TheCozybooksInn

books, book reviews

Scorned Women: Medusa (Book 1) by Faith Marlow — November 1, 2020

Scorned Women: Medusa (Book 1) by Faith Marlow

The name alone is frightening.
It chills the blood and conjures images of a terrifying monster.
But could there be more?

A daughter.
A protector.
A lover.
A victim.

Legend tells us how she died.
Now it is time to discover how she lived.

My Rating: * * * *

My Review:

I have always been interested in Greek/Roman mythology, so when I saw this book of course I had to read it. The characters were well developed, and the writing was very descriptive. The title of the book very well describes the story of Medusa, and the sad, tragic story of how she came to be.

The story begins with Medusa being a little girl. Her mother has just given birth to her siblings, two monstrous gorgon sisters. She doesn’t understand how her sisters are so different, and why her mother favors them, and becomes cold to her. Her father is very apathetic, and sides with her mother. She comes to hate her vicious sisters and parents. She prays to Poseidon, the god of the sea to deliver her from her family, but no help comes.

Medusa finally escapes and ends up in Athens, Greece. There she prepares to become a priestess of Athena. One day Poseidon appears to her and is angry that he has finally granted her desire, but she has turned away from him to worship Athena. He takes his revenge by raping Medusa right in front of Athena’s temple. Athena appears after and is furious. Her priestesses are to be virgins and Medusa is ruined. She blames her for Poseidon’s rape and for her beauty that brought him to it. She curses Medusa to become a monster. So begins her agonizing transformation into the gorgon Medusa.

She is sent back to the island she came from to find her home destroyed, and her father almost dead. We finally come to find out what her mother is, and the sad parting. Medusa’s life becomes now nothing more than survival,and fending off trophy hunters. Until a young woman washes up on her beach.

The story continues with their budding friendship/romance, and survival. I overall enjoyed the story, and would have given five stars but there was quite a few editing errors that were distracting. I would recommend this story to those who love stories of the mythologies of the world. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55522391-scorned-women

Faith Marlow is a USA today best selling author of dark fantasy/ paranormal/ horror with Vamptasy Publishing, an imprint of CHBB. Her stories stir emotions and explore the thin veil between human and the inhuman. Dark, yet inviting and familiar, Faith seeks to deliver chills with a sense of class, and sometimes a bit of heat. With each story, she hopes to build exposure for fellow women authors and artists who create horror.

She has five full length novels currently available at Amazon and more in the works. Her debut, “Being Mrs. Dracula”, chronicles the lives of Count Dracula’s three beautiful, yet very different wives, Valeria, Ilona, and Fleur. The story continues with “Being Dracula’s Widow”. Her latest release and the third installment of the series “Being Dracula’s Heir” will be available 7/16/2020.

“The Nightmare Hunters” is the beginning of “The Dream Journal” series, and is a dark fantasy/ horror series with hints of sci-fi. The psychological thriller/ survival horror, “Couples Therapy” is a fast- paced, terrifying journey through the depths of guilt and longing for redemption and is the author’s only story not to include paranormal elements.

Faith is also proud to be featured in multiple anthologies, benefiting various charities. When she isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching a horror movie, online shopping for Funko Pop! figures, at a rock show, or entertaining her house panther, Teddy. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Scottie, and son, Avery.

Being Dracula’s Widow, by Faith Marlow — October 31, 2020

Being Dracula’s Widow, by Faith Marlow

Over a decade has passed. Valeria and Emil, aunt and nephew, are living new lives in Brasov. But when a book is published bearing her late husband’s name, Valeria’s darkest secret is exposed and her happy life is left in ruins.
Valeria sets out on a mission to find out who revealed her story to the world, but she meets a distraction in Paris, one she was not prepared for, someone who changes everything.
Will Valeria survive her own blood thirst, or will she allow a new opportunity for happiness to slip through her fingers?

