House of Ashes by Loretta Marion

House of Ashes

A Haunted Bluffs Mystery

Cassie Mitchell is living in her great-grandparents beautiful home overlooking the ocean. Battersea Bluffs is a house with a past. Built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell who died in a fire brought on by a curse.

Oh, and they still live there. Just in a different form.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here because the summary tells the entire story.

One thing I did not like was the jumping back and forth of timelines and characters that seemed to have an importance to the story  but were glossed over. I am not a fan of hand wringing helpless female leads. The entire book I was screaming, “Don’t you have a computer? Google?”

It read more like the outline for a story rather than a completed work. As much as I am a fan of Crooked Lane, this one was a hot mess.

Netgalley/November 13th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books

 

 

DRACUL a NOVEL by DACRE STOKER AND J.D.BARKER

Dracul

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a riveting novel of gothic suspense that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s — and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

J.D.Barker teams up with the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker to bring us this prequel, if you will, to the Dracula novel. If you have ever wondered how he came up with such a tale, this book will let you know in great detail. Chilling detail!

If you are thinking of shiny, sparkly vampires, stop. That is not what this is. This is the story of Bram. As a child and as an adult. Much of the book is based on his own writings, notes and journals. Names and places are changed in some places, but this book rings true in every sense.

It is evil, and frightening and not one bit nice. And I loved every gory minute of it! These are the vampires that are powerful and contemptuous of humans. They leave death and destruction in their wake. And at one point even I had to put down the book and just check my windows and doors. It rings that true.

I was fortunate enough to receive this from Netgalley but the hard copy I will buy and not let you borrow it.

Netgalley/October 2nd 2018 by Putnam

 

The Lucifer Chord by F.G.Cottam

The Lucifer Chord

Ruthie Gillespie’s efforts to find out the truth about a mysterious missing rock star lead her on a terrifying journey into the past. 

Researcher Ruthie Gillespie has undertaken a commission to write an essay on Martin Mear, lead singer and guitarist with Ghost Legion, the biggest, most decadent rock band on the planet, before he disappeared without trace in 1975. Her mission is to separate man from myth – but it’s proving difficult, as a series of increasingly disturbing and macabre incidents threatens to derail Ruthie’s efforts to uncover the truth about the mysterious rock star.

Just what did happen to Martin Mear back in 1975? Is he really set to return from the dead, as the band’s die-hard fans, the Legionaries, believe? It’s when Ruthie’s enquiries lead her to the derelict mansion on the Isle of Wight where Martin wrote the band’s breakthrough album that events take a truly terrifying turn …

It is so nice to have Ruthie and company back for a visit. Ruthie has been commissioned to do an essay on Martin Mear and his band, Ghost Legion, as part of a new boxed set and a tour of his music and memorabilia. But something isn’t right about any of this, she discovers as supernatural events force a medium to run for her life and more me she knows to end up dead.

Ruthie is no stranger to the supernatural or the occult forces in the world. She has come up against them before and lived to tell the tale, but will the third time be her last?

Ruthie is one of my favorite characters and I hope we will see more of her! Cottam’s writing draws you into the story and the characters and before you know it you are almost finished, so you slow down to make it last and still end up hurtling towards the end to find out what happens! As a great coincidence I had a text from a friend who is at this minute on the Isle of Wight so this seemed a sign of sorts, but by then I had devoured the entire book!

If you like secret societies, the occult, fact with fiction mixed in and a spooky setting,then you should read the books before this one as well.

Netgalley/SevernHouse September 01, 2018

F.G. Cottam

Reading is a cheap and totally effective way of being transported to another world. The same is true of writing. Mundane concerns only afflict your characters if you decide you want them to.
University was where I first thought seriously about fiction; hearing about Hemingway’s iceberg theory and Eliot’s objective correlative and having the luxury of time to ponder on the mechanics of the novel.
My first writing was journalism and pieces for I-D, Arena and The Face brought me to the attention of mainstream magazine publishers. In the ’90’s I edited FHM when it still majored on sport and fashion rather than Hollyoaks starlets and weather girls. Then I launch-edited the UK edition of Men’s Health magazine and then came to the conclusion that if I didn’t try to write some fiction it was never going to happen.
I read all kinds of fiction, but write stories with a paranormal element I think really because history fascinates me and ghosts allow the past to resonate shockingly, scarily and I hope convincingly, into the present.
I got off to an encouraging start but have suffered a few disappointments since then. I wouldn’t in honesty want to do anything else, though. If I write a terrible novel it’s my fault entirely. If I write a good novel, it’s entirely my achievement.

THE Spook IN THE Stacks by EVA GATES

The Spook in the Stacks (Lighthouse Library Mystery #4)

The fourth in the Lighthouse Library Mystery Series

Halloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

Set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with a Lighthouse Library, this is one really well done mystery.

Local boy Jay Ruddle made a killing and more than a few enemies when he sold out to the big box store and headed for New York. Now he is ready to slow down and is trying to choose between two libraries to take his extensive collection of North Carolina history.

While the library hosts its Halloween event Jay has asked to use the rare book room. When Lucy checks on him, she finds him strangled to death. But who? And why?

There are a lot of people still around who harbor grudges and this could be about the collection or maybe just good old greed.

These characters have matured over the books and they are smart, funny and really interesting. I especially loved the history and local lore. But is there more to those tales? When Lucy starts seeing ghostly lights and a horse in the mist, she may change her mind about the supernatural!

I am really glad Crooked Lane picked this series up! A really good cozy. Eva Gates is actually Vicki Delaney!

With The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on everyone’s minds and ghoulish gossip on everyone’s lips, Lucy will need to separate the clues from the boos if she wants to crack this case without losing her head in The Spook in the Stacks, the delightful fourth in national bestseller Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mysteries.

NetGalley/Crooked Lane Books  Release Date June 12, 2018

SIGN of the CROSS by GLENN COOPER

Sign of the Cross (Cal Donovan #1)

Introducing Harvard professor Cal Donovan in the first of an intriguing new series of religious conspiracy thrillers. 

Responding to an urgent summons from the Vatican, Harvard professor of religion and archaeology, Cal Donovan, flies to Italy to interview a young priest who has developed the stigmata of the crucifixion. Stunned to discover that the priest’s condition may be genuine, Cal determines to uncover the cause of the mysterious wounds.

But Cal is not the only one. When Giovanni is kidnapped from his church at dead of night, Cal comes to realize that the priest holds the key to an earth-shattering secret: a secret which a shadowy nationalist organization is desperate to control. Teaming up with Giovanni’s sister Irene, Cal must unravel the mystery and track down Giovanni in a perilous race against the clock … before an apocalyptic catastrophe is unleashed.

I do love a good religious conspiracy book! Especially one so well researched.

As a Catholic and a History teacher the subject matter was very interesting. We all know the Nazi’s made off with a lot of holy relics and artifacts. Remember the movie The Monument Men? And it’s quite easy in this day and age to imagine those bad guys are still out there trying to take things that don’t belong to them and they have no problem killing anyone in their way.

Full of suspense, rich in history and fast paced action will draw you in and keep you biting your lip!

Cal is a good character. Funny, a bit of a drinker and yet can still hold his own with the Pope. He is like a Catholic Indiana Jones! And I loved every minute of this book.

Netgalley/Severn House May 01, 2018

 

Seashells,Spells and Caramels: Book 1 of the Spells and Caramels Cozy Witch Mystery Series by Erin Johnson

Seashells, Spells & Caramels (Spells & Caramels #1)

Imogen’s spent her twenties in Seattle, saving every penny and missing every party, to follow her dream of opening her own bakery.

When that dream goes up in flames, she accepts a spot in a mysterious baking contest—one she doesn’t remember entering. She travels to a bustling, medieval village off the coast of France and discovers an enchanting world of magic and mystery, and learns that she, too, possesses powers.

Unable to so much as cast a spell, Imogen struggles to keep up with the other witches and wizards who have come from all over the magical world to the Water Kingdom’s big competition. She juggles relationships with a sweet new friend, a snarky baking fire, and a brooding, handsome baker. As Imogen falls for this bewitching world, she fears she won’t master her magic in time to win the job of Royal Head Baker, and will be forced to return to the shambles of her non magical life.

It only gets worse, when a competitor drops dead in the middle of the big white baking tent, and Imogen’s the prime suspect. Now, she’ll not only have to survive the vampire and psychic judges, but also clear her name by finding the real murderer, before they strike again.
With a killer on the loose, a missing prince, and the Summer Solstice Festival fast approaching, Imogen will have to bake like her life depends on it- because it just might.

 

I don’t usually accept author requests. But when the author contacted me about this one, I thought well, the cover is cute and Imogene sounds like an interesting character so I gave it a read. And I really enjoyed it!

Full of quirky characters with different magical powers that they have had a long time to hone, Imogene is just discovering she has some pretty special abilities as well. She just has no idea how to use them!

With a little help and advice, she finally makes friends with her fire and gets to baking. When one of the contestants is murdered, Imogene needs to make sure her name is clear and that the contest continues. Imogene has no back up plan, its win the contest or back to her boring and unfulfilling life.

Magic and Baked Goods? Yes, sign me up. This was a fun read. When you read hard-core fiction and non-fiction regularly, a story such as this sweeps all the drama away and just leaves you smiling and laughing.

Well Done Ms. Johnson!  This book will be available on the 29th of this month.

 

 

 

 

 

Strange Practice: A Greta Helsing Novel by Vivian Shaw

Strange Practice (Dr. Greta Helsing, #1)

Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family’s specialty for generations.

Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.

As the first in this new urban fantasy genre featuring Dr. Greta Helsing, this was quite unlike any I had read before. Yes, the Helsing is from the Van Helsing, but instead of hunting down vampires and sending them to the great beyond, Greta is a physician to the undead. Vampires, Vampyres ( yes there is a difference), ghouls, banshees, demons, mummies,werewolves, you name it and she probably treats it.

The core group of  undead in the book are a colorful and mostly likeable group. When one of their own is attacked and is unable to heal himself, Greta is called in. He has been stabbed with an odd cross-shaped blade containing some type of poison.

There are  a few things going on here at the same time. A killer is loose in London, leaving bodies with cheap rosaries in their mouths. What do these murders have to do with the rogue group of monks murdering undead and human? And what kind of power do these so-called monks have with their weird glowing eyes and murderous ways?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all of the characters. Greta was a bit of a hard one to read in the beginning but by the middle I was enjoying each and every one of them. I mean who knew there were little ghoulettes? Baby ghouls! And making functioning limbs for mummies. There was a lot of fun reading going on with this one and having read the tease for the next one, I will be reading it too!

Well done Ms. Shaw!