April, 2020 - I think I'm going to shut From My Bookshelf down for a while; maybe for good. I've been putting this together for quite a few years now and it's starting to feel a bit more of a chore. I'll keep my Goodreads connected, but with the state of the world right now, I just want to read without worrying about making sure I post something about it. Who knows - when the world starts to make some semblance of sense again, I may start actively posting here again. Until then, as always, happy reading!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Third Grave by David Case

Book 78/75

The Third Grave
by David Case
Narrated by Guy Bethell
Published by Valancourt Books 
April 30, 2019 (Original: 1981)
182 pages • Paperback
ISBN 978-1948405386 • $15.99

To purchase any of the books in this post, click the links above! I receive no commission from these links.
I received a free Audible download from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads,
click the links above!

Book description:
When archaeologist Thomas Ashley is invited to remote Devonshire by Lucian Mallory to examine and decipher millennia-old papyrus scrolls, he is unable to resist the offer, despite knowing of Mallory’s sinister and unsavory reputation. The scrolls, retrieved from an ancient necropolis, purportedly contain Egyptian secrets of resurrection and immortality. From the moment of Ashley’s arrival, it is clear something is terribly wrong: a gruesome murder has been committed, and everyone is fearful a madman is on the loose. But the truth is far more shocking. As the murders continue, Ashley works to uncover the secrets contained in the scrolls and begins to glimpse the horrific reality of Mallory’s inscrutable plan...

Originally published as a limited edition Arkham House hardcover and long out of print,
The Third Grave (1981) is a chilling tale by David Case (1937-2018), an undeservedly neglected master of literary horror. Two volumes of Case’s best short fiction are also available from Valancourt.

“Case should be considered among the half-dozen finest living practitioners of the horror story.” - Michael Dirda,
The Washington Post

“Let us hear more of David Case... The field needs more from the author of ‘The Hunter’, a modern classic worthy to stand beside ‘The Most Dangerous Game’.” - Ramsey Campbell

After listening to David Case's The Third Grave, I was a little surprised to find that it was written in 1981; Case writes and creates an atmosphere that feels as if the story were written much earlier in the century, which is a good thing. There is a definite feel of antiquity to the story that lends itself perfectly to what at first feels like a typical mummy-themed adventure but what quickly turns into something more akin to Frankenstein and the accompanying horrors that can be done to a human body.

Thomas Ashley, an archaeologist, is invited to the home of a passing acquaintance he met in the dessert once, Lucian Mallory. Mallory claims to have discovered some ancient Egyptian scrolls and needs Ashely's expertise to translate them. Unable to resist the chance to work on this new discover, Ashley travels to Mallory's home where he is immediately and inadvertently thrust into a bizarre case of murder; someone, or something, has committed grisly murders in the quiet little town and some think that newcomer Mallory may have something to do with it. What follows is a fast-paced exploration of what it means for the characters to be human and what it means for them to have a soul, while simultaneously trying solve the mystery of the murders going on in town.

Guy Bethell's narration is really quite good, even if his voice is a little bit on the gravely side sometimes and hard to follow. He captures the essence of the characters and really keeps the story moving along thru his narration.

Overall, if you are a fan of a good mummy story, or a fan of Frankenstein, or just enjoy a good tale of the classic supernatural with a modern flair, David Case's The Third Grave is for you.

I'd like to thank Valancourt Books for providing an Audible download of The Third Grave for review.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Toll by Cherie Priest

Book 70/75

The Toll
Published by Tor
July 9, 2019
336 pages • Paperback
978-0765378231 • $16.99

To purchase any of the books in this post, click the links above! I receive no commission from these links.

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads,
click the links above!

Book description:
From Cherie Priest, the author of The Family Plot and Maplecroft, comes The Toll, a tense, dark, and scary treat for modern fans of the traditionally strange and macabre.

The Verge―New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for July
Lit Reactor―Most Anticipated Horror Books of 2019

Take a road trip into a Southern gothic horror novel.

Titus and Melanie Bell are on their honeymoon and have reservations in the Okefenokee Swamp cabins for a canoeing trip. But shortly before they reach their destination, the road narrows into a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car.

Much later, Titus wakes up lying in the middle of the road, no bridge in sight. Melanie is missing. When he calls the police, they tell him there is no such bridge on Route 177…

So. Much. Creepy. Another delicious Southern Gothic delite from Cherie Priest.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Eternals by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by John Romita Jr

Eternals Eternals by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this graphic novel. Neil Gaiman did a really admirable job of updating the history of the Eternals, but still remaining faithful to the already existing mythology that Marvel built around them. If you are a new reader to the Eternals, you wouldn't feel lost, and if you are an old fan, you won't feel that the story has been changed all that much. John Romita Jr's art is spot on, as always, and his dynamic style fits the tone of the story perfectly.

Recommended. (More so if you're a fan of the Eternals than anything else.)

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The Feasting Dead by John Metcalfe

The Feasting Dead The Feasting Dead by John Metcalfe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Delicious, Gothic creepiness!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Haunting of Henry Davis by Kathryn Siebel

Book 47/75

The Haunting of Henry Davis
July 2, 2019
240 pages • Hardcover
978-1101932773 • $16.99

To purchase any of the books in this post, click the links above! I receive no commission from these links.

