Book Review: The Haunting of Hurst House (Mercy Willow Book 1)

Title: The Haunting of Hurst House (Mercy Willow Book 1)
Author: Amy Cross
Genre: Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon

When she moves to a small coastal Cornish village, Mercy Willow hopes to start a new life. She has a brand new job as an estate agent, and she’s determined to put the past where it belongs and get on with building a new future. But will that be easy in a village that has more than its fair share of ghosts?

Determined to sell the un-sellable Hurst House, Mercy gets straight to work. Hurst House was once the scene of a terrible tragedy, and many of the locals believe that the place is best left untouched and undisturbed. Mercy, however, thinks it just needs a lick of paint and a few other improvements, and that then she’ll be able to find a buyer in no time.

Soon, Mercy discovers that parts of Hurst House’s past are still lingering. Strange noises hint at an unseen presence, and an old family secret is about to come bursting back to life with terrifying consequences. Meanwhile, Mercy herself has a dark past that she’d rather keep hidden. After all, her name isn’t really Mercy Willow at all, and she’s running from something that has already almost killed her once.

The Haunting of Hurst House is the first book in the Mercy Willow series, about an estate agent in deepest Cornwall who develops the unusual ability to communicate with ghosts.

The Haunting of Hurst House is the first book in the Mercy Willow series, a series about real estate agent Mercy Willow. Running away from her past, Mercy is desperate to build a new life for herself working as a real estate agent in a small village. Unfortunately, her new career isn’t off to a great start, so Mercy vows to herself that she will do the unthinkable.

She will sell the house no one can sell. Hurst House. Scene of a terrible tragedy, a house that has lain abandoned for years. If she can sell this house, then she can sell any house.

But Hurst House isn’t an ordinary house. Strange noises haunt its corridors, during the renovation, items move from one room to another over night… Then again, Mercy Willow is no ordinary real estate agent, either, so if anyone can pull this off, it’s her.

I liked parts of this book, but other parts were just too far-fetched. The twist about the family who had lived in Hurst House just seemed too impossible for me, not believable at all. Apart from that, I liked the story overall and Mercy is an intriguing protagonist because there’s obvbiously parts about her that the reader doesn’t know yet. I will definitely pick up the next book in the series.

Book Review: The Devil, the Witch and the Whore (The Deal Trilogy Book 1)

Title: The Devil, the Witch and the Whore (The Deal Trilogy Book 1)
Author: Amy Cross
Genre: Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon

 

“Leave the forest alone. Whatever’s out there, just let it be. Don’t make it angry.”

When a horrific discovery is made at the edge of town, Sheriff James Kopperud realizes the answers he seeks might be waiting beyond in the vast forest. But everybody in the town of Deal knows that there’s something out there in the forest, something that should never be disturbed. A deal was made long ago, a deal that was supposed to keep the town safe. And if he insists on investigating the murder of a local girl, James is going to have to break that deal and head out into the wilderness.

Meanwhile, James has no idea that his estranged daughter Ramsey has returned to town. Ramsey is running from something, and she thinks she can find safety in the vast tunnel system that runs beneath the forest. Before long, however, Ramsey finds herself coming face to face with creatures that hide in the shadows. One of these creatures is known as the devil, and another is known as the witch. They’re both waiting for the whore to arrive, but for very different reasons. And soon Ramsey is offered a terrible deal, one that could save or destroy the entire town, and maybe even the world.

The Devil, the Witch and the Whore is the first book in a trilogy about a town and its demons, and about the consequences of making a deal with the devil. Contains scenes of horror and violence.

Last week, I reviewed American Coven by Amy Cross, and this week I’m back with a review of another one of her books. I had The Devil, the Witch and the Whore on my Kindle for quite a while before I finally decided to read it. I kept on pushing it back because there was always another book that piqued my interest more. The blurb just didn’t do it for me. Plus, the book is quite long – 453 pages – so it’s not something you can use for a quick reading fix.

