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The Camelot Shadow
The Camelot Shadow
Sean Gibson | 2014 | Fiction & Poetry, History & Politics
8
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
‘’I can either tell you my tale, or I can respond to your feeble witticisms. I cannot, in my mildly inebriated state, do both.’’

This is not your usual story related to King Arthur, Merlin and Camelot. This will, in fact, be quite different story and not only unusual, but one of a kind.

We go back in time when Queen Victoria was ruling over England. In a time when the author really liked to point out the fact that the characters are using trains. It was pointed out so much, that I had to do a bit of research to see if trains existed in that time. They did – apparently England had the oldest rail transport in the world. And Queen Victoria was one of the first royals to use that form of transport too.

Now, I am not even sure why I kept going on about trains… Back to the story…

The Camelot Shadow covers the story of Lord Alfred Fitzwilliam, a man whose wife is ill from an incurable illness. When an opportunity arises, giving him the chance and hope that he might save the life of his lover, he goes on a mission to find an object from the time when King Arthur was the ruler of England, and Merlin was his companion.

With a help from a group of people, Alfred digs the history and the stories of the past, only to discover that not everything he believed in was true, and not everyone that he trusted is his ally.


A story that reminded me of Dan Brown’s work. Quite similar in the sense of clues, history, what is a myth and what is a fact, though also quite distinctive, as it covers people’s characters so well, describing their personalities in a powerful way.

‘’Wealth. Status. Happiness. A perfect life. All built on an ephemeral foundation, an impossibility masking a lie that, if exposed, if openly acknowledged, would bring it all crashing down around our heads.’’

When a great disappointment comes around, and all hope is gone, people change, and people feel things. A person starts to wonder what they did wrong, what could they have done differently, what if… Alfred is one of the people where we will see his change over the chapters. For better or for worse, I’ll let you decide.

‘’It was Guinevere’s infidelity that brought down Arthur’s Camelot’’ – he said, wiping a trickle of Scotch from his chin with the back of his sleeve. ‘’It was God’s cruelty that brought down mine.’’

A book that explains good and evil in the unusual way. I thought I could explain good and evil, but sometimes my evil can do you good, and your good can do harm to everyone. And power… oh what people are capable to do for power…

‘’Power, Arthur had taught him, was not something to covet, but rather something to treat in the same manner one might handle a wild mastiff – with considerable respect, constant vigilance, and a trace of fear. ‘’

If you are a fan of history fiction, and stories about Arthur and Merlin, you would definitely want to dive in into this book and get lost into the world. And that is not the only thing that this book covers… It covers hope, faith, loss, love, good, evil, power, guilt and everything in between. Get ready for an adventure. One full of bravery and magic. And maybe… maybe some hope.

A huge thank you to the author, Sean Gibson, who was kind enough to give me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  
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Kristy H (643 KP) rated Let Me Lie in Books

Mar 14, 2018  
Let Me Lie
Let Me Lie
Clare Mackintosh | 2018 | Thriller
7
7.3 (3 Ratings)
Book Rating
Slow-building shocking thriller
Anna Johnson is still reeling from the suicide of her father, Tom, when her mother, Caroline, dies as well, in a suicide that copies that of Tom's. A year later, Anna is grief-stricken, parenting a young baby, and trying to put together the pieces of her life. She lives in her parents' old home, surrounded by memories of their life together. On the anniversary of her mother's death, Anna receives a suspicious note that prompts her to dig into her parents' past and their deaths. She quickly discovers that nothing is as it seems--not their suicides, nor the happy childhood memories she holds so dear.

I really love Clare Mackintosh; her first novel, I Let You Go, is one of my favorites, and she's one of those authors I follow on Twitter and find very relatable. So I was very excited to finally get a chance to read this one. I'm still in awe of Mackintosh--who spent twelve years in the police force--and her writing talent. She has such a talent for creating some of her characters. And boy, can she really shock you with a plot twist.

I must first preface that if you have issues or triggers with suicide, this might be one to skip. Having lost a loved one to suicide, I can tell you that this can be a little hard to read. But Mackintosh treats the subject very delicately; she also presents us with a character with BPD, and I thought her treatment of mental illness was very well-done.

The novel is told mainly from Anna's point of view and that of a former police detective, Murray, who gets involved with her case. We do get snippets from someone else--we are left to imagine to try to figure out who it is, when they are speaking, and what has happened to them. Once Anna receives the note questioning her mother's suicide, she takes it to the police, where Murray--an investigator/detective now relegated to desk duty post-retirement--starts looking into it, which is a bit against the rules. This doesn't matter to us, because unless you have no heart, you'll immediately love Murray. He was the star of the story, to me, and I immediately adored him. He's also a great detective and a wonderful force in the book. (Can we have another story with Murray, please, Ms. Mackintosh?)

The book is ominous, creepy, and and tense, as the story slowly builds to its conclusion. It's not a fast-paced thriller, per se, but I was definitely fascinated in what had happened to Anna's parents. I was kept guessing for good chunks of the book, which I certainly appreciated. There are a bunch of twists and turns, several of which had me quite surprised. I just love how Mackintosh can throw you off track and then shock you quite convincingly.

For me, part of this book was a little far-fetched, and I thought Anna acted a little odd at times -- though in her defense, the poor girl is put through a lot. The book is best if you roll with the surprises and just enjoy them. Even better, you have Murray, who offers a touching character (his interactions with his wife are beyond lovely and show a deftness in writing that is quite impressive) as well as superbly-written detective. The book was compelling; nearing the end, I kept going "what? what did he find? who?!" so I know it was effective in creating suspense. It's also creepy at times and surprising until the end. Well-done. 4 stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Edelweiss in return for an unbiased review. More at http://justacatandabookatherside.blogspot.com/.
  
Contagion (2011)
Contagion (2011)
2011 | Drama
Steven Soderbergh has produced some fine films in his time as an established director; Ocean’s Eleven was a sublime mix of dark humour and action, whilst Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen remained decent but not exactly pulse-racing. Here, it seems Soderbergh sticks to what he knows best, how to deliver a brilliantly shot, gripping film. Here we have, Contagion.

An all-star cast with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon and Jude Law is bolstered by excellent cinematography and nail-biting claustrophobia in a film which never forgets its purpose: to shock.

Contagion starts with a cough, a single cough from a single woman, which in turn spreads across the globe, killing over 20 million people in every country on the planet and becoming one of the worst viral epidemics the world has ever seen. The directing style is exquisite and focuses on the days after the first contraction of the deadly virus; close-ups of door knobs and drinking fountains add to the heightened panic and sense of claustrophobia and the continuous references to bird-flu bring it home how frail a race we actually are.

Soderbergh gets stuck into the details of the virus straight away and the pace never lets up, you’ll be gasping for air with the infected as you struggle to keep pace with what’s going on; it’s a relentless film, much like the disease itself. The movie is one of many recent developments that have parallel storylines running throughout; Kate Winslet is a scientist at the centre of disease research, whilst Matt Damon plays a middle aged father protecting his daughter.

Gwyneth Paltrow plays a wife and mother who has been embarking on a dangerous affair whilst away on business and it has to be said, she is excellent in her role, even though it lasts a mere 20 minutes before she pegs it. Her illness is well controlled on screen and you share the pain she is in.

Matt Damon is somehow immune to the virus after losing his wife (Paltrow) and more disturbingly, his son in scenes unbefitting of the films 12A certificate and Kate Winslet looks surprisingly angelic in her body bag… oops, didn’t mean to spoil that for you.

Alas, it’s not all good news as Jude Law pops up now and again as an annoying journalist trying to discover a cure and shame the money grabbing pharmaceutical companies, he plays the character well and you definitely buy into his sense of ‘crazy’ but out of all the stories shuffling for your attention, his is the one you care least about.

Unfortunately, some other small issues hold the film from being a complete success. Parallel storylines are all well and good but there are perhaps too many here. Whilst focusing on Winslet dealing with the fact she has contracted the virus, you forget about how Mr. Damon is coping looking after his potentially not immune daughter and the same can be said for Law’s character too. Which one are we to focus on?

Contagion is artistically, a brilliant film, but it could be said that it’s more style over substance. Yes, the characters have depth, though not as much as we’d like, the story is well written and the shots are beautifully choreographed but that good, solid story is lost about half way through as Soderbergh tries to handle all the different viewpoints. It’s a fantastic film, but not the outright success it could have been. You will however, be reaching for that anti-bacterial hand cleanser a little more often.

https://moviemetropolis.net/2011/11/08/review-contagion-2011/
  
Logan (2017)
Logan (2017)
2017 | Action, Adventure
Hugh Jackman returns for his final performance of his iconic Wolverine character in “Logan” and if this is his last outing, he has picked the best of the series for his swan song.
The film takes place in the near future where an aging and broken down Logan makes a living driving a limo near El Paso.

The man who does not age and instantly heals has found his powers are rapidly fading and he has lost much of his will to live and only the fact that he is secretly watching over an aged and dementia riddled Professor X (Patrick Stewart), gives him any purpose in life.

Logan is a very angry and broken individual who wants nothing more than to purchase a boat and escape with the Professor, something that their Albino companion Caliban (Stephan Merchant) has an issue with due to his severe issues with the sun.

It is revealed that there have not been any new mutants born in over 20 years and as such, those that are left are very scarce, and considered a dying breed.

When a woman encounters Logan she insists that she take her and a young girl to a locale, but Logan wants no part of this. His suspicions are raised when a mysterious agent contacts him and tells him that he needs to let them have the girl and woman should they contact him again. Logan finds his fragile world upended when fate forces him, the Professor, and the mysterious girl to run after a deadly encounter with a large squad of troops and police.

It is revealed that the girl is part of a secret experiment that those behind it will stop at nothing to control and as such, Logan is brought into a conflict that he wants no part of.
In a bloody and violent series of confrontations, Logan must find the strength he no longer has to keep those in his care safe against overwhelming odds.

“Logan” is a darker and more violent look into the Marvel world. The film earns an R rating due to the graphic violence which underscores the intensity and danger of the world in which Logan now lives in. Jackman plays the character as a worn down individual who wants nothing more to do with his glory years and simply has grown tired of living in his former shadow.
Stewart is very good in a sympathetic role of seeing the powerful man he once was diminished due to age and mental illness as he and Logan have become pathetic shells of the once great people they were. Forced to live in seclusion and avoiding the very public they fought to save on multiple occasions.

Director James Mangold who also worked on the script clearly understands the characters and wanted to give fans a darker and more intense look into their world.

There are no grand super villains, legions of mutants, massive explosions, and abundances of FX shots to this story. Instead we get a raw and moving human story that is not afraid to let the characters drive the film. While there are plenty of action scenes in the film, they never overshadow the fact that the story is a tale of real people and not the typical comic film where viewers are deluged with constant eye candy. In fact the film actually keeps a very minimalistic approach to the visuals as much of it is set in the desert and other stark landscapes and towns.
The film does drag a bit as it nears the finale, but the payoff is highly satisfying and should delight fans.

The film is also moving in a way that one would not expect from a film in the X-men series and if this is truly the last outing for Jackman, he could not have picked a more perfect film as this is easily the best of the series.

http://sknr.net/2017/02/17/logan/
  
“What might be sabotaging your uniquely gifted contribution to the world around you? Discover the obstacles and barriers standing between you and your God-given purpose. In this revised book, you’ll learn how to identify ways to strengthen your calling that’ll encourage you to confidently operate in the gifts and talents that God designed you to do. Through the lens of T.H. Meyer’s own journey, you’ll recognize the universal struggle in embracing your whole person as she encourages you to live a life without regrets. For the individual reader looking to examine more deeply their life purpose or a group seeking to collectively spur each other toward their God-given gifts, talents, and life. This book can be used as a 12-week, 6-week, or 4-week study guide, with exploratory questions at the end of each chapter the assist you in listening to God’s voice and revealing your unique purpose, path, or direction.”



Endorsements ”A wonderful exploration, but not only for readers to look inwardly, but to also look around at others, at where our lives are at, and mostly upward toward God’s design and dreams for our lives. Love it!”– Cindy Coloma, best selling and award-winning author of over 15 books ”You’ll come away from this wise and insightful book with a clearer understanding of how you are uniquely gifted to contribute to the world, and why it’s imperative that you honor your creative calling.”– Michelle DeRusha, author of Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runway ”TH Meyer looks at the glass ceiling the world has placed between ‘creatives’ and ‘non-creatives’ and shatters it. This those who have felt they are not creative, too timid, or simply too late to the life they were called to live, Meyer says, ‘Pish-posh.’ She delivers on her promise to help people embrace uniqueness, explore boldness, and encourage faith.”– Amy Young, author of Looming Transitions: Starting & Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service ”In her book, A Life Of Creative Purpose, Tammy Hendricksmeyer [TH Meyer] is a trusted mentor, offer ing us the tools we need to step completely into God’s design for us as individuals, and as members of His body. Her relatable stories coupled with scripture inspire and ignite a renewed passion for pursuing not only our own creative callings but even more, her words stoke the fire in our hearts for the Giver of these gifts.” – Kris Camealy, author of Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight Of Waiting ”A Life of Creative Purpose is a fantastic resource filled with thoughtful questions, stories, and Scripture each designed to awaken us to God’s unique purposes for our lives. It is well-written, thoughtful, and engaging, an invitation to embrace our own eternally significant creative purpose.” – Cindee S. Re, author of Discovering Hope: Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness ”In her book, A Life of Creative Purpose, TH Meyer masterfully blends personal stories with wisdom from Scripture to reveal the importance of creative purpose (even if you think you are not creative.) The thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter will help you discover (or uncover) and embrace the unique way God has made you and inspire you to step into a life of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.” – JoDitt Williams, author/artist of Delight in the Word of God: A Devotional Coloring Book/Journal for Adults



My Thoughts: This is a great book to remind us about the gifts that God has for each of us. It reminds us not to be afraid to step out in faith to use the guts that God gives us to use.


This is a book of encouragement. It helps those who may not know what their purpose or gift is, to learn how to find it.


I enjoyed this book and encourage others to read it.
  
Jellyfish (2018)
Jellyfish (2018)
2018 | Drama
8
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Verdict: Tragic & Heart Breaking

Story: Jellyfish starts as we meet school student Sarah Taylor (Hill) who is in struggling through her drama classes, taking care of her young siblings, while trying to work to give them any sort of extra money, her mother Karen (Matthews) is unemployed suffering from a mental illness.
When Sarah’s teacher Adam Hale (Nri) sees her talent for comedy, he pushes her into trying stand up comedy for a show, just when Sarah’s life starts to fall apart, with her losing her job and the family losing their benefits because of her mother not attending her meetings. Sarah is left needing to turn to darker sides of her life, to make sure her siblings stay with her and don’t get put into the foster system.

Thoughts on Jellyfish

Characters – Sarah is a 15-year-old girl that must look after her younger siblings, while her mother is struggling with her own mental illnesses, Sarah is trying to get through her GCSEs, working part time and being the only adult in her house, she is facing a future that isn’t going to happen unless things change quickly, everything is slowly piling up on her, with life situations she shouldn’t have put on her. Karen in the mother who has been suffering through depression making it difficult for her to even get out of the house to keep the benefits coming in. Adam Hale is the drama teacher that does see some potential in Sarah, he encourages her to find her talent for comedy, being supportive, where nobody else is. Vince is the boss that is trying to be strict, he gives Sarah chances unaware of her problems at home, even if he ends up being like any boss who hasn’t gotten more out of their own life.
Performances – Liv Hill gives us one of the strongest performances you will ever see, from every expression of pain she is going through, to just holding in the explosion of emotion that wants to come out of her. Sinead Matthews does make her character look like she is struggling with life. The rest of the supporting cast are strong, they all let Liv take the centre stage.
Story – The story here shows a 15-year-old that must take care of her younger siblings, manager school life and work life just to keep a roof over their heads. This is a story that will put a startling light on how some children will be living and just what they will need to do to get through each day, it shows the poverty line in England and how people will often not even give you the time of day to see what is wrong with somebody’s life, with only one person trying to offer support to Sarah. We see just how desperate she has become to make sure the family stays together even going against the law in her attempts. You will find yourself being incredibly moved by the struggles of Sarah and watching her slowly see her life unravel makes you want to help her.
Settings – The film is set in Margate a small coast town that doesn’t have the luxury life many people living there would have, it shows that small towns don’t offer big futures for people.

Scene of the Movie – The routine.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – Is drama the only class Sarah takes?
Final Thoughts – This is one of the most emotionally charged movies you will see, we have a truly brilliant performance that will leave you feeling heart broken by what Sarah goes through, a must watch.

Overall: Brilliant.
  
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Hazel (1412 KP) rated Black Box in Books

Dec 14, 2018  
BB
Black Box
Cassia Leo | 2014 |
8
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
My rating: 3.5

<i>This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review</i>

Before beginning this book readers need to be aware, particularly those of a more fragile nature, that it contains themes of mental illness, sexual abuse and suicidal tendencies; but that does not mean this is not a great book. The strap line on the cover of <i>Black Box</i> by Cassia Leo says “Not just another love story” implying that whilst it does fall under the romantic genre there is something more to the novel.

The book begins, in a way, with a cliffhanger. The date is January 8th and the narrator appears to be about to experience, and possibly die, in a plane crash. Before the author reveals the outcome she back tracks to January 3rd where the story, <i>Black Box</i>, genuinely begins.

There are two main characters and the narrative constantly changes from one point of view to the other. This helps the reader to understand both characters’ experiences: past and present. Nineteen-year old Mikki wants to kill herself. She has tried more than once in the past but this time she has a more detailed plan, one that her family would be unable to interfere with. By lying about her real intentions she books a flight to Los Angeles to get as far away from Boston as she can, however she does not anticipate the severe snowy weather which cancels all flights for the next few days.

 Stranded at the airport she meets Crush, a guitar playing Harvard student who was meant to be on the same flight as her. With the niggling feeling that he has met her before, Crush convinces Mikki to go to a coffee shop with him and later, sensing her reluctance to return home, offers to share a double bedroom suite with her at a local hotel until the flights can be rescheduled. During this time together Crush works out why he recognizes Mikki. He once saved her life after she was physically abused and can prove this as he left the only copy of a book his grandpa wrote, titled <i>Black Box</i>, with her that night; a book she still possesses.

The few days they spend in each other’s company helps Mikki more than the years of therapy she has endured since being diagnosed with bipolar. It also helps Crush deal with his own demons and both of them begin to realize they want to live. They also have fallen in love for the first time in their lives and begin to believe they were meant to be together.

It always seems unrealistic that characters in novels fall in love so quickly but their devastating pasts make the reader yearn for them to stay together; they both deserve some happiness and a life worth living. The first person narratives are written so well it is like reading a true story rather than fiction, which makes their experiences even more distressing. Sadly there are people in the world that would be able to relate to either Mikki or Crush, and depending on their current situation may prefer not to read this book. However, Leo has mentioned in her acknowledgments that readers have contacted her to share their own personal experiences.

The downside of this novel was the use of foul language. That may not bother some people, and it is evident that the world today is less shocked by swear words, but it is not necessary to include so much of it. The language was probably intended to make it more realistic and emphasize the pain the two characters feel. If it had only been during the dialogue that these words were used it would have been better than reading them throughout the narrative.

Although shocking and dark in nature, <i>Black Box</i> gets very gripping, especially as life seems to be looking up for Mikki, yet the reader has already read about the upcoming plane crash. With breath held in hope that everything will turn out okay, it is easy to rush through the final chapters. Whether or not there is a happy ending is something you will have to find out by reading it…
  
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Daniel Boyd (971 KP) rated The Sinner - Season 1 in TV

Nov 30, 2017 (Updated Nov 30, 2017)  
The Sinner - Season 1
The Sinner - Season 1
2017 | Crime
I like Bill Pullman and Jessica Biel (0 more)
Barely any of the characters were sympathetic or relatable (3 more)
The ending was dissatisfying
So many wasted episodes
It was only 9 episodes long, but it felt far longer
A Sin That This Wasn't Better
This show came highly recommended to me by sources that I usually trust, but it turned out to be a total let down. The show opens with a young family going to the beach. The mother who is played by Jessica Biel, suddenly walks over to another young man on the beach and stabs him to death in front of over a hundred witnesses in broad daylight. She is then arrested and the show spends the next 8 episodes clumsily trying to explain why she committed this heinous act.

I like Jessica Biel, I like Bill Pullman and I like Christopher Abbott, who plays the husband to Biel's Cora Tannetti. I like mysterious shows about crime and murder. I should have loved this, but I thought it was a train wreck from start to finish. During the first episode we see the murder occur in graphic detail, then the next couple of episodes ask why she did what she did and then you start to wonder, "how are they going to manage to drag this out for another six episodes without it getting stale?" The answer is, they aren't and it gets old fast. In this sense, the writing is a mess.

Sometimes though, a show can have messy writing, but be saved by it's cast of characters. However, that is absolutely not the case here. Cora is the main character of the show, so I think we are supposed to feel some sort of connection to her, yet she is so grossly off-putting in every way, I was actually was hoping to see her get the death sentence. At first you see her committing this atrocity, which obviously causes you to take an instant dislike to her, but you expect as the show goes on and we learn more about her, that we will eventually feel sympathetic towards her. In fact, the exact opposite is true, every new facet of information that I learned about her backstory just made me hate her more and at no point did I feel like I was on her side.

There is also a flashback subplot going on, which shows Cora as a suspiciously old looking teenager, as for some reason Jessica Biel is still playing the role of the teenage Cora. Through this we see her family life growing up, but her family are some of the most dislikeable characters I have seen in a TV show in years. Her mother is a religious nut to the point of insanity, her father is sleeping with the next door neighbour and her terminally ill sister is such a little shit that you don't feel any sympathy towards her for her illness and you end up hoping she will die sooner rather than later.

I'll try to discuss the ending without giving away any major spoilers, but for those who haven't yet seen the show, you may want to skip to the final paragraph. At around the episode 5 mark, I was very close to giving up on this show, but I had heard that the ending was amazing, so I stuck with it. What a waste of time that turned out to be. The reveal itself was a huge let down and after everything was revealed, I still felt that the murder victim didn't deserve to die and I thought that Cora pretty much getting away with murder was so dissatisfying and undeserved.

Overall, this show is pretty awful. There are so many plot threads that go nowhere, the writing thinks it is far more clever than it actually is, actors that I normally like are playing entirely dislikeable characters and the whole thing seems far longer than just nine episodes. The ending isn't worth sticking around for and really the show is just tons of wasted potential. Do yourself a favour and give this a skip, there are far better shows available to watch on Netflix.
  
The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson | 2009 | Fiction & Poetry, Horror
6
7.8 (23 Ratings)
Book Rating
Several years ago, I watched The Haunting (1999). It was not an intentional watching of the movie and I actually forgot that I had watched it shortly after. Now and then, I would recall a scene and try to remember where it was from without much luck. At that time, I was not aware that it was an adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting of Hill House. In fact, it wasn't until more recently that I returned to my long forgotten passion for the written word. In a way, I'm a bit glad that I read the book - or in this case, listened to it.

One of the largest determining factors for me when I'm listening to an audio book is the quality of the narration, and in this case I highly suggest the version narrated by David Warner over Bernadette Dunne. Warner's voice is far gentler on the ears and his heavy English lends an utterly unique feeling to the story. I only listened to a sample of Dunne's version and found it very painful on my ears. Warner's reading is published by Phoenix, whereas Dunne's is from Blackstone Audio. Considering that I use audiobooks in order to help me relax along the hour long commute to and from work, the quality of the recording is vital to whether or not I am capable of stomaching the book (and for this reason, I nearly dropped House).

The Haunting of Hill House was published in 1959 by Viking, six years before Shirley Jackson's death. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Jackson"; target="new">The book itself is lauded as a classic example of haunted house fiction, earning praise from my all time favorite author, Stephen King.</a> It is a story in which four individuals take up summer residence in the famed Hill House, where they embark upon an unexpectedly brief journey to learn more about the supernatural - and perhaps even about their own selves. Each character is riddled with their own flaws and, to my great surprise, are not filled with the incessantly needy yearning for romance that is so common in other books.

I can also admit that none of the characters are particularly likable. The character that I find most tolerable is Eleanor Vance, our star for this read who clearly suffers from mental illness. Given the time in which the book takes place, it is almost heartbreaking how little others are able to pick up regarding her mental state and, when they finally do, the disdain they treat her with is extremely painful to watch. My least favorite of the cast is Mrs. Montague and her planchette. Mrs. Montague seems rather incapable of caring about anyone other than herself and goes to great lengths to undermine her husband. Her short fuse makes her utterly unbearable and, were I to cross paths with her, I can't promise that I wouldn't want to throttle her.

As far as the haunting of the manse itself goes, there's very little to it. While Jackson's prose is meticulous and gorgeous to behold, at no point did I feel any sense of unease. Much of what is meant to be unsettling is not supernatural in origin, but derived from the interactions of the characters. In a way, the reader is simply a passenger along for the ride in Eleanor's descent into madness, and it is from this that unease can be felt than by anything ethereal.

I enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House and I find it to be a pleasant read (or in this case, listen), but it is not among my favorites when it comes to horror. I felt no real need to keep going and none of the edge-of-your-seat anxiety that horror fans like myself thrive on. It is certainly a beautiful book and Hill House has a hauntingly sad past, but other than that I did not find the story to be overly impressive. While some of this could be attributed to the fact that I had seen the movie in the past, I don't really feel that is the case - especially since I seem to be in agreement with several other readers.