Dewey’s 24 hr readathon: Hour 3

I finished the Stranger Things graphic novel (5 stars and a must read for any fan) and I have moved on to Apocalypse Taco. I’m on chapter 8 so I’m not far into it at all. I was not expecting this to be a horror and it is actually quite gross. If I had known I probably would have saved this for later in the day.

I also decided to make myself some tea and I treated myself to a chocolate mint tea. I do intermittent fasting so I usually drink water until I break my fast at noon but I felt the need for a caffeine boost. Which probably means coffee will be coming soon!

-Cassie

Dewey’s 24 hr readathon: Hour 2

Good morning everyone! Hour 1 was a bit of a waste since I only got about 10 minutes of reading in. My alarm didn’t go off but I naturally woke up at 5:40 and then realized I was so tired last night I never saved the alarm. So, not the best start to this readathon but I’m happy I read something during the 5am hour.

The graphic novel I’m reading has so far been better then I expected. I knew I would like it because Stranger Things is my favorite show but this gives a lot of great background to the friend group. And the D&D aspect is fun and I’m enjoying getting a more in depth look at it.

I hope to finish it in the next hour and start one of the graphic novels my son has been wanting me to read. I decided to go with all graphic novels in the first few hours of the morning while my brain is waking up.

-Cassie

Halloween Smutathon TBR

Monday is the start of the Halloween round of Smutathon hosted by Riley and Lainey and I will be participating in some capacity. This is a week long readathon that goes from the 25th to the 31st. I, of course, have a book for every prompt but since I’m so behind on my monthly TBR I might just make it a goal to just read a few of these books. Some of them are quite short and one is a book from my TBR so I think that might be doable. But I might just want to keep reading all the romance since it’s been awhile since I read a bunch at once so I’m just going to share all the books I picked out for this readathon.

Dark

The Fallen: Genesis is a prequel novella in The Deadly Virtues Series and MUST be read before RAPHAEL (DV: book one). 

*****
THE FALLEN: GENESIS 
(A Deadly Virtues Prequel)

IN THE BEGINNING…

They told them they were evil.
They told them they were possessed by demons.
They told them that darkness ran in their veins.

Holy Innocents Home for Children is a haven for orphaned boys who have nothing and no one. The priests watch over them, educate them, raise them in the family of the church.

Except for some.

Seven of the orphans are no ordinary boys. They attract the attention of the priests for their acts of violence, of bloodlust. The priests realize these boys are drawn to the darkness.

And the priests are no ordinary priests. They are the Brethren, a secret sect who believe themselves on a divine mission to seek out evil in the boys in their care. Seek it out, and then drive it out.

The seven have fallen from God’s grace. And the Brethren will cleanse their blackened souls…

Dark Contemporary Romance novella. Contains sexual situations, violence, sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and topics some may find triggering. Recommended for age 18 years and up.

Reverse Harem

This cover is stunning!! But this book is also 654 pages!

Ryder, Garrett, Kenzo, and Diesel—The Vipers.

They run this town and everyone in it. Their deals are as sordid as their business, and their reputation is enough to bring a grown man to his knees, forcing him to beg for mercy. They are not people you mess with, yet my dad did. The old man ran up a debt with them and then sold me to cover his losses.

Yes, sold me.

They own me now.

I’m theirs in every sense of the word. But I’ve never been meek and compliant. These men, they look at me with longing. Their scarred, blood-stained hands holding me tight. They want everything I am, everything I have to give, and won’t stop until they get just that. They can own my body, but they will never have my heart.

The Vipers? I’m going to make them regret the day they took me.

This girl? She bites too.

18+ Reverse Harem Romance. Warning this book contains scenes and references of abuse/assault that some readers may find triggering. Along with graphic sex scenes and violence. This is a dark book.

2021 release

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

Aliens

You’d think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you’d be wrong. Because now, the aliens are having ship trouble, and they’ve left their cargo of human women – including me – on an ice planet.

And the only native inhabitant I’ve met? He’s big, horned, blue, and really, really has a thing for me…

Enemies or Rivals

Don’t fall for your enemy…especially when he’s your new roommate.

Dean Evans is the worst.
Not only does the devil in disguise steal my pie on a regular basis, he also lives in the apartment right. Next. Door.
I see him all the time. At the mailboxes. In the elevator.
Every single morning.
It’s exhausting because he’s exhausting.

Now, after setting his apartment on fire, he’s my roommate…and he’s the worst at that too.

I don’t know what possessed me to let him stay with me. Pity, perhaps?
I do know that I won’t be falling for his charm.
Or that panty-dropping smirk.
His quick wit.
That body he works so hard for.

Nope. Not falling for any of it…least of all him.

There might be a fine line between love and hate, but I know exactly where I stand.

Monster

This is the group book!

On the brink of losing her position as a maid and with no prospects to go on, the offer of a place at Rooksgrave Manor—a house of ill and unusual repute—sounds like a perfect fit for a young woman with Esther’s inclinations. Even better, the invitation comes by the hand of the handsome Dr. Underwood, a delicate gentleman with a ferocious alter ego who knows exactly what he wants from Esther.

Upon arrival the men and the daily decadence of the manor feel too good to be true for a girl of Esther’s station. There are rules to be followed, expectations to meet, and Esther is afraid she might be too wicked even for a place like Rooksgrave.

Temptations lurk around every shadowy corner and Esther has never been a girl able to resist. But the risk of disappointing her new gentlemen isn’t all that’s threatening Esther’s new position. Rooksgrave Manor’s protections for its unusual patrons are failing, the wards are crumbling, and Esther’s new and exquisitely pleasurable life may all come tumbling down.

Novella

Violet has waited years for a date with Aiden, her crush from university who she was always too shy to approach. When Aiden finally asks her out, Violet thinks it’s too good to be true – then their first date gets even better. Aiden reveals that he knows about Violet’s dirty secret: she has a lewd Twitter account where she posts all her filthiest erotic fantasies. Aiden is determined to start making her fantasies come true, as he challenges her to games where losing brings some very sadistic consequences. Competitive Violet thinks that she wants to win and earn her “reward”…but soon discovers that she likes Aiden’s punishments even better.

This erotic short story is a stand-alone in the Dirty First Dates series, and can be read without first reading other tales in the series.

This extra steamy erotic short story is written in First Person POV and is 16k words in length. This a quick, rough, filthy read: you’re going to need some privacy for this one! Welcome to your dirtiest first date.

WARNING! These are the fetishes/kinks within…first time/”virgin” anal (including use of toys), no condoms/creampie, degradation/humiliation play, public play (no voyeurs), teasing, spanking/impact play, use of the titles Sir/little girl, begging, crying/tears, some Brat/Brat Tamer dynamics, over-stimulation, rough sex, sex outdoors.

Read in one sitting

He may look like an angel, but he’s a sadistic devil in disguise…

Ash has been pining after Gabriel for years, and the soft-spoken blond finally asked her out. But Ash is certain that Gabriel’s quiet demeanor hides a dark side: with “PAIN” tattooed on his knuckles, she’s certain that the studious man harbors perverted and sadistic desires, and she’s eager to unleash them. As they wander the beautiful halls of the local museum, Ash’s teasing finally brings out the devil in Gabriel. Ash is a sweet brat as she pushes his buttons, and Gabriel reveals himself as a pain-loving Daddy determined to bring the lustful woman to her knees.

This erotic short story is a stand-alone in the Dirty First Dates series, and can be read without first reading other tales in the series.

This extra steamy erotic short story is written in First Person POV and is 14k words in length. All characters are over 18 years of age. This a quick, rough, filthy read: you’re going to need some privacy for this one! Welcome to your dirtiest first date.

