Monday, October 31, 2016

TTT - 10 Books To Read If Your Book Club Likes Historical Mysteries


This top 10 weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and can be found HERE.  Each week they focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. This week we are looking at book club recommendations so here's some things to consider if you like historical mysteries. Some of these may have a slight paranormal twist to them as well. 





I really never read a lot of historical fiction until the past 2 years but I have found that when it involves mysteries or paranormal elements, I really enjoy it. In fact, I have quite a few more on my TBR!


So what books should my book club read?

October 2016 Wrap Up


I felt like October was a slower reading month but in looking back, I read 9 novels so I can't complain.  I also participated in two tag team reads which I'm having a lot of fun with and did one author interview.  Let's face it, a lot of us readers always want to read more than what we do huh?  Anyway, let's get on with the overview and challenge updates.

GOODREADS: 99/100 - almost there!
WHAT AN ANIMAL IX: 22/12 (finished in July)
CLOAK & DAGGER CHALLENGE: 25/20 (finished in August)
HORROR READING CHALLENGE :24/16 (finished in August)
NEW RELEASE CHALLENGE: 69/30 (finished in June)
RIP XI - continued on with my reading plans and added several horror stories and several movies to the list.  I only read one short Kelley Armstrong story but hey, that's better than nothing.

I had 2 5-paw reads, 6 4-paw reads and 1 3-paw read,    I'm already starting to plan what challenges I'm going to participate in next year.

So how did your October go?




Saturday, October 29, 2016

Come Join the Circus - Ring Rider and Ring Ghost Review!


TITLE: Ring Rider (The Enchanted Circus of Jules Compere #1)
AUTHOR: Jane George
PUBLISHER: Beeswax Books
PUBLISHING DATE: March 22, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: A teenage, trailer-park runaway is offered a place to live and work in a struggling, one-ring circus. But nothing at Circus Lunastrata is what it seems, especially not the young circus cook, a guitar-playing, Edgar-Allan-Poe-quoting guy intriguing enough to be dangerous to her off-limits heart.

Soon, she’s risking not only her heart, but her life, as she dares to enter this magical and treacherous new world.

But it’s the only world she’s ever wanted to call home.



TITLE: Ring Ghost (The Enchanted Circus of Jules Compere #2)
AUTHOR: Jane George
PUBLISHER: Beeswax Books
PUBLISHING DATE: June 31, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Wally never wanted to join an enchanted circus. Working as the cook was supposed to be temporary. He wants to form a band. He wants to find his mom. Except, thanks to a major, magical screw-up, he can never go home again.

Now the circus is cursed, haunted. The Ringmaster is in peril. Everything’s falling apart.
If there’s no more circus, Wally might be free. But Circus Lunastrata means everything to the beautiful, beguiling bareback rider—and his possible soul mate—Evangeline.

It’s a no win situation. Can Wally find a solution while there’s still a ghost of a chance?


MY THOUGHTS: 
"Ring Rider" pleasantly surprised me as I was reading it. Also, I think I'm pretty much mesmerized by circus tales after reading this one. Evan has bounced from foster home to foster home since she was a young child. One evening she finally has all she can take and runs off, only to run into an odd little clown riding an odd little bike in a back alley. He sets up a meeting with her for later than evening with his boss, Jules Compere, and Evan agrees simply because she sees it as a way to get a free meal. Evan meets with Jules, an equally odd but mesmerizing man, who offers her a job with the Circus Lunastrata. Evan agrees and that's when the real fun begins.

Jules Compere is a magical man who hires only the most magical of individuals to help him keep his family's circus legacy surviving. Evan meets all kinds of interesting characters once she joins from other runaways, to small people who can change material things to other material things, to a talking elephant and a whole family of individuals who can transform into polar bears. There is intrigue, fantasy elements, action and some mystery all wrapped up in between the cover of this book and I really couldn't put it down (but had to work and sleep, ya know?) George creates a truly magical world. There is some romance in the book but the author stays away from insta-love and creates more of a "slow burn." While reading this, the reader might initially feel there is a love triangle brewing but if they drive you as crazy as they drive me, give it time because that is certainly not the case.


The second book in the series continues on with the world of the enchanted circus.  It was great visiting the same great characters so soon after this first.  "Ring Ghost" is told from Wally's perspective though and it was nice to learn more about him and see his life from his point of view.   Once again, the circus is in danger and Wally has to decide if he really wants to be bound to it for the rest of his life - not that he has a lot of choice.




