Posts Tagged ‘Paranormal’

The Coven Rescue (The Coven Series Book 3) by Lily Luchesi

March 23, 2019 - 6:58 pm No Comments

The Coven Rescue (The Coven Series Book 3) by Lily Luchesi

Published by Vamptasy Publishing on 19th March 2019

360 pages

With the latest threat neutralised, life in the Coven has resumed back to normality. Harley is busy brewing potions and trying to work out her feelings for Caelum. Nick and Roger are still in love and working for PID and her best friend Greta is running a successful pub. That was until Caelum had a run in with the mysterious organization the “Zoo”. With no help from the PID, it looks like Harley and co are on their own.

What I enjoy about this series is although Harley is the star of the show, the majority of the story showcases other characters. In this story you learn more about Caelum half wizard half Lynx shifter rare even in the supernatural world. His backstory covers from when he was a teenager up until the day he died. Showing that he has always been a bad boy trying to be good. Whilst knowing Caelum’s story we learn more about his 1st love Draven, Harley’s Godfather. This helps Harley when she is researching the Zoo.

Yet again Harley is put under a lot of pressure, but thanks to the support she gets, she never does it alone. The wizard behind the zoo was cleverly concealed and whilst I thought I knew who was behind I was wrong. This was a fast-paced book as there was always something going on and I read it in a day. One added touch I liked was the addition of pop culture into the text, whether it was a song title or a film quote, I read it with a smile on my face. There were some shock moments that I never saw coming and all I can say is I hope that the author has already started writing the 4th in the series as I want to know what is going to happen next.

An excellent addition to this YA series.    

Rosamund: A Psychic Surveys Companion Novel (Book 3) by Shani Struthers

March 10, 2019 - 7:16 pm No Comments

Rosamund: A Psychic Surveys Companion Novel (Book 3) by Shani Struthers

Published by Storyland Press/Authors Reach on 17th January 2019

168 pages

If you have read any books in the Psychic Surveys series, then you will already know Ruby Davis, but who did she inherit her powers from. Documental evidence has come to light, written by Rosamund, an ancestor of Ruby explaining her powers.

Growing up without her mom, Rosamund spent all her time in their stately home Mears House. Having no contact with the outside world, Rosamund now 16 spent all her time reading and drawing. When she did see her dad, all he asked was “What do you see?”.  

Reading this story from Rosamund’s POV, conveyed just how lonely she was, her only contact was the maid Josie and she was torn between wanting to be friends and her place in the house. However, when she went to London with all the new sights and smells she was like another person. Her acquaintance with Constance showed her what she had been missing when it came to female companionship. However, things take a turn for the worse and as her dad shows her his real reason behind his obsession, she finds a friend in the most unlikely place and slowly she understands her abilities.

This was a well-researched book and from chapter one, you are transported into the Edwardian era. Some of my favourite scenes where Rosamund’s trips to London as you saw Rosamund blossom whilst you were reading. Whilst you are aware that this is a ghost story, it was done subtly and as you are reading, there are no clues that Rosumund is talking to a ghost. This gives it a believable feel as Rosamund was unaware of her gifts. This was a quick read and as the story builds into a life or death situation, you get the feeling that all is lost.

Whilst this is part of the psychic surveys series, this is a standalone and is a good introduction to the author’s work.        

Winter Trials (Northern Witch Book 1) By KS Marsden

February 17, 2019 - 10:33 am No Comments

Winter Trials (Northern Witch Book 1) By KS Marsden

Published 16th November 2016

88 pages

If you are looking for a quick YA read to introduce you to a new series than you can’t go wrong with this story.

Set in the Yorkshire countryside, Mark lives in a small village with his family. In his final year at school, Mark soon has other things to worry about as well as his school work. As the local witch, his Nanna wants to start teaching him his heritage. When Damien starts at his school, he soon realises how important it is to learn the family magic.

Even though this was a short story, the characters evolve throughout the pages. When Damien starts at the school, his and Mark’s relationship slowly starts to develop and as it does you get to know more about Damien’s tragic life. Mark is a strong confident character who thanks to a strong bond with his family and best friends, have their support with whatever he chooses to do. Like other readers my favourite character was Nanna, a no-nonsense woman who stands no fools and as the High Witch is good at her magic.

The story flows smoothly and as it slowly builds to a magical battle, it reinforces the close bond between the friends.     

Moving up to Yorkshire, no one tells you about the cold weather, so I did have a giggle when Mark saw Damien shivering at the bus stop in his trendy trench coat and said. “Well, it won’t do for a Yorkshire winter. This is nowt yet. It gets worse”

This is free on Kindle to download and book 2 Awaken is already out. Whilst this is YA, this a perfect read for anyone that likes PNR.     

D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret by Chris Turnbull

February 3, 2019 - 1:39 pm No Comments

D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret by Chris Turnbull

Published 27th October 2015

303 pages

If you ask folk what they know about Whitby, you either hear they do great Fish and Chips or Dracula.

Three years after Dracula was published, women are being murdered in Whitby, left with every victim was a calling card showing D: Detective Matthews is tasked with finding the culprit. Victoria is visiting Whitby with her politician husband, enjoying the sights and sounds oblivious to the attention she is attracting.

Mainly written from the POV of Victoria and D: helps you understand the danger that Victoria is in and the difficult job Det. Matthews had to do. Throughout the story, you don’t know much about D:,  he is a loner with an unhealthy fixation with Dracula and as Dracula obsessed over Mrs Harker, D: obsessed over Victoria.

As a historical fiction novel, this is well researched and as you are reading, you are transported back to Victorian Whitby. The descriptive writing has you imagining walking down the cobbled streets, smelling the sea air. Every character is the story is brought to life whether it is the children playing in the street or Victoria and Albert taking an afternoon stroll enjoying the Whitby sights. Like other’s, my favourite character was Tom, an 8-year-old carriage driver, who whilst having a difficult life, was a polite and conscientious young boy.

The story builds up to an exciting ending, which has you questioning the species of D: Ending on a cliffhanger, book 2 is already out. This a gothic crime thriller that anyone who loves historical crime needs to pick up

The Suburban Book of the Dead by Jamie Sands

January 23, 2019 - 10:33 pm No Comments

As part of my LGBTQ+ month reading, I have come across a new to me author Jamie Sands. I have just read their 1st novel and have also got an interesting interview with the author themselves At the moment this author’s book is on sale on Amazon

The Suburban Book of the Dead by Jamie Sands

Published on 26th September 2018

215 pages

The Suburban Book of the Dead is a YA novel with a blend of the paranormal. Rain had a fascination with the visiting carnival, well not the whole carnival, just the operator of the Ferris Wheel. After plotting her move, she decided that the last night of the holidays would be the night that she approached him. Everything was going just how she planned until she heard a blood-curdling scream and her best friend Rachel was killed. Now a ghost Rachel latched on to her best friend, all she wanted Rain to do was to avenge her death. But could Rain accomplish her best friend’s request, learn to grieve and get the boy of her dreams.

It took me a couple of pages to like Rain, as at the start she was just like any other girl, superficial and only thought about herself, however after Rachel died, she seemed to have a purpose and whilst on the surface she came across as cruel and snippy, she was trying to cope with the death. Hooking up with Jake saved her, as without his knowledge she would have joined her friend in the afterlife. Jake was a hunter, imagine a younger version of Dean Winchester, knowing something was not right at the carnival he was working undercover to sort out the supernatural issue.

From the 1st demonic attack, you are drawn into a story that will capture your imagination. With the story revolving around Rain and Jake, you witness the changes in them and whilst Jake learnt to rely on someone else, Rain started to mature the more she learnt about the dangers. The relationship between Rain and Rachel was very close even after death, sometimes comical especially when Rachel would materialise without a word of warning. The scene in the ghost train involving the monster had me imagining a slightly scarier Sully from Monsters Inc and I do wonder sometimes where my imagination goes.

The story was a fast pace as there was always something going on, whether it was a simple exorcism or doing their research in the library. There were twists in the story to help build up the tension for the final battle and I did not expect the final scenes.

I thoroughly enjoyed this 1st novel and I hope to read more of Rain’s adventures. A YA story that will suit teenager and adults alike.

Want to know more about Jamie Sands, here is their interview

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is Jamie Sands. I’m an almost 40 year old living in Auckland, New Zealand. I’m non-binary, preferring they/them pronouns and I’m recently married to a wonderful woman and I write fiction. I’ve always been a reader, my father used to take me to the local library ever Thursday and I’d get out a stack of books. 

Why horror? What is appeal of the genre to you as both a fan and as a writer?

I guess the appeal for me is the same as why I love to ride roller coasters: the unknown, the thrill, the screams. I get the same exhilaration from reading a really good horror. If it gives me shivers or nightmares then I know it’s done a good job. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with monsters, so my work is usually paranormal or folkloric in nature, rather than about humans behaving badly.

As LBGTQ+ fan and writer of horror, how did you when you first became immersed in the genre and found that representation that you could identify was few and far between?

It wasn’t a surprise to me, most of the genre I read you really have to search for queer representation. However, I have found that the speculative fiction communities – science fiction, fantasy and horror included, to be full of lovely inclusive and diverse people. It’s improving!

How did you discover authors that wrote about characters that you could relate to? Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?

I’ve discovered authors with queer content through word of mouth and recommendations from other queer people mostly. Outside the horror genre, science fiction and fantasy were big influences on my writing. In particular young adult fiction and urban fantasy. Especially Mercedes Lackey’s urban fantasy which would include bi and gay characters without making it a big thing. Neil Gaiman’s work too.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?

I’m hoping that we’ll see a lot more happy endings, people overcoming the odds and banding together with other good people to defeat evil. One of my favourite horror movie series is The Purge sequence, which has a strong anti-authority /eat the rich mentality to it. I love the idea of horror as resistance.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

Roald Dahl’s works definitely had an influence on me, that mixture of whimsy and horror. Holly Black’s Young Adult fantasy, the way she writes fairies is just wonderful. I watch a lot of films so it’s hard to pinpoint any that influence me as a writer, but definitely all Jim Henson’s works on TV and film. There was an old series called The Storyteller that I watched avidly.

In recent years there has been a slow but gradual diversification within the genre, which new LBGTQ+ writers do you think we should be paying attention to?

Emma Osborne has published some gloriously creepy short stories. Jordan Kurella, Marianne Kirby, A. Merc Rustad and Aliette de Bodard are all brilliant. There’s a couple of books coming out soon that I am especially looking forward to reading called The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling and The Outside by Ada Hoffman. There’s a brilliant short story Which Super Little Dead Girl™ Are You? Take Our Quiz and Find Out! by Nino Cipri which just blew my mind. They have new stuff coming out soon too.

How would you describe your writing style?

I used to be purely a pantser – just write as it comes and trust the muse – but lately I’ve been experimenting with plotting and planning and I find I don’t hate it. I do a kind of basic ‘this scene then this scene’ plan and ensure I’m hitting the beats, the right arcs and then write around that.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

I haven’t had too much published yet, but I do love my positive reviews.

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

Editing, probably. I love the process, and I love how my mind gets caught up in solving problems, or thinking up twists, but when I have to go back and revise and improve stuff, I just get kind of bored. I’ll still do it, but I have to really force myself to get motivated and not just put it off and focus on the new shiny things.

Are there any subjects that you would never write about?

I’ll never write explicit sexual assault scenes. I just think there’s enough of that in the world already, and I don’t see the point in adding more. I wouldn’t want to either, the idea of writing that squicks me out.

Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?

I believe in always learning and improving. Probably the best, biggest development I’ve had was learning how to receive criticism and feedback without taking it personally. I’ve learned how to process and examine my work, and the feedback, critically and improve things without getting hung up on it.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?

Look for the conflict in the scene and then focus on that.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you attempted to break through the barriers that are so often in place against LBGTQ+ writers?

Networking with others in the community is key. I also believe in using whatever platform I have to promote other authors, the more we talk about different voices the better.

Many CIS white male authors use LGBTQ+ characters in their works, what’s the mistake that they make when trying to portray these characters?

I don’t think I can generalise that all cis male authors do one thing with queer characters, but the one trope I see perpetually is having just one LGBTQ+ character as a token. Then killing them off before they get to do anything interesting or affect the plot at all.

Moving on to getting your work read by unwashed masses, what do you think is the biggest misconception about LGBTQ+ fiction?

That it’s all some SJW special snowflake stuff, and that it’s a bad thing. This notion of ‘PC gone mad’ is a huge barrier. People seem to think that queer stories will only be about being queer and queer issues. As if we’re just inventing diversity for the sake of it, we’re not. We’re just trying to write about the truths we’ve experienced through fiction.

There are a number of presses dedicated to LGBTQ+ fiction, do you view these as a good thing, or do you think they help to perpetuate the ongoing exclusion from mainstream presses?

I think until the mainstream presses publish minority fiction at the same rate they publish cis white male authors then dedicated presses are needed. If only to get the work out there!

And here is the million dollar question do you agree with movements like this and things such as Women in Horror Month?

I do agree, because without them there’s a whole lot of people who just wouldn’t be exposed to new voices. I know how easy it is to just keep reading Stephen King, because he’s great and he keeps putting stuff out there. I’ve been there. But unless you make an effort to read outside what you know you may never find the best book you’ve ever read. Events which put minority voices and authors in front of readers who may love them are fantastic.

If so how would you like to see sites such as Ginger Nuts of Horror tackle diversity?

Ideally you wouldn’t need to make it an event, because you’d regularly highlight and share output from diverse voices.

The most common phrase you hear when people object to active movements to encourage all forms of diversity is “I don’t care about the sexuality, gender, color etc etc of the writer I only care about good stories” what would you like to say to these people?

I’d say: sure. Good stories are what we’re all after, but if you’re only ever reading say, white straight American male authors all you’re reading is from the same point of view. There’s a whole world out there, and it’s filled with exciting and interesting points of view. Have you read Nalo Hopkinson? Her book Brown Girl in the Ring is an astounding mix of horror, folklore, dystopia and Afro-Jamaican culture. I love Stephen King, but he can’t write that!

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favorite child, and who is your least favorite to write for and why?

This one’s tough. Probably my favourite child is a kelpie from my first novel. He was so much fun, an utter wreck and a monster. First novel though, so it’s never going to be published. I don’t know that I have a least favorite, because when I write them I get to love them. Even the baddies.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of the ‘end of the rainbow’ story I had published in the Baby Teeth anthology. Maybe something I haven’t published yet is what I’m most proud of though…

For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?

I only have one novel published which is just my own. I also have a couple of short stories in the Baby Teeth horror anthology.

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

The Suburban Book of the Dead is a young adult ghost story which also features demons and monster hunters. My lead character’s best friend is killed in the first part of the book and then comes back as a ghost. They have to take down an evil carnival and get revenge, it’s good fun.

I’ve started a series of paranormal mysteries set in New Zealand, lots of creepy stuff and a bad ass lesbian detective lead character. The first book is in the submissions process at the moment.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

I really liked the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’m pretty strict on just stopping reading books I’m not enjoying, and then I forget them.

What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?

I’d like someone to ask me to direct a movie. I’d be great at that.  They could say ‘here’s the new blockbuster horror franchise and lots of money, would you please direct it?” and I’d obviously say yes.