Rendezvous: A Paranormal Romantic Comedy by Elinor Groves

RendezvousWhere Immortals Come to Play…

Annie Bloom runs the newest branch of Rendezvous, an exclusive luxury resort for the immortal fey, and arranges a gala soireé to celebrate its anniversary. Just as a committee from the Board of Directors arrives to evaluate her work, she is surprised by a marriage proposal from her very mortal lover, Sean, who maintains the elegant gardens at Rendezvous.

Juggling the soireé, the committee, a flying horse that wants to eat her garden, several hundred pixies, and an old nemesis, she doesn’t have time for proposals. Then another fey, newly arrived, takes a disturbing interest in Sean. Annie is distraught: should she let Sean go now for his own good, or risk breaking both their hearts later on when he grows old and she remains eternally young?

From the LibraryThing November 2015 Early Reviewers batch, published by Book View Cafe.  Whilst this is marked as a “Romantic Comedy” don’t go in expecting it to be a laugh a minute slapstick romp – it’s rather better than that! Yes situations can be amusing, making you smile, and there’s one sexy romp in a grove, but otherwise it’s a fairly straightforward love story (with added magic).

The setup and execution of the story are done well, with no heavy-handed info dump happening to bring the reader up to speed, and things often only hinted out when classed as ancient history.  Love happens where it happens, so there’s a mixture of love between the sexes (and the non-sexes when it comes to the pixies).    The use of magic makes things easy – so no heavy lifting when tidying up furniture after a raucous party – and the presence of the Rendezvous’ House Steward takes away the boring mundane party preparation that can so easily bore the reader.

Annie is new in Las Vegas and is preparing for the first evaluation of her work by the Board of Directors.  It is the few weeks before, during and after Annie’s exclusively Fey party that is the subject of this book. There’s a new Fey in town, looking for help, but it turns out that people know her from the last time she was in town – and there’s more history with this woman than Annie is prepared to deal with.

Meanwhile, she doesn’t know how to deal with the fact that Sean has proposed to her, and she doesn’t know whether to accept or turn him down – especially when there is talk of banning marriages between Fey and Mortals. In the back of her mind there’s also the wonder whether he is in fact, at least part-Fey himself.   Meanwhile, there are visitors for the party and not all of them are expected or necessarily welcome. Annie also has to deal with the fact that her assistant is intelligent, bright, but rather Mortal, so Annie has to be careful what to do or say in front of her.

This is a good take on the romance novel, with a decent level of humour, so it doesn’t take itself *too* seriously. The Fey world presents enough of a challenge to the reader so as to not to make this a run of the mill romance.  There’s enough scope in this world to make it possible for subsequent books to be written and I would certainly read another one from this author

About this Author

Elinor Groves lives in Northern New Mexico and loves the Southwest for its architecture, views, and restaurants. She has been known to visit Las Vegas, where she enjoys shows and dining and the occasional poker game. She has been writing forever.

 

Book Review: Hellzapoppin by Heide Goody, Iain Grant

clovenhoof #4Life at St Cadfan’s is never dull. There’s the cellar full of unexplained corpses. There’s the struggle to find food when the island is placed under quarantine. And there’s that peculiar staircase in the cellar…

Being a demon in Hell has its own problems. There’s the increasingly impossible torture quotas to meet. There’s the entire horde of Hell waiting for you to slip up and make a mistake. And there’s that weird staircase in the service tunnels…

Brother Stephen of St Cadfan’s and Rutpsud of the Sixth Circle, natural enemies and the most unnatural of friends, join forces to solve a murder mystery, save a rare species from extinction and stop Hell itself exploding.

The fourth novel in the Clovenhoof series, Hellzapoppin’ is an astonishing comedy featuring suicidal sea birds, deadly plagues, exploding barbecues, dancing rats, magical wardrobes, King Arthur’s American descendants, mole-hunting monks, demonic possession and way too much seaweed beer.

I received this from the authors in exchange for a review. This book will be released in October 2015 and is the 4th in the Clovenhoof series. I have read and reviewed books in this series before (published by Pigeon Park Press), most recently Godsquad and this book is very much in the same vein of writing and humour.

