Category Archives: books/book review

the demon of mansfeld manor

Book Review: The Demon of Mansfeld Manor, by S. A. Jacobs

Somewhere along the way I picked up a freebie code for an Audible copy of The Demon of Mansfeld Manor, by S. A. Jacobs.

the demon of mansfeld manor

An unexpected inheritance. A stately manor. A place of evil. 

Jim Bauer is shocked when he inherits a large sum of money and a historic mansion. The mysterious gift comes with a stipulation, however; he must use the funds to restore Mansfeld Manor to its original condition. 

What Jim doesn’t know is that this home has a terrible history. As he works to restore the manor, he begins to learn the terrifying secrets of its past. He discovers tales of missing persons, rumors of occult rituals, and sightings of a ghostly wolf on the grounds. 

And now the evil has begun once again.

Even with the help of a paranormal investigator and a woman with ties to the manor’s history, Jim is left to answer the biggest questions of all: Why was he chosen to inherit the manor? And what does the evil want from him? 

my review

I thought this was a fine supernatural or paranormal mystery, though not excellent. It held my attention and the characters were likeable enough. But I never felt particularly attached to them. I never truly felt the threat the demon at the manor posed. The villain is evil for boring, unoriginal reasons. There seemed to be an unexplained shift in Jim’s attitude toward the investigator toward the end. The twist wasn’t particularly shocking, etc. But the writing is pretty clean and the narrator did a good job with it. So, I’m calling it fine, even if it’s not topping any favorites list for me.

the hunter and the spider

Book Review: The Hunter and the Spider series, by E.M. Jeanmougin & Jay Wright

I picked up copies of E.M. Jeanmougin and Jay Wright’s Strangers in the Night and Friends in Low Places (The Hunder and the Spider series, #1 & 2) when they were freebies on Amazon. I’m afraid of spiders, so the idea of an MM Urban Fantasy with a werespider both horrified and intrigued me!

Where there’s demons, there’s bound to be demon hunters and in Brooklyn there’s no shortage of either.

Jasper Craig is a hunter at New York’s secret St. James Academy, and he’s one of the best. With superior strength, agility, and a handy ability to sense demonic energy, it’s like he was born for the job. Since he was orphaned at a young age, his parents took the secret of what, exactly, he is to their graves. And if his adoptive father knows, he’s not telling.

Loyal to the cause of keeping the mortal world safe from the evils of demons, there isn’t anything Jasper wouldn’t do. So when his father and superior officer tells him to go undercover to trick a rare and dangerous werespider, Jasper agrees.

Crimson Apocalypse is one of New York’s oldest residents and the only known werespider in the north eastern United States. He’s the sort of guy who lives as fast as he talks and talks as fast as he drives, and if Jasper wants to get closer to the werespider he’s going to have to keep up.

But getting closer might be dangerous in more ways than one and what Jasper learns may not be what he expects.

my review

This had a strong start, sagged in the middle, and then ended well. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all of it, even the saggy middle. I liked Jasper and Crimson (and Al and Max) a lot and loved the slow-SLOW burn of their relationship. But the book doesn’t have one over-arching plot or villain to defeat, etc. It’s mostly two people who meet, are given a reason to be thrown together, and then go about their daily lives together. It just so happens that those lives are quite exciting. It just felt like the middle went on a little too long and got a little too creative (ridiculous) before finally tapering off to a cliffhanger ending. I am jumping right into book two though, so I obviously liked it (even if I’m afraid of spiders and therefor a little horrified by the giant werespider).

friends in low places

No one ever said being a Hunter would be easy, but Jasper Craig is finding it much more difficult these days.

Following the events of an eye-opening summer spent in the field, Jasper is back within the walls of St. James Academy – New York City’s world-renowned Hunting agency and training school.

And he’s hating every minute of it.

Unfortunately, the only way out is through, and so, with all eyes on him, Jasper once again rejoins the ranks of Hunters keeping the city “safe” from demonic threat.

But St. James’ dogma has lost its luster for Jasper. Not every demon deserves to die due to their inhumanity. Jasper’s (ex?) boyfriend, Crimson Apocalypse, taught him that.

Speaking of Crimson, when a series of mutilated corpses bearing Jasper’s name begin showing up around town, the Hunters suspect the three-thousand-year-old werespider may be to blame. Even worse, there’s plenty of evidence to support the claim. Only Jasper, who knows the man within the monster, believes otherwise. But can he slip through St. James’ iron-clad grip and catch the real culprit before it’s too late?

my review

I enjoyed this, though not as much as book one, and more in the second half than the first. The problem, for me, was that the two main characters aren’t together in the book until the 55% mark. They are apart and miserable that whole time, and it felt longer than need be to make the point it was making. However, once they got back together and the pace picked up, I was a happier camper. The whole thing wrapped up satisfactorily, but with several open threads. I look forward to finding out what happens in the next book (whenever it comes out).

verena's whistle

Book Review: Verena’s Whistle, by K. Panikian

K. Panikian sent me a copy of her book, Verena’s Whistle for review. verena's whistle

The meteor brought more than space dust.

Verena is a grad student living in Alaska when she receives a phone call that changes her life. Her family has been keeping secrets. Soon, she’s on a mission to save the world from Chernobog’s demonic beasts. Will she master her new magic in time? Will Owen, a man with his own demons, help her in her quest, or will he break her heart?

As she crosses the world to the snowy Ural Mountains, Verena must decide if she’s ready to lead or if the price is too high.

I think this has an interesting premise, but is too slow paced. Which is notable because a previous reviewer said it “is very fast paced (maybe slightly too fast paced).” The odd thing is I perfectly understand what she meant. You see, I call it too slow because there is an awful lot of talking about, planning, training, traveling to, and preparing to do things and very little actual doing of things. But when things do happen they happen quickly.

For example, one character is sent from America to France to find something with very little information. But he finds it (and more) after going to one cemetery and speaking to one priest. The loves are instant. Several times the perfect person shows up to help at the perfect time. Every battle is won with a single ‘brilliant’ idea, etc. So, one person calls it too fast paced (because the events feel rushed) and another says it’s too slowly paced (because there is too much between each important event). So, let’s split the difference and say the pacing is inconsistent.

Outside of that, I enjoyed the characters, setting, Slavic mythos, and writing. The editing is pretty good too, up until the end when I noticed an increase in errors (though they weren’t overly disruptive even then). All in all, I’m going to call it a middle of the road read for me. But, of course, your mileage might vary.