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads,
click the links above!

Book description:
Two kids are about to find out that their lives are anything but ordinary when a ghost arrives and stirs up adventure. Perfect for fans of A Tale Dark and Grimm!

Ghosts only haunt when they've left something behind...
When Henry Davis moves into the neighborhood, Barbara Anne and her classmates at Washington Carver Elementary don't know what to make of him. He's pale, small, odd. For curious Barbara Anne, Henry's also a riddle--a boy who sits alone at recess sketching in a mysterious notebook, a boy, she soon learns, who's being haunted by a ghost named Edgar.

Today, I'm participating in the blog tour for Kathryn Siebel's The Haunting of Henry Davis. Check out my blog tour post yesterday for K. G. Campbell's A Small Zombie Problem.

At the heart of Kathryn Siebel's The Haunting of Henry Davis is a story of friendship, but that story is wrapped in mystery and ghosts. When Barbara Anne befriends Henry Davis, the weird quiet kid at school, she has no idea the kind of adventure she's going to go on. Henry has a secret, and that secret is he is being haunted by a ghost. Barbara Anne finds out Henry's secret, and being the take charge kind of girl she is, decides that she is going to help Henry get to the bottom of his haunting. Together with their other school friends Renee and Zach, they all discover a little something about the past and a lot about the power of friendship.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Haunting of Henry Davis. Siebel's writing is smart and witty, and she clearly has a knack for capturing the personalities of her young protagonists. Each of the kids are so well written, but I confess to really enjoying Barbara Anne's character the most. She's just so snarky and confident; I think her character will particularly appeal to younger female readers. The story is just creepy enough when it needs to be but nothing too scary for younger readers. I appreciated the touches of historical information that is sprinkled throughout, as well as the kids dealing with real world personal issues. While being a ghost story, all of these things made the story so much more grounded.

Perfect for younger readers who are looking for a great ghost story, they'll also discover there is so much more to The Haunting of Henry Davis than a good scare. Highly recommended!

I'd like to thank Knopf Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of The Haunting of Henry Davis in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A Small Zombie Problem by K. G. Campbell

Book 46/125

A Small Zombie Problem
Zombie Problems, Book 1
June 4, 2019
240 pages • Hardcover
978-0553539554 • $16.99

To purchase any of the books in this post, 
click the links above! I receive no commission
from these links.

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
In his fiction debut--and the start of a new series--celebrated illustrator K.G. Campbell brings a touch of Tim Burton to this singularly strange and wonderful story about a lonely boy whose life is about to get a whole lot more complicated when a zombie follows him home.

August DuPont has spent his whole life inside a dilapidated house with his aunt Hydrangea. His lonely existence ends abruptly with the arrival of an invitation to meet an aunt--and cousins--he didn't even know existed. When Aunt Orchid suggests that August attend school with his cousins, it's a dream come true. But August has scarcely begun to celebrate his reversal of fortune when he is confronted by a small problem on his way home. So begins an adventure filled with a wild child, a zombie, a fabled white alligator, and an unimaginable family secret.

An illustration by K. G. Campbell from the book.
Today, I'm excited to be taking part in the blog tour for K. G. Campbell's A Small Zombie Problem. Come back tomorrow for my blog tour stop for The Haunting of Henry Davis by Kathryn Siebel.

A Small Zombie Problem, K. G. Campbell's middle grade fiction debut, is a fun, quirky, Southern Gothic-flavored tale of family, secrets, family secrets, and zombies, obviously. August DuPont lives with his Aunt Hydrangea in their dilapidated family estate, the last members of the DuPont family and heirs to quickly dwindling DuPont's Peppy Pepper Sauce dynasty. August lives a solitary and lonely life, as he has never left his house at his aunt's insistence (she is agoraphobic and has convinced August that the outside world is a terrifying place). However, one day the grocery delivery boy drops a box of August's favorite snack, Mudd Pies, and August sees his opportunity to take a quick step outside to retrieve his snacks. Of course, this doesn't go nearly as well as August expects it to and sets in motion an adventure that involves a long hidden family pepper sauce secret, newly discovered family, a white alligator, and a wee bit of a zombie problem.

An illustration by K. G. Campbell from the book.
I really enjoyed Campbell's almost timeless presentation of the story (we're never really quite sure when this story takes place) and his accompanying illustrations are delightfully creepy. The story feels very atmospheric at times, and Campbell's writing is spot on creepy when it needs to be, and he also writes some surprisingly beautiful turns of phrase. I was suitably impressed several times with his writing style. August starts out so quiet and introverted and his blossoming confidence throughout the story is handled very well, and Claudette's inclusion as an actual character instead of the zombie plot device is a nice change of pace.

The book starts out a little slow, but as the action picks up, things move along fairly quickly. The ending seems a little abrupt, but the cliffhanger should leave young readers anxious for the next book in the series. I know I'll be looking forward to it.

I'd like to thank Knopf Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of A Small Zombie Problem in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Jim Henson's Dark Crystal Tales by Corey Godbey

Jim Henson's Dark Crystal Tales Jim Henson's Dark Crystal Tales by Corey Godbey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A charming little book with three interconnected stories that show how even the smallest act of kindness can have a larger impact than you may know.

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