Saturday, October 27, 2018

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves..

It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections — rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds — are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby — a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to.. if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins. 


Thoroughly enjoyed this book and have become a fan of Sarah Addison Allen. This book is a breath of fresh air, a clean read that will transport you to a small town where a family with magical abilities thrive. I could smell the various candies such as rose, lemon, and lavender that Claire Waverley was skilled at making and I like that the author provided a few recipes at the end of the story. I was enchanted by the apple tree in the garden and the lovely white flowers it rained down on the first day of frost. This is a sweet read with family love and connection at the heart of it all.


Monday, September 10, 2018

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away

It's winter in the Catskills and Mitchell's Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing--maybe even romantic--weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity--and all contact with the outside world--the guests settle in for the long haul. 

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead--it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic. 

Within the snowed-in paradise, something--or someone--is picking off the guests one by one. And there's nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm.

REVIEW:  I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and was just happy to have finally won a book after several entries. The summary seemed interesting, I love a good mystery and the fact it takes place in a fancy inn in the mountains just added to the intrigue. There are several characters to follow in this story and sometimes I have a hard time remembering who is who but with this book, it wasn't the case. The author did a great job of describing the unique qualities of each character so you can easily picture them in your head and separate them from the others. I never guessed who the villain(s) were but it was certainly fun trying to figure out who committed the murders. I would recommend this book to readers of mystery and suspense.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Edge of the Known Bus Line by James R. Gapinski

A woman's daily commute takes an abrupt turn when she's dropped off in a grotesque shantytown in Edge of the Known Bus Line. The townsfolk live in huts and tents scavenged from broken trinkets. They eat dead rats and human flesh. They've developed cult-like religions about miracle bus routes that will someday set them free. The narrator searches for a way out of this surreal hellscape while dredging up a few nightmares of her own.

REVIEW:  I won a copy of this novella from Librarything's Giveaway.  This is such a strange and bizarre story but oddly enough, it worked.  Yes, it is gruesome, frightening, and disturbing but you literally can't turn your eyes away from it.  A definite page turner.  The main character, deli woman, is fearless and full of hope.  Her mantra is that she isn't dying today and through her perseverance and wits, continually searches for a way out of the hell she has ended up in after taking her usual bus route. Lots of crazy characters as well, some not so bad, just surviving the best way they know how to. If you're open-minded and don't get grossed out easily, I would recommend this as a good read.


Friday, July 20, 2018

The Rosegiver Free E-Book Giveaway on Instafreebie

Free e-book copy of The Rosegiver on Instafreebie!  Follow this link to claim your copy.

Giveaway Dates:  Jul 20 - Jul 30.

Monday, July 9, 2018

How to Find Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker

Children, the knowledge that I am passing to you is precious and must be carefully guarded…”  After centuries of being hidden from human sight, the Flower Fairies allowed Cicely Mary Barker a glimpse into their enchanted fairy world in Fairyopolis. Now you can continue the adventure with this spectacular new novelty book where every page unlocks the secrets behind the magical places the fairies call home. Five eye-popping spreads include intricate three-dimensional pop-up images of flowers and trees that magically open up to reveal the secret homes of the fairies. Lift-the- flaps, booklets, maps and other ephemera provide interactive fun on every page leading up to a stunning surprise on the final spread.


Whatever happened to pop up books?  I don't see them as often now, at least not done this beautifully.  How to Find Flower Fairies was purchased for my daughter years ago when she was very young.  She's 14 now and still cherishes it.  I decided to take another look at the book too and am still so enamored by the magic and beauty to be found on each page.  This is truly a treasure and definite keepsake.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her... for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her... and she might go down with it.

REVIEWThis is a book that I purchased on Book Outlet, along with its sequel, even though I wasn't sure I'd like the first book in the series. However, the description of the book was so intriguing that I just had this feeling that I would enjoy the book no matter what. Guess what? I loved this book!

I won't go into a super long review (as I used to do with books I read in the past). If you're already a fan of Phantom of the Opera, then you need to get this book. It's got the same feel to it but in a totally different setting, think Phantom in an Asian setting without the opera music but instead a factory used as a slaughter house. An industrial setting with lots of screws, bolts, and mechanical creations lingering about underneath in the bowels of the factory. I also liked reading about the female character, Wen's, beautiful embroidered dresses that her mother made for her and the procedures and herbal medicines involved as she helped her father, a doctor, care for ill or wounded people. 

There is romance as well, a sort of triangle for those who like love stories. I loved the author's writing style which was lovely and descriptive without overdoing it and the way she added a dash of action and adventure to keep the story moving along.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of fantasy, romance, and adventure.


Friday, April 27, 2018

The House Next Door: A Ghost Story by Darcy Coates

I live next to a haunted house.

I began to suspect something was wrong with the gothic building when its family fled in the middle of the night, the children screaming, the mother crying. They never came back to pack up their furniture.

No family stays long. Animals avoid the place. Once, I thought I saw a woman's silhouette pacing through the upstairs room... but that seems impossible; no one was living there at the time.

A new occupant, Anna, has just moved in. I paid her a visit to warn her about the building. I didn't expect us to become friends, but we did. And now that Marwick House is waking up, she's asked me to stay with her.

I never intended to become involved with the building or its vengeful, dead inhabitant. But now I have to save Anna... before it's too late for the both of us. 

REVIEW:  I've been wanting to read a book by Darcy Coates for ages, because she writes about mysterious haunted houses and those are exactly the kind of books I love to read. I don't have a kindle and don't want one. I much prefer reading a book in print and being able to display and treasure the book in my bookcase when I'm done. I finally decided to purchase a book, just randomly chose this one and I'm so glad I did. This was a true haunted house story with the traditional details you would expect to read about such as billowing curtains, a piano that plays by itself, shadows on the wall, footsteps, chains clanging, etc. I like the way the novel was written, not overly detailed, just the right amount with casual conversation that didn't go on and on. I also like the suspense throughout and how the story just makes you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. I can't say that the book spooked me out, there were a few scenes that were creepy, such as the appearance of the ghost Helen, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

I'm definitely a fan of Darcy Coates and can't wait to read another one of her haunted house books. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy haunted house stories, paranormal, mystery, and suspense books.