‘Cold Blood’ by Genevieve McCluer is a vampire story set in Toronto. I’ve read her previous books set in the city and have enjoyed them very much. This is the story of Kalila, a vampire seeking revenge for the murder of her wife and son, and her own turning. A newcomer to Toronto, she must first find out where he is hiding – and for that she needs the help of an information broker. Dorenia has a somewhat similar tale and seeks revenge on her nemesis too. By working together will they be able to find peace, and maybe something more?
I like Genevieve McClure’s writing style. It is fast and immediate and draws me in. I loved the nod to a previous novel ‘Olivia’, and to some recognisable areas of the city. She makes monsters sympathetic characters and gives them entirely plausible lives alongside the other residents of Toronto. I like this world she has invented.
‘Dying For You’ is the story of Victorija Dred, Principe of the the Dred Clan, and arch enemy of Byron, Principe of the Debrek Clan. Feared by all, Victorija has a reputation for ruthlessness. So when she unexpectedly becomes blood bonded to Daisy McDougall, why won’t she take her? Even when blood sickness weakens her, she refuses to force Daisy to submit. Daisy feels a pull towards Victorija. Has her family history a part to play? As the pair struggle, threats within the Dred Clan could change everything. Is Victorija strong enough to fight?
I’ve read all of the books in this series and love it. I was delighted to find that Jenny Frame had decided to write Victorija’s story. At this difficult time we all need a bit of escapism – and this story did it for me. It had it all. Love, family and magic. It was fascinating to find out more about the Dred Clan, and the other paranormal elements working with them. Although this was Victorija and Daisy’s story, we still got to spend time with Byron, Amelia and the rest of the Debreks. And Jenny Frame has shown that there is so much more to this world. I can’t wait for the next one.
‘This Charming Man’ by C.K. McDonnell is the second in The Stranger Times series. I haven’t read the first one, but got most of the jist pretty quickly. That said reading the first one will give a greater understanding of what on earth is going on from the get-go.
The Stranger Times is a publication reporting on the very odd things happening around Greater Manchester and beyond. This weird group of characters involved in the paper work together in the most bizarre circumstances. Yet they manage to keep a sense of humour – well most of them do. When it appears vampires are on the loose in the city, wreaking havoc and leaving bodies in their wake, an investigation is demanded. What will they uncover – and can they really trust what they find?
It was funny, irreverent and just plain bonkers. But lots and lots of fun. This urban, supernatural fantasy kept me laughing. The author sees the bizarre in every situation and keeps the reader engaged until the end.
‘A Letter To Three Witches’ by Elizabeth Bass is a delightful story that is sure to be the first in a much anticipated series. Gwen’s family have been forbidden to practice witchcraft by the Grand Council of Witches. Nearly one hundred years ago her great-great grandfather cast a spell that caused havoc and since then his descendants have been watched closely. Any whiff of magic and they are in big trouble. Although Gwen and her cousins, Trudy and Milo, have avoided being caught for minor transgressions, things change when Gwen’s adopted sister puts a spanner in the works. She sends a letter to each stating that she will steal one of their partners by the end of the week. Who will it be? And how will they stop her? The stress results in the magic they have been denying surfacing, with disastrous consequences. Long buried secrets threaten to change everything they thought was true.
This was a lighthearted, funny and totally enchanting read. It was the perfect escapism, and one I really appreciated in these difficult times. It was a wonderfully conceived story, with some laugh out loud moments and some poignant ones too. I loved the characters and the world Elizabeth Bass has imagines. I want more of these characters and I can’t wait to read the next one.
‘Midnight Slain in Georgia’ is a well crafted short story ideal for the upcoming Halloween season. Callie works for a travel company organising tours. One of them is a ghost tour of Savannah. Part of Callie’s job is to vet applicants to be included on the tour, and when one comes up with a link to history, she wants nothing to do with it. But along with her partner, Jo, she is required to check it out. Will an overnight stay change her mind about the property? And who is the ghost supposedly haunting the B&B?
The first thing that appealed to me about his story was the link to Anne Hagan’s ‘Loving Blue in Red States’ series. I’ve read all of them and was delighted to get a follow-up with two of the characters. There’s no need to have read the previous story, ‘Savannah Georgia’, but if you have you’ll bet an extra kick out of this story. The characters of Callie and Jo have a good humoured relationship which comes through here. They also have a hot and steamy time together and this is very evident in this story. The story was brilliantly executed and made me gasp. A clever and delightful tale.
‘The Fog of War’ by A.L. Lester is a historical paranormal romance set in England after the First World War. As Dr Silvia Marks settles back into life in the small English village where she grew up, she tries to forget the grief tearing at her heart. The disappearance of her lover during the war has left her scarred. With the help of army nurse Walter, she becomes the local G.P. and runs her own practice. When a friend from the battlefield hospital comes to stay, she begins to see some purpose again. But a strange mystery with one of her patients throws everything up in the air. She must decide if she had the courage to find out what’s going on. Because doing so has far-reaching complications.
This was an imaginative story, with an interesting premise. I liked the time period, as it was a time when women began to venture out into the workplace due to the lack of male labour available. Sylvia was strong and capable, but was still struggling with heartbreak. Lucy came into her life at just the right time, and she had a positive influence on her. The paranormal element was intriguing and there is so much scope to develop it further in the next books in the series. I was certainly very curious as to where it would lead. I enjoyed the book and eagerly await more.
‘The Fiend in the Fog’ is a wonderfully atmospheric story set in Victorian England. When a noxious fog envelops certain parts of the city there’s talk of demons. Abby and Gideon’s clinic begins to see patients affected by the mysterious goings-on. Meg and her brother Nat live privileged lives, but are drawn into the mystery, thought their own particular interests. What is going on in a nondescript building in the East End? What are they studying there – and will it have implications for the group of individuals, brought together by the fog and what lies beneath it?
The story was compelling from the very start, with a fascinating mystery and interesting characters. I loved the historical setting of 1885 London. The wonderfully descriptive writing pulled me right into the heart of the story, and I could just imagine the dirty buildings and awful stench of the city at that time. I won’t give anything away about what exactly they were looking into, or why they were all involved, but it was brilliantly done. I would love to see more from this group of characters, as their stories could lead off into so many directions.
Olivia is a centuries-old vampire living in Toronto. After years of persecution and worse, she prefers a quiet life with her pet parrot, Harvey, but when he becomes ill, she has to seek out the help of a human vet, Mia. Because of her PTSD, it takes therapy to even get her as far as the front door of the surgery. Mia has some significant problems of her own, but she’s more than willing to take a chance on the gorgeous vampire. The unlikely pair find they have an affinity and when someone from Olivia’s past reappears, they have to join forces, if Olivia is going to survive.
The story his told in 1st person and puts us in Olivia’s thoughts, making it easier to feel her fears and worries. We also get to experience Mia’s reactions once the story begins to switch between their POV’s. The writing is perky and there’s also a sarcastic humour to it. There’s a playfulness at times, but then the seriousness of the situation hits the reader square in the face. At the halfway mark it suddenly took off for me. There was one heck of a surprise, that I did not see coming at all. I enjoyed the story and would like to read more in this world.
‘The Mortician’s Daughter’ is one of those books where you completely accept the premise and run with it. Aria has always dreamed of being a singer and up until her 22nd birthday that’s where she was headed. When she realises that ghosts exist – and they want to talk to her – life is never going to be the same. Finding out her father’s funeral home business is just a front for AfterCorps, an organisation set up to help the ghosts move on, is also a huge shock. Sloane has known about this side of life forever and joins Aria in training to work for AfterCorps. Far from being freaked out by it all, she relishes the challenge and wants a job in the Criminally Demonic Unit. But the pair are about to find out that there’s more going on within the company than they thought – and deciding who to trust is becoming more and more fraught with danger and uncertainty.
I loved this book. Nan Higgins has imagined a world not unlike our own, but with some magnificently thought out paranormal twists. I felt sorry for Aria when she was faced with giving up on her dreams, but I was also fascinated with the world that had opened up to her. I wanted to know more about it and the first person telling worked well in immersing the reader into each discovery. This world deserves a whole series of its own. A great read.