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Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows

Everything you’ve read about Sherlock Holmes is a lie. The tale of Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows reveals the real story of Watson and Holmes and the work they undertook to keep this world safe from the old gods.

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TitleSherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows
Author: James Lovegrove
Series: The Cthulhu Casebooks, Book 1
Publish Date: November 19, 2019, Blackstone
Genre: Urban fantasy
Narrator: Dennis Kleinman
Source
: Audible Plus Catalog

Publisher’s Description: It is the autumn of 1880, and Dr. John Watson has just returned from Afghanistan. Badly injured and desperate to forget a nightmarish expedition that left him doubting his sanity, Watson is close to destitution when he meets the extraordinary Sherlock Holmes, who is investigating a series of deaths in the Shadwell district of London. Several bodies have been found, the victims appearing to have starved to death over the course of several weeks, and yet they were reported alive and well mere days before. Moreover, there are disturbing reports of creeping shadows that inspire dread in any who stray too close.

Holmes deduces a connection between the deaths and a sinister drug lord who is seeking to expand his criminal empire. Yet both he and Watson are soon forced to accept that there are forces at work far more powerful than they could ever have imagined. Forces that can be summoned, if one is brave – or mad – enough to dare …

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Talk bubble for IvanaInvested Ivana says…

I’m not exactly sure how to classify this Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu mash-up, but urban fantasy seems as good a description as any. There is an investigation that takes place in Victorian London, and there are elements of the paranormal, so I guess it qualifies.

The premise of this book is interesting and I like the narrator’s voice. However, I don’t feel very invested in the story or the characters.

The book can get overly wordy, which isn’t surprising for a Victorian-era story. I’m usually okay with exposition, but even I got a bit tired of it.

In this story, Watson has only known Holmes for a week or so, and yet he behaves as if they’ve been devoted friends for a lifetime. I suppose the trauma they are experiencing could be bonding them more quickly than expected.

Somehow, Holmes figures out how to use magic. That seems a little forced, convenient, and out of place.

I enjoyed Dennis Kleinman as the narrator quite a bit. He creates several easily-distinguishable voices throughout the book. There could have been a greater difference between Holmes’s and Watson’s voices. They were different, but the differences were subtle to my ear.

It’s just little things like these that kept me from truly investing in the story. It wasn’t a bad story by any means, but it didn’t draw me in enough to pursue the remaining two books in the series. If you are a particular fan of Holmesian or Lovecraftian fiction, it might be worth checking out, though.

Betrayals by Lili St. Crow

Dru is back, and now that the first battle for her life is over, worse is yet to come.

Title: Betrayals
Author: Lili St. Crow
Series: Strange Angels, Book 2
Publish Date: October 29, 2009
Genre: young adult paranormal
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: She’s no angel…

Poor Dru Anderson. Her parents are long gone, her best friend is a werewolf, and she’s just learned that the blood flowing through her veins isn’t entirely human. (So what else is new?)

Now Dru is stuck at a secret New England Schola for other teens like her, and there’s a big problem—she’s the only girl in the place. A school full of cute boys wouldn’t be so bad, but Dru’s killer instinct says that one of them wants her dead. And with all eyes on her, discovering a traitor within the Order could mean a lot more than social suicide…

Can Dru survive long enough to find out who has betrayed her trust—and maybe even her heart?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Betrayals takes place mere minutes after the events of Strange Angels. Dru, Graves, and Christophe have been relocated to a boys school for teenage werewolves and vamps. Then Christophe leaves, and Dru is left reeling, feeling out and place and fearful for her life. Graves, however, seems to find his place immediately, becoming an Alpha and respected on campus for being the rare breed of lou garou.

There’s a lot of reflection for Dru as she thinks about hunts with her dad, how he died, and her long-buried genetics that reveal she’s more than human. There’s even a scene I really enjoyed where her svetocha comes out to play. I am certain I’ll see more of that power later when she comes into it.

The descriptions of the action scenes sadly didn’t get any better, bouncing from one to the next without fluidity. I’m still not sure what really happened during the attack at the school, or the boss battle with Sergej at the end…everything just seemed so chaotic. Sometimes I wonder if the author intended for it to be that way, describing everything so awkwardly that you’re just as lost as the character and therefore are unable to predict the outcome. Then I wonder if it’s just me. I’m not sure, but I still don’t really follow the action scenes well.

Overall, a good read. The characters are great, I’m excited to see what happens next, I’m just hoping I’ll get a clearer view for future books. 3 stars.

Our reviews in this series…

Bleak Harbor by Bryan Gruley

Bleak Harbor is a fast paced who-done-it with a twist as the kidnapped child in question is on the autism spectrum.

Title:  Bleak Harbor
Author: Bryan Gruley
Series:  Bleak Harbor #1
Publish Date:  December 1, 2018
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Publisher’s Description:  Their son is gone. Deep down, they think they’re to blame.

Summertime in Bleak Harbor means tourists, overpriced restaurants, and the Dragonfly Festival. One day before the much-awaited and equally chaotic celebration, Danny Peters, the youngest member of the family that founded the town five generations ago, disappears.

