Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse

After the suicide of his uncle, a successful art dealer, Lucas Heathfield inherits Stoneborough Manor. He thinks of it as a place where he and his tight knit group of friends can spend some time away from the bustle of London. He risks his friendship with Jo, professing his love to her on New Years Eve, delighting all of his friends and Jo. But she begins to see the house in a different way. It's affect on all of them, especially Lucas, is strange. he quits his job as a lawyer and moves to Stoneborough permanently with one of their other friends, Danny, a wild child who takes no responsibility for his actions. After moving to the house full time, Lucas finds some old family movies that he becomes obsessed with, movies that show a small group of friends eerily similar to their own. As the movies play out, they reveal a startling revelation to Lucas about his own family and everything he thought to be true. Caught up in obsession, passion, and jealousy, the group meets up for one final party at the house, with consequences no one could have seen coming, consequences that will change all of their lives forever.

Very intense, very creepy, the house itself is a character, possibly the biggest one. I felt like a member of the group relegated to the corner to sit and watch the tragedy of their loves, lives and friendships consume and destroy them all. This one will keep you up many nights to see how the story plays out. If you are looking for a book that ends with the whole story all wrapped up completely, this is not it. I usually want my books that very way, but this ending was satisfying nonetheless.

5 stars

Monday, September 27, 2010

In Honor of Halloween...

OK I am totally not a Halloween person. I think it is a huge waste of a holiday, but mainly because I am too old to trick or treat anymore. And the fact that I get scared very easily. But since October is my birthday month also, I wanted to ask the readers: What is your favorite scary book? Besides anything by Stephen King. His books just don't scare me and I think he has diarrhea of the mouth for the most part. Plus his books are the standard answer for this kind of question. Off the top of my head, the scariest books I have ever read are:

Come Closer by Sara Gran
Ghosts by Ed McBain
A Haunting in Connecticut can't remember the authors name

I will post more as I remember them, but I would like to know what books freaked you out. Depending on the responses I may start posting random questions like this. Let me know what you think.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Juliet by Anna Fortier

After the death of the aunt who raised her and her twin sister, and finding out that the will was changed at the last minute leaving her nothing, Juliet Jacobs heads to Italy after reading a note left for her by her aunt. In the note she finds out that there is something in a safe deposit box there that once belonged to Juliet and Janice's mother, who was killed in a car crash in Italy when they were toddlers. Juliet heads off in search of it after finding out that her name isn't really Juliet Jacobs, but Giulietta Tolomei, her twin sisters being Gianozza Tolomei. Her aunt changed their names after she brought them to American fro their own safety. After arriving in Sienna, Giulietta is befriended by Eva Maria Salimbini, a member of a family that was the Tolomei's enemies years ago. As Giulietta struggles to figure out what her mother left behind she starts to unearth secrets about her only families past in the middle ages, and how they are tied to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Eventually working with Alessandro, Eva Maria's godson, her family in Sienna, a Maestro that swears Romeo still comes to visit him at night, and her twin who shows up unexpectedly, Giulietta starts to unravel the truth about her parents untimely death and her personal connection with one of literature's most haunting love stories. Alternating between the present day and Sienna in the Middle Ages, you sit back and watch as Giulietta's own story heads to an expected climax.

Sounds good doesn't it? Not so much. Giulietta is so incredibly naive I had to refrain from throwing the book across the room at times. Her twin is absolutely unbearable, Alessandro is a poorly written character, and there are so many minor players I was forgetting who was who. The transition between present day and the Middle Ages didn't flow that smoothly as to not be confusing. A novel packed full of superstition, secrets, lies and betrayals, I did not care what happened to one of the characters. The parts set in 1340 I loved, especially the story of the Palio in 1340, which gave me chills as I read it. But as a whole, I found it very disappointing.