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Brenna and the Horses of Lusayana by Lee Landes

5 stars

 

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Twelve year old Brenna MacLean wants answers. Why do they move every three months? Where is her father? How come, she can never make friends?

When she moves to the Cottage on the Cliff over a vicious stretch of coast in the north of Britain, the answers come thick and fast – and none of them are good.

To her new friend Louis, one answer is obvious. Brenna is cursed. Soon they are unravelling clues and rushing headlong into danger because the evil that lurks in the Deep has a way of reaching into the World.

The White Horses of Lusayana try to guide Brenna but Captain Croak and his servants, the Black Horses have some tricks to play.

Brenna is bold and impetuous. Luckily, Louis is there to steady her but in the end it will be Brenna who faces a terrifying choice. Because only an act of supreme daring can save her family.

Brenna is used to both moving every three months and no one remembering her, especially after a couple of minutes. We start the story with her trying to get a summer assignment from her most current teacher and him not knowing who she is and why she is in his class. It just gets worse from there when both Brenna and her mother are kicked out of the house that they are squatting in. They end up going back to her mother’s home but there is something strange going on.

 

Brenna finds a chest with strange markings and secret items in it. She also meets Louis, a rich boy living with his grandmother. They also make a friend, Cherry, in the local village. There is a lot of mystery around Brenna’s mother and the locals but no one is saying anything to Brenna because they gave their word to her mother. But when Brenna’s mother gets ill she is going to have to figure out what is going on.

 

I really liked this story. You can’t help but feel for Brenna, not knowing who her father is and living in such an unstable house. I was cheering for Brenna for trying to save her mom. I loved both the White and Black Horses. Also the twist about Louis, I really hope that there is going to be another story, possibly a series with Brenna and Louis.

 

This is a great mid grade story that any age will enjoy reading. Make sure to add it to your library.

I received this book from the Library Thing Early Readers Program in exchange for an honest review.

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Fairyvision (Songs of Magic – 5) by JL Bryan

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Jason, Erin, and the other Zebras go on a world tour with their enchanted instruments, only to encounter the mysterious supernatural Folk of India and the Far East. While they tangle with their record company, Erin tries to avoid dealing with the secrets she’s learned about herself, while Jason pieces together a mystery surrounding a very special golden guitar called Caliburn.

In Faerie, Aoide the Lutist and her troupe finally return home from their long adventure. They’re struggling to get new gigs, but Aoide senses opportunity in the form of special new magic mirrors that can broadcast concerts, plays, and other entertainment all over Faerie…

The Rioting Zebras are not on a world tour. They are on their way to India and lands near by. They also have a film crew watching in them 24 hours a day and when there is not enough drama they decide to get to Mitch and cause some. Erin and Jason are officially a couple but Erin is still having a tough time with her fairy background. Jason is trying to be as supportive as he can but that might not be enough.

At the same time Aoide and her troupe have returned with silver from our world but no instruments. They get new instruments and the possibility of new work. Television has finally come to fairy. Aoide and the group have the chance of a lifetime to be part of it. The question is if this can give them work and fame or be something sinister.

I love this series. It started out as a fun young adult read with lots of potential and it has just grown from there. Each book seems to be getting darker with more challenges and I feel like I’m watching the kids grow up. It’s also great the different characters that are introduced and the ending was a surprise for me on a couple characters.

The Songs of Magic is a great series for any age. Make sure to read them from the start or you will be lost. The books just keep getting better and better. Now I can’t wait to see what happens in Fairy Luck.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information or to purchase Fairyvision be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and JL Bryan’s website.

The Wicked Wives

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The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) “Wicked Wives” is based on the true story of the 1938 Philadelphia murder scandals in which seventeen wives were arrested for murdering their husbands. Mastermind conspirator Giorgio DiSipio, a stunning lothario and local tailor who preys upon disenchanted and unfaithful wives, convinces twelve of them to kill their spouses for insurance money. The murder conspiracy is very successful until one lone assistant D.A., Tom Rossi, uncovers the plot and brings the perpetrators to justice. “Wicked Wives” is a story made for Hollywood, combining murder, corruption, treachery, love, lust and phenomenal detail as it vividly captures Depression-era Philadelphia.

Tom Rossi is in line to be an assistant District Attorney. While on a case, he meets Lillian Stoner, who just lost her husband to pneumonia. But something is fishy to Tom and he wants to continue his investigation. Unfortunately Lillian is the niece of a high political leader. It is made clear to Tom that if he pursues this case he will not make assistant DA. But Tom proceeds anyway.

Enter Giorgio DeSipio, a well known womanizer. He is well known to the ladies in Philadelphia. He works the unhappily married women; he knows how to keep them wanting more but to never get attached. Giorgio is recruited to get the women to take out insurance policies on their husbands, with the help of corrupt insurance agents. Then the wives kill their husbands for the insurance money, in 1938 many people died from pneumonia and such which is similar to how some poisons work. Of course Giorgio has plenty of women that want to make him an honest man and there are plenty of unhappy, adulterous women to keep him going.

I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with true crime stories. I love to read them but there are some that are so dry about the facts that they just make the story unbearable. I admit that it was a little challenging for me to get into the beginning of the story. There are a lot of characters so I had a harder time sorting them out. Now, once I had that down, I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next.

I felt for Tom, his is trying to do the right thing but he is getting pressure to stop the investigation. There was clearly a lot of research done because I felt like I was right there trying to figure out what is going on. Plus knowing that this actually happened back in the 30’s Philadelphia just made it even better.

For those that like a good true crime story, this is one book you don’t wan to miss out on.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on The Wicked Wives be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Gus Pelagatti‘s website.

The Glasgow Trilogy

Malcolm Mackay is releasing all three of the Glasgow Trilogy books today and I wanted to share.

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The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter

In addictive, terse prose that recalls Lee Child, with the sweeping procedural detail of Ian Rankin, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter introduces a remarkable new voice in crime fiction.

Calum MacLean lives alone in his Glasgow flat. The telephone rings; a casual conversation, but behind it is a job offer. The clues are there if you know how to look for them. He is an expert. A loner. A job is a job, but what if this organization wants more? A meeting at a club. An offer. A brief. A target: Lewis Winter, whose death is the opening move in an all-out war between crime syndicates the likes of which hasn’t been seen for decades. It’s hard to kill a man well. People who do it well know this. People who do it badly find out the hard way. The hard way has consequences.

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How a Gunman Says Goodbye

The breathtaking, devastating second novel in the acclaimed Glasgow Trilogy, winner of the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year.

How does a gunman retire? Frank MacLeod was the best at what he does. Thoughtful. Efficient. Ruthless. But with his health failing him, how long before he’s no longer any use to his employers? A new job. Another target. But something is about to go horribly wrong. And up-and-coming hitman Calum MacLean will be called upon to pick up the pieces. Most gunmen say goodbye to the world with a bang. Frank’s still here. No longer in his prime, certainly. But with decades of experience at the top of his profession, underestimating such a man could prove to be deadly.

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The Sudden Arrival of Violence

The stunning conclusion to Malcolm Mackay’s lauded Glasgow Trilogy returns readers to the city’s underworld: a place of dark motives, dangerous allegiances and sudden, tragic ends.

It begins with two deaths: a money-man and a police informant. Deaths that offer a unique opportunity to a man like Calum MacLean. A hit man who has finally had enough of killing. Calum plans an unprecedented escape just as his employers need him the most. Glasgow’s biggest criminal organizations are gearing up for a final, fatal confrontation. The panic over Calum’s abrupt disappearance may finally give Detective Michael Fisher the chance he needs to close the case of a lifetime. But first, he must track down a man who has become a master at staying in the shadows.

Malcolm Mackay

About Malcolm Mackay

Malcolm Mackay’s acclaimed debut series, the Glasgow Trilogy, has been nominated for countless international prizes. The first of the series, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, the Theakson Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, and longlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the  Year Award. Mackay was born in Stornoway on Scotland’s Isle of Lewis, where he still lives.

To purchase The Glasgow Trilogy or for more information be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Blood on the Moon

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Blood on the Moon (Blood on the Moon – 1) by Jennifer Knight

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) As Faith Reynolds enters her freshman year of college, she is a complete and utter nervous wreck.  With her best friend Derek suddenly pulling out the romance card and her dark, mysterious classmate staring her down at every turn, Faith somehow feels stuck in the middle without dating either one.  And fortune may or may not be with her when a devilshly sexy stranger offers her a welcome escape.

Boys, romance, classes, and annoying roommates are all within the realm of the expected for a college frosh.  Trying to solve the mysterious murders of young college coeds near campus is not.  Darkness seems to be creeping into every corner of Faith’s life, no matter the hour.  And when she seeks the truth, danger seems to be the only thing that finds her.

Faith is well aware of the strange currents in the air, particularly when she sets off static sparks with everything she touches.  Before long, she finds herself entrenched in the deep-seeded battle between werewolves and vampires.  The war has reached the tipping point, and Faith has the power to determine where the scales fall.  But the most important question may be with whom does her loyalty lie?

Faith is starting college far from her home in California. But she is not alone; she has Derek, her ex-boyfriend friend. Derek and Faith have been friends forever and they decided to try dating but Derek blew it. Faith has put him in the close friend list but he still keeps trying to get back together with her.

Besides that, Faith is struggling at school. She is having a hard time and keeps worrying about what she wants to major. Then fellow student, Lucas seems to be where ever she is but he is a complete jerk. Faith does find herself drawn to him and ends up falling into a world a lot bigger than she thought. Now she is the tipping point in a battle between werewolves and vampires, if she can survive.

Faith is so naïve in this story yet she is a strong character. I’m impressed that she keeps trying to be friends with Derek, I think she would have chosen a different path if she would have kicked him to the curb. Anyway, there is a lot more to Lucas besides being a jerk, he does have a reason. I liked this twist on the classic werewolf vs. vampire story. It gives it the freshness to make it stand out. Faith did annoy me at times but in the end she almost had to for her role.

