Monday, 23 November 2015

Splintered Souls (Flames of Time #1) by Erica Lucke Dean: ★★★

25873786Splintered Souls (Flames of Time #1)
by Erica Lucke Dean
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC


Synopsis: When Ava Flynn walks away from a scholarship to Georgetown and moves into her grandmother’s abandoned summer home in coastal Maine, she steps into the center of a centuries-old curse. On her first night, she notices a mysterious leather-clad stranger looking up at her third-story window. For weeks, everywhere she goes, Ava catches more glimpses of him, but she can never get close enough to find out who he is.

Over three hundred years ago, Lady Catherine Fairchild risked everything to protect her unborn child, sending a ripple through time that would change Ava’s future. As the mystery unravels, the horrifying consequences of Lady Catherine’s choices drag Ava deeper into a world she never knew existed, trapping her in a conflict that’s been raging since before she was born. A winner-take-all battle for her soul.

Gah and dognammit!

I admit to making an ASS out of U and Me here by assuming this would be a little standalone mystery - perhaps a nice ghost story/haunted house jobbie, or that's what I'd guessed from the blurb, anyway. And it certainly was a mystery, with breadcrumb after breadcrumb laid out, and even when we got answers, they felt uncertain and unsafe. So, needless to say, when the book ended in a horrendous, massive and quite literal cliffhanger, I turned the air around me blue for a good five minutes, because I really was ready for it to be wrapped up and done with.

As a mystery with some fairly clever twists and big reveals, it's going to be very hard for me to say much about the actual story, but in terms of tone, this was quite a young-feeling YA, and would perhaps be perfect for the Twilight, Vampire Diaries, etc., crowd (minus the vamps), as it comes complete with all YA the requisites; new kid at school, love triangle, lots of angsty angst.

I probably wouldn't be tempted to read the next one as I wasn't invested enough, but do bear in mind I'm am not really the target audience here.

3 Stars ★★★  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

Spiral of Need (The Mercury Pack #1) by Suzanne Wright: ★★★

25390016Spiral of Need (The Mercury Pack #1)
by Suzanne Wright 
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC


Synopsis: Ally Marshall isn’t just a wolf shifter — she’s a Seer.

But a girl doesn’t exactly need special powers to know that Derren Hudson despises her entire kind. Disdain practically rolls off the Beta of the Mercury Pack . . . disdain mixed with a healthy dose of desire. And no matter how much the ruggedly handsome male appeals to her, this is one call of the wild she’s determined to ignore.

After one betrayal too many, Derren doesn’t have much use for Seers — except for Ally.

Forced into acting as her protector, he finds himself intensely and passionately drawn to the woman who incites his primal instinct to claim.

And when enemies target the pack, Ally’s gift may be just what the Mercury Pack needs.

Can he put his distrust aside, or will he force himself to turn his back on the one woman who makes his inner beast howl?

Dominant wolf and Seer, Ally Marshall, is falsely accused of murder by her own pack in a devastating betrayal of trust. She's soon transferred to a new pack (The Mercury Pack) for her own safety. The only problem? Pretty much every member of this new pack hates Seers with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

Well... I really wanted to like this one more than I did because I fell instantly, head-over-heels in love with Ally's character right from page one. She was funny, snarky, intelligent, witty, all in the face of being harshly misjudged and mistreated, which nicely stoked my indignation centres on her behalf. She was amazing and for probably about the first three quarters of this book, I was tootling along nicely and heading for a 4-star finish. But, ultimately, my problem with this book was the sex. The copious amounts of it and the pornographic nature of it. Essentially, I wish I could have picked Ally up and transplanted her into an Urban Fantasy instead so I could have enjoyed more of all the good stuff: Ally, the wordbuilding and pack dynamics - both of which were great - and the mystery plot which was tight. And even the romantic parts of the romance. Sadly, it was just too rude for this prude and I suspect all further instalments will follow suit.

A 3-star read overall for me, but perfect for fans of steamier than average PNRs.

3 Stars ★★★

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Part Time Cowboy (Copper Ridge #1) by Maisey Yates ★★★★

23214382Part Time Cowboy (Copper Ridge #1) by Maisey Yates 
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC


Synopsis: A one-time bad girl comes home to small-town Oregon in the first in a sexy, heartfelt new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates…

Sadie Miller isn't expecting any welcome-home parades on her return to Copper Ridge. Least of all from part-time rancher, full-time lawman Eli Garrett. The straight-laced, impossibly hot deputy sheriff glares at her like she's the same teenage hoodlum who fled town ten years ago. But running from her demons has brought Sadie full circle, ready to make a commitment at last. Not to a man, but to a B and B. On Garrett land. Okay, so her plan has a tiny flaw…

Eli works too hard to let a blonde ball of trouble mess up his town. But keeping an eye on Sadie makes it tough to keep his hands off her. And if she's so wrong for him, why does being with her feel so right?

Ahhh, this was just the kind of feel-good book I was in the mood for. And you can always count on a cowboy to make you feel good - even a part-time one!

Eli was a puzzle. A straight-laced, by-the-book cop on weekdays, and a wild and rugged cowboy by week's end. His life could do with a little shaking up and that's just what happens when Sadie Miller moves onto his family's property to open a B&B. It's not the best news he's ever heard, to say the least, and their initial relationship is full of conflict. I do love me a good enemies-to-lovers tale!

Sadie was a great character, too. Full of passion and fire. Eli really didn't stand a chance. There were also some intriguing background characters I'd love to get to know more, and the Copper Ridge community in general is very endearing.

A great cowboy romance. Highly recommended.

4 Stars ★★★★  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

Cursed by Fire (Blood & Magic #1) by Danielle Annett ★★1/2

20564142Cursed by Fire (Blood & Magic #1)
by Danielle Annett
Rating: ★★1/2
Review Copy: ARC


Synopsis: It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

Cursed by Fire is the start to an Urban Fantasy series in the vein of Kim Harrison, Ilona Andrews and the like. But I do mean that quite literally - it was a start, as in, this particular book raises many questions and answers none. It has a beginning, a middle, but no end, not even to the initial crime of the murdered boy, let alone any of the other mini mysteries raised during the rest of the read, which was a little frustrating.

It seems like an interesting world, similar to many other UF series with vamps, shifters, mages, etc. I did actually note a couple of things that were a little too similar, if you ask me. Like "Lyc-V" and "warrior form". I see those as belonging to Ilona Andrews' world only. Vampires & shifters? Sure, everyone can have their own version of those, but specific terms like that aren't up for grabs, so it irked me to see them here. Very naughty indeed.

Okay, so far I seem to have been very negative. Let me tell you what I did like: the main character, Ari, seems pretty badass. She can control fire and is proficient with a blade. Her relationship with shifter James has potential for growth and there's the whole thing about the woman in the green dress which has me intrigued.

In all honestly, I just feel like someone who knows this genre ought to have given it a read before it was published and told the author a), to remove those borrowed terms because they don't even add anything, and b), to give us at least one small conclusion to something. Anything.

All together, a very mixed bag resulting in 2.5 stars.

2.5 Stars ★★1/2  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by: