Posted in Book Review, Crime, Magic, Mystery

Breaking The Lore-Andy Redsmith @canelo_co @AndyRedsmith #fantasy #crime #humour-3*#Review

How do you stop a demon invasion… when you don’t believe in magic? Inspector Nick Paris is a man of logic and whisky. So staring down at the crucified form of a murder victim who is fifteen centimetres tall leaves the seasoned detective at a loss… and the dead fairy is only the beginning.

Suddenly the inspector is offering political asylum to dwarves, consulting with witches, getting tactical advice from elves and taking orders from a chain-smoking talking crow who, technically, outranks him.

With the fate of both the human and magic worlds in his hands, Nick will have to leave logic behind and embrace his inner mystic to solve the crime and stop an army of demons from invading Manchester!

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I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Creating a fantasy world that appeals to readers is difficult, everyone has their own preconceptions of what should be in this world, what the creatures look like, and how they behave. The key is perhaps to hold back on the descriptions of your fantasy creatures and let your reader imagine them. This is what I like to do, but in this mystery the creatures are so well defined, it leaves little to the imagination.

Once you’ve achieved this, the next obstacle is how to create a story that fits in with the world you’ve created, and entertains your reader. I have no problem believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden, or another world running parallel to ours, but largely unseen by humans. However, some of the descriptions of the creatures living in this fantasy world didn’t resonate. Believable characters or ones you can empathise, are important for the reader to connect to the story. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that connection with any of the characters in this story.

Inspector Paris is amusing, but his addiction to cigarettes and whiskey, apparently supported by his employers didn’t ring true. A functioning alcoholic for a detective is not a new concept, but this didn’t fit with his almost naive belief in the supernatural. unless of course, they are part of his drunken haze?

The story fits into the cozy mystery genre, but the supernatural elements, if any, are usually implied rather than implict.as in this case. I admire the courage to merge genres but maybe the fantasy needs taming a little and the mystery deepening for it to work effectively.

The pacing and plot are good. The dynamics between the main players believable, and often amusing, If you are looking for a lighthearted read, and enjoy this type of urban fantasy, this is worth a read.

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Posted in Book Review

Tempests and Slaughter – Tamora Pierce – 3* Review

The legend begins.

In the ancient halls of the Imperial University of Carthak, a young man has begun his journey to becoming one of most powerful mages the realm has ever known. Arram Draper is the youngest student in his class and has the Gift of unlimited potential for greatness . . . And of attracting danger.

At his side are his two best friends: clever Varice, a girl with too often-overlooked, and Ozorne, the ‘leftover prince’ with secret ambitions. Together, these three forge a bond that will one-day shape kingdoms.

But as Ozorne inches closer to the throne and Varice grows closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realizes that one day – soon – he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, fans of Tamora Pierce will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a boy with unimaginable gifts and a talent for making deadly enemies.

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My Thoughts…

Easy to read, although the setting and culture are harder to grasp. This book is a prequel, and like ‘Star Wars’ if you have prior knowledge of the world and the characters in this story, it’s more enjoyable.

‘Tempests and Slaughter’ sets the scene for what is to come.  Slow paced it provides detailed character profiles, the action is low key, but life with the three main characters is informative with lots of vivid description.

The three main characters Arram, Ozorne and Varice are linked by destiny and reading this book does make me want to know what the future holds for them. There are obvious similarities with other magical dynasties, but this world is closer to ‘Game of Thrones’ than ‘Hogwarts’. Arram has an undeniable resemblance to Merlin and Harry Potter.

If you enjoy epic fantasy with a magical twist, this story will appeal, especially if you fall within the young adult audience.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Voyager – Harper Collins UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Labyrinth of the Spirits – Carlos Ruiz Zafon – 3* Review

Barcelona, 1957. Daniel Sempere runs the Sempere & Sons bookshop, is happily married and has a son. No longer the child who discovered the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, he is still haunted by the mysterious death of his mother when he was six years old. Meanwhile, his best friend and accomplice, Fermin, is about to marry the love of his life. But something appears to be bothering him. One morning, when Daniel is alone in the shop, a mysterious figure enters and buys a precious copy of The Count of Monte Cristo. Then, to Daniel’s surprise, the man inscribes the book with the words ‘To Fermin Romero de Torres, who came back from the dead and who holds the key to the future’.

