Posted in Book Reviews

Christmas at Woolworths by Elaine Everest

I enjoy seasonal reads and Christmas at Woolworths was such an enjoyable and enlightening read!

This is my honest and unbiased review in return for a copy of this book from the publishers.

christmas at woolworthsI found myself fully immersed in the story all the way through the book.  The characters are well developed, authentic and endearing.  I loved that the women were depicted as strong, interesting and inspirational characters.

Right from the start, I was intrigued to find out what life was like for those amazing women living in Erith, Kent.  Freya, Ruby, Maisie, Sarah, Betty, Maureen, Vera and Pat to name but a few of the characters are all very different people drawn together during WWII.  Some of them have bonded whilst working at Woolworths, and others by living together and supporting one another in this tight-knit community.

Although I am too young to have lived during this war era, I found myself reflecting on what life must have been like for these people.  Their strength and camaraderie is inspirational and heart-warming.  Each character is highly motivated to do their part to try and end the war so life could return to normal.  They endured the constant threat of scary air raids and buildings being bombed, but all the while trying to lead as normal lives as possible.

Woolworths is the hub of the town that people relied upon to create a sense of normality and where women could prove that they are as capable of doing a magnificent job of running a business as men could.  As you are most likely aware, in those days, women were expected to stay at home and men ran the businesses.  These wonderful women fund-raised to support the war effort and also provided auxiliary support for fire services and ARP, as well as taking in refugees into their homes.

This wonderfully written, well researched book gives an amazing insight into the lives of these brave characters.  I enjoyed the interaction between the characters, which offered intimate glimpses into their budding friendships and romances.  The intrigue and mystery created by some new arrivals made me very curious indeed to keep reading!

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I was kept thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.  This book is full of exciting plots and interesting characters.  I didn’t want the story to end!

I can highly recommend this book, not only as a fantastic Christmas read, but also as a heart-warming story that will leave you filled with good cheer and a sense of positivity for the festive season!

This book deserves

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Demon Leap (The Specials #1) by Tricia Owens

I really enjoyed this paranormal thriller!  Demon Leap is a uniquely interesting and imaginative story that will have you mesmerized from page 1 right up until the end.  The characters are well written and interesting.

demon leapThe main character is Arrow and she’s driven to expose the government conspiracy of how her parents and thousands of others died in the War.  To do so, Arrow has to align herself with dangerous criminals known as the Specials.  “They are magic misfits and criminals, recruited and blackmailed to fill ordinary positions within the Sinistera Hotel.”

Arrow is a magically highly skilled person with some very important secrets. Her grandmother, one of the warriors that fought against the demons in the War, is now hidden away in a nursing home.  Her mind was broken by government methods to strengthen her magical abilities and Arrow pays for her care and medication, which isn’t cheap.

Arrow is framed for a couple of murders and finds herself in a situation where she has to take a job at ‘The Sinistera Hotel’.  This is a scary place where the majority of the inhabitants are menacing and dangerous criminals. She is given the position of head of security, a job she is not quite sure that she is capable of.  However, The hotel is the only place where she might just have the chance to survive if the residents or the other Specials (people like her) don’t take her out first.

This is an exciting and fast paced story.  Arrow is an engaging and interesting character and I enjoyed her interaction with the other characters in this book.

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I am looking forward to exploring the rest of this series as it has intrigued me. I love the author’s style of writing and I really enjoyed the excitement and intrigue of this story.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.

This book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Thank you to Linsey Miller, Sourcebooks, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

mask of shadowsThis is an original and intriguing story about Sal, a street fighter and highway thief, who auditions for a place on the Queen’s Left Hand, her trusted band of assassins.

She/He is given a mask with the number Twenty-three as identification for the audition.  Sal has to learn to become a killer/assassin, but unexpectedly also falls in love. It’s a battle to the death as there are very few rules.  Unless stated otherwise, you may attempt to kill your rivals outside of the challenges.

The androgynous concept in this book is interesting and will appeal to YA readers.  Although the plot was violent, it was full of clever intrigue. I really enjoyed reading this gripping story line.

I’m looking forward to the sequel!