Over all I did like this story. When I originally got this book I also got the second one, Blood Crave. I goofed and ended up reading that book first so I know where this one was going. It’s a good first book to the series and it’s definitely worth getting the second book.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on Blood on the Moon or to purchase the book be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, or Jennifer’s website.

Faithful Shadow

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Faithful Shadow by Kevin J. Howard

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Faithful Shadow takes you beyond the splendor of nature to the terror that lies beneath, one that should have never been discovered. Yellowstone is suffering from the largest forest fire in the park’s history. Ranger JOE RAND, once passionate about nature and now drowning in alcohol after the recent death of his son, notices something is very wrong within Yellowstone after a string of disappearances. But when a fireman is found dead in the Old Faithful Inn after falling into a hole earlier that day, his body mauled and deprived of all its fluids, Joe knows he has no choice but to set down his flask and investigate. Joe and Lieutenant DALE CAFFEY of the Billings Fire Department go into the woods to search the hole the fireman had fallen into. They discover a series of tunnels lined with bones, the air thick with smoke. Joe and Dale conclude that the creature that had killed the fireman had left its subterranean dwelling to flee the overwhelming smoke from the fire above. The creature takes shelter inside the Inn, concealing itself within the darkened crevices, emerging to feast on passersby. After staging an evacuation of the park, they lock themselves inside the Inn to hunt the creature. After just a short while it becomes frighteningly clear that it is, in fact, the creature that is hunting them.

A creature unlike any other, nothing more than a shadow, has been living in tunnels and caves until Yellowstone National Park. It has survived decades on animals and tourists that fall into the tunnels and pits. But now Yellowstone is on fire. The smoke has chased the shadow out of its tunnels. Now it is looking for a safe place to hide. But it is stuck in man’s world, where can it go.

Joe Rand is a ranger for Yellowstone. He once cared for his job but now dwells on the loss of his son and drowns himself in alcohol. But when a firefighter is discovered sucked dry, he knows something odd is happening. Joe is going to have to surface to find the killer before it strikes again. But how do you fight a shadow?

This is a great thriller. First, you can tell Howard has spent time in the national parks. There was so much imagery that I felt right there with Joe. Joe was a great character, it broke my heart about him losing his son but I was glad that he could pull it together to stop the shadow.

I was just a kid and lived in northern Montana when Yellowstone was on fire so I don’t really remember much except the smoke and hearing about all the firefighters. But I was in western Nevada when Yosemite fire was on fire. Just thinking about forest fires scares me. Then you have to add in a mystery creature hunting, yep I was thoroughly scared. I had to finish this book in one night. I was NOT going to be trying to go to sleep knowing that it was still alive even if it was just in a book.

This is a great thriller/horror story that anyone would like. I recommend that you get a copy; you will be adding it to your collection.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on Faithful Shadow or to purchase be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads or Kevin’s website.

Travelogue of Horror

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Travelogue of Horror by Tony Urban

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Here is a travelogue for those whose idea of a perfect vacation doesn’t involve amusement parks and tourist traps, a guidebook for fans of horror and the macabre. Ride along with the author to ghoulish destinations, such as where fright flicks like Friday the 13th and Jaws were filmed, Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood home, UFO crash sites, and macabre graves, to name a few. See the sites in over 70 vivid color photos. Fifteen states were visited from Maine to Georgia in search of iconic filming locations from movies such as The Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Evil Dead. Along the way, monsters were hunted, vampire graves tracked down, a strange mix of paranormal and odd locations across the Eastern US were visited, and Stephen King was met. Hitch a ride, but remember that you never know what you might find–or what might find you!

Tony Urban was a child raised with horror movies. Later on he decided to look into the locations where the different movies were filmed. Along the way there were other locations that were added to the list to visit. This is a compilation of his adventures, the different locations, and trivia that go along with each trip.

You will follow with him as he visits Friday the 13th, Jaws, Cabin in the Woods, Blair Witch Project and many others. It’s great that Urban has specific scenes he is looking for and even years later there are still some remnants of the original area. Of course no movie is filmed solely in one location so you will also go from the main location to the other houses, churches, buildings, and sites that were also used.

I love this book. It has all the classic horror movies and other side trips. You get a feel for the author as he talks about visiting the different locations with his mother. You also hear the not so great side stories, like when he is chased off private property that he stumbled upon looking for a certain cabin. All the little tidbits about the movies also add to the story. There are the little known facts that really bring the movie to life.

Travelouge of Horror doesn’t just follow the movies. There are other locations that are in this book too. Jeffery Dahmer’s house, Stephen King’s house, and searches for Bigfoot. But the best part is the writing style is just like someone talking about their adventures over a beer. It’s so easy to get sucked into this book and harder than heck to put it down. I kept thinking about other possible locations he could go next after I put the book down before finishing it.

This book is designed like a coffee table book. But compared to those standard stuffy books, this one will be well thumbed through. For those of use that love horror movies and such, this is the book you need to add to your collection. Plus you will keep coming back to it even after you finish reading it.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on Travelogue of Horror or to purchase it be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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