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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

A few more favourite reads

The Lie  Karina Halle

The Lie by [Halle, Karina]

bought this on early price promotion a while back, I always look out for things like that from authors who’s work I love.

I love Karina’s style and this book was the usual gripping, rivetting surprise. She’s got the knack of making things that seem totally unlikely to feel real, to bring characters to life and once again I found I was really wanting things to work out well for Briggs and Natasha.
I love the way Karina’s characters feel so real that I empathise with them, get sad and happy when they do, they really feel like friends of mine. I first found her via the fabulous Experiment in Terror series – a great read and one I’ve gone through more that once! Now I’ve come to live her contemporary works too and they are as varied as the suspense Artist trilogy, or these contemporary romance reads. A real mutli tasking author able to write across genres and still keep readers hooked.
A great story to join The Pact, the Offer and The Play. ( read and loved all those too )

 Fix You Carrie Elks (this book led me on to others of hers)
This is currently on KU, a great way to try new to you authors. that’s a fabulous way of reading for people like me who devour books.
The Spiral Down by [Martinez, Aly]
Please Don’t Stop The Music (Choc Lit):Jane Lovering
Please Don't Stop The Music (Choc Lit) (Yorkshire Romances Book 1) by [Lovering, Jane]

Shifting Shadows: Stories From the World of Mercy Thompson.. Patricia Briggs
http://amzn.to/2hUbMge  – Link to Amazon uk Patricia Briggs page
Fire Touched: Mercy Thompson Book 9 Patricia Briggs
Fire Touched: Mercy Thompson Book 9 by [Briggs, Patricia]
I’ve the whole series of this, have reread several times and its always great to get back with Adam, Mercy and the gang. a sereis I’m happy to pay full price for 😉


The Duality Paradigm (Blood & Bone Trilogy Book 1)
got this back in April when it was free, haven’t read the two next ones though.
Rock You (Fallen Star Book 1) Candy J Starr
http://amzn.to/2i0055d currently free and I enjoyed this but haven’t bothered with the three follow ups, which don’t have great reviews, are short and just seem to have dragged the story out for no reason.
Fun light romance, still free 🙂
Marrying Mister Perfect (Reality Romance Book 1) by [Shane, Lizzie]
Blood Gift/Gate, the Wolf within Series Amy Lee Burgess
http://amzn.to/2hZZDDS Link to author page
 another two series that I’ll happily re read my way through

Queer Trade KJ Charles
A Queer Trade by [Charles, KJ]
I’ve had lots of this authors stories via Netgalley but this one I bought. Again she’s an author who’s books I love to reread. All M/M reads, set back in time, some paranormal some not. My favorites are still her Magpie Lord novels.
Jaz Parks series Jennifer Rardin
I read this series in my pre kindle days, love it and now have them on kindle. sadly Jennifer died after finishing this series, so there are no more books from her.

Moonshadow, A Moonshadow Novel, Thea Harrison

Moonshadow, A Moonshadow Novel, Thea Harrison

Moonshadow (Moonshadow Book 1) by [Harrison, Thea]

Genre:  romance, paranormal and fantasy

I read the early Elder Races books then somehow missed later ones, caught up in the morass of new books I lost track of them. Then saw this on Netgalley and jumped in, a trilogy, so a fantasy with an end in sight not years off ( I hope!) that sounded right up my street.
I love Thea’s writing style, succinct and easy to follow and yet not dumbed down as so many paranormal reads are. They suit lots of readers as evidenced by sales and they way they dominate lists, but I like that bit extra, more to think about.

I love the Fae involvement, and the link to the Elder Races. If you’ve not read any of those it won’t really matter, you can follow the story anyway, because the Fae side is stronger.
Great characters in Sophie and Nikolas, also his second – well, he feels like a Second anyway, Gawain, and his other men. Loved Robin, and the way he links up to known tales about the Fae and Puck/Hob. All these people felt real, I seemed to know them, get a sense of each character and they were perfect in the story. I hate getting characters that just feel they’re added for padding, for a bit of sex, who don’t feel they belong in the tale.
The magic side was believable, I hate when characters get new powers and when all looks impossible they somehow pull them up and have perfect control. Its not like that here, there are new things Sophie is learning, but mostly its all stuff she knows and has used many times, adapted to fit what she needs.
There’s Fae and Elder Races here, humans, Hell hounds, magic and spells, runes and spelled silver, modern guns with special bullets and old time swords, along with bows and arrows. There’s a bit of everything here, could have been an unruly mish mash but its not, it works perfectly.

