Tag Archives: Paranormal

Written in Red – Anne Bishop

cs759 escaped.  Her flight lands her at Lakeside Courtyard inside Other territory.  It’s the safest place she might find.  The Courtyard is not subject to human law and may be able to keep her away from The Controller’s “benevolent ownership.”  She entered Howling Good Reads in the middle of a snow storm – hypothermic.  She is fed out of  basic kindness.  Knowing she needs to stay, she asks for a job.  The Others decision to make her Human Liaison is to avoid giving it to the distrusted human campaigning for it. She is the best option because she is the only other option. cs759 names herself Meg Corbyn.  Bishop’s story about her is addictive.  I do think it might be crack.  I read through the first three books, one after another, without break.  I’d read the fourth but it’s not available yet.

Bishop’s world is separated into land governed by The Others and Human’s, but human’s are not generally in control.  They are clever meat. Their value lies in what they create – their technology and devices of use.  Other’s are Shifters, Elementals, and Sanguinatti connected to the majority of land. Human land, that is theirs solely, lies  where their species orginated, but they have outgrown it.  They bleed over into Other territory.  This happen at Other’s allowance.  It should never be forgotten that it is not theirs.  They are renters, interlopers, tolerated only as long as they are useful.

Meg changes the dynamics in Lakeside.  The relationships she builds with Elementals, Shifters, and the Sanguinatti is something new.  It changes the way they see humans – that they can be more than useful or edible. This is something to protect, and a small group of humans on the police force realize this.  They see her as their best chance at survival.   A portion of humans resent Others, those who don’t live close enough to them to respect the danger the can invoke, and eventually/inevitably someone will make a mistake.   They hope Meg’s influence can protect them from being decimated.  Unfortunately, the human’s seeking Meg could easily be the ones to endanger them all.

Meg is Cassandra Sangue, a human seer.  They speak prophecy when they bleed.  Meg and her like have been committed to organizations, originally for their protection, becoming ‘benevolent ownership. ‘  Cutting creates a euphoria that develops into an addiction, causing themselves harm, requiring others to intercede.   Benevolent care transformed into exploitation over time.  The cut on their skin gives the observer to prophecy invaluable knowledge – an expensive commodity.  Meg’s escape brings powerful desire for her capture.   Many seek her for personal gain.

I listened to a portion of the audible book and found I preferred to read the book.  I didn’t find the maturity I was looking for in the voice of Alexandra Harris’s narration.  Meg is a young woman, and naive in many ways.  I understand why Harris’s was chosen and why she interpreted Meg the way she did.

Bishop’s Thasia isn’t a new piece of world building.  The Others aren’t unique.  She populates her book with Shifters, Vampires, and Elemental’s.  Recognizing this, I questioned why I am so attached to the book. Why it feels so comfortable?  While it’s not original, the world is a solid combination of familiar ideas and it also has developed/complete characters.   Her world feels natural and the threats realistic.  It’s compelling, well-written, and built with smart/complex characters.

I recommend this.  It is addictive – read at your own risk.


White Rabbit – K.A. Laity

White Rabbit

Published April 21, 2014

White Rabbit centers around Draygo.  He is an addict, clairvoyant, charlatan, and ex cop.  Draygo has a very real connection to the ethereal realm he just doesn’t particularly want to participate in it.  It’s easier to use tricks and trade secrets he learned from his Aunt to create an illusion rather than actually speak with the dead.  Draygo is focused on getting by the easiest way possible with the least amount of headaches or actual participation in the real world.  Our reluctant hero is at the heart of this paranormal noir tale.  It it is told from his first person narrative.  This is both beautiful and dysfunctional for a variety of reasons.  K.A. Laity was true to her main character.  It is what made the second half of the book great and the first half extremely difficult to immerse yourself in.

The novel is centered around a detective, a dead femme fatale, and a hard-nosed female reporter.  While Draygo is a disgraced ex-cop, he by no means is a hard-boiled detective.  He’s all over the place and engages in a fair bit of self-pity.  Due to the amount of ‘Dust,’ narcotics and alcohol he consumes, he is rarely in an unaltered state.  Our femme fatale was the wife of a high profile gangster running  the tabloid scene.  She gets murdered by her own bodyguards in Draygo’s house while he is communing with the dead on her behalf.  He gets framed for it.    She remains with Draygo as an unwelcome spirit  that pesters him incessantly to find out what the White Rabbit is and why it got her killed. Is the white rabbit a drug, an organization, and what is causing the dead to go into a frenzy of fear?  It was a nice twist to have murder victim be a main character haunting our character from the other side.  It is set in the underbelly of an alternate London.  Draygo introduces us to his bartenders, prostitutes, and illegal pharmacists as he tracks the white rabbit with Saunders.  Saunders is the female reporter that turns up on Draygo’s doorstep immediately after he is sprung from prison on bail.  She wants the story of the White Rabbit and she pokes and prods Draygo into investigating in the real world at the same time our dead trophy wife is pestering him to do so in the ethereal realm.

The first half of the novel was hard to engage in.  K. A. Laity’s narrator is Draygo.  He talks in a constant stream of slang, jargon, and references to books, movies, and songs.  Some of it is explained and some I knew, but a large amount I believe will be missed by the average reader.  It became a distraction from the storyline and at one point I considered abandoning the book.  I’m glad I didn’t.  The story in the second half becomes much more focused and enjoyable.  The concept is wonderful.  I believe the references, slang, and tangents were part of the character building.  The character is a mess.  It makes sense, since he is the narrator, that the book would be frenetic and a bit cluttered .  As he weans himself off the ‘dust’ his mind becomes more focused  and the story became more clear.  As a device, I can respect what the author did, but I’m not sure I liked it. I, personally, would not have picked up on this if I had not finished the book, and it made it hard for me to connect with the book.  I want to make the distinction because I do not believe the book is poorly written.

Overall, I enjoyed it.  I liked the concept.  I enjoyed the combination of noir and paranormal.  It is a short, complex, and fun read.  I would recommend you give it a chance.  You will know if you want to finish the book or if you want to abandon it in the first few chapters.  I would definitely read another book by K. A. Laity.

I received this book from Fox Spirit Books and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

“The Line” -J.D. Horn


J.D. Horn introduces us to the addicting series ‘Witching Savannah’ with ‘The Line.’  This book is set in Savannah, Georgia and the magic that lives there.  Mercy is the daughter of a powerful family of society witches, but Savannah is also home to hoodoo root doctors and a bevy of ghosts.  Residents are used to the unexpected and unexplainable.

Mercy has a fraternal twin, Maizy.  When they were born their mother died bringing Mercy into the world.  Mercy barely survived and was born powerless but her beautiful, loving twin was born with an extraordinary amount.  While Mercy felt the sting of neglect she also had freedom.  Mercy was openly called ‘The Disappointment,’ and Maizy was showered with attention but also expectation.  It would have been easy for Mercy to be jealous but she found all the love she needed in her twin.

Minor romance drama leads Mercy to reach out to a dangerous, disdained, Root Doctor named Mother Jilo. Mercy has fallen in love with Maizy’s boyfriend, but she is not looking for Jilo to have him fall in love with her.  She wants Jilo to cast a spell on Mercy to fall in love with her best friend who she knows would make her happy.  Jilo explains the basics of magic and power, something her family never bothered to do.  Jilo can cast this but only with sacrifice…not guilt.  Mercy sees the mistake but Jilo won’t turn back warning her family and her trust in them is misplaced.  The intrigue begins.

The next day her evil Aunt Ginny dies.  More accurately, she is murdered.  Mercy had been summoned to Ginny, the families seat of power and anchor to The Line.  As Mercy enters the room she sees her Aunt has just had her head severed.  Like a normal human, she doesn’t call the police she screams drawing her family to the scene.  The search for the culprit begins and opens doors to many family secrets and questions.  Mercy learns her Aunt was an Anchor to The Line, a magical barrier created by thirteen witch families and held in place by thirteen witches to protect the world from demons.  Demons that would enslave us.  Ginny’s seat of power is empty and the vacuum must be filled.  The families descend.

Horn has given us good YA fiction.  It’s loosely YA, as Mercy is twenty, but it is coming of age.  The romance is minimal and secondary to learning to deal with your family as adults, and finding purpose and a place in the world.  It just takes place in a beautiful gothic construction of Savannah with witches.  It passes the Bechdel test, and it’s a good mystery.  I listened to an audible version narrated by Shannon McMannus.    She has a beautiful southern accent that made me feel like I was in Savannah.  She also did well with character differentiation.   If you enjoy audible books this is a good series to listen to.  It is lighter fare but well worth your time.  I’ve picked up the second in the series.

The Casquette Girls – Alys Arden

The Casquette Girls

In Alys Arden’s book ‘The Casquette Girls,” New Orleans has been decimated by a hurricane and most of the city is evacuated.  Only a few brave souls have returned.  The roads and electricity are still down, and continued challenges getting milk, meat, and fresh food.  Help is promised but slow, and all the dead have not been cleared from the condemned buildings and houses.  There are few Police and First Responders.  Looting, and crime in general, is mounting, and a rash of murders are occurring that don’t seem to be hurricane related.

This is the town, Adele Le Moyne, returns to with her father.  Her father runs a well know and well patroned bar in the French Quarter.  She is a 16 year-old brunette, who works at a bakery of repute and goes to a High School for the Arts.  She has just returned after a forced evacuation to France that landed her with her mother she has not seen since she was young.  She is desperate to stay in New Orleans.  This is young adult fiction, and it is paranormal YA that includes vampires, witches, and werewolves on the fringe.  Arden does a fantastic job of describing New Orleans and is able to  juxtapose the city pre-hurricane and post hurricane.

