Tag Archives: Paranormal

Series Review: Jackaby (#1-3) by William Ritter

Well, I had the best intentions of binge-reading this series but alas. I found out that it was actually a four-book series and not a trilogy, so today’s series review will have to be for the first three books and then when the fourth one comes out, that’ll be on its own.

SERIES REVIEW: JACKABY, BEASTLY BONES, GHOSTLY ECHOES

Reviews for each book/the series are a whole are generally spoiler-free for any major occurrences or twists but may contain info about plot points so I can properly discuss the plot. 

Series Review: Jackaby (#1-3) by William RitterTitle: Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter
Publishing Info: September 16, 2014 by Algonquin
Source: Borrowed from Hoopla
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 1, 2017

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--deny.
Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

I wasn’t totally sure what JACKABY was all about but I was excited to start it! I actually hadn’t known that it involved paranormal elements so that was an interesting surprise when I started reading! (Yes, yes, I know that’s what the whole series is about and it’s plain as day in the book descriptions but you know me and going in totally blind.) I actually thought JACKABY was straight historical fiction, like a YA Sherlock Holmes. I was also interested to find out that Jackaby himself wasn’t a young adult, and I thought that was great to have an adult character as a main part of the book since so many YA books skip around older figures and stick with the teens. It brought an interesting dynamic and mix and also allowed Abigail to get involved in so many things that she may not normally have had access to. That’s always my thing with YA mysteries — a big question that always has to be addressed is why a teen wouldn’t go to an adult with a murder-mystery case and in JACKABY, Abigail is working for paranormal detective R.F. Jackaby.

I also figured that there would be a romance between Jackaby (this was before I knew how much older he was) and Abigail and I’m really glad that there wasn’t! It was nice to see the romance built with Abigail and more of a secondary character and that it was a side plot and not a main focus of the book. The quirky mysteries still took the spotlight and there wasn’t any mixing of work and romance. I actually didn’t really care for the romance, though. I thought it wasn’t very developed in the first book, which it didn’t have to be developed right away, but for some reason it felt fast and forced for me.

JACKABY wasn’t a perfect book but it was really enjoyable! Things kind of piled on with the paranormal but it was fun and not overwhelming as some books tend to feel when dealing with so many different para-creatures.

Series Review: Jackaby (#1-3) by William RitterTitle: Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter
Publishing Info: September 22, 2015 by Algonquin
Source: Borrowed from Hoopla
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 21, 2017

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad's Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

I started BEASTLY BONES right after I finished JACKABY because the first book was just so enjoyable and a breeze to read! I thought BEASTLY BONES stepped it up even more and that William Ritter’s writing really improved, not that I thought JACKABY was lacking, but it felt more mature and more put-together.

I loved the fantastical element in this book and I won’t give it away because it was a super fun reveal for me but it was a creature that I was so excited to see, and even that had a turn of its own. The characters handle the situation adeptly, as always, and the mystery was a hoot!

One thing I actually didn’t like was the appearance of some secondary characters that were immediately eliminated in this book. They had such a heavy focus in BEASTLY BONES and it kind of felt like a waste to get to know them for such a short time only to never see them again. There was also a bit of repetition of terms and words in this book that I started to notice a lot (I didn’t need to read “indomitable” 20 times) so that was a little frustrating but I thought the mystery was even more exciting than the first book and it took a different turn as well!

Series Review: Jackaby (#1-3) by William RitterTitle: Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) by William Ritter
Publishing Info: August 23, 2016 by Algonquin
Source: Borrowed from Hoopla
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 25, 2017

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.
Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.

GHOSTLY ECHOES was a bit different all together with one of the main characters being involved in the mystery instead of someone from the outside. I really loved how much more personal the mystery became — to Jackaby and Abigail as well as the reader — and where the whole series went! Things really escalated in this book and I really appreciated how so many things came full circle here.

The friendships in this book were stepped up even more and I love how much tighter this group got! The different elements in this mystery were also top notch and I think this was my favorite book of the series!

SERIES THOUGHTS

 

This series is fun, easy to read, and seems to be getting better with each book! I still am missing that big “wow” factor that would shoot it up to five stars but these are all so solid and really entertaining.

I think William Ritter does a great job bringing all of the plot together, especially in GHOSTLY ECHOES, and it was also nice to have an overall plot but mysteries that were solved at the end of each book so I didn’t have to jump back into a world where I forgot everything that had happened, as with so many series. (Although I did binge read these so that wasn’t a huge issue anyway.)

