Character Guest Post: LOVE, LIES, AND AZURE EYES by Janis Thornton



Good day, book people. I’m always happy to welcome authors and other book people and today I have a special treat for us all. Today’s guest is stepping off of the pages of the newly released paranormal romantic suspense read Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes by Janis Thornton, I bid you welcome Annie Sinclair. Thank you, Annie, for taking time away from your writing and other enterprises to spend some time with us today.




Hello. I’m Annie Sinclair, a West Coast-based, single, 43-year-old struggling writer. Pleased to meet you. I’ve been back in my tiny, Indiana home town for two weeks, which is one week longer than I intended when I boarded my flight at LAX. I hadn’t visited Logan Point for five years and should have been riddled with guilt about not seeing my dad for that long. But Charlie Sinclair isn’t exactly Ward Cleaver and, to be honest, I wouldn’t have made the trip back at all had he not called me two-and-a-half weeks ago and asked me to come home — his treat. He said he had “bidness” to conduct with me and would only do it in person. What could I say? It sounded important. I thought maybe he was getting remarried. My mom’s been dead five years, which seems like a respectable amount of time for any man to wait, especially one so helpless that he can’t butter his toast without a woman showing him which side. When he finally did talk to me about his “bidness,” I was ashamed of my cavalier absence from his life. 

On the other hand, this trip back to Logan Point has not been without its advantages, I must admit. As a freelance journalist, my livelihood depends on landing lucrative assignments. Lucky for me, the same day Charlie called, I also heard from the editor of Now magazine, one of the better tabloids lining the checkout aisle at your favorite supermarket. The editor offered me a nice chunk of change for a three-part series about small-town folklore, and I knew immediately I would kick it off with a story about the legendary ghost that haunts the curve on the highway just outside of Logan Point. 

The ghost is supposedly my high school classmate, Shelayne Goodnight, who was murdered at the curve 25 years ago, during our senior year. Her mysterious death had never been solved, but as soon as I started the research, strange things began happening. 

For example, the Logan Point Ledger’s new editor, Scott Wayne, a veteran newspaperman transplanted from Chicago, walked into my life. The first time we met, I pegged him as a jerk. The second time we met, he thought I was the jerk. The third time we met, we fell in love.

Then I came face to face with Johnny Lange, a boy I’d known in school. Seeing him again was a real shock, since he had lost his life in a car crash at the curve 25 years before, just five months after Shelayne died. He had been the prime suspect in Shelayne’s murder, and after he died, everyone in town believed he had gotten his due — which is why he popped in that night, scared the spit out of me, and begged me to help prove his innocence. According to Afterlife regulations, only spirits with a clean bill of sale can ascend into heaven, so Johnny desperately needed to clear his name so he could move on.

And then, the third strange occurrence was an appearance by Shelayne herself. Evidently, Afterlife rules also allow murder victims to come back to escort the soul of their killers to the other side, which is why she had returned. And while I won’t tell you who she accompanied across the goal line, I will say, it wasn’t Johnny. 

I also had the opportunity to be reunited with my first love, Carter McKuen, and to be reminded why I broke up with him when I went off to college and never looked back. And finally, I mended some hurtful misunderstandings with my girlhood best pal, Dorinda Duncan, whom I hadn’t seen for at least two decades. I’d like to say she hadn’t changed one bit, but she had. She’d become a disingenuous, scheming fraud. 

So, this is where my story has taken me, and I can hardly wait to see how things turn out. If you’d like to join me, my book is available as an ebook for just $3.99. But if you sign up for the giveaway, you might win it! If this is any enticement, I can assure you, my story has a happy ending.

