Tag Archives: paranormal fantasy

Song To The Siren by Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two documentary filmmakers go on an intense journey to discover the truth behind the untimely death of an indie rockstar who may or may not have been struggling with some very real ghosts in authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “Song To The Siren”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

When two young documentary filmmakers start investigating the enigmatic death of the infamous Reed Sinclair, founder of the never-quite-made-it indie rock group The Big Carnival, by interviewing Reed’s former girlfriend, photographer Samantha (“Sam”) MacNamara, she tells them the story of a seeming love triangle between herself, Reed, and a frightening entity named Belle. Belle may have simply been how Reed’s troubled mental state interpreted multiple tragedies and coincidences in his life… or she may have been a supernatural being…

The Review

This was such an engaging and mesmerizing read. The story does an incredible job of delving into a multitude of genres that keep the reader guessing, from paranormal and mythology-driven fantasy to dramatic mental health and romantic suspense novels. The themes of mental health, fame and its impact on those who achieve it, and the hidden mysteries of life itself, all played such a pivotal role in the narrative, and how these characters connected to one another. 

I loved the pacing and the formatting of this novel. The use of Sam as the narrator of sorts as the filmmakers interview her throughout the book really gave a unique 3rd person perspective to the story, and allowed for some distance between the reader and the characters in question, aka Reed and “Belle”, so that the question of Belle’s existence continuously played a role in the narrative as the story progressed. It was such an engaging story.

The Verdict

Captivating, entertaining, and thoughtful, author Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “Song To The Siren” is a must-read paranormal and mythological story. The utilization of the indie-rock scene as a setting for emotional character growth and the mystery of “Belle” overall made this one novel reader won’t want to miss. Be on the lookout for this book starting this fall! 

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Barb is originally from Minnesota. She was a radio DJ for a while in college, and then she grew up to become a guitarist/singer-songwriter and got an album put out on the Imp label. However, she also had health issues: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia and extreme environmental sensitivities and allergies. (She also has Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to issues involving her family of origin.)

For a while, brain fog from the CFS and the fibro made it harder for her to read long and involved works of fiction… So (since she’d always loved them in her childhood) she got into reading comics and graphic novels, particularly the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics.

Now we pop over to Park, in central Texas. Like Barb, Park also read comics (and a LOT of books) in his youth as well (a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books than Barb, and a lot more Marvel comics than Barb). Then he started college and said “I need an extra hobby or something. Maybe I’ll get back into comics again.” He started doing so, including reading the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics…

Then someone in the letter columns of the comic Sandman announced that they were doing a fanzine for readers of that comic. Barb and Park both wrote in.

Barb and Park became aware of one another… Park liked the writing Barb submitted to the fanzine, and he wrote to Barb, and they began writing to each other. Then they started talking on the phone… they fell in love… they started visiting one another…

Reader, they got married (to each other).

Barb wrote for the award-winning website Sequential Tart, made by women about comics and other popular culture things, and Barb wrote a lot of reviews and articles (especially articles)

Park and Barb had a column online for a now-defunct website entitled The Park and Barb show (about the same sorts of things) for 12 years…

A little after they started those things, Barb started writing her comic Gun Street Girl…

A little after that, they started adapting and editing manga for major American publishers importing manga (and sometimes their South Korean and Chinese counterparts) from the far side of the Pacific. Honestly, there were too many to keep track of… lots and lots of titles. Near the end of this, Barb and Park wrote the manga pitch The Hidden for TokyoPop, perfectly timed to appear the week that that company fell apart.

Then Barb and Park wrote the sci-fi vampire graphic novel Half Dead.

Somewhere around this time, Park successfully completed his Ph.D. in literature, and then Barb and Park wrote the vampire prose novel Something More Than Blood.

Eventually Park started writing his cyberpunk comic Swipe for Angry Viking Press.

(You can read more about all of the above projects elsewhere on this website!)

There were also other various short stories (and a novel, in one case) and non-manga-related editing jobs, too many to bother counting here…

These days, Barb and Park live happily together in Austin, Texas.

https://parkgsg.wixsite.com/wickermanstudios/home

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057705847859

Hidden Enemy (The Gift Legacy 2) by JP McLean Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman with a powerful gift finds herself caught in the crosshair between two powerful organizations (one ancient, one evil), and a web of secrets being brought to the surface in author JP McLean’s “Hidden Enemy”, the second book in The Gift Legacy series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

A forbidden book. A dangerous secret. A life in the balance.

In the wake of a bullet and a broken heart, Emelynn Taylor learns the true portent of a gift she can barely control. Her discovery of a forbidden book unlocks explosive secrets that connect her to a past she never imagined.

Now someone is threatening to expose those secrets, and an unknown assailant is hunting her. With everyone hiding something, whom can she trust? Emelynn is thrust into the eye of a storm as two powerful factions clash: one ancient, one evil. And both of them want a piece of her.

Knowing that not even her gift of flight will save her, Emelynn forms an uneasy partnership with a dangerous man she must learn to trust—and then she must risk her gift and her future to protect her friends’ lives.

The second book in The Gift Legacy series, Hidden Enemy is a thriller that skirts the edges of reality in a world within our own. Climb aboard and escape the ordinary: take flight with Emelynn Taylor.

