January 2023 Wrap Up

January was a busy reading month for me. Because of that, I could complete all my reading challenges for the month!! Woot!!

It was also a busy month, personally, for me. The highlights of this month are:

  • Miss B left her dual high school and college credits program.
  • Snickers going to the emergency vet with a bloody eye. She came home with a torn tear duct and a torn lower lid.
  • BK going back to traveling each week
  • And my not-so-great, horrible week last week.

BK and I have been watching Game of Thrones (we’re on season 7), and we started watching The Last of Us.

I have been experimenting with new cooking recipes. I made a Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo soup with Miss R last week.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:

KU Purchase—No Review
From Author
Kindle PurchaseNo Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Publisher—Review coming February 17th
From Publisher
From Publisher
From Publisher
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
From Publisher
From Author
From Publisher
From Publisher
From PublisherReview coming July 11th, 2023
KU Purchase—No Review
Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Author
Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Publisher
From Publisher
From Publisher
KU purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Author
From Publisher
Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Publisher—Review Coming February 2nd
From Publisher—Review coming February 3rd
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
From Author—Review coming February 3rd

Books I got from NetGalley:

Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine/Bantam
Limited Time Read Now from SMP
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from John Hunt Publishing
Invite from SMP
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Read Now from Crooked Lane Books
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
From SMPG
Invite from SMP
Read now from Crooked Lane Books
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey
Wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine/Del Rey
Limited Time Read Now from St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin
Invite from Saint Martin’s Press

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

From Author
From Author
From Novel Cause
From Author
From Author
From Author

A Paroxysm of Fear by Chad Miller

From Author

Giveaway Winners

Paperback—Won from a giveaway. Not sure which one….lol
Kindle—Won from Goodreads Giveaway
Kindle—Won from Goodreads Giveaway

Books Reviewed:

Fatal Intent by Tammy Euliano (review here)

Misfire by Tammy Euliano (review here)

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff (review here)

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman (review coming February 17th)

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham (review here)

The Nightmare Man by J.H. Markert (review here)

The Rom-Com Agenda by Jayne Denker (review here)

Son of the Poison Rose by Jonathan Maberry (review here)

Emily Wilde’s Encylopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett (review here)

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes (review here)

Shadowed Visions by Reily Garrett (review here)

The Things We do to Our Friends by Heather Darwent (review coming February 27th)

The Devil You Know by P.J. Tracy (review here)

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center (review coming July 11th)

A Body Washes Ashore by Bradley Pay (review here)

All Hallows by Christopher Golden (review here)

A Guide to Being Just Friends by Sophie Sullivan (review here)

One Duke Down by Anna Bennett (review here)

Murder Up to Bat by Elizabeth McKenna (review here)

Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire (review here)


Reading Challenges

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (for Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023—a bird)Finished 1-1-2023

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (for The StoryGraph Onboarding Challenge—-Read a book with more pages than the longest book you read in 2022)—Finished 1-17-2023

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (for The StoryGraph Read the World—Argentina)—Finished 1-17-2023

The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O’Neill (for The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge—a contemporary or literary fiction novel with disability rep)—Finished 1-24-2023

The Reader by M.K. Harkins (for Beat the Backlist 2023—a backlist book)—Finished 1-24-2023

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga (for Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge—Read the most recently added book to your TBR)—Finished 1-3-2023

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (for Scavenger Hunt—a book written by a woman using a male perspective)—Finished 1-19-2023

The Nightmare Man by J.H. Markert (for Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023—a book you meant to read in 2022)—Finished 1-5-2023

Lost Soul by Adam J. Wright (for 2023 TBR Toppler—a TBR vet)—Finished 1-3-2023

In Our Blood by William J. Goyette (for 2023 Monthly Themes—books that make you feel cold)—Finished 1-10-2023

Before the Coffee Get Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (for 2023 Reading challenge—a translated work)Finished 1-11-2023

All Hallows by Christopher Golden (for 2023 ABC Challenge—A)—Finished 1-19-2023

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman (for Romanceopoly 2023!—read a thriller or mystery where one of the main characters are a detective or private investigator)—Finished 1-3-2023

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center (for 2023 TBR Prompts—a 5-star prediction)—Finished 1-16-23

Bookish Travels—October 2022 Destinations

I saw this meme on It’s All About Books and thought, I like this!! So, I decided to do it once a month also. Many thanks to Yvonne for originally posting this!!

This post is what it says: Places I travel to in books each month. Books are wonderful and take you to places you would never get a chance to go. That includes places of fantasy too!!

So….enjoy!! Please let me know if you have read these books or traveled to these areas (other than the fantasy….lol).


Here’s where I traveled in October:

United Kingdom:

Various fictional areas of England

London

London


United States

Phoenix, Arizona
Pennsylvania and Connecticut
Texas, Arizona, Washington State (mountains/coast)
Woodlake, New Hampshire
North Boston, Massachusetts
Herber, Arizona
Denver, Colorado
Pennsylvania and Connecticut

Massachusetts (Boston), California (Los Angeles, San Diego), Oregon (Portland), North Carolina (Sugar Mountain, Asheville), New York (New York City, Atlantic West), Florida (Tampa area, Jacksonville, Nassau), Colorado (Montlake), Montana (Polson), New Jersey (Northside), Georgia (Fulton County), Ohio (Dayton), Texas (Fort Worth),


The Mirror Realm

Various locations in the Mirror Realm

France

Paris

Fantasy China

The Grass Sea and various cities

Fantasy Japan/Southeast Asia/maybe China


Outer Space

The Ark

Ellwyn

Country of Ellwyn


St. Thomas

Indigo Royal Resort


Australia

Peridot Island


Canada

Vancouver

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie

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

How it works:

She assigns a topic each Tuesday 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 post, so others know where to find more information.


I can’t believe that Halloween is almost here!! So, I will showcase 10 books with creepy/spooky covers in celebration of Halloween. All of these books will be off my Read shelf on Goodreads.

Enjoy!!


1. The Prisoner of Fear by Chad Miller

2. A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor

3. Fleshed Out: A Body Horror Collection by Rob Ultiski

4. The Black Tide by K.C. Jones

5. Daughter by Kate McLaughlin

6. The Devil’s Whispers by Lucas Hault

7 Liar: Memoir of a Haunting by E.F. Schrader

8. Golem by P.D. Alleva

9. Our Trespasses by Michael Cordell

10. Evil Eye: A Slasher Story by April A. Taylor

The Prisoner of Fear (Doyle and Braham: Book 1) by Chad Miller

Publisher: Hear Our Voice

Date of publication: October 1st, 2022

Genre: Horror

Series: Doyle and Braham

The Prisoner of Fear—Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo

Goodreads Synopsis:

It is 1889 in Philadelphia, and detective John Doyle is restless. Along with his miserable partner, Thomas Braham, Doyle pursues mysteries, strange sightings, and other obscurities tossed aside and disregarded by the police. For years, Doyle has taken on these cases in the hopes of discovering something supernatural – something that could upend and dispute his long-standing, debilitating fear that immortal souls do not exist.

Doyle’s search for the supernatural remains unsuccessful until he receives a strange letter from an old doctor friend regarding a young woman with a mysterious and rather disturbing illness. When the doctor goes missing in the same town that this young woman resides in, Doyle and Braham decide to take on the case and search for clues regarding their missing friend. In doing so, they discover that there is no longer any suffering young woman, but a dangerous abomination whose origin cannot be explained by science nor modern medicine.

Meanwhile, an unnamed victim has been kidnapped. Trapped in a cell with nothing but a journal to document their experiences, this mysterious Prisoner must undergo terrifying scientific experiments while trying not to lose all hope and sanity.

Inspired by the works of renowned horror and mystery writers like Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and Arthur Conan Doyle, The Prisoner of Fear brilliantly weaves questions of mortality and the human propensity for evil into a truly intriguing, unique, and frightening narrative.


First Line:

April 20th-I have always had a fondness for my friendship with John Doyle, but after the events of today, my admiration deepened.

The Prisoner of Fear by Chad Miller

I enjoy a good horror book, and I love them around Halloween. Reading these books around the spookiest time of year makes them even creepier for me. And, to be honest, that is the main reason I accepted the invite from the publisher. I wanted a spooky book to read (not that I have plenty in my TBR….lol).

The Prisoner of Fear is the first book in the Doyle and Braham series. You can ignore the usual stuff I write about reading previous books because it is the first book.

The Prisoner of Fear tells a story about a young woman infected with a mysterious illness. Doyle and Braham get involved when the young woman’s mother writes to them and asks if they could come and investigate. What they encounter is beyond anything that they have ever seen or experienced. In a parallel storyline, an unknown person is kidnapped, thrown into a cell, experimented on, and forced to write a journal detailing their every thought. How are these two storylines connected, and why? What horror did Doyle and Braham experience at that house in Connecticut?

When I started reading The Prisoner of Fear, I wasn’t expecting the format it was written in. It was written in the form of journal entries, police reports, and news articles. At first, it did throw me off. I am not a huge fan of books written in this fashion. But, as the book went on, I grew used to and came to like how it was written. The author did something that I haven’t seen before in a book written in journal format. I liked that he created characters that had a depth to them.

The main storyline of The Prisoner of Fear revolves around Doyle, his partner Braham, and the events in Connecticut. The author drew me into the story by slowly leaking bits of information about Charles, Cordelia, Doyle, Braham, and (to a lesser extent) Braham’s niece, Scarlett. When I can get as involved with the characters as I did, it makes the book even more enjoyable to read.

The parallel storyline with the unknown stranger did confuse me at first. The author introduced this person (I have no clue if they are male or female) halfway through the book. I couldn’t understand why the author did that until almost the end of the book. That was when the author revealed something significant. Then everything made sense (why the author introduced this person). I wish the stranger’s identity were revealed and the redacted parts of the diary revealed names. The author deliberately did this, and it frustrated me. I am not the type of person to wait until the next book. As Veruca Salt famously says, “I want it now!!

The author very well wrote the horror angle. From the beginning, I had mild anxiety while reading the lead-up to Doyle and Braham’s trip to Connecticut. But, once they got to Connecticut, my anxiety grew. I knew something terrible was going to happen. I didn’t expect how it happened and the fallout from it. I was genuinely creeped out by Cordelia’s condition and her mother’s dedication to keeping her happy. What they found in the basement and the journal excerpts pulled out of the fire added to it. Also adding to my discomfort was how Charles’s sister was acting. It was weird and offsetting, to say the least, and made me wonder if what happened to Cordelia is happening to her.

The end of The Prisoner of Fear was interesting. I say interesting because while Doyle and Braham solved Cordelia’s case, there was still so much up in the air. I wanted to know what was happening to Jessica (Charles’s sister). There was also the matter of the person being held captive and what was done to them. The author did say that there was going to be a book 2, and I hope it answers those questions.

I would recommend The Prisoner of Fear to anyone over 21. There is mild language, no sex, and moderate to graphic violence in parts of the book.

WWW Wednesday: October 12th, 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 to see my friend, who I have known since 6th grade (so over 30 years). She was driving to Florida with her husband and stopped in my neck of North Carolina for 2 days. It was a super nice visit.
  • Friday, we went to our city’s Oktoberfest. This is the first time since Covid that the city has had it. I loved it. Our city has a social area, and people carried their drinks within those boundaries. There were a lot of stalls with various crafts. I got a cat mom sticker to put on my car…lol. The highlight of the night was the petting zoo. Everyone had a blast.
  • We didn’t do much over the weekend. We went grocery shopping (and went to the new Piggly Wiggly that opened up) and just hung out. I played Sims 4 all weekend (FYI: if you have Sims 4 and play on Origin, they were moving all accounts to EA).
  • I took Tony to the vet on Monday to get his second set of kitten shots. He was a whopping 4.75lbs and perfectly healthy. The vet did have some concerns with his paws (we do, too), but she advised us to keep an eye on them.
  • I didn’t get a lot of reading done last week. The book I just finished, The Art of Prophecy, is about 500 pages, and it took me forever to get through it. I liked it, but it was long.
  • I haven’t been updating older posts, either. But, after I publish this post, I plan on starting that back up again.

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:

An epic fantasy ode to martial arts and magic—the story of a spoiled hero, an exacting grandmaster, and an immortal god-king from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lives of Tao.

It has been foretold: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom.

The hero: Jian, who has been raised since birth in luxury and splendor, celebrated before he has won a single battle.

But the prophecy was wrong.

Because when Taishi, the greatest war artist of her generation, arrives to evaluate the prophesied hero, she finds a spoiled brat unprepared to face his destiny.

But the only force more powerful than fate is Taishi herself. Possessed of an iron will, a sharp tongue—and an unexpectedly soft heart—Taishi will find a way to forge Jian into the weapon and leader he needs to be in order to fulfill his legend.

What follows is a journey more wondrous than any prophecy can foresee: a story of master and student, assassin and revolutionary, of fallen gods and broken prophecies, and of a war between kingdoms, and love and friendship between deadly rivals.


What I am currently reading:

It is 1889 in Philadelphia, and detective John Doyle is restless. Along with his miserable partner, Thomas Braham, Doyle pursues mysteries, strange sightings, and other obscurities tossed aside and disregarded by the police. For years, Doyle has taken on these cases in the hopes of discovering something supernatural – something that could upend and dispute his long-standing, debilitating fear that immortal souls do not exist.

Doyle’s search for the supernatural remains unsuccessful until he receives a strange letter from an old doctor friend regarding a young woman with a mysterious and rather disturbing illness. When the doctor goes missing in the same town that this young woman resides in, Doyle and Braham decide to take on the case and search for clues regarding their missing friend. In doing so, they discover that there is no longer any suffering young woman, but a dangerous abomination whose origin cannot be explained by science nor modern medicine.

Meanwhile, an unnamed victim has been kidnapped. Trapped in a cell with nothing but a journal to document their experiences, this mysterious Prisoner must undergo terrifying scientific experiments while trying not to lose all hope and sanity.

Inspired by the works of renowned horror and mystery writers like Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and Arthur Conan Doyle, The Prisoner of Fear brilliantly weaves questions of mortality and the human propensity for evil into a truly intriguing, unique, and frightening narrative.

Ohioana Book Award finalist Ruth Emmie Lang returns with a new cast of ordinary characters with extraordinary abilities.

Five years ago, Nora Wilder disappeared. The older of her two daughters, Zadie, should have seen it coming, because she can literally see things coming. But not even her psychic abilities were able to prevent their mother from vanishing one morning.

Zadie’s estranged younger sister, Finn, can’t see into the future, but she has an uncannily good memory, so good that she remembers not only her own memories, but the echoes of memories other people have left behind. On the afternoon of her graduation party, Finn is seized by an “echo” more powerful than anything she’s experienced before: a woman singing a song she recognizes, a song about a bird…

When Finn wakes up alone in an aviary with no idea of how she got there, she realizes who the memory belongs to: Nora.

Now, it’s up to Finn to convince her sister that not only is their mom still out there, but that she wants to be found. Against Zadie’s better judgement, she and Finn hit the highway, using Finn’s echoes to retrace Nora’s footsteps and uncover the answer to the question that has been haunting them for years: Why did she leave?

But the more time Finn spends in their mother’s past, the harder it is for her to return to the present, to return to herself. As Zadie feels her sister start to slip away, she will have to decide what lengths she is willing to go to to find their mother, knowing that if she chooses wrong, she could lose them both for good.


What books I think I’ll read next:

Bradley Pay is back with a jaw-dropping sequel to The Killings Begin! Travel across the world and dive into the complex hearts and minds of Tracey Lauch and a cast of unsuspecting new characters in Death in a Dark Alley. Boasting the Spectrum Series’ iconic fusion of contemporary romance and psychological suspense, Bradley Pay has created another tangled web of love, loss, and an insatiable desire to kill.

Tracey Lauch may be a murderer, but he is still a man. Although his childhood abandonment trauma began decades ago, now his compulsion to strangle women who resemble his mother has begun to evolve. Outrunning his past, embracing love in the present, and creating a future free of investigation proves increasingly complicated.

Isabelle’s life in Brazil is burdened with mistakes and abandonment, too – but not in the same way. She falls in love with all the wrong men at all the wrong times, and her best friend Frank shows his true colors when, over and over again, he is not there for her when she needs him most. Aside from the stark difference that Isabelle is not a murderer, she and Tracey both desire love, a life partner, and the warmth of a family. 

But what does Isabelle’s story have to do with Tracey? How can an innocent trip to Strasbourg, France, become a heart-stopping event that changes their lives forever?

Peek behind the curtains of this cold-case investigation and catch an intimate glimpse inside the characters’ lives.

Two warriors shepherd an ancient god across a broken land to end the tyrannical reign of a royal family in this new epic fantasy from the author of The Vanished Birds.

The people suffer under the centuries-long rule of the Moon Throne. The royal family—the despotic emperor and his monstrous sons, the Three Terrors—hold the countryside in their choking grip. They bleed the land and oppress the citizens with the frightful powers they inherited from the god locked under their palace.

But that god cannot be contained forever.

With the aid of Jun, a guard broken by his guilt-stricken past, and Keema, an outcast fighting for his future, the god escapes from her royal captivity and flees from her own children, the triplet Terrors who would drag her back to her unholy prison. And so it is that she embarks with her young companions on a five-day pilgrimage in search of freedom—and a way to end the Moon Throne forever. The journey ahead will be more dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Both a sweeping adventure story and an intimate exploration of identity, legacy, and belonging, The Spear Cuts Through Water is an ambitious and profound saga that will transport and transform you—and is like nothing you’ve ever read before.

Finley Reeves is the queen of bad mistakes. Fresh off a bad divorce, she decides to rebuild her life from the ground up – starting with a fixer-upper that’s got more leaks than the Titanic. Deciding to tackle this project alone might be her biggest mistake of all…. That is, until Noah Thompson shows up at her front door like a knight in a shining tool belt and makes her an offer she’d be crazy to refuse.

Noah’s sexy, rugged, and good with his hands, but Finley swears she doesn’t need his help – in the basement, or in the bedroom. Can this unlikely couple build a future together? Or will this be one fixer-upper that is better off left alone?

Stefano Vanzetti.

You’d have to be living under a rock if you grew up in northern Boston and didn’t know who he is. He’s the heartthrob of every Italian girl in my neighborhood, the man who’s probably had your daughter roll through his sheets at least once, the devilishly handsome mysterious man with dark brown eyes that gave you nightmares, and yes, every horrible thing you’ve probably heard about him is very much true.

Did I also mention he destroyed my dreams and aspirations in life when he asked my father for my hand in marriage?

When Seventeen year old Winter Merrill was compelled to make a bargain with the mysterious Secret Keeper, she knew there were rules. The most important one, the next time you have a secret, you will not be able to tell it….even if you try.
What she didn’t know is that her next secret if not told, would destroy her life and the life of Liam, the only boy she ever loved. Can Winter find a way out of the dark bargain that binds her tongue or will her deal with the Secret Keeper bring devastating consequences unimaginable even to her?

October 2022 TBR

September was a fast month, but it seemed to slow down with the kids being in school again. It was hot here, but the weather cooled down as September ended. It went from being in the ’90s to being in the ’60s within a week (or so it seems). I am enjoying it (not a fan of hot weather here).

This month’s list is rather short. I finished up September’s TBR early and got to work on October’s. Now, saying that I will have a bunch of requests….lol.

So, here’s this month’s TBR list. Let me know if you have read any of them!!


This was an author request. I figured that October would be a perfect month to read it. It certainly looks spooky!!
This was a pleasant surprise. I got it in the mail yesterday. I can’t wait to see where this book is going to take me (location-wise and other)
I have been waiting on this book for a little bit. The publisher prefers to mail paperbacks, and I should get mine next week.
A book from my TBR. I will not be reviewing.
Another from my TBR. Will not be reviewing.
From my TBR. I will not be reviewing.
From my TBR. Will not be reviewing.

September 2022 Wrap Up

It has been a while since I have done a monthly wrap-up. Usually, I am pressed for time (between the kids, their activities, and other life issues), and I choose not to do one. But I am making a change starting with this month. I will do a monthly wrap-up (even if it is only a couple of things).

So, here is what I read/posted in the month of September.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:


Books I got from NetGalley


Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers


Books Reviewed

The Diseased by S.M. Thomas (review here)

Shadowed Spirits by Reily Garrett (review here)

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts by Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Sylvia Nay, Katie Klein, Michael di Gesu, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, Sammi, Spizziri (review here)

Last Place Seen by Alessandra Harris (review here)

Love Secrets Lies by Teresa Vale (review here)

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith (review here)

Owl Manor: The Dawning by Zita Harrison (review here)

Owl Manor: Abigail by Zita Harrison (review here)

Owl Manor: The Final Stroke by Zita Harrison (review here)