It’s easy to have a positive attitude when life is going well. Finding enough motivation to grind through another day is much more difficult when you’...moreIt’s easy to have a positive attitude when life is going well. Finding enough motivation to grind through another day is much more difficult when you’re facing the imminent death of a family member or financial ruin. Will Marlene and Corrie’s situations ever improve?
The characterization in this short story is excellent. All of the main characters have well-developed personalities and flaws that emerge slowly as the plot progresses. It was easy for me to empathize with them because I got to know each one of them so rapidly. I finished this tale eager to know what happens next. While I don’t know if the author plans on writing a sequel, I would love to catch up with these characters again soon.
I enjoy a challenge and had a good time piecing together the clues provided in this tale about what was really going on. The author expects a certain amount of intellectual effort from her readers in order to understand the subtler aspects of the plot. Most of the time this works well, but there were a few loose ends that I was never quite able to piece together. I did develop a tentative theory about what those scenes were trying to say, but it would have been helpful to have a few more clues to guide me in the right direction before the thrilling climax.
Strong world-building in this piece made me feel as though I were reading a full-length novel. Ms. Russo did a wonderful job at methodically stitching together a rich tapestry of people and places that appear dreadfully ordinary at first glance. The real magic of this tale, though, is in how their unusual qualities showed up when this reader least expected them.
Hearts Starve is a great choice for anyone who is in the mood to be challenged. This is a clever, complicated short story that I can’t wait to read again. (less)
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that sentiment doesn’t work so well for a woman who loses self-confidence every time she develops a...moreThey say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that sentiment doesn’t work so well for a woman who loses self-confidence every time she develops another disability or disfigurement.
It was interesting to see how the relationship between Chase and Anabel slowly develops. Their lives are so completely different from one another that at first I couldn’t imagine them being friends, much less anything more serious than that. The authors did a great job fleshing out both of their personalities, though, and I enjoyed discovering what they do share in common.
Many of the phrases in this novella were awkward. While none of the sentences contained serious grammatical errors, their words were arranged in ways that sounded odd when I read certain sections out loud. I was never quite sure if they were intentionally worded this way in order to mimic traditional fairy tales speech patterns or if the text would have benefitted from another round of editing before it was published.
By far my favorite character in this story was Chase’s grandmother. Her wry approach to the reality of living in a world full of magic injects much-needed humour into the plot, and her warm, loving relationship with her grandson reveals the tender side of both of their personalities. If the authors ever decide to write a sequel to this novella, I would be quite interested in hearing more about this universe from this character’s perspective. She’s experienced quite a bit in her long life and I get the impression that she has a lot to say about it.
I’d recommend Beauty and the Curse to anyone who loves modern-day fairy tales or a heavy dose of whimsy. There is plenty of both to be found between these pages. (less)
Like oil and water, Severus and Cassie just don’t mix.
At least, that was Cassie’s initial thought about the six-foot tall, broad-s...moreRated a 'BEST BOOK'.
Like oil and water, Severus and Cassie just don’t mix.
At least, that was Cassie’s initial thought about the six-foot tall, broad-shouldered giant standing in her doorway. She’s already dealt with far too many men eager to take charge of her life and her body. She doesn’t like being told what to do or how to do it by anyone. This includes the gorgeous eye-candy and self-proclaimed bodyguard who seems insistent in hanging around. From the get go, Severus really pushes her buttons. Yet, despite how annoying he is, she can’t help the subtle reactions her body begins to have around him. Little by little, she notices the other things about Severus that reawakens a dormant desire deep within her. All of a sudden, Cassie realizes she rather likes having a big, brawny man watching over her. His interest in her carnal needs is fine by her as well, especially when he’s so good at pleasing them.
Though he likes his women with a little more padding, Severus can’t help the instant attraction he feels for the sassy spit-fire, wagging her finger in his face without an ounce of fear or hesitation. Everything about her drives him crazy, including the way she manages to attract trouble. He doesn’t know if he should throttle or kiss her. The thought that she might be a compatible mate seems ridiculous and downright terrifying to him. He doesn’t want the heartache of losing another important woman in his life. While he has little difficulty in finding enough willing sex-partners to share his bed, he doesn’t want any of them to share his heart. Not until Cassie. Despite his attempts to thwart the growing suspicion that she just might be his perfect mate, Severus soon realizes she’s too important to him to lose.
Some things just get better and better, especially when it comes to Celeste Prater’s Fueled by Lust series. Book one was a lot of fun to read, so when I saw she’d written a second book based on a couple of characters I’d met in the first installment, I requested to read it without hesitance. From the first page, my eyeballs remained glued to my iPad, my attention totally focused on the plot unfolding before me. I literally read the entire book in one day. I just couldn’t put it down. The characters are dynamic together, the perfect blend of alpha male and sassy female. There’s so much going on that you don’t even notice the plot twist sneaking up from the sidelines. I was left with my mouth hanging open at the climax of the story. The developing relationship between Cassie and Severus, the inclusion of previous characters from book one, and the introduction of new challenges to this sexy race of he-man aliens all culminate into a fantastic tale that left me wanting more. Lo and behold, after a little snooping on the internet, I see Ms. Prater has seen fit to grace us with an upcoming book 3! So now I’m left chomping at the bit and rubbing my little paws together in eager anticipation of what I expect to be another fabulous read.
Fueled by lust: Severus, is a non-stop hoot and a hell of an exciting story. Cassie’s snarky attitude had me laughing my buns off. I fell in love with her right from the start. And Severus is just too sexy for words. He certainly caused a spike in heart rate and gave me something new to dream about. Put them together and you’ve got another fantastic story by Celeste Prater whose hunky aliens are simply out of this world. Oh, and Ms. Prater, if you need a short blonde chic who loves bulging muscles and hairy chests to play the heroine in a fourth installment, I’ll gladly take the part. (less)
Two questions have been on Damian’s mind since his transformation: will I ever find a second soulmate, and is it really possible to change? Only time...moreTwo questions have been on Damian’s mind since his transformation: will I ever find a second soulmate, and is it really possible to change? Only time will tell if he figures out the answer to either of them.
Damian wasn’t exactly a saint during his short first life, and his thirst for violence only becomes more unquenchable once he begins his Undead one. His severe lack of empathy and self-awareness brings depth to his personality even if certain horrid choices make it difficult to find many positive things to say about him early on. What I found most interesting about Damian’s character development, though, was how slowly it takes place. Centuries can pass between the first glimmer of change and the next step in Damian’s evolution, but because those moments are given so much time to take hold in his mind they always felt genuine to this reader.
I would have liked to see more time spent exploring the personalities and interests of Damian’s potential life partners. Some of them are developed well enough for me to understand his attraction to them, but others were given very little time to express their unique qualities. Even love at first sight eventually needs something to back up that first flush of emotion, and this novel would have easily earned a much higher rating had I better understood why he chose some of his paramours.
From the opening scene Mr. de Vissage kept my interest piqued with strong, even pacing. By covering Damian’s journey through such an incredibly long period of time the author is able to slowly build a complex supernatural society that would have been hard to flesh out in such detail in a shorter story. I found certain subplots even more captivating than the focus of Damian’s mission because of how expertly the author weaves everything together from one millennia to the next.
As someone who has never had any exposure to the French language, it was sometimes difficult for me to determine the meanings of French words and phrases that show up routinely in the first few sections of this novel. Some of them were easy to figure out because their English equivalents were so similar to them, but certain words remained a mystery to me until the end. While I understand why the author wanted Damian to retain this part of his heritage, it would have been helpful to either have had a glossary of the terms at the beginning of the book or more context clues about their meanings embedded in the text near them.
By far my favourite part of this book involves how effortlessly the author brings back the traditional approach to vampire mythology. Damian and his associates are sexually alluring to humans, but they are also extremely dangerous, unpredictable creatures. The horror elements of this tale are ubiquitous and include the darkest themes of that genre.
I would especially recommend The Night Man Cometh to anyone who is a fan of Dracula. Even with its flaws, this is a noteworthy example of what vampire fiction can be. (less)
New Sion has a protagonist who lives in a male-centered world. It is akin to Victorian Britain or a frontier town in early America. Men own land, hous...moreNew Sion has a protagonist who lives in a male-centered world. It is akin to Victorian Britain or a frontier town in early America. Men own land, houses, have jobs and earn money. Women keep the house, do what they’re told and have (lots of) babies. To fit into this world after tragedy, New Sion’s protagonist hides her feminine identity and changes her name to “Finn”.
There is a real wild west flavour to this novel. There are bounty hunters, small isolated towns andalluded insular village folk, often farmers. There is also a tendency towards lawlessness (creating a market for the bounty hunters) and this lawlessness results in much abuse of women. Women’s only real valid form of employment is prostitution but many men still take what they can where they can and repeatedly rape women. Thankfully, this act isn’t gone into detail in any of this novel – only alluded to or stated. This is not a novel for the strictly feminist. I found myself wincing at many parts at the injustice of the laws.
The science-fiction element is that this world is only one world in the many populated in this area. An alien ship crash lands and makes a connection with our protagonist and her love interest. They work together to free the family Finn has left and try to restore order in the most gang-controlled areas of the planet. There are also many weird and wonderful creatures to meet along the way in this strange world’s ecosystem.
The romance element of this novel is ignorable or flick-past-able for the uninterested. However, it is interesting in how it is portrayed as Finn’s love interest must overcome her outwardly male appearance to fall in love.
These elements add together to make a rather scintillating story but this story is slightly marred by some overly formal dialogue. For example: ‘Then if you’ll excuse me, ma’am, I carry a little with me, for medicinal purposes. I’ll go fetch it.’ and ‘I’m just upset, and we really don’t have any liquor.’. People simply don’t speak like this. They use contractions, miss out words and would avoid technical phrases like ‘medicinal purposes’. This stiltedness to the dialogue on occasion slows the novel as a whole and dents the believability of the characters and setting alike.
However, I enjoyed New Sion despite not being a huge fan of otherworldly adventures. It captured my attention and subverted chauvinist behaviour in such a way that I could be satisfied by the ending that all was, once again, right in at least the protagonist’s world (especially as there was a new happy couple to coo over). (less)
Being a vampire doesn’t mean Sebastian can do anything he wants to do. Unfortunately his brother hasn’t figured that out yet, and unless something hap...more Being a vampire doesn’t mean Sebastian can do anything he wants to do. Unfortunately his brother hasn’t figured that out yet, and unless something happens soon Julian might not get another chance to learn that lesson.
One of my favorite things about vampire literature is figuring out what rules govern them in each universe. Every author chooses a unique set of abilities and limitations for their vampires, and this book’s interpretation of it snagged my attention immediately. It was very helpful to know what to expect from them so early on in the plot as some of the author’s rules are quite different from other vampire stories I’ve read.
I would have liked to see more time spent developing the personalities of the main characters. There were a few times in which certain individuals make choices that seem out of character for them based what I learned about them earlier. With more information I would have had an easier time determining if these decisions were meant to illuminate parts of their personalities that had previously been unexamined or if they were actually inconsistencies. I had some trouble connecting to the characters as they were written due to this confusion.
The horror genre is strongly represented in this book, and some of the most frightening scenes are fairly graphic. They work well within the plot, though, and even manage to tie together some of the most easily recognizable tropes from science fiction, horror, and steampunk. What surprised me the most was where Ms. Langston deviates from what I expected to happen. Her creative approach to all three genres made my first introduction to her work memorable, and I’m looking forward to reading more from her soon.
A Clockwork Army is a good introduction to steampunk. I would especially recommend this novella to anyone who is curious about this sub-genre but has yet to give it a try!
Filed Under: Horror, Reviews, Science Fiction/Fantasy Tagged With: Historical, Horror, Samhain Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Short Story, Three Stars(less)
Road trips are supposed to provide a sense of adventure without actually exposing the people on them to any real harm. Unfortunately Jason and Levi’s...moreRoad trips are supposed to provide a sense of adventure without actually exposing the people on them to any real harm. Unfortunately Jason and Levi’s trip isn’t exactly following that rule.
As interesting as all of the human characters are, by far my favourite character was Otanewainuku. I’d never heard any legends about the Taniwha before, and it was fascinating to imagine what it would be to meet one of them in person. They are a unique species that fit in well with the rest of the science fiction and paranormal elements of this book.
While Jason and Levi’s paranormal abilities are clearly described early on in their adventures, I would have liked to learn more about the origins of them. The handful of hints about where these powers might have come from are intriguing, but the story would have flowed more smoothly had the author taken the time to explain such an important part of their identities.
The well-paced, exciting plot made it hard for me to put this novella down. It has the kind of worldbuilding I’d expect from a full-length novel, but each chapter was so engrossing that I finished it within a few days. The plot-based narrative introduces background information as needed, and while there were times when I wished certain details were revealed a little sooner I soon learned to appreciate how the author brings up the most important facts in such a fast-paced story.
A Taste of Gold is rollicking adventure that is begging for a sequel. While I don’t know if the author is planning to revisit these characters, I highly recommend getting to know them in the meantime. This is a fun, short tale that this reader had a great time zipping through. (less)
Moon was a fun and exciting read and I enjoyed every minute of this reading experience… in fact, I loved it!
The story picks up where Shadow ended, wit...moreMoon was a fun and exciting read and I enjoyed every minute of this reading experience… in fact, I loved it!
The story picks up where Shadow ended, with Moon having been shot with a toxic dart that left him in a feral state, so this book wouldn’t be considered a standalone read. The NSO calls in the Doc (head shrink, lol… that cracked me up) to help bring him back. Joy had treated him after the NS rescue and they had developed a meaningful relationship. But complications had got in the way and so she had cut and run… leaving Moon with some unresolved feelings. She jumped at the chance to help him and pretty much came running at a moments notice.
It was glaringly obvious that, even in his crazed state of mind, Moon remembered Joy. The feelings were still there and he responded to her even though it soon became clear that she might not be able to save him. Still she gave it one heck of a try and was willing to sacrifice anything to bring him out of it. And even if she does get through, he has moved on with his life so he might not be the same person he had been before.
Further complicating things was that Moon had went so far as to share his feelings of betrayal with his pals. That caused a few problems for the good Doc and I got a little upset on her behalf.
There is very little external conflict in this book. That’s a good thing, though. It allowed the story to center more around the romantic relationship. It runs the gamut of emotions and encompasses a lot of feelings. From the desperation and devotion that Joy shows for Moon to her regret at leaving him. It explores his anger and resentment that she left him. They both deal with a wealth of fear. Her fear for his survival and that he won’t forgive her… that he will reject her. His despair and frustration and fear that she will walk away again. This one may not have had as much action and suspense as I’ve come to expect from Dohner… but it definitely made up for it with it’s tremendous wealth of emotions. I just loved that part and really got into the story.
I love this world that Ms. Dohner has created and how she portrays the NS characters. This allows me to become invested in her stories as she gives them a depth of emotion and admirable traits that I myself admire. Honor, honesty and protective of their own. I love those things even more than I do the steamy love scenes that she brings to her story. With that being said, I am all about the love. Overall, the story is very romantic and the love scenes were aplenty. Explicit but not dirty. I could have gone for some more but how many could they get into in his cell and after he regains his senses and is so angry at her.
I’m glad that Dohner told the story the way that she did. Outside conflict would have confused the story that was meant to be about healing and finding their way back to each other. Really, there was no other way to present it. At least that was what I got from the story. Dohner kept the story tight. The timeline flowed perfectly and I liked how the past never interfered with the current story. As the story went along, I was given the back story and an explanation for why she broke his heart. Suffice it to say that her reasons were valid ones and that I bought into her explanation. Just as I understood his anger.
When I read a book it is important to me that I be able to get a feel for the characters, that I understand them. As always, Dohner did that with this one. She pulled me into the story, got me interested in what was going on and what might happen. I actually felt the frustration and fear that she was conveying in the characters. That depth of character that she brings to her stories is what makes her one of my favorite authors.
What I am trying to explain, in my roundabout way, is that this was a wonderful story. I loved it and can’t say enough good things about it. Ms. Dohner did an outstanding job and I liked the way she told the story. I liked the mate that she gave to one of my favorite NS characters, almost as much as I liked Moon himself.
As this series rolls on, I find that I just can’t get enough of those New Species and Laurann Dohner’s talented storytelling. I am always left anxiously awaiting the next one and by the way… I’m wondering when that will be.
Nothing is ever as it seems in a world of magic and intrigue. Karl Alton’s soul has been living in an orangutan for several years. His contract is fin...moreNothing is ever as it seems in a world of magic and intrigue. Karl Alton’s soul has been living in an orangutan for several years. His contract is finally up and he’s ready to be back in his human body. On the day of the exchange, Karl discovers his body has been missing for some time and with little chance of ever seeing it again. Devastated he asks his rich, lawyer boss, Adam Wexley, for help. Adam goes to the one person who can help, his ex-boyfriend Grand Magician Drake. Drake and Adam ended their relationship on bad terms when Adam walked out several years ago but now that they’re back together, they have a hard time remembering all the bitterness when all they want is to be together again. The search for Karl’s body uncovers a much more complicated and sinister plot than they ever imagined, one that proves dangerous to their very souls.
Heir of Starlight, Sea of Stars book two, is an engaging, wonderful story from start to finish. As with any sequel I’m sure reading the first book before this one will likely be beneficial, but I didn’t do that and could follow the characters and plot just fine. I’m sure knowing more of the background and especially the relationship and breakup of Drake and Adam would be helpful, however, I wasn’t ever lost and thought the story did a great job in including any necessary information. So I’d have no hesitation to recommend this story as a stand-alone to new readers. That said, I’d also recommend it because it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining sci-fi story with a side dash of romance.
The main thrust of the plot is mystery based as the main characters – Adam, Drake, Karl, and Drake’s ward Thomas – all search to find Karl’s body then work to uncover the more sinister plot brewing between the nobles of the courts. It’s definitely complicated but not so that it’s hard to follow. Similarly, the science fiction world is definitely intricate with its magical rules, inhabited animals, souls being stolen and tossed about, and political machinations. I found it all wonderful and engrossing from the very beginning. I didn’t mind the sometimes convoluted twists and turns as I found them easy to follow and the characters very likable and intelligent. They made mistakes but never anything that seemed extremely silly or unbelievable.
It’s hard to describe a story and world that feels so massive, yet so relatable once I started reading. The details are offered in a rich language and description that pulled me immediately. I could easily imagine this alternate world and the sometimes predictable power plays among the wealthy. That didn’t ruin the mystery at all yet deepened the intrigue. There are a few loose ends not accounted for but this is such a minor point and the only negative I could find. Instead I eagerly recommend this and hope there’s more in this series.
This is a tale of love, betrayal, dragons, and an impossible quest. It is set very loosely in the dark ages in Ireland and the seas to the northwest.
T...moreThis is a tale of love, betrayal, dragons, and an impossible quest. It is set very loosely in the dark ages in Ireland and the seas to the northwest.
The duke’s son-in-law is killed at the end of a ten year war, and the duke, in failing health, needs to secure the power for his grandsons. He therefore requires Kale mac Tadhg to break off his betrothal to his beloved Aoife and instead marry the slain prince’s widow, because Kale and his father are completely loyal to the duke. Before the marriage can take place, Kale is betrayed by the duke’s enemies, and as Kale attempts to save Aoife from abduction, he is captured and handed over to corsairs. He is taken aboard their ship to be sold as a slave in a distant port. However, the corsairs are attacked by draugr… and thus begins a tale fit for legends.
L. T. Getty demonstrates that she has researched both Irish and Norse cultures in the 1000’s and her novel accurately reflects these societies. She has woven a complex and intricate plot filled with interesting, well-defined, and well-rounded characters. She has described a heroic quest undertaken by a strong woman, the former betrothed Aoife. Along the way Aoife is aided by others in her attempt to find Kale and defeat the witch in the tower. Getty has fashioned a believable world filled with humans, gods and dragons. Her descriptions of sailing across uncharted waters towards Nordic colonies are harrowing and compelling.
Getty does an excellent job of shifting between Kale and Aoife after Kale is carried away. The shifts are natural and easy to follow so that the timeline of events is consistent and well presented. The novel is fast paced, and the pages just turn themselves. The ending of the novel is most satisfactory, and the story lines are tied up in a way that seems natural and believable.
I really enjoyed this novel, and I can certainly recommend it to any fans of historical fantasy. I hope to read more of Getty’s novels in the future as she is an excellent story teller and writer.
Sometimes all you need is a tail attached to a dominant man. As the primary human trader and linguist on an alien planet, Liam is quite happy with his...moreSometimes all you need is a tail attached to a dominant man. As the primary human trader and linguist on an alien planet, Liam is quite happy with his life. His past forays into romance have always ended badly and he’s concentrated on burying that part of his personality. Instead he’s content pitting himself against his favorite Rownt trader and keeping his superiors happy. Ondry enjoys the verbal sparing with the human Liam but can also see much deeper. He recognizes Liam’s true submission and is determined to make the man his.
Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts is pure entertainment. It’s well-written, clever, interesting, witty, and filled with surprisingly hot sex. The two main characters, Liam and Ondry, are three dimensional and filled with a lot of subtle context. They come from different backgrounds and there certainly is a language barrier. However, the story knows how to play this up with both humor and sex appeal while allowing some miscommunication and learning. The men complement each other well and their path to learning about each other is fun and very interesting. Liam is a submissive yearning for someone to really dominate him and control him, someone that can appreciate his service. Ondry is that man and understands and values Liam even more than Liam does himself.
The additional context of different values, different cultures, and traditions are wonderful additions. It gives the story more edge and interest than just a basic D/s story. Instead there are many layers to every aspect. Even sex is not as straight forward but offers a very sexy alternative. After all tail sex is really so inventive and fun. There are the usual language barriers between different languages and cultures but here the writing truly shines in creating a way to examine those differences without feeling rote or stale. Instead the story makes it interesting and fun, even incredibly hot sometimes.
There isn’t really anything I can complain about in this short novella. It hits all the points I love about a book – fun, interesting, well written, hot sex, great characters. If anything I wish the story had gone on longer but for the size it is, a novella, it’s nearly perfect. This is a very easy story to recommend both to fans of the author and those new to her work. Check it out!
Every house talks to itself at night. Pipes rattle, duct work expands and contracts with changing temperatures, shutters flap in the wind and sometime...moreEvery house talks to itself at night. Pipes rattle, duct work expands and contracts with changing temperatures, shutters flap in the wind and sometimes inanimate objects soar across the room.
At least that’s what is happening in Libby and Ethan’s new place.
Moving halfway across the country to start a new job is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. Ethan and Libby are eager to make new friends with the locals but for some reason none of their neighbors seem interested in getting to know them. I winced in sympathy as Ethan attempts to find a friendly soul to sell him a cord of firewood or give him the inside scoop on the best place in town for a hot cup of coffee as Libby adjusted to her boss and coworkers.
Weird things begin to occur almost as soon as this couple moves into their new rental but Ethan and Libby have an excuse for every one of them. I still wonder why two computer-savvy, intelligent adults wouldn’t have investigated the clues sooner either through a simple Internet search or by visiting the archives at the local library. In their shoes this would have been my first reaction to certain inexplainable events and their passive reactions to the presence in their home and all of the contradictions they encounter distracted me from what was an otherwise good story.
In the beginning I wished the plot would speed up a little bit as the hints about what was actually happening were punctuated by what I considered to be a few too many subplots. It was rewarding to piece everything together, though, once I realized this book was meant to be a slow, subtle burn. The last few sentences were particularly chilling and begged for a sequel. While I don’t know if the author has any plans to do so I hope to hear from Libby and Ethan again soon!
The Yellow House on Maloney Grove has all the elements of old-fashioned horror. I read it over an exceptionally dreary weekend and jumped out of my skin once or twice when wooden fixtures groaned unexpectantly as they contracted and expanded. Rainy days are perfect for a book like this…if you lock the door first.
Matt always understands her and she only feels safe and comfortable when around him. He tells her she’ll be chosen as one of the Elite and then they w...moreMatt always understands her and she only feels safe and comfortable when around him. He tells her she’ll be chosen as one of the Elite and then they will be able to be together. What he doesn’t tell her is that he’s a dragon who can look human…
This author creates a magical world where male dragons rule the world. They take a human shape (a pretty hot one, by the way) and live in the big castle. The two main characters are twins: Matt and Jason. While they are twins, they are not alike. Ms. Jenkins tells you they are “touched”. She doesn’t explain what that means in this book. Twins are not common the in the dragon world and their father has big plans for them.
Ms. Jenkins uses this story to set the platform for future books in the series. There’s a lot of info here that doesn’t seem to tie together and make much sense now but, as the tale progresses in future books, I think the missing ends will all begin to fill in.
When the dragon twins chose mates, the twins are no longer so close. They’ve always been together. Now they have another person to care for. I like the fact that they both want to be in marriage with love. That’s not a common dragon reaction; most males are simply looking for heirs, not love. It’s also fascinating to watch their father groom Matt for a special role. He leaves Jason out of meetings and ignores him for the most part. Surely this will turn into a conflict later. There’s also a smell of a power play coming.
I found the story interesting and enjoyed the dragons. I would have like to have a bit more detail so I was sure I understood the nuances. As it was, I liked this book enough to want to pick up the next in the series and see what good old dad is planning next. I also want to see more of Joshua and Gwen; they are slowly falling in love. So Ms. Jenkins got me hooked anyway, didn’t she?
Tom and Jarvis’ history of taking foolish risks may finally have caught up with them. As these two best friends struggle to stay alive in an unforgivi...moreTom and Jarvis’ history of taking foolish risks may finally have caught up with them. As these two best friends struggle to stay alive in an unforgiving climate will Tom be able to figure out what’s really happening to them?
Almost everyone makes a few dumb mistakes in their youth but unfortunately Jarvis and Tom’s thirst for adventure has resulted in a life-threatening hike through bitter cold. While their fingers and toes freeze solid and turn black the heroes of this tale struggle to make it home before they succumb to hypothermia. By the time the story begins Tom and Jarvis are so close to death that all they can think about is survival. The unconditional, platonic love they share shines through in simple gestures like building a fire or making sure the other one keeps moving even when he wants to sleep.
We’re given glimpses of how they developed their bond in a few flashbacks but I still finished this story with an unclear understanding of the personality differences between Tom and Jarvis. They’re both impulsive, thrill-seeking and oblivious to danger but it would have been helpful to see more examples of the differences between these characters that aren’t based on race or culture.
At first I thought the ending was a little too ambiguous but given the context in which this story occurs it makes sense to leave room for interpretation. After all, Tom and Jarvis were in no condition to ask coherent or thoughtful questions for several key scenes! This approach also leaves room for a sequel which I would read eagerly if Mr. King ever decides to write it.
How do we know what is real? How does the answer to this question vary from one perspective to another? The Third Man is a thought-provoking exploration of these questions that I recommend to anyone interested in a philosophical approach to horror.
What could be worse than moving to a half-finished house in the middle of nowhere?
Abby’s mood swings and pessimistic attitude make it difficult to sym...moreWhat could be worse than moving to a half-finished house in the middle of nowhere?
Abby’s mood swings and pessimistic attitude make it difficult to sympathize with her plight. Yes, changing schools and moving to a new state can be really stressful but from the moment she sees their new home Abby is determined to hate everything about it. Her intelligent and intuitive understanding of human nature soften the edges of her character, though, and after a few chapters I found myself looking forward to her witty, insightful descriptions of her family and friends.
Greg is one of the creepiest teenagers I’ve ever met in a young adult novel. Phrases that would sound harmless coming from anyone else in this story take on a much darker meaning when he leans in and quietly whispers them to Abby when no one else is listening. I would have preferred to see a deeper exploration of his personality and life history as the chapter in his life that probably molded his socially inappropriate behavior as a young adult was mentioned so briefly some readers may miss that clue. Those that figure it out will be rewarded with a chilling glimpse of Greg’s most important influences, though, as no one is born with the desire to terrorize other people!
I had trouble figuring out an appropriate age recommendation for this book. There was some use of inappropriate language and while the protagonist is quite appealing to tweens there are a few scary scenes that I would hesitate to recommend for anyone younger than twelve.
Obsession is a great stepping stone for middle school students who love the paranormal or horror genres and are ready to transition to slightly more mature stories. It’s spooky and spine-tingling without resorting to the blood and guts found in many adult stories in this style of writing but the plot is complex enough to to easily hold the interests of this age group.
The Sweetest Dark had a little bit of everything, romance, a gothic setting, a mystery, a lot of paranormal elements. I enjoyed Ms. Abe’s writing styl...moreThe Sweetest Dark had a little bit of everything, romance, a gothic setting, a mystery, a lot of paranormal elements. I enjoyed Ms. Abe’s writing style which is rich and layered. The main character, Lora was interesting and I found myself reading on to learn more about her. Some of the chapters in between the main ones threw me off a little at first but then as I read on they became clearer to the overall plot.
The book does have some historical inaccuracies about what happened during first half of World War 1 when the book is set, for example nightly bombing, children being evacuated, and the mention of Land Girls but if you can overlook these it’s a fun read with an almost creepy setting. And true to the gothic sub-genre, characters who you’re not quite sure if they can be trusted or not.
I really enjoyed seeing Lora and Jesse’s relationship unfold and I found myself wanting these two to be together. I think girls will probably enjoy this book more than boys and, while it’s a long read, the pacing is such that even younger girls shouldn’t have a problem. If you enjoy a slice of romance, mystery, especially gothics, with lots of supernatural elements, this would be a good pick.
Keeper of the Flame is the seventh book in Bianca D’Arc’s Dragon Knights series, and the first new book in a few years.
Prince Hugh of Draconia is a long way from home because a seer convinces his brother, the king, that Hugh should journey to Helios posing as a simple traveler, to see if he can discover whether Helios is still an ally to Draconia, and do so without exposing his inner dragon. The seer has said he needs to meet with the Doge of Helios, the ruler of that distant land, to see whether there may be cause for alarm. As third in line to the throne, Hugh is more warrior than spy, so he tries to keep his cover as honest as possible.
When he suddenly finds a young, abandoned gryphon, Hugh is determined to protect her from harm, because he believes she has seen too much hurt already. As he cares for her, he finds allies in the innkeeper where he has lodgings, and the innkeeper’s young son. When a mysterious highborn lady comes to the inn, Hugh believes she is there to take Miss, and he is determined to keep her safe. But things aren’t as they appear, and soon Hugh, the Lady and Miss are forced to go on the run, avoiding assassins and intrigue, and a plot to kill the Lady, Valeria. What Hugh doesn’t know, is Lera is the Doge, and also his mate. As the danger continues to build, Lera realizes there are traitors wishing her harm, including a member of her own family. In the middle of the drama, Hugh realizes that he is destined to stay with Lera in Helios, and they continue to grow closer to each other and to Miss, the little gryphlet Hugh rescued. As the extent of the treachery continues to grow, Hugh is relieved when his twin brothers and a pair of dragon knights, along with an emissary from Gryffid, the wizard, arrive to help with the defense of Lera and Miss, and the throne of Helios. Can Hugh, Lera and Miss survive the many attempts by the evil Eyes (master assassins), all the while forging bonds that will stand the test of time and more? Will the fire Lera wields strengthen Hugh’s hold on her heart? Can these three survive to form the family the so desperately want?
The characters in this are as well crafted and intriguing as those that came before, and I enjoyed meeting some new members of the royal family, and catching up on news from familiar old friends too. I love that Ms. D’Arc is beginning to expand the world of the Dragon Knights, taking us to the lands where gryphons rule the skies, and dragons are not seen, at least not until Hugh shows up.
Valeria is the Doge, or queen, of Helios, and also the Keeper of the Flame, the most sacred position in the land. I love her strength, her determination and her fairness. In spite of the danger, and the hurt that the traitor who hired the assassins is family, she fights alongside Hugh to defend the throne, because she knows that to fail is to doom herself, and her people. And in spite of her fear, she has courage and yet there is a vulnerability that seeps through, keeping her from being too hard. I liked that she trusted Hugh, believing him to be just a man, and I was delighted when she took his dragon side totally in stride.
Prince Hugh of Draconia is strong, handsome and protective of those who trust in him. When Miss, the abandoned gryphlet, and then Lera are in danger, Hugh steps up and keeps them all safe. I enjoyed watching as Hugh and Lera gave in to the attraction building between them, and Hugh’s decision that he would not be returning to his brother’s court. Hugh begins to believe that his meeting Valeria, and finding she is his mate, is part of what the seer predicted to his brother. I loved that Hugh was able to let Lera be strong, and not try to keep her from what she needed to do.
There are many converging threads in this story of treachery, betrayal and danger. There is also love, passion and laughter, and the joy of watching as a youngster learns she has worth, in spite of her hard beginnings. I love the baby gryphlet, Miss, and her growing attachment to ‘Hoo’. She is a strong character as well, learning that she has worth to those who truly care for her, and I was absolutely delighted when Hugh and Lera formally adopt her. As with all of Ms. D’Arc’s Dragon Knights books, there is lots of steamy hot sex in some unusual places. I loved seeing Hugh and Lera try to find ways to be together, while still trying to keep their actions from little Miss. There is a large cast of characters here, and although not all have major roles, everyone contributes to this in some way. I have missed this world, filled with fantasy and passion, and I welcome Ms. D’Arc’s Dragon Knights back for more adventures. I look forward to more stories in this world, but be warned; this one is as hot as a dragon’s flaming breath at times.(less)
Travis Cho, visiting Door Peninsula, spots a fairy. A fairy? this is a new realm to him, in an otherwise really familiar summer vacation. Or, maybe golfing in the hot sun has left him delusional? But no; the fairy returns and conversation sweeps Travis, and we readers away. It’s fun to discovered the viewpoints of a fairy. Travis is intrigued. I was intrigued.
He knows about not-quite fitting in, but this is an unimagined chance at a summer romance…that the reader hopes will be so much more! We start to hope that some sort of magic will intercede. We aren’t to be disappointed in the magic, but the story rambles along; Occasionally with just more detail than we need which drags the pace down, and the challenge to their romance seems to drag on a bit, as well. Conversations are uniformly super, however, and will keep you reading.
The true highlight of this work is the subtle humor infuses that specific lines, revealing Bardan’s light and clever style… On Par with a Fairy is a charming and original light fantasy.(less)
Rivka T’Shar is a Star Priestess whose mate had gone through The Purge leaving her unmated and angry at him because the Purge removed all emotion for an indefinite length of time. For this she could not forgive him, that was until she saw him again and her feelings came back.
Bastien D’Shar went through the Purge at age 17 blocking his emotions which would allow him to excel in his role as the protector of his people. He chose to do so because he knew it was his destiny as a D’Shar to protect even if it meant not having a mate. Now many years later, General D’Shar watches Rivka realizing that she is his mate and that The Purge is fading.
This is the second book in the D’Shar Men series. The first book, The Wanting, dealt with Bastien’s older brother Phelan D’Shar and his mate Zasha. The Unveiling can be read as a standalone, but not having read the first book I had to piece together some of the references made. I finally did read The Wanting and everything made sense, so I would suggest that before reading The Unveiling you read The Wanting.
That being said, The Unveiling is a good story, one where the author Shyla Colt created a world of supernatural beings learning to live among humans on earth after their world was destroyed. The characters were richly developed and the romance and love between them was intense. Of course like in all good fantasy adventures there is a bad guy Tavel who wants to conquer and control all that the D’Shar men are trying to protect. Even with this character you could see some moments of humanity mixed in with the madness.
I thoroughly enjoyed Bastien and Rivka together, their chemistry both In and out of the bedroom was enchanting. Shyla Colt made sure to weave in the relationships between the four D’Shar brothers giving you insight into what makes them tick so that the reader could look forward to the next books in this series. I would definitely recommend this series, my only complaint would be that at times it got a little wordy but this reader’s interest never waned. Hopefully you will pick up both books and enjoy the series and this reader looks forward to the next book.(less)
Will Carver is a beast of a man who knows about loyalty, who is unimaginably strong (perhaps because of that ‘beast side’) but whose heart is long since lost to lovely, treacherous Lena.
And clever, seductive though Lena is, she too might well be a victim: living in this alternate White Chapel District, one seems almost slated to be some kind of victim, either ‘thrall’ to a protector…or simply a blood supply.
The dark aura that McMaster creates permeates this work from start to finish. It is a combination of exquisite descriptions and delicious suspense along with small descriptors. You will imagine the pea-soup fog under the gaslights, feel the eerie cold rise off the cobblestones. My only complaint: some specific description bore a strong similarity to her earlier Kiss of Steel.
Heart of Iron takes us into an alternate world/history in nineteenth century London. Society is a far different realm than we might expect – unless we are already fans of Vampire-dom. Even then, few could imagine the realm McMaster here creates; where blue bloods feed on lesser classes, but the victims themselves can be dangerous.
It’s easy to say that this will certainly appeal to fans of the genre, however, I rather suspect that this will rate high on the list of anyone who enjoys a hot romance! Steampunk fans will also adore.(less)
Time travel has always fascinated me. While it sounds totally fascinating and like it could be fun, I would view it with great trepidation if it were available. “Safe” is not word that is synonymous with time travel.
Gavin is seventeen years old before he even realizes why photography appeals to him so much. And his first photo travel on his own almost got him killed…
Mr. Gonzales does a nice job of creating a different world where photo travelers are scarce but still surviving. His main character, Gavin, has been living with an abusive stepfather and has no living relatives to his knowledge. When, in the heat of battle, he hears about his grandparents, he’s off to find them. This is the story of Gavin learning about his heritage and about the real circumstances of his parent’s “death”. Gavin is coming of age, but still has a lot to learn.
The author draws you in and makes you care about Gavin. I found myself sympathizing when he made mistakes. One thing I liked was that the author shows how little changes in the past can cause consequences in the future. Mr. Gonzales has created a large consequence for Gavin that totally surprised me, but makes perfect sense.
While Gavin is just trying to survive with his new knowledge, he finds he has enemies trying to kill him. How do you decide who your enemy is when you don’t know anyone where you live? There’s good tension from the worry of who might be after him. And I was even shocked over the death of one of the characters,
It reads well, kept my attention, and I enjoyed the story though sections of it made me feel sad. This would be good for both young adults and adults. The story ends with a cliff hanger and I’ll be watching for the next book in the series to read more. Have you ever imagined time travel? How about looking at a photo and being able to transfer yourself to that time and place? Open this book and you’ll be on your way.(less)
Eleven year old Tyranna Wolfskin was used to being different. Among all the orphans at Lipkos Monastery, she was the only female. She was always pushed into activities like mending clothes or working in the kitchen when she would much rather be studying or learning about the forest. But if she thought she was different just because she was a girl, she would soon discover a much greater difference as she came to learn about the non-human species she had never known existed. These “retics” were as different from each other as they were from humans, but they had a common goal of surviving against the human “retic” hunters.
This story revolves around the theme of difference and how those differences are treated. T. J. Lantz’ story is very loosely set in Europe during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. While Lantz has the Coalition of the Burning Heart searching out non-humans or half-humans, the message is the same as it was in the Inquisition. Differences will not be tolerated and those who are different must be destroyed. In order to save themselves, the “retics” have built a hidden sanctuary governed by the Counsel of Rosehaven. The “retics” must learn to put aside their own personal differences and work together for the survival of all.
I like the way Lantz tells the story from multiple perspectives. We begin with Tyranna, who discovers she is half human and half elf, and then we are introduced to Jaxon, a demon/human half-breed. One of the problems with the “retics” is that they too have difficulties with differences and they also don’t like half-breeds. So for Tyranna and Jaxon the challenges become immense.
Tyranna is forced to learn about the world of the retics very abruptly and cruelly. Nevertheless, she doesn’t lose her smile and her enthusiasm for learning. She is also a very kind person, able to see the true nature of others, and in this way, her gentleness and her determination, her skills and her wisdom, enable her to make friends with a variety of personalities in a way that has her friends working together even when they had begun as enemies. Her vision for herself and her world is one which sees past any individual differences and instead focuses on what individuals have in common.
Lantz does an excellent job of portraying the many different species in his world. Each character is well developed with a clear and unique voice. Lantz alternates between Tyranna’s story and Jaxon’s, but the switches are easy to keep up with and by the end Lantz has brought them as well as a smaller third thread into a cohesive ending for this first novel in his series.
I really enjoyed this novel and I feel that Lantz tells a compelling and riveting story about how differences are handled. I can recommend it for any reader of fantasy, adult or young adult. I can’t wait for the next book in this series.(less)
Being born fully grown and eighteen years old would be a shock to anyone. Being born as quadruplets just as their mother died was heart-breaking and yet the girls, Anila, Terra, Aydan, and Yara, knew they had been brought into the world of Rare Root for one purpose and that was to destroy the evil known as the Rot. Finding that their first task was to bury their mother and then all the villagers in a neighboring town meant that they had no time to discover who they were. They had to hit the deck running and learn as they went.
Alyce Lewis has crafted an excellent story filled with diverse and well-defined characters. The plot moves along swiftly as the girls discover their elemental powers and grow into their fullness as Sprites. It is captivating to see them mature as they train. While they were born with fully functional young adult bodies, their emotional age seemed far younger at the beginning. Lewis does an excellent job of showing how each of the four Sprites masters her own element, fire, air, water, or earth, and learns to wield appropriate weapons in the fight against the Rot, while at the same time, maturing into a fully functional adult. The quadruplets are definitely individuals and their different voices and personalities are clearly shown and developed.
