Book Review: Greyhound of the Baskervilles

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Greyhound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle with some new bits by John Gaspard

My husband knows how much of a crazy dog lady I am. Sometimes while he is working away, he sends me random surprises. So finding this book in my mailbox one afternoon made my day. I just finished reading it and writing a review for a newsletter for a greyhound group I’m in, so I thought I would share here.

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This is new edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mystery, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
It’s the same story. Mostly. That is, it contains the same characters, the same action, and much of the same dialogue.
What’s different?
Well, it’s a little shorter, a little leaner, a little less verbose in some sections.
But the chief difference is that it’s now narrated by a dog. A greyhound, in fact, named Septimus.
In this new edition, he tells his story of how he became “The Greyhound of the Baskervilles.”

Legend has it that the Baskerville family are cursed to be murdered by a demonic hound that lives upon the moor. So when Henry Baskerville is the next heir set to move into the family home in Devonshire, there are worries that his life is in danger. Holmes sends Watson and Septimus to go with Henry, and start an investigation into the truth behind the hell hound.

.I was very pleased to discover that the book is in the point of veiw of Septimus, the greyhound that Sherlock rescued. Septimus takes his job seriously, as he knows he plays an important role in helping his master solve crimes.

The creepy atmosphere is perfect for this mystery. The moor, the fog and curious neighbors all combine well for this tale.

I highly recommend this book for any bookworm who loves dogs, especially greyhounds. I love the classics but I find sometimes they can be a bit verbose, so I enjoyed this leaner version. I was chuckling in the first few pages at Septimus. Like any dog, he worries he will starve to death one day (even though he is very well fed) and he can be stubborn (who wants to walk in the rain?!)

Does Septimus help save the day? Does the hell hound exist and who really wants the Baskervilles dead? You will just have to get a copy and find out yourself. 😉

I found this cartoon by Richard Skipworth, which I found very fitting. 😉

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Book Review: Reigning Magicks by Candace Osmond and J.J. King

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An Irish witch from the past. A Romani sorcerer from the future. And a bond of love that stretches across the threads of time.

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Ashlynn is an Irish princess, set to sit on her father’s throne and rule her people. The only problem is: an arranged marriage she wants nothing to do with. She wants the clans to unite, but not by marrying because of duty. She seeks the seer, in hopes of finding another solution to her problem.  But it just creates a new one: thanks to a spell gone wrong, Ashlynn is thrust over three hundred years into the future. Not only does she have to adjust to this new world, she needs to figure out why the spell went wrong and how she can get back to her own people.

Cian is a Roma prince, set to marry in just two weeks.  He is set on this duty to unite the clans, that is until Ashlynn comes along. She is unlike his fiance Serena, who is a vile woman set  on the power their marriage will give her. Cian makes it his mission to help Ashlynn but in the process her falls in love with her.

Did the spell really go wrong, or was it destiny? How can Ashlynn get back to her own time and how can Cian get out of a marriage without causing a war between the clans?

Reigning Magicks is currently in the Rite to Reign box set, which I have just started reading. In the near future it will be available as a stand alone novel!

I am really impressed with this book. Co-authoring isn’t easy, but these two make it look seamless! I forgot that two creative women wrote this book as I was reading. The style and flow of the writing was consistent throughout the story. Each character voice stayed true. Their hard work has really paid off. This is book one in their A Witch In Time series and I am really excited for book two!

 

Something For Fans of Candace Osmond

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Last year I read and reviewed the Dark Tides series by Candace Osmond. I fell in love with these books. I found myself lost in the world of pirates, time travel, magick and adventure. These best selling books are for any fantasy lover, especially fans of Outlander and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Candace has something special for her fans, as well as those who have yet to discover this series. She has put together a collection that contains all four books (The Devil’s Heart, The Blackened Soul, The Pirate Queen, The Siren’s Call) PLUS a brand new short story!!!

The short story features Benjimin Cook, the pirate once living on a cursed pirate ship with his brother. The story gives insight to his thoughts as well as whets the appetite for more. I have a feeling the new short story and the future book five will connect. I think I figured out one connection but won’t say here: you will just have to read the series and short story yourself!

If you want to nab this collection, head  over here to grab yours!

If you want to check out my reviews on this series, you can find them here:

The Devil’s Heart

The Pirate Queen

The Blackened Soul

The Siren’s Call

I will be sure to update you on any future Dark Tides news!

Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of The Princess Bride

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Book two of 2019 is one that my hubby gave me for a gift last year. I’ve crossed off ‘A book that makes you feel nostalgic’ on my  reading challenge . It was the perfect gift. before I get into my review, I should say a few things.

First, The Princess Bride Came out when I was five. I watched it at least five hundred times, if not more. I can recite dialogue as it is being said, (or randomly with friends). This movie made me fall in love with fantasy, pirates, princesses and whimsical worlds. It has gotten me through illnesses (including the WORST FLU EVER, when I watched it 9 times in one week). It is the movie I pick up when I am blue, when I am happy or whenever I just want to relive the story of Westly and Buttercup.

