Review of Spirit Witch by Helen Harper

Spirit Witch
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic Book 3
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 268

Date Started: November 19, 2017
Date Finished: November 20, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
If anyone appreciates what it means to be dead to the world, it’s Ivy Wilde.

Barely recovered from her brush with necromancy, Ivy is flung once more into a world of intrigue, adventure and potential death and disaster. It’s not her fault – it just so turns out that she’s now the only person in the entire world who can communicate with the dead. And they’re a chatty bunch with a list of demands.

When the ghosts offer information about a witch-hating mass murderer in return for Ivy’s help, she has no choice but to get involved. She might be getting herself into more trouble than she realises though – and that’s even before she’s dragged to Sunday dinner so she can meet Winter’s family…

Review:
Winter seems to go through a bit of an existential crisis, and it’s interesting to see him so capable but unsure of the direction of his future. It becomes obvious that spending so much time together is rubbing off on the two main protagonists. While Rafe and Ivy work on figuring out a mystery, while trying not to let their relationship get in the way, one finds another relationship far more pressing and urgent–theirs with Brutus. Brutus is, by far, my favourite character in the series. His random quips of intense insight make up for how lazy he is most of the time, not to mention the hilarity of claiming an inability to do more–much like our slouch witch used to do.
“You like Eve.”
“Love Ivy.”

In the end, I felt that everything and everyone was mostly where they should be. I wish it had been a bit more longer, and not thrown into the epilogue. Most of what I’d hoped would happen throughout the entire series had come to pass, though I would have liked to see more happen to Tarquin. I am quite sad to see the series finished, but have since started another book by Harper, and look forward to reading more written by her in the future.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
After teaching English literature in the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Helen Harper left behind the world of education following the worldwide success of her Blood Destiny series of books. She is a professional member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and writes full time, thanking her lucky stars every day that’s she lucky enough to do so!

Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland.

She currently lives in Devon in the UK with far too many cats – not to mention the dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep appearing from nowhere.

Advertisements

Review of Miramont’s Ghost by Elizabeth Hall

Miramont’s Ghost
By Elizabeth Hall

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Gothic Mystery
Number of Pages: 334

Date Started: February 19, 2017
Date Finished: March 1, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)miramonts-ghost
Miramont Castle, built in 1897 and mysteriously abandoned three years later, is home to many secrets. Only one person knows the truth: Adrienne Beauvier, granddaughter of the Comte de Challembelles and cousin to the man who built the castle.

Clairvoyant from the time she could talk, Adrienne’s visions show her the secrets of those around her. When her visions begin to reveal dark mysteries of her own aristocratic French family, Adrienne is confronted by her formidable Aunt Marie, who is determined to keep the young woman silent at any cost. Marie wrenches Adrienne from her home in France and takes her to America, to Miramont Castle, where she keeps the girl isolated and imprisoned. Surrounded by eerie premonitions, Adrienne is locked in a life-or-death struggle to learn the truth and escape her torment.

Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this hauntingly atmospheric tale is inspired by historical research into the real-life Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Review:
The characterization in this novel could not have been any better. The depth of which the characters felt, and their motivations were astounding. While some characters seem completely “bad” and unsympathetic, it’s explained why that might be so.

However, once all the pieces have been set in play, about 35% of the novel is about the continual torrent of bad things that happen to our main protagonist. With a title like Miramont’s Ghost no one expects everything to be happy and cheerful, but the end offered no resolution for the heroine, instead letting the characters who dished up the torture get away with all they had done. This is a story where the bad guys win. Surprising enough, that isn’t where the story ends, and we’re left thinking that Adrienne deserved so much better.

elizabeth-hallAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
Elizabeth Hall spent most of her life in the mountains of Colorado. She has worked as a teacher and communications consultant, including hosting, writing, and producing the radio show Heart of the West (KRZA, Alamosa) and producing an oral history compilation for the Great Sand Dunes National Park. She now lives in the Pacific NW.

Review of Evermore by C. J. Archer

Evermore
Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Book 3
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 216

Synopsis: (From Amazon)Evermore_Huge
When ghosts begin to disappear from the Otherworld, Emily Chambers and her friends must hunt down those responsible before every last spirit, including Jacob Beaufort, is destroyed and Emily’s livelihood along with them. But there is one thing stopping them – Jacob’s killer.

Weakened and fading fast, the ghost of Jacob Beaufort is determined to save Emily from a bleak and uncertain future. With her family facing financial ruin and the Otherworld in chaos, he knows her only hope is to wed Theo.

As lives and afterlives hang in the balance, Emily is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, or lose everything she loves.

Review:
This series, overall, was a bit of a disappointment.  I had gotten used to Archer’s style in The Ministry of Curiosities series, and I quite adore that line of books.  This one, I felt that lacked a special spark, and the foreshadowing was too obvious.  Most of what is supposed to be a shocking secret revealed are things I had gathered by the first or second book, and was waiting for Emily to figure it out or for it to be made known.  What I did like, was Theo.  His attitude and actions seem like the very thing a girl in Emily’s position would see and experience with a suitor.

I would give the series as a whole four stars out of five.  I enjoyed them as a quick pulp fiction read.  While the premise was quite original and well done, I appreciate the growth and strength in writing that Archer shows in her later works, namely The Ministry of Curiosities.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of Possession by C. J. Archer

Possession
Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Book 2
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 180

Synopsis: (From Amazon)possession-1
When the ghost of a notorious killer possesses the body of an upper class youth, London’s pre-eminent medium, Emily Chambers, must exorcise it before the spirit goes on a rampage. As if this isn’t distraction enough, she must fight her feelings for brooding ghost, Jacob Beaufort, who doesn’t like the new man in her life – the handsome and very much alive, Theodore Hyde.

With reputations and lives at stake, Emily discovers that navigating the poorest suburbs of London in search of the evil spirit is almost as dangerous as finding her way in a Society that thinks “freaks” like her belong in the circus.

Review:
I would have liked more interaction with Beaufort shadowing Hyde, learning more about him, his plots and plans.  I liked the look that this novel gave us of a bit more higher society.   Not everything is tied up in this series, though several things are clearly being foreshadowed for the end reveal, some of which had started to show in the first book.

Unfortunately, this book is far shorter than the first, and I went through it quite quickly.  All in all, it was a good story, but a very light read.  I would have much preferred that the books kept around the same length, instead of being almost 100 pages lighter from the first to the second. 

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of The Medium by C. J. Archer

The Medium
Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Book 1
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 261

Date Started: July 13, 2016
Date Finished: July 18, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)TheMedium_Huge
Seventeen year-old spirit medium Emily Chambers has a problem. Actually, she has several. As if seeing dead people isn’t a big enough social disadvantage, she also has to contend with an escaped demon and a handsome ghost with a secret past. And then there’s the question of her parentage. Being born an entire year after her father’s death (yes, a year) and without the pale skin of other respectable English ladies, Emily is as much a mystery as the dead boy assigned to her.

Jacob Beaufort’s spirit has been unable to crossover since his death. It might have something to do with the fact he was murdered. Or it might not. All he knows is, he has been assigned by the Otherworld’s administrators to a girl named Emily. A girl who can see and touch him. A girl who released a shape-shifting demon into the mortal realm. Together they must send the demon back before it wreaks havoc on London. It should be a simple assignment, but they soon learn there’s nothing simple when a live girl and a dead boy fall in love.

Review:
I wasn’t sure if I’d find this book to my taste after having fallen so very hard for The Ministry of Curiosities book series by C. J. Archer but I certainly wasn’t disappointed!  Emily has a very peculiar talent– she can talk to ghosts.  Archer did an amazing job of showing the very different reactions of society in regards to Emily’s abilities, some asking for her help to talk to deceased loved ones while others are adamant that she is a fraud, no matter what type of personal information from a past loved one she can relate.  While not everyone’s thoughts and feelings can be seen from Emily’s limited point of view, I found that Emily’s reactions were quite genuine for an inexperienced young adult.  Emily is a daring and thoughtful girl, despite knowing she doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about herself, but she doesn’t let being different keep her from doing things, which is a situation most people can relate to being in at one point or another.

I enjoyed this novel and the ending, which leaves the reader with a resolution to the overall problem while leaving questions to wonder about.  Though some say that this isn’t a good tactic, I find that many book series are intertwined, with bits of mystery in the first book that might not be fully explained until the last in the series.  I definitely recommend this book, and look forward to reading the second and third in the series.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of Victoria House by Denise Moncrief

Victoria House
Haunted Hearts Book 2
By Denise Moncrief

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Supernatural/Paranormal, Murder
Number of Pages: 359

Season Read: Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)Haunted by a dark mystery in her famcoverLH2-1ily’s past…

When Tori Downing takes possession of the abandoned Hamilton estate on the longest peninsula on Lake Jefferson, Arkansas, she avoids revealing her connection to the ill-fated Hamilton family. Is the glowing image that shimmers in the second floor window of Victoria House the ghost of Victoria Hamilton? Can Tori handle moving into a house with paranormal activity…again?

Tormented by a scandal she thought she’d left behind…
Until she leaves her career at the Arkansas State Crime Lab behind, she never even considers moving to Lake Jefferson, but the fallout from scandal gives Tori a very good reason to escape to Hill County and refurbish and restore the old family mansion. She settles into her new life…until the old accusations from her past start resurfacing.

Attracted to a man haunted by secrets of his own…
Drawn together to solve the murder of Jared Crenshaw, Tori and Lt. Grayson of the Hill County Sheriff’s Department dive into a tangled web of jealousy, deceit, and revenge as they attempt to solve both crimes, Jared’s death and the mysterious death years ago of Victoria Hamilton. Grayson’s past keeps interfering with his present, causing turmoil in both his professional life and his personal life. Can their love survive revealing the truth—from both the past and present—surrounding the tragedies at Victoria House?

Review:
I read the first book in the Haunted Hearts series, Laurel Heights, a while back.  This book, while entertaining, seems to merely fill in bits and pieces of what happened in Laurel Heights from the standpoint of other characters.  The plot overall was good, but I felt as if all the mentions of Laurel Heights were tedious as I had already read them.

When confronted with Victoria House’s own peculiar problems, I was enraptured.  There were so many twists and turns that I truly wasn’t sure who the bad guy was until near the end, and even then, the “why” was always a bit out of reach, never to be found.  A good and quick read, but would have been nicer if it hadn’t been so entwined with a previously read book.

 
MoncriefAuthor Bio: (From Amazon)
Suspense, She Writes

Where the road to happily ever after takes a suspenseful detour.

Want to know a little bit more about Denise? She’s a Southern girl who has lived in Louisiana all her life, and yes, she has a drawl. She has a wonderful husband and two incredible children, who not only endure her writing moods but also encourage her to indulge her writing passion. Besides writing romantic suspense, she enjoys traveling, reading, and scrapbooking.

Accounting is a skill she has learned to earn a little money to support her writing habit. She wrote her first story when she was a teen, seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she had read. She’s been writing off and on ever since, and with more than a few full-length manuscripts already completed, she has no desire to slow down.

Learn more about Moncrief and her books by visiting her Amazon page.


If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.

Thank you! 

Review of The Ghost Bride: A Novel (P. S.) by Yangsze Choo

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 384

Season Read: Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)ghostbride
Li Lan, the daughter of a respectable Chinese family in colonial Malaysia, hopes for a favorable marriage, but her father has lost his fortune, and she has few suitors. Instead, the wealthy Lim family urges her to become a “ghost bride” for their son, who has recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at what price?

Night after night, Li Lan is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, where she must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family.

Review:
This book allows the reader to travel back in time to a place they may have only had a hint of knowledge of.  Choo expertly describes the place that Li Lan lives, allowing the reader to vividly see the streets and goings on.  The myths and old wives tales of the village are so completely intertwined with the story that one cannot help but become enraptured.

As someone brought up in western culture, there were times that I found myself a bit confused with all of the names and connections between the characters of the great Lim household, but that did not diminish the story overall.  The core of this story is Li Lan herself, her desires, and what she thinks will bring her future happiness.  While Li Lan learns more of herself and more of the past, she has to make a choice of what will be best for her in the long run: to go with the expected and hard fought for future, or step out into a completely new reality.

 

chooAuthor Bio: (From Amazon)
Yangsze Choo is a fourth generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. Due to a childhood spent in various countries, she can eavesdrop (badly) in several languages. After graduating from Harvard University, she worked as a management consultant and at a startup before writing her first novel. THE GHOST BRIDE, set in colonial Malaya and the elaborate Chinese world of the afterlife, is about a peculiar historic custom called a spirit marriage.

Yangsze lives in California with her husband, two children, and a potential rabbit. She loves to eat and read, and often does both at the same time.

You can always see more of what Choo has published by going to her Amazon page.



If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.

Thank you!