Thank you for this opportunity to tell you a bit about Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes






Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes

by Janis Thornton




About the Book


Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes
Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Soul Mate Publishing, LLC (June 12, 2019)
Print Length: 267 pages
ASIN: B07PRV6VZC


Elated by Annie’s response, Johnny caved to his impulse and pressed his mouth to her sweet lips, sparking a surge of electricity that ricocheted through his entire body, and for one glorious moment swept him up in a wave of emotion that meteorically whisked him to the edge of the universe, past swirling spirals of brightly burning stars — white dwarfs, red giants, entire galaxies. Caught in the rapture, he shed his cocoon of darkness and experienced the light — the wonderful, warm, life-affirming light. He reveled in it, felt alive. He almost believed he was. Almost.

* * *

West Coast journalist Annie Sinclair’s career, not to mention her love life, has been on the skids far too long, when she returns to Logan Point, her small, Indiana hometown. She’s back to make amends with her elderly father, and to delve into the 25-year-old, unsolved murder of her high school classmate for a writing gig with a national tabloid.

Annie’s plans soon go awry, and her mettle is tested — first when her father warns her against digging into the past; and again, when she meets the Logan Point Ledger’s handsome, but exasperating, new editor; and again still, when she reconnects with her first love, who clearly wants to rekindle what once was.

But Annie’s most arduous test appears in the form of the earthbound spirit of a boy she once knew — the boy with the azure eyes accused of the murder she is looking into. He needs her to prove his innocence, so he can break the ties that bind him to the darkness. In exchange, he will set Annie free to realize that the love she yearns for is just within her reach … if only she will open her heart.



About the Author




Janis Thornton is the author of a true crime/oral history/memoir, Too Good a Girl, as well as two cozy mysteries, Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies and Dead Air & Double Dares. She also is the author of two local history books and contributor to Undeniably Indiana. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Authors Guild, and the Indianapolis Writers Center. She lives in her Indiana hometown in the same house where she grew up.



Author Links


Website: www.janis-thornton.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janisthorntonauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanisThornton
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6482161.Janis_Thornton




Purchase Link Amazon


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Book 272: THIS SAME EARTH Review

I enjoyed reading A Hidden Fire so much that I promptly bought and read the next book in the series. Giovanni and Beatrice’s story continues in This Same Earth, book two in the Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter. Beatrice has been abducted by Lorenzo and was held captive for several weeks before being freed by Giovanni, Caspar and Tenzin. Although she wasn’t tortured or hurt physically, the emotional torture has left its mark, primarily because she thought that Giovanni had willingly traded her for a book.

It takes awhile for Giovanni to convince Beatrice that this was not the case, but he gradually gets her to see that Lorenzo was going to abduct her no matter what so he simply played along with him. To give Beatrice time to heal from the emotional trauma of her abduction, not to mention witnessing the horrific fight between the two different vampire factions, Giovanni takes to the mountains of Chile. Beatrice and Giovanni are given the opportunity to show their feelings for one another and their relationship becomes much closer, or so Beatrice thinks. Regrettably their lives cannot be put on hold forever and Beatrice must return to the States to attend graduate school. So off they go, Beatrice to LA for school and Giovanni to try and track down her father, his errant son and to amass allies in the ongoing battle with his son.

Beatrice spends an enjoyable few years in graduate school and makes friends. She returns to Chile each summer but her time there is spent without benefit of Giovanni’s company. She knows that she loves him and tells him so in a series of journals. Each year she says she’s not going to return to Chile but her ticket is mysteriously left at her home and she returns. Fortunately she is afforded the opportunity to read through some of Giovanni’s journals and learns a bit more of his past lives. 

Fast forward a few more years and Beatrice is twenty-eight years old. She is an accomplished young woman, fluent in several languages, a homeowner, an employee at the Huntington Library in California, and in a relationship with a loving man, Mano. It has been six years since she saw Giovanni and she’s trying to move on with her life, or so she thought until Giovanni mysteriously reappears. Giovanni is now the legal guardian and “uncle” to a precocious, street-smart twelve-year-old named Ben. 

