Category Archives: ARC Review

Dead Ringer: Review

Dead Ringer Book CoverDead Ringer (Gaslamp Gothic #5)
by Kat Ross
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

Book Reviews - Loved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including violence.

A poisonous secret.
A terrifying curse.
And a client she’d just as soon see dead in a ditch….

Summer 1889. Harrison Fearing Pell hoped for adventure when she signed on with the Society for Psychical Research as an occult investigator. Slogging through New York’s sewers in pursuit of a “mud man” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. But the reeking monster terrorizing the dance halls of the Tenderloin leads her to an even more peculiar mystery — and the last man on earth Harry wishes to become entangled with.

James Moran is a prodigy in music, mathematics . . . and crime. Harry’s older sister, the famed detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, has vowed to put him behind bars. But Harry owes Moran a personal debt, so when he demands her aid she can hardly refuse. It turns out that the brilliant black sheep of New York Society is part of a secret club at Columbia College whose members have started dying in bizarre ways that may not be accidents.

Thus begins one of the strangest cases of Harry’s career, a tale of murder, cold-blooded revenge and fairytale bogeymen to make the Brothers Grimm shudder. As the bodies pile up, each preceded by sightings of the victim’s doppelgänger, Harry and her stalwart friend John Weston must race against time to save a man who arguably deserves his macabre fate.

Review:

If the X-Files were set in turn of the century New York Dead Ringer would make a great episode.

I’m not much of a fan of mysteries, but Dead Ringer is a tension-building fast paced story that has enough of the fantasy elements, plus good characters that kept me interested.

The whole Gaslamp Gothic series is very moody. The dark streets of the seedier parts of New York can practically be felt (I was just glad I couldn’t actually smell the sewers.) I could perfectly picture the stately manor of the Moran family and the Central Park gardens on a sunny afternoon. And I wanted to close my eyes with Harry when she is creeping up the steps and has to navigate the one squeaky spot. Mood in this book is 💯.

I enjoyed coming back to Harry and John after spending two books of the series centered on Gabriel  and Anne. And although you could start with the  The Daemoniac, the first book in the series, you don’t need to. Like a good Sherlock Holmes novel Dead Ringer carries its own weight, and although reading the other books will give you more of a backstory with the characters and world-building it isn’t necessary to enjoying this entry.

Kat Ross always has good characters in her books, as in deep, thoughtful well-written characters that you want to take out to tea and spend an afternoon talking to, even the criminal mastermind James Moran would be interesting company for an afternoon.

Harry and John have great chemistry and I hope their slow burn romance will have some big payout in a future book.

Bottom Line:

Dead Ringer is a moody gothic supernatural mystery that I think will appeal to readers across genre lines. It’s just plain good.

From the corner of my eye, I sensed him studying me. “What?” I snapped.

“You’re prettier than her.”

I didn’t need to ask who he meant. “Don’t waste your time with flattery,” I replied scornfully.

“It’s not flattery, simply a fact. And here’s another fact. She’s smarter.”

I scowled and Moran gave me a crooked little smile. “But not by much.”

Read my reviews of other books in this series:

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

 

🤩 Leave a comment to enter my giveaway for a kindle copy of A Bad Breed by Kat Ross.. 💬 Every blog comment between now and Valentines Day (Feb 14th) will get you one entry the giveaway of this darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. Giveaway is International, so long as you can receive a link to redeem a Kindle book from Amazon.

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By the Feet of Men: Review

By the Feet of Men
by Grant Price
Publication date:  September 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure, Dystopian

Book Reviews- Liked it Alot

Synopsis:

WANTED: Men and women willing to drive through the valley of the shadow of death.

The world’s population has been decimated by the Change, a chain reaction of events triggered by global warming. In Europe, governments have fallen, cities have crumbled and the wheels of production have ground to a halt. The Alps region, containing most of the continent’s remaining fresh water, has become a closed state with heavily fortified borders. Survivors cling on by trading through the Runners, truck drivers who deliver cargo and take a percentage. Amid the ruins of central Germany, two Runners, Cassady and Ghazi, are called on to deliver medical supplies to a research base deep in the Italian desert, where scientists claim to be building a machine that could reverse the effects of the Change. Joining the pair are a ragtag collection of drivers, all of whom have something to prove. Standing in their way are starving nomads, crumbling cities, hostile weather and a rogue state hell-bent on the convoy’s destruction. And there’s another problem: Cassady is close to losing his nerve.

Review:

  • I received a copy of this book from the author.

I accepted this book partly because I love dystopian fiction and partly because I have a truck driver for a husband. It took me a while to get to it because I have this HUGE, I mean TOWERING TBR pile.

By The Feet of Men is a fast paced novel that still finds the time for deep character moments.

I really enjoyed the main characters Ghazi and Cass. Although there were times that I couldn’t quite get what Ghazi was thinking. Or why he seemed to jump from one thing to another… although by the end he seemed to have evened out. Cass however was really well written, you could feel his seams ripping out, you feared that he was a breath away from losing it all together. The tension in him was palpable.

The post-climate-apocalyptic setting is one that’s setup to appeal to current audiences, and seems to be an “in” trend these days. This was usually handled pretty well in the book, but there were sometimes it was just too much. A little too much hit-you-over-the-head, guilt-tripping exposition. At other times you could really feel like the setting and history were really plausible.

Hope Hart BookmarkSidenote: I always try to pick ironic bookmarks and for By The Feet of Men I used one of our American Agri-Women Women Heros of Science and Technology bookmarks. It felt absolutely perfect to have Hope Hart,  the leader of the molecular characterization team at Sygenta, with me every time I picked up the book.

Late in the book you get to hear the backstory of a character who lived through the collapse, and man that was emotional and well done and believable.

The big thing that kept this book from receiving my highest rating is that it goes on for a little too long. The team gets hit again, and again, and again, and by the end I felt a little fatigue from it all.

Bottom Line:

A solid post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction novel. It’s one I enjoyed even if it went on a little too long.

Goodreads / Amazon

P.S. Every blog comment between now and Valentines Day (Feb 14th) will get you one entry into a giveaway of a kindle copy of A Bad Breed by Kat Ross. A darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. Giveaway is International, so long as you can receive a link to redeem a Kindle book from Amazon.

Mythical Me: Review

Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison
by Richella Parham
Publication Date : October 22nd 2019
Publish by: IVP Books
152 pages

Book Reviews - Loved It

Synopsis:

Do you ever find yourself stuck in the comparison trap?

Speaker and author Richella Parham knows what this feels like. “I couldn’t break free from admiring one person’s achievements, someone else’s personality, another’s skills, yet another’s relationships. And don’t get me started on how I looked at other people’s appearances,” she writes. “I was haunted by the admirable attributes of other people, certain that I could never match their worthiness. No matter how well-intentioned the teaching or pithy the advice, I found that most of it didn’t help me change my thoughts, feelings, or actions.”

While there are no easy answers, Parham has identified cultural and spiritual myths about others, God, and ourselves that keep us trapped. From there the journey is a spiritual one. We can pick up practices that help us walk in the freedom of Christ with confidence in ourselves. If you’ve ever suffered from tortured moments of comparison on Facebook, in the office, or in the hallway at church, you’ll benefit from this fresh perspective.

Review:

  • I received this book from the publisher. This review is based on a complimentary pre-release copy.

Have you ever read a book you liked so much that you could hardly review it? That’s Mythical Me, in my mind.

This book came to me at just the right time in my life and it delivered just the right wisdom.

Insightful, inspirational, and raw Richella delivers her wisdom from a personal struggle with comparison. Her battle with it really struck a chord with me. Her gentle way of moving you through the struggles and into freedom leaves you feeling that it is achievable. It’s a book full of hope.

My copy is full of dog eared corners (which I do not normally do, but I couldn’t pause to find something to mark the page with.) I was engrossed, yet I couldn’t hurry. It felt like I need to take the book in breaths, hold it in, breath it out and then go back for more.

Bottom Line:

Buy this book, read it, share it. Have a study with some of your close friends. Suggest it to your women’s ministry and church library. This book is full of wisdom for today and it needs to be heard.

Goodreads / Amazon

“It turns out that insecurity is both the root of comparison and the fruit of comparison.

