Archive for October, 2011

Strange Bedpersons

October 26, 2011

Author: Jennifer Crusie

Title: Strange Bedpersons

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 328

Geographical Setting: Kentucky

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary: Tess and Nick are no longer together; chalk it up to being completely different people. She’s a feminist teacher who grew up on a commune and is extremely outspoken. He’s a conservative, womanizing lawyer who wants to make partner. Of course, underneath his outer-shell, Nick is a decent guy. So when he needs a fake-fiancé for a weekend trip to Kentucky to help his career, she’s willing to play along. See, Nick has to court a Rush Limbaugh-esque writer to get a promotion, and he’s on the school board for a school Tess wants to work at. Will Tess and Nick be able to get his help, and will their closeness affect their relationship?

Subject Headings:

Thirties (age), men/women relationships, lawyers

Appeal: fast-paced, humorous, lighthearted, romantic, upbeat, steamy, conversational, heartwarming, multiple plotlines , charming, breezy, character-centered

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: romantic, lighthearted, humorous

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Brooks, David. “The Social Animal.” Brooks writes about a hypothetical couple and details and discusses soft-science about human nature as he views how the couple changes over the years, much as Tess and Nick change during the novel.

Dowd, Maureen. “Are Men Necessary?” A humorous look at changing gender-roles and relationships; quite possibly a book Tess would have on her shelf.

Gray, John. “Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex.” By the author of “Men Are From Mars…”, this book details overcoming differences and says not to change your partner—something Tess and Nick learned about.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Dahl, Victoria. “Bad Boys Do”. A HQN romance about wrong first impressions, women in their 30s not wanting to change to find a husband, and a light, goofy, tone.

Donovan, Susan. “Knock Me Off My Feet.” Both books have ‘tomboyish’ main characters with an opposites-attract romance plotline and witty tone.

Higgins, Kristan. “Just One of the Guys”.  Both have tomboy main characters, and a light, breezy, tone, although this romance here has a “will he notice me” vibe.

Name: Brian C


October 26, 2011

Author: Stephen King

Title: Christine

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 1983

Number of Pages: 503

Geographical Setting: Pennsylvania

Time Period: 1978

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary:  The year is 1978 and the pimply high school
senior Arnold Cunningham falls in love with “Christine,” a wrecked 1958
Plymouth Fury that he purchases for $250 from an old man who happened to be
wearing a back brace.  Arnie starts to
change after he takes possession of Christine.
The inward character starts standing up to his parents, his acne clears,
and he starts dating the new high school beauty Leigh.  Arnie is not the only one who’s appearance
begins to change.  Christine is restored
back to her 1958 condition extremely quickly by Arnie.  Accept no one actually sees Arnie working on
the car.   Arnie’s friend Dennis who
narrates the story starts to grow concerned after the cars previous owner dies
it is discovers the owner’s wife and daughter both died in the car.  While on a date with Leigh, Christine’s doors
lock Arnie out while Leigh starts choking to death.  Although Arnie is never seen at the scene of
the crime mysteriously all of his high school enemies are murdered while
Christine is present.  Arnie’s friend
Dennis who is convinced Arnie is being possessed devises a final showdown with

Subject Headings: Automobiles, Spirit Possession, Supernatural, the Seventies (20th
century), High school seniors, Misfits(persons), Death.

Appeal: Character-driven, Flawed, Strong Secondary Characters,
Fast-paced, Easy, Small Town, Suspenseful, Uneasy, Dangerous, Haunting, Chilling,
Creepy, Bleak, Compelling, Edgy,

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Character-driven,
Fast-paced, Haunting.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Hidden Files: Law
Enforcements True Case Stories of the Unexplained and Paranormal,
by Sue Kovach.  A
look at documented unexplained phenomena from the perspective of on duty law

 Unseen World: The Science,
Theories, and Phenomena Behind Events Paranormal,
by Ruppert Matthews.
A scientific look into spiritual mediums and reincarnation.

