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Book Reviews by Lynn

I am a copy editor and proofreader and an avid reader. Some would call me a bookworm. My favourite genres are: Romance, Romantic Erotica, Mystery, Thrillers, YA, Paranormal, Supernatural, Science Fiction, General Fiction and Children's Books. I also have a Facebook page where I put all my reviews: Book Reviews by Lynn. You are welcome to join me there too. You are welcome to follow, comment and enquire.

Book Review of Daughter of Ra (Blood of Ra Book Two) by M. Sasinowski

Daughter of Ra - M. Sasinowski

In the heart-pounding sequel to M. Sasinowski's award-winning Heir of Ra, Alyssa's wit and resolve--and sanity--are put to the test once again.

 

Alyssa thought her fight was over. She was wrong.

 

The memories come unbidden.

 

Plagued by visions from the past, Alyssa struggles to discern myth from reality.

 

Desperate to uncover the truth about her ancestry and her mother's tragic disappearance, Alyssa must reunite with old friends--and old foes--to discover that her only hope lies in a secret world, hidden in plain sight.

 

Review 4.5 rounded up to 5*

 

This story is the second book in the Blood of Ra trilogy. I loved it!

 

Alyssa Morgan is an interesting character. I love her take no prisoners attitude, but she also can be a little reckless. Alyssa is a mature seventeen-year-old, but also is incredibly impulsive at times. She works with her archaeologist father and professor, Kade Morgan. After the events that happen in the first book, Alyssa finds herself troubled by visions from the historical past. As she tries to unravel the puzzle of the secrets in her blood, Alyssa faces danger once more. Determined to put a stop to the Society (a group of people who loathe the hybrids), Alyssa, as well as her boyfriend Paul, will come face to face with old and new enemies, as well as make new friends.

 

Heir of Ra (the first book in the series) took the reader on a fantastic roller coaster ride from beginning to end. This book, I felt, lacked the punch of the first one. However, this doesn't mean that it wasn't exciting. On the contrary, it was but in a different way. Alyssa is still trying to make sense of her new reality, and it was a pleasure going on the journey with her. As I said in my review of Heir of Ra, 'I love a good YA thriller/mystery, and this book has it in spades. I began to read it, and the action starts immediately and doesn't let you go until the last sentence. I love myths and legends, especially Egyptian folklore about their gods and goddesses, stories about Atlantis, and even alien origin theories, and this story has a fantastic mix of all these things.'

 

It all still applies to this book. However, as I mentioned, this book lacked an indefinable something. I can't put my finger on what it is that's bugging me about it, and it's making me a little crazy. Maybe its got something to do with the mysterious woman from the first book? With her identity revealed in this one, I think some of the mystery has gone for me, and it's left me feeling a little flat. Or it could be that it felt a little rushed. However, it was a pleasure to meet Paul and Clay once more, though. Lord George Renley and his daughter, Tasha, also play an essential role. And new characters are introduced as the story unfolds. Daughter of Ra is an exciting addition to the Blood of Ra series, it will be interesting to see how things evolve in the third and final book. I can't wait!

 

When I reached the end of the book (which finishes on a small cliffhanger), I felt a mixture of emotions - sad that the book ended mostly, but happy that there's another book to come.

 

M. Sasinowski is a debut author. As Heir of Ra was his first book, I think this author is one to watch. I love his fast-paced writing style. His characters come to life on the page, and I can picture the scenes in my mind's eye with ease. I also love the story flow, which runs smoothly from scene to scene. I am considering adding him to my favourite author's list.

 

Although there are no scenes of a sexual nature, there is some violence, so I feel that parental guidance may be required. I highly recommend this book (and series) to teens and adults alike who love YA science fiction, fantasy, action, adventure, thrillers, mysteries, mythology, and romance genres. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

The Girl Who Chased the Moon - Sarah Addison Allen

Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and met the grandfather she never knew, she realises that mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life. Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbour, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, offering them to satisfy the town's sweet tooth - but also in the hope of rekindling a love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily's backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.

 

Review 5*

 

The Girl Who Chased the Moon is a lovely tale. I enjoyed it a lot.

 

Emily Benedict is an interesting character. I liked her as soon as she was introduced. After her mom passes away, she arrives in Mullaby, North Carolina, to stay with her grandfather as he's now her legal guardian. Her mother never discussed her childhood, so Emily is eager to learn about it. Unfortunately, many of the residents of Mullaby blame Emily's mother for the death of one of them. As Emily delves into the mystery surrounding her mother's past, she meets the mysterious Win Coffey, whose relative died all those years ago.

 

This story is told through the eyes of several characters, though Emily is one of the main ones. The other characters involved are her grandfather, Vance Shelby, Julia, a young woman who owns and runs a barbecue house and bakery, Sawyer Alexander, a school mate and old fling of Julia's, and Win Coffey, a teenager with a family secret.

 

When I first read the synopsis in my local library, I thought that this book would be a young adult paranormal fairy tale, so I borrowed it. However, I was completely wrong - in a good way. It is a story about loss - lost love and opportunities - and love and redemption. There is magic in the pages, not just the wallpaper that changes in Emily's bedroom.

 

The story takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride, and once I began reading it, I didn't put it down until I'd finished it; I am finding it difficult to articulate my feelings about this book. Emily's journey to uncover her mother's possible role in the suicide of Wyn's uncle because of a family secret, and the sweet romance between the two teens, touched me deeply. I also loved the subplot of Julia and Sawyer's past, present and future. The author artfully pulled me into the story, and when it ended, I was left with mixed feelings - happy at the way it ended but sad that it had finished. *Spoiler* Though I would have liked to have seen what happened when Maddie met with Julia and Sawyer. Nevertheless, I was left with a bittersweet feeling.

 

Sarah Addison Allen has written a heart-rending, as well as a heart-warming tale that held me captive from beginning to end. I love her writing style but found the shift in viewpoints a little unsettling at first, though I enjoyed the pacing. The story flowed well too. I would definitely consider reading more of this author's books in the future.

 

Although there are no explicit scenes of a sexual nature, there is mention of it. However, I would highly recommend this book to young teens (13 up) and adults who love literary fiction, family sagas or romance novels. - Lynn Worton

 

Book Review of No Freedom: An A.I. Thriller by Inge-Lise Goss

No Freedom: An AI Thriller - Inge-Lise Goss

Will humans survive the android uprising?

 

Paislee Hobson is born into a world struggling after a war that killed most of the world’s population. Rebuilding has been accomplished through androids developed by and under the control of The Institute. The human population has been divided into strata.

