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Para-Urban Review "Para-Urban Review" (Surrey, UK)

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Black Spring (A Black Wings Novel Book 7)
Black Spring (A Black Wings Novel Book 7)
Price: £3.14

4.0 out of 5 stars The last of a delightful, captivating series, 19 Nov 2014
Book 7 - The last of a delightful, captivating series and, just like the earlier novels, it didn't disappoint. I had this one on pre-order but when it arrived, I left it sitting unread on my Kindle for 3 weeks! Oh yes, I wanted to read it but I also knew I would be saddened when I got to the last page and there wouldn't be another to look forward to.

Maddy's pregnancy is progressing well - and way faster than normal. She has had a few weeks to relax, get some much-needed sleep and enjoy having her new-found "family" members around her. Beezle still hasn't learned to eat politely (or moderately!), Daharan's has taken up the mantle of Master Chef (much to Beezle's delight!), Lock, Stock & Barrel have settled in as house pups and Nathaniel is…well… Nathaniel. However, Maddy knows that peace can only continue for so long - with all 4 brothers (Lucifer, Puck, Daharan & Alerian) awake and plotting humanity's downfall, it's only a matter of time before Chicago (and Earth) goes to hell in a hand basket. And it all starts with the arrival of a vicious, shadowy shifter.

Ms Henry, against all odds, has managed to tie up all the loose ends beautifully - right down to the mysterious identity of the "who" that may hold sway over the brothers. But… (isn't there always one)… the only loose end I'm still hmmm'ing about is Nathaniel. Perfect, gorgeous, self-centred, arrogant Nathaniel, who's life journey perhaps developed the most throughout the story, is revealed to be the honest, honourable, stalwart protector against Maddy's darkness, pregnancy - and, he hopes, her heart. Should he get the prize? Hmmmm *shrugs uncertainly*. Perhaps it was this single point that made me relook at how Ms Henry brought the ends together as it felt, to me at least, that in order to finish the series properly, some things that would have naturally progressed were quickly pulled back and closed off a little prematurely.

If you enjoy clear, concise, straight-forward writing then you'll enjoy Ms Henry's style as much as I do. The words flow easily, the story line is easy to follow, the characters are real, warm people (well, Maddy's friends are at least :-)), the villains are selfish, thoughtless, and have no concept of mortality or all the moral trappings that come with it!

Overall an enchanting, action packed, heroic ride!!

Tracker (A Rylee Adamson Novel, Book 6)
Tracker (A Rylee Adamson Novel, Book 6)
Price: £2.52

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars slow to start but explosive at the end, 28 Jun 2014
Book 6 and wow, another roller-coaster of a ride for Rylee and her menagerie family. I purchased and read the book the day it was released but, due to some personal challenges, I never got to write the review until now, just having finished Book 7 (and re-read this one!). So, while the Tracker review is late, I really wanted to get it up there and hopefully persuade a few more avid readers to give it a go - it's so worth it!

This book picks up right after the previous one and we are drawn further into Rylee's pain and fear; heartbreak from the darker, painful events of the last book and fear for what the future may bring - and its impact to her life and loved ones. However, we see Rylee's increased maturity and confidence come through strongly as she's called upon to make some tough decisions that ultimately result in the group splitting up to deal with two separate dangers….Rylee to find the Blood (and hopefully a new vampire leader) and Liam to put a stop to the witch-enhanced weaponry that could wipe out the supernatural world.

I could see the darker trend continuing into this storyline - it's getting more sombre, Rylee's view of the world and her role in it, for good or bad, is being woven ever darker - and perhaps us readers are nervously wondering whether Ms Mayer will find a lighter route amongst the dark, or leave us with a broken heroine who saves the world but loses all else.

As an author, Ms Mayer is meeting all her reader expectations - excitement, love, fear, an unusual heroine, humour and non-stop action - and books that are released every couple of months!! They may be shorter than other urban fantasy books, but they pack enough in to keeping you wanting more.

I would have given this story 5 stars but for one main detractor - it was a very slow at the beginning and, at one point, I wondered whether Ms Mayer was losing track a little (or creating fillers). The story only seemed to really kick into action after the half-way mark - but it sure went into overdrive from then on!

Veiled Threat (A Rylee Adamson Novel, Book 7)
Veiled Threat (A Rylee Adamson Novel, Book 7)
Price: £2.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just keeps getting better, 28 Jun 2014
It was awesome to finish Book 6 and move directly on to Book 7 - a far meatier read for me who can munch through a book this length in around 4 hours…

I was happy to see that the action started almost from the first page and didn't let up till the end. It was also wonderful to get further insight into how Rylee was supposed to be the saviour of the world - that was a left hook I didn't see coming but it was all the more poignant for its unpredictability and purity.