This series  is marketed as a young adult read and although not that intended audience, it was still incredibly enjoyable. However, that being said, I am VERY intrigued with Jules Compere and would love to know more about the main adult in this book. If you like circus themed books, you should definitely add these to your TBR.



I received these books from Expresso Books/author in exchange for an honest review.


 RATING: 4 PAWS
 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (87)....Surprise!

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves or TBR piles, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store, online, books you borrow from the library or friends, review books, gifts and of course, ebooks! The original meme was started over at Tynga's Reviews.  Clicking on the book (or title) should take you to the Goodreads page. 

SURPRISE - You thought I meant it when I said I was slacking off on making requests from Netgalley.  In my defense, they just put up quite a few books which don't release until next year.  That's my defense and I'm sticking to it.


The Bear and the Nightingale led to me creating a new phrase...#StormiMadeMeDoIt.  And I couldn't resist the horror books and never dreamed I'd get approved for all three.  Snake Eyes is the third in a series but since they are all by different authors, I think it can be read alone. I featured The Feast of Souls on a W.O.W. feature a month or so ago and Five Stories High has been on my Goodreads wishlist since I first saw it some time ago.  OK...so in looking, the horror ones release in December,  It must be the ones I requested that I haven't heard back from yet which come out next year! oops.

Here are the physical books I bought/received:


The Boy Who Drew Monsters was a book I won during Summer COYER.  I have a digital copy of The Secret Life of Souls but the publisher was kind enough to send me a finished copy.  And finally, The Brotherhood of the Wheel and City of the Lost were ordered from the last Book Outlet sale a week or so ago. I got them both for less than $10.00 including shipping.

And finally, I love this time of year because I've been able to find some great free books for my Kindle - thrillers, horror stories and mysteries oh my!




In the Shadow of Porter's Hollow, Marvelry's Curiosity Shop, Nightsingers, The Midnight Sea and Snarl were all free when I grabbed them.  After loveing the Daemoniac by Kat Ross, I was thrilled to snag this one.  I don't know what the price is now, so as always, check before you click.

So what did you add to your shelves this week????


Weekly Reads (10/29/16)


Man this week has been a killer.  I feel like I've ran all weekend.  I'm hoping I can slow down soon but honestly, I'm not sure.  I have to visit Grandpa tomorrow and then tomorrow evening is Trick-or-Treat.  Even though we aren't taking anyone, we will sit outside during that time and hand out candy. I also have been trying to winterize our house some and prepare for the colder temps - keeping my fingers crossed for a mild winter - ha!

We managed to watch one scary movie this week - Lights Out.  It was actually pretty good and I even jumped in a few parts.  The way it was made and the creepy figure in it kind of reminded me of the Japanese horror movies like The Ring and The Grudge.  Definitely not a bad rental/stream.

Here are some pics of our Halloween decorations.  Some years we go more out than others.  I did carve the two pumpkins Wednesday night and husband made pumpkin seeds.  I will try to catch some photos of them lit this weekend.  It's the first year I did a pawprint and I'm thrilled with it.  I can see it being a yearly tradition!





I only have two books I plan on reading this week.  Hopefully I will get to a third but one is really long so I'm trying to be realistic.  It's a Tag Team read with my friend Stormi.


So what are your Halloween/weekend plans?  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tag Team Review - Witches by Kathryn Meyer Griffith



Welcome to the Tag Team Event hosted by Laura and Sherry.  This is a special edition as we have two bloggers joining in to share their reviews. A warm welcome to Stormi and Barb. For today we are featuring Witches by Kathryn Meyers Griffith. Be sure to click on all of the links. Each blog will be hosting an individual giveaway, so visit them all for four chances to win!


 Witches

FROM GOODREADS:
WHITE MAGIC
Amanda Givens uses her powers with great care. The people of Canaan, Connecticut would not welcome a witch among them even a white witch a "good" witch. For years, she has lived quietly in a remote cabin with Amadeus, her feline familiar. Bit when an evil coven filled with creatures from the depths of hell torments Canaan with unspeakable horrors and brutal slayings, Amanda knows she can hide no longer. She is the one they are after. And she is the only one who can stop the terror.
BLACK MAGIC
Ever since fanatical witchhunters consigned her to an eternity of fury, Rachel Coxe has been waiting for her chance to come back to life. Now, centuries later, the time is right. Amanda is all that stands between her and her unholy vengeance. Flanked by the forces of darkness, Rachel is ready to unleash all the horror at her command.
MY THOUGHTS: When I first started reading "Witches," I wasn't really sure what I was getting into.  In fact, the first chapter was extremely long and so full of explanations and details that I was afraid the book was losing me.  However, once I got about 25% in, the book took off for me and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.  "Witches" is also a hard book to categorize but I can say it has tons of elements which I know many readers appreciate - paranormal, suspense, mystery and mild horror.  There is also a huge time travel element in the book which was probably my favorite part because I have really been enjoying historical fiction with paranormal elements recently.
Amanda recently lost her husband and lives outside the town of Canaan.  She is a white witch who prefers the simple life and who also enjoys helping people and respecting the land on which she lives.  Amanda has always been persecuted and judged by people who don't understand her, so she keeps a lot of her abilities secret and hidden from others.  Her only real family she has left is her two sisters, one who is a witch who has used her gifts to become a well-known author and "mainstream" persona, and one who has no supernatural capabilities at all who resides in Boston with her husband and children  Suddenly people are being killed in Canaan and the town is living in fear of a satanic cult who is taking over the area.  Amanda has been approached by an evil entity, a witch named Rachel, and it doesn't take long before the town starts blaming Amanda for everything that is happening.

I really liked Amanda as a character.  Although a loner, she still craves human companionship and has a close, yet sometimes stained relationship with her siblings.  I have to state that my favorite part of the book was the familiars created by Griffith.  I ADORED Amadeus, Amanda's cat (although please don't tell Booker T) and Tibby, the tiny mouse familiar of Amanda's sister Rebecca. They both add quite a bit to the story and play pertinent roles.  Sometimes I found myself more interested in their actions that some other things going on.

I really enjoy books about witches so I knew the chances were good I would like Griffith's book.  While I did initially find it slow, there is an awful lot of story packed into the pages and not for a second do I regret picking it up.  

RATING: 4 PAWS (dog paws....not Amadeus paws)


I was provided this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  In addition, Kathyrn Meyer Griffith is giving away 4 copies of this title (ebook or audible) - one on each blog participating in the tag.  Just answer the following question in the comments below - Who is your favorite fictional witch?  Also, here are the links for the other tag team blogs so you can check out their posts and increase your chances.  

FUONLYKNEW - Lauren's Ramblings and Reviews 
Sherry at fundimental

Stormi at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!


Why Kathryn wrote Witches: In 1991 I’d already been writing for about twenty years, on and off (though there was a long gap where I didn’t write because of a divorce, the finding of a full time job to support myself and my son, and a remarriage…life) when I contracted my fourth novel, my first of four to Zebra paperbacks, a romantic horror called Vampire Blood, about a family of vampires who run a movie theater in a small town. I’d already had a fifth novel, The Last Vampire, completed and in with them when they asked me for another novel.
Got anything about witches, they asked. Witches are hot right now. Hmmm.
For many years I’d played around with an idea about a present day white witch who finds a diary of a long dead witch–either good or bad, I hadn’t decided–in her old house’s attic, or basement, or under a floorboard. The story would have been about the good witch reliving the other dead witch’s life through the diary. In my head I’d always called that possible book Rachel’s Diary.
So in 1991 or 1992 I began the witch book and it quickly metamorphosed into a story of a present day good witch, Amanda Givens, who’s yanked into a perilous seventeenth century past by an evil witch, Rachel Coxe, to take her place…and possibly, unless Amanda can change the evil witch’s history, die a horrible death as an accused witch. I had the idea then to actually send Amanda into the past to live (for a while) the other witch’s life. Of course, being a good witch, Amanda, changes the other witch’s unsavory reputation but still ends up in a prison waiting to die for Rachel’s earlier crimes. The story, simply put, would be how Amanda overcomes her trials and tribulations, finds her lost eternal love again in the past, and finds a way to return to the present alive. In the process, learning some important life lessons about accepting what life has dealt her and the value of sisters, friendships and the love of those around her. Or, in other words, a story of good versus evil and, in the end, good wins and is rewarded. I also threw in a few touches of humor in the form of three precocious witches’ familiars…a mind-reading and speaking ancient cat called Amadeus, a mouse, Tituba, and a tiny bat, Gibbiewackett…all with feisty personalities and quirks of their own.
I was excited about the book as I was writing it and when it was done, pleased with it, but had no idea that over the years it’d become one of the jewels of my writing career and a book my fans would love as much as they did. I loved the cat face cover Zebra did for it in 1993 (a rare occurrence as I’d learned the hard way that covers weren’t always what I’d envisioned and in the early days I had no choice but to accept whatever the publisher’s gave me…and some weren’t so hot, let me tell you!); but I love Dawne Dominique’s new 2015 cover just as much with the witch and her cat.
Witches originally came out in 1993 and did well. I noticed soon after as I went on to publish other books I continued to get admiration for it and requests for a sequel (though I haven’t been able to do another one so far…but maybe in the future). Readers loved the three sisters, Amadeus and Amanda, Gibbiewackett and Tituba. In those days I was too busy working full time as a graphic artist, living my life and writing new books to notice. It went into a second printing in 2000 and after that, sadly, went out of print until 2010. But my fans never forgot it. I’d find comments on it and discussions on the Internet…even customer reviews raving about it years and years later. I tried talking Zebra into reissuing it but after Zebra and I parted ways in 1994 there was no talking them into it.
Then in 2010 when Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, the publisher asked about all (there was 7 at the time) my out-of-print Zebra and Leisure paperback backlist novels and if I’d like to have them reissued as new paperbacks and, for the first time ever, in e-books. Sure, that’d be great! I told them. And, as they say, the rest is history. Between June 2010 and July 2012 all 7 of them were updated, rewritten and came out again. Of course, that meant a heck of a lot of rewriting. A lot of work. Those early novels went back thirty-two years and were first written in the days of snail mail and on an electric typewriter before the Internet, e-mails and Windows Track Changes (for editing). Oh, boy, did they need revising. As of today I can happily say all my fourteen older novels have been totally rewritten, even my very first published romantic horror novel, Evil Stalks the Night (originally a 1984 Leisure Books paperback). Then, later, between 2012 and 2015 I finally (after much fighting with my old publishers) got all my rights back to all my old novels and self-published ALL my 23 novels myself in eBooks, paperbacks and Audible audio books. I will never go back to publishers again because I’m finally making a living with my books–and it’s great to have complete control for the first time in 45 years of writing.
I’ve often been asked what I think of e-books and I have to say it feels strange, all these years later, to be so into them. I think it’s fantastic to be able to put hundreds of books on one little lightweight hand-held contraption and sell them as inexpensively as we do. I started publishing e-books four years ago and have seen such great changes in even that short a time. With a chuckle I recall a writer’s convention I attended in 1990–yes, that far back–and the main topic back then was…OMG the electronic books are coming! They’re going to make us authors obsolete! Print books are going to die a terrible lonely death…etc., etc. Lack and alas, what are we going to do? Ha, ha. It’s ironic that 26 years later I’m in love with e-books and self-publishing. It is the present and the future. Though I think there’ll always be room for print books as well as electronic ones as many people still like to feel a real book in their hands.
So Witches…I rereleased it again in 2015 with a brand new cover and I’m thrilled. The cover is still of Amadeus, the magical cat, but now Amanda, the white witch, is also on it. As always my cover artist, Dawne Dominique, did an amazing job. I’m proud of the book, it has held up pretty well, I think. I hope it finds many more readers and fans.
So that’s the story of Witches…the little book that wouldn’t die.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (79)



"Waiting on" Wednesday" is weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming anticipated releases.






April 4, 2017
 
FROM GOODREADS: Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.

To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.
 
WHY I'M WAITING:  I love urban fantasy and honestly don't read enough of it.  I stumbled on this one last week and knew it had to go on the TBR! 
 
So what are you waiting for this week??? 
 

Monday, October 24, 2016

TTT - 10 Creepy Book Covers


This top 10 weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and can be found HERE.  Each week they focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. This week is a Halloween related freebie and since I've already done Halloween TBR's, favorite horror books, etc and don't really want to bore you with more of the same thing, I am featuring 10 Scary Covers.  Some of these I've read and some of these I'd like to read!



I read this in 2003 and while I don't remember a whole lot about it, I wouldn't want to meet that woman in a dark alley...or anywhere for that fact,

I love Scott Nicholson books and need to read more of them.

This book may be an oldie but I really enjoyed it back in 2004.  Cemeteries are always creepy, but I love them!

Almost too fuzzy to be creepy but Susan Sheppard is a local historian in my town and every Halloween she does haunted ghost tours.  We went one year and it was fun walking around familiar sites and hearing all the legends.  

Creepy ghost in doorknocker.  Rather unsettling if I do say so myself.

Haven't read this but I really want to do so.

I've heard great things about this entire series.

In my book, it doesn't get much creepier than clowns (and people on stilts but that's a whole 'nother phobia for me).  WONDERFUL BOOK!  Must re-read soon.

Got to read this and find out what's up with this cover!  

Just stumbled on this one but possession stories creep me out and that cover!!!!!

So, have you guys read any of these?  Maybe we've all discovered some new books so we can make it Halloween reading time all year round!



Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Vow (review) - Vampires That Don't Sparkle

TITLE: The Vow
AUTHOR: Laura Daleo
PUBLISHER: Story Bound Publishing, LLC
PUBLISHING DATE: August 27, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Finals are over, and twenty-year-old Claire Matthews can hardly wait to begin summer break until...she arrives home to an army of police swarming her parents' front lawn. Detective Reynolds delivers the dreadful news that the man and woman inside the home are dead, and Claire is forced to identify their mummified bloodless bodies. Her world comes to a grinding halt when she learns that it is her mother and father who are the deceased, and her younger brother, JJ, is nowhere to be found. The predator accused...a vampire.

Claire is no stranger to vampires; in fact, these days' vamps are a dime a dozen. One-hundred-thirty years ago a vow was made, combining the two worlds. A vampire's survival no longer required a human sacrifice. Vampire Centers were created, offering human blood through transfusion; yet, why were her parents bled dry? Why now? What changed? Could a rogue vampire be responsible? Was it possible vampires, Nate and Parker, JJ's best friends, suddenly hungered for human blood?


MY THOUGHTS: 
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started this book but it turned out to be a perfect read for the Halloween season. Claire has just finished finals and is coming home for summer break. She immediately thinks something is wrong because her always reliable parents do not show up at airport to pick her up. Claire catches a taxi home to find police and emergency cars and personnel everywhere and soon learns her parents have been brutality murdered and her teenage brother J.J. is missing. Since the Vow, basically a peace agreement and legal pact, was made between vampires and humans over 130 years ago allowing vampires to live among humans, there is reason for concern when her parents suffer from numerous bites and have been completely drained of all their blood. Although Detective Reynolds has promised Claire he will get to the bottom of the crime and locate her brother, Claire cannot wait and starts an investigation of her own.

Although many would classify this as a paranormal romance, I think it's strength lies in the mystery waiting to be solved. Claire takes many steps to locate J.J. and her parents killer and there were a few twists and turns along the way which I didn't see coming. The book is extremely fast paced and there are quite a few interesting characters for the reader to meet along the way. I want to commend Daleo for not creating a dreaded "love triangle" which sometimes rears its ugly head in paranormal romance books. Also, the relationship that forms isn't really of the "insta-love" nature although I think most readers can see it coming almost right from the beginning. My only real issue with "The Vow" is Claire. I realize she is young and she wants to discover what happened to her family, but the girl made stupid move after stupid move and I'm surprised she made it out of the book alive! I kept waiting for Claire to get a clue but she must suffer from some undiagnosed impulsivity disorder.

I have to admit that while it's probably not a popular opinion, I am in love with Gabriel. He is mean, crude and has no need for humans in his life but I just KNOW there is a heart in there somewhere. I only hope Daleo considers exploring Gabriel in a future book - a girl can hope. Overall, if you enjoy vampire books and don't mind a little romance (minus triangles and insta-love) then you should probably snag a copy of "The Vow." I've said it before regarding Daleo's books and I'll say it again - I respect vampires that don't sparkle!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review and this has not influenced my thoughts and opinions in any manner.


RATING: 4 PAWS
 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (86)

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves or TBR piles, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store, online, books you borrow from the library or friends, review books, gifts and of course, ebooks! The original meme was started over at Tynga's Reviews.  Clicking on the book (or title) should take you to the Goodreads page. 

So I do have a few books to feature this week but then again, what else is new.  I was approved for the following digital ARCs,


The Dead Seekers, Dead and Breakfast and The Alchemist's Loom are all the first novels in new series and thank heavens they all release in January of next year and no time sooner!

I also grabbed a few titles for my Kindle.....


I love this time of year because you always seem to be able to find some spooky reads either free on on sale.  I grabbed Unlucky Charm, The Nurse and The Watcher's Daughter for free and only paid $0.99 for Nine Candles of Deepest Black.

So have you read any of these titles and what have you added to your shelves this week?