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

September weekly kindle haul #5

Happy Sunday! My 13 book limit started again on Friday but I did buy another book that I thought I already owned and was planning on reading before I decided to finish something else instead. So I bought 16 Kindle books last month which is incredibly good for me since I used to buy that much (or more) in a week sometimes. I have already bought 2 books so far in October so fingers crossed I can keep it to only 11 more the rest of the month. By the time Sunday rolls around some of these books are no longer free but I will try to mention it if they still are.

A safe place to call home…
After escaping her abusive foster parents thirteen years ago, Hailey Donovan thought her nightmare was over. Gatlinburg Tennessee had been a safe place to live, until she’s nearly hit by gunfire while hiking the Smoky Mountains. Her instincts are to avoid law enforcement, especially handsome park ranger Rock Wilson, but when more gunfire echoes around them, they’re forced to work together to escape.

More attempts against Hailey convinces her to leave the city to start over someplace new. Rock talks her into staying and fighting against the unknown assailant. Rock senses Hailey has been traumatized in the past, and is determined to uncover the mystery surrounding her. As Hailey and Rock seek the truth behind the escalating attacks, Rock realizes he’s also in danger of losing his heart. Can Rock provide Hailey the save haven she desperately needs?

It’s Halloween in Hill Haven Creeps, and the All Hallows Eve Midnight Traveling Spook Show has come to town. Empty tents flap in the breeze, but there’s no sign of the carnies. 

For a group of close friends, the festivities have just begun. A masked figure haunts Trevor Sheevis in every reflection. Cole Reagor’s dream of being a stand-up comedian suddenly isn’t so funny, and Tommy Gallaghan’s cell phone makes ominous threats. 

At school, Angela Rayburn is smiling at Mathew Potts, and for Ashley Gifford, the monster he fears most sleeps under his very same roof. 

When their friend, Steven Delhomme, turns up missing, their worst fears come true. 

The smell of autumn leaves is in the air, the first pumpkins are aglow, and the crows are gathering in the cornfields. The moon is full, and something is visible beyond the veil between the living and the dead calling itself the Scarecrow King. 

As Halloween approaches, the dead exchange places with the living, and the All Hallows Eve Midnight Traveling Spook Show opens its doors. 

In Hill Haven Creeps, every fear will come to life, and every dream will turn into a nightmare. 

But will Halloween will have the final say? 

Or is something more ominous on the night wind?

After receiving a most unexpected personal invitation for a weekend of leisure and celebration, Miss Victoria Parker leaves London for the country seat of the Duke of Everton. Although unsure as to why a lowly spinster such as she would be invited anywhere by a duke, Victoria’s trusted assistant, James Kensington, assures her it must concern her late father’s accounting firm, which she secretly runs.

Unfortunately for them both, James is dead wrong.

On the first night of her stay, events take a murderous turn when Victoria discovers her host dead from apparent poisoning. Worse still, the other guests believe Victoria may have played a part in the duke’s untimely death.

With a killer on the loose and her name on the line, Victoria sets out to solve the mystery of His Grace’s murder. But discovering “whodunit” might prove more difficult than she first believed; it seems everyone at Stanting Estate has a motive to want the duke dead.

Knowing that she cannot complete this task alone, Victoria turns to James for help. As the two work closely together, new feelings begin to emerge, yet Victoria attempts to suppress them. After all, it would not do to fall in love with an employee. For each clue she unravels, however, Victoria finds herself not only closer to unmasking the murderer, but closer to James, as well. Can she solve the murder before she loses both her reputation and her heart?

A cozy, romantic Regency murder mystery that will keep you guessing til the end.

A Modern Hades and Persephone Retelling

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

Free

When Chelsea starts working for a stubborn cowboy, what seems like a dead end might really be a new beginning. 

A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. The beautiful new employee his mom hires is the last thing he needs and he’ll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers.

Nothing short of desperation would force Chelsea Blake to work on a local cattle ranch. She may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than her handsome employer’s efforts at forcing her to leave. 

Unprepared to discover all they have in common, if they set aside their initial dislike, they might find joy beyond measure.

Free

Mascen Wade, star pitcher of the Aldridge University baseball team, is a lot of things. 

Rich. 
Hotter than sin. 
The campus’s reigning bad boy. 

We knew each other once upon a time, but even if I’m named after a princess, it doesn’t mean my life is a fairytale. 

My plan is to keep my head down, get my degree, and leave this town.

But the moment Mascen Wade recognizes me all my carefully laid plans come crumbling down. He’s decided he wants to make my life a living hell. But I’m not so easy to push around and won’t put up with his bully playground antics. Too bad for me I’ve never been able to resist him.

Free

Previously published as Must Love Wieners.

She’s in the doghouse. He’s in the penthouse. When their worlds collide, can their lonely hearts become one?

Aspiring veterinarian Piper Summers has worked herself to the bone to graduate. But after she loses two of her three jobs, Piper worries she and her dachshund will be tossed out on the street. So when a hunky, cash-rich CEO offers her a lucrative gig as his dog walker, she swallows her pride and takes the position.

Billionaire Aiden Caldwell buried his fun behind a firm handshake and a sharp suit. But when the fetching woman of his dreams accidentally mauls him, he’s determined to break his leash and retrieve her heart. And after hiring her to walk his rescue hound, he’s willing to jump through every hoop to win her affection.

Though Piper is falling head over tail with Aiden, when her precious rescue center is vandalized and the wealthy man offers help, she fears he only sees her as a charity case. And as Aiden tries to prove his intentions are true, he struggles when business and pleasure start to blur into a serious case of puppy love.

Can they shed all their doubts and let passion bark up the perfect tree?

Revenge. 
I race to finance it. 
I evade to protect it. 
I kill to attain it. 
I planned everything. 

Except her. 
The alluring, curvaceous blonde at the finish line. 
With sapphire eyes that cheat and lie. 
Whose powerful family murdered mine. 

I hate her. 
I want her. 

I know she’s hiding something. 
But so am I.

Free

Premier business consultant Simon West can turn around any struggling billion dollar corporation in New York City, but he can’t get what he wants most: revenge against Mark DuFord. The slick investment banker’s shady dealing led to Simon’s best friend’s suicide. Wealthy, and well-protected by the political influence he’s been able to purchase, DuFord has become untouchable—or so he thinks. But when DuFord’s former girlfriend asks Simon for help, he knows that Grace Bell is the weapon he needs to finally destroy his enemy completely. All Simon has to do is pretend to love her. 

Grace Bell knows that approaching hot-shot Simon West to save her business is a long shot, but she’s desperate. After growing up with a family that expected her to be a happy housewife, she’d proved them all wrong when she became the go-to event-coordinator in New York City. But after the tabloids took a completely innocent picture of her with a married senator and misinterpreted the situation, she’s losing clients left and right. When she approaches Simon and begs for his help to resuscitate the business she put her heart and soul into, she never expects him to agree. Or that the payment would be posing as his lover as an excuse to get close to her ex. 

Simon knows if he goes forward with his plan, it’s only a matter of time before Mark realizes what they’re up to and Mark’s enemies have a way ending up broke, in jail or six feet under. As Simon and Grace grow closer, Simon must decide if putting her in the line of fire is worth avenging the past. 

When her favorite true crime podcast host goes missing, an adrift young woman plunges headfirst into the wild backcountry of Northern California and her own dangerous obsession.

Sera loves true crime podcasts. They make her feel empowered in a world where women just like her disappear daily. She’s sure they are preparing her for something. So when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera knows it’s time to act. Rachel has always taught her to trust her instincts.

Sera follows the clues hidden in the episodes to an isolated ranch outside Rachel’s small hometown to begin her search. She’s convinced her investigation will make Rachel so proud. But the more Sera digs into this unfamiliar world, the more off things start to feel. Because Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won’t be the last…

Rachel did try to warn her.

A gripping psychological thriller from the bestselling author of I Am Watching You. The perfect family? Or the perfect lie?

It’s their daughter’s graduation and Rachel and Ed Hartley are expecting it to be one of their family’s happiest days. But when she stumbles and falls on stage during the ceremony, a beautiful moment turns to chaos: Gemma has been shot, and just like that, she’s fighting for her life.

PI Matthew Hill is one of the first on the scene. A cryptic message Gemma received earlier in the day suggests someone close to her was about to be exposed. But who? As Matthew starts to investigate, he finds more and more layers obscuring the truth. He even begins to suspect the Hartleys are hiding something big—from him and from each other.

While Gemma lies in hospital in a coma, her would-be killer is still out there. Can Matthew unravel the family’s secrets before the attacker strikes again?

Free

Lights, camera…passion.

She has no time for love…
Katie Simon, 26, has one goal: to make a success of the small-town bakery she inherited from her grandmother. The combination of a disastrous dating history and endless work hours equal a distinct lack of romance in Katie’s life, and she relies mainly on the company of her two best friends, Tess and Jax. Try as they might to get her to date, Katie’s having none of it.

He wasn’t looking for love…
Mason Scott, 30, one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, is in Mountain Valley on a two-week location shoot for his latest movie. Early one morning he stumbles into Katie’s bakery, drawn by the familiar scent of his own grandmother’s cinnamon buns. When he meets Katie, it’s clear she has no idea who he is. The attraction is immediate, and he’s so delighted with his newfound anonymity that he finds every excuse to be with her.

But sometimes, things are beyond our control.
The more time they spend together, the hotter things get. When the truth comes out about Mason’s identity and Katie realizes what’s at stake, she quickly backs away from a life she’d never coveted. But the dual promise of a chance with Mason and the one shot at realizing her life-long dream make her reconsider everything she’s ever believed to be true.

Can a small-town girl make it work with Hollywood’s leading man?

Acting out of Love
 is the first installment in the Mountain Valley Romance series.

~Cassie

September Book Haul

This will probably be one my biggest hauls of the year since I may have gone a little crazy on Amazon’s indie sale. They were 50% off and impossible to resist. I also did some other book shopping and I have my Book of the Month books too.

The scorching new thriller from the number-one ‘New York Times’ best-selling author of ‘The Girl on the Train’.

When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?

Look what you started.

The Truly Devious series continues as Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery.

Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.

The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation. 

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications. 

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will. 

Most of them.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

Bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces.

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

In bestselling author T L Swan’s second hot installment to the Miles High Club series, he’s sexy, rich, and her mortal enemy. Hate never felt so good. 

I first met Tristan Miles at a meeting where he was trying to take over my late husband’s company. 

He was powerful, arrogant, and infuriatingly gorgeous, and I hated him with every cell in my body. In the shock of the century, he called me three days later and asked me on a date. 

I would rather die than date a man like him—though I do have to admit it was good for the ego. Turning him down was the highlight of my year. 

Six months later, he was the guest speaker at a conference I attended in France. 

Still arrogant and infuriating—but this time, surprisingly charming and witty. 

When he looked at me, I got butterflies. 

But I can’t go there. 

He’s just a player in a hot suit, and I’m just a widow with three unruly sons. 

I just need this conference to be over. 

Because everybody knows that Tristan Miles always gets what he wants…and what he wants is me.

An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story that started with a boy and girl and heats up when the man and woman reconnect.

I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.

Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.

Until one day it did.

Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.

Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.

Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.

But what I found could change everything.

From New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting comes a new romance about trading secrets, breaking the rules, and playing for keeps.

My name is Ryan Kingston, and I’m a rule follower. I’ve never been in a fistfight. I always obey the speed limit. I don’t get drunk, and I definitely don’t pick up random women at bars.

Except the night I found out that my whole existence has been a lie.

I got drunk. And picked up a stranger.

Her name was Queenie, and she was everything I’m not: reckless, impulsive, and chaotic. We did shots and traded secrets. And ended up naked at my place.

She left me a thank-you note in the morning and her panties as a parting gift. But no way to contact her.

Six weeks later I’m sitting in the first official team meeting of the season, and there she is. I neglected to mention that I’m the goalie for Seattle’s NHL team.

And Queenie? Turns out she’s the general manager’s daughter.

From USA Today bestselling author L. J. Shen comes a second-chance romance about love, loss, finding yourself, and getting lost in the right person.

Maddie Goldbloom stitched up a plan to ensure everything in her life was perfect—from a career in fashion to a chic NYC apartment to a pediatrician boyfriend.

When her ex, Chase Black, storms back into her life with an outrageous request, her immediate reaction is to refuse him. But he only wants to fulfill his father’s last wish. So even though he’s the man who broke her heart, playing his fiancée shouldn’t be hard, especially if it means she gets to watch the arrogant devil squirm a bit.

What ensues is a chain of events that detonates Maddie’s life—and when Chase’s walls come down, they both are forced to face reality.

They say keep your enemies close. But what if your enemy is also the man you love?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a “delicious, twisted treat for lovers of noir” about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman they’re both desperate to find.

1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance—and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint.

Velvet Was the Night is an edgy, simmering historical novel for lovers of smoky noirs and anti-heroes.

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife. 
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Rock Paper Scissors is the latest exciting domestic thriller from the queen of the killer twist, New York Times bestselling author Alice Feeney.

2017: 19 year old Tallulah is going out on a date, leaving her baby with her mother, Kim.

Kim watches her daughter leave and, as late evening turns into night, which turns into early morning, she waits for her return. And waits.

The next morning, Kim phones Tallulah’s friends who tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a party at a house in the nearby woods called Dark Place.

She never returns.

2019: Sophie is walking in the woods near the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started work as a head-teacher when she sees a note fixed to a tree.

‘DIG HERE’ . . .

A cold case, an abandoned mansion, family trauma and dark secrets lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s remarkable new novel.

~Cassie

WWW 9.29.21

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?
  • What do you think you will read next?

What are you currently reading?

