Tag Archives: Mystery

Review of A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book 1 by Elizabeth Hunter

Who knew Vampires and Librarians could be so engaging? I just finished this book, and while it took me a while to read (it’s rather long at 274 pages) it was a very good story with well drawn characters and a few moments of suspense that made it hard to shut off the light! Giovanni is a rather odd character and for the first few chapters I had my suspicions about him but I wasn’t sure where Ms. Hunter was going with some of the odd traits. B. (short for Beatrice) is one smart cookie with a quick sense of humor and a nice shot of sarcasm and she was instantly engaging as a main character. There’s a solid story that drives the action – and the supporting characters are also very well developed. There’s even a slightly psychotic villain and I have to say I love a bad guy who “giggles” – it gives him just that touch of madness that makes him completely unpredictable.
There was one section in the book where I thought “Wait, isn’t that wrong?” and I flipped back a few pages to check the continuity, but it didn’t impact the story at all. I only mention it because one glaring “oops” in a book generally makes me love the story less but it didn’t in this case. That must mean the plot was tight enough, the characters believable enough (and yes, Giovanni is as dashing as his name would lead you to believe; but he’s also adorable in that boyish way that is oh-so-attractive :)) and the action paced well enough that I couldn’t even remember the stumble once I moved beyond it.

Ms. Hunter draws her scenes with such clarity and attention to detail that the “movie in my head” plays without interruption. This story is well written and well edited and I just looked on Amazon and it’s FREE right now. Pick it up – it’s a really good read!

Review of Dark Horse (Jim Knighthorse #1) by J.R. Rain

I’ve read the Samantha Moon books by J.R. Rain and decided to give Jim Knighthorse a try. I was not disappointed. Rain moves the story right along with plenty of wise-cracks and some pretty amusing vanity on the part of the protagonist. Jim Knighthorse is the guy you love despite the fact that he knows you love him and likes to remind you of it because he simply can’t imagine anyone not loving him.

He’s dogged and determined, not easily intimidated, and fiercely loyal. Knighthorse doesn’t let things go, even when he should. The supporting characters are as interesting as Knighhorse – from the high school student accused of murder to the unamused assistant principal of the school and even Knighthorse’s cold as ice father – you can’t help but stay with the book to find out what happens next.

There’s been some criticism that Rain’s books are too short – I disagree. If you’re looking for a quick, fun read then give his work a shot. You won’t be bored by slow spots or murky plots (although he does deliver some nice twists – he does it cleanly!) and the writing is mostly polished. I do have to tell you that there were a couple of words that were misplaced (accept instead of except) but it wasn’t overly distracting.

Review of Lost in Italy by Stacey Joy Netzel


If you need an escape, then get Lost in Italy! It’s a fun book with action, romance, mystery, great scenery, likeable characters, and a solid plot. From the beginning (which seems slightly implausible until you read the author’s note at the end and find out it actually happened to her!) until the end (which the author crafted with great skill) it’s a hard book to put down.

Amazingly, this book has a little bit of everything. There’s a murder mystery, an anxiety disorder, a movie star, suspense, TWO romances, family drama and it’s all wrapped up in a travel book. You might think something would get lost in that combination, but it doesn’t. Every part of the plot is solid and it all fits beautifully together to build a satisfying story that held my interest from beginning to end.

If you’re looking for something to read on a rainy day, a sunny day at the beach, or while recovering from an illness this book will get you through in style. Lost in Italy is a fine example of what is good and right about Indie fiction.

Review of The City of Refuge by Diana M. Wilder


I have long had a fascination with Ancient Egypt and have read not only scholarly material, but many historical fiction novels about that time. The City of Refuge is a well written tale of what might have been, filled with character that could have existed, and set in a city that has long fascinated archaeologists and others because of the odd, murky, and mysterious reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his abandoned city. The names of the characters can be a bit confusing in the beginning, possibly because my Western eyes are simply not accustomed to them, but maybe it is because in the very beginning you are given very little to identify the names with characters…either way, it passes after the first few chapters and you are familiar enough with the characters to easily follow the story.

There’s a ring of authenticity to the characters and dialogue in the story, and that lends credibility it. Because there are not distracting inaccuracies you can get absorbed from the very beginning and stay with it. There really aren’t any slow spots in this book and although I spent most of the book thinking “oh, I know exactly where you’re going with this” there were still a few surprises in store when the author laid the entire sub-plot bare in a well crafted speech. (I hope that’s not a spoiler – but I’d want to know if the ends were tied up in nice little bows, and they were!)

I read the author’s note and thought Ms. Wilder covered her story perspective brilliantly and it was satisfying when it could have been frustrating (you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out…I thought it was great!), and it showed how well crafted the story was. Ms. Wilder managed to display her knowledge throughout the story in a manner few indie authors of her genre can – the novel is neither trite nor overly contrived and I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

R. Leonia Shea

I have long had a fascination with Ancient Egypt and have read not only scholarly material, but many historical fiction novels about that time.  The City of Refuge is a well written tale of what might have been, filled with character that could have existed, and set in a city that has long fascinated archaeologists and others because of the odd, murky, and mysterious reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his abandoned city.  The names of the characters can be a bit confusing in the beginning, possibly because my Western eyes are simply not accustomed to them, but maybe it is because in the very beginning you are given very little to identify the names with characters…either way, it passes after the first few chapters and you are familiar enough with the characters to easily follow the story.

There’s a ring of authenticity to the characters and dialogue in the story, and that lends credibility it.  Because there are…

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