I do feel like I could do without Abigail’s romance. I personally have never connected to it and it still feels forced to me. I actually feel like Abigail would be a stronger character without it, or she needs a more spirited companion. She’s so spunky and I would love to see her banter with someone instead of becoming softer and more gentle, although I guess she does have a different sort of banter with Jackaby. Still, I love that romantic banter and teasing.

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Addiction Rating
Read them!

This is a really solid series and each book seems to get better! The paranormal and fantasy aspects are so much fun and the two main characters (Jackaby and Abigail) are really solid.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE JACKABY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Blog Tour: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles | Guest Post on Instalove

Welcome to the blog tour for
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles!

I’m so excited to share today’s blog post which is my blog tour stop for THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING by Jeff Giles! I was so honored to read the book early and provide a blurb for the ARC, thanks to Bloomsbury Kids, and then to meet Jeff Giles at BEA and be able to say hello. Now I’m a part of the blog tour and it’s been so great being so involved with this book!

For today’s post, Jeff Giles is talking a little bit about instalove. As with some books where two worlds collide, instalove happens. Heck, instalove just happens in real life. When I first saw the topics for guest posts for the blog tour, I instantly latched onto this one because I feel the same way! I even had a post that defended instalove because not all instalove is unrealistic. Today’s post has a full discussion from Jeff and I just love it!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles | Guest Post on InstaloveTitle: The Edge of Everything (The Edge of Everything #1) by Jeff Giles
Publishing Info: January 31, 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: BEA 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 27, 2016
Related Posts: The Edge of Everything

It's been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods--only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands' rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

“INSTALOVE ACTUALLY”
by Jeff Giles

When you’ve got a novel about to come out, you spend a lot of time reading reviews of other people’s books as a sort of dress rehearsal for reading your own.

I love the intensity of opinion among readers, whether it’s positive, negative or sideways. For some reason, I especially love the continuing debate about instalove, so I thought I’d share the thoughts that have been piling up in my head.

When I was younger, instalove was called “love at first sight”—and nobody ever questioned it. People generally liked the idea that, at any moment, they could turn a corner, accidentally spill coffee on someone, and proceed directly to Happily Ever After. The trope was no more realistic then than it is now, but it made every second of every day feel like a lottery ticket that could pay off big.

These days, a lot of readers DNF novels like that, of course. That may be because young people are savvier now. They know, from the internet, that some people lie about/disguise who they are every day.

For the record, I think it’s a good thing to be careful about falling in love and to expect novels to be subtle and realistic. I’m not in love with instalove in any way—but I want to say a few things in its defense, because I think it get a bad rap sometimes. Not always, but sometimes. So let’s pretend that I’m instalove’s court-appointed lawyer and I have to defend it, because it’s my job. Okay?

Here we go.

1. Sometimes people DO fall in love instantly.

It happens, even if it doesn’t happen a lot. One of the gifts, and curses, of being young is that you feel things with an almost supernatural intensity. Juliet was 13. Romeo was a couple years older.

But people of all ages can fall in love fast. It may be because they’re at a transitional point in their lives and especially open to possibility. It may be because they’re vulnerable after a loss or a trauma. It may be because they’re stranded in the Artic during a scientific expedition and the generator’s dying and the helicopter’s not coming after all and they have to huddle for warmth. But it does happen.

2. Not every character who THINKS they’re in love is ACTUALLY in love.

People lie to themselves sometimes. We ALL know people like this. They want to be in love so much that they rush in, in clear violation of the famous Elvis song about how only fools rush in. A lot of times instalove is just insta-lust in disguise, obviously. If you see a character whose eyes turn into heart emojis within three pages, the author may setting him or her up for a fall.  

3. If a novel (or a movie) is good enough, it will make you forget that you hate instalove.

The Titanic sank within four days. Four! That’s how long Jack and Rose had to fall in love. Yes, it helps that Jack selflessly gave his life even when there was definitely enough room for him on that floating door.

4. People are more likely to fall in love fast if someone (parents, say) or something (an iceberg, maybe) are trying to keep them apart.

That happens constantly in books and movies, right? It happens in real life, too. None of us want to be told who to love. None of us want to give up because there’s a war coming, or a dystopian government has outlawed love.

5. Even bad instalove is better than that thing where two people meet and hate each other’s guts before realizing they’re soul mates.

I can’t stand that. Give me anything else. Just because you detest someone does not mean you should marry them!

6. If a character is going through tragic stuff, as many YA characters are, an author may just really want to give them a partner for the journey.

It’s not a great excuse, I know. But authors are protective of their characters, and they often want someone to stand by their MC every second and say, “I love you. You can do this.” Yes, that person could be a friend or a sibling or a sentient robot, but sometimes you really just want to give your character someone to kiss.


Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour stops for THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING!

GIVEAWAY

There’s also a giveaway as a part of the tour for one copy of the book + keepsake metal bookmark! This giveaway is open to US/Canada only. Enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Edge of Everything – Jeff Giles

The Edge of Everything – Jeff GilesTitle: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Publishing Info: January 31, 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 27, 2016

It's been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods--only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands' rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

bookreview1

I was fortunate enough to read THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING incredibly early when Bloomsbury asked me to include a blurb for the ARC! (Eee!) it’s a weird thing to sit on a review for half a year but I knew I had to write some things down after reading, otherwise I’d never be able to form coherent thoughts when reviewing!

THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING was a really unique novel for me. If you’re looking for a feel, I’d thrown out EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton (the Underworld aspect) meets DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor (the forbidden romance). THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING is about Zoe, the quirky yet girl-next-door type who meets a bounty hunter from hell —  literally. When Zoe meets X, her entire world is turned upside down in so many ways and it was incredibly interesting to see the ways that she and her family were affected by X’s appearance.

The book started off a little slow for me, but not in a bad way. X appears on the scene and Zoe can clearly see that he’s not quite human so after the first few chapters, the first half of the book is a lot more character development and set-up before it hits some of that world-building that I love. The delay in action really had me focused on the characters and their clear pull towards each other which was definitely important for some plot points down the road! It was also a bit slower, I think, because the concept took a bit of figuring out. This really wasn’t like many books I’ve read before so I was trying to place it into a genre (Fantasy? Paranormal? Mystery?) and figure out how everything really worked. My advice is to just let the book take you where it will and don’t try to put this one in a box! There are lots of elements at work and things came together really well in the second half of the book!

I was hoping for a bit more world-building regarding the Lowlands earlier on the book but I’m such a sucker for that kind of stuff that I was just dying to know what it was all about. It’s not quite Hell or the Underworld as we “know” it so I was so curious to explore the different rules and regulations, functionality, and why it was so important in Zoe’s story line. There was a lot to explore there and I was curious to investigate this dark side and how it maintained balance in the world. I will admit that I was hoping for a bit more in this book BUT there is still a lot to explore in upcoming novels which I’m pretty excited for!

I didn’t know this was a series when I started since I read it so early but I’m actually really glad it is! Once I really got into the book, I was so curious about really everything and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next! There’s so much more exploring that I want to do and I’m really excited to see where Jeff Giles takes his readers. I see so much potential for even more development and I can’t wait to see where this story goes!

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Paranormal concepts. This was kind of fantasy, kind of paranormal, kind of urban fantasy…? I loved the unique mix and it was such a unique read!
Left Me Wanting More: Developement. I just wanted a BIT more development of the world and romance!

Addiction Rating
Try it!

This was a really interesting and unique read and I think it’s a great selection for fans of Brodi Ashton and Laini Taylor!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING    DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) Publishing Info: August 11, 2009 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 9, 2016

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.

bookreview1

I had heard so many things about THE MAGICIANS before starting the book and naturally with the TV show having been out for quite some time, it was on my radar, piquing my curiosity. I purchased the audiobook through an Audible sale and when I was in the particular mood for it, it was finally time start it! I wasn’t totally sure how it would go since the TV show seems to be a little different (well, now that I’ve read it) so I had an idea in my head. I was happy and surprised at how the book turned out!

I loved the vibes and overall feeling right off the bat. It’s really Harry Potter meets Narnia for adults, so the comparisons really do kind of hold up there! The Harry Potter feel is much more in the beginning with a hidden magical school and an entire society of magicians that the “regular human” world doesn’t know anything about. I didn’t think the Narnia part would hold up, aside from the fictitious childhood favorite book of the characters, but then it really came in strong in the ending! I really got hooked on the overall vibe of the book and was left wanting to immediately continue the series! There were a few things that I thought we could have done without here and there but overall, it was an engaging read and quite different than your stereotypical or trope-y fantasy/magic school story. I really loved the adult feel to it (although some moments felt somewhat unnecessary) but I always love the feel of a childhood favorite that now has an adult edge. It’s fun to see characters learning about a magical school in an older setting and how differently things are handled as older teens/new adults.

