Paper Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day!

So I posted the recipe Tuesday as I had a mystery that fit perfect with the holiday:

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

The city of Ludlow is gripped by a serial killer, the Valentine Killer.

Hannah Wagnor is having a hard summer. Her best friend Lillian was murdered and her ghost is haunting her, urging Hannah to investigate and get revenge.

She also can’t stop thinking of bad boy Finny Boone, who she knows has a heart of gold.

Everyone is in a panic, and Hannah makes a decision, the only way to get rid of her ghost is to find the killer. Will she discover the truth, or will she be the next victim?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

This was not good.

The main character is practically non-existent in the personality department and none of the characters are interesting-but rude and cruel.

Bleh…

For more Valentine’s Day posts, go to Let Me Call You Sweetheart

For more young adult book, go to Not If I Save You First

For more ghosts, go to The Phantom of the Opera

For more serial killers, go to The Man Next Door

The Winter People

winterpeople

The Winter People: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon

Thoughts before Reading:

I received this book in a contest, my only payment being an honest review.

Read it today!

Let me just start off and say that I found this to be a phenomenal book. Absolutely amazing. I started reading, intending to only start the novel, but found myself buzzing through it I just had to find out the end.

Cantstopreadingupallnight

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Plot Synopsis:

So the story is split between two different times. First we have Sara Harrison Shea from the turn of the century, living in West Hall, VA. Young Sara is raised by her father and Auntie, a healer, who teaches her things others, including the minister, would not approve of.

Not-Good

Everything changes one day when her husband goes hunting.

scream

Since then West Hall has been a strange, spooky place.

creepytumblr_mvlf7wEoGk1qcwyxho1_500

Disappearances are common in the town, along with myths and legends.

phonecall

The most mysterious being the tragic death of Sara Harrison Shea, who was found disturbingly dead just a few months after the death of her daughter.

Horrible!!!!

Horrible!!!!

In present day; Ruthie and little Fawn live with their widowed mother Alice on a country farm. Much to Ruthie’s disgust and dislike, Alice has always forced them to live their lives off the grid, no internet, no connections, etc.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

One morning Ruthie wakens to find her mother gone.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Just disappeared out of the blue, something her controlling and protective nature would never do.

doesn'tmakesense

As she searches for clues to where she might have gone to, Ruthie discovers Sara Harrison Shea’s secret diary.

Obsessed

Katherine has recently lost her husband when he died in a car accident.

Aw...

Aw…

Already saddened over the death of her child, she is even more distraught to discover her husband had a secret.

What?

He’d been coming to West Hall, VA for a while, but why? No one he knows is out here and why would he lie about it?

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

As she moves to West Hall to investigate, she discovers a connection between her husband, Alice, and Sara.

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

There are others who are after the diary Ruthie holds, and its great secret.

Blog-Child-Support-Oh-No

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

It was a great book.

Read it today!

Read it today!

Incredibly well written, superb storytelling, fantastic characters and incredible suspense. I just loved it.

fantastic

I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to ruin it, but aw! So great!

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Grave Peril

For more on disapperances, go to Cookie Dough or Die

For more widows looking for answers, go to The Italian Wife

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to Ticker

For more not-in-a-series mysteries, go to Sleeping Beauty

Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

stormfront

Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher

So I was first introduced to this series by my friend. She was an avid reader, and you know how when you have something you like, you try to get all of your friends into it.

getfriendintofandom

Anyways, we had gone on a road trip and were on our way back to our apartment, but were so tired. Halfway, we realized we wouldn’t make it unless we had something to boost us. She decided now was the perfect time to introduce me to the book series. We listened to 1/3-1/2 of the book, and by then it was too late. I was hooked and had to head to library to check out a copy to read now.

don'tneedsleepneedanswers

The Review:

So Harry Dresden is a wizard.

What?

Yes, you heard correctly. He is a wizard in modern day Chicago, and has his own P.I. office, HARRY DRESDEN-WIZARD. Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. NO Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment.

I-Love-Magic

Things have been really slow for Harry these past few months. The last thing he’s done was investigate a country singer’s “haunted house”. It turned out to be nothing but the singer’s drug addiction, but when Harry told him that, he fired him and then hired some shyster who did an “exorcism”. It seems some people just don’t want the truth.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

This day Harry was planning on going through a new box of books, as there was nothing else to do, when he gets a call.

A woman, Monica, is looking for her husband. He asks her to check with the police or a regular private investigator, but she refuses saying she needs a wizard’s help. They make an appointment, an hour later.

Immediately the phone rings again, and it’s Lt. Karrin Murphy from the Chicago Police Department (CPD). She’s the director of Special Investigations, set to investigate anything unusual.

supernaturalnotnaturalsupernaturalnotnatural

Vampire attacks, troll marauding, and faery abductions of children, etc.

gotthis

Murphy’s found some bodies and wants Harry there now. Harry tells her she has an appointment, but Murphy tells him he needs to come her NOW, and to not eat lunch. It’s ugly.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

Harry leaves  note and heads on his way.

Murphy is short and petite but tough as nails. She has to be in order to succeed as a female cop.

She and Harry get along but have their differences. Murphy is a modern women, while much of Harry’s morals, values, and manners are, in her view, dated. He likes to open doors for women, pick up the check, protect them; etc. Murphy also doesn’t like his look of a leather duster, she thinks is also dated. However, she believes what he says is the truth and not crazy, and is one of the few willing to look into his eyes and do a Soul Gaze.

wow

Soul Gaze is when you look into a wizard’s eyes directly, and when you do so you see a window into their soul. It doesn’t relay specific information (you can’t use it to interrogate someone), but it does give one a vague impression on whether they’re trustworthy or not, or if they’ve been psychically harmed, etc. A lot of people don’t like it, so not many dare meet his eyes.

creepy

They go into the suite, where they meet up with Detective Carmichael, Murphy’s partner, and the most unbelieving soul you will ever meet.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

The two people had obviously met for sex, and they find them in the bed. The creepy part? Their chests have exploded, as if they had a bomb in their chest.

AAhhorrorified

Harry feels like throwing up, but tries to stay strong. The only way to do something like this is to use magic to wreak harm, in violation of the First Law, established by the White Council, the people who police Wizards.

The only way to accomplish such a feat is through Thaumaturgy. Thaumaturgy is when you make something happen on a small scale, and give it enough energy to happen on a large scale; but to do something like that you would need something that connected to the victims like hair, fingernails, or blood.

ouch-gif

To do this you need really strong emotions, revenge most likely. She or He choose the moment when the two would be having sex, as this extremely angered her or him, making the killer most likely a spouse or ex-lover.

suspicious Hmm

It turns out the girl is Jennifer Stanton, a prostitute who at the Velvet Room for Bianca. Bianca is a Vampiress. Not good. And the man? Tommy Tomm, Gangster “Gentleman” Johnny Marcone. Ouch. Not good and a WIDE suspect pool.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

Murphy wants Harry to investigate how this could have happened, but Harry really doesn’t want to. You see Murphy doesn’t know everything about Harry. Harry has a dark past and the Doom of Damocles hanging over his head. If he is found guilty of violating one of the Seven Laws of Magic, the Doom would drop. If he started putting together a murder spell, that’s all that’s needed for those who dislike him to push for the Doom to start.

Blog-Child-Support-Oh-No

Murphy yells at him, and it makes him feel bad so he agrees. He just hopes that the Council will understand.

Its-Not-Going-to-Happen-Mean-Girls

Harry runs back to the office for his appointment, when he is approached by two giant men who force him into the limo. In the back he sees a handsome, unassuming man, in casual clothes. Who are you? Johnny Marcone.

Blog-Child-Support-Oh-No

“Gentleman” Johnny Marcone is a blessing and a curse to the Chicago area. On one hand he deals in everything from drugs, to robbers, etc. On the other hand, with him in charge, everything is controlled. He runs his organization tiptop, and if anybody new comes on the scene, they get taken out.

Marcone wants Harry to not investigate the case. He’s willing to pay him for two weeks, $16800, to take a vacation. It intrigues Harry, but he is even more curious about why he doesn’t want Harry looking into the deaths.

suspicious Hmm

He refuses.

Marcone stares Harry right in the face, never flinching, extremely scary. But Harry stays firm, and Marcone warns Harry not to upset him. He drops Harry off at his office, and Harry feels a bit grim about everything, but at least he’s on time for Monica.

Monica is very uneasy and unsure about being here. Her husband, Victor Sells, has been missing for three days, and she came to Harry because she thinks that he might be able to help as her husband was very into magic.

Very_Interesting250

After careful waiting, Monica tells Harry a few clues. They have a lake house he could check out and she’s willing to pay the money. So they strike a deal and she heads on her way.

Harry checks his mail and discovers a dried out scorpion. Scorpions are very powerful symbols and could be dangerous. It creeps Harry out, but he thinks he’s overreacting and dumps it in his desk.

creepy

Harry decides to reward his good fortune of two jobs, and head down to McAnally’s Pub, an old fashioned restaurant. Mac is Harry’s best friend and seemingly the only one he can talk to. Today the hot news is the Third Eye drug ravaging the city. The Third Eye is a powerful drug that gives you temporary abilities, and is extremely addictive. People will do anything in order to get it. It is really hurting the city.

Susan Rodriguez comes into the pub to talk to Harry. She is a journalist for the Arcane, a tabloid, and is always trying to get something out of Harry. She is very sexy and uses her appeal to get things out of others. So far it hasn’t worked on Harry, his past has kept him from getting close to anyone, but it’s been a long time and a date with Susan sounds great.

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

That night Harry heads over to the lake house with ingredients. Time to do some spell casting.

lets-do-this-ucas-gif

Harry sets a trap to catch a faery so that he can question him. When Toot arrives he’s quite angry with Harry, but after some bargaining, Harry gets him calmed down.

Toot tells Harry that pizza arrived the other night and the humans were “sporting”. “Sporting” to fairies means sex. And a lot of it, there must have been an orgy or something.

urkelgif interesting hmm

Harry is thinking about what it all means, when his worst nightmare shows up. Morgan, a member of the White Council, who wants Harry dead. He tries to get at Harry, saying that he was the one who killed the two people. Sadly, Morgan won’t stop until he has proof that Harry killed them.

Not-Good

Harry is too keyed up after talking with Morgan, and heads down in his basement to work. There also lives his cat Mister, and Bob, an extremely old wizard trapped in a skull, the wizard computer. Harry needs Bob’s help to make an escape potion, but Bob won’t assist unless they do something fun, like make a love potion.

really?

The next night Harry goes to see Bianca. To prepare himself, he wears a silver pentacle on a silver chain and a folded white cloth.

When he gets there, the guards remove some of Harry’s items, his cane and knife. But they stupidly let him pass with the cloth and pentacle.

Harry asks Biamca about Jennifer and she freaks out trying to kill him. Luckily he has that cloth, which contains a sunlight potion, releasing it on her. From there the beautiful woman is gone, and this ugly winged creature remains.

creepy

Harry also uses the pentacle to protect himself, leaving the two at a draw. Bianca doesn’t trust him and he doesn’t trust her. He is trying to find Jennifer’s killer, but Bianca thinks he is the real murderer.

Eventually, Harry convinces Bianca to sit and talk. Bianca liked Tommy Tomm, he treated the girls nice. He sent Jennifer that night, but has no idea who would want them dead. She sends him to go after Linda Randall, old friend of Jennifer.

HMMM

Harry has to leave quickly, as he is bleeding and hungering Bianca. He calls Linda, but she won’t speak to him. So he goes to find her.

Linda works as a driver now, but in the past was a prostitute too, and she is very sexual in everything. Last time she spoke to Jennifer was on her birthday, she wanted to get with Tommy and her, but Linda had to work.

Harry decides that gleaning zero leads from there, it is best to look up the pizza place. He finds out that there was more than one person there, an orgy, and that there was another guy taking pictures.

Very_Interesting250

That night Harry gets attacked by a man with a bat, later a man high on the Third Eye also threatens him, that his master will kill him. While Harry isn’t sure he is closer to the truth, it appears he is right on their tale.

Things get really heated, when in the middle of his date with Susan, a demon appears, and the two have to fight it off.

AAAAHHHHH

Will Harry solve the crime? Or will he be taken down; either by the White Council or this mysterious opponent. You have to read to find out.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!

loveitSupernatural

It was extremely well written and I couldn’t put it down.

fantastic

Check it our for yourself!

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more supernatural mysteries, go to The Barter

For more books featuring a private investigator, go to One for the Money

For more fantasy-mysteries, go to The Emperor’s Edge

The Barter

thebarter

Thoughts Before Reading:

The Barter, by Siobhan Babcock, is a paranormal story, with a spirit bridging the distance between the early twentieth century and modern times. In 1902, Rebecca has grown up without a mother, as she died in childbirth. She has lived well as the daughter of a doctor, and while cared for still hasn’t matured emotionally to being a grown woman. When she agrees to marry her childhood friend, she does not quite understand what will be expected of her as a farmer, wife, and mother.

whynot

In modern times, Bridget is under a lot of stress trying to figure out who she is. Once an ambitious lawyer working up the success ladder, when she became pregnant, she traded in briefs and long working hours for motherhood.

Flirty-seeya

She loves her daughter and spending time with her, but finds it hard trying to settle in her new dynamic as no longer bringing in money but relying on husband for financial support. She also has trouble befriending the other moms in her neighborhood, as she feels inadequate in their experience of child-rearing, crafting, and other mom-ly traits. To make matters worse, her home seems to be the resting place of a ghost that only she and her baby can see.

Girl on a Train, The

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! I’M GETTING OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!!!

As Bridget tries to find her place in her new role, she also attempting to discover what the ghost is after.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

While this book packages itself as a supernatural mystery, it actually is more of social commentary, discussing the duality women feel who find fulfillment in working outside and inside the home; and the issues they face from moving from one plane to another. What is interesting about this novel is that it doesn’t show one better than the other, but is instead trying to bring to light the difficulties women have.

Except my baby

And EVERYTHING!!!!! Except my baby

Rebecca’s storyline was harder to become involved in than Bridget’s. Rebecca, unlike Bridget, has no idea as to what she wants. While Bridget wants to stay at home caring for her baby she loves, but finds herself unfulfilled as she misses factions of her old life but doesn’t want to give up her new life. Rebecca on the other hand is immature and while initially excited at the idea of “love” and a “relationship”, finds herself not ready for the commitments asked by her husband. While she insists she doesn’t love him, she still desires him and goes back and forth between “only loving him like a brother” and using his body to fulfill her sexual needs. This split of spirit makes Rebecca hard to connect to and very unenjoyable.

I doesn't work

It doesn’t work

I would give this book three out of five stars as I enjoyed the way they presented Bridget’s character and issues in discovering who she is and wants to be, amid what culture, society, her friends, and her family are pressuring her to be. However, the Rebecca storyline was lacking and there was no real mystery in the text.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) 

For more mysteries featuring a stay at home mom, go to Grime and Punishment

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Missing Mah Jong Player

For more mystery reviews, go to Thorns of Rosewood