The Sprites are also forced to learn about the nature of love and friendship. They make mistakes, and they have to learn to see themselves as individuals, but ultimately they mature into a strong team with the ability to work together. They discover that while each of them is powerful in her own right, together they make a team which has a power beyond the linking of their individual gifts.
The book was most enjoyable even though the plot was a bit predictable. While there were no major surprises, Lewis keeps her readers engaged. I did feel that the love scenes between King Luster and Lady Harte were more sensual than sweet. For this reason, I rated the book for 14+ even though most of the book would be fine for younger readers. I also felt that this added sensuality felt jarring and out-of-place, given the tone of the rest of the novel.
The interactions between different species was handled with great sensitivity and clarity. It was easy to see the scenes between sirens and fairies, for instance, and the descriptions of the world of Rare Root were vivid and colorful. Rare Root is a consistent,well-crafted. believable world.
This is the first in a series and I am looking forward to reading the next in the series about the adventures in Rare Root and the battle between Light and Dark.(less)
Magical! And Hot! And Sweet! Sol and the Magic Fingers had me enraptured from page one. Like with many good short stories, it would have been fabulous to know more. It would have been great to delve more into the characters and especially into the history of the genie, but Sol and the Magic Fingers is also perfect the way it is.
In little less than 30 pages, the author provides a quick short romance and erotic fix that didn’t leave me hanging in any way. The story flows easily, from a captivating beginning to a romantic and sizzling middle to a magical end. There were moments where I was squirming in my seat and moments were my heart was breaking for the characters. Characters that were well built for such a short space. Karen is easily identifiable with through her insecurities and loneliness whilst Sol is plain dreamy.
Well written, the sizzling sexual scenes play a major role in this erotic romance and they alter from scorching (loved the shower scene) to sweet.
Overall, Ms. Doris O’ Connor’s short story is an enjoyable read for any given moment of the day. I was only left with one question: where can I find one of those e-readers?(less)
Daughter of the Earth and Sky is absolutely captivating!
I jumped at the chance to read Daughter of the Earth and Sky, the second book in Ms. Bevis’ Daughters of Zeus series. I loved the first book, Persephone, and I couldn’t wait to read more about Persephone and her adventures. Ms. Bevis completely blew me away with this latest offering. This book picks up not long after the events in the first book ended, so anyone wanting to enjoy this story should read Persephone first in order have a complete understanding of Persephone’s situation.
When Persephone found out that she was a goddess, her world was turned upside down. Now that the initial shock has worn off, Persephone is discovering that her status as a goddess changes every facet of her life, particularly her relationships. Persephone’s journey is very touching and I felt every growing pain she endured as I read. My heart ached as she and her best friend Melissa fought. I wiped away tears and she struggled to trust her mother, and I felt Persephone’s frustration as she tried to make Hades see a secret she was unfortunately bound to keep. The emotional rollercoaster was exhausting at times, but I’m so glad I was able to take that journey with Persephone. She is certainly a stronger young woman at the end of this book, and even though the dynamics of her relationships have changed, the bonds between Persephone and her friends and family are stronger than ever.
Persephone suffers a great deal physically and emotionally in this book, and yet she remains one of the toughest young adult heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Even though Persephone hasn’t grown into her full powers, she is never content to sit on the sidelines. She does everything she can to fight against Thanatos and Zeus. Even though Persephone is a goddess, she is far from perfect. She makes good and bad choices, especially where Aphrodite and the human boy, Joel are concerned. Her mistakes serve to make her an even more relatable and well rounded character.
I must say that Hades makes an interesting hero. In other paranormal or fantasy books, I’ve run across heroes that are supposed to be “dark,” but more often than not these heroes are not very scary. However, Hades really does have a dark side that is truly frightening. When I stop and think about some of the things he’s done to punish people who have hurt Persephone, I am chilled to the core. As dark as Hades seems, he is not a bad person and he loves Persephone very much. I really enjoy watching them grow as a couple.
I thought I had things figured out as I approached the end of Daughter of the Earth and Sky. However, Ms. Bevis threw in a twist that completely floored me. I knew something wasn’t quite right concerning a certain character, but I was definitely not prepared for the way the story ended. The conclusion of Daughter of the Earth and Sky is a cliff hanger. As soon as I finished reading, I literally jumped up and ran to my computer so I could find out when the next book will be out. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
Daughter of the Earth and Sky is one of the best books I’ve read. Long after I finished reading, I continued to think about Persephone and wonder what sorts of challenges she will face in the future. I highly recommend Daughter of the Earth and Sky to anyone looking for a young adult tale of love and friendship.(less)
The witching hour is a seriously sexy time of the day when Nicodemus Frost is on the hunt!
Esmerelda Payne is basically a good witch, but things haven’t gone so well for her and now, after a roll of serious misdemeanours she’s on the run. Trouble is, one seriously sexy Witchfinder, Nicodemus Frost, is after her in more ways than one.
Of course spells abound, one in particular that makes Esme ravished with lust for Nicodemus, trouble is, the spell works in a mutal way, making him as drawn to her as she is to him. He’s supposed to kill her, instead he wants to get inside her, and it seems, she isn’t going to be complaining about that.
This story ticks along in a magical way, there’s lot of information to take on board about this fantasy world but once you’ve got that you can get to know the characters. Esme wasn’t as likeable at the beginning as I usually would expect in an erotic romance, but it’s nice to have something a little different for a change, though I have to say I thought Nicodemus was hot – and that name, I swear, I’m giving it to my first born, love it!
The tension and sexual chemistry between the couple is executed with competance by the author and there were a few really nice lines that I reread. The sex was hot and with an undercurrent of other emotions and factors rolling beneath the surface this added to the moment.
If you like witch fantasy, and a plot line that is more than just the H/H relationship then this might be a book for you.(less)
Hotties and Hawaii . . . really, what more do we need for a stellar romance? Well, a good plot helps. Fortunately, Ms. Cade supplied that, also.
Burning Up the Rain is part of the “Hawaiian Heroes” series, so readers get to visit the Ho’omalu family again. This time, a cousin and a family friend experience the romantic magic and chaos that seem to surround the members of this family. Added to the steamy interactions, a potential marriage, familial expectations, a drinking problem and that pesky drug family all rear their head. Oh yeah. . . Pele makes an appearance, too!
This time, the Ho’omalu in question is Lalei. A cousin of the Ho’omalu’s met in previous stories, she is expected to marry a gentleman her mother feels is suitably wealthy enough to take care of both of them. Lalei is not happy about this, nor is she sure how to get out of the situation. This leads to many twists and turns that keep the reader guessing as to what is going to happen next.
Enter Jack, alcoholic best friend and Californian high-end realtor. He also happens to have a thing for Lalei. As if that wasn’t enough conflict, the Helman drug family appears to be harassing the Ho’omalu’s from beyond the grave.
