Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Damned by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor

By:  Alexandrea Weis, Lucas Astor
Publish Date:  October 3, 2017
Published By:  Vesuvian Books
Genre: Contemporary, Supernatural, Adult, Occult, Fantasy
Pages:  242 Kindle Edition
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours

Over a hundred years after the death of Magnus Blackwell, Altmover Manor sits abandoned.

Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennet, are determined to rescue the neglected Mount Desert Island landmark. They want to make Altmover Manor their home. But Magnus has other plans.

A spirit bound to his former residence, Magnus finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young woman. She has a supernatural gift; a gift Magnus wants to exploit.

As Lexie and Will settle in, secrets from Magnus’s past begin to surface. Compelled to learn all she can about the former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane.

Magnus’ crimes won’t be so easily forgotten, and what Lexie unearths is going to change the future … for everyone.
Welcome to my Halloween post for 2017! I’m excited to host a book review for Damned, via Xpresso Book Tours, to highlight interesting reads for your fright night.

I was so interested in Damned as I love the premise of Lexie and Will moving into their bargain-basement price new home, the old Blackwell manor, which has been sitting empty for decades, perched on the edge of a wild cliff side in Maine; just the perfect setting for spooky story happenings.

Soon we discover that at least one real ‘live’ ghost, that of Magnus Blackwell, inhabits their new home and Lexie realizes her inherent gift of sensing, then seeing and hearing the dead starts growing, fast. Something that fiancĂ© Will isn’t that comfortable with.

Her ghost, Magnus Blackwell, is likened to Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde), which gives us some idea about how freely Magnus committed evils while living, with no thought about repercussions or his deeds casting a shadow over his being. So not exactly a benign type of ghost. But then maybe he’s not so bad anymore since making the transition, or maybe it’s Lexie.

Damned reads a bit like a mystery and I really liked Lexie’s persistence in digging up secrets of the Blackwells, rooting through old attic boxes and paintings, and then determinedly taking the trail down south as disaster falls on her and Will. The storyline is very beguiling and I didn’t want to stop reading, especially when Lexie heads down to New Orleans with ghost in tow to hunt for the stolen, powerful voodoo baton juju.

Magnus turns out to have some surprising talents as he and Lexie research into the very origins of voodoo there. There’s great back history on this strange, fascinating and somewhat terrifying belief system, and Lexie can’t help getting drawn in deeper and deeper. Completely unexpected ending!

If you’re looking for a great Halloween read, or an occult-themed book any time of the year, Damned will keep you captivated. 4.6 stars!
Some explicit sexual content. 

 About the Authors: 
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. 

Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.  He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.
Grab your copy at Amazon!

Monday, 9 October 2017

A Memory of Fire by R.L. Stedman

A Memory of Fire
Book 3 of 3, SoulNecklace Stories
By:  R.L. Stedman
Publish Date:  October 1, 2017
Published By:  Waverley Productions
Genre:  Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages:  262 Kindle
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours

About my wrist is a tattoo of roses, strung like beads on a bracelet of thorns. I have a past, if only I could remember — but I cannot remember.

Held captive in a strange city, Dana dreams of fire and flight. There is something she must find, but she does not know what it is, or why it is important. If only her dreams would let her rest.

Half a world away, Will studies a new, exciting discipline. But while enchantress N'tombe is impressed by his newfound skills, inside he feels only desperation. A terrible moment is approaching. Soon, Dana must face her final ordeal.

Is his new power enough to save her? And is he prepared for what might happen next?

In this thrilling conclusion to the award-winning SoulNecklace Stories, Will and Dana must make a heart-breaking choice. A choice that will change their world forever.
First of all, author, R.L. Stedman, has a really clear easy-flow writing style that moves the reader flying along at speed through crisp, short descriptions that give you the essence of the dreamscapes, magic and adventure that are book 3 in the SoulNecklace Stories. Even so, it's better to read books 1 and 2 to more fully understand the background to the action taking place in this final instalment as Will and Dana are separated at the start of this and struggling both to fight the evil Kamaye and find each other again across vast distances.

Kamaye, the evil immortals, are described just a little bit like making me think of HP death eaters, and just as horrible, but Will and Dana have TeSin, N’Tombe and dream magic on their side.

Our male MC, Will, is a totally good guy. He even wants to help survivors of an earthquake though he has bigger problems of his own on tap.  He’s a natural learner/warrior, watching N’tombe and copying her. Dana plays an equally strong role and has special qualities too, including wings (though I didn’t get a really clear idea of what exact sort of wings they are. Like to know what exact sort of wings they are.) I love the stick-to-it female characters in the books I’ve been reading and Dana comes through here with grit. Secondary character development and subplot in TeSin and Mai-Long, and with N’Tombe are really well done and don’t take away from the main story line at all but add to it nicely.

Readers will find interesting and different magics in this novel, several that I’ve never heard of before. The soul necklace theme is very unique. I also really liked the idea of the glass globe and would have liked to have seen even more done with this curious object.

This quote really reflects the feeling of the novel/writing - “Your eyes are full of sky.”  2506/3946.

My criticisms would be of the use of a black out kind of effect at the end of many scenes, though this is really tied into the dream element of the story (but starting to feel a little repetitive). Also, I found that Dana and Will being separated for really most of this last book a bit strange. The reason seems to be to allow for other aspects of the story to develop but I feel in the final part of a trilogy this plot approach a little disconnecting.
Overall, A Memory of Fire is a great clean YA adventure fantasy read that will have you thinking of far off places and magical adventures. I recommend this easy-fast read, charmingly written story for all ages who love YA paranormal/fantasy stories.  4.3 Stars!
Award-winning author Rachel Stedman lives in Dunedin, New Zealand with her husband and two children. Her first novel, A Necklace of Souls, won Best First Novel at the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014. In 2012 Rachel was the winner of the Tessa Duder Award and was shortlisted for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award.