February was a heavy library month – meaning I checked out physical books from the library to read. I love the library, best thing ever!
Let’s jump right in to all the books I read in the February 2022
Actually, read should not be plural because I only read one non-fiction book this month.
I am slowly working my way through the Ann Rule books I have, most of which I’ve read before, but I’m starting over. I learn something new each time. Usually, I rank Ann Rule’s books fairly high, however on my second read through, I’ve been downgrading to about a 3-star rating.
I still love her writing and believe Ann Rule was fairly delicate when writing about crime victims and I do appreciate that she gives a bit of their life so we can know the person who left us too early. However, I have noticed some subtle hints at assuming what the victim and/or killer are thinking. That is not something I like. I want to know that what I’m reading is accurate, and assuming what others are thinking kind of diminishes that.
That said, I still think Ann does a great job with her research.
The Want-Ad Killer by Ann Rule – This is a stand-alone story, not one of her compilation books. It covers the depravity of Harvey Louis Carignan. He owned a gas-station and would place ads looking for help. He also used those to ads to lure women to him. Carignan raped and murdered his first victim in 1949. Then attempted to rape another lady and got sentenced to jail. By late1974 he had killed four more young women.
This is one of those times where you realize that despite how much has changed in the course of forty plus years, some things remain the same. Carignan lured women through want ads, today, people are lured by evil people through Craigslist, FB, and other online platforms.
Fiction Reads for February 2022
I read seven fiction books in February. Of those, two were short stories.
You Let Me in by Camilla Bruce – An author with a troubled past (she was on trial for murder) disappears, yet she leaves behind one final manuscript.
And that seemed like cool premise. Just not what I was expecting. I think the problem came from more of a creepy fantasy element. I wasn’t expecting that and it’s not normally my thing. Which is weird because I have no problem with ghostly creepy things. It didn’t work for me.
Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender – First, this is an almost a four-star read. Delia inherits her great aunt’s house, which isn’t a house. It’s a derelict insane asylum. Just what every 16-year-old wants. Delia and her parents and younger sister go to the place with the intention of fixing it up and selling it. However, everything goes wrong and less than 24-hours later Delia is dead.
The rest of the story is about the others in the asylum.
I love a good creepy abandoned building with tragic past story. I like ghost stories and hauntings, so this book was right up my alley. This book is intended for the YA market, so it’s a very quick, easy read. Has some good creepy, ghostly activity and a little feel-good moment at the end.
Oddly, the rest of my reads this month were all four-star books. Either I was feeling generous with stars, or they just hit the mark for me.
Let’s start with the two short-stories I read.
The Death of the Dauphin by Alphnose Daudet – A young boy who would have been heir to the throne is on his death bed. Yet, despite his family’s royal status, he learns no amount of money or prestige can save him. This was a sad story, very short, definitely a great Aesop Fable type story.
The Lady or the Tiger by Frank Stockton – A barbaric king’s daughter falls in love with a man her father does not approve of. In the father’s barbaric fashion, he sends the guy to the arena. I can’t say much because it’s a short story and it has a kind of ‘you decide the ending’ vibe. Definitely, a good read. Makes you wonder if true love prevails or if “I can’t have you, no one can” prevails.
Full-Length Fiction Reads
The Family Plot by Megan Collins – Dahlia’s missing twin is found dead and lying in the plot for her recently passed father. Blackburn Island has been marred by the famous Blackburn serial killer. Which leads us to wonder who was/is the serial killer? This is a creepy, twisted, haunting story. I enjoyed it.
Confessions by Kanae Minato – This story takes place in Japan and is about a teacher who is going to retire. However, before doing so, she intends to let her class know that she knows the students involved in her daughter’s death.
This story is told from multiple viewpoints, and I didn’t see the end coming.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – Nora has given up on her life and does something that leaves her life in the balance. While Nora’s body is trapped between life and death, she ends up in the Midnight Library. A place that gives off Twilight Zone type vibes, If Twilight Zone and It’s a Wonderful Life joined together.
I enjoyed reading this book. It’s a feel-good story and Matt Haig did something that so few writers can do well. He had a character with subtle political views, yet, that character kept it true to the character. It never came across as the author preaching his views and denouncing anyone else. Really cool.
What books have you read that you’d recommend?