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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.

Currently reading

Time's Convert
Deborah Harkness
The Wrath of the Great Guilds
Jack Campbell
Necroscope
Brian Lumley

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

Book Review of Hell & A Hard Place (The Heckmasters) (Volume 1) by Allison Merritt

Hell & A Hard Place - Allison Merritt

An ad in the newspaper for a schoolteacher in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to Rhia Duke's prayers. She packs her sister and friend into a rickety wagon and leaves Nebraska behind, intent on escaping a threat from her past. But her hopes are shattered when they arrive in Berner and she learns there is no job. Sheriff Wystan Heckmaster is the oldest son of a demon who spurned evil for the love of a human woman. His duty is to slay any demons that rise from Hell to serve their master—his father's former liege and his greatest enemy. With a gut full of regret, a forgotten town filled with reformed demons and now a beautiful schoolteacher to look after, Wystan must decide whether revenge is worth dying for, or if he can find peace the way his father did—with enough love to overcome the blackest evil.

 

Review 5*

 

This is the first book in The Heckmasters series. I absolutely loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story perfectly, although the original cover did too. It was originally published as Wystan, but 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 it's 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.

 

Rhia Duke is a wonderful character. I liked her very much. She is a schoolteacher by trade. She is a very determined woman, with a stubborn streak a mile wide. Desperate to leave her past behind, she sets off, along with her young sister and a companion they pick up en-route, to answer an advertisement in the newspaper for a job in New Mexico. But things are not all they seem and danger lurks in every corner.

 

Wystan Heckmaster is a fantastic character. I liked this man very much. He is quite gruff and tough, but as I got to know him a little better, realised that he hides a softer, gentler, not to mention honourable, side. He is the sheriff of a town where the citizens are reformed demons. Being a half-demon himself, his life has not been easy. However, he has taken it upon himself, along with his two brothers, to keep the earth and humans protected from the demons trying to escape through a portal called the Pit. When Rhia appears in his town, he realises that things are about to change forever.

 

This is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! Set in the late 1800's, this book quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is told through various points of view, which made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.

 

I liked meeting Sylvie, Rhia's twelve year old sister. She is full of curiosity and is extremely bright. I also liked meeting Beryl Brookshier, a young woman the two sisters had befriended on their journey. However, she is also a mystery and, when her secret is revealed, it completely threw me. I certainly didn't see that twist coming! I also loved meeting Wystan's two brothers, Eban and Tell. Eban is the healer and Tell is the hunter. The three Heckmasters make a formidable team as they tackle the evil escaping from hell. We also get to meet the other residents of Berner, some of whom I liked and some not. The heat between Rhia and Wystan fairly sizzled on the page and their chemistry is extremely explosive! The story has several twists and turns, not to mention a villain that sent a shiver down my back. Noem is a vile character, but even he pales in comparison. You'll have to read the story to find out for yourself as to whom I'm talking about. However, I will say that I didn't suspect a thing and their betrayal actually brought a pang to my own heart. Although, in hindsight, I should have realised that they were up to no good. There is a battle between several demons and the Heckmasters that is quite intense, with a surprising twist that had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I finished the story and sat for a while as I contemplated and absorbed what I had just read. I love books that make you go "wow" at the end, and this is one of them. It took me on a journey that I didn't expect. I am now looking forward to reading Eban's story as soon as possible.

 

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 love the flow of the story, the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. I have never read any other books by this author, but I would definitely love to read more of them 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 characters. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Captured by her Cougar (Cougar Creek Mates Book 2) by Felicity Heaton

Captured by her Cougar - Felicity E. Heaton

SHE MIGHT BE STORM'S ENEMY... BUT GABI'S ALSO HIS ONE TRUE MATE

 

In the wake of an Archangel attack on Cougar Creek, Storm is seething with a need for revenge against the hunter organisation and the key to it might be the petite blonde mortal he's locked in his cabin, one he's determined to make sing for him. Only the beauty has a fiery temperament to match his own, and the more time he spends with her, the more she stokes a fire inside him. One that fills him with a startling and undeniable need to make her sing in another way--in his arms.

