Book Review 12: The Raven (The Florentine 1) by Sylvain Reynard

The-Raven-by-Sylvain-Reynard-200x300Title: The Raven

Author: Sylvain Reynard

Release Date: February 3. 2015

Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi gallery restoring Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semiconscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attackers’ screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her . . .

Cassita vulneratus.

When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. Upon returning to the Uffizi, no one recognizes her. More disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of her disappearance, Raven learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history—the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the police identify her as their prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and most elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets . . .


Book Review 10: The Prince (The Florentine 0.5) by Sylvain Reynard

Title: The PrinceThe-Prince-by-Sylvain-Reynard-200x300
Author: Sylvain Reynard
Release Date: January 20, 2015

The unveiling of a set of priceless illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence exposes Professor Gabriel Emerson and his beloved wife, Julianne, to a mysterious enemy.

Gabriel may have acquired the illustrations only a few years ago, but unbeknownst to him, they were stolen a century earlier from the ruler of Florence’s underworld.

Now one of the most dangerous beings in the city is determined to reclaim his prize and exact his revenge on the Emersons—but not before he uncovers something disturbing about Julianne…


Book Review 7: Party Games by R.L. Stine

Title: Party GamesParty Games Cover
Author: R.L. Stine
Release Date: September 30, 2014

Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear’s birthday party at his family’s estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party—the game of murder. As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn’t know whom she can trust. She should have realized that nothing is as it seems… on Fear Island.

R.L. Stine makes his triumphant return to Shadyside, a town of nightmares, shadows, and genuine terror, and to the bestselling series that began his career writing horror for the juvenile market, in the new Fear Street book Party Games.


Book Review 5: The Vines by Christopher Rice

Title: The VinesTheVines-Cover
Author: Christopher Rice
Release Date: October 21, 2014

The dark history of Spring House, a beautifully restored plantation mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, has long been forgotten. But something sinister lurks beneath the soil of the old estate.

After heiress and current owner Caitlin Chaisson is witness to her husband’s stunning betrayal at her birthday party, she tries to take her own life in the mansion’s cherished gazebo. Instead, the blood she spills awakens dark forces in the ground below. Chaos ensues and by morning her husband has vanished without a trace and his mistress has gone mad.

Nova, daughter to Spring House’s groundskeeper, has always suspected that something malevolent haunts the old place, and in the aftermath of the birthday party she enlists Caitlin’s estranged best friend, Blake, to help her get to the bottom of it. The pair soon realizes that the vengeance enacted by this sinister and otherworldly force comes at a terrible price.


Book Review 3: Neil Gaiman’s The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Title: Neil Gaiman’s The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

The Last Temptation CoverAuthors: Neil Gaiman, Alice Cooper, Michael Zulli and Dave McKean

Release Date: November 11, 2014

Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline, American Gods) brings shock rocker Alice Cooper’s concept album to life in a surreal sideshow of the soul! Join a young boy named Steven on a surreal journey of the soul, as an enigmatic and potentially dangerous Showman seduces him into joining his carnival. Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of this seminal Gaiman work, returned to print for the first time in over a decade. Fully remastered in color, this Deluxe Edition incorporates complete scripts to all three chapters, black-and-white thumbnail art of pre-colored pages, an original outline of the project by Neil Gaiman, and a collection of letters between shock rocker Alice Cooper and the author!

“I’m really happy that The Last Temptation is coming out for a new generation of readers, who have not seen Michael Zulli’s glorious drawings, or know of the Showman and his wicked ways,” says Neil Gaiman.

“I wrote this a long time ago, driven by love of Ray Bradbury’s dark carnivals and of Alice Cooper’s own pandemonium shadow show. It’s time for it to shuffle out onto a leaf-covered street and meet the people who don’t know about Stephen and Mercy and show what’s coming to town.”


They made me laugh (or WTF! moments)

I raise my glass to all the authors who have a great sense of humour, and who can convey it on paper with skill. I thought I would share the books that have been a source of a few (okay, more than a few) good laughs for me these past few years.

Laugh (Burnside # 2) by Mary Ann Rivers

Laugh Cover

Sam Burnside and Nina Paz go out on their very first date and things just go WRONG. I was rolling on the floor and laughing with tears streaming from my eyes by the time I finished reading about their nightmare date. It was pure Murphy’s Law in action. Mary Ann Rivers has a talent for making her readers feel what her characters are feeling be it loneliness, love, anger, lust, sadness, and – well – mortification.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 12 just to give you a feel of where their date is going (think the road to hell is truly paved with good intentions):

“What does your shirt say?”

Goddammit, PJ. “I don’t think it says anything. I think it’s just a design.”

She stopped and walked behind him. “No, I think it says something, it’s just very stylized. See, here.” She traced over his shoulders and he closed his eyes. “Huh.”

“It says deeper. Deeper than what? Does that mean you’re really deep? Or that you go—”

“I think it’s just the brand, or the company or whatever.”

“Huh. I hadn’t pegged you for a logo hound.”

“I’m not.”

“It’s really shiny, too. Sparkles in the sunlight. I like these small blue rhinestones on the swirls.”

“There’re rhinestones?”

“You’re a rhinestone cowboy, baby. Who goes deeper, or so your shirt claims.”

“It’s swank.”

“What is?”

“The shirt. That’s what PJ said, that it was swank.”

“What does that mean again?”

Sam closed his eyes and yanked Nina in close. “I have no fucking idea.”

They started to walk again. “I actually do like the rhinestones, but you know what I like more?”

“Normal shirts?”

“I like that you wanted to look swank for me and let PJ dress you.”

Sam grinned. He couldn’t help it. He’d done something right without even trying or understanding exactly what the right thing was. Who’da thought?

You’ll have to keep reading because the date doesn’t end with just a swank shirt as collateral damage.


Quote-tastic Monday (1): Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice

QUOTE-TASTIC is hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats & Burning Soup.

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Everyone’s welcome to join in. Authors, bloggers, readers. The more the merrier!

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Then link in your post every Monday on that week’s Quote-tastic post.
Don’t have a blog? No worries, just leave your favorites in the comment section for that week’s Quote-tastic.


Agatha Christie’s The Love Detectives

The Love Detectives Cover

In Agatha Christie’s short story “The Love Detectives,” mysterious and intriguing Mr. Harley Quin , comes along and works his magic through Mr. Satterthwaite, an old bachelor and shrewd observer of human nature. Mr. Satterthwaite believes that his meetings with Mr. Quin are never a matter of chance and that something is always about to happen wherein Mr. Satterthwaite will play a crucial part. In this particular story, Mr. Satterthwaite tells his friend Colonel Melrose that Mr. Quin is interested in lovers while on their way to Alderway where a crime has just been committed.


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