 Chrysler Muscle Cars, by Mike Mueller.
References pictures of Chrysler cars for the auto enthusiast or readers
curious to see what Christine looked like including engine, body, and interior

 3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill. This is the story of a metal band
musician who buys a ghost over the internet.
The ghost turns out to be the spirit of his dead girlfriend’s stepfather.  Similar to Christine the storyline is
character-driven with a fast pace.

Turn of the Screw, by Henry James.
This character driven horror story revolves around a governess of a
country estate who is haunted by ghosts of servants who once served the estate.

The Black Stone Chronicles,
by John Saul.  This fast paced horror story deals with the
destruction of an asylum to make way for a shopping complex.  Similar to Christine the book deals with past horrors effecting people during
the current time period of the story.

Name: Bill P.

The Damnation Game

October 26, 2011

Author: Clive Barker

Title:  The Damnation Game

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 1987

Number of Pages: 448

Geographical Setting: Britain

Time Period: Early 1980’s

Plot Summary:  Marty Strauss, a gambling addict recently released from prison, is hired to be the personal bodyguard of Joseph Whitehead, one of the wealthiest men in the world.  The job proves more complicated and dangerous than he thought, however, as Marty soon gets caught up in a series of supernatural events.  It all starts when a mysterious man named Mamoulian shows up on Whitehead’s property.  It turns out during World War II Whitehead mad a deal with Mamoulian in order to one day be ritch and powerful.   As time passes, Mamoulian haunts Whitehead using his supernatural powers, urging him to complete his pact with him.  Eventually Whitehead relents and chooses to meet with Mamoulian as Marty races to prevent Whitehead’s daughter from becoming entangled as Whitehead seeks to escape his fate.

Subject Headings: Zombies, Good and evil, Former convicts, Rich men, Supernatural, Violence, Selfishness in men

Appeal: Plot-driven, Bleak, Gruesome, Menacing, Violent, Compelling, atmospheric, uneasy, dark, imaginative, descriptive, explicit, horrifying

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Gruesome, compelling, atmospheric

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart by Noel Carroll

A serious look at the aesthetics of horror. In this book he discusses the nature and narrative structures of the genre, dealing with horror as a “transmedia” phenomenon. A fan and serious student of the horror genre, Carroll brings to bear his comprehensive knowledge of obscure and forgotten  works, as well as of the horror masterpieces. Working from a philosophical perspective, he tries to account for how people can find pleasure in having their wits scared out of them.  A nice read for anyone wanting to know more about the horror genre.

Dancing with the Dark: True Encounters with the Paranormal by Masters of the Macabre by Stephen

Fact is definitely scarier than fiction, especially when true stories of encounters with the unknown are retold by the horror masters who experienced them.  This is a good book for any fan of horror.

The Encyclopedia of Hell by Miriam Van Scott

The Encyclopedia of Hell is a comprehensive survey of the underworld, drawing information from cultures around the globe and eras throughout history. Organized in a simple-to-use alphabetic format, entries cover representations of the dark realm of the dead in mythology, religion, works of art, opera, literature, theater, music, film, and television. Sources include African legends, Native American stories, Asian folktales, and other more obscure references, in addition to familiar infernal chronicles from Western lore.  Whitehead makes a deal with the devil in The Damnation Game; this is the perfect book to find out which devil he dealt with.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Good House by Tananarive Due

The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint’s late grandmother is so beloved that townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington, call it the Good House.  But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors, and the Toussaint’s family history and future is dramatically transformed.  A gruesome horror story filled with supernatural elements and dealings with the devil should appeal to fans of The Damnation Game.

A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene

Brinkley Springs is a quiet little town. Some say the town is dying. They don’t know how right they are. Five mysterious figures are about to pay a visit to Brinkley Springs. They have existed for centuries, emerging from the shadows only to destroy. To kill. To feed. They bring terror and carnage, and leave blood and death in their wake.   A terrifying story that should appeal to horror readers who like more carnage mixed in with their horror.  Just like The Damnation Game it is not for the faint of heart.

The Mailman by Bentley Little

It’s the first day of summer in a small American town. We meet a school teacher, his wife, and their young son, Billy. One thing, one seemingly minor thing, goes wrong. And all that was safe and ordinary slowly unravels into nightmare.  There’s a new mail carrier in town, one who’s delivering lethal letters stuffed with icy fear. Now nothing, not even the most outstanding citizens or the most secret weaknesses, is safe from the sinister power of this malicious mailman.  Featuring a strong main bad guy this should appeal to any reader who likes the menacing tone of The Damnation Game.

Name: Jason Rock

Hotel Transylvania: A Novel of Forbidden Love

October 26, 2011  Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Title: Hotel Transylvania: A Novel of Forbidden Love

Genre:  Horror

Publication Date:  1978

Number of Pages:  246

Geographical Setting:  Paris

Time Period:  Mid-eighteenth century

Series (If applicable): Saint-Germain Series (book 1).

Plot Summary:  Yarbro’s story is told as a narrative and through letters between the various characters.  The narrative moves the story forward, while the letters allow the readers more insight into the characters and plot.  Le Comte de Saint-Germain is charming, intelligent, and witty, and with intensely dark brooding eyes, his charms are almost impossible to resist.  Madelaine Roxanne Bertrande de Montalia is beautiful, young, and precocious.  When the two meet, there is instant chemistry.  The love that grows between the worldly Saint-Germain and the innocent Madelaine is intense, but it must be hidden because he is not an acceptable suitor and he just happens to be a vampire.  As there love grows, so does the danger that Madelaine unknowingly faces.  A pact was made many years ago that promised the first born of the Marquis de Montalia to the Satan worshipping le Baron de Saint Sebastien and his brotherhood known as the Circle.  Madelaine is that first born child and her life is about to take a turn she never saw coming.  Will Madelaine discover what is happening in time to escape her terrible destiny?

Subject Headings:  Vampires; Paris; France; Series; alchemy; Satan.

Appeal:  Fast-paced; vampire lore; gothic; horror; historic; dark; atmospheric; engaging; good versus evil; romance; occult; sympathetic characters.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: fast-paced; vampire lore; atmospheric.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Sandrine’s Paris: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Romantic City
by Sandrine Voillet.  This guide to Paris focuses on the people and events that made Paris the cultural epicenter that it is today.  The guide will appeal to Yarbro readers who want to experience the history and people of Paris.
THEY BITE! Endless Cravings of Supernatural Predators
by Jonathan Mayberry and David F. Kramer.  This book looks at vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the undead and human sentiment regarding these creatures. The New Encyclopedia of the Occult by John Michael Greer.  This encyclopedia is dedicated to providing readers with history and modern occult practices.  Occult practices took a sinister turn in Yarbro’s book, for those interested in more information on the occult; this book is a great place to start.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Interview with a Vampire
by Anne Rice.  Rice’s classic vampire horror brings to life issues of good and evil, using vampire immortality as her mode of exploration.  Fans of Yarbro will be drawn to the characters, the 18th time period, the dark side of human nature, passion, and the issue of immortality.
The Dead Travel Fast
by Deanna Raybourn.  This modern novel channels the gothic novel and brings to life the tale of a woman who travels from Scotland to Transylvania to write a novel and finds herself involved a terrifying mystery that she must solve.  The tone, atmosphere, romance, and myths will appeal to fans of Yarbro’s Hotel Transylvania.
Covenant with the Vampire
by Jeanne Kalogridis.  Told as a precursor to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this novel seamlessly blends history, vampire lore, and horror, which takes readers on a thrilling ride through the Transylvanian countryside.
Jessica Lake

Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral

October 26, 2011  Kris Radish

Title: Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral

Genre:  Women’s Lives and Relationships, Gay/Lesbian

Publication Date:  2006

Number of Pages:  331

Geographical Setting:  United States

Time Period: 21st century

Series (If applicable): N/a

Plot Summary:  Annie G. Freeman has just died from ovarian cancer.  Her friends are struggling with her death and the loss of a huge part of their lives, when a UPS package arrives at the home of her childhood friend.  Within that package is a request that will change the lives of six women forever.  Annie wants her friends to embark on a traveling funeral.  As the six women come together to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of their friend, they are also forced to explore their own lives and the journey is as much about finding themselves as it is about letting Annie go.

Subject Headings:  Funerals; Female Friendships; Loss; Travel.

Appeal:  Leisurely paced; compassionate; contemplative; emotional; heartwarming; engaging; multiple points of view; bittersweet; character-centered; contemporary; conclusive; lyrical; inspirational.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Leisurely paced; emotional; engaging.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Grief and Loss: Understanding the Journey
by Stephen J. Freeman.  This book deals with ways that people deal with grief and loss and the complexities involved in humans and different coping methods.  This book might be helpful for those who are interested in better understanding how people deal with grief and loss.
The Best Women’s Travel Writings 2005: True Stories from Around the World
edited by Lucy McCauley.  This book is a compilation of women’s stories from around the world.  The issues dealt with in the stories offer a diverse look at women’s lives and relationships and the myriad of challenges and opportunities that they face.
100 Places Every Woman Should Go
by Stephanie Elizondo Griest.  For women who are interested in conducting a traveling funeral, or for those who just want to travel, this book provides insight into the many places the author has traveled to and the adventures to be had in each place.  This book is specifically geared towards women with packing guides, things to do, and reading recommendations.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Summer Rental
by Mary Kay Andrews.  Summer Rental should appeal to fans of Radish for its look inside the individual problems of five women and how those problems affect their relationships with one another.
All She Can Be
by Fern Michaels.  Michaels’ inspirational book about a woman, who decides to really live life, should appeal to fans of Radish’s book for its inspirational message that life is too short not to explore what makes you happy and fulfilled.
The Jane Austen Book Club
by Karen Joy Fowler.  The Jane Austen Book Club should appeal to fans of Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral for its take on a group of women and how female relationships play out within a group setting.
Jessica Lake

Pet Sematary

October 26, 2011

Author: King, Stephen

Title:  Pet Sematary

Genre:  Horror

Publication Date: 2001

Number of pages: 562

Geographical Setting: Ludlow, Maine

Time period: Contemporary

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary: A young family moves from Chicago to a country house in Ludlow, a small college town in Maine. The doctor, Louis Creed, his pretty wife, his sweet little daughter, and a toddler boy settle in quickly and make friends with a local, elderly couple from across the street. It all starts well but the first signs of menace can be felt when the neighbor, Jud Crandall, warns the Creeds against the dangers of the busy road that separates their houses, and then shows them an old “Pet Sematary” located in the back of their property. When the family cat gets killed, Jud secretly takes Louis and the corpse into the woods, past the “sematary” and into the old, supernatural Indian burying ground known for sending dead animals back, and sure enough, the cat appears alive. But is it really? What is the price of the resurrection? What are the limits?  What does the neighbor’s statement “sometimes dead is better” mean? The rest of this bone-chilling story rapidly descends into a psychological horror tale of unimaginable loss, macabre death, undead evil, and supernatural powers of a place that “went sour.”

Subject Headings: Undead, Pets, Pet Cemeteries, Loss (Psychology), Supernatural, Small town life—Maine.

Appeal: creepy, menacing, horrifying, visceral, disturbing, nightmarish, chilling, dark, morbid, ghoulish, revolting, heart-wrenching, compelling, character-driven, suspenseful, fast-paced.

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe this Book: creepy, menacing, character-driven.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Stephen King Illustrated Companion: Manuscripts, Correspondence, Drawings and Memorabilia from the Master of Modern Horror by Bev Vincent: the book discusses King’s most iconic works and monsters, and tries to connect them to King’s personal experiences, thoughts and memories. Parts of the plot of “Pet Sematary” are based on King’s real-life experience and the connections are discussed in this companion book.

2) Encyclopedia of the Undead by Bob Curran: this book collects a wide range of vampires, werewolves, ghouls and monsters from around the world, traces their origins, and connects them to our psychology and archetypical fears.

3) Dark Woods, Chill Waters: Ghost Tales from Down East Maine by Marcus LiBrizzi: a collection of most chilling and menacing stories about Maine where deep, dark forests and harsh cliffs are reflected in the supernatural lore and stories of unimaginable horror and evil.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Walking by Bentley Little: a story of a chilling quest to uncover the source of a strange epidemic that turn people into walking dead and propels them to an unknown destination. Similarly to “Pet Sematary,” the story has a disturbing and menacing mood. It’s also fast-paced, character-driven and suspenseful.

