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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

104) A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell

The Blurb :

When Mel Turner is hired to rehab an old Victorian mansion to act as the eerie setting for a Halloween bash, she’s expecting the normal challenges—old wiring, bad plumbing, maybe a ghostly specter or two. But when a young man is killed after spending the night in the house, and the mannequins in the attic start to come to life, it’s clear that this is serious paranormal activity. Maybe this time, a real witch is needed.

Recommended by a mutual friend, vintage clothes expert Lily Ivory arrives to offer her help with the mannequins. Armed with Lily’s spells and Mel’s know-how, the two women must figure out the cause of all of the ghostly commotion—before Mel’s renovation project turns into even more of a deadly haunt…

My Thoughts :

I am a big fan of Juliet Blackwell's two paranormal cozy mystery series and when I saw they were getting together for a Novella treat in time for Halloween...well I wanted a copy straight away!  Luckily for me I got one!

This was a great short read and a very spooky one!  If you have a problem with dolls (eg Chucky) then you may want to give this one a miss or at least read it in the daytime because the story is very haunting.  Mel Turner takes the reins as far as the POV but the story takes place in Lily's neighbourhood.  The partnership BFF material and it was great to have the two characters get together for a murder mystery and haunting.

I don't want to say much more about this novella because it would give too much away but it is definitely worth reading if you are a fan of one or both series.  There are a few familiar characters involved and as the cover suggests Lily's pet pig, Oscar, also makes an appearance.  All in all it is a great match and a well thought out story.

Hopefully Mel and Lily will get together again soon.  They make a good team and could really do some damage and help together!  If you want a spooky short story to get you in the mood for Halloween then this is one I can highly recommend!

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

103) Generation 18 by Keri Arthur

The Blurb :

A serial killer strikes every twelve hours. A vampire takes lives at random. At first glance, these tragic incidents seem unrelated. But Special Investigations Unit agents Sam Ryan and Gabriel Stern trace them both back to a military base known as Hopeworth. Is the murder spree part of a cover-up? And are the vampire killings less by chance and more methodical?

The investigation takes an eerie, personal turn when Sam discovers a connection between herself and the victims—and a clue to her own mysterious origins. With the violence escalating and the danger drawing closer to home, the stakes are raised and the mission changes from seeking justice to ensuring Sam and Gabriel’s own survival. And the one person who seems to hold all the answers—about Hopeworth, about Sam’s past—is a mystery man she isn’t sure she can trust. They share a psychic link through her dreams, and he once saved her life, but he may just be the greatest enemy humankind has ever known.

My Thoughts :

Generation 18 is the second book in the Spook Squad series and follows Memory Zero in being re-released after ten years!  Book three will release next month and finally Keri Arthur fans can cross the trilogy of hard to get hold of books off their wishlists.  Was it worth the wait?

While the series is paranormal it is also very Sci-fi. Based in the future and there is mention of futuristic gadgets but the Science Fiction is not too enough to put me off.  The Paranormal aspects are unusual but somewhat familiar with the author managing to keep it original and interesting .  Once again I had some trouble keeping up with everything in this strange futuristic Australia but it is easy to keep the gist of the story straight and the rest of the details fall into place at some point.  The style is typical Artur and after a while you can settle into the story and get sucked in.

The plot this time around seemed slightly long-winded and predictable.  Everything obviously has something to do with Sam's unknown past and this second installment makes a big deal of showing off what she could be and what she isn't.  Sam gets closer to finding herself some answers and I am sure that the third and final book will reveal all.  However this second part felt like it could have given up all the secrets and given Sam a chance to follow something else entirely in book three and maybe give her a book four and five to deal with other cases that do not relate to her personally.

The series is worth checking out if you are a fan of the author and didn't get to read this series the first time around.  The second book is due out next month and I already have a copy to read and review on my Kindle.  I look forward to finding out exactly what Sam is, what happened to her and if she and Gabriel will finally give in to each other.   I think there are some more secrets to come and I have a feeling that there are going to be some revelations that could make this a trilogy that was well worth taking the time to read.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

102) Whiskey Sour by Liliana Hart

The Blurb :

Addison Holmes is at it again. When priceless Russian gems are stolen on their way to Savannah and the courier is murdered, all the clues lead to back to an escort service that seems above reproach. But looks can be deceiving.

Throw in a sexy detective and a dangerous FBI agent, and Addison finds out very quickly that she's in way over her head. But nothing is going to stop her from getting her man.

