My 2022 Spooky Season Recommended Reads

Happy Spooky Reading! N.Savranska @

Nothing ushers in the Spooky Season for readers like a nail-biting, nerve-shattering whopper of a scary story. I’ve found three book series guaranteed to make your hair stand on end.

Avery and Carter Book Series by Shane Carrow (Nail-biter)

I promise you that the vampires and werewolves in this series aren’t sparkly! These classic monsters deliver terror. Both books are fast-paced and riveting. I stayed up way too late finishing the stories.



Lance Brody Series by Michael Robertson Jr (Engaging, Heartfelt Characters)

Lance Brody was conceived in a graveyard…Thus begins the interesting life of Lance Brody. He’s a unique character who has a special relationship with the Dead. Forced to leave his hometown 24 hours after a terrifying personal tragedy, Lance begins a journey driven by his unique powers. I don’t want to drop spoilers and ruin the series for you!

DARK BEGINNINGS – Prequel. *Highly recommend reading this before Book 1.

DARK GAME – Book 1

James Asher Series by Barbara Hambly (A Thinker. Requires Patience)

Former spy for Queen Victoria, James Asher, has settled into a new life as a professor and married man. He returns home one night to discover a vampire in his house. The creature demands Asher help him find out who is murdering the vampires of London. His wife’s life is at risk if he fails. Summon your patience for this engrossing read. The book can be slow in places. However, the author masterfully incorporates historical details to make this an interesting read worth finishing.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.


May your cider be hot and your reading spooky!

Available for Preorder!

What’s With the Bunny?

Bunnies, Bunnies everywhere! I confess I am an avid participant in the bunny decor madness this time of year. Who can blame me? Bunnies are adorable with their fluffy tails and floppy ears! Every time I see a cute image of the Easter Bunny, I can’t help but say, “Aww!” Kinda ironic since I’m seriously allergic to hare hair.

Bunnies evoke thoughts of new birth and springtime. Put a bunny, a chick, and a little lamb on a piece of paper, and you have yourself the perfect “Welcome Spring” greeting card. These images are a sure sign Easter can’t be too far away. Have you ever wondered why we celebrate the Easter Bunny? The obvious answer begins with ‘chocolate’ and ends with ‘candy egg.’


Happy Easter – pingpao @

Origins of The Easter Bunny

Popular theories suggest German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania way back in the 1700s brought the Easter Bunny from the old country. Their “Osterhase” was an egg-laying hare. Little tikes used to make nests for the Osterhase to lay its eggs. However, the American Candy Industry flipped the script and promoted baskets instead for holding their Easter-themed treats.

Great. Now I’m craving a chocolate-covered marshmallow egg, but I’ll settle for some wonderful seasonal reads instead.

My Top Suggested Readings for The Season

NOTE – We’re talking bunnies here, so it may be a temptation to read to the kiddos. I’ve included a suggested rating system to help you determine if these recommendations are little bunny friendly.

My Emotions Rating

Happy Bunny – Light, Uplifting

Raw Rabbit – Dark, A Bit Disturbing

Recommended Reading About Bunnies

  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (Happy Bunny)
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams (Raw Rabbit)

Recommended Reading About New Beginnings

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Mostly Happy Bunny, but a few darker spots)
  • Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Mostly Happy Bunny, but Adult Bunnies only in some parts)
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (Happy Bunny)
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (Happy Bunny)
  • Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach (Happy Bunny)

On My Reading List

  • White Oleander by Janet Fitch
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald

Have a Happy Easter and a wonderful Spring!

My 2020 Book Gem Discoveries

Each year I join a multitude of other book lovers in the Reading Challenge. It’s a great way to set and track reading goals. I typically list my goals at two to three books per month for a nice round total of thirty. Sometimes I exceed my goals. Other times – like this year – it’s a challenge to squeeze in thirty books.

Read and Explore the Possibilities! © Elnur –

The benefits participating in this yearly challenge make the time investment well worth it. Here are my top three benefits for folks to try the reading challenge in 2021:

  1. Encourages individuals to read when they typically don’t spend a great deal of time exploring books
  2. Free and fun way to engage with other book lovers
  3. Goodreads offers Lists for readers to discover new books and authors they may not have found otherwise
Here are my top favorite new finds from the 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge:
  • The Felix Castor series by Mike Carey – Listed in Amazon Genre: Ghost Thrillers. Felix Castor is an exorcist barely making ends meet in a modern, but alternate version of London, UK. In this world, ghosts are a reality and zombies walk the streets.
  • The Troop by Nick Cutter – Listed in Amazon Genre: Genetic Engineering Science Fiction. A Must – Listen to the audiobook! The narrator gives a John Malkovich vibe that really sends this read over the top.
  • Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo – Listed in Amazon Genre: International Mystery and Crime. I first discovered Harry Hole when he appeared in the 2017 movie “The Snowman” with Michael Fassbender. Harry, the lead detective in the Oslo crime squad, is such an intriguing personality. Nesbo has given us a clever but flawed main character. I can’t wait to read more in the series for 2021

Do you have book suggestions for the 2021 Reading Challenge? Let us know in the comments.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well. AND sign up for the 2021 Reading Challenge!

Book Love 2020

Book Love

Book Love – © zaie –

It’s the season of love. Wine, chocolates, flowers, and those little candy hearts. Feel the romance.

Meh. I prefer a deeper passion that’s pure and true. Book Love, of course!

Here are a few of my FAV recent reads.

Non-Fiction: Good Juju: Mojos, Rites & Practices for the Magical Soul by Najah Lightfoot

Mystery: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans and Endless Night by Agatha Christie

Spooky Love: Inside by D.M. Siciliano and The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates

What about you? Are there books you’ve read recently that you love? Please share in the comments.

Three Super Quick and Quirky Reads for Your Three-Day Weekend


Reading on Labor Day Weekend – © dragonstock

Labor Day. It’s the last HOORAH of Summer in the United States. Three days of grabbing the last rays of sun or swimming in the lake before it chills. Don’t forget your reading list this weekend. Need some ideas? How about these three quick and quirky reads?

Three Quick Reads While You’re Lounging

I’m a Pole (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert brings is unique and funny perspective to this hilarious book.

Dr. No by Ian Fleming

This quirky James Bond book is a quick read. It expands on the events of Dr. No’s Island where Ursula Andress rises up from the waves in her iconic bikini.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Read about events from the criminal master mind’s point of view. I love this series. It’s clever and unique. I’m also pleased to report Artemis finally gets his own movie. Disney 2020.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Chillers, Thrillers and Beasties

Horror Stories, Horror Books

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Darkness shrouds the night about me. I clutch at the blankets and burrow deeper into their fleeting comfort. Then a scratch at the door pierces the stillness. Thrusting a hand out, I grasp desperately for my sleeping protector. What is prowling just outside the door? Is it a fanged monster perhaps or some troubled poltergeist?

Setting my Horror novel aside, I discover kitty playing with a discarded rubber band. The heart stopping tension stays with me, however, as I crawl back in bed. Why do I read scary stories before bed time or at all? Heart pounding, shiver inducing tales of horror have been told around campfires of centuries. We humans love the thrill of being scared. Here are a few of my favorites:

Classic Horror Tales

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Modern Horror Favorites

  • The Stand by Stephen King (So many others!)
  • Relic,The Cabinet of Curiosities and other Agent Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Just about any story by Dean Koontz
  • True Blood series by Charlene Harris
  • The Narrows by Ronald Malfi
  • Bird Box (the book not the movie) by Josh Malerman
  • The Woman by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee

Have I missed one of your favorites? Please share in the comments. I’d love to add a good book to my reading list.

Chilling Links

Goodreads Horror Book Lists

Horror Writers Association(Proud to be a member)

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Classic Novels Are More Than Book Report Assignments

Books, Reading

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Unless you’ve developed your “reader chops” growing up with the Classics, the very mention of this far ranging genre may cause your eyes to glaze over. We’ve all been tortured with the obligatory book report on Moby Dickor Lord of the Flies. Sigh. I sometimes wonder if this academic approach discourages rather than encourages a love of reading.

I was one of the lucky kids who grew up with an appreciation of the awesomeness to be found in great works of literature. Raised in a knowledge desert on the outskirts of a military base in nowhere America, I took every opportunity to visit my little local library. Devouring everything I could get my anxious hands on, I developed a love for classic tales of adventure, sacrifice and unrequited love.

No movie, Netflix short or TV series can compare to a story written about a certain time and place in history by someone who actually experienced it.

Beloved Books I Discovered in My Youth

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman (The movie is hilarious too.)

Books That Make You Think

The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and The Sea or pretty much anything by Ernest Hemingway

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (I know what you’re thinking! The Woman in White is covered in a future post.)

Books for The Adventurous

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Books That Rip Your Heart Out

Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason

I’ve just scratched the surface of this amazing genre. Many other novels and short stories hold a special place among these favorites, but I had to end the list somewhere. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments section. I’m always looking for book suggestions.

Here is the list of popular classics. How many have you read?

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.


MURDER, She Read

Books, Reading, Mystery

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Footsteps echo against the crumbling walls of a deserted alley. Heart pounding, I take tentative steps into the suffocating passage. Then I see blood spreading across the cold stone before me. Sucking in deep gulps of frigid air, I’m pulled toward the lifeless mass. Dead fingers reach out into the dark unknown. What happened? I won’t stop reading until I find out.

I’m obsessed with murder mysteries. My book shelves are lined with dog eared copies of detective stories. This fascination doesn’t stop at the written word.  My Netflix, Amazon Prime, Britbox and AcornTV queues are filled with brilliant mystery series.

Why am I and others like me so enamored with this genre? Our brains love puzzles. We put on our deer stalker caps and pit our intelligence against the author’s seasoned detective. Sharing the main character’s anxiety to solve the case, we also compete with the clock.

Warning Dear Author! While I love competing with your detective, woe be it for you if I solve the mystery before they do. This is an unforgivable sin to a mystery lover. I’ve thrown books in the used book bin a time or two and vowed never to read anything by the offending author again. Stump me and I’ll be your loyal fan forever.

All Hail the Queen of Murder

Prolific author and master of the mystery genre, Agatha Christie tops the charts of my all-time favorite. In researching this week’s blog, I discovered discrepancies in the number of books she’s credited as having written in her lifetime. It’s definitely over seventy. Here are my top three:

  1. Murder on The Orient Express
  2. And Then There Were None
  3. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

More Top Puzzlers

Scanning my book shelves, I tend to favor classic British Mysteries like the Sherlock Holmes Adventures by Arthur Conan Doyle or the Father Brown series by G. K. Chesterton. In this post, I’d like to focus on some of my favorite American Authors.

  • Patricia Cornwell – Dr. Kay Scarpetta mysteries
  • Raymond Chandler – Farewell, My Lovely featuring Phillip Marlowe
  • Dashiell Hammett – The Maltese Falcon featuring Sam Spade

Mysterious Links

Have I missed your favorite mystery? Share the name below in the comments section. Stuck for good Mysteries? Check out the links below for suggested reads:

Goodreads Mystery Book Lists

Mystery Writers of America

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

February Is for Book Lovers

Books, Reading

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It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Chocolate hearts, cupids and plush stuffed animals are everywhere. If you want to capture a book lover’s heart, however, you can skip the flowers. Nothing stirs their soul like engrossing tales told by powerful storytellers.

So Many Book Genres, So Little Time

I’m dedicating DTJ’s February posts to Book Lovers. Highlighting a different genre each week, I’ll discuss my favorite books and provide links to more great stories. Join me for the book chats!

Feeding the Addiction

I grew up in a family of avid readers. No stranger to the library, I rush to their “New Books” and “Recommended Reading” sections. Technology offers Book Lovers additional ways to discover their next great read. Here are a few suggestions:– Essential source to discover, track and discuss your favorite books– Sign up for the genres you enjoy. Bookbub sends daily emails with suggested reads on sale at Amazon or Barnes and Noble– Similar to Bookbub, but may carry different books in each genre

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

The Benefits of an Active Shelf Life

I’m a reader. Not just a reader. I’m a “must read the list of suggested books from my local library or online resource” type reader. Don’t try to limit me to only one genre. I’m interested in everything from books about local history to ghost stories to modern thrillers to classic tales. I will, on occasion, explore the works of foreign authors from diverse backgrounds. Why do I read everything I can get my little mittens on? I’m a reader, because I’m a learner.

The Benefits of Being a Reader:

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  • Reading is exercise for the mind – Your brain needs fresh knowledge to grow. Don’t stop learning just because you become an “adult.” Growth is essential for everyone regardless of age.
  • A well-read brain is a healthy brain, especially as we age – Staying active is important for a healthy body. Your brain ages too. Learning new things can help keep your mind sharp.
  • Reading promotes imagination – Movies, TV and video games are entertaining, but someone else is doing the imagining for you. Reading a book offers plots and descriptions of the author’s story scenes, but it’s your imagination building the world as you see it. You take away inspiration, encouragement and knowledge gleaned from what you’ve seen in your mind’s eye.

Read Often. Learn as Much as Possible. Share Your Knowledge.

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Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well