Category Archives: Paranormal

Book Review: SKETCHER IN THE RYE by Sharon Pape

Publisher: InterMix

Published: December 13, 2013

Format: ebook (260 pages)


Series: A Portrait of Crime Mystery

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***


My Look:

Hobo has disappeared on Harper Farms, and even though Hobo is a dog not a ghost, Rory McCain is worried.  The otherworldliness of her life is enough to make anyone crazy, but she’s gotten used to it, sort of.  But Hobo is somewhere loose on a working farm on a cold November day and could get hurt or worse. 

Soon, Rory’s delight in finding the dog was outmatched by the dog that was all over her despite his recent mud bath with the pigs.  After the embarrassing incident, she had the pleasure of bumping back into the man who had just hired her private detective agency for a case of industrial farm espionage.

Gil Harper was a man who held money as no object in solving this case and whose loyalty didn’t protect his family.  Rory was told to investigate everyone, including all of his family members, and Gil openly declared his belief that anyone of them could be the culprit.  She was already racing the clock when she had another race with Hobo.  This stinky mud covered creature didn’t weave back to the love of his life in the pigpen, but instead he dove into the corn maze. She had managed to keep up and maintain a slight hold upon his leash until she stumbled.  Now, her dog was lost again.  

She tried to follow the sounds of Hobo’s insistent barking which seemed to be deflected by their current environment.

Meanwhile, Hobo’s noise was akin to an alert that went viral for trouble.  Almost lost inside the maze,  she was finally able to track her dog, but trouble wasn’t all he found.

Now, how was she going to explain another dead body in her presence?  Her friend, Leah, is still with the police and doesn’t treat her as a traitor for leaving the PD, but this isn’t how most of them feel.  Let’s just say professional courtesy isn’t usually extended to private detectives anyway, but a stranger in town would garner more than an ex police officer in this town. 

Maybe all wasn’t lost.  If this man on the ground had a pulse, all she’d have to do was call in an emergency.  Rory knelt and was able to quickly determine a coroner’s wagon would outweigh the chance an ambulance would suffice, and Rory and ghost partner Zeke had more than one case to solve.  However, her ghostly partner wasn’t the easiest to work with, on many occasions.

Picture an 18th century Western Federal Marshal working with a modern woman.  Got that picture?  Okay, now add to that having to make sure when this said partner disappears, he’s not up to something that the living can see.  Yeah, Rory’s only problem on this case wasn’t going to be the cold shoulder of the police department.

She couldn’t leave the dead man here, right?  No.  She did what any civic-minded citizen would do.  She called her best friend at the police department.  Suddenly, the disembodied voice of her partner accused her of creating more trouble, but when she turned, Zeke was here in person, wearing the duds from yesteryear looking like anyone else.  Yeah, this was going to mean trouble for sure.  


My Take:

Sharon Pape’s SKETCHER IN THE RYE a cozy mystery wrapped inside a ghost story that will keep you turning pages!

I enjoyed sleuthing with Rory McCain.  She is a former police sketch artist with a penchant for murder, crime, and ghosts, but she is able to draw the who, discover the why, and prove it all too.   Zeke is a Federal Marshal and a character all to himself.  However, his ghostly image becomes human through his story too.  He’s a man who has solved murders,  put away the criminals, and loved.  He is also a man who lost his love before he lost his life.  

These two detectives make an exceptional tag team in crime, but their backgrounds can add some problems in the mix.

SKETCHER IN THE RYE by Sharon Pape takes us inside her great family ties, some growing pains, and more than a few family dysfunctional situations to solve a crime, save a life, and discover who did it.  However, you’ll just find yourself wanting to read more of her titles in this series, SKETCH ME IF YOU CAN (Berkley 2010), TO SKETCH A THIEF (Berkley 2011), and SKETCH A FALLING STAR (Berkley 2012).


Book Review: RELATIVELY DEAD by Sheila Connolly

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: May 16, 2013

Format: ebook (211 pages)


Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Abby (Abigail) Kimball is at a crossroads in life, since she’d given up a teaching job she loved in Philadelphia and moved with Brad to New England, but her relationship with Brad was in sad shape, now.  However, she’s also discovering how much a problem Brad can be.  He’s self-centered, egotistical, and shallow. 

