Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun - Book Review

"How could [Mark] tell his father the house was like the witch in Hansel and Gretel tempting the family with baked goodies before pushing them into the oven?"

Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun is a paranormal horror that runs on two levels and point of view characters over a hundred years apart.

Though the book in narrated in third person, the point of view character is Mark, who in the present day or in 1988, is forced to leave his home because his parents have gotten jobs in a small city in the middle of nowhere. There they live in a grand Victorian mansion, where things aren't as they seem.

And as soon as Mark sets foot in, he begins to see things that shouldn't be there. For the reader, other events are happening in the "Victorian" but in the 1800's. A family is moving to the Victorian to settle there and on the way, tragedy strikes, leaving behind Emily, the only daughter in a household of brutes, well minus one decent brother.
As the novel progresses, the two timelines slowly begin to collide, which naturally doesn't bode well for Mark.

"Unbeknownst to Mark, the Victorian planned his summer boot camp the minute he stepped onto the property."

In terms of characterisation, I felt there were a lot of characters. In the modern world, there is Mark, his sister, their parents, and their dog. In the past, there is Emily, her two or three brothers, father, and two recurrent guests. At times, I kept losing track of who was doing what. In addition, in the present day, Mark begins to see or rather sense spirits. I tried to connect the dots between which spirit was which person in the 1800's but often failed.

In the first few pages, I felt that there was some kind of distancing and shifts in the narration like "the father asked his daughter" and "wrapping his arms around his wife, Dad…" and the like. That could just be me.  

With two timelines in motion in Fountain Dead, we see each of the main characters struggling personally; Mark with feelings for Jack and leaving on a bad note, and in the late 1800s Emma is struggling with the death of her mother, and her brother Riley secretly blaming her for it.

"Following a drowsy blink, his sister was suddenly sitting up. The pipe Mom had found perched in Tausha's hand. Tobacco embers smoldered. Her eyes flamed red with malevolence, worse than any portrayed in a scary movie. "It's in the blood," she whispered.

Mark swallowed his heart and lost his balance.
With the next blink of his eyes, his sister slumbered just as before."

The book isn't divided into chapters but time periods. You can stop at the beginning of each shift in the timeline.

My biggest problem with Fountain Dead, and which is why it took so long to write this review, was with the ending. I felt confused. And now that several months have passed since I've read the book, I don't feel like I can review it well. My notes aren't helpful although I was able to connect some dots as I checked my notes.

I liked the setting in Fountain Dead, the Victorian mansion is the perfect place for horror and the house literally goes bump in the night. There are also several layers of horror here, the sections with Emily show the horrors of the civil war and her family of brutes. On Mark's end, there are several levels and instances of creepy. I really liked that.

Fountain Dead would make an interesting Halloween read and it will keep your mind working. 

Overall rating: 3 to 3.5 stars
Note: I received a free copy of Fountain Dead from its author Theresa Braun in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate by Bharat Krishnan– Book Review

Book: Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate
Author: Bharat Krishnan
Genre: Mythology, middle grade, children's
Number of pages: 72 pages
Publication date: 8 October 2019

Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate by Bharat Krishnan is a collection of 25 short stories on Hindu mythology, covering topics like karma, dharma, kama, and more. The book also includes several artworks that give some visual to the tales.

Growing up, Krishnan fell in love with Hindu mythology, but when he went to research, he discovered that there were no texts on the rich Hindu mythology, at least none that were "targeted towards kids my age then." Hence, Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate became a project that was born on 8 October 2019.

In the intro, Krishnan explains the reason he wrote Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate, saying: "I wrote this book because I wanted my loved ones to hear about Rama and Krishna and Saraswati as they also learned of Thor and Hercules, of Horus and Ra, of Noah and Moses."

After every tale, Krishnan highlights why he added that particular story. In some pieces, Krishnan makes comparisons with other mythology, Greek, Egyptian, along with Christian references.

An important point to remember about Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate is that "In Hindu mythology, time and again, we find that good and evil are meaningless words. It is the actions that go behind those words that matter."  I struggled with this a bit as I read, feeling that good should conquer evil but as you read, you will notice that some characters can be good or evil, depending on the story and situation.

The book opens with "The Egg Came First," the story of how the Hindu gods were created. As you move along the book, you'll notice more bits on creation. The Brahman, the supreme being of infinity, had 10 children, including Vishnu, the Preserver, who appears in many of the stories in various forms. From the Brahman's thighs, demons were created and later we see a witch as well.

Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate on my Kindle.

In Hindu mythology, and as Krishnan puts it, "balance is key…and what seems right in one instance may not be so in other cases."

I loved the story of "The Elephant God" as I have often been curious about Ganesha. I liked how several of the story titles had literary references, like "The Lady of the Lake," which is reminiscent of King Arthur's Camelot and "The Lion King."

The story titled "Ganesha's Hubris" is a five-star piece. I felt like it was a kind of fable and therefore highly recommend it.

"A princess once prayed to the sun that she would have a boy, but she did not consider the truism that sometimes not getting what you want is a marvelous stroke of luck…" This is how one story opens. It's a powerful tale that had me wondering who's side I was on and why I couldn't sympathize with the mother in this story, Kundi.

The longest story carries the name of the collection "Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate" and is a remarkable piece. however, it's considerably bloody and violent compared to the rest of the stories.

I liked "Fish Justice" which is reminiscent of Noah's Ark and introduces the concept of Dharma in the Hindu way of life. "Dharma serves as the basis for law, the notion that people have a duty towards one another to fill societal roles that transcend self-interest," Krishnan explains. I wish this would be something cultures can recognize because it would make life more peaceful.

In the story "The Lion King" one particular speech reminded me of Macbeth and the punned words of the three witches.

I would have liked an explanation of the "boons" that people in the stories ask the gods for because there were several instances where people requested them and the gods gave them readily. It seems to be a concept in Hindu mythology.

One of the things I liked about Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate was the use of Indian and Hindu words. They are often followed by the English meaning between brackets, but it gave an exciting feel to the stories.

Remember, it's better to read the stories in Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate in the order in which they were included in the book. You might be able to change the order after the first 5 or 6 stories, but as a reader, I recommend you maintain the order.

Unlike previous short story collections, I don't feel like I can rate each of these separately. That said, I found Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate by Bharat Krishnan to be an interesting introduction to and telling of Hindu mythology. Some stories were more exciting than others, some ideas were a bit confusing. But overall, I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

Overall rating: 4 stars

Connect with Bharat Krishnan via Twitter and Facebook.

Note: I received a free digital Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate from its author Bharat Krishnan in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way affect my review.

Note 2: This book review comes a little later than I had intended.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Author Interview with Kirsten Weiss - Wits' End Cozy Mystery Series

Join me in welcoming one of my favorite cozy mystery authors… KIRSTEN WEISS!

I've read several books for Kirsten and more are still on my to-be-read list. Today, I'm featuring Kirsten in an exclusive interview about her cozy mystery series At Wits' End, plus we talk about more of Kirsten's writing, her books, her poetry, who does she picture playing her characters if the series where to be shown on TV, NaNoWriMo, and lots more.

First here's the blurb for Close Encounters of the Curd Kind, book 3 in the Wits' End Series. It's followed by the interview and a giveaway.

Close Encounters of the Curd Kind: A Doyle Cozy Mystery

(A Wits' End Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Misterio Press 
Publication Date: 5 September 2019
Print Length: 250 Pages
Digital ASIN: B07VVF9VDW

The truth is out there…
Way out there.
Susan Witsend, owner of the best little UFO-themed B&B in the Sierras, is absolutely, positively, not going to get involved in another murder case. Not with her small-town sheriff threatening jail time if she interferes in one more investigation.
So when her neighbor is murdered, Susan exerts all her willpower to stay out of the sheriff’s business. But her neighbor’s daughter, Clare, needs Susan’s help. Clare’s been experiencing lost time, a sure sign of alien abduction. Helping Clare is only neighborly… and totally not interfering.
Worse, Clare’s not the only one with UFO issues. Weird lights in the sky, vanishing cows, and little green men are bringing the mountain town of Doyle to the edge of a panic. Can Susan unearth the truth before her town spirals into chaos?
If you like laugh-out-loud mysteries with complicated heroines (and breakfast recipes), you’ll love Close Encounters of the Curd Kind, book 3 in the Wits’ End series of cozy mystery novels. Read this twisty cozy caper today!

Exclusive Interview with Nadaness In Motion

Part 1: Wits' End Books
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the Wits' End Cozy Mystery Series?
Kirsten Weiss: Wits’ End is an imaginary UFO-themed B&B set in the Sierra foothills. It features B&B owner Susan Witsend, a heroine with a complicated past and some anxiety issues. She deals with the latter by being hyper-organized – she doesn’t try to control others, but she’s determined to control her own life as much as she can. But when it comes to dealing with authority figures like an irate sheriff, where she has no control, she falls into to a bit of self-delusion and decides she’s an integral part to solving local murders. The sheriff disagrees, but Susan just can’t see it. Fortunately for Susan, her organizational skills make her a fairly decent detective.

Q: What first inspired this series?
Kirsten Weiss: I wanted a “straight” cozy mystery series set in the same fictional California town as my witch cozy mystery series, The Witches of Doyle. In my witch series, there are a lot of unexplained disappearances – at least, unexplained to the townsfolk. So to cope, the townsfolk make up their own explanation: aliens.

Q: The blurb mentions the book being 'a laugh out loud' novel. How do you know if the funny scenes you've included are, well, funny? (OR Humor is relative, do you include situations that made you laugh in real life in the books. How do you include humor in?
Kirsten Weiss: That’s a really good question. I find myself laughing when I edit the book, and I have editors and beta readers who give me feedback on what’s funny and what’s not. So… I think it’s a funny product, but you’re right. Everything is relative!

Q: Writing help experts always say that the main character has to have a flaw, what is Susan's biggest flaw (if possible apart from trying to solve mysteries)?
Kirsten Weiss: Anxiety. What she calls “the shadow” is almost always there, waiting to dig in. She’s constantly battling to keep it at bay, and she usually succeeds with the above-mentioned coping mechanisms.

Q: If this book series were turned into a movie or TV series, who do you picture as playing the roles of Susan, her security consultant, and the Sheriff?
Kirsten Weiss: I could see Jennifer Anniston as Susan, Ryan McPartlin as Arsen, and Valerie Cruz as the sheriff (the latter isn’t blond with the sheriff’s Shirley Temple curls, but I still think she’d be great in the role).

Part 2: Other Books and Series

Q: Have you fully completed any book series? Or since they have standalones so all series can have new books?
Kirsten Weiss: I feel like my Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery series is complete, but I find myself still turning out short stories and the occasional novella. I guess I’ll never say never to adding another book to a series!

Q: What books are you currently working on?

Kirsten Weiss: I’m working on book 2 in my Tea and Tarot cozy mystery series right now. Though Tarot is a running theme, it’s more of a “straight” cozy mystery.

Q: You write cozy mysteries (including paranormal) and steampunk novels, which have been the most fun to write (or research and write?)
Kirsten Weiss:They’re all fun, but steampunk was the most challenging to research. In order to make my steampunk world as “real” as possible, I wanted to include as much correct historical detail as I could. That meant getting the language right, the clothing, the geography, politics… It’s a lot of research!

Reading and Writing
Q: What are you currently reading?
Kirsten Weiss: I just finished a book on Norse religions as prep work for writing another book. And because what we know about Norse religions is pretty interesting!

Q: NaNoWriMo is a month away, do you still take part in it to get your books ready? If yes, (or if you have been), what tips can you offer to newbies starting out with NaNo?
Kirsten Weiss: No. I’ve done NaNoWriMo, but right now I’m on a different schedule, which includes editing another book, so I can’t devote an entire month to just writing.

Q: I know you wrote a poetry collection or supplement book, Tales of the Rose Rabbit, do you still write poetry? Are you planning to publish another collection? Or was this an exception? (Coming from a fan of Tales of the Rose Rabbit)
Kirsten Weiss: Thank you! I do still write poetry, though I don’t have any plans right now to publish. Right now, it’s more of a spontaneous thing, and I feel like to publish I need a theme that would give some cohesion to the collection.

Q: If you could tell your readers one thing right now, what would it be? 
Kirsten Weiss: Please feel free to contact me and let me know what you’d like me to write more of! You can contact me via my website at

Read Nadaness In Motion's book reviews for The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum and Pressed to Death (Book 1 & 2 in The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum cozy mystery books) as well as Tales of the Rose Rabbit (a poetry collection that's part of the Doyle Cozy Mystery series)

Also in 2016 – WOW how time flies! – Kirsten and I did a joint post on cozy mysteries and how they differ from traditional mysteries. Read 9 Ways Cozy Mysteries Differ from Traditional Mysteries

About Kirsten Weiss

Kirsten Weiss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.

Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.

If you like funny cozy mysteries, check out her Pie Town, Paranormal Museum and Wits’ End books. If you’re looking for some magic with your mystery, give the Witches of Doyle, Riga Hayworth, and Rocky Bridges books a try. And if you like steampunk, the Sensibility Grey series might be for you.
Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at

Connect with Kirsten Weiss via Twitter: @KirstenWeiss    Facebook   and her  Blog (Great one by the way!)

Purchase Links    Kindle      iBooks     B&N     Kobo    Google Play    Video
Keep up with the rest of the blog tour for Close Encounters of the Curd Kind by Kirsten Weiss including book reviews, spotlights, interviews, and guest posts. Or Check the links below on each date.

October 9 – I Read What You Write – Book Review
October 10 – FUONLYKNEW – Spotlight
October 11 – Reading Authors – Spotlight & Nadaness In Motion – Author Interview
October 12 – Literary Gold – Spotlight & MJB Reviewers – Author Interview
October 13 – The Book Decoder – Book Review
October 14 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Book Review & Author Interview
October 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – Book Review
October 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – Spotlight & I Read What You Write – Guest Post
October 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Author Interview
October 18 – Baroness' Book Trove – Book Review
October 19 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – Spotlight
October 20 – Celticlady's Reviews – Recipe and Spotlight
October 21 - The Book's the Thing – Book Review and Guest Post
October 22 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author - Spotlight