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The Colony – F. G. Cottam

The Colony (The Colony, #1)“It is, alas, chiefly the evil emotions that are able to leave their photographs on surrounding scenes and objects and whoever heard of a place haunted by a noble deed, or of beautiful and lovely ghosts revisiting the glimpses of the moon?” – Algernon H. Blackwood

“Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door of a cottage on the Shore of a dark Scottish lake.” – Sir Walter Scott

The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” ― J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds

 The island is known as “New Hope.” Hard. Unyielding. A tiny speck of rock in the Outer Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland, it was an odd place to begin a religious colony. Especially as a colony of crofters. And odder than that? Their religious leader simply walked away from his lucrative business as a slave ship captain known for his murderous treatment of the slaves in his hold, embracing a desperate sort of religious fervor incomprehensible to those who knew him.

But the colonists arrived, and for a while, they thrived through sheer hard work and determination. Until, that is, they simply vanished from the face of the earth. No bodies. No graves. Food still on plates with chairs pushed back, boots and shoes left at the door. Gone.

Fast forward to modern time. Alexander McIntyre is a media mogul, determined to prove that paper and print are not a lost art – that the internet will not destroy the business he loves. And Alexander McIntire has a secret. A secret, he hopes, that will help him to do so. Alexander’s pet private eye has found a snippet of film from the 1930’s. A snippet which may well help solve one of the foremost mysteries of a century ago. What really happened to the 150 settlers who landed on New Hope Island, only to disappear into the ether?

His sturdy band of specialists includes everything from virology and forensic archaeology to a lecturer on alien abductions. Throw in a well-respected medium and a Catholic exorcist, and surely the mystery will be solved after all these years. And, of course, McIntyre’s paper will be saved.

So, off the intrepid team sails, to a land not only cold and inhospitable, but very, very deadly.

“A God capable of creating the universe would not wish to be worshiped by man, says Captain Ballantyne. Vanity is a human failing. Why would an omnipotent being crave our fear or flattery or even be sincerely interested in our gratitude?”

I don’t often read horror, but the premise and setting of The Colony caught my attention. And of course, a good cover always helps. For some reason, this stark, black-and-white image kept drawing my eye until I had to see what it was about. And then I was hooked. And the story itself didn’t let me down. As bleak as the shores which it portrays, the story strips its characters bare, touching the worst, and yes, the best, in the human soul.

The second book is The Colony: Dark Resurrection.

Yes. Humans never learn.

This book is free with Kindle Unlimited. So, what are you waiting for? It needs a solid Scottish editor, but it is highly atmospheric and readable.

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Review: Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older

Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba, #1)

“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country

“A secret’s worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.”― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Delacruz lives as an enigma. Well, half-lives. You see, when the New York Council of the Dead brought him back, they literally did a half-assed job. With only the faintest memory of having suffered horribly, the rest of his life before his half-resurrection is a blank. He thinks he is Puerto Rican (well, at least that is what they told him – and he has to admit, it does feel right) but other than that? His life began on the day he died.

Now Carlos works for the council, taking care of the unseen of New York, the maybe-sorta-might-be-dead and others collectively known as the inbetweeners, making them really dead with the sword concealed in his cane. Hey, it may not be much of a life, but it’s his. He gets his fun from pissing off the council members whenever possible, and he has a few close friends – even if most of them are ghosts. It is difficult, being so alone, so different. As far as he knows, he is one of a kind, the only inbetweener he knows of who exists in this half-resurrected state.

But that is about to change, because there really are more like him. And they are determined to take down the wall between life and death, to open the entrada to the Underworld.

I listened to Half-Resurrection Blues, which is narrated by the author, Daniel José Older. His delivery is, in a word, musical. The story caresses the ear in a flow of lightly Puerto Rican accented English with a Brooklyn tone that carries the soulful cadence of a Blind Willie Johnson tune. I would compare his writing to one of my absolute favorites, James Lee Burke (and if I did that, you know I enjoyed it), in setting a tempo that draws you into the life of not only a man lost in pain and loneliness, but also into the attitude and rhythms of the Brooklyn Barrio. The imagery is knife sharp, cutting away artifice and revealing the soul of the character, and of the world in which he lives.

Carlos is sarcastic, with a biting humor that often takes a moment to comprehend, something I totally enjoyed. He is the perfect noir hero, Malaguena cigar tucked firmly between his lips, sharply dressed, calm and collected. He strolls the barrio, sliding between the worlds of the living and the dead, always calm, cool and collected. The perfect Puerto Rican don, hat pulled low and shoes shined. The people he knows, and the people he meets, though some cannot really be called “people” any longer – they are ghosts, trapped in the world of the here-and-now – have their own quirks, worries, and existences, often beyond even Carlos’ comprehension.

