THE ELEMENTAL DETECTIVE: A Review

Hello, everybody!
Today I’m very happy to be bringing another review to you, this time thanks to Reach For The Stars Marketing company— with whom I have reviewed several books for in the past now— and so thank you very much for giving me this opportunity!

The book I reviewed is entitled THE ELEMENTAL DETECTIVE by Kirsten Weiss. At 268 pages long, this is book 5 in the Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mystery Series— and I loved it!

Riga Hayworth just wants to relax with her new husband on their Hawaiian honeymoon. But a body on Kauai beach pulls them into a murder investigation, sending the supernatural world into an uproar.

When Riga detects traces of magic at a murder scene, she knows she can’t ignore the call. There’s necromancy afoot, and she must prepare for the battle to come. But can Riga fight the forces of nature? Or will they destroy her and everyone she loves?

Book five in the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mystery novels, The Elemental Detective is a fun, fast-paced urban fantasy blending romance with the supernatural, and exploring the magic of Hawaii.

20140320-002744.jpg

When I first got this book, I was unsure about whether I would have to go back and read the first four books in the series, but after starting to read this book, I was very happy to discover that you didn’t *have* to— I still enjoyed the book just as much. In fact, saying that I enjoyed this book would be an understatement!

I loved this book just so, so much. It has everything in that I loved: lately, I’ve found myself quite getting into mystery books, and so a paranormal and a mystery, with the two main characters investigating mysterious deaths, in Hawaii, on their honeymoon— it had all of the perfect ingredients to make this book a success.

And a success it is. I found myself eagerly reading the entire book from start to finish in less than twenty-four hours, as I just did not want to put it down. Action is present on nearly every single page, and the characters— Riga and Donavan— bounce off each other so well and so fluently that their dialog really helped to add another element of this book that just made the words leap off the page.

The setting was amazing— in fact, it was so vivid in places it’s almost as though Weiss flew to Hawaii and wrote the book there! From the waterfalls to the trees to the buildings to the roads, the book plays out in your imagination like a film, as you can truly see it all playing out in front of your eyes— to me, this just reflects just how good this book is.

In addition to this, the plot— oh, the plot— is amazing. It had me guessing all the way up until the very end, and— and I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t read this book yet (and if you haven’t read this book yet, then I really recommend that you do because you will not be disappointed, and that is a promise!)— the person that I occasionally thought was behind the mystery, in fact, turned out not to be. It was never predictable, and that was one of the many reasons as to why I completely adored this book.

The attention to detail, to plot, to setting, to premise, to characters, to speech, and so on and so on— honestly, the list of good things about this book is endless— all help to create a book that will not only capture your attention, your imagination, and all your free time because you won’t want to put it down, but also to create a book that will be sure to be one of the best books that you read this year. I know that I can safely say that this is in my top selections of books that I’ve read so far in 2014— in the very near future, I’m going to have to purchase book 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this series just because I want more of the world— and you’ll feel the same way.

It has the perfect blend of amazing aspects to make a captivating book.

From me, this is five out of five stars.

Please be sure to check it out!

Thank you to Kirsten Weiss, for writing this book, and thank you, as always, to Reach For The Stars for giving me the wonderful opportunity to be able to review books. To find out more about Weiss, as well as to see an extract from this book, please continue reading. Thank you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kirsten Weiss is the author of the Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery series: The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, The Shamaniac Detective, The Infernal Detective, and The Elemental Detective.

Kirsten worked overseas for nearly fourteen years, in the fringes of the former USSR and deep in the Afghan war zone. Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes paranormal mysteries, blending her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem.

Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking good wine.

THE BLOOD LIST by Sarah Naughton: Review

Hello, everybody!

So today I’m very happy to be doing a review of THE BLOOD LIST by Sarah Naughton. First of all, however, thank you very much to Simon & Schuster UK, the publisher, for allowing me to have the opportunity to read an eARC of this amazing 304-page book, released on the 27th February, 2014. Secondly, if you don’t know what this book is about, just read on!:

Witchcraft, murder, and secrets… A terrifically creepy and claustrophobic thriller from the Costa Book Awards shortlisted author.