This book deserves

 

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Being a Witch, and Other Things I Didn’t Ask for by Sara Pascoe

Thank you to Netgalley, Sara Pascoe and the Independent Book Publishers Association for allowing me to read and review this book about a teen witch.  I enjoyed following Raya’s journey of self-discovery.

being a witchThis is a wonderful story about a young girl, who has had a difficult life and is struggling to come to terms with her past.  Raya finds it difficult to let anyone get close to her and vice-versa.  She is in foster care but wants to run away and be free to make her own choices.  In her quest to find herself and establish her independence, Raya quickly discovers that she is an integrator (witch).  This turns out to be a huge relief to her as it explains some of the weird things happening to her.

She is quickly immersed in a new world of adventures, which relies on her mastering her new skills to save herself and her companions.

Characters

Oscar, her talking cat companion, is a fun yet wise character.  Who wouldn’t want a talking cat?

Raya is a troubled teen, who is initially irresponsible and selfish, but later realises the value of her friends and lets them into her life.

Bryony is her tutor and attempts to help Raya practise her new time travel skills.  She even tries to save her when things go awry.

I liked most of the secondary characters as well.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the contemporary setting of the story as well as the historical period featured during the time travel.

I thought that the time travel, which wholly depended on Raya’s wishing to be elsewhere, was believable and added significantly to the storyline.

Raya’s past and her perceptions of her life were explained in an authentic and easy to understand way.  I think that it helps the reader understand her character better and allows them to relate more easily to her.

There was a well thought out moral underpinning the story.

I think that teens aged 13–15 would especially enjoy this story.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read giving a troubled teen a voice and letting her find and embrace acceptance and love.

This book deserves

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Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons

Thank you to Netgalley, Juliet Lyons and Sourcebooks Casablanca for allowing me to read and review Dating the Undead.  I loved it!  It was a sassy and funny read with a dollop of intrigue and adventure.

dating the undeadSilver Harris is kicked out of a New Year’s Eve party for throwing her drink over a woman she catches kissing her date and a well-placed kick directed at her date’s unmentionables.  While out on the street, she meets a gorgeous man, who walks her home.  They get along really well and end up sharing a sizzling midnight kiss to celebrate the New Year.

Silver soon realises that her sexy Irish man is a vampire but she doesn’t mind, even after he bit her, as it was the best kiss of her life.

She tells her step-sister, Jess, the next day about her exciting night.  Unfortunately, Silver had no way of contacting her vampire (she didn’t get his name) and had given him a false address when he had walked her home.  Jess mentioned that there was a vampire dating website called V-Date so Silver decides to join in the hopes that he is on the site.  Silver goes on a few dates with vampires from V-Date but she doesn’t connect with any of them and finds herself incredibly bored.

Meanwhile, the vampire that Silver is besotted with, Logan, has been tasked by his head vampire (boss) to track down human women dating on V-Date.  It is imperative that Logan glamour these women to forget about vampires so that they can keep their secrets.  Ironically, the first woman Logan is instructed to glamour is Silver but he can’t bring himself to do it as he doesn’t want her to lose interest in him.  This could get him in serious trouble with his boss but he thinks Silver is worth it.

At the same time, Silver is contacted by the police as they want her to go undercover on V-Date to obtain information about the vampires that she meets.  She decides to do it once they agree to re-investigate her mother’s death which happened when Silver was just 9 years old.  The police set up a fake account for Silver and she starts meeting up with vampires in the hopes of extracting their secrets.

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Things get a bit tense with Logan ignoring his “boss’s” directive and Silver informing on the vampires to the police.  Despite this, they can’t help falling in love.  Where will this lead?

To complicate things further, Logan’s original sire appears on the scene.  She wants to punish him for not being the murderer that she wanted him to turn into.  How will this affect Silver and Logan’s romance?

After reading the blurb for this book, I knew it was going to be an enjoyable, fun read.  I like Silver’s feistiness and sense of humour.  I appreciated how Logan managed to maintain his humanity after all those years.  The author did a great job of writing their romance and developing their characters.

This books deserves a fabulous

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Breakwater (Broken Tides Book 1) by Catherine Jones Payne

Thank you to Netgalley, Catherine Jones Payne and Fathom Ink Press for allowing me to read and review Breakwater.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

breakwaterI liked that this story had strong female characters, who weren’t afraid to stand up for the less fortunate and speak the truth as they saw it.  I think that this story has political parallels evident in our own society.

