Cat Calls and Haunted Love by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cat Calls by Cynthia Leitich Smith


Barnes and Noble

Tiffany is about to follow in her Granny Z’s footsteps and take over the fortunetelling tent at the carnival.  It’s just for one night.  What could happen?

This story is set against the backdrop of a carnival and it does a great job expressing that.  You can practically smell the fried food in the air.  It’s the perfect short story to read in the fall.

Tiffany wrestles with what to tell people when they come into the tent.  She sees them as marks.  I always find it interesting to read about how characters observe others.  Tiffany sees into them like Sherlock Holmes.  The only difference being that she is completely wrong about her first marks.

She’s also wrong about seeing people as marks.  I won’t give away the fun part.  It has to do with her crystal ball.

When Trevor walks into her she knows something is different about him.  When she looks into her crystal ball she sees a monster chasing him.  He is her last client of the day because she runs off to save him from the monster.  I haven’t even given away the end.

This story painted pictures and had a little twist at the end for good measure.  It is a true short story and fun to read.  It will make you feel like you’ve been to a carnival.

PicsArt_1375992687897PG  Some of the guys indulge in gross male behavior thus the title.  Okay the title is perfect for a variety of reasons.





Haunted Love by Cynthia Leitich Smith


Barnes and Noble

Cody finally has his life under control.  He graduated high school.  His abusive uncle has departed this world by Cody’s own hand and he just put a down payment on the Old Love theater.  The theater that his mother always admired even though it had been closed for decades.  Cody is an orphan and basically friendless until the new girl in town decides that she’s going to work for him.  Even if he isn’t thrilled with the idea.

The theater is haunted by a ghost who wants justice.  Something Cody can completely relate to.  He purchased a vile over the internet that made him into someone who could get justice for himself.  So what if it changed him forever and now he has to continue buying blood from the same site he bought the vile from.

This story only takes about twenty minutes to read, and like Cat Calls, is incredibly entertaining.  Both of these stories are free and did what they were intended to do.  After I finished them I went and bought Tantalize.  Free short stories are an excellent way to get to know an author.

Haunted Love is a ghost story.  I guess you could even say that it is a love story.  I’m just going to call it fun.  Haunted Love and Cat Calls are a great way to spend an hour snuggled under a blanket enjoying the cool fall weather.

PicsArt_1375992730999PG There is a ghost and she’s out for revenge.  Did I mention that there are vampires.  Come on, you know by now that I love vampire stories and what happens in vampire stories?  That’s right.  Someone loses their head.

Happy Halloween everyone.

Dead Like Me by Kelly Miller

Dead like MeDead Like Me

by Kelly Miller

Barnes and Noble



On edge after a two-week mandatory leave, Homicide Detective Kate Springer is blindsided when she discovers she shares a link with Tampa’s newest murder victim. A troubled teen found strangled and dumped in a remote part of town. The bond between them threatens to expose Detective Springer’s past—a past she’s been hell bent on keeping secret. When the killer finally emerges from the shadows, Kate’s secrets aren’t the only thing on the line. So is her life.

My Review: 

As many of you know murder mystery is a little out of my box.  But this month we wanted to do scary, mystery, intense for Halloween. This book was not my first choice I had picked up two before it and couldn’t even get half way thru them.  So when I started this one I was pleasantly surprised.

I finished in less them 24 hours. Kate Springer was a tough female detective character with a less then wonderful past.  She had an awful childhood and has been working hard to overcome it.  Her life takes a tale spin when the body of a young girl turns up that looks just like she did at that tender age.

This is a tough subject for some readers as it does involve children and a sexual predator.  I cringed when I read some of it and part of me wanted to slap her mother for over looking what should have been obvious signs. But overall it was a good read and I look forward to reading what Kelly Miller comes up with next.

PicsArt_1375992687897R  there is just no other rating when the subject matter involves a sexual predator.

Jane Has a Halloween Dream and Wisty Witch’s Stew for Two

For today’s Viola Corner we have a double feature.  First up:

jane has a halloween dreamJane Has a Halloween Dream

by Betty Palatin



Jane Has a Halloween Dream is a fun journey into counting for your beginning listeners and learners. This book is filled with all things Halloween, with ghouls and monsters galore. Your child will get a giggle with Jane’s Halloween dream while learning to count to ten.

The story takes your child into a haunted house where our fun monsters are having a party. As the guests arrive they will count up to nine, as the monsters leave your child will experience counting backwards.