 

Gabriella isn't going to take her captivity lying down. She's going to give the pig-headed brute holding her against her will hell until he finally believes she's innocent. He might be a cougar shifter, but she isn't afraid of him. Or at least she isn't afraid of what he is. The way he affects her, the flames that lick through her whenever they're close, terrifies her though, because the longer she's around the towering sexy-as-sin shifter, the hotter that fire blazes, and it's only a matter of time before it burns away all her restraint.

 

With the mating heat and the attack bringing cougars back to the creek, Gabriella is a complication Storm doesn't need, but she's one that he wants... because she might just be his one true mate.

 

Review 4*

 

This story is the second 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.

 

Storm is an interesting character. I must admit that I wasn't sure I liked him at first, but he grew on me - when he stopped being an a-hole towards the end, he became more likeable. He is one of Rath's brothers and first introduced to the reader in the first book, Claimed by her Cougar. He has a massive chip on his shoulder with regards to humans due to an incident that happened several years previously, so when Alexander, a hunter who works with Archangel, attacks his brother, Storm takes it upon himself to keep the hunter's step-sister Gabriella prisoner. Determined to gain information of Archangel from her, he finds himself torn between his duty to his family, and his undeniable attraction to her - as she's his one true mate.

 

Gabriella is a fascinating character. I like her a lot, but feel that she vacillated between being a strong female lead, standing up for herself against more powerful people/shifters, and a useless damsel in distress; this is not necessarily a problem, but this meant (to me) that she could have behaved more consistently either way. Gabriella finds herself held prisoner by a sexy cougar shifter. Scared, but determined, she tries to come to terms with her step-brother's death and her growing attraction for her captor. But as the mating heat draws other shifters back to the Creek, will she fight for her freedom from captivity, or will she find freedom in his strong arms?

 

I began reading this story, told through both Storm's and Gabriella's points of view, and it swept me up and carried me away. I enjoyed this one a lot more than the first book. Storm is a little like his name - he is a force to be reckoned with, but he also is a total a-hole for most of the story. Granted, he has reason to be, though that still doesn't excuse him in my eyes. The insta-love between the main characters is thankfully absent in this story. I could see the hate Gabriella felt for Storm and the resentment of her imprisonment. However, there’s a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on as the story progressed, I feel.

 

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. There is a 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, particularly fight or battle scenes are extremely exciting. This scene also introduces the reader to Storm and Rath's other two cougar brothers, Flint and Cobalt. I am now looking forward to reading their stories shortly.

 

I reached the end of the book in a happier frame of mind than I did with the first story. This book didn't feel as rushed this time, but I still don't know if the author is putting too much pressure on herself to get these books out quickly, or not. I prefer quality over quantity, and this book, although a lot better, is decidedly below her best work even though I still loved it. I hope the other books in the series are less rushed, and I am looking forward to reading the next book 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 The Devil's Cup: A Medieval Mystery (A Hawkenlye Mystery) by Alys Clare

The Devil's Cup - Alys Clare

Sir Josse d'Aquin is summoned to assist the beleaguered King John in the 17th - and final - Hawkenlye mystery.

 

September, 1216. A foreign army has invaded England. The country is divided. Some support the rebel barons and Prince Louis of France; others remain loyal to the king. His rule under threat, King John summons Sir Josse d'Acquin to support him. But can Sir Josse save the king from himself?

 

Meanwhile, Josse's daughter Meggie is summoned to Hawkenlye Abbey to attend a sick patient in a very distressed state. The elderly woman is warning of terrible danger unless she can complete her mission. What she learns from her patient will set Meggie on a perilous journey to retrieve a cursed treasure. But will she be in time to prevent a tragedy?

 

Review 3*

 

This story is the seventeenth and final book in the Hawkenlye mystery series. When I picked this book up at the library, I didn't realise it was part of a series at all. However, this didn't seem to matter, as the story reads as a stand-alone, though there are some references to other characters and books in the series.

 

Sir Josse d'Aquin is an interesting character; he's a knight of middle age, or maybe between the age of fifty or sixty years old in the year 1216. He finds himself being summoned by his childhood friend, King John, to help him as he tries to drive the invading force of Prince Louis of France out of England. But, while he's travelling with the King, Josse's daughter, Meggie, finds herself on a mission of her own.

 

Meggie is also an interesting character. She is a healer, working with the nuns at Hawkenlye Abbey as they tend to the sick and infirm. When a mysterious woman who is ill arrives at the Abbey with a warning of danger, Meggie finds herself journeying with the ailing woman's son, Faruq, to locate a relic that is cursed. But, as danger threatens, will they be able to retrieve the relic in time, or will it exact a terrible price?

 

As I said above, I saw this book in my local library. I love a good mystery, even a historical one, so after reading the synopsis, I decided to read it. I am struggling to write this review, not because it's bad (because it isn't), but because it isn't that good either. It is an okay read for me.

 

I found myself putting this book down, reading something else, and coming back to it with no problem. It is not a hard read by any means; in fact, it's a pretty easy read. This story told through several character's eyes, should have made it more interesting. However, something is missing from this tale. Maybe other mystery novels have spoilt me, but the plot is missing a crucial element - fast-paced suspense/mystery. This tale plods along at such a slow pace that I lost interest at times, which is why I would put it down and then come back to it. I've read other historical fiction novels that have sucked me in and left me breathless from the wild ride. Unfortunately, this book didn't do that to me. It is only in the last third of the book that the action picks up. The Devil's Cup of the title is an artefact that carries a curse. But the author, instead of using it as a tool to build suspense, focuses on King John and his attempt to forestall Prince Louis's invasion of England, which, I feel, is a shame as the object should have had a more significant role in this fictional tale.

 

Apart from the slow pace of the story, Alys Clare has written an intriguing story that brought the past to life. I love how she invoked the feeling of being transported into the past with her descriptive writing. The story flow is a little jerky in places where some of the scenes change in my opinion, but other readers may disagree with me, so will leave you to decide for yourselves. Nonetheless, I would consider reading more of this author's books in the future.

 

Due to some scenes of violence, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. However, I do recommend this book if you love historical fiction, mysteries, and thrillers. - Lynn Worton

Book Review of Sentinel (Book One of the Sentinel Trilogy) by Joshua Winning

Sentinel - Joshua Winning

This is a fantastic start to what looks like an exciting trilogy! I loved it!

Nicholas Hallow is a fantastic character. I liked him very much; and felt extremely sorry for him, as he dealt with a tragedy that destroyed his world. When he is sent to live with his godmother, Nicholas has no idea what mystery and danger awaits him.

This is an exciting, danger-filled YA Fantasy novel set it Cambridge, England. I found myself completely hooked from the first page! The characters come alive as the tale unfolds. Samuel Wilkins is Nicholas's parents friend. I liked his spirit! At 71 years old, he's still got a lot of it! Nicholas's godmother seemed a bit flighty to me, but when I read the full story of how she became that way, I could understand why. She's a powerful witch, but emotionally damaged by an event in her past. Isabel is a unique character, and her snarky and sarcastic comments had me giggling! I liked her very much! It's amazing what havoc a misfired spell can do to your perspective! However, there is one character that sent chills down my back, and her name is Malika. She is a creepy and dangerous individual! Well, I suppose you would have to be, working for a demon!


I struggled to put this book down, and couldn't wait to get back to it when I had to! There are several twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming, but they just added to a totally enthralling read! By the end of the book I still had some questions that needed to be answered, such as: Why were the Sentinels created/formed? Who or what is Esus? And, what will happen next? I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy as soon as I can!

Joshua Winning has written a debut novel that had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I loved his fast paced writing style, which made the story flow beautifully. This author is one to watch. If he's not careful, he'll be on my favourite authors list in no time at all! 

As this book is a Young Adult fantasy, I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 12+, and adults who love YA stories filled with witches, demons, supernatural beings, danger and adventure! - Lynn Worton

Audio/Book Review of The Pirates of Pacta Servanda (Pillars of Reality Book 4) by Jack Campbell

The Pirates of Pacta Servanda - Jack Campbell

"The world feels oddly strained, like a line pulled too taunt and apt to snap, smashing everything in its path."

 

Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain have survived every attempt to stop them, but their enemies are determined to kill Mari, the only one who can save her world from a storm of destruction. As armies begin to gather and cities seethe with tension, Mari, Alain, and their friends must prepare to confront the storm in the place it first appeared: the broken kingdom of Tiae.

 

The dangers facing them demand perilous raids, tough battles, and more than a little piracy. Beating the Mechanics Guild and the Mage Guild that have controlled the world of Dematr for centuries will require an unprecedented alliance under Mari's command of rebellious Mechanics, Mages, and common folk who know that together they can change the world, but separately they will all lose.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the fourth 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. Mari has been 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. This time, she finds herself on a dangerous mission on the sea in an attempt to reach the broken kingdom of Tay and walking in the footsteps of the legendary Jules of Pacta Servanda. Together with her friends, and Alain, she will have to dig deep to survive the oncoming storm.

 

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 definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

 

The story continues from the end of The Assassins of Altis and sees Mari and Alain joining with several new characters 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 this time. Mage Asha also makes another appearance, but there are also several other new characters that are now integral to the plot. There is Mage Dov, who is Asha's uncle, and Mechanic Dov (no relation) whose relative had once lived in Marandur. Sien, a princess of Tay, 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 travel to the Sea of Backer, where pirates, traders and Imperials rule the waves and danger threatens on all fronts. The action is ramping up as the storyline reaches towards the climax. 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 Servants of the Storm, 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 Claimed by her Cougar (Cougar Creek Mates Series #1) by Felicity Heaton

Claimed by her Cougar (Cougar Creek Mates #1) - Felicity E. Heaton

Having lost his parents and mate in a brutal attack on his cougar shifter pride by a hunter organisation, Rath burns with a need to keep humans off his land and out of his life. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect his pride from them, but when a lone female wanders into his territory, it isn’t a burning need to drive her away he’s feeling and it isn’t his pride that needs protecting—it’s his heart.

 

Down on her luck, Ivy follows a lead to a spot where she hopes to photograph black bears, but what she discovers there is a mountain of a man who lacks manners and seems determined to drive her off his property—a man who stirs unbidden fire in her veins and a strange sense of home.

 

With a pride gathering on the verge of happening at Cougar Creek and the air charged with a mating heat, the last thing Rath needs is a human on his land, especially one as beautiful and alluring as Ivy, one who rouses a fierce need to fight for her, but he can’t convince himself to let her go… and that proves dangerous for them both.

 

Review 3*

 

This story is the first 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.

 

Rath is a character whom I liked a lot. He has all the traits of an alpha male - strong, protective, and possessive. Being a cougar shifter, however, he also likes his space and is used to being solitary. When a human unexpectedly crosses into his territory in search of black bears to photograph, Rath is determined to chase her off before the rest of the pride arrives for the gathering, but it quickly becomes apparent that there's more to Ivy than being just a pesky human - she's his mate.

 

Ivy Wentworth is a strong female character. I liked her a lot too. A freelance photographer, she is determined to track down black bears in their natural habitat. Instead, she finds herself confronted by a surly man determined to drive her off his land. As danger draws unknowingly closer, Ivy finds herself fighting her attraction to the mysterious Rath.