MY Rating: * * * * *

MY Review:


I enjoyed Being Dracula’s Widow every bit as much as Being Mrs.Dracula! Trust me if you are a Vampire and Dracula fan, you will fall in love with these Novels! After the tragic end of her sister wives and beloved husband, Vlad Dracula at the hands of Professor Van Helsing and fellow hunters, Valeria Karajan-Dracula is devastated and alone. With only the adopted human son of second wife, Ilona, Valeria tries to move on and build a life for herself. After raising the boy and being rejected by him Valeria ends up in Paris. The home of Vlad”s third wife Fleur. Valeria falls in love with Paris and finally gives in to her preternatural urges with abandon. In an unexpected turn, after a torrid night of sex and blood, her victim Lemond whom she believes dead becomes a vampire. Valeria wants to move on, but she knows that before she can, she must make the people responsible for her families demise pay with their lives. Follow Valeria from Paris to Amsterdam and to London as she exacts her revenge on those responsible and falls into a deadly trap by a new and unseen enemy. I certainly hope there will be another story for Valeria in the future, and until then I will just have to wait for my next widow Dracula fix. Thank you and awesome job Faith Marlow!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54281311-being-dracula-s-widow?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=MPUhKz1fSO&rank=1

Faith Marlow is a USA today best selling author of dark fantasy/ paranormal/ horror with Vamptasy Publishing, an imprint of CHBB. Her stories stir emotions and explore the thin veil between human and the inhuman. Dark, yet inviting and familiar, Faith seeks to deliver chills with a sense of class, and sometimes a bit of heat. With each story, she hopes to build exposure for fellow women authors and artists who create horror.

She has five full length novels currently available at Amazon and more in the works. Her debut, “Being Mrs. Dracula”, chronicles the lives of Count Dracula’s three beautiful, yet very different wives, Valeria, Ilona, and Fleur. The story continues with “Being Dracula’s Widow”. Her latest release and the third installment of the series “Being Dracula’s Heir” will be available 7/16/2020.

“The Nightmare Hunters” is the beginning of “The Dream Journal” series, and is a dark fantasy/ horror series with hints of sci-fi. The psychological thriller/ survival horror, “Couples Therapy” is a fast- paced, terrifying journey through the depths of guilt and longing for redemption and is the author’s only story not to include paranormal elements.

Faith is also proud to be featured in multiple anthologies, benefiting various charities. When she isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching a horror movie, online shopping for Funko Pop! figures, at a rock show, or entertaining her house panther, Teddy. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Scottie, and son, Avery.

Creepy Cake Murder (Bite-sized Bakery, #3) by Rosie A. Point — October 29, 2020

Creepy Cake Murder (Bite-sized Bakery, #3) by Rosie A. Point

What’s the scariest thing that can happen on Halloween? Murder.

Ruby Holmes is plenty excited to serve her cakes and goodies to the many trick-or-treaters in Carmel Springs, Maine. Halloween is here. Costumes range from fearsome to the funny, and when Ruby sees a clown jostling with a vampire to get to her cakes, she doesn’t think anything of it.

That is, until the corpse of the ‘vampire’ washes up on the beach, right in front of her food truck. Ruby’s not going to let this mystery go unsolved, even if it means annoying the local detective and the murderer themselves.

Can Ruby discover the identity of the killer clown? Or will he get the last laugh?

My Rating: * * *

My Review:


This is the first book in this series by this author I have read. It was really a fun, quick and festive Halloween read! The story and plot were well thought out, and the characters Ruby, Bee and the towns people were fun. I loved how the town celebrated for the whole Halloween weekend–a haunted house, parties, vendors and lots of great food!

The main characters are Ruby and Bee. They run a pastry truck in Maine. They are part of the Halloween celebration in town, and the day after Halloween there is a dead body found on the beach. Ruby and Bee start to investigate when Bee comes down with the flu. Ruby must figure things out for herself before it is too late, and before the sheriff arrests her again.

There are a few strong suspects, and Ruby finds herself in a tight spot after snooping to much for her own good. This was an entertaining read, and I really didn’t see the end coming! I would have given this another star, but for some spelling/grammatical errors that were a little distracting. I would recommend this cute little series.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52161735-creepy-cake-murder

Rosie A. Point is the new burger-lovin’ cozy mystery writer on the block. She’s passionate about all thing ‘cooking’ and spends evenings devising new recipes.

