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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Haunted Kansas by Lisa Hefner Heitz

From Goodreads:

Lisa Hefner Heitz has traveled the state in search of its ghostly folklore. What she has unearthed is a fascinating blend of oral histories, contemporary eyewitness accounts, and local legends. Creepy and chilling, sometimes humorous, and always engaging, her book features tales about ghosts, poltergeists, spook lights, and a host of other restless spirits that haunt Kansas. Heitz's spine-tingling collection of stories raps and taps and moans and groans through a wealth of descriptions of infamous Kansas phantoms, as well as disconcerting personal experiences related by former skeptics. Many of these ghosts, she shows, are notoriously linked to specific Kansas structures or locations, whether an eighteenth-century mansion in Atchison or a deep - some have claimed bottomless - pool near Ashland.

I've been searching out some local ghost tales this month. I have to say, trying to finish this up at night, down in the basement while walking on my treadmill was probably not the smartest idea ever! I was just sure I was going to see something when I turned around!

It's fun to hear stories from places that you have heard of or even been to. While the previous local ghosts book I read, Haunted Kansas City, Missouri focused on primarily public and often well known places, the stories were often vague or very generalized. In Haunted Kansas, the author tells the stories, often quite detailed, including different versions of the legend and discussing how it changes over time, or the purpose that the story served in the community, grouped by type. While many of the stories are treated with a great deal of skepticism, often the many different versions of the stories undermine their credibility (kind of like the whispered secret game, where the message rarely ends how it starts out), there is still plenty here to give you goosebumps, especially if your setting is ripe! (i. e. cobwebby basement at night, with your back to the room, did I mention that was a bad idea?)  I do wish there had been more photos of locations as there was in Haunted Kansas City, Missouri, but a lot of these stories are set in private places, or areas where there really isn't much to see, or are no longer as they once were, so a lack of images is understandable.

I do recommend them both if you are interested in local Kansas legends, history and hauntings, but of the two, Haunted Kansas was by far the more informative and a meatier read.  There is also a notes and sources section at the back that lends credence to the author's work, giving ideas for further reading if you are interested.

And with this, I think I'll say goodbye to October and to ghosts for awhile!  Happy Halloween everyone! 

Friday, October 30, 2015

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

From Goodreads:

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

I picked this up when it was offered as one of the Big Library Reads from our local library online. It was historical fiction and I've been in a ghostie mood, it being near Halloween, so the spiritualism and ghost photography intrigued me. I was also strongly reminded that we didn't learn everything in school, as I don't recall ever discussing a huge flu epidemic at that time, though we did cover the world wars. I think we focused mostly on what was happening over seas, not here at home in the states.

This is a dark and scary time in history, people were afraid of letting their neighbors see anything that might be taken the wrong way.   Anything German related was suspect. Constant precautions against the flu were prevalent from wearing face covering masks to a steady diet of onions in every imaginable way.  Fear was the everyday norm.  Into this setting we have a young girl sent to live with her aunt, believing it to be safer for her there.  Little did they know it seemed more like she was being dropped into the heart of the fire!  Mary Shelley endures and tries to find out what really happened to Stephen, her lost love, to help him rest.

I hate to say I enjoyed this because it was not a happy story, but it was an engrossing one and I was completely engaged in her struggle to understand what had happened.  My heart breaks for these two young people that would have been very happy together, torn apart by the world, the war, society and their families. They lived in a world and a time that I cannot even begin to understand from my present circumstances, a world I hope I never do come closer to.

I'm definitely interested in more from Cat Winters, I had heard of her The Cure for Dreaming before and In the Shadow of Blackbirds makes me more interested still!  I highly recommend this if you're in the mood for some history, a mystery, and a ghost!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #4: Staked (Iron Druid #8) by Kevin Hearne

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!

From Goodreads:

When a druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

I love the Iron Druid series a lot!  It's one of the few that I'm actually keeping up to date on, so I'm eagerly awaiting this new addition.  I've listened to the audiobooks so far, read by Luke Daniels, who does a great job of bringing Atticus and the crew to life.  The hardback is due out January 26th, 2016, so hopefully the audiobook will happen soon after!

What books are on your wishlist?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Aunt Dimity Digs In (Aunt Dimity #4) by Nancy Atherton

From Goodreads:

The latest in this enchanting and fast-selling series, featuring the beloved ghost Aunt Dimity, opens in a picturesque English cottage where the lovable Lori Shepherd is up to her elbows in pureed carrots and formula bottles, striving to be the perfect mother to twins! Luckily, a beautiful Italian nanny arrives just in time so Lori can help settle the local civil war stirred up by a visiting archaeologist's excavation. With Reginald, the stuffed pink rabbit and Edmond Terrance, the stuffed tiger in tow, Lori hunts down a missing document, and the archaeologist digs up a lot more than artifacts. It is Aunt Dimity's magic blue notebook that provides the key to buried secrets and domestic malice, and shows all the residents of Finch that even the darkest acts can be overcome by forgiveness.

