Thursday, February 28, 2019

REVIEW: Cyanide With Christie

Cyanide With Christie
Author: Katherine Bolger Hyde

Cyanide With Christie is the third book in the Crime With the Classics series. I have had this series on my TBR list for some time, but just never seemed to start it. Once I saw the newest title was an homage to Agatha Christie (my favorite author for 40+ years), I finally got with the program and started reading. So glad I did! I really enjoyed this book!

Although the background theme of a relative inheriting a huge house and lots of money from a dead relative is a bit of a trope in cozy mysteries, I like what Katherine Bolger Hyde did with it. Her MC, Emily, inherits a large victorian home from her aunt, plus nearly unlimited she decides to turn Windy Corner into a writers retreat center. The house has six newly remodeled rooms all centered around a different classic author. Dickens. Christie. Montgomery. Forster. Austen. Bronte. Dostoevsky.

I wish Windy Corner was real! I would definitely go write there! And I would ask for the Christie room, of course!

I loved how the plot set up like a Christie novel. A group of people invited to a stately manor. Bad weather comes in to trap them there. An uninvited guest...or a surprise of some sort...reveals that one guest is hated by all the others. Hated guest dies horribly. Everyone is a suspect. Cool twisty ending nobody sees coming. Neat ending for everyone else involved. Loved it! Nice Christiesque feel with a modern edge.

I have the other two books in this series -- Arsenic With Austen and Bloodstains with Bronte -- on my TBR shelf. I'm definitely going to backtrack a bit and start with book one. I'm going to read this series through from the start. It isn't necessary to read the books in order....I jumped in at #3 and was able to figure things out...but I'd like to get all the character and background development from books one and two, then re-read this third book.

All in all, a well-written and enjoyable mystery! I'm definitely going to be reading more by this author. I like her writing style and her characters.

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Severn House via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Author: Dr. Julia Shaw

What is evil? What makes certain choices and actions evil? Does evil exist independently? Or does it need an manifest? Is evil subjective....or universal?

Dr. Julia Shaw takes a close in-depth look at evil in her new book. But this isn't the sort of book that most might expect. It isn't a bloody dissection of evil behavior in detail, or a discussion of pros and cons about punishment or treatment for those who commit serious acts of violence or crime. Dr. Shaw instead looks at the science behind human behavior. She points out in her introduction that her book is NOT about philosophy, morality, religious views or about punishment/consequences for aberrant's about WHY human beings do the things they do, what in the makeup of human beings allows violent or evil choices, and what behaviors seem to be present in a person to make them capable of evil. Dr. Shaw breaks down the wide concept of "Evil'' into smaller pieces, using science to explain human behavior.

I read my way through this tome about the nature of evil slowly and thoughtfully. I wanted to give my brain time to formulate its opinions on Dr. Shaw's theories. For me, the idea that any human being can be capable of evil in certain situations is chilling and disturbing. I'm not saying that it isn't true....I'm saying that it is a rough revelation. We all want to see ourselves as the "good'' separated from those we see as "evil'' -- murderers, rapists, criminals, pedophiles, etc. But are we really separate? Interesting theories. Very interesting facts and explanations. Definitely thought provoking, but also disturbing. I had a hard time getting through the entire book. Not because I didn't like it or believe it...but because there is a lot of hard truth and a lot to digest/think over.

This book has definitely started some interesting discussions in our husband and I are still debating what we think about the nature of evil and what situations might lead us to make an "evil'' choice. We had a long discussion this morning about how we perceive those who commit evil we see them as a person who committed an evil act...or do we judge them as an intrinsically evil person. Are there levels of evil? Are there really "evil'' people...and can "evil'' people have portions of themselves that are good? I think this book is going to be spurring debate in my household for some time to come. Healthy debate is a good thing!

Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side hits on some rough subjects -- sadism, murder, deviance, group violence, terrorism, effects of technology/the internet and others.

I have respect for Dr. Shaw's education and her theories. I did my best to understand her points, although my educational background is not in psychology. But I think at times she goes a step or so too far....maybe tries to make things a bit too clinical? I haven't thought over it enough to know if I think that way because she actually does go too far, or if her straight forward opinions about our tendencies to be judgmental make me uncomfortable. Food for thought...and discussion...

All in all, I liked this book because it really made me think. I don't necessarily agree with all of Dr. Shaw's points, but I'm at least willing to seriously think it over and try to wrap my mind around it.

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Abrams Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Dysasters by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

The Dysasters is the first book in a new paranormal fantasy series by P.C. and Kristin Cast, authors of the popular House of Night series. 

Foster Stewart and Tate Taylor are not typical teenagers. Foster's adoptive father, a scientist, genetically modified the teens before birth giving them special powers to bond with elements. Foster discovers that her father plans to use them, and other modified teens, as part of a plot to take over the world. Foster and Tate have to learn to harness their powers to manipulate air to defeat Dr. Stewart before he can fulfill his evil plans. 

P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Wednesday Books
On Sale: February 26, 2019
Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio formats

Buy Links:

(Review coming soon....)

Monday, February 25, 2019

REVIEW: The Complete Keto Diet Cookbook for Beginners

The Complete Keto Diet for Beginners
Author: Charlie Stewart

I'm not really jumping on the keto diet bandwagon. I don't agree with the high percentage of fat in keto, but I do understand the diet has offered great benefits to some. I have to live on a limited diet for medical reasons....very little grain or "white" carbs, low/no sugar, high protein, etc. So keto cookbooks and tips go right along with what my doctors tell me to eat. So I collect recipes and read books on the keto lifestyle to help me maintain my limited eating plan without feeling deprived. Winning! I'm sorta glad the tide of diet hype has gone towards low carb/low sugar.....I don't feel like I'm forced to eat tasteless food. Many, many people are putting out guides and cookbooks that include all sorts of yummy, healthy stuff I can eat! Yay!!

***A note of caution -- I know we all see those disclaimers everywhere about consulting a doctor before going on a diet, exercise regimen, etc....   PLEASE consult your personal doctor BEFORE you try going on something like a controlled, extended keto diet. The state of being in ketosis can cause health issues for some -- kidney damage, extreme fatigue, etc.  Always use common sense....if a diet makes you feel bad/unhealthy then it might not be good for your body. Go see a doctor.....pick a plan that uses common sense, moderation and presents lots of information....and use local resources and trustworthy sites on the internet to learn more information. Knowledge is the key! Be informed before making big adjustments to eating/exercise. We all only get one body and one wise. That being said.....on to the review!**

I read this book cover to cover. Most people don't carefully read cookbooks....but I read every word of this one. I was checking for erroneous, possibly harmful statements or overstatements of the benefits of keto. While I'm not sure I agree that "the Ketogenic diet has been proven to be the ultimate long-term diet for any person,'' I didn't find any glaring mis-statements. My alarm bells didn't jangle.

The author offers an intro to keto, giving simplified, easy to understand explanations of what ketosis is, how it is achieved,and what it does. This book is geared to beginners. The author includes a long listing of foods that keto dieters can have and ones to avoid. The switch to keto can be quite daunting, difficult and confusing.....I can see how this book would help a newbie start the change-over. A list of "swaps'' or replacement foods is also included along with tips on how to get started and suggestions for eating out.

What took me years to learn when I was forced to change my diet after surgery can now be fast-forwarded with the help of books like this one! Can't live without rice with your stir fry? Make riced cauliflower -- when it's steamed and seasoned, even my husband can't tell the difference! Want pie? Make the crust from almond or coconut flour for less carbs. Little tips like that can be incredibly helpful to new dieters! Or medically restricted dieters. (A side note -- mashed cauliflower seasoned like mashed potatoes with a little gravy on top -- it is heaven! I went 8 years without having mashed potatoes. This past Thanksgiving I made cau-tatoes. It was amazing! The difference? Taken directly from this book: Mashed potatoes...1 cup serving 30g carbs. Mashed cauliflower...same serving....5g carbs. Magic!)

This book also includes a 21 day sample meal plan for those doing keto. It incorporates recipes from the book. So no desperately trying to find recipes and making out shopping lists. A beginner can try the sample meal plans....and make their shopping lists from the recipe pages. Easy peasy! Stress-free!

A majority of the book (which made me incredi-happy!) is filled with a variety of recipes. Starting with breakfasts and working its way to desserts, the recipe section offers a little bit of everything (even cookies!) I definitely have a lot of new recipes to experiment with! One thing I love about the recipes in this book -- they are SIMPLE! Every recipe is made with ingredients that are easy to hunting through health food stores or being forced to order online. I didn't have to stop and google ingredients. Ever read through a cookbook and realized that you don't even know what half the ingredients are?? I hate that!! No hoity-toity stuff here -- just easy, simple, beginner friendly recipes made from ingredients available at any store. Hallelujah!

This book would be great for keto newbies and veterans alike because of the nice recipe section. I don't do keto, but love this book because the recipes are all things I can have on my medically restricted diet. Those on restricted diets, diabetics or others who need low carb/low sugar could benefit from this book, even if they aren't interested in keto!

Great book! I am happily cooking my way through the recipe section! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

REVIEW: Blood, Poop and Dead Skin

Blood, Poop and Dead Skin
Author: Ruth Owen & Ross Piper

As a mom, grandma and former home-school teacher, I love it when my local library adds cool new science titles for kids! Recently, I got sucked into the vortex of the "New Additions'' section on the library's digital site and ended up checking out several children's books. Why not? Every review helps authors...and reviewing great kids books helps other parents, teachers and home-schoolers. :) Plus, this book has poop in the title....even grandmas have immature giggly moments which leads them to read books with poop in the title...just 'cause.

Blood, Poop and Dead Skin isn't a book on gross's all about what insects eat. It talks about great buggy science facts accompanied by awesome full-color photos and illustrations. The book could have science lesson applications in a classroom, but might also tempt reluctant readers to enjoy reading a book.

This book is common core compliant. There is a glossary, index, suggested reading list, web links, etc. Blood, Poop and Dead Skin is part of The Secret Lives of Insects series. There are four books in the series. Other topics include where insects live, insect defenses and cool facts about bugs.

Blood, Poop & Dead Skin could have some fun classroom uses....supplementary reading for science lessons, outdoor activities about bugs, and fun solo reading for reluctant readers who might get a bit of giggly fun out of the title like I did. :) The pages are informative and colorful. All information is grade school age appropriate.

A great book about bugs! I'm so glad my library added this!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

REVIEW: Real-Life Scary Places

Real Life Scary Places
Author: Tracey Dils

2019 is my year of free-range reading. If I see or hear about a book that interests me....I'm going to read it! Any genre. Any length. Any topic. Period.

I love scary books written for kids. Ghost stories. Creepy tales. Mysteries for kids. I love them all. It probably stems back to grade school book order forms. I used to love it when they handed out those awesome order forms and my parents would let me pick out a couple books. Waiting for them to arrive was a killer! Weeks would pass by (no Amazon Prime back then! ha!)....then the teacher would plunk a huge box on her desk and start passing out books ( I say her because I grew up in a small KS town in the 1970s....grade school teachers were women where I grew up. I didn't have a male teacher until 5th grade. That seems so weird today!)! I would rush home after school and disappear into my room to read! Usually I was allowed to order 2 or 3 titles and most of the time they were scary stories, strange but true tales, or an adventure story. To this day, when I see a book like Real Life Scary Places, I have to read it! It always brings back fond memories of laying across my bed -- my entire bedroom was done in shades of purple...even the carpet was purple) -- reading new paperbacks that transported me to spooky cemeteries, haunted houses and mysterious far-off places.

Real Life Scary Places collects 11 stories about creepy places around the world. There is a nice variety of stories ranging from experiences in a haunted house to restless dead in a burial crypt. Each story is only a few pages long and all of them are appropriate for middle grade students. The tales are a bit spooky but not overly scary. There are black and white illustrations throughout.

This book is OOP, but used copies are readily available online. In a classroom setting, this book could have some fun uses -- writing prompts for a creative writing assignment, reading aloud, supplementary reading at Halloween, etc. Reluctant readers who like ghost stories or true tales might really enjoy reading this book. I know I did!