Beatrice must deal with renewing her relationship with Giovanni and building a relationship with Ben, her eventual breakup with Mano, and an introduction to her great-great-great-grandfather (I think I left out a few more greats but you get the idea), who just happens to be a water vampire that oversees LA. What follows is a series of fast-paced incidents including the abduction of one of Carwyn’s sons. Beatrice and Giovanni wind up going to Ireland, England and France trying to track down leads on the whereabouts of Lorenzo and Beatrice’s father, Stephen. Through it all Beatrice must confront her feelings for Giovanni and ultimately decide if she wants to have a relationship with him as a human or be turned. 

This Same Earth is another fast-paced paranormal, romantic suspense read by Ms. Hunter. There’s slightly more action and intrigue in this story, and more background information is given providing insight into Giovanni, Carwyn, Tenzin and even Lorenzo. The story ends leaving the reader hanging, wanting and waiting for more. Regrettably the third book in this series, The Force of Wind isn’t due out until February/March 2012, and I’ll definitely be putting it on my TBR list.


Book 271: A HIDDEN FIRE Review

Giovanni Vecchio is the proverbial mysterious, tall, dark and handsome stranger. He is reportedly doing research on an ancient document found in the university’s library. Beatrice de Novo is studying library sciences and works part-time in the evenings at the university’s library. Giovanni and Beatrice don’t have much in common other than a love in books, or so it appears in A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter, the first in the Elemental Mysteries series.

Giovanni may look the quintessential professional but he is so much more. Giovanni Vecchio happens to be more than 500 years old and is searching for books from his old library. He happens to be a vampire with a special gift, an affinity for fire. Due to this elemental affinity he can light candles, kindling to start fires and unfortunately short out most electronic equipment including cell phones, appliances, and cars. Currently residing in Houston, Texas, Giovanni lives a quiet life assisted by his friend/butler/chauffeur, Caspar. Caspar takes care of the tedious parts of Giovanni’s life. He also maintains contact with other vampires around the world, including two of Giovanni’s oldest friends: Carwyn, a one thousand-year-old Welsh priest, and Tenzin, a four thousand plus year old Asian woman. Carwyn is an earth vampire and can manipulate soil and rock, and Tenzin is an air vampire and can manipulate the wind and fly. These are not your run-of-the-mill vampires.

Beatrice, or “B,” is a hard-working student. She’s in her senior year and wants to graduate and continue her studies with a graduate degree. She is currently residing with her only known relative, her paternal grandmother. Her father disappeared and was presumed dead more than 10 years ago. Her grandfather died just a few years ago and her mother hasn’t been in her life since her birth. One would presume that these hard knocks would cause B to feel sorry for herself or worse, but she is a rather level-headed young woman. Or at least she thought she was until confronted with the reality that Giovanni is a vampire. If that wasn’t hard enough to swallow, she must also accept that she wasn’t crazy during her teen years and that she had seen her father – a newly turned vampire. 

Long story short, Giovanni feels that B’s father may try to contact her and wants to be readily available. To say that B has a lot to deal with is a massive understatement. It doesn’t help that she is attracted to Giovanni and that he seems to share her feelings. Weeks pass and it seems that things aren’t as bad as feared but then B is abducted by the man she and Giovanni feared. Lorenzo was turned by Giovanni and is the one that turned B’s father. He is ruthless, amoral and completely without feeling. Will Giovanni be able to save B before she can be harmed or turned? Will Giovanni and B ever be able to have a relationship other than friendship?

I kind of liked the notion that Giovanni is an antique book dealer and that B is a librarian, a research librarian but hey . . . books! Their relationship goes through many different changes including wary acquaintances, employer-employee, and then friendship. B feels as if she is caught between a rock and a hard place because she wants more from Giovanni than he is prepared to give (sounds like a lot of male-female relationships). There’s a lot more going on in this story than the subtle male-female attraction between B and Giovanni; there’s also the completely dysfunctional father-son relationship between Giovanni and Lorenzo, Giovanni’s familial relationship with Caspar and even Carwyn, B’s love-hate relationship with her father (primarily due to his disappearance), and the budding romance between Caspar and Isadora de Novo, B’s grandmother. Whew, told you it was a lot but it works. A Hidden Fire is a fast paranormal-romantic suspense read and a surprisingly good read at that.  

