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Cheryl M-M (United Kingdom)

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Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock Novels)
Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock Novels)
by Faith Hunter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 4.77

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skinwalker with an inner beast..., 25 Feb 2014
The Jane Yellowrock series is a combo of Briggs/Mercy and Andrews/Kate. The Skinwalker with internal beast is a fascinating conundrum, especially when they get to the point where there is no distinction between the two of them. This is particularly evident in fighting scenes and scenes, which evoke maternal responses from both Jane and the Beast.
Jane and her Beast have some important inner dialogue in this book. Borders are defined, needs and wants are implied, and Jane finally understands the implications of a Jane without Beast.
Why on earth is Jane wasting her time on Ricky? It isn't as if she is his soulmate and he certainly has no problem doing the horizontal tango with other gals and she certainly feels attracted to other men. What gives with the revolving door love interest? At least in this book there seems to be another possible romantic relationship emerging.
Then of course there is her contentious relationship with Leo. The whole secret bond issue has Beast yearning for his fanged highness and he doesn't seem to notice at all. So much for vampires and their super senses.
I hope Hunter explores the darkness in Molly's magic a lot more in the next book and that the next plot is something a tad more than Leo & Co. battling for his place as head vampire of his area, because this series has a lot more to give. Hunter just needs to dig a little deeper.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Truly, Madly, Deeply
Truly, Madly, Deeply
Price: 4.80

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delicacy of romantic tidbits..., 24 Feb 2014
This is a compilation of short stories written by members of the Romantic Novelists' Association and it includes tales from some of the most well-known names in the heart-squeezing, tear-jerking romance genre.

A Rose by any other Name Would Smell As Sweet by Adele Parks - It was the quintessence of family concern and their attempt at playing Cupid.
A Sensible Proposal by Anna Jacobs - Love found during times of great desperation.
The Corporate Wife by Carole Matthews - Everyone ages and only the ones willing to accept that are worthy of your time, loyalty and love.
The Art of Travel by Elizabeth Buchan - Time to let go of the memory of perfect love and move on.
The Rough with the Smooth by Elizabeth Chadwick - I wasn't impressed with the way hubby treated the wife. Not at all, regardless of the era.
Living the Dream by Katie Fforde - The grass isn't always greener on the other side, be grateful for what you have.
True Love by Maureen Lee - A whole life spent loving and living a memory.
Love on Wheels by Miranda Dickinson - Old love rekindled when two people find each other again after many years.
Clarion Call by Catherine King - Just a coincidence or meant to be?

Puppy Love by Chrissie Manby - Moral of the story, cheaters always get their just desserts. Oh and never mess with witches.
Third Act by Fanny Blake - Past loves meet up and their passion is reignited.
A real Prince by Fiona Harper - It is true what they say, you have to kiss many frogs to find your prince. Some frogs are just more ignorant than others.
The Fundamental Things by Heidi Rice - Misconceptions can lead to a lost lifetime.
Summer '43 by India Gray - Chasing dreams that will never come to pass.
How to get a Pill into a Cat by Judy Astley - Lovely and funny story about using a pet to capture the girl of your dreams.
Life of Pies by Kate Harrison - Funny and cute with a wisp of mystery.
Head over Heart by Louise Allen - All hope seems lost and then a glimmer of light appears as two souls connect.
The Marriage Bargain by Nicola Cornick - Wasted moments and assumptions.
Shocking Behaviour by Sue Moorcroft - Not exactly the way to charm a girl but very original.
Feel the Fear by Alison May - Connecting by teaching someone to overcome their fears.
The Eighth Promise by Jenny Harper - How one sentence can change the direction of your path.
A Night to remember by Nikki Moore - Beautiful, devastatingly so.
The Truth about the Other Guy by Rhoda Baxter - A mother playing matchmaker and trying to outsmart her daughter.
The Fairytale Way by Sophie Pembroke - Kiss a frog and hope for the best.

The stories are very short, but even in those few pages the reader gets a glimpse of what each writer is capable of. Some of these stories are memorable, poignant, heartwarming and some are also quite funny. You never quite know what is coming next.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK & Mills and Boon UK.

Sanctuary Tales, Volume One
Sanctuary Tales, Volume One
Price: 2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Tales that show us a completely different side of some of the Sanctuary characters.., 23 Feb 2014
Sanctuary Tales consists of six short stories that are connected in some way to the Sanctuary Series. Defender, Avenger, Champion, Crusader and coming soon in 2014 Thy Father's Shadow: A Sanctuary Novel and Master: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Five.

