Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.
I have a special note of gratitude to the publicist who works for the publisher of this novel because I am wicked excited to be a part of this blog tour! As soon as I read the premise of the story, I felt smitten and intrigued. I received a complimentary copy of “House on the Forgotten Coast” direct from the publicist in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I was smitten to read this novel of #MagicalRealism #Suspense:
As soon as I returnt the request to read this novel on the blog tour, there was something quite attractive about the story-line. I remember, fearing only how Suspenseful it might be, if it would push me outside my comfort zones or rather, if it would be more horrific than I could handle – but my first instincts told me this was a Psychological Suspense story which would broker into elements I love reading within Magical Realism, Cosy Horror and the paranormal – of where time spilts into a veiled reality between here and there and back again.
I also remember being wholly excited to spend time in this narrative,… the story spoke to me dear hearts, and I hadn’t fully understood why until I read the story itself. It is everything I had hoped it would be and a bit more,… the author bewitches you with her narrative, by giving you characters you feel attached to at first meeting and with a back-story which stretches from one century into ours… it is a story which pulls into your heart, gives you a pensive repose and doesn’t fully leave you,…
Like a monarch surveying her domain, the house has stood for over a hundred years in the fishing village of Apalachicola on Florida’s northwest coast. She has known life. She has known passionate love. She has known brutal death. But she has guarded her secrets well . . .
Then eighteen-year-old Elise Foster and her parents arrive from Atlanta in their silver Jaguar, bringing with them their own secrets and desires. Seeking friendship in their new community, they find instead that the townspeople resent their intrusion. But this intrusion on the house’s privacy also provides a pathway for the past and the present to merge—and for the truth behind an unsolved murder to finally be brought to light. As you strive to solve the mystery, you and the Fosters are forced to address two critical questions: What is real? What is delusion?
Ruth Coe Chambers takes pride in her Florida panhandle roots and her hometown of Port St. Joe has inspired much of her writing.
She is indebted to the creative writing classes at the University of South Florida where she found her “voice” and began writing literary fiction. Listed in the Who’s Who of American Women. She has recently republished one novel, and published it’s sequel, and has written two award-winning plays. She is currently working on the third novel in her Bay Harbor Trilogy. She has two daughters and lives with her husband and one very spoiled Cairn terrier in Neptune Beach, Florida.
Her two earlier novels include The Chinaberry Album and Heat Lightening.
Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in  as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.
I received a complimentary copy of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
On why I can’t wait to read more about Anna Blanc:
Series Overview: Young socialite turned police matron Anna Blanc bucks society’s mores to solve crime in early 1900s Los Angeles.
The main reason I find myself so very attached to the world in which Anna Blanc lives is because of how she is beautifully brought to life by Ms Kincheloe. She has a way of fusing Anna into our hearts whilst winning us over with her quirkily humourous prose which not only dictates a keen awareness of Anna but of the times in which she is alive. It’s a curious door into the historical past as these were my parting words after having read the first novel of the series:
Sophisticated in her ascertainment of conception behind Anna Blanc, Kincheloe has writ such a lively character, you drink in her words with such a joy of delight! She has a fast paced narrative, where the humour is smitten by the sophisticated edging of her character’s personality, matched equally brilliantly by the grace of a Cosy Historical Mystery backdrop! She’s captured the turn of the century atmosphere aptly, as she tucks in recognisable familiarities to alight in your imagination as you turn the pages; replete with gaslights and other bits which correlate with the era.
I loved the way in which Kincheloe turnt a phrase, using words not oft found in historical fiction as her novel is a good primer of words that are wicked to say aloud and used in descriptive narratives such as this one! The phrases themselves are a delight for readers who love words as much as wordsmiths, which Kincheloe definitely excels at including whilst giving Anna Blanc a crafty choice of words to express her emotional duress! She also found a clever way to include Anna’s religious background by having her talk to the Saints when a mood or a moment fitted the hour; it was quite an interesting way to thread faith inside a mainstream novel and I liked the author’s candor.
The best attribute Anna Blanc has within her is a self-motivating resolve to become self-educated as it was such a joy to watch her expand her mind in a fervent attempt to understand the underpinnings of motives and causes of the crimes that were leeching through her city at such a fast rate of alarm. She did not just want to sleuth for the sake of detection but to fully understand the methodology behind the crimes and I think this is a nod to the writer’s (Kincheloe) curiosity being piqued by true crime stories straight out of the historical archives from whence she draws her inspirations. Kincheloe also under-writ a stunning historical survey of early Forensic techniques which inspired Anna with her investigating – especially in regards to understanding the differences between murder and suicide. This became quite pivotal in the story as Anna Blanc made her transition from socialite to female detective.
The beauty of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc are the little bits of plot your not expecting to find encircle through the evolving story – there were little clues fluttering through it’s context, but the joy was not completely sorting it all out until the very last chapter – wherein, your heart swoons with glee and you champion the success Anna Blanc had in closing her second case! This is a bit of a guilty pleasure for historical fiction readers – Kincheloe has tempted us with her wicked sweet prose where a heroine peppers the scenes with her feisty personality and a penchant for seeking out the truth from a sea of lies!
In early-1900s Los Angeles—an era of courting, ragtime, suffragettes, and widespread corruption—a socialite turned police matron tracks down the murderer of a white woman in Chinatown, while trying to prevent the outbreak of a bloody tong war.
Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. If news about the murder gets out, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna work to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret, reluctantly helped by the good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent local leader.
Meanwhile, the kidnapping of two slave girls fuels existing tensions, leaving Chinatown poised on the verge of a bloody tong war. Joe orders Anna to stay away, but Anna is determined to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook
About Jennifer Kincheloe
Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse's aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She's currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.
Photo Credit: Fola Akinyemi Biography updated: March 2017
Borrowed Book By:I have been an appreciator of Ms Huber’s novels ever since I first read “The Antaomist’s Wife” being the first Lady Darby Mystery – which set the course for my heart to fall in love with the relationship building between Lady Darby and Mr Gage! As you can follow my readerly musings and ruminations throughout the length of the series, save the fifth book which I am in the process of reading right now. I was delayed initially from consuming the fifth Lady Darby (which I shall explain when I post my review), however, I’ve been proactively requesting Ms Huber’s novels via my local library!
As I knew I couldn’t purchase copies for myself per each release, I decided to ‘introduce’ the novels to other patrons whilst selecting them for my own reading benefit. Blessedly, my library has been continuously adding the novels of Ms Huber to our card catalogue and I must say, they are regularly finding new ‘readers’ who appreciate her collective works! When it came time for her new series ‘The Verity Kent Mysteries’ and the ‘Gothic Myths’, I knew I wanted to submit these for purchase requests as well. I was overjoyed when they initially arrived, however, I had to ‘let them go’ to re-request lateron. This October, whilst planning my #SpooktasticReads readathon of lovelies, I put the books back into ‘queue’ to be savoured now. Ergo, I was not obliged to post this review – I am sharing it for my own edification and to help those who follow my literary adventures seek out a new author they might not have stumbled across themselves. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I asked my library to purchase more Huber novels:
When you find a writer who can transport you so wholly true into the historic past with convicting narrative clarity such as Ms Huber has established, you simply want to follow their writerly careers. If I had been in the position to purchase the novels as they released, I would have – however, I did something to help others in my area learn of her novels: I submitted purchase requests for her stories! I’ve been doing this since the beginning – encouraging my library to continue to seek out and purchase her next releases as new stories emerge to be read.
As October christianed a new Season, I decided to have a bit of ‘fun’ this year, by spending the weeks leading up to Halloween reading Mysteries, Suspense & Thriller stories in anticipation of a holiday I truly have loved since I was a child! Halloween is a beloved tradition – the stories which leave you thirsty for more which give you a bit of a girth of excitement to read make it even more enjoyable! I couldn’t pick out as many Cosy Horror titles as I would have preferred – I’ll save those for next year’s follies, but this year, the callings of my heart led me back into Ms Huber’ s novels!
Whilst planning to finish my readings of the latest #LadyDarby – I happily re-requested to read her latest: ‘This Side of Murder’ being the first #VerityKent Mystery and ‘Secrets of the Mist’ being a decidedly Gothic tale which was sure to haunt me a wee bit! I hadn’t realised she was publishing through different publishers – as I was focusing more on the ‘stories’ rather than their route to publication. I thought it was quite lovely each of her stories have found wings and a home to fly – as I know this is sometimes a tricky part of a writer’s life – finding how to publish the stories which step outside one of your main veins of interest – in this case, the Lady Darby series.
Equally to why I love Lady Darby, I am finding Verity Kent has a refreshing new ‘interest’ for me to latch onto as she’s set this delightful series between the World Wars – an era I readily explore through war dramas and the odd Cosy Historical Mystery (the category of genre I rightly place her Lady Darby Mysteries) – a definitive term I use for those writers who are so hugged centre into the ‘history’ of their timescapes – they are creating a lovely hybrid new genre which merges & blends everything I love between the ‘Historical Fiction novel’ and the ‘Cosy Mystery’; it’s an elevated sophistication in literature which I wholeheartedly am giddy about exploring!
Notation on the : Poole harbour – where Lord Ryde & Verity Kent were arriving gives out a certain layer of insight into where this ‘story’ is both set and placed into our view. It also allows the reader to see Mrs Kent from a different perspective than straight-on whilst gaining a bit about how ‘put together’ she is and how she strives to make do with what she has left to give. She’s a curious woman – by all counts – as she is both conflicted and eludes great confidence in not only who she is but where she is in her life. The confliction of course is due to the nature of how she lost her husband and the ‘after effects’ of the war which affected them all.
England, 1919. Verity Kent's grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity's first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.
Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney's fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It's a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception. . .
Anna Lee Huber is the Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author of the Lady Darby Mystery Series. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. From a young age, her imagination was boundless. She spent her summers with her brothers and sister playing Star Wars, wearing snow boots and her mother's old nightgowns while swinging plastic bats as light-sabers, and The A-Team hanging off the riding lawn mower (what else were they supposed to use for the van?). In the fourth grade, she penned her first story, and she’s been writing ever since.
Anna attended college in Music City USA-Nashville, Tennessee, where she met her husband while acting in a school production of Our Town. They married just before she graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a minor in Psychology. She now pens the award-winning Lady Darby historical mystery series for Berkley Publishing. Her debut novel, The Anatomist’s Wife, has won and been nominated for numerous awards, including a Daphne du Maurier Award and two 2013 RITA® Awards.
Anna is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She currently lives in Indiana with her family, and when not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family.
Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of  during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.
I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Halfway Hunted” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Terry Maggert) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
On the heart tug of emotional angst stemming out of the cliffhanger from Halfway Bitten:
In case you’ve missed my full ruminations on behalf of the first novel in this wonderfully witchy series, please direct your mouse to Halfway Dead!
When Halfway Bitten concluded – I had mixed emotions. In some ways, I had trouble sorting out my thoughts because I couldn’t quite say I had the same reaction to the second story as I did the first: wicked sweet admiration for the story in whole. No. I honestly had a difficult takeaway, as portions of the story felt ‘off’ to me somehow, something I have sorted out how to explain, if you read the ‘postscript’ on my review.
The hardest part about the ending is how it ends – to be direct, this is the second time I felt overcome by the ending of a novel. The first time was during a read-fest of Lady Darby, of which sadly ended with me unable to resolve my feelings in order to read the adorable pocket sized fifth installment. (see also post) By the time I resolved my emotional angst, I was facing a real-life medical crisis. (see also post) In this particular case, it was simply emotionally gutting – such a sad conclusion and yet, a heroic gesture for someone’s beloved. Wulfric grew on me – as he didn’t warm to me initially – it was through his love for Carlie and the overtures of sincerity he made started me to think about another vampire I liked (ie. Angel; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Angel series)
Each of the Halfway Witchy stories are progressively moving deeper into the heart of Carlie’s personal growth and the ways in which her life is exponentially complicated through her experiences as a white witch. Maggert threads a hearty threading of realism into the backbone of the series – there are happy moments, sure, but overall, this is a cheeky satire with high octane drama. It’s set in a world just out of the view of our own – if you kept the veil of the supernatural away from your eyes, you could say this is ‘present day, 21st Century’, too. It’s texture of familiarity is enhanced by how Maggert etches into his narrative exchanges of cultural and tradition Americans would readily recognise. This is decidedly American – not just in how he chooses to write his characters’ unique personalities or their delivery of their lines, but rather, how the story is told. You can perceive a lens of grounding out of the author’s own imagination and living memories whilst countered against the unseen and very dangerous supernatural world.
This is why I am so genuinely addicted to this series – you feel like brewing up a warm cuppa and settling in for returning back to a place that feels so much like home. Similar to Stars Hollow if you will. Or any small towne you feel you can cosy up inside and be recognised as a resident rather than as a passing through outsider. This is why despite the cliffhanger giving my heart a lurched out motion of ‘how could this happen!?’ I felt Maggert left in just enough Hope for things to turn around and/or have restitution given down the road a bit in the next installments to where I could handle moving forward. Unlike my feelings on behalf of the recent episode of NCIS: LA (see this thread of a rant of mine) which pushed the envelope too far for me to even consider rational and plausible in regards of ‘where’ a story-line in a family tv series should go.
As an aside, Lady Darby’s story-line crushed my soul, NCIS: LA disturbed my heart and disillusioned my loyalty to a series I’ve followed since JAG (ie: all 3x NCIS are spins of the original) and Halfway Witchy dealt with a twist of fate in such a better way. If you’re going to give a reader (or a viewer) a heart-wreck of a cliffhanger or turning of tides, take after Mr Magget. And, yes… I am going to be reading Lady Darby – after you nearly lose your father to a series of TIAs, even a crushed soul can be repaired. Or in my case, a severe case of amnesia occurred because something more important was hitting my reality. NCIS: LA is falling into the category of Castle & Downton Abbey; not everything can be forgiven. Then again, I boycotted Angel after S2 for similar reasons.
Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.
A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time. Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie's spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.
But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:
1. Don't complain about the diner's waffles.
2. Don't break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.
Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire's curse without burning the waffles?
Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.
Notation on Cover Art Design: charmed by two, indifferent towards a third
Unlike my admiration for the first two covers, the third cover was slightly less inclined to be liked by me due to how ‘blood’ was the prime feature of the artwork. I’m not a girl who likes vampires or werewolves – not generally – I do have my exceptions (all girls do) but if you were to cast a wide net about the stories of the supernatural and/ paranormal suspense in general – I’m just not the kind of reader / viewer who digs a lot of er, blood. Unless it’s a medical drama – not that I can handle watching or reading medical dramas anymore – in my teenage years I could filter real life from fictional; as an adult, I’ve lived too many years with medical crises to care to always be locked into a soul-wretch of a fictional one. I even wanted to share the promo badges attached to this blog tour – as some of the quotes were my personal favourites – but again. The ‘blood’ is just too .. er, ick for me!? I always par down the blood – my imagination is tamer than most and more expansive in other regards – in true essence, I dial down the gore. Not that I would consider Maggert’s fiction ‘gory’ no, it’s still within what I consider ‘Cosy Horror’ or even ‘Horror-Lite’ but.. yes. This cover just didn’t win me over. I sort of wished for the continuity of the marker tattoos. That was something wicked original now discarded.
About Terry Maggert
Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.