Author: karenbaron

Eye of Nefertiti by Maria Luisa Lang

Posted August 20, 2017 by karenbaron in Animals, Cats, Fantasy, Fiction, Review, Time Travel / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Eye of Nefertiti by Maria Luisa LangThe Eye of Nefertiti by Maria Luisa Lang
Series: The Pharaoh's Cat #2
Series Rating: five-stars
on November 29, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 208
Format: Kindle
five-stars

The cat must free Queen Nefertiti from a horrific curse

The Eye of Nefertiti is both a stand-alone novel and a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat. The time-traveling ancient Egyptian feline with human powers returns together with his beloved Pharaoh and his close friends, the High Priest of Amun-Ra and Elena, an Egyptologist’s daughter.

The cat is quick-witted, wise-cracking narrator as well as free-spirited, ever-curious protagonist, and the story he tells is an exotic, imaginative, spell-binding tragicomedy. The cat travels from present-day New York City to England, both ancient and modern, then to ancient Egypt, where he confronts a horrible demon and experiences a sublime emotion. Once back in England, he descends into a psychological abyss so deep only the Pharaoh can save him.

The Eye of Nefertiti interweaves feline and human, past and present, natural and supernatural. It contains numerous surprises, twists and turns, intriguing characters, both human and animal, fascinating revelations about ancient Egyptian history and culture, and an ingenious application of the Tarot and an Italian opera.

Time travel, mystery, love and a Cat.

Eye of Nefertiti by Maria Luisa Lang is a cat’s story. This is the first adult story that I have read where the protagonist is a cat, but he is way more than your average cat. Wrappa-Hamen is a magic cat, he talks, walks on two legs, reads, writes, and eats human food. He is also the Pharaoh’s cat, although he does go by many names in this book.

I first thought the concept was good, this will be a good story, I mean ancient Egypt and cats…but once I got into the story I found that its fabulous. Ms. Lang does an awesome job with the character Wrappa-Hamen, he is a cat but he has such personality (not that regular cats don’t). She really nails Wrappa-Hamen’s priorities, such as food first, sleep second. He is vain and has an attitude. Yet, can be so loving when he wants to be. See, very cat like. However, if my daughter’s cat Mia, could talk, I’m not sure I would want to hear what is on her mind. I think most of it would be about the dog.

The family that Wrappa-Hamen lives with, have such character. Elena is bossy, and definitely keeps them moving, she is the mother of the Pharaoh. Then there is the High Priest, who is a total book worm and at times clueless (father of the Pharaoh). And the young Pharaoh, who is now an adorable toddler, who loves Wrappa-Hamen.

The settings were stunning, I was able to see them all so vividly. I think that time travel would be wonderful. The mystery was good, I enjoyed the clues and the explanations. A completely wonderful book, which makes my rating 5 stars. As the Baroness says anything that keeps you up at night is worth the stars.

**Eye of Nefertiti**

** Goodreads **        

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

five-stars

About Maria Luisa Lang

Maria Luisa Lang has published two novels, The Pharaoh’s Cat and The Eye of Nefertiti, which is both a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat and a stand-alone novel. She was born in Rome, Italy, and lives in New York City. She often returns to Italy to visit her family and has stayed for extended periods in Bath and London. She has a degree in art from the City University of New York, and her artwork has been exhibited in New York galleries. She is an amateur Egyptologist. Her love of cats and ancient Egypt has inspired her to write two novels set there with a very special cat as her protagonist. Both The Pharaoh’s Cat and The Eye of Nefertiti are available on Amazon in paperback and in a Kindle edition.


A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell

Posted August 19, 2017 by karenbaron in Cozy, Dogs, Ghosts, Guest Post, Mystery, Paranormal Mystery, Review, Series, Urban / 0 Comments

A Ghostly Light by Juliet BlackwellA Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell
Published by Berkley on June 4th 2017
Genres: Cozy, Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 330
Format: Kindle
five-stars

In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Give Up the Ghost, it will take a beacon of ghostly intervention to guide contractor Mel Turner to the truth... Dangerous tides ahead...  When her friend Alicia hires Turner Construction to renovate a historic lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, Mel Turner can’t wait to get her hands dirty. Alicia plans to transform the island property into a welcoming inn, and while Mel has never attempted a project so ambitious—or so tall—before, she’s definitely up for the challenge.   But trouble soon arises when Alicia’s abusive ex-husband shows up to threaten both her and Mel, and later turns up dead at the base of the lighthouse stairs. With no other suspects in sight, things start looking choppy for Alicia. Now, if Mel wants to clear her friend’s name, she’ll need the help of the lighthouse’s resident ghosts to shine a light on the real culprit...

