Review of A Killer’s Kiss by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
A twisted killer is making his mark in London, leaving a trail of blood and devastation in his wake. It’s not only humans who are being targeted. Vampires, werewolves and pixies are in mortal danger too.

I’ve been called in to help with the investigation but I can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the murders. Someone is playing a very sick game – and it’s up to me to put a stop to it.

Review:
This book was intense. The crimes were quite graphic and the stakes were very high. Despite that, there was also a lot of interpersonal relationships built and played upon, which was very satisfying. I quite enjoyed all of the new characters and I, for one, had only figured out a small bit of what might have been the main mastering of the sick game. It was awesome to see more between our favourites at supe squad, and I do hope that some of the newer introduced police come up again.

My one complaint, which is more just whining, to be fair, is the absolute killer cliffhanger with no idea when another book in this series is going to be released! As always, loved joining in on DC Bellamy’s case and life. Cannot wait to read another book!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of A Dreadful Splendour by B. R. Myers

Synopsis:
Be careful what you conjure…

In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners—until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young lord peace, she will win her freedom.

Soothing a grieving nobleman should be easy for someone of Genevieve’s skill, but when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken lover she expected. The surly—yet exceedingly handsome—gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it. With his knowledge of the household and her talent for illusion, they can stage a haunting so convincing it will coax the killer into the light. However, when frightful incidents befall the manor, Genevieve realizes her tricks aren’t required after all. She may be a fake, but Somerset’s ghost could be all too real…

A Dreadful Splendor is delicious brew of mystery, spooky thrills, and intoxicating romance that makes for a ghoulishly fun and page-turning read.

Review:
Oh my GOSH! This book had me enraptured from the very start. Victorian? Check. Spiritualist/Medium/ghosts? Check. Unexpected twists and turns from every direction? Check. There were several times I thought I’d figured out a bit of what was going on in the past from how people were acting towards Genevieve and their feelings about the bride to be, and just when I would think I had things all sorted out: revelation from the ghost herself! I, like Genevieve, kept thinking that this had to be some sort of weird peculiarity, with ghosts and such odd happenings. I didn’t see the ending coming, though there was never a point in time where I felt disconnected or as if what was happening wouldn’t have/didn’t make sense. Everyone has their motives, desires, and so forth, and as Genevieve’s maman would say, sometimes you need to let the heart fill in the rest. Absolutely adored Mr. Pemberton, and quite loved Genevieve. If you’re into Victorian fiction, Jane Austen but with a mystery twist… ah… this book is just perfection in so many ways. There was one point where I literally had to stop at a twist and just said, aloud, “WHAT?!” Cannot recommend this enough. Couldn’t put it down, and am still so sad that I finished it already.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Licence to Howl by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
Devereau Webb is riding high. He’s a powerful werewolf with a killer combination of intelligence, wits and strength and he’s learning more and more about his abilities every day. He isn’t usually the type to take orders, however, and that has to change with his new role as a supernatural spy within the British security services.

Tasked with heading to Rome to infiltrate a mysterious gang with terrorist links, Devereau has to call on all his newfound skills to prevent disaster from happening. That might be prove to be the easy part. He’s also determined to convince a certain sexy vampire that he’s the man for her.

What could possibly go wrong?

Licence To Howl is the second book in the adventurous urban fantasy Wolfbrand series.

The thrilling Wolfbrand books are linked to the Firebrand novels and occur at the same time as the fourth book, Scorched Heart, and onwards. They do not need to be read together to be enjoyed.

Review:
This book was a great mystery with some of our favourite characters. It was awesome seeing how Devereau grows as a person, both in his role as a werewolf as well as how he operates for our fun M15. I quite enjoyed all the twists and turns of this novel, and just how much Devereau doesn’t allow everyone to see of his intelligence and thoughts. I love how he has the need/drive to save everyone, even those that might not have expected/ever asked for his help. Despite what his previous job might have been, and some nefarious ways he’s had, he is a good man/wolf.

I must say, in my opinion, the end of this book was perfection. As always with a good book/series I wish we could continue on and see more, but I do think the very last bit did give a very satisfying ending.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Noose of a New Moon by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
Devereau Webb is in uncharted territory. He thought he knew what he was doing when he chose to enter London’s supernatural society but he’s quickly discovering that his new status isn’t welcome to everyone.

He’s lived through hard times before and he’s no stranger to the murky underworld of city life. But when he comes across a young werewolf girl who’s not only been illegally turned but who has also committed two brutal murders, he will discover just how difficult life can be for supernaturals – and also how far his own predatory powers extend.

The Noose Of A New Moon follows on from the events in Midnight Smoke, the third book in the the Firebrand series although it can be read separately.

Review:
So, to start, clearly I read this AFTER finishing the Firebrand series. That did not make much difference, in my opinion. It actually did make things make more sense to me about why certain people were unavailable. On to the book- I did like that this took a slightly different and bit more humorous edge than the Firebrand series, but it didn’t quite draw me in as well as the Firebrand series did. I still enjoyed being in the world and getting to know the characters; perhaps I’m still team Fred and that’s why. Nonetheless this was a very interesting situation that Devereau found himself in, and not something that I think anyone would figure out before it was fully revealed. I look forward to reading the second book in this series and of course recommend Harper’s books!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Dark Whispers by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
The Supernatural Summit is about to start at the DeVane Hotel in London. Vampires and werewolves, ghouls and gremlins, and pixies and druids have all come together to find better ways to get along with the human community and address the strict laws which govern their existence. It’s a real opportunity to change the world for the better and I’m proud to be a part of it.

But there are protestors camped outside the hotel and dangerous rumours circling about one of the delegates. When a dead body is discovered, I know it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.

I have to find the murderer. And I have to find them quickly.

Dark Whispers is the fifth book in the action-packed urban fantasy Firebrand series.

Review:
This book was just perfection. There were so many twists and turns and getting to see a supernatural summit while also seeing how Lukas and Emma work to keep things separate between their personal and private lives was perfection. I didn’t expect the level of twists involved in this particular story, but I quite loved how it ended. The level of planning that went into the murder was unexpected. One thing I think we would all agree with is wanting more Lukas and Emma beyond this series! Ah!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Midnight Smoke by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
Supernatural Squad might be small, but we’re growing in power. The vampires and werewolves of London are beginning to respect me more and I feel like I know what I’m doing – even if I don’t yet understand what I truly am.

Unfortunately, there might be a few snags to deal with. I’m trying to avoid Lord Horvath, the black-eyed vampire leader who seems intent on a more intimate relationship. There’s also Devereau Webb, who runs a small criminal syndicate and has offered me a mysterious gift that I’m certain I don’t want. And across the span of one single day, supernatural hell breaks loose across the city of London.

A suicidal vampire has climbed up the London Eye.

Three werewolves have hijacked a tourist bus.

This might prove to be the longest day of my life.

Midnight Smoke is the third book in the thrilling Firebrand urban fantasy series.

Review:
Holy Hell, this book had so many amazing parts! Without giving anything away, Webb’s gift is fantastic, and the spark between Lukas and Emma finally lights in a way that it’s unable to be forgotten/ignored. This book set the scenes for connections between Supe Squad and CID as well as how well Emma interacts with the supernaturals. Cannot wait to start book 4!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Secrets of the Specter: A Haunted Mystery, A Magical Cat & A Modern-Day Candlestick Maker by Molly Fitz and L. A. Boruff

Secrets of the Specter: A Haunted Mystery, A Magical Cat & A Modern-Day Candlestick Maker (Meowing Medium Book 1) by [Molly Fitz, L.A. Boruff]

Synopsis:
I’m Mags McAllister, and I am an honest-to-goodness modern-day candlestick maker. I work in my family’s shop in the historic district of Larkhaven, Georgia, and also make a pretty penny from sharing videos of my process online.

My life is simple, quiet, and all mine… until a white cat with mismatched eyes shows up outside my shop and refuses to leave. When I take him home, things get really weird. As in, I can now see things and people that were never there before.

It gets even freakier when a voiceless spirit introduces herself to me via a handwritten letter. This specter claims that I share her name and will also share her fate if we can’t solve the mystery that’s haunted our town since 1781… and quickly because she won’t be able to maintain her strength for much longer.

Talk about a cold case! Can I find a way to free my eighteenth-century counterpart? Or has my new feline companion just signed my death warrant by opening my eyes to the secret supernatural plane in our otherwise sleepy small town?

Review:
I decided to switch genres a bit to something modern and quirky in honour of Halloween, and I am oh so glad that I a) managed to finish this in one day and b) read this! I quite love Molly Ftiz’ writing style, and I absolutely adored how she opened the story. In many ways, it reminded me of doing an in character book talk where a character is coming up and telling you everything about themselves, but the way it tied into the story was excellently done and I loved it. I loved all the modern social media/internet tie ins. It’s a very pop/now book, but that’s part of what makes it so neat.

I had ideas on who the mysterious person we were looking for might be but I was constantly (pleasantly) redirected by suggestions of what Mags was thinking, which I found utterly delightful. It’s quite a light read, but quirky and fun. I would highly recommend it.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Witch for Hire by Molly Fitz

Witch for Hire (Paranormal Temp Agency Book 1) by [Molly Fitz]

Synopsis:
My name is Tawny Bigford. I’m 35, single, and I love hot showers. Seriously, all I wanted was a hot shower to start my day off right, but when I went to confront my landlady about the broken plumbing, I wound up talking to her corpse instead.

Now everyone thinks I’m to blame for her murder—not the best way to make an impression on the new neighbors, let me tell you. But how can I prove I’m innocent when I know practically nothing about the woman I supposedly killed?

Especially not the fact that she was the official Beech Grove Town Witch. Her former boss—a snarky black cat named Mr. Fluffikins—says I have to fill her vacated role until the real killer can be caught and brought to justice.

So, whether I like it or not, I’ve just been recruited to the Paranormal Temp Agency. Now I need to solve my landlady’s murder, figure out how to wield my newly granted powers, and maybe even find a way to fit in around here.

Yup. All in a day’s work for this novice witch.

Review:
This was a light, quick read and very well written. Easy to fall into, chapters were nice, concise and gripping. There wasn’t a lot of time wasted with flowery words or unimportant details. Everything flowed well and quickly, and the chapters really flew by. It seemed to take next to no time to read this book, even though it is 214 pages (though maybe that’s because I’ve been reading so many 400+ epic novels lately). There was constantly a reason for wanting to turn the page, and no time time.

Naturally I quite adored that Molly Fitz chose an author as the protagonist! How fun is that! That made it even more enjoyable for me. What made this book even more relatable is that Tawny admits to being a flawed individual with a broken relationship in the past, who is single, and 35. I suspect there are many like myself that wonder why there are no adventures or fun stories once you get to around the 30+ age and are female, except those of being a mother. It was so much fun to have a protagonist who is a bit eccentric but still living life.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Synopsis:
Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . .

Review:
I’m so torn in what to say here. I love that we get an adventure, and there is so much up and down, but oh my goodness the ending is so openly ambiguous I can hardly stand it!

I love how these books take something from the past and meld it into the future, of how Violet feels as if she’s bound to repeat Freddie’s path in the past, but Violet is a very different person than the Freddie that we learn more about. I love all the characters, and in the end I was quite pleased with Violet’s choice, but I wish there was a more definitive (happy) ending, because there is so much left that could go wrong.

This book series is a whirlwind and I am not quite sure how to articulate all of my thoughts about it. I absolutely loved it and would highly recommend it. There are so many fantastic thriller/horror elements, and I definitely felt my fair share of H. P. Lovecraft vibes from this one, as well as a little bit of the uncertainty and ambiguity of V. C. Andrews.

Thank you, TikTok(BookTok). I absolutely loved these books.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Synopsis:
You stop fearing the Devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery…who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

A gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and F. Scott Fitzgerald, set against a creepy summertime backdrop–a must-read for fans of Beautiful CreaturesThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Review:
This book was not at all what I expected it to be. It was light and airy but deep and gripping, like the breeze off water. There are haunting moments of past between Violet and those she has loved, and so many mysteries. The synopsis does nothing to prepare you for the whirlwind you’re about to jump into reading this book. So many twists and turns. Unlike many stories with absentee parents, this one actually makes it seem like, while still weird, it was normal for this family. From the beginning Violet’s oddness made me think she would be an unreliable narrator, and while in some ways parts were unreliable, they were for a completely understandable reason. The ending twist I really hadn’t expected and I quite enjoyed!

This is a great coming of age story, with a hint of that thriller in there. I definitely can see the F. Scott Fitzgerald vibes. There were also a lot of odd metaphors and older references which, while peculiar, really solidified the setting. I actually really loved the peculiar names some characters have, and the names themselves are such that the actual time period this is supposed to be in isn’t quite clear, but it’s a wonderful and addictive book all the same.

I actually bought this book and the sequel based on a booktok (TikTok section dedicated to books), though I can’t recall which video convinced me to do so. Keep sharing that book love with people, and if you have a recommendation that you’d like me to read or review, feel free to email me.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