Dead Before Dinner by Kerry Schafer

Book Genre Block - "Paranormal"
Dead before dinner book cover with woman walking into room with spider/monster
"Mystery" Genre card with dark woods and light in the distance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dead Before Dinner is the third book in the Shadow Valley Manor series. I have read the other two books in the series, but I also believe this could be read as a stand-alone.

This was such a fun, interesting story! I loved Maureen, the main character. She’s got a special set of skills as she was an FBI agent, and now she’s a paranormal investigator. Her investigative skills are needed this time in her own retirement home that she owns. There’s been a murder!

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What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton

Person peeking through hole titled "Thriller"
Book Cover - foggy forest-covered land with water
Book Genre Block - "Paranormal"

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was awesome! As a debut author, I am so excited to see what Hamilton will come up with next!

With a spooky, atmospheric vibe, from start to finish, this one had me completely entranced! The story is told through the alternating POVs of two sisters…one alive and one dead. WHAT?? I know right. It’s so good!

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Layla by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Okay. I started this book on 12/30/20, and I did not finish it before the new year. I DID, however, finish it on 1/1/21. I can, without a doubt, say that this is one of the best books I have read in 2020 and 2021!

Why you should read this book:
➜ A romance that will make you fall in love more than once throughout the story.
➜ A paranormal aspect that won’t spook you, although it might creep you out when you really think about it.
➜ A story that will grip you from the very start.

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Witches and an evil curse? Sign. Me. Up.

I was so excited to finally get the chance to read this book, and I was not disappointed at all! I found it easy to be an easy, quick read because I couldn’t stop reading!

Penny lives on an island off the shore of Sparrow, a town cursed by three sister witches for over 200 years. Each summer the sisters take possession of three girls and spend the summer drowning boys in the water surrounding the town. As society tends to do, people get weirdly obsessed with this tragic event that takes place every summer. One of the new visitors is Bo, a teenager who randomly ended up in the town because it was the end of the bus line. He and Penny meet at the annual drinking-on-the-beach-waiting-for-the-witches-to-arrive party. Penny ends up bringing Bo back to her island to give him a place to sleep. So begins Penny’s summer of trying to protect this boy she’s falling for from being carried out to sea by a witch.

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Haunting in Old Tailem by Janice Tremayne

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the third book in the Haunting Clarisse series, and I think it can be read as a stand-alone if you haven’t read the others in the series. You will be missing some backstory on the main characters, but if that doesn’t bother you, then you could go ahead and jump into the story here.

This book again has our main characters, Harry and Clarisse working to save the day. Old Tailem has been overrun with demons, and it’s up to these two to stop them. I loved that this was once again, a real ghost-town that the author chose to place the story into. I think it adds some special to the story!

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The Haunting of Beatrix Greene by Rachel Hawkins, Ash Parsons, Vicky Alvear Shecter

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was quite the spooky, atmospheric read for October! I’m so happy I picked this one up! Along with the creepy storyline, it’s a quick read, so I felt like we jumped right into the scary stuff, which made it quite a fun read!

Beatrix Greene is the kind of spiritual medium that doesn’t actually believe in ghosts, nor does she actually connect with the other side. Instead, she feels that she can read people well, and provide them with what they want to hear to feel consoled about their loss. When James propositions her to spend one night in Ashbury Manor to decide if there is or is not a ghost, she agrees, knowing that he is setting her up to expose her as a fraud. James though seems to have other motives for the request of her assistance, and as they enter the house, they will soon realize that they have made a terrible mistake.

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Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved, loved, loved this book! This is my first book by Kerri Maniscalco, and now I have to go back and read her other ones!

Twins Emilia and Vittoria are witches, and they have grown up with the knowledge that there are Wicked princes of Hell that threaten their lives. They must always wear their special necklaces that help guard them and continue to use protective magic. Then one night, Vittoria is brutally murdered with her heart ripped out of her chest. Emilia discovers Vittoria and vows vengeance, even if it means using dark magic, something her grandmother has spent her entire life warning the twins about. Her use of dark magic goes a bit wrong when she summons, not a demon to assist her, but one of the very Princes of Hell she has worked to avoid her entire life. The two are immediate enemies, and yet they both seem to want the same thing; to find Vittoria’s murderer.

