Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shadows in the Mist by Amy Flint


Dr. Porter Biggleswade.

An unusual name for an unusual woman with an unusual occupation.

Porter is "albino" who has a gift for seeing shadows of people who are no longer. Ironic for a living person who may look like a shadow herself. Pale hair, pale skin, thin but black eyes. Very smart and not to be fooled, and with a wry sense of humor. Porter is a ghost hunter. (Not like that t.v. show. Good grief.)

"When Dr. Porter Biggleswade, a straight-talking paranormal investigator famed for her ability to see ghosts, is headhunted by the Paranormal Investigation Unit (PIU) at All Saints University in York, things aren't as straightforward as they first appear. Porter's first major case involves investigating claims of paranormal activity at the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, yet ghostly feuds turn out to be the least of her worries. An anonymous donor with an unexplained interest in the investigator, jealous colleagues, warring parents, and an encounter with a farmer convinced he is being haunted by spectral sheep make Porter question her decision to leave London."

The University in York (reported to be the most haunted city in England) has received a donation to set up the PIU. The donor wants Porter as part of the team. One problem for Porter and her department, is the University already has a parapsychology department. The staff is not happy that PIU has been set up and is getting better equipment then they have. There is also a lot of competition in this area, apparently. Colleagues are bidding for contracts behind other's backs while flirting with those (specifically Porter) in the running. Some of the "ghosts" aren't ghosts at all.  Porter and her intern, Clarice, spend many nights investigating the supernatural complaints. It is dangerous sometimes. Porter gets clobbered in the head, falls and faints a few times. But it is all in a days' or rather a nights' work.

I especially liked the story line about the Bronte family; of the Charlotte and Emily family. I really didn't know much about the actual family, so it was fun to learn more about them through the children's shenanigans, and their father's worry over brother Branwell. Did I say one of my favorite all time books is Wuthering Heights? I see some of their story in Wuthering Heights. Most of what is described in Shadows in the Mist about the Bronte family, is based on fact. Not the haunting part. Where they lived, who was in the household, brother Branwell's addiction, even Tabby, their maid.

This first book sets us up for book two: The Haunting of Delavere Hall. I will be reading that soon.

By the way, have you ever seen a shadow?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Onyx Webb Book Six

Finished Onyx Webb Book Six...in two days.

Onyx Webb: Book Six: Episodes 16, 17 & 18 by [Fenton, Richard, Waltz, Andrea]

Have you been reading this series? 

If so, this could be the best in the series....so far. Books 1-5 were really good but this one was great. Book six in which we have; a very interesting new character in Newt, old ghosts, new ghosts, and we get to go to Loll! As always, this was a page turner, easily read in one sitting but the characters are more developed now and more intertwined. The story is like a web but this one is being woven from the outside in...I am already worried about Book 10 and how there MAY be no more.

I have written about the first five books in this series of 10 books. They are really quick reads because they are written like a soap opera. There are many characters that are leading separate lives but all tied together in one way or another...with a supernatural twist. We are skillfully taken all over the United States and through many decades with the characters, but it is easy to follow. There is not a lot of description as in a traditional book so each chapter is quick and to the point.

Think Twilight, Harry Potter and even Once Upon a Time.

This could be a Netflix or HBO series and be great. (Quicker for the fans than getting it to Hollywood, I would guess, so I say this for me.)

The authors, Richard Fenton and Andrea Walsh have an interesting background too. They haven't always done fiction.

Here's a couple of links.  I highly recommend the series but you have to start with Book One.
Two links to the series and info about the authors.



I received a free copy in exchange for a review - but I am ENTANGLED.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Some Mystery Book Club Members Recommendations

As you may have seen in a previous post, for our MBC meeting for August, we read any mystery set in/along the Appalachian Trail.

Several people were absent this month and were somewhere cooler than Central Texas but we had a good group and a good discussion. Here is what others read and it seemed everyone recommended the book that had read.

The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron: 1st in a series with Mike Bowditch, a retired game warden.

This book takes place in Maine. The main character, Mike Bowditch is very likeable. There are lots of good descriptions, lots of twists and a surprise ending!

The Precipice by Paul Doiron: #6 in the Mike Bowditch series

Very good writing, good thriller, good description of the countryside. Mike Bowditch reminded the club member of Joe Pickett in C.J. Box books.

A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller: #1 in the Bell Elkins series
This book takes place in West Virginia. Three club members read this book and recommend it. They all really liked it saying the writing is very good, really liked the use of metaphors, the places mentioned are real places that they are familiar with (that always makes a person even more interested in a story, I think), the descriptions were very good such that you could visualize the scene, and the ending was really good. The book has two story lines running through it which was done very well.

Bitter River by Julia Keller: #2 in the Bell Elkins series
One person also read this second book and said it was very good, great descriptions and two story lines that merge. All definitely recommend this series.

The Gray Mountain by John Grisham
Two members read this book. It takes place in Virginia.  They said is was good, felt the information/description about lawyers and their work was correct. One person felt the ending was abrupt but took it to mean there will be another book with the characters.

The Devil's Hearth by Phillip DePoy: #1 in the Fever Devlin series
This book took place in Georgia. Comments for this book are: well written, page turner, gave the reader a pretty good feeling of what it would be like to live in a cabin, and recommended it.

Black Heart on The Appalachian Trail by T.J. Forrester
One person read this book. This book takes place in Maine. It is about several people, not known to each other, that take to the Appalachia Trail for different reasons, different goals. They all have "issues."

One comment that seemed to be made by most of us, was that the main character in many of the books, grew up in the Appalachians in different states, moved away, but came back.

We finished up by discussing T.V. shows and movies, which we so often do. One person recommended the movie A Walk in the Woods with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

It is based on the book A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: Red Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.

I watched it after our meeting. It is a very entertaining, funny story of Bill Bryson who attempts to walk the trail from Georgia to Maine with one of his friends from the past (because no one else will go with him).

I will end with this line from the movie: Stephen, Bill's friend ask him how he knows so much. Bill answers: "There's these things called books. It's like television for smart people."

Blind Malice

For our August Mystery Book Club, we are reading mysteries set in/along the Appalachian Trail.

My choice was Blind Malice by Annis Ward Jackson. Blind Malice is the first in the Rachel Myers Murder Series set along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.


"First in a series of 12 murder mysteries set along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Blind Malice introduces Rachel Myers, a native of the area who has come home for her father's funeral. The service is barely over when questions surrounding her father's death and his financial affairs begin to pile up.

Myers is not a professional detective but her natural ability for solving intricate puzzles, her tenacity, and her faith in that little spark that says she's on the right track, enable her to uncover shocking secrets from her father's past and come face to face with the menace that led to his death. "

If you don't know, and I didn't remember, the Appalachian Trail is a 2200 mile trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. In the late 1970's, while camping in the Florida Keys, we met a guy who had recently hiked the entire trail. Whew.

I really liked this book. Rachel is a likeable character that you empathize with immediately. Some real issues are explored in this book: aging parents, commercial development of the country side and what the locals think about it. (I found this to hit home, living in Central Texas and the huge population explosion and development.)

Rachel also has to deal with suspicious "friends" of the family, a high school sweet heart, a current sweetheart and a BIG family secret all wrapped up very cozy at the end. I really liked the descriptions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Must be beautiful and I can sympathize with the people in their small town.

 I plan on reading more in this series.