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Haunted Blade, J.C. Daniels

Haunted Blade, J.C. Daniels

Haunted Blade (Colbana Files Book 6) by [Daniels, J.C.]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

I love this series but somehow I missed the last book…don’t know how that happened? So many books, so little time…
Still, it didn’t affect this installment for me, I was able to keep up, even understood the references to what happened in that one because of the context. I might buy it and read when the series is finished. I love to do a whole back to back read of series, totally immerse myself.

Kit’s come a long way from book one, where she was so alone even though she had a very small group of trusted acquaintences. Now she has Damon, and through him the Cats, though many have become friends with her in her own right.
And she’s well respected and has gained friends and allies that way from different groups of non-humans. No longer the isolated person she was back then, she’s stronger both physically and mentally. That’s good because Fate – or perhaps not Fate but Smeone directing things – has much in store for her.

She’s still recovering from her last brush with death when weird events start stacking up. She’s not one to believe in co-incidences, and somehow all these supposed isolated events seem aimed at her.
Its a time when she really does need her friends and allies. Can she convince the others though that these events are connected, that its not just random crimes, mindless violence, but a concerted, orchestrated string of events with one aim in mind?
Trouble is she’s not certain of what that is, who exactly is the enemy apart from her family, and mostly how on earth she can defeat them, when she begins to understand exactly who and what is pushing the power struggle.

I love Kit, she’s very genuine, has moments when she’s bitchy, though with all the strain she’s under she’s very composed most of the time, a little letting out has to come.
She’s been through so much and her murderous family don’t seem to want to let her go. Its hard to understand who or what exactly they are, though as the books continue more comes out and I’m beginning to grasp it.

Damon, he’s perfect for her. Protective and yet he knows she doesn’t want wrapping in a blanket, tucked away from danger – it’s hard though as an Alpha and an alpha, to let her run into danger when he just wants to keep it from her.
He’s learned though from the past, is a terrific support when she needs it, cheerleader and motivator when she needs it, and of course the closeness they have, not just the erotic sexual connection but that melding of minds, that two becoming one connection they have is getting deeper all the while.
That’s important as she faces something she thought was years away, the release of some-one who she thought she wouldn’t need to see for a long, long while. Sadly all the murders have brought the vampire population into chaos, and to prevent even more bloodshed the powers that be have decided he needs to be released early…..

Its another great read, full of mayhem, murders, dangers, deceptions, plots, plans, it seems non stop at times and yet its inching closer to a kind of grand finale battle between her and her grandmother.
She’s going to need every ally, every favour, every connection she’s made these last few years if she’s to stop a catastrophe.
We catch up with characters from earlier books and meet a few more new ones. The ending is a kind of cliffhanger, but given we’ve been expecting things to move in this direction from an early stage its not totally unexpected.

Stars: Five, great read, fantastic series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Betrayed by Blood, Beth Dranoff. Cutie and the Beast, Fae Out of Water 1, E.J. Russell


Betrayed by Blood, Beth Dranoff

Betrayed by Blood (Mark of the Moon) by [Dranoff, Beth]

Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy

I enjoyed the first book in this series, but had a few reservations. I still think Dana does a bit too much introspection, but its far less than in book one and the story feels as if it flows better to me. A bit more Show going on, less Tell 😉

Dana’s still working out how to live as a shape shifter, how to adapt to her new life. She’s still working at the bar, still having the occasional fling with Jon, and he’s still close to Claude. Clearly he isn’t an ex….

Sam, he’s around too. He would like it to be just him and Dana, but accepts Jon, while not liking it. He can see that commitment scares Dana so for now he’ll go with the flow. He’s not so happy though when an ex comes back on the scene, the guy who really let Dana down.

Seems the organisation she left has a job for her…but they need to get in line because a group of supernaturals also have a job for her. She’s kind of in a rock and hard place though, these are the kind of offers that don’t accept sorry, no can do as an answer….

Dana’s learning more about herself, about her heritage, her father, the strange tatts on her back, and of course her new life as a shape-shifter.

Busy time for her and means there’s a lot going on. she grows a lot over the course of this novel. She adapts to what she learns, grows to trust others and there’s less sex for the sake of it and more feeling comes across, though she still struggles with commitment. It made me wonder how she’d feel if she found Sam with someone else….

I found the action flowed better in this novel, that things fell into place easier, more naturally. It makes me want to know more, what’s really the secret, what do the tatts mean, and who wants the info? We know some of those answers now, but there’s still a whole lots we don’t know.

There’s less Pack stuff here, more emphasis on Dana herself and the secrets that surround her, the things she needs to know but doesn’t. I felt that made for an easier to follow book. I do like the Pack side and hope they feature in later books but for now keeping them as a minor side story felt right. I don’t mind complex, actually I love complex, but sometimes there’s a point when too much just spoils the story, just makes things confusing and that’s a bit how book one was for me.