That night Fermin confesses that he was once in prison and that he had to fake his own death to escape. Now his former cellmate has reappeared with a possible key to the hidden treasure. But is it a trap? And why is Daniel’s wife meeting someone in secret? And who was the sinister figure Daniel’s mother went to meet on the night of her death…

The Labyrinth is a stunning Russian doll of a novel, an addictive story that will lure you into a world of plots within plots, where even the shadows have a story to tell…

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My Thoughts… 

Although it states you can read this book as a standalone, I found it difficult to get into the story and empathise with the characters. The sheer length of the book demands that you feel something for the characters and I couldn’t. The language and imagery are noteworthy, but it isn’t enough if you can’t grasp the plot and what motivates the characters.

So this is one I didn’t finish. If you’re familiar with the author’s other books you should enjoy reacquainting with some characters and the storyline and style may appeal. It’s not a story you can dip into you need to be a fantasy fan, and the fantasy created by the author needs to be one you can relate to, I wasn’t able to.

I received a copy of this book from W&N Orion Publishing Group in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Woman Before You Carrie Blake – 4* Review

You never know what secrets people are hiding. And when you find out, it’s more sinister than you could ever have imagined.

Isabel: Beautiful. Talented. Bored.

Mathew: Mysterious. Handsome. Dangerous.

For Isabel Archer, dating is a way to pass the time in her otherwise safe and comfortable life. She casts herself as the Perfect Girl for every man she matches with, playing a different girl with a different back-story every night for months. It’s innocent – one goodnight kiss before swiftly deleting each profile – until she goes too far.

Mathew likes playing games too. Only the games he wants to play are the kind you don’t always walk away from.

As Isabel falls hard for Mathew, his lies bring them closer to their downfall. And she won’t see it coming.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Even though I disliked both protagonists in this chilling game playing thriller, I still kept turning the pages, carried on guessing what the endgame was and hated the controlling antagonist. The writing is good, and the characters are complex, the plot keeps it surprises even if they are not as earth-shattering as the blurb suggests.

Rather than a player, Isabel comes across as a victim. Abused at school and bullied, she doesn’t tell and wants to be popular, so glosses over the abuse she suffers; if she doesn’t think about it, it isn’t real. Her New York life is a flop, in a dead-end job with the abuse she has already suffered she is perfect grooming material for Mathew and his boss.

Isabel and Matthew tell the story from alternative points of view, but who is honest and who is lying?
Based on control rather than love, the relationships are shallow and sinister. The ending is strange, in-keeping with the book’s ethos. Questions remain, perhaps for a sequel?

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Inspector Hobbes and the Bones – Wilkie Martin 4* Review

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‘I was grateful for having been born human’

There’s going to be trouble. Andy Caplet’s wife goes away, someone is out to get him, and he loses nearly everything in a storm. Amazing both himself and his unhuman friend Inspector Hobbes, he heroically rescues flood victims and uncovers something shocking.

Is Andy being set up for blackmail by the apparently charming young woman who attempts to seduce him, or is something even more sinister afoot? Hobbes certainly believes so, and he’s getting worried.

This is the fourth in Wilkie Martin’s unhuman series of standalone cozy comedy crime fantasies.

Suitable for teenage and upwards. Set in the English Cotswolds and featuring the unhuman British detective Inspector Hobbes as told by the chaotic reporter Andy Caplet. It is not necessary to have read the previous books in the series

Amazon UK

Amazon

Click on the book cover below for an excerpt from the book.

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My Thoughts…

A lovely mix of cozy mystery and fantasy set in a quirky Cotswold town. This was my first Inspector Hobbes novel and it’s been on my reading list for almost a year now. After reading it, I’m anxious to read the other mysteries.

Designed to be read as a standalone, you get all the backstory you need to enjoy both the characters and the mystery. Inspector Hobbes is an enigmatic, witty character but I’m still not sure what he is? It certainly didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story, just made visualising him difficult.

Andy, our narrator attracts misfortune and this makes him both a vulnerable and comic character. He did exasperate me at times but he is a good person and makes a perfect ‘sidekick’ for the inspector.

The setting is vividly described and the plot easy to follow, allowing the reader to concentrate on the enthralling characters. There is a noticeable preoccupation with food, so make sure you have some snacks handy when reading this.

An addictive, humorous read.

I received a copy of this book from The Witcherley Book Company via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Catch 26 – Carol Prisant – Review

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Paranormal Blurb

What if you could live your life all over again?

There’s just one catch…

Frannie Turner is a plain, middle-aged housewife married to Stanley, a self-absorbed retired dentist who hasn’t slept in her bed in years. No children to love and be loved by. No exciting career to look back on. Just loneliness and lost dreams. So when the mysterious new hairdresser in town offers her the chance to get everything she’s ever wanted, Frannie figures she has nothing to lose -except her soul. And surely, as a stunning twenty-six-year-old singleton in New York, finding true love within the stipulated year should be a piece of cake, not to mention a hell of a lot of fun!

But New York City is no place for the naïve, and Frannie will soon learn just how dangerous a deal with the devil can be…

Paranormal Buy Links

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Paranormal My Review

Catch 26: A Novel

I liked the idea of this story, but I  didn’t connect with the central character and  the story didn’t fulfil it’s potential. I didn’t finish this book, which is rare for me.
This story is too dark, the main character doesn’t seem to have any good memories in her life  and came across as someone who lets life pass her by. This passive personality trait makes it unlikely she would ‘make a deal with the devil’, as we are supposed to believe. If she couldn’t break away from a man who clearly thought of her as a possession rather than a person how could she make such a risky, out of character choice? It’s the lack of credibility of the main character that spoils the story.
There are many humorous moments and plenty of passion as she searches for her true love but these don’t compensate for the lack of authenticity for me.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Catch 26: A Novel by Carol Prisant
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Catch 26 A Novel by Carol Prisant

Carol Prisant

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Posted in Book Review

3* Review: The Selection -Kiera Cass

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Blurb 2016- 2

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Buy Links 2016 -2

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My Review

 

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

 

Dystopian Cinderella tale aimed at the Teen and Young Adult market. Told from America’s point of view, one of the selected, this portrays a young girl’s emotional journey, in rather unusual circumstances.
This is an introductory novel and mainly catalogues the first part of America’s journey as a ‘selected’. She is a likeable character, mindful of others feelings but definitely a free spirit. The other girls in the story have interesting personalities. There is a love triangle of sorts, which I guess will be explored later in the series.
This book has been around for four years and has attracted a phenomenal amount of very mixed reviews. Whilst, I’m not engaged enough to read anymore in the series, if you enjoy a modern day take on fairy tales with a definite dystopian setting, this should appeal.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins- Children’s via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Selection by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass

Kiera Cass

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Posted in Book Spotlight, Feature Friday

Feature Friday: Frog Hollow – Savannah Blevins

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Paranormal Blurb

It’s a sign. No one is safe.

At just twenty-two years old, Wilhelmina Daniels inherits a house, a family of eclectic witches, and a death sentence on the same day. As revealed by Reid Thomas, her shy but smoldering neighbor, Wilhelmina is a descendent of the Innocent—a line of gifted women who are to be admired, feared, and above all else, protected.

Death, mayhem, and The Haunted…

The murder of Wilhelmina’s mother—the family matriarch—sends the small town’s rumor-mill into a frenzy. Suspicions fall on The Haunted, a rival force with dual personalities, one of them being Julien Cote.

It’s difficult to believe the charming boy has a sexual deviant with a hankering for violence lurking inside.

Rumor has it Julien can seduce an angel out of her wings. Wilhelmina doesn’t have wings, but if he calls her cheri d’amour one more time, she’s liable to lose something of equal importance—her heart. But with Reid hailing from her clan, will she stay close to her own, or venture into the unknown?

Even a powerful spell can’t seal Julien’s fate…

Julien knows an incantation that just might help Wilhelmina to solve her mother’s death, but when an unidentified stalker is spotted spying in her house, her family is certain it’s Julien’s dangerous alter ego come out to play.

Wilhelmina must decide—is risking her life worth the possible heartbreak of discovering the truth about Julien’s fate and her mother’s death? Or will she cast aside her desire for Julien and vow her love to Reid.

Leaving her past forever buried in the murky depth of…Frog Hollow

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Paranormal Buy Links

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Poppy - Author Bio

blevinsSavannah was born in Hyden, Kentucky. She received her M.S in Speech Language Pathology from The University of Mississippi in 2009. She’s been writing since the early age of nine when she begged her parents for a type writer for Christmas.

She now lives in Corbin, Ky with her husband of eight years, John, and their two wonderful daughters, Delilah and Gracie.

When she isn’t working, or running after her kids, she spends her free time traveling the country with her husband. There is nothing better than a day of football in the grove, a late night of basketball at Rupp Arena or slapping the glass to celebrate another Washington Capitals goal.

She is a strong believer that with enough hard work and determination you can accomplish anything.

