Novel Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

As you’ll see below, the blurb has promise. It offers a little bit of all the genres I love. And I have to say, the cover is interesting. I definitely wanted to delve into the meat of things. So… before the review, the blurb!

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

This book was provided by the publisher from NetGalley
Available at The Book Depository || Barnes & Nobles

This book surprised me a bit. I’d expect a lot more, but by the end of the book, not much had been resolved.

I wasn’t at all fond of the heroine. She thought she was quite clever, but sadly she wasn’t very bright. She was a horrible judge of character, made extremely poor decisions, and pretty much made life difficult for those around her with her actions. I honestly can’t think of one thing the main character did which enhanced the book.

For the most part, she acted more like a secondary character than the star of the show. As such, it made it difficult to want to follow her journey.

The ending had a cliffhanger feel to it. As I mentioned, little had been resolved. However, there’s no indication this is book one of a series.

Normally, I don’t stick with a book this long (34 days, Goodreads says). However, the book was like following breadcrumbs. I kept expecting more… hoping an event would redeem the entire book. Alas, this book remain just shy of interesting–enough appeal to get me to read a few paragraphs at a time but not enough to keep me engaged for very long.

I started this book expecting to truly enjoy it. I’m just so shocked I found so little to like about it. Overall, this book left me unsatisfied.

Pack of Lies Blog Tour

My introductory into the paranormal romance genre began with Sherilyn Kenyon. I had no idea there was a genre out there which mixed two genres (romance & paranormal) I’d spent so much time reading while I was younger. And to think… a whole world full of characters to explore. 🙂 Well today we have Staci Weber and Sara Dailey with us to share how they’re applying a similar concept with a YA theme.

The last thing Allison Wright ever expected when she moved to Red Ridge, New Mexico was to come muzzle to muzzle with the wolf of her dreams.

Seventeen-year-old Allison Wright is convinced she’s losing her mind. Uncontrollable mood swings, hot flashes, and the urge to punch anyone who gets in her way are suddenly becoming everyday occurrences. Before her erratic behavior gets out of hand, Allison’s mother finally comes clean about her dark secret. Mom is a werewolf, and soon Allison and her brother Aiden will suffer the same fate. When Allison reaches her breaking point, the family leaves their life in Texas to move to Red Ridge, New Mexico where they rejoin the pack that Allison’s mother left behind almost 20 years ago. 

Unfortunately, not everyone in Red Ridge is thrilled about Allison’s arrival, especially when she attracts the attention of the very handsome, very taken, soon-to-be alpha, Cade Walker. Little does Allison know, her mere presence is causing a rift in a once unified pack. Not only has Cade been forbidden from being with Allison by his father, the pack’s alpha, Cade’s girlfriend, Kendall Stuart, will stop at nothing to get Allison out of the picture. Well on her way to becoming the next alpha’s mate, Kendall expects to rule the pack by Cade’s side even if it means teaming up with a rogue werewolf with an agenda of his own. Determined to get rid of Allison permanently, when Kendall and the rogue join forces, all hell breaks loose and no one in the pack is safe, especially not Cade and his true mate. 

Available at Smashwords || Barnes & Nobles || Amazon

We would like to thank you for having us on the blog today.

We thought that we would share how the idea of our Red Ridge Pack series came to be. Over the years, we both were devouring young adult series books like crazy, but by the third or fourth book in the series, they all seemed to fall a little flat. We decided that we just got tired of reading about the same characters over and over. After writing our first novel, Sinful, we couldn’t even imagine writing another whole book about Michael and Elizabeth. We just wanted them have their happy ever after and move on to the next book idea. Why write about the same characters making the same mistakes over and over again? It became frustrating for us as readers, so we knew that we didn’t want to write a series like that.

We decided at that point that if we were going to write a series, we wanted each book to tell someone else’s story. We didn’t want our readers getting tired of our characters, and we didn’t want to get tired of them either. So, when the idea to write a werewolf series popped in our heads, we knew immediately that it would have to be centered around a Pack, and not just one couple in the Pack. We started out with a cookie-cutter family, mom, dad, two teenagers, but little did Allison and Aiden know, mom had one hell of a secret. And Pack of Lies was born. From there we knew we could build an entire series. What better way to be able to write about several different characters than have them be part of a Pack. Being that werewolf Packs are a tight-knit group and full of drama, we knew that the storylines could be endless. Our goal was to create a series much like many of the adult romance series that we have read, like Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Warren. While each of their books was about someone new, each novel in the series were connected in some way.

When we started Pack of Lies we didn’t have any idea who the next book in the series would be about, but the further we got into the story, it became clear. Aiden stood out to us from the start. We thought he was funny (we hope our readers do too), and since we decided that his werewolf abilities would progress much more slowly that his sister, Allison’s, we knew that book two had to be about him. We are currently hard at work on Aiden’s story and can’t wait for its release.

About the Authors

Both Sara Dailey and Staci Weber are avid readers, English teachers, friends, wives, and soccer moms. They have been teaching together for the past eight years, and writing together for four. Pack of Lies is the second young adult novel for this duo. 

Follow the Tour!

6/18 The Book Hoard /Guest Blog 
6/19 The Release Day ALL REVIEW Blitz
 Reader Girls
For The Love of Film And Novels
  Wonderland Reviews
 Bunnys Review 
 Cuzinlogic
 Doctor’s Notes
 Books, Books, and More Books
  T B R No
 Reading, Writing and More
  Words I Write Crazy 
6/25 Persephone’s Winged Reviews /Guest Blog
6/25 T B R /First Chapter and Give Away
6/26 Reading, Writing and More /Interview, First Chapter, Give Away
6/28 This Author’s Life /Guest Blog
6/29Ramblings of an Amateur Writer /Guest Blog
7/3 The Story of A Girl… /Review and Give Away
7/4 Close Encounters with the Night Kind /Review, Give Away
7/4 My World /Guest Blog
7/4 A Case of Reading Insomnia /Review
7/5 Book Lovin’ Mamas /Guest Post
7/6 Soliloquy /Interview and Give Away
7/10Red Headed Bookworm /First Chapter and Give Away
7/11Lissette E. Manning /Review
7/11 Readers Confession /Review and Give Away
7/12 Books, Books, and More Books /Bio/Book Synopsis, Give Away


 

 

Dreaming Montana Blog Tour

I have to say, interviewing Kim Nathan made me a bit home sick. Washington… will you waiting for me? A couple more years until my high school reunion. Let’s hope I can make it there. Until then, I’ll have to live vicariously books which take me back. 🙂 Speaking of which… Welcome to the next stop of the Dreaming Montana tour!

In a single day, Cara Gallagher experiences an erotic dream about a man she doesn’t know and has a premonition of her identical twin—at the exact moment her sister dies in a car accident. To escape her grief and a loveless marriage, Cara accepts a temporary job reassignment in Seattle, where she continues to have sensuous dreams of the unknown man. There she encounters an angel who claims to be sent by her dead sister to help her find the man in her dreams. Meanwhile, photographer Jay Amiens sees angel wings on his film and has recurring intimate dreams about a woman he doesn’t know—but would love to meet in person. Set in 1993, Dreaming Montana invokes the spirit of Seattle at the height of the grunge era, with the city as the backdrop for Cara and Jay to potentially cross paths.

Available at Amazon

 

Reena Jacobs: Welcome, welcome, Ms. Nathan. Tell us about your debut novel.

Kim Nathan: Sterling Redmond is the story that made me want to be a writer. Those characters have been running around in my head since I was twelve. The historical novel takes place in Maryland, just north of Baltimore where I grew up.The main setting, the Redmond’s country home of Northampton, is based on an actual place, Hampton National Historic Site. I spent many years wandering the property and touring the mansion, essentially walking through the setting of my novel. I know the place and the geography around it. That story is in my bones.

