This book is an anthology of eleven strange and horrific short stories that was compiled by Betty M. Owen in 1969. These are short stories written by such well-known authors as H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker, as well as eight stories written by several lesser-known authors. All the stories were written in the late 19th or early 20th centuries - from classic to more contemporary horror.
In my opinion, each story was certainly very good reading, however none of them actually scared me enough to give me nightmares. I think that I may want to read some more anthologies in the future, and I give this particular book an A! I'm definitely glad that I read it, but I can send this book away to another good home should anyone else want it.
James Lindsay has been living in France for five years when his former lover Francoise comes to him for help. Francoise is now married to the wealthy owner of a chateau in the French wine country and is the mother of a young son. Philippe de Faucon, Marquis de Bellac, Francoise's husband, has turned suddenly cold and emotionally distant towards her and Francoise is desperate to find out the reason why Philippe's attitude has changed so drastically.
There are also strange and sinister things happening. It seems that all the male members of the de Faucon family have a centuries-old curse upon their heads. Apparently, all the sons of the lineage have a history of dying young in mysterious and often violent circumstances.
I liked this book; it was pretty good but, again, not my favorite. If I was to be really picky about the book, in my opinion, the story had some slight continuity issues with it and was a little slow going in terms of reading for me. Overall, though, the book was not a bad way to spend three days and I give it an A!
Residents of the close-knit community of Cedar Cove, Washington, have always assumed that Grace Sherman, the town librarian, is as demure as she appears - but they couldn't be more wrong. Underneath Grace's demure exterior, is a spine of steel that quickly surfaces when she must face the strange and sudden disappearance of her husband, Dan.
So, Cedar Cove bands together around one of its own, and Grace's family and friends bring great comfort to her during such a difficult time. But Grace is reminded that life can and does move on - and, amid the various weddings and births, and other major life events that occur in Cedar Cove - she must be strong enough to help her family deal with their own confusion and devastation at Dan's absence. However, will Grace's love, devotion, and dedication to her family in the face of such a personal tragedy, ultimately prove sufficient to keep them all together?
I must say that I haven't read that many books by Debbie Macomber before. The Shop on Blossom Street was my first one - and that was on a recommendation from my sister who lives in Australia. I'm usually not that much of a romance fan, but this book was a fast-paced and engaging story that I really enjoyed. Dan's disappearance certainly played an important role in the story - however, the romantic elements of the story weren't overwhelming; which is also something that I appreciated. I give this book a definite A!
It's the omen of ultimate evil...the sign of the Devil...the number of the Beast...666.
That was the diabolical number on the old house that suddenly appeared on Sunset Brook Lane. Yet, such an beautifully unassuming Victorian-style house couldn't possibly hold something so evil, could it? Perhaps it could...
For stepping inside 666 Sunset Brook Lane could only bring with it eternal damnation. Inside, an infernal red light flickers from an unseen source...Inside, ghostly specters stare down mockingly from the windows in a grotesque mimicry of bloody horrors...Inside, an ancient supernatural relic waits for human hands to lift it, for human eyes to see its ghastly, demonic visions.
For this is no ordinary house. This is a house that appears and disappears, seemingly at will; inexplicably moving from time to time, place to place, to torment the lives of the innocent. This is a house where the same bloody, dreadfully gruesome, eternal crime occurs again and again, delivering its victims to the very brink of hell, straight into the hands of the Devil himself.
And for interior designer, Jennifer Olson - designing her first solo project - and her husband Keith, the house at 666 Sunset Brook Lane has just swung open its door in welcome...
I usually enjoy reading books about haunted houses, and 666 by Jay Anson was no different - I must say that I loved this book from start to finish. For a book written in 1980, I found that the horror held up strongly throughout the entire story. I also appreciated that the story held together until the very end; in my opinion it never fell apart, and the horror never became fanciful or far-fetched as I've noticed with certain horror novels. I would give 666 by Jay Anson an A+!
