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text 2017-12-02 02:53
16 Festive Tasks - Square 16 - Hogmanay and New Year's Eve and Watch Night and St. Sylvester's Day
How to Be Popular - Meg Cabot

After years of being mocked by everyone, the main character of How to Be Popular uses the start of a new school year to start over and become one of the most popular kids in school by following the advise of a book she found.

 

 

Book themes for Hogmanay / New Year’s Eve / Watch Night / St. Sylvester’s Day: a book about starting over, rebuilding, new beginnings, etc. –OR– Read anything set in medieval times. –OR– A book about the papacy –OR– where miracles of any sort are performed (the unexplainable - but good - kind).

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text 2017-10-09 16:23
Insatiable By Meg Cabot 99 cents!
Insatiable - Meg Cabot

TV writer Meena Harper creates fabulous plots for Insatiable, the second-highest–rated soap opera, thanks to her burdensome if lucrative psychic ability to see into the future and determine how people are going to die. And just as Insatiable is switching to a vampire theme to attract a younger demographic, a spate of chilling murders-by-exsanguination grips New York City. Enter Lucien Antonescu, a sexy, melancholic Romanian history professor/vampire who recognizes that the murders are the work of rogue vampires who have broken away from his order. (Lucien happens to be the son of Vlad the Impaler, whom Bram Stoker gave such a bad rep.) Lucien's opposition: Alaric Wulf, a sympathetic detective from the Palatine Guard, who hopes to use Meena and her prophetic gift to stop the murders and track down Lucien. Unfortunately for Alaric, Meena is a little in love with Lucien.

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text 2017-08-25 09:50
Halloween Bingo 2017 - Some Book Suggestions
Cold Sight: Extrasensory Agents Book 1 - Leslie A. Kelly
Sleep With the Lights On - Maggie Shayne
Size 12 Is Not Fat - Meg Cabot
The Camelot Caper - Elizabeth Peters
Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn
The Restorer - Amanda Stevens
Wildwood Dancing - Juliet Marillier
The Dollhouse Murders - Betty Ren Wright

So I took some time and went through all the books that I have marked 'Read' on my GR, mainly for the Romantic Suspense square--it is my comfort, go-to genre after all.  But along the way, I found some books I'd like to list as possibilities for other squares as well.

 

I'm a wimp when it comes to horror, but imagine my surprise when I found how many books I've already read that could be considered horror--either because tagged at GR, or because they just seem to have horror elements.

 

Anyway...

 

 

I've got lists of books to recommend for Romantic Suspense, but I'm going to narrow it down to books I've personally enjoyed, that also might have a bit of a dark, gritty, chilling atmosphere.

 

Untraceable - Laura Griffin Snapped - Laura Griffin Shadow Fall (Tracers) - Laura Griffin Far Gone - Laura Griffin 

First of all, I would recommend anything written by Laura Griffin--her murder mysteries are pretty gritty, and her characters are tough and great to follow.  Not everything she's written is a murder mystery, and there are a couple military romances slipped into her Tracers series.  But for the most part, I've pretty much enjoyed every books of hers I've read.  I personally like to read books in order if it's a series, but her books can be read out of order or as stand-alones.  Untraceable is the first book in her Tracers series, and some of my personal favorite installments include: Snapped, Twisted, Exposed, Shadow Fall, and Deep Dark.  There's also a stand-alone book called Far Gone that's not bad either.

 

Stealing Shadows (Shadows, #1) - Kay Hooper Out of the Shadows (Shadows, #3) - Kay Hooper Touching Evil - Kay Hooper Chill of Fear - Kay Hooper

For a more supernatural experience, I would recommend Kay Hooper's Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series, which follows unit of FBI agents who are all psychic.  The truth is, the first few sub-trilogy arcs are pretty good--the most recent ones are kind of draggy.  I personally liked the first four sub-trilogies, and here are some of my personal favorites:

-- Stealing Shadows, Hiding in the Shadows, Out of the Shadows, Touching Evil, Whisper of Evil, Sense of Evil, Hunting Fear, Chill of Fear, Sleeping Fear.

 

Hunting Fear has a haunted hotel setting; Stealing Shadows is the first book in the series; Out of the Shadows is the strongest book of the series and has a serial killer.

 

Waking Nightmare - Kylie Brant Waking the Dead - Kylie Brant Deadly Dreams - Kylie Brant

Kylie Brant's Mindhunter series is also a personal favorite--they can be read as stand-alones as well, but brief references to previous characters will sometimes come up.  

  • The first book, Waking Nightmare is not a murder mystery, but a mystery nonetheless with a serial rapist.  
  • The second book, Waking Evil has some very subtle paranormal stuff and some significance to do with the woods; also takes place in a small town.
  • The third book, Waking the Dead has a serial killer.
  • The fourth book is about a kidnapping.
  • The fifth book, Deadly Dreams, is my personal favorite, with some paranormal stuff, and a serial arsonist/killer.
  • The sixth book is my least favorite, but involves murder.

 

Deadly Fear - Cynthia Eden Deadly Heat - Cynthia Eden Deadly Lies - Cynthia Eden

Cynthia Eden has a trilogy called Deadly that involves teams from a special FBI violent crimes unit.  All three books feature a serial killer, and the first book takes place in a small town:  Deadly Fear, Deadly Heat, Deadly Lies.

 

Leslie A. Kelly wrote two series I personally enjoyed a lot:  Black CATs and Extrasensory Agents.

 

Fade to Black - Leslie A. Kelly Pitch Black - Leslie A. Kelly Black at Heart - Leslie A. Kelly

 

Black CATs follows an FBI team that specializes in cyber crimes, and all three books involve a serial killer.  The first book takes place in a small town:  Fade to Black, Pitch Black, Black at Heart.

 

COLD SIGHT: Extrasensory Agents Book 1 - Leslie A. Kelly COLD TOUCH: Extrasensory Agents Book 2 - Leslie A. Kelly Cold Memory (Extrasensory Agents) - Leslie A. Kelly

Extrasensory Agents follows a group of psychic paranormal investigators, so these books may apply to the 'Amateur Sleuth' square as well as 'Supernatural.'  The first and third books take place in a small town.  Cold Sight, Cold Touch, Cold Memory.

 

Sleep With the Lights On - Maggie Shayne Wake to Darkness - Maggie Shayne Innocent Prey - Maggie Shayne Deadly Obsession - Maggie Shayne

I would also like to mention Maggie Shayne's Brown and de Luca series, which was phenomenal!  The first book is called Sleep with the Lights On, and follows Rachel de Luca who, after a corneal transplant, begins to see visions of people being murdered.  So this book would work for the 'Serial/Spree Killer' square, the 'Supernatural' square, and 'Amateur Sleuth' square, since Rachel is a book author.

 

A non-series book I would recommend is Maggie Shayne's The Gingerbread Man, which really just works for 'Romantic Suspense' and 'Terror in a Small Town.'

 

I wish I had more stand-alone books to recommend, but it looks like I've mainly been reading series books.  Some other romantic suspense authors I would suggest, however, would be Nora Roberts (duh) and Jayne Ann Krentz and Linda Howard.

 

 

 

 I don't read as many Cozy Mysteries as MbD does, but I DO have a couple particular cozy series I happened to like:

 

Size 12 Is Not Fat - Meg Cabot Truly, Madly - Heather Webber

Heather Wells by Meg Cabot -- the first book is Size 12 Is Not Fat

Lucy Valentine by Heather Webber -- the first book is Truly, Madly

 

Both series are five books long and very enjoyable.

 

Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters The Camelot Caper - Elizabeth Peters Devil May Care - Elizabeth Peters

I'm personally planning on reading either the Crocodile on the Sandbank or The Camelot Caper, both books by Elizabeth Peters.  If the library happens to pick up one of my book recommendations before the game ends, I've also requested Devil May Care and The Jackal's Head... which will mean I'll have too many books to choose from...

 

 

 

This book has probably already been mentioned, as it will fit for several other squares, but I read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (actually listened to it as a full-cast audio), and absolutely loved it.  There's murder, ghosts, supernatural... so many possibilities!

 

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman The Dollhouse Murders - Betty Ren Wright 

Meanwhile, I'm also going to recommend The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright, which is a children's ghost story, involving, well, the titular haunted dollhouse.  I read this when I was in middle school and it scared the crap out of me... but I'm a weenie, so that means nothing.

 

The Ghost Bride is also an excellent book for these two squares, but like The Graveyard Book, it can fit in several other squares as well:  Supernatural, Magical Realism, Chilling Children, Terrifying Women, Diverse Voices... and if the Ox-Headed Patrol Guards from the Underworld count as Monsters, then it can go in that square as well.  And at the risk of giving away some of the end of book stuff, there's a mythological creature in there somewhere too.

 

The Ghost Bride - Yangsze Choo Phantom Evil by Heather Graham (2012-03-27) - Heather Graham;

Phantom Evil is the first book in Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunters, another series about paranormal law enforcement in the FBI--a bunch of psychics are gathered into a team to investigate murders that might involve ghostly happenings or a haunted house.

 

 

 

I didn't think I'd have anything to contribute to this square, but apparently I've read enough Amanda Quick historical romance/mysteries to have a few recommendations!

 

'Til Death Do Us Part - Amanda Quick The River Knows - Amanda Quick Wait Until Midnight (Jove Historical Romance) - Amanda Quick The Perfect Poison - Amanda Quick

'Til Death Do Us Part, The River Knows, Wait Until Midnight, and any of her Arcane Society historical novels would go in this square.  The Arcane Society books also count for 'Supernatural.'  

 

 

 

I consider Deanna Raybourn's books all 'Gothic', though some of them would also fit into the 'Darkest London' square.  I think Silent in the Grave, The Dark Enquiry, and her Veronica Speedwell books all take place in London.  All the books from both Lady Julia Grey and Veronica Speedwell would count towards 'Amateur Sleuth' as well.

 

Silent in the Grave - Deanna Raybourn A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn

  • Julia Grey series:  Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary, Silent on the Moor, The Dark Road to Darjeeling, and The Dark Enquiry
  • Veronica Speedwell series:  A Curious Beginning and A Perilous Undertaking

 

The Restorer - Amanda Stevens The Kingdom - Amanda Stevens The Prophet - Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens' The Graveyard Queen is another great series, considered Gothic, with ghosts and hauntings and murder and mayhem.  I've only read the first three books, but recently learned that there are now six total.  The first book is The Restorer, and while this book would also fit the 'Romantic Suspense' square, there really isn't a whole lot of romance in it.  I would even consider this series to be 'horror' as well.  The second book, The Kingdom, takes place in a small town.

 

 

 

I've only got one author I can think of to recommend for this square: Juliet Marillier.  She loves to use a forest or woods as her setting for a lot of books.  For instance, her young adult high fantasy series, the Shadowfell trilogy (Shadowfell, Raven Flight, The Calling) involve a lot of travel back and forth a forest, and there are fairy creatures significant to the forest.

Shadowfell - Juliet Marillier Raven Flight - Juliet Marillier The Caller - Juliet Marillier

 

Moonlight has already mentioned Daughter of the Forest in a previous post, a book that I've been meaning to read forever now, and has been sitting on my bookshelf for at least three years.

 

Daughter of the Forest - Juliet Marillier Wildwood Dancing - Juliet Marillier

Another young adult fantasy by Marillier is Wildwood Dancing, which involves anything from the supernatural, to talking frogs, to vampires, to a Gothic setting in a Transylvanian castle, to a significant forest with fairy creatures and a witch named Draguta.