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 232: THE MERZETTI EFFECT Review

Ainsley Crawford is nothing more than a nurse seeking a job. On the night of a job interview, she is viciously attacked by a vampire and subsequently rescued by her soon-to-be new employer, Dr. Delano Bowen. Little does Ainsley know that she has just become the key component to The Merzetti Effect by Norah Wilson, the first in the Vampire Romance series.

Dr. Bowen informs Ainsley that vampirism is real and is actually caused by a virus secreted by its victims. He is working on finding a vaccine to protect the most vulnerable in the world, street people, prostitutes, etc. Ainsley isn’t sure what to believe about Bowen’s disclosures but she needs the job. She needs the money to help support her girlfriend and family, who are in hiding from her wealthy, well-connected, abusive husband. Ainsley’s work doesn’t really put her into dangerous situations until the appearance of one angry, out-of-control vampire – Radak Janacek. Janacek fears that Dr. Bowen’s research will “cure” vampirism and he doesn’t want to be cured. 

After Janacek’s threats and attack on Dr. Bowen’s home, they are forced to temporarily relocate to Montreal. Although the research continues, Ainsley is put into an untenable situation when she learns that Dr. Bowen is more than a researcher, he’s a vampire. She also learns that her blood causes vampires to revert to full-human status. Needless to say Ainsley is a bit put out by the lack of full disclosure by Dr. Bowen, but she deals. She must also deal with her growing attraction to Bowen. 

What follows is a fast-paced tale of romance, suspense and thrills. Can Ainsley and Delano build on their attraction and possibly have a true romantic relationship? Will Delano be able to protect Ainsley as well as her friends from Janacek? Can Janacek be stopped before he destroys all that they both have come to love?

There are plenty of paranormal romantic suspense stories about vampires available. However Ms. Wilson has provided a story that is slightly different and pulls the reader in from the beginning. The characters are completely believable, especially Ainsley, Delano and Eli (a friend to Delano and Ainsley’s co-worker). The Merzetti Effect is a fast-paced, paranormal romantic suspense read that kept my interest to the very end. (Look for Nightfall, the second book in Ms. Wilson’s Vampire Romance series, now available as an ebook.)   


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




Book 225: LUCIDITY Review

Grace Moran is a widow and an agoraphobic. Her only desire is to leave the hospital and return home. This isn’t possible because she has a brain tumor, appears to have suffered a seizure and blacked out and requires medical treatment. Grace isn’t sure what is going on at the hospital, but she knows she may not make it out alive. Drs. Eve Warden and Jonas Helman appear to only want to help, and feel that their new drug protocol is exactly what Grace needs for her surgery to be a success. There’s more going on behind the scenes and Grace has no desire to stay and find out what in Lucidity by C. J. Lyons.

Grace wants to return home because her deceased husband is still alive for her there and she feels that she’ll lose him if she has the surgery. Her memories are all she has left or are they? As Grace tries to hide, she sees Jimmy at the hospital and he is much more than a figment of her imagination. As Grace continues to hide from Drs. Warden and Helman, she comes across two pediatric patients that are also in dire straits. Kat is suffering from a virus that is literally eating her brain. Surgery is a must, but Kat wants to wait until after her birthday. She also fears that the surgery may leave her paralyzed or worse. Alex has spent all of his life in the hospital and wants nothing more to be allowed to die. He knows that his condition is worsening and he’s tired of the continued treatments that prolong his suffering. Grace, Alex and Kat aren’t exactly an impressive trio but they protect each other. Now that Jimmy has “come back to life,” he tries to protect them as well.

