Book Review Tuesday: Haunted House Ghost @jamescudney4, My Girl @JacqBiggar, Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Moonlight Becomes You by Mary Higgins Clark

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

I’m back with my second and final Book Review Tuesday post for the month of December. As mentioned in last week’s post, I won’t be sharing reviews on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, as I fear many readers won’t be online and I’d like to give the authors of the books I’ve read as much exposure as possible. Today’s variety includes a cozy mystery, a second-chance romance, and young-adult horror.

Book cover for cozy mystery Haunted House Ghost by James J. Cudney shows cartoon sketch of old house on hillside in front of full moon with cartoon ghost aboveHaunted House Ghost
A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 5)

by James J. Cudney

This is my first Braxton Campus mystery. It was a delight discovering these characters—and there are many. When you join a series in progress, it’s easy to get lost, but not with the Braxton series. The author did an excellent job of establishing who was who, as well as explaining the relationships that connected all the people in this fabulous fictional setting.

College professor and amateur sleuth, Kellan, moves into an old house only to discover it may be haunted by ghosts of the past. Set during Halloween, this cozy relies on past connections, family histories, plenty of secrets, and a cast of suspects that keeps the reader guessing. Toss in a fifty-year old skeleton, an eccentric psychic, plus Halloween happenings, and you can’t go wrong.

Kellan’s family is a delight—especially Nana D who is fond of calling him “brilliant one.” His developing romance with town sheriff, April, adds a nice hint of romance to the layers of mystery. Grab your scorecard, tally up the suspects, and take your best guess. If you like cozies, you’re sure to enjoy this charmer! 5 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychic Mysteries > Mystery Series > Ghost Mysteries 

Book cover for My Girl by Jacquie Biggar shows couple sharing a kiss behind a bouquet of flowersMy Girl: Gambling Hearts—Book Three
by Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar does it again! If you love second chance romances, you’re sure to love this story! Trish is a city girl from a corporate background, Aaron, a Texas rancher. Romantically involved for a time, family conflicts forced them to part. Now Trish, her parents, and her fiancé, are the first guests at the ranch Aaron owns along with his sibling—a place now opening as a dude/guest ranch.

Sparks fly right from the get-go, but there is plenty of trouble in the form of Trish’s slimy fiance (her father forced the arrangement) and her interfering parents. There’s also a surprise or two tucked into the plot, including how some of these characters end up. But one thing you can count on is the HEA at the end. It’s a sweet journey getting there with plenty of ups and downs, but the conclusion will leave you with a fuzzy feeling and a sloppy grin. I love everything Jacquie Biggar writes, but she really hit a home run with this charmer. Of special note: although this is the third book in a series, it easily stands on its own as well. 5 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genres: Western Romance > Women’s Romance Fiction

Book cover for Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle shows young girl standing in open doorway at top of dark staircase descending downThrough the Nethergate
by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Margaret is a girl with a special gift that allows her to see ghosts who are trapped in an overworld between Heaven and Hell. She’s able to help them regain life, then help them move on in the hereafter. When she moves in with her grandfather after the death of her parents, Margaret encounters a number of ghosts, and a particularly nasty black dog that is actually the embodiment of Hugh Bigod, an evil spirit who has held the ghosts trapped for centuries. Hugh has his own ideas how Margaret’s gifts can be used to his benefit.

This is a YA horror novel that will also appeal to adults, especially with the deep research the author layers into the historical aspects of the book. I found those the strongest and was enthralled by how skillfully Cheadle brought the past to life. There are a few POV issues and a good deal of internal thought, the latter which occasionally bogs things down, but for the most part this is a quick and easy read. Margaret’s grandfather is also a strong character, and the background of many of the ghosts adds a fascinating aspect. Most of the spirits are based on historic figures. I don’t usually read books that employ Lucifer as a character, and admit to skimming some of those chapters, but overall, I found this a compelling story on multiple levels. 4 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Young Adult Horror

Book cover for Moonlight Becomes you by Mary Higgins Clark shows full white moon on surrounded by clouds on dark skyMoonlight Becomes You
by Marry Higgins Clark

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Mary Higgins Clark. I was anxious to try this one because of a plot thread regarding Victorian burial customs. Maggie Holloway reconnects with her stepmother, Nuala, at a cocktail party. The two women haven’t seen each other since Maggie was a child but their connection is immediate. Shortly afterward, Nuala is murdered by an unknown assailant and Maggie inherits her home.

The plot involves residents of Latham Manor, a luxury living center for seniors, complete with medical staff on the premises. Maggie becomes friendly with one of Nuala’s friends, only to have that woman die unexpectedly. She soon realizes that several residents of Latham Manor have passed away in a short amount of time, and while visiting their graves discovers Victorian burial bells by their tombstones. Although this isn’t the main thread of the story, it adds an interesting twist.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of, and the book bogs a bit as each are introduced and their connections to the others become apparent. The story starts with a bang then slows down for quite a while before gaining momentum again, but it’s worth sticking with. While I deduced the identity of the killer around the 60% mark, it was entertaining to see the mystery unravel. The suspenseful ending, along with a nice wrap for the various plot threads made for a satisfying read. 4 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction > Psychological Thrillers
(Note: I think this reads more like cozy despite the tags on Amazon)

I’ve seen a few of these books getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere within the last few months, so my guess is that some of you have read them, or have them on your TBRs. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s reviews!