Brother Stephen, is cursed with a face that dooms him to forever being called Trevor, despite no one knowing what a Trevor looks like.  He is now a monk living on a small island of the coast of Wales, with a small community of monks, and awaiting the arrival of their new Abbot, Eustace. The community are also trying to make their way in the modern world, faced with being regularly cut off from the mainland by weather (and quarantine laws and, well, the youtube effect).  Things aren’t helped with the deaths of a number of their community in what could best be described as “suspicious” circumstances.

Rutpsud , a demon of the sixth circle, who has an exemplary success rate (according to the most recent feedback survey from his tormented souls) is moved into R&D to figure out more interesting and efficient ways of tormenting the damned. His access to the work of people like C. S. Lewis (who has a thing for building wardrobes) and Escher (whose thing is for building staircases) not only makes parts of Hell look like IKEA, but gives Rutpsud access to  St Cadfan and from this, an unlikely friendship develops between Stephen and Rutpsud.

Both Earth and Hell have their own problems, but by working together Stephen and Rutpsud attempt to make things better, and sometimes even succeed – but not always.   Hell is getting hotter, and Rutpsud is in the firing line to take the blame, and therefore needs to find a way of making things better. The inhabitants of St Cadfan are drinking too much seaweed beer, have spent months on starvation rations, and their only potential source of income is a pair of suicidal birds that have managed to get themselves killed before hatching their chicks. Meanwhile things come to a head in both the earthly and hellish plains, that mean characters confront long held secrets and nothing remains the same……(except where it does).

That’s about as far as I’m going to go with describing the story line. This is in the best tradition of the comic farce, with ridiculous and outrageous events that are usually grounded in some level of reality. It is a specific writing style and level of humour that some people will not get, but many people will, and will enjoy it.

Book Review: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washinton Irving

sleepySleepy Hollow is a strange little place… some say bewitched. Some talk of its haunted valleys and streams, the ghostly woman in white, eerie midnight shrieks and howls, but most of all they talk of the Headless Horseman. A huge, shadowy soldier who rides headless through the night, terrifying unlucky travelers. Schoolteacher Ichabod Crane is fascinated by these stories…. Until late one night, walking home through Wiley’s swamp, he finds that maybe they’re not just stories. What is that dark, menacing figure riding behind him on a horse? And what does it have in its hands? And why wasn’t schoolteacher Crane ever seen in Sleepy Hollow again?

Listened to the free Librivox recording, and the narrator was well suited to the story.

I’ve always meant to read this and I’m not sure what I was expecting to happen. I thought that perhaps the headless horseman appeared more often, but this was pitched just right. In Sleepy Hollow, not long after the War of Independance, when many lives were lost, ghost stories have been built up around what happened.

Ichibod Crane, the school teacher, has been courting one of the local women, much to the dismay of others who would like to also court her. He has become aware of the local war stories – both the British and the Americans came past nearby – and these stories are repeated at a local party thrown by the father of his beau. Once the party finishes, he stays behind to talk to the girl but gets turfed out with a flea in his ear not long after – Irving not going into detail. He has to ride his horse through the haunted area, only to be chased by the headless horseman.

Crane is never to be seen again, and rumours abound for a while about what happened and whether he is still alive

Good haunting story, and well suited for a reading on a dark and stormy night…..

Book Review: Anno Dracula by Kim Newman

annordracula It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, the novel follows vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.

What would happen if Van Helsing had failed and Dracula had survived?

It’s Victorian England, Vampires are an established fact, and more and more people are “crossing over” to the Undead. Dracula is now the Prince Consort, married to a now un-dead Queen Victoria. His dirty blood line is being passed down into the lower dregs of society, into the prostitutes and lowlifes.

