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Reviews Written by
Joanna Gawn, Author of The Lazuli Portals (UK)

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Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy 3): Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy: Book Three
Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy 3): Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy: Book Three
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable. Unmissable!, 22 Mar. 2015
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What an unforgettable series - in SUCH a good way - and what a finale!

Beautifully written, this book reminded me why I love Laini's storytelling so much ... why her books are magical and lyrical and enjoyable in equal measure. Her worlds are vast, breathtaking; her characters and dialogue so very good. As this final book in the series unspooled, I was utterly captivated - to know that it was all coming to an end (sob) ... and yet, it's all coming to an end (YES!) Read slower ... no, read faster!

This final book is worth reading for the quality of the prose alone, but then we have: the ongoing love story of Karou and her Akiva; the oh-so-sweet-with-spikes-on Zuzana, and her violin boy; then the emotional story of Ziri and Thiago, the changes transforming Liraz, the Kirin caves, the mystery of the battle at the portal; and oh, who are these new characters - and what is the story behind *them*? Oh ... and OH!!

If you've already read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight, why on *earth* would you forgo this treat, the bringing together of all the threads and all the lives and all the worlds, into this magical, perfect ending? :)

The Book of Life: (All Souls 3) (All Souls Trilogy)
The Book of Life: (All Souls 3) (All Souls Trilogy)
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I was delighted as a reader, 4 Feb. 2015
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After reading the first two books of this fabulous trilogy, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, I was concerned that my expectations for The Book of Life were *far* too high.
I needn't have worried ... in fact, I can't imagine how the finale to the series could have been bettered.

Again, the story embraces magic, alchemy, science, history, romance and power.
It’s a rich, mouthwatering banquet of skilful storytelling and superb prose and dialogue, with threads of powerful magic caught and woven among them all. As each new surprise was revealed, I was delighted as a reader, and filled with admiration as a writer. Just as I thought the story or the magic and imagery couldn’t get any better ... they did.

Diana, Matthew, Sarah, and Ysabeau are, of course, strong characters, just as they have been from the beginning. I found a new affection for Gallowglass, and for the fiery Corra.

My highest praise comes when I say I wish I’d written a book. I wish I’d written the entire series. C’est magnifique.

Not of Our Sky (The Sky Song trilogy Book 3)
Not of Our Sky (The Sky Song trilogy Book 3)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable conclusion to the trilogy, 6 Jan. 2015
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If you enjoyed Sky Song and The Young Moon, the first two books in this trilogy, you'll love Not of our Sky.

Much is at stake: Jake in a coma, the cost he paid for saving a life; Alex being mentored by the power-hungry Makash, the being eager to take control of Astrae once and for all, no matter the cost.

With Jacob unreachable, the storytelling baton passes to other characters, like the fabulous Ellen, whose own struggles and actions make her a strong personality in her own right. The dialogue is as good and well-paced as ever, with Luca adding an extra shot of Italian humour.

Sharon's writing style means the book is an easy read, but one which is very well-written; she certainly kept me turning the pages quickly, particularly in the later stages of the book!

A fitting conclusion, and a memorable trilogy.

Christmas Wishes
Christmas Wishes
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable duo!, 10 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Christmas Wishes (Kindle Edition)
An enjoyable duo of Christmas tales chock full of humour, warmth, and romance - perfect short reads for December.

Fairy Tale in New York
Fairy Tale in New York
Price: £1.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A new Christmassy favourite, 2 Dec. 2014
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My first Christmassy read of the 2014 season - and I'm so glad I started here!

I loved the relationship between Jude and Carrie - the dialogue zips along, and had me alternately grinning, ahhing, or trying not to leak "happy tears". And of course teeny Maya is a little bundle of cuteness.

As for the supporting cast: I loved them all! The characters offered so much warmth and support through Jude and Carrie's ongoing predicament that I couldn't fail to feel uplifted. A scene in a hospital was simply lovely (as well as getting me giggling, too, as I know a Santa Claus myself). A few of the events in the story were slightly bonkers, but they fitted perfectly into the overall storyline.

The whole book is imbued with the true magic of Christmas (and New York) and I found it a heartwarming and highly enjoyable Christmassy read. More, please, Nicky!

Night of Cake and Puppets (a Daughter of Smoke and Bone novella) (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)
Night of Cake and Puppets (a Daughter of Smoke and Bone novella) (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)
Price: £0.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - wouldn't have missed this for anything, 27 Nov. 2014
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I'd been looking forward to reading this, but wasn't sure whether it could be as wonderful as Laini's full length novels.

Well, it is! It's every bit as good ... just shorter.

This sweetly magical tale of Zuzana and Mik is imaginative and spikily-cute in a sort of "rabid fairy" way. It's atmospheric, with imagery that makes me want to cry (and then write something just as wonderful), which is how I always feel after reading Laini's writing.

There is a secrecy and mystery within the snowy streets of Prague, a perfect backdrop for Zuzana's magical evening. I can almost hear the near-silent hiss of snow as it continues to fall around me...

