Top Ten Tuesday 2/7/23: 2023 Debut Books I’m Excited About

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Happy TTT. This week’s topic is 2023 Debut Books I’m Excited About so Otis and I looked around and these are the books that caught our eye.

Apologies in advance if we’re adding on to your ever growing TBR mountains.

1. She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran.
From the blurb: “Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound, while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don’t belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended.” Wow!

2. Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova.
The blurb reads: “A thought-provoking meditation on grief, acceptance, and the monstrous sides of love and loyalty…” and this one sounds riveting and disturbing.

3. Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood.
“One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.
She doesn’t scream or break something or cry or curl into a ball. She simply abandons her car and walks away….”

4. The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz. I’ve seen this one around blog-land it sounds really good.

5. The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes is another book I’ve seen around blog-land that has made it onto my wish list.

6. The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden
“It’s 1852 and Margaret Lennox, a young widow, attempts to escape the shadows of her past by taking a position as governess to an only child, Louis, at an isolated country house in the west of England.” They had me at “an isolated country house in the west of England”.

7. Weyward by Emilia Hart
This really caught my attention: “As Kate struggles with the trauma of her past, she uncovers a secret about the women in her family. A secret dating back to 1619, when her ancestor Altha Weyward was put on trial for witchcraft…”

8. Bad Cree by Jessica Johns
“In this gripping debut tinged with supernatural horror, a young Cree woman’s dreams lead her on a perilous journey of self-discovery that ultimately forces her to confront the toll of a legacy of violence on her family, her community and the land they call home.” I’ve seen this one making the rounds and it sounds so good.

9. A Manual for How to Love Us by Erin Slaughter. This sounds like a great short story collection.

10. Chlorine by Jade Song. This is the first time I’m seeing a book compared to The Pisces which is one of my favorites, so I’m here for it.

That wraps up my list this week. What upcoming debut novels made your list? Happy reading!

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 2/5/23: Hello February

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists…

Happy weekend and happy February! We had a few pretty snow flurries this past week and these past few days the temps are freezing and it has been very windy. I was working remotely on Friday and it was so windy I worried we’d lose power but thankfully we didn’t. The wind was so strong our large plastic recycling bin got knocked over and the recyclables were blown all over the yard. Then that night we heard a loud crash out in the yard to find the strong winds knocked our grill on its side. The winds have died down but the temps continue dropping.

Otis has been keeping an eye out, but we’re skipping our usual walks until the temps are a little better.

onto my bookish updates…

recently on the blog:
Nothing! I’ve had a pretty busy workweek and at the end of my workday I cooked dinner, maybe did yoga before eating, then settled in to watch GOT. I even skipped out on TTT this past week, and I had my post almost ready since it was a freebie prompt so I’ll save my idea for next time.

in my mailbox:
Zip. Nada.

coming soon:

I’ve got a spotlight post for River of Wrath by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor on Wednesday. How cool is this cover? This is a mystery/suspense/horror novel. I hope you can stop by on Wednesday because you can enter to win an $20 gift card also.

I hope to finish a book this week also and have a review up so fingers crossed.

watching:*GOT spoiler alert coming so scroll past if you don’t want spoilers*

GOT all day everyday. I’m just about done with season 4. Oh my gosh, the end of season 3 was brutal. I screamed out at what happened to Robb Stark, his wife and his mom. One thing I learned while watching this series is do not get attached to any characters, especially anyone with any possible claim or stake to the throne. Characters are being killed off left and right and very unexpectedly. There’s just so much. I’m stunned about Theon, his sister tried rescuing him. And I like the Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth dynamic right now. He came back for her and saved her from the bear! And Tyrion being blamed for what happened to Joffrey. The trail by combat he requested is about to happen. And that darn Lord Baelish…sneaky sneaky. He took Sansa.

Shoutout to fellow book blogger Greg for sharing the sample chapters for George R. R. Martin’s “The Winds of Winter”. I’ll be reading these after I’m done with watching the series.

That wraps it up for me this week, what have you been up to? What are you reading? Watching? Is it cold by you? Enjoy your week ahead.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photo here is my own and not be to be removed from this post.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 1/29/23: Reading Updates and still hooked on GOT

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists…

Happy weekend and I hope this post finds you well. January is on its way out “yay”. We’ve had a cold past week with some snow flurries and sleet. Winter is definitely coming now but yesterday the temps hit low 50’s so that was nice. I took Otis on his walk up by the lake to take advantage of the sunshine and warmer weather. It’s dreary out today but I will probably walk him a little later around the block just to get out of the house. I find myself having cabin fever lately.

Onto my weekly updates…

recently on the blog:
I had a productive blog week and shared 2 reviews!

I shared my thoughts on Vampires and Villains (Magical Mystery Book Club #2) by Elizabeth Pantley and shared a link to enter to win a 10$ Amazon gift card giveaway through next week, so please check that out if you haven’t already.

I shared my thoughts on When the Day Comes (Timeless Book 1) by Gabrielle Meyer which was a fantastic historical time travel romance.

Sarah Chislon stopped by for a guest post and giveaway so if you haven’t checked it out please do so. She shares her Top Ten Writing Practices and you can enter to win a 25$ amazon gift card through 2/2.

coming up:

I’m going to share my Top 10 Bookish Moments for TTT this week since it’s a freebie week, so I hope you can stop in for that and leave me your TTT link if you’re participating this week.

My last read for January is hopefully going to be Conviction by Michael Cordell. I’m aiming to finish this one by the 31st.

in my mailbox:
Nothing this past week as I didn’t accept two review offers plus my TBR mountain already beckons.

watching:*GOT spoiler alert coming so scroll past if you don’t want spoilers*

I’m on the last episode of season 3 of GOT. I love having a new fav series to look forward to at the end of a long day. Can someone please pick King Joffrey up and carry him away someplace, he needs a time out and also he needs to be arrested. It’s been a while since a show had me yelling at the tv, thank you Cersei for that. Also, I kinda wanted Stannis Baratheon’s army to take over King’s Landing, they almost had it and Tyrion stepped up big time to hold them back until Granddaddy Tywin Lannister came onto the scene. That grandpa is NOT playing around, he may be a jerk but he means business.


My mood blanket keeps growing. I’ve been good at keeping up with it daily. Otis is about the size of one of my larger balls of yarn.

Last but not least, I’ve been baking a batch of peanut butter blossoms weekly lately for my daughter, these are her favorite. The dough smells amazing once ready because of the peanut butter. This is the recipe I use.

That wraps up my updates this week, have a great reading week and let me know what you’re up to.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photos here are my own and not be to be removed from this post.

Tattoo of Crimson by Sarah Chislon: Author Guest Post and Giveaway

Hello all, please join me in welcoming author Sarah Chislon to my blog today. Sarah is on virtual tour for her book Tattoo of Crimson and she’s stopping by today to discuss her Top Ten Writing Practices. Read on for details about her book and also for a chance to win a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Details below.

Book details:

Tattoo of Crimson by Sarah Chislon
(Blood of the Fae, #1)
Publication date: January 17th 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mystery


Society, suitors, and…serial murders?

As much as she desires to please her family, gently-bred herbalist Jessa Caldwell has no intention of making a suitable match—not when she’s seeking the truth about the taint of the fae that lies within her. If she’s to escape the madness brought on by fae-touch, she must devote her energies to seeking a cure.

But then mysterious tattoos begin to appear on the citizens of Avons. None recall receiving these harbingers of death, but all die at the hand of an untraceable killer days or weeks after being marked.

When the tattoo appears on her beloved mentor, Jessa seeks the Magistry with information on the case—yet they refuse to consider her findings, so she must risk both social censure and her own safety to hunt for the killer herself.

Her one possible ally represents her greatest fear—the encroaching Otherworld consuming her mind—and may well undo all her efforts to control her fae-touch. Yet if she forsakes the offered aid, the killer will go free.

Something sinister stalks the streets of her city, and she must decide…how far will she go to stop the killing?

Tattoo of Crimson, a gaslamp fantasy novel, is the first book in the Blood of the Fae series. If you like quick-minded heroines who solve cases with logic and intuition, beautiful yet deadly fae, and Otherworldly intrigues, then you’ll love this mystery set in a world of manners and mythical monsters.


Purchase links:



Top Ten Writing Practices
by Sarah Chislon

When I consider my writing practices, I find that I must start with mindset, which provides the foundation for developing the more technical skills needed to write fiction. Without further ado, here are ten tips for writers.

1. Know your strengths and utilize them in your writing. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Clifton Strengths, I highly recommend checking out the resources offered by Becca Syme, which help interpret the Clifton strengths for the writing community. The central concept behind Clifton Strengths is that we go further faster using our strengths to approach any area of work, life, and creativity. So it’s worth learning your own unique combination of strengths and using them as a springboard for success.
2. Don’t compare your process to others. Certainly, learn and glean from those before you on the path—and be willing to experiment—but don’t expect to fit into the same exact box as another writer (see the first point about unique combinations of strengths).
3. Keep your creative well filled. Enjoy great books, long walks in nature, quiet and meditation, or the company of others—whatever keeps your mind and creativity stimulated.
4. Cultivate curiosity, an inquiring mind, and a sense of wonder. As Albert Einstein once said, “imagination is everything.”
5. Never stop learning craft. Read books on writing. Take courses. Read excellent books in your genre and outside of it.
6. Be willing to write a mediocre first draft. Like all these tips, your milage may vary, depending on your strengths, but I find it invaluable to let the words pour out in the first draft without worrying about perfection. Then I flesh things out and polish during edits.
7. Track your time. I’m in the middle of writing a series with preorders, and the fact that I’ve tracked my time writing prior books has given me the knowledge of how long it typically takes me to draft, edit, and produce a finished novel. That’s been immeasurably helpful in allowing me to set deadlines for preorders with more confidence.
8. Know your why. Why are you writing—in general and for a particular story? It will shape the decisions you make during the process.
9. Seek excellence. I want to know that I’ve crafted each story I release into the world with as much skill and excellence in craft as I currently possess. Of course, as writers, we’re learning and growing with each book, but take the time to develop your work well, whatever that looks like for you. 10. Enjoy the journey. It’s a gift to write and create, so if you find you’re approaching burnout/not enjoying the process, then take a step back and make time to reignite the spark that got you writing in the first place.