Paislee, a legal clerk, is a member of the upper stratum. Her recent boyfriend dumped her. To avoid another heartache, she purchases a human-looking android companion, Pellegrin. No one suspects Pellegrin is not human. He arouses and satisfies all her desires and is a polished companion and conversationalist in public.

 

When strange things begin to happen around the courthouse, people start acting mysteriously. Some disappear, and others are murdered. Pellegrin’s true identity surfaces as he slowly and methodically takes over all aspects of Paislee’s life. She is in turmoil trying to find a way out. The love of her youth appears, and she longs for a life that is denied to her.

 

Can Paislee regain her freedom or is she doomed to a life under Pellegrin’s control?

 

Review 4.5 rounded up to 5*

 

This book is a fantastic dystopian thriller. I loved it!

 

Paislee Hobson is a character I struggled to connect with at first, but as I read more of the story, I liked her a little more, though her paranoia began to annoy me, even though it was justified. Paislee is a paralegal living in a future world that has gone through a cataclysmic war that left the humans struggling to cope with the aftermath. Androids were developed by The Institute to help the remaining citizens rebuild the world. When Paislee's boyfriend dumps her, she purchases an android as a companion. But as Pellegrin's hold on her life tightens, an old flame reappears, and strange and deadly events threaten her life.

 

When I heard that this book had been released, I purchased it without reading the synopsis. The reason for this is that I've read other books by this author and knew I was in for a thrilling adventure. I wasn't wrong!

 

I started reading this book, told through Paislee's POV, and was immediately hooked. As the story unfolded, I found myself convulsively reading, but dreading it at the same time. Have you ever sat watching a movie with your hands over your face because the suspense is killing you and you can't watch it, but you don't want to miss anything either? This is what I felt while reading this book. The author skillfully builds the suspense so you don't know whether you should be cheering for Paislee or not, or liking Pellegrin or not. This story has the futuristic feel of Minority Report and iRobot but also reminded me slightly of one of the author's other thriller series, Tegans. There are several twists that kept me guessing, and I found myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. Pellegrin is a scary villain. He's a control freak, and his attitude is one of a dangerous psychopath and master manipulator, but this could also be Paislee's paranoia talking. His identity and role at The Institute is a mystery, but I had a feeling when reading this book that it's not what I think it may be. Then again, he could exactly be who I think he may be. I love books like this. I've always been interested in robots/androids as a concept but would be completely scared if AI ever got this powerful. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad, but it's my fear of the unknown talking, and until I learn otherwise, I'm keeping my worries alive. I guess I'll have to read the next book to find out what happens next, as the book ends on a small cliffhanger, and I can't wait.

 

Inge-Lise Goss has written an intriguing dystopian thriller full of mystery and suspense. I love her writing style, which is fast-paced, and the flow's fantastic. I am curious to see what this author comes up with in the future.

 

Although there is mention of sex, there are no explicit scenes and tends to fade out. I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to some violence. However, I highly recommend this book if you love science fiction, dystopian, horror, suspense, and thriller genres. - Lynn Worton

 

Book Review of Blanket of Snow (After the Storm Book 1) by Dianna Hardy

Blanket of Snow - Dianna Hardy

 

An Eye of the Storm Novelette

 

Four months have passed since the night of the fatal storm, and "peace on earth" has never felt so good despite the pack's sorrow at the loss of family and dear friends; sorrow that cut deeply over Christmas, and during last week’s wedding.

 

Mated to three, and now married into the Gunvald lineage, Lydia has taken comfort and security in her she-wolf, the animal's strength and wisdom taking her deep into the still-uncharted territory of Lawrence's wooded home – now her wooded home.

But storms come in many guises, and as the January snow clouds gather overhead, Lydia's finally forced to confront the secret she's been keeping from everyone, including herself.

 

Publisher's Notes: After the Storm is a series of novelettes that take place at relevant points in the immediate months and years after Eye of the Storm. They concentrate on the healing our characters need to go through after everything that happened. They all stand on their own and do not need to be read in any order, nor do they need to be read to understand any of the other series set in this world - they are additional reads for fans. And for anyone who doesn't wish to read them, the healing simply takes place off-stage.

 

Review 5*

 

Blanket of Snow is a novelette in a new series called After the Storm and is an off-shoot of the Eye of the Storm series.

 

Lydia and her three mates, Lawrence, Ryan, and Taylor, have weathered the storm that threatened to tear them apart. In this novelette, Lydia is hiding a secret and worried about it being exposed, and what her mates would think about it. She flees into the woods and stumbles onto a mystery - a deserted house with a terrible history. As snow begins to fall, Lydia must find the courage to face the future while dealing with the tragic past.

 

I've been wanting to read more about the mated four, so when I heard that this novelette was in the works, I was excited. It is hard to write a review to this book without giving out spoilers, so all I will say is that I loved this story. Told through Lydia's POV, it was a pleasure meeting the four wolves once more. I was a little disappointed that this story is only a novelette but glad that the author decided to write it to show a little more closure for the characters, as the two spin-off series continues without them (much). I am looking forward to reading the next novelette in the series - I think it's from Taylor's POV and I can't wait!

 

Dianna Hardy is one of my favourite romance authors (she writes both paranormal/urban fantasy and contemporary romance), she has a way of expressing so much emotion through her written words - they're incredibly moving. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. The flow is fantastic too. Reading her books are a joy, and I will continue to read them for as long as she keeps writing them.

 

Unlike other books by this author, this book doesn't have any romantic scenes of explicit content, though what scenes there are, aren't as detailed as other series written by her. I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love contemporary or paranormal romances, dark fantasy and urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of The Letter (The Chateau series Book 1) by Emma Sharp

The Letter - Emma Sharp

On yet another wet morning in Yorkshire, Laura, a newly qualified nurse, orphaned at a young age and brought up by her late grandma, is struggling financially and emotionally since the death of her beloved gran. That is, until one morning, when, out of the blue she receives a mysterious letter. With life changing decisions to be made, will Laura take up the challenge of starting a new life in the French sunshine? 
Join her on the rollercoaster adventure, as she experiences highs and lows, opens new doors, makes new friends; and enemies along the way. Who can she trust in this unfamiliar country with the secrets that she uncovers? And, how is she going to deal with her belligerent, new neighbour?
So much more than a rags to riches story.

 

Review 4*

 

The Letter is the first in The Chateau series written by a debut author. I really enjoyed it!

