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Dark Moon Wolf, Calling the Moon, Sarah E. Stevens. Once Bitten, Heather McCorkle

Once Bitten, Heather McCorkle

Once Bitten (The Wolves of Hemlock Hollow) by [McCorkle, Heather]

Genre:  Romance,

My first read of Heather’s novels, but I love the werewolf genre and this sounded fun.
I found it a little – well – bland I guess? It was well written, the characters were all clearly set out and the take of the werewolf genre had some fresh additions. Sounds good doesn’t it?
However I just found the story dragged, with nothing much happening until the last 20% or so. Even then I found that for a group so set in rules and hierarchy the story-line went well off track.

I couldn’t see how all these things, all these anarchist actions wouldn’t have been seen coming, if those in charge had been taking note. Its hard to see a rigid, supposedly strong and well run system fall down so badly by the actions of such inept characters.
There didn’t seem to have been much thought or planning of what would happen,  and the ones creating the mayhem were strangely lacking in intelligence and strategy.
The story-line is sound, and things like this do happen but it needed to have characters that were capable of planning and executing such a strategy for me to believe it.

Its kind of a one plot book too, in that Sonya’s transforming was a part of that overall plot. I liked Ty, apart from his manner of speaking which proved irritating after a time, but he was so laid back he was almost horizontal, which didn’t fit so well with his thoughts on throwing everything, disregarding all the rules, because he was so attracted to Sonya. I anted to say “get a grip man, its only for a couple of weeks!!” The man I thought he was would have done just that, not been mulling constantly about giving in to temptation.
Its one of those reads that feels very simplistic, not complex drama but a quick easy read. Depends what you want – and its different for everyone, for me its more often the complex drama that does it.

First books in a series have a hard task and for me this one doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the description. I’m undecided as to whether I want to continue with it. I’ll see nearer the time I guess, how much other things I’ve got on and whether I’m pulled in by the description. I’m not saying I would read more, not saying its a no go for me but I am on the fence over it.

Stars: two and a half, a good premise but it needs a bit more action and drama, a little more speed for me. Maybe in the later books?

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Dark Moon Wolf, Calling the Moon, Sarah E. Stevens

Dark Moon Wolf (Calling the Moon Book 1) by [Stevens, Sarah E.]

Genre:  General Fiction, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, I love paranormal/Fantasy, and wolf shifters in particular appeal to me. I was keen to read this, a first in what hopefully would turn out to be a new and fun series.
I’d made the mistake of thinking this was romance, isn’t not classed as that, simply my error and not looking carefully enough. That’s not a game-changer though, I read books other than romance too 🙂 Just that it came as a surprise to find out some things early in the story.

Its an interesting read, Sarah has put a slightly different slant on shifter practicalities and categories which was good, kept that part fresh.
The story though didn’t really work totally for me. There was just so much in it, the search for Carson’s dad, meeting the new people, finding out about werewolves and witches…Julie was incredibly blase about all the new things she was learning.
Then the murders. there was a lot of action, lots going on and I just had a hard time believing things would play out as easily as they did.
Don’t get me wrong – there was struggle, lots of it but given Julie is human and new to all this supernatural stuff she did really well. the other werewolves too has a very hard task solving the murders, they’d been cleverly done by someone who was clever and had lots of backing, and I just couldn’t see things playing out quite the way they did without Huge, Massive repercussions.
I didn’t guess who was involved til quite far on when there’s a really – to the reader- obvious clue but Julie completely misses it.

It looks like a debut novel, I can’t find any more books. Its well written but I just felt there was a little too much packed tightly into a novel that was just a bit too short for it. If the story was a bit longer so the action could have been made more realistic, and not have “Clue, and wow – here’s the Perpetrator” plots that these shorter novels need I think its one I’d love.

A first in series has a hard ask too, setting the scene, introducing new characters, and in the case of fantasy/paranormal, other types of people, and all the while leading a story to keep the readers interest. This one does OK for me, but of course will be perfect for others. That’s how it goes, we don’t all want the same thing thankfully!

