Category Archives: Paranormal Mystery

Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock

This is not your typical Wonderland. You have been warned.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Lost in WonderlandTitle: Lost in Wonderland
Author: Nicky Peacock
Series: The Twisted and the Brave 01
Publication Date: April 14, 2016, Evernight Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
Source: Provided by author

Publisher’s DescriptionMonsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder…

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother…

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

“You used to be much more…muchier. You’ve neglected your muchness, Mouse.”

I must admit, even after reading the synopsis, I was expecting something more akin to the fantastical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Other Stories. While it was a little shock to discover this isn’t the case, this tale delivers the fantastical and humorous as well as being dark and thrilling!

This is undoubtedly one clever book. In its own right, the book is dark. It is chock full of murder and intrigue. I mean, a secret vigilantly group that hunts and kills serial killers? That would be awesome by itself!  But the little bits of Carrol’s Alice makes things a little lighter. Quotes and references litter the pages, adding to the characters and the tale overall, and made this reviewer love the tale all that much more.

badge4v5

The characters all have their own strengths and weaknesses. This makes them seem more realistic—even the killer/monster, the Kustaka.  This also adds to the narration as the story is told from Kayla and Shilo’s point of view, as well as that of the Kustaka.

The ending to the story felt a bit rushed, and I found myself wishing that the chase was drawn out just a bit longer. But overall, this is a powerful start to a series, and I can’t wait to read the next installments. 4 teacups all around!

Other recommendations…

If you love Wonderland tales, you might try the following re-tellings: Splintered by A.G. Howard, Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J Pepper, Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Advertisements

Red Runes by Nicholas Olivo

Doc Graystone and the Red Runes is a great escape for anyone looking for a short, unique fantasy story with hints of mystery and supernatural thrills!

Red Rune Nicholas OlivoTitle: Red Runes
Author: Nicholas Olivo
SeriesAdventures of Doc Graystone
Publish Date:  April 10, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source:  Provided by the author (and purchased)

Publisher’s DescriptionBoston, 1932. The police are baffled by a series of killings in which the victims have had mystical runes carved into their flesh. Enter Doc Graystone, gentleman necromancer. Adept at delivering two-fisted necromantic justice, Graystone battles demons, revenants, and ragmen in a race against the clock to stop a madman from destroying the world as we know it.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

Welcome to the world of necromancy. In the year 1932, in Boston, Massachusetts, there is a doctor who is very proficient at necromancy and solving crimes by asking the victim “who done it?”  I kind of feel like it’s cheating, but where killers are concerned, one must take whatever advantage one finds.  Doc Graystone is looney bin material according to his peers.  He is grieving over the loss of his fiance and I got the hint that he had something to do with it.  He has been perpetually drunk and disorderly since the “incident” and has become a recluse while wallowing in his guilt. Practicing necromancy cannot be good for the soul and with this first short story, little is revealed about how he came to practice or what kinds of cases he has solved.  Also, he portrays his peers as idiots, so I’m interested in discovering “the rest of the story.”

badge3v4This little novella (all 5 are on average 43 pages each) is a very good intro to this Indiana Jones type character.  He knows a lot about the big bad beasties living in the world and he’s nobody’s fool. He can reanimate corpse’s to get their last words and get to the bottom of suspicious deaths.

I have not started #2 in the series yet, but that’s only because I wanted to write this review and give ya’ll a heads up regarding this quick little escape.  It’s worth your time.  I enjoyed it!

Kat Mandu says… 

I loved this novella! I’ve always been fascinated by necromancy, despite its dark reputation. Olivo takes the idea of necromantic control, ennervation, and soul bargaining and plays with its potential. The focus isn’t necessarily on the magic so much as the intention behind it and I love its endless possibilities, not to mention all the hints the author throws out referring to various things about the gentleman necromancer. Grant Graystone seems to have all kinds of secrets, some involving his fiancee’s death and maybe some darker pacts of his own that may come to haunt him later.

I really enjoyed this particular adventure and I can’t wait to read the rest. I don’t really have any dislikes towards it, beyond wishing a couple things would have been explained more (like his relationship with Victor, the ghost in the theatre; or how Joan died and what role he had to play in it; or how he was able to summon a particular carriage driver from the Beyond and what happened with the girl – I mean, he probably fulfilled his promise, but it was never mentioned so there was no finality to it). But those are things that could possibly be answered in the next installments, so perhaps I’ll receive my answers when I read on.

Other reviews…

If you like this book, try…

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

The crazy keeps on coming in the eleventh installment of the Charley Davidson series!

11th GraveTitleEleventh Grave in Moonlight
AuthorDarynda Jones
SeriesCharley Davidson, Book 11
Publish Date: Jan 24, 2016, St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance, Mystery
Narrator: Lorelei King
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah…demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead.

In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, spoilers!)


Invested_Ivana_100

Invested Ivana says…

I decided to wait until Eleventh Grave in Moonlight was available on audio rather than request it from NetGalley. Audio is my favorite way to experience these books. Lorelei King is amazing at conveying Charley’s sense of humor and creating distinct voices for each character. She really does a masterful job for every series I’ve heard her read. Thank you so much to Macmillan Audio for being consistent with the narrator for this series.

