Stitching Saturday 1.30.21

I’m back with a fun post today sharing all my current projects and the three I’m adding to my rotation next month. I will link my first Stitch Saturday post here so you can see what all these projects will look like when finished.

WIPS (Works in Progress)

Cross Stitch Cat

I’ve worked on this one for 5 days and I love seeing her come to life. My husband and kids have also enjoyed checking on her progress which has been nice. I think she looks a little like a stormtrooper cat at the moment. I can’t wait to put her eyes in which is my goal for February.

Christmas Snow

I bought a stamped cross stitch kit on Amazon and I guess I wasn’t paying attention to what I was buying because I thought it was one of the dimensions stamped kits and instead I got this one. Once the stitching is done you have to wash it to remove all the ink and so I’m very suspicious of how this is all going to turn out. I’ve worked on this for two days and a tiny bit on the third day. It’s hard to tell since this is a stamped kit but all my work has been primarily on the top left corner.

Midwinter Sock Set

I started knitting my first sock! This is basically two days of work because the third day that I worked on it was not a good health day for me and it felt very heavy in my hands so I put it down and went to bed. But I’m so excited that I have accomplished this milestone and I really enjoy how meditative it is once I got the hang of it. The gift I made my mom had color work in it so I feel pretty comfortable with this pattern. The pattern actually comes with three different socks and I will link the Ravelry page here in case you are interested.

Uptown Cardigan

This was hard to photograph but this is the back panel of the cardigan. This cardigan is supposed to be oversized but I’m a little worried that it might be too oversized. But I can still wear it around the house if it is obnoxiously big. Other then the ribbing (that I messed up on) this is all garter (knit) stitch and it is very meditative and relaxing. I only worked on this one day this month but once I finish my current morning stitch this will take it’s place so I can work on it consistently until it’s done.

Slipstravaganza

This will one day be a beautiful shawl but this one is huge and it just keeps growing as you knit so I don’t anticipate finishing this one anytime soon. It’s also incredibly hard to photograph since it needs to be blocked but I won’t be doing that until I’m done. This was has a lot of new techniques in it and I’m so proud of myself for pushing myself out of my comfort zone and giving it a shot. Stephen West does amazing tutorial videos for each section that really break down each new technique and makes it easy to do.

Nora’s Hat

Today is the first day that I have picked this up all month. I’ve only do a couple of rows but I about to transition to the next color- pink. I’m not that thrilled about knitting this flat and then stitching it into a hat but I had this yarn in my stash for years and I’m relieved to be getting it knitted up. I don’t have any expectations for finishing it but it would make a nice addition to my niece’s Easter basket.

Diamond Painting

This is my first ever diamond painting kit and I am obsessed! I don’t know why it is so relaxing but something about sticking all the little bits onto the canvas is calming. I worked on this for two days and I got a lot of the bottom done. Once it’s done I will frame it and stick it with all my Autumn decorations.

Pajama Cardigan

Sorry this picture is blurry. This is also the back panel of another cardigan I’m working on. I started the month with on a couple of rows above the ribbing at the bottom done so I have put in a lot of work on this one this month. Which is no shock since this is my morning stitch and I also spent a couple of days only working on it. The pattern is easy but I did have a couple of mess ups with the yarn over section when I wasn’t paying attention and I had to rip back and fix my mistakes. My goal for next month is to finish the back panel and I would really love to finish one of the front panels.

Finishes

I forgot to take a photo of the blanket that I finished so I will have to share that next time.

Connor’s Scarf

I finished the scarf I was working on for my oldest son. I have never done fringe before but it was easy to do and I like the way it turned out. He was very happy with it and it looks good on him.

Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch

This is my first cross stitch finish since I got back into it and I’m pretty happy with it. I can already tell that my stitches have improved but I enjoy having something I stitched hanging up in my house. Since I took this picture I stitched in a key below the heart to take up some of the white space on the bottom. I used an alphabet and motif book that I had found at Goodwill to stitch the key.

New Starts

Christmas Diamond Paint

I found this kit at JoAnn’s and I’m excited to start it next month. I also want to see if there is any difference in quality since my Autumn one is a cheap kit that I bought off of Amazon and I feel like this is a proper kit.

Spooky House Cross Stitch

I bought this pattern off of Etsy and the designer is WhiteHouseStitchery. This will be my first foray into stitching on linen and I’m hoping I adjust easily to it. This is a tea dyed 28 ct Lugana which I feel is a good place for a beginner to start. I’m not sure how I will finish it yet but I don’t think it will be like the picture shows it. I still have some time though to figure it out and maybe while I’m stitching it I will come up with a great finish idea.

Purl Soho Blanket

My youngest really wants me to knit him a blanket and since I just finished the one I was working on I decided I might as well cast another one on. This is one is a free pattern I have had on my Ravelry library for awhile but I still need to order the yarn. I think I want to try a Knit Pick yarn since I hear so many good things about them and they are reasonably priced. One day I aspire to being able to purchase $400 worth of yarn (which is what the pattern calls for using Purl Soho yarn) but that day is not today.

~Cassie

February TBR

I had such a tough time putting this TBR together because I am in the mood to read all the things. I picked nine priority books that I want to get to and then everything else after that will just be a fun bonus. This is an eclectic mix of books and I tried to get some shorter reads on here to offset some of the longer ones. Last month I struggled with finding a balance between my other hobbies and reading but I think I have done a better job this last half of the month. Hopefully I can continue it throughout February!

I started this last October and put it down to get to all my holiday reading. This is the Literally Dead book club pick for March and so I’m hoping to get ahead on it since it’s so big! The February book club pick is No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole which I read last year and gave 5 stars.

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth—musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies—the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story—of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present–and intent on keeping its dark secrets–in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C. J. Tudor.

Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake here. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself.

Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture. “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”

The more Jack and daughter Flo get acquainted with the town and its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into their rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel, it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.

But uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village’s bloody past, and no one trusts an outsider.

In the newest installment of the New York Times bestselling Hannah Swensen Mystery series by Joanne Fluke, spring has sprung in Lake Eden, Minnesota, but Hannah doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses–not with hot cross buns to make, treats to bake, and a sister to exonerate!

Hannah’s up to her ears with Easter orders rushing in at The Cookie Jar, plus a festive meal to prepare for a dinner party at her mother’s penthouse. But everything comes crashing to a halt when Hannah receives a panicked call from her sister Andrea–Mayor Richard Bascomb has been murdered and she’s the prime suspect.

Even with his reputation for being a bully, Mayor Bascomb–or Ricky Ticky, as Hannah’s mother likes to call him–had been unusually testy in the days leading up to his death, leaving Hannah to wonder if he knew he was in danger. Meanwhile, folks with a motive for mayoral murder are popping up in Lake Eden. Was it a beleaguered colleague? A political rival? A jealous wife? Or a scorned mistress?

As orders pile up at The Cookie Jar–and children line up for Easter egg hunts–Hannah must spring into investigation mode and identify the real killer…before another murder happens!

I decided to participate in the 2021 PopSugar Reading Challenge and one of the prompts is to read an Afrofuturist book. I thought this was was the perfect prompt for Black History Month.

Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

This is one that I really wanted to read last year and never got around to and so I thought this would be the perfect month to make sure that I’m reading and supporting Black authors.

*No synopsis since this is the second book in a series.

I borrowed this from my brother and it sounds so good!

Mary Roach meets C.S.I. in this “lively study that’s part whodunit, part sociological study…The result is eminently entertaining and will be devoured by armchair detectives”(Publishers Weekly).

Currently, upwards of forty thousand people in America are dead and unaccounted for. These murder, suicide, and accident victims, separated from their names, are being adopted by the bizarre online world of amateur sleuths. It’s DIY CSI, solving cold cases from the comfort of your living room…

In an “absorbing look at a very odd corner of our world&amp” (The Seattle Times), The Skeleton Crew provides an entree into the gritty and tumultuous world of Sherlock Holmes “wannabes who race to beat out law enforcement” and one another—at matching missing persons with unidentified remains. These web sleuths pore over facial reconstructions (a sort of Facebook for the dead) and other online clues as they vie to solve cold cases and tally up personal scorecards of dead bodies. 

There is “no better guide for navigating this multifaceted world than Deborah Halber’s book” (Psychology Today), and The Skeleton Crew probes the macabre underside of the Internet and how even the most ordinary citizen with a laptop and a knack for puzzles can reinvent herself as a web sleuth. “Engaging and artful” (Los Angeles Times Review of Books), this witty and insightful look at the fleeting nature of identity is “brilliant” (The Wall Street Journal).

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one and the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honoured to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies—trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every gruelling (and deadly) day of the Testing.

To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

A story about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine. 

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Extra books

This is my pick for the Buzzwordathon February prompt: color

In America, Mother = White

That’s what Nefertiti, a single African American woman, discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked when people started asking her why she wanted to adopt a “crack baby” or said that she would never be able to raise a Black son on her own. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build.

Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti’s fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, Black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of color in racially charged, modern-day America.

Honest, vulnerable, and uplifting, Motherhood So White reveals what Nefertiti knew all along―that the only requirement for a successful family is one raised with love.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.” 

