Category: Paranormal

Book Review: The Devil Pulls the Strings by J.W. Zarek

My main thought after finishing “The Devil Pulls the Strings” was….”That was a lot of FUN!” This is definitely an enjoyable read, has a little of everything…action, excitement, secret societies, fantasy, mythology, magical realism, romance. I enjoyed every moment of this story!

First of all, main character Boone Daniels is great. He is instantly likeable, and I found myself rooting for him from the very beginning of the book. What I found interesting was that the author found a way to get me very invested in Boone, and feeling like I knew him, even though fairly minimal time was spent on his backstory. Perhaps Mr. Zarek is a member of a secret society, and has magical powers of his own? This would not surprise me.

However, virtually everything else surprised me! This book provides non-stop action and plenty of unexpected characters, events, and reveals. Something new was always happening, and I was always discovering the next new idea right along with the characters.

I particularly enjoyed the way the writing style changed based on the scene. Some parts were written traditionally, but this alternated with a more staccato style that gave a sense of urgency to more intense scenes. I also appreciated the updated take on the Baba Yaga legend. I very much look forward to seeing what’s next for Boone and company in the next installment!

So. Much. Fun!

P.S. I will never think about hailing a cab the same way again!

P.P.S. I’d be happy to beta read the next book if the author wishes to contact me through this site.


Book Review: My Skull Possession by Lisa M. Miller

“My Skull Possession” by Lisa M. Miller is the perfect blend of cozy mystery and paranormal thrills! Geared to middle-grade readers, it is creepy, but never too scary.

Main character Brighton is a typical teenager, dealing with school, friends, and parental requirements. On top of this, she finds herself in the middle of a mystery involving a scary book and a series of deaths. Watching Brighton and her friend Kate investigate is delightful, as they come across as realistic teenagers in their thought processes and actions. I especially loved the way the girls worked around the fact that neither was old enough to drive. Both characters were realistic and likeable, and I especially enjoyed learning more about Kate’s backstory.

The plot itself was excellent, as it kept me guessing until very near the end. As I followed Brighton’s investigation, I had two working theories, one natural and one supernatural. Neither turned out to be correct, and the actual solution was both logical and made sense given the clues the girls uncovered along the way.

All in all, I recommend this story to mystery fans, especially those looking for a lower level of horror and danger. I look forward to seeing what sort of mystery the girls tackle next!

Book Review: Hill House Manor: 13 Ghost Stories by Linda Anthony Hill

“Hill House Manor: 13 Ghost Stories” by Linda Anthony Hill brings the reader exactly what you would expect from the title….a series of 13 stories based on the infamous Hill House in Texas. You may know of this real place from watching the Netflix series, or from the original book “The Haunting of Hill House”. This book shares the stories behind some of the spirits that are said to haunt the house in question.

As with any short story collection, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, but can honestly say I liked them all. Each story mixed the supernatural elements with the human drama in a seamless way that was easy to read. I especially liked the way the stories progressed chronologically, from pioneer days when the house was little more than a 2-room cabin to the present. The attentive reader can sometimes spot subtle cameos from earlier characters in later stories.

Although this is a book of ghost stories, it never becomes too scary. The overall sense is more one of eeriness, and a gradually increasing awareness of the supernatural by the human characters.

As always, Ms. Hill masters both her subject matter and the blending of the paranormal and normal perfectly. Five out of five yummy wedges of gouda!