Category: Urban

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.


Heirs of Grace by Tim Pratt

Posted August 5, 2017 by karenbaron in Audiobook, Fantasy, Mystery, Review, Romance, Urban, Witches / 0 Comments

Heirs of Grace by Tim PrattHeirs of Grace by Tim Pratt
Narrator: Leslie Hull
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 17th 2014
Pages: 10
Format: Audible Audiobook
four-stars

Recent art school graduate Bekah thought she’d hit the jackpot: an unknown relative died, and she inherited a small fortune and a huge house in the mountains of North Carolina.
Trey Howard, the lawyer who handled the estate, is a handsome man in his twenties and they hit it off right away—and soon become more than friends. Bekah expected a pleasant year to get her head together and have a romantic fling. Problem is, the house is full of junk...and siblings she didn’t know she had are willing to kill her for it.
More important, the junk in her new house is magical, she’s surrounded by monsters, and her life seems to be in mortal peril every time she ventures into a new room. As Bekah discovers more about her mysterious benefactor and the magical world he inhabited, she’s realizes that as tough and resourceful as she is, she might just be in over her head...
Heirs of Grace is a tale of family and magic, action and wonder, blending the strong heroine, cheeky humor, and dark fantasy that have become the hallmarks of Tim Pratt’s writing.

This must be what it is like to go from a normal only child to…

Heirs of Grace by Tim Pratt is full of magic, personalities and finding your way in life. Bekah is the main character and the main heir. She is going to art school and seems quite lost. She has lots of attitude and opinions, some self-righteousness going on too. She is also independent with a touch bravery.

I liked the characters and there were many of them. The interaction between the siblings was crazy at times. The oldest daughter and the matter eating brother are ones no one would want on their family tree. The things that Bekah had to learn about magic and the way her father tried to assist from the beyond were insane but very entertaining.

I purchased the audible book on sale because it sounded interesting. I mean who wouldn’t want to inherit a magical house and find out that they had magical powers too. I am glad that I did as I found the quirky story was just what I needed for a business trip.

The story was narrated by Leslie Hull. I think she did a good job. She definitely brought the story to life. Her accents were pretty good. However, I still went back and forth between the narration and actually reading the kindle book myself.

My rating is 4 stars, I love the story and narration. If you are looking for a fun read or would prefer to listen this is a great book for some summer reading.

**Where to find Heirs of Grace **

** Goodreads **

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

four-stars

About Leslie Hull

“I have always heard actors talk about their ‘artistic home’ and it has always seemed like a strange concept to me. Actors are, by nature, nomads – gypsies – people of the night, here one show and gone the next, but when I was afforded the opportunity to work at Williamston Theatre I finally understood what that meant. It is a place where you feel respected, for your craft, for your time, for your input and ideas. It is a place where you feel comfortable, cared for, and free to create beautiful, fun and funny moving art. It is a place where you love the people you work with and are inspired by them, beyond the project or performance you are a part of. These are all things I felt while working with the folks at in Williamston.” Leslie’s Credits at the WT: Onstage in The Usual: A Musical Love Story and A Charlie Brown Christmas Fundraiser, dialect coach for Ebenezer, ASM for While We Were Bowling. Leslie currently splits her time between Chicago and Detroit, as a teacher, acting coach, audio book narrator and photographer.

About Tim Pratt

Tim Pratt was born in Goldsboro, NC, and grew up in various places in the American South. He relocated to Northern California in 2001. His fiction has won a Hugo Award, and he’s been a finalist for Sturgeon, Stoker, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, World Fantasy, Scribe, and Nebula Awards, among others. His other books include three short story collections; a volume of poems; contemporary fantasy novels The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl and Briarpatch; gonzo historical The Constantine Affliction under the name T. Aaron Payton; fantasy roleplaying game tie-ins; and, as T.A. Pratt, eight books (and counting) about sorcerer Marla Mason. He occasionally edits anthologies, including the Rags and Bones anthology co-edited with Melissa Marr. He works as a senior editor for Locus magazine, and lives in Berkeley, CA, with his wife Heather and their son River.


Cape May by Holly Caster

Posted September 10, 2016 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Drama, Fiction, Review, Romance, Rural, Urban, Womens Fiction / 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.

Cape May by Holly CasterCape May by Holly Caster
Published by TDC Publishing on September 3rd 2015
Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
Pages: 310
Format: ebook
four-stars

New Yorker Joanna Matthews is rapidly approaching 60 and desperate for a change. The last remotely daring thing she did—jumping into an unconventional marriage with her best friend Brian—happened 20 years ago. Now, their life’s comfortable, if routine. Joanna craves more and begins pursuing her long-deferred dream: owning and running a bed & breakfast. She’s captivated by Cape May, New Jersey, America's Oldest Seaside Resort. On the bus south, she meets a novelist, and is thunderstruck when she falls passionately in love for the first time. How will her late awakening affect the future and her three-decade relationship with Brian?

My take on this book:              Cape May by Holly Caster was totally different than what I thought it would be like. Holly Caster is a wonderful author. Her writing is truly amazing and I actually felt like I was there in New York or Cape May with these characters. The ending was wonderful, though. I am giving this book a four stars rating. It took me a while to get into the book as the beginning was kind of slow especially when we would go back in time to certain parts of Joanna’s or Michael’s lives. Other than that little problem I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Cape May is a really great book. It’s all third person point-of-view and is either with Joanna or Michael. I recommend this book to all adult book fans. It reminds me a little of Murder, She Wrote but not completely. I mean not the murder or mystery part, but Joanna reminds me a little of the way Jessica’s life changed after she retired. How she embraced her life and became what she wanted. I think that is what Joanna finally does. She made a decision and she stuck with it. Joanna became a better version of herself. I liked the emotional growth the character made through the story.

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

Baroness’ Book Trove.

**Where to find Cape May**

** Goodreads **

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four-stars

About Holly Caster

Holly Caster writes an entertainment column for The Nyack Villager, has written dozens of articles for employee assistance websites, and is the Editor of two journals devoted to pain management education. She is hard at work on her next novel Anne/Island/Whales. She lives in the lower Hudson Valley Region with her playwright husband Tom Dudzick and their two cats Alfie and Bill.

Holly knew in 9th grade she wanted to be a writer after receiving an A+ on a paper about 1930’s actress Irene Dunne. That early triumphant high hooked her, and she’s been writing ever since. She grew up in an apartment full of books, with a mother who read more than cooked, a father who wrote for a living, and a sister who grew up to write for a living. She married a successful playwright, and gave birth to two children who grew up and are writers. Her earliest memories involve Dick & Jane, red and blue fish, magical wardrobes, and Captain Nemo’s submarine. She watched stories in her head and eventually wrote them down. Holly spends too much time watching films, from the 1930s through the present, would rather be in an art museum than almost anywhere, and would consider her perfect day spent in a European café with coffee and a book, resting her feet after being dazzled by Kandinski. She writes in her almost nonexistent free time, and considers herself blessed to work with words, whether her own or someone else’s.


The Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert

Posted September 8, 2016 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Crime, Death, Fiction, Murder, Mystery, Review, Urban / 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.

The Death of Anyone by DJ SwykertThe Death of Anyone by D.J. Swykert
on February 25th 2013
Genres: Crime, Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 221
Format: Kindle
four-stars

Detroit homicide Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from narcotics for using more than arresting and is working the case of the killer of adolescent girls. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, which has not been detected on the other victims. But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to authorize an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify the killer. Homicide Detective Neil Jensen, with his own history of drug and alcohol problems, understands Bonnie’s frailty and the two detectives become inseparable as they track this killer of children.

My take on the book:               Great. The Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert was different than with what I imagined it to be. I was reading it pretty faster than I did with most books. Mostly because I wanted to know who had killed the person at the beginning of the story.

The book was a good read but totally not what I imagined. By that I mean by the cussing and the whole thing that the characters’ kind of repeat themselves. They don’t do it often but when they do repeat themselves it makes me feel sad as it takes me out of the book. I had an idea about who the killer was and I was actually surprised that I was right about him.

The book is written in third-person point of view and it follows Bonnie. It also follows a few other people but mostly it’s Bonnie Benham. Mr. Swykert does follow the police procedure for the book and the lawyer stuff. Or at least I think so from what I’ve seen on TV shows. I know TV shows aren’t that reliable but that is what I only have for connections with the book.

Overall The Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert is a good book. Good enough to keep me guessing and thinking about the book. I am giving this book a four stars review.

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

Baroness’ Book Trove.

**Where to find The Death of Anyone**

** Goodreads **

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four-stars

About D.J. Swykert

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator, and wolf expert, living in Northern Kentucky, USA. His short fiction and poetry has been published in: The Tampa Review, Monarch Review, Sand Canyon Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors and Spackle, spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and BULL.


Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel

Posted March 23, 2016 by karenbaron in Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Mythology, Norse Mythology, Paranormal, Review, Romance, Series, Urban / 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.

Midnight Burning by Karissa LaurelMidnight Burning by Karissa Laurel
Series: The Norse Chronicles #1
Series Rating: five-stars
on July 7th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 280
Format: Kindle
five-stars

Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Driven to learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.
As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.

My take on this book: Wow. Midnight Burning was just wow. It was so wonderfully written and each time I had to leave that world to do my chores, tend to my cat, or even just to do normal things I was wishing I was back in the book learning more about what is happening to poor Solina.

The whole book is written in Solina’s point-of-view which is really cool as it gives us insight into her character and allows us to see the world through a baker’s eyes as she is thrust into doing things that she normally never does and leaves that to her twin brother who unfortunately has died about four months prior to the book starting. There was so much stuff going on in this book that I felt bad for poor Solina as she was basically pushed into this world because of her brother’s death and the whole thing that she was the one that lead him to Alaska from a dream that she had of him using powers that Mani probably thought he could learn about there in Alaska. The whole reason with why Solina wanted to go to Alaska, or at least the reason she told her parents, was so that she could pack up his things and send them home, closure. She never really told them that she wanted to do something about her brother’s murder.

We met a whole lot of different characters and sees each of them showing more of their personality throughout the whole book and when they interact with Solina. The one that we truly see a transformation in for personality is Solina. She goes from this timid goodie goodie girl to one that will keep the ones that she loves at arm’s length to not let them get hurt after she figures out who she is and what that means for her to do. I was happy and glad to see her transformation throughout the book as it made her a better person for this whole new world that she was just dumped into unwillingly.

Another person that took a 360 to me was Val Wotan. He was first shown as both Mani’s best friend and co-worker who cared for Solina and Mani. After that though he started to show that he was jealous of the time she spent with Thorin but that he was possessive of her as well. My first impression of this guy was wow this guy is hot and I don’t blame Solina for liking him and then we started to see more of his personality that seemed to lean toward this jealousy and possessiveness of him that no one would ever think was in him. I liked him but then I wasn’t sure what to think of Val. I was thinking that maybe Val did love Solina and doesn’t want to lose her like he did Mani but why would he be jealous of Thorin then? I just don’t know what to think of Val and I hope in the next book that Val isn’t so possessive of Solina but then who knows especially with what happened at the end of this book.

The person that Mani and Val worked for is M. Aleksander Thorin who is the owner of Thorin’s Adventure Outfitter’s in Siniqui, Alaska. Of course Thorin kept Solina at arm’s length throughout the whole book but at certain times he would show his true self. That is a caring person that wanted to be with Solina but didn’t want his feelings get in the way and take a hold of him if something did happen to Solina. My first impression of Thorin was that he didn’t like Solina, as he tried many times to get her to go back to North Carolina before what happened to her brother happened to her, but with Solina being stubborn it never happened and Thorin just never really lets down his guard around her. Well that is until she learns the truth of him and Val then he kind of does but not really. Now I’m starting to think that maybe Solina might end up with Thorin one day once this threat over Solina’s life is done.

Another person that I loved from the first moment she was introduced would be Skyla Ramirez. Skyla has this tough girl exterior which is really true as she has tattoos and piercings. However, once she and Solina gets a friendship going Skyla is more than that. Sure she still acts all tough but she is also sarcastic and stubborn and would fight for someone that she loves which is always a good thing. Especially since it is the “fight for someone that she loves” which is what drove her and Solina, two unlikely friends, to become best friends while trying to figure out who murdered Mani since the police isn’t doing anything. Skyla is also the one that connected everything that is happening to Norse mythology as it so happens that a lot of those gods are kind of still around.

While Solina and Skyla where being detectives, like Holmes and Dr Watson or Nancy Drew and Stephanie Plum, they find out a lot of interesting things and the two of them have come up with two likely culprits for Solina’s brother’s murder. Harold Hati and Adam Skoll. Adam Skoll because of what Skyla saw Adam do in the parking lot at some bar. Harold Hati because no one liked him when he was working at Thorin’s business. Harold got what was coming for him when he and Adam tried to make their move on Solina, Skyla, and two Valkyries that were helping Solina out. Adam and Harold didn’t do this on their own and with the help of Thorin, and a little bit of Val, Solina finds out that it was by someone else.

Another character that I didn’t like would be Helen Locke. Just her name makes me dislike her. She is someone that knows Thorin because of some business interactions that they had with each other. Helen looks like a sexier Cruella de Vil according to Solina but unlike Cruella she has two different eye colors one blue and one brown. She is also someone that can act sweet for one person while acting like a bitch to another at the same time. Helen also doesn’t like Solina and I hope that in furture books that Solina is able to do something to Helen.

Everything about this book was so good and I am happy that I was asked to read it. I can’t wait to see what Solina does in the next books. I give this book five stars and totally would tell anyone that ask me which book I loved the most this year (so far anyway) would be this one and I would recommend it to them to read.

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

Baroness’ Book Trove.

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

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five-stars

About Karissa Laurel

Karissa Laurel has tried her hand at many things — cooking/catering, law, art — but writing makes her the happiest.

When she’s feeling brave, she’s on the slopes or riding off-road motorcycles with her guys. When she’s less adventuresome, she’s on the couch with her nose buried in a book.

She lives in North Carolina with her kid, husband, occasional in-law, and a hairy husky named Bonnie.