Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1) by Ransom Riggs

•October 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

2 stars
Format: eBook
Genre: young adult, fantasy, mystery, horror
352 pages
Published by Quirk
ISBN: 1594744769 (ISBN13: 9781594744761)

Jacob, a sixteen-year-old boy, grew up believing his grandfather’s stories were a bunch of fairy tales. That is until after his grandfather dies and he witnesses something a little off. He becomes convinced that there was some truth in what his grandfather was saying and goes in search of a mysterious island in Wales and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

My Review:
The story started off interesting and unique in the prologue, which caught my attention, but everything else beyond that went horribly down hill. The rest of the story was boring and hard to get through. The pictures are awkwardly placed throughout the book and Riggs relies to heavily on them to tell his story.

Jacob is an extremely un-relatable character. He comes off as being pretentious and obnoxious with conveniently wealthy parents. The other characters in the story were flat. Riggs relied only on the abilities of the particular children giving them neither individual personalities nor backgrounds. I don’t even want to start on Emma, the only character slightly more developed, and only so because she was the creepy seventy year old love interest.

About the Author:
Riggs was born in Maryland on a 200 year old farm, and grew up in Florida where he attended the Pine View School for the Gifted. He studied English literature at Kenyon College, and studied film at the University of Southern California. His work on short films for the Internet and blogging for Mental Floss got him a job writing The Sherlock Holmes Handbook which was released as a tie-in to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film.

Riggs had collected curious vernacular photographs and approached his publisher, Quirk Books, about using some of them in a picture book. On the suggestion of an editor, Riggs used the photographs as a guide from which to put together a narrative. The resulting book was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which made the The New York Times Best Seller list.



Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland

•October 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

4 stars
Format: eBook
Genre: Horror
Artist: Angela Waters Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: 10-04-2011 Length: 328 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60928-649-1

A predator stalks the frozen woods.

At a fort deep in the Ontario wilderness in 1870, a ghastly predator is attacking colonists and spreading a gruesome plague—his victims turn into ravenous cannibals with an unending hunger for human flesh. Inspector Tom Hatcher has faced a madman before, when he tracked down Montreal’s infamous Cannery Cannibal. But can even he stop the slaughter this time?

In Montreal exorcist Father Xavier visits an asylum where the Cannery Cannibal is imprisoned. But the killer who murdered thirteen women is more than just a madman who craves human meat. He is possessed by a shape-shifting demon. Inspector Hatcher and Father Xavier must unravel a mystery that has spanned centuries and confront a predator that has turned the frozen woods into a killing ground where evil has come to feed.

My Review:
Evil is coming, Brian Moreland makes the reader feel it in their bones through the descriptive chilly setting and depth of the characters. The suspense is ongoing throughout the story with believable plot twists, character betrayals, and justice. The story was well researched mixing Catholic beliefs with Native tribal views effectively incorporating both to ultimately fight the evil that is threatening them.

Realistically drawn characters, complete with histories, beliefs and flaws help progress the plot with their different choices and motives. While the urgency created for the reader with the fast pace of the action makes this a page turner.

I was provided a copy of the book by BTS eMag for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review – all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About the Author:
Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. In 2007, his novel Shadows in the Mist, a Nazi occult thriller set during World War II, won a gold medal for Best Horror Novel in an international contest. The novel went on to be published in Austria and Germany under the title Schattenkrieger. When not working on books, Brian edits documentaries and TV commercials around the globe. He produced a World War II documentary in Normandy, France, and worked at two military bases in Iraq with a film crew.

He also consults writers on how to improve their books and be successful. He loves hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and dancing. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas, where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at http://www.brianmoreland.com or on Twitter @BrianMoreland.

Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

•October 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

3 stars
Format: paperback
302 pages
Published by Hyperion
ISBN: 0786838922 (ISBN13: 9780786838929)

When settlers came over on the Mayflower in 1620 not all of them were human. Now as these vampires assimilated into the new world around them they were able to gain positions of power and influence over the society. This is the secret of the Blue Bloods and they do not want anyone else knowing it.

Schuyler Van Alen is not a typical New York City private school girl; she does not fit in with the prissy ‘popular’ people around her. But as she turns fifteen though things start to change and not in a good way.

My Review:
The idea behind the book of reincarnating vampires who then have to remember their past lives is interesting. Unfortunately for me I do not think the author was able to pull it off to its full potential. All of the characters are spoiled and snobby making them difficult to like and relate to. Even the main character, Schuyler, being an outcast ends up conforming to those around her. She started off with this independent, almost relatable nature yet once loses that and submits to the pressure of the other kids. At least there is some mystery about who the killer is to keep the plot moving which starts to unfold at the end.

About the Author:
Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.


Shakespeare on Toast by Ben Crystal

•October 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

4 stars
Format: ebook
263 pages
Published by Totem Books
ISBN: 1848310161 (ISBN13: 9781848310162)

Note: I received this book from Icon Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you are apprehensive about reading a work by Shakespeare fear no more as this work takes the reader through five acts of Shakespearian enlightenment. As Crystal says 95% of the words in Shakespeare are common throughout today’s language and that means just 5% of all the words in his plays have to be deciphered in their contextual tones. The book is full of interesting little tidbits and facts that draw the reader in making the whole experience more enjoyable and unfrightening.

My Review:
Diving headlong into the challenging world of Shakespeare and making it read like a children’s book that is the skill possessed by Ben Crystal in his explanations of what Shakespeare really is. Crystal in a conversational manner is able to beat in the fact that Shakespeare was writing for the everyday people not as many think the elitists of the time and shedding the horrid perspective Shakespeare usually entails putting everything into context is what really matters. I loved how easy it was to understand where the author was coming from and what he was trying to convey. The book demonstrated all of the ease to Shakespeare that every high school student is dreading in English.

About the Author:
Crystal was born in Ascot, England, and grew up in Wokingham, and Holyhead, North Wales. He studied English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University between 1995 and 1998, before training as an actor between 1998 and 1999. After leaving drama school he studied methods from the theatre companies Complicite and Frantic Assembly, particularly under Annabel Arden and Monika Pagneux.

In 1999 he began to write Shakespeare’s Words: A Glossary and Language Companion (Penguin 2002), with his father, David Crystal, and has been acting and writing for the last ten years, most notably in 2003 playing a guest lead in the BBC1 drama series Holby City, for which he became fluent in British Sign Language, and for the 2006 summer season at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.


The Keeper by Natalie Star

•October 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Format: eBook
Publisher: Decadent Publishing Company, LLC
Pages: 231
Source: BTS Virtual Book Tour
Genre: Young Adult – Urban Fantasy / Paranormal, Romance
Stars: 4
Buy Now: Amazon § Barnes & Noble
About the book:
The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.

“Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.

As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.


I was provided a copy of the book by BTS eMag for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review – all conclusions are my own responsibility.

My Review:
The story was unique and thought-provoking, unveiling Billie’s fate progressively with the unexpected occurrence of none of the characters knowing what gifts she really possesses. The plot moved quickly causing a little confusion at parts particularly concerning Billie’s destiny which could have been a little more detailed at the beginning even though questions are cleared up towards the end.

At first my impression of Billie was one of extreme dislike, she seemed like the typical ‘bitchy’ high school popular kid tormenting all of the kids around her. Her continued negative attitude towards “Freak Boy” and Ramey made her less likable as a character. As the story progresses we see Billie mature and recognize her attitude toward others not in her immediate circle needed adjustment. She also comes to accept her destiny and the problems she has to overcome.

The other characters were developed very well and were likable. Tony’s apparent accent was a little distracting for me but I did like that he supported Billie even though his tough guy persona was undermined by the pure paranormal situation no human
ould stand against.

I was provided a copy of the book by BTS eMag for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review – all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Three years ago, if you told me one day I would love to read and write, I would have told you you were crazy-out-of-your-mind. Since then I have read 150+ books and written 2 complete novels (one of which is being published) and I have 3 more in the works.

When I’m not reading or writing, I can be found with my husband supporting my two children on the soccer fields. Or maybe running around with my camera taking photos while camping and/or hiking. Or lastly, and most probable – I’m watching movies on Netflix while simultaneously perusing Facebook. Our family resides in the state of Virginia along with our old-unintelligent-diabetic cat named Lucky.

A Rake’s Vow (Cynster #2) by Stephanie Laurens

•October 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

5 stars

Format: Paperback

374 pages

Published by Avon



Vane Cynster is trying to escape his inevitable fate: marriage.  While trying to run away from his fate Vane inadvertently falls right into it in the form of Patience.  As Vane tries to seduce his new temptation Patience tries with all her might to resist him.  In this who-dun-it round about escapade passion ultimately ignites.


My Review:

Patience motives are solely for the wellbeing of her brother.  She wants him to have someone to look up to and Vane Cynster just does not fit that picture.  As a typical Cynster Vane is a gentleman and a rake, he has an overabundance of confidence and has a stubbornness about him to always get what he wants.  The interplay of previous characters is wonderful, especially the parts with Honoria (Devil’s wife) in them.


Passion and romance are in abundance throughout and the mystery moves the story along at a nice pace.


About the Author:

Stephanie Laurens was born in Sri Lanka, which was at the time the British colony of Ceylon. When she was 5, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she was raised. After continuing through school and earning a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in Australia, Laurens and her husband moved to Great Britain, taking one of the last true overland journeys from Katmandu to London.

After four years in England, Laurens and her husband returned to Australia, where she continued to work in cancer research, eventually heading her own research laboratory. One evening Laurens realized that she did not have any more of her favorite romance novels to read. After years of thinking about writing her own novel, during nights and weekends for the next several months she began crafting her own story. That manuscript, Tangled Reins, was the first of her books to be published. After achieving a level of success with her novels, Laurens “retired” from scientific research and became a full-time novelist. Her novels are primarily historical romances set in the Regency time period.  Laurens and her husband live in Melbourne with their two daughters.




Window on the Square by Phyllis A. Whitney

•October 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

3 stars

Format: Paperback

352 pages

Published by HarperCollins Publishers



In a strange house on Washington square not knowing who to trust, Megan Kincaid finds herself swept up in her own feelings.  While having to take care of an unbalanced Jeremy, dealing with the beautiful Leslie Reid and mysterious master of the house, Brandon Reid, Megan will have to find out just where she fits.


My Review:

The mystery and suspense in this book left me on the edge of my seat.  Whitney makes the characters come alive and shine on the pages.  Megan Kincaid is truly a heroine to look up to; she has a strong sense of duty and an endearing stubbornness that helps her through her ordeals with Jeremy. This is a fast read that will keep you guessing until the very end.


About the Author:

Phyllis Ayame Whitney (September 9, 1903 – February 8, 2008)was an American mystery writer. Rare for her genre, she wrote mysteries for both the juvenile and the adult markets, many of which feature exotic locations. A review in The New York Times once dubbed her “The Queen of the American Gothics”.

She was born in Japan to American parents and spent her early years in Asia. Whitney wrote more than seventy novels. In 1961, her book The Mystery of the Haunted Pool won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Juvenile novel, and she duplicated the honor in 1964, for The Mystery of the Hidden Hand. In 1988, the MWA gave her a Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. Whitney died of pneumonia on February 8, 2008, aged 104.



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