First line: Mrs. Ariadne Oliver had gone with a friend with whom she was staying, Judith Butler, to help with the preparations for a children’s party which was to take place that same evening.
Summary: At a children’s Halloween party, a young girl named Judith, mentions that she had once witnessed a murder. While no one believes the girl, she is found later drowned in an apple bobbing tub. Famous detective, Hercule Poirot, is called in to find the girl’s murderer as well as to discover who committed the murder Judith claimed to see years before.
My Thoughts: After recently hearing about the upcoming Hercule Poirot movie, A Haunting in Venice, starring Kenneth Branagh I decided it was time to get back into the world of the famous detective. However, the title of the book and much of the plot seems to differ. I will be interested to see how they use the plot of Christie’s novel to create the movie.
Like many of the Poirot novels I have read I found this one filled with twists and suspicious characters. As the detective dives deeper into the dark history of the village he finds a pattern that could easily be tied to the death of the young girl. There were many disappearances and deaths that it was hard to keep some of it straight. Hallowe’en Party was a fun read as most Agatha Christie novels are. While not my favorite Poirot book it is worth a read, especially if you are looking forward to the upcoming movie.
First line: At the crisp, inky hour of midnight, Jack and I are married atop Spiral Hill in the Death’s Door Cemetery.
Summary: Sally has married the skeleton of her dreams, Jack. She is now the Pumpkin Queen but she feels that maybe she is not cut out for the job. After their honeymoon, Sally decides to take some time alone where she stumbles upon a new door hidden in the tree grove. As her curiosity takes over, she discovers the door leads to Dream Town but with her actions she has let a monster loose on the other holiday towns. And now it is up to Sally to figure out how to stop the Sandman and wake the residents of Halloween Town.
My Thoughts: Only several years ago did I finally watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. It really is a fun movie. I liked the music but most of all the technique used to create the movie, stop animation. When I saw that a novelized version of what happens after was being released I thought it would be a fun read for the fall leading up to Halloween. And I did find it fun. A little more juvenile than I had originally expected but still a good little story. It brought all the characters from movie and added several new characters plus we got a peak into Sally’s background.
I enjoyed the narrator. She did a good job of mimicking the voice of Sally from the movie but also adding some the voices of other characters as well.
FYI: Definitely watch the movie, even just for the artistry of it.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
“She had the feeling that the door was looking at her, which she knew was silly, and knew on a deeper level was somehow true.”
― Neil Gaiman, Coraline
I, like most people, love the claymation movie, Coraline. When I first watched it back in 2009, I was young enough for it to sort of scare me! Now it is one of my favorites to watch during Halloween season. I chose to listen to the audiobook this year because I have always heard that books are better than movies, and I wanted to see if that was true for this one.
Coraline is a young girl who has just moved into a new apartment with her mom and dad. Their new place is big, and they have a lot of odd neighbors. Coraline’s parents are workaholics who refuse to look up from their computers to give her any attention. So, she spends her time exploring, and one day she finds a tiny door in her apartment that leads to another world! It is an alternate universe of such, and it seems a little too perfect. In this world, her mother and father have all the time in the world to spend with her, which is what keeps her coming back. However, her excitement begins to disappear when she finds out the real motive of her “other” parents.
I knew I would love this book because of how amazing the movie is. Honestly, I did not think that either one was superior to the other. Each allowed me to imagine a strange world that exists inside the mind of the author, Neil Gaiman. Not to mention, Gaiman reads the audiobook version, so it is told exactly how he imagined it to be read. I will listen to this story again, and I will watch the movie again! Overall, it is a great story in all formats.
October is here! The fall weather is arriving and Halloween is approaching. That means bring on all the scary movies and books. We have a great selection of horror movies and Halloween classics. I recently watched the previous season of American Horror Story and really enjoyed it. I always watch Hocus Pocus several times during the month of October and pick up several spooky books to get me into the holiday spirit!
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo
First line: Washington Irving got it wrong.
Summary: When schoolteacher, Ichabod Crane, comes to the village of Sleepy Hollow he meets the daughter of a wealthy farmer. Their friendship and shared loved of books and music lead to a love affair that will sweep them both off their feet. Katrina’s admirer, Brom Van Brunt, is determined to win her and scare off the newcomer. Then on All Hallow’s Eve Ichabod disappears without a trace. Katrina enlists the help of her friend and rumored witch, Charlotte Jansen, to assist in finding Ichabod using any means necessary.
Highlights: I really enjoyed this book. It was fun twist on the original classic. I have seen the movies and loved the TV series. However, this was just different enough from them that it made it fresh and new. The book is a mix between historical fiction, romance and ghost story. There were lots of interesting details about the time and culture of the Dutch settlement in Sleepy Hollow. The romance was a main theme but it was not a bodice ripper by any means. I loved the dark undertones of the Headless Horseman haunting her dreams and roaming the village on All Hallow’s Eve. This is a great read for October!
Lowlights: The story seemed to drag on a little bit in the middle. In addition, I think that title is a little misleading. I expected more witchcraft and magic. Katrina and her friend, Charlotte, do seem to have some sort of second sight but it was not what I had expected.
FYI: If you like this then try the author’s other book, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence.