‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.
In this sequel to ‘Tainted Waters’, Alice has moved into the next phase of her life as a Paranormal Peace Keeper. Although reconciled to her heritage, she still has many questions about who and what she really is, and where her value lies as both an individual and as part of the organisation to which she belongs.
Those questions continue to plague her as she undertakes her most challenging mission yet, with a new partner who poses problems of his own for our protagonist. who still struggles to come to terms with her lifelong issues with trust and belonging. As with the first book, Alice has to make choices where there is no good option, and then work to make those choices turn out for the best. This is one of the elements of these books that I really appreciate – life isn’t straightforward or easy for most people, and the turmoil that Alice experiences at times is something that I can really relate to.
Stanhope is a master of juxtaposing light and dark, and fear and trust, in a way that adds depth to both the characters and the plot as the story unfolds. As with ‘Tainted Waters’, ‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.
I found this to be an intriguing and enjoyable read – so much so that I didn’t want to put it down.
‘Feral’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in storytelling.
Find your copy here.
Third in the Jessica Sweet trilogy, ‘Sweet Destiny’ will knock your socks off.
What. A. Journey.
While reading this third book in the Jessica Sweet trilogy, without a word of a lie, I have cheered, I have held my breath, I have raged, and I have wept.
Theories I had maintained from reading ‘Sweet Vengeance’ and ‘Sweet Discovery’ were confirmed and developed, and my questions were answered in unexpected ways. The sensation of looking on as the lives of people I had become close to almost burned to the ground was at times almost unbearable, but yet I had to read on. I had to know how it all worked out.
It was hard to put this book down. I read it in two sittings, and finished it with new respect for some old characters, and interest in seeing what might happen in the future with some new ones.
Of one thing I am sure: an author who can take a reader to both the heights of excitement and the depths of despair is a blessing to readers in a world where humdrum and cliche often seem to overwhelm the market. Aliya DalRae is a gifted writer, and I will one-click her books forever.
‘Sweet Destiny’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Get your copy here.
‘Lineage’: An excellent short dark read.
Down on her luck and facing more complications than a young woman needs, Emma bursts into the reader’s consciousness and quickly establishes herself as a likeable and loyal character. Having lived on her wits for some time, Emma takes the challenges she faces in her stride, although not terribly wisely.
Gudytha brings a new dimension to Emma’s life, and the events which bond them raise questions that intrigue the reader and make them want to know far more than what is told in this short story. The humour is dark yet vivid, which really appealed to me as a reader.
Not only do I enjoy this writer’s style immensely, I definitely want to read on and know more of this story. I plan to read the next short in this series very soon.
An excellent short read, ‘Lineage’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
The fourth book in Stanhope’s Elemental Witch Trials series does not disappoint.
The fourth book in Lucretia Stanhope’s Elemental With Trials series, ‘Familiar Betrayal’ takes Gwen and the reader deeper into the darkness, not only of magic and the use of power by various entities, but also of her own desire for vengeance and quest for justice. Her need to resolve issues of the past before giving birth adds an urgency to the unfolding of the story, and means that Gwen is forced to ponder consequences that cannot be predicted, and to make decisions whose outcomes remain to be revealed.
There is much at stake for Gwen, but also for the realms that battle one another for supremacy. The tension in this book comes not only form waiting to see how Her personal circumstances work out, but also from Gwen’s questions about whether or not she can make any real difference, or if she is merely trading off one form of evil against another.
While some of the issues and problems of the past are resolved, Gwen finds herself confronted with new and significant challenges. Even when things seem to be going well, the reader is still aware of the tension that exists both within Gwen and in the worlds in which she lives. Her character continues to evolve with experience and knowledge, making her both admirable and a positive model in the reader’s eyes.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Stanhope has yet again ensured that the story is gripping and interesting as it progresses into each new phase.
Familiar Betrayal has been awarded a Silver Acorn.
Find your copy here.
‘Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen’ by Jennifer Rainey: Deliciously dark and twisted.
This book’s brilliant opening was just a taste of the vivid imagery and dark, ironic humour that characterises the writing. Before I had finished the first page, I knew I had found an author whose work I would truly appreciate.
This story is deliciously dark and twisted, full of varied and creatively crafted characters who each have their own motivations and desires that bring some surprising twists to the tale. The story moves at a very good pace, with lots of interesting plot and character developments.
The other aspect of this story that I really enjoy is that it delivers a wonderfully unique combination of steampunk, science fiction, historical fiction and paranormal elements.
There is absolutely zero chance of boredom while reading this book, and it is perfect for my subversive sense of humour. I definitely intend to read this entire series.
‘Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
An excellent, adults-only fantasy/paranormal read.
When Shakira leaves her parents and drives away to find a new life for herself, she is completely unaware of just how complete that change will be.
‘Love Bites’ is a story of learning to deal with change, but also one which emphasises the power of the struggle for supremacy between light and dark, and goodness and evil. Shakira grows and develops from a young woman fully aware of the fact that she doesn’t fit in to someone who must accept and learn to embrace her origins in order to survive.
The story is cast with well developed characters, none of them perfect but many of them very likeable. Shakira herself is developed not only through her experiences and relationships, but also through how she deals with what is imposed upon her. There is more than one lesson for all of us in this, and the reader is challenged to consider their own choices and ethics in the way they communicate and relate with others.
The narrative is well-crafted, weaving together a number of plots and subplots, various settings and significant challenges for the characters that often leave the reader holding their breath without even realising. The dialogue is engaging, reflecting both the author’s and the characters’ intelligence and adding further depth to the characters and to the action of the story. Clark’s design and development of characters, including a new and unique species of creatures, and of rich and varied settings, is elegant and complex, paying careful attention to detail without causing any wordy distraction for the reader. The pace of the story is effective without being overwhelming, making this book an absolute page turner.
There is some adult content so it is not recommended for younger audiences, but ‘Love Bites’ is sure to please adult lovers of both fantasy and paranormal reads.
‘Love Bites’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.
Find your copy here.
A powerful portrayal of one woman’s personal hell.
The third in the Fallen Cross Pack novella series, ‘Bitter Loss’ is the vivid and heartbreaking portrayal of one woman’s descent into her own personal hell when her life takes a tragic turn.
Maggie Danes is very realistically portrayed in her responses and emotions. As grief gives way to despair, and then to hopelessnes, the reader can’t help but feel that they might not respond so differently should they find themselves in her situation.
This is a beautifully written story that works well as a standalone, but also fits perfectly into both the Fallen Cross and Jessica Sweet series. This fact alone is testament to DalRae’s talent as a writer.
Like the others in this series, ‘Bitter Loss’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn