Monday, September 21, 2020

"Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy"
by Steven Paul Leiva

 This book is set in 1962, focusing primarily on Kathy Anderson, a young actress who has been playing the role of Vivacia, the Vampire Woman on the television show "Vivacia's House of Horrors" for a local Chicago station. But now she is ready to move on to a new phase in her life after a short vacation to visit her parents. But all is most definitely not what it first appears in the quiet little town of Placidville. And monstrous fun has taken over.


I really enjoyed this book. I grew up watching shows like “Son of Svengoolie” and MSTK 3000” on WGN out of Chicago, which played the same sort of shows as would likely have run on Vivacia's late night show. This book was funny & with the occasional aside from a narrator inserting commentary about things happening in the book, just like the sort of things that happened in the late night monster movies that I watched when I was younger.


I found this to be a very fun book to read. It was quite funny and had the feel of being curled up watching an old monster movie on TV in the wee hours of the morning. It even had me wanting to argue with the characters just as I did back when watching those old creature feature movies when I was younger.


I'm very glad that I read this book. If like me, you grew up watching old monster movies on shows like “Son of Svengoolie” and “MSTK 3000,” then I believe you'll enjoy this book too. I would say to definitely give this one a try. Recommended.


Monday, September 14, 2020

"Fairytale: A Modern Fairytale Anthology"

This is a collection of fairytale retellings. But be warned, this is definitely not a collection of stories that is meant for a younger audience. Several of the tales contain rather explicit and detailed sexual encounters. As such, be warned that this book may not appeal to your tastes if you prefer the "fade to black" scenes that are often used in young adult stories. This is a collection of adult fairytales. 

 There are times when I prefer the young adult versions, but in this case I did enjoy reading all of the stories in this anthology, sex scenes and all. The stories were interesting as well as entertaining. I read and enjoyed each of the authors' unique takes on the fairytales they have recreated as their own. 

Some of the stories may someday become parts of larger tales about their chosen characters, and I think that if I come across them in the future, that I would enjoy seeing where else the author chooses to take the characters I read about here.

This is a book meant for those who enjoy more adult versions of the tales they may have heard as children or who enjoy a new twist on a familiar old tale from their childhood. If that describes you, I would recommend giving this collection of interesting stories a try

Monday, September 7, 2020

"The Perrault Vow" by Addie J. King

 Janie Grimm and her fiance Aiden are planning their wedding, which will take place at their house. As if that wasn't stressful enough, Janie & her housemate Mia are taking the Bar exam. And of course, a magical mystery in the form of a long ago hidden pair of glass slippers being left on the steps of their house, as if they were meant as a wedding gift, falls into their lap during the middle of it all.


This book centers around the tales of Charles Perrault, the french writer that many might more easily recognize under the name of Mother Goose. I grew up reading those tales, though the versions I read as a child were likely not as dark as the original tales.


In this book, Perrault was a human who had become aware of the dangers of many magical items & beings. He had gathered & hidden away as many such items as he could, including the glass slippers. So now Janie & her friends need to figure out how the shoes arrived at her door, who left them there, as well as what to do about all of it. Unfortunately, the one person who knows the truth of what took place back in those days is bound by a magical vow not to reveal the location of the hidden items.


I enjoyed reading this story. I have always enjoyed fairy tales and the many variations that I have been fortunate enough to come across over the years have always been entertaining. While this book may have been centered around the tale of Cinderella, it also included a number of other recognizable fairy tale references worked into the story.


Ms. King has succeeded in holding my interest in this book, as well as in the previous ones in the series. I would gladly return to read more of these books if she were to decide to continue on with the series, but given what is shared in the epilogue, I doubt that she currently has plans for this series to continue. 


If you enjoy reading twisted fairy tales or stories of the faerie realms, I do recommend giving this book, as well as the previous ones in the series a try. I found them all to be very enjoyable.


Monday, August 31, 2020

"Kitty Confidential" by Molly Fitz

 When trying to get an ancient coffeemaker in the office to work, Angie is accidentally electrocuted by it instead. When she awakes, she discovers that the cat who was there for the reading of his owner's will is sitting on her chest and complaining… and that she alone can understand everything he is saying.


Octo-Cat, as she soon starts calling him, tells her that his human had not died of natural causes, but had instead been murdered. Now he needs her to help him both prove that fact and to bring the killer to justice.


This was a fun little cozy mystery and a great introduction to the "Pet Whisperer P.I." series. Belonging to several cats myself, I enjoyed seeing Angie and Octo-Cat become acquainted & learn how to live with each other as they work together to find a killer.


The author did a great job of showing the true behavior of a cat at both his best and his worst, as well as how even someone who may claim to not really like the cat at first can rapidly realize that they do love the little fuzzball after all. (Just ask my husband, a man who at first merely tolerated my cats, but eventually came to be claimed as "her human" by one one of them.)


I enjoyed this book and will very definitely be continuing on and reading more of the books in this series. Recommended for anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries and fun cat tales.


Monday, August 24, 2020

"Andromeda's Reign"
by K.S. Haigwood & Anne Conley

In the beginning of this book, Andromeda has gone with Ace to train as an Alpha in Las Vegas. Her pack will be under the authority of her Beta for the next month while she is gone, though they can easily contact her should the need arise.

That month will be a difficult one with Andromeda fighting against the growing feelings she is feeling for Ace & trying to hold onto her love of the vampire (Pheonix). But is that even possible or will she wind up falling for Ace? And if she does, are any of those feelings real? After all, she and Ace seem to need to stay close enough to physically touch each other or they both suffer.


Like the first two books in this series, I enjoyed this one. Watching Andromeda learn more about herself as well as Ace, his pride, and what it means to be the Alpha of a group was something I greatly enjoyed. Like anyone else does in life, everyone in this story made mistakes. Whether those mistakes involved feelings or knowledge shared/kept secret, it made the characters all the more relatable.


I loved the ending and the surprise contained therein, but it feels like there is another book in the series that has yet to be written. (At least I'm assuming it has yet to be written as I couldn't yet find it on Amazon.)


And while yes, the ending did wrap up my questions from this book, it left me very much wanting to find out what will happen in the next one. I want to see how the characters will deal with the new challenges & difficulties that they were left with at the end of this book. Clearly, I'll just have to wait to see what happens once the next book comes out, and I will be waiting as patiently as I can.


Monday, August 17, 2020

"Burdened Mail Order Bride
and her Reserved Widower"
by Florence Linnington

Jane has not had an easy life. Raised in an orphanage and from there winding up homeless, marrying an abusive man, and once again finding herself about to be homeless after her husband died, she sought a way out as a mail order bride.


Unfortunately, it turned out the man who paid her way out west was not seeking a wife, but women he could trap into becoming saloon girls working for him and forcing them into selling their bodies to his customers. 


But luckily a kind piano player rescued Jane from this deceitful and cruel man bringing her to the nearby town of Evergreen where she could work at Cassidy's saloon, a place where the women were paid & treated well, and where they didn't sell themselves to the customers.


I enjoyed reading this story. Unlike in some of her other books, we were given the chance to see the ways many women who were unfortunate in how their lives had progressed sometimes were forced to resort to in order to support themselves when they didn't have a man to protect and care for them.  It showed us a sometimes darker side of the lives people were often forced into through a lack of other options available to them.


And yet, despite the harshness of life, as with her other stories, I had to believe that this story would have the happy ending that I have come to expect from Ms. Linnington's tales. This book did not disappoint me, though there were many twists and turns that Jane needed to overcome that some of Ms Linnington’s other characters have never needed to face.  


As with her other books, if you enjoy a good mail order bride tale, I would suggest giving this one a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Monday, August 10, 2020

"The Bunyan Barter" by Addie J King

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Janie Grimm and her housemates are awakened in the middle of the night by a very large man in a red flannel shirt chopping down the tree in her back yard while sobbing about someone having been taken. 

 After calming everyone down and realizing they are in no danger from their late night visitor, everyone returns inside to start up the coffee, breakfast, and call up the rest of the F.A.B.L.E.S. group to come and help solve the mysteries involved in this tale. 

 This book was centered around mainly American Legends and Tall tales. In this case Paul Bunyan's blue ox Babe has been kidnapped and someone is threatening to kill him if the apple heir is not brought to a meeting happening on the American Holiday. There's just one small problem… no one knows who the apple heir is, where exactly the exchange is supposed to take place, or what the real motive behind it all actually is. 

 This time around, we get to see & learn about a lot of those who are featured in American tall tales and legends. Most of the new characters encountered were ones that I had grown up hearing about, plus a few that were new to me. The ones that I was familiar with were portrayed much as I would have expected them to be, with enough extra personality added in so as to not have them come across as solely one dimensional characters. 

 I enjoyed this story, as well as the emotional conflicts that were happening as part of the secondary background tale, allowing us to see all the characters as fully developed individuals with problems of their own to deal with while they were busy trying to help solve magic and legend-based troubles. 

I believe that anyone who enjoys tall tales or stories of legendary historical figures will get a kick out of reading this one. I myself found it a very fun story to read and one that contains a great deal of emotion.

"Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy" <br>by Steven Paul Leiva

  This book is set in 1962, focusing primarily on Kathy Anderson, a young actress who has been playing the role of Vivacia, the Vampire ...