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The Aurora Affair, Carolyn Haley

The Aurora Affair, Carolyn Haley

The Aurora Affair by [Haley, Carolyn]

Genre:  Romance,Sci-fi and fantasy

I was really pulled in by the blurb on this book, but it turned out to be nothing like I expected.
There’s lots I enjoyed, but at times it got so over complicated that I was lost.

There’s a lot of esoteric descriptions, flowery prose over psychic events, lots of inner musings about what’s happening now, in the past and in the future and why, and how, and what possibilities there are to stop it.
And soulmates, Maddie is fixated on soulmates, whether Buck or Kit is destined to be with her, but maybe she has a connection with Dru too, and yet one more guy later in the book….You’d think Dru’s girlfriend, Maddie’s sister Blanche would have something to say, but she’s just as open minded about who she should be with, and when and how long….Confused? You will be 😉
You can see how complex just the sex parts get. Throw in the other characters that live at New Atlantis and a few more visions/premonitions/echoes of past lives, and at times its one big sex fest, but one where emotions as far as love are concerned just don’t come into it.

I didn’t really like any of the characters much, probably Kit’s the only one I came close to feeling for, and it seems to me he gets swept along the psychic tide by accident. I felt the otrhers were rationlising much of their behavoiur telling themsleves, and others, it was for the common good.

Its really a story of the supernatural, of good versus evil, and of how governments are afraid of anything they can’t understand, and will stop at nothing to keep control. That’s scarily true and if this was real I think it would play out as described.

Its billed as Romance, but to me there’s little actual romance, its more a question of “your chakra needs re-balancing/your aura is out of sync/you’ve too much negative energy/the tides are predicting this” ( or moon/stars/sun – take your pick) or simply “its a festival and I want you”….Everything becomes an excuse for some hot and steamy sex, but without the emotion and feelings of love for the individual that are needed for me. TBH that spoiled it for me.

Eventually after many false starts, and lots of failed attempts – and lots more sex – the Evil gets identified and pushed aside, but not at cost, and not without the sticky fingers of the Government getting involved.
That sets up another trap, possibly as dangerous as the Evil they’ve just overbalanced for now.

Its a very complex tale, lots of content and action – for me a little too much. I want a story where I can work out what’s happening, and follow along with events, but there’s so much psychic intervention here that it becomes impossible to predict events, to work out who, what, how and when.
I love paranormal stories but this one gets so over-complex that I found myself switching off sometimes, and just flicking past events trying to see what part that had actual relevance to the story came next.
I like a romance with characters I can get behind, a couple – or couples/trios – that I can want to be together, without all the sex with others muddying the way. I didn’t really feel any actual romance in this story, until maybe close to the end. Speaking of endings – its very amiguous. Are there more books to come or is this it? I felt for a long while when starting that I’d jumped in to an existing sereis, and missed a book or two but I can’t find anything else except this book.

Overall its an OK read for me, I just felt there was so much going on that the story, the message, got lost.
As for the romance, well, don’t expect tenderness, hearts and flowers, but people who really don’t know who they want to be with and end up trying – lots of times – before they buy!

Stars: Three, parts of it I liked, the idea I loved, the execution not so much.

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

Dawn Study, Maria V. Snyder, Steam and Sensibility, A Steampunk Novel of Suspense, Kirsten Weiss

Dawn Study, Maria V. Snyder

Dawn Study (Study Series, Book 6) by [Snyder, Maria V.]

Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy

The final Valek and Yelena story….I’ve been waiting for this so long it feels.
I first discovered Fantasy via the wonderful Poison Study, which I’d ordered with a batch of paperbacks in my prekindle days when the first three were already out. I’d somehow thought it was a historical read – dunno why * shrug* my bad, but when I finally got to it I learned Fantasy wasn’t all Star Trek, LotR and Terry Pratchett type reads and was hooked….Sometimes mistakes pay off 🙂

