Shari’s Top 5: Spooky Creatures

Top 5

Welcome to Shari’s Top 5! This is a feature I have created to showcase my personal top 5 of various books, shows, toys, music, films, food, etc, whatever I fancy focusing on for each post really!

For this month I am focusing on Halloween / Spooky themed Top 5’s. I hope you enjoy this theme and do let me know what your Top 5’s are too!


Top 5 - Spooky Creatures5. Black Cats – I’m not particularly superstitious when it comes to Black Cats as I have one, but it can be pretty spooky to run into one at night or in a graveyard. I love all cats, but black (and white) ones have a special place in my heart. Sadly, these are often the ones left in shelters for a long time due to the superstition around them 😦 so next time you are thinking of getting a cat do please consider a black one as they are beautiful and make very loving companions! 

4. Moths – You just turn out the light and you can hear a fluttering in the dark. Chances are it’s a massive moth flapping around your room. The sound can be pretty spooky and moths for me always bring to mind sitting in lamplight telling spooky tales.

3. Ghosts – Who doesn’t love a good ghost story, especially during the Halloween month. Ghosts fascinate me rather than scare me (and I have seen a few!). 

2. Shadow people – Again, this is something that I have seen myself. The unexplained never fails to fascinate me and shadow people are definitely that! I’m used to them appearing, so I’m not scared of them, I really just want to know more about them!

1. Vampires – Vampires have been my firm favourite since I was a child. Dark, mysterious (and often sexy!) they are embedded into practically every culture in the world. I read and write so much vampire fiction and have many mythology books on them too. 

 

New Release Blitz: The Oracle’s Sprite by Mell Eight

Title: The Oracle’s Sprite

Series: Oracle, Book Four

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/27/2022

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 26100

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, explicit, anthropomorphic, mythical creatures/dragons, magic users, hurt-comfort, soldiers

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Description

Keir became the leader of the opposition army when he was barely eighteen years old. He led the fight against the usurper king from land while Prince Edan and Regent Egan led from the sea. Keir also had hundreds of men at his command and one invisible dragon, nicknamed Sprite, who likes to help out from time to time.

Sprite is friendly and fun-loving, happy to play tricks on Keir’s sister and keep Keir company. When a letter arrives from the Oracle asking for Keir’s presence, he expects Sprite to calmly travel with him. Instead, the strong gale that erupts sends Keir flying overboard and into an adventure he and Sprite might not walk away from alive.

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Book Review: The Verderer (Pitch & Sickle #2) by Danielle K. Girl

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Silas Mercer is a dead man walking.

And the mysterious Order of the Golden Dawn have big plans for their newest ankou and his deathly bandalore.

Life as a servant of death has its challenges.

But the biggest one of all is Silas’s daemonic guardian, Pitch.

He may look like heaven, but he’s making Silas’s life all kinds of hell.

The daemon is arrogant, egotistical and his appetite for violence and tea cakes is fast outgrowing the small village where they have been recuperating since their run-in with Black Annis.

Now, the increasingly unstable Blight is causing new havoc, and fresh monstrosities are emerging.

Pitch and Sickle are back in the saddle, and on their way to the haunted Forest of Dean.

But can Silas rely on his guardian’s protection?

Or will Pitch prove to be the most dangerous encounter of all?

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Verderer (Pitch & Sickle #2) by Danielle K. Girl


Review

Rating: 5 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

After their trials against Black Annis, Pitch and Silas barely have enough time to recover before they are on the road again. This time to find the blight stricken Verderer. Yet within the Forest of Dean, they face a foe far worse than they imagined. Together they must overcome the teratism but forging a true partnership may be the toughest challenge of all.

I thoroughly enjoyed the second book in the series and had so much trouble putting it down. We start off where book 1 left us. Joining our heroes on the road are Lady Satine’s horses Lalassu and Sanu, who are not quite what they seem.

In The Verderer, we start to learn more hints about Pitch’s past and why he has been sent to the human realm. It is clear that he is in great pain, but he tries to hide this behind his destructive and often cruel behaviour. Silas is learning more how to deal with the erratic daemon and there are moments between them that pave the way for the relationship that is slowly developing. Silas is still of the mind that Pitch is toying with his feelings, that are causing him great conflict. Yet the two of them do seem more comfortable with each other than they were in book 1.

The pacing suits the novel. Time is taken for every aspect, and this sets up the final battle in which The Verderer is revealed. The action scenes are incredibly well-written and again I was turning each page in anticipation of what will happen next.

