ghosts

Western Weird: “The Curse of Jacob Tracy”

19283155The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger
Thomas Dunne Book: December 1, 2015
Genre: Western; Historical Fiction
Source: Free From Library

Beach Vacation
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The Curse of Jacob Tracy is the first in a new series, featuring a former seminary student/soldier.

Death constantly lives in the shadow of Jacob Tracy. After surviving the Civil War, Trace discovered that he could see ghosts; this was not a gift that he wanted and each time he tells someone about this gift they die. So, when Miss Sabine Fairweather asks for his assistance and claims to be able to help Trace with his gift, Trace is understandably wary.

Trace has lived for years repressing his ability to see and speak with ghosts. Trace has always believed that his gift was a curse and does his best to ignore it. After starting to do the odd jobs for Miss Fairweather, Trace finds his powers increasing and changing all the while Miss Fairweather tempts him with her knowledge. However, Trace refuses to succumb to the temptation that Miss Fairweather presents, instead running off only to discover that he has been targeted by another man with powers, Merek. It seems that the mysterious and secretive Miss Fairweather is Trace’s only chance for answers, and she needs him just as much as he needs her.  (more…)

Ghosts in the Manor House: “Lost Among the Living”

25329513Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James
NAL: April 5, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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I’ve been a long-time fan of Simone St. James and I longingly await each new book. I will admit that I struggled a bit with the first half of the book, but there is a turning point in Lost Among the Living and when I reached that there was no way I was putting the book down. If you read it, you will no exactly which event I am referring to.

Jo Manders is a young widow still mourning the loss of her husband, Alex, three years after his disappearance during the war. Due to the fact that Alex’s body was never recovered, Jo has been living in a state of limbo and strained finances, as she cannot receive her widow’s portion without petitioning the court. Instead of pursuing the legal channels, Jo accepts Alex’s aunt’s offer to become her companion. After traveling on the continent with Dottie it’s time to return home. Dottie’s son is returning from his stay at a hospital and Dottie wants to be home to greet him; Jo must also go as she has no other place to call home. (more…)

The Visitor

17204332The Visitor by Amanda Stevens
MIRA: March 29, 2016
Genre: Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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The wait for Steven’s fourth installment of her Graveyard Queen series has been a long one. The last book was published in 2012 and it’s only now, several years later that readers are treated to a new installment that follows graveyard restorer Amelia Gray. I don’t know why there was such a long delay, but I can tell you that The Visitor is worth the wait. From the start readers are dropped into the highly atmospheric and haunting setting of the old South.

Amelia Gray has come a long way since her introduction in the first book in the series. Most notably she has decided to stop following her father’s rules; she’s no longer ignoring the ghosts that are attracted to her, and this has severe repercussions for both her personally as well as in her new relationship with John Devlin. In The Visitor Amelia is followed by a ghost that could be her identical twin, except for one thing, this ghost has gouged out her eyes. This visitor is only one of many that come to Amelia, but each of them compel her to Knoll cemetery, a place that only came to be after the violent mass death at a commune many years ago. For Amelia, there is a personal connection to that cemetery and only by listening to those ghosts that Amelia will find out what the connection is. (more…)

Winterwood: Pirates, Magic, and Shapeshifters Oh My!

25489511Winterwood by Jacey Bedford
DAW: February 2nd, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free from publisher

I’d go there again!
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This book has so many of the elements I love in a good fantasy: pirates, fae, magic, a wolf shapeshifter, a heroine who disguises herself as a man, adventure, romance, an alternative historical setting… really, this book is just my thing.

Rossalinde (Ross) Tremayne, is introduced as she works her way to her mother’s house, where her parent lays dying. Ross and her mother have had a difficult relationship for as long as Ross can remember, and she goes reluctantly. When she arrives, she discovers that her mother sent for Ross to trick her into taking up their family’s heritage – a curse in the shape of a magical winterwood box. If Ross were to take up her destiny, she would restore balance to the world and in the process, drastically alter England., (more…)

Duel Review: “City of Light”

25420415City of Light by Keri Arthur
Signet: January 5, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Free from publisher

We often agree in our assessment of books, as our reviews of  Tower of ThornsI Spy a Duke, and Uprooted show. This time, we disagreed. Stacey loved it; Jaclyn barely finished it. We all know reading experience is personal, a relationship forged between author and reader.

Read on to find out what we loved and what we didn’t. Hit the comments and let us know how you feel about it.

The Book…

In a world still recovering from a war between shifters and humans, Tiger is alone. As a déchet, a creature created by humans to balance the field against the shifters, she alone remains among her kind. Despised or hunted by all races: shifters, humans, and vampires, she hides in a destroyed bunker with the ghosts of her past. Until the night she leaves her bunker on a supplies-gathering mission and hears the cry of a child. Unable to ignore the cries and leave the child, Penny, for the vampires to eat, she unwittingly becomes entangled in an attempt to save other kidnapped children like Penny. Penny’s uncle Jonas, a full shifter, and a woman named Nuri, are investigating the disappearances of these children, and need Tiger’s specialized skills to succeed.

