Blog Archives

Edition 29: Book Review: Slade House by David Mitchell

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


slade-house-cover

Every October, I try to find a good spooky read that will keep me looking over my shoulder while I’m munching on too much Halloween candy. This time, I gathered up a list of recommended reads and randomly chose one: Slade House by David Mitchell. Though I found the premise to be intriguing, sadly it didn’t give me any goosebumps, nor did it keep me flipping the pages, anxious to read more.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 24: Book Review: Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carrier

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


manners and mutiny cover

Since my review of the first in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series back in Edition 8 of SQ Mag, I’ve loyally followed the misadventures of Sophronia Temminick aboard an airship finishing/espionage school. Our young heroine has learned quite a bit of deadly, yet mannerly knowledge since books two and three. She’s experienced both success and failure in trying to stop the nefarious deeds of various enemies. Now we come to the end, in a fourth book that wraps up the story quite nicely with exploding pastries, werewolves, and Picklemen. Oh my. Read the rest of this entry

Edition 23: Book Review: Little Girls by Ronald Malfi

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


cover little girls

Like most of us, during the month of October, I enjoy spooky stories, movies, and TV programs. I like to feel the goosebumps, to keep looking over my shoulder at every little noise, to be afraid to turn off the light when I’m reading in bed. So this month, I chose a novel that was recommended in a Top 10 list on Best Horror Movies.com. Their listing described the book as “completely terrifying.” I’m sorry to say that the description did not hold true for me.

Little Girls is a modern story about a woman (Laurie) who travels to a rural town to oversee the sale of her recently deceased (and estranged) father’s estate. Her husband and daughter accompany her as well. As the story progresses, we learn that Laurie did not have a close relationship to her father, and left with her mother at a young age. We also learn about a childhood “friend” named Sadie, who wasn’t a friend at all, but tormented Laurie in very disturbing ways. Sadie died a tragic death on the property as a child , and as Laurie goes through the motions of tying up her father’s business, long-buried memories resurface about Sadie. Read the rest of this entry

Edition 22: Book Review: The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Lovehart, Esq.

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


Mirror and Goliath cover

I’m always on the search for a unique speculative fiction experience that I can introduce SQ Mag readers to. This time round I discovered The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. series by author Ishbelle Bee. Indeed, The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath proved to be written in a different way to anything else I’ve read. While experimentation can be good, in this case, it didn’t always work in favor of the story.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 21: Audiobook Review: The Doll Collection (ed. Ellen Datlow)

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


audiobook cover the doll collection

For this edition of SQ Mag, I decided to step out of my usual e-book reading and chose an audiobook instead. Being the weird and creepy story lover that I am, this anthology caught my eye immediately. Anyone who knows me could guess why—it was that creepy doll on the cover and the title that promised a collection featuring my worst phobia. Not to mention that most of these stories were authored by notable names in the literary and entertainment industry like Joyce Carol Oates and Stephen Gallagher. What I listened to, however, wasn’t quite what I expected, but not entirely in a bad way.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 19: Book Review: Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


waistcoats cover

After a long wait, I finally got my hands on a copy of the third book in the Finishing School Series. Having been enchanted greatly with the first, and slightly less with the second, I was glad to discover that this was not the final book in the series. If it had been the last one, it would have been wholly unsatisfying, so with that in mind, I have to be a little more flexible with this review.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 18: Book Review: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


 Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 3.56.01 pm

Having been somewhat unsatisfied with the creep factor in the November review book, I decided to try again for the January edition. In my hopeful search, I came across The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. The title—quite fitting for this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere—sealed the deal. And to my delight, once I ventured into its pages, it provided the creep I wanted.

The Winter People is told from alternating timeframes between 1908 and the present day in rural West Hall, Vermont. Most of the events occur during snowy, desolate winters, under the shadow of an ominous rock formation known as The Devil’s Hand. Rather than being simple backdrops, both the setting and weather were as vivid and mysterious as the characters. This isn’t an easy thing to do, but Ms. McMahon did it well, turning this novel into a truly immersive read. Read the rest of this entry

Edition 17: Book Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


Rooms by Lauren Oliver cover

With the Halloween season comes the pull toward all things spooky. So, for this edition of SQ Mag, Rooms by Lauren Oliver looked like it fit the bill. The book is the first foray into adult fiction by this bestselling YA author. For the most part, the writing was superb, but unfortunately the actual story didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

Rooms opens with the two main protagonists, ghosts Alice and Sandra, taking bets over whether the house’s current resident, Richard Walker, will die at home or in the hospital. After his death, his estranged family arrives to take care of the arrangements. We’re introduced to his ex-wife Caroline (an alcoholic), son Trenton (a suicidal teen), his daughter Minna (a sex addict), and her daughter Amy (a normal six-year-old).

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 16: Book Review: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


book of life

After a nearly two-year wait, fans of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy will be thrilled to know that the third book has finally arrived. You may remember my reviews of the first (A Discovery of Witches) and second book (Shadow of Night) in 2012. Having enjoyed the previous stories so much, I had very little trouble remembering the plot details that were left unfinished. This final installment wraps all the loose threads into a mostly-satisfying ending.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 15: Book Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

flag US

 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Ever since I reviewed Etiquette & Espionage in the first of the Finishing School series, I have been waiting anxiously for the second book to release in this young adult steampunk adventure. Finally, I got my wish and decided to review Curtsies & Conspiracies  for this edition of SQ Mag.

Read the rest of this entry