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Deborah Jay (UK)

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Inalienable (We the People Book 1)
Inalienable (We the People Book 1)
Price: £4.00

5.0 out of 5 stars SF meets Gothic Urban Fantasy, 20 July 2015
I don’t like zombie books.
I don’t like zombie books.
Do you get the picture clearly enough? I don’t like zombie books - and yet I loved this one!
Perhaps that’s because it’s never totally spelled out that Thane is a zombie, although there’s little doubt (to me) that’s the case. She can survive any physical trauma that gets thrown at her (there are gory bits in this book); she can’t eat (except for her special soup made of – you’ve guessed it – liquidized human organs); if bits of her get cut off, they make their way back to her and re-attach themselves, good as new (useful skill, that!).
It took me a while to realise what she is, and longer for her to do the same, (sorry if this is too much of a spoiler for you), by which time I’d become invested in her situation. The book opens with her trying to find something out about her background, and moves swiftly into a fast-paced action sequence which culminates in her being captured by the military and taken to a secret underground base where they keep other misfits like her. Well, not exactly like her; apart from being teens, they all have very different and often bizarre abilities.
Refreshingly racially diverse, with views of life that range from almost total catatonia, through angry to humorous, this group of waifs and strays make this book so much more than a traditional coming of age adventure. Yes, there is teenage angst; yes, there is the embarrassed teenage sexual fumbling (never explicit, so fine for younger readers); and yes, there is a teenage rebellious streak running through them all of miles wide.
And yet when pitted against a sinister alien also held in the facility, and it comes down to saving the human race, they somehow manage to pull it together in a believable fashion.
This is the first in the ‘We the People’ series, but to my relief it does have an exciting and satisfying climax and resolution to this section of the story – yay for proper endings!
Another reviewer categorized ‘Inalienable’ as Goth Urban Fantasy, and I’d go right along with that description. Highly recommended if this is your type of read.

The Banshee's Embrace (The Banshee's Embrace Trilogy Book 1)
The Banshee's Embrace (The Banshee's Embrace Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A rattling good yarn, 14 July 2015
The Banshee’s Embrace is a short novel – don’t be fooled by the page count shown on Amazon, it seems shorter than the 200-odd pages suggested.
Or is that just because it’s a rattling good read?
I find it odd reading some of the lesser starred reviews of this book, some of which criticise the lack of character depth and world building, because I found myself totally sucked in. Perhaps the main character, Jacqueline, is a bit ‘whiny’, as one suggests, but I felt she had every reason to be – first, her husband is killed when he throws himself in between her and a man with strange powers, then in the aftermath she develops this strangely magnetic draw towards death, and finds herself unaccountably compelled to sing as she watches in horror as souls leave their bodies.
Not long after, her best friend and drinking buddy Angela starts acting strangely and to cap it all, Angela’s boyfriend then tries to kidnap her.
I think I’d be feeling a bit unstable by this point too!
I must say, I did wonder why the book wasn’t a bit longer, as it could easily have supported more plot development and a few more subplots, but I thoroughly enjoyed it even so (I find I’m enjoying quicker reads these days – perhaps because I can get through more books that way).
Finding out what Jacqueline is turning into, and why people think that to save her they need to kill her, is engrossing.
Full of plot twists, suspense, romance (with sex), fun dialogue, plenty of pace and a cracking finale (yes, it’s the first part of a trilogy but, hallelujah! It doesn’t end on a cliff hanger) combined to make a highly satisfying read, and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

