Short Story Review: The Flood: A Tess Darling Mini-Mystery by Tash Bell

Tess Darling, director, and cameraman and sidekick, Miller, are on their way to Barnstaple House in deepest Devon, in the middle of a storm.  The flood waters are rising.  The venue is ‘an exclusive club and holistic hotel’ that caters for celebrities.

Arriving at their destination should have raised their spirits, if only because they were sheltered from the weather, but when they meet the cast for the interviews they are supposed to be filming, spirits plummet further.

As Tess and Miller are taken on a tour of the house / hotel by owner, Noah Dellows, the power suddenly goes off and they are plunged into darkness. Noah goes off to turn on the back-up generator, but when the lights come on, one of their company is dead.  There is a killer amongst them.

But who could it be?  It soon transpires that everyone had a reason to kill, but can Tess discover who has blood on their hands?

The story line is a classic but the modern setting and cast make it a refreshing read.  I usually enjoy fast-paced stories, but I found that this one was perhaps a little too fast in places for my liking.  That being said, the characters and the witty humour found throughout made this quick, light-hearted mystery enjoyable and entertaining.

I downloaded a copy of The Flood: A Tess Darling Mini-Mystery by Tash Bell when it was available for free from Smashwords.

Book Review: Xoe: or Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My! by Sara C. Roethle

Xoe: or Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My! is the first book in the Xoe Meyer series by Sara C. Roethle.

Alexondra Meyers, or Xoe to her friends, attends Shelby Heights High School in Shelby, Oregon.  Brought up by her mother, she knows nothing about her father.  It is the first day of junior year, and Xoe, who is not a fan of school or for that matter, many people outside her small circle of friends, is getting to grips with another school year and new timetable.  At least she has her closest friends, Lucy and Allison, to help to pass the time.

However, it is the arrival of a new student at the school, Dan, where Xoe’s real problem lies.  She doesn’t like him at all.  From their very first meeting she knows that something isn’t right about him, but Lucy and Allison don’t see it, and when they do, are willing to ignore it.  But Xoe isn’t.

Very soon, life as Xoe knows it will be completely turned upside down, and things will never be the same again.

I can honestly say that Xoe is probably one of the best YA books I have read.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and felt it was different enough to other vampire-werewolf-teen books to make it stand out.  The storyline was not predictable, in fact it was quite a refreshing, entertaining read.

The narrative is rich in description – of the people and places, but also of Xoe’s perception of everything and everyone around her.  This makes it easy to visualise the story coming to life as each chapter unfolds.  The cast is good and the characters are engaging.  Xoe is not a meek damsel-in-distress.  She is strong and confident and pro-active, especially when it comes to trying to protect her friends.

If you like vampires and werewolves and demons, or if you enjoy a good paranormal romance, I recommend you check out this book.

I downloaded a copy of Xoe: or Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My! for free from Smashwords.

Indie Only Month…It’s that time again!

Indie Only

The picture says it all – July is Indie Only month at Sammi Loves Books, and so I shall only be reviewing independently published stories by indie authors for the entire month.

I have spent the last few days planning my reading for July – yes, I am trying to be more organised than last year! :-)

For more information, check out the Indie Only Month page, comment below or contact me via the contact me page.

Book Review: The Doomspell by Cliff McNish

The Doomspell is the first book in The Doomspell Trilogy by Cliff McNish.

Rachel and her brother, Eric, have been having very strange dreams.  Then one morning, things take a bizarre turn when a monster breaks into their cellar and takes them away to a very different world. A world of magic named Ithrea.

Ithrea is ruled by an evil witch called Dragwena. Her sole purpose seems to be to hurt and kill things and she spends her time taking children from Earth. But she is looking for something in particular, something she needs, something only a child from Earth possesses: a certain type of magic.

It quickly becomes apparent that Rachel has what Dragwena is looking for, but will she help the witch?  Will she hurt innocent people and children, including her own brother?  And more importantly, in a magical world where the witch controls the magic, can Dragwena be defeated?

The Doomspell is a vivid tale full of rich description that brings the places and people, not to mention, the creatures of Ithrea to life.  There is no question that it is a great fantasy story for children – they will love the strange, dark world that the author has created.  It is interesting and entertaining, and I would be interested to see where the story goes next.  The second book in the trilogy is The Scent of Magic.