**** 4 stars
This book reminded me of a gothic novel. Taking place on an island in Italy during a storm and including a villa and family crypt, it was very atmospheric. I received an advanced reader’s copy and couldn’t stop reading, even though the key to the mystery was revealed early in the book. When Claire Hunter meets the rich Jack Compton, her life changes. Having led a tough teenage life and becoming involved with a criminal, she still feels guilt about the night her father was killed in a car accident that she caused.
When Jack arranges their wedding on the island where his family owns a villa, she’s excited but somewhat overwhelmed. It doesn’t help that the night before they leave for Italy, someone breaks into the house, and Claire kills the intruder in self defense. Her actions are covered up by the bodyguard who was meant to protect her and Jack. Trouble continues to follow them to the island as they prepare for their wedding, and the incoming storm adds to the mystery. Claire learns that many of the Compton wives died accidentally, including Jack’s first wife, Morgan. The only difference is that Morgan’s body has never been found, although when Jack and Claire arrive on the island, a body is discovered.
Secrets are revealed about Jack’s family, but Claire, with her own secrets, still wants to marry Jack. After her wedding gown is ruined and people start being killed by unexplained accidents at the villa, Jack’s mother moves up the wedding in the hope that whoever is trying to prevent it will stop after it has taken place. Unfortunately, the person behind the incidents has other plans.
Although I wasn’t surprised at the ending, there was a twist. I really enjoyed this book, but I found it a bit too dark for my taste. The changing point of views, even of the person behind everything, added interest and insight to the characters. For those who enjoy dark fiction with a gothic feel, I would recommend this read.
The first of the Becky Tibbs: A North Carolina Medium’s cozy mystery series, this book introduces Medium Becky Tibbs, who on her 26th birthday, receives a vision from her boyfriend who died ten years ago on her 16th birthday. She needs to find out why Josh is so angry, why he’s chosen to visit her after all this time, and why he didn’t know he was dead. With the aid of a detective who once had a crush on her sister and her two siblings, Becky discovers who killed Josh and why. This helps him have closure and enter the light.
The best part of this book, in my opinion, was the relationship between Becky and her brother and sister who, also mediums, have chosen not to use their powers, although her brother begins to change his mind at the end of the story. I also liked the fact that Becky works in an antique shop, a perfect place to find ghosts. The setting in Asheville, North Carolina, is also interesting. This book has hooked me into checking out the others in the series. I recommend giving it a try.
The Red Penguin Collection of anthologies feature short stories of various genres. Their latest, a mystery collection called BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, includes wonderful offerings by 15 talented authors. Although I haven’t read all the stories, my favorites so far are “Last Lap” by Diane Kane (what a twist); “The Time of His LIfe” by William John Rostron (a story every bored young person should read); and, no bias here, my story, “The Return of the Arch Villain,” about a St. Louis cop who reopens the cold case of his wife’s murder before he retires. This is a great collection of mysteries of all types and one any mystery reader won’t want to miss.
Grab your copy here: https://amzn.to/2RW3us4
Read more about the Red Penguin Collection in this blog post: https://debbiedelouise.com/2021/01/18/the-red-penguin-collection-a-great-opportunity-for-writers/
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
I can’t say enough good things about this book. It had me turning the pages as the story shifted from 18th-century to modern London. Nella is an apothecary in 1791 who takes over her mother’s business but now dispenses poisons instead of herbal remedies to women who wish to do away with their husbands or lovers because of abuse or infidelity.
Current-day Caroline is visiting London on what would’ve been her anniversary trip, but she recently learned of her husband’s adultery. Seeking time away, she takes the trip herself and is enlightened by what she learns during a mud lurking expedition in which she recovers an old bottle in the sea with an inscription of a bear. Investigating her find at the British Library, she befriends a researcher who helps her discover the whereabouts of Nella’s apothecary shop that has been hidden for over 200 years.
As the story alternates between past and present, Caroline becomes absorbed in investigating the apothecary’s story. When Caroline’s husband joins her in London to apologize for his behavior and ask her for a new start, she is faced with a decision regarding her marriage. Delving further into the apothecary’s life, Caroline seeks to solve a mystery which allows her to confront her own future.
This is an enchanting read. I savored the descriptive details of the magical town of Destiny Falls. It made me want to pack up, jump in the mirror that transported Hayden, and move there. Of course, the cat on the cover, the sassy Latifa, was a big plus for me. All the characters in this story were well written. If you like mystery, a touch of romance, fantasy, and twists, you’ll enjoy this book. I’m looking forward to the next in the series, The Disappearance of Emily, and participating in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour starting this week.
Blurb to Falling into Magic
When Hayden was a child, she lost her cat. Adults told her the cat ran away, but she knew the truth. The mirror had taken her.
