Thursday, November 21, 2019

Book Review | Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca is a gothic classic by Daphne du Maurier.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
I read Rebecca last year as part of the first Ladies of Horror Fiction readalong. It was so good and so fun to read it along with the community. I joined a brand new (in person) book club a couple of months ago, and the first book they voted on to read last month was Rebecca! I'm taking that as a very good sign.

It was really great to revisit Rebecca all over again (even though it had only been a year!) I really love Daphne du Maurier's writing. I enjoyed the characters even more this time around since I already knew who was a nitwit and what decisions everyone would make. Their transformations were easier to see this time around, and I just really enjoyed it.

Rebecca is a beautiful book. There's mystery and suspense and surprises, and I highly recommend it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

On My Wishlist {23}

On My Wishlist is where I share a few books that have recently made it onto my wishlist. These are the books that have recently caught my eye:

Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake #4) by Rachel Caine
Expected publication: January 21st 2020 by Thomas & Mercer



She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

It's probably super obvious that I'm waiting for this one. I love this series, and I'm anxious to read the new one!!



The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
Expected publication: March 24th 2020 by Knopf Publishing Group



From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it's the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent's half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: "Why don't you swallow broken glass." Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

I'm really curious about this one. I will probably wait to see how the reviews fall before taking the plunge.



Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Henry Holt and Co.



Liv Fleming's father went missing more than two years ago, not long after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Liv has long accepted that he's dead, though that doesn't mean she has given up their traditions. Every Sunday, she and her lifelong friend Doug Monk trudge through the woods to check the traps Lee left behind, traps he set to catch the aliens he so desperately believed were after him.

But Liv is done with childhood fantasies. Done pretending she believes her father's absurd theories. Done going through the motions for Doug's sake. However, on the very day she chooses to destroy the traps, she discovers in one of them a creature so inhuman it can only be one thing. In that moment, she's faced with a painful realization: her dad was telling the truth. And no one believed him.

Now, she and Doug have a choice to make. They can turn the alien over to the authorities...or they can take matters into their own hands.

This YA horror is also being billed as science fiction. Yeeesss! I need this in my life.



Are you planning to read any of these upcoming releases? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Book Review | Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

Deep and Dark and Dangerous is a middle grade horror book by Mary Downing Hahn.

Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

A family secret is at the root of Mary Downing Hahn's story of supernatural events in Maine. Ali, 13, is eager to spend her vacation with Aunt Dulcie, helping to care for her little niece, Emma, in the lake house where Dulcie and Claire, Ali's mother, spent summers. Claire, who is phobic about water, is dead set against her going but is forced to agree. The vacation by the lake turns unpleasant when Ali and Emma meet a mean, spiteful kid named Sissy. Emma idolizes and imitates Sissy, becoming bratty and hostile and accepting Sissy's dangerous dares.

Sissy keeps talking about Teresa, a girl who drowned under mysterious circumstances when Claire and Dulcie were kids. At first Ali thinks Sissy is just trying to scare her with a ghost story, but soon she discovers the real reason why Sissy is so angry: she is the ghost of Teresa and blames Claire and Dulcie for her death.

What a perfect book to read on the heels of reading Violet by Scott Thomas {review}! This book could have easily been his inspiration behind writing Violet.

Deep and Dark and Dangerous is a middle grade ghost story. I really enjoyed the ghosty bits of this one. It's a great book for young horror lovers. I would have loved it back in my Lois Duncan days!

Unfortunately, the characters didn't always work well for me. The main character is Ali, and she often flipped from being mature to acting like a young child. This is probably true to life, but I think middle grade readers would appreciate spending time with her more than I did. I didn't find the 6 year old character to be very realistic either, but I'm not exactly the intended audience.

If you are looking for a spooky story set on the lake, Deep and Dark and Dangerous is a quick (and younger) ghostly tale.

⭐⭐⭐★★

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | November 17

Thank you to everyone who responded regarding your FTC statements on your reviews. I was thinking of writing up a post for those who had questions, but the FTC has a pretty good write out of the guidelines and FAQs here if anyone wants to go over them: The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking

I'm having a mid month panic because I haven't really finished reading anything this month. November was going to be a no review copy, all personal reads month and it's been super light so far! (I'm also in Thanksgiving panic mode since I host my family, and my house is so not ready for inspection.)

Posted Last Week


I posted my ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ review of Little Paranoias by Sonora Taylor.

I shared a few books that recently made it onto my wishlist.

I shared my ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ thoughts on the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull.

Finished Reading


The Chichi Hoohoo Bogeyman by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve

The Chichi Hoohoo Bogeyman by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve ⭐⭐⭐★★ - I discovered this middle grade horror while discussing Native American authors with the Ladies of Horror Fiction team. I had to have it! I'll post more thoughts on it soon.

Currently Reading


Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

I'm just over halfway through Ormeshadow, and there is so much to love so far. I know I'm going to want more when it ends.

I think I'm only one day behind in my own readalong of The Eye of the World. It's going well, though. I'm determined to stay the course! It's huge and very fantasy.

Recent Acquisitions


H.P. Lovecraft, the Complete Omnibus Collection, Volume I: 1917-1926 by H.P. Lovecraft, Finn J.D. John A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher Poetry Magazine November 2019

H.P. Lovecraft, the Complete Omnibus Collection, Volume I: 1917-1926 by H.P. Lovecraft, Finn J.D. John - These omnibuses are huge. What a nice way to fill in any Lovecraft holes. I will need to get volume II as well.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher - I've been on the fence with this one, but Bark's review convinced me I needed it.

I also received my November edition of Poetry Magazine.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading this week or leave me some links!


This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Book Reviews | Fablehaven #1-5 by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven is a middle grade fantasy series from Brandon Mull.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull




For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken -- Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good -- powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

Not only is my 10 year old now reading from my bookshelves, he's selecting books I haven't read yet. I admit to being jealous when he started reading Fablehaven. During this first book, he thought the series was one step below Harry Potter, but it managed to surpass Harry Potter in the second book. After finishing book two, he made a comment about how badly he wanted me to read this series so I threw my TBR out of the window. Sorry commitments, I'll come back to you some day!

I have my doubts that Fablehaven will surpass Harry Potter for me, but it is a great series! I really loved this first book, and I'm excited by how much my son loves reading fantasy. He has an amazing year of reading ahead of him.

Fablehaven is a sanctuary for mystical creatures. That sounds lovely and all, but mystical creatures are arrogant and dangerous. The main characters in Fablehaven discover their grandparents are the caretakers of Fablehaven, and a lot of adventure ensues. I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the series. It's a middle grade book, and while it's magical and adventurous, it goes to some really dark places, too. I highly recommend this one to middle grade fantasy fans. If you don't read middle grade (I'm sorry to hear that), this is a great series to gift a young reader who does.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull




At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother Seth find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures.

Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists -- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper -- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power.

Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world.

Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble?
Why is this not a movie series?

I'm really enjoying the Fablehaven series. It is just the pick me up I've been needing lately, and I'm having a blast reading this series with my son.

The creatures and the action and the roles of the main characters really kicked into gear in this second installment. I love that the main characters are brother and sister. Brandon Mull writes kids so well.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull




Very strange things are afoot at Fablehaven. Someone or something has released a plague that transforms beings of light into creatures of darkness. Seth discovers the problem early, but as the infectious disease spreads, it becomes clear that the preserves cannot hold out for long. In dire need of help, the Sorensons question where to turn. The Sphinx has always given sound advice - but is he a traitor? Inside the Quiet Box, Vanessa might have information that could lead to a cure - but can she be trusted?

Meanwhile, Kendra and members of the Knights of the Dawn must journey to a distant preserve and retrieve another hidden artifact.

Will the Society of the Evening Star recover it first? Will the plague eclipse all light at Fablehaven?

Grip of the Shadow Plague took a turn toward the darkness! A shadow plague is taking over Fablehaven and turning the light creatures into dark creatures. YES! Only it wasn't dark enough for my sick and twisted soul. Give me all of the darkness!

I'm still really enjoying this series. The kids are evolving and becoming much more independent characters. I'm a little sad by this because I enjoyed the presence of their grandparents in this series. Parents always disappear in MG/YA books. I understand why, but I would like to see more books where the parents are present.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the next one. We get dragons!

⭐⭐⭐⭐★



Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull




Brace yourself for a shocking secret.

Two hidden artifacts have been found. Three more remain unrecovered. More preserves face destruction as the Society of the Evening Star relentlessly pursues new talismans. Reading in Patton’s Journal of Secrets, Kendra learns the location of the key to a vault housing one of the artifacts. In order to retrieve it, the Knights of the Dawn must enter a death trap — a dragon sanctuary called Wyrmroost. The mission cannot proceed without stealing a sacred object zealously guarded by the centaurs. Anybody seen Seth?

The race is on to acquire all five of the artifact keys to the great demon prison. Will the Knights of the Dawn conquer Wyrmroost? Who can stop the Sphinx? Can Vanessa be trusted to help? What artifact will be found next?

Book 4 of the Fablehaven series was a fun one to buddy read with my son! The title is Secrets of the Dragon Santuary and there were secrets alright. I was happy this one started out with the grandparents being back in the picture. As per usual, though, Seth and Kendra are off to save the world (or at least Fablehaven). There was some interesting world building and magic in this one. You definitely have to suspend some disbelief, but hey, good times.

⭐⭐⭐⭐★



Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull




After centuries of plotting, the Sphinx—leader of the Society of the Evening Star—is after the final artifacts needed to open the great demon prison, Zzyxx. If the legendary prison is opened, a tide of evil is certain to usurp control of the world.

In an effort to intercept the final artifacts, Kendra, Seth and the Knights of the Dawn race to strange and exotic preserves across the globe. The stakes have never been higher. The risks have never been more deadly.

In this explosive series finale, allegiances will be confirmed and secrets revealed as the forces of light and darkness collide in a desperate, climactic battle to control the keys to the demon prison.

I'm done! It was tough getting through 2,412 pages of a series in a short period of time, but the Fablehaven series was a really solid read. Keys to the Demon Prison is my son's favorite book of all time now. What a successful ending! Kendra and Seth are so grown up, and I may have gotten a little teary at their parents at the end of this one.

There is a sequel series (Dragonwatch). My son has already flown through the first two and is finishing up the third one that was just released this month. I'm choosing to sit that one out, but he's loving it. If you enjoy middle grade fantasy, definitely give this one a chance. Otherwise, gift it to an up and coming reader in your life.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



I really enjoyed getting to read these with my son. Overall, I give the series ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

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