Stars: Three, a good start to fiction writing, and a new series, but for me needed a little more reality and practicalities.

BTW Full/Lily: does she remind anyone else of Dolly Parton? For some reason she’s all I see each time Full comes into the story

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Beyond the Wild River, Sarah Maine

Beyond the Wild River, Sarah Maine

Beyond the Wild River by [Maine, Sarah]

Genre:  Historical fiction

I was intrigued by this tale, a young lady didn’t often get the chance for adventure that Evelyn has with the Canada journey.

I really enjoyed the story, its beautifully written, felt very evocative of the time period and the wilderness of the lands. The philosophy that creeps in too, the unfairness of UK laws, where Ballantyre gets taken to task by a poacher of “his” salmon, the dichotomy of whether people can actually own salmon and other creatures just because they’re passing through their land. that could be taken further – who says land belongs to them….interesting points and fitted very well within the story as it unfolds.

I liked the mix of people included, and the descriptions of the journey and the camps.
I felt for James, from a child he’d been placed in an unfair situation, and life then was very much dependent on who you were when you were born.
Corruption, bribery, turning a blind eye all played a part if the perpetrators of a crime were wealthy, titled whereas everyone else caught the full throw of the law for tiny offences.

I loved Evelyn, and poor Clemmy, caught up in a journey she really wasn’t suited for. Evelyn has a spirit of adventure, Clemmy really belongs in a place where she can be indulged, surrounded by luxuries and cosseted hand and foot!
Evelyn chafed against the restrictions placed on a young lady of the time and fell into the adventure whole-heartedly, happy to rough it and live so very differently.

What I did find hard to take though was that the story was very slow, lacked any real drama in the first 2/3 rds.
We’re gradually learning about the mystery of Jacko’s death and the repercussions but the story itself, though so beautifully written didn’t keep me engaged and i did put it aside several times which is unusual for me. I like to read a book in two or preferably one sitting(s).

Stars: four, a lovely read for the time and descriptions of the wilderness but the story itself lacked pace at times for me

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Good Gracie, Inés Saint

Good Gracie,  Inés Saint

Good Gracie (The Piper Sisters) by [Saint, Inés]

Genre:  romance,

I’ve not read any of Ines works before, and this one is set in the same place as the Spinning Hills books, but features three sisters.
I enjoyed it, a romance with a side of gentle-ish mystery and suspense. By that I mean that the romance is centre but the mystery and what evolves is very connected to it. Its not heart stopping drama type suspense, though brings the characters into very real danger when it comes to a head.

So, Gracie – poor girl, she’s been through what is a horrible reality for too many kids in this age of technology, when a private picture or video can get shared and seen by thousands, millions even, so easily when that trust is betrayed.
That happened to her at 17, she stood up for herself but at great personal cost. Nine years on and she still bears the scars of it in her behaviour. No longer is she the happy, outgoing “goof” as her family describe her, but someone determined to blend in at all times, to go unnoticed.
She’s worked hard on her career and its brought her back to Spinning Hills for a job that is the biggest she’s had and very important to her. Someone seems determined to stir up the past though, to cause trouble for her.

Josh was her defender at the time, early in his career, and went against his very wealthy and influential family in taking her case. He’s still in the town, and now campaigning for the position of County Prosecutor. Those old rumours and misconceptions are muddying the waters for his campaign, and he doesn’t need the scandal.
He’s always admired Gracie though, and when he sees her now something about her really pulls to him. Its an attraction that Gracie feels too though neither will admit it for a long while.
With rumours and inferences of the past having been more than was revealed the anonymous person seems set to ruin their careers. Who is the target though ? Gracie or Josh? And why?

I enjoyed the pull between them, the way they were both so careful, so guarded. The family too, Gracie’s sisters, grand her her friends are a scatty bunch, and provided so levity to the story.
I didn’t work out who dunnit – though once its revealed there’s that “ah! Of course” moment. Its a story I enjoyed but not one I’d reread. I would like to see more when the other sisters stories come out.

Stars: Four, fun read with some light suspense.

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

Indelible, Adelia Saunders

Indelible, Adelia Saunders

Indelible by [Saunders, Adelia]

Genre:  General fiction

I really wanted to like this book, it sounded so deliciously different, and reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Hunter’s Irin chronicles with the skin marking references, though of course instead of a few people having visible marking to others, only Magdalena sees what’s marked, no-one else.

Once I started reading though..well, I just felt it was a disjointed rambling tale. Nothing seemed to really relate to anything else, we seemed to veer from one persons POV to the next, and I just felt lost, didn’t understand what was the point of what we were told. It felt like a story that led nowhere.

The three main characters had a very tenuous connection, and I felt them to be kind of flat, I didn’t understand them, didn’t like them and just wasn’t interested in their spry or what would happen to them.
I started flipping through at about 30% hoping it would get more interesting, looking for something that would hook me in to the story. I didn’t find it and DNF the novel. There’s too many books I will like to waste time on one I know I’m not going to.

For me it was a story that had so much fantastical potential but which turned out very different to what I expected from the description. I can see though that many others love it, clearly it resonated with many people but for me its just a fail.

Stars: two, just one of those I didn’t like, didn’t understand but others love. Che sera…

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo

Stay With Me by [Adebayo, Ayobami]
Genre: Literary Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

This isn’t a book I’d re-read, that being said it was heart breaking at times. A really sad story where it was difficult to see who was really acting in the wrong.

Yejide was so in love with Akim, having been brought up in a typical Nigerian family where her father had four wives, and respect for parents is huge. Sadly her mother died in childbirth, and there are so many religious superstitions over any event connected with death that she’s always on the outside of the family, always being reminded of the awful thing her mother did in dying. When she meets Akin she’s ripe for love. When he sees her he’s entranced and very soon they are married.

That’s seems fine doesn’t it? Sadly though family is everything in this culture and Yejide is soon inundated with advice from Akim’s and her own family about how to get pregnant.
At first they seem like an independent couple, they know much of this “advice” is spurious superstition but slowly the blame weighs heavily on Yejide.
She’s still shocked though when Akim takes a second wife….my heart broke for her here. I was so angry at Akim and yet in that culture, with the constant pressure of parents, not just two but all his fathers wives who want to see their son or daughter as the favoured, its harder to blame him.
I really didn’t like Funmi, wife number two, and yet if I’m honest she was just doing what their culture taught, marry and have children, seek to ensure your children are in the favoured position of their father.

There’s such sadness here, and I so felt for both of them. Some really strange things too, when with a Western eye and education I’m thinking “oh come on, they wouldn’t do/would have known/ought to have”…and yet events carry on playing out, binding them all deeper and deeper, potentially losing that precious love they had.

Later in the story I really was cross at Yejide and her behaviour, didn’t understand how she could act like that to an innocent child, and yet I also understood her too. My first child was stillborn and I spent hours watching over the three that followed, prodding them awake when I was sure that they weren’t breathing.
Heartbreak, death, despair all does strange things and in a way she was just trying to protect herself.

I could have been angry too at the interfering parents, their intervention caused such tragedy, and yet once more its a culture thing, they weren’t intentionally cruel, just wanted what they’d been taught was best for their children, for their happiness, for their fulfilment.

Its a really sad story, but with an ending that hints at a positive future.
I really enjoyed it, it makes for a terrific debut read but its not one I’d re-read now I know how it plays out. I did like seeing things from both Yejide and Akim’s view points. Gave me a real insight into their feelings.

