House of Ashes

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

Rating :: 3.5 of 5 Stars

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.  The main character was flawed in a relatable way, that wasn't overdone.  I found the disappearance/mystery engaging and enjoyed how the timeline was set up within the chapters to help keep it straight.

There were a few factual errors on the part of the author that led me to be skeptical of one of the characters for a bit until I made up my mind that it was indeed an error and not part of the story.  To be honest, it was a bit of a let down thinking there was a big twist coming that never did.  This may have colored my enjoyment slightly as I enjoyed every other part of the writing and story.

I would recommend this to any reader that enjoys slightly historical, engrossing histories.
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I feel like New England and places like Cape Cod are so conducive to mysteries just because of the long history they boast. The twists and turns kept me guessing and like I said, the atmosphere was good too.
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Catchy story that kept me awake in a wish to see what will happen on the next page.... in short it was a wild ride while trying to figure out what happened with the missing people. I enjoyed reading it and it wont be my last book by this author.
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House of Ashes has Cassie trying to save her ancestral home while searching for missing friends and worrying about a possible family curse. There are several elements to this story, both in the past and present, and they will keep you guessing. I enjoyed the slightly darker feel of this mystery – almost gothic, but not quite. This was the first book I’d read by Loretta Marion, but it will not be the last.
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This is the perfect mystery for a cold winters day . I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it . 
A house by the sea  in a small coastal village with mysterious happenings, a rumored ghost,  a good mystery and strong charcters with well crafted writing made this the perfect read for a afternoon of escape. 

Cassie lives at Battersea Bluffs, the house that has been in her family for generations. She takes in a young couple who soon disappears.. The gossip in the village abounds as do mysterious clues that may have to do with Cassie's ancestors and their own mysteries. 
 Cassie starts her own investigation, guided by  the ghosts at Battersea Bluffs.  The author does a excellent job of building suspense and all is reveled at the end. 

 House Of Ashes is a well crafted story, with  likable characters , a paranormal edge and the beautiful setting. I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it for all that enjoy a bit of mystery and suspense.
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I did enjoy this book, it had the right eerie background for a haunted house, a gothic type setting in Cape Cod. A lonely divorcee, Cassie, lives in the house and befriends a young couple who end up staying with her, until they disappear without a trace. A missing ring, tattoos of a phoenix, a mysterious "T" that keeps turning up. Not to mention an old curse cast against Cassie's family. All in all I found "House Of Ashes" to be an intriguing mystery, with clues and red herrings every time you turn the page. I also found the relationships between the main characters warm and realistic, which further enhanced the story. This book has a lot to recommend it, it holds the interest of the reader all the way through, and I found myself feeling for Cassie, annoyed at her sister Zoe's reluctance to tell her the truth, well, tell her anything really. Cassie finds herself unravelling secrets, not only the missing couples, but some of her family's as well. A worthy read!
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I really liked this book, it was entertaining and engaging.
I  was hooked since the first pages and couldn't put it down.
I love the characters and atmosphere, dark and atmospheric.
The characters were well developed and interesting.
A very good and enjoyable read.
Many thanks to Crooked Lane and Netgalley for this ARC
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Cassie is in danger of losing her beloved house The Bluffs that has been in her family for generations thanks to the debts her ex husband left behind and the divorce,  but then a couple Ashley and Vince turn up out of the blue and help her do up the coach house so that she can let it out,  but then they mysteriously disappear........ is the house really haunted!  Trying to find out what really happend to them she starts to uncover more of her own family history but why will the police and the FBI not help?

A great atmospheric book with intrigue and secrets going back for generations it is my first book by this author but I will definitely be looking for future ones
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has all the elements that make for a good story. It has romance, mystery and the setting is a huge Victorian house in cape cod that is rumored to be haunted.  It is such a believable tale which is sometimes not always found  when reading about houses that supposedly have ghosts.  The author did a great job combining all the elements  together.  I highly recommend this book.
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Suspense-filled and yet an easy read, this story set in Whale Rock on Cape Cod involves a young woman living in a historic family home on a bluff well known as Percy’s Bluff. Sometimes when we are vulnerable or maybe even desperate our judgement is not as good as it might be otherwise. Sometimes we just don’t want to see things as they might be. It doesn’t matter who warns us to be cautious. Is this the case with Cassie? Is she too dependent on staying in this beautiful old Victorian home of her descendants?

