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Review: Skewed by Anne Mcaneny

24982697Since narcissism is fueled by a greater need to be admired than to be liked, psychologists might use that fact as a therapeutic lever – stressing to patients that being known as a narcissist will actually cause them to lose the respect and social status they crave. – Jeffrey Kluger

Jack and Jane Perkins never had a chance at privacy, even before they were born. The story itself has been described before, in the blurb and in the reviews. What is most interesting to me are the personalities involved. While Jane prefers to put the past behind her, dreaming of the sort of quiet life she has always wanted, Jack, her twin, becomes a politician – the perfect life for a totally self-obsessed narcissist who has lived his life in the limelight.

McAneny has a deft hand with characters. From the twins themselves to Grady, the man who went to prison for their mother’s murder to Jane’s beloved grandfather (I really don’t see Jack as caring about anyone other than himself, as he proves over and over again . . . though he does show the occasional thought for his sister – when he isn’t ridiculing her), The fact that my brother now worshipped that phony murderer-cum-jail hero was the sharpest edge of the wedge driven between us. There is a level of ‘quirky’ that drew me into the story. I could see many of the police officers and crime scene analysts I used to know in the qualities of the characters.

Wexler rubbed his chin. “Who were the Haiku Killer’s Other victims?”

”A priest, a philosophy professor, and a doctor,” I said.

“Religion, philosophy, and medicine,” Wexler said. “Renaissance killer.”

What is just as interesting to me is how McAneny explores the phenomenon of Hybristophilia, blending it with the types of political paraphilia inherent in the mindset of the public. It slides beneath the storyline, twisting and turning through and across a story of madness, murder and skewed social truths.

The serial killer story is well written overall, though I did find some glitches that made me scratch my head a bit. But overall, the story is tight. Sophia is probably my favorite character – her personality and particular thought process makes me want to read a book about her!

I received the book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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Review: Crypt Keeper (The Molly Maddison Series #1) By K. A. Young

22896422No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness. – Aristotle

I’m attracted to how fraught the parent-child relationship is, swerving so easily between love and hostility, with almost no plausible way to end, unless someone dies. – Ben Marcus

Molly Maddison spent her whole life in and out of psychiatrist’s offices and asylums. Vicious treatment, when you are a child. When you really do see ghosts. Ghosts you can see and touch and interact with as if they were still alive. And yet, no one else can see them, hence, you must be mad.

Living in a funeral home, backing upon a cemetery, makes Molly’s young life more difficult than one could ever think. So, once old enough, she flees, running away from her life to a new world, where she will learn to help children who have suffered as she has. But her life still refuses to change, as her oh-so-real ‘imaginary friend’ Jewels has come along to keep her company, even though Molly asked her to stay behind. And though she has asked her ghostly lover, Levi, not to follow, when Molly decides to go out with her professor, Damon Knight, all hell breaks loose. Literally.

Now, with her father dead, Molly is drawn back home, into a world of horror and death unlike anything she could have ever expected. No one is whom Molly thought them to be. And what Molly must do to assure her own existence, and of those she loves, dead or not, will draw her once again to the edge of sanity.

Molly Maddison is a different sort of heroine than most in the urban fantasy realms, as is her world. K.A. Young has developed an unusual reality unlike any other I have so far found in UF writing. Creative and atypical, I am excited to continue my journey through her world.

I received Crypt Keeper the first of The Molly Maddison Series, from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Windwalker By Natasha Mostert

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.
-Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.
William Blake – The Everlasting Gospel

 

 windwalkerHaunting and elegant. I have head Ms. Mostert’s works described this way before, by other reviewers. This, and so very much more, is the work of Natasha Mostert. For she has a voice that is deeply evocative, an exceptional, mystical writing style. Natasha’s turn of prose is both otherworldly and sensual, a voice that sends chills down my spine and reaches into my soul, making a home for itself in the sweet, dark recesses of my existence. Her writing comes to mind over and over, in the dark of night or the bright light of day, a paean to her brilliant style, as her ability to paint rich, intriguing portraits with words which steal into my awareness in the most common of moments. Words which bring me to my knees, to weep and sigh, to long deeply and without respite.

Kepler’s Bay. A remote and forbidding town in a remote and forbidding land, bitter and forlorn. Perched on the razor edge between the Namib and the sea, Kepler’s Bay clings to the edge of the world with barely restrained ferocity, much as do the creatures of the great desert upon which it backs. Kepler’s Bay. The melancholy call of the soo-oop-wa, the never-ending wind, maddens, takes piecemeal grains of the soul, eventually leaving behind naught but a dry, desiccated husk – a body walking with no spark within.

The Namib, oldest desert in the world, ‘The land God made in anger,’ say the San people. But he had always thought that only a god in pain could have imagined a place like this. And from this land of soaring dunes and brutal winds one day appears a wild man, filled with pain, with fever and madness. Madness and passion. Violence and death. Samuel Becket said: “All men are born mad. Some remain so.” And is madness not pain, turned in upon oneself?

Across the desert, in the lush green of the English countryside, a woman arrives. Lost and maddened in her own right, she arrive upon the doorstep of a sad and haunted estate. As she sinks into the stories of this place of madness, fratricide and pain, broken shadows and haunted rooms, one soon cannot truly discern where the house leaves off and the woman begins. Quiet desperation. Ghosts and haunting images through a camera’s lens.

They are so close, and yet so far apart. So very, very far apart. Has it been this way, lives upon lives, sinking into the past? And what of unintended consequences, the vagaries of fate and karma?

Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise.
Thomas Gray – Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College

Through our lives, do our souls search? Do they seek desperately, yearning for that which was, which could have been, or which shall never be? And is evil merely the absence of good, demons playing bones with our lives?

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Khalil Gibran

Photo courtesy of Michael Van Balen All rights reserved.

How many paths must we walk, how many lives to be lived? How long must we suffer before paths may cross, before we might know peace? Do our souls wander alone, searching beyond ourselves for knowledge, deep in the rending silence of the night? A photography of insanity may be a shard of light. Questions and blood and dreams of deaths long past, pain and ancient desire. All are spread before us between these pages. Allow her words to reel you in, to touch and tease, sooth and savage by turns. To think. To dream. To sorrow.

To hope.

This book was provided to me by the author in return for a realistic review. It touched me more deeply than any of her works yet have – and those have been absolutely brilliant. I hate reviews that begin with “If you like the works of” to be honest, but if the interspersed quotes touch your soul, I strongly, very strongly, encourage you to read Windwalker. And then her other works as well. I don’t believe, once you have read this one, that you will be able to resist.

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