A GHOSTLY LIGHT by Juliet Blackwell


Series: Haunted Home Renovation, #7
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Give Up the Ghost, it will take a beacon of ghostly intervention to guide contractor Mel Turner to the truth.

Dangerous tides ahead…

When her friend Alicia hires Turner Construction to renovate a historic lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, Mel Turner can’t wait to get her hands dirty. Alicia plans to transform the island property into a welcoming inn, and while Mel has never attempted a project so ambitious—or so tall—before, she’s definitely up for the challenge.

But trouble soon arises when Alicia’s abusive ex-husband shows up to threaten both her and Mel, and later turns up dead at the base of the lighthouse stairs. With no other suspects in sight, things start looking choppy for Alicia. Now, if Mel wants to clear her friend’s name, she’ll need the help of the lighthouse’s resident ghosts to shine a light on the real culprit…


This is the seventh book in the Haunted Home Renovation series, starring Mel Turner, renovator extraordinaire. Her unique specialties are restoring historic places around the San Francisco area, communicating with ghosts, and solving murder mysteries that frequently pop up on her construction sites.

I greatly enjoyed Mel’s latest project, the restoration of a lighthouse and its keeper’s house in San Francisco Bay. The rich history and romance of lighthouses are fascinating, though tragedy and grief are parts of their past too, as Mel quickly discovers.

There are really two mysteries in this book to solve. The first involves the death of Mel’s friend Alicia’s ex-husband, an abusive jerk who shows up on the island unexpectedly and takes a fatal tumble down the lighthouse stairs. The second (and my favorite mystery) is about the mournful ghost who haunts the tower. Hers is a heart-wrenching story, and I easily got into the research Mel had to do to get all the pieces to fit.

A GHOSTLY LIGHT is an enjoyable cozy with likable characters, and the paranormal element makes it even more intriguing. I’ve read one previous book in this series, so I knew some of the backstory, but I think you’d be fine jumping in here.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN by Susan Meissner


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½


Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women past and present in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life .

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.


Wonderful book! A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is a lovely blending of ghost story, historical fiction, mystery, and women’s fiction. The story is told from differing points of view in multiple time periods, mainly during WWII, just after WWII ends, and also present day. It may feel a bit disjointed at first, but I promise the book quickly finds a nice flow and all the pieces come together for an amazing ending.

The majestic ship, the RMS Queen Mary, has served many purposes since its maiden voyage in 1936, one being a vessel to transport thousands of European war brides across the Atlantic to their new husbands in America. In February 1946, two of those brides are Simone Deveraux from France, and Annaliese Lange from Germany. The war years were horrific for both of them, and both women are looking forward to a new beginning in the US. Unfortunately, fate has other plans…

In present day, Brette Caslake is struggling with her special, yet burdensome, gift of being able to see and communicate with ghosts. She’s spent years trying to ignore them, but her experiences during a visit to the Queen Mary has made Brette rethink her position on restless spirits.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is a unique take on WWII historical fiction. I enjoyed the compelling characters, the paranormal elements, and the multi-layered mystery. Susan Meissner writes beautifully, and I’m looking forward to checking out more of her work.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

PROSE AND CONS by Amanda Flower

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Series: Magical Bookshop, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★


Magic, books, and cats collide in a village near Niagara Falls in the latest mystery from the author of Crime and Poetry…

In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting.

October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe on the shop’s front porch to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.

Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead in the shop moments before the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore…


Loved this book, LOVE this series! PROSE AND CONS continues the story of Violet Waverly as the caretaker of a magical bookstore in Upstate New York. Charming Books is an amazing shop where the books choose you, the customer. The story also uses the books from its shelves to help Violet solve mysteries, or at least nudge her in the right direction. In this case, it was all about Edgar Allan Poe, whom I adore. ♥

The mystery is intriguing and twisty, and the setting – a chilly Autumn festival – was perfect. Plus, a little paranormal and Poe! I enjoyed the Gothic atmosphere the elements created. I highly recommend this series, and look forward to more.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Click cover to see my review of book one in the series!