Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ten Creepy Covers


Happy Halloween!  I had dreams of reading creepy books so I can have some creepy reviews for Halloween but life happened and that never came to pass.  So instead I'm going to talk about the next best thing (to me anyway!) creepy covers!  These are all books I haven't read but I want to and mostly because of the covers!

1.  Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman


2.  Ten by Gretchen McNeil


3.  The Babes in the Wood by Ruth Rendell


4.  Into the Shadows by Shirley Wells


5.  The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji


6. Hushabye by Celina Grace


7.  Ghost Moon by Heather Graham


8.  A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


9.  The Restorer by Amanda Stevens


10. Blue Monday by Nicci French

So clearly, for me creepy = atmospheric.  What are some of your favorite creepy covers?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Halloween Middle Grade Reads

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is a Halloween freebie.  I talked about spooky books that I'd like to read a few weeks ago so today I thought I'd talk about Middle Grade Halloween reads.  Halloween around here is pretty kid heavy since I have an 8 year old who loves trick or treating!  As a bonus we don't usually like the same kind of candy so it's basically like he's trick or treating for the both of us!


1.  Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe - I somehow missed this when I was a kid but I've made up for it now!  The Tornado and I listened to it on a road trip last year and both became big fans.  He was so resistant because he's not a fan of creepiness but this was perfect!

2.  The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - I love this book and it was one of my daughter's favorite books when she was a kid (it probably still is) and for good reason.  It's a cleverly done mystery with a spooky house that may or may not be haunted.

3.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - This is set in a graveyard so of course it had to be on the list.  While there is a little bit of violence and intensity and a whole bunch of ghosts I don't think it would bother even kids on the sensitive side.

4.  Among the Shadows by L.M. Montgomery - This is a book of short stories from Montgomery that is very different from optimistic Anne.  The stories have just the perfect touch of creepiness.

5.  The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud - This is one of those books that is on the border of Middle Grade and YA.  It's got a fairly hefty page count and it's pretty creepy but the characters are children and there's nothing inappropriate for younger readers if they could handle the intensity.

6.  Wait till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn - I haven't read this since I was a kid but I remember being seriously creeped out.  And it has a ghost!  I love a good ghost story!  Looking on Goodreads I see that she had a ton of other fantastic looking ghost stories.  No idea why I never read them except that my library/local bookstore must not have had them.

7.  Christina's Ghost by Betty Ren Wright - I loved this book so much as a kid and was fascinated by finding out the little boy's story as well as seeing how Christina's summer was going to go.  I listened to this a year or two ago and enjoyed it just as much!

Halloween Middle Grade Books I Want to Read:


1.  The Witches by Roald Dahl - I just really started reading Roald Dahl in the last couple of years and am really looking forward to trying this one.

2.  The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs - I had never heard of this book until the movie came out recently but it looks fantastic and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

3.  The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood - This one I discovered when looking on some "If You Like This Try This" lists and I love the sound of it.

What are some of your favorite spooky Middle Grade reads?

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Hollow of Fear - Historical Mystery Review


Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  
Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t.

Moriarty’s shadow looms large. First, Charlotte’s half brother disappears. Then, Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of Charlotte’s close friend Lord Ingram, turns up dead on his estate. And all signs point to Lord Ingram as the murderer.

With Scotland Yard closing in, Charlotte goes under disguise to seek out the truth. But uncovering the truth could mean getting too close to Lord Ingram—and a number of malevolent forces…

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've really enjoyed the previous two books in this series and I'm excited to see where the series goes.

My Impression:
  This is a series that just keeps getting better.  Charlotte has found her footing and her confidence as Sherlock Holmes and her new hidden way of life.  This book starts off just where the previous book left off and we are smack I the middle of danger and intrigue fr  om the first page.

I was completely caught up in the investigation and couldn't wait to find out the next bit of information.  Charlotte is one of my absolute favorite investigators with her clear and logical mind and her immense fondness for baked goods.  I also find the relationship between Charlotte and Lord Ingram interesting.  It's more complex than a straightforward will they/won't they and I really enjoy their interactions.

While this is a solid mystery I don't think this is an ideal series to start in the middle.  There is a lot of character setup and background on the Marbles, Lady Ingram, and Moriarty in the previous books that would make this one much more enjoyable.

If you enjoy a good Sherlock Holmes retelling and love a smart and capable heroine as well as interesting side characters this is a series that should not be missed!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I can't wait for more from Sherry Thomas.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  I would definitely recommend this series though I do recommend starting from the beginning.  

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Sunday, October 28, 2018

This Week in Reading - October 28

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets by Rosemary Simpson - I've been on a historical mystery kick lately and this one sounded so intriguing that I couldn't pass it up.  Plus, I love the cover.  (Publisher)

Botched 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and one of the few I'm actually caught up on so I'm really excited to see what happens next.  (Publisher)




Currently:

Reading:  Six Cats a Slayin' by Miranda James and The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan.  I actually started this one awhile ago but I ended up having to put it down for awhile so I'm excited to finally be getting back to it.

Listening:  I'm waiting for a few library holds so until then I'm listening to Ring for Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse.

Watching:  I just watched the first few episodes from this season of MacGyver.  It's not the best quality show but it keeps me entertained.  

Off the Blog:

This weekend I'm heading to Mississippi for a visit to my grandparents and a few other things.  Next week I've got all kinds of Halloween madness plus school book fair fun. The school does a good job of doing parent and grandparent lunches on the week of book fair which is great for raising money but is sheer craziness for a little while.  The Tornado is super excited for Halloween.  He's being some kind of Halo soldier.  He's never played the game but he loved the costume and talked me into it.  

I don't have much else to say so I'm just going to throw some Disney pictures at you because I'm feeling like doing a bit of re-living!











 

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  The Hollow of Fear - Historical Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Halloween Freebie
Wednesday:  TBD
Thursday:  Tasting Italy - Cookbook Review + Recipe
Friday: Six Cats a Slayin' - Cozy Mystery Review
Saturday - TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Murder on Millionaires' Row - Historical Mystery Review


Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description: 
Rose Gallagher might dream of bigger things, but she’s content enough with her life as a housemaid. After all, it’s not every girl from Five Points who gets to spend her days in a posh Fifth Avenue brownstone, even if only to sweep its floors. But all that changes on the day her boss, Mr. Thomas Wiltshire, disappears. Rose is certain Mr. Wiltshire is in trouble, but the police treat his disappearance as nothing more than the whims of a rich young man behaving badly. Meanwhile, the friend who reported him missing is suspiciously unhelpful. With nowhere left to turn, Rose takes it upon herself to find her handsome young employer.

The investigation takes her from the marble palaces of Fifth Avenue to the sordid streets of Five Points. When a ghostly apparition accosts her on the street, Rose begins to realize that the world around her isn’t at all as it seems―and her place in it is about to change forever.

Genre: Mystery - Historical 

Why I Picked This Book:
  How could I not?  A Gilded Age historical mystery with ghostly apparitions?  There was no way I could pass this one up!  

My Impression:
  I've been on a historical mystery kick lately so this fit right in with my reading!  I loved the time period and the downstairs element.   Rose is a bit different from the usual historical main character.  She has zero investigative background or really inclination.  She’s a bit immature, incredibly naive, and caught up in a bit of hero worship/dreamy romance.  To be honest, she annoyed me a bit at the beginning but as the book went on I do feel like she grew up some and was redeemed.

The mystery was interesting and unique especially counting in the supernatural element.  The pacing was fast and light and kept me entertained.  While, I wouldn’t say this is my favorite historical mystery thus is a series I’m super excited to see how this series develops.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes I would.  This was a fun read and I think the 2nd book will be stronger.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like historical mystand are looking for one on the lighter side this is a good choice.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday Linkups - Murder on Millionaires' Row
















It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Recommend one horror novel for non-horror readers

My Answer:
I'm not a horror reader so I'll be looking forward to seeing what everyone else recommends!  I do love The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson which gets billed as horror but really isn't.  It's super creepy with some serious atmosphere and a good read for this time of year (or really anytime of year).

This week's book is the first in  a new historical mystery series and I'm so excited about it!  Murder on Millionaires' Row by Erin Lindsey is set in Gilded Age New York and has upstairs/downstairs elements, Pinkertons, and even a ghost!  So excited!

The Beginning:
As I tell you the story, I'll thank you to remember that I was young and in love.  

My Thoughts:
While not a typical beginning to a mystery this is an excuse for all kinds of insanity so it could be good!

The 56:
What happened next is seared forever in my memory.

My Thoughts:
Well that's certainly ominous!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  What scary book would you recommend?

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Mardi Gras Murder - Cozy Mystery Review


Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron

About the Book

 
Cozy Mystery 4th in Series Crooked Lane Books (October 9, 2018) Hardcover: 304 pages ISBN-10: 168331705X ISBN-13: 978-1683317050 Digital ASIN: B078LZ5W3H 

Southern charm meets the dark mystery of the bayou as a hundred-year flood, a malicious murder, and a most unusual Mardi Gras converge at the Crozat Plantation B&B.
It’s Mardi Gras season on the bayou, which means parades, pageantry, and gumbo galore. But when a flood upends life in the tiny town of Pelican, Louisiana—and deposits a body of a stranger behind the Crozat Plantation B&;B—the celebration takes a decidedly dark turn. The citizens of Pelican are ready to Laissez les bon temps rouler—but there’s beaucoup bad blood on hand this Mardi Gras.
Maggie Crozat is determined to give the stranger a name and find out why he was murdered. The post-flood recovery has delayed the opening of a controversial exhibit about the little-known Louisiana Orphan Train. And when a judge for the Miss Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen pageant is shot, Maggie’s convinced the murder is connected to the body on the bayou. Does someone covet the pageant queen crown enough to kill for it? Could the deaths be related to the Orphan Train, which delivered its last charges to Louisiana in 1929? The leads are thin on this Fat Tuesday—and until the killer is unmasked, no one in Pelican is safe.
A simmering gumbo of a humorous whodunit, Mardi Gras Murder is the fourth piquant installment in USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s award-winning Cajun Country mysteries.

My Thoughts:   I've been reading this series since the beginning and it just keeps getting better with each book!  This one involves floods, Mardi Gras, pageants, history - some less than savory, and of course a dead body or two.   I love how the author really makes the setting come alive.  This is small town Louisiana which is a bit different from the typical New Orleans setting but no less quirky.  The mystery is solid with all kinds of twists and turns which is what I expect from this series.  I loved all the personal elements too - seeing more of the Crozat family as well as catching up on her love life.  This is a fun cozy series with a great setting.  While I think it would probably be more enjoyable if started from the beginning of the series just so you can get to know the characters you could easily jump in here and have no problem understanding what was going on.  Rating:  Very Good

About the Author


Ellen Byron authors the Cajun Country Mystery series. A Cajun Christmas Killing and Body on the Bayou both won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery and were nominated for Agatha awards in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Plantation Shudders was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Mardi Gras Murder launches October 9th. Ellen’s TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly OddParents. She’s written over 200 national magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. She also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing.
Author Links:
Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Crooked Lane - BookBub - Kobo a Rafflecopter giveaway 

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Marilla of Green Gables - Historical Fiction Review

About Marilla of Green Gables

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (October 23, 2018)

A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness. Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh. In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth "Izzy" Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world. Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

My Thoughts:  I've been a huge fan of Anne ever since I discovered her at the age of 10.  I can't even count the number of times I've read the series from start to finish.  I was a little nervous when I saw this.  I wanted to know more about Marilla who is one of my favorite characters but at the same time I haven't loved some of the adaptations (I will spare you the pages long discussion of Netflix's Anne with an E.  Let me just say while I think they got a lot of things right there are a lot of things I'm not pleased with.).  I'm so glad I took the risk because I so enjoyed it!  The author has clearly done her time in the world of Green Gables and she got the feel of the place perfectly right.  As well there are so many glorious Easter eggs scattered about for lovers of the original series that I found an absolute delight.  I loved seeing Marilla, Matthew, and Rachel in their youth and while they are definitely different they are still completely recognizable as the original beloved characters.  I could go on and on about all the things I thoroughly enjoyed seeing but I think you get the picture.  If you're a fan of the original Anne I don't think you'll be disappointed here.  If you've never spent time in Avonlea this book not only will work as a standalone but I suspect will have you wanting to see what happens next.  My only problem was all the current events that took up page time.  While I did like the historical context and seeing what was happening in Canada during the American Civil War I really would have preferred to spend more time at Green Gables.  This book is a wonderful historical fiction on it's own and a treat for devoted Anne fans! Rating:  Very Good!

 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Sarah McCoy

Sarah McCoy is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the novels The Mapmaker’s Children; The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award nominee; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. She has taught English and writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports surgeon, and their dog, Gilbert, in North Carolina. Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page, on Instagram at @sarahmmccoy, or via her website, www.sarahmccoy.com.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Bookish Villains

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is Favorite Villains.  I really thought about skipping this one because I was so sure that I wouldn't be able to think of any.  Most of my reading tends to be realistic fiction (realistic other than a large number of murders in very small towns of course) which typically doesn't run to true villains.  However, once I got started I found some many!

1.  The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - I always found her terrifying with such a pretty sweet personality hiding all kinds of evilness!

2.  Iago from Othello by William Shakespeare - Iago is so slimy and creepy and underhanded I really think he's the definition of villain to me!

3.  Agatha Trunchbull from Matilda by Roald Dahl - Can you have a list of villains without including Agatha Trunchbull?  She's so evil!

4.  Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier - The scene where Mrs. Danvers "helps" the narrator with her costume for a ball is so mean and hateful.

5.  Josie Pye from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - Josie is so mean and jealous and spiteful!

6.  Count Fosco from The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - Another creepy victim hiding behind a pleasant fa├žade.

7.  Rosa Klebb from From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming - There are lots of villains in this James Bond novel but Rosa Klebb is in my opinion the worst of the worst.

8.  Levana from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - This is the truest example of an evil person hiding behind the face they want everyone else to see.

9.  The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - She was clearly a villain in the movie but when I listened to the book not that long ago I realized I didn't know just how much of a villain she was!

10. The Other Mother from Coraline by Neil Gaiman - The whole button eye thing is nightmare inducing!

Who is your favorite bookish villain?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Glitter Bomb - Cozy Mystery Review


Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description: 
It's Mardi Gras in New Orleans and scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand is excited to be attending the Pluvius Parade along with her best friend Ava. Carmela's ex-husband Shamus rides by the duo on his float at the head of the parade, when suddenly the revelry turns to disaster. Shamus' float crashes and explodes, and although Shamus escapes unhurt, a member of his krewe is killed.

Carmela and Ava plunge into an investigation of the krewe-member's death, but as they dig deeper it starts to look less like an accident and more like a murder....and Shamus seems less like a victim, and more like a suspect.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
This is one of the first cozy series that I discovered and I was such a fan.  I missed a bunch in the middle but I read the previous one and really loved it so I couldn't pass this one set in Mardi Gras up! 

My Impression:
  This was one of the very first cozy mystery series I ever discovered but then I kind of lost track of it. Honestly, when I rediscovered it a year or two ago I was surprised to see it was still going since the popularity of actual physical scrapbooking seems to have decreased.  I was really intrigued to see how Childs has updated Carmela's store and how she fills her time.  It was fun to see all her different projects and it made me feel far craftier than I am!

This was a fun read with a murder occurring smack in the middle of a Mardi Gras parade.  I'm not sure there can be a more New Orleans-y murder than that!  It also adds a bit of challenge as the police have to deal with crowd control, mass quantities of tourists, and all the madness that accompanies Mardi Gras.  I liked seeing a bit more of Carmela's past with Shamus and his sister as well as getting a peek inside the secrets and scandals in the hedge fund world.

My main problem with this series is that Carmela is just a little too perfect and a little too noisy.  Everyone seems to love her except when she's asking questions she really has no business asking - which happens frequently.  This didn't keep me from enjoying the book and looking forward to seeing how the mystery would unravel.

While there is a bit from Carmela's past here I don't think newcomers to the series would have any problem jumping in here and understanding what's going on.  If you're looking for a fun lightweight cozy with a great setting and entertaining characters this is one you really must read! 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm really looking forward to going back and reading the series from the beginning as well as keeping an eye out for the newest book.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy lighter cozies and haven't read this series you really need to fix that!  

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Sunday, October 21, 2018

This Week in Reading - October 21

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell - I love the sound of this one.  I love the title and I've enjoyed previous books by this author so I'm super excited about this one!  (NetGalley)

Chocolate a la Murder by Kirsten Weiss - I love the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum series so I couldn't help picking up the next in the series!  (NetGalley)

Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins - I don't know much about this author but I love genealogy and a mystery regarding genealogy is one I can't pass up!  (NetGalley)

The Cliff House by RaeAnne Thayne - I love RaeAnne Thayne and this appears to either be a new series or a standalone.  Either way I'm super excited and this one is about sisters which is one of my favorite plots.  (NetGalley)

A Wrench in the Works by Kate Carlisle - I haven't read the earlier books in the series but I have been enjoying the Hallmark series and I enjoy other books by Kate Carlisle so my hopes are high.  (Publisher)

City of Secrets by Victoria Thompson - I loved the first book in this series and have enjoyed everything I've read from Victoria Thompson so I'm excited about this one. (Publisher)

Murder, She Wrote: Manuscript for Murder by Jon Land - I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the previous book in this series so I'm excited to spend a little more time with Jessica.  (Publisher)

Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge by Laura Levine - I don't know much about this one but I do love a Christmas-y cozy so I'm looking forward to giving it a try.  (Publisher)

Currently:

ReadingMardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron and Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy

Listening Dead Ringer by M.C. Beaton

Watching:  We've been catching up on The Big Bang Theory and are probably going to start watching The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.

Off the Blog:

We are back from Disney and almost caught up on sleep!  I don't have any photos uploaded so I won't be inundating you with photos until next week but we had the best time!  We had 2 full off days which were such fun.  We even went and played mini golf at one of the Disney courses and it was so cute!  I spent a lot of time planning and reading up on where to eat and what to do and it was nice to see it really pay off.  I already miss it!  I did buy a Mary Poppins and a It's a Small World mug to go with the Chip and Dale mug I bought last year and I really like having my coffee in one of them every morning.

Now I have to start planning next year's vacation!  We're talking Southern California (with a stop at Disneyland of course).  It'll be the Tornado's first flight and a practice run for bigger things year after.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Glitter Bomb - Cozy Mystery Review
Tuesday:  TBD
Wednesday: Marilla of Green Gables - Historical Fiction Review
Thursday: Mardi Gras Murder - Cozy Mystery Review
Friday: Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  Murder on Millionaire's Row - Cozy Mystery Review

Have a great week and happy reading!