The year is 1646, tales of witches, murder, and changelings are rife and a dark era is about to begin…

Barnaby Nightingale is the perfect son; Strong, handsome, daring, everything his father wants him to be, and yet for his mother, Frances, he will never be the son she desires. Frances believes that her real son was taken away from her as a baby by the local village folk who believed him to be a changeling, and Barnaby left in his place. Constantly disappointing his mother, Barnaby is spoiled by his father and despised by his younger brother, Abel.

But when the beautiful and mysterious Naomi catches Barnaby’s attention, his world is thrown into chaos as superstition and dark folklore take hold of the small village and Naomi is accused of being a witch. Fear and suspicion spread and soon Barnaby finds himself on trial too and facing the ultimate penalty… death.

20140314-001740.jpg

I loved this book. It didn’t take me very long to read at all, as I did not want to put it down. The story was catching from the very first page, right from when we meet a mother and her baby— before she is forced she place him on a dung heap for the changing. Right away, Sarah Naughton, who is also the author of THE HANGED MAN RISES which was published in February 2013, captures the tone of the time era perfectly, and this is one of the appealing aspects of the novel that make you, as a reader, want to read on. You really feel as though Naughton knows this time, and it becomes evident that she has done her research.

At the same time, the setting itself is described very vividly, and it’s not only where the characters are— Naughton makes full use of the senses to make this book as good as it is. From what the setting looks like, the various houses and the village, to the foods and the smells and the tastes, THE BLOOD LIST has it all. Anybody would think that Naughton has truly been back to 1646, lived there for a while, before transporting herself back to the modern day to write the story— that is how convincing it is.

In addition to this, I loved the pacing of the novel. As I said previously, this was a book that I didn’t want to put down, and I think the way that the events of the novel unfold really add to this. Just as you think that things can’t get any worse for the characters, something else happens! Every page has a different surprise on it, all the way up until the very end… which took me completely by surprise but in a brilliant way.

Towards the end of THE BLOOD LIST, it turned out that I was wrong about what was going to happen— I can’t say too much, because it really would give it away, but the fact that the ending has *something* to do with a character that we met earlier on in the novel was not only really clever, but really hit me as a reader: just like Barnaby, the main character, was hit by this shock, we feel it, too. It’s this roller-coaster of emotions that we are taken on that helps to drive this book and make it all the more of an enjoyable read.

Alongside this story, the love he feels for Naomi, the conflict that he has for his brother, the feelings that his mother has towards him, his relationship with his father, as well as with the other characters— such an old lady who’s a beggar— all help to make this book interesting: not only do we have the main storyline, and the subplots, but also all of these extra details and other small stories, too, that really help to make this story leap off the page and into our imaginations— it just goes to show that Simon & Schuster have done a good job in finding a talented author who has amazing stories to tell.

Her attention to detail, her clever plotting, her pacing, her language, the way she continually uses her 1646 setting, as well as her characters, all add up to make this a very good second novel from Naughton.

I know that I will be sure to pick up THE HANGED MAN RISES in the near future, and I’ll be sure to be recommending THE BLOOD LIST to everybody that I come across, as I just know that people will not be disappointed— this book will not only meet your expectations, but it will also exceed them.

I can’t wait to see what will come next from Sarah Naughton.

It’s a five out of five stars from me!

Again, thank you very much to Simon & Schuster UK, the publisher, for allowing me to read this advance copy. Thank you to Sarah Naughton for writing the book. And thank you to you, too, for reading this and being supportive. 🙂 — Joshua

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Naughton was born in 1975 and grew up in Dorset. She escaped to London aged 17 to study English at UCL, and has lived there ever since. She spent 10 years writing ads before giving up to have children. THE HANGED MAN RISES was her first novel, with THE BLOOD LIST being her second. She lives in South London with her husband and her two sons.

FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS: Discussion, Review, and Excerpt

20140306-224335.jpg

“As the 12th stop in the Name That Dragon Blog Hunt, this post contains the answer to the last post. It is your job, as the reader, to find it. Please remember your answer to this puzzle, as well as any past and future ones within this tour. You will need to know ALL the answers to enter for the chance to win the Grand Prize of a sterling silver Celtic triquetra on a 16in chain and a pre-order code.”