There’s the usual dangers in the story, and Sophie gets quickly pulled in to the war between Dark and Light Courts. It’s interesting that the Dark court, which I’d expect to be the “bad” side isn’t, and the Light court is the one at fault.
I love the parallel world connection, it fits my way of imagining how these things could be real, with a kind of time/space reality, where a thin field can allow one to move into another dimension.
Yeah… OK, I’ve never really grown up and to me stuff like that  * could * be real. I reckon science just hasn’t yet caught up 🙂 After all electricity, aeroplanes, telephones, vaccines, antibiotics etc must have seemed like magic, impossible to many people when they were new.
Then Sophie’s spells, as a witch she’s good at them, but she’s other talents too from her heritage and I suspect we’ll learn even more about her.
The romance, that worked well for me, insta lust but with added insta hate! Sophie and Nik are total opposites, he’s old fashioned hyper protective of the “little woman” as you’d expect from someone that old, and Sophie is a self reliant, make her own mind up character not used to being ordered around without reason, they’re a real oil-and-water mix but it works, the sparks really fly from both tempers and sexual tension.
I enjoy the way Thea balanced it so the romance felt real, but didn’t overtake the story, how the story caused the conflicts between them and brought them together.

I’m really looking forward to the next two books, a first book has such a hard job, setting scenes, plots and characters but Moonshadow does that perfectly. a really solid five star read.
Stars: Five, a fabulous start to the trilogy. A definite re-reader.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Through the Veil and Children of the Veil (Aisling Chronicles) Colleen Halverson

Through The Veil (Aisling Chronicles) by [Halverson, Colleen]
Through The Veil (Aisling Chronicles) …Colleen Halverson

A debut read and what a great story.
I love novels set around the Fae world and here its interwoven with not only Fae, but Pucas ( shapeshifters) . Druids, Vampires ( can’t recall the name for them here) and lots of people and places from Irish legends and myths.
The main characters are Elizabeth, a US Irish Literature student, and Finn..
.Finn, well he’s from the other side originally, a Fianna, charged with keeping the peace. The Irish have a rep for fighting, and in this book they certainly live up to it.
For centuries a fragile peace has been maintained keeping the mortal world safe and unknowing of what and who else exists, but as with all peace, its always at risk, with factions wanting more, more power, more freedom, and for some just more fighting!
Elizabeth gets dragged into this world, discovering to her shock that her mother, who left when she was a tiny baby, is the daughter of the Fae King and Queen. At first she and Finn fight, have no trust in each other but wow – the attraction!
Of course as ever all sides hold secrets and poor Elizabeth goes through a quick learning curve and some horrible events in the course of the book. And always the course of True Love does not run smooth.
A great 5 star read.
Children of the Veil, Colleen Halverson

Children of the Veil (Aisling Chronicles) by [Halverson, Colleen]

Genre: Fantasy & Paranormal, Romance

Well, wow, this is such a brilliant series.
I’d read the sample of book one before requesting this, and when I was accepted I bought book one and read that first. Don’t be tempted to read this without book one, you’ll miss so much and will find the storyline so difficult to follow I think. You can miss books in some sereis but not here, there’s so much going on and its hard to know who to trust, who’s telling the truth especially when we get another persons views of what actually happened – that can change the way we feel about events and it happens a few times here. Really keeps the reader on their toes!!

Its hard to believe that Through the Veil was Colleen’s debut novel, it’s so well written, so polished, and flows seamlessly despite covering some serious issues, and of course travelling back and forth from world to world.
That can make books really confusing to read but its done so well here I could feel myself wherever Elizabeth was. It felt Real to me and that’s my line, my marker for a good read. A five star one, even if its fantasy etc has to feel that if that ( whatever the fantasy/paranormal part is) were possible these events could happen.
Of course its published under the Entangled banner, I’ve bought many books and had lots of ARCs from them and I know they’ll deliver a story I can get lost in, without getting confused over bad editing and missing/disappearing story/plot lines. You know – when some parts that feel major are brought in lots of times then fizzle out to nothing. Or a plot gets so convoluted it no longer makes sense. Gah! None of that here thankfully 🙂

After the  end of the last book I was gutted for Elizabeth, the connection between her and Finn was so solid I thought, so fated it was like they were twin souls, and yet he really let her down. Heart breaking.
Now they’re apart she’s not dealing with it well, left uni, out drinking and trying to lose herself in others every night. When the whole story came out I sort of understood why he did what he did but….for Elizabeth I was so upset, and I could feel her pain, feel how let down, betrayed she felt. Finn though has got hundreds of years of Fianna behind him, of obeying orders, toeing the line so he was in a hard place.
We like to think love wins but sometimes the barriers are just too much. Or are they? Can Finn find a way forward?

He’s desperate to be near her again, in whatever way he can, and when his task is to find her mother, it allies with what she’s decided to do anyway, so they team up, somewhat reluctantly on her part. Its a journey fraught with terror, betrayals, unwelcome surprises, that jumps from world to world, that uncovers secrets held at the highest levels in both worlds and that bring Finn and Elizabeth into danger again and again.

I loved it, loved the way Elizabeth did what was right – well, what felt right to her morally, regardless of the dangers. Finn needed that, needed to remember how to think for himself after so many years of being told what to do by Amergin ( Ah – I Hate that guy!). I can see why things were set up that way but its centuries on now, its not fair to only a few people, and time is ripe for change. Elizabeth’s actions seem to be paving the way even though she’s only acting according to her conscience.

I love the way she’s growing into her powers, love the way she’s so loyal, won’t let people be hurt if she can help it even if they are on the “opposing” side ( though if she stabs Amergin with a rusty fork – spelled with a death curse of course I won’t hold it against her – That Man Has To Go. )
She veers from one danger to the next, escaping by the skin of her teeth only, and each time moves her a little further forward to her mother, and reinforces just how much Finn loves her. She can’t stand out for that too long thankfully, and its Carpe Diem and worry about tomorrow when it happens.
Finn. Well, I was so so angry with him, even though I understood his motives in the last book. I really felt betrayed on the part of Elizabeth, to not even tell her any of this…he comes from a different time though, and he’s picked up current ways but when it comes to love he wants her tucked safely away and he reasons she doesn’t need to know everything, its a kind of throwback to his human time.
Elizabeth isn’t a tuck away person though, won’t sit back when there’s wrongs to right, and she feels she can make a difference. Together they move forward in their quest and learn some incredible things along the way.
Its a fine line who to trust, and looking back at the past with new eyes, with different information means reassessing where the dangers lie.

I am really keen to read book three. I’m not sure if this is a series or a trilogy, but it feels like a three book read, everything in this seems to be leading up to a huge final battle and lots of change.
I’m really interested to see where Colleen takes them next, what surprises she has in store, and I’m still trying to get my mind around that fourth dimension/Tesseract stuff. It made sense – in an odd sort of way – and was perfect for that part of the story, and its something to have some fun with on Google.
I spend a lot of time looking up things I’ve found in books that interest me….Google is a great time waster but I prefer to call it educational research!

Stars: Four, a great escapist read, felt so real and when this is finished it’ll be a sereis to re-read back to back in the way I really enjoy books most, getting the whole story in one good, long session.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Copper Veins (Copper Legacy) Jennifer Allis Provost

Copper Veins (Copper Legacy) Jennifer Allis Provost

Copper Veins (Copper Legacy) by [Provost, Jennifer Allis]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, its seems aaggges since I read books one and two, but this is one of those stories that’s so unique that its not difficult to recall the gist of the story, and the fine tuning comes as the book proceeds.
Sometimes when I’ve had a huge gap like this I find it easy to confuse with other stories, but this one – there’s no way that happens!

So finally Sara and Micah are married. There are times when they seem a really disparate couple, just don’t feel like a couple in love on Sara’s part, but then again as we’re reminded in the story, its only been a short while and they know so little of each other.
That doesn’t bother Micah, but Sara’s dad, who isn’t keen on Micah and their marriage, fosters little seeds of doubt to Sara whenever he gets the opportunity.

Which brings us to Dad, the man who’s been missing for 16 years and suddenly turns up with some very convenient explanations.
You’d think it’d be one great happy family, but though his children are really ecstatic about his return his wife Maeve is struggling. He just doesn’t seem the same man she married, but then its been 16 years, and their lives have run so differently in that time. She’s doing her best to recreate memories and help him learn about their missing pasts. Obviously he doesn’t want to talk much about his time in captivity, well who would? but he needs to learn what they’ve been doing.

He tries the Father thing more or less from the off, planning out what they should all be doing, and being quite dictatorial, over-riding their plans, dismissing what Micah does and taking them on some very dangerous and dodgy missions.
He seems to have had other plans for Sara and her marriage has crimped them – he even tries to encourage her to leave Micah – its clear he and Micah do not get on.

Micah is the only one who’s suspicious of his sudden appearance, the family all welcome him with open arms, and accept his words at face value.
He keeps leading them into disaster after disaster though, and I did get a bit tired of the capture, escape, capture, escape roundabout they were on.
It all comes to a head towards the end and yet more surprises were in store, more characters taking up major positions, more plot lines set out for the next book.

Its another fun filled read, with the wonderful way that the metals are brought in, and the way they are used. I love the idea of Micah’s silver transferring to Sara and her copper to him in a set of matching marks…

It covers just a few days rather than months, so the action happens literally one thing after another, they barely have time to pee, let alone consummate their marriage, and that kept cropping up to the point it felt a little forced…..

I would have liked more of the fantasy part that made this so fun to read for me, more of the Otherworld and its magics, and less of the capture/escape dramatics though. They just felt somewhat repetitive, and I didn’t think Sara and her family would have been led into danger quite so easily. Ditto her doubts about Micah, when her dad was telling her things and reminding her how little they knew of each other she was far too quick to doubt him, given they’re so in love and have just got married.

Though I’ve mentioned a few things that were negatives for me they’re way overshadowed by the fun and the fantasy in this world Jennifer has created. Its what a book about magic for me should be, full of the unknown, full of wonderful things that the possibility of magic can bring about. And I still want my own group of Silverkin 😉 I adore them!

Stars: Four, a fun read once more, full of magic and surprises. And Silverkin!

ARC supplied by author

The Flame and the Arrow ,(The Annika Brisby Series 1) Emigh Cannaday

The Flame and the Arrow ,(The Annika Brisby Series 1) Emigh Cannaday

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

 

A hard book to review – I was really keen to read after that intriguing description but though parts were interesting much of it fell flat, and there were many many times when I could slap both Annika and Talvi!

 

Its a longish read, 438 pages/6900 kindle locations,  which let in time for some incidents to be really well described, to let the reader feel they were there, to get to really know and hopefully understand the characters, but then set against that there were many times when I just felt it dragged, where I wanted something, anything, to actually Happen, and ended up skimming through to get to the action.

I found it odd the way Annika was so accepting of what happened, and didn’t really understand how Talvi and the girls seemed to have crossed over to our world many times and yet when Annika crossed into theirs the crossing had closed. There were some explanations at the end but TBH I’m not sure if or how they affected this part.

Some parts of the novel were confusing for me too, and characters vied from happy to sad, from friendly to hating others, from helpful to unhelpful so very easily and often seeming to have no obvious reason for acting that way. It made understanding them and feeling anything for them difficult. Talvi I so wanted to like, but his explanations didn’t always add up to his actions, and the same with Annika, things I thought would make her angry or upset didn’t, and then she’d fly off the handle over nothing.

There was much to really enjoy in this story and it interested me enough that I did need to see how it ended – or not quite ended as the case turned out to be ;-),  even though I skimmed many sections. I got ( sorry) bored by the lack of action, of the inane-ness of what was happening, in those bits that felt like filler. Maybe they work for other readers and are integral but for me they just detracted and muddied the main plot.

I’m still unsure of whether I want to read book two – I would like to read how Talvi fares in this world, and the premise once more sounds very intriguing with the potential for some deceptive seeming actions on his part, leading to possible jealousy and heartbreak for Annika and that’s right up my street. At the same time though I’m put off if it holds more of the dull “filler” parts as this one.

If it was on KU I’d take a look, but though its not expensive at £1.99 I don’t feel ready to spend more, when I have so many books already in my TBR pile and there are so many others on KU. Money’s tight for lots of us and I’m no exception, so need to choose where the pennies get spent.

 

Stars: three, a mixed read for me, its got a lot of potential, many positives but also some negatives in how I feel about it.

Read via KU on authors request

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