Friday, November 4, 2016

The Mystery of Spring-Heeled Jack: From Victorian Legend to Steampunk Hero by John Matthews

Spring-Heeled Jack has been around in one form or another for a very long time. He first showed up in the Victorian era and has now emerged once again in our present day. 
The book is obviously well researched with painstaking detail especially with not only old newspaper reports from the Victorian era but also noting a comparison with Jack the Ripper, our current day Slenderman, and even Batman. 
I have to admit I found the Victorian sightings a bit tedious after awhile and I had to keep putting the book down during that first part of the book. It was written in a paragraph style and I think I would have had an easier time had it been organized a bit differently (encounters noted by consecutive dates and/or by hyphens or dashes). I finally did manage to get through it and found the rest of the book very interesting and hard to put down. All in all, it is a very extensively researched novel and a good place to start for anyone who wants to understand the phenomenon of Spring-Heeled Jack.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Seven Sovereign Queens by Geoffrey Trease

This is a very condensed biography of seven interesting women who became sovereign Queens. It is a tantalizing glimpse into the world these women lived in and how their uniqueness gave them the skills they needed to become rulers in their own right. The book covers Cleopatra, Christina of Sweden, Maria Theresa, Catherine the Great, Galla Placidia, Boudicca, and Isabella of Spain. The author chose these particular women for reasons which are explained in the book. The novel is arranged from the ancient world to the 18th century which I enjoyed. The biographies are more of a short introduction to these amazing women's life stories and I hope that others will be tempted to learn more about the particular Queen or Queens who catches their fancy and attention. The writing is engrossing and draws you into their struggles and triumphs. I received a copy of this book from the publishers (thank you!) for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Subject 375 (The Project Trilogy Book 1) by Nikki Owen

I honestly did not expect this book to be as good as it turned out to be. Dr. Maria Martinez is convicted of a murder she does not remember committing though DNA evidence ties her to the scene. Dr. Martinez is a plastic surgeon and also happens to have Asperger's. The novel is written from her point of view and it does take a little time to get used to the style but that style is also the book's strength. I really felt as if I were in Maria's head, feeling her confusion and conflicting memories. I don't like to give spoilers so all I will say is that all is not what it seems. I am eagerly awaiting book two in this series. Highly recommended. I received a copy of this book from the publishers (thank you!) for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars!

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

I love psychological thrillers and I found the thought of someone disappearing on a cruise ship intriguing. I had assumed that this would be simple "whodunit" but it turned out to be way more. It is full of twists and turns and I had a hard time putting the book down. 
Adam has lived with Sarah for a very long time. Adam is an aspiring screenwriter who is on the verge of success after many years of effort. Sarah has been supporting both of them with her job until Adam is able to take over the role of breadwinner. When Sarah doesn't return from a business trip to Barcelona, Adam's world is turned upside down and everything he thought to be true is wrong.
There are many different threads and storylines at the beginning which eventually manage to connect. Adam's character is very interesting. At first, I found him to be a bit irritating because he seemed to be clueless as to how much he relies on Sarah and I thought he was using Sarah. His sheer determination and bravery in his search for Sarah changed my mind.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

I actually borrowed this book from the library for my children to read. I am glad I did as I found it very enjoyable in so many ways. The artwork is exquisite and adds to the stories told. One of the stories would make a fantastic campfire tale "A Lady's Hands are Cold". There are five stories in all and I have to say my favorite is "The Nesting Place". I didn't find it frightening but then I am an adult but my two daughters did read it and found it scary (they are 12 and 10). The book comes together with the drawings very well and have very original story lines. Highly recommended especially for Halloween.

Four out of Five Stars!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wrathbone and Other Stories by Jason Parent

I am usually wary about reading short stories even from authors I enjoy because short stories seem to be a lost art (to me anyway). I had high hopes when I started reading "Wrathbone and Other Stories" as I had read a previous novel by Jason Parent that was outstanding. Needless to say, I was definitely not disappointed but found myself enjoying these tales even more than "Seeing Evil". I made sure to read one story a night to make it last and my only regret is that I did not wait until Halloween to read it although this is a collection of tales that I will be reading again.

Wrathbone - The collection begins with a bang (pun intended) with the effect the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln has on guests who were sitting with the President when the unthinkable happened. The atmosphere and sense of growing horror in this first novella is reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe and M.R. James and is easily my favorite of all the stories.

The Only Good Lawyer - A stereotypical nasty lawyer with no morals meets his match with a voodoo doll. This one was a fun and creepy read because the lawyer was not someone I could empathize with as he is so despicable that I found myself actually rooting for the voodoo doll which was a first for me. 

Dorian's Mirror - A very vain man (think Narcissus) is completely in love with himself and is convinced everyone else is but mirrors seem to tell him otherwise. I enjoyed this story very much. The arrogance and conceit of the main character made his fall all the more horrific.

For the Birds - Some people's best friends are their dogs or cats but Nev's best friend is his parrot who has an appetite for raw meat. The bloodier the better. When burglars enter his home, Nev finds out that sometimes friends are not really friends at all. I really had chills reading this short story because I did have pet birds at one time and I couldn't help but think what if?

Revenge is a Dish - Maurice has the perfect job as a chef on a rich couple's yacht. Even better, the wife has the hots for Maurice. When Maurice is found out and set adrift, his dreams of revenge become reality when they all meet up again on a not so deserted island. Even better, Maurice is able to learn some new recipes to the horror of the other survivors.

I think what impressed me the most was the style of writing. Wrathbone and other stories are so very different from "Seeing Evil" that it is like they were written by a different person. Jason Parent was able to pull off a very different style of writing that changed from suspense to gothic and sheer horror. This is definitely one that is a must read for fans of horror fiction.

Five out of Five Stars!

Follow along the tour with these hashtags: 
#Wrathbone #historicalhorror #suspensehorror #terrifyingtales

Wrathbone and Other Stories, Synopsis

Print Length: 160 pages

Publisher: Comet Press

Publication Date: October 3, 2016

Terror follows those who let it into their hearts.


Guests of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris attend a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865. On that fateful night, a great man falls, but he is not alone. For Henry and Clara, the night is only the beginning of lives wrought with jealousy, madness, and horror.

The Only Good Lawyer

Bradley is a savvy defense attorney with no scruples. Under his representation, many a guilty man has gone free. But when a voodoo priest takes the stand, Bradley soon discovers that he, too, is on trial, and the punishment for guilt may be more than he could bear.

Dorian's Mirror

Dorian loves himself, and why wouldn't he? Every guy wants to be him, and every girl wants to be with him. He would trade all he has to make his looks last forever, but bargaining with the devil may leave him short a soul.

For the Birds

Nev's best friend is his parrot. In fact, it's his only friend… and his only ally when his home is invaded.

Revenge is a Dish

Maurice has landed a dream job, chef for a rich couple on their yacht. The wife has carnal desires for him. Maurice has some carnal desires of his own.

Jason Parent, Biography

In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it's harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he's back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that's another story.

When he's not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody's head off - he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.

Please visit the author on Facebook, on Twitter, or at his website for information regarding upcoming events or releases, or if you have any questions or comments for him. 

Praise for Wrathbone and Other Stories

 “From the eerie opening tale to the grisly closer, and all of the wonderfully mean-spirited tales in-between, Wrathbone is a winner!” — Jeff Strand, author of Dead Clown Barbecue

“Wrathbone and Other Stories is a hard-hitting collection that you can completely immerse yourself in. The title story is a beautifully written period tale of love and tragedy. I finished and realized that I was breathing shallowly because I was genuinely affected that much. A tale that leaves you breathless? Yes, please!” - Mercedes M. Yardley, author of the Bram Stoker Award winner Little Dead Red.

"An elegantly written novella of madness, murder, and demons, Jason Parent's Wrathbone reads like Edgar Allan Poe's take on 'Jacob's Ladder.'" --Adam Howe, author of Tijuana Donkey Showdown, Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, and Black Cat Mojo

“Jason Parent is a master of controlling how you perceive the characters and the events in these stories, making sure you read it exactly how he wants you to read it. It’s like mind control. Powerful stuff!” – Nev Murray, Confessions of A Reviewer

Purchase Links


Add to GoodReads

See More at Comet Press!

Want to Feature?

If you’d like to feature or interview Jason Parent on your site, or review Wrathbone and Other Stories, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at

Jack-in-the-Box by William W. Johnstone

This is the second book I have read by this author (the other one was "Bats" which I really enjoyed). This one has also been re-released by Kensington and was apparently first published in the 80's so it definitely has an 80's feel to it.
Nora is not a normal little girl. In fact, she is devil's spawn and her father, Phillip knows something is not normal but her mother thinks nothing is wrong with her perfect little angel. Throw in a nasty jack-in-the-box that has Nazi connections and you have a campy but fast and enjoyable read. Be warned, though, there are some scenes that are definitely taboo so be prepared. The book reminded me a bit of one called (I think) "Demon Seed" and "The Exorcist" combined.
I am glad that Kensington has decided to release William W. Johnstone's books once again for a new generation.
I received a copy of this book for free from Kensington via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars!

Hag-Seed (Hogarth Shakespeare) by Margaret Atwood

I was fascinated by the idea of taking Shakespeare's works and converting them into a modern day retelling. Hag-Seed (Hogarth Shakespeare) is actually the first book I have read from the series. I found it to be beautifully written (what else do you expect from Margaret Atwood?) and impossible to put down.
In Margaret Atwood's version of The Tempest, we are quickly brought into the tragic and sad world of Felix, who in minutes goes from being the successful Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Festival to absolutely nothing due to betrayal. Accompanied by the ghost of his dead daughter, Miranda, Felix eventually finds his way to a humble abode and plans his revenge. He basically goes underground and creates an alternate persona which helps him to find a job teaching theatre in a prison to inmates who perform his creations. It is in that setting that Felix plots his revenge.
There are so many brilliant elements to this novel. The story line is enthralling and I enjoyed how Atwood managed to bring in the concept of prison and if/how it should try to rehabilitate inmates. I really adored this book. There was so much humor and also very touching moments. It is a novel that not only pays wonderful homage to The Tempest but also very witty and makes you think about our prison system. Definitely very highly recommended!
Thank you so much to Crown Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me to read this amazing novel. I received a copy for free in exchange for an honest review.

Five out of Five Stars!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Silver Baron's Wife by Donna Baier Stein

"The Silver Baron's Wife" by Donna Baier Stein is an account of the life of a very strong-willed and interesting woman named Elizabeth McCourt Doe Tabor better known as Baby Doe Tabor (Lizzie). 
Her rags to riches to rags story is very compelling, inspiring, and ultimately sad. It is written as a fictional novel but don't be mistaken in thinking it is only fiction. It is based on a very real woman who lived during the late 1800's. The author chose to write the novel as fiction using much research including personal notes from Baby Doe Tabor herself and other sources. I found this style actually brought Baby Doe Tabor to life better than if it had been written as nonfiction. I could appreciate her strength of character, stubbornness, her triumphs, dreams, and disappointments. Baby Doe Tabor is a part of history and a woman we should not forget. She refused to conform to society and did what she had to do to survive. She should not be forgotten and Donna Baier Stein has made sure of that.
I received a copy of this book from Serving House Books for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Four out of Five Stars

“Donna Baier Stein is a discovery. Her deceptively mild story-telling veers swiftly into the savage but often unacknowledged discontent of suburban life – wives struggling with marital disappointment and missed opportunities, celebrating and often betrayed by unexpected friendships – all explored with language that engages and surprises.” —C. Michael Curtis, Fiction Editor, The Atlantic (for Sympathetic People) 

 Enticing Rags-to-Riches-to-Rags Historical Novel Showcases Colorado Woman’s Independence in the Face of Adversity  Award-winning author Donna Baier Stein releasing The Silver Baron’s Wife on September 15, 2016  

A three-time Pushcart nominee and Iowa Fiction Award finalist, Donna Baier Stein masterfully resurrects the rags-to-riches-torags life story of Colorado’s Lizzie Tabor (“Baby Doe”) in her captivating historical novel set to release this September, The Silver Baron’s Wife (Serving House Books, September 15, 2016, Paperback $14.95, Ebook $4.99). An early, unpublished version of the novel won the PEN/New England Discovery Award in Fiction, which isn’t surprising given Stein’s virtuoso ability to shed new light on the complex, scandalous, and unusual true story of one of America’s wealthiest women. 

As a young woman in the 1870s, Lizzie Tabor notoriously defied convention: When her first husband failed as a provider, she descended into the silver mines herself to earn their living. When she caught her husband in a brothel with a young girl, she divorced him. And when she captured the attention of Horace Tabor, a silver baron 30 years her senior, she married him after he left his wife and son amid huge scandal—officially branding Lizzie one of the wealthiest women in America, and a social outcast in Denver society. Lizzie and Horace sent out wedding invitations bordered in solid silver, raised two daughters in a villa where 100 peacocks roamed the lawns, entertained Sarah Bernhardt when the actress performed at Tabor’s Opera House— and lost everything with the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act.  

After her second husband’s death, Lizzie moved to a one-room shack at the Matchless Mine where she lived the last 35 years of her life, writing down thousands of her dreams and noting visitations of spirits on her calendar. Hers is the tale of a fiercely independent woman who bucked all social and gender expectations by working in defiance of 19th century convention, becoming the key figure in the West’s most scandalous love triangle, and, after the Tabor’s vast fortune was destroyed, living in eccentric isolation in her final years.  

DONNA BAIER STEIN is the author of Sympathetic People (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist and 2015 IndieBook Awards Finalist) and Sometimes You Sense the Difference (poetry chapbook), and the recipient of a Bread Loaf Scholarship, Johns Hopkins University MFA Fellowship, Allen E. Ginsberg Poetry Prize, grants from the New Jersey Council on the Arts and Poetry Society of Virginia, and a Scholarship from the Summer Literary Seminars. Her stories and poems have been featured in Virginia Quarterly Review, New York Quarterly, Washingtonian, New Ohio Review, Ascent, and many other journals. Her work has also appeared in the anthologies I’ve Always Meant to Tell You (Pocket Books), To Fathers: What I’ve Never Said (featured in O Magazine), Men and Women: Together and Alone from Spirit That Moves Us Press. 

THE SILVER BARON’S WIFE by Donna Baier Stein Published by Serving House Books, September 15, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-9971010-6-5  $14.95 (paperback), $4.99 (EBook) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Ill-Kept Oath (The Druineach Legacy) by C.C. Aune

I was entranced by this book from the very beginning. I have always been fascinated by the Regency era and am a huge Jane Austen fan. I have to say that C.C. Aune definitely nailed this time period very accurately. 
Prudence Fairfeather and Lady Josephine Weston are cousins who have "come of age". Prudence receives her late mother's ring and is sent off to London for her season debut to hopefully find a husband while Josephine stays at home in the country.
This seems like a typical Jane Austen style novel until the regiment and the trolls show up. Yes, trolls. Apparently, all is not what it seems in Regency England. 
I had so much fun and enjoyment reading this and am very intrigued by the magical world that the author has created. I am really hoping for a book two.
I received a copy of this book from W.I. Creative Publishing for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Adrift by Micki Browning

I had assumed (wrongly as it turned out) that this would be a scientist is forced to acknowledge the reality of the paranormal type of mystery. I was very glad to see that this mystery is much more than that and has so much depth.
The main character, Mer Cavallo, is a marine biologist working as a diving instructor in the Florida Keys while she waits for her dream job. When the leader of an underwater paranormal group disappears while she supervises as their safety diver, Mer is thrown into a mystery that could prove to be her last.
I loved Mer's character and how she was so intellectual that she was sometimes bemused by social behavior and interactions.
I think this is a great beginning to a new series and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sealed Up: The Course of Fate--Book One by Steve Dunn Hanson

I love archaeology and mystery so the idea of this book intrigued me very much. 
A renowned anthropologist is lured back to a Mesoamerica cliff where he found tragedy because of the lure of a possible ancient manuscript that has the potential to change the world.
I found the lead up to the main action a bit slow and I intensely disliked the character of Brother Luke (no one in their right mind would like him) who funds the expedition. I did enjoy the other characters very much and found the research to be well done and very accurate. 
All in all, I enjoyed the book and am curious about book two.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Friday, September 30, 2016

Five Little Ducklings Go To School by Carol Roth, Sean Julian

Five little ducklings are taking their first big adventure by going to school for the first time. Most of them are very excited but one little duckling is not quite sure about leaving mama duck and going to school.
I read this myself and found it adorable, and then read it to my now 6-year-old son who is now in Grade 1 but starting a new school. He loved the vibrant pictures, the way it was written, and most importantly the story itself. I think he could relate to it as he is ok leaving me but was not sure about starting a new school.
I really think this is a wonderful book for parents to read to/with their children as they start going to school whether it is elementary school or preschool. The story is very uplifting and positive.
Highly recommended.
My only regret is that I had been trying to read the book through Netgalley and for some reason the format was incorrect so I had to wait until I could find a copy to read. I am so glad that I did find it as it is a book that every parent should read to their child.

Five out of Five Stars

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

Hawthorn Creely has never fit in or that is the way that she feels. When Lizzie Lovett disappears while camping with her boyfriend, Hawthorn jumps at the opportunity to solve the mystery. From bizarre theories to taking over Lizzie's job and becoming involved with Lizzie's grieving boyfriend, Hawthorn is forced to face life and her own place in it.
Honestly, this was a very hard book for me to read. There was nothing wrong with the book but Chelsea Sedoti is so very good at describing those awkward and lonely teenage years. She did such a good job that I could relate to Hawthorn on so many levels and wished I could go into the book to let her know that she was ok and everything would be ok. This is a beautifully written coming of age story and it is one that I will be recommending and talking about for some time to come.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Five out of Five Stars

Friday, September 23, 2016

Ghoul by Marc Alexander

An archaeologist is about to make the find of a century similar to that of Howard Carter and Tutankhamen in the fictional middle eastern country of Abu Sabbah but little does the team know that they are also releasing a horror that has been imprisoned for centuries. 
While I did enjoy the book, I felt like parts were a bit disjointed and needed a little more cohesion. There was so much character set up of a variety of people and I felt like there should have been some more connection between them for the climax of the book. I wanted to know more about some characters and have them a bit more involved in the ending but felt like something was left out. 
Other than that, I really did enjoy the novel and found it to be a light and fun read (best read at night of course).
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hard Rivers: The Untold Saga of La Salle: Expedition II by Craig P. Howard

I have always been fascinated by the early history of North America with the first encounters with the Native People, Voyageurs, explorers, and early settlers especially the amazing European men who explored an unknown and dangerous land so I jumped at the chance to read about a reenactment of one of our early explorers, La Salle.
Led by the passion and determination of the main organizer, Reid, a hardy group of 16 teenage boys and 7 adults underwent rigorous training and preparation to make a modern day trek of the route that La Salle did in 1681-1682.
I found the story of the research, training, and preparation a bit tedious at times but I think it was fully necessary to have it in the book to ensure that readers comprehend just how much time and effort went into preparing for the journey. I found the story of the journey itself to be not only mesmerizing but also tense and nerve-wracking to the point where I could not put the book down.
These amazing people faced such incredible feats and extreme danger at times. I was especially touched by how the author showed (with help from most of the participants) how it changed them and affected the rest of their lives after they completed their quest. This is a story that deserves to be told and retold. I am amazed at the courage and determination that these men had. I really wish there was a way to make a movie or mini-series about this feat as I don't think too many people remember and they do deserve to be remembered as well as the history of our early explorers.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review. If you love history and adventure I would highly recommend this book.

Five out of Five Stars

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bats by William W. Johnstone

I have always loved horror novels especially well-written ones concerning unexpected animal attacks.
A seemingly new species of vampire bat that thrives on human flesh and blood suddenly appears in the Southern US and it is up to a eclectic group of people to stop them before they stop humanity forever. 
This was a fun and light read that I made sure to read at night. The characters are well fleshed out and if you can suspend logic a bit and just enjoy a horror story you will definitely enjoy this one.
I will definitely be looking to read more by this author who seems to have written in a few different genres.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Legends of Perilisc by Jesse Teller

This is a set of short stories set in the world of Perilisc. At first, I found it difficult to follow as I had no idea about this fantasy world (I have never read any of this author's work before) but once I got used to it, I really enjoyed the style of writing and the complex legends and stories that abound in this book. I am very interested in actually reading more of Jesse Teller's books based on the writing itself.

Three out of Five Stars

They Rise by Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is fast becoming one of my favorite horror authors. He knows how to write a compelling and engrossing horror novel. 
Brad Whitley is a marine biologist who is an expert on chimaera fish otherwise known as "ghost fish".
Through global warming that is also affecting the ocean, Brad is confronted with an ancient and enormous version of these fish. It will take everything he knows, and with help from his ex-wife and the US Navy to stop these monsters from destroying everything in their path.
"They Rise" reminds me a little bit of "Jaws" but only in the sense of an immense eating machine that is a threat to everyone who dares to leave dry land. The action is quick to start but Shea manages to set up a bit of character development that only adds to the depth of the book. This is the second book I have read by Hunter Shea and I absolutely devoured this book.

Four out of Five Stars

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Ship to Nowhere by Rona Arato

"The Ship to Nowhere" is the true story about the ship "The Exodus 1947" and its passengers trials as they tried to find a home in Palestine after the end of WWII. The book centers on very real people including Rachel Fletcher and her family who along with 4,500 other Jewish refugees were treated very inhumanely for simply wanting a land to call their own and a place where they did not have to fear being Jewish.
The book is well researched and an eye opening read that I think should be in every public library and every school library as well. It is horrifying to think of what these people including very young children had to go through even after the Holocaust.
The only thing I would recommend is that the book would probably come across better in paperback rather than Kindle (I keep trying to change the edition I read but Goodreads won't let me). I found the photos very small and the descriptions of the photos and the story a bit mashed together for the ebook edition and a bit confusing. Otherwise, it is a very powerful book for young people and a story we should not forget.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Dead Souls: A Novel by J. Lincoln Fenn

Fiona Dunn's world is falling apart. In fact, her world has always seemed like it has been falling apart but she has somehow managed to survive ..... until now that is. Convinced her boyfriend has been unfaithful to her, Fiona manages to get herself locked out of her apartment in bare feet and night clothes so wanders off to a bar where she meets a mysterious guy named Scratch. Scratch guessed it..the devil himself and he offers Fiona a deal she cannot resist: her greatest wish in exchange for her soul and a "favor" that he can call in at any time.
I found the book to be witty, thoughtful, and gruesome at times but I absolutely adored it. I especially liked how the author imagines how someone would deal with this kind of situation. I definitely want to read more books by this author. 
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

The Ripper Letter by Katherine Ramsland

I am basically fascinated by anything to do with Jack the Ripper so was quick to request this book. It was a little different than I expected but not in a bad way at all.
A young homicide detective is thrown into the world of ancient codes, the supernatural, and the legend of Jack the Ripper while looking for her father who has disappeared.
As I said, I found the story to be a bit different than I expected. I had assumed it would be a thriller and it is but is also way more than that. It really does not fit into any one category. There are also elements of paranormal romance, history, police procedural, mystery....I could go on and on. I found the book to be interesting and am very curious to see what is in store for Dee Brentano next.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

And Then the Sky Exploded by David A. Poulsen

Christian's world is shaken at his great grandfather's funeral when he finds out that he was a member of the Manhattan Project that was responsible for creating the atomic bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during WWII. Christian is full of shame and confusion because he cannot connect the kind great grandfather he loved and remembers with something that caused so much pain and death. Christian wants to make amends but the question is how.
The answer comes in the form of a school field trip where Christian's suggestion of Japan as the destination is quickly accepted by the school.
What follows is a touching and thought provoking examination of what it means to be human and the act of forgiveness. The book touches very lightly on the subject and what exactly did happen when the bombs hit but considering this is a book meant for young people it is very appropriate.
At certain times, and at the end of the book I found myself in tears and just sitting thinking about the entire issue. Like the Holocaust, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki should not be forgotten and we need to teach our children about them so we never forget. I was so impressed by this book that I plan to purchase a copy for my daughter to read.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Birds of a Feather by Vanita Oelschlager

This is a very cute book that is funny for both young children and the adults who are reading the book to the children. The idioms are illustrated in such a way that kids will get a kick out of them and adults will enjoy the jokes. Highly recommended.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Raise your Vibration: 101 Practices to Increase Your Spiritual Connection by Kyle Gray

To be honest, this book was not my cup of tea but that should not detract from the book itself. I just don't have the time for it right now. It is very well written and has much wisdom in it. Perhaps I am just not ready for it at this time. For people who do like to meditate (0r have the time which is one of my problems with four young children) it is a very useful and thoughtful discussion on meditation and finding inner peace. It really is worth the read for those who do have the time and inclination to try some of these techniques. I received a copy from the publishers ( thank you so much) for free in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Stumbling on a Tale by Suzanne Roche

I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Suzanne Roche. I read her first book in this series " Making it Home (Time to Time, #1) and have been hooked ever since. If anything, this second book in the series is even better than the first one. So much so that I have requested my local library to purchase copies of this series ( they did!) and my 8-year-old son is very keen to read them as he loves history. Suzanne Roche has a way of taking what she has researched about a particular time period and making it believable and accessible to young children in a way that they can enjoy while learning.
Time travel adventure has not ended for Peri, Max, and Henry at all. There is a mysterious book where if you put a particular object on it, you end up in that time period. This time around it is the middle ages and the children learn while trying to figure out how to get back to their own time period. It is so well written and descriptive in such a way that you feel as if you are there with the children. I really would highly recommend this series to any elementary school children who have an interest in history. In fact, I plan to mention this series to my children's school library as I think many children would love this series. Very well done. I can't wait until the next book in the series comes out. I want to thank Suzanne Roche for allowing me to read such an incredible series. I really think it has potential and is a great series.

Four out of Five Stars

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

I have to admit that I am a fan of Nick Cutter. I have not read "The Troop" yet but I have read "The Deep" so I was very keen to read this book. 
The premise of the book is intriguing. A young woman hires three mercenaries with murky pasts to investigate a religious settlement where her nephew may have been taken against his will. On the way to the settlement, the four travellers find that the path leads the way to unspeakable evil.
As I said, I love the premise of the story but I came close to just putting it down as a DNF many times because there was just too much of a vast prologue/internal dialogue to the main story. I just found it a bit too much. I forced myself to read to about 40% and then things started to heat up very well. After I passed that "magic" number, I found the book involving and hard to put down. I think die hard fans will love it but other people will find it a hit or miss. In the end, I am glad that I did stick with it because it is a very original story that has hints of H.P. Lovecraft to it. I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Three out of Five Stars

The 37th Parallel by Ben Mezrich

This book is basically the story of the journey of Chuck Zukowski who while working as a computer programmer and sheriff's deputy "moonlighted" as a self-trained UFO investigator. 
I found the book to be a fascinating read as I have never read an account of anyone who was so dedicated to finding out what is going on while also having the logic required of being a computer programmer. I was impressed by the fact that he never assumed that every anomaly was automatically UFO related but would try to debunk before accepting anything as unexplained.
The writing was detailed and I found it difficult to put the book down. I would love to read more about Chuck Zukowski and also would really like to read a book by Mr. Zukowski. He has obviously seen some odd things (along with his fellow investigator who happens to be his sister). Highly recommended to those who are interested in this subject.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bread or Death: Memories of My Childhood During and After the Holocaust by Milton Mendel Kleinberg