Jade is a seventeen year old mermaid, whose father is one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors.  Everything in her life is wonderful and she is preparing to marry her handsome fiancé, but her bubble is about to burst.

She witnesses her fiancé murder a naiad and he and his family try to stop her from reporting it.  Of course, Jade does the right thing by breaking off their engagement and reporting him at great personal cost to herself and her family.

This incident plunges the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar and tensions flare between the mer and the naiads (the lesser water race).  Jade learns too late that the choices that she makes have far reaching effects for her family and her city.  The fragile peace is shattered and the mer guards are killing naiads to get them under control.  Jade is caught between trying to help the naiads and keeping her family safe.

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Jade, as the protagonist in this story, can come across as naïve, which could be irritating in parts as she doesn’t seem to grow in character and she foolishly thinks that she can save everyone by sacrificing herself.

There is a hint of a developing romance between Jade and a mer, who lives amongst the naiads and is a long-time friend.  I am presuming that this will be elaborated upon in Book 2.

This book offers plenty of intrigue, authentic characters and interesting plots.  It will leave you wanting to find out what happens next.

This story earns a solid 3 stars.

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The Stone Quest (Book 2 of The Middengard Sagas) by June Wilson

I love The Stone Quest even more than The Stone Keeper !  Action packed and full of twists and turns!  This book has kept me guessing from beginning to end.

stone questThe Stone Keeper (Book 1) was a riveting and enjoyable read but Book 2 has left me wanting even more.  I need to know what happens next!

In Book 2, Alice is back in Melbourne, mourning the loss of her cousin, Toby, and wondering if her friend, Jess, is okay.   Somehow, her stone was returned to her after she had thrown it away but she is unable to return to Middengard.

While out on a walk during an unexpected weekend away to Portsea with her relatives, Alice finds herself transported back to Middengard.  War is coming and it is imperative that Alice finds the other Doom Stone so that good can conquer evil.  Only the Stone Keeper can sense the stone, which has been hidden by the Aetheling (Gods).

Who can she trust?  People aren’t as they appear.  Events begin to unfold and there are some interesting character developments,  but we will have to wait for Book 3 to unveil the rest of the mysteries.

 

This book ends on a HUGE cliff hanger!  It’s a very exciting read and I can’t wait to find out what happens in Book 3.  June, please put me out of my misery soon!  I am loving your series!

This awesome book deserves

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Innkeeper Chronicles Volume 1 by Ilona Andrews

Thank you to Netgalley, Ilona Andrews and her publishers allowing me to read and review Innkeeper Chronicles Volume 1.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

clean sweepOn the surface, Dina Demille is the owner of a quaint Victorian bed and breakfast inn named Gertrude Hunt based in a small Texas town.  Her only permanent companions are a Shih Tzu called Beast with unexpected skills and a retired, bloodthirsty Galactic aristocrat, who may not leave the grounds for fear of being killed on sight.

In reality, Dina is a magical Innkeeper armed with a powerful magical broom and a house with mysterious powers which responds intelligently to Dina and any threats to itself or to her.  You see, the inn isn’t for human visitors, it’s really a way station for otherworldly visitors to Earth.

As an Innkeeper, Dina is supposed to keep a low profile and stay neutral and safe, but when something starts killing the local dog population and threatening humans, she can’t ignore it.  Dina tries to convince the local werewolf, an annoyingly attractive ex-military guy named Sean Evans, that he should step in and take care of the dog-killing alien.  He blows her off so she decides she has to take the matter into her own hands to protect her community.

 

To make matters worse, a severely injured cosmic vampire asks for sanctuary at the Inn.  This marks the entrance of the devastatingly handsome vampire named Arland, who is the Lord Marshall of Krahr.  He portals in to tend to the injured vampire and help with eradicating the alien predators attacking dogs and threatening humans in the local community.

And somehow it all gets very complicated from there, but it involves a semi-sentient house, a Shih Tzu with unforeseen talents, and some sexy guys, wrapped up in an intermingling of science fiction and fantasy and liberally enlivened with Ilona Andrews’ typical sarcastic humour. Who knew that werewolves and vampires are actually space aliens?