I think my one real “hang-up” about the book is that it was quite piece-y. The book was a lot of moments of the school year (to start with, adult life later on) all put together, but unlike in other books that deal with long periods of time, this book didn’t quite flow like I had hoped. BUT there were plenty of interesting and quite shocking moments that really kept me interested and these moments really did end up bringing the book together. I think the book spanned a longer period of time than I had expected and I was surprised how quickly it jumped all the way through Quentin’s entire school career. I knew this was more of an adult book but I had expected the schooling part to be more drawn out. It was actually really interesting though… sort of a line between a children’s/MG/young adult magical novel and an adult magical novel. The focus is quite different and looking back on it, I think it’s neat to see the different perspective that an overall plot arc might have with the final result on a character becoming an adult instead of just the years of school.

The ending was not what I was expecting but it was quite good! After a few lulls from random bits of time at school, I wasn’t quite sure where the book would even end up… But it really all did come together in the end! This was one of those things that I probably should have seen coming but I TOTALLY DIDN’T and it was awesome. It also definitely left things open for the next book and sure had me itching to pick up book two! I’ll have to find some time to sit down with this one since it’s a longer audio but I definitely want to continue on!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult Fiction. I read some adult fantasy from time to time but it’s really more high fantasy than anything. This was a fun way to branch out my adult reading into a fantasy with a bit more realism.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot connection. My one big wish for this book is that it had flowed a bit more. Everything was sequential but it really felt choppy and I wished things had felt more cohesive.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

Even if you don’t read a lot of adult, I think this could be a really good crossover for YA fans. The magical school really helps bring in fans of Harry Potter and there is that total Narnia connection later on!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIANS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS

Fortnight of Fright 2016 | Q&A With Stalking Jack the Ripper Author Kerri Maniscalco!

FoF2014

Welcome to our fifth annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2016

Thanks for checking out the FIFTH annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

I’m so excited to share a fun Halloween Q&A with Stalking Jack the Ripper author Kerri Maniscalco! Kerri is such a lovely person and she was gracious enough to participate in a Fortnight of Fright even though it was RIGHT after her book launch. Check it out below!


I’m a total chicken when it comes to horror and yet Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! What’s your favorite part about Halloweentime?

Is it cheating if I say EVERYTHING?! I grew up in New York and absolutely *love* the fall and changing leaves. Running around in costumes, crunching fallen leaves and breathing in the scent of leaves and firewood—it’s as if the whole earth is celebrating before the winter rolls in. So yeah, the entire season in general—the fun/creepy movies and shows on tv, and books that make me want to snuggle up with tea and fuzzy socks. Those are part of my favorite Halloweentime things 😀

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER is such an excellent, atmospheric read for Halloween. Did you always feel drawn to write horror?

Aww thank you so much! I’m glad you think so! I am a giant fan of mysteries and thrillers and grade B horror movies. So when I set out to write this book, I wanted to take elements of my favorite fall things and sort of combine them together. I love Poe’s brand of horror—horror that borders more on the psychological uncertainty than the gross-out variety—and wanted to weave shades of horror throughout, but not be too heavy-handed with it. My favorite reads are the ones that treat atmosphere and setting as if they were unsettling characters themselves, and hope readers who enjoy that find those elements in SJTR.

I read in your bio that you grew up in a semi-haunted house! What’s the creepiest thing that ever happened there?

Oh my gosh, how much time do we have?? I think one of the creepiest things that ever happened was when my best friend and I were in the kitchen getting an after-school snack and heard this little kid laughing uncontrollably in the foyer. It was on the opposite end of the house and we thought my mom and younger sister had just come in and ran to go help them with groceries…only no one else was home. The tv wasn’t on. The radio wasn’t on. No open computers or electronics in any way. We went through the whole house, CONVINCED my sister was home and was messing with us. When my mom pulled into the driveway several minutes later and my sister got out of the car we were so freaked out! We later found out through old documents that a child had lived and died in the home a long time before then.

Do you think your experience with the haunted house started your love for the delightfully spooky?

