Knight of Rapture, Ruth A. Casie
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy
** Warning: Spoilers for Book One**
This appealed to me, and as it was the second part of a book duo I read the sample of book one to get some background info. I’ve done that before and find its usually enough to get me up to speed, but I was so hooked on the plots that I ended up buying part one just so I could get the full story. In that part we see the beginning of how Rebeka accidently goes back in time, and discovers that actually that’s where she started and her father brought her forward 400 years for her safety. He’s dead now and seems he never got a chance to explain. At the end of the book something goes wrong, Bran interferes yet again, and Rebeka is thrown forward into the future again. Arik and she are both distraught and seeking a way to bring her back in book two.
Arik has been working with his brother Logan to find Rebeka and bring her back. Unknown to him Rebeka has help from Barrister George and his sister, both powerful druids, and they’re also working to find a way back for her. With help from both ends Arik ends up in 21st century….but although Rebeka had her memories of Arik and the past when she came through Bran has interfered yet again and now she’s has no knowledge of it. Luckily George and Cora do, so they help to try to break Brans enchantment and bring her memories back while also researching a way back for them both.
To complicate things there’s problems over ownership of the Manor, and the documents needed seem to be missing. It means a huge amount of research, while at the same time trying to make the Manor pay its way with the new ventures started. This book takes place mainly in 21st century as opposed to the past in book one. Arik is able to help with the reconstructions, and make the ventures of visitors seeing the past and feeling the whole experience as real as possible, and he has some ideas too about further renovation of the mill and village itself to help the experience and the income. It seems though that they have not only Bran working against them but trouble from an unknown source which creates more problems, and they have little time to work it all out.
Its another great read. I love the way Arik blends in and they way the staff pull together, and the story they concoct to explain him. The Major and his soldiers are a terrific addition, and the descriptions of them training, rebuilding the mill and village, renovating the old weapons and learning how to use them to create realistic re-enactions for the visitors is especially interesting. I love the way the druid magic works, through runes and chants. Its not a quick found magical wave-of-hand solution, I hate those, and the ones where the main character gains some new unheard of power at the crucial moment. Instead it’s one where they all work hard, by means of research and trial and error experiences, to find the right combination of chants and runes. There’s drama too from Bran and the mystery protagonist, which at times is life threatening. I’d guessed about just after halfway through who I thought was behind it, but couldn’t work out why. I did get somewhat confused towards the end about the travelling issues, and why some of them were restricted – its hard to say without giving too much away – but rather than get bogged down by detail I just accepted the story as it and it flowed well from there, and made for a fabulous and satisfying ending.
Stars: Five, a great read to enjoy both the characters, the history and the magic. One you can really get lost in for a few hours.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
For Real, Alexis Hall
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Romance, GLBT My only other Alexis Hall book has been Waiting for the Flood, which I loved. I didn’t realise it was part of a loosely connected series ( connected only by characters that crop up in other books ) and it wasn’t until writing this review that I realised Edwin in here at Oxford was the Edwin from WFTF….I’m glad I know he has a happy ending as I felt really sorry for him when we met him here. Anyway – once again a terrific read. It seems Alexis is one of those authors I love, who can make a character feel so real, who can use words to let me “see” a person who I feel I know, who I can understand, empathise with, and want to be happy. That’s really important to me. After reading this book I read another romance where frankly I didn’t like any of the characters, and it spoils the story for me. I have to feel they are real, alive and then I’m happy and sad along with them. That sadness is essential too for me, I don’t want a read that’s just happy, happy, happy but need some darkness, some sadness to balance it. So, here we have Laurie, who’s still not over his last relationship even though they split six years back. He hates seeing his ex with his current partner, the breakup was traumatic for him and he just can’t bear seeing that he’s moved on. Laurie’s kind of jaded, lost, and it feels like he’s just marking time passing, not enjoying life at all. There’s no joy in him and I felt so sad that he was this way. He seems to have few friends, Grace and Sam are great, but there don’t really seem to be any other really close ones, and he has a cold, closed off relationship with his parents. He feels so alone, so lonely. Then comes Toby and he’s such a gem. I love the way Toby is portrayed, when he’s talking at a million miles a minute I can just feel his youth, his enthusiasm and the joy he takes in life when it goes his way. He’s got a kind of hidden backstory which we don’t find out til close to the end, but he lives with his very bohemian, artist mother ( who’s younger than Laurie!!), adores his grandfather who’s close to dying, and cooks in a cafe despite his clear intelligence and capability. Despite his youth he’s in many ways far older than his years, and he’s clearly very close to his granddad. He’s taken many of the things granddad has taught him into his everyday life, the songs, the dances and the kind of old time gentility he displays. I loved him, there’s clearly much more to him than we see, though I could have done with seeing less of his acne!! What I loved is the way everything in this story is turned around and yet works sublimely. Usually Laurie, the older, wealthy, experienced man would be classed as the Dom, and Toby, young, inexperienced, innocent almost, would be a sub but it’s reversed – and it works really well. I loved the turnabout, it shows that the D/s instinct is just that – something from within, not something taught, though skills can and need to be learned for safety of course, but something inherent in a persons nature. Laurie is a confident, cultured doctor, and yet when it comes to his private life he wants to submit, to let someone else have responsibility, tell him what to do and when. It frees him, relaxes him and works. Toby – from the first meeting it’s clear he knows little but despite being young, slightly built, a menial job, he’s got a very dominant nature and the way he takes command of Laurie is incredible. There’s a great story here of two souls who are at variance with what the world expects of them, and yet find each other and happiness in their relationship – but its got trials. Laurie worries about Toby’s age, about whether he’s taking advantage and Toby knows he’s got a lot to learn but needs Laurie to give him more, to commit, to go all in and its a battle….When things go wrong – well, they really pulled out the drama and I was filled with the emotion of it.
I loved the Oxford dinner party, it showed a fabulous side to Toby, and had some incredible imagery that gave me some great mental visuals of the scenes. I love Toby’s enthusiasm, his refusal to be pushed down, his ability to see the fun in anything and his confidence in himself when he lets it through. The other scene that really sticks with me is the fated party where he refuse to bow down to convention, to do what’s expected by others, but finds the strength to do what Laurie needs, without being embarrassed about other peoples perceptions. It shows a real maturity about him, and he gets respect from many of the people there because of it. I have him a mental hurrah and high five for acting as he did. So…I’ve rambled a bit – I feel like Toby here, with my enthusiasm bleeding out into an onslaught of words. Clearly that’s not just the prerogative of the young!
Stars: Five, a fabulous read that will stay with me and join the keepers file. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers