Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

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Paranormal readers may recall The Blood Gospel, by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell, in which Archaeologist Erin Granger is pulled into an ancient prophecy and a world of vampires, angels, and other supernatural beings she never could have dreamed existed. Innocent Blood is the second installment in this series, called The Order of The Sanguines.

Erin finds that her role in saving the universe is not over-she may still be the “Woman of Learning” in the prophecy, this time she has to prevent the Apocalypse and destruction of the entire earth. She must stop the supernatural being called Iscariot from bringing ruin to the whole of humanity, using her knowledge of ancient biblical history. The old gang from The Blood Gospel is back, holy men from the Vatican, the Warrior-but just to shake things up, she must deal with a psychopathic killer vampire, perhaps the most formidable female in history, natural or supernatural…Elizabeth Bathory, The Blood Countess.

Will they prevail? Find out for yourself if you like reading supernatural fiction, especially if you have a taste for a more “Dan Brown suspense” type of read.

A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

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John Gower is commissioned by Geoffrey Chaucer with a very vague and mysterious mission-find a book of songs that has gone missing. He is intrigued by the mission, but he has no idea how deep the plot will go until bodies begin to pile up. What is in this book that seems to be traveling in London’s underground? Does it have the power to set in motion terrible events, including the death of King Richard II? The more Gower learns, the more danger builds up around him. The surprise arrival of his formerly exiled son makes for very suspicious timing amid it all-how do all of these events tie together? What is the connection between a dead Lady in the woods, a handful of prostitutes, the famous Geoffrey Chaucer, a group of butchers, and his majesty, the King of England? Only the book will reveal all-and someone is killing to get their hands on it. Can Gower solve the mystery before the ultimate crime occurs?

This novel portrays 1300s London in a very harsh light-nothing is sugar coated, so if you are looking for something pleasant and romantic, this is not the book for you. The language, while probably very accurate, is a lot to take in, especially from the mouths of the prostitutes and the men who commission them. All in all, however, this novel is great suspense fiction, and an incredibly detailed account of what life might have been like during the time of Chaucer. If you enjoyed The Bones of Avalon, by Phil Rickman, you will want to pick up A Burnable Book, by Bruce Holsinger.

The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

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Ruby Rousseau dropped out of her all-girls university less than a year ago, and thought she would never have to look back. But one day, a suitcase was delivered to her by mistake-a suitcase belonging to a girl from her old dormitory, Beth Richards. She finds herself pulled into the mystery of a missing person, and forced to deal with the ghosts from her recent past, including a love affair with a Professor that went terribly wrong.

The Butterfly Sister is a mystery novel with a distinctly feminine flair, and for those of you who love literature or poetry, the references to Sylvia Plath, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Virginia Woolf, and other notable female literary geniuses (who were deeply disturbed) is a refreshing and intellectual pleasure, especially for a mystery novel.

I will confess that I was probably the perfect reader for this novel, being interested in tragic literary figures, feminism, and also being an avid mystery reader. This novel may not be for readers who do not share my interests. But if you do, you do not want to miss The Butterfly Sister, by Amy Gail Hansen.

 

 

The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson

9981618Libby has what every woman wants. She has her career, she has her perfectly wonderful husband Jack, a beautiful home…She is the luckiest woman alive. Until they are in a horrible car accident and everything begins to fall apart around her. She stumbles upon a notebook, the diary of Jack’s late wife, Eve, who died mysteriously a few years back. Libby is starting to question everything in her perfect life, and Eve seems to be everywhere. In the walls, sitting on the furniture, in the wine cellar…Libby must recover from her accident in a home where she feels like a guest, suddenly…And what really happened to Eve? Jack won’t talk about it much, and he still screams Eve’s name in his sleep at night. Can you be with someone who still loves someone else with his whole heart? Is it enough to love him and get respect and consideration in return? Then a nosy police officer keeps poking around the house, harassing the couple. Libby must decide what is happening and what she is going to do…And the climax of this novel will completely blow readers away.

Readers who liked “Gone Girl” will love The Woman He Loved Before, by Dorothy Koomson. This novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats all the way until the end, and the ending is nothing you would EVER expect-take my word for it. The audiobook version of the novel, by Hachette audio, is brilliantly narrated and a terrific choice for your next road trip…If you can handle it.

The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison

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Neil Kazenzakis does whatever it takes to have a normal life…He is a popular coach and teacher, and a single father to his son, Christopher. A few years back, a terrible accident left his wife severely disabled and in a nursing home, an unimaginable tragedy and nightmare for any parent and spouse. But he’s keeping everything together…Sortof. His son has had a few struggles, there are politics in his neighborhood that he’d like to avoid completely,  and he has been spending time with his ex-mother-in-law’s nurse on the sly. When he breaks up a fight one day after school, everything starts to go downhill. A video is posted online that can quite possibly cost him his job and mean a possible law suit, his girlfriend has a surprising announcement, someone has started sending him horrible harassing emails, and, in short, his life is about to shatter into a million pieces. Can Neil sort out everything before he loses everything good in his life?

The Banks of Certain Rivers, by Jon Harrison, is a heart-wrenching, gut-punching dose of the harshness that is real  life, and the struggles we much through trying to stay afloat when everything seems to go against us. A touch of mystery and suspense mixes with true humanity in an excellent example of modern fiction that just about any reader will enjoy. If you need reading material about humanity, in all it’s pain and beauty, The Banks of Certain Rivers is an obvious choice. Satisfaction guaranteed.

The Story of X by A.J. Malloy

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Fifty Shades of Grey readers, be on the lookout for The Story of X, an erotic adventure about conservative American student, Alexandra Beckmann, who meets the wealthy and terribly sexy Lord Marcus Roscarrick and is pulled into a world she never knew existed. Nice restaurants and exclusive events are only the beginning. Marcus seems to have another “involvement” that she never expected…He’s in a secret society which meets regularly for initiation rituals that include explicit sexual acts…Suddenly sweet, naive Alexandra is taking the first steps to join a sex cult…Can she really find happiness with this man who has chosen a lifestyle she must embrace if she wants to be part of his life?

If you like erotic literature and you’ve been looking for your next “Fifty Shades” experience, The Story of X, by A.J. Malloy, is an obvious next read. Like Fifty Shades, however, this novel is quite explicit, so if you are sensitive to anything rated higher than PG-13, you will want to avoid this novel. Also, being erotic literature, the plot is second to the description, so keep that in mind as you read.

Bristol House by Beverly Swerling

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Architecture scholar Annie Kendall has just been given an opportunity to re-start her career and work on the project of her dreams : researching the possible existence of a very important Jewish icon during the Cromwell Period. This discovery would be very exciting, because anyone who practiced a religion other than that of the Church of England during this time period was persecuted as a heretic, and an influential Jew who was allowed to flourish during Cromwell’s rule could not have done so without being very, very special…

In the process of her research, however, Annie begins to wonder about the motives of the man who has assigned her the task. Ancient Judaica seems to be the motivation behind the research. Handsome investigative reporter,  Geoff Harris, seems to think that something is pulsing under the layers of intrigue that could take a very dangerous man out of the equation, if he could only get to the facts. The two decide to work together and find solutions to mysteries that have been protected for hundreds of years.

This novel has a touch of romance, is laced with the supernatural (the place where Annie is staying seems to be haunted by a monk with a story to tell), and is loaded with suspense and mystery. If you like books like The DaVinci Code or similar scholarly mysteries, and you like a bit of the supernatural, be sure to give Bristol House, by Beverly Swerling,  a try for yourself!

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox

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Edward Glyver grew up believing himself to be the son of an authoress and a drunkard, living in near poverty, with no title or status in society. Upon the death of his mother, however, he discovers in her diary that his origins are actually much more scandalous and that he may actually be entitled to much more in life. Before he can claim his status in the world, especially with his true-blood family, he is going to need proof to back up his (and his dead mother’s) claims. So Edward sets out to find solid evidence of his birth and birthright for once and for all, leaving behind his entire life and following leads obsessively. He learns that an old schoolmate-turned-enemy is standing between him and what is rightfully his, and he realizes that by whatever means necessary, his arch-nemesis must be “removed” from the equation.

The Meaning of Night, by Michael Cox,  is a novel of obsession turned psychosis, set in Victorian London. If you love fiction set in the Victorian period, especially of the mystery variety, you will enjoy this novel, but don’t expect the hero to be what you generally expect…This is a tale that smudges the line between protagonist and antagonist, turning the best of men into criminals and making light of serious crimes throughout. The reader will end this book shaking his head and blinking, trying to figure out the puzzle that is this novel, which plays with your sympathies and confuses your sensibilities. Can you feel sorry for a murderer?

 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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Two women decided to risk their lives to serve Great Britain in effort to end World War II. One is a pilot, the other is an agent specializing in espionage. Proving themselves in a man’s world is the least of the problems these ladies face: one night, during a mission, the plane is shot down and the women are separated beyond enemy lines. One of them is brought into SS custody and placed in a makeshift prison to be tortured for information and held until she can be “dealt with”. The other goes into hiding with a solid plan : find her friend, rescue her, and get the hell out of France.

The situation is very, very dire…But the operation is not hopeless. These amazing women cannot be stopped, and the power of friendship is an impenetrable force. Secret codes, secret operations, espionage, targeting rogue enemy operators, and the strength of two remarkable women fill the pages of Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein.

If you liked reading The Hunger Games trilogy, you are likely to enjoy this novel. Reality is harsh, but inner strength and the power of love drive the heroines through the wreckage. If you can’t handle some allusion to POW torture techniques, however, I recommend you avoid this one. Code Name Verity is considered a Teen novel, but is very adult in nature. If you love espionage, especially with strong heroines, you won’t want to miss this one.

The Mourning House by Ronald Malfi

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Is the house haunted, or is Dr. Sam Hatch haunted by his past?

He has just lost everything dear to him. His wife and baby are killed in an accident and everything is crumbling around him. Nothing is important anymore. Nothing matters. He walks out of his house, climbs into his car, and begins to drive…Away from his life, away from himself. An old, rundown house in a town where he knows no one beckons to him. He decides to buy it and fix it up…

But things are happening in the house. His things are moving around, disappearing and re-appearing in new places. He hears phantom noises, and as he renovates rooms, he is finding reminders of his old life under the floorboards, in the ceilings, in the closets… Is he losing his mind? Is the house trying to tell him something? If so, what does it mean to communicate? Dr. Hatch is trying to follow the horrific clues, but his sanity seems to be slipping away with each little discovery.

How will the story conclude? If you like haunted house stories like The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Hell House by Richard Matheson, The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom, you will enjoy The Mourning House, by Ronald Malfi, which is creepy and leaves the reader guessing until the end.