Tagged: Mystery

Secrets of Bennett Hall – Review

About the book:

SECRETS OF BENNETT HALL, by Jordan Elizabeth

Series: Return to Amston Book Two

Genre: steampunk, adventure

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release: January 30, 2018

Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Description:

Darkness once twisted Adelaide Dinsmore’s mind, but she thought she had grown out of that. Her job as a teacher in Hedlund proved that – until she discovers one of her students dead and the town turns against her. As her mind starts to crumble, she is offered a new job, this time as a governess for Gentleman Bennett’s granddaughter back east.

Bennett Hall is a sprawling manor of winding tunnels and manicured lawns, and the fence is really just for show. The little girl, Theodora, is a delight, albeit quiet, and the Bennetts are kind enough, especially the dashing young Joseph. So what if one of the servants sends chills down her spine every time he looks at her? Surely that, and the noises in the night, are figments of her imagination. She won’t allow the past in Hedlund to tarnish her future at Bennett Hall.

Then, Theodora begins to speak of a Villain who haunts secret passages in the manor, and Adelaide stumbles upon a sealed off wing where ghosts whisper from the shadows. Twisted inventions fill the basement and the villagers are wary of the Bennett family.

The longer she stays at Bennett Hall, the less likely her chance for escape, but she cannot leave Theodora or Joseph. The darkness in her mind might be the only thing to save them.

About the Author:

Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. With an eclectic job history of working as a college professor; historic costumed interpreter at Fort Stanwix, Victorian Leisure Fair, and Mayfaire on the Green; office specialist; sales clerk; election inspector; and trainer, she is now diving into the world of author.It happens to be her favorite one.

When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog, Kissed by Literature. Jordan is the president of the Utica Writers Club and maintains JordanElizabethMierek.com.

She roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. A great deal of time has been spent in a rural town very similar to Arnn, the setting of her novel ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW.

Find the author Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Jenn’s Review:

 I just finished reading this book… And frankly, I’m a bit breathless.

I’m arguing with myself about how best to write a review for this new release, because each option I present, carries with it the chance for a spoiler, so I will keep this brief.

Bennett Hall is the second book in the Return to Amston series, though the only connection between the two seems to be a vaguely mentioned side character (from another series, I’m gathering), and a common “big city” and wider world. The plots appear to be, in no other way that I can find, otherwise unrelated.

I enjoyed Bennett Hall far more than Runners and Riders. The mystery was deep and complex, and the solution was… erm… unexpected. The budding romance between Adelaide and Joseph adds a romantic element, and sweet little Theodora is every nanny’s dream.

Jordan’s character and plot development has grown by leaps and bounds between this book and Runners, and Sam (hostess of Sam’s Teen Reads Corner) will be reading this sometime in the near future.

If you haven’t read Runners yet, while I recommend the book on its own merit of an engaging story line and relate-able characters, reading these books in their published order isn’t strictly necessary. 

In summary, I absolutely loved Bennett Hall, and look forward to further mystery-adventure-romances from Jordan Elizabeth.

Buy the book:

This book is now available from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

The Mussorgsky Riddle – Review

Twitter for Mussorgsky

About the book:

Genre: supernatural thriller

Series: Fugue & Fable #1

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release: January 12, 2015

Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

cover art for Mussorgsky Reiddle



At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.

About the Author:

Darrin Kennedy

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq.

His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves–classical music and world mythology– and is slated for publication by Curiosity Quills Press on 12 Jan 2015. He is currently hard at work on his next novel.

His short stories can be found in various publications, many of which are available through Amazon, and most of which have been collected in his two short story compilations – Necromancer for Hire: The April Sullivan Chronicles & The Sicilian Defense and Other Dark Tales – also available on Amazon.

Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

He is represented by Stacey Donaghy at Donaghy Literary Group.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Jenn’s Review:

Admittedly, this book took longer to read than I anticipated – but not because it lacked the usual attention-pulling elements.

I generally try to stay away from murder mysteries. They tend to leave me feeling disturbed at best, anxious and overwhelmed at worst. I dove into this series, however, because of two elements: The paranomal/psychic and the classical composer element.