Jessica’s Review: 

This is a not your typical counting book for children.  It is creative and a perfect Halloween story. The pictures are well drawn and perfect for the 2 – 4 year old range it is geared towards.

Viola’s Review:  I like the monsters! (Viola is fascinated with monsters and has been known to wake up in the middle of the night and “hunt” for them.) I like the Jack – O – Lateran too and I can count like Jane does.





Our Second Children’s book feature is:

Wisty Witch's stew for twoWisty Witch’s Halloween Stew

by Sandie Lee



Wisty Witch’s Stew for Two is a fun counting book for your 3 to 5 year-old listeners and learners. Each page has a big, bold picture that is simple, yet lively. In addition, the illustration complements the text for each corresponding number from one to ten.

Take your child on a fun journey through Wisty Witch’s recipe for her Pumpkin Stew. Each page represents a number and presents a fun ghoulish ingredient that Wisty adds to her big pot. Your children can count along with the recipe making this a fun interactive book.

Wisty Witch’s Stew for Two is also written in rhyme and will delight and amaze your little listeners with her wacky ingredients and a sweet inviting ending.

Jessica’s Summary: 

This is another cute counting book for Halloween.  This one illustrates the numbers with the ingredients that go in Wisty’s Stew. The illustrations are great.

Viola’s Review:

I can count the stuff on the pages.  I like the Halloween books.  They are fun to read.


Ghost in the Light by M. Kaye Hash

Ghost in the Ligh

Ghost in the Light

By M. Kaye Hash



After their bus wrecks, a group of football players and cheerleaders seek shelter and help in what looks to be a closed down mental institution. It doesn’t take long for them to realize they can’t get out and that something is in there with them. The darkness is after them but one ghost may be on their side if they can only stay alive and stay in the light.
My Review:
This book was okay.  I have a hard time reading anything that starts off by describing every single person in it. But once you get pasted that it’s not to bad.  The group ends up in a haunted Mental Institution looking for a phone to call in the accident.  As they go through they mean to stay together, but one by one are getting picked off.
Eventually they find a room to take refuge in, if only briefly.  In the room Izzy sees a ghost.  The ghost of a little girl that used to be a patient at the hospital.  She tries to help show Izzy the way out.
It’s all very suspenseful and you can’t help but wonder if they will all die or someone will get out.  It was a quick read and a good book to help put you in the Halloween spirit.
PicsArt_1375992631838R   the group of kids do graphically die in this book.

The Night Is Watching by Heather Graham

The Night Is Watching

By Heather Graham

The Night Is WatchingAmazon

Barnes and Noble


There are a lot of books in the Krewe of Hunters series and they are not numbered so I picked one.  I’m not sure that it matters where you start.  These novels are romantic suspense so in all honesty we know that the guy and the girl are going to end up together.  The surprise isn’t in the destination.  It’s in the journey or in this case the body count.

Jane Everett is an artist as well as an FBI agent.  She works with a special group that investigates odd situations.  When her bosses former partner, Sloan Trent, asks if he knows an artist that can do a facial reconstruction he sends the best he has; a member of his very own unit.

A skull is found in the basement of the town’s famous theater and Jane is charged with rebuilding the skull to see who it was.  Everyone’s first choice for who the skull belongs to is Sage McCormick the beautiful actress that disappeared without a trace around the same time a stagecoach full of gold went missing in the late 1800’s.  When new murders occur and old ones are finally discovered Jane and Sherriff Sloan don’t know who to trust.  As more people are hurt Jane and Sloan realize that whoever is looking for the missing gold is willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

I genuinely liked this book.  It had a few problems though.  There is spot more than halfway through where there are a few typos.  I also prefer when characters don’t have similar names.  There is a Jane and a Jennie.  There is also a Jimmy and a Johnny.

I liked the plot.  I love westerns so the missing stagecoach full of gold was great.  I also loved that Sage McCormick was an active character in the story.  She helps Jane and gives her messages.  She even leads Jane to the gold.  The other ghosts were great too but Sage was my favorite.  She was my favorite character in the whole book.  Her fate was just so tragic.  I’m not giving anything away by saying that.  You know she didn’t run off to Mexico the second she appears to Jane.  You know she met a horrible end.

There are a lot of twists and turns and I went from character to character thinking each one was guilty at some point.  I can honestly say that I didn’t see the end coming.  I suspected one of the characters involved but it was the scope of the ending that caught me.  Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the characters involved.