Newborn Nazi
Newborn Nazi
Price: £2.01

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 star story telling, 7 July 2015
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This review is from: Newborn Nazi (Kindle Edition)
Let me say first and foremost, that D’Ettore is an awesome story-teller.
I won’t go into the reasons that I read this book, but suffice to say that it was so far outside my usual reading choices I began it with trepidation.
In no time at all, I was sucked into the story.
At the outset we meet Hedwig and her husband Fritz, trying unsuccessfully to thwart the German officers who have arrived to take the teenager Edmund away from them to be inducted into the Hitler Youth Programme. Once Edmund is removed from their home, Fritz is rewarded with a bullet to the head for his defiance, leaving Hedwig a young widow.
The story takes place in both Germany itself, and in the US, where Hedwig’s brothers live.
It is loosely based (with a large degree of licence) upon the author’s family history, and afforded me a fascinating insight into how the ordinary folk of Germany were drawn into the Nazi party little by little, by playing upon their national pride, and hiding the gruesome realities of the regime until it was far too late for them to back out.
The plot is truly a tale of Hollywood proportions, and would make a fantastic movie. From what appears to be a straightforward starting point, I was sucked into the unexpected twists and turns at the speed of a rollercoaster, never knowing what might happen next.
Real events from that time period are entwined in the plot with new slants, conspiracy theory style, and plot threads began are abandoned in a truly realistic way that echoes real life, to be replaced by yet another stunning revelation that leads down a new path.
I freely admit, I am no student of history, and I have no knowledge of the accuracy of the facts, but as someone who reads for pure entertainment, that bothers me not at all.
So the reason for the 4 stars?
The writing technique. Aspects such as sentence construction, correct use of words, punctuation, fluency of dialogue, use of tenses – all of these things are in need of attention.
So if the technicalities of the written word bother you, this is not a book for you. If, on the other hand, you are willing to overlook them and read just the story, then my advice is: go for it.

Sleight of Hand: Bite Back, Book 1 (Unabridged)
Sleight of Hand: Bite Back, Book 1 (Unabridged)
Offered by Audible Ltd

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new urban fantasy series, 26 Jun. 2015
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This was my second Amber Farrell story, as I started out with the prequel, BITE BACK, so I already had some of the set-up and an insight into Amber’s character before I began listening to the audio book.
In a genre filled with kick-ass heroines, Amber stands out as having real reasons for being the way she is: ex-military special ops, with a unit that suffered a traumatic disaster leaving Amber the only survivor – and she’s not unscathed. I’ve seen a couple of reviews criticising Henwick for ‘not understanding how to write a real woman’. All I can say is, they are so wrong I think they must be fans of the type of female who wants to find a strong man to surrender herself to. Amber is strong, yes. She’s physically capable, yes – but wouldn’t you be if you had her background? She’s also insecure behind her facade, with the sort of multiple issues that plague real people.
She’s an emotional mess, immersing herself in work while stressing about the fact that she’s probably turning into a vampire – sorry, ‘athanate’. Actually that’s a great name which translates to ‘undying’ as opposed to ‘undead’.
She works as a PI, and her latest client is suing her over a debacle for which he blames her; the military are keeping a close eye on her in case she ‘turns’; her sister’s getting married and old family tensions are rising; Amber’s latest client, the fabulously wealthy and apparently generous corporate exec, Jennifer Kingslund, wants a little more of the ‘personal touch’ than Amber is expecting; she’s being pursued by an officious military busybody trying to strip her of her army pension, and her assistant turns out to be a witch with – oh no, too much information; you’ll have to read it to find out.
As if all that was not enough, the local Athanate want to reel Amber in, and involve her in their deadly politics.
I listened to this recording on a couple of long drives, as it is quite a long book. There are certainly enough story threads to support the length, and plenty left dangling for the next one while still wrapping up the main plot of this volume in a thrilling shoot-em-up rescue. I found the sections of necessary ‘info-dump’ to be well handled – there is a lot to understand about the Athanate and their culture, and the conversations in which this info is imparted came across naturally, as we learned right along with Amber.
At first, listening to the narrator was a culture shock for me. I am British, as is the author, so the US accent took me by surprise. It shouldn’t have, as the story is set in Denver, but there you go. Once I grew accustomed to it, I appreciated the way in which the narrator used clearly different tones and accents to distinguish the characters – a great help when listening whilst concentrating on driving a large horse truck along the motorway.
I’d highly recommend this book for lovers of urban fantasy (not paranormal romance), strong female leads, character development, action, and stories with large scope. It’s well edited, well plotted and well presented. I look forward to reading the next one - I don’t have any long drives in the offing, so back to the kindle.

You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet: A Study Club Cozy Murder Mystery (The Study Club Mysteries Book 1)
You Can't Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet: A Study Club Cozy Murder Mystery (The Study Club Mysteries Book 1)
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars As hilarious as the title promises, 18 Jun. 2015
Oh, how I enjoyed this little gem! It has all the ingredients I’m looking for in a cozy mystery – murder, humour, great characters, location and time period, just the right length, plus a mystery that keeps you guessing right up to the satisfying end.
Not to mention great writing too! Coming naturally from the setting and the characters, humour bleeds out of the pages like, well, out of a stabbed corpse and onto a shag pile carpet.
When Wanda Jean Milton finds her husband, Hilton Milton, stabbed to death with her best carving knife and bleeding all over her brand new shag pile carpet, she doesn’t expect to be the prime suspect in his murder. Luckily for Wanda Jean, she’s a member of the local women’s Study Club (no one seems to know what, exactly, they study, but no man would dare ask), and Club President Clara Wyler is not about to put up with the situation. Rallying the eclectic Club members, they set out to investigate and deal with things – both finding the murderer, and deciding how one might possibly remove blood stains from a beige shag pile carpet.
Harper does a superb job of capturing the essence of small town Texan attitudes in the 60s, with the breathtaking hypocrisy endemic to an era when appearances were paramount and what went on behind closed doors stayed there, unseen and never discussed – except in private.
Drugs, gambling, cross-dressing, alcohol consumption in a ‘dry’ state, even - shock horror – a dancing preacher! They are all there, if you know where to look.
For those with a sense of humour, highly recommended.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review – all thoughts are my own.

The Gryphon and His Thief
The Gryphon and His Thief
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable paranormal, 8 Jun. 2015
The Gryphon and his Thief starts out appearing to be quite a straightforward story, then unwinds delightfully into something more nuanced and surprising.
Calli Angelis is hired by a professor to recover a stone, allegedly stolen from an archaeological dig. The fact that it is now inside the Museum of Cursed Antiquities does little to dissuade Calli from the job – she needs the money, after all, and this is the sort of job she’s used to doing.
Apparently minus a security system, the creepy museum has more surprises in store for Calli than she could have predicted, in particular one huge gryphon statue that doesn’t remain a statue for long after she lifts the stone.
Cursed long ago, in ancient Greece before Griffon-shifters were hunted to near extinction, Darrien Andros has a terrible shock when he confronts the thief that his duty as protector of the museum demands he kill, as she is the re-incarnation of his long-dead wife.
Just when you think you’re getting to grips with this book, the author reveals yet another surprise that keeps you turning the pages. There is heartbreak and joy, action and history, a spunky heroine and a gorgeous hero (or two).
Certainly worth the read, this was more unusual in its characters than many of its type, and I really enjoyed the way that story layers peeled back to give more and more depth to the tale. For me, the only real issue I had was the author’s attempt at a British character. I am British, and the dialogue made me choke, particularly the attempt at swearing.
Ms Nutt, the word you are looking for is ‘bollocks’, as in balls, or male genitalia, not ‘bullocks’, as in male calf.
Other than that, an enjoyable read, and recommended for those who like something a little different in their paranormal romance.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review – all opinions are my own.

Meno-What? A Memoir: Memorable Moments Of Menopause
Meno-What? A Memoir: Memorable Moments Of Menopause
Price: £2.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for women with a sense of humour - and men too., 3 Jun. 2015
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Oh how this book made me chuckle. Even as I read it, I kept thinking ‘yes, been there, done that!’ Particularly the need to revamp my entire wardrobe to accommodate those all-too frequent and infuriatingly relentless hot flashes.
This is a memoir, not a text book on how to cope with menopause, but in her pursuit of coping mechanisms, Kaye brings plenty of good sense to the situation, with suggestions that anyone can try and see if they fit into their own situation.
I must admit that having recently achieved the far end of this offensive but unavoidable condition, I am vastly relieved that I was not subjected to all the symptoms detailed in this memoir. Hallelujah for small mercies!
Women of all ages should take a read – and so should their men-folk, to give them a better insight into what’s in store for the women in their lives, and how to live through it!

