ARC provided by Netgalley.
Werewolves. And a rich, hot Alpha – sounds good doesn’t it? So book request went in and I became immersed in Drake and Emelia and their love story. Drake is CEO for the company that Emelia thinks has wrongly bought the property her bar stands on and she’s determined to see him, despite her letters and emails being ignored. She gets a temp job as secretary there and is ducking out of a staff party, sneaking good wine from the boss’s cellars when she meets a drop dead gorgeous man….and Drake discovers this human is his Illuminary – soul-mate basically, the one person that is the perfect match for him and his wolf. He’s surprised she’s a human as he was expecting it to be another wolf, and as he’d given up hope 200 years ago of ever finding her he proceeds cautiously wanting to check and double check. Then Emelia is attacked and he realised someone knows about her and that places her in danger.
I enjoyed this book, a sweet romance but the werewolf twist adds a bit extra to the usual and makes it more interesting. The human turned werewolf and children conundrum also added that bit extra. I love a paranormal twist to a book so this was perfect for me. Drake was a great Alpha – strong, commanding and decisive, and yet caring in that he knew the whole werewolf mate thing needed to be handled carefully and it would come as a shock to Emelia. He needed to sort the bar problem out first too – trying to talk to her about love when she was angry over that wouldn’t be a good start. I’d have liked to have seen a bit more of the Pack, the only werewolf interaction was slight, and only where it fitted into their romance and the danger she was in, and being a sucker for the paranormal I’d have liked to see more of the workings and daily life of the Pack. We didn’t really see how Drake meshed that with his job as CEO which was disappointing. Emelia was a good female lead, strong and independent. I hate the simpering females that are often the romantic lead and Emelia had a mind of her own. As future female Alpha she’s need that, so it was a realistic piece of writing.
The characters were well described and felt real, and each played their own part in the story. We didn’t see much of Drakes twin and rival, and I couldn’t help wondering how they’d gone so long as rivals but only come to a head when Emelia was found. I know she was key to the Pack Alpha position, but it seemed that the rivalry had been going on far longer and I’d liked to have known a bit more about it.
Its a well written and edited book, and priced at £2.16 for 455Kb its good value – from time taken to read I’d guess at 150-200 pages. I enjoyed it as a one off read, but not in-depth enough to join my keepers file. Its a great book if you want something light to read, or to fill a train journey or something. I like to get “into” a book and this was a bit too light for me but I know other readers want something light that they can pick up and put down as time allows without having to retrace back on the story and for that this is perfect.
Stars: four from me.
The Awakening: Aidan Abby Niles
Shape-shifters and romance – great combo for me…and having never read any of Abby’s work before there’s the excitement when you find a new to you author.
Well, it started promisingly with lead male Aiden introduced to us right in the first paragraph. I like to get to know my “heroes” and love to see them quickly into the story. Abby has created a shape-shifter world where they share many of the usual histories, including the “one true mate” concept but she adds a new twist in that if the female rejects the male, then he is left with a problem where he can lose touch with reality and sink into deep depression. (she gives names for various stages but that’s the basic concept). This only happens to 1% of shifters but has happened to Aiden’s good friend Liam, who has so far refused help and been living with Aidan for past six months. Liam suddenly moves on a stage and Aiden phones a local specialist for help. Jaylin has given up shape-shifters as clients having seen too much heartbreak treating people in this situation but Aiden persuades her to see Liam as an emergency as he is by then comatose. When she arrives one look and scent of her, and Aiden knows she’s his mate. But there’s a problem….Jaylin doesn’t want to be anyone’s mate – she’s got personal reasons but has decided she will never get involved with a shape-shifter – Aiden decides he’s not taking No for an answer and the book follows their up and down, one step forward two steps back romance.
Aiden is a great hero – strong and single minded and very caring, Jaylin is equally strong minded about holding out against him – its fun reading just how each of them deal with it. There are some pretty spicy sex scenes where they do get together, with Aiden convinced he can change her mind and Jaylin sticking to the friends-with -benefits line.
Its a well written and edited book, the main plot is their romance, nothing very dramatic and adventurous, just a sweet easy to read romantic tale. If you’re looking for an in-depth read this isn’t it but if you just want an easy to read, feel good romance with paranormal elements this is perfect. Its what I think of as a train journey book, or one to read while you’re waiting for an appointment ( my kindle goes everywhere, a few spare minutes and out it comes) when you want something you can pick up and put down easily, without losing the thread of what is happening.
Stars: it does what it says – romance. Its a one off read for me – fun to read but won’t join the keepers as its lighter than I like for re readers. So four stars from me.
Down London Road Chapter 2 Excerpt
Great news – chapter two of this fab book is online. Remember release date is very soon – 7th May and you can pre order now. I’ve had an ARC (but can’t post review til release date ) and I can tell you its a full five star read! As good as On Dublin Street, if you liked that you’ll love this.
Through the Door (The Thin Veil) Jodi McIsaac
I love fantasy books especially those with an element of romance in so was excited to be able to review Through the Door. Cedar was deeply in love with Finn, then just before she could tell him she was pregnant he disappeared without trace. Now its seven years alter and her daughter Eden opens her bedroom door and … there’s a portal to the pyramids. Frightened and confused, scared for her daughter Cedar seeks some answers, but gets mired onto deeper dangers for both her and Eden and finds out the world and the people she thinks she knows are just a fragment of what really exists.
There are some great characters in this book – I felt for Cedar with her love for Finn and then her despair at being abandoned. When she does find some of his family they aren’t exactly welcoming to her but they do want Eden. Anyway she gets taken into adventures she never would have dreamt of, placed in all sorts of danger trying to do her best for Eden and finds out that magic and myths are based in reality. I loved the people Jodi created – its good to have some grumpy anti hero types, it gets old and dull when everyone is helpful and pleasant when in real life people dislike each other and are difficult. Some of Jodi people were like that too and it adds to the realism created in a fantasy world. Eden was sweet too – and the cruel and manipulative Nuala was perfect for the role she was in. Cedars mum Maeve seemed quite cold at first and then as things happened and her role expanded, secrets came out and I understood what she did and why – she loved Cedar and Eden and thought she was protecting them. Finn….ah Finn, he was lovely and had his reasons for abandoning Cedar. The romance side was quite a small part of the story, and really there’s nothing more happening that a few kisses so those worried about explicit sex in books have to problems with this one. Despite that his love for her shows through and is steadfast.
I really didn’t envisage what would happened at the end – it tied up nicely though with magics and mystery we know that all is not always as it seems. I look forward to reading more from Jodi and where she takes Finn, Cedar and Eden next in their journey.
I really enjoyed reading this story but would have liked the romance to be a bit more in the fore (that’s just me though – a sucker for romance in everything!) In a way the main plot was quite simple, and yet Jodi drew it out and made it become quite convoluted and open to letting lots of side issues in. Clearly we (well I do !) want to know what is going to happen with the mystical land that was so wonderful but had deteriorated so badly and how Cedar and the others fit into it. I loved the way Jodi took bits of ancient legends and built on the to suit her own purpose, and how knowing parts of legends already made so much feel familiar to me. I’ve always had a love for ancient myths and wondered how they share such common themes even though created by people thousands of miles away and who’ve no connection. I guess there’s a part of me that feels they could have a root in truth and that’s why my mind is so open to fantasy books and the stories they tell.
Its a well written and edited book, with plots that flow seamlessly into one another and are quite in depth and complex at times and yet easy to follow. The quality of the writing is superb, and kept me immersed in the book for a few hours (I’m a quick reader). Its a great length book at 294 pages – I love longer books, and its priced at £3.99 for the kindle version and also available in paperback. Definitely one for my keeper files and looking forward to more from Cedar and co.
Stars: I really, really want to give it five, but its missing that extra spark that does it for me – not sure what, the romance maybe? So four and a half for this first part – I’m sure that five will come with further books.
Werewolves Be Damned: A Magic and Mayhem Novel. Stacey Kennedy
Stacey seems to be quite a prolific author having several books to her name but I’ve not read any so far, so was interested to review this one. With vampires, witches, werewolves and the romance element it ticks all my favourite boxes.
