Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, September 28, 2018

Stacking up the scares for my FrightFall reading

October is fast becoming my favorite time of the year not only due to Halloween but because it heralds the beginning of FrightFall, the Seasons of Reading month long readathon.

This year, there will be a pre-and a post readathon(48 hours deals that are completely optional) and hostess Michelle Miller is also having a special group read of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes at her Castle Macabre blog to boot.

My plans are to keep things simple yet I do have a good sized pile of books set aside here, ranging from Gothic chiller to cozy mysteries. If all goes well, I should be able to get through most of them and perhaps add a library loan to the murderous mix:

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein: Kiersten White retells the classic Mary Shelley tale through the eyes of Elizabeth Lavenza, who becomes the ward of the titled Frankenstein family and constant companion of troubled son Victor.

Upon Victor growing up and leaving home to pursue his studies, Elizabeth grows concerned about the security of her position within the household and persuades her good friend Justine to go with her in search of him.

What she discovers about Victor's breaking away from school and the mysterious experiments that he's now working on is shocking to say the least to her. Nevertheless, Elizabeth is determined to assist him in any way that she can, even if that includes creating a monster. Yet, it becomes increasingly difficult to figure out who is the real monster, the being that was brought forcefully to life or the beloved boy that she grew up with who has become a man that she truly doesn't know?

This take on Frankenstein reminds me of another literary reexamination of an iconic Victorian figure of fear-Valerie Martin's Mary Reilly, which saw another side of the Jekyll and Hyde legend(it eventually became a rather underrated film starring Julia Roberts and John Malkovich).

If The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is fortunate enough to be adapted for the big screen, it would make a fine double feature with Mary Reilly,I have no doubt about it:

BAKESHOP MYSTERY: Having enjoyed the taste of Ellie Alexander's first foodie mystery book, Meet Your Baker, recently, I decided to have a second and third helping of her series.

In A Batter of Life and Death, leading lady Jules Capshaw decides to help her family bakery business out by going for a big cash prize on a baking TV show entitled Take the Cake. However, when one of her fellow competitors is most unexpectedly taken out of the running, Jules has to set aside a possible winning recipe in order to create a crime solving solution before someone else takes their last bite out of life.

I then plan to move on to On Thin Icing(the puns are truly delicious here) where Jules is glad of a gig for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival during the off season in the dead of winter. That tasty opportunity is spoiled by not only the arrival of her ex-husband Carlos but the discovery of a dead body in her walk in freezer as well.

The deceased in question happens to be a rather flirtatious bartender whose fiery temper matches Carlos' own, making him a suspect in the murder. Jules has plenty of reasons to find the killer as it is yet this time, the stakes are higher and personal. I do like the sweet set-up of this engaging series and very pleased as pie to get to know Jules and company all the more:

HER ROYAL SPYNESS: This delightful set of stories by Rhys Bowen follows the adventures of Lady Georgiana,aka Georgie, who due to her low rank in the British royal family(she's 34th in line for the throne) is often recruited to solve a mystery or two.

I've read the first two books and eager to check out the next pair,starting with Royal Flush, where Georgie's summer plans include preventing her princely cousin from carrying on with a certain American divorcee as well as assisting Scotland Yard with a threat on said cousin's life at an upcoming shooting party.

While I will read this series in order, I am most anxious to get to book four which is called Royal Blood. Georgie is sent by royal command to a wedding in Transylvania where a guest is found to be poisoned and someone has perhaps taken a truly bloody nip at the bride-to-be. Yes, I'm a sucker for vampires and while the ones that our heroine may encounter may not be supernatural entities, this particular entry in the series promises to be quite the seasonal treat.

The Silent Corner: Author Dean Koontz introduces us to Jane Hawk, an agent of the FBI whose husband is another victim in a string of suspicious suicides that could be part of a major terrorist plan.

In order to track down the techno mastermind behind this scheme, Jane has to go off the grid and rely on the help of friends to protect her son from being a target. While she makes serious inroads into bringing the bad guys to justice, it's only a matter of time before the main man in charge sets off his ultimate grand plan that could endanger multitudes of unsuspecting souls.

It's been awhile since I've read Koontz and upon hearing great things about his new series of Jane Hawk books(TSC is the first of four titles so far), it does feel like the right time to get reacquainted with his work. From what I fondly recall, Koontz has a great knack for creating smart and strong heroines and Jane Hawk certainly sounds like the kickass lady we need right now:

The official start of FrightFall is October 1 and I hope that everyone who joins in has a fearfully good time with their chosen reads. Of course, one person's idea of a scary book can be very different from another's but with any luck, it's not so scary that you can't finish it there:

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