Even though I liked this book it wasn’t my favorite Heather Graham book.  I loved Ghost Walk.  That book is about a woman who runs a New Orleans ghost tour company.  I highly recommend it.  I also recommend The Night Is Watching.  I didn’t figure out where the gold was and I won’t spoil it for you.  This is a fun and fast mystery that traps you quickly.  It sold me on the Krewe of Hunters series and just as soon as I find out which one came first I’m going to get it.

PicsArt_1375992687897PG-13  It is romantic suspense so there are some adult situations.  There is also murder and mayhem (two of my favorite things leading up to Halloween).

Shimmerspell by Kimberly Spencer

ShimmerspellShimmerspell by Kimberly Spencer


Barnes and Nobel


Summary:  Jensen has no idea who she really is.  She also has no idea that she should even be asking the question.  It’s not bad enough that her con artist sister keeps moving them from place to place and she’s forced to move from one school to the next but she has to keep making friends.  Her new friends at her new school though are faeries and Jensen finds herself in the middle of something she wants no part of.  Which is really bad because she’s one of them.

My Review:  If you love fantasy creatures this is the novella for you.  If you love a good Seelie/Unseelie war then this is really the novella for you.  It has will o’ wisps, brownies and banshees.  In fact it has every fey creature I could think of.

It’s a quick read and it’s very pretty.  It has a lot of beautiful descriptions of faeries and of all of the places Jensen has to go to get answers.  There are a lot of scene changes and that was nice.  Sometimes novella’s about teens end up spending the entire time in a school setting.  This novella takes the reader on quite the journey for how short it is.  I liked that.

I felt for Jensen.  She’s abandoned by her sister and rescued by Liam the boy that likes her.  He turns out to be a faerie.  He has wings and everything.   Her sisters final words to her were “whatever you do, don’t take off your ring”.  That would have been enough for me to take it off right then and there but it takes Jensen a little while longer.  The ring is key.

There is a creepy cemetery scene that of course was my favorite.  The cemetery is home to creepy twins.  I love creepy cemetery twins at Halloween.  Is there anything better?

If you like television shows like Once Upon a Time or Sleepy Hollow you’ll like this novella.

PicsArt_1375992687897PG-13  The characters use adult language and by that I mean profanity not big words like Lanthanum.

If you think you’ll like this novella then we think you’ll like these books:



Gingerbread Man by Maggie Shayne

gingerbread-man-by-maggie-shayneGingerbread Man

By Maggie Shayne


Barnes and Noble





Since the day her baby sister was taken, Holly’s mind hasn’t been the same. PTSD, panic attacks, nightmares and blocked memories have plagued her ever since. And now they’ve returned.

Hard-edged Detective Vince O’Malley’s most recent case penetrated even his protective shell. Ordered to take time off to recover, he can’t let go, and on his own, follows the clues to Holly’s small upstate NY town.

His presence stirs ghosts from the past, shadows of a little girl lost, the suspicions of some tight-lipped locals with secrets to hide, and more than that inside Holly’s fragile mind and untouched heart.

My Review: 

I will never be able to read the children’s story of the Gingerbread Man without thinking of this book again. I usually find this type of book predictable and not really in my genre, but Maggie Shayne did a wonderful job keeping me interested and on the edge of my seat.

It’s a fast paced page turner that I enjoyed mostly every minute of.  I have to admit I didn’t see all the twists and turns coming and the ending was a bit of a surprise.  Holly is a strong woman, who has been thru a very rough time in her life. She’s the girl who got away as her sister got abducted.     As a result she sticks to the plan of her life every day.  You see the day her sister was taken she went a different way home.  She veered off course.  Now she is OCD, and just barely hanging on. That is until Vincent comes to town.

He is a cop on a mission.  He promised a mother he would bring her kids home and he failed.  It was something he never should have done, and now he can’t let it go.  He knows there is something going on with Holly, but when he gets involved he gets in deep.

This is a dark tale and be warned it does evolve the abduction of children.  If this is something you will have a hard time with this is NOT the book for you.


The Loneliness of Jacob Rozinski

the lonelliness of jacob rozinskiThe Loneliness of Jacob Rozinski

By Julian Lorr





Jacob Rozinski paints portraits of the dead. When a family tragedy drags him back to his native Ireland, he could never have envisaged the darker forces that his own historical conflicts would unleash. As past generations of his family reveal secrets he knew nothing about, he finds himself locked into a battle between the living and the dead – a conflict that threatens to wedge open the gateway between the two forever with devastating consequences….

 My Review:  

I have been trying to read some books that are outside of my box.  This one is definitely outside of it.

It’s a dark tale of a man who has “night films”.  In his sleep the image plays out and then some of the people turn away from him while others turn towards him, two days later those that turned towards him are dead. Jacob is drawn to these faces so much that he must paint them.  Every time he does he captures some of their soul.

Seamus O’Gloughlin has a major problem with Jacob.  You see he was born in England to an Irish Mother and Polish father.  So he doesn’t “fit in” anywhere.  The death of Seamus is graphically depicted and in the afterlife he is just as horrible a person if not more so.  When he tries to get Jacob to reunite The Ceremonial Knife of the Veil so he can come back from the afterlife he rips Jacob’s surrogate father to pieces.

I’m not sure saying “I enjoyed this book” is the appropriate wording, but it was a well written book and if

you are looking for something a little different than normal this is definitely the book.  It brings in a little Polish folk lore with Irish heritage and even though it is “outside of my box” I will not hesitate to pick up something else by Julian Lorr.

PicsArt_1375992687897R  due to its graphic nature.

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

The HollowAmazon

Barnes and Noble


Summary:  Abby’s best friend Kristen vanishes sending Abby into a tailspin.  Everyone thinks she fell into the river but without a body Abby refuses to believe it’s true.  When Kristen’s body washes up down river Abby decides to look for answers.  She’s urged on by a mysterious boy that she meets in the cemetery.  A mysterious boy that turns out to be another mystery to solve.

My Review:  This book takes place in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  Home of Washington Irving‘s iconic and beloved tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  I’m a sucker for reimagined classics and this book doesn’t disappoint.  It isn’t the main attraction though.

Abby meets Caspian, the afore mentioned mysterious boy, in the cemetery that she and Kristen always hung out in.  It may appear creepy that the cemetery is where most of the story takes place but then again it’s a character in this book.  Abby spends time there even after Kristen’s death talking to Washington Irving’s grave.  Irving’s grave is where she meets the cemetery’s caretaker.  I won’t blow the surprise twist but finding out who the caretaker really is sends Abby off the deep end.

Caspian turns out to be more mysterious than she could ever have imagined.  His on and off behavior helps to unravel Abby’s mental stability.  The whole time I was reading this I knew something was up with him but I couldn’t decide what it was.

This book was fun to read and made me want to take another look at The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  The book went fast and I liked Abby.  She’s a well rounded character.  She makes perfume and wants to have her own business in Sleepy Hollow one day.  I liked that she had goals and wasn’t waiting with baited breath for Caspian to do something.  That’s what drove me crazy about Twilight.  Bella’s only real interest was Edward.  That isn’t true with Abby.  Abby tries to focus on her perfume and business plan in addition to her homework with her science partner.

I liked this book and you will too especially if you’ve jumped on the Sleepy Hollow TV show band wagon.  I’m really excited that it’s already been renewed.

PicsArt_1375992687897PG-13  Abby deals with her best friends death and the secrets that she left behind.

Dark Places (A Gryphonwood Anthology)

2232b5cbc3f84a2ac8b21f0466d0b66562e4b629-thumbDark Places (A Gryphonwood Anthology)


Barnes and Noble


A short story collection isn’t what we usually feature on Novella Thursday but we decided to kick October off right.  What could be more perfect than a collection of scary short stories?  I was already a big fan of Alan Baxter.  His work is why I first bought this but as I worked my way through the book I found I enjoyed them all.  Anthologies are such a great way of finding new authors to read.  I probably wouldn’t have found Terry W. Ervin II on my own and I really enjoyed The Scene of My Second Murder.

My favorite story was Cemetery.  What I love about Alan Baxter’s work is that it hints of my favorite short story authors of all time.  Storyteller’s like O. Henry and de Maupassant have always entertained me.  Something that all of them share is the fact that sometimes you don’t know if they’re playing with you.  It’s like they lead you to water and you don’t know if they expect you to drink or wade in up to your neck until you soon discover that your standing in quicksand.  It doesn’t really matter though because whatever you think you’ll be wrong.  Even if you see the ending coming they find a way to knock you senseless or in the case of Cemetery- SCARE YOU SENSELESS.

I really like all of the stories in this anthology.  I urge you not to skip the introduction.  It’s lovely, short and one of the best introductions I’ve ever read.  It’s heart warming and that’s good because these stories will leave you breathless and checking under your bed.


Check out Alan Baxter’s novels