Mrs. Clatterbuck would like you to keep the noise down, please.

These Haunts are Made for Walking
Haunted Tour Guide Mystery, #1
Rose Pressey
Pub, Sep 2014
Kindle, 219 Pages
Only in Digital format
Genre(s) Ghostly Cozy Mystery
Source Author

Other books in this series 

A Walk on the Haunted Side #2, Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk #3, Walk this Way, Haunt this Way #4, Take a Haunted Walk with Me #5, Haunting After Midnight #6

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Ripley Van Raden AKA Rip has returned to her hometown of Devil's Moon as the main librarian, taking the place of a long-loved librarian. Always a hard place to fill. She's also starting up a ghost tour in town. 

Her first day at the library is BookWormers Club. Unfortunately, one of the ladies from the club took too large a step off the top of the stairs and ended up dead at the bottom. Officer Brannon Landon is asking questions about more than the dead body. Seems Officer Landon is interested in ghosts, too.

Can Rip figure out the messages she's getting from the ghosts before someone in town makes her one? 

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is similar to others Ms. Pressey has used for other books. Not as stylized, but still very attractive with the spooky dark scene in back and the black and purple figure in front.

The storyline is great and very amenable to the creative twists and turns Ms. Pressey put it through.

The characters really could have used a bit more depth. Rip, Tammy, and Brannon should have been more defined.

The pace was fast. There wasn't any lag at all in any part of this. Whether in the library putting books away or just walking to the pub, there was something happening or about to happen.

The tension was there from almost the first moment. Rip wasn't sure the library wanted her in her new job. She wasn't sure the town wanted her to start up the ghost tours. The only thing she was sure of was her BFF Tammy. 

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒


The mystery was based on the books, but the books came into the story so late that there really wasn't time to figure out what they had to do with anything. Though they really didn't have anything to do with anything. They were supposed to lead you to the Grump. Somehow we were supposed to know the story about her mother. I don't remember anything leading in that direction. No trail. I wish that part had been based more in the library.

Brannon Landon is really screwed up. In uniform he can't touch Rip. Of course not, he's on duty. When he and the guys come with their equipment to scan the library he can't touch Rip. Of course not, what will the guys think? I don't know why he doesn't talk to her some time when they are both out of work and no one else is around. Like after one of her ghost tours or something. He has to wait until the world is watching to kiss her? Until she's almost given up on him? Ggrrr...men!

I loved the fact that Rip didn't realize that Mrs. Clatterbuck was a ghost! She spoke with her and everything and she really thought she was still alive! Even after she went by the house she didn't realize the truth. Brannon had to tell her. Wow.

This book had a sense of fun even when it was serious. Anne was a ghost, but she could only communicate via technology. Mrs. Clatterbuck. Brannon. And, of course, Ripley's name was so appropo. I plan on reading at least one more book to see what happens after that kiss.

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"Danger awaits you."

Wicked, Manor, and Murder
Paranormal in Manhattan, #7
Lotta Smith
Self-Pub, Jul 2017
Kindle, 154 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Cozy paranormal mystery, Magical Romance
Source purchased at current price

Other books in this series

Wicked for Hire #1, W is for Wicked #2, Wicked Little Secret #3, Wicked of the Christmas Past #4, Sweet Wicked of Mine #5, Wicked and Haunted #6, Wickedly Ever After #8, Speak of the Wicked #9, Wicked as a Christmas Fruitcake #10

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...

Rick Rowling and Mandy Meyer, previously of FBI fame, are currently working for Rick's family business, USCAB. Well, Rick is, Mandy is working on getting the wedding planned since it's next month. Currently, her assignment from the wedding planner is the color and theme for her bridesmaids. 

She meets her BFF from college, Fiona Edenfeld, who's going to be one of her bridesmaids. Somehow their conversation about the wedding turns into a plea for help with the ghost of Fiona's late grandmother at her family estate. And a warning of danger.

Mandy, Rick, and Mandy's guardian spirit, Jackie, ask to join a paranormal tour with Brian Powers, their favorite exorcist and head towards Norwalk. Most of the people on the tour have done this before. There are only a few newcomers who have other agendas.

A little haunting by Grandma, a murder, and a couple of attempts on Fiona's life all add up to more than anyone was prepared for. But not more than they can handle with Brian and Jackie helping out!

But pink sapphire will look wonderful on Mandy's bridesmaids.

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is another great stylized one for this series.

The storyline is an excellent one with lots of twists and turns to keep you interested.

The characters are ones you know if you have been following the series at all. But they are easy to get to know in each book if you jump in on any one book. You miss out on the depth of the relationships and some of the details of the characters, but they are easy characters to follow if you choose to simply read this one book rather than the series.

The pace as always is fast forward. Rick is lucky he can find time to schmooze with his bride-to-be with Jackie popping in and out.

