Top 5: Urban Paranormal Books of 2019

Introducing Amy! My best friend and guest contributor for this article. A great lover of books, especially the genre of Urban Paranormal. Christmas is coming and the end of 2019 so Amy, introduce yourself and give us your Top 5 Urban Paranormal reads of 2019!

SPOILER WARNING FOR THIS ARTICLE!

I didn’t always love to read – at 7 I was diagnosed with Dyslexia. My mum did a lot of work with me in order for me to learn techniques to work with and around my Dyslexia. One of the best things she did was to get me to read on a regular basis; safe to say it wasn’t as easy as giving me a book and telling me to read but she persevered and found something I would read with very little prompting (the Adventure Series by Enid Blyton for those that were wondering) and once I started there was no stopping me! I have been asked to review my top 5 books of 2019 from my favorite genre Urban Paranormal.

5. Electric Curse- Stacy Brutger

Cover Image supplied by Stacey Brutger

I had just happened upon this series one day, and I’d read 3 books in a row before I knew it! I have thoroughly enjoyed this universe and all its characters. This book is the end of the series, which I hadn’t realized until the very end! This book managed to round up the questions that had been brought up in previous books. However, I also feel this book has raised more questions; for me, I would like to know what happened to the super soldiers. Did they join the supernatural community? Did they find a way of fixing what was done to them in the labs and not just slowing it down? Does Raven continue to work with the council in a private-eye capacity or does she take on a larger role? And does she learn more control of the shifting and powers? I feel that the book is a bit open-ended.

I like the introduction of Bear into Raven’s group of main men, but I feel it was a bit rushed to add him as this was the last book and we didn’t really get to see the same dynamic with them as with her other men.

I would love to read any novellas that she may (nudge-nudge) end up writing, as I feel this universe she has created has so much more to offer!

4. Sweep of the Blade – Ilona Andrews

Cover Image from Goodreads

My sister was the one to introduce me to this series. I had seen it pop up in my Kindle’s suggestions and never took the plunge, but once I did I blew through the first 3 books and waited impatiently for the fourth.

I really enjoyed seeing what had happened to Maud and Helen and learning more about the vampire culture and Maud regaining her place in it. The action sequences are detailed and vicious and everything you would want in a fight scene! In this book you also learn more about why Maud and her daughter were exiled, and how this has helped to define both of them, especially Helen as she has demonstrated a few times how ferocious she is, even in comparison to other vampire children. The finale is a great start for the next book, and I can’t wait to delve into this world again. My only complaint is the length of time between each book, though fortunately I’ve not been reading this story for as long as my sister, so I haven’t had to wait nearly as long!

3. Grave Destiny – Kalayna Price

Cover Image from Goodreads

I have thoroughly enjoyed the world Kalayna has created. In this latest book, she shocked me with the death of the main heroine’s nemesis, the Unseelie Queen of the Winter Court, which makes me wonder who is going to become Alex’s opposing force. Is this a build-up to a greater foe or obstacle to overcome? I do miss Death’s presence somewhat though he is understandably backing off, but now that the major block between Alex and Falin is gone I hope we see more of them together and see what dynamic their relationship will take now that Falin is King. I also wonder how Dugan will fit into Alex’s life as he has made it pretty clear he considers her his betrothed. My only gripe is the wait between books – I need to read more about this world!

2. Siren’s Song – Karen Chance

Cover Image supplied by Karen Chance

This is another series I have been with this series since the start, which I began in 2006. There are two things I really enjoyed in this story. The first is that it is told from the point of view of Pritkin, a main character in the storyline. The majority of the books are centered around Cassie Palmer, our main protagonist. The second is that it is a brother-book to Dragon’s Claw (which is told from the point of view of Dory). I loved the different perspectives of the story- it began and finished so differently from Dragon’s Claw it really added to the whole adventure.

This book shows that though Cassie is where the story started and she is vital to the war, there are other strong characters that are just as important. In this story, Cassie was not needed at all to avert disaster (not that she doesn’t get into enough trouble on her own!). I loved seeing two characters who are usually in different storylines interact and bring Cassie’s and Dorina’s storylines together!

1. Storm Cursed – Patrica Briggs

Cover Image from Goodreads

I have been reading this series since it first came out 15 years ago. I have enjoyed every book but this one has given me a few surprises, which I think is hard to do with a long-running series, as you get to know the characters so well, as well as the flow of the story.

In the previous books, we learn a lot about the dynamics and politics of the wolves, vampires and the fey, and although the witches have featured heavily in previous books it has only included one grey witch family, so this is the first time we meet witches outside this family.

Now, this wasn’t the surprise though. The first surprise came when a long-running character died. He had been there since the first book. He was not a main character but someone who was in the background, one of the pack you could picture and know something about, as although you know quite a few of the pack there is an impression in the books that the pack is much larger than just the characters you know, and it was nice to picture him amongst a sea of many and know a few things about him e.g. his dislike of Mercy.

The second surprise is the death of our main witch, who again has been with us since the very first book! These deaths were written in so naturally, I could not conceive the story being any other way.

Top 5 Newly Released Scary Autumn Read

IT’S OCTOBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love October! Everything is orange and cozy and spooky, its the perfect recipe for snuggling with a book. I’ve just moved house and even though I am surrounded by boxes, all I want to do is make a reading nook den in my living room next to the big patio windows, overlooking the garden changing colours and cozy up with haunted reads to celebrate!

That being said what are my Top 5 Newly Released Scary October Reads I hear you ask. I’m a reviewer for the wonderful, amazing NetGalley and in the months leading up to October, there have been many a scary tale to review. Here are my favorite’s that are out now:

5 – Whickering Place by London Clarke

Image Supplied by London Clarke

Whickering Place by London Clarke is the second book in her Legacy of Darkness Series and published by BooksGoSocial. It is advertised under Horror and Mystery & Thriller but I would also add YA too.

Avery Tullinger, surviving death at a young age now fears the world. She can’t leave her house without panic attacks and this has led her into a life of isolation but is trying to regain a normal life through therapy. When her father dies and leaves her a Historical Mansion in Ashville, North Carolina, Avery faces her fears and moves out there.

The house has a dark history and Avery knows nothing about it. Soon a disconnected phone keeps ringing and shadows move around the house making Avery question her sanity. After finding her fathers journal perhaps Avery isn’t as insane as she thinks. Add into the mixture ritual scarifies, a cult and a love story this book is well worth a read.

Unfortunately, Whickering Place is in the number 5 spot because even though I really enjoyed the book and demons in the house were given a voice. I felt this let the book down as I like my evil to be voiceless, I don’t want to know their motives, I just want a good scare!

Published – 30 July 2019

4 – Asylum by Jack Adams

Asylum by Jack Adams and published by Atlas Productions is billed under Adult General Fiction and Mystery & Thrillers.

Two, ten-year-old best friends make friends with an asylum patient who they talk to through the wire fence of the asylum’s recreational garden. The two boys can’t see that anything is wrong with the man, they don’t understand why he’s in there, he’s just their friend Joe. Joe goes missing and the boys grow up. Now they are partners one working as a psychiatrist and the other a private detective. They both receive a letter asking them to meet up with Joe’s lawyer as Joe has left them an inheritance after being declared dead. From here the best friends return to their youth, determined to either find Joe or his body but most importantly the truth of his disappearance.

I would have to say that this book is curious. I liked the synopsis and the cover as this is the type of book I go for. I enjoyed how easy the book was to read and it did hold my attention. However, I did find there to be cliches and sometimes the characters annoyed me but my curiosity came when I wasn’t reading it. During these times it began to keep popping up in my mind and I am sad now that I’ve had to say goodbye. For all its faults this book has made an impact on me and will stay with me. I think that the reason for this is the sometimes annoying characters. They are so human and are going through their own life-shattering problems, whether it be divorce, loneliness or abandonment issues, etc. They seek company with each other, this little band of misfits who I find myself caring about. I would read this book again and I would recommend it to others, but be warned this book has a power that grows when not reading it

Published 14 July 2019

3 – Violet by Scott Thomas

Image supplied by Inkshares

Violet by Scott Thomas is published by Inkshares.

Violet tells an amazing story of how grief can grow into a rot that can spread across your life and that of others. Kris Barlow first lost her mother to cancer at the tender age of ten and has now lost her husband at 41 years old. Calling to mind a romanticized, nostalgic summer lake house retreat her parents owned, Kris remembers how the house helped her overcome her former grief and therefore decides to return, taking her 8-year-old daughter with her. But the lake house is neglected, the town isn’t thriving anymore, girls have gone missing and her daughter is suddenly laughing and enjoying life with not a care in the world. Furthermore, what is making her so happy is an invisible friend….. Thomas writes this horror story as a slow burner so much so, that I forgot it was a horror as I was so invested in Kris and her daughter’s struggle to survive the recent death. When the horror did hit, it hit hard, because I was so distracted! This ability makes this novel a stand out horror novel for me. At the end of the book, in the acknowledgments, Thomas states that his father had cancer and you can feel the grief of this real-life horror bleeding into the work, because of this, I hope that Thomas found writing this book as therapeutic, as I did reading it.

Published 24 September 2019

2 – One by One by D. W. Gillespie

Image supplied by Smith Publicity Inc

One by One by D. W. Gillespie is published by Flame Tree Press.

What a book! After reading this, I am completely certain Hollywood will be knocking on Gillespie’s door wanting to do a movie deal. What a perfect haunted house story! It was a toss-up between this book and the next which would take the number one spot!

How do I explain how amazing this book is without giving out any spoilers? The Eastons have found a new house to live in at a steal. After moving in the youngest of the family discovers a family of stick figures hidden behind wallpaper in the hall. Oddly the stick figure family is almost a stick figure family of the Eastons. Suddenly, they start going missing one, by one and as they go missing a stick figure gets crossed off…

This book is the first novel I’ve read from this author and having finished it, I’ll be going out of my way to read more of Gillespie’s work! I can’t believe it ended! This author had me hooked right from the beginning and turned into one of those books that eat you up and leaves you with a hunger for more when finished. This was a perfect haunted house story with all the right elements

Published 26 September 2019

1 – Bone China by Laura Purcell

Image supplied by Bloomsbury Publishing

And, my number one pick – Bone China by Laura Purcell published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Laura Purcell is becoming the defining author of my twenties as J. K. Rowling is the defining author of my childhood. I truly love her work and each book ticks all my boxes for a great story. So much so, I would camp outside a book store the night before a release to get one of the first copies. Her latest addition continues to cement her growing reputation as the Queen of Gothic Horror. Bone China is set in Cornwall during the Georgian era, where a ladies maid seeks new employment in a house set on the cliffs far from civilization. She is running from her dark past but this same dark past is running after her too. Once she arrives, she is plagued by the superstitions of the staff and a strange mistress with an interesting past involving a tuberculosis experiment conducted on criminals in the cave beneath the house. But what if its not superstition after all and the warning should be heeded? After all, everything can be explained away rationally until it can’t, isn’t perception reality? I can’t possibly say enough good things about this book! Each chapter, each page is alive!

Published 3 October 2019

Once again a big thank you to NetGalley and the publishers who gave me electronic ARC’s of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.