A MelanieM Review: Séance on a Summer’s Night by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Theater critic Artemus Bancroft isn’t sure what to expect when his aunt summons him home to California with vague but urgent pleas about being unable to cope with “the situation.”

The situation turns out to be the apparent haunting of Green Lanterns Inn—along with alarming rumors that long-suffering Auntie Halcyone may have murdered her philandering husband.

In fact, the rumors seem to have been started by the late Mr. Hyde himself—from beyond the grave.

Séance on a Summer’s Night by Josh Lanyon is another one of those complicated paranormal romances that Josh Lanyon does so well.  A terrific mixture of mystery, romance,.. and relationships of all sorts that border on the psychologically insane to the secretive to the familial and everything in between and all with a touch of the paranormal.  How I do love how Lanyon throws in those spooky elements!

In this story it’s Artemus Bancroft called back to his childhood home, er mansion, by the aunt who helped raise him.    Auntie Haycyone is clearly in desperate need but why?  Turns out her disposable  and quite dead second  of a philander husband has chosen to haunt said mansion, driving away servants and paying guests.

Not that Artemus is buying into any of this and wonders why his Auntie is and why the estate is in such disrepairs.  And who is that gardener wandering around?

Love the character of Artemus.  Cynical just where he should be, especially of all those crazy guests in residence at the mansion.  Even of his Aunt when her actions start to make no sense.  His is often the only level head of the bunch.  And his investigations proceed accordingly.

This is not a review where you can go into the various characters or much of the plot because other than to say there’s a medium involved that says she talks to the dead, hold seances that make for some dramatic and very entertaining scenes, and that, yes, Auntie Halcyone does seem to firmly believe in her,. Everything and everybody else contains potential spoilers.

I will say while all the main characters don’t carry the usual Lanyon depth, it’s not needed here.  This is a fun, slightly chilling mystery romance romp!  The two men who fall into a romance, one they that establish is HFN and is just realistically getting started, are made for each other.   I would love to know where their romance goes from here. But what I did see of the developing relationship was one that I liked (ok. Their romance moves pretty fast given the circumstances but Lanyon made a good case for that)/

The mystery and several accompanying murders was, as I said entertaining and completely held my interest.  If it still left me with questions at the end after everything had supposedly been resolved….well that accounts for the 4 instead of the 5 rating.  I guess I wanted everything wrapped up a little more neatly, all loose ends gone, which is not exactly the Lanyon way.

Perhaps this isn’t the end of this duo and we will be seeing more of everyone, including Green Mansions and Aunt Halcyone too.  She still has those pesky neighbors to content with.

If you enjoy a fun and entertaining mystery romance, then pick up Séance on a Summer’s Night by Josh Lanyon.  I definitely recommend it to while away those hote summer nights or any night at all.

Cover art for me isn’t a favorite.  Lighted keyhole or crystal ball.  Just blurry enough not to be dramatic.

Sales Links:   Amazon | JustJoshinPublishing

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |iBooks |Smashwords\

Book Details:

ebook, 296 pages
Published January 31st 2019 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc
ISBN139781945802386

An Ali Release Day Review:When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and JH Knight

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
John Turner has been living a lie most of his life. Growing up in the rural Georgia town of Magnolia Ridge, he’s only ever let one person truly know him: his best friend, Chloe. To the rest of the world, they’re the perfect couple, but just between them, she’s helping John hide in plain sight.

Matt Kinsley, a cop from San Francisco, moves to town looking for a slower pace and to reconnect with his Southern roots. Starting over in Magnolia Ridge means taking a step into the closet, but Matt finds that with John for company, he doesn’t mind so much.

As the two start to explore a possible relationship, a horrific murder rips the town apart but brings John and Matt together in ways neither could’ve imagined. Matt must decide where his loyalties lie while John resists the urge to run again. Together, they have to discover who the real devil is before another life is destroyed.
I was pretty excited when I saw two authors I enjoy a lot co-authoring a book.  This story is part romance and part murder mystery.  The two men have a hook up and think that’s where their relationship will end but as the mystery aspect unfolds the two men end up seeing a lot more of each other.
Unfortunately for me I felt that the two aspects didn’t mesh all that well together and I don’t think either story line got enough development.  The mystery started good but there were some unusual twists and I felt like the ending got wrapped up too quickly.  I would have liked a bit more development of that plot.
I liked both of the MC’s but had a hard time feeling their connection.  They’re together sexually but not really emotionally until late in the book.  I would have enjoyed more development in this aspect also.
Overall this was an enjoyable book but it didn’t wow me.  Possible that’s my fault for not having realistic expectations.  
Cover art:  This cover was done by Cate Ashwood.  I think it’s a really lovely cover and I like it a lot.

Sales Links:   AmazonDreamspinner Press

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, First, 264 pages

Expected publication: January 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B078X5Q28C

Edition Language English

Release Blitz for Spring Break by Elle Keaton (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Accidental Roots Series
 
Storm Season (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
No Pressure (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Blurb

 

Sometimes a guy needs a break. Carroll Weir got one–but it wasn’t what he expected.

All he dreams of is escaping dreary, damp Skagit, WA, for a warmer climate. Instead, Federal Investigator Carroll Weir is assigned to a cross-agency case involving geoduck smugglers and a very dead Fish and Wildlife Detective.

Sterling Bailey, the regular bartender at the Loft, likes to think of his customers and employees as family since he doesn’t have one of his own. Exhausted and tense, Carroll Weir wanders in one night and one thing leads to another. All in a night’s work, right?

Who murdered Fish and Wildlife Detective Peter Krystad? Does the killer have Weir in his sights? Things begin to heat up between them but Sterling and Weir will have to move past their personal history in order to change the course of their future.

The spark burning between them is hot enough to scald unless they’re careful somebody’s going to get burned.

Though part of the Accidental Roots Series this book can be read as a standalone. 

Author Bio

Author, photographer, rare Pacific Northwest Native, Elle grew up in Seattle, WA., with the Cascade Mountain range to the east and Olympics to the west. Less than two hours northwest lie the majestic San Juan Islands. To the northeast is the Methow Valley and the scrub deserts of Eastern Washington. Geography ripe with material.

A graduate of Western Washington University, Elle has a BS in biology which taught her to be tenacious. The closest she has come to biology since then is having two kids. Like an experiment or something. She’s lived in four states (none of which were gaseous), London England, and Hong Kong; always knows what time it is, and has no problem finding parking even in the most difficult places. Cannot balance a checking account.

Elle’s series Accidental Roots, mostly set in the Skagit Valley of Western Washington, will make its debut spring of 2017. Storm Season is tender, sometimes irreverent, full of nosy neighbors and help when the hero didn’t think he needed it. Writing has always been a passion but not something she was able to take seriously until recently. Now her head is full of ideas and not enough time in each day.

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An Ali Audiobook Review: Alaska Hunt by Shelter Somerset and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
alaska-hunt-audioFor Alaska Wildlife Trooper Zanebono Fusca, it’s just another summer in Anchorage until a slew of inexplicable fatal bear attacks sets the city reeling. As far as Zane is concerned, the timing couldn’t be worse. He’s besieged with his own demons, coping with personal loss and an identity crisis that clutches him worse than a grizzly’s pickaxe-sized fangs. Ten years before, he hoped Alaska would bring him a sense of his manhood. Now the “last frontier” could put him in an early grave.

Zane’s role to protect Alaska’s teeming wildlife gets even more tangled when handsome twenty-five-year-old Joshua Gaffner arrives seeking the details of his uncle’s gruesome death. But Alaskan officials have few answers. Against his better judgment, Zane takes Joshua deep into Anchorage’s far-flung backcountry-populated with eccentric recluses and ego-driven ecologists-in search of the truth. As the bizarre attacks increase, Zane and Josh continue to push for clues to crack the mystery. Finally Zane unravels a shocking discovery that makes the pieces fall into place. The trouble is Josh stands in the perfect position to become the next victim.
 
This was just an average story for me.  I was drawn to it by the wildlife plotline and that part I enjoyed.  It seemed like a well researched topic by the author.  I was very interested in what was going on with the bears and who was behind the mystery part of it.  Unfortunately I didn’t connect with either MC.  The author had a writing style that didn’t work for me and as a result I felt the MC’s conversation was odd in places.  I also didn’t really feel the connection between the main characters and Zane in general bugged me.  Some of the things he said and did didn’t set well with me.  He’s not a person I would care for in real life.
My biggest issue though was the narration by John Solo.  I really disliked it a lot.  I skimmed over some other reviews of this audiobook though and it seems most other people really liked the narrator so this is probably a case of “it’s me not you.”  For me though it really didn’t work.  
Cover Artist: TL Bland:  I think the cover is pretty good and is a good representation of the story and the characters.
Audiobook Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 10 pages, Listening Length: 9 hours and 21 minutes
Published August 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 5th 2012)
ASINB01K8HGLEI
Edition LanguageEnglish

Love a Mystery with Your Romance? Check out ‘My Man Walter’ by J.S. Cook (guest post )

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My Man Walter-build front

My Man Walter by J.S. Cook

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist Catt Ford
Goodreads Link
R
elease Day February 6, 2016

Purchase Link  Dreamspinner eBook

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.S. Scott here today to share a little bit about her latest novel, My Man Walter.  Welcome, J.S., to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Why a butler?

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An Inside Look At ‘My Man Walter’ by J.S. Cook

In 1981, the idea of becoming a butler was about as reasonable as deciding to set up housekeeping on the moon. Having a butler was no longer in fashion; more and more, the wealthy and titled of society were dispensing with personal servants in favor of contract firms. It became more practical to call Molly Maid when someone vomited a gallon of pinot gris onto your white Aubusson during a dinner party. Becoming a butler—that is to say, devoting your life to domestic service and cleaning up other people’s messes—was no longer seen as a viable occupation. The art of being a butler was on the verge of being lost.

That same year Ivor Spencer opened a school for “butler administrators and personal assistants” in London, offering proper training to those who aspired to the position of major-domo in some noble or wealthy household. This signaled a renaissance in household management and ushered in an era of respect for the butler’s profession. To be a butler meant one was a respected household manager, the overseer, the one who got things running and kept them that way. It took a great deal of skill and astonishing powers of organization, especially if the household was a large one, with many family members, and other household staff, for whom the butler would be responsible.

In my novel My Man Walter, New York Times reporter Walter Godfrey is in trouble with the mafia. He needs somewhere to hide until the nasty repercussions of his newspaper exposés blow over. Enter NYPD detective Brian Schrade. Like Walter, Schrade has been fighting the mafia’s various incursions into virgin territory with a growing sense of unease. Unlike Walter, Schrade doesn’t have a price on his head, but he does have Alec Pratt, police informant extraordinaire and, in a strange twist of circumstances, Walter’s personal bodyguard. Schrade decides to stash Walter away, where the mob can’t get at him: the palatial Long Island mansion of billionaire inventor Chase Gordon. Walter will pretend to be the new under-butler, taking over some of the duties from Chase’s caustic English butler, Juliet Lavish. Juliet doesn’t take to Walter right away. In fact, she thinks he’s little better than an annoyance, and she wants him gone. Walter can’t cook, doesn’t know one end of a vacuum cleaner from the other, and is all thumbs when it comes to handling delicate heirloom china.

Walter initially thinks he’ll put his time to good use by writing a series of newspaper articles about Chase, “a shallow, facile playboy who only cared where his next thrill was coming from.” Once he meets Chase, however, his opinion does a complete 180-degree turn:

He was about Walter’s own age, dark-haired and dark-eyed, handsome…. God, he was handsome. He wore his hair combed straight back over his head, the better to showcase his large brown eyes with their thick lashes. His chin was faintly stubbled with perhaps a day’s worth of beard, but it didn’t look messy, not on him. His face was lean, with high cheekbones and a certain suppleness around the mouth; Walter had seen his face in so many photographs, splashed on the front pages of newspapers and all over social media, but no photograph did him justice. He was beautiful. He was more beautiful in person than any man had a right to be.

Chase’s loneliness touches something in Walter, and before long the two become close. When Walter realizes he may be falling for Chase, however, he hesitates. Having lost his partner during the 9-11 attacks, Walter is reluctant to allow anyone into his heart—until Chase is kidnapped on a routine trip to Honduras, and held for ransom. Unable to do anything but wait by the phone, Walter draws on the strength of the people around him, hoping against hope that Chase will come back to him alive.

My Man Walter Blurb

Billionaire inventor Chase Gordon has just turned forty—and everything in his ordered little world is going to hell in an Hermès bag.My Man Walter-build front His acerbic English butler Juliet Lavish has decided to retire. The humanitarian church founded by his late parents has suddenly gone broke—in the middle of the jungle—in Honduras. Lastly, NYPD detective Brian Schrade wants to use Chase’s palatial mansion to hide Walter Godfrey, a newspaper reporter who might know something about a recent rash of mob-related business deals. Part of the deal is the conniving, misanthropic Alec Pratt, son of a local newspaper mogul and unapologetic police informant who just might have a teensy weensy crush on Brian Schrade.

But Walter isn’t safe, not at Chase’s residence or anywhere else. His too-frequent forays into the city—against Brian Schrade’s advice—make him a target, and his strong attraction to Chase Gordon is setting him up for some serious heartbreak. When Chase goes to Honduras to investigate the state of his family’s failing fortunes, he adds another trouble to the long list: he’s been set up for kidnapping.

 

About the Author

JSCook

J.S. Cook was born in a tiny fishing village on the seacoast of Newfoundland. Her love of writing manifested itself early when her mother, impressed with the quality of a school assignment she’d written, sent it to the editor of the local paper – who published it. Since then she has written novels, short stories, novellas, plays, radio scripts and some really, really bad poetry. She has worked as a housekeeper, nanny, secretary, publisher, parliamentary editor and a university lecturer, although this last convinced her never to step foot inside a classroom again. She holds a B.A. (Honors) and an M.A. in English Language and Literature, and a B.Ed in post-secondary education. She loves walking and once spent six hours walking the streets of Dublin, Ireland. She maintains she wasn’t lost, just “looking around”. She makes her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, with her husband of 27 years and her spoiled rotten ‘dogter’, Lola, who always gets her own way.

You can find her at:
amazon.com/author/joannesopercook
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009515087900
twitter.com/jsopercook

Buy link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7372