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

“A mélange of clues from classic mysteries plus plenty of Irish charm produce an enjoyable read.”—Kirkus Reviews

Join a bestselling author and travel to County Cork in Ireland to solve a bookish mystery full of twists in a cozy whodunit perfect for fans of Sheila Connolly, Kate Carlisle, and Laura Childs!

Between training the new town garda and trying to set a wedding date with her fiancé, Macdara Flannery, Siobhán O’Sullivan is feeling a bit overwhelmed. She’s looking forward to visiting the new bookshop and curling up with an exciting novel—only to discover the shelves contain nothing but Literature with a capital L. The owner not only refuses to stock romances, mysteries, and science fiction, but won’t even let customers enter his store unless they can quote James Joyce or Sean Hennessey. 

Despite the owner deliberately limiting his clientele, he’s hosting a reading and autographing event featuring up and coming Irish writers who will be taking up residency in Kilbane for a month. Among them is indie author Deirdre Walsh, who spends more time complaining about the unfairness of the publishing industry and megastar bestsellers instead of her own creative works, causing a heated debate among the writers. She seems to have a particular distaste for the novels of Nessa Lamb.

Then Deirdre’s body is found the next day in the back of the store—with pages torn from Nessa’s books stuffed in her mouth. Now, Siobhán must uncover which of Kilbane’s literary guests took Deirdre’s criticisms so personally they’d engage in foul play . . .

~Cassie

On My Radar: February 2021

There are some great books coming out in February that I really want to read. I hope you find some good ones on this list too!

February 2

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

I just started reading this and my review will be up on Feb. 2!

Disney’s Villains meet Gotham in this gritty fairy tale-inspired crime series.

Mary Elizabeth Heart is a high school senior by day, but by night she’s an intern at the Monarch City police department. She watches with envy from behind a desk as detectives come and go, trying to contain the city’s growing crime rate. For years, tension has simmered between the city’s wealthy elite, and their plans to gentrify the decaying neighborhood called the Scar—once upon a time the epicenter of all things magic.

When the daughter of one of the city’s most powerful businessmen goes missing, Mary Elizabeth is thrilled when the Chief actually puts her on the case. But what begins as one missing person’s report soon multiplies, leading her down the rabbit hole of a city in turmoil. There she finds a girl with horns, a boyfriend with secrets, and what seems to be a sea monster lurking in a poison lake. As the mystery circles closer to home, Mary finds herself caught in the fight between those who once had magic, and those who will do anything to bring it back.

This dark and edgy YA series explores the reimagined origins of Maleficent, Ursula, Captain Hook, and other infamous Disney Villains like you’ve never seen before.

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman with more regrets than belongings who spends her life doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings Frankie to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier.

Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own. And she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered.

But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing will be her … 

Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago—from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson

In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer’s in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation.

With the family’s annual bonfire approaching—an occasion marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray’s death, and a rare moment in which they openly talk about his memory—Maria attempts to call the family together from their physical and emotional distances once more. But as the bonfire draws near, each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world. Maria and Ernest take in a foster child who seems to almost miraculously keep Ernest’s mental fog at bay. Sonja becomes dangerously fixated on a man named Vin, despite—or perhaps because of—his ties to tragedy in her lifetime and lifetimes before. And in the wake of a suicide attempt, Edgar finds himself in the mysterious Darkening Land: a place between the living and the dead, where old atrocities echo.

Drawing deeply on Cherokee folklore, The Removed seamlessly blends the real and spiritual to excavate the deep reverberations of trauma—a meditation on family, grief, home, and the power of stories on both a personal and ancestral level.

An epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, Four Hundred Souls is a chronological account of four hundred years of Black America as told by ninety of America’s leading Black writers.

Curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of the number one bestseller How To Be an Antiracist, and fellow historian Keisha N. Blain, Four Hundred Souls begins with the arrival of twenty enslaved Ndongo people on the shores of the British colony in mainland America in 1619, the year before the arrival of the Mayflower. 

In eighty chronological chapters, the book charts the tragic and triumphant four-hundred-year history of Black American experience in a choral work of exceptional power and beauty. 

Contributors include some of the best-known scholars, writers, historians, journalists, lawyers, poets and activists of contemporary America who together bring to vivid life countless new facets to the drama of slavery and resistance, segregation and survival, migration and self-discovery, cultural oppression and world-changing artistic, literary and musical creativity. In these pages are dozens of extraordinary lives and personalities, rescued from the archives and restored to their rightful place in America’s narrative, as well as the ghosts of millions more.

Four Hundred Souls is an essential work of story-telling and reclamation that redefines America and changes our notion of how history is written.

Rose Szabo’s thrilling debut is a dark and thrilling novel about a teen girl who returns home to her strange, wild family after years of estrangement, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls.

Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.

Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.

Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.

I have a Netgalley ARC and will have my review up sometime in February.

Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.” 

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?

February 9

I have a Netgalley ARC of this and will have my review up on Feb 9

An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present–and intent on keeping its dark secrets–in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C. J. Tudor.

Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake here. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself.

Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture. “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”

The more Jack and daughter Flo get acquainted with the town and its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into their rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel, it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.

But uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village’s bloody past, and no one trusts an outsider.

This will be included in Kindle Unlimited

When the Moorecliff clan gathers at Moorecliff mansion for Archie’s memorial service, no one expects gossipy aunt Shirley to end up stabbed in the solarium. It’s not really a big surprise though, pretty much everyone in the family had reason to want her dead.

With those closest to her at the top of the suspect list, Araminta and her mystery solving cats Arun and Sasha vow to find the answers to the questions that could lead them straight to the killer. How did mice get into the mansion? Where did the killer stash the murder weapon? What secret did Shirley know that someone would kill for? What is going on in the gardening shed at night?

As Araminta and the cats get closer to the answer, Araminta discovers that even those she calls her closest family have been harboring secrets of their own.

P.S. Will Araminta make peace with Jacob and as for his help with the case? What is going on between Stephanie and Ivan?

The MacTaggert brothers have one task:
Find English brides or lose their land!

Coll MacTaggert, Viscount Glendarril, is a big, brawny Highlander who doesn’t like being told what to do—not even by his exasperated English mother who is determined to see her eldest son wedded and bedded. However, when he comes to the rescue of an irresistibly beautiful woman, Coll discovers that he may have found his perfect match…

The challenge isn’t that Persephone Jones is famous, wealthy, independent, and smarter than anyone he knows. The problem is that she is not interested in marrying any man—especially not a hot-headed Scot—even if he is the only man who seems to understand who she really is even when she’s not sure herself. When Coll learns that Persephone is actually a lady-in-hiding and someone is willing to kill her for what she stands to inherit…Well, Coll has never been one to turn down a fight. When hearts are involved, nothing comes between a Highlander and his lady.

February 15

I preordered this one!

*No synopsis since this is the second in a series. The cover does link to Goodreads if you are interested in learning more.

February 16

The Echo Wife is a non-stop thrill ride, perfect for readers of Big Little Lies and enthusiasts of “Killing Eve” and “Westworld­”

Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband. 

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.

*No synopsis since this is the fourth book in a series.

February 23

I have a Netgalley ARC so I will have my review for this up on February 23.

In the newest installment of the New York Times bestselling Hannah Swensen Mystery series by Joanne Fluke, spring has sprung in Lake Eden, Minnesota, but Hannah doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses–not with hot cross buns to make, treats to bake, and a sister to exonerate!

Hannah’s up to her ears with Easter orders rushing in at The Cookie Jar, plus a festive meal to prepare for a dinner party at her mother’s penthouse. But everything comes crashing to a halt when Hannah receives a panicked call from her sister Andrea–Mayor Richard Bascomb has been murdered and she’s the prime suspect.

Even with his reputation for being a bully, Mayor Bascomb–or Ricky Ticky, as Hannah’s mother likes to call him–had been unusually testy in the days leading up to his death, leaving Hannah to wonder if he knew he was in danger. Meanwhile, folks with a motive for mayoral murder are popping up in Lake Eden. Was it a beleaguered colleague? A political rival? A jealous wife? Or a scorned mistress?

As orders pile up at The Cookie Jar–and children line up for Easter egg hunts–Hannah must spring into investigation mode and identify the real killer…before another murder happens!

This cover is stunning!!

Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.

Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things. 

Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack.

But she’ll have to.

Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.

In the first book of this duology, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe and masterfully delivers a dark, propulsive mystery in alternating points of view that unravels a friendship . . . forevermore.

“A massively entertaining and slyly enlightening story nestled inside another story like a ghost within its host.” —Kathleen Rooney, author of Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

A provocative meditation on new motherhood—Shirley Jackson meets The Awakening—in which a postpartum woman’s psychological unraveling becomes intertwined with the ghostly appearance of children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown.

There’s a madwoman upstairs, and only Megan Weiler can see her.

Ravaged and sore from giving birth to her first child, Megan is mostly raising her newborn alone while her husband travels for work. Physically exhausted and mentally drained, she’s also wracked with guilt over her unfinished dissertation—a thesis on mid-century children’s literature.

