Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker description:

‘Alone with the dead! I dare not go out, for I can hear the low howl of the wolf through the broken window’

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.

Dracula   5 STARS

You know that scene in a horror movie when it gets dark and ominous music begins to play and you know that at any moment the killer is going to suddenly appear and murder everyone in a horrible fashion. That intense build up, and the anxiety of wondering exactly when you’re going to be scared, because you already know it’s coming. That’s this entire book. I had to take breaks at times to read some short stories that were a bit lighter, because the unnerving fear for the characters, as we the reader know what’s happening, could be a bit much at times. However, it’s easy to see why this is a classic, and how it has inspired others to delve into the dark world of vampires. Though, considering I’ve mainly read paranormal romance, it’s a bit disconcerting to see how the original was so completely evil. The vampires in this are soulless, not misunderstood, and kill children and anyone that gets in their way without remorse. More so, it’s incredible all the powers they are given, not just immortality and strength, but real mystical sort of powers, that I wish hadn’t been pushed off to the side in the other stories I’ve read. Beyond all of that though, I don’t believe I have ever come across a story written in this style, and it was this style that really made the tale such an intriguing one. Sure there have been plenty who have done rotating first person, but this is told in pieces of people’s diaries, the letters they’ve written to others, and even newspaper clippings. You’re getting the events after the characters have experience them and have pondered over them, as they try to understand what exactly is going on. Because of this you get to see how it all slowly melds together, and what each character really is thinking, and a much more personal aspect of the story that allows you to really feel for each of them as if these were actual historical letters that someone has stitched together. And I do so hope people were ever like this, this goodness and bravery and the way in which they talk so passionately about everything. It’s really a wonderful book. Though I would advise getting a version that has footnotes to explain certain things. Such as words that are no longer used in this way. As well as some of things that are referenced. I’m sure you could easily enjoy this book without such, but it was rather nice to have.

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The Silkworm Book vs Show

Strike

After The Cuckoo’s Calling diverged from the book as much as it did, I really didn’t know what would become of The Silkworm, a book which was even better than the first. Upon hearing it would have only 2 episodes when at least Cuckoo had 3, my expectations dropped even further, for this book was far more complicated than the first. However, while it definitely doesn’t follow the first book from beginning to end in the same manner, it did keep the important parts and simply melded events into a more efficient manner. While Strike might have got different information from the same person at different times, they instead would have it happen in one conversation. And of course the things the characters would’ve simply have been thinking about and worried over are brought out in conversation in different ways, so that the viewers could get hints of the same issues the likes of Strike and Robin were dealing with.

Though I find it strange they still find a reason to do silly things like change names. Michael Fancourt from the book is now Andrew Fancourt in the show. I’d really like to know the logic behind such changes. Yet that’s a small complaint that can be overlooked, even if it’s strange. I think the most interesting part is how they did flashes of what one would be envisioning while reading Bombyx Mori, and if you recall what it was about you can imagine how disturbing it would be. But they did it in a way where you get the idea of how twisted the book is, while not overdoing it. Though they definitely didn’t shy away from the grisly murder scene.

It’s also a bit of a switch up how they’re making Matthew out to be so much more sympathetic and nice, when in the books he’s not exactly the best and often shows how little he thinks of her job and Cormoran. Of course if Galbraith goes against my wishes, and Robin and Matthew stay together, perhaps it’d be better to shine a good light on him. However, the biggest change there really was from book to show was the cutting out of characters like Pippa, which alters a lot of the story, and Nina, which wasn’t as big a deal. As well as diminishing Kathryn Kent’s role to barely a conversation. It makes it much less likely that you would get the little clues that lead to the killer. Even, if I’m being honest, I didn’t quite catch them until my second read through the book. So while I think the ending of the story does appear to come out of left field at you from the show’s point of view, altogether I think it was a much better representation of the book than the last episodes were.

