The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

The Gates of EvangelineThe Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

From a unique new talent comes a fast-paced debut, introducing a heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her . . .

When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, The Gates of Evangeline is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won’t be able to put down.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is fascinating, there is no question about that. From the first few pages I was hooked and I didn’t want to put it down.

Charlie is a strong character and although she has a lot of unexpected events occur in the beginning of the story, she doesn’t heavily overreact or do anything that would seem particularly out of character, save for the one act that ties the rest of the story together–a necessary plot device used by the author, and one that I could appreciate.

I loved the atmosphere of this story and the plantation home setting. The structures were beautifully described and I really felt I could see the same things the main character was viewing. I was particularly impressed with the descriptions of the swamp and surrounding territory, including New Orleans–though it was perhaps a more positive perception than some visitors get from the city.

I won’t say that I gave this four stars instead of five for the language and the comparisons the author made to the people of Louisiana and Texas compared to a New Yorker with a college education–others already have. Frankly, having not lived there and only been a visitor to the south and to Texas, I likely would have done the same thing–dialogue is a tough nut to crack.

What I will say, is that I couldn’t totally get around the idea of a sick, dying old woman seemingly being completely out of it and then acting as though she were able to clear the fog and have a perfectly rational conversation as she wished.

Otherwise, I thought this was a brilliantly crafted novel and recommend it to anyone looking for a good, deep mystery with a lot of unexpected revelations.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Americosis by Haydn Wilks

A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.
He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.
His aides think he’s crazy.
The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.

Americosis.

An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.

VOLUME 1
This short novella introduces the series. It’ll leave you begging for more…

My Review :

4 Stars

This is certainly an interesting way to introduce readers to a new series. If you are squeamish and offended by swearing and blatant sexual acts, this book will immediately be off-putting, but if you aren’t, then this book has a little bit of something for everyone.

Chaos and destruction, insanity and excitement–this book doesn’t slow down from the first page to the last. If you are looking for something with a dystopian twist that also borders the line of horror, this will do nicely.

I liked the different stories that all combine together to make for a wider angle than you get with most stories. For a short book, this packed a punch. Recommended to those who like something a bit different and edgy. It was a lot of fun.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Hanover House (Hanover House Chronicles #0.5)Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Hanover House
The Hanover House Chronicles

Prequel novella to my new Hanover House Chronicles (digital only).

Welcome to Hanover House….

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries.

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong…

From Sweet Dreams Boxed Set

Whiteout
The Hanover House Chronicles

Coming September 2016

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a bit of a change for Brenda Novak, but she knows how to work it. I agree with her that the minds and inner workings of psychopathic personalities are a very interesting subject and certainly one that is fun to explore.

I liked the dynamic between the two main characters in this book. The tension between them was the perfect mix of sensuality and frustration. Evelyn is a strong character that I see being able to carry a series like this well, without the reader losing interest in her. The memories of her past and the violent things she has suffered through give her a strength that a lot of female characters lack.

Overall, I was really impressed with this and am looking forward to the release of the first novel “Whiteout,” coming in 2016.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Exciting news! Next book in Null City series coming soon

ionia martin:

More reasons to be excited about the book world!

Originally posted on Barb Taub:

The next book in the Null City series, Round Trip Fare, is coming soon from Hartwood Publishing.

cropped-null-city-metro-station3.jpg

ROUND TRIP FARE

by Barb Taub

Blurb: Carey Parker knows superpowers suck. From childhood she’s had two choices—master the powers of her warrior gift, or take the Metro train to Null City and a normal life. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. There are just a couple of problems with either option. Her parents have been killed, her brother and sister targeted. The newest leader of the angels trying to destroy Null City might just be the one person she loves most in the world. And her sexy new partner’s gift lets him predict deaths. Hers.

Sneek PeekClick here for a sneak preview of ROUND TRIP FARE.


And don’t miss:

barb_taub_null_city_500x800-1Someone should have told them the angels were…

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The 33

If you are a film buff, then this is something you don’t want to miss. Thanks to Warner Bros. and Grace Hill Media for allowing us to view this special preview.

Remember the Chilean Mine Crisis? This is their story. Told by way of an epic cast, this is a film that will be sweeping the awards ceremonies. Be among the first to view this video.

And ladies…Antonio Banderas and Loud Diamond Phillips. That’s why.

Please take a moment to share the clip with your favourite media outlet.

The Earl Claims a Bride by Amelia Grey

Harrison Thornwick thought he was safe. The fourth son to the Earl of Thornwick, there was no reason he couldn’t lounge his life away, drinking and carousing in the notorious Heirs’ Club. But when the sudden deaths of his father and brothers leave Harrison holding the bag, he needs a wife in haste, unless he’s to defy the rule of the prince. Unluckily for Harrison, the prince has an entirely different rule for him—his wife-to-be, Miss Angelina Rule. But when he sees the lady in the flesh, Harrison finds her too beautiful and fascinating to resist…Princely command or not, Angelina has no desire to marry Thornwick. Waiting for her sweetheart to return from the army, she’s not about to be paired up with an Earl—especially with an infamous scoundrel like Harrison. But with Thornwick determined to make her his wife in more ways than one, Angelina will have to put up all her defenses if she is to resist being seduced…

The Earl Claims a Bride (The Heirs' Club of Scoundrels Trilogy, #2)The Earl Claims a Bride by Amelia Grey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whilst I have seen a lot of books in this genre lately, very few of them have held my interest for long enough to make it past the first few chapters. This book passed the test, and kept me interested throughout.

I liked Harrison and Angelina both, although I admit, at times I wanted to reach into the book and shake Angelina for her silliness. These two characters had good chemistry with one another and I enjoyed the rivalry between them.

Amelia Grey is good with descriptions and makes it easy for the reader to envision the world of her characters. I found myself right there in the scene with them, which as I have grown older and read an ever increasing pile of books, these things matter to me more than they once did.

Overall, I liked this book a lot and would recommend it to others.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Ghastly Mcnastys: Raiders of the Lost Shark

The Ghastly McNastys: Raiders of the Lost Shark (Ghastly McNastys #2)The Ghastly McNastys: Raiders of the Lost Shark by Lyn Gardner

Shiver me timbers – the Ghastly McNastys are back!

The McNastys are after Captain Syd’s treasure, rumoured to be buried in Little Snoring Castle. And they’re in luck – a pirate movie’s being shot there. They reckon they’ll easily be able to sneak into the castle, blend in with the cast and steal all the treasure.

But youngsters Tat and Hetty have outwitted the dastardly duo before,
and have plans to trap them once and for all.

The disgusting McNastys and their vile antics will have children squirming, and squealing with laughter from beginning to end!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun book! As a mum, I am always on the lookout for books to read with the kids that will capture and keep their attention for more than a few minutes. This book did that with no problem.

The illustrations are fun and break up the text every so often so the kids aren’t intimidated by miles and miles of passages without a break. The characters were cute and the story was fun and had a bit of mystery to keep them guessing.

The book is long enough that it will likely take them a few days to get through, but still short enough and easy enough content that it would be a good choice for a child just beginning to read chapter books.

I liked it a lot and had a really good time reading it with my boys. Two thumbs up, looking forward to the next one.

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

London from my Windows by Mary Carter

London From My WindowsLondon From My Windows by Mary Carter

Ava Wilder’s home in small-town Iowa is her sanctuary. A talented sketch artist with severe agoraphobia, Ava spends her days drawing a far more adventurous life than her invisible disability allows. Until she receives a package from London, explaining that she has inherited her Aunt Beverly’s entire estate—on condition that she lives in Bev’s West End flat for a year.

Once overseas, Ava wonders if she’s simply swapped one prison for another. The streets and shops are intimidating, and Bev’s home appears to be a drop-in center for local eccentrics. Worst of all, Bev left a list of impossible provisos to be overseen by her quirky, attractive solicitor. Ava is expected to go out—to experience clubs, pubs, and culture; to visit Big Ben, Hyde Park, and the London Eye. After years of viewing the world through a pane of glass, she’s at the messy, complicated center of it. As exhilarated as she is terrified, will she be able to step up, step out, and claim the life she was meant for?

In an insightful, poignant novel, Mary Carter delves deep into self-discovery and the meaning of courage, exploring the fears that serve to protect us—until life calls us to connect at last.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure how I feel about this book, even after completing it. I absolutely loved the main character, Ava. Watching her experience life in a bit different way than the rest of us do was enchanting. She is a smart, thoughtful and likable character that the author clearly put a lot of effort into creating.

The story itself I wasn’t so sure about. Whilst I enjoyed Ava’s personality and her reactions to things, some of the story I had a hard time suspending belief enough to get around.

This was the sort of book that I kept wavering on a star rating for. I eventually decided on 3 stars, because I had a hard time believing the character would act the way she did at some points, and yet the writing was beautiful and Ava was so charming.

Overall this is a book that I would still recommend. It was different and intriguing and obviously the author cared about it enough to put herself into it fully.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Gargoyle Hall: An Araminta Spookie adventure by Angie Sage

Gargoyle Hall: An Araminta Spookie AdventureGargoyle Hall: An Araminta Spookie Adventure by Angie Sage

When Araminta throws cold water over her best friend, Wanda, to disperse a crowd of panicked bats, it s decided Araminta has been helpful one too many times, and she is packed off to boarding school. On arrival, Araminta is surprised to discover that Gargoyle Hall makes her home, Spook House, seems positively cosy. Strange moans and clanks echo down the corridors and the two head girls are equally creepy. Most of the other pupils have been scared away, but Araminta senses that something or someone is behind the menace.With the help of best friend Wanda and Uncle Drac s prize bat, she is going to do something about it!”

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In usual Araminta Spookie style, this book is full of silly laughs and an entertaining story that children and parents are sure to like. I’ve enjoyed watching the progression of these stories since the first one, and look forward to see what is going to happen in the future.

Hoping for more books.

I thought this one had a bit slower start than some of the others, but the antics soon caught up, making the kids smile and holding their attention. I love books that can make kids curious about what is going to happen next.

If you haven’t checked out this series yet, you should, especially if you have little ones in your life.

Another fun book, another recommendation.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Final Reviews

ionia martin:

Pamela Beckford with some excellent advice from a reader’s start doing and a shameless plug for plundering. I love that woman.

Originally posted on Year 'Round Thanksgiving Project:

This will be my final block of book reviews on this site. Posting on two different blogs is more than challenging and time consuming. I obviously haven’t done a good job with it either. So, I have decided to keep this site open for the history of my reviews and such, but my other site, Poetry by Pamela will contain all future reviews (except for children’s book reviews which will remain on here). But here are the reviews I have today.

Before I get into the reviews, let me make a couple of other comments.

1) Book Covers really do make a difference. I often buy a book (or bottle of wine) because I like the artwork. It indicates to me that the author either was a professional or used a professional. Book covers show me that it has a quality I enjoy. If they look too “homemade”, I usually…

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