Hello, everybody!
I’m here today to talk about FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS by the amazingly talented Melissa Petreshock. Before we get started, here is the synopsis:

“Following the death of her uncle, twenty-one year old Caitriona Hayden finds herself in the midst of a trio of a quintessential alpha male suitors in 22nd century sovereign America where human females should be seen and not heard.

Theo Pendragon claims her as his ward, ordained to guard her through to a long-awaited destiny unbeknownst to Cait, but finds more than he expected when passion ignites within the dragon for the first time. Always drawn to the pursuit of knowledge rather than the heat of desire, powerful demigod Dante cannot deny everything his future holds in Caitriona. America’s monarch, ancient vampire Corrin, has no interest in the frivolity of love, yet marrying Cait could be the answer to his continued survival.

Soon, Cait goes from studying for college exams to choosing a husband knowing the consequences are eternal, the love undying, and the bond timeless.”

As you can see from the synopsis, this book has everything going for— a strong set of characters, a brilliant setting, vampires, demigods, and dragons— my most favorite part of the book.

When I first met Melissa on-line, this book was quite different, and it’s been amazing to see it change and grow and develop into this amazing story. The dragons, specifically, are what makes this story stand out— it’s unique. In many books, we’ve seen vampires and ghosts and other paranormal creatures of that sort, so human/dragon-beings is an immediate hook that pulls you into the story: it’s refreshing, but what Petreshock has brought to them makes the story feel real, causing the words to jump off the page and for you to fall into the book, the novel playing before your eyes. Her attention to detail of the background of her characters makes you really get to know them— you care about these characters, and as soon as the book comes to an end, you will find yourself eagerly awaiting for book two to be able to meet them again and follow them through the next stages of their story.

As I’ve just said, it’s the attention to detail that really helps to elevate this already-amazing story: as we’ve learned, it’s set within the next century, and Melissa sure does make it seem as though she herself has been to the twenty-second century in secret, noted down what it looks like, ran back to the present day, and then inserted her story into it. “Claaron provides a fresh perspective with a snarky flair when a certain character feels lost.” One of the main aspects that I really enjoyed was the technology— I won’t say too much because it was, as a reader, really fun to come across the new technology that Petreshock has created, and discover what they are— it really feels as though you’re being taken through a journey, discovering more and more about this new world bit by bit: it’s all Incorporated throughout the novel, which is something that any reader wishes for.

But not only is it the characters and the setting that makes this book tick: it’s the story itself. This blend of romance, mixture of fantasy, and sprinkling of futuristic detailing, all wrapped around the story of a girl who needs to make a decision that will change the rest of her life makes the story flow. The words and the sentences and the paragraphs and the pages flicker through your mind like a film-reel: I’ve said it in the past, and I’ll say it again, this book would be awesome as movie (as long as I’m invited to the premiere *winks*) and that’s all because of the talent that Petreshock has in spinning a story. The suspense, the tension, the romance scenes, are all in the right places, and they will make you want to never put the book down.

This is an amazing debut novel from Melissa Petreshock, releasing on April 29th from Swoon Romance. I can’t wait until book two and book three! I’m also very happy to announce that I blurbed this book, the first book that I’ve ever blurbed— I hope this reflects just how much I loved this book!

In conclusion, I highly recommend that you pre-order this book, and that you purchase it upon release, because you will not be disappointed!

Thank you for the brilliant read, Melissa, and thank you to Swoon Romance for asking me to provide a blurb! I wish you all the best of luck for release day— I just know that it will fly up the bestseller lists! You can pre-order it on any Amazon Kindle site!

Also, I’m very lucky to be able to share an excerpt with you! Enjoy!

Petreshock/Fire of Stars and Dragons- Excerpt
1

FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS Excerpt
(Chapter 2, Cait’s POV)

No. She. Is. Mine.”
Those words ring in my ears. I want them and fear them. He’s a dragon. What that means in this situation, I’m not even sure. Do dragons marry? I can’t say with certainty his claim implied marriage. He did promise to protect me. It occurs to me my hand is still on his, contact I initiated just before his declaration. I move it to my lap, and his retreats to the back of my chair, but there’s a definitive sense of disconnection, touching him appealing to my body with as much natural ease as breathing.
For the first time, Dante speaks, voice smooth, a softened Scottish lilt dripping off his every word. “Perhaps this would be an excellent time to offer a relatively neutral solution to our conundrum over Caitriona’s situation.” He said nothing during court, sitting, absorbing everything, a picturesque view on the dais, flawless fair complexion, dark as night hair, and striking blue eyes.
Dante is every bit his goddess mother’s son, the epitome of beauty.
Cedric leans forward in his chair, hands folded together on the table. “What did you have in mind?” If I had to guess, I would say he sounds relieved Dante offers another option. I suppose a dragon eating his son isn’t a pleasant idea.
The demigod stands and paces in a small circle, brows knit together in contemplative focus, coming to an abrupt halt, turning and meeting my eyes. He says nothing, staring, and the entire room buzzes, strange electricity in the air.
His gaze rises, beyond me. “I will marry her, Theo.” And I’m certain my heart stops. “You trust me, do you not?”
“Are you all insane?” I scream, slamming my hands on the table, jumping out of my seat. So much for remaining quiet. “I refuse to sit here feeling like I’m being auctioned off to the highest bidder.” I sure as Hades do not want to deal with Neglected Dependent Services, but this is ridiculous. Why the king involves himself on a personal level in my situation is beyond comprehension.
King Corrin glares daggers at me, or past me to Theo, but I’m damned sure he’s not happy about a woman rebuking anything he says. However, Dante smirks as he watches my outburst. Behind me, the dragon clears his throat.
“I do believe Miss Hayden makes a valid point to be considered.” He places his hand on my shoulder, encouraging me to sit again, and I do so, grudgingly. Across the table, the king’s brother buries his face in his hands, but he’s not laughing. “While it is understandable the monarchy cannot abide by the breaking of sovereign laws, Miss Hayden is indeed a woman of means. At our ages, it is quite conceivable to liken her wealth and social stature to noble ladies of eras past, one whose suitors would vie for her affections, for the right to win her hand in marriage.”
While I’m somehow seeing this whole situation going in reverse, dragging me into the damned dark ages worse than society already, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel this dragon walks through. Choices. Women of means had choices back then. I for one would like them back.
“A duel?” The monarch’s eyes brighten, displaying his fangs in a Cheshire grin.
Sir Oliver grimaces. “I doubt a duel is quite the answer, Sire. Regardless of your expertise as a swordsman, even my skill is negligible over Theo’s.”
The room quiets until Evan sits back in his chair, its squeaking breaking the silence. “I suggest vying for her affections in the most literal sense. I’ve said before I disagree with arranged marriages, but if she must choose amongst you then at the very least, allow she find the most happiness.” He plays with the wedding band on his finger. “Is it asking too much she have the opportunity to perhaps marry out of some measure of love?”
Whether his concerns fall to his brother trapped in a loveless marriage or my best interests, I don’t venture guesses, but I appreciate his disapproval.
“Would it most please Miss Hayden, I am agreeable to such a compromise,” states Theo, though his tone declares him anything other than agreeable.
Dante nods, remaining in his apparent standard state of existence, thoughtful and contemplative. “As am I.”
With an irritated huff, King Corrin drops back into his chair. “Fine. It is agreed.” His icy stare stays on me as he speaks. “But she must be moved to a secure location where she remains of equal accessibility. Aside from her safety quite lacking, from this point forward, regardless of who ultimately gains victory, I declare her status as betrothed and under the protection of the clan. Should Miss Hayden be incapable of making this decision for herself within seven days, sovereign law prevails, and I shall either choose her husband or relinquish her to NDS.”
“Seven days! What? And you expect me to leave my home? No! Not in Hades’ name will I do any such thing.” Refraining from calling the king insane, out of his mind, or gone mad, I’m adamant in this, but Theo rests one hand on my shoulder calming me, his touch desirable in its soothing effect.
My request to live as an independent woman was a long shot, to say the least. … And NDS is a worst-case scenario for someone in my position. This … I release a quiet exhale and nod in compliance. This is better than the alternatives. None of these men need the wealth or power of Hayden Holdings. I’m not a wrung in their social ladder. Choosing between the king, Dante, and Theo Pendragon … I should be thankful, not insolent. Most women would kill to be in my designer shoes.