Enter a new upstairs neighbor: the ghost of quixotic children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown—author of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon—whose existence no one else will acknowledge. It seems Margaret has unfinished business with her former lover, the once-famous socialite and actress Michael Strange, and is determined to draw Megan into the fray. As Michael joins the haunting, Megan finds herself caught in the wake of a supernatural power struggle—and until she can find a way to quiet these spirits, she and her newborn daughter are in terrible danger.

Using Megan’s postpartum haunting as a powerful metaphor for a woman’s fraught relationship with her body and mind, Julia Fine once again delivers an imaginative and “barely restrained, careful musing on female desire, loneliness, and hereditary inheritances” (Washington Post).

“A mélange of clues from classic mysteries plus plenty of Irish charm produce an enjoyable read.”—Kirkus Reviews

Join a bestselling author and travel to County Cork in Ireland to solve a bookish mystery full of twists in a cozy whodunit perfect for fans of Sheila Connolly, Kate Carlisle, and Laura Childs!


Between training the new town garda and trying to set a wedding date with her fiancé, Macdara Flannery, Siobhán O’Sullivan is feeling a bit overwhelmed. She’s looking forward to visiting the new bookshop and curling up with an exciting novel—only to discover the shelves contain nothing but Literature with a capital L. The owner not only refuses to stock romances, mysteries, and science fiction, but won’t even let customers enter his store unless they can quote James Joyce or Sean Hennessey. 

Despite the owner deliberately limiting his clientele, he’s hosting a reading and autographing event featuring up and coming Irish writers who will be taking up residency in Kilbane for a month. Among them is indie author Deirdre Walsh, who spends more time complaining about the unfairness of the publishing industry and megastar bestsellers instead of her own creative works, causing a heated debate among the writers. She seems to have a particular distaste for the novels of Nessa Lamb.

Then Deirdre’s body is found the next day in the back of the store—with pages torn from Nessa’s books stuffed in her mouth. Now, Siobhán must uncover which of Kilbane’s literary guests took Deirdre’s criticisms so personally they’d engage in foul play . . . 

~Cassie

January Weekly Kindle Haul #3

If you saw my haul last week then you will know that I was trying to decide the best place to buy ebooks because I don’t want to keep supporting Amazon’s business practices. After doing some research I have decided that my hands are tied by owning a Kindle and so in the future I will be purchasing a non Amazon e-reader. In the meantime I have decided that I will be linking all books to Goodreads (which is owned by Amazon) but there are more options of where you can purchase the books from if you don’t buy your books on Amazon. I know it’s not much but I feel it is a small something I can do to try to support other booksellers.

FREE

My professor gave me my first D. 
Now my next assignment is due…in nine months. 

You know when you meet your new professor, and he ends up being the same man you had a one-night stand with three months ago?

Okay, maybe not. Let me explain.

I hadn’t intended to sleep with my professor. I might be known as the impulsive, prankster daughter in my family, but I’m not insane. I just wanted to have some fun in Ireland at my sister’s wedding, and maybe lose my virginity, too.

When I met Lochlann Gallagher at a pub one night, I couldn’t resist him. He was hot, Irish, and entirely set on seducing me. One unforgettable night under the sheets with him, and my V-card went up in smoke.

Well, that night had one itty bitty consequence because Lochlann totally made my eggo preggo. 

And if this story isn’t crazy enough, Lochlann is not just my baby daddy: he’s now my professor and my advisor for grad school. 

Somehow we have to figure out a way not to reveal this rapidly gestating secret while resisting the explosive attraction between us. 

Except there’s just one more complication to this story: I think I’m totally falling for my baby daddy. 

Oopsie daisy.

Up until two years ago, I was living large and my life’s priorities were anchored to three things – my NBA stardom, money and celebrity.

I was also a colossal dick. 

Until one night turned my world upside down and I suffered unspeakable loss. That event changed the man I was and made me a widowed-single father. 

Now I’m a desperate parent trying to raise my special needs son and find him a trustworthy live-in nanny. 

Grad student Brooklyn Hayes may be the one, with her single-minded focus on caring for my son and finishing her Master’s degree. She’s the perfect fit for our needs. 

Maybe too perfect… with her bright smile, nurturing kindness and gentle touch. Caleb isn’t the only one who’s fallen for her. 

I don’t know when or how it happened, but she changed the game for me. Turning my losing streak into a winning second-half. 

Game Changer is a Single Dad/Nanny Romance.

Impatient. Demanding. Sexy. Bossy. 

I hate my new boss.
He’s Everett Brewer: Football’s smoking hot, superstar running back.

When I signed on to be the NFL superstar’s in home personal assistant, I had no idea what I was in for. Every one of his previous personal assistants quit after one week, max.
After meeting him just once, I see why. He’s brooding. Impatient. Demanding. And add in a little too sexy for his own good.
His standards are ridiculously high. But I really need this job.
We’re at odds, but he doesn’t know I’m halfway to finding out his secret, thanks to a note he scribbled on a napkin that I found.
Could the man who hits harder than anyone else actually have a soft spot?
I thought he would never drop his icy exterior and reveal his hot interior.
Even superstars have a girl they change for.
Turns out I’m that girl.
Only problem is, I’m hiding a secret, too.
And it’s one he might not forgive me for.

But falling in love is never easy. Especially with a man as complex as Everett Brewer.

Embracing Her Heart is a USA Today Bestseller

Welcome to Oak Falls, Virginia, home to horse farms, midnight rodeos, bookstores, coffee shops, and quaint restaurants where you’re greeted like family and treated like treasured guests. Buckle up for a wild ride. Like any Southern girls worth their salt, the sweet-talking, sharp-tongued Montgomery sisters can take men to their knees with one seductive glance or a single sugarcoated sentence.

A second chance at their first love…
Leaving New York City and returning to her hometown to teach a screenplay writing class seems like just the break Grace Montgomery needs. Until her sisters wake her at four thirty in the morning to watch the hottest guys in town train wild horses and she realizes that escaping her sisters’ drama-filled lives was a lot easier from hundreds of miles away. To make matters worse, she spots the one man she never wanted to see again—ruggedly handsome Reed Cross.

Reed was one of Michigan’s leading historical preservation experts, but on the heels of catching his girlfriend in bed with his business partner, his uncle suffers a heart attack. Reed cuts all ties and returns home to Oak Falls to run his uncle’s business. A chance encounter with Grace, his first love, brings back memories he’s spent years trying to escape. 

Grace is bound and determined not to fall under Reed’s spell again—and Reed wants more than another taste of the woman he’s never forgotten. When a midnight party brings them together, passion ignites and old wounds are opened. Grace sets down the ground rules for the next three weeks. No touching, no kissing, and if she has it her way, no breathing, because every breath he takes steals her ability to think. But Reed has other ideas…

~
The Bradens & Montgomerys are part of Melissa’s Love in Bloom big-family romance collection. All Love in Bloom novels are written to stand alone and may also be enjoyed as part of the larger series, so dive right into this fun, sexy romance.

A .38, a nip of gin and sensational legs get Depression-era private investigator Maggie Sullivan out of most scrapes – until a stranger threatens to bust her nose, she’s hauled in on suspicion of his murder and she finds herself in the cross-hairs of a crime boss with connections at City Hall. 

Moving through streets where people line up at soup kitchens, Maggie draws information from sources others overlook: The waitress at the dime store lunch counter where she has breakfast; a ragged newsboy; the other career girls at her rooming house. 

Her digging gets her chloroformed and left in a ditch behind the wheel of her DeSoto. She makes her way to an upscale bordello and gets tea – and information – from the madam herself. 

A gunman puts a bullet through Maggie’s hat. Her shutterbug pal on the evening paper warns her off. A new cop whose presence unsettles her thinks she’s crooked. Before she finds all the answers she needs, she faces a half-crazed man with a gun, and a far more lethal point-blank killer. 

If you like Robert B. Parker’s hard boiled Spencer series and strong women sleuths, don’t miss this one-of-a-kind Ohio detective from a time in United States history when dames wore hats — but seldom a Smith & Wesson.

This is also included in Kindle Unlimited

An innkeeper who reads minds. An ornery detective. And a trail of bodies. Cider Cove is the premiere destination for murder.  

My name is Bizzy Baker, and I can read minds—not every mind, not every time but most of the time and believe me when I say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. 

A doggie fashion show is afoot at the local shelter and hopefully each cute pooch will find a home to call their own. I’ve been enlisted to help out with the endeavor and I’m more than happy to do it. But trouble seems to follow me wherever I go and that body I stumbled upon quickly complicates everything. Not to mention a certain someone is determined to out my ability to read minds—and this time, they just might succeed.

Bizzy Baker runs the Country Cottage Inn, has the ability to pry into the darkest recesses of both the human and animal mind, and has just stumbled upon a body. With the help of her kitten, Fish, a mutt named Sherlock Bones and an ornery yet dangerously good looking homicide detective, Bizzy is determined to find the killer. 

The Country Cottage Inn is known for its hospitality. Leaving can be murder.

Ria Phillips has a plan. Stay strong. Stay busy. Stay focused on what’s important. And don’t start daydreaming again about a certain pair of soulful brown eyes. 

