Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE HAUNTING OF HIGHDOWN HALL by @shani_struthers

Today’s Team Review is from Luccia, she blogs at http://lucciagray.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Luccia has been reading The Haunting Of Highdown Hall by Shani Struthers

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An Engaging Paranormal mystery

Thirty-one year old, film star Cynthia Hart, died of a heart attack during a dazzling birthday party at her residence, Highdown Hall, on Christmas Eve, 1958. Fifty-six years later, the present resident, Mr. Kierney, will discover her spirit hasn’t left and is causing havoc in the first floor bedrooms. He calls in the Psychic Surveys team, who will have to investigate the events leading up to her death in order to discover what’s keeping her in the land of the living.

Highdown Hall is not the only case they work on, however. They also visit a notorious mental asylum and various houses in the area, in search of lost spirits who need help moving on to the other side.

The four members of the team have varying degrees of psychic abilities. Ruby inherited the gift from her mother and her grandmother. Theo, who is retired, specialises in long distance healing. Quiet Ness, in her fifties sometimes worked with the Sussex police, and Corinna, a 21 year old who dresses in gothic attire and also works at a pub.

Ruby, the heart and soul of Psychic Surveys, who is trying to set up a webpage for their flourishing business, meets Cash Wilkins, a website designer, and just the man she needs. Ruby thought he wouldn’t be interested in pursuing any kind of friendship with her, once she told him she was ‘a psychic surveyor’, but on the contrary, he was fascinated, genuinely interested, and perhaps a little psychic himself.

The highlight for me was when the spirit of a dead Labrador, Jed, became attached to Ruby after visiting a couple who complained of dog barking at night.

By the end of the novel, Cynthia’s case is finally solved, as a result of Ruby and Cash’s thorough investigations, and the four ‘ghost hunters’ have become six.

It was easy to be carried away by the interesting and varied stories of unhappy and tormented spirits being helped on their journeys towards the light and peace, at last. It’s an enjoyable novel for readers who have at least an open mind to the possibility of paranormal happenings.

Highdown Hall is well written, well plotted, and has engaging characters, so I’m looking forward to more of the Psychic Surveys’ extraordinary investigations.

Book Description

Psychic Surveys: Book One – The Haunting of Highdown Hall 

“Good morning, Psychic Surveys. How can I help?”

The latest in a long line of psychically-gifted females, Ruby Davis can see through the veil that separates this world and the next, helping grounded souls to move towards the light – or ‘home’ as Ruby calls it. Not just a job for Ruby, it’s a crusade and one she wants to bring to the High Street. Psychic Surveys is born. 

Based in Lewes, East Sussex, Ruby and her team of freelance psychics have been kept busy of late. Specialising in domestic cases, their solid reputation is spreading – it’s not just the dead that can rest in peace but the living too. All is threatened when Ruby receives a call from the irate new owner of Highdown Hall. Film star Cynthia Hart is still in residence, despite having died in 1958. 

Winter deepens and so does the mystery surrounding Cynthia. She insists the devil is blocking her path to the light long after Psychic Surveys have ‘disproved’ it. Investigating her apparently unblemished background, Ruby is pulled further and further into Cynthia’s world and the darkness that now inhabits it. 

For the first time in her career, Ruby’s deepest beliefs are challenged. Does evil truly exist? And if so, is it the most relentless force of all?

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THE WITCHES OF DOYLE Trilogy by @KirstenWeiss #Paranormal Cosy #Mystery #WeekendBlogShare

Bound: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery (The Witches of Doyle Book 1)Today I’m reviewing all three books of this trilogy.

Bound: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bound is book #1 of The Witches of Doyle cosy paranormal mysteries. Doyle is an old mining town in California in the Sierra mountains.

Karin, Jayce and Lenore are triplets and witches who each practice a different form of magic, book #1 is Karin’s story. Their aunt Ellen is in hospital in the last stages of cancer, returning to Jayce’s home over her coffee shop Jayce and Karin discover the body of the local newspaper editor. Jayce is taken to the police station for questioning and employs lawyer Nick Heathcoat.

Strange things are happening in Doyle, a missing women comes out of the forest, a homeless man becomes victim number two and when visiting the local fairy spring Karin and Nick are nearly drowned.

In Ellen’s last days she talks to the girls about their magic and why she protected them, she warns them that there’s change coming to Doyle and they must find the rose rabbit, but Karin can find no mention of a rose rabbit in any of her searches.

Suspicion for the murders keeps returning to Jayce unless Karin can help solve the mystery and help her sister.

I liked the idea of a trilogy with the three witches,before I opened the book, I was reminded how much I enjoyed Nora Robert’s Three Sisters Island Trilogy. Kirsten Weiss’s trilogy is very much cosy with a thin vein of romance. Although I enjoyed the book and will go on to read the others, there were a couple of times I wasn’t convinced by the plot. One example where I believed Kirsten was leading Nick to the Fairy Spring, she then had a moment of watching his back which shouldn’t have been possible. Good for those who like kitchen witchcraft and a cosy mystery.

Book description

Bound by magic, bound by love, bound by murder… 

The Bonheim triplets live seemingly ordinary lives, hiding their magic from the neighbors in the small, mountain town of Doyle, California. But when a body is found in big sister Jayce’s coffee shop, Karin, the practical one, is determined to prove Jayce innocent. 
A murder isn’t the only bizarre event in Doyle. Why are hikers vanishing in the nearby woods? Why are some people cursed with bad luck and others with good? And why is Karin’s magic the weakest of the three sisters’? 

As Karin digs deep to uncover the truth and regain her magic, her family is thrown into peril. Will her power return too late to save the people she loves the most, or will it be the cause of disaster? 
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Ground: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery (The Witches of Doyle Book 2)Ground: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ground is book #2 in The Witches of Doyle cosy paranormal mysteries. They are set in the town of Doyle in the Sierra mountains of California.

Book #2 is Jayce’s story, she is the oldest of the Bonheim triplet witches. Jayce owns a coffee shop called Ground. Whilst at a country pub one Friday night her truck is stolen. It turns up the next day with a dead body in the back.

Once again Jayce is a suspect. The body is of Matt Zana a local handyman. While the police begin a methodical inquiry, Jayce and her family believe it is once again the work of the Unseelie or Fairy from the Fairy Spring influencing the inhabitants of Doyle.

Jayce is determined to solve the mystery behind Matt herself, she discovers he was a bit of a player and more than one person in town was being blackmailed by him. A second body is found and the attacks keep coming. The girls need to close in on the Unseelie and find the rose rabbit who they think will help them with to put an end to the bad luck in Doyle.

Another solid kitchen witch cosy, and a big ending to carry over to book #3.

Book Description

Her magic flows from the earth… 
Jayce Bonheim is on the sheriff’s radar and not in a good way. 
Always the reckless one of her triplet sisters, Jayce is trying to turn over a new leaf. No more wild partying. No more one night stands. But when someone leaves a dead body in her pickup truck, her resolve to become the sensible sister is sorely tested. 
Caught in a web of love, murder, and magic, Jayce must clear her name and discover who is behind the curse that holds her family and town in thrall. 

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Down: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery (The Witches of Doyle Book 3)Down: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Down is book #3 and the concluding part of The Witches of Doyle trilogy. This book is Lenore’s story and her role in finding the rose rabbit and putting an end to the hold that the fairy Belle has over the town of Doyle.

Lenore works in the town bookstore, but when her boss is murdered, Lenore is suspicious. She’s soon contacted by Mr Pivens an executor of Mike’s will and told that he left her the shop and his rare books collection. Lenore knew nothing of the rare books and is soon being hounded by a shady dealer about a possible valuable book.

With her sister Karin pregnant time is also running out to solve the fairy mystery hanging over Doyle and the family curse. The rose rabbit is the key if only they can find out who it is. Perhaps the many ghosts which Lenore can see can help her?

Everyone is looking for answers, the FBI were called in when twenty two people and a pub went missing, Alba Pollard, schizophrenic resident is hounding the town and Lenore’s list of suspects is long.

Lots happens in this cosy mystery ending of the trilogy, the three sisters must pull all their magical powers together to break the hold over Doyle and save the town and its townsfolk.

A pretty good paranormal mystery trilogy, one to sit by the fireside and enjoy.

