Monday, October 3, 2022

Creepy Cozies

October has arrived and this means it’s the perfect time to settle into Spooky Season with our selection of Creepy Cozies for some Halloween Whodunnit’s

It's Halloween in Buttercup, Texas, and reporter-turned-farmer Lucy Resnick is up to her ears in more than goats and wayward cows. Not only has her well dried up, but it turns out the old house Lucy recently moved to the farm has a reputation for spooks... and they are disturbingly active. Then a tarot card reading at a local mead winery foretells death... only to have exotic game ranch owner Bug Wharton turn up dead. Cause of death? Murder, by a fatal dose of bee venom. When the dimwitted sheriff fingers local witch and mead winery owner Seraphine Alexandre, Lucy gets involved... and soon discovers that all kinds of things are brewing in Buttercup. And some of them are deadly.

Known for her window displays, Nora Pennington decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl's Matilda and Madeline Miller's Circe for Halloween. But a family-values group disapproves of the magical themes and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who's been selling CBD oil products.

Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife--but then someone puts an end to a life. Declared an accident, the ruling can't explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora's doormat. It's up to Nora and the Secret, Book, and Scone Society to sort out the clues before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste's past come back to haunt them all…

With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they'll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom's famous marshmallow puffs. The private school's annual costume party revolves around the headmaster's assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it's a shock when Harriet's elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand. In a snap, police start questioning whether Harriet modified her top-secret recipe to include a hefty dose of lethal poison . . .

Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, bizarre getups, and hidden identities, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again-this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!

Maggie Crozat, proprietor of a historic Cajun Country B&B, prefers to let the good times roll. But hard times rock her hostelry when a new cell phone app makes it easy for locals to rent their spare rooms to tourists. With October--and Halloween--approaching, she conjures up a witch-crafty marketing scheme to draw visitors to Pelican, Louisiana.

Five local plantation B&Bs host "Pelican's Spooky Past" packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for the spine-chilling play Resurrection of a Spirit. But all the witchcraft has inevitably conjured something: her B&B guests are being terrified out of town by sightings of the legendary rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.

When, in the Dupois cemetery, someone costumed as a rougarou stumbles onstage during the play--and promptly gives up the ghost, the rougarou mask having been poisoned with strychnine, Maggie is on the case. But as more murders stack up, Maggie fears that Pelican's spooky past has nothing on its bloodcurdling present.

"Tea maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs. It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house. Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers. But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow's body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia's boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow's apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder. Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley's assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow's book publisher and her fiancé, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others. But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween"--. Provided by publisher

It's time for the annual Halloween festival in Sinful, and Fortune, Ida, Belle and Gertie can't wait to suit up and enjoy the food and activities! When a dead man gallops through the park on a black stallion and slides to a decapitated stop in front of them, the festival is about to be turned on its head... so to speak. Gil Forrest's body was supposed to be at the funeral home, so how did it end up on a horse in the middle of the festival? It may just be a tasteless prank-- but Fortune is determined to find out! -- adapted from back cover.

"Carolyn Haines's Lady of Bones is the next novel in the series that Kirkus Reviews characterizes as "Stephanie Plum meets the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" featuring sassy Southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney. It's Halloween season in Mississippi as Sarah Booth and the gang gather to decorate and gush over Tinkie's new baby, Maylin. Sarah Booth is just about to refresh the cocktails when she hears a knock on the door and opens it to find a woman named Frankie, distraught at the disappearance of her daughter Christa, a young journalist. Christa had been investigating the disappearance of young women in New Orleans over a five-year period-one every year around Halloween. Now Christa herself is missing, and Frankie fears it may be connected to a cult based in the Garden District, called People of Eternity. People of Eternity are known to have far-reaching connections which Frankie worries may reach as high as law enforcement. Refusing to contact the authorities, she turns to Delaney Detective Agency as her only hope. Despite initial reservations, Sarah Booth accepts the case, which takes her on a journey to a secret underworld of beguiling cult leaders, witchcraft, and potentially human sacrifice. She'll have to keep her wits about her if she wants to crack this case...and make it home alive"--. Publisher's description.