No, it won’t be easy. Jacob Worth was her first love. Her first time. Her first everything. Until he left town one day without explanation. He broke her heart back then, but she’s not a teenager with a crush anymore. She’s an adult–with a plan. 

In the past eight years, Ria has built a good life for herself in her small hometown. She and her friends have used their creativity and business savvy to turn the little florist shop she inherited into an astonishing success. She’s got more than enough in her life to be proud of, and she’s going to make sure Jacob sees that. 

She’s not going to let him rattle her. She’s not going to watch him from afar, even if he’s even hotter than before. And she’s definitely not going to fall into bed with him. Or, if she accidentally slips up, it will only be once. 

She learned her lesson a long time ago, and she’s not going to fall for Jacob again.

All Beatriz “Bia” Fernandes wants is to prove herself—to her family and friends—though it’s hard to prove anything with an overbearing father and three famous polo-playing older brothers. After her acceptance into college results in a heated family argument, the Brazilian girl leaves everything behind to find her own American dream. 

College life away from home is perfect until the people she believes to be her friends turn on her. With lies and rumors threatening to suffocate her, Bia turns to her only freedom. Riding.

But one thing gets in the way of her escape. Garrett Blackwell and his bad cowboy attitude. Working at the ranch is his obligation, bugging Bia is his newfound hobby. His thick skin and easy grin don’t hide what Bia already knows—this misunderstood and lonely cowboy fights his own demons. Brushing horses’ coats and mucking out stalls shouldn’t be this sexy, and it isn’t long before he becomes a part of her distraction. 

However, escaping won’t solve her problems, and it’s up to Bia to break down the fences around her and prove her strength—not to her family and friends, but to herself … and for Garrett. Because standing on her own doesn’t have to mean standing alone. 

Author’s note: this book contains scenes of mild bullying, strong language, sex scenes, and a HEA.

$0.99

This is also included in Kindle Unlimited

When Benton dreams, people die…

Every time Benton sleeps, he becomes a trapped passenger within a murderer’s skin; able to hear, see, and feel every part of their kill. When he wakes up, he knows it’s only a matter of time before his dreams become reality. No matter how hard he tries to stop the murders, it always ends the same way – with death.

After ten years of constantly relocating, his parents have decided to settle in Fort Wayward. A quiet Albertan town where Benton could focus on graduating high school and living an idyllic teenage life. That is, until he finds a dead body in his backyard. 

Benton’s hopes for normalcy come crashing down as something new begins stalking his dreams. Something that’s not human. And, for the first time, he’s not the only one watching. 

As his dreams and reality collide, Benton finds himself facing a monster beyond his understanding. In his fight for survival, Benton soon discovers why death follows him, why monsters draw close, and why he always wakes up screaming.

$1.99

An arranged marriage neither wants, but both soon crave… from USA TODAY bestselling author Naima Simone!

Manipulated into a marriage of inconvenience,

until one sizzling kiss changes everything…

Devon Cole must marry Cain Farrell or lose everything. But she can never let her billionaire husband-to-be know why she agreed to her father’s dangerous machinations. Just as she’ll never know her father is blackmailing Cain to tie the knot, too. What kind of marriage can Devon even expect from a man with such cold eyes…and such hot kisses? She’s about to find out.

From Harlequin Desire: Luxury, scandal, desire—welcome to the lives of the American elite.

Billionaires of Boston

This is also included in FreeTime Unlimited.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one and the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honoured to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies—trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every gruelling (and deadly) day of the Testing.

To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

This is also included in Kindle Unlimited.

Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend’s mother. Owen doesn’t believe in accidents; he believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying. At moments a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end the principal, tragic actor in a divine plan, Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created.

$2.49

A brand-new standalone novel in the New York Times bestselling Briar U series!

What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friendswith a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.

Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.

And she’s making a play for me.

Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.

Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.

$2.99

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

$4.99

This is also included in Kindle Unlimited.

Back in Miracle, Montana after escaping her stalker boss on the east coast, Serena Harrington is in desperate need of a job to support her and her adopted son. As luck would have it, Mark Stern, her teenage crush, is hiring. 

As the new interim president of Agape College, Mark is on the hunt for a secretary. With the tarnished reputation of his womanizing predecessor, Mark needs someone who will make the right impression. And he needs to keep his past locked away. 

Serena and Mark working together is a perfect situation, until they uncover a link between them that might be the perfect storm to destroy Mark’s career. Will the secret they share bond them together, or tear them apart? 

This Christian Romantic Suspense novel is part of the Sacred Bond Guardians series of Christian romance novels. Check out the original Sacred Bond series of inspirational romances, also by Lee Tobin McClain. 

This is also included in Kindle Unlimited.

Ashley has loved the same boy since high school. She knew Davis Frothingham was special even before he championed her at her senior prom. She also knew he was completely out of her league.

Years later, her attraction for him is still there, but Davis? He doesn’t even remember her.

When Ashley is tasked with being the nurse for Davis’ terminally ill grandmother, she’s thrown back into his world. More than anything, she wants him to remember her, but that recollection could come at a price of its own.

Can Ashley accept that she’s good enough for Davis? And can Davis learn to love a girl from the wrong side of the tracks? 

Find out in this delightfully fun romcom about love and life in Creek Water, Missouri!

$5.99

*No synopsis since this is the second book in the series.

$12.99

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

~Cassie

Library Book Haul

Last week I went to the library to pick up a couple of books I had on hold and I made the mistake of going after I had watched/read people’s best of the year lists. I ended up walking out with a ton of books that I am so excited to read yet have no idea how I’m going to get to them all. I thought I would share my haul with you especially since some of them I have never heard of before until I saw them on peoples’ lists. Also, I have now learned that it is dangerous to bring a bag into the library. From now on I am going to limit myself to my own two hands so I can leave with a reasonable amount!

This is the book that I had on hold. I hear so many amazing things about Robin Hobb and I can’t wait to experience her for mysel

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

I just saw on Twitter that this is being adapted into a Netflix show!

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner… 

A dark, queer YA fantasy that’s perfect for fans of the Three Dark Crowns series and Wicked Saints. After Emanuela Ragno kills the one person in Occhia who can create water, she must find a way to save her city from dying of thirst.

Cunning and unapologetic, Emanuela Ragno is a socialite who plays by her own rules. In her most ambitious move yet, she’s about to marry Alessandro Morandi, her childhood best friend and the heir to the wealthiest house in Occhia. Emanuela doesn’t care that she and her groom are both gay, because she doesn’t want a love match. She wants power, and through Ale, she’ll have it all.

But Emanuela has a secret that could shatter her plans. In her city of Occhia, the only source of water is the watercrea, a mysterious being who uses magic to make water from blood. When their first bruise-like omen appears on their skin, all Occhians must surrender themselves to the watercrea to be drained of life. Everyone throughout history has obeyed this law for the greater good. Everyone except Emanuela. She’s kept the tiny omen on her hip out of sight for years.

When the watercrea exposes Emanuela during her wedding ceremony and takes her to be sacrificed, Emanuela fights back…and kills her. Before everyone in Occhia dies of thirst, Emanuela and Ale must travel through the mysterious, blood-red veil that surrounds their city to uncover the source of the watercrea’s power and save their people—no matter what it takes.

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

This is another book that I had on hold.

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast, Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood…

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin.

Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage’s protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone… 

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place are no ordinary children, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess, and mysteries abound in this first volume in a new series for ages 9+.

Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels. 

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies. 

But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance’s holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?

Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

I saw this next to Heartstopper and I picked up because I read the first volume in 2019 and never ended up picking this one up afterwards.

The all-new ARCHIE adventure continues! Superstar writer Mark Waid teams up with the best and brightest artists in comics to bring a modern take to the legendary Riverdale cast of characters. The book will captures the bite and hilarious edge of Archie’s original tales in a modern, forward-looking manner, while still retaining the character’s all-ages appeal. If classic Archie is a Saturday morning cartoon, this new series is prime time!

Samantha Heather Mackey couldn’t be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England’s Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny,” and seem to move and speak as one. 

But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies’ fabled “Smut Salon,” and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door–ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies’ sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus “Workshop” where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision. 

The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.

A powerful and groundbreaking revelation of the secret history of the 1.5 million women who surrendered children for adoption in the several decades before Roe v. Wade

In this deeply moving work, Ann Fessler brings to light the lives of hundreds of thousands of young single American women forced to give up their newborn children in the years following World War II and before Roe v. WadeThe Girls Who Went Awaytells a story not of wild and carefree sexual liberation, but rather of a devastating double standard that has had punishing long-term effects on these women and on the children they gave up for adoption. Based on Fessler’s groundbreaking interviews, it brings to brilliant life these women’s voices and the spirit of the time, allowing each to share her own experience in gripping and intimate detail. Today, when the future of the Roe decision and women’s reproductive rights stand squarely at the front of a divisive national debate, Fessler brings to the fore a long-overlooked history of single women in the fifties, sixties, and early seventies. 

