Tag Archives: Book Series

Book Review: Blood on the Chesapeake – Page Turning Mystery

Blood on the Chesapeake

By Randy Overbeck

Darrell Henshaw is new to the Chesapeake Bay area. He needs a new start from the ghosts of his past as well as distance from his former fiancé that apparently thought monogamy was an option, not a requirement of their relationship. Much to his delight, he is hired at the local high school as a history teacher and the football coach. He is settling in just fine until he starts getting the familiar prickling in the hairs on the back of his neck. There are spirits in the school that are not at rest searching him out. He tries to ignore the feelings and strange happenings, but the restless ghost needs Darrell’s help and isn’t going away any time soon.

Meantime, he is really enjoying connecting with the kids in his history class. It isn’t easy, the diverse group doesn’t really like the newcomer and most of them dislike history in general. But Darrell brings a spark of life to the classroom they cannot ignore. By assigning a report that will delve into the local area’s past the students begin to engage, but strangely enough the community and school leaders seem reluctant to participate. Could they be hiding something? Darrell may be flying too close to the flame to notice he might ignite something that cannot be extinguished. And he might die trying.

But Darrell is far from all work and no play. He has found a new friend to hang out with, Al. Also a teacher at the school, Al lightens up the mood by telling bad jokes that make you groan and chuckle. Most of them are rated G so you can tell them to your kids. And then there is Erin. Darrell is not looking for love again, but she has caught his eye and just might be the one to thaw his heart.

Overbeck’s characters are interesting and engaging. Darrell has a bit of OCD going on, reminding me of the Monk series by Lee Goldberg. It is endearing and a bit comical, but the reader will quickly know that Darrell has to wash his hands twice and dry them on precisely three paper towels. His newfound girlfriend Erin, is much more carefree. She is the perfect balance to the baggage Darrell brings into the relationship but she is ready for the challenge. The other character that stands out for me is the medium/lady of the evening, Natalia – I hope to see more of her in the next book in the series.

I loved this paranormal mystery by new author Randy Overback. True to his main character, the events taught to the class about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are factual, but the places and dates are not per the Author’s note at the beginning of the book. So technically it is a paranormal historical mystery – but whatever box you want to check about this book, be sure to include it on the must read list.

A prolific writer of trade journals and professional texts, Overback’s first novel, Leave No Child Behind is the 2011 Silver Award for Thriller of the Year winner. It would not surprise me one bit to see Blood on the Chesapeake winning awards in the near future also. The title page of Blood on the Chesapeake, adds “The Haunted Shores Mysteries”. Because this is Mr. Overbeck’s first novel in the series, we can assume there will be more to hear from Darrell and Erin in the future. The Chesapeake area is rich in history, therefore, must be rich in ghosts that need their help. I am excited to add this new series to my list of must reads, and recommend picking up your copy today.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Connelly Curse (Celtic Witches #2) – A Wickedly Wonderful Story

The Connelly Curse – (Celtic Witches #2)

By Lily Velez

At the end of the first book in this series, Scarlet unwittingly released scores of the damned into the world. Her magic was new and she did not know the power or the magnitude that her actions would rain down on the world. But she has help fighting them, so she is not alone. The Connelly boys are right there with her, some more reluctantly than others. Jack has strong feelings for her, which Scarlet fully reciprocates. The other three Connelly boys are not quite as enthusiastic about Scarlet’s newfound role in their lives, but she helped save their mother, so they will always be grateful for her help.

When Scarlet’s father starts acting strangle, Jack realizes that he has a demon inhabiting his body. Scarlet will do anything to save her father, even if that means entering the Otherworld to fight demons more powerful than she could imagine. Jack and Scarlet set out on a mission to save her father and most likely the world.

Adding to the small job of saving mankind, the budding relationship between Scarlet and Jack begins to bloom. Like any relationship, it has its ups and downs, but considering the world as we know it might end if they don’t work together, it makes the stakes so much higher than your average lover’s spat.

Once again Ms. Velez has delivered a solid plot with multidimensional characters. While Scarlet and Jack are saving humanity, Rory, Connor and Lucas are becoming more complex. Their magic is developing and they are finding out they can solve problems without Jack, who usually comes to their rescue.

This is the second book in the Celtic Witch Series. It is also the second book I have read by Ms. Velez. The third book in this series will be released in late 2019. You could read this book as a one off novel because the previous book is referenced enough to understand what is happening. But I suggest reading The Connelly Curse first because it is a must read for Urban Fantasy fans. And more importantly, you will want to know the story and characters from the beginning.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman.

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Book Review: The Connelly Boys – Outstanding New YA Urban Fantasy Series

The Connelly Boys – (Celtic Witches #1)

By Lily Velez

Being one of the handful of girls in the entire school stinks. But seventeen year old Scarlet Monroe has little choice in the matter. Everything in her world has changed recently. Her mom died after a long battle with cancer. She had to move to Ireland to live with her father, whom she barely knows. And now she has to go to the school where her father teaches. So here she is, a female in an elite all-boys Catholic Prep school just trying to make it through the day without incident.

Choosing a seat next to a boy who seems indifferent, she gazes out the window while doodling because she doesn’t even have the required books. When she sees a vine moving in a tree as if it is a snake, she assumes she is losing it. Shaking her head, she tries to listen to the professor and ignore the strange sight.

During a tour of the campus, Scarlet sees a guy she can’t take her eyes off of. Her tour guide warns her away from Jack Connelly, stating that he is cursed and that his entire family is probably cursed as well. Recently, the grandfather that is raising him and his brothers jumped off a cliff to his death, leaving the boys in the care of their uncle. Scarlet is shocked, but still feels inexplicitly drawn to Jack.

As soon as Scarlet and Jack meet, she begins to encounter things that are much more intense than moving vines. The infamous Connelly Boys – Jack, Conner, Lucas and Rory would soon become her unwilling allies and friends. Could the rumors about them being supernatural beings actually be true? And how could Scarlet possibly be a part of the world that has powers that most humans do not have or want. But she will do anything to help the father she is just beginning to care about even if it ends up being an epic battle of good versus evil.

This YA Urban Fantasy is full of action, twists and turns as the teens are called upon to save their loved ones using ancient spells, weapons and their own ingenuity. Velez writes one of the best battle scenes between demons and witches I have ever read. It is as if the Harry Potter series and the Sookie Stackhouse series had babies for our reading pleasure.

The characters are rich and complex. I was surprised and pleased to find out the identity of the person orchestrating the evil. When the character was revealed, it absolutely made sense but I didn’t figure it out beforehand, which delights me to no end.

This is the first book in the Celtic Witch Series. It is also the first book I have read by Ms. Velez. I cannot wait to read book #2 in the series.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Author and Bookfunnel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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