Book Review: ‘Cookies and Scream’ by CeeCee James

Find your copy here.

‘Cookies and Scream’ is the second book in the Baker Street Cozy Mysteries Series by  CeeCee James, which features amateur sleuth Georgie Tanner, her Aunt Cecelia and the fictional historical town of Gainesville, Virginia. 

A visit to a local historical re-enactment places Georgie at the heart of a murder mystery that has many roots in both local history and her own past. What ensues is an intriguing and often dangerous chain of events that nudge Georgie closer to the truth. 

The story is well-written and the mystery is challenging and interesting. This is shaping up to be a series I am keen to follow. 

New Release: ‘The Shikari 3: The Order’ by Dora Blume

The Shikari is a fast-paced urban fantasy series that pitches good vs evil as the Shikari warriors fight to stop demons from taking control of America.

The Shikari 3: The Order’ is the newest book in the series.

In the world of the Shikari, all hell is breaking loose.Literally!

Demon’s have taken over the order.Every city is being overrun. 

But the gang is going in search of one of their own. Let someone else save the world for a change

Jessie’s mom is missing. In their search for her, they come across the device that can take away all Shikari powers. It slips through their fingers and the entire Shikari’s survival is at stake.
But Who can they trust?

Never figuring out who killed their mother, Sloane and Erik are out for answers. Their father’s don’t seem to be adding up and his cowardice is making them suspicious. They’re going to need their bonds and gifts more than ever.

How will they save Jessie’s mom, stop the demons from killing them all, and discover who’s behind their mother’s death while also keeping their relationships intact?

Life as a Shikari warrior is far too complicated some days. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, it won’t be.

If you love K.F. Breene and Lindsey Hall, you’ll love this fast-paced urban fantasy series.

Book Review: ‘The River Of Time’ Shiva XIV Book 4 by Lyra Shanti

‘The River of Time’ is book 4 in Lyra Shanti’s magnificent Shiva XIV space opera novel series.

In this instalment, there is plenty of intrigue, suspense, action and epic battle as Ayn and his comrades work agaisnt the evil power that threatens to destroy not only individuals, but also the universe as they know it. 

It is also, however, the most intensely mystical of the series, exploring themes of friendship and loyalty, the nature of the power at the centre of the universe, and redemption and reincarnation.  It is in the context of these themes that Ayn and Axis each question their identity and experience, and their roles in both the history and the future of the worlds they inhabit. 

Through their existential quests, the reader too is reminded that each of us has a role to play, services and gifts to offer, and dreams to pursue, which can contribute to either the destruction or the redemption of our world. The choices we make are crucial, and their impacts and implications extend far beyond our own individual lives. Thus, like Ayn and Axis, Pei and Meddhi, and all the other much-loved characters from this series, we all navigate the River of Time.

This is a universal story and a deeply personal story at the same time, one which confronts and challenges while also entertaining and inspiring the reader. 

Book Review: ‘Azalea Wang Mysteries’ Books 1-3 by Lucy Ai

Amateur detective stories are abundant, and readers are generally spoiled for choice. While readers will always choose books that appeal to them for their own reasons, it’s always exciting to find a series that not only presents a succession of very interesting mystery stories, but also addresses bigger ideas such as prejudice, jealousy and the assumptions people make about one another.  

Azalea Wang Mysteries is one such series, and is well worth reading for more than just well-developed mystery stories that will keep you guessing right to the end. 

These stories are set largely in and around the senior citizens community of Evening Glory. Azalea Wang is, like many of the residents, of Chinese heritage, and the Chinese culture adds a refreshing and interesting perspective in these mystery stories. The stories draw on particular Chinese cultural elements in such a way that they become part of the story and become more familiar to non-Chinese readers, providing a new sense of familiarity and understanding that builds both knowledge and acceptance.

The stories very subtly address not only the assumptions non-Chinese people make, but also the biases that different groups of Chinese people hold about one another. Because those stereotypes are challenged, the characters and the reader begin to see the people in these stories as individuals, each with a story and a past and reasons why they behave the way they do, rather than simply as a member of one group or another. This adds a positive tone to the stories that is actually very hard to resist, drawing the reader in and making them feel as though they too are part of the community. 

The three mysteries contained in this book are varied and unique, while Azalea’s own story continues throughout. The three cases are well crafted and there are some great surprises and twists along the way, making the stories unpredictable and entertaining.

Azalea is a delightful character. Kind, thoughtful, intelligent and lively, the reader gets to know her as a friend and a mother as well as an amateur sleuth. The people with whom she shares her life are a diverse group, so the cast of characters and suspects is realistic and relatable. 

There is a little bit of not-really-for-younger-readers content in one of the stories, but it is not graphic or explicit.

A most captivating and enjoyable mystery story collection, the Azalea Wang Mysteries collection has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘June Green Leaves Of Deceit: A Cat Collier Mystery’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

The sixth instalment in the Cat Collier mystery novella series continues the story of Cat, Carter, and their friends and family. As they say, the course of true love never runs smooth, and this phase of Cat’s life is no exception. 

Cat explores issues of integrity and honesty at a very personal level in this story, which encourages the reader to consider similar questions from their own perspective. 

Like all the others thus far in this series, this is a really enjoyable story.  While the tension and drama take a different direction than they have done previously, the integration of this story into the overall narrative is still fluent and seamless. 

In keeping with the rest of the series, this is a short read, comfortably finished in a little over an hour.  These stories all fit comfortably into an evening or a break in a busy day, providing an interesting and enjoyable distraction.

‘June Green Leaves Of Deceit’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Blood Relic’ by Lucretia Stanhope

The third in Stanhope’s Paranormal Peacekeepers fantasy series, ‘Blood Relic’ continues the story of Alice’s journey of discovery of her nature and the powers she possesses. 

Conflicted and more sure if what she does not want than what she does, Alice finds herself assigned to a mission that threatens her with her deepest fears. The challenges she faces and the fears she is forced to confront test her character and push her limits more than ever before. 

This story is well developed and effectively paced, keeping the reader engaged with the action and intrigued by the twists and turns. With a master stroke of plot development, the reader is a left wondering how the story will be resolved until the very last page.

‘Blood Relic’ is an excellent paranormal romance read, and has been awarded a Good Acorn.

Find your copy here.

See my reviews of the first two books in the series, Tainted Waters and Feral

Book Review: ‘Christmas Miracle on Halloween’ by R.M. Gauthier

Another great instalment in R.M. Gauthier’s holiday themed mystery series.

There are more ghosts from the past than Jack can handle in this sixth book in Gauthier’s lighthearted mystery/romance novella series, which is set in Christmas Town at Halloween.  

This instalment in the series sees the mysteries of Jack’s current case heighten as the secrecy about his investigation is revealed. 

At the same time, Jack finds himself in trouble with Charlotte more than once as questions about family, friends and events of the past come to the surface. A sense of foreboding lands heavily on the reader as Halloween arrives, leaving them to wonder if Jack will really prove able to help Charlotte deal with the parts of her past that haunt her still.

Once again, Gauthier has delivered an enjoyable and lighthearted read, loaded with enough questions to make the reader keep going in the hope of finding answers in the next book in the series. 

Christmas Miracle on Halloween has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.