EDDIE: THE LOST YOUTH OF EDGAR ALLAN POE by Scott Gustafson

eddie
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★


When young Eddie is falsely accused of destroying the Judge’s chicken coop, his adopted parents give him two days to find the true culprit. Guided by logic, but entranced by the poetry of the paranormal, Eddie seeks to solve the mystery, along the way meeting Captain Mephisto, a darkly unusual magician. With help from his Raven and the prodding of a mischievous imp, McCobber, it is no wonder that Eddie grows up to become a master of the macabre.

Scott Gustafson crafts a finely wrought portrait that is both humorous and touching. Coupled with his stunning gothic illustrations, EDDIE is sure to win fans young and old.


My son got this book for Christmas, but I had to read it first – because Poe! EDDIE is a mystery geared toward middle grade readers, and it gives a glimpse into what Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood might have been like, and how experiences in his youth influenced the stories and poems he wrote as an adult.

How did a neighbor’s prize rooster and a cat end up inside Eddie’s pillow case, and stuck on the roof? Eddie’s harsh stepfather Mr. Allan only gives him a day to prove his innocence. With the help of his pet raven and a mischievous imp, Eddie sets out to solve the mystery.

This book is a good introduction to Poe for young readers. The author Scott Gustafson also illustrated the book, and the detailed drawings are amazing. IMO, nothing too scary. A fun, quick read, worthy of the keeper shelf.

PLATINUM DOLL by Anne Girard

platinumdoll
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★¾


Set against the dazzling backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood, novelist Anne Girard tells the enchanting story of Jean Harlow, one of the most iconic stars in the history of film.

It’s the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Harlean Carpenter McGrew has run off to Beverly Hills. She’s chasing a dream—to escape her small, Midwestern life and see her name in lights.

In California, Harlean has everything a girl could want—a rich husband, glamorous parties, socialite friends—except an outlet for her talent. But everything changes when a dare pushes her to embrace her true ambition—to be an actress on the silver screen. With her timeless beauty and striking shade of platinum-blond hair, Harlean becomes Jean Harlow. And as she’s thrust into the limelight, Jean learns that this new world of opportunity comes with its own set of burdens. Torn between her family and her passion to perform, Jean is forced to confront the difficult truth—that fame comes at a price, if only she’s willing to pay it.

Amid a glittering cast of ingenues and Hollywood titans—Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes—Platinum Doll introduces us to the star who would shine brighter than them all.


PLATINUM DOLL is a novel based on actress Jean Harlow’s rise to fame during the Golden Age of Hollywood. In the late 1920s, she goes to California as a teenage bride from the Midwest. The book follows her turbulent marriage to Chuck McGrew, and the struggles she had with her ruthless mother who pushed and pushed an acting career, not always having her best interest at heart.

I enjoy reading about this era, and this book presents an intriguing and well-researched “slice of life” of a promising Golden Age starlet. I liked the author’s portrayal of Jean Harlow – part blonde bombshell, part book nerd – though I wish she would’ve had more of a backbone when it came to her mother. It was fun watching the clips referenced in the book, especially the Laurel & Hardy short “Double Whoopee.” The pacing was slow in spots, but overall it was a “swell” read, as Jean would say.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse (Audiobook)

The Taxidermist's Daughter
THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jackdaws, magpies, crows, and more, I love birds from the Corvidae family, and they were the perfect Gothic inspiration for Kate Mosse’s gruesome historical novel, THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER. This dark mystery centers around Connie, the daughter of a taxidermist – she, too, is one – and her quest to solve the mystery of a young woman’s murder. The story hooked me right away with its Poe-esque atmosphere. Chilling! The mystery itself was puzzling, twisty, and complex. Taxidermy give me the creeps, as did this book, so really it was a fitting backdrop to the story. Nice blend of murder mystery and old fashioned Gothic.


Audiobook • 10 hrs, 20 mins • Michelle Ford, Narrator

Parts of this book I listened to on audio, borrowed from the library. I enjoyed Michelle Ford’s performance. One thing that stood out was her ability to inflect a subtle feeling of dread into her voice, which was perfect for the subject matter of the book. She definitely enhanced the eerie Gothic feeling of the story!


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.