Tuesday, 10 December 2019

I was a Teenage Ghost Hunter: Volume 1 by Brian.K. Henry





Publisher's Information

Moody sixteen-year-old barista Devin Mulwray is doing his best to ignore bizarre manifestations at his job in the chilly Northern California town of Arcata. Already teased about his recurrent ‘phase-outs’, the last thing he needs is to get pegged as a guy who sees ghosts. It doesn’t help his state of mind that his boss is a sarcastic slacker, his single dad is always on the road with clients and local occult fan girl Nayra is spreading ‘ghost boy’ rumours about him online.

But when violent paranormal activity badly spooks teens at an abandoned estate, Devin’s pushed into investigating by his eccentric friends Clive, a budding composer, and Rex, a tech head excited by ghost hunting gadgetry. At first reluctant to get involved, Devin’s encouraged when Emily, one of the more empathetic girls at Grey Bluff High, is impressed with his daring.

Together the friends explore the creepy Rousten manor. But as the only person able to perceive the manifestations, Devin soon finds himself going one-on-one against a powerful spirit who attacks the locals and infiltrates Devin’s own dreams.

Devin must face his fear of confronting the spirit world and get to the bottom of the haunting before the spectre unleashes more havoc on him and his friends.

Wattpad readers loved I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter. Here is a sample from fans who read the book when it was featured on Wattpad:

“Best ending ever!!! I loved it, you've done a seriously great job and it was such an awesome read. I really love Devin and everything about this book :) " Bookworm177

“Done reading this last night, and it was awesome! What a spooky story indeed. Clive and Rex's bickering moments were also funny!...You have my 30 votes. :) " - Chemister

"amazing story I enjoyed it very much...and it kept a mystery element till the end :) thank you for uploading it! keep up the good work! :) " - Sriparnaman

"Thanks for the awesome book. I love ghost stories and I count this as one of the best that I read. Please do write another. :D " Robby_Lao

                                              
A twisty tale with horror, comedy and adventure. There was lots of humour in the story which kept the scenes light rather than scary. I really enjoyed Devin. I was quite intrigued by him and wanted to find out more about the source of his gift and how it affected him growing up. His side kick friends were a fun bunch and their antics added to the humour. I also loved how the author wrote the ghost's ability to physically manifest and its ability to manipulate objects; clothes and books, and use them as weapons. The flying objects were a nice touch. Who wouldn't love a library where your books could rearrange themselves in a neat and orderly manner?

The story is billed as Young Adult but I imagine that younger teens will be tempted to give up once started because a large amount of the vocabulary is too advanced for them. Added to this are the very wordy descriptive passages. In the first half of the book everything is described in minute detail making sentences very long and laborious to read. This lessened somewhat as the story progressed and the pace of the book sped up as a result.

I enjoyed the second half of the book more because it was full of drama and the pace was quicker.  Everything came to a satisfactory conclusion at the end.


I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter is available now. Amazon

Monday, 9 December 2019

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis, Narrated by Jessica Preddy and Finlay Robertson, (2019)



Prepare to fall head over heels. This is the perfect book for fans of Josie Silver, Richard Curtis and anyone who ever fell in love with the wrong person.
What if you couldn't get away from the one who got away?
Unlucky in love Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It's December, and she's taking a room in a crumbling Notting Hill house-share with four strangers. On her first night Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor. They don't kiss under the mistletoe, but as far as Jess is concerned, the connection is instant. She lets herself imagine how their relationship will grow over the following year. 
But when Jess returns from a Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else - beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams...and the woman of his. 
Jess is determined to move on and survive the next 12 months...but love has a way of hampering even the best laid plans.... 
Set over the course of one life-changing year, this is the most uplifting and moving love story of 2019.






The story is cute and romantic. Events take place over the course of a year so it is quite a slow romance in terms of them getting together but it's so worth the wait. You get a good sense of how it's all going to play out so just relax, sit back and enjoy the journey. 
The two protagonists begin the year with an instant attraction but they muck it up and end up dating other people. They spend the rest of the year being best friends and sight seeing around London together in their spare time. I loved those heart warming scenes where they spent a lot of time together and chatted.
I was pulled along with them, eagerly waiting for the eureka moment when they would finally get together. 
I loved the dual narration in this book. Both narrators were excellent and the story was made that bit more dramatic by having the two. 
If this came out as a Christmas movie I would definitely go see it. For a squeezy dose of feel good feelings this book is it! 

I'm almost sorry I didn't save this one for Christmas Day. It's lovely.
#WeMetInDecember #Avon #HarperCollins

We Met in December is out now. AudioBooks.com    Audible 

Also available in paperback Book Depository

Only £1.01 for Amazon Kindle

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Angel's Serenade (A Willow Valley Historical Romance Book 2) by Linda Weaver Clarke (2019)



Emmeline Scott is raising her sister’s two children and is surprised when she finds out the new doctor in town is helping her nephew adapt to his surroundings. It is not easy to be uprooted and have to start a new life. As Emmeline gets to know the charming doctor, Lucas Golden, they become intrigued by her neighbour’s mysterious behaviour. Will they discover his secret? And who is the leader of the River Pirates, who is causing so much havoc?



 Linda Weaver Clarke always manages to deliver a lovely read that can be enjoyed by everyone. This gentle romance in the Old West combined with a mystery made this a very enjoyable read. 
I really liked the characters of Lucas and Emmeline. I thought it was really sweet the way Lucas made certain to stop and listen to Emmeline play the piano everyday. He also had some nice moments with the children. It didn't take him long to charm the whole town! He and Emmeline made a cute couple.
The story of the river pirates added a sense of drama and mystery which also had me hooked. I loved how that particular problem was resolved.
The books in this series will leave you with a nice, happy, warm, feeling. Enjoy!


Angel's Serenade is out now Amazon

Saturday, 23 November 2019

The Corpse Played Dead (Lizzie Hardwicke #2) by Georgina Clarke (2019)


All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…’
When an undercover assignment for the Bow Street magistrate sees prostitute Lizzie Hardwicke trade Ma Farley’s Bawdy House in Soho for life as a seamstress the theatre on Drury Lane, it becomes clear quite quickly - what goes on in the wings is much more intriguing than the theatrics being played out on stage…
Soon Lizzie is once again thrown together with the handsome Inspector Will Davenport when a high profile investor is brutally hanged at centre stage and Lizzie discovers the body. With the suspect list rivalling any casting call, Lizzie will have to use every trick she’s hidden up her sleeves to unravel the tangled threads and bring the culprit into the spotlight.

The Corpse Played Dead is the second book in the series and equally entertaining as the first. The series is now copper-fastened in my auto buy list.
The characters are hugely appealing. The honourable Inspector Davenport, enlists the help of feisty and beautiful Lizzie Hardwicke. I couldn't help but suspect that he recruited her simply to keep her out of the brothel. I'm hoping his next case won't be too far away. 
The time and setting is thoroughly researched so everything about the place and characters ring true. I felt like I could almost walk into that theatre and touch it.
The murder mystery itself was very intriguing. I didn't have much sympathy for the first victim but when the bodies started to pile up it was a different matter. It got very suspenseful and exciting towards the end and I was gobsmacked at the identity of the killer.
I love the relationship between Lizzie and the Inspector. They have the beginnings of a close friendship and partnership of sorts and I have a feeling we will be teased with the 'will they or won't they' for a while to come. I can't wait.


You can buy The Corpse Played Dead now at Amazon
Have you read the first book? Death and the Harlot is £1.99 right now for Kindle.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Hand of Miriam (A Bayla and the Golem Novel Book 1) by Eva Gordon


On an archaeological expedition, Bayla Gideon, is widowed by a supernatural force and branded with the Hand of Miriam or Knowing Eye. Threatened by evil, she awakens the golem; a mythical man of clay, who protected the Jewish community over three centuries ago.

The golem, Gesher, is surprised. Freedom –by a beautiful, enchanting woman. His desire is to return to the celestial spheres and regain his status as an avenging angel. Yet, Bayla challenges his mind, body and soul. Would he risk his return to the heavens for her?

Besides, dealing with the otherkind, mad inventors and an unrelenting matchmaking aunt, Bayla is equally determined to resist her steamy attraction to the striking fallen angel.

Thrust into a malevolent war, which includes facing Jack the Ripper, they must resist the magnetic pull toward each other, while protecting the world from encroaching evil.


This was a good enough story but I found that it dragged quite a bit in the middle and could have been a bit shorter. It picked up again towards the end. I really liked the beginning of this novel. It was full of mystery and drama as we were introduced to the characters.
I enjoyed the mix of mythical creatures and Victorian London at the time of the Ripper murders.  It was a good premise for lots of action and drama.
Bayla was an interesting and likeable character but I would have liked to read the stories where she helped the police to solve crimes rather than just being told this is what she did.

Although the romantic scenes and dialogue had me cringing there was plenty of adventure and suspense to hold my attention and keep me entertained.
The steampunk elements were fun and including Jewish history and culture in the storyline made it more interesting. 
The narrator did a good job and I will probably listen to the next book when it comes out on Audible.


Thursday, 14 November 2019

The Business of Blood (The Business of Blood #1) by Kerrigan Byrne (2019)


The Business of Blood, an all-new intriguing historical mystery from USA Today bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne, is available now!

London, 1890. Blood and death are Fiona Mahoney’s trade, and business, as they say, is booming.