Actually, I owned a copy of this book in the past, but eventually I sent it to my sister who lives in Australia, for her to read. I had already read it once or twice about twenty years ago, and I hoped that she would enjoy it as much as I had. Several times during the ensuing ten or twelve years since I sent my copy of 666 to my sister, I've found myself wishing that I could read it again.
When Mareena first said that she had gotten this book for me as a 'just because' gift, of course I was delighted. However, I didn't remember reading the book before - or even realized that I had wanted an extra copy to keep for myself - until I had read a couple of pages into the story. Now, 666 by Jay Anson is a definite keeper for me.
There aren't that many secrets to keep in a close-knit community like Cedar Cove, Washington. So, when Emily Flemming finds an earring in her husband's pocket, she is understandably upset. The lost earring is definitely not hers, and Emily is worried that her husband Dave might be having an affair. She doesn't want to believe that Dave could or would cheat on her, but he's been acting so strangely lately that she just can't be certain.
Dave Flemming is a pastor - a loving husband and a wonderful father to their two boys; he truly is a good, upstanding, moral man - and Emily is deeply ashamed of her thoughts. However, she just can't stop herself from thinking this way. There's just something different about her husband, and she can't put her finger on what it is exactly. She has just learned that some jewelry was recently stolen from an elderly woman's house - and Dave used to visit the lady quite a bit.
Emily can't believe that Dave is guilty of doing anything illegal - that's just not in his nature. However, since he doesn't tell her where he's been when he comes home so late - she can't help but wonder just what is happening with him. Something is definitely going on with Dave; something certainly seems wrong with him, and Emily is determined to find out just what it is.
First of all, let me say that I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick and easy read for me, and a fairly pleasant way to spend a couple of days. I certainly appreciated having the list of characters at the beginning of the book; it was really helpful to know who was who as I was reading.
I must say that the story's plot actually wasn't all that difficult to follow. The storyline itself was pretty simple, and nothing really mind-blowing or overly dramatic happened; at least in my opinion. Although, I would still give this book an A!
The little Belgian detective exercises his "little grey cells" against a mysterious correspondent who writes to him predicting the murders of several people. Poirot is forewarned when the first two murder victims' names begin with an A and a B, now he must solve the case before the killer strikes again in an attempt to complete the alphabet. I must say that I enjoyed this book very much. I had first read this years ago but had forgotten who the murderer was and why he actually committed the murders. I give it an A!
During the late 1950s, in the small New England town of West Annett, Maine, Reverend Tyler Caskey is a man struggling through a crisis of faith. Having recently suffered a terrible loss, Tyler finds it incredibly difficult to be the person he once was. He has always considered himself to be a man of strong faith, and a highly-respected minister to his congregation. Now, in the face of Tyler's crushing grief, he finds himself doubting everything about his life that he once took for granted.
In the opinion of his disapproving, hypercritical mother, Tyler's two daughters - two-year-old Jeanne and five-year-old Katherine - aren't being taken care of properly. He struggles to find the proper words in his sermons, and in his conversations with those facing crises of their own. He finds the personal counseling sessions with his parishioners to be fairly meaningless actually; especially when they don't seem to want to follow his advice.
He hasn't even been successful in finding the right words to help bring his daughter, Katherine, out of the vow of silence she has observed in the wake of the family's tragedy. Tyler's usually kind and patient congregation has now begun to quietly question his leadership and propriety, and soon, inexcusable accusations are born out of anger and gossip. Then, in Tyler's darkest hour of need, a startling new discovery will test his parishioners' humanity - and his own will to endure the trials that sooner or later test us all.
I must say that while this book was slightly difficult to get into; I still found the story riveting and poignant. As I said, I had a bit of trouble getting into the flow of the story, but it was only a temporary feeling. This was the type of book that I began to read compulsively, after the first few pages, because I avidly wanted to know what was going to happen next. Overall, I give this book a definite A+!
Longtime resident of Lake Henry, New Hampshire, Heather Malone has been led away by the FBI, which claims that she fled the scene of a fatal accident in California years before. Poppy Blake, her best friend, is determined to clear her name, while facing past mistakes of her own: she still feels guilt over a snowmobile accident that killed her partner and left her paralyzed. Playing an unlikely role in both women's lives is investigative journalist Griffin Hughes, whose attraction to Poppy keeps him returning to Lake Henry, even as he is the secret reason why the FBI is interested in Heather.
To redeem himself, Griffin sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding Heather and becomes the key to freeing Poppy from her regrets and showing her a rich new future. In my opinion, this is not Barbara Delinsky's best work. There was a lot of discussion of maple syrup making which I didn't understand very well. I give this book a C+!
Twenty-two-year-old Emma Keane is just your average city girl trying to get a date. She's a petite and bubbly redhead who's always up for having a little fun. There's just one tiny snag holding her back from finding the perfect guy. And that would be...well...'Guy': the disembodied male voice speaking to her in her mind.
Sound kind of crazy? Probably. But crazy turns downright deadly when the voice persuades Emma to travel deep into the Mayan jungle. There she will be able to free him from the prison where he has been trapped for the past seven decades.
Humans are so vulnerable, so undisciplined, so susceptible to their emotions - particularly love. He must have spent too much time among human-kind before his imprisonment, because it certainly seems that many of their vulnerabilities have begun to alter his personality. That must be the only reason why from the first moment this ancient being connects with Emma, the feelings she sparks drive him utterly mad. Never before has he felt such a protective, keep-her-close, never-let-her-go kind of madness for one particular woman.
Actually, that might not be such a bad idea, because from the moment the beautiful, passionate Emma unshackles his body, they are hunted at every turn. Now he'll have to do everything in his considerable power to keep her safe. But will that be enough? Honestly, if he wasn't already immortal, Emma Keane would quite literally be the death of him!
This is the first book by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff that I've ever read. I usually enjoy reading paranormal romances - especially stories that draw from cultural myths. In my opinion, this was a thoroughly engaging story - filled with a number of likable characters - along with several characters who I felt quite comfortable hating from their introduction, as well. The plot was thrilling and action-packed, and held my attention until the very end.
I give Accidentally in Love With...A God? an A+! and look forward to reading the next book in the series sometime very soon. I'm actually quite curious to see how this story will continue; and how each subsequent book will incorporate the world that Ms. Pamfiloff has created with this series.
After three centuries spent trapped in a Mexican cenote - held prisoner by the fickle whim of a goddess - legendary vampire Niccolo DiConti vows to fulfill an ancient prophecy and, along the way, vanquish the demented vampire queen Reyna. The fact that 'Her Highness' had the power to literally make his existence a living hell if she so chose, was one that Niccolo was willing to overlook for the benefit of all innocent humans.
In order to fulfill the prophecy, all Niccolo must do is find his human mate, seduce her into agreeing to become a vampire, and bond her to him forever. Luckily, he's handsome, charming, and extremely skilled at satisfying women. This shouldn't be so hard.
While on vacation in sultry Mexico, biologist Helena Strauss makes the discovery of lifetime when she meets Niccolo - and immediately finds herself caught up in a world of supernatural secrets and dangerous delights. Even more shocking is that he seems to know everything about her and claims she is his immortal bride.
Alright, so maybe she can't keep her eyes off this gorgeous, perfect specimen of masculinity. And yes, she has been dreaming of kissing him from the very moment she laid eyes on him. But can a hot-blooded girl like her truly spend eternity with a cold-hearted vampire?
This is the second book in the Accidentally Yours Series, and the second book by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff that I've read. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Again, I found the story extremely engaging - filled with many likable characters, even if several of them seemed certifiable at times. The plot was just as thrilling an action-packed as in the first book, and chock-full of humor that I completely appreciated. So far, I'm hooked on this series!
I give Accidentally Married to...A Vampire? by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff a definite A! and am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. I want to know what happens next.
This is a short book which tries too hard to be humorous. The author writes little hints and tricks about what to do when going into hospital. I generally like Maeve Binchy as an an author, however I wouldn't say this is her best book. I give it a C!
For Doreen Addison, proprietor of an orphan's home known as Addison House, it comes as a nasty surprise to her to hear that the building will soon be sold. She must find a suitable house for herself, her assistant and the six children she fosters, and she must find a home fast. Doreen's search leads her to a beautiful, large house, secluded and rather inexpensive - just the right place for eight people to live.
Apparently, the house has been vacant for twenty years; and there were disturbingly dark stories of murder and suicide told about it. While Doreen was curious about all the rumors she had heard, and secretly wondered what had happened there so long ago, the house was still just what she was looking for. It was the perfect place to set up a children's home.
Soon after Doreen and her young wards move into their new home, unusual things start to happen. At first it was just a crazy old man living in the woods and a dead cat found on the back porch. But then the children began seeing strange things; and hearing blood-curdling screams at night. Several of the children report seeing a beautiful woman dressed in black, and there is a terrible accident down in the cellar.
Doreen starts to believe that something just isn't right about the house. However, her nightmare really begins as children mysteriously disappear. She soon finds herself confronting an ancient and malevolent power far beyond her understanding.
Only one thing can possibly save her and the children from utter destruction: she must discover the dark secret of the mysterious woman in black. Doreen alone must put an end to the repetitive grisly drama of obsessive love and hate...a tableau of twisted passions that has replayed for decades. Come home once and for all...if you dare.
I must say, that after reading Ghost Light by Clare McNally many years ago, I was eagerly looking forward to reading Addison House almost as soon as I received it. This book started out very strongly and I had such hope that it would continue to be a really great story. I was so disappointed.
To be perfectly honest, I thought this book ended up being almost too frightening. Don't get me wrong, I really love reading old-fashioned horror; the creepier the better. Yet, Ms. McNally seemed to be writing the horror book to beat all horror books - one epic horror novel designed to scare the pants off every reader in the world. She seemed to take tiny bits of ten different types of horror and throw them together in one giant cauldron, then she stirred them up to see what came out.
It felt so much like 'kitchen sink'-style horror writing to me, that I wasn't quite sure what was supposed to frighten me and what wasn't. At a certain point, I just stopped caring about the history of the haunting because it was just so intricate that it became thoroughly confusing to me. I had to give this book a C+!
Binkle and Flip are a pair of very naughty bunny rabbits who live in Oak Tree Town. Binkle is usually the instigator of many of the practical jokes that are played on the residents of Oak Tree Town; and he somehow always manages to get Flip involved in all of his schemes. From masquerading as chimney sweeps, to fooling their neighbor Herbert the Hedgehog into becoming a carnival attraction, Binkle and Flip are determined to make as much mischief as possible.
At least until Wily Weasel the policeman catches them and makes them apologize. Each time that the bunnies are caught, they promise never to be naughty again but it doesn't last for long. I must say that I have never read this book before - or maybe I have and just can't remember when - but I still enjoyed reading this book very much. I have always enjoyed Enid Blyton as an author, and while this particular book was quite dated, I still found it very sentimental and nostalgic reading. I'm definitely putting this book back on my 'childhood favorites' shelf. I would give this book a B+!
Over the years, Celia Bayley's books had inspired her readers and won her legions of fans. It was generally considered that Celia's comprehension of the ways of human heart was almost legendary - and that those insights are what made her famous as an author. And why shouldn't Celia Bayley's fans believe this? After all, she had married a handsome war hero and produced three successful children - the very definition of a 'happily ever after' kind of life.
