Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey

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Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein is a picture book written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Juliet Sarda. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I wanted to share it with my girls. They always enjoy the books I receive, and their feedback is useful in helping me write my reviews.

This is a children’s biography about Mary Shelley, the woman who wrote Frankenstein. Because this is a picture book rather than a chapter book, there is a limited amount of space in which to convey a great deal of information. Mary’s childhood is briefly covered; most notably, that she hid behind the sofa to listen to Coleridge recite the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Much of the book covers her relationship with Percy Bysshe Shelley and the circumstances that led to her inspiration for writing Frankenstein. The prose is quite evocative, and one can quite easily picture spending rainy days in a castle with two of England’s most famous poets. The book ends with the enduring legacy of the Frankenstein story.   Read more

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Zombie Abbey by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

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Zombie Abbey is a young adult novel by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. I read this book a few months ago, but I am just getting around to reviewing it now. I found it on the new release shelf in the young adult section of my town library. It looked interesting, so I added it to my book pile.

As the title suggests, this book is a mashup of Downton Abbey and zombies. Basically, you have an aristocratic family in 1920s England with three teenage daughters facing a zombie outbreak. Unfortunately, this is a brand new scourge, so no one knows what to make of the mysterious happenings. The town doctor, in fact, insists that nothing is amiss, and any reports to the contrary are due to hysteria. The family and their guests- because of course they’re having a small house party- must join forces with the folk belowstairs before they are overwhelmed by the fast-moving outbreak. Read more

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

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House of Furies is a YA novel written by Madeleine Roux. I read this book several months ago, but I have fallen behind on my review writing, and I am just catching up now.

As the story begins, Louisa accepts a position as a maid at Coldthistle House. She does not particularly want to be a maid, but she finds herself in a precarious position and need a place to hide out, so the offer of employment seems infinitely more appealing than being on her own.

Coldthistle House is not an ordinary manor house, and there is something unusual about Mr. Morningside, the house’s enigmatic owner. He has transformed the home into a boarding house, and Louisa quickly makes friends with one of the guests, a charming young man. There is a shroud of malevolence hanging over the house, and Louisa does not know whether it would be more dangerous to flee or to remain in a house full of secrets.   Read more

The White Devil by Justin Evans

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The White Devil is a horror novel written by Justin Evans. I had this book on my Kindle, but never got around to reading it. I took the opportunity to add the Audible edition of this book at a reduced price; when things get busy, it is easier for me to listen to books than to read them.

Andrew Taylor is an American high school student. He has enrolled at Harrow as a desperate measure to improve his chances of getting into a good university after an incident at his last school. Harrow, the second most famous boys’ school in England, is steeped in centuries of tradition, is the perfect place for Andrew to improve his character.

However, trouble seems to follow Andrew. As soon as school begins, one of his new hallmates turns up dead. Andrew was the one who found the body, and more than that- Andrew saw a ghastly figure standing over the boy. But who would believe such a wild story? Read more

The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Mesmerist is a middle grade novel written by Ronald L. Smith. It contains elements of several of my favorite things, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book.

Thirteen-year-old Jess lives with her mother. They earn their living from conducting séances, using trickery to put on a good show for their wealthy clients. However, that all changes when they receive an actual supernatural message. It turns out that Jess’ mother has been keeping secrets, and Jess learns more about her parents’ past on a trip to London. Read more

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I had started to hear wonderful things about Serafina and the Black Cloak, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read it. This middle grade novel was written by Robert Beatty.

Serafina lives in the basement of the Biltmore Estate with her father, who works as a mechanic. No one knows they live there, and no one knows that Serafina even exists. She is supposed to stay hidden, but she cannot resist sneaking around at night. Serafina takes pride in her “role” as chief rat catcher, but one night, she sees something utterly terrifying in the vast basement of the estate. She sees a man in a black cloak chase down a little girl, and make her disappear. Read more

Little Girls by Ronald Malfi

I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was not familiar with Ronald Malfi’s work when I received the opportunity to review Little Girls, but the premise was intriguing. By the end of the book, I had become a fan and will be seeking out more of Malfi’s books.

Little Girls is the story of Laurie Genarro, who has returned to her childhood home after her father’s passing. He was an old man, but there was nothing natural about the manner in which he died. Laurie moves into the house with her husband and daughter, with the intention of preparing the old home for sale. Her father’s caretakers tell Laurie about her father’s ranting in the throes of his dementia, and she can’t help but wonder if there was any truth to his fear. What if something was trying to get into the house? Laurie is also unsettled by her daughter’s new friend; Abigail looks exactly like her own childhood friend Sadie, who died thirty years ago. Read more

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

I am a big fan of many of Stephen King’s books. I prefer the ones that are not horror stories, like 11/22/63 and novellas like The Body and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. When Entertainment Weekly published an excerpt from King’s latest novel Finders Keepers, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I placed a hold through the library network, but so did 186 other people. Luckily, I stopped at the library last Friday and found the book on the special 7 Day Checkout shelf. These books can only be checked out for a week, and they can’t be renewed. I had several books in my reading queue, but I bumped Finders Keepers to the top. Thanks to my children being distracted by the video game Splatoon, and a mini road trip to the Lacrosse Jamboree an hour away, I was able to finish Finders Keepers in a couple of days.

Finders Keepers opens in 1978, with reclusive author John Rothstein’s home being invaded by three masked bandits. They are not only after his money; Morris Bellamy, the ringleader, is convinced that the aged author has a vast collection of unpublished writings. The hunch is correct- they load the Moleskine notebooks into a trunk, and Bellamy shoots Rothstein before leaving.

Thirty-five years later, a teenager named Pete Saubers discovers the trunk with the notebooks and cash. They have gone untouched for all those years because Morris Bellamy has been in prison, but for a different crime than Rothstein’s murder. But then Bellamy is released, and he goes back to his home (that the Saubers family is now living in) and when he realizes that his treasures have been stolen, he is determined to recover what (in his mind) is rightfully his, no matter the cost. Read more