Poppy - Links

LIMITLESS PUBLISHING

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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Posted in Book Review, New Books, Writing Journey

4* Review: Follow Your Fantasy Deeper – Nicola Jane

Adult Read

86967-6 Follow your fantasy Deeper

Blurb - Coastal

Your erotic adventure continues…

Welcome back to the sizzling erotic world of Follow Your Fantasy – a whole new world of fantasies where you, the reader, choose what happens next. And if one adventure isn’t enough, go back and try another.

As the story unfolds, your decision could take you onstage in a very naughty magic show; on a hot, naked photo shoot or to a solo performance for the watchful neighbour across from your apartment. You might be an artist’s sexy muse or the star of a very special home video. Whether you find out more about Giselle, meet the commanding magician Leon, or seduce the policeman following you, whatever choice you make, the power is always yours.

In this brand new collection of short, steamy stories, you’ll delve further into your fantasies than ever before. Once again, the most important character is You – confident, sexy and up for anything You. Where will your fantasies take you this time…?

Buy Links  - Coastal

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My Review - Coastal

This story explores the sexual fantasy concept in a deeper, darker way. Using an alter ego the fantasies are more risqué and there is always the ‘get out’ alternative at the end of each chapter. I enjoyed reading this essentially, light hearted series of shorts and the concept remains innovative and original, something that is refreshing in the erotica genre.
There is even a ‘fantasy map’ at the end of the book to ensure you haven’t missed anything.
If you like to explore the adult  fantasies of others, this is definitely worth a read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 Click on the image to read my review of book 1 

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Posted in Guest post, New Books

Follow your Fantasy: Deeper – Nicola Jane- Guest Post

Adult Read

Today, I have erotica author Nicola Jane on my blog.  I reviewed Nicola’s first book from Harper Impulse ‘Follow your Fantasy’ and now the journey continues with Follow your Fantasy: Deeper.

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Going Deeper

‘Follow your Fantasy: Deeper picks up a short time after the first book ends. When I got the offer from Harper Impulse, I had actually already written about 9,000 words of a totally different, mythical themed, choose-your-own-adventure format book. But then I decided it was too different from Follow Your Fantasy and that there was more to say about the world of this modern reality-dwelling “You.”

Second book syndrome is very real. It’s much harder to write when there are expectations, from readers, from your publisher, from yourself. When I wrote Follow Your Fantasy, I just did it for fun, for escape, for my own amusement. But Follow Your Fantasy: Deeper, gave me total writer’s block for months and took over three times longer to write. I had to really dig deep mentally to get there, with the occasional flash of blessed inspiration for scenes that I have no idea where they came from. There’s some pretty edgy stuff in this one… Rumpelstiltskin makes an appearance!

Because the books are choose-your-own-adventure, the central character “You” is, in essence, blank so the readers can fill her in in their own image. Yet, she still has some character of her own – risk-taking, daring. I wanted to explore the character of “You”, particularly her relationship with the other female character, Giselle. For me, it’s their relationship that the books are really about. Giselle isn’t just a lookalike, she’s a device “You” uses to give herself (or yourself, the reader) the permission to go to some pretty extreme places. But what makes her tick? Is she just a character of her own invention too? I think we start to find out a bit more about her, but it depends which branches of the story you take as to what you find out. As for “You”, she starts to go off on her own adventures, less reliant on Giselle, but still very linked.

The book takes some paths deeper into the realm of sexual fantasy and I read a book called Garden of Desires by Emily Dubberley which collects women’s fantasies and groups them into categories. Like dominance, masochism, voyeurism etc and I realised I had been writing a lot of scenes that fall under the exhibitionism category. That gave me a lot to think about! But that’s the point of erotica, to explore things from a safe perspective, to go deeper into your own fantasies.

I was also writing through a time in my life where I was having one of the deepest, in the sense of profound, experiences because I was pregnant for the first, and so far only, time. The last third of the book and all edits and rewrites were completed during my middle trimester. It’s not that pregnancy can’t be a sexy time, but it’s a bit odd now, with a ten-month old baby boy, to be remembering things I was writing when he was in utero!’

Author Bio - Flower

Photo-Nicola-Jane-218x247Wanderlust has been my main life force for the last ten years flitting from country to country (7 and counting) but, now I’ve managed to tie myself down in Madrid for a while, I’m operating more on the lust part with writing Erotica and dabbling in multiple dating and open relationships. I’ve never had an English boyfriend so my male romantic protagonists tend to be influenced by the Latin charms. Men I meet keep telling me I should write about them in my books. One or two might have made it already. One or two more are always welcome. – See more at: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/authors/nicola-jane/

 

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