Book Review – Haunted

HauntedHaunted
Written by: Barbara Haworth-Attard
Published by: Harper Trophy Canada
(HarperCollins Canada)
Date: August 18th, 2009
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0002008211

Top Pick

Product Description – From Amazon.ca
“Dee is feeding the chickens the morning that bones are discovered on the mountain. Something doesn’t feel right–and her feeling is confirmed when local police show her a ring that they found with the bones, a ring belonging to Mary Ann Simpson, who disappeared four years earlier. Other girls, Dee learns, have disappeared too, unusual for a small town nestled in the shadow of the Bruce Peninsula’s rugged escarpment, the “mountain” that Dee loves.
Like her Gran, Dee has “the Sight,” an ability not only to see spirits from the afterlife but also to experience their deaths–a quality that becomes more horrifying as the story takes darker turns. While trying to help with the investigation, Dee is drawn into a deepening mystery that soon strikes terrifyingly close to home.”

Haunted is one of my favourite books of 2009! Barbara Haworth-Attard  is the author of more than 13 children’s books and she is a Canadian author. While reading the story about 14-year-old Defiance or “Dee” as she is known to her friends, I was immediately taken in by the convincing, evocative tale. Set in the early 1900’s, Haunted takes the reader on a journey through history, into the realm of the supernatural. Dee’s “gift” allows her to see and feel good and evil in many forms. As a reader, I am very sceptical about “ghost stories”, but I have to admit that I was blown-away by the outstanding writing and skilful telling of Haunted; I cannot say enough great things about it! The story flows smoothly with mesmerizing tension that builds slowly with bursts of emotion and tension so thick that you could cut it with a knife; there is a suspenseful pull that keeps the reader tuned into the story and makes this book VERY difficult to put down. I really enjoyed the build up and the pace of the story; it changed momentum often and heightened moments to the point where I felt MY heart pounding with fear for the characters as they were endangered by the murderer. Each of the characters are unique and all too human…even those in a ghostly form. The forest/mountain setting was used very imaginatively by the author to enhance the atmosphere and the mood of the story. I must commend Barbara Haworth-Attard on her writing skills and her ability to bring the story of Haunted, to life. I know that I haven’t talked very much about the story itself, but I don’t want to say too much and ruin it for you; suffice it to say that I simply loved this book and enjoyed every single minute that I spent reading it! This is NOT a story for children, though it will be enjoyed  by YA readers and adult fiction readers.
I very highly recommend it!!!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
 

Read more about Haunted.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – No Such Creature

No Such CreatureNo Such Creature
Written By: Giles Blunt
Published By: Random House Canada
Date: October 14th, 2008
Pages: 270
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0679314318

No Such Creature takes you on a wild ride rampant with perilous exploits, camaraderie and greed.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Tooling across the American southwest in their giant Winnebago, Max and his nephew, Owen, seem harmless enough, the actorly old fellow spouting Shakespeare like a faucet while his young charge trots him through select tourist destinations along the road. But appearances, as you might imagine, can be deceiving.
Old Max is actually a master thief, and young Owen’s summer vacation is his careful apprenticeship in a life of crime. Pulling heists is scary enough, but ominous signs point to the alarming fact that The Subtractors are on their tail, criminal bogeymen who stop at nothing to steal from other thieves. The road trip soon turns into a chase, by turns comic and horrifying. The most disturbing twist: Owen’s slow realization that the person he loves most in the world is the one who can do him the most harm.”

No Such Creature is a fast-paced mystery/crime drama that engages the read and is very hard to put down. With some clever plot twists, a great storyline and well developed characters; this book grabs your attention and hangs on tight. Owen and Max have a wonderful relationship even if it’s a little out of the ordinary; their familial love for one another keeps them strong through tough times and makes the good times that much more enjoyable. The banter between these two men is witty and very entertaining! When risky heists, speedy getaways and opposing factions threaten their livelihood, Max and Owen do their best to keep things running smoothly. Then Owen meets a beautiful young woman and his life changes forever. The 3-some travels together as meals are shared and Max’s “Achilles heel” becomes more evident and threatens to endanger them all. There was a small amount of swearing, but it wasn’t out of context. The one problem I had with this book was the ending; it felt forced and prematurely shortened.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it
 

Read more about No Such Creature.
Find out where to buy this book.

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.gilesblunt.com/

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.randomhouse.ca/

A special thanks to Random House Canada for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – A Shattered Village

A Shattered Village,a-shattered-village
A Logan & Cafferty Mystery (Book 1)
Written By: Jean Henery Mead
Published By: ePress-Online Inc., 2008, First Edition, 209 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-1934258293

A Village Shattered reminds me of the show ‘Murder She Wrote’; a sleuthing story full of mysterious murders and characters; it keeps you guessing, right till the end!”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“The Valley Retirement Village is the scene of a serial killer’s revenge. Who is alphabetically killing Sew and So Club members, and why? When the newly-elected sheriff botches the investigation, Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, widows living in the village, decide to solve the murders themselves. Dana, a mystery novel buff, and Sarah, a private investigator’s widow, soon make a sobering discovery: they are also on the killer’s list. Dana’s beautiful daughter Kerrie, a news correspondent, arrives, complicating matters, but she quickly proves her value in the investigation. San Joaquin Valley fog hides the killer as well as hindering the murder case. The plot is sprinkled with romance as well as humor in this first novel of the Logan & Cafferty senior sleuth series.”

