This House is Haunted by John Boyne

This House is HauntedThis House is Haunted by John Boyne

Written in Dickensian prose, This House Is Haunted is a striking homage to the classic nineteenth century ghost story. Set in Norfolk in 1867, Eliza Caine responds to an ad for a governess position at Gaudlin Hall. When she arrives at the hall, shaken by an unsettling disturbance that occurred during her travels, she is greeted by the two children now in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There is no adult present to represent her mysterious employer, and the children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, another terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.

From the moment Eliza rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence that lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realizes that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past. Clever, captivating, and witty, This House Is Haunted is pure entertainment with a catch.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

My Thoughts:

Didn’t take me very long to decide that this book and I were going to have a great love affair. What did I love about it? There really wasn’t anything that I didn’t love about it. When the blurb described it as the classic nineteenth century ghost story, I was skeptical. There have been a lot of other books that made similar claims, and they have been a disappointment. I doubt anyone would be disappointed with this one.

I will not spend a lot of time going over events in this story as the blurb has taken care of that already. What made me love this book more than anything was that it was creepy and chilling rather than disgusting and horrifying. I have always enjoyed literature that revolves around a good mystery and this novel does. There was no need for gore and blood when the story itself was so well written. This is a book that the imagination of the reader can have fun with.

The way the plot twists and events unfold in this story is handled with grace. You may think you have things figured out, but along the way somewhere, Mr. Boyne will surprise you with something you weren’t expecting, thus changing your outlook on what is to happen next.

I was particularly enthralled with the strange dynamic between Isabella and her Brother Eustace. She was a curiosity throughout the entire story, as I was never sure if she was what she claimed to be. This made the story far more interesting.

The main character is introduced to the story in such a manner that you feel you have come to know her and much about her life before the rest of the book begins. This was lovely. I was concerned for her safety and stayed right with her throughout the entirety of the tale. She is a likable main character, strong, intelligent and able to command the attention of the reader. There is a hint of romance, but it does not consume the book.

The climax of this tale is worthy of being called a ghost story. Where many other books have failed at giving the reader a believable basis for why paranormal events would happen, this one succeeded. The plot is tight, makes sense and leaves you in anticipation of the final events. Even through the last word of the book I was hooked.

I definitely recommend this book. In fact, you should be reading this book instead of my review. Go…read. You will be happy you did.

Dickens would be proud, I believe.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher and provided in agreement with Netgalley.

A comment turned into a valuable post

So WordPress is being stuuupid and refuses to let me reblog this, so I stole it. Here is a comment from my Sexy post earlier that I thought deserved a separate post.

This is from http://ramblingsofabipolarwoman.wordpress.com/author/ramblingsofabipolarwoman/
Now onto what I had to say to her blog….what makes someone sexy in my eyes? Well, let me tell you just that….

Oh my goodness, there are so many good responses that I have read. Each has their own definition and well, mine goes along with what some have already said and more.

I do agree that upon seeing someone for the first time, initially looks have a lot to do with it. Though, as also stated before, an ugly personality can ruin any amount of good looks. To me, someone who is truly sexy is someone I am attracted to both their physical appearance and their personality. I have met people who I find physically appealing, but upon getting to know them, I can’t stand them. I have also met some people with wonderful personalities that while I do love them and know God finds beauty everywhere, I don’t personally find them sexy. It really is a combination of so many things….

I too have been attracted to musicians. If you can play an instrument and/or sing really well, I have been known to draw to them like a moth to a flame. Oddly enough, the man I fell head over heels with and so happy with now is NOT a musician, though he does have an intense love for music. Common interests definitely plays a role in things.

Confidence does as well, as long as it doesn’t go from being confident, loving who you are, and sure of yourself to arrogance. One who takes care of themselves and takes pride in their appearance is important, just don’t come across as thinking you’re the greatest there is. ;)

Kindness, a sense of sincere compassion towards others is a huge factor for me. Be one who is going to take care of themselves, but also be more than willing to lend a helping hand to someone in need, to be there for their friends, family, and community. A warm heart really does win me over.

Being able to speak your mind when needed is huge too, must be able to communicate, but also that ability to be confident in their silence as well is not to be overlooked.

As far as looks go, I tend to gravitate towards people with brown hair, striking eyes, and a warm smile. I can also appreciate a man who has nice muscles and lean, but firm figure…..not to be overdone though….just healthy and in shape. I don’t seek bodybuilders and such. ;) I am happy the love of my life takes pride in his appearance and staying in shape. He also motivates me to do the same, another factor I find totally appealing….his genuine care for my health and well-being, as much as he cares about his own.

Being able to handle me, deal with my insane family, and keep calm is very big with me too. I am a bit much sometimes, but if you can stay patient, keep calm, and weather everything with me….you have earned some major sexy points. ;)

And yes, laughter….being able to smile, laugh, and find the joy in life is a MUST! There are times to be serious, you must be able to take care of things, know when to buckle down, know when not to make a joke of things….but if you’re too tightly laced, it doesn’t matter how gorgeous you first appear….I’ll soon look away. Being able to make me laugh is so important…..lucky to have found someone who knows how to make me laugh, even when my day is so very dark. Never overlook that factor in someone….their ability to make you smile and laugh. ;)

There are the lists that tell you who are today’s sexiest people….and some of them certainly make ya go…oh yeah, yum….but, ya wonder…if we were to actually meet them and get to know them….how many would we still say are legitimately sexy? Take away the cameras, make-up, fancy clothes, and strip them down to who they really are….who would we befriend? Who would we find as sexy inside as we do out? I wonder that from time to time….

