The Zombie Handbook

The Zombie Handbook: An Essential Guide to Zombies And, More Importantly, How to Avoid Them by Robert Curran

So I’m not a zombie person, but this children’s book intrigued me. I liked how it was like a journal and the pictures, so I checked it out from the library.

Ikonw I;m not reviewing this rgw nirmal way, but I loved it.

The first section gives you the difinition of zombie, what they look like, where they are found, and how to spot a zobie.

Section two goes over the different types of zombies Voodoo, cultural zombies, mummies, golems, marbh bheo, etc. I really enjoyed this part as I liked reading about the egends from around the globe.

The third secton goes over different zxombie lrgends: Osiris and Horus, John Domingo, Dr. Buzzard, Marie Laveau, The Zombie Masters of Walnut Hills, and Clairvius Narcisse.

The last section gos over Zombie armies-The Cauldron of Rebirth (i.e. The Black Cauldron), Denmark Vesey ad Gullah Jack, and William Seabrook.

The last part gives you a note about how to know someone is a zombie and a glossary of terms in the back.

It was great. I recommend it for anyone who has a kid who is into Zombies or horror, etc.

 

The Case of the Lion Dance

The Case of the Lion Dance (Chinatown Mysteries #2) by Laurence Yep

Lily and Tiger Lil are back in theis second mystery. Tiger Lil has been doing the marketing for a new resturant, owned by the arents of Lil’s friend, Barry Fisher.

Barry is biracial-white father and Chinese mther. This causes issues for him as he has to prove he is Chinese.

Tiger Lil starts the marketing off with a big grand reopeing and a Lion Dance contest-inviting two of the best martial atrs schools i San Francisco. One school is er traditional and only teaches Chinese students, the other teaches a variety of all people-Barry’s school.

Things are not going well for this opening. Ann Fisher, Barry’s mother, left her broher’s establishment as he was controling and taking all the credit for her work ad ideas. He didn’t want her to leave and he crashes the party.

The the two schols start fighting as the master of the Chinese only martial arts doesn’t think they should have the martial arts secrets shared

After their fight is ended it is tme for the competition, of which Barry’s school wins. But when they go to get their prize, a mysterious bomber causes the money to explode.

Who could have donw this? Barry’s Uncle? The Martial Art Instructor angry that he lost? Someone else?

It is up to Tiger LIL and Lil to discover the truth,

I really ejoyed this book, not for the story but because Barry is biracial. All my year growing up I have struggled to find books with biracial charactrs.

Th story was okay, i asn’t as intriguing as the previos one, but it was alright. I still enjoyed it and want to continuew the series.

 

The Companion

So today marks a very important day, it is 130th birthday of Agatha Christie!

As always I review one of her mysteries. Last year I started going through the short stories from The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems.

I thought I would be done by now, but things happened so I’m still working through it. We are currently on the eighth book:

“The Companion” from The Tuesday Club Murder by Agatha Christie

Plot Synopsis:

So Miss Marple is an elderly woman who has lived in her village St. Mary Mead all her life. But even though she grew up in a small town, she has the observational skills of a hawk.

One night there is a gathering at Miss Marple’s home with: Miss Marple; Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and a writer; Joyce Lempriére, an artist; Sir Henry Clithering, former commissioner of Scotland Yard; Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman of the parish; and Mr. Petherick, solicitor.

They are enjoying themselves, when Raymond starts talking about unsolved mysteries.

Joyce decides they should start a club and meet every Tuesday and present a mystery, one they know they answer to and call it: The Tuesday Night Club. Every meeting Miss Marple blows them away as she figures out the solution before anyone else can.

So in the previous story, this is a new dinner party with the Bantrys (Dolly Bantry and Colonel Arthur Bantry), Sir Henry, Miss Marple, an actress Jane Helier, and a Dr. Lloyd. They discussed the previous mystery, The Blue Geranium, and Dr. Lloyd is asked to share another.

A few years ago on the Canary Islands, Dr. Lloyd went to recuperate from some health issues.

He was talking with someone who pointed out some very beautiful tango dancers and how they are full of life and things will happen with them. He points to a couple of women who he thinks are boring and destined to live boring lives.

Dr. Lloyd goes to look at the ladies who are English and forty. One is fair and plump, the other dark and lithe. No one would ever look at them twice, but Dr. Lloyd was amazed with how ordinary they are that he asked their names: Miss Mary Barton and Miss Amy Durrant of Little Paddocks, Caughton Weir, Bucks.

The next day the two ladies went swimming, one went out too far and got into difficulties-the other tried to save her but almost drowned herself and was just saved by a man boating.

Dr. Lloyd went to help the nearly drowned woman but didn’t recognize her until she was in her clothes. He then realized she was one the women he noticed the day before-a Miss Barton or Miss Durrant.

She cries out in anguish over the death of Amy Durrant, her companion. Ah, so she must be Miss Barton. Apparently, Amy Durrant was an orphan and has no family.

Dr. Lloyd wouldn’t have thought anything of it other than it being a sad story except a Spanish women said she saw the other lady go out to her and force her head under the water.

The doctor looked into Amy Durrant but she was just a nobody, no family, hardly any money, and the other lady didn’t seem angry or deeply invested in her death-why would she want to kill her?

There is no real “problem” with it, but the Doctor just continued to feel like something was off.

The other woman, Mary Barton, began to suspect the Doctor thought she did some kind of wrong doing. She grew plumper and committed suicide-leaving a note stating that she wished for Amy’s forgiveness. Her clothes were found by the shore but never her body.

Hmm…

Now Miss Barton had a lot of money, it would be suspicious if Amy Durrant had murdered her, but why would Mary Barton kill Amy? Miss Barton’s money went to her relatives in Australia and that seemed the end to a sad tale.

Or is it? The reveal is at the bottom.

Thoughts After Reading:

This is an interesting mystery, but I have to admit it wasn’t as good as her other ones as I figured out the ending right away. I feel like as a woman, I had a distinct advantage over Dr. Lloyd.

For more Miss Marple mysteries, go to The Blue Geranium

For more from The Thirteen Problems AKA The Tuesday Club Murders, go to The Thumb Mark of St. Peter

For more Agatha Christie, go to Motive v. Opportunity

For more short stories, go to Cat Crimes

For more strange occurrences at the full moon, go to Fool Moon

 

The Friday Society

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

This book takes place in steampunk Victorian London and covers the story lines of three women. Cora Bell was a street urchin who was adopted by Lord White and has grown up in his mansion becoming his assistant in all his scientific experiments. Lately things have not been going well as Lord White has been spending more time in opium houses than the lab and he hired a male assistant-one that knows nothing and is more interested in Cora than in doing the work. She unhappily goes with him to a gala.

I’m so disappointed.

Nellie Harmon is Irish and moved to England for a better life, She is a knockout and worked in a burlesque show, becoming the most sought after girl-but always protecting her maidenhood. She left that when she met the magician the Great Raheem and became his assistant. Their lives are changed when a dead man shows up on their doorstep, a scientist.They start trying to search who he is and why he’s there when they have to go to a gala (the same as Cora) where scientific things will be shown and perform. Afterwards, she and Cora share a cab.

Michiko Takeda is Japanese and all she ever wanted to be was a warrior, a samurai. She is extremely beautiful and when she saw her father was trying to plan a wedding she ran away. She then went on to be trained to be a samurai, but was never to be gifted a sword as she was a woman and not given the honor.

Michiko left with Lord Callum who uses her skills to train wealthy families. They attend the gala to perform and that night when she heads home she is attacked. Nellie and Cora come upon her and the three girls get wrapped up in the two mysteries.

So Mystery One-the dead man. Who killed the scientist and why? It turns out to be a huge political plot and one that must be solved before the city is destroyed.

Mystery 2 is someone is murdering flower girls and preying on lower class women. Who? Why? This man attacked not only Michiko but killed one of Cora’s friends.

The girls team up and start their own vigilante society to stop whoever these people are. Nellie with her acrobatics, climbing, and magic props, Cora with her laser gun, night vision giggles, and Michikio with her sword. The three ladies take it on upon themselves to fight evil and save the day.

Thoughts After Reading:

So the actual mystery plot made me think of Sherlock Holmes (2009)-similar with the machine that will destroy everything. The idea for this book was really good, but at times there were parts were the story dragged and the writing was not very good.

But the concept was fantastic and that kept me reading. I loved that the girls became these superheroes using things mostly from their time period. I really liked the different women and how they interacted with each other-although I wish Michiko had spoken English as a lot of the book she is limited in her interactions with the other ladies as there is a serious language barrier.

Everything else was very enjoyable.

For more not in a series mysteries, go to House of Salt and Sorrows

For more Young Adult mysteries, go to We Were Liars

For more Steam Punk mysteries, go to Hearts of Smoke and Steam

The Picture of Earl Grey Tea Cookies

This recipe is borrowed from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup of Butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp of Vanilla
  • A Few Twists of Salt (I did a few pinches)
  • 1/2 Cup of Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp of Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea
  • Lavender (optional)
  • Milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Crush the tea with a mortar and pestle (I used the end of a rolling pin.)
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together.
  4. Add Vanilla and salt. Mix well.
  5. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and tea (lavender as well if you adding it in.) Mix well.
  6. If dough is too dry, add a little milk.
  7. Create 1 inch balls of the dough, roll into sugar, and place on a cookie sheet (far apart, cookies spread.)
  8. Bake for 6 minutes or until the edges are brown.
  9. Cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a plate.

Thoughts After Baking:

These cookies were delicious! I had to try and stop myself from eating them all!

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

For more Earl Grey Tea recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more cookies, go to Lavender Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

For more desserts, go to Ginger Cardamom Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies

House of Salt and Sorrows

This review is borrowed from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Annaleigh lives in a beautiful castle, Highmoor, on an island in the sea. She is sixth of 12 daughters, having a happy childhood until her mother passed in the last daughter’s childbirth.

Since then, life has turned grim. Not too long after their mother’s death, the eldest sister, Ava, passed away when plague slipped through the island. Ava was followed by Octavia when she fell off a tall library ladder and broke her neck. Then Elizabeth, who always suffered from bouts of melancholia died by suicide. Annaleigh and her sisters follow the custom of wearing black for six months, followed by six months of gray. The girls have been wearing mourning colors for the last few years, secluded in their home, not allowed to take part in balls and festivities, etc.

Their father, Duke of Salann Islands, has been free to travel, attend to business, etc. He remarried a young woman he met on the mainland, Morella, a woman young enough that many assume she is one of his 12 daughters.

Not too long after the marriage, another sister died, Eulalie…but this death feels different, wrong. Ava’s death was easily explained, all saw the pustules and knew of the fever. Octavia was always clumsy and falling or bumping into things. And Elizabeth, she had a long history of depression. But Eulalie was nothing like any of them. She was healthy and strong, she was graceful and never awkward or off balance, and above all she loved life. She wasn’t interested in inheriting the Duchy and becoming the Duchess of Salann, but she loved being a lady of the island and she loved men. She was the most gorgeous of the 12 and had so many admirers.

So why did she fall off the cliff? What was she even doing out at night? Was she meeting someone? Was she murdered?

Hmm…

No one believes Annaleigh, but she feels something is not right at all and starts investigating the death of her sister, against her father’s wishes.

On the case!

However, life takes a far different turn when Morella announces in the middle of Eulalie’s funeral that she is pregnant, and with a son. Morella also refuses to follow the customs of the island and wants a ball to celebrate her pregnancy and combine it with a party to celebrate the younger girl’s reaching womanhood.

Annaleigh is against this whole thing, as it looks and feels like no one cares about Eulalie, but she is outvoted and a ball is set with each sister getting their own set of “fairie slippers” dancing shoes.

Annaleigh begins investigating on the sly and visits with the fishermen who found Eulalie’s body. They found her with a locket, the chain smashed, but they could read the inscription on the piece. It was from a lover…a lover she planned to run away with, but was stopped? Or a lover that murdered her?

Hmm…

Annaleigh also meets a mysterious, handsome stranger, Cassius, who is on the island to take care of his sickly father. Cassius has otherworldly beauty and Annaleigh immediately falls for him.

All I can think is this stranger to be trusted, or is he going to bring more ruin on the household?

The ball comes, but it turns out to be a gloomy event. No one dances with the girls as they believe the house is cursed, that the girls carry death with them, people find it shocking that they aren’t even observing the proper grief rituals, etc. The ladies are sad, disheartened, lonely, and feel they will never escape grief, death, and gloom.

from my sister blog janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

The house is full of grief, death, gloom, and tension. Verity, the youngest, starts feeling spirits and seeing things. Annaleigh starts to feel it too, seeing monsters. Are they full of grief and pain, or going crazy and cursed? Or could someone be trying to destroy the girls? Destroy their family?

Hmm…

An old family friend, Fisher, returns from being the lighthouse keeper and aids Annaleigh as her soundboard. He doesn’t offer much help, but does express a wish they could leave the island and the gossip of the curse. Annaleigh wishes the same thing, but knows her father will never let them go anywhere, as they are in “mourning”. Fisher tells her stories of the gods, that there are “magic doors”, ones that allow them to go from their world to our world, easily transporting from island to capital, etc. If only, right?

Annaligh continues her investigations and finds a watch that Eulalie had. Inside was a lock of hair, a lock of blonde hair that matches Edgar Morris, the clock worker. He tells her they planned to run away that night, but when he got to their meeting place in the boat-someone, or something, knocked Eulalie over. So who, or what killed Eulalie? Or is Edgar lying and he is the murder?

Hmmm…?

No on believes him, but Annaleigh. The house grows darker and more depressed as the remaining girls realize the deaths of their older sisters have tainted them and they will never be able to escape…

Annaleigh wants raise their spirits and proposes searching for one of these “doors” Fisher mentioned earlier. They search the whole house and grounds but find nothing.

They decide to check the mausoleum, and when they get to the statue of the girl’s mother, they discover a door behind her. Fisher goes in first, followed by Annaleigh’s sisters Ligeia and Rosalie. After what seems like forever, the two return with an invitation to a masked ball. Uh oh, masked ball? Masked balls in Gothic stories don’t go so great.

All the girls are excited for the ball, for a chance to be free from gloom and doom. The theme is nightmares and daydreams, each sister excitedly coming up with beautiful costumes after beautiful costume-again so pleased to wear something other than black or gray.

The girls continue to dance night after night, except for Annaleigh, and they start changing from the girls she knew. Fisher tells Annaleigh he loves her, but when she refuses him, he disappears and so does her help. Edgar passes away, and with him Annaleigh’s link to finding more about Eulalie. And then some more of her sisters pass away.

Annaleigh continues to see, smell, and hear things-things no one else does. Is the house haunted by ghosts, by one of her sisters? Are they cursed? Is someone trying to make her go insane, or did they bargain with a trickster to drive them all insane?

Annaleigh is running out of time. She must find out who or what the culprit is.

Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this story as it blended many things I love-gothic fiction, fairy tales, etc. It was a compelling story and a good mystery, one that I enjoyed and tried to guess who was behind it all. I figured it out who was doing it and why, but not the how.

I liked how Craig built the doom and gloom which explained why they wanted to go out and party, even at the risk of death for others and the change of who they are from the drinking and partying in the god’s world.

For more mystery-fantasy books, go to The Crown Conspiracy

For more mysteries with curses, go to The View from Prince Street

For more mysteries that take place on an island, go to We Were Liars

For more Not in a Series Mysteries, go to The Invited

Romaine Salad

So I started this blog because I had a lot of free time and I started off by posting every Tuesday. I then upgraded to Tuesdays and Fridays, but I will have to go back to posting once a week as I just don’t have as much time as I used to.

To start that off we had The Cat Who Saw Red last week so we are borrowing a recipe from The Cat Who…Cookbook and my sister blog TheCatWhoWroteaBlog

Ingredients:

Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil
  • 6 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper

Salad

  • 6 Cups of bite-sized pieces of Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Cup of thinly sliced Celery
  • 1 Small Red Onion, sliced
  • 2  11-oz cans of Mandarin Oranges
  • 1/4 Cup of Sliced Almonds

Directions:

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients.
  2. Heat on the stove until sugar dissolves.
  3. Chill before serving.
  4. Place lettuce in bowl.
  5. Layer celery, onion, and orange sections over lettuce and sprinkle with almonds.

Serves 6.

Thoughts After Cooking:

This was good, not as good as Green Goddess Salad Dressing, but still:

And I recommend it.

For more The Cat Who…Cookbook recipes, go to French Onion Soup

For more on salads, go to Basic Chicken Salad

For more salad dressing, go to Green Goddess Salad Dressing

The Cat Who Saw Red

Borrowing from sister blog…

CatWhoWroteABlog

catwhosawred

“Qwill we’ve got a new assignment for you…we’re assigning you, my friend to the new gourmet beat. (pg.7)”

Now The Cat Who Saw Red always holds a special place in my heart. This was the first book I read in the series and it deeply invested me into the series. My friend Kyle really liked the series and told me about it. I was really intrigued by it and one day at the library I saw the series and decided that I would begin reading it. However, some of the older copies of the book don’t start off the listing of the novels with The Cat Who Could Read Backwards first, but instead start off with The Cat Who Saw Red. So this was the first one I read and I loved it. From this time on I was hooked. After I finished the series, it became something I…

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Spaghetti Aglio E Olio (Spaghetti With Garlic and Olive Oil)

So I had been housesitting for my parents and had bought some tortellini to make but then I realized there was no spaghetti sauce in the house. I didn’t want to make anything else, as it was late-so quick google search and I found this. It comes from ModernHoney.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of Spaghetti
  • 5 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic (Peeled and Sliced)
  • 1/2 – 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon of Dried Italian Parsley
  • 1 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring 6 Quarts of water to a boil.
  2. Stir in spaghetti and cook pasta according to the package directions. Save 1.5 cups of pasta water when draining.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add sliced garlic and cook for 1.5-2 mins, watch carefully so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  5. Once the garlic is softened, remove from heat and add red pepper flakes.
  6. Add 1.5 cups of pasta water.
  7. Once pasta is cooked and drained, toss with garlic and olive oil mixture.
  8. Toss with parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thoughts After Cooking:

So this was very good, but I forgot to take pics! But definitely try if you want a different sauce that is fast and easy.

For more pasta, go to 20 Minutes Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Angel Hair Pasta

For more recipes, go to Peanut Butter Oatmeal Apple Smoothie

The Invited

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

So I’ve read several  Jennifer McMahon stories and she has a formula she follows. One half of the novel will take place in present time, and the other half will take place in the past-the two intertwining.

This one takes place with a couple building a house on “haunted” land in 2015 and then tracing the genealogy of the family who owned it, us jumping through time from 1924, 1943, 1980, and then 2014-2015.

The story starts off with Hattie Breckinridge. Hattie has a problem, she can see the future and know things she shouldn’t know. She has tried to hide it and tried to help others by using it; but still is a pariah and labeled a witch.

Her family used to be wealthy and powerful in the community but they lost their house when it was burned down by townsfolk, her grandma dying.

She inherited a lot of money when her father died but remained in the woods with her daughter, Jane.

She warned the town something bad would happen at the school that day, and told them to keep their children home but no one listened and it burned down, killing three kids. Hattie hid her daughter Jane, and tried to calm the townsfolk down but they murdered her and hung her in a tree. Her money is buried somewhere on the property and she is rumored to haunt and walk the bog and woods for all eternity.

91 years later history teacher Helen and science teacher Nate Wetherell have decided to build their own house. It all started when Helen’s father, a former renovator/builder passed away. Helen grieved and also felt so lost as what to do next with her life. She decides she wants a historical house in the country and she and Nate started looking.

They searched and searched but none of the houses were right or they cost too much to fix. Nate then decides that they should buy land and build the house themselves. Helen is at first resistant as she wanted something with history, but then they see the Breckinridge land and she changes her mind.

Both are told it is haunted, but ignore it as they don’t believe in ghosts but that will soon change as weird things start happening. They find red strings tied on branches in an area of the bog, a gift of an animal tooth and nail is left at their trailer door, all kinds of things disappear, and they hear strange noises at night and see something…or at least Helen thinks she saw something as Nate doesn’t believe her.

One day there is a circle and when they go out they find a ghost…but it turns out to just be a 14 year old girl, Olive “Ollie” Kissner. Olive grew up in the town with her mother and father hearing the stories of the hidden treasure. She has been searching for it, tying strings to remember where she searched, and stole items and money to try and get the people to leave so she could keep looking. Her mother disappeared last year, everyone says she ran off with a man, and Olive has been searching for the treasure hoping it will bring her mom back or enable her to hire a private investigator to find her.

Treasure?

They feel bad for the girl and decide not to call the police but have her help with the house as she knows a lot about building from her father. She also introduces them to her aunt Riley, who knows a lot of local history and owns a salvage yard.

However, it turns out Olive hasn’t been doing all the spooking. She never left the tooth, she has’t been making the strange noises at night.

Hmm…

Then Helen sees Hattie, espechially after she buys the wooden beam that was in the tree that hung Hattie. She and Riley play with an Ouija board and get a message from Hattie to head to the old mill, Donovan and Sons.

When Helen gets out there she hears about a horrible fire that was there. The mill boss used to lock the women in and when the fire started they couldn’t leave-all burning up.

Helen sees some bricks they were going to toss and takes them home. She puts them in the house and at night she sees Hattie and her daughter Jane. She knows Jane was in the mill and she and Riley do some research and discover that a Jane Whitcomb worked there, formally Jane Smith. After comparing some pictures she is a dead ringer for Hattie.

Jane was bullied all through school and one day it got to be too much for her and she burned it down. After her mother didn’t come get her from her hiding place in root cellar she sneaked out and witnessed her murdered. She then ran away and was taken in by a family. She married and had two children, working at the mill. One day the supervisor tells her he going to make budget cuts by firing people and offers her a job, and then attacks her. Jane is furious and decides to set fire to the mill, not knowing that the doors are barred and they cannot get out.

Further research reveals Jane’s family and that her daughter, Ann Gray, was married and killed in murder-suicide. From there she heads out to the old farmhouse, but it was taken down. She heads to an antique barn and finds a mantel she is drawn to, which turns out to be the mantel Ann Gray was shot in front of.

Gruesome

Hattie takes it home, but when Nate finds out he is furious. He thinks it is strange and ghoulish how Helen is collecting all these dead relics. However, Helen will not stop as she knows she needs to find Hattie’s descendent and save her.

Meanwhile, Olive has been wondering about her mother’s running off and being asking questions. She thinks the rumors surrounding her mother are not true, and starts thinking something took her away, but who? Was it it her father? She heard them fight the night before she was gone. Or was it the secret society her mother was involved in? She never liked the idea of joining clubs, may they wouldn’t let her leave? Or could it be about the missing treasure?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought the mystery was good, but at the same time the author is starting to get predictable. You know it will involve some supernatural elements, travel back and forth in time, center on women, and in the end someone you thought cared about the main character is really the killer.

This was well paced, but I knew right away as soon as the characters were introduced who it was. It wasn’t bad, but I’m hoping the next one she writes has something new or different.

I did think Helen’s taking of dead relics was extremely creepy. I mean I like the macabre and history, but seriously? It is really weird.

For more by Jennifer McMahon, go to The Night Sister

For more supernatural mysteries, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more treasure hunts, go to High Sea Adventure

For more Not in a Series Mysteries, go to Pretend You Don’t See Her

We Were Liars

***Spoiler Alert***

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

The Sinclairs have money, power, and their own island-literaly. Every summer the Sinclair sisters and their families come to spend the summer on the island.

Cadence Easton Sinclair is the eldest grandchild and she always remembers the summers as being the best part of her life as she and the other liars-her cousins Mirren Sheffield Sinclair and Johnny Dennis Sinclair; along with Johnny’s best friend (and practically step-cousin) Gatwick “Gat” Patil.

Cadence remembers every year except summer 15. The start of that summer they had fun, and she and Gat fell hard for each other (even though he is very against rich white people).

But then there was some kind of accident. Cadence was found almost drowned. She has tried to remember, but there is nothing.

Now she suffers blackouts, has focusing problems, horrible headaches, etc. Summer 16 her father took her on a trip to Europe as they didn’t want her going back to the island.

Hmm…

But she has pleaded, argued, and threatened to run there anyway and her mom has agreed to let her go to the island.

She is thrilled as she as been emailing and texting her cousins and Gat but has had no replies. Are they mad? Hurt? What happened two years ago?

Back on the island, Cadence realizes there is a lot that has changed. Her grandfather has severe dementia, has rebuilt his old family house, constantly calls her Mirren, and something is just not right.

Her one aunt refuses to stay in her family house on the island, as they each have their own house, letting the teens just run amuck in there. Being with Gat, Johnny, and Mirren is like old times for Cadence, except they don’t want to leave the house, they spend zero time with the relatives, and no one wants to talk about that summer.

Hmm…

But Cadence is going to find out the truth of what happened. She goes through her memories, questioned everyone, and is intent in piecing out the truth.

But will she be happy to find out what happened that summer? Or will she had wished she never did?

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

I know a lot of people like this book and it is extremely well written. The author knows how to build the story and suspense. It was also very sad too, the end really bothered me.

It was like Fight Club where you discover everything was in her head-but there are a lot of things that don’t end up making any sense, a lot of the interactions, the things that happened. How did she get the house so dirty with it being just one person? Why would her mom, who constantly worries and doesn’t want her out of her sight for a second let her spend all her time in an empty house as the teens aren’t really in it? If anything she would be more likely to kill herself or hurt herself more.

How come when she talks to her little cousins about their siblings they don’t tell her they are dead? I have been around a lot of kids and worked with grieving ones and when someone dies that is ALL they focus on.

For more Young Adult mysteries, go to Recruited

For more island mysteries, go to Death by Honeymoon

The Riddles of Hillgate

The Riddles of Hillgate (Z & C Mystery #1) by Zooey & Claire Kane

I got this book free on BookBub and really sounded interesting-a mother-daughter duo buy an old mansion and spooky things happen-but it wasn’t.

I was really disappointed as the writing was not good and the story had a great premise but fell flat.

Bleh…

Zooey Kane is known to be unconventional and to make purchases that seem out there, so when she buys up a big swath of land she gets fired.

Her daughter, Claire, moves back as her boyfriend dumped her and she lost her job, They go to look at the land and discover that there is a gigantic mansion there. One that everyone has forgotten about which seems so weird? How? Why?

Anyways, they clean it up and found all kinds of priceless antiques. They decide to turn it into a bed and breakfast, but then one guest turns up dead.

After that they retool it to be one of those creepy horror hotels-and get all kinds of gusts. But-then the singer that night is electrocuted.

Now they have no one interested and must figure out what to do.

One day they are having tea and trying to think of what to do next. When they reach into the sugar bowl they find a clue. It turns out there is a mysterious man? Ghost? That wants them to find clues. And they have to solve it before it is too late.

So this is were the story fell apart for me. Already the style of writing was bad, but there has been a guy living in the house for over a 100 years and he couldn’t figure out these basic clues? I mean they were super easy.

And how did he live so long without proper food and water? I mean he says he scrounged, but with no one remembering that place what did he really have to live on?

And the whole thing is the guy, Dick Andrews, wanted to marry the wealthy banker, Mr. Fillmore’s daughter, and embezzle money-so he started a fire on the 4th of July to rob the vault and then went back to the mansion and killed everyone-how did anyone forget about the mansion? How come no one went back to check on the family and realize they were dead or that they never came back from “vacation”? Dick says that he planned the whole thing to make it look like the Fillmores left-but really. If they were such an influential family in town I cannot believe the police didn’t go check on them or the mayor look into it. It makes no sense.

Also, why did it take so long for them to realize they would have to pay taxes on all the amazing riches they found in the house (and didn’t they have a huge diamond at this point, so I don’t get why they couldn’t pay). I don’t know-this book is really bad.