I am really enjoying the series and cannot wait to read book 3.

 

New Release Blitz: Blood Harvest by Meghan Schubert

Title: Blood Harvest

Series: The Harvest

Author: Meghan Schubert

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/27/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 79200

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, paranormal, urban fantasy, lesbian, vampire, shifter, angel, succubus, roommates, blood, death, conspiracy

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Description

If you were losing your humanity, how hard would you fight to hold on to it? What would you be willing to do, to give up, to make sure you remained the human you were, rather than the demon you seemed to be turning into? Hope McKinley, former advertising student turned newly undead, finds herself wrestling with these questions and so much more.

Blood Harvest delves into the depths of the human psyche and grapples with the struggle between light and dark in all of us as seen through the eyes of one forced out of the human race and fighting to return.

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Release Blitz: The Impossible Childhood of My Desires by Rick R. Reed

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Impossible Childhood of My Desires

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Release Date: September 24, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Themes: Transgender Awakening and Acceptance, long-term relationship facing a challenge

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 60 000 words

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links

JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK

“Well, isn’t queer adulthood, if one is lucky, having the impossible childhood of your desires?”

― Joss Lake, Future Feeling

Blurb

Carl Young’s biggest secret: he’s always felt like Cara Young. Through the years, he acknowledged his authentic female self in ways he kept hidden in the shadows. The makeup, the dresses, the shoes — all of them represented his most longed-for desires and his deepest shame.

When Carl’s husband Roberto comes home early from work to discover Cara in her wig, makeup, dress, and high heels, he’s shocked. Who is this person he married decades ago? He flees, leaving their home in Chicago for the obliviousness of the sunny skies of Southern California.

Cara begins making tentative steps into a world she imagined would always remain secret. She ventures out, dressing the only way she feels whole. Publicly claiming her identity, she’s terrified, but also filled with joy when she discovers there are others like her, people who will welcome her with open arms and support.

But for both Roberto and Cara, their long-term and love-filled marriage is now a challenge with which they both must reckon. Does her transition mean following separate paths? Or forging a new one … together?

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New Release Blitz: Death at Bayard Lodge by Winnie Frolik

Title: Death at Bayard Lodge

Series: The Mary Grey Mysteries, Book Two

Author: Winnie Frolik

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/20/2022

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 67800

Genre: Historical, LGBTQIA+, historical, crime, lesbian, district nurse, private detective, 1930s, country house, death

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Description

When district nurse Mary Grey and her lover Harriet accept an invitation to visit the latter’s godmother in the beautiful Lake District, they’re hoping for a relaxing outing. But from the very start, they find themselves pulled into a web of intrigue, resentments, deceit, and violent passions.

Young newlywed Rachel Florry is found on the lawn with her skull smashed in and there’s no shortage of suspects. From the girl whose fiancée Rachel stole, to a sinister vagrant, to Rachel’s own mystery lover.

Mary calls on her old friend and partner, private detective Franz Shaefer to come down to Bayard Lodge and help solve the case. But as they unearth buried secrets and hidden agendas, they themselves are at risk.

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Book Review: The Bandalore (Pitch & Sickle #1) by Danielle K. Girl

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1885 London, England
Silas Mercer died once. He’d rather not do it again.

On his return to the world of the living, Silas finds himself in the hands of the mysterious Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
The Order has London society clamouring for their services, with tarot readings, seances and exorcisms among their arcane specialities.
Now they seem intent on making Silas their newest recruit.
But they want far more from him than cheap parlour tricks.
When the Order partners him with the scandalous rake, Tobias Astaroth, Silas’s new life is turned on its head in more ways than one.
Tobias is quick-tempered, dangerously charming, and far more than the man he seems.

For Silas, surviving what the Order has planned for him will be a challenge.
But finding a way to survive Tobias Astaroth could prove impossible.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Bandalore (Pitch & Sickle #1) by Danielle K. Girl


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

When Silas Mercer is rescued from death, he soon learns that his saviours brought him back for a purpose. He is to join the mysterious Order of the Golden Dawn and assist them in their otherworldly activities. With no memory of his past life, Silas must not only put together who he was as a man and who he is now, but the new world around him that is such a departure from everything that he has ever known. When he is partnered with the seemingly obnoxious and non-human Tobias Astaroth, Silas learns that his role in The Order is much more important than he could ever have imagined.

The Bandalore is a great read and introduction to the version of 1800s London that the author has created. They have combined many different lores and cultures (including Japanese!) to flesh out this unique world. Taking place from Silas’ POV we learn about The Order at the same pace as the protagonist, which I preferred as it avoids an information dump and things are revealed naturally and in pace with the story.


I enjoyed meeting the characters that inhabit the world and their unique abilities. Tobias seems to do his best to alienate all those around him, but you occasionally see another side to him. A side that is in pain and is the reason for much of his behaviour. The romance is very much slow burn and there only subtle hints in this first novel. Again, due to the complexity of the series and characters, I feel this pacing is right and I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops, as well as what secrets Tobias is forbidden from speaking of.


The Bandalore is a great first installment of the series and I am very much looking forward to reading book 2.

 

New Release Blitz: Listen: The Sound of Fear

Title: Listen: The Sound of Fear

Author: R.B. Thorne, Lauren Jane Barnett, E.E.W. Christman, Eule Grey, Ridley Harker, Jon James, T.S. Mitchell, Alex Silver, A.R. Vale, Edited by Elizabetta McKay

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/20/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female, M/NB

Length: 75300

Genre: Horror Anthology, LGBTQIA+, historical, US circa 1800s, romance, gay, horror/thriller, in the closet, shop workers, old curiosity shop, knives, haunted object/ poltergeist, contemporary, lit/genre fiction, London art gallery, confinement, disorientation, fear, mental anxiety, mystery, suspense, British, mystery, cold case, lesbian, blogger, small town, over 40, pregnancy, gothic/horror elements, YA, paranormal, nonbinary, trans, queer, hearing impaired, students, haunted school, all-girls boarding school, mean girls, religious references, Deaf, ghost story, pets, historical, gothic romance, lesbian, European expats, OCD, longtime couple

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Description

A knocking. A ringing. A steady drip-drip-drip. These are the sounds that haunt us. Drive us mad. Draw us in like the songs of sirens, hypnotic and deadly. And we must either give in, or resist with everything we have…and hope it’s enough.

Listen: The Sound of Fear offers ten stories written exclusively by trans and nonbinary authors that explore the chilling, perplexing, terrifying nature of sound.

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Shari’s Top 5: Comfort Foods

Top 5

 

Welcome to Shari’s Top 5! This is a feature I have created to showcase my personal top 5 of various books, shows, toys, music, films, food, etc, whatever I fancy focusing on for each post really! Today I am listing my top 5 comfort foods! 


Shari’s Top 5: Comfort Foods

5. Cookies – When I need a quick sweet pick-me-up there is nothing better than a cookie! I love most sorts (except the ones when you think they are choc chip, and they turn out to be raisins!) and my favourites are either good old chocolate chip or peanut butter!

Top 5 - Comfort Foods4. Chips (fries) – Another go-to for a quick snack. I like any sort really, but my favourite are the skinny fries and topped with cheese and garlic mayo! 

3. Chocolate – When I’m feeling down, I love nothing more than to treat myself with some chocolate. My favourite bars are Reeses or Cadbury’s choc and nut bar.

2. Macaroni Cheese – The classic comfort food and one of the few dishes I can cook well! It is my go-to when I want something comforting and more filling.

1. Pizza – My favourite takeaway and ultimate comfort. It’s often my payday treat or movie night meal of choice! I like veggie pizzas the best or a good old-fashioned margarita! 

So these are my top 5! Do comment and let me know what your ultimate comfort foods are! 

New Release Blitz: Iniquitus by J Hali Steele

Title: Iniquitus

Series: Sanguine Blood Seekers 3

Author: J Hali Steele

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: Sept 2

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 105 pages

Genre: Erotica, Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Erotic Shorts, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Dark Desire, Gay, Vampires, Voyeurism and Exhibitionism

Synopsis

Kamose, undead before he was pharaoh, has lived on fringes of the vampire realm for thousands of years. He feels no kinship to the bloody bastards. Against vampire laws, Kam kills his master, the only man who loved him. He pays for that atrocity every day. Allowing Kam’s sarcophagus to be desecrated and tossed into a pile of trash as if he were truly dead, even God deserts Kamose. Until Matthias, the thirteenth apostle, crosses his path.

Saint Matthias should have been one of the twelve apostles. Instead, he gains the position after Jesus’ death. By then he’s a monster subsisting on human blood. Every bite, every draw of sustenance fills him with guilt he can’t assuage. The only time he experiences peace is in the arms of a much older creature. A vampire so vile and sacrilegious, Matthias fears he’ll cause both their souls to burn in Hell!

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