Haunted Kay HooperLet me start this review with a sort of disclaimer:  I have always loved Kay Hooper’s Bishop/Special Crimes Units novels.  That enjoyment doesn’t mean that I don’t know that some are better than others – but – I enjoy the stories nonetheless.  Having said that…

from Goodreads:

How do you make peace with the dead if the dead aren’t ready to forgive? In New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper’s new novel, the answer lies in the twisting shadows of a small town, and its secrets yet unearthed…

When Deacon James’s younger sister Melanie calls him, terrified, he goes to her aid in the small Georgia town of Sociable. What he finds is a scared young woman in the grip of what she insists is a paranormal nightmare—and murder. Two local men have been killed under mysterious circumstances. And Melanie is the prime suspect.

Trinity Nichols left a high-stress job for quiet, small-town life. But news of the murders has left her—and the town—on edge, especially when there is nothing remotely ordinary about how the men died. And her investigation is yielding more than she bargained for, including a group of strangers who have descended on Sociable, some with abilities Trinity finds hard to believe, and agendas she refuses to trust. For some reason, they know a lot more than they should about what’s happening in town. And what’s happening is growing stranger by the minute.

Now Trinity, Deacon, and this odd band of FBI agents must work together to solve a series of disturbances so incredible that Trinity, and the town of Sociable, will be changed forever. She just isn’t certain who—or what—will be left standing when it’s all over.

This book is in my personal collection- owned.

Read on for my review of Haunted – no spoilers, promise.

blue eyesI hate to admit to this – I really do, but I am in such a blogging slump lately.

Oh, I’m reading.  Maybe not as much but I am turning the pages of really good books.  I’m just not writing about the experience.

And I don’t know why.

I guess there really is no explanation for slumps… they just happen.  And I’m not alone either.  A lot of the book blogs that I follow are also experiencing slumps.  Whether it’s lack of time, life getting in the way of the fun of blogging or some other reason, writing slumps happen to every blogger that ever put words on the screen.

So.  What to do about it?  Forcing it won’t work, I’ve tried that before with dismal results.

While reading the comments on other blogs of other people in a similar slump the suggestions of reading for enjoyment only, switching to a different style of novel, blogging about something non-book for a while — but most importantly was the large number of statements suggesting  “don’t feel guilty, we all have slumps and eventually they go away”.

And that is exactly what I’m going to do.  I love this blog, I love talking about books that I’ve enjoyed, sharing authors that readers may not have tried yet — but no more guilt.

A new year is about to arrive, and the blogging slump will fade away.  Until it does I’m guilt-free about this situation I’m in…

And I’m wishing you a wonderful new year full of awesome reading adventures.

Talk again soon.

 

 

 

Secrets of Bella Terra 2I thrive on a continuing story.  I want to know what happens to the secondary characters – I also want to know what I missed in the first book.   Just a few of the reasons I absolutely love reading a continuing storyline.

Often times a trilogy or series starts off with a blast of excitement – others unfurl like a slowly blooming leaf.  Secrets of Bella Terra was a very slowly opening blossom (one I almost gave up on, except I’ve been trained by a bookaholic mother to read the whole story before reaching a conclusion!).

At its very core, Secrets of Bella Terra is about history – family history, the history of lovers and the history of a lifelong family feud fed by bitterness.

Rafe Di Lucas and Brooke Petersson have a past history.  One forged in childhood and continued throughout early adulthood – unfortunately, Brooke ended up always being the one left behind as Rafe took off around the world.  His reasons were valid – to him.  Her reasons to stay and wait were all that mattered to her, even as she convinced herself that she was not waiting for anything except her next vacation.

Up Close and Dangerous LHoward

Bailey Wingate’s life got complicated the moment she agreed to marry James Wingate.  Sure she got a very nice lifestyle out of the deal – but there is always a drawback to the “perfect” deal.  In this case that small detail involved her step-children and their extreme hatred of her.

But did they hate her enough to commit murder?

When James Wingate died he left the care and control of his children’s trust funds to Bailey – with a monthly allowance to be doled out which they thought was well beneath their rights as heirs.

To them Bailey was a stone cold witch and they did everything in their power to keep her aware of their opinions.

But was she really the money grabbing bitch the elite, rich community, as well as her step-children,  thought her to be?

Cameron Justice, along with his friend and partner Bret Larson owned J&L Executive Air Limo.  Both had a long relationship with military flying before deciding on building their own business.  Bret was easy going – Cam was intense, and took no nonsense from his rich clients.  Like that rich bitch Bailey Wingate, with her ton of over packed suitcases and the oversized sunglasses that kept her opinion of the world well hidden.

Bailey’s opinion of Cam wasn’t much better.  Too bad that they were stuck together on this trip to Denver.  Damn Bret’s allergic reaction to cats.

Bailey and Cam had managed to ignore each other for most the the flight.

Until the engines went silent.  And the mountain loomed in front of them with no way to rise above it.

 

Afraid To DieReturning to Grizzly Falls, Montana would be a lot more fun if they didn’t have so many serial murders around there!  But then, that would leave us with nothing new to read from the ongoing “to Die” series by Lisa Jackson.

Once again murder returns to hover over the winter holidays of Detective Selena Alvarez and her partner, Detective Regan Pescoli.

This time the mad killer is placing bits of Selena’s stolen jewelery on the bodies of his victims – frozen naked works of “art” by a killer who not only believes in revenge,  but in painfully, slowly unwinding secrets Selena would have liked to keep in her past.

Secrets will always find their way to the surface – Selena must make sure that her secrets are told to the necessary people before the killer makes them headlines.

Private Investigator Dylan O’Keefe has close ties to those old secrets and he is not going to let Selena keep them from him any longer.

A love gets a second chance – if – secrets can be told and trust freely given by both Selena and Dylan.

(possible spoilers ahead)

Before She Dies sm

A crystal ball is not always necessary to know that evil walks among us.

“Before She Dies” was an enjoyable read.  As a child of the carnival myself, many parts of the story had me smiling in memory of my childhood years traveling the carnival circuit with my parents.

But.. to my knowledge we never had a murderer among us!

Charlotte (Grace) Wellington’s sister Mariah was murdered.  Grace left the carnival world and set out to make her own life away from the memories, and the people of her past.   Yet the past rarely stays in the past.

Grace or Charlotte as she is now known, hides memories and her past behind the tough surface of her criminal lawyer career.  She rarely lets anyone in.  Detective Daniel Rokov is determined to get past the line she draws between personal and professional.  It’s a difficult task but one that Daniel will succeed at.

The carnival is in town – and women are being murdered.  His mission is to destroy the witches.  He takes great pride and pleasure in dealing out his kind of justice.  The seer, the witch, the one who has knowledge that she should not have will pay the ultimate price.

Face the Fire

Mia Devlin had always known that she would one day face the evil that threatened her island, her life and all that she loved.  Nell had found her courage and made her stand, Ripley had discovered that justice could be dealt without loss of control.  Now it was up to her.

After staying away for a decade, Sam Logan stepped off the ferry onto Three Sisters Island.  Not that much had changed, it was still the charming New England town that visitors flocked to in summer or to experience the wonder of the fall color changes.  Yet everything had changed.  He returned not as a boy struggling to discover his place in the world, but as a man who knew exactly what he wanted and intended to get it.  The Magick Inn was now his.  It had been a challenge to outwit his father and finally purchase his birthright, but it had been done.

He had come back for Mia.   Perhaps renting the little yellow cottage under one of his many businesses wasn’t the best way to handle his return to her.  Still knowing Mia’s stubbornness she wouldn’t have rented it to him at all.  And he needed the cottage, he wouldn’t live where he worked even if Magick Inn did provide the best hotel rooms on the island.

So, he was back on the island they both loved.  He would simply announce himself, pick up where they left off years ago and break the island curse.   Done deal, shouldn’t take more than a week to set things right again.

Trouble was.. Once Sam knew Mia’s every thought, knew exactly how she felt about him…now he didn’t know her at all.

Sizzle and Burn JAK

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Jove; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515145815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515145816
  • Source: Library

Raine Tallentyre hears voices. No, she’s not crazy just psychic. (although some people think that the two go hand in hand ..they don’t)

Raine has the paranormal ability (certainly not the gift) of hearing the whisperings of the evil mind that hides behind the mask most killers wear. Although she tries her best to keep them at bay, at the lightest touch of something that evil has handled, Raine hears their mind whispers – it certainly is enough to drive some people crazy, or at least believe that they are.

Aunt Vella had heard voices, too. Unfortunately, the voices she heard sent her down a spiraling fall into a private facility, and suddenly into death. Raine has returned to Shelbeyville in Washington state to sell her aunt’s home, which will not be an easy feat as Vella was considered a crazy lady at the very least.

Although Raine has used her abilities to help Detective Bradley Mitchell solve several cold cases, she always kept her special skills far in the background. Until she pushed the romance envelope… that backfired on her. Seems Detective Mitchell was just fine with using her “gift” to bring himself some glory… hearing voices kind of creeped him out. So much for romance.

At this moment in time, Raine’s past, present and her future are going to collide as she discovers a serial killer’s victim trapped in her aunt’s basement – and a connection to the Arcane Society heads into town in the form of J&J investigator Zack Jones.

