Owl Manor: Abigail (Owl Manor: Book 2) by Zita Harrison

Publisher: Zealous Arts Publishing

Date of Publication: August 13th, 2020

Genre: Gothic, Horror

Series: Owl Manor

Owl Manor—The Dawning: Book 1 (review here)

Owl Manor—Abigail: Book 2

Owl Manor—The Final Stroke: Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Indigo

Goodreads Synopsis:

14 years ago, Owl Manor trembled with echoes of madness, mysterious deaths, and marauding owls.

In 1870, Abigail fled the horror of Owl Manor with her fiancé, Peter. But she carried with her the terrible notion that she is unworthy of love, instilled by her reluctant mother. If her own mother could not love her, how would anyone else?

She trusts no one and keeps herself buried in a crypt of churning emotions, away from the world. Deep inside, her soul screams at the thought of dying alone and unloved.

Now she is back. Abandoned at the altar, and with nowhere to go, she returns to Owl Manor. Thus begin the nightmares of violent rage and destruction, ghostly images.

What really happened 14 years ago?

Enter Victor, the complete opposite of Peter, yet frighteningly familiar at times.

And the owls circle the sky once again.


First Line:

The white owl sat on the gnarled limb of a tree, deep in the gloom of the woods, its ghostly feathers frothy in the cold.

Owl Manor—Abigail by Zita Harrison

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Owl Manor: The Dawning. So, picking up Owl Manor—Abigail was easy for me. And I am glad that I did because this book was just as fantastic as the first book.

Owl Manor—Abigail starts 14 years after the events of Owl Manor—The Dawning. Abigail, raised by the remaining staff at Owl Manor, is now a young lady. Living in New York City, she is engaged to Peter, an up-and-coming lawyer. But, when Peter gets cold feet and leaves Abigail at the altar, she returns to Denver and Owl Manor. After opening a long-term boarding house at the manor, Abigail is introduced to an exciting group of people. Victor, a boarder, has caught Abigail’s eye. But there is something very unsettling and something familiar about Victor. Abigail doesn’t have time to dwell on that because the owls have returned and, with them, murder. Who has riled the owls up, and what is that person’s connection to the house? Will Abigail, her staff, and her boarders survive a murderer in their midst?

Owl Manor—Abigail is the second book in the Owl Manor trilogy. While you don’t need to read book 1 to understand what is going on in this book, I do highly recommend reading it. The backstories of Abigail, Patty, and the house are quickly explained, but reading book one will give you some insight into what is going on in this book.

I felt terrible for Abigail in this book. Her mother’s neglect turned Abigail into a person who was afraid to open herself up. I was internally cursing Eva for what she did to that poor girl. I did think that Abigail was a little rude during the book. There were several scenes where she berated servants and her boarders for talking about ghosts. But there was a reason behind her doing it: Abigail didn’t want that gossip attached to her boardinghouse. She was trying to run a respectable business, and that gossip would turn people away. When Abigail started getting involved with Victor, I was happy. I felt that she could finally be happy. The author decimated that idea in the next chapter—all I could do after that was read and see where and how her story would end.

I thought Victor was an interesting character to read. I understood why he wanted to keep his identity a secret at first. He was trying to figure out who Abigail was and why she ended up with Rafe’s money and house. I think his feelings for Abigail were true in the beginning. But, as the book went on, his slow slide into madness was genuinely riveting. The author weaved his story around Rafe’s so that they became the same, and I loved it!!

The love triangle between Peter, Abigail, and Victor was interesting. I wasn’t a big fan of Peter when he showed up. The guy left Abigail at the altar and stewed for months afterward, trying to figure out his feelings. I was 100% team Victor until one of the servants overheard some interesting information at the local pub. At that point, I was content to sit back and see how the author would unfold this triangle. And I wasn’t disappointed!!

The storyline about the manor, what happened before, and how it was connected to the murders was amazingly written. That storyline was one of the main reasons why I couldn’t put the book down. I couldn’t figure out who the murderer was. I thought it was someone else until that person was killed. And when the author revealed who it was, I couldn’t believe it.

The horror angle of the book was well written. This book kept me up at night (after I finished it). I kept thinking about Owl Manor and how evil it was. I couldn’t understand why Abigail didn’t take the advice in the end. I know I would have.

There is a paranormal element to the book that is amazing. The author took your typical haunted house/possession and made it her own. The parallels between the first book were uncanny, and hearing Rafe asking for Eva (through Victor) was chilling. And it got even more chilling as the book went on.

I wasn’t surprised at the end of Owl Manor—Abigail. But I was surprised at who survived and how a specific person met his end. The way the author ended the book, I knew there was going to be a book 3, and I was very excited to read it.

I would recommend Owl Manor—Abigail to anyone over 16. There is violence, mild language, and no sexual situations (other than some kissing).


