Dead Water (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 6) by Tim O’Rourke

Dead Water (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #6)It is such a treat to read a Tim O’Rourke story. As it has been a few months since I have read Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series 2 Book 5), I was beginning to think I’d forget where I left off! Oh no, not with Tim. His writing allows for the reader to easily carry on the Keira journey, with reminders throughout where the story has been to. Therefore also allowing a fresh reader to the series to settle into the story. With Vampyrus, Lycanthrope, Skin-Walkers and more, this paranormal series will grip you like no other!

Dead Water largely follows half-breed Keira and Vampyrus Potter and Murphy travel to the Dead Water, in search of their friends, Kayla and Sam. During their journey, in the ‘pushed’ world they have found themselves in, they are gradually turning into statues, cracking and slowly turning to dust. However, during moments of ingesting a little blood they are able to keep going until they reach their destination. Upon finding it a little too easy to have reached their destination, Keira fears that not all is as it seems!

After reading the subsequent novel, fans of the series are absolutely desperate to know how Keira and Potter’s relationship will fare. In Dead Water we follow the story from Keira’s and Potter’s points of view. It is more than fair to say that at the beginning of Dead Water Keira is quite hurt and upset. After finding out who she really is, and that her lover and friend, Potter and Murphy, have been lying to her she doesn’t really have much to say to them. Potter, in particular, has a hard time from Keira especially as Keira feels betrayed by him in more ways than one. Unfortunately for Potter, Keira doesn’t want to hear that he was only trying to protect her and spare her feelings. She can’t possibly give in to him as she knows she would only get hurt again.

Poor Potter was actually betrayed himself, with the idea of upsetting and manipulating Keira. It is so clear why fans of this series love Potter. His feelings are so strong but not always transparent to Keira. However, reading his point of view the reader does understand him and the reader wants to pull Keira aside to explain this to her. There have been moments when Potter has been a little too trusting of others, especially of the female kind, and has ended up in some messy situations!

Even though there are some pretty intense moments between Potter and Keira, on the other hand there are some really great scenes with Potter and Murphy. In regards to Keira, Murphy is a little overbearing in an observant and protective manner. However, some of Murphy’s remarks to Potter about her are obvious, annoying or over the top. It’s almost like Murphy is trying to get a rise out of Potter. To which Potter replies brilliantly in his sarcastic manner which made me laugh out loud at times. This provided a great relief in between the overall tense feeling.

I also thought it was fantastic to read about Keira using her investigative skills, trying to find Kayla and Sam, as she returns to the snow-covered field where they had been involved with a wolf attack with Potter and Murphy in Chapter 4. (This is where many of Potter’s sarcasm comes to the fore with Murphy!) This scene, as well as how Keira carefully works out what has happened as she illuminates certain possibilities, really took me down memory lane to the first instalment of Keira when she first visited the Ragged Cove and met Potter and Murphy in Vampire Shift! Here Keira was taken to her first scene where a body was found just within the tree-line of a field and Keira used her ‘seeing’ abilities to spot the smallest of details! This scene is very fresh in my mind, especially after having read the Graphic Novel of Vampire Shift a few weeks ago.

The excitement grows with each chapter. There is a great use of dialogue, as in many of Tim’s books. This makes it a fun and quick read, even though the plot itself is very rich in intensity and depth. The scenery changes so much, along with the weather conditions, as the story moves on. This again is typical of Tim O’Rourke, especially in the Keira Hudson series. We begin with snow, fields, the blood red Dead Water, the upward current of the Fountain of Souls, forestry and the town of Wasp Water. You can also gauge from some of these names that Tim’s imagination takes you to a completely different ‘pushed’ world of your own as the stories remain alive and strangely real. It is also regular for Tim to introduce new characters and in this instance it comes in the form of statues, which have strangely been following Keira and her friends to the Dead Water.

The ending of this one will certainly shock many fans. On the one hand I am thinking, ‘Tim, what have you done!?’, and on the other I am quite excited of the possibilities that it could bring. I do have my own theories so I hope I am right. I personally believe that if an author does surprise you, even in a negative manner, that it is a work of brilliance. These days I don’t think it takes much to shock people, especially open-minded people. And I also like an author that isn’t too predictable!

The following instalment, ‘Dead Push’ is available now and I will hopefully be reviewing it very soon. In the meantime, come and check it out on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Please check out all of our Tim O’Rourke reviews (below).

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 1)

Vampire Wake (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 2)

Vampire Hunt (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 3)

Vampire Breed (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 4)

Wolf House (Potter’s Story) (Kiera Hudson Series 1 Book 4.5) – novella

Vampire Hollows (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 5)

Dead Flesh (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1)

Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1.5) – novella

Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 2)

Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 3)

Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 4)

Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 5)

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy #1)

Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy #2)

Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter #1)

Witch (Sydney Hart #1)

Vampire Shift – The Graphic Novel (Volume One) (Keira Hudson Series One) –  illustrated by Craig Twyman

From out of the Shadows, by Linda Mooney

This is a great novel to read if you like to read werewolf romances. This is a little on the erotic side, so for those aged 18+. However, it is a very romantic and sweet romance too. The author Linda Mooney has, to my mind, created a very unique and believable take on the werewolf myths. I reviewed this a while ago on our Sizzle and Burn Book Reviews site, but thought that you may enjoy it! Tina 🙂

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OutoftheShadows_LgWeb[1]-001The Sensitive and the Lycan

This novel rocks! It is far more than your usual werewolf romance. It is a dark and erotic fairytale which deals with issues surrounding discrimination and acceptance, which affect all societies. It is the first book that I have read by Linda Mooney and I will be delving into her backlist and future releases of paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romances very soon.

