Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Grave Phantoms (Roaring Twenties #3) by Jenn Bennett ★★★

Grave Phantoms (Roaring Twenties #3)
by Jenn Bennett 
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC


Synopsis: From the author of Grim Shadows and Bitter Spirits comes the new Roaring Twenties novel in the series hailed as “Boardwalk Empire meets Ghost Hunters, but so much better” (Molly Harper, national bestselling author of the Jane Jameson series).

Feisty flapper Astrid Magnusson is home from college and yearning for the one thing that’s always been off limits: Bo Yeung, her notorious bootlegging brother’s second-in-command. Unfortunately her dream of an easy reunion proves difficult after a violent storm sends a mysterious yacht crashing into the Magnussons’ docks. What’s worse, the boat disappeared a year ago, and the survivors are acting strangely…

Bo has worked with the Magnusson family for years, doing whatever is needed, including keeping his boss’s younger sister out of trouble—and his hands to himself. Of course, that isn’t so easy after Astrid has a haunting vision about the yacht’s disappearance, plunging them into an underground world of old money and dark magic. Danger will drive them closer together, but surviving their own forbidden feelings could be the bigger risk.

A boat turns up at the Magnusson docks that's been missing for a year carrying a bunch of bewildered, possibly amnesiac voyagers. Upon examining the boat, youngest Magnusson, Astrid, suffers a strange, magical reaction to an object she finds there. One she's determined to get to the bottom of, so long as it means being near long-time crush Bo as much as possible.

By far the weakest instalment of the series, which is a shame as it's the final one and sad to have it end so limply. The chemistry found in abundance between the lead characters in the first two books was almost wholly missing here between Bo and Astrid. In fairness, it was a very different set-up -Star-crossed longing in place of fiery passion, and on the younger end of the scale, too. It was a much more innocent, fumbling and awkward affair that, sadly, did very little for me.

I feel like the mystery itself was also weaker and very sparse in terms of page time.

All together, a much slower moving book from Bennett

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

Reviewed by:

Ghost Killer (Ghost Seer #3) by Robin D. Owens ★★★★

Ghost Killer (Ghost Seer #3)
by Robin D. Owens 
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC


Synopsis: Something wicked this way comes…

When her aunt died, level-headed accountant Clare Cermak inherited a fortune—as well as a phantom dog and the power to help ghosts move on. Her new gift led her to Zach Slade, a sexy private investigator with a unique psychic gift of his own, and the man who’s slowly opening her heart. But as they work toward building a future together, a sinister threat emerges.

An evil ghost is ravaging Creede, Colorado, threatening to devour the spirit of an innocent boy. Inexperienced in facing such a powerful ghost—and knowing her spirit, too, could be ripped away—Clare still can't refuse to help. With Zach’s support she uncovers the ghost’s identity, and the ancestral weapon required to slay it. But does Clare dare to use that weapon before the ghost destroys the man she loves—and her own spirit?

Claire (and Zach's) third official Ghost Laying mission sees them heading off to the small town of Creede where a young boy, Caden, nephew to old Mrs Flinton, is having a very tough time. He shares Claire's gift/curse of Ghost Seeing. And if you think it's a lot for a thirty-something woman to deal with, imagine being just a kid and not only dealing with ghosts, but parents who insist you're just "making it all up". *cough*idiots*cough*. Throw in some suspicious deaths that have Mrs Flinton frantic with worry and naturally Claire and Zach can't refuse. Especially Claire, since, you know, refusing to hunt ghosts will actually kill her.

l feel like this should be more than the third instalment of this series. I even did a double-take when I went to to check. It feels like so much happened and the characters are so connected and feel so strongly about each other, you forget it's been a very small amount of time in real fictional life. Just three short weeks of ghostly shenannigans. I suppose that all must be a good thing; that I feel so comfortable with the characters. All down to the excellent writing, of course.

Speaking of, Owen really upped the steam factor this time! This book was very very sexy, with multiple love scenes. Never gratuitous or porno-y, just plentiful. It didn't interfere with the great ghost mystery, however, and there was great development for the characters emotionally, too.

A fab instalment. Bring on the next!

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

Reviewed by:

Monday, 5 October 2015

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: mine own


Synopsis: The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena's epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Positively epic!

I really, really enjoyed this.

Queen of Shadows actually felt like it could have been The End-The End it was so mindblowing and triumphant! Never a dull moment. Plenty of feels, shocks and awws! Absolutely brilliant! Maas has also shown us a new, exciting bigger picture that I can't wait to get to in future books, so I'm more than glad it's not over quite yet.

There were a few things that took a bit of... accepting, though, it has to be said. Mostly with regards to Chaol. I decided to just go with the flow and see what author had in her genius brain, and I can deal. I'm on board. It's all good.

I have to say how much I enjoyed Lysandra's character in particular this time. A great development there. And although initially a bit reluctant, I also found I enjoyed the trips to see what the witches were up to more in this one, too.

All in all, a fantabulous read for any fantasy lover. Best read in series order for maximum good times.

5 Stars ★★★★

Reviewed by:

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Curse Keepers Collection (Curse Keepers) by Denise Grover Swank

The Curse Keepers Collection
The Curse Keepers Collection (Curse Keepers)
by Denise Grover Swank 
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC


Synopsis: The Curse Keepers series, now offered in a single collection containing the full text of all three novels and three prequel novellas, plus:

• An all-new introduction by the author, Denise Grover Swank
• All six works presented in the author’s preferred reading order

The wall between our world and a world full of vengeful spirits has protected humanity for more than four hundred years…and it’s about to come crashing down. In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank’s epic paranormal romance series, the Curse Keepers, two reluctant yet brave heroes are all that stand between the world’s survival and its total destruction.

The Curse Keepers (Book 1)

A descendent of two legendary spirit banishers from the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Ellie Lancaster dismisses her Curse Keeper role as part of a harmless fairy tale—until she meets the handsome and infuriating Collin Dailey, a fellow Curse Keeper, and realizes they must fulfill their destinies in order to save the world from vengeful spirits.

This Place Is Death (Curse Keepers Secret Book 1)

In this intriguing prequel to the Curse Keepers series, Roanoke colonist Ananias Dare, his expectant wife, and their friend Manteo realize that their settlement faces a sinister force much more evil than the natives who threaten their lives—and their only hope for survival may leave them with hell to pay.

The Curse Breakers (Book 2)

With passion threatening to consume both her and Collin, Ellie must fight the unleashed demons tormenting her. But when she finds herself abandoned, she embarks on a terrifying journey to claim the mark of the god Ahone and finish what the Curse Keepers began in order to prevent hell on earth.

This Changes Everything (Curse Keepers Secret Book 2)

Ellie Dare Lancaster may be only eight years old, but she already knows about her future as a Curse Keeper—and once an unholy force is accidentally summoned, bringing terrible evil into her home, the young Ellie becomes part of the newest generation caught up in the war between the gods of good and evil.

The Curse Defiers (Book 3)

The gate between the human and spirit worlds is open, and only Ellie and Collin can stop the trail of death and destruction—but first, they have to break free from their tangled web of treachery, jealousy, and lies in order to choose their own destinies, even if that means defying the gods themselves.

This Is Your Destiny (Curse Keepers Secret Book 3)

Collin feels trapped by his job, his debt, and especially his destiny as a Curse Keeper. But when the fearsome god Ahone reaches out to him with a tempting offer, it may be the key to Collin’s liberation…if he can survive the ensuing confrontation with his deadly counterpart.

This was a fully engrossing read with dynamic and flawed characters, interesting mythology and a terrific story arc. Based around the Lost Colony of Roanoke (something completely new to this Brit) it embellished and elaborated on the old stories with great sucess making for a very interesting and somewhat educational (for me, anyway) read.

I read each full length book and novella in the author's preferred reading order over the course of a week and thoroughly enjoyed my time doing so. I'd say the first book was the strongest with the most Oh-my-gosh! moments. In fact, there was a cloud hovering over poor Ellie's head almost the whole time that you were just waiting to burst. And when it did? Owie! It pinched quite a lot! It was also great to watch Ellie develop in her role as Curse Keeper from non-believer status (she could only really go up from there, lol) and her interactions with bad boy fellow keeper Collin were first class.

The author then took quite a twist and risk with book two introducing a new character with a very central role. This complicates and confuses pretty much everything and everyone, leaving poor Ellie with a big decision to make

The in between novellas are dinfinitely worth working in as they provide great backstory. The one from Collin's POV at the end being only icing to the cake.

The conclusion of book three saw tremendous character growth from Ellie with some great climactic scenes in the last quarter. I still, however, found myself conflicted over certain matters as the book came to a close and so my satisfaction-o-meter has only been able to reach 4 stars for that reason.

Still, a very good read that I would definitely recommend.

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

Reviewed by: