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Posts Tagged ‘Book Suggestions’

Fantasy Review – The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

Friday, November 17th, 2023

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Review by Melissa B. (dragoneyes)


A simply sweet story about family, being who you are, and trusting others. It starts out a bit slow but gradually builds and before long, you are fully immersed into the story and into the lives of the characters. Almost to the point you don’t want it to end.
Mika is a witch and a lonely one at that. She lives in a world where you have to hide who you are or take the chance of being persecuted. Even being with other witches is an impossibility as that much magic together can cause disaster. On top of that, all witches are orphans. So besides the “once in a blue moon” meeting the witches get together to have, Mika keeps a solitary life moving around and running her own website. When she is contacted about a teaching job for 3 young witches, she is hesitant but also curious. When she arrives at the home, she finds the caretakers consisting of Ian, Ken, Lucie and Jamie. Even though she has her doubts, she decides to give it a chance and finds more than a job within this warm, loving home.
The part that stands out in this book for me is the characters. They were the type that I just wanted to hang out with. Along with the story line, it was a very fun read. Would love to read another book in this series just to see the girls as they grow older.

Fantasy Review – Strange Country

Saturday, November 11th, 2023

Strange Country by Deborah Coates

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)


STRANGE COUNTRY is the third of the Hallie Michaels trilogy. I reviewed WIDE OPEN and DEEP DOWN previously. Picking up only a short while after DEEP DOWN, Hallie is fretting about the request she received from Death, but it disappeared before she could give an answer.  She plans to say no as soon as she can figure out how.  The black dog Maker, who is a harbinger of death except when he’s watching Hallie,  is still hanging around. And Beth, the sister of Boyd’s late wife, shows up again with a demand Hallie really doesn’t want to listen to. With all that pending, there’s another problem.

Boyd was on patrol when he received a report of a prowler from Prue Stalking Horse. As he’s checking out the place, a sniper shoots Prue dead on her front porch.  As the police start their investigation, two state agents show up and one of them has some interesting questions.  Hallie is also determined to find out what’s happening, and she’s asking questions of Laddie Kennedy, who’s saying that the dead are now talking to him all the time instead of just occasionally.

There’s a connection between Prue, Laddie, and a couple other local people, and of course it has to do with magic. Magic that harks back to the first book.

Excellent world-building, good pacing, and really good characters. I love Hallie’s grit, stubborness, and “get the job done” mentality. Boyd is still a bit of an enigma to me, but I can believe in him, and I liked that Coates included his POV this time. Minor character Laddie gets some growth. I wasn’t sure why Agent Gerson was in the plot,  however –  she didn’t have much to do. I especially liked how Coates loosely tied together all the various happenings in the area, but left some mystery behind.  This is a nice trilogy, with a strong mystery whodunit element along with the supernatural.




Women’s Fiction Review – Suburban Hell

Saturday, November 4th, 2023

Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer

Review by Melissa B. (dragoneyes)

The cover of this book immediately caught my eye. It was put on my wish list before it even came out. Yet, when it did, the reviews were less than stellar. The urge for the book fell flat and it wasn’t until much later that the book popped up in one of my searches. In that, I saw the reviews had gotten better so I decided to order it. It ended up being worth it.

The story surrounds best friends, Amy, Melissa, Jess and Liz. While they are very different in their own way, they have a strong bond. They get together once a month to drink and chat. This time around they are meeting a Liz’s. After hanging out for awhile they decide to go to the backyard where Liz is going to have their own She Shed built. They christen the ground and immediately weird things happen. As days go by, they notice Liz acting strange. As it gets worse they determine that she is possessed. When no one else will listen, they decide to take matters into their own hands to fight the evil lurking inside their friend.

Now, if you looking for a scary story, this one is not. It does have some creepy moments to it but that is as far as it goes. What it does have is the bonds of sisterhood and a great sense of humor. The only thing that took away from the book was it lagged in some parts but most of the time it was quite a fun fest. Ready to read this author’s next book, Hex Education.




Horror Review – Black Mouth

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi

Review by Melissa B. (dragoneyes)

A good, creepy tale about a set of childhood friends who drifted apart as they got older only to get pulled back to each other by a malevolent force. Struggling between doing the right thing and fleeing from a terror they do not wish to face again, they lean on each other for support as they relive the horror from their past.

Jamie Warren is an alcoholic who is holding onto sobriety by a string. When he gets a call that his mother has committed suicide and that his disabled brother, Dennis, is now alone, he struggles with the demons of his past. Going back to Black Mouth might be the one thing to snap that string in an instant. Yet the guilt of leaving his brother there to fend for himself overwhelms him and so he sets off to a place he never thought he’d go back to. His friends are making their way back as well. Clay is set on doing the right thing and determined to face the evil lurking at Black Mouth. Mia feels the same way as she looks to get face to face with the past. Together the are on the hunt for a man they know only as “The Magician”. A man they looked at with adoration until that one moment when a veil was lifted and they saw the evil lurking there instead. By then, it was too late. What is done is done but maybe they can make it right this time around.

