Both of these patches were made for specific people in mind. On the left, I made this one for my friend Sara and it references an inside joke that is at least 15 years old. On the right is the patch I made at the request for Guy. It's a symbol for one of his favorite bands, Sabaton, that is only found in a video game. Both were pleased with the results.
Feel the Fear … and Beyond, by Susan Jeffers
Full disclosure, I’ve been writing Susan Jeffers monthly newsletter articles for years and have worked for the company for more than a decade. I hadn’t read this book of hers, which is more of a workbook, but I was looking for new material for my articles. This is a solid follow-up to her super famous Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. The book offers solid advice about how to turn your fears into triumph.
The Beckoning Fair One, by Oliver Onions
A horror novella from early 20th century. A middle-aged writer moves into a long-abandoned house in a quiet neighborhood to finish his next novel. The house has other plans for him and does not want any interference (especially in the form of his lady friend). Creepy in the same vein as The Turn of the Screw, but much more intelligible. Fun, quick read.
Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love from Day One, by Emily Heyward
A second nonfiction entry this month! I mentioned before that one of my jobs is becoming more intense and I’ll be doing a lot more marketing, so I picked this book up to expand my skills. It’s an interesting take on what a brand can be and how to connect it to customers. It was more specific to start ups than what I was looking for, but still offered a lot of good advice. Plus, the stories behind famous brands was super interesting.
What If You & Me, by Roni Loren
I started listening to this romance because I thought there was going to be a bit of horror to it. There wasn’t. Podcaster and horror writer, Andi, keeps everyone at arms-length since her high school boyfriend turned out to be a killer. Former firefighter, Hill, keeps everyone at arms-length since he lost a leg in a fire. Now these two are neighbors, let the romance ensue. This was a nice, standard romance. It’s the second in a series, and I’ll probably read more. Sometimes I just need nice.
The Ship of Stolen Words, by Fran Wilde
A children’s book where there is a portal between the human world and the goblin world in a neighborhood’s Little Free Library. Goblins come to this world to steal words, which are very valuable in their world. When goblin Toliver steals Sam’s ability to say “sorry,” Sam gets in big trouble. To get his word back, he has to work with Toliver and his Nana to bring down the goblin pirate prospectors. A lot of great adventure in this book, plus word magic and word hogs.
Austenland, by Shannon Hale
I finally got this book as an ebook through a library. It was surprisingly hard to find. The story follows Jane (another one this month!), a Jane Austen-obsessed singleton who is gifted the opportunity to spend three weeks in an immersive country estate where she gets to pretend she’s a young unmarried woman in Regency England. Yes, this is a romance, and yes, it is impossibly cute right up to the grand romantic gesture and happy ending.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth Ware
On lists of folk horror, Ruth Ware comes up a lot, even though she is considered a thriller writer. A cozy thriller writer, is that a thing? Hal is a young woman without any family since her mother was killed in an accident three years before. Broke and being threatened by a ruthless money-lender, she takes advantage of an offer to go to her wealthy grandmother’s funeral—even though she knows that the woman is not her grandmother. Or is she? Hal becomes entrenched in a family saga that includes her mother and a family she knows nothing about, that puts her in a dangerous position. I liked this story. It wasn’t quite horror, but there were definitely some creepy stuff in it.
(An odd note: this book is about a psychic with a booth on Brighton’s board walk where there is also a mystery involving an inheritance. Just like The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Borova. An odd coincidence.)
After a dry spell during June and July, I made up for with 15 books in August. Several were books I'd start a month or more before and four were audio books, so it's not like I started all of them from scratch.
The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix
Another hit from Hendrix. The premise is fun—all the slasher movies in the 70s and 80s were based on real life events and now, all grown up, these Final Girls have to face real life with all their mental and physical scars. But then someone starts targeting them. Now Lynette, the survivalist among them, has to make them believe someone wants them all dead and has to figure out who is behind the sinister plot. Yes, just as fun as it sound. It is horror, so if you can take some really intense scenes, you’ll also get the excellent mystery of the plot.
The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova, by Ruth Hogan
Reading Ruth Hogan is like getting a hug. I really loved The Keeper of Lost Things and this too is a delight. The story surrounds Imelda Burova, a beloved psychic with a booth on Brighton’s boardwalk. Alternating between the early 1970s and now, we get to know both young and old Imelda and the secret she has been keeping all these years.
The Way Back, by Gavriel Savit
Set in the 19th century in a rural corner of Eastern Europe primarily populated by Jews, two young teenagers come face-to-face with Death, only to thwart it. This leads them on a fanciful adventure through the Far Country (the place of demons in Yiddish folklore) and real life. Along the way, they meet some of the most famous biblical demons and learn that without death, there is no life. Interesting read, though a bit convoluted at times. Overall, it was an interesting book.
The Ghost Road, by Charis Cotter
I pulled this book out of the returns cart at work and I’m so glad I did. It’s a middle grade novel about a girl who is sent to Nova Scotia to live with her long-dead mother’s family for the summer. There she meets a cousin who looks just like her and learns about a curse that has haunted her family for generations. Atmospheric, historical, somewhat magical, and fascinating. I really liked this novel and am looking forward to reading more by this author.
Enola Holmes & the Black Barouche, by Nancy Springer
Yay! A new Enola Holmes. This one is aimed at the YA crowd (after the Netflix movie) but starts only a few months after the sixth book. In this story, Enola works directly with Sherlock to find a woman who is presumed dead, but whose sister insists that she lives. This book didn’t come out until the end of August, but I listened to it with an advance listening copy (ALC). It was so great to have another Enola story and this one is just as good as the previous series. Plus, this book is good for long-time fans or new ones.
The Wife Upstairs, by Rachel Hawkins
Another audio. This book is a Southern Gothic version of not only Jane Eyre, but also of Rebecca. We start off knowing main character Jane is a con artist. She takes advantage Eddie Rochester, quickly becoming his live-in girlfriend, but really, who is conning who? This book has a lot of plot twists and leaves you guessing until the very end. A definite recommend from me.
Childgrave, by Ken Greenhall
This is another Valancourt Press republish, they had the ebook on sale, so I thought I’d give it a chance. (I was looking for another creeper.) It was all right. Set in 1982 in NYC, photographer Jonathan becomes obsessed with a harp player and his four-year-old daughter starts seeing ghosts—which he can photograph. This leads him on an odyssey to the rural village of Childgrave, New York, which has some very creepy secrets. The story was kind of meh. I kept waiting for it to get exciting … and it did in the epilogue.
Terciel & Elinor, by Garth Nix
This book is out in October, so I read the ARC. Another excited ‘Yay’ from me, since the Old Kingdom series is one of my all-time favorites. This book did not disappoint. It tells the story of how Sabriel’s parents met and how a great enemy was once defeated. It’s a direct prequel to Sabriel, however, I think it could be another entry point to the series.
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