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Monday, October 30, 2017

BOOK TOUR BLAST + GUEST POST: Dog Trouble by Galia Oz (Children's)


Greetings Friends!

Today I have a book tour blast for the children's book Dog Trouble! by Galia Oz.



SYNOPSIS:



Readers who have graduated from Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean will fall head over heels for feisty Julie and her troublesome new dog.
 
Julie has only had her dog for two weeks, but she is already causing all sorts of problems. For starters, she is missing! Julie suspects the school bully Danny must be behind it. But it will take some detective work, the help of Julie’s friends, and maybe even her munchkin twin brothers to bring her new pet home.
 
Wonderfully sassy and endlessly entertaining, the escapades of Julie and her dog are just beginning!
 
Julie’s adventures have sold across the globe and been translated into five languages. Popular filmmaker and children’s author Galia Oz effortlessly captures the love of a girl and her dog.

"A funny exploration of schoolyard controversy and resolution.” –Kirkus Reviews 

"Will resonate with readers and have them waiting for more installments.” –Booklist  



GUEST POST: 



"I wanted to mow down the politically correct" by Galia Oz, about DOG TROUBLE! 

A few words about me
I was born in a small communal village called a kibbutz, in Israel. The surroundings were beautiful, the air was clean, the doors were never locked and secrets were hard to keep. As a child, I never stopped reading. The real world had very clear boundaries - the fields surrounding the kibbutz were the physical boundary, and the fact that we were a small class of eight was the social boundary. But in my mind, I could be in Dicken’s foggy Victorian London, on the Mississippi with Huckleberry Fin, or in the Swedish countryside alongside Pippi Longstocking, my childhood hero, the strongest girl in the world.
Although my own kids were raised in a far more conventional way, some of the free spirit of the kibbutz did trickle into the world of Dog Trouble!
Why write children’s literature
At the time of writing, I felt this need that I couldn’t quite put to words. It was only later that it became clear to me: I wanted to mow down the politically correct and the "moralizing" prerequisite of children's literature. I wasn’t willing to write too happy of an ending that ties up all the loose ends. A children's book is not a truck that needs to carry life lessons, and children are not pets that need to be trained. They deserve to read complex texts, which reflect a broken and imperfect reality. In other words: Literature.
I wanted to write a story that would be sophisticated enough for my kids, one that reflects the real world, its inhabitants and their dilemmas.  The first story almost wrote itself: Julie’s dog disappears and she goes looking for it. Her friends try to help her solve the mystery, but sometimes they get in her way.  Once the first book was published, the characters already had lives of their own. If you were to wake one of them in the middle of the night, it was obvious how they’d react. Each one has a clear, distinctive personality. I was only there to get them out of bed.
A few words about Julie, our protagonist
Julie is a little bit of everybody: sociable but not too sociable, family-oriented but knows when she needs a break, independent but knows when to rely on others, compassionate but not about to be taken for a ride. Anyone can identify with Julie - both boys and girls. When I started writing, I was aware that girls read books about boys, but that boys don’t always read books about girls. Yet still, I gave a girl-protagonist the center stage. I turned her into a narrator, and I allowed her to be assertive. In retrospect, I think writing this character was the most political thing I have done.
The secret behind Dog Trouble!
I would like to think that what distinguishes the Dog Trouble! series is its “temperature.” Although the world can be tough, it is also full of love and warmth. Each of these children is surrounded by a band of friends, and although none of them is the paragon of perfection, they all show real solidarity toward one another. The dialogue between them, even when it contains conflict, remains inclusive and humorous.
Moreover, there seems to be an unwritten code that dictates that protagonists in children's literature cannot be mean, petty, manipulative or violent. And if they are, they must be punished, or admit their guilt or at least show some remorse.  But that’s not how the world works, and that is not the case in Dog Trouble! Sometimes it’s easy to look down on those who are weaker than you. The unpopular kids don't always stand up for themselves; sometimes they’re willing to take a few hits just to get in the good graces of the popular kids. Why should we be sanctimonious and pretend that there is always a way to repair such realities? I portray societal reality, for better or for worse. I don’t have to put a bandage on it.  And, in my experience, children don't fall apart when they see their hardships reflected in the pages of a book. On the contrary, there is something reparative about hearing, or in this case reading, the truth.
All five books in the Dog Trouble!  series have become bestsellers and have remained among the most popular children's books in Israel over the past decade. The series won a literary prize and has been translated and published in France, Spain and Brazil.
You can purchase a copy from Amazon HERE.


BOOK EXCERPT:


My puppy, Shakshuka, disappeared. It happened when my dad was away on a business trip and my mom was in one of her worst moods ever because Max and Monty had both just had their vaccinations and they both had reactions and they didn’t sleep all night. Max and Monty—I called them the Munchkins for short— were babies and twins and also my brothers, and every one knew that if there were two babies in the house, no one was going to pay any attention to a dog, even if she was only a baby herself.
At night, I lay awake in bed and I was cold, and I remembered that once on TV I saw pictures of a hun-gry dog that was really skinny whose family went on a vacation and left him tied to a tree. And they said that the SPCA couldn’t take care of all the dogs that were abandoned by their families. And I thought about Shakshuka, who was gone and might be tied to a tree at that very minute, hungry and missing me.
The next morning in class, Brody told me there was no way that Shakshuka had been stolen. “No way, Julie!” he said. “Why would anyone bother? You could get five dogs like her, with spots and stripes, for less than ten dollars.” Or maybe he said you could get ten dogs like her for less than five dollars. Brody said things like that sometimes, but most of the time he was okay. When Max and Monty were born, he said that was it, no one at home would ever pay attention to me again, and when I cut my hair short, he said it was ugly.
I turned my back on Brody and pretended to listen to Adam. He sat at the desk next to mine and spent his whole life telling these crazy stories. Adam said, “My father won ff-fifty thousand, do you get it? In the lottery. He’s ggoing to buy me an iPP . . .” People didn’t always listen to Adam because he stuttered, and they didn’t always have the patience to wait until he got the word out. This time Brody tried to help him finish his sentence.
“An iPod?”
“Nnot an iP-Pod, you idiot. An iP-Pad.”
Brody called Adam “Ad-d-d-dam” because of his stutter, and because he liked to be annoying. But he was still my friend, and that was just how it was, and anyway, there were lots of kids worse than he was.
I cried about Shakshuka during morning recess and Danny laughed at me because that was Danny, that was just the way he was, and Duke also laughed, obvi-ously, because Duke was Danny’s number two. But at the time I didn’t know that they had anything to do with Shakshuka’s disappearance and kept telling my-self that maybe they were just being mean, as usual.
That Danny, everyone was afraid of him. And they’d have been nuts not to be. It was bad enough that he was the kind of kid who would smear your seat with glue and laugh at you when you sat down; that he and his friends would come up and offer you what looked like the tastiest muffin you’d ever seen, and when you opened your mouth to take a bite you discovered it was really a sponge. But none of that was important. The problem was, he remembered everything that anyone had ever done to him, and he made sure to get back at them. The day before Shakshuka disappeared, Mrs. Brown asked us what a potter did, and Danny jumped up and said that a potter was a person who put plants in pots, but Mrs. Brown said that was not what a potter did. And then I raised my hand and said that a potter was a person who worked with clay and made pottery.
Danny, who sat right behind me, leaned forward and smacked my head, and I said, “Ow.” It wasn’t too bad, but the teacher saw him and she wrote a note he had to take home to his parents. That shouldn’t have been so bad either, but later, when school got out, he grabbed me in the yard and kicked me in the leg. I went flying and crashed into the seesaw, where I banged my other leg as well. Danny said, “If you hadn’t said ‘Ow’ before in class, the teacher wouldn’t have given me a note. Now because of you I’m suspended. That was my third note.”
Our school had this system that every time a kid hit another kid, he got a note he had to take home to his parents, and if it happened three times his par-ents had to come to school and the kid got sent home. My mother said it was mainly a punishment for the parents, who had to miss a day of work and come to school.
I could have told on him for kicking me in the yard as well. My bag flew off my shoulder and landed right in the middle of a puddle, and Mom was really angry at me when I got home because we had to take out all the books and leave them out to dry and we had to wash the bag. I really could have told on him, but there wouldn’t have been any point. It would just have meant another note for him, another kick for me.
Thanks but no thanks.
In the evening, when the Munchkins went to sleep, Mom took one look at me and burst out laughing and said she wished that you could buy a doll that looked just like me, with scratches on her right knee, black dirt under her fingernails, and a mosquito bite on her cheek.
“It’s not a bite, it’s a bruise,” I told her. “And any-way, who would buy a doll like that?”
“I would,” said Mom. “But what happened to you? Take a look at your legs—how on earth . . .”
“Ow! Don’t touch.”
“You look as if you were in a fight with a tiger.” That was so close to the truth that I blurted out the whole story about what happened with Danny. And I was really sorry I did that because that was the reason Shakshuka disappeared. Mom spoke to Mrs. Brown and she must have told her I was black-and-blue after Danny pushed me because the next day at school Mrs. Brown took me aside and told me that I had to let her know whenever something like that happened because otherwise Danny would just keep on hitting me, and other kids too, and we had to put a stop to it. Mrs. Brown meant well, but I knew that when it came to Danny, I was on my own.
Later, at the end of the day, Danny caught me again, this time when I was right by the gate. Maybe someone saw me talking to the teacher and told him. Suddenly I was lying on the ground with my face in the dirt. I must have shouted because Danny told me to keep quiet.
Then he said, “Tell me what you told Mrs. Brown!” “Let me get up!” I yelled.
“First tell me what you told her.”
“Let me get up!” My neck was all twisted, but somehow I managed to turn to the side and I saw two first graders walking out of the building toward the gate.
Danny must have seen them too because he let me go, and when I stood up he looked at me and started laughing, probably because of the dirt on my face, and I decided I’d had enough of this jerk. I saw red, no matter where I looked I saw red, and without think-ing about what grown-ups always taught us—that we shouldn’t hit back because whoever hit back would be punished just like the one who started it—I threw a plant at him.
At the entrance to our school there was this huge plant. The nature teacher once told us that it grew so big because it always got water from this pipe that dripped down into it, and also because it was in a pro-tected corner.
It was a shame about the plant, it really was. And it didn’t even hit him. It crashed to the ground halfway between us. Then Mrs. Brown came. And without even thinking I told her that Danny knocked me down and then threw the plant at me.
“But it didn’t hit me,” I said, and I looked Danny straight in the eye to see what he’d say.
Danny said I was a liar, but Mrs. Brown took one look at my dirty clothes and she believed me. And be-cause of me he got into serious trouble. They didn’t only make his parents come to school and suspend him for a day—after the incident with the plant they also told him he’d have to start seeing this really horrible counselor every Wednesday. The kids who knew him said his office stunk of cigarettes and he was a real bore.
That was why Danny found a way to get back at me. He said, “Just you wait.” That was exactly what he said: “Just you wait.” And I did wait because I knew him. But Shakshuka didn’t wait and she couldn’t have known how to wait for what ended up happening to her.
You can purchase a copy from Amazon HERE.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Galia Oz was born in Kibbutz Hulda, Israel, in 1964. She studied film and Television in Tel Aviv University 1984-87.

Her award winning series of 5 books titled DOG TROUBLE was published in France, Spain and Brazil – and recently in the US by CROWN BOOKS Random House. The series is a steady seller in Israel for over 10 years (selling over 150,000 copies).  

Oz has directed several documentaries, all screened in international film festivals, and in Israeli leading television channels.

Over the years, Galia Oz has been meeting thousands of readers in Israeli elementary schools, and taught creative writing and classic children's literature to kids in public libraries.

Galia Oz is married and has two kids, a dog and a cat, and they all live in Ramat Hasharon, just outside Tel-Aviv.

You can connect with her on:



Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book and Galia Oz. It was a pleasure hosting!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Secrets and Pies by Jenny Kales (Cozy Mystery)


Greetings Friends!

Today I have a review of Secrets and Pies by Jenny Kales, the third novel in the Callie's Kitchen mystery series.


I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.




RATING:


Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publication Date:  October 2017


SYNOPSIS:


Summertime in Crystal Bay means tourist season for Calliope “Callie” Costas, owner of Callie’s Kitchen, a Greek-meets-Midwest from-scratch eatery. Business is booming but so is the stress. Callie can barely keep up with the demand for her famous summer fruit pies and savory Greek delicacies, plus she’s agreed to bake dozens of “pitas” for the annual Greek Fest. 

When Callie is asked to deliver cast party treats for a Murder Mystery Night at the historic Harris House, it seems like a welcome break from her hot stove. That is, until she finds herself an unwilling player in yet another suspicious death. Worse yet, the victim is a family friend and graduate student working on a project involving Crystal Bay’s colorful past. 

Before long, a motley crew of suspects makes things as juicy as the succulent berries strewn around Callie’s Kitchen. And that’s not all Callie’s got on her plate. Add family obligations, a deepening romance with a local detective and unexpected personnel problems to the mix. 

One thing’s for sure: Callie’s got the recipe for a long, hot summer! 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series. Though she’s worked as a writer and journalist for years, fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie’s Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, “Crystal Bay,” is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot – Wisconsin’s beautiful Geneva Lakes. Kales is an avid reader, cook and baker and she’s addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier.
You can connect with her on:
FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  INSTAGRAM  |  WEBSITE

REVIEW:


I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

Callie's Kitchen mysteries is another series that I happened to stumble across without having read the first two books. However, this book was so well written with such intriguing and developed characters that I never felt like I was missing anything. Now, I'm looking forward to adding the previous books to my TBR!

One of the highlights of the story for me was how much I absolutely loved the settings!  From the picturesque vacation spot of Crystal Bay to the mysterious Harris House, I was captivated by this community and can't wait to visit again when I read more. Even being in the kitchen brought so much energy! The author beautifully showcased the inner workings of running a restaurant, while also crafting an incredibly believable amateur sleuth. Additionally, the flowing dialogue between characters added such great dynamics to both Callie's personal and professional lives that you truly could feel as though you were also a part of this lovely group of people. 

The mystery is riddled with various motives and suspects with very few clues being revealed as the story unfolds, ultimately creating a well layered and plotted mystery that has to be read to the end in order to find out who the killer is. As an English major myself, I really appreciated the inclusion of the F. Scott Fitzgerald thesis and Gilded Age themes, which enhanced the suspense and created a multifaceted story that is a cut above the more traditional cozy mysteries.  

A huge highlight of this book as a fan of Greek cuisine was reading about all the foods served at Callie's Kitchen.  Everything sounded so delectable that you'll definitely want to have some snacks nearby while reading this to keep your stomach from grumbling too much!  And this foodie definitely appreciated the provided recipes featured at the end of the book.  Perhaps I'll find some time to try some of them out and report back on how successful the recreation turned out to be!

I'm so glad that I discovered this series and highly recommend it if you're a fan of cozy culinary mysteries.  I definitely look forward to returning to Crystal Bay in order to experience more adventures with Callie at her cafe.


Many thanks to Jenny Kales and Great Escapes Book Tours.  It was pleasure providing a review!

Friday, October 20, 2017

BOOK REVIEW + GUEST POST + GIVEAWAY! Death Overdue by Allison Brook


 Greetings Friends!

Today I have a review of Death Overdue by Allison Brook, the debut novel in the Haunted Library mystery series.  She has also graciously provided a guest post discussing why she chose a library as the setting for this cozy mystery.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.


RATING:


Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publication Date:  October 2017


SYNOPSIS:


Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she's offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite push back from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura's case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for children. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku, and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

You can connect with her on:

FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  WEBSITE


GUEST POST:


Why a Library? Why a Librarian?

by Marilyn Levinson

One of the most important decisions a cozy mystery author must make is choosing a hook and accompanying setting for her new series that appeal to both her publisher and her readers. Series featuring crafts have been very popular. Food-related series abound. And so I thought I’d venture farther afield to find another milieu that would appeal to cozy lovers.

I was at a drumming contest in my library’s beautiful park behind the parking lot when I suddenly had the basis of my new series. My setting would be a library. My sleuth the librarian responsible for selecting and running the many programs and events that libraries present nowadays.

Cozy mysteries are set in small villages where residents know one another. They’re familiar with one another’s strengths and foibles. And a library is a microcosm of a village. Patrons come to the library to check out books and films. They attend programs and classes, chat with neighbors and library workers. Often, the library is the heart of the village. A place where anyone and everyone can go—some for the peace and quiet the library setting provides.

I love the idea of my sleuth Carrie Singleton in my Haunted Library mystery series being Head of Programs and Events of the Clover Ridge Library. Her position allows her to mingle with the many library patrons and to meet new people who present library events.  In DEATH OVERDUE, the first book in my series, Carrie’s first big program features a retired homicide detective who claims to have solved a cold case he failed to solve fifteen years earlier. As the detective is questioning members of the audience about their relationships with the victim, he keels over and dies. Feeling responsible for his death, Carrie joins forces with the first victim’s younger son. Together they set out to find the killer or killers.
Like the centuries-old residences, restaurants and galleries built around Clover Ridge’s Green, the library was once a large private home. I decided it would be fun to add a ghost—of someone who used to work there and knows many of the library’s secrets. And when a gray cat with a bushy tail jumps into Carrie’s car as she’s about to go to work, she discovers Smoky Joe is the friendly sort and a purrrfect Library Cat.

REVIEW:


I am a huge sucker for cozy mysteries that involve books in any way, and because I'm also a librarian, when those stories also feature libraries and librarians, I can't get my hands on them fast enough! I absolutely love visiting these little communities where there is a small, locally owned business for anything you could ever want or need, everyone knows everything about each other, and the librarian is the resident expert in homicide investigations! 

With just a hint of paranormal activity, this is a wonderfully light and fun choice to get into the Halloween spirit. Evelyn, a former librarian, haunts the library, but she is delightfully pleasant and extremely valuable in helping Carrie transition into her new role as the head of programs and events. While she only makes her presence known to a few people and doesn't come into the story very often, she is a great addition that I look forward to seeing more of as the series continues.

Although well written, the pacing would slow way down with so much description on the minutia of everyday life. I also started to feel that solving the mysteries became overshadowed by spending so much time in Carrie's new life and job with not much information to go on as to why Carrie would have taken it upon herself to look into these murders in the first place. Needless to say, these details do a great job contributing towards the upbeat and lighthearted nature of traditional cozy mysteries. When we are privy to the investigation, very few clues are revealed as the story unfolds, creating a well layered and plotted mystery that has to be read to the end in order to find out whodunit.

Overall, this was a well done debut. I can't wait to see the development in Carrie's character, the other situations she will find herself in, and what other programs she will create for the people of Clover Ridge to enjoy. I was thoroughly charmed by this haunted library and will definitely be checking out more of it!


GIVEAWAY INFO!


Enter for your chance to win a print copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Many thanks to Great Escapes Book Tours, Crooked Lane Books, NetGalley, and especially Allison Brook! It was a pleasure providing a review!

Friday, October 13, 2017

BOOK BLAST + GIVEAWAY: Her Final Watch by Marguerite Ashton


Greetings Friends!

Today I have a book blast for Her Final Watch by Marguerite Ashton, the second book in the Detective Blanchette mystery series.



SYNOPSIS:


Speaking second-hand truths can be deadly.
Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob for prostitution and drugs. But Lily's usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.  
Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom she'd killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from her colleagues. 
Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and another body is found. When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled into a conflict that swirls around the boss's son who's hell-bent on revenge.  
To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might still be alive if it wasn't for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice. 
As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point to Ibee and Jeremiah - placing Lily's life and her unborn child in danger. 
You can order your copy HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe. 

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible.
You can connect with her on

FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  WEBSITE


BOOK EXCERPT:



Detective Ariel Weeks stabbed at the small block of ice until it split into several pieces across the counter. She tossed the jagged cubes into the glass and made her client a drink.

In less than twenty-four hours, Ariel would no longer have to use the name Jasmine and keep men company to protect her cover. All she needed to do was make it through this last night and she’d be allowed to be who she was; a mom just doing her job. 

After gathering evidence and recording all the data she had, it would be hard to detach. Towards the end, she’d learned things she wished weren’t true, leaving her stomach in tattered knots.

Back at home, there were two reasons Ariel would never take on another undercover assignment.

Click.

Ariel ground her teeth as the door to Cabin D opened and closed. She could feel Mikey Surace, the mob boss’s son, staring at the backless white dress she wore at his request.

The man who smiled at the sight of blood was standing behind her, breathing heavily.


GIVEAWAY INFO! 



Margueritte Ashton is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends at midnight October 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on November 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Many thanks to Marguerite Ashton and Pump Up Your Book!

I will have a review of this book up in November, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Books with Creepy Settings


Greetings Fellow Book Dragons!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme within the book community that was created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey, but is now hosted by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.  If you're interested in participating, find out more on the Goodreads group.


This week's topic is BOOKS WITH CREEPY SETTINGS! Another great topic to help get us into the Halloween spirit! I'm definitely not one for gory horror, but I do love stories with spooky vibes and often those come because of the creepy settings. These may not be scary books, although that's a relative term given that things that might not scare one person can truly affect someone else. So with that in mind, let's chat about books that gave you the "heebie jeebies."


The Handmaid's Tale


A dystopian classic that paints a horrifying warning for a not so unbelievable future.


And Then There Were None


Ten people stranded on an island, each with their own unsettling pasts, are haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down to one as they are slowly killed off.


Bird Box


Something terrifying is out there, but no one has ever seen it. Read this and your imagination will thank you.


I See You


You just never know who is watching or ultimately who you can trust.



Serial Killers:  The Method and Madness of Monsters


In this book, Peter Vronsky documents the psychological, investigative, and cultural aspects of serial murder. This is an in-depth and exhaustive examination of serial murder and the murderers behind them. Being inside their heads will leave you reeling.


So, those are my picks. What are some of your favorite books with creepy settings? Let me know in the comments! My TBR can always use a reason to grow!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne (Light Romance)


Greetings Friends!

Today, I have a review of the newest book in the Haven Point series, Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne!

I was graciously contacted by the team at Little Bird Publicity and a copy of this book was sent to me for free in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review.  All thoughts, opinions, and feels are my own.



RATING:


Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Release Date:  September 2017


SYNOPSIS:


Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she's been living. She's made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn't one of them. Julia's looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker's latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia's care for the holidays, she'll take any help she can get—even Jamie's. 

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that's much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can't last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words.  Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour anything she could get her hands on:  cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story.  Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor.

Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 40 titles. Her books have won many honors, including three RITA® Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews.


RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and you can connect with her on:



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REVIEW:


This was my second visit to Haven Point and I absolutely loved it! While each book is capable of standing on its own, I'm slowly collecting the previous five novels so that I can go back to the beginning and become truly acquainted with this idyllic community. While there are some similarities between this book and the previous one, Serenity Harbor, that seem to create a formula for these types of stories and series, I didn't mind at all and couldn't wait to pick up where I left off. 

This installment follows Julia, the town librarian, and Jaime, a pilot for Caine Tech. This is again another slow burn romance between two very different individuals who ultimately bring out the best in one another. Both have very strong assumptions about the other based on some extreme generalizations, but in getting to know each other, their friendship builds towards an incredibly adorable romance that was so enjoyable to read. Their attraction to one another is only enhanced as they care for two little boys going through a very troubling situation with their mother who suffers from PTSD. Clint and Davey are incredibly sweet boys, and even in the face of such adversity, they bring an endearing and inspiring quality to this already heartwarming story. 

I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave these cozy light romances a chance. This story is filled with so much Christmas magic and hope that it will be a perfect choice to curl up with to greet the holiday season. Additionally, Thayne's writing style is so graceful that these stories begin to feel like you're coming home. As a veteran and someone who also struggles with anxiety and PTSD, I could empathize and identify with so much of what these characters were going through. I love her ability to take what could have been an otherwise cliche romance and craft it into a story featuring inspiring characters that are making a difference in the world around them. 

This was definitely a holiday hit that I will return to and I hope you'll get it a read as well!


Many thanks again to Little Bird Publicity and RaeAnne Thayne!  It was a pleasure providing a review!