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review 2017-09-09 06:02
A Family Affair
Daemons Are Forever - Simon R. Green

This was brilliant. I believe that's not an overstatement. This second book in the Secret Histories series illustrates that you either like Simon R. Green or you don't. His sense of humor might turn off some readers, and some of the prose can have a repetitive aspect. I think he likes to repeat things for emphasis. I had to look this up. It's called analepsis: repetition of a word or phrase for emphasis. Yeah, Green loves analepsis. As for me, everything I love about him is showcased in this novel. His silly but clever sense of humor. His belief in heroism. His cynical viewpoint of human nature. His understanding of the way people think. His love for fairy tales, mythology, folklore. His ability to write horror in a way that really gets you in the gut. His kooky characterization. It's all here.

The intersection of fantasy and spy literature is very appealing about this book. It's clear that Green loves Bond and can also poke fun at its motifs and conventions in a way that only a Bond fan can. I like that this is a part of the story, but it doesn't stay in pastiche territory. There's a nod to it several times, but Green has something a lot more interesting to explore with this book. He even throws in a little Lovecraftianesque elements.

The story starts with Eddie trying to pull his family back together and get the Droods back on track. He gets a lot of resistance in this endeavor, but Eddie is not the type to give up. He has Molly Metcalfe, the Witch of the Woods at his side, and some help from his uncle Jack, the Armorer. The rest of the Droods are more than happy to watch Eddie fall on his face. Eddie knows what many of us had to figure out for ourselves, family complicates our lives, makes us crazy, but they're family, so you can't just walk away from them, unless you have to.

Eddie decides they need a big bad to fight, so he decides they'll take on the Loathely Ones. I can't tell you more, because so very much happens and you'd have to read it to even get it. So much goes into this one.

I listened to this on audio, and I'm so glad I did. At first I was meh about the narrator. But he won me over but good. He's British, and also talented in voicing many dialects. Each character sounds distinctive, and he even changes the cadence of the speaker. He knows how to build drama, and also inject sarcasm and pathos into the dialogue and prose.

This was awesome action, now shying away from gore, but also quite horrific at times. I think the action balance was better in this one than The Man with the Golden Torc. Green takes more time with the exposition, and that's very crucial with this story. Eddie has a lot of plotting and planning to do, and he can't make these decisions on the fly. The fantasy is solid and the ideas are all over the place, but everything comes together very nicely. I was pretty upset about one character death, and I don't think Eddie is going to take what happened lightly or let it go. Revenge is a dish best served cold. The characters are all interesting, and add something to the story. If you think a character is wasted, keep reading and wait for it.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Eddie and Molly. They challenge each other, support each other, and accept each other, which is crucial, considering who both of them are. I think Eddie would be screwed in many cases without Molly, and while she's very independent, it's clear that Eddie is very important to her.

This is a crap review and I need to recharge my laptop. I'll end it by saying I loved this book and it just makes me love Simon R. Green even more than I already do. Highly recommended.

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review 2017-07-31 00:02
Bleeders (Daemons of London #1) by Michaela Haze
The Bleeders (Daemons of London - Book 1) - Michaela Haze

Sophia was a barmaid in London. She had a life, friends, a job, a family


And then her sister died. Sophia fell into a deep, dark depression to which she is sure only vengeance against her sister’s murderers can possibly release her.



The hitman she reaches out to is a daemon - and though he is able and willing to do what she asks, in doing so she risks dragging herself, mind and soul, even further into the darkness


This book is a somewhat hard one to review - which is appropriate because it is a hard book to read.

The book is… powerful. Powerful is a good word: because it’s not fun. It’s not an easy story to read. It isn’t packed with action or even, for that much of plot or world building. Both are certainly there and create the setting and background for Sophia, but this book is about Sophia and her journey


Sophia does not lead an easy life. She suffers from extreme mental illness - depression, schizophrenia. She is pulled down by alcoholism. Most of this is triggered by the tragic death of her pregnant sister and her inability to get over this as well as her rage at the men she considers responsible for this. Sophia is a deeply damaged and hurting person and a lot of the book examines this. Her struggle with her mother, her struggle with mental illness, her alcoholism, self-harming, pushing friends away who care for her, her house denuded of all furniture for fear of invoking her sister’s memory while still maintaining a shrine to her sister.


The book is told from two different time periods - the present when Sophia is confined to a mental institution, suffering from some severe hallucinations and recounting her past while plagued by delusions and hallucinations. The other is the actual past she’s describing, drowning in depression and pain. Both are stark, brutal and very powerful


This continues when she find Henry and she starts to move out of her pain - and I admit I have a big note here screaming “gah, magical healing penis!” because she seems to be getting over her issues quickly. I then crossed it out - partly because of the woo-woo, but mainly because this is the next stage of her rollercoaster ride: obsession with him, abandonment, another addiction and hitting a whole new low of rock bottom as she transmutes her issues from one to another which does an excellent job of subverting the idea of romance healing all mental health issues


I also really like how even the base of her tragedy - her sister’s death and even her mother’s callousness are all just a bit more complex than she initially presents in her complete obsession. I like that, I like that things aren’t as simple as her angry, hurting mind portrays and that there are layers to her experiences which go beyond simplistic villains who hurt her.



Her obsession over Henry leads her to another, far darker place, one of addiction and desperation and again there’s a lot of interesting layers here. On the surface it feels almost empowered, she’s strong and capable and determined, she has friends, she knows what she wats and aggressively pursues it. But her friends are fellow addicts and she would willingly discard any of them if she had to. Ultimately when she is not feeding her addiction her life feels empty and broken and she hits a terrible level which shows just how hollow her apparent strength is. It’s teased out in excellent scene after scene as addiction, obsession and delusion combine toxically for her and bring her down again and again.


Of course, there is a supernatural world - particularly with Henry. An incubus, a creature driven to feed on people, a man trying to find a moral way to do so; a moral way to kill as best he can. Alongside him are appearances from William which sets up a somewhat cliched, old-as-the-genre moral monster vs immoral monster. We have an interesting hierarchy among the demons which suggests a wider and deeper world which may be explored once Sophia moves on to a different chapter of her life. But in this book I think the woo-woo is more an introduction and a backdrop to Sophia and her origin than anything else. Effectively, with relatively few modifications, I think changing Henry to any dangerous man Sophia was obsessed with and her addiction to heroin instead of magical blood and we’d still be telling a story that is very similar to this one - but it wouldn’t be a story that led to what is clearly coming in the series

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/07/bleeders-daemons-of-london-1-by.html
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review 2017-07-27 21:56
For lovers of paranormal romance with dark touches and a subtext of mental illness
The Bleeders (Daemons of London - Book 1) - Michaela Haze

I write this review as a member of Rosie's Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie (check here if you’re an author seeking reviews) and to the author for sending me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

When the author contacted me, she made a very good case for me to read and review this book. A book where the protagonist self-harmed, had mental health problems and believed she was in love with an incubus and it was mutual, seemed very appropriate for me. I am not a big reader of paranormal books (I love horror, but have found that a lot of paranormal books focus more on romance and erotica, both genres, particularly erotica, that I don’t usually read). Unfortunately for me, the book had a fair amount of paranormal elements, well, the version of paranormal that I’m not so fond of and that outweighed (at least for me) the other aspects.

The story is told in several parts, always in the first person, from the point of view of Sofia (she prefers to be called Fia, and insists on it for much of the book). In the first part, we meet her when she is at a mental health facility and she is introduced to a new doctor that reminds her of a man from her past, Henry. At the insistence of this new doctor (she seems to be experiencing hallucinations, as she sees the Henry from her past and her sister, Melanie, who died some time back, while she is conversing with the doctor), she starts telling the story of how she got there.

Hers seems to be a story of grief and revenge. Sofia’s sister, Melanie, died in suspicious circumstances (of a Heroin overdose but the details are not straightforward), and she blames two men whom she is determined to get revenge on. To that effect, she visits a strange character, Henry. The rest of this part is the story of her obsession (that seems mutual) with this man she knows little about, but the more she learns, the weirder it gets. Sofia is grieving for her sister’s death, and self-harms (this part is graphic and realistic), smokes, drinks, hardly eats and seems to barely function. Her life is on a downward spiral until she meets Henry. And then things get… well, much worse. I know some readers don’t appreciate first person narrations, and although I normally don’t have any issues with them, this one I had difficulty with. Although I empathise with the protagonist’s predicament, her sudden love for a guy who is, at best a contract killer, and at worse… a demon, I did not find it that easy to understand (I know is standard fare in the genre, but perhaps that is one of the reasons why I don’t read it, as I find the suspension of disbelief a bit beyond me). Although we are not told her age, to me she seemed to act younger than the rest of the details of the story indicated she was. Perhaps it is to do with something she herself comments later in the book. She states she cannot remember who she was before all changed and we are not given any indication of the type of person she was, making it difficult to create a clear psychological picture in our minds. Of course, that is not helped by her mental state. Her constant mentions of the way the man looks, how attractive he is, his mahogany hair (I almost stopped reading when I read about it for the umpteenth time), and also the way she always describes herself by contemplating herself in a mirror and never just talks (but mutters, scowls, groans, hisses…), and uses adjectives and adverbs randomly (and some wrongly) made it a hard read for me. (It made me think of much of the advice written about how to improve one’s writing that needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.) I appreciate the author’s note saying that she did the correcting herself and that this was the second edition, but it would benefit from some professional editing. (I have noticed that the book has now a new cover, so it might be that there is a more recent version that has corrected some of these issues).

Part 2 shows us (after a brief interlude in the present day) Sofia a year later when Henry has left her life and she has become a Bleeder. I won’t describe the entire plot in detail, but let’s say that Henry isn’t quite gone and she ends up near Doncaster and…

Part 3. We are back in the mental health institution and Sofia makes some interesting discoveries about the doctor she has been talking to that make her question her insanity.

If you follow my blog and my reviews, you’ll know that I am always intrigued by narrators, especially unreliable narrators, and due to her mental state, Sofia is very unreliable. I have mentioned my difficulties with the writing style (that might have been solved and I know some of the issues are personal, so, do check the book and see what you think). It is difficult to talk about the characters as everything is filtered through Sofia’s disturbed mind. I have already talked about her. Henry, well, due to her adoration it is difficult to get any clear sense of what he is like (a dark hero, I guess). I liked his friend William much better. He is politically incorrect and has a sense of humour, something that gives us a bit of breathing space from the emotionally charged story that dominates most of the book. Some aspects of the plot are intriguing, and the UK locations and the idea of folds in space where our world connects to ‘Hell’ I found interesting, but I felt that the book would be better appreciated by younger readers and those more interested in the romantic and paranormal aspects of the story.

From the point of view of the mental health issues, I think the book might be difficult to read for people who self-harm and who have lost somebody recently. Some of the descriptive writing is well achieved, especially when Sofia finds herself lost in the woods, and the first person writing makes us share in her confusion and fear. As a psychiatrist, I must clarify that some of the events described would never take place in a hospital, but this is a novel.

From reading the reviews I know that many readers love this novel and the series, so don’t let me put you off. I would advise you to check a sample of the book and to try it if you enjoy paranormal novels with a big dose of romance and you don’t mind first-person narrations. Ah, there is some sexual content, although not extremely explicit (and it does not take up much of the book).

 

 

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review 2017-03-23 22:39
Book Review of Valen (Guardians of Hades Romance Series Book 2) by Felicity Heaton
Valen - Felicity E. Heaton

Prince of the Underworld and Lord of Lightning, Valen was banished from his home by his father, Hades, two centuries ago and given a new duty and purpose—to keep our world and his from colliding in a calamity foreseen by the Moirai.

 

Together with his six brothers, he fights to defend the gates to the Underworld from daemons bent on breaching them and gaining entrance to that forbidden land, striving to protect his home from their dark influence. Cursed by Zeus to never know love again, Valen has brought up barriers around his heart to protect it, but with each new barrier he creates, the dark hold his power has over him grows, becoming all he needs.

 

Until the night he finally crosses paths with the assassin who has been watching him from the shadows, a bewitching mortal possessing the name of an angel and the skills of a devil—a woman who awakens his passionate heart and stirs dangerous desires.

Eva has built a fearsome reputation for herself in Italy’s underworld, but her latest job in her beloved city of Rome has left her feeling that she has stepped into a dangerous world and this mission might end in her death—either at the hands of her mysteriously seductive client or by the blade of the wickedly alluring warrior who is her target.

 

As the threat from the daemons escalates and more than just the Rome gate becomes their target, will Valen be strong enough to face the fears in his heart and the ghosts of his past to claim everything he desires or will they lure him deeper under their spell and into the darkness?

 

Review 4*

 

This is the second book in a new paranormal series written by this author. I loved it!

 

Valen is a wonderful character, I liked him a lot even though he has a bit of a self-pity party going on. He is one of the seven brothers born to Hades and Persephone, and has been banished to live in the mortal realm as a guardian to the portal into the Underworld in Rome. His brothers guard other gates around the world. Cursed by Zeus to never know love, he finds himself intrigued with a mysterious woman who has been sent to assassinate him.

 

Eva is an intriguing character, I liked her a lot too, She is a deadly assassin and has been tasked with gathering information on Valen. When her client changes her orders in the middle of the mission, she finds herself caught between her duty to her employer and her growing desire for her mark.

 

I love reading the Eternal Mates series, but this new series may give it a run for it's money. This story takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. I must admit that I felt sad for Valen. He didn't deserve the treatment he received at Zeus's hand. Granted, he was angry and full of grief at the time, but the "curse" that Zeus placed on him left him with a "woe is me" attitude and his self pity blinded him to the truth. Frankly, I was more angry at his parents (even though Persephone did try to get through his thick skull) for not convincing their son that he would find love and that he WAS loved. Even his brothers never expressed their love for him. No wonder his self-worth was deflated.

 

The villain of the story, Benares, is an incubus, but I never got an "evil" vibe from him; he was more of a smooth operator with an agenda. Jin, his sister, was a completely different issue. However, they are both desperate to get through the gate back into the Underworld; this made them dangerous. The story arc is beginning to take shape, with even more dangerous enemies hiding in the wings. As I reached the end of the book, I found myself becoming even more excited for what is to come. I am now looking forward to reading Esher's story as soon as I can.

 

Felicity Heaton has written another fast paced, sexy paranormal romance that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love her fast paced writing style, which flows effortlessly from scene to scene. She is on top of my favourite author's list.

 

Each book of this series could be read as a stand-alone, as this one does not end in a cliffhanger, though I would recommend reading them in order. I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to the extremely HOT and explicit sexual scenes. However, I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love sexy paranormal romances full of gods and daemons. - Lynn Worton

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review 2016-12-09 15:03
Book Review of Ares (Guardians of Hades Romance Series Book 1) by Felicity Heaton
Ares: Guardians of Hades Romance Series - Felicity E. Heaton

Prince of the Underworld and Lord of Fire, Ares was banished from his home by his father, Hades, two centuries ago and given a new duty and purpose—to keep our world and his from colliding in a calamity foreseen by the Moirai.

 

Together with his six brothers, he fights to defend the gates to the Underworld from daemons bent on breaching them and gaining entrance to that forbidden land, striving to protect his home from their dark influence. Caged by the manifestation of his power, held apart from those he loves by his own fire and starved of physical contact, Ares lives a cold existence driven by duty and the desire to return to his world.

Until his world collides with a daemon who steals his power and a mortal female who shatters the ice around his heart and awakens the true fire within him—a soul-stirring passion both dangerous and seductive.

 

Megan has wandered far from her home, driven from everyone she loves by the devastating realisation that she is different to them all. Unsure who to trust in the world, she keeps to herself, until a fateful stormy night brings a temptingly handsome warrior crashing into her life and into her heart—a warrior who seems to hold powers more frightening and marvellous than her own.

 

When the New York gate comes under threat, and Ares is put to the test, will he choose his duty and regain the power he needs in order to save his world or will he choose the desires of his heart and sacrifice his fire so he can be with the woman becoming his whole world?

 

Review 4*

 

This is the first book in a new paranormal romance series written by this author. I loved it!

 

Ares is a wonderful character. I liked him a lot. He is one of the seven brothers born to Hades and Persephone, and has been banished to live in the mortal realm as a guardian to the portal into the Underworld in New York. His brothers guard other gates around the world. He has a typical alpha type personality - protective. Unfortunately, due to his power, which is the element of fire, he is extremely lonely as he is unable to touch anyone apart for two of his brothers. When he rescues a damsel in distress from a daemon, his power is stolen. Faced with a painful decision, will he be able to live with the consequences?

 

Megan is also a wonderful character. I liked her too. She is a human with a secret. She has a power too (she can heal), and in an effort to hide it, she tends to move often. Now living in New York, she is thrown into a hidden world of daemons and gods when she is attacked on the way home. As her attraction to her rescuer boils over, the battle between daemons and the Underworld heats up. Will she survive with her heart intact?

 

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book ever since I heard about it in the author's newsletter. I am a huge fan of this author's work and I pre-ordered my copy as soon as it became available. When it arrived on my Kindle, I began to read it as soon as I could.

 

I started to read the story and was instantly hooked. I became intrigued with the world building in this story. There is the human realm, but there is the jarring juxtaposition of what the sons' of Hades call "the otherworld". This otherworld is the future the Moirai foresaw and the Guardians are trying to protect against. It is a post apocalyptic vision of fire and destruction. The story is told mostly through the eyes of Ares and Morgan, but one of Ares' brothers, Valen, has a couple of chapters from his own point of view. This introduces us to him, as I understand his story will be next in the series. The brothers are (as introduced in the book): Ares, Daimon, Esher, Valen, Keras, Calistos and Marek. Keras is the oldest while Calistos is the youngest. Not sure of the order of the other brothers though. However, each brother has their own unique power: Ares is fire, Daimon is ice, Esher is water, Valen is lightning and so on. The reader also gets to meet Persephone and Hades, though only for small cameos.

 

I love reading the Eternal Mates series, but this new series may give it a run for it's money. However, I also felt this story is somewhat similar in tone to the Eternal Mates. I realise that the romance genre (contemporary and paranormal) has been around for a long time and most topics have been hashed over time and time again, which makes it difficult to find original concepts. I am not knocking this book at all but the formula used in creating it. I hope that as this series grows, the story arc is revealed to have surprising twists. I am looking forward to finding out.

 

Felicity Heaton has written another fast paced, sexy paranormal romance that I thoroughly enjoyed! I love her fast paced writing style, which flows effortlessly from scene to scene. She is on top of my favourite author's list.

 

Each book of this series could be read as a stand-alone, as this one does not end in a cliffhanger, though I would recommend reading them in order. I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to the extremely HOT and explicit sexual scenes. However, I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love sexy paranormal romances full of gods and daemons. - Lynn Worton

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