Oct 31, 2012

My Trip to Salem

So, I recently took a trip down to Salem, MA ~ not much of a haul as I live only about two hours away ~ to see and experience not only the Halloween festivities that wreak havoc all through the town, but the horror and mayhem that was the witch trials of 1692. I remember reading The Crucible in one of my high school English classes, and I've wanted to make the trip ever since.

Anyway, I never thought I'd get to go ~ at least not this soon. Living and growing up in South Texas doesn't exactly make travel to Salem, Mass convenient ~ those of you who grew up around the area probably went there on junior high field trips... us southern kids went to The Alamo. But lucky me, I was able to fulfill my dreams and move north, north, north, to Southern Maine, making one of my bucket list items completely possible.

I'm a huge fan of anything paranormal ~ no, really? I never woulda guessed... It's just fun to imagine a world that's bigger and more mysterious than meets the eye. And that obviously trickles down into a love of Halloween. Salem is pretty much the place to go if you want to dress in costume all day, stroll your way through haunted houses, and get an up close and personal look at how the stupidity and selfishness of a few rebellious teenagers can cause hysteria, turmoil, and ultimately, 19 executions and dozens of tainted lives.

The town was filled to the brim with tourists from all over the country. Banners hung from old fashioned lamp posts celebrating "Witchy Salem" and pointing us lost folks in the right direction toward attractions we'd circled on our printed-out agenda. We passed by shops with voodoo dolls in the windows, vials of hex powders lined up neatly on racks, and books of spells neatly displayed for any random Joe to take a gander at. In front of those shops, lining the blocked-off streets, were booths selling anything and everything Halloween. Masks, face-painting, festive jewelry, t-shirts, and yes, even fang fittings. Needless to say, it was very easy to get distracted from reaching your goal destination.

But even just wandering through the streets, was amazing to be walking over the same ground that was the site for the Salem Witch Trials. *Mind Blown*

Witch Dungeon Museum
Our first stop was the Witch Dungeon Museum. A very dark place ~ you almost don't want to get too close to the building that sticks out like an omen on a strip of harmless-looking buildings. When you enter the building, it opens up to a small auditorium, red velvet curtain and wooden benches. Lining the walls are stories of the people and history surrounding the events of the Witch Trials. The curtain opens and we see Mrs. Proctor take a seat in what looks to be a courtroom. She's explaining herself and what has brought her to this place. Stage left enters Elizabeth's accuser, Mary Warren. Mary had just retracted her previous accusations of Mrs. Proctor, insinuating that the girls had been lying about their paranormal experiences the entire time. After Mary realized the other girls would make her their next target, she had Elizabeth dragged back to court ~ for a second time ~ under charges of witchcraft. This reenactment used actual lines from the recorded courtroom script, and the acting was breathtaking. The young woman posing as Mary was just incredible, making me believe that she was being plagued by some unknown evil. She screamed and writhed, causing me to sink back into my seat as far as I could go and wrap my arms around myself to keep the chills at bay. When the show came to an end, it was nearing seven in the evening, and everyone was getting ready to go down into the "dungeon." It wasn't the actual dungeon used back in the 17th century, but it was an exact replica. I was excited to see it until I pulled out my phone to check the time. Unfortunately, we had made a previous appointment, lucking out with tickets to a sold out show. We couldn't be late.

Across the street and down a ways sits The Witches Cottage. AMAZING show, lemme tell ya. It's like a tiny little theatre complete with a stage that is built into the audience. There's a door in the center of the stage, set up almost like the entrance to a house with windows on each side. The lights go out, and you can't see your own hand in front of your face. Suddenly, a spotlight shines on an unusual looking character scaring us all into gasps and screams. Turns out, it's only a witch, there to explain what we might experience in our visit to The Witches Cottage. The show is full of mysteries, legends, things that go bump in the night... and of course, the history of the Salem Witch Trials. Ghosts come at us from behind the door, bats swing down from the ceiling, and mysterious glowing orbs surround us at different points in the show. I couldn't stop laughing as creatures popped out of the walls where we thought mere pictures hung and shadows passed by, seen through the glow of the windows. My little brother asked me, "What's so funny?," but I think I was just so excited to be doing something so traditionally Halloween that it literally tickled me every time I was spooked. As the show comes to an end, the two men who make it all happen take the stage and talk a little more about the history of Salem's witchy accusations and give us a few hints on what to expect from their show next year. I know I'll be there :).