In this instalment, we see so much more character development going on…. Liam, Milly, Pamela, Evie - all maturing at a rate of knots alongside Rylee. And Alex, oh boy, do I love Alex! I honestly believe (or maybe hope) that Ms Mayer is planning something really big for Alex. Yuppy Doody I do! And Blaz ....soooo good to learn more about dragons and their role in the end game!

Orion is starting to make his move and, confident in his belief that the demons will win, is using everything he has to divide, conquer and deceive. Rylee is making headway in bringing the good guys together, she's introduced to a new family member and continues to grow her own menagerie family. The race is on. Those that were once seen as a threat are now her staunch supporters - but Orion is nothing if not determined to kill off any advantage Rylee might have. This results in her trying to make headway while dashing back to protect those she loves, creating havoc in the interim - after all, chaos is her middle name!

And the Blood of the Lost seems to be found again…. And those threads Rylee tracks are slowing weaving together - I'm sure to a fantastical finale!

Bring on Book 8!

Siberian 100% Goose Down King Bed Duvets All Togs (4.5 Tog)
Siberian 100% Goose Down King Bed Duvets All Togs (4.5 Tog)
Offered by Kensingtons
Price: £122.40

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, 12 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Light, comfortable, silky-soft. A really good purchase and perfect for all but the coldest nights. I originally thought it wouldn't keep me warm enough for end of winter, early spring so I was pleasantly surprised when I didn't have to use any additional blankets on some of those cold nights. It retains warmth while still being light enough not to smother. Well worth the cost!

Executable (The Demon Accords Book 6)
Executable (The Demon Accords Book 6)
Price: £2.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, good story, a little off-track, 12 Jun 2014
John Conroe - an author I follow avidly, and as a result of my addiction to his previous works, found myself reading and rereading them as each new instalment was released. I was thrilled when I saw that Executable was due for release and waited patiently for its arrival.

So it was with mixed emotions I realised that this instalment didn't continue Chris and Tanya's tale, disappointment warring with anticipation at the opportunity to learn more about the magical world outside of theirs. Conroe knows how to world build, create tension and anticipation with his readers and this book was no exception.

I found the story a bit slow to start, and it felt that the book was aimed more at YA when compared to his other books, but Conroe's writing style won through and I was eventually pulled into Declan and Caeco's world, and must say, thoroughly enjoyed this book - but more as a standalone than any continuation or off-shoot to the original series. As it was a retelling of the same tale but from Declan's perspective, perhaps those who haven't read all the Gordon novels would enjoy it a lot more - after all, I knew where and what the outcome would be. Declan is still at school, a 17 year old male warlock who has hidden his abilities from others, protected by his aunt all his life, and Caeco is a magical being on the run from a research lab - a "unique" person with little experience of the outside world.

On the plus side, I feel that Conroe is perhaps "shaping" a new Gordon - Declan, a young warlock who is already breaking the mould by being immensely more powerful when compared to other warlocks, is yet untrained and would benefit from independent guidance without the stigmatism applied to warlocks, their primary use is being married off to a strong witch to improve their bloodline.

Caeco reminds me a little of Tanya - unassuming, powerful and meant to be with Declan. I am looking forward to reading more about them in forthcoming books, perhaps when theirs and Gordon's two worlds intertwine more intensely.

As always, excellent writing, excellent story-telling, but for me the plot just didn't work right. When you have been spoiled by Chris and Tanya's might, it takes a mental shift to step backwards and sideways - something I found a little difficult to do.

Last Impressions (The Marnie Baranuik Files Book 3)
Last Impressions (The Marnie Baranuik Files Book 3)
Price: £2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A rip roaring, blue-streak ride, 11 Jun 2014
Well well well….. What a ride (sic) this book was! I was thrilled to receive the much-awaited 3rd instalment in the Marnie Baranuik Files to review prior to its launch on the 13th June.

Aalto has once again taken the series to another level, demonstrating such an awesome skill in penmanship that it took me nearly half the book to realise that THIS Marnie was growing up, not elegantly, not very wisely and certainly not quietly…. but definitely maturing. Our lovable, cuss loving, forever-young Marnie was insidiously stirring emotions in me that I really wasn't expecting from a Baranuik novel. We are surprisingly faced with (brief) moments of heart-breaking sincerity, gentleness, insecurity and consideration - and perhaps a dawning of understanding from us readers who may have taken Marnie not as seriously as we should have previously. All of this intertwined with laugh out loud, mind-blowing, creative and colourful language that turns a potentially terrifying tale into a story we can all enjoy without having to leave the light on at night!