I have read the book, which sits proudly on my bookshelf. I own the board game, and am planning a tattoo. So when Mr. C gave me this book, I fell in love with him even more. Because that man just gets me.

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

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This book is a MUST HAVE for any fan of the film. Cary writes about all aspects of making the film, including when he was cast, the table reading, meeting his fellow cast mates, how he injured himself on set: twice, preparing for the duel, and the last day of filming.

He tells stories of what it was like having Billy Crystal on set, the night he went for drinks with Andre the Giant and how the film became a classic

There are also inserts from many people who worked with him, giving their take on the movie, different things that happened and how the film affected them.

I devoured this book, and I am so pleased that Cary Elwes wrote it. It will sit on my bookshelf, right next to my copy of The Princess Bride. Now if you will excuse me, I think it is time for me to watch the best film ever made.

What film(s) have affected you? Which one got you through rough patches or made you fall in love with new worlds?

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Ready Player One is my first read of the New Year, and it also crosses ‘A Book You Meant To Read In 2018’ off of my list from Pop Sugars reading challenge.

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In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

I don’t know what I love more about this book: the fact there’s so much 80’s jam packed into this, or the geeky goodness. I’m an 80’s girl. I love the movies, music and the decade as a whole. Growing up in it made me the nerd I am today. So I loved reading a book that took me down memory lane.

The book is pretty freakin good, in my opinion.

Wade is a believable character, and I found myself feeling for him and rooting for him from the beginning. From living in poverty, to trying to escape reality and escape what his life is by winning the big contest, he has a lot on his plate. The futuristic setting is also very realistic. I often wonder what living will be like in the future, with an every growing population. The stacks described a scary view of what living may look like. Technology keeps progressing and the OASIS sounds like something that could very well come to pass.

The OASIS is an intriguing thing, but shows the dangers of technology.  People spend most of their time hooked up in a virtual reality world. Some to escape their crapping real life, or for other reasons, like making money or friends.

I also loved the supporting characters. I’m a sucker for any type of ragtag group, even if they weren’t working together.

When Wade is searching for the first clue to the key and passing the gate, I felt like I was playing the game with him. At one point and let out a “Yes!” as his points on the big scoreboard increased. Maybe it is the gamer in me, but I loved reading about every point he earned and every time he unlocked a clue and found a key.

Of coarse every story, especially in a world where fortune is involved, has to have a Big Bad. In this case a corrupt and evil corporation that wants to win so they can own the OASIS and do whatever they please with it.

I did find the novel to be too wordy. Long descriptions were used in places I (personally) didn’t think necessary. Aside from that though, I pretty much loved every aspect of this book. It was a really fun read.

 

Book Review: The Siren’s Call by Candace Osmond

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I have been patiently impatient for the release of the fourth and final book in the Dark Tides series by Candace Osmond. And finally, I got a copy in my hands!

Warning! Some spoilers ahead…

I have been devouring these books. This series has everything I love. A handsome hero with a hard past, a strong and kick ass heroine who keeps going even when she wants to quit; secondary characters that are complimentary and support the FMC and MC. There’s no cardboard cutouts here. Each person has their own important role to play.  Not to mention adventure, romance, time travel, action, quests, and more!

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As the crew reach the shores of England, the power of a wish weighs heavy on Dianna’s shoulders. What should be a simple task snowballs into an endless pit of questions and second guesses as Dianna’s yet to mutter the words that will finally put an end to their formidable journey.

Find her mother before Maria Cobham ends her life. 

The mission is simple, yet so much stands in the way. Including Roselyn Wallace, queen of the port and an old friend from Henry’s past. Time after time, Dianna reluctantly crosses paths with the tall, dark beauty until she finds herself in a world of trouble. Can she dig her way out before everything she’s worked for falls apart? Or will the world Dianna loves wash away with the unforgiving tides? 

As I began to read, I had so many questions. What wishes would Dianna make? What would become the fate of her evil sister and the mother she thought was lost? When would the siren call on her and what would she ask of Dianna? And what of Benjamin; would Dianna find out if her wish worked, or was he still stuck on the cursed ship?

So. Many. Questions.

I was excited and thrilled to start reading book four. I dived right back into the story of Henry and Dianna. I devoured it, but tried to take my time simply because: this is the last book in the series. *insert super sad face here*

The writing flow is consistent throughout the entire series. It was if Candace sat down to write a novel and it turned into something she had to break into four sections.

The title ‘The Siren’s Call’ works in a few ways. That’s one of the things I love, that each book title doesn’t give away the story. Instead it captures several aspects of the story, ones you don’t see coming. One aspect this fits is that one of the places Henry and Dianna visit is called The Sirens Call. It’s the home of Roselyn Wallace, a woman that Dianna not only feels jealous of but doesn’t know if she trustworthy. In a way, Roselyn is a siren of sorts, with her beauty and Dianna wonders if that will lure Henry back into the arms of his former flame.

Dianna and Henry’s characters are always growing, as are the secondary characters. There has been growth in friendships and relationships. And the hard times they all go through only make them strong, better and smarter. I just adore Lottie, Finn and Gus.

With being the last book, there were loose ends being tied, including some I forgot. Dianna had to take Charlie home to see his dying mother, and to bring Pleeman’s ashes back to his family. Neither event went as expected, but life never does.

I felt Dianna’s desperation throughout the story. She never stops believing that she will find her sister, even when she is doubted. She never stops her quest. She is also on a time limit of sorts. Dianna needs to finish what she started before she is to pregnant to stop. And she also needs to protect the growing baby inside of her.

The end of the book….endings are the hardest to read, when a series you are in love with is ending.

Of coarse, Dianna and Henry get their HEA. It wasn’t easy getting there, but they make it.

There was one detail at the end that made me go “OMG you are killing me here!”

Here’s some bad news, kids. The ending leaves you wanting-no, NEEDING- more. I had a half hour of processing what I had just read. The ending of the series ended on a cliffhanger.  Then I reached out to Candace, because I needed help processing it all. I didn’t expect a book series to end on such a…WOW note. Not like that, anyway.

So, here’s the good news, kids: Candace will be writing with these characters once again, sometime down the road when the siren calls to her to return to this awesome world she created. She’ll be working with other worlds and projects she’s creating at the moment. As much as I want more NOW, I can wait. Because when the time comes I will happily step back into the magical world of Dianna, Henry and the others that Candace has created.

On a personal note, I have another reason for being happy about this series. When book one came out, all I knew is that Candace was an author in an online writing community I am in. Her book was promoted, I read the blurb and knew it was for me. But now I have also gained a new writing friend. Candace and I have been talking during the year, giving each other pep talks and chatting about writing and life. So I feel like I have made a new friend, which is a gift in itself. And hey, never hurts to know one of your fave authors. I won’t let her forget about coming back to Dianna and Henry someday, and getting back to that cliffhanger. 😉

If you want to grab up your copy of The Sirens Call, get it at a few places including amazon.com or at amazon.ca.

Happy reading y’all!

Early Review: The Blackened Soul by Candace Osmond

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OMG!!!!

Yes. Just yes.

I can honestly say that the third installment in the Darktides series is just as wonderfully well written as the first two. Like the others, there is something always happening, the characters develop  more as the series goes on and the story line keeps you on your toes! And wanna know one of my favorite things?

The books are consistent! That is so huge in a series! I have read books where the author has gone way off base with the plot/characters/etc… But Candace has written these in such a way that I feel like I am just reading one big book, not three.

Book Blurb:

 Dianna’s in over her head.

The Queen is her ship now. Hers to sail with a crew to keep safe as they voyage across the Atlantic to stop Maria’s evil plan of killing her mother. The stress of responsibility, her pregnancy, and helping Henry deal with his PTSD has become a nightmare from which she has nowhere to run. Henry is suffering, refusing to let her in, and Dianna is worried that their love won’t survive the tumultuous journey ahead.

Just when she thinks all hope is lost, a massive storm hits and threatens to sink The Queen. By some miracle of fate, Dianna survives and finds herself alone, stranded on an island to fend for herself. But she soon discovers that the isle may not be as deserted as she thought.

Can she charm her way to safety and find her crew? Or will she be forced to stay on the island forever? 

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Dianna certainly has a lot on her plate. She is pregnant, learning how to be captain on her ship, The Queen, and  trying to help Henry, who is dealing with an inner darkness/PTSD. On top of that, she is trying to get to England and save her mother from her evil half sister, Maria.

Things are hard enough for her and she certainly doesn’t have it easy. During a massive storm, she is washed overboard. She survives but finds herself stranded on an island, alone and worried about the fate of Henry and her crew.

But the island is not as deserted as she thinks.

Enter Benjamin Cook. A pirate on his brother’s ship, The Black Soul. He takes her aboard the ship, and finds herself yet again trying to befriend its crew and trying to escape with her life. She learns some terrifying truths about the ship: it and the crew are cursed. Thanks to the greedy Captain Cook who stole a siren heart, his crew and ship are tethered to the island- and have been for a hundred years.

She faces horrid weather, evil pirates, magic, breaking a curse, a siren and even a Kraken. But she does it and survives it all with friends new and old at her side.

The title of the book works in a few ways, and I really like that. For starters, the first thing I thought of was Henry. He is having a really hard time with what happened on Kelly’s Island and what Maria had done to him. He has night terrors and has  attacked Dianna. The guilt makes him retreat further into his darkness.

Then there is the new ship, The Black Soul. Very fitting seeing as how it a) looks like it is charred and b) Captain Cook is insane. His soul is tainted from greed and evil.

I am very excited for the fourth and final book in the series, A Siren’s Call. I am anxious to see how Dianna’s story is going to play out and how everything will tie up. Will she save her mom? Will she kill her sister or grant her mercy? What about the siren who she owes a favor? And what of Benjamin? Did the curse really break and will she see him again? So many questions! Oh yes, I am very anxious already for this book!

The Blackened Soul is available on June 25th. However you can pre-order The Blackened Soul on Amazon as well as pick up the first two books if you haven’t already!