Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Cup of... #7

Sunday Cup of... is a mash up of
The Sunday Post Hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?  Hosted by: Book Journey
Mailbox Monday Located at: Mailbox Monday
Basically it's a weekly post where I talk about books, bloggy things, and possibly not so bloggy things. It'll be a weekly wrap up / news bulletin type deal. Sound good? If you want to link to your own weekly posts in the comments feel free.


Last weekend I didn't post because I had some sort of stomach bug from Thursday through the weekend and just started feeling better Sunday. Nothing else really to report. C turns 6 on Tuesday that's about all I got. 


Geeky Bloggers Book Blog



So here's how I did this week...
Sunday:?
Monday:?
Tuesday: ?
Weds: ?
Thursday:? 
Friday: ?
Saturday:?
 
I have no idea how I did because I ended up deleting my Active TRK app because it was getting frustrating to use and kept freezing my phone.  I actually reviewed it on my other blog if you want to check it out (review link). I was actually considering going for a walk Sat morning but at -4 degrees I chickened out. I really can't wait for Spring to get here. I want to go outside so bad... and not freeze my pooti off. 


In the mailbox...
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones

 by 







What I'm Reading...

A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses  by Molly Harper (Still Reading.)
Chasing Shadows: New York Ghosts by P.W. Creighton (Still Reading)
Reading Next...
Not sure but I have to get some review books done so it will probably be those.





Kaitlyn Davis (Review Coming Soon)


The Jefferson County Egan Murders: Nightmare on New Year's Eve 1964 by 
Southern Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries, #1) by Angie Fox (Review Coming Soon)
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl: Book One by Paige McKenzie (Review Coming Soon)
The Doctor's Wife by 
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Audio- DNF- I kept getting this & The Doctor's Wife confused because they we're so alike)
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (Audio)

On the blog last week... 
2/23 {Guest Post} Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina Myles 
2/24 {Book Review} A Ghostly Undertaking (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1) by Tonya Kappes 2/25 {Book Review} Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World by Deborah Blake 
2/26 {Mini Podio Review} The May Day Murders by Scott Wittenburg

If you want to see what's coming up just check the agenda widget in the sidebar. 


So that's it for this week, hope you'll stop by next Sunday. If you like this idea, go ahead and make your own Sunday Cup of... post no link back needed. I know some folks commented on the button, you're welcome to use it if you want. Have a great week!

 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

{Mini Podio Review} The May Day Murders by Scott Wittenburg

The May Day Murders
by Scott Wittenburg
How I got it: downloaded free from Podiobooks

The autumnal tranquility of Smithtown, Ohio is shattered when Dr. David Bradley arrives home to find that his wife has been raped and murdered by an intruder who has left no clues behind except the words "May Day" painted in lipstick on his victim's body. When the police later learn that another Smithtown resident has been raped and strangled in New York City, it becomes frighteningly clear that a cunning serial killer targeting Smithtown women is on the prowl. Newspaper reporter Sam Middleton is determined to help Detective Roger Hagstrom track down the assailant of his ex-wife's best friend and everyone is asking the same question as the mystery unfolds: Who will the killer's next victim be?

Review: This was narrated by the author, unfortunately his voice was very flat and came across unemotional. I enjoyed the story, even if the plot was fairly predictable. I liked Sam and though he was a great character.  Ann I like at first, then she became really annoying. By the end of the book I wanted the killer to get her. She became whiny, dumb... just making stupid decisions and unable to control her child. Her undeceive attitude pissed me off, she flip flopped on so many things it was irritating. Over all ok, and decent for a freebie.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

{Book Review} Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World by Deborah Blake

Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World
by Deborah Blake
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Release: March 8th 2015
Genre: Non- Fiction- Adult: Wiccan, Ritual, Spells
How I got it: NetGalley

Everyday Witchcraft is a book for today's Witch--busy and overwhelmed, but still longing to find a way to make a spiritual connection and integrate her Pagan beliefs with her everyday life. Simple, fun, and easy to follow, this book is both practical and empowering. Includes "5 Minute Rituals" along with suggestions for easy daily or monthly practice. Bring magick into your everyday life!

Review: I really liked this book. While a lot of the techniques are things I already do, I found many new ways to incorporate my religion into my life. The "5 Minute Rituals" were inspiring. I really liked how she didn't get into needing lots of stuff, just lighting a candle or using simple affirmations were good enough. I liked how she encouraged readers to just find a few minutes of quite to enjoy the simple things. Even if you aren't a Pagan I feel you could get something out of this book, but substituting your God for those in the book. I have to admit I did just skim over the Egyptian God/dess I'm not really into that mythology, while it's interesting I just don't follow that path.
As a Norther New Yorker, myself, I liked the references to the Winter Blues. I loved her advice about going with the flow of the seasons. I used to get the Winter Blues quite often myself, and her advice resonated with me. Using Winter as a time of quiet and refection makes a great deal of sense, if you have ever been outside on a Winter day it is extremely silent. Unless your sledding with children then forget it. Actually a lot of things in this book resonated with me. I felt Ms Blake did a great job with this book, I enjoyed the way it was written as well. It felt as though I was talking with a friend who was given me advice as apposed to a book. Over all this was a very enjoyable read, and a welcomed addition to my library.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{Book Review} A Ghostly Undertaking (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1) by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Undertaking (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1)
by Tonya Kappes
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: February 24th 2015 by
Genre: Fiction-Adult: Cozy Mystery, slight romance
How I got it: Received an ARC from publisher

A funeral, a ghost, a murder…it’s all in a day’s work for Emma Lee Raines…

Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she’s suffering from “funeral trauma.” It’s trauma all right, because the not so dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne--innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee’s granny—she’s adamant that she didn't just fall down those stairs. She was pushed.

Ruthie has no idea who wanted her pushing up daisies. All she knows is that she can't cross over until the matter is laid to eternal rest. In the land of the living, Emma Lee’s high-school crush, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, isn't ready to rule out foul play. Granny Raines, the widow of Ruthie’s ex-husband and co-owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, is the prime suspect. Now Emma Lee is stuck playing detective or risk being haunted forever.

Review: A fun and enjoyable mystery.
After a mishap with a falling plastic santa, Emma Lee begins to see the recently departed. Until she can discover the real reason Ruthie took a tumble Emma has pesky gossipy ghost in hot pink jammies and kitty slippers following her around. Toss in Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, Emma's high school crush, who actually believes her and doesn't think she has "funeral trauma." Along with a whole cast of very colorful characters and this book is great.
I really like Emma Lee, she's spunky, sassy although a little uncertain of herself. I liked her interaction with the other quirky town folk. All the characters in this book, have their own idiosyncrasies that make them unique as well as interesting. The romance was there but not overdone, this is a mystery not a romance. Yet I will say Jack Henry and Emma Lee do make a cute couple.
The plot is actually fun as well as intriguing. With all the twists and turns it takes lead you to make all sorts of assertions. By the end I was surprised to see who the killer was and how the clues really added up. Because the clues are there you just have to look between the lines, as they are not always right in your face.
All in all a wonderful book and a fun read.




Monday, February 23, 2015

{Guest Post} Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina Myles

HOW ROMANCE HAS BEEN INFLUENCED BY GOTHIC FAIRY TALES

Sleeping Beauty. Beauty and the Wolf. Hansel and Gretel. These classic fairy tales evoke visions of dark, gothic castles or of creepy shadowed forests. They also bring to mind the fight between good and evil as well as visions of wicked witches and frightening beasts.
Like many of us, I loved fairy tales as a child. I had my mother read them to me over and over again. That’s why their timelessness is ingrained in my brain—having secured a special place in my childhood memory bank.
But what makes them still appeal to modern readers?
There is plenty of evidence that they do. Consider all the current television shows and motion pictures based on fairy tales. From Grimm to Once Upon A Time to Snow White and the Huntsman to Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie, there is still a strong market for retellings.
To answer the question, I believe fairy tales appeal to modern readers thanks to the idea that love conquers all. Look around us. There is so much stress and tragedy in the world. We all need a little hope and romantic salvation…a little escapism, as it were. The other day, I turned on the news and watched a horrific story about the violent murder of a college girl. Following the story was an account of a restaurant customer offering to pay his waitress’s college tuition after hearing about her monumental student loans. He was her fairy godfather!! I was so relieved that a positive story followed the tragic one. It actually changed my attitude for the morning.
What could be more positive than a fairy tale? We are able to get lost in the magic of them, cheer for the hero, sympathize with the heroine, and shout with joy when the prince and
the princess end up with one another. We know there will be a happily-ever-after, but isn’t that why we read them?
I hope readers enjoy all of the stories in my Cursed Princes series. They contain a little mystery, suspense, and action, but you are guaranteed to get your positive ending!
Thanks for having me!

Cinderella and the Ghost
The Cursed Princes
Book Four
Marina Myles

Release Date: February 17, 2015

Genre: Historical/paranormal romance

ISBN: 9781601832832

Publisher: Kensington

Description:

A stroke of paint and a stroke of luck. Will they come together to create magic at the stroke of midnight?

When her demanding stepmother died, Ella Benoit knew just how far their fortunes had fallen, unlike her spoiled stepsisters. So she never expected the bequest from her late father. A chateau in France and the freedom to live her own life, all at once!

The chateau has seen better days, but Ella knows she can put the ruined house to rights. The life-size portrait of its first owner, Jean-Daniel Girard, seems to watch her work with approval, even pleasure. With bright blue eyes, strong features, and an athlete’s body, the viscount is a tempting sight even now, more than three hundred years after his tragic death. But the more she looks at the portrait, the more convinced Ella is that she’s met Jean-Daniel before. In another life, perhaps—or maybe, as the form who haunts the halls at night, invading Ella’s dreams…




Excerpt – CINDERELLA AND THE GHOST

As Ella passed the drawing room, she halted. Eerie goose bumps blanketed her arms. Drawn to the room, she felt as though she’d been in it before.
She crossed the threshold under a sudden trance. Icy stabs of déjà vu assaulted her because the ornate furnishings and draperies seemed extremely familiar. Perhaps, she considered, I’ve seen the room in one of Adelaide’s real estate or decorating magazines.
Taking a few steps forward, she noticed a huge blank spot on the east wall. The area’s wallpaper not only showed a variance in color, it outlined a missing, life-sized painting or tapestry.
How odd. Why had the art work been removed? Where was it now?
An unrelenting force summoned her closer to the blank spot. Her inquisitiveness grew. If the missing object was indeed a life-sized painting, it must have taken forever to complete. She wondered about its subject. A landscape? More likely, a portrait.
Prodded to start a hunt, she went through several rooms on Château de Maincy’s main level. She searched the front parlor, the back parlor, and the music room. Her favorite was the ballroom. As she entered, a spark met her toes. Wide-eyed, she noticed that rays of sunshine cast a sparkling aura over its faded parquet floor. A glittering chandelier hung in the center of the gold-toned room and anchored the enormous space.
When the chandelier caught a beam of sunlight, Ella received another spark. She put her hand to her warm cheeks. She could almost hear strains of a quadrille—and the drone of chatter as if she were at a party.
Not a party. She rephrased the thought. A ball.
Eyes blurred, she slipped into a deeper trance. Suddenly, she was wearing a stunning costume and was stepping into waltz with a debonair nobleman sporting a mask. The nobleman pulled her tightly against him. Other guests wearing masks looked on.
It was a masquerade ball! More scenes flashed before Ella. Warm wind gusted into the room and then—
Exiting the trance, she realized that the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Why in heaven had she experienced that?
Her father had written that Ella had been at the château before. Yet she had no conscious memory of the visit. Maybe, she thought as she rubbed her eyes, the atmosphere of this house is too seductive to resist.
Still reeling from the vision, her attention shifted to a long-case clock in the corner. Its shattered face was visible through a hinged glass panel that hung ajar. The top of the clock bore a large, vertical gash.
How odd.
Ella inched closer. The open door revealed that the time-piece had been frozen at twelve o’clock. She touched the immobile hands—and in the bright light of the room, she noticed that the clock’s maker had etched his name and creation date into a groove bordering the clock’s pendulum.
Montbleu ~ 1703.
All at once, Ella remembered standing in front of the long-case clock, precisely like this. But how could that be? She must have repressed memories from her visit here as a child. Yet, she couldn’t explain the vision of herself dancing with the handsome man.
Once she confirmed that a life-sized painting wasn’t hanging in the ballroom, she made her way up the grand staircase. Inexplicably, she felt drawn to where she was going. When she reached the second floor of the house, she studied a wall of faded frescoes depicting late seventeenth century life. When something told her to go on, she padded to the third floor landing.
A palpable hush filled the corridor ahead of her. Then a charged stream of energy rushed through the hall. Since all the curtains were drawn over the arched windows, the hallway sat in darkness and shadow. Ella should be doing so many things. Unpacking. Cleaning. Deciding which bedroom would be hers. But a sense of urgency prompted her feet to continue.
What will I find in this part of the house? Glimpses of the valiant but very dead Jean-Daniel Girard?
Gulping, she opened door after door and peeked in. She finally came to a storage space, with an additional staircase leading up to an attic. Creeping up those stairs, Ella surveyed the articles on the landing. Broken mirrors and articles of furniture draped in white sheets lay strewn about. Tangled strings of cobwebs swathed the wood paneling.
A glowing beam of sunlight angled into the room. Ella’s pulse sped. In the corner, she spotted an item covered with a black cloth. The object reclined against the far wall—and appeared to be larger than she was. Pushing the curtains open, she allowed more sunlight to bathe the space. Hands quivering, she moved back to the draped item and pulled away the black cloth.
The painting’s gilded frame was stunning. On it, Ella located a nameplate.

Jean-Daniel Girard—Viscount de Maincy
1677-1703

Slowly, as though her life was being altered with every centimeter, her stare ascended to the nobleman’s astonishing face. Instantly, the world fell into a compelling silence.
Jean-Daniel Girard was tall, muscular, and inarguably handsome. In fact, his good looks were so striking that Ella could barely breathe as she gazed upon them. More than that, she knew she’d seen his face somewhere before. While she racked her brain about where she’d seen it, her gaze roamed over Jean-Daniel’s sold body, penetrating aquamarine eyes, and angular features. He could be described as classically handsome. The epitome of male beauty, really. And thankfully, that classic quality helped him transcend the fanciful clothing and wig he wore.
Ella took a step in and studied him some more. True to subjects painted in that era, he wasn’t smiling. Rather, he seemed a pensive and a bit melancholy. However, she could tell from the laugh lines bracketing his generous mouth that he grinned often.
Incredibly lifelike, Jean-Daniel seemed capable of emerging from the painting right then and there. Ella’s skin tingled.
Her gaze drifted to the adorable dog sitting at the viscount’s feet. A splendid example of a hound, it possessed a gleaming brown-and-white coated, an open mouth, and a protruding tongue. Oddly, the dog seemed to be smiling.
I can tell you loved your master,” she murmured.
Mesmerized by the man in the painting, Ella stared at his image for what felt like hours. The more she analyzed it, the more she noticed its “lost soul” quality. She crossed her arms. No, that wasn’t it. Instead, there seemed to be something underlying the viscount’s solemn face. As if he weren’t solemn at all. As if he possessed a sense of unfinished business.
To die so young…
She finally looked at the portrait’s backdrop. A vivid depiction of Château de Maincy surrounded Jean-Daniel. A cluster of servants was working in the fields adjacent to the splendid house. Wide-eyed bluebirds perched on the tree branches over his wigged head.
So that’s the way the estate looked in its heyday.
Stepping closer, she zeroed in on Jean-Daniel’s astounding eyes. They seemed to come alive—and for the briefest moment, he did as well. If only they were on a first-name basis! The thought exhilarated her.
While she and the figure locked stares, a new layer of goose bumps sprang up on Ella’s arms. She retreated. Despite the warmth of the room, a chill barraged her body.
Jean-Daniel Girard is quite swoon-worthy, non?” whispered an unfamiliar voice.



About the Author:

Marina Myles’s love of books began as soon as she read her first fairy tale. During her college days in Dallas, she received degrees in English Literature and Communications—and enjoyed the unique experience of being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Now that she lives under the sunny skies of Arizona, she hasn’t left her glamorous life behind completely. After all, she gets to divide her time between her loving family, her loyal Maltese, and worlds filled with fiery—but not easily attained—love affairs.

Visit her at www.marinamyles.com

Represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency








Friday, February 20, 2015

{Book Review} Beltane: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for May Day by Llewellyn Publications, Melanie Marquis

Beltane: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for May Day
by Llewellyn Publications, Melanie Marquis
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Release: March 1st 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction- Adult: Wiccan, new-age, ritual, Sabbatts
How I got it: NetGalley

Easy reference guide to one of the main Pagan festivals - perfect for all witches and Pagans.

Review: This is another of Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials series and focuses on you guessed it Beltane or May Day. If you are already familiar with the Wheel of the Year do yourself a favor and skip the intro. The information in the introduction is for new comers to Pagan festivals and is basically a rehash for anyone who is already knowledgeable. I didn't feel it detracted from the book, just was stuff I was already familiar with. For someone new to these festivals it would be educational. 
I liked how everything was broken down, giving the reader a history of Beltane along with how it is celebrated in the newer Neo-Pagan religions. I thought the way Ms Marquis differentiated how a urban Pagan might celebrate verse how someone who lives in the rural area would celebrate, was very interesting. Living in a rural area, yet in a small space myself I found both variations of rituals useful. I liked the DIY crafts offered, along with the recipes. Although I noticed there was quite a bit centered on sex in the book, which is fine because Beltane is in the Spring and it's a time of mating, but I could have taken or left it. I wasn't crazy about the Divination or Spells section, although a few spells sounded useful.
Over all I feel it was more directed to folks who are new to the Pagan religions and still trying to figure everything out.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

{Book Review} Silhouette of Virtue by Jay Richards

Silhouette of Virtue
by Jay Richards
Publisher: Face Rock Press
Released: July 29th 2014
Genre: Fiction- Adult: Suspense
How I got it:Received a copy from the author

It is 1973. A small college town in Southern Illinois is terrorized by a spree of sadistic assaults. The rapist tells the victims all Asian women that he is making them pay for Americas betrayal in Vietnam. When the only other Black faculty member is accused of the crimes, African American philosophy professor Nathan "Ribs" Rivers struggles to suspend his doubts about his colleagues innocence.

Review: Nathan has a pretty good, if controversial life. He's a philosophy professor, lives in a small college town with his white girl friend and their mixed race daughter. This wouldn't be anything to note, if the book didn't take place in the 70's. Racism and civil rights are gaping wounds, with the salt of Vietnam and Watergate tossed into the mix. A sadistic rapist is targeting young Asian women on campus and the only other Black faculty member has been accused. In an effort to make sure this man, Duncan, gets a fair trial Nathan takes out a second mortgage and pays for his defense thus sealing his own fate.
I really like the suspense aspect of the book, trying to figure out who the perpetrator was actually was pretty much the only thing that kept me reading. Even this got bogged down in everything that was going on. Mr Richards does a great job creating this vivid backdrop of the 1970's you really get a feel for the turmoil and chaos the country was going through. Unfortunately I felt this warred with the story sometimes overshadowing what was going on with the characters. At times I felt this was more a book on civil rights than a suspense.
I couldn't connect with Nathan. He was distant and while not unlikable, he was unemphatic in my opinion. I didn't understand his reasoning for helping a man who's innocents he was questioning. I actually found myself questioning many things he did.
The book did have it's positive points the writing was well done, if heavy on the philosophy. The plot moved along well. Over all it was a decent read, with some up and downs.