HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays!  I love getting trick-or-treaters, watching corny Halloween movies, and reading spooky books.  But my favorite part, besides the decorations, is getting to dress up.  Each year I have these elaborate plans to dress up as some outlandish character but it never seems to work out.  Oh don’t get me wrong; I still dress up!  I just always go as a different version of me; the version I would be if I lived in a different era.

Last year I was an air racer from the 1930s.  In real life I am a pilot who loves flying vintage aircraft and dreams of having a replica antique racer.  I KNOW I would have OWNED the races if I had been a pilot back in the 1930s.

photo 1

This year I am going as Rosie the Riveter.  I definitely would have been either a W.A.S.P. or a Rosie if I had been alive during World War II.  I work on vintage airplanes now and am quite comfortable with a rivet gun!  I was totally responsible for dissembling the cockpit of a rare F4U Corsair and my guys always said “A woman put her together and a woman can take her apart.”

photo 4

So, for me Halloween is about history; imaging who I would have been.  But it also reminds me to be thankful of the unique talents that make me all me!  It’s no wonder I look forward to October 31st every year!  What are your favorite talents?  What are you going as this year!?  Kata is going as a Landshark!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! – Lindsay

photo 2

Advertisements

Awards

I’m still quite new to the blogging world. So let’s just say that I was shocked, honored, and somewhat confused at being nominated for three awards over the last month.  This blog was something I started to help me adjust to life after grad school and to share my love for books and I am thrilled that so many of you enjoy Sand Between The Pages.

I want to thank, and recognize, the individuals who nominated me!! You guys are awesome!

Another Night of Reading

Romance4thebeach

Arielle Joy

But I will not be participating in the awards process. Not yet anyways.  I will however answer the questions posted by these awards and ask that you take the time to check out these talented women’s sites!  You ladies are wonderful.  Thank you so much for the consideration!

For One Lovely Blog Award:

Seven facts about myself.

  1. I fly airplanes and have done so since I was seven. I love my little vintage taildragger and I feel the freest, and happiest, when flying it.
  2. I also scuba dive. It is like flying underwater!
  3. I love Mexican food. A lot. To the point my husband automatically tells me ‘no Mexican food’ when making dinner plans.
  4. I have always been a story teller but it isn’t until recently that I decided to actually write a full novel. I’m still working on it.
  5. I am scared to death of clowns. This is because my childhood room was decorated in life sized clown wall art and I swear those suckers came to life every night!
  6. I still have my childhood teddy bear. She knew all my secrets growing up, always loved to hear my stories, and never baulked at traveling. When I moved away from home she went with me and I made sure her head was sticking out of my backpack so that she could see. (For the record: I am an adult and I know she’s not real but the little girl in my heart will not let me forget the times she was)
  7. And lastly, I love to read! Reading rejuvenates me and brings me peace. It is best done in the company of loving animals: my cows in high school, my dog in college, and my tortoise now.

For the Liebster Award:

1. If you were stranded on a desert island and only had one book, what would that book be?

Torture! This is a tough one for me but it’s a toss-up between The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (five books in one) and Kristen Britain’s Green Rider. Green Rider is one of my all-time favorite books and I have read it at least 15 times. It has yet to lose its ‘I love this book!’ effect.

2. What’s your favorite part of going to a bookstore?

The smell. I love the smell of paper, especially old paper, mixed with that of coffee and pastries! I also the happy feeling that starts at my toes and just takes over; the feeling that I’m on an adventure.

3. What are you currently reading?

The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m using it for inspiration for NaNoWriMo.

4. What book from your childhood has stuck with you the most?

I have a lot of these. Lowry’s The Giver was the first book to push me to examine the workings of the world. Pierce’s Immortals Series novels were the first books I picked out for myself.  Britain’s Green Rider is still one of my favorites. I was a shy and insecure kid (still am) and this novel showed me that a girl doesn’t have to be born amazing to step and shine as a hero. It left me feeling confident in my future.

5. What book has had the largest impact on your life?

Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. It was after reading this book that I decided to write a novel. Her experience was inspiring and her story fun. It rekindled the writing spark and led to me starting this blog.

6. What is a book from your childhood that you absolutely want to read to your children?

Brian Jacques’ Redwall. I have fond memories of reading this book with my brother. I want my future children to make similar memories.

7. What is the most books you’ve read in a single week?

Maybe 5. I’m not sure. I really don’t keep track of that stuff.

8. What is your favorite quote from a book?

“Not all those who wander are lost;” JRR Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring. Yes, I know everyone loves this quote but I am a traveler at heart. Everything on my bucket list are places to visit so it appeals to the gypsy side of me.

9. What literary character do you most identify with?

Um, I really do not have a particular character. I identify with a variety of people but I guess my favorite would be Karigan from Green Rider.

10. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?

The Giver. No question about that one. I cannot wait until its out on DVD!!!

11. Who is your favorite author and why?

Too many, once again, but I’ll go with Marissa Meyer and Kristen Britain. They may not be the best writers but their characters never fail to draw me in to the story.

Between Worlds

Between Worlds

by Jacqueline E. Smith

22095545

Someone always dies… Someone is always left behind…

Now that his secret is out, Michael Sinclair finally agrees to join paranormal superstar Luke Rainer and the Cemetery Tours crew on an investigation. Not just any investigation. The biggest investigation of their career.

Once home to the wealthy Sterling Hall and his beloved wife, Joanna, Stanton Hall Manor in Maine is famous for the love story that inspired it… and the ghosts who now inhabit it. For Luke and the crew, Stanton Hall is a dream come true.

Unfortunately, some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

I was starting to get a little burned out on the Halloween novels; I mean, look how many I have reviewed in the last month!  But I told Jackie that I would read Between Worlds, the second novel in her Cemetery Tours series, and provide a review this week.  Boy, am I glad I made that promise because I couldn’t put it down yesterday!  Between Worlds was exactly what I needed to pull me out of my reading slump.

Between Worlds picks up just three months after the conclusion of Cemetery Tours.  Michael is struggling with his new life; a life where his carefully guarded secret is now national news.  He has the dead and not so dead begging for his assistance.  It is such a request that prompts him, Kate, Brink, and Gavin to join Luke and the Cemetery Tours team on a visit to the haunted Stanton Hall Manor.  Here they must uncover the truth behind an interesting love story and help a heart-broken ghost.

I LOVED IT!  Reading Between Worlds felt like catching up with old friends with each turn of the page and I have to say that Jackie’s writing has only improved with book two.  She discusses some pretty serious, and sometimes heartbreaking, issues but still maintained a light, and often humorous, atmosphere.  Brink kept me laughing, Luke exhibited a surprisingly complex personality, and I loved the developments between Michael and Kate.  I definitely did not have a problem connecting with Michael this time around!   I even loved the haunting of Sterling Hall.

I do wish there had been more about Emily.  I quickly figured out her secret but I was hoping that Michael and Brink would do more to help her with her reality.  I know she was doing better when the group left but I personally wanted more closure for the poor teen.  And I really got frustrated with how Kate’s mom treats her like a rebellious and incapable teenager.  (This has nothing to do with Jackie’s writing 🙂 this is me being annoyed with the actual character)  I understand that the nearly loosing her daughter would make her so cautious, but I was just waiting for her to realize that Kate is a strong woman and that her overbearing behavior is only pushing Kate away.  Oh well, maybe she’ll have an epiphany in book 3 :).

Thank you for the excited story Jackie!  It was nice having a paranormal book that I didn’t want to put down and I can not wait for the next installment!  What do y’all think of Between Worlds?