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Top 10 Books to Read While You Wait for Outlander’s Second Season

I waited with so much excitement and anticipation for the first season of Outlander. When I finally got my copy from the library (yep, still without cable, still not torrenting, still not buying episodes on iTunes), I started watching it immediately. As excited as I was, I still had no idea how much I would love the series. Fellow book adventurers, I finished the whole season in a WEEKEND. I did not do so many things that I was supposed to do this weekend.

The series remains very faithful to the plot of the book, the costumes are perfect, the scenery is gorgeous, and the acting is so good I felt just as immersed in the show as I did in the book. Well, almost. I do remember “knowing” the characters better after I read the series the first time, than I did after watching the TV series.

Knowing how addicted I am, and how much more I am anticipating the second season than I did the first, I’ve decided to put together a list of books I (and you) can come back to whenever I’m (we’re) feeling withdrawal from Outlander.

The list (and more), after the jump…

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“Mirror and Goliath” – Singular and Extraordinary but Disorganized

mirrorgoliathMirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee
Angry Robot: June 2nd, 2015 (Gaslamp / Steampunk)*

Beach Vacation
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This book is aptly titled. It borrows from the gaslamp fantasy’s Victorian setting, which borrows from the Victorians’ fascination with the dead, ghosts, seances, and Ouija boards. And yet, it is unlike any gaslamp I have read.

It begins with the heroine at the age of six. Mirror is traveling with Goliath around England in search of soothsayers, magicians, mediums, and other people who profess to have connections to the Otherworld. Mirror has a problem that they hope these people can solve. The context for their predicament is not shared until nearly halfway through the book, where it takes on a tinge of horror. (more…)

Crime Fighting Psychic in “The Other Side of Midnight”

22467404The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James
NAL Trade: April 7, 2015 (Historical Fiction; Mystery)*

Outstanding Adventure!
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A psychic, if she is to have a career, must deal with both skeptics and believers. They both bring their own set of problems – skeptics with their endless needling questions, believers with their suffocating faith. My mother taught me that, in the middle of the storm, the medium herself must have one philosophy: Believe, or don’t believe. It is up to you.

Ellie Winters is a psychic, she doesn’t contact the dead, but she finds things, things that people have lost. She’s been living a lonely life for the past three years since a bad falling out with her close friend, Gloria, and the death of her mother. Ellie’s dreary, but safe life is about to be changed when Gloria is murdered, only leaving a note behind that Ellie can find her.

Gloria’s older brother pulls Ellie into the investigation of her death and soon Ellie also finds herself the target of a murderer. Joining forces with the James Hawley, the man who announced to the world that Ellie and her mother were frauds, Ellie and James investigate the final séance that Gloria presided over. (more…)

Joint Review: “The Eterna Files” Falls Flat

22238164The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber
Tor: February 3, 2014 (Steampunk)*

The view was nice, but the food was bad vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

Jaclyn’s Review

I really liked the idea behind The Eterna Files. Secret government organization in Victorian England? Yes, please! Unfortunately, this one missed the mark for me. Some of the characters were interesting, but I never felt that I spent enough time with them to truly get invested in their stories.

Harold Spire has been appointed by Queen Victoria to Special Branch Division Omega, and he’s not happy about it. Spire had been in the midst of a very difficult case and he doesn’t want to let it go unsolved to lead a secret branch of the government that’s bent on investigation the extraordinary. He does not believe in that sort of thing. Spire’s first order of business is to investigate the supposed discovery of the Eterna Compound. Apparently it grants immortality, and if the Americans have it, the British definitely want to get their hands on it. (more…)

The Witches of Echo Park (Unfinished)

witchesofechopark The Witches of Echo Park, by Amber Benson.
Published January 6th, 2015 by Berkley Publishing (Urban Fantasy)*

My rating: vintagesuitcase3

Per my 2015 reading resolution, I read 100 pages of this book – but by the time I got there, the action still had not really started, I felt nothing for any of the characters, and the world and magic rules didn’t make much sense. By the end of the first chapter following page 100, I had reason to finish this book. Flashbacks and descriptive passages, along with unlikeable characters and inconsistent characterizations, left me with a feeling of relief when I finally put it down.

Lyse, an orphan raised by her great aunt Eleonora, returns to LA when she discovers Eleonora has cancer – and only months to live. Eleonora is glad to have Lyse back, mostly because Lyse is needed to take over the coven that Eleonora leads. There are witches in Echo Park (you guessed that, right?) and Eleonora is the Head Witch. There is some Great Evil preparing to descend on the world, and Lyse is Our Only Hope to defeat it. Trouble is, she doesn’t know magic exists. Or, more specifically, that her great-aunt is a witch.

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