Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Haiku reviews...


A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White

Twelve years ago he
took her. Then hunted her. She survived.
Now he's back to finish the game.

Psychological thriller .... 408 pages .... 5/5 stars.
(Dark, compelling & suspenseful, with likable characters and amazing writing.)

Elementary Romantic Calculus by Susannah Nix

Teaching math at Bowman
isn't Mia's dream, but Texas
goat farmer Josh just might be.

Contemporary romance .... 316 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(So fun! This one made me smile.)

Tell Me by Anne Frasier

A hiker's death goes 
viral. Three more are missing.
Murder? Or a hoax?

Psychological thriller .... 266 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(Excellent sequel to Find Me. Detective Daniel Ellis and Reni Fisher, daughter of the Inland Empire serial killer, are two favorite characters.)

Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

October's Bookish Art...

Ada Thilen -- Reading

"An hour spent reading is one stolen from paradise."
--Thomas Wharton

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Clowns vs. Spiders by Jeff Strand


"People just don't like clowns. ... If you went around and did a survey and asked a hundred random people if they thought clowns were funny or scary, ninety-eight of them would say scary. That's the way of the world now. ... I'm not renewing any of your contracts. You can still be clowns, but not at my circus."
After eighteen years entertaining people, Jaunty, Guffaw, Wagon, Bluehead and Reginald just got fired. Middle-aged, and with no other skills but clowning, Jaunty and the others are forced to take jobs at the Mountain of Terror haunted house in Mount Tulip, Virginia, as scary clowns in the Scary Clown Room. But scaring children is not why Jaunty or the others became clowns (though Bluehead seems to be exceptionally good at it). But just as Jaunty is having a crisis of conscience, the haunted house and the entire town of Mount Tulip are overrun by thousands of very big spiders. Jaunty is horrified. The only thing he wants to do is jump in the car and drive away. But there are innocent people that need saving. Besides...

"Clowns didn't run."

I couldn't resist this book, even though both clowns and spiders freak me out. And if you don't take this one too seriously, it's a very fun read. The clowns made me laugh and shake my head in equal measure. Jaunty was my favorite. Whenever the clowns draw imaginary straws to see who has to go and do the scary thing, Jaunty somehow always ends up with the short straw. And he always goes. The neverending swarm of very large spiders on the other hand was very creepy. I was definitely rooting for the clowns, though when it comes to saving the world, or any one in it, they're more like buffoons. But they try hard. And they never give up.

"It was time for clowns versus spiders, and the spiders were toast."

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Whispering Dead by Darcy Coates...

 "Keira cracked her eyes open. Rain fell through tree branches and pinged off her flushed skin, washing tracks of blood away from her cheek. ... She probed for memories but came up empty. Her name was Keira. She'd woken in a forest of some kind coated in mud, sore, and soaking wet. That was the extent of her knowledge."

Not only is Keira suffering from amnesia, she has some bad guys after her, too. She just doesn't know who or why. They chase her through the forest, but she manages to evade them and find refuge at the parsonage in Blightly. The pastor, John Adage, kindly lets her stay in the groundskeeper's cottage at the edge of the graveyard. Keira likes the isolation... until she sees her first ghost. It's the ghost of a young woman who seems to want something from her. But what? 

Keira soon has some real company at her small cottage. A black stray cat who loves to laze by her fire adopts her. And Adage introduces her to Mason, a medical student with chocolate brown hair, who sees to her wounds. Then there's the crazy conspiracy girl, Zoe, who works at the local grocery store. Zoe quickly adopts her, too. But none of her new friends can help her figure out her past, or how to help the ghost in the graveyard. 

This is the first book in Darcy Coates's Gravekeeper series. It's a fun introduction to Keira and her newfound friends. I loved Mason, Zoe, and Darcy's cute cat, Daisy. And while Keira manages to figure out the mystery surrounding the ghost, her own past remains a giant question mark. I guess those answers will come in a later book. Overall, I thought this book was very entertaining. There's some suspenseful moments along the way, but nothing too scary. I actually liked all the ghosts Keira comes in contact with; some of the humans she meets were definitely more creepy. And the ending made me smile. I'm looking forward to reading the next book, The Ravenous Dead, which is supposed to come out next March. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Two funny things...

Don't you love these? The oddly informed crows are my personal favorite.
Both cartoons come from John Atkinson whose work ALWAYS makes me laugh.
Be sure to check out his website: Wrong Hands. Or buy his book Abridged Classics which is awesomely funny and bookishly clever. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Some ghostly reads for October...

I love a good ghost story. Especially when it's set in an old house that's haunted. And Sarah Rayne has written several quietly suspenseful ghost stories in her Nell West and Michael Flint Haunted House Series. There are six books in this series:  Property of a Lady, The Sin Eater, The Silence, The Whispering, Deadlight Hall, and The Bell Tower. It's hard to pick a favorite because they're all really good, but I recommend starting with one of the first ones.  

Another fun series is J.L. Bryan's Ellie Jordan series. She and her colleagues kick ghosts out of haunted places by finding and trapping them. What I like about this series is that the characters are funny, the books are suspenseful, and the endings are always satisfying. I think there are sixteen books in this series. I haven't read them all yet, but I've loved all the ones that I have read. It's best to start with the first book: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper. But Cold ShadowsMaze of Souls, and The Crawling Darkness are also really good. 

And if you're into ghost stories that have a more classic feel to them, you can't go wrong with either Susan Hill's The Woman in Black or Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. They've made movies of both of these books, but even if you've seen the movies, I still recommend reading the books, because the books are better.

So if you're looking for some fun ghostly reads this October, these are some to try. 
I list more ghostly books I've read and enjoyed under my Ghostly Reads tab at the top.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme:  Bookish Pet Peeves.

Here are some of no particular order.

👎 Overuse of the word smirk in romance and YA novels. Especially when the author uses it wrong. Smirk is neither cute nor flirty. It's an irritatingly smug or condescending smile; a sneer or a snigger. And when it's used ten or more times in the same book it drives me crazy!

👎 Love triangles. Enough said.

👎 When authors write dialogue without using quotation marks. What's up with that? Who decided that was a good idea? It's annoying enough to make me want to DNF the book. (Inane or badly written  dialogue bugs me, too.) 

👎 Stupid heroines! It drives me crazy when an otherwise intelligent character does something stupid like wander into an abandoned warehouse at night looking for a murderer without telling anyone where she's going. Honest mistakes are one thing; blatant stupidity is another. 

👎 Manufactured conflict. Like when the two main characters in a romance novel end up in a long drawn out fight or angsty separation that goes on for pages and pages over some silly misunderstanding that could have been resolved with a simple 30 second conversation. 

👎 Cliffhanger endings! Especially when the next book hasn't even been written yet.

👎 An unsatisfying ending to what was an otherwise awesome trilogy. 
(Yes, I'm talking to you Suzanne Collins!) 

👎 And don't get me started on people who borrow books but never return them!

There's my short list of bookish pet peeves. Can't wait to hear some of yours.
Happy Reading!