Tag Archives: paranormal mystery

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.

Review of Dead Eye (Tiger’s Eye Mystery #1), by Alyssa Day

I picked up a copy of Dead Eye, by Alyssa Day, during a freebie day on Amazon.

Description from Goodreads:

For Jack Shepherd, tiger shape-shifter and former soldier, life is heading for a dead end. Dead End, Florida, to be exact. When he learns that he inherited a combination pawn shop/private investigation agency from his favorite uncle, Jack’s first job is to solve his uncle’s murder. Because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

Review:

I thought this was amusing, but a little light on content. I liked the characters but didn’t think the romantic subplot was developed well enough. (Day seemed to be hinting at something interesting that never came to anything.) The plot stood alone, but I definitely felt the fact that it is a spin-off series. There were just too many references to past events the reader has no access to if they’ve not read the other series. The mystery was neatly set up, but the villain was dispatched with shocking ease and the whole thing felt anticlimactic. All in all, I liked it enough to read more of Day urban fantasy/ paranormal mystery writing, but not enough to call her a favorite.

Review of Spell Caster, by Laura Greenwood

cover of Spell Caster

I received an Audible code for a copy fo Laura Greenwood‘s Spell Caster.

Description from Goodreads:

Can magic and science come together to catch a murderer?  

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when she’s given an unusual blood sample to test. And when a mysterious man shows up at her lab telling her he has the answers she’s looking for, she’s pulled into a world of murder, investigations, and intrigue.  

Finally able to explore the connection between her powers as a witch and her expertise as a scientist to uncover why paranormals keep turning up dead. 
–  
Spell Caster is a reverse harem paranormal mystery set in the Paranormal Council Universe.

Review:

Sigh. This wasn’t bad. It was just sort of a mess. For one, it’s called a reverse harem, which infers (though admittedly doesn’t say) it’s erotic. Most reverse harem books you encounter are, so tying itself into a known erotic trope suggests it is too. It isn’t. The steamiest this gets is that Cassie kisses each of her mates once (and they’re not even descriptive passionate kisses) and then each man kisses her forehead or the top of her head once. There is no passion or eroticism in this at all. If she was interested, I’d let me 9yo read it. 

Similarly there isn’t any passion (erotic or otherwise) about the mating. Cassie has a calm conversation with each man and then moves on. It literally could have been a work meeting over coffee. (Once even is over coffee.) 

But most importantly, how this four-way mating might work isn’t addressed at all. It’s clarified that each man is her mate and they aren’t each others mates (no menage). But I have a hard time believing that will work with no jealousy. Why would these guys share a mate?

The book would have simply been IMMENSELY improved if the author had left the mate element out and let the book be about Cassie getting a new job and earning her spot on the Paranormal Crimes Investigation team. And I honestly think the author would only have had to cut about 2% of the text to make this true. I cannot emphasize enough how underdeveloped the mate aspect is. It’s so underdeveloped that it’s just a distraction and detraction in the plot. I think I’d have really liked the book if it was just a paranormal mystery. As it is, I was just disappointed.

Edit: On a side note, the title is Spell Caster, but Cassie doesn’t cast a single spell in the book. She uses magic, but never an actual spell. Just saying.