Weekly Reads

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Brianna- The Penguin Lessons:What I Learned From a Remarkable Bird

Candace- Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince

Christine- After the End

JoAnna- You Want Me To Work With Who?

Meghan- Remembrance

Shianne- The Sandman

 

Daughters Unto Devils

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Daughters Unto DevilsDaughters unto Devils
By: Amy Lukavics

“When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.”

This book was described as a mixture of Stephen King and Little House on the Prairie. That is what drew me into it initially. I was greatly disappointed when I finished reading this book. It’s far from anything by Stephen King and the fact that it was described as being something similar to Little House on the Prairie is completely ridiculous. There are so many plot holes within this book that once I finished it, I was upset and frustrated. Lukavics seemed to have really good ideas for where the story could have gone, but it was not executed fluidly.

Despite being described as a horror, there was hardly any suspense or horror. The characters were not thoroughly fleshed out and the lack of development made it difficult to feel any sort of sympathy, empathy, or relation to any of the characters. In a psychology-driven book, a character’s emotions have to feel real, a reader must feel empathy for the character, and the author has to bait the reader with the reveal. There was no clear motive for the main character’s guilt, and she ended up annoying me so much I completely lost all liking for her.

Her attempts at writing colloquial “mountain” and “prairie” lingo were horribly stereotypical, and did not flow naturally. Her language choices felt forced (there are only so many instances of characters referring to each other as ‘sister’ or ‘daughter’ a reader should ever have to take), and instead of building a time and place through her prose, she instead chose to use a superficially tacky form of ‘Ye Olde Englishe’ to let us know it was set in the past.

This whole book needed a lot more development. There was the potential for a frightening and fascinating novel in there somewhere, but there was simply not enough character exploration and world building. Lukavics certainly had the space to do it; the novel was short and the text was extra-large to give it the appearance of a normal length novel. 1/10

The Dead House

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Dead HouseThe Dead House
By: Dawn Kurtagich

“Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she’s the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares to touch it.”

Dawn Kurtagich’s debut novel leaves you with a haunting and uncomfortable feeling with each turn of the page. The design of the book is considered a mixed-format – it jumps between diary entries, newspaper articles, e-mail exchanges, police transcripts, doctor’s notes, interviews, and transcribed video footage. The story tells of a young high school student in England with multiple personalities, struggling to come to terms with the death of her parents and her bizarre predicament of having an alter-ego. Carly is the shy, timid girl of the day, and Kaitlyn is the bold, broody girl of the night. The main bulk of the book follows Kaitlyn’s diary entries, and we witness her slow descent into madness and then the rapid consequences.

The story jumps timeline a few times, and if you’re not carefully reading the time stamps and dates marked on the entries, you are bound to get confused. I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it was full of suspense, mystery and the perfect dash of horror to leave me shuddering at night. The diary entries alone would not have been enough for this book and Kurtagich does a phenomenal job weaving police and psychiatric transcripts into the story. The transcribed video footage allows the reader to get a glimpse into Kaitlyn’s surroundings and the horrors she is experiencing as her mental stability slowly crumbles.

I typically harbor a lot of resentment towards books geared towards young adults, but this book had just enough drama, suspense and horror that it left me legitimately creeped out. There was no overwhelming amount of romance, no love triangles or anything that typically gets written into young adult novels. This focused more on a young woman attempting to survive and ultimately fighting a battle of good versus evil. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich is one of the few books that I have read that I wish I hadn’t just so I can go back and experience reading it all over again.

Welcome to the Dead House. 10/10.

Weekly Reads

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Candace- The Lost Tudor Princess:The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas

Christine- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Jeanne- The Chessman

Meghan- The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own making

Sue- The Paris Architect

 

 

Trending Titles

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See what’s popular at Wolcott Public Library now!

Friction– Sandra Brown

“After a downward spiral following the death of his wife Crawford Hunt, a Texas Ranger, is fighthing for the custody of his five-year-old daughter. Judge Holly Spencer,  ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Despite Crawford’s obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctively, saving Holly from a bullet. But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains a threat.”

The Invisibles– Cecelia Galante

“Four girls brought together at a home for girls bond and form their own family, which they call The Invisibles. Their close family circle exhibits cracks when a tragedy occurs. Three leave after graduation while one remains behind. Fifteen years later with one of them in crisis, The Invisibles gather together and the truth about their lives surfaces.”

Luckiest Girl Alive– Jessica Knoll

“A young woman strives to create the perfect life–husband, home, career–until a violent incident from her past threatens to unravel everything and expose her most shocking secret of all.”

The Murderer’s Daughter– Jonathan Kellerman

“A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches-perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ death in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.”

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up– Marie Kondo

“The Japanese Art of decluttering and organizing.”

Between the World and Me– Ta-Nehisi Coates

“At every stage of his life Ta-Nehisi Coates has sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him-most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. Coates discuses his journey through America’s history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings-moments when he discovered some new truth about our long, tangled history of race, whether through his myth-busting professors at Howard University, a trip to a Civil War battlefield with a rogue historian, a journey to Chicago’s South Side to visit aging survivors of 20th century America’s ‘long war on black people,’ or a visit with the mother of a beloved friend who was shot down by the police.”

Weekly Reads

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Brianna- Dead House

Candace- Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter: A Biography of Princess Louise

Christine- Sapiens:A Brief History of Humankind

Jeanne- The Life Changing-Magic of Not Giving a F*ck:How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do

JoAnna- When a Heart Turns Rock Solid

Meghan- Siren

Sue- Paris Red

Weekly Reads

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Candace- The Borden Murders:Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century

Christine- Between the World and Me

JoAnna- The Fence:A Police Cover-Up Along Boston’s Racial Divide

 

 

Weekly Reads

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Brianna- The Children’s Home

Candace- Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark

Christine- Ink and Bone:The Great Library

JoAnna- Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League

Meghan- Interim Errantry

Sue- The Bishop’s Wife

Alice in Bed

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Alice in Bed

By: Judith Hooper

“We don’t know what’s wrong with Alice – no one does, though her brothers have inventive theories; even the best of medical science offer no help. Her legs no longer support her. She cannot travel home and so is separated from her beloved Katherine. She also suffers fits each day at noon, sending her into swooning dreams in which she not so much remembers her life as relives it.”

In this book you travel from London to Paris and back to Boston, following the correspondence between all the James children and the ailments they all face. Written in an era where mental illnesses are treated with vacations to mountain resorts to soak in warm baths, or the dreaded alternative of a sanitarium you learn about the dark treatments used on patients like Alice who merely suffer from generalized anxiety.

As it turns out, the Jameses were a prominent Boston family in the 1890s with an eccentric father who had a tendency to shut himself up in his office to write about “Divine Nature” and other supernatural occurrences.

The story centers around a young woman by the name of Alice who suffers from ailments that no doctor of “modern” medicine can diagnose. It follows Alice’s suffering and the impact it has on her family, her friends and her dreams. As her suffering progresses to her legs, she finds herself bound to a chair and at the mercy of her nurse – her only consolation from her life of isolation is the occasional letter she receives from her brothers and cousins living their lives around the world. Despite her physical ailments, Alice is of sound mind, she’s sharp witted, highly independent in thought and very opinionated. With her charm and her sharp mind for politics she makes friends easily. She shocks high society with her feminist beliefs and your heart breaks for her as her body slowly fails her all due to mental health.

The James family was an actual wealthy Bostonian family, and Hooper did extensive research to find their letters and add them to her book. All the characters represented are real, and thoroughly researched through hand-written letters, diaries and books published about the James family. I enjoyed this book completely, and found Alice to be very relatable – her anxiety attacks were familiar, and in the end, Hooper goes over what potential ailments Alice suffered from, using modern psychiatric research and genealogical information on the other family members. Alice was written as a strong, intelligent woman attempting to break from the social circle her family forced her into as well as trying to find peace and solace within her own mind. 8/10