I think it definitely helped my muse form its admiration for the creepy and unusual! It also really helped form my love of history because parts of our house were dated to the Revolutionary War era and other sections were added on in the 1800s. We were always finding cool things on the property and in the walls whenever we’d do a renovation. Old toys, vintage marbles, really cool and weird things. They were like little treasures growing up. I loved making up stories of who they could have belonged to and what their life might have been like.

What are some of your favorite Halloween traditions? (Movies? TV episodes? Haunted houses?)

When I still lived in NY I really loved traveling up to the Headless Horseman Haunted Hayride in Ulster Park, but really I enjoy any corn maze or haunted house. I also love going to pumpkin patches and searching for the perfect gourde to carve up. Much like my main character enjoys carving corpses, I think 😀

What’s the best Halloween costume you ever had? (Or have ever seen?)

My mom used to make all of our costumes and I’d be hard pressed to choose my favorite. One year I was a mermaid. Another I was a butterfly. Actually…maybe this year is one of my favorite costumes…I bought this Rey (from Start Wars) cosplay outfit and I am SO EXCITED to wear it out! I will be posting a bunch of embarrassing pictures all over the interwebs, for sure.

I always love reading spooky or atmospheric reads around Halloweentime! What are some of your go-to recommendations for readers looking for the perfect Halloween novel?

Me too! They are The Best! Classic-wise I always say Poe. I love The Fall of the House of Usher or A Cask of Amontillado. More recent? I cannot get enough of Cat Winters’ work. IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS and THE CURE FOR DREAMING are FULL of atmosphere and are beautifully written. I’m DYING for ODD AND TRUE. I mean…here’s the pitch for that and I seriously cannot wait to see what she does with it:  “A dark Edwardian tale involving two sisters, American monster legends, family secrets, and the war between reality and imagination.” YASSSSS, PLEASE.

If you could hang out with one creature/ghost/monster/witch/villain, who would you want to get to know better and why?

Ooooooh GREAT question! I really love villains, especially ones who are more or less in that gray area as far as their evil deeds are concerned. I absolutely ADORE the Darkling from the Grisha trilogy. He was definitely a villain, and yet his backstory and the way he really believed he was protecting the Grisha was fascinating to watch unfold. I always hear the song “Sympathy for the Devil” in my head when thinking of favorite villains, and think that’s the quality in a nutshell that I gravitate towards. Dark characters who are still relatable and sympathetic as opposed to full-out evil.


Thanks so much to Kerri Maniscalco for this awesome and fun interview! Her book, STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, is on sale now (and I personally enjoyed it so much!) – check out some book details below!

BOOK INFO

kerri maniscalco

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Buy links:

Goodreads   |   Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |  Indiebound

AUTHOR BIO

kerri maniscalco

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, a #1 NYT Bestseller, is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

 

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Fortnight of Fright 2016 | Not-So-Scary Villains (April from Between the Pages)

FoF2014

Welcome to our fifth annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2016

Thanks for checking out the FIFTH annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, April from Between the Pages is sharing some not-so-scary villains!


So I am super excited to be participating in the Fortnight of Fright hosted by On The Same Page and share my Not So Scary Villains with everyone.  I know, I know its Halloween and Fortnight of Fright, and I choose something not scary, well I’m a big fat chicken and don’t do scary AT ALL!!!  

My Not So Scary Villains

TV/Movie Villains:

Hook | I mean I know he’s supposed to be a bad guy, but he is way too cute for anyone to really be afraid of him.

Evil Queen | Maybe it is the way they portray her on TV, but I’ve never actually thought of her as scary.

Loki | He may be my favorite movie villain of all time. He’s more mischievous than scary, and well he is kind of cute too, which helps.

Darth Vader | I admit he is a tiny bit scary, well at least he was to me as a child, but now, nope just a misguided dad who needs a hug.

Voldemort | What freaks me about him was his lack of nose, and yes I know snakes do not have a nose, but it creeped me out.

Dracula | Dracula Untold….It’s Luke Evan, and no matter what character he plays, he is way too cute to be scary…

Book Villains:

Warner | Shatter Me Series | yeah loved him from the start. He tried to be the bad guy, but did not succeed. At least he was not a scary bad guy.

Levana | The Lunar Chronicles | She could have been scary, but to me she just seemed desperate.

