We are taking part in the Blog Tour for the release of Age of Iron by Angus Watson!
It’s released today and it’s an exceptionally good read so don’t forget to stop back on the 18th September for our review!
When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone’s emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon’s impact is especially strong for Kate who’s wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.
After a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from the local covens, Kate worries their suspect is building a dirty magic bomb. Her team must find the anarchist rogue before the covens catch him, and make sure they defuse the bomb before the Blue Moon deadline. Failure is never an option, but success will require Kate to come clean about her secrets.
So poor Kate is in it up to her neck – secrets, lies, John Volo and Uncle Abe, not to mention the events of the first book threatening to drag her under. Her promotion to a member of the MEA taskforce is taking its toll on her both personally and professionally. However, she is trying so hard to make it work and to stay away from magic that my heart goes out to her at every turn. With the Blue Moon bearing down on them, Babylon is going crazy and she seems to be just one step behind all the time. Danny, Pen, Baba all think they know what is best for her but do they, especially when she doesn’t know what that is herself.
The task force members continue to grow on me and I especially love Drew Morales, he is so deadpan and sarcastic. I also love that while there is flirting and heat between Kate and Morales, it’s on a very slow burn and was not a central crux for either Dirty Magic nor this book. What is developing is trust, understanding and barriers dropping which actually seems more intimate.
Parts of the book are pretty heart-wrenching, with Kate’s best friend Pen breaking down and barriers developing between them. There are also some very funny moments as well, which balances the book out brilliantly.
The pace is much more even in this second book, now we know how the world works and Kate’s place in it. The action is pretty full on with the plot being tied to the arrival of the full moon and the threat that is bound up with it.
Some more interesting characters were introduced here – the most notable being Aphrodite, what a perfect creation, I loved reading the scenes with her/him in it. I also just realised I forgot to mention Mary and Little Man in the last review but I shall mention them now, as they continued to entertain and become a part of the story. Again, a brilliant creation that I have come to love (even given the creepiness factor!).
I really loved the ending and the things Kate has come to realise, and I applaud Jaye Wells for her handling of the issues surrounding it. I don’t think it will be a smooth run for Kate still but it’s a good start, if a little bitter-sweet.
A clever and gripping second book in this series and I can’t wait for the third!
After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle- with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything- and everyone- at risk.
Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated with the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response- or the distance it creates between them.
The question is, will true love win out… or tortured legacy take over?
For the most part I loved this book, but there were a couple of things that didn’t work for me very well. The whole Assail and Sola storyline seemed very out of place and disjointed and while I can only assume the storyline will finish in another book, it did take up a fair amount of this one. The characters as well – while I did like Sola, I really didn’t warm to Assail. His actions, apart from when he was dealing with Sola, just made me grind my teeth and hope he got taken out. Honestly, he seemed like Rehv, only despicable.
With that out of the way, the rest of the book I loved. Seeing Wrath’s parents was bitter-sweet but wonderful as well. Beth kicks ass as usual and I thought the arguments between the two of them were spot on – I absolutely got why she was so set on wanting a child. Watching them work it through was a special thing, especially as Wrath comes to terms with everything he is. I was in tears at the end and loved the way it all resolved.
The Band of Bastards continue to be interesting and I can’t wait for the next book to see how Layla deals with her promise and where that takes Xcor. Are we seeing a possible resolution or alliance with the brotherhood? I hope so!
The shadows Trez and his long suffering brother iAm feature prominently and I do like them a lot although I’m not sure how iAm hasn’t strangled his brother yet! I do sympathise with their situation though and the Trez and Selena storyline just makes me want to cry – I don’t know where it’s all going yet but again, I can’t wait to find out.
I think any long running series probably suffers this issue but it seems almost the cast that gets covered each book is getting bigger and while that is good, it also detracts from the ‘main’ story or couple. Is it resolvable? Probably not if we want the series to continue (hell yes we do) so I think it’s a case of get used to it. When it was just the brothers it was easier to keep the books tight but when their stories have been told it has to expand or come to an end. Personally I loved revisiting Wrath and Beth, and long live the king!
