Reviews

Review: Tidepool by Nicole Willson

Book Review

Tidepool by Nicole Willson
Horror, Fantasy, Gothic, Mystery

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Synopsis
If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise…

In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappeared while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to remain at home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited. Residents of the small, shabby oceanside town can’t quite meet Sorrow’s eyes when she asks about her brother.

When corpses wash up on shore looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to return to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives.

However, after meeting Ada Oliver, a widow whose black silk dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents, Sorrow discovers Tidepool’s dark, deadly secret.

With this discovery, some denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell-bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves their forsaken town.

What I thought
I received a copy of this book from Parliament House Press, for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I enjoyed the first ¾ of this story.  I loved the gothic atmosphere of the town of Tidepool and the drive of Sorrow to find out what happened to her brother Henry.  I am still undecided on how I feel about Charlie.  Charlie is Henry’s best friend and business associate and he picks such bad timing to ask if he can call on Sorrow when they get back home.  I mean she is looking for her possibly dead brother and you think now is a good time to push a match.  I mean that bothered me a lot for some reason.

Sorrow  is such a strong woman during a time when women were still not taken very seriously.  However, she was sometimes very wishy-washy regarding leaving Tidepool and staying to find out what happened to Henry.  Sometimes it was frustrating because you had chapters of her trying to get out of there and then when the chance for her to leave finally came she decided to stay.  

I enjoyed getting the back story of Ada and Quentin.  Personally I would have loved to have had more time with Quentin throughout the first ¾ of the story.  Sorry I can’t go into it more here without spoiling something.  

For me the ending felt really rushed.  After the climax of the story it felt like they just wanted to quickly wrap it up.  For me the story just fell off. There was so much build up for something to happen, which it did, then the story felt flat.  

My Rating: /5

Have you read this book? If so what did you think? Tell me in the comments below.

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Tours

Book Release Blitz: Weathering Old Souls by Didi Oviatt and James J. Cudney @jamescudney4 @Didi_Oviatt @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #WeatheringOldSouls

Congratulations to Didi Oviatt and James J. Cudney on the release of their novel, Weathering Old Souls!

Read on for details, an exclusive excerpt, and a week full of fantastic giveaways!

Weathering Old Souls
by Didi Oviatt and James J. Cudney
Contemporary Fiction with historical interludes, metaphysical elements, past life regression, suspense & mystery

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Abigail has always struggled with strange voices appearing inside her head. From the relentless tyranny a woman faces on an antebellum plantation to the unknown prison camps in America during World War II, our heroine discovers the past in a way that forever changes her future. There are moments from previous periods that serve as guiding posts for the country’s growth, but they also mark the transitions for Abigail’s own personal history. Her best friend, Margaret, partners with Abigail to discover the identity of these voices while focusing on her passion and quest to become a United States senator. Through it all, a serial killer torments the country, romance blossoms between some of the people they meet during the journey, and secrets long thought buried come to light in devastating ways. With the twisting of elements, numerical alignments, and the trauma of spiritual entanglements, no one will be the same… and just a few might not even be around anymore.

One morning as winter should’ve been transitioning into spring, an eight-year-old Abigail awakens with a piercing scream. She bolts upright and snails herself to the edge of her bed, placing a heavy hand on her chest to help steady herself and catch her breath. Her body twinges as though she’s fallen down a flight of stairs or been slammed by a double-decker trolley. The agony starts in the muscles behind her shoulder blade. From there it feels like a rocket exploded, escaping through her chest, leaving only traces of burning gases to snake their way through the rest of her fragile body. She coughs violently as her system tries to rid itself of unknown toxins.

The bedroom is dark and frigid because the pipes broke the previous day and her father was too busy sleeping off a hangover to call a contractor to fix them. Oliver has no mechanical knowledge or experience with home repair, but he tells Abigail that the Stauntons will address the issue since their heating system has also experienced problems with the winter storms that year. It’s been an unpredictable season, much more so than the usual winter in South Carolina. Some days Abigail has played outside all afternoon, hardly catching a chill. Others she wakes to a beautifully ominous layer of frost clinging to every blade of yellow grass as if its very life depends on it. 

A thin glint of light pushes through the crack between the bottom of the broken shade and the splintered windowsill. Abigail watches as the sparkly dust settles on the foot of her bed and shines brightly. It reminds her of the quartz necklace dangling on the neck of the woman in her scary dream. It was gorgeous and made the woman feel safe and comforted as it has in every dream where it made an appearance. Abigail’s told Margaret about the necklace many times, wishing she could hop out of bed today and do it again. It’s only been two months since she saw Margaret, but missing her is more than just a faint feeling. It’s soul crushing. She aches for Margaret’s companionship like any other child would her own sibling who’s grown up and gone on without her. 