Giveaway Details:
Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
$25 Amazon gift card
Ends Feb 2nd



Sarah Chislon lives in Virginia with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing, she’s homeschooling her children and running a web development business with her husband. As an avid reader and a lifelong story-weaver, she delights in creating fantastic worlds and exploring them alongside her characters.

To find out more about her, visit

Special thanks to Xpresso Tours and thank you Sarah! Click here for the rest of the tour stops.

Vampires and Villains (Magical Mystery Book Club #2) by Elizabeth Pantley Review and Giveaway

Source: Free review copy via Partners In Crime Book Tours
Title: Vampires and Villains (Magical Mystery Book Club #2)
author: Elizabeth Pantley’s
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Published by: Better Beginnings, Inc.
Publication Date: September 2022
Pages: 219
ISBN: 9798849790657
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Book blurb:
Paige and her joyful Aunt Glo have learned that the home they inherited comes with a magical library. They put together a book club group of loveable kooks to explore the magic. They’ve recovered from their first book journey, and they all agree on their next book which takes place on a cruise ship bound for Hawaii. Problem is, they were so excited about the cruising idea that they didn’t read the entire blurb on the back of the book. (“It was entirely too long,” explains Zell.) Once on the ship, they meet a charming and likeable man who blends seamlessly into their motley group. Too bad they don’t know why he’s so scarce during the day but shows up to join them every evening for dinner, drinks, and a show. When a dead body shows up on board, their new friend is labeled a suspect. Can they help him out by finding the real murderer? Or is he the real murderer? The book club will need to solve the case to get off the ship, out of the book, and back to their home.

“Here’s one with a cruise ship on the cover,” yelled Forrest. “It’s called Havoc in Hawaii.”
“Yes!” squealed Sebastian, doing a little jig. “I loooove Hawaii!”
Zell marched up to Forrest and he handed her the book. She began to scan the back cover and mumble, “Cruise … adventure … tropical islands …”
“Ah. The blurb is too long. I’m sure this will do!” She flipped the book open and before we could stop her, she began to read.
“Zell! Stop reading!” Vee yelled. “We don’t even know what the mystery is about yet—”

It was too late. The globe turned golden until it shone like the sun. It began to spin, faster and faster, the speed increasing by the moment. Sparks began to shoot from it, and the room slowly filled with fog until we could no longer see. In the quiet fog-filled room, Million’s thunderous gasp of a string of bad words made us all laugh.

As the dense fog continued to fill the library, we all became perfectly still and silent. Waiting. Wondering. What would be next? The silence finally gave way to the excited chatter of a crowd around us. Once the air was cleared, we found ourselves in a boarding line, heading onto a majestic, glittering cruise ship. Its name was painted across the bow: Serendipity of the Seas.

The air was warm, humid, and smelled of tropical flowers. Beyond the glass enclosed walkway that snaked back and forth toward the ship we could see palm trees and blue skies.

“Looks like we’re embarking right in Hawaii,” said Zell.
“Most likely Honolulu,” added Million.
“Probably Pier 2,” said Zell with a look of superiority.
“Looks busy today. I’d say we’re using the alternate terminal at Pier 11.” Million looked smug, as if he’d just won that round of their game of one-upmanship.
“This is so exciting!” squealed Sebastian. “And look at my outfit!” He did a spin showing off his crisp khaki trousers, an aloha shirt airbrushed with colorful bird-of-paradise flowers, and beige espadrilles.
We had all arrived in clothing that wasn’t ours but was suitable for the trip. The only person who looked perfectly normal was Moonbeam, except that the type of flowers displayed on her kaftan were more tropical than hippie. Even Forrest was decked out in a Hawaiian print shirt, though his was teen-appropriate, worn open over a white t-shirt, and set off with a stylish pair of sunglasses.