A Shattered Village feels like you are sitting down with a reassuring, old friend; it is one of those books that let you relax into it. The story is only mildly suspenseful until about 3/4’s of the way through when it ramps right up, but the whole story is packed-full of mysteries that lead you further and further away from the answers to these puzzling and disturbing murders of the members of the seniors Sew and So Club. The Author does a brilliant job of creating moods and settings that enhance the story; she is very skilled at creating entertaining and unique characters as well. With a smoothly-flowing plot and some surprising twists, the Author weaves a mystery that leaves you with more questions then answers, daring you to solve the mystery yourself, before she reveals the killer. I thought I’d figured it all out, several times over, but I was in for quite a surprise. The serial killer is a menacing mixture of deranged self-importance and twisted mania; I would have enjoyed reading more about the killer and hope that perhaps in the next books, more internal dialog from the killers will be included. Throughout the story, romance tries to blossom; but who knows if it can thrive in such a death-laden atmosphere. I enjoyed reading this book, even though mysteries are not one of my favourite genres.
I highly recommend this book to fans of murder mysteries!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (7 out of 10 Diamonds) – I really enjoyed it
 

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://jeanhenrymead.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://epress-online.com/

A special thanks to Jean Henry Mead for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – The Shack

The Shacktheshackcover-thumb
Written By: WM. Paul Young
Published By: Windblown Media, in association with Hachette Book Group USA, 2008, First Edition, 256 pages, softcover
ISBN 978-0964729230

The Shack is a unique blend of sadness, regret and tension; with a whole bunch of religion thrown in the middle.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant “The Shack” wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!”

The Shack is not at all what I had been expecting. When I read the descriptions of this book and all the rave reviews, I was chomping-at-the-bit to get a copy to read and review. As I began reading, I was blown away by the skillful writing and the story; the first four chapters, literally kept me spellbound! Mac’s horror and sorrow because of the loss of his daughter is palpable and so very moving. Then I began reading chapter five and what a disappointment it was…right on through to the beginning of the last chapter. Chapters five through seventeen are a communion with God, as the holy trinity. The holy trinity however, is a somewhat eccentric blend of ethnic persons who stretch the plausibility and the imaginative bounds of who God could be. For some, this book might be a wondrously creative look at the heavenly father, though I can’t help feeling that some Christians and/or religious people may well be offended by this potentially blasphemous characterization of the Holy trinity. These thirteen chapters include parables, re-worded scriptures, divine revelations and religious teachings; it is a not-so-cleverly-disguised religious conversion message (for the reader). Personally, I found the religious portion of this book, namely chapters five through seventeen, a distraction from the wonderful beginning. It had such potential!
This book may appeal to those who have faith in God and a religious and/or Christian background.

♦♦♦♦ (4 out of 10 Diamonds) – I sort-of liked it
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.windblownmedia.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Drood: A Novel (ARC)

Drood: A Noveldrood
Written By: Dan Simmons
Published By: Little, Brown and Company, USA, 2009, First Edition, 784 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978-0-316-00702-3
(Available NOW!)
Top Pick

Drood: A Novel is a powerfully-captivating, finely crafted tale of multiplicity, enmity and foreboding.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens–at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world–hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.
Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?
Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens’s life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens’s friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author’s last years and may provide the key to Dickens’s final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.”

Drood: A Novel is fantastic! Even though this novel is quite long, it is worth every minute spent reading it. This story is masterfully written with an incredible amount of depth. The story is told from Wilkie Collins’s increasingly bitter, resentful and laudanum-hazed perspective. Though Dickens and Wilkie had been writers and friends for what seems like an eternity, deep-down Wilkie always felt inferior to his friend’s writing ability and accomplishments. This undercurrent drives many-opiate induced dreams and nearly pushes Wilkie past the edge of reason and sanity. The characters are written with great depth and detail, each with their own follies and short comings, making them all the more believable and human. The pacing is excellent and the story flowed smoothly despite the creative transitions and twists.
For a novel as large as this one, the writing and plot must be created with definite purpose and skill. This writer’s expertise is undeniable! With the story based in-part on historical fact, I was left wondering, after an in-depth and satisfying read, just how much of the novel is fact-based and how much of this incredibly mesmerizing story sprang forth from the writers own imagination. I hesitate to write more: I don’t want to give away further details from within this story and risk ruining it for you. This is a novel which is well worth your time and money.
I highly recommend this book to everyone who has need of a satisfying and enjoyably-long read!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!

 
Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.dansimmons.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/publishing_little-brown-and-company.aspx

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy