Victorian era

Joint Review: “The Eterna Files” Falls Flat

22238164The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber
Tor: February 3, 2014 (Steampunk)*

The view was nice, but the food was bad vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

Jaclyn’s Review

I really liked the idea behind The Eterna Files. Secret government organization in Victorian England? Yes, please! Unfortunately, this one missed the mark for me. Some of the characters were interesting, but I never felt that I spent enough time with them to truly get invested in their stories.

Harold Spire has been appointed by Queen Victoria to Special Branch Division Omega, and he’s not happy about it. Spire had been in the midst of a very difficult case and he doesn’t want to let it go unsolved to lead a secret branch of the government that’s bent on investigation the extraordinary. He does not believe in that sort of thing. Spire’s first order of business is to investigate the supposed discovery of the Eterna Compound. Apparently it grants immortality, and if the Americans have it, the British definitely want to get their hands on it. (more…)

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“The Companion”: Victorian Crime

482062The Companion by Ann Granger (Lizzie Martin #1)
Minotaur Books, June 12, 2007 (Historical Mystery)

My rating: Beach vacation (3/5)

Thanks to one of my wonderful co-workers, I’ve become quite the fan of British crime series. Happily, I finally discovered one that she didn’t already know about. The Companion is the start of a series featuring Lizzie Martin, a recently impoverished young woman of the country, and Inspector Benjamin Ross.

After the death of her father, Elizabeth Martin takes the position of lady’s companion to the widow of her god-father. Soon after her arrival in Mrs. Parry’s home, Lizzie discovers that her predecessor has been murdered, and no one seems to care that much, at least until the police investigation impedes their daily lives. Lizzie finds herself pushing for information and is doubly interested when the lead investigator turns out to be someone she knew from childhood.

Inspector Benjamin Ross owes his current position to the goodwill of Lizzie’s father, Dr. Martin, who paid for his education as a young boy. While Ross is willing to use Lizzie’s position in the Parry household to further his investigation, he’s mainly concerned with Lizzie’s safety in the house. He feels that he owes something to Dr. Martin’s daughter and senses that Lizzie just might be in danger as she’s fulfilling the murdered woman’s role, and because Lizzie has a penchant for speaking her mind, something the murderer just might not appreciate. Slowly both Ross’s and Lizzie’s separate inquiries come together, unraveling the mystery of the poor, murdered young woman. (more…)

Your Ghostly Reading List

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In honour of Halloween, I’m creating a ghostly reading list. All of the following feature ghosts in some way (whether real or psychological). Since I’m me, I wouldn’t say that any of these books are terrifying, I am the romance reader after all. But, I love the concept of ghosts in books (especially within a historical context) and all of the following interest me in some way. Most of the books I’ve read, although I have included a couple I haven’t read, since I’ve heard some great buzz about them.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

One of my all-time favourite books. It features a destructive ghost and has an awesome romance between ghost hunter, Matthew, and his newly appointed assistant, Sarah. This one’s not super scary, but those moments when the ghost arrives are spine tingling. All of St. James’ other works also feature ghost hauntings and she is a complete master at interweaving romance with freaky and inexplicable events.

Wide Open by Deborah Coates

Wide Open is the first in a trilogy featuring Sergeant Hallie Michaels, who has returned home for her sister’s funeral. However, Hallie has survived a terrible accident in Afghanistan and she’s now left with the ability to see ghosts. So, here we get a little bit of mystery, paranormal and a dash of romance. An added feature, the ghostliness is related to Native American traditions, which I found extremely interesting.

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Book one in the Graveyard Queen series, this one takes us to the South, where Amelia Gray struggles with her ability to see the dead. I loved the Southern setting to this, and since I’ve been to Charleston I can completely understand how this city could be haunted. The ghostly encounters in The Restorer was also extremely well done; I was completely creeped out by what Amelia was seeing, but there was no way I was going to put the book down.

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Throwing a little teen ghostliness into the mix with this one. The dead are organized into a large library, but there are times when they leave their place. It’s up to Mac as a Keeper to track them down and return them to the archive. Not really scary, but points for being set in a refurbished hotel (The Shining, anyone?).

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

By this point, you can probably tell that I like historical fiction and ghosts in historical settings are even cooler and creepier. In The Uninvited Guests we have a whole host of ghosts that arrive during a young woman’s twentieth birthday, but why are they there and how do they get rid of them?

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I think this one’s more of a psychological haunting than anything else, but I absolutely love this Shirley Jackson novel. The house seems to come alive, but is it is all in Nell’s head or is there something more sinister at work?

The Shining by Stephen King

I could hardly write this list without the inclusion of this classic ghostly tale. We have a haunted hotel and a psychic kid who can see all the lost souls left behind. A great read for Halloween!

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

For the ambitious reader. This is an extremely bizarre ghost story and a bit of a challenge to read considering the words literally tangle on the page. But, it’s worth checking out because the haunted house is seriously freaky, even creepier than the Overlook hotel.

This House is Haunted by John Boyne

I haven’t read this one yet, but I hear good things, plus I am very intrigued by the Victorian setting. I love the idea of spiritualism during this period and can’t wait to check this one out.

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Another one that I haven’t read, but a co-worker compared this one to the movie, The Conjuring, which scared the pants off me, so I am intrigued. Sounds like a creepy coming-of-age story. Count me in!

And that’s all from me! Are there any other ghostly reads that you’d recommend?