Yet, as Celia's family gathers together for her funeral, the diaries and notebooks and letters she left behind paint an entirely different picture - one that shocks those who loved her and will ultimately force them to confront the difficult conflicts in their own lives.
A life torn apart by secrets is revealed. The husband Celia adored deceived her early in their marriage and had broken her heart, although they persevered as a family. Then, years later while on a trip with friends, she meets a man for whom she feels a passion she never believed was possible. In one brief moment, Celia's life is turned inside out, and she is faced with an agonizing choice.
I thought this book was beautifully written. It took me a few pages to get into the story, but once I got the characters straightened out, the story became easier for me to follow. The characters were sympathetically drawn, and I found myself caring for them and the various dilemmas in which they found themselves. Extremely powerful and moving, this book is ultimately about marriages, families, and the definition of personal happiness.
I must admit, despite some unanswered questions left in my mind, this book was exactly the kind of story that I like to read. I give this book an A+! and will certainly keep my eyes open for more books by this author to read in the future.
Single mother Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are just starting over with the monumental task of rebuilding their lives together after the failure of Remy's marriage. Now, almost a year after her divorce, she and her daughter have moved into a three hundred year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. It is in this elegant, ancient whaling captain's house where Remy and Olivia hope to find peace and tranquility for themselves.
Little does this little family realize that there is in fact another occupant who dwells in the haven of their new home. Someone who lurks deep in the shadows of history, someone who strives to remain a relevant part of this reality. In the end, will the After House ultimately turn out to be Remy and Olivia's shelter or their final resting place?
Let me say right from the beginning that I really enjoy Michael Phillip Cash's writing style - he certainly knows how to create a properly creepy atmosphere. I have read four of Mr. Cash's books in the past and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them for different reasons. This latest novel was certainly a departure for me; it was a quick and easy read, and while I would technically classify this book in the horror genre, the story wasn't necessarily all that scary; at least in my personal opinion.
I found this story to be slightly more playful and light-hearted in tone than Mr. Cash's other work, not overly comedic but definitely lighter in tone. I enjoyed reading The After House by Michael Phillip Cash and give it definite B+! - I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
Gerald and Hyacinth had the type of marriage others envied. She was a talented artist. He was a brilliant plastic surgeon. Theirs was a comfortable, happy home with two wonderful children. Then whispers of betrayal tainted Hy's perfect marriage. And in one terrible night she commits an act that she will regret for the rest of her life. An act that gives Gerald the ultimate weapon: blackmail.
The price of his silence is uncontested custody of their two children. When her angry mother wants to know why Hyacinth won't fight for custody, she can give no satisfactory answers. But deep in her heart, Hyacinth knows that there is one question she must answer if she wants to free herself from a life of lies: What really happened that terrible night? Only then can she reclaim her children, her pride, her life - at last.
I think that Belva Plain is a really gifted storyteller, and After the Fire is yet another example of what a terrific storyteller she is. I was drawn into the story from the first page, and really wanted to know how Hyacinth would deal with her dilemma. I give this book an A+!
Etna Bliss has just moved to the New Hampshire town where her uncle is a college professor. In one single moment, her life is totally transformed: she is dining in a hotel downtown when a fire forces her outside into the snowy streets. Amid the smoke and chaos of that night she is glimpsed, standing under a street lamp, by a man who had been dining in the same room - a man who is so overwhelmed by the sight of her that he immediately rebuilds his life around a single goal: to marry Etna Bliss.
Nicholas Van Tassel is a proud and orderly man, ill equipped to deal with the ferocity of his love for Etna Bliss. But he is determined to have her, no matter what the cost. Riding a train south many years later, Nicholas reflects on the night of his first meeting with Etna, the drama that followed and struggles to comprehend the mystery his life became on that night.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book and didn't want it to end. There were times during my reading that I almost felt sorry for Nicholas Van Tassel, stalker-type tendencies and all. To my mind, he was so wrapped up in his 'love at first sight' mentality that he was completely blinded to how unhappy Etna truly was in her life with him. I give this book an A+! and look forward to reading my next Anita Shreve book.