Mr. Older’s story offers that edge of heartbreak and loneliness that gives his characters depth, while his own voice is the perfect vehicle for the narration. I loved it, and will be reading the others in the series.

Review: Gray Back Ghost Bear (Gray Back Bears #3) by T.S. Joyce

Gray Back Ghost Bear (Gray Back Bears, #3)Who would have ever thought I would find Trailer Park Bears fascinating? Well, the way T.S. Joyce writes them, you simply can’t put the books down!

The Trailer Park Bears truly do live in trailer parks. Broken-down singlewides, parked in the middle of the forest, where Dragon Shifter Damon Daye has brought them in to clear trees devastated by bug infestations. The TPB’s series is actually more than one series. The first tells the story of the Saw Back Bears, this second series is all about the Gray Backs. While the Ashe crew, the stars of the Saw Bears series, is the “A Team” of lumberjacks, well, the Gray Back crew is, as Alpha Creed puts it, “The C Team”. Rowdy, constantly battling, and constantly covered in blood, the Gray Backs are a misfit band of dominant bears. Broken dominant bears. Creed the alpha, Matt the man-ho, Clinton and Jason the goofballs. And then there is Easton, a bear so broken he can’t stand to live close to the others – and can’t seem to stop fighting, even when it might mean his death. A broken clan with a brutal and savage history, they are the clan that nobody wants to mess with.

Book one was Matt’s story. Book two took us deeper into Creed’s story. Gray Back #3, Gray Back Ghost Bear introduces us to Georgia Ames, a KickAss park ranger hired by Damon Daye to protect his forests, and his crews, from interlopers. Georgia knows alll about brown bears, from her stint in Alaska – where she learned to be terrified of them. Now, she is to protect them? Sigh.

Then, she meets Jason, a bear shifter who is apparently mad as a Hatter, and a group of broken bears in a broken down trailer park. Suddenly, there is a great big target on her back, and spending time with Jason may just spell her death.

This one steps up from the slightly disappointing second in the series. I loved Willa from the first book, and Georgia is another favorite. She may be terrified of bears after Alaska, but she never backs down from doing what she needs to do to protect her charges. She is a great character. Oh, and Jason is pretty OK too…. 😉 The next book is Gray Back Broken Bear (Gray Back Bears #4).

A Human, A Ghost, A Vampire, A Witch And A Demon Walk Into A Baptist Fundamentalist Girl’s School…

It truly is darkest right around 3AM. Even the stars seem to dim, fading into the quiet of the night. The universe itself seems to sleep. But sometimes? Sometimes, not often, but often enough to keep your eyes turned to the sky in the darkest hours, a bright light flashes. Far off, and very quickly fading, a star explodes, giving off one brilliant flash before falling into the darkness, never to return.

Sometimes, I have that feeling with books. Even though my choices at that particular moment in time seem no more than dim stars, one will blast out through even the worst cover, worst blurb, the unknown (often only unknown to me, but well known to others, but not always) author, and, for whatever reason, simply take me someplace special.

It was a bit of a fluke that I picked up Juliette Harper’s Descendants of the Rose (The Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries Book 1). I am in no way a “Historical” lover. Long skirts and proper manners, they just don’t turn me on as they do some readers. So, when I saw the cover of this book, well, to say I was “put off” is a bit of an understatement. Although the cover is gorgeous, it screams historical romance. Or at least historical ghost story. But, for some reason, I went ahead and downloaded it (Free on Kindle!) and opened it up. Maybe it was the fates, maybe just sheer dumb luck, but I opened up a little world of wonders.

This is by no means a historical. Instead, it is a modern day jewel, filled with fascinating characters and a rich paranormal mystery (just as the title promised – imagine that).

Hi. My name is Selby Jensen. Now, unless you’re buying the coffee, get the hell out of my way.

Selby Jensen in a nutshell – the queen of snark. Of course, she has good reason for her attitude. Her life hasn’t exactly been rainbows and lollipops. Far from it. Her father was murdered by a monster, drawing her into a world she never knew existed. Then her beloved husband, Dex, met the same fate. Now, Selby spends her time with the dead, 24/7. Her vampire business partner. Her ‘died in Selby’s arms after a horrific car crash’ best friend Helen. Only, Dex apparently didn’t stick around after he died. And Selby? Well, after five long years, Selby hasn’t recovered, and it looks like she never will. So, why not face off with werewolves in filthy alleys, searching for the one who slaughtered her husband? Life as a blood bag just isn’t all that special any longer. Even though life is, well, ‘Interesting’ in the Chinese, “May you live in interesting times.” sort of interesting.

