Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Mary The SummoningFrom Goodreads: There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.” A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–before it’s too late?

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I don’t believe in ghosts, and certainly not in Bloody Mary, but that doesn’t mean you’ll catch me chanting her name to the bathroom mirror. Why tempt the powers that be? Yet even so, Monahan succeeded in scaring me quite often throughout this novel, as Mary’s powers grew and she haunted the girls. And I do enjoy a good scare. I suggest reading this one late at night in a room with mirrors. It really adds to the storyline.

This is a series, so there is going to be more, but even knowing that going in, I have to admit that I am dissatisfied with the ending. While Shauna may be doing better at the moment, nothing is truly resolved in this first installment, and I want to know more. Many questions arose as I read, and many of them seemed to suddenly crop up near the end, so I feel like I have more questions than answers at this point, which I never a good feeling at the end of a book, whether part of a series or not.

I enjoyed this novel overall, though I didn’t care for any of the characters. Yes, Mary was scary and I didn’t want bad things to happen to the innocent characters, but when they did, I never really felt any emotions. I think more detailing of the characters, more fleshing out, would have helped me connect with them more. Jess is a piece of work, and I really didn’t like her or her hold over the other girls–I wish they’d have grown a backbone and actually said no a time or two instead of thinking about it, complaining about it, but then ultimately going along with Jess.

I did enjoy the ghost aspect of this story; as I said, I liked the scare—but I really need to know the WHY behind Mary. Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

I received this novel from the author, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble

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18811785The giveaway for an ebook of Demonica by Will Davis has just concluded, and I’m excited to say that the winners have been chosen via Rafflecopter!

And the winners are…

Irene Tsiachta

Jessica Lynn Leonard

A tweet has already gone out to the winners, and an email will go out later this evening! If I don’t hear from the winners within 48 hours, I will select a new winner(s) using Rafflecopter.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to the winner… but don’t despair if you didn’t win this round!

Enter to win my other great giveaways:

Win a Signed Paperback of Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins–ENDS Dec. 22

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Two will Win a Signed Paperback of Stilts by Tim O’Rourke–ENDS Dec. 26

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17666743From Goodreads: When sixteen-year-old, Dusty Vermeer, moves to rural Iowa with her dad and sister at the start of her sophomore year, she undergoes major life changes – a new school, new friends, and a popular new boyfriend. But she soon discovers all is not what it appears to be. When Jack Olson, a handsome young soldier, begins to invade her dreams each night, she bears witness to the horrors of war and must determine what is real and what is just a dream. When Jack finally steps out of her dreams in ghostly form, begging for help and struggling to remember his life, Dusty makes it her mission to solve the mystery behind his death. As she draws closer to the truth, she places her own life at risk while struggling to cope with the feelings she develops for the soldier who’s been dead for nearly 60 years.

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This was a great mystery novel.  It’s fairly short and to the point, making it a fast paced read that you won’t want to put down.  Dusty is a great character that is easy to fall in love with, especially because she’s so innocent and genuine.  She really wants to do right by others, and I loved that about her.  I easily related to her, though we’re vastly different, and though she’s technically a story-book character, I think we’d be great friends in real life.  Finishing the novel was like leaving a friend behind, and I can’t wait for the next installment in this intriguing series.

Though I figured out the truth about Jack Olson much sooner than I’d have liked, Sheldon does a wonderful job keeping the reader interested, especially with its epic conclusion.  My heart was definitely in my throat as I read through to the end—I could see it all unfold in slow motion, even though I was tearing through the pages at warp speed by that point.

This is a great read that I think readers from all walks of life will enjoy.  I highly suggest picking it up.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble



Haunting by B.J. Sheldon

Release Date: September 1, 2014

“How far would you go to protect the man in your dreams?”

Haunting_medium

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Synopsis:

After a family tragedy,15-year-old Dusty Vermeer has to start her sophomore year in a new town and a new school. Rural Iowa introduces her to Mark, a charming football player. Dusty can hardly believe her heart. Then, to her surprise Dusty meets another guy.

The chemistry between Dusty and Jack could spark a prairie fire on a rainy day. The only problem? Jack’s dead. The handsome soldier comes to Dusty in her dreams and introduces her to the horrors of a foreign battlefield and the enchantments of first love.

While Dusty tries to balance her feelings for the two new guys in her life, Jack steps out of Dusty’s dreams and into her reality. And he wants something. Jack has no memory of how he died more than half a century ago. Dusty vows to uncover the mystery, but her quest for justice puts her in the path of evil, a force that won’t stop until she’s silenced.

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Intrigued?  You can WIN an ebook of Haunting from B.J. Sheldon!

Click this Rafflecopter Link to Enter!

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About the Author:

B.J. Sheldon’s love of writing has developed into a passion for creating exciting characters and storylines that she hopes will enthrall and inspire young readers to pick up a book and use their imaginations. Her novel, “Haunting: The Dusty Chronicles – Book One”, is based in her hometown of Hull, Iowa and focuses on a teenage girl adjusting to a new town as well as the ghost that has begun haunting her home…and her dreams.

BBJ Sheldonorn in Sioux City, Iowa in 1972 and adopted thirteen days later, B.J. grew up on a farm just outside of Hull, Iowa.  Later, she moved with her parents to Phoenix, Arizona where her father did various odd jobs before retiring as a freight hauler, and her mother started her own business, professionally cleaning homes. B.J. graduated from a private high school in 1990.  Throughout her junior high and high school career, she could be found writing poems, short stories and novelettes on a daily basis.

B.J. was married at the age of 20 and moved with her husband to Glendale, Arizona. Together they had two beautiful daughters, at which time she put her writing aspirations aside to become a full-time purchasing assistant, wife and mother. In 1999, she decided to add full-time student to her already busy schedule and graduated with a degree in project management from theUniversity of Phoenix. Divorcing in 2001, BJ. moved back to Phoenix and got a job as a program manager.

Then, in 2003, she married Steven Sheldon, her muse, and together they welcomed their daughter in 2004.

In 2009, B.J. lost her job and remained unemployed for nine months. During that time, she once again discovered her love for writing and wrote her first, full-length novel for her daughter’s fifteenth birthday called, “Schuyler and the Saga of the Sages.” Unable to find an agent, B.J. started looking for an idea for her next novel. One night, after a conversation with her husband about the paranormal, an idea was born and the rest was history. Over the course of the next eighteen months, B.J. developed the plot and wrote “Haunting”, a story about a teenage girl who discovers that the ghost who is haunting both her farm and her dreams has a mysterious past.

In 2011, B.J. was awarded a silver medal in the Reader’s Favorite Award Contest in the Young Adult/Fantasy category and was the only book in that genre to win an award without being a previously published work. “Haunting” was published on April 29, 2013 by Wandering in the Words Press. Her dream is to one day attend a book signing in her home town in Iowa where she first developed her love of words.

She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, Steven, who is now a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, along with her three daughters, dog and three cats.  Some of her favorite authors include Richard Russo, Nicholas Sparks, Isaac Marion, Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling and Guy De’Maupassant. The sequel to “Haunting: The Dusty Chronicles – Book One” is tentatively set to be released in March 2014.

Links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bj.sheldon.author

Website: http://bjsheldon.webs.com

Twitter: @BJSheldonAuthor

Instagram: @BJSheldon

Pinterest: BJSheldonAuthor

Blog: http://www.bjsheldon.wordpress.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/BJ-Sheldon/e/B00CMCDGYG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1375363031&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Haunting-The-Dusty-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00CLIATCS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375363130&sr=1-1&keywords=the+dusty+chronicles



9396154From Goodreads: Jade loves the house she’s just moved into with her family. She doesn’t even mind being the new girl at the high school: It’s a fresh start, and there’s that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade’s little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade’s jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn’t.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who’s seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade’s school — until her untimely death last year. It’s up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

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So, I have this quirk of mine where I like to cozy up in my bed late at night, turn out the lights, and listen to scary books on my Kindle (while the computerized voice isn’t all that scary, the fact that I am listening to potentially deadly situations unfold in the pitch dark always heightens the fear factor for me as opposed to reading in the daylight).  I ended up listening to all of Harrington’s The Dead and Buried this way, and let me tell you, there were definitely some instances in which my blood ran cold.

While the beginning of the novel reads like any other YA story in which a teen moves to a new school and is struggling to make friends, the twist is the fact that Jade and her family moved into Kayla Sloane’s house, the resident mean girl who died in the very house Jade now calls home.  The fact that it remains unclear whether or not Kayla was murdered makes it all the more chilling, and as Jade begins to uncover the truth about Kayla’s life, loves, friends, and death, a creepy ambiance surrounds the novel.

I loved Jade’s determination to save her family from the wrath of Kayla, and her sleuthing abilities were fun all follow along with, and so was the little romance Harrington added to the mix.  However, I will say that I was able to figure out the truth surrounding Kayla’s death fairly early on due to some foreshadowing and “in passing” comments from other characters in the text.  This isn’t a bad thing, by any means, but I definitely would have liked it to be more of a surprise.  But, what was lacking in the surprise department was definitely made up for when it came to scaring me stiff.

In regards to Kayla, I hold absolutely no love for her, especially as she threatens Jade’s family and the truth about her thoughts and feelings unfold.  She was a terrible person in life, and a terrifying entity in death, and even finding out the truth about her death didn’t make me feel sorry for her, but rather filled with anger.  Once you read it, you’ll see why, but I can’t say anything else about that without giving away clues, so I’ll move onto the aspects of the novel that scared me to death.  While Kayla is new to haunting people, she has no qualms about threatening the life of a five-year-old, and her new-found ability to possess Jade’s younger brother chilled me to the bone.  As I laid in my bed listening to the story unfold, there were multiple instances that Kayla did something that made my hair stand on end and my entire body tingle—similar to the feeling you get when a part of your body begins to fall asleep.  What was really creepy about this is that the feeling of intense evil would come over me and go from head to toe in a matter of seconds, which in turn chilled my blood and had me turning on the light to make sure I was alone and that no ghost was haunting me in my room.  I don’t know that I would have been as afraid had I read this novel during the day, but I’m telling you, if you really want to be unnerved and a little bit frightened, definitely read this novel with minimal light when you’re home all alone.  The plot will seriously mess with your feelings of security.  Four stars.

4 stars
Scholastic Inc. has been extremely gracious in allowing me tno read this novel via Netgalley.


et cetera
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