 

I started reading this story, told through Rath's and Ivy's points of view, and it swept me up into the tale and carried me away. Rath is a little rough around the edges, and Ivy is like a babbling brook that smooths them, so together they make a lovely couple. My only bug-bear about this story was the insta-love between the main characters. Insta-love, no. Insta-lust, yes. They knew each other for less than a week and, with Ivy being a human, I don't think she would fall head over heels so quickly. Another thing I found about this story is that it felt too short - more like a novella than a novel even though there are 150 pages, and it also felt a little rushed near the end as if the author had quickly wrapped it up to get an HEA ending.

 

As this series is part of the Eternal Mates world, there is mention of Archangel, the same agency that has been hunting other shifter species in that series. Alexander, Ivy's sponsor, is vaguely introduced; he only appears close to the end of the story and is in one scene. I felt he didn't have enough development into a villainous character for me to love to hate him. It's as if the author just used him as a way to introduce Archangel into the equation, which annoyed me. Rath's younger brother, Storm, is also introduced to the reader. Again, this character doesn't get much page time, but as he is the intended main character in the next book in the series, I suppose we'll get to know him better then. Gabriella, Alexander's half-sister, is also brought into the tale near the end and will be in the second book as one of the main characters. There's a preview of Storm and Gabriella's story at the end of this book.

 

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 story. I don't know if she 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 hope the other books in the series are less rushed, and I am looking forward to reading the next book 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 Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen

Little Bear and his Chair - Claressa Swensen

Little Bear has a favorite chair, and he doesn't want anyone else to sit on it. When his stubbornness gets in the way of his friendships, Little Bear has to decide what's more important to him.

 

Review 5*

 

This is a wonderfully illustrated story for children aged between 3 and 8. I loved it!

 

I love the colourful illustrations done by Alena Paklina. They bring this short story to life and will engage a child who hasn’t fully grasped how to read yet, but who can follow the story with ease as it's been read to them by their parent. It compliments the short story written by the author, so one is transported directly into the tale. Depending on the child’s age and reading ability, the author has written a charming story that is easy enough for a young reader to follow, as she uses simple words that will not confuse a child.

 

The story is a simple but important one about learning to share. Little Bear has a lovely chair but refuses to share it. Because of his selfish behaviour, he has been left out of the fun and become lonely, which is no fun at all. He learns that by sharing, he is included in all the fun and games with his friends. This then translates into teaching the young reader how it is better to share when playing with their friends or siblings. Some adults reading this book may decide that this book is also about bullying as Little Bear is not exactly nice to his friends. However, this is not the impression I found when reading it. I suppose it depends on your upbringing and what your life experiences have made to you as a reader, and how you interpret a book in a certain way. I can only go on my impression of this book, and I think it’s a lovely book that can entertain as well as educate. Everyone’s opinion is different, so I will leave you to decide if, after reading the sample, whether you would want your child to either listen to you read it, or they read this book on their own.

 

This book is suitable to read as a bedtime story, or anytime at all, especially if a child has a short attention span. It is a quick read, so even if they haven’t settled down, the lovely pictures will entertain the children.

 

Claressa Swensen is a new author to me, as I have not read her other children’s books. However, I would definitely read more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book to children aged 3 upwards and to adults looking for a fun but educational read for their children. – Lynn Worton

Book Review of Splinter (Book Three of the Sentinel Trilogy) by Joshua Winning

Splinter - Joshua Winning

'All who stand against us shall perish'

 

The critically acclaimed Sentinel Trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion in this final instalment of the dark fantasy series.

 

The world is falling apart around Nicholas Hallow. Amid rumours that the Dark Prophets have returned, a deathly gloom pollutes England, unleashing a savage hoard of nightmare creatures. Fighting the tide of evil, Nicholas returns home to Cambridge, where an old ally helps him seek out the mysterious Skurkwife, who could help Nicholas stop Malika and the Prophets for good.

 

Meanwhile, Sam Wilkins unites the Sentinels against the forces of darkness, but with Jessica's sanity slipping, and Isabel suspicious of her shadowy past, it's a battle that could cost the Sentinels everything.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third and final book in the Sentinel Trilogy. I loved it!

 

Nicholas Hallow is a fantastic character. I liked him very much when I first met him in Sentinel, the first book of the trilogy. He has dealt with tragedy and faced danger which has destroyed his world with more bravery than even I would have in the same situation. I love how he's grown emotionally throughout the trilogy. He's been forged in fire and gained maturity through adversity. He has been chosen by the Trinity to help protect the Sentinels, but as danger threatens, he finds himself making some difficult decisions.

 

The story continues from the end of the second book and sees Nicholas dealing with his world being torn apart by the malevolent Malika. As he tries to pick up the pieces, his life receives several more blows. There are secrets revealed, and the nightmare surrounding the impending return of the Dark Prophets grows. Nicholas will have to dig deep to resurrect the Trinity. However, the sacrifices may be too difficult.

 

This story has been eagerly awaited by myself for some considerable time; it's been three long years, but it was worth it. Due to the length of time between the release of books, I decided to read the first two books before tackling this one. I'm glad I did that because it reminded me of things I'd forgotten. I found myself hooked from the first page, and I loved meeting the characters once more; Dawn, Sam, Rae, Merlyn, Jessica and Isabel. I even missed Malika, as she's a character I loved to hate.

 

This book is told from Nicholas's point of view and is just as fast-paced and exciting as the other two. There are several twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming, but they just added to an utterly enthralling read! I found myself on an emotional roller coaster ride from beginning to end. I had to wipe a few tears during this book, so keep hankies or a tissue handy, just in case. Speaking of the end, I love how all the loose ends from the previous books were tied up. I will not say more on that due to spoilers. But, I will say that I will miss these characters. A lot. However, I can now visit them whenever I get the urge.

 

Joshua Winning has written a fantastic end to his debut series. I love his fast-paced writing style, and the story flowed beautifully. This author is one to watch. He is one of only a handful of male authors that I have added to my favourite author's list, and I can't wait to see what he will come up with in the future.

 

As this book is a Young Adult fantasy, I highly recommend this book (and series) to young readers aged 12+ and to adults who love YA stories filled with witches, demons, supernatural beings, danger and adventure! - Lynn Worton

Audio/Book Review of The Assassins of Altis by Jack Campbell

The Assassins of Altis - Jack Campbell

Trapped within the dead city of Marandur, Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain must escape both merciless barbarians and the pitiless Imperial Legion. Beyond those dangers lie the mightiest and most unforgiving powers in the world of Dematr: the Great Guilds that rule the world with iron fists.

 

Mari's Mechanics Guild and Alain's Mage Guild have always been enemies, but they are united in wanting to kill their rogue members before Mari can fulfill the ancient prophecy of being the one who will finally overthrow their power. Mari and Alain must risk those dangers because halfway across their world lies a place where truth has long been hidden. A place that could explain why their world's history begins abruptly, with no hints of what came before. A place where they might learn how the Mechanics Guild came to control all technology and how the Mages manage to alter reality temporarily. A place that might tell them how to achieve a task that appears to be impossible.

 

Never before have a Mage and a Mechanic worked together, and their combined talents offer their only hope. But she and Alain must first survive the deadly and implacable Assassins of Altis.

 

Review 5*

 

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

 

Mari is a fantastic character, and I liked her from the moment she was introduced. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. She is now a nineteen-year-old Master Mechanic, though her guild is determined to take her life as she poses a threat to their hold on the world of Dematr. Mari has been 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. As she tries to accept her role, she finds herself on another dangerous mission while trying to avoid death at the hands of assassins.

 

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. The story is once again narrated by MacLeod Andrews. 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 definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

 

This book continues a few weeks after the end of the second story and sees Mari and Alain travelling to the island of Altis, where a long-hidden secret has been kept. With both the Guilds chasing them and now the Imperial Legions for their incursion into Marandur, Mari and Alain face many dangers, including a deadly snow storm. However, what they find on Altis will change everything.