2) Second Child by John Saul: a tale of an idyllic town of Secret Cove disturbed by a hundred-years-old legacy of an unspeakable evil act and channeled through a young girl, Melissa Holloway. The story is disturbing, menacing, fast-paced and addresses similar subject of disturbed “old evil” leading toward horrifying consequence.

3) The Good House by Tananarive Due: Angela Toussaint, the protagonist of the story, travels back to her family house to put a closure to the memory of her son’s suicide, only to realize that the town is possessed by evil ancestral spirits driving seemingly balanced people to suicide. Both “Pet Sematary” and this book are fast-paced and creepy horror stories about small town life, menacing supernatural and the psychology of loss.

Megan R.

A Dark Matter

October 26, 2011

Author: Peter Straub

Title:  A Dark Matter

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: February 9, 2010

Number of Pages:  Audio Edition (I-Pod) 12 parts; 14 hours 33 minutes

Narrator: Robertson Dean

Geographical Setting: Madison, WI and Chicago, IL

Time Period:  1966 and present day

Series (If applicable): A companion work called The Skylark told from the point of view of Spenser Mallon.

Plot Summary: Four High School students fall under the spell of a charismatic wandering guru, Spenser Mallon, and join him in performing a spiritual ritual in the agronomy meadow of the University of Wisconsin.  During this ceremony something supernatural happens, the participants see things and feel things that are indescribable.  The ritual also leaves one kid dead.  That was in 1966.   Several decades later, Lee Harwell is searching for answers as to what happened that fateful day in the meadow.  He was not involved in the ritual, but his three friends were, along with the woman who would become his wife, Lee Traux (The Eel).  Lee Harwell attempts to track down his old friends, Don Olsen (Dilly), Howard Bly (Hootie) and Jason Boatman (Boats), and in doing so each recounts their experience in the meadow, offering many different versions of the same event.  All involved in the ill-fated event were greatly affected in some way or another.  A Dark Matter is a creepy, psychologically suspenseful story that will leave the reader wondering what really happened in the meadow until the last page.

Subject Headings: The sixties; occult ceremonies; supernatural rites, teenagers, good vs. evil; psychic trauma; Bram Stoker Award Winners

Appeal: character-centered, intricately plotted, relaxed pace, bleak, creepy, psychological, supernatural, complex storyline, literary prose, multiple points of view, detailed, foreboding

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character-centered, psychological, foreboding

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1)     Helter Skelter: the True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi – Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney in the Charles Manson murder trial.  His position as an insider has allowed him to give a unique perspective on one of the most notorious killers in American history. Charles Manson was a charismatic “cult” leader.  He lured both men and women into this “family” and he had a baffling hold on his followers.  In 1969 Manson and 4 of his followers carried out several murders of seemingly random victims.  It continues to be one of the most famous crimes and trials in American History.  Chosen as a non-fiction read-alike for A Dark Matter because the charismatic wandering guru Spencer Mallon is similar to Mason, luring young people in with his ideas and personality.

2)     The Tibetan Book of the Dead by Padma Sambhava and translated by Robert Thurman – Said to have been written in the 8th century A.D. by Padma Sambhava who is also said to have been the first person to bring Buddhism to Tibet.  The book is a guide for the dead to guide them through the stages the will encounter between death and their rebirth.  Basically the soul needs guidance once it leaves the physical body and this book is a guide.  It contains prayers and ways the living can assist the dead.  In A Dark Matter the Tibetan Book of the Dead is mentioned on several occasions by the guru Spencer Mallon, so perhaps readers of the novel would enjoy this non-fiction work to learn more.

3)     The New Encyclopedia of the Occult by John Michael Greer – John Michael Greer is an “occult practitioner” who consulted scholarly text in order to write a well researched, informative encyclopedia of occult traditions, lore, etc.  Included are 1500 entries listed in alphabetical order and include spiritual movements, magic, alchemy, and astrology.  Chosen as a read-alike for A Dark Matter because the ceremony the teenagers and guru perform in the meadow is an occult ceremony and readers of the novel may appreciate learning more about the occult and all of its aspects.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)     I’ll Take You There by Joyce Carol Oates – A nameless white girl at a fictional college falls for an African-American grad student in this character-centered work set in the 1960’s.  There is, of course, the racial tension one would expect from an inter-racial relationship at the time.  Along with the social backlash, the girl is also haunted by the fact that someone she once thought was dead is actually alive.  Similar to A Dark Matter in that it is set in the 1960’s and involves college students.  (creepy, psychological suspense, character-centered)

2)     The Revelation by Bentley Little – This creepy story in a small town in Arizona, where events seemingly signal a looming apocalypse.  The church is desecrated, animals are being sacrificed and people are disappearing.  A new Episcopal Priest comes to town and enlists the help of three others as he believes only the four of them can save the town from the evil.  Similar to A Dark Matter this novel has supernatural elements and an underlying theme of good versus evil. (creepy, menacing, supernatural)

3)     Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King – A collection of five short stories that are linked to each other and revolve around events that occurred in the 1960’s.  The Vietnam War is at the forefront of the creepy tales that include some supernatural elements, which makes this story similar to A Dark Matter.  Other similarities include a 1960’s setting and having interweaving stories told by several individuals. (creepy, suspenseful, character-centered)

Name: Michelle Worthington

Bag of Bones

October 26, 2011

Author: Stephen King

Title: Bag of Bones

Genre: Horror Stories; Ghost Stories

Publication Date: 1998

Number of Pages: 544

Geographical Setting: Maine

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: The novel’s narrator, Mike Noonan, is an author living in Derry, Maine. He is experiencing writer’s block after the death of his wife and their unborn child. Several years after his wife’s death Mike begins to have terrifying nightmares. They all take place at his summer lake house, located in a rural, unincorporated area of Maine. Shortly after, he impulsively decides to move there. As Mike begins to write again, he becomes aware of some bizarre supernatural occurrences at the lake house. After performing some research he determines that his home is haunted by the famous blues singer Sara Tidwell. He also learns that his wife, Jo, visited the lake house numerous times in the year before her death. Throughout the novel, Mike receives help from Jo’s spirirt, providing him with clues to help solve the mystery. Mike discovers documents Jo had left for him to find, including a genealogy map which reveals a curse Sara Tidwell had placed upon the town generations before. With Jo’s help Mike is able to locate Sara’s gravesite, dig up her bones and destroy them to lift the curse once and for all. The novel also features a primary subplot involving a young widow and her daughter. The two plots intersect and overlap at various points. Mike discovers that Sara Tidwell’s curse could mean danger not only for himself, but also for the young girl, Kyra. He saves her from drowning following her mother’s untimely death. At the novel’s close, Mike is in the process of adopting her.

Subject Headings: Ghosts, Grief in Men, Men’s Dreams, Middle-Aged Men, Millionaires, Nightmares, Novelists (American), Small Town Life, Vacation Homes, Widowers, Writer’s Block.

Appeal: Character-Driven, Intricately Plotted, Atmospheric, Creepy, Disturbing, Haunting, Mennacing, Romantic, Suspenseful, Compelling, Violent, Descriptive.

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Creepy, Haunting, Suspenseful

Relevant Works and Authors


Haunting Experiences: Encounters with the Otherwordly by Michelle A. Belanger

A renowned paranormal expert, Belanger shares some of her most memorable encounters with otherwordly spirits and dark entities. Her book may serve as an inspiration for readers interested in performing their own paranormal research.

Nightmares: How to Make Sense of Your Darkest Dreams by Alex Lukeman

Mike’s night terrors play a central role in the plot of Bag of Bones. King’s descriptions of these dreams are vivid, disturbing and utterly terrifying. This book may serve as a helpful resource to readers experiencing a similar type of psychological trauma.

Utterly Wicked: Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions by Dorothy Morrison

This book explores paranormal elements from a different angle. Readers take a more active role learning the secrets of protective, preventative magic. With practical diections and recipes, this book could be a another useful tool for readers interested in performing their own paranormal research.


