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review 2018-04-18 22:34
"Big Vamp On Campus - Half-Moon Hollow 5.5" by Molly Harper - fun novella for fans of the Hollow
Big Vamp on Campus - Molly Harper

Visiting Half-Moon Hollow is a guilty pleasure that I indulge in when I'm looking for an éclair read: a lightning flash of escapist fun that is light and simple but packed with good things.

 

"Big Vamp On Campus" is a mini-éclair, a novella in the Half-Moon Hollow series, that focuses on Ophelia, one of my favourite characters, and captures her during a period of transition.

 

In previous books, Ophelia, a 400-year-old vampire who looks sixteen and wears a Hello Kitty backpack, has been the Big Bad: a power-hungry bureaucrat with a lethal temper and a reputation for spectacular acts of violence.

 

"Big Vamp On Campus" follows on from Ophelia's dastardly deeds in "The Dangers Of Dating A Rebound Vampire". Ophelia has lost her powerbase and is being punished by being sent to college "to engage in a normal college experience" so that she can demonstrate that she can control her homicidal impulses.

 

What follows is a pleasant slice of college life in which Ophelia gets to try out being normal by doing exotic things like making friends with nice people who have no agenda that she has to worry about or respond to. True, Ophelia still unleashes violence on her annoying vampire roommate but no actual torture is involved and the roommate really is unpleasant.

 

Ophelia was always more than a self-serving, paranoid, manipulative predator. With her blood-mate and her sister, she is capable of demonstrating passionate loyalty and her own peculiar brand of affection. What makes this book work is seeing Ophelia explore that side of herself and expand the radius of the circle that contains US rather than THEM.

 

This is a fun book for the fans but not the right place to start. If you're new to Half-Moon Hollow, I recommend that you go back to "Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs" and take the journey from the beginning.

 

I recommend the audiobook version, read with skill by Amanda Ronconi. Click on the SooundCloud link below to hear a sample.

 

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text 2018-04-18 11:26
Blood Shadow and Aftershock: how do they fit into the Eye of the Storm series?
Blood Shadow: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel (Blood Never Lies) - Dianna Hardy
Aftershock: an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel (Blood Never Lies) - Dianna Hardy
Eye of the Storm: Omnibus Edition - Dianna Hardy

Blood Shadow and Aftershock

 

Dark, humorous, gritty and explicit, the Eye of the Storm series crosses genres with paranormal romance and dark fantasy, leaning more and more towards the fantasy elements from halfway through the series. The lives of werewolves take centre stage, from their mythological history to their near extinction, and at the very core of this storyline filled with magic and man-made beasts is Lydia, a twenty-five year old waitress living in the human world, who has no idea what she is.

Focusing on character develop and dynamics, we get thrown into Lydia's new world no holds barred - her new world is sexual, violent, and ruled by nature and instinct, which challenges the 'romance' she's always dreamed of. It's also loving, warm and protective if she has the will to let it all in.

 

Eye of the Storm series, by Dianna Hardy

 

Amid her new pack, resides a she-wolf called Selena. Bitter, scared and jealous, Selena's aim is to undermine Lydia's arrival into the pack and run her off for good. 

This character we love to hate finds herself in a place she never expected, and the end of this completed series sees her and her new identity hurtled into Blood Shadow, which bridges the gap between Eye of the Storm, and a brand new, dark urban fantasy series to come (the Blood Shadow series).

 

 

In turn, Aftershock does the same with other characters from Eye of the Storm: Pete and Claire, and their new addition, Jasmine. Like Blood ShadowAftershock will lead to yet another brand new urban fantasy series (the Aftershock series).

Dianna Hardy is bringing us a new world with new rules, new dangers, and new characters to sink our teeth into, and the first chapter begins with Blood Shadow.

 

Blood Shadow

 


Blood Shadow:

an Eye of the Storm Companion Novel
​(Blood Never Lies, #1)

 

*although some background is given to make this book comprehensible for new readers, it's recommended that you read Eye of the Storm before read Blood Shadow

 

Five years after her life changed forever, Jennifer Warren has put her past firmly behind her - at least, she's tried. A few sweaty nightmares here and there are a small price to pay for the freedom she won. No longer a werewolf, but human, she works as an office manager for a health and beauty spa in York, and keeps herself to herself. It's barely enough to pay the bills, but it's quiet and safe, and the clique of the staff means she's left well enough alone - no one asks her questions; no one wants to get to know her better.

 

David, her tender, kind boyfriend of two years is all she needs ... and she doesn't really need him, which suits her just fine. Never mind the occasional guilt that she doesn't really love him; he'd never hurt her in a million years - that's worth its weight in gold.

 

But Jennifer's just received another note - one of those that her mysterious, anonymous 'friend' likes to leave her every now and then; warnings of things to come, people not to trust... Her elusive friend has saved her more than once the past five years.

 

Only this note has left her breathless; her chest tight. A Supermoon is coming - the first in thirty years - and with it, a total lunar eclipse.

 

Jennifer's disowned her past, but it hasn't disowned her. As the earth shadows the full moon, her own shadows threaten to turn on her.

 

Can you ever escape what you truly are?

 

Blood never lies.

___________________

 

RELEASED 27th APRIL, 2018

 

Pre-order from:

iBooks

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AUS

Nook

Kobo
Book Depo
​Waterstones

 

(Google Play only available on release day)

 

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review 2018-04-15 13:21
"Thunderbird Falls - Walker Papers #2" by C. E. Murphy - entertaining urban fantasy
Thunderbird Falls - C.E. Murphy


"Thunderbird Falls"delivered exactly what I was looking for this weekend: relaxing, escapist, entertainment that demanded nothing much from me except the suspension of disbelief and a willingness to open my imagination to astral plane encounters.

 

"Thunderbird Falls"follows on from "Urban Shaman". It deals with Joanne Walker trying to come to terms with being a Shaman when her preference is just to be a mechanic and not to believe in anything magical.

 

I liked the development of the relationships Walker established in the first book: the 70+ taxi driver with charisma and good humour, her love-hate there's-more-to-me-than-you-know Police Captain and her I-wear-nail-polish-because-I-like-it-and-it-unsettles-people Police Detective colleague. This gives the basis for a good ensemble cast for the rest of the series.

 

Walker spends a lot of this book revisiting her hidden-from-everyone-she-cares-about past. This is nicely done, striking a good balance between maudlin introspection and epiphany.

 

The plot is moderately complicated and brings in a whole coven of witches and some new and very scary bad guys. The astral battles are vividly described. What I liked most was that Walker is allowed to make a lot of mistakes in this book rather than glided along effortlessly as so many heroes seem to do. I also enjoyed the theme that explored the nature and use of sacrifice of yourself and others.

 

There was nothing in the book that made me go "Wow" but nothing that made me want to skip forward either. I enjoyed myself and cheered at the end. I'll get to the third book the next time I want a chilled weekend with a book.

 

 

 

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review 2018-04-14 15:42
Phaethon Review
Phaethon - Rachel Sharp

Source: Rosie's Book Review Team

 

Phaethon was one of the better books I've read this year. It's a simple, uncomplicated story. The main characters are friendly, caring, relatable, and pleasingly snarky. Even the bogle. (Maybe especially the bogle?) What can I say? I love an honest smartarse. It's also fast-paced, contains an interesting adventure, and doesn't require anything from the reader except enjoyment.


I loved the easy mixing of fantasy and science fiction in Phaethon.I was able to very easily suspend disbelief and sink into the story the author was wanting to tell. When certain LED-laden individuals got introduced into the story, I might have had a small flash of Transformers. (However, considering I rather like them, that wasn't exactly a bad thing.) 