“I heard God’s voice speak to me. Simply and clearly, God said, “I made you to bless, not impress.””

The Necromancer’s Bride: Review

The Necromancer’s Bride CoverThe Necromancer’s Bride (Gaslamp Gothic, #4)
by Kat Ross
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including sexually explicit content and violence.

Forgiveness is not Gabriel D’Ange’s strong suit.

A self-appointed soldier of God with a penchant for ruthlessly punishing his enemies, he vanished after Anne Lawrence stabbed him with his own dagger.

The smart thing would be to let him go.

Unfortunately, Anne’s life isn’t just lonely without Gabriel. It’s insufferably boring.

Determined to heal the rift between them, she goes in search of her tempestuous former lover, black parasol in hand and daeva magic crackling at her fingertips. But Gabriel has his own plans afoot and Anne finds herself drawn into one of his tangled webs, much against her better judgment.

Gabriel’s nemesis has reappeared in Brussels, a vile slaver who’s plundering the Congo Free State with the blessing of King Leopold. Gabriel might be willing to give Anne a second chance, but not until Jorin Bekker’s head is lying at his feet.

Back in London, the quasi-reformed necromancer Balthazar sets his sights on the same quarry. He holds a very personal grudge against Bekker — and killing him might be the only way to keep Gabriel D’Ange from Balthazar’s own throat.

When the hunters collide at a lavish gala thrown by the king, Anne learns just how far she’ll go to save the man she loves.

Note: The Necromancer’s Bride is the sequel to A Bad Breed (read my review), which should be read first.

Review:

First of all a big “Thank You!” and shout out to Kat Ross, who over the course of reviewing her ten other books has become like a friend, for giving me a heads up on the graphic sex scenes in this book so that I could skip them. I’m not into erotic scenes… at all, so knowing where to skip really helps my enjoyment of a book. If you are wondering, the scenes to skip are the wedding night, which is the middle of Chapter 12 and a few pages into chapter 14 after the opera.

A little extra note for Kat Ross: “the next book returns to Harry & John in New York so it will be quite clean 🙂 I went the somewhat more explicit direction for the last two books, but it’s not a trend for the series in general.” Which is good news indeed!

Now, on to the review!

The Necromancers Bride is an absolutely satisfying conclusion to the story from A Bad Breed.

Doesn’t the cover just scream gothic moodiness? The inside doesn’t disappoint either. For those who love a good moody gothic book this is for you.

For those who love mad necromancers and revenge this book is for you.

It’s also for those who love super powered women who don’t need a man, but fall in love with one anyway.

Or for those who always knew that the strings of power in Victorian Europe were being pulled by evil immortal billionaires.

I almost feel like I’ve run out of good things to say about Kat Ross’s writing.

She does a great job writing deep complex characters. So many of the characters here are multilayered, adult characters (as in mature not YA type characters.) Balthazar has been a great character to watch evolve over the millennia from a villainous necromancer to a man willing to sacrifice himself for redemption. (Read more about Balthazar here. He’s so cool he gets his own blog post!)

She writes great world building. You feel like you are in the jungles of Bermuda, or the sewers of Brussels, or a Necromancer’s dungeon (one place you do not actually want to find yourself.)

She write compelling plots. After about halfway through this book I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know how it was all going to work out. I probably drove my husband crazy talking to him every night about the characters doing this and that. Good necromancers this, evil necromancers that… blah, blah, blah. I couldn’t get enough!

She write satisfying endings. I have been disappointed so many times. After spending volumes with characters and stories I’ve come out of it feeling majorly let down (I’m looking at you the Dark Tower 🤮 and at you Rendezvous with Rama 🤬.) The Necromancer Bride wrapped up the story line in a way that was just gratifying. I may not have been able to guess at all the outcomes, but I enjoyed them. I felt the same way about how the Forth Talisman series wrapped up.

Bottom Line:

Kat Ross is a instant read for me because of all the thing I mentioned above. I just can’t recommend her books enough, the Necromancer’s Bride included.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

“You won’t be laughing so hard when my wife get here,” Gabriel said…

Gabriel waited, stone-faced, until their breathless wheezing subsided.

“You haven’t met her yet.” His smile made the hair on Balthazar’s neck rise up. “But you will.”