This lighthouse holds more than just light.

A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell this is one of my favorite series. I truly love the mix of history, home renovation, paranormal, mystery and the quirkiness of San Francisco and the bay area.

The world that Ms. Blackwell has created by mixing fact and fiction is so believable. Honestly, I would like to hire Turner Construction just to be a little part of this world.

I really think that Mel is shining in this addition. It’s nice to see her with her new man Landon. She is so happy. She still has things to work on (such as her recent fear of heights0 but don’t we all. She is finally working through all of her jobs: ghost, construction or murder. Landon is extremely supportive. It’s so sweet.

Mel has two mysteries to solve: the recent murder that her friend has been accused of and the mystery of the lighthouse ghost. Ms. Blackwell does such a great job keeping the whole thing moving through the past, present and glimpses of the future.

I adored the lighthouse history that was included with the story. The treasure maps were so thoughtful. What a wonderful way to teach and entertain your child, so much better than handing them a cellphone to play with.

I found this quote online and thought it was such a great fit for this story. “Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.” ~E.P. Whipple

My rating is 5 stars, of course. If you haven’t read the other books you should try the first book in the series, Home Renovation or you can just start with this one. I guarantee you will want more. Mel and her entourage are worth your time.

**A Ghostly Light**

** Goodreads **        

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

five-stars

About Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot from New York and an editor from Texas. She graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn Masters degrees in Anthropology and Social Work from the State University of New York, Albany.

While in graduate school she published several articles based on her research with immigrant families from Mexico and Viet Nam, as well as one full-length translation: Miguel León-Portilla’s seminal work, Endangered Cultures. Juliet taught Medical Anthropology at SUNY-Albany, was a producer for a BBC documentary about Vietnamese children left behind by US soldiers, and worked as an elementary school social worker in rural New York. Upon her return to California, she became a professional artist and ran her own decorative painting, historical renovation, and domestic design studio for more than a decade.

In addition to mainstream novels, Juliet pens the New York Times Bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, she wrote the Agatha Award-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series. She is past president of Northern California Sisters in Crime and former board member of Mystery Writers of America.

Juliet lives in a hundred-year-old house with extensive botanical gardens in Northern California but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America. She believes in the magic of language, travel, and cultural exchange to open hearts, minds, and souls.


Give up the Ghost gp

Posted August 18, 2017 by karenbaron in Cozy, Ghosts, Mystery, Paranormal Mystery, Review, Series, Supernatural / 0 Comments

Give up the Ghost gpGive Up the Ghost by Juliet Blackwell
Published by NAL on December 1st 2015
Genres: Cozy, Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle
five-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Keeper of the Castle, San Francisco contractor and ghost whisperer Mel Turner must solve a murder mystery at a haunted mansion in the Pacific Heights...
San Francisco millionaire Andrew Stirling wants to sell his Victorian mansion, but ghostly music, the squeaking of a long-disappeared weathervane, and an angry ghost keep running off potential buyers. After a famous psychic is called in, she informs the Stirlings that their multi-million-dollar renovations to “update” the home have left its resident ghost extremely agitated. So contractor Mel Turner is engaged to track down and replace some of the original features of the house. 
But when the beautiful psychic is found stabbed, it appears someone had a very human motive for murder. Now Mel must use her ghost whispering gift to uncover the secrets of the haunted house on the hill, and her sleuthing skills to catch a killer.

Completely Spectacular!

Give Up the Ghost by Juliet Blackwell. I love this series. The cast of characters, the history, ghosts and of course the bay area. Juliet Blackwell nails the whole package together.

Mel Turner is wonderful, eccentric and knowledgeable. She has such a great personality. I loved the way she does what she wants to do. Only in San Francisco could a general contractor be a woman who shows up for work in sequins dresses and occasional feathers with steel toed work boots. It is great how she jumps in and gets the job done, whether it is helping a ghost, taking a wall down or putting in a window. She is so like her father. I like that she restores the homes instead of tearing them down or apart. She is like a ghost talking Rehab Addict.

In this addition to the series, Mel takes on a new project that starts out as one of her ghost helping clients, so murder is soon involved. Mel keeps asking questions until motives start to surface. We meet some new characters and some of the old return. Mel is different in this book, she doesn’t talk about running away to Paris, and she seems more accepting of her life as it is. Mel’s definitely fitting in her own skin now. Although she is still a workaholic, she seems to finally be over the ex and has an understanding of what she wants. Her Dad is sort of accepting of her ghost helping in the volume. Mel seems happy.

She has quite a collection of ghosts to assist this time. There is one ghost who cleans the kitchen when it is messy. Honestly, I think I would learn to get along with that ghost. In this book more so then before she has to jump through the living hoops to assist the ghosts. Mel meets the murder victims’ family, however this time she feels an unexpected pull towards the brother of the victim. Mel isn’t sure if she can trust her feelings as she doesn’t seem to know what she is doing with regards to this gentleman and her boyfriend is out of town (again) on business.

I think that Ms. Blackwell has created such a great world of rich characters and history. She makes it so easy to follow and has creative plots. I am giving this 5 Stars and completely recommended it. Such a wonderful cozy mystery.

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

 

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five-stars

About Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot from New York and an editor from Texas. She graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn Masters degrees in Anthropology and Social Work from the State University of New York, Albany.

While in graduate school she published several articles based on her research with immigrant families from Mexico and Viet Nam, as well as one full-length translation: Miguel León-Portilla’s seminal work, Endangered Cultures. Juliet taught Medical Anthropology at SUNY-Albany, was a producer for a BBC documentary about Vietnamese children left behind by US soldiers, and worked as an elementary school social worker in rural New York. Upon her return to California, she became a professional artist and ran her own decorative painting, historical renovation, and domestic design studio for more than a decade.

In addition to mainstream novels, Juliet pens the New York Times Bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, she wrote the Agatha Award-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series. She is past president of Northern California Sisters in Crime and former board member of Mystery Writers of America.

Juliet lives in a hundred-year-old house with extensive botanical gardens in Northern California but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America. She believes in the magic of language, travel, and cultural exchange to open hearts, minds, and souls.


Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael Lingaard

Posted August 16, 2017 by karenbaron in Adventure, Elves, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Paranormal People, Review, Supernatural, Time Travel, Witches / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael LingaardJonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael Lingaard
Published by Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, LLC on November 24, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 663
Format: Paperback
five-stars

Twelve thousand years ago, the fabled island of Aztlan, in a cataclysmic event, disappeared beneath the sea, taking with it all the island's mysteries, which were lost forever. Or were they?

Bloodlines lived on, passed on through Aztlan's survivors. These bloodlines included powerful priests and priestesses, who controlled almost mythical powers through the magic of Greater and Lesser crystals.

In modern day England, 16-year-old Jonathon Goode and his cousin, Elizabeth Waterhouse, are told by a fairground fortune teller that they will meet an elf in an emporium where magic is bought and sold. It comes to pass.

The elf gives Jonathon an Everywhere Key, opening a doorway to a realm between realities. Three Muses of magic in the realm are convinced that Elizabeth is the heir to an ancient bloodline of Priestesses, and believe she has the power to control a Lesser crystal.

They were wrong. Elizabeth does have a magic power, but it is the power of a biomorph. Elizabeth is a shape-shifter.

It is Jonathon who has the true power.

The Muses tell a tale of a crystal that is no longer lost and is being use for evil. They want Jonathon and Elizabeth to find it and return it to them. But the crystal is in another reality, one they can access through the Everywhere Key. They end up in the land of Thallos, where the survivors of Aztlan fled when their island home was submerged. But Thallos is also the home of Great Worms, dwarves, trolls, and magicians.

My take on this story:             Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael Lingaard is really a great book. Despite some things that were a bit weird this book is definitely one that I can see myself rereading in the future.

What first caught me about this book is the wonderful plot it made me think about Atlantis since Aztlan sounded a little bit like Atlantis from the plot. I am so grateful that I did read it as it is such a great book. I like how Mr. Lingaard created a bit of three worlds and together into this book. I especially like the way he had the magic aspect of the book. I also liked how we followed more than one character throughout the book. I really liked that it actually made sense to do that. I also like despite the differences between Earth and the other two worlds the characters are all becoming friends with each other. The people from Earth try to help one of the worlds out even more than what they are supposed to do.

There were somethings I disliked about the book and the biggest one happened to be no chapters in the book. So, for someone, like me, who likes to read to the next chapter can’t exactly do that in this book. Instead I read from one set of bold words to the next. There were also some words missing but my brain was able to put the words in which is good and didn’t take me out of my story. That happens sometimes and I hate it when a story does that to you.

Another thing I liked about the book are the references to some past history thrown in. That history helped the protagonist a lot. Each of the characters are so well-crafted that I am glad to have read this book and created a lot of new friends.

I am giving this book a five-star rating because it is that good. Though I am sure by now my mom is tired of me talking about this book. I just can’t help it! Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael Lingaard is definitely a book good enough for both young adults and adults’ a like. The ending also left it open for a sequel or for us to just contemplate about Jonathon, Elizabeth, and everyone else’s lives now. I will definitely say more of the second option though.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove.

** Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan **

Goodreads

five-stars

About Michael Lingaard

Taken from the author’s website:

English born, New Zealand raised and Australia domiciled is the short answer to where I come from. Travel does that, you skip the bits in between in case people think you’re going to bring out the photographs.

New Zealand was where I grew up and finished my education. Then it was into engineering and getting on with things. It was also where I first began to read sci-fi.

Years and much traveling later, I’m in Australia working as a senior construction estimator when I decided that I was going to write a sci-fi novel. So I designed my universe along with appropriate technology and characters and diligently scribbled everything down over many, many, many late nights. Then I carefully put my story away for a while until I’d finished rebuilding the house. Then along came the kids. And a different house…

… twenty years later I finally got down to serious writing. Three hundred thousand words; first part of a trilogy; great story; great technology. Sure fire winner, right? ( those out there sniggering… this was my first book and I knew nothing ) Three re-writes and many bruises later I realized I needed something different. The ego had gone and I could look at things objectively.

From my now-uncluttered mind up popped the concept of the Mirror Worlds and I went from there. It was fun to write. I wanted to make magic believable, as if it could really be explained. I hope I’ve succeeded.

We’ll see.


Sweet Reality Summary and Expert Reveal

Posted August 14, 2017 by karenbaron in Summary & Expert Reveal / 0 Comments

Published by Kensington Genres: Romance

Release Date: September 5, 2017

 

Synopsis

SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ

Jen Reid’s life after walking off a reality show has been great–she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance love might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success.

That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient–like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it–if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .

Goodreads

 

Excerpt

 

Sarah kissed both our cheeks before pulling away and handed me a small, clear plastic container. “You’re the best, both of you. I gotta go before they tow my car. Love you all, I’ll see you next Sunday. Bring me alcohol, and try not to get into any trouble. Especially you, Ed.”

He winked at her, and Justin pulled her aside, supposedly to talk about their mother for a minute before dropping our suitcases with the porter. I suspected he had another reason for this conversation, which made me grin far more than I should at the prospect of having my luggage checked.

This excitement would not be contained. Nearly two years ago, I’d been so sure my ex-boyfriend planned to propose right before I found out he was married. I’d been excited then, but the thought of spending my life with him never sounded as perfect as marrying Justin. He was my other half, the absolute best partner for me.

Sarah winked at me over his shoulder, her way of telling me she’d slipped him the ring. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, wishing I could share my excitement with someone, but got distracted by the massive ocean liner casting shadows over the dock. More specifically, by the lifeboats.

Eyeing the orange rubber vessels lining the sides, I turned to Ed. “Do you think they brought enough lifeboats?”

“Yes. Also, this isn’t the Titanic. We’re not gonna sink. We have communications devices to call for help. And you, Jen, have your very own hunky stud in Justin to save you if anything goes wrong. Relax. Take your Dramamine.”

I rooted around in my carry-on for a moment before giving up. “My Dramamine must be in my big suitcase . . . which I probably shouldn’t have given to him to check. At least not without putting this Tupperware in first. The carry-on is about to burst.”

Ed gestured at the container Sarah handed me before leaving. “What’s that for?”

“So I can bring her one of Tammy Rae’s cupcakes. They’re doing a tasting after the bake-off tomorrow, remember?”

One of the onboard events pitted reality stars against each other in a baking competition, which Ed apparently forgot to sign up for. Hopefully, he wasn’t going to wing it. My friend created excellent meals for everyone while we were in the Fishbowl, but his laissez-faire attitude to cooking wouldn’t produce the same delicious results in baked goods.

Instead of competing against Ed, I signed up to judge with Justin. Partially as a way of getting on Tammy Rae’s good side, and partially because rumors said everyone involved got to sample her winning cupcakes after the event. I needed to be in the right place to snag one. Well, two. One for me, one for Sarah. Then I could verify whether these things tasted as good as the inter-webs claimed and butter Tammy Rae up by raving about what a baking genius she was before begging for a favor.

Where was Tammy Rae? Hopefully she hadn’t changed her mind and canceled at the last minute. According to E-Entertainment News Online, she’d mysteriously pulled out of Celebrity Poker Match a few years back, despite being a favorite to win. I scanned the docks, looking for her.

With luck, the recipe would be in my hand and I’d be lounging by the pool before the ship arrived in our first port. But one thing at a time. First, Justin and I needed to thoroughly explore and “enjoy” our cabin. Our glorious private cabin where we wouldn’t have to worry about my boyfriend’s sister or his somewhat creepy roommate hearing us through the paper-thin walls of our respective apartments. Or well, at least we wouldn’t know the people on the other side of our walls, so it wouldn’t matter what they heard.

Ed’s voice called me away from those thoughts, back to our conversation.

“What?” I asked.

“I said, calm down. Justin will be back soon, Tammy Rae will arrive before the ship leaves, and your suitcase, with Dramamine, will be delivered to your cabin sooner rather than later.”

“Why didn’t I take seasick pills before leaving home?” I moaned. “Why am I doing this?”

“You mean, freaking out over nothing? I couldn’t tell you.” Ed hugged me. “Really, Jen, you’ll be fine. I’ve cruised before. You won’t feel a thing.”

Finally, Justin walked toward us, sans luggage. I found myself relaxing as he put an arm around my waist and squeezed. I kissed him.

“Ugh. Lovebirds!” Ed moaned. “Get a room!”

“Hey, Ed, isn’t your boyfriend around here?” Justin asked good-naturedly. “Why don’t you go find him?”

Ed met his boyfriend Connor, formerly known to me only as Curly Beard, while filming The Fishbowl. Although the Network strictly prohibited staff from socializing with the contestants, they still found a way to make a connection. More importantly, they’d managed to keep it going ever since. The Network promoted Connor from production assistant to camera operator, and Ed recently moved from Boston to Los Angeles to be with him while pursuing a stand-up comedy career. I couldn’t have been happier for them.

“He’s doing some pre-boarding filming. I’m not allowed,” he said to Justin. “Besides, someone had to keep your belle here from having a panic attack. Did you know she gets seasick?”

Justin tilted his head at me the way he did when he didn’t want to say he thought I wasn’t being one hundred percent truthful. “You never mentioned that. You do?”

“I don’t know. When I was in high school, I threw up on the swan boats at the local fair.”

“Wasn’t that right after you bought tacos out of some guy’s van? Because I’m not sure that was the boat’s fault.”

This was the problem with dating someone long enough for them to hear all your stories. “Maybe…”

“You’ll be fine!” Ed said. “Now, let’s go before they take off without us.”

“Depart,” I said. “Or set sail.”

“Whatever.” Ed took off for the ship, luggage in tow.

“What’s really wrong?” Justin asked.

He gazed into my eyes until I realized I’d been freaking out over nothing. “I don’t know. I’ve been on edge all week. Partially it’s the bakery. What if Sarah can’t come up with new recipes? What if Tammy Rae hates me?”

“You are a resourceful, brilliant woman. You can be very persuasive. Plus, Sarah’s a genius in the kitchen. Even if Tammy Rae says no, the two of you will come up with something.”

I sighed. “You’re right, I’m sorry. I’m being stupid. I don’t know why I’m so jittery.”

Behind me, someone walked by wearing a t-shirt showing a woman with long, dark hair, pouting out from the inside of a clear fishbowl. And suddenly, I realized exactly why I felt so on edge: Ariana. The one person who could always make me act like my brain took a vacation without my body. No one confirmed whether she’d be onboard. I couldn’t relax until we set sail without her.

 

 

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About the Author

 

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the Northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 

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