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Your other half

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

Dead Ringer
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: AdultFantasyParanormalRetelling

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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.

I am reviewing here a 5 book series – urban fantasy and gothic. The Blog Tour is for book 5. It was suggested we read books 3 and 4 if we wanted first to get background, but having started book 3 I decided I needed to go right back to book 1 to start the story from the beginning. Although I then discovered that these characters originated in yet another series! Which I will read in due course.

Book 1 is linked but not closely to book 2 and thus book 3 but it is the characters in the books that follow through. Each book of the first 4 is a story about a main set of characters, with the characters from the previous books playing a minor role. In book 5 all the characters come together.

Each book has 2 main characters that emerge who are not quite what they appear on the surface – for a start the 2 in book 2 are very much older. It is likely that the female character – currently known as Vivienne – was born in the time of Sumer and ran away from home to become bonded magically to a Daeva.

Now a Daeva is thought to be a very nasty creature according to the folklore.  In the Avestan language (not spoken but used in the old Zoroastrian scriptures), this was a term for a supernatural entity with a disagreeable character. The Zoroastrians believe them to be creatures of the shadows with their principal activities -according to the Persians – as being the creators of chaos and disorder, and battling goodness. They are a Principal amongst the demonic infernal hordes. But in these Kat Ross stories, perhaps due to their bonds with humans, they are actually battling for good and against evil. In the Kat Ross series the Daeva’s original name was Achaemenes and he was at least 2000 years old.

Vivienne had been bonded to a Daeva before him but she had died during the battle when they had freed the Daeva slaves from their mistress.

Vivienne shows her origins by the goddesses she worships. There are 3 major ones.

1.Mami aka Ninhwsag – who was a Babylonian goddess who created mankind from her bottom which was made of clay and blood.

2. Kavi was 1 of the 10 Mahavidyas – which are a set of Sakta and Budddhist goddesses and is the destroyer of evil forces.  The Sakta were a set of Hindu goddesses where Sakti means power. They are also called Durga who was known in the 16th century as a Great Goddess, Ma and Devi. The Sakta Pethas are places of worship for many goddesses.

3. And Inanna (Innuna), a Mesopotamian goddess who had many roles – love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. In Sumer she was also known as Isktar.

All these goddesses took on different names according to the culture in which they were worshipped but all tended to originate from the Sumerian era.

I found the whole series to be addictive and full of interesting things to learn – abut ancient goddesses for instance, the details that emerged about the Zoroastrian religion – which is very ancient but still practiced in India for instance. I know that the Indian steel magnates Tata are Parsees or Zoroastrian priests who fled to Mumbai from persecution in Iran. Near Mumbai there is a Parsee retreat village called Matheran and I have stayed there in the hotel that the Tatas use. Matheran is a very interesting place as you can only travel by horse or foot in the forests and village. And is now ‘sold’ as an eco-village of course.  You come up from Mumbai on a toy train which is great fun. The hotel we stayed at is called the Verandah in the Forest , see the photo below, and the name and the situation were very appealing to me…  just one warning, don’t sit down in the forest as the ants are very bitey!

So Matheran embodies much of the Parsee religion.

I am now looking forward to reading more by this author as I found the work original and well written with a good style and plenty of stuff happening to keep you interested… and exploring the characters in different books was a good concept.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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What a housewife does in between chores

The Housewife Assassin's Horrorscope Book Cover The Housewife Assassin's Horrorscope
Housewife Assassin #18
Josie Brown
humour, crime, thriller,
Signal Press
(16 Nov. 2018)

Murder. Suspense. Romance. And some handy household tips.

IN BOOK 18 OF THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN SERIES:

Donna, Jack, and their Acme black ops team must find twelve suspects, each born under a different Zodiac sign, who hold the clues to a Doomsday operation that will embroil the United States in a world war.

Always before a 4 star but heading down with this book to a 3, I think the series is beginning to get a little tired, and to my mind, this story not quite up to standard. I only managed one snigger and a couple of smiles.

I also didn’t find the chapter intros as amusing as usual.

We now have Jack happily married with our housewife (not) and all the other romances going smoothly. There seemed not to be any major hiccups, mis-representations, or even sexy escapades from our housewife, although Jack nearly got into trouble. So all the things that make the series fun were largely missing.

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Christmas comes again

The Duke's Desire Book Cover The Duke's Desire
12 Dukes of Christmas
by Erica Ridley
Historical Fiction ,Romance
WebMotion
Pub Date 24 Dec 2019

Meg Church adores two things: life in a village of perennial Yuletide, and the freedom of being a spinster with no reputation to protect. Oh, very well, three things: She’s harbored a secret tendre for Christmas curmudgeon Lucien le Duc since the moment she first glimpsed him. But the sexy blacksmith won’t give her the time of day, much less a night of torrid passion.
Ever since Lucien le Duc was forced to flee his beloved France during the revolution, his all-consuming goal has been to recover not only his lost land and fortune, but also his rightful place among the French aristocracy. He would never be distracted by an English dairy maid’s sultry glances… or her soul-consuming kisses… or the temptation to turn one night into forever…
The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!

I always read her books as soon as I get hold of them, and then wait anxiously for the next in the series. Now this is book 8 of the 12 Dukes of Christmas.  Annoyingly the remainder of the series are available on Amazon but didn’t some out in NetGalley before Xmas.

How did she count the 12 dukes, well she included the le Duc brothers and this is the story of Luc, the last one in the village to marry or even have a serious relationship. Why? Well he was focused on going home – to France – and getting the family lands, and possibly even a title, back as the Revolution was over. He also therefore refused to speak English. And had developed a rather bad speaking accent and poor vocabulary as a result.

We have another of our feisty and unconventional heroines involved in this story – Meg. Meg was far from an innocent, although her preferred method of birth control was sponges soaked in vinegar and douches. These actually date back a long way – ancient Egyptians also used sponges with either vinegar or lemons in the belief that the acidity will kill sperm. What she didn’t know was that using vinegar could lead to the deterioration of normal vaginal flora, and can irritate the vaginal mucus. Both eventualities heighten the risk of developing infections. However, she was right to some extent, as vinegar can kill sperm, but the sponge would need to be kept inside for quite some time to ensure that no sperm are left in the vagina.

So Meg sets out to seduce Luc before he returns to France, as she has had a crush n him forever.

As always with these series, when an author says ‘I’m going to write 12 books in a very short length of time, the books are short novellas with little character or story development, and this only gets shorter as the series continues. Nonetheless, if you’ve read the previous books, you know the characters involved and the setting so it doesn’t matter so much. And Erica still has a good style of writing and I really liked her making fun of the way 19th century writers wrote torrid sex scenes…

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What Engagement?

Engaged in Trouble Book Cover Engaged in Trouble
Enchanted Events Mysteries #1
Jenny B. Jones
Sweet Pea Productions; 1 edition
(30 Mar. 2017)

When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.

Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldy property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.

Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

Engaged in Trouble is the first book in the long-awaited Enchanted Events cozy mystery series by award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. If you like laugh-out-loud adventures, small-town romance, unforgettable, sassy characters, and a mystery to keep you guessing, then you’ll love this new page-turning series.

I started reading this and found it quite enjoyable but by chapter 20 I was wondering if we were actually getting anywhere with the story. There was no humour in the story-telling and for me, the relationship between Beau and Paisley lacked tension.

The story dragged. Chapter 27 and still only 61% through the book.. and I lost interest in finding out the ending.

For me I thought that the central part of the story needed tightening up with a lot of editing and humour would have helped the story along. I failed to find what was included funny…

3 stars – just

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Sea and gruesomeness

The Contract of Maddox Black Book Cover The Contract of Maddox Black
The Chronicles of Maddox Black
E Earle
Sci Fi & Fantasy
BooksGoSocial, CreateSpace
Pub Date 3 Jan 2017

Determined. Daring. And soon to be Dead.

Hanging for witchcraft is the least of Maddox Black's problems. Becoming sworn to a demon Hunter is another…

Thought dead for seven years, Maddox returns home to Greyport, intent on claiming her deceased father’s infamous travel journals.

Before she can lay her hands on her inheritance, she discovers her drunkard cousin has already promised the journals to the Grim. To make things worse, the bankrupt Earl of Greyport is blackmailing her to race for them across the Damned Seas and a Hunter is knocking on her door, claiming she’s to join his Demon-exorcising Order.

Running out of options, Maddox does the unthinkable and strikes a deal with the unnatural Hunter, leading her down a whirlwind of walking corpses, using dismembered fingers as currency, burning down plague-ridden villages and bribed to find a mad prince’s kidnapped sister.

To survive, she will have to become the very thing people feared her to be...

I initially had a problem with this book – I was about to give up about 10% of the way through – much sooner than normal, but then suddenly the story improved and much that had been obscure began to make senses. All after she met The Hunter.

Maddy’s father was rather more than he seemed and thus his journals were rather more than just journals of his travels. Thus they became very important and more than The Grim were after them. Although it was stated that only Maddy and her father could read them as they were in a special code. And her mother was more than just a woman from the Half Woods too. And over the course of this story, Maddy begins to learn that she is more too. Powers have been inherited from her father as well as her mother.

Is it a good story? Well it is a gruesome story and not one to read at bedtime unless you want nightmares. The author has let their imagination run riot in the ‘how awful can this creature be?’ vein of story-telling. Will I read more of this story? Probably not as it is just a bit too gruesome for me, but I would like to know that the children are rescued unharmed, more than that doesn’t bother me. 4 stars in the end.

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