Friday, October 7, 2022

Got Ghosts?

 "I hadn't come all this way to run from whatever might be haunting this house. Protecting the living against the evil and restless dead, that's my calling, my only real purpose in life. My intuition, unscientific as it was, told me there was something here, something that might be endangering both of them ... and I wasn't going to abandon them."

The Necromancer's Library by J.L. Bryan is the twelfth Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper novel. These books are very fun ghost stories with good scares, lots of humor, a very likable heroine, and some very creepy haunted houses. I love them. 

In this one, Ellie and her ghost-hunting partner, Stacey, have been hired by two sisters to investigate a haunting at an isolated antebellum home in rural Georgia. It's more library than house, with walls of overflowing bookshelves in every room. They once belonged to Professor Marconi and include medieval occult manuscripts along with books on conjuring spirits, contacting ghosts, and raising the dead. Marconi died mysteriously a few months ago. Is he the one haunting the mansion? Or is the spirit something darker and more demonic? Ellie is determined to find out. 

A house full of arcane and esoteric books is the perfect setting for a haunting. And some very scary things take place in this old house. I loved the mystery and suspense. Stacey's boyfriend, Jake, who is a CPA and reluctant psychic, comes for a weekend to help them out with their case; he always makes me laugh. And that ghostly ending? It's a good one! This book is a perfect read for October. But then, any of J.L. Bryan's books are. 

Happy Reading! 

Other J.L. Bryan ghost stories I've reviewed:

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme is supposed to be favorite bookstores, or bookstores you'd love to visit. But I don't really have a favorite bookstore any more. So I went a little rogue and decided to do Favorite Bookshop Books instead. 

Here they are:

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin


The English Bookshop by Janis Wildy

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 1, 2022

It's October!


I love this time of year: the cooler weather, the colorful autumn leaves, pumpkins, even watching scary movies. It's also the time of year that I find myself in the mood for a good ghost story. Or any supernatural, spooky, or suspenseful book really. So, when I was at the library yesterday, here's what I checked out to read this month:

The Gates by John Connolly
Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang
Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead
The Listening House by Mabel Seeley
Dark August by Katie Tallo
The Haunted Air by Paul F. Wilson
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory
Curse the Day by Annabel Chase

I recently watched this fabulous movie about Marcel Marceau and the French Resistance during WWII: 

It's such a moving story! I didn't even know Marcel Marceau was Jewish. Or that he played a role in saving so many Jewish children. I highly recommend this movie!   

My sister and I started writing a ghost story last month on Kindle Vella and so far we've published the first four episodes.  Are any of you familiar with Kindle Vella? It's a site with serialized stories in every possible genre, and it's a lot of fun. The first three episodes of every Kindle Vella story are free to read. After that you have to buy tokens, but Kindle Vella gives first time users 200 free tokens, and if you want to buy 200 more tokens, it only costs about $1.99. (One token equals about 100 words, so most episodes would be between 10-20 tokens to read.) Anyway...if you want to check out our ghost story, here's the link: Ghosts of Grayhaven. We'll be posting a new episode every week through the end of the year. Plus, there's a dog! Be sure to give us a thumbs up if you like it. 👍

And here's one of my favorite John Atkinson cartoons...a very fitting one for this time of year:

Enjoy...and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

City Folk and Country Folk by Sofia Khvoshchinskaya

Summary from Goodreads:  "An unsung gem of nineteenth-century Russian literature, City Folk and Country Folk is a gentle yet devastating satire of Russia's aristocratic and pseudo-intellectual elites in the 1860s. Translated into English for the first time, the novel weaves an engaging tale of manipulation, infatuation, and female assertiveness that takes place one year after the liberation of the empire's serfs. Sofia Khvoshchinskaya centers her story on a commonsense, hardworking noblewoman, Nastasya Ivanovna Chulkova, and her self-assured daughter, Olenka, living on their small rural estate. Seventeen-year-old Olenka, who is unimpressed by class, ultimately helps her mother overcome a sense of duty to her "betters" and leads the two to triumph over their urbanite guests' financial, amorous, and matrimonial machinations."

My thoughts:  I first learned about this book from Kathy @ Reading Matters. (And if you want to read a really good review of this book, click on the link and read hers!) And I want to thank Kathy for bringing this Russian novel to my attention, because I quite enjoyed it. While not a lot happens plotwise, the interactions between Nastasya and Olenka and their two uninvited summer guests over the course of the novel are humorous. Nastasya is a bit silly, and worries way too much about offending her guests. Olenka, on the other hand, isn't at all cowed by the guests' station or status in society. 
"All of this was quite amusing to Olenka, who assumed that the present situation would not drag on forever and, most likely, would soon come to an end, but for Nastasya Ivanova there was nothing funny about it."

I liked Olenka's youthful candor and outspokenness and the way she makes her mother stand up to their guests at the end. I also thought Khvoshchinskaya did an excellent job contrasting the aristocratic pretentions and quirks of the two Muscovites against their more provincial hosts, while poking gentle fun at each one. Seligman Favorov's translation of this satirical novel is well done and very readable. All in all, this is an amusing novel and I'm glad I read it. Even better? It counts as my "Classic in Translation" for Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge. Only two more classics to go this year and I'll have finished all twelve categories!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Haiku reviews...

The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier 
(Mercy & Elvis Mystery #4)

A wedding. A missing
man. A murdered stranger. Lies,
secrets... and family.

Mystery .... 340 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(I love Mercy and Troy and their dogs Elvis and Susie Bear!)

Breathless by Amy McCulloch

Climb a mountain, get
the interview. Then murder
changes the story.

Adventure/mystery .... 343 pages .... 3/5 stars.
(I wanted to like this one more than I did.)

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Her job: protect him.
Being his fake girlfriend and
falling in love? Bonus!

Contemporary romance .... 302 pages .... 5/5 stars.
(So funny and sweet; I loved everything about this one!)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

First line:  They found the bodies on a Tuesday.

From the blurb:  After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family—his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister—have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny—currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte—was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

My thoughts:  This mystery is told through multiple points-of-view that alternate between the past (before Matt's family died) and the present. And though it's well-written, I would have preferred sticking with Matt's POV in the present for more of the book rather than having all those flashbacks interrupting the flow of the narrative. But it's the past narratives with Matt's dad, mom and younger sister, Maggie, that dominate the story. And while all the POVs and layers from the past are interesting, I didn't find them particularly suspenseful. 

Melody @ Melody's Reading Corner and I read this one together and it was fun trying to figure out what really happened to Charlotte and to Matt's family with her. Not that we had a lot of clues to go on. It's not until the very end that all the pieces of this mystery get put together and the truth is revealed. And I have to admit, I was a little underwhelmed by the supposed twist at the end. Every Last Fear is well-plotted, the writing is good, and I did like it, but it just wasn't quite as thrilling as I hoped it would be. For me, it's a solid 3-star read. Be sure to check out Melody's review to see her opinion of this one! And thanks again, Melody, for reading this one with me. It was fun. 

Happy Reading!

Melody's questions for me:
1. There's a combination of suspense, conspiracies, and family drama in this book. What did you enjoy most about the story?  I enjoyed all the action scenes in the present with Matt the most. He's a great character, and he's the reason I wanted to keep reading. I just wanted more of his story! 

2. Who was your favorite and least favorite member of the Pine family (and why)?
Besides Matt, my favorite character was his younger sister, Maggie. She was spunky, and a good detective, and so smart; all of which made her death even more sad. And I didn't like Evan Pine, Matt's father very much; he was so consumed with saving Danny all those years that the rest of his family suffered because of it, especially Matt.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme is supposed to be Books on My Fall 2022 To-Read List, but I'm going rogue and doing Books with September in the Title  instead.

September by Rosamunde Pilcher

September 17 by Amanda West Lewis

The September Society by Charles Finch

The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

The Last September by Nina de Gramont

The Fourteenth of September by Rita Dragonette

The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff

The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

The September Girls by Maureen Lee


77 Days in September by Ray Gorham

Happy Reading!