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Horrid by Katrina Leno

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Well, I finally managed to read a bit of a disappointing spooky read this month. I wanted to love this book so much, but it just missed the mark.

The story starts with mother (Ruth) and daughter (Jane) traveling across the country to move into Ruth’s childhood home in Maine. Jane hates it there. It’s cold, she misses her dad, who just passed away, and the house is creepy.

I can’t really give you more details than that, or I’ll end up spoiling the story. I felt, though, that the plot was lacking some beefy information that would help to propel it along.

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The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Another fun, spooky read for October in the books! I highly suggest this one if you enjoy historical fiction and some spooky story lines!

This dual-timeline takes us back to 1928 when the Bonaventure Circus is thriving. Pippa Ripley is the adopted daughter of the circus owner, but wants to know where she came from. She knows she is the daughter of people in the circus, but her parents will not give her more information. There is someone who knows though, “The Watchman” sends her letters telling her little bits of information. She starts to hears stories of a serial killer on the circus route that people are calling “The Watchman”. Is her watchman an innocent person just trying to help her, or is there something more sinister going on?

In present day, the Bonaventure Circus is nothing more than a dilapidated building that used to be the circus’ home. Chandler Faulk’s uncle has her evaluating the property, which he just purchased, to understand if it should be flipped or restored. When spooky things start happening in the building, Chandler starts to question if all these ghost stories are a bit more. Then, she stumbles onto evidence of the serial killer, and she becomes part of the story, rather than an outsider.

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Daughter of Black Lake by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book had a great mix of dark ambiance, detailed research, and wonderful characters! I was sucked in on page one, and I’m not exaggerating.

This is a historical fiction with some fantasy elements. I loved that one of the main characters has visions of the future, but is physically flawed. She is considered of little value to her town because of her leg, and yet her visions are a secret that is so valuable.

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All That Was by Tanya E. Williams

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was an absolutely beautifully written story of ghosts, grief, and self-discovery. I was blown away by the story. It was so much more than I expected it to be. The plot took me on such an emotional journey for the two main characters, and it was beautiful!

This is a story of two women dealing with loss. Emily, a woman in her 20’s lost her parents at a young age. Rather than handle her grief, she shoved it all down and focused on absolutely anything else to keep from thinking of her parents. Now a young lawyer, she has been assigned to catalog a storage room in a church. The church wants to sell their building, and move to a new location, but a law has placed them into historical building status. Emily’s firm is fighting for the church’s right to sell, and their case is with the supreme court. Emily starts her cataloging and discovers boxes of diaries from Elizabet Thomas, who died in 1935.

Elizabet Thomas went into her afterlife looking for her husband, who she lost too soon after their marriage vows. Rather than “go into the light”, she stayed behind at the church looking for him. After 80 years of searching, she still has not found him. When Emily begins reading her diaries, she finds new excitement in her life and becomes invested in Emily’s journey.

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How Much It May Storm by A.N. Willis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I cannot even explain how much I loved this story! What an absolutely amazing mix of coming of age, paranormal, and mystery!

This dual-timeline story takes the reader between 1918 and 1943 to unravel the deep-rooted secrets of a family and their nurse. In 1918, Millie arrives in a small town in Colorado, recently hired to provide nursing assistance to two Gainsbury family members with the Spanish Flu. Millie finds a spark of romance in the family’s son, Edward, who just returned from the war. Millie has a secret though, that she protects to keep others safe, and Edward may be getting close to understanding what it is.

In 1943, Dinah has recently said goodbye to her brother as he heads off to war, and she’s finding herself alone and sad. In her loneliness, she visits their favorite hiding spot but experiences some upsetting occurrences…sounds and handprints on the glass that she cannot explain. And then a man dressed in a WWI uniform. She begins to think she is being haunted, and her story becomes intertwined with Millie’s as Dinah searches for the truth about the man in uniform, and what happened to Millie.

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