Tag Archive | spirit

BTB Review of Michelangelo’s Ghost by GiGi Pandian

Michelangelo’s Ghost by GiGi Pandian

Review:

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I have not had the pleasure of reading any of GiGi Pandian’s works before so I went into this read completely blind. The cover is what captivated me and from there I went to the description. That’s when I knew I wanted to read it. Being a fan of mystery and exploration, a character such as Jaya Jones was going to help me escape on a much-needed vacation and explore my need for an exotic location. I grew up watching Indian Jones and always thought the females in his movies seemed pretty week. The thought of a female exporter fascinated me. I only hoped Jaya lived up to my expectations.

We have two females who are the main characters and focus of this story. Yes, there is a brother, his girlfriend and Jaya’s two love interests that form an uncomfortable love triangle, but I’m not sure those are the focus really.  So, I am focusing on the two main ladies.  One ends up dying, people thinking her a fool and dreamer while one goes on to explore this dreamer’s theories. There are lots of plots and twists in the book, but these two ladies and how their relationship is with each other is the thing I would like to focus on.

Lilith Vine was once an impressive professor of Jaya’s, but she and others left professor Vine behind in fear of having the stigma of “crazy dreamer” put upon themselves. After all, a real researcher can’t have that shameful of a person them around. Her fifteen minutes of famed discovery was over and she was a has-been, right? Yet, when professor Vine calls up Jaya and tells her about a connection between a world-famous artist and a set of carved statues in Italy, she can’t seem to pull herself away. Even after leaving her behind, Jaya knows deep in her heart that she looks up to Lilith Vine and that the quirkiness of her ideas makes her adventurous heart skip a beat with anticipation of the unknown.

Unfortunately, a prominent death occurs that puts a damper on the research but this drives Jaya even harder to find out if there is truly a historical connection. She is led to Italy to talk to the distant family of the artist in question and finds out of the shame associated with him, the scandal of his work and just how far people will go to manipulate others to get what they want.

I loved the adventure, the characters, the scene setting and development that goes on in Michelangelo’s Ghost. Jaya goes from a researcher who is not sure of herself to one who gains a full head of steam toward her better self. The character of Jaya did not disappoint.

Anyone who likes adventures and strong female characters will fully envelope this book. I was constantly “watching my back”, trying to figure out who was after who and if people where truly who they said they were. There is no sense of security for Jaya in this book and it’s an spree to the very end. I can’t wait until the next installment. I’m now a huge Jaya fan and plan to read the prior ones now.

About the Author:

gigi-pandian-bw-headshot-14-webres-rgb-7x8SA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the the southern tip of India.

She graduated with honors from Pitzer College, studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh, and went on to graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of Bath in England. Before completing her PhD, she realized she was much better suited to writing about the fictional adventures of academics than being one herself. She left academia for art school, and began writing the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series.

Artifact, the first book in the series, was awarded the William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grant, hit the USA Today bestseller list, and was named a “Best of 2012” Debut Mystery by Suspense Magazine.

The Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries continued with Pirate Vishnu (awarded the Left Coast Crime Rose Award), Quicksand, and Michelangelo’s Ghost. 

Gigi also writes the Accidental Alchemist Mystery Series. The first book in the new series, The Accidental Alchemist, won a Lefty Award. The Masquerading Magician was released in 2016, and The Elusive Elixir will be published in January 2017.

In addition to novels, Gigi loves writing locked-room mystery short stories. Her story “The Hindi Houdini” was shortlisted for Agatha and Macavity awards.

Gigi’s publishing journey was kicked into high gear by a cancer diagnosis. A month after her 36th birthday, Gigi was diagnosed with breast cancer. To get through her treatments, she decided to throw herself into her mystery writing. She’s doing well, but life is still uncertain, so she plans to have a lot of fun in life as she travels the world with her husband, camera, and notebook for writing mysteries.

Gigi sits on the board of Sisters in Crime, is a member of Mystery Writers of America, and is an avid participant in National Novel Writing Month

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GigiPandian/

Twitter @GigiPandian

Email: gigi@gigipandian.com

Website: http://www.gigipandian.com/

 

Buy “Michelangelo’s Ghost”

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Putting On The Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Putting On The Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene

A Personal Note:

This particular tour is bittersweet. Is that term overused? Maybe. Defined, it means “producing or expressing a mixture of pleasure and pain.” I was so excited to be able to read this amazing book and review it but I knew I would not be able to rattle on about it to either author for they had both passed on. And there we have that bitter and painful part.

