Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Magic, Murder Mystery, Paranormal, Romance

A Spell of Murder Kennedy Kerr 5*#Review @bookouture @KennedyKerr5 #CozyMystery #magic #Scotland #loch #BookReview #LostMaidensLochMystery #Witches #psychic #paranormal #policeprocedural #murdermystery

#ASpellofMurder

In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…

Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.

When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.

If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story has all the ingredients for a perfect escape. Cozy mystery, with a touch of magic, and vividly created characters and setting. Set in a small town in the Scottish Highlands, the loch has a mystical significance, well understood by psychic Temerity, and her herbalist sister Tilda. Temerity’s gift manifested when her first love died tragically at the Loch, something she feels inherently guilty for. Both women feel tied to the small town and they are intrinsic to its wellbeing.

The villagers accept the women, although gossip has it that they are witches, with their two seemingly lazy cats and an opinionated parrot. Temerity’s give for psychometry, has proved useful to the police in the past, but the new officer in the town isn’t convinced. Maybe he’s worried about his secrets?

There is so much in this first book to absorb the reader and capture their interest. The setting is authentic and described so well that you can visualise it. The mystical ethos, and legend that surrounds it add to its appeal. The protagonists are complex characters full of flaws and hidden layers. Some of which, are revealed in this book. Some are hinted at, to be revealed later in the series? The small-town dynamic works, the sense of community and gossip is evident. The cast of characters colourful and mostly easy to like.

The magical, witchy element is the icing on the cake, not too far-fetched, but outer-worldly enough to appeal. The cozy mystery is cleverly plotted, with lots of suspects, a dastardly murder, and plenty of clues and misinformation, to engage those who enjoy this.

A brilliant start to what promises to be an enchanting series, with wide appeal because we all need a little magic in our lives.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

The Colour of Death Elizabeth Davies 4*#Review @bethsbooks @rararesources #ParanormalRomance #suspense #blogtour #BookReview #vampire #TheColours

“Mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

Olivia Parr doesn’t believe her ability to see auras is a gift. It hasn’t exactly done her any favours. Quite the opposite, in fact. Having become something of a loner, she tries to avoid people and the glow surrounding them, preferring to view life through the lens of a camera, where she can’t see those telltale colours.

But when a rare visit to a theatre ends in death and bloodshed, Olivia’s life is about to become considerably more complicated.

During the mayhem, one man stands out, and not just because he seems oblivious to the terrible carnage. The reason? He has no aura.

But everyone has an aura, right?

Everyone.

Except for the dead.

Not only is she fascinated and intrigued by this strange, compelling man, in the aftermath of the tragedy she gains a protector; a man whose aura is deep, dark red – the colour of blood.

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

MyThoughts…

A lovely mix of paranormal, mystery, suspense and passion, with a historical connection that gives the story authenticity and depth. The use of a well known infamous historical character as the antagonist is clever, his documented personality traits fit well with this story, and give it a believable menace.

The action scenes are well-written. and vividly described, they convey the sense of danger and mayhem perfectly and make the paranormal world the author has created within normality believable.

Olivia is a fighter, she’s had to be. suffering appalling bullying since childhood, and lack of family support since they discovered her gift or curse, as she believes it to be. She is likeable, and you want her to succeed, and find happiness.

Olivia apparent unawareness of the paranormal, is ironic, considering her paranormal skill. This may in part, be due to being told by her family, and the numerous medics she has seen that she has a neurological condition.

The interaction with Crow is intriguing, he is on a mission, but finds the time to offer his protection to Olivia, even though she doesn’t want it. Their relationship is a slow burn, barely friends, but there is something there, that may grow.

This is a dark story and the menace increases with the story’s progression. There is an element of noir humour, which people often use to make sense of something that is not quantifiable in human terms, this works well.

Paranormal stories have dipped in popularity, but this is not a lighthearted story of vampires, but one grounded in history and legend, and it paves the way for an exciting series.

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Fantasy, Horror Fiction, Magic, Noir

The End of the Line Gray Williams 3* #Review @canelo_co @gray_books #noir #magic #fantasy #dystopian #crime #paranormal #bookreview

A fast-paced thriller set on the streets of a London rife with undercover magic.

Abras, as they are known, can harness these illegal powers, but for con-artist Amanda Coleman – whose father was a powerful and abusive practitioner – magic is anathema.

When her criminal crew decide to hire an Abra to help with their heists, they don’t expect to raise a demon or to quickly lose control of it. Now Coleman and her crew must travel across Siberia to a remote stone circle in order to kill this murderous creature, who has destroyed everything they hold dear.

But as the demon’s power grows, a battle of wills commences. Coleman must fight to survive, facing demons both in chains and within herself.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Fantasy and paranormal fiction do not have the popularity of a few years ago. The current trend for fusion in genres allows for paranormal and fantasy themes, to fuse with the crime fiction genre, something which has always been popular in graphic novels.

‘The End of the Line’, is a crime based story set in a dystopian world, where magic is outlawed, and paranormals are used to further criminal ends, often, as in this case, with disastrous results.

The violent world setting of this novel is immediately apparent. The leader of the gang is ruthless and emotionally damaged having suffered a personal tragedy. The violence is vividly described, indeed this story would make an excellent graphic novel.

Understandably, there is a great deal of world-building in the main part of this story, which adds to the complexity, and takes the reader away from the main story. If you are a fan of fantasy worlds, this will not be a problem, but if you find it difficult to merge into someone else’s creation, this will reduce the book’s appeal.

The story is fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled and dark. There is little to dissipate the noir world, some of the characters do have redeeming features, but these cost them dearly. The picture painted, is of a world without hope.

So, not an uplifting read, but something to try, if you enjoy fantasy crime in a dark dystopian setting.

Posted in Book Review, Horror Fiction, Indie

The Demon Seeds- 4*Review-Derek Muk

Taylor and Jan have an edgy, exhilarating and dangerous occupation: they’re monster hunters. While they’ve endured many strange adventures in their Southern California/Los Angeles area turf, their latest is as harrowing as it gets….for they are about to encounter the nefarious bubog, the demonic offspring of the cult leader Bubog, an entity carrying the seed of the Dark Prince himself, and he is trying to impregnate as many human women he could lay his hands on. While the intrepid monster hunters track the bubog down in an attempt to put an end to their evil scourge, Jan learns that her best friend, Carol, has been initiated into their cult and the two must save her before she too gives birth to one of these abominations. But can they save her? And can they rid our world forever of these diabolical Demon Seeds before it’s too late? 

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

This is a short read, it took me about half an hour to complete, and so it’s the perfect book for reading on your phone. I haven’t read any of ‘The Occult Files of Albert Taylor’ but it is easy to get into, so important for short stories.

There is an interesting relationship between Taylor and his graduate student Jan,  who is clever but full of youthful innocence. There is a sense of Taylor studying her because a couple of times he talks about capturing her actions or expression in a photograph.

The writing is atmospheric and image-driven. It reads, like a graphic novel without the pictures, and its fast pace builds tension and enhances the action sequences. The monster hunters are akin to the demon hunters in the ‘Supernatural’ series and will appeal to readers who enjoy this type of fiction. 

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

 

Derek Muk is a writer and social worker from California. His short stories have appeared in various online and small press magazines, including New Realm, Cheapjack Pulp, Ink Stains Anthology, Nebula Rift, 9 Tales, Story of the Month Club, Cranial Leakage, The Haunted Academy (Novella-Midnight Frost Books), Fiction On The Web, Whispers From The Past: Fright and Fear (anthology), Dark Eclipse, The Dead Walk (anthology), 13 Magazine, Diabolic Tales 3, Both Barrels of Legends of the Monster Hunter I and II, The Trigger Reflex: Legends of the Monster Hunter II (anthology), Suffer the Little Children (anthology), Splatter: An Anthology of Horror, Death Rattle, Dark Things II (Anthology), Anthology of Ichor: Hearts of Darkness, Twisted Tongue Magazine, Static Movement, Sex and Murder Magazine,  Sinister Tales, Night to Dawn, M-Brane SF, Sonar4 E-Zine, The Ethereal Gazette, 7th Dimension Magazine, Switchblade Magazine, ESC! Magazine, Scorched Wings Magazine, Hardboiled, Masque Noir, Detective Mystery Stories, Dawnsky, The Pinehurst Journal, Mystery Forum Magazine, The Green Queen, Kracked Mirror Mysteries, Golden Visions Magazine, Crossroads Magic, The Street Corner Magazine, Calliope Magazine, Unspoken Water, Space and Time Magazine, Infernal Ink Magazine, Tales of the Talisman Magazine, Aurora Wolf, The Horror Zine Magazine, Disturbed Digest, and Parabnormal Digest.
 
He has three chapbooks published: Three Parts, The Sacrifice and Other Stories, and Sin After Sin. In addition to writing, he enjoys reading, travelling, museums, art, dining out, and meeting new people. He has a bachelors and masters degree in social work. 
 
“The Occult Files of Albert Taylor” is his first full-length collection of short stories.

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Posted in 7 Days of Books

7 Days of Books I #AmReading #Reviewing @Jolliffe03

To keep me on track and to let you know what’s going to be on the blog in the next 7 Days, these are the #books I #amreading and #reviewing #nextweek on #JaneHuntWriter

Jane x

Posted in Book Review

The Break Line – 4* Review – James Brabazon

Officially Max Mclean doesn’t exist.

The British government denies all knowledge of the work he does on their behalf to keep us safe. But Max and his masters are losing faith in each other. And they’ve given him one last chance to prove he’s still their man.

Sent to a military research facility to meet a former comrade-in-arms, Max finds the bravest man he ever knew locked up for his own protection. His friend lost his mind during an operation in West Africa. The reason? Absolute mortal terror.

Max is determined to find out why.

Ahead lies a perilous, breathtaking mission into the unknown that will call into question everything that Max once believed in.

Acting alone, without back-up, Max lands in Sierra Leone with his friend’s last words ringing in his ears: ‘They’re coming, Max. They’re coming . . .’

Amazon UK

Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

I thought this book would be a military-themed political thriller, in many respects it is. The early part of the story is easy to read, an introduction to Max, the main character, who undertakes the narrator role as it’s written in the first person. The early part of the book disseminates essential clues and facts. The last part of the story, concentrates on Max’s mission, it may be his last if he doesn’t deliver, but the dangers he faces and the horrors he endures and witnesses may take his life, not just his career.

This second half of the story fuses the literary genres. Military thriller merges with paranormal and science- fiction and the resultant prose produces haunting, horrific images in the reader’s mind. Is Max delusional, is this an out of world experience or is this something more sinister? There are no clues here, but if you enjoy your thriller’s twisty with graphic imagery, this one will satisfy your cravings.

Fast-paced and full of action driven, adrenaline-fuelled scenes, this story holds your interest. The secret Max discovers places this novel firmly in the 21st century and takes the concept of biological weaponry to another level. Max is an edgy, driven character with a dark past and family issues, his emotional character undergoes a radical change through the story, and he makes a good anti-hero.

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK, Michael Joseph Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Author Blog Challenge, Friday Read

My Top 5 Books and Why? Author Blog Challenge: #LifeBooksWriting

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So like many writers, I am an avid reader too. I would never have become a writer, if I hadn’t read books, I’d like to have written and these are a few of them.

 The Donovan Legacy – Nora Roberts

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I loved these romantic paranormal stories about  a supernatural  family. If you enjoyed the 1990’s witchy  TV series Charmed you’ll love these stories too. The romance is easy, the characters believable and the magic is the perfect escapism.

I wanted to write stories with the same mix of paranormal romance and fantasy . I decided to write  a paranormal romance after reading this series but it was over ten years later, when I wrote my first paranormal romance; The Dragon Legacy series.
 

Ashes to Ashes –   Tami Hoag

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 I also  love reading mysteries and thrillers, especially those that get inside the mind of the antagonist. Tami Hoag, does this perfectly, especially in my favourite story of hers.

The female lead in this story is perfectly flawed but so easy to empathise with. The  villain is pure evil  and the suspense to die for.  I read this in the late nineties but its still one of my favourite suspense thrillers.

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In my current release, The  Dangerous Gift, I tried to create the same suspenseful ethos with elements of romance and mystery intertwined. 

The Cat Who… Lilian Jackson Braun

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My mum loved, what is now termed cosy mysteries and she introduced me to Lilian Jackson Braun and ‘The Cat Who….’ mysteries. These feature a quirky private detective and his two Siamese cats, who are really the stars of the book; Koko  and Yum Yum. The stories are simple but full of interesting characters and they remind me of happy times with my mum.

Tangled Reins and Four in Hand – Stephanie Laurens

I have always loved reading Regency Romance  and  Stephanie Laurens’, ‘Four in Hand’ and ‘Tangled Reins’ are two of my all  time favourites Arrogant, sexy heroes. Feisty , intelligent yet vulnerable heroines and a glamorous settings make them great to read.

 Past Shadows Cover 2My love of Regency romance,mystery, suspense and the paranormal, inspired me to write my latest story ‘Past Shadows’ . which I  hope to release later this year. Excerpts are on Wattpad under my user name  JaneHunt5.

Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe  Debbie Johnson

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As a book reviewer, I am lucky enough to read stories from many different authors. One of my  favourites because her stories never fail to make me laugh out loud is Debbie Johnson. Her latest book ‘ Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe’ is her most memorable tale to date, full  of fun, poignancy and some many delightfully, real characters. Definitely a must read this summer.

 So that’s my top five books, what are yours and why? Comment  below or on Twitter using the hashtag #LifeBooksWriting.