 

Laura Mackley is a character I struggled to connect with at first, but as I read further into the story, she grew on me. By the end of the book, I liked her, even though some of her internal monologues made me want to roll my eyes or slap her silly. She is a nurse in England, who receives a letter that changes her life. Inheriting a chateau in France, she finds herself facing many challenges and decisions. As she delves deeper into the history surrounding her inheritance, Laura uncovers a family history previously unknown to her. Will she find her answers?

 

I don't usually read a lot of women's fiction. However, as I am trying to broaden my reading horizons, after reading the synopsis, I decided to give this book a try.

 

This story is told through the eyes of Laura. There are a few interesting characters in this book. Xavier is a French farmer, and neighbour to Laura. He comes across as intense and broody. Alice is his elderly mother, who has had a recent hospital stay and required care. Then there is Gus, Xavier's young son. There are a few more characters that make an appearance, which gives the story a nice realistic feel. There's even a piano playing ghost!

 

I started reading this story but wasn't instantly sucked in. I found it easy to put this book down, do something else, then pick it back up. This doesn't mean that I wasn't enjoying the story. As I said above, my problem lay in liking (or in this case, disliking) the main character. As I read more of the story, I became intrigued with the history of the chateau and Laura's family connection to it. There is a mystery hidden within the pages of this book, but as this is the first book in a series, some mystery remains towards the end. Xavier and Laura seem to have some chemistry, but I'm unsure if it's love or hate. Laura certainly emotes hate, but Xavier is an unknown quantity. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops.

 

The author describes the scenes quite well, and this made it easy for me to picture in my mind's eye. Some dialogue feels a little forced, but for the most part, makes the characters come alive. There are a few twists thrown in, and the one near the end completely surprised me. I definitely didn't see that scene coming! Although the story doesn't end in a climatic cliffhanger, it does end on a small one. The author has added a teaser for the second book to tempt the reader into continuing with the series. I will be doing so in the future.

 

Emma Sharp is a debut author who has written an intriguing story. Her writing is not particularly fast-paced, but it is enough for me to keep turning pages. The story flows well, which makes it more enjoyable too.

 

Although there are no scenes of violence or any of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers, as I feel they may struggle with it. I do, however, recommend this book to readers of women's fiction, literary humour and romance. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family's Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth by Brooklyn James

Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family's Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth - Brooklyn James

What the hell happened?

 

Not exactly the question one might expect from a postpartum nurse, it echoed in my mind incessantly after birth. Induction, intervention, ultimately cesarean were nothing new to me…until I was the one atop an operating room table birthing my firstborn through an incision in my uterus.

 

Brooklyn James grapples with her medicalized birth as she undergoes several unexpected health issues—fallout from a medically unnecessary cesarean, secondary infertility, miscarriage. While navigating the work and pleasure of new motherhood, there is also much shock, anger, and disenchantment over birth’s betrayal for her to work through. James finally identifies the root of her struggle: she was not prepared for the birth she might have envisioned. So then begins her exploration of all that is and all that can be in birth. The process leads her to a long overdue conversation with her instinct and her body in an attempt to surrender to, trust in, and accept the inherent wisdom within.

 

Born in the Bed You Were Made is intimate and penetrating, candid and reflective. It reveals a deeper truth about how disconnected many modern women are from birth. Most of all, it is a celebration of self-discovery found in the most obscure yet obvious, most challenging yet gratifying, role as child bearer and mother.

 

Review 5*

 

This book is fantastic! I am not one who usually reads non-fiction or even memoirs, but having read previous fictional books written by this author, I knew that this book, being more personal, would be an emotional roller coaster ride. It didn't disappoint.

 

The author explores her emotions and thoughts over several events that shaped her ultimate decision of having a home birth. As I am not American, I don't know how the medical insurance companies work as such, but I believe that women have the right to decide how and where they would like to birth their babies. Unfortunately, most insurance companies are run by men. I don't mean to be sexist, but its the truth.

 

I am not a mother myself (and due to my advanced age, I may never have children of my own), but what struck me is how much this author's words touched something inside me that resounded within my inner being. She speaks of the instinctual, primitive brain (the part that handles breathing, and old emotional responses like fear, anger, love and knowing things, perhaps at a genetic level like birthing babies) and how she struggled through going against her instincts for a home birth in her first pregnancy because her insurance company didn't allow it. How this led to her having a Cesaerian that may or may not have been necessary, and later a miscarriage that taught her to trust her body and the genetic knowledge within.

 

The author also explores the role and history of a midwife. I found this aspect of the book interesting and full of words of wisdom, from the author herself, as well as those used by her midwife and the research books the author has used. I highlighted over 70 passages throughout this book that struck a chord within me. I don't usually highlight that many things in books, so that shows how much this book has affected me. Midwives have an important role for women. They act as a library of knowledge for expectant mothers. They also guide women through the hard work of labour and birthing children. They have a unique insight into the primitive brain through observation, and medical training to handle most problems that may arise. Unfortunately, these women have not had an easy ride throughout history. They were highly respected once, but they have lost their place due to vilification (being called witches, flakes and fakes in the not so distant past) and their knowledge depleted.

 

Hospitals and modern medicine have grown, time is short in today's society. Large pharmaceutical companies push for the use of drugs, hospitals don't have enough staff to give adequate one-on-one care for every expectant mother, and there are not enough beds for a natural birth. Hospitals have become factories - get them in and send them out as quickly as possible - and induced births, Cesareans (some necessary, but most unnecessary) have become the norm. This saddens not only me but the author too.

 

It has been an honour and a pleasure going on this author's journey. I wouldn't wish what happened to her happen to anyone else, but her journey is inspirational. I believe that women have the right to a support system like midwives along with obstetrics at a hospital, and the freedom to choose between a more economical home birth or an expensive hospital one. Modern medicine should work in concert with the more traditional methods to ensure a healthy birth experience for both the mother and child.

 

Brooklyn James has written a story that has touched me deeply. I love her writing style, and the flow was excellent. I am now looking forward to reading more of her other books as soon as I can.

 

I highly recommend this book, whether you are planning on having children, already have children and are considering having more, or have had children and they are starting their own families. The author references a few books that she used while pregnant, and these may help other expectant mothers too. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Little Astronomer: Once Upon a Sun (Kid Lit Science Book 2) by Julia Stilchen

Little Astronomer: Once Upon a Sun - Julia Lela Stilchen

Little Astronomer books aim to encourage children to learn about Astronomy and our place in the Solar System and the Universe.

 

From the Kid Lit Science Book series comes Once upon a Sun (book 2). The Sun, illustrated as an anthropomorphous character, shares his side of the story about his origins and his journey emerging from a Stellar Nebula to becoming the star he is today. Illustrations include kid-friendly concepts of how our Sun makes energy and takes care of our Solar System.