The tension never lags once it starts building and it really builds to a peak in this one.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰✰


Either these people eat some of the craziest things, or I just don't eat very adventurously. Squid ink cake? And it tastes like what? No, I really can't believe that one. I'm with Rick, I'll stick with pineapple upsidedown cupcakes.

I absolutely love Fiona's Nana. She's so sweet and welcoming of the tours. She adores Fiona, too. She sure doesn't think too highly of Leo, though. Of course, we find out why that is in the course of the story. He's written as a sort of sleazy character from the beginning, though. You're prepared not to like him. The comments about his weight are frequent and not so subtle, like his chipmunk cheeks. He can't even open the lock of the warehouse. And the things he notices seem to be monetary. Then he seems to sort of disappear until he shows up in the garage with Vina.

And Vina. Vina Burwick. Just who the heck is she? She's having an affair with the chipmunk, but we get no idea how long it's been going on. Out of nowhere, she attempts to kill Fiona. That's some serious affair! She's ready to kill the wife! Wow! Good thing Brian's there to take her out of the world. Then Wesley grabs Fiona and makes his attempt. At least he's still among the living. And it's Brian to the rescue again. Maybe Brian and Fiona should have an arrangement like Rick and Fiona do. Work together and get married so that he can take care of her so she stays safe. I mean, it works for Rick and Fiona, so far. Well, working together is a good start.

I have to wonder if they'll ever come back to the film locked in the vault at USCAB? Fiona really does have a strange family history. Her grandmother told the whole story to Rick and Mandy. Will there come a time when Fiona needs to know it? Will they ever have to explain it all to her? And what would be the reason?

I think I'll have to go back and read the books in this series I missed with trying to read the spooky ones for Halloween so I can fill in the gaps of the relationships. Tough job, huh?

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Ghoul of My Dreams
Larue Donovan Psychic Cozy Mystery, #4
Rose Pressey
Self-Pub, Aug 2015
Kindle, 229 Pages
Only in Digital format
Genre(s) Cozy Ghost Mystery
Source Author

Other books in this series 

Me and My Ghoulfriends #1, Ghouls Night Out #2, The Ghoul Next Door #3

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Larue Donovan is a psychic who sees ghosts. Most recently the ghosts have been of the more famous variety. In her small-town strangers rather stand out. So she doesn't miss any of them, the real ones and the ghostly or demonic ones.

While helping Bonnie McCarthy clear her home of lingering spirits, Larue notices Bonnie's daughter's strange behavior and runs into her several times around town. Each time is a little more strange until the answers start to show up.

Several friendly ghosts have taken to following Larue recently. She's got a really famous one. She's got one who's supposed to be doing a job and isn't. And there's James in his suit.

And then there's the real stranger in town who's caught her eye a time or two. Though he's not really a stranger. He's just been gone for a long time. Which is more significant, his time away or his return? And why won't he speak with Larue? What's he afraid of and what's he know?

Larue better put it all together soon or that big, black shadow is going to win!  

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is stylized in a similar way as those of Lotta Smith and yet a totally different look. The color palette makes the whole difference here. This black and teal color mix makes things cool and spooky with a feminine twist. Add on the lovely slinky lady and you have a great cover!

The storyline is a great one. Small town girl has to make it safe for her town against the bid baddies. And these guys are really nasty bad guys.

The characters are great! I'm sure if I had read any or all of the previous three books in the series, I'd have had a better handle on the home team. Larue is still done very well here in the fourth book of the series. Her BFF and her Dad are brought along quite well, too. I didn't feel like I got much of a grip on Callahan, her boyfriend. Stone and the ghosts were done really well. I really enjoyed riding along with the ghosts and it was too funny when the car got too full!

The pace was fast. It got hectic and rather frantic in spots and you just had to keep up since the situation demanded it. You had to stop the Big Black Shadow Guy!

The tension was incredible!

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰✰  


This was fun and scary at the same time. Though I must say scary won out most of the time.

The fun part was BFF Mindy's Dad, Mark Winters. His passion is Marilyn Monroe. He's purchased the sparkly earrings not knowing they came with something attached. He's so proud of them and has to show them to Larue, who he thinks of as a second daughter. And, POP, Larue has another ghost attached to her. Then when he has the chance to go to the MM Museum, he has no idea he's taking another passenger along. It was so funny and cute! It really was the humorous relief needed after all the scary stuff!

And after listening to Roger be a pain-in-the-ass teenager the whole time, I was so glad to listen to James take him in hand at the end for what he hadn't done. Hurray for the home team!

Larue jumped right into that portal and did what she had to do. I don't know if I would have trusted Stone at that point. He had waffled around so much up until then. And that Big Black Shadow Guy was really, really scary. But Larue knew what had to be done and she did it. I guess that's what happens when you know what's going to be written. You can be brave. And Callahan was cute at the end. I think I need to go back and read the first three and see what kind of relationship those two have. I suggest reading a series from the first book, but it works out okay when you start with another one, too!

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Is this one down the rabbit hole?

Wicked and Haunted
Paranormal in Manhattan Mystery, #6
Lotta Smith
Self-Pub, Jun 2017
Kindle, 162 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Paranormal Cozy Mystery, Magical Romance
Source Purchased

Other books in this series 

Wicked for Hire #1, W is for Wicked #2, Wicked Little Secret #3, Wicked of the Christmas Past #4, Sweet Wicked of Mine #5, Wicked, Manor, and Murder #7, Wickedly Ever After #8, Speak of the Wicked #9, Wicked as a Christmas Fruitcake #10

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...

Romance has arrived in the Wicked series! Rick and Mandy are getting married! Rick's estranged mother, Alice has decided she will be in charge of the wedding arrangements. A llama as a ring bearer? Tattoos during the ceremony? Not really Rick or Mandy's style, but Alice isn't asking their opinion. The former actress is going to the extreme with all her ideas and plans.

In the meantime, Mandy and Rick are working a case with a $3 million ring that's haunted. The Purple Panther is an organization of jewelry thieves who want the ring. But Alice can't resist anything shiny, tries on the ring and is taken over by the ghost.

Can Rick and Mandy save Alice from the ring and keep the ring from the Purple Panther? Can they save their wedding from Alice?  

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is that fabulous stylized artwork of black, purple and yellow that Ms. Smith has gone with on this series. This time there's a lovely splash of lime green that works very well.

The storyline is simple but good and solid.

The characters are known to us from previous books. New characters weren't really well developed, though. 

The pace was really good. Alice and her antics balanced against the action focused on the ring and ghost. Then that all combined.

The tension was very closely tied to the pace this time. Each of Alice's antics added as did the problems with the Purple Panther and the ghost of the ring. So each time there was a breather, the tension lagged a bit.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad , and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰     


This one was fun just because you knew no matter what happened, Rick was going to make sure that Mandy was okay. They haven't even started planning their wedding and in steps his estranged mother, Alice Wunderlande. What a name. I wonder sometimes where authors get the names for their characters. Alice is planning their wedding to be a freak show on a grand scale. She's an older actress and she is trying to get as much attention out of the event as she can. That's why they have to buy her off in the end with a movie role! Gahhh!

Rick's finally leaving the FBI to work for the family business, USCAB. I have to wonder if he'll fit in there any better than he does at the FBI. I doubt anyone there will work with him. So Mandy will have to go with him. At least she'll get a better paycheck! And no more school loans to worry about!

This mystery wasn't as strong as the previous ones I've read, but the book itself was funnier. I don't read these for a really good mystery, though. I really enjoy the characters and the situations they end up in. And how Rick always saves Mandy! Yeah, I'm a romantic. 

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Is Madame right? Is it murder?

W is for Wicked
Paranormal in Manhattan, #2
Lotta Smith
Self-Pub, Jul 2016
Kindle, 167 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Paranormal Cozy Mystery, Romance
Source Purchase

Other books in this series 

Wicked for Hire #1, Wicked Little Secret #3, Wicked of the Christmas Past #4, Sweet Wicked of Mine #5, Wicked and Haunted #6, Wicked, Manor, and Murder #7, Wickedly Ever After #8, Speak of the Wicked #9, Wicked as a Christmas Fruitcake #10

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Rick Rowling is the head of the FBI's Paranormal Cases Division in NYC. His assistant is Mandy. That's Amanda Meyer, who's been bribed to work with him with a regular paycheck to pay off her student loans. Rick is 6'2", sexy with green eyes and heir to USCAB, a highly successful security empire. He's also outrageous, egotistical, and a smart-ass and no one else will work with him.

Mandy has a ghost of her own that follows her around to "help" her. Sort of a guardian ghost. Name of Jackie, or to be exact Jackson Frederick Orchard. He or she as she prefers it was a drag queen and she is always willing to help out Mandy and Rick on their cases.

Their current case being the death of Madame Giselle Carolynn Axtell McCambridge, 76 years old, and now standing watching all the proceedings of her murder investigation. At least she's insisting it's a murder investigation at the top of her ghostly lungs in Mandy's ear. Mandy's the only one who can see her. Well, Mandy and Jackie.

Can Rick and Mandy resolve this to Madame's satisfaction?  

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is Ms. Smith's stylized black, yellow, and purple graphics artwork, which is so eye-catching. I really like the way she has used it throughout this series.

The storyline is good. It's one that I'm sure many of you have read before in other books. It's a plot that lends itself well to the treatment Ms. Smith has used here with the ghosts. 

The characters were well developed. We know Rick and Mandy from the previous book. And now we have Jackie tagging along. We know Madame as a type, especially by her actions and attitudes. The other characters are kept quite shadowy as they are more or less suspects in the murder. 

The pace, for the most part, is pretty good. There were a few places where I felt it might hit a snag, but it picked up again.

The tension was consistent throughout once you got to the main death scene.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒


I found the death of Adam in the beginning rather distracting and very sad. It seemed to be senseless. It had nothing to do with the murder and it didn't lead to anything. And yet, here we have a young male ghost now. 

I really like Jackie as a sidekick for Mandy. I think once she gets used to having her around she'll be really useful and she'll be someone on her side! I'm really looking forward to seeing these relationships develop. Rick and Mandy are certainly going somewhere. No matter how bad things get, you just know he's going to swoop in and rescue her like her very own superhero. So I guess he can be as egotistical as he wants as long as he takes good care of Mandy. It keeps the books upbeat and fun to read. It's why I keep adding them to my Kindle. Now, if I could just do them in order, I think I'd be okay.

The resolution of this case was very systematic. They worked through everybody's secrets and came up with the illegitimate daughter and a prank gone wrong in shoes too large. Hmmm. Do you buy it? Would the FBI agree to cover it up? Well, it's a cozy and it's magical, so sometimes you have to stretch it a bit.

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What's new in Aviario, CT?

In the Cards
The Novels of Aviario, #2
Angela D'Onofrio
Self-Pub, Sep 2016
Kindle, 256 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Paranormal, YA,
Source Purchased

Other books in this series
From the Desk of Buster Heywood #1, The Proper Bearing #3 (not available yet, I'm hoping for a cover reveal soon!)


My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...

Beatrice Ledrey is new to Aviario, Connecticut. She's working at Blue Ribbon Florist and she's slowly getting to know her new town and making friends. She's most interested in the store The Balefires for its magical stock and the interesting people who work there.

Officer Troy McLaren and the local police are working on three crimes that they have finally decided are related, three missing people. Except one of the people is no longer missing.

How does the magical and non-magical community of Aviario work together (or not) to keep their town and secrets safe?  

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover was awesome. I really like the fonts that Ms. D'Onofrio has chosen. The array of Louise's tarot cards juxtaposed against Natalie's old mended bunny create a nice presentation. 

The storyline is good with Beatrice being new to the town and just getting to know people and places. It allowed the author to introduce us along with her character. To some light characters and to some dark characters.

The characters were very well crafted. As Beatrice gets introduced, we get to meet and know the people of the town. Some of them we get to know in a deeper way than others and some, I'm sure, we'll get to know more later on. Some we get to know through chatter and gossip and others we get to know through their own conversation and actions.

The pace was a bit stop and go and distracted me. There was always something going on, but did it further the story or was it just something to happen to distract the reader?

The tension was almost maintained, but was a bit shaky because of the pace. The quality of Ms. D'Onofrio's writing keeps it afloat and interesting.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒


The fact that this is closely related to a gaming world is evident when you think about it. There is an underlying darkness that you keep expecting to show up at any time. Beatrice is new to town and just getting to know people. She starts getting close to the gals at The Balefires, especially Louise Mullein, and POW! She's dead! I feel like I don't know who the players are and who the game master is going to throw at me next. Why did Louise die? What was the actual cause of her death? Was there a purpose in her death? I really liked Louise. (tear)

BUT...Will we find out in the next book? This book isn't a continuation of book one. Will future books follow more of an overarching storyline or not? This story has lots of loose ends and plenty of story left to tell. What will the author do with the rest of this story?

There's plenty of story left in Ral O'Dailigh and Natalie Marlowe Feistus even if they don't stay together. But Ral seems to have something going on that he's struggling with all on his own. And Natalie has so much potential from her past. And what about her father, the ever helpful Dr. Feistus? There's another couple in April Maine and Jon Knight. But will Ral let them be? And Troy McLaren with his love for "Woop, Woop!" Does he really know what his gift is or how to use it? 

And just who is Janus and The Organization? We really have only touched up against them and had hints of who they are. Will we find out about them? They were a frustration and a distraction for me. They kept showing up in the shadows and now I'm waiting for them to do something big. Make lots of trouble or fix something. I'm not sure how good or bad they may be or what their purpose is. Since Ral keeps them secret, I tend to think that they may not be totally good. But like his claws, this secret will out.

It took me a bit to feel comfortable with some of the "accents". Once I just let the letters run through my head as the author put them down, it made sense and I was more at ease with them. Ral's "accent" was the one that I really worked at to be sure I was understanding what he was saying. I loved Nat's way of tacking "dove" onto her sentences just like some people say "love" or "m'dear". It made me wonder if Natalie has a soft, gentle side to her. For some reason, I want to like Natalie.

I strongly recommend this second book of Aviario to you if you are looking for something entertaining with a dark side.

 wc




The Captain won't be joining you for dinner this evening.

Murder on the SS Rosa
A Ginger Gold Mystery, #1
Lee Strauss
La Plume Press, May 2017

Kindle, 182 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Cozy Historical Mystery
Source Author's rep

Other books in this series

Murder at Hartigan House #2, Murder at Bray Manor #3, Murder at Feathers & Flair #4, Murder at the Mortuary #5 (Jan 2018), Murder at Kensington Park (TBA), Murder at St. George's Church (TBA)

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...  

Mrs. Ginger Gold is a widow and quite the fashionista. She is also a Lady and along with her dog, Boss and her companion and friend, Haley Higgins, is on her way from New York to London to settle her recently deceased father's estate. Haley was a nurse in the war and is going to London to attend medical school and become a doctor. They are sailing on the SS Rosa.

The captain of the Rosa is Captain Walsh. His wife, Mrs. Walsh is traveling with him. His mistress, Nancy Guildford, is also traveling with him. Ms. Guilford, an actress and total fashionista, travels with a companion, an older woman named Patty Applebaum.

When Captain Walsh is found dead before dinner, Ginger offers her sleuthing services to another passenger. Chief Inspector Basil Reed of Scotland Yard also is traveling on the Rosa. Though hesitant to accept her assistance, eventually he realizes Ginger's too deeply involved not to let her help him solve the puzzle. Together they snoop out all the dark secrets in the nick of time.


Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is wonderful. The elegance of the minimal elements on it makes it really worth looking at. The use of just two fonts that work so well together. The lovely female used as Ginger Gold off to the side on the golden oval. The picture of the ship that relates to this storyline. Then the clip art elements used on the side in a darker shade as the color of the text. Add that the color palette is so harmonious. It is just a wonderful cover for a cozy, historical mystery. I've looked at the other books in the series and they also use this format. The color palette and pictures change to match the story in the book. Wonderful choice!

The storyline is very good. There are enough secrets and twists and turns that it really holds your attention.

The characters are interesting. They have some really fun quirks. I love it that Ginger is always worried about what she will wear and is she going to be outdone by another woman. This time she's simply blown away by the actress, Nancy Guilford with her Hollywood wardrobe. I'm sure we'll see this funny trait in other books.

The pace felt rather leisurely, though it really moved along quite well. I think it was the tone and time that made it seem that way.

The tension was often relieved by little asides such as Boss problems like not leaving him in the stateroom all day. She also got distracted with her concern for Scout, her little friend from the crew. The tension also peaked with her run-in with the head chef, Chef Babineaux. That was scary, but it didn't seem to lead anywhere. 

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰


I loved the character of Ginger Gold. She's a Lady, but she doesn't use her title often. I'll bet she won't hesitate to use it in England if it'll be useful, though. And her fascination for fashion and outdressing all the other women in her sphere. Too fun! I have to wonder if we'll see Chief Inspector Basil Reed again. How long will she spend in England? Or will she return to America soon?

Ms. Strauss has a wonderful imagination. Going back to this time creates a treasure chest of stuff to work with. She has all the fashion she wants for Ginger since it was such a pivotal time for fashion with the establishment of the great fashion houses. The Golden Age and lots of rich people to rub elbows with on either shore. Haley Higgins is getting into medicine as a doctor, which is precocious, but not totally original. Once she has her training, she could be such a help to Ginger in her cases. And she always has Boss as a distraction if she needs him. Now that she's met the Chief Inspector, she also has a connection to Scotland Yard, which I'm sure she'll take advantage of.

And, of course, there is her title. She's a lady. Her entre into society goes without saying. From the titles of the books, I'm guessing she stays in England. She has carte blanch to cut a swath through London's upper crust and possibly find the next Mr./Lord. Hmmm. The possibilities...

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Can these two handle her?

Between a Wolf and a Hard Place
NorCal Shifters, Books 1-6
Annalise Nixon
Self-Pub, Jan 2016
Kindle, 338 Pages
Only in digital format
Genre(s) Paranormal, Menage a Trois
Source Author's rep

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Iris is sweet, sassy, and curvy. She's also been kidnapped. Iris, her sister, and her BFF were grabbed by some really nasty guys. The gals swore they would get free and make sure that all three of them were safe. Then they were drugged. When Iris woke up, her sister and friend were gone. She managed to get away from the two guys who had her, but when she woke up again, two different guys had her. And they couldn't have been more different. These guys were both really hot looking, built, and tattooed. 

Barron and Evan were BFFs, too. They did everything together. Evan even joined Barron's wolf pack, though he wasn't a wolf. They had always hoped to find the right woman to share for the rest of their lives. To them, Iris seemed like a gift. She's lovely, curvy, and tattooed. What more could they possibly want?

Iris has her mind set on freedom and finding her sister and BFF. Can Barron and Evan change her mind long enough to make her theirs? 

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover just didn't seem to work. The picture of the threesome at the top seems too dark to see the separate people, so it's just heads and hair. And the font used for the title is just outlandish. It's hard to read and outdated. I did like the wolf and bear in the lower third.

The storyline was good. It was full of twists and turns. Information kept popping up and things kept changing. 

The characters were well developed and we learned more with each chapter. With Iris, most of her information was upfront and she shared it. With Barron, most of his came towards the beginning. But with Evan, we had to wait until later on to get to know him very well. But it was worth the wait.

The pace was a bit irregular. Sometimes we were running around trying to get away and others we were just sitting around the cabin being bored. It sort of stuttered.

The tension was a bit uneven because of the pace and some of the characters.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰⭒


Iris was what the average guy seemed to consider a little on the "chubby" side. Full-figured? The first guys who kidnapped them made snarky comments about her figure calling her "the fat one". So when she was first with Barron and Evan she didn't expect that they would like her figure. She really had hang-ups about her appearance. She didn't expect men to be attracted to her. But they really liked what they thought of as curvy and sexy. In fact, it seemed like all the wolves in the pack thought that about her. Certainly, Bryce and Shane shared that thought about her. She had self-esteem issues, but both of the guys went to work on those right away, and they got through to her. I really like the fact that they realized she had issues and they immediately went to work bolstering her up in that regard. They also genuinely liked her figure, so that helped. But they did it all with intent.

Evan isn't a wolf, but he and Barron have been together so long and so close, sharing everything including women that it's just one more thing to share. And the pack seems to accept him for what he is. He's certainly useful in a fight. But Evan decides Iris needs the support of the pack and he should bow out, he really hurts her. Without talking to her about what he was doing, why he was doing it, or whether or not she wanted it. He just shut down!  Shut off!

When Iris gives Barron the choice of her and the pack or Barron, he panics and she's hurt again. That's when Shane steps up and becomes her friend and confidant. Finally, someone, she can talk to and relax with. But he's also in charge of security and under orders to take good care of her. Since the three have gone through a mating ceremony, the pack will take care of its own if the guys can't get their heads screwed on straight. It's wonderful that Shane becomes such a great friend, but it's too bad that he has to be ordered to do it. They did have a rocky start, but still, it would have been nice for it to be a genuine friendship from the beginning. They did become real friends in the course of the pretend just because Iris is a really great person.

But someone better make up their mind pretty soon because the Montgomery Pack is already in town and they want Iris. It appears they already have Sherry, Iris' BFF. No need to worry there, though. It seems Barron's brother, Alexander, the one that's 10 minutes older and a heck of a lot tougher, is going to rescue her. Don't know much about him, yet. I'm hoping Sherry and Alexander have the next book. He sounds rather intriguing. 

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Totally Convoluted & Amazing!

Love Reconsidered: A Novel
Phyllis J. Piano
Spark Press, Aug 2017
Kindle, 297 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Family, Grief, Women's Lit
Source Author's Rep

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...

Two families are in shock and grieving for the death of Stu, a young man they all loved deeply. He was the son of two of them, Ted and Gerrie. And he was Sunny's boyfriend, the love of her life. Her parents, Durk and Aleen were very fond of him as well.

He was killed in a freak accident following some shocking news by a young man named Vincent who is also trying to deal with the aftermath of it all.  

How do they all deal with not only the shocking news that sent Stu running into the night but the pain of his death? How much can each one take before they break? Can any good come of all this?

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is exquisite with the pristine white background and the spill of scarlet rose petals looking like drops of blood. So vibrant!

The storyline is totally convoluted and amazing! I think this is the type of story we should always be expecting from Ms. Piano. I really don't think she will ever write a simple story.

The characters were all wonderful. Totally rounded with good depth and real personalities. Each had realistic quirks and idiosyncrasies. 

The pace was good, picking up at times to be rather frantic as the author threw things at us almost faster than we could process.

The tension stayed high throughout the whole book. I just kept waiting to see how this would all work out. I cried lots of tears along with the characters. I got mad at them a lot, too. And there were a few times that I was disappointed in one or two of them.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰✰


The beginning of the book had me totally fooled about how this was going to go. Ted, Stu's father, seemed almost like he was gay. He's playing house with his new place and has the two corgis now. He invites Sunny and Aleen over for the football games. Then he and Aleen get makeovers and go for counseling. He just seems gay sort of playing with the girls. But he's not. It was totally misleading.

Sunny meets some friends at school and they create a study group. She gets really close to two of them, Dawn and Benjamin. She tells them the story of what happened with Stu and his parents and hers and they are very supportive of her. The study group evolves and each of the kids becomes part of each others' families and really close. Eventually, Sunny begins to heal and she allows Benjamin in. He has been very patient with her, letting her know that he wants more than just friendship whenever she is ready. And eventually, she is ready.

