Review: “The Mediator Book 1: Shadowland” by Meg Cabot

Review: “The Mediator Book 1: Shadowland” by Meg Cabot

A review by Vanessa.

Susannah Simon has a special gift. Well, she wouldn’t call it a gift, really, because it certainly comes with its obligations. Namely, the requirement that she speak to and help out all of the dead people whom she can see. As much as she would prefer to ignore them and be a normal high school sophomore, their reasons for hanging around sometimes interfere with her life; and her life has enough interference already. Her mother has married a really nice guy named Andy, and although Suze approves of him for her mom she’s not so happy about the moving from New York to Carmel, CA. Or being stuck with three new annoying stepbrothers, and changing schools, and leaving her one and only friend behind. What’s worse is that her new home has an unwanted guest residing in her bedroom. His name is Jesse, and he was so obviously young, handsome, with six-pack abs, lovely dark eyes, and gorgeous hair when he died. Suze doesn’t like having him as a distraction when she is trying to adjust to all the changes. But he is not the only distraction she finds.

Suze is startled to find several surprises waiting for her at her new high school. There is Heather, the very angry and dangerous dead girl haunting her locker. Then there is Father Dominic, the school’s principal, who it turns out is a mediator just like her! Suze doesn’t know what to think about meeting someone like her for the first time ever, and fitting in with other kids at the school. It seems like things might be ok in her new life. But Heather has some very dark revenge to enact and Suze is just getting in her way. Plus her youngest new stepbrother, a sweet and super smart kid who Suze actually likes, seems to know way more than he is saying. She’s always taken care of things all on her own, but this time it might be too much for her. Can she stop Heather, and protect the people in her life that she is really starting to care about?

As always, Meg Cabot delivers a wonderfully well told story of young life, but this time with a supernatural twist. Her famous Princess Diaries series may have put her on the map as an author but this series showcases her ability write in the paranormal genre as well. Her characters are totally engaging, and utterly realistic. The supporting characters fit right into all the expected tropes, but at the same time each of them holds their own interest for the reader. They might be typical, but they are so great to read it just doesn’t matter. Suze is both a “typical high school girl” and a very unique character. She struggles with school, friends, boys, raging hormones, and annoying brothers. She thinks about fashion and clothes, and what it would be like to be kissed.  But in between all that she struggles with suppressing her own emotions to accommodate the happiness of her mother, the ever present influence of death, the moral implications of forcing a ghost to cross over unwillingly, and the guilt that comes with being forced to lie to her family and friends for their own good. She also harbors a quick temper and some violent tendencies that make her an ever more interesting character. The only drawback to this book would be that some of the stereotypes might be embraced a bit too willingly. But even then, the characters cannot be described as boring or one dimensional. I love this series, and I would recommend it to young, and adult readers alike.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR: Review: “Here They Lie” by D.K. Burrow

Here They Lie by D.K. BurrowA review by Maria.

First off, I would like to thank author D.K. Burrow for allowing me to read and review her book Here They Lie for her online book tour.

Reese Everett comes to Devil’s Veil to pack up and sell her aunt’s antique shop and house. However she discovers her aunt was quite the hoarder so this process will take awhile. Once there, she keeps having mysterious run-ins with the locals; both the living and the dead kind. She meets two mysterious and alluring men; and discovers some ghosts going bump in the night at her aunt’s house. If that wasn’t enough, other mysteries keep popping up around her in this small town and Reese and the mysterious Colton are determined to figure everything out, never believing all they’ll find.

Reese was a fascinating character, her family is already involved in ghosts and legends. But her family had told her that aunt Kate had no power and that her house wasn’t haunted. But Reese did have the power to perceive ghosts around her, and quickly figured out the house was haunted. Reese was content to let the ghosts be, until they started to become hostile. And then there’s the weird way everyone refers to her as a Polk, even though her last name isn’t that, but they still refer to her having Polk blood. Reese begins to believe everyone in the town might be a little odd; everyone but her handsome and enigmatic handyman, Colton, that is.

Colton is related to the three founding families in this town, The Waters, the Polks, and the Graves. He’d prefer to get to know the fascinating Reese without his family name attached. He agreed to help Kate with repairs to her house while he’d be on school break. And after Kate’s death he still feels the need to help, and views it as a chance to clear his head after finding out that he’s been denied access to medical school. And to help his grieving friend, Max Graves, who had just found out that his father, Coach Graves, committed suicide. His family has bigger goals for Colton than to just be a handyman, and want him to take up the coaching spot. Colton is content working for Reese right now and exploring the attraction they have.

I liked how this book was more about exploring the connection these two characters had to each other than delving right into a romance. It made the romance sweeter, hotter, and well worth the wait by having these characters care about each other first on an un-intimate level and just enjoy each other’s company.

I really enjoyed the main characters in this novel. I liked them both immensely and the side characters were all mysterious enough to remain interesting. I also enjoyed the many elements to the story. I loved the gothic, dark feel to the story; and adding in ghostly occurrences only added to the creepy, scary feeling. However I felt the story itself, very unforthcoming. Both Colton and Reese spent most of the novel in the dark about everything around them. This made the pacing seem to start and stall quite a bit as the book became more mystery novel than gothic romance; which made it a frustrating process as a reader. The focus instead was more on the characters. But revelations did eventually occur, and the secrets were well worth it. Now that those secrets are out, I’m looking forward to the next book moving faster and having all the pieces together.

Here They Lie would be acceptable to adult readers.

 

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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Giveaway:

2 $15 Amazon Gift Cards (INTL)
2 signed copies of Here They Lie (US only)

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Book & Author Details:
Here They Lie by D’Ann Burrow
(The Bloodstone Legacy #1)
Publication date: October 5th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Southern Gothic
Synopsis:

Reese Everett’s aunt picked a bad time to die.  Just weeks after a car accident left Reese’s mother unable to travel, her aunt’s house needs to be emptied and sold, leaving Reese as the only member of the family who can do the job.  She typically wouldn’t balk at the opportunity to sift through her aunt’s collection of antiques, but when she arrives in Devil’s Vale, Georgia, she discovers the family house in a state of disrepair she won’t be able to handle alone.

Colton Waters is back in Devil’s Vale – whether he likes it or not.  After he loses his acceptance to medical school with no explanation, he’s left with a single job offer… one that will return him to the hometown he’d hoped to escape.
When an errand to help his sister ends in a meeting with Reese neither will easily forget, Colton takes a job as her temporary handyman.

The longer Reese stays in town, the more she realizes the condition of her aunt’s house isn’t the only thing she hadn’t expected when she made the trip to Devil’s Vale.  Reese isn’t the only gifted member of the family – her aunt Kate has been practicing the family business…the business Reese has been sworn never to discuss.

After a ghostly visitor arrives one night, Reese and Colton learn Kate wasn’t the only one practicing the darker arts.  They begin to uncover secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Here They Lie won the Young Adult Romance Writer’s 2014 award for New Adult fiction.

Purchase:
DAnn Burrow
AUTHOR BIO:

D’Ann Burrow once told her preschool teacher she wanted to be a witch when she grew up. That simple comment signaled the start of a life-long fondness of things that go bump in the night. As she grew older, she could most often be found with her nose buried in a book, and she was especially fond of the Nancy Drew series as well as anything by Christopher Pike or Stephen King.  Occasionally she’d take a trip to the world of the classics where The Scarlet Pimpernel and A Little Princess reigned among her favorites.  She’s lost count of the times she’s read Little Women.

Today, D’Ann enjoys the world of Supernatural, stories about guys with fangs, and she’s seldom met a disaster film she hasn’t liked.  When she grows up, she’d like to work at the Haunted Mansion. Until then, watching Ghost Hunters will have to count as research.

D’Ann writes about secrets people keep.  Even the bravest heroine or a guy with a heart of gold has a few skeletons in the closet they’d rather not share with the world. When those secrets get out, things get interesting.

A Texas native, she knows making great guacamole is an art form. As a theater mom, she’ll happily chat about Broadway musicals by the hour.  Molly and Lizzie, the family furry ones, are frequent stars of her Instagram account.

Author links:

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BOOK TOUR: Review of “Descendants of the Rose” by Juliette Harper

Descendents of the Rose by Juliette Harper

A review by Maria.

I would like to thank author Juliette Harper for giving me the opportunity to read and review another one of her novels; Descendants of the Rose, the first book in the Selby Jensen mystery series.

Selby Jensen might officially be a private investigator; unofficially her job is to hunt monsters. Nevermind the fact that she’s buisness partners with a vampire and best friends with a ghost. While she takes care of any monsters that come her way, she is secretly hunting one in particular; the werewolf that killed her husband. She wishes her husband had become a ghost because she still has questions about his death. Her husband’s old police partner doesn’t have any answers for her either. Now Selby’s newest case is at someplace she least expected to find evil: a Catholic school.

Selby is fun, opinionated, feisty and trying to move on with her life after her husband’s death. But she can’t move on until she solves his murder. She’s brave, smart, resourceful and has plenty of supernatural characters to help her in solving mysteries.

Helen was Selby’s best friend and died when they were 25 years old. She hovers around Selby and they’re still best friends. Being dead hasn’t stopped her terrible shopping habit, and she changes outfits on a whim. Helen is also keeping a secret from Selby. Shelby’s husband Dex didn’t actually pass on like Selby assumed when he died. Dex is stuck around as a ghost, loving Selby from the afterlife without her knowing it.

Johnny is a vampire and Selby’s business partner; was the comic relief of the book. Johnny harbors a huge crush on Selby and he’s full of flirty to outrageous comments.

Miss Mary Ruth is far from the regular school nun. She has a secret past involving magic and witchcraft on the way to finding her religion. Her past makes it so she doesn’t balk at the idea of her school containing some kind of spirit, or that she’ll need help with getting rid of it. Mary Ruth makes a great, spunky new addition to the Scooby gang; and provides a new person for Johnny to crush on.

This book was very different than Harper’s Lockwood Legacy and Study Club Murder mysteries. It still had the feel of a mystery but this time with strong paranormal aspects. The book was about the same length of previous Harper books, roughly 150 pages and was a very fast, entertaining read.

I look forward to reading more Selby Jensen mysteries in the future!

My rating: 4.5 /5 stars.

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Descendants of the Rose Blog Tour Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for Descendants of the Rose by Juliette Harper! This is the first book in the Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries series and the tour runs July 20-31. Check out the tour page for more information.

Cover of Descendant of the Rose by Juliette HarperAbout the Book:

Selby Jensen’s business card reads “Private Investigator,” but to say the least, that downplays her real occupation. Let’s hear it in her own words:

“You want to know what I do for a living? I rip souls out. Cut heads off. Put silver bullets where silver bullets need putting. You think there aren’t any monsters? . . . I have some disturbing news for you. You might want to sit down. Monsters walk among us. I’m looking for one in particular. In the meantime? I’m keeping the rest of them from eating people like you.”In this debut novel of her new paranormal mystery series, Juliette Harper, author of The Lockwood Legacy books and The Study Club Mysteries creates a cast of characters, most of whom have one thing in common; they don’t have a pulse. The dead are doing just fine by Selby, who is determined never to lose someone she loves again, but then a force of love more powerful than her grief changes that plan.Join Selby Jensen as she and her team track down a shadowy figure tied to a murder at a girls’ school. What none of them realize, however, is that in solving this case, they will enter a longer battle against a larger evil.

About the Author:

Juliette Harper

Juliette Harper is the pen name used by the writing team of Patricia Pauletti and Rana K. Williamson. Descendants of the Rose is the first installment of Harper’s debut Selby Jensen Paranormal Mystery series.

Pauletti, an Easterner of Italian descent, is an accomplished musician with an eye for art and design. Williamson, a Texan, worked as a journalist and university history instructor before becoming a full-time freelance writer in 2002.

Juliette Harper is also the author of The Lockwood Legacy, a nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide. Four of the novels are currently available: Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw, Alice’s Portrait and Mandy’s Father.

And don’t miss her hilariously funny “cozy” Study Club Mysteries, a light-hearted spinoff of The Lockwood Legacy. The books, set in the 1960s, take on the often absurd eccentricities of small town life with good-natured, droll humor. The first book, You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet is available with the second, You Can’t Put a Corpse in a Parade, coming in Summer 2015.

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Giveaway:
One (1) winner gets a $25 Amazon gift card (INT) & one (1) winner gets the Lockwood Legacy books, Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw, Alice’s Portrait and Mandy’s Father (US)
Ends August 5th
giveaway provided by the author, bloggers are not responsible for prizing.
 

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