As with past stories, there are plot twists and tangents, plenty of hot, steamy-hot sex, and personal struggle. There is also the possibility of the family’s relationship with Pele, the protector of Hawaii, to show itself and their unique powers. While these facts, at times, make for difficult reading (one might have to re-read passages from time to time), it leads to a well-written conclusion and thoroughly satisfying end to the book.
Speaking of the end of the book. . . while I am going to claim “spoiler alert”, I don’t think I’m giving away too much by saying a few key things that might tempt the reader to pick this book up now instead of placing it into their “to be read” pile. First off, visits with Pele are not uncommon in the family, but not necessarily with family friends. Secondly, there is nothing like a courtroom drama to give the possibility of your jaw dropping and an inability to stop reading (both of which occurred with this reviewer!)
I’d like to make note of the author’s use of the Hawaiian language throughout the book. It is, in all instances noted by the reviewer, followed by an English explanation.
Despite being a bit more confusing and full of personal angst and torment than previous interactions with this family, the story is well worth reading. The sex is definitely on par with past books, and the evil just as present. All-in-all, I would recommend grabbing this one now and start reading it immediately.
Neighborlee is a college town with magic! Ordinary citizens don’t see the magic but the creatures from other worlds make Neighborlee their base when in the human world. At the center of the magical world – but at the edge of the town – is Divine’s Emporium and its guardian, Angela. Beside her in this magical store is Maurice, a Fae who has broken the rules. He has to serve out his probation at the Emporium and part of his punishment is being shrunk to six inches tall and having wings on his back, although he is allowed one day a year at normal size.
Angela’s world is shaken when two robbers bypass the magical safeguards of the Emporium, something that should not be able to happen. When she confronts them they throw her into a painting which is a doorway to an unfriendly world. Luckily she clings to the frame and Maurice returns home from his one day a year as a normal size in time to rescue her.
This is another stupendous book about Neighborlee. Maurice is cheeky but learning to think of others, especially librarian Holly who he has fallen in love with. Angela tries to remember her past while struggling to defend Divine’s. Behind these two important characters are the magical beings of Neighborlee. Lanie, the paraplegic newspaper editor with telekinetic abilities; the children of the Hunt who in reality are adults from another world protected by the Hounds.
A new character to the novels is Ethan, a private investigator who has been hired to find a missing girl. His search leads him to Neighborlee but he brings chaos and evil with him. He and Angela sense there is a link between them but until the threat to Divine’s Emporium is over, neither is willing to take a step into the past.
I love these books. They always make me feel as if I’m sitting in front of a roaring fire with a mug of hot chocolate, relaxing as I read the book. Ms Levigne has a marvelous way of showing me the world she has created and making me believe all I read. Well written and wonderful. Great book.(less)
Tuck jumped from the frying pan into the fire. After escaping the Gutters, a vicious band of children and teenagers who were bent on killing and eating him, Tuck emerged alive only to be taken by another gang for their prostitution ring. If being drugged to the gills in preparation for a life of sexual slavery wasn’t bad enough, Tuck soon finds himself rescued only to be made a spy for the government. Yet the rebels want Tuck to turn into a double agent and give them information instead. Tuck’s having a hell of a week and the only one he can trust is the sexy soldier that seems to care about him beyond all good sense.
Hell’s End is a quick paced, action packed roller coaster ride from beginning to end. Set in an alternate science fiction world, the planet is ravaged by gangs, violence, and a seemingly corrupt government. Every level offers some different source of danger and conflict. The world building is ambitious and impressive. There are several holes in the logic governing the planet and it’s various levels but the fast, near non-stop action, and maze-like plot helped me ignore any problems. There’s so much going on with such a large cast that the story absorbed almost all my attention just to keep up with everything and everyone.
The characters are well defined but there are a lot of them. This isn’t a problem, per se, but since each new character is more interesting than the last, it does mean that none of them get the space they really deserve, perhaps they will in future books. The main characters of Tuck and Ivan, the government soldier who falls for Tuck, make a nice couple. They help drive the action and give it a central point amid the swirling chaos that seems to always be present. I think there’s too much going on to really devote the necessary time and attention to their romance to make it truly believable but I liked it as a counterpoint to the violence that perpetuates the world and story.
While reading I was quickly and thoroughly absorbed from the start. It sucked me in so I read it pretty fast and without too many breaks. I worry that I won’t be able to remember all the necessary details if there are any subsequent books in the series but the author’s imagination is let loose. The creativity and delight of this world, with all its darkness and hidden beauty, is a wonder. The plot is ambitious and reaches perhaps too far with the genetic manipulations, bots, spies upon spies, traitors, moles, and so on but it makes for a lightening fast and extremely entertaining read. I would easily recommend this for sci-fi fans that like a lot of action and a complicated plot. This is not a difficult read but it’s also not what I’d consider a breezy read either. It’s absorbing for the right person.
Will the world end with a bang, a whimper or so slowly that no one notices anything until it’s too late? This collection offers five terrifying glimpses into how and why everything ends for individuals, societies and even the entire human race.
It’s scary to think that someday the human race will end. Whether our descendants die out or evolve into a new species has yet to be determined but one of the loneliest fates I can imagine is outliving ever other human being and then face one’s own mortality. The stories in the book are spooky, sad, and even occasionally funny but all of them attempt to describe what it would be like to be in this situation.
Till Dawn was full of run-on sentences that made it difficult to follow the narrator’s thoughts. I suspect that it was intended to show the narrator’s disorganized thinking and possibly hint at an underlying mental illness. The concept was quite intriguing but I spent so much time trying to figure out if the narrator was reliable that I never quite got into it.
After All shows what would really happen in an apocalypse: the wealthy would hog all of the resources, everyone else would die slowly and terribly. The question is, though, what happens many generations from now when the wealthy re-inherit the earth? Can a society survive longterm if only a few personality types are allowed to reproduce?
Death Trapped once again had me wondering how much of what the main character described was actually happening versus how much of it was a hallucination. The entities the main character meets are so unusual that they could easily be described but even when the author’s intentions are confirmed I found myself listing reasons why the other explanation was still valid. It definitely kept me guessing, though, and the characters in this story were my favourite in the entire book.
Only Human is the strongest entry in this collection. It would be so lonely to be the last member of one’s species still alive especially while witnessing the genesis of the species that will be your replacement. The twist at the end of it was unexpected and even though it left me wanting more everything was tied together precisely and all of the questions I had at the beginning were more than satisfactorily answered.
The Bridge to Andromeda has an attention-grabbing introduction but I had trouble figuring out why it ended so abruptly or how certain aspects of the plot were intended to connect to one another. The metaphors were so well-written that I could almost see them bubbling out between the sentences. I truly wished to savour the final story but never quite understood what the author was attempting to communicate.
Despite a few bumps along the way Passport to Phelamanga is an imaginative collection of tales that I never wanted to end. I hope to read more from Michael Sutherland soon and in the meantime will be revisiting these worlds and wondering what he will come up with next!(less)