Review of Uneasy Spirits by Louisa M Locke – 4 Stars

Uneasy Spirits (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #2)Uneasy Spirits by M. Louisa Locke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stumbled across this book by chance when it showed up rather cheaply on a Kindle titles sale and the outline sounded quirky and I must say I am very pleased with the find. I didn’t realise it is actually the second in the series and I’m quite glad as I think that would have put me off but actually, it was very easy to read without having read the first. You could quickly pick up who the characters are and each of their rough backgrounds, but you are also not swamped with information about them learning more as the book goes on.

This Victorian thriller is set in San Francisco, in the world of Annie Fuller (who doubles as clairvoyant Madam Sibyl). Annie actually doesn’t believe in any of the astrology or palmistry but as an intellectual woman, she uses it as a front to help give her clients business advice. When she is asked to investigate some mediums (the Framptons) who claim to be talking to deceased relatives of their clients Annie and her kitchen maid Kathleen soon step into a very dangerous world.

Discovering the truth about the Framptons may just expose Annie’s own secret that she is not really clairvoyant, can she take that risk to help her friend. The line between helping and deceiving suddenly becomes very blurred for Annie and she’s not too sure where she stands on it.

There is also an underlying love story between Annie and Nate, an up and coming lawyer who is desperate to break out of the shadows of his Uncle’s law firm. Their story is very sweet and Nate is a great character, but perhaps a little overshadowed in this story by Annie and Kathleen. I suspect he will be much more interesting in the other books as their storyline develops.

The historical descriptions are great in this book, and as some other reviewers have mentioned it’s actually set during Halloween so some of the details are really interesting.

This book can certainly be read as a standalone, but as more is revealed about the characters and their relationships develop as the series progresses, it might be best to start from the first book in the series, Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (which I am hoping to do). I certainly will return to read more books by this author in future.

Please leave a like if you think my review/feedback of the item was helpful to you. Alternatively, please contact me if you want me to clarify something in my review.

View all my reviews

Review of Holy Island by L.J. Ross (DCI Ryan #1) – 5 Stars

Holy Island (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #1)Holy Island by L.J. Ross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I stumbled across this book by chance when it showed up rather cheaply on a Kindle titles sale and the outline sounded quirky and I must say I am very pleased with the find.

This is actually the first of the DCI Ryan detective mysteries series by L.J Ross and it starts the series off with a bang – especially the ending, great job on keeping us readers hooked for the next one in the series. I do think the writing in general was very good, not overly police procedural, plenty of characters to set it up for a series but not too many that you can’t figure out who is who, enough of an intriguing back story about the characters that I suspect may come back to haunt them at a later date. A very strong start to the series.

The plot mainly includes two interlinked storylines/character viewpoints. DCI Ryan has taken a sabbatical from his police duties after a traumatic experience during a murder investigation and temporarily moves to Lindisfarne. After several weeks of calm enjoying the peaceful island, his sabbatical is disrupted when the body of a young woman is found murdered at the priory. The murder looks staged with cult underlying’s and soon more murders in the small island follow. The murderer is smart, leaving very few clues and cleaning the sites so that the investigating team struggles to narrow it down. In the meantime, questioning becomes more and more difficult as the Islanders try to protect their own from outside police interference.

In the second storyline, we follow former local girl Anna who travels back to the island as an informant on the occult. When one of her own family members turns out to be the next murder victim Anna is removed from the case but fearing for her safety and his new-found feelings for her DCI Ryan insists she move into his small cottage that is doubling as police base on the island.

The storylines are very sharp, intricate and clever, but the book itself is not as dark as you would expect for a murder mystery, certainly, there is actually very little gore allowing you to sit back and enjoy the storyline.

I think Ross has done a great job, leaving plenty of room for the characters evolving, in this novel you really feel sorry for Ryan; his mental trauma from his past and how he is suffering trying to suppress those feelings to deal with the new case. I actually finished this book a little while ago but the story and characters still feel very vivid and I think that is a sign of how well the story has been told.

One of the real big highlights for me was the locations. I loved the rugged windswept island and it’s close knit community. The one pub that you need to visit to find out what is going on. Unless you want to risk speaking to the gossipy landlady of the local b&b. All great places and very easy to visualize.

For those that haven’t discovered the DCI Ryan collection, I would suggest these novels are quite similarly written to something like Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway Series – also very good if you haven’t read that). It is crime but not really dark gritty like rebus or anything, also not a Miss Marple cosy crime, something in the middle.

Please leave a like if you think my review/feedback of the item was helpful to you. Alternatively, please contact me if you want me to clarify something in my review

View all my reviews

Nessie – #writephoto

She had left the house, tears streaming down her face once again. But she allowed no noise to escape. She would not feel weak, not feel helpless, allowing the noise to escape would be admitting defeat. She had held it all together, been holding it all together for months as business had got quieter and quieter. Who could blame the visitors, there had been nothing here for years. Sure it was a beautiful drive, and when the weather was hot you couldn’t help but want to be near the cool blue water of the loch.

Science. She could blame science. People no longer wanted to believe in magic, the supernatural, the unknown. When she was a child she had listened in wonder at the stories the grown-ups told, kids these days scoffed and headed to their phones to the internet, they forgot to enjoy the present. That magic could lift your heart just a little even if it wasn’t true. These days it seemed to be gone.

She lifted her legs heavily climbing up the hillside away from the loch. Away from her sleeping, snoring, drunken husband. She blamed him too. Once their little bar had been the busiest on the loch, people loved to stop in for a drink and a chat. She had loved it too, but as things grew quieter her husband’s patience had grown thin and when she could no longer offer him comfort he turned to the bottle. She’d never admit it, but that hurt her too.

She found the quiet place she was looking for and sat down, watching the slow moving fog above the loch. The sun was barely visible. What time was sunrise? She couldn’t remember, yet the darkness wasn’t carrying its usual weight, it felt fresh. The crisp cold air made her salty wet tears sting a little on her face, but she liked it. Reminded her to feel. As her eyes followed the lazy movement of the cloud a lump formed in the middle. She rubbed her eyes, certain the tears and tiredness had got to her, but when a second hump appeared she knew what she was seeing. What she always longed to see. Nessie.

twilight fog by Sue Vincent

She reached in her pocket and pulled out her mobile phone, her gaze never leaving the shadowed form amongst the fog. Lifting the phone high in front of her she swiped the little screen and the light of the camera came on. Drat! She knew having the flash on wouldn’t work so she pulled the little screen towards her to fumble with the setting, her heart now beating fast that the sight before her would disappear. Cautiously she clicked. Just to be certain she clicked again. Then before her very eyes, the two lumps disappeared, back down into the fog, back down into the loch, back to the legend.

She stood up and raced down the hillside, it was a sign, she knew it. A sign her struggle had been worth it. When people saw her photo they couldn’t not believe. What else could it be? Nessie.


My response to Sue’s wonderful photo prompt. Sorry Sue, couldn’t resist with this photo, definitely something mysterious about it! I loved it. 🙂

If you want to give the prompt a go too, head over to Sue’s Page Thursday Photo Prompt – Twilight #writephoto and join in the prompt. KL ❤

Circling Above – #writephoto

The sound woke me. My head throbbed as the screeching sounds pierced my brain. What was that? I blinked. The light above me scalded my pupils in the few seconds my eyes were open to the sunlight. In fact, as I lay there with my eyes closed

birds wings photo by Sue Vincent

I became aware that I could see the brightness through my eyelids. And the shadows moving beyond the closed veil. And the noise. The continuous noise continued to screech and echo inside my head. There was no way to block it.

