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Music and Malice in Hurricane Town

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Jude Lomax scrapes a living playing the trumpet on the neon streets of Baton Noir. Then she is invited to play at the funeral of the infamous cajou queen, Ivory Monette. Passing through the cemetery gates, Jude finds herself possessed by the murdered queen’s spirit. And Ivory won’t rest until she’s found the person responsible for her death. If Jude wants to be rid of the v Jude Lomax scrapes a living playing the trumpet on the neon streets of Baton Noir. Then she is invited to play at the funeral of the infamous cajou queen, Ivory Monette. Passing through the cemetery gates, Jude finds herself possessed by the murdered queen’s spirit. And Ivory won’t rest until she’s found the person responsible for her death. If Jude wants to be rid of the vengeful spirit, she must take a journey deep into the dangerous underbelly of the city, from the swampy depths of the Black Bayou to the velvet opulence of the vampires’ secret jazz clubs. But as Jude untangles Ivory’s web of secrets, she is confronted with a few dark truths from her own past…


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Jude Lomax scrapes a living playing the trumpet on the neon streets of Baton Noir. Then she is invited to play at the funeral of the infamous cajou queen, Ivory Monette. Passing through the cemetery gates, Jude finds herself possessed by the murdered queen’s spirit. And Ivory won’t rest until she’s found the person responsible for her death. If Jude wants to be rid of the v Jude Lomax scrapes a living playing the trumpet on the neon streets of Baton Noir. Then she is invited to play at the funeral of the infamous cajou queen, Ivory Monette. Passing through the cemetery gates, Jude finds herself possessed by the murdered queen’s spirit. And Ivory won’t rest until she’s found the person responsible for her death. If Jude wants to be rid of the vengeful spirit, she must take a journey deep into the dangerous underbelly of the city, from the swampy depths of the Black Bayou to the velvet opulence of the vampires’ secret jazz clubs. But as Jude untangles Ivory’s web of secrets, she is confronted with a few dark truths from her own past…

30 review for Music and Malice in Hurricane Town

  1. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    Jude is a musician who’s trying to earn enough money to take care of herself and her father. They live in Baton Noir, a city divided into magical Royalty, Subjects and ordinary Citizens (or Scraps, as the slur goes). If you visit Baton Noir you’re likely to cross paths with Pearls, descendants, witches and vampires, and you may even come across some fairies. When Ivory Monette, the cajou queen, is murdered, she’s determined to find her killer. Ivory can’t investigate her murder alone (on account Jude is a musician who’s trying to earn enough money to take care of herself and her father. They live in Baton Noir, a city divided into magical Royalty, Subjects and ordinary Citizens (or Scraps, as the slur goes). If you visit Baton Noir you’re likely to cross paths with Pearls, descendants, witches and vampires, and you may even come across some fairies. When Ivory Monette, the cajou queen, is murdered, she’s determined to find her killer. Ivory can’t investigate her murder alone (on account of her body being interred in her family crypt at St Clémence Cemetery) so she enlists Jude’s help. Not that Jude consented, or was even consulted, before Ivory’s spirit possessed her. As she looks deeper into this corrupt world of dark magic, superstitions and curses, where charms can make you beautiful, where swamps are home to alligators and nightmares that bite, and jazz music accompanies you wherever you go, Jude finds herself caught up in a whirlwind (hurricane? 😜) of secrets, lies and ghosts of the past. I connected with Jude, who is an interesting mix of angry, insecure and resilient. I liked Jude’s best friend, Sharkey, and his grandmother, Mops; I wish they had more page time and hope to get to know them better in the sequel. I empathised with Jude’s self destructive father but also wanted to steer clear of him and I searched the pages for an appropriate curse for Jude’s abusive ex-boyfriend, Leeroy. While I liked Ivory I didn’t feel she reached her villainous potential and instead found myself drawn to the Phantom’s tragic backstory. André, the Phantom of Moonfleet, became my favourite character. I’m always intrigued by a story’s ‘monster’. I love underdogs and want to do a deep dive into their psychology, history, motivations and personality. While I enjoyed getting to know the man behind the mask, I need more; I’d happily curl up with a book that focused solely on his family’s disturbing history. Characters are trying to cope with a lot of pain in this book as a result of so many difficult experiences including loss, abuse, poverty, mental health, torture and murder. One of my favourite quotes, which I found both difficult to read and oddly beautiful, was She found herself sinking down under the weight of an old familiar gloom - that big black octopus of despair, pushing its oily tentacles into her heart, mind and soul, looking for weaknesses to be exploited, cracks it might shatter apart and fears to be dwelt on and agonized over. I could feel the music echoing off the pages from the first song but the music seemed to fade into the background as Jude became more entrenched in Ivory’s mission. The atmosphere was almost tangible in this book and I’m a sucker for mythology so soaked up every snippet of information I found about the various legba and the magical snakes that allow the cajou queen to interact with them. I’m hoping to read a review written by someone from New Orleans, who can comment on its culture and atmosphere with some credibility; that person is not me. I adored Charlotte Says so would have picked up this book anyway but the amazing cover drew me to it before I knew who wrote it or what it was about. I loved the inclusion of some charms in the design and the snakes were a great choice, especially considering their importance to the story. It would have been perfect if the colours of the snakes matched the pythons in the book; Betty is black and Beau is albino. I found some of the language used in this book problematic and at times downright cringeworthy. Characters’ skin tones were likened to food items, including “chocolate-coloured”, “creamy”, and “peach”. There was also some antiquated mental health terminology, like “madhouse”, “madness”, “lunatic”, and “madmen”. Even though I found some of the bigger reveals in the book predictable and the potential romance icky (I’m never a fan of age gaps that exceed half a century) I am definitely interested in reading the sequel. Readers who aren’t a fan of info dumps may find some sections tedious; personally, I came away from this book wanting more history, more mythology, more Phantom! Thank you to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    Music and Malice in Hurricane Town is a fantastical blend of folklore, magic, and mystery. It took a couple chapters for me to get drawn in, but once I did I lost two nights of sleep telling myself “Just one more chapter…” Synopsis Baton Noir is essentially a mirror universe New Orleans teeming with witches, vampires, and Louisiana style Voodoo. The mythical beings inhabiting the city rule the land while regular humans (the lowly “Subjects”) struggle to get by in an increasingly corrupt and da Music and Malice in Hurricane Town is a fantastical blend of folklore, magic, and mystery. It took a couple chapters for me to get drawn in, but once I did I lost two nights of sleep telling myself “Just one more chapter…” Synopsis Baton Noir is essentially a mirror universe New Orleans teeming with witches, vampires, and Louisiana style Voodoo. The mythical beings inhabiting the city rule the land while regular humans (the lowly “Subjects”) struggle to get by in an increasingly corrupt and dangerous world. Jude Lomax, a trumpet player in one of the city’s numerous jazz bands, is a frustrated young woman sick of the cards life have dealt her. Despite being surrounded by magic, Jude vehemently avoids it. That is, until the day her band leads the funeral procession of the murdered Cajou Queen, Ivory Monette. After somehow being possessed by the infamous Queen’s spirit, Jude unwittingly finds herself right at the pulsing heart of Baton Noir’s magical underbelly. Review By about 50 pages in, I was intrigued. By 150, I was fully hooked. By 250, I had to come to grips with the fact that I would not be sleeping that night because there was no way I was putting the book down. The world building in this was breathtakingly atmospheric. From the Gothic streets of Baton Noir to the cursed and eerie bayous, I was thoroughly drawn into the world of Jude Lomax. Alex Bell did well to describe it all because despite some of the more mind boggling things Jude saw, you could actually picture it. I often felt as if I was standing right there with her. The characters within this enchanting setting were varied, rich and compelling. I truly cared about all of them (even the evil ones) and wanted to know what would happen to them next. Especially since as soon as I thought I knew what was coming, I quickly found out I was completely wrong. The mysteries cleverly intertwined within Music & Malice were as twisty as the Cajou Queen’s magical snakes. And can we talk about the title and that cover? I try not to judge a book by its title or its cover, but with this one it’s really hard not to. The only reason this isn’t rated 5 stars is because the book felt really white. With so much incorporation of the culture and religious practices of predominantly black peoples, there was a glaring lack of melanin in Baton Noir. This is just not what you would expect in a book so deeply entrenched with New Orleans and Afro-Caribbean culture. Final Thoughs When I finished Music & Malice, all I could think was, “Wait…that can’t be the end. Please tell me there will be more!” Luckily, according to a reply from the author on Twitter, this isn’t the last we will see of Jude. Thank goodness, because otherwise I was going to have to take some lessons in magic to conjure up a sequel. See the full review on my blog! Music and Malice in Hurricane Town by Alex Bell (A Little Nerd Told Me)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Claire Knight