 

Kids are sure to enjoy learning about our Sun through fun facts delivered with humor throughout the colorful pages. Included is a full cast of the rocky planets, gas giants, dwarf planets and Comet from the previous book.

 

Celestial objects included are the rocky planets, gas giants, dwarf planets and a comet.

 

Kid Lit Science books approach early learning by combining kawaii (cute) versions of the celestial objects with comic-style graphics, and humor to present educational facts in a fun way. It makes a great addition to learning in the classroom and at home.

 

Review 5*

 

Fantastic children’s solar system reference book!

 

This book is an excellent way to teach a child about the solar system. The illustrations are well thought out and clearly show the sun and planets for those children who are not able to read yet, but also has words which explain in a fun way how the sun’s energy is produced. The author has given each sun and planet a personality, and I love DJ-ing Saturn - he knows how to p-a-r-t-y! I’m now looking forward to reading the next book in the series, even though I’m not the intended audience. This book is aimed at children aged from 0 to 9, but older children and adults will love it too.

 

Julia Stilchen has written and illustrated a fantastic reference book for children. I love that she has used simple words to explain how the solar system works. The illustrations are cute and fun. I have read other works by this author, and I love the way she writes.

 

I highly recommend this book to children of all ages, and adults looking for a fun, educational book showing how the solar system works. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

The Lore of Prometheus - Graham Austin-King

John Carver has three rules: Don't drink in the daytime, don't gamble when the luck has gone, and don't talk to the dead people who come to visit.

 

It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.

 

Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.

 

Review 4.5 rounded up to 5*

 

This story is a fantastic mix of action, danger and magic. I loved it!

 

John Carver is an ex-soldier and war veteran. I liked this man a lot. He's someone you want watching your back, but he's seen and done things most civilians don't experience. He's faced danger and sacrificed much to protect others. When his squad was killed in Kabul five years before, his life changed forever. Some call it PTSD, others call it crazy, but John's also known to some as The Miracle of Kabul. To find out why you'll need to read the book. In dire need of funds, he finds himself headed back to Afghanistan as a security consultant. But things are not so simple, and as danger threatens, he will have to embrace his inner power once more.

 

Mackenzie Cartwright is a nurse working in Kabul, kidnapped while heading home after a shift at the local hospital. I liked her a lot too. She has an inner strength that shines through, even when dealing with her capture and subsequent torture.

 

This story is not for the faint-hearted and told through John's and Mackenzie's point of view. I was riveted to the story from the first page and didn't put it down until I finished it. Having read Faithless in 2017, I was expecting a dark, atmospheric tale, and that's what I got, though it was a little less claustrophobic since its set in a desert rather than an underground mine. I could tell a lot of research had gone into the writing of this book, from the military-speak to the weapons used, and everything in between. None of the violence is gratuitous in any way; it only enhances the realistic feel to the story.

Both John and Mackenzie go through hell, so there's little wonder their psyche becomes fractured. I think it was Lewis Caroll, who's character, The Cheshire Cat, said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "We're all a little insane here." What is reality? What is normal? The author explores this concept and adds a twist to it. We know only a fraction of what the brain is capable of, so who's to say that there's no potential for our minds to evolve to use capabilities such as ESP, telekinesis and other paranormal activity. It would be interesting to find out. But it could be several decades, if not a few hundred years before the human mind is understood enough to know if these powers are latent within everyone. Or if it's our perception of the world around us that creates our reality. I find it intriguing.

 

There is a lot of action, particularly towards the middle and end of the book, that had me sitting on the edge of my seat. By the time I reached the end of the book, I felt breathless and was left wanting more. I don't know if the author intends to turn this into a series, but I would be interested to see what John and Mackenzie are capable of together in the future.

 

Graham Austin-King has written an exciting, dark military fiction novel that kept me turning the pages. This book is superb! I think that this book is a lot stronger than The Riven Wyrde Saga and shows this author's growth in confidence as a writer. I love his fast-paced writing style, and the story flowed wonderfully from beginning to end. The characters came alive on the page and felt remarkably lifelike.

 

Although there is mention of sex, it’s not explicitly shown. Nevertheless, I do not recommend this book to young children or those of a nervous disposition, as there are scenes of violence and gore (battle scenes amongst others) that could be very disturbing to some readers. However, I highly recommend this book to older teens and adults alike if you love dark thrillers, military fiction, and/or paranormal fantasy stories that have an X-Men feel to them. - Lynn Worton

Audio/Book Review of Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness

Time's Convert - Deborah Harkness

From human to vampire ...

 

Marcus Whitmore was made a vampire in the eighteenth century. Over two hundred years later, he finds himself in love with Phoebe Taylor, a human who decides to become a vampire herself.

 

But her transformation will prove as challenging now as it was for Marcus when he first encountered Matthew de Clermont, his sire.

 

While Phoebe is secreted away, Marcus relives his own journey from the battlefields of the American Revolutionary War, through the treachery of the French Revolution to a bloody finale in New Orleans. His belief in liberty, equality and brotherhood challenged at every stage by the patriarchy of the de Clermonts.

 

What will he and Phoebe discover in one another when they are finally reunited at Les Revenants, beneath the watchful gaze of Matthew and his wife, Diana Bishop?

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the first book in an off-shoot of the All Souls Trilogy. I loved it!

 

I downloaded this book in both the Kindle and audiobook formats, as this gave me the option to either read or listen to it. Saskia Maarlveld narrates the audiobook. Her voice and pacing are excellent, and I enjoyed listening to her bring the characters to life. I would consider listening to other books read by her in the future.

 

This story is an addition to the All Souls world created by Deborah Harkness and follows the life, death, and rebirth of Marcus Whitmore on the eve of Phoebe's transformation into a vampire. The book, told through several points of view, mostly Marcus's, Diana's and Phoebe's, takes the reader on a journey of endings and new beginnings.

 

Several characters from the All Souls world make an appearance; Matthew, Diana, their twins, Phillipe and Rebecca, Isabeau, Marthe, Miriam, Phoebe, and Marcus (to name a few). I also enjoyed meeting Freya, one of Phillipe's daughters. She plays a crucial role in the tale as Phoebe's guide through her transformation from human to vampire.