In 2002, Fessler, an adoptee herself, traveled the country interviewing women willing to speak publicly about why they relinquished their children. Researching archival records and the political and social climate of the time, she uncovered a story of three decades of women who, under enormous social and family pressure, were coerced or outright forced to give their babies up for adoption. Fessler deftly describes the impossible position in which these women found themselves: as a sexual revolution heated up in the postwar years, birth control was tightly restricted, and abortion proved prohibitively expensive or life endangering. At the same time, a postwar economic boom brought millions of American families into the middle class, exerting its own pressures to conform to a model of family perfection. Caught in the middle, single pregnant women were shunned by family and friends, evicted from schools, sent away to maternity homes to have their children alone, and often treated with cold contempt by doctors, nurses, and clergy. 

The majority of the women Fessler interviewed have never spoken of their experiences, and most have been haunted by grief and shame their entire adult lives. A searing and important look into a long-overlooked social history, The Girls Who Went Away is their story.

I saw this one when I was in the YA section and I grabbed it because I love the Katrina Leno books I have read.

Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day her family self-destructed. That was the night Eryn, Magpie’s sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. That was the night of Brandon Phipp’s party.

Now, Magpie is called a slut whenever she walks down the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won’t speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who’ve all been socially exiled like she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a place called Near.

Near is perfect–somewhere where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie’s own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. It’s a place where she can have anything she wants…even revenge.

Smart, humorous, and strikingly original thoughts on race, beauty, money, and more—by one of today’s most intrepid public intellectuals

Tressie McMillan Cottom, the writer, professor, and acclaimed author of Lower Ed, now brilliantly shifts gears from running regression analyses on college data to unleashing another identity: a purveyor of wit, wisdom—and of course Black Twitter snark—about all that is right and much that is so very wrong about this thing we call society. In the bestselling tradition of bell hooks and Roxane Gay, McMillan Cottom’s freshman collection illuminates a particular trait of her tribe: being thick. In form, and in substance.

This bold compendium, likely to find its place on shelves alongside Lindy West, Rebecca Solnit, and Maggie Nelson, dissects everything from beauty to Obama to pumpkin spice lattes. Yet Thick will also fill a void on those very shelves: a modern black American female voice waxing poetic on self and society, serving up a healthy portion of clever prose and southern aphorisms in a style uniquely her own.

McMillan Cottom has crafted a black woman’s cultural bible, as she mines for meaning in places many of us miss and reveals precisely how—when you’re in the thick of it—the political, the social, and the personal are almost always one and the same.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

Using unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.

Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.

When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.

Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

~Cassie

WWW Wednesday 1.20.21

This fun weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I joined a buddy reading group on Twitter and this week we are reading Hollowpox. I’m currently still working on yesterday’s chapters but I’m so excited to be back in the Nevermoor world. Although I will say that the plot for this one seems very similar to the movie Zootopia and I’m hoping that it differentiates itself soon.

I’m still working my way through Jade City. I’m more than halfway and I’m still really enjoying myself. The pacing is continuing to slow me down but it feels like we are building to some huge event and I can’t wait to see how the ending unfolds!

What have you finished reading?

I initially wasn’t going to post today because I haven’t been reading much but this morning I finished this collection of poetry and I just had to rave about it. I’m now hooked on Jacqueline Woodson and I want to read everything she has ever written. She has such a beautiful mastery of words. Brown Girl Dreaming is actually her memoir of her childhood but it is told completely through poems. Some of the poems deal with some very hard topics and I loved the way the format of the poems was able to convey her emotions regarding certain events. Also the imagery that is central to poetry helped make the people and places she was describing really come to life.

What do you think you’ll read next?

These were my answers for last week and since I just finished Brown Girl Dreaming I will for sure be picking one of them up soon. Hopefully!

~Cassie

Thrift Store Haul

On Saturday I took a quick trip to Goodwill because I learned last month that it is a good place to find cross stitch books and patterns. Which is was a goldmine for that but I also found some really great classics (and one other book) and I thought I would share them with you today.

This edition came out the year I was born!

A satiric masterpiece about the allure and peril of money, Our Mutual Friend revolves around the inheritance of a dust-heap where the rich throw their trash. When the body of John Harmon, the dust-heap’s expected heir, is found in the Thames, fortunes change hands surprisingly, raising to new heights “Noddy” Boffin, a low-born but kindly clerk who becomes “the Golden Dustman.” Charles Dickens’s last complete novel, Our Mutual Friend encompasses the great themes of his earlier works: the pretensions of the nouveaux riches, the ingenuousness of the aspiring poor, and the unfailing power of wealth to corrupt all who crave it. With its flavorful cast of characters and numerous subplots, Our Mutual Friend is one of Dickens’s most complex—and satisfying—novels. 

This edition brings together the complete Christmas stories of Charles Dickens. In this volume you will find the following entertaining holiday tales: A Christmas Tree, What Christmas is as We Grow Older, The Poor Relation’s Story, The Child’s Story, The Schoolboy’s Story, Nobody’s Story, The Seven Poor Travellers, The Holly-Tree, The Wreck of the Golden Mary, The Perils of Certain English Prisoners, Going into Society, The Haunted House, A Message from the Sea, Tom Tiddler’s Ground, Somebody’s Luggage, Mrs. Lirriper’s Lodgings, Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy, Doctor Marigold, The Trial for Murder, The Signal-Man, Mugby Junction, and No Thoroughfare.

The Woman in White (1859-60) is the first and greatest “Sensation Novel.” Walter Hartright’s mysterious midnight encounter with the woman in white draws him into a vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue. This new critical edition is the first to use the original manuscript of the novel. John Sutherland examines Collins’s contribution to Victorian fiction, traces his practices as a creator of plot, and provides a chronology of the novel’s complicated events.

The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of – and paean to – the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

New York Times Bestseller. 

I watched the PBS show with my Grandma when I was in my early teens and I was so excited to find this beautiful edition. I didn’t even know that the show was based on a book series.

The Forsyte Saga is John Galsworthy’s monumental chronicle of the lives of the moneyed Forsytes, a family whose values are constantly at war with its passions. The story of Soames Forsyte’s marriage to the beautiful and rebellious Irene, and its effects upon the whole Forsyte clan, The Forsyte Saga is a brilliant social satire of the acquisitive sensibilities of a comfort-bound class in its final glory. Galsworthy spares none of his characters, revealing their weaknesses and shortcomings as clearly as he does the tenacity and perseverance that define the strongest members of the Forsyte family.

This edition contains the three original novels — The Man of Property, In Chancery, and To Let — and their connecting interludes, Indian Summer of a Forsyte and Awakening.

The Divine Comedy describes Dante’s descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption. 

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. His life was divided by political duties and poetry, the most of famous of which was inspired by his meeting with Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice,including La Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. He died in Ravenna in 1321.

~Cassie

January Weekly Kindle Haul #2

I was looking forward to this post all week to share how I didn’t buy that many books this week and then I woke up today and Amazon had SO many books on sale that I have been wanting to read for so long that I couldn’t pass them up. However, I read a few days ago that Amazon and the big five publishers are being sued because of the price fixing they do on ebooks. I can count on one hand the Kindle books I bought that were more than $5 but I do want to support other booksellers. I would love to buy Kindle books somewhere other than Amazon but I’m completely stumped on where else I could get them. I buy some of my romance books on Eden books and that works great but since I read such a variety of genres that only helps a little bit. Since I got sick my Kindle has been my primary way of reading because of the muscle weakness in my arms so not buying them is not an option. I have toyed around with the idea of having a one month ban on buying Kindle books but I also want to support the authors so I’m kind of at a standstill. If you have any thoughts or solutions then please share them with me. I can definitely use your perspective on this situation!

All books can be shopped by clicking on their cover image. All books are listed at their current price. Books With Cassie is an Amazon affiliate and may make a small commission on any purchases made.

Free

He is looking towards the future…

Newly appointed Chief of Police Eric Maguire is sexy, single, not ready to mingle. Tired of casual hook-ups and meaningless affairs, Eric is ready for something real. When a mysterious dark-haired beauty moves in next door, Eric knows he’s found exactly what he’s been missing.

She is running from her past…

Lily Sotelo just got the break of a lifetime choreographing for pop star Karina Black’s winter tour. As important as it is that she does an amazing job, it’s equally as important that she remains anonymous. Which shouldn’t be a problem. She’s spent the last ten years on the move, never letting anyone get too close. Until now. Her new neighbor is as persistent as he is sexy and is making Lily want things she knows she can’t have.

It started with a parking ticket . . .
Who knew helping her out of that one little slip of paper would turn my world upside down?
I don’t do commitment.
Yet I can’t seem to stay away from her.
And that’s a problem.
Because when there’s feelings involved, somebody always gets hurt.
She’s hiding something. I know it.
But when the truth comes out, will it set us free?
Or will it send everything up in flames?

“The first time I saw her, I knew this girl was wilder than any stallion I’d ever trained. She was headstrong, wounded, passionate and free. And I had to have her…”

Brittany Ray doesn’t care about her bad reputation. Growing up in a sleepy beach town with a junkie mom and a runaway dad, Brit’s learned the hard way that the people you love will only let you down. It’s no use hoping for love or happiness. Some dreams aren’t meant for girls like her.

Hunter Covington is one of those dreams.

