Thursday, August 28, 2014

REVIEW: Bad Apples

Bad Apples: 
Five Slices of Halloween Horror
By: Gregor Xane, Evans Light, Adam Light, Jason Parent and Edward Lorn

Genre: Horror, Short Stories
Publisher: Corpus Press
Publication date: 9.14.2014
Pages: 225

Date read: 8.28.2014
Recommended by: Adam Light, Read 2 Review, ARC

Summary (copied from Amazon):
"The five freshest voices in horror will make you reconsider leaving the house on October 31st with these all-new Halloween tales:

  • A brother and sister creep out of the darkness with bags full of deadly tricks in Gregor Xane's THE RIGGLE TWINS.
  • A deformed boy just wants to be normal in Evans Light's PUMPKINHEAD TED.
  • A group of ghost hunters learn that looking for terror is a whole lot more fun than finding it in Adam Light's GHOST LIGHT ROAD.
  • Two bullies go looking for trouble but instead find a young boy and his imaginary friend in Jason Parent's EASY PICKINGS.
  • When a mysterious, Halloween-themed attraction comes to the town of Bay's End, everyone is dying to pay a visit in Edward Lorn's THE SCARE ROWS."

From the minute I found out that this book was in the process of being made, I knew I wanted it.  The wait was insane, awful ... sooooooo long.  Finally I saw the authors start posting the date of publish and I was excited.  When Adam asked me if I'd be interested in reading it before it came out, I could not say yes fast enough.  In fact, it was on my Kindle and waiting to be read within 5 minutes of it being sent to me - and I started it that night.

What do I think of it?  Hmm...

Let's put it this way: If I were told I could only suggest five of the books I've read this year to my readers, this would, WITHOUT A DOUBT, be on that list.  If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would.  It was THAT good.  All five of these authors have impressed me time and time again ... and, yes, I am impressed once more.  

The Riggle Twins: I love the way Gregor writes.  It's like when you see something that you're not quite sure you saw, and you turn around to make sure, and all of a sudden it jumps out at you.  Yeah, that's how Gregor does his thing.  Lesson learned, buddy, lesson learned.  I will always always ALWAYS give out candy on Halloween night ... and never ever ever EVER answer the door when the crazy neighbor is outside crying haha.  Thanks for the heads up.

Pumpkinhead Ted: Last year, when I was ready to give up on horror short stories and novellas for good (having read SO many ones that didn't scare me at all), Evans stories convinced me otherwise.  Since then, I have read EVERYTHING that this guy has produced and this story, this story is one of the best.  A genre should be started for stories like his - psychological horror.  You know, when you're not sure if you're scared or not until you get into bed, turn out that light ... and start to think.  Those stories that stay with you and pop in your head when you're minding your own business, walking down a dark path, and all of the sudden are freaked the hell out.  And the end ... THE END ... wow!

Ghost Light Road: I'll admit I was a little wary of this one after reading "ghost hunters" in the description, but it went off in a way that I never expected ... only to go off in another way I never expected ... and, just like with his brother, the endings are always my favorite and ALWAYS amazing.

Easy Pickings: Loved this story.  LOVED it.  I think this one creeped me out more than the rest.  Jason, you gave me the heebedie-geebedies, especially since I know a kid named Jack with an invisible friend named Jacob.  AND they like playing games.  (I think it's time I move.)

The Scare Rows: 

Bad Apples

Five Slices of Halloween Horror

The five freshest voices in horror will make you reconsider leaving the house on October 31st with these all-new Halloween tales:
  • A brother and sister creep out of the darkness with bags full of deadly tricks in Gregor Xane's  THE RIGGLE TWINS.
  • A deformed boy just wants to be normal in Evan Light's PUMPKINHEAD TED.
  • A group of ghost hunters learn that looking for terror is a whole lot more fun than finding it in Adam Light's GHOST LIGHT ROAD.
  • Two bullies go looking for trouble but instead find a young boy and his imaginary friend in Jason Parent's EASY PICKINGS.
  • When a mysterious, Halloween-themed attraction comes to the town of Bay's End, everyone is dying to pay a visit in Edward Lorn's THE SCARE ROWS.

Available in e-book beginning 9.7.2014.
Paperback available 9.14.2014.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Beautiful Book, Amazing Presentation

A few days ago I posted a picture of a bag on my personal Facebook page and promised that soon there would be more.  Well, here's the MORE.  

Wait wait.  Before I just start putting pictures on a blog post, maybe I should explain first haha.  Anyone who follows me anywhere knows that I occasionally do book reviews over on Luxury Reading (check it out, there's some awesome stuff going on over there).  One of the books up for grabs was called The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee.  This book caught my attention and would not let go, so I asked Vera for the book.  When it came in the mail, I was just - wow! - it is beautiful!  The presentation is amazing, as well as the author swag (author swag, people!! - us readers love it) she included in the package.

REVIEW: Strangers on a Bus

Strangers on a Bus
By: Rob Manary

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Memoir
Publication date: 3.29.2011
Pages: 207

Date read: 8.22.2014
Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Read 2 Review

Summary: If you liked When Harry Met Sally, you'll fall in love with Robb and Gertrude from Strangers on a Bus...
            Robb is crushed by a failed relationship with the love of his life and finds himself unexpectedly on a long bus trip from his adopted home in the U.S. back to his native Canada.
            At the first stop in NYC, a girl gets on and so begins a contemplation of life, love, and strange events that will bring tears of laughter and heartache streaming down your face.
            Is this girl Robb's real true love or just a rebound?  How far can they get on a bus ride anyway?
            This is a true story.

When I was first suggested this book by a Blog Tour friend, I really wasn't so sure, but the avid reader in me decided to give it a go.  Six pages in and I was glad that I did.  It's a true story ... and I love the way this guy thinks.

I laughed so hard through almost the entirety of this book.  Even the sad parts (and there were some, especially when he talks about memories and his ex) were funny, the way he looked back on them and described them - I like it when people can look back and make jokes (jokes are a great way to help you get through things).  I also knew how he felt when it came to some situations, so I felt a great deal of empathy while reading it.

Once the girl enters the bus, and he decides to rename her (funny!), things start to look up and by the end of the book, I really did have "tears of laughter and heartache."  (By the way, I did not find When Harry Met Sally funny at all.  Wait wait wait - hold your horses there, Tiger.  There are actually quite a few movies I have sat through with friends where everyone is laughing, except me.  Miss Congeniality, for example.  Everyone was staring at me like "Why aren't you laughing?" and I'm all "Why ARE you laughing?"  The point?  THIS book being compared to THAT movie is what threw me off.  I mean, I guess they are comparable, but this book = hilarious, that movie = yeah, not so much.)

Favorite quotes: There were lots, but there were too at the beginning that I couldn't forget.  

"Interesting fact, right!  I wonder if it's true.  Shit I make up rarely is." 
"She and I are about as good a combination as peanut butter and eels."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

REVIEW: Serial Vengeance

Serial Vengeance
By: Melissa Wren

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publication date: 6.25.2014
Pages: 321

Date read: 8.20.2014
Recommended by: Worldwind Blog Tours, Read 2 Review

Summary: Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Olivia Penn already lost her baby and her best friend.  She's not about to lose the biggest story of her career.
            With the help of her police contact, she's on the case of what appears to be a random string of high-profile suicides sparked by guilty consciences.  But there's something strange about the suicide notes: They all say, "I deserve to die."  Olive is determined to break the story that the deaths are the work of a serial killer.
            She gets her big break when the killer commits a sensational double murder.  "The Punisher" is on the hunt, and adulterers among the elite of Washington, DC are his prey.
            The further Olivia pursues her story, the more her life unravels.  And the more she uncovers, the more she begins to think that solving this case will also lead to discovering the truth behind her best friend's mysterious disappearance two years earlier.
            Willing to do anything to unveil the identity of the psychopath who is behind the successive murders, she finds herself embroiled in a psychological game, and it's become chillingly personal.  A stalker has been breaking into her home and sending threatening messages.  Someone is trying to scare her away from her attempt to bait The Punisher with her news stories - someone close to her.
            It's a dangerous game she's playing, and it all leads up to a magnificent twist ending.  Will Olivia's search for truth turn up anything?  Or will her tenacious investigation cause her to lose her job, or her marriage - or her life?

I really got into this book, from the very first page.  It has all kinds of things I love - stalker, murderer, journalist with a big story, missing best friend - a lot of mystery and thrills rolled up into just 321 pages.  And it just kept coming, plus the fact that ... well ... I don't want to give too much away, but the twist was a biggie and I could not put this book down.

I've read a lot of books lately where I just could not stand the heroine, but I really felt for this lady, especially as you get to know her.  My heart strings were pulled with the talk of her baby boy who had died six months previously.  She was a well written character and this is an author that I will definitely be following in the future.

Monday, August 18, 2014

REVIEW: Sons of Man

Mirror Images 2:
Sons of Man
By: C Michael Powers

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal & Urban
Publication date: 8.14.2014

Date read: 8.16.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: Gabe and Lisa have finally made a peaceful life for themselves on the dark side of the mirror, high up in the mountains, where they've settled with a group of friends in search of the same serenity.  With a new baby on the way, a storm brews; evil forces believe there's a great power in controlling the first child born on the dark side, and they'll stop at nothing to get their hands on it.  This love story laced with mirrors, maniacs, and monsters continues as war is waged between good and evil with the survival of both worlds hanging in the balance.

I originally met Chris shortly after his first book (Mirror Images 1: The Darkness of Man) was released.  After a short conversation, I agreed to read his book ... and LOVED it.  It was a fun book - and rather creepy considering my slight issue with mirrors.  The story went off in directions I had never expected and I came to love some of the characters.

Now, I love reading and telling people how I feel about the books that I have read, but I am not one of those readers that sit around in breathless anticipation waiting for the next book from my favorite author.  THIS was a book I have been waiting on and, when Chris sent me a message on Facebook asking if I was still interested in reading this, I couldn't answer him fast enough.  It was on my Kindle - and I began it - that day.  (I was done in 24 hours and actually fell asleep with my Kindle open because I did not want to put it down.)

I thought the first book was awesome.  This book?  Even better.  Not only were the characters I loved back, but quite a few more were added to the mix.  The book description gives a slight nod to what happens, but it goes WAY beyond that.  As with the first book, the story went off in unexpected directions and there were quite a few times that I had to just put the book down and sit there, taking it all in.  The adventure is great, the fight scenes are awesome, the character description and world building is done very well.  And now I must wait for book #3 to see what happens next.

Favorite character: Haylay was my absolute favorite in book 1 - and he's still in the top three favorites in this book.  In this one, he takes a side adventure and learns more about himself because of it. 
            There are two new characters that have been added to this list: I freaking LOVE Tact ("Did he just ... did he just wink at me? haha) and Jaundice Jones is amazing (I want to know more about him, like where he got those glow sticks).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

CoVeR ReVeaL - Shrink Rapt

I have another awesome cover reveal for you guys today.  The book description has definitely caught my attention and it's one I'm going to be looking to read soon.  And I like how mysterious the cover looks.

Shrink Rapt
By: Freda Hansburg
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publication date: August 2014

Book description:
A little hypnosis can be a dangerous thing.
          Psychologist April Simon reaches that conclusion when four of her most unstable patients begin to violently unravel following the murder of their psychiatrist, Lowell Morgenstern, April's arrogant department chairman.  She suspects it's no coincidence that all four were subjects in his research project.
          As April tries to undo Morgenstern's mayhem, she finds her colleagues turning resentful, her career on the line, and the chairman's killer closing in.  Who can she trust?  Maybe Sam Perone, the attractive, cynical detective who seeks her help in solving Morgenstern's murder - that is, when he's not treating her as a suspect.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


This is the most difficult intro I have had to write in my time as a blogger.  This is usually where I talk about the author, how we met, their book - something to get you interested in reading the interview that follows - but I have never met him and I am, in all honesty, not very happy or impressed with this author.
          Let me explain: I think this author is an amazing writer and loved his book (you can see my review of his book Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City HERE).  I think he did a tremendous job on the book and, except for a small issue, thoroughly enjoyed it.  
          However, the interview that I have to post here is not my interview.  He told the person running this tour that he had rewritten a few of the questions, but what he actually did was change all of my questions completely (except one that he only changed a part of, which he asked himself twice and gave two very different answers to).
          After some inner turmoil (and some advice from fellow book bloggers - you can read more HERE), I decided that I would still post the interview - it is interesting - but with the disclaimer that this is, in fact, not my interview.  (This interview is posted exactly as it was sent to me.)

Q: Where are you from?
I'm originally from Pensacola, Florida, an extremely old American city dating back to 1698 and, based on my childhood experiences, extremely haunted.  I moved to Boston in 1990 for college and returned in 2007 as a freelance journalist.  It was then that I started working on the research for what was my first book, Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Hub.

Q: Tell us your latest news?
My third book, Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City, is slotted for release on August 12, 2014.  In addition to writing historical-based ghost books, I'm a freelance journalist and ghost tour producer. I have two walking tours, Boston Haunts and Cambridge Haunts, and I'm working on additional tours for Salem and Provincetown.  I'm currently researching my fourth book, Haunted Provincetown, slotted for release in 2016.

Q: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been a working journalist for 20 years.  After spending years working for online, TV and radio media organizations, the written word is my calling.

Q: When and why did you begin writing?
I was the Andrea Zuckerman (character from Beverly Hills 90210) of my high school in Florida and have been writing since the late '80s.  My high school journalism teacher was my mentor and she inspired me at a young age to pursue a career in writing.

Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I published my first article in college.  My first big-time interview ever was with author Cameille Paglia after her book Sexual Personae.  She devoured me during our discussion, but the article turned out fantastic.  After 20 years, I still consider that interview my hardest ever.

Q: What initially inspired you to write your first book, Ghosts of Boston?
As a journalist, it has always been my job to give a voice to those without a voice.  However, I had no clue that I would eventually be giving a voice to those who have passed long ago.  For years, I was afraid of the supernatural.  I had a few experiences as a child and then one event in the early '90s while living in Ball Square in Somerville that terrified me.  I had what is known as "paranormal blinders," or an intense fear of the spirit realm and I completely shrugged off anything that could be viewed as paranormal.  I had a change of heart last year while researching a Halloween-themed story for STUFF magazine on haunted nightlife hot spots in Boston.  I saw what looked like a full-bodied apparition of a girl in the Central Burying Ground in the Boston Common.  I had no idea that others have had a similar encounter with the teen spirit dating back to a sighting by a Dr. Matthew Rutger in the 1970s.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing/researching Ghosts of Salem?
There's so much disinformation out there regarding the historical back story to many of the alleged haunted sites in the book.  Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City is a history book with ghost stories.  It's not a typical paranormal book with regurgitated tales.  People who have read the book get that it's about giving a voice to many of the victims of the Witch Trials - like Giles Corey and Bridget Bishop - who were terrorized in 1692.  However, Salem is more than the witch trials.  Many of the "ghosts" featured in the book are more contemporary, but 1692 did leave what paranormal researchers call an "aura of disaster."

Q: Is there anything that makes a location more likely to host ghosts than another?
If there was a fire or an extremely-stressful event like a murder or suicide, the building has potential for paranormal activity.  Many of the sites featured in Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City, ranging from Ropes Mansion or the Lyceum building, have ties to some sort of major injustice or disaster.  Obviously, the 1692 witch trials in Salem are a major player in my book.  However, the Great Fire of 1914, which annihilated Salem, is extremely important as well.

Q: Is there a message in Ghosts of Salem that you want your readers to grasp?
Tourists flock to Salem because of the 1692 witch trials hysteria.  Locals want to focus on other aspects of the city's history, like its golden maritime age.  What's great about my book is that it's not just about 1692.

What book have most influenced your life?
Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Stephen King's The Shining and Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I have revisited Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, while writing Ghosts of Salem.  I'm also smitten with H.P. Lovecraft, who created a fictional city called Arkham based on Salem.

What would you like your readers to know?
When I write my historical-based books, I spend months and sometimes years researching the ghost lore associated with a city before I even pitch the book to my publisher.  I also let the "ghosts" guide me, so I let my intuition guide me at first.  Sometimes my intuition leads me into extremely scary situations which was the case with Ghosts of Salem.

Blog Tours, Blog Tours, Blog Tours

Blog Tours, Blog Tours, Blog Tours.  Funny how two little words could fascinate me so much, but when I was in the process of starting The Gal, they definitely did.  I had seen a few book bloggers I followed do them and they just looked awesome - like book tours, where the authors go into local bookstores and meet the readers, sign books, sometimes even do a reading - just without all the travel and the hand cramps.  
          How could I not love this?  Ever since I was young and watched Jessica sign books on Murder, She Wrote, the idea of going to a Book Signing or Reading or Meet-and-Greet with the Authors has always been, like, the coolest thing ever (haha).  (Sadly, I have not been to as many as I wish, but I did meet Anne Rice once upon a time and she signed Interview with a Vampire for me.)
          Blog Tours have taken the place of all that, especially for the Indie and Self-Published Author.
          I am a researcher (a blessing and a curse) and I have read everything I could find on blog tours. I wanted to be able to explain them to other people (if they didn't know) and also know what I needed to do in order to be a part of the fun.  Now, I know people who say they would never be a part of these - and I will NEVER be one of the people who are working with the author to set these up (some authors are, um, strong-willed) - but if I get an email from one of the three blog tour companies I am signed up with (or Red Adept Publishing, who I LOVE), if it looks like something I wouldn't hate, I sign up.
          Now, for those of you who are not aware, the email thing is how it works.  A blog tour company (or group, or one person, or whatever) sends out an email (usually to people who have signed up to be on their list, but two of the companies I deal with are ones that reached out to me because they liked my blog) that gives all the pertinent information a blogger needs on a tour - title and author, book description, dates, etc - and they follow the link to fill out the form.  The blogger deals with the person planning the tour, not the author - which I find to be both a good and a bad thing (sometimes I would like to meet the author and add him or her to my list of amazing authors, but at the same time, I have heard horror stories about how authors are again, um, strong-willed).  
          A lot of times the blogger has the opportunity to sign up for something other than just the review - an interview, a guest post (where the author writes a post on the subject they are given) - and that, to me, is the best part - I get to ask the questions that I want the answers to, and usually my questions are more on the author than on the book (I read a lot of interviews on a weekly basis that are based on the book itself and, to be honest, the interviews are amazing, but if I want to know all that, I'll read the book - me, I'm interested in the gal or the guy behind the book).  I have a list of basic questions and, depending on the author and what they've written, sometimes I add more to the list or take some away (I find it easier to interview someone I've had a few conversations with), which I give to the person running the tour, and soon they get back to me with the author's answers.  Easy peasy.
          Sometimes - and this is a great feature that 1) I don't think enough people utilize and 2) I don't think enough people try for - there are giveaways where you can win a signed book (SIGNED BOOK?!?!  *swoons*), author swag (I love author swag so if you are an author and you don't have any - get some!! - bookmarks are great, easy to sign and cheap to mail out), and/or gift cards to Amazon.
I know what all of you are thinking (especially my followers who know that every rant has a reason) - what happened to bring on this post?  Two things....
          First, I've had a lot of authors ask me what a blog tour is (thank God for all that research, huh?) and I wanted to give the basic gist to anyone who may not be so sure, especially since I do a lot of them.
          Second, I had my first, um, "author on a blog tour issue."  (Originally I was going to say "blog tour issue" but that's not true - I have left two blog tour companies because of the fact that there were always issues based on the fact that  they were not organized.  At all.)  

I recently signed up for a blog tour - to do a review and an interview - and when I got the answers, the blog tour company let me know that the author had made a few changes to a few of my questions based on the fact that they wrote a non-fiction book.  (Note: There is only one question I ask that would not work for a non-fiction book and that is "Which character is most like you?" which he could have omitted.  The rest of the questions, as I mentioned before, are based on the author, some even on the author's process.)
          I kind of shrugged as I read this and scrolled through the questions+answers to find out what she was talking about.
          Let's put it this way - I was so shocked that I went to Facebook to vent.  He did not make a few changes to a few of my questions.  He changed EVERY question that I asked COMPLETELY (except for one which is similar to what I asked, but not exactly - and he actually asked the same question twice with two very different answers).  Stunned...shocked...homicidal.   Let's just say that I was not (and still am not) a happy camper.
          Several of my awesome author friends informed me that they would never have done this to me or anyone, several of my reviewer/reader/blogger friends were appalled at this man's obvious ego issue.  (I was glad I wasn't just crazy and getting upset over something insignificant.)
          Over the next few days, I has a couple of conversations via email with fellow bloggers who were giving me their advice on the situation.  Several told me to just quit the tour - no review, no interview - but I feel that bloggers should have some professionalism in order for them to be taken seriously (there are several bloggers I no longer read because of the fact that they lack this  professionalism) and I love my blog too much to destroy it in that way (plus the person who runs this blog tour company is amazing).  A few told me to do the review and leave out the interview, but one made a lot of sense - the interview is good, though not mine, so I should still post it, but put a disclaimer at the top that this is not my interview as my questions were changed by the author.
          I discussed this with the blog tour company and have decided that is what I'll do (professional and nice, I am), but I felt like some explanation had to come before that and, once I began writing this, decided that this could not all be the intro into an interview (you guys would never read it!! haha).  As I said to her when we spoke, I've had authors not want to answer a question so they just deleted it from the list (like I wouldn't realize that, right?), but this is the first time I've had an author do this to me and I certainly hope it's the last.  (I do want to point out that, because of this situation, this particular blog tour company is going to, from now on, inform the authors that they cannot change blogger questions.)

For authors: Bloggers put a lot of time, sweat and tears into their work.  Yes, they may not be writing a novel, a trilogy, or a series (how could we?  we're busy helping you promote yourself and reading what you're writing), but we do a lot of work, it takes a lot of time, and it can be very stressful.  It is something that we love and that's why we not only do it, but continue doing it (some of those bloggers have been doing it for YEARS).  We do what we do for free.  You hand us a free book and we're willing to bend over backwards for you - advertising your book, talking you up on all our social networks, suggesting your book to people - and this is after we read it and review it, after we interview you, after we set up guest posts for you, and more.  We also go and buy the rest of your books when we love the one you handed us for free.  Please remember all of this when you decide to treat us as if we're insignificant ... because without us, there would be a lot of readers that would have never even heard of you and your book(s).  We are human too and just like you want us to treat you with respect and courtesy, we expect the same thing.

For bloggers: Professionalism.  Remember that.  Look it up.  It's a big deal.  You and your name are part of your blogs "brand."  Your behavior and attitude effects that blog - and effects the rest of us, who get looked down on because the few are not as smart, intelligent, professional, or ethical as the many.  (Another word: Ethical.  Very important.) 
          I find it funny when I hear a blogger complain about the behavior of some authors and how it ruins things for the other Indie and Self-Published authors out there.  Not funny ha-ha, funny sad - because it is so true, and yet that is what a lot of bloggers are doing to other bloggers out there.
          There's a thought that always pops in my head when I'm getting ready to do things: Would you do this in front of your mom?  THAT right there will stop you from doing a lot of things haha but maybe people should seriously start behaving that way (you can insert Dad, God, or whoever else in there if you choose).

REVIEW: Ghosts of Salem

Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City
By: Sam Baltrusis
Genre: Occult, Supernatural, New England
Publisher: The History Press
Publication date. 8.3.2014
Pages: 117

Date read: 8.11.2014
Recommended by: Worldwind Blog Tours, Read 2 Review

Summary: Nestled on the rocky coast of Massachusetts, Salem is a city steeped with history and legend.  Famously known for its witch trials, the historic North Shore seaport also has a dark history of smugglers and deadly fires.  It is considered to be one of New England's most haunted destinations.  Inside Howard Street Cemetery, the ghost of accused witch Giles Corey wanders among the gravestones.  Outside the Ropes Mansion the ghost of Abigail Ropes can be seen peeking out of the windows.  The Gardner-Pingree House on Essex Street is host to the spirit of sea captain Joseph White, a man whose murder in 1830 inspired literary giants like Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Join author and paranormal journalist Sam Baltrusis on a chilling journey through the streets of Salem as he chronicles the historic haunts of the Witch City.

Ever since 6th grade, when I first read the Salem Witch Trials in school, I have had a fascination with Salem.  Not just because of the witches, but because of all the history, the culture, the mystery.  When this book "came across my desk," I was both happy and excited and couldn't wait until I was able to sit down and read it.

It did not disappoint.  From the very beginning, I was hooked.  He is very eloquent and gives lots of information on every page, includes some beautiful pictures of this historic city, and goes beyond just the lore of the witch trials and it's aftermath.  I was lucky enough to visit Massachusetts not too long ago, but this book has given me a lot more places that I want to visit when I head there again.

If you find the supernatural interesting and have a love of history, this is a great book for you to sit down and read - and there are two other books in the series (Ghosts of Boston and Ghosts of Cambridge) that I plan to pick up soon.  

There was just ONE thing about the book that I found annoying, though it didn't affect the flow.  Some information is written several times, just in different ways, and a lot of the captions under the pictures are written verbatim from the text.  I've seen other books do this with pictures and it bugs me - a picture caption is a great place to add some small bit that you have not included in the story, but if you're not going to, at least change it a bit so I'm not reading the same exact thing a second time.  Small issue, but after several times it became bothersome to me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

CoVeR ReVeaL - Sons of Man

A good friend of mine, Christopher Powers - whose first book I LOVED - has the second book in the series coming out REAL soon.  And here is the cover ...

Mirror Images 1:
Sons of Man
By: C Michael Powers
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Gabe and Lisa have finally made a peaceful life for themselves on the dark side of the mirror, high up in the mountains, where they've settled with a group of friends in search of the same serenity.  With a new baby on the way, a storm brews; evil forces believe there's a greater power in controlling the first child born on the dark side, and they'll stop at nothing to get their hands on it.  This love story laced with mirrors, maniacs and monsters continues as war is waged between good and evil with the survival of both worlds  hanging in the balance.

You can check out Chris at his blog HERE!!

