Currently reading

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town
Kimberly Willis Holt
Second Chances: Pieces of Us Book 2
Lisa Miller
Grip of the Shadow Plague
Brandon Mull
Sleeping Giants
Sylvain Neuvel
Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake
Miss Mabel's School for Girls (Network Series, #1)
Katie Cross

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling

I bought this ebook on Kindle quite a while back when it was on sale. I have no idea why it took me so long to start it. It's freaking hilarious from start to finish. If I could rate it more than 5 stars, I would. Being a huge fan of The Office, I knew who Mindy Kaling was, but I'll admit I'd not watched her in much else. I don't really watch TV. Or, I should say, the only television I watch are shows I already know and love and then I'll stream a season at a time on Netflix or Prime. I am now a huge Kaling fan. This book reads like a really long email between me and one of my BFF's. LOL. I read 90% of it in one sitting and only stopped because I needed at least a solid two hours of sleep before going into work. Definitely intending on reading her follow-up book. I think I highlighted about a quarter of this book... a true record for me. My first highlight is from page 4, during the introduction.

"However, you should know I disagree with a lot of traditional advice. For instance, they say the best revenge is living well. I say it's acid in the face-who will love them now?"

In fact, I even highlighted an entire chapter, the one entitled: Guys Need to Do Almost Nothing to Be Great. I laughed the whole way through the chapter. I'm quite sure my family thought my fragile mental state was hanging in the balance as I cackled like a fiend reading this on my Kindle.

Arrived Today

The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven - Brandon Dorman, Brandon Mull

Stoked to have received this in the mail today.  I'd won it in a blog giveaway.  I've just started it, but flipping through it-I'm thinking it looks awesome.  Lots and lots of cool drawings/pics of all mythic animals.  This is (apparently) a type of field guide to the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull.  It's classified as a children's series, so I'm hoping it's something I can read with my son.  =D

Unnatural Instincts by Dre Sanders

Unnatural Instincts - Dre Sanders

One of my favorite Indie books of the year. This is a paranormal romance, but it's not the romance itself that's paranormal. Both hero and heroine are human. Juno Kravitz begins to see her mom's ghost in her apartment. In Juno's pragmatic world, this is a huge problem. Not only does she see her mom's ghost, but understands her as well. Her mom's ability to pop in and out at will with any accompanying thunderstorm makes for some awkward company at times, and Juno is desperate to send her mom's ghost packing for good before her fiance, Evan, even has to find out. Of course, if that happened, it would be a much shorter story.

Unnatural Instincts is full of wit and humor. Juno finds herself in some amusing situations to which most people can relate. And Ryder's hilarious. He's definitely a new BBF of mine.

Five stars, and I would definitely read something by this author again!

The Hell Within Me by C.b. Roberts

The Hell Within Me - C.B. Roberts

I don't read very much poetry, but this book came highly recommended to me. The Hell Within Me is packed with poetry of anguish and heartbreak. It's nicely done. The imagery and verbiage were appealing in that heartbreaking kind of way. Five stars! Some of my favorite passages:

"From ashes I came
To ashes, I'll return.
But tonight I'm content
To sit here and burn."
(From the poem, Burn)

"It was only love,
It only drove me to my knees.
Rendering me hopeless
Like an incurable disease."
(From the poem, Just)

Smoke in Moonlight by Heather R. Blair

Smoke in Moonlight (Celtic Elementals Book 1) - Heather R. Blair

This was my first read by Heather R. Blair, but it won't be my last. Smoke in Moonlight is the first novel in the Celtic Elementals series. This is an adult paranormal romance with a wide expanse of creatures. Werewolves, vampires, mythological gods/goddesses, changelings, and demons all make an appearance.

Lacey, an American, travels to Ireland in hopes of writing her first novel. Although I don't think she ever got to write a word. Her plans get derailed the moment she arrives. Aine, a goddess, has other uses for her which requires her first to meet Ronan. Ronan is moody and violent and sexy. So... basically... your archetypal paranormal hero. Oh... and he's a werewolf. I thought Lacey and Ronan together were great. And I loved Aidan's character (Ronan's BFF) too. Actually, I didn't dislike any of the characters. Well, you know, aside from the obvious ones (insert demonic sadistic villain, Aillen, here).

There were some formatting and spelling/grammatical errors (especially front-loaded in the novel), and I wasn't sure what to expect. As I've had this novel downloaded to my Kindle for a while, I am not aware if they've been corrected since my publication or not. But as I kept reading, I found the errors didn't detract from the story for me. The writing was exceptional, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

FREE on Audible

The Chimes - Charles Dickens, Richard Armitage

For anyone with an audible account who's interested, I downloaded The Chimes by Charles Dickens for free tonight.  Not sure how long it will remain free or what the quality is as I haven't started listening to it yet, but it has 4 out 5 stars out of 801 ratings.  =)

It popped up on the home screen when I logged into Audible from my Kindle as an offered "gift".

The Traz by Eileen Schuh

The Traz - Eileen Schuh

I was torn on how to rate this book. Going into it, I knew it had to do with a young, orphaned girl who ended up in a gang. Not exactly my "normal" read, but I will pop my head out of my usual genres every now and then. I thought Schuh did a great job with world-building and character development. Other than one particular gang member or two, I didn't believe any one character was either all bad or all good-which makes for much more believable reading. The protagonist, Katrina, is introduced to us at a very young age and we see a bit of her home life. Really-a lack thereof. Her mom stays drunk all day and her father works. The reader is told and shown she's book smart. Though, in her personal choices, her IQ could be argued since she makes decisions such as hanging out at a rough bar during her preteen years and "dating" a teenage drug dealer. I can accept this as a coping strategy for a crappy life though. Although, at this time in the novel, things are about as good as her childhood gets. Along with a grandparent, she also loses both her parents. When she doesn't make a connection with her guardians, she leaves. Katrina is 13 when she ends up being picked up by a biker named Shrug and taken back to a compound to live with his gang. Well, technically, he's not a gang member as much as he's an undercover cop. In retrospect, this is probably the hardest thing for me to accept in the novel. I cannot imagine a cop aiding a child to run away and live with a gang. There are things about Katrina's personality that I didn't necessarily agree with-like how she treated her guardians when she called them up after having been gone for a while and threw a tantrum on the phone and threatened to get them in trouble if they didn't give her money- but in reality, she WAS a child. And a child trying to deal with growing up all on her own. There are a few more passages where she grated my patience as well, but I don't want to give big spoilers. I also have to admit to having my shoulders hunched most of the time I read this. I was waiting for it. Just waiting for the sexual behavior to begin. By the end of the book, she's 14, and I was still reading through squinted eyelids, just biding the time. I released a long sigh of relief when nothing of note really happened to make me that uneasy, but the recipe for disaster was there. Young girl, shady bikers, her wanting to belong to the gang. Thankfully, no, it didn't happen. But her one-sided (I think) romantic interest is a heck of a lot older than she is at the end of the book. I still kind of feel like I'm balancing on a wire of skeeviness. While some of the subject matter left me personally feeling uncomfortable, Schuh is clearly a talented author. The Traz was excellently paced and held my interest throughout

The Epic Santa Chase: An Angus Adams Christmas Short Story by Lee Winter

The Epic Santa Chase: An Angus Adams Christmas Short Story - Lee Winter

Cute, short Christmas story. Angus Adams has his backpack stolen (and therefore his Ipad) by a shabbily costumed Santa. Angus, accompanied by a friend wearing a chicken costume, a baby Jesus doll, and a nun, gives chase through the city. Cute and funny. The story is tied up with a moral at the end. I read this with my son for a bedtime story over the course of two nights. He's 10 and enjoyed it. The setting takes place in Australia, so I had to explain some of the vocabulary to him. Recommended for middle grade readers

A Ghostly Gift by Angie Fox

A Ghostly Gift - Angie Fox

Love this series! This is a cute short story meant to transpire between the full-length novels 1 and 2 in the Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries series. Being so short (56 pages), there's not much room for romance, so Ellis doesn't feature in this one in person. Verity, along with Frankie the Gangster ghost, endeavor to help a local vintage furniture shop owner who's collectible case is getting rummaged through at night-lowering the value of her wares by occasionally breaking them. Cute plot line. Cute characters. Cute ending.

Macrieve by Kresley Cole

MacRieve - Kresley Cole


I love this series.  I love Kresley Cole.  And I loved MacRieve



Quite possibly my favorite book in the Immortals After Dark series.  MacRieve, lycae, finds his mate-Chloe, a succubus-and hotness ensues. 

PARACOSM: Bleath: The Hauntings by Anya Allyn

PARACOSM: Bleath: The Hauntings - Anya Allyn

Interesting plot line and characters.  Zoe Cosgrove travels to the small, rural town of Bleath for research for a paper she's writing in college (and maybe also to run away from dealing with her recent break up with her cheating boyfriend).  The town of Bleath has a high occupancy of psychics, but it's the children who have fantasized their own make believe world that interest Zoe.  But nothing is as it seems in the town, as Zoe eventually learns.  I did NOT see that ending coming.  And even when I was got over the initial shock... I was surprised again on the last couple of pages.  Definitely some creepy moments in this novel, which were made even creepier since I'm on third shift and did most of my reading in the middle of the night.  =O 

Pieces of Us by Lisa K. Miller

Pieces of Us: Book One - Lisa Miller

From beginning to end, outrageous and hilarious situations pop up for Rose, Jenny, and Kat-three best friends who set out on a road trip across the country.  Along the way, they manage to get themselves into trouble with the law, in the presence of a rock star, and finding a stowaway on their behemoth, sixties RV, affectionately referred to as "Gypsy".  Each chapter brings more comedy, but there is also some very tender moments as the women open up about the issues in their life.  Miller's writing is genuine and I felt like I knew each of the women personally by the end of the story.  While the book contains many amusing scenes, I ultimately consider this a novel based on the importance of friendships and learning to cope with change.  Five stars and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next one!