A fantastic short read. Dreams of Gods and Monsters next!

The Young Moon (The Sky Song trilogy Book 2)
The Young Moon (The Sky Song trilogy Book 2)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and compelling, 21 Nov. 2014
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How far would you go to save someone you love? Would you make the same choices if doing so spun your world into chaos? Which world is home, anyway?

In this sequel to Sky Song, young Jacob’s relationships become ever more complicated, and when he learns of a prophecy, his life becomes even harder. Despite his otherworldliness, Jacob's emotions and reactions are very human, and I found him easy to identify with despite his tender years.

Torn between his responsibilities as Astrae’s new Watcher, and the needs of his family and loved ones on Earth, the decisions he faces - and, more importantly, how he deals with them - make for a compelling story. Ending on a cliffhanger to lead us into the finale, Not of Our Sky, The Young Moon is a well-written and engaging read.

Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall - A Supernatural Thriller
Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall - A Supernatural Thriller
Price: £1.14

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read, 21 Nov. 2014
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What a great book! The events at the Hall, Cynthia's relationships and ongoing troubles, the romantic elements, the cast of characters - alive and of spirit - and the mystery winding its way through it all, make this a cracking read. The pacing was spot on, and the last few chapters wouldn’t let me go.

Jed is an utter darling, and a great addition to the team. Cash is ... well, a keeper, I'd say, and I hope we see more of him! Ruby is brave yet vulnerable, and committed: a woman following her true calling despite the challenges it brings, and a lightworker in the truest sense. Being a sensitive is not usually an easy path, and Shani Struthers has handled this aspect well.

There are some poignant moments as stranded spirits are led Home. Surprisingly, there is a humorous moment, too!
There are some warm, lovely scenes when Ruby finds support from expected and unexpected sources. How I'd love to meet a couple of those people in real life!
There are some characters (living ones, usually) who I hoped would be 'encouraged' to behave better.
And there are some who simply cannot accept that there is more to "life" than most people can see.
In amongst all that are feelings, ideas, concepts, and truths which I really identified with spiritually.
Taken together, these make the book feel whole, layered, and rich with interest and local colour.

I enjoyed the imagery of the energies sensed by the sensitives, empaths, and psychics, and also the use of crystals and light for cleansing and protection. The emphasis on the healing power of unconditional love also resonated - right up my street, in more ways than one.

A strong 4 stars, with a few sparkles of white light, rose quartz, and lapis lazuli thrown in. :-)

If the Light Would Stay
If the Light Would Stay
Price: £2.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and memorable, 11 Nov. 2014
I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Firstly, this was not a book I wanted to rush. Much of the book runs at a high level of emotional intensity. This is partly because Tess experiences life so intensely, thanks to her deeper sensitivity and incredibly strong empathy. As such, the reader is offered an insight into that rich, sharply-detailed world. I needed time to absorb that.

The scenes in which Tess experiences Sam’s art are exquisitely described; I wanted to linger there and soak up the feelings they evoked. The flow of energy and emotion between Tess and the men she loves is also very well-written. If we could see those flows as we interact with others, might we behave differently?

I very much liked the message of healing as a direct result of compassion and understanding - Tess’s ability to gently show someone the light within, the promise of a better future, was uplifting. Yet in utilising her deep empathy, she often placed herself at risk, drawing darkness and danger toward her.

In such a deep relationship, where so much of the communication is beyond ‘normal’, Tess and Sam had to seek a balance between openness and protection. How far should someone go to protect the person they love from the danger they sense lurking in the shadows? What if that leads to feelings of betrayal? If the line is crossed, is there any way back?

Liam and Javi were great in their support roles, and Walt was a character I liked and respected. I don’t feel I can say anything specific about Alex without revealing too much! Overall, an enjoyable and interesting read, one which I think will be memorable.

A strong 4 stars.

The Winter Ghosts
The Winter Ghosts
by Kate Mosse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 1 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Winter Ghosts (Paperback)
Right from the start of The Winter Ghosts, Mosse delivers mystery and unanswered questions. Who is Freddie? Why has he returned to Toulouse, and what caused him to leave in the first place? The document found in the mountains - what is it, and why is it significant?

From the first chapter, the descriptions are imaginative, at times exquisite. The medieval past sleeping beneath the streets; the stonework blushing in spring sunlight; the detail of Freddie's shadow being dragged behind him as he walks, almost as though the spirit of his lost brother clings to him.

As the story evolves, Freddie finds himself in a village deep in the mountains, and inexorably drawn into the past. Likewise, the reader is drawn into a world of secrets and shadows, mists and hidden places. Who is Fabrissa? How does her story fit with that told by the villagers of Nulle? Are Freddie's visions simply the result of his fractured heart and his unremitting grief?

There is a quiet inevitability as the story tightens its hold and takes its winter-softened steps toward the final chapters.

Classic Kate Mosse - a tale of mystery, history, loss and remembrance - The Winter Ghosts will weave a spell around you and remain in your mind long after you've read the last page.

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