Meanwhile, she’s also wondering what having been in love with that says about her.

Abby knows that Brad wants her to get out and get some new interests, so then she begrudgingly goes on Waltham’s historic house tour.  Who knew this particular house would change her life?

It hadn’t seemed an overtly posh house, but its positioning, had almost had it looking down on the town, said something about it.  She met the man who was giving her the tour, Edward “Ned” Newhall.  And although it was a historical place, the many additions and modernization had relegated the real history to only a certain part of this home.  

Now, it hadn’t been this super nice tour director, Ned, who provided her surge of fear. It had been those who she hadn’t actually met that took her on a scary ride into their haunted past.

Of course, her unexpected reaction to such sights put her on an embarrassing plane with the living tour guide.  Would he understand? 


My Take:

In RELATIVELY DEAD, Sheila Connolly presents a modernized ghost story that will keep you steeped in rich history.

My first impression of Abby was that she was someone set adrift by the notion of love, but that Abby didn’t know what to do once she hit a wall.  Going home never seemed to occur to her, but Brad’s personality had me screaming for Abby to get away from him.  I liked her and didn’t want to see her in such a bad relationship. 

Abby hints that her mother’s happiness with Brad is the reason that she doesn’t go home, at first, but her father seems to suspect the changing feelings. 

Instead of packing up, once it all falls down, Abby’s thoughts amazed me.  She went and got a job that did some of the same things from her Philadelphia position, but it was so different that it complemented her. Meanwhile, I was almost shouting at her to notice Ned! 

Ned was there, in the flesh, and seemed to care, but he’d pulled back and now I wondered could this not be?  

He did stay connected to her ghostly visits and helped Abby through the understanding of history and genealogy, but when she was finally done with Brad, Ned seemed to retreat. 

He cared for Abby, but some things held him back.  At least one of these things was something major that him and Abby had in common.

Nevertheless, you’ll discover Ned to be a hero, although not the Alpha kind of guy.  He’s kind patient, caring, and smart.  His history had deconstructed his engagement years before, and he’s not sure how to proceed with this amazing woman named Abigail.  

RELATIVELY DEAD by Sheila Connelly takes us on a journey between past and present in a fashion that I haven’t read before, but I did enjoy it!  While this book will leave you wondering if you’ll ever spend time with Abby and Ned again, I believe we readers will most certainly be pulled into a future story of these two because they make such a great pair. 



Book Review: OF GRAVE CONCERN by Max McCoy

Publisher: Kensington

Published: July 02, 2013

Format: 304 pages

ISBN: 9780758281937  

Series:  Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mysteries

Origin: Publisher 

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

I saw a dead girl.  Okay, to a spiritualist medium it shouldn’t have been so shocking, but it was a moment for sure.   Most of the time, I pretend talking to dead people.  Easy, really.  After visiting the best graves, it’s easy to find the recent dearly departed with the most cash and the wealthy family who would be the easiest picking.  

Now, I’m not the self-satisfying type, so hold on and I’ll explain.  

Dr. Ophelia Wylde wants to give comfort to those who hurt not just enjoy their cash, and she wants to give the peace that she is denied when her heart aches.  

See the thief that stole from me wasn’t the same kind of thief that you might be thinking of me.  This man took more than cash in the most perverse way. Enough said about that.  You see I am a widow.  While both my husband and I shared love, happiness, and a belief in the spirits speaking, we made a promise—if  ever eternally separated, we would reconnect with a message.  While I believe that is somewhat still possible, I know that this is my last chance to have it happen.

In these years, since my beloved’s death, I moved down the wrong path.  However, the belief that the dead can speak was founded many years ago in New Orleans, and still follows me today at a strange place for sure, Dodge City.  If the sight of a dead girl didn’t cost me angst the animal smells and sunning hides would certainly have had the privilege.

In 1877, the locomotive is my mode of travel with my beloved pet, Eddie.  He is not a talking bird, for the record; he does something better.   Anyway, my desire to find this dead girl overtook me, and I wound my way to her.  Although, I did need to be brief before the train moved on without me. You see that just wouldn’t do.  I have an appointment to keep, and it is one that is dear to me.  

After arriving at the spot that held this woman, I knew my eyes deceived me.  I wasn’t a little one seeing a dead man in the mirror anymore, no.  This dead girl did not even exist.  

Feeling somewhat a fool, I made my way backward to the station and arrived with time to spare.  Although thanks to some idiot’s drivel, my leaving on this train becomes impossible, since a bounty hunter listens to someone’s babble and adds my non-traditional female mode of dress and sums up that I am someone else, entirely.  This person who is supposed to be me is a female serial killer.  

The sound of the cell door closing makes me positive that I will miss my appointment and just might be here . . . forever.

Finally, my bail was set by a man who’s grieving and needs my special, albeit fake, help. However, needing money to pay the lawyer, the hotel, and feed myself is the part that isn’t so selfless.  

Really, it’s not until I recognize the cowboy that I’d stepped over, when he was sauced, do I make the fatal slip-up.  

Fatal does not describe his problem, but it does describe my own.   

Meanwhile, I see the dead woman, again. This time, so does two cowboys, but even knowing there is more than meets my eye on this woman, my earthly time becomes limited due to my own mistakes.   

My Take:

OF GRAVE CONCERN by Max McCoy is an amazing story that blends the Western traditional genre with the paranormal genre of today to make a mystery that will bring you back in time and won’t let you go!

Dr. Ophelia Wylde is someone you’ll come to know as early trailblazer of today’s independent woman.  

Walking with baggage like anyone of us could, this character spins us into a world that exists beyond this one.  In her flawed but believable fashion, Ophelia shows that a woman wearing pants is not a recent fashion trend, and her independent streak is both a product of herself and her circumstances.   She’s a woman of 1877 who knows there are very few ways for a female to make money.   Choosing the way she can live with herself and bring happiness to others, she sees herself perpetrating a victimless crime of mercy, well except for when she becomes the next victim. 

Max McCoy produces a great historical read in OF GRAVE CONCERN with twists and turns that any mystery reader will love.  As the story unfolds, other mysteries emerge.  However, many of these mysteries are of the world and some aren’t.  I know that you that you will be entranced and won’t want to miss the next Dr. Ophelia Wylde mystery!


by: Tracey Bateman

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Published: May 8, 2012

Format: Paperback (336 pages)

ISBN: 9780307730442

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Grieving and confused, Corrie Saunders moves from her mother’s home in Texas to the place that would have been their home—Jarrod’s and Corrie’s place.  He inherited it from his family, and since he died in the war, she inherited this place.  Although not at all sure why, the house seems to have summoned her here to be closer to her husband’s memory but her coming to live at Saunders Creek isn’t always welcomed by the Saunders clan.

Some of his family wants her to give it up, but how could she?  Jarrod grew up here.  

The renovations to the home have been in process for a while and have been handled by Jarrod’s cousin, Eli.  Remembering Jarrod’s words of trust for his cousin, Corrie wanted him to do the work because that’s what her husband wanted, and Eli wasn’t among those in the family who begrudged her this house.  He didn’t care that she wasn’t born a Saunders.

From the first night in the old house, her grief seized her and made Corrie wonder what she was even doing here. Should she even stay?  

Yet, Jarrod’s childhood called to her here.  She imagines her husband of seven years as a young child, roaming the land and having fun. However charming these thoughts are they pull her deeper into pain.  Why wasn’t he here with her?  She couldn’t even bring herself to sleep in the bed.  The lonely mattress would only prevent the rest she desperately needed but never seemed to manage.  

Eli Saunders came to halt.  The woman who was sleeping on that rickety porch swing with rusty chains and hardware was a small thing, but he still wondered how that dilapidated contraption was still in one piece.  With a chuckle, he also wondered how this woman was going to feel when she awoke.  Judging by the liquor bottle near the swing, he could give an educated guess that she wouldn’t be in any shape to work.  Her squirming said he was soon to find out about her condition, but he still couldn’t look away.  