A killer, known as “The Silver Knife” has been killing vampire prostitutes in the fog bound London, and the newly dead Lestrade asks for help from an older Vampire to help investigate the killings. Meanwhile, the secret Diogenes Club sets its own “warm” investigator to pursue his own inquiries. Soon they join forces to progress to find the killer who has been renamed in the press as “jack the ripper”. It ultimately comes to a face off with a Dracula and his followers looking as you’ve never seen him before

Lots of fictional and non fictional characters have been included in the story. The Chinese elder vampire subplot I thought was a little redundant and could easily have been dropped – a lot of wordage was wasted purely to show how strong Genevive was (and how she recovered from her injuries). I think it could have been dropped in favour of the ending with Dracula.

Otherwise I think this is perhaps the best of the vampire books I’ve read. Certainly better than Twilight (spits into corner). I’ll be interested to compare it to the original.

What’s your favourite vampire story? Is Dracula still the best?

 

Book Review: The Red Room by H. G. Wells

redroom

A skeptic of the paranormal spends the night in a supposedly haunted room in spite of the warnings of its owners. But as his candles go out one by one, he begins to understand what forces are at work inside the red room.

Less a book, more a short story really.

However, the unnamed narrator stays in an unnamed house to check out an apparently haunted room.

He starts out logical and confident, but during the story becomes unnerved and scared as the candles he has lit are snuffed out, individually at first and then en mass. Soon he is reduced to a wreck and changes his mind about the room.

Excellent short story and good for a scary read

Book Review: Deeds of Men by Marie Brennan

deedsofmanLONDON, 1625. A young gentleman lies murdered in a Coldharbour alley. Before his death, he uncovered secrets that could threaten the mortal world above and the faerie world below. Now, to find the murderer and protect both realms, Sir Michael Deven will need the help of a man with reason to hate the fae of the Onyx Court — the victim’s own brother.

Received from the publishers Book View Cafe in ebook format via the Librarything Early Reviewers July 2013 Batch .

Also known in some parts as “Onyx Court #1.5” this is a short novella residing between two books, and set directly after the book “Midnight Never Come”. However, being an “inbetweener” book is not a bad thing (for those used to Fae worlds).

Sitting between the two worlds Sir Michael is has been grooming his successor for the fairy world, only to find him lying dead at the beginning of this story. The narrative switches between several diffrent years before, during and after the murder as he works to investigate the murder and time is of the essence. With his influence waning in the Human Court, Michael needs to find out who killed whom and why before it’s all too late and also identify his replacement successor.

As a novella, in depth characterisations and detailed motives are not for this book.   However, it’s a good introduction to the series, and I will be keeping an eye out for other books in this series!

Book Review: In the Moors by Nina Milton

inthemoorsThe rain-drenched moors near shamanistic counsellor Sabbie Dare’s home have become the scene of a chilling crime. When Detective Sergeant Reynard Buckley shows up suggesting her new client, Cliff Houghton — a wounded, broken man — has something to do with the body of a young boy found buried in the moors, Sabbie believes Cliff is being set up. Continuing the therapy she’d begun with Cliff, Sabbie uncovers repressed memories hearkening back to a decades-old string of abductions and murders. But after another boy is abducted, only Sabbie can prove Cliff’s innocence . . . and find the real culprit before any more lives are shattered.

Sabbie gets pulled into murder investigation when one of her clients gets arrested for the apparent copy cat abduction of children, at least one of whom is found dead on the moors in South West England. Invited to help by the police (never entirely convinced of why he asked her), she is however kept on the periphery of the investigation, and her Shamanic powers leads her to find out things that the police would have been unable to. In the process, she gets to meet Cliff’s solicitor, his mother, the grandmother of one of the dead boys, and takes comfort in her adopted family and friends. She also has to contend with rather over possessive one-night-stand, and her growing attraction to Rey. It comes to a suitably strained end, when it’s the people in this world who are the biggest threats.

It’s hard to write a review without giving the major plot points or ending away, hence this is a little shorter than I would like.

It’s a nice difference to the standard “police procedural”, with little police interaction, and the Shaman take was treated as if almost normal (normal to Sabbie, who is used to people considering her mad). Sabbie’s excursions into the Spirit World is handled well and the confrontation with malevolent spirits is suitably scary at the right times

There’s enough threads left untied to be carried through into any further books, such as the relationship with Rey.