Monday, September 28, 2020

Horror in the Highlands by Alison Golden – Book Review

Book: Horror in the Highlands

(Book 5 in The Reverend Annabelle Dixon Series)

Author: Alison Golden

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Number of pages: 254 pages

Publication date: 19 June 2017


"The island is cut off right now. That means one of us locals is the murderer. I can't fathom it. I can't think of anyone on the island who would murder someone."

In Horror in the Highlands, Reverend Annabelle Dixon goes to visit her brother and his daughter in the remote Scottish island of Blodraigh. She's also substituting for the local church minister. 

This story is quite different from the other books in the series. Whereas in first book Death at the Café, Annabelle comes as across the death in the first chapter, no deaths occur in Horror in the Highlands till the middle of the book.

The story moves but you're not sure where it's going. Many of the main events don't happen in the first few chapters.

"We police ourselves here. There's not station on the island. All 999 calls are directed to the pub."

Annabelle is entrusted with safekeeping some jewels on the island so she hides them in the church but they are stolen that same night. This happens in chapter 14 or around 37% into the novel. That's the first bit of suspense.

Similarly questions about the mystery jewels and the death (40%) begin towards the middle of the story. Once they begin, however, things begin to move faster.

"I'm afraid Evensong is the least of my concerns right now. A man is dead, and the church has been robbed. It will surely take more than a few prayers to sleep well tonight."

One of the things I like about Alison Golden's books is the recipes included at the end of each book. I'm new to the kitchen but I'm planning to try a few of them out. 

I've started reading many books in different series by Alison Golden. Horror in the Highlands was by far my least favorite because I couldn't find a mystery early on.

I loved Annabelle and her niece but… 

Overall rating for Horror in the Highlands: 2.5 to 3 stars

Don't let this book deter you from the series though. I've read Death at the Cafe and it's 100% 5 stars!

Other books and reviews by Nadaness In Motion for Alison Golden's books:

Killer at the Cult (Book 6 in the Reverend Annabelle Dixon Mystery Series)

Witches at the Wedding (Book 6 in The Reverend Annabelle Dixon Series

The Case of the Screaming Beauty (Book 1 in The Detective Inspector David Graham Mystery Series)

The Case of the Hidden Flame (Book 2 in The Detective Inspector David Graham Mystery Series)

The Case of the Broken Doll (Book 4 in The Detective Inspector David Graham Mystery Series)

The Case of Samson's Leap (Book 8 in The Detective Inspector David Graham Mystery Series)

Friday, September 25, 2020

There's Magic in All of Us - Poem by Nada Adel Sobhi

There's magic in all of us

We may not see it

Feel it, or even understand it


But it's there

Always has been

Always will be


Sitting deep within

Waiting to be unlocked

Like a whirlpool

Waiting for the lid to be removed

Like a fire

Waiting to be ignited


There's magic in all of us

A spark

Waiting for the right moment,

The trigger

To awaken within

To rise

and push and pull you higher


Trust me

It's there

Poets have spoken of it

Authors dream of it


Some call it love

Some call it passion

Many call it many things


How do you awaken your magic?

By exploring


Exploring the world

Exploring yourself

Understanding yourself


You are not your wants and needs

You are not what society demands

You are not a grain of sand

Tossed by the wind


You are water




Flexible and magical


So look out the window

Breathe the night's fresh air

Walk out the door

And discover yourself


Look at the stars,

The trees, the flower, the birds

Clear your mind

Look, observe, listen

Enjoy and discover


Look at the sun and sea

Be entranced by their magic

Read & read & read

Till your curiosity is unleashed


There's magic in all of us

But are you brave enough

To discover

And unleash it?


Written Saturday, 12 September 2020

Inspired by a phrase by author Tish Thawer

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips – Book Review

My newest book review is for The Beast and the Bethany and it's part of a blog tour with The Write Reads. 

It was a different read to say the least... but here's the full review. If you've read this book, let me know your thoughts.

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips and illustrated by Isabelle Follath is unique and unexpected story with equally unique characters.

When I picked up this book, I didn't know what to expect. But what I felt after I finished it was that I didn't want it to end and that I wanted to hug the author and characters.

The Beast and the Bethany is about a mean and evil man, a mean and evil beast, and a meaner girl. And all of them learn lessons and two of them discover other sides to themselves.

The book opens with: "Ebenezer Tweezer was a terrible man with a wonderful life."

And no kidding!

Ebenezer Tweezer is nearing his 512th birthday. He lives "a wonderful life," and has literally everything he could ever need and everything he doesn't need.

But what gives Ebenezer his young looks and never-ending life? A massive beast resides in his attic. Every year, the beast asks for a "meal," which Ebenezer readily provides and in return gives Ebenezer a potion that stops his aging.

This year, however, the beast asks for something new. He wants to eat a child. Ebenezer, who never had feelings or a reason for them, is shocked by the request.

There's a ton of humor in The Beast and the Bethany, literally never a dull moment!

"For the first time in his life, Ebenezer was sad that he didn't have a family of his own. It would have saved so much time and energy if he could have just fed one of his children to the beast."

Enter Bethany. There's a reason this book is called "The Beast and The Bethany" because Bethany is literally a creature herself. She's a rude, mean, and angry little girl.

If this beast thinks he's large and in charge, he's got Bethany to deal with and change its life!

One of the things I liked about The Beast and the Bethany is the themes and lessons, like the quote below. There are also the themes of learning, discovering one self, learning not to be selfish, and many more.

"A wonderful life can turn someone into a terrible person. It makes you forget that there people in the world who have problems, and this can stop you from really caring or worrying about others.

So, you can understand how Ebenezer Tweezer came to be one of the most selfish men who ever lived. After spending nearly 512 years without difficulty, Ebenezer had never really learned about pain or sadness."

I was often jarred when the author spoke directly to the reader. I never like that it novels and works of fiction, it brings me out of the story. I accept it in non-fiction because the book needs to be conversational. Here, it doesn't work for me.

That said, I've never seen character development as amazing as I've seen in The Beast and the Bethany. Simply brilliant! And one of the reasons it deserves 5 stars!

Despite the three mean characters and how the story begins, The Beast and the Bethany left me feeling happy and hopeful. I was also 100% entertained.

So do I recommend this story? Absolutely! I loved it and I look forward to reading the second part in the series. Don't worry it's not a 100% open ending.

Overall rating for The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips: 5 stars


Note: I received a free copy of The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips as part of The Write Reads blog tour for the book. This did not impact my review in any way.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Little Bookshop of Murder by Maggie Blackburn – Spotlight

Today, I'm featuring a spotlight for Little Bookshop of Murder by Maggie Blackburn.

I really wanted to read this book but I knew my time constraints and the time available for reading this wasn't going to be enough.

Check out the blurb/synopsis and you'll know why I had to feature Little Bookshop of Murder in any capacity on my book blog.

Should I have the time at the end of 2020 or next year, I'll definitely pick it up.

Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for (1) Novella Killer Spring Fling. (e-book only) and a $10 Amazon gift card


Book: Little Bookshop of Murder
(Book 1 in The Beach Reads Mystery series)
Author: Maggie Blackburn
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publishing date: 8 September 2020
ISBN-10: 1643854380
ISBN-13: 978-1643854380
Digital ASIN: B0818ZX2NY


A Shakespearean scholar inherits a beachside bookshop--and a murder mystery--in this delightful new cozy series for fans of Kate Carlisle and Ellery Adams.

Summer Merriweather's career as a Shakespeare professor hangs by a bookbinder's thread. Academic life at her Virginia University is a viper's pit, so Summer spends her summer in England, researching a scholarly paper that, with any luck, will finally get her published, impress the Dean, and save her job. But her English idyll ends when her mother, Hildy, shuffles off her mortal coil from an apparent heart attack.

Returning to Brigid's Island, NC, for the funeral, Summer is impatient to settle the estate, sell her mom's embarrassingly romance-themed bookstore, Beach Reads, and go home. But as she drops by Beach Reads, Summer finds threatening notes addressed to Hildy: "Sell the bookstore or die."

Clearly, something is rotten on Brigid's Island. What method is behind the madness? Was Hildy murdered? The police insist there's not enough evidence to launch a murder investigation. Instead, Summer and her Aunt Agatha screw their courage to the sticking place and start sleuthing, with the help of Hildy's beloved book club. But there are more suspects on Brigid's Island than are dreamt of in the Bard's darkest philosophizing. And if Summer can't find the villain, the town will be littered with a Shakespearean tragedy's worth of corpses--including her own.


About Maggie Blackburn

Maggie Blackburn is the author of the Cora Crafts mysteries and the Cumberland Creek mysteries under another pen name. Her books have been selected as finalists for an Agatha Award and a Daphne du Maurier Award and as a Top 10 Beach Reads by Woman's World.

She has also been short-listed for the Virginia Library People's Choice Award. She is the mother of two young women who are off following their dreams in the music business. She currently lives in Waynesboro, VA, and works at the University of Virginia as a development associate.

Connect with author Maggie Blackburn via her Website and Twitter @molliecoxbryan

Buy the book via Amazon - B&N - Kobo

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Keep up with the rest of the blog tour for more book reviews, author and character interviews, spotlights and more.

8 September à Baroness' Book Trove – Book Review & Cozy Up With Kathy – Book Review & Character Interview & Ascroft, eh? – Character Interview & Thoughts in Progress – Spotlight

9 September à Hearts & Scribbles & Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – Spotlights & Books a Plenty Book Reviews & Sapphyria's Books – Book Reviews

10 September à FUONLYKNEW & The Pulp and Mystery Shelf & Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic à Spotlights & I'm All About Books à Spotlight and Recipe

11 September à  Book Club Librarian – Book review & Celticlady's Reviews & Nadaness In Motion à Spotlight & Brooke Blogs à Character Guest Post

12 September àHere's How It Happened & Literary Gold à Spotlights & Moonlight Rendezvous & The Avid Reader à Book Reviews

13 September à eBook addicts & Melina's Book Blog & My Reading Journeys & Reading Is My SuperPowerà Book Reviews & StoreyBook Reviews à Guest Post


Friday, September 4, 2020

Trick or Thief by D. E. Haggerty – Book Review

Book: Trick or Thief

Series: Book 6 in The Death by Cupcake Series

Author: D. E. Haggerty

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Independently Published
Number of pages (digital edition): 120 pages
ASIN: B0878QF5V9


A little haunting sounds like innocent fun until a ghost plunders your stockroom.

Kristie is convinced ghosts don’t exist until food starts disappearing without a trace from the Youth Center storage. There are zero clues as to who’s been inside the building. The security guard hasn’t seen a thing, and the security tapes are mysteriously blank. 

When the ghost widens his hocus-pocus to include Kristie’s office, the gals of Callie’s Cakes jump in to find the culprit before Kristie can get in a whole mess of spooky trouble. 

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes expose the ghost before Kristie’s facility is destroyed?


Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

I've wanted to read D. E. Haggerty for some time. She writes cozy mystery and I've been unable to get on her book tours. Until now.

Trick or Thief is the sixth installment in The Death by Cupcake series and it's my first read for Haggerty and the series.

I was excited by this book but sadly it put me off reading Haggerty's other books.

Trick or Thief is narrated in the first person perspective of Kristie, a woman who keeps mentioning how her age is an obstacle against society but who only mentions that she's 24 at 60% of the book.

Trick or Thief is a short read, at about 120 pages, but I struggled to finish and considered not finishing it all but only plowed further to see if the mystery will make it up for me.

It didn't.

I must say that I'm surprised that the sleuths in this cozy mystery are the supporting characters, Anna and Callie. They are also the fun characters. The narrator and main character Kristie is obnoxious to the bone.

I couldn't stand her.

And by the way, the mystery only solved itself in the end. Kristie was literally standing in the way of getting the mystery moving and the trio weren't the ones who solved the mystery! Imagine that!

There was some light humor in Trick or Thief like when Kristie first discovers the thefts going on at her Youth Center. Anna argues that the first suspect, a security guard, might be the thief.

"Why would a security guard whom I pay a decent salary steal white bread and no-name peanut butter?"

"Maybe he has a gambling addiction," Anna claps. "Or maybe he has a lover he doesn't want his wife to find out about."

"And he feeds her peanut butter sandwiches?"

One thing I did LIKE about Trick or Thief was Haggerty keeping me wondering if there really was a ghost.

That said, I found Kristie's tone to be annoying throughout. Her boyfriend may be sweet and romantic but I felt like the whole story was written in a childish way. The dialogue was childish too (especially between Tyler and Kristie).

My favorite character was Anna. She's an adult who is a child at heart. She's funny, energetic, and downright cute.

Overall, I didn't like Trick or Thief as much as I had expected.

Overall rating: 1 star.


Note: I received a free copy of Trick or Thief by D. E. Haggerty as part of blog tour via Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. However, because this was a promotional tour I posted the review at a later time and only opted for a spotlight then.