Friday Five… on a Saturday!

Hello, everybody!

It’s Friday! Except really it’s Saturday but I wanted to start doing a Friday Five again because it appeared that, when I did a couple last year (like, seriously, last year sounds so weird— my brain keeps telling me it’s 2013 still!), but I never had chance to do this on Friday so I’m writing it today and yeah… that’s all there is to it.

1) ANYWAY. Let’s get started. So the first thing that happened to me during the last week was that I finished writing a book! My seventh book! For publication! It was a very weird feeling, because it still feels as though I’ve only just written my first book, and so to say I’ve written seven just seems surreal. This book will bring my total amount of published words to 392,000, which— again— seems very surreal as it’s a Very Big Number. And yet each book stills just as scary and exciting as my first.

2) Which brings me to number two! The second thing that I did this week was take one night off after I finished writing my seventh book, but then not working on something was strange (apart from edits, as I’m working on edits for To Be An Unknown, coming Aug 16th) and so I spent the next three days finalizing an outline and research for a book that I’ve been wanting to write for about three years now… and so I started writing it. I’ve only got 11 pages so far, but it’s historical and I love it. It’s very very different to my other books, and the amount of research behind is mind-blowing because WHO WOULD OF THOUGHT SO MUCH RESEARCH would have been needed for JUST THE SMALLEST DETAIL. But anyway— I’m referring to it as #The HistoricalBook over on twitter, and I printed off the prologue and showed some people it and shared a sneak peak of it online, and the response so far has been really positive, which is so good to hear!

3) What else happened during the last seven days? Hmm. Oh! Yes! I ate some Homemade Chocolate Cadbury Creme Egg Popping Candy Biscuit Base Tart that a relative made for after a meal, and it was delicious. I feel like this is a Notable Event to mention on here, because I mentioned it briefly in a tweet and everybody was like OH THAT SOUNDS AMAZING, and I have to admit, it was. Not only that, but it took me TWO NIGHTS to eat because it was so rich. Also, the next night I ate chocolate concrete, and the night after a chocolate muffin, and the day after a double chocolate cookie… with hot chocolate. I realize now that I have eaten far too much chocolate this week….

4) I booked a trip to Edinburgh! I’m not going until towards the end of this year, but I’m going! I plan on visiting some of the little cafes there and writing in the one that J.K. Rowling wrote in— The Elephant House!— and also to write on the bathroom wall. I don’t really know very much about this bathroom wall in this cafe, but I hear you can just WRITE on it with a pen about Harry Potter and that it is okay to do so! Also, a little Christmas shop opens there around the time of year that I’m going, which is perfect for Christmas gifts. I also want to climb Arthur’s Seat, and take a picture of the view. Plus, The Balmoral— the hotel in which J. K. Rowling finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in. And… basically, when I get to Edinburgh, I’m going to be a typical tourist and take pictures and visit all the spots that are recommended.

5) The last thing! I am really excited because it has just turned into the month of March, which means that my books (Bones On The Surface, Soulless, The Sweet Life, and Their Time To Go) are coming to a BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU! They really are! Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, etc.— they’ll be available! Previously, they were only available online in paperback and ebook formats in various countries, but from April (next month!) you’ll be able to find them in stories. And, if you can’t find them, you’ll be able to either order it in or request that they stock it/them, and they can do! As soon as it happens, I’ll be sure to keep my eyes out for copies in the wild (you too! Seeing your pictures if it happens will be awesome!) or I’m going to walk into a store and be like:

ME: Hey. So, do you have Bones On The Surface? Or The Sweet Life, by Joshua J. Johnson.

BOOKSTORE: Let’s just have a look. No, no, but we can order it in for you and stock it!

ME: Yes, yes, that will be great!

BOOKSTORE: And what name is it?

ME: Um….well!

*repeats in different bookstores*

So, that’s all for this week! I hope you all have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next Friday, you know, when hopefully the post will actually be posted on a Friday, rather than Saturday’s Friday Five…