Hungover, with a tear-stained face, this woman was something to behold.  Moreover, their phone conversations that had taken place about the renovations showed her caring, down-to-earth personality.

There were a few things he knew for certain.  His cousin had a beautiful wife and Corrie Saunders was deep in grief.  Everything about the situation made him need to keep a distance, but now that she was here in the Ozarks with him, everything about her was going to make it difficult to do just that.  

However, his history and his childhood spent in this house made him concerned that Corrie had made a huge mistake.

My Take:

THE WIDOW OF SAUNDERS CREEK: A NOVEL by Tracey Bateman is an amazing read!  

Tracey Bateman tackles tough, relevant subjects and provides the Christian perspective in a story where the pages could literally turn themselves and you would believe it could happen just that way.  However, this author doesn’t preach about things, that go bump in the night, she uses the house as a character and shows you how things are not always what they seem to be or seem not to be.  

The setting is so much a part of this story that you feel what Corrie feels and could only imagine the worry of those around her.  You will sympathize with Corrie and fall in love with Eli.  

Meanwhile, Corrie and Eli are brought together in the most awkward of situations that the attraction naturally builds and each of these two have major reasons for keeping their distance.  While family members, friends, and something not quite breathing tries to keep them a part, the result is that they are drawn together under more lethal circumstances and each has a part in keeping each other alive.  

THE WIDOW OF SAUNDERS CREEK: A NOVEL by Tracey Bateman is a stand-alone novel, but you will want to catch up with some of her other titles including THIRSTY: A NOVEL (WaterBrook Press 2009) and TANDEM: A NOVEL (WaterBrook Press 2010). 

Through WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books Program, I received this book for free in exchange my honest review.


by: Lisa Jackson, Holly Chamberlin, Cathy Lamb, and Rosalind Noonan              

Publisher: Kensington  

Published: May 29, 2012        

Format: Paperback (416 pages)      

ISBN: 9780758265630            

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

An anthology by four authors starting with Cathy Lamb’s June’s Lace, where you’ll meet June and Reece and become swept up in their love story much the way June is swept up by a wave in Oregon. June is the daughter of wandering hippies in a VW van who thought she wanted a career and a marriage. Reece is a singer songwriter who happens upon a woman in distress but falls in love in the process.

Second Chance Sweethearts by Holly Chamberlin introduces us to Thea and Hugh. These two were old flames at a time when circumstances and family intertwined to separate them. However, he’s not the jock she once knew and Thea isn’t the free-spirited girl he dated. Their reunion was unplanned and unexpected, but Thea wonders if they can they find new love while the scars of her past have yet to heal, leaving her to live in fear. 

Rosalind Noonan’s Carolina Summer brings Jane into the path of Cooper. He’s a sheriff, and she has been in an accident. Soon, her and the sheriff coexist in a living situation that brings them closer. She’s always afraid her past will follow her from New York. Has it? Someone’s looking for Jane. But will the sheriff be enough to protect her?  Or will she put him in danger? However, there is no time for the answers to come because her brother maybe the latest victim.

In The Brass Ring by Lisa Jackson, Dr. Shawna McGuire is left waiting for her soon-to-be husband’s arrival at their wedding ceremony, but he doesn’t show. In fact, her brother brings her bad news. Parker’s been in an accident. He awakens from a coma but has no memory of Shawna, their life, and all that come to visit.  Can he fall in love with her all over again?  Will Shawna be able to accept the way he is now?  However, Shawna and Parker’s future maybe derailed, for good, when a young girl claims he fathered her child!

My Take:

In BEACH SEASON, you’ll meet four couples, and you will learn about each individual’s life before they meet each other and about how they come together. The next character is as captivating as the last one and each individual story has loss, love, and new beginnings.  

Individually, some should have had it all but didn’t while others have it all but lose it all. Someone had the life she wanted to leave only to want it back while another woman runs into love only to find it gone. All authors have created a complete story, and you’ll find yourself engrossed in these characters’ lives, relationships, and futures.  

BEACH SEASON is a wonderful summertime read!


by: Fern Michaels              

Publisher: Kensington  

Published: April 12, 2012        

Format: Paperback (288 pages)      

ISBN: 9780758266042            

Series: The Godmothers

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

President, John F. Kennedy and the Godmothers—Toots, Sophie, Ida, and Mavis plus pooch, Coco—come together laying to rest the most debated, conspiracy driven mystery of modern history.  Although the masses will never see a newspaper headline about it, for the first Lady of California it’s solved.

Back at the beach house, another mystery unfolds.

Toots’ “son” famous entertainment attorney, Chris Clay goes missing along with his client, Laura Leigh.  Once a Hollywood auto-mechanic turns Chris’s car over to the police, Chris goes from wanted for questioning to suspect in no time.

Chris Clay’s stepsister is Toots’ daughter and she has an obligation to her gossip magazine to follow this story no matter how it turns out.  However, Abby’s heart isn’t into this gossip.  To live in a town where looks are everything is hard, but it’s not as hard as wondering, if the man you love lay helpless or worse or if he’s stepping out with the missing starlet.  

Meanwhile, Toots knows Chris would not leave them to worry; he would’ve contacted them, if he were able.  Without the spirits talking, Toots doesn’t wait until divine intervention reveals itself.  She contacts Goebel Blevins.  

Goebel is a former New York detective who didn’t flinch at following the advice of a spirit to find Toots’ husband’s murderer.  Being more than friendly with Sophie these days, he is well aware of their spirit talking, corpse cosmetics, and body dressing ways.  His thirty years experience may help whatever the spirits care to add.  

Toots’ worry doesn’t end with Chris.  

No matter how much her daughter tries to guard her heart, this mother knows Abby’s in love, and Toots suspects Chris is feeling something too.  Though youth comes with perks, it also has its drawbacks. These two haven’t declared their feelings and Toots worries they may not get the chance.  


My Take:

In Fern Michael’s DEADLINE, you’ll meet four seniors with curious quirks, a ton of paranormal experiences, deadly duties, and a whole lot of funny. Many Fern Michael’s fans know her suspense titles but the Godmother series is a major step in a new direction and Fern Michael’s pulls it off with mystery and panache.  

The Godmother series is more like the Golden Girls in the dead and paranormal worlds.   Instead of Blanche, you’ll meet Ida, and Mavis could surely pass for Rose.  You will enjoy this cute read where corpses, mystery, and seances blend with normal life for the Godmothers. 

Although this title stands alone, you will want to catch some of the other Godmother books including, EXCLUSIVE (Kensington -reprint- 2010), LATE EDITION (Kensington 2011), and THE SCOOP (Zebra -reprint- 2012) until BREAKING NEWS releases in May 2012  (Kensington).  

The voting hours have ended. I thank you for all of your votes! 

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by Dianne Duvall

Publisher: Zebra (Kensington)

Published: February 1, 2011

Format: Paperback (320 pages)

ISBN: 9781420118612

Series: Immortal Guardians

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Courtesy of Kensington Books, I have pasted this first page snippet for your reading pleasure:

Chapter 1

A strident screech pierced the predawn quiet.

The hair on the back of her neck rising, Sarah Bingham surveyed the meadow around her. The sky had gone from black to charcoal gray, a harbinger of sunrise that did little to alleviate the gloom. In the nine months North Carolina had been her home, she had heard some creepy animal calls, but that one had sounded downright human.

Couldn’t have been. She lived way out in the boonies with no nearby neighbors.

Struggling to shake off her unease, she impaled the soil with a shovel, turned it over, then repeated the process that would ultimately culminate in a vegetable garden. The unseasonable heat she had hoped to avoid by starting early added a glimmer of moisture to her skin as she grappled with the drought-hardened ground.

Oh yeah. A few hours of this and she would definitely collapse into an exhausted slumber. Screw you, insomnia! The spring semester was over. Her students were gone. She was going to sleep tonight if it killed her.

Loud snarling, growling sounds abruptly split the air, accompanied by cracks and thumps and the snap of branches.

Starting violently, Sarah gripped the wooden handle of the shovel and stared at the heavy undergrowth in front of her with wide, unblinking eyes.