She knew because the mirror had given her a glimpse of an alternate world and had nearly pulled her in, so she was certain the cat had suffered that fate.
Twenty years later Hayden discovers the secret of the mirror when she is thrust into it. She learns of a world she never knew existed, and a family she never knew she had.
But danger brought her here, and it followed her. Now, Hayden is on a mission to remove the threat, so that she can begin her magical, meaningful new life in this enchanted world.
About the Author (from her Amazon author page)
Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her parenting books have been published in over twenty languages.
Elizabeth has also written the new Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic book series. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She’s the mother of four, and Nana to one.
You can get more information, articles, contests, and more, at her website: http://www.nocrysolution.com/ or her blog at http://elizabethpantley.com
***** 5 stars
This children’s book, following the author’s previous cat rescue story, Sammie’s Tail, is just as charming and educational. Bettina will win any child’s heart with her adorable face and “I am” sayings such as “Brave, brave, brave! I am!” when she runs past people after a snowstorm and “Happy, happy, happy! I am!” when she goes into an outdoor cat house that was put out for her and eats some food that a kind lady she met gives her. This true story, told from the cat’s point of view, also includes photos of Bettina’s rescue by the author and resources for adults interested in cat rescue. More rescue stories are in the works for the other cats Ms. Fishman has rescued with Freddie’s Tail coming next. Each cat, like Sammie and Bettina, will share their special story to the delight of young and old cat lovers. Highly recommended.
*****5 star Review
The first of the new Witch Way Librarian paranormal cozy mystery series by Angela M. Sanders is a treat for bibliophiles and those who enjoy cozies featuring witches, cats, and libraries. The main character, Josie, doesn’t know she’s a witch until she runs away from a dangerous situation to a small town in Oregon. Accepting a job as a librarian at the Wilfred Library, she discovers that books and a black cat named Rodney respond to her in magical ways. As Josie is caught up in a murder investigation and the possibility that she may lose her new job when the library is replaced by a community center, she becomes attracted to a man who may be a killer and the cause of the library’s sale. Strange things continue to happen to her that culminate in her learning the truth about herself and Sam Wilfred. I found this a fun read full of charm, magic, and surprises and look forward to the next book in the series.
Read my interview with Rodney the cat when I featured this book’s blog tour on my library cat’s blog. https://wp.me/p7XcB0-15t
I’m proud to announce that Pet Posts: The Cat Chats , is now available in Ebook as well as paperback and is free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers. This cat book features full-color photos and stories narrated by two of my current felines and two who have passed to the Rainbow Bridge. The “tails” that are told are informative about health topics ranging from feline diabetes, asthma, hyperthyroidism, and more. There are also short stories, a poem, and links to articles and blogs about cats. If you or someone on your holiday list is a cat lover, this is a purr-fect book.
Pet Posts is also on blog tour until December 23rd with a $20 giveaway. The tour can be followed from the host blog, Silver Dagger Book Tours.
Here is the review from Our Town Book Reviews:
Not just an enjoyable book or collection of cat articles to read but also an informative read.
This book is also well-written and well put together. Although it contains a lot of information about cat illnesses and the treatment of them, as well as cat behaviors, it flows like a story. Never dry and what I’ll call “academic”. To make this happen the author has written some of the chapters or articles with the POV being one of the cats.
This book could be titled All About Cats. However, there must be 100 books with that title. So “Pet Posts” is fine, but it is the everything you need to know about cats book. From appetite loss and illness to the best snuggly beds. All told to you by a cat. What more expertise could you get?
Debbie De Louise has many books published. Many have cats in them, some fictional and some not but all have excellent reviews.
Don’t miss this book that makes a great gift for you or a cat lover on your holiday list. The eBook is free on KindleUnlimited and less than $5 for the eBook. The paperback is also now on sale for $1 less.
I first heard about this book through a library webinar I attended. As a fan of time-travel books, I found the premise interesting, a story about a woman whose mother died when she was young but who was able to go back in time to see her again. Although I didn’t lose my mother as a child, I know the feeling of wanting to spend more time with a loved one you’ve lost. Faye discovers that there are negatives as well as positives for doing this when she comes across an old box that had originally contained a Christmas gift for her. This box serves as a time machine that can send her back to the year prior to her mother’s death. While the trip back is bumpy, and Faye is bruised and battered from it, she is eager to befriend her mother who is younger than she is at the time. She also meets her young self which is an anomaly in this type of fiction. While Faye is reluctant to share her experience with anyone, including her husband who is about to enter the clergy, she confides in a blind co-worker. As she investigates the past through her time-travel trips and also through information she gathers in the present, she learns some amazing facts about her mother. The end is a twist that will surprise you but that makes sense of the plot. While this is a time-travel mystery, it’s also a story about faith and family. I read the advanced reader’s copy. The book releases in late January, and I highly recommend it.