Psycho

Psycho

Psycho (Psycho #1) by Robert Bloch

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and one of my favorite films is Psycho (1960).

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I could go on and on about it, but my sister blog, janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com, already reviewed it.

 So as I had become obsessed with Psycho, when I spotted the book Psycho II at a book sale I bought it.

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I had never read Psycho, but if the movie was that fantastic, then I thought the book must be and the sequel.

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I did not like the sequel. It was no a good book at all. And ten years later I decided it was time to try and actually read the first novel that the film is based on. Now this won’t be a comparison, as that is a job for my sister blog fromprinttoscreen.wordpress.com

So here we are with Psycho.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off with Norman Bates, a 40-year old man who lives with his mother. Their property is massive ans inckudes a huge farnhouse fr the two of them, and then a motel lower down the hill.

Norman has an unahappy life with his mother, being the one to take care of her, while she is sick, abusive, and not fun to be around. The only bright spot for Norman is his books, through them he is able to escape his everyday existence.

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So Nornan is having a regular day, when he hears a sound that means someonw is there to check in.

We then switch to Mary Crane. Mary Crane has bot lived the life she wished for. She was planning to go to college but canceled that when her father died in a car acident and she decided to help at home. Her boyfriend left her when he was sent by the army to Hawaii, where he met another girl. Then her mom became sick and Mary paid for Lila, her sister, education. She works at Lowery’s real estate office as a secretery but that is not what she wants. She wants to be married with children.

After her mother’s death and the sale of the house, they had some extra money and Lilia convinced Mary to go on a cruise. There she met SamLoomis, a divorced hardware store owner who inherited his ather’s debts with the buisness. They fell in love, but Sam doesn’t want to be arried now. e wants to wait a few years until the fiances are better. Mary doesn’t, but decides to wait.

When a biyer walked in and bought his daughter her dream house for $40000 in cash; Mary just snapped and stole it instead of depositing it like she was supposed to.

She travels to Sam, but decides to stop for the night instead of coming right over. Her stop? The Bates Motel.

Norman seems sweet and tells Mary that he will make them a snack. They do and talk about their issues.

Now here is what I thought was slightly weird. Norman in the film was adorable, kind-hearted looking, and like a cute little boy. I could see talking to him as he seemed safe, and in need of a friend. In this he is a bit creepy. 40-year old man with his mom, I don’t think so.

Mary decides that her plan is a horriblw one and is planning to return to Fort Worth, TX. Before she leaves, she decodes to take a shower, to wash off her sins.

While in the shower she is attacked and killed.

Norman has been drinking, depressed at their conversation as he knows that Mary is right. His life is hard and unpleasant and he should do something about it. He also has a thing for Marion and wants to be with her.

Norman discovers Mary’s dead body and figures that his mother is the one behind the attack. He then cleans up the mess, tossing everything in Mary’s car; and all that into the swamp.

Sam is writing a letter to Mary, when Lila shows up on his doorstep! She comes to him looking for Mary, relating what haooened and how Mary is missing. She is followed by Lowery’s private investigator Arbogast.

Hearing this news about Mary, Sam starts having seconf thoughts about the marriage wondering how he fell for such a woman. And does she know her as well as ge thought he did?

Arbogast traces the steps of where Mary could have gone and discovers the forgotten drive that leads to the Bates Motel.

He questions Norman and asks to talk to his mother. He lets Sam and Lila know, asking them to wait for his next cakk.

Norman relunctantly agrees to Arboghast meeting thre mother,but when Norman’s mother meets Arboghast she slices Arnoghast;s throat. Another body for the swamp.

Norman knows more will be coming, abd against his nother’s wishes, he ides her in the fruit cellar.

Sam ad Lila have been waiting for Arbohghast but no call comes. Lilia becomes worroe and impoatient and the two gp to the Sheriff toask fpr his help. There thet find out tht orman’s mother id dead and buired. If she is dead then who is in the house?

The Sheriff complies and heads out to question Norman. When he returns he lets the two know that Arboghast isn’t there, the mother isn’t there, and Mary isn’t there. he believes that Arboghast took off for Chicagi and just forot to call.

Lilia doesn’t believe in that and tells Sam she is heading out to the motel.

Lila and Sam pretend to be a couple trveling, but NOrmsn knows something uis up; espechially with Lila looking so much like Mary.

The two split up and start investogatong. Mary heads ro the house while Sam decides to distract Normab. It wokls for a while but Mormn knocks Sam out and heads to the house after Lila.

Sam wakes yp hen the Sheriff finds him. He recieved a call about Arboghast that made him suspicious and he ame out here tplook for Sam and Lila. They both hear Lila screaming and head up to the house.

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Ghost of the Hardy Boys

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Ghost of the Hardy Boys: An Autobiography by Leslie McFarlane, (the first Franklin W. Dixon)

I have never really been a fan of the Hardy Boys, except when they intersected with Nancy Drew. The Nancy Drew Casefiles had a cross over The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys: Super Mysteries; along with the TV show The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The books, the few I read, never captured my attention. However, when I found this book, I decided to check it out and learn more about the creation of the Hardy Boys.

But first:

Happy 115th Birthday Leslie McFarlane!

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McFarlane started as a Canadian writer, trying to strike it in the publishing world. He works at a newspaper during the day, and at night putts away at the keyboard trying to write stories and have them published.

He works at a midwestern newspaper, while still trying to get his work published. One day he came upon an advertisement by Stratemeyer looking for a writer. It promised good money, so McFarlane decides to answer it.

He receives an outline for a book about two boys, Dave Fearless and his best pal as they go on all kinds of adventures, but the book was to be written not by McFarlane but a Roy Rockwood.

Yes, Stratemeyer has an amazing idea in that he will have all these series written, but not by real people but pseudonyms. If an “author” leaves, they can always be replaced with no one noticing.

MacFarlane gets paid enough that he leaves his job at the paper and heads back to his hometown. But even though Dave Fearless is paying the bills, MacFarlane hates the character with a passion.

However, one day he is given an outline without the snippet for the next book. He doesn’t think much about it, but it turns out that Fearless is toast. Instead, Stratemeyer has a new idea, a crime-solving duo The Hardy Boys.

From here begins MacFarlane’s career as Franklin W. Dixon. With him he breathes his own life and ideas into the characters, creating pieces that would remain with them throughout the years and their many rebranding for new generations.

Thoughts After Reading:

I Lobed it. MacFarlane is hilarious and so genuine in his writing. It feels as if he is taking directly to you and he holds nothing back. Loved it!

For more Non Fiction, go to High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

For more biographies, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

Dracula (Graphic Novel)

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Dracula by Michael Mucci & Bram Stoker

Thoughts Before Reading:

Years earlier, my friend wanted a Dracula costume, but not the one from the films but the one from this graphic novel.

He didn’t have the book so I couldn’t give him the contact info of the person who could make it for him. Instead he was a knight.

Years later, I was shopping for a friend’s birthday and I spotted this graphic novel and knew it would be perfect.

As I was looking at it, I couldn’t resist reading it:

And I loved it!!!

Ploy Synopsis:

The book starts off with Jonathan Harker going to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula, helping him as he is moving to London. Count Dracula is friendly but has some strange rules regarding his house, never eats, and soon Jonathan realizes he is locked in the house.

And Count Dracula is more than meets the eye.

Meanwhile, back in England-Mina Murry stays with her best friend Lucy Westenra and anxiously awaits to hear from her fiancé Jonathan. But it has been so long since she has heard from him. Will she ever get a letter or will he come home again?

Meanwhile, her friend Lucy has a strange disease attacking her in which she needs constant transfusions. And there are some weird marks on her neck. Lucy’s former boyfriend, Dr. John Seward, has to use his blood, her fiancé Arthur Holmwood, former boyfriend Quincey Morris, and has to call in his former doctor and professor: Abraham Van Helsing, for help.

Van Helsing starts looking into it, and concludes it is Vampires.

Jonathan is found and comes back to England. Using his knowledge-Van Helsing, Harker, Mina, Dr. Seward, Morris, and Holmwood all team up to take the beast down.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was fantastic!

I loved the art

I loved the pacing of the story and everything else about this book.

And I never realized that Jonathan Harker was so tough. In the movies he never really does anything as he is always recuperating or doesn’t know what to do. In this he was pretty hardcore going after Dracula. And so wa Mina, she was one tough lady and a great character.

