Book Review – The Sceptic by Lily Morton

Arcana Books #1
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 365
Characters: Will/Jem
POV: 1st
Genre: Paranormal, Series

As the best friend of a psychic, Will Buchanan can’t help but believe in the dead. It’s the living that he finds to be problematic. However, after a spate of betrayals, he finally has the chance of a new life within his grasp, and he’s not going to risk it for anyone or anything. Staying safe is the name of Will’s game.

Jem Dawson defines the word temporary. A talented cameraman, he’s here today and will undoubtedly be gone tomorrow chasing adventure and danger. But, while he’s in York, he’s made it clear he wants Will, and Will can’t help liking the charming daredevil.

This inconvenient attraction results in Will accompanying Jem to the site of a notorious poltergeist outbreak. A malevolent spirit has targeted a family, and now the ghost hunting team for whom Jem does camerawork are going to be locked down in the house for three days.

The house is strange and filled with sinister and violent undercurrents. One by one, the group experiences threatening incidents, and as events escalate, Will has to ask himself if he’s risking not just his heart but also his life with this impulsive gesture.

This is the first book in the Arcana Books series featuring characters from the bestselling Black and Blue series.

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I enjoyed the first in this series, and want more. I loved Will and Jem’s story, which is a nicely shaken mix of romance, mystery, and scary paranormal. I haven’t read the Black and Blue series, but followed this story without any problem, although it’s left me wanting to read Blue and Levi’s stories now.

Will and Jem are both good guys, and very much opposites despite their tendency to rush into dangerous situation to help those who need it. I loved how all the followers of the ghost hunter YouTube channel see their chemistry and are rooting for them to get together. I enjoyed their friendship and banter. Poor Will, convinced he needs to give Blue and Levi some space and move out. His ex is a self-centred user. Jem’s passion for his wildlife photography is very much a part of who he is. I loved how the relationship part of the story ended, and how although both men get their HEA, they don’t give up who they are either. It felt very realistic.

I loved the supporting cast and want to read more about Ben and Liam. Those two need to get together and grow some clues. I liked how more of Ben’s backstory came out as the story progressed and how he wants to help people. I love the found family and friendship between Will and Blue, and the history they have together. I like how protective Rosalind is of Will and how she pushes him to go along and help out the ghost tour, and spend time with Jem. I loved the Viscount and Tom, and especially their friendship with Will.

The plot moves along at a good pace, with not only a mystery about who is behind the disturbances in the house, but how to get rid of them. The tension mounts as things get scary, and I liked how it wasn’t an easy fix. I thought the author did a great job in growing the suspense and upping the stakes, and the final showdown is edge-of-seat.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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