The things I didn’t like? Well, pretty short list, mainly the “silly” stuff that I felt dragged the story down, the names and descriptions -Squid D’Le for example, felt too YA, too juvenile.

Can you imagine Mercy Thomson dealing with a weird tentacled crew, headed by a Squid D’Le? Kate Daniels slinging back Bloody Marys garnished with oil demon eyeballs, toenail clippings and frost nymph snot? Nope, nor can I…
The descriptions of some of the demons feels pretty much like that too. Can they be just frost demons, tentacled land evolved sea creatures? Nope they’re all kind of “pink, with blue spots, green horns, purple suckers, and six eyes, drooling acid yellow venomous slime..” kind of thing. Ditto the drinks and food. That really detracted from the story for me.

Its a good story, shaping up really well IMO but those silly bits let it down and make it hard to take seriously. Stories usually have either serious drama or comedy angles, but this feels like Beth has tried to incorporate both, and for me it doesn’t work.

It can be done, but its not easy, and doesn’t work here. Thankfully that’s only a small part of the story!

Stars: Four. Maybe four and a half, I can’t quite get past the silliness side…but yes, four and a half, its a real step up from book one and I do want to see what happens next.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Cutie and the Beast, Fae Out of Water 1, E.J. Russell

Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water Book 1) by [Russell, E.J.]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I’ve enjoyed some of EJ’s stories before and love tales around Fae so was eager to read this.

Just didn’t work for me though, felt a little too “fluffy” and the characters too stereotyped. I couldn’t really get into it, didn’t care much about what happened to the people and it all just fell a bit flat for me.

A series that’s clearly not for me. won’t put me off reading different books by this author though. not all books suit all readers, even if we usually enjoy someone’s wring style.

 

Stars: Two, I’ll pass on the rest of this series but still look out for E.J Russell’s other stories.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Spellbinder, A Moonshadow Novel, Thea Harrison

Spellbinder, A Moonshadow Novel, Thea Harrison

Spellbinder (Moonshadow Book 2) by [Harrison, Thea]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

I loved Moonshadow, the first novel in this trilogy. Thea is one of those authors who can make fantasy and magic feel real, who has me completely wrapped in the story. This time round we see the other side to Morgan, Queen Isabeau’s magician enforcer, leader of her Hounds.

We met him mainly by reputation in the last book, knew him as a conscienceless killer, and now we see that its not him, he has to act as the Queen commands, has no free will. She took control of him centuries ago by magical means, and he is forced to obey her every command. He hates it, hates her, she killed his beloved Arthur, and he’s been waiting for her to slip, make a mistake all these long years, and then he’s going all out for freedom, even if it means his death.
Then she does, she makes this tiny error in what she says and he takes advantage.
He’s not free, not yet but her words allow him freedom for a short time to research the magical knife at the heart of her control over him. He has to stay away from any of the Light Court, they can tell him her wishes, and it acts like a command. While he’s researching and avoiding everyone he hears Sidonie play, is entranced and that leads to a string of events ending with her the Queen’s prisoner.
If we didn’t know Robin, the Puck, and all he suffered from the last book, I’d think he was an awful person. He knows full well what will happen to Sid when the Queen gets her claws in, but he hates Morgan, hates that he was the instrument of his centuries of torture, as commanded by the Queen. He doesn’t know the full circumstances, thinks Morgan betrayed the Dark court he was part of, thinks he is the Queen’s lover and had a free hand in the atrocities he does.
He sees Morgan is enjoying Sid’s music, and thinks to use her as a trap for him, use her to break up his relationship with the Queen.
Its kind of a long logic thinking that because he’s following her tour, enraptured by her music that he will seek revenge on Isabeau for the atrocities she will inflict on Sid, but I guess Robin’s kind of flawed in his thinking anyhow. He doesn’t see Sid as a person, only a tool, and doesn’t care what happens to her. His plan will work – or it won’t. Either way he loses nothing by trying. I have to think of it the way he would, the way the Fae see humans, disregard them mostly as people, don’t really care what befalls them unless, as with Sophie from Moonshine, there’s some kind of personal connection. He’s devoted to Sophie, determined to protect her despite the fact she’s (mostly) human. He doesn’t know Sid so he’s not concerned about her. That changes though when he gets to know her.
Poor Sidonie, she’s horrified, powerless, distraught at what’s happened and feels so alone. She does what anyone would do, demands she be released, give the queen the sharp side of her tongue and…suffers the results.
As Robin planned Morgan soon gets to know of what’s happened but of course Robin doesn’t know of the restrictions surrounding Morgan, so his plans from there go wrong.
Its another fabulous magical read, making me really feel for Morgan despite the awful things he’s done.
In Moonshadow I hated him, here I see him as another of the Queens victim’s now I know the whole story, and likewise I felt so sad for Robin in Moonshadow, and had to keep reminding myself of what he’d been through when he was so casual about Sidonie’s welfare.
Its like we’ve two sides to the story now, the Dark Fae and the Light Fae, centuries of history, of Isabeau’s horrific reign now look to come to a head, with the key players having a change of situation. I can’t wait for the final novel bringing everything together.
Stars: Five, great second book, roll on the final one 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Spectacle, Rachel Vincent

Spectacle, Rachel Vincent

Spectacle (The Menagerie Series, Book 2) by [Vincent, Rachel]

Genre:  General Fiction (adult)

Book one had me riveted, saddened, excited, scared, and was an incredible read, book two lives up to all that and more.
The books are  based upon a world like ours, a kind of parllell universe, its our timeline but with different events. There’s been a terrible slaughtering in the 1980’s they call The Reaping in the USA. It led to some harsh legislation where people deemed to be not wholly human have no protection, can be used in experiments, sold, exhibited, abused  and have no rights. Interspersed between chapters are snippets of TV and News report from that time.

We met Delilah and some of the characters from here in book one, where they finally escaped Metzger’s Menagerie. They’re carrying on as if Metzger still runs it, and once the curtains are closed then everyone who can safely be freed is, and hopefully they can escape to a better life in another country.
Its not long though before their coup is revealed, and they are caught once more, and become part of the Savage spectacle, a private collection specializing in some horrific shows.
Once more they lose all their hard won freedom and are subject to Vandercamp and his wife’s cruelty. Money is all they care about, the cryptids are kept in more hygenic situations, better fed, but only because they can make more money out of them that way.
Its horrible to see all their hopes and dreams shattered, but Delilah just won’t give in.

At first she doesn’t see what they can do but when she sees how the others are convinced she’ll come up with a plan again, that they are relying on her – well, she just has to start thinking of what they can do, so that if an opportunity arises they can make best use of it.
Its far harder though, Vandercamp has perfected collars that control them, stop them shifting, or force a shift when he wants one, stops them talking about certain things and at night stops them talking at all. The collars can even paralyse them completely, leaving them conscious but helpless, and of course they deliver shocks if the wearer tries to go beyond a set boundary…..it seems fool proof, no way out but with them looking to Delilah how can she let them down?

Gallagher is here too, thought to be human at first and taken to prison but his cap finally gave away his species, and Vandercamp is using his loyalty to Delilah to force him to fight and kill for entertainment.
Its horrific for him, his honour demands that he fight only when threatened and yet he also has vowed to protect Delilah so he has to do what’s demanded to stop her being hurt.

There are some awful scenes here, you wonder just how far people will go for power, money, influence and plain old blood thirsty entertainment, and once more its done in such a realistic way that I truly believe there’s a real danger that if this were genuine situation then much of it would be possible, that we would pass such legislation, telling ourselves that they are not “human” and so don’t need protecting, are dangerous, need to be controlled…
There’s an undercurrent too below the visible entertainment, that seems to dredge the depths and behind the scenes even darker depravity is going on.
Delilah is determined to find a way out, and situations arise that speed up the timeline, that mean they need to be out sooner rather than later.

It was good to see so many of the previous characters, heart-breaking seeing parents separated from their children, seeing kids forced to fight for their lives, seeing how awfully they treat them all, how they only look at what they can do to make money and simply don’t try to understand the individual characters. How ready they are to simply euthanise them if they aren’t financially viable. Its truly awful knowing the consequences of the depravity the Cryptids are forced into. There’s a big shock for Delilah here too.

The ending is similar to book one in that it completes the book, wraps up this part of the story and yet we know that the search for freedom is very far from over, that their next moves need to be carefully thought out, that the risk is always there in everything they do, everywhere they go.
Its not one of those awful cliff hanger endings that I hate, but one that opens up and shows the direction the next book will take.

Its another fascinating, fabulous and absorbing read, and though I’ve used the word horrific several times its not a horror book per se, but one where horrible things happen, mainly due to human greed.
Book three soon please Rachel 🙂

Stars: Five, another terrific read and I really hope the next book isn’t long in coming!

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket, Linda MacDonald. The Moon Shines Red, Heart of Darkness 1, Pamela Sparkman

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket, Linda MacDonald

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by [MacDonald, Linda]

Genre:  Romance, General Fiction,(adult).
Well. I love romance, saw this and was intrigued but…..to me this Isn’t Romance. Romance for me is lovers, twists, dramas, upheavals, and this book has all that but it doesn’t have a HEA, or even a HFN and to me one of those is essential for a book classed as a romance read.
That said it’s a story I very much enjoyed, made me do a lot of that “what if” thinking, look at things from the position of each character.

I hadn’t read the author’s other books which feature characters from this one, and maybe if I had I’d feel differently about Marianne, Ted and Felicity.
I may have been more sympathetic to Felicity, when we first met her. As it is I found her strange, very out for herself. She’d left Ted to be with her lover, and yet she’s irritated that he’s found someone to replace her, disparaging about Marianne, irritated that she’s spending time with Ted in the family home, cross when they both spend time in Marianne’s London home.

Then she meets Coll, and its as if she likes the attention, is flattered and is using him as a place warmer, waiting to see if she can displace Marianne and get her position back with Ted.

She seemed to me very shallow, expected everything to go back as before she left to move abroad with her lover, she left without caring about them, now she’s back she wants it all to carry on as if she hadn’t gone, as if those months had just been a kind of limbo for everyone else.. We do see her lighter side though, and maybe her attitude is one shaped by recent events and not a true look at her.
I did warm to her over time, did come to understand her better, and at the end I respected her and what she did.

Sarah, I felt she really drew the short straw. Ten years “with” Coll, each having separate homes and their relationship revolving solely around what he wants.
Her first husband died, when they were still deeply in love and she really wants to find that again, seemed like she had when she first met Coll. However he’s slowly eroded her confidence to the position when she seems to think its OK for him to have other women, (OW she calls them) as she knows its all flirting on Coll’s part, and nothing serious would come of it. Then he meets Felicity, and everything changes.

Coll, I hated that man and yet I could see what he was so attractive to women. He’s decent looking and cultivates an air of mystery, the Bohemian artist type, and is very careful what he says about himself and his life. What he does do so well is encourage the OWs to talk about themselves, leaving it open for him to listen carefully, to flatter, to encourage, to sympathise until they hang on his every word.
He made me so angry the way he was so careful not to tell Felicity about Sarah…..I wanted to shout at Sarah “Follow him, Check his phone, ask him outright.” To Felicity i wanted to say “ask more, questions why he hasn’t/doesn’t seem to have has a relationship since his divorce over a decade ago.” But of course they don’t and the story rolls on to its climax.
I so felt for Sarah, she knew but was kidding herself. She realised Felicity was more than the usual Ow, a real threat this time. And Coll, he just wouldn’t see what he was doing was wrong, belittled Sarah in subtle ways, didn’t stop to think of how hurt she would be about what he says. All the way through he only ever looks at how events affect him, and some of the things he says to Sarah I could strangle him, choke him, I was so angry.  Dammit he’s a book character! How can I get so angry about one of those 😉 but I do. Testament of good writing the the world and characters that are fictional feel so real.

The ending kind of soft, subdued, unfinished to me, there’s not real conclusion and overall from everything I think Sarah is the one who lose most, I really felt for her. She’d done nothing but fall in love with a charismatic but shallow, selfish man.

Stars: five,not a romance, but an interesting and absorbing read none-the-less. Not a rereader but a full 5* story despite that.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Moon Shines Red, Heart of Darkness 1, Pamela Sparkman

The Moon Shines Red: A Fantasy Romance Novel (Heart of Darkness Book 1) by [Sparkman, Pamela]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, some you win, some you lose. Sadly this was a lose for me. Its garnered a whole slew of 4 and 5 star reviews so clearly its spot on for many readers, but I’m not among them.

I thought I’d like it, it sounded intriguing but I just felt disassociated from the plots and the characters. I just couldn’t connect with them in any way, didn’t really feel anything for them, didn’t care if things worked out. I did skim read the last 60% just to finish as it was clear when I got to 40% that it wasn’t going to work for me 😦
That happens, reading is subjective, not liking it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book any more than liking a book doesn’t mean it’s good. Its just My View of it, and if you share my taste in reads you may feel the same.

Its perfectly well set out, doesn’t leave plot lines hanging, is easy to follow and has a proper ending where everything is clear and story-line for later book emerges, but it felt almost YA in the way the plots played out and the characters acted. Though I’ve enjoyed some YA in the past its not my preferred reading type and this just didn’t work for me. I won’t continue with the series.

Stars: Two, a great book for many readers, but wasn’t one for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Muddy Waters (Otherwhere 1), Book ONE of the Otherwhere, Sara O. Thompson

Muddy Waters (Otherwhere 1), Book ONE of the Otherwhere, Sara O. Thompson

Muddy Waters (Otherwhere Book 1) by [Thompson, Sara O.]

Genre:  General Fiction (adult), Sci-fi and Fantasy

I was really intrigued by the description, i do like these “crossover world ” reads, where our world and the supernatural exist together but in a kind of parallel spacing. And Magic, I love that!
Its kind of a muddled read though 😦 some things I liked, but sadly a lot that was just plain confusing and had me backtracking trying to work it out.

When we first meet Tessa she’s been incarcerated in a tough prison for five years, much of that doped up and then – wham- the FBI flexes its muscle and she’s out. No detox issues given she’s gone from one extreme to nothing and no support!
Somehow given she’s still assumed to be guilty of killing her family, and also a very dangerous witch I thought she’d be under more supervision.
I like her and of course we know she didn’t do it, but others in the book will still see the conviction and think she’s guilty.

The whole FBI thing seems like a device used to get her – and other characters at different times – in a certain place in the story. There’s little that connects to real policing, no training, no office meetings and direction, no reports to make. She’s more or less left alone to run her shop, except for this one thing they need her for right now.

Her FBI partner Qyll is a Dark Elf. Other than being told he’s hot, and picking up that he’s a man who uses few words, and has a sort of old fashioned speech style we don’t really know much about him.
They don’t really spend a great deal of time together, don’t act as partners, and I found that hard to believe in. Tessa is just a short while away from maximum imprisonment, regarded as dangerous to a deadly extent, drugged up to a comatose state for much of that, and now she’s let loose on the world to track down a murderer, or murderers, without any real guidance, training, directions or input from the FBI and Qyll.
He was a potentially great opportunity that seems wasted. His character has the potential to be so much more. Maybe, hopefully, as the series continues….

Of course the murders stack up, everyone except Qyll seems to have a down on Tessa, and despite having no real experience she’s more or less left alone to track down the perpetrator(s).
There’s lots of action and drama, but it got very confusing at times, and I found one of my pet hates being used too much, where the lead character gets new/unexplained powers just when they’re needed most, and when the reader thinks there’s no way out for them.
I needed to know more about Tessa, more about what she could do, before I could believe she escaped almost injury free from the multiple conflicts she gets caught up in.
There’s so many characters too that I had to keep backtracking to find out who they were, how they connected, and where they belonged in the story.
The timing is sometimes a bit strange. There’ll be an action packed, drama filled few hours, and then next paragraph we’re days or weeks later, without any indication of what had happened in the interval.
Its sounds as if all I have are criticisms and that’s not true, these are real issues for me, but the potential for things to work out into a great series is there IMO.
It just needs tidying a bit, better pacing and use of characters and constructs ( the FBI for example).
Set secondary characters in plots that fix them in the readers minds, instead of leaving them wondering “who was that again? Where do they fit it?” when they suddenly crop up.

Its not only a debut story, but a first in series and that’s always tough to get right.
I do feel though that there’s some unique ideas in this story, a series with a good future here.
I like Tessa’s spells, the way they’re explained, the way she uses ones developed in childhood – that kind of things works well for me, and I feel then that as they are so ingrained its believable when she pulls them out just when she needs them without barely thinking about them. Kind of how they’ve become second nature.
More of that kind of thinking for other events would help IMO.

Its not billed as Romance, but I get the impression that possibly in the future Qyll and Tessa will get closer to that. and a s a romance lover of course that appeals to me too!

Stars:Three, a story that for me has a great future but which I feel needs some series tidying and attention to get there.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Black Lily, Juliette Cross

The Black Lily,  Juliette Cross

The Black Lily (Tales of the Black Lily) by [Cross, Juliette]

Genre: Romance,

I’ve read a few of Juliette’s stories, and liked the sound of this. Vampires? Romance? yep, two of my tick boxes 😉
What did make me hesitate was the Cinderella connection. I’m not a fan of fairy-tale rewrites generally, I’ve read too many that mirror the original so closely there’s nothing fresh in the story, but this one is fine.
The storyline is only very loosely followed, in fact most of the story is pure Juliette original, maybe 5-10% follows Cinderella and that’s fine by me!

We meet Arabelle, AKA the Black Lily, with her friend Deek, the blacksmith,  planning an audacious assassination of the vampire Prince Marius at a ball later that evening.
She and her band of followers have been planning this carefully, she has the gown, the jewels, the mask, a fairy-tale carriage, albeit borrowed as are the gown and jewels, and most important, a gold edged knife to kill him. Vampires in this series are killed by gold, though royals have to be stabbed in the heart for it to be fatal. No pressure there then Arabelle.
Why are they out to kill him? Well, seems vampires aren’t sticking to the laws, and the peasants arte being drained, first an odd few but more and more recently. Arabelle’s mother died this way and she’s determined to stop the slaughter.

I love the way the planning was explained, there wasn’t a magic wand ( well unless you call a certain part of Deek’s anatomy that, he uses it well to “persuade” people to lend things for the cause…. There’s lots of planning, they’ve spent months on this, even down to Arabelle swapping her outdoor chores for one of the staff’s indoor ones, so her skin gets a chance to lighten, helped also by her own cosmetic preparations. She doesn’t just dress up and hope for the best, but plans, works to make it a success.
I need that in a story, need to understand the how and the why, when something just falls into place at the right time without any effort it just doesn’t work for me.

Of course she doesn’t manage to kill him, it’d be a short book if she did…but he gets close to her and is entranced, enamoured by her even though she wanted him dead.
As it happens she was surprised by her attraction to him, surprised by their conversation. He wasn’t what she expected.
Marius is determined to find her, find out why she tried to kill him, to just get to know her better. He wants her, and not as a prisoner for an attempt on his life. Of course his royal parents aren’t quite of the same mind.
There follows captures and escapes, plans and plots, deals and steals, barters and betrayals…its a fun read, especially when we meet the Hart Wolves, and Sienna.

I really liked Marius, he was a Vampire, but one of the good guys, they’re not all heartless, blood-thirsty killers and he has no idea what’s been going on. His one failing is assuming everyone is happy, what will he do now he knows otherwise?
I really wanted him and Arabelle to find a way together but when they’re on such opposing sides its a hard ask.

There’s some great characters here, some fun adventure and it adds up to an enjoyable read, when the final denouement is revealed I could have kicked myself ( metaphorically – its hard to do that when you’ve only one leg, I’d just fall over!)
Its so obvious and yet…like I suspect most readers, I simply didn’t see that coming, followed the trail led before me very obligingly.

Its not deep, dark, drama but light and fun, with some real excitement at times, some plots that were very realistic and no quick instant, unbelievable fixes, but ones where people worked for them.
Arabelle wasn’t a sweet, helpless female, not yet a kiss ar$e heroine, but someone who felt real, who was a natural leader and worked hard for what she wanted to achieve. There were some excellent support characters too, that fitted the storyline very well.
I love the descriptions of the gowns, the fabulous Glass Palace, and the minutiae of everyday life brought in that made things feel real.

Its ends on a good spot but leaving the way open for more and I’ll be happy to read the next story.

Stars: five, a great relaxing read, fun story, light drama and adventure.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Every Little Thing, Samantha Young. Souljacker, Yasmine Galenorn

Today I’m planning to read the latest Mercy Thompson novel,  Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggshttp://amzn.to/2mkqZJd That’s my all time favourite series, and author, and I’ve got another great book to read from a couple of days back, Jeanine Frost’s Into the fire, the final Night Prince novel

http://amzn.to/2mWvZoW I loved this series when it started, but unlike the Briggs one its an ongoing story rather than each book having one main theme that’s part of an ongoing story. TBH its taken so long I’ve kind of lost the impetus that made me love it. Maybe I’ll start from first book and pick it up that way. Then I log in to netgalley and see I’ve been approved for three more reads, among them one from the Queen of rock band reads, Kylie Scott for Twist, the latest Dive Bar novel, a spin off from the wonderful Stage Dive books

http://amzn.to/2m10cin So, housework? Tidying ready for selling house? Gardening – well that’s an easy out, its raining….

And a couple of reviews today

Every Little Thing,  Samantha Young

Every Little Thing (Hart's Boardwalk Book 2) by [Young, Samantha]

Genre:  romance, erotica

Like thousands of readers I got sucked in to the magic of Samantha’s romances by way of the wonderful Joss and Braden, in On Dublin street, and their book is still one of my all time favourites.
I’ve read several from that series and enjoyed them and have been looking forward to this new series. Tjis one is tagged Erotica, but to me its more eotic romance, a great romance but withsome hot and steamy sex rather than just erotica,

I enjoyed the first book, The One real Thing, but wasn’t blown away by it. First books do have  a hard job though, and few achieve the great start that Dublin Street did.
The couple that intrigued me the most in book one were Bailey and Vaughn – the ST between those two jumps of the page! They had sparks jumping between them at every meeting, and the caustic wit the two share had me smiling widely.

Bailey is so bright and bubbly, always out to help others, see that everyone is happy, so running her Inn is perfect for her. Still, the awful Devlin family are trying to find a way to oust her, they want to own as much of the town as they can and have used some very dirty tricks in the past. I love the way Bailey not only stands up to them but uses her sharp wit against them.
She’s been with boyfriend Tom now for ten years, hoping that they will marry and have a family soon. She’s in for a big shock though….and it changes things between her and Vaughn.
They’ve always hate a hate hate relationship, but underneath that everyone feels that its defensive on both sides, and it really seems to have started with Vaughn rebuffing the open friendship Bailey offered him when he arrived, the same as she does to everyone. He wasn’t impressed at her initial opposition to his plans for his new hotel, and things went downhill from there.

Its clear Vaughn is attracted to her, and just as clear he doesn’t want to be. He’s always been Mr No Commitment and it suits him, but he knows that Bailey spells danger to that, and seems to use his acerbic wit as a defence even as he cringes inside at what he’s saying. Bailey responds likewise, they both bring out the worst in each other, but that gives some terrific scenes for the reader.

Its a real romance here, but a long time coming, with many forward and back journeys that had me inwardly screaming at them! Of course that’s perfect for me as it brings bucket loads of angst and emotion.

As with all Samantha’s romances its not just a two person story, but brings in many others, some from book one, some who look set to become future books. Story seeds, those hints of what/who might be next. Its always fun to try to spot them, and I think I’ve got a couple here, there are some individuals who really intrigue me. Quiet, shy Emory, what’s her story? Why is she so reserved, so closed off? Dahlia, she seems to have lots of things to reveal, and we’ve only seen her as a very secondary character. Jack Devlin, met him in book one, and he’s here too, and still as much a puzzle as ever. I can’t believe he’s really such a bad guy, and yet the things he’s done, and does here too seem to point in that direction, then he does a couple that point the other way. Even Vaughn’s dad has potential, not as a main character IMO, but maybe a secondary romance thread in a book? He’s certainly got the heart and character for it.

Its a great read, I loved it, was entranced by Bailey and Vaughn, loved the puzzle of their relationship. I did wonder about a few characters in here, Vanessa, will she make a return later, Jack, how can Cooper’s former best friend change so much, do what he does, and of course Vaughn’s awful friend Oliver. What on earth did those two ever have in common?
There’s a couple of surprises towards the end that I didn’t see coming ( and one I did!) and it makes me wonder if they’re future plots in later books?
.
Stars: Five, a great read, perfect blend of sensual romance and solid story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Souljacker, A Lily Bound Novel,  Yasmine Galenorn

Souljacker: A Lily Bound Novel by [Galenorn, Yasmine]

Genre:  paranormal and fantasy

Hmnnn, succubus – they’re not characters that really feel empathetic are they? I put off reading Richelle Mead’s wonderful Georgia Kinkaid series for ages simply because I could not see how an author could make a succubus into a person I’d understand, feel I want them to be happy, and yet I was so, so wrong. Add in Jill Myles terrific Succubus reads and you can see just how very wrong my first thoughts were.
So if you’re like me, take a deep breath and prepare to be surprised.
I’ve enjoyed some of Yasmine’s other reads, so I was familiar with her writing style. the story jumps right in with a death at Lily’s house, one of her top clients has been murdered. Not good for business, nor is the fact her clients wife is on the warpath and as a powerful and influential were she can – and does – do immense damage to Lily’s business. So far its worked giving her an income, keeping her alive through sex with Supernaturals, she’s found in the past humans are just far too fragile, and wants to avoid killing people.

In this society Vampires aren’t the Romance kind, but irrational, dangerous killers. Once turned little of the human remains, and they simply lust for blood, sex and power, and have become so dangerous that vampire kills aren’t even investigated by the police any more. That leaves Lily and her friends on their own, as a Vampire Execution the police simple pass on the murder, but she does get given the name of a chaos demon who might help. And Lily and her friends need that help when they learn the killer wants them dead too….

I like Lily, she’s just trying to live, trying to keep her friends safe, enjoy life and she’s found a way that avoids killing humans, something that happened in the past to her and hurts her conscience.
She has some good friends, witch Dani, human Nate, Marsh the…Ghost? spirit? whatever, he’s someone from Lily’s past who’s returned out of the blue, and of course Whiskas the cat – who’s more than a cat, though decidedly not a shifter.
Lily herself belong to the dark Fae court, and we meet the Queen, Wynter in this book. Scary woman, and she’s very powerful. You don’t live for thousands of years without learning a few things.
Archer the chaos demon turns out to be not the type Lily feared, Demons don’t get great press, but in fact he’s a true gentleman, luckily attracted to Lily, and they’re in the throes of him helping her with sex feeding, and maybe they’re developing something more. I didn’t get a great feeling of romance here, its pretty clear one is meant to be starting but I wasn’t really convinced of anything more than a bit of lust between them. Maybe that just takes time, sometimes its better that way.

Its a fun read, a story with elements of many types of creatures thrown in, Vampires, demons, ghosts,witches,  Fae and of course Lily and Whiskas.
In a way that kind of affected the story for me, there were so many different types of character, so much going on that the murders almost took second place. When the climax (Hah!!) came it was almost missing for me, they’d had so many scrapes already that it seemed like it was just one more.

I enjoyed this but I’m waiting for book two to see how the series develops, it didn’t keep me gripped as I’d expected. At times it just felt a little muddled as there was so much happening in a relatively short space of time and pages (GR has it at 292 pages) or 3552 kindle locations.

Stars: Three. Maybe as this continues I’ll feel more for it, its tough for first books in a new series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Lady of Silver, Shona Husk

Lady of Silver, Shona Husk

Lady of Silver (Blood & Silver) by [Husk, Shona]

Genre:  romance, paranormal and fantasy

I’d enjoyed a couple of Shona’s stories and liked the sound of this, a hopefully new series.
It turned out to be a great read, a perfect balance of romance and fantasy. The main characters were interesting and felt very real and that’s always important for me. If they and the plots don’t feel as if they could happen (in the event magic etc is real..or maybe it is??) then I just don’t enjoy a story.

Shona takes the vampire legends and makes some subtle changes, the way they are made, where they begin and how to kill them.
She brings in a new (to me anyway) group, the Albah, a group that can do certain magics, that share Elf features and felt very Fae descended to me. They keep hidden from humans, scared of past repercussions, the witch hunts and bigotry.
They’re a race that’s slowly dying, as though they can have children with humans, only those from another Albah will produce males. They don’t have ambitions to dominate humans, just want to live peacefully and enjoy their lives.
The dangerous part of them is that they can be turned into the undead, called Albanex, vampires who aren’t pretty, sparkly, romantic, brooding heroes, but creatures that need blood to continue, and who kill relentlessly to get it.

The Albah thought they’d got rid of the last of the Albanex and that the ways to make them had been forgotten centuries before, but then local killings get blamed on a cult, Saba gets involved and the dangers to her stack up. Not only to her though, to anyone important to her, which now includes Detective Morgan.

Dale is a sceptic and doesn’t like her at first, thinks she’s a charlatan, but he’s been advised to ask for her help and does so reluctantly.
From the first meeting there’s a sizzle between them and soon they seem as if they can’t resist each other, even though they want to.
He doesn’t know what she is though, and doesn’t know that the man he thinks is behind the killing is more than that, that he can’t capture and imprison him. Saba has to decide what’s safest to do for them all, how much to reveal, what’s the best answer.

My only criticism is that it was perhaps a little too light and slick in parts, especially the ending, the way the problem was resolved. That just felt a little too easy, a bit too simplistic given the dangers so far, and that’s why for me its a four and not a five star read. If you want an uncomplicated read that feels genuine maybe its a five for you, I just needed that little bit more.

I really enjoyed this story. Its not a solid, complex fantasy, ala Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Debbie Reynolds etc. but a lighter one, easy to read, easy to follow, but with a storyline I quickly got drawn into.
Its a stand alone read, but there is more from this world to come with Saba’s sister taking the lead in the next book. Its a series I’ll happily read, and probably reread when I have more books so can read through the stories, immersing myself fully into their world.

Stars: Four, a fun, light fantasy and I look forward to the next one.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Turn, The Hollows Begins with Death, Kim Harrison

The Turn, The Hollows Begins with Death,  Kim Harrison

The Turn: The Hollows Begins with Death (Hollows Prequel) by [Harrison, Kim]

Genre:  Sci-fi and fantasy

I’d just been thinking it was maybe time for a reread of Kim’s Hollows, a fab series, one of the first I bought when I got Kindle number 1.
Its not a light, fluffy, romance + alpha hero tale, but one with some dark moments, demons that aren’t all romantic underneath, vampires who’re out only for themselves, and will kill without a second thought if they think they need to, werewolves, witches, pixies and fairies, and ley line magic, lots of that. And yet wrapped up in that IS a romance, the story isn’t some dark, macabre horror as it sounds, and there’s so much fun, so much mystery as to what can and will happen. Great characters and it’s a series you can read over and over.

So seeing a prequel I was excited, its several years since I first read it but I can remember feeling confused about parts of The Turn, what exactly happened, and how and why, so this is just perfect for both folk new to the Hollows, and for those of us who’ve read it but got questions.
We meet mainly Trent’s parents, see how they got together and I’m ashamed to say I can barely remember anything of them from the main series. They’re both clever scientists, leaders in their field and have a fierce rivalry.
Trent’s dad Kal is a total jerk, viciously cruel, totally amoral, made me see a bit where Trent got his initial prejudice from. He’s always done his best to knock down Trisk from when they were kids, his jealousy knowing no bounds. I did feel for him a bit when we read about how much of his childhood was spent in pain, knew about the constant surgeries and tweaks to his genetic code he’d had. That’s tough on any child.
Doesn’t excuse the way he was so cruel to Trisk though, always reminding her she was an upstart Dark Elf, not like the Kalamacks with their long heritage keeping them pure. Trouble is though those Pure Elves, the bloodlines they were so proud of, was what was helping them die out, they were having huge issues reproducing.
Poor Trisk is hampered too by the 60’s view of females, little women that should be chained to the kitchen popping out babies, certainly not leading scientific advancements, that should be left to the men. If by chance they did make a break through, well they should be pleased a man would take over and get it published and maybe let their name be credited as one of many helpers….Gah! that was so spot on, I was just a kid then but is so how life was! I love Trisk, one of the good people, who wants to do what’s right, regardless of personal cost.
Her human colleague Daniel is another like her, and he was a terrific addition. Made it easy to see how the whole coming out to humans part was decided. There were people for and against, but with Daniel in front of them, the way he’d dealt with such a lot in a short time and still helped those not human as well as the humans helped sway the decision.
Along with Orchid of course, who was a great character and help fill the missing shoes of Jenks. I can’t write his name without thinking “Tink’s little red panties” – he had a phrase for every occasion, and Orchid has a similar curse ridden mouth!
We meet Quen too, a young Quen and maybe an explanation for why he’s always been so loyal to Trent. I love Quen, always the man in the background, always there protecting, overseeing and yet unseen much of the time.
Alongside that there’s Al the demon of course, Piscary, Rhynn, and a few others from the main series.
Another reviewer mentioned Rachel’s dad, and I can’t recall much about him, and missed that – I need to go back and look…I’m sure there’s other nods to the main series I’ve missed.

Stars: Five, a fabulous story, well worth reading before or after the main series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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