This was a tough and eye-opening read for me. I remember reading "The Diary of Anne Frank" when I was around 10 years old so I jumped at the chance to read another personal account of the Holocaust. I was struck by how much Mr. Kleinberg and his family's survival depended on sheer chance and luck. He really has a gift with writing and the book reads as if he is sitting across from you talking and not through the written word. 
There were quite a few times where I just had to stop reading and just cried. Other times, I was so full of grief that I was beyond tears. I really think that this book should be recommended reading to go along with "The Diary of Anne Frank" although considering some of the situations that happened I would recommend slightly older children or "tweens" to be the intended audience for this book.
This is a book that will stay with me and has affected me. The Holocaust is something we should never ever forget. I am also amazed at the courage of Mr. Kleinberg and his family especially his mother. I fully intend to purchase a copy of this book for my older daughter to read and it is one I want on my bookshelf to read again and again. 
I received a copy of this book from the publishers (thank you) for free in exchange for an honest review. I want to thank Mr. Kleinberg for having the courage to put down on paper a part of his life that must be very difficult to think about. 

Five out of Five Stars

The Sculthorpe Murders ( Detective Lavender Mysteries, #3 ) by Karen Carlton

I have always loved historical mysteries and so I was curious and hopeful when I requested to read this book even though it is third in a series.
The setting is Northamptonshire in 1810 when two Bow Street policemen, Detective Lavender and Constable Woods are sent from London to Middleton to investigate a very grisly and violent murder. 
There are so many red herrings, multiple plots. and colorful characters in this book. Karen Charlton has a gift for describing the scene and atmosphere so well that I really felt as if I was there and when I "returned" to modern times that I had taken away some knowledge about this time period.
I was very impressed with the end of the story where Ms. Carlton talks about how she came up with the idea for the book and I was very impressed with the amount of research she did. She includes some actual historical figures as characters, and crimes that really did happen. 
This is a tiny bit of reference to people and happenings that occur in the first two books but it does not detract from the book in any way.
I absolutely loved this book. I love this time period with the beginnings of modern police. I remember reading Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding mysteries and was so sad when he passed away as I really enjoyed that mystery series. I am just so thrilled to have found another author who writes this kind of book with such accuracy and talent. I will definitely be reading the first two books in this series to catch up and waiting for the next one. 
I received a copy from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ice Rift by Ben Hammott

There is just something about being isolated and hunted in the Arctic or Antarctic that draws me every time and this novel does not disappoint.
After an anomaly is discovered by NASA, a team of scientists are sent to the Antarctic to find out what exactly is going on. There is so much going on in this novel and I almost had the feel of H.P. Lovecraft with hidden horrors that no one should ever see. There seems to be a definite homage paid to "The Thing" but I found this book to be quite different and a lot of fun to read especially at night. I also liked how the author developed the main characters and did so in such a way that it did not detract from the book itself but added a needed element. 
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

End Point by Peter Breakspear

I was curious about the premise of this book but ended up feeling like something was missing and sometimes I had to force myself to go on.
The story line is very intriguing and original but I felt like it needed more character development and overall descriptive narration. There was much of what someone thought, said or did but very little description of the reasoning behind it. I never felt like I was in the story.
A four man team are sent to recover an object which fell to earth but they end up traveling farther than they imagined to places they never imagined in order to find out the possible fate of mankind.
As I said, the idea is very original and I would love for the author to redo some areas such as character development and setting the atmosphere with his wording and scenery description. I would love to read the novel again with a few twerks here and there.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Two out of Five Stars

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

This book was definitely not what I expected at all. I had thought it would follow a typical Jersey Devil story but it ended up to be quite different.
The Jersey Devil has been quiet for awhile but is now active again in new and more threatening ways. One cursed family decides to put an end to the curse and creature once and for all.
The atmosphere and scenery are written so well that I felt like I was there camping in the Pines. I absolutely loved the character of Boompa but found the others to be less developed. That is fine in this case because the story is more an action thriller rather than a story about the characters themselves.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. Hunter Shea took the legend of the Jersey Devil and made it his own. If you decide to read this book be prepared for lots of blood and gore. This is the first book I have read by this author and am impressed enough to want to read more.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