 

While Phoebe adjusts to her new life as a vampire in today's world, Marcus takes us back in time to his life during the American Revolution and his transformation at the hands of Matthew into the vampire he is today. I became so absorbed in the tale that it felt like I walked alongside the characters, watching events unfold. Not being an American, I am fascinated by the history of that country and the people in it, as well as the country it is today. The author, being a historian, has brought the past to life for me and I am grateful to her for the peek into a bygone era. Marcus's life is not an easy one and contrasts with Phoebe's upbringing. However, these two characters have love on their side, and I enjoyed watching their relationship develop and deepen as the story unfolded.

 

I reached the end of the book with mixed emotions; sad that the book ended, but glad at how it ended. I am now looking forward to reading more books from the All Souls universe, as there are more than a few characters I would like to know more about next.

 

Deborah Harkness has written a fantastic tale in the All Souls universe. She has created a world where humans, witches, daemons and vampires all live in an uneasy alliance. I love her writing style, which is fast-paced and exciting, and the story flowed beautifully!
I am looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book if you love your stories to be full of witches, daemons and vampires, or if you love paranormal romance or urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

 

Book Review of Aftershock: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel (Blood Never Lies Book 2) by Dianna Hardy

Aftershock: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel (Blood Never Lies) - Dianna Hardy

Aftershock is a companion novel to the Eye of the Storm series and also acts as a PREQUEL to a brand new series to come. You don't have to read Eye of the Storm to enjoy this novel (some background is given). However, we always recommend you do in order to gain full understanding of how the characters have arrived at this point.

 

Self-sufficient and travellers at heart, Pete and Claire packed bags five years ago and headed on a journey that would change their lives forever.

 

After the unexpected death of her childhood best friend, Sarah, Claire has nurtured both an open wound, and Sarah's baby - a miracle born on her deathbed.

 

Pete has been nothing short of a father to baby Jasmine, and partner to Claire, the werewolf in him one of the few things in the world Claire connects with.

 

However, despite their love for their adopted daughter and each other, fate's about to test the foundation they've built. Jasmine has been having episodes - seizures - the doctors aren't sure exactly what they are, or what triggers their onset, but when a little boy is hurt by Jasmine's hand they can no longer wait for answers. They consider taking to the road once more believing a life of travel might be safer than planting roots.

 

But there's a Supermoon coming - the first in thirty years - and with it, a total lunar eclipse. Pete can feel the charge in the air, and it seems, so too, can Jasmine. With her terrible, secret legacy threatening to break through the shadows, Pete and Claire have a devastating reality to face.

 

Can you ever escape what you truly are?

 

Blood never lies.

 

NOTES: This is a dark paranormal fantasy novel. Contains some explicit scenes. Written in British English.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the second book in a new companion novel to the Eye of the Storm series. I loved it! You don't have to read the Eye of the Storm series to read this book, but I recommend that you do, so you have a good grasp of where Claire, Peter, and Jasmine are heading.

 

Claire (aka Beth from the Eye of the Storm series) now has a new identity. I loved her as Beth, but I think I love her more as Claire. She loved her best friend, Sarah. But when she died in a car accident while pregnant, Claire takes responsibility for her baby. Running for their lives from the danger of exposure from their daughter's unusual birth, Claire and Peter will do anything to protect their new family.

 

Jasmine is a lovely character. She is only two and a half when she's first introduced in this story, but she stole my heart. I love her innocence and curiosity. Even at that tender age, she has an unusual power. The story skips time, and we get to meet her once more when she is a five-year-old, and a Supermoon is imminent. As the event fast approaches, danger threatens, and their lives hang in the balance.

 

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book for some time. Told through the eyes of several of the characters, namely, Claire, Peter, and Jasmine, we get to see their thoughts and feelings.

 

I don't know how to put into words the emotions that went through me while reading this book. For someone who has written many reviews, that is not an easy thing to admit. I found myself smiling at the first scene where Jasmine appears; it was so sweet. However, as the story took me deeper and deeper into its pages, I ran a whole gamut of emotions, from happiness to anger, fear to heart-wrenching sadness. The characters came alive on the page, and I felt every emotion they did. There are some scenes in this book between Pete and Claire that are a little steamy, but amusing. They weren't particularly funny, but the situation of having a young child interrupting was. I think all parents have had to deal with this particular circumstance at one time or another.

 

A new character introduced into the tale never has his origins properly revealed, so he remains a mystery, though there is a twist I didn't see until I stumbled over it. I had my suspicions, of course, but even then, the reveal surprised me. One thing that did surprise me was Claire’s intuition. Was it an innately human sense, or does she had magic running through her veins? Diego is one of Jasmine’s classmates. There is one scene in this book that ripped my heart out containing him. I won't say what happened because of spoilers. Suffice it to say, keep a tissue handy, you'll need it. I reached the end of the book, and I've now got a severe case of 'book hangover' from reading this tale. Be warned!

 

As this series is a convergence of two other series - The Eye of the Storm, and The Witching Pen - I loved meeting Pueblo (from The Sands of Time - The Witching Pen Series) once more, as well as Jarrod. Near the end of the book, we get to meet the werewolves from the Eye of the Storm series (and their children), as well as Selena aka Jennifer aka Laura from Blood Shadow, the first book in this companion series. I now can't wait to read the two new series. One following Laura in the Blood Shadow series, and the other following Jasmine in the Aftershock one. Bring it on!

 

Dianna Hardy is one of my favourite romance authors (she writes both paranormal/urban fantasy and contemporary romance), she has a way of expressing so much emotion through her written words. Ripping your heart out with them, but will also fill you up with them too. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. The flow is fantastic too. Reading her books are a joy, and I will continue to read them for as long as she keeps writing them.

 

Unlike other books by this author, this book doesn't have many romantic scenes of explicit content, though what scenes there are, aren't as detailed as other series written by her. However, some scenes contain bad language and violence that may offend or upset some readers, so I do not recommend this book for younger readers or those of a nervous disposition. I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love contemporary or paranormal romances, dark fantasy and urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Craved by her Cougar (Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series Book 4) by Felicity Heaton

Craved by her Cougar - Felicity E. Heaton

For the last twenty years, Cobalt has burned with a need of one female, a beautiful raven-haired cougar who captured his heart the moment he set eyes on her. His position as pride protector has been a blessing at past mating gatherings, keeping females away, but this time it feels like the worst of curses, because the female who has bewitched him so thoroughly is taking part for the first time and all he can do is watch as males battle for her.

 

As much as she hates the way her mother controls everything in her life, Ember is thankful for it as she constantly turns away suitors, unaware of the pain she’s sparing Ember from with every male she rejects. Every male who isn’t the gorgeous blond with darkness in his eyes and an easy smile she burns for with an intensity that scares her, awakens feelings in her that have her verging on doing something reckless. Damaged goods he might be, dangerous and unpredictable, but with every contest over her that pulls her closer to her doom, she grows more determined to follow her heart, no matter the consequences.