Familiar Face: Incredibly beautiful. This is a short tale that fits into the Sanctuary series Defender: The Sanctuary Series, Volume One. The main character Cyrus returns to his hometown for a short visit. During his short stay he realizes that his decision to join the Sanctuary and the events he has endured since have changed his life in ways he can't even begin to fathom.The story gives a short insight into the series, which is an epic fantasy about a Guild of mercenaries that consists of men, elves, trolls, magick users and other beings of the fantastical variety.

Savages: This is a superb novella which is an add-on to the Sanctuary series Defender: The Sanctuary Series, Volume One and Avenger: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Two. It gives the reader a little more insight into the main character of Cyrus. In this book Cyrus is roped into a mission that will reap a vast fortune at the end. Unbeknownst to him the troll Vaste, who he hates with a passion, is along for the ride. The mission, the surprises they encounter and the unexpected danger they are confronted with, changes Cyrus and teaches him an important lesson.
I loved the close look at the relationship between the two men or troll and man. The banter between them is witty and the subtle message that Cyrus learns is one that we should all take on board. On a more jovial note if I ever want to insult a troll I shall call him an elf girl.

The Last Moments of Gezhvet: The last moments of Narstron, during the battle against the goblins. How very sad and disappointing, because I was hoping there might be a glimmer of hope. Instead the story left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Something Crane is known for is his ruthlessness when it comes to the fates of characters, especially ones the readers become attached to.

The Greenest Fields: Tells the back-story of Martaina Proelius, whilst simultaneously telling a story that takes place in the present, and I have to say it gives a lot of insight into her character. The reasons for her aloofness and her apparent icy disposition. The heartbreak she has had to endure and yet she still had to be strong and uphold the ways and myths of her ancient roots. The reality of her position and what she wishes and yet knows will never come to pass because of who she is.

A Princess of Sovar: The tale and discovery of Erith. As yet an unknown entity but I suspect she will become relevant in the next few books because she stems from the same place as another of our well-known Sanctuary characters. What exactly can they see in her and how will she play a role in what is to come, if indeed she does at all?

Thieving Ways: What? Really? You just had to go there and throw a huge devious spanner in the works. I knew it, I just knew something was dodgy. Aisling has always been snooty and difficult but this? The implications for Sanctuary are immense and devastating. The only redeemable fact was the essence of humanity that shines through in her reasoning. The why is important, but if she achieves her goal will the why matter at all in the grand scheme of things?

Thieving Ways is Crane's way of leaving the reader with just enough information to satisfy their appetite and at the same time start them craving the next installment. It is what makes him such a good writer.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.

The Lost Testament
The Lost Testament
Price: 3.59

3.0 out of 5 stars The Vatican and yet another secret..., 23 Feb 2014
I am really glad the author added extensive info in the Author's Note on some of the subject matters in the book. A lot of the scenarios are presented as fact and I actually made a few notes to myself to research quite a few of them, such as Propaganda Due/P2, Roberto Calvi and the death of Pope John Paul I.
I would also like to know where he got the statistics for the rise in atheism, falling numbers in Christian/Catholics ect. Just from a personal point of view it would be interesting to know whether there is a direct link to those numbers and events in the last few decades or to the actual lack of evidence.
The plot is good, although I did feel as if the actual revelation of the contents was drawn out longer than it should have been. There was far too much showing rather than telling. There is no need for each individual movement in a scene to be documented. Readers have enough imagination to fill in the obvious blanks. The writing needs to be more fluid and less staccato and report like.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Phoenix Island
Phoenix Island
Price: 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A boot camp or a way to get rid of unwanted kids?, 22 Feb 2014
This review is from: Phoenix Island (Kindle Edition)
When it comes to the penal system and minors, society seems to be moving towards a more on hand approach in terms of punishment. Creating Special camps that feature or try and combine physical training with counselling in boot camps, in an attempt to re-wire the minors or teach them how to exist in a society without breaking the law. Even parents and TV programmes are getting in on the action. There are quite a few television series that send badly behaving teens to strict environments, parents or camps to try and gain control over the out of control delinquents.
Unfortunately there are scenarios both in real life and in the setting of this book where the people running the camps do so in the spirit of their own personal agenda and that isn't always in the best interest of the minor.
Such is the case on Phoenix Island, a camp for juvenile delinquents, which turns out to be not much more than a place to rewire the strong kids and get rid of the weak ones. The main character Carl has a long history of losing his temper with bullies. He feels strongly about defending what is morally right and punishing those who think they can hurt the weak. Unfortunately this also means he has ended up in the prison system and his last sentencing sends him on his way to Phoenix Island.
Carl learns fairly quickly that things are not quite what they seem to be and good intentions go flying out the window as soon as the first incidence of bullying occurs. For the first time in his life he makes friends and gets attached to people. Of course that makes him more vulnerable because those attachments become his weakness.
As a sub-plot the author has introduced an element of concentration camp type medical experimentation and nano-technology combined with secret mercenary type soldiers who appear to be closely linked to the Island.
I liked the story, although the ending was completely out of left field and left me wondering where the author would take it next.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Red Rising: Red Rising Trilogy # 1 (Red Rising Trilogy 1)
Red Rising: Red Rising Trilogy # 1 (Red Rising Trilogy 1)
Price: 5.69

