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url 2020-08-21 14:06
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-09-22 19:03
Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) - Ilona Andrews

Ilona and Gordon are back with a new addition to the Hidden Legacy series, and this time we're following Catalina. We got a little peak into her (younger) head with Diamond Fire, and I think we definitely needed that stepping stone from Navada to Catalina. I know a few people have struggled a little with the swap from the eldest Baylor sister that we'd all grown attached to, which is understandable. After all, we know reasonably little about Catalina. But isn't that kinda great? A fresh take on a world that we've already grown to love sounds perfect to me.

 I decided pretty early on that I wasn't going to re-read the previous three instalments leading up to the release of Sapphire Flames. And honestly I think it did me the world of good. I came in a little hazy on the events of Navada's triology, but remembered enough to feel comfortable in catching up pretty quickly. And as usual, our favourite author duo pave the way beautifully for returning and new readers. You could definitely cut in here if for some ungodly reason you felt the need to shun the previous books. Again, from the hours I've spent reading reviews for this one, I know that a fair amount of readers felt the loss of Nevada and Rogan in this one. But I think we really needed it to cement us in Catalina's narrative. I did at least! And in a way, this was really a introduction to a very new Catalina.

We had a taste of her in DF, as I mentioned, but 3 years have passed, and she's had to grow up. I say had to, because as Sapphire Flames opens, we're at the end of House Baylor's grace period, and as such, our protagonist is just about to really experience what it means to be Head of her House. Oh and there's the little issue of good people getting murdered. In terms of plot, we're thrown in deep straight off the bat. It'll come to absolutely no one's surprise that the execution of the hit the ground running start is pretty flawless.

Honestly the book is flawless, so if you were hoping for a 'but' at some point, you came to wrong place. I'm pretty damn smitten with the characters, setting, plot and general writing style. And lets just take a moment to discuss the setting. Sure, it's the same world we've walked in throughout the series, but damn if it isn't incredible. No one world builds quite like the Andrews. The magic structure is fresh and fun, you can tell they have a perfect control on the history of the world and the magic, and it really pays off. I struggled for a while trying to figure out exactly what is was that makes these books, more so even than the Kate Daniels series, so incredibly readable. And I think it's just that. Its no single part of the world or character building, or the fun and witty dialogue that makes's this so great. It's all of it. I honestly don't know how they do it, but at the risk of sounding cliche, picking up a Hidden Legacy book feels as easy as breathing. It's completely effortless. Some of my lucky Goodreads friends received ARC copies, and some of them read the book several times before it's official release date. Normally this would confuse me, because I'm not typically someone who easily re-reads within short frames of time. But let me tell you that I could just as easily have turned back to page one when I finished Sapphire Flames than put it down.

In fact, I'd say it was a great deal harder to put it down than to just start it all over again. This series is so addictive, that I'm pretty much ruined for all other books. If I had to reach for any series, it would hands down be this one. And with the ending of Sapphire Flames, I'm left desperately ready for a sequel. You can bet any money in the world that I will be spending every book until Hidden Legacy #5 just slightly disappointed, because nothing quite lives up to this standard. I'm almost tempted to say that I wish I'd waited to read Sapphire Flames until closer to the next release. 'Almost', because I'd be doing myself such a disservice. Honestly I've said it before and I will say in again and again until someone stops me: No one else write quite like Ilona and Gordon. There such an energy to every word, can you can tell how much love goes into each piece of writing.

 On the subject of love, lets talk romance. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Alessandro and Catalina, mostly because I wasn't fully sold on Alessandro going in. I know, I'm surprised too. Happy to say that that was pretty swiftly nipped in the bud. We learned more about him pretty early on, that immediately had me sold. What can I say? All it takes is confidence, a nice smile and the ability to murder a man and then jump out a glass window. I'm a girl of few needs. But less on myself and Alessandro, and back to him and our new protagonist. I loved these two. In just one book, we really got a chance to see them in a variety of scenarios, and it was a nice chance to see how they reacted to each other. Angry, annoyed, flirty, protective, to name a few.

We went in knowing that Catalina had issues when it came to her magic and the possibility of any romantic endeavours was pretty off the table as far as she was concerned. Thankfully for her (and us as readers), Alessandro is pretty keen to put things very much on the table (or sink, I'm looking at you chapter 14). I was worried that I'd find the issue of Catalina's powers and the relationship a little iffy, but actually it was nice to see her vulnerable. As Head of House, she has to be everything but vulnerable, so the moments we get of her like that are pretty great.

Going in, I had a lot more questions about Catalina than Alessandro, but boy have the tables turned. Honestly I could go on and on and on about this one, but I'm in danger of spending all night glued to my laptop staring bleary eyed at the screen while typing away all my thoughts. I'll leave you with this quote:

"He should've never kissed me. He was mine now and I wanted him." 

If that doesn't have you eagerly awaiting the next instalment, I don't know what will. (Other than a pregnant Nevada finally returning, unveiling secrets about Alessandro and seeing how many more sacrifices Catalina is willing too make for the people she loves.)


Source: richlywritten.blogspot.com/2019/09/test-3.html
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text 2018-02-01 00:56
January in Review

January in Review

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 9)

It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?


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Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)

What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)

Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)





Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson

Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/31/january-in-review
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text 2018-01-24 11:00
Facts About Me: Top 10 Must Read Books


These are my all time favourite books. Where there is a series, I've marked the first book as the best, only because I would never have gone further if the series didn't grab me right from the start. So, in no particular order, some of my all time favourite books.


Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1) – Elizabeth Peters

Life Lessons (Life Lessons #1) – Kaje Harper

Prince of Hearts (Elders and Welders Chronicles #1) – Margaret Foxe

Spell Bound (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #1) – Jacob Z. Flores

We Met in Dreams – Rowan McAllister

Mythos Christos – Edwin Herbert

To The Highest Bidder (A Planet Called Wish #1) – Caitlin Ricci

Some Kind of Stranger (Blue Ruin #1) – Katrina Strauss

Something Like A Love Song – Becca Burton

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) – Robin Hobb

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter #1) - J.K. Rowling

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) - George R.R. Martin

Withered and Sere (Immemorial Year #1) - T.J. Klune

The Prince's Consort (The Chronicles of Tournai #1) - Antonia Aquilante

Dead Camp #1 - Sean Kerr

Mending Noel (North Pole City Tales #1) - Charlie Cochet

Hesitant Heart (Hampton Road Club #1) - Morticia Knight

The Palisade (Lavender Shores #1) - Rosalind Abel

The Little Crow / The Broken Butterfly - Caitlin Ricci

Some Kind of Magic (Being(s) in Love #1) - R. Cooper

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-20 22:01
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds
High Moor 3: Blood Moon - Graeme Reynolds

Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Top Read 2017 * * * * *

Atrocities committed in the name of war. In this incredibly brutal finale, the world attempts to deal with the fact that werewolves are real, and oh-so-dangerous. Security measures are taken and, on both sides, death is dealt to those undeserving. As the body count increases exponentially, difficult decisions have to be made, and extreme action has to be taken.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

It's no secret that I absolutely adore this bloodstained trilogy with all my heart - each instalment elicited an abundance of excitement, thrilling me with every character and their often perilous ventures. Blood Moon proved to be one hell of an epic conclusion, even if it left me saddened because I just didn't want it to end. It's extremely rare that I consistently rate so high - usually I find highs as well as lows, my overall enjoyment changing, sometimes drastically, throughout a series, but with Graeme's wolf-tastic world, each addition kept me entranced. Not only did it maintain its strong quality of descriptive writing, it continued to surprise, delight and disturb me. There's actually something I feel I need to state, because it's been in my mind and, for me, it holds a lot of significance:

An author doesn't need to be a best-seller, or have a great deal of recognition to be a great writer. I believe it's our job, as readers, to discover the hidden gems out there, to bring acknowledgement to the stories that bring us joy.

It pains me to think of deserving authors going unnoticed, and not even given a chance by the wider community, but I digress. Let's get back to the review, shall we?

There's a lot of characters to keep track of and, I admit, returning after a year since reading Moonstruck was confusing at first. I found myself trying to remember who was who, but it swiftly returned to me the further I went. I daresay these novels are meant to be read in order; context plays a big part in understanding how the war came to be, not to mention the journey each character had to traverse to reach that point. Marie and John were undoubtedly my favourites, as despite being apart for most of the book, they had time to shine in their own individual ways. Marie had to step-up, become what she never thought she'd become, and John had to endure and overcome a great deal.

Of course, amongst the large cast, others stood out as well - Phil and his desperation to return to his beloved wife, and Daniel, who just wanted the best for the pack. Every single one had their own unique personality, and their own agenda that added a considerable amount of substance.

To tell you the truth, it was at times hard to root for either side. Both the human force and the werewolf pack did terrible, terrible things. Just who was the lesser evil? Well, I'm not sure, both were neck-deep in murky waters - the pack just wanted to survive, but in retaliation of their species being killed and imprisoned, they set upon a whole town of human civilians, either savagely butchering them, or turning them into moonstruck. This included children, so I can't quite say the pack was at all innocent in the situation. I felt a whole lot of dread right before that High Moor slaughter; I knew it was coming and the anticipation nearly killed me.

The ending I considered to be bittersweet. I understood why it needed to be so, but I still felt rather bad about it. It was, after all, a last resort, and I couldn't stop thinking about what all those people would lose. I almost had tears it my eyes, and that's another oddity, as most of the time nothing I read renders me so emotional, and if it does, that in itself makes it special.

One more thing, before this review comes to an end. A paragraph in chapter eighteen piqued my interest, specifically, this one:

On occasion, the she-wolf picked up the scent of fresh death in the air, and when the two of them happened across an old stone mausoleum, the air crackled with an atmosphere of malevolence that raised both wolves' hackles and forced them to back track to find another path around the place.

Is it possible that was a hint of another monster? Perhaps it was just me, but I got a vampiric vibe that I just couldn't shake! It's a little - a mere hint - but it certainly stuck out. Since it was confirmed that other creatures did exist, I kept it in mind to pay extra attention for any teasers, and I believe I may have found one.

In conclusion - I was lucky to discover this trilogy, and honoured to read it. Werewolf horror at its finest, and I hope Reynolds one day returns to this world. I'm sure it has much more to offer.

Notable Scene:

Where Amy's pretty face had been, there was only a bloodstained skull. The bone had deep gouges carved into it and Amy's beautiful blue eyes stared out of the gore at nothing. Her friend's body stood on its own for a second, then fell to the floor in a crumpled heap. Anna couldn't help herself. She turned to Matty and was met by a visage from the depths of hell. The boy's eyes were flat, reflective disks in the flicking candlelight. His face is distorted - the bone stretched into a snout filled with row upon row of razor sharp fangs. A mass of bloody flesh and muscle dangled from between those terrible jaws. They crunched once, then swallowed. Matty brought up a clawed hand and wiped his mouth. "Aye, she wasnae wrong. She did have a tasty face."


© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/20/blood-moon-by-graeme-reynolds
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