Stars: Five, a fabulous debut, full of the way a different culture sees parenthood, and the problems it brings when a wife fails to get pregnant.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Witchfinder’s Sister, Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder’s Sister,  Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder's  Sister by [Underdown, Beth]

Genre:  General Fiction, Mystery and Thrillers

I can’t find any info about previous books so I think this must be Beth’s debut novel – and what an intense and complex read for a first story!

Its so well written I was pulled back into that time, back to the seventeenth century. I’m a UK reader, living in Norfolk, so reading about Matthew and Alice living in the Eastern region of UK, I had a mental image of places I know now as they would have been back then. My house was build in 1682 – strange to think of it still standing ( and for a long while yet I hope!!) when it was built such a short time after these events. Mix of the old and the current…

So, Matthew Hopkins- I recall learning about him at school, along with the US Salem witch trials. The Crucible was one of our set text English reads.
He’s cropped up as a side character in a few books since then, but I’ve never really thought much more about him. Here Beth’s given him a fictional sister, though he may have had a real one Alice is purely invented for this story. It works well, she’s a foil to him, shared upbringing, and a way to let us see his actions from someone who loved him as a child but grew scared and confused of the man he became.

He’s a strange person, and as we learn about his upbringing there are elements slowly revealed that could have impacted upon his actions now. Others have had far worse happen though, and don’t turn into people like him, so its part explanation but not as simple as the whole cause.
He really was a enigmatic character, phlegmatic about what he needed to do, unemotional, even when it means tearing apart, condemning to death, people he’s known since childhood. I can’t decide whether he’s just cruel, vindictive, out for revenge, totally mad or whether he really believes in what he’s doing.
From a small start his witch hunt takes on a life of its own and snowballs, and maybe the power pushed him to go further and further, made him feel righteous, invincible? Who knows, and after finishing the story I still don’t know.
Beth offers lots to speculate about but the reality? He was real, he did what we now see as horrific things, but which at the time were backed by other important people, landowners, local politicians – well, what passed for them in those days, the Church even. It was as if nothing could stop him from this path he’s set on, and the longer he was “successful” the more righteous he got. Success bred more of the same methods, even when the causes of it were wrong.
Its a bit like that sink or swim test, he was pushing people to their limits physically and mentally and when they “confessed” through exhaustion, pain, thirst, would say anything to get some tiny relief he seized upon it as evidence his path was right, and went even further.

Alice, poor Alice. Her mother died when she was very young, father remarried and had Matthew, but his birth left his mother frail and Alice really took over his upbringing, loving and looking after him.
Even then the public face, showing the happy family outside, the father who was a priest, a good man, the mother who simply tired easily, was hiding things, secrets that kept slipping quietly out, and building background to the current events.
I so felt for Alice, she’s a good woman, widowed from her beloved Joseph, a servant’s son, whom Matthew did not approve of, she’s still young, in her twenties I think, and forced to come back and live off Matthews charity.
She can see events unfolding, sees at first hand what’s going on but is powerless to stop anything. She tries though, tries to do what she can but Matthew is an unmovable force. Her small brother has grown into a confident and powerful man.
He takes little note of her, and at times seems to really dislike her. she becomes just another tool for him to use in his never ending quest for witches. Too much pressure or intervention and she risks her own place in his home at best, risks getting caught up in the hunt at worst.
Its a tough line, being brought up to help people and then forced to stand aside as those you’ve known since childhood are tested for what seems like petty grievances, revenges, spurious accusations…

Witch hunts, back then not knowing the cause of events, accidents, tragedies, people looked for someone to blame, and it was easy to pick on one person a little on the outside of society, and call witchcraft and the intervention of the Devil the cause.
Now we look back and think how could they really believe that, but its a poor, uneducated society, and its human to want to blame someone or something.
Not every thing has an explanation though, and there are a couple of events here that gave me the shivers, defied rational thinking.