Jimmy was older than Grace, but they loved one another deeply and fiercely. Sadly Jimmy was murdered on the day they returned home from their honeymoon. Grace also suffered serious injuries during the attack and left her career as an ER physician to stay at home. The murderer, Lukas Redding, is the son of a powerful congress woman and was found not guilty by reason of mental defect. Unbeknownst to Grace, Lukas is at the hospital undergoing treatment for his delusional fantasies involving her and her husband. In Lukas’s mind Grace was his wife and Jimmy was a drunk driver responsible for the car accident that killed Grace. In a fit of rage Lukas retaliated and killed Jimmy. Is Lukas crazy or evil? Can Jimmy keep Grace from entering the new wing that houses Lukas? Can Grace protect Kat and Alex while protecting herself? 

Lucidity is much more than a romance or ghost story. Ms. Lyons has crafted a intriguing tale involving mythology, history, and the paranormal (ghosts) in a medical setting. Most of the action seems to take place over the span of a few days, but it is packed with action and suspense. Kat and Alex may only be children, but they have a crucial part in the story line. They are both highly creative and inventive while remaining sympathetic characters. Because they are children, the hospital staff has a tendency to underestimate them. Jimmy is definitely Grace’s love interest, even after his death. He lives on in her memories and perhaps these strong memories that allow him to return. Lucidity may not be a traditional ghost story or romance, but it works. If you’re seeking something a little different that combines romance, the paranormal, along with a little medical suspense, then this is the book for you.


Book 214: ATTRACTED TO FIRE Review

Only the best in the Secret Service apparently make it to the Presidential detail team, and that is what Meghan Connor dreams about. She was fortunate to be on the Vice-President’s detail once and even thwarted an assassination attempt. Now she has been asked by the Vice President to join the team guarding his daughter. Not necessarily a problem but the leader of the daughter’s team, Ash Zinders, hates female agents. Sparks fly, literally and figuratively, when Ash and Meghan must join forces in Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills.

Meghan is young, beautiful and an adept agent. She has proven herself when on the Vice President’s detail team and stopping an assassination attempt. Her dream to join the Presidential detail seems to be just out of her grasp until she is dangled a carrot. If she joins the team guarding the Vice President’s daughter, she’ll be considered for the opening on the Presidential team. Meghan knows that this is going to be extremely difficult, not just because the daughter, Lindsey, is an addict (drugs and alcohol) but also because her life has been threatened. After Lindsey attempts suicide, it is decided that she needs to be taken far away from the public spotlight and given the chance to detoxify and quit her addictive lifestyle once and for all. 

Meghan and Ash clash in their initial attempts to work together but eventually they both come to respect one another as agents. Their burgeoning friendship is put to the test when Lindsey arrives and is adamantly opposed to rehabilitation. To make matters worse, after the resignation of the current President due to health reasons, Lindsey’s father is now forced to step-up and become President. No one is to know where Lindsey is while she rehabilitates but the threats continue against her and her family. But after one agent is murdered on the remote Texas ranch where Lindsey is sequestered, more questions than answers are raised. Is it possible there is a conspiracy against Lindsey’s father? Can Ash and Meghan uncover the truth before more lives are lost and the country is imperiled?

Although Meghan and Ash are the primary characters in Attracted to Fire, I found Lindsey’s story to be more compelling. Lindsey is not only a rebellious young woman that has taken the wrong path, but she isn’t sure how to set herself free. She’s afraid to trust anyone because her trust has been abused so many times in the past, especially by some that have close ties to her family. Meghan, Ash and Lindsey all overcome their preconceived notions and grow to like and respect each other. Meghan’s faith isn’t “in your face” but makes a nice adjunct to the overall story. Attracted to Fire is a well-written romantic suspense read, perfect for a lazy afternoon or weekend. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 175: THE EVIL INSIDE Review

Salem, Massachusetts has a rich and strange history. It is a beautiful coastal town that is now best known for its history with the Salem Witch Trials. Centuries ago the mass hysteria led to numerous accusations of witchcraft and many innocents died. Now a series of heinous murders, Lizzie Borden style murders, may lead to the lifelong incarceration of a true innocent. Jenna Duffy, a member of the Krewe of Hunters, is asked by her uncle to come to Salem and investigate and perhaps save Malachi Smith, the accused murderer. Is there an old evil lurking in Salem or is this just another case of people judging what they don’t understand? The Evil Inside by Heather Graham is the fourth in the Krewe of Hunters series and seeks to answer these questions.