Book Description

The answers lie below… 
A shamanic witch and a poet, Lenore Bonheim hides in the world of books to escape reality, which for her includes seeing ghosts and forecasting death. But when her employer and friend dies under suspicious circumstances, she must use all her skills – magical and mundane – to find the killer and save her two sisters and her town. 
As the three sisters pull together to stave off a growing menace, Lenore must discover what it means to be in this world and of it. 

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View all my reviews on Goodreads

THE SHAMANIC DETECTIVE by @KirstenWeiss #Paranormal Romantic #Mystery #wwwblogs

The Shamanic Detective (Riga Hayworth, #3)The Shamanic Detective by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Shamanic Detective is book #3 in a series of paranormal romantic mysteries which I’m currently enjoying.

This book takes place in lake Tahoe, Nevada. Riga’s new fiance, Donovan Mosse has just been arrested for money laundering and there’s no way Riga will sit back without trying to solve the case herself.

Riga Hayworth is a metaphysical detective, but as well as Mosse’s dilemma, she’s approached by a dark Fae who wants her assistance. He has a hold on Riga and she makes a bargain. Riga must go and help an old friend of hers and a Shaman whose life is currently being threatened.

There’s lots going on in this mystery, Riga’s time is split between the threats on her friend Sal, her own tight squeezes with danger and her search for the truth behind Donovan’s arrest. With the help of ghosts and spirits and a few red herrings sent by mischievous Fae, Riga needs to keep one step of the game.

If you like a good dose of paranormal with your mystery and prefer one without too must blood and gore, then this series might be for you.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

When Riga Hayworth’s lover is arrested, she’s determined to unearth the truth, no matter the cost. But life – and death – get in the way.

All Riga wants is to clear the name of her almost-fiancée, Donovan Mosse. But a death faerie has other plans for her, and Riga is forced to protect a shaman with a house full of murderous relatives. The only way to stop this killer is to figure out who he, or she, is before the next strike. As the two cases become entangled, Riga must choose between facts and faith, and decide just how far she’s willing to go for love.

The Shamanic Detective is a paranormal mystery set in Lake Tahoe, and explores shamanism, the shadow, and the world of the fae.

About the author

Kirsten Weiss

I worked overseas for nearly twenty years in the fringes of the former USSR, Africa, and deep in the Afghan war zone.  My experiences abroad not only gave me glimpses into the darkness and light of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

 Now based in San Mateo, CA, I write genre-blending novels: urban fantasy/mystery, steampunk/suspense, and cozy mysteries with a touch of paranormal. The mix just makes things more fun!

 I believe that life is as magical as you want to make it. I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like, and my guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking red wine.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

THE ALCHEMICAL DETECTIVE by @KirstenWeiss #Paranormal #Romantic #Mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

The Alchemical Detective (Riga Hayworth, #2)The Alchemical Detective by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Alchemical Detective is book #2 in the Riga Hayworth paranormal romance mysteries. The book is easily a stand alone read.

Metaphysical detective Riga Hayworth has come to Lake Tahoe for some rest and relaxation as she works on regaining her lost magical abilities (from book #1, but it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read it). Urged to consider alchemy by a French stone gargoyle, Riga finds her studies disrupted by a reality TV show offer; to investigate into tales that the lake is home to Tessie, an unknown monster.

Peace and quiet is also shattered when a local palm reader is found murdered. Riga finds herself “a person of interest” to the police and suddenly she’s asked not to leave town. Her own investigations lead her to daemon involvement in the murder and as the body count rises Riga considers the Tessie project might well be linked to the murders.

I loved the paranormal aspects of the book, they were explained well and I didn’t feel lost, the magic was very believable. I also liked the ghosts who were part of the story, I’m a big fan of interactive ghosts. Riga was an easily relatable character, I like her sassy independence and no-nonsense attitude. Lots of suitable lose ends to leave the reader thinking and it has me running to Amazon looking up the next book in the series.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Where Alchemy, Demons, and Good Wine Collide… with a Lake Monster Named Tessie. A psychic has been murdered in an occult ceremony and the police pay a visit to Riga Hayworth, metaphysical detective. But this time, she’s not a consultant on the case. She’s a suspect.

There’s a storm on the horizon.

Riga’s lost her magic and has come to Lake Tahoe to recover and spend quality time with her new love. But life for Riga is never that simple. A psychic’s been murdered, and the police believe Riga has a connection to the crime.