I found it quite hard to get into at first, there was the action packed prologue that introduced us to Nexi and her need for vengeance – I worked out the connection later but at first reading this then going onto the section where she is in the Otherworld I just found it confusing. Once I placed who was what and how they fit in the story I enjoyed it more, but there were so many different characters for what’s quite a short novel that it was a lot of information over a small space of time.
Nexi was quite a difficult character for me to like, she clearly had strong morals which suited me but she was quite selfish at times, going her own way despite advice from and the danger to others. Kyden was a great character and the sexual spark between them was good. I do like some sexual tension – its more interesting when there’s that combined with some personal friction between the characters and Stacey does that well here. There did – as I’ve said before – seem to be a huge number of characters for a shorter length book. I found that quite difficult to manage and remember just who was who. Nexi seems to take to her training incredibly quickly – one minute she’s human and then just one month later she’s taking out werewolves…..I’d have had more belief if a longer time had passed, similarly the way the top vampire, werewolf and guardian defer to her in the final adventure – some of these characters were hundreds of years old and though fantasy means suspending belief that was a step too far for me.
The story itself was interesting and allowed for several action packed moments. It was well written and all lose ends tied up – I hate to get to the end of a book and wonder “…but what happened to/when…” For me it was difficult to accept that Nexi could become a leader when for me she hadn’t yet had the experience to merit it. If she’d had been part of the action, but organised by more senior character I’d have accepted her role so much better – clearly she was a bit of a renegade and she’d have argued and sometimes gone her own way, but I think it would have been a better fit for me.
Overall there were parts I enjoyed – the developing romance between her and Kyden was good, with some fairly heated moments and the basic premise was sound but I struggled too much with the way Nexi developed from a mundane human to a person with super strength and more and more magical powers just when they were needed. In a longer novel and over an extended time span it could have worked but covering the few weeks it did it wasn’t believable enough for me.
Its priced at £3.79 for 529kb on kindle, I’m guessing around 120-150 pages, I don’t have that info.
Stars: three stars, it had potential but didn’t cut it for me to be more than just OK.
Kickass Guns and Samurai Swords. Craig Askham
Craig supplied me with a copy of this novel.
Like Craig’s short story Both Sides of the Portal this is a Gaming novel, based around real life Gaming. As I said before what I know of gaming can be written on a postage stamp, my only experience is with Legend of Zelda on the Snez back in eighties….tells you a lot doesn’t it!!
This time we meet /Troy, single male – lives with parents. To be honest I think Troy fits the Geek Gamer stereotype to a T. He lives, works and trains in order to fulfil his cravings to enter another world via Stillwater. What is Stillwater ? – well it seems a company have found a way of opening a portal to another dimension, and people rich enough can pay and be transported through to play out real life scenes with real people. Its expensive and Troy only manages to go about once a month. His parents don’t know of his visits and his alter ego Kalyan his a product of his imagination creating a character . All Stillwater visitors do the same so when they meet through the other side they could be anyone – the names and appearances have changed so no-one knows who they are in real life, well the reality we live in. The world through Stillwater is real also but on a different plane, however its not without danger – this is playing for real and not a game of “Life ended do you want to play again?”.
Kal meets up with a small group and they agree to form a group and buy a consignment of silks and spices to trade – of course the trade is illegal and that’s where they’ll make money as well as having the adventure they all seek. Its risky though and they face brigands, cut-throats and others keen to strip them of their cargo as well as the problems of bribing guards and getting the cargo sold. As they don’t know each other for real they take a risk in trusting each other – and they need to be careful because they’ll rely on that support to save their lives.
Despite my usual aversion to fantasy of this type I was quickly immersed in the world Craig has created. Even for none readers like myself of this type of fantasy its easy to follow, and I felt as if I was there with the characters, fighting alongside them, holding my breath til they were safe at times. Of course nothing is straightforward, there are problems with the trade, Stillwater rules are broken, people get killed and subsequently the Stillwater team get involved as they do when a cover up is needed to keep the other world out of this worlds eyes. When people die there they need to arrange a story for the death here that will be believed, and not cast any glances to the secret world of Stillwater. The trade goes wrong, there’s deaths and betrayals and Troy comes back a bitter man vowing vengeance. Stillwater won’t allow anything that exposes their world though and he’s warned off – but then they discover things that make them need his involvement to find out the truth.
Its a great book, short but realistic and I can see that there’s lots of opportunity for further Stillwater adventures and take the world Craig has created into a series. I like the way the Stillwater reach goes so far that the reader is left wondering just how its all done. Its like a conventional type thriller but with two worlds to carry the story, and the added dimension of the unforeseen through the portal into the other world and staying within Stillwater rules – and they are rigorous about keeping hidden.
Stars: well its well written and edited, priced at £2.06 for 120 pages on kindle. Its not one I’ll read again but I did enjoy it as a one off and for sci-fi type fantasy readers its a fun read. So 4 stars from me. Maybe it was from being more familiar with the setting from reading the short story but I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed reading this – its the type of fantasy I normally avoid but was easy to read and get involved in.
Mutual Release (Stewart Realty) Liz Crowe
I love romance especially when there’s some sensuality/erotica in it. So was excited to get an ARC of this book. I’ve not read any of Liz books before and hadn’t realised this one was part of a series, though complete in itself. It wasn’t a problem that I didn’t know about the characters from earlier books, as Liz gives a pretty complete summation of their lives and connections in the book. If you have read the other books though I think you’ll get even more from this book, as they have bits about people from the other books in them and that’s always interesting to a reader hooked on a series (well it is to me – I love it when I learn more about a character in a different book, it often shows another side to them)
Anyway – there’s a pretty good description in the book info so I’ll get onto what I did and didn’t like about this book. I found it really slow to start, and I enjoy best books where I’m slammed into the story and feel I care about what’s happening to the characters. I didn’t here, and found it difficult to fully immerse myself in the story and empathise with the characters. I got there in the end, but it was a shame it took me so long.
Its about two characters mainly and how their damaged pasts affects their present romance. I have to say I had a real problem with the first 50% of the book in that each time I felt I was understanding a person the book either jumped ahead, or moved on to someone else, and I did feel that there was too much information about people who didn’t feature greatly in the book. From the excerpts I’d read for instance I thought that Felicia ( think that was her name) was going to be a major part and yet she was really only a bit player. I love long books but I needed to meet and start to understand Julie sooner than I did, and I almost gave up on the book. That would have been a crying shame because it definitely picked up at about 60% and the last third was fantastic, gripping and a real 5 star read. Pity I couldn’t have got to some of that earlier instead of feeling very indifferent about it 😦 Still, reviews and opinions are subjective and we all like something different so maybe what I don’t like works well for others and they enjoy the slow build?
I loved the psychology in the book – I love to know what makes people tick ( and animals – I’ve read loads on horse psychology and body language, and its amazing how much actually transfers well to humans) I’d have liked even more of this, and on how the BDSM linked into the needs Evan and Julie had. I find it interesting how different people find ways of coping with problems and BDSM seems to fill a need for many people. I understood Evans need but was a bit confused at how it was working with Julie – maybe I need to re read. The main story was good and I loved how the sub plots finally connected together to flow into a story with a gripping climax that rounds off all the ends and questions we had.
The book itself was well written and edited, and a decent length – I’ve only kb info not pages but from the time it took me it must be 250-300 I’d guess. Its 872 kb for £3.38. There doesn’t seem to be a paperback version yet, but as there is with her other books I’d imagine there will be at some point.
Stars: that’s a tough one – I’d have rated first 50% at three – maybe even two and a half as it was so slow but then that last third made up for that and was well worth a five – five plus if there was such a rate! So overall I guess its a four star from me. I’d love to read more form the others in this series and once I’ve time ( and pennies… ) I’ll look them up. I do like the continuity and familiarity of a series especially when each book is a complete story and not one of those horrible, horrible cliffhangers that I hate with a passion!
coming aug 2013: self published novel by N K Smith. I’m very exceited about self publsihed works – they’ve opened up the reading market to so many new styles for we avid readers. I’ve read some real gems – yes, some dross too but thats what happens and I have noticed over the last year that authors have been much more vigialnt about basic mistakes in grammar and spelling that used to proliferate and make so many works unreadble even if they were fantastic. I think of authors like J K Rowling who had a huge clutch of rejections from traditional publishers before a small one took the chance. If she hadn’t persevered then no Harry Potter – and miliions of kids would have missed out. With the advent of ebooks and self publshing authors can now do it themsleves if they choose and not rely on being taken on my mainstream publishers. Thats got to be good for them and for us readers who get to read books that may never have seen the light of day.
Human connection? Who needs it?
Ever since she can remember, wealthy but weary Saige Armstrong has felt different from her peers in Pechimu, New Jersey. With only one good friend to her name, she has navigated the complicated halls of high school and is now faced with the timeless question: Now what?
Fox Harrington, a fun-loving, socially charismatic graffiti artist uses his passions to color his world exactly how he wants it. He knows exactly where his life is headed. That is, until he meets Saige.
A summer project links the two together, making a tentative friendship bloom into romance, but despite their affection for each other, fundamental beliefs and ways of thinking threaten to destroy all they have built.
In this tender story of young love, N.K. Smith delivers a striking tale of two people standing on the precipice of adult life.
Based in the American Midwest, N.K. Smith is a Technical Writer for a Fortune 100 company. The author of the Old Wounds Series, Ghosts of Our Pasts, and My Only, she is a mother of two who finds the time to write very early in the morning when the rest of the world is still fast asleep.
An avid lover of history, art, music, books, and people, she is interested in telling stories that speak to the human condition.
Author contact links:
His weight on me is new and wonderful, and when his lips find mine, I’m sure there’s nothing better in the universe. He moves his mouth lower and his tongue touches the hollow of my neck. I can’t stop shivering. I close my eyes when his lips are back to mine, and I tighten my arms around him.
There’s something frenetic, yet measured in the way he kisses me. It’s not hard to figure out that I’m the wild frenzy, and he’s the calm, dignified restraint. I can’t move much because the weight of him limits me, but I’m able shift just enough to free my legs. It’s instinctive to wrap them around his waist, but that brings about a whole other rush of sensations.
I inhale deeply the moment his lips part from mine, but it’s only a moment of freedom. Fox’s tongue sweeps out over my bottom lip, and it’s all I can do to let out my breath in a slow, but stuttered exhale.
It’s crazy how much I want him. It’s insane how just being with him changes everything.
Please note: I’ve had an email from Bernadette to say this is not the final book in the series. There is one more, The Devlin Witch, that will be released in September. My apologies for getting it wrong and saying this was the last – but good news is we’ve another book to look forward to!
Devil’s Daughter Bernadette Walsh
I received this from the publishers in return for an honest review. I don’t gush and give false praise – I don’t believe that helps readers or authors so what you read is what I truly feel about a book.
Book three in an unusual series – its fantasy/paranormal with elements of horror thrown in – not too deep though thankfully……! regular readers will recall my weak head for horror…..
Well, Orla and her family are back on the mountain – and life is relatively normal. Her husband seems a bit distant but then I felt he didn’t really understand Orla right from the start and in this book he still is trying to ignore her talent as a witch and protector. Orla meets Fiona – a slightly strange girl, who seems very like her mother to look at, and things develop from there. Simon is back – that was good, though he was really evil to Orla much of it was under dark magical influence and he’s a great “bad boy” hero, too good not to be resurrected in some way. He knows Rosemary is really his daughter and not Orla’s husbands and has come back to take part in her upbringing. Last time Orla saw him he was in a wheelchair and without power but somehow he’s gained strong magic back. He persuades her she needs his help to fight what’s happening in the mountain.
Once again we’ve a tale of mystery and intrigue, magic and mayhem and danger to the inhabitants of the mountain. Bernadette carefully weaves together innocuous incidents until they become part of the wider story. I enjoyed meeting Orla again, still felt her husband wasn’t supportive and wondered what they ever had in common and was so glad to see Simon was back – need a few bad guys in a story, except this time the bad guys aren’t who you first think. I loved the way the tale unfolds, drawing the reader in slowly and making us wonder where its going next. I really didn’t expect the ending that Bernadette gave us – and loved it, it wrapped everything up in a very satisfying way. Its been a great series, very different from the vampires and shifters that make up so much of the fantasy/paranormal genre (even though I love those its good to have variety)
as always its well written and edited and at £2.04 for 192kb its not a bad price. Its quite a short novel – I don’t have the number of pages but I’d guess at around 100-120. I prefer longer books usually but as part of a series to read back to back I’m happy to read shorter ones a s much of the world and character building is already done so we can get straight into the story. This like the others is definitely in my keepers file.
Stars: well deserved four stars – if it was longer I’d have gone for five, that’s my personal preference – a good long book to get stuck into, but lots of readers prefer shorter reads that they can fit into their daily routine and still have time to finish the book.
Shifting Selves Mia Marshall
I received this from the author in return for an honest review. I don’t gush and give false praise – I don’t believe that helps readers or authors so what you read is what I truly feel about a book.
I love books with romance and paranormal elements and there’s any number about vampires and shape shifters but far fewer involve people with talents derived from the Classical Elements – air, fire, water, earth. I read first in a popular series some years back that I didn’t enjoy and this put me off until recently when I found the amazing series Elemental Mysteries by Elizabeth Hunter. Then I saw a description of this book and it hooked me in. Its written very much in the mould of the Hunter series, with people having talents derived from the elements and contains shape-shifters but no vampires..so far anyway 🙂
I loved book one and its not often I rate a five star review to the first in a series but it was just That Good, so when I saw book two on Netgalley I was eager to review it. I wasn’t let down, once again Mia has brought together the basic group and added in some new people. There’s danger and mystery at every turn, gradually the plot emerges but as it dies it brings forward further surprises. The book takes up a month after the end of the last one.
Aidan learned at end of last book that as well as her water element she also has fire – she needs to learn to control her emotions so her Fire element is kept in check – without that control she faces a future of possible insanity, and if word gets out the Kill order will be given. She’s back in the mountain cabin with sister Sera, cat shifter Simon and earth element Vivian. She wants to see Mac (bear shifter) again after their kiss…but he’s so far been avoiding her. A phone call from the FBI secret division sets the team on the path of yet another mystery. What seems like a simple shifter runaway turns into danger for them all and betrayal yet again from someone close. Her family – water element mother and newly discovered, hot tempered, manipulative fire element father get involved in this case. They’re both keen to try to entice Aidan into a quieter life to ensure her sanity but Aidan feels she’s been lied to by them and is determined to keep her independence.
I love Aidan’s sense of humour – where she says she’s fine with bad language but please don’t use the “E” word (exercise) and her snarky comments that often come out at just the wrong moment ( I know just how she feels when the mouth runs ahead of the brain…) Sera is a great foil for her and is trying hard to keep Aidan calm. She and Aiden were best friends for many years and work together really well, seeing to know what the other is thinking and delegating tasks best suited to each other. Sera is also a “take charge” person and yet there’s never any conflict between her and Aiden about what to do, where they disagree they work it out between them. Simon is his usual enigmatic self – I love the way his speech is so oddly formal – its suits him perfectly, and then there’s computer whiz Viv, and once again her skills come into play as an essential part of the novel. The FBI lads are not in evidence mush, but always there in the background The team face life threatening situations yet again but manage to come through – though not unscathed and I want to see how Mia gets them working together in the next book. The characters – despite being supernatural – feel so real with all the petty squabbles and fallouts that real people have. I feel as if I’m there with them.
The POV varies from being written by Aidan at some times to third person at others but it all works seamlessly and never feels disjointed. Once again I was surprised at the culprit and how Aidan and Co resolved the issues. Mia’s writing is so gripping, and the story is very intense and yet she makes it easy to follow what’s happening. There are no horrible plots holes, no awful cliffhanger ending and its a book that will join book one on my keepers list for re reading.
Release date is April 16th 2013, and though I don’t have ebook price I can say the length is great. A nice solid long read for those like me who want a book to really get engrossed in and taken to another world .
Stars: full five again – faultless : )