The Cuckoo’s Calling Book vs Show

Strike

It’s no secret now that The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith is actually written by J.K. Rowling. Now anyone who read her Harry Potter books and then saw the movies know how well they were kept to the original novels, and so you might be surprised by how much is changed from the book to the TV show in this case. In some cases it makes sense to alter or cut certain scenes in order to get you the information you needed to follow this mystery, but not hear the same repeated information over and over. Also some things have to just be said since, obviously, we’re not in the characters mind like you are in the book. However, the fact that they made it into a TV show should’ve allowed them the ability and time to truly explore this mystery as it was meant to be. After all, a movie can reasonably only be so long, but a TV show can be rather long in length as well as have several episodes to continue the story.

Now there’s the fact that some have complained that the characters don’t quite look how they were described, but that’s not really something to worry about. Robin Ellacott, played by Holliday Grainger, is perhaps the best match there is out of the cast. Not only does she look as she was described in the story, the actress does a great job of getting across the barely contained excitement Robin felt at the opportunity to help a Private Detective actually solve a case. She’s fun and likeable, and does justice to the character. Oddly enough, they diminished her role in solving the case. Such as the fact she’s the one who figured out how to find Rochelle, rather than that scene of Cormoran stealing a file from a previous residence. Which also led to a rearranging of events that had him interviewing Rochelle before he went to Vashti, it’s no wonder she didn’t stick around for questioning, he wouldn’t even have known the right questions to ask. Which is further kerfuffled by the fact they completely leave off his main line of questioning, what was the blue paper Lula was seen with the day she died?

Speaking of which, Tom Burke, as Cormoran Strike, was a casting I wasn’t too happy about when I first heard of it. He’s not the looming giant that takes up too much space and has not too attractively described facial features topped with hair that was likened to pubes. However, Burke does a good job of coming across with a gruff demeanor that’s softened by the few self deprecating smiles. He makes you believe that he has a prosthetic leg in his movements, something they rather flaunt, which is as it should be considering it is an obstacle for him at times in cases where he might attempt to follow someone, or even just struggle to make it up stairs. Altogether his acting has brought the character to life. My one complaint really is that he does on occasion mumble so that it’s hard to understand what he’s saying. Regardless, the two main characters, and perhaps the most important considering they’re the ones that’ll keep popping up, do well. And luckily they didn’t feel the need to add any romance that wasn’t there in the book, and kept their relationship very professional, which is one of the things that I do so love about this duo.

The rest aren’t exactly too far off their marks, at least not enough to really change anything. Though strangely they renamed Kieran Klovas-Jones to Nico, even while they kept his story exactly the same. Then there is Lula’s boyfriend, Evan Duffield, who in no way looks the part of a pretty boy. Once again, his part is so small as to not really detract from the show itself.

However, I was surprised that some characters were cut. Those like John Bristow’s girlfriend, Alison, and DI Carver don’t really make much of a difference to the plot and it’s reasonable to cut characters like that so you don’t have too many cluttering up the show. After all a book has plenty of time to delve into a variety of characters, while a total of 3 hours of TV really don’t. Yet in the case of combining characters like with the actual woman Tony Landry was having an affair with and Tansy, it does cause a bit of an upset to the story for a number of reasons. Such as how Cormoran comes to discover some info and what really is going on in Tansy’s life. As well as they made Guy Some come off as playing the gruff and rude demeanor that was really more of how Freddie Bestigui was set up, especially with how they ended up being able to talk to Guy Some. Once more it was an unnecessary change, and greatly altered the story.

While it’s not a bad thing to not necessarily know exactly what will happen next when it comes to a murder mystery, it does feel like this show hasn’t quite done the best it could to live up to the core of what really made the novel so wonderful. It felt rushed through, and at times it was as if they were just jamming the few characters they kept into random places to help make sense of the story that they’d chopped up and simplified perhaps too much. No there’s no need to have a similar conversation with one character to enforce facts that another character has already given us just to keep true to the book, but in a way they let characters give too much straightforward info that took away a lot of the ingenuity that makes Cormoran Strike such a wonderful detective, because of the truth that he’s able to dig out of the scattered and broken facts he’s given.

On its own it’s not a bad show as many a reviewer has established. I enjoyed it, and I’ll definitely watch whatever more is to come. However, in comparison with the book, it comes up a bit short, and that saddens me.

Sleeping With the Fishes

Sleeping with the Fishes by Mary Janice Davidson      description:

Fred is not your ordinary mermaid. She’s not blonde. She’s not buxom. And she’s definitely not perky. In fact, Fred can be downright cranky. And it doesn’t help matters that her hair is blue. While volunteering at the New England Aquarium, Fred learns that there are weird levels of toxins in the local seawater. A gorgeous marine biologist wants her help investigating. So does her merperson ruler, the High Prince of the Black Sea. You’d think it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things. Think again.

fishesBOOK 1: Sleeping with the Fishes     4 STARS

Davidson has a knack for taking old ideas, like mermaids, and turning them on their head. Fred is about as un-Disney as you can get, but what makes her great is that she’s still somehow likeable. She wants everyone to leave her alone, and yet goes out of her way to solve the mystery of the toxins in the water. Mermaid aside, she’s definitely not your average heroine and that’s what makes this book so much fun to read. Plus, it’s not just about Fred, there’s her parents thinking of adopting, her friend, Jonas, who’s so secretly in love with Fred’s boss it’s adorable, and even her boss who just wants everyone to take her seriously. Even Thomas, the marine biologist, who is in love with Fred is a quirky fella that brings his own snark and humor to the equation. My one problem with the book is Artur, High Prince of the Black Sea. Mainly, I want to know how he even knew about Fred to suddenly find her, when she’d never made contact with any merpeople before. Also, he was just so over the top and out of touch with how humans work that it was rather ridiculous. I never understood how if they could mostly blend well, and do live on this earth, that they’re so ignorant of humans, and why he shames Fred for not letting everyone know she’s a mermaid, when clearly merpeople haven’t been going out letting everyone know they exist in the first place. It just didn’t add up for me. It wasn’t enough to ruin the book by any means, I still love this story and have read it several times, but honestly Artur just didn’t bring much to the table really.

Sleuthing with the Enemy

BOOK 1: To Trust a Wolf  by  Danielle Hardgrave

Sleuthing with the Enemy  description:

Somebody just stole a valuable artifact from the Helsen archives, and Annemette Helsen—a very pissed off werewolf—is going to make sure they pay for it.
There’s just one problem: Anna’s only suspect is the arrogant vampire prince, Jonas Weiss. He’s cocky, frustrating, and a little bit sexy. Okay, a lot sexy.
He also claims to be innocent, so the fact that she just broke into his home and attacked him is problematic.
And his price for keeping silent about the whole debacle? Downright devious.

BOOK 2: Sleuthing with the Enemy   4 STARS

This was far more developed than the first book, and you really get a good look into the set up of the supernatural world. We get a lot more of their lore, and how their governing systems work within their hidden community. While Helen and Rune do show up a bit in here, it’s really all about Annemette and Jonas, and I like how this is moving forward from the last book, and showing the significance of the bracelet from the first. Anna and Jonas have some clear chemistry from the beginning, but Hardgrave does a great job of really developing the characters and not just having them jump in together. Anna, especially, goes through a lot of growth in this story, and it really helps you feel for them. That being said, this book has its wonderful moments of hilarity. I found myself giggling and blushing on behalf of Anna with all the awkward situations she gets herself into. Altogether a great balance of action and humor. You should definitely be as happy as I was for Benji to show up again, and that mystery that continues to follow him has me dying to know more. However, there’s 2 big questions I have to ask. First, how is it that there aren’t any cops coming after Rune after that whole thing of Helen reporting him for theft and assault? Second, what the heck is a permie? I mean I get that’s their slang for regular human, but where did that term come from, because it sounds like something you’d call someone with a bad perm job. Would love some explanations. Hopefully it’ll come in the next book, which I will be snatching up as soon as possible.