RJ: In my youth, I was never a fan of history. Not until college, when I took a women’s history class, did I really begin to appreciate the past. I can understand your fascination. Funny how time changes people. 1993, Seattle, grunge. 🙂 You’re talking about my teen years! Pearl Jam, Nirvana. Oh… that brings me back. What about that era inspired you while writing Dreaming Montana?

KN: I think I may be slightly older than you (wink). I actually wrote the first draft of Dreaming Montana in 1993, after I visited Seattle and fell in love with it. I moved there six months later, and I still love that music and living in the city. It was fun to listen to all those songs again while I was working on the final draft of the book this year. The music still moves me.

RJ: Now you’ve got me on Pandora cruising music. 🙂 How does your faith affect your writing?

KN: This definition of faith by Brene Brown resonates with me: “Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” That’s what writing is for me – trusting that when I confront the blank page, the creative force and I will connect and something meaningful will happen.

RJ: That’s a beautiful quote. Give us a brief description of a story you have hidden in your skeleton closet? And will it ever see the light of day?

KN: I have boxes of old stories, most of which will see the shredder before they see the light of day. There is an old novella with a reincarnation theme that I might revive at some point. It has good bones fundamentally and I could build on it. But all the skeletons make their way into your writing, one way or the other, if you know what I mean.

RJ: I do. Like a scrap box of ideas to draw from. Random question: While you’re reading, what are your cats doing?

KN: Mostly sleeping nearby. Sometimes sneaking drinks out of my water glass. They tend to be demanding at inopportune moments.

RJ: Share with us your favorite video of Nia dancing.

KN: Honestly, I have yet to find one that conveys what an actual class is like, but here’s one with Debbie Rosas, the co-creator of Nia.

RJ: That looks so fun and freeing. Uh hum… and sexy. Do you have any advice for other writers?

KN: Believe in yourself and do the work. Make sure you get out of the house once and awhile. Mingle with people and listen to their stories. That’s where the good stuff is.

RJ: Anything special you’d like to say to readers?

KN: Thank you for going on the journey with me. I couldn’t do it without you.

RJ: What are you working on now?

KN: Enjoying summer in Seattle and catching up on gardening and house stuff. But I’m already being haunted by scenes and characters so the next stage is to start jotting down notes in a spiral notebook. At this point, I could do either a sequel to Sterling Redmond or follow up Dreaming Montana with another contemporary piece set in the Pacific Northwest. I could go either way.

About the Author

Kim Nathan is an American author of historical and contemporary romance fiction. Her first novel was Sterling Redmond, a historical romance. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, she relocated to Seattle, Washington in 1994, where she lives with her husband and cats.

Follow the Tour!

6/18 Cuzinlogic /Spot light and Give Away
6/19 Romancing the darkside /Spot Light and Give Away
6/20 Eternally Books /interview
6/21Redheads Review It Better /Spot Light and Give Away
6/22 T B R /Spot light and Give Away
6/28 Ramblings of an Amateur Writer /Interview
7/3 Close Encounters with the Night Kind /Review, Give Away
7/5 Understanding Shae’s Story /Spot light and Give Away
7/5 The Book Hoard /Spot Light
7/6 Books, Books, and More Books /Review and Give Away
7/9 Words I Write Crazy /Review
7/9 A Case of Reading Insomnia /Review and Give Away
7/10 The Story of A Girl… /Review and Give Away
7/11 This Author’s Life /interview
7/13 Bunnys Review /Interview
7/18 My Cozie Corner /Review and Give

Dark Light Fundraiser Tour + Giveaway Info!

One in a while, something significant happens in a life that makes a person sit back, think, and just be thankful for the turn of events. The Dark Light Fundraiser honors one of those moments and helps to put hope in the lives of others going through difficult times in their lives.

Dark Light is the light that shines through when some of the finest writers in horror use the power of their words for something good. That’s the case with this anthology—42 writers coming together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities and all the good the organization does for families every day of the year.

Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down.

Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel.

Turn the lights down low and enjoy the show.

Available at Smashwords || Amazon

I want to say something, but I’m afraid I’ll get in the way of a beautiful story. So, I’ll just hand it over to Carl Hose and let him share his journey.

The Origin of the Dark Light Fundraiser

Carl Hose

My daughter Ireland Joy Hose was due to come into the world on March 3rd, 2012. Since my wife Marcee was going to have a C-section, her doctor scheduled her to deliver Ireland February 13th. It’s typical to schedule C-sections about two weeks before the actual due date, but in my wife’s case, the C-section was scheduled a little earlier because she had complete placenta previa, meaning her placenta was blocking the birth canal. This is normally not a problem unless the previa turns into accreta, which means the placenta attaches to body organs and actually begins to grow into them (pretty alien-like). This can result in severe hemorrhaging and may require a partial or even a complete hysterectomy.

All of this is beside the point. Ireland decided she wanted to show up on January 27th at 10:35 P.M. She was six weeks premature, 18 inches long, and weighed just 4 lbs. 13 oz.

Marcee had gone to the gynecologist that day. He told her she was having contractions. We went to the hospital, where they tried to stop her contractions. It didn’t happen. Marcee started bleeding, and while I write about blood all the time, seeing it pour from my wife’s body was pretty damn scary.

I was in the operating room when Ireland was delivered. She came out fine, although she would have her own struggles ahead of her in the coming weeks. Shortly after the nurses began cleaning Ireland up, one of the doctors said to another doctor that Marcee had accreta and would need a hysterectomy. I was caught between the joy of my daughter’s birth and my wife’s fragile situation.

The doctors began pumping my wife full of anesthesia and she was fading fast. All she wanted was to hear our baby girl cry, to know Ireland was all right. “Cry, baby girl,” she said, and when Ireland began to wail, Marcee drifted off.

I was ushered from the OR with Ireland in my arms. What followed was a two-and-a-half-hour wait while the doctors performed surgery on Marcee. There was a lot of blood loss, but in the end she came through the surgery alive and eager to see Ireland. Barely able to sit up, she insisted I wheel her to the nursery, where she held Ireland for the first time, a full four hours after Ireland was born.

Because Ireland was premature, she was going to be spending time in the NICU. She was moved to a different hospital—one that was further away from where we lived—the next night. Marcee and I agreed I should go with Ireland. There was really no discussion necessary. This, however, left Marcee alone to deal with the trauma of her experience without me or her newborn daughter to comfort her.

One of the memories that haunts me still is seeing an ambulance with the words Neonatal Transport Unit on the side and thinking, that’s a baby ambulance and it’s here for my baby.

I arrived at the hospital where my daughter was taken late that night. The blur begins here, so I don’t have the exact time. The NICU staff suggested I get a room at the Ronald McDonald House. I insisted I didn’t need one, that I would be staying at my daughter’s side day and night. They worked hard to convince me a room at the Ronald McDonald House made more sense—that it would be more comfortable than a chair in the NICU. If it had just been me, they probably wouldn’t have changed my mind, but since I knew Marcee was planning to join me as soon as she could strong arm the doctor’s into discharging her (which she did in record time), I relented and allowed one of the nurses to contact the Ronald McDonald House nearby to reserve us a spot.

It turns out no reservation was needed that night. Hospital security drove me to the Ronald McDonald House where we would be staying. It so happened I was the only guest at the time. The house was a quaint looking affair that reminded me of a bed and breakfast in the country—from the outside. Inside was a maze of stairways and narrow hallways that housed about thirty rooms. The security guard said I wouldn’t be able to get a key until morning, so once he left, I wouldn’t be able to get in and out. The doors lock automatically.

After the security guard left, I wandered around the house. It was beautiful. Hardwood floors, stocked library, fully-stocked kitchen (help yourself to anything you want), fireplace, and a playground outside for kids. It was amazing.

And a little creepy.

The house sat in a beautiful residential area with red brick streets and lots of gorgeous trees, but at night, alone as I was, still a little in shock over the premature birth of my daughter and the bloody mess that was Marcee’s surgery, my mind began working overtime. I imagined all sorts of creaking floors and shadows moving through the house—hell, maybe it wasn’t my imagination. In any case, sleep did not come easy that night. I’d seen far too many horror movies, written far too many horror stories myself, not to know what usually becomes of lone visitors in quaint country homes in the middle of the night. I called Marcee to let her know I was settled in and that I thought I had the company of ghosts, or maybe something much worse.

With no key, I used my overnight bag to prop the door open so I could step outside and have a cigarette.
It was a foggy night—isn’t it always?

One cigarette became two, two became three. I stood outside in the fog, looking through the chilly darkness, grateful to have a new daughter, but afraid for how fragile she seemed to be; happy Marcee came through the surgery alive, but sad she was alone at another hospital; missing our boys, who would end up seeing us very little over the next three weeks (although they were well taken care of, thanks to Marcee’s mom and dad).
It was 3:00 A.M when I finally went back inside and stretched out on the bed, fully clothed, lying on top of the covers.

Marcee arrived the next day. She shouldn’t have been walking at all, but she wouldn’t be denied her daughter. We spent the next three weeks living at the Ronald McDonald House (they moved us from the bed-and-breakfast model to one that resembled a fairly expensive hotel). Our days were filled with walking from the Ronald McDonald House to the hospital and back again. We would feed and change our daughter, hold her, and watch as she began to overcome the challenges of prematurity. She did those things like the little champ she is. I believe having us with her day and night helped contribute to her impressive adjustment to being thrust into the world so early. She is just over two months old at the time of this writing and healthy as can be. Marcee is doing great too.

The Ronald McDonald House played a big part in making this happen. They provided food, shelter, homemade gifts from volunteers, and even cards for Valentine’s Day. We didn’t need to do anything except be there for Ireland. If not for the Ronald McDonald House, Marcee and I would have had to travel every day to see Ireland, or we would have had to sleep in the NICU to be with her. We would have gladly done either, but the Ronald McDonald House made it so we didn’t need to.

The Ronald McDonald House does this for thousands of families every hour of every day of every year.

I came up with the idea for this anthology one night while Marcee and I were in our room at RMH. We wanted to give back to the organization not only for what it was doing for us, but what it has done for families since the first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors in 1974. The organization operates strictly on donations, and the best way I could think to give back was to use my talent with words.

I knew I couldn’t do it alone, however, so I called upon some of the best names in horror fiction to help out. The response was overwhelming. With very few exceptions, every author I contacted was willing to participate. I also received stories from writers who saw the call for submissions on Dark Markets. It wasn’t long before I had more stories than I could possibly use—enough to fill two volumes of Dark Light.

I can remember where I was and at what time of the day it was when I received word from each of these fine writers that he or she would be happy to contribute. It isn’t that difficult, though. I was either at the hospital or at the Ronald McDonald House. The days and nights ran together, but each one of these authors responding that he or she would be willing to participate in Dark Light was an uplifting moment.

I am grateful to the 42 authors included here, as well as to those who wanted to participate but couldn’t be included. I would also like to thank ahead of time all of you who will be helping promote the book after its release (there are several commitments already). Without each of you, this project could not have been realized. Your generosity warms my heart.

Contents
Introduction
Carl Hose ……………………………………………………………………….. 9
John Sadness
Jeffrey Thomas ……………………………………………………………….. 14
Crasher
Debbie Kuhn …………………………………………………………………. 23
Harbinger
Carl Hose ………………………………………………………………………. 37
A Sight for Sore Eyes
Deborah LeBlanc …………………………………………………………… 47
Confidence Man
David Tocher …………………………………………………………………. 55
Hunters
William Todd Rose …………………………………………………………. 67
The Vampire Shortstop
Scott Nicholson……………………………………………………………… 79
Protector
Rycke Foreman ……………………………………………………………… 99
After the Fall
Paul Fry ………………………………………………………………………. 104
Beijing Craps
Graham Masterton …………………………………………………………. 112
Shattered Mirrors and Smokeless Flames
Angeline Hawkes ………………………………………………………….. 137
3:33
Randy Chandler ……………………………………………………………. 150
Death Comes Calling
Randy Chandler ……………………………………………………………. 154
Live Better
Steve Voelker………………………………………………………………… 171
I Was Yet Another Teenage Vampire
C. Hugh ………………………………………………………………………. 174
Resurrecting Mindy
Joe McKinney ………………………………………………………………. 179
The Bride of Frankenstein Dances with Celebrity
C. Hugh ………………………………………………………………………. 198
Dead Run
Frank Larnard ………………………………………………………………206
Coda
Walt Hicks ……………………………………………………………………. 213
In a Fit of Jealous Rage
Ray Garton ………………………………………………………………….. 228
Charles
Steve Rasnic Tem ………………………………………………………….. 239
Cut
Alex Bledsoe ………………………………………………………………… 250
Harlots of New Chapel Row
Terry Horns Erwin ………………………………………………………… 253
Animals
Kody Boye …………………………………………………………………… 275
Beach House
William Cook ……………………………………………………………… 299
It Sounds a Bit Like . . .
Gary Fry ……………………………………………………………………… 309
Conversations Kill
Tim Waggoner ……………………………………………………………… 320
Raphael
Stephen Graham Jones …………………………………………………… 335
Taken
Felicia Merkler …………………………………………………………….. 361
Blood Bath
Wrath James White ……………………………………………………….. 363
Big Fat Pig
Timothy Maxon ……………………………………………………………. 372
Cognitive
Joseph Mulak ……………………………………………………………….. 379
Three Fingers, One Thumb
Steve Volk ……………………………………………………………………. 387
When Shadows Come Back
Nancy KilPatrick …………………………………………………………… 392
The Sum of a Man
David B. Silva ………………………………………………………………. 400
Remembrance
Christopher Fulbright ……………………………………………………. 414
Hannah’s Babysitting Blues
John Grover …………………………………………………………………. 417
Haunted House
Lisa Morton ………………………………………………………………… 429
Triggering
John Shirley ………………………………………………………………… 439
The Evolutionary
Tim Lebbon ………………………………………………………………… 454
That Last Day, Those Final Moments
Gary McMahon …………………………………………………………….. 478
Trapdoor
Tim Curran ………………………………………………………………….. 482
The Long Wait
Christopher Shearer ………………………………………………………492
Family Tradition
Sebaston Milam ……………………………………………………………. 516

Carl Hose online:
Website  www.carlhose.net

Follow the rest of the tour + Enter the Giveaway at this link!

6/25 Beauty and Books Spot Light
6/26 My World Interview
6/27 Sweet Southern Home Spot Light
6/27 Indiewritersreview Spot Light
6/27 Ramblings of an Amateur Writer Spot Light
6/28 Cristi’s Reviews Review
6/29 Mission to Read Spot Light
6/30 TBR REVIEW
7/2 Window on the World Spot Light
7/6 Reading, Writing, and More Spot Light
7/8 Books, Books, and More Books Spot Light
7/9 Journey with Words Review
7/10 The Book Hoard Spot Light
7/16 Reader Girls Excerpt
7/18 JeanzBookReadNReview Guest Post
7/18 Reading Between the Wines Spot Light
7/18 That Artsy Reader Girl Spot light
7/19 My Cozie Corner Review
7/21 Miraculous Spot Light
7/22 Reviews by Molly Review
7/26 Bunny reviews Review