Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bookie Brunch: Trick or Treat Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Bookie Brunch: Trick or Treat Blog Hop! This is where a group of bloggers post about all things Halloween. There will be a new post every day, and, yes, there are some giveaways planned, too, so feel free to join us for sweets and treats this Halloween. This event was set up by the lovely Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic. We had a similar hop last year and it was such a good time we had to do it again!

There are certain books that I just love to read at this time of year. Not all of them are creepy ones, not all of them are Halloween-related, just favorites for curling up in the dark and reading by flashlight. What books do you like to read this time of year? What are you reading this year?

I'll go with the oldest first. I read The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child for the first time when I was maybe 13. It is still one of the darkest, creepiest books I have ever read. Except maybe for their other novel, Still Life With Crows, but I like Cabinet of Curiosities better. It has a nice romance do go along with the crazed murderer and gory removal of body parts. :)

Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen is not a scary novel, despite the cover. It is sweet, sometimes funny, romantic and lovely. In it, Mr. Darcy is a werewolf. He doesn't turn into a rampaging beast by the light of the full moon, but rather into a more realistic wolf. I love this story, and there will be a full review soon.

While on the topic, I might as well hit the other werewolf book on my list. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Anybody who knows me knows how much I love this series. It is so beautiful, so achingly lovely...I already gushed in my review of the full series, which you can read here.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake is a recent addition to my favorite Halloween season stories. It is breathtakingly creepy at times and I love the unconventional ghost story. I haven't read the sequel yet, but if it is anywhere close to being as good as the first one, I'll love it.

Die For Me by Amy Plum is a story I fell in love with before I even opened it. Yes, I first loved it for the cover. It didn't take long for the story and characters to steal my heart. I wouldn't call this a scary story; it's got far too much romance for that, but it definitely had some shivery moments. Again, you can read my full review here.

Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin is a new acquisition for me and I haven't even read it yet, but it sure looks like a good Halloween story. Inspired by an Edgar Allen Poe short story and with that creepy cover...It's what I was planning to read this Halloween except that I forgot to take it with me to Washington...I did remember to bring The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, so maybe I'll read that instead. :)

And now, here are some delightful bloggers who would like to share some of their favorite Halloween treats with you. Enjoy!

                                                    Lieder Madchen

Saturday, October 20, 2012

On my way to Steamcon & the Tale of the Marvelous Hat

I'm going to Steamcon! This is so exciting! Tomorrow, my brother and his wife are going to pick me up and I'm going to stay with them for a week and a half, playing games, exploring the Seattle area and then, on the 26th through 28th, I'll be at Steamcon! After that, on Nov. 1st all the museums in Seattle are free, so we're going to go to the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum. It's going to be wonderful. :)

My sister, Livvy, and I have been working on my Steamcon costume, which includes a truly marvelous hat which I have named Sophronia. Here are some pics where we discover the truly difficult art of millinery. There might be some other random pics thrown in, too. :P

 A pair of goggles my sisters found in an old tree stump.

My Powell's order that showed up in the midst of this.

 Livvy trying out the hat brim.

 The top of the hat, which we just had to doodle on.

 A scarf and pair of earrings I picked up at Target and Fred Meyer, respectively. I'm going as a gypsy for the second day. :)

Livvy ironing cardboard for the hat brim.

 The fabric we used to cover the hat.

 More doodles...We mistakenly believed that haberdashery was another word for millinery. By the time we discovered our mistake, it was too late.
Even more doodles...I know, I spelled 'beauteous' wrong. I figured it out about 2 seconds after I wrote it, but it was too late.

Livvy's doodles...

  Clamps and a hot glue gun, very professional.

 More of Livvy's doodles.

Box cutting...lots of box cutting.

Me goofing off...

 It's beginning to look like a hat. The names are names of steampunk characters I've invented recently.

 Pretty flowers...

 Adding fabric...

 Putting it together.

Pretty fall color...

 More clamps, but we're using super glue this time.

 Messing with the camera settings while waiting for the glue to dry. This is called the 'fish eye effect'.

 Goggles are coming along nicely.

 Now for the straps.

 Lovely ribbon to trim the hat.

 Little sister M trying on the hat.

 Me trying on the hat.

 My trying on the goggles.

Livvy with goggles. I just really like this picture. :)

For the rest of my costume, you will just have to wait until I post my pictures from Steamcon. :)

                               Lieder Madchen

Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

Dead Time 
by Anne Cassidy

Genre: YA / Mystery / Contemporary

Ages: 15 and up

I received an advance e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.


When Rose was twelve, her mother and stepfather went out for dinner and never came back. Now seventeen, she lives with her grandmother and goes to school in London. She’s always wondered about her stepbrother, Joshua, whom she only lived with briefly and who was also relocated after their parents’ disappearance. When Rose and Joshua meet again, they find they have much in common, including a desire to uncover the mystery surrounding their parents’ disappearance . . . and a mutual attraction to each other. But when Rose witnesses the murders of not one but two of her classmates, she must uncover who is behind these violent crimes. And when she and Joshua discover that a much larger conspiracy is underway, both of their lives will be in danger. From international bestseller Anne Cassidy, this first in a fastpaced and romantic new mystery series will keep readers guessing.

My Thoughts:

Hmm, what to say about this book...overall, the word that comes to mind is 'dull'. From beginning to end, this was a dull story set in a dull, grey world with dull, grey characters. It took all of my staying power to actually finish it.

Rose, the heroine, was tired and depressed and not particularly interesting or likable. Reading about her, even I began to feel tired and depressed. Her step-brother, Joshua, was much better but not good enough to save the story. Skeggie, Joshua's best friend, was probably the most entertaining character of the lot.

The plot was completely unbelievable and frequently confusing. While the genre is mystery, it seemed like more of a soap opera of stupidity on the parts of most of the main characters and the villains. The motivations behind the murders were just dumb.

I picked this book because I love mysteries and I love stories set in London. While it had a couple of good ideas to begin with, it didn't go anywhere. It never grabbed me, never made me care about the characters and never sparked.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I give it a 2.10 for two mild swearwords.

I rate it a 2.10 for some sexual innuendos and insults.

I give it a 5.10 for two murders, neither described in detail.

                       Lieder Madchen

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Review: Crush by Lacey Weatherford

by Lacey Weatherford

Genre: Contemporary / Young Adult / Mystery / Romance

Ages: 16 and up

I received an advance e-copy from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you, Lacey!!!


Cami Wimberley has a plan, and that plan includes no room for boys—especially the big time party animal, Hunter Wilder, no matter how handsome and charismatic he is. She’s beautiful, a senior, extremely talented, gets good grades, and is working her way toward her dream college to be a musical theater major. Everything is perfect.

Hunter Wilder does not want a girlfriend—that would complicate his life way too much right now. He especially doesn’t want this girl, Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes, so how come he can’t keep his eyes off her? He tries to keep her at arms length, but fate seems to keep pushing them together. Before long, it’s obvious to everyone they’re crushing on each other.

As sparks begin to fly, Hunter finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into hot water. Soon he’s scrambling to keep Cami from discovering his dark secret—one that can destroy their entire relationship.

My Thoughts:

OK, to be perfectly and completely honest, I wasn't expecting to like this as much as Lacey Weatherford's Of Witches and Warlocks series. So far I've loved everything she's ever written, but I generally prefer fantasy to contemporary. So, I expected to love it, just not quite as much. Hah. I was wrong. This is probably Lacey's best novel yet.

For characters, you have sweet, thoughtful Cami, mysterious, troubled Hunter and geeky, unsettling Clay. I really loved Cami. She's very kind and naive to the point of obliviousness at times, but there's a fierce stubborn streak that only comes out when you push her a little too far.

I thought upon first meeting him that I wasn't going to like Hunter much. He has issues like you wouldn't believe, including drug use and drinking. Despite that, you can't help but like him. He makes you laugh, he makes you sad, he makes you want to hit him upside the head in frustration, but most of all, you want to discover his secret. I came up with all sorts of theories with everything from, oh no, he's a vampire! to, hmm, is he in witness protection?

Clay is a fantastically written character. He's been Cami's best friend forever, but now he wants to be more. From the first scene with him, he gave me the shivers. The, oh dear, this is going to be sooo messy kind of shiver.

The first half of the book is mostly about Cami, though the POV alternates with Hunter. The plot moves at a marvelous pace, growing in suspense even as the focus shifts over to Hunter for the second half. And then that ending! So. Freaking. Awesome. It just pounces on you, and you think, so that's what was going on! It all makes sense now! I wanted to cheer, but it was ridiculously early in the morning and I didn't want to wake anybody up.

Whether or not you've read Lacey's other books, whether or not you like contemporary YA, you'll like Crush. It was fun, serious and adventurous all at once.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for one mid-level swearword and drug use.

I rate it a 4.10 for multiple references and innuendos as well as an attempted rape.

I give it a 5.10 for attempted rape, murder and one scene of violence.

                                Lieder Madchen

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: The Weepers: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker Book Review: The Weepers: The Other Life
by Susanne Winnacker

Genre: Young Adult / Post-apocalyptic / Zombies / Science Fiction

Ages: 14 and up

I received an advance e-copy through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Sherry has lived with her family in a bunker for more than three years. Her grandfather's body has been in the freezer for the last six months, her parents are at each other's throats and two minutes ago, they ran out of food. Sherry and her father must leave the safety of the bunker.

What they find is an empty Los Angeles, destroyed by bombs and haunted by Weepers - savage humans infected with a rabies virus. While searching for food, Sherry's father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a vineyard where a handful of survivors are picking up the pieces of their other lives, before the virus changed everything. Sherry must find a way to help her family, stay alive, and decide whether Joshua is their savior or greatest danger as his desire for vengeance threatens them all.

This debut novel is a page-turner that is not easy to forget.

My Thoughts:

This book was...okay. It's pretty much a classic zombie survival novel; the main characters spend most of their time fleeing from or fighting the zombie-like 'Weepers', who are people infected with a particularly violent form of rabies. The world has gone to heck in a hand-basket to say the least.

The main characters are pretty good; Sherry is the sheltered (she lived in a bomb shelter for over three years) but tough heroine and Joshua is a fighter, a survivor used to taking care of himself and others. The minor characters are decent, but they don't grab you.

Much of the story was very predictable, you could see what was coming around every corner and it never made you jump with surprise. A good zombie story ought to make you jump. It was kind of a cross between the movies Blast from the Past and I am Legend. Not particularly original.

There was nothing I really disliked about this book, just nothing that made me love it, either. It's pretty short, so it's okay for a rainy day if you like the genre, but other than that I wouldn't really recommend it.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for mid-level swearing.

I give it a 1.10 for very mild hints, some kissing and a past crush.

I give it a 6.10 for death and some goriness.

                               Lieder Madchen