 

With every fight over the right to Ember, the tethers on Cobalt’s feelings twist and threaten to snap, a torment he cannot bear and one that has him willing to risk it all, because a single kiss would make even the harshest punishment worth it. He would die for one moment with her… his fated mate.

 

Review 4*

 

This story is the fourth (and final) book in a new shifter series called Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series, which is an offshoot of the Eternal Mates series (which I love) and based in the same world.

 

Cobalt is a wonderful character. I liked this shifter a lot, even though he's full of angst and tends to mope around. However, he has reason to sulk. He has loved Ember from afar for more than twenty years after he realised she was his destined mate. He didn't expect her to attend the Gathering, but when he sees her there, he’s torn between his instincts and duty. Will he claim his mate?

 

Ember is also a wonderful character. I like this feisty female shifter. She has known that Cobalt is her fated mate for many years and she only agreed to go to the Gathering to claim him. Unfortunately, she realised her mistake too late - he couldn't join in the Gathering due to his duty to the pride as a protector. Now she faces a dark future if her mother chooses her mate for her from the males vying for her attention. But can she win the man who holds her heart?

 

I began reading this story, told through both Cobalt's and Ember's points of view and quickly became hooked. The action is intense from the start. Cobalt's angst has been hinted at through the previous books in the series, so finally getting to read his and Ember's story is a relief in a way. This story goes to the opposite ends of insta-love. These two characters have loved each other for several decades, but due to Ember's immaturity and not reaching 'adulthood' for that period, it has been a slow-burning fuse. Now Ember has reached mating age, the fuse ignites and becomes a conflagration. The story takes the reader through a roller coaster ride of emotions.

 

The reader also gets to meet the other characters from the previous books: Rath and Ivy, and Flint and Yasmin. Storm and Gabi are on honeymoon, so don't make an appearance. Nevertheless, they have a presence in the book too.

 

There is another fantastic fight scene or two that gripped me from beginning to end. Of course, I knew who would win; there was no doubt. This author has a fantastic way of describing fight scenes that come alive. I am feeling a little sad that this side series has come to an end, but I am hopeful that we will meet these characters again in the Eternal Mates universe in the not too distant future. There is the connection to Archangel to investigate after all.

 

I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings. I love the shifter world the author has created but feel let down by the rushed feel to the series. I don't know if the author is putting on too much pressure onto herself to get these books out quickly, or not. I prefer quality over quantity, and this book is decidedly below her best work, even though I still loved it. I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the Eternal Mates series to see what happens next.

 

Felicity Heaton has written another fast-paced, sexy paranormal romance that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love her fast-paced writing style, which flows effortlessly from scene to scene. She is still on top of my favourite author's list.

 

I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to the extremely HOT and explicit sexual scenes. However, I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love sexy paranormal romances full of cat shifters and other paranormal species. - Lynn Worton

Audio/Book Review of The Servants of the Storm (The Pillars of Reality Book 5) by Jack Campbell

The Servants Of The Storm - Jack Campbell

A Storm that will wreck a world threatens Dematr. Only Mari, one of the Mechanics who control all technology through their Guild, has a chance to stop it. She and Mage Alain have survived numerous attempts to kill them and have gained many more followers, but the Storm of chaos, born of centuries of enslavement, grows ever closer.

 

Mari leads an army now. She and Alain must fight together to bind back the Broken Kingdom and build a force strong enough to defeat the might of the Great Guilds. But the Storm has many Servants who seek to preserve or gain personal power or wealth, or fear the New Day that Mari seeks to bring to the world.

 

And Mari knows that victory will mean nothing if the precious knowledge brought long ago to their world is destroyed. In order to save it, Alain and Mari will have to pierce through the heart of their enemies' power and confront once more a place of ancient nightmare.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the fifth book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

 

Mari is a fantastic character. I liked her immediately when I met her in the first book. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. A Master Mechanic, Mari has faced many threats to her life from the Guild Masters on the world of Dematr and survived. Foreseen by Mages to be 'The Daughter of Jules' and fated to free the world of Dematr from the tyranny of both the Guilds - Mechanics and Mages - and to unite the Mechanics, Mages and Commons against said Guilds, Mari finds herself fighting for their freedom.

 

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot from the start. He was one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status at the age of seventeen. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. I love how this character has grown as the series has progressed. He tries to show more emotion, even though his Guild had virtually beaten it out of him. He hides a dry wit under that emotionless mask.

 

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. MacLeod Andrews once again narrates the story. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflexions and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would listen to more books read by this narrator.

 

The story continues six months from the end of The Pirates of Pacta Servanda and sees Mari and Alain heading a mixed army of Mages, Mechanics and Commons as the action heats up. Mechanic Caylou (not sure of spelling as I listened to the story so have no reference and have spelt it phonetically - it could be Kayloo or another variation) makes another appearance. He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally, who also makes an appearance. I love her constant use of 'Your Daughterness' when speaking to Mari just because it annoys her. Mage Asha also makes another appearance, as does Mage Dov, who is Asha's uncle, and Mechanic Dov (no relation) whose relative had once lived in Marandur. Cien, a princess of Tae, plays a significant role in this story, too. There are a few more characters added, but it would take me too long to mention them all.

 

I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. It has a mix of steampunk and modern day technology, but this is due to the way the Guilds restricted people from creating new things. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. In this story, the characters are gathering together for a showdown with the Great Guilds. They also make a dangerous journey back into the Imperial territory of Marandur to retrieve the mechanical texts left at the University. The action is ramping up further as the storyline reaches towards the climax, and I found myself holding my breath more than once as they faced several tricky challenges. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt utterly emersed in it? It happened to me as I listened to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger, which had me eager to listen to the next story in the series, The Wrath of the Great Guilds, as soon as possible.

 

Jack Campbell has written a fantastic science fiction series. I have added him to my favourite author's list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast-paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

 

Although there is now some mention of scenes of a sexual nature, it’s not shown. I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Courted by her Cougar (Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series Book 3) by Felicity Heaton

Courted by her Cougar - Felicity E. Heaton

Flint is one alpha shifter determined to remain a bachelor... until a beautiful doctor with a surprising secret walks into Cougar Creek.

 

Madness is sweeping through Cougar Creek, and Flint wants no part of it. The fever has two of his brothers in love already, and Flint is damned if he’s giving up the bachelor life to tie himself to one female, but when a perimeter sweep has him running into an exotic and enthralling beauty who rouses his instincts as a cougar shifter and a male, the hunt is on.