Wish For Me (The Djinn Order #1)
Wish For Me (The Djinn Order #1)
Price: £2.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun steampunk genie romance, but beware of cliff hanger ending., 4 May 2015
After Glory St Pierre takes possession of an odd vase with mechanical gears, she lands herself with an unexpected slave – a genie. Irving Amir hates being called a genie – he’s a djinn – and he’s none too fond of the human race either, letting no time pass before he makes Glory aware of this fact.
Well Glory can give as good as she gets, and although her djinn is hotter-than-hot sex-on-legs, she isn’t about to let him treat her like a piece of dirt.
So starts a fiery relationship, with layers of secrets that pop out at unexpected turns, keeping this story twisting and turning and always entertaining. The dialogue is snarky and fun, the action fast, and the characters have a depth and realism that draws you in and pulls you along.
I did have a few niggles: when Irving takes Glory back home to the kingdom of Shrinelyn, the descriptions seem to be straight out of the Arabian Nights – I’d have liked a little innovation. Admittedly once they venture into the countryside it’s there, in the amazing fun Steampunk thread that winds through the tale, but for me, the palace was a tad predictable, and the sex came over a bit like a nod to Fifty Shades. I was also not overly comfortable with Glory’s lack of any reaction to a society chock full of servants who seem to be treated as no more than slaves.
And why on earth did Irving arm her with a sabre that she can’t use, when his armoury is full of weapons she could just point and fire?
Those points aside, I really enjoyed this – until I reached the end.
Gahhhh!!! Yet another of those INFURIATING cliff hanger endings!
I thought I was safe as this is novella, or at best, short novel length. I did not expect to find it only a part of a longer story. I might read the next, because I really liked the characters and the unusual plot, but then again, I might not, because I find this type of ending to be such a turn off.
To be fair to the author, and the fact that there do seem to be readers out there who don’t mind this type of episodic instalment, I’ve rated the book without taking this into account. But if, like me, you find cliff hangers to be extremely annoying, then beware.

Project Noah
Project Noah
Price: £2.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Speculative Fiction, 3 May 2015
This review is from: Project Noah (Kindle Edition)
At the end of the twenty first century, the problems we foresee in our current day are coming to pass – our beloved planet is groaning beneath the burden of over-population, and (surprise, surprise) politicians have failed to deliver a ‘greener’ way of life. They are still commissioning studies to predict the effects of global warming along with pollution and dwindling resources, whilst in the mean time mopping up after the increasingly frequent natural disasters.
In the meantime, the scientists whose studies predict the inescapable conclusion that things have long since gone past the point of no return, set about a visionary project designed to save at least a portion of humanity.
Project Noah is a fantastic piece of speculative fiction that doesn’t shy away from the unpalatable. Each chapter begins with a live news feed delivered from the site of the world’s latest catastrophe, before moving into the character-driven story. The science is very believable, with advances mirroring the way in which many of man’s greatest scientific discoveries have come about – by accident, often as an off-shoot of something else entirely. At the same time, although the science is essential to the core of the tale, Martyn manages to successfully make this a story about people.
The prose and dialogue are excellent (despite a number of small typos), and I found it very easy to visualise events which, alongside the inexorable drive towards the ultimate conclusion (the building of the space arc), twist and turn unexpectedly with politics and corporate conspiracies, not to mention the odd bit of sabotage.
For me, the slight niggle was in the level of technology at the start of the book which felt, with a few exceptions, very modern day, as did speech patterns, daily routines, transport etc. For a book set more than eighty years in our future, I’d have expected more change.
Would I recommend it?
If you are looking for action and adventure, then this is not for you. If near future speculation with great depth of characterisation is to your taste, then most definitely, yes.

Huw the Bard
Huw the Bard
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Richly layered medieval fantasy, 21 April 2015
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This review is from: Huw the Bard (Kindle Edition)
Opening in the moments when Huw’s glamorous life as a feted bard is torn asunder, this elegant story traces his struggle to escape a land turned suddenly hostile to his kind. Alone and clueless how to survive outside of society, we follow Huw’s harrowing journey as he discovers not only new depths to his character, but also painful truths about the politics and culture of his land. An array of colourful secondary characters pop naturally in and out of this story, much as they may do in real life.
It has been some time since I read a book written in omniscient viewpoint, and I found it a little unsettling at first to jump between characters. However, as most of the story is from Huw’s point of view, I soon settled into the narrative. Jasperson has a masterful touch with characterisation and truly awesome world building skills, plus a way of imparting these in the natural course of the tale. This book is chock full of excellent writing, witty dialogue and great touches of humour, while the horrors, violence, rape and murder are equally well depicted without descending into gratuitous sensationalism.
Personally I would have liked a more urgent imperative to drive the plot – a solid goal to be gained in addition to the need for Huw to flee his homeland. The first half of the book was a little episodic, and I had one ‘huh?’ moment when, after many chapters of mourning his murdered father with no mention of another parent, Huw suddenly thinks about visiting his mother. If the foreshadowing was there, I’m afraid I missed it.
I also found that, after several adventures when dangers were outlined ahead of time, but never materialised, I lost the belief that Huw was in any real danger, although this did change later in the book.
So would I recommend it? That’s a resounding ‘yes’, for those who love great writing, characters and history; probably not so much if you’re looking for action and adventure and a pulse-pounding ride.
Me, I’m looking forward to the next one.

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