    Honestly at first I wasn’t sure I’d like this book. It was quite hard to get into but I am glad I kept going. After the first few chapters I became hooked on the storyline. It was something so new and different to what I read before and it was intriguing to go deep into dark magic like that. I also find myself having a soft soft for the Phantom and I hope there will be another book written because that ending just left me wanting more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Music and Mayhem in Hurricane Town… Picture this: New Orleans. The vibe is, well, vibrant. There’s jazz and parades and magic and paranormal undertones. Jude, a young woman, is working hard to earn some cash to pay the rent. In addition to playing in the Done and Dusted Brass Band, she accepts a job playing her trumpet in the Moonfleet Manor which is owned by the Phantom. The estate of Moonfleet Manor and the owner Phantom are each as shady as the other and with a background and past that is only Music and Mayhem in Hurricane Town… Picture this: New Orleans. The vibe is, well, vibrant. There’s jazz and parades and magic and paranormal undertones. Jude, a young woman, is working hard to earn some cash to pay the rent. In addition to playing in the Done and Dusted Brass Band, she accepts a job playing her trumpet in the Moonfleet Manor which is owned by the Phantom. The estate of Moonfleet Manor and the owner Phantom are each as shady as the other and with a background and past that is only spoken of with horror. It seems like every where Jude goes, or anything she does, is potentially dangerous for her. A human. Classed as ‘scrap’ by the paranormal society. Jude has a sad past herself and due to tragic accident in the past she is now the main caretaker of her father. A father who cannot survive without Jude’s assistance, but is also a proud man and thus does not make Jude’s task any easier. But if joining forces with the devils was what it took to save her pa then Jude would damn well march straight into the fiery hells in her swamp boots. Jude- I really started to like this girl. She does NOT have it easy but she’s a great example of how to act when things are already tough… Know the saying ‘when you’re already deep in shit, keep your chin up‘? Yeah, Jude just keeps trucking on. In a way, in certain scenes I felt like she had simply submitted to her fate but even if this resonated through, she still acted. She didn’t complain, whine or throw a tantrum and instead she constantly oozes strength to deal with the situation she finds herself in. And the Phantom! Man, oh man alive! Did I try to be suspicious of him at the start? Hell yes! Did I succeed? Hell no. I knew that even if he turned out to be bad to the bone, he had already, in some measures earned my admiration. So, I bet you’re wondering- did I have to accept defeat and admit that even though an intriguing character he was not worth the admiration? Weeelll… One for you to find out and decide for yourself. So, yeah, totally loved the characters in this story. The legbas, the vampire presence (not sparkly ones, by the way!^^ I know that stuff is still important piece of information when reading books that have vamps), the witches, the humans. There was so much interesting detail to each and every one of them without making me glaze over at the infodump. Bravo! The core of this story is a murder mystery- murder of the cajou queen. The death of the very dangerous and vindictive queen would be cause for celebration for many. Alas, her death is where this story truly begins. Pffffft, I really want to say more but that would just be me telling too bloody much. Please, believe me, this story is worth the read. Actually, If I was to pull a comparison, then think in the vibes of The Vampire Diaries or The Originals (the TV show) except with a lot less direct angst in regards to love. The pace of the story was bang on perfect- I started the book, I finished it in record time and I enjoyed it so much I immediately wished there was a sequel.. hells, I might even reread this one again because that’s how much I liked it. There are scenes in this book that are wonderfully paranormal- there are legbas and trippy nightmare thingies in the swamp and witchy magic and trickery. The story mesmerised me with the whole of its essence which was dark and thrilling at once. Anyway, whatever compelled me to request this book on the Netgalley, it must have been fate because please dear swamp-devils, let there be a sequel! Please? *goes off to DM the author*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Valdez

    THERE BETTER BE A SEQUEL TO THIS OR IM GOING TO LOSE MY MIND. I LOVED this shit. Omg. This is my perfect book, like perfect. A world created to feel/look just like New Orleans, with black magic, voodoo and all the magic Gods, but real? Yes tf please sign me up. A girl who’s been emotionally/physically abused pretty much her whole life, but still fights every single day? Yes sign me tf up!! A “evil, horrid ugly” monster who’s really a soft precious little baby, YESSSSSS SIGN ME TF UP This was sooo THERE BETTER BE A SEQUEL TO THIS OR IM GOING TO LOSE MY MIND. I LOVED this shit. Omg. This is my perfect book, like perfect. A world created to feel/look just like New Orleans, with black magic, voodoo and all the magic Gods, but real? Yes tf please sign me up. A girl who’s been emotionally/physically abused pretty much her whole life, but still fights every single day? Yes sign me tf up!! A “evil, horrid ugly” monster who’s really a soft precious little baby, YESSSSSS SIGN ME TF UP This was sooo so so much fun. The freaking world Alex has created is amazing, it’s NOLA without being NOLA, it’s creepy, spooky but magical and alive! The magic took a minute to understand but once I did I got so into it! Jude is probably my favorite character I’ve read this year, she’s been through so much and still fights everyday. She’s been emotionally abused by a boyfriend, physically abused by her father and been through tragedy like no other. She has the sole duty of taking care of her father and the bills and she fights everyday for it. She grows so much during this book and I grew with her. I seriously adore her more than anything. This book had me laughing, nervous, scared. Hands down one of the best reads I’ve read ever. No it probably isn’t a perfect read, but for me it is!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Hephzibah

    I was drawn to this book by its cover and I was sold when I read that it was a fantasy set in New Orleans, but it didn't live up to its potential. It felt like a very whitewashed idea of dark magic in New Orleans (the two majorly underutilised black characters are described as "black as coal" and "chocolate coloured" and are largely forgotten for a lot of the book - Jude's supposed best friend only appears in a couple of scenes). The writing felt a bit lazy - it was quite a simplistic fantasy, an I was drawn to this book by its cover and I was sold when I read that it was a fantasy set in New Orleans, but it didn't live up to its potential. It felt like a very whitewashed idea of dark magic in New Orleans (the two majorly underutilised black characters are described as "black as coal" and "chocolate coloured" and are largely forgotten for a lot of the book - Jude's supposed best friend only appears in a couple of scenes). The writing felt a bit lazy - it was quite a simplistic fantasy, and some elements were just lifted from history and renamed. The character of Violetta Majstro, a "witch" who tortured and experimented on slaves, is clearly a lazy fictionalisation of Madame LaLaurie. I just felt that I wanted more from this book. New Orleans is such a rich setting, and the Creole culture and voodoo is such a fascinating subject with a ton of potential for amazing literature, but this wasn't it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    Quite an interesting and entertaining book, well written and with an engaging plot. I liked the cast of characters and world building for the paranormal side. I felt it was a bit lacking in the descriptions of New Orleans and the music side. Recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book, all opinions are mine

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Harrison

    Alex Bell does ‘creepy’ so very well, and Music and Malice is a fantastic addition to her YA works. Jude is a likeable but flawed character with a tragic past, thrown into a world of cajou magic, witchcraft and vampires when she’s possessed by the spirit of a murdered cajou queen, Ivory Monette. The world is richly and darkly imagined and described; it was easy to root for Jude and be transported to the smoky streets of Baton Noir. The witchcraft element was a real strength. As with the author’s Alex Bell does ‘creepy’ so very well, and Music and Malice is a fantastic addition to her YA works. Jude is a likeable but flawed character with a tragic past, thrown into a world of cajou magic, witchcraft and vampires when she’s possessed by the spirit of a murdered cajou queen, Ivory Monette. The world is richly and darkly imagined and described; it was easy to root for Jude and be transported to the smoky streets of Baton Noir. The witchcraft element was a real strength. As with the author’s previous novel, The Haunting, a lot of research has gone into curses and hexes, and anyone with a liking for horror will be thrilled by the spells and the grim history of Jude’s and the inhabitants of Moonfleet Manor in particular. Admittedly I’m already a huge fan of Alex’s Bell’s, but I loved it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    (Apologies in advance if I use any pejorative terms, please correct me and I will alter.) Baton Noir is a city of magic, gods and spirits known as legba. Sadly, not all the magic is good or kind. Jude finds herself caught up in vengeance from beyond the grave when a cajou queen locks on to her, determined to see her plans carried out even after death. Unraveling it will take luck, strange allies - and maybe a little magic. Alex Bell is the queen of horror stories. This is less bone chilling than (Apologies in advance if I use any pejorative terms, please correct me and I will alter.) Baton Noir is a city of magic, gods and spirits known as legba. Sadly, not all the magic is good or kind. Jude finds herself caught up in vengeance from beyond the grave when a cajou queen locks on to her, determined to see her plans carried out even after death. Unraveling it will take luck, strange allies - and maybe a little magic. Alex Bell is the queen of horror stories. This is less bone chilling than Frozen Charlotte, more creepy than downright terrifying, but it's a fascinating world and Alex has clearly done her homework on Southern magic. There's a level of detail here that really creeped me out. I'm looking forward to reading more in this universe; there's a lot to unpick. The romance story didn't do much for me, although I liked the male character in all other respects; I just thought the romance part was kind of tacked on. That's entirely like me when it comes to romance, though. I liked the characters, and a twist near the end took me by surprise, which I always love. I'll be looking out for more in this series, I'm very eager to find out what happens next. An hour or so after she'd laid down, she realised Beau was on the bed with her, curling his large body round her in a way that was strangely comforting. "How did he get here?" Jude asked. "And how did he appear before, in the Ghost Station?" He can sense where I am, and so where you are, Ivory said. He's never far away. And he can use the spirit world to travel around. It seems like he's taken a bit of a shine to you. In fact, he's been more affectionate to you than he was with me in recent years. She sighed. I suppose he never quite forgave me for killing Betty. "But...then why didn't he appear at the Blue Lady?" Jude asked. "When you were murdered?" The cajou queen was silent for a moment. Then, she said, (sic)"I'm not sure. Perhaps...perhaps he sensed that he wouldn't be able to do anything against a magical attack? It hardly matters now." The snake tucked his flat head into the groove of Jude's shoulder and she felt the same glow of warmth as before, her fear lessened and so did the piercing pain in her finger. She ran her fingers slowly down the snake's smooth skin. With him there she suddenly felt safer and the thought of bats no longer troubled her. "Thank you, Beau," she said. The warmth from the snake glowed a little brighter and, soon afterwards, Jude fell asleep.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Moreen

    This is definitely a book I need to reread at some point because I feel like my overall enjoyment of it and love of the characters clouded my judgement and full understanding of what I was reading. This book was beautiful and enchanting, but was extremely white-washed, the book is set in a fantastical New Orleans inspired location, a place heavily influenced by Afro-Caribbean culture; as best stated in this great review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... and quoted here: "The only reason t This is definitely a book I need to reread at some point because I feel like my overall enjoyment of it and love of the characters clouded my judgement and full understanding of what I was reading. This book was beautiful and enchanting, but was extremely white-washed, the book is set in a fantastical New Orleans inspired location, a place heavily influenced by Afro-Caribbean culture; as best stated in this great review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... and quoted here: "The only reason this isn’t rated 5 stars is because the book felt really white. With so much incorporation of the culture and religious practices of predominantly black peoples, there was a glaring lack of melanin in Baton Noir. This is just not what you would expect in a book so deeply entrenched with New Orleans and Afro-Caribbean culture." I personally feel like it would have been much more authentic to the culture and themes presented within the novel for the main character to be a person of colour but I feel that the author chose not to as she is white herself. There have been a lot of criticisms of how white authors have often encouraged and promoted negative stereotypes of people of colour and perhaps that is why the author avoided writing the main character as a person of colour but that isn't really good enough, especially in this sort of novel, set where it is, influenced by things it is. This article was super interesting on the subject: https://www.vulture.com/2019/10/who-g... One quote I'd like to reference from that article, highlights an issue within the book: "They warn of common pitfalls — like comparing skin tones to chocolate and coffee and other kinds of food, which carry colonial associations and can make people sound like commodities, intended to be consumed." This is another really good article: https://bookriot.com/casually-racist-... With my reread I will definitely be more critical.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karolína

    + I loved the setting, the New Orleans atmosphere with fright hexes and black magic. + I adored author's imagination and the writing was rich, full of magic, curses, swamps (and its devils), and also vampires. - It's a murder mystery. But the more we get to know about the murderer and how they did it, the less it makes sense, at least for me. I do understand the motive (sort of).. but I was a little bit bored and confused with every new twist. Overall: 3,5. The reason I gave 4 stars instead of 3 + I loved the setting, the New Orleans atmosphere with fright hexes and black magic. + I adored author's imagination and the writing was rich, full of magic, curses, swamps (and its devils), and also vampires. - It's a murder mystery. But the more we get to know about the murderer and how they did it, the less it makes sense, at least for me. I do understand the motive (sort of).. but I was a little bit bored and confused with every new twist. Overall: 3,5. The reason I gave 4 stars instead of 3 is simple - even after finishing, I was still thinking about the book, wishing I could return to Baton Noir :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah (knightofstories)

    Magic, voodoo, an alternate New Orleans, this book was right up my alley. The actual rating is 3,5 stars. 1.What I loved: The idea behind it all. Baton Noir, a city of magic and music. The magic users standing apart from the ordinary humans, and Jude, the girl just trying to make a living, suddenly having to help the dead voodoo queen solve her murder. Jude as the main protagonist deals with anger issues and having to deal with a self destructive dad and having been emotionally disappointed and use Magic, voodoo, an alternate New Orleans, this book was right up my alley. The actual rating is 3,5 stars. 1.What I loved: The idea behind it all. Baton Noir, a city of magic and music. The magic users standing apart from the ordinary humans, and Jude, the girl just trying to make a living, suddenly having to help the dead voodoo queen solve her murder. Jude as the main protagonist deals with anger issues and having to deal with a self destructive dad and having been emotionally disappointed and used by men in the past. She's an angry ball of resilience just like the city. A lot of the protagonists have encountered loss and abuse, and I liked that it focused on mental health that way. Coming to what I loved most: the secondary characters like sharkey and his grandma, a certain "phantom", and the city as a character itself, breathing music and magic. The plot was a bit predictable at times, but I still liked it. 2. What could have been done way better: When I first started reading, I was a bit annoyed by how bad the book wanted to be New Orleans. The names of the streets and quarters ...it was trying too hard. Baton Noir as an obvious nod to Baton Rouge...come on. Cajou instead of voodoo...all way to similar to the point of ridiculous. The language was also problematic at times, especially concerning the description of skin colour. All in all, I think this was a good start to a series, but it very much failed to live up to it's potential. And it could have been avoided by sensitivity readers and adding some extra layers . Thanks so much to the publisher and Netgalley for the E-ARC.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    I didn't know what to expect from this book, but it was amazing and I loved it! It was so dark and mysterious; it really captured the creepy Cajou dark arts perfectly. It was at times a little confusing, but once you got used to all the names and Barton Noir it was fine. Also, the Phantom (not just because of the name) really reminded me the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, especially with their very similar story lines. I'm not complaining though because it's a true favourite of mine so the c I didn't know what to expect from this book, but it was amazing and I loved it! It was so dark and mysterious; it really captured the creepy Cajou dark arts perfectly. It was at times a little confusing, but once you got used to all the names and Barton Noir it was fine. Also, the Phantom (not just because of the name) really reminded me the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, especially with their very similar story lines. I'm not complaining though because it's a true favourite of mine so the crossover was fun. Considering the book ended on a bit of a cliff hanger I really hope there is going to be another one!! I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a bit different!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Thank you Netgalley and Stripes Publishing for the e-arc. I requested this from netgalley because of the gorgeous cover and elements of the premise that checked off so many of my bookish buzz words: • Jazz music/neon streets- the New Orleans inspired setting • Possessed by an evil spirit • Vampire Jazz clubs All of that was so promising, but failed to deliver, which was so disappointing. I was hoping for great things. I will state I read an arc, and any on this may change in the final copy, but I' Thank you Netgalley and Stripes Publishing for the e-arc. I requested this from netgalley because of the gorgeous cover and elements of the premise that checked off so many of my bookish buzz words: • Jazz music/neon streets- the New Orleans inspired setting • Possessed by an evil spirit • Vampire Jazz clubs All of that was so promising, but failed to deliver, which was so disappointing. I was hoping for great things. I will state I read an arc, and any on this may change in the final copy, but I'll outline why this novel failed for me at this stage. Writing Style/Dialogue The writing, from my perspective, was amateur. As a writer myself, I'm honed into certain writing tips and craft. One big topic is words that can be cut to make the story flow better, and to encourage a writer to show over tell. This novel is bloated with these extraneous words, with at least one showing up on 99% of pages (on my small kindle). These words include filter words (especially "knew" and "saw" showed up), reached, started/began, ect. It was so distracting. This contributed to the fact that this novel told over showed the whole way through. It made the novel a slog to read through, the writing wasn't immersive in the slightest. The storytelling seriously lacked. I wondered if this was because it was an arc, and would be fixed in later revisions, but when I flicked through the authors previous novels in the bookstore, the writing was just the same (easy to spot by the use of filter words and other such extraneous words). While some of the characters, setting and elements of this novel had potential, it was ruined by the way the story was told, including the dialogue. Which was stiff and unnatural. The characters all read as devises to info dump, to progress the story with cliche lines and awkward movement between topics to advance the scene. Characters Jude (the main character) had some potential to to begin with, but was overshadowed by the writing style that stripped personality from all the characters. Then, her motivation and character arch (with her father) was weak. Etienne was the most interesting character (as the only vampire in the plot), and I wanted to learn more about him, but in the end he's barely in the novel and plays little to no role. The romance (not with Etienne) came completely out of left field. While I like what the author was trying to do there, the execution failed to deliver. I felt no romantic tension between the two characters, and then it was treated like a schoolyard crush. Jude had some friends, but they're barely in the novel past the beginning and serve no function in the plot (other than giving Jude access to magical items). They were only there to show she wasn't friendless and had a life before the plot, but they weren't engaging characters. The evil queen possessing Jude was 2 dimensional, her personality just an info dump and device for moving the story forward over having any real personality other than "evil". World-Building and Racism The world had so much potential. It was the best thing about this book, but was overshadowed by the amount of info-dumping throughout. The learning curve never ended, with the author throwing more and more details at you, even when they weren't relevant. The introduction to the ideas of the novel were always clunky and never subtle. The magic in this novel is literally called "black magic" with one of the few black characters in this novel (as far as I remember) preforming it. It made me aware of how close the magic in this novel was to the "black magic" stereotype. When this novel is written by a white author, it isn't a good look, and something that should be revised out of the novel before publication, or at the very least, read over by a black reviewer who is more knowledgeable about this than I am. Plot The plot was awkward. The characters motivation and persuasion weak. The characters moving awkwardly from scene to scene to play out the outline the author had in her head over any natural progression. There's a mystery element to this book, but it wasn't engaging at all, especially when I knew who the culprit was from the beginning (and guessed right, to no surprise). The novel tried to twist our expectations at the end, and while I didn't expect it, I had stopped caring by then and it didn't impact me at all. Overall This book is not a standalone. It should have been a standalone, but the author has made a weak attempt at the end to lead to a plot for a new book. It looks like the novel could lead to a love triangle in the next book (nooo) and the plot being set up isn't compelling, and didn't feel natural. The author forcing characters in weird directions despite logic. If a second book is ever published, I personally won't be picking it up. I apologize for the harsh review, as this book hasn't been released yet. The only reason I finished this novel is because I received it for review, and felt an obligation to finish it the whole way through. I wanted to be honest. I'm only glad I'm not the only person to have rated and reviewed this so far.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maddie Browse

    3.75 - Very fun read that had an extremely interesting setting! Looking forward to the next in the series!

  16. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Trigger warnings: death, animal death, death of a sibling (in the past), alligator attack (in the past), black magic, violence, vomit. Well this was fun. It took me a while to get my head around the New Orleans But Not setting of the story, but once I did this world was so. much. fun. The characters were fantastic and the story was full of twists and turns. There was plenty of action and creepiness thrown in. And I'm really curious to know if there's going to be a sequel to this, because there w Trigger warnings: death, animal death, death of a sibling (in the past), alligator attack (in the past), black magic, violence, vomit. Well this was fun. It took me a while to get my head around the New Orleans But Not setting of the story, but once I did this world was so. much. fun. The characters were fantastic and the story was full of twists and turns. There was plenty of action and creepiness thrown in. And I'm really curious to know if there's going to be a sequel to this, because there were plenty of unanswered questions and little hints at where a second book might go. Like, I'm fine if this ends up being a standalone. But I feel like there's room there for another one and I would LOVE to revisit this world and these characters down the track. Also, that cover? LOVE.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Neonila

    I don't know what I was expecting when I started reading this book, I know that I was happily surprised by it. I'm not normally a fan of paranormal stories, but this one hooked me right it. If you're into vampires, witches, snake companions and mysterious love interests then this is the story for you. One thing I thought was lacking in this story is further expiration of the music and New Orleans aspects. Those are supposed to be a big part of the main character's life, but I feel like they were I don't know what I was expecting when I started reading this book, I know that I was happily surprised by it. I'm not normally a fan of paranormal stories, but this one hooked me right it. If you're into vampires, witches, snake companions and mysterious love interests then this is the story for you. One thing I thought was lacking in this story is further expiration of the music and New Orleans aspects. Those are supposed to be a big part of the main character's life, but I feel like they were kind of passed over for the sake of just moving along with things. It feels like there's going to be a sequel or something from the ending of this story, and I certainly hope so, but I'm not sure.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a really entertaining romp through New Orleans alongside witches, vampires and things that go bump in the night. What sets it apart from similar books is the brilliant writing, atmospheric setting and the numerous clever ripostes too tired tropes within the genre. Whilst the book might deal with the supernatural, the thoughts and of Jude are firmly grounded in reality: "Look, I'm not saying I'm in love with you. How can I be? I don't really know you." I actually shouted "Yes" out loud to This is a really entertaining romp through New Orleans alongside witches, vampires and things that go bump in the night. What sets it apart from similar books is the brilliant writing, atmospheric setting and the numerous clever ripostes too tired tropes within the genre. Whilst the book might deal with the supernatural, the thoughts and of Jude are firmly grounded in reality: "Look, I'm not saying I'm in love with you. How can I be? I don't really know you." I actually shouted "Yes" out loud to this line, it was such a refreshing change. I think I fell in love with her a little bit more when she listens to a vampires tired excuses for his cruelty "That other man is...he isn't me. Not really" "That's convenient," Jude said, ......"When it comes to disowning any cries he may have committed." I hope that this is the start of a new series, and we learn more about Jude and her friends. I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye out for the author's next book. My thanks go to the publishers and Net Galley for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ur mom

    DNF @ around 2/3. My first ever 1 star experience! And my 150th GR read!

