304 Following

Portable Monsters

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
The Sign of the Four
Arthur Conan Doyle
Progress: 100 %
Secondhand Spirits (Audiobook, Unabridged)
Juliet Blackwell, Xe Sands
Progress: 100 %
Bram Stoker, Susan Duerden, Tim Curry, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley, John Lee, Alan Cumming, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren
Peanuts Classics
Charles M. Schulz
Progress: 66 %
The Bungalow Mystery
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 pages
The Bungalow Mystery #3
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 pages
The Bungalow Mystery
P.M. Carlson, Russell H. Tandy, Carolyn Keene
Progress: 204/204 pages

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ★★★★☆

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Dalmatian Press

A classic children's tale that has just the right balance of sweet and thrilling and scary, with an emphasis on the virtues of determination, courage, love, cooperation, and friendship, but without any tiresome moralizing. 


Hardcover that I picked up at a church rummage sale for the funky illustrations. This is the first time I've read the text version, and I liked it better than the audio read by Anne Hathaway. 



I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Spellbound: Witches, warlocks, sorcerers and witchcraft.


Prior Updates:

Sep21 0%

Ubo - 320/320pg

Ubo - Steve Rasnic Tem

I'm dying, y'all. I am way too old for staying up all night on a workday to finish books, but I could not stop reading this one last night. How am I going to make it through the day now.


The Sign of Four - Genre: Mystery

The Sign of the Four  -  Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection -  Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry

None of the mystery audios available in the library were appealing to me, so I decided to go with the next Holmes book in my wonderful audio compilation read by Stephen Fry. 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Spellbound square

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Dalmatian Press

Spellbound: Witches, warlocks, sorcerers and witchcraft


Subb ★★☆☆☆

Subb - Carroll Mather Capps, C.C. MacApp

Between the cover art and the synopsis promising a vintage 1960’s sci-fi suspense/thriller featuring brain transplants, aliens, and portals to other worlds, I was prepared to be delighted. This could have been so much fun, but this has to have been just about the most humorless book I’ve read in a while, and considering I’ve been reading mystery and horror for the last 3 weeks, that’s really saying something. It introduced a corporate espionage/interstellar political intrigue plot, threw in mysterious aliens of unknown intent, and added in a little familial drama, then spent far too many pages explaining interstellar navigation and weapons, before leaving the reader with a half-assed resolution to the alien mystery and all the other plot threads dangling.


Tattered paperback, purchased as part of a $3 mystery bundle at Half-Price Books.



I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Aliens: Any mystery, horror, suspense or supernatural book that includes aliens, either here on earth, or in space. This square isn’t on my bingo card, so I’m reserving this one in case I need a Transfiguration Spell later.


Prior Updates:

Sep20 0/187pg

Sep21 139/187pg

Busman's Honeymoon - Bingo Suggestions?

Busman's Honeymoon: Lord Peter Wimsey Series, Book 13 (MP3 Book) - Dorothy L. Sayers

Hello all you classic mystery lovers, I need some advice. I've never read any Dorothy Sayers and this audio is about to come due in my hold list. I'm considering trying to fit it into my Bingo card, either in an existing square or as a transfiguraiton spell. If any of you are familiar with it, can you make recommendations?


Obviously, it would fit the squares for Genre: Mystery and Amateur Sleuth and Murder Most Foul. It looks like it would fit Country House Mystery, too, and maybe Romantic Suspense? Other ideas?

Secondhand Spirits - 57%

Secondhand Spirits (Audiobook, Unabridged) - Juliet Blackwell, Xe Sands

Still very silly, and a little too heavy on the romance, but enjoying it as a nice break.


Subb - 139/187 pg

Subb - Carroll Mather Capps, C.C. MacApp

Bad news: I don't think I can use this for the Stranger Things square as planned. What I thought were portals to other worlds are actually more like superhighways to other planets. They steer their airships into them and basically get to travel 150x faster than their fastest ships, enabling them to travel further. 


Good news: This is a very short book and I'm almost finished, so I'll reserve it as a possible Transfiguration Spell for the Aliens square, in case I run out of time or have another DNF that I don't have a good substitute for. I have another on my TBR mountain that will fit the Stranger Things square, if I don't run out of time to read it. 


PM's Halloween Bingo Update #4

I've read enough for one bingo, but the called squares are so random that it might be a while before I actually *get* a bingo. But I'm having a blast, so far! I had to figure out how to represent the Transfiguration Spell used, so I decided on squeezing the Dia de los Muertes skull into the box along with the "read" monster. I hope it works. 

It's Happening!

Subb - 0/187 pg

Subb - Carroll Mather Capps, C.C. MacApp

How can anyone resist that cover?!? I'm reading this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Stranger Things: This is a twist on the past 80's Horror square, with elements of the television show - any horror that has supernatural elements, portal/parallel universes, government plots gone awry, or is set or was written in the 1980's. Portals to other worlds features heavily in this story, according to the synopsis. 

The Book of Lost Things ★★★☆☆

The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly

I struggled between giving this book three or four stars. It was inventive and imaginative. The pacing was excellent and I gobbled it up in only a couple of days in spite of having to work my full time job and read around a couple of baseball games. And yet... it was oddly emotionless reading. Entertaining, but not really engaging. This is the first book I've read by this author, so I don't know if this is his normal style or if he was trying to imitate a classic fairytale style, but that's how it worked for me. He tells us that characters are feeling emotions, but I don't feel it or feel a particular empathy with them. For example:


"No!" cried David, and although he was overcome by rage and sadness, he somehow found it in himself to begin running again..."




He stood upright in his red trousers and his white shirt, staring at David with undisguised hatred. He raised his head and howled for the lost members of his pack, but he did not leave. Instead, he continued to watch David until the boy at last left the bridge and disappeared over a small rise, crying softly for the Woodsman who had saved his life.


Also, I get the impression that the author doesn't like women very much, as the monstrous characters are almost all women. His version of Snow White and Seven (actually Six) Dwarves was pretty hilarious, though.


First edition hardcover, which is really disappointing, because despite the gorgeous cover art and decorative chapter openings and interesting font choice, it's badly printed. The paper is cheap and thin and there are several pages where the ink is smeared across the page as though someone neglected to clean the rollers. This one will go into my donation pile. 


I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Relics and Curiosities: Concerning magical, supernatural or haunted objects, such as spellbooks, talismans or swords.  It has whispering books, magic portal trees, and a talismanic beast claw. I used my first Transfiguration Spell on the Fear Street square. It would also fit the squares for:

  • Cryptozoology – lots of magical/supernatural creatures
  • Creepy Crawlies – giant worm beast
  • Thirteen – David engages in a number of rituals to ward off bad luck and his mother’s death
  • A Grimm Tale – includes twists on the Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White fairytales
  • Vampires – There are a couple in here, of various kinds
  • Deadlands – Again, vampires
  • In the Dark, Dark Woods – large chunks of the book take place in a menacing forest
  • Monsters – the Beast



Prior Updates:

Sep17 0/339pg

Sep18 87/339pg

Sep18 99/339pg


Secondhand Spirits - 15%

Secondhand Spirits (Audiobook, Unabridged) - Juliet Blackwell, Xe Sands

This is a very silly story. But that's okay, I needed something silly after all the heaviness of the last few books. 

The Alienist ★★☆☆☆ (DNF)

The Alienist (Audio) - Caleb Carr, Julie Carr, Edward Herrmann

This seemed really promising. An interesting premise and good reviews from people I trust. So maybe it's the audio format, but throughout the first 2 hours of audio I kept having to rewind and re-listen because my mind kept wandering to other things. I just got tired of waiting for the pace to pick up, but instead it was almost continuous talking and exposition. Blah blah blah. DNF at 9%


Audiobook via Audible. I normally really enjoy George Guidall, but not this time. 


I attempted to read this for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo square Amateur Sleuth

It shouldn't be too hard to find a substitute. 

The Book of Lost Things - 99/339 pg

The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly

Well. I thought this was supposed to be a YA book, but I don't believe I've ever seen bestiality - explicit, not implied - in a book intended for young adults. 


The Alienist - 0%

The Alienist (Audio) - Caleb Carr, Julie Carr, Edward Herrmann

I picked this up at an Audible $5 sale, on the strength of some recommendations here. Reading it for the Amateur Sleuth square, as the investigators are a newspaper reporter and a psychologist.