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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

Misery Happens, Tracey Martin

Misery Happens, Tracey Martin

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy.

I’ve been following this series since book one, and loving it but somehow dammit – I missed book four, and didn’t realise till I saw this final part. Dilemma – do I buy book four before reading this or plug straight in? Trouble is I’ve got into that situation once more with so many books and so little time…and hate to keep review books waiting for too long. A 36 hour day would suit me 🙂

 

So, it was straight in to the final read, picking up on what happened in the last book as I went along. I know this world and its inmates pretty well now from first three so its wasn’t hard to keep up, and I could guess much of what happened in France from the text.

Poor Jess, Lucen’s Little Siren, she’s in danger Again. For her recently it seems it ever stops. What so hard to take is the Anti Magic/preds faction among the humans who don’t seem to realise she’s risking her life for them. Of course some of the Preds aren’t much better to her….but Tom, Lucen, Devon, Mitch, her friend Steph; they’re a close group around her now who do all they can to help and support her. Turns out she’s the key ingredient in some centuries old prophecy and all she has to do is dip down into the Pit – yes, the one full of powerful demons, find the Key that no-one knows what it looks like or where it is, and lock their prison..somehow, as no-one is quite sure how she does it. Easy Eh? Just another day on the life of Jess.

I love Jess, she’s grown and matured so much from the girl we met at the start. She’s had a tough life, and recent events haven’t helped. Lucen, he’s a hero in my eyes, saw her true worth years ago when everyone seemed to discard her and her own view was jaded and very low. He helped her then as best he can, and has been at her back ( in all ways!!) ever since. He’s such a real Gentleman, and so perfect for her, encourages her to find her true strength while encouraging her all the way, protecting her when its needed but never smothering her. Now they’ve finally come to something of an accord can they get a HEA or is it all going to end in the Pit?

Its been a great series, full of surprises, full of unexpected types and mixes, allies where they aren’t expected, betrayals too from sources once trusted. I’ve really enjoyed the journey, and its a series to go in the keepers file for rereading back to back ( and maybe finding time for book four too so I can fill the gap)

 

Stars: Five, a climatic ending but fitting for the series.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.

Borderline, Mishell Baker

Borderline,  Mishell Baker

amazon UK buy link  Amazon com link

Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, Wow. Another debut book that’s been a terrific read.

I was intrigued for many reasons, Millie… as an AKA I identify with her and wondered if the author would have done proper research. I’ve read far too many reads where that’s not the case, and authors have amputees doing things that just aren’t physically possible. I’ve only 4 ins of bone left in my left leg, so fitting a socket isn’t easy, and the skin care, pain etc Millie suffers is very real. I guess Millie’s got a bit more as she’s able to do more with her leg than I can and I know from limb specialists that depends on the length of limb left. Also things like the knee not locking so falls happen, the effort expended in walking, and the same in pushing a wheelchair – it was all very very realistic.

I’ve little knowledge of mental issues, especially Millie’s BPD  but given the accuracy of the prosthetics, and the problems Millie faced I’m happy that’s accurate too. Then there’s Fey in it, not Disney sweet pretty Fey, but ones found in Patricia Briggs novels, ones that mirror the Grimm’s brothers type. fey that are selfish, most who care little for anything or anyone but themselves, and live in a kind of parallel world to humans where the Higher Fey interact with and pose as humans.

We meet Millie in the home she’s been staying at, a kind of private place for recuperation where she’s learned a lot about how to cope with not just her physical restraints but her mental issues too. I liked the way Mishell explains everything, not in a “telling” way but by way of Millie recalling what she’s been taught when she needs it. Of course it doesn’t always work!

Then Caryl comes along, and offers her a job, but its fringed with mystery. Still, its that or burger flipping once her money runs out. I enjoyed too how as she’s on probation she doesn’t get told the Rules, and yet poor girl seems able to find them out easily by breaking them….oops. I love Millie’s cynical approach to life, she’s harsh and abrasive and times, not a comfortable person to be with but we can see how much what’s happened to her has changed her outlook, how the psychiatric help has taught her things she needed to know before she took a seven storey jump. She’s a tough cookie, but she’s the right person for the job that needs doing, and in a strange way fits in well with the others she’s working with, they’re an odd bunch and all with difficult backgrounds and issues.

Its a fascinating read, full of rich characters, imaginative plots, and Mishell isn’t afraid to kill off people, even though I felt really upset by that 😦 I hate those I like/respect dying, and yet that makes everything so much more real, so much more edge of seat action and suspense knowing that no-one is “protected” and anything could and will happen. I hadn’t guessed the plot, what was going to develop, it came as a complete surprise and I love that. For a debut book its an incredible one, original plots, great characters full of interest and full of rich language too – words I had to look up. I’ve a good command of English and US version of English ( there is not such thing as US English despite MS Windows always telling me that – it’s a US version of English!) but I still had to look up a few terms.

Its a novel that ends properly, wrapping up the mystery and yet leaves the way open for more from Millie and the Arcadia Project – I see in another review this is the start of a series – oh I do hope so, as its got such great potential for a fresh and original run of stories.

Stars: five, a fabulous read, and i really want more from Millie and Co.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Edit: I’ve just seen on Goodreads that this is book one of a trilogy – hurrah!!

Enchanted Judith Leger.

amazon UK buy link

An old review today, I’ve many from before I began blogging and it’s always worth revisiting some older books 🙂 I wrote this one back in 2012…seems ages ago.

 

Caitlyn is a TV news reporter hoping to build up her career. Magic isn’t real she believes so when she’s offered the chance to stay at the home of star illusionist Shay Evers she jumps at the chance to see him in a different environment convinced she’ll be able to pick up where he’s faking it and expose him. However she hadn’t factored in how she would feel about her growing attraction to him. Shay has his own secrets from her, he’s in love with her and there’s just two weeks left to break a curse bringing her death – but she has to go home to another realm to solve it and believe that magic is real. Its a tough order for him and his mysterious friend Rhys. As the story unfolds secrets become unravelled yet sometimes they just lead to even more confusion. Caitlyn faces danger from sources anxious to ensure she doesn’t break the curse.

I enjoyed this book, it will appeal to adults and teens alike with its blend of magic and romance. Its fits well within the paranormal romance genre having a second “realm” where magic is normal linked to the conventional world. Most of the action takes place here in this world but we see enchanting glimpses of the other realm throughout the book. Its written in 3rd person POV and easy to follow. The descriptions of the magical enchanted events are simply beautiful and I could visualise the places so well. Caitlyns dresses especially were simply breathtaking in the way the were verbally drawn.

The characters were well described visually but I seemed unable to fully empathise with them – I’m not sure why, maybe its just because I could “see” them but I couldn’t really understand them – we didn’t get enough about them as people, their hopes, fears, emotions etc. Shay appears as a lovely, caring, generous character, easy to fall in love with, but we don’t really learn much about the other characters, his friend Rhys, Caitlyn – and as she’s a main character we need to know her in depth, and her friend Marcy. Given that they were such close friends there was little interaction between Caitlyn and Marcy in Wales, and when there were accidents I’d have expected more concern for each other rather than the “oh gosh you could have died!” and then going off to do something unnecessary. If it was my friend I’d have wanted to be with them constantly.

The book ticks all my usual boxes for a five star, its fantasy/paranormal romance, a decent length at 210 pages, well edited and pretty error free, good plots and dramatic events and a decent price at £3.24. There’s a good mix of both text and dialogue to keep it interesting. If only I could have taken more to the characters and really cared about what happened to them I’d have given it five stars but somehow I felt too detached from them to get really involved. Maybe a bit more about them personally would have made it more lifelike for me – I have to feel “part” of the book to really enjoy and give five stars. This one gets four stars for the reasons I’ve written. I feel a bit bad for that as clearly the author has taken a lot of time and trouble over this book, and I’m sure other people will rate it higher.

ARC supplied for review

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