In her nightmare, Abigail was stuck inside the body of an old lady running through a field, sweat pouring from her head down the curves of her hollowed and withdrawn cheeks. It was pitch black, and there were trees all around her, the wind shaking the branches such that they whispered secret directions in an unknown language. They resembled monsters with claw-like arms and vicious teeth, ready to bite her flailing limbs. Someone had been chasing her, but Abigail never saw the figure’s face.

Confusion rocks her body. Part of her is the small innocent child who wants to scream for Elizabeth, but a stronger piece of her feels much older, more mature, as if she’s lived for decades, maybe even centuries. She shakes through the aftermath of terror, unable to make sense of what happened in her sleep. All she knows is that it was horrific and made her fear something awful was destined to happen. Abigail wonders if her nightmares relate to the bits of conversation she’s overheard between Elizabeth and Bradford in the past. Elizabeth once said something about a killer coming after them again, but they’d ultimately agreed they were much safer now.

After deliberating with Imaginary May for a few moments, Abigail announces, “I can handle this on my own. I am a big girl. Margaret’s gone, but she taught me to be strong.”

She cuddles the teddy bear that Elizabeth gifted her last month for Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth had always bought one for Margaret when she was a child, the kind of mother and daughter tradition that Abigail has always yearned for. This is the first year that Margaret has been away for Spring Break during Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth missed her daughter immensely, so she purchased two identical teddy bears at the local toy store. One for Margaret, who would be home on Spring Break soon, and one for her favorite little neighbor and second daughter.

With a heavy sigh, Abigail stretches her arms above her head, extends her legs, and spreads her toes apart. Then she drops her chin to her chest, before rolling her head around in big circles. Four times each direction, one for every major element. She studied them in school that year. With each round of her neck, Abigail breathes in and counts to ten, then she lets out the air and reminds herself of everything she has to be grateful for. Margaret once taught her this morning routine, to help her ease the body tremors brought about by a nightmare, as the last doctor she saw refused to give any pain medication or advice. The stretching and breathing exercises help, and her pains slowly evaporate like a faint mist over a swamp.

An oblong mirror that’s mounted to the wall across from her window offers Abigail a dust-clouded view of her messy hair as it knots and sticks out in every direction, along with her worn-out unicorn covered nightgown. She chuckles at the sight of herself, and the last of her anxiety and spasms disappear. She imagines the body aches to have a color, a dull shade of lilac, as they lift in a swirling pattern like hazy smoke and exit out of the beam of light coming through the window.

“Stay away, you filthy bloke,” she chastises the imaginary swirl of colorful pain. 

GIVEAWAY!!

Release Week Giveaways!

$25 Amazon Gift Card
$40 Psychic Services
1 eBook of Weathering Old Souls
1 physical book of Weathering Old Souls (US Only)

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Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search for Maylee, Justice for Belle, Aggravated Momentum, and Sketch, along with multiple short story collections. She’s collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection. Most recently, she published her first romance novella titled Skinny Dippin’ which was originally released as a part of the highly appraised Anthology, Sinners and Saints. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and sun-bathing in the desert heat play an important part of her day to day lifestyle. 

Listen to Didi Oviatt’s books on Audible

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing. 

Author 

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear. 

Reader & Reviewer 

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms.  

Blogger & Thinker 

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks,” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me. 

Genealogist & Researcher 

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do. 

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Reviews

Review: The Moria Pearls by Rosalie Oaks

Book Review

The Moria Pearls by Rosalie Oaks
(Lady Diviner #2)
Regency, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance

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Synopsis
Ohh I loved this book so much it had me sucked in from the first page. I had so much fun jumping back into this series.  I loved all of the banter that went on between the characters.   This book picks up shortly after the first one left off.  We are now all in full search of the Pearls.  

These characters are amazing I love how they all interact with each other.  I do love a good character-driven story.  The only character that I found that I did not like was Jaq’s sister who makes an appearance in this book and to be honest I am really hoping that she does not continue to the upcoming books.  She is the type of person that every time she is there all you want to do is shake her.  I just hope we are done with her but something tells me we may not be.  Oh, Perry…

I know I said at the end of the first book that I really wanted the romance that I thought was brewing but Beresford keeps running hot and cold and it is driving me crazy.  However, I think we are seeing another romance brewing and I can’t wait to see what happens there.  

Even Though this is the second book in this series is wrapped up very nicely and I can not wait to see what happens next. 

What I thought
Oh I loved this book so much it had me sucked in from the first page. I had so much fun jumping back into this series.  I loved all of the banter that went on between the characters.   This book picks up shortly after the first one left off.  We are now all in full search of the Pearls.  

These characters are amazing I love how they all interact with each other.  I do love a good character-driven story.  The only character that I found that I did not like was Jaq’s sister who makes an appearance in this book and to be honest I am really hoping that she does not continue to the upcoming books.  She is the type of person that every time she is there all you want to do is shake her.  I just hope we are done with her but something tells me we may not be.  Oh, Perry…

I know I said at the end of the first book that I really wanted the romance that I thought was brewing but Beresford keeps running hot and cold and it is driving me crazy.  However, I think we are seeing another romance brewing and I can’t wait to see what happens there.  