After her recent promotion to junior partner, Keli is putting in overtime to juggle her professional career and private Wiccan spiritual practice. With Halloween fast approaching, her duties include appearing as a witch at a "haunted" barn and hand-holding a client who's convinced her new house is really haunted. But it's the disappearance of Josephine O'Malley that has Keli spooked. The missing person is Keli's aunt, an environmental activist and free spirit who always seemed to embody peace, love, and independence. When Josephine is found dead in the woods, Keli wonders if her aunt's activities were as friendly as they seemed. As Keli comes to terms with her loss--while adjusting to having a live-in boyfriend and new demands at work--she must wield her one-of-a-kind magic to banish negative energy if she's going to catch a killer this Samhain season. Because Keli isn't ready to give up the ghost.


Tinker's Cove newest residents Ty and Heather Moon turn their Victorian home into a haunted house to raise funds for charity. But the Halloween fun turns to horrific fright when Heather overdoses on tainted drugs--and Ty finds himself accused of murder. Digging deep into the story, journalist Lucy Stone uncovers some sinister secrets in the Moons' past linked to a conspiracy in her hometown...


Everyone attending Island Times Food and Cocktail columnist Hayley Powell's Halloween bash is dressed as their favorite movie monster from the Bride of Frankenstein and Jaws to Chucky and Pennywise the clown. But when partygoers stumble upon Boris Candy's bludgeoned costumed corpse, it falls to Hayley to discover who among her guests wanted to stop the man from clowning around permanently...


Three teenage girls having a sleepover on Halloween night get spooked when high schoolers crash the house for a party. But no one expected to find a crasher like Mrs. Zelisko, the elderly third floor tenant, dead in the backyard--dressed in a sheet like a ghost. With her niece traumatized, Julia Snowden must uncover who among the uninvited guests was responsible for devising such a murderous trick...

"When sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons agree to cater an extravagant Halloween party in their little upstate New York town of Longely, they figured a ghost or two and a blood-curdling scream might be part of the menu, but they never expected to be haunted by the deadly specter of murder"-- Provided by publisher.

Thursday, September 29, 2022



I have to admit, that previous to this post, my Nantucket knowledge was zip, zero, nada.  It's just never been on my radar. The whole Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard area I've managed to write off as "too rich for my blood". I have learned that, along with Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket is an island off the southern coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  Only 14 miles in length this little island is home to 82 miles of shoreline, beaches, restaurants, shops, and 35 miles of bike paths.  Also, it seems that Sharks enjoy vacationing there as well as people, ( That said, I've noticed that there is no shortage of books that are set in Nantucket, much of that seems due to the efforts of Elin Hilderbrand and Nancy Thayer.  

“Nantucket is far away—30 miles offshore—so it’s hard and expensive to get to,” she says. “It’s also small, so all of these things lend it to being kind of exclusive. When you have a place like that, you have people who are drawn to that aspect, but you also have those who have to work and who live there year-round. There’s this upstairs-downstairs element between the year-round versus summer people, which creates drama.” -Elin Hilderbrand A Book Lover's Guide to Nantucket from the Queen of the Beach Read: Elin Hilderbrand BY LAUREN WICKS JUL 3, 2020

"The queen of beach reads" (New York Magazine) delivers another immensely satisfying page-turner in this tale about a summer of scandal at a storied Nantucket hotel.
After a tragic fire in 1922 that killed 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace Hadley, The Hotel Nantucket descended from a gilded age gem to a mediocre budget-friendly lodge to inevitably an abandoned eyesore -- until it's purchased and renovated top to bottom by London billionaire, Xavier Darling. Xavier hires Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton as his general manager, and Lizbet, in turn, pulls together a charismatic, if inexperienced, staff who share the vision of turning the fate of the hotel around. They face challenges in getting along with one another (and with the guests), in overcoming the hotel's bad reputation, and in surviving the (mostly) harmless shenanigans of Grace Hadley herself - who won't stop haunting the hotel until her murder is acknowledged.
Filled with the emotional tension and multiple points of view that characterize Elin's books (The Blue Bistro, Golden Girl) as well as an added touch of historical reality, Hotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this summer drama for the ages.

Reluctantly agreeing to organize a children's benefit at which a rock-star ex-lover is performing, Claire Danner Crispin finds her efforts complicated by her clashes with a fellow organizer, her best friend's catering mishaps, and a new relationship.