Gorgeous, charming Hunter is damn near perfect—and it’s killing him. Son of Charleston royalty, he’s been trapped in a gilded cage since the day he was born. Now he’s breaking free. He’s quit law school to restore his grandpa’s old horse ranch, trying to soothe the demons in his soul. But Beachwood Bay is full of old ghosts, like the mysterious girl who spent an unforgettable night with him—and then slipped away before dawn. Brit. 

Everything about her screams danger, but Hunter doesn’t care: he’s never felt a connection so deep. And try as she may, Brit can’t resist the desire consuming her —or the safety she finds in Hunter’s arms.

A reckless passion. An undeniable bond. Scarred by their pasts, Brit and Hunter fight to heal old wounds. But will dark secrets tear apart their new beginning? And when love is the biggest risk of all, can they find the courage to face the future unafraid?

She knew she would save his life, but she never expected to win his heart. 

Nurse Kali could handle anything the ICU threw at her. Then she met Craig. Stunningly handsome and suffering from complete amnesia, he has nowhere to stay to wait out the brutal Wisconsin winter. After learning about the risk of Craig freezing to death, Kali begrudgingly allows him to stay in her rental apartment until he can figure out who he is.

Craig knows not to push his luck. When Kali said she’d kick him out if he did anything sketchy, she meant it. What he didn’t expect was how quickly he’d fall for her – and how abruptly his search for his past would rip them apart. After discovering that he is promised to another, Craig is forced to choose between sticking with his old life or finding the strength to change for love.

This sweet and clean romance captures the amazing power of love and how it can change us and our future – if we are brave enough to accept the challenge.

“Suspicion is second nature to any woman who’s raised three kids.”
After decades of marriage, motherhood, and grandmotherhood, Cat Caliban is looking for a new career. Detective work seems a logical choice. So, she sells her suburban house, buys an apartment building in a “transitional” neighborhood, and begins her training, only to discover a dead body in an upstairs apartment. What’s the connection between a murdered homeless woman and the Golden Age of Hollywood silent movies? Cat races to discover it before the killer can strike again. In this first book of the popular Cat Caliban series from the 1990s, Cat assembles her colorful cast of helpers and neighborhood hangers-on.

With everything on the line, it’s game on

Logan Kase has reveled in being Willow Creek’s infamous wild child until one detrimental decision proved it was time for a change. Years later, Logan is back in her small hometown and ready to prove to everyone (especially herself) that she’s not that same girl anymore. But the new life she’s so carefully constructed starts to tear apart the second she runs into Cole Tucker. 

Logan thought she’d put her childhood rival and their adolescent games behind her, but it takes her only one night before she’s forced into one final game, a series of hilariously immature challenges that has the whole town keeping score. A game that, should she lose, could destroy everything she’s built her new life around.

Jana 
How to seduce a cop for Christmas 
Flirt shamelessly when said sexy cop pulls you over. 
Send naughty texts. 
Sweet-talk him into dinner. 
Melt… Panties, me, and more. 
Wait a sec. This was supposed to be just a little harmless fun. 
He’s in way too deep. 
So is my heart. 

Finn
A fender bender lands Jana Sparks in my police cruiser. 
All I’m supposed to do is give her a ride. 
Instead, I’d like her to ride me. 
She’s bold, brash and beautiful. 
I thought I was too cynical to fall for someone again. 
Jana makes me so hot and so hard, I ache for her. 
I can’t keep my hands off of her, and I can’t keep her from stealing my heart. 
My heart was hers the first night we spent together. 
I just have to make her believe it. 

*This is a steamy, full-length standalone romance with a guaranteed happily-ever-after. No cliffhangers. Nothing but steamy romance & HEA!

I know what’s supposed to happen at my casting call. In walks a stranger, my clothes come off, and we shoot amateur porn. Only a hot guy doesn’t show up—two of them do. 

This is included in Kindle Unlimited

THREE MISSING CHILDREN. Over the past three years, the quiet Yorkshire village of Stormer Hill has lost three of its children. No bodies were ever discovered. No evidence found. No witnesses. 

THE WRITER. Struggling to find inspiration for his new novel, celebrated crime author, and ex-police officer, Alex Palmer, believes the story of the missing children could end his writer’s block, but is he prepared for the story that’s about to develop?

THE DETECTIVE. Tom Nolan, a seasoned detective and loner involved in finding each missing child. Nolan is tasked with chaperoning Palmer and walking through each case. But as both men revisit the past, and dig deeper, neither are prepared for the chilling discovery to why the children were taken.

THE BRETHREN. A secret cult. Two men, and a series of brutal and unimaginable murders spanning over seven years with one intention; to show the world that death can be justified if it’s for a greater good.

This is included in Kindle Unlimited

Recipes from Marisa McClellan, creator of Food in Jars, included: strawberry rhubarb jam and pickled asparagus! 

Even small towns have secrets…

Hadley James is finally living the life she’s always wanted: making jam and selling it at the local farmers market. When a cat-sitting job turns into a murder investigation, life no longer seems so perfect.

Her twin brother, a deputy sheriff, is on the case but they’ve always done everything together and she can’t help but get involved. Following a trail of crafty clues, the James twins learn that their sleepy town might be harboring more darkness than they could’ve imagined.

Sometimes all you need is A Dream to Believe In 

Annie Davenport owns the cheerful Bookish Cafe in the charming town of Sweet River Falls. She’s perfectly content with her life. 

That is until Nick Chambers returns to town. 

Nick takes a leave of absence from his medical practice to accept a temporary university teaching position. He didn’t dream he’d run into Annie again after all these years. 

But fate has other plans, as it often does. 

Sparks fly between them once again—or maybe they never died. After doing their best to avoid each other and failing miserably, Nick and Annie make a tentative truce and agree to put their past behind them. 

Nick helps remodel the loft area above her shop that she’s hoping to have finished before the May Festival and the start of the busy tourist season. But a terrible accident reminds Nick why he left his medical practice and why he needs to move on from Sweet River Falls. 

Once again, they want—and need—different things out of life. Dreams and reality collide. But maybe this time the fates will be kinder. Maybe this time they can find A Dream to Believe In. 

A Dream to Believe In is book one in the Sweet River series. Meet Annie and her best friend, Nora. Together they experience small-town life at its best and its worst, struggle to keep their businesses afloat, and maybe, just maybe, find love when it’s least expected. 

Dr. Penina Ross learns that the stranger she shared a brief connection with the other day is a new surgeon at the hospital where she works. And now everybody wants to know who he is, and from what part of Heaven, the hunky and enigmatic angel fell. But Penina knows, if she’s smart, she’ll stay far away from Dr. Jake Sparrow—if that’s even his real name. She has a habit of attracting and falling for liars and cheaters, and that’s exactly who the secretive Dr. Sparrow feels like to her. However, at times she catches him staring at her from across the room, and when he does, her heart races like the wind. He’s so seductive, so yummy, which is why Penina can no longer resist him. Then, one day she discovers what he’s been hiding, and his secret hits closer to home than she could ever imagine.

This is included in Kindle unlimited

HER SECRETS ARE UGLY.
They’ve kept her from coming home.
Now she’s risking everything to return.

She thought it would be a quick trip. Show up. Say the right words. Then she’d be gone.

She never counted on meeting him.
The football star. 
The single dad.

He knew she was shattered by some event she kept hidden under lock and key. 
The clues on her body failed to reveal her secrets – unlike scars on his body that clearly publicized his.

The clock was ticking, giving him only a short time to uncover the true meaning of the flower branded into her flesh. 
Because if she got back on that plane, he knew it would be forever.

Note to reader: This book can be read as a standalone novel. It is the third book in a series that follows three sisters. This series can easily be enjoyed out of order.

Series reading order: Purple Orchids, White Lilies, Black Roses. 

Due to adult language and sexual situations, this book is intended for mature audiences.

Avery Dare lives a quiet life in Miami as an online fashion/makeup video blogger. She has good friends, a close, large family and if her love life is lacking, she likes it that way. But when she receives an invitation to one of her ex’s concerts along with an invitation to meet him back stage, she decides to take the risk… and comes face to face with the reality of his rock star lifestyle – the press, the crowds, and the half naked groupies. 

At eighteen, Grey Kingston left everything he knew and loved behind to seek fame and fortune as a rock star, and he found it as the lead guitarist and singer for the band, Tangled Royal. Fans adore him, women throw themselves at him, and he can afford everything he couldn’t growing up. Yet at the height of his career, he’s ready to walk away and return home to a simpler life… and the woman he left behind, if he can convince her to give him another chance. 

Except moving on isn’t as easy as Grey would like. When Avery is threatened by a stalker, it becomes evident Grey’s fans not only don’t want him to retire, they don’t want Avery in his life either. And Avery isn’t sure she wants the pressures that are part of Grey’s life… but she doesn’t want to lose him again, either. Can their recently renewed love survive the fallout? 

$1.99

The magnificent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of a stranger in his native land

“Both a masterpiece about the universal human condition and a masterpiece of Native American literature. . . . A book everyone should read for the joy and emotion of the language it contains.” – The Paris Review

A young Native American, Abel has come home from war to find himself caught between two worlds. The first is the world of his father’s, wedding him to the rhythm of the seasons, the harsh beauty of the land, and the ancient rites and traditions of his people. But the other world—modern, industrial America—pulls at Abel, demanding his loyalty, trying to claim his soul, and goading him into a destructive, compulsive cycle of depravity and disgust.

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Bea’s five-year old daughter, Agnes, is slowly wasting away in front of her. The smog and pollution of the City–the over-populated, over-built metropolis where most of the population lives in buildings on top of buildings, where there is no room for parks or plants–is destroying her lungs. If they stay in the City, Agnes will die.

Across the country is the Wilderness State, a huge swath of protected land, remote and unwelcoming, a refuge for wildlife with nowhere else to go. It is a place of open spaces and clean air, wild animals, trees, forests, desert plains. No people have ever been allowed into the Wilderness State.

Until now. Bea and Agnes will be among the first. Along with a handful of others, they are invited into the Wilderness State, to live as nomadic hunter gatherers. This motley group of twenty people are part of a study to see if humans can co-exist with nature and not just dominate it as they have always done. Can they be part of the wilderness and not put too heavy an imprint on the land? They spend their days wandering through this grand country, hunting, gathering, avoiding animal attacks, bickering among themselves, and doing a surprising amount of paperwork. Their nit-picking overseers, The Rangers, wrangle with them and badger them into adhering to the rules of the Government, the most important being Leave No Trace. They slowly learn how to live, and survive, on the unpredictable, often dangerous land, and they build a new kind of community, fighting among themselves for power, betraying and saving one another. Each day they will walk to another point on the horizon and try to make sense of new lives they now spend closer to their animal soul.

Bea discovers that fleeing to the Wilderness State to save Agnes means that she loses her in a different way. Agnes grows wild and belongs to the landscape while Bea, raised in the City, will always be of that place and drawn to it, no matter how many deer she skins. The real bond between mother and daughter will be tested by their growing difference.

As these modern nomads come to think of the Wilderness State as home, this land will come under attack from the Government which plans to develop it. Do the Settlers stay on as renegades, or move back to newly created urban areas? 

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

$2.99

She never thought she’d see her ex again…
until she became his boss.

Parker Drake wants only one thing. To become a doctor.
And he’s not going to let anything—
not his bad rap as a rule-breaker
or the six years since the disaster that ended his last internship—
stand in his way.

He’ll even work with the one woman he never got over losing.
His gorgeous ex-wife.
His boss.

All work, no play? Fine by Charleston Becker.
At least her job won’t leave her heartbroken.
But now the man who did the job is part of her job,
and as much as Charlie hates it, Parker’s hotter than ever.

Tempting her at every turn.

She shouldn’t want a second chance.
Parker still likes to break all the rules.
But this time, he’s playing for keeps.
And everything’s on the line.

A steamy medical contemporary romance from USA Today best-selling author Kimberly Kincaid. Watch this reckless hero do whatever it takes for a second chance with his first love. Full-length standalone story with action in the emergency room and the bedroom, and a sweet-and-sexy happily ever after.

This is included in Kindle Unlimited

When the patriarch of Moorecliff Manor drops dead at dinner, it’s up to Aunt Araminta and her Siamese cats Arun and Sasha to uncover the identity of the killer. It will be no easy task, as there is no shortage of suspects… including the butler.

But Araminta soon finds herself with more questions than answers. What was the mysterious phone call about? Who has been removing heirlooms and why? How did they manage to get poison into Archie’s dinner and not poison everyone at the table? Who was the mystery man that Daisy met in the garden? And why does Harold, the butler, never answer the door?

As Araminta and the cats follow the clues, it becomes clear that she will have a hard decision to make because the clues are pointing in one unmistakable direction – someone in the Moorecliff family is a cold-blooded killer.

John Dies at the End is a genre-bending, humorous account of two college drop-outs inadvertently charged with saving their small town—and the world—from a host of supernatural and paranormal invasions.

This edition is newly rewritten by the author with additional material and an even more epic epic of slackers versus the occult!

“David Wong has updated the Lovecraft tradition and infused it with humor that rather than lessening the horror, increases it dramatically. Every time I set the book down, I was wary that something really was afoot, that there were creatures I couldn’t see, and that because I suspected this, I was next. Engaging, comic, and terrifying.” —Joe Garden, Features Editor, The Onion

“Wong is like a mash-up of Douglas Adams and Stephen King… ‘page-turner’ is an understatement.” —Don Coscarelli, director,Phantasm I-VBubba Ho-tep

STOP. You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands. NO, don’t put it down. It’s too late. They’re watching you. My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours. You may not want to know about the things you’ll read on these pages, about the sauce, about Korrok, about the invasion, and the future. But it’s too late. You touched the book. You’re in the game. You’re under the eye. The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why? You just have to trust me.

The important thing is this: The drug is called Soy Sauce and it gives users a window into another dimension. John and I never had the chance to say no. You still do. I’m sorry to have involved you in this, I really am. But as you read about these terrible events and the very dark epoch the world is about to enter as a result, it is crucial you keep one thing in mind: None of this was my fault.

In this searing memoir of survival in the spirit of Stolen Innocence, the daughter of Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed Prophet of the FLDS Church, takes you deep inside the secretive polygamist Mormon fundamentalist cult run by her family and how she escaped it.

Born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Rachel Jeffs was raised in a strict patriarchal culture defined by subordinate sister wives and men they must obey. No one in this radical splinter sect of the Mormon Church was more powerful or terrifying than its leader Warren Jeffs—Rachel’s father.

Living outside mainstream Mormonism and federal law, Jeffs arranged marriages between under-age girls and middle-aged and elderly members of his congregation. In 2006, he gained international notoriety when the FBI placed him on its Ten Most Wanted List. Though he is serving a life sentence for child sexual assault, Jeffs’ iron grip on the church remains firm, and his edicts to his followers increasingly restrictive and bizarre.

In Breaking Free, Rachel blows the lid off this taciturn community made famous by John Krakauer’s bestselling Under the Banner of Heaven to offer a harrowing look at her life with Warren Jeffs, and the years of physical and emotional abuse she suffered. Sexually assaulted, compelled into an arranged polygamous marriage, locked away in “houses of hiding” as punishment for perceived transgressions, and physically separated from her children, Rachel, Jeffs’ first plural daughter by his second of more than fifty wives, eventually found the courage to leave the church in 2015. But Breaking Free is not only her story—Rachel’s experiences illuminate those of her family and the countless others who remain trapped in the strange world she left behind.

A shocking and mesmerizing memoir of faith, abuse, courage, and freedom, Breaking Free is an expose of religious extremism and a beacon of hope for anyone trying to overcome personal obstacles.

In Dearly, Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, Atwood addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and – zombies. Her new poetry is introspective and personal in tone, but wide-ranging in topic. In poem after poem, she casts her unique imagination and unyielding, observant eye over the landscape of a life carefully and intuitively lived.

While many are familiar with Margaret Atwood’s fiction—including her groundbreaking and bestselling novels The Handmaid’s TaleThe TestamentsOryx and Crake, among others—she has, from the beginning of her career, been one of our most significant contemporary poets. And she is one of the very few writers equally accomplished in fiction and poetry.  This collection is a stunning achievement that will be appreciated by fans of her novels and poetry readers alike.

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

A 2018 Most Anticipated Young Adult book that is part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a biochem degree. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends—some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But over the course of a late-summer weekend, a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with an ostensibly straight, white classmate, conspire to fracture his defenses while exposing long-hidden currents of hostility and desire within their community. 

A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys, described by Entertainment Weekly as “groundbreaking.”

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Isabel Lincoln is gone.

But is she missing?

It’s up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray’s search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman’s secrets and the truth she’s hidden from her friends and family.

Featuring two complicated women in a dangerous cat and mouse game, And Now She’s Gone explores the nature of secrets — and how violence and fear can lead you to abandon everything in order to survive.

The Office meets Stephen King, dressed up in holiday tinsel, in this fun, festive, and frightening horror-comedy set during the horror publishing boom of the ’80s, by New York Times best-selling satirist Andrew Shaffer.

Out of work for months, Lussi Meyer is desperate to work anywhere in publishing. Prestigious Blackwood-Patterson isn’t the perfect fit, but a bizarre set of circumstances leads to her hire and a firm mandate: Lussi must find the next horror superstar to compete with Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Peter Straub. It’s the ’80s, after all, and horror is the hottest genre.

But as soon as she arrives, Lussi finds herself the target of her co-workers’ mean-spirited pranks. The hazing reaches its peak during the company’s annual Secret Santa gift exchange, when Lussi receives a demonic-looking object that she recognizes but doesn’t understand. Suddenly, her coworkers begin falling victim to a series of horrific accidents akin to a George Romero movie, and Lussi suspects that her gift is involved. With the help of her former author, the flamboyant Fabien Nightingale, Lussi must track down her anonymous Secret Santa and figure out the true meaning of the cursed object in her possession before it destroys the company—and her soul.

$3.99

This is included in Kindle Unlimited

From the USA TODAY bestselling author. “If you like Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs, you’ll love this.” LOVEREADING.

Quantico-trained forensic investigator Reilly Steel is back in the country of her birth. Unsure about both her future and her position within the Dublin police force, Reilly hopes that a relaxing stay at the Florida beach home of her old FBI mentor Daniel Forrest will help get her thoughts together. 

When Daniel’s son, policeman Todd, is called to the scene of a gruesome murder where the body of a beautiful woman has literally been torn in two, he is stopped in his tracks. Not just because of the grotesque and theatrical nature of the crime but because he recognizes the victim. 

In an attempt to find swift resolution on her old friend’s behalf, Reilly finds herself drawn into the investigation. 
And when another disturbing murder occurs soon after, she can’t help but feel that she has come across something like this before. But where? 

And will Reilly’s brief hiatus in the US force her into a decision about her future in Dublin, and the unfinished business she has there?

New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson—”an admired writer who deserves to be a household name” (Kirkus Reviews)—displays her masterful talent in this dark and deliciously addictive tale of domestic suspense.

In this game, even winning can be deadly…

Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it—teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy’s sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it’s naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way—a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did. 

When they’re alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn’t give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins. 

A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson’s trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.

RITA® Award Winning author Alexis Daria brings readers an unforgettable, hilarious rom-com set in the drama-filled world of telenovelas—perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin and The Kiss Quotient.

Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers.

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. 

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

*No synopsis since this is the last book in a trilogy

A highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.

Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way. 

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins. 

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read. 

Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own. 

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster.  Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.

With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled? 

Korey Fields is dead.

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted.

Award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson delivers another riveting, ripped-from-the-headlines mystery that exposes horrific secrets hiding in the limelight and the power of a young woman’s voice. 

$4.99

This is included in Kindle Unlimited

Frances Teller has been running from the past since the tragic fire that killed two of her friends as a teenager.

When Frances Teller accepts a job teaching at the prestigious Thackeray School in Vermont, she learns that the ghosts who haunt the hallways have adirect connection to her dangerous past. Now Frances must come to terms with the crime she committed as a student–before history repeats itself.

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Disgraced and author of American Dervish, an American son and his immigrant father search for belonging — in post-Trump America, and with each other. 

“Passionate, disturbing, unputdownable.” – Salman Rushdie

A deeply personal work about hope and identity in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of belonging and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque adventure — at its heart, it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home.

Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a nation in which debt has ruined countless lives and our ideals have been sacrificed to the gods of finance, where a TV personality is president and immigrants live in fear, and where the unhealed wounds of 9/11 continue to wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one — least of all himself — in the process.

$5.99

This is also included in Kindle Unlimited

Amelia Baker may have fallen for the wrong man. Her gut and her loved ones had warned her, but she married him anyway. Isolated from family and friends while traveling the backcountry according to her new husband’s whims, things don’t go as planned.

When police come knocking and terrifying details about the past begin to emerge, Amelia must face the consequences of poor judgement along with her worst fears.

Is she in trouble? Could the man she pledged her life to actually harm her? And how will she ever get away? 

Her Worst Mistake is the sixth book in the Rosemary Run Series of domestic thrillers.

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere. 

$6.15

When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.

Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her collegues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day …

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.

$7.39

A hitched ride home in a snow storm turns sinister when one of the passengers is plotting for the ride to end in disaster.

When Mira flies home to spend Christmas with her mother in Pittsburgh, a record-breaking blizzard results in a cancelled layover. Desperate to get to her grief-ridden mother in the wake of a family death, Mira hitches a ride with a group of friendly college kids who were on her initial flight.

As the drive progresses and weather conditions become more treacherous, Mira realizes that the four other passengers she’s stuck in the car with don’t actually know one another.

Soon, they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but the fact that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.

$8.99

AN ABUSIVE MOTHER
Raised in the suburb of Riverside, California, twenty-year-old college student Jason Bautista endured for years his emotionally disturbed mother’s verbal and psychological abuse. She even locked him out of the house, tied him up with electrical cord, and on one occasion, gave him a beating that sent him to the emergency room. His fifteen-year-old half brother Matthew Montejo also was a victim to Jane Bautista’s dark mood swings and erratic behavior, but for some reason, Jason received the brunt of the abuse—until he decided he’d had enough…

A SON’S REVENGE
On the night of January 14, 2003, Jason strangled his mother. To keep authorities from identifying her body, he chopped off her head and hands, an idea he claimed he got from watching an episode of the hit TV series “The Sopranos.” Matthew would later testify in court that he sat in another room in the house with the TV volume turned up while Jason murdered their mother. He also testified that he drove around with Jason to find a place to dump Jane’s torso.

A CRIME THAT WOULD BOND TWO BROTHERS
The morning following the murder, Matthew went to school, and Jason returned to his classes at Cal State San Bernardino. When authorities zeroed in on them, Jason lied and said that Jane had run off with a boyfriend she’d met on the Internet. But when police confronted the boys with overwhelming evidence, Jason confessed all. Now the nightmare was only just beginning for him…

$9.99

Bestselling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town fifty years ago, and the darkest—and most hopeful—places in the human heart

After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm.  As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed.  She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband.  But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed.  Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.

Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy.  Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?

~Cassie

Stitching Saturday #2

This is my first stitching update of the year! I had reviews that were already scheduled for the last couple of Saturdays but I hope to be more regular with these posts. I also won’t be sharing any progress updates today because I got caught up in cleaning and organizing our playroom today and I lost the sun. Next Saturday I will be showing pictures of all the things I’m working on as well as telling you how many days I worked on it. For today I thought it would be beneficial to share some of my favorite flosstubers (youtubers who cross stitch) so if you are interested in cross stitch you can get a better idea of what this community is about.

Country Stitchers

These ladies are incredibly knowledgeable about everything cross stitch and I also learn something new when watching them. The video that I am sharing of theirs is a beginning to cross stitch video that I think is incredibly helpful.

Modern Folk Embroidery

Jacob has the most beautiful cross stitch designs that I have seen. He is unique because he does these gorgeous pieces using only one color and they are stunning. All of his designs are on my wishlist and the only reason I haven’t bought one is because I can’t decide which one to get first!

Country Cottage Stitchers

Heather and Janet are a mother daughter duo and I love watching them. They have such great chemistry together and I love their banter.

Pumpkin Hollow Quilts

Olivia has such a nice calming way about her and I really enjoy her videos. She also has some beautiful pieces that she is working on and I look forward to seeing her progress in every video.

Darvanalee Design Studio with Nicole Reed

Nicole is from Queensland, Australia and she has such an outgoing and fun personality. She also does a great job of interacting with her subscribers and does a lot of livestream stitch with me’s along with preformed stitch with me’s. Which are my favorite videos because with Covid and not being able to hang out in person it really does feel like you are stitching with a friend. Nicole also does diamond painting so if you are interested in what that is then I highly recommend her channel because she also has diamond paint with me. I just bought my first diamond paint because of her because I want to try me hand at it and see if I enjoy it.

I follow a lot more flosstubers but I thought this was a great sampling of what is out there. I hope that if you were interested in cross stitching but weren’t aware of how big the community is that you found this post helpful.

~Cassie

The Shadows By Alex North

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Publisher: Celadon Books

Pages: 336

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Rating: 4/5

This is a quiet yet insidious horror novel. We follow Paul in dual timelines when he is a teenage boy and him as an adult coming home for the first time in a couple of decades. As a teenager Paul starts high school with his best friend James and together they befriend Charlie and Billy and Paul himself befriends Jenny. James and Paul’s friendship with Charlie and Billy starts off in a horrific matter and that really sets the tone for the rest of their friendship. Adult Paul has come home because his Mom is in hospice care and he had no idea that she was even sick so he heads home to say goodbye to her. While he is back in Gritten, Paul is confronted by the trickling effects of the murder Charlie and Billy committed 25 years ago. Also propelling the present day storyline is Detective Amanda Beck (who had a minor cameo in Alex North’s debut book, The Whisper Man) as she is investigating a murder that is creepily similar to the one that Charlie and Billy committed. Hanging over everyone’s heads is the knowledge that Charlie disappeared after the murder 25 years ago and both Paula and Amanda are trying to figure out what part he plays in the current murder, if any.

If that plot sounds convoluted its because it is. There is a lot jam packed in this book which was nice because there was always something happening but on the other hand, not everything was perfectly pulled off. The creepiest aspect of this story was the lucid dreaming that Charlie teaches to the other boys and I was horrified to find out this is a real thing. Also going along with the lucid dreaming is a Slenderman type monster that is waiting in the dream world for the boys. The murders that take place in this book are graphic and dark so beware of that before starting this book.

There are a few twists in this story that are possible to see coming but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment at all. I do wish that North had either expanded on some ideas/plot lines or had edited some out because there was just too much happening for the length of this book. I found it hard to fully connect to the characters because we weren’t allowed a lot of time to truly build that connection. North had a lot of great ideas and I now appreciate why Stephen King writes such big tomes because to create the right horror atmosphere along with characters you are invested in takes more time than just over 300 pages.

If you are interested in a crossover thriller and horror book then pick this one up. I wouldn’t necessarily say that if you read The Whisper Man that you should read this one because they have very different tones. However, if the idea of lucid dreaming sounds good to you then this is one that you should pick up. I am very intrigued by Alex North and I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next.

~Cassie