I forced myself to open my eyes again. Longer this time. I had to figure out what was going on. As I looked up at the sky the black shadows moved above me, screeching, and swirling like dementors ready to suck out your soul, I had read about those in a book one time. When? I didn’t know.

With every effort I rolled over onto my stomach, the quick roll gave me a wider view of my surroundings. I was outside, on a picnic blanket, but with no picnic. Yet, I could tell I had been with someone. The fuzzy clouds in my brain parted just a little to offer me a filtered flashback of lying on our backs, looking up at the sky, talking, holding hands, did we kiss, or did I just want to kiss them? I wasn’t sure. Who? I shook my head trying to get a clearer picture of the fuzzy picture, any clue, a face, a name, but it was no use.

I forced myself to roll back over, I had to start moving but that small movement alone knocked the wind out of me and sent my head spinning again. Lying on my back I gave myself a countdown. On three I would sit up, regardless of the pain, I had to do this. I lay there and counted, watching the birds swirl above, then after the slow agonising account to 3. At that moment my world went black. Something had been placed over my head, and my arms had been pulled sharply against my back, my wrists held together buying something tight.

“Who is there?”, I asked but the only answer was the high-pitched cry from the birds. I was pulled to my feet, my arms feeling like they were being wrenched from their sockets, and an overwhelming dizziness struck me making me feel nauseous. The grip on my arm grew tighter and I was pushed forward into a walk.

“Where are you taking me I asked?” A low hollow laugh was the answer I was given as I was marched away, the echoing birdsong disappearing in the distance as I walked.


My response to Sue’s wonderful photo prompt. The start of something intriguing but I’m not quite sure where I am going with it. 🙂

If you want to give the prompt a go too, head over to Sue’s Page Thursday Photo Prompt – Wings #writephoto and join in the prompt. KL ❤

Review of The Kept Woman: (Will Trent Series Book 8) by Karin Slaughter – 5 Stars

The Kept Woman (Will Trent, #8)The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the Will Trent series. It took a while at first to warm to it I’ll admit, mostly due to the fact that I really liked the Grant County series with Jeffrey and hated that he was killed off. Will (the main character in the Will Trent series) was initially as a character too…well… good – too nice – too sweet – too vulnerable. It was certainly a change of pace from Jeffrey. That said I still loved Sara Linton, the character that crosses both series. I also very quickly liked Will’s partner in the series – Faith. Now that we are in the eighth book of the Will Trent series, Karin Slaughter has really found her stride. The characters are so lifelike and complicated yet you cannot help but like the good guys, hate the bad guys and well feel conflicted about those that straddle the worlds of good and bad.

In this novel, we catch up with Will and Sara trying to live their happily ever after and things seem right on track. That is until an ex-police officer is found dead at an abandoned nightclub owned by a famous sports hero who has just escaped a rape charge Will was trying to file against him. Things go from bad to worse when the team examines the scene and all signs point to Will’s ex-wife Angie being the culprit of the attack. Not only does it look like she was involved but the amount of blood lost at the scene means she could be in real danger. Sara’s scene-of-the-crime diagnosis is that they only have a few hours to find Angie before she bleeds out

This book looks big but it is fast reading. Real page-turning action reading. The writing style is fluid, intriguing, and completely engrossing. And the plot… well, it is absolutely jam-packed twists, murder, drama, deception, secrets, lies, heartache and mystery.

I quite liked the way this book was laid out too. The first half follows Will, Sara and the investigation team. Whilst the middle shines the spotlight on Angie. It gives a real insight into her past, her impulse reactions, her motivations and her desire to have Will to herself. She truly is such a conflicting character who you will love, hate, love, hate. Somehow this makes Will’s storyline even more intriguing.

Whilst this is the eighth book in the series I think it could be read as a standalone. In fact, most of the series can as I read it completely out of order initially, so if you see it at a bargain price don’t let the order put you off.

Please leave a like if you think my review/feedback of the item was helpful to you. Alternatively, please contact me if you want me to clarify something in my review.

View all my reviews

Review of The Bell Tower By Sarah Rayne (Nell West #6) – 4 Stars

The Bell Tower: A Haunted House Mystery (Nell West/Michael Flint, #6)The Bell Tower: A Haunted House Mystery by Sarah Rayne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel continues as entry #6 in the Nell West series and we catch up with Nell and Michael a little after the events of “Deadlight Hall”. In this story, Nell returns as the primary character with Michael returning to the secondary research investigation role. I really enjoyed the author’s ability to switch back and forth making two strong protagonists, that’s strengths differ and keep the series fresh and alive. Returning to Nell’s perspective as a primary character gave this story a new refreshing take and also allowed Nell as a character to really develop more. It was also interesting that Nell’s daughter Beth featured a bit more in this story and is a little more grown up in this book. Great use of character progression.

In this story, Nell has bought the shop next door and is working on and extension. When some old plaster is removed Nell finds a hidden message on the wall referring to someone called Thaisa. This leads Neil on a chain of discovery where she uncovers a link with a village in Dorset (where her daughter is holidaying this summer), a mysterious piece of music called Thaisia’s song and a derelict bell tower with a silenced bell. The story is told from a variety of historical sources and also from the view of an old woman living the life of a recluse. She is desperate to protect her family’s secrets at all costs.

As with all Sarah Rayne books, her plotting is brilliant, she lays many, many, threads for the reader to follow and then brilliantly weaves them all together. It did take me a little longer than normal to get into this book. I think there was a little less mystery than others in this series and this was quite a dark storyline. I do like that Rayne still experiments in her writing and tries out many characters’ viewpoints.
I think Rayne has done a great job of developing Michael and Nell’s personal relationship too. For returning readers it is handled very well and the progression can be seen, but it’s also not distracting and confusing for first-time readers. For those that haven’t discovered the Nell West collection, I would suggest these novels are quite similarly written to Phil Rickman’s work; old story exposed, great characters and slightly eerie. The books are well written and well plotted and the historical details are always interesting.
Please leave a like if you think my review/feedback of the item was helpful to you. Alternatively, please contact me if you want me to clarify something in my review.

View all my reviews

The Mystery House – #writephoto

High upon the hillside, past the river and behind the trees.

Lies a forgotten house which no-one tends to see.

The old folk sometimes remember those who went before.

Yet the towns’ folk find the old stories such a bore.mystery-house-photo-by-sue-vincent

 

A young lady sets off adventuring on the land

Inspired by the folk tales told to her by her Gran

She comes across the house in the woods all alone

And peers through the doorway to check no-one’s home

 

“Who goes there?” Bellows a voice from within the dark

She gulps rather loudly ignoring the thumping of her heart

“It’s me Olive”, her voice says in a squeak

“I thought no-one lived her, I’m sorry I’ll, leave.”

 

Rather disappointed Olive turned around to leave

“Come in child, you’re here now, you might as well have tea.”

Olive walked into the house that’s hidden in the wall

Finding herself facing an old woman 8 feet tall.

 

“Move Oscar out the way child and take a seat over there”

Olive looked across the hovel spotting a black cat in a chair.

Oscar didn’t take to kindly from being shifted from his perch.

Olive was a bit unnerved when he hissed and swiped at her.

 

Olive smiled politely as the tea was served

The cake that went along with it was superb

Her belly now full and the sun beginning to set

Olive said goodbye to the old lady she had met.

 

You thought there’d be a twist in the tale is that about right?

That Olive would be gobbled up or given a real fright

I thought I would be kinder to this old woman living alone

Besides, I never told you if Olive made it home?….


I think I had way-way to much fun writing this! There was so many delightfully devilish options popping into my mind. I love this image, so intriguing. If you want to ive it a go too, head over to Sue’s Page Thursday Photo Prompt – Mystery #writephoto and join in the prompt.KL ❤