House of Ashes by Loretta Marion #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

House of Ashes by Loretta Marion

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for House of Ashes: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery by Loretta Marion on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win this super Giveaway!

Book Details

House of Ashes: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery
Supernatural Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)

Hardcover, 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1683318439
ISBN-13: 978-1683318439

Book Blurb

A family patriarch’s dying proclamation, an enigmatic disappearance, and a century-old curse converge in the shadows of a majestic home on Cape Cod’s craggy coast.

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it’s by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what’s happened to the young couple…even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can’t help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family’s dark curse destroys everything in its path?

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My Review

House of Ashes by Loretta MarionCassandra Mitchell is the great-granddaughter of Percy and Celeste Mitchell who built the gorgeous Battersea Bluffs mansion in Whale Rock, Massachusetts, Cape Cod where she now lives alone. She is 37 years old and tenaciously clings to the family Victorian despite its history, local folklore, and apparent supernatural experiences.

The author sets up a time warp storyline that begins with the events that set the stage for the tragic deaths of her great-grandparents. There is an apparent curse that has followed them from England and has followed generations of their male descendants. Cassie has weathered a disastrous marriage and impending divorce and her scoundrel ex pretty much spent every dime he could lay his hands on before he split. She is presently facing foreclosure and looking at the possibility of having to ask her older and geographically estranged sister for another loan. She refuses the idea of selling.

Not without some form of income, she does what she can to bring in food money though she inherited an artistic gift from her mother which she has been too depressed to exercise. Sinking deeper into the funk that has enveloped her in the situation, she meets a young couple, Ashley and Vince, on her property, accompanied by a German Shepherd, and impressed with them and taken by the moment invite them to stay with her for a while in exchange for their work on the carriage house.

Ms. Marion flips both chronological timelines as she brings in further details of Cassie’s family, both current and 80 years ago. Chapter headings clearly tell in which timeline the narrative is heading and it doesn’t take long to get into the rhythm. It is Cassie’s belief that her great-grandparents frequently visit her, signaling their presence by a distinctly pleasant odor, depending on the situation.

The couple suddenly disappears without explanation which sets off a chain of investigations that begins with local law enforcement and extends to the FBI. There is an attraction to the FBI agent, and Cassie appears to be in full rebound mode. The romance of Cassie and her suitors weaves in and out of the well-plotted story adding tension to the already increasing pressure to find the kids and confirm their well-being.

She is consumed with the problem of figuring out what happened to the kids after they’ve nearly completed the remodel of her carriage house and made a place in her heart. She flits between responsible and irresponsible as she gleans little clues to follow and discovers she didn’t know them, really at all. Not where they came from, not where they may have gone or what happened to them. Happy with having the couple around, they had created in her the urge to paint again and she is facing a large gallery showing by a friend and local art gallery owner who had previously handled some of her mother’s paintings.

I had a little difficulty getting into the well-developed protagonist’s shoes. She has that artist’s aura about her, tormented but talented. Headstrong and smart, she seemed to make less than informed decisions, while craftily planning her next move toward solving the mystery of the couple. The dog, Whistler, has become as much a part of her life as did his owners and she is happy to care for him, as he is now protecting her.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who enjoy a mystery, supernatural or paranormal qualities, thriller and suspense, and strong women sleuths.

Giveaway

Sign up for  your chance to win (1) GRAND PRIZE – One $50 Barnes & Noble gift card Two signed hardcover copies of House of Ashes (one for the winner and one for a friend) Two signed paperback copies of The Fool’s Truth (one for the winner and one for a friend) Plus two book bags (one for the winner and one for the friend) (U.S. Only) in this  Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the Author

Loretta Marion - authorAn author of fiction, Loretta Marion’s writing bridges the genres of mystery and suspense and women’s fiction, always with hints of romance and humor, sometimes delving into the psychological and paranormal. She creates strong but flawed and struggling characters as appealing as the rich atmospheric settings in which the stories take place.