I think this is my favorite Aunt Dimity book yet, for so many reasons! The Archaeology aspect was a draw, and Edmond Terrance, which I'm actually surprised was mentioned in the blurb because to me his existence is such a strong emotional moment, for me at least, that it's almost a spoiler to even mention him in my opinion!  You just never know what mischief Reginald will get up to either!

I don't feel like the blurb gives enough credit to all the action within this story. There are so many things going on, past and present. One thing I love about this series is that they are strong mysteries without a murder to solve. You are pulled in by the intrigues of the small village of Finch and just kept entertained by the villagers different personalities and interactions.  I really feel like I've been there and I can't wait to go back!

I'll definitely be visiting Aunt Dimity for Christmas (that's #5) but I'm saving that for a holiday read-a-thon in November.  I can't recommend this cozy mystery series enough, it's easily one of my favorites!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #3 - Night Shift (Midnight, Texas #3) by Charlaine Harris

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!

From Goodreads:

At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town.

Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place.

And now they must come together to stop the bloodshed in the heart of Midnight. For if all hell breaks loose—which just might happen—it will put the secretive town on the map, where no one wants it to be...

Things are starting to get really interesting in Midnight, Texas!

This is due out May 3rd, next year, so I'll be trying to get on the library list for it as soon as they have one.  I really enjoyed Charlaine's Harper Connolly series, have read most of Aurora Teagarden, and a few of her Sookie Stackhouse books so far.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this one goes!

What books are on your wishlist?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon October 17th 2015 - It's Here! It's Here!

What's this? What's this? The books are everywhere! What's this? There's pages in the air!

It's time once again for Dewey's Read-a-thon! Yay! I'm a reader and a cheerleader this year, so I can't wait to go visit my Dogwood team and see what everyone is up to, encouraging them on to reading greatness!

I'll be out for a few hours around lunch time to go see Crimson Peak, but other than that, it's reading, reading, cheering and reading some more!

I'll post all my updates in this thread.  Here are a few of the books I may work on.  I think I'm going to focus on pages read, rather than books finished, because I like to skip around, and I am in the middle of a lot of books right now that I really need to finish!

As a seasoned read-a-thoner, here is some advice: don't put so much pressure on yourself to perform and reach goals that you don't have fun, or lose sight of the awesome thing you are a part of.  You're taking part in an event that includes people all over the world, and we're all in it because we love to read!  It doesn't matter if you read 1 page, or 1,000, you're still wonderful! Also, don't get too comfy, because you'll fall asleep! ;)  Take care of yourself today, your health comes first, it's okay to take that nap, and enjoy every minute of it!


7:00 am - starting with Doctor Who #3: The Spear of Destiny to get a quick one under the belt!

8:23 am - just finished with The Spear of Destiny and now starting on Aunt Dimity Digs In.

10:00 am - 18 pages into Aunt Dimity and heading out the door to go see Crimson Peak (Tom Hiddleston *squee*) I'm taking The Door in the Hedge with me that I've already started, since it's on my Kindle and easier to pack in the purse. See you all later for more reading and cheering!

2:24 pm - I'm back from Crimson Peak!  It was beautiful and deliciously creepy, just the right amount of scary without being over the top for me, I highly recommend it! Now it's time to hit the books again!  I want to get a few more pages down and then I'll be out cheering some of you on to victory! :D

4:00 pm - Up to page 80 of Aunt Dimity and got in some steps on the treadmill at the same time!

5:00 pm - I've been doing some cheering and really enjoying visiting different blogs and seeing what others are reading today! Now back to my own reading and contemplating what to have for dinner!  I think I'll focus on The Door in the Hedge for awhile and see if I can get that finished up!

6:00 pn - 35 pages of The Door in the Hedge, no decision on dinner yet! lol!

8:35 pm - Dinner is a BBQ feast!  I have about 6 pages left of The Door in the Hedge, and then I think it's time for a computer game break!

9:30 pm - Done with dinner, done with The Door in the Hedge, done with computer games and ready to get back to it!

10:23 pm - After a bit more cheering, I'd best get to reading some more before I get too sleepy!  I'll hang out with Aunt Dimity some more for awhile, then maybe get into my next Doctor Who short story.

12:00 am - Up to pg 132 on Aunt Dimity, not quite halfway.  I'm probably off for a few hours sleep, and I'll try to make it up a couple hours before the finish line, but we'll see!

11:35 am Sunday - Well, I didn't make it back up in time for the finish line, but I did get 22 more pages read before I fell asleep!  Thanks to everyone for another great read-a-thon!  

Total Pages: 321

Books Finished:
Doctor Who #3: The Spear of Destiny
The Door in the Hedge

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #2: Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #3) by Ransom Riggs

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!

From Goodreads:

The adventures that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued with Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls.

As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all.

Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography.

This is such a different series, combined with the vintage style photography.  I'm on the audiobook list for this one at the library, so I hope I'll be listening to it soon!  I recommend them, and also taking a look at the hard copy if you can for the photos, so strange, and intriguing!