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The novel’s protagonist, a young woman named Eleanor, becomes involved in a groundbreaking paranormal experiment as a result of the terrifying experiences she had in her childhood. Similar to Bag of Bones, The Haunting of Hill House is a quintessential gothic novel filled with psychological suspense and elements of the paranormal.

Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier

Reviews featured on both NoveList and Amazon cite this book as a possible inspiration for Bag of Bones. Library Journal has called itarguably the most famous and well-loved gothic novel of the 20th century” (Amazon). It shares many features with Bag of Bones, particularly its emphasis on romance, but also its incorporation of suspense, evil spirits and murder.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

One of the first true horror stories, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw would be a great choice for anyone interested in the very beginnings of gothic fiction. Set in a haunted English manor in the nineteenth century, the novel features romance, intrigue, murder, suspense and evil spirits. The plot is similar to Bag of Bones in that it revolves centrally around children.

Created by: Brigitte Bell

An Unlikely Countess

October 25, 2011

Author: Jo Beverly

Title: An Unlikely Countess

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: March 1, 2011

Number of Pages: 432

Geographical Setting: Yorkshire, England

Time Period:  Georgian Era, 1765

Series (If applicable): 11th Novel of the Malloren World

Plot Summary: On a dark night Catesby Burgoyne encounters Prudence Youlgrave and he saves her from a few ruffians.  Their encounter was not just chance.  They parted ways the next morning but they did not easily forget each other.  Both were down on their luck and not on the best terms with their families. Catesby is 2nd in line to become the Earl of Malzard and while Prudence’s family is not wealthy by any means, she feels her brother owes her for her sacrifices.  Catesby discovers that his brother, the current Earl, has died and he heads home to take on his duties as the new Earl.  Prudence heads to her brother’s home and encourages his new bride to assist her in finding a good marriage match.  Prudence is to wed a wealthy business man, but of course she never forgot Catesby and he never forgot her.  While he was supposed to be learning his duties as the new Earl he runs off to find Prudence.  Again they meet on what was to be Prudence’s wedding day, what ensues is a romantic, yet witty adventure of two once down and out people who become the unlikely Earl and Countess of Malzard.

Subject Headings: Historical Romances; Georgian England; 18th Century England

Appeal: witty, engaging, complex characters, captivating plot, delightful, fast-paced, romantic, playful, sensual, historically accurate, gentle, character-centered

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: romantic, engaging, delightful

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1)     Aristocratic Century: the Peerage of Eighteenth-Century England by Jon Cannon – Using parts of a lecture he gave in 1982, Professor Cannon outlines the ways in which the aristocracy of the 18th century was widely accepted by all levels of society which allowed for coherence in all aspects of life, intellectual, political and social.  A non-fiction read-alike choice for An Unlikely Countess because many of the characters were part of the aristocracy and the novel discussed the lives and rules surrounding the aristocracy.

2)     Behind Closed Doors: at home in Georgian England by Amanda Vickery – Professor Vickery uses her skills as a historian to deliver a well-researched account of the family and gender relations / roles of Georgian England.  Although a historian she has written a witty and vivid work, which is almost novel-like.  Using books, journals, letters, etc, she paints a picture of Georgian life that has not been seen before.  Similar to An Unlikely Countess in that we get a behind the scenes look at the domestic lives and relationships of the aristocracy of the Georgian period in the novel and this book also depicts that life in more depth. (well-researched, witty, vivid)

3)     English Society in he Eighteenth Century by Roy Porter – In this non-fiction work Porter portrays all aspects of 18th century from politics to work life, to sex.  It is a fact-filled, but delightful and witty account of life including all levels of society from prices to paupers and from the streets of London to the hamlets of Yorkshire. Non-fiction read-alike for An Unlikely Countess because it discusses the different aspects of life in the 18th century which is the time in which the characters live. (Fact-filled, witty, delightful)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)     Some Enchanted Evening by Christina Dodd – Clarice and her two sisters flee from their small country during a revolution are being tracked by assassins.  However, Clarice hides in plain site by selling cosmetics to townswomen and pretends to be a fallen princess.  Robert Mackenzie, the Earl of Hepburn, knows that Clarice is not a princess and is just playing a part.  He invites her to his manor, she accepts, his plan is to use her acting skills in a plot of revenge.  Danger and adventure ensue.  This is the first in a trilogy about the 3 sisters.  This is a read-alike for An Unlikely Countess because it is a historical romance and although it is set during the Regency era and not the Georgian, it is still a good match due to the humor and sensuality used.  (steamy, humorous, detailed)