When I started reading, I was mildly intrigued but never more than that. I tend to read every day while jogging on my treadmill, but if I enjoy a book a lot, I often squeeze in some more reading time. Not so with this one. I looked forward to reading a bit every day while jogging, but the book wasn’t enticing enough that I wanted to finish it asap. The pacing was a bit uneven too. Some parts went rather fast – like the gory scene in the beginning of the book – while other parts, especially the parts in the tunnels, seemed to drag on. Plus, with the perspectives jumping from one character to another, and even from one timeline to another, it just seems like the story is all over the place.

For me, this was just an ‘okay’ read, and I started the sequel but I’m having trouble finishing it. Given that I usually breeze through this author’s books, that’s saying something. This just isn’t my cup of tea, I guess. But if you like horror, don’t mind time-jumps and multiple character POVs, give it a shot. Note that the story is rather gory, though, so if you have a weak stomach, you may want to stay away from this one.

Book Review: American Coven by Amy Cross

Title: American Coven
Author: Amy Cross
Genre: Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon

After being snatched from the street near her home, Holly Carter wakes up in the basement of a mysterious rural house. She’s not alone: two other women are also in the basement, and they quickly start to tell her about the strange ritual she’s going to endure. Soon, her kidnapper will take her upstairs and submerge her in the ice bath.

Many years later, having long since escaped from the house, Holly tries to put her experiences in the past. When someone starts digging into the story, however, Holly starts to realize that the truth is going to come out. After all, no-one has ever found out exactly how the three women escaped from that strange basement. If the truth ever emerges, Holly’s life – and the lives of her two fellow captives – will be ruined forever.

American Coven is a horror novel about three women who make a startling discovery while they’re being held captive, and about a deadly entity that lurks in the darkest recesses of an old building. This is the 2022 edition of the original 2013 book.

I read a lot of books by Amy Cross. If you’re a fan of horror, then I definitely recommend reading her books. She has a lot of imagination, and the books are usually fast-paced and most of them also have an original twist. Having read so many books by this author, though, I definitely have a few favourites, a few I didn’t enjoy that much, and a few I thought were okay but not the best. American Coven falls in the latter category. It’s a fun read, the plot keeps you guessing, but it’s not as mind-shattering or jaw-dropping as some of Amy Cross’s other work.

The book flips between one timeline and another. In one timeline (the past), Holly Carter ends up in the basement of a madman, trapped with two other women who tell her about a sickening ritual she’ll be forced to endure at the hands of her captor: an ice bath. The second timeline (set in the present day), follows Holly fifteen years later as she is confronted with the events of the past again.

The main reason why I didn’t rate this book higher, is that I found the evil to be too vaguely described. There was a mystery-behind-the-mystery, and that wasn’t fully explored, in my opinion, leaving me with some remaining questions, hwich was a little frustrating.

Still, it’s a decent horror read, and certainly has some unexpected twists, so I definitely recommend this to horror fans.

 

Book Tours: Release Blitz Highway to Hell

About the Book

Title: Highway to Hell

Author: Lydia Anne Stevens

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

Death. Reapers. Atonement.

Catriona Clarke is a mercenary demon leading a gang of reapers and working with Lucifer to atone for her sins. The Hellcats’ mission is to collect the marked souls of the damned and bring them to Hell once they perish. When Catriona returns from collecting a soul, she discovers the rival gang of demons, the Hellhounds, have marked her ex-boyfriend.

Conflicted about going to reap Zeke’s soul, she reluctantly goes to collect. In a whirlwind of chaos, Catriona discovers that the son of Satan, Damien, has mistakenly marked the innocent and pure soul of Zeke’s twin brother, Lowell. Her gut instinct tells her to stand up against Lucifer and the demons of Hell, but in doing so, she will lose everything she’s worked hard for.

Is her ex-boyfriend’s brother worth the trouble?