What books are on your wishlist?

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #1: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!

I'm excited to join up on this meme, I've been looking for some easy ones to do, and I'm pretty sure that I have enough wishlist material to last several lifetimes, so this is perfect!  Without further ado, here is my first installment!

From Goodreads:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

A thrilling new adventure set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and—for the first time ever—written entirely from Luke Skywalker’s first-person point of view.

Luke Skywalker’s game-changing destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he’s a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there’s no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot—and in the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there’s no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.

A brilliant alien cryptographer renowned for her ability to breach even the most advanced communications systems is being detained by Imperial agents determined to exploit her exceptional talents for the Empire’s purposes. But the prospective spy’s sympathies lie with the Rebels, and she’s willing to join their effort in exchange for being reunited with her family. It’s an opportunity to gain a critical edge against the Empire that’s too precious to pass up. It’s also a job that demands the element of surprise. So Luke and the ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 swap their trusty X-wing fighter for a sleek space yacht piloted by brash recruit Nakari Kelen, daughter of a biotech mogul, who’s got a score of her own to settle with the Empire.

Challenged by ruthless Imperial bodyguards, death-dealing enemy battleships, merciless bounty hunters, and monstrous brain-eating parasites, Luke plunges head-on into a high-stakes espionage operation that will push his abilities as a Rebel fighter and would-be Jedi to the limit. If ever he needed the wisdom of Obi-Wan Kenobi to shepherd him through danger, it’s now. But Luke will have to rely on himself, his friends, and his own burgeoning relationship with the Force to survive.

So far this has not gotten great reviews.  I really love Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series, and most are saying not to expect that level of greatness.  I'm going into it with an open mind and not many expectations except for a fun Star Wars adventure by an author that I like.  We can't hit home runs all the time and I'm sure even Kevin's worst is better than many other things I've read!  I'm within a few spots on the library audio list, so I should find out soon!

What books are on your wishlist?  

Saturday, October 03, 2015

My To Be Read List - October 2015 - Ghosts

Updated 10/31/15: I gave up 125 pages in, a gripping page turner it is not and I found myself just not being insterested any more.  I liked the characters, but it seemed like mostly unexplained political intrigue with characters who all had a history with each other, but that we didn't really know.  So I'm giving it a pass.  Better luck next month!


 Updated: My October poll is closed, and the winner is Living with Ghosts by Keri Sperring, with 50% of the votes!  I was surprised, I thought Odd Thomas would win hands down, but it was actually the lowest with only 1/8 votes! Check back on 10/24 to see what it's like Living with Ghosts!


Welcome to the October 2015 edition of My To Be Read List, hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. This is a monthly meme where we offer up 3 choices from our TBR pile for our readers to pick from to help us make the super hard decision of "what do I read next?" a little easier and to whittle away at the ever growing TBR Mountain! 

Theme: Ghosts -- It is October after all! ;)  Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me what you chose and why.

The poll will stay open through Friday 10/9.  I'll update this post with the winning book on Saturday 10/10, then post a review on Saturday 10/24.

If you think this sounds fun and would like to join (the more the merrier, because we love voting!) please head on over to Because Reading where Michelle lays out the rules for us!

And the choices are...

From Goodreads:

"The dead don't talk. I don't know why." But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.

Maybe he has a gift, maybe it's a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd's otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd's deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares, and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

From Goodreads:

Penelope Thornton-McClure manages a Rhode Island bookshop rumored to be haunted. When a bestselling author drops dead signing books, the first clue of foul play comes from the store's full-time ghost - a PI murdered on the very spot more than fifty years ago.
From Goodreads:

This highly original, darkly atmospheric fantasy novel immerses readers in a world where ghosts and other malevolent spirits seek entry into mortal realms—invisible to all but those who are not entirely human themselves. Drawn into the ancient city of Merafi, yet barred from entering by an ancient pact sealed in blood, these hungry haunts await their opportunity to break through the magical border and wreak havoc on the city’s innocent denizens.

And as a priestess and prince weave a sorcerous plot to shatter the pact and bring ruin on Merafi, only a failed assassin-priest who is now a courtesan, a noble lord married into the ruling family of Merafi, an officer of the city guard, a woman warrior who was the former lover of a now-dead lord, and the ghost of that lord himself stand between Merafi and the tidal wave of magic that may soon bring ruin flooding down upon the city.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Haunted Kansas City, Missouri by Angie Cox

Haunted Kansas City, MissouriHaunted Kansas City, Missouri by Angie Cox
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was interested to read some local ghost stories, and this book names many places that I've heard of in the area, though most I haven't been to. I have to say I was hoping for a few more specifics, there were a lot of "could it be this? We'll never know..." and many of the stories were vague and generalized. There were a lot of photos of places and historical tidbits, I think my favorite stories were those for Plattsburgh, MO which I have never been to but may have to visit! Overall an enjoyable read if not a very chilling one, it's still fun to read about places that you know!

View all my reviews
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