Dying is the only thing people do with any regularity, and Fiona makes her indecorous living cleaning up after the corpses are carted away. Her childhood best friend, Mary, was the last known victim of Jack the Ripper. It’s been two years since Fiona scrubbed Mary’s blood from the floorboards, and London is no longer buzzing about the Ripper, but Fiona hasn’t forgotten. She hasn’t stopped searching for Jack.

When she’s called to a murder in the middle of the night, Fiona finds a victim mutilated in an eerily similar fashion to those of the Ripper, and only a few doors down from Mary’s old home. The relentless and irritatingly handsome Inspector Grayson Croft warns her away from the case. She might have listened, if she hadn’t found a clue in the blood. A clue that will lead her down a path from which there is no return.

As a killer cuts a devastating swath through London, a letter written in blood arrives at her door, and it is only then that Fiona realizes just how perilous her endeavor is. For she has drawn the attention of an obsessive evil, and is no longer the hunter, but the prey.

Fiona Mahoney is in the business of blood. But she’s not the only one.

With intriguing twists, blood-chilling discoveries, and dazzling prose, USA Today
Bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne shows that a woman’s work is never done, even when is sleuthing out a serial killer.


Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2W79Brj

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/BusinessofBlood
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/31q7Q9T

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2qfPPhw


Review 

This is one of the best new historical mysteries I've read in a long, long time. Jack the Ripper inspired stories never seem to get old and tired to me especially when they are as well executed as The Business of Blood. I always associate the East-End in the 1880's with it being a dangerous, dark, grimy and rough place.
The gruesome murders in the novel really suited the setting and helped create a  dark menacing tone. 
The side characters were very intriguing and well thought out. The Hammer and his associates may have been quite scary people but I loved how they jumped in to help Fiona when she needed them. The characters are not all straightforward good or evil. No one in real life is like that so this made everything more realistic and I found myself sympathising at times with some shady characters! 
The author's wealth of knowledge about the time period is very evident. There were some heinous crimes committed in real life at this time and the author was able to draw on these for inspiration. Kerrigan's knowledge of Irish history is spot on and I was impressed with how well she wrote the Irish characters. She really understood the issues and feelings involved in being an Irish person in London at the time.
I really enjoyed Croft and Fiona's relationship from their early interactions and bickering to a truce and friendship by the end. Fiona begins to see past his gruff exterior and I can't wait to see the pair get closer as they solve more cases in the future. I am also intrigued with The Hammer and how he might complicate things for Fiona.

I was thrilled to receive an advance reading copy of this book and I genuinely can't wait to read the rest of the series as it becomes available.


                                               About Kerrigan

Kerrigan has done many things to pay the bills, from law enforcement to belly dance instructor. Now she’s finally able to have the career she’d decided upon at thirteen when she announced to her very skeptical family that she was going to “grow up to be a romance novelist.” Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in almost every story.
She lives in a little Victorian coast town on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington Statewith her wonderful husband. When she’s not writing you can find her sailing, beach combing, kayaking, visiting wineries, breweries, and restaurants with friends, and hiking…okay…wandering aimlessly clenching bear spray in the mountains.


Connect with Kerrigan
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LsaJTm
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2ZnBVWw
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2IPJTCG
Twitter: http://bit.ly/30xkPqv
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2ZbXbmQ

Stay up to date with Kerrigan by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/33VpuF0

Website: https://www.kerriganbyrne.com/

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Starlight Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett (2019)

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                        




If you want a gorgeous, charming, uplifting, and romantic read you won't go wrong with Starlight Over Bluebell Castle.

Jess and Tristan are such great characters. It was obvious from the beginning of the book that they were meant to be together and I couldn't help but mentally yell at Jess to give him a chance every time she dithered about making a decision. Thankfully she followed her heart.
The permanent residents of Bluebell Castle are loving, kind and full of fun. The feel good factor oozes from every page they grace.
The setting of Bluebell castle is a beautiful and magical place. If it was possible I would book in there myself for a holiday! The next best thing for me though is to read the previous books in the series. I haven't read the first two but I am sufficiently charmed enough to start them now.

Starlight Over Bluebell Castle is a lovely read and thoroughly deserving of 5 stars.



#StarlightOverBluebellCastle #NetGalley

Thursday, 31 October 2019

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman



"Bateman's scintillating first Bow Street Bachelors Regency is full of intense emotions and dramatic twists. Intelligent, affable characters make this fast-paced novel shine, especially for fans of clever women and the men who sincerely admire them. Future installments will be eagerly anticipated by Regency readers." -- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Introducing the Bow Street Bachelors—men who work undercover for London’s first official police force—and the women they serve to protect. . .and wed?
WILL A FALSE MARRIAGE


Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed is done with men who covet her purse more than her person. Even worse than the ton’s lecherous fortune hunters, however, is the cruel cousin determined to force Georgie into marriage. If only she could find a way to be . . . widowed? Georgie hatches a madcap scheme to wed a condemned criminal before he’s set to be executed. All she has to do is find an eligible bachelor in prison to marry her, and she’ll be free. What could possibly go wrong?
LEAD TO TRUE AND LASTING LOVE?
Benedict William Henry Wylde, scapegrace second son of the late Earl of Morcott and well-known rake, is in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. Georgie doesn’t realize who he is when she marries him—and she most certainly never expects to bump into her very-much-alive, and very handsome, husband of convenience at a society gathering weeks later. Soon Wylde finds himself courting his own wife, hoping to win her heart since he already has her hand. But how can this seductive rogue convince brazen, beautiful Georgie that he wants to be together…until actual death do they part?




A feel good, romantic and funny Regency romp.
The story is well researched and I learned something new about the era. 
The characters were really likeable and I couldn't help but get a good feeling as these two fell in love.
The story was exciting in places which kept me glued.
I loved it and can't wait for the rest of the series.


Excerpt

Chapter 1.

London, March 1816.

There were worse places to find a husband than Newgate Prison.
Of course there were.
It was just that, at present, Georgie couldn’t think of any.
“Georgiana Caversteed, this is a terrible idea.” Georgie frowned at her burly companion, Pieter Smit,
as the nondescript carriage he’d summoned to convey them to London’s most notorious jail rocked to a halt on the cobbled street. The salt-weathered Dutchman always used her full name whenever he disapproved of some- thing she was doing. Which was often.
“Your father would turn in his watery grave if he knew what you were about.”
That was undoubtedly true. Until three days ago, en- listing a husband from amongst the ranks of London’s most dangerous criminals had not featured prominently on her list of life goals. But desperate times called for desperate measures. Or, in this case, for a desperate felon about to be hanged. A felon she would marry before thenight was through. Georgie peered out into the rain-drizzled street, then up, up the near-windowless walls. They rose into the mist, five stories high, a vast expanse of brickwork, bleak and unpromising. A church bell tolled somewhere in the darkness, a forlorn clang like a death knell. Her stomach knotted with a grim sense of foreboding. Was she really going to go through with this? It had seemed a good plan, in the safety of Grosvenor Square. The perfect way to thwart Cousin Josiah once and for all. She stepped from the carriage, ducked her head against the rain, and followed Pieter under a vast arched gate. Her heart hammered at the audacity of what she planned. They’d taken the same route as condemned prisoners on the way to Tyburn tree, only in reverse. West to east, from the rarefied social strata of Mayfair through gradu- ally rougher and bleaker neighborhoods, Holborn and St. Giles, to this miserable place where the dregs of humanity had been incarcerated. Georgie felt as if she were nearing her own execution. She shook off the pervasive aura of doom and straight- ened her spine. This was her choice. However unpalat- able the next few minutes might be, the alternative was far worse. Better a temporary marriage to a murderous, unwashed criminal than a lifetime of misery with Josiah. They crossed the deserted outer courtyard, and Georgie cleared her throat, trying not to inhale the foul-smelling air that seeped from the very pores of the building. “You have it all arranged? They are expecting us?” Pieter nodded. “Aye. I’ve greased the wheels with yer blunt, my girl. The proctor and the ordinary are both bent as copper shillings. Used to having their palms greased, those two, the greedy bastards.” Her father’s right-hand man had never minced words.
in front of her, and Georgie appreciated his bluntness. So few people in the ton ever said what they really meant. Pieter’s honesty was refreshing. He’d been her father’s man for twenty years before she’d even been born. A case of mumps had prevented him from accompanying Wil- liam Caversteed on his last, fateful voyage, and Georgie had often thought that if Pieter had been with her father, maybe he’d still be alive. Little things like squalls, ship- wrecks, and attacks from Barbary pirates would be mere inconveniences to a man like Pieter Smit. In the five years since Papa’s death, Pieter’s steadfast loyalty had been dedicated to William’s daughters, and Georgie loved the gruff, hulking manservant like a second father. He would see her through this madcap scheme— even if he disapproved. She tugged the hood of her cloak down to stave off the drizzle. This place was filled with murderers, highway- men, forgers, and thieves. Poor wretches slated to die, or those “lucky” few whose sentences had been commuted to transportation. Yet in her own way, she was equally desperate. “You are sure that this man is to be hanged tomorrow?” Pieter nodded grimly as he rapped on a wooden door. “I am. A low sort he is, by all accounts.” She shouldn’t ask, didn’t want to know too much about the man whose name she was purchasing. A man whose death would spell her own freedom. She would be wed and widowed within twenty-four hours. From This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman. Copyright © 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.