To be honest, I am a bit weary of teenage paranormal romances, especially ones with vampires.  I also, however, did read ‘The Twilight Series.’  They are not my favorite books but I enjoyed them for what they were.  What got my attention her was the intriguing tie in to the historical story of The Casquette Girls.   I wanted to see what Arden did with it, and she did pretty well.  At one point in the book I got a bit unfairly annoyed and felt my eyes rolling back in my head at the romance, but I had to remember this is about a teenage girl.  A big part of being a teenager is dealing with your feelings of attraction in a generally awkward manner.  It comes with the territory.  Is she attracted to a vampire? Yes.  Is she attracted to  a witch.  Yes.  The story’s main focus, however,  is not on romance but on a young witch coming into her powers with a rash of murders that relate to the story of  the infamous Casquette Girls.  The minimal romance is just a bit of frosting to an intriguing mystery.

If you are unfamiliar, The Casquette Girls were orphans from France Louis XIV sent across the ocean  to marry the young men of means and aristocrats he had enticed into settling New Orleans. La Nouvelle-Orleans up to that point had been settled by criminals and prostitutes.  The name “Casquette Girls” came from the fact that the trunks or baggage that carried their dresses and dowry were in the shape of burial caskets.  The Catholic Church came to the city to set up schools specifically for young women of any race at the same time.  Their convent was the home to The Casquette Girls until they could find suitable marriages.  As you can imagine this was not the safest of situations for young girls.

I am trying not to give spoilers but I will say this.  The book is fairly well written.  I enjoyed the modern and historical story of The Casquette Girls.  I was pleased that Adele is not a frail girl in need of saving.  I will say there was a point I got disgusted and nearly abandoned the book when I thought she was going to be “saved by the vampire,” but was pleased with how Arden resolved the story. I recently read an article that many young YA heroines are white brunettes because blonde’s are too trite and girls of other ethnicities to risky.  I can’t speak to that but I will say there does seem to be a  trend, and yes this book does have a young brunette heroine. Overall, I think Arden did a good job, and I would recommend it to teenagers or an adult in need of light reading.

The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) – Daniel O’Malley

The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)

I listened to the audible version of this book and Susan Duerden did a fantastic job narrating  it.  I have listened to it several times, and have enjoyed it every time. It is the perfect blend of government mystery and fantasy – two genres I love.  It is fast paced and kept me guessing.

As mentioned above,  the book is a fantasy government intrigue. There are parts that are really funny as you experience our main character learn about herself, her job, and her life through letters.  Our main character wakes up battered and bruised and with no idea who she is. This is not the typical amnesiac experience as our main character is a high level official at a secret government agency in London,  and because she is actually a new inhabitant replaced in Myfanwy Thomas’s body.  She also inherited Myfanwy’s problems which she learned when she woke up with two black eyes..  I mentioned that she learns about Myfanwy’s life through letters…from Myfanwy herself.  Myfanwy knew this was going to happen but not why.  The story is told from the perspectives of both women of the body.  This is urban and paranormal fiction.  If you do not have a taste for this genre you won’t like this, but if you are ok with it I’m willing to bet you will enjoy it.  The Rook is written for an adult audience and is focused on self discovery and the mystery!  This also has a bit of a Doctor Who feel in its sense of humor.

I found this book highly entertaining. I am waiting for more from Daniel O’Malley…and I’m getting a bit impatient.  I love new authors but I hate waiting.  I sometimes  don’t actually start a book  until a sequel is written to avoid such problems.  …I did not do this and I currently stalk his blog for news of his progress on the’ The Checquy Files’.  Incidentally, his blog did lead me in the direction of ‘The Rivers of London’ series by Ben Aaronovitch and I couldn’t be more grateful.  You can check out my reviews on that series in my older posts if this type of thing tickles your fancy.

Blackbirds (Miriam Black 1) – Chuck Wendig


Blackbirds is the second Chuck Wendig book I have tried to read.  The first was Blue Blazes but I abandoned it.  Chuck Wendig, however, comes highly recommended from multiple sources I respect.  Blackbirds is the story of a young woman who sees the way people die if she comes in skin to skin contact with them.  She has tried to fight fate in the past to save people, but it has always knocked her down and put her in her place.The book is a paranormal thriller.  What could you possibly not like…and what can you like?

Chuck is great at building a descriptive world.  You can smell, see, hear, and unfortunately taste it.  This world is one of dirty hotel rooms, dirtier dive bars, and hitchhiking a small town grimy America.  You might not want to experience the taste that goes with that.  The book hooks you and is action packed.  You need to know what happens next.

That being said his characters are not lovable.  They are psychopaths, sociopaths, con artists with attachment disorder, etc.  I know a Miriam, she didn’t see people’s deaths, but as I experienced Wendig’s crass scavenger that will/did everything in her power to push people away, I cringed.  I recognize I probably have some negative transference, but Miriam’s still hard to like.  When I say she’s crass I don’t mean she uses some profanity,  this isn’t a common use of fuck, shit,etc.   This is very creative thought out descriptions of exactly what a person can do to a twat or cunt in an extremely ignorant fashion.  So…this is not for children, or the faint of heart. It’s also rather violent.

I will again say it is well written, good thriller.  It has twists I didn’t see and a luke warm uplifting ending.  Maybe Wendig is saving that for a series finale but I just don’t quite think uplifting happy rainbows is his style.  I haven’t decided if I’m reading the next book.  I feel dirty.  I think I will take a shower and decide later.

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