Author Archives: Sadie

betwixt

Book Review: Betwixt, by Darynda Jones

I borrowed a copy of Betwixt, by Darynda Jones from the local library. You guys, I actually went INTO the library and browsed the shelves. It was the first time I’d been able to do that in months!

betwixt

Divorced, desperate, and destitute, former restaurateur Defiance Dayne finds out she has been bequeathed a house by a complete stranger. She is surprised, to say the least, and her curiosity gets the better of her. She leaves her beloved Phoenix and heads to one of the most infamous towns in America: Salem, Massachusetts.

She’s only there to find out why a woman she’s never met would leave her a house. A veritable castle that has seen better days. She couldn’t possibly accept it, but the lawyer assigned to the case practically begs her to take it off her hands, mostly because she’s scared of it. The house. The inanimate structure that, as far as Dephne can tell, has never hurt a fly.

Though it does come with some baggage. A pesky neighbor who wants her gone. A scruffy cat who’s a bit of a jerk. And a handyman bathed ink who could moonlight as a supermodel for GQ.

She decides to give it three days, and not because of the model. She feels at home in Salem. Safe. But even that comes to a screeching halt when people begin knocking on her door day and night, begging for her help to locate their lost objects.

Come to find out, they think she’s a witch. And after a few mysterious mishaps, Dephne is beginning to wonder if they’re right.

my review

I generally liked this. It was fun and easily readable. I’ll say that up front. But I have complaints. For one, I halfway suspect it wasn’t initially written as a Paranormal Women’s Fiction book. Of course, I can’t know one way or another, and maybe it was and just isn’t steeped in the genre. (But I really do half think it was rewritten to fit the new fad.)

I’ll grant the heroine is 44 and there are paranormal elements…so, Paranormal Women’s Fiction. The book even starts with the seemingly requisite mid-life divorce. But beyond that I didn’t feel Defiance’s age at all. Any quip or memory she referenced was from high school or below, as if she hadn’t had an additional 2 decades of life experience to draw from. Her parents still play a large part in her life, as if she hasn’t aged past just leaving the nest. She still gets excited over band t-shirts and binge drinking. She just didn’t feel 44 and neither did anything else about the plot. So, I kinda feel like the book is Paranormal Women’s Fiction in name and window dressing only. At least the hotties were described as silver foxes, instead of young studs, I guess.

Beyond that, I did laugh a lot. But I also frequently felt like it was trying too hard to be quirky and funny. I liked the characters, but thought they all took to the previously unknown paranormal world far too easily. And I like the sexy hero, but there is so little progress in that department and so little interaction between him and Defiance that it was soundly disappointing. And the whole thing often felt unfocused and erratic.

Despite all that, as I said, I did enjoy it in general. I probably will continue the series (for Roane more than anything else). But I’m in no great hurry about it.

in light of death title

Book Review: In Light Of Death, by D.W. Rigsby

I somehow came into possession of a copy of D.W. Rigsby‘s In Light Of Death in October of 2020 (that’s when it was uploaded to Caliber), most likely through a Bookfunnel promotion (or something similar). But I wouldn’t swear to that, just that I came by it legitimately.
in light of deathSome say the dead don’t talk, but I know better.

My name is Lucius Samuel Stockhelm. I’m an inspectre, a paranormal detective with a ghost sidekick. I work out of my home in New Cross, Ohio. As far as I know, I’m the only non-professional inspectre conducting supernatural investigations. You can find me in the Harken, just ask Toledo the barkeep. Believe it or not, I’m not even sure why I’m doing this kind of work.

Though I have learned a cross is a powerful weapon but anointing oneself while confronting a demon isn’t that easy. Oh, and let’s not forget holy water and salt; the two most used items in my arsenal against the demonic. Yes – these are the tools I’ve been given to defeat the occult.

With being fired from the post office and a decent night’s rest becoming an issue of some importance, I need work, and soon. A distraught call to my neighbor, a professional inspectre, starts this line of dominoes, making me believe things are looking up, but they are about to go from worse to terrible. Someone is leveraging dark supernatural forces to commit a series of horrific murders. Tracking a multi-killer takes me into the dangerous underbelly of New Cross, from shady characters to demons, while I try and defend myself with archaic tools against the unholy of unholys.

In this supernatural mystery series, you’ll find more than ghosts and demons. There’s an array of interesting characters with deceitful behaviors, a plethora of occult activities, with a historical backdrop to boot. Come along and have a look – it’s just what you need to brighten your evening. Turn on your gaslamp, but make sure it’s low so you don’t spook the visitors. Now it’s time to take a peek behind the cover and see what’s on the other side of the mirror.

my review

I have a major gripe and it’s one I’ve ranted on before, because it really does irritate the life out of me. It is my very strong opinion that if I pick up a book that is labeled as book 1, I should be able to read it without confusion. If there is a book before it, even a short one, that needs to be read for it to make sense, then it isn’t book 1, it’s book 2. That prequel (or whatever) is book 1. A book labeled as book 1 is where a reader should be able to pick up without trouble. Can there be prequels? Sure, but they can’t be integral to understanding the events of book 1 and not be counted as such.

I say all that because it’s pertinent to In Light Of Death. I had no idea what was going on for well over half the book. There must have been a lot happen in that 116 page prequel that I didn’t know existed when I picked up book 1. The reader is dropped into In Light of Death, lost and confused. And honestly, even once I piece together what was happening, it still felt like cheese clothe. I felt like my grip on understanding was always tenuous and Rigsby made no effort to firm anything up.

Which is such a shame. Because, there toward the end, I actually came to like Stockhelm and Alarbus. I might have been interested in reading more of their adventures. But as it is, I will not be continuing the series. I just spent too much time uncertain of what was happening and trying to follow characters’ leaps of logic, because (I as a reader) wasn’t given enough information.

demons in the bedroom

Book Review: Demons in the Bedroom, by Lidiya Foxglove

I picked up a copy of Lidiya Foxglove‘s Demons in the Bedroom as an Amazon freebie, about 6 months ago.

demons in the bedroom

Have you inherited a creepy old house that needs updated bathroom tiles, a new kitchen, and an exorcism?

Call me: Helena Nicolescu, the best house flipper witch on the east coast.

But I have to admit, I might be in over my head this time. I bought “Lockwood House” at an auction, and the magical community definitely knew something was up, because my rivals were all in on it, including Jake and Jasper, the infuriating wolf shifter twins who think they’re so much better at renovations than me. I overpaid and now I’m stuck with a mess. Floors caving in, 70s carpeting, and…the ghost of an incubus who won’t stop flirting with me while I’m trying to demo.

That’s not the only problem. The former owner’s son seems to be drawn to the place against his own will. My witch radar is going off big time, telling me he has demon blood coursing through his own veins. And the wolves must smell trouble in the air, because they keep sniffing around too. I’ll definitely never tell them that I keep uncovering disconcerting artifacts throughout the house. And more than anything, I won’t admit that they both look pretty good in a tool belt. Why does this house seem like it’s calling trouble to the doorstep?

I have eight weeks to get this done and then I’m putting this mansion on the market and moving on.my review

This was fluff, but enjoyable fluff. Despite that, I have a few things to say, some relevant and some just me spouting off, none of it to be taken too seriously.

First, I wanna talk about that cover. I like the cover, don’t get me wrong. It’s flashy and eye catching. It snagged me successfully. But the characters is described in the book as dressing like Wednesday Adams. How exactly does a tightly dressed, half-clad woman, on a sexy cover translate into that character? It does not.

Why do we always have to glam characters up on covers? And it’s not just the ‘Oh, objectification of women’ argument. (Though, having to make a character more visually sexier than her character to sell books is pretty baseline objectification.) It’s the fact that authors create characters, who have personality and characteristics, and then someone decides to completely ignore them and give readers a cover that has nothing to do with the character they’re reading and appreciating. It drives me batty. I hate it. At least make an effort to get characters close on covers, please. This ‘model’ may be blond (and I appreciate that she looks as strong as you’d expect a house flipper to be), but she doesn’t give off a vibe even close to Hel in the book.

Readers should know that, though Hel and the guys that are forming her harem are fun and the book is quite readable, the plot isn’t a complete arc. It’s not really a cliffhanger, but nothing concludes either. Go in knowing this is the first third, or so, of a story and you should be OK.

Next, and I know this is completely irrelevant and does not effect my rating/review at all, but is pertinent to my current life. In my real life, I’m trying to get some work done on my house. I can’t get anyone to plaster my kitchen wall without a 3-4 month wait time. I can’t even get anyone to call me back to pave a drive, and it feels like no store ever actually has anything truly in stock, everything has to be ordered. So, the whole “eight weeks to get this done,” when discussing a whole house refurbished (even if doing a lot of the work themselves) might be the strongest fantasy element in the whole book and is chapping my already construction related chapped ass. Just rub it in, why don’t you. LOL

All in all, I liked the book enough to search out and read book two…and three. Because I know I’ll have to read them all (and more, if that’s not the end of the series) to get any conclusion.