WARNING! These are the fetishes/kinks within…pain play (including spanking, biting, scratching, pinching, hair-pulling), degradation/humiliation (including degrading language), use of the titles “Daddy” and “little girl,” tears related to consensual pain play, biting/slapping of the breasts, public play (no witnesses), choking, fingering, oral sex, gagging/salivation related to oral sex, raw sex (no condoms), creampie.

Paranormal

Leon
I earned my reputation among magicians for a reason: one wrong move and you’re dead. Killer, they called me, and killing is what I’m best at.
Except her.
The one I was supposed to take, the one I should have killed – I didn’t.
The cult that once controlled me wants her, and I’m not about to lose my new toy to them.

Rae
I’ve always believed in the supernatural. Hunting for ghosts is my passion, but summoning a demon was never part of the plan. Monsters are roaming the woods, and something ancient – something evil – is waking up and calling my name.
I don’t know who I can trust, or how deep this darkness goes.
All I know is my one shot at survival is the demon stalking me, and he doesn’t just want my body – he wants my soul.

Her Soul to Take is book 1 in the Souls Trilogy. Although all the books are interconnected, they are stand-alone and can be read in any order.

Content Warning

This book contains graphic sexual scenes, violence, kink/fetish content, horror elements, and depictions of hard kink/edgeplay. This book is strictly fictional and is not meant to represent realistic expectations of BDSM or kink.

Kinks/Fetishes Within: consensual non-consent (CNC), breathe play/choking, bloodplay, spit, needle play (body modification fetish), pain play, fear play, public play, bondage, restraint, spanking/impact play.

Red or purple cover

Seven Brothers. Seven Brides. A revenge seven years in the making.

Eight years ago, my family was betrayed by those closest to us. Now we’re back in Sabine Valley, staging our return during the feast of Lammas, where I step into the ring and ensure we’re given what we’re owed. Who we’re owed.

Our enemies send their seven best warriors against me. With each victory, I win a Bride for each of my brothers. And for me? I’m saving the best for last. My Bride is Harlow, the woman claimed by the man I used to call friend—the one responsible for our exile. Eli.

And if Eli has a problem with it? Well, then I’ll take him as my Bride, too. All the better to enact my revenge…and bring Sabine Valley to its knees.

The Paine brothers are back, and we’re here to stay.

Shifter

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Taboo

Tiernan de Haas doesn’t care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she’s grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.

And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She’s always been alone, hasn’t she?

Jake Van der Berg, her father’s stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. Sent to live with him and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb, in the mountains of Colorado, Tiernan soon learns that these men now have a say in what she chooses to care and not care about anymore. As the three of them take her under their wing, teach her to work and survive in the remote woods far away from the rest of the world, she slowly finds her place among them.

And as a part of them.

She also realizes that lines blur and rules become easy to break when no one else is watching.

One of them has her.

The other one wants her.

But he…

He’s going to keep her.

*Credence is a new adult standalone novel suitable for readers 18+.

Takes place on Halloween

Raven Treat is an elementary school teacher with a secret crush on the uncle of a student. She’s been lusting from afar, but little does she know he’s been taking steps to make her his.

Jack Bates has been obsessed with Raven since the second he saw her. The Halloween school dance is his opening to make her his and make sure she never gets away. 

Warning: Their story is fast, hot, and sugary sweet! Grab some candy corn and throw it in the trash… Then get some chocolate and snuggle up with this adorable read!

Vampire

A timeless love story with bite. 

It was a night like any other for funeral home director Ginny Lynn, until the exceptionally handsome—and unfortunately deceased—young man on her embalming table sat up, opened his emerald eyes and changed the course of her life forever, making her feel quite fluttery while he was at it.

Humans aren’t supposed to know Jonas Cantrell, or any vampire, exists. It’s kind of a major rule. Despite his instantaneous bond with perfectly peculiar Ginny, he has no choice but to erase her memories of their one and only meeting.

That was the plan. Before a reluctant Jonas can wipe Ginny’s mind clean, she reveals a secret that brings their worlds crashing together. Human and vampire. Past and present. Darkness and light. And while their love is strictly forbidden, it might be the only thing that can save them…

Reborn Yesterday is a standalone paranormal romantic comedy with a happily ever after.

New to you author

There are many rules a priest can’t break. 
A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules. 
Until she came. 
My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again. 
I am a priest and this is my confession.

***Priest is a standalone, full-length novel with an HEA.  For mature audiences only.***

Supernatural main character

All Lenore Warwick wants for her 21st birthday is to hang out with her friends, finish her second year at Berkeley with flying colors, and maybe catch the eye of a hot musician playing a show at a club that she can now (legally) get into. 

Unfortunately, fate has other plans for her. 

A week before her birthday, she’s kidnapped by the brooding and dangerous stranger with cold eyes and a lethal touch, who has been stalking her on San Francisco’s fog-shrouded streets. Absolon “Solon” Stavig isn’t your average criminal though. He’s a centuries-old vampire who’s caught between wanting to kill Lenore and wanting to save her. 

You see Lenore, too, is a vampire.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Taken by a pair of vampire slayers when she was just an infant, Lenore was raised never knowing her true nature. All Lenore knows is that she has (normal) parents who love her, that she’s exceptionally smart, and she’s squeamish around blood. But once she turns twenty-one, she’ll fully turn into a vampire, and Solon hopes he’ll be there to guide her, opening her eyes to her deepest hunger…both sexual and otherwise. 

But this turning can’t be kept a secret. Soon both slayers and vampires are hunting Lenore, with only Solon and his unpredictable motley crew of vampires to save her.

If they don’t kill her first.

Black Sunshine is a dark adult romance with a paranormal twist, about sex, love, secrets, and revenge, set in contemporary San Francisco.

~Cassie

Dewey’s 24hr Readathon TBR

I’m here today to share all the books I am planning on reading Saturday, October 23 for Dewey’s 24hr readathon. This is the OG of readathons and since my reading has been abysmal this month I plan on taking full advantage of this day. I took some graphic novels, manga and a small book out from the library at the beginning of this month in preparation for this day so maybe subconsciously I knew this month would be a struggle. I live in California so the readathon starts at 5am my time and I plan on setting my alarm to maxamize my reading and get the most out of the 24hrs. I also am going to do something different this time and do frequent updates on my blog to track what I’m reading and hold myself accountable. I’m aiming to do hourly updates but with three kids its best to be flexible and just update as I can. I have broken down this TBR into four categories just because I like organization so let’s get into it. Also, I will in no way read even a quarter of these but as usual I want to give myself plenty (too many) options.

Library

After a devastating loss, Brynn Wilder escapes to Wharton, a tourist town on Lake Superior, to reset. Checking into a quaint boardinghouse for the summer, she hopes to put her life into perspective. In her fellow lodgers, she finds a friendly company of strangers: the frail Alice, cared for by a married couple with a heartbreaking story of their own; LuAnn, the eccentric and lovable owner of the inn; and Dominic, an unsettlingly handsome man inked from head to toe in mesmerizing tattoos.

But in this inviting refuge, where a century of souls has passed, a mystery begins to swirl. Alice knows things about Brynn, about all of them, that she shouldn’t. Bad dreams and night whispers lure Brynn to a shuttered room at the end of the hall, a room still heavy with a recent death. And now she’s become irresistibly drawn to Dominic—even in the shadow of rumors that wherever he goes, suspicious death follows.

In this chilling season of love, transformation, and fear, something is calling for Brynn. To settle her past, she may have no choice but to answer.

Neil Gaiman’s seminal series, THE SANDMAN, celebrates its 30th anniversary with an all-new edition of THE SANDMAN VOL. 1: PRELUDES & NOCTURNES!

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series THE SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

This contains volumes 1-54 so I will probably be checking this out from the library a few times.

