Book Review: A Trace of Revenge by Lyle Howard

Title: A Trace of Revenge
Author: Lyle Howard
Genre: Paranormal Mystery, Thriller, Supernatural Thriller
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A young boy is left for dead by the assassin who has just bludgeoned his parents.

Matt Walker witnesses the murder of his parents but is able to escape and remains alive. He loses his ability to hear but finds out he has a unique power called Psychometry. This power is an ability to “trace” or know an object’s history, just by touching it.

A few years later, a top-secret government armament is stolen during a deadly hijacking at sea and someone intends to sell the powerful weapon to fulfill their own twisted ambitions.

At the same time, a ruthless mob boss has a gruesome secret that he must protect no matter the cost.

All it takes is something as unassuming as a foul ball hit at a Major League baseball game, to send all of these characters and events spiraling on a collision course aboard the most unique cruise ship ever built and send Matt on the quest to find his parents’ killer.

In A Trace of Revenge, Matt Walker witnessed his parents’ murder and narrowly escaped with his life. Although he can no longer hear due to this terrifying ordeal, he discovers he has an unique power: the ability to trace an object’s history by touching it.

Seeking revenge for what happened to his parents, Matt is dead-set on tracking down the killer, no matter what the cost. Add in the theft of a top-secret government weapon, the most unique cruise ship ever built, and a ruthless mob boss with a harrowing secret, and you have an edge-of-your-seat thriller that is fast-paced, not predictable at all, and solidly escorts the reader from one chapter to the next.

Book Review: Haunted Blood by Elik Katzav

Title: Haunted Blood
Author: Elik Katzav
Genre: Paranormal Mystery / Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A missing reporter is found drained of blood after being murdered in a ritualistic ceremony.

Now, a young boy has gone missing.

David used to be a police detective before he was shamefully dismissed for claiming that a demon possessed an old priest.Now, he is taking odd jobs as a private eye and investigating the disappearance of a missing boy. As his investigation progresses, he becomes certain that supernatural forces are involved.

The theft of an ancient pagan god statue from a museum, a patient in a psych ward who claims she took part in secret sacrificial killings, and a ruthless cult leader who will stop at nothing, all allow David to understand evil things are coming his way.

David must solve the mystery before the clock strikes zero. If he doesn’t find the boy, he will lose himself as well.

In Haunted Blood, we follow main character David, who used to be a police detective before he was dismissed because he claimed a demon was possessing an old priest. Now, David makes a living as private investigator, and it’s this job that leads him to the search for a missing young boy, which is linked to the murder of a missing reporter – found drained of blood in what looks to be a ritualistic ceremony.

Combined with a woman in the psych ward claiming she participated in sacrificial killings, and an evil cult leader, David realizes that the evil he recognized all those years ago has come back to haunt him. And if he wants to find the missing boy, he’ll have to face his own worst fears.

The world-building was great. I read a lot of paranormal mysteries, but to have one set in Israel is quite unique and gave it an intriguing feel. I liked the characters and plot, even if the plot was not that original, the setting and characters definitely made it entertaining!

Book Review: Missing in Michigan (Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mysteries Book #1) by April A. Taylor

Title: Missing in Michigan (Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mysteries Book #1)

Author: April A. Taylor

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Is she a medium? A psychic? Alexa Bentley only knows one thing for certain; she can talk to ghosts. And sometimes, they take her advice. Missing in Michigan is ideal for fans of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Mysteries, quirky female characters, and the Paranormal Mystery/Supernatural Suspense genre. This exciting, funny new series will keep you guessing!
Alexa’s unusual ghost therapy skills take her to a remote corner of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But this case is much trickier than anything else she’s ever encountered. A grieving ghost, several missing teens, and a supernatural creature from Native American folklore stand in her path. Along the way, she manages a bit of romance and lots of witty humor.
Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mysteries – She’s a witty, mystery-solving ghost therapist. From the author of the Midnight Myths and Fairy Tales Series.
Praise from Early Reviewers:
“I love Alex! She’s the witty, sometimes snarky, definitely quirky best friend you didn’t know you needed.” – Goodreads Reviewer
“The author’s voice is fresh and inviting. I was intrigued from beginning to end! I honestly can’t wait till book 2.” – Goodreads Reviewer
“I enjoyed it very much. It is going to be a very good series.” – Goodreads Reviewer

In Missing in Michigan, the first book in this brand new series, Alexa Bentley isn’t quite sure if she’s psychic, a medium, or something else alltogether, but one thing’s for sure: she can talk to ghost. As a therapist for the deceased, she helps troubled spirits move on to the afterlife, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

Her current case, for example, is anything but easy. This time around, rather than a living family asking her to remove a ghost from their property, it’s a grieving ghost enlisting her help. During a seemingly normal case, the ghost refuses to leave until Alexa helps her find her missing son. But then Alexa discovers there are more teens missing…

Missing teens, a supernatural creature from Native American folklore, and of course a plethora of ghostly activity are only the tip of the ice berg. I don’t want to give away any spoilers for the plot, so I’ll just say that a lot of stuff happens, and some of it you wouldn’t expect in the slightest!

The story is fast-paced, the plot entertaining, the characters – in particular Alexa – are intriguing, and overall, this is a gripping read that fans of paranormal mysteries will certainly enjoy.

Book Review: The Lost Bible by L. Rosenman

Title: The Lost Bible
Author: L. Rosenman
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“Fate brought us here. Faith will get us out.”


Hannah, a green-eyed beauty, finds herself in mid-life with no husband, no work, and no clear direction. Following a promising ad, she joins an enthusiastic professor on a perilous search for a lost copy of the Gutenberg Bible, last seen in the 16th century. To succeed where others failed, they must decipher ancient encrypted texts, enter monasteries and torture cellars – and avoid dangerous criminals who will stop at nothing to lay their hands on this priceless antiquity. But then they are forced to face an even greater challenge…


This suspenseful romance reveals an ancient love that drowned in blood 500 years ago, yet has endured to this day.

The Lost Bible is an intriguing, suspenseful romance novel that combines religion, philosophy, mythology, history and mystery in an exciting, edge-of-your-seat rollercoaster of a book.

Hannah finds herself suddenly stuck in the middle of her life, her young years behind her, the future clouded in mystery. She has no job or husband, and she lacks a sense of direction of where to go next. Following a promising ad, she ends up on the adventure of a lifetime as she helps a professor search for the lost copy of the Gutenberg Bible, last seen in the sixteenth century.

From deciphering texts and entering ancient, crumbling monasteries, this book is like a mix of Indiana Jones and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code – and then an even bigger challenge awaits our main characters…

 

Book Review: The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts by J.H. Moncrieff

Title: The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts
Author: J.H. Moncrieff
Genre: Supernatural Suspense
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Would you risk everything to save a stranger?

 Off the coast of Venice lurks Poveglia, the world’s most haunted isle, steeped in centuries of innocent blood. A deranged doctor who took great joy in torturing his patients in life continues to rule his abandoned asylum after death.

Few go to Poveglia willingly, but medium Kate Carlsson has no choice. It’s her job.

While struggling to retrieve a young girl’s soul, Kate uncovers some shocking truths about the evil on the island that challenges her own convictions and morals—and even her life.

Is saving Lily worth making a deal with the infamous Doctor of Death, or is the price too high to pay?

The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts is the sequel to City of Ghosts, which I reviewed earlier. I loved the first book, but I liked the second book even more. This time, the book isn’t set in China (one of my favorite parts about book one was the implementation of Chinese culture) yet it still features a foreign culture, since most of the book is set in Venice, Italy, and the island of Poveglia. I’ve always been a big fan of Italy. I once visited Venice and I loved the city, so I certainly didn’t mind the different setting.

Kate Carlsson is a medium, and desperate to retrieve a young girl’s soul, she heads to the haunted isle. She uncovers some shocking truths about the island that challenges her own beliefs and morals, and even her own life. Kate was already one of the characters in City of Ghosts, and I was glad to follow her along now in this second book. Jackson, the main character of City of Ghosts, is also back for round two.

The writing was excellent and I was drawn into the story right away. Poveglia is an actual island – I’d heard about it prior to reading the book, as I’m a huge history / ghosts / legends buff, and I loved the author had picked this setting. The characters were complex and intriguing, even the villains. The storylines were engaging, and the book kept me guessing. An excellent pageturner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review and Giveaway City of Ghosts

Title: City of Ghosts
Author: J.H. Moncrieff
Genre: Supernatural Suspense
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

On the day the villagers were forced to flee Hensu, not everyone got out alive.

Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city when he slips away from the group to spend the night, determined to publish an account of his ghostly experiences there.

Then he meets Yuèhai, a strange, soft-spoken woman who can tell him the city’s secrets—secrets the Chinese government would kill to keep hidden.

As Jackson uncovers the truth about Yuèhai and the ghost city, he’s drawn into a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and murder. He must risk everything to save himself and bring honor back to Yuèhai and her family.

City of Ghosts in the first book in the GhostWriters series by J.H. Moncrieff. It’s a supernatural suspense featuring ghosts, conspiracies and murder. The setting and characters were very intriguing and I felt immersed in the world of this series almost right away.

Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city Hensu when he slips away form the group, determined to spend the night and then record his ghostly experiene. He meets Yuèhai, a woman who can tell him all about the city’s secrets. But the more Jackson uncovers, the more he finds himself at risk, with betrayal waiting around every corner. From the moment Jackson runs away from the group, the atmosphere becomes eerie and unsettling.

Jackson is a flawed individual but I liked him that way, the flaws made him seem more realistic to me. The setting was great, I loved getting to know the Chinese culture as I’m not all that familiar with it. I also enjoyed getting to know more about the way they see ghosts, and some of their ghostly legends and tales.

This is a chilling ghost story in an unique setting with engaging characters and excellent writing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys paranormal mysteries, and I look forward to the second book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Lalin Bonheur by Margaret O. Howard

Title: Lalin Bonheur
Author: Margaret O. Howard
Genre: Paranormal Mystery / Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange

When Lalin Bonheur shape shifts, she roams the Vieux Carre as a sleek tuxedo cat to learn the secrets of her city.

But on her debut at a Quadroon Ball in 1830 this octoroon beauty meets and falls in love with French aristocrat, Etienne Legendre. Etienne becomes her protector and he soon learns that his mistress leads a second life as a healer and voudou priestess.

Their story takes a bizarre turn after Lalin’s protector marries. His wife, Minette, dies mysteriously and he is charged with murder. Lalin concocts a zombie potion to assist him in his escape from jail.

The couple sail upriver to hide until they can prove his innocence. But their struggles only become more challenging, when they face the fearsome loup-garou (wolf men of Louisiana) and then a giant bird. Lalin must use her magic to battle these monsters. But it’s what she learns about the vicious feathered creature that brings the story to its climax.

Lalin Bonheur is an extraordinary book. Set in New Orlean in the 1800s, it’s the story of Lalin, an extraordinary woman in an extraordinary era. Lalin is a healer, a voodoo priestess, a girl who can shapeshift and who knows things she shouldn’t know. Lalin meets Etienne Legendre, a French aristocraft who becomes her protector.

When Etienne’s wife dies under mysterious circumstances and he’s charged with murder, Lalin helps him scape from jail. Unfortunately they run from one danger into the next, and Lalin needs to use all the magic she knows to protect them both.

This was an intriguing book, not just because it focuses on a mixed-race relationship, but also because of its focus on voodoo and magic. I’ve always been intrigued by voodoo, and I enjoyed this opportunity to learn more about it.

The writing and storytelling was excellent, and the author managed to describe the historical period well, making me feel as if I’d actually transported back in time to New Orleans in 1830. Fans of magical realism and paranormal mysteries will enjoy this book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Lalin Bonheur

I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for paranormal mystery / romance “Lalin Bonheur”. The tour runs from February 18 to March 18. Stay tuned for my review, and enjoy the tour!

Tour Schedule

February 18th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

February 20th: Promo Post @ Stormy Night Reviewing

February 22nd: Book Excerpt @ Illusions of Intimacy

February 24th: Promo Post @ Books, Dreams, Life

February 26th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

February 27th: Promo Post @ Rising Indies United

March 1st: Book Excerpt @ Bright Street Books

March 2nd: Book Review and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading

March 4th: Book Excerpt @ Lisa Queen of Random

March 6th: Book Excerpt @ Indy Book Fairy

March 8th: Author Interview @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

March 10th: Book Excerpt @ The Bookworm Lodge

March 10th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Just Books

March 11th: Promo Post @ Bookish Madness

March 13th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Silver Dagger Scriptorium

March 14th: Character Interview @ The Book Daily

March 16th: Promo Post and Giveaway @ Leigh Anderson Romance

March 18th: Book Review @ Books are Forever

About the Book

Title: Lalin Bonheur

Author: Margaret O. Howard

Genre: Paranormal Mystery / Romance

When Lalin Bonheur shape shifts, she roams the Vieux Carre as a sleek tuxedo cat to learn the secrets of her city.

But on her debut at a Quadroon Ball in 1830 this octoroon beauty meets and falls in love with French aristocrat, Etienne Legendre. Etienne becomes her protector and he soon learns that his mistress leads a second life as a healer and voudou priestess.

Their story takes a bizarre turn after Lalin’s protector marries. His wife, Minette, dies mysteriously and he is charged with murder. Lalin concocts a zombie potion to assist him in his escape from jail.

The couple sail upriver to hide until they can prove his innocence. But their struggles only become more challenging, when they face the fearsome loup-garou (wolf men of Louisiana) and then a giant bird. Lalin must use her magic to battle these monsters. But it’s what she learns about the vicious feathered creature that brings the story to its climax.

Author Bio

Margaret O. Howard is a writer and former dancer, who grew up in the Deep South and currently walks the gulf beaches of Florida every morning, She adores her two sons, three rescue cats, cool weather, travel, photography, ballet, books, and mermaids. Her novel, Lalin Bonheur, is set in the city of voudou queens, New Orleans. You can visit her at margaretohoward.wordpress,com, Margaret Howard Trammell on Facebook, or @howardomargaret on Twitter.

Links

Amazon (Kindle)

Amazon (Paperback)

Mini-Reviews: Missing Pieces, The Visitor, The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb

minireview

Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Missing Pieces

Tite: Missing Pieces

Author: Heather Gudenkauf

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband’s family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

Review: The plot was decent, but I didn’t care that much about the characters. Not all of the characters were as developed as they could’ve been, the relationship between Sarah and Jack was weird, they didn’t act like a married couple at all, and Sarah’s behavior was often unrealistic. The ending was worth it, though, and it was a pleasant read nonetheless.

The Visitor (Gaveyard Queen #4)

Title: The Visitor

Author: Amanda Stevens

Genre: Paranormal Mystery, Ghosts

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries is my profession, but I’m starting to believe that my true calling is deciphering the riddles of the dead. Legend has it that Kroll Cemetery is a puzzle no one has ever been able to solve. For over half a century, the answer has remained hidden within the strange headstone inscriptions and intricate engravings. Because uncovering the mystery of that tiny, remote graveyard may come at a terrible price.

Years after their mass death, Ezra Kroll’s disciples lie unquiet, their tormented souls trapped within the walls of Kroll Cemetery, waiting to be released by someone strong and clever enough to solve the puzzle. For whatever reason, I’m being summoned to that graveyard by both the living and the dead. Every lead I follow, every clue I unravel brings me closer to an unlikely killer and to a destiny that will threaten my sanity and a future with my love, John Devlin.

Review: I absolutely adore the Graveyard Queen series, so I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the fourth installment on Netgalley, and I knew I had to read this. The author did an amazing job of describing Charleston, in particular the cemeteries Amelia worked on restoring. I also really enjoyed the riddles, and the romance between Amelia and John Devlin in this book.

The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb

Title: The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb

Author: David John Griffin

Genre: Horror, Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

The turn of the last century and Theodore Stubb’s manor house resides in the quirky village of Muchmarsh. A renowned entomologist, he is often within the attic adding another exotic specimen to his extensive collection of insects. But Theodore is also a master hypnotist, holding the household in thrall to his every whim. Theodore’s daughter-in-law Eleanor – returned from the sanatorium two months before – is a haunted figure, believing that her stillborn child Alastair lives and hides in the shadows. Then she falls pregnant again, but this time by the hypnotic coercion and wicked ravishment of Theodore. A dreadful act begets terrible secrets, and thirteen years later the boy Alastair Stubb begins to lose his identity – it is not long before mystery, intrigue and murder follow gleefully in his wake. The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb is a gothic terror of the highest order, delivering a dream-like and hallucinatory reading experience that promises to reveal secrets both disturbing and astonishing. Do you dare meet the Stubbs?
Review: A gripping gothic horror centered around the Stubb family, who reminded me of the Adams family. The writing is reminiscent of turn-of-the-century writing, and provides an atmospheric, eerie vibe to the book. The story was very intriguing and I loved the weirdness.

Book Review: VIBE/SYNC by Letitia L. Moffitt

Vibe-Sync-600px-highTitle: VIBE/SYNC

Author: Letitia L. Moffitt

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Barely a week has passed since she solved her last case and Nola Lantri is already involved in several new mysteries—with a couple of people who may be just as unusual as Nola herself.
Part 1: Vibe
Eric Lafferty has returned to Redfort City a little too late for his father’s funeral but just in time to get mixed-up in a mystery that involves Nola Lantri, Grayson Bryant, a dead girl and a missing woman. Eric’s ability to read the vibrational changes in brain waves should be an asset, yet it only seems to make life more difficult for him—and given that he and Nola might be the next victims, things are difficult enough.
Part 2: Sync
Emjay used to steal things—nothing big, just enough to get by—but after a terrible accident changes her life, Emjay has only one thing on her mind: revenge. Suddenly private investigator Nola Lantri appears and questions Emjay about her past—and informs her that the mysterious man she works for has a complicated past of his own. Emjay must figure out the best use of her odd ability to “sync,” a technique intended to help people heal—but one that also can cause a lot of harm.

I previously reviewed TRACE, the first book in the series, and really enjoyed it, so I was eager to get started on VIBE/SYNC. The sequel brought back all the elements I loved in the first book, and then some. Nola is back, and this time she’s involved in more than one mystery. In book one, Vibe, she deals with Eric Lafferty. He has the ability to read the vibrational changes in brain waves. The paranormal elements were once again a great addition, and this was a particularly supsenseful read, as Eric and Nola are put in a very dangerous situation.

The second part, Sync, focuses mostly on Emjay, who has the ability to “sync”, which can help people heal, but can also be very hurtful. Emjay is mostly focused on getting revenge for what happened in the past, but Nola has some questions about Emjay’s past that might change her life.

I enjoyed the first story the most. Although Eric and Emjay were both engaging characters, I found it easiest to connect to Eric, and I also thought his story was the most interesting of both of them.