When Danny’s mother, Carey, and stepfather, Pete, receive a photo of their brilliant, autistic, and socially withdrawn son tied to a chair, they fear the worst. But there’s also more to the story. Someone is sending them ominous texts and emails filled with information no one else should have. Could the secrets they’ve kept hidden—even from one another—have led to Danny’s abduction?

As pressure from the kidnapper mounts, Carey and Pete must face their own ugly mistakes to find their son before he’s taken from them forever.



Agent Annie says…

 

Bleak Harbor is a fast paced who-done-it with a twist as the kidnapped child in question is on the autism spectrum.  I enjoyed the family dynamics of a mother, son and step father and all the various entanglements they each are caught up in.  I was definitely kept guessing as to who did the kidnapping. Unfortunately, I thought the last quarter of the book introduced too many possibilities and added more characters than I could keep track of.  Many of whom seemed just a distraction to the main story. I also thought the final reveal and the manner in which the kidnapping was pulled off was too complicated and I found myself doubting that the character was given enough backstory to make it believable. I also felt a connection to the small town on the shore of Great Lake Michigan since I am familiar with actual towns that are in the same locale.  The history of the town and the matriarch’s interaction with the townspeople was well done and I appreciated the “justice” that was meted out at the end. I would give this book 3.5.

 

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Tabitha by Neil Gibson, Caspar Wijngaard

I really wanted to like this comic. It’s from an indie publisher, and I was hoping to give them a good review, maybe get them a few more sales and fans. It won’t be from this title.

Title: Tabatha
Author: Neil Gibson, Caspar Wijngaard
Publish Date: November 3, 2015, by TPub Comics
Genre: Thriller
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Luke works as a mailman in Los Angeles and moonlights as a thief – the empty houses on his postal route are rich, easy pickings for him and his friends. Everything goes to plan until one house turns out to not quite be so empty. The situation spirals out of control, leaving the happy go lucky thieves battling for their lives. And all because of Tabatha.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

I like the concept. It starts out as if it’s about some thieves and how they case places to rob later. Further, one of the characters is awkward around women, and I wondered if it was going to get dark because he would get some power over women. But it was not to be.

 

***Spoilers***

 

***Major Spoilers***

 

Ready for them?

 

Tabatha ends up being a doll that the bad guy thinks is real. He has conversations with her, and he is the one kidnapping and killing the other women to give Tabatha a real body through some ritual.

The idea is very good, but the execution is lacking. I think some of the ideas are an attempt to provide a reason to read it again, but it didn’t work for me. They would show the bad guy talking to his victim from the victim’s perspective. Then later, we get it from the bad guy’s perspective, and we “hear” Tabatha’s side of the conversation. I think it was too easy to fill in the blanks, and the later dialog doesn’t add anything new, which is why I didn’t feel the need to go back.

The group of kidnappers is even a bit stereotyped, with the girlfriend of one of them being taken to be the latest body for Tabatha. At least the girlfriend is not a damsel in distress, which is nice, and the group works together to save themselves.

I give this a three, right in the middle. Some good ideas and good artwork, but marred by cliches. If I hadn’t read so much, this might have been better. As it is, it doesn’t rise above the other things I have read through the years.

The Alchemist’s Son by Athena Daniels

The Beyond the Grave series by Athena Daniels returns with Book 2, The Alchemist’s Son.

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

AlchemistTitle: The Alchemist’s Son
Author: Athena Daniels
Series: Beyond the Grave 02
Publish Date: August 16, Sunset Coast Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Source: Provided by publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionA town with a dark secret.
A detective digging for the truth.
A discovery that leads to an unthinkable sacrifice…

For one hundred years, a demon has been watching, waiting, plotting…

White witch Sage Matthews has inherited a gift that makes her both integral to an ancient prophecy and a target for a demon-possessed serial killer. Assigned to catch the killer, Detective Sergeant Ethan Blade falls wildly, and inconveniently, in love with the one woman he doesn’t know how to protect.

Together Sage and Ethan delve into the prophecy, and the more they learn, the more deadly their situation becomes. At midnight on the night of the blood moon, an ancient doorway will open, and a master demon and his horde will pour through and unleash hell on earth. Only Sage can stop their onslaught—but not if the demon kills her first.

With the blood moon looming, Sage discovers she can join forces with “the alchemist’s son” to destroy the demon. But who is the alchemist’s son? And will he be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice required to end this struggle between light and dark forever?

The Alchemist’s Son is the much-anticipated conclusion to Sage and Ethan’s journey of supernatural suspense and romance, which began in The Seer’s Daughter.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I must admit I was a little disappointed in this one. The title promises more of Ethan’s background but we get more of Sage trying to figure out what to do. Readers don’t learn more about Ethan until the story is almost over. Most of this installment is Sage still running around trying to figure out how to defeat the demon.

The setting is even darker in this book as the demon is closer to walking on this plane of existence. but readers get comedic breaks between the doom and gloom when they are introduced to the new characters of Ethan’s team. Ethan and Sage have their romance beautifully wrapped up.

badge3v4I did enjoy this novel but I think it could have taken a different direction that would have made me love it.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Check out these other Romance reads!

His Darkest Craving by Tiffany Roberts, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Real by Katie Evans

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

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