I’m a huge fan of Ilona Andrew’s’ novels.  Initially, I wasn’t sure that I liked this story but it grew on me and I got really invested in the characters.  I was sorry to come to the end of the book and can’t wait to read more.  I loved the characters and how they interacted with one another.  There is plenty of action, adventure, romance and magic.  And you will be left with wanting more…

All in all this is an enjoyable, fun read and it deserves a fantastic

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No Filter by Orlagh Collins

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Orlagh Collins and Bloomsbury for allowing me to read and review this ARC.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion of “No Filter”.

No Filter is the story that reminds us all of that summer … the one where your life changed … the unforgettable memory of the one you still think about sometimes when you let your mind wander.

Orlagh’s debut YA novel is fresh, poignant and the characters are interesting and quirky, lending to this book’s appeal.

no filterEmerald comes from a privileged background but her family has dark secrets that threaten to change her life forever.

She comes home to find her mother unconscious on the bathroom floor.  Her father sends her mother off to rehab and Emerald is packed off to Ireland to live with her grandmother for the holidays.

Emerald feels lost and alone without her usual access to social media … until she meets Liam at the beach. Something special sparks between them and they both go on a journey of discovery to find their true selves and ignite their heart desires.

This is such an authentic, relatable, feel good story about two young people overcoming their personal and family struggles to find their own way in the world.

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Emerald but she grew on me.  Her character is unfiltered and she follows her instincts.  She wins you over and makes you think about your own life.

 

Liam is a gentle, quirky, repressed musician, who makes the perfect, very appealing YA heartthrob. He cares about other people and tries very hard to please his family, despite wanting more out of life than what they want for him.

This isn’t a predictable read.  I loved the mini plots interwoven amongst the characters featured in this book.  It was an enjoyable and interesting story that I think you will find very engaging.  It’s the perfect summer read and left me feeling happy!

Orlagh, I loved “No Filter” and look forward to your next novel.

This feel good book deserves an inspiring

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The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Hydra for allowing me to read and review this ARC.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Let me somnabulist psychic thiefstart by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  It’s definitely reminiscent of a Sherlock Holmes mystery and it delivers the atmosphere of Victorian England set in London in 1893.

The tale concerns a duo of investigative detectives, Jasper Jesperson and Aphrodite ‘Di’ Lane.

Miss Lane works with her companion of four years, Gabrielle Fox, for the SPR (Society for Psychical Research).  She discovers that they are engaging in fraud.  Shocked by this, Miss Lane abruptly departs for London, to look for work and lodgings as she is without funds to support herself.  She unexpectedly comes across an advertisement for an assistant detective in a shop window and applies.  Miss Lane meets Jasper and is hired on the spot.

Jasper (very much like Sherlock Holmes) is an highly intelligent lateral thinker with a wide array of interesting skills at his disposal.  As a contrast, Miss Lane is a more logical, rational person with a strong fascination for anything psychic related.

 

Since they need to obtain some well-funded cases, Miss Lane reluctantly writes to all her previous contacts telling them of her change in career and recommending Jasper and herself for any investigations they may require.

They soon find themselves with a number of separate cases, which strangely turn out to be linked.

One of the cases is to determine why Mr Creevy, a happily married man, has suddenly resumed sleepwalking.

Lord Bennington, a previous acquaintance of Miss Lane, invites them to a private seance by a Mr Chase, a reportedly powerful psychic from America.  The duo discover that a number of mediums have recently vanished, including Hilda Jessop.

The pair investigates only to find that this is related to Mr Creevy’s sleepwalking in a very interesting and mysterious way.  Miss Lane herself becomes the target of a ruthless, dangerous and powerful force and is kidnapped.  What is their fate?  Will Jesperson get to the bottom of the mystery?

The language of the story is directly in keeping with the Victorian era and lends itself well to the mystery woven in this tale.  The atmosphere and characters are interesting and well written.  The story caught and held my interest from beginning to end.  I particularly enjoyed the psychic twist to the tale.  Even the fog played its role in lending itself to creating the mysterious and slightly frightening atmosphere experienced by some of the characters.

I hope that this is the first book of a series as I would definitely like to read more about these detectives and their interesting cases.

This book deserves a fascinating

 

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