Burn all the sage you can find, but sleep with one eye open. The bogey man is real. I’ve met him. He’s from Bakersfield, and he did not have a happy childhood.

Well, the very fact that he is stuck living in Bakersfield would make anyone grumpy, just IMO.

Then, school calls. Well, “The Good News Educational and Salvation Academy” calls. One of those, “Praise God and don’t spare the Rod” sort of places (Well, their new headmistress is a bit ‘different’, but that is a part of the charm of making you wait to read it yourself) where your “embarrassing” daughters are sent away to be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. You see, they have a bit of a demon problem . . .

Ugh. Talk about your understatements. Now, a human, a ghost, a vampire, a witch and a smoke demon have a bit more than a ‘bit of a kerfuffle’ on their hands. And how’s that for the New Scooby Doo Crew?

Of course, now I have to wait (Impatiently, I might add!) for the next, Lost in Room 636. I have to wonder, now that I have researched Ms. Harper’s bibliography, if the publisher was simply kowtowing to the fact that the team of Patricia Pauletti and Randa K. Williamson (writing as Juliette Harper) are apparently well-known for a series called The Lockwood Legacy, a “nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide.” Hum… well, it seems to be set in the 1960’s (?) not the 1800’s, so I guess I am off on the whole “lady in the long dress” cover style. Boo me.

Well, well. Lookie there – the first three are a free box set (Kindle Unlimited) so maybe I will have to check that story line out and see if I like their previous works, but I think I will read “Witch at Heart” first. The first in the “Jinx Hamilton Mysteries” it looks like it could be a really fun series. Looks like there are three of those in print, another three (at least) up to bat (wink wink, nudge nudge) so I will let you know what I think. WaH is free on Kindle Unlimited, so I just downloaded it. Will let you know what I think!

 

 

Review: Midnight Riot: Peter Grant #1 by Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1 | [Ben Aaronovitch]“I gave the prescribed Metropolitan Police “first greeting”. “Oi!” I said “What do you think you’re doing?” ― Ben Aaronovitch, Midnight Riot “’Conflict resolution,’ said Nightingale, ‘Is this what they teach at Hendon these days?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ I said. ‘But don’t worry, they also teach us how to beat people with phone books and the ten best ways to plant evidence.’” ― Ben Aaronovitch, Midnight Riot First, I love British Urban Fantasy. It is often quirky, normally presented in a dry, witty style, and sometimes simply figuring out the language can give it a while other level of subtle humour not found in “American English” writing. I love it, and Ben Aaronovitch doesn’t disappoint with “Midnight Riot”. Of course, listening to the book rather than simply reading it added a whole other level to my enjoyment. The narration of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is everything I could have wanted and more. His delivery has the level of dry wit, spot-on delivery and subliminal snark that brings a ‘good’ book to the level of ‘brilliant’. Peter Grant is a London ‘copper’ – just off his two year probationary period as a constable, his lack of ability to actually pay attention to what is going on around him has him scheduled for – basically a fancied up secretary. But one cold night on a scene watch under the West Portico of St. Paul’s at Covent Garden, Peter meets an odd little man in an Edwardian smoking jacket: “…don’t ask me why I know what an Edwardian smoking jacket looks like: let’s just say it has something to do with Doctor Who and leave it at that.” That in itself is weird enough. But the fact that he is a ghost is just a tad over the top, even for a Londoner. Suddenly, Peter finds himself in a world he never knew existed – where ghosts and goulies, goddesses and monsters all exist just below the everyday hustle and bustle of the crowded city streets. In his new position as assistant and student wizard under the tutelage of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale. Thomas Nightingale, London Detective and Wizard. Well, nobody ever said being a London cop is simple, you know. Now, there are all sorts of odd things going on around Peter – and all of his friends, his family, and his coworkers, as well as the whole population of London, are in more danger than he ever could have imagined. Peter Grant is an unusual character. Half white, half Somali, Peter suffers the same sorts of issues that any black man in a mostly white force suffers. He likes his job, but his fuzzy grasp on concentration causes him issues – issues that his Probationary partner, Leslie May, has to pick up the slack on. And of course, the oddity of his new position causes a strain for him within the department, as does the bureaucracy inherent in a huge, ancient city such as London. “As soon as we stopped sleeping with our cousins and built walls, temples and a few decent nightclubs, society became too complex for any one person to grasp all at once, and thus bureaucracy was born. A bureaucracy breaks the complexity down into a series of interlocking systems. You don’t need to know how the systems fit together, or even what function your bit of the system has, you just perform your bit and the whole machine creaks on.” Midnight Riot is amazingly creative. Ben Aaronovitch takes the trouble to weave in the history and stories of London, all the way back to its very beginnings, Londinium, a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47. The focus of the story interweaves history and mythology, witchcraft and ghosts, and Mother and Father Thames and their children, the many other waterways of Britain. As Tim from Temecula says in his Audio review, “It’s as British as Chicken Vindaloo or Soccer Violence.” Of course, as a former Brit, Tim should know – 😉 Idiosyncratic and wickedly fun, the Peter Grant Series is an absolute blast. I can highly recommend it! Especially if you listen to the Audio Version narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Awesome! About the Author: Ben Aaronovitch Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. He had parents, some brothers, some sisters and a dog named after a Russian cosmonaut. He also had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction. Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world’s cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin’s New Adventures until they pulped all his books. Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake’s 7 Audio dramas. Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller. Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas). At some point during the above, the most important thing in his life happened and he became a father to a son, Karifa, whom he affectionately refers to as ‘The Evil Monster Boy’. The Evil Monster Boy will be reaching university age soon, so all donations will be gratefully received. Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers. About the Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a Ghanaian-born, British actor who has appeared on stage, screen, and television, including Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, Little Britain, and Sirens. A graduate of the Guildford School of Acting, he won a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. His audiobook narrations include Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds and The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna.

Review: Spirits, Stilettos and a Silver Bustier by Deanna Chase

People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on. – Eckhart Tolle

I keep going to the river to pray
‘Cause I need something that can wash out the pain
And at most
I’m sleeping all these demons away
But your ghost, the ghost of you
It keeps me awake –
Ella Henderson – Ghost

I am a Deanna Chase junkie. There. I said it. Loud and proud, Baby! Her Jade Calhoun series, beginning with Haunted on Bourbon Street is an automatic ‘must buy’ for me. The books combine fantasy, humour, great characters and of course the spectacular New Orleans life into a treat for the reader.

We first met Pyper Rayne in Haunted when she was being terrorized by one of the nastiest ghosts you can imagine. Now, with Spirits, Stilettos, and a Silver Bustier Pyper gets her own series – (yes, that is me, dancing around the room and giggling. Get over it. 😉 )

Pyper’s life is working out pretty well, if she does say so herself. She owns her own coffee shop right next to the stripper bar where she used to work. Her friends are all safe (for now), she has good friends, and she is getting ready for a gallery showing of her body painting. Exciting! The only thing is – when she shops for a vintage dress for her gallery show, everything starts running off the rails. The shop owner ends up dead, and Pyper is the prime suspect. Add to that the ghostly voices coming from the walls, and the hot ghost who is following her around, and life is getting a lot less happy than it was just yesterday.

Spirits is a great new addition to the original series. Pyper was always one of my favorites of the Bourbon Street series, and the first book in her series does wonders for the character. We get to meet new characters, including a sexy ghost with highly unusual talents, the mystery is very well done as all Deanna’s mysteries are, and the setup for the next book is awesome. If you like your UF with a bit of mystery, not a lot of ‘over the top’ smexy, and a good deal of humour, this is a series you should try!

I receive this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. Highly recommended.

Review: Crypt Keeper (The Molly Maddison Series #1) By K. A. Young

22896422No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness. – Aristotle

I’m attracted to how fraught the parent-child relationship is, swerving so easily between love and hostility, with almost no plausible way to end, unless someone dies. – Ben Marcus

Molly Maddison spent her whole life in and out of psychiatrist’s offices and asylums. Vicious treatment, when you are a child. When you really do see ghosts. Ghosts you can see and touch and interact with as if they were still alive. And yet, no one else can see them, hence, you must be mad.

Living in a funeral home, backing upon a cemetery, makes Molly’s young life more difficult than one could ever think. So, once old enough, she flees, running away from her life to a new world, where she will learn to help children who have suffered as she has. But her life still refuses to change, as her oh-so-real ‘imaginary friend’ Jewels has come along to keep her company, even though Molly asked her to stay behind. And though she has asked her ghostly lover, Levi, not to follow, when Molly decides to go out with her professor, Damon Knight, all hell breaks loose. Literally.

Now, with her father dead, Molly is drawn back home, into a world of horror and death unlike anything she could have ever expected. No one is whom Molly thought them to be. And what Molly must do to assure her own existence, and of those she loves, dead or not, will draw her once again to the edge of sanity.

Molly Maddison is a different sort of heroine than most in the urban fantasy realms, as is her world. K.A. Young has developed an unusual reality unlike any other I have so far found in UF writing. Creative and atypical, I am excited to continue my journey through her world.

I received Crypt Keeper the first of The Molly Maddison Series, from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Shadows of Bourbon Street is Here! New Deanna Chase

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Click to Order!

Shadows of Bourbon Street is here!!

Got the following from Deanna Chase a few minutes ago! Her Jade Calhoun Series is wonderful, and I have been waiting rather impatiently for the next in the series. Never fear, read on for more information and the links to purchase!
Hello,
I’m extremely excited to announce my newest release, SHADOWS OF BOURBON STREET, the fifth book in the Jade Calhoun series! (Book six is coming this winter!)
As a special treat there is a companion novel, MARKED BY TEMPTATION, a spin off Bourbon Street novel, that happens at the same time as Shadows of Bourbon Street available now in the Alphas After Dark anthology.
Buy links Shadows of Bourbon Street:
Kobo Coming soon!
iBooks Coming soon!
 
Buy links Marked by Temptation (In Alphas After Dark 9 book bundle)
Only 99 cents for a limited time!
iBooks coming soon!

Cute cover!

Starting a new job is tough…especially when your boss thinks nothing of interrupting your wedding.

After a year of battling ghosts and demons, white witch Jade Calhoun is finally marrying the man of her dreams. Or is she? Minutes before Jade and Kane say I do, the High Angel arrives with a job for the newly appointed shadow walkers. Another witch’s life is on the line and it’s up to Jade and Kane to save her.

With a black magic user intent on destroying one of Jade’s friends, more demons on the loose, and a hard to find incubus, can the almost newlyweds save the witch and get their own happy ending?

USA Today bestselling author Deanna Chase brings you MARKED BY TEMPTATION, a novella set in the Jade Calhoun Bourbon Street world. Mati Ballintine is a sex witch looking for a hot one-night stand to bolster her power, and sexy Vaughn Paxton is cocky enough to make her work for it. But when their one night turns into more than they bargained for, one life is changed, another threatened, and suddenly there’s a whole lot more than lust at stake. (Coven Pointe #1)
Thanks for reading,
Deanna!

 

Review – Reading The Dead: The Sarah Milton Chronicles

Reading the Dead – the Sarah Milton Chronicles

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Ghost Story? Murder Mystery? Paranormal? All of the above?
Where ever you decide to shelve it, this is a great book, filled
with action and drama!

Sarah Milton is special. Oh, she wouldn’t agree that she was special – she is more inclined to believe that she is just an oddball who grew up with an invisible friend as a child. An invisible friend who disappeared when Sarah’s mother was murdered, when Sarah needed her the most. Lonely and heartbroken, Sarah disappears into her books, and her obsession over her mother’s murder.

Now grown, Sarah is a police officer in Los Angeles, assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit. Well educated and intelligent, Sarah is an up and coming star of the division, tracking and bringing down a psychopathic serial killer on her first case. Now, another killer is out there, and Sarah is right in the middle of it. But before she can truly get started, something happens that changes Sarah’s life forever.

Bosco, Sarah’s hyperactive Yorki best buddy is out of kibble, so she stops at the minimart – and walks straight into a robbery. A robbery that gains her a bullet in the chest, and a trip to the land of the dead. Brought back, the first ‘person’ she sees is Anna Nigma, her long lost invisible friend.

J.B. Cameron has written a seriously good story. This is a paranormal story, filled with ghosts and things that go bump in the night. It is exceptional as a paranormal, with solid writing and a well-written story line. But it is more than that. It is a great suspense story, with thrills, chills, and exceptional mystery and police procedure. With ghosts and invisible people leading the way, how does a detective explain how she knows what she knows? And how does she stop it when the story is more than ever expected?

This is exceptional writing for a “new” author. I will be purchasing the next books, and I have no doubt that I will greatly enjoy them.

I am acquainted with Cameron through Goodreads.com, however, I purchased the book on my own and have not received payment for the purchase in any manner. All opinions are my own.

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