When I first got into reading cozies, Joyce was the third author I came in contact with thanks again to my Canadian sister-friend, Karen. I got onto the Joyce and Jim page and quickly started conversing with Joyce on a daily basis. I honestly didn’t know a person could have so much passion for purple!  Her morning greetings were warm and welcoming, nothing like I was seeing on the rest of the Internet. What a breathe of fresh air. Then, I got to slowing know of her husband as well. They were both so unlike others I was used to chatting with.

The news of their separate passings-on was devastating, but I am just glad to have gotten the pleasure and privilege of knowing them; even if it was only virtually. What a legacy they leave behind not only in their writings, but also in their beautiful personalities. I will never forget them.

jo-potw3Review:

So, you’re a witch who’s been hidden in the mortal world who recently found out you were a witch and your dad was one of the most powerful and dark witches ever. He’s now standing in front of you and your mom, who happens to now be a ghost, is not happy. What an opening! Putting On The Witch grabbed me from the beginning with some crazy stuff thrown right in my face and I loved it.

Having read some of the other books of Joyce and Jim’s I was going out of my mind with the “easter eggs” they kept throwing in throughout the book. If you are a reader of theirs, it’s a fun little gift. I know I was all giddy when things were mentioned and certain people showed up from other books of theirs. I won’t ruin it though.

My thought about witches is that they can’t be killed like mortals, but apparently if the right person gets ahold of them, they can. All of this and more takes place when Molly, Elsie, Dorothy and a few surprise guests attend their newest coven member, Brian’s’ birthday bash at the Witches Ball.

The party is elaborate, the preparation is elaborate and the location is unsearchable. Someone had to work pretty hard to get into this party in order to take out one of the powerful members of the Grand Council of Witches.

I love the contrast in the rich and powerful witches and what I call the “normal” witches, or those who are making an honest living just like the non-magical people. You can see the power struggles amongst these two groups which have been going on for ages.

Brian is the center of the party since it is his birthday. Although he was raised wealthy, he doesn’t have the same need to please, have money or be noticed like his grandfather. He is drawn to Dorothy who never new about her magic until recently. They both have a lot in common and I think that is why they are drawn together. In a way, they are both just starting.

Many things were denied to Brian because it wasn’t “proper” and Dorothy had nothing since she was raised without magic due to being hidden from her father. I enjoy the interaction between these two and how although they came from two complete upbringings, they are so much alike and therefore help each other out.

The friendship between Molly, Elsie and Olivia is heartwarming. These “retired witches” as they had hoped to be are only becoming stronger. Their friendship and encouragement of each others differences are what keeps their friendships so amazing. Molly is embracing her true heritage, Elsie is becoming appreciative that it’s okay to love no matter what society says and Olivia is learning to work with what life has dealt her…death. Through the changes in life and death, these friends and life-long coven members are growing themselves into better witches every day.

Putting On The Witch is about acceptance, breaking down the barriers of stereotypes and learning to accept yourself for who you are and just going with it. How in the world can a fiction book do that? I find that the Lavenes always have a message hidden in their books and this one is no exception. We all go through life, unsure of what the future holds. Some of us are unsure of our past and most of us are unsure of our future. One thing is for sure though. If we can find a small group of faithful friends who help to encourage our best selves, we are unstoppable.

 About The Authors:

joyce-and-jimJoyce and Jim Lavene wrote award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They had written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. Joyce passed away October 20, 2015 and Jim passed on May 5, 2016. They are missed by family, friends and their many fans.

Giveaway:

 Putting On The Witch Great Escapes Tour Giveaway

 

Author Links:

 www.joyceandjimlavene.com

www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene

Please join these other bloggers as they celebrate Joyce and Jim the rest of October!

October 13 – Booth Talks Books

October 13 – The Cozy Mystery Journal

October 14 – Brooke Blogs

October 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews

October 16 – Bibliophile Reviews 

October 16 – Island Confidential

October 17 – LibriAmoriMiei

October 17 – MysteriesEtc

October 18 – Kathy Loves 2 Read

October 19 – ChristyMystery

October 20 – My Interdimensional Chaos

October 21 – Murder, Mystery & More…

October 22 – centraleast2

October 23 – Lori’s Reading Corner

October 24 – The Girl with Book Lungs

October 24 – Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales

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Second-Hand Murder by Blair Merrin; Interview and Review

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Booth Talks Books: What inspired you to make your first book, Second-Hand Murder, a paranormal cozy? Would you define it as a paranormal cozy?

Blair Merrin: I don’t actually define it as a paranormal cozy, but I think it definitely has a foot in both worlds (pun fully intended, lol). Cozy readers will probably enjoy the tight-knit relationships and positive/funny interactions between characters. Bandit Hills has some decidedly different folks in town, and they all try to accept each others differences without making a fuss over them. Paranormal readers will hopefully appreciate the strange and creepy things that happen in Bandit Hills. If someone is strictly a paranormal/occult/horror reader, this book probably won’t scare them a bit, but Cozy readers can get a kick out of it, without having to double check the locks on the doors and windows.

I like to think outside of the box, and I think this flexible interpretation of the genre will illustrate that pretty well. If I had to invent a name for the genre that I think it falls into, it’d probably be “Creepy Cozies.”

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BTB: What kind of research did you need to do for your first book?

BM: I happen to love ghost stories, and have always been fascinated by voodoo and other creepy or mysterious things, so, much of what came out in the book, I already knew. I did research some of the specifics regarding witches and voodoo dolls, though, as well as looking into the topography and climate in Tennessee – I’ve been through that beautiful state, but have never lived there.

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BTB: What inspired the town of Bandit Hills? To most people it seems like a creepy place but the residents seem to be pretty cool with it.

BM: My mind wanders sometimes (occupational hazard, lol), and one day, I just started thinking…”What if I took a bunch of interesting people, some of whom had unusual habits and abilities, and put them in a secluded town, where weird was normal?” Yes, this is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night…and Bandit Hills was born.

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BTB: Have you ever personally been to New Orleans? What did you like most about it if you have?

BM: I love N’awlins! The beignets and coffee, crawfish etouffee, and the voodoo shops like Marie Laveau’s. I admire the magnificent architecture, priceless antiques – the colorful creativity of the French Quarter of course, and the Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez attitude of this “laid-back, anything goes” city.

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BTB: Which character was the most challenging to write about? Do you have a favorite?

BM: Actually, these folks are so fun, that it’s an absolute blast creating their world! I think it’ll probably be a bit more challenging in Book 3, because there will be some complicated relationships that are dealt with (teaser!).

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BTB: Will we be able to visit Bandit Hills again in the future? If so, is there anything fun you can bate us with about book two?

BM: Oh goodness yes, I’m already working on book tow, and loving every minute of it! I think that there will be several ladies swooning about a particular character in the second book.

 

 

Review of Second-Hand Murder

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If you like paranormal stories like I do, then you’ve often thought if would be pretty cool if there was a place you could visit that was almost like a para-vacation location. You know, where you could go and actually see real stuff going on, hear actual voices and interact with the spirits and it’s completely normal. No judgment from anyone and people actually believe you without that weird look after you tell them that you hear voices in your attic. Well, Blair Merrin has created that place, Bandit Hills, Tennessee. When something strange happens in Bandit Hills, they have a saying, “ That’s Bandit Hills for ya!”

We meet Cassie and her mom in their antique shop, Miss Miscellanea, which sells other people’s castaway treasures. Some items are junk but others are down right fascinating. On this particular day, one of the most interesting finds of all shows up in a box. In an unmarked box, sitting along with other boxes full of uninteresting items, is a small, roughly made burlap doll with button eyes and yellow hair and a photo of a recently deceased woman. Cue creepy music, right? For this town however, just another Tuesday. Well, things are about to change.

Cassie begins to wonder why someone would place a photo of a recently deceased woman with a voodoo doll and more than that, who the woman was. So, she begins looking into it out of pure curiosity. She then calls her old high-school friend turned investigator, Dash to see if he could help find out more about who she now knows is Stephanie Marshall after a quick look at recent obits on the internet. The woman has been dead all of a week.

Their investigation uncovers a lot; too much in fact. They discover an ominous note, speak to a spirit from beyond the grave, break into this deceased Stephanie’s home, find a photo of her with a mystery man which leads Cassie to take a trip to New Orleans in search of said mystery man and there, encounter evil magic beyond her imagination. Let’s just say she comes home with a doll that looks like her.  I will leave it at that.  The ending is heart stopping and leads one with more questions than answers. Glad to know book two is in the works.

Second-Hand Murder is an amazing premier paranormal book for author, Blair Merrin. She has hit upon several aspects that some authors have not yet explored. I love the theme, the characters and the constant action throughout the book. This is a town I would not only love to visit, but live in. I could see me visiting this little shop every week and being perfectly content with the crazy things that happen there on a regular basis, saying right along with the town folk, “That’s Bandit Hills for ya!”

 

Buy Second-Hand Murder

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