Lindsay

Haunted on Bourbon Street

 

Haunted on Bourbon Street

by Deanna Chase

Haunted on Bourbon Street

From USA Today bestselling author, Deanna Chase, the first book in the Jade Calhoun series. HAUNTED ON BOURBON STREET Jade loves her new apartment–until a ghost joins her in the shower. When empath Jade Calhoun moves into an apartment above a strip bar on Bourbon Street, she expects life to get interesting. What she doesn’t count on is making friends with an exotic dancer, attracting a powerful spirit, and developing feelings for Kane, her sexy landlord. Being an empath has never been easy on Jade’s relationships. It’s no wonder she keeps her gift a secret. But when the ghost moves from spooking Jade to terrorizing Pyper, the dancer, it’s up to Jade to use her unique ability to save her. Except she’ll need Kane’s help–and he’s betrayed her with a secret of his own–to do it. Can she find a way to trust him and herself before Pyper is lost.

Yesterday was a ‘do nothing but read after work’ day.  It was just one of those days were I needed a short break from reality, and what better way than getting lost in a book?  I found Haunted on Bourbon Street on my Nook.  I guess I had picked it up at this time last year, and I decided to read it since it fit within my October theme.

It was fun but not great.  I liked the story idea: Jade is an empath living above a strip club on Bourbon Street when a ghost decides to be her roommate.  She is determined to hide her gift but must venture out of her comfort zone when her ghost starts hurting a close friend.  Its different but fun; I was even ok with the wholesome stripper idea despite its clichés.  The writing just did not back up the plot.

It felt unedited.  A character would be sitting on the couch one second and then be going through the fridge the next.  It read choppy and was hard to follow at times. The writing was repetitive.  I stopped counting the number of times that Jade marveled at how “he remembered my drink of choice” each time the hunky Kane brought her a beverage.  I now know her ‘drinks of choice’ by heart: Guinness, red wine, and chia lattes.  Haunted on Bourbon Street is just full of telling language instead of showing language and I felt that Chase was a first time author when she wrote this.  Blaring editing problems such as these, and the lack of showing descriptions left the characters reading flat enough that I did not rush out to purchase another book.

But don’t let that deter you.  The sexy aspects of the book were fun, and I did care about Jade’s relationship with Kane and her friendships with Pyper and Kat.  The plotline was actually rather unique and interesting and I enjoy the atmosphere of Bourbon Street and haunted New Orleans that Chase describes.  It is the perfect beach read on a warm fall day and I spent a few of my reading hours curled up in my chair outside enjoying the sun and story.

Haunted on Bourbon Street was just what I needed to escape the rough week.  🙂  Has anyone else read Deanna Chase’s novels?

Lindsay

Sparrow Hill Road

Sparrow Hill Road
by Seanan McGuire

Sparrow Hill Road (Ghost Stories, #1)

Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.

It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.

They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.

You can’t kill what’s already dead.

I picked up Sparrow Hill Road during the spring in one of my mid-semester book buying binges. It is a ghost story told from the ghost’s POV, so I waited until October to read it.

Sparrow Hill Road is an interesting collection of stories that meld together in a non-linear tale of Rose Marshall: the Phantom Prom Date, the Ghost in the Green Silk Dress, and the Ghost of Sparrow Hill Road. Rose is left as a sixteen year old for eternity and is charged with helping the ghosts of the road find their way home. She is also stuck running from the man who stole her life…

I liked it. I was a little shocked because the novel received such mixed reviews on Goodreads but I actually liked how it read like a collection of short-stories with each chapter dedicated to one specific event. It was fun reading the vastly different stories and watching how McGuire makes everything flow together seamlessly. I also enjoyed Rose. She is strong, snarky, impatient, arrogant, and just fun to read. Her personality is perfect for a teenager who has spent decades walking the ghostroads and dealing with death.

The short-story collection approach does have its downside. The beginning of each chapter provides an eloquent, yet lengthy, analysis of life on the ghostroads. It got repetitive…fast. I was also not a fan of the ending. It just happened abruptly, leaving one main plot point unfinished and obviously setting the stage for a second book. I’m fine reading the second book but I had expected more closure at the end of this one.

Nevertheless, I recommend it if you are looking for something paranormal but vastly different from the norm. Sparrow Hill Road is much different than the other McGuire novels I have read, and I am pleased to say it is a strong piece in it’s own right. Has anyone else read Sparrow Hill Road?

Lindsay

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

by Harry Turtledove

Vintage Steven Smith Soldier Teddy Bear Pair Plush Union & Confederate Army with Wooden Rifle Musket

 

I initially read The Road Not Taken in my Science Fiction Lit class during my undergrad (I miss that class!).  I had been thinking about the story the last few days and I had to reread and share!  I ran into some problems though because I could not find this particular short story listed by itself.  So here is a cute, and relevant picture from Pinterest and I provided the link to Turtledove’s website.  I am afraid to provide a synopsis because I don’t really want to spoil the story for you.

Just know that Turtledove is the king of ‘what if?’.  This story takes a different look at point of Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken.”  And he does so utilizing alien cultures and technological advancement!  Just read it!

Sorry for the short review.  Anyone out there a Turtledove fan!?

Lindsay

The Ride

The Ride

by Aric Davis

The Ride (A Short Story)

Thirty years hasn’t changed Las Vegas—the desert just got dirtier. The biggest game in town centers on a massive, deadly roller coaster that winds its way through the Strip’s most famous attractions. On the first Saturday of every month, twenty-four desperate passengers get strapped into the notorious ride and gamble with their lives in a twisted game of chance, to the thrill of webcast audiences worldwide. One of them will win, and one will die, but the other twenty-two will escape with nothing but their lives. Bets are placed as the ride begins, but in Vegas, the house always wins.

The Ride by acclaimed author Aric Davis is a terrifying near-future vision of bloodlust-as-entertainment taken to a horrific extreme.

Its a beautiful Friday and I cant think of a better afternoon to review a few short stories!  First up is Aric Davis’ The Ride.  I found this story on Amazon last week and was excited about the premise of a deadly rollercoaster ride acting as a game of chance.  So I REALLY wanted to love The Ride; really bad because I think the premise is brilliant.  It just wasn’t a homerun for me and I think that would have been different if the story had just been a tad bit longer.

The Ride provides a great description of what results from societal boredom and humanity’s desperate need for the next big thing.  Davis is great at describing the initial stress and desperation of getting on the ride and expressing the failings of human nature with the ride’s route.  But after that it just fell short for me.  I wanted more detail concerning the death on the ride, and yes that may seem morbid, but the point of this story is to show the morbid tendencies that push people to creating such an attraction.  This left the ending feeling rather abrupt.  It just happened and that was that.  I was hoping for more descriptions concerning the feelings of those experiencing that death and I also wanted to know what happened to Frank!

But all that aside;  I love Davis’ voice, his writing style, and I am looking forward to picking up some of his other work!  Its a good story and an interesting statement about modern (and futuristic) culture.  Who else is a fan of Aric Davis?

Lindsay

The Great Pumpkin Caper

The Great Pumpkin Caper
by Melanie Jackson

The Great Pumpkin Caper (A Chloe Boston Mystery #10)

It’s Halloween and this year Chloe is certain she’ll win the pumpkin carving contest, but the night before the competition someone uses Mr. Jackman’s giant pumpkin to squash an unpopular dentist. This is publicity the town doesn’t need. Can Chloe solve the pumpkin caper and save Halloween?

If you are a fan of Nancy Pickard or Susan Conant you are going to love the cozy hometown feel of Moving Violation.

The Great Pumpkin Caper is the 10th book in the Chloe Boston mystery series and the last Chloe Boston novel I will be reviewing this month.

This story starts less than a month after the events in Haunted, and Chloe is back at work part-time. She still does not know what she wants to do with her life but she has begun looking for other activities to occupy her time such as taking online classes to get her private investigator license and participating in her Lit-Wit group.  She has also taken to growing gigantic pumpkins and developing her own style of squash art.  Until, the local dentist is crushed under one of the massive pumpkins and Chloe is pulled in to another murder investigation.

This is my least favorite of the three Halloween themed Chloe Boston mysteries.  Now, this doesn’t mean it is bad because in actuality the story is quite good.  It is just the majority of the story-line is dedicated to Chloe getting her life together instead of the actual murder mystery.  Chloe felt lost during Haunted, and she is still somewhat frustrated about her future during The Great Pumpkin Caper.  There are many sections dedicated to psycho-analyzing human violence and Chloe struggling to find the joy in small things.

It is still a nice October read and well worth it if you are interested in growing and carving pumpkins. Just expect to read more about ‘the questions of life’ instead of a daring murder mystery. Let me know what you think!

Lindsay

Cemetery Tours

Cemetery Tours

by Jacqueline Smith

Cemetery Tours (Cemetery Tours, #1)

Some secrets are best kept laid to rest.

At least, that’s as far as Michael Sinclair is concerned. At twenty-seven, he has spent his entire life pretending that the ghosts he encounters on a daily basis do not exist. Now, if only the dead would let him rest in peace.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem likely, especially after Kate Avery and her ailing brother, Gavin, move in next door. Kate and Gavin are haunted, and not by a dearly departed loved one. This spirit is aggressive, menacing, and harboring a dark resentment toward Gavin. In spite of every instinct advising him to walk away, Michael finds himself seeking to uncover the mysteries of Gavin’s past and falling for the bright and lovely Kate. Yet competing for her affection is Luke Rainer, television’s hottest celebrity ghost hunter and the only (living) person to know Michael’s secret.

But the dead have secrets, too. Some will go to any length to withhold what should have gone with them to the grave, while others will risk everything to make their voices heard, even if that means putting another’s life at stake. Now, for the sake of friends and strangers alike, Michael must choose between preserving his cherished anonymity and lending his aid to those for whom all hope seems lost

Cemetery Tours is the second book an author asked me to review and I want to thank Jackie Smith for sending me a copy of her debut novel!  I decided to wait until October to read it because the storyline fits perfectly with this month’s spooky Halloween theme.

Michael has always had the ability to see and talk to ghosts, and it is a talent he diligently ignores.  That is until a brother and sister, Gavin and Kate, move in next door and bring a angry ghost with them.  Now, against his better judgment, Michael will do what he can to help Kate; even if that means he must put up with the handsome television star, Luke Rainer.  Cemetery Tours takes readers fun, ghost filled adventure through north-east Texas!

Cemetery Tours is a well written debut novel.  I enjoyed all of Jackie’s characters, which are all well developed and unique individuals.  I easily connected with Kate because of her strong and vivacious personality; my grandmother always says that Texas girls are strong!  I love how Jackie seamlessly incorporates modern cultural references throughout the story.  It makes the characters even more real; the type of people you could meet on the street or next door.  I also enjoy reading Jackie’s writing style.  We are both from similar areas of Texas and Jackie’s voice had me reminiscing about home!

I really don’t have any negative comments about Cemetery Tours.  I found the story moved a little too fast in the middle of the novel.  I was hoping the speed would have slowed down just a tad so that I could marinate in the details of the scenes.  This point made it difficult to really connect with Michael; he seemed a tad two dimensional during these scenes.  But otherwise, Cemetery Tours is a well written story!

It is fun, adventurous, and full of interesting ghosts.  Cemetery Tours is the perfect read for a cool October evening!  Pick it up, light a candle, and turn on your favorite ghost hunting TV show!  Has anyone else read Jackie Smith’s novels?

Lindsay

50 Post

I hit 50 posts on Sand Between the Pages today!

Good To Live In Cambodia! Happy Gif animated GIF

Some may not find this exciting but I am pleased with my progress.  This is my third attempt at blogging and the only time I have stuck with it longer than a month.  I finally found a topic I enjoy writing about and sharing!  Thank you all for sticking with me and your continuous encouragement.  I am looking forward to writing many more book reviews in the future!  Happy reading!

Lindsay