I felt the last book was slipping a little, still a worthy four star but that some of the magic ( hah!) had been lost for me, with the Commander being a very changed person from the one we first met, and looking back at my review I’d written this
“I am beginning to get a little tired of the issues of Null Shields, Theobroma and Curare though. It seems that they are becoming the catch all solution for both sides, and it means its very difficult to see what can happen when one of these “new” solutions keeps popping up. In some ways it evens the playing field, but I’m just not convinced when they seem to be the answers to every problem. I was happier when I knew it was down to the talents and skills ( good or bad) of certain individuals, whether magical or just well trained.”
That sums up much of how I feel about this book too, its very much plan goes wrong, someone gets caught, someone gets rescued, make more plans, but when there’s this null shields for magic, theobroma, curare, and now new versions of similar drugs then it gets a little tired, impossible to try to work out what can happen and that takes the fun out for me. There were so many times this format cropped up that it actually became repetitive, something I never thought I’d say, and I found myself rolling my eyes…
With the earlier books what I enjoyed was the magic v the skills learned and natural talents, so when they were fighting some would use magic but the skilled non magical people could still win with their natural talent for battle, and using the skills they had long trained for. Think of Ari and Janco training Yelena in that first book, and of her learning to use her bo staff with Mara, discovering that people without magic could still win if they were alert and clever enough. That seems to have got lost for much of this book, with even Valek’s famous plans going wrong, and his much vaunted skills in espionage and conflict definitely showing his age…

It was good to meet Ari and Janco again – that duo never change and I love them. Likewise Little Miss Assassin, and some of the up and coming newer youngsters that look set to move into place if there are more books planned. Fisk is now a leader of a fairly large group, a clever man grown up from that quicksilver lad we first met. I always love seeing him, and his clever way of finding out things, knowing who has what skill and putting people where they’re best utilised.

The storyline had become very complex with it being difficult to recall who was supposed to be on whose side, and why, and whether they were still with that group or had switched sides, or where playing a spy role. It made sense – in a way – but did become difficult to follow and dull at times.
I enjoyed the early reads when we knew who was for which side, when there were times a character – or a few characters – were duped, but not on the mass scale of this story.

I did enjoy the story, even with the repetitive bits and the other issue I mentioned, just that for me they stopped it from being a five star read, stopped me being glued to the book, having to read “just one more chapter” and finding out its 3am….all avid readers have been there!
I found myself actually putting it aside easily, and felt that when it did come to the final point it was almost a non event….

I can see the potential for the younger kids to move up into place for a new series, but unless its going to be like a return to those first books, more skills, more magic and less plant based improbable solutions to almost everything then I won’t be reading… I don’t think…. Depends I guess on what else is around at the time 😉

Its not a book you can read without earlier ones, even just reading the first two in this trilogy won’t let you understand the minute details from the past, the things that shaped events now, and there are a myriad of little quips and reminisces here that refer back to those early reads. You could possibly miss out the  glass trio, they weren’t my favourites anyway, but then you’ll still not really follow the storm-dance characters and what they do. Its one of those series where to get the best you need to start at the beginning and work through, though I haven’t read any of the side novellas, and they are extras rather than essential reading.

.
Stars: its difficult to rate, I loved meeting all the characters, seeing how they’d grown up and changed, but that constant capture and release and magic v plants got old quickly for me. I guess I’m going three and a half. I thought about four but those parts do make up a substantial part of the story
.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Steam and Sensibility, A Steampunk Novel of Suspense,  Kirsten Weiss

Steam and Sensibility (Sensibility Grey Steampunk Novels of Suspense Book 1) by [Weiss, Kirsten]

Genre:  mystery and thrillers, sci-fi and fantasy

I haven’t read a lot of Steampunk, a couple that were really enjoyable and a few that were OK reads, but its good to read outside one’s comfort zone occasionally.

