracted from that too...
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
HauntingOfHillHouse(ShirleyJackson)
Alone in the world, Eleanor is delighted to take up Dr Montague's invitation to spend a summer in the mysterious Hill House. Joining them are Theodora, an artistic sensitive, and Luke, heir to the house. But what begins as a light-hearted experiment is swiftly proven to be a trip into their darkest nightmares, and an investigation that one of their number may not survive.

This was the other book that I bought at The Terror and Wonder Gothic exhibition that I visited a few weeks ago in London. I wasn't entirely sure about it, as I've seen one of the films, and being an over-imaginative little flit I didn't remember it fondly. But I girded my loins and reminded myself that this was the R.I.P. reading challenge, and I'd better get my Halloween properly on. So I did. *g* And being very careful only to read in daylight (only way to deal with these vampire books... *g*) I read it very quickly indeed - not because it was like running fast through the scary corridor so that you wouldn't be gotten, but because it's a very good, readable book and I wanted to!

I don't think I've read any Shirley Jackson before, and I must read some more, because I enjoyed her style of writing. At the same time it was a scary story, and I'm glad I didn't try to read it in bed at night, and as for the ending... *g* Yes, I know - I'm a bit rubbish at reviews, cos this is effectively just a couple of lines, but I've got one more (or two...) books to get in before midnight, so... *g*

2014RIP-PerilTheFirstBanner
(Four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature.)
Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman
The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
The Heresy of Doctor Dee by Phil Rickman
Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll
The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
CantervilleGhost(OscarWilde)
His eyes were as red burning coals;long grey hair fell over his shoulders in matter coils; his garments, which were of antique cut, were soiled and ragged, and from his wrists and ankles hung heavy manacles and rusty gyves. "My dear sir," said Mr Otis, "I really must insist on your oiling those chains."

When the practical American Otis family- "I am from a modern country, where we have everything that money can buy; and with all our spry young fellows painting the Old World red, and carrying off your best actors and prima donnas, I reckon that if there were such a thing as a ghost in Europe we'd have it home in a very short time in one of our public museums... - purchase Canterville Chase from Lord Canterville, they take the furniture and the ghost both at valuation. The furniture turns out to be suitable - never mind the blood stain that will not be banished from the floor in the library - but the ghost...

I bought this at the Gothic exhibition at the British Library the other week, feeling that I really should read a classic ghost story or two for the R.I.P. challenge, but not quite being able to face The Mysteries of Udolpho... *g* There's actually more than one story in this rather short book - Lord Arthur Sevile's Crime and The Sphinx without a Secret - and although I hoped I'd like Oscar Wilde's writing, I was rather relieved to find that I actually did. He is indeed witty, and elegant, and apparently of a dark-ish turn of mind sometimes - although I'm not 100% sure he was all that serious about ghosts, you know...

...if he really won't use the Rising Sun Lubricant, we shall have to take his chains away from him... *g*

2014RIP-PerilTheFirstBanner
(Four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature.)
Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman
The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
The Heresy of Doctor Dee by Phil Rickman
Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll
The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
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WomanInBlack (Susan Hill)
Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the sheltered windows. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black - and her terrible purpose...

I've been avoiding this book for a while, because Susan Hill has been associated in my mind with an unpleasant experience on the Return to Teaching course I did a few years ago, but I've been wanting to see the film with Daniel Radcliffe since I saw the trailer - also a few years ago now! - and so when I was trying to decide what to buy as a memory of the Gothic exhibition at the British Museum, this book just stared me down from its stand, and I decided that it was finally time...

And I was... )
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I finished this ages ago, but what with everything else haven't posted - but I've at least been able to read! I bought this book online - my very bad that the copy that arrived had a completely different cover than that online, and I'm not entirely sure what it has to do with the story except that there is both a woman and a horse in it.
ShadowyHorses(SusannaKearsley)
With its dark legends and passionate history, the windswept shores of Scotland are an archaeologists dream. Verity Grey is thrilled by the challenge of uncovering an ancient Roman campsite in a small village. But as soon as she arrives she can sense danger in the air. Her eccentric boss, Peter Quinnell, has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he's finally found it - not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has 'seen' a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades. Surprisingly, Verity believes in Peter, and the boy, and even in the Sentinel, who seems determined to become her own protector... but from what?

Well... )
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FrostHollowHall(EmmaCarroll)
Winter 1881. In the middle of a frozen lake a girl is skating. She's not supposed to be here. No one is. Not since Kit Barrington drowned at Frost Hollow Hall ten years ago. But the dead don't scare Tilly Higgins. The ice is thin. It cracks. Suddenly she's under the water, drowning. Near death, a strange spirit appears to her, a boy so beautiful Tilly's sure he's an angel. But he's a ghost. A very troubled ghost. And he desperately needs her help...

I must be honest, I bought this more for the cover than anything else, although I did think it would fit the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge nicely - but I ended up thoroughly enjoying the story. It's a very real book, beautifully written - I could hear Tilly, and see and feel where she was at every moment, and completely see other people through her eyes too. The story isn't just a ghost story either, Tilly has her own story - people who encounter ghosts are, after all, ordinary people with other things going on in their lives too, and Tilly's was wonderfully created. I don't want to spoiler it at all, so I'm not going to say anything more, but my heart dropped moments before hers did, every time, and lightened just before hers did too - it was that well done. And having not expected it to be particularly frightening, I found myself putting it down rather than read it in bed in the house by myself the other night - it was quite shiversome!

Very, very recommended...

2014RIP-PerilTheFirstBanner
(Four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature.)
Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman
The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
The Heresy of Doctor Dee by Phil Rickman
Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
HeresyOfDoctorDee(PhilRickman)
All talk is of the end-time... and the dead are rising. At the end of the sunless summer of 1560, black rumour shrouds the death of the one woman who stands between Lord Robert Dudley and marriage to the young Queen Elizabeth. Did Dudley's wife, Amy, die from an accidental fall, or was it a calculated murder? Even Dr John Dee, astrologer and consultant to Queen Elizabeth and one of Dudley's oldest friends, is uncertain. Then a rash promise to the Queen sends him to his family's old home on the Welsh border in pursuit of the Wigmore Shewstone, a crystal credited with supernatural properties...

I was so happy to find this in the independent bookshop in Taunton (when I'd not seen it anywhere else yet), and equally as happy to read it... *g* Not only does it fit the Readers Imbibing Peril (finally, I've got the title right, I kept muffing it...) reading challenge perfectly, but it centres around my favourite character, Robert Dudley.

Actually the last words of the blurb sum it up very well:Devious politics, small-town corruption, twisted religion and brooding superstition... )

Ha - and that's my four books, even before the end of September... *g* What shall I do next..? Just kidding, I have every intention of Imbibing Peril until midnight strikes on Halloween... *g*
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CharmOfMagpies01MagpieLord(KJCharles)
Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaundry never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He's also inherited his family's enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn't expect it to turn up angry... Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing around Crane, and if Stephen can't find a way through it - they're both going to die.

Okay, this feels like cheating a little, because this is the second time (this year) that I've read this book (what can I tell you, I have fan-ish tendencies... *g*) - but, but-but-but... this was the actual printed version! It's a real book with pages, yeay! I can flick through them, and go back and forth as much as I like... Yeay!

And I still like it, too. As far as Readers in Peril goes... )

This is Me

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A ship is safe in the harbour - but that's not what ships are for.

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. (Sarah Williams)

Could've.
Should've.
Would've.
Didn't. Didn't. Didn't.

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