 

This story introduces a couple of new characters into the series. One is 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). He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally (who is mentioned in book two but not introduced). Another character introduced is, Mage Asha; this is a character who is hard to explain without giving spoilers. Suffice it to say, she was a friend of Alain's from their early acolyte days, before all the emotion was beaten out of them.

 

I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. The reason for this becomes apparent as this story unfolds. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt completely emersed in it? This 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, and the audio version has a preview of the next book in the series, which I am now looking forward to reading/listening to. I will be listening to The Pirates of Pacta Servanda as soon as I can.

 

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 The Truth about Eggs by Delphine Richards

The Truth About Eggs - Delphine Richards

The Truth about Eggs by Delphine Richards is a novel featuring ‘The Welsh Detective’ DCI Tegwyn Prydderch in his latest outing investigating the mystery and horror surrounding characters and events in the small Welsh village of Llanefa.
Llanefa's Devil Tree is a hoax thought up by locals trying to boost tourism in the area. During the month of August, it was said that the Devil Tree released evil spirits into the community unless it was visited and paid homage to.
Nobody tells the tourists that this is a scam to bring income to the area and it remains Llanefa's Best Kept Secret!
Some people have no interest in tourism or hoaxes.
Manon, Anna and Natalie are keeping their own secrets.
Why does Manon keep the baby hidden from everyone?
Anna's secret wish is to break into the film industry. When she is brutally raped, she knows she won't be believed, so her only alternative is a bleak one.
Why is Natalie's secret so shameful that she cannot even share it with her best friend?
On an August Bank Holiday, DCI Tegwyn Prydderch is hoping for a quiet few days while he is 'on call' in the area. His wishes are shattered when things begin to go wrong and he has to deal with the fallout.
Will the Devil Tree myth become reality?

 

Review 4*

 

This is a wonderfully thrilling read. I loved it!

 

Llanefa is a small Welsh village that is struggling to survive. The local's make up a legend around an old oak tree, which they call the Devil Tree, to encourage tourists to visit. But when terrible events unfold, is the legend coming to life?

 

There are several characters in this story that have their say. There is Manon, a young woman hiding a baby; Anna, a young woman haunted by a brutal sexual assault, and Natalie, another young woman with an eating disorder. There are a couple of other characters that are introduced too. Then there's DCI Tegwyn Prydderch, a Welsh police detective who finds himself trying to piece together what happened.

 

This story is a chilling, suspenseful tale which kept me guessing and had me sitting on the edge of my seat throughout. Each chapter follows a specific character, though some chapters follow the character of Natalie the most. When I first started reading I wasn't sure how all these separate story lines actually fitted together. However, as the story progressed, it became a little clearer towards the end; there is one common denominator that ties them all together. Nevertheless, the author successfully wove several red herrings into the tale that kept me guessing for ages. I feel I need to mention that there is a scene that I found to be incredibly disturbing. This scene is of Anna's brutal sexual assault. It is graphic in content, but I didn't feel that it was used in a gratuitous way. It depicts the horror of such an attack and it leaves a bitter taste of disgust in ones mouth when reading it. It felt incredibly realistic and it still sends shivers down my spine when I think of it, even days after reading the book. Therefore, reader beware. The other characters' stories are also not easy reading, and I'm sure Manon is in need of some psychological help.

 

I reached the end of the book feeling emotionally wrung out. Although the story concludes satisfactorily, it hints at a possible continuation of the series and I'm looking forward to it. The Devil Tree is stirring! *Dun Dun Duun* (cue evil music).

 

Delphine Richards is a new author to me and I've not read her other works before. I love her fast paced writing style, which kept me turning the pages, and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.

 

Due to explicit scenes of sexual assault, as well as violence, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. Or those who have a nervous disposition, or have been in an abusive relationship, as this story may cause flashbacks. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love horror, psychological thrillers, thrillers, detective or mystery genres. - Lynn Worton