Rosie loves books, burgers, and cats – not necessarily in that order. When she’s not lying awake in bed plotting the next murder, ahem, cozy mystery, she’s out shopping for fresh ingredients, reading, or playing online games.

Rosie wants to hear from you! Whether it’s about a recipe or one of her books, or just a character that you loved or loved to hate, don’t hesitate to reach out.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16934393.Rosie_A_Point

Halloween Moon (Cottage on Gooseberry Bay. Book 1) by Kathi Daley — October 27, 2020

Halloween Moon (Cottage on Gooseberry Bay. Book 1) by Kathi Daley

A new series by USA Today Bestselling author Kathi Daley.

Ainsley Holloway had come to Gooseberry Bay to find answers about her past. She’d come to find an explanation for the dreams that haunted her after the death of the cop who’d both rescued and raised her. And she’d come to identify the family she couldn’t remember but knew in her heart she’d once belonged to.

Ainsley hoped that by finding these answers, she’d also find healing. She hoped that once she’d resurrected the memories buried deep in her mind, she’d find peace.

The Cottage at Gooseberry Bay is a series about, not only finding answers, but finding hope.
It’s a series about family and friendship.
It’s a series about shared holidays, festivals, and celebrations.
It’s a series about shared heartbreak and hardship.
And it’s a series about the bond that can be forged amongst strangers when tragedy binds two or more individuals with a common goal.

In book 1 in the series, Ainsley arrives in Gooseberry Bay only to find there will be no easy answers as she’d so naively hoped. Unwilling to leave before she gets what she came for, she rents a cottage on the sea where she and her dogs, Kai and Kallie, can settle in and wait.

Her first night in town she meets a young woman who is later found dead. The local sheriff has labeled the death of this young woman a suicide based on a text message she’d sent before she died. But Ainsley, who’d spoken to the victim only hours before the text was sent, isn’t quite as sure of the easy answer the sheriff would like everyone to believe.
An investigative journalist by trade and cops daughter by upbringing, Ainsley never had been the sort to walk away from unanswered questions, so with the help of new friends she meets along the way, she initiates a parallel investigation which seems to indicate the sheriff’s real motivation in trying to sell the suicide angle to the community is to protect the interests of a very rich and very powerful man.

My Rating: * * * *

My Review:

Kathy Daley is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. Since it is the Halloween season I decided to try a different series by her. I’m glad I did because it gave me the same good feels as her other ones. You can’t help but feel the people in these stories are friends and the town and it’s citizens are are charming.

Ainsley Holloway a young woman is searching for answers to her past after the death of her adoptive father. She’s come to find an explanation for the dreams that haunted her after the death of the cop who’d both rescued and raised her. And she’d come to identify the family she couldn’t remember but knew in her heart she’d once belonged to.

There is a lot of mystery, between a local murder and the mystery of Ainsley’s past. There is also a wealth of friendship, both old and new, a bit of romance and lot’s of animals!

The storyline will keep you going and wanting more of each turning Page . What a new and interesting series again by Kathi Daley, and I am looking forward to reading the next one in the Gooseberry Bay series!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54260385-halloween-moon

Kathi lives with her husband, kids, grandkids, and dogs in beautiful Lake Tahoe. When she isn’t writing, Kathi likes to read (preferably at the beach or by the fire), cook (preferably something with chocolate or cheese,) and garden (planting and planning not weeding). She also enjoys spending time on the water when she’s not hiking, biking, or snowshoeing, the miles of desolate trails surrounding her home.
Kathi uses the mountain setting in which she lives, along with the animals (wild and domestic) that share her home, as inspiration for her cozy mysteries.

Join me on Facebook at Kathi Daley Books (www.facebook.com/kathidaleybooks) for updates on my books, photos of life in Lake Tahoe, recipes, contests, and giveaways. For weekly updates and contests sign up for The Daley Weekly Newsletter (http://eepurl.com/NRPDf).

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278377.Kathi_Daley

Dracula’s Demeter — October 24, 2020

Dracula’s Demeter

July, 1897. A valiant sea captain, a clever fugitive, a deceptive cook and a beautiful stowaway begin their journey from the unforgiving Black Sea to the misty shores of England.

But hidden in the hold of the Russian schooner Demeter, an ancient predator with a lust for blood lies in wait.

Soon, the voyage takes a sinister turn, and the crew realizes the grave danger they are in. Will any of them make it to their destination alive?

My Rating: * * * * *

My Review:

I have always loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I know that it began my lifelong love of the vampire. The story is written in Stoker’s style and you come to know everything about Dracula’s journey from Varna to Whitby. You’ll learn about Lucy, Mina and Renfield whose minds are influenced by Dracula from the Demeter. The horror starts slow but the sea cruise soon turns into a formidable nightmare. I could feel the terror of these poor souls trapped at sea with this evil. I admit I’ve always been curious about what took place on the ship Dracula was transported to England on. I’m pleased to say I found the writing excellent, perhaps even surpassing the original novel by Stoker that it’s based upon. The pages easily held me mesmerized, perhaps a little of the Count’s mystical powers are involved because I found it difficult to put the novel down once I’d started reading.

In Stoker’s novel we know the vampire is a stowaway, hidden away in his crates of foul dirt, and that no one is left alive to steer the ship into port at the end of the voyage. We are drawn quickly into the lives of the unlucky crew, and the single passenger and stowaway fated to die aboard the Demeter. They come across as real people, the descriptions and individual personalities shown in vivid 3D color. The tension level is kept high throughout, which in my opinion is the key to any good horror story. The reader swiftly begins to feel the growing terror of these people, trapped on a ship with a monster out on the open seas. A warning here; you may want to read this novel during the daylight hours because all the senses are brought into play, including fear and disgust. When the storm rages around the ship, we can almost feel the spray of the saltwater on our face, smell the Count’s fetid breath brush against the neck, feel the stickiness of blood. For sure it’ll bring out a shiver or two. As we delve deeper into the story, one can’t help but hope for a miracle to arrive in time to save these doomed people. In fact there was always a seed of hope that someone could survive even though I knew this to be impossible.

This book in the flesh narrated the whole journey and describes the entire terrifying events and meticulous planning of the vampire with which he slowly and viciously kills the ship’s crew one by one increasing the level of claustrophobia, paranoia and tension among the survivors.

As the crew rumbles about a bad feeling onboard and mysterious weather follows the vessel, the crew of the Demeter begin to disappear one after another, falling prey to the predatory vampire hidden in the bowels of the ship’s hold. If you’re like me and always wanted to know what took place at the beginning of the famous Count’s journey from Transylvania to England, and you enjoy the scare of a good horror story, then Dracula’s Demeter is the novel for you. You will even find out the irony of the name of the doomed ship. I highly recommend Dracula’s Demeter.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50655393-dracula-s-demeter

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3300823.Doug_Lamoreux

About Doug Lamoreux

The last, quite possibly the least, Renaissance man, Doug Lamoreux (a father of three strong men and a grandfather), a lifelong horror film fan and child of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, recognized his incompatibility with the rest of the world – and gave it all up to act and write. He appeared in Mark Anthony Vadik’s The Thirsting (aka Lilith) and Hag. He starred in Peter O’Keefe’s Infidel and Boris Wexler’s The Arab. All interspersed with forty years in theater (during which he fell off the stage twice). Now he writes swell horror novels. The first-ever Igor Award recipient from The Horror Society, Doug is a former Pushcart Prize nominee, Rondo Award nominee, and his novel, Dracula’s Demeter, was a 2012 Lord Ruthven Award nominee for fiction.

All this blood,” Nikilov had said, waving his pathetic crucifix. “And not a drop to drink.”

― Doug Lamoreux, Dracula’s Demeter

The Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin #1) by M.C. Beaton — October 17, 2020

The Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin #1) by M.C. Beaton

 Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry–but falls over dead! After her quiche’s secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…


Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner’s tag on her toe…



My Rating: * * * * *

My Review:


If you love the traditional English Cozy, this is a series you will enjoy! M. C. Beaton creates a character in Agatha Raisin that is both cantankerous yet likeable. This is a cozy mystery, set in the lovely Cotswolds of England. This is one of the funniest mysteries I have read. I just loved Agatha.The middle aged amateur detective, and former PR firm owner. After retirement, and trying to fit into her new community Agatha buys a quiche at bakery in the city then enters it in a local contest, all was going well until the quiche eating judge dropped dead. She decides to investigate the murder to avoid being accused with some assistance from a friend on the police force. Her efforts result in comedy of errors. Full of rich quirky characters and Agatha’s relentless pursuit to belong this series is definitely worth reading!