Even Though this is the second book in this series is wrapped up very nicely and I can not wait to see what happens next.

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins

Book Review

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins
(A Lady’s Guide #1)
Historical Romance, Mystery

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Synopsis
An intrepid female reporter matches wits with a serious, sexy detective in award-winning author Manda Collins’ fun and flirty historical rom-com!

England, 1865 : As one of England’s most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she’s determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are preying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham’s refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she’s the key witness in a new crime, he’s determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they’ll need to catch a killer.

What I thought
This was such a wonderful Victorian based mystery rom-com. 

As you probably already know I love when we get strong, smart, no backing down female characters, especially in this time in history, and that is exactly what we get in Katherine.  So why would Eversham not love her from the start…well her column to inform women the danger that is around them almost costs him his job…so maybe he has a little right to be mad. But hey I still can’t say she was completely wrong, but maybe it could have been handled a little better.  So as a result we get a great enemies to lovers story.

I enjoyed watching the interactions between the two as they have to admit that the other knows what they are about. Then realizing how they should work together rather than fight one another no matter how frustrating it might be, was very entertaining.  I did not realize who the killer was until close to the end of the story.  The mystery was well developed and I found myself enjoying it a lot. 

This was such a fun read and exactly what I needed at the time.  I am really looking forward to more books in this series.

My Rating: /5

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New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday you got to highlight a book that you were really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

This week I’ve chosen:

The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird
(Sherlock Holmes Adventures #4)
Genre: Mystery, Sherlockian
Expected Publication: March 16, 2021

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A heatwave melts London as Holmes and Watson are called to action in this new Sherlock Holmes adventure by Bonnie MacBird.

In the West End, a renowned Italian escape artist dies spectacularly on stage during a performance – immolated in a gleaming copper cauldron of his wife’s design. In Cambridge, the runaway daughter of a famous don is found drowned, her long blonde hair tangled in the Jesus Lock on the River Cam. And in Baker Street, a mysterious locksmith exacts an unusual price to open a small silver box sent to Watson.

From the glow of London’s theatre district to the buzzing Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge where physicists explore the edges of the new science of electricity, Holmes and Watson race between the two cities to solve the murders, encountering prevaricating prestidigitators, philandering physicists and murderous mentalists, all the while unlocking secrets which may be best left undisclosed. And one, in particular, is very close to home.

Are you looking forward to this book too?

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Reviews

Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Book Review

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Historical Fiction, Mystery

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Synopsis
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

What I thought
Thank you Harper Audio and Netgalley for giving me an ARC copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

This story goes back and forth between two-time lines with three different points of view (POV).  The first time line takes place in present-day London and the POV is from Caroline. The second time line takes place in 1791 and this is where the other two POVs take place, first we have Nella an Apothecary and then we have Eliza a 12-year-old girl.

Nella who was wronged in a horrible way has turned to the darker side of her profession. She begins creating poisons for women in dire situations to free them of the men who have harmed them.  Nella records every transaction as a way to record these women since she wants their stories to be remembered.  Nella has let her loss and grief harden her until she meets Eliza a 12-year-old girl who has come for her mistress.  Eliza takes a liking to Nella and comes back to the shop and their fates become intertwined.  

Caroline who has taken her anniversary trip to London alone after finding out her husband has been cheating on her.  She came to London to figure things out and she gets much more than she has bargained for.  This is a story about Caroline’s self-discovery as she unravels the past connected to an old vile she found mudlarking along the Thames.  Caroline learns how much of herself and her passion she has buried these past 10 years when she gave up her dreams to take a safe job and get married.  

This was such an amazing story and I think that there is a lot to learn from Caroline’s journey.  I won’t spoil anything but what her husband does in the end just infuriates me so much.  I am just happy that Caroline had come so far even though the time was short to see what he was doing.  

If you want to read a beautiful story then pick this one up. 

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird

Book Review

Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird
(Sherlock Holmes Adventures #1)
Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian

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Synopsis
Mlle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her illegitimate son by an English lord has disappeared, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre.

Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man.

Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders? To do so he must stay one step ahead of a dangerous French rival and the threatening interference of his own brother, Mycroft.

What I thought
I have found that I am very picky when it comes to Sherlockian stories.  If 2020 taught me anything that is it.  I have gone through many and only liked a few.  Most of them were never finished.  I am soo happy to say that this one does not disappoint. 

I was pulled into this story from the beginning.  I loved the writing in this story it mimics Doyle’s well and it made me feel like I am really reading additional stories.  The pacing was spot on I did not feel the story lag at any point.  

If you enjoy sherlockian stories then I highly suggest you picking this one up.  

I can not wait to pick up the next book in this series!

My Rating: /5

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