2)     Dangerous in Diamonds by Madeline Hunter – In the fourth Rarest Blooms Regency romance by Hunter, we encounter Daphne Joyes who runs a modest flower business, which also acts as a place of refuge for women in need of safety.  Daphne’s landlord soon dies and she meets Tristan, Duke of Castleford who inherits the land.  Tristan is instantly taken with Daphne, but she resists and a story of passionate arguments, flirtation and eventual romance. Although this is a Victorian romance, it is similar to An Unlikely Countess in that it is a witty, richly detailed, historical romance. (steamy, descriptive, witty)

3)     Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt – Temperance Dews is a widow who spends her time helping children.  Lord Caire is on the hunt for a killer in the slums which are so familiar to Temperance.  The two strike a deal that will allow Temperance to guide Caire through the alleys and slums while Caire will introduce Temperance to high society so that she might find a benefactor for the orphanage.  A romance and passion soon blossoms from what began as a business deal and danger is around every corner.  Similar to An Unlikely Countess as it is a fast-paced, detailed, historical romance set in Georgian England.  (steamy, descriptive, Georgian)

Name: Michelle Worthington

A Choir of Ill Children

October 24, 2011

Author: Tom Piccirilli

Title: A Choir of Ill Children

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 238

Geographical Setting: Fictional Southern town of Kingdom Come

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary: In the backwater Southern swamp town of Kingdom Come, Thomas lives in a run-down mansion with his three brothers — conjoined triplets joined at the forehead who share a single brain, feared as freaks by the rest of the town. Thomas cares for the triplets and runs his family’s mill; his father and grandfather were the town bigwigs, but the town is now so desolate that the family’s standing means little. Kingdom Come is populated by a bizarre cast of characters including “granny witches” who live by the swamp and ward against evil spirits, a preacher prone to speaking in tongues and sudden public nudity, a religious cult, and various other creeps and lowlifes; as the story opens, Thomas is also hosting two documentary filmmakers trying to make a movie about the freakish triplets. As a young girl mysteriously appears in the swamp, the town is besieged by storms, an unknown person begins abusing all the town’s dogs, and the preacher warns that “the carnival is coming,” Thomas must lead his people against the dark forces that seem to be attacking the town.

Subject Headings: Southern Gothic fiction; Horror fiction; Conjoined twins; Small towns; Superstition; Swamps

Appeal: atmospheric, bizarre, character centered, dark, disturbing, edgy, episodic, grotesque, lyrical, moody, mysterious, relaxed pace, sexually explicit, surreal, uneasy, violent

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: bizarre, disturbing, uneasyaQQ

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

• One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal by Alice Domurat Dreger [Examines case studies of conjoined twins; argues that they should not necessarily be separated, because their sense of identity is bound up in being conjoined; this is true of the conjoined twins in Piccirilli’s book]

• American Gothic Fiction: An Introduction by Allan Lloyd-Smith [Lit-crit text providing an introduction to the Gothic genre tradition that Piccirilli riffs on in Choir]

• Shadow and Shelter: The Swamp in Southern Culture by Anthony Wilson [Overview of the importance of the swamp to Southern culture throughout history and in the present day; the swamp and its significance is a major component of Piccirilli’s novel]

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

• Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor [Southern Gothic; dark tone, character-centered, bizarre, disturbing; O’Connor influenced Choir]

• Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque by Joyce Carol Oates [Literary horror; grotesque, atmospheric, dark]

• Softspoken by Lucius Shepard [Horror; contemporary take on Southern Gothic; bizarre family living in run-down mansion; dark, violent]

Name: Brian W.