Tracey Dils is the author of many children's books in a variety of subjects plus some books on how to write stories for children. I'm definitely going to read and review more of her books! Some of them are OOP, but many of her books are readily available at any bookseller.

Friday, February 22, 2019

REVIEW: One Second After

One Second After
Author: William R. Forstchen

Imagine this: One day out of the forewarning....everything stops. From simple things like digital watches to the most complex such as the entire power grid....everything shuts off. Gone. No power. No cars. Airplanes drop out of the sky. No communication. No weekly grocery deliveries to stores. No refrigeration. No restocks of drugs at the pharmacy. No nothing. All gone.

What would happen?

A friend recommended the After series to me because it's set in Western NC where I live. It made this story a bit more chilling because I know all the places, highways, really brought the idea close to home.

The basics: an EMP attack shuts down everything electronic....power, communications, most of the vehicles....everything shuts down in the blink of an eye without any warning. And it doesn't come back.  A small community in NC faces an apocalyptic event.....what do they do about all the people stranded on the Interstate? What about roaming bands of thieves? Do they enforce martial law? How do they handle distribution of food? Medicine? How can they survive?

This book really got me to thinking about how much we depend on modern conveniences.....and how many days my family could survive on what we have in the house (even our can opener is electric, not to mention the stove, the refrigerator.....)  What would happen (and how fast would things get dicey) if suddenly we blipped back to a world where we had to sustain ourselves DAILY. Waste management, water purification, safe would all become very very important immediately. People with medical conditions would suffer immediately as medication supplies dwindled. The very young. The elderly. The infirm.


And the scariest part of the entire story is the fact that it could actually happen. EMP is not's actually possible.

This book is not only an exciting story about survival....but it is also quite thought provoking. How many people in America know how to hunt? Grow their own food? Go without running water, electricity, a vehicle? Not just for a few hours...or a day....but for weeks, months, years....possibly forever. What if we all had to learn how to sustain ourselves.....who would survive? And who would die? For me, the setting near where I live really brought that message home....literally.

Chilling and very interesting premise! Well-told and expertly written. I already have book 2, One Year After, downloaded and ready to go.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

REVIEW: Facets

Author: Eric J. Gates

Facets is a collection of six short stories with interwoven plots of thievery, deceit, mastermind criminals and the agents who pursue them. Stories where the bad guys aren't always all bad. And the good guys are good.....ish. Just pure entertainment and fun to read.

Starting with a tale about an African boy whose life path is chosen by two acts of bravery, each story in the collection builds on the last, adding its own bit of deception to the stack.

 I liked how the stories are interconnected by characters or events. There is little character development or descriptions of place. But these stories are action driven not character centric. Pure an action movie or a James Bond film. It isn't about the characters really....but about their actions and decisions.....and the consequences. Brain candy. And, I loved it!

The book is a quick read at 116 pages.

Very entertaining read. I will definitely be reading more by this author. Eric J. Gates has written several thrillers including Leaving Shadows, and The Cull series.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

REVIEW: Chocolate Cream Pie Murder

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder
Author: Joanne Fluke

I had to laugh conspiratorially as I opened my review copy of this much awaited book and saw at the bottom of the the author's acknowledgements: You've been asking for this book and here it is!

Yes, I did. Yes, we did. Yes....we ALL did.

Thank you, Joanne.

I have been reading the Hannah Swensen series since book 1, Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery, came out in 2001. Almost 19 years invested in these characters. Lots of recipes and baking. Lots of dead people....cozily murdered, of course. Culinary cozy mysteries are all over the place now....but Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series is one of the first...if not THE first. Then there was......The Event. A misstep by a main character that threw all of us Hannah fans into chaos. What? She did WHAT? With Who? And then.....HE did WHAT???? Rabble rabble rabble! Get a rope! We all wanted to KILL he-who-shall-not-be-named. R. The great jerk. Every single one of us volunteered to pop in to do it, too. And not cozily.

I had to wait for a year to get my hands on this book. The minute my review copy downloaded to my IPad, I informed my family I was retreating in to my lair. I didn't wash the supper dishes....I didn't do any of my normal routine. I had to read this book! Immediately! I made hot tea, put on my PJs hours earlier than usual, and dived into this book. I binged the whole thing. Finished at 1 a.m. and was incredibly tired this morning when I got up at 5:30 (to a sink full of last night's dishes....), but completely happy in my choices.

I have a few mixed emotions about this newest book. On one hand, I am elated at some of the plot points, even though there was no murder or investigation until almost the very end of the book. On the other hand, I felt the story was very much padded by overly lengthy recipe sections and long discussions of food by the characters.  BUT....after several books where the writing was (to be blunt) bad and the plots just not up to Hannah-standards.....this book was BETTER! No more klunky bad dialogue or extreme over-telling by characters. It seems Hannah is coming back to old times. I can handle some obvious padding (recipes are an intrinsic part of this series and always have I'm ok with it. Plus YUM! -- there are some really good ones!) this time around because it is obvious that our reviews and constructive criticism were read and taken to heart. Editing much better this time!

I am chuffed!!

My biggest mixed emotion moment is about the end......   The last sentence is a bombshell.  And, once again, Joanne Fluke has me waiting a year to find out what happens next.

Well played, Joanne. Well played.

Eagerly awaiting the next book!

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder is the 24th book in the Hannah Swensen series. Normally it isn't really necessary to read the series in order...but this time, it's probably a good idea to have read at least the last few books in the series to fully understand the plot. This series is a fun, light-hearted culinary cozy mystery series. The plots are light....and recipes are included at the end of most chapters. No spurting blood. No cursing. No graphic sex. Definitely cozy. After 19 years, I am committed to this series. I read each book as soon as it comes out....and I will until the very last one. :)

And....because this one was better and I feel that the opinions of reviewers and readers were heard and valued....I'm giving this full stars. Is it a literary masterpiece?'s a fun cozy mystery that I stayed up half the night reading. And, I feel this author connects with her readers. That deserves a perfect score from me.

And I'm happily waiting for the next Hannah book. :)

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

REVIEW: Snowhook

Author: Jo Storm

There are a lot of things Hannah Williams doesn't understand. She doesn't understand why her family bought a cabin in the middle of nowhere. She doesn't understand why she has to be respectful to everyone, even her annoying younger sister. She doesn't understand why she can't go to away camp like all the other kids her age do. She's tired of being treated like a kid. Tired of staying at a cabin with her family. Tired of her dad's Learning Face every time she whines about his lessons on survival, building a fire, taking care of the dogs......

Hannah is just tired of everything.

In the middle of their family winter camping expedition, her father is called to report for duty with the Army ahead of a massive snowstorm. The storm changes direction, heading for the area where the Williams are camping, dropping huge amounts of snow and ice. Then an accident leaves Hannah's mom without the insulin she needs. Hannah has to stop being angry, use her survival skills and strike out for town to get help.

I read this story while snow and sleet was falling outside so it was perfect timing. :) It is completely obvious that the author is experienced with outdoor skills, sled dogs and survival skills. It made for such a realistic, vibrant story. Hannah puts her skills to the test and faces dangerous weather conditions to help her family. She learns several important lessons during her journey and puts the knowledge her parents taught her to work. It made for perfect reading on a snowy night.

I will definitely be on the lookout for more outdoor adventure tales from this author!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Dundurn via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Monday, February 18, 2019

REVIEW: Watcher in the Woods

Watcher in the Woods
Author: Kelley Armstrong

A few months ago, I accidentally requested a review copy of this book, not realizing it is book 4 in a series. So I started back at book one and read my way to Watcher in the Woods. I'm very glad I did! Not only did it introduce me to a new-to-me author, but this series has quickly become one of my favorites!

Rockton is a town in the middle of nowhere in the Canadian wilderness. It's not on any map. The city is hidden from airplanes flying overhead. And there is no electricity, no internet, very few conveniences. No cell phones. The residents there are effectively cut off....completely off the grid. On purpose. People go to Rockton to disappear, and pay a lot of money for the privilege. The corporation that funds the town and its security team take the secrecy and safety of Rockton seriously. That's why Casey Duncan and her boyfriend (Rockton's sheriff) are completely shocked when a U.S. Marshall shows up demanding to take one of the residents. He's secretive about who he has come for and why. Before he can elaborate, the marshal is shot dead, leaving Casey wondering if one of their residents might be much more dangerous than they know.

The characters in this series are just awesome. They all have a past or a significant flaw, but they all work together to make Rockton function. The corporation that funds the town is constantly causing problems by sending problematic residents, hiding important information or putting their bottom line above the safety of the town. Add in some rather violent people who live in the forest surrounding the town, and there's always some thrilling action and danger in each book. This newest book in the series is my favorite so far. There is some interesting character development in Watcher in the Woods, plus lots of suspense and action. Loved it! I'm eagerly awaiting the next book! I'm especially loving the addition of the dog!

Kelley Armstrong is the author of several series including Darkest Powers, Women of the Otherworld, Cainsville and Darkness Rising. While I'm waiting for another Rockton book, I will start reading her other books! Witches, ghosts, necromancers, vampires....her other series offer a lot of dark paranormal action. I look forward to it!

Full stars for Watcher in the Woods.....I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this latest visit to Rockton. I saw an "in development'' blurb on IMDb for a Rockton television excited!! Please, please, please make the series! And....DO IT RIGHT. Armstrong has created strong characters and awesome weird changes necessary. Stick with the source will be a kick ass mini-series. ("In development" also means that the project could be cancelled, changed, indefinitely delayed.....but I hope this gets produced! I love this series!)

I recommend reading this series in order because of character development and background information. The books will make more sense to readers if read in order.

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from St. Martins Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

REVIEW: Never Tell

Never Tell
Author: Lisa Gardner

16 years ago Detective D.D. Warren worked a murder case. A teenage girl arrested for shooting her father. Now, the same woman is a suspect in the shooting death of her husband. What happened? Did Evie Carter shoot her husband? Did she kill her father? Could she possibly get away with murder twice? And why does a former kidnapping victim recognize Evie's husband?

Oh my gosh...this is the most twisted story I've read in a long time! I couldn't put it down! Every time I thought I had it figured out, the plot zinged another direction. Great book!

I'm not going to say anything else about the actual plot -- no spoilers from me. Much better to go into it with as little info as possible.

Never Tell is the 10th book in the Detective D.D. Warren series. While I have read a short story in this series, this is the first book that I've read. I will definitely be reading more! A note of caution: for those who haven't read the earlier books in the series, this story does have some serious spoilers for Find Her (book #8). I'd recommend reading that book first....or go into this one realizing you will know the plot for that earlier book. Even without reading the earlier book, I was easily able to pick up the threads of the plot, characters and run with it. It's not necessary to have read the earlier stories to enjoy this one....just realize it's going to spoil the plot for at least one of them. As for me, I'm going  clear back to the beginning and starting at book one, Alone. I can tell I'm going to love this series! I like the characters. The little peeks into Det. Warren's home life give the story a bit of realism and humor on top the crime/thriller elements. Gardner's writing and story-telling are solid. This book kept my attention from start to finish.

This was a total binge read for me. I read late into the night because I couldn't put the book down! Any story that keeps me reading for hours deserves full stars -- full marks from me for this one!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Penguin via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Sunday, February 17, 2019

REVIEW: The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch
Author: Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch is the final book in the Winternight Trilogy.

I absolutely love this trilogy! The stories have the lyrical feel of old folk tales. I listened to the first two books on audio. It was like listening to an old wise woman read me a story. Enchanting! I read a digital ARC of this final book in the series. While I have to say I did miss the audio experience somewhat, the ending of this trilogy is so powerful and action-packed that I was totally swept away by the story.

There is a lot going on in this final piece of the story. This series really needs to be read in order to understand the characters and the plot. It isn't a series where a reader can jump in on the last book and be able to follow the plot.

Vasya learns so much about herself and her powers in The Winter of the Witch. A lot of things come full circle. She is such a strong character! I was a bit worried going into the final book that no conclusion to the story would be "enough.'' It took me awhile to work up the courage to read this final book....I didn't want the series to come to an end. Or maybe the correct statement is I didn't want this series to come to an unsatisfactory or disappointing end. Sometimes when I read a series that has characters and a magical story that I really love when I come to the end I'm just left feeling let down there really wasn't a satisfactory way to make me feel okay about leaving the characters behind with an ending. I didn't feel that way at the end of The Winter of the Witch. I'm glad I finally took a deep breath and read this final book. This trilogy ends with understanding, power and magic. I closed the final book with a smile on my face.

I did purchase the audio book. And I'm going to enjoy the story again. This series just works better for me in audio format. I can imagine myself sitting on the floor in front of a stone fireplace listening to a wise woman telling me the lovely story of Vasya, who saved the world.

I will definitely be reading more by this author. I loved this series!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Random House via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Saturday, February 16, 2019

REVIEW: The Beast's Heart

The Beast's Heart
Author: Leife Shallcross

The Beast's Heart is a Beauty and the Beast re-telling. It's a bit different than most as the story is told from the Beast's perspective.

I enjoyed this story. Shallcross' writing has a lyrical, fairy-tale feel to it. I liked the imagery and descriptions. It builds the emotion of the characters and the story to maximum...but it does make the story progress more slowly. If looking for a story that makes you feel all the feels...this is perfect. For those who want a more gripping, story-centric reading experience...this might not be your thing.

While this book is YA appropriate, it does have some very dark topics and imagery including abuse and attempted suicide.

All in all, I enjoyed this re-telling of my favorite fairy tale. The story is magical, heart-felt, emotional....and the Beast finally gets to tell things from his side!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Berkley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Friday, February 15, 2019

REVIEW:Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him

Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him
Author: Tracy Borman

My first thought when I think about King Henry VIII is this:

Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced Beheaded, Survived.

It's almost automatic to think of Henry in terms of his disastrous marriages....and the effect those dramas had on English history, religion, and the monarchy.

Tracy Borman wants to redirect the focus from the women in Henry's life to the men -- his father, his older brother who died, his advisors, councilors, friends, frenemies, servants -- all the men surrounding Henry from childhood, helping form his character and behavior. From Hans Holbein, the court painter who created the portraits we still see today, to the powerful Dukes of Buckingham and Norfolk, all the way down the court pecking order to Will Somer the Court Fool...Henry was surrounded by men all his life from his birth to his death at 55. And those men had a profound effect on Henry, his decisions, his personality....and his cruelty.

I enjoyed this book! I read it slowly over a two week period, letting the history and information soak into my brain. I came to this conclusion...if Henry VIII was truly fickle, paranoid, vain, obsessed with a male heir, cruel and horribly misguided at times....who made him that way? The men who surrounded him -- giving advice, scrounging for power and favor, practicing deceit to influence Henry's decisions, always watching, always waiting, always wanting....     No wonder Henry was paranoid. No wonder he was obsessed with leaving an heir to the throne. No wonder he turned on faithful advisors, friends, and nobility when it pleased him to have them executed. The treatment of Henry's wives was brought about not only by Henry's obsessions and fickle nature, but also by the advisors that surrounded him. They whispered the lies. They arranged the trials. They pushed their daughters in front of him. They gave Henry what they told him he wanted. They created the king who has a high spot on the list of worst monarchs in history. So while Henry VIII is responsible for his own behavior (as are we all), the men around him that helped mold him are also partially (maybe even mostly) to blame.

Awesome book! I thoroughly enjoyed this look at Henry VIII, the men in his life and court, and how they molded the king.

This book is non-fiction and contains a lot of names, dates, historical facts, etc. Great for those who love reading about the Tudors....not so great for those who don't enjoy non-fiction or pure history. Those who enjoyed Borman's earlier book -- The Private Lives of the Tudors -- will also enjoy this book. I enjoy Borman's writing style. She presents the facts in an interesting way. I never feel like I'm reading a stuffy textbook. Great information -- I loved it!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Grove Atlantic. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. No advisors or spouses were beheaded in the writing of this review.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

REVIEW: Scary Places - Haunted Houses

Scary Places: Haunted Houses
Author: Dinah Williams

I love spooky stories...especially tales about haunted houses. I read just about every ghost story I come across, even children's books! The Scary Places series takes spooky locations like Haunted Houses, old Cemeteries and other scary places and turns them into great only-slightly-spooky stories for kids! There are 32 books in the series.

Haunted Houses by Dinah Williams gathers 12 ghost stories about spooky dwellings. Each story is illustrated with full-color photos and artwork. The stories are age appropriate for elementary or middle grade kids. The photos are eye-catching so this series might be a way to entice a reluctant reader to read. The series could be used in a classroom as supplementary reading or to read out loud to the class before assigning a spooky writing assignment. :) The stories are popular, well-known ghostly tales about places like the Winchester House, Lizzie Borden's House and other well known haunted locations. The back of the book has a glossary, Bibliography, a suggested reading list and a web link for more information.

All in all, a fun spooky book for kids (and adults who love ghost stories!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

REVIEW: Murders and Metaphors

Murders and Metaphors
Author: Amanda Flower

Murders and Metaphors is the third book in the Magical Bookshop Mystery series. I love this series! The thought of a magical bookstore with an enchanted tree growing in the middle makes me happy in itself. Add in that customers visiting Charming Books get magically matched with the perfect books.....and I'm just totally sucked in by this series. I wish Charming Books were real! I would be there all the time! :) I wonder what my perfect book would be??

Violet Waverly runs Charming Books with her grandmother Daisy. She's taken over as caretaker of the shop and the magical tree as well. It's been six months since she left her old life to come back to Cascade Springs, NY to help her grandmother. While she loves the shop and her grandmother.....Violet has already had to solve two murders (with the help of her grandmother, the magical shop, Emerson the Cat and a crow named Faulkner, of course). Surely things will calm down now.....

But, of course, that doesn't happen. An author is stabbed to death with a grape cutting knife at the annual Morton Vineyard ice wine harvest. Violet, Daisy and the Red Inkers writing group are back on the case! Who put the wine expert on ice? Violet is determined to catch the killer!

This story is a great addition to this delightful cozy series! The mystery is interesting and engaging with plenty of twists and suspense. I like Violet as a main character. The side characters are all quirky and awesome. In this newest book, there are some nice developments in background story and character development. Can't wait to see how things develop in future books! The last few pages made me smile. Grandma Daisy is coming into her own! :) I was a bit surprised by the solution to the mystery, although it does make perfect sense. I just didn't see it coming. All in all, a very entertaining and fun read. I love Emerson and Faulkner. My favorite character though is Daisy....she's just lovely...and feisty when she needs to be!

Amanda Flower never disappoints. I enjoy every book I read by her. I will definitely continue reading this series. Her Magic Garden series, Amish Candy Shop cozies and Appleseed Creek series are also favorites.

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

REVIEW: Apocalypse Five

Apocalypse Five
Author: Stacey Rourke

Humanity has been preparing for the apocalypse for decades, sending groups of five young soldiers at time to battle simulated end of the world scenarios. The missions are broadcast for everyone on the AT-1-NS Space Station to watch. The current Apocalypse Five group has set a record. No deaths in 18 months. No group has survived that long without at least one (or all five in some cases) member being killed. This group is special. When they discover information they weren't supposed to ever know, suddenly the group goes from being heroes to wanted fugitives. Can they survive....and reveal the corruption and lies perpetrated by the Chancellor?

This book got right down to business at page one with great action and storytelling. It's typical space adventure sci-fi with a little hint of romance thrown in here and there. The story is definitely geared to YA, but interesting to adults as well. There is a little bit of cursing and some hints at sex...but nothing inappropriate for a YA audience. The plot is a bit reminiscent of The Hunger Games or Ender's Game, but different enough to not seem too trope-y.

The cover art is really eye-catching. The first thing I noticed about this book is the cover. Great art!

All in all, an enjoyable space adventure story. Apocalypse Five is the first book in the Archive of the Fives series. I will definitely be reading more of this series. The characters are engaging and the story is good. I want to know what happens next! :) Can't wait for the next book!

**I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book from Black Spot Books via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Monday, February 11, 2019

REVIEW: True Fright: Buried Alive and other true stories

True Fright - Buried Alive and Other True Stories Stranger than Fiction
Author: Ted Pedersen

Before there were Creepypastas and Youtube Channels filled with weird, possibly true stories, kids had books like True Fright: Buried Alive to fill them with creepy-cool dread! I've been on a Youtube kick lately. I'm hooked on strange videos like 10 Mysterious Disappearances in National Parks and 5 Ghost Photos that Can't Be Explained, etc. There are thousands and thousands of similar videos, and many channels that upload more every day. (SlappedHam and Mr. Nightmare are two of my favorites) When it dawned on me that I read stories like this in books as a kid (as did my children as well), I decided to go look for some OOP goodness to see how old-style scary true stories compare to the more modern version.

 True Fright: Buried Alive gathers 15 stories, followed by a short blurb on how Ted Pedersen gathered the tales. The stories are varied, ranging from paranormal experiences like a demon cat to more natural scares like kidnappers, fire and snakes.

True Fright: Buried Alive! is the second book in Pedersen's True Fright series. I have purchased a copy of the first book -- True Fright: Trapped Beneath the Ice. Can't wait to read it! Ted Pedersen has written several other books for kids (including one in the Nickelodeon book series Are You Afraid of the Dark....gotta read that one!) as well as four Deep Space Nine Star Trek novels.

I enjoyed this book. Each story is just a few pages long. The tales are well-written, interesting and totally appropriate for middle grade readers. The stories are a bit scary, weird or spooky....but not overly or graphically so. My favorite story in this collection is The Pond is Full of Snakes, the last story in the book. It gave me the chills....I can't deal with snakes.

All in all, a fun read! And very nostalgic for me! I used to order books like this each time those little book order forms were passed out at school. I bought similar books for my kids too and then read them when they were done with them. :)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

REVIEW: Planetfall

Author: Emma Newman

Ren has been lying for 22 years, and it's slowly driving her mad. When she left Earth and boarded Atlas to colonize another planet far from Earth, she thought she was going on a journey to find God. She followed Lee Suh-Mi, grasping her vision of a new life for humanity. The dream of a life free from overpopulation and planet-wide war was beautiful. But instead, she ended up hiding a secret from the other colonists. A secret that can't be hidden any more. Once all is revealed, it will pull the life they have created on this alien world apart.

Wow....this book really has a lot going on. Not only is this a great classic sci-fi story, but it also delves into the mental toll the situation takes on the main character, Ren Ghali. At first I had a hard time liking Ren....I found her a bit weak and whiny. would I react to a situation like Ren has endured for more than 20 years? I think I would be weak, whiny and a bit mental myself. I grew to really like Ren as the story progressed. She isn't a fake, flat character, but very very human. She is at times selfish, weak and a liar....but also strong, determined and dealing as best she can. She is definitely conflicted and scared. And she hides her anxiety, fears and inner turmoil from everyone. But she's dealing with a lot -- establishing a colony on another planet, keeping true to a lie, and being constantly afraid the truth will come out. Mental illness is not being weak and whiny. Ren accomplishes amazing things to keep the colony going....all while falling apart inside. Newman portrays the character perfectly. I just had to give Ren time....I had to understand her.

I liked the concept of a colony on an alien world where unwanted items are recycled and 3-d printed into new, more useful things. Colonists being directly wired into a sensor and communications network was a nice touch as well. The main character suffering from an anxiety disorder and doing whatever she can to hide it from the others makes Ren awesomely human. The extent of her mental instability comes out as the story progresses. The author brings out the background story Lee Suh-Mi changed gathered followers, brought them to another planet, The Lie and building the colony. The way the tale is told in bits and pieces as Ren remembers kept the suspense going until the very, very end. I did not expect the ending. I had to listen to the last 10 minutes twice and let it sink in a bit....  I love it when a book catches me by surprise. At first I was like WTH? And then....I'm like.....that works. But one cautionary comment: Don't read reviews that spoil things. It will ruin the book. Find the ending yourself after listening through Ren's recollections and experiences.

This is an understated story. The reader will not have the entire picture until the end. Perfect. It's a lot like don't know everything about yourself until the very, very end. Readers who aren't fans of classic sci-fi might not like this story. It's not an action space thriller with laser gun blasting and giant toothy's a mix of tech, ingenuity, human frailty, a splash of philosophy and more than a bit of psychology. In space. Love it! I can't wait to read the next book! There are three books in the series right now, with a 4th book coming out in February 2019.  Each book in the Planetfall series tells the story of the destruction of Earth and struggle for the survival of humanity from the perspective of different characters. Same situation. Different choices. Different stories.

I listened to the audio book version of this story. Narrated by the author, the audio is just over 10 hours long. Newman has a nice, clear voice and gave a great performance. I have hearing loss but was easily able to hear and understand the entire book.

On to book 2!! I have the newest book -- Atlas Alone -- on my review shelf once I finish After Atlas and Before Mars. :)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

REVIEW: Ghosts and Other Spirits of the Dead

Ghosts and Other Spirits of the Dead
Author: Ruth Owen

Ghosts and Other Spirits of the Dead is part of the Not Near Normal: The Paranormal series for kids. The series has six books on spooky topics ranging from aliens to zombies. I love ghost stories -- even ones for kids -- so when I saw my local library had just added this to their digital site, I had to read it! I'm always looking for interesting books for my grand kids or to give as gifts to friends' kids, but I always read them myself first. Especially if they are spooky!

This book is very visually appealing. Each story is illustrated with full-color photos and artwork with varied page layouts. The stories are set in the US and UK with intersting locations like an aircraft carrier and even a haunted road. Some of the tales are well-known like the phantom hitchhiker, the Brown Lady and a demon cat.

The stories are age appropriate for elementary age students....spooky but not overly scary. Each book in this series has a glossary of spooky terms from the stories, a bibliography, a short suggested reading list and a weblink for kid who want more information. I could see this series having some fun classroom applications...from writing prompts to fun, supplementary reading at Halloween. A student who loves ghost stories but who is a reluctant reader might really benefit from this series. 

I'm definitely going to read more of these books and buy a couple titles for my grand kids! Very entertaining!

Friday, February 8, 2019

REVIEW: Ghost Houses

Ghost Houses
Author: Jessica Rudolph

Ghost Houses is part of the 16-book Tiptoe Into Scary Places series for kids. The book gathers 4 stories from famous haunted houses in the United States -- The White House, Lizzie Borden's house, the Jennie Wade house and Whaley House. Although I had heard all of these tales before, the full-color photos and artwork really made this children's book an entertaining quick read.

This series could definitely have some interesting classroom uses at Halloween. The tales could be read out loud to students as a writing prompt to have them write their own spooky tales, or as fun, supplemental reading. The stories are very visual and presented with varied page layouts. Definitely a series to catch the eye of a ghost story loving, but reluctant reader.

In the back of each book there is a glossary of spooky terms used in the stories, a bibliography, short suggested reading list and a weblink for more information.

I enjoyed the stories and the photos. At Halloween I will definitely buy a couple titles in this series to send to my grand kids!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

REVIEW: Creepy Schools

Creepy Schools
Author: Kathryn Camisa

Creepy Schools is part of the 16-book Tiptoe into Scary Places series for kids! I came across these books on my library's digital site and just had to read them! I'm a sucker for spooky stories -- even versions for kids -- so I'm glad the library added some of the books in this series.

Each story in this book about spooky happenings at schools is illustrated with full-color photos and artwork. The books are very visually appealing with interesting and varied page layouts. This would be a good series to entice a reluctant reader to enjoy a book! I can also see some great uses in classrooms....writing prompts for students to write their own ghost stories at Halloween time, group reading, or just as fun, supplementary reading. Each book has a glossary of ghostly terms used in the stories, a short bibliography, a suggested reading list and weblink for kids who want to learn more about ghosts and scary places.

Creepy Schools is age appropriate for elementary students or middle grade. The tales are spooky but not overly scary.

I'm definitely going to read more of this series, and purchase a couple of the titles to send to my grand kids at Halloween!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

REVIEW: Wild Bill - The True Tale of the American Frontier's First Gunfighter

Wild Bill
Author: Tom Clavin

The Old West generated many tall tales about legendary characters...Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Kit Carson...all larger than life. Their stories are a mix of truth and exaggeration...and I love every single tale! But my favorite by far is Wild Bill Hickok.

Lawman. Gunfighter. Gambler. Showman. He did it all. And his legendary death at a card-table just made his story more spectacular.

I read Tom Clavin's bestselling book on Dodge City when it came out. And loved it. When I saw he was writing a book on Wild Bill, I knew I had to read it. The true story....the real Wild Bill....James Butler Hickok. Yay!

I read this book a little bit at time, not only to savor the experience but to give myself time to let the facts and information settle into my brain. I can binge read fiction....but non fiction about people I find interesting I have to slow down and mosey my way through it. I'm glad I took my time. This book has a lot of information in it...some that I already knew and a lot that was new to me. Clavin separates fact from legend...and presents Hickok as a person, not an exaggerated Old West character. A man...not a tale bigger than life.

Awesome read! As soon as I finished my review copy, I preordered the physical book for my husband. He loves the Old West with a capital L. LOVES it. He has Clavin's earlier book on Dodge City on his western bookshelf...along with Louis L'amour books and framed photos of Marshall Dillon and Festus Haggen. Old West fiction and truth side-by-side, as it has always been.

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from St Martin's Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

REVIEW: The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place
Author: C.J. Tudor

I really loved C.J. Tudor's debut novel, The Chalk Man, when it came out in 2018. That story really creeped me out, and I eagerly awaited this second novel. There are some similarities, but mostly this new book is different from The Chalk Man.

Both books have flashbacks from present day to the past. And both stories center around a group of kids/adults who went through a horrific event together, only to have a similar event happen when they are adults. But...where The Chalk Man was more of an exciting suspense thriller...The Hiding Place is more subtle. The story is more psychological with the truth drawn out more slowly. Just a bit revealed at a time. The Hiding Place is much more sneaky with its storytelling.

I'm not going to say anything about the plot....because....spoilers. The story is much more interesting going into it with very little prior knowledge. I liked the main character, Joe. He wants answers and is willing to do just about anything to find the information he needs. He is a deeply flawed character with a gambling problem and other deep-set issues, but he's also strong-minded and determined. Joe is the only character in the story that is well-developed. The rest of the cast are really just plot points necessary to the story only in their relation and interactions with Joe. But that's ok....they don't need to be fleshed out. Joe is the one the reader needs to know about. Joe....and The Event. The reason Joe came back to his hometown.

It's just a lovely, slow but steady, descent into creepyville. Several times the story caught me by surprise. I love it when that happens! Great story!

I will definitely be reading more by this author. Can't wait for the next book!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Crown Publishing via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Monday, February 4, 2019

REVIEW: One Fatal Mistake

One Fatal Mistake
Author: Tom Hunt

Joshua Mayo is a high school senior. 18 years old. Waiting for his acceptance letter to Clemson. He has his whole life ahead of him. Until a hit and run accident. Until he kills a man. Until he runs from the scene of the accident. Until his parents cover it up. Until......

One Fatal Mistake.

Wow...this book is one crazy ride! Vehicular homicide...then a cover up....and add in bank robbers on the run. Geez....the action and suspense never stopped. I loved the story kept me reading. Total binge read. But....the characters....oh my....I hated them all. The Mayo family doesn't see anything wrong with covering up the death of an innocent person. Lie after lie after lie....because their kid's future is worth more than someone else's life, right? Major S-heads. And the bank robbers....well they are are completely screwed up too. And the universe is just F'd up enough to make them all meet in the middle. It makes for an awesome thriller....with the little voice in my head commenting about how horrid every single person in the story is. Every. Single. Person. Completely horrid. But insanely perfect for this story.

I love my kids. I would do just about anything for my kids. But.....I would NOT cover up a murder, hide bodies or lie to the police for my kids. Or anybody. No, no, no, no....and after that....NO. But....I will totally binge read an entire book in one afternoon that is about parents who will do just that....and more. Great story....twisted and traumatizing....but a great story.

Well-written. Suspenseful. Twisted. Loved it! This book kept my attention from beginning to end. I'm definitely going to read more by this author. Tom Hunt has written one other book -- Killer Choice -- about a man so desperate for money to help his ill wife that he's willing to commit murder-for-hire to get it. Oh my.....another story with completely F'd up characters. I have to read it!!!!! So twisted! Book insta-added to my TBR list!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Berkley via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Sunday, February 3, 2019


Author: Louis Sachar

I have been wanting to read this book for years, but I never seemed to get around to it! Well, this year I made a pact with myself to read more of the stories I want to read, so this book made it to the top of my TBR list finally!

OMG! I loved this story! I wish I hadn't waited so long!

Stanley Yelnats believes he lives under a curse that finally ran him afoul with the law. He's innocent of the petty crime he is convicted of, but there is no sense arguing with the curse. So, he gets sentenced to Camp Green Lake. The camp is a detention center for boys. They spend all day digging holes in the desert. Stanley is told the work is to build character, but as the story unfolds it seems there is more going on at Camp Green Lake.

Stanley learns so many lessons about friendship and self esteem during his stay at Camp Green Lake. I laughed every time he ranted about his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather who brought the curse down on his head that makes his life miserable. :) Great story! Great characters! Great life lessons!

Holes was made into a movie by Disney in 2003. I can finally watch the movie without breaking my rule about reading the book first! Only took me almost 16 years! Better late than never! I'm hoping Disney stuck close to the book. The story is perfect as it is. I hope the film doesn't disappoint me. Luckily, it's streaming this month on a television channel in our package....I'm watching it tonight!

Even at 50 years old, I love reading children's books. This story was just the feel-good adventure story I needed on a rainy, winter Saturday afternoon. I loved it!

I listened to the audio book version of this story (Penguin Random House Audio). Narrated by Kerry Beyer, the audio is just under 4.5 hours long. Beyer has a nice voice and gave a great performance! I have partial hearing loss but was easily able to hear and understand the entire audio book.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

REVIEW: What Makes a Bug a Bug?

What Makes a Bug a Bug?
Author: Andi Cann

I am always looking for great books to send my grand kids. The Animal Classes books by Andi Cann definitely make the list of books Oma has got to send to the little ones!

Not only does this book talk about the differences between "bugs'' and other invertebrates like spiders and worms, but it also has many awesome full-color photographs! The facts are presented in a visually-appealing, age appropriate way. I also liked the fact that Cann points out (in a kid friendly way) that an adult should be involved in any bug-finding missions because some bugs can bite or sting. Also, every bug pictured in the book is named in an index in the back of the book. As every parent and grandparent will ask! Saves me frantically searching google to find out the name of the big yellow caterpillar on page 17!

Younger children who might not fully understand the insect facts will still love the full-color photos in this book. Preschool to first graders will also enjoy this book as it presents a great illustrated lesson on how to tell the difference between an insect/bug and a spider or other type of invertebrate. I could definitely see great uses for this series of books in an elementary classroom science class. It easily teaches the facts with common sense and great photos!

There are 3 books in the Animal Classes series so far.....I'm definitely going to get copies of What Makes a Bird a Bird? and What Makes a Mammal a Mammal as well as this awesome book on bugs!

Friday, February 1, 2019

REVIEW: Wylding Hall

Wylding Hall
Author: Elizabeth Hand

In the early 1970s, a British acid folk music group went to stay at Wylding Hall, a remote, crumbling old house in the country. Their agent sent them there to get away from it all so they could plan and work on their first album. The songs they record that summer make an album that nobody will ever forget....but dark things happen as well. Dark and strange things happen, including the disappearance of the band's lead vocalist, Julian Blake. Decades later, members of the band, their agent and others including a photographer and psychic meet with a documentary filmmaker to talk about their memories of that summer. What really happened that summer at Wylding Hall? And where is Julian Blake?

I loved this story! The plot is so creative and creepy cool! I listened to the audio book version of the story. Narrated by Jennifer Woodward and John Telfer, the audio (Blackstone Audio) is about 4 1/2 hours long. The narrators did a superb job of acting! It was a great listening experience.

The plot builds suspense and keeps it up from beginning to end. I wasn't sure what exactly had happened until the very end. The story has supernatural elements, but it's not over-done. Just enough to be really creepy, but not cheesy. As I finished the book, I found myself wishing that the album was real. I would definitely have a copy! Who could resist with such a creepy background story!