Tag Archive | mystery

Masked, M Greenhill. Silva, J.A. Hazel

I reviewed this story a few weeks back, its now out on amazon UK and Com. a great read. full review here

 

Silva: End of a Rock and Roll Love Story (Indie Rock Star Book 2) , J.A. Hazel

Silva: End of a Rock and Roll Love Story (Indie Rock Star Book 2) by [Hazel, J.A.]

Masked, M Greenhill

Masked by [Greenhill, M]

Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers, Sci-fi and Fantasy

I love Fantasy reads, especially if there’s a romance in the story.
Sadly the best sellers lists are dominated by stories where the romance is all the story, and though clearly others love them I want a bit more substance.
Happily Masked delivers all that 🙂 and I look forward to reading more.

There were a few weak spots though, Daniel is hundreds of years old, Alpha Commander, and yet in this age of technology he’s a total Luddite.
I would have though that with technology now posing such a risk to them he’d have a specialist team. Its not as if he can hire out either, he’s determined to avoid any Human involvement. Fortunately his alphas are more open minded, and through circumstance Parker has become a friend to one of the packs, after her cousin was turned.
Now they need her but she and Daniel have friction between them from an earlier case.

What I struggled with were things like early on in the novel when there are four murders, the wolves just whisk away the bodies, and remove the SD cards from every ones phones? I just kept thinking “How?” you just can’t do that without creating massive attention, and that’s the last thing they needed.
It would have been easier to believe had they their own tech specialists that can hack into networks and delete data that way, change paperwork so that nothing is missing but the true details don’t get out, bodies appear to have died from another cause.
Its a more believable way round things and one I’ve seen in other supernatural reads.

That’s a small criticism though and on the whole I really enjoyed this book. First in a series has a hard job, delivering a new and exciting story while introducing characters for future books. I liked the way this part of the story wrapped up while still leaving the opening for future books connected to what happened here.

I liked too that the author isn’t afraid to kill off key characters. That’s always sad when it happens, but does add to the believability factor when not just weak secondary people die. Keeps the reader on their toes too, never knowing what’s coming.
In some books whatever the dangers you know all the main guys are safe, and it makes me think things like in real life it doesn’t happen that way, that all the good/lead characters survive, and lessens credibility.

There were some great characters here, from Parker and her cousin Bobby, Daniel and his betas, the two tech-geeks-in-training, to Daniel’s sister and characters from other packs. the bad guys were just that – truly awful, and with psychotics like that you can’t predict what their next move would be. I like that 🙂 like to be surprised.  The story too has lots of potential to follow through in later books.

Stars: four, maybe four and a half, tidy up the few weak spots and this is shaping up to be a five star series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Meander Scar, Lisa J. Lickel

Meander Scar, Lisa J. Lickel

Meander Scar by [Lickel, Lisa J.]

Genre:  Romance

This was a strange read for me, I enjoyed the story but at times it dragged a little.
The romance between Mark and Ann seemed to go from being a faint possibility to full on togetherness. Given all the things against it I expected a bit more conflict.

I did get a bit worried when God and Faith crept in…I’m not anti-christian, not against religion in books, but in so many it goes from being a facet of a character to a book that takes preachy, judgmental overtones. Happily Lisa didn’t do that, the religious part of the story fitted the characters and their beliefs perfectly, without overtaking the story or evangelizing to the reader.
Reading back through my review you might get the impression religion/God plays a big part, but in fact its only small sections of the novel but it did have a big impact on how real the characters felt to me, and gave me questions to mull over.
I usually stay away from books where religion or God look to be a huge part, and if that’s what you do too, don’t let it stop you from reading this one, it really is a minor but very important part of the novel.

Poor Ann, missing husband, no sign of him for years, a son who’s somewhat antagonistic to her, the mother-in-law from Hell, though thankfully she rarely sees her. She controls the family Trust though, and Ann sees little of it, reduced to still working for the same firm all these years, the one which administers the Trust, just to pay the bills.
She tried some years back to get her husband declared dead, at least she would have the insurance money then and maybe be free to move on but mother in law opposed that, and she is rich enough that what she wants happens.