Sometimes I think we haven’t moved on that much, we still look to blame others, though not as witches but in some 21st century way.
In the UK we’ve just voted to leave Europe, mainly because of the hype and untruths certain media factions told about immigration, and it brought up the same kind of feelings as in this book, where people want to blame someone for misfortune. In the UK lack of money for NHS and other public services was blamed on immigration – scaremongering, but a spark that when fanned turned into a fire.
Hitler did that back in the 1940’s with his attempts to stamp out minority groups, terrible things happened as those who could have stopped it turned a blind eye, much as those in power when Matthew Hopkins let him get away with his crimes.
Then there’s the US and the political system there, where another modern witch hunt has let a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot race to the top place for power. Scary stuff but proves that witch hunts aren’t just confined to history – but have their own modern day version 😦 “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing” Edmund Burke et al.

A fabulous book, uncomfortable reading at times, which felt so very real, took me back in time, made me understand a little more about the awful events that took place back then.
The characters were wonderful, felt so real, I was scared for and of them, depending on which ones of course.
I loved the way secrets were teased before the reader, parts revealed slowly, hints of what may have been relevant or may be just superstition taunted through, making me second guess my thoughts. In fact its not until writing this that I’ve connected a couple of major points that could have been the catalyst for Matthew’s quest.
Its a fascinating first book, well researched, marrying real events and people with fictional ones to create an amazing story. I’m not sure its one I’d reread but its certainly one I’m glad to have read.

Stars: Five, incredible book, uncomfortable at times but so very, very real feeling.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

The Girl on the Beach Morton S. Gray

The Girl on the Beach  Morton S. Gray

The Girl on the Beach by [Gray, Morton S]

I’ve read lots of books from Choclit, and really enjoyed them. Usually there’s a strong romantic theme running through, but with this one the romance is much more subtle, almost taking a back seat to the suspense part of the story.

I enjoyed this story, its a debut book and very well written.
Its not a story I’d re-read though. I didn’t get totally sucked in to it, you know how with some stories there’s that “can’t put it down” feel, and the characters seem as if they’re people you really know. Maybe with  time that will come, certainly its a great start to a writing career.
I liked the characters but I felt they needed a bit more personalisation, more to make them special. Harry was a nice guy, but that’s it, just an ordinary bloke, and Ellie was a good mum,  a talented artist but I never felt they had more of a connection than as just people living in the same village. I didn’t feel much real attraction, no sensuality, no sexual attraction.
There were some nice touches, the school art competition and mentoring scheme which brought in some of the side characters in a good way.
The suspense side was good though the final wrap seemed a bit simplistic given all that had gone on in the past.
I think possibly that’s my main criticism, that there was lots of build up and then that final part just felt too easy, too simple, I found it hard to believe a seasoned criminal would use that place.

I would happily read more from this author, its a great start even though I felt there were weak parts.

Stars: Three and a half, a good debut story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Curse Mandate, (The Dark Choir 3), Book THREE of The Dark Choir, J.P. Sloan

The Curse Mandate, (The Dark Choir 3), Book THREE of The Dark Choir,  J.P. Sloan

The Curse Mandate (The Dark Choir Book 3) by [Sloan, J.P.]

Genre:  Horror, Sci-fi and fantasy

Currently on KU

I NEVER read horror, and if I’d seen that I wouldn’t have come to this series. Its not a gory, blood-fest read though, and for me the horror is more of the “could this happen” type and I can deal with that. I really enjoyed books one and two, and was keen to get on to this.

Poor Dorian, you really can’t help but like him. He’s a very moral person in so many ways, just wants to live his life, earn a living and have fun, but he’s a magnet for trouble and sometimes his sense of morality leads him to tread very close to the permitted lines in magic.
He’s still searching for his soul, lost in book one, well – more he was tricked out of it than he lost it. Once more his need to help others got him into danger.
Alongside that though he’s got other problems, he’s got a new pupil, her brother needs help as he’s been cursed, there’s some wierd Chaos magic targeting people and places, and he’s trying to get to the root of that, trying to stop more people being hurt, and on top of that he’s a bar to run as part owner! Just another day for Dorian then..He feels like he’s always trying to catch up, and the next huge crisis is just aroubnd the corner.

As before the story is packed with magical terms, spells, curses, hexes and explanations of how different historic (genuine – they did/do exist) factions fit into this story. He’s an amazing man with incredible knowledge of his craft and its history, and I found myself constantly flicking the paperwhite Look-up function 🙂
The fact there is so much of this book based on genuine societies gives it a very realistic feel.
I love the detective (Hunter?), assigned to help him, a sceptic who by the end had changed his tune and looks to become a future ally.
One issue I did have is the cast of characters has grown huge, and I found it hard to recall who connected where, why, to which group, which section of magic they practiced or whether they were of the innocent of magic group, normal humans who’ve no idea what really goes on in their world. Lots of backtracking for me, and I’d have appreciated an index to keep them straight.

As always the plots are fast and furious, Dorian is racing against time, chasing clues and help, trying to sort out who are the good guys and what the others are up to, and still trying to help his friends and track down his soul.
There some really sad parts here too, both in his personal life and for me having grown fond of a certain person 😦 but sometimes that just makes it all the more real, when the unexpected happens, when the good guys don’t always come out on top.

Its a great read once more and the reason its four and not five is that I spent so long looking back at who did what, and how they fitted in to the story, plus checking out the many different terms and groups that it affected the flow of the story.
Actually that’s a bit unfair to drop a whole star, maybe just a half, as the idea and plots are excellent.
I loved the way the little side issues ended connected to the larger picture, and the detailed explanations of what the curses and spells could do, how they were constructed and at what cost. I enjoyed being completely off course in who was behind things, I like the unpredictable!

Stars: Four and a half, another action packed adventure, spell binding (!) saga, full of  power filled plots.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Soul Breaker and Shade Chaser, City of Crows Books 1 & 2, Clara Coulson

Soul Breaker, City of Crows Book 1,  Clara Coulson 

Soul Breaker (City of Crows Book 1) by [Coulson, Clara]

Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers, Sci Fi & Fantasy
Now, Cal is a newly minted detective at the often mocked Department of Supernatural Investigations. By day, the agents of DSI are called “Kooks” by local law enforcement. By night, they’re known as “Crows,” reviled by the supernatural underworld. After my review request on Netgalley was granted for book two in this series ( hurrah and thanks ) I looked up book one for background info, and found its on KU so I read that first.
Its a fabulous read and sets out the scene for the events of the whole sereis, how and why Cal joined the team, what its aims are.

This series centres around one of the DSI teams, of which Cal is a rookie member, and brings in people from other supernatural groups; witches and warlocks, werewolves, vampires and of course the dangers of the Eververse, a kind of parallel universe full of baddies 😉
I loved Cal, didn’t expect to as he’s just 22, and one of my pet hates is when the new member of a team has all the skills and fun and does stuff the long time members can’t, despite their skills and knowledge.
It works here though, it’s fun with Cal, he kind of bumbles accidently into danger, scrapes out by the skin of his teeth, luck and much wit ( I adore his irreverent humour), and even though he knows he’s in well over his head his morals, the reason he joined the DSI, won’t let him sit back in safety.

As well as Cal ( Hot Crow as Witch Erica calls him), there are some great characters here. Erica is a very skilled witch who’s currently sleeping with Cal, a kind of friends with benefits relationship. Its a fine line as officially none of the groups share info, and help out only when it affects their group, or the public might get involved. The DSI (Crows) are looked down on by the rest of the police, as they don’t really know what they do, just see their cases taken over, and there’s a lot of resentment about that. So far the public don’t know about the other creatures that live in their world, but for how long I wonder? Its certainly getting harder to hide events. As well as Cal and Erica, main characters are DSI team leader Nicholas Ryder, team members Ella and Amy, along with others, Cooper the archivist, Marcus the leader of the Witches, and this time we meet some werewolves too.

Its a race a minute action, though not in the dull, heavy, battle weary style that I hate. Things don’t go to plan, clues are found by accident,  or by someone unknown pushing them in the right direction. There’s a smattering of sex with Erica, lots of action, some of it pretty gruesome! We really got to see Cal and understand him as a person, as well as going along with him on an incredible journey in search of Eververse creatures and trying to prevent catastrophe to the human world.
You could read this as a stand alone, but book two is on KU, or only £2.99 to buy and well worth it. Its the best supernatural fun read I’ve enjoyed for a while, and I’m really looking forward to more.
I’m not sure if this is a trilogy, it looks like it might wrap up in a third book, or an on-going series – I’m hoping for that of course.

Its a fun read, lots of magic and spells, lots of action, lots of humour from Cal, a good plotline with a great group of characters, that promises to be entertaining for several books ( please Ms Coulson!).
Its a story I quickly raced through, and will definitely join my re-readers file.

Stars: five, a cracking, fun read.

 

Shade Chaser, City of Crows Book 2,  Clara Coulson 
 
Shade Chaser (City of Crows Book 2) by [Coulson, Clara]

Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers, Sci Fi & Fantasy

After my review request was granted ( hurrah and thanks ) I looked up book one for background info, and found its on KU so I read that first.
Its a fabulous read and sets out the scene for the events of this book, how and why Cal joined the team, what its aims are.

This series centres around one of the DSI teams, of which Cal is a rookie member, and brings in people from other supernatural groups; witches and warlocks, werewolves, vampires and of course the dangers of the Eververse, a kind of parallel universe full of baddies 😉
I loved Cal, didn’t expect to as he’s just 22, and one of my pet hates is when the new member of a team has all the skills and fun and does stuff the long time members can’t, despite their skills and knowledge.
It works here though, it’s fun with Cal, he kind of bumbles accidently into danger, scrapes out by the skin of his teeth, luck and much wit ( I adore his irreverent humour), and even though he knows he’s in well over his head his morals, the reason he joined the DSI, won’t let him sit back in safety.

As well as Cal ( Hot Crow as Witch Erica calls him), there are some great characters here. Erica is a very skilled witch who’s currently sleeping with Cal, a kind of friends with benefits relationship. Its a fine line as officially none of the groups share info, and help out only when it affects their group, or the public might get involved. The DSI (Crows) are looked down on by the rest of the police, as they don’t really know what they do, just see their cases taken over, and there’s a lot of resentment about that. So far the public don’t know about the other creatures that live in their world, but for how long I wonder? Its certainly getting harder to hide events. As well as Cal and Erica, main characters are DSI team leader Nicholas Ryder, team members Ella and Amy, along with others, Cooper the archivist we met in book one, Marcus the leader of the Witches, and this time we meet some werewolves too.

Its a race a minute action, though not in the dull, heavy, battle weary style that I hate. Things don’t go to plan, clues are found by accident,  or by someone unknown pushing them in the right direction. There’s a smattering of sex with Erica, but also there seems to be a bit of a man crush on Cal by Cooper, the archivist who Cal saved in book one from dying in the Eververse, risking his own life. Though it’s not billed as a romance read, I do enjoy a side of romance with my reading, and here it’s a perfect balance, lots of story with just a hint of maybe possibilities- even if its just in my head, so that works well for me.

You could read this as a stand alone, but book one is on KU, or only 99p to buy and well worth it. Its the best supernatural fun read I’ve enjoyed for a while, and I’m really looking forward to more.
I’m not sure if this is a trilogy, it looks like it might wrap up in a third book, or an on-going series – I’m hoping for that of course.

Its a fun read, lots of magic and spells, lots of action, lots of humour from Cal, a good plotline with a great group of characters, that promises to be entertaining for several books ( please Ms Coulson!).
Its a story I quickly raced through, and will definitely join my re-readers file.

Stars: five, a cracking, fun read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

J.A. Hazel

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