“Isn’t anyone weirded out about our clothes changing?” asked Vee.
“Hold up, Vee-Vee,” said Frank, sporting a floral print scarf around his neck. “You’re okay with plopping into a mystery book and solving a murder case, but you think it’s weird that your clothes have changed?”
“If you put it that way.” She shrugged.
Glo called out over her shoulder. “We’re almost to the front of the line!” She was leading the group and trotting so fast we could barely keep up with her. Her beach-print sundress was fluttering in the breeze behind her. My aunt loved adventures and having fun, and this was certainly both.
As soon as we were over the gangway the crowd split into two directions. Photo stations were set up on both sides with a screen shot of a Hawaiian beach, the Serendipity of the Seas cruise ship in the background, and a banner over the top saying “Welcome Aboard!” A photographer’s assistant was placing a lei around each passenger.

“Wait up, Glo! Veer to the right!” Zell shouted, then she turned toward us. “You need to pick your photographer wisely.”
“Yeah,” said Million, nodding in agreement. “Cuz they charge an arm and a leg for those photos, but you can’t resist buying them.”
“You’ve got the millions, so spend a few,” laughed Sebastian.
“Who told you I got millions?” Our newest member turned to Sebastian with a scowl.
“As I was saying,” Zell said. “You want the best one. See that guy on the left. He’s boring and bland. Looks like he’d rather be somewhere else. People are barely smiling for him. His assistant is passing out wilted leis. Now, that guy on the right – he’s the life of the party. Even his assistant is doing a little dance to the music. He’s joking, he’s talking. Everybody’s laughing. Makes for a great photo.”
“Plus, he looks like Mr. Bean. Makes you laugh before he even opens his mouth,” said Moonbeam.
“Who’s Mr. Bean, Mom?” asked Forrest.
“Google him, honey.”
A moment later Forrest chuckled. “He does look like Mr. Bean!”
“Hey! You have cell service. Good deal,” said Vee. “Means a contemporary setting, right, Zell?”
“Yeppers!” Zell nodded vigorously. “… as far as I know.” Her voice faded off at the end.
We were at the front of the line where Glo was eagerly waiting. “Picture time!” She was bouncing on the toes of her cork-wedge sandals – a pair she’d never buy for herself, though she was obviously enjoying them.
“Howdy folks!” called the photographer, Mr. Bean’s twin, with a name tag that said Grant Perkins, USA. “Welcome aboard!”

my thoughts:
Last year I read the first book in this cozy paranormal mystery series called Shifting and Shenanigans by Elizabeth Pantley and really enjoyed it so when I had the opportunity to read this second installment I jumped at the chance.

Vampires and Villains picks right up where the first book left off. The series revolves around a magical mystery book club whose select members are actually transported into their book club selection to solve the mystery. They cannot leave the book until they crack the case. This time the reading group find themselves on a cruise ship called the Serendipity of the Seas. Not before long, a body turns up in the casino onboard and it’s up to the book club members to figure out who dunnit. The cast of characters from the first book are here, including Frank the talking cat. There are also some new characters introduced. There are nearly 5 thousand guests and crew aboard, including vampires as the group tries to narrow the suspects down.

I enjoyed the mystery, the vampires and I loved the cruise ship setting. The descriptive writing transported me aboard the ship alongside the book club members as they tried to figure out who committed the crime. I didn’t know who did it until the author revealed it.

I have to say, I just love this series. I enjoy Elizabeth Pantley’s easy and addictive writing style. This is my second time reading a book of hers where I finished it in one sitting. Although Vampires and Villains is the second book in this series, it reads fine as a stand-alone. However, I suggest reading the first book to get a feel for how the book club got started. I recommend this one if you enjoy paranormal cozies with a bit of humor in the mix and a fun cast of characters.

“RED ALERT. CODE DRACULA”– 54% Kindle, Vampires and Villains by Elizabeth Pantley

Giveaway Details:
CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN one $10 Gift Card for US Residents.
Good luck!

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Pantley says that writing her several Mystery and Magic book series is the most fun she’s ever had at work. Fans of the series say her joy is evident through the engaging stories she tells. Elizabeth is also the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, a beautiful inspiration for her enchanted worlds.
Catch Up With Elizabeth Pantley:
BookBub – @DestinyFalls
Instagram – @destinyfallsmystery
Facebook – @DestinyFallsMysteryandMagic

Tour Participants:

01/23 Review @ Review Thick And Thin
01/24 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
01/26 Review @ Mythical Books
01/28 Review @ Confessions of the Perfect Mom
01/30 Review @ Scrapping&Playing
02/01 Review @ nanasbookreviews
02/02 Review @ Urban Book Reviews
02/03 Review @ Curious Artifact
02/04 Review @ Book Corner News and Reviews

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My copy of Vampires and Villains by Elizabeth Pantley came via Partners In Crime Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts on it.