Tag Archives: Saint Louis author

Review of Crone’s Moon (A Rowan Gant Investigation #5), by M.R. Sellars

I purchased a signed copy of M.R. SellarsCrone’s Moon at a local used bookstore.

Description from Goodreads:

My name is Rowan Gant, and it has been far too many days since I have heard the voices inside my head… No, I’m not insane—at least I hope I’m not. Actually, what I am is a Witch with a rare talent, even for Witches. I can hear the voices of the dead—murder victims, to be specific. Personally, I consider it less a talent and more a curse, especially given all the grief it brings me. But the cops think otherwise, which is why I find myself consulting for them on a regular basis. In fact, the running joke is that they should just go ahead and give me a badge. I sometimes fear they might make good on that threat.

However, like I said, it has been a while since any dead people have so much as given me the time of day. I’ll be honest, even though I never really wanted them to talk to me in the first place, now that they have stopped it seems almost like a piece of me is missing—a big piece.

As fate would have it, at the same time I’ve become persona non grata with the dead, it looks as if a serial killer is at work in the St. Louis area. The murders are pretty heinous, too, and that’s just the sort of thing that usually turns the rumbling chatter of the victims into a deafening roar and a blinding migraine for yours truly…but not this time, and I have no Earthly—or even unearthly—idea why.

What I do know is the Major Case Squad could benefit from my help on this, but I’ve got nothing to give them. Nothing at all… Unfortunately, it seems that there is now someone else with my rare affliction instead of me.

I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I want my curse back… 


Review of The Black Garden, by John S. McFarland

I bought a paperback copy of John S. McFarland’s The Black Garden. He’s a Saint Louis author and I try to support them whenever I can, with a review if nothing else.

Description from Goodreads:

The year is 1882, and Perdita Badon-Reed, a sheltered Boston esthete, has just made the most momentous decision of her life. Having spurned a respectable suitor, she finds herself on a riverboat on the Mississippi River, steaming toward the strange French Colonial village of Ste. Odile to accept a teaching position at a girls’ academy and pursue her dream of becoming a stone sculptor. Of the many hardships that await her, the one she least expects looms in the form of Orien Bastide, an incubus who has conducted his seductive and parasitic existence for two millennia. Perdita soon realizes the full horror of Bastide’s intentions, and that she alone has the will to stop him. In order to defeat the treacherous Bastide and save future generations from his advances, Perdita must abandon her personal ambitions and, perhaps, her life.


Sooo, this is a book I’ve now read. I’ve finished it and that’s kind of the only feeling I have about it. It’s 470 pages long. The protagonist doesn’t meet the antagonist until ~page 300, doesn’t understand his nature until about page 400 and ALL of the action happens in the last few pages (and ends in tragedy) The writing is actually lovely, but there really needs to be a lot less of it. The book is too long by half. 

Beyond that, my only real complaint is how well-spoken EVERYONE is and how absurdly perfect Perdita is. At one point the antagonist says of/to her, “Hardly a new month arrives without some report of your exploits, of your compassion, heroism, even.” And it’s true. She’s far too perfect, even performing a rudimentary tracheostomy with a spinning bobbin at one point!

I won’t call this a bad book, and I’m glad to have read a local author’s book, but I’m kind of glad to be done with it. On a side note: despite the cover, this is gothic horror, not romance of any sort.

Review of First Rodeo, by Judith Hennessey

First RodeoI won a copy of Judy Hennessey‘s First Rodeo through Goodreads. It was an extra surprise as Hennessey is a local-to-me author and half of it is set in Saint Louis, where I live.

Description from Goodreads:
Kate, an attractive, thirty-something, workaholic, single mother, is in the business of pleasing others. At the top of her yes list is her sometimes surly and controlling boss: her father. But when a crisis at work spurs Kate to examine her life, she surprises everyone by taking her young son and heading where few high heels have ever gone: Wyoming, home to more cows than humans. There, at the Prickly Pair Ranch, she meets a young, sexy, bull rider, who s lived a lifetime in just over two decades. He s full of big dreams of training horses, and his passion fuels Kate s dormant dreams of becoming an artist, and sparks fly and once again, Kate shocks everyone, even herself, and jumps on for the romantic ride of her life.

First and foremost, this is not, I repeat, NOT a romance. And that is fine of course, but I really feel like it is billed as one. So, it not being one felt like a bait and switch. Moving on.

I did not understand the choices Kate made in this book, starting with the insta-love between her and a man 13 years younger than her. The age gap didn’t bother me, but them having nothing in common and the instant relationship sure did. What was all that love based on? I saw nothing. Then, just about every decision she made baffled me. I could not relate.

In the end, I didn’t feel like I got any significant closure on the Jake front. He’s basically Brad Pit’s character from Thelma & Louise, except Kate tried to keep him. The events toward the end of the book (avoiding a spoiler here) came about as quickly as their relationship started. There was no buildup or gradual change.

I think what bothered me so much about it was that for most of the book you have dual POVs, making this feel like the story of them. Then when that suddenly changes and you realize it’s only supposed to be her story it feels like a bait and switch, just like the blurb. He is relegated to unimportant, but you’ve just spend significant time in his head. So, it’s hard to just dismiss him as the plot device he was.

I appreciate the theme of making yourself happy, instead of depending on another for it and some of the mysticism was interesting, though I didn’t really think it fit the rest of the story. All in all, I suppose there will be some who really like this. I’m not one of them. It was an ok book, but not my cup of tea.

As an aside, there was something odd going on with the page numbering. A whole chunk (~30 pages) was out of order. They were all there, just muddled up. I won the book on GR, so maybe it’s an ARC (though it’s not labeled as one).

What I’m drinking: It’s National Coffee Day. Yeah, that’s a real think; so coffee.