Thursday 28 July 2016

31 Ghost Novels to read before you Die Review

"As readers of Deb Atwood’s blog Pen In Her Hand know, Atwood is passionate about ghost fiction. Since 2011, Atwood has read, re-read, and written about ghost literature. 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die presents a selection of the best of these posts. 

Among the books discussed are old favorites (The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson) as well as some indie gems few people will know about (The 20’s Girl, the Ghost, and All That Jazz by June Kearns). There are ghost novels for every reader, in genres ranging from historical to literary to romance. "

Deb Atwood holds an MFA and lives in California with her husband and rescue dog Nala. Her time-slip novel Moonlight Dancer was selected as a front page Featured Review by Book Ideas. Deb's work has appeared in numerous anthologies. Her interests include ghost fiction, Korean culture, quilting, and, of course, reading.

Connect with the Author here: 
 ~ Website ~ Twitter ~

5 out of 5 Stars

I have not started reading any Ghost novels but I have wanted to… the problem is I don’t like really creepy subject matter. So this book was a heaven sent! I was able to read through all the different sub-genres and get a great overview of a large collection of books. Some that I found really fascinating and are now on my “To Read” list and some that I think “Wow I am really glad that I did not accidentally start my introduction to the Ghost genre with that book!”

Overall the reviews are thought out and well written, but they do not reveal the plot, which in my opinion is a MUST for reviews. Also as I really enjoy just reading blurbs at times (see about me on the side bar) this book was a perfect mix of information and fulfilling my odd enjoyment of finding out about a book without reading the whole thing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves the Ghost Genre or is looking into finding the perfect book to get you into this genre on the right foot.


I had great fun dipping into The 20’s Girl, the Ghost, and All That Jazz by June Kearns. I loved reading about the main character Gerry draped in her Aunt Leonie 20’s designer fashions from Patou to Vionnet, embellished with guipure lace and tiny seed pearls, especially since the creations are ostentatious in Texas and outdated in England. Gerry often observes herself in social situations overdressed but outdated and with no alternative since she cannot afford to buy a stitch. Nor would she if she could, for she never feels closer to her aunt than when she is wearing her clothes.
This novel will interest people looking for a clean, no-sex romance and would make a fitting mother-daughter book club selection. The Girl, the Ghost, and All That Jazz is not a chilling novel that will send you scurrying to check the deadbolts. Instead, you’ll find yourself warmed by non-traditional family ties and the sparks that fly when romance, along with a high-spirited ghost, is in the air.

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Saturday 23 July 2016

Summer Reads Day 12

Donna Hatch, author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” has won writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she is a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions and her six children. A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Q&A With the Author:

5.    What is your favorite part of writing?
The first few chapters of the rough draft are the most fun. Usually that evil little voice hasn't started talking to me yet--you know, that little voice that whispers it's not good enough? Yeah, that one. Getting a jump on it is great for my ego. The first few chapters of a rough draft is also the point where I have not yet realized that I don't have a very well thought-out plot. Ah, that part is bliss.

6.     Do you have any advice for other writers?

1. Don't listen to that evil little voice. 2. Finish the rough draft before you begin revisions. 3. Accept advice and critiques with grace and humility, even if you don't plan to do what they suggest you do. 

Connect with the Author here: 

"Determined to help her father with his political career, Jocelyn sets aside dreams of love. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Grant Amesbury, her dreams reawaken. But his secrets put her family in peril.                                                 Grant goes undercover to capture conspirators avowed to murder the prime minister, but his only suspect is the father of a courageous lady who is growing increasingly hard to ignore. He can’t allow Jocelyn to distract him from the case, nor will he taint her with his war-darkened soul. She seems to see past the barriers surrounding his heart, which makes her all the more dangerous to his vow of remaining forever alone. Jocelyn will do anything to clear her father’s name, even if that means working with Grant. Time is running out. The future of England hangs in the balance...and so does their love."

~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK


“How can I thank you properly?” Jocelyn said.
Mr. Amesbury blinked as if unaccustomed to such an outpouring of gratitude. “No need. Their safety is enough. I enjoy administering a bit of justice now and again.”
The corner of his mouth twitched and an unholy gleam shimmered in the hardness of his eyes. For a fleeting moment, a vision of Grant Amesbury hunting down the criminal who’d attacked her and exacting some form of vengeance upon him flashed through her mind. He was like a rogue knight with his own code of honor and his own methods of justice.
Jocelyn studied Mr. Amesbury’s profile, fascinated with his cautious probing. He was so solemn, so intense. If only he’d smile. But no, perhaps it was best he didn’t. He’d probably be so handsome she would be rendered unable to utter an intelligent word.
When the butler opened the door to announce dinner, she said quietly, “I hope you don’t mind, Mr. Amesbury, but I’ve seated you next to me.”
He blinked as if he’d forgotten she stood next to him. “Why would I mind?”
She huffed out a self-deprecating laugh. “You seemed a bit ill at ease yesterday when you came for tea.”
His pale gray eyes passed over her. Again came that intensity. His hard edges softened. “Not because I object to your company, Miss Fairley.”
It was ridiculous, really, the warmth that wrapped around her like a blanket at his words. She probably grinned like some kind of silly schoolgirl. His crusty, protective barrier returned in his posture and his expression. How long would it take her to break open his emotional armor and find the real Grant Amesbury?

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Friday 22 July 2016

My pineapples Went to Houston Review

Lee Gaitan is a wife, mother, teacher, author and speaker, but above all she is passionately committed to overcoming life’s obstacles, surviving sometimes by the skin of her teeth, but always with humor and optimism. She shares her experience with anyone who will listen with the intent to encourage others to use humor to their benefit.

In the past twelve years Lee has had to deal with more than a healthy helping
of “are you kidding me?” moments. In 2002, she hit rock bottom. It was so bad shelovingly refers to it as a year of “shock and awfulness.” That year her father died,her mother was in the hospital, semi-comatose from grief, and her husband of 22 years lost every penny of their money BEFORE running off to Arizona with his girlfriend, who just happened to be a former stripper. 

That was just the beginning. She spent the next decade struggling with loss and challenges on every front, from finances and family to health and career.

While there have been many bounces up and down over the years, Lee has finally
bounced back and it was well worth the effort. She has happily remarried, working at a job she loves and has published her second book. She even has children on three continents and a granddaughter far too far away!
Connect with the Author here: 

Heartbreak, Humor and, ultimately, Hope
That’s the message that comes through loud and clear in My Pineapples Went to Houston,  Lee Gaitan’s personal and powerful tale of surviving a decade of relentless chaos and loss. The “shock and awfulness” began in 2002 when her father died, her mother teetered on the brink of a coma and her husband of 22 years secretly lost all their money and ran off with a stripper. And it was all downhill from there!   
 Then one day in the midst of all the chaos—somewhere between loud cursing and crying—she recalled an amusing anecdote she’d heard about pineapples that spoke to her circumstances in such an unexpectedly humorous way that she couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“That moment of laughter was a small epiphany for me. I realized that I had allowed my sense of humor, which had always mitigated the bad breaks in my life and enhanced the good ones, to fall victim to the machete my ex-husband had taken to my life. I determined right then and there that I could no longer permit that. I instinctively knew that humor was the most potent, and just about the only, protection I had at my disposal to survive the crises unfolding around me, and I vowed to keep it alive.”

Told with honesty and insight—and, of course, humor—My Pineapples Went to Houston both inspires and entertains readers and offers hope and encouragement to those struggling with their own “plans gone outrageously awry.”

5 Out of 5 Stars
Lee Gaiten is an amazing writer. She has a way with words that allow her to pull you into her world, to feel her emotions, both the highs and lows. She also is able to write amusing antidotes that caused me to laugh out loud a quite a few times. I have gotten a lot of weird looks as I would find myself giggling days later while recalling one of her stories. 

Now for those who do not like Memoirs... normally I don't either. But this book is a rare exception, I really enjoyed it! I would recommend it to anyone who needs a good laugh, anyone who wants to feel better about their life, or anyone who likes drama (again I don't like drama but this book does it well) Basically I would recommend it to everyone, if you enjoy reading a book that is well written and has excellent flow then this is for you!

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Summer Reads Day 11

I am retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through my Quest Books set in these worlds.
I also conduct Medieval/Short Story Writing Workshops in Elementary/Middle School classes. Contact me if you are interested in holding a workshop for students:

Q&A With the Author:

5.    What is your favorite part of writing?

When I’ve finally figured out the path that my characters need to take, and I get the rewriting finished.

6.     Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep plugging along even when what you envisioned isn’t working. There is a path to the solution, you just have to keep writing and thinking.

Connect with the Author here: 

At the dawn of Camelot, one young girl is about to take her place beside the greatest king in England’s history…. 

She is a mere child of twelve. But in these medieval days, this is the age when childish things must be put away and greater responsibilities accepted—all in preparation for a betrothal of marriage. 

For young Lady Guinevere, on the advent of her thirteenth Birth Day, the whole idea is quite unbearable. After all, what could be better than spending her youth playing with her best friend Cedwyn, roaming the grounds around the castle looking for mythical creatures or hunting rabbits? 

However, the wizard Merlyn—her teacher and friend—knows that destiny has a way of catching up with a person. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that will lead Guinevere to her destiny whether she is ready for it or not. 

~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK


Guinevere stood by the door.  In between glares at Cedwyn, she kept looking out into the bailey courtyard.
            "Hurry up, Cedwyn.  Merlyn’s going to leave without us,” she whispered, not wanting to wake Brynwyn.
            "I'm comin'," he replied, pulling on his other shoe.
            Ready at last, the two hurried toward the castle gate and Merlyn.  The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon.
            "Humph!  About time!" Merlyn said as they reached him.  "Not able to get enough sleep?  Maybe dreaming of dragons?!"  He chuckled as Cedwyn's expression betrayed the fact that he had had a very restless night.  "Well, it's daylight now.  Dragons sleep in the light so we should have a very uneventful trip.  All we have to do is find King Pellinore and that darn bratchet dog!  Let's hurry up now.  We have plenty of forest to cover and who knows what we will come across," he finished as he marched out of the castle gate and toward the forest, his long strides threatening to leave them behind.
            "Do dragons really sleep in the day?  Merlyn, how come you said we would have an unev'ntful trip when we don't know what we will come across?" Cedwyn asked as he and Guinevere hurried after Merlyn.
            Merlyn just chuckled and motioned them to follow.  "One never knows what the forest will reveal, but at least it won't be dragons!"
            "What does he mean, Guin'ver?"  Cedwyn asked, confused by Merlyn's double talk.
            "I'm not sure, but let's not let him get too far in front."  She glanced ahead.  Merlyn was just ducking under the edge of the forest canopy.  Nervously, she looked around, mindful of the last time that she and Cedwyn had been in the forest.  Thankfully, nothing appeared to be moving in the tall grass on either side of them.
            "Do you think we’ll run into that wild pig again?  Will it remember that you were the one that shot it?"  Cedwyn asked.  He had additional questions, but Guinevere turned and put her finger to her lips.
            "If you keep talking so loud, it will find us.  So be quiet and hurry.  Merlyn's already out of sight."
            Cedwyn looked up the path, but Merlyn was nowhere to be seen.  He started to panic.  Once they stepped under the dark green forest canopy and out of the sunlight, Merlyn’s flowing grey robe appeared just ahead of them.  Cedwyn heard Guinevere's sigh echo his.
            Merlyn waited until they caught up before choosing a hidden path through the scrub brush.  The trio moved in deeper in the forest, Merlyn in the lead.  Guinevere came next.  She followed somewhat hesitantly, her and Cedwyn’s run-in with the boar still vivid in her mind.  Her heart raced faster at the thought of meeting another one.
            Cedwyn came last, at times having to run to keep up with Merlyn's pace.  Of course, it would have been easier if he hadn’t kept stopping to investigate the brown and green vegetation all around.  He wasn’t looking for the bugs, worms, or small creatures common around the castle.  No, what Cedwyn watched for was whatever Merlyn referred to when he told them that he didn't know what the forest had in store for them.  He wanted to be ready, but for what he wasn't sure.
            "Guin'ver?" he asked as he caught up to her where the path widened.  "What do you think Merlyn thinks might be in the forest?"
            "I don't know," she replied, catching herself looking around.  "Let's just stay close.  Merlyn can take care of anything that comes near.”
            "Now, I wouldn't be so quick to say that, Lady Guinevere,"  Merlyn said as he stopped.

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Thursday 21 July 2016

Summer Reads Day 10

Musician, author, and avid Star Trek fan, Nanette loves anything that challenges her mind and enlightens her spirit. She got the idea for her book series from her faith and love of family. Wouldn’t it be neat to travel back and forth through time to discover hidden powers and your true potential? Nanette thought so, and thus began the Doorway series. Believe is the first of seven books designed to entertain and inspire both young and seasoned readers. She is a frequent hiker at Glacier National Park, loves her dear husband and family, and when she isn't writing, takes her dogs on long walks.

Q&A with the Author:

5.    What is your favorite part of writing?
I’m a plotter who lets the pantser come out every now and then. I’ve had the most fun lately writing the first draft of my 3rd and 4th books in my Doorway series during the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I would take a few weeks before the event to plot the basic beats of the novel, and I’d force myself to hold back until the event began. Then I’d write like a madwoman, connecting the beats with amazing scenes that would bring characters to life in ways I hadn’t anticipated. It’s so fun to see what my characters will do—as if they already know their story and I’m only the scribe.
6.     Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be teachable. Be humble. Take advice with grace and dignity. Don’t give up on your dream, especially if you get a bad critique. Don’t be such a perfectionist by withholding your story from the world. Someone is patiently waiting to be uplifted by what you have to offer—don’t let them down. You have a story to tell. You have a gift to give.

Connect with the Author here: 

Every great warrior begins by taking a stand.

Best friends share everything, right? Unless it’s a secret that could cost them their lives. Robyn and Kit are born with forbidden magic-sense, the power to see and hear beyond Earthly sight and sound. It’s a curse that haunts them, but the girls are strangely drawn to it—could there be more to this power than they’ve been told?

When they spill their secret, it opens a doorway back to Forever—a beautiful realm where magic-sense began. They learn the truth: they have been given a noble gift. It connects them to the Skyborn royalty of this new world. They’ve been summoned back by the forces for good to preserve the kingdom and revive the power where it once flourished—on Earth. It can thrive again, if Robyn and Kit are brave enough to follow.

However, the doorway awakens more than magical fairy-tales. A dark force is unleashed—one that has battled the Skyborn since time began, and it wants the girls dead, the Earth destroyed.

Beyond the doorway is where the adventure begins—trickery, kidnapping, a prison break, rescue teams, sword fights, magical gold-dust, holographic medallions, and singing orbs—but only for those who have the courage to believe.

~ Amazon ~ Goodreads
Amazon UKAmazon CA


After a few minutes of silence, Kit spoke up again. “Look at the geese.” She pointed to a flock of birds flying in V formation in the distance. She sat up to watch their approach. “Most people call them Canadian geese, but my dad told me the correct name is Canada geese.”
Robyn sat up too, and then cocked her head as she stared more closely at the oncoming birds. Their wingspan was awfully broad … and the necks were longer, thicker, with something feathery streaming from them. A mane? She shaded her eyes from the sun. Could it be? Were there four legs dangling underneath, with hooves? Robyn darted a look at Kit. Can she tell yet that there are twelve flying horses in the sky?
“My dad hates Canada geese. Back where I come from, they’re everywhere, and they poop all over the sidewalks and you can’t get them to leave. And the honking is so loud.” Kit shaded her eyes too. “See how they make that V?”
“Yeah … I see the V …”
“That helps them fly better—something about aerodynamics, and less stress on the whole flock. I’ve never seen other birds fly like that.”
“Or anything else, either …” Robyn clamped her lips shut. Yes, these were horses, flying horses. Twelve flying horses. Each one had a rider wearing shiny robes and armed with swords at their waists. The leader had his sword extended outward. Two riders from the tail end of the right side of the V veered out of formation—a man and a woman. They pulled back on the reins and their horses lifted their heads high, then changed direction and dove directly for the girls.
Robyn shot up like a rocket. “Come on. Let’s get going.” Kit was up too, eyes plastered to the sky. They bolted down the hill in opposite directions, headed for home.
Robyn looked back at the riders. The V formation was heading onward. The two lone riders circled above the hill, then picked up speed to catch the flock. That was like nothing I’ve ever seen. She slowed her pace and caught her breath as she watched them fade out of sight.


When Kit got home, she raced up to her room and slammed the door behind her, panting the entire way. She charged into her closet and dug out the hidden book, then flipped to the chapter on A Brief History of Magic. She read again—The gift of magic dates back to the beginning of time. When the dark poison of Sylvare was unleashed in the cosmos, Skyborn travelers brought magic to Earth as a gift from Barsoum and Calemir. It shielded the Earth from the dark poison created in the Before-Time. Below the paragraph was a picture of twelve flying horses with riders dressed in cloaks and wearing swords at their sides. The lead rider had a crystal object the size of an egg in his hand. He held it high between his fingers. A soft stream of glittering vapor swirled from the orb and floated in the air, trailing behind the squadron of riders. The picture was familiar to Kit—their formation was that of a V, like the Canada geese she saw today. Weird. She closed the book and got out the notebook she had been keeping on magic-sense.  If she didn’t write down what she’d heard on the hill, she’d forget the details.

Today was a strange day. The police were hassling Mr. LaCorte about his family flag. They said it was associated with magic, and he should take it down. Mr. Fischer stood up to them, and I thought he was going to punch that Grimmer guy in the nose! Anyway, the flag looked familiar, though, like something I once saw in Dad’s old box from the attic. (Note to self: check that out later). Then Robyn and I went to eat our cookies on Mountain Goat Ridge.  I almost told Robyn about my father’s stuff, but she was so quiet, I thought maybe I was scaring her with the stories about the police in my old town. Then a flock of geese flew overhead. At the same time, I heard that deep, kingly voice from before say, “Skyborn warriors, look below. See the two girls on the hill? They are almost ready for their Awakening. Michael, Gabriella, take a closer look.” Right after the voice said that, the strangest thing happened. Two of the geese broke formation and swept down at us. Robyn said, “Let’s go.” And I wasn’t going to argue! Then I heard two more voices say, “Yes, I see them now” and “I see them too.”  I got up and ran home.

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