Heaven and Earth

Earth raged, her anger and grief erupting from her soul.  Her sister had been killed.  Killed by her abusive husband and now Earth only sought what she saw as justice.  A life for a life.  Air had not fought back, she had not used her powers to save her life, but Earth could and would avenge her death.  The pleas of her sister Fire were an annoyance.  Yes, she knew the creed, she knew that harm none was more than simple words but a way of life for them.  A past way of life, for there was power surging towards Earth, power most satisfying and intoxicating and she wanted more..she wanted his death more than she wanted her own life.  She reached willingly for the power tempting her, deaf to the words of her sister, immune to the rational thoughts she was so known for.  Now only revenge would satisfy, and once fed she would lose more then a sister…

 

Deputy Ripley Todd was as down to earth as it was possible to get.  She believed firmly in justice and fairness.  All of this magic mumbo jumbo that Mia Devlin nagged her about was just that…hocus pocus.  No one really believed that three witches had created this island or that according to legend the island would be destroyed if the descendants of the original three sisters did not bind together to save it.

It was great for the tourist trade that the island residents depended upon.  The summer people made it possible to survive through the harsh New England winters.  Save the magical for them, Ripley wanted no further part of it.

Yes, she had stood with Nell and Mia – but that was a one time need, not to be repeated ever again.  Nell was safe and that was all that mattered.  Add magic and hocus pocus to all the news reports and rumors about happened that night when Nell’s abusive, now former husband showed up was bad enough.  To add further insult was the fact that Mia had allowed some super geek ghost hunter or some such nonsense to rent out the cottage that Ripley had her eye on – that just made her day, and gave Mia far too much satisfaction for Ripley’s comfort.

MacAllister Booke or simply “Mac” was the ultimate example of an absent-minded professor.  Most days he barely survived impaling himself on one of his vast number of gadgets and computer parts scattered about.  What he lacked in co-ordination he more than made up for in looks, talent and debunking the shams and charlatan out there that preyed on those that searched for knowledge.  It was true that he disproved more often than he proved, but when he did find the genuine otherworldly event people took notice.

He had heard the stories, had read the police reports of that night when an abusive husband tracked down his runaway wife.  Determined that he would never loose his Helen, Remington would see his wife dead before he would let her go.  Thankfully Nell Channing, no it was Nell Todd now, survived as did her now husband Zack Todd.  Yet enough speculation in addition to Evan Remington’s mad ravings about witches and things crawling beneath his skin had come to light to spark Mac’s interest.  Besides, Mac brought something to the island aside from his knowledge of the paranormal, he had a bargaining chip about the legend should Mia Devlin decide to not be interviewed.

Unfortunately for Mac..he didn’t bargain on Ripley.

Dance Upon The Air

The madness let loose on Salem Town was growing.  The death toll rising each day, and yet not one of the innocents murdered was what their pious accusers sought, not one was a witch.   It was with heavy hearts that the women known as Air, Earth and Fire cast their last spell on the mainland.  This night an island would be magically born, to rise up from the coast and spin itself into new life beyond the reach of the mad men, and crazed accusers.  This night the three would cast their circle, and create their own sanctuary where they could live free from fear following their beliefs and harm none.  Still, evil has many forms…

 

So begins Three Sisters Island Trilogy, my favorite Nora Roberts trilogy to date.  One that I re-read often, for I can identify with each of the main women characters so easily.

Nell Channing is on the run both away from the past and toward…here.  This island rising in the waters off the Massachusetts coast is sanctuary, freedom and a powerful sense of home.  Three Sisters Lighthouse, up there on the cliffs, had drawn her as no other painting ever had.  She had to see this place with her own eyes, and seeing she simply knew.  On this tiny scrap of land, far away from the life that died on another cliff, she could make her stand, create her own life anew.  She could stop running.

Dance Upon The Air introduces all of the characters within this trilogy.  Each character in the modern day story is somewhat represented by their counterpart in the legend of the creation of Three Sisters Island.  Three women and one man are modern day witches.  One who firmly believes that the legend is true and will come to pass unless the three come together once again to fight the ultimate evil that threatens both the life of the island and each individual witch as well.  One who once embraced her power and then by her own choice set it aside and now scoffs at anything relating to legend or hocus pocus.  One who doesn’t know she has power, and with innocent delight slowly learns and grows into the quietly powerful woman she was meant to be.  And one who left, walked away to save themselves from what destiny seemed to push them towards only to find that home truly is both a destination and a destiny fulfilled.

I strongly recommend this trilogy.  It builds book by book to a stunning conclusion.  Along the way, the characters come to life.  I enjoyed the way that although each book had it’s main “sister” and her own story, it also included every other character as they all went through this life experience together.  It truly is a great read, and I hope you’ll pick it up and discover the magic for yourself.

Dance Upon The Air  is available at Amazon and on Kindle.

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