I liked Mark, understood how he’d come to love Ann. He was strong, and given their age difference that was needed.
Why is it no-one bats an eyelid at younger women but if a lady dates someone younger she gets the Cougar tag, and regarded as somewhat suspect. Gah, something that always angers me.
His Faith is an integral part of him, and I could see his dilemma, especially when he’s talking to his church leader – Pastor I think he was referred to. Given the case of Ann still being married he advised Mark to not get involved but his heart was already there and the conflict he felt came over very real. Bit judgmental of the Pastor I though, condemning Ann to a life without love as her husband is missing. Its been years now, should she spend the rest of her life alone? Where’s the Christian tolerance and love, embracing everyone? It made for interesting reading though, giving me things to mull over.
Later on when things go downhill he asks the question most of us do when times are tough. why me, why xyz, why did God do this, is he really there if he can let this happen? Given how strong his belief was this made him feel very real for me.

When the truth comes out – wow what a shock!
Its kind of hard to believe and yet I could see that in those circumstances, with money, state boundaries being so distant, that it really could happen like this. I was angry, and sad too, how peoples lives can get pushed around at the whim of another.

I wasn’t keen on the ending, though thankfully there was that spark of hope that all would be well, and I would have liked a little more positivity given all that the characters had been through.

Stars: four and a half, a good read, gave me lots to think over. Its not one I’d re-read but one I am glad I chose.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Last Hours, Minette Walters

The Last Hours, Minette Walters

The Last Hours by [Walters, Minette]

Genre: General fiction (adult), Historical fiction

I’ve read a few of Minette’s books, some I loved, some not so much, but i do love a Good historical novel and she writes settings and characters, that whether I enjoyed the story or not, feel so very real.
This one was just perfect, a real escape into the past, at times horribly sad, graphically real, and reminding me of just how unfair life was for the largest section of the population.

I’ve read a few books set in the Era of the Plague, the Black Death, a terrible time that decimated the population.
At that time disease was rife anyway, subject to poor nutrition people succumbed to what would be minor illnesses now, as they had so little resistance . Hygiene was poor too, making it easy for viruses and diseases to spread.

Lady Anne has turned around life on her husband’s estate, with measures such introducing dug out latrines rather than throwing excrement into the moat and urinating wherever they wanted. She introduced practices such as washing too, bodies and clothes, and slowly she introduced education. As they learned the villagers began to understand what she was practising, saw results in less sickness, better health.
Of course all her husband cared about was yields and taxes, and as the population became healthier those increased. Had he bothered to take note of her actions he would have fiercely disapproved and stopped them, but luckily he was typical in that he didn’t take not of how serfs lived, felt they were beneath his notice.

Sir Richard is a sorry reflection of how so many Lords were then (sadly how many would be now if they could get away with it!) Self important, cared for nothing and no-one beyond himself, and felt he was above reproach so long as his pet priest gave him absolution. He was paying him, the guy’s living depended on his goodwill so why wouldn’t he?
Its one of those things that’s always amazed me, that absolution wipes away all sins, leaving the perpetrator free to do them all over again, knowing the priest will remove them. That buying of “indulgences ” too is something that always made me cross.
People were so focused on God, and yet made his words fit the lives they wanted to live rather than vice versa. There have been some real atrocities perpetrated because of, and in the name of God.

Then along came the plague. Was it cast by God onto those who had sinned? For a largely ignorant populace its easier to believe that than to think they have nothing to fight it.

Lady Anne feels differently though, when it comes her husband is away, and she refused him entrance back to the place on his return. She had walled it off and brought the villagers inside the castle grounds to keep everyone safe.
He’s been to a demesne where the Plague is rife, many of the men who went with him are dead, and the few who have returned are ill. She knows if he’s allowed in the plague will spread fast. She asks tells him they have left stores for the men, and after a period without illness they can come in.
I’ve read real life accounts where villages closed themselves off like this, some because they wanted to keep the plague out, some because they wanted to keep the infection contained, knowing it was too late to save themselves, they either were going to get it or survive regardless.

There are some incredible characters here, from the courageous and intelligent Lady Anne, her horrible daughter Eleanor, the sly french steward Hugh, and some of the key characters among the villagers. Thaddeus is one of those, born a bastard, he has managed to stay free by way of some tacit advice from lady Anne. He’s wise enough to keep that quiet, and Sir Richard hasn’t yet noticed he has not sworn allegiance as the others all have to.

I enjoyed reading the day to day life, how they dealt with the threat from outside, managed the food, and later, how they had to decide what to do about the future, how long stores would last, whether it was safe to go outside and search for more, and of course what would happen to a country ravaged by plague, or whether it was just their corner of England that was infected.
Given only the top people ever traveled, with perhaps a steward and a few guards, most had no knowledge of the world outside their village. One five miles away could have easily been five hundred for most of them, they never left the estate of Devilish.

Its a story that shows characters in their true light, who is lazy, who is opportunist, who had the foresight to plan ahead. It also has some pretty graphic cruelty that was sadly so very real. The villagers were regarded as property, disposable to their Lords, they would be beaten and whipped at whim, the young girls subject to abuse and there was nothing they could do.

As the novel continues there are secrets to be revealed that put a different light on some things from the past, and of course affect the possible future.
Its a fabulous read, made me feel i was there with the characters. I liked too Lady Anne’s journal, her dilemma of just how much she could include, whether it would help others in the future if they did all die, or if it would put them in danger if they survived. After all with Sir Richard dead and no sons from their marriage, she was once more a Lady with no power, no say in her life, and likely to be married off elsewhere, with Devilish turned over to someone new.

The only thing I didn’t like was the end, its very, very abrupt, and until I reached the end I hadn’t realised there was another book to come. And not til next autumn….oh, I so hate waiting when I’ve got so engrossed in these peoples lives.

Stars: five,  a very worthy five star read, but i so wish the next book was here now…

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Relentless, D.B. Reynolds. The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, Darynda Jones

Relentless, Vampires in America, A Cyn and Raphael Novella Book 11.5, D.B. Reynolds

Relentless: A Cyn and Raphael Novella (Vampires in America 11.5) by [Reynolds, D. B.]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

I’ve been following this series since the start, and where some get stale after a while this one keeps fresh and exciting.
The main stories about individual characters mainly focus on romance, within a tight and suspenseful story, building on the overall theme for the series. these novellas tend to either show insights into characters, give us a bit of a lighter adventure with them, or push the ever present threat from others forward. this one focuses on the threat from Europe and the backlash from killing Mathilde.
I don’t often read novellas, except when like this one they are part of an existing series, this way  the reader knows the characters, there’s no backstory needed so the words are solely focused on delivering an new adventure.

While the past main books have focused on America, there’s been a threat from Europe from early on. America being vast compared to Europe, and the European vampires feeling pressed for space, they’ve been looking at American with envy, and a few have planned inroads into the territory.
Raphael saw that coming a long way back, and thus began his unheard of in Vampire world collaborations with neighbours. He saw that to protect themselves they needed strong Lords holding each area, and that if they were allies that would protect them better. He began working towards that, encouraging some of his Children, and other vampires he knew were strong enough to take over weaker areas.

He’s not a power hungry guy, he is a power in his own right, but uses that to protect his people, and where he’d be happy left to his own area the threats from weaker lords, and posed by Europe have determined that he take action. Of course that hasn’t gone unnoticed, or without jealous and offended eyes. He’s always going to attract envy, always going to be under threat and he feels the best defence is to take the action to the detractors.

That leads us to this book, where we meet Quinn, catch up with some of the other Lords, with Raphael  and Cyn of course, and his key team. Its another exciting adventure, packed into a short but solid novel and I’m hoping it means we get a Quinn story next 😉

Stars: five, short but packed read, and a great addition to the overall story arc.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, Darynda Jones

The Trouble With Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson Book 12) by [Jones, Darynda]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

If you haven’t begun this series yet then get book one now! Its an amazing story, and from the first book Charley’s world has so changed. Yet the original key characters are still all there, having grown along with Charley.

Its a story that’s gripping, at times graphic but never gory, searingly sensual but never overly sexual, its one of those rare books where what isn’t written is as important as what is.
The murders stack up yet are a tiny part of the story, the steam between Charley and Reyes is off-the-page erotic, always memorable ( shower scene back in the early books – I bet all readers member that!!)  and yet is only ever a fraction of the story.

Once more Charley’s in the thick of murder, mayhem, trying to put things right in a bumbling, almost chaotic way but she’s got such heart, such intelligence.
You love her, can’t help it, she’s never got a nasty side, whatever she’s facing. This time its literally end-of-the-world stuff after Reyes went in the God Glass and his other parts, the more unpleasant side of him came out.
I was gutted at that ending, have been waiting so eagerly for this book, and dammit, Darynda has done it again, given us another nail biting ending.