This book sounded fun, but for the first half it really was a western type read more than steampunk, with very little to bring the story into that category.
I liked Sensibility, and her confidence in her abilities, and enjoyed the aether refs, they made for a bit of extra and Steampunk does need that touch of magic IMO.
I wasn’t really taken by any of the other characters though, and found the plot to be a little thin.
It seemed to be a who can be trusted and everyone is out to get the Journal, and rather too much bumbling around to fit my taste. It picked up after the halfway point, but never really hooked me fully into the story and the steampunk elements were very thin on the group.
The author mentions this was a book that has been reworked to fit the steampunk  category and to me it feels like that, doesn’t feel as if its fully immersed in the genre, but another story with added extras making it fit where the original story didn’t. There was the watch, and the little mechanical sweeper she made, but no traditional elements such as dirigibles, fantastic creatures etc until close to the end.
Maybe it will appeal to steampunk lovers more than those like me who tend to stay on the fringes, I don’t know, its not a bad book, just one that was only an OK read for me.

It’s a fun read, but definitely a one off for me.

Stars: Three, an OK read but steampunk is a bit thin.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Steele City Blues, Book 3 in the Hell’s Belle Series, Karen Greco

Steele City Blues, Book 3 in the Hell’s Belle Series,  Karen Greco 

Steele City Blues: The Third Book in the Hell's Belle Series (Hell's Belle 3) by [Greco, Karen]

Genre:  Sci Fi & Fantasy, General Fiction (Adult)

I’ve read books one and two in this series/trilogy (I’m unsure which it is) and loved them so its on to book three to see what’s going to befall Nina and co next.
We pick up where book two left off. Although there have been a couple of novellas between, I haven’t read them and they don’t feel necessary to read to follow the story ( though might be fun to see what else is going on!).

Leila can’t be allowed to continue her actions, she’s destruction in person form and a complete nutter power freak. She’s creating what seems to be a supernatural army. Who needs her running the world?
Who can stop her though? Blood Ops doesn’t exist now, Max seems to have thrown in with Mary Jane and  the Gov but they don’t have the skills and knowledge to fight supernaturals. Bertrand the demon is untrustworthy, he seems to be on their side but who knows, he’s totally unpredictable and what’s best for him only is what drives him. He’ll help so longs as he benefits, and when it doesn’t he’ll swap sides easily and seamlessly. Dr O can’t help, he’s in Steele city, the prison for those of a supernatural bent, and the team miss him and his advice and magical talents.
With Babe gone and Dr O locked up its really down to just Frankie, Nina and friends to save the day..and the world. Tough times eh?

Its a fun read once more, full of humour and snark, puzzles to unravel, sides to take and wondering just where Nina is going next, what’s going to happen and how.
I love the core group of friends, Frankie, Nina, Matty and Darcie, and Caspar…a great group, very diverse, and at times it seems like herding cats trying to get them to agree. Max is kind of in the group but not, he’s very allied to Mary Jane, and TBH I was disappointed in some of his actions and decisions. He’s very pro helping people, saving lives and yet seems to have no issues with Mary Jane’s announcements about what she’ll do if Nina and co don’t succeed in stopping Leila very quickly…it just didn’t feel right to me him being OK with that.
There’s a new player to the game too, someone who may – or may not – be a help and who comes from a very unexpected place.

There some great humour too tucked in with the drama, and its the kind of quirky snark that pervades Kim Harrison’s Hollows series and made that such a must read for me. I do like some fun in among my dark and dramatic, the end of the world is nigh…but there’s time for a coffee first sort of stuff!
Nina seems to have curbed her anger a little in this book, it was beginning to grate on me that she had a shoot first policy, so for me that’s a real improvement. After all there are only so many times you can get away with it!
I said Max was a bity of a disappointment, but that’s made up for by Frankie – I Love that guy, he’s so perfect, humorous when the situation needs it, but ready to defend Nina to the death. I love the thought of him in the 70’s in gold lame and roller skates!! He and Nina are getting closer, its clear he wants her and she’s attracted but will she ever take that final step?

Its fun and games, drama and deception, snark and sensuality and another hit read for me.
I’m not sure if this is a trilogy or a series, can’t find out from author site or anywhere on net. It ends…kind of..so it could be a wrap, but there’s so much left open that I think there’s room for more books, and am hoping they are coming.