AUTHOR
M.C. Beaton

Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.









A Haunting in the Hallway, by Kathi Daley — October 15, 2020

A Haunting in the Hallway, by Kathi Daley

A heartwarming cozy mystery series about losing everything, taking a chance, and starting again.

After suffering a personal tragedy Abby Sullivan buys a huge old seaside mansion she has never even seen, packs up her life in San Francisco, and moves to Holiday Bay Maine, where she is adopted, quite against her will, by a huge Maine Coon Cat named Rufus, a drifter with her own tragic past named Georgia, and a giant dog with an inferiority complex named Ramos. What Abby thought she needed was alone time to heal. What she ended up with was, an inn she never knew she wanted, a cat she couldn’t seem to convince to leave, and a new family she’d never be able to live without.

In book 5 in the series, the new bank president, who happens to be the son of the man who founded the community bank, is found dead and buried in his own grave. The man was not popular in the small community after making a lot of changes with his fathers passing and the list of possible suspects who might want him dead is extensive.

Meanwhile, it is October and the inn is hosting Halloween themed events including a murder mystery dinner party. The haunted weekends are just for fun but when guests report hearing noises in the hallway, Abby wonders if the inn might actually be haunted for real.

MY RATING: * * * * *

MY REVIEW:

 

I love this series! This series has quickly risen to the top of my must-buy-the-next-one list. It has such wonderful characters and you grow attached to as friends and grow to love. In this next book of the series the bank president has gone missing and people are speculating on just what could have happened to the man. Also, Abby’s bed and breakfast is up and running but strange noises in the hallway in the middle of the night is waking the guests, could the Inn be haunted? I love the detailed descriptions for holiday prep and festivities which gets me into the holiday spirit. It’s October in Holiday Bay with pumpkins and a hint of restless ghosts playing tricks. I enjoyed every page and as always and was left with a good feeling, and a wish for the next book to be out soon!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46224459-haunting-in-the-hallway

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278377.Kathi_Daley

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SWR9NPZ/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F46224459-haunting-in-the-hallway&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

https://www.amazon.com/Kathi-Daley/e/B00F3BOX4K?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Being Mrs. Dracula, by Faith Marlow — October 14, 2020

Being Mrs. Dracula, by Faith Marlow

When Valeria’s hand was given in marriage to the handsome and powerful Count Vlad Dracula, she dreamed of happiness but instead her life was filled with longing for her absent husband, their country ravaged by war. When Vlad at last returned from the battlefield he was a changed man, an alluring and dangerous creature with a thirst for her blood…and for more wives.

For over one hundred years, tales of Count Dracula have haunted and seduced the imagination of readers worldwide. Now experience the story of Dracula from a new perspective, as told by the three women who knew him best. Discover their stories, their secrets, and find out what it would be to love and be loved by history’s most powerful vampire in Being Mrs. Dracula.

In a marriage that spans centuries, one man shared between three women, love may be eternal but happiness is not guaranteed.


My Rating: *****

My Review:

 I absolutely loved this book. I have always been a fan of the Dracula story and even I never gave a thought to the beautiful deadly women who were the wives of Dracula. Faith Marlowe did, and what a brilliant idea it was and a wonderful treat for someone like me. The story is compelling. The Brides using journals to record their personal journey as the wife of the blood thirsty count. Valaria the first wife, married to the Count when both were mortal. Proud and stunningly beautiful. Ice and fire. Valaria is the strongest of the three and my personal favorite. Illona, the second wife. Beautiful, idealist and vulnerable. Fleur the third wife, Beautiful, vain, shallow and cruel. Born to immortality by her shocking murder by the count himself. I truly savored this story that is very well written with great descriptions and wonderful prose. It is hard to believe this is the Authors first Novel and I anxiously await the second book from this story. Well done Faith Marlowe!

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18887354-being-mrs-dracula

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782665.Faith_Marlow

The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot — October 13, 2020

The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot

 The year is 1464. King Matthias controls Hungary, his family, and the fate of the world’s most notorious political prisoner, Prince Vlad Dracula.


Ilona Szilágy, the king’s cousin, is young and ambitious. Dracula is determined to marry into the family. It is love at first sight, but the king has other plans. The Impaler Prince, however, never takes no for an answer.

Eager to become his trusted confidant, Ilona enters a treacherous world where revenge, betrayal, ambition, and passion transcend all that is sacred. And love demands the ultimate sacrifice.

Woven throughout is a peek into the life and times of one of the world’s most enigmatic and maligned rulers…the man before the legend.


MY RATING: *****

MY REVIEW:  This book is a must-read for those who love a well-written, well-researched, highly-engaging historical novel. I love stories of Vlad Dracula, and I have read quite a few. Most deal with Dracula the vampire. This story is about Vlad Dracula, the man and he is fascinating. It is also an often untold story of his wife, Illona, and the passionate volatile relationship they had. The story is told by Illona who is a perfect mate for the formidable Prince of Wallachia.

The story begins with Vlad and his brother Radu being taken as hostage by the Turkish Sultan in order to keep their father in line. Vlad at a young age knows the responsibility he carries as heir to the Wallachian throne. His father is a great warrior and of course he is brought up in the rigid and disciplined way of the warrior. While with the Sultan he has the best education, but much brutality is shown to him. Eventually his father reneges on his deal with the Sultan which will begin one of many betrayals of Vlad. The murder of his father, mother and older brother coupled with his brothers friendship with the Sultan’s son pushes him with thoughts of
revenge and the retaking of his rightful throne. Vlad learned to be ruthless, shrewd, and cruel in order to survive the harsh and brutal treatment of his Islamic captors.
Ilona lives at the kings – her cousin’s – court. Just as her sister and aunts. She’s a strong heroine and knows what she wants. And what she wants is the kings prisoner, Prince of Wallachia and Romania, Vladislav Dracul. I also loved that the POV was from Illona, the woman who was destined to become Dracula’s wife. I loved that their story began in a royal court where Illona was a cousin to the new King, and the attraction she felt to Vlad was so fierce that it was palpable to the reader – I could feel how she was feeling. This story had me counting the seconds until I could read more. It’s full of intrigue, barbaric acts of war and passionate, erotic love scenes. It will satisfy any Dracula lover. It did me. Wonderful job Autumn Bardot!






House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig — October 12, 2020

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

 

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.


My Rating: ***

My Review: 

I don’t usually read fantasy but this novel was quite good. My favourite thing about this book was definitely the atmosphere very dark and eerie and I loved the setting. The House of Salt and Sorrows is an enchanting and haunting retelling of the Brother Grimm’s fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The story begins at Highmoor, a remote manor on the sea with Annaleigh, her father, stepmother and sisters. Where once there were twelve sisters, at the start of our story, only nine remain. The last one to die is Eulalie who falls to her death from a cliff into the sea. Possibly to meet a lover who she planned to run away with. People believe there is a curse on this family. Erin A. Craig’s retelling of the tale delivers a magically engrossing tale including gods, a suspicious stepmother, magic doorways, haunting visions, terrifying suspense, and romance. The cover is beautiful. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a good fantasy novel.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39679076-house-of-salt-and-sorrows

Erin A. Craig

New York Times bestselling author Erin A. Craig has always loved telling stories.

After getting her B.F.A. from the University of Michigan, in Theatre Design and Production, she stage managed tragic operas with hunchbacks, séances, and murderous clowns, then decided she wanted to write books that were just as spooky.

An avid reader, decent embroiderer, rabid basketball fan, and collector of typewriters, Erin makes her home in West Michigan with her husband and daughter.

She is represented by Sarah Landis at Sterling Lord Literistic.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KDVTR4Y/ref=nav_custrec_signin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F39679076-house-of-salt-and-sorrows&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20&

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17892078.Erin_A_Craig

https://www.amazon.com/Erin-A.-Craig/e/B07KFR15ZD?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

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