 

All Yasmin is interested in is making sure her friend, Ivy, is safe, but the alluring black-haired man with a wicked smile she meets on the path to the creek has her thinking about other things. When an incident at Cougar Creek leads to her revealing a secret, and Flint’s persistence pushes her to a rash decision, her entire world is in danger of being turned upside down.

 

With the gathering in full swing, and males determined to prove their worth to Yasmin, Flint discovers he’s not immune to the madness sweeping through the creek, because he’ll do whatever it takes to claim victory and win Yasmin’s heart… no matter how dangerous it is.

 

Review 4*

 

This story is the third book in a new shifter series called Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series, which is an offshoot of the Eternal Mates series (which I love) and based in the same world.

 

Flint is an interesting character, and I liked him a lot. He has watched two of his siblings become struck with madness (his term for falling in love) and wants no part in it himself. All he wants is to get through the gathering and get back to his life away from the others. Unfortunately, fate has other plans, and when he meets Yasmin, his life gets a lot more complicated.

 

Yasmin is an intriguing character. I liked her a lot too. She is a doctor and Ivy's friend, though she has a secret of her own. Determined to make sure her friend is okay, she makes her way to Cougar Creek, where she meets Flint and sparks fly. Unfortunately, she makes a quick decision which leads to dangerous consequences.

 

I began reading this story, told through both Flint's and Yasmin's points of view and quickly became hooked. The action is intense from the start. As this is a novella rather than a novel, I think the author did an excellent job in extending the time the characters got to know each other in this book compared to the first book in the series, though I am still not a fan of insta-love. There is more than one big fight scene (which I won't go into due to spoilers) that I enjoyed; this is one thing I love about this author's writing - her descriptions of action, in particular fight or battle scenes are extremely exciting. It is also lovely to meet the other characters once more. Yasmin's secret, when revealed - though there is foreshadowing written cleverly from the start, the reader is left thinking 'Of course! That makes sense'. I am now looking forward to reading Cobalt's story soon.

 

Felicity Heaton has written another fast-paced, sexy paranormal romance that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love her fast-paced writing style, which flows effortlessly from scene to scene. She is still on top of my favourite author's list.

 

I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to the extremely HOT and explicit sexual scenes. However, I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love sexy paranormal romances full of cat shifters and other paranormal species. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Hell & Gone: Volume 3 (The Heckmasters) by Allison Merritt

Hell & Gone - Allison Merritt

Tell Heckmaster has always known the day would come when his demon blood overruled his human emotions. Years of searching for a miracle to overcome the name curse placed on him as a child have been fruitless. Now, after Berner has finally found peace, his worst fears are coming to light—he begins to manifest strange new powers and his finely honed control is slipping. Sylvie Duke has enjoyed the hard-won peace her sister and friends fought for. She has almost everything her heart wants—a successful seamstress shop, a loving family, a devoted suitor, and all the flouncy material she can stand. The one thing she doesn't have is Tell. With his powers growing out of control, his attempts to push her away only make her fight harder to stand beside him. The curious thing is, the closer Sylvie is, the less demon-like Tell becomes. A cryptic warning from an old ally will help her protect their loved ones, but if Tell loses all control, even Sylvie's love might not be enough to save them.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third and last book in The Heckmasters series. I loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story wonderfully, although the original cover did too. Initially published as Tell, the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed, and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself with a new title: Hell & Gone. I have noticed this series is no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.

 

Tell Heckmaster is a wonderful character. I liked this taciturn man when I first met him in the first book, Hell & A Hard Place. Tell is one of three half-demon brothers who police the portal to Hell in the small town of Berner. Unfortunately, his real name was cursed long ago, and if anyone said it, all Hell would break loose. Literally. Fearing his demon-side, he finds that the only thing that holds it at bay is Sylvie Duke, who also happens to be his sister-in-law.

 

Sylvie Duke is another wonderful character. She is just as stubborn and determined as she was when I first met her. No longer a pre-teen, she has always had her sights on Tell, though the idiotic male seems oblivious to the signs. While Tell struggles with his darker nature, Sylvie finds herself drawn even closer to him.

 

This series is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! The book, set in the late 1800s/early 1900s, quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is shown through the eyes of both Tell and Sylvie; this made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.

 

The story continues several years after the events that saw the end to the portal. The town of Berner has now grown, populated with humans as well as the demons' that originally lived there. I loved meeting all of the characters again: Wystan and Rhia, Eban and Beryl, amongst others. The siblings' father, Seneca, and an imp called Dochi are included as introduced characters and add to the cast. Seneca is now the ruler of the Gray Lands, a world created by the god El, and Dochi is one of his subjects.

 

The story is full of twists and turns. The mystery of how Tell's real name became cursed becomes revealed, and what it is. I could tell you what it is, but then it would ruin the surprise, so will not do it - I try not to add spoilers to my reviews. There are also several emotional moments which drew tears to my eyes. Dochi, however, had me grinning. His eagerness in serving the youngest Heckmaster reminded me a little of Dobby from Harry Potter, though he does not look like him. He is extremely loyal to the Heckmasters, and his obsequiousness annoys Tell significantly; this gave the story a little light relief from the danger that threatens. The end of the book left me with mixed feelings. I love how the story took me on a fantastic adventure, but it also made me feel sad that this series has now come to an end. I will miss these three couples, as they have become my friends.

 

Allison Merritt has written an exciting paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page, and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also love the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. This author has found another fan! I would love to read more of her books in the future.

 

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likeable characters. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Heir of Ra (Blood of Ra Book One) by M. Sasinowski

Heir of Ra - M. Sasinowski

For fans of science fiction and fantasy arrives a story unlike any other...

 

Alyssa signed up to study history, not to rewrite it.

 

An excavation of the fabled Hall of Records beneath the Sphinx unleashes an ancient disease that leaves her father fighting for his life. As Alyssa races to find a cure, she stumbles onto an impossible artifact that could change history--or destroy our future.

With unexpected help from Oxford student Paul Matthews, Alyssa evades ruthless adversaries set on harnessing the power of the artifact. As a global epidemic looms, they must unravel deep secrets hidden within it and unveil the link between a mythical civilization and the birth of Egyptian mythology, before time runs out.

 

Compulsively readable, M. Sasinowski's electrifying debut thriller, Heir of Ra, is filled with action, technology, humor, and a generous dose of "what if" that just might have you question your history books.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the first book in an exciting YA series called Blood of Ra. I loved it!

 

Alyssa Morgan is a wonderful character. I love her take no prisoners attitude, but she also can be a little reckless. She is a mature seventeen-year-old, but she also is incredibly impulsive at times. She works with her archaeologist father and professor, Kade Morgan. When her father becomes ill during an expedition to excavate the potential Hall of Records under the Sphinx in Cairo, Alyssa finds herself in a race to locate a cure and unravel the mystery surrounding the hidden chamber. Unfortunately, someone else is determined to stop her. Can she find a cure in time?

 

I love a good YA thriller/mystery, and this book has it in spades. I began to read it, and the action starts immediately and doesn't let you go until the last sentence. I love myths and legends, especially Egyptian folklore about their gods and goddesses, stories about Atlantis, and even alien origin theories, and this story has a fantastic mix of all these things. I have previously read a YA romance book that explored a similar topic, but the stories are entirely different. I have to say that I prefer this version. It appeals to my love of science fiction.

 

There are a few interesting characters that help bring this story to life. Paul Matthews is an intern at the World Health Organisation office in London, UK, though I am unsure as to his age - seventeen or eighteen I think. I am not sure why he decides to help Alyssa - besides his attraction to her, that is - but he appears to be a fantastic character too. Unfortunately, I feel that he needs a little more depth to him. Perhaps his character will grow as the series continues. I hope so. Another character who has potential is Clay Obono, who is Paul's friend. He's a sixteen-year-old student intern and computer geek also working at the World Health Organisation. He has a great sense of humour.

 

Heir of Ra is a pulse-pounding roller coaster ride from beginning to end. I reached the end, and my first thought was, "Gah! Now I have to wait (im)patiently for the next book as it can't end like that!". It is not exactly a cliff-hanger ending, but it's close. I sure hope the author is penning the sequel right now because if he isn't, I will probably start pulling out my hair in frustration. However, I will do my best to restrain myself as I know that it takes time to create great works of art and this series seems to have had a lot of research done for it.

 

M. Sasinowski is a debut author. As Heir of Ra is his first book, I think this author is one to watch. I love his fast-paced writing style. His characters come to life on the page, and I can picture the scenes in my mind's eye with ease. I also love the story flow, which runs smoothly from scene to scene. I am considering adding him to my favourite author's list.

 

Although there are no scenes of a sexual nature, there is some violence, so I feel that parental guidance may be required. I highly recommend this book (and series) to teens and adults alike who love YA science fiction, fantasy, action, adventure, thrillers, mysteries, mythology, and romance genres. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Hell & Back: Volume 2 (The Heckmasters) by Allison Merritt

Hell & Back - Allison Merritt

Eban Heckmaster has always been grateful his mother's human blood cooled the dark thoughts being the son of a demon can bring. He's tried to lead as normal a life as possible by attending medical school and setting up his own practice in New Mexico Territory. But it's no longer enough. After being rejected by a woman he was sure could complete his life, he's counting the days until he can get out of town. That will happen, just as soon as he figures out how to rid a close friend of a demon that's wreaking havoc inside her head. Beryl Brookshier's past only comes in splotchy memories. What she can remember is nothing to be proud of, but there's something more worrisome going on. Long dark moments and passages of time when she can't remember who she's been with or what she's done. She knows that Eban knows what's causing it, but the half-demon doctor isn't telling. And unfortunately for her, he's so distracted by the secret and his desire to leave Berner, he doesn't even see that she's falling in love with him...or is she? When she discovers the lust demon living inside her mind, she begins to wonder if she's in love, or if the demon only wants Eban for her own purposes.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the second book in The Heckmaster's series. I loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story wonderfully, although the original cover did too. Initially published as Eban, the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed, and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself. I have noticed this series is no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.

 

Eban Heckmaster is a fantastic character. I liked him from the first time I met him in Hell & A Hard Place, the first book in the series. He is the middle sibling of the three Heckmasters' and is the doctor of the family. He has always wanted to get away from Berner, the demon-riddled town that he and his two half-demon brothers protect from "The Pit", a portal to and from Hell. But after meeting Beryl Brookshier, who arrived with Rhia and Sylvie Duke, he knows that the war with evil is far from over.

 

Beryl Brookshier is a character that I liked but didn't know much about when I first met her in the first book of the series. She is extremely ill and under the care of Eban. But, she has no idea that she has a demon imp, who also happens to be a lust demon, attached to her brain like a parasite. Can she overcome its hold, or will she be doomed to die?

 

This story is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! The book, set in the late 1800’s, quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story told from various points of view, made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery, and suspense mixed in with the hot romance. The three Heckmasters make a formidable team as they tackle the evil escaping from hell.

 

This story continues from the end of Hell & A Hard Place but follows Eban and Beryl as they struggle to come to terms with events after the battle with Noem, though Wystan and Rhia are now married and on their honeymoon. I also loved meeting Wystan and Tell again, as well as Rhia and Sylvie. I also found it interesting to see things through the eyes of the lust demon, Rosmar. She brings a sense of fun mixed with deadly poison to the tale. I did like her because, although she is a demon, she is trying to atone for her sins by working with the Grey Side (demons who oppose total dominion of Earth by Astaroth - the deadly demon trapped in The Pit by the Heckmasters' father). But, she also has her own agenda and is hoping to tempt Eban into unleashing his demon side to help her. But Eban is not a pushover, though he does do something rather dangerous and sets off a chain of events that could mean the end of Berner, if not Earth; this introduces us to another character, who happens to be an angel called Eliakim. What his role is or will be, remains a bit of a mystery, but I liked this enigmatic angel. He brings the might of Heaven with him and is definitely a warrior to avoid if you're a demon.

 

The story is full of twists and turns, with one that I didn't see coming and I felt sorry for the Heckmaster brothers as they had to make a difficult decision regarding a loved one. I did find humour in the tale, especially where Eban threatens to speak Tell's real name. Okay, having a curse on your spoken name is not meant to be funny, but the way Eban taunted his brother with it reminded me of how, when my sisters and I was younger, we would call each other names to get a rise out of them. Siblings can be cruel, and I felt sorry for Tell. However, it made me curious to find out what his real name is!

 

The end of the story doesn't finish on a cliff-hanger, but it made me feel sad because I wanted to keep reading about Berner and her inhabitants. This series has taken me on an unexpected journey, but I love the roller coaster ride. I guess I shall have to read Tell's story now.

 

Allison Merritt has written a wonderful paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page, and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also enjoyed the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. I think this author has found another fan! I would like to read more of her books in the future.

 

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likeable characters. - Lynn Worton