The Widow by Fiona Barton

I had to take a couple of days to think about this book after I finished reading it. I did like it hence the four stars but I also put it down a few times very frustrated with the widow herself.
It is a dazzling examination of the complicated relationship that can exist between a husband and wife especially abusive relationships and enablement.
I was so ticked off and irritated at how dense and submissive the widow was but in the end that is my issue and has nothing to do with the book itself.
In the end, I decided on four stars because I was drawn into the story to the point of staying up late at night reading it to the finish. I found it to be well written although it did take me a little time to get used to the rapid past/present chapter changes. I also ended up sitting in my bed just sobbing for at least 10 minutes. I can honestly say that this is one of those books that will stay with me and I will not forget. I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Four out of Five Stars

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Living Grave by Robert E. Dunn

One of my friends recommended this novel and I am so glad she did and I understand why. I literally did not want to put the book down and really got involved in the complex character of Katrina "Hurricane" Williams. Her character is so well developed and I really became attached to her and didn't want the book to end.
Katrina left the Army after a horrible betrayal and became a sheriff's detective in a small town in the Ozarks while trying to come to terms with her life and what happened in the Army. The story begins with the disappearance of a local girl from town. I really don't want to give away more as I do not want to spoil it for anyone.
Suffice it to say, I became absorbed with Katrina, her world, and the colorful people around her. This is really an amazing start to what I expect to be a fantastic series. Very highly recommended. I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Five out of Five Stars

Chills by Mary SanGiovanni

When I first began this book, I thought it would be a more of a police procedural so I was pleasantly surprised to find a subtle H.P. Lovecraft touch.
It begins in an average way with police called out to a body found hanging upside down and it isn't until they take a closer look that the scene is found to be more macabre than the police had imagined. There are hints that this is might be an occult murder rather than a regular killing. Adding to the sense of unease is a freak snowstorm very late in the season (May).
The strength of the book is the suspenseful and descriptive writing that sets the stage for a sense of uneasiness that just crawls under your skin and doesn't let go. I really liked the strong character of Kathy Ryan who is brought in as an occult specialist.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book (especially at night during a thunderstorm) and highly recommend it to anyone who are fans of the horror of the unknown.
I received a copy from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cascadia by H.W. "Buzz" Bernard

Dr. Rob Elwood, a respected geologist, has studied the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a dangerous fault off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, for years. Now he’s having repeated nightmares of a massive earthquake and tsunami striking the region. Knowing he’s placing his reputation and career at risk, he goes public with his premonitions.

The quake fails to occur and Rob fears he’s lost everything. But the disaster does strike, just not when expected, and Rob finds himself not only vindicated, but hurled abruptly into a life-and-death rescue mission with his private aircraft.

Rob’s story intersects with several others, including that of a retired fighter pilot attempting to make amends to a woman he jilted twenty-five years earlier, and another of an elderly black man searching for legendary buried treasure along the rugged Oregon coast.

Four out of Five Stars

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Celia, a Slave by Barbara Seyda

This was such an emotional and difficult play to read. Celia, a Slave by Barbara Seyda is actually based on a true story. Celia was a female slave who killed her owner after years of terrible abuse in 1855 and ended up being executed for her "crime". She was only 19 years old and was a mother. 
I would love to see this on the stage but as it is, the play resonates with all of the horror, outrage, anger, prejudice, and grief in the words themselves. It really is a powerful play and I am not surprised that it won the Yale Drama Series Prize. 
I would also like to see this play adapted into a novel as well. Very highly recommended reading about a part of history we must not forget.

Four out of Five Stars

Monday, August 8, 2016

Little Tails in the Jungle by Frederic Brremaud

I was definitely surprised by this book. I had thought it would be a simplistic toddler story but it is so much more than that. I love the combination of graphic novel/gorgeous wildlife drawings. It is also very informative and fun for children who are interested in learning about the variety of jungles in our world and the ecosystem. I also liked how they left a link for further information at the end. Highly recommended for elementary school age kids.

Four out of Five Stars

Sunday, August 7, 2016

America's Most Haunted Hotels by Jamie Davis Whitmer

I am a sucker for ghost stories especially ones by "ghost hunters" that are based on real experiences. I found this book to be very well researched and well written. I enjoyed how the author began by telling a bit about the history of the hotel and then led to the investigation which basically involved staying a night at the haunted hotel. I was very impressed by the idea of a husband-wife team with both writing separate feelings and observations after each investigation. I also appreciated how they didn't assume that every bump in the night was supernatural in origin. In general, they were either debunked or declared unexplained. Much research was done to learn more about a particular hotel's legends. One of the biggest bonuses of the book is that at the end of each section there is information on hotel prices, nearest airports, and ghost tour prices. I was so impressed with this book that I bought another book by this author. Don't miss this one if you love a good haunting investigation. I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers (thank you!) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars