WHO

WHO'S COMING DOWN YOUR CHIMNEY TONIGHT?




Charles Stross, "Overtime"

2018: CTHULHU FOR CHRISTMAS

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Review: Article 15: A Griffith Crowe Adventure

Article 15: A Griffith Crowe Adventure Article 15: A Griffith Crowe Adventure by M.T. Bass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Half-Arapaho Wyoming ranchowner Griffin Crowe sidelines as a troubleshooter for a hogh-powered Chicago law firm. Usually success is expected, but his newest cade entangles him with an unstoppable femme fatale and vastly more trouble than he could have imagined.

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Review: Molten Mud Murder

Molten Mud Murder Molten Mud Murder by Sara E. Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MOLTEN MUD MURDER is an engrossing murder mystery set in beautifully scenic New Zealand's North Island. At once a police procedural, a narrative of forensics, a romantic suspense, and an unfolding mystery set against a backdrop of divergent cultures and an often ugly history, this novel kept me riveted. Forensic odontologist Alexa Glock is a strong protagonist, despite her tragic past, determined to persevere in unraveling this puzzling case. I hope her adventures (North Carolinian temporarily transplanted to New Zealand) take root and prosper in sequels.


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Friday, October 18, 2019

Review: Pete the Pig Gets Picked On

Pete the Pig Gets Picked On Pete the Pig Gets Picked On by Lindsey Coker Luckey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cheers for Pete, who finds his "differentness" is a useful trait to help himself and many others. Engaging rhyme and illustrations power a tale for children with a great lesson.

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Review: Dragon's Fury

Dragon's Fury Dragon's Fury by Michael Gordon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wise pesson, capably presented. No bad guys here: a dragon friend and a boy, both learning good ways of coping with frustration. Lovely illustrations.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Review: Ghosters 3 Secrets of the Bloody Tower

Ghosters 3 Secrets of the Bloody Tower Ghosters 3 Secrets of the Bloody Tower by Diana Corbitt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I, too, have coulrophobia and couldn't stay in the Thousand Clowns Motel (or anywhere within sight!) But like our intrepid ghost "detectives," I too would adore visiting London and touring the thirteen components of the Tower of London. Kerry, Theresa, Joey, and Kerry's Gran have an extra special encounter coming: the spirits of the two princes, nephews of Richard III, disappeared, and from the beginning, presumed murdered. And the exciting third installment of the Ghosters adventures is afoot!

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Review: Molly: The True Story of the Amazing Dog Who Rescues Cats

Molly: The True Story of the Amazing Dog Who Rescues Cats Molly: The True Story of the Amazing Dog Who Rescues Cats by Colin Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From early childhood, we are taught that felines and canines never ever mix. Well, in the UK, the "star" of UK Pet Detectives, an adorable cocker spaniel named Molly, proves the exception to the rule. Along with her handler Colin Butcher , formerly in the Royal Navy and a long-time police officer, Molly has participated in over 100 searches with a high success rate.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Review: Evil Sushi

Evil Sushi Evil Sushi by C.A. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In addition to its creatively unexpected title, EVIL SUSHI is that rare event, Horror with Heart. I really warmed up to the characters (most of them) who are really just small-town good guys trying to survive in a world where "scarce resources" almost means "nonexistent," who still endeavor to provide for their families and loved ones, and help friends. (The setting is not too far in the future.) Corporate fishing (read depth charges) has exploded a deep-sea rift and two village fishermen are benefitting from an inexplicable resultant catch. But what's too good to be true often is, and between a greedy restaurant chain owner, govermental agencies, and corporations, the fishermen are between a virtual rock and a hard place. But most damaging and dangerous is what else lurks beyond the new rift. Absorbing Marine Horror.


Also read for the Canadian Challenge.

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Review: Evil Sushi

Evil Sushi Evil Sushi by C.A. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In addition to its creatively unexpected title, EVIL SUSHI is that rare event, Horror with Heart. I really warmed up to the characters (most of them) who are really just small-town good guys trying to survive in a world where "scarce resources" almost means "nonexistent," who still endeavor to provide for their families and loved ones, and help friends. (The setting is not too far in the future.) Corporate fishing (read depth charges) has exploded a deep-sea rift and two village fishermen are benefitting from an inexplicable resultant catch. But what's too good to be true often is, and between a greedy restaurant chain owner, govermental agencies, and corporations, the fishermen are between a virtual rock and a hard place. But most damaging and dangerous is what else lurks beyond the new rift. Absorbing Marine Horror.


Also read for the Canadian Challenge.

View all my reviews

Review: Evil Sushi

Evil Sushi Evil Sushi by C.A. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In addition to its creatively unexpected title, EVIL SUSHI is that rare event, Horror with Heart. I really warmed up to the characters (most of them) who are really just small-town good guys trying to survive in a world where "scarce resources" almost means "nonexistent," who still endeavor to provide for their families and loved ones, and help friends. (The setting is not too far in the future.) Corporate fishing (read depth charges) has exploded a deep-sea rift and two village fishermen are benefitting from an inexplicable resultant catch. But what's too good to be true often is, and between a greedy restaurant chain owner, govermental agencies, and corporations, the fishermen are between a virtual rock and a hard place. But most damaging and dangerous is what else lurks beyond the new rift. Absorbing Marine Horror.


Also read for the Canadian Challenge.

View all my reviews

Review: Evil Sushi

Evil Sushi Evil Sushi by C.A. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In addition to its creatively unexpected title, EVIL SUSHI is that rare event, Horror with Heart. I really warmed up to the characters (most of them) who are really just small-town good guys trying to survive in a world where "scarce resources" almost means "nonexistent," who still endeavor to provide for their families and loved ones, and help friends. (The setting is not too far in the future.) Corporate fishing (read depth charges) has exploded a deep-sea rift and two village fishermen are benefitting from an inexplicable resultant catch. But what's too good to be true often is, and between a greedy restaurant chain owner, govermental agencies, and corporations, the fishermen are between a virtual rock and a hard place. But most damaging and dangerous is what else lurks beyond the new rift. Absorbing Marine Horror.


Also read for the Canadian Challenge.

View all my reviews

Review: Evil Sushi

Evil Sushi Evil Sushi by C.A. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In addition to its creatively unexpected title, EVIL SUSHI is that rare event, Horror with Heart. I really warmed up to the characters (most of them) who are really just small-town good guys trying to survive in a world where "scarce resources" almost means "nonexistent," who still endeavor to provide for their families and loved ones, and help friends. (The setting is not too far in the future.) Corporate fishing (read depth charges) has exploded a deep-sea rift and two village fishermen are benefitting from an inexplicable resultant catch. But what's too good to be true often is, and between a greedy restaurant chain owner, govermental agencies, and corporations, the fishermen are between a virtual rock and a hard place. But most damaging and dangerous is what else lurks beyond the new rift. Absorbing Marine Horror.


Also read for the Canadian Challenge.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Review: Short Horror Stories Vol. 1: Horror Short Stories Collection with Scary Ghosts, Paranormal & Supernatural Monsters

Short Horror Stories Vol. 1: Horror Short Stories Collection with Scary Ghosts, Paranormal & Supernatural Monsters Short Horror Stories Vol. 1: Horror Short Stories Collection with Scary Ghosts, Paranormal & Supernatural Monsters by Scare Street
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A trio of horror shorts to delight the discerning horror aficionado, featuring implacable and inescapable horror in differing, seemingly practical and everyday venues. The first story, my favorite, has some resonances of "Ring" and a "gift" that keeps on giving, but also some poetic justice. In the second, a compassionate Catholic priest unfortunately encounters horror beyond his worldview (no poetic justice here). In the third offering (delightfully tongue in cheek), a very wealthy and self-centered widow encounters the long arm of poetic justice.

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Review: SHORT HORROR STORIES VOL. 1 _ SCARE STREET

A trio of horror shorts to delight the discerning horror aficionado, featuring implacable and inescapable horror in differing, seemingly practical and everyday venues. The first story, my favorite, has some resonances of "Ring" and a "gift" that keeps on giving, but also some poetic justice. In the second, a compassionate Catholic priest unfortunately encounters horror beyond his worldview (no poetic justice here). In the third offering (delightfully tongue in cheek), a very wealthy and self-centered widow encounters the long arm of poetic justice.

(Release Oct. 16)


Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: If Only I Could Tell You

If Only I Could Tell You If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Over how many decades can a covert family secret divide sisters? It's been 28 years for sisters Jess and Lily, but now that their mother Audrey has terminal cancer, and Lily's hotshot lawyer husband is off to the States for six months (maybe more), surely it's time to clear the decks, air the family laundry, expose all the secrets. Isn't it?


Narrated from triple points of view: Audrey, Jess, Lily, this psychological evocation set in London will resonate with fans of Lisa Jewell and Paula Hawkins, any reader who wishes a clearer understanding of Family, or who yearns for Second Chances.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Review: FINDING MIRANDA: Minokee Mysteries, Book One

FINDING MIRANDA: Minokee Mysteries, Book One FINDING MIRANDA: Minokee Mysteries, Book One by Iris Chacon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FINDING MIRANDA is Book 1 of the MINOKEE MYSTERIES, set in Little Cypress Forest in North Central Florida, in a tiny insular community, Minokee. No real estate sales, just lifetime living and inheritance. No businesses.


It's problematical not to love a novel featuring a dog, a librarian, a sweet-hearted blind guy, and lots of suspense leavened with gentle humour. Fortunately I really enjoyed the story, and am gleefully anticipating the next (THE MAMMOTH MURDERS, release Nov. 1)

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Review: The Furies

The Furies The Furies by Katie Lowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE FURIES is a novel of deeply character driven literary fiction, turning on the twin cruxes of Sisterhood and "female rage." It stars several charismatic demagogues, including Robin, the girl whose friendship narrator Violet so strives for (to the point of mutating her character) and cherishes; Annabel, teacher of Aesthetics and a perennial "secret" girls' class, inciting female rage and revenge; and the not-quite-appropriate Dean of Students. Elm Hollow, the private girls' school in a small seaside English community, is the inheritor of myth and history, including an undercurrent of occult study and practice so appealing to a certain segment of the students.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Review: The Dark Stuff

The Dark Stuff The Dark Stuff by Paul Seiple
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Which is worse, human evil or Supernatural elements? Human cupidity, concupiscence, and rage, or demonic manifestations? Readers of THE DARK STUFF will have a plethora of opportunities to ponder these questions, as the nature of demonic infestation dances a fine line with evil that is purely of human conception. This novel of Supernatural Horror will really appeal to those who consider the Spirit Board (Ouija) not a toy, but a tool of the demonic and an open invitation to Evil.


I quite readily emphasized with protagonist Daniel; he really tries. Unlike a few of the other characters! Daniel recognizes his foibles and strives to overcome. In fact, his dedication is practically unending; many individuals would have given up long before. The outcome abd denouement were unexpected, but ultimately satisfying in terms of poetic justice. (Don't read ahead!)

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Review: Trail of the Hana K'ilo

Trail of the Hana K'ilo Trail of the Hana K'ilo by Channing Whitaker
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first novel in the Skeptic Detective Series, ONE NIGHT AT THE DRAKE MANSION, but TRAIL OF THE HANA K'ILO I enjoyed a thousand times more. Maybe it was the Alaskan setting, maybe the cryptozoology, maybe (again) it was the tension between Skeptic Science and True Believers (this time in cryptids). In any event, I gleefully devoured this one and am scanning the horizon for the next. Harlan Holt, Skeptic Detective, rocks.

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Review: One Night in Drake Mansion

One Night in Drake Mansion One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First in the Skeptic Detective Series, our protagonist is Ph.D. candidate Harlan Holt, a member of Science, Magicians, Skeptics Foundation and anthropology graduate student. Harlan is an endearing and personable young man with a scientific frame of mind. Together with a young woman about to enter medical school, an aspiring actress, a paranormal investigator and a medium, he spends one night in a mansion abandoned for 80 years after the disappearances of all five of the family plus a well-known magician.


Between spooky occurrences and the unfolding of a historical megalomania, the reader is kept engrossed. Perhaps best is the ongoing balance between Science, as represented by skeptic Harlan, and paranormal believers, in the psychic medium and the paranormal investigator. The denouement is stunning.

View all my reviews

Review: One Night in Drake Mansion

One Night in Drake Mansion One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First in the Skeptic Detective Series, our protagonist is Ph.D. candidate Harlan Holt, a member of Science, Magicians, Skeptics Foundation and anthropology graduate student. Harlan is an endearing and personable young man with a scientific frame of mind. Together with a young woman about to enter medical school, an aspiring actress, a paranormal investigator and a medium, he spends one night in a mansion abandoned for 80 years after the disappearances of all five of the family plus a well-known magician.


Between spooky occurrences and the unfolding of a historical megalomania, the reader is kept engrossed. Perhaps best is the ongoing balance between Science, as represented by skeptic Harlan, and paranormal believers, in the psychic medium and the paranormal investigator. The denouement is stunning.

View all my reviews

Review: One Night in Drake Mansion

One Night in Drake Mansion One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First in the Skeptic Detective Series, our protagonist is Ph.D. candidate Harlan Holt, a member of Science, Magicians, Skeptics Foundation and anthropology graduate student. Harlan is an endearing and personable young man with a scientific frame of mind. Together with a young woman about to enter medical school, an aspiring actress, a paranormal investigator and a medium, he spends one night in a mansion abandoned for 80 years after the disappearances of all five of the family plus a well-known magician.


Between spooky occurrences and the unfolding of a historical megalomania, the reader is kept engrossed. Perhaps best is the ongoing balance between Science, as represented by skeptic Harlan, and paranormal believers, in the psychic medium and the paranormal investigator. The denouement is stunning.

View all my reviews

Review: One Night in Drake Mansion

One Night in Drake Mansion One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First in the Skeptic Detective Series, our protagonist is Ph.D. candidate Harlan Holt, a member of Science, Magicians, Skeptics Foundation and anthropology graduate student. Harlan is an endearing and personable young man with a scientific frame of mind. Together with a young woman about to enter medical school, an aspiring actress, a paranormal investigator and a medium, he spends one night in a mansion abandoned for 80 years after the disappearances of all five of the family plus a well-known magician.


Between spooky occurrences and the unfolding of a historical megalomania, the reader is kept engrossed. Perhaps best is the ongoing balance between Science, as represented by skeptic Harlan, and paranormal believers, in the psychic medium and the paranormal investigator. The denouement is stunning.

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Review: The Devil’s Due

The Devil’s Due The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Bonnie MacBird delightfully leavens her very serious subjects (the Great Detective, serial killing, yellow journalism, mob hysteria, anarchy, terrorist bombings, insanity) with gentle wry humour in the third of her Sherlock Holmes series.


The serial murders of wealthy noted philanthropists and the ongoing terrorist bombings by anarchists (and suspected French terrorists), in tandem with a new Police Commissioner entirely opposed to "amateur investigators" (read Sherlock Holmes) and a yellow muck-raking journalist determined to destroy Holmes' reputation, keep Holmes and devoted literal-thinking sidekick Dr. Watson in a chaotic, and dangerous, uproar.

View all my reviews

Review: The Devil’s Due

The Devil’s Due The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Bonnie MacBird delightfully leavens her very serious subjects (the Great Detective, serial killing, yellow journalism, mob hysteria, anarchy, terrorist bombings, insanity) with gentle wry humour in the third of her Sherlock Holmes series.


The serial murders of wealthy noted philanthropists and the ongoing terrorist bombings by anarchists (and suspected French terrorists), in tandem with a new Police Commissioner entirely opposed to "amateur investigators" (read Sherlock Holmes) and a yellow muck-raking journalist determined to destroy Holmes' reputation, keep Holmes and devoted literal-thinking sidekick Dr. Watson in a chaotic, and dangerous, uproar.

View all my reviews

Review: The Devil’s Due

The Devil’s Due The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Bonnie MacBird delightfully leavens her very serious subjects (the Great Detective, serial killing, yellow journalism, mob hysteria, anarchy, terrorist bombings, insanity) with gentle wry humour in the third of her Sherlock Holmes series.


The serial murders of wealthy noted philanthropists and the ongoing terrorist bombings by anarchists (and suspected French terrorists), in tandem with a new Police Commissioner entirely opposed to "amateur investigators" (read Sherlock Holmes) and a yellow muck-raking journalist determined to destroy Holmes' reputation, keep Holmes and devoted literal-thinking sidekick Dr. Watson in a chaotic, and dangerous, uproar.

View all my reviews

Review: The Devil’s Due

The Devil’s Due The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Bonnie MacBird delightfully leavens her very serious subjects (the Great Detective, serial killing, yellow journalism, mob hysteria, anarchy, terrorist bombings, insanity) with gentle wry humour in the third of her Sherlock Holmes series.


The serial murders of wealthy noted philanthropists and the ongoing terrorist bombings by anarchists (and suspected French terrorists), in tandem with a new Police Commissioner entirely opposed to "amateur investigators" (read Sherlock Holmes) and a yellow muck-raking journalist determined to destroy Holmes' reputation, keep Holmes and devoted literal-thinking sidekick Dr. Watson in a chaotic, and dangerous, uproar.

View all my reviews

Review: The Devil’s Due

The Devil’s Due The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Bonnie MacBird delightfully leavens her very serious subjects (the Great Detective, serial killing, yellow journalism, mob hysteria, anarchy, terrorist bombings, insanity) with gentle wry humour in the third of her Sherlock Holmes series.


The serial murders of wealthy noted philanthropists and the ongoing terrorist bombings by anarchists (and suspected French terrorists), in tandem with a new Police Commissioner entirely opposed to "amateur investigators" (read Sherlock Holmes) and a yellow muck-raking journalist determined to destroy Holmes' reputation, keep Holmes and devoted literal-thinking sidekick Dr. Watson in a chaotic, and dangerous, uproar.

View all my reviews

Review: The Devil's End

The Devil's End The Devil's End by D.A. Fowler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Page-turning Horror, adolescent angst gone vicious, coming of age into a world of madness, Witch Hunting, Satanism, Demonic-Darkness-is-about-to-cover-the-Earth; plus one of the funkiest Denouements I've ever encountered: I was riveted. Not too many characters I liked, though there were a couple; but even jerks don't deserve all this. A contemporary version of the Witch craze of the 16th and 17th centuries, only now there's good reason; sometimes when there is suspicion there are grounds for it. A plethora of extreme gore and violence (including children and animals and certain aberrant perversions), so if particularly sensitive, proceed with caution. If extreme horror doesn't disturb, continue on. THE DEVIL'S END is highly suspenseful and the tension is rampant. And that ending!!

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Review: The Secret of Cold Hill

The Secret of Cold Hill The Secret of Cold Hill by Peter James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I read THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL by Peter James in August, I was absolutely ravenous for the Cold Hill story to continue. I could not get enough of the completely implacable and inescapable horrors of this very special, nominally quiet, corner of East Sussex, England. Fortunately THE SECRET OF COLD HILL (HOUSE ON COLD HILL BOOK 2) released yesterday (October 3), so I devoured more delicious terror, more food for nightmares and "What if" ponderings, more internal shouts of "Don't buy that house!" and more "Oh those poor tragic characters!!" How scrumptious! If I am ever stranded in a snowstorm I could gleefully reread both Cold Hill books and once again, scare myself silly.
I totally recommend both books in this series.

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Review: Doves & Crows

Doves & Crows Doves & Crows by M.J.C Heathcote
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Combining supernatural or paranormal elements with human evil must be challenging, but author M. J. C. Heathcote manages admirably, intertwining evil villains, ghosts, telekinesis, paranormal mind control, coming of age (both positive and negative), spirit possession, abuse, stalking, mental illness. There's also quite a plethora of gore and violence, which I must point out, to both humans and animals--be forewarned. I also suggest that certain of these villains will not rest easy in your mind--not rest at all, and may well deliver nightmares.

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Review: The Exterminator: (a Mike Delaney action crime & mystery thriller)

The Exterminator: (a Mike Delaney action crime & mystery thriller) The Exterminator: (a Mike Delaney action crime & mystery thriller) by David Callinan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A potent reader's hook launches Mike Delaney, former assassin and currently member of an investigative website, into a cunningly concealed conspiracy-for-change that is literally global in scope and figuratively earth-shaking. Now that he "knows too much," he then becomes a target for assassination himself.

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Review: Taylor's End

Taylor's End Taylor's End by N.H. Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pity the tiny community of Taylor's End, bucolic, peaceful, stultifying--until now. A new player has come to town, bringing horror implacable.


A lonely runaway, missing memories, shouldn't create much of a flap in this community. But young Ella is no ordinary runaway, and by the end of the story, my hair stood on end, goosebumps rippled, and I pondered, "What if this could really happen?"


Heaping helpings of heavy-duty gore, violence, extreme horror, and obscenity season a very rapidly paced tale of a quiet town suddenly cast into uncountable chaos.

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Tour_DARK LORD CLEMENTINE



Read An Excerpt!:





?
NOT. CHIPPING.



Clementine Morcerous awoke one morning to discover that her father had no nose.
This was not exactly unexpected. Several mornings previously, the Dark Lord Elithor Morcerous had greeted her with slightly less nose than usual, and a bit of a weaker chin. The difference was so small that Clementine, who was quite small herself, barely noticed it. She did notice something different about him—he was her father, after all—but she thought perhaps he had gotten a rather unflattering haircut.
An unflattering haircut could not explain the next few days, however, as the Dark Lord Elithor’s nose became skinnier and skinnier, and his chin weaker and weaker. It

1

Read my Review!:



            5 Stars!


If I could read epic fantasy, whether MG, YA/NA, or Adult, as enthralling as this utterly delightful MG DARK LORD CLEMENTINE, I would delightfully engage in reading Fantasy every day. What a joy is the irrepressible, grandly determined, feisty "Empress of Snark" (my phrase) Clementine, only child and sole heir of the current Dark Lord of Castle Brack. Even in childhood, she is strong in character and impetus, creative, imaginative, and forward-thinking. I so adored devouring her story!

Review: The Ridge

The Ridge The Ridge by John Rector
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of my fastest one-session reads, and I adored it. I recommend it to anyone who loved Robert Jackson Bennett's AMERICAN ELSEWHERE , Jack Finney's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, or Ira Levin's THE STEPFORD WIVES, all of which peeled the veneer from Suburbia. THE RIDGE rocks, with utmost tension, suspense, fear--and yes, Conspiracy Theorists will devour it.


Welcome to Willow Ridge, home of The Institute. You'll soon be singing the lyrics to "Hotel California."

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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Review: Unfollow Me: A Novel

Unfollow Me: A Novel Unfollow Me: A Novel by Charlotte Duckworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had to work at it to find characters with whom I could empathize, although nonetheless I enjoyed the novel. A major reason for that is the constant twists upending my assumptions and mistaken conclusions practically on every page. Also it was watching the "train wreck" of two of the characters over two decades: both self-driven obsessive Narcissists lacking either moral value or character gumption. Like magnets, they continually attracted then repelled each other, and watching them was exactly like viewing a train derailment: the suspense was in wondering who this time would get hurt (not these two) and how badly.

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Review: The Haunting of Crow House

The Haunting of Crow House The Haunting of Crow House by A.W. James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been devouring Haunted House stories in great proliferation for over 6 decades, and let's face it: the trope has been "done to death." (Pun intentional) But: it's still possible to carry it off winningly, imaginatively, and frighteningly. (Examples: Susan Hill's THE WOMAN IN BLACK and Peter James' THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL.) THE HAUNTING OF CROW HOUSE similarly affected me. The author utilizes quite a variety of tropes--certainly more than I expected--and weaves them in expertly. Yes, frightening; and also presenting a variety of empathetic characters.
I found it a champion read all around, and worth re-reading.

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Review: Monster on the Moors

Monster on the Moors Monster on the Moors by Top Publications
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MONSTER ON THE MOOR is an exciting YA mystery set in England, the sequel to THE LOST TREASURE. Both star Bobby Holmes, whose mother is a Scotland Yard Special Investigator. Bobby has Second Sight--clairvoyance--which isn't always perfectly revelatory. Bobby, cousin Brenda and her two friends Stevie and Michael in the U.S., find their vacation on the North Yorkshire Moors both enlightening and dangerous as they encounter both a shapeshifter and sorcery.

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Review: One by One

One by One One by One by D.W. Gillespie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I foresee nightmares. I really shouldn't have read this at night.


It seemed so simple: a big old isolated house in the woods, selling at a ridiculously low price. Sure, the house was an architectural oddity, a little unsettling. Reminiscent in a mild fashion of Lovecraftian non-Euclidean geometry. But not haunted. Just....odd.


Until ten-year-old Alice uncovers the stick-figure painting in the hall. Family members change. Then the cat--. But it's also subtle until about two-thirds of the way in: then my hair stood on end, my eyes bugged out, goosebumps covered me from head to.toe, nightmares entrenched themselves...no, no longer subtle at all.

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Review: Preacher Sam

Preacher Sam Preacher Sam by Cassondra Windwalker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this novel to be exceptionally intriguing, delving deep into emotional states, relationships, and exhibiting surprising psychological revelations and character evolutions. I also must add that the eventual denouement did disturb my sleep and keep me awake, churning "Why?"s and "How could?"s and "What will happen now?"s through my overactive brain. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book very much and only hope our faith-driven, penitential, overanalytical protagonist Sam will reappear in a subsequent offering, because I definitely warmed up to Sam, his baker-bookseller sister Dani, her seven-year-old son Parker, Sam's former wife (a Hospice nurse), and new pastor Rufus Ffaukes.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS is a stunner! If my progress through the novel were captured in animation, my head would be twitching back and forth and quite frequently spinning. So convoluted that the book's cover image should be the new illustration for that term!


The novel is fascinating, horrifying, startling, mysterious, expansive, illuminating. I couldn't move my eyes from the page. I felt compelled to read, and to read to completion. I can't recommend THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS highly enough.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Review: Innocence Lost

Innocence Lost Innocence Lost by Sherilyn Decter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First in THE BOOTLEGGERS CHRONICLES, INNOCENCE LOST is a lyrical fictional examination of Philadelphia during the Prohibition Era, the 1920's. The frisson of danger and illegality was all part of the fun; till danger became deadly. There was plenty of money to be acquired, and where wealth is possible, human greed is right at hand, irregardless.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Review: Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths

Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths by Vicki-Ann Bush
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A really enjoyable and fascinating YA Paranormal Mystery, strongly grounded in family, tradition, heritage, and Italian culture (and cuisine). The story also interweaves local heritage and family ties, and some terribly spooky and horrifying elements--both paranormal and human evil. Quite a compelling and fascinating read, eliciting empathy for the characters throughout.

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Review: The Bigfoot Murders

The Bigfoot Murders The Bigfoot Murders by Megan Gaudino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE BIGFOOT MURDERS is a complex and convoluted YA mystery, so layered with puzzles and mystery that at times I wanted to shout, "What is really true here?" Needless to say I was quite absorbed throughout. I identified with protagonist Fiona and also with Archie, a strong secondary character. The backdrop plotlines were strong and foundational, making for a compelling reading experience.

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Review: To Summon A Hellcat: A Supernatural Thriller

To Summon A Hellcat: A Supernatural Thriller To Summon A Hellcat: A Supernatural Thriller by R.P. Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Occult horror by the author of DEAD GOD OF HOLDREDGE VALLEY. A tiny mining community in the mountains of West Virginia will never be the same, as a prideful Vietnam vet turned mayor crosses purposes with a prideful new pastor of the only church in town, and controlling the chaos is a demon cat summoned by a mistaken rite resulting in unintended blood sacrifice. The mayor is the first-person unreliable narrator.

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Review: The Water Dancer: A Novel

The Water Dancer: A Novel The Water Dancer: A Novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seldom have I encountered a book so lyrically beautiful, so breathtakingly compelling, so delineating of "both sides of the story," the lives and travails of both "the Tasked" (slaves) and the privileged planter class of pre-Civil War Virginia. Heartwrenching and heartpounding, there is yet a greater joy in store as the novel unfurls. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates is now a member of my personal pantheon of awe-inspiring geniuses, along with the late Stephen Hawking, Tim Powers, John Connolly, and Victor LaValle.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Review: The Girl Who Grew Nasty Things

The Girl Who Grew Nasty Things The Girl Who Grew Nasty Things by Wil Mara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maddie Dragonette is one mean girl. It's mot just adolescent angst siffusing her very nature, it's anger, rage, and hatred. Maddie is a barely suppressed volcano if rage. She's also Narcissistic and not very self-aware of her own limitations. She would have bern successful as a bloodthirsty pirate or a successful CEO. However, Maddie thinks whatever she wants she must have, and in her late grandmother's greenhouse are plants no one's ever heard of....A brilliantly cautionary tale!

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Review: A Rock and a Hard Place: An American Geologist's Adventures in Africa

A Rock and a Hard Place: An American Geologist's Adventures in Africa A Rock and a Hard Place: An American Geologist's Adventures in Africa by George Zelt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Delightfully adventurous, reading George Zelt's nonfiction narrative of his decades in geology and petrology is akin to enjoying the wild adventures of his heroes, such as Mark Twain, Jules Verne, and Jack London. Mr. Zelt is well blessed with both the "stories to tell" and the talent and wit to express them well for the edification of readers, many of whom are "armchair travellers" enjoying vicariously.

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Review: The Stranger Inside

The Stranger Inside The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE STRANGER INSIDE is a compelling crafted and diligently researched suspense thriller about the consequences of trauma to the psyche, justice vs. mercy, and vigilantism.
Three twelve years old in an abduction years ago; two survived, but at what cost physically, psychologically, and psychically? Does the long dark night of the soul subsequent to horrific trauma ever cease? And is vigilantism an appropriate response when the justice system either overlooks, or fails?

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Review: Saving Buddy: The Heartwarming Story of a Very Special Rescue

Saving Buddy: The Heartwarming Story of a Very Special Rescue Saving Buddy: The Heartwarming Story of a Very Special Rescue by Nicola Owst
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh how this precious non-fiction narrative made me cry but also enthuse with joy! Buddy is a special animal indeed, and so too is his owner special. I very much resonated with her story of growing up mostly alone and how Buddy's abandonment, serious illness, and subsequent separation anxiety spoke to her heart and soul. Although some portions are painful to read, this book instilled a song in my heart.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Review: The Secret Santa

The Secret Santa The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE SECRET SANTA is a remarkably twisty tale with a surprisingly vicious villain (very sneaky and Machiavellian) and some feckless "innocents" and undeserving villains. This was a one-sitting read as I raced through breathlessly awaiting the unraveling of the puzzles.

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