THE ULTIMATE BINGE-READ

Collecting the first nine volumes of the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling series into one massive paperback, this compendium tells the entire story (so far!) of a girl named Hazel and her star-crossed parents. Features over 1,300 pages of gorgeously graphic full-color artwork, including a new cover from Eisner Award-winning SAGA co-creator FIONA STAPLES. 

Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

Fred. Daphne. Velma. Shaggy. Scooby-Doo. Roaming the globe in their lime-green Mystery Machine, they’ve solved countless crimes and debunked dozens of sketchy supernatural shenanigans.

But what if the horror was real?

Something terrible has transformed our world, turning millions of people into mindless zombie hordes. And only five people–well, four people and one mangy mutt–have the smarts, the skills and the sheer crazy courage to stare down doomsday.

Can these pesky kids and their canine companion–using every incredible contraption in their arsenal–defeat the evil that has overwhelmed planet Earth? We’ve got only one thing to say about that: ZOINKS!

From comics mastermind Jim Lee and the superstar creative team of Keith Giffen (JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001), J.M. DeMatteis (JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK) and Howard Porter (JLA) comes SCOOBY APOCALYPSE, a whole new spin on the most beloved paranormal investigators in history. Get ready to give Scooby Snacks a whole new meaning! SCOOBY APOCALYPSE VOLUME 1 collects issues #1-6.

Follow the crew from Hawkins, Indiana, as they discover the legendary monsters and epic adventures of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game together.

Long before the dreaded Demogorgon took one of them to the Upside Down, watch Mike, Lucas, and Will bond with Dustin for the first time over the game that would define their childhood. See the party come together as a team through communal stories and perilous quests to learn important lessons about friendship and find the courage to stand up to the bullies that challenge their everyday.

Written by comics and RPG all-stars Jim Zub (Rick and Morty vs. D&DConan: Serpent WarDungeons & Dragons: Infernal Tides) and Jody Houser (Critical Role: Vox MachinaStranger ThingsStar Wars), with vorpal-sharp line art from rising talent Diego Galindo (Power RangersKino) and eye-popping colors from MsassyK (Isola) that strike as true as a Magic Missile. Dive into this love letter to a game that has defined role-playing through the lens of your current favorite icons of eighties nostalgia.

Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert were planning to adopt an orphaned boy to help out around their farm, Green Gables – instead, they got Anne Shirley. A plucky redheaded girl with a vibrant imagination, Anne turns first Green Gables and then the rest of Prince Edward Island on its ear. 

Manga Classics® is proud to be the only authorized manga adaption of Anne of Green Gables by the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery. This volume presents a faithful recreation of this classic kids novel, from the Lake of Shining Waters to the Dryad’s Bubble!

Books recommended by Connor

*Connor is my oldest son and he has been wanting me to read these for awhile and since they are such short reads I’m hoping I can get to a few of them.

“Remember the Alamo!” That rallying cry has been a part of Texas lore for generations. But who were the ragtag group of adventurers behind the famous slogan, and how did they end up barricaded in a fort against a Mexican army? Who survived, who died, and how? This sixth book in the bestselling Hazardous Tales series tracks the Lone Star State’s bloody fight for independence from the Mexican government. It features the exploits of the notorious Jim Bowie, as well as Stephen Austin, Davy Crockett, and other settlers and soldiers who made the wild frontier of Texas their home—all told with the inimitable style and humor for which Nathan Hale is known.

«What would you do to survive?»

In the spring of 1846, a group of families left Illinois and began the long journey to California. To save time, they took an ill-advised shortcut─with disastrous consequences.

Bad weather, bad choices, and just plain bad luck forced the pioneers to spend a long, cold winter in the mountains, slowly starving. What they did to stay alive and the lengths that others went in order to rescue them make this one of the most tragic and infamous stories of the American frontier.

Stranger Things meets The Last Kids on Earth in this science fiction graphic novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series
 
A sinister drive-through threatens to end the world—and three kids in a beat-up truck are humanity’s only hope!
 
It’s the night before dress rehearsal, and the school theater troupe is working late and very hungry. Eleven-year-old twins Axl and Ivan—along with their sixteen-year-old driver, Sid—volunteer to make a late-night fast-food run. At the drive-through, their tacos start to . . . move. And they don’t seem friendly. Even after they get rid of the food, the world around them isn’t quite right. There are strangely moving cars, buildings, and people—and they seem intent on swallowing everything in their path. Now the trio will have to use their wits, their truck, and even their windshield scraper to escape . . . before they’re replaced by monstrous versions of themselves!

World War I set the tone for the 20th century and introduced a new type of warfare: global, mechanical, and brutal. Nathan Hale has gathered some of the most fascinating true-life tales from the war and given them his inimitable Hazardous Tales twist. Easy to understand, funny, informative, and lively, this series is the best way to be introduced to some of the most well-known battles (and little-known secrets) of the infamous war.

Nathan Hale, the author’s historical namesake, was America’s first spy, a Revolutionary War hero who famously said “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” before being hanged by the British. In the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, author Nathan Hale channels his namesake to present history’s roughest, toughest, and craziest stories in the graphic novel format.

One Dead Spy tackles the story of Hale himself, who was an officer and spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Author Hale highlights the unusual, gruesome, and just plain unbelievable truth of historical Nathan Hale—from his early unlucky days at Yale to his later unlucky days as an officer—and America during the Revolutionary War.

History comes alive like no textbook can in this epically illustrated account of the American Revolution that’s perfect for kid history buffs, reluctant readers, and fans of Hamilton alike.
A fierce group of rebels who will never surrender.
An empire with an army that has never known defeat.And a war that changed the world forever.

From George Washington crossing the icy Delaware, to Molly Pitcher fearlessly firing her cannon, the people of the American Revolution were some of the bravest and most inspiring of all time. Jump into a riot in the streets of Boston, join the Culper Spy Ring as they steal secrets in the dead of night, and watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence in this accessible guide to the birth of the United States.
History buff and popular blogger Ben Thompson’s extensive research and irresistible storytelling make history come alive in this fourth book in the unforgettable Guts & Glory series!

Owned Books

*These are small books on my shelves that I have been really wanting to read.

The children of the Grace Field House orphanage have their happy lives upended when they find out they’re being raised to be fed to demons. Can they escape their fate before it’s too late?

Life at Grace Field House has been good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious foods and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…

The children of Grace Field House find themselves in even more trouble as Sister Krone continues to snoop around. Can they keep their escape plans from being uncovered? And which child is the traitor working for Mom?

When a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella – and even ‘cool kid’ Opal – rush to his rescue… only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below.

Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can’t quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they’ve never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable.

As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries – and their lives – begin to intertwine in weird and creepy ways. Something ancient has awakened… and it knows their wishes and dreams – and their darkest, most terrible secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts?

Bingo Love is a story of a same-sex romance that spans over 60 years. A chance meeting at church bingo in 1963 brings Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray together. Through their formative years, these two women develop feelings for each other and finally profess their love for one another.

Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid 60’s, Hazel and Mari are reunited again at a bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.

From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER’s “THE OUTFIT,” Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem & the Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.

You Let Me In delivers a stunning tale from debut author Camilla Bruce, combining the sinister domestic atmosphere of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects with the otherwordly thrills of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Cassandra Tipp is dead…or is she?

After all, the notorious recluse and eccentric bestselling novelist has always been prone to flights of fancy–everyone in town remembers the shocking events leading up to Cassie’s infamous trial (she may have been acquitted, but the insanity defense only stretches so far).

Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body–just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript.

Then again, there are enough bodies in her past–her husband Tommy Tipp, whose mysterious disembowelment has never been solved, and a few years later, the shocking murder-suicide of her father and brother.

Cassandra Tipp will tell you a story–but it will come with a terrible price. What really happened, out there in the woods–and who has Cassie been protecting all along? Read on, if you dare…

The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving “a great gentleman.” But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington’s “greatness” and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served. 