  20. 5 out of 5

    L A

    Thanks to Little Tiger Group and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. Full disclosure: I am a fan of this author. I loved Frozen Charlotte as it was set close to where I grew up and I think the author does creepy REALLY well. This novel takes places in Baton Noir, which is essentially like an alternate universe New Orleans. New Orleans is somewhere I've always been utterly fascinated by, and the author has included some of the aspects of the real life New Orlean Thanks to Little Tiger Group and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. Full disclosure: I am a fan of this author. I loved Frozen Charlotte as it was set close to where I grew up and I think the author does creepy REALLY well. This novel takes places in Baton Noir, which is essentially like an alternate universe New Orleans. New Orleans is somewhere I've always been utterly fascinated by, and the author has included some of the aspects of the real life New Orleans to flesh out the bones of this fictional riff on the real life city. There are familiar features including Jazz Music, Riverboats, the surrounding Bayou, Voodoo heritage and beliefs and lots of other familiar motifs. The city of Baton Noir is vibrant and bursting with unique character and in the initial chapters it was at times almost TOO much to take in. The young 'uns would say it was 'extra'. The story follows Jude, a young trumpet player in a Jazz band who is responsible for the care of her father after a family tragedy left him disabled. Upon playing at the funeral of the recently deceased 'cajou' queen Ivory Monette, Jude becomes host to Ivory's vengeful spirit. Ivory is determined to find out who murdered her and enlists Jude to assist her, in exchange for alleviating Jude's father's physical pain. Bell's real strength as an author is that she's not afraid to go all in when it comes to the creep factor. There were multiple moments in reading this book that I found myself wincing at some of the descriptions (the part with the Nightmares...enough said) and she's also drawn upon some real life history too. The Majstos family history in particular is heavily inspired by the real life accounts of Delphine LaLaurie (right down to the brain stirring). There are some genuinely dark moments in this novel so be aware of that if you're not of the ghoulish persuasion. I really liked the characters although there were some I wish we'd seen more of such as Etienne and Sofia. I know the romance element didn't work for some, but I kinda liked it even if I did see it coming from a million miles away. Inevitably there were some small niggles. The world building was a bit of a whirlwind and I felt it could have taken some more time to unfold as it felt a little rushed. I also felt a big opportunity was missed in making Ivory white, given that Voodoo (Cajou in this novel) is derived from African belief systems and has inseperable links to African American heritage in the real New Orleans. Ivory's voice also felt a bit discordant to me, it just didn't seem to quite fit that of an elderly woman from the upper echelons of elite society. Faint alarm bells were also ringing for me when there was reference to segregation between the supernatural and human populations of the city. I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be related to real life history of racial segregation? If it was purely down to my own enjoyment, I'd give this 5 stars because I really, really enjoyed reading it. Given that there were a few small issues, I'd say on balance that it's a solid 4 star book for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ionarr

    4 stars for the beginning, 1-2 for the end. I was so excited about this book. The start was fantastic - an older teen gritty fantasy, set in a barely fictionalised New Orleans, where vampires and witches are a fact of life and music is everywhere. I felt for Jude, and thought everything was introduced perfectly; Jude, her struggles, world-building carefully woven in without long descriptive passages irrelevant to the story, other characters and their relationships. The story was quick paced and f 4 stars for the beginning, 1-2 for the end. I was so excited about this book. The start was fantastic - an older teen gritty fantasy, set in a barely fictionalised New Orleans, where vampires and witches are a fact of life and music is everywhere. I felt for Jude, and thought everything was introduced perfectly; Jude, her struggles, world-building carefully woven in without long descriptive passages irrelevant to the story, other characters and their relationships. The story was quick paced and full and carried you through so that even when I did feel things were off, it didn't matter in the slightest. The second half was like it was written by a completely different person. The story was confused and tripping over itself. I felt like having been set up and started, it had no idea where it was going or how to get there. It felt like a jumbled mess, and the plot points were haphazardly rammed in. What's more, the story itself was... Awful. It went from what was a fairly original and fun story to the worst stereotypes of ya - quirky girl saved by mysterious rich man with a dark secret, ridiculously hammy love story which read like 50 shades without the sex (I assume, I haven't read or seen 50 shades), an abusive past relationship - that just didn't fit the start at all. It was incredibly juvenile, and reminded me of not-great fanfiction. It also meant I couldn't figure out who this book is aimed at, since the first section was a solidly passable older ya fiction but the 2nd was more suited to an 11 year old level. I had other issues with the book - chiefly the treatment of voodoo. While I obviously don't know an awful lot, it did strike me as disrespectful to change so many words and names for a thinly veiled fantasy but keep some of the voodoo words, as though they weren't a real religion. The book also fell into the trope of "black" as bad (for magic), and a very reductionist explanation of the legba, which made me wonder if the whole thing wasn't an excuse to write critically about voodoo whilst using it for narrative purposes (and hiding it all under the veil of fantasy, since critiquing voodoo from outside the practice is a long and racist tradition.) I'm very much speculating, but it's worth noting that it was one of the things that really rubbed me the wrong way. I was also pretty pissed with how the Phantom was treated (oh no, burn scars, how.... Horrible? Repulsive? Disgusting? REALLY?) Overall though, my other niggles disappear in the face of my disappointment as I forced myself through the last part of this book. It went from exciting romp to tepid predictability, doing exactly what you knew was coming but somehow worse. I'm giving an extra star just because it's the best start of an obvious series I've read in a while; there's an actual complete story arc here, not just a prolonged set up for the real story which will start in the next book. I also liked the treatment of vampires (until the end) and in very picky with my vampires. But overall, I was really disappointed.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gemma