Away from her home turf, Marnie finds herself in Canada after inviting herself to solve a case about a missing girl who just happened to have one of Marnie's business cards in her purse. We are introduced to Constable Patrick Schenk, a giant in Marnie's eyes, who shows a surprising willingness to accept the paranormal - and her quirkiness! I really felt that the relationship between the two of them brought a little of the more serious, warmer elements of the story to life - which was promptly off-set by a killer poltergeist, a sex-starved, ghost hunting-dog trainer ex-priest (who still wears a cassock and lives on hallowed ground) and some weird, funky s**t thrown in the mix. A real kinky dude who scared the heck out of me - and had me covering my chest protectively!

Even though the tale moved away from Marnie's usual home environment, Aalto has kept our favourite characters alive and present…Harry, stylish and proper, Kill-Notch - still grumpy (although growing less so) and the constant source of her sexual fantasies and last but not least, slipper-humping Wes - I love them all! Ms Aalto, I recommend you provide us readers who may be desperate to vent our own frustrations, in Marnie's inimitable style, with a dictionary of her cuss-words for us to use!

If you haven't read Aalto's previous books in the series, I highly recommend you do so - they will bring this book to life for you, allowing you to enjoy the finer nuances of Aalto's writing as much as I do. So go grab some coffee and donut-holes, buy the book and lock yourself away for the weekend. I did!!

Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock Novels)
Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock Novels)
by Faith Hunter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £4.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing - but disappointing overall, 2 Mar 2014
It breaks my heart to do this but I can only give this novel, the 7th in the Yellowrock series, a 3 star review! For the first time in the entire series, it took me nearly a week to read this instalment end to end - I found myself comfortably doing other things in my spare time instead of grabbing the book and escaping into another favourite world.

Ms Hunter writes beautifully. She writes captivating tales that keep us poor, starving readers tied to her pages in total fascination. She writes about a kick-ass heroine who is feared by all the fang-heads and other sups but is capable of loving, and being loved by, Angie baby and the rest of her motley crew. Ms Hunter created Jane and Beast, an I/we symbiotic entity that clearly demonstrates the strength and instinct of Beast coupled with the human-heart softness of Jane. A balance, if you like.

Now I feel the balance is skewed. I see Beast as the protagonist and Jane as the side-kick, I see Beast as the kick-ass heroine getting out there and doing her thang! And I see Jane as the weaker one, Jane who cries over Ricky-Bo becoming an ex for the second time, Jane who tingles when Bruiser is near but can't seem to take it anywhere, Jane always blaming herself when things go wrong instead of just dealing with it. And like Jane, I want to cry in frustration!

Ms Hunter is also very good at weaving new plots, of creating mystery that slowly reveals itself as you continue to read. However, there were times I was just plain confused - Leo seems to know everything that's happening around him and the facts are only revealed afterwards - but in some cases, I felt this undermined Jane, highlighting the fact that she was always catching up, always blaming herself and then just reacting as the situation demanded it. Again, in my opinion, this just made Jane appear weak. I feel that if this series is to continue successfully, Jane needs to grow a pair and start taking control of her own destiny - and the men in her life!

On the plus side we see Jane learning to accept her past and who she really is and we see her coming to the wonderful realisation that Beast is happy to be I/we. We see a definite change in Leo's attitude to Jane but I couldn't understand if that was because of Beast's binding to the MOC, or vice versa?? Or another of those confusing threads that allows Ms Hunter to continue with another book in the series?

I'm not sure I'll be reading any future releases - who knows, maybe Ms Hunter will start tying some of those loose threads together to create a stupendous end to the series? One can hope.

Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series)
Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series)
Price: £2.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent start to the Sensor Series, 2 Mar 2014
I read this book while on holiday in the States and I was utterly delighted with it! Ms Illene has introduced a refreshing storyline with strong, original supernatural characters who play ever so well (and sometimes not!) with our favourite werewolves, vampires and witches.

Melena is a Sensor, a rare supernatural who can sense other supernaturals and who is immune to the powers wielded by them. Sensors have a history of being hunted and killed for their abilities so Melena, like others of her kind, has kept her abilities secret to protect her life. Until her best friend disappears and the trail leads her to Alaska, a haven for supernatural entities of all kinds.