This mystery is less about the murder of a teenage girl, and is far more about the psychic’s journey through herself as she tries to help a young boy unlock his mental prison that he’s exiled himself to as a measure of coping with emotional trauma. 

Larger than the mystery of the missing girl, is the mystery of why young Anthony mentally locked himself up and how Mira can so easily walk in his mental-scape.

This book sucks the reader in, both with the unusual use of clairalliance by Mira (clairalliance being a gathering of psychic knowing through scent) and the trip through Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. 

This story doesn’t end on a cliffhanger by any means, (other than some romantic prospects that are secondary to the main plot), but I just finished the book and had to race out to my laptop to write the review, so I could start on book 2 of the series, The Stravinsky Intrigue.

For an added twist, listen to the classical piece that serves as Mira’s guide through Anthony’s mind. It serves as an excellent backdrop to the vivid imagery that Kennedy supplies in his writing.

Definitely a meandering, suspenseful read worth its weight in time.

Sam’s Review:

The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy was very interesting and captivating. Mira, the heroin, was very brave, and she’s a physic who’s desperate to help a young boy by the name of Anthony, who is nearly comatose. When she enters his mind, she learns that he knows who killed his brother’s ex.

Very powerful and very good, The Mussorgsky Riddle will draw you in, if you don’t mind being in a messed up dreamscape, that is. If you don’t mind that, but rather enjoy it, it’ll please you to the very end.

Some of the things that I didn’t like was how it was confusing at times. Moments like those were very little, but still. Baba Yaga was a very interesting character, and an unexpected plot twist happened near the end. I guess that that’s the whole point of a plot twist.

Buy the book:

This book is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, audiobook and MP3 CD formats here. [affiliate link]

Other books in this series:

The Stravinsky Intrigue (Review coming soon)

The Tchaicovsky Finale (Review coming soon)

Awaken Your Divine Intuition – Book Review

This week’s book review is Awaken Your Divine Intuition by Susan Shumsky, DD.[Note: this post contains an affiliate link.]

This work on intuition has been on my wish list for several months. Recently, I received this as a gift. Sadly, the months of anticipation didn’t pay off.

The book covers a good deal of information (in a roundabout manner). Part one is dedicated mostly to the author’s own personal journey with meditation. Part two teaches what to expect during your “Breakthrough Meditation Session” (which is jam packed with testimonials about how wonderful the program and Dr. Shumsky are). I believe part three held the most value for me as an intuitive empath, as the author covers spiritual safety and how to protect yourself while meditating and practicing various spiritual practices (what’s safe, what’s not, and why). I do not personally agree with all of the author’s recommendations, but I am also of the mind that this does not discount the value of what she has to say in this section of the book. The final textual section of this book, “Inner Space Adventures,” covers a variety of anecdotes that demonstrate the extremes of virtually all of her warnings. 

Dr. Shumsky’s writing isn’t always easy to follow, and at page 100, I felt she was still trying to sell me on what she proposes and the value of her particular program (and her various other books, which she promotes endlessly throughout the entire 212 pages of text. After sifting through all the testimonials, I’d say that the actual meat of the book has some useful information in it, and the meditation that comes with the purchase of the book is deep and purposeful.

The author states that God is not attached to one particular religion, but I will warn potential readers that this book has a decidedly Christian bent to it. If such things offend you, I’d recommend staying away from this book. If you can see past that, the techniques and tips in this volume are worth reading. 

I’ve been trying to come to a conclusive decision regarding a recommendation on this book, and thus far (after 3 weeks), I’m still at a loss for a definitive good or bad. So, I’ll just leave this here for you to decide for yourself: 

This book has very valuable information in it for those who work with their intuition and for those who wish to develop a deeper Divinity-centered meditation practice. I believe that Dr. Shumsky could have filtered a good deal of the self-promotion and made the book more concise, however, I also think she (and her agent/editors) likely had reasons for leaving it in, besides just meeting a page-count goal. For the reader who is willing to wade through this mire, the book holds its own value.

You can purchase this book in Kindle or paperback edition from Amazon here.

Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle – Book Review

About the story:

Jules has done something very, very wrong for all the right reasons. And now, she and her 3 siblings are on the run, trying to stay out of the clutches of her hateful step-mother. 

As if things aren’t complicated enough, Jules has caught the attention of one hot, surly regular at the diner she works at. Being noticed by anyone is risky for Jules and her family, but this is so much worse because Theo, and the co-workers he comes into the diner with daily… Are cops.

Theo knows something’s off about the petite, jumpy new waitress at the diner. His fellow officers know something’s off about her, too. But the more he tries to stay away from her, the more Theo finds himself drawn to her. He has his own problems to deal with, as well as a new K9 partner that is as emotionally damaged as he is, but in the presence of Jules and her siblings, both seem to come back to life.

Review: 

Ms. Ruggle has written a witty, touching and suspenseful romance that builds to a steamy climax with some shocking twists and turns in this third book in the Rocky Mountain K9 Unit series. Romantic suspense fans will definitely want to tune into this hot romance to find out what happens between Jules and Theo.

Buy the book:

This book is available at Amazon in Kindle, audiobook, audio CD and Mass Market Paperback here. [affiliate link]

Jenn Bradshaw is a creatrix, blogger and romance writer when she isn’t homeschooling her 12-year old daughter. Her blog, and creations may be found at www.sagewolfsong.com.

Triple Cross Killer – Book Promo

Triple Cross Killer   By Rosemarie Aquilina

Fiery Seas Publishing   December 5, 2017   

Thriller

cover art for Triple cross killer

Have you ever wondered what really happens to Santa Claus letters?  In Detroit and Sarasota some children’s letters are diverted and reviewed by Nick Archer, a religiously obsessed, narcissist. Nick responds, leaving a trail of devastation in the two cities.

In Detroit, co-ed partners and wise-cracking lovers, detectives Jaq McSween and David Maxwell, team up with Sarasota detectives Abel Mendoza and his partner, Rabbit, to find this daunting killer.

When Jaq’s friend, the lovely nurse, Rita Rose, takes a chance on love again, she gets caught in Nick’s web. Working with the ME, she joins in, adding her perspective when events take a sinister turn.  

Can this diverse team of characters pool their insights, barbs, and taste for bad food to save Rita when she discovers the final clues or will she become the next victim?

Buy the Book:

Amazon [affiliate link]     Kobo     iTunes     Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

Rosemarie Aquilina is the mother of five children. Elected as a 30th Circuit Court Judge serving in the General Trial Division, after having served as a 55th District Court Judge in Mason, Michigan, she takes pride in public serve. 

In 1986, Judge Aquilina became the first female JAG Officer in the history of the Michigan Army National Guard, she retired in 2006 with twenty years Honorable Service.  She is an adjunct law professor at both Western Michigan University—Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Michigan State University College of Law and has earned teaching awards at both institutions. Judge Aquilina is the former owner of Aquilina Law Firm, PLC, and former host of a syndicated radio talk show called Ask the Family Lawyer. 

Find her on social media:

Facebook     Twitter

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Book Review

Brian’s Review:

In this final book you’ll find yourself cheering and rooting for Salander.  You’ll experience the rush as things fall into place and the fear that perhaps it won’t go as planned.  If you have read the first two books, there is no way you’ll want to leave the story unfinished.  A must read. If you haven’t read the first two books, I strongly suggest you do.

The Book:

Lisbeth Salander- the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels- lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital.  She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders.  With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence.  And, on her own, she will plot revenge- against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

     Once upon a time she was a victim.  Now Salander is fighting back. (From inside the cover of book.)

Thrice Read Books has this used book in stock. You can purchase a copy here.

You can also purchase this book from Amazon as hardcover, Kindle, paperback, audiobook or Mass market paperback here. [affiliate link]

Homemade Magick – Book Review

I have not had the privilege of reading any of Mr. DuQuette’s other works, however I picked up Homemade Magick: The Musings and Mischief of a Do-It-Yourself Magus while doing some research for a novel I’m working on, and I was not disappointed. (This post contains an affiliate link)

Through witty anecdotes and references to much larger bodies of work by renowned experts in the field of mysticism and magick, Lon Milo DuQuette relates his own journey with magick, mysticism and spirituality, much of which is relate-able to a vast array of readers. From the beginning of the book, Mr. Duquette relates such things as initiation rites, how to work with the Tarot (there are far more uses for these cards than just delving into the psyche, apparently!), and how to approach learning to practice your own magick craft.

The author also relates how magick can and should be approached when there are little ones about (If you feel there is nothing to hide, then why hide it from your children? His own son was raised as part and parcel of as much of the goings-on as any member of the DuQuettes’ social circle) and how magick has intertwined with his 47 year marriage to another magician.

Included as well, are a variety of elemental prayers and a full script for one of the rites that the DuQuette’s regularly host every year. (Shakespeare with a kick)

My one complaint in this (and it is a very minor complaint), is that Mr. DuQuette refers to those who practice paganism and Magick as “magicians”, which carries an entirely different meaning for me; this seems to confuse spiritual practice with the art of illusion practiced for the entertainment of others. While Mr. DuQuette and his wife do put on rites that are both spiritual and entertaining at the same time, I harbor the belief that calling himself (and other practitioners of the old ways) a magician diminishes the spiritual side of what he is actually offering discourse on. On one hand, this seems to be a petty complaint, however, in the interest of full disclosure as a book reviewer, I feel it’s only honest to point this out. 

This is not a book on performing illusory magic. It is a rather compact yet thorough manual on finding the spiritual magick in the everyday world. 

You can purchase the book on Amazon in Kindle or paperback format here.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Book Review

About the book:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Contains Affiliate Link)

The Industrialist

Henrik Vanger, head of the dynastic Vanger Corporation, is tormented by the loss of a child decades earlier and convinced that a member of his family has committed murder.

The Journalist

Mikael Blomkvist delves deep into the Vangers’ past to uncover the truth behind the unsolved mystery. But someone else wants the past to remain a secret and will go to any lengths to keep it that way.

The girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Lisbeth Salander, the enigmatic, delinquent and dangerous security specialist, assists in the investigation. A genius computer hacker, she tolerates no restrictions placed upon her by individuals, society or the law.  (From back cover of book)

Brian’s Review:

This is book one to a great trilogy.  I highly recommend reading this book before you endeavor on seeing the film.  Filled with twists suspense action and all out making you cheer for the underdog, the Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo will have you cheering and fearing page after page.  Word of warning, once you open this book you will not want to stop reading until you have read all 3 books in the series.  If you love books, if you love words, you love justice, then you undoubtedly love this book.

Buy the Book:

Thrice Read Books has a copy of this book for sale here.

You can also purchase this title from Amazon in Kindle, paperback, hardcover, audiobook and mass market paperback here. [affiliate link]

The Butterfly Garden – Book Review

About the book:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

Jenn’s Review:

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison (contains affiliate link)

Okay, I am generally not one for psychological thrillers, but this one had me hooked from the go. “Maya” is one of several young women (girls? They’re all between 16 and 20, with one exception) who have been rescued from a serial abductor’s clutches, but she isn’t exactly forthcoming with the information the FBI needs to wrap up the investigation.

Instead, Maya takes readers, and her FBI interrogators, on a roundabout meander through the garden prison and the lives and deaths of her fellow “Butterflies” that have been her life for the last 2 years.

An amazingly spun tale of intrigue, broken lives, psychopaths and the deep inner strength that defines survivors of trauma. If you enjoy thrillers, don’t miss this wonderfully written story told in three parts.

**Warning: While most of the scenes are glossed over, there are a couple of dicey places that could trigger those with their own childhood sexual traumas, or those who are sensitive to violence.

Buy the book:

This book is available through Amazon as a Kindle, paperback, hardback, audio CD or MP3 CD here. [affiliate link]