My Thoughts :

After enjoying the first book in this series, Whiskey Rebellion, I felt like listening to the second book straight away.  The wit, humour and general fun of the first book was nice to listen to on the way to work and a way to relax on the way home.  Whiskey Sour was also a pleasure and I was eager to get out of the house and pop the earphones in and see what kind of trouble Addison could get herself into next.  An accident constantly happening, she could be a distance relation to Stephanie Plum.

This time around I felt the production of the audio book was of a higher quality.  The sound wasn't weird and the narrator actually felt a right fit even if she does sound, imho, too old to be Addison.  It sounded like the reader really made an effort this time around and it definitely made the story more of a joy to listen to.  Although sometimes the tracks jumped/repeated sentences...not sure if that is a problem on my end or if it is an Audible problem.

Addison gets involved in some FBI business this time which brought in another hunky guy and a lot more problems/money.  I wasn't quite sure how much time was supposed to have passed since the last book but I did feel like I missed something and wondered if there was a novella filling in the gap.  Despite this little annoyance I really got into the plot and found myself rolling my eyes and smiling at all the messes and silliness.  Of course there is a serious angle to the case as well but the Addison effect keeps it light and fun.

I am quite enjoying this series so far and will move onto the third installment without taking a break.  I am eager to see what happens next and there were a few things that happened in this second book that will make the third book very interesting.  Well worth checking out if you like to have a little laugh and fun with your mysteries.  Addison is an unique character who will leave you wondering if you want to be more like her or if you really are like her.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Release Day - Forsaken by Kristen Day

Once you’ve been touched by darkness, it never leaves you…

Abandoned by her parents as an infant; seventeen year old Hannah spent her childhood wading through countless foster families until being adopted by the Whitmans three years ago. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s high society wasn’t quite ready for Hannah…or the strange events that plague her.

Chilling visions of murder, unexplained hallucinations, and a dark, mysterious guy who haunts her nightmares all culminate to set in motion a journey of self-discovery that will challenge everything she’s ever believed; not to mention her sanity.

Sent to live at The House of Lorelei on Bald Head Island, NC for ‘kids like her’, Hannah quickly realizes things are not what they seem. Her fellow ‘disturbed’ teens are actually the descendants of mythical Sea Gods and Goddesses. And so is she.

But when Finn, the ghost from her dreams, appears in the flesh; her nightmares become reality and her dark visions begin coming true. Inexplicably drawn to him, she can’t deny the dangerous hold he has on her heart. The deadly secrets he harbors will ultimately test her courage and push the boundaries of her love.

She must decide if she is ready to embrace the ancient legend she is prophesized to be a part of. The fate of all the descendants will forever depend upon it.

About Kristen Day

I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I’ve been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses – swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn’t pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).

When I’m not writing I’m making jewelry, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband.

Author Guest : Stacey Rouke - Raven Blog Tour

Raven by Stacey Rourke
The Legends Saga #2

An infamous love, destined nevermore,  For death could not claim, the enchanting Lenore.
Cursed by the malevolent spirit of the Headless Horseman, Ireland Crane ventures to Manhattan in search of a way to break her soul crushing bond. Instead, she discovers the lines between fact and fiction are blurring once more. Croaking ravens. Telltale hearts. 

Could the works of Poe be coming to pass with handsome Wall Street Midas Ridley Peolte as their unwilling target?
She walks the Earth, a plague on mankind, searching for he, her rotted heart doth pine.

Together, the two unknowingly release a dark force death itself could not tame. Surrounded by the unrelenting violence and mayhem they’ve unleashed, Ireland feels her control over the Horseman slipping. Before the beast within consumes her, she and her crew must follow the clues of the dead to right a centuries’ old wrong. Will it be enough to sate the Horseman’s appetite? 

Hell hath no fury like a ghoul scorned.
Purchase It Here: 

Check out the First Book in the Series, Crane, on Goodreads 

The Horseman is unending, his presence shan’t lessen.

If you break the curse,  you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?


There is nothing worse than being put on the spot and asked to talk about yourself. For me it
brings back that inevitable moment in a new school when the teacher would ask me to stand up, introduce myself and tell the class something about myself. I was always worried I would blurt out something stupid that I would get teased for. Something like, “My name’s Stacey and I like pickles!” Then for the rest of the school year I’d be known as the Pickle Girl and let’s be honest, no one wants that. So to avoid such a faux pas I will simply say that I love to write. It allows me to get my crazy out just enough that I can function as a normal member of society.

Find Stacey Here:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

101) Murder at the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams

The Blurb :

Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving.

But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There’s no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up…

My Thoughts :

Ellery Adams is one of my favourite Cozy Mystery writers so this new first in a series was on my pre-order list as soon as I heard about it.  The Book Retreat Mystery series is the third series the author has penned under this name and I couldn't wait to see what she was going to spoil us with this time.  Her Books by the Bay series is one of my all time favourites and her Charmed Pie Shoppe series is just magical!  Could the Book Retreat series make it a hat-trick?

The book started off well but the size of the Book Retreat, Storyton Hall, was hard to grasp.  I tried to map it out in my head but I gave up after a while and could really do with some kind of plan in the next book to be able to put everything into perspective.  As the story continued things got bigger and instead of the quaint hotel with a few staff I realised that this was more of a manor house with a huge staff.  Maybe the picture of the cover made me think too small.

I was very impressed to find that the leading lady, Jane, was a mother of twins and also the manager of Storyton Hall.  It isn't often that the main character has so many responsibilities and I have to give the author a huge thumbs up for going there and doing that! However I hope we find out more about Jane's situation in the next book.  Her past wasn't really explained and I feel I need to know more to really like her.  So much about her is also a mystery.

The plot was well thought out and it was a good cozy but if you are thinking that this is your typical hotel murder story then you are totally wrong.  Somewhere along the way there is a huge twist that makes this one really stand out and make you take notice.  I wasn't expecting something so daring and complicated, especially with the whole retreat to run, her family and the twins!  A surprising tangent that will definitely make this series very special and original.

All in all this debut was, in my honest opinion,  a success.  Ellery Adams gives good cozy and she has once again managed to come up with something different and exciting.  I look forward to the sequel and hope that this is the first of many Book Retreats I will be spending at Storyton Hall.  Where can I book a week there?

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Friday, September 19, 2014

100) Whiskey Rebellion by Liliana Hart

The Blurb :

My name is Addison Holmes, and I teach history at James Madison High School in Whiskey Bayou, Georgia. You might be under the assumption that my life went to the dogs when my fiance left me at the altar for the home economics teacher, or when I got notice that my apartment building was going to be condemned, or even when I was desperate enough to strip to my unmentionables to earn some extra cash. The truth is that I'm pretty much used to disasters following me around on a daily basis, but I could have gone without finding my principal dead in the parking lot of a seedy gentlemen's club.

After the initial shock of finding my first dead body, which included throwing back shots of Jack Daniels like it was water, I decided to take stock of my life. I was in a desperate situation and if the school board ever found out I'd been a stripper, even a bad stripper, I'd be jobless as well as fiance-less and homeless. Fortunately, I had a friend who felt sorry enough for me to give me a job doing some surveillance work at her detective agency. Not to mention the fact that I was now able to stick my nose into other people's business for a good cause, find a murderer, and pick up helpful tips from an incredibly attractive detective.

My Thoughts :

I can't remember how I came across this book but it was free on Amazon Kindle and I snapped it up after reading the blurbs and a few reviews.   Then while looking for something new to listen to on Audible I came across this again but it was at a very reduced price because I already owned the Kindle version.  I decided that the chances of me getting around to actually reading this book was slim while I knew I would start listening to it straight away.

My first impressions of the book were not helped by the bad quality of the audio book.  Maybe I have been spoilt by the great narrators and great quality of the many other books I have listened to but this one was not up to the standards I have come to enjoy.  The narrator sounded older than the character by at least 15 years if not more and her enthusiasm for the story just wasn't coming across.  I warmed up to the voice by the end and I think the reader got into the story and characters somewhere along the way.  However the whole production was ruined by the sound.  It was like the narrator was recording the book in her bathroom or metal container.  If I turned down the volume it was hard to notice but when on public transport the low volume isn't very helpful and it was a cringe worthy experience to listen to the book at times.

Despite finding the production of the audio to be quite awful, I did end up enjoying the book.  It took a while to get used to Addison but as things progressed and the plot started to open up more it become much more enjoyable.  It all reminded me a lot of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich but there were any car explosions.  There was a good dose of getting into some very silly situations and there is a nice romantic element with a detective to heat things up.  A nice combination and a humourous mystery that kept me wondering till the end.

Well worth trying out if you like the type of cozy mystery that is all about mad-cap adventures and laughs.  I certainly can't deny that I liked it enough to go download the next episode in the series.  Depending on how I am feeling on Monday it maybe the next installment in this series that gets listened to next week.

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