A tragic, spiritual portrait of a perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England. A wonderful, wonderful book.

A woman being held captive is willing to risk everything to save herself, her unborn child, and her captor’s latest victim in this claustrophobic thriller in the tradition of Misery and Room

On an isolated farm in the United Kingdom, a woman is trapped by the monster who kidnapped her seven years ago. When she discovers she is pregnant, she resolves to protect her child no matter the cost, and starts to meticulously plan her escape. But when another woman is brought into the fold on the farm, her plans go awry. Can she save herself, her child, and this innocent woman at the same time? Or is she doomed to spend the remainder of her life captive on this farm?

Intense, dark, and utterly gripping The Last Thing to Burn is a breathtaking thriller from an author to watch.

TBR

*A couple of small books from my TBR

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices.

Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he’ll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they’ve steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie’s dad and Coco’s mom plan a “fun” boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven’t had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn’t just any island though. It’s hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won’t survive long.

Already started books

*These are the books I am currently reading that I would like to continue making progress on if I haven’t finished them by Saturday.

I’m currently 40% through this.

Drawing heavily from personal experience, Anne Brontë wrote Agnes Grey in an effort to represent the many 19th Century women who worked as governesses and suffered daily abuse as a result of their position.

Having lost the family savings on risky investments, Richard Grey removes himself from family life and suffers a bout of depression. Feeling helpless and frustrated, his youngest daughter, Agnes, applies for a job as a governess to the children of a wealthy, upper-class, English family.

Ecstatic at the thought that she has finally gained control and freedom over her own life, Agnes arrives at the Bloomfield mansion armed with confidence and purpose. The cruelty with which the family treat her however, slowly but surely strips the heroine of all dignity and belief in humanity.

A tale of female bravery in the face of isolation and subjugation, Agnes Grey is a masterpiece claimed by Irish writer, George Moore, to be possessed of all the qualities and style of a Jane Austen title. Its simple prosaic style propels the narrative forward in a gentle yet rhythmic manner which continuously leaves the listener wanting to know more.

Anne Brontë, the somewhat lesser known sister, was in fact the first to finish and publish Agnes Grey under the pseudonym of Acton Bell. Charlotte and Emily followed shortly after with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

As Anne passed away from what is now known to be pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of just 29, she only published one further title; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. As feminist in nature as Agnes Grey, Anne’s brave voice resonates and permeates during one of the most prejudiced and patriarchal times of English history.

I’m currently at 61%

From the thrilling voice of Sacha Wunsch comes a heart-stopping psychological mystery in a world where memories can be shared—and one girl can’t trust any of them. 

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. Nova doesn’t mind—mostly. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t know the costs of this technology that’s taken the world by storm. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and is strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling that there’s something she’s forgotten…

I’m at 19%

GOOD MOTHERS…
Never show their feelings.
Never spill their secrets.
Never admit to murder.

The annual Halloween block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plans the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five has been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

I’m on page 103

‘Such whispered tales, such old temptations and hauntings, and devilish terrors’

Elizabeth Gaskell’s chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect. ‘Disappearances’, inspired by local legends of mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; ‘Lois the Witch’, a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ a mysterious child roams the freezing Northumberland moors. Whether darkly surreal, such as ‘The Poor Clare’, where an evil doppelganger is formed by a woman’s bitter curse, or mischievous like ‘Curious, if True’, a playful reworking of fairy tales, all the pieces in this volume form a start contrast to the social realism of Gaskell’s novels, revealing a darker and more unsettling style of writing.

I’m on page 311.

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? 

These nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer—or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made Liane Moriarty’s writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski

The Mother Next Door : A Novel of Suspense 

Tara Laskowski

On Sale Date: October 12, 2021

9781525804700

Trade Paperback

Graydon House

$16.99 USD

352 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK

For fans of Lisa Jewell, Aimee Molloy, and Joshilyn Jackson, an upmarket suspense novel from a multi-award-winning author about a tightknit group of suburban mothers who invite a new neighborhood mom into their fold, and the fallout the night of the annual block party, when secrets from the past come back to haunt them…

The annual block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul de sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plan the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five have been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

Tara Laskowski

AUTHOR BIO

TARA LASKOWSKI is the author of One Night Gone, which won an Agatha Award, Macavity Award, and Anthony Award, and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Left Coast Crime Award, Strand Critics’ Award, and Library of Virginia Literary Award. She is also the author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, has published stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Mid-American Review, among others, and is the former editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Tara earned a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Virginia. Find her on Twitter and Instagram, @TaraLWrites.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://taralaskowski.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tara.laskowski.9

Twitter: @TaraLWrites

Instagram: @taralwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56555529-the-mother-next-door

Excerpt

HALLOWEEN

Ladies and gentlemen, skulls and boys: by the time our Halloween block party is over tonight, one of us will be dead.

And I don’t mean dead as in dull, or dead as in zombified. I mean dead as in gone. Dead as in expired. Killed.

Murdered.

You may be feeling distressed about this, knowing what you know about Ivy Woods—the great neighborhood it is, the sweet, loving families that live there. How could such a tragedy happen in such a wonderful place? You may have traveled here yourself, as a child or as a parent, lured in by the local fame of the street and its ghoulish decorations each year. The lights, the smoke, the gravestones, and the moaning. The witches, cackling and handing out candy. The swarms of little Frankensteins and cowboys and robots and ballet dancers lugging their pillowcases and plastic pumpkin buckets filled with sugar and junk.

But Ivy Woods isn’t perfect.

Far from it.

Look closer. Look under the makeup and the masks, look into the windows of the perfect houses. Dig under the surface of those freshly mowed lawns and you’ll find the worms. I’ve looked—believe me, I’ve looked. There’s something about this street. There are secrets. I know from watching through the windows, from hearing the hushed conversations, from lingering on their faces when they think everyone else has looked away.

Oh they think they are perfect. They pat themselves on the back for throwing such good parties, for raising such fine children, for living in such big houses.

But they are pretending.

They don masks on this one single night to dress up as someone or something else, but in reality they live their lives this way.

We all do.

We hate ourselves. We are too fat, or too thin. We should work hard, be smarter. We are lonely and depressed. We are worried about money. We are ashamed of the way that our friends and family treat us. But we lie about it all. We hide behind a protective façade, fragile glass figurines inside elaborate dollhouses designed to look like perfect, safe, happy places.

Tonight it will all shatter.

Watch closely and you’ll begin to see what I see. There’s trouble in the air, a cold wind blowing in from far away, and it’s settled on Ivy Woods Drive. The secrets and the lies we tell ourselves and others will emerge tonight like spirits of the dead. Lines will be drawn. Sides will be taken. Someone won’t make it out alive.

I can’t save that person, but I’ll tell the story. Turn over the rocks, expose the worms. Pull back the masks.

Because I know their secrets, secrets that will destroy them all.

If they don’t destroy themselves first.

Excerpted from The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski, Copyright © 2021 by Tara Laskowski. Published by Graydon House Books. 

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-mother-next-door-a-novel-of-suspense/9781525804700

Politics & Prose: https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781525804700

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mother-next-door-tara-laskowski/1138551311?ean=9781488078125&st=AFF&2sid=HarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC_7651142_NA&sourceId=AFFHarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Next-Door-Novel-Suspense/dp/1525804707/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-mother-next-door-by-tara-laskowski-paperback/-/A-82219724

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-mother-next-door/id1547075567?id=1547075567&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

One More Page: https://www.onemorepagebooks.com/book/9781525804700

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-mother-next-door

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525804700?aff=PublishersWeekly

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Mother_Next_Door_A_Novel_of_Suspense?id=baYREAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US 

~Cassie

October Weekly Kindle Haul 1 & 2

Happy Sunday! I missed last week which doesn’t matter that much since I think I only picked up two free books that week. I have bought a few this week plus more free books so I finally have some goodies to share. I have bought 6 books so far this month so I feel like I’m pacing myself better than I did last month.

FREE

She never realized until she lost him that he was the only man she’d ever love.

Katy and Steven were the loves of each other’s lives until a tragedy and the fallout of Steven’s injuries drove the couple apart.

They share a son, but Katy and Steven have moved on with their lives, dating other people, and neither has seen the other in five long years. But when Steven comes knocking on Katy’s parents’ door after learning she’s back in town, Katy is forced to face her estranged husband and the love that broke her heart, and his intentions regarding their all-but-over marriage are soon made very clear.

The only problem is that as simple as it would be for them to walk away, seeing just what it means to move on and start a new life may not be as easy as they once thought.

Sergeant Wade McKinnon knows who killed Samantha the moment he arrives at her crime scene. Problem is, he watched her killer die a year ago.

A year after serial killer Michael Rhodes is executed and allowed to donate part of his brain as an organ transplant, Wade gets called to a murder scene that shares uncanny similarities to those of the late Michael Rhodes. Other similar killings happen around Seattle, and Wade seems to be the only person still alive who knows enough about Michael Rhodes’s murders to be able to replicate them. When evidence found at one of the crime scenes points to Wade as the killer, he races to find the real culprit before it’s too late to clear his own name.

Elle is overjoyed when her husband, Brian, gets a second chance at life when he receives a partial brain transplant after suffering a debilitating stroke at the age of thirty-seven. Their lives seem to return to normal, but Elle notices a disturbing change in Brian’s behavior. When Elle learns that her husband’s brain cell transplant came from Michael Rhodes, she fears that Brian now has the mind of a serial killer.

Praise for The Recipient:

“A chilling debut suspense thriller that blends a clinical murder know-how with riveting characters against a brooding Seattle backdrop. Audrey J. Cole squirrels deep into a serial killer’s mind and the at-times fractured minds of those who seek justice for the killer’s crimes. A perfect read for fans of Rachel Abbott or The Couple Next Door.” Lizzie Harwood, Amazon bestselling author

Six dead bodies with one disturbing similarity. An illicit genetic experiment. A secret society of true believers willing to do whatever it takes to become Pure.

And this is only the beginning.

DEA Special Agent Peter Malloy is no stranger to the devastating impact of drugs. So when six bodies turn up with surgical ports implanted in their spines, he’s sure a potent new opioid is the culprit. But when lab tests show zero evidence of any known narcotics, he fears something far more sinister.

Allison Stevens thought she knew everything about her boss. But after he disappears, she’s stunned to discover his secret genetic research in pain tolerance. When she becomes the target of the FBI’s investigation, Allison has only one move. She must expose his illegal experiment. There’s just one problem. Some secrets will be protected at any cost.

As Malloy and Allison get closer to the truth, they begin to realize they’re about to uncover the most chilling medical discovery in human history.

If it doesn’t get them killed.

The Pain Colony is a gripping suspense thriller–you’ll be plunged into terrifying twists of modern science, chilling tension, and shocking revelations that will leave you breathless.

“A nail-biting page-turner you can’t put down!” –BookTrib

“A shocking finale that even jaded readers won’t see coming!” –BookLife

Everyone adores Miss May…except the guilty.

In a small town, where neighbors know each other, lawn chairs come out in the spring, and if you sit around chatting long enough, someone brings you pie, there are still skeletons in every closet. Luckily for Pine Grove, Miss May has a nose for crime.

The body was found face-down in the orchard.

Chelsea’s not sure crime-fighting is her strong suit. She’s up at her Aunt May’s farm recovering from heartbreak, after all, trying to forget the guy who left her at the altar. But when cousin Maggie’s fiancé is murdered, Chelsea’s own botched wedding seems like less of a big deal.

Who would have killed him?

The handsome and charming Detective Wayne thinks it’s Maggie.

Miss May and Chelsea know he’s wrong, but they don’t have proof. There’s a killer on the loose in their little town and they’re determined to find the culprit.

FREE

I sold my future to the man who ruined my past.

I had a plan:

Sign a contract and board a plane to Ibiza. The anonymous deal would salvage the smoldering wreckage of my life.

It would not involve billionaire Harrison King. AKA, the reason I need saving in the first place. 

He’s as beautiful as he is cruel. A British business titan who’s practically royalty and makes a living getting what he wants.

The man flies private. Dates supermodels. But the crisp accent and cocky smirk don’t fool me. He’s a gentleman on the outside, a savage beneath. Dangerous, rough and brutal.

Because after my attempt to publicly stand up for those who needed it… 

He destroyed my reputation. 

Now, he’s come for the rest of me.

Except it’s not salvation he’s promising. It’s nights in Ibiza, under his roof, rules, his control. 

I sold my soul to a man I hate. Now, he owns me.

I can’t back out. No matter what kind of punishment he has in store. 

Harrison King knows my secrets…

But kings keep secrets too.

BEAUTIFUL ENEMY is an enthralling, explosive romance from USA Today bestselling author Piper Lawson! You’ll want to binge this addictive new story.Top genres for this book

“Rollicking dark, twisted fun!” 

Welcome to THE VENUE
Where the super rich can get away from it all. 
…and get away with anything they want.

You’re invited to Caleb Hunt’s wedding! 

Sure, you haven’t spoken since you two had a falling out in high school, but Caleb has gotten over that. He’s a forgiving person. It was all a misunderstanding. He credits you with turning him into the man he is today. 

He wants to repay you and everyone else from his life with an invitation to his destination wedding. 

An all-expense paid trip to a luxurious resort. 
High up in the Alps. 
Secluded and private. 

Please RSVP. 
It’s sure to be a killer party.

The newest gleefully violent release from the writer of INTERCEPTS and IN MY FATHER’S BASEMENT.

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.

Doughnuts were her weakness.
If Sadie Mullins hadn’t been running on the beach to burn off the calories from her doughnut addiction, she wouldn’t have noticed the man not moving out in the water. 
Wouldn’t have dived in after him.
Wouldn’t have met West Montgomery.
The cocky bastard should have been thankful, grateful even. 
Of course, he wasn’t.
That should have been the end of it. 
Of course, it wasn’t.
Damn doughnuts.

Walking through his own house at night, a twelve-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew. 

The house is the kind of wrong place where you can lose yourself and find things you’d rather not have. Over the course of a few nights, the boy tries to map out his house in an effort that puts his little brother in the worst danger, and puts him in the position to save them . . . at terrible cost.

A sterling collection of short stories featuring Poirot and others, The Golden Ball and Other Stories is a riveting compendium of shocking secrets, dastardly crimes, and brilliant detection—a showcase of Dame Agatha at her very best.

Is it a gesture of goodwill or a sinister trap that lures Rupert St. Vincent and his family to a magnificent estate? 

How desperate is Joyce Lambert, a destitute young widow whose only recourse is to marry a man she despises? W

hat unexpected circumstance stirs old loyalties in Theodora Darrell, an unfaithful wife about to run away with her lover?

In this collection of short stories, the answers are as unexpected as they are satisfying. The Queen of Mystery takes bizarre romantic entanglements, supernatural visitations, and classic murder to inventive new heights.

FREE

Reasons not to crush on Adam:
He’s my best friend’s brother.
He’s my neighbor.
He’s the captain of the hockey team.
He’s a serial monogamist who’s sworn off dating.

Reasons not to fake date Adam:
See above.
He has no idea I actually like him—like really like him.

But do I listen to any of those really great reasons? Of course not.
Now, thanks to my amazing and convincing acting skills, one fake date ends with him being my fake fiancé (oops!).
My bad crush has gotten me in way over my head.