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Red to rise he must become what he despises most...or does he?, 18 Feb 2014
I think it is fair to say that this book is set to be one of the hits of this year. I know there have been comparisons made to a fairly recent popular YA book but I disagree with that comparison. The only thing possibly similar is the Lord of the Flies mentality amongst the young people forced to fight for their lives.
This is so much more and far more complex. It has intrinsic layers of socio economic status and structures in a dystopian setting. Society and the people within it are structured via colour. The colour you are born into determines your job, life expectancy, amount of food and water you receive and the path you will travel.
Brown has delved deeply into Roman history, their hierarchical pyramids and mixed it with mythology in a dystopian world tinged with the odd Fae element. The author has obviously spent a long time creating each level of society and the impact each colour has upon their own lives and upon other colours.
Darrow is the main character, he is also a Red, the colour responsible for the hard labour. As the story evolves he discovers a betrayal of such an immense size that it is hard to take on board. Everything he believed to be true is turned upside down. Unfortunately that truth is revealed to him after the death of someone he holds close to his heart. In fact she is the one that sets all the events of the book in motion. She becomes the martyr to the cause.
The way Brown chose to have the Reds killed in their work/living environment is one of the most significant and poignant moments in the book. It is very intricately detailed to create maximum emotional effect both in regards to the plot and the reader. Would you kill a loved one to shorten their pain, although it would make you guilty of their death? Such a small subtle detail, and yet so important in the long run, and that is only the first few chapters of the book.
What follows is the integration of one colour into the highest of ranks to seek revenge, to reveal the truth, to initiate change in the world as Darrow knows it. Those goals change during the plot or become secondary to his survival in his new surroundings. I actually think at one point he begins to understand that to change the thought process of old he must become part of the thought process. He must lose part of himself to understand how to be a Gold.
Is that a betrayal of his colour and people or is that just the true nature of the human beast? When it comes to nature of the beast the young competitors are conditioned to be as ruthless as possible, to disregard any inkling of conscience and to survive using any means possible.
The combat, interactions and struggle for power that ensues is an interesting insight into the psyche and personality of the participants. I enjoyed the read and look forward to see where Brown is going to take this tale, on every level.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.

Black Dog
Black Dog
Price: 3.59

5.0 out of 5 stars The myth of the werewolf..., 17 Feb 2014
This review is from: Black Dog (Kindle Edition)
Neumeier has pack behaviour down to a fine art, which is something other Urban Fantasy authors often get wrong or don't think they have to adhere to in a story. Personally I think getting the strict rules of behaviour, dominance, submission, gender and status in the supernatural world of pack animals just right is imperative to the story, especially a good one.
There was one thing about the story that really bugged me though. I am not sure why Neumeier chose to change this into YA book and indeed it doesn't matter because it is a good one that would have survived both YA and adult market. I assume that in making it into a YA story the ages of certain characters were possibly changed so younger readers would be more likely to relate to them.
So here is my issue, Natividad is a 15yr old girl and one of the major sub-plots is her being made available or becoming of mateable age at 16. At that time she becomes a free for all for the males around her. I found that hard to digest. Even if the age of consent is 16 I am not sure I would want my child thinking at 15 that she counts as female mature enough to be matched with a marital partner at the age of 16. Under 18 they are still children, even if they don't look like it. Now you can say the boundaries of fantasy allow for this bending of rules when it comes to pack law, which she isn't because she is a so-called Pure, but I think it is more about the message that is being sent out to readers. It would have been the same solid story if Natividad had been 17 going on 18.
Aside from that tiny issue this was a fantastic fast paced plot driven story with solid characters and the potential for further books. The black dog angle in relation to myths created by vampires was an interesting venture.
The romantic interludes were minimal and that made the anticipation of possible later interactions to come much more enticing.
I will be looking forward to the next in the series.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

The Shape Stealer (Black Swan Rising Trilogy 3)
The Shape Stealer (Black Swan Rising Trilogy 3)
Price: 4.31

3.0 out of 5 stars Opening up portals for time-travel might allow someone to travel who shouldn't..., 16 Feb 2014
Although I am not averse to a bit of poetry now and again, and I can understand the the author wanting to bring attention to the art of poetry, however I felt it was detrimental to the flow of the story.The poetry was good, it just did not fit in context with the story and there was too much of it.
I question whether it was written with the intent of creating a setting for the poetry, which was why the actual story within the book was given less attention. A pity really, the two entities should have been presented individually to give them both justice.
As for the story, well there was so much going on it felt as if an explosion of ideas had been crowded into a confined space.
The old Will new Will sub-plot could have been explored a little more. It was certainly one of the more interesting ideas, although I still don't understand why old Will would have thought the new Will would be more suited to the woman he apparently loves.
I would suggest reading the previous two books in the series to get a better feel of the events and characters.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Frost Hollow Hall
Frost Hollow Hall
Price: 2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So the ones left behind can live in present Tilly must release the ghosts of the past.., 15 Feb 2014
This review is from: Frost Hollow Hall (Kindle Edition)
On a cold frosty day, the events of the past take the opportunity to reach out into the future to touch the present.
A young girl connects with a young boy deep under the water, when she breaches the realms of the dead.
At first Tilly is confused by the connection and struggles to understand what Kit wants. Tilly knows that somehow it must all be linked to Frost Hall, so where better than to start her investigation.
As she struggles to overcome her personal loss, emotional burden and the financial worries her family faces, she decides to conquer two birds with one stone. Make money and find out what is going on at Frost Hall, all at the same time. Brilliant idea, right?
Tilly soon finds herself in way deeper than she expected. Things that go bump in the night and pinch people in the dark, and that is without all the flying pottery.She is soon questioning her her great idea and then she meets the owners of the Hall. That is when sees the devastation left behind in the wake of the tragedy and how important it is to set the past free, so both ghosts and the living can move on.
I found the actual solution or ending a little anti-climatic, but in hindsight that might just have been what made this book so good. There doesn't always have to be a huge gory, scary or sad ending. The simplicity of the solution was realistic. Kit doesn't need or want big gestures and neither does the other ghost.
They just want what is owed to them by the people who loved them the most but also disappointed and betrayed them in a way no other person could.
A wonderful story for both younger and older readers.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

The Adversary (The Sundering)
The Adversary (The Sundering)
Price: 10.33

5.0 out of 5 stars A traitor or just a sister looking out for her loved ones?, 14 Feb 2014
The third in the Sundering event and it is getting better book by book.
Farideh and Havilar are heirs to a very powerful warlock and because of this they are very important to all demons from the Underworld. The twin sisters couldn't be more different and some of the decisions made by Farideh threaten to break their tight bond. It is irrelevant why she makes those choices, because in the end everyone perceives her deeds to be those of traitor.
The two women also have romantic interactions going on throughout the book. Fortunately those relationships never overshadow the spectacular plot.
Farideh is actually bound to a devil called Lorcan. He isn't exactly Mr Charming but then that is exactly what makes him so interesting and attractive. The ultimate bad boy attitude with the powers of hell to back him up. He also has this completely psychotic sister called Sairche, she and her brother spend all their time trying to out-do, out-bargain and even out-kill each other.
Havilar is attracted to someone who is unobtainable to her, due to her social class and this problem takes her attention away from her own powers and the strife her sister has placed them both in.
There is so much intricate plot-weaving going on from the start to the end, which made this an extremely good read. I highly recommend it and look forward to the next book in the Sundering series.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

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