The Heartbeat Thief by A.J. Krafton

The Heartbeat Thief - A.J. Krafton

*New Adult/Paranormal/Speculative Fiction*


Up until I got to the very end of this book, I kept thinking a good way to describe it would be a YA/NA "alternate" vampire book.  Senza Fyne is young and beautiful with her whole life in front of her, but that's not enough for her.  After her grandmother and later, her best friend, die, Senza becomes terrified of death.  Cue mysterious stranger who offers her eternal youth.  Similar to a vampire, Senza must feed, but not with fangs.  In order to sustain herself, she must steal heartbeats.  One here, one there, not enough to be missed, but enough to keep her going endlessly through time. 


The writing in this novel was superb.  The story begins in 19th century England, one of my favorite settings, and continues forward to a much more modern time in America.  The only thing I wished there was more of in this novel was romance.  There was one time period, fleeting as it was, where Senza finally has a real romantic interest, but I craved more.  At the end of the story, some of my hard feelings toward Knell (the mysterious stranger Senza always pines for but doesn't connect with again) were greatly lessened.  The reader goes through this long journey with Senza and sees how lonely it is and can't help but feel angry with him for leaving her alone year after year.  I enjoyed the ending very much.  Not only did you get the reasons for Knell's actions, but there's a satisfaction for how you believe Senza's storyline will ultimately play out.


Five stars, and I would definitely read something else by this author.

Revenge of the Sea by Jesse Giles Christiansen

Revenge of the Sea - Jesse Giles Christiansen

Revenge of the Sea is the third novel in the The Captain Shelby Trilogy. It could also be read as a stand-alone novel, but I would recommend reading them in order so that you can understand the importance of Captain Shelby's character in this novel.

In this installment of the series, we see Pelican Bay break out in what turns out to be a global (presumably) viral epidemic originating from the sea. It falls to Ethan Hodges and "not-estranged" wife, Morgan-as long as he can convince her to help him-to solve the mystery of the outbreak. The appearance of an unusual stranger, a Mr. DM, would seem the place to start searching for clues.

As always, I love Christiansen's style of writing. His prose is suspenseful and full of near-poetic verse. I loved the plot line of the sea virus and the whole Mr. DM character. I will say that the budding romance in the beginning of the novel between Ethan and Reagan made me angry. Even though Morgan had ignored him for years, even though she couldn't even tell him she loved him, even though they were clearly headed for a divorce... it just hurt my heart. As the story continued, I was able to forgive Ethan, but it took a couple of days. I adored the ending. I knew something was up, but I didn't know to what extent, and I loved how it played out. I'm eagerly anticipating Christiansen's next novel. I can't wait to see more of Ethan's story. Five stars!

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

The Candymakers - Wendy Mass

**Middle Grade Novel**


This novel was rather... unexpected.  The bulk of this 453 page read is divided into four sections-one section each to retell the story from the main characters' POVs.  It starts with Logan's POV.  Logan is the candymaker's son and was the logical choice of narrator.  The story opens on the first day of an annual candy-making contest where he meets three other contestants.  It's not that this first section with Logan's POV is bad, not at all.  But it reads like any old middle grade novel - cutesy, pleasant, nothing all that memorable.  Kind of like an alternate version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Then you get to the second section.


In Miles' POV, the story takes a whole different feel on.  You learn why he acts the way he acts when Logan is telling the story.  He's witnessed something that left him feeling vulnerable and as a response, he's had to develop coping mechanisms.  The reader also learns something HUGE about Logan that Logan never shared in the first section because it was never a big deal to him.  The second section takes the book to a whole new level.  I should mention that Miles also talks a lot about the "afterlife" and my son had a handful of questions concerning a couple of Miles' comments.  The event he's witnessed is not at all graphic, but it does bring up the theme of what happens after death.


Third, we have Daisy's section.  During the first several pages, my son asked if we were reading the same book.  =)  Her story line is more fantastical than the first two.  Reading her narrative was fun and exciting.  More things start to make sense from the first couple of sections.


But Philip's section.  =)  Both mine and my son's favorite.  I have to say, I'm really glad I read this book.  It's one I would have enjoyed even without reading it to my son.  I just adored Philip's section.  In the first three sections, you think you have a pretty good grasp on the character of everyone.  But by the end of the novel, the reader is left with a resounding feeling that you should never judge someone else because you don't know what they're going through.  It's a book about second chances and believing that people are primarily good if given the chance to show it.


I definitely recommend this book for middle grade readers.  The candy factory setting may make it feel too young for older readers, but aside from the setting, I believe older audiences would also enjoy this novel.  I did.  =)