If you enjoyed Owl Manor—Abigail, you will enjoy these books:

WWW Wednesday: September 21st, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

This has been a week and this personal section might get a little long. So feel free to skip…lol

  • Miss R was out sick from school last week. She got so stressed over the beginning of grade testing and turning a project in that she had a panic attack (and I ended up taking her home from school). She threw up in class twice on Tuesday, the day of the BOG, and her deadline for the project. BK picked her up. I kept her home Wednesday (per the school: if you have diarrhea and throw up, you are automatically out of school for 24 hours). Thursday, she said she threw up and begged her teacher to go home (which was shot down by her teacher, myself, and BK). Same with Friday. Her anxiety about being in 3rd grade has caused her to have massive panic attacks at home, too, and I am beside myself with worry. Unfortunately, BK’s new insurance doesn’t kick in for another two weeks. But her therapist did call after hours and talk to her earlier this week, and it seemed to calm Miss R down a lot. Having a child with severe anxiety isn’t fun, and it does trigger mine (which I keep under wraps because I don’t want to stress her out even more).
  • Tony is now officially ours. He returned to the shelter on Friday to get neutered, a microchip, and his rabies vaccination. I am a little concerned with how they did the neutering. His boy bits were not shaved, and he didn’t have a shaved area for the IV. He did have two cuts on his testicle area, but again, it was hard to tell. Miss B thinks they might have gassed him (he’s small), and she might be right. But even she said that his boy bits didn’t look deflated. He’s going in for his 2nd set of kitten shots in a couple of weeks, and I will have my vet check it out then. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t do it. That shelter seems to do things half ass (or don’t hire people that care).
  • Speaking of the cats, I got a card from my vet for Vinnie (my other kitten), saying he needs to come in for vaccinations. I called and found out that the shelter only gave him a half dosage of his first kitten vaccines. My vet isn’t happy (from what I gathered, she called and gave them an earful), and I am not satisfied. But I was able to squeeze him in with Loki next week.
  • I am still waiting on the bus to pick Miss B and Mr. Z up in the morning. Miss B did complain to her principal and another administrative staff member earlier this week. From what she said, the bus driver is deciding when the kids will be picked up….which he isn’t supposed to do. Kids are being dropped off between 10-1030am (classes start at nine, and the route begins at 7:20, my kids are 2nd to be picked up), and teachers are beginning to get mad. So, we’ll see if anything changes. But, until then, I will keep dropping them off.
  • Miss R got her progress report on Friday and did very well. 100 in language arts, 98 in math, and 95 in science. The older kids don’t get progress reports (I can see their grades in real time through Powerschool).
  • I started playing a new game last week. Its called Disney’s Dreamlight Valley, and I love it!!!
  • I have been reading my eyes out and am now ahead of where I wanted to be. And I am ahead reviews also. That never happens to me, and I will enjoy it while it lasts.
  • I decided that I wasn’t going to abandon NetGalley after all. Instead, I chose to catch up on all the books I had on my Will Not Give Feedback shelf (about 68). I went through and took any books that had open archive dates or archive/publication dates in December and added them back to my TBR list. In all, I had about 12. I will start there and slowly work my way down the list.
  • I am going to add something new to this post. I am going to add “last book I purchased.

So that’s the essential things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Nightmares & Daydreams unravels the dark consequences of suppressing one’s innermost traumas and pain. Kalim, a 27 year old songwriter living with his boyfriend in Marseille, becomes tortured by nightmares, hallucinations and out of body experiences, as the trauma from his past starts to ripple from the depths of his subconscious. An entity starts to emerge through the fog of his tortured mind, haunting him within his nightmares.

After violent nights and dark days of suffering and relapsing into volatile vices, Kalim is forced to follow the ominous entity as his final hope for salvation. Dominic Anton’s third book and first paranormal fiction thriller further comprises a section of poetry expanding on the theme’s of addiction, trauma, loss of faith, and shedding the skin of the past.


What I am currently reading:

A NEW EPIC FANTASY ADVENTURE BEGINS!!

It’s November 5th, 1945. Captain Edward Johnson and Sergeant Conor MacCall are flying somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle. What should have been a routine patrol mission turns into a fight for their lives when they are attacked by two dragons! After barely escaping, they think the worst is over. It’s not.

Fast forward to present day America and seventeen-year-old Henry’s life is turned upside down when he finds a magical gold coin. It takes him to Zargothia. There he meets the US Airforce pilots and Jasper the cat. Together they learn that they have been chosen to free King Argoth and the people of Zargothia from a cruel oppressive race known as the Sadarkians. With King Argoth’s army being vastly outnumbered, however, will Henry and his friends succeed?

In this fast-paced fantasy adventure, danger lurks around every corner and nothing is what it seems.”


What books I think I’ll read next:

Lucy, a young lawyer, is on fast track to partnership in her firm. Arnault, a convicted felon, leaves prison after two decades through a piece of evidence in his favor. The two of them come together during a rescue operation at the centre of Paris, and then they go on with their separate lives.

Months later, their paths cross again at a camp for migrants on the edge of Paris.

Wolves, dragon shifters, and a fallen kingdom destined to rise again.

Evie Callahan is positive there’s something strange going on in Seaton Falls, her new home. The locals are bigger, stronger, and faster than most. That includes Nick, the boy next door who’s become her silver lining in this godforsaken town.

She wants to trust her instincts–about Nick, about what she suspects in Seaton Falls–but rumors of wolves and dragon shifters makes it hard to tell what’s real. With a history of odd dreams and the nagging sense that she’s never belonged, Evie fears she’s losing touch with reality. Her concern only grows when someone who’s haunted these dreams is suddenly tangible… and claims to hold the key to unlocking her true identity.

Finding out her entire life has been a lie is scary enough, but what’s downright terrifying is discovering who she’s destined to become.

Evie’s much more than your average, seventeen-year-old girl.

And this is her genesis.

D R A G O   A C E R B I

I’ve known his name a long time. You’d have to live under a rock not to know of the heartless and cruel reputation the Acerbi family has established. They are monsters cloaked in suits and ties, or so my colleagues in blue have said. Being on the job, you quickly learn to watch your back, trust no one, and as much as I hate to admit this, sometimes that includes a fellow badge.

But to want to kill your own child for being born? Now that’s monstrous. Unjust. And something I will not stand for. I’ll take him down before I allow an innocent to be harmed.

Even if that means not only taking on the most dangerous family in Southern California but bringing down the drug lord they’re in bed with too.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “nothing short of brilliant” (PeopleMrs. Everything returns with an unforgettable novel about friendship and forgiveness set during a disastrous wedding on picturesque Cape Cod.

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.


Last book I bought:

They’ve exterminated an entire bloodline, purging the world of the only creatures vampires dread. Or so they think.

Chloe used to study hard, do everything right to pave a bright future, but children sometimes have to pay for their parents’ sins, and Chloe’s tab is pretty steep.
At twenty-six, when a series of attacks forces her to seek refuge in the notorious Institute of Paranormal Studies, Chloe sees it as a second chance to achieve her goals. She believes she has nothing to lose.
She couldn’t be more mistaken.

Levi has had centuries to observe the mortals and immortals of this world. He knows what the sassy woman who entered his domain is at first glance. A relic of the old days, so ancient that even an elder lord descended from the first immortals has reason to fear her.
He should slit her throat while he has the chance.
He should.

After Darkness Falls is a series of standalone paranormal romance novels.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Fall 2020 Reading List

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then posts her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re welcome to join her and create your list of top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.). Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


I have a lot of books on my TBR at the moment and keep adding more each day. But these books that I am going to showcase here are books I will be reading this fall. Some you might see reviews for, some you might not. Some might be books sitting on my TBR shelf, some might be author/publisher request book reviews, and others might be books I took off my NetGalley Will Not Give Feedback page. But, I plan to read all of these books this fall (and I will let you guys know under which category these books fall).

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and what you have thought of them!!


1. Nightmares & Daydreams by Dominic J. Anton (author request)

Nightmares & Daydreams unravels the dark consequences of suppressing one’s innermost traumas and pain. Kalim, a 27 year old songwriter living with his boyfriend in Marseille, becomes tortured by nightmares, hallucinations and out of body experiences, as the trauma from his past starts to ripple from the depths of his subconscious. An entity starts to emerge through the fog of his tortured mind, haunting him within his nightmares.

After violent nights and dark days of suffering and relapsing into volatile vices, Kalim is forced to follow the ominous entity as his final hope for salvation. Dominic Anton’s third book and first paranormal fiction thriller further comprises a section of poetry expanding on the theme’s of addiction, trauma, loss of faith, and shedding the skin of the past.

2. The Lost Son by Aidan Lucid (Author Request)

A NEW EPIC FANTASY ADVENTURE BEGINS!!

It’s November 5th, 1945. Captain Edward Johnson and Sergeant Conor MacCall are flying somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle. What should have been a routine patrol mission turns into a fight for their lives when they are attacked by two dragons! After barely escaping, they think the worst is over. It’s not.

Fast forward to present day America and seventeen-year-old Henry’s life is turned upside down when he finds a magical gold coin. It takes him to Zargothia. There he meets the US Airforce pilots and Jasper the cat. Together they learn that they have been chosen to free King Argoth and the people of Zargothia from a cruel oppressive race known as the Sadarkians. With King Argoth’s army being vastly outnumbered, however, will Henry and his friends succeed?

In this fast-paced fantasy adventure, danger lurks around every corner and nothing is what it seems.”

3. The Man without Shelter by Indrajit Garai (author request)

Lucy, a young lawyer, is on fast track to partnership in her firm. Arnault, a convicted felon, leaves prison after two decades through a piece of evidence in his favor. The two of them come together during a rescue operation at the centre of Paris, and then they go on with their separate lives.

Months later, their paths cross again at a camp for migrants on the edge of Paris.

4. Fleshed Out by Rob Ulitski (author request)

5. The Genesis of Evangeline by Rachel Jonas (from TBR pile)

Wolves, dragon shifters, and a fallen kingdom destined to rise again.

Evie Callahan is positive there’s something strange going on in Seaton Falls, her new home. The locals are bigger, stronger, and faster than most. That includes Nick, the boy next door who’s become her silver lining in this godforsaken town.


She wants to trust her instincts–about Nick, about what she suspects in Seaton Falls–but rumors of wolves and dragon shifters makes it hard to tell what’s real. With a history of odd dreams and the nagging sense that she’s never belonged, Evie fears she’s losing touch with reality. Her concern only grows when someone who’s haunted these dreams is suddenly tangible… and claims to hold the key to unlocking her true identity.

Finding out her entire life has been a lie is scary enough, but what’s downright terrifying is discovering who she’s destined to become.

Evie’s much more than your average, seventeen-year-old girl.

And this is her genesis.

6. Dirty Blue by N.E. Henderson (from TBR pile)

D R A G O   A C E R B I

I’ve known his name a long time. You’d have to live under a rock not to know of the heartless and cruel reputation the Acerbi family has established. They are monsters cloaked in suits and ties, or so my colleagues in blue have said. Being on the job, you quickly learn to watch your back, trust no one, and as much as I hate to admit this, sometimes that includes a fellow badge.


But to want to kill your own child for being born? Now that’s monstrous. Unjust. And something I will not stand for. I’ll take him down before I allow an innocent to be harmed.

Even if that means not only taking on the most dangerous family in Southern California but bringing down the drug lord they’re in bed with too.

7. Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner (NetGalley Will Not Get Feedback)

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most. 

8. Steel Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann (NetGalley Will Not Give Feedback)

The moment Navy SEAL sniper Finn sets foot on the USS Abraham Lincoln to hitch a ride home from the Persian Gulf, it’s clear something is deeply wrong. Leadership is weak. Morale is low. And when crew members start disappearing one by one, what at first seems like a random string of suicides soon reveals something far more sinister: There’s a serial killer on board.Suspicion falls on Finn, the newcomer to the ship. After all, he’s being sent home in disgrace, recalled from the field under the dark cloud of a mission gone horribly wrong. He’s also a lone wolf, haunted by gaps in his memory and the elusive sense that something he missed may have contributed to civilian deaths on his last assignment. Finding the killer offers a chance at redemption . . . if he can stay alive long enough to prove it isn’t him.

9 Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett (NetGalley Will Not Give Feedback)

A god wages war—using all of humanity as its pawns—in the unforgettable conclusion to the Founders trilogy.

Sancia, Clef, and Berenice have gone up against plenty of long odds in the past. But the war they’re fighting now is one even they can’t win.

This time, they’re not facing robber-baron elites, or even an immortal hierophant, but an entity whose intelligence is spread over half the globe—a ghost in the machine that uses the magic of scriving to possess and control not just objects, but human minds.


To fight it, they’ve used scriving technology to transform themselves and their allies into an army—a society—that’s like nothing humanity has seen before. With its strength at their backs, they’ve freed a handful of their enemy’s hosts from servitude, even brought down some of its fearsome, reality-altering dreadnaughts. Yet despite their efforts, their enemy marches on—implacable. Unstoppable.

Now, as their opponent closes in on its true prize—an ancient doorway, long buried, that leads to the chambers at the center of creation itself—Sancia and her friends glimpse a chance at reaching it first, and with it, a last desperate opportunity to stop this unbeatable foe. But to do so, they’ll have to unlock the centuries-old mystery of scriving’s origins, embark on a desperate mission into the heart of their enemy’s power, and pull off the most daring heist they’ve ever attempted.

And as if that weren’t enough, their adversary might just have a spy in their ranks—and a last trick up its sleeve.

10. The Last Huntress by Lenore Borja (Publisher Request)

Alice Daniels has a problem. Her reflection keeps misbehaving when she looks in the mirror–and the longer she ignores it, the harder it tries to get her attention. On her eighteenth birthday, she learns why: she is a huntress, someone gifted with the power to enter mirrors and the magical world that exists beyond. But with this power comes immense responsibility, for in the Mirror Realm lurks an evil that has infected the human race for centuries: demons. It is up to her and her three huntress sisters–with the help of one handsome and overbearing protector–to hunt and banish this evil one demon at a time, thereby keeping the chaos in check. But when an ancient god pays Alice a visit that turns deadly, it is clear the Mirror Realm is more than it seems, and she soon finds herself in a race against time to save the life–and soul–of the one man the gods are determined to never let her have.

The Last Huntress is a story of redemption and sacrifice, the bonds of true sisterhood, and the impossible, sometimes frightening, things we’ll do for love.

Goodreads Monday: Druid’s Moon by Deniz Bevan

Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press

Date of Publication: September 20th, 2022

Genre: Romance, Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Goodreads Synopsis:

Beauty to his Beast…

Lyne Vanlith, an archaeologist who seeks a logical explanation to any mystery, discovers an ancient Druidic curse on her first dig. When the signs foretold by the curse descend on her, Lyne can’t find a reasonable interpretation.

And that’s even before a Beast rescues her from a monstrous sea-creature. She drops a grateful kiss on the snout of the Beast, who transforms into a man, Frederick Cunnick, Baron of Lansladron. Lyne is meant to be Beauty to his Beast—and break the curse forever.

Now both spell keeper and monster are targeting Lyne. She must take up her legendary role, to defeat the curse and save Frederick—and herself. Instead of logic, for the first time, Lyne must trust her heart


“The Curse of the Octopus,” Lyne read, translating the Middle English script.

druid’s moon by deniz bevan

I didn’t pay attention when I read the blurb for Druid’s Moon. I skimmed it and accepted the book because it was a fantasy romance. But then I started reading and realized that it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. When that lightbulb flashed over my head, I did get excited. I have read many fairytale retellings, but I haven’t read one about Beauty and the Beast. So, I settled back and let myself be taken away by a tale as old as time.

Druid’s Moon, as I mentioned above, is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Lyne is an archaeologist who is excavating a cave on the shores of England. On her first day, she finds and sets loose a Druidic curse. She also discovers a giant Beast who lurks in the coast and wooded areas, preying upon sheep and campers for his Mistress. But it is who the Beast is that shocks her. Determined to break the curse, Lyne must battle an unseen horror that lurks beneath the ocean as well as a Druidess, who is determined to keep the Beast as is. Will Lyne win? Will the curse be broken for good? Or will Lyne fail?

Druid’s Moon is a medium-paced book with a flowing plotline. There were some areas where the book did lag a little, but it didn’t affect my reading.

I thought that Lyne was an interesting character to read. Her character growth throughout the book was excellent. She went from a sheltered woman who relied on logic to explain things to a woman who wasn’t as sheltered and understood that there was mystery, magic, and reasoning. I loved watching her gradual acceptance that she was Beauty. But once she accepted who and what she was, she was all in.

I didn’t connect as much to Frederick as I did to Lyne. He came across as too nice (if that is such a thing) when he was in human form. He also came across as resigned to going back to being the Beast. He didn’t even try to fight when the Druidess recaptured him. But he did show Lyne where the counterspell was, so, in his way, he did fight back.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I haven’t read a retelling about that particular fairy tale, so I was pretty excited about it. I will say that it was an exciting and imaginative retelling. I would have never expected a werewolf/Druid spin on fairytales. It did make it more interesting to read.

The fantasy angle of the book was well written. I wish that the author had gotten more in-depth about who Octopus/The Mistress was. The brief glimpses that the author gave weren’t enough for me!! The same goes for the Druidess and her spell. The author presented the background, but nothing gave me anything. I wanted meat. I wanted a reason more than what was provided. Instead, I had to settle for something that made me wish for more.

The romance angle also left me wanting more. It started as a semi-triangle that morphed into Instalove. I am not a fan of Instalove (even with this particular fairytale), and I felt that the romance did seem forced at times.

The end of Druid’s Moon was interesting. I liked how the author wrapped everything up. I was pleased with what happened. But I felt that some plotlines were left hanging. I was also not a fan of the epilogue.

I would recommend Druid’s Moon to anyone over 21. There is violence, mild language, and mild sexual situations.

Owl Manor: The Dawning (Owl Manor: Book 1) by Zita Harrison

Publisher: Zealous Arts Publishing

Date of publication: October 15th, 2018

Genre: Gothic, Horror

Series: Owl Manor

Owl Manor: The Dawning—Book 1

Owl Manor: Abigail—Book 2

Owl Manor: the Final Stroke—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks | Alibris | Indigo

Goodreads Synopsis:

A tale of unspeakable murder, a doomed alliance, and retribution from the beyond
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…suddenly good and evil become blurred. Powerless and defenseless, we swim toward it, and wonder if we’re going mad.

Eva is born in the wrong era. In 1800s America, women are required to obey their husbands without question and to submit to their presumed superiority. But Eva wants more. Willful and ambitious, she considers herself equal to men. But the times are unrelenting, and it is her curse to remain unheard.

Rafe is a misogynist. Born of a demented mother who shattered his childhood and family, he is forever tormented by a scathing mistrust of women.

The tide brings them together at Owl Manor, a place shrouded in darkness, forsaken by the sun. A place where owls breathe in the very fabric of the walls, and shadows wander the passages. Where good and evil blur.

Will Eva make the right choice?

Owl Manor – the Dawning, the first in a trilogy of Gothic suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Shadow of the Wind), Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House).


First Line:

The owl appeared from nowhere, its ivory wings billowing like a ghostly cloak against the dusky sky.

Owl Manor: The Dawning by Zita Harrison

Horror, mainly the gothic subgenre, is something that I tend to stay away from when reading for pleasure and reading for reviews. I can get easily unnerved by what I am reading, and with my husband traveling 2-3 days a week, I have learned to stay away from those genres. But with him being home (new job=more at home time), I decided to take a chance and read Owl Manor. I am glad that I did because this book was incredibly creepy and very heartbreaking at the same time.

Owl Manor: The Dawning is book 1 in the Owl Manor series. This is the first book in the series, so there will be no gentle suggestions about reading the previous books.

Owl Manor: The Dawning had exciting storylines. There was Eva’s storyline. Raised by her aunt and uncle, Eva is a headstrong, intelligent young woman determined to make it in a man’s world. But then she gets pregnant, is forced to marry a man beneath her station, and is turned bitter by these events. But, Eva is a dutiful wife and mother who follows her husband to Denver (in Kansas territory) during the gold rush. In Denver, she finds mind-numbing poverty. After her husband becomes ill from working in the mines, Eva is forced to find employment. She is offered a job as a maid at Owl Manor, a mansion decorated with owls in the Rocky Mountains. What Eva finds at Owl Manor is a home and a companion with its mysterious owner.

The second storyline is about Rafe. Rafe is a wealthy Englishman who is damaged. His deranged mother abused him, and he was also forced to witness his father being humiliated by his mother. After his mother leaves Rafe and his father, Rafe is dealt the blow of finding his father after committing suicide. Then, Rafe vowed to kill any woman who was a harlot (aka a prostitute). He thinks that by killing them, he is doing the world a favor. Moving from London to the States for school, Rafe settles in Morganton, NC, and continues his killing spree. He then moves to Denver and builds a mansion in the mountains. Rafe also continues killing. But, this time, something mystical happened, and owls started attacking Rafe whenever he left the house. Soon housebound and covered with scars, Rafe starts having manic moments where he destroys his study and bedroom. That stops when he meets Eva. Taken with Eva, Rafe can forget the horror of his past and suppress his urges to kill. But that only lasts a little while before Rafe has the desire to kill again. Everything comes to a head when Eva discovers Rafe’s secret. What will happen to Eva? What will happen to Rafe? Will his secret be kept at Eva’s expense, or will something terrible happen?

I wouldn’t say I liked Eva for most of the book. I don’t know if the author intended the reader to dislike her, but I did. Eva was very unpleasant until she went to Owl Manor. She was an inattentive mother who discussed why she didn’t want children in front of Abigail (yes, that led to issues). Eva blamed her husband for her financial straights, yet she did nothing (except beg and consider prostitution) until she was offered a job at Owl Manor. But, when she got to Owl Manor, there was a gradual change in her attitude towards life and her family. Her attitude toward life improved, but it worsened for her family. Those scenes where she visited her sick husband were tough to read. Even when she was elevated to companion/mistress to Rafe, I was still “meh” about her. But it wasn’t until the very end of the book that I started to feel bad for her. She had gotten herself and her family into a situation that would be impossible to escape. I wasn’t surprised at what happened to her at the end.

I felt terrible for Rafe, but I wouldn’t say I liked his actions. He was shaped by what his mother did and his father’s inaction. It was a classic case of nature vs. nurture, with nature winning this round. I firmly believe that if he had been treated better by his mother, he wouldn’t have gone down the path he did. I did find his reaction to Eva a little heartbreaking. In those scenes, you could see who he could have become if he hadn’t been abused or witnessed everything he did.

I found the use of the owls in Owl Manor very creepy. It unsettled me a little when the author explained that souls used owls to fly to the Underworld. I got chills whenever there was a scene where owls were involved. They were hanging out on the house, waiting for Rafe to come out, and then would attack him, sending chills through me.

The horror angle was well written. The author was able to scare the heck out of me by insinuating things. A drape that moved or a reflection in the glass. I got goosebumps just reading those passages!!

The end of Owl Manor was a mess. I don’t mean a mess writing-wise (nope, the author was spot on with that), but a mess with everything that happened. Also, add that what happened to Rafe at the end was anti-climactic. I was left shaken by what happened and looking forward to reading book 2!!

I would recommend Owl Manor: The Dawning to anyone over 21. There is violence, mild language, and very mild, non-graphic, sexual situations/scenes.


If you liked Owl Manor: The Dawning, you will enjoy these books.

Goodreads Monday: Atmospheric Pressure by Aaron Frale

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose a random book from their Goodreads TBR and highlight it This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.


Olson lives in a city that has been sealed from the outside world. He’s an Eleven Year and close to citizenship. His life is upended when one of the few adults who cares about him commits suicide – or so it appears at first. While investigating, Olson meets a girl named Natalie snooping around his school. He soon learns that one of her friends died under similarly mysterious circumstances. Together, they start looking for answers, and end up discovering the city’s darkest secrets.

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith

Publisher: Two Petals Publishing

Date of Publication: September 15th, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Adventure, Action, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived.

A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, can the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.


First Line:

An alluring midnight seeped through the preserve, where huge, wavy leaves dances beneath the moonlight.

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith

Fantasy has been one of my go-to genres to read since I was a child. I remember reading The Hobbit for the first time and thinking, “I like this!” But I wasn’t a contemporary or urban fantasy fan until I was a little older. And when I say a little bit, I mean in my late 30’s, lol. But, once I started reading them, I liked that subgenre. When I was approached to read/review The Urban Boys, I considered how I felt about the genre/subgenre and decided to accept the invite. I am glad I did because this book was a great read.

The Urban Boys had an exciting and somewhat complex plotline. Five boys acquire magical powers that affect their five senses. They also learn that they are responsible for keeping a peaceful alien race secret and protecting the human race from a being determined to enslave them. But it isn’t easy because the boys need to learn how to control their powers and work together. Can they do that? Can they overcome Druth and save the world?

The pacing of The Urban Boys went from fast to medium and back to fast. It didn’t bother me because I could keep up with the shifting pacing. Plus, when it did shift, it allowed me to take a breather (as a reader) and process everything that had happened up to that point.

I loved that there were five teenage boys (all of various ethnic backgrounds) as the heroes/main characters of the book. The author did something I considered difficult and gave each boy a distinct personality. So, if the book shifted to that character, I immediately knew who it was.

As stated, each of the boys acquired a heightened sense that turned them into superheroes (for lack of a better word). They are (in no particular order):

  • Hearing—Jordan
  • Sight—Kinsu
  • Touch—Chase
  • Smell—Rhee
  • Taste—Alex

I enjoyed reading as the boys discovered what had happened to them. It was interesting to read each boy’s response. The responses went from thinking it was cool to wishing they never had it.

The villain in this story was an evil person, but I felt terrible for him simultaneously. He felt neglected by his parents and forgotten by people that mattered to him. But, it doesn’t excuse what he did. He used the powers he was given by the Naculeans and exploited them. He turned that power into a weapon of destruction and used it to hurt countless people.

There were a lot of secondary characters in The Urban Boys. I did have a minor issue keeping them straight until I realized I could make notes of them on my Kindle (and so I did). The main secondary characters were The Dark Stranger, Mason, and Alina Alcaraz Olivas. The other secondary characters consisted of Druth’s main thugs, the Naculeans, the parents/guardians of the boys, and Alex’s girlfriend. They were all well written. Some I wished I had more info on, and others I wanted were more involved in the plotline. But all added an extra depth to the overall plotline. I will say that I wouldn’t have been as cool as the parents/guardians were when they found out the truth.

I do want to mention the Naculeans. I found them and their backstory fascinating. They were genuinely peaceful beings who tried to help humans. But, I liked that the author made them make mistakes. The big one was telling Druth a half-truth about his powers. They realized that and ensured they had the right people (the boys) before they again bestowed the powers.

There is a lot of action in The Urban Boys. It primarily centered around the boys learning about their powers and fighting Druth’s thugs. I did enjoy it because it showed the boys’ growth as people and as a fighting unit.

A substory line was running in the background of The Urban Boys. It involved the parents of a couple of the boys, Druth, Alina, and The Dark Stranger. I was wondering how the author was going to tie everything together. I wasn’t disappointed and was very surprised by what was revealed.

The end of The Urban Boys was interesting. I loved how the author resolved the main storyline. It was a classic good versus evil battle, and I was on the edge of my seat. Of course, there is a lead-in to the next book, which I can’t wait to read.

I recommend The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses to anyone over 13. There is violence, mild language, and some kissing scenes (otherwise, a clean book).


If you enjoy The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Fives Senses, you will enjoy these books;

Love Secrets Lies by Teresa Vale

Publisher:

Date of Publication: May 10th, 2021

Genre: General Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Alibris | IndieBound

Goodreads Synopsis:

Paradise is no more. She’s a stranger in her new home…

… as she sails the choppy waters of teen life. Teresa longs for picture-perfect love, but in the real world you often have to say “No”, even if it breaks your heart.

From tropical Mozambique to drab, 1970s Lisbon, from the golden beaches of Durban to five-star holidays in verdant, mountainous Madeira, and even the Moroccan kasbah, follow Teresa as she stumbles and falls and picks herself up again.

Will Teresa’s grandparents let her out of their sight for a minute? Can she forge her own path in a country that struggles to emerge from fear and taboo? Will she find true love, or is she forever fated to navigate an ocean of boys who demand more than she is willing to give?


First Line:

I detested my first kiss.

Love Secrets Lies by Teresa Vale

When I first got the email from the author requesting that I review her book, I almost said no. As a rule, I do not review anything that resembles even resembles a biography or an autobiography. But the sweetness of the request email and the blurb that I read on Amazon sold me on reading the book. I am glad I did because this was a fantastic book.

Love Secrets Lies is the story of Teresa and her journey to adulthood. Teresa was forced out of Mozambique as a young teenager when that country became politically unstable. She, her brother, her grandparents, and her parents fled to Portugal. Teresa and her brother settled in Libson with her grandparents while her father and mother (divorced) went to North Portugal and England. Teresa is a headstrong, opinionated young lady growing up in 1970s Portugal. Can Teresa overcome the obstacles of her childhood (mainly her very strict grandparents) and become the woman she wants to be?

I loved Teresa. She was a vibrantly written character who made me laugh during the book. I have a seventeen-year-old daughter, and I could see her getting into some of the shenanigans that Teresa got into. The whole kissing scene had me in tears laughing because, well, it was relatable. How many of us enjoyed our first kiss? And how many of us had the experience that Teresa had? I did find her a little tiring during certain scenes (the political scenes I skimmed over). But other than that, I loved her joy in life. It exuded from the book.

I liked seeing what it is like for a teenage girl growing up in the 70s and outside of the USA. It was very refreshing. Plus, I got to experience the 70s through her, which was a trip in itself.

Teresa had several romances throughout the book. The author didn’t hold back with them. She showed the good, the bad, and the ugly. And oh man, did the ugly get nasty towards the end. Teresa went through a terrifying situation that could have turned out bad if a certain someone didn’t step up for her.

Sexually, this is a very clean book. There are a few kissing scenes, one where Teresa and her boyfriend do heavy petting, and one very memorable scene where Teresa’s boyfriend uses a pillow as a cover for his privates (and as a supposed sexy gesture??). The author never details what Teresa is doing, but there is enough said that I could figure it out. I knew she wasn’t having sex (the author often stressed her virginity in the book).

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was how bratty and immature Teresa sometimes came across. But, saying that, she was a teenager living under stringent rules. So I kept an open mind while reading.

I also want to mention the locations that this book took me to. South Africa, different areas of Portugal, and Mozambique are among the few places that the author mentioned in the book. The author vividly described every site to the point where I could picture it in my head.

The end of Love Secrets Lies was a bit of a cliffhanger, and I am looking forward to reading book 2!!

I would recommend Love Secrets Lies to anyone over 16. There is mild language, violence, and mild and non-graphic sexual situations. There is also underage drinking and smoking.

WWW Wednesday: September 14th, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

  • I got my Covid booster on Saturday, and my arm hurt. I swear the Walgreens tech used an extra-long needle. But I am glad that I got it.
  • Miss R has been home sick from school since Monday. She had an anxiety attack on Monday, and I had to grab her from school. She threw up twice (once at school and once at home) on Tuesday. Per the school, she has to be 24 hours without puking, so she will return on Thursday.
  • I have watched the Queen’s funeral (and all the reports on her death) since it happened last week. Today’s procession was hard to watch. Anne’s face conveyed everything that was unsaid about her mother’s death.
  • I am updating posts, but I have gone back to the beginning. I have added a section called “If you enjoyed these books, then you will like these” and added three books to the post.
  • I am behind by a review. I planned on being ahead, but with Miss R being home, I haven’t been able to sit down and write. I am planning on doing that tomorrow.
  • On the other hand, I am ahead in reading. I am halfway through the second book of the Owl Manor Trilogy, and I love this trilogy!!!

So that’s the major things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

A tale of unspeakable murder, a doomed alliance, and retribution from the beyond
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…suddenly good and evil become blurred. Powerless and defenseless, we swim toward it, and wonder if we’re going mad.

Eva is born in the wrong era. In 1800s America, women are required to obey their husbands without question and to submit to their presumed superiority. But Eva wants more. Willful and ambitious, she considers herself equal to men. But the times are unrelenting, and it is her curse to remain unheard.

Rafe is a misogynist. Born of a demented mother who shattered his childhood and family, he is forever tormented by a scathing mistrust of women.

The tide brings them together at Owl Manor, a place shrouded in darkness, forsaken by the sun. A place where owls breathe in the very fabric of the walls, and shadows wander the passages. Where good and evil blur.

Will Eva make the right choice?

Owl Manor – the Dawning, the first in a trilogy of Gothic suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Shadow of the Wind), Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House).


What I am currently reading:

14 years ago, Owl Manor trembled with echoes of madness, mysterious deaths and marauding owls.

In 1870, Abigail fled the horror of Owl Manor with her fiancé, Peter. But she carried with her the terrible notion that she is unworthy of love, instilled by her reluctant mother. If her own mother could not love her, how would anyone else?

She trusts no one and keeps herself buried in a crypt of churning emotions, away from the world. Deep inside, her soul screams at the thought of dying alone and unloved.

Now she is back. Abandoned at the altar, and with nowhere to go, she returns to Owl Manor. Thus begin the nightmares of violent rage and destruction, ghostly images.

What really happened 14 years ago?

Enter Victor, the complete opposite of Peter, yet frighteningly familiar at times.

And the owls circle the sky once again.


What books I think I’ll read next:

For a quarter of a century, the horrors at Owl Manor have been buried under dust and decay, forgotten and unheard.

Then Dolores hears the whispers.

Dolores, a young artist, feels the pain all around her. It is the subject of her paintings. Strangely, once the pain is on her canvas, it diminishes.

A fated encounter takes her and her two best friends to Owl Manor in the Rocky Mountains. Ignoring the rumors of a gruesome past and ghosts, they take up residence. What’s the worst that could happen?

But it is the past that has summoned Dolores.

The owls begin to circle the sky again. The whispers get louder, seeping into each of their souls. And Dolores, besieged by the pain of brutal murders in the manor’s history, has no choice but to paint.

For the lives of those close to her hang in the balance.

Nightmares & Daydreams unravels the dark consequences of suppressing one’s innermost traumas and pain. Kalim, a 27 year old songwriter living with his boyfriend in Marseille, becomes tortured by nightmares, hallucinations and out of body experiences, as the trauma from his past starts to ripple from the depths of his subconscious. An entity starts to emerge through the fog of his tortured mind, haunting him within his nightmares.

After violent nights and dark days of suffering and relapsing into volatile vices, Kalim is forced to follow the ominous entity as his final hope for salvation. Dominic Anton’s third book and first paranormal fiction thriller further comprises a section of poetry expanding on the theme’s of addiction, trauma, loss of faith, and shedding the skin of the past.

She was a runaway from a cruel man who wanted to chase her and claim what he thought was his property. Who could know that finding shelter for the beautiful Daisy O’Malley in Jess Farthing’s barn would lead to love?

The man swore to keep her safe and vowed that the person who did this to her would suffer. Through many shades of danger they made a team and it turned out to be Jess who needed her help on more than one occasion.

Neither of them would admit to falling love in case the partnership came to an end. Daisy had lost her family but the friends who came to her aid formed a strong and lasting bond.The story is about friendship and a love affair that steals the reader’s heart along with a slight touch of the supernatural.

“Loving a Runaway Bride” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Ashlyn just wants to move on with her life. Run her bakery. Heal her broken heart. She’s had three years to try and forget Dante Fontaine.

To the rest of the world, Dante is Hollywood royalty, the ridiculously attractive oldest son of the notorious Fontaine family.

To Ashlyn? He’s the guy who took her virginity and made her swear off men forever.

But when an accidental–and humiliating–encounter brings him back into her life, Ashlyn realizes that no matter how hard she’s tried to forget about him, Dante definitely hasn’t forgotten about her.

…and this time, he’s not going to let her go.

Goodreads Monday: We Said Forever by Marie James

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose a random book from their Goodreads TBR and highlight it This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.


Rock bottom.

They say the only way to go from there is up, but what is “up” when you’re born into someone else’s rock bottom?

At ten, football became my first love. It’s what got me out of the house away from my self-destructive family. My love for football landed me at Las Vegas University with a full ride scholarship, and the orange on my jersey was my favorite color… until my eyes landed on the red dress Fallyn wore the night we met.

At twenty-one, I jumped off the cliff into the unknown the second Fallyn McIntyre danced in my arms at a party. I had the greatest girl in the world and the opportunity to play college ball every Saturday. My rock bottom was looking up, thanks to my two first loves.

Parties, sex, and football—life was perfect. But one drink too many, and my world came crashing down. When I chose pills over my second love, my head told me it was the best decision I ever made. The pills keep me warm and protect me from the distance Fallyn created. Percs don’t judge me. They make me feel alive.

Threes.

They say the best things come in threes, but one leads to a stable future, one is my salvation, and the other drags me to hell—a hell I’d willingly burn in for eternity… if it weren’t for my second love.