Really enjoyed the storyline of this book. Of course, I always like stories of seacoast towns and Cape Cod in particular and this one has a little mystique. While putting a little taste of the paranormal here, the author added suspense without going over the top. The characters were folk in a place where only locals really fit. 
Just really a book I didn’t want to put down and was sad when the last page was read.

An interesting book in which the only fault I can find is…there aren't any more.

***This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are definitely my own.
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Ghosts, suicide, curse, disappearances, unanswered questions. This story had it all. Cassie loved where she lived, ghosts and family history included. It was great watching her grow stronger through the story. There were moments of confusion as the mystery unraveled, but I loved how Cassie stuck to her beliefs. I enjoy a good ghost story, and this kept me interested.

I heard about this book through Goddess Fish Promotions, and received an ARC of this story through Netgalley. This is my unsolicited review.
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A curse and ghosts!  This dual time line mystery/suspense novel finds Cassie trying to rebuild her life in her family home, the Bluffs, on Cape Cod but things seem to conspire against her.  What's the back story on her family?  Well, no spoilers but things weren't always pretty. Who are or were Vince and Ashley, who appeared one day, befriended Cassie, and disappeared another?  No one knows- there's no record of them.   Thanks to Netgalley fr the ARC.  This isn't too twisty and there's some family melodrama but it's a good read.
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For Cassie, Vince and Ashley’s arrival offers a respite from the turbulence in her life and the help to get it back on track.  The backdrop for all of this is the family home, Battersea Bluffs, inhabited still by her grandparents spirit, a comfort to her. For her sister, not so much.

And when Ashley and Vince disappear, family secrets, old and new, are slowly revealed, just like Whale Rock with each passing tide. 

Ms. Marion has written a mystery that spans generations, adds a mix of quirky native Cape Codders, and just the hint of romance to make House of Ashes a joy to read.  The perfect selection for your winter book pile cuddled up by a warm fire.
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The location, Cape Cod, made this a must read for me. I have spent a lot of time at the Cape and I can picture Battersea Bluffs and the surrounding area easily.

Cassandra’s great grandparents had owned the home and now it was hers, but she needed help financially and help fixing it up. Along comes Vince and Ashley.

It doesn’t take long and they come up missing. How? Why? Whenever a house is involved, I immediately think of ghosts and goblins, and we do have a curse with smells that can be pleasant one moment and not so much the next. We also have secrets. Secrets that are going to come to light because Cassandra is a caring and persistent person, and she won’t let the mystery of their disappearance end without answers.

Cassandra tells Vince and Ashley where the name of the town,Whale Rock, came from, I immediately thought of my family’s home on the Cape. When the tide goes out, there is a giant rock exposed. I love when a novel can tweak a bit of nostalgia from me. Makes it easier to relate to the story and the characters.

A haunted house, a mystery with secrets…I have some suspicions and I am having a great time trying to put all the pieces together. I didn’t do so well. There is so much more to the story and Loretta leads me on a wild ride to the very end.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of House of Ashes by Loretta Marion

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Cassie Mitchell is 37 and in trouble. She lives in her family's historic Victorian house on Cape Cod...but the house comes with ghosts. Literally. Or bad memories. Or a curse. Whatever you want to call it. Three generations of her family have met with sadness and death because of a long-ago curse placed on the family by an unhappy lover...a lighterman named Robert Toomey. 80 years ago Toomey supposedly started a fire in the house, killing Cassie's great-grandmother Celeste. Percy Mitchell then jumped from the nearby cliffs clutching his dead wife's body, yelling that he was not yet finished with Toomey. Flash forward 80 years....the house is in need of repairs, but Cassie is out of money, in the midst of a divorce, and despondent. She loves Battersea Bluffs at Lavender Hill -- or just The Bluffs as modern residents of Whale Rock, MA call it now -- and doesn't want to lose the house, or the lovely vanilla and caramel scent reminiscent of baking cookies that means the ghosts are about. Mysteriously a young couple and their dog show up one day asking about the house and the legend of the curse. Cassie instantly befriends them. Vince and Ashley start helping renovate the carriage house. Cassie can rent it out and bring in some money to start paying off the debt her ex-husband racked up before leaving. She comes to love them as friends. Then one day Vince and Ashley head out on a biking excursion and never come back. The bikes and picnic basket are found abandoned. She files a missing person report but it seems law enforcement really doesn't want to solve the case. Where are her friends? And why did they just disappear?

I love a good haunted house story! And this one fit the bill perfectly! House of Ashes is a nice mix of mystery and supernatural. The house clearly has a mind, or spirit, of its own. And as Cassie works to find out what happened to her friends, she learns more about the background of the house, her family, and the curse. She also has to battle small town gossip. Nobody really wants to find the young couple. The residents of Whale Rock don't trust outsiders and seem glad they are gone. The local police are pulled off the case by the FBI. And the FBI doesn't seem all that interested in solving the matter. 

I enjoyed Cassie as a main character. She is intelligent and learning to stand on her own and fight for what she wants in life. She's creative -- a very talented painter. Plus Cassie is loyal and determined. She isn't just going to let this go and forget about the two people who stayed with her for four months and helped her at her lowest. 

On the front cover of House of Ashes it says "A Haunted Bluffs Mystery'' so I'm assuming this is the first book in a series. I will definitely be reading more books by this author -- and more books about Battersea Bluffs, if this does turn out to be a continuing series. This story was perfectly paced and nicely suspenseful. There were plenty of twisty developments to keep me guessing what the final outcome would be. I binge read this book in one sitting -- I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it ended! 

Loretta Marion is the author of another unrelated suspense novel, The Fool's Truth. I've added it to my tbr stack! I like her writing style and will definitely be watching for more by this author.

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Crooked Lane via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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From the book's haunting cover design to the intriguing synopsis, I was instantly captivated and could not wait to delve into this one. Now after having spent an enchanting adventure along the Cape, I cannot wait to see where this series takes me next!

From the opening chapter to the final sentence, I was completely immersed in this intensely atmospheric story made even more so by the fact that I read it during the Halloween season. It's been quite a while since I've been so completely awestruck after the first chapter alone! Read it and you'll quickly understand why it will be so hard to put down afterwards!

Generations collide in this incredibly nuanced mystery that seeks to discover the secrets behind a family's paranormal history and the current disappearance of two missing people. The story unfolds from both past and present perspectives, which the author is able to seamlessly interweave to create a truly poignant narrative. The addition of journal entries and the sleuthing itself make this story even more multilayered and engaging. This isn't a twisting thrill ride, but rather a slowburning untying of knots that reveals a satisfying end.

Overall, there is a little of everything for a lot of different readers to enjoy. From history and romance to mystery and the supernatural, Battersea Bluffs has so much to offer.
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Cassandra Mitchell is the great-granddaughter of Percy and Celeste Mitchell who built the gorgeous Battersea Bluffs mansion in Whale Rock, Massachusetts, Cape Cod where she now lives alone. She is 37 years old and tenaciously clings to the family Victorian despite its history, local folklore, and apparent supernatural experiences. There is an apparent curse that has followed them from England affecting their male descendants. Cassie has weathered a disastrous marriage and impending divorce and is presently facing foreclosure. She refuses the idea of selling.

Sinking deeper into the funk that has enveloped her in the situation, she meets a young couple, Ashley and Vince, on her property accompanied by a German Shepherd, and impressed with them and taken by the moment invite them to stay with her for a while in exchange for their work on the carriage house. 

The author flips the chronological timelines as she brings in further details of Cassie's family, both current and 80 years ago. Chapter headings clearly tell in which timeline the narrative is heading and it doesn't take long to get into the rhythm. 

The couple suddenly disappears without explanation which sets off a chain of investigations that begin with local law enforcement and extends to the FBI. There is an attraction to the FBI agent, and Cassie appears to be in full rebound mode, but is consumed with the problem of figuring out what happened to the kids. Happy with having the couple around, they had created in her the urge to paint again and she is facing a large gallery showing by a friend and local art gallery owner.

The protagonist has that artist's aura about her, tormented but talented. Headstrong and smart, she seemed to make less than informed decisions while craftily planning her next move toward solving the mystery of the couple. I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who enjoy a mystery, supernatural or paranormal qualities, thriller and suspense, and strong women sleuths. 4.5/5

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I’m not really sure where to begin. There are parts I really liked ad parts I hated. I have to confess, I didn’t read it word for word. I found myself skipping throughout. I loved the setting and gothic feel. The disappearance was very intriguing but the main character, Cassie, not very much. She had no backbone. She was so gullible. I really liked the cop who had known her her whole life. He really looked out for her, or tried to. After seeing how dysfunctional her family was, I see why she was like she was. She has been beaten down psychologically over the years. I would’ve been a recluse also. I read one review where they didn’t get through it because of Cassie being so gullible as far as the missing couple. If the reader feels this way, be sure and read on or skip ahead as I did. The answer to the disappearance makes all the sense in the world and was ingenious. This would’ve made a big 5 star with me and would’ve been a great movie if it weren’t for the back and forth in different time frames. And also how they were written. This took my focus off the story. However, there is enough mystery to keep ones interest if you like this sort of thing. The mystery keeps getting more bizarre and hard to figure out. I would’ve never guessed it. That’s a good thing. The revelations about the past and the fire were a little much, they were great, but almost paranormal in a way it almost didn’t fit the story. If there would’ve been more ghost like stuff, this would’ve been ok. I’m sure others will love it and I think a sequel would also do great. I’d like to say congratulations to the author on the release. She has a brilliant mind. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for allowing me to review this
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This is not a book that I generally am lead to.  With that said, I was entertained throughout the story.  There is an old house that is haunted (maybe), there is mystery and a bit of romance.

Thanks to netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for this advanced readers copy.
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HOUSE OF ASHES by Loretta Marion
The First Haunted Bluffs Mystery

Cassandra Mitchell has been in a dark place. A failed marriage resulted in near bankruptcy along with the possibility of losing her family home. While her sister won't come within a hundred miles of the place, Cassie has always felt a kinship with The Battersea Bluffs and feels the presence of her great grandparents who built the home. Desperate to keep the house, Cassie allows the two strangers she meets to become tenants. The young couple will work on turning the carriage house into a rental unit as well as keep Cassie company. Everyone in the small town is more suspicious than welcoming to Cassie's new friends, however, and when the young couple goes missing Cassie realizes she doesn't know them at all.

HOUSE OF ASHES is an interesting book which is comprised of a few stories. Not only do we get the story of Cassie Mitchell and the mystery of her disappearing tenants, we follow the history of the original owners and discover the beginnings of the family curse that may currently be plaguing Cassie. The manner in which the stories are intertwined is disconcerting, however. It's not that there are two timelines with which the author trades back and forth, instead she goes back and forth within those timelines as well. This lack of chronological progression slows the pace and disconnects the reader. Rather than getting caught up in the story, the reader constantly has to readjust perspective and so never is fully immersed in Cassie's world.

The first Haunted Bluffs Mystery is a book of secrets. Everyone has them and some are more dangerous than others. Cassie is an extremely flawed character, but she has an intrinsic sense of goodness and loyalty, sometimes much misplaced. Other characters, even those readers inherently know are "good" have their own share of secrets. The teasing out of these secrets is what gives the book its depth.

HOUSE OF ASHES is a layered mystery that combines the past and the present. Family history, strength, and flaws combine with a world of secrets. The hint of the paranormal adds a gothic touch creating a unique tinge to this modern mystery.
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