We find ourselves back on the now darkened street. There are even more people in costumes and the bustle hasn't even begun to slow down. What to do next? The shops are amazing, and we stop in a few on our way to we don't know where. We hear bagpipes in the distance, and soon we can't even hear each other speak as a parade of played march by in traditional kilts and such. Completely random. We continue walking past the dozens of booths set up, and I find one that is selling venetian style masks, and I just have to pick one out. Everyone else is in costume, and I feel a little out of place dressed "normal."

After I have my black, sparkling mask firmly in place, we come upon a huge crowd, and not only do we hear the laughter and talking that comes with a large group of people, we can hear the buzz of a chainsaw and the screech of teenage girls screaming. Haunted house. Yes, please.

I've always loved haunted houses. My brother takes the lead, thinking he's pretty tough, but eventually I find myself in front, as usual, and have to turn around constantly to tell the others to hurry up. I find myself more curious than scared about what these "devils" might have up there sleeve, and I can't wait to see what's waiting around the corner.

Four haunted houses and a few screams later, we make our way to the Salem Witch Museum. By this time it's 10:00, and of course, we got so caught up in the fun of giving ourselves a decent fright, we've lost track of time and our schedule. They've just closed the doors behind the last tour. Bummer. But it's still beautiful, and the gift shop is still open, so, not a total loss.

There's always next year.

At a loss for what to do next, we pull out our completely touristy itineraries and maps  to see what we've missed. DUH! The House of Seven Gables.... And we're in luck. They stay open until eleven.

We walk what seems to be a couple of miles (that may be a bit of an exaggeration...) before we reach the parking lot. They have two tours going on, and we pick the tour based on the book by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We'll go from room to room and meet the spirits and characters that make up the book. The house itself is beautiful. As soon we enter, you can feel the age of the creaking floorboards beneath your boots. There's a man sitting, seemingly asleep. I'm not really sure what to expect, but I sit down and wait. He "wakes up" from his little snooze and begins to tell us the tale of The House of Seven Gables and what we can expect from our tour of the house. He says we can enter, and right before I make my way through the next door, he taps me on the shoulder and acts as if he's going to tell me a secret. "BOO" he whispers. Crap.

We go from to room, meeting a very vengeful ghost, an old man with the mind of a child, a kind young woman, an overzealous and very loud stranger to the house, and the old woman who owns it. Not to mention the very persistent and mildly evil man banging on the door outside, begging to be let in, he "means no harm." This totally a book that I have to read, and I am completely surprised at myself for not having read it yet. The acting in this tour was incredible. Such an amazing and real feeling when you have a person standing or pacing in front of you, remembering or ranting, telling you their side of the story. It was as if the characters were real people who were each trying to get us on their side. It was an experience I'll never forget and would gladly go through again.

Once we exit the house, we find ourselves in the gorgeous gardens. It's the one rare moment that night that I wished it was day so I could see it in full effect. You could stand in front of it's beauty, but it's fairy-tale like quality is immediately contradicted by the dark House of Seven Gables looming behind it, casting shadows and exuding this ominous aura. Maybe it really is haunted, maybe it was just the theme of the night, but it certainly didn't feel like an empty house from where I was standing.

By this time, it's 11:30 and we're exhausted. We didn't get started until late in the day ~ around 5:00 PM ~ but with all the walking and excitement, we're ready to head out. There's so much I wish we could have done, but that just leaves more to look forward to for next year. Definitely more than a one night trip that I will be making again.

If you haven't been to Salem in the month of October, I strongly suggest you add it to your bucket list. :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 29, 2012

Sandy is Outside My Door

According to The Weather Channel, Sandy is currently a CAT 1 hurricane, causing floods and thousands of power outages. I'm looking out my window now as the pine trees towering over my little cape house sway from side to side, creaking and moaning under the force of the wind. A little freaky, considering I've been in the epicenter of an earthquake and am now experiencing a hurricane ~ all in the same month. It almost feels as if the power of the Mayan calendar is upon my little corner of the world...

LOL, doubtful but it is kind of ironic... 

Anyway, if my power goes out ~ for how long, I don't know... I live in the sticks ~ I promise I'll announce the winners of the Anna giveaway as soon as I'm able.

Upside ~ perfect reading weather. Here's to hopin' the lights stay on!! 

Stay safe everyone :)

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Monday Montage


Monday Montage is a weekly meme I created in order to give the dreaded Monday at least one redeeming quality. Nobody ~ I mean nobody ~ loathes Mondays more than I do. That poor day never had a chance. This week though, every day feels like Saturday... A well-earned vacation has finally come my way, so Monday can't unfold its evil plot this time... ;)

This week's Monday Montage is inspired by Ten by Gretchen McNeil:


Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 28, 2012

Book Tour Stop: Phantom by Laura DeLuca

The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.

Ahh, just in time for Halloween... I've always considered The Phantom of the Opera to be one of those classic horror stories that will stand the test of time (and countless remakes). Laura DeLuca offers up a "twenty first century phantom," concocting her own modern twist based on the well-known legend.

Sound good to you? Check out the excerpt below for a bit of a teaser and a look into Laura DeLuca's novel:


It sounded more like a question than an audition call. Miss King looked slightly baffled as she scanned her paperwork and read the last name on her list of male candidates. Once she was certain she had read the name correctly, she called it out once more with a little more confidence. When she received no immediate response, she seemed ready to dismiss the whole thing as a joke. But then a strange black clad figure seemed to materialize in the corner of the stage, and with practiced grace, he moved towards the center of the platform and the waiting microphone.

“That’s Justyn Patko,” Carmen informed Rebecca matter-of-factly. Luckily her best friend was the queen of gossip. “He just moved here this year. From Vegas, I think. He’s in my Calculus class.”

“He’s a little creepy if you ask me,” Debbie whispered.

Creepy he might have been to some, with his black clothes trimmed with silver chains, black hair, and black fingernails. He was obviously Gothic to the core, a fashion statement Rebecca had always thought was secretly a cry for attention. But for Justyn, there seemed no other possibility. She couldn’t imagine the darkly mysterious figure dressed in earth tones or preppy, button-down shirts. They would have clashed with his dark eyes and pale skin. She had seen him in the hallway a few times, but they didn’t share any classes together, so Rebecca had never really taken the time to study him before. Despite his odd style, there was something strangely appealing about Justyn. In his own way, he was just as handsome as Tom.

The orchestra tuned for its virtuoso, and Justyn stood ready. But no one else was ready for the magical performance he began. Beside her, Carmen was rambling on about something mundane. Rebecca elbowed her to silence so she could listen to the perfectly thrilling tenor. As she listened to the song unfold, the world around her started to slip away. Gone was the high school auditorium. Gone were the rowdy teenagers. The Gothic stranger on the stage had become the embodiment of Erik, and Rebecca watched him in all his dark glory, belting out his tormented love through the words of his song. And she was as breathless with wonder as Christine herself must have been when the masked stranger serenaded her in the candlelit labyrinth of the opera house. In that moment, Justyn wasn’t just portraying the phantom. Justyn was the phantom.

“Let the music touch your soul.
Let the darkness make you whole.
Do not fear what is unknown.
Your true path has now been shown.
Listen to the words I sing.
Embrace the peace that night will bring.”

As he continued to sing in his deep but somehow angelic voice, Rebecca found that she couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. With every line, her heart began to beat faster. She truly felt the arms of night wrapping her in a warm embrace. She could almost feel the hands of the phantom glide along her body as the words poured forth. The music caressed her. It possessed her—mind, body and soul. Each word left her longing, yearning for more.

She was gawking so obviously, it was hardly surprising when Justyn felt her eyes on him and steadily met her gaze. She realized her mouth was hanging open in stunned awe, and she quickly snapped it shut. His lips moved into just a small hint of a smile. He never took his eyes off her while he sang the final verse, making her cheeks flush to the point that she felt almost feverish. But it wasn’t embarrassment but excitement, arousal even, which was sending her mind spinning in so many directions.

When the song was over, and Rebecca had recovered just a hint of her composure, she couldn’t help but burst into a healthy round of applause. A few scattered people joined in, including Debbie and Carmen after she nudged them in the ribs. But only Miss King seemed to truly appreciate the brilliance of his talent as much as Rebecca did.

“That was amazing, Justyn!” the teacher gushed.

“Lord Justyn,” he corrected as he stepped down from the stage.

A few others complimented him as well, but he took in all in stride. In fact, his serious expression never faltered as he stepped down from the stage. He seemed almost bored, like it was all he could do to hold back a yawn, despite the smiles and words of encouragement.

But not everyone in the crowd was pleased as Justyn glided down the aisle, so ethereal in his dark garments that he still resonated the spirit of the Opera Ghost. Miss King might have been excited about the newest male addition to her cast after being limited for many years, but Tom and his group of boisterous companions glared at him as he passed them by. Jay sneered and tossed a balled up piece of paper in Justyn’s direction, but the Goth was quick, and caught it in his hand without missing a beat.

“I think you dropped something,” he said.

His speaking voice was no less melodic than his singing voice, but something about his tone made Rebecca shiver. He tossed the paper back at Jay, who was nowhere near as coordinated as Justyn. He practically fell off his seat in his efforts to catch it.

“Hey vampire,” Tom called when Justyn went to walk away. “Are you sure you can handle the competition?”

Justyn smiled, a cool, sarcastic half-smile, and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you?”

Miss King didn’t notice the short confrontation, and Justyn vanished from the auditorium as quickly and mysteriously as he had appeared. Only Rebecca had noticed the very real tension between the two boys. She wondered if it was a bad omen for them to start off the production with hard feelings and envy. That could only lead to trouble. The kind of trouble that could end with someone getting hurt. The kind of trouble that Rebecca would do whatever it took to avoid.

About Laura DeLuca 

Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years. Visit her on her websites at http://authorlauradeluca.blogspot.com or http://newagemama.blogspot.com .

Or visit her via

Purchase Phantom

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 26, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday

Feature and Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read in which we bloggers form new connections, make new friends, and gain more followers.

Q: What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.

There are a couple of things that peeve me... I wouldn't say they would stop me from finishing or even enjoying the book, but they'd definitely earn a few negative comments in a review...

  • Insta-love ~ can't stand it. There's really no such thing in the real world making it very difficult for readers to relate to. Some slow, steady, steamy romance tops smashing two characters with a cupid's arrow and calling it love any day. 
  • Artificial dialogue ~ You know, those strained conversations between characters that make you think, "C'mon, no one would actually say that." Comes across as cheesy and is a total turn off.
  • Omniscient narrator ~ Not a good time for this reader. I don't feel a connection to the characters, or the story for that matter, when an author uses this tool. You can't really relate to the emotions of the characters because you're hearing about it from someone else. I usually feel outside of the story in these cases, when I'd rather be completely absorbed in that world. Not good.
  • Gushing ~ I really don't know how else to put it. When a girl falls for a guy, usually the reader knows this. We don't need every other paragraph to be about how "his presence is god-like," "his chiseled jaw made her squirm," or "how his dimples instilled butterflies in her stomach." A little bit is good, because we are kept up to speed on the character's feelings, but everyone other sentence is complete overkill and I usually find myself skimming past most of the book in that case.

Wow, it felt kinda good to get that off my chest :). 

Happy Reading (and HAPPY FRIDAY!) Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 25, 2012

Gut Feelings: Listen to Them!

So, you know when you're watching a scary movie, and you're like, "Oh, Hell no, I wouldn't be going there..." or "OMG, you idiot, don't go up the stairs/down in the basement!"....

Or, you know the classic slasher films in which a group of teenagers seclude themselves from the outside world to party and fornicate in peace, but along the way they run across creepy situation after creepy situation and you're like "HELLO! You were warned by the town crazy not to go into the woods because you'd be DOOMED and yet you still went into the woods."

It's kinda funny because you can predict what will happen before it even happens.. Who will die first.. Who will be left standing... How the murders will begin...

I watched this movie the other day ~ The Cabin in the Woods... Not the greatest horror film, but definitely not the worst and without a doubt one of the more unique I've seen. You have a group of characters that are typically five different stereotypes. Basically, what it boils down to is that they choose their own demise. Rather than listening to their gut instincts, they ignore that chill raising the hairs on the back of their necks, and they continue with their ridiculous decision-making. "Let's read old Latin out of a creepy journal that talks about raising the dead." "Oh, why don't you and I talk a walk through the woods in the middle of a foggy night for some 'privacy'." "Let's split up!"... Just fail, after fail, after fail.

I'm not complaining by any means. I find movies and books with these types of story lines to be wildly entertaining. It's the one and only time I can truly laugh at witnessing someone else's demise and not feel the least bit guilty.

So why am I rambling about this? Well, I'm reading Ten by Gretchen McNeil, and it consists, so far, of the same elements. Kids lie to their parents and go for a hopefully wild weekend out on a secluded island ~ without cell phone reception *insert dramatic - DUN DUN DUN*

Meg and Minnie, best friends, ride a ferry over to the island, and while unloading themselves onto dry land, Meg gets this weird feeling as - yup, you guessed it - the guy helping her asks if she's sure she'll be okay on the island. DING DING DING. There's the first clue.

Now, I'm no prude, and I certainly believe in having a good time, but I think I would have been all set with the knowledge that absolutely no one was going to know where we were in case something happened. Some call that paranoid, I call it being prepared.

The second clue, which comes almost immediately after the first, is the gut feeling Meg gets that there is something wrong with them being out there completely isolated. But her psycho friend Minnie, who's oblivious to everything and everyone that doesn't have to do with her specifically, blows Meg off as being silly and antisocial and tells her that she better try and have a good time.

Third clue: the house they are to stay in is secluded on the secluded island. Yes, you read that right. The only way to get to it is to cross a bridge that isn't really much of a bridge as the waves crashing over it could knock you off into the dark pit of water. Did I fail to mention there was also a storm blowing in? That means the waves are about twenty times bigger and a helluva lot more dangerous. Good luck getting over to the house and even better luck crossing to come back to the main island.

Fourth clue: DVD cases have no DVD's except for one that says "Don't watch this." Of course, they watch it, and what do they find.... This...

You might think I'm spoiling the book for you, but trust me, I've left out quite a few of other obvious clues that these kids refused to acknowledge. The video definitely would have tipped me off that something wasn't right, but nope... They chalk it up to some kind of practical joke and scamper off to bed...

Now I'll stop there...

So how many more bad decisions await as I turn the page? hmmmmm... *knowing smirk*

Maybe I'm being too harsh because I know that this is a horror novel. I know people are going to die. The characters are ignorant of the terrifying world the author's thrown them into... So, am I being to judgmental in thinking that they should have guessed or even had at least a suspicion that something was way, way off...?

Maybe so. But it just seems so obvious to me.

So my question is: Do you think you would notice something was terribly wrong? And if so, would you blow off your gut feeling or would you listen to it??

Remember: Your life could be at stake...

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Pondering: Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me,Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

OoOoO... This is intriguing. Warner was... kind of a ruthless prick in Shatter Me. He was obsessed with Juliette, and it was obvious there was more to him than the eye could see. I thought it was a little weird that Juliette felt this awkward attraction toward a dude who was trying to kill someone she loved, but hey, who am I to judge where raging hormones lead?

This being from Warner's point of view, I'm excited to see what goes on beneath that ice-cold exterior. I'm not sure if it'll make me hate him more and warm up to him ~ either way, it'll be interesting...

So, what did you think of Warner? Did you love him, hate him, or feel indifferent? I think he is doing a job that was ingrained into him from the day he was born, and his obsession for Juliette will be his downfall. I'm not too sure where her weird attraction to him stems from, but I'm curious to see what she does with it. As for Warner, I'm kind of indifferent as in I don't really feel I know enough about him yet to form an honest opinion. I'm thinkin' Destroy Me will rectify that :)

One more question, I promise...

What do you hope to see from Warner in this book? Would you rather him be the cold-hearted villain whose infatuation with Juliette is all about possessing something unique? OR would you like to see him with gooey, warm insides beneath that hard, brutal presence he puts off?

What do you hope to see from Warner?
pollcode.com free polls 

Lemme know what you think :)

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

So I'm not deep enough into any book at the moment to give you a decent introduction and sneak peek into one of my current reads. Nothin' wrong with an old fashioned Teaser Tuesday though ;)

This week's teaser is plucked from Ten by Grethen McNeil:

"As the sound of the ferry's engine faded into the distance, Meg felt suddenly isolated. Other than the dull rumble of water and wind, she couldn't hear a thing, and there were no signs of life on the distant beach. Meg shivered. They were alone in the middle of nowhere, their only contact with the outside world retreating into the night."

Starting out with little hints of creepiness and foreshadows of what may be to come. 
Perfect Halloween read!

What are you teasing us with?

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 21, 2012

Book Tour: Review and Giveaway: Taking on the Dead by Annie Walls

Life for Kansas was perfect until the day the world changed.

She has been hiding out for four years in solitude. It's the only way to survive. The only way not to draw the living dead. Helping a small group of people, she learns the new world might not be what she assumes. Venturing out of her refuge and comfort zone, she meets Rudy, who helps her find a greater purpose. She realizes that the world has moved on without her. Only it's not what she expects. Her knowledge of the living dead grows and only makes her more curious as humanity continues to hang on by a thread. While on her search for answers she finds comfort in new friendships and love, but her past seems as if it will haunt her forever. 

Kansas takes it upon herself to help other survivors, which would be easy if the famished were the only obstacles.

In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is emotional as much as it is horrifyingly gripping.

*Not intended for a young audience. Mature content.*

A world full of zombies would be difficult to live in. A world full of crazy people in a world full of zombies is even harder. There's no government, no real law, nothing to keep people from revealing their true selves ~ in both good and bad ways. You've got your religious cults that kidnap women, your monarchist-style mad scientists that think they can destroy and run the world, and then you have Kansas and the rat pack.

Kansas City Sunshine Moore is a complete badass. She's my new favorite heroine. Her strength and resilience in a world gone to crap never ceases to astound me throughout this book. She survives losing everyone she's ever loved, cooking her own food, slashing zombies, and creating a safe haven for herself. She's afraid, but she doesn't let her fear control her ~ nor does she allow solitude to drive her mad. Even when she loses everything all over again, she keeps her head high and focuses on her next move. What I love most about her, though, is that deep down, she still holds on to her heart even as its ripped in two time and time again.

Of course, that would have absolutely nothing to do with Rudy, a goliath of a gorgeous man who's kindness and brute strength saves her life time and time again. Or, for that matter, Mac ~ who I don't trust by the way ~ a curly-headed, supposedly decent guy with a fetish for white t-shirts. Kansas finds herself confused and torn between them in a not-so-classic love triangle. And that's just the small stuff. Kansas has a lot more to worry about than who she'd like to give her heart to. Her youth and "fertility" make her a high-demand target, and she runs, kicks, curses, and slashes through hell to survive.

Kansas is lucky, in a way, even through all the atrocious sights she's seen and violations she's experienced. She has her group of scheming boys and she has her gal pal Glinda. Kansas may find herself in a community where the dead are treated as works of art (freakish, I know), but she's free to make her own choices and build a life for herself. Not many people in this new famished-infested world ever get a chance to do that, much less dream about it.

What I really loved about this book was that there was no holding back. Annie Walls doesn't hide the gore or the appalling actions humans take when a world is stripped of reputation and law. Everything the people do or experience is something I could imagine truly happening if humanity as we know it came to an end. People would have no qualms about taking what they want, forcing their beliefs on someone else, or breeding people like cattle. It's crazy, brutal, and completely horrific ~ but it's believable, and that's what makes it so damn good.

Would highly recommend to those who:

  • Don't have a weak stomach
  • Have zombie love
  • Admire a kick-ass heroine

Can't wait for the second book to be released, Controlling the Dead! Super excited about this series :) 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below!!!

Visit Annie Walls via

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 19, 2012

Feature and Follow

Feature and Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read in which we bloggers make new connections and learn a little piece about each other...

Q: When you step out of your USUAL genre what do you like to read? Best books in that genre?

hmmm... tough question... You know, I don't usually read contemporary. (When I say "contemporary," I'm meaning a book placed in ordinary present times in which nothing paranormal exists...) Whether it be adult or YA, I'd just rather read about an alternate world or a different time. But every once in a while I'll see one that catches my eye, and I just have to read it. 

The best book I've read in that genre is, without a doubt, Pushing the Limits by Katy McGarry. It was amazing ~ heartbreaking but full of hope and promise... Loved this emotional story of Noah and Echo... 

You can see my review here :).

Follow me and I'll follow you. :)

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 18, 2012

Movie Review: Sinister

Alright, alright... So I've heard this was "the scariest movie of 2012"... and maybe that's true (for this year so far ~ Hollywood is severely disappointing)... but still.. as a lover of a an adrenaline rush and a few screamy jumps... I really didn't think it was that scary...

Okay, now let me backtrack. I never said I didn't like this movie. But for those with an undeniable love of the chills, lemme tell ya, this may be worth the wait for a redbox or netflix rental..

Now I'm strictly speaking from a creep-lover level. You wanna be scared (I mean, have a hard time sleepin' scared) this movie doesn't live up to the hype. As for the amount of stars (out of five, of course), base on the movie for what it is, I'd say it deserves a solid three out of five.

Ethan Hawke does a fantastic job in the shoes of Ellison Oswalt, the obsessive true-crime writer still desperately holding on to his fifteen minutes of fame and, ultimately, his career as a writer with the prospect of a new book. Of course, that means dragging his family to a new town ~ a place where four people were hung by a tree in their own backyard. A place that now, unknown to Mrs. Oswalt, belongs to Ellison and his family.

Ellison (Ethan) comes across a box of Super 8 tapes while putting some moving boxes up in the attic. You know the drill ~ it always has to be an attic or a basement. In his eyes, he hit the true-crime writer's lottery with footage of not only the hanging of the four people in his new backyard, but other murders as well. Time to pull out the whiskey and CSI-like pin boards ~ there's work to be done if he's ever going to get that movie deal he's been yearning for.

You've heard the slogan for this movie... "Once you see him, nothing can save you." Seems to be the case, but there are a few holes in this story. How did this monster come to live in these Super 8 films? We discover where it originated in the U.S. but never why and how he was "brought back to life." Not enough history is provided to make the monster believable. Mostly we just see Ellison downin' whiskey in his "office" watching grisly murders projected on a white sheet. Oh, and he's awoken a few times in the middle of the night to strange noises, which he goes after with a baseball bat. Like that's going to do much of anything...

Also, if you're going to say that "all evidence of the monster has been destroyed," that leads audiences to assume that images (or films) can be burned to a crisp and be expected to stay that way... not mysteriously reappear perfectly intact... See, things like this just didn't add up, and I was focusing more on "Wtf? But I thought...?"

If you don't look at the story line too closely, you can't see the holes, and in that case, I'm sure it is pretty scary. But for me, to make a movie chill-inducing, I have to believe it. And Sinister just didn't fill in the gaps...

That's not to say I didn't enjoy it ~ Ethan Hawke has always been a favorite of mine, and I really like the idea of the ancient monster adapting to modern times. Ellison's digging into the murders was interesting as coincidences (or are they?) are uncovered. Tons of potential here....

But there needed to be... more... to give it that wow factor. More history. More of a connection of the dots. Less gaping holes.

Like I said ~ three out of five.

Happy Viewing Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we book lovers showcase upcoming releases we are not-so-patiently waiting to find a permanent home on our shelves for.

This week's anticipation:

Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter
Release Date: December 26th, 2012

The breathtaking first novel in New York Times best selling author Gena Showalter’s new paranormal romance series, Otherworld Assassins, featuring a black ops agent who is captured and enslaved…and the beautiful deaf girl who holds the key to his salvation…


Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner’s daughter, is tasked with Solo’s care and feeding. The monster inside him yearns to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems—she’s his.


Vika endures the captives’ taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can’t free them. Only, Solo is different—he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be used against him…and he’ll be put to a killer test.

Sounds intensely romantic... with the possibility for heartbreak... The monster inside him? Deaf girl? I wonder what significance her lack of hearing holds...  A zoo of otherworlders? Wow... I'm excited :)

What are you waiting for?

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 16, 2012

Giveaway: Anna Dressed in Blood AND Girl of Nightmares

Well, the month's half over, my Halloween Giveaway has come to an end... and I'm kinda like.. "eh, what now?" So... to prolong my favorite month's festivities, I'll be hosting another giveaway... lucky you ;)

So what'll it be this time? I've gotten a lot of responses on my review of Anna Dressed in Blood, soooooo... yeah, you guessed it.. I'll be giving away not only a copy of that little wonderfully goulish nugget, but also the second in Kendare Blake's series, Girl of Nightmares...

How excited are you???

Queasy stomachs need not apply...

::Anna Dressed in Blood::

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Curious? Check out my review of Anna Dressed in Blood here.... 

Like the sound of murderous ghosts with horrifying pasts? What about a teenage ghost hunter who carries more than his fair share of burdens?

Get clickin'...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Tuesday Prelude

Yay, I finally have time to get down, dirty, and deep and share one of my favorite elements of my current read.. This week's Tuesday Prelude revolves around Annie Walls' Taking on the Dead....

Life for Kansas was perfect until the day the world changed.

She has been hiding out for four years in solitude. It's the only way to survive. The only way not to draw the living dead. Helping a small group of people, she learns the new world might not be what she assumes. Venturing out of her refuge and comfort zone, she meets Rudy, who helps her find a greater purpose. She realizes that the world has moved on without her. Only it's not what she expects. Her knowledge of the living dead grows and only makes her more curious as humanity continues to hang on by a thread. While on her search for answers she finds comfort in new friendships and love, but her past seems as if it will haunt her forever. 

Kansas takes it upon herself to help other survivors, which would be easy if the famished were the only obstacles.

In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is emotional as much as it is horrifyingly gripping.

*Not intended for a young audience. Mature content.*

Imagine going on a date with the love of your life.. you get frisky in the parking lot, wear that after-glow to the cotton candy stand, and head on toward the ferris wheel... but in mid-stride, you hear an unbelievable scream.. at first you think it's a part of the show or that you're hearing and seeing things.. but no, that mailman really is taking a bite out of that brunette, getting a mouthful of flesh and blood... WTF? That's what happens to Kansas, and it's not long before she is alone ~ four years alone ~ in a world where zombies are more trustworthy than the rare survivors left...

Kansas is a complete badass... I wanna grow dreads just so I can pretend to have even a smidgeon of the total badassness she exudes... Yeah, I said dreads... didn't you notice that on the cover? She is one tough broad with some major brains and guts, doing whatever it takes to survive..

The big question is: who should she find trustworthy? The number is runnin' pretty low on decent people...

Here are some thoughts from Kansas's mind:

"Some people say you can't change overnight. I'm sure this is true. Most of the time. In my case, I changed within seconds."

"We passed several wrecks, heard many helicopters and sirens, and probably saw a few zombies, but were too wrapped up in ourselves to notice. I blame it on being in love, but I swear to myself now if I saw a person walking down the street covered in blood or eating someone, I would have paid attention. Maybe."

"My memories are good ones, but they can bring on physical pain. Grief is a strange thing when you don't let yourself move on, especially when you don't deserve it."

"Waking up without dreaming of faces I once knew and loved as zombies starts my day off right."

"For the first time in four years, someone knows things about me. I don't really know how I feel about this. A strange thing, because being alone makes a person very self aware."

"I want to trust him, but a part of me is skeptical. Exteriors aren't what they seem, never have been."

Tough world to live in... but she does it with grace...

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 15, 2012

Monday Montage

Monday Montage is  weekly meme I created in order to beat the dreaded "monday blues." I figured I had to give the day some kind of redeeming quality, so I picked a book I was currently reading or had just recently finished and put together a "montage" of images, videos, songs, and humor inspired by the contents of that book.

Today's inspiration comes from The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda:

::love Twilight, but this is funny::

::good question...::

::because I love Dean and Sam::

::k, sorry.. again, LOVE Twilight, but funny::

Have a great week!

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Oct 14, 2012

Spotlight: Gravediggers:Mountain of Bones by Christopher Krovatin

Ian was the 0ne who chased the majestic buck into the forest. (His motto: Act first, think later.) Kendra didn't want to become separated from the other sixth graders, but she followed Ian anyway, despite what her analytical mind told her. PJ followed him too. Even though he was scared, he figured he might catch some amazing footage with his video camera.

They all hoped to return to the hiking trail before anyone noticed they were gone. However, the mountain had other plans for them: dark, sinister plans that only nightmares are made of.

Now they don't know where they are. They don't know how to get home. They don't know what gruesome creatures lurk in the shadows—but when they find out these grisly ghouls are actually ravenous zombies, will they be able to escape the mountain with their lives?

This first book in the Gravediggers series is a scary, mysterious, wild ride that will thrill readers to the very last page.

Hmmm, sounds like a great Halloween read to me :) "Dark, sinister" mountains, secluded hiking trails, and "ravenous zombies"... Pretty decent combo that promises a fun, spooky read ~ perfect for this time of the year... ;)

What first caught my attention to this book were the Youtube videos... Hilarious and creative, we meet Zed the Zombie, whose offense to Krovatin's "insensitive" take on zombies leads to a face to face interview and discussion and, yes, even a little Thriller dancin'....

LOL I love it! 

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which we book lovers showcase new books received that have put an even bigger bend in our shelves...

This week's haul:

::kindle love::

Life for Kansas was perfect until the day the world changed.
She has been hiding out for four years in solitude. It's the only way to survive. The only way not to draw the living dead. Helping a small group of people, she learns the new world might not be what she assumes. Venturing out of her refuge and comfort zone, she meets Rudy, who helps her find a greater purpose. She realizes that the world has moved on without her. Only it's not what she expects. Her knowledge of the living dead grows and only makes her more curious as humanity continues to hang on by a thread. While on her search for answers she finds comfort in new friendships and love, but her past seems as if it will haunt her forever. 
Kansas takes it upon herself to help other survivors, which would be easy if the famished were the only obstacles.
In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is emotional as much as it is horrifyingly gripping.

*Not intended for a young audience. Mature content.*


And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

And I know I've posted it before, but I just can't help myself... Here's the trailer for Ten... *creeeeepy*

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~