 

 

***

 

Now that I've rambled on forever, I'm going to hop on over to Murder by Death's Halloween Bingo reading lists and put some of these suggestions there.  This post had been started mainly for the 'Romantic Suspense' square, and there are a lot of other Rom-suspense books I would recommend, but I wanted to focus more on the murder mysteries if I could.

 

If anyone has missed it, here is a link to MbD's compiled list of links to the Halloween Bingo reading lists.

 

 

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review 2017-08-05 02:21
A Daddy's Girl...
Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father - Sally Cabot Gunning

Martha Jefferson is the very epitome of a daddy's girl. Her entire world revolves around him, and while others appear in her line of sight, the light never moves away from the one constant in her life, Thomas Jefferson. The pressures that he is under do nothing to lessen the attention that he lavishes on his daughters, both of whom have accompanied him to France. Upon their return, Martha is overjoyed to be home and back in familiar territory. But things are never going to be the same for the Jefferson's. Thomas Jefferson has been appointed as Secretary of State. But Martha is about to add her own stress to the mix.. a marriage to Thomas Randolph! What a marriage it should have been! But instead of everlasting happiness, she finds disappointment, debt, and an ever sure footing in the foundation of her father. While some of the ideas that they hold are not popular with some of their friends, they are views that are held and nurtured to a hope that it might one day come to pass. 

While the world crumbles around her, Martha does her best to run her plantation, but the ever increasing debt, and the unraveling of her husbands family have left deep imprints on him. While Tom tries his best to make things work, nothing seems to flourish under his hand, except the growing brood of his children. While Martha continues to run Monticello, Varina and Edgehill to the best of her abilities. While her husband sulks, and continues to borrow large amounts of money from her father, Martha does her best to smile and carry on as though nothing were wrong. But, everything is wrong. The papers have caught wind of Sally Hemings, and while everyone denies the relationship, there are things that Martha notices, but cannot get her father to confirm. The charmed childhood she held so fond in memory, has turned to the ugly realities of adulthood, and the facing of truths that are not always pleasant. When her sister Maria dies, Martha is left feeling alone and wondering where her comfort will come from. Tom cannot or will not help, and there are none that she can truly turn to. 

When Thomas Jefferson is elected President, Martha does her best to continue caring for things at home, but she misses her father. The short visits he makes back to Monticello are brief and always filled with work. Visitors stream to and from the house, and Martha wonders when they will ever be truly alone. But of course, things cannot last forever, and even great men, lions in the foundations are only mortal....



This book is a MUST READ! It was one that I was able to finish in two settings, and kept you engaged from the first page to the last. You hoped for the best, you cared for some of the characters while wishing some of the others would simply drop off the pages, and laughed at some of the antics. I will say that I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the falling out between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both great men in our history. They of course both made up and corresponded later in their lives, but on an interesting note, they both died within hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But other than that little note (history nerd moment), this book was fantastic! There is not a dull moment in this book!! Take it from the book lady here... this is a book that is worth the time!

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review 2017-01-18 19:57
The Bride Wore Size 12 - Meg Cabot
The Bride Wore Size 12 - Meg Cabot

Heather is getting married, if she can get through this mystery alive AND survive her mother. Weddings are such a great boon to comedy: everything is outsized, everything is heightened, and with amateurs there is always a great deal of room for failure. Actually one of the sweetest stories ever is written by Robert Fulghum in <i>It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It</i>. Amateurs, man. That story is so good I read it to all the brides I've known on their wedding day. Yes, of course, I celebrate special occasions by reading. Everyone always know what I'm going to give them for the holidays, too.

Anyway, Cabot's book is much too long to read to a bride as she gets dressed. It's probably too long to read in just one bath. It does, however, have that mix of screwball comedy and crime which is ideal for distracting a mind from other, more stressful, thoughts. If you're a nervous flyer, for example, this would be good

Library copy

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