Sherry has been reading Something Wicked by Tom Williams
Detective Chief Inspector Galbraith is called to the home of Lord Penrith when the lord’s body is found dead. The strangeness of the death is that the body has been drained of all its blood but the room is not covered in blood.
The investigation begins and soon, DCI Galbraith is joined by a mysterious visitor from Section S—a section no one in the precinct has heard of before. This mysterious officer is John Pole and he explains his section deals with issues of national security and the investigation of the death of Penrith flagged in their office.
They team up to try to figure out who killed the lord and how. DCI Galbraith learns some things about an unknown group who operate in the dark in London. There are some scenes of the past that are intriguing and enjoyable to read.
I enjoyed this book and it seems there may be additional stories involving this crime solving duo in the future. Both have good qualities and seem to have a great working relationship. The way they deal with the crime is clever and a bit surprising. I, for one, am hoping for more adventures with these characters. I give this one 4 stars.
A peer of the realm dead in his study, his body drained of blood
A tango club where the Undead and the living dance together
Shelly has been reading Something Wicked by Tom Williams
Vampire novels are my favourite, so I jumped at the chance to read Something Wicked when I spotted it on Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team list.
The story begins with a murder – always a great hook! The body of Lord Christopher Penrith is discovered by his butler, drained of blood. We meet Detective Chief Inspector Galbraith, who is tasked with solving the case.
In my mind, Galbraith was a cross between Columbo and Horatio Caine. He gives off the tortured detective vibe. His investigations lead to the dance hall, La Cieguita. Before he can get too deep into the case, Galbraith comes up against Section S, a counter-terrorism department. Enter John Pole, a 500 year old policeman who shares an interesting hidden world with Detective Galbraith.
Trying to solve a murder using modern policing isn’t going to work. Galbraith needs to rethink how he deals with the various suspects and additional killing and how on earth he hopes to close a case like this.
Something Wicked is well written with plenty of atmosphere. For me, it was a bit too deep into police procedure over vampire action. I had hoped for blood and gore, but instead, there was a hefty amount of ‘crime novel intermingled with historical fiction and politics’.
It was a good novel for anyone dipping their toe into urban fantasy, but my personal tastes meant it didn’t quite work for me. I like my vampire novels to have a bit more bite!
A peer of the realm dead in his study, his body drained of blood
A tango club where the Undead and the living dance together
Girl In A Golden Cage is book #2 in the Gold Gift urban fantasy series, but is easily a stand alone book. I didn’t realise there was a book #1 until I had finished.
The setting is Milan, Italy. Francesca is visiting her father for the summer holidays. The book opens with one of her serious migraine headaches which leave her in a terrible state, she barely survives the flight from London.
Francesca’s father is very rich and life in Milan is luxurious. Here she can indulge in her love for caricature art, ans she has plans to tell her father that she has dropped out of her medical course at university and wants to study art.
There are secrets in the house and Francesca sees ghostly lights of a supernatural being. The projection is from Abigail Argent a girl being held captive. She begs for help.
Discovering an age old society which believes alchemy is possible, Francesca puts her own life at risk. Who can she trust? A jealous half brother, a young flamboyant artist or her father’s dark sultry assistant?
I enjoyed this book, with the richness of the surroundings, there is a sprinkle of light romance and the supernatural is more linked with a historical theme rather than a pure fantasy one. I believe the storyline will continue in the next book.
She has an eye for detail but can she see the truth? Making decisions is not one of Francesca Miliardo’s strengths so when something mysterious starts unfolding in her father’s mansion in Milan – it’s no surprise that she’s unsure what to do. Francesca dreams of becoming a star in the contemporary art world and she has all the right connections, though what should be a summer of fun is turning out to be anything but.
Crippling migraines have always been a burden, now strange happenings are making her question whether they really are a curse. It’s not the best time to fall for someone, but who could resist a man with wolf’s eyes? Knowing who to trust is vital when those closest to you are suddenly not all they seem. It’s the time in Francesca’s life to make some hard choices: follow her own path or step into somebody else’s story.
About the author
Lucy Branch’s fiction has been featured on Radio 4, Timeout London and The BBC World Service. She is an expert in the conservation of public sculpture and has worked on some of the UK’s highest profile projects including Nelson’s Column, Eros and Cleopatra’s Needle. She studied at University College London, The Royal College of Art and Victoria Albert Museum. Her knowledge and passion for the art world is poured into her fiction which she weaves together with myth, conspiracy theory and fantasy.
High Summons is a debut young adult urban fantasy and takes place in Rochester, New York state.
Jon is an eighteen year old student, he’s always known he was different from others, he could do magic and he was a wizard’s son, yet he drifted in life with no real purpose.
One evening he meets Jordan in a strange book store and is introduced to the world of demon hunting. Jordan agrees that Jon can become his apprentice while he sets out to stop a large demon summoning. It’s a steep learning curve for Jon with an introduction to an epic array of demons.
While Jordan tries to identify a fifth magical figure to be recruited by a rogue team, he leads Jon all over Rochester. They encounter hunters and magic folk while Jon struggles with his absent father’s loss and his reasons for leaving Jon with no training.
Of all the magical action in this book I enjoyed the warp folding style of travel the most and the fight scenes less so. There is a need to tighten the writing to make the dialogue and action vivid with less tendency towards info dumping in places. I’m sure the author will grow as a writer with her subsequent work.
Jon Blythe is sick of waiting for his Yoda. After years of hiding his magic, he’s ready to retire from his mortal life, drop out of college, and jump into the world of demon hunters. He just didn’t really expect a bleach blond bookstore clerk with light up toys for weapons. Unfortunately, Jordan is Jon’s only hope. When rogue magic users come to Rochester with a malicious plan, the odd couple strikes out to save the day. Jordan might not be what Jon expected, but between demons and Econ homework, the demons win every time. Wild nights drag Jon further from normal into the world where his father vanished. Maybe he’s becoming an addict. Maybe magic just comes with a price. Either way, he’s hooked.
About the author
Eli Celata was born in Rochester and is currently attending Binghamton University as a doctoral student.
Karen has been reading The Beast That Never Was by Carne J Werlinger
What if Beauty was the Beast?
This book introduces you to 18-year-old Lise. After her father’s death, the family struggles to earn a living by producing cheese.
With The Beast That Never Was, Caren J. Werlinger has created a wonderful fantasy story with a touch of romance. It is a very enjoyable and compelling read, drawing you in as you learn more about Lise and Senna. Caren J. Werlinger paints a clear picture of Lise’s mind while the story evolves. I was drawn very close to Lise – a young woman with a sense of duty and justice, rebelling against her mother’s old-fashioned mind-scape. The characters are complex, believable with their flaws and virtues; the author’s care for each of them shows. As for the location – I imagined a Scandinavian landscape, perhaps due to the names. The story is very nicely woven and has a wonderful flow.
This is a book for you if you like mythology, urban fantasy, believable and often very likeable characters, and/or lesbian fiction.
Rating 3.5 stars.
Supremacy is a #YA #UrbanFantasy set in Texas. Seventeen year old Kate Parker has perfect recall. It allows her to remember everything that’s ever happened to her.
When out searching for a stray dog she meets Lucas a nineteen year old Spanish student, and helps him fix his motorbike. They become friends and Kate must introduce him to her over-protective family. But Lucas is even more protective of her, it is what he has been trained to do.
When Kate discovers that there is much more to Lucas, she becomes obsessed with finding answers. He takes her to a secret society and a whole new world opens up for her. We find they are destined for a future together in a battle against those who want to wipe out the human race.
This popular storyline had lots of potential, the secret society was interesting. The dialogue style of writing took up more than seventy-five per cent of the book. This method denied me, as the reader, the opportunity to empathise and feel a part of the story. There was little building up of layers to the story, anticipation or the characters. Some of them need work, Kate’s father’s reactions were childish and didn’t fit the character of a leader in his expertise. I wasn’t even sure about Lucas, he verged on the edge of being abusive, both mentally and physically to Kate, apologising after he’d hurt her, like any abuser. YA fantasy is a competitive market, this is book #1 of the series and I feel it needs to up its game to stand a chance.
Opening with a terrific prologue which grabbed my interest immediately, Beltane has a lot of factors I love in a book – including a handsome druid, magic and Glastonbury, a place I know well and enjoy visiting, so being able to clearly picture the setting was a bonus. The story is set almost entirely in Glastonbury, encompassing the Abbey ruins, beautiful Chalice Well Gardens and the Tor, all atmospheric and mystical places. The flavour of the area is evident throughout and it’s obvious Alys West knows the locale extremely well.
Druid Finn McCloud makes a deadly enemy of spellworker, Maeve Blackwell when he rescues his sister from her clutches. He pays dearly for his mistake and is trapped by Maeve’s power until Zoe Rose arrives at Anam Cara, Maeve’s healing retreat. Zoe is there at the recommendation of her friend, Anna, trying to find inspiration for her work as an illustrator. Zoe can only feel unease and immediate dislike on meeting Maeve, despite Anna’s enthusiasm and praise for the healer.
The characterisation is so good, Finn and Zoe make great protagonists, very appealing and I liked them immediately. They’re realistic, well-rounded and in Finn’s case, gorgeous. Zoe is intrigued by, and attracted to, a carving of the Green Man on a tree in the garden at Anam Cara although other aspects of the retreat unnerve her. Her reactions to the situation she finds herself in, along with the shocking revelations she finds out about herself and Finn, are convincing and unforced.
Maeve, on the other hand, is completely evil, scheming and ruthless. Her karmic wave healing sessions don’t seem to have the effect expected by her guests. Maeve has an agenda and will do whatever it takes. She an excellent antagonist. Winston is a fascinating character as well, and hopefully he will feature a little more in future books.
Alys West has created a wonderfully visual and gripping, fast paced story, with a strong plot full of mystery, magical forces and tension. I love all the threads of the well written storyline and how they’re woven together. I’m looking forward to the next book, finding out what’s in store and how the characters develop.
Round Trip Fare is Book #4 in the Null City Urban Fantasy series. I advise reading earlier books in this series before embarking on this one or you will be quite lost. I’ve read book #1 and it was enough for me to pick up the storyline.
In this book Carey Parker is all grown up, she works for the Accords Agency bringing in rogue paranormal beings, however there are still a team of Outsiders who are also searching for Carey. Eight years ago Carey and her twin Connor were protected by their guardian Harry on his ranch. He had promised their older sister Gaby he would raise them as his own. He taught them how to use their superpowers, or brought in specialists to train them. But all that changed on the night the ranch was attached, Harry killed and the children barely escaped. To protect his sister, Connor led the pursuers away and Carey hadn’t seen him since.
Old wounds open when a stranger turns up with a current photo of Connor. Iax Zahavi is a rogue agent, but he works with Director Jeffers, so Carey tolerates him, especially when he saves her from a car bomb. A decision is made to hide Carey on the Metro train as a form of guardsperson, but she has to give up her superpowers. The train runs between various stations and Null City a place where all those with superpowers may go to live a normal life, but, it is under threat from the Outsiders. Carey hopes to hear news to help them with the task to save the city while serving on the train.
The story builds to an exciting climax and there is an opportunity for another book as many of the story threads are currently unsolved.
I do like the Metro Train and its peculiar ticketing booth, it is my favourite part of the book and I would be happy to have it included in much more of the storyline. The characters are well described and believable as are the fighting and romantic scenes. Carey is witty and fun. I wasn’t so sure about having a character change his name Iax became Yosh and both names were used, with a big cast of characters one name would have been good enough for me and I must just mention a little over-kill on the word “sigh”. But apart from that another good book from this author.
This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author.
Book Description – Round Trip Fare (Null City, #4) Urban Fantasy (with romance, humor, a sentient train, and a great dog)
Is it wrong that shooting people is just so much easier than making decisions? Carey wonders—and not for the first time. But the Agency claims this will be an easy one. A quick pickup of a missing teen and she won’t even have to shoot anybody. Probably.
Carey knows superpowers suck, her own included. From childhood she’s only had two options. She can take the Metro train to Null City and a normal life. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. Or she can master the powers of her warrior gift and fight a war she can’t win, in a world where she never learned how to lose.
And then there is…him. For the past two months, a dark stranger has persistently edged his way onto the mental game board behind her eyelids. Well, whatever trouble he’s selling, Carey Parker is not buying. Her to-do list is already long enough: find her brother and sister, rescue her roommate, save Null City, and castrate her ex-boyfriend. Preferably with a dull-edged garden tool. A rusty one.
She just has a few details to work out first. Her parents have been killed, her brother and sister targeted, and the newest leader of the angels trying to destroy Null City might be the one person she loves most in the world. And her sexy new partner’s gift lets him predict deaths. Hers.
In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them consulting with her occasional co-author/daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American.
This is a very well-written, entertaining and enjoyable read. Alys West certainly knows how to tell a story.
Artist Zoe Rose is struggling to come up with the illustrations she needs to seal a lucrative contract and get her career on track. Her subject matter is King Arthur, so she heads to Glastonbury for inspiration as this is where Arthur is believed to have lived and where legend has it he is buried. Her friend Anna suggests she stays at a healing retreat, Anam Cara, run by Maeve, who Anna raves about, but who makes Zoe feel uncomfortable and unnerved.
In the garden of Anam Cara is a tree bearing a carving of a ‘Green Man’. Zoe is fascinated by the carving, and unwittingly releases a spell that begins a host of unsettling and dangerous events centred around handsome stranger Finn, who Zoe is instantly attracted to.
Finn and Zoe are great characters, easy to like and very believable, quite a feat considering they both have ‘gifts’. And Maeve is a well-crafted antagonist, a suitable foe for Finn and Zoe.
The author obviously knows Glastonbury well – the town is brought to life and it is easy to picture its streets and alleys, full of alternative shops and centres, and the wonderful Tor. It’s a fantastic setting for this kind of tale.
There were parts of the story that I felt went on a little too long and didn’t hold my interest, but on the whole this was a thoroughly engaging read and I look forward to more from this author.
I received an ARC of Beltane in exchange for an honest review via Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT
One of my favourite places to visit here in the UK is Glastonbury in Somerset. This stunning place is full of unique characters, beautiful scenery and mystical stories that greet you at every turn. When I first saw the blurb for Beltane and read that it was set in my favourite place I had to grab a copy – I wasn’t disappointed.
Beltane begins in the thick of the action when a Druid named Finn falls foul of a spellworker. The prologue sets you up for a novel that rushes along at a frantic pace. West does a fabulous job of keeping up the tension as she unfolds her story.
Zoe Rose is an illustrator who is struggling with her creativity. At her friend’s recommendation, she books into Anam Cara, a healing retreat in Glastonbury, to try and help her clear the blockages in her imagination and complete a commission for a book about King Arthur.
Unfortunately, Zoe isn’t as enamoured with the healing center’s hostess as the other guests and takes an instant dislike to Maeve. Within the grounds of Anam Cara, Zoe finds an old tree with a carving of The Green Man, unknowingly she releases a spell which unravels a string of events leading to Finn’s return, and the revelation that Zoe isn’t what she seems.
West paints the perfect picture of a healing retreat and clearly knows her stuff when it comes to the finer points of how the establishments are run and the background into alternative therapies. The setting is magical, and West takes us on a visual trip through the winding streets of Glastonbury, Wells and to the wilds of Dartmoor. Even if you have never visited these places, you will be able to feel the magic.
Finn and Zoe are likeable characters, and I look forward to their story evolving in future books. I did like Winston, and I hope he has a rich story just waiting to be unearthed. West creates a complex antagonist in Maeve, who bends the laws of good to meet her evil needs.
You will be hooked until the very end as the witchcraft and sorcery unfold in this gripping urban fantasy. A very well told novel; thoroughly enjoyable.