FREE

She’s struggling to rebuild her life. He’s desperately searching for connection—he just doesn’t know it yet …

Delilah Ballard’s husband left her and their two kids for another woman. Now, in the wake of her messy divorce, Delilah needs a change of scenery for her kids’ first Christmas without their father. She’s looking for a getaway—not another romantic entanglement that’s sure to add another layer of chaos to a life already swimming in it.

When a Big Sur hiking excursion goes bad, putting Delilah’s son in peril, seasoned outdoorsman Quinn Monroe shows up just in time to bring the boy to safety. The problem is, Quinn is dangerously sexy, and Delilah’s not sure she has what it takes to ignore his attentions—even though everything about him spells trouble.

FREE

A funny cozy culinary mystery.

Narel Myers was given the ironic name Cocoa Narel by the cruel popular kids in high school, as she was far from elegant and was obsessed with chocolate. The truth of the matter was that her love of eating chocolate had caused her to become excessively overweight. Some years later, a car wreck leads to her undergoing extensive plastic surgery on her face and body. Now that she is medically unable to gain weight, she decides to indulge her love for chocolate by opening a designer chocolate shop.

When people who bullied her at high school are murdered one by one, she becomes the prime suspect. Will she be able to prove her innocence when the police think she’s out for revenge? Will Carl, her best friend, stop flirting with the police long enough to help her find the real killer?

When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this delightful romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project!

When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.

And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There’s just one catch — no one can know what they’re doing. But when they’re accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor’s game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?

FREE

It’s a simple enough transaction. 
Marisol needs the money, and I need a nice girl to parade in front of the cameras. 
No feelings. No strings. No falling for anyone.

I’ve been clean for months, but my record company’s not satisfied. Apparently it isn’t enough to onlykick a heroin addiction – they’re insisting that I find a girlfriend as well. 

If I don’t, they pull Dirtshine’s massive record deal. 

It’s supposed to show that I’ve changed my ways, that I’ve turned over a new leaf, all that rubbish. But I’ve had it with suit-wearing wankers telling me what I’m to do, so I’m on the verge of telling them to go f*ck themselves. 

And then she shows up. 

Marisol locks me out of my own concert by accident. She’s wearing a suit at a rock show, searching for her lost law school textbook, has no idea who I am… 

…and for the first time in years, I’m hooked. 

She’s smart, driven, and utterly gorgeous. The sort of girl who earnestly believes in following the rules and hates when others don’t. 

I’m a huge rock star, recovering addict, and general f*ckup. 

Our relationship is for show, and that’s all. But with every smile, every laugh, and every breathtaking glance at her curves, I want her more. 

Two months is all we agreed to. But it’s never going to be enough. 

Never Enough is a full-length, 90,000-word standalone novel with no cheating, lots of steam, and a happily-ever-after ending.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch

Lies My Memory Told Me  

Sacha Wunsch

On Sale Date: October 19, 2021

9781335018274

Hardcover

Inkyard Press

$18.99 USD

320 page

ABOUT THE BOOK:

From the thrilling voice of Sacha Wunsch comes a heart-stopping psychological mystery in a world where memories can be shared—but maybe not trusted.

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. That’s where Nova comes in. She can pick up the slack for them—and she doesn’t mind. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift, and its value outweighs its costs.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t even know the costs. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and he’s strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling like there’s something she’s forgotten.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sacha Wunsch grew up dividing her time between the family farm in Canada and traveling to numerous fictional worlds. She was a bookseller before discovering her love of writing mind-twisty novels – which has proved an excellent job since she gets to blame all the TV she watches on her love of storytelling. She now splits her time between the city and the lake, and still travels to made-up worlds as often as she can.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author website: https://sachawunsch.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sachawunsch

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sachawunsch/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55920773-lies-my-memory-told-me?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=yWdh9NEb7s&rank=1 

Excerpt

Prologue

The platform was a hundred and fifty feet up.

I tried not to look down.

I hadn’t even known I was afraid of heights until the moment I stood up there.

The stranger came up to me, grinning. “You’re going to love it,” he said.

I swallowed.

My entire body was sweating, most notably my palms, slipping as I tried to grip the safety harness.

Was I really going to do this?

No. I was going to get unclipped, turn around, and simply climb back down what felt like the millions of stairs stretching below me.

And then, just as I started to turn, someone pushed me off the platform.

I screamed as I dropped, nothing but air beneath me.

And then… I started to glide.

The scream kept coming a few seconds more, but my heart did a flip before it could reach my mind. I was soaring. Over the treetops. Whizzing along the zip line at high speeds. It was the best thing I had ever felt.

I had never been this free. Which made sense, I was essentially flying, after all.

Giggling was very much not in my nature, but there I was, giggling anyway. I closed my eyes to get a better sense of the wind on my face, but when the sweet scent of fresh-blooming flowers greeted me, I opened them again. Sure enough, the trees several yards below my feet were blooming some kind of large purple flower.

I sucked in a breath, wishing I could inhale the whole scene, wanting to appreciate it as much as I could—savor it—knowing it wouldn’t last forever, and landed gently on the other side.

I did not have to be pushed off the second platform—barely able to wait my turn to jump again. I soared from platform to platform, wishing nothing more than for this to go on forever, grinning all the way, and realizing only at the last second that the final landing platform wasn’t a platform at all, but a deep, cooling pool.

I sucked in a breath, and with a final burst of adrenaline, I splashed into the crystal-clear water.

TWENTY MINUTES EARLIER

“Come on, open it,” Mom said, her smiling beaming.

I held the small, beautifully wrapped box, unable to imagine what it was. My parents knew I wasn’t really that into jewelry, and neither were they really, but what else could be in such a small box?

I tore into it and flipped the lid open.

Which confused me even more. It wasn’t a ring or a pendant, just a small metal disk.

Dad sensed my confusion. “Give it a second,” he said, beaming even brighter than Mom.

In a blink, a form emerged, a hologram above the disk. There was no sound, but it looked like the person in the hologram was gliding through the tops of trees high in the air.

“This is…really cool,” I said, and meant it, but couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something.

Mom was practically bouncing on the couch. “We wanted to do something special for your birthday.”

“Thank you” was all I could really think to say. The disk was pretty cool, but what the hell was with their enthusiasm?

“You’re welcome Nova,” Dad said. “But this isn’t the whole thing. It’s the experience of it that’s the real gift.”

“The experience of it?”

Mom had gotten up and gone to the desk by the front door. She picked up another box, this one unwrapped, and pulled something from inside.

“Here, you put this on,” she said, handing me a clunky set of headphones plugged into a small handheld device about the size of a phone.

“The disk goes in there,” Dad said, and showed me how to open it, setting my new present inside.

And then I experienced my first ever zip line.

As the experience ended, I blinked my eyes open, a hundred percent sure I’d be soaking wet, but I was sitting right back in my living room. The sensation was a bit disorienting, but my parents were staring at me like they were about to explode.

“What was that?” I asked, grabbing the hem of my shirt, which I couldn’t quite comprehend being dry.

“That was Enhanced Memory,” Dad said, but the look on his face said so much more—like if he’d had feathers, they’d be plumaged out like the most badass peacock of the bunch.

“What did you think?” Mom asked, clasping her hands like she had so much energy whizzing through her body she had to do something to hold it in.

“Well obviously it was amazing, but by the way you two are acting, you already know that.” I couldn’t help but grin. They were just so cute sitting there all proud of themselves. “But seriously, what is this? What is Enhanced Memory?”

I’d seen 3D movies and had even tried virtual reality once, but this was way beyond either of those. This was next level.

“It’s simple,” Dad said. “The headphones are equipped with dozens of…well, let’s call them electrodes for sake of ease, though really, they’re more advanced than that.”

“Okay,” I said, mostly with him still, although knowing Dad it wouldn’t be long until the science-y droning took hold and steered him right off the layman’s term trail.