57 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: Haunted House Ghost @jamescudney4, My Girl @JacqBiggar, Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Moonlight Becomes You by Mary Higgins Clark

  1. I’ve read and enjoyed all of these books, except Mary Higgins Clark (who I can’t believe I’ve never tried!). Thank you soooo much for the wonderful words on My Girl! It tickled me pink to read the conclusion will leave you with a fuzzy feeling and a sloppy grin. I couldn’t ask for a nicer recommendation 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Wow, I’m surprised you haven’t read MHC. I think you’d definitely like her. Glad you enjoyed the books by James and Robbie, too. I’m happy to share them, along with the review for My Girl, which did leave me with a big ol’ sloppy grin, LOL. High five on a great HEA!

      Liked by 3 people

    • How weird. I saw your post. It’s definitely an MHC kind of day!
      Thanks for the rec on Moonlight Becomes You. I loved the Victorian burial custom thread. I actually cover that in a presentation I do on folklore.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent reviews. I read Jacquie’s and Robbie’s books too. Loved them both. Read a few others by them too, definitely recommend. I used to read Clark also; it’s been so long! Must try again.

    Thank you for the amazing review of mine. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I’ll be starting the second book in the Braxton mysteries. I have my eye on Jacquie’s books, and hope soon, I’ll read one of hers, and though this one sounds enticing, I think I’d like to start from book 1. Never read any of the rest – horror is not my thing. Mary Higgins have been on my radar for so long, not sure why I never read any. And on a side note, I like that you add descriptions to all your images. Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi, Jina. I want to go back and read some earlier books in Jay’s series. I loved the characters I met in Haunted House Ghost.

      I’m sure you’ll like Jacquie’s books. They’re always heartwarming with a lovely HEA. As for Mary Higgins Clark, I used to read a lot of her work in my younger days, but like Teri said above, she fell off my radar.

      Thanks for mentioning the description tags. I forgot to put one on my book review header. I don’t want to take for granted that I can see images, while there are others who can’t. I’m glad they help 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

      • I remember reading you are blind on your website.

        It’s fully understandable why you wouldn’t be able to add description tags on your website, but I’m so glad I can do something to make your reading experience more pleasurable on mine.


  4. Sorry I haven’t been around. Life has taken some “interesting” turns around here.

    Haunted House Ghost looks like a lot of fun. But I think I’m going to start with book 1 in this series and go from there if I like it. I’m kind of OCD about reading books in order even when they can be stand alones.

    It’s been YEARS since I read Moonlight Becomes You. It’s time I pick up another Mary Higgins Clark book.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You should go back an start from the beginning of the Braxton Campus series. They read much better starting from the beginning, though I know of others who started with not the first book and they still enjoy it.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Lauralynn! Wow, it’s so good to hear from you! I hope all is okay in your corner of the world. You have been missed!

      I was in a Halloween frame of mind the end of October when I picked up Haunted House Ghost, otherwise I probably would have started at the beginning of the series as well. I’d still like to read what I’ve missed, but….Halloween, October…it was one of those: Must. Read. This. One. Now. 🙂

      I think I’ll be working more MHC into my TBR. Erm, assuming I can ever catch up with what’s in my queue now!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Mae, thank you for sharing these excellent books and your terrific and insightful reviews of them! All so tempting, some already on my kindle and others to add to my list of books to read! Happy Reading and wishing you a wonderful holiday break! hugs xx

    Liked by 4 people

    • HI, Annika! That’s great some of these have already landed on your Kindle. They were all engaging and made for interesting reading. I’m glad you enjoyed the reviews. Thanks for the holiday wishes, and sending them back to you in return! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  6. You have a knack for writing awesome reviews. Loved all of these. I especially enjoyed The Haunted House Ghost, but I love cozies, so that’s to be expected. And this cozy sounds like a lot of fun. Enjoy your time off from reviews and happy holidays!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I thought you might be drawn to the cozy, Judi 🙂
      It was a great book,and I want to go back and start at the beginning of the series to see what I missed.
      Glad you enjoyed the reviews. Sending you Happy Holiday wishes as well!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Fantastic shares, Mae! It’s funny that I just came from Joan Hall’s blog and she posted Mary Higgins Clark’s books. 🙂 I don’t think I’ve read this one, but she was one of my favorite authors when I was growing up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Joan was the one who recommended Moonlight Becomes You, Jan. I thought it was funny that we decided to share reviews on the same day. I read a number of MHC books when I was younger too, I’d forgotten how engrossing they are.
      Thanks for visiting today! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Great reviews, Mae! I have read two and the other two are on my TBR list. I haven’t read a Mary Higgins Clark in a while, either. I used to never miss a book. I do remember that one because I loved the title so much and cover. I might see my old go-to authors differently now as I read differently.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Denise, that’s awesome to know about today’s featured books. I know the authors will love hearing that.
      Joan Hall recommended Moonlight Becomes You to me, and the title was a huge draw, as well as the gorgeous cover. What really did it thought, was the thread related to Victorian burial bells. I have a section devoted to them in a folklore presentation I give.

      My reading tastes have really changed too, but I’m tempted to revisit some of the authors I use to frequent in the old days 🙂

      Many thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 2 people

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