Book Fortyfour: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror, Robert Louis Stevenson

Even though I knew the general spoilers for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (who doesn't, right?), it didn't ruin the fun of it. Though I found it more intriguing than actually scary. It seems to be more commentary on the dual nature of man than a "Tale of Terror". If I knew Dr. Jekyll though, I might call him out on his delusions about what Hyde is up to. I don't think what prevents people from doing bad things is the threat of getting caught. Most of us, I would guess, are prevented from doing bad things because of our conscience. Though, I suppose that's what Jekyll figures out in the end.

I'm not sure I enjoyed Olalla so very much. I like my vampire stores pretty bloody, and this was too poetical for me. Now, The Body Snatchers, that was somewhat creepy, and perfect for a spooky October evening.

Happy Halloween!

Book Fortythree: By Blood, By Moon

By Blood, By Moon, Heather E. Hutsell

I went to school with Heather. When we were in middle and high school, she went by Teddy, nicknamed after Corey Feldman's character in Stand by Me. It was Teddy who got me to see The Lost Boys and made me forever love that movie (it seems she was always into vampires). I've long admired her steadfastness and commitment to her passions. I got to reconnect with Heather via Facebook (as, I'm sure, we have all reconnected with old school friends), and discover that she has self-published several books over the past few years. And that's pretty freaking cool.

I love how Heather holds nothing back and dives right into this tale, throwing us into the action with our heroine Elena as she is pursued by three vampires and happens upon a mysterious stranger, who we soon learn is a Lycan. There's some mystery, some gore, and a whole lot of sexy (without being nasty-sexy, if you know what I mean). None of the characters are what they seem, so there's plenty of intrigue and much to keep the story propelling forward.

I'm happy to be reminded that Heather is as lovely a storyteller as she is a person!

Books Fortyone and Fortytwo: The Passage and Stumptown

Alas, I woke this morning to remember that today is the Read-a-Thon, and unfortunately, you may have noticed, I am not Read-a-Thonning right now. Sigh. I wish I could but that would be near impossible with a babe in the house. I may try to manage a few pages here and there, but any serious reading will not be in the cards for me. Instead, I will tell you about two books I finished recently but neglected to write about.

The Passage, Justin Cronin

You know what's a huge bummer? Finishing a near-800 page book only to realize that said tome is actually part of a trilogy. Blargh. It's not so much that I don't like a good series, but I really dislike having my expectations shattered. Like, shouldn't this story be resolving right about now? Double blargh. Otherwise, this book was right up my alley… that alley being of the vampire apocalypse variety. And not sexy-sparkly vampires, but nasty-monstrous-killing-machine vampires.

So, the story jumps around, starting with the origins of how the apocalypse came about (government shenanigans, natch) including the origin story of the world's savior, a six-year-old girl (no spoilers, that fact is on the cover of the book). Then we skip ahead about 90 years later to catch up with a surviving colony of humans. You can guess that all these stories converge, which is done quite nicely. My only gripe is that there's too much religious metaphor, and its done too clunkily. Really, why oh why does most vampire fiction have to involve so much God talk? And oh, okay, I've got one more gripe. Too much of the action towards the end felt too rushed. And slightly implausible. Wish is crazy given that this is an almost 800 page book. And also crazy given that we have to suspend so much disbelief already. Like, you're already asking me to believe that there's been a vampire apocalypse, but now you want me to go along with a mega-mind-controlling vampire? Sigh.

But you know I'm going to read the sequels.

Stumptown, Greg Rucka

Might I recommend following up an epic vampire novel with a noir-ish detective comic? I like comics, I like detectives, I like Portland. What's not to like?

Book Forty: Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby, Ira Levin

Oooh, super creepy. I remember seeing the movie several years ago and thinking through the majority of it, "This isn't scary at all!" And then the last 10 minutes or so scared the bejesus out of me. The book freaked me out even more. Was it knowing what was coming that made it more frightening? Or just the nicely plotted suspense? Either way, I'm still wondering if I should be disturbed that I had the same due date as Rosemary. Ingrid can be pretty difficult sometimes, but she's far from being Satan's offspring. Mostly.

Book Thirtynine: The Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford

I absolutely adore this kind of writing, so seemingly light and trivial, but when you start paying attention you realize just how perfectly crafted it is. This is the kind of writing that makes me wish I was a better writer.

"Rawl had been a white hunter, the only husband she had ever lost respectably through death, having shot him by accident in the head during a safari."

However, it ends far sadder than I ever expected and I'm still feeling gloomy over it.