‘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.
We’ve all relied on distractions this year. I know I have. Books have been a lifeline and have taken us to other places, far away from the world we’ve had to live in.
I have read so many wonderful books over the past twelve months, so choosing a Top Ten has been extremely difficult. Only three have been pure romance and each of the three were exceptional. Two were mystery and crime stories and among the best I’ve ever read in that genre. The remaining books on my list veered into other genres – science fiction, fantasy and the supernatural. I needed some escapism it seems.
I recommend each and every one and hope that you will have a look at my reviews and maybe try them for yourselves. Here are my Top Ten, in alphabetical order
Finding Jessica Lambert by Clare Ashton
The Lost Templeof Psiere by K Aten
The Thing About Tilly by G Benson
Never Too Late for Heroes by A.L. Brooks
Spirited by Julie Cohen
Alsea Rising: The Seventh Star by Fletcher Delancey
‘Muses’ by Elizabeth Andre is the second in the Paranormal Grievance Committee series and a very enjoyable read. Once again we are back with Julie and Maya and their motley crew of ghost hunters. In this instalment the group is hired by Lily, a woman desperately looking for an answer to her uncle’s death. A trio of ghostly figures are causing mayhem in the family home and Lily needs them gone.
I like Elizabeth Andre’s writing style. It is light and fun and immersive. She makes me feel as if I am solving the mystery alongside them. I am a huge history fan and I love how the author weaved a story from the past, with wonderful detail, and the present day mystery. The great bunch of characters really make it for me too. Although Maya and Julie run the show, the other characters are allowed to shine. I really enjoyed it.
Wow! The heat was positively sizzling off the page. ‘Running From Forever’ has to be one of the hottest, most intensely erotic books I have ever read. The story of commitment-phobic singer Sarah and mysterious club-owner Keller is also a brilliant tale of love, longing and emotional fervour. It is an urban fantasy that veers very much into other genres – but it would be giving away too much to say which. I was completely bowled over by the slowly, skilfully built up story and it just got better and better as it went on. The relationship between Sarah and Keller was complicated – and the issue causing them problems was one that Sarah had to take her time coming to terms with. Her sister Annie was her rock and the interaction between the sisters was powerful and loving. Sarah’s bond with her was forged through tragedy and it was a major factor in every decision she had to make. But it was the chemistry between the two main characters that really gripped me. The sex was off-the-scale and one particular scene was so wonderfully envisaged that a cold shower will be in order after reading it. This is the first book I have read by K Aten, but it certainly will not be the last. I love her style and her skill at getting inside the minds of her characters. I can highly recommend ‘Running From Forever’.
The curse of the old woods is an intriguing story from the start. Maya and Julie are paranormal investigators with their own companies. They are thrown together when both are hired by an elderly lady, Mrs Fourier, to investigate the disappearance of her sister Katie many years before. The mystery of why Katie disappeared and why her sister needs the two women to help them connect again had me gripped. This ghost story has all the chills too and is well crafted. The strength of this story and the reason it works so well is the interaction between all of the characters in it. Maya and Julie don’t work alone but have friends and family helping them. I was so glad to find that this is the first in a new series as I can really see it working. A very enjoyable read.
This book is one of those that you have to sit back and take in just what you have read. I had to take a breath and absorb the story and how it made me feel. Karen F Williams is an extremely talented writer and her exquisite prose captured me from the start. I found myself slowing down as I neared the end as I wanted it to last just a little bit longer. I couldn’t tear myself away from mystery writer Sam, her crow Bertha and Gwen, the alluring professor that Sam has become enamoured with. Sam’s sister-in-law Liz and gorgeous but repressed Isabel had an equally fascinating storyline and the interweaving of their lives had me glued to the page. When Sam’s quest to find a matching bookend for the one in her possession brings her into contact with philosophy professor Gwen I was entranced. Their reactions to each other are profound and when their lives become entwined neither could have predicted where it would lead. The story has a perfect mix of enchanting romance, mystery and a ghostly element. It was sweet and imaginative at times and powerfully sexy and quite beautiful. One of the best books I have read this year. Highly recommended.
‘The Empath’ – the first in The Above and Beyond Series – completely blew me away. I have never felt such a connection with a character as I did with Aeron – certainly not since Scout in ’To Kill A Mockingbird’ when I was a teenager. Aeron Lorelei made an immediate impression on me and I couldn’t put the book down. She has had a terrible start in life, growing up with parents who ignore and resent her and living in a small town where everyone seems to hate her. When she takes the blame for the death of her friend’s younger brother and is sent away to a correctional facility they think they’ve heard the last of her. Not so. When she returns 11 years later the town is beset with tragedy and fear as young women start to go missing – and who do they decide to blame? Why Aeron, of course.
Aeron is an empath but she only knows the half of it. The mystery behind her life, what and who she is is woven with the terrible goings on in her town. The mystery was chilling and powerful and never let up. I was completely stunned by the story – the intensity, the feelings it evoked. Aeron’s growing relationship with someone who wants to help her was beautifully pitched. It let us see more about her and I liked what I saw. She had an amazing heart, having dealt with so much, but still choosing to see the good in people and in life. I was amazed at the talent and skill of someone being able to write such a story. There were so many twists and turns and the characterisation was excellent. Jody Klaire knows how to look into the souls of her characters – be they good or bad. I am so happy that there are 5 more in the series for me to look forward to reading. This is the best book I’ve read in a long time – and I can’t wait to see if she can top it with book 2!
‘Gnarled Hollow’ is a creepy mystery story that had me gripped from the start. First of all I really liked English Professor Emily and was intrigued by her opportunity to study at Gnarled Hollow, the home of an writer she admired. The author slowly teases out the story, as the other academics arrive there too and they begin to notice some very strange things happening.Some very dangerous occurrences make them wonder if they should stay. It was atmospheric and reminded me of an English country house mystery with some ‘jump out of your seat’ moments. The mixture of scholars made for some interesting alliances – and I learned not to make assumptions about people. There was layer upon layer of mystery and plenty that I didn’t see coming at all. It was a fantastic story with depth and I really enjoyed it. So much so that I plan to re-read it soon.
I was given this ARC by Bold Strokes and Netgalley for review.
‘Fury’s Bridge’ is the first in the Afterlife Inc Series by Brey Willows and is wonderful. Selene Perkton is a philosophy professor who likes life to be safe and dependable. When Alec Graves, a fury, comes into her life nothing is ever the same. The gods work out a building in Santa Monica, California and Alec’s job is to save their very existence. What does this have to do with Selene? And what will this mean for her when she does find out?
The story is beautifully written, with such honesty and passion that it quite took my breath away. I loved Selene and I understood her. She was different and she knew it. I liked that about her and so many people will recognise themselves in her. I have always thought Dani (Death) was my favourite character in this series but Selene is vying with her for first place. She is thoughtful and intelligent and I wondered how she would manage to accept something that she could never imagine as a logical thinker. There is something sointriguing and compelling about the whole concept of this book. The imagination and knowledge of ancient myths, religions and the classics that went into telling this story is seriously impressive. Alec was strong and powerful but when confronted with Selene her life was turned upside down. The intensity of their feelings was emotionally gripping and the heat leapt off the page. There is something to be said for complete acceptance and Brey Willows managed to show how life changing that can be. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.