Dennis Carstens has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Dennis Carstens, you can connect with me at www.denniscarstensauthor.com and on www.facebook.com/TheKeyToJustice. Keep in touch on social media with the hashtag #MarcKadellaMystery

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

Even though I am not very good at it because I am basically a beginner, I do like to go golfing with friends. It’s a very pleasant way to spend a nice summer day. I have five grandchildren who are a hobby also. Everything you may have heard about being a grandparent is true. It’s terrific. The kids are all very nice, healthy and fun. And best of all when they act up as kids do, it’s time to go home.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I actually wrote my first book The Key to Justice in 1999 – 2000. I tried to go the traditional route to get it published and was met with total disinterest and rejection. Discouraged, I did not take it up again until 2011. My son encouraged me to self-publish on Amazon. The response surprised me with its success which encouraged me to continue.

The legal world, murder mystery/courtroom drama is the only genre I have written so far. I am extremely interested and well read in history and I have in mind a couple of historical novels based on actual events that I will eventually do.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

I am a retired lawyer who always enjoyed a good legal genre novel. What got me interested in doing one is most of the books in the genre left me wondering if the author had ever seen the inside of a courtroom. Ever represented a live, human client with a real legal problem or tried to make a living practicing law. Some do such as Scott Turow and Steve Martini who are very experienced and very good. Then others such as John Grisham, James Patterson and Michael Connelly who clearly have no clue. I wanted to write more realistically about what it is like.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I am about to start, and by the time you read this will have started, the eighth of the Marc Kadella legal mystery series. No, I am not going to tell you about it. Buy it, you’ll like it.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

To me the main thing I need to have mostly figured out before I start writing is the ending. I think it is very important to know where you are going so as not to wander off too far as can happen. Writing a book is almost like building a house. You build the story one step at a time. And just as building a house you better have a pretty good idea of what it is supposed to look like when you are finished.

I do not use a written outline. I know what my beginning is going to be, my ending and the middle. I keep a lot of notebooks around the house, especially by my bed, for when ideas pop into my head so I can make notes of it.

As for characters, this is the main thing I am trying to accomplish. I want to create an emotional tie between the reader and the characters (good or bad, favorable or unfavorable) to keep the reader engaged to find out how they all make out in the end. Several of my characters are in all of my books and I do keep a written profile of each to be consistent. I also do that with non-recurring characters for the same reason.

I normally focus on one book at a time but things come to me about future books. When this happens I write up notes about it so as not to forget. Makin notes is extremely important. I once had a dream and I awoke in the middle of the night thinking about it. It was a great idea for a book. I laid in bed for at least twenty minutes thinking it through and was quite pleased about it. Instead of getting up and writing it down I was certain I would remember it in the morning. When I woke up I remembered having a dream, waking up and thinking about it but could not remember one thing about the dream itself. Still have not. Take notes. Do not rely strictly on your memory.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I prefer to have my characters tell my story with their actions and interactions and their dialogue. I do not use a lot of third party narration for this. I think it helps with character development, creates the reader-character bond and makes the story flow along better. When reading I can get a little bored with page after page of third party narration.

I am a lawyer, not a grammar expert. Apparently there are people out there who believe they are. I have used the internet to check on grammar usage all the time and have found there are differing opinions on proper usage. If you think you are a grammar expert, you probably are not. At least others will disagree with you. Plus, I use dialogue the way people actually speak not the way your sixth grade English teacher tried to get you to speak.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

At first I did nothing much except publish on Amazon and let them do the marketing. There are services out there who will work with you for a fee or commission to use Amazon and other book promo organizations to promote your book. I am just now starting to use them and it has worked for me. But, I was fortunate to do well right away which, from what I understand, is quite unusual.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

First of all, be disciplined. Writing a 300 plus page fiction novel is very difficult. It is a lot of work. There are millions of partially written manuscripts sitting in desk drawers in this country from people who found this out. They wanted to try it, and good for them, then got part way into it and ran out of ideas.

I treat writing like a job. I am retired but I get up every morning around 6:30 and am at the desk by 8:00 every day. I have a daily goal of what I want to accomplish and I get at it and work until I have it. If you are employed, make a schedule every week of times when you are going to write and stick to it. If you can’t be that disciplined, odds are pretty good you are going to fail. Know that going in.

