City of Ghosts Review (Paranormal Fantasy)

Book cover for City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts: On the day the villagers were forced to flee Hensu, not everyone got out alive.

Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city when he slips away from the group to spend the night, determined to publish an account of his ghostly experiences there.


Then he meets Yuèhai, a strange, soft-spoken woman who can tell him the city’s secrets—secrets the Chinese government would kill to keep hidden.

As Jackson uncovers the truth about Yuèhai and the ghost city, he’s drawn into a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and murder. He must risk everything to save himself and bring honor back to Yuèhai and her family. – Goodreads


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Cold Shadows Review (Paranormal Fantasy)

Book cover for Cold Shadows by J.L. Bryan

Cold Shadows: Footsteps in the attic. Toys that play by themselves. A dark presence in an upstairs room.

Paranormal investigator Ellie Jordan faces a difficult new case. Her new clients are a family haunted by multiple ghosts and a poltergeist that wrecks their home at night. Their seven-year-old son’s invisible friends may not be imaginary at all, but the restless spirits of dead children.

To clear her clients’ house of the dangerous entities, Ellie must unravel the mysterious deaths of another family who lived in the old mansion more than a hundred and sixty years ago—and she must do it before the ghosts can carry out their malevolent designs on her clients and their children. – Goodreads


Cold Shadows Review

 

Cold Shadows is a great follow-up to the first Ellie Jordan book. J.L. Bryan has created an interesting team in Ellie and Stacey Rae. Calvin and Jacob (and Grant) are solid peripheral characters (though I’m really hoping the romance thread doesn’t continue too strongly in later books). Seriously, if the romance thing heads the way it’s already looking, I’ll stop reading the series. Ergh. Anyways, the interaction and relationships between all the characters are believable and mostly enjoyable. I’d love to see a flashback bit dealing with Calvin and Ellie’s first team-up.

The situation that Ellie and Stacey face in Cold Shadows was, again, not your typical ghost story. J.L. Bryan is good at putting unexpected twists on set-ups that look fairly straight forward. There was definitely a scene in here that made me sit up a bit straighter and go “What the ??” He kept everything moving along at a decent pace with plenty of action. The otherworldly presences have a few appearances that will definitely spook a gleeful scaredy-cat reader. The Paulding House was described just enough that you got a sense of the layout without having a clear cut picture of everything in your head. I think this works to make it creepier because you can see it happening in a house you know easier.

The Ghost Trapper series is a solid paranormal fantasy with creepy overtones. If the books were made into films, those would most likely be skewed towards the horror genre. They’re fast reads that will delight any readers who like their monsters to go bump in the night. Also, not to be forgotten, so far this series has been ‘clean.’ No cursing, no smoochies, no guts, and gore. While I wouldn’t recommend them for the under 13 age group, I’d have no problem recommending them to teenage readers. (Interest may vary depending on maturity level.)

Overall, Cold Shadows was a good read that thoroughly entertained me. Well worth what I paid for it! (Those covers, though…)

Cold Shadows (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #2)

Title: Cold Shadows | Series: Ghost Trapper #2 | Author: JL. Bryan (site) | Pub Date: 2014-11-24 | Pages: 179 | ASIN: B00OL1QMFQ | Triggers: Death by drowning, apparent suicide by gunshot | Language: English | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased | Purchase on Amazon

Bound Review (Dark Fantasy / Action)

Book cover for Bound

Alex Caine, a fighter by trade, is drawn into a world he never knew existed – a world he wishes he’d never found.

Alex Caine is a martial artist fighting in illegal cage matches. His powerful secret weapon is an unnatural vision that allows him to see his opponents’ moves before they know their intentions themselves.

After a fight one night, an enigmatic Englishman, Patrick Welby, claims to know Alex’s secret. Welby shows Alex how to unleash a breathtaking realm of magic and power, drawing him into a mind-bending adventure beyond his control. And control is something Alex values above all else. – Goodreads

 

Bound is the second Alan Baxter title to be reviewed on this site. The first was Crow Shine, a collection of short stories. To see that review (which was done by GracieKat), click here.


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Saga Vol 1 Review (Sci-Fi Fantasy Graphic Novel)

Book cover for Saga Vol 1

Saga Vol 1: When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. -Goodreads


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Stone Cold Bastards Review (Horror / Fantasy)

Book cover for Stone Cold Bastards by Jake Bible

Stone Cold Bastards: Only a rag-tag team of gargoyles stands between humanity and extinction.

Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession.

Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar-chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains.

Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive.

All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last sanctuary is about to fall. – Goodreads


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Melancholy Ghost (Paranormal Fantasy)

Book cover for Melancholy Ghost

From ghost hunter to ghost, haunted.

Barrett has a plan—help Austin regain his memory, surround him with his friends and loved ones, and lead him into the light. Unfortunately, the tragic investigation of a melancholy ghost derails everything.

As new lead investigator, Thai struggles to maintain the high ratings SCI has always enjoyed. After a few subpar investigations, the network execs demand results, even if it means the team must put their lives on the line for a house more deadly than its dead occupants.

There are worse things than being dead.

Austin knows something is wrong. Most people ignore him, time eludes him, and his hands are basically worthless. If only he could remember what happened, he would have the answers he so desperately seeks. He’s sick of Barrett’s lies and Casey’s deflections. Austin will have to figure this one out on his own. Will the truth set him free, or destroy his soul? – Goodreads


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Crow Shine – Horror Short Story Collection Review

 

The dark fantasy collection features 19 stories, including the Australian Shadows Award-winning “Shadows of the Lonely Dead”; and original title story “Crow Shine” in addition to two other never before published stories.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cypher (Guardians Inc #1) Review

GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales.

The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn’t be aware of and dangers he shouldn’t face, but that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity’s future.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology, but every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we’ve driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future. – Goodreads

Book cover for The Cypher (Guardians Inc #1)

The Cypher Review

 

The Cypher, book one in the Guardians Inc series, is a well-written story for tween and teen readers. The main character, Thomas, is an almost sixteen-year-old boy whose parents mysteriously disappeared several months back. Obviously, things are not calm in his life, but they’re about to get shaken up even more as the book opens. And from there it just gets fun.

Julian Rosado-Machain knows how to write a book that appeals to the teenage need to feel or be special. He avoids making Thomas into a super-hero by engaging some very realistic limits. Thomas has one special power in The Cypher and that’s it. He can’t read minds, can’t bend steel, anything like that. So it’s easy to imagine that, theoretically, something like that might really happen to the reader. There’s definitely a certain appeal to that even I could recognize.

I loved the pieces of The Cypher that focused on Thomas and his grandfather. I think that the bond between grandchildren and grandparents is a special thing that we don’t see portrayed nearly often enough. You could sense that Thomas really loved and respected his grandfather. And also that the grandfather felt the same way about him.  I hope in future books we can see more of the two of them together. (At least once Grandpa is back to being Grandpa again.) I’m tempted to keep reading the series just to see if that happens.

The Cypher is one of those books that definitely fall firmly into the “science fiction fantasy” category. Technology, robots, elves, magic, and quantum physics all merge seamlessly within it.  There’s even a bit of H.P. Lovecraft’s sandbox mentioned within it. With a bit of classic good-versus-evil, plus a side bit of Thomas learning about the problems with hormones, and some loveable characters, it’s a book that’s easy to like. There are also some scenes where the sheer ridiculousness painted (like the Grotesque waving an energy drink banner) will make you snicker.

The dialogue is believable, the action is good, and the plot moves along fairly quickly. The few issues I had with it were fairly minor. (Ex: Thomas ends up in some situation no adult in their right mind would put him in.) Everything was fairly obvious to me as an adult reader, but even then I still enjoyed it.

In conclusion, The Cypher is a fun, quick read that grabs your attention but doesn’t need brain power to enjoy. It’s one I would definitely recommend for teen boys you’re trying to get hooked on reading. Truthfully, just pick it up for yourself anyways, it’s a nice palate cleanser.

4 Star Rated The Cypher Review

Title: The Cypher | Series: Guardians Inc #1 | Author: Julian Rosado-Machain (site) | Pub. Date: 2012-7-21 | Pages: 200 | ASIN: B008NU34A2 | Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy | Language: English | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Free on Amazon

 

 

The Devil You Know ( Paranormal Thriller)

The Devil You Know book cover

The Devil You Know: Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist, and London is his stamping ground. It may seem like a good ghost buster can charge what he likes and enjoy a hell of a lifestyle–but there’s a risk: Sooner or later he’s going to take on a spirit that’s too strong for him. While trying to back out of this ill-conceived career, Castor accepts a seemingly simple ghost-hunting case at a museum in the shadowy heart of London – just to pay the bills, you understand. But what should have been a perfectly straightforward exorcism is rapidly turning into the Who Can Kill Castor First Show, with demons and ghosts all keen to claim the big prize. That’s OK: Castor knows how to deal with the dead. It’s the living who piss him off…-Goodreads


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Lagoon Review (Alien Invasion Fantasy)

Lagoon: When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.

Told from multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

‘There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.’ – Goodreads


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  • I love Audible. Tons of books, fantastic narrators, good prices.