They’re right.

And if that’s not enough, Riga is drafted as the host of a reality TV show about the local lake monster, and her niece is rejecting her metaphysical abilities. Juggling demons, daimons, and angry tarot card readers, Riga must catch a killer before she becomes the next target.

The Alchemical Detective is an urban fantasy exploring the world of alchemy and the imagination.

About the author

Kirsten Weiss

I worked overseas for nearly twenty years in the fringes of the former USSR, Africa, and deep in the Afghan war zone.  My experiences abroad not only gave me glimpses into the darkness and light of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

 Now based in San Mateo, CA, I write genre-blending novels: urban fantasy/mystery, steampunk/suspense, and cozy mysteries with a touch of paranormal. The mix just makes things more fun!

 I believe that life is as magical as you want to make it. I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like, and my guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking red wine.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter | Website get a free copy fo this book when you sign up to Kirsten’s newsletter

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT DOWN SOLO by Earl Javorsky #Paranormal #Mystery

Today’s Team Review is from Olga, she blogs at http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Olga has been reading Down Solo by Earl Javorsky

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My review: Death is no excuse to give up on a case

I am reviewing this novel as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie Amber for organising this amazing team and to the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

Dead narrators are not unique. In some cases we know from the beginning (like in the film Sunset Boulevard, that I recommend if you haven’t watched it yet), in others we don’t find out until the very end (The Sixth Sense. Sorry, it’s a big spoiler, but I imagine everybody has watched it by now). I have just read a book where the main characters were dead, or in an in-between state. But still, Charlie Miner, the protagonist of this novel, is no ghost and he does not live in a separate reality. No, he wakes up at the morgue with a bullet in his head and picks himself up, finds another body still wearing some clothes that he borrows (as luck would have it, a skinhead), and, as a good (well, let’s say professional) PI he sets off finding out what has happened to him.

I really like unreliable narrators. They are good to keep readers on their toes and bring very interesting perspectives to the narrative. The story doesn’t stray from Charlie’s first person point of view, but he has a few problems. He’s dead, and it’s difficult to know if his memory problems stem from being dead or from the damage the bullet has caused to his brain; he also had a serious drug habit (developed due to back pain following an accident that would not respond to run of the mill painkillers) and what effect that has had on his memory is open to question. Charlie realises, when trying to pierce things together, that he has big gaps in his memory and, what’s even worse, some of the memories he recalls seem to be incorrect. On the plus side, he soon discovers that death cures drug addiction. Readers share his puzzlement and his attempts at trying to work out what really happened, having to rely on partial information that might be misleading or incomplete.

Charlie is a great narrator, despite (or because of) all those problems. Notwithstanding his situation, he wastes no time in feeling sorry for himself. He’s off to find out what happened. He’s sharp, witty, has a fabulous (if rather dark) sense of humour, and although he has his own sense of morality and of what’s right and wrong, he does not hesitate in using whatever means necessary to get to the truth, especially when his daughter is at risk. He is a friend of his friends, loves his daughter, has a keen sense of justice and, despite his flaws, he’s one of the good guys.

The case is a complex one, involving gold mines (that might or might not have gold in them), shady investment firms, preachers trying to save the world, experts killed for their troubles, hot wives prepared to do anything to get their hands on the money, trustworthy and friendly drug dealers, Mexican gangs, crazed adoptive sons and other complex family relationships, amphetamine labs… There are a number of deaths, explosions, crashes, arson attacks, kidnappings, road trips, visits to prison, and everything in between. There’s also an interesting taxi-driver, Daniel, who seems to have information about the biggest mystery in the book (how come Charlie is a completely unique model of the walking dead) but he keeps his cards very close to his chest. Despite the supernatural elements, once the readers move past the main premise of the book and accept it as Charlie does, they get swept by the adventures, complications, and dangers that pile up. You’re in for the ride and you enjoy it for all it’s worth. The ending… well, it’s open to interpretation.

The dynamic writing, and the quick pace suit the novel’s theme and characters perfectly, and turn it into a must read for people who love unusual thrillers and witty/quirky characters, with plenty of black humour thrown in. A word of warning, there’s swearing, violence, drug use and a bit of sex, so it’s not for the faint hearted. A fantastic read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com