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Skeletons Still Not in the Closet

Skull from the yard

I keep my skeletons out all year in spots to spook nosy guests. Be warned if you ever come over and snoop that white canister on the bathroom shelf or move back the leaves of a fern. (although why you would be messing with a fern is beyond me)

There are still a few books that scared me so badly that I waited to catch my breath before I reviewed them. Not that I stop reading horror or ghost stories just because Halloween is over, no way, but I know that many do.

Imagine a dark and stormy night and you’re cuddled up with an herbal tea in your favorite chair, the fire is toasty, no one else is home, the wind howls and you pick up…..

Horro Stories



This is such a classic that it would be great to read from every year even if the subtitle makes you giggle a bit. Think about it, there just aren’t that many authors whose surnames start with “Ho” and that subtitle implies that the volume just covers that specific grouping. It doesn’t. Full of short stories that are old favorites (Poe, I am pointing at you) and a whole bunch that are new, I suggest that you keep the lights on. Naw, for the best, edge of your seat chills, turn them off and read by candle light or use your Paperwhite Kindle.

P.S. There are 29 stories in this and it feels like so much more. The forward is really worth reading as well.

Horror Stories edited by Darryl Jones, 510 pages, published October 1st 2014 by Oxford University Press






Are you old enough to remember the 1987 movie Mannequin staring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall? Synopsis-cute guy falls in love with mannequin and gets a job there so he can chill with her when the store is closed, she comes alive and they have a Horrorstorbeautiful relationship, at night, in the store. That and the fact that I thought it would be so cool to stay in a store over night are the only things that stuck with me. My never-had-a-job-before rear thought that it would be “cool” to hang out in a store at night. Wow, kids are naive. Fast forward a few years and I fell asleep on a pile of scarecrows while doing inventory at Michael’s in the middle of the night. Good times.

Anywho, it was a fun fantasy then and that is part of what made Horrorstor so alarmingly scary. The book takes something that we can all relate to in one way or another, an Ikea knockoff, and turns it into the scariest haunted building you have ever visited.  A lot of it is tongue in cheek with the random Ikea-like descriptions of must-have house wares and that serves to make it more insidious.  I don’t care that it is supposed to be a bit funny or that it is a lightly masked commentary on our materialistic culture; I will never ever open up a cabinet in any store again without thinking of the book. And Ikea? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix, 243 pages, published September 23rd 2014 by Quirk Books




File this under: Sometimes the remaking is just too much remaking.

Remember when they remade Psycho shot for shot? I was bored out of my mind; did you get through it? The Fall isn’t shot for shot, bThe Fallut it is a retelling of a treasured favorite from a treasured favorite author. That’s a lot to live up to and it is important to mention that if this gets younger folks to appreciate Edgar Allan Poe, it’s all good. However, if you grew up reading Stephen King and Poe like they were oxygen? This one might be okay if you get it from the library and that is still wouldn’t have helped me.

Bethany Griffin’s The Fall is a complete redo of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.  It isn’t updated to a modern setting, just cleaned up to add a bit more YA and make it easier for many more to read. While Usher has never been one of my favorites, I do know it well and mea culpa, I set the bar too high. It isn’t Griffin’s fault at all.  This isn’t even the first treatment of Poe that she has done so she must be doing it right for her audience. (I haven’t read the others and therefore can’t judge) The problem was that I thought I was her audience and I was wrong.

If you have never read Poe, abandoned it due to it’s less than modern language, or have a teen that you would like to introduce Poe to, may I present…

The Fall by Bethany Griffin, 420 pages, published October 7th 2014 by Greenwillow Books



All three of these spooky reads were provided by their publishers and that, obviously, doesn’t mean that they had any hand in these thoughts.

You know how they have bloopers for movies and TV shows? There are times that I would like to post some of the bloopers for my writing. I laugh so hard at some of the spelling errors, typos, and complete butchering of the language. I don’t need auto-correct to embarrass myself, no sir.  Have you had any good ones lately?


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Things that I Need Explained to Me.

TV Shows We Used To Watch - BBC British TV 1959-80  - Harry Worth from Flickr via Wylio© 2010 Paul Townsend, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

I think that most readers, especially non-fiction readers, have an incredibly curious mind and I am no different. There are times that I am still too linear to get it, no matter how long I research something and need a hand. Who better to ask for assistance? No, not Facebook friends, fellow readers. So here is what is bugging me this very moment.



Why is is that sometimes, you don’t have to understand the B plot to like a book? Broken



Really?Yes, this was one of the most horrific nightmare causing books that I have ever read, but there was an entire storyline that made not a lick of sense to me. I just kept reading, hoping that a light would come on….nope, I could have excised those pages and still been freaked out. I don’t want to get more detailed because it may be considered a spoiler. On the other hand, how would I know?





Why didArchduke people hate Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife? Greg King and Sue Woolmans portrayed them both as peaceful and forward thinking in The Assassination of the Archduke.

Why did my mom call him Dude, when we were talking about the book?

Why is it that when leaders are killed “before their time” they are 99% of time referred to as good. Is there only one bad guy in history that took a bullet, or cyanide pill, in his young prime?

Explain to me why, a non-fiction book has the ability to send me down Google rabbit holes that two hours later leave me knowing way more about the royalty of a country that no longer exists than a California beach bum should. While you are thinking on that, ponder why have the royal families never had a party and decided on an actual standard system of hierarchical titles.  Blows. My. Mind. It’s a full time job right there, keeping that stuff straight. Much worse that Russian patronymic names.


Why….did I have to refresh my memory of the definition of autodidactic, only to find a verbal description of myself in way too many subjects?



I love Ford and Free, however am I the only one that finds it odd that Ford Motor Company is sponsoring a book group on Goodreads?  Can we say 850,000 recalls on the airbags alone? Chevy lovers, don’t you smile, many of your vehicles have the same airbag.

Mighty gripping book, BTW, even if the characters would have felt less alone living with me in California. Hats off to Celeste Ng and super high five for being chosen by Ford.






Why is the dreamy Morbid Anatomy Anthology $194.68 plus shipping on Amazon and $30 plus shipping at the museum’s site itself? It isn’t like this is an exibition catalog or something; it’s a real book with an ISBN and still in the first printing.

Fabulous, even better than having to get up, turn on my PC, and catch up on what I have missed on the Morbid Anatomy Museum’s blog.  (that is taking into account that I keep the laptop at the end of the bed and just have to stretch for it)

While I am here, can we please have a coffee chat re: the Capuchin Monastery? (there is a piece and some amazing pics in the book) Let me help you  catch up…..We say death and bodies have no place in the church, so bury them in a mass grave over there…{insert time passing whistle here} Oh, look what I found while plotting a new garden…Mummies! {insert short time whistle here} let’s bring them inside and hang them on the walls, mummies are okay in the church…wait, we’rerunning out of mummies, let’s make some in the basement. Go Team!


thanks motomom

Are you feeling me? Beautiful, a part of life, tourist attracting and stunning way to work with what you have my friends; my hat is off to ya’ll too. Does anyone else see what is hypocritical about this bizarre history? Hmm, I wonder if I can make mummies in my yard? Didn’t that mountain over there used to be a volcano with super mummy making ash? {No offense was meant and no mummies were harmed in starting this discussion. Really, I’m not even starting on the naked baby mummies.}

Wait, there is more space here, should I share my mummy rap with you? Too bad, there isn’t that much space.



Two final notes:

1.   I have learned that there aren’t enough happy pills in the world to make me reply to comments or listen to voicemail in a timely manner. Mea Culpa. {isn’t it great when you can make a pun and be sincere at the same time?} If you have a solution, leave me a comment…{snare drum}

2.   These are just some of the things that I need to be explained since 3 PM, stay tuned. It ain’t easy being me.



This may be one of the most fun and most “me” posts ever and I covered four books, one of which, Broken Monsters, was given to me by the publisher and another was sponsored by Ford. The rest, well, let’s just say there is some beans being worked into my food budget. Fiber is good for you, right? Frijole Friday it is. 

The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

the barter

Move over Rosemary’s baby, The Omen, and The Exorcist and now we have The Barter on the Horror/Suspense bus. When I was a kid, my dad and I got into scary books by some really great authors. Now, I wasn’t scared, no creepy idea why. My daddy was a whole ‘nother story. He would be jumpy  for the next few days. Bad me, it was the one and only time that I could scare the crap out of him for a change. Then there was the time that he read Salem’s Lot, it had made him stay up all night to read and he was trying to play it off, but it was quite obvious terrifying him. (sorry, got off on a family scary but good memory)

Anywho, being that it has been an eon since I have read a tension-building ghost story, it took me a minute to get into the book…and then I couldn’t put the darn thing down. We flip back and forth to from two mothers, one current day and one about 1900. Two mothers that are forced by circumstances that they can’t explain to make a trade for their baby’s life. The problem is, they don’t know what to trade or what the consequences will be.

This was a slow, drip by cold drip down you back as it built the tension and there were times that, honestly, I just wanted to get to the end. I guess you could say the suspense was killing me.

Grab it for Halloween!

The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0525954228
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (September 4, 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Charles Darwin: Destroyer of Myths by Andrew Norman

I have read many books about Darwin, even though I find his natural science so boring that there better be some caffeine involved.  I get my kicks from the controversy that his work created and that is ultimately keeps coming back year, after year. The whole big bang, bible/God, we came from monkeys debate never gets old for me and is a great way to check for compatibility in friends and lovers. What I am saying is that I could use one or two questions, relating to him, that would easily let me know if there is even a small chance that we will get on.

1st Question ~ “How do you feel about the Scopes Monkey Trial?” (If they don’t even know what that was, they can leave, they do not pass go, cya wouldn’t want to be ya.)

2nd Question ~ “Does the Origin of Species conflict with your religious values? Please explain in detail.

See? Two questions and if the person is fairly intelligent, ready to be honest, and open; you would have a really good preview of your compatibility.

Andrew Norman covers much of what has been done before, but I enjoyed it for two things that he chose to cover and covered well. Norman included more of Darwin’s childhood than I remember reading in past works.  Yes, the most important parts of his life were his journey and then Origin of Species, but how did he get to the point that he was doing these big things? Norman tells us.

Norman has a nice way of explaining things to laymen without talking down to his readers. For example, the passage on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge was interesting; it didn’t fly over my head or put me to sleep.

Read it if you have never read anything regarding Darwin.

Charles Darwin: Destroyer of Myths by Andrew Norman

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (April 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1628737255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1628737257

Vanish Smile

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti


Oh, Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have named you…

Great art heists or fabulous forgeries are fun to read, I think. At least I never pass them by, fiction or non-fiction, they are great ways to learn about not only the art, but museums and the cities they are in as well.

However, you have to either tell me a story, like maybe Chasing Mona Lisa by Carson Morton or you better cover more facts and do it in an engaging way than the last few books. Scotti isn’t able to pull this off and there were times that it read as if had been pulled word for word from other books I have read before. (not saying plagiarism, just fatal lack of creativity)

Pass on this one for another. Chasing Mona, while fiction, covered the same material and was a more entertaining narrative.

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1ST edition (April 7, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0307265803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307265807


SheBooks ~ Out of Dublin by Ethel Rohan


I tend not to like short pieces because they leave me feeling unfulfilled and wanting more. However, when I learned about SheBooks this was the first title that caught my eye.  My Great-Great Grandparents came out of Ireland in the late 1800’s and settled in New York. Here was a contemporary emigration and not to the east coast, but to San Francisco, a city I have loved and lived in. I wondered why the author left and how she felt about NorCal. I worried that the short format wouldn’t allow me to grasp either answer.

Let me tell you, I cried. That’s right, Ethel Rohan was able to pluck my heart strings by bringing me back in my own time machine in less than 38 pages. It’s embarrassing; very few books make me cry, but this one had me balling and I’ll tell why.

This isn’t so much a story of going away as it is a story of coming home and taking care of those that took such wonderful care of you as a wee bairn. Rohan made every word count in recounting her childhood and the lengths she took to make her mother feel useful and uses just 4 teeny paragraphs to explain the burden that no child should have, little own, to themselves.

Fast forward to years later when first she loses her mother than perhaps the most heart wrenching of all, her father while back in Ireland. If was the most heartfelt, vulnerable, and touching few paragraphs of goodbye that I have ever read. Grab Out of Dublin if you love your family, if you have lost members of your family, or just because you could use a good cry. I did.

Out of Dublin by Ethel Rohan

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