Review: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

25917801New Orleans is a city of excess. Music, food, drink…it’s all there to be had in abundance. Stories of the supernatural and paranormal are no exception. Ghosts, witches, voodoo queens, vampires…you name it and they’ve got it. One of the best known and most frequently retold legends centers around the Casquette girls of the Ursuline Convent. Walk by on a dark & foggy night and you can almost see the shutters rattling.

This take on the infamous tale picks up after the Storm of the Century. Katrina isn’t specifically mentioned but the implication is there. Adele is eager to return to the city she loves. She and her father are among the first to come home, the magical pull of the city being too strong for them to resist. It’s a city in ruins. Electricity is scarce, groceries are hard to come by, and there’s a city-wide curfew in effect. Still, it’s good to be back. Adele finds comfort in the little things such as walking the streets of the French Quarter in the mornings and evenings. It’s on one such walk that she happens to walk past the Ursuline Convent. She’s lived in New Orleans her entire life, and she knows the stories. When the infamous blood suckers are accidentally released, Adele and her friends must find a way to stop them from taking over what’s left of the city.

Did I love this story so much more because of my love for New Orleans? No doubt. The author writes with such depth and accuracy that I felt as if I was walking the streets of the French Quarter, waiting for one of the vampires to jump out and grab me. But I also know that I would have loved this story almost as much without that sense of familiarity. The vampires are dark and scary with just enough charm thrown in to almost make them likeable. Intertwined with their tale are stories of voodoo and witchcraft. To top it off, the human characters are fun and likeable. And Adele makes one heck of a leading character.

Grab this one, turn the lights down low, and get ready to be scared!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Casquette Girls

Review: Three mysteries by selected authors

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I primarily read contemporary romance, but I do love a good mystery. This past week I read three cozy mysteries – all winners! I guess I hit the trifecta … now you can, too. 🙂

HELL ON WHEELS by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Paralegal and accidental sleuth Odelia Grey and her husband Greg witness a murder, and it appears to be committed by one of their friends! With Odelia’s boss home recovering from injury, Odelia has plenty of time to play detective and find out whodunit.

As with all the books in this series, I love Odelia’s candor and blunt approach. This particular mystery included quadriplegic rugby, traffic on the 405, help from the baddest criminal in town, and a very unexpected romance (oh, that part made me HAPPY).

Sue Ann Jaffarian writes a fun, witty, heartwarming story about good versus evil, family relationships, and that dance we call marriage. Jaffarian happens to move the plot along by having the characters go after a murderer… The thrill of the chase, you know?!

buy HELL ON WHEELS

I WILL FEAR NO EVIL by Debbie Viguie
Rabbi Jeremiah is in transition. He’s falling in love, being asked to help with the church next door, dragged into a crazy serial murder mystery, and trying to be true to himself – even though he’s still figuring out who he is.

Luckily, his longtime friend and confidante Cindy is right by his side. Trouble is, can Jeremiah keep her safe – and his heart safe – while they figure out who is behind the witchy crimes?!

Oh, and Trina? Quite possibly my new favorite character. A “mental” federal agent. 😉

Viguie did a fantastic job integrating Halloween, church, synagogue, murder, witches, a costume party, and a youth group haunted house. Oh and romance with an alpha. Yup. You heard me. ROMANCE. Just a bit.

Debbie Viguie writes the Psalm 23 Mysteries so fast my head spins. The plot moves quickly, the dialogue is spot-on, and she doesn’t rush relationships. I am chomping at the bit everytime there’s an impending release.

buy I WILL FEAR NO EVIL

MURDER ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS by Billie Thomas
Chloe and her mom are interior decorators. They have special access into people’s homes, and are sometimes privy to dangerous secrets.

When the mother-daughter team does up some fancy mansions for Christmas, they are surprised by the “gifts” they find: a dead man’s hand, a rat, a dead Santa, and a very confusing (and enlightening) version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The women keep sticking their noses where they don’t belong, until they are confronted by the killer. Not to worry, the Carstairs pair use Southern charm – and their newfound friendship with the Law – to keep themselves alive.

It’s super fun to read about over-the-top Christmas parties, evening gowns up to here and down to there, quirky characters, and a mother-daughter relationship that goes from rolling eyes to warm embraces. Billie Thomas successfully weaves together family banter, a murder mystery, and a little bit of Christmas romance.

buy MURDER ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS

-Calliope