Rachel Sharp has a way of putting things that states the truth and makes you snicker at the same time. Like the following statement about horses.

"People could be assholes, too, but when horses were assholes, one had roughly a half a ton of asshole to contend with."



Of course, her insults in Phaethon could be pretty good too.

"Get with the times, you bloody nuisance fish-hags! The iron bastards will make calamari out o' ye! CALAMARI!"





I actually recommended this book to one of my best friends shortly after I finished it. (She's a fantasy fan and hates dark stuff and most sci-fi, so we often don't have any books to mutually adore.) It was nice to be able to toss another book recommendation her way. As I told her: "Phaethon is so light, it's practically floof. BUT it's entertaining floof with a side of good versus evil!"

I will say that while I might be willing to read more in this series, I don't see a lot of potential in it. It was a fantastic stand-alone novel, but I'm not sure how it would work if she tries to draw it out. Still, she's obviously talented, so if anyone can make it work, she can. 

If you're looking for an undemanding read that will entertain you and lift your spirits, look no further than Phaethon by Rachel Sharp.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the author as part of Rosie's Book Review Team.

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review 2018-04-14 13:59
Book Review of 'Til Death Do Us Part (an adult retelling of The Little Mermaid) by Dianna Hardy
'Til Death Do Us Part (an adult retelling of The Little Mermaid) - Dianna Hardy

BRAND NEW COVER! (Same content.)

 

"The day you get married, is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. Dreams are made of such things. But I forgot. I could blame the witch if I wanted to - in fact I did, for quite a while after - but the fault can only lie with me. Being with him made me so happy - so very, very happy - that I chose to forget. I chose amnesia. If I had had any foresight into how my flippant choice would ruin him, I would have saved him the heartbreak. I would have forfeited my knowing him, my own selfishness, lived forever in the pain of unfulfillment, if it meant he could be spared...."

 

When you love someone so much that your heart aches without them in your life, would you give up everything you've ever known to be with them? Would you give up your identity?

 

This is exactly what Aria did. But her sacrifice comes at a great cost, with startling consequences. With no memory of her previous life, she's forgotten what she really is, and who she's left behind: a jealous, possessive God, who's finally found her, and will stop at nothing to keep her heart from ever straying again.

 

In this dark and passionate retelling of The Little Mermaid, can a love founded on humanity, stand the passing of time, an angry sea-God, and even death itself?

 

*Please note: this book is NOT "erotica". (It has been mistakenly placed in that category, and you will be sorely disappointed if you are buying this for titillation!) It is a dark fantasy gothic romance, containing only a couple of mildly explicit scenes. In the vein of many dark fantasies, it also contains some violence which may disturb some readers.

 

Notes: The English translation of the original story, Den lille Havfrue, by Hans Christian Anderson, works out at just under 10,000 words. This retelling is just over 10,000 words.

 

Review 4*

 

This is an interesting retelling of The Little Mermaid. I loved it.

 

Aria is a character I neither liked or disliked. I did find her a little selfish and self absorbed with her love of Simon. However, she also showed an inner strength when faced with difficult decisions, and also had to deal with an abusive situation.

 

This short story was a quick read, with lots of twists to keep the reader guessing as to what would happen next. There is a scene that could potentially upset some readers, which could also be a triggering event for them if they’ve been in an abusive relationship or been abused. So reader beware! I did enjoy Aria’s journey of emotional growth through the tale though. She matures within it. However, I’m not sure about the ending. It left me with mixed feelings even though it concludes satisfactorily.

This book is one of Dianna Hardy’s earlier works, which is why, I think, I found it a little disappointing even though I loved it. Her writing has improved a lot since this book was originally written. I love her fast paced writing style and I found no problem with the story flow, so as an introduction to her storytelling, this would be the ideal way to start.

 

Due to scenes of a sexual nature and abuse, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love paranormal/supernatural romances and adult-themed fairytale retellings. - Lynn Worton

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