Readers of Patricia Briggs, Darynda Jones, and Kevin Hearne will devour this Hellishly fantastic series.

Author Bio

Lydia Stevens is a full-time author and freelance writer having written over 75 novels for clients – with two series having become Amazon Bestsellers. She is an active member of the Maine Romance Writers Association, The Horror Writers of Maine, The Fantasy Writers of Maine, The Maine Women Authors, The Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Sigma Alpha Pi’s, National Society of Leadership and Success, and Sigma Tau Delta’s, International English Honor Society. Lydia graduated from the University of Southern New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and English on May 12th, of 2018 and she graduated with a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and English on May 11th, 2019.

She’s the author of a paranormal/humor trilogy, The Ginger Davenport Escapades and is contracted with a second trilogy, The Fire Series with LM Vintage Publishers. The first book, Phoenix Fire, is slated to be released in 2019. Lydia currently works as an internist in the second semester within a literary agency and plans to pursue future endeavors within this line of work, as well as a PhD in Creative Writing. Her creative writing research proposal is under review at Lancaster University in Lancaster, England.

Lydia lives in Maine where she enjoys living life with an active eight-year-old and a black cat, Sirius Black, who is equally competitive for her attention. In her spare time, Lydia loves knitting, reading, coaching soccer, completing fantasy-themed jigsaw puzzles for inspiration, traveling and having a laugh with her best friends.

Links

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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: Frightened in France (Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mysteries Book #2) by April A. Taylor

Title: Frightened in France (Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mysteries Book #2 by April A. Taylor)
Author: April A. Taylor
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Alexa Bentley is back, and this time, she’s gone international! A series of disturbing murders in Paris send Alexa to some of the City of Light’s most notable attractions. Can she tap into the spectral network quickly enough to prevent another murder? And what do these crimes have to do with a notorious criminal from France’s past? Alexa scoffs at the idea that a ghost could be the murderer… but what if she’s wrong?

Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mysteries – She’s a witty, mystery-solving ghost therapist. From the author of the Midnight Myths and Fairy Tales Series.

Praise for Frightened in France:

“With book one Alex became my favorite unlikely hero. In book two I realized why…She seems like someone I could befriend. Alex is real, relatable, and relative. The story catches you, draws you in, and keeps you enticed till the end.” -Goodreads Reviewer

“I really enjoyed this read as much as the first in the series! New characters are introduced…the adventures they share are thrilling and entertaining.” -Goodreads Reviewer

“A great read that grab[s] your attention.” – Amazon Reviewer
Praise for Missing in Michigan:

“The story is fast-paced, the plot entertaining, the characters – in particular Alexa – are intriguing…this is a gripping read that fans of paranormal mysteries will certainly enjoy.” –I Heart Reading

“Alexa (Alex) Bentley is the type of main character I love…the plot grabbed me and made me want to read on…this is a book I would be quite happy to read a second time.” –Long & Short Reviews

I previously reviewed (and gave it 5 stars!) the first book in the series, Missing in Michigan. Read my review here.

In this sequel, Frightened in France, Alexa Bentley is back, and this time, a series of disturbing murders sends her to Paris, France. While the city is usually a romantic hangout, now it’s the scene of several gruesome murders… And it’s up to Alexa to prevent the next murder from happening, and to find out who the murderer is, and how she can stop him.

Once again, the story was so compelling I lost all track of time and space as I devoured chapter after chapter. This is my kind of book, spot-on. A relatable, witty heroine who I would love to hang out with in real life, storylines that incorporate murders and supernatural elements, a blast from the past, a setting I’ve visited a few times and really love (who doesn’t love Paris?), and writing that pulls you in from the start.

If you like paranormal mysteries and ghosts, then I absolutely, 100%, recommend this series!

Book Review: The Adventures of Immortal Zombie Girl

Title: The Adventures of the Immortal Zombie Girl
Author: Anthony Dial
Genre: Coming of Age, Paranormal, Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

What if you got a second shot at life?

Ever since Charlotte Belmore came back from the dead getting through High School went from tough to insane. Now in addition to dealing with friends, family, homework, and romance, she’s pestered night and day by the malevolent hordes of darkness including a deranged witch, a maniacal demonic octopus from another dimension and the Grim Reaper himself! She’s survived death but Charlotte’s greatest challenge will be surviving life!

Can Charlotte protect her friends while overcoming her greatest enemy… herself?

This fun-filled illustrated comedy has something for everybody: magic, monsters, mayhem, super-powered criminals, enchanted artifacts, fast food, shopping, golf, and an undead heroine who just doesn’t know when to quit.
Read this book or your place in the afterlife CANNOT BE GUARANTEED!

The Adventures of the Immortal Zombie Girl is one of the most creative, engaging books I’ve read in ages. In a fast-paced mix of creativity, humor, and intriguing characters, author Anthony Dial sketches a whimsical world filled with the undead, demonic creatures, witches, and much more.

Charlotte Belmore’s life hasn’t always been easy, particularly not since she became a zombie, but besides her zombie-ism, she’s pretty much a regular, clumsy teen stumbling into typical teenage situations that range from hilarious to heartwarming. Charlotte and her friends make an amazing team, and I can’t wait for a sequel (please, please, pretty please, write one!)

Book Review: The Emerald Circle by L. Rosenman

Title: The Emerald Circle
Author: L. Rosenman
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Their daughter’s kidnapping plunges the protagonists into a hair-raising calamity

A five-year-old child is kidnapped near her home in a small town in northern Israel. The secret behind her disappearance forces her parents to face a terrible crisis. Mutually suspicious, they embark separately on an emotionally and physically life-changing quest to find their daughter.

Will they ever find her?

Embarking on a physically and emotionally jolting journey to find their lost daughter, they find themselves in a mysterious, far-away, life-threatening place, ruled by a leader who intends to purify the world with genetic engineering. International corporate leaders with dark motives and the Israeli Mossad all feature in the plot.

They must brave a sinister state of altered reality in their search for her

The Emerald Circle is an additional dimension, paralleling our reality, in which occurrences can be more clearly seen. It has vital influence on the protagonists. The solution for the chaos and the turbulent events of the plot can be resolved only on the level of reality itself. In this reality, each passing day increases the danger that the little girl will never be found.

The Emerald Circle definitely fits into the genres of books I like: paranormal mixed with mystery. When a five-year-old goes missing, her parents are willing to do whatever it takes to get her back – although each of them has their own method to do it.

As the clock is racing, the mother infiltrates into a secret organization, and the father tries to help his family from the inside-out. The book skips between both views, giving the reader and over-reaching view over the entire story.

The mix of dystopian elements, the genetic engineering, and the missing-child-narrative is interesting. The book is suspenseful, to say the least, and not the kind of book you can put down halfway through.

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Darkview Part One – Psychosis


We’re hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for “Darkview Part One: Psychosis”. The tour runs from May 8 to May 15.
Enjoy the tour!

Tour Schedule

May 8th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

May 8th: Book Excerpt @ Andi’s Book Reviews

May 9th: Book Excerpt @ Books are Forever

May 10th: Book Excerpt @ Just Books

May 11th: Author Interview @ Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks & Characters

May 12th: Book Excerpt @ Indy Book Fairy

May 14th: Book Excerpt @ Stacking My Book Shelves

May 15th: Book Review @ Bookish Madness

About the Book

Title: Darkview Part One: Psychosis

Author: R.J. Bathgate and M.J. Hall

Genre: Ghosts / Paranormal / Horror

Take a journey into the disturbed, delusional mind of Jack Cyrus … take a journey into Darkview … a small, remote coastal town, deep within the Scottish Highlands.

The sleepy, isolated spot bears a sinister, horrific history, shrouded by a chilling secret. A secret one man must unveil, which will ravage his soul … and sanity!

Jack Cyrus is in damnation!

After witnessing the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, he has become plagued by dark memories and devilish visions, the result of post traumatic stress.

After returning home to Scotland and compounding his trauma, he is faced with the sudden death of his wife, from cancer.

Lost, alone, and struggling to forget the horrific circumstances surrounding her passing, Jack has developed schizophrenia, experiencing chaotic, disturbed thoughts and demonic hallucinations.

On the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death, Jack receives a cryptic, hand written letter from her, telling him she is still alive. Suffering and held captive, she pleads with him to return to Darkview, the place she spent her last days, and rescue her from purgatory.

Upon arrival in Darkview, strange things start happening, and what appears to be a centuries old mystery, starts unravelling itself.

Jack must piece together the clues and lost fragments of his sanity to solve the unravelling mystery.

Is any of it real, or is it just a manifestation of Jack’s mind, or another facet of his schizophrenia?

Author Bio

R.J. Bathgate, born and bred in Scotland, is the creator and co-author of Darkview: Psychosis. A father of two, and enormously proud of his heritage, he has studied psychology, social sciences, and is currently working towards an advanced diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling and hypnotherapy. His heart lies with new experiences and an interest into the unknown, particularly with writing. He has travelled the world from the dusty, wildlife-filled plains of Zambia, to the glaciers of Alaska, and the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rockies. He is extremely fond of NHL ice hockey, video games, good films, fine wine, and Jack Daniels. He originally wrote Darkview as a screenplay when living in Canada, but upon returning to Scotland, researched mental health issues, namely psychosis and schizophrenia. Inspired by this research, he brought in his lifelong friend, M.J. Hall, to help create a more realistic take on Darkview. The result is a story that combines traditional Scottish history with real life, catastrophic world events, told through the eyes of the protagonist, Jack Cyrus.
M.J. Hall was born in Stockport, Greater Manchester, at the turn of the eighties. Despite being born in England, he identifies more with his ‘adopted’ country, Scotland – he’s lived there since he was four, and his late maternal grandfather was Scottish, too. He presently lives in Edinburgh and is currently studying Environmental Science at the Open University, but has always dreamed of a career in music or writing, or both. He is vegetarian, loves animals (especially cats) and is devoted to his black and white moggy, Tahlula. He humbly admits being just a small voice in a big chorus, and his life changed for the better, or at least would never be the same, when his lifelong and best friend – R.J. Bathgate – invited him to collaborate on Darkview.

Links

Buy link: http://geni.us/gPCD

Book Trailer

Book Spotlight Blast: Daughter of the Sun

About the Book

Title: Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat series, Book 1)

Author: Zoe Kalo

Genre: YA contemporary Egyptian mythological fantasy/paranormal

Word count: 93,000 words / 330 pages

DOWNLOAD FREE at www.ZoeKalo.com

Mystery, adventure, a hint of romance, and the delicious sweep of magic… 

16-year-old Trinity leads a quiet life until fate takes her to the Island of Cats.​

As Trinity tries to solve the mystery of an ancient papyrus, she’s pulled into a vortex of bloody sacrifices, evil curses, and a prophecy that points to a horrifying destiny. 

The author is giving away the first book in the series for FREE to readers who sign up for her mailing list on her website at www.ZoeKalo.com 

 

Praise

“This was an amazing story!” –Hot Off the Shelves

​“Wow- this book was a stunning, magnificent adventure!” –The Recipe Fairy

​“If you are looking for a Young Adult Fantasy book that is different from the norm, then look no further. Daughter of the Sun is full of Egyptian mythology, with layer upon layer of mystery just waiting to be uncovered.” –Archaeolibrarian

About Zoe

 Storyteller at heart…

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has remained. Today, Zoe passes her stories to you with lots of mystery, adventure, a hint of romance, and the delicious sweep of magic.​

Currently, she balances writing with spending time with her family, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web: www.ZoeKalo.com / Facebook / Twitter