In From out of the Shadows, which is set in a world akin to medieval times, the heroine, Tora is captured and thrown into a dungeon by Baron Agrino’s henchmen. A group of men bring another prisoner into the cell, subjecting him to an extremely savage beating. In the darkness of the dungeon Tora, goes to his aid, using her special powers as a Sensitive (Empath) to discover the extent of his injuries. She is astounded to discover that the body she…

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‘Cursed (A Werewolf’s Tale #1)’ otherwise known as ‘Frostbite’ by David Wellington

Cursed: A Werewolf's TaleThe first book to be reviewed for our Werewolf theme, ‘Cursed: a Werewolf’s Tale’, otherwise known as Frostbite, is an urban fantasy that will blow your mind with panic and horror. A very quick-paced novel with plenty of action that the reader will read in no time at all. David Wellington surely knows how to scare the pants off you and yet allow you to completely endure the ferocious attacks and animalistic behaviour no matter how chilling and raw!!!

The story begins with Cheyenne Clark lost, hungry, cold and lonely in the Arctic amid the trees and snow. Before too long she is being tracked by a pack of wolves. Knowing that she couldn’t possibly run from them, and with very little energy, her only chance is to climb a tree high enough so that the pack can’t reach her. However, when howling of another is heard nearby the pack of timber wolves below Cheyenne’s feet soon flee, leaving her sitting on a branch of the tree. Moments later Cheyenne meets with the wolf whose howling she heard. Much larger than the timber wolves and much more ferocious this one tries to reach Cheyenne, jumping at her, lashing at her with large paws. Until he reaches her ankle and manages to claw into her flesh!

Although the beast couldn’t quite attack Cheyenne completely, enough damage was done to make Cheyenne’s world come crashing down. She would never be the same again. She was a werewolf, a monster, a Lycanthrope. There are many names for these species and now she herself carried the curse! For every time the moon rises, Cheyenne would transform, having to learn a different way to survive and avoiding the one element that could kill her: silver, silver, silver!

Loneliness is not natural for a wolf as they tend to live and move around in packs. As a new lone wolf, Cheyenne could really do with a companion. This proves to be just as difficult as trying to deal with her new ‘self’ as the only one who could truly understand is the one that tried to kill her. Now a wolf, Cheyenne not only needs to worry about being the victim, the prey, but also has to live with being a hunter. Will she kill the one that cursed her? Will he return to kill her?

Cheyenne’s character is written with a great deal of contrast from how she feels and thinks as a human and how she is in her wolf state. The natural animalistic behaviour takes over when she is transformed, her sense of smell and hearing is much greater than her sight. As a wolf she doesn’t reason, she doesn’t use logic she survives the only way she can. Back in human form, Cheyenne wakes frozen, naked and never fully aware of what her wolf has done.

Without trying to spoil the story one of my favourite areas of the novel was when the reader begins to understand the man of the wolf that attacked Cheyenne, Powell. The reader is educated in Powell’s history as a man and how the curse affected him and we also learn a little of werewolf mythology! I found this to be very interesting and exciting but cannot elaborate more than that. This novel simply needs to be read without much explanation beforehand. It truly does speak for itself!

On a different note, David Wellington has written the setting of the scenes beautifully as one can imagine the freezing cold of the Arctic wind, the icy water of the small streams and lakes, all silent and remote from most civilisation with only the sun or moonlight to estimate time. Although not a novel of romance it most certainly is a novel of survival! But can one survive alone? Would one want to survive alone? Or is their only option to try and kill the other to eliminate a dangerous threat?

‘Cursed: A Werewolf’s Tale’ is an absolutely fascinating read. For more fur, fangs and fear I am hoping to read the sequel, ‘Ravaged’, otherwise known as ‘Overwinter’, very soon!

Cover design: Unreal-uk.com

Photograph: Getty Images

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy, Book One) by Tim O’Rourke

Received with thanks from the author in return for an honest review.

I had no expectations with ‘Moonlight’ as I hadn’t read the synopsis. This is largely due to the fact that I have enjoyed every book of Tim’s that I have read so far and wanted to start reading the main novel as soon as possible. The prologue grips the reader from the very beginning, ‘”Don’t hurt me,” the girl sobbed….’, setting the scene with fear and tension as a young girl is being attacked. At first the reader has no idea who is attacking the girl but it soon becomes clear. For an opening scene, this gets the heartrate beating fast as you really feel for the victim, feel her fear and desperation with the added extras of gore and horror. Please note that the intended audience for this novel is young adult and adults alike.

As Chapter One begins we are introduced to the main male character, Thaddeus Blake. Over the coming pages we find out that he is a wealthy man, with a mansion at St. Ives in Cornwall that he inherited along with his wealth. He travels to London to meet his publisher and it is whilst he is in London that he notices Winter McCall.

Unfortunately for Winter, she has not lived such a lavish lifestyle. Begging on the streets outside train stations is where she has ended up every night in the hope to be given enough money to put food in her belly. Not one for selling her body like some did, Winter finds it very difficult to make ends meet, to survive.