I didn't like Gerrie, she wasn't a very likable person. She was all about her job and she seemed to be grumpy all the time. Gerrie went to the doctor and came home with the diagnosis that pulled everyone in and made them all have to work together. Her diagnosis makes everything sort itself out and helps everyone get over all the pain and anger. They had more to think about.

I don't know how realistic this ending would be in today's society. I keep thinking how it would work realistically. I don't know if it would work or not, but it does make a really great ending to a book. I can't recommend this to you enough! 

Love Reconsidered is being released 
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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Origins
To Each His Ghost #0.5 prequel
S.M. Boyce
Self-Pub, Mar 2016
Kindle, 25 Pages
Only in digital
Genre(s) Paranormal, Ghost
Source Author

Other books in this series

Ari #1

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... Mel is five years old when she makes a pinky promise with a ghost named Hazel. She promises to never leave him. And you know you can't break pinky promises, right? Especially to a ghost.


Ghosts can be scary. And little girls grow up and forget things. But once you have a ghost, you always have a ghost. Mel is in her twenties and married to Greg. They have a little boy named Dorian who's just learning to say a few words. 'Puppy' is a new word, but Mel didn't teach it to Dorian. 

Hazel is back and this time he's brought a monster with him who just might look something like a puppy, but it's still a monster.

But Greg doesn't see ghosts or demons... 

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is a bit disappointing to me because it's mostly text. I do love that big, bold font, but I prefer something that relates to the book, the story. The handprint and eye just don't really do that for me, though they are creepy. The cover is consistent throughout the series as far as I've seen.

The storyline is very good. In this case, the cliffhanger works for both the story and as an introduction to the series. I wouldn't normally say that, but from here you would have to deal with a psychologist who also sees ghosts. Does he say you're sane because he also sees ghosts? He'd be locked up with you in a heartbeat. Does he say you're insane because you see ghosts, alienate you, and not be able to help you deal with your situation?  

The characters were not too highly developed as this was never intended to be a full novel. This is a teaser for the series. So what we get here is a brief introduction to some of the characters in the series or one of the books. I haven't read forward, so I really don't know, yet, what's ahead.

The pace was fast. In 25 pages we moved from Mel's childhood to her parenthood. And the only question I had was how did she and Greg meet.

The tension was chilling. I'm not normally a horror fan. And this one isn't going to change me to one. But this is very well done with the tension picking up as soon as they pinky promise because you know how those things go. And the chill still runs up and down my back when I'm writing this after I've closed the book.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰


I really don't like reading short prequels like this. And I won't be reviewing them alone anymore. I'll be reviewing them with the first book of the series from now on. But this one was already on my TBR&R list, so I had to do it. Also, S.M. Boyce is one of my favorite newly discovered writers and I'd probably cut her some slack.

On the cover there's the handprint that would be bloody, I think if it weren't green. It has an eye in it. This is going to be the same throughout the series from what I can see. Only the color scheme will change from book to book. I'm not sold on this. I really like a cover to relate to the book I'm reading. I suppose this eye and its bloody handprint are relevant because these are paranormal ghostly horror stories. 

If I'm still spooked from reading 25 pages by the author, I don't think I will hold up to a full-length novel of this genre by her. I don't think I'd be able to go to sleep at night. But for those of you who enjoy the total chills and thrills of this sort of story, I recommend S.M. Boyce's To Each His Ghost series. Currently, there is only the prequel and the first book, Ari. But I believe book #2 is due out reasonably soon.

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P.S. from Paris
Marc Levy translated by Sam Taylor
Self-Pub, Sep 2017
Kindle, 290 Pages
Also available in paperback, audiobook
Genre(s) Contemporary Romance, Foreign
Source Author's rep

Other books by this author

If Only It Were True, All Those Things We Never Said, Replay

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Mia is an actress whose husband David, an actor, has cheated on her once more. In spite of currently starring in the same film with her husband, Mia flees London to hide in her friend's Paris cafe as a waitress.

Paul is trying to recapture his initial success by living in Paris. He thinks he may be in love with his Korean translator, though he can't quite understand why his books are so popular in Korea. 

Arthur, BFF of Paul, and his wife Lauren stop by to see Paul while on vacation. They hook Paul and Mia up on a dating service and hope for the best.

Can two ex-pats solve the problems of the world as well as their own love lives while staying "just friends"? They can try.

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is mostly writing, but I'm a softie for couples under umbrellas. It's not great, but it's bright and open and it catches the eye. It certainly relates to the story, as well.

The storyline is very interesting and well executed, I felt. A novel way of handling the romance formula of bringing together the lovers who start about as far apart as they could be. It could only be worse if they really disliked each other.

The characters were well developed. You got to know them quickly and they became more rounded out as the story went on. You learned their secrets and idiosyncrasies. You could almost predict what would make them twitch.

The pace was very good. It was fast through the whole story with few exceptions. It kept you focused and totally involved in what the characters were doing, even the secondary characters were interesting.

The tension was there all the way to the end when it finally snapped.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰

I kept wondering through the whole book why Paul never questioned why his books were so popular in Korea. Why he didn't check that situation out before it reached the point it did. Of course, then it would have spoiled the story. He really had his head down trying not to see what was really going on.

And his Korean translator/mistress who he suddenly decides he's in love with who he doesn't communicate with between books? What's with that? How can he see that as any sort of normal relationship? He's really hiding from life completely. Arthur and Lauren are right to try to get him involved with a real person!

There's the other side of Paul, though. Like when he takes Mia not to the opera but on top of the opera. Yes, he takes her to the rooftop of the opera house to see Paris at night. If that's not a romantic gesture, nothing is. They got in trouble for doing it, but OMG, imagine it! All of Paris at your feet! Lit up at night! Breathtaking. 

And at the Book Faire when everyone is talking about the wrong books, he can't seem to stop them. Because of politics, no one can change the program from what it has been scheduled to be without causing a lot of trouble and people getting into serious trouble. So he can't even really ask what's going on. And the Korean mistress is nowhere! Finally, he gets to sit and talk with the American Ambassador's partner and he has some idea about what's going on. Then his Korean editor shows up and lo and behold look who she is! She tells him the truth about her story and why it had to be a secret. I kept wondering why the political party allowed the books to be printed if they were that incendiary. It would be nothing to them to simply destroy the whole publishing company. But apparently, they allowed several books to be published.

Then Mia disappears and Paul writes his best book yet. He writes Kyong's story. He wins a huge writing award. And then he tells the story behind it all publically.

I loved the way the author ended this. The scene he created is very European in tone. And very romantic!

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Betrayal of Thieves
Legends of Dimmingwood, #2
C. Greenwood
Self-Pub, Dec 2012
Kindle, 181 Pages
Also available in paperback, audiobook
Genre(s) dystopian fantasy
Source purchased

Other books in this series

Magic of Thieves #1, Circle of Thieves #3, Redemption of Thieves#4, Journey of Thieves #5, Rule of Thieves #6

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...  

Following the Fists' raid on the band's hideout, Ilan returns to collect her hidden stash and runs into Terrac. Terrac is there to say good-bye to Ilan. He's finally going to continue on to become a priest as was intended before he was captured by the band. Their goodbye is interrupted by the Fists and they make a run for it.

Terrac isn't as quick as Ilan and ends up badly wounded and taken by the Fists. Ilan has to run. She meets up with a thief named Fleet and she gets to see the underside of the Praetor's city and meet some of it's less savory residents.

Ilan and Fleet set off to locate the priest, Hadrian, with the River folk to get his help because Ilan has decided she has to rescue Terrac from the Praetor's prison. She can't leave him suffering in the hands of the Fists.

Ilan is a girl with big, natural magic in a man's world that has banned magic and destroys those who have it. And somehow she is tied to the Praetor himself, something her parents never told her, something hidden.

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is done by Michael Gauss for the whole series. They are magical! Absolutely wonderful! They catch your eye, they hold your attention. They relate to the story. They are beautiful artwork. C. Greenwood has chosen very well with these covers.

The storyline was ambitious but didn't seem to quite work out. It sort of fell apart at the end.

The characters have been developing since the first book and will continue through the whole series, I'm sure. Fleet was new and developed very quickly. He became a full-blown character in just a couple of chapters. Ms. Greenwood has a magical touch with characters.

The pace was a bit uneven, fast and frantic for awhile and then just sort of stop and totally idle. 

The tension was not maintained throughout the book because the pace kept changing and you'd wonder what was going on and the story would seem to wander off a bit.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰


I had to put this book down and read something else to clear my mind. This is only 181 pages, but for some reason, it seemed to go on and on. I think this series would have been better done as just a couple of larger books and just tighten some things up. This doesn't feel like it should have been a book. It feels like a section of a book that's been stretched to be a book.

The storyline was meant to be a grand quest of rescuing Terrac from the Fists' prison, but he didn't need rescuing. He was wearing fine clothes and riding around with the Praetor's hunting party and training with the Fists themselves. No grand quest. It was a dud.

This whole book is held together by the characters. Ilan, Terrac, Fleet, Hadrian, and the Praeter are the anchors and the story just sort of bounces off them. The overarching story is the real grand quest and deserves to be done as a duology or trilogy so that it can be handled in depth and detail. Stretching it to these six short books has diluted it and distracted from the actual story. I intend to read the whole series of six books because I want to read the whole story, but I would have preferred to do it in fewer, richer books. It is available in a set of the six books, and if you decide to read it I suggest buying it this way and going through the whole thing as one story.

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