Review: Beastly Bones by William Ritter

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Title: Beastly Bones

Author: William Ritter

Publishing Information:  September 22nd 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Series Information: Second in the Jackaby series

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Source: Received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers interested in a novel with a paranormal mystery, slight macabre, cheeky and interesting main characters and yes, those of you who love Sherlock and Doctor Who.

Related Posts: Check out my review of Jackaby

I am sure that you all remember me singing the praises about Jackaby last year. I went on about how much I loved the quirky and entertaining adventure between Abigail and Jackaby. I am so excited to tell you that Beastly Bones was just as fun as Jackaby, and even more endearing. Beastly Bones sends Jackaby and Abigail to a new location. They are headed out to where the now exile Charlie Cane resides, and much to Abigail’s excitement, their new case revolves around newly unearthed dinosaur bones.

One of my favorite parts of Jackaby was the mystery, and the way in which it reminded me so much of Sherlock meets Doctor Who. Beastly Bones brought me a different joy than Jackaby in that we were able to meet new characters, as well as see more of my favorite characters. We are introduced to Hank Hudson, a skilled trapper who has a long standing friendship with Jackaby, and Nellie Fuller who works hard to catch THE story of the year. These characters only add to the fun of the story and I would absolutely love to hear more about the Jackaby and Hank shenanigans from back in the day. As mentioned, Charlie is central to this novel, and he and Abigail take part in some very sweet moments. Along with many other readers, I look forward to seeing how their romance blossoms. Jackaby was especially endearing in relation to these romantic developments as he reminds me so much of my father in his, “please let’s not discuss you dating” way with Abigail, but when she really needs some encouragement, he is right there to help.

Now, the main storyline was intriguing and fun, but if I’m being completely honest, my favorite parts of the novel were the parts that centered around Jenny and the story of how she came to be a ghost. I loved the way William Ritter added the twists of her story to an already interesting plot, and the cliffhanger of the novel kept me absolutely needing more. From what I have gathered, at least one more book is coming, but no other details have been shared.

Shelf Talker: William Ritter again gave us an interesting, mysterious, and all around fun novel in Beastly Bones. Wildly entertaining, Beastly Bones is a fantastic follow up to Jackaby. This novel was full of wit, and intrigue and I loved every minute. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Jackaby and company!

 

The Secret Sister Project (4)

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I cannot believe that it is already time for round FOUR of #OTSPSECRETSISTER!!

Let’s first get some housekeeping things out of the way…

The two most important things to do when signing up to be a part of this project are:

  1. Head over to the google form which coincides with your monetary tier and fill it out in full. NOTE: IF YOU FORGET TO DO THIS THEN YOU WILL NOT BE PAIRED. THIS IS LITERALLY WHAT WE ARE USING TO PAIR YOU UP, IF YOU AREN’T ON THE FORM, WE CAN NOT PAIR YOU.
  2. BEFORE scrolling down to the questions, and BEFORE signing up to be a part of this project please THOROUGHLY read our FAQ and Rules post. Memorize the rules and refers back to it throughout the project. We are going to have to put more strict standards in place this round and therefore there is little leeway for tolerance of people not abiding the “rules.”

Just to cover all of our bases let me reiterate a few things, but please keep in mind that this is just a basic glossing over of these rules, we go more in detail and clarify everything in the main post that we are asking you to reference.

First, please remember that this is a commitment. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND/OR gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” you sign up forIN ADDITION to this, you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication. Many people asked for their to be an emphasis on the pen pal aspects of this project and we have been working hard to remind everyone that it’s not about the gifts, and this seems like the perfect way to do so. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. Please think of how sad (and unfair) it would be for someone to be working hard to make their secret sister feel special and not receive anything themselves!

Last thing, sign-ups run from January 16 to midnight on January 29! Continue reading

The Secret Sister Project: FAQs

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Hey there, friends! We have been absolutely blown away by the generosity and positivity shown during The Secret Sister Project! Thank you all so much for your kind words to those of us who host, and for being there to provide cheer for one another. It is really something to go through the hashtag and see you all lifting each other up despite only being matched to one “sister.” Your generosity shines through and it is heartwarming to be part of a group filled with strong, uplifting people!

Most of you can imagine how much work goes into a project like this. The three of us are expected to always be available to answer questions, keep on top of people who are not abiding by the standards we set, promote the project and so on. It’s tough and frustrating at times, and we are doing everything we can to make it easier on everyone for next round. That being said, this post is going to be LONG and DETAILED and should provide you with all of the information that you need if you want to sign up for the next round.

We ask that you read this post thoroughly, and refer back to it PRIOR to reaching out to us with questions during the project. In addition, keep in mind that the hashtag #otspsecretsister is ALWAYS a fantastic resource for information needed, odds are that someone participating knows the answer to your inquiry!

The Basics:

The What:

The Secret Sister project is essentially a cheer club. Think Secret Santa but all year round (in 6 month intervals) with less emphasis on big presents, and more thoughtful notes, cards, small somethings sent just to let your secret sister know that you are thinking about her!

The When:

  • Sign-ups will go live on January 16, 2016
  • This round will run from February through July 2016

The Who:

You guys! But there are some conditions that must be met prior to signing up, we are going to outline those below under “The Rules.”

The How:

On January 16 we will be posting questionnaires on our blogs for you to fill out. In addition to the questionnaire, you will also be asked to answer a few questions for a Google form. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not fill out BOTH of these things in full, then you will NOT be paired. The Google form is NEW this round, but it is what we will be using to pair, so DO NOT FORGET. 

FAQs:

What will I have to do if I sign up to be a secret sister?

This is a commitment, we can’t lie to you. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND/OR gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” you sign up for. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. Please think of how sad (and unfair) it would be for someone to be working hard to make their secret sister feel special and not receive anything themselves!

Do I have to send presents?

Depending on the group that you sign up for, it may not be necessary for you to send presents. Keep in mind that this really is meant to be more of a cheering up sort of club.

Look at how extravagant that package is! I don’t have that kind of money…

Neither do I! This is why we have different price ranges, one of which is strictly pen pals – that means NO trinkets, etc! You should never, ever feel as if your package is inadequate as long as you are meeting your price range “standards.” Trust me, it is much more meaningful if you stay within your price range but then send an extra letter or handmade card just to check in that month! Anyone who is getting caught up on the size of the gifts is missing the entire point of the project and will be dealt with accordingly.

Do we have to remain secret?

No, though that is part of the fun! Just leave your name off of the card or box you are sending if you want to remain secret, and reveal yourself whenever you wish! Some have used the same sending and return address, which is sneaky and perfect. It is entirely up to you! (If you are looking for some tips on how to remain secret -like if you want to send an e-book, for example, we can help ya out!)

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On the Same Page: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Title: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Author: Lish McBride

Publishing Information:  October 12th 2010 by Henry Holt and Company

Genre: Fantasy, paranormal, humor, horror, supernatural, magic

Series Information: First in the Necromancer series

Format: Hardcover, 343 pages

Source: Was gifted a copy

Recommended For: Fans of the humorous side of horror and those who value friendships over loveships.

Related Posts: Check out Amy’s post on readalikes and Brittany’s review!

I loved Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Love it. It was full of heart, humor, and well, necromancy. What more could a gal ask for? I loved this book so much that I immediately started to read it’s sequel and friends, I just cannot get enough of Sam and his crew. The friendships in this novel were excellent, the loyalties among these friends is definitely something to be envious of. My favorite part of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer was definitely the way in which it made me laugh. Sam’s personality is extremely lovable in his perfect use of wit and sarcasm. He is definitely a guy that I would was as my best friend. To better understand what I am talking about, I thought I would showcase some of the hilarious quotes found throughout the novel. Check them out, and check out Amy and Britt’s post and let us know what you think! Have you read Hold Me Closer, Necromancer? If not, have we convinced you that you should give it a go? 

jedi of hot chocolate

“Despite her obvious stress, my mom still managed to pour the hot chocolate into mugs, cover them with whipped cream and a pinch of cayenne, and add a cinnamon stick to them. She was like the Jedi master of hot chocolate.”

in peace

“Can you just tell them we don’t need Jesus, Girl Scout cookies, or whatever the Mormons worship, and let me lie here in peace?”

mustang

“Mrs. Winalski owned a candy-apple-red 1965 Mustang GT convertible, and she drove it like she could die at any minute and needed to get five things done before that happened.”

no no cha cha

“So you’re the guy who did the no-no cha-cha with my baby sister.”

The Secret Sister Project: Meet Your Hosts

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Hey there loves! As many of you know, one of the biggest “rules” that we are pushing is that we hosts must “know” you. A lot of you have asked what constitutes us “knowing” you, and that is a very valid question in this digital age! Basically, we want to have faith in those that we are allowing into our precious project. We want to be able to say, “Oh yeah, that is the girl who chatted with me about her search for a job as a Librarian.” Or, “She is the girl who was active in the hashtag despite not being able to join in on last round.” We look at your avi picture, we memorize your name, we make notations next to your sign-up in our spreadsheet. Full disclosure: when we go to our spreadsheet and one (OR TWO!!) of us has to notate, “no idea who she is, she doesn’t even follow me” we give some serious side eye. Are we looking for followers? Not in the least bit. Do we think that you ONE BILLION PERCENT should know who ALL THREE hosts are? OH. YES. We actually had a ridiculous amount of people this round thank two of us, not know that they were speaking to one of the hosts when we reached out to inquire about an issue, and so on. It is embarrassing for YOU when we bring this info back to base as the information on who we are is so readily available in a few different places. With that being said, we thought it would be helpful if we each wrote up a little “about me” so that you had some points to bring up when you chatted us up over the next month. HINT: THIS MEANS IT IS A VERY GOOD IDEA TO GO AND VISIT BRITT AND AMY’S POSTS, THERE MIGHT BE A QUIZ LATER. We put the question to twitter, and some of you had some things you just HAD to know, so let’s get goin’! 

How did you get the idea for The Secret Sister Project?

To sum it up, I was having a rough 2014 and needed some cheering up and I remembered about this Secret Sister project that is put on at churches where my family attends. I brought this idea to Britt and Ame and we pondered if we could take this idea and put it to the test with our online community because who doesn’t need more cheer in their life? We launched a mini group as a sort of trial to see how it worked out and we were so thrilled to see how well it worked. I am always astounded and proud to see how well it is working and feel so lucky that this community is filled with such kind people.

How did the three of you meet?

Through the magic of the Internet. To be perfectly honest, it is somewhat hard to remember a time in which we weren’t friends as we have become family over the years. I do know that Britt and I bonded over The Princess Bride after she saw my reference in my Twitter profile and continue bonding to this day over our conversations that can be carried out by using only quotes from the TV show, Friends. I was lucky enough to be paired with Amy for my first year participating in The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa. I remember being floored at how perfect she is at picking out presents for me (something I am still thankful for to this day) and it wasn’t long before I realized that she was the best listener and kindest person I may ever know. Somehow we got a group chat going that now is a literal consistent conversation all day, every day. Fast forward through weddings, 15 hour road trips, tears, laughter that makes you pee a little and here we are – soul friends! There are few things that I am more thankful for.

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Fortnight of Fright: Not As Creepy Halloween Recommendations by Lauren

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Today we have my dear friend Lauren helping you all out with some not so creepy Halloween recommendations!! Though Halloween is indeed my favorite since I love being scared (and the Halloween decor is the type that I keep up all year round) I still know that a lot of you don’t love the whole horror vibe! So I am going to let Lauren take it away and help you guys out with some things to read, watch, and eat!!

I have to say, I think it’s kind of funny that I ended up here on Alyssa’s blog, with my post full of non-creepy Halloween things. Alyssa is probably the first person I think of when I think of scary things, skulls, and anything else along those lines (that I tend to avoid). Regardless, I’m happy to be here on her blog because Alyssa is one of my favorite people even though she’s like the Lucille Bluth-iest.

SO today, I’m here to share some Halloween fun from a person who usually doesn’t get into the scary, horror-filled books or movies of the season. I love fall more than most people (my birthday and football and pumpkin things!), but just… not the scary stuff. My mom is the complete opposite so it’s kind of weird that I turned out this way. Regardless, here are my picks for how to enjoy the Halloween vibes of October without getting scared.

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I’m not opposed to being scared every once in a while, but horror or mystery books are usually not the first ones I reach for. Fall is a great time for getting a little creeped out by what you’re reading… but I usually prefer not to be looking over my shoulder thinking there’s a ghost. (Reading in the dark apartment while my boyfriend is asleep makes me too nervous sometimes.) I’ve curated a list of books that are FAIRLY creepy or have a cool mystery/thriller vibe to them, but probably won’t cause you to be afraid of the dark. I also included a TBR of some of the books I hope to read this season. In addition to all of the Halloween-y books, I included some movies and recipes to get you in the spirit!

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Fortnight of Fright: Daughters Unto Devils Review & Cupcake Recipe by Becky of Stories and Sweeties

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Readers, you are the luckiest today! SUPER excited today to have Becky from Stories and Sweeties join me today because not only is she reviewing a book that I have been dying to read, but she is giving us an AMAZING cupcake recipe. Take it away, friend!

Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release date: September 29th, 2015

Intended audience: Young adult

Stand-alone

Source: from publisher for honest review

Rating: 4

Review: Daughters unto Devils is all the things I want for a perfect Halloween read.  Incredibly eerie atmosphere, a classic horror movie feel to it, a touch of gore, and plenty of spine-chilling scenes that make you hesitant to turn out the light at night—it’s all here.

Amanda Verner makes for a great unreliable narrator. The Verner family lives on a mountain side and their isolated family dynamic and extreme piety makes them feel like a bizarre and twisted Little House on the Prairie. They were trapped in their house during a bad winter, clinging to their lives and their sanity, while the flu-stricken mother gives birth to a deaf and blind baby.  Something happened to Amanda that winter, and it’s unclear if the isolation got to her head or if she truly saw something in the woods. Her bewildered family questions her goodness and her sanity nearly as much as she does herself. After a secret affair with a boy from town leaves her with child, she finds herself lost and at odds with her only ally, her sister Emma.

At the threat of another bad winters, the family fleas to the plains—and that’s where the creepy really sets in. Terrifying things start happening, you get a few of those classic horror moments where you find yourself yelling at the characters, “No! Why would you do that?!” The haunting past of the plains and their new house takes its toll on the whole family until things spin out of control and culminate in a wildly gut-churning end.

There are definitely no shortage of disturbing scenes in Daughters Unto Devilsnot for the faint-hearted, but absolutely perfect for readers looking for a truly horrifying Halloween read.

Devilishly Sweet Cupcakes

I’ve come up with a Halloween treat to perfectly accompany you while you dive into Daughters Unto Devils!  Rich devil’s food cake, fluffy cream cheese frosting, and a bloody good surprise inside! ;)

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Fortnight of Fright: Review of The Dead House from Jaime of The Best Books Ever

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Hey monsters! Today we have Jaime bringing you a solid review of a creepy read, The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich! I have to tell you guys that this one was on my TBR for this month and I just don’t think that I am going to fit it into the schedule, which makes me so sad, especially after reading Jaime’s review! Take it away, Jaime!

The Dead House

Dawn Kurtagich

September 15th, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

I LOVE a good horror story, any time of the year, but especially around this time of the year. When it is starting to get cold outside, the leaves are changing and it gets dark earlier. Fantastic background for getting the crap scared out of you. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too scared reading The Dead House. Fortunately, I loved it anyway!

Dawn knows how to write a creepy story, no doubt about it. And the fact that she writes it in the form of diary entries, newspaper articles and police reports is truly impressive. Like I said, I never really got scared, but the creep factor was high. Kaitlyn Johnson is a very unique character. She is definitely the darker half of the Carly/Kaitlyn duo. Her descriptions of living the night are right on target with an angsty, scared and lonely teen girl. She wasn’t the most relatable or likeable character ever, but I loved her anyway. Being in her head was downright disturbing! The other characters in the story take a backseat to Kaitlyn, but they were very well written characters. There wasn’t a character involved in the story that didn’t have a place in it, or didn’t add something to it. Even the most minor ones. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Dionaea House & Other Scary Stories by Lindsey of A Bookish Sinister Kid

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Hello dears! Lindsey is here to chat all about Dionaea house and other creepy places! Lindsey always has the best stuff, she is the one who found me some of the ONLY stories that have ever scared me (thank you, Reddit) and I can always count on her to send me the creepiest and most perfect things that only a select few cool (okay, maybe weird) peeps would enjoy. Also, she is totally traveling to CT to see a LORE show (which she hooked me on) with me this month!! Anywho, take it away, Linz!

You can pretty much find anything on the Internet these days, which means there’s no shortage of creepy stories, websites dedicated to spreading the scariness around!

I religiously go to a livejournal that dishes the best celeb gossip called Oh No They Didn’t. Besides celeb gossip, they cover all sorts of entertainment news as well as current events once in a while. Every now and then there’s a tag that pops up with a post that’s called: “creepy post” usually associated with the horror genre releasing something. One of the reasons I love this livejournal so much is for the comments section! I live for their comment section–I’ve read new books because of them, looked up items mentioned, watched various films, and listened to great new artists because the comment section has a ripple effect.

During a creepy post a few years ago, close to Halloween, someone posted about this website called the Dionaea House. The comments I had been reading mentioned that it was “supposedly” an abandoned film project that created a website to hype up the movie before release. With it being like 1130pm and my parents downstairs I decide, eh, why not–I like being scared, let’s start reading…which was so foolish because OMG I WAS SO FREAKED and panicked to go to sleep. Continue reading

Review: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Title: Blood and Salt

Author: Kim Liggett

Publishing Information:  September 22, 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre: Horror, fantasy, mystery, romance

Series Information: First in a duology

Format: Hardcover, 352 pages

Source: Was gifted a copy by Cassi of My Thoughts Literally

Recommended For: Fans of atmospheric novels that make you feel as if you are caught outside on an October evening. For fans of Kendare Blake, The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle and Gothic novels filled with beautiful writing and unforgettable characters. 

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own. As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

It is hard to say what I loved most about Blood and Salt. This might be silly to say, but the whole scary corn aspect really added to the atmosphere for me. You see, I grew up in a house right across from a farm, and they had a GIANT cornfield. A cornfield where we would often play hide and seek, or dare each other to go into at night. Honestly, very few things are scarier than being in the middle of a cornfield on a chilly, windy evening. That being said, the atmosphere of Blood and Salt was stellar. I loved the creepy cult vibe of the whole settlement, and I kept waiting for the veil to drop. Let me tell you, did that veil ever drop. I was equal parts sad for the inhabitants of the settlement, and horrified at their mentality. As little tidbits came to light I was shocked by some of the revelations and absolutely couldn’t put the book down.

Now, what about the romance, eh? The first thing that I am going to say is that there is no love triangle in this novel. To be quite honest, I am unsure what book other people were reading when they noted that there is a love triangle. It isn’t even like there were blurred lines here, there is no love triangle to speak of. At all. Second little thing to note about the romance is that the Romeo and Juliet aspect comes (not at all from a love triangle) but from the aspect that Ash & her beau come from different family lines who are forbidden to be together. You know, like Romeo and Juliet. Okay, so the thing that there is, however, is some serious instalove happening. As we read on the we come to understand that there are REASONS for this sort of thing, but there was a certain burning desire between these two characters upon seeing one another and at first glance it totally set me off. As I said, things become more clear throughout and things got a little achy and there were yearns and I enjoyed it, but in the beginning the romance wasn’t my favorite part of Blood and Salt. However, and I can’t say too much here, Ash’s reaction to the relationship near the end of the novel was stellar. It felt real, and it felt strong.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

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