Nancy Thayer has been a Nantucket resident since 1984 and her books are a reflection of her life there.
"When you live here you hear the most awful things," said Ms. Thayer. "It's all good material." -Living History in Nantucket By Nancy Keates

"Old secrets come to light when four friends gather on Nantucket for a life-changing reunion in this heartwarming novel of love and self-discovery by New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer. When four strangers rent bargain-basement rooms in an old hotel near the beach, they embark on the summer of their lives. First there's Ariel Spencer, who has big dreams of becoming a writer and is looking for inspiration in Nantucket's high society. Her new friend Sheila Murphy is a good Catholic girl from Ohio whose desire for adventure is often shadowed by her apprehension. Then there's small-town Missourian Wyatt Smith-who's immediately taken with Ariel. The last of the four, Nick Volkov, is looking to make a name for himself and have a blast along the way. Despite their differences, the four bond over Wednesday night dinners, trips to the beach, and all that Nantucket has to offer. But venturing out on their own for the first time, with all its adventure and risks, could change the course of their future.... Twenty-six years after that amazing summer, Ariel, Sheila, Wyatt, and Nick come together again at the hotel where they first met. Now it's called The Lighthouse and Nick owns the entire operation with his wife and daughter. Ariel and Wyatt, married for decades, arrive with their son, and Sheila's back too, with her daughter by her side. Life hasn't exactly worked out the way they had all hoped. Ariel's dreams have since faded and been pushed aside, but she's determined to rediscover the passion she once had. Nick has the money and reputation of a successful businessman, but is it everything he had hoped for? And Sheila has never been able to shake the secret she's kept since that summer. Being back together again at last will mean confronting the past and finding themselves again. Meanwhile, the next generation discovers Nantucket, exploring the island together, experiencing love and heartbreak, and forging lifelong bonds just as their parents did all those years ago. It's sure to be one unforgettable reunion. This delightful novel from beloved storyteller Nancy Thayer explores the potential of dreams and the beauty of friendship"--. Provided by publisher.

"A grandmother-granddaughter duo are eager to spend their summer together on peaceful Nantucket, but the season that unfolds brings about unforgettable surprises in New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer's magical, multigenerational novel. Eleanor Sunderland loves living on the Nantucket cliffside, in a charming home that has been in her family for decades. Now widowed, she looks forward to the arrival of her children and grandchildren for an annual family reunion, eager for the life and laughter that will soon fill the air. But Eleanor's island idyll is shattered when her money-driven children suggest she sell the house and move to a retirement community. She finds a lone ally in her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, Ari, who moves in with her for the summer. Ari longs for a change of scenery, to stray from the path her parents have set for her. What she does not expect is an electric romantic spark with a Nantucket local, Cal, whose kind heart and charisma have her absolutely smitten. With plenty of her signature Nantucket magic, Nancy Thayer brings both Eleanor and Ari on a summer beyond their wildest imaginations, filled with exciting connections, old and new"--. Provided by publisher.

Emily Ackerman has traveled the world, her constant compass and companion a book of letters her mother left for her when she died. With no father in the picture, her mom’s advice has been her only true north. But when professional failure leads Emily back to Nantucket to renovate and sell the family cottage she inherited, she wonders if her mom left advice to cover this . . . especially when her grandmother arrives to “supervise.” And especially when her heart becomes entangled with Hollis McGuire, the boy next door–turned–baseball star who’s back on the island after a career-ending injury. As sparks fly between her and Hollis, Emily is drawn to island life, even as she uncovers shocking secrets about the tragic accident that led to her mother’s death. With her world turned upside down, Emily must choose between allowing the voices from her past to guide her future or forging her own path forward.

Abby Schoenberg isn't looking forward to the summer before her senior year. She's just broken up with her first boyfriend and her friends are all off in different, exciting directions for the next three months. When she finds love letters among her recently deceased grandmother's possessions-- letters from a mystery man named Edward-- Abby heads to Nantucket for the summer to learn more about her grandmother and the secrets she kept. Edward's grandson wants to stop her from investigating. As Abby and Noah grow closer, the mysteries they discover that they both have to accept the burdens of their pasts if they want the kinds of futures they've always imagined. -- adapted from jacket

Known in Nantucket as the crazy woman who lives in the rambling house atop the bluff, Nan doesn't care what people think. At sixty-five-years old, her husband died twenty years ago, her beauty has faded, and her family has flown. If her neighbors are away, why shouldn't she skinny dip in their swimming pools and help herself to their flowers? But when she discovers the money she thought would last forever is dwindling and she could lose her beloved house, Nan knows she has to make drastic changes. So Nan takes out an ad: Rooms to rent for the summer in a beautiful old Nantucket home with water views and direct access to the beach. Slowly, people start moving into the house, filling it with noise, with laughter, and with tears. As the house comes alive again, Nan finds her family expanding. Her son comes home for the summer, and then an unexpected visitor turns all their lives upside-down.

Five long years ago, Laura Dalton stood on the bleak Nantucket shore waiting for her beloved husband Rye to return--until the day she learned his ship was lost at sea. Now, Laura's lonely heart has found solace in Dan, Rye's closest friend.

Dan has been a beacon of light in her time of darkness, becoming a father to the child that Rye never knew and giving her a reason to live again. But who could foretell that a wind-roughened sailor with sun-bleached hair would come back into their lives? That Laura's heart could betray her soul? That Rye would come home again...

"As a violent nor'easter bears down on New England over the final weekend in September, a luxury yacht grounds on the shoals surrounding a deserted barrier island off the western end of Nantucket. When the Coast Guard responds, they find two people shot in the boat's cabin, one of whom dies before reaching the hospital. Nantucket Police Detective Meredith Folger is called in to investigate--three days before her long-anticipated wedding--as the storm morphs into a Category 5 hurricane. Caretaker Dionis Mather has spent the past week evacuating Tuckernuck's last summer residents to safety from the isolated island. But as the hurricane nears, Dionis fights her way back across Madaket Harbor one last time. When she stumbles on a bloody trail leading to an empty summer house, Dionis makes a fateful decision that may cost her life. As the hurricane batters her beloved island and house full of wedding guests, Merry Folger struggles to unravel a tangle of false identities, missing guns, and a cargo of heroin that's left one man in a coma, fighting to survive. But is he a victim, or a killer? And what does Merry's police chief, a man with his own secrets to keep, have to do with the wounded figure holding Dionis Mather hostage on Tuckernuck?"-- Provided by publisher.

Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard & Nantucket by Bartlett, Ray

"Want to get lost in charming seaside towns, wander miles of pristine shoreline, and fest on fresh seafood? Escape to the cape! Plan the perfect trip for you, whether it's a quick island getaway or a full 12-day vacation. Find the best raw oysters, local clams, and fresh fish. Learn where to find the best fishing, kayaking, and surfing. Follow the best hiking and biking routes. Stay in a local place with character, choosing from quaint inns, historic guesthouses, and posh resorts." -- Back cover.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Banned Books

There are a lot of dark images that come to mind when one thinks of WWII.  Pain, Suffering, Death, Darkness, Fear. Rubble and Dust from buildings blown apart. Ash and Smoke pluming from the bonfires made up of books and art. 

May 10, 1933.  Nazi students gathered in 34 different towns and cities and burned approximately 25,000 books that had been declared “un-German”.  In Berlin, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, addressed the crowd of 40,000 saying: “No to decadence and moral corruption!” and “Yes to decency and morality in family and state! I consign to the flames the writings of Heinrich Mann,  Ernst Gläser, Erich Kästner.”


According to When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped us Win World War II by Manning, Molly Guptill, The ERR (Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg), a Nazi organization whose purpose was to seize Jewish and other cultural items “...burned a staggering 375 archives, 402 museums, 531 institutes, and 957 libraries.”  

Fast forward to October 1948 in West Virginia; 13-year-old David Mace, in front of 600 of his fellow students declared that they were “here today to take a step which we believe will benefit ourselves, our community and our country.” before laying claim that comic books “are mentally, physically, and morally injurious to boys and girls, [and] we propose to burn those in our possession.”  2,000 comics, which had been collected through the efforts of 250 children under the guidance of reading teacher Mabel Riddel, burned for over an hour, in flames that reached over 25 feet in height.  


People have a tendency to write comic books off as being just for kids despite the fact that during WW2 a majority of comic book sales in the United States went to the Army.  The love for these comics, which were intended to act as diversions, gave way to the rise of comic legends: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Syd Shore, Alice Marble, Curt Swan, and Bob Kanigher.  (This is Why WWII Troops Are to Thank for the Rise of Comics; THE POLITICAL INFLUENCE OF COMICS IN AMERICA DURING WWII)

Dr. Fredric Wertham worked in Harlem with kids who were labeled Juvenile Delinquents.  Upon realizing that these kids liked comic books he opted to conclude that comic books are the root of their delinquency, (rather than root out things like nature vs. nurture, socio-economic struggles, racism, bias, and everything else that could possibly contribute to a child’s delinquent status…). In 1948, Wertham made his stance against comic books public.  In 1954, at a U.S. Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency, Wertham stated: “I think Hitler was a beginner compared to the comic-book industry”  (1948: The Year Comics Met Their Match by Joe Sergi • June 8, 2012)  

According to Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Howe, Sean, just  a few months later, a rifle salesman, upon learning about Stan Lee’s job as an editor of Comic books, said to him: “That is absolutely criminal, reprehensible. You should go to jail for the crime your committing.” In the Summer of 1954, fifteen comic book publishers went out of business, and by September, most of those remaining came together under the Comics Magazine Association of America.

“ September 1954 the comics industry formed the trade group known as the Comics Magazine Association of America, which created the self-regulating Comics Code Authority to enforce a newly strengthened Comics Code.  Crime and horror comics vanished from the shelves; of the 650 comics of all genres on the stands as the Kefauver subcommittee began in 1954, only 250 would still be around by the close of 1955.”  The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon

January 10, 2022, The Board of Education for McMinn County in Tennessee votes to ban the graphic novel “Maus” in the 8th-grade classes. One week later, the sales for Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Maus rose by 50%.

Comic books and graphic novels can be easy targets for people looking to promote censorship.  A static image can be paraded about as an exemplar of all that is indecent more effectively than script. This has led to some books having their graphic novel versions challenged and not the print version.

  In Medford Oregon,(as well as school districts in Kansas and Texas), the 2019 Graphic novel version of The Handmaid's Tale was challenged and removed from circulation in the district’s school libraries; the print version, however, remains. (Graphic novel removed from North Medford HS By Kevin Opsahl). 


Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman was released on Netflix on August 5th and in 3 days had over a billion viewing minutes. (‘The Sandman’ Opens Well on Streaming Chart) but The Sandman series has a history of controversy and wears a crown for being one of the top banned or challenged graphic novels since its publication in 1989. (Case Study: Sandman). The 2nd volume of the series Doll's House was found to be so upsetting that in 2015, a College student from Yucaipa, California said that the book should be "eradicated from the system" (along with Persepolis, Fun Home, and  Y, The Last Man. Book One)

“In a report, the American Library Association reported that it tracked 729 challenges in libraries, schools, and universities in 2021, resulting in 1,597 individual book challenges or removals—many of which were by Black or LGBTQ authors and/or featuring BIPOC or LGBTQ characters. It was the highest number of attempted book bans since the ALA began compiling the list in 2002.” -In 2022, a New Urgency for Banned Books Week By Claire Kirch  

The #1 most challenged book of 2021 is a Graphic Novel, Gender Queer, and restricted over LGBTQIA+ content and what some consider to be sexually explicit imagery. Between October 2021 and August 2022, 40 different comic titles have been challenged; with multiple challenges to Gender Queer, This One Summer, Drama, Flamer, The Breakaways, and Fun Home (HERE ARE THE MOST CHALLENGED COMICS AND MOST BANNED COMICS SINCE 2000 By Kelly Jensen)


Gender Queer by Kobabe, Maia

All Boys Aren't Blue: a memoir-manifesto by Johnson, George M.

Out of darkness by Pérez, Ashley Hope

The Hate U Give by Thomas, Angie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie, Sherman

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl : a novel by Andrews, Jesse

The Bluest Eye by Morrison, Toni

This Book is Gay by Dawson, James

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Kuklin, Susan

Check out these resources for more information on Banned Books, Challenges, and Censorship:

Creepy Cozies

October has arrived and this means it’s the perfect time to settle into Spooky Season with our selection of Creepy Cozies for some Halloween...