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100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way.  I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.

Currently reading

The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy)
Sally Christie
Dying Embers
Betty Adams
Vengeance of the Gods
Obinna Anagwu

A Song of War

A Song of War - Kate Quinn

I'm going to use this for Bingo,  for the "fall" of Troy!


The Trojan Wars are steeped history through myth, legend and epic tales.  A Song of War brings together seven stories from throughout the war by seven different authors.  Each story, or song, took me chronologically through the War, which made the songs flow together melodically.  I enjoyed the changing perspectives, bringing forth different views from different sides.  I especially liked that some of these characters were people that history has swept to the background.  While the stories of Helen, Menelaus, Achilles, Paris, Hector and Odysseus were exciting and action packed, it was the stories of Cassandra, Briseis and Penthesilea that were the most insightful, heartfelt and brought true passion from all sides. 


I truly enjoyed this anthology format for reading.  Each author showed their own voice through their characters, yet there was still one full story pulled together through each verse.  I was impressed with how each story was able to pull out a different emotion: greed, sacrifice, torment, tragedy, vengeance, thoughtfulness and hope.  I think this is a great example of anthology style of writing, I enjoyed the focus not being on one character or point of view, but the experience as a whole.  I can’t wait to read more from this historical fiction team.


This book was provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.


One of Windsor

One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging - Beth M Caruso

Another one for Halloween Bingo!  I'm going to use this for the set in New England square. 


Alice began life in England and is soon orphaned, left to be raised by her mother’s family, the Tinkers.  Alice and her mother shared a gift of intuition and prophetic dreams, although Alice never found a way to help anyone with her knowledge.  As Alice grows, Mary Tinker attempts to find a place for her.  The Holman family on their way to Massachusetts Bay Colony in need of help with their children offers a perfect opportunity.  Alice is saddened to leave the only family she knows, but enjoys the Holman children and Winifred Holman’s company.  Once in the colony Winifred and Alice learn the medicinal plants and healing arts from the Native Americans.  Alice reunites with the Tinkers once again when they move to the Colonies.  She takes an offer of marriage and settles near the rest of the Tinker clan.  When illness strikes the town, Alice does her best to help her neighbors and family with her knowledge of herbs. However, in the winter her stores run dry.  When the illness passes, neighbors and friends are grieving their losses and turn on the person who tried to help.


When most people think of witch trials in America, they automatically think of Salem.  However, the very first person to be tried and hung as a witch has been almost forgotten to history.  With compassion and much digging through historical records, Beth Caruso has reimagined the life of a woman so far only known as “One ---- of Windsor.”  Now thought to be “One Alice Young of Windsor,” her life and path to being an accused witch is brought forth in vivid detail.  I was very impressed by all of the historical period detail.  Life in the new Colonies was rough and Alice’s experience reflected this.  I enjoyed reading about her relationships with the Native Americans and appreciated the honest way that most Colonists saw them.  Furthermore, I thought the tension created from religion, the unknown and fear of a new land created a perfect storm for accusations of witchcraft.  As the story progressed, I fell for Alice and the injustices that were quickly spiraling out of control around her; however, I also knew that she was hiding something.  I loved that Alice’s story was told through and then, after her downfall, the truth and secrets were revealed.  One of Windsor did a fabulous job of recreating the life of someone that history tried to forget as well as tying in the fears and hysteria of the time that people still try to use today in order to oppress groups of people. 

The Girl in the Castle

The Girl in the Castle: A Novel (Deverill Chronicles) - Santa Montefiore

Another one for Halloween bingo!  I'll use my free space since it doesn't fit anywhere else, but with a touch of ghosts and a curse I had to fit it somewhere!


Kitty Deverill was born on the ninth day of the ninth month in the year 1900. Kitty spends most of her days with her grandparents in the Castle Deverill. Her Anglo-Irish family has been cursed, since the Deverill land was taken from the O’Leary’s, the Deverill men are cursed to stick around as ghosts until the two families can combine. Kitty is the third daughter of Maude Deverill and Maude seems to have forgotten about her, Kitty is free to roam when she escapes her Governess, Mrs. Grieve. Kitty spends her days with Bridie Doyle, the daughter of the castle cook and Jack O’Leary. Kitty’s station is life causes tension with Bridie and as Jack and Kitty form a relationship, feelings among the trio change. Soon, the Irish revolt to overthrow the British and Jack joins the Irish cause. As an Anglo-Irish, Kitty might seem to be in a strange situation, but her Irish roots grow strong. Through the attacks, Castle Deverill is put under siege and the home Kitty loves becomes vulnerable.

From the curse on the very first page, I was hooked. I have always loved a good curse. Then, I was introduced to Kitty. Kitty is completely charming and enchanting with a dash of mischievousness a good dose of rebellion and plenty of intelligence. I loved reading about her growing up. The magic and whimsy of Ireland is showcased through the writing, picturesque descriptions of the landscape and castle bring County Cork and Castle Deverill to life. Some of the best parts for me were the ghosts, grumpy Castle ancestors who sometimes give Kitty a helpful or hurtful push. Most of all, I enjoyed the character interactions as Kitty, Bridie and Jack come-of-age. With insight into a unique time in Ireland’s history, plenty of drama, romance and heartfelt passion for what you love, The Girl in the Castle is an absolute delight that I had a hard time putting down.

This book was received for free as part of the TLC blog tour.

First Heist ( An Omar Zagouri Prequel)

First Heist (An Omar Zagouri Thriller) - H.B. Moore

 Mia Golding is about to complete a dangerous undercover assignment- a handoff to another agent, Omar Zagouri.  Mia has read up on Zagouri and is wary of the handoff and of him. However, before she can decide what to do, her cover is blown and she and Omar are on the run and forced to work as partners.


This is a great prequel novella to the Omar Zagouri thrillers.  I have read the rest of the series and First Heist delves into when Mia and Omar first meet.  From Mia’s point of view we get to see Omar in a different light, a little dangerous, always jumping head first into trouble and definitely cocky.  I enjoyed seeing their relationship from the very beginning and delving into their history.  It does seem like their romance was a quick start!  If you have read the other books in the series, some questions about Mia’s past are answered.  The action and excitement picks up quickly and doesn’t stop until the very end, it left me wishing this was a full book. 

Children of Eden

Children of Eden: A Novel - Joey Graceffa

The Earth and its ecosystems have been destroyed by humans.  The humans that have survived now live in Eden, an oasis designed by Aaron Al-Baz, regarded as the savior of humankind. Everything in Eden is efficient, reused, recycled and highly regulated, even its citizens.  At birth, everyone receives eye implants that track you as a citizen of Eden.  However, with population control strictly enforced as one child per couple, Rowan, a younger twin, the second child, is hidden away inside her house.  With no eye implants, she is unable to go out of her house for 16 years.  Now, just as Rowan’s mother has found a way to integrate her into Eden, Rowan escapes the confines of her home and finds friends, adventure, a hidden world and a lot of danger.
I am always intrigued by books with an environmental collapse since it is a very real possibility in our future.  In this version, the Earth was slowly destroyed by humans, just as we are doing now.  The hero in the story is shrouded in mystery, but Eden is working well and keeping people alive, unless you are a second child.  I felt for Rowan’s plight and the unfairness of it all.  There are some good parallels in here for strict population control measures that have taken place in the real world.  I was very disappointed when Rowan almost loses it when she makes a stupid decision; however, this is when the action began to pick up.  I enjoyed seeing Eden through her eyes and exploring the world that she had so far only heard about.  Just when it seems that Rowan might be able to come out of hiding, everything seems to go wrong.  Excitement, mystery and a daring thrill ride follow Rowan to the end where I was left on a ridiculous cliff hanger.  A young adult dystopian that is different enough from others to stand out and deliver.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Reunion on Neverend

Reunion on Neverend - John E. Stith

Lan has returned to his childhood home within the underground colony on Neverend.  He is wary about returning to the closed in caverns and tight spaces that always made him feel claustrophobic, but he really wants to track down his high school girlfriend, Tessa.  Upon arriving, Lan reunites with old friends Parke and Carrie who inform him that Tessa has been holed up in her father’s museum.  Tessa has been being threatened into selling the museum and is pretty sure that someone has been breaking in.  After learning about Tessa’s troubles, Lan is determined to help; and luckily Lan now has just the skill set to help Tessa with her unique issue.

A fast paced, fun mystery with plenty of adventure and excitement.  Set in a mesh of other worlds, Reunion on Neverendsuccessfully took me far away. The world building was magnificent and I could picture the volcanic cave formations on Neverend and the homes and shops carved out of them.  For me, the best part was the mix of characters and how they worked to solve Tessa’s museum mystery.  I knew Lan was hiding a secret from the very beginning, his unbecoming demeanor camouflaged his overwhelming knowledge and physical capabilities. Paired with his much larger friend, Parke, they made an intimidating duo.  Once the group gets together to outwit a duo interested in Tessa’s museum for maniacal means, action, adventure and comedy prevail.  Lan’s means of frustrating the thieves was ingenious and hilarious.  Usually I’m not huge on space adventure, but this science fiction mystery was perfect for me.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith (Volume 2) - Marissa Campbell

Avelynn is on the run from her homeland in England for accusations of treason, witchcraft and murder With the help of her Viking betrothed Alrik, she has landed in Wales.  Alrik has pledged his men to help with the Southern Welsh King in their campaign against Rhodri the Great.  However, news of Avelynn’s crimes won’t take long to catch up to her, and there is a price on her head.  Combined with troubles from Marared, Alrik’s former lover, Alrik and Avelynn are being chased by trouble from all ends.


I am so glad to return to Avelynn’s world!  Successfully transporting me back to Medieval Wales, Edge of Faith picks up right where Avelynn left off.  I missed her headstrong, courageous, willful and confident nature which is continued full force in Edge of Faith.  I also forgot how steamy the romance was between Avelynn and Alrik, their love has not diminished at all; plus there are some other amazingly sexy scenes that I won’t spoil for anyone.  The danger, suspense and magical mayhem made for a good pace and were blended together seamlessly well.  Avelynn’s devotion to the Goddess as a high priestess does not waver even though she is in a Christian land, her rituals continued to draw me in with rich descriptions that took me to the Otherworld.  The uncertainty that follows Alrik and Avelynn drew me in and kept me glued to the pages, especially with the threats of dark magic.  Overall, a magically enchanting historical romance with an open ending that makes me ready for book three.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.


Monsterland - Michael Phillip Cash

Another square for Halloween bingo. I wanted this to be the Vampire Vs. Werewolf square, but they weren't really weren't against each other, so I will go with the YA horror square.


A plague has spread across the world affecting parts of the population and turning them essentially into zombies.  Dr. Vincent Conrad has the perfect solution for the World’s zombie problem.  Countries have them contained, but cannot come up with a decision on how to move forward.  After Dr. Vincent discovered the last of the populations of Vampires and Werewolves, he has decided to open theme parks- Monsterland- across the world with attractions such as Vampire Village, Werewolf River Run and Zombieville.  With a mission stated to research and find a cure, Monsterland opens with a bang.  Lucky enough to land a special invite- Wyatt Baldwin, his brother and a few classmates are among the first guests.

This is a Young Adult paranormal, a bit like Jurassic Park but with Monsters. I really liked the theme park idea, but some of the monsters fell a little flat.  Although, they were probably as realistic as monsters could get; if Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies existed, the Werewolves would hide in the thick Everglades, the Vampires would be a dying breed who can only turn others with sex and can survive on animal blood and the Zombies would be plague victims able to be killed by any normal means. I was not surprised by how quickly they revolted once they realized they were prisoners in Monsterland.  The suspense built quickly and the action quickly turned gory.  Steeped with teen drama, many of the students were more interested in their relationship status.  Dr. Vincent was the most intriguing character.  His intentions seemed devious from the start, but I had no idea how far he would take it.  I was very surprised by the ending when his plan came to the surface.  Another character that shone for me was Wyatt’s best friend, Melvin.  Melvin is completely obsessed with Werewolves and is not afraid to be exactly who he is.  I think he probably came out with the best deal. Overall, a good concept with a bit of a different twist on the classic monsters and some good parallels to concentration camps.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Slave Queen (An Omar Zagouri Thriller #3)

Slave Queen (An Omar Zagouri Thriller) - H.B. Moore

Almost 500 years ago Sultan Suleyman of the Ottoman Empire conquers a small village in Poland.  In the village, a woman captures his eye and he takes her as a slave.  Aleksandra is not pleased with her new station in life and lets the Sultan know it, but she is also determined to survive, make the best of things and just might have an eye for the Sultan as well.  Deemed Roxelane by the Sultan, Aleksandra quickly moves up in the hierarchy to the Sultan’s favored wife, lowering the status of his first two wives.   In the present day, a growing society of Turkish Royalist have hatched a plot to bring rights back to the surviving descendants of the Royals, especially those of who they believe should be the rightful heirs, the descendants of Suleyman’s first born, Mustafa.  The Royalists believe Roxelane had Mustafa killed in order to bring her own son to power, and now antiques have been discovered that might prove exactly that.  The Royalists are now hunting down Roxelane’s descendants five hundred years later.  However, one of the names on Roxelane’s side is Omar Zagouri, and he won’t be going down so easy, even if he has to work with the son of his enemy and descendant of Mustafa, Naim Bata.


Fast-paced and full of suspense, mystery, romance and history, the latest Omar Zagouri thriller is impressive.  An intense story line is told through three points of view, Aleksandra and Suleyman in the 1500’s Ottoman Empire, Omar and Mia in the present and Naim and Leyla in the present.  Most chapters end on their own little cliffhanger which kept me quickly flipping pages to see where each team’s story would go next. Like the past installments of Omar Zagouri, I have been more taken in by the historical side, Aleksandra and Suleyman’s story is no exception.  Aleksandra was bold, determined and intelligent and Suleyman’s softer side was shown, their love story shone through the centuries.   I also enjoyed learning about Sultan Suleyman, his wives, life in the harem and his kingdom. Naim and Leyla’s story reflected parts of Suleyman and Aleksandra’s story.   And as always, Omar and Mia continue to impress with their daring feats and know-how.  I can’t wait to read more from Omar!


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.


See my reviews of the first three books in the series here!

The Vanishing Year

The Vanishing Year: A Novel - Kate Moretti

Another Book for Halloween Bingo- Mystery Square!


Zoe Whittaker seems to have a charmed life.  She is the chair of a foundation for orphaned children, CARE, an issue that has deep meaning to her since she was adopted; and is married to Henry Whittaker, a Wall Street guru.  Her marriage to Henry has taken her off the streets and into a fancy high-rise, she is able to travel the world and focus on what she really cares about.  However, after a successful charity benefit for CARE, Zoe’s past come racing back for her.  Five years prior, Zoe wasn’t even Zoe.  She was Hilary Lawlor and she was running away from a mess in California.  Now, she is afraid that she has been recognized at the benefit; especially when she is almost run over by a car and her apartment is broken into.  Zoe wants nothing more than to feel secure and tied down, so she tries to look into her birth mother’s whereabouts.  However, Henry seems unsupportive and has been becoming controlling, questioning her actions and who she is with.  Now that Zoe thinks about it, Henry has many secrets in his past too; a dead wife that Zoe has never seen pictures of, dead parents and a very dedicated maid that will not say a word to Zoe.  All at once, Zoe tries to find out who is trying to kill her, uncover her own past and dig deeper into the man her husband seems to be.

Several mysteries wrapped into one, The Vanishing Year kept me up late into the night with its many twists and turns.  Zoe is a very real character, with a lot of trauma in her background.  She has used her newfound wealth in order to do good; however she is constantly on the lookout for anyone from her past.  Some of her naivety seemed overdone, and I had some parts of her mystery figured out early on.  Zoe did grow on me though, as soon as she started coming into her own and getting out of her apartment, she began to question things.  While Zoe was so focused on hiding her own past, she didn’t seem to push Henry into revealing any of his.  Henry seemed to be the one hiding more than Zoe, and his past is locked up tighter.  The suspense rose in the second half of the book as Zoe concentrates on finding her birth mother.  Slowly, inklings of something more disturbing than what Zoe can imagine are being teased out and while I had an idea of who might be behind it all, I had no idea of why or to what extent until the very end where I was speed reading along to see what would happen!  Overall, a slow building psychological thriller and mystery with a whirlwind ending.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Twain's End

Twain's End - Lynn Cullen

Another Halloween Bingo Square, I stayed up late and read this next to the bonfire!


Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain was not only an amazing author, but quite the character.  Throughout his life he amassed quite a number of admirers, none more than those who were close to him- including many of his female staff.  In his later years, Samuel Clemens employed Isabel Lyon as a secretary for his ailing wife.  Soon, Isabel became Samuel’s constant companion and his own personal secretary.  It does not take much to see that the relationship between the two has grown.  However, a year before Samuel’s death, he blesses the marriage of Isabel and Ralph Ashcroft, his business manager only to besmirch their reputations one month later in an elongated written rant. 

I love learning more about the lives of authors that I admire.  I really didn’t know much about the man behind Mark Twain other than the fact that he piloted a riverboat and that he came in and went out along with Hailey’s comet.  Lynn Cullen has taken much of her account for Twain’s End from the diary of Isabel Lyon.  The writing creates a tense back and forth, cat and mouse game between Samuel and Isabel.   The overall feeling that is created is tense and a little uncomfortable, especially if you would prefer to keep Mark Twain in a positive light.  Isabel was quite intriguing, especially as she tried to do her best to keep herself distant from the man she knew she should not get involved with.  As she became more and more entwined with the family, this became more and more difficult and eventually led Samuel to believe different about her.   One of the things I found most interesting was Samuel’s relationship with his wife and daughters; I really knew nothing about Olivia, Jean, Clara and Susie.  Olivia is still a little of a mystery to me, she was ailing through most of her time throughout the book, but no one seemed to know why.  However, the mutual love between Samuel and Olivia was still evident even through his indiscretions.  One of the most colorful characters for me was Isabel’s mother, always scheming, always putting her nose in other’s business and terribly worried about Isabel’s marriage prospects, a perfect busybody.  Overall, a suspenseful, surprising and insightful tale about a different view of one of America’s greatest authors.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Imaginary Boy

Imaginary Boy - Mark Eldrich

Another square for Halloween bingo- Full Moon!  My copy has a full moon, I swear, just look at my board below :)


Benji Saintaubin is an 11 year old boy living in Victorian London.  Unlike other boys, he has lived most of his life in his attic due to a physical disability.  Benji loves to read the story of the Imaginary Boy that his father wrote for him.  The Imaginary Boy is a hero who has to fight a dragon, only the story is not finished.  Benji wants nothing more than to finish the story and deliver it to his mother for Christmas.  After an accident trying to get out of the attic and downstairs to his mother, mother decides that it is time for Benji to venture out into the world. However, a night out at the opera turns into Benji being separated from his mother and going on an adventure of his own.  Benji will see the good and bad of people and their perceptions of his disability, more importantly, he will meet another young man, Thomas, who will show Benji that he can be the hero that he has always dreamed of and defeat a different kind of dragon.

This is an exciting story full of adventure, villains, unexpected heroes and overcoming adversity. Going in a completely different direction from where I thought the story would go, there is almost a fairy tale-esque feeling, even though everything happening to Benji is based in reality.  Right from the start I fell in love with Benji's attitude about life, his determination to finish his story and his courage in the face of many dangerous events.  Though written for a middle grade audience, there are some terrifying scenes throughout.  Not only was Benji's situation scary enough to begin with; due to his disability, having to live in the attic of his otherwise very nice house, but navigating the streets of Victorian London with its unsavory characters, smells and a monster roaming the streets is not for the faint of heart. From being almost sold into slavery, to being seen as a monster himself and then being taken in by someone who is rich and powerful, but not very good, Benji does his best to survive.  The descriptions of the settings and Benji's emotions were so detailed and vibrant that they kept my heart pounding.  I loved Thomas' character, he seemed to be a complete contrast to Benji, yet as they got to know one another, they found more similarity than difference.  I also thought that the dragon was an ingenious and particularly vile villain and a provided a perfect ending for Benji's story.


This book was provided for free in return for an honest review.  



Awake - Melanie Surani

My third book for Halloween Bingo!  The locked room square, well, it takes place within a locked museum, but people are also locked in rooms within the locked museum, double lock-up, totally counts!




Five strangers wake up in an eerie, boarded up museum.   Some are minor celebrities, some normal people.  Josh is an opera star, Ajay is a Bollywood actor, Sophia is a fan of Josh, Demetri is a Bollywood fan and Don, the ex-boyfriend of the common link between the five strangers, an eccentric artist named Blair.  The last thing that all five remember is a run in with a woman named Blair.  Now, apparently drugged and what they assume is a few days later, they have woken up inside her boarded up museum.  As the group tries to figure out exactly what has happened to them and try to figure a way out of the strange museum, tensions rise as some members of the group come to believe that others are responsible for them being trapped.


This was an incredibly unique concept, live people unknowingly trapped as museum exhibits.  The beginning really grasped me; written from Blair’s point of view as she is trying to figure out how to kidnap Sophia, we have insight into the villain and artist who will create the creepy displays.  From there though, we are thrown to the victim’s perspective after they wake up.  This is where I have just as many questions as Sophia, Josh and the others: where are they?  How did they get there?  What did Blair do to them? And why are they locked in?  Things quickly intensify as more people are found locked in the museum.  The points of view switch between the captives.  Sophia seems to be the only one who can keep it together through everything while the men swiftly jump to conclusions, become violent and go stir crazy. Things sort of fell apart for me a little bit near the end as the different parties start working against one another instead of just turning in Blair.  Anyway, I think incorporating Blair’s point of view throughout the novel instead of just beginning and end would have helped to tie things together.  Also, I kept on reading so I could figure out how the heck Blair pulled off keeping people as living statues for 10 years, it is eventually revealed, but I was a little unenthused by her means.  I did, however, love how the group got back at Blair by the end.  Overall, an interesting thriller with a unique concept, and  a lot of character drama.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.


The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book (Thorndike Literacy Bridge Young Adult) - Neil Gaiman

My Second Square for Halloween Bingo!  The Graveyard Book has been sitting on my TBR shelf for a while now, and the Graveyard Square gave me a perfect opportunity to read it!  I'm sure this will be a popular read for Bingo, but I'm glad I finally got to it, I absolutely loved it.


A silent and mysterious killer is sent to kill a family, including a one year old boy.  The killer swiftly and silently kills the mother, father and older sibling, but the one year old boy is nowhere to be found.  He has toddled to the old graveyard up the hill where the ghosts of days gone past congregate.  With the assassin on his tail, and at the plea of his mother’s ghosts, the graveyard ghosts protect the boy and give him the Freedom of the Graveyard.  Christened as Nobody Owens, Bod is raised by the ghosts and Mr. and Mrs. Owens who were never able to have a child of their own in life. Bod is brought food and other items from the living by the not quite living and not quite dead Silas, his guardian.  Bod learns from the old teachers in the graveyard and makes friends with poets, explorers and even a witch.  He is taught how to open a ghoul gate, Dreamwalk and Fade from memory.  He even goes exploring an old crypt that even the ghosts won’t go in, older than any of the ghosts; it is guarded by the strange Sleer.  Even with all this going on, Bod is safe in the graveyard; however, if he goes outside the gates, the man Jack, his assassin is still waiting for him.


This book has the most wonderful first sentence: “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”  Coupled with the eerie illustration, I was immediately pulled in.  Like the other Neil Gaimen stories that I have read, The Graveyard Book has a way of mystifying and delighting, scaring and comforting at the same time.   I fell in love with Bod from the moment that he toddled away from his crib, he was obviously very special, but we have no clue why.  I wanted to explore all of the nooks and crannies of the graveyard and get to know all of the old ghosts right along with Bod.  Through all of his adventures, befriending a witch, opening a ghoul gate, exploring the crypt of the Sleer and going to school with real children, I had almost forgotten that Bod’s family was murdered in cold blood and the killer is still after him.  When Bod’s assassin finally resurfaces, the mystery is brought to light and the deeper danger is revealed.  In a style like no other, The Graveyard Book blends dark fantasy, adventure and whimsy together for a wonderful story.

The Crimson Tree

The Crimson Tree - Valerie Puri

First Square down for Halloween Bingo!


But where does it go?  Supernatural, Scary Women Authors, ghost stories, general horror?  I really should have planned this out better, oh well, I'm going to stick it on ghost stories and see where I go from there.  Anywho, here is my review for The Crimson Tree


Everything in Carly’s life is going pretty well; she is engaged to a wonderful guy, James, and they are celebrating their three year anniversary.  For their anniversary, they decide on a picnic in the country.  Carly chooses a hill with a very unique tree; a tree with white bark and deep red leaves.  Carly and James picnic under the tree and Carly takes some photographs.  When she gets home, the trouble begins.  In half of the photos, Carly has no eyes.  The problem persists, cell phone photos- no eyes, engagement photos- no eyes.  Then Carly begins to see spirits, have vivid dreams and waking hallucinations.  Her symptoms only seem to get better when she begins to look into the events from her dreams.  Carly has to work fast though, the spirits are getting upset and James isn’t so sure of their relationship anymore.


This was a haunting and quick read, perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit.  This was a slow build, part physiological, part ghostly horror as Carly’s life disintegrates little by little.  Carly’s character was an amazingly normal person, who wanted to continue being a normal person, she even continued to do her normal activities as best she could while the spirit was trying to communicate with her.  None of Carly’s common life bothered me; however, the writing sometimes tried too hard to convey this with mentioning such things as Carly having to press ‘ok’ to get the pictures off her drive from the computer or paying $4.38 for snacks.  Anyway, I was really interested in the spirits that were haunting Carly, it seemed obvious what the spirit wanted her to do, but I wanted to know more about the spirit’s life and his past.  We find out a little through Carly’s research and some dreams, but I wanted to be taken back to the 1920’s for a little bit longer.  I thought I had the ending all figured out, but there is a twist and a cliffhanger at the end!


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Aphrodite's Choice

Aphrodite's Choice - Christy English

Aphrodite has walked the Earth for 9000 years.  Through Egypt, Crete, Kyrios, Paris,  she has been known by many names.  She was placed on Earth to serve the Mother by spreading the blessing.  By sleeping with different men, Aphrodite is able to heal them, however, the men always forget about her in the morning.  Throughout time Aphrodite has met several men who she has felt that she truly loved,  but she is unable to continue a relationship due to the nature of her blessing.  Also, throughout time Aphrodite and her sisters have been hunted by those who believe that her blessing is witchcraft, calling themselves the Brotherhood of Light.  Now, in Boston Aphrodite, who goes by Addy, is being hunted by the newest member of the Brotherhood, Steve.  Steve is being threatened by the Brotherhood that if he does not kills Addy his family will be destroyed.  Only Steve does not see any evil or malice in Addy, he sees something deeper, something that goes back thousands of years.


I absolutely loved the idea of the Gods and Goddesses still roaming the Earth completing their missions.  Aphrodite’s choice is a unique blend of mythology, history and suspense.  Aphrodite’s story was extremely interesting due to how her blessing had to be given.  For her, sex truly is power, the power to heal; and she has healed countless times over her years.  However, the Goddess of love can never truly love since the men will forget her after they are intimate; and, of course this is the one thing that Aphrodite wants the most.  I enjoyed being able to see Aphrodite’s work blended into history in Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Cypress , Persepolis and  then Versailles 1789 During the March of Versailles  and Paris 1944 during World War II.  Adventure, suspense and intrigue kicks in full gear as Steve and the Brotherhood are introduced.  I knew there was something special about Steve right away, but I could have never guessed the connection that he and Aphrodite share.  A sweet ending wraps up Aphrodite’s story and I cannot wait to read more about her sisters in upcoming Goddess Diaries. 


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.