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review 2017-06-15 18:02
Book Review of Stone Guardian: Gargoyle Urban Fantasy Romance (Entwined Realms Book 1) by Danielle Monsch
Stone Guardian - Danielle Monsch

Gryphons flying past skyscrapers? Wizards battling it out in coffeehouses? Women riding motorcycles with large swords strapped to their backs? All normal sights since the Great Collision happened twenty-six years ago.

 

Well, not normal for everyone. Larissa Miller may have been born after the Great Collision, but as a history teacher who lives in the human-only city, she has never come into contact with any other race or species, nor has she wanted to. Her life is as ordinary as it gets - that is, until one day she walks out of her apartment and is attacked by a mob of Zombies, only to be saved by a Gargoyle.

 

Gargoyles trust no one outside their Clan, but due to a cryptic prophecy, Terak, Leader of the Gargoyles, has been watching over the human woman for months. While he can find no reason why the woman has been singled out, something about her stirs every protective instinct within him. When the attack confirms that the threats against her exist and are real, he convinces Larissa that though their races have never been allies, the best chance of discovering why she has been brought into his world is by working together.

 

In the course of their investigation Terak becomes entranced by his little human. But when he discovers why Necromancers want her and the great reward that awaits him if he betrays her, he must choose between the welfare of his Clan and not only Larissa’s life, but the fate of this New Realm as well.

 

Review 4*

 

This is the first book in the Entwined Realms Urban Fantasy/Romance series. I really enjoyed the story.

 

Larissa Miller is an interesting character. I liked her a lot. She is a normal human living in a world that changed twenty-six years ago when the Great Collision (a merging of the human and supernatural world) happened. She is the only daughter of an overprotective policeman father, and sister to four overprotective policemen brothers. When she is attacked by a group of zombies on the way to a poker game hosted by her father, she finds herself thrust into a world she knows nothing about when she is rescued by a gargoyle sent to protect her.

 

Terak is the leader of his clan of gargoyles. I really liked this character a lot. He is an impressive warrior and fiercely protective of his clan. When a prophecy is disclosed to him, he finds himself guarding a human woman who intrigues him. As he and Larissa work together to uncover the mystery surrounding the prophecy, their undeniable attraction sparks.

 

I purchased this book last year due to my interest in urban fantasy romance. Unfortunately, due to my large reading list, I have not able to read it sooner.

 

I started to read this book and was instantly hooked. I loved the way the characters came to life. However, I felt, even though the world building was good, it was far too 'human' at times. I would have liked to have known more about the world of the Gargoyles and more of the inner workings of their society, as well as the other supernatural beings. Perhaps this will be revealed as the series progresses.

 

There are some interesting characters introduced that I liked. They are: Fallon (she's a type of warrior called a Dragon Slayer), Laire (she's a mage), Aislynn (she's an elf) and Wulver (he's a werewolf leader). They are members of the Guild and act as protectors to the humans from supernatural beings (like police but more mercenary).

 

The story is a little formulaic when it comes to the romance, but the plot is interesting. The story is told through the eyes of Terak and Larissa, though Fallon has a few scenes from her point of view too. There is action, danger and mystery mixed in such a way that I found myself becoming emersed in the tale. Unfortunately, as I got closer to the end I felt the story began to fizzle slightly. The energy and excitement I felt in the beginning began to wane about two-thirds into the story, and this made me feel sad. The ending was also not to my liking. I'm all for setting the scene for the next book in the series but, I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers and this felt a little anti-climatic and boring. It didn't end in a bang, but a whimper and didn't grab me enough to want to keep reading the series. Other readers may have a different reading experience to me, so I will urge you to make up your own minds.

 

Danielle Monsch has written a fantastic start to a unique urban fantasy romance series. I enjoyed her fast paced writing style and the flow was good. This is the first book I have read written by this author. At this moment in time, I am not sure if I will read more of her books, but I am not ruling it out as it depends on my mood and I may give her books another try in the future.