Stars: Five, a fabulous read once more, packed with magic and mayhem and fantastic characters.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Promise of Fire, Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire,  Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire (The Kingmaker Trilogy) by [Bouchet, Amanda]

Genre:   Romance,

I’ve been really lucky this year as regards debut books, and read some real crackers. Its always a leap into the unknown, will you like the authors writing style, the way the story is delivered, the type of character? So when it goes well for me I’m happy 😉
Nothings worse that writing a low star review on a debut book. Authors work so hard, but not all stories will suit all readers, it doesn’t mean a book is good or bad, just for that person its good or bad.

Anyway, this is one of those fantasy reads that can cross age limits, being suitable for teens and YAs, as well as those like me long, long past that. Its a fascinating story with enough romance to keep me hooked, for me that gives a story something special, and some cracking magic.

Its not a historical LotR type fantasy, but one that brings in Olympus and the Greek Gods and Goddesses.
I really enjoyed the crossover, the way snippets slide into the story, reminding me of things I’d read as a teen. I had a real kick then for Greek and Roman legends that’s never really left, they form the backbone for some incredible stories.

That framework backs up the story, with Cat being someone in hiding, with certain magical traits, most of which she hides.
There’s a mystery about who she really is, where she’s come from, and unlike some stories where its clear early on, there are clue, but things that also point a different way. I’m 99% certain I know now, but still have room for a little doubt. Its a story that brings things out of nowhere, so there’s still room for her to be someone other than who I think.

So, she’s hiding out in the circus, among people that are as close to family and friends as she’ll allow. They make you weak, that’s how she was brought up, and there’s some horrific stories about how she was taught that.
Its become instinct now and when Griffin finds her and abducts her she fights, hard and strong, but he’s very devious.
Its clear fairly early on just how single minded he is, and having determined his family who have just taken over a region ( a family without magic, something unheard of formerly) need her he’ll stop at nothing to bring her to them. He wants her to go willingly though and of course only knowing what she reluctantly reveals about herself he doesn’t understand just why she’s fighting so hard.

As the journey goes on feelings change, a mutual respect is earned between Cat, Griffin and the other three soldiers with him.
They go through some tough times, fight off magical creatures and human enemies. The ties with Olympus and the Gods are revealed, but no-one ever quite knows how they will respond. They can be fickle creatures these Gods, and catch them at the wrong moment and no help is forthcoming. They’re constrained by rules too, so you can never quiet predict how things are going to turn out.

Then when they reach the destination the story doesn’t stop, Griffin is still pursuing Cat romantically and she has come to have feelings for him she’s scared to reveal, partly from her people-make-you-weak upbringing, and partly because she fears making him a target. The new reining family have lots to learn, decisions to make and need to guard against being overthrown, either by their own people, or the other two districts.
I loved the family, loved their optimism, kindness, sense of justice and fairness, and the way they took Cat to their hearts so quickly.
I really liked getting to know the other soldiers along the journey and how things changed, and how they were all still close once back at the castle.
And of course Daphne, I love someone like her, a perfect nasty character, full of jealousy 😉

Its a great start to a series/trilogy, I’m not sure which, but I do know I want to read more from Amanda.
Though its part of more, the story has a “for now” ending, not a cliff-hanger, just hints that more is to come. For me that’s perfect – I HATE cliff-hangers, hate them. Nasty things, by the time the next book is out they’ve lost impetus, but when I’m reading the one they’re in its frustrating! So hurrah to Amanda for not doing that!!

Stars: Five, a fresh, fabulous, fantastical “realistic” read, with a good dose of romance that fits within the story, doesn’t overtake it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Some great Sci-fi and Fantasy reads on KU for Christmas

Some terrific sci-fi and Fantasy reads on KU for a limited time. I’ve read a few. Great way to escape mentally from all the Xmas  bickering and family arguments joy and goodwill.

Link – https://t.co/FZYzNwUXTf

This series I love and they are all currently on KU – The QUENTIN BLACK MYSTERY books

Archangel’s Heart, Book 9, Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Heart, Book 9,  Nalini Singh

Archangel's Heart: Book 9 (The Guild Hunter Series) by [Singh, Nalini]

Genre:  Sci-fi and fantasy.

Well, I’ve loved this series since I read the first one aggees ago 😉 and reread some of my favourite ones from it.
Its a series that’s changed hugely since then though, evolved much the same as Raphael has! I think its one that though each book is more or less complete, you need to start at the beginning, because there are so many characters, its such a complex world that jumping in cold with have you lost.

So, I knew who everyone was and yet I still had to keep thinking back to how exactly they all fit together. There are so many characters invovled now that a list of who is who and how they connect would be useful!!
This book is more a part of the overall story arc than an individual romance, as some of them are.

The archangels have been called together to discuss Lijuan and her territory. Who can call the group together though? I mean, they’re very much autonomous beings, but we learn of a new group, a  kind of overall order put together aeons ago for just such a purpose, as well as finding their own paths to Luminescence, a kind of personal goal of perfection – kind of like our mystics and religious wise men. ( Why are they always male though – the Luminata seem to be too – I can’t remember any females there).
They don’t call archangels to account per se, but  see when they need to meet to discuss something important. At the moment they’re dealing with the Cascade and all the side effects of that, the fact there are eleven archangels, unheard of before as there are only ten territories, each are jealously guarded, and of course there’s Lijuan who’s been acting more and more deranged, causing such major issues for angels, vampires and mortals alike with her insistence that she’s a Goddess, and therefore above everyone and everything.
Seems simple doesn’t it – she’s not around, meet to decide if she’s dead or asleep, and what’s going to happen with her territory. At the moment its bringing bloodshed to the borders that needs to be stopped, as without a ruler in effect some of the vampires are going on mass killing sprees.

Only archangels and their seconds, plus consorts are invited – and the archangels have to go, to not appear is to forfeit their territory. Its a real royal summons…
Michaela is her poisonous best, though maybe that description should be for Neha, she’s a real nasty, still holding Raphael guilty for killing her daughter, though it had to be done.
I loved seeing more of Aodhan, but missed Ilium, (sparkle and bluebell!!) love the friendship and banter between those two.
Raphael is at his commanding majestic best, with Elena keeping him a bit on the humane side. Archangels do tend to dismiss mortals, even the ones we think are more compassionate and some of the discussions here about the local village show that really well.
I did miss seeing the Guild personnel, and the vampires, especially Dmitri and Venom.

Lumina though turns out not to be the peaceful place they all imagine, and the events aren’t as simple as they thought. It actually gave me nightmares after reading one night, not that its a horror kind of read, and no worse in the violence than any other in the series. It was the creepiness of the Luminata that did it for me….It’s a place full of hidden secrets masquerading as something else. Question is are they important secrets, what are they, why and how did they happen, and how does all that fit with the purpose of the place?

Still, I don’t regret reading it, despite the bad dreams!!
Its a fantastic read as always, bringing in all the archangels, a new group in the Luminata, answering some long held questions, and revealing more about Elena’s background.
Its not my favourite of the series, those tend to be the more romance centred ones, and the ones centred around Raphael’s territory, but as part of the overall story its moved things on a great deal.

It’s one of the few longer series that’s got so much going on each book still feels fresh and exciting. I couldn’t get in to the Psy novels, read the first ages ago, but wish I could as that series has got so many now and I love ones like these.
Maybe its time for a reread, sometimes I find that on second reading and with the passage of time I’m in a better frame to enjoy stories that didn’t grab me first time round.
Of course there’s the usual issue of time and cash 😉 to contend with too.

Stars: Five, one to keep, to savour rereading – preferably after reading the first book.

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

Beast of All, (Carus 5), J.C. McKenzie.

Beast of All, (Carus 5),  J.C. McKenzie.

Beast of All (A Carus Novel Book 5) by [McKenzie, J. C.]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

I got a bit puzzled when I started this, thought I’d missed something from the end of the last book, but went back and checked and no, this really does leap forward over a massive event that changes Andy’s life.

Something huge happened, she got caught by the SRD, and now she’s down with the others, supes always rumoured to be kept by the SRD for experiments. Andy heard the rumours, but like others was unable to find out if they’re real. Now she knows they are, in the worst way and its her favourite(!) ATF man who’s taunting her from outside the shifter proof bars.

Andy’s determined to get free but they’ve somehow managed to detach her feras and Beast and she needs them. She’s lost without them, furious at being captured, grieving, worried about her witch friends, the lads taken  by the Elders for breaking the rules. She’d promised to fetch them if they weren’t returned within a reasonable time. Now she’s trapped, no-one knows where she is, she can’t help anyone, and with the Pharaoh jousting for  domination of not only the vampires, but all Supernaturals her help is needed badly.

It seems like rock and hard place doesn’t it – but its Andy, we know somehow she’ll get out, and she does, and gets help from a most unexpected source.  Look out bad guys – Andy’s out for vengeance and justice.
She needs help though, its too big to do alone and this dilemma, the need to stop the Pharaoh from his evil plans takes all supes working together. That’s not easy, they don’t trust each other, there are past issues between some of them and of course with more people involved the chance for leaks is high.

It’s really hard to say too much about this book without giving anything major away. I loved it – I can say that, am really happy at the way it ended, and loved being along with Andy and co for this final battle. I enjoyed the usual banter, the snark, the jealousies, all the things that make these characters seem so real. I care about them, want things to work out, and was gripped all the way through by the way this one played out.
Its a really climatic finish, things sorted so that they make sense, no loose ends, just a really satisfying finish to Andy’s struggle to find out more about herself, to the puzzle of her being a Carus, and to the plots and machinations that have dogged her for so long.

Stars: Five, a cracking finale, a really satisfying finish. Now I need the time to read it all the way through – books 1-5, back to back to really get the full Andy experience.

ARC supplied by publisher

Eden’s Deliverance, Rhenna Morgan

Eden’s Deliverance,  Rhenna Morgan

Eden's Deliverance (The Eden Series Book 4) by [Morgan,Rhenna]

Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

Ok, hands up I made a boob here. I thought that a) this was the third in a series, not the fourth and final one, and b) that its was one of those with a loosely connected story arc, but that each book was more or less a stand alone as with other on-going series I’m a fan of. My bad!

Well, it is and it isn’t a kind of b) book. Each book does feature one couple but the story that surrounds them and their actions is very much connected, not a simple story arc joining them but a vital part of each book. So going in blind to the last book meant I was a bit lost at first. I had read samples of books one and two and so had an idea of the worlds and the issues.

Its really interesting this idea of parallel worlds, one that crops up such a lot and that I really enjoy. I find it very believable – maybe I’m just gullible…
My late husband used to say to people “did you know the word Gullible isn’t in the Oxford English dictionary?” And loads would say “Really?” before cottoning on!! Gullible or not, it means I really enjoy those stories.

I enjoyed this book too, loved the way the story developed, the way each person had different skills. I picked up the main story easily enough, and could work out from the context what odd words and phrases meant, and so was able to follow the story pretty well.
I loved Brenna, she’d been through so much but wasn’t cowed, wasn’t deterred from still loving forward now she’s been rescued though of course what she’s been through has an affect on her.
I liked Ludan too but at times I wanted to give him a smack for being so obtuse 🙂
He thinks he’s punishing himself, that he’s the only one hurt by denying what he and Brenna are to each other, all this Duty to my …and I’m not good enough for her, she deserves etc etc . Gah! Typical male 🙂 Thankfully there’s others there to give him the smack that I can’t.

The overall story took a bit of working out for me, not having read earlier ones but I still got pulled into the flow, and was trying to work out solutions.
Though I followed the Ludan, Brenna and the others sub stories OK, I found Sienna and her gang more difficult to keep up with, as I didn’t really know the background.
Still it was clear what a threat she was and I was happy at the way things worked out, the way the drama was build and it made for a satisfying ending.

Stars: Three and a half. I’d have got more from this if I’d read earlier books but I hadn’t – if I had I think I’d be rating five stars.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

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