President Snow | The Hunger Games Trilogy | He’s like Levana –  he was desperate to have things his way and when it did not work out that way, he decided to kill everyone. Not scary, more pathetic.


So there they are my picks for Not So Scary Villains. I know there are more out there, who would you pick?

Thanks, April! I love your choices and totally agree. Those are some amazing villains there!

Fortnight of Fright 2016 | Book Review (Ashley from Must Love Books )

FoF2014

Welcome to our fifth annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2016

Thanks for checking out the FIFTH annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, Ashley from Must Love Books is sharing a review for AND THE TREES CREPT IN! Check it out below!!


And The Trees Crept In

Stay away from the woods…

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the manor is cursed. The endless creaking of the house at night and the eerie stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too—questions that Silla can’t ignore: Why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? Who is the beautiful boy who’s appeared from the woods? And who is the tall man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night…a man no one else can see?

I am most definitely a person who judges a book by it’s cover and this book totally caught my eye. It was released this September and ended up being a perfect creepy Halloween read. I’m also a major audio book person and I decided after listening to a sample, I’d download it. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed! This is the first book I’ve listened to that was narrated by Polly Lee and I will definitely be on the look out for anything else she works on.

Let me start by saying I don’t think the physical copy of And The Trees Crept In would be nearly as creepy and fun as the audio book, although it is pretty neat too, it’s pages are fun and different. The audio is full of spooky sound effects sprinkled throughout the performance and they come in at just the right moments. A few times I stopped and looked around because I wasn’t sure if I was really hearing the sound of tearing paper, crackling fire or soft whispers. I listen to a lot of audio books, including a few that had some super cheesy sound effects but I assure you this was not one of them!

So on to the review!

spookyhouse

Silla and her little sister Nori flee their parents home because of their abusive father. When they arrive unexpectedly at La Baume, Aunt Cath welcomes them with open arms. Silla and Nori start to feel more at home, more importantly, they feel safe, free. Aunt Cath has only one rule, stay away from the woods and she is very very adamant about it. The Creeper Man lives in the woods and once you cross into the woods, you belong to him.

maninwoods

Strange things begin to happen slowly at first, then everything completely changes. Aunt Cath slowly begins to lose her mind and disappears to the attic, all the townspeople disappear, which means the food too begins to disappear. Then a strange and beautiful boy named Gowan shows up and he comes through the woods everyday. With Cath not herself Silla begins to rely on Gowan, but no matter how much he helps, there is something he isn’t telling her and she can’t shake the feeling he knows what’s really going on.

crazylady

One day Silla begins hearing voices and seeing shadows. Is she going mad just like Aunt Cath? Then Nori tells her about the shadowed man that lives in the woods she sometimes plays with at night then Silla notices the trees creeping closer and closer to the house…

This book was very surprising. I was drawn to its creepy cover and was pleasantly surprised by the creepy audio book but then the ending…whoa that ending! There is so much that happens in this book that I want to talk about but I don’t want to confuse anyone or give anything away! I will definitely be picking up The Dead House (also written by Kurtagich) and anything else she writes in the future!


Thanks, Ashley!! This sounds super creepy!! Thanks for the excellent book review and being a part of a Fortnight of Fright!! 

Fortnight of Fright 2016 | Halloween Book Recommendations (Jolene from Jo’s Book Blog)

FoF2014

Welcome to our fifth annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2016

Thanks for checking out the FIFTH annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, Jolene from Jo’s Book Blog is sharing her Halloween reading recommendations! Check out her recs below!


I love Halloween! I go to haunted houses, dress up and hand out candy, and decorate my house with pumpkins, skulls, and cobwebs.  I also love to read scary and creepy books.  These are the ones I have most recently read that gave me goosebumps and prickles on the back of my neck.

a monster calls

“Stories are wild creatures, the monster said.  When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?” I saw the preview for this movie and of course had to read the book first.  There may be some spoilery type comments here so I caution you if you continue reading.  “You know that your truth, the one that you hide…is the thing you are most of afraid of.”  This is what the old yew tree outside Conor O’Malley’s window tells him in his sleep.  Conor has been having a rough time lately; his mom is sick so his grandma comes to visit, his friend Lily told the whole school his mom has cancer, and he is being bullied at school by Harry and his lackeys.  Worst of all, he has the same nightmare every night.  This book is so beautifully written(and illustrated) and explores how we deal with grief, denial, and our fear of being invisible to the world.  The author captures how  accurately we sometimes deny our fear of the truths we don’t want to face.  This story convicted me  about how I tend to talk to people that are dealing with loved ones who are dying.  Sometimes, it is uncomfortable to talk about it so I error on not talking about it which I believe is worse for the person dealing with it.  I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to see the movie in a few months.

trees crept in I don’t read scary books or mysteries very often so this was out of the norm for me and I really enjoyed it.   I am not going to go into too much of a review because I don’t want to give away what happens.   This book kept me guessing until the very end.  I had no idea what was going on (in a good way)! Also, there were parts so creepy that I got goosebumps so that is an extra bonus. The author’s writing style was very unique. For example, there were different points of view, journal entries, and poems throughout the book to keep me engaged and trying to look for clues.

memoirs of a vampireIt has been a long time since I have read a Vampire book so I was excited to read this one.  First off, I really liked how this story was told.  There is the present day story and then the journal entries from 100 years ago to present day.  The main character, Karen, is physically abused by her husband and with the help of her friend, Melissa, leaves her husband secretly and move across the country.  Melissa’s family has a house in Oregon that has been in the family for years.  This is where the two friends first discover a journal that was left by one of Melissa’s ancestors.  The writer of the journal, Allison, says she is a vampire and goes on to tell the story of how she became so.  Her story is similar to Karen’s.  Allison’s sister was abused and murdered by her husband.  I loved how the two stories mirrored each other. Oh and by the way, Allison’s last entry was to Karen and Melissa the night they moved in!  The story has more characters and plot twists but I don’t want to ruin it for you.  I think one of my favorite lines from the book is in the dedication.  Ms. Coulter writes, “I dedicate this book to all the women who have ever known abuse in their lives.  No one should ever have to suffer in an abusive relationship.  You are beautiful, your are strong, and you are so much more than they deserve.”

ABOUT JOLENE

I am a 41 year old blogger but that don’t let that fool you. I love Harry Potter (proud Ravenclaw), Disney, coffee, chocolate, and dogs. Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved to read! My favorite books to read (other than Harry Potter) are Contemporary YA books.  I have been married to my husband for 20 years and I have two teenagers, a son and a daughter.  I also have two dogs, Zeba and Bella. We all live happily in Iowa.

FIND JOLENE AT:


Thanks so much, Jolene! I love your picks and need to read some of these myself!! 

Fortnight of Fright 2016 | 5 Fictional Characters You Can Dress Up As This Halloween (Carlisa from Confessions of Carlisa)

FoF2014

Welcome to our fifth annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2016

Thanks for checking out the FIFTH annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, Carlisa from Confessions of Carlisa is sharing her ideas for some literary Halloween costumes! Check them out!!


Halloween is kind of the best. Especially when you’re equipped with an entire bookshelf of characters you can dress up as. Seriously, so many options. (My costume is still in the works and secret, but let me tell you, it includes a certain Netflix series that went big a few months ago. Pretty strange, huh? And…those things. They’re even stranger. Okay, I’ll stop). Here are five characters from books that would make really fun costumes this Halloween!

  1. Newt Scamander
    The new Fantastic Beasts movie is going to be phenomenal—there’s no doubt about that. So why not dress up as the newest and coolest wizard on the block? Here are some of the essentials I think you’ll need for a good Newt Scamander outfit. (And make sure you get the Muggle-proof Suitcase at your local Walmart).
    newt scamander costume
  2. Anne Shirley
    Surely you want to be Anne Shirley from the beloved Anne of Green Gables series. She’s the best. All you need is a simple frock, some red double braids, and a fun little hat. And maybe some added freckles with eyeliner for good measure.
    anne shirley costume
  3. Coraline
    Coraline is one of the creepiest books. Just eerie. But I still love it. And Tim Burton made a great film adaptation of it…and you can be the film Coraline! She’s colorful and fun and just wants to be loved. Come on, doesn’t that sound great? Throw in some button eyes, for good measure.
    coraline costume
  4. Cath Avery
    Cath (from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) is an awesome character, and I just want to be her best friend. Not many people may recognize your costume if you wear this, but the people who do…oh man, you’ll know to hold on to them forever and always. And the costume is super simple.
    cath fangirl costume
  5. Professor Trelawney
    I actually dressed up as Trelawney once. Not gonna lie, a lot of people asked me if I was dressed up like a hobo. Ahem. Anyway, this one is fun and easy and you can get almost everything at Goodwill if you wanted to. Just tie that scarf around your teased hair and you’re good! If you can find a little fortune ball to carry around, then you’re great. And you walk around pointing at people and predicting their death in a scary, I’m-in-a-trance type voice, then you’re perfect.
    trelawney costume

This has been so fun! Thank you Brittany for having me on your blog! And I hope you all dress up in the best, fictional-character costumes. 