Hidden Enemy was previously published as The Gift: Revelation)

The Review

This was such a fun and exhilarating paranormal and fantasy thriller. The author did such an amazing job of taking the elements that made the first book in this series such a hit and ramped up the action and suspense by about ten notches, making this such an exciting and action-fueled story. The balance of the character development and world-building that the author had with the deeper dive into the world of the Fliers and the mythos behind the different families that make up this hidden world made this story just fly by (pun intended)!

The arc that the protagonist had in this narrative was such a great advancement of the character development of this sequel overall. The way the author forged Emelynn’s actions and showed her evolution from a young woman thrust into this strange world of powers and hidden societies to a woman learning to adapt and evolve in this new world of hers and grow her own gifts, as well as take ownership and power within her personal life and dive into her own past at the same time, made this such a powerful read that many readers will be able to wrap themselves in. 

The Verdict

An entertaining, adrenaline-fueled, and suspense-filled paranormal and fantasy thriller, author JP McLean’s “Hidden Enemy” is a must-read book. The mythos and history that the author explores of both the protagonist and the Fliers themselves, as well as the infusion of some steamy romantic scenes and an examination of how we process trauma made this such an engaging read, and an open-ended final chapter will leave readers eager to jump further into this amazing series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers which have received honourable mentions from the Whistler Independent Book Awards and the Victoria Writers Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart, and fun. Her work includes endorsements from award-winning and best-selling authors, E.E. Holmes, Jennifer Manuel, Elinor Florence, Jennifer Anne Gordon, and Eileen Cook.

JP is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. She is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP lived in various parts of North America before settling on Denman Island on Canada’s west coast, where she now lives with her husband. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden.

Visit her at https://jpmcleanauthor.com

To Sleep With Stones (A Hollystone Mystery 2) by W.L. Hawkins Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The discovery of a powerful Egyptian artifact lands a man in prison for murder, and his only hope rests in the Wicca Priest he has befriended, Estrada, who must solve the crime before it’s too late in author W.L. Hawkins’s novel, “To Sleep With Stones”, the second book in the Hollystone Mystery series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

“Estrada scrutinized the tats, wondering how far the ink extended beneath the worn leather kilt, and just how painful it would be to have your genitals tattooed. He knew about ink—wore the black lacy wings of an angel on his back. Her feathers extended across his shoulders and down his glutes. That ink had broken more than his skin. “

When a renegade archaeologist discovers an ancient Egyptian

artifact in Scotland, Dylan McBride’s world implodes. Imprisoned for murder, he summons his friend, the Wicca Priest, Estrada, to solve the crime and set him free. Unable to turn down Dylan’s cry for help, Estrada abandons his melancholy lover in Canada where he gets targeted by a vicious vampire.

Estrada faces his inner demons. After playing vampire for years, Michael Stryker confronts a real vampire in a life-changing showdown. And, sweet, virginal, Dylan McBride, faces his greatest fears in one of Scotland’s most terrifying prisons. Who will survive?

A fast-paced murder mystery spiked with edgy urban fantasy, that opens portals into the realm of witches, faeries, and vampires.

Advertisements

The Review

I absolutely and truly love this series! It speaks to me on so many levels, from my fascination and interest in Wicca and my passion for mythology and history to the chilling fantasy and murder-mystery elements of the narrative. The suspense and corruption within the police department that Estrada faces early on in the narrative adds a human threat element into the more magical and historical nature of the narrative, keeping the story balanced between grounded realism and magical and historical fiction.

The characters were so enjoyable to watch grow and develop on the page. The whole narrative plays out like an HBO show waiting to be developed, combining elements of LGBTQ+ and adult storytelling into a complex character study of those who seek the answers hidden within the most complex systems of our universe, from historians and archeologists to Wiccans and Pagans. Estrada is a complex character, and readers won’t be able to help getting invested in his story as he balances his desire to protect and help his friends and the innocent with his personal romance and personality developments. 

The Verdict

A memorable, fantastic, and action-fueled fantasy murder mystery, author W.L. Hawkins’s “To Sleep with Stones” is the perfect second book in the Hollystone Mystery series. The story’s inclusion of everything from faeries and corrupt cops to magick practitioners and the gods themselves, the brilliant mythos that the author incorporates into the narrative, and the cliffhanger ending with particular characters will have readers eager to learn more and get into the rest of this amazing series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

W. L. Hawkin writes myth, magic, and mayhem designed to inspire and entertain. Described as “intoxicating, lush, magically-edgy, page-turners,” her Hollystone Mysteries series features a coven of witches who solve murders using their wits and ritual magic with a little help from the gods. Wendy is also a published blogger, book reviewer, Indie publisher, and poet, with a background in Indigenous Studies and English literature. She loves myth and magic, so when she’s not writing, she’s studying Druidry, shamanism, and mediumship. Although she is an introvert, in each book, her characters go on a journey where she has traveled herself.

She defies genre by writing character-driven fast-paced mysteries and thrillers that involve fantastical characters. See her four book series: To Charm a Killer, To Sleep with Stones, To Render a Raven, and To Kill a King.