Loretta is a true bibliophile and has loved reading and creating with words since she was a young girl. And that affection for the written word followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she put pen to paper crafting marketing and advertising copy, educational brochures and newsletters. But her passion for writing fiction evolved from the unlikely world of hospice. As a volunteer, she set out to establish a Legacy Story program to honor and preserve the rich heritage of the fascinating people who were soon to leave this world. The meaningful experience inspired her to create her own interesting characters and stories. Her debut novel, The Fool’s Truth, was a twisty and suspenseful mystery with whispers of romance. Her newest novel, HOUSE OF ASHES – A Haunted Bluffs Mystery, is the first in a series published by Crooked Lane Books.

Though born and raised in the Midwest, Loretta fell in love with New England and has made it the setting for much of her writing. When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador” (Corgi-Labrador cross).  (www.LorettaMarion.com)

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

November 1 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 1 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 2 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

November 2 –  A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 3 – fundinmental – REVIEW

November 3 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

November 5 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

November 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Valerie’s Musings – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

November 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  

November 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 9 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 10 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours 

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this supernatural mystery!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

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#ThrowbackThursday – Ghostly Paws by Leighann Dobbs

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

This week I am highlighting Leighann Dobbs, another terrific, prolific author who produced Ghostly Paws, a Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series (Book 1), which I reviewed on Goodreads. She has actually written six in the series. It was released on March 12, 2014. She consistently runs approximately 4.5 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon. Amazon classifies the novel as supernatural, ghosts, witches and goblins, and occult. I suspect it just might be the sweet, easy Halloween read you’ve been searching for! (Love the covers of the series!)

Originally posted July 14, 2016.

Book Blurb:

Ghostly Paws by Leighann Dobbs*** USA Today Bestseller and First Place Winner Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem Awards (Animal Mystery Category) *** 

Middle age can be murder …

At least that’s how it seems to former crime journalist, Wilhelmina Chance, whose near-fatal accident has given her a strange side effect … she sees ghosts.

After a messy divorce sends her fleeing back to her hometown of Mystic Notch, nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Willa finds herself haunted by the tenacious ghost of the town librarian who insists Willa solve her murder.

Luckily, she has lots of help, including a quirky cast of small-town characters, the cat she’s inherited from her grandmother, and her best friend, Pepper, who claims her herbal teas can work magic.

But just when Willa thinks she’s discovered who the killer is, she finds out that things are not what they seem in Mystic Notch, and the case takes a strange turn that has Willa adding even some of her long-time friends to her suspect list.

Can Willa find the real killer in time to keep the magical balance in Mystic Notch on the side of good, or will evil prevail?

ASIN: B00IZ0ZY9E

 My Review:

Ghostly Paws is a cozy read that should be enjoyed in an over-stuffed chair, with cool temps, crackling fireplace, and hot cup of cocoa (with mini-marshmallows, of course). Or for those who would enjoy a single recently professional protagonist much like the quiet woman next door (or yourself?); middle-aged, that is, with just a few, (huh hum!) slight but prominent quirks.

Getting older and dealing with the left-overs of a near-fatal accident has left Willa a little paranormal; seeing and talking to ghosts back in her northeastern hometown where she inherited her grandmother’s bookstore. The bookstore has a resident cat, Pandora, who is just the tip of the kitty iceberg (and once again proving I’ll give equal time to felines as well as canines). But this feline is not one of your regular bookstore cats, or maybe they are, just that being an average human I’ve missed those paranormal qualities.

Willa has a cadre of regular bookish clients, four of the town’s seasoned seniors. You can get that small town feel right away in the down-home dialogue between Willa and her acquaintances, friends, and the owner of a tea and herb shop next door whose concoctions sometimes backfire, providing more than one chuckle. Willa tends to wallow in that middle-age annoying behavior of obsessing over little details that derail where she should be looking instead.

This is my first experience with this author and a Mystic Notch mystery, but I loved the town and its people. Willa, bless her heart, has a history of journalistic criminology so she can’t resist sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Pandora, that Darned Cat, isn’t the only kitty around, but she’s obviously an alpha.

While the book is fun, fast, and frivolous, the author will hopefully smooth out Willa’s annoying quirks a little and reduce the number of repeats. I received the download from BookBub and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to read and review. Recommended to cozy mystery fans who enjoy a touch of paranormal or supernatural elements, anthropomorphic components, as well as a touch of romance (that I could have done without).

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Leighann Dobbs - authorAbout the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Leighann Dobbs, discovered her passion for writing after a twenty year career as a software engineer. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Bruce, their trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and beautiful rescue cat, Kitty. When she’s not reading, gardening, making jewelry or selling antiques, she likes to write cozy mystery and historical romance books.

Her book “Dead Wrong” won the “Best Mystery Romance” award at the 2014 Indie Romance Convention.

Her book “Ghostly Paws” was the 2015 Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem First Place category winner in the Animal Mystery category.

Don’t miss out on the early buyers discount on Leighann’s next cozy mystery – get a TEXT alert straight on your cellphone.
– For Cozy Mystery alerts, just text COZYMYSTERY to 88202
– For Romance alerts text ROMANCE to 88202

More Throwback Thursday Blogs

Renee at Its Book Talk

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at The Book Whisperer

Lynn at Fictionophile

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Holly B at Dressedtoread

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Annie at The Misstery

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Cathy at Between the Lines

Amy at Novel Gossip

Diana at A Haven for Booklovers

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview

Samhain Secrets by Jennifer David Hesse

Title: Samhain Secrets (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery) Book 4 by Jennifer David Hesse

Genre: Currently #1202 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Holidays

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: Happy release date! August 28, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Samhain Secrets – Love that book cover and the requisite black cat

Here is your chance to peek into the life of a modern day witch, or in this case a Wiccan, and learn something about this spiritual culture practice in a delightful cozy mystery setting. Protagonist Keli Milanni is a serious practitioner. There is only one problem: She was raised Catholic and has not divulged that split to family.

Spells, incantations, calls to spirits, tarot cards, and sisterhood. Keli weaves the practice into the quest to find the person who murdered her aunt, Josephine O’Malley, an estranged free spirit of the family who chose to leave the nest early, only tapping connections inconsistently with no notice and disappearing just as quickly. It’s a fun romp into the paranormal side of life that strikes a few of those loosely held superstitions many of us are loathe to admit. Continue reading “Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview”

#ThrowbackThursday – author Melissa Stevens – Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

Change by Melissa StevensThis week I am highlighting author Melissa Stevens and stepping considerably beyond my comfort zone in genres (shape-shifting, fantasy). I met Melissa when I also had a table at the craft fair in Yuma at the Country Roads RV Park, probably my favorite of the delightful RV parks where I sold my grandfather’s books during the winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15. Melissa published Change, the first in the Kitsune series in January 2012 (which I reviewed on Goodreads), and was light years ahead of me in promotion. She obviously had a solid marketing plan and knew how to manipulate the ins and outs of Kindle and Smashwords. Change was newly revised in 2017. She is a prolific author who has gone on to writing stand alones, another series, as well as collaborating with another author. She was part of Wicked After Dark, a paranormal romance anthology that hit #13 on the New York Times Bestseller’s list in October of 2015. It would appear she is progressing nicely!

Originally posted April 1, 2014 Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – author Melissa Stevens – Book Review”

#ThrowbackThursday – Author Jonas Saul – Book Review

#Throwback ThursdayRenee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

The Warning by Jonas SaulThis week I am highlighting Jonas Saul, another terrific, prolific author who has produced nineteen (The Chase published April 30, 2017) in the Sarah Roberts Thriller series, two of which I reviewed on Goodreads (The Warning, Sarah Roberts Series #2 and #3, The Crypt). He has actually written numerous thrillers along with a trilogy. The Crypt was published by Imagine Press. He consistently runs approximately 4.5 to 5 stars for his books sold on Amazon. Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Author Jonas Saul – Book Review”

Cat in the Flock

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                           BOOK TOUR REVIEW – Sages's Blog Tours

Title: CCat in the Flock by Lisa Brunetteat in the Flock by Lisa Brunette

Genre: Currently #4380 in Best Seller’s Rank for Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Supernatural

Publisher: Sky Harbor, LLC

Publication Date:  July 2014

Cat in the Flock – Cover conveys ethereal quality

Born into a family of “dreamslippers” that skips every other generation, protagonist Cat McCormick is the lucky generation to receive “the gift.”

Part of the “Dreamslipper Series” by Lisa Brunette, “Cat in the Flock” introduces a sideways twist to the always fascinating study of psychic or mystic receivers. Still struggling with how she will come to terms with this unusual paradigm, the recent college graduate has had problems finding employment in St. Louis and accepts an offer from Granny Grace to join her in Seattle where she will be groomed to take over Granny Grace’s PI firm as she carefully mentors her granddaughter in controlled dreamslipping as well. Continue reading “Cat in the Flock”

Death Unmasked – Review

Death UnmaskedDeath Unmasked by Rick Sulik

Genre: Currently at Amazon’s Best Seller’s Rank #4837 in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Supernatural

Publisher: Christopher Matthews Publishing

Publication Date: November, 2015

Submitted by author for review

The title Death Unmasked could be descriptive of the topic. The cover ties to the coat involved in the story, but doesn’t readily explain the book subject.

Interesting plot premise (reincarnation) and a subject that fascinates me. I also read and enjoy paranormal novels and really wanted to love this book as well. Rick Sulik apparently has an affinity for poetry and offers his thoughtful expressions of life intertwined within the plot of his book. His poetry ranged from pensive to beautiful. The subject and the plot have a great potential.

The book begins with a heinous scene reflective of the horrors inflicted on citizens by the Germans during WW2, that of the cruel death of married lovers; Laura is first raped, then murdered, and Emil vows retribution before his death.

Now to present day Houston Police Detective, single Sean Jamison, who is burned out at 57 years of age and reclusive. He is busy pining for his one true love, and involved in the investigation of a crazed serial killer who likes to leave the haunting line from the “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde, “Yet each man kills the thing he loves,” as a token taunt at the scene of his sadistic murders.

That’s the simple part and that’s where simple ends. Sean Jamison, the first and main protagonist, climbs on his soap box rather often. He has realized through several happenstances that this is not his first life and that his last life ended horribly cruel. His partner, Bill Roman, is a candidate for anger management. His captain, Virginia Schaeffer, is a really horny (middle-aged?) single woman who suddenly and inexplicably falls in mad, over-the-top passionate love (after one heart-to-heart) with Sean, who is saving himself for his previous wife who he feels is now living a present day existence as well. If only he could find her! Are you confused yet?

Bill Roman is taking psychic lessons from Sean, though initially scoffs at the suggestion, and helps to find and apprehend a felon. He will try to use the same power later to help catch the antagonist, the serial killer (who previously kidnapped his wife).

But wait–there’s more: spoiler alert! The serial killer has noticed a flea-market coat that has a particular significance for him, and marks the coat so he can track the new owner. Uh oh! The new owner of the coat, coincidentally, may be connected to Sean’s previous life’s wife.

When he does find his wife from another life, they throw caution to the wind and enjoy a rather public tryst, forgetting his wife from another life has a current day fiancée. In his mind, he has found his wife, his life, and his family. But if she’s still his contemporary, I’d wager that’s too late.

Another spoiler alert: Some of these people are all connected, and I mean brother and sister connected, in previous lives. And the serial killer? You’ll just have to read it–or maybe you already know.

The dialogue ran stilted at times, preachy (and unrealistic); and the characters were inconsistently fleshed out. I had a little problem with the continuity, with scene jumping, or contradictory timing of day/night. Descriptions ran a little on the verbose side bordering on TMI.

Rosepoint Rating-three of fiveThis book will benefit greatly by a critical eye for cut, slash, and rework as the idea is solid–it should work better.

The Author: Rick Sulik served in the US Air Force Military Police prior to working with the Houston and Pasadena Texas Police Departments, followed by ten years as a courthouse bailiff. He retired in 2013.

Rosepoint rating based on current problems: Three of Five ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box Continue reading “Death Unmasked – Review”