The Magician’s Curse: The Great Dagmaru Book 1 and The Magician’s Blood: The Great Dagmaru Book 2 by Linda G Hill

August 6, 2018 - 10:05 pm 1 Comment

The Magician’s Curse: The Great Dagmaru Book 1 by Linda G Hill
Published by LG Hill on 27th June 2017
258 pages

Herman was running away from her family. Her mom was mentally ill and her dad was rarely at home, when he was he liked a drink. Making sure her Chad her younger brother she jumped on a train to find a better life. Also, on the train was Stephen an amazing magician who after laying eyes on Herman offered her a job. The instant attraction between the Herman and Stephen was obvious to everyone, but the curse on Stephen’s family could put a stop to all their plans.
Having a dysfunctional family caused Herman to grow up quickly, and you forget how young she was. Herman’s background did make her cope better as she learnt more of Stephen’s past. However, there was times that she came across as a spoilt brat especially when Stephen spent a lot of time with Margaret and even after Stephen’s assurance she still wasn’t happy. Margaret whilst the 3rd wheel in the relationship, cared a lot for Herman and like a big sister helped saved Herman and Stephen’s relationship on several occasions. The unusual curse helped explain the bond between Stephen and his servants, especially the housemaid Nina and I can honestly say that I have not read another story involving a curse like that.
This was a quick read and I finished it in one sitting. As there are not many characters, the story revolves around Herman and Stephen and as the story continues more about Stephen is found out and you admire Herman more for her courage. Whilst I am not one to read a lot of PNR, I found this story kept my interest. There were a few sex scenes and whilst they were described detail, they did not detract me from the story. The magic acts were described in detail and I could imagine the audience sitting there in awe trying to work out he did the act.
Whilst it did not end on a cliff-hanger, it did leave a few questions unanswered and left me wanting to read book 2

The Magician’s Blood: The Great Dagmaru Book 2 by Linda G Hill
Published by LG Hill on 10th August 2018
454 pages

Stephen’s magical act is on tour all over Canada and with Herman playing a big part in the act, it looks like things are on track. However, Herman and Stephen’s relationship is as complicated as ever and with more of Stephen’s demonic side making an appearance could it get any worse.
With Nina temporarily out of the picture you would think it would help Herman’s relationship. However, the revelation of the incubus bloodline puts another strain on it. Although it explains a lot about other women’s attraction to Stephen. The tension between him and George Herman’s dad made the threat to Herman’s life more serious, although it did get a bit annoying as George had paid no attention to Herman when she was growing up.
With the addition of Stephen’s old coven friends and both of their families, enabled more magic to appear in the story. This story had more intensity than book 1 as Stephen had upped his game trying to break the curse. With the threat to Herman, a near death experience and heated family arguments made this story a page turner. The author kept you guessing till the end about Nina’s plans and whilst it was hinted it was still unexpected the ferocity of the attack. This story is definitely for adults as the sex scenes were graphic in parts, and whilst they did not add anything extra to the story, they helped enforce the incubus side of Stephen.
Whilst this could be the final book in the story, the ending gave hope for more from Stephen and Herman and of cause my favourite character Aunt Aggie.

Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue

August 4, 2018 - 7:29 pm No Comments

Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue by Brian Keene, John Skipp, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Max Booth III, Glenn Rolfe, Matt Hayward, Bryan Smith, Matt Serafini, Kelli Owen, Jonathan Janz, Patrick Lacey, Adam Cesare, Alan M Clark, Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering and Jeff Strand.
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 3rd August 2018
220 pages

Based in San Francisco, The Shantyman had been around for years, so long that its history was oozing out of the walls. Now the doors of the club have been opened, come in, sit down and Welcome to the Show.
For this review I am going to choose some of my favourites.
Night and Day and in Between by Jonathan Janz: The year is 1926, Raft a PI has been hired to find Clara. His leads take him to The Shantyman, where a singer matching Clara’s description is performing. The early scenes in the club, were just how I imagine a speakeasy. The sultry blonde, singing seductively accompanied by a piano. What starts out as a simple missing person case soon takes a turn to the dark side when Clara’s secret is revealed.
Pilgrimage by Bryan Smith: Jason, George and Karla were sightseeing, stopping outside the Shantyman to learn its history, they decide to get off the bus and get a feel of the place. What they don’t factor in is the odd, stoned passenger that joins them. Things get stranger when the drug they take, takes them to different times. The story continues around Jason and his time in the club. What wasn’t expected was him running into 2 infamous people from history.
Master of Beyond by Glenn Rolfe: Sean now the owner of the club decides with his staff to play with a Ouija board. Jillian the manager wants no part of it and leaves, but the following day not only has she got to deal with a big concert but also what was called. All I will say is that there is a reason why I will not play with Ouija boards and this story enforces this.
Open Mic Night by Kelli Owen: We have all heard of the 27 club, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison to name a few. This story is how the famous became members of it and Harry is the one man who can stop it, but he needs the help of Gwen who works the bar on open mic. I enjoy the speculation of the 27 club and this story puts a different spin on it.
Just to be Seen by Somer Canon: The story of a fan and her infatuation with the singer Will Fontaine. This story could be real live account as there are some fans that have such a stalker obsession it could result in death.
I have been spoilt by Crystal Lake Publishing, the anthologies published have all had some great stories and this book is no different. Welcome to the Show has 17 stories, each with a different insight of what goes on behind The Shantyman’s four walls

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

August 2, 2018 - 9:34 pm No Comments

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
Published by Head of Zeus on 9th August 2018
320 pages

What drew me to this book was the unusual story. Margaret, Grace, Estelle and Barbara were pioneers who in 1969 invented time travel. All 4 were as close as sisters until Barbara suffered a psychotic episode live on TV. Shunned by the rest, she lived a quiet life in the countryside. The rest took forward their idea and created the Conclave, an institution who monopolised the time travel industry.
In February 2018, Odette, a young graduate, finds a body, wanting closure, she decided to do her own investigations.
At the start of this book I thought I would get confused with the story as it was changing character and time. However, after the 1st couple of chapters, I soon got into the swing of it. Switching times showed just how planned the story was. Even though it was in different time periods, the story flowed smoothly. Each character was described in detail and unique in their own way. Every characters acted differently in the various timelines and it showed just how much an impact the time travel had on people. As the story progressed, characters like Ruby and Odette developed, and as you followed them on their journeys of discovery, you see them grow into strong confident women. Some of my favourite scenes were when Grace met her younger or older self and threw the paradox theories out the window
The science of time travel did not distract from the story and some of the minute details added to the story. One such touch was when Ruby bought a book about time travellers’ slang which all though something small, helped me understand the story further on. The story covered a whole range of emotions, such as love, death, revenge and you are taken on a roller-coaster of a ride.
This story is beautifully written and it was a refreshing change to read a story which is dominated by women. The mystery element ran throughout and for me I thoroughly enjoyed the explanation on how the murder was done.
This is the 1st book I have read by this author and it will not be the last. I hope there will be more stories of these brave women to come.

Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack D McLean

July 30, 2018 - 9:42 pm No Comments

Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack D McLean
Published by Creativia on 17th December 2016
239 pages

Working along side MI5 and MI6 is a department that cleans up, you know the one, the staff who do the dirty work, the department that no-one talks about.
Lawrence Odd worked in an abattoir but he fancied something different. Something for him to get a kick out and satisfy his thirst for death. After getting a job in the “Cleaning” Department, he went through vigorous training, but whilst he tried to be the best, ,a locked door was calling to him. Once the secrets were revealed and the hints from his targets, caused Lawrence to rethink his job and put all his skills into practise.
Written from Lawrence’s POV, this was written like a biography. The story flowed evenly with its mixture of comedy and murders making it an easy read. Set in the 80s, the technology was outdated for today. Every detail regardless how small was explained in detail making it even more funny and if you are as old as me you can remember the tech. The killing scenes were typical hitman, but with an artistic flair. Naming his kills like “Bolt out the Blue”
It is not often that I root for the “bad guy” but Lawrence was different. Lawrence was a quirky character and some of his one liners had me laughing out loud. One scene in particular was when he had to stare a goat to death.
Having read this author’s work before I knew that I would have a giggle and I was not disappointed. I hope to read more of Lawrence’s exploits.

The Survival Game by Nicky Singer

July 27, 2018 - 9:38 pm No Comments

The Survival Game by Nicky Singer
Published by Hodder Children’s Books on 26th July 2018
384 pages

Global warming is affecting the world and Mhairi Anne Bain is with her parents in Sudan. But when they get asked to leave the country, Mhairi ends up on a journey that puts her life in danger.
The majority of the story follows Mhairi as she is tries to get to her Grandma’s house in the Isle of Arran in Scotland. However, throughout the book more of Mhairi’s perilous journey from the Sudan is revealed. Whilst I was reading this story I kept forgetting that she was only 14 as the things she had done made her seem so much older. To stop her getting further hurt, she had put up a wall, but once she found the young orphan boy she began to soften and even though it was only slight she did begin to care. The relationship between Mhairi and Mo was perfect and was just like being brother and sister.
Not only did Mhairi had to worry about getting home, the political problems was also a concern and the author added an interesting concept for culling the population. People could only live till 74, you could give away years to someone you love or get them taken off you if you do wrong. All this was recorded in your papers, which were more valuable than gold. If you lost your papers you were more likely end up in a detention centre.
The story is evenly paced. The tension is built up near the end as more is known about Mhairi’s past and as I was reading this I wanted to shout that she was a child and that she should be treated as a child. I am not going to say much about the end but I am still thinking about it know whilst I am writing this review. The story was beautifully written and I am going to recommend this to all my friends who like a dystopian read.
This story will make you think about the what ifs especially as here in the UK were are getting a very unnatural heatwave and global warming is mentioned more on the news. A good dystopian read, which even though it is tagged for children, is a good read for teenagers or adults alike.