As a child, Ellen Banks' son Daniel would ask his mother, "How much do you love me?" Ellen would always answer, "I love you all the numbers."
What begins as a beautifully sunny August afternoon on a bucolic lake, suddenly turns tragic when a Jet Ski swerves fatally close to the shore. It's a day Ellen Banks could never have prepared for, a day no mother should ever have to face.
From the moment her son James is killed, Ellen is thrown into a maelstrom of sadness and grief. She now must face the unimaginable prospect of living in a family that has been forever altered while somehow continuing to stay strong for her older son, Daniel. Daniel, who witnessed the fateful accident and blames himself for his younger brother's death.
Ellen's shock and grief soon give way to anger and defiance as lawyers and policemen who once vowed to support her quest for justice succumb to political pressure and back away. Still, Ellen is determined to see the reckless young man pay for his crime and to heal her family's deep wounds. But first she must heal herself.
This was quite a book. Touching and very poignant, the story was an extremely powerful one for me to read. While All the Numbers: A Novel was certainly sad, I enjoyed the book immensely and am eagerly awaiting Judy Merrill Larsen's next book with baited breath. I give this book a blazing A+!
A decade ago, Chicago Homicide Detective Frank Lester and his partner Sam Cato tracked a vicious serial kidnapper and murderer who claimed six victims. The criminal, dubbed 'The Mud People Killer' by the press - for the crude mud sculptures he left in the victims' mailboxes after they were taken - specifically targeted Frank Lester by sending him taunting notes about each victim. Frank had shot him on a snowy night during a foot chase, and he believed, had killed him, although a body was never found.
However, the killer wasn't dead. He was only biding his time, waiting to exact his revenge on Frank and everyone he cares about now...ten years later. Frank retired early and is now living back in his hometown of Spookie - a quaint throwback of a close-knit community in the woods - when the killer resurfaces and takes up where he left off. Kidnapping more innocent people and tormenting Frank and everyone he cares about. There must be a way to stop him; and Frank and his artist girlfriend, Abigail Sutton, are determined to find it, before he kills more people, them included.
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was a very intriguing plot, filled with sympathetic characters that I really came to care about. And, I know this will probably sound strange to everyone, but I even felt some slight compassion for the murderer - not in any way for the horrible things he did - but for the mental anguish he experienced within himself. I give All Things Slip Away by Kathryn Meyer Griffith an A+!
I will say that this book was a little slow for me to get in to at first. Although, that had everything to do with my own reading pace and nothing else.
A young unmarried woman leaves her newborn baby on the rectory doorstep of a church on Manhattan's Upper West Side. At that same moment, inside the church, a young man is in the process of stealing a treasured artifact - a chalice adorned with a single star-shaped diamond. Both the infant and the chalice subsequently disappear.
Seven years later, a few weeks before Christmas - lottery winner turned amateur sleuth - Alvirah Meehan and her husband Willy, are busy helping Willy's sister Cordelia - a nun who runs a thrift store that doubles as an after-school shelter for the neighborhood kids - prepare for the upcoming Christmas pageant. However, the shelter's future is threatened when the city condemns the building for that use. Then it is further jeopardized when the nearby brownstone to which the shelter was to be moved turns out to have been willed to a young couple who were already tenants in the building.
Convinced that something suspicious is going on, Alvirah refuses to believe that the will is genuine. She sets out to prove the couple are con artists. Soon she is involved with the mystery of the stolen chalice and child.
While this was certainly a good story and I enjoyed reading it; I'm not entirely sure what grade to give it. In my opinion, the mystery was perhaps a little simplistic, and the plot seemed slightly hurried - at least to me. I would have preferred it if this story had been slightly longer, so that the plot could be better developed and the characters better drawn and more believable. Overall, I give this book a B+!