Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Boo!

It's that time of year where it should be cooler (not) and it is a good excuse to have those mini candy bars on hand in case you get trick or treaters. We don't get trick or treaters much anymore. The neighborhood has grown up. But we wouldn't want to get caught without...just in case, right? And it is time for everything pumpkin. My friend Shirley just filled me in on all kinds of things that are out with pumpkin flavor right now - pumpkin flavored breakfast cereals, pumpkin flavored English muffins and I even saw pumpkin flavored premade popcorn. Who would have thought?

Just about to the end of my Mystery Book Club book for the month, and I will be telling you about that soon. But I participated in an online Book Spooktacular recently and found out about several authors that I wasn't familiar with and their books. Most of them write some books with Halloween themes. I thought I would share some of their books with you. I haven't been able to check in on the event for all of the featured authors. I am sure they all have good books.

First, the hostess of the event is Kathi Daley. She writes the Zoe Donovan series. Several are holiday themed including Halloween. Zoe is an Animal Rehab and Location Officer and features her dog, Charlie. Oh and they include recipes. I always try a recipe or two from books that have recipes and they are usually pretty good.

The first in the series is Halloween Hijinks. 

"Amid a backdrop of zombies on the run and Halloween festivities, animal control officer Zoe Donovan is faced with losing something she loves in order to save someone she loves when she finds a dead body in the basement of a haunted house just two days before Halloween. With the help of her best friends, Levi and Ellie, and her dog Charlie, she delves into a mystery as complex and multilayered as the feelings she develops for her ex-nemesis Zak Zimmerman. Halloween Hijinks is the perfect recipe, combining holiday fun with a touch of humor, a pinch of romance, and a dollop of murder."

Halloween Hijinks (Zoe Donovan Mystery, #1)

Haunted Hamlet and Costume Catastrophe are two other Halloween themed books by Kathi. She writes lot of other books too. Check out her website.

http://www.cozy-mystery.com/kathi-daley.html

Another author that is featured at the Spooktacular is Krista Davis. I have read a couple of her Domestic Diva books and enjoyed them.

The fifth book in the series is The Diva Haunts the House.
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"Domestic diva Sophie Winston is getting into the Halloween spirit- her decorations for a community haunted house are so good, it's scary. Not to be outdone, rival domestic diva Natasha is throwing a spooktacular Halloween party at her house. But when Sophie arrives, she discovers one of Natasha's guests dead in a Halloween display, and a pale, fanged partygoer fleeing the scene.Could the killer be a real vampire-the same one rumored to have lived in Sophie's haunted house back when it was a boardinghouse? Good thing a domestic diva never runs out of garlic."

Second in her Paws and Claws series is The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer. How cute is that?
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"Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States, is gearing up for a howling good Halloween—until a spooky murder shakes the town to its core . . .

Holly Miller doesn’t believe in spirits, but the Sugar Maple Inn is filled with guests who do. The TV series in development, Apparition Apprehenders, has descended on Wagtail’s annual Halloween festivities to investigate supernatural local legends, and Holly has her hands full showing the ghost hunters a scary-fun time.

But the frights turn real when Holly’s Jack Russell, Trixie, and kitten, Twinkletoes, find a young woman drowned in the Wagtail Springs Hotel’s bathhouse—the spot of the town’s most infamous haunting. The crime scene is eerily similar to the creepy legend, convincing Holly that the death wasn’t just accidental. Now she’ll have to race to catch a flesh-and-blood killer—before someone else in town gives up the ghost."


Here is Krista's website: http://www.kristadavis.com/domestic-diva-mysteries/books.html

Another featured author was Melanie Jackson. I have not read any of her many books, since I was just introduced to her, but several of her series appeal to me. The Pumpkin Thief is the 2nd in the Chloe Boston series.

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"Chloe Boston, meter maid and unofficial sleuth of the Hope Falls Police Department, is on the trail of the Halloween Killer and a second troublesome criminal, the Pumpkin Thief, who has robbed every pumpkin patch in town. Aided by her dog and new boyfriend, Chloe is closing in on Hope Falls public enemies 1 and 2."

Melanie also collect vintage pictures. Here is one she posted for Halloween.


Melanie writes several different genres and different mysteries. Here is her website: http://www.melaniejackson.com/mystery-series-menu/

Lets not forget about the Onyx Webb series, which is like Halloween all year 'round. Book 7 is coming out Monday, Oct. 31. How appropriate.

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The series is written by husband and wife, Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz.

"Delectably Creepy. Gripping. Fascinating.
Onyx Webb is a multi-genre mash-up that combines supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. So the story... Onyx Webb is a ghost. Billionaire playboy Koda Mulvaney becomes obsessed with a girl he sees inside a mirror. Juniper Cole is on her way to the prom and... well, we don't want to spoil anything - we've probably told you too much already. How all these events are related is part of the mystery that is, Onyx Webb.

The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times. The billionaire Mulvaney family, piano prodigy Juniper Cole and her brother Quinn, paranormal show hosts Cryer and Fudge, and a few others make up the core of the series. Written like a book version of a supernatural soap opera (think: American Horror Story) each character’s story moves forward with most every episode.

It may appear that the characters are entirely unrelated and yet episode by episode, the connections will become clearer. Like being an inch away from a spider web, with each book, the web will move further and further away revealing the full story of every character and most importantly, the stunning conclusion for Onyx Webb herself."


I have read all of these books. It reads and is written like a soap opera, so they are really one sitting reads.

Here is their website: http://onyxwebb.com/

That is just a few Halloween books. There are many, many more. Enjoy!





Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Hauting of Delavere Hall

Just finished a good book to put you in the Halloween spirit.

The Haunting of Delavere Hall by Amy Flint

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Isn't the cover great? Amy designs the covers of the books in this series. This is the second in the Porter Biggleswade series. (see Shadows in the Mist review for a peek into book one).

"Paranormal investigator Dr. Porter Biggleswade is settling into her new life in York. While pensioners caught up in a ghostly battle, and civil war soldiers haunting a local pub are keeping her busy, a call from a friend takes her to a crumbling estate on the Yorkshire coast. Rumours are rife at Delavere Hall, with monks and a murder at the heart of them. Secret rooms, hidden passages,  sightings of ghostly monks and the Grey Lady fuel the intrigue. Porter agrees to investigate and discovers more than she bargained for."

I am loving this series with Porter Biggleswade. In this book, Porter is hired by her friend Audrey who is set to inherit Delavere Hall. Audrey and her Aunt Harriet are experiencing supernatural phenomena at the Hall; monks wandering through the house, sounds of someone crying, "the Grey Lady", and cold spots. Audrey would like to know what exactly is going on before she inherits the Hall. Porter and her intern from PIU (Paranormal Investigation Unit) set up their equipment and spend a few nights there on and off. While the ghost hunting equipment does it work, Porter and Clarice also check out a local pub that seems to have a ghost only present when the owners sister is there. Edward Tedry is still trying to befriend Porter. Porter's parents are still on the outs and putting Porter in the middle.  Professor Dawley-Ellington continues searching for the Palette of Isis.
What I especially like about both Shadows in the Mist and The Haunting of Delavere Hall, are the central "ghosts" in both books are historical figures. Shadows in the Mist featured the Bronte sisters. I won't tell you the name of the main ghost in the second book since that is part of the mystery to be solved. I also enjoy Porter's sense of humor.

No this is not like that t.v. Ghost Hunters. Let me know when they find Al Capone.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.



Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale was our Mystery Book Club selection for October and Halloween.
Isn't this a great cover? I loved the book itself. The pages are heavy, aged looking and rough cut, like an old book. Just like the books in the cover.


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Here is what it is about:

"Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise — she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.

Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story.

Both women will have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets... and the ghosts that haunt them still."


I really liked this book. But then, my favorite books way back were gothic mysteries. 

It is a mystery set in fairly modern times. 20th century anyhow, but we don't really know the year. Old spooky house, ghostly sightings, mysterious people. The back story of the family history is "icky" but sets the tone. The book reminded me of Wuthering Heights in that it is dark; the weather is bad, the house is cold, the characters are dark and melancholy, some downright disturbed.
We had a pretty lively discussion at the book club about it. Some people liked it and read it pretty quickly like I did. Some people didn't like it. Those that liked it seemed that they like gothic type mysteries set in the English countryside. Some, like me, thought the ending was neat and tidy and all wrapped up, until one person suggested that maybe the main character wasn't who we all thought she was. Hmmm. So we tousled with that for awhile too.
The book has been made into a movie in Britain starring Vanessa Redgrave. You can purchase the movie on Amazon but it is not available to watch on Amazon, Netflix etc. here.
I thought the author was interesting too. This is her first published book. She has one other, stand alone. She studied French literature and taught English in France. She left her career in teaching to write.
I found it to be a page turner and really enjoyed it.