“And these,” he said, taking the disk out of the machine and holding it up, “are Memories.”

“Memories.”

Mom nodded. “We discovered a way to extract memories and reproduce them.”

“Wait, you guys created this?”

Mom nodded, her smile huge and eyes wide. “This is what we’ve been working toward all these years.”

My mouth dropped open. I knew my parents had been working on some kind of project for a long time, but I guess I hadn’t really been that interested in what it was.

Mom laughed at my stunned expression while Dad came over to give me one of his signature kisses on the top of my head.

“Happy birthday, sweetheart,” Mom said, beaming.

I mean, they were scientists and science was basically the last thing I wanted to pay attention to, so I never really asked many questions.

But this was way beyond science. This was…actually kind of awesome.

A smile crept across my face. I couldn’t wait to try it again. 

Excerpted from Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch, Copyright © 2021 by Sacha Wunsch. Published by Inkyard Press. 

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/lies-my-memory-told-me/9781335018274 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lies-my-memory-told-me-sacha-wunsch/1138272834 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lies-My-Memory-Told-Me/dp/1335018271 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/lies-my-memory-told-me-by-sacha-wunsch-hardcover/-/A-83991421 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lies-My-Memory-Told-Me-Hardcover-9781335018274/212186456 

LibroFM: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781705040577-lies-my-memory-told-me?bookstore=wakefieldbooks

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sacha_Wunsch_Lies_My_Memory_Told_Me?id=vdo5EAAAQBAJ

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/lies-my-memory-told-me/id1541146528

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/in/en/ebook/lies-my-memory-told-me

~Cassie

WWW 10.13.21

This 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?
  • What do you think you will read next?

What are you currently reading?

Last Monday I got both my second dose of the Covid vaccine and the flu shot and I felt ok until bedtime where I developed the chills and later a two day long fever. It really wiped my energy out last week and then my mom came to visit so I didn’t read anything for a week. When the month started I chose a book off of my Victober TBR and my Vampathon TBR(Agnes Grey and Blood & Honey) and I was making good progress with both but then hit the roadblock. I had started Keeper of the Night for a blog tour review the first weekend of the month and then never finished it. I’m also participating in the Victober readalong for Gothic Tales which I’m now two stories behind on. On Monday I slowly started reading again but I’m a bit in uncharted waters because I have never gone this long without reading without being in a slump. So I’m just reading a different book every time I sit down to read and slowly making my way through all of these and hoping to dig myself out of this hole soon.

What have you recently finished?

Nothing!

What do you think you will read next?

I have a blog tour post for this tomorrow but unless I somehow read this in one sitting tonight I will be sharing my review for it at a later date.

From the thrilling voice of Sacha Wunsch comes a heart-stopping psychological mystery in a world where memories can be shared—and one girl can’t trust any of them. 

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. Nova doesn’t mind—mostly. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t know the costs of this technology that’s taken the world by storm. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and is strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling that there’s something she’s forgotten…

~Cassie

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: May 31, 2021

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Pages: 320

Rating: 2/5

The Guilt Trip follows a small group of friends as they arrive in Portugal for a destination wedding. There are three couples that we are following and they all have secrets they are keeping and things quickly start imploding within the group. The story is told through the perspective of Rachel who has been married to Jack for around twenty years and she is there for her brother in law, Will’s, wedding. Also tagging along on the trip are Rachel and Jack’s best friends, Paige and Noah. Rounding out the group is Will’s bride, Ali, that no one other than Will seems to like.

My biggest problem with this story is that it is marketed as a thriller when it is really an adult contemporary for 90% of it and then we get some action. Which is then quickly resolved since it happened at the end. So, the majority of the story rests on the friend group and none of them are likable. Which is usually fine in a mystery or thriller but when the only “action” is drama in the friend group it wears thin very quickly. As for the drama it all felt fairly obvious and I was just waiting for Rachel to get a clue. I wish that Jones had added a prologue where we got glimpse of what was to come at the end because then this book could have had a suspense element that it desperately needed.

I listened to the audiobook of this and I feel like that is the only reason I was able to fly through it. Clare Corbett narrated this book and she did a fantastic job. The way she read it kept me intrigued way more than I would have had I been physically reading it. Her voices and her use of the different tones of her voice all added elements that kept me wanting to listen.

If you are interested in a slow burn domestic contemporary with shades of a thriller then this would be a great one to pick up. I think the setting alone would make this a good choice for the colder months since it will transport you somewhere tropical and warm. I also highly encourage you to look into the audiobook, whether through your library or other ways you access audiobooks, because it will greatly increase your enjoyment of this story.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: The Keeper of the Night by Kylie Lee Baker

*I am adding in this disclaimer because I had every intention of reviewing this book for the blog tour but I haven’t been feeling great this week so I haven’t been reading. I am a good chunk of the way through it so I hope to have my review up soon.

Thank you to Inkyard Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review and also providing all info and graphics.

The Keeper of Night  

Kylie Lee Baker

On Sale Date: October 12, 2021

9781335405661

Hardcover

Inkyard Press

$18.99 USD

Ages 13 And Up

400 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Julie Kagawa meets Scythe in this captivating and evocative journey into Death’s domain as one soul collector seeks her place in the underworld of 1890s Japan. Book 1 of a planned duology.

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough yearns for the acceptance she has never found among the Reapers who raised her. When the Shinigami powers she can no longer hide force her to flee for her life, Ren and her younger brother—the only being on earth to care for her—travel to Japan and the dark underworld of Yomi, where Ren hopes to claim her place among the Shinigami and finally belong.

But the Goddess of Death is no more welcoming than the Reapers who raised her, and Ren finds herself set on an impossible task—find and kill three yokai demons, and maybe, just maybe, she can earn a place in Death’s service. With only her brother and an untrustworthy new ally by her side, Ren will learn how far she’ll go to win the acceptance she craves, and whether the cost of belonging is worth any sacrifice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.kylieleebaker.com/

Twitter: @KylieYamashiro

Instagram: @kylieleebaker

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56030267-the-keeper-of-night

Excerpt

chapter two

At the far edge of London, somewhere between nightmares and formless dreams, the Reapers slept by daylight.

The only way to enter our home was through the catacombs of the Highgate Cemetery, through a door that no longer existed. It had been built there long ago, when the Britons first came to our land and Ankou carved a hole in their world so that Death could enter. But humans had sealed it shut with layers of wood, then stone, then brick and mortar, all in the hopes of keeping Death out.

By the nineteenth century, humans had mostly forgotten about the Door and what it meant. Then, when the London churchyards began to overflow with bones, the humans had searched for a place just outside of London to bury their dead. By chance or fate, they’d built their new cemetery right on top of the Door. It turned out that Death drew all of us close, even if we weren’t aware of it.

No streetlights lit the path through Highgate at night, but I didn’t need them to find my way home. Before I’d even passed through the main gate, Death pulled me closer. All Reapers were drawn to him, our bones magnetized to the place of our forefather. As soon as I entered the cemetery, a humming began just under my skin, like a train’s engine beginning to whir. My blood flushed faster through my veins as I brushed aside the branches of winter-barren lime trees and low-hanging elms. My boots crunched shattering steps into the frosted pathways as I ran.

I stumbled through jagged rows of ice-cracked tombstones on uneven ground and through a village of mausoleums, finally reaching the gothic arched doorway of the catacomb entrance. The pull had grown unbearable, dragging me along in a dizzy trance as I descended the stairs into the cool quietness of damp bricks and darkness. The labyrinth would have been unnavigable if not for the fervent pull.

At last, my hands came out to touch the wall where the Door used to be, but now there were only damp bricks and an inscription on the arch overhead that read When Ankou comes, he will not go away empty in rigid script. I dug one hand into my pocket and clutched my clock, pressed my other hand to the bricks, then closed my eyes and turned time all the way back to the beginning.

Time flowed through the silver-and-gold gears, up into my bloodstream and through my fingertips, dispersing into the brick wall. Centuries crumbled away, the mortar growing wet and bricks falling loose. One by one, they leaped out of their positions in the wall and aligned themselves in dry stacks on the ground, waiting once again for construction. Objects were easy to manipulate with time, for I could draw from their own intrinsic energy rather than siphoning off my own. Rather than paying in years of my own life, I could borrow years before the bricks crumbled and quickly repay the debt when I put them back.

I stepped through the doorway and the pull released me all at once. I breathed in a deep gasp of the wet night air, then turned around and sealed the door behind me. The bricks jumped back to their positions in the wall, caked together by layers of mortar that dried instantly, the time debt repaid.

The catacombs beyond the threshold spanned infinitely forward, appropriated as resting places for Reapers rather than corpses. Mounted lanterns cast a faint light onto the dirt floors and gray bricks. It was almost Last Toll, so only the last Reapers returning from the night shift still milled around, their silver capes catching the dim light of the tunnels, but most had retreated to their private quarters for the morning.

I turned right and hurried down the block. The low ceilings gave way to high-arched doorways and finally opened up to a hall of echoing marble floors and rows of dark wood desks. Luckily, there was no line for Collections this close to Last Toll.

I hurried to the first Collector and all but slammed my vials into the tray, jolting him awake in his seat. He was a younger Reaper and seemed perplexed at having been awoken so unceremoniously. When his gaze landed on me, he frowned and sat up straight.

“Ren Scarborough,” I said, pushing the tray closer to him.

“I know who you are,” he said, picking up my first vial and uncapping it with deliberate slowness. Of course, everyone knew who I was.

He took a wholly unnecessary sniff of the vial before holding it up to the light to examine the color, checking its authenticity. The Collectors recorded every night’s soul intake before sending the vials off to Processing, where they finally released the souls into Beyond. He picked up a pen from his glass jar of roughly thirty identical pens, tapped it against the desk a few times, then withdrew a leather-bound ledger from a drawer. He dropped it in front of him, opened the creaky cover, and began flipping through the pages, one by one, until he reached a fresh one.

I resisted the urge to slam my face against the desk in impatience.

I really didn’t have time to waste, but Collections was a necessary step. I didn’t consider myself benevolent in times of crisis, but even I was above leaving souls to expire in glass tubes instead of releasing them to their final resting place, wherever that was. And besides, a blank space next to my name in the Collections ledger meant a Collector would pay a visit to my private quarters to reprimand me. The last thing I needed was someone realizing that I’d left before Ivy could even report me.

But when the Collector uncorked my fourth vial and held it up to the lamp, swirling it in the light for ten excruciating seconds, I began to wonder if I’d made the right decision.

The bells of Last Toll reverberated through the bricks all around us, humming through the marble floors. In this hazy hour between night and day, the church grims came out in search of Reaper bones to gnaw on. Night collections had to be turned in by then, while day collections had to be processed by the First Toll at dusk.

The Collector sighed as he picked up my fifth vial. “I’m afraid I’ll have to mark your collections as late.”

My jaw clenched. “Why.”

“It’s past Last Toll, of course,” he said.

My fingers twitched. The lamp on the Collector’s desk flickered with my impatience, but I took a steadying breath.

“I was here before Last Toll,” I said, trying to keep my voice even.

“According to my ledger, your collections still have not been processed,” he said, spinning my fifth vial in his left hand.

I sighed and closed my eyes. Of course, I knew what he was doing. Chastising a “latecomer” would earn praise from higher management. It was the easiest way for him to climb the ranks—to exert his power over the half-breed. He would be praised for his steadfastness and gain a reputation as a strict and immovable Collector, while I could do nothing to complain. I could explode his lamp and send glass shards into his eyes, but that wouldn’t make him process my vials any faster. The fastest way to get out of there was subservience.

“Forgive me, Reaper,” I said, bowing my head and dropping my shoulders. I let my voice sound timid and afraid. “I apologize for being late.”

The Collector blinked at me for a moment, as if surprised that I’d given in so quickly. But he looked young and power-hungry and not particularly perceptive, so I wasn’t too afraid that he’d see through my tactic. As expected, he sneered as if I truly had offended him, finally beginning to process the fifth vial.

“It’s a great inconvenience to both Collections and Processing,” he said, “though I wouldn’t expect a half-breed to understand the workings of the educated Reapers.”

The only believable response to his goading was humiliated silence, so I hung my head even further and tried to make myself as small and pathetic as possible. It wasn’t hard, because the memory of the night’s events was still wringing my heart out like a wet rag and my skin prickled with nerves so fiercely that I wanted to claw it all off and escape before Ivy could find me, yet here I was, brought to my knees before a glorified teller. I imagined being a High Reaper, being able to reach over and smash his face into his blotter and shatter his owlish glasses into his eyes for delaying and insulting me.

His lamp flickered more violently and he paused to smack it before finally finishing with my last vial. He placed all seven in a tray and pressed a button that started the conveyor belt, sending the souls down to Processing. The moment he put a black check next to my name in the ledger, I stood up straight and turned to leave.

His hand twisted into my sleeve, yanking me back.

I shot him a look that could have melted glass, but he only pulled me closer.

“There’s the matter of your sanction,” he said.

“My sanction,” I said, glancing around the office to see how many people would notice if I simply twisted the Collector’s neck. Too many.

“For your tardiness, of course,” he said, smirking sourly. From his position stretched across the desk, the lamplight caught in his glasses and turned them into two beaming white moons.

The standard punishment for failing to make curfew was a night on the pillory, hands and feet nailed to the wood and head locked in a hole that was just slightly too tight, letting you breathe but not speak. The other Reapers could pull your hair or pour mead over your head or call you a thousand names when you couldn’t talk back. But the worst part wasn’t the nails or the insults. It was the Reapers who did nothing but look at you and sneer like you were nothing but an ugly piece of wall art, like they were so perfect that they couldn’t fathom being in your place. And far worse than that was my own father and stepmother walking past me and pretending not to see.

“Come back at First Toll,” the Collector said. “We’ll find a nice place to hang you up by the Door.”

It took every ounce of restraint I had left to keep my expression calm. This was the part where I was supposed to say, Yes, Reaper, and bow, but he was lucky that I hadn’t smashed his glasses into his face with my fist.

As if he could smell my defiance, he pulled me closer. His glasses fell out of the lamplight, revealing a deep frown.

“Scrub that look from your face,” he said. “Remember that I’ll handle your collections in the future.”

The future, I thought.

Luckily, I didn’t have a future.

The light bulb flashed with a sudden surge of power, then burst. Glass shards rained down over the desk, forcing the man to release me as hot glass scored his hands. Some of his paperwork caught fire, and he frantically patted out the flames with hands full of shards.

“Yes, Reaper,” I said, bowing deeply so he wouldn’t see my smirk as he sputtered about “bloody light bulbs, I knew we should have kept the gas lamps.”

Then I turned and rushed off to the West Catacombs.

Excerpted from The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker, Copyright © 2021 by Kylie Lee Baker. Published by Inkyard Press. 

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-keeper-of-night/9781335405661 

Porter Square Books: https://www.portersquarebooks.com/signed/signed-keeper-night-hardcover

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335405661

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-keeper-of-night-kylie-lee-baker/1138317760?ean=9781335405661 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Keeper-Night-duology/dp/1335405666/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=the+keeper+of+night&qid=1613326691&sr=8-2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kylie_Lee_Baker_The_Keeper_of_Night?id=6asJEAAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ph/en/ebook/the-keeper-of-night

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/dk/book/the-keeper-of-night/id1540957269

~Cassie