    I was kindly gifted this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review and I'm so pleased I requested it. I was drawn in initially by the cover and then I read the synopsis and knew I had to read it. I loved the reading experience of this one, it's not perfect, but something about it really drew me in and I ended up reading it in 2 sittings. The first thing about this book that really captured my attention was the setting and the premise. I'm a bit of a sucker for anything set in the D I was kindly gifted this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review and I'm so pleased I requested it. I was drawn in initially by the cover and then I read the synopsis and knew I had to read it. I loved the reading experience of this one, it's not perfect, but something about it really drew me in and I ended up reading it in 2 sittings. The first thing about this book that really captured my attention was the setting and the premise. I'm a bit of a sucker for anything set in the Deep South, throw in some supernatural elements and I'm sold and that's just what was on offer in this book. The writing was really compelling, I just wanted to keep going and find out what was going to happen next. There were several twists and turns that I didn't see coming although, I did find the ending to be a bit predictable. Like I said it's not a perfect book, although I enjoyed the writing and found it very quick to read, it was a bit info dumpy at times. I don't necessarily think this bothered me a whole lot though because I was really invested in the world and wanted to know everything about it. I really liked Jude as a main character too. She was fierce, determined and independent. She was in charge of her family and, although the relationship with her father wasn't always positive, she was still determined to look out for him and make sure hes cared for. I enjoyed the side characters too, I thought Sharkey was really fun and brightened up the story a bit and I was really interested in Sophia and what she could do. I really would of liked for them to have a bit more page time. I was also really invested in The Phantoms story, I enjoyed finding out all about his family and his background. Queen Ivory was quite an interesting character too but I would of liked a bit more evilness. One thing I will say I wasn't a fan of was the relationships in this book. Jude's first relationship was very toxic and then I'm not sure what was going on between her and The Phantom but the whole age thing was a bit off putting for me, I won't say anymore as I don't want to spoil anything. Overall like I said before this book isn't perfect and I can definitely pick out the flaws however, it was so compelling and I was so engrossed in the story I can't help but give it 5 stars. I loved the premise and the setting. It was dark and thrilling, full of twists, turns and supernatural elements that had me wanting more. The ending was intriguing too and I really hope there's going to be a sequel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Keri (BooksWithKeri)

    I received this as an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. Music and Malice in Hurricane Town follows trumpet player Jude, who is possessed by the spirit of the murdered witch queen, Ivory. Ivory wants to find out who was responsible for her murder and, if Jude wants her life back to normal, she has to play along. PROS: + worldbuilding. I really liked the magic of this world. The god system, the legba which are like gods of specific parts of day to day life (i.e. dea I received this as an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. Music and Malice in Hurricane Town follows trumpet player Jude, who is possessed by the spirit of the murdered witch queen, Ivory. Ivory wants to find out who was responsible for her murder and, if Jude wants her life back to normal, she has to play along. PROS: + worldbuilding. I really liked the magic of this world. The god system, the legba which are like gods of specific parts of day to day life (i.e. death, chaos, thievery). It made for an interesting backdrop that honestly I want to read more in. + Pacing is good and fast, supporting the urgency of the story. + Alex Bell's writing is quite nice. Easy to read. Descriptive when it needs to be. CONS: - a story of conveniences. A lot of what happens is very convenient. Jude just happens to walk passed at the right time to get possessed. Ivory just happens to mention this thing that is relevant in that chapter. This character just so happens to have a backstory that is connected to Jude's. - the romance - if you can call it that. I thought the love interest was an old man and had to reshift my thoughts on him about halfway through. They didn't really have any chemistry romantically and while there is no insta love, I still don't understand it. - plot twist was both obvious and not. Getting into SPOILERS HERE so don't read on if you don't want to know, but of course Ivory was the bad guy, of course she was manipulating Jude, but who in all heck is Enid and why wasn't she built up far earlier than 90% into the book????? OVERALL: An enjoyable read. I enjoyed the worldbuilding and the concept of the story. I am interested in where the story will go from here. However, I do feel like it was poorly executed in terms of plot placement within the text (plot conviences that could have been really good setup and payoff).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    *I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Stripes Publishing and NetGalley* 3.5 stars Jude Lomax lives in Baton Noir, a place full of magic, witches and vampires. Jude hates cajou magic and uses her talent for playing the trumpet to earn money, but she struggles to provide for herself and her father. When Jude's band is asked to play at the cajou queen's funeral, Jude is possessed by the queen's spirit. Ivory Monette, the dead cajou queen, wants to work out who murd *I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Stripes Publishing and NetGalley* 3.5 stars Jude Lomax lives in Baton Noir, a place full of magic, witches and vampires. Jude hates cajou magic and uses her talent for playing the trumpet to earn money, but she struggles to provide for herself and her father. When Jude's band is asked to play at the cajou queen's funeral, Jude is possessed by the queen's spirit. Ivory Monette, the dead cajou queen, wants to work out who murdered her. Jude finds herself agreeing to help, and becomes entangled with magic, secrets, and the dark side of Baton Noir. Who killed Ivory? Going into Music and Malice in Hurricane Town, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy it, but I'm happy to say that I did end up really liking it. Jude was a good protagonist. She was likeable, relatable, and had been through a lot. I thought she handled the situations she was put in very well. The Phantom of Moonfleet was one of my favourite characters. He was intriguing and I would love to find out more about him. I also liked Sharkey and his grandma, who I would have liked to have seen more of. Etienne the vampire was another character that I would like to find out more about. The setting was interesting, with the swamp, legba, cajou magic, and segregation in Baton Noir. The plot was good and held my attention. It did take me a while to get into, but towards the end I found myself reading faster to find out what would happen next as I got caught up in the tension and storyline. I did guess a couple of the plot twists, but not all of them. The writing was atmospheric and easy to follow. I definitely want to read more by the author, and would absolutely read more books set in Baton Noir. If you like magic, secrets and a New Orleans-style setting, then this book is for you. Overall this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    I was not sure what to make Alex Bell’s return the area of YA horror/supernatural fiction after her writing a couple of books for younger kids. One thing’s for sure, I’ll be amazed if it repeats the success of her superbly creepy Frozen Charlotte but hats off to the author for trying something completely different. In this new work we abandon the Scottish island of Skye and head to the Baton Noir area of New Orleans. In Bell’s version of this famous old city the supernatural is real, and the aut I was not sure what to make Alex Bell’s return the area of YA horror/supernatural fiction after her writing a couple of books for younger kids. One thing’s for sure, I’ll be amazed if it repeats the success of her superbly creepy Frozen Charlotte but hats off to the author for trying something completely different. In this new work we abandon the Scottish island of Skye and head to the Baton Noir area of New Orleans. In Bell’s version of this famous old city the supernatural is real, and the author weaves a convincing tale loaded with elements of folk horror, vampires, devils, vengeful spirits and magic which comes from beyond the grave. Younger fans of Frozen Charlotte might well struggle to get into the story of teenager Jude Lomax who survives by playing the trumpet wherever she can pick up a paying gig to pay her rent. Out-of-the-blue she is invited to play at the funeral of a murdered singer who was strongly connected to the supernatural world. Soon Jude is mixed up with a vengeful spirit and is sucked into the darker levels of the city with dangers at every turn. Music is never far from the surface, throw in some romance, supernatural bumps, with the author putting significant research into local myths and superstitions the result is a convincing spooky thriller with elements of urban fantasy. It’s projected as the first book in a series and I will be interested to see whether it finds an audience, as kids will need some patience to get their head around what is going on. Aimed at children aged 13+.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Annie Gebbie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book had an excellent opening which pulled me right into the world of Baton Noir. The atmosphere was so incredible I could feel the city. Jude was an excellent protagonist- likeable enough but still deeply flawed, with very relatable ideals about the city she loves. There was good world building and overall the story was well structured, but it was quite predictable and some of the side characters (like Sofia and her girlfriend) could have done with more fleshing out. The ending was the mos This book had an excellent opening which pulled me right into the world of Baton Noir. The atmosphere was so incredible I could feel the city. Jude was an excellent protagonist- likeable enough but still deeply flawed, with very relatable ideals about the city she loves. There was good world building and overall the story was well structured, but it was quite predictable and some of the side characters (like Sofia and her girlfriend) could have done with more fleshing out. The ending was the most disappointing part for me, particularly the last chapter. I would have liked to see a return from sharkey (a character I loved) and to see June begin working on improving the city than looking into saving the phantom. I didn’t think they should have had any romance at all, to be honest, what with him being way older. You lose the right to kiss someone dramatically when you say “you’re young... when you have loved as long as I have”. They didn’t really have any chemistry it was only really pushed in the last chapter. It seems out of character for Jude to care more about him than about her friends and her city, in my opinion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    4 stars! Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review! Music and Malice in hurricane town weaves a tale of cajou magic in New Orleans. After a slow start Bells novel picks up with full force and by the end I couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Jude and rooted for her throughout the book. I’m excited to watch her flourish and grow in the next book. The rest of the cast of characters were interesting, p 4 stars! Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review! Music and Malice in hurricane town weaves a tale of cajou magic in New Orleans. After a slow start Bells novel picks up with full force and by the end I couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Jude and rooted for her throughout the book. I’m excited to watch her flourish and grow in the next book. The rest of the cast of characters were interesting, particularly Ivory, despite not trusting her it was great to see her and Jude work together. The different Legba spirits were some of my favourite parts of the book, Krag and Ollin vying for control of New Orleans, Sheba Legba of nightmare and many more. They helped to flesh out the world and the rich magic system. I’d definitely recommend Music and Malice to anyone looking for a novel that’s a little different from your usual YA fantasy and I’m absolutely looking forward to picking up the next novel and following more from these characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amber ★

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. THIS DESERVES 5 STARS. Reading this after briefly scanning the blurb, I did not realise how fantasy orientated this book was but once I did and got used to the fact it was fantasy (tricky genre - I’m extremely picky with fantasy) I loved it so much!! The whole plot was awesome. Blended with a bit of mystery and romance for all you romantics, it was perfect. The love interest, Phantom, was a bit questionable at the start? I just pictured him as a 70 year old man sitting behind the screen in a whee THIS DESERVES 5 STARS. Reading this after briefly scanning the blurb, I did not realise how fantasy orientated this book was but once I did and got used to the fact it was fantasy (tricky genre - I’m extremely picky with fantasy) I loved it so much!! The whole plot was awesome. Blended with a bit of mystery and romance for all you romantics, it was perfect. The love interest, Phantom, was a bit questionable at the start? I just pictured him as a 70 year old man sitting behind the screen in a wheelchair so when we found out his feelings for Judy I was shooook, and kinda grossed out. I loved loved loved the ending as well. Her becoming Cajou Queen was so perfect!! I loved it. And I loved all the ghosts so much. I was so sad when Phantom decided to leave though *sob* I just feel like those two are just meant for each other and the whole “souls calling to each other” was beautiful!! Sorry for spoiling a bunch of stuff but I did warn you guys!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Jude is a musician who becomes possessed by the cajou queen while playing at her funeral. The queen wants Jude to find out who murder her and therefore has to venture into the world of vampires, spirits and witch doctors. Magic and music was very much alive in New Orleans, leaning more towards the darker side of magic. As someone who knew nothing of vodoo the author explained the concepts throughout which was much appreciated. I enjoyed the story but was probably a bit too much on the dark side Jude is a musician who becomes possessed by the cajou queen while playing at her funeral. The queen wants Jude to find out who murder her and therefore has to venture into the world of vampires, spirits and witch doctors. Magic and music was very much alive in New Orleans, leaning more towards the darker side of magic. As someone who knew nothing of vodoo the author explained the concepts throughout which was much appreciated. I enjoyed the story but was probably a bit too much on the dark side for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I absolutely loved the atmosphere of Baton Noir, the Louisiana vibes with the bayou and culture was fantastically written. The paranormal elements of witches and dark magic was wondrous, I loved the plot and the constant mystery, the pace was perfectly balanced between suspense and revelation. I liked the characters, especially the MC Jude, her passion for playing the trumpet was portrayed well + I loved all the Legba's too! Overall a good book and I'm really hoping for a sequel since the ending I absolutely loved the atmosphere of Baton Noir, the Louisiana vibes with the bayou and culture was fantastically written. The paranormal elements of witches and dark magic was wondrous, I loved the plot and the constant mystery, the pace was perfectly balanced between suspense and revelation. I liked the characters, especially the MC Jude, her passion for playing the trumpet was portrayed well + I loved all the Legba's too! Overall a good book and I'm really hoping for a sequel since the ending could be leading on to a second book!

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