As much as I love this series, I will make a confession: I’ve given up keeping track of the big story arc. It’s gotten so big and just gets more expansive with each book. First Charley was a Reaper and Reyes was the son of Satan. Then both Charley and Reyes were gods from another dimension. Now, Charley is 13 gods and in self-imposed—witsec? rehab? time out?—on Earth. Eventually, there will be no way to top the previous book and Beep’s story will feel anticlimactic by comparison. This part of the story was starting to bother me a little, so I just stopped paying much attention to it.

I think the heart of each book is really Charley’s relationships with other people, how much she cares, the lengths she’ll go to to help others, and, of course, her snort-worthy sense of humor. These are what I pay attention to when I’m listening, and I love them.

Charley is fierce when it comes to protecting her loved ones and anyone else she feels is deserving. Her uncle, Cookie’s daughter, Reyes, her clients, children, and innocent bystanders all benefit from her protection in Eleventh Grave. In fact, her inability to right some huge wrongs, when she has so much power at her disposal, is one of her major internal struggles that will likely play a larger part in future novels.

She’s also very kind. It’s quite amazing, really, how kind she is after everything she’s gone through in her life. Or perhaps, because of all that, she’s kind. She experiences the emotions of the living and the lives of the dead who pass through her. That has to make one feel an enormous amount of empathy. If only we, as humans, could experience more than just was is inside our own head, perhaps we would be more empathetic as well.

badge4v5Big story arc or not, I always enjoy a visit with Charley and her friends. Whether you read for the big story, the little story, the characters, the romance, or the humor, I think this series has a lot to say about simply being human.

Our reviews in this series…

Saturday Shorts: Living Underground by Josie Jaffrey

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, where we feature short stories, novellas, graphic novels, kid’s books middle grade and younger, and anything else that is a shorter read than a novel. Today we have a short from one of our site’s favorite authors, Josie Jaffrey, author of the Solis Invicti series.

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

living-undergroundTitleLiving Underground
AuthorJosie Jaffrey
Series: stand alone
Publish Date: October 30, 2015
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: A short story set on the London Underground.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: When Josie asked me if I would like to review her short story, I jumped at the chance since I love the Solis Invicti series. This story was not a disappointment! In only 10 pages there is so much tension and description! I love the way that the story makes you question whether the events that take place in this short story actually happened or if it was all a dream.

badge5v4Dislikes: I found myself wishing I could have known the characters a little better. Especially Kieran, the “stranger” from the train. I wanted to know who the mysterious woman, referred to only as “her,” was and why she abused Kieran. I hope this eventually gets expanded into a full novel!

I have to give this 5 kisses!

Recommendations…

If you are looking for more vampire reads, check out the following: ‘Salem’s Lot by Steven King, Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, and the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Cemetery Girl: Inheritance by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

For the second book in Charlaine Harris’s and Christopher Golden’s Cemetery Girl series, I paired the audio from GraphicAudio.net with the graphic novel itself for a unique experience.

Inheritance novelTitleInheritance (graphic novel, audio)
AuthorCharlaine Harris, Christopher Golden
Series: Cemetery Girl Book 02
Publish Date: Oct 6, 2015, Jan 11, 2016 (audio)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Paranormal Mystery
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionShe calls herself Calexa Rose Dunhill. She has been living—hiding out—in Dunhill Cemetery ever since someone left her there to die. She has no idea who wants her dead or why, but she isn’t about to wait around for her would-be killer to finish the job.

Despite her self-imposed isolation, Calexa’s ability to see spirits—and the memories she receives from them—guarantees she’ll never be alone, even among the deceased. The only living people she allows herself to interact with are Kelner, the cemetery’s cantankerous caretaker, and Lucinda Cameron, an elderly woman who lives in an old Victorian house across the street. With their friendship, Calexa has regained a link to the world beyond tombstones and mausoleums.

Until the night she witnesses a murder that shatters her life—a life now under a police microscope—as their investigation threatens to uncover Calexa’s true identity…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

I had such a great time listening to the first graphic novel in this series that I decided, for the second, I’d both listen to it AND view the graphic novel at the same time. I thought it would be interesting to see the images and hear the story at the same time.

InheritanceI wasn’t wrong. It was fun to see what visual cues the GraphicAudio.net folks used when creating sound effects or extra dialog for the audio.  Since this is essentially a short story, there is no need to abridge the book, so all parts of the story are included.

The story itself moves Calexa a bit closer to having to face the past that landed her in the cemetery with no memory of her former life.  A third confidant is added to Calexa’s small circle of “friends.” And another layer of mystery is added to the story—someone seems to be searching for Calexa. But is it someone from her family, or the person that tried to kill her?

badge4v4I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for Book 3 in this series, in both formats, I really like the idea of making graphic novels into audios.  I’ll never be a huge fan of the graphic novel format because it just isn’t meaty enough for me, but I’m really enjoying the audio version of these books.