In a world of witches, daemons and vampires the fragile balance of peace is unravelling. Diana and Matthew’s forbidden love has broken the laws dividing creatures. To discover the manuscript which holds their hope for the future, they must now travel back to the past.
When Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont. Now the coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot. Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers…
Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Soul’s Trilogy and follows straight on from A Discovery of Witches. It opens with our beloved Diana and Matthew having travelled back in time to the year 1590 in search of the mysterious and undamaged Ashmole 782 manuscript.
This book was utterly fascinating and I can only imagine how fertile Harkness’ imagination is, combining documented historical events with her own prose to make something so rich and believable and make you feel as if you were there!
Diana progresses so much in this book, she really comes into her own, as witch, wife and historian. Matthew is a complicated character, having lived so long (and through this time period once already) he does struggle with possessiveness, misogyny and at times needs a good smack on the back of his head. Balancing that out though, he is also extremely loving, clever and underestimates his wife so when she takes matters into her own hands, his reactions can be amusing.
The love they have for each other is undeniably sweet, even when they lose their way a bit, you know that is at the core.
I loved most of the new characters in this book, except Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe, he was just a jealous little toad! Gallowglass, Jack, Annie, the coven were all superb and Elizabeth 1st was awesomely erratic. I also loved the magic that Diana wields, the threads of life using a skein of embroidery thread and knots to represent different things. I look forward to finding out just what she can do!
I’m not well versed in history but Deborah manages to bring characters to life that I’d only heard about in vaguely remembered history lessons at school and it even led me to do further reading. Of course that just increased my respect for the author’s talent at blending fact and fiction.
The plot moves along nicely at the same pace as the first book but with an added sense of urgency and tension. It’s not a quick read but it is extremely engaging and hard to put down. The majority of this novel is set back in time with a couple of glimpses as to what is happening with the families back in modern day. I expected those to feel disjointed and jerk me out of the story but actually they happened quite organically.
Now, at the end of the book, they have returned to present day and its time to find out if everything they went through was worth it. It’s time to finish this and open the final book in the All Soul’s Trilogy, The Book Of Life!
The Magical Enforcement Agency keeps dirty magic off the streets, but there’s a new blend out there that’s as deadly as it is elusive. When patrol cop Kate Prospero shoots the lead snitch in this crucial case, she’s brought in to explain herself. But the more she learns about the investigation, the more she realises she must secure a spot on the MEA task force.
Especially when she discovers that their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier – on the same day she swore she’d given up dirty magic for good.
I’ve been having a bit of trouble with Urban Fantasy lately in that it all seemed quite similar and nothing was really grabbing me. I was already a fan of Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane series, and the back blurb on Dirty Magic seemed a little different, enough to grab my attention and want to give it a go.
It did start a little slowly but it was a new version of our world to build and it was really interesting learning how potions have become part of normal, everyday life alongside conventional medicine. I thought it was a really clever alternate commentary on how pharmaceuticals have done the same in our reality. You have clean potions (legal) and dirty potions (illegal) and the alchemy adepts who brew or ‘cook’ them. Covens instead of drug cartels, but it all results in addicts needing another fix and another dirty potion hitting the streets for those who are looking for the next big thing. Addicts of clean potions like vanities, youth, weight loss or pain also hits home.
Kate Prospero is an excellent heroine – a former adept with a talent for making magic potions turned cop with a young brother to raise. I understood her issues and felt for her for trying to make something good out of a life that dealt her a bad hand. She isn’t a hugely powerful magic user, nor a clairvoyant, vampire etc. In fact she goes out of her way not to use magic (sometimes a little too far) but for very good reasons (you have to read the book to find out what those are!). She became a cop in order to balance the scales for what she had to do as a kid and that is where the brilliance of Dirty Magic comes in. It’s a police procedural as much as an urban fantasy and it works very very well. Wells’ research was meticulous and having read a lot of crime and thrillers, this was spot on for me. Obviously the fantastical elements were included and I loved them!
I also thought I could see where the book was going to go when we were introduced very early to Kate’s ex, John Volos – fabulously rich, bad guy turned philanthropist (and I admit I rolled my eyes when I made that cynical snap judgment). Full credit to Jaye Wells for completely surprising me in that regard! The team of MEA agents were brilliant too and did much to flesh out the feel of this book – Mesmer and Morales in particular were my favourites but also Gardner for her sarcasm and no nonsense attitude.
I really liked the plot – seemed pretty simple at first but there were several layers to the story and it kept things interesting right to the end. So in spite of the slow start, everything else worked wonderfully and it was a really good book.
If like me, you have become a bit Urban Fantasy jaded – take it from me, this is something different that will really grab you!
A series of unexplained phenomena create shockwaves across the globe – a huge religious statue moves its arm, and there’s a spate of floods and earthquakes. Many think it’s the end of the world…
Investigative journalist Alyssa Durham receives a call from an old friend claiming that these phenomena may not be entirely natural, but when he is assassinated in front of her, she finds herself on the run for her life.
Alyssa teams up with Jack Murray, a scientist from a secretive government research laboratory, to uncover the truth. But who wants them dead, and what are they trying to protect?
As chaos descends, Alyssa and Jack are drawn into a battle against an unknown enemy with the highest possible stakes, because one thing they’ve learnt is that nothing is safe from extinction…
Wow, this is a hard one to review. On the one hand, it’s an utterly gripping thriller with some extremely clever parts and on the other it has the worst type of ending for me personally and I’m going to put that aside because it shouldn’t take away from the brilliance of this book. It’s also hard not to spoil things as there are a few elements that I really want to shout excitedly about!
The story is extremely well written, engaging and emotional, and oh yes, very gory! The characters are exceptional too, I especially loved Alyssa and was glad she wasn’t made out to be a wilting flower, given her job as an investigative journalist.
Apart from the prologue and epilogue, the pace is full on, have to keep turning the pages while on the edge of my seat. You can easily see it being a blockbuster action film.
The twists. Oh my goodness the twists. I can’t talk about them because they really would spoil the book, but there are two that had my jaw on the floor. One is outstanding, I didn’t see it coming and it had me in shocked tears. The second manages to be both extremely clever and a little disappointing. Clever in that it encompasses the entire book, the writing is part of it, and it wasn’t until after I’d reached the epilogue, that I then had to skim through the book again to make sure it was how I thought it was. That aspect – stunning. The disappointing part was that it was so improbable but it is a minor part of an otherwise fantastic book that still has me thinking about it, a week or so on from reading it.
The first book by J.T. Brennan I’ve read and it won’t be the last. Even if he doesn’t cater to my ending preferences
Not when she just got a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble. And with a reputation for bad luck that makes one year as security detail on this ship equal to five years everywhere else – Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year might be more than even Devi can handle.
I love space operas, I love science fiction with a twist of romance, I love first person stories where things are grey as the narrator figures things out and makes mistakes and misunderstands.
I love Fortune’s Pawn.
So much so in fact, that it reminded me why I got into reviewing in the first place, because people NEED to know about this book because it is just that good!
I put off reading it because I never seemed to be in the right mood and now I’m kicking myself because this has shot up as one of my favourite sci-fi books of all time – on par with James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series.
Devi is a heroine I can utterly get behind. She’s an amazing soldier because she’s trained hard to be. She’s not pretending to be a man and she’s not a helpless female who is supposed to be a tough mercenary. She’s prepared to go down fighting and doesn’t quit, even though she knows her death may well be approaching. She is just the ultimate badass and I love her. Later on we see Devi’s softer side, and rather than detracting from the power of her character, it instead makes her more human and reinforces her strength.
The core crew were brilliant as well, often making me laugh, sometimes wanting to make me smack them – Caldswell in particular! Rupert was a wonderfully enigmatic character and loved the way he was with Devi – as the book progressed, that did NOT go the way I expected and that made me want to cry! Then there is the mystery of Ren. Argh! Just a wonderful mix of alien/human crew on board the Glorious Fool.
I loved the way Rachel Bach wove the story around the characters and just when I thought I had things figured out, it changed and I had to look at a situation in a new light.
The action was extremely well done. Fast paced, descriptive and emotive. My heart was in my mouth several times and I even got a bit tearful at certain scenes.
I have the second book waiting here and I can’t wait to dive into it as the end of Fortune’s Pawn demands it! It proves that you can’t know everything from all sides.
Just a phenomenal book and one I highly recommend!
A cold case reopened. A murderer re-emerging more deadly than ever before…
Baltimore Homicide Detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she’s still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she’s determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.
It’s former Marine Clay Maynard’s job to see the risk in every situation, but he doesn’t have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted to protect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose—and something terrifying to hide…
Wow, this was one breathtaking, heart stopping, gut-wrenching ride!
Stevie is a character I have loved for the longest time and have been both frustrated and tearful both with her and for her. Clay is just a sweetheart and is no different in this book. When he does the powerful man thing though, it makes my knees quite weak!
I think this might be the final book focussing on this grouping of characters – I hope I’m wrong because I love them dearly but I’m not sure what direction it would go in now. Having said that, Karen Rose does have the most amazing ability to connect characters and story-lines across books so there may well be some mention to see how they are doing. I can only hope!
The story was fast paced and I thought it was extremely well judged to keep me right on the edge of my seat. The plot reveals came thick and fast and I don’t think I could have stopped reading even if I’d wanted to – there was just so much I had to KNOW. I lost count of the number of times my heart was in my mouth and my husband had to keep checking I was OK, as I would make an audible sound (not that I was aware of it!).
The bad guys were actually really bad and Ms. Rose cleverly wove several elements from previous books into this one and the big reveal at the end – I thought I knew, but wow, I really didn’t.
Just phenomenal and as usual I am desperate for her next book, even if it does involve different characters. In fact I think I need to read them ALL again!
So what books made us sit up and beg?
The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett – The fantastic third book in the Demon Cycle.
Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole – Military sci-fi with superheroes. This second book was an excellent addition to the Shadow Ops series.
Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey – This series needs to be on either the big or small screen – any screen! Until then it’s an amazing sci-fi story and this third book was a brilliant addition to the Expanse.
Parasite by Mira Grant – An amazingly creepy but riveting novel. If you liked her Newsflesh trilogy, you are going to love this!
Kevin Hearne – The Iron Druid Chronicles was a series that entranced me so much, I ended up romping through and didn’t take time to review. It’s a fantastic series and one I will be re-reading, slower this time, so I can actually do reviews!
Bound by Night by Larissa Ione – The first in a new series by Larissa and just as exciting as her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance. Speaking of which, the next book in that series, Reaver, is on this list too as it was utterly fantastic and had my jaw dropping several times as things were revealed.
Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones – This is another series I love so much that I keep racing through them and end up not reviewing. It’s a habit I really have to stop as my memory is just not up to it these days! Charley Davidson is one of my favourite paranormal heroines and I just can’t get enough of her!
Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon – I loved, loved, loved this book. I cried, I laughed, I may have shouted a few times. A worthy companion to Acheron and a brilliant addition to the Dark-Hunter’s series. It does take you through the wringer though!
The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – I absolutely loved this light hearted approach to the paranormal and look forward to the next one, out this year!
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – A gritty and powerful epic fantasy debut. I loved the magic system he devised and I hold high hopes for the second book.
Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin – First in a new series by Gail and it’s off to a promising start. I loved her two previous series a lot so it had a lot to live up to! Looking forward to book two!
J.D. Robb – Thanks to Tracey, I discovered the In Death series and devoured the whole lot one after the other. It amazed me how good they are and how, even 35+ books in, they are still extremely enjoyable and great reads.
Watch Your Back by Karen Rose – So many of Karen’s books have characters that appear or are related to people in other novels and this one felt like it had been a long time coming. It was utterly amazing and prompted me to go back and read ALL the previous books!
Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – This book honestly surprised me and I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t do a review after I read it, as it so very much deserved it. It’s an amazingly gritty fantasy, written with a single focus and I urge anyone who loved David Gemmell’s work to pick this up. I will be re-reading this (and reviewing this time, dammit)!
Unseen by Karin Slaughter – Every time I think Karin has outdone herself, she releases the next book and raises the bar even higher. I can’t get enough of Will Trent and Sara Linton!
Lover at Last by J.R. Ward – The latest book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series was hotly anticipated and I was not left disappointed!
While my list has some similar ones to Grete, I also have some totally different genres to her. Being much more of a romantic sap, it will come as no surprise that I have a number of romances on my list.
The books I share Grete’s love for are :
Styxx of course – the most anticipated book of the year for me and one that did not disappoint. Probably my book of the year!
Reaver by Larissa Ione – another eagerly awaited novel that ticked all the boxes for me.
The In Death series by J.D. Robb – I read all 35 books in 4 weeks and absolutely loved them.
For me though the year was all about romance! There were books from my favourite romance authors: Stephanie Laurens, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean and Sarah Morgan.
I really cannot express all the books that I loved this year, I read well over 100 of them! Since I tend to read books I know I will enjoy, it is so hard to only pick a few.
If I was to recommend a few books to other readers I would go with the following:
Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan – I have been a fan of Ms. Morgan for many years, reading all her Mills and Boon books and it was great to have a longer book to enjoy. This is romance at its best and a great start to a new series.
Nora Roberts has featured heavily in my reading this year but a trilogy I particularly enjoyed was the Key Trilogy – Key of Light, Key of Knowledge and Key of Valour. This has a paranormal slant with Ms. Roberts’ usual excellent romance story.
Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series is recommended reading, particularity if you enjoy historical romance. I have loved all the books in this series and look forward to the next one hopefully coming in 2014!
Will definitely be doing more reviews this year, even if only a few lines, there are so many great books I want to share my love of.
Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories-along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .
A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE
A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation-a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.
A new series by Larissa Ione?? Yes please!
With the Lords of Deliverance series ending and the characters merging with the Demonica, it did feel like there was now a void that needed filling (until Reaver is released!). Happily we now have Bound by Night and our introduction to the MoonBound Clan Vampires.
Nicole and Riker are just magic together and their interactions are brilliant whether it’s romantic or confrontational. They have every reason to hate each other but being ‘with’ them as they worked through everything just made me love them more, even when they are being idiots. Such is the charm of Larissa Ione’s characters! Intriguing glimpses of the other members of the MoonBound Clan give me hope that this series will have a good few books and I am really looking forward to reading the next, which I think will be Hunter’s story.
Initially I was a bit doubtful about ‘yet another vampire series’ but in all honesty, I loved the premise of this one. Vampires are out in the world but are treated as little more than animals – kept as slaves, farmed and experimented on, yet there are also clans of ‘wild’ vampires who remain hidden and fight to live their lives with honour in spite of the human threat.
The lore is drawn from Native American history and again, while this is not an interest of mine, Larissa Ione made it interesting and added her own twist to it which I loved.
Everything I love about Ione’s clean writing style and visual storytelling is in this book; emotional conflict, characters you want to kick one minute and love the next, tense battle scenes and hot, hot sex. By the end I was completely in love with the new characters and wish I could pick up the next novel already. The pace of the story was nicely judged and when mixed with fluid prose, it made for an extremely easy to read, but no less enthralling book.
Bound by Night is just amazing – more please!!