Tag Archive | Book Review

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Tooth and Blade
by Julian Barr

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Tooth_and_Blade_KindleTwo worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm—beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.


Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in Tooth And Blade. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

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My Review:

I enjoyed this book, made up of the 3 novellas; Foundling, Between Worlds and Well of Fate. They flowed seamlessly from one to the next.

Dota has been brought up alongside her troll brother, Grethor, by Modor, also a troll, and has been taught that humans are beasts. However, as a human herself she wants to know more about her kind.

When things go wrong during a hunting lesson with Grethor, Dota finds herself living in the human world, and discovers she’s the only one with the magic to stop Grethor.

The writing immersed me in the two very different ‘worlds’ that Dota inhabits and I liked being with Dota as she explored the human world, met some wonderful characters, and came to terms with her new identity.

( I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

The Author:

Julian Barr author photoJulian Barr first fell in love with all things ancient and magical in childhood, when he staged his own version of I, Claudius using sock puppets. After his PhD in Classics, he did a brief stint as a schoolteacher, hated being called ‘sir,’ and dived into storytelling. Although he remains open to the possibilities of sock puppet theatre, historical fantasy is his passion. He has published scholarly research on Roman medicine and the gastronomic habits of Centaurs, but prefers to think of himself as an itinerant bard. He is also the author of the Ashes of Olympus trilogy.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

One Green Bottle by Curtis Bausse

One Green Bottle

 

When Magali Rousseau sets out as a private detective, she expects to take pictures of dodgy salesmen and adulterers. Wrong. Her very first case, and it’s murder. Then comes another. And another. Until she finds herself trapped with a killer whose only aim is to make her his tenth – and final – victim.

Set in Provence, One Green Bottle is not just about Magali’s hunt for a serial killer. It’s also the story of a woman recently divorced, in search of a new life. But in a man’s world, she can only succeed by defeating her own doubts.

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My Review:

A well-written page-turner, with action and suspense.

Recently divorced, Magali, needs a new direction in life. As a joke, her daughter-in-law suggests a private investigator and a therapist, and makes her a sign for each.

Magali suddenly has two clients, one for each business – a man seeking therapy and a woman who wants her to investigate her son’s murder.

As more murders come to light, Magali has her own ideas about the crimes, but isn’t taken seriously by the police.

Magali is a strong character who, although she spends some time “in the doldrums”, is intelligent and adapts well to her new circumstances, as well as her career change.

One Green Bottle is a well-crafted and intriguing story, with plenty of twists and surprises.

 

The Author:

Curtis BausseI grew up in Wales, was educated in England and have spent most of my life in France.

I’ve been writing since the age of 10, when my first poem was sent to a competition by my English teacher. After moving to France, I ran a café-theatre till it got demolished, whereupon I scratched my head, wondering what to do next. Eventually I became a university lecturer, specialising in Second Language Acquisition, even though (apart, obviously, from French) I’ve spectacularly failed to learn any languages (I’m currently trying Dutch and can already say ‘The turtle eats the sandwich’, which is very encouraging).

I spent two years in Mayotte, a tiny, unknown island in the Indian Ocean, which France bought for 1000 piastres in 1842.

Magali Rousseau (my heroine) got into a lot of trouble there, but now, like me, she’s back in Provence, where she jogs, paints, and catches murderers.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Flight of the Spark by Evelyn Puerto

Book 1 of The Outlawed Myth series


Duty. Desire. Destiny.

How far would you go to be safe… to be free…to be loved?

Flight of the SparkIskra doesn’t question the rules. The rules are there to keep her safe from those who are deemed unsafe or unfair. Anyone who breaks the rules is taken, never to be heard from again. But that’s the price everyone gladly pays for peace and safety. And no one wants to live like the Riskers–barbarians who reject order and justice, and could kill or be killed at any moment.

When a friend is taken because of Iskra, the guilt forces her to do the unthinkable: seek out the Riskers. Iskra’s quest to save her friend quickly entangles her fate with a cryptic prophecy and a young Risker named Xico, who ensnares her heart and is willing to put it all on the line to win her.

With every risk Iskra takes, the closer she gets to true freedom. But every choice carries a consequence. The choices she makes set events she never imagined into motion, and the price of her freedom could very well be her life and the life of the man she loves.

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My Review:

Flight of the Spark is a captivating and fascinating read.

The main populace of the land are ruled by fear and ignorance, and at the start of the book we meet Iskra, a 15 year old, who lives in Gishin. She was an obedient villager until her first trip out of the village goes horribly wrong when she misses the caravan home. Attacked by bandits, then rescued by a trader, Iskra is taken to a Risker camp.

The discovery that Riskers are not the barbarian savages the villagers are taught, sets her on a collision course with the leader of Gishen and changes the direction of her future.

The world building in Flight of the Spark was great and I could see the scenery in my mind. The main characters were multi-demensional and credible. I enjoyed watching Iskra grow from a ‘brainwashed’ teen into someone who questioned her life and started thinking for herself.

An enjoyable read, with plenty of action, intrigue and suspense.

 

Evelyn PuertoThe Author:

Evelyn Puerto reads just about anything and writes in multiple genres. When she married, she inherited three stepdaughters, a pair of step-grandsons, and a psychotic cat. Currently she writes from northeastern Wisconsin, but soon will be heading south for shorter winters.

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MISSING, Past and Present by Diana Jackson

3d

 

missing

Is life just a roll of a dice?

Following the mysterious disappearance of her husband, Dorothy Gibbons, affectionately known as Lady Pink Hat, trudged the lanes around Drumford, homeless and directionless. Alone she rolled a dice, reflecting on her life, times both painful and pleasant. She stumbled upon The Grange, which changed the course of her life. In her isolation Dot began to write …Millie, an 18th Century aspirant nun, ran away from The Grange …Jamal Hussain, a Syrian refugee and asylum seeker, was fostered under the careful wing of Dorothy until leaving school and finding work. He and his brother settled in a nearby flat until the misguided Ahmed Hussain also disappeared. With three missing people, who will discover the truth? Is Millie still haunting The Grange until her story is told?

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My Review:

MISSING, Past and Present is a wonderful book, with two captivating stories.

In the first we follow Dorothy’s journey as she becomes homeless following the disappearence of her husband and the arrest of her foster son. This story is told by Dorothy as she thinks back on her life, family and friends, and how she ended up in her present cicumstances.

The second story is Millie’s, which is written by Dorothy after a chance discovery of a journal in the Grange, the uninhabited house she occasionally squats in.

The book is well written and the characters are dimensional and believable… including those from Dorothy’s imagination.

MISSING, Past and Present was an enjoyable read. Both stories were fascinating and held my attention throughout.

( I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

Meet The Author:

Diana JacksonDiana Jackson now lives in Fife where she and her husband have become deeply committed to community life in Kinghorn. Diana enjoys working with the ‘Kinghorn in Bloom’ crowd, ever improving the beautiful areas of Kinghorn and Pettycur, she is a volunteer at Kirkcaldy Foodbank and also helps her husband at various Rotary events through the year. Her book, ‘The Healing Paths of Fife’ tells her story of relocating to Fife in the form of an allegory ~ a walk along the beautiful coastal path.

Until winter 2015 they lived in the heart of Bedfordshire, UK, where Diana was a teacher of English and Business Studies. Having been made redundant, (probably due to being too old at 55 years!) Diana decided to launch a writers’ collaborative publishing company and through this she is still in touch with many authors back in Bedfordshire. She took eighteen months off to settle into her new life in Scotland, but now she has taken up the mantle once more, both in writing and publishing.

Diana’s initial inspiration to write her first novel ‘Riduna’ was her great grandmother, an Alderney girl, leading to the conception of the ‘Riduna Series’. Having said this she stresses that her novels are purely fiction. She takes the reader from the mid Victorian era through to 1920 and plans a third in the series to the mid thirties.

Her other projects include compiling a memoir and writing a murder mystery, ‘Murder, Now and Then’ which was inspired by a true story ~ an unsolved murder in Bedfordshire in 1919. From Today, February 28th 2020, her new novel ‘MISSING, Past and Present’ is available, the second in her ‘Mystery Inspired by History’ series.

What links Diana Jackson’s projects? ~ Her fascination for social history, her love of research and using her imagination to create believable characters living in the periods she is studying.

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Dark Secret by Danielle Rose

dark secret

There’s no wrath like that of a witch scorned.

Dark SecretSeventeen-year-old spirit witch Ava López is the self-appointed guardian of the witches and humans of Darkhaven, an idyllic village nestled between the forest and the sea. Her watch: vicious and bloodthirsty vampires.

Ava is a novice in the eyes of her coven. If she expects to protect them and the secrecy of their powers, she must gain better control of her own. When a full moon ritual goes awry, control may be lost forever, and Ava is exiled from her coven. Forced to seek refuge among the beings she had always sworn herself to hunt, she vows revenge on those who have upended her life.

But the more time Ava spends away from her coven, the more she discovers a startling truth: the witches haven’t been honest with her. Ava’s quest to strip the truth from everything she’s ever known begins with the toughest realization of all—coming to terms with who she has become.

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My Review:

( I received a complimentary copy of Dark Secret by Danielle Rose for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

“This quick and easy read was interesting and kept my attention.

The storyline is well thought out, well written and cracks along at a good pace.

You get a detailed insight into what it’s like for Avah, a witch who has been brought up to hate all vampires, to become a vampire.

The characters are well-developed and brought to life. Avah especially is an interesting and complex character

I’d like to see what happens next.”

The review above is one I left for Blood Rose by Danielle Rose. The same review applies to this book as it seems to be a rewrite of the same story.

There are some differences to the story, and some of the names have changed, Avah Taylor is now Ava López, while others remain the same.

I read and enjoyed the Blood Books trilogy of which, Blood Rose was the first book. Dark Secret is Book 1 of the Darkhaven Saga, whether or not the following books in the saga continue the same story is something I won’t be discovering for myself.

 

Meet The Author:

Danielle RoseDubbed a “triple threat” by readers, Danielle Rose dabbles in many genres, including urban fantasy, suspense, and romance. The USA Today bestselling author holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

Danielle is a self-professed sufferer of ’philes and an Oxford comma enthusiast. She prefers solitude to crowds, animals to people, four seasons to hellfire, nature to cities, and traveling as often as she breathes.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Behind Closed Doors by Karen J. Mossman

Behind Closed DoorsKerry tries to protect her sister but she can’t protect her mum or herself from Bill, her stepfather. He’s mean and volatile and likes to drink.

When she meets Tommy, they fall in love and she finds out his last girlfriend brought trouble to his nice normal family. Not wanting to jeopardise their relationship and do the same, Kerry tries to keep her secrets behind closed doors.

Eventually, the bruises and the lies tell their own story. She can’t hide the fact Bill is wrecking their family and deeper family issues threaten to destroy the best thing that ever happened to her – Tommy.

A coming of age story set to a backdrop of seventies music and fashion.

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My Review:

An enjoyable and emotional read.

Kerry wants to be a normal teenager with a normal family, but since the death of her father and her mum’s marriage to Bill, it hasn’t been possible.

Kerry has a secret that she’s hiding from everyone!

As she gets closer to new boyfriend, Tommy, and his family, that secret is harder to keep.

This well-written, character-driven tale kept me gripped from start to finish, as I rooted for Kerry to come clean and enjoy what remained of her teenage years!

 

The Author:

Karen J MossmanKaren is a multi-genre author and says she is working her way through as many different types as she can.

However, as an avid reader, she admits to not being as adventurous. “I prefer my stories to have a little romance in them, but then romance on its own is not enough. Throw in some crime, thriller or something interesting into the plot, I will jump on it!”

Besides reading and writing, Karen is an avid book blogger. She reviews every book she reads, both on her website as well as Goodreads and Amazon and you will often find her browsing the shelves of Goodreads to see what other people are reading and doing.

Apart from books, she loves cross stitching and the fact she is ‘retired’ now and can do whatever she wants!

Karen lives on the beautiful Isle of Anglesey off the North Wales coast. She makes time to walk every day enjoying both the countryside and the ocean.

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Warren Peace by Michael Wombat

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Warren Peace

 
Influenced more by Seven Samurai, Zulu and Joss Whedon than by Watership Down, Warren Peace is about a young, nervous rabbit with an easy life…. until the foxes come. With his friends and family’s lives in danger, Cuetip must undertake a perilous journey out into the big world to find help. On the way, he also finds terror, sadness, friendship, cats, hilarity and perhaps most important of all, courage.

A novel about talking animals, but definitely not for smaller children.

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My Review:

I read Fog (a thriller) by Michael Wombat, loved his writing style, and wanted to read another of his books. I chose Warren Peace as it offered something different… talking rabbits.

I was not disappointed!

The humour and sense of adventure was there from the start, and I was soon trotting alongside Cuetip as he set off into the world to find help to protect his warren and his friends from the gang of foxes who were threatening them!

A well-witten visual book with dimensional characters… albeit rabbits and cats, that’s definitely worth adding to your to-read list.

 

Meet The Author:

Michael WombatA Yorkshireman living in the rural green hills of Lancashire, Michael Wombat is a man of huge beard. He has a penchant for good single-malts, inept football teams, big daft dogs and the diary of Mr. Samuel Pepys. Abducted by pirates at the age of twelve he quickly rose to captain the feared privateer ‘The Mrs. Nesbitt’ and terrorised the Skull Coast throughout his early twenties. Narrowly escaping the Revenue men by dressing as a burlesque dancer, he went on to work successively and successfully as a burlesque dancer, a forester, a busker, and a magic carpet salesman.

The fact that he was once one of that forgotten company, the bus conductors, will immediately tell you that he is as old as the hills in which he lives. Nowadays he spends his time writing and pretending to take good photographs. You can have a good laugh at his pathetic blog or his photographs, but most of all please go and mock him mercilessly on Twitter or Facebook. Michael Wombat has published over one book. Other authors are available.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

The DI Sterling Series by Lorraine Mace

( I received complimentary copies of the books for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

Retriever of Souls

Book 1

Retriever of SoulsBrought up believing that sex is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victim’s souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.

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My Review:

I really enjoyed this great British crime drama. It’s the first of a series and I’m already looking forward to reading the next.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling’s personal life is a mess. He’s separated from his wife and has high hopes of getting back with her, and his teenage daughter, Katy, is going off the rails. His professional life isn’t faring any better. His new partner, Detective Sergeant Dave Johnson, is obnoxious and has no respect for women. Add to that, the fact that someone is murdering prostitutes and dumping their bodies in rubbish dumps and there aren’t any leads.

While we follow Paolo as he deals with his complicated relationships and tries to solve the case, we also get a close look at the murderer. The villain was brought up by a religious zealot who taught him that sex was a sin, and he believes that by killing the women he is saving their souls.

There is much more to this book than the crime and solving of it. It’s a character-driven book and they are well written and relatable… easy to like, or hate. It was interesting to watch them and their various relationships evolve and grow.

This was a gripping, gritty, and, at times, gruesome thriller, with interesting characters, a number of suspects, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

 

Children in Chains

Book 2

Children in ChainsDetective Inspector Paolo Sterling is determined to shut down the syndicate flooding Bradchester’s streets with young prostitutes.

When a child is murdered, Paolo becomes aware of a sinister network of abusers spread across Europe, and spanning all levels of society. But Joey, the shadowy leader of the gang, always seems to be one step ahead in the chase.

Has Paolo come up against a criminal he cannot defeat?

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My Review:

Having read and enjoyed the first book of the series, Retriever of Souls, I went ahead and bought book 2, although I was a little wary of the subject matter. Child abuse is not an easy topic to read about. I needn’t have worried, the issue was dealt with sensitively although it was still a dark and disturbing read.

We join Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling and his partner, Detective Sergeant Dave Johnson, as they investigate the murder of an abused child and discover a network of child traffickers and paedophiles.

The cast of characters from book one are back and I enjoyed seeing their personalities and relationships develop further through the book. Paolo’s home life is still complicated and his work made more difficult when one of his colleagues talks to the press.

I can’t say this was an enjoyable read, but like Retriever of Souls, it was a gritty and gripping thriller that kept me turning the pages.

The third book of the series is on my TBR list!

 

Injections of Insanity

Book 3

Injections of InsanityDetective Inspector Paolo Sterling has just six weeks to solve a series of murders by insulin injection, with nothing to connect the victims except the manner of death and a note left at each crime scene.

The murderer, determined to avenge a wrong from many years earlier, gets close to his prey by assuming various identities.

Can Paolo win in his race against the pretender?

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My Review:

The third book in the D. I. Sterling Series has the same gripping and gritty style as the previous two.

We rejoin Paolo and the rest of the cast as they attempt to track down a murderer who is out for revenge.

Paolo is a well fleshed out and realistic character. I like the way he deals with his complicated home life and his work colleagues, as well as investigating a series of murders, where the victims seem to have no connection to each other.

The case has plenty of twists to keep Paolo (and the reader) busy trying to figure it out before someone else is killed.

This series is now a firm favourite of mine and I’m looking forward to the next one.

 

Rage and Retribution

Book 4

Rage and RetributionCan two wrongs ever make a right?

 
A man is found by the side of a canal, comatose and brutally attacked.

It quickly becomes clear that someone is abducting men and subjecting them to horrific acts of torture. After three days they’re released, fighting for their lives and refusing to speak.

 
A councillor is accused of fraud.

Montague Mason is an upstanding member of the community. That is until he’s publicly accused of stealing the youth centre’s funds – an accusation that threatens to rip through the very heart of the community and expose his best-kept secret. But how far would he go to protect himself?

 
Two cases. One deadly answer.

As the two cases collide, D.I. Paolo Sterling finds he has more questions than answers. And, when torture escalates to murder, he suddenly finds himself in a race against time to find the killer and put an end to the depravity – once and for all.

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My Review:

Another dark and gritty thriller from Lorraine Mace, with an opening chapter from Nemesis which is dark and necessarily graphic, but not gratuitously so.

From there I joined DI Paolo Sterling at the opening ceremony of the renovated youth centre, a project Paolo played a major part in making happen. The ceremony goes awry when the plaque is revealed and it has been defaced with an accusation against the local councillor.

Paolo has to discover whether there is any truth to the accusation, as well as find out who is behind it. At the same time, Paolo is called in to investigate the brutal attack on a man who is now in hospital in a coma. Not only that, but Paolo has to deal with his complicated family life, and difficulties within his team of officers.

Rage and Retribution is another gripping character-driven thriller from a talented author. It’s a compelling read, full of tension and suspense, that deals with some difficult issues. Not for the faint-hearted!

Rage and Retribution is the fourth book in the series featuring DI Paolo Sterling, but as with the previous three, it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

 

The Author:

Lorraine MaceWhen not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The Writer’s Abc Checklist (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel Vlad The Inhaler – Hero In The Making, and Notes From The Margin, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Carousel by Chris Turnbull

Carousel

 

Jonathan was supposed to be getting married today, but instead he is in Paris; and what’s worse he is now over 120 years in the past.

Transported back by an old amusement carousel, Jonathan finds his life turned upside down as he finds himself stuck in 1889.

Desperate to return home, he goes in search of the carousel. Although his wish to return is high, he soon learns that his reasons to stay could be just as compelling.

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My Review:

After being jilted at the altar by his wife to be, Jonathan finds himself far from his Jersey home, in 1880’s Paris. Although desperate to find his way back home, he starts to build a life for himself in Paris. When the opportunity to return to his own time finally appears, he’s in two minds whether or not to go.

A sweet and charming story. The likeable characters, and the attention to detail, made Carousel an absolute pleasure to read.

 

The Author:

13781487Chris was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire in England.

The eldest of two sons Chris originally wanted to become a dog groomer and trained in this field before working on a farm in the grooming room as well as helping with the dog hydrotherapy.

After a few years, Chris moved on and found a job at Bradford University working with PhD students in the Biology labs. Chris enjoyed nearly 7 years here before moving over to York University to take on a similar, be it more senior role.

Chris now lives on the outskirts of York with his partner and their Jack Russell terrier.

Chris has always been a keen reader and writer, he loves the feeling of being drawn into a good book and the escapism into another world after a long day at work.

In 2013, after finishing his first full story Chris decided that he wanted to get it professionally edited in the hope to print it out for himself. After very little persuasion Chris finally released time travel story The Vintage Coat on Amazon and had a successful book launch in Leeds.

With the publishing bug now set, Chris is enjoying writing more than ever and has plenty of projects up his sleeve.

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The Haunting At Paradise House by Killian Wolf

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The Haunting at Paradise House

 
If you were given the chance to become a powerful sorceress, would you leave behind everything you thought you knew?

When Addison is offered the position of her dreams through a mysterious phone call, she rises to the occasion and moves to the Florida Keys to a mansion called Paradise House. Footsteps from playful ghosts, a room of killer dolls, and an all too intelligent owl lead her to the mysteries that lie within the walls, to reveal the true reason behind her invitation. When dark forces get a hold of her and her patient, Addison is left with no choice but to take extreme measures to protect the ones she loves. Will Addison be able to acquire the necessary skills fast enough in order to protect her patient, and defeat the evil entities that thrive in the mansion?

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My Review:

When Addison accepts a job in South Florida, taking care of Dax Castillo’s father, Orlando, she takes on more than she was expecting.

The Haunting At Paradise House is a book of two halves, the first half being spooky as Addison is ‘haunted’ by ghosts, and things she doesn’t understand. While in the second half deals with how the demon can be defeated.

With surprising twists, magic, spirits, another dimension and much more, the story was atmospheric and intriguing, and kept me turning the pages.

( I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

Meet The Author:

Killian WolfKillian Wolf is a Miami, FL native who enjoys pirates, rum, and skulls as much as she loves writing about dark magick and sorcerers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology and a Master of Science in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy.

Killian writes books about obtaining magickal powers and stepping into other dimensions. She lives in England with her husband, a tornado of a cat, and the most timid snake you’d ever meet.

When she isn’t writing, you might find her at an Archaeological dig, rock climbing, or sipping on dark spiced rum while working on a painting.

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