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review 2020-05-14 14:32
Slippery Creatures - KJ Charles
Slippery Creatures - K.J. Charles

It has to be said, I don't pre-order a lot of books but the blurb for Slippery Creatures, as well as my experiences with this author's previous works, made me hit that pre-order button as soon as I hear about it...

 

Our hero is the eponymous Will Darling, returned from the war with a few scars and some dubious skills. There are things he's now good at, thanks to that experience, but it's decidedly unclear how he can make a living from any of them and he's heading towards penury when a long-lost uncle helps him out. A few months later, Will has inherited his uncle's bookshop and is set on learning the trade, only to be threatened by a stranger to hand over something his uncle was given or else. Will being not just competent but also as stubborn as they come, refuses to do so and has the same answer for an unpleasant representative of the War Office who comes calling soon after. 

 

Determined to figure out for himself what secrets his uncle was involved with, so he can make up his own mind what to do with whatever it is, Will finds himself an unlikely ally in the aristocratic Kim Secretan. They also pretty quickly become intimate, with qualms of conscience on the part of Will later, when he meets and very much likes Kim's fiancee. All, of course, is not as it seems both in terms of Kim's private life and his motivations, as Will is to discover during the course of Slippery Creatures (and on into the rest of the trilogy). 

 

If you're looking for a book that's just a number of sex scenes loosely held together by a wafer-thin plot, Slippery Creatures is not the book for you. The characters are well drawn and behave consistently with their character, while the overall plotting is well done. I guessed a couple of things before their reveal but it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment. I'm now looking forward immensely to the next book in the series, The Sugared Game (due out later this year), to see how the relationship between Kim and Will recovers from all of the revelations of this one, as we're confidently promised a HEA by the end of the trilogy.

 

This isn't the only book by KJ Charles has written that's set in this period, which makes the only downside about how entertaining this one is that she's surely delaying getting round to writing sequels for the others - if this book works for you, make sure you check out both Think of England and Spectred Isle.

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review 2020-05-13 19:00
NIGHT SERVICE by John Leonard
Night Service - John F Leonard

 

Luke and Jessica are heading home to Jessica's house, after a fun and romantic night out on the town. Both are rather young and neither has much money, so they decided to take the night service bus instead of calling a taxi. Let's just call that a fatal mistake, for at least one of them. Who survives? What happened on that late night bus ride? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I am a fan of John Leonard's work and it's nearly criminal that he's not more well known. He is building his own legends and stories surrounding his creation: The Scaeth. He has a way of making his characters real to the reader, just enough so that the reader can relate and start to like them... and then he drops them down into some seriously dangerous and scary situations and lets them fight for themselves.

 

At novella length, NIGHT SERVICE flies by. There's excitement, chases, tension and bloody gore galore! I had a great time reading it and I look forward to more in The Scaeth Mythos.

 

Recommended!

 

Get your copy here: NIGHT SERVICE

 

*Thanks to John Leonard for the e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2020-05-10 20:32
Creatures of Charm and Hunger - Molly Tanzer
Creatures of Charm and Hunger - Molly Tanzer

Sometimes, often in the first book of a series, it seems like there's a definite temptation for an author to stick in just a little more plot than that book can handle - if there's one thing to say about Creatures of Charm and Hunger, it's that it's one of those books. 

 

The basic premise is that our main characters, Jane and Miriam, are teenage girls who are both studying to become diabolists - to use a form of magic that involves binding demons and then using their essence to support a pact made between demon and diabolist. There's also something going on here about plants being involved but that kind of didn't quite stick in my mind while I was reading this, so I'm not 100% clear how it works. Anyway, both are about to take their Test (hey, you know it's serious when random capital letters are involved), to see if they're good enough to be allowed to make a Pact with a demon or not. At one point, they happen to discover that if they don't pass, they might be used as materia themselves, so better pass I guess?

 

This is all going on with a backdrop of the later stages of World War 2, which is where the slight overload of stuff going on starts to happen. There's a raid spearheaded by Jane's aunt Edith, which goes spectacularly wrong and doesn't seem to have all that clear a reasoning behind it in the first place, and also Miriam uses forbidden magic to try and discover the fate of her parents. Meanwhile, Jane has failed her Test and is also dabbling with powers beyond her control and sets off a disastrous chain of events in the family home. 

 

There's also quite a lot of exposition, which means the pace of Creatures of Charm and Hunger drags at times. There's a lot going on here that's interesting, especially the stuff around Jane's choice of very stereotypical witch behaviour (enchanting a broomstick, cackling etc.) but the denouement around what happens to Jane's mother falls quite flat. Jane herself seems to just shrug and walk away, which is convenient for the continuation of the series but didn't ring true. So, all in all, an interesting enough book but not one where I'll be looking that hard to read any further. 

 

On an unrelated note, I wish the author would stop giving her books very similar titles - this is the third book with 'Creatures of [something] and [something]' and they're not really a series as such as far as I can tell. 

 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2020-05-10 14:15
Leviathan
Leviathan - Tim Curran

by Tim Curran

 

I've been hearing Tim Curran is good for some time and have had this one and Dead Sea on my Kindle for a while, so I finally decided it's about time I read one of his books! This one called me first.

 

I could see right away that the writing was good. The cover was enough to tell me to expect a good monster story and that's what I got. The beginning set up a situation that might be called predictable, but the execution is what carries it. A deserted beach with police warnings on a coast that is otherwise full of tourists and a monster on the cover... let's see... what might happen? As the protagonist is a photographer, it's guaranteed to happen up close.

 

Though I felt the character development could have been sustained longer, the story moved fast and was full of imagery and excitement. I read most of the last three quarters in one sitting which is a sign of a gripping story! I did feel that a few loose ends weren't adequately followed up at the end, but by then I was too out of breath to worry about it. I'll definitely be reading my other book by this author soon and probably more besides.

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review 2020-05-08 19:30
REEK by Bradley Freeman
Reek - Bradley Freeman

 

On an island abandoned so many years ago that hardly anyone remembers why, a film director and his hand-picked team set out to rejuvenate his poor reputation. Will they be successful? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

After seeing so many positive reviews from my friends I thought I'd give this book a shot. There was an interesting array of characters as well as some folk creatures that I'd never heard of before. Bradley Freeman takes all of this up, shakes it and then drops it on an isolated island and let's everyone fend for themselves.

 

Bloody, gory, creative and fun, REEK was a blast to read! The only negatives I can come up with are the fact that I didn't care much for the main character and I thought it was a tad bit long. Still, there were so many twists and turns here, I never got bored. In fact, during the second half I had to hang on tight, because it was quite a ride!

 

I think Bradley Freeman is an author to watch and I would recommend this book to anyone looking for some good scares.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*You can get your copy here: REEK

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash.* 

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