So as not to be overly negative, it is also very rewarding. I am fortunate enough to have had some success and am making a pretty good living at it. I also like the creative side of it. Apparently I have a fairly active imagination and creative streak. Not to brag but I have received more Five Star reviews from readers than all other reviews combined. Each time you get one of those it feels very gratifying to know that all of the work you put into the book was not a waste of time.

Write about what you know. If you are a doctor don’t write science fiction about interstellar space travel. You can do that but it will not seem factual.

Be realistic about your target market. I happen to have worked in a genre that is very popular with the reading public. My audience was quite large going in. Children’s books are enormously popular. For some reason people keep having babies and buying books for them to teach them to read. Apparently no one tells them about dealing with teenagers. Books about the exciting life of a plumber, not so much.

The Tomb of the Sea Witch

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz

The Tomb of the Sea Witch   description:

Private detective Nick Beasley used to be a debunker of magic–and a human being. Then he found out magic is real. The hard way. Now he’s on the run from a powerful council of enchanters who want him dead, along with his little brother Crispin and the renegade enchantress Lady Cordelia Beaumont.

So when Cordelia suggests going undercover at a stronghold of the Council’s power–the Warrengate Academy of Advanced Magic–Nick isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea. Cordelia insists that the school may hold the key to Nick regaining his humanity: an ancient spell created by the Sea Witch from the tale of the Little Mermaid.

But the mission proves to be more complicated than Beaumont and Beasley had expected. An ancient threat is rising from the deep, bringing an army of the dead along with it. Shocking revelations send Nick, Cordelia, and Crispin on a harrowing journey under the sea.

The Sea Witch is not quite as dead as everyone believes…and her secrets will change everything.

BOOK 2: The Tomb of the Sea Witch   5 STARS

At this point I just need Shultz to go back and write a book for every fairy tale, and the truth of how it all actually went down, because his versions seem far better than the way we’ve been told them. Now if you liked the first book even just a little bit, you definitely have to read this one. We’re really delving into the world of magic, and all the beings that have been in hiding in the Afterlands. I rather liked that they ended up at a school of magic (not for villains but anti-heroes), because it was an instant view into everything that’s been hidden from the rest of the world, and a look at their history and how they interact with others. More so, Nick, Crispin, and Cordelia felt more balanced in this book. They’re more of a team, and the humor flows really well in contrast to all the insanity that’s going on around them. Plus it’s just adorable how every animal Crispin comes across loves him, which is understandable considering how much he cares for every new thing he finds. Yet, it’s not just them that you love, it’s all the new characters being added and really filling out the story and giving us an exciting plot on their journey to uncurse Nick. I particularly liked the class of Mythfits, and even the show of their own fear of having to survive without magic, and why they’re so terrified of mermaids. There’s endless reasons to enjoy this story, and the world that’s being created here, you can’t help but dive right in. I only hope the next book comes out quickly, especially with those interesting tidbits Shultz left at the end.

 

Danielle Hardgrave has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

My name is Danielle Hardgrave and I can be found all over the place. I blog over www.caldwellbooks.com, which is the website for my publishing company, Caldwell Publishing. We’ve also got a Twitter and a Facebook, both of which are @caldwellbooks. My personal Twitter is @dhardgrav3.

2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I’m a big fan of naps. Really. They’re something that I plan in advance and get pumped up about. I also love movies, kickboxing, and reading.

3.       How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

Like most writers, I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen. I took a pretty long siesta from writing after high school and only got back into it in late 2015. Since then it feels like all I do is write, since I earn my living as a ghostwriter. At Caldwell so far we only write paranormal romance, but I’ve written in almost every romance genre there is.

4.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

Honestly the greatest influence has been partnering up with my amazing business partner Olivia. She’s ruthless about my inability to correctly use commas and helps me sort out good ideas from bad. I’d be nowhere without her.

5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

Right now I’m working on the second book in our Sea Assassins Trilogy. It’s called Redemption. The whole series is pretty weird and will continue getting weirder. But, then again, when you write a series about dudes who turn into sharks, what else can you expect?

6.      How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I’m all about the outline and character profiles. I find I just got blocked otherwise. Big fan of beat sheets too for early outlining. I have three projects on the go at the moment. One for a client, one for Caldwell, and another that’s more of a personal project. Ideally, however, I’d only have one 😛

7.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

My strength is definitely my sense of humor. I’ve never been any good at writing serious, angsty novels, and I often get bored reading them. Sass is where it’s at for me. My biggest weakness is description. I tend to overthink scenes and either end up with too much or too little. It’s something I’m definitely working on.

8.      After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Honestly, I am no marketing guru when it comes to self-publishing. We use social media, but most of our marketing efforts are spent getting reviews. The only tip I have is to keep getting books out! The more you write, the more likely you are to gain readership.

9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Read lots. Write lots. Rinse, repeat. And don’t give up!

Palm Beach Bones RELEASE BLITZ!!!

Detective Charlie Crawford is having a tough week. First, Palm Beach’s ex-police chief washes up dead on the beach behind The Breakers. Then Charlie’s friend’s niece is abducted without a trace. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his brother just checked himself into a clinic for depression and alcoholism.

The good news is Charlie’s love life has never been better…except with the woman he really loves.

 

 

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon http://amzn.to/2qK6uEu

Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2qFq8q4

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2ror9jA

 

Also Available Books 1-3 in the Charlie Crawford series, all books can be read as stand-alone

Palm Beach Nasty

Amazon http://amzn.to/2kRvlEE

Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2kqLRyd

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2kRgD3S

 

Palm Beach Poison

Amazon http://amzn.to/2jvF1Yv

Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2kRtOOY

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2kRyNz9

 

Palm Beach Deadly

Amazon http://amzn.to/2kqRP1R

Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2jUQcGo

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2jCW3iq

 

About the Author

A native New Englander, Tom dropped out of college and ran a Vermont bar—straight into the ground. After limping back to college to get his diploma, Tom became an advertising copywriter, first in Boston then New York. After ten years of post-Mad Men life, he made a radical change and got a job in Manhattan commercial real estate. Not long after that he ended up in Palm Beach, buying, renovating and selling houses while collecting a lot of raw material for his novels. On the side, he wrote Palm Beach Nasty and a screenplay called Dead in the Water. While at a wedding a few years back, he fell for the charm of Charleston, South Carolina. He moved there and wrote Palm Beach Poison and a series set in Charleston. Recently, wandering Tom moved again. This time, just down the road to Skidaway Island, outside of Savannah, where he just completed Palm Beach Deadly.

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The Beast of Talesend

The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz  description:

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  4 STARS

This is like a hard boiled detective got tossed into the darkest and bloodest of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then made it darker and more horrifying, and then someone decided it should be a comedy. Surprisingly it works. Honestly the twists Shultz has taken on the fairy tales was rather surprising and far different than anything I’ve read before, and I’ve read my fair share of retellings. I would love it if he would go back and write books on the stories they talk about in here as their history. Because while this is obviously a Beauty and the Beast retelling, since it’s a land of fairy tales, they’re all mixed in in varying ways, and the truth about Snow White honestly made a lot more sense than a lot of the other reasons for why the step mom would want her heart. Like I said, it’s dark, but the humor brought to it by the characters going through this, and Nick and Cordelia’s banter help really lighten it over all, even while they’re fighting evil and saving the world from darkness and destruction. Though it did start out a bit overly goofy in the beginning, once you really get into it, the tale does find a good balance and you get taken on quite an adventure. I even rather enjoyed Crispin’s involvement, as Nick’s little brother, there’s a lot going on there that I’d love to see developed and to find out more about their past. But it was the last line of this book that sealed the deal on me snatching up the next as soon as I can. I don’t want to spoil it, but I liked how Shultz got there and then left you hanging with that OMG moment. There’s just so many ways this series can go from here, and I look forward to the journey ahead.