Jenna begins to work unofficially with her uncle to investigate these bizarre murders. Is it possible that Malachi may have killed his family, a neighbor and a former school teacher without knowing it? What was his motive? Jenna and Uncle Jamie feel that Malachi may be railroaded because of his family’s unconventional religious beliefs (hard to believe that a town can embrace Wicca but have a problem with a fundamentalist Christian faith). Malachi’s father wasn’t loved or understood and was inordinately strict but, were these grounds for murder? Fortunately Jenna and Uncle Jamie are assisted by a well-known Boston attorney, Samuel Hall. Their investigation starts with the house that was the scene of several historical murders just like the Smith family’s murders. What follows isn’t really a paranormal thriller than a basic whodunit mystery. As a mystery, The Evil Inside keeps the reader on the edge with the story twists and turns. The initially antagonistic relationship between Jenna and Sam quickly devolves into the expected love-fest. This story doesn’t involve as many of the Krewe of Hunters, Jackson, Angela and Will make appearances and play secondary roles in the investigation. Jake makes cameo appearances by phone consultations. The ghost of Rebecca Nurse, the first to die as a result of the Salem Witch Trials, makes periodic appearances as well.


The Evil Inside does a great job of weaving the factual history of the Salem Witch Trials into the fictional story line. The inclusion of the ghost of Rebecca Nurse is a nice touch. As a romantic suspense-thriller, this falls a little short. This may be because it has more focus on the sexual aspects of the relationship and not so much on the romance. But as a suspense thriller it excels, with the thrills and mystery front and center. Ms. Graham has taken fact and fiction and woven them into a great story. The Evil Inside is a great suspense-thriller with paranormal elements and a light romance thrown in . . . a perfect read for the weekend. The Evil Inside is scheduled for release on August 30th.


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 172: HEART OF EVIL Review

What do an old Louisiana plantation, a civil war re-enactment and things that go bump in the night have in common? These are all elements in the second Krewe of Hunters book Heart of Evil by Heather Graham. (Yes I know I read the books out of sequence, but it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference.)


Ashley Donegal is the co-owner/operator of a hotel in her family’s plantation home. During a Civil War re-enactment a man is murdered. It just so happens that this particular man was portraying her forefather, Marshall Donegal, and the body is left in the family cemetery. Ashley’s grandfather is concerned, seeks some favors from old friends, and before you know the Krewe of Hunters is on the scene to help with the investigation. The first to arrive on the scene is Jake Mallory, an old Donegal family friend and ex-lover to Ashley. What follows is an investigation into the past and present with a little help from some family ghosts. 


I rather liked the incorporation of past with the present in terms of the Donegal family history. Sorry to say but that was about all I really liked from this particular story. The characters seemed to be a bit flat, most of the action was expected, and even the romance seemed forced. I sadly found the ghosts to be more entertaining than anyone else. This particular series seems to be a hit-or-miss combo for me, as I found book one – Phantom Evil to be an okay read, book three – Sacred Evil to be a good read, and now book two –  Heart of Evil back to being an okay read.   


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 159: SACRED EVIL Review

The Krewe of Hunters is at it again in Sacred Evil by Heather Graham. This time the Krewe is in New York working with the NYC Police Department on a series of Ripperesque style murders. The question arises is this work of a homicidal, possibly crazy, Jack the Ripper fan or are there supernatural elements at work? Whitney Tremont, one of the Krewe, is working beside Jude Crosby to make this determination. Whitney, as a Krewe member, has some paranormal abilities but will this help her in this particular investigation? Jude Crosby is a talented investigator but he is stumped by these murders because of the lack of evidence. The only thing on their side is that the police department has initiated a task force and given Jude carte blanche and the assistance of the FBI team, referred to as the Krewe of Hunters, to help solve these crimes. 