I can’t even begin to summarise what I love about this story, its much the same vein as the others, typical Charley snark, succinct and special humour ( love the names of Cookie’s girls BTW), plots and murders that seem totally disconnected and yet slowly gel together.
Charley is just so special, she Cares, so much about others, her family, her freinds, and just humanity in general. She’s come a long way since she discovered just who she is, and yet remains that slightly chaotic loving character we love.
The secondary characters are huge in their own right, and yet still supporting to the story of Charley and Reyes.
Reyes – well, even though he’s not quite Reyes as we know he’s still smouderingly sexy….but is he the killer? Would he really do the things everyone seems to think he has?
Charley can’t believe it and yet she needs to get Her Reyes back ASAP before Michael and the gang descend.
The secondary characters are huge in their own right, and yet still supporting to the story of Charley and Reyes, and most of them are here too. Cookie, oh how I love her, and Amber. Ubie, Charley’s lovely uncle, always so steadfast, always so supportive. Beep, fleeting appearance but so welcome. What a nightmare, to have to give up your child for her own safety…
Then there’s the “other” crew, Garret, human but more than that, Pari, also human with some great talents, but who can see Charley’s light. Angel – great investigator who’s a kid in body but been dead for so long he feels older, and who has a great line in flirting, Artemis – guard dog extrodinaire…oh I love that dog. Her existence is typical of the way key characters come into being, I remember she was way back in the early books, belonged to the biker gang that owned the asylum where Rocket, Blue and Strawberry reside.
That’s just a smattering of the cast that holds up these stories, building and extending them, bringing in threads from way back to tie up with current ones, and leading to what’s looking to be a Grande Finale. Part of me wants that Now, part wants the stories to go on forever….

I’ve had this one on my kindle for a week or so, promising myself I could read it as a reward when i’d finished a couple that I thought I’d like but which proved dull, boringly so, and I needed an incentive. Did that Sunday so had a glorious few hours in Charley’s wonderful world yesterday.

I’m going to need a couple of free weeks when this finally comes to an end so I can do a wonderful back-to-back reading fest of the whole series.

Stars: five – well, five hundred wouldn’t be enough. If you’re hooked on Charley’s world then this book is a must.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Molten Dusk, The Norse Chronicles: Book 3, Karissa Laurel

Molten Dusk, The Norse Chronicles: Book 3, Karissa Laurel

Molten Dusk (The Norse Chronicles Book 3) by [Laurel, Karissa]

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy

A fabulous finish, with the tension and excitement ramped up right to the end.
This isn’t one of those reads where you can jump in part way through – you need to start at the beginning or you’ll have no idea whats happening. Its not a run-of-the-mill paranormal, but one which takes on Norse legends and weaves them and the characters into modern day life.
Its so different from most current paranormal offerings and a real treat to read. The romance part is very muted so if you don’t like romance in your reads don’t be put off, its a small part. Personally I love it so long as the story is strong, but I also like reads such as this where romance takes a back seat.
In fact although its clear how Solina and Thorin feel about each other she’s still fence sitting, worrying about that Immortal God v Human paradox. She’s a fiery Star though herself, literally, so not quite just a human….

Helen and Skoll are still a danger and threatening the second Ragnarok. Baldur now has Nina, but she’s struggling with trying to remember her previous incarnations and with his feelings.
He’s less of a wimp in this book – maybe unfair I titled him that in book two but he really did cop out of helping his freinds, saving the world stuff – then again seeing the person you love die time after time after time and trying to find them each re-incarnation must affect one’s mind and priorities.
Val and the Ravens are still a danger, with them knowing a Thought soon as it takes form and being on Helen’s side, but how can Solina and co plan anything without thinking – tough one but aid comes from an unexpected quarter. Can it be trusted though?
There’s still the doubts about the Valkyries Solina has too, she’s not sure if there’s loyalty there or whether they are playing some long game. She knows Skyla is true but doesn’t know about the others.
Helen seems to be one step ahead all the while and she’s making things pretty tough for them, trouble is they have to treat each threat as real even though they know that she’s possibly double bluffing them, and while they fight one threat she’s planning another.
Its real down to the wire stuff this time, and both sides are pretty equal.

I love the characters here, love that the women are all pretty strong. Thor – well, I adore him. I’ve a soft spot for the Ravens too. All these characters have been through so much over the long years, so many battles, so many tragedies.
When Thor talks about his life and family I found it very emotional, and I adore the way he is so in love with Solina, so protective and yet respects her and doesn’t try to stop her from venturing into danger when he knows she needs to do it.

It’s another fabulous read, and the ending is perfect.
Its a fantasy read for Thinking readers, those who want more than the weak story wrapped around a hot romance, that’s sadly so much of the current best sellers lists.
Its story you’ll want to re-read, certainly now I’m planning a back to back read of all three parts.

Stars: five, fantastic ending to an amazing trilogy.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Nocturne, (Hours of the Night 2), Irene Preston, Liv Rancourt

Nocturne, (Hours of the Night 2), Irene Preston, Liv Rancourt

Nocturne (Hours of the Night Book 2) by [Preston, Irene, Rancourt, Liv]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

Vampires, supernatural suspense, M/M romance – what’s not to love? This is a great series but don’t start here, read books 1 and 1.5 or you’ll be lost.

Even though I’ve done that there are times when i needed to do a mental backtrack just to recall who fits where and how…There are some great characters here but the cast gets larger, with each book building on both short and long term story arcs, and that makes the whole thing pretty complex.

Sara: I love him, open, cheerful, confident in his sexuality and very much in love with Thad. He’s 23 and has a wonderful joy about him that makes him feel young, but not immature. He’s on the fence about the Monks, but respects Thad’s devotion to them, his quest for redemption.
I’m with him about them, not so sure they are the good guys they appear to be, and irritated at the way they use Thad’s guilt over what he is for their own ends. They withhold information to suit themselves and don’t worry about danger to Thad, seem to see him as dispensable.
There’s one bit where they are meeting with Brother Michael – I think it was him – and Sara remarks on the surrounds, very luxurious and Michael says that the monks give up all material wealth when they join. As Sara thinks you’d imagine that would mean they live frugally, but somehow they make it so they’re living in the lap of luxury. Pretty much like real life religion for many…..
Thad: He’s young in age, about 30ish I think but actually 115, and he’s got that historical mindset in many ways.
He was going to become a monk- or was one – when he was changed, and carries such guilt about what he is, calls the vampire part Le Monstre, and his work with the Monks is to atone for that. Like Sara, I think they use his guilt for their own ends.
It must be hard when so long has been spent suppressing his sexuality, thinking it a sin, and then finding Sara and falling in love. I love the way we get the closeness, the tenderness between them without need for overt sexuality. Some books it fits to read about characters sex lives in detail, in this one it would just feel wrong, the way its handled discreetly is exactly the way Thad would be. Anything more just wouldn’t fit his personality.

There are new and old characters here, Mardi Gras festival celebrations, Demons and Witches and lots of supernatural issues. They still need to track down the missing book, and Michael also tasks them with finding out who killed a relative of his and protecting his young twin relatives, Jo and Sep.
Its a tangled tale, and of course Nohea, Thad’s awesome kick – a$$ assistant is still angry about her missing baby niece, and they’re trying to track her down.

A busy book for the trio, full of the usual suspense, dangers, twisted clues and the Monks machinations. another great read.

Stars: four and a half, it didn’t quite rivet me as the first two, I found parts a little confusing, but still an excellent read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by authors.

Soul Reckoning, Nancy E. Polin

Soul Reckoning, Nancy E. Polin

Soul Reckoning by [Polin, Nancy E. ]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

I really enjoyed Nancy’s collaborative novel After the curtain call, so when she asked if I’d like to review this new book I was keen to read it. Its a very different style, different genre, but the romance is the same tender, realistic type, and the characters feel very genuine.
I’ve a weakness for PNR, and for books set in new Orleans, its a perfect setting for the voodoo/houdou type read. With this book I could mentally visualise the characters and settings, and felt very much a part of the story. that’s important to me, I want to feel the danger, the surprise, the closeness of a relationship, not just watch it unfold, but really believe in it.

I loved Rowan, she’s a kind and generous soul, and the inheritance comes just at the time when she needs a fresh start. She soon finds out she’s inherited much more than just the tavern though, that it comes at a cost, and there’s no escape.

There are some great characters in her new life though, and they rally round to help where they can. Luke is one of them. He worked for her uncle, and lives – in the storeroom, sharing washing facilities with Rowen’s apartment!
They don’t hit it off at first sight, Luke is very antagonistic to her. Slowly they get to know each other though, and she discovers his prickly outlook is his way of protecting himself from his past tragedy.
Without either of them realising how, they’ve gone from surly comments to becoming lovers, and Luke fears for Rowan. He knows just how eerie New Orleans can be, how the things that go jump in the night aren’t always human, and certainly don’t play by human rules. The closer he gets to her the more he can see the danger and its coming to a head.

I loved the way this developed slowly, not just rammed in with an insta-lust relationship, and life threatening dangers from second chapter. Sometimes there’s far more to be gained from stories like this that are paced carefully, let plots develop and the reader work out whats happening, with having to be spoon fed it because there’s been no time to lay clues. That’s the best story for me, whatever the genre, one that flows at its own pace, lets me try to work out what is happening and puzzle over a resolution – not that I ever succeed. That’s why I’m a reader and not a writer.
Stars: 5. a fun, standalone paranormal romance, with the spooky voodoo spirits typical of stories in this setting.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

An Unsuitable Heir, KJ Charles

An Unsuitable Heir, KJ Charles

An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities) by [Charles, KJ]

Genre:LGBTQIA, Romance

KJ Charles is my favourite m/m author, and I love taking a dip back in time with her books.
This trilogy has been another fun read, and what amazes me is when in this final book little clues and things I recall from the previous two make sense now, plot lines that were secondary now fit in as major ones.

I love reading and am always in awe of just how cleverly authors wrap up a story, tie in lose ends, put everyone in the place I want them to end, when halfway through the final book I still can’t see how it can be done. This trilogy has been like that with each book.

It was good to catch up with Clem once more, I love him, so gentle and unassuming but so Right all the while. His character seems like he’d be background and yet he has an inner strength to him that others lean on. He’s a genuinely kind and caring man.
Julian from book two is here as well. Oh how I disliked him at the start of that but loved him by the finish, and here he’s the same slick character, incredibly clever, formed by his upbringing (or lack of it), but now with Nathaniel he can work at a living that doesn’t mean betraying the trust of others.
I love when that happens, he wasn’t happy at what he was doing, forced into it by circumstance and now with help he can find a way forward to be proud of. That past though, the skills he learned help him here, well, help him aid Mark, Pen and Greta anyway.
Pen and Greta, what a great pair, relied on each other for so long and have struggled so hard.
Life could be incredibly tough for people in the past, and in KJ’s books some of that comes over, making me look at why people do what they do, at the struggles they have, and for anyone like Pen who doesn’t fit the traditional roles society believes in, life gets really complicated. Greta understood him, few others did til Mark came along, and quiet, watchful Mark sees what Pen needs.
Mark, he’s been in earlier reads, and always seems the strong, silent type and slightly detached from issues. You get the feeling though that once his mind is set, once he decides to help he won’t stop till all avenues are exhausted. But for poor Pen the result Mark needs for his friends, what need to come out into the open to save them, is the one thing that will emotionally destroy Pen.
That tears Mark up, he can’t let more people die, and yet how can he condemn Pen to life in the public eye where his differences will be mocked, ridiculed and tear him apart?
I just couldn’t see how it could all work out, but luckily i’m just a reader and KJ has the perfect solution for everyone, wrapped up in a very neat way.

 

Stars:Five, a clever end to what seemed like an insurmountable problem and a trilogy that will join  the keepers.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Betrayals, The Richard & Judy Book Club thriller 2017, Fiona Neill,

The Betrayals, The Richard & Judy Book Club thriller 2017, Fiona Neill,

The Betrayals: The Richard & Judy Book Club Pick 2017 by [Neill, Fiona]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, women’s fiction

I loved the idea of this book, and the writing style was perfect but….as I read it somehow it felt a bit flat. It seemed everyone was playing the blame game – except the two who I felt were actually at fault.
The way we saw events from each persons POV was fascinating, I’d be seeing it from one persons eyes and yet the same events from another person had a very different outlook.

I didn’t really like any of the characters. No-one is ever perfect of course but it was hard to find things in these guys to actually like, and without that my empathy is a bit missing.
There’s lots of to and fro where we see events played out as if now were in the past, and then see how they’ve affected people and how they act in the present. What happens to us does shape us, and its easy to link some of the traits of certain characters on what happened, but is it ever the sole cause? I don’t think so, but its human nature I guess for wanting to find a cause for every ailment, everything wrong in our lives.

There’s a bit where Nick says from his studies people change their memories of what happened unconsciously to reflect themsleves in the best light, and I can see that as true. Each time we were in one persons head I was trying to keep that in mind, but its hard not to get pulled in to what they beleive.

I was waiting for some grand climax, for a big reveal as all the way through I thought I kept getting hints of something huge to come out, a secret or something, and yet when I got to the end I felt nothing, it all felt very flat, and anticlimatic.
I wasn’t even sure if what I thought happened at the end did.

Its one of those reads where I can admire the writing style, admire how much research has gone into it, but where the actual story content just passed me by, where I could happily have done without ever picking it up.
Still, others love it and so you may too. I’d try another of Fiona’s books happily, it could well be its just This book that didn’t suit my taste.

Stars: well, two seems harsh but I really can’t give it a three, good book so its two and a half from me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Dark Interest ,(The Dark Choir 4), Book FOUR of The Dark Choir, J.P. Sloan

The Dark Interest ,(The Dark Choir 4), Book FOUR of The Dark Choir, J.P. Sloan

The Dark Interest (The Dark Choir Book 4) by [Sloan, J.P.]

Genre:general fiction (adult), sci-fy and fantasy

I’ve been with this since book one, and TBH its such a complex series you need to do that. It’s full of difficult characters, real world and Old World, and demons of course, charms, hexes, curses, murders, mayhem and magic and without knowing the backstory you’ll get lost. I do know the events that have passed and yet at times I’m lost ;-), but always manage to work it out somehow.  It’s a sereis outside my comfort zone, that I fell into by accident but that I’ve come to love.

What I love is that the author mixes up fiction with Fact, with magics that had a real following at one time – probably still do in certain circles. So each time I see an unusual word I think – aha, this time he’s made this up – and then check and find its some ancient language, or shade of magic, or a weapon that’s used for certain purposes or something like that. I’ve learned so much about magic since starting this, that its not a one-size-fits-all, but that in the past (and present) it took many different shapes, evolved through some very different practices.
And I’m talking as if it’s all real, but reading this it feels real. There are some well respected people in the world who still believe in these practices, and then I think – how come, all over the world each different group through the ages had had the same belief, but taken different routes to it? Or maybe its just human need to believe in something greater than us, something beyond this world..
It’s not really a big stretch considering billions believe in a book written centuries ago, believe in a God who’s really only a word of mouth figure.We don’t have empirical proof, we  can’t Know for certain he exists, that Heaven is real, but yet billions believe it.

Well, I guess that’s why I enjoy these books, they’re complex and yet readable, they have a solid story-line, some very real characters, both pleasant and horribly dangerous, those who just want to live and love their families and get on with life, and those hungry for power, magical, political, they don’t care. In the middle is Dorian.

I’ve always felt he’s on the side of good, not a particular do-gooder, but someone with his own morals and beliefs that he lives by, who tries to do the Right thing, not just the easy thing.
Along the way he’s had so many issues, starting with his lost soul, and its taken him on a very strange and complex journey.
He’s always worked alone, had his few good friends, been respected and never sought Power for its own sake, and yet he’s become embroiled in some dodgy and dark magical practices, got involved in politics against his wishes, gets pulled into different groups and is still searching for his soul.

Its another deep and dark, and at times complex read. Dorian is tempted hard in this story, confused, trying in his usual way to protect humanity and his friends, but all the while his soul is missing and he’s struggling to get it back.
I love that his magic isn’t a wave of a hand and a few muttered words, quick fix solution, but takes work, real work, if he wants to avoid the Dark side, the world of sacrifices. Yet his new lady, Annarose does just that, and how is he to mix her and how he feels about her, with his morals and how he feels about that?
Is the Utilitarian excuse, for the Greater Good, sacrifice one for many really a good reason, or a cop out?

Its a novel full of danger for Dorian, more than we’ve seen so far, and he’s had some tight escapes. Once more he’s in the centre of some dark forces but who or what is pushing them?
It takes time before he can see the bigger picture and he makes some very dangerous enemies along the way. And that ending….I hate it when that happens 😉

Stars: five, classic Dorian, anther rivetting adventure and complicated read. A real change from so much Light and Twee Magic reads.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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