I read a lot of reviews comparing this story to Stephen King‘s IT. It does have some similarities but I feel like it stands on its own. The story has its own twist and turns that are quite different from IT. I also felt there was a bit of King’s Dreamcatcher familiarity in there too, but just a bit. I quite enjoyed this tale and found The Magician and very frightening character. This is my 2nd Malfi book and like the other, it does not disappoint.



Horror Review – The Drift

Saturday, October 28th, 2023

The Drift by C. J. Tudor

Review by Melissa B. (dragoneyes)


This story is centered around 3 main characters. Each chapter’s title is of one of the characters and their story. Their stories are similar in that there is a snow storm going on and they are struggling to survive. There is Hannah who was riding in a coach one minute and waking up to dead bodies (some alive) and freezing cold the next. Then there is Meg who wakes up in a cable car with strangers and one murdered body. They are stuck high above the mountains with no idea who the killer is and how to escape. The last one is Carter who is staying, with others, in an remote ski chalet. It starts with the power flickering on top of the storm rolling in. When the faltering power gets worse and things become deadly, tensions become high and it is a fight for survival.

It is a crazy, wild ride that only gets crazier as it moves along. I loved the pacing and how every chapter ended with you wanting more. On top of that, these 3 stories come together and the way they do is maddening. It is a good maddening though. I enjoyed every bit and couldn’t wait to see how it played out. That, sadly, is where it fell a bit short for me. The ending was satisfactory but not quite what I was wanting. That is just me though as I was hoping it would turn out a different way. Other than that, another fabulous C. J. Tudor read.





Fantasy Review – Deep Down

Thursday, October 26th, 2023

DEEP DOWN by Deborah Coates

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)



You could call this urban fantasy but there’s no urban…let’s say it’s rural fantasy. It’s the second book featuring ex-soldier Hallie Michaels, who died (and was revived) in Afghanistan, and came home to solve her sister’s murder in WIDE OPEN, which I reviewed earlier.  You’ll want to have read that one first before starting this.  Everything seems to have settled down for Hallie; she’s got a tentative relationship with Deputy Boyd Davies and there are no more ghosts. Now she just needs a job. Living with her dad on the ranch is okay, but both of them need their space.

Elderly neighbor Pabby needs some help on her ranch, but when Hallie visits she sees black dogs hanging around at a distance from the house. Pabby is astonished that Hallie sees them – they are harbingers of Death, kept at a distance by Pabby’s hex ring because Pabby is determined it’s not her time to die. But one black dog is fascinated by Hallie and actually talks to her.

Meanwhile, Boyd is being haunted by ghosts from his past, and even as they coalesce around Hallie, he’s not ready to talk about it with her. But the black dog tells Hallie there is a reaper loose in the world, one with its own mission, and she’s going to have to deal with it. Hallie is going to have to travel into the world of Death itself to fix the crack that was left open.

I really like the world Coates built in this series. You can readily imagine the open countryside of South Dakota, the cold, the wind, the endless stretches of road with nothing on them.  The paranormal events are vivid and easy to believe in. Hallie’s got iron determination and just refuses to be pushed around by anyone, whether they’re from this world or not. I also liked how the these events, while a new story, are enabled by what happened in the last book.























Fantasy Review – Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries: A Novel

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023


Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries: A Novel by Heather Fawcett

Review by Melissa B. (dragoneyes)


An expert on faeries, Emily Wilde sets off to a small town in Norway in search of the Hidden Ones. It is one more step in the completion of her encyclopedia of faerie lore. Unfortunately, once there, Emily finds she doesn’t fit in well with the townsfolk and it is becoming harder and harder to do things on her own. When her academic partner shows up unannounced, she is not sure if she should be grateful or angry. For one, he does bring an entourage of people to help get the fire going and make the place cozy. Not only that but the townsfolk adore him. Yet, Emily knows he is just there to take all of the credit.  Even so, she decides to grin and bear it. Which is a good thing because she ends up doing something quite irrational and will need Wendall’s help to save the day.

This book was full of enjoyment. I was caught up in the story from the beginning. Things only got better when the fair folk showed up as well as Wendall. There were times that I laughed out load but there are also some slightly dark times. It ended up being a great mix. There was even romance thrown in. I can be the first to tell you that most romances make me do an eye roll but this one was quite light-hearted and gratifying. I am very excitedly waiting for the next book in the series.