I am around 300 pages into The Atlas Six and I am obsessed. This is a dark academia adult fantasy that has incredible magic and an enthralling competition and I love everything about it. I’ve been burned by endings lately so I’m crossing my fingers that this book doesn’t let me down. If the ending is as good as the rest of the story this might be my favorite book of the year.

I started reading Hummingbird Salamander a few months ago and I put it down about 30% through and I decided to pick it back up a few days ago to try to make some more headway with it. It took me a couple of days to get through part 1 and then I flew through the entirety of part 2 in one day. Part 3 has slowed down a bit for me but I am so hooked on the story now and I will definitely be finishing this tonight or tomorrow.

What have you recently finished?

This is one of the best YA books that I have ever read and I highly recommend. I borrowed my copy from the library but I will be buying my own copy soon because I think this a perfect read for teenagers (which I almost have). This book deals with topics that are so prevalent to teenagers in a way that isn’t preachy but informative in a subtle way.

What do you think you will read next?

*I’m not sure if I will read this tomorrow or not. It depends on when I finish my current reads. But if I do decide to read one more book from my September TBR it will be this one since it is relatively short and romance is easy to fly through.

A Modern Hades and Persephone Retelling

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

~Cassie

October TBR: Victober & Vampathon Edition

It’s almost time for the spookiest time of the year and I can’t wait!I have loved almost all of the books I read in September but I have been eager to start my October reads since I created it last week. This is the third year I will be participating in Victober and I have been wanting to read all of the books I picked for a long time. Other then the group book which I just heard about last month but it is the ultimate Victorian. read for October. The other readathon that I want to participate in is Vampathon. Technically Vampathon is only during October 25-31 but they have a bingo board with 16 prompts on it and I really liked all of them so I came up with a book for each prompt. So I have decided to just do Vampathon all month long and try to read as many books as I can. I’m especially excited about this because I managed to fit a whole trilogy and the two last books of another trilogy on there. On October 23 it is the next round of Dewey’s 24hr readathon which I will be participating in as well but I don’t know what I’m reading for that yet.

Victober

Lucy’s Challenge: Read a book with a female main character

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.

Katie’s Challenge: read a book set in the country side and/or the city

When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.

In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

Kate’s challenge: read a Victorian sensation novel

‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

Matthew Sweet’s introduction explores the phenomenon of Victorian ‘sensation’ fiction, and discusses Wilkie Collins’s biographical and societal influences. Included in this edition are appendices on theatrical adaptations of the novel and its serialisation history.

Group Challenge: read a popular Victorian book that you haven’t yet

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.

Group book

‘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.

Laura Kranzler’s introduction discusses how Gaskell’s tales, with their ghostly doublings and transgressive passions, show the Gothic underside of female identity, domestic relations and male authority. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading and explanatory notes.

Vampathon

A book to sink your teeth into

*This is the third book in the trilogy so I won’t be sharing the synopsis.

Paranormal/Supernatural romance

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.

Gothic/Spooky Cover

The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone.

They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?

Vampire book to movie

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

Originally begun as a short story, the book took off as Anne wrote it, spinning the tragic and triumphant life experiences of a soul. As well as the struggles of its characters, Interview captures the political and social changes of two continents. The novel also introduces Lestat, Anne’s most enduring character, a heady mixture of attraction and revulsion. The book, full of lush description, centers on the themes of immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power.

Spooky middle grade

This is also my pick for the buzzwordathon: elements

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.

Spooky graphic novel/manga

Spirals… this town is contaminated with spirals…

Kurouzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral — the hypnotic secret shape of the world. This bizarre masterpiece of horror manga is now available in a single volume. Fall into a whirlpool of terror!

Book with a gothic setting

This is an ARC. It comes out January 18

A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.

Edinburgh, 1817. 

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry. 

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die. 

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect. 

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then. 

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

Supernatural main character

My blog tour post of this is October 7. It comes out October 12

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

Horror book

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government’s emergency protocols are faltering.

Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.

Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink. 

Blood Magic

*There is no synopsis since this is the second book in the trilogy.

Thriller/murder mystery

My blog tour post of this is October 14. It comes out October 19.

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…

A book that frightens you

This is also the October book for the Literally Dead book club.

In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for

Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges… a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body.

My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.

Blood on the cover

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

Read a book in the dark

My blog tour post is October 19. It comes out October 12.

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…

Witchy vibes

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

Set in a school

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

Extras

I have one more ARC I need to read for a blog tour and I couldn’t fit it into the Vampathon prompts.

This comes out November 2.

No one ever said love would be easy…but did they mention it would be freezing?

Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.

Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.

But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops?

~Cassie