That concludes what I had to say….for now. ;) And if you’d like to chime in here as well, feel free. I’d like to know what you find truly sexy in another human being….

Blogger of the week

This week’s blogger of the week is Julian Froment. Julian is one of my favourite bloggers. He shares my love of reading and classic literature and always has an interesting and thoughtful perspective on what he reads. He is not a psychotic blog poster like I am so, if you follow him you will get only no nonsense posts when he actually has something important to say. (So sorry all of you…really.)

Also, I owe Julian for listening to me prattle on senselessly about what I am reading. He is a good listener as well. Go drop him a line and say hello. Here is his site: http://julianfroment.wordpress.com/

*An Unfortunate but apparently necessary side note. I have had a couple of emails now where relatively new bloggers are asking if they can be featured on Readful Things Blogger of the Week. While I would love to accommodate everyone’s wish, I feel I must clarify how this all works. I choose the bloggers that I enjoy interacting with and think have something valuable to offer the community. I generally don’t pick blogs that have only been around for a month or so as there isn’t much content and I haven’t gotten an overall view of what they intend to feature (with rare exceptions.) This blogger of the week bit is just my way of saying hey–look at that blog! So, for anyone who has not figured out that I am a prat and also stubborn and set in my ways–here is the break down.

If I choose you, you have been selected. If I don’t, emailing me will do no good. My blog=my choice. For the person who recently got mad at me for turning you down as blogger of the week–Why not start your own blogger of the week? I will email you and apply. :)

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson

Nikola Tesla was a major contributor to the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the twentieth century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and contributed to the development of radio and television. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was one of America’s first celebrity scientists, enjoying the company of New York high society and dazzling the likes of Mark Twain with his electrical demonstrations. An astute self-promoter and gifted showman, he cultivated a public image of the eccentric genius. Even at the end of his life when he was living in poverty, Tesla still attracted reporters to his annual birthday interview, regaling them with claims that he had invented a particle-beam weapon capable of bringing down enemy aircraft.

Plenty of biographies glamorize Tesla and his eccentricities, but until now none has carefully examined what, how, and why he invented. In this groundbreaking book, W. Bernard Carlson demystifies the legendary inventor, placing him within the cultural and technological context of his time, and focusing on his inventions themselves as well as the creation and maintenance of his celebrity. Drawing on original documents from Tesla’s private and public life, Carlson shows how he was an “idealist” inventor who sought the perfect experimental realization of a great idea or principle, and who skillfully sold his inventions to the public through mythmaking and illusion.

This major biography sheds new light on Tesla’s visionary approach to invention and the business strategies behind his most important technological breakthroughs.–Description from Goodreads

Hardcover, 520 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2013
by Princeton University Press (first published May 7th 2013)
ISBN
0691057761 (ISBN13: 9780691057767)
original title
Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age
You can find this book HERE
My Opinion:
Many self-described “Tesla Biographers” have taken a shot at writing a book that would be considered comprehensive and worthy of filling in the gaps of this infamous man’s life, but none have done so as well as W. Bernard Carlson.

If you are expecting a light, fluff-filled read about this important inventor, please look elsewhere. This book is intelligent, articulate and technical. If your desire is to make sense of the how and why Tesla ended up where he did by the end of his life, this book will not only elaborate on common knowledge of the subject, but will open your eyes to the unfortunate truth of this genius and his fall from grace, society and his descent into poverty.

What I found fascinating about this book, was that rather than giving in to the previous biographer’s desire to make Tesla look like a superhuman celebrity with an external muse that produced his creativity, this book shows the rise to fame through his eyes. His inventions are detailed and his numerous ideas and contributions to science and the field of electrical engineering is presented brilliantly. Rather than going from chapter to chapter saying “and then he did this and then he did that” this work has a very natural progression. Frequently using Tesla’s own words to describe his creative process, Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age gives a much more in depth view of his life.

I had always thought of Tesla as having been someone who looked within himself to answer the great questions of life, and this book seems to agree with that notion. As someone who is also rather introspective, I appreciated the idea that Tesla turned to his own mind for answers and created his own circumstances for his early success.

If you are the type of history buff that will get lost in an old black and white photo for minutes at a time, marveling at how things have changed, this author has you covered. There are plenty of photos and diagrams in this book of Tesla, his inventions and his previous places of employment. I was intensely drawn to the photo of Edison’s Machine Works and the photo of the inside of the machine shop at Wardenclyffe.

Rather than viewing Nikola Tesla in a celebratory way, this book takes a neutral and impartial stand of the inventor, neither praising nor degrading him for his work nor his decisions. The author has researched and presented material that tells the story of a man from humble beginnings who did many great things, and made some choices that were most regrettable in terms of his own preservation.

After reading this, my opinion is pretty simple. I believe Tesla would be proud of this biography. Perhaps just as proud of this as he would be of the unit of measurement named after him.

While Tesla may not be the household name that Edison has turned out to be, for any serious scholar of the age of invention, he will always be an important contributor to many things that we take for granted as every day convenience today.

I feel this is an important book and one that should be shared with the younger generation. Teachers, parents and anyone who is interested in the history of invention and pioneers of their time would benefit from this book. I thank the author for the hard work and dedication they have shown in writing this.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.