 

Due to explicit scenes of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to readers under the age of 18. However, I do recommend this book if you love hot erotic paranormal romances full of gargoyles, werewolves, vampires, fae, druids etc. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-06-01 22:01
Book Review of Sleepwalker (Branches of Emrys Book 1) by Brandy L Rivers
Sleepwalker (Branches of Emrys Book 1) - Emily A. Lawrence,Brandy L. Rivers

He haunted her dreams.

 

Savon Roantree loved and lost the man she planned to marry. Nathan Taggert disappeared, taking her heart with him and her world fell apart. His father refused to tell her what happened to Nate. Broken-hearted she left, planning to never return to Silvertail Ridge and tried to move on.

 

After a bad break-up, she finally gives in to her brother’s pleas to move back home. She never expected Nate was living next door once more.

 

Nothing changed for Nate, not when it came to Savon.

 

A tragic accident tore them apart. By the time he recovered, she was gone. When his father threatened to kill Savon if he ever went to her, he did the only thing he could—followed in her dreams. No matter how hard he tried to reach her, she always ran. She even ignored his best friend, her own brother.

 

Twelve years later, he finally has a chance to right all the wrongs—if she’ll listen.

Silvertail Ridge has changed since they were kids. Both families have been pulled into an ancient battle.

 

Together they may stand a chance.

 

Review 5*

 

This is the first book in a new series, Branches of Emrys. I loved it!

 

Savon Roantree is a wonderful character. I liked her a lot. She is an artist who also happens to be part Sylvan Fae and Sorceress. She is able to control wild animals, as well as other sorcerers' familiars. She can also speak to the spirits of the dead. Twelve years ago, she fell in love with Nathan Taggart, but he broke her heart and she left home. After her brother convinces her to return home, she finds herself facing her past once more when she comes face to face with the man who claimed her heart.

 

Nathan (Nate) Taggart is also a wonderful character. I liked him a lot too. He is a dreamwalker and werewolf, and also happens to be a surgeon. Twelve years ago his life changed when a terrible accident ripped him from the love of his life. With his father's threat hanging over his head, Nate let Savon go, but now she's back and he's determined to convince her to give them another chance. However, danger is not very far away and ancient family secrets could tear them apart for good.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author with no expectation of a positive review.

 

I was eager to begin reading this book as I love the Others of Edenton and Others of Seattle series of books. This new series is an off-shoot of the Edenton series (though not sure if it also includes the Seattle side as I haven't had a chance to read all of the books in that series yet) and contains some old faces, as well as the new ones. Liz, Tremaine, Robert and Preston all make a welcome return. I must admit that I also liked meeting Savon's brother, Bran. He is also a wonderful character. He has his mother's Sylvan magic, but was turned into a werewolf after being shot.

 

The story is a mix of romance, magic and danger, and takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish. I must admit that I raced through the pages as I was completely gripped by the story. The story is told through the eyes of both Savon and Nate, so the reader gets to see their thoughts and feelings. Although this is the first book in the series, I felt like I was meeting up with friends. This is because I have grown to love the world in which these characters live. This book has all the hallmarks of being another fantastic series. Savon and Nate have to overcome a heartbreaking past, but it's the future and what the secret group, Branches of Emrys, face that intrigues me now. I'm looking forward to finding out how the story arc develops and how the sub-plots fit in.

 

The story doesn't end in a cliffhanger, though it left me wanting to read the next book in the series as soon as I can.

 

Brandy L. Rivers has written an intriguing start to a new series. I love her fast paced writing style, and the flow is wonderful. Her characters are lifelike and likeable. With her ability to write in both the paranormal and contemporary romance genres, she is one of my go to authors when I'm in the mood for a sexy read.

 

Due to explicit scenes of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to readers under the age of 18. However, I do recommend this book if you love hot erotic paranormal romances full of werewolves, vampires, fae, druids etc. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-05-31 10:05
A bizarre true story brought to life in a novel that moves across genres.
Devil in the Countryside - Cory Barclay

I write this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie Amber and to the author for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This is a book based on a real case (although so many years later and with the few documents and written clues available it is difficult to know what might have been ‘real’ and ‘true’ at the time) that has all the elements to be a fabulous novel, or a TV investigative documentary, or a movie. You can check the Werewolf of Bedburg and you’ll find a lot of information (or rather, a bit of information elaborated upon and repeated everywhere, but not many different sources). It’s easy to understand why the author would become fascinated with the subject and I also see how a writer would feel that the bare bones of the case that can be found through research would make a great starting point to write a fully-fledged and fleshed-out story. And that is what the author decided to do. In such a case, decisions have to be made as to how close to keep to the facts (such as they are) and how many fictional elements should be introduced. With this particular story, there were also many possibilities with regards to genre. Should it be a historical novel, researching the place and times and fitting in the specifics of the story around the findings? Should it be a mystery/thriller, chasing and investigating an early example of a serial killer? Should it be a horror novel? Personally, I’m not sure what I would have done, but as a reader, this novel was not what I expected. This has probably more to do with me than with the book itself but, in my opinion, it tries to be too many things.

The novel has elements of historical fiction. The author explains, in an end note, who were the real characters, and who the ones he created, and also briefly exposes some of the liberties he took. The historical background and facts are fairly accurate (although if you research the story, it seems that the fate of the daughter was very different to the one in the book, that seems an attempt at introducing a romance and a happy ending of sorts, that, in my opinion, does not befit the subject), and one of the things that the author does very well is to reflect the conflict between Catholics and Protestants at the time, the atmosphere of deep suspicion and hostility, and the paranoia that permeated all levels of society, whereby nobody was safe and anybody could be betrayed and accused of being a follower of the wrong faith. The author uses modern language, a perfectly good choice to ensure more readers access the text, but there are anachronisms and expressions that felt out of place (and perhaps using a more neutral, rather than a very casual language would have been less jarring, as some expressions sounded particularly weird in such setting. We have references to teenager, an expression only in use in the XXc. , characters drink coffee whilst it was never introduced to Germany until the late part of the XVII century…). I also wondered about some of the characters’ actions. Sybil, a young girl who lost her mother and looks after her father and younger brother, challenges her father’s authority with no consequences, goes out by herself and does things I would have thought would be out of character (but I will try and not offer too many spoilers). Dieter is a young and pious priest that seems to change his faith and his mind practically overnight (no matter what he thought about the bishop, the religion he’d dedicated years to, one would expect it would mean more to him than that) as a result of falling in love at first sight (as there is nothing in common between him and the girl) and in general I felt most of the characters were not psychologically consistent. I am not an authority on that historical period, although I have read other books about that era that created a clearer picture in my mind, about the historical period and also about the society of the time.

Whilst the novel opens as if it was going to be a straight investigation into bizarre murders, with a suggestion of the paranormal, there are some elements of investigation (following people, plenty of intrigues, researching paperwork), but a lot of the novel is taken up by telling (more than showing) us about the religious situation, the machinations of the powerful of the time (particularly Bishop Solomon, not a real character who is truly despicable and has no redeeming features at all) and it stirs the book towards the territory of the intrigue/conspiracy-theory novel  (it appears likely that those aspects played a big part during the trial of the man who was found guilty of being the werewolf).

Although at the beginning there is the suggestion that there might be elements of horror in the novel that is not the case. Or rather, the real horror is the way the truth is sacrificed to political and religious interests and how no side is above using any means to win (the Catholics come out of it slightly worse off, but nobody is truly blameless).  There is action, violence (some for comic relief, but some extreme and graphic, including torture scenes and gross deaths), and war, so this is not a gentle novel for people intent on learning a bit about the historical era, but it is not scary in sense horror lovers would expect.

The story is told in the third person from the point of view of different characters, and each chapter starts with the name of the character whose point of view we share, although at times we get reflections and comments from an omniscient point of view (comments about character’s feelings or motivations that do not seem to come from them). Heinrich, the investigator, is an enigmatic character we never get to know well, as although we see things from his point of view, we aren’t privy to his full motivations (and that is aided by the third person narration). He is at times presented as weak and ineffective (a bit like Johnny Depp’s depiction of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow) and at others, he is clever and manipulative (and the ending is quite eerie, but no, I won’t say anything else). He seems determined to carry on with his investigation and get to the truth one minute, and then he settles for what he knows is a lie, behaving as a corrupt cog-in-the-machine.

I suspect it was partly because of the point of view changes but I found it difficult to connect with the characters (my favourite was Georg, a conflicted character whose motivations are easier to understand and who was, despite his flaws, a good man.  I felt sorry for Sybil but her character didn’t quite gel for me) although it is impossible not to be horrified at what went on and I didn’t manage to get the timing of the events straight in my mind.

Some of the comments expressed unhappiness with the ending, but for me, that is well resolved (perhaps apart from the happy ending part of it, but then that is a matter of genre) and I did not find its openness a problem but rather a plus.

Most of my difficulties with the book stem from my own expectations about what the story was going to be about and how it was going to be told. I’ve read many positive reviews about the book, and as I said, it does create a sense of dread, paranoia, and suspicion that can help us imagine what living in that historical period, so uncertain, must have been like.  And it has a chilling and eerie ending. So, if you are intrigued by the history behind it, don’t take my word for it and check a sample of the book. And do a bit of research. It will prove, once more, that reality can be stranger than fiction.

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review 2017-05-23 18:53
Silence Fallen / Patricia Briggs
Silence Fallen - Patricia Briggs

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

 

A very satisfying installment in the Mercy Thompson series—in fact, it may be my favourite of the entire run.

I always love the books where the vampire seethe figures prominently, and this book is all vampires all the time! My only disappointment is that Stefan doesn’t get quite as much page time as I would like, while the Master of Milan (Jacob Bonarata) gets lots, but isn’t nearly scary enough. After all of the foreshadowing in previous books, I thought he was remarkably easy to get along with!

Also refreshing was the setting—Europe. Quite a change from the Pacific Northwest and very enjoyable. Grumpy European werewolves and plentiful European ghosts aid Mercy along the way. Also interesting in that we get to know a bit more about Adam’s friendly witch, Elizeveta. Not to mention some insight into submissive wolf, Zack.

Mercy, as usual, is underestimated by the people who don’t know her and she uses that lack of expectation to her advantage. Like the old Timex watch ads, she takes a licking & keeps on ticking! And thinking and planning. She’s smart, strong, and skilled. What a nice way to see a woman portrayed in fiction.

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review 2017-05-23 15:02
loved book three!
Hunter Claimed - A.M. Griffin
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. Book three in the series, and I recommend you read books one, Dark Wolf Enterprises, and book two, Lover Claimed before you read this one. Not TOTALLY necessary, but I think you should. And just like that, we are back up to 5 stars! Hunter, cousin to the Farkas brothers, hates vampires. A rogue group killed his parents while he and his little sister, Ezie, had to watch. So when his Alpha brings in a vampire accounting firm to finally plug the leak, he isn't happy. It's their assistant though, that causes Hunter's wolf to come front and centre. Asha has only one goal: to prove that she is better than the sum of her parents, and the vampires will help her get it. Oh I loved this one!! So much better than book two, and on a par with book one. I've no idea why book two didn't quite work, but there you go. We finally get the whole story of who and WHY the vampire is embellishing and HOW they are doing it! And that's now all wrapped up in a big fat bow. Kinda. Sorta. Almost. Hunter's wolf is very taken with Asha, and their coming together is powerful. We get that sucker punch kind of feeling when they look into each other's soul. I missed that in book two. I loved the way it all played out between Hunter and Asha. I'm not going into any details, because that's spoilers. I didn't like Clarissa and what she did to Asha throughout the story and towards the end, especially but what she did, cost her dearly. Hunter's sister is now missing. For a while, I thought Ezie was seeing the Alpha behind everyone's back, but that played out differently. But the eldest brother, Andras, he still needs a story! I still think, that somehow it might be Ezie, but then there was that one line, when they all went to meet the head of the Vampire house that set all sorts of alarm bells ringing! So, please, Ms Griffin! Will the Alpha get his story and how long will I have to wait!! 5 full stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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