Archive for May, 2019

The Devil and the Muse by Mandy Jackson-Beverly (book 2 in the Creative Series)

May 19, 2019 - 6:01 pm No Comments

The Devil and the Muse by Mandy Jackson-Beverly (Book2 in the Creative Series)

Published by Cricket Publishing on 12th June 2017

284 pages

The immediate threat is over and happy to live in Italy with Gabriel and her family, Coco is getting more comfortable with her gifts. But when a concerned friend and her paintings highlighted the plight of teenage girls, Coco knows that the Allegiance has got to step in. However, with the team have to split up to cover two missions, things go from bad to worse.

Due to the majority of the characters already known to us, the book seemed to flow a lot quicker and the story was fast paced. Whilst Coco still had a major role to play, the story concentrated on some of the other characters and we learn a lot more about Pelayo, an El Salvadoran vampire and Sabine, a doctor who fights for the vulnerable. Also helping the Allegiance was a vampire with a surprising background. Whilst the main mission concentrates on the missing girls, Prudence has her own mission and it gives us the chance to meet some of her ancestors and learn more about her life. Whilst we know that Kenan is behind the trouble, the story goes further to explain why he is the way his.   

Due to the nature of the subject matter, this story came across a lot darker than book 1, but this just helps enforce just what Coco and company are up against. As I mentioned it was a faster pace due to the fact there was always something going on. The art still played a big part in the story and the picturesque descriptions of the paintings enable you to imagine them as you are reading.

A good addition to this fantasy series and I am looking forward to reading The Immortal Muse which came out on 31st March 2019

A Secret Muse (The Creative Series Book 1) by Mandy Jackson-Beverly

May 19, 2019 - 11:53 am No Comments

A Secret Muse (The Creative Series Book 1) by Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Published by Cricket Publishing on 1st February 2016

300 pages

Coco Rhodes was happy with her life, an artist and teacher, she enjoyed her freedom. Her brother Chris was a member of a secret society The Allegiance, and whilst her family and friends were members, she wanted nothing to do with them. However, when her life was put in danger, she had no choice but to accept their protection. But could that be enough to save her from Kenan, one of the evilest vampires they have come across  

I liked Coco, she was happy to be herself, she was a free spirit, lost in her art and content with her own company. Even though her best friend and her brother were part of The Allegiance, she wanted nothing to do it, which showed how headstrong she was. Even after her accident, she was still stubborn and was literally forced into having additional protection. 

I enjoyed how the supernatural overlapped with the real world, regular humans were not aware that supernatural beings lived and worked with them. Only a few people knew about the Allegiance and this kept everyone safe. Due to the society being large, they’re quite a few characters in the story, but each one is relevant to the story and when we are introduced to them, parts of their backstory is revealed. As the story continues you soon come to realise how their lives interweave with each other and how they are connected in the future. There are various supernatural beings in this story, witches, vampires, to name but a few. All have an important role in the story.

This story was well researched and as some of the characters are vampires, the story spans over a long time period. Whilst I do not know anything about art, I enjoyed reading about the supernatural involvement used to create some of the most famous paintings. The scenic views of Italy and the places visited were described in fine detail and whether it is the 15th century or the modern day you feel like you are transported there. The pace would quicken with the action, making it more intense. The fight scenes were full on, but the characters would change from fighters to lovers in a few scenes, slowing the pace making it an enjoyable read.  

This is a book for adults and whether you are looking for those tall dark and brooding men or just a good fantasy read to start a new series than this is the story for you.  

Closer Than You Think by Darren O’Sullivan

May 18, 2019 - 10:32 am No Comments

Closer Than You Think by Darren O’Sullivan

Published by HQ Digital on 15th March 2019

277 pages

There are a lot of psychological thrillers on the market at the moment. We follow the case, the serial killer gets caught, end of the story. But what if there is a survivor and the killer is still out there. Closer Than You Think is that story.

Claire Moore is a sole survivor of The Black-Out Killer, thinking she is now safe, she is trying to rebuild her life. 10 years on she has moved to England, but making a recovery is hard than you think.

Written from Claire’s POV, enables you to see what physical and emotional damage the Black Out Killer caused her that fateful night in Ireland and how hard she was finding it to rebuild her life, even dipping her toes into a starting a new relationship. As I followed Claire through her healing, my heart went out to her, every small step of achievement had me rooting for her to be the survivor. Her visit to her husband’s grave was moving and you could feel the build-up of 10 years of guilt tinged with survivor’s guilt.

Whilst following Claire, we also follow the Killer and through his story, we find out the reasons behind why he wanted to kill, what drew him to his victims and why he stopped and restarted.

Although we know a lot about him, there was no clue to his identity. The author had a way of leading you down the wrong path and when you are certain that you know who it is, further in the book, you realise you are wrong. Not knowing the real killer until the end will have you quickly turning the pages. As for the ending, well it is up to you.

Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland

May 17, 2019 - 5:52 am No Comments

My turn has come to be on the blog tour for Foul Deeds Will Rise, the 2nd in the Backstage Mystery series written by Elizabeth Ireland   

Foul Deeds Will Rise

By 1875, Lillian Nolan believes she has successfully shut off any connection to the spirit world. That winter she is thrilled when she wins the role of Ophelia in a new production of Hamlet in her home town of Chicago. Everything changes when the body of the managing director is found sprawled across the steps of the dress circle and all the investors’ money is missing. Lillian fears, once again, her career is over before it begins.

After her dearest friend is arrested for murder, Lillian commits herself to discover the truth. Her search is complicated by a strange man who is following her, the romantic overtures of her co-star, and a reunion with an old nemesis. But nothing is what it seems. What she does find puts a member of her own family at risk and leads to the unmasking of the killer with lethal consequences for herself.

Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland

Published on 13th February 2019

224 pages

Written in the same format as A Walking Shadow, the story is told using Lillian’s memoirs to her great-grandniece Agnes. As with A Walking Shadow this story opens with a death and through her story, you follow Lillian whilst she tries and solves the mystery.

Following on from the Great Fire in Chicago, Lillian is still determined to become a famous actress and the first part of the story, we follow Lillian learning her trade with travelling theatre groups and as I was reading, I was surprised how unglamorous her job was and how unscrupulous some managers were to the actors. However, when she meets Regina, Lillian’s life seems to change for the better. Her relationship with her family was progressing well and her acting was improving. As Lillian tells her story, you can see how much she had matured since her debut in the theatre.

Lillian does not get involved in the murder until Regina is wrongly accused and the pace of the story seems to quicken over the last third of the book. Whilst the supernatural element is not as strong in this story, there is a nice twist at the end involving Lillian’s gift. Whilst there are familiar characters from A Walking Shadow, like Eleanor, her grandma and Edward Hearne, a leading actor, there are some new characters which you will either love or hate. One character I was interested in was Michael Ferris a young reporter from The Tribune.

The mystery has enough suspects to keep you guessing and when the murderer was revealed, it was a surprise. Like the previous book, you can see the passion that the author has for the theatre and it is interesting to read how theatres were run in the 19th century.

Whilst this can be read as a standalone, I would recommend you read the series in order as there are characters and storylines that appear in both.

I am curious to find out what will happen to Lillian next and am looking forward to reading Forms of Reading Unknown.           

 Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NQM8NT4/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NQM8NT4/

THE BACKSTAGE MYSTERY SERIES

Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.

Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.” 

The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

Author Bio –

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.

She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

Social Media Links –

www.facebook.com/BackstageMystery/

www.BackstageMystery.com

@EbethIreland

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

May 15, 2019 - 5:31 am 1 Comment

When I read the blurb “Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will” I knew I had to be on the blog tour for Stoker’s Wilde written by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Published by Flame Tree Press and will be out on 30th May 2019

384 pages

Even if you are not a horror lover, you would have heard of Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. Two successful and popular authors, but where did they get their ideas for their most famous books. This story will hopefully explain all this and more.

As soon as you start reading this book, you notice that the story is told using correspondence, journal and diary entries and even an interview to tell Stoker and Wilde’s adventure. This was a new way for me to read a story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story flowed smoothly and as some scenes were written from a few characters perspective, you get the whole story. Some of my favourite scenes were reading Stoker and Wilde’s journal entries and I did have a snigger to myself reading the entries when they were bitching about each other. In fact, at times you can really tell just how much they despised each other.

From the first page, you are taken on a supernatural adventure where you come across werewolves, visions and nests of vampires. The subject matter was well researched and as I was reading the book I would google every new character I came across, to see if they had any connection to Stoker and Wilde. There are hints to some of their popular stories throughout this book and I loved how these were linked to the hunt for the Black Bishop. The descriptiveness of the scenery had me feeling that I was there, watching the performances at the theatre or following them as they were hunting for vampires.

This was a fast-paced read with some unexpected twists and whilst I read it fairly quickly, I did not want it to end. I hope that the authors will write a sequel as I would love to see where Stoker and Wilde end up. This is a must-read for Horror lovers 

Meet the authors

 Steven Hopstaken was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he spent his formative years watching and reading science fiction and horror. He has a degree in journalism from Northern Michigan University and spends his free time travelling; writing screenplays, short stories and novels; and practising photography. Melissa Prusi Melissa Prusi was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (often mistaken for Canada), and studied video and film production at Northern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. She’s been a video editor, a semi-professional film reviewer, a three-time champion on the quiz show Jeopardy!, and a Guinness world record holder (1990 edition, for directing the longest live television show). They met in a college screenwriting class and married three years later. They spent a brief time in Los Angeles, where they both worked for Warner Bros. television. They eventually ended up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they love the arts scene but dread the winters. While they both currently make a living as website content managers, they have sold two screenplays, which have been lost to development hell. They’ve indulged their fascination with Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde through trips to Dublin and London to research their lives and visit sites mentioned in Stoker’s Wilde. They live in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with their two cats. If they’re not writing, you can usually find them at a movie, local theater production, improv show or pub quiz.