Carlisa
Confessions of Carlisa


Thanks so much, Carlisa!!! I love your costume ideas! I would personally rock the Cath one 😀
HAHA some people just don’t get good costumes! (Regarding the Trelawny/hobo incident) I dressed up as Belle (in the blue dress) one year and people though it was an Amish costume….. (mostly boys. The girls got it right away!) 

Fortnight of Fright 2016 | Halloween Book Recommendations (Nisha from Paper Cranes)

FoF2014

Welcome to our fifth annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2016

Thanks for checking out the FIFTH annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, Nisha from Paper Cranes is sharing her Halloween reading recommendations! Check out her recs below!


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Hi! I’m Nisha from paperrcranes.blogspot.com, and I unapologetically love Halloween. There’s candy, dozens of corny horror movies, and there’s this irreplaceable feeling of something exciting about to happen as soon as its over.

But, I also love books. (Don’t we all?) And what’s better than Halloween themed reads? I’ve read dozens of books that gave me this creepy, Halloween-esque vibe, the ones that are perfect for this time of year. So, in the spirit of everything spooky, here are some of my favorite Halloween books recommendations!


station eleven
emily st. john mandel

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I thought I’d start this off with an eerie, yet dazzling tale of STATION ELEVEN, a post-apocalyptic story that was like nothing I’d ever read before. It’s a story that weaves its way through the past and future to meet in the middle and create this beautiful story that talks about the nature of people.

When I read this book, it kept me up for half the night because I just couldn’t stop reading. The story is a little bit creepy, but there’s also a lot of philosophy that makes you think about humans and the way our civilization works (though, that may be creepy, depending on your personality). I would recommend this to people who want that spine-tingling experience, but also something that gets you thinking.


this savage song
victoria schwab

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Let’s get on to monsters, shall we? THIS SAVAGE SONG is a Young Adult book that takes place in a city split by two major families, but, the city is overrun by different types of monsters, which creates this whole other twist to the book.

The two best things about this book were the monsters and the writing. I thought that the way the monsters were introduced and expressed throughout the book was a way that made them intriguing and easy to understand. As for the writing, I honestly expected it to be wonderful. Victoria Schwab has an amazing writing style, and because of that, all of her books are an insta-buy for me. All in all, this is creepy, yet oddly beautiful novel that I think is perfect for Halloween.


the end games
michael martin

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If you’re more The Walking Dead type, then maybe you should try this book out. This is a zombie-slash-video game themed novel, and if that doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not really sure what will. In this book, a boy named Michael is in the wilderness with his little brother Patrick, and the two of them are listening to somebody called the Game Master, who creates tasks for them, like in a video game. But, there’s a catch: they also have to stay away from the “Bellows”, which are the flesh-eating monsters that roam the woods.

I read this book a couple of years ago, and every time somebody wants Halloween recommendations, this is always on my list to them. There’s something about this book that makes it equal parts heartfelt and creepy. There’s a wonderful sibling friendship that made my heart happy, and there are also zombies. What’s not to love?


stalking jack the ripper
kerri maniscalco

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This is a recent release, one that will definitely be on my top books of 2016 list, and it’s a book that I found a little bit creepy and definitely very entertaining. This book takes place in the 1800s, and our badass main character is Audrey Rose Wadsworth, who hides a career of work in her uncle laboratory behind frilled skirts and silk shoes. When her work reveals a series of gruesome corpses, she searches for her answers by herself.

If you’re someone who loves reading about conspiracy theories and unsolved murders, I highly recommend this for you. It gives a YA twist on a famous story, along with spine-chilling photographs and epic characters. I also love how badass the main character was and how she continually breaks the stereotypes of a women in that era.

So, did you find any books you like?

-nisha

FIND NISHA AT:

bloglovin’ // twitter // instagram // tumblr


Thanks so much, Nisha! These are excellent recommendations and I LOVE Stalking Jack the Ripper and Kerri Maniscalco!!!