Book Review: Dead Ringer by Kat Ross @katrossauthor @PublishingAcorn @XpressoTours

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Title: Dead Ringer
Series: Gaslamp Gothic #5
Author: Kat Ross
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: December 13, 2019
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Mystery

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Dead Ringer
Gaslight Gothic #5
Kat Ross
Acorn Publishing, December 2019
ISBN 978-0-9997621-6-5
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

A poisonous secret. 
A terrifying curse. 
And a client she’d just as soon see dead in a ditch…. 

Summer 1889. Harrison Fearing Pell hoped for adventure when she signed on with the Society for Psychical Research as an occult investigator. Slogging through New York’s sewers in pursuit of a “mud man” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. But the reeking monster terrorizing the dance halls of the Tenderloin leads her to an even more peculiar mystery — and the last man on earth Harry wishes to become entangled with. 

James Moran is a prodigy in music, mathematics . . . and crime. Harry’s older sister, the famed detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, has vowed to put him behind bars. But Harry owes Moran a personal debt, so when he demands her aid she can hardly refuse. It turns out that the brilliant black sheep of New York Society is part of a secret club at Columbia College whose members have started dying in bizarre ways that may not be accidents. 

Thus begins one of the strangest cases of Harry’s career, a tale of murder, cold-blooded revenge and fairytale bogeymen to make the Brothers Grimm shudder. As the bodies pile up, each preceded by sightings of the victim’s doppelgänger, Harry and her stalwart friend John Weston must race against time to save a man who arguably deserves his macabre fate.

When I first picked up this book, I was confused because the main characters and the setting seemed so familiar but “Gaslight Gothic” did not. I soon realized that I had indeed met Harry and her family and friends before; the series name had changed from “Dominion” to “Gaslight Gothic”. I’ve been delighted to spend time with these charming folks again. I also like the way the author mixes and matches various characters throughout the series so we don’t always see the same ones.

Harry is off on another strange case with a little help from her friends and, this time, her client is one she’d really prefer not to be working for but his request/demand is more than she can resist. It’s a tale of murder and doppelgangers that is well beyond anything she and John have encountered before and they’re determined to stop this string of killings. Their special abilities have never been so necessary to solving such a dark fairytale.

Along with truly appealing characters, Ms. Ross continues to enhance a unique and compelling setting in an 1889 New York City that took me right back to that period albeit with a paranormal twist. In fact, I’d say this city is in itself a character, one that’s equally important as the humans and mythical beings. As with the first two books, The Daemoniac and The Thirteenth Gate, I sank right into the story and now I need to go back and find the missing pieces, A Bad Breed and The Necromancer’s Bride. They’ll help keep me busy till the next book comes out 🙂

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2020.

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About the Author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

Author links: 
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

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5x ebook copies of A Bad Breed

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Book Review: Lost Girl by Holly Kammier @hkammier @PublishingAcorn @XpressoTours

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Title: Lost Girl
Series: A Shelby Day Novel
Author: Holly Kammier
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: January 5, 2020
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

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Amazon // Indiebound

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Lost Girl
A Shelby Day Novel
Holly Kammier
Acorn Publishing, January 2020
ISBN 978-1-947392-61-8
Hardcover

From the publisher—

AN APPALLING ACT OF VIOLENCE AND AN UNSOLVED DOUBLE MURDER.

SMALL-TOWN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, SHELBY DAY, IS DETERMINED TO HUNT A KILLER. 

As her search draws closer to uncovering the twisted truth, she begins receiving ominous warnings to stay quiet and drop the story. The young journalist is in danger. Her cameraman and best friend, a person with his own secret past, says he wants to protect her. But Shelby is headstrong and dodging anything that could lead to love. She can’t allow anyone to distract her as she fights for the two women who deserve justice. 

She never expects along the way she’ll have to stop and save herself.

Ticktock… If Shelby doesn’t solve the crime soon, she’ll become the killer’s next victim. 

“Lost Girl is a compulsive thrill-ride that reads as if it’s been pulled straight from the headlines. Kammier’s journalism background brings undeniable authenticity to a novel that has it all– a love story, a murder mystery, and a real-life introduction into the distinctive world of television news.” 
-CAROLINE MITCHELL, New York Times best-selling author

This book is for anyone who loves:
Young Adult love stories
Murder Mystery
Redemption
Books with journalism elements
Intended for a mature YA audience

Fans of Veronica Mars, In The Woods, and One Of Us Is Lying, will love this novel.

Lost Girl is, in itself, a puzzle because it’s listed as Young Adult but I don’t know why. The characters are not high schoolers, which is what you usually find in YA, and the setting is not YA-related so the designation really doesn’t make much sense. I’m not particularly fond of the New Adult categorization that started cropping up a few years back but that is what this is so why not call it that or nothing age-defining at all?

Shelby Day is an interesting protagonist largely because she’s not very likeable and that’s fine with me. A character with flaws nearly always enhances things for me and I imagine some of the traits that make an investigative reporter good at her job are exactly those that can irritate other people. Shelby has that dogged determination and pushiness that drives a reporter to get the story. Is she annoying? Yes, and she made me cringe with some of her behavior and her zeal to get the story despite some bad decisions but I also understood her emotional connection to the murder victims. On the other hand, I didn’t buy her claim that PTSD is built into Jewish DNA and actually thought that was a bit dismissive of those who really do suffer from PTSD. Her cameraman and friend, Jack, is nearly as problematic in his somewhat controlling attitude but I did appreciate his willingness to stick by her. The romance between the two may or may not develop but Jack certainly hopes so.

As mystery investigations go, this one is a little weak primarily because I never could figure out why Shelby would be privy to so much information and exclusive interviews and the like. Surely a cub reporter would have to pay a lot more dues to achieve such favored status. Still, the various leads and rising tension kept me reading till the end.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2020.

About the  Author

Co-owner of Acorn Publishing, the UCLA honors graduate is an accomplished content editor/writing coach (her authors have gone on to become USA Today best-sellers and a New York Times best-seller). With a background in journalism, Holly Kammier has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon.

She is the best-selling author of the novel, Kingston Court (Acorn Publishing 2015), and Could Have Been Hollywood, a memoir. Holly recently published her third book, Choosing Hope, a harrowing story of passion and deceit, and the things we do for love. Her next novel, the YA Romantic Suspense, Lost Girl, is scheduled for release in early 2020.

Holly resides in her hometown of San Diego, California, close to family and friends. An avid reader with a passion for timeless books and beautiful writing, she also enjoys long walks, romantic movies, and pink peonies.

Author links: 
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

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Book Review: The Thirteenth Gate by Kat Ross

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