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The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.”

The Beautiful Ones reads like a classic novel with a paranormal twist.

beautiful onesThis beautifully written story is all about Hector Auvrey and Nina Beaulieu. Hector is out to exact revenge on the woman who broke his heart. Nina is a socially awkward young girl, who unwittingly falls in love in Hector.  She later finds out that she was being deceived.

The story is told from the perspectives of three very different characters: Hector, Nina, and Valerie. Hector is a telekinetic “talent”, previously impoverished, now a wealthy well-known stage performer. He has spent a decade pining for his first love.  Valerie, the antagonist of the novel, is a bitter, jealous woman, who was guilted into marriage to a wealthy man by her family.  Valerie resents Nina, her cousin by marriage, who has the social freedom that she never had. She is naive and somewhat impulsive.  Nina, like Hector, is telekinetic, and her uncontrolled displays have rendered her a social nuisance.

I don’t want to spoil the story for you.  What I can say is that you won’t regret reading this fascinating book.  I was enchanted by this elegantly written novel filled with vibrant, captivating characters.  I found the tension between the characters gripping and authentic.  I didn’t want this story to end!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this ARC.

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

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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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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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Agent of Enchantment (Dark Fae FBI #1) by C. N. Crawford and Alex Rivers

Thank you to NetGalley, Weapenry Co-Op and the authors for allowing me to read and review this book.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

agent of enchantmentI really enjoyed this story as it combines two of my favourite genres – fantasy and thriller.

If you like the popular FBI profiling TV shows, you will enjoy reading Agent of Enchantment.

FBI agent and profiler, Cassandra Liddell is sent on assignment to London to help with an investigation into a series of Jack the Ripper copycat killings.

Things, however, aren’t as they seem.  Cassandra starts seeing things that she can’t explain and she becomes aware that something supernatural is involved in these killings but how can she explain this to the local police without coming off as being crazy?

On her first night in London, Cassandra is attacked by two men, who definitely don’t appear to be human and is rescued by a lethally alluring fae.  She cannot decide if he is a main suspect in the murders or if he is trying to help her.  Does he have his own agenda?  What does he want from her?  Cassandra doesn’t know who to trust when the tables are turned and the police start to suspect her of being involved.

In her attempts to clear her name and find the real killer, Cassandra finds out that she isn’t all human.  Her world is turned upside down and she has to fight for her life.

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This is an exciting roller-coaster read that will hook you from the beginning and keep you enthralled until the end.

This fab writing duo of Crawford and Rivers works seamlessly to provide an entertaining and thrilling story. Agent of Enchantment is a great start to the Dark Fae FBI series and I can’t wait to read the next book. I found the characters riveting; the plot was very intriguing and left me wanting to read more. This is definitely a series I will be following as it is full of fresh ideas and interesting characters.

Agent of Enchantment deserves an entertaining

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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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Stone Keeper (Middengard Sagas #1) by June Wilson 

“The day Alice met the twins her life changed for ever. Not like the day she cut her hair off and hated it.  Or the even the day her father told her she had to spend six months in Australia.  No, this was a big change, a huge change – almost, you could say, an impossible one.  Because it was the day she got mixed up in Middengard.  The day she stepped into the prophecy.  Not that she knew that. Not then.”

Fifteen yeStone Keeperar-old Alice Morgan is sent to live with her rich relatives in Melbourne, but she feels very out of place and is homesick.  She wishes that she could return to England to find out more about her mother’s disappearance years ago.

Alice goes for a walk and is drawn to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, where she finds herself passing through the Heim Gate, which deposits her into Middengard. This is a realm hidden from the world of men and peopled by an ancient warrior race known as  the Hilderinc.  If things weren’t bad enough already, Alice discovers that her cousin Toby and her annoying friend Jess have followed her, putting their own lives in jeopardy as humans are forbidden to enter this realm.

She meets Stanor, the Gate Warden, and his warrior daughters, who are trying to get them to the safety of Skellstor.   Alice learns to her astonishment that the pendant left to her by  her mother is one of the Doom Stones.  It is a powerful stones that is needed to protect both Middengard and the world of men from destructive forces.

Soon Alice, Toby and Jess become embroiled in a battle to help the Hilderinc defeat one of their own, a rebel intent on upsetting the balance of power.

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Without giving too much away, this is a very interesting story.  I really enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading the sequel.

The chapters swap between events past and present in both England and Australia.  It’s well written and helps to bring to light what took place during her parents’ disappearances in different parts of the story.  It is interesting to note that the folk lore relating to the Hilderinc is of Norse origin.

The plot is complex and the characters, though frustrating at times, are relatable and well developed.

Any reader who enjoys the likes of Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia or similar will enjoy this book.

This book by June Wilson earns a well-deserved

 

 

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The Accidental Werewolf 2: Something About Harry (Accidentals #8) by Dakota Cassidy

If you want to read a hilarious but heart-warming paranormal werewolf romance with a bit of adventure thrown in, then you’ll love this book and the whole series.

I’vThe Accidental Werewolf 2: Something ABout Harrye read the entire Accidentals series!  The characters are hilarious and the dialogue is witty.  Absolutely loved all the books in the series.

This particular book (No. 8) is the last one in the Accidentals series.

Mara is a lonely werewolf, who hasn’t met her Mr Right (no-one in her pack wants to mate with her) so she decides to create a serum in her lab in order to impregnate herself with werewolf babies.

However, it all goes horribly wrong when Harry, a Pack Cosmetics Accountant (and her long-time crush), accidentally drinks the serum and turns himself into a werewolf.  Mara is in serious trouble as this all goes against Pack Law.  What was Harry doing in her lab in the first place?  How is Mara going to get herself out of this mess?

Mara turns to the fabulous OOPS (Out in the Open Paranormal Support) team to help Harry and herself out of this tight spot. Harry is in denial about his changed state and is determined to turn himself back into a human.  Trouble follows him in his efforts to find a cure.  OOPS have to save him from a witch doctor, help him raise his two kids and devise a brilliant plan to save Mara from jail.

Watching Mara and Harry’s erratic relationship develop into love was heart-warming, though initially frustrating on Mara’s behalf.

There are a range of interesting characters helping out in this roller-coaster of an adventure, namely werewolves, vampires, a demon, a witch doctor, a half zombie, who only eats vegetables and a halfsie, who is half werewolf half vampire.

The OOPS team members are a bunch of sassy, fiercely loyal and combat ready paranormal women.

Each book covers a different character’s story of how they became linked to OOPS so I think you could read them separately and not lose out on the story-line but I read them in order so I got to know the characters right from the beginning.  I have to say that Nina, the vampire, is my favourite.

I’m sad that they’ve come to an end as I truly enjoyed this series.  Dakota Cassidy’s writing style is witty, engaging and laugh out loud funny.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a funny paranormal adventure with fabulous characters.

This book deserves

 

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