CoVeR ReVeaL - Catching a Man

One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Corrigan, has a new little something coming out and I feel privileged to share the cover with you here.  Love it!  And the description sounds great - I can't wait to get my hands on this one :)

Valeriel Investigations 1:
Catching a Man
By: Elizabeth Corrigan
Genre: Fantasy
Publication date: November 2014

Kadin Stone's life is finally going according to plan.  She's starting her new job as a homicide detective's aide at one of the premier criminal investigation companies in Valeriel City, the capital of a 1950's-style kingdom.  Kadin is certain her new position will introduce her to any number of eligible men, so she'll finally be able to get married and stop burdening the brother who insists on supporting her.
          On Kadin's first day, the royal family calls in her team to investigate the murder of gossip-rag cover girl Queen Callista.  Kadin's superiors think it's an open and shut case.  The queen's jilted lover Duke Baurus DeValeriel had motive, means, and opportunity, but Kadin can't help but spot holes in their theory.
          After checking into a few loads of her own, Kadin inadvertently ends up in the confidence of Duke Baurus.  When she tries to share what she knows with the rest of the team, she finds them unwilling to listen to the opinion of a girl who they know is only after a ring on her finger.  In order to see justice served, Kadin finds herself doing the last thing she expected when she started working for a homicide detective - solve a murder!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 8, 2014

REVIEW: The Governess and the Stalker

The Governess and the Stalker
By: Mark Morey
Genre: Historical Fiction, Suspense
Publisher: Wings ePress
Publication date: 7.2.2014
Pages: 197

Date read: 8.7.2014
Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Read 2 Review

Summary: Jesse West is determined to destroy the family that wronged him so badly.  For former governess Michelle Devine, it becomes a battle of wits to deal with Jesse, who has no other purpose in life than to kill her.

I really can't explain how I feel about this book.  Parts of it were interesting, but nothing really exciting or riveting (or suspenseful, which is one of the genres that this book falls under), even when he begins to stalk her, which isn't until around 40% into the story.  To be honest, at about 80%, I was ready to give up.  Why, you ask?  You get a vague explanation of what he's angry about, she has no clue who he is or what he's talking about, and you are basically waiting around for something to happen.  The interesting parts (the new "sisters" she has of her sister-in-laws, the train crash, the time Jesse spent in jail, her husband's death) went by far too quickly (while other parts dragged out too long) and the stalking part becomes kind of tedious as we move through the story.  

Jesse is never actually scary, but more of a bumbling idiot who has to run to one of Michelle's ex-employees for information and money.  Michelle's self-satisfaction moments are awkward, seem forced, and take away from the story.  The same with the men she becomes infatuated with along the way - it made her seem immature and naive while the author is trying to portray her as having found her way in life.  

The description (the one on Amazon, not the one the author gave Sage) really caught my interest, but by 80% into the story, I just felt, well, like I had wasted my time and my expectations didn't come close to being met.  A story with great potential that just fell short.

I must say that the end (approximately the last 20%) got better and questions were answered (though by then I already had an idea as to what caused all of this), but it wasn't enough to save the book for me.  I felt nothing at all for the characters so, even when they were in distress, it didn't effect me.  The only characters, besides the children (which you really don't know anything about, just that they are there), that I wanted to know more about were the two ladies that she met along her "adventures" (if you can call them that).  I was glad to see that they were brought back at the end of the story, but it seemed like they were forgotten for most of the story, only to have everything wrapped up nice and good at the end.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

COVER REVEAL: The Automation

The Automation
By: G.B. Gabbler

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Book description:
The novel calls itself a "Prose Epic," but is otherwise a purposeful implosion of literary cliches and gimmicks: A Narrator and an Editor (named Gabbler) frame the novel.  Gabbler's pompous commentary (or footnotes) on the nameless Narrator's story ground the novel in reality.  Gabbler is a stereotypical academic who likes the story only for it's so-called "literary" qualities, but otherwise contradicts the Narrator's claim that the story is true.
        THE AUTOMATION is a this-world fantasy that reboots mythical characters and alchemical concepts.  Its ideal place would be on the same bookshelf as Wrecker's THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI and Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS - though it wouldn't mind bookending Homer, Virgil, and Milton, to be specific.