**REVIEW** GUARDIAN (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part III (Jezebel’s Journey Part III) by C.J. Pinard

The Daughter of Darkness series finale is here in GUARDIAN. Following Lotus’s Journey has been a pleasure. Lotus, half-vamp, half-faery, has been teased and beckoned in her dreams by her evil father, Vlad Montour (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler). Discovering his ideas for taking powers and controlling all supernaturals, his methods for achieving that, and many other evil acts, it becomes clear that he has to be stopped. But, will meeting with her sisters to discuss a plan of action turn sour? Especially since one was once on the dark side herself not too long ago?

Guardian (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus's Journey Part III: (Jezebel's Journey: Part III)Title: GUARDIAN (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part III (Jezebel’s Journey Part III)

Author: C.J. Pinard

Genre: Paranormal mystery, thriller

Release date: August 22nd, 2016

Length: 127 pages

Buy Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK

Blurb: Realizing that a confrontation with Vlad had slipped out of her grasp, Lotus sets off with Drew and Jezebel to formulate another plan of action. But then a phone call from Tori, the sister she’d just learned about but had never met, changes the course of their plans.

Lotus now has to search for some kind of heirloom or jewel left to her by her biological mother. But where would she find such a trinket? She’d been orphaned for over 100 years and didn’t even know her mother’s name, let alone anything she’d left her. With more determination than ever, the assistance of a witch, and her other gifts, they will help guide Lotus to find it. But what else will they find when going on such a hunt?

The final showdown to kill Vlad has been set and as Lotus and Jezebel finally meet their long, lost sisters, Tori and Blair, they realize the chances of them getting away with killing Vlad and living to tell about it are very slim. Still, their resolve is strong; the sisters are strong. The question is: Will it be worth it? Giving their lives to rid the world of their evil father, Vlad the Impaler, for good?

Find out in this heart-stopping final instalment of the Daughters of Darkness series.

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

I have followed Lotus’s journey through each book of the series, and GUARDIAN is a brilliant story to end the series. Lotus has certainly come a long way throughout the series; although half-vampire and half-faery she has lived most of her life in a most human-like manner. Over the course of the series she has learned so much about herself, her capabilities and her family. She has even sustained a long-term relationship with cute, hot Lycan, Drew, a neighbour and protector. And yet, she still loves to make her everyday life as human-like as possible, i.e. going to work and general life as a mortal.

“… why was I living as a mortal? I’d told them that it was because I knew no other way. That was the truth, partially, but the other half of me knew it was because it was safe and harmless to pretend to be human. However, deep in my dark heart, I knew I should venture onto the wild side – the dark side of the supernaturals – and see what it had to offer.”

It is very easy to connect with Lotus’s character in this manner. Her character, within the story, acts as a bridge between the reality and the supernatural world. In Guardian, Lotus has to make some uneasy decisions and to take chances, along with her sisters, in the hope of defeating their evil, vampire father, Vlad Montour (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler). And, the reader can sense a change in Lotus in exploring more of her supernatural side, especially as she would need this to help be rid of her father.

Told not only from Lotus’s point of view, the reader also follows Jezebel’s as it is also her final book of the series too! This is very fitting as these sisters are so close at this point and in almost every scene together. In fact, aside from Drew, Jezebel is the closest person to Lotus. Both become cautious when they meet with their other two, newly-found sisters, Tori and Blair, especially Tori as she was brought up and worked for their father.

However, there are some emotional twists when we learn about the sister’s backgrounds, their mothers, and just why Tori may have turned against their father. Along with the final showdown, I felt that the meeting scene of the four sisters was a vital part of the story. Were they going to turn on each other? Could they be trusted? These were just some of the questions running through my mind. It is written really well, and the caution and emotion felt real.

The overall atmosphere of the story, and indeed the series, is dark, eerie, and full of suspense and mystery. It darkens still as the sisters try to take on their powerful, evil father. And, it is he that creates the mood and tension. Trying to take the power and control all supernaturals is his goal, including his own daughters. But, did he really love them? Can they really take on their own father?

Complete with witches, succubi, werewolves, faeries and vampires, Guardian has a thrilling, fast-paced story line with plenty of action, especially as the story moves towards the end. A brilliant read for this Halloween. But, I would advise to read Lotus (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part I and Watcher: Lotus’s Journey Part II before finishing with Guardian.

A copy of Guardian, Lotus’s Journey Part III was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

**REVIEW** Jesse Butterfly (The Organization #3) by S J Sprague

THE ORGANIZATION! They’re back! But with a difference; instead of taking on corrupt cops, this time they have to investigate the killings of those connected to The Organization. WHO and WHY?

Following A Presence in Russell County (book 1) and Mulberry (book 2) comes the final book of the exciting crime thriller ‘The Organization’ series, Jesse Butterfly, by author S J Sprague.

jesse-butterfly-sj-spragueTitle: Jesse Butterfly (The Organization #3)

Author: S J Sprague

Genre: Crime thriller

Date released: June 22, 2016

Length: 278 pages

Buy links: Amazon US and Amazon UK

Blurb: The housekeeper of a Supreme Court Justice killed … A Council member’s wife murdered … a lonely man hooked to oxygen found dead. The only thing they have in common is their ties to The Organization.

The Organization, created to bring out-of-control law enforcement to its knees, now find themselves the targets of a new kind of killer.

Racing to decipher cryptic messages sent from an Organization prison, the group brings all their resources to the battle before there are more deaths … and more names on a list marked with an X.

REVIEW **** (4* rating)

I have really enjoyed The Organization series, and book 3, Jesse Butterfly, is no exception. With an individual now seemingly targeting members of The Organization, and killing their loved ones, the heat has certainly turned up a notch or two, making for matters to become a little more personal.

In the two previous books, A Presence in Russell County and Mulberry, we have followed the Organization (usually ex-military) in gathering evidence against corrupt law enforcement officers and trialling them using the Organization’s swift methods. During this time we have followed major characters in Hollingsworth and Crogan (both ex-military friends) and Sam Biggers, a woman who was once harassed by a dirty cop which led her to lean on her online friend, Hollingsworth, and who later became a trained member of The Organization.

The team are now expected to do more than carry out surveillance and gathering evidence on suspected corrupt officers; they need to ascertain if there is a connection between the victims, find out who is behind the killings, and use their skills to bring them to justice. This full-on investigation is so much more than what they are used to. But, as the story moves on it becomes apparent that there is a connection with The Organization, meaning they had to carry out the detective work themselves.

Unfortunately, the clues can only begin to piece together once more and more crimes are committed, and therefore plenty of tension is built up. The reader is left wondering what will happen next and how will The Organization have enough evidence to link everything together.

Told in third person, one of my favourite aspects of Jesse Butterfly is just how often the reader can easily follow the actions of the killer. There are moments that I found more connected with what they were doing than The Organization. This gave the story an edge, depth and darkness which I loved.

There is a great deal of build-up and suspense which I found exciting and quick-paced at times. However, my one concern was that it ended abruptly. I would have enjoyed a longer period of intense action at the end as I felt that that was where the story was heading. I was a little disappointed at this point, but then the epilogue was a joy to read as each remaining character is mentioned in a paragraph of their own, allowing the reader to find out what the foreseeable future holds for them. This was a lovely way to wrap up the series; a series that I have enjoyed very much!

A copy of Jesse Butterfly was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

RussellCounty_WEB_FINAL_sm2You can also purchase the paperback or Kindle edition of A Presence in Russell County on Amazon.com ($11.99 for paperback and $4.99 for the Kindle edition) and Amazon.co.uk (£7.45 for paperback and £3.71 for the Kindle edition). It is also currently available on Kindle Unlimited $/£0.00!

Mulberry_WEB.smThe paperback edition for Mulberry is now available on Amazon.com, the paperback edition is currently $13.99 and the Kindle version is $4.99. Also available on Amazon.co.uk , the paperback version is currently £9.39 and the Kindle version is £3.94! It is also available on Kindle Unlimited $/£0.00!

Prices correct at the time of posting this review.

Please click on the book titles to read my reviews on the earlier books of The Organization! 🙂

If you would like to contact SJ Sprague you can e-mail the author at sjsprague01@gmail.com.

**REVIEW** All That We Are (Trust series, book 1) by Holly J. Gill

We’re thrilled to introduce a brand new series TRUST written by Holly J. Gill, with her first in the series, All That We Are. An exciting contemporary adult romance that will certainly keep you hooked!

All That We Are Holly J GillTitle: All That We Are (Trust #1)

Author: Holly J. Gill

Genre: Contemporary adult romance, erotic romance

Released on: June 1st 2016

Length: 256 pages

BUY LINKS: Amazon UK and Amazon US 

ONLY £0.99 on  Amazon UK for a limited time!

BLURB: Holly knows that sitting behind her computer isn’t going to bring one of her romance heroes to life. And despite her matchmaking friend’s attempts, she’s still lonely, looking for her Mr. Perfect. Fairytales happen, right?

As a bestselling author, Ashton Noir doesn’t need anyone or anything in his life other than his imagination. That is until he comes across Holly’s Promotional Services’ website. Further exposure for his books can’t hurt.

Communicating through the Internet and then phone calls, professional interests turn personal. Realising they lack trust and confidence in different ways, can they have a future as a couple? Or are their dreams forever going to be their safe haven?

REVIEW 5***** (5* rating)

All That We Are is a story that kept me clinging on every sentence. Trying to occupy the kids during the school holidays was even more of a task as I found I couldn’t leave this book alone; grabbing at my Kindle in-between busy periods just to read another page or two wherever I could! Needless to say, I LOVED this contemporary, erotic romance.

Told in third person, we follow the lives of two very lonely people who lack confidence in different ways. Although Holly has a day job, friends and runs her own book blog helping to promote authors and their work, her past is a little haunted with bullying she experienced at school. This is something that held Holly back for many years. Meanwhile, Ashton is a hugely successful erotic romance author, hiding behind a pen name while leading an extremely lonely life as he shuts himself from the world in his huge home.

The fun begins when Ashton comes across Holly’s book blog and decides a little further promotion wouldn’t hurt. This opens the door to plenty of e-mail exchanges, professional at first, and it ultimately leads to intense phone conversations as the two characters begin to discover more and more about each other. It becomes so that Holly can’t get Ashton out of her mind, even when her best friend tries to set her up on a blind date!

The reader is just as in suspense as Holly is as each phone call becomes a little more personal, sexier, and even kinky! And, after reading his books, Holly wonders if the eroticism in them is something that Ashton would like himself. Does he long to be a Dom? Her Dom? She doesn’t seem to mind submitting to him in her thoughts. The conversations are playful and fun.

Although there are some mild twists, and a ‘will they, or won’t they’ eventually meet at a book signing event they both hope to attend, I felt that the story grew more and more intense with the idea that they really could face each other. The build-up to the final chapters was tremendously powerful and, as a first insight into Holly J. Gill‘s writing, I certainly want to read more.

It has a great contemporary feel and written in an area that Holly J. Gill knows only too well as she details the communication with authors and bloggers, the writing, promoting, author events, as well as using e-mails and texts within the story. The book also has a welcoming use of the main characters talking on the phone at length and, as they haven’t met, details the hearing of the other’s voice, their pauses, the tones, sighs, etc. The reader almost hears the receiving end of the phone through the author’s writing. The use of the phone also allows Holly and Ashton to sense how truthful the other is being, growing a trust between them.

Another area that All That We Are ‘wowed’  me on is the bullying aspect. Holly clearly still feels the after-effects of being bullied at school. Thus, the lack of confidence she has in herself. Whereas, Ashton has always been popular with the girls, but on an over-whelming scale, and lived isolated from many people partly because of this. It’s superbly written how these two characters build up their trust in each other, their feelings for each other, and ultimately their confidence in themselves and their future.

Despite Holly never wanting to see her school bully again, I would have loved it if they had crossed paths at a time when Ashton would be on her arm, and to see the face of disbelief and jealousy, and Holly walk pass with her head held high – or is that me being too cruel?

Either way, I think you may sense just how All That You Are has touched me emotionally. A very exciting read, and I can’t wait for book 2!

A copy of All That We Are was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

**REVIEW** The Double by Alison Brodie

It was a great pleasure to be approached by author, Alison Brodie, and be asked to read The Double. I am so very glad that she did. It’s an amazing adventure; a great book to read if you’re planning a holiday or even basking in the sunshine in your garden. Get ready for the most relaxing adventure you’ll experience!

“The luxury of living a lie.”

 

THE DOUBLE

Title: The Double

Author: Alison Brodie

Genre: Women’s fiction, mystery, romance, chick-lit

Date released: January 19th, 2016

Length: 294 pages

Blurb: A night she can’t remember. A week she won’t forget.

*

Beth is mistaken for rock star Sonita La Cruz, and ends up on a billionaire-dollar yacht. As a shift-worker in Glasgow, Beth has only known hardship. Now she’s in a world of uniformed stewards, delicious French food and rows of gorgeous designer clothes. Beth keeps quiet about the mix-up, determined to wear every outfit in her wardrobe before she’s sent home. What’s wrong with a little play-acting? Beth takes to the role of rock diva like a duck takes to water.

Aleksandr, the captain, arrives and is astonished to see a beautiful raven-haired girl lying on deck issuing orders through a loud-hailer. After talking to Beth, Aleksandr realises what has happened. His smuggling buddies, knowing Aleksandr needs to speak to Sonita about a kid’s crisis, grabbed Beth by mistake. Aleksandr is desperate. To save those children, he needs money, but Sonita has disappeared.

Beth rises to the challenge. She looks like Sonita, so why not BE Sonita? Beth does a magazine interview for one million dollars, and ransoms herself for another million. Beth saves the kids … but can she save herself? Too late, Beth discovers why Sonita disappeared.

*

A love story set against the backdrop of a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur, a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and a Glasgow housing estate.

Buy Links: Amazon UK & Amazon US

REVIEW ***** (5 star rating)

Alison Brodie’s The Double has it all; from diva Sonita, the rock star, being stalked and threatened, to a gritty, realistic housing estate in Glasgow where nurse Beth is trying to make sense of her life, right through to a kidnapping followed by a luxurious adventure on a billionaire’s yacht on the Côte d’Azur. Meanwhile, Aleksandr, the captain, has had to deal with the effects of a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and is now fighting to save many children suffering with tuberculosis as medical supplies cannot reach them and warfare is threatening their makeshift hospital site. Yes, if you’re looking for a little drama and mystery in a well-constructed romance story this is perfect for you!

The opening chapter sparks the interest of the reader immediately as we find a seemingly dark character acting secretly and wants Sonita La Cruz dead! This is a dark start for a fun, romance novel, but it captures a sense of fear and suspense from the offset, making the curious reader need to find out what becomes of both parties.

Although written in third person, the reader has an in-depth take on each main character as whole chapters are focussed on one at a time, as we discover their current situations as well as their background. My favourite character has to be Beth, partly for wanting the escape that she is able to have from her average life, and partly as she is the one that takes many risks throughout the story.

Beth is at the point in her life where, even though a mum, she is still young. Her kids are independents now, and aside from her nursing job, all  she has is a selfish man in Andy, and a shabby tower-block flat. Once the initial kidnapping is realised, Beth begins to come round to the idea, choosing to go along with it. I mean, after all, when does she ever feel free; free from routine, free from work, free from Glasgow, free from Andy and his controlling ways. Surely she deserves some luxury and freedom at last. Why not pose as beautiful superstar Sonita La Cruz? Beth begins to think that maybe her dreams could come true, and she doesn’t have to feel so trapped in her life. She adapts quickly and learns how to relax, to enjoy life, rather than stressing about her work, Andy, money, etc.

“This was so different to sunbathing at home. There, she had a tiny balcony, just about big enough for four plastic stools, a bike repair box and a scrawny plant….. In the summer, between five and six in the evening, the sun would touch one corner of the balcony – high up. Desperate for sunshine, she’d stand in her knickers and bra, one foot on a stool, one foot on the railings, her hand holding onto the washing line for support….

… Now, instead of teetering on the edge of a council block in saggy grey knickers, she lay on a cushioned sun-lounger alongside a luxurious pool, on a gorgeous yacht with a champagne re-fuelling depot nearby and an army of uniformed stewards, out of sight, but close at hand, ready to be summoned by the tinkling of a little bell.” (Beth)

That said, it is also clear that Sonita La Cruz is also looking for an escapism. Although a rock star, she is not recording the style of music she favours, she is very much subjected to media attention constantly, and her real feelings lie with being charitable to those, especially children, in need – something that her partner ignores. During the course of the story, ignorant of Beth’s situation, Sonita tries to find a relaxing moment herself, as she keeps her head down low from any threat, and her busy lifestyle.

It is a certain read in particular for the summer and holiday season. And, one of the most exciting and fascinating parts of the story were, for me, the way in which it provides a largely relaxing read despite the dark drama/mystery that lies beneath the surface. I just loved imagining myself to be in Beth’s shoes sunbathing on a luxurious yacht on the Med, blue skies, blue sea, with fine dining and clothes, etc, and not worrying too much about the consequences until I’d have to.

The icing on the cake is the knowledge that Beth is quite aware, certainly as the story progresses, that it is all in the name of charity; in being able to hopefully provide many children with the treatment that they need, during an absolutely crucial time when no one else can! Mix that in with a chance of romance and it is perfect. But will Beth realise where her heart is really at before it’s too late?

If you’d like a book to transport you on a relaxing holiday, with fun, drama and romance The Double is just the one!

A copy of The Double was provided by Alison Brodie in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can also check out Alison Brodie’s author bio, along with an excerpt of The Double here.