Ms. Graham has provided a great backdrop with New York City. The murky history of the city at the end of the 1800s adds to the overall mystique. The story is aided with theories that Jack the Ripper migrated to the US as Jonathan “Jack” Black at the turn of the century. This migration is the reason why the murders ended in London, but appeared to begin in New York. All of the present day murders are exact copies of each of the Ripper’s murders. Everyone becomes a suspect: a movie director, an actor, another detective, the medical examiner and even Jude’s father. 


While I enjoyed reading Sacred Evil, it seemed almost formulaic at times. The romance was expected and the mystery and suspense just weren’t as mysterious or suspenseful as other books by this author. There were some surprises with the plot and this, ultimately, saved the overall reading experience. If you’re looking for a quick romantic suspense read with some dark, paranormal elements, then add Sacred Evil to your summer reading list.


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Day 78 – Book 80: A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES Review

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

This book doesn’t seem to fit nicely into any one genre, whether it is romance, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, mystery, or even paranormal-fantasy. The fact that the majority of characters are witches, vampires or daemons is important enough to the main storyline (where did these three creatures come from and how?), but the lives of the main characters is the central theme. 


Meet Diana Bishop, Ph.D., historical scholar specializing in alchemical history and a witch, a reluctant witch that craves to be “normal.” Her love interest is Matthew Claremont, Ph.D., M.D., neuroscientist, geneticist (actually a true renaissance man) and vampire. Throughout the first half of the story Diana and Matthew appear to fight their attraction but build upon their timid friendship in the second half by falling in love and fighting for the opportunity to be in love. This fight, along with the discovery that Diana is not your typical witch genetically speaking, are the two big themes throughout the story. Diana, Matthew and their respective families must fight against the creature hierarchy that states that witches cannot be with vampires or daemons and vice versa. Is this done as a means of protection for the species or out of fear?


The other major theme is the discovery of a book that may shed light on the origins of these creatures and provide information on their potential demise. Needless to say the witches feel that this should belong to them, while the daemons and vampires are just as territorial on ownership. All three creatures fear the book falling into the wrong hands and are willing to fight to retrieve it.


These are not your typical vampires and daemons. The daemons in this story are artistically creative creatures that lean towards being slightly off psychologically speaking. Daemons apparently are born to human parents and don’t “come into” their powers until puberty or around puberty. Witches are born to witch parents (one or both may be witches) and come into their powers around age seven. Vampires are humans that are reborn as vampires and require blood to survive, but these vampires are capable of being out during the day or night, can eat some foods (a basic raw foods diet), like to drink (alcohol), and are long-lived. Vampires are apparently infertile after being reborn or so they are led to believe. 


Diana appears to be the strong, independent type throughout much of the book but she has her moments where she becomes weak and weepy. Granted they are due to a separation from her chosen mate or after being kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned, so she has just cause. Matthew is a typical alpha-male and has difficulty dealing with Diana’s independent streak. The story wouldn’t be complete without a cast of supporting characters. Sarah Bishop is Diana’s aunt and surrogate mother-figure after Diana’s parents are murdered. Her life-partner is Emily Mather, another witch and surrogate mother-figure to Diana. Ysabeau de Clermont is the vampire that “made” Matthew and is the matriarch to the de Clermont/Clairmont/Montclair family. Hamish Osborne is a daemon, financial whiz and perhaps Matthew’s best friend. Marcus is a vampire and scientist and considered to be Matthew’s son.


Suffice it to say that there is a lot going on in this book and most of the action seems to take place over a few months, if not weeks. Sadly, the author leaves you hanging at the end. I presume there will be another book that will resume where this book ends. Don’t despair, the lack of resolution at the end does nothing to detract from the story. 




Addendum: 


YAY! A Discovery of Witches is part of a trilogy and the second book, Shadow of Night, is scheduled to be released in Summer 2012.