The foliage began to thrash and sway. Her heart slammed against her ribs.

Oh crap! Weren’t there bears in North Carolina?

Branches and leaves exploded outward as a massive dark form, moving so fast she couldn’t see it clearly, charged toward her.

Too panicked to even scream, she dropped the wooden handle and raised her arms to protect her face, head, and neck. A heavy weight crashed into her left side. Feet flying up, she hit the ground hard on her back two or three yards away. Dry soil and twigs abraded her hands as she threw them out to the sides. Something tore through her right shirtsleeve and cut her elbow. A painful throbbing invaded her ribs.

Rolling onto her stomach, Sarah jerked her head up and looked around wildly in time to see the trees that bisected this end of the meadow envelop . . . whatever had barreled into her.

Quiet settled upon the clearing.

Wincing, she pressed a hand to her aching side and scrambled to her feet.

The growls and thrashing resumed, even louder than before. Adrenaline surging through her veins, shortening her breath, speeding her pulse, she grabbed the shovel with shaking hands, turned it upside down, and held it like a baseball bat.

She didn’t know what that thing was, but if it came back, she was going to knock it six ways from Sunday.

“Where’d they go?” a voice called out breathlessly.

Sarah jumped and glanced at the trees that bordered the meadow on her right.

“That way! Straight ahead! Don’t lose ’em!”

Two figures, mere shadows amid the dense, dark brush, moved as quickly as they could in the same direction as the . . . thing. Only visible for a brief moment before the trees swallowed them again, they didn’t appear to have noticed her. The long-sleeved green shirt she wore over a black tank top and sweat pants must have made her blend into the dim scenery.

My Take:

If you’re into Vampires, Immortals, and passion.  This book is for you!

To celebrate Dianne Duvall’s release of NIGHT REIGNS (December 2011 Zebra) the second book in the Immortal series, I’m offering a giveaway for DARKNESS DAWNS the debut book of the Immortal series!

For readers of this blog, throughout the United States and Canada, you can enter a random drawing for a free physical book of DARKNESS DAWNS just by leaving a comment.  The comment form will require an email address but this will not be published.

I will announce the winner on a future blog post.  So, you stay tuned and check back often!  I just may have more giveaways coming in the future.


by Jacquelyn Frank

Publisher: Zebra (Kensington)

Published: October 25, 2011

Format: Paperback (354 pages)

ISBN: 9781420109863

Series: Nightwalkers

My Look:

Nightwalkers battle against evil and magic, but in ADAM, a soon-to-be tragic death summons ADAM hundreds of years away into a world he doesn’t know.

He’s in a universe where the once forbidden relationships have already gained acceptance, and he faces a temptress he left behind when acceptance was never an option as Jasmine returns. Read ADAM to discover his true love and to see him battle to keep family alive.

Now, to celebrate the release of ADAM, the latest Nightwalker title, Kensington Books is giving readers a deal we can’t miss!

Nothing can get a book-shopping reader moving like a limited time offer or a one day sale with a bargain price.  I mean . . . I cannot be the only one who moves like a cheetah chasing prey in pursuit of a great buy, right?  Well, in case other book bargain hunters exist, I am blogging a special price bulletin to spread the word about a great deal for you and me.

On Friday, November 4, 2011, JACOB (the first book in the Nightwalker series) will be $1.79, as an ebook on KINDLE and NOOK.  Yes, you read that right!

And there’s more good news!

For readers of this blog, throughout the United States and Canada, you can enter a random drawing for a free physical book of GIDEON (the second book in the Nightwalker series), just by leaving a comment (one comment only).  The comment form will require an email address but this will not be published.

I will announce the winner on a future blog post.  So, you stay tuned and check back often!  I just may have more special price posts coming in the future.

My Take:

If you have not had a chance to discover the world Jacquelyn Frank creates in the Nighwalker series, you don’t need to take a large bite out of your savings.  To find out why fans are so hooked, you’ll spend only $1.79 (for ebook on KINDLE and NOOK). In addition, you’ll get to start at the beginning to see why the enforcer, JACOB, is willing to break the law he’s charged to uphold, for Isabella.

This is a great deal!