For more classic novels, go to The Sign of the Four

For more supernatural mysteries, go to The Winter People

For more graphic novels, go to Fangs But No Fangs

For more vampires, go to Grave Peril

The Tell-Tale Heart

“The Tell-Tale Heart” from Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allen Poe

This is one of those stories, no matter how many times you read it, it will always be as creepy and thrilling as the first time you read it.

One of things that makes it so spine-tingling is that it is told in first person, allowing the reader to become the character, and our hearts to beat in unison.

I can’t review it with proper justice, it is one you have to read.

A man rents out a room from an older man and is intent on stealing from him. Every day the man watches him, and eventually the lodger decides to kill him. When he goes in to kill him, he hears the heart beat get louder and louder, a crescendo.

After he kills him, he cuts the body up and chops it into pieces and buries him under the floorboards.

But is it that easy? The heart, he can hear it-it calls to him.

For more on Edgar Allan Poe, go to The Murders in Rue Morgue

For more on The Tell-Tale Heart, go to Murder He Wrote: Edgar Allan Poe

For more short stories, go to The Veldt

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Getting in the Halloween spirit with Zombies! I don’t need to write my own post, but just borrow from my sister blog. Check out what she has to say about this.

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Day 26) Z is for Zombie: Choose a Zombie Retelling of a Classic Novel

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies #1) by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

When I saw what Z stood for I knew that this was going to be the book I was going to review for it. First of all I have read very little Zombie themed books as that is just not really what I am in to. And secondly, pass up a chance to talk about Jane Austen?

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So I remember when this book was first released. It was right as the teen book world was moving out of wizards (Harry Potter) and Vampires (Twlight, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, etc.), and was searching for a new thing to fill this niche. They settled on Zombies.

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But not just Zombies. They decided to take it one step further and pair…

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High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

Highroad to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft by Michael Kunze

Thoughts Before Reading:

I had to read this for my class on Early Modern Europe, but didn’t.

I know. Since I couldn’t return it I decided to just hold on to it and read it later.

Plot Synopsis:

This book is the account of the Pappenheimers family. This unit of five-father Paulus; mother Anna; sons Jacob (sometimes called Michel), Gumpprecht, and Hoel (sometimes called Hansel). They were a lower class family that moved around like gypsies.

An arrested thief named them as his conspirators in murdering pregnant women and called them witches. They were arrested and taken to Munich.

There they were tortured and accused of committing over hundreds of thefts and murders, basically any unsolved crime.

Michael Kunze gives a deatailed account of life in the 17th century, and a detailed account of the horror of the witch hunts and trials.

Thoughts After Reading:

I have tried to read this book five times and barely make it out of the first few chapters.

Ugh

It is so dense and I just can’t connect to the work. I’m not sure if it is his style or maybe the translation, but after the fifth time trying to read it; I just kissed it goodbye.

For more nonfiction, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

For more books featuring witches, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

For more books I read for class, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more book reviews, go to Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure (Up2u Adventures #1)

Thoughts Before Reading:

When I was looking at books to get my niece I thought this would be a great choice. The fact that we got to choose our own ending made me think of the Choose Your Own Adventure series that I grew up with.

I thought it might even be better as it seemed that you were actually in the story before you made a choice. I always hated how of you choose wrong in the first question the story was over before it even began.

So let’s see how this went.

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Plot Synopsis:

Dylan and Michael are teamed up for their class project on doing a report on a famous town person. Michael doesn’t like being teamed up with Dylan at all because of his hobby, rubbling gravestones.

Now In personally don’t think that is that creepy at all, as lots of people do that, but Michael think it is strange.

So they start searching out famous people from the past. Michael wants to do the report on a newspaperman called Snoop, however Dylan found something more interesting; Snoop’s story.

Snoop did a whole series on Dr. Naper, the town’s own Dr. Frankenstein.

He was caught trying to experiment on creating life. And he is buried in Dylan’s favorite cemetery.

Dylan decides that the best way to get an A+ is to not only include the pictures that Snoop took, but a grave rubbing of Dr. Naper’s headstone.

Dylan decides that the two should head out there. Only problem is that he isn’t allowed to be there. Only way to do it, sneak out there after dark.

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What happens next? You decide!

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like how you weren’t able to choose until the very end and that your decision didn’t really have an effect. I like the Choose Your Own Adventure series better.

For more young adult mysteries, go to Spring Breakdown

For more ghosts, go to The Chocolate Chip Mystery

For more mad scientists, go to Ticker