Her search draws her into a dangerous world of black magic, murder and mayhem where both her anonymity and her life are threatened. To survive, Melena will need to embrace who and what she is, and learn to trust the very people she's been conditioned to hide from. It's very much a broken and betrayed Melena who finds an inner strength to fight back and right the wrongs being enforced on the local supernatural community.

As this is the first book in the series and a whole new world is being created, I'm assuming any romantic interests were down-played to enhance both the world building and character development. However, considering the electricity between her and Lucas I'm sure we have plenty of that to look forward to in the next books - Lucas, the sexy Nephilim who is her supposed protector and who's always promising to kill her when the time is right! I can't wait to see how their relationship evolves!

I am so looking forward to reading the second book in the series, Darkness Taunts, where deeper betrayals, supernatural mishaps and romance are promised in bunches! I highly recommend this book!

Wild Card (Bite Back Book 3)
Wild Card (Bite Back Book 3)
Price: £2.52

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Amber does it again, 9 Feb 2014
This series keeps on getting better and better. It is also longer then the preceding books which was a joy - I usually read so fast and this book took me almost two days to finish. If you haven't yet read the earlier novels, I highly recommend you do so as Mr Henwick doesn't follow the norm when it comes to adding in snippets of the previous novel in order to tie it all together for you! I re-read ALL of them before starting Wild Card :-)

Amber Farrell continues to (unintentionally) buck the Supernatural system as she tries to come to terms with who, and what she is. Her sense of balance, of what's inherently right, unfortunately doesn't mix well with all the political ramifications of Supernatural politics and Emergence. Caught between two supernatural cultures, she finds herself reacting with what feels right and which, to others, is seen as dangerous, impulsive and untrustworthy. I like it!

Amber has promised to find a rogue werewolf who's been killing indiscriminately for years and, until he's stopped, the Denver pack is at risk of losing their territory if the Confederation steps in on the pretext of solving the issue - and claiming their land due to perceived incompetence. As she begins the search, she begins to uncover a more sinister pattern that both threatens her, her Kin and Emergence - as well as the stability of the Denver pack.

On a personal level, we see Amber become more comfortable with the Were side if her nature and also develop deeper relationships with her Kin - so good to see on all levels. I'm looking forward to seeing further development of her Athanate side and how this influences the storyline!

While this book is easy to read, Mr Henwick does include a lot of detail, plots and sub-plots that we can anticipate coming together in future books, as well as an informative and interesting view on army life (Thanks Susan Illene!)which just adds to the overall storyline.

Well done Mark Henwick!

Blind Salvage (A Rylee Adamson Novel, Book 5)
Blind Salvage (A Rylee Adamson Novel, Book 5)
Price: £2.52

5.0 out of 5 stars A darker, more exciting Rylee is coming..., 1 Dec 2013
I love these books - ALL of them - and will have them on pre-order as soon as they become available. And this book did not disappoint in the least!

Rylee's life has gone from Tracker extraordinaire to saviour of the earth in a fast, spellbinding, rollercoaster of a journey that doesn't seem to have an ending in sight. Book by book, Ms Mayer has delivered an escalating explosion of excitement, shocks, twists, love and laughter to her readers, weaving a story that gets darker, more intense, more emotional, more....just MORE! I love it! In Blind Salvage, Ms Mayer takes previously closed threads and re-opens them in the most unexpected ways - without detracting from the story or leaving you thinking she is trying to create fillers in order to keep the story going.

Rylee now realises she has a "family" to look after - a mixed bag, messed up confused family, but a family none the less. And there's one thing that gets Rylee riled and that's a threat against the people she loves. But this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew as betrayal after betrayal has her running frantically from one disaster to another. Admittedly there were times when I thought "give the girl a break" but the small victories dropped into the mix, her continued emotional development and maturity, plus the realisation she was going to lose people she cared about, results in a Rylee who is more mature, stronger and able to deal with what has been prophesied.

None-the-less, the ending was a total shock to me. Never would I have imagined the author becoming so much darker with her storyline. I didn't see it as a cliff-hanger - it was a "pick me up, throw me from a cliff with no parachute" ending that had me gaping at the page in shock. But, and this is a big But, I can totally understand where the author is coming from. Rylee has such a huge challenge coming her way and the soft Tracker who appeared in Priceless has no place in the hell that may be unleashed.

I highly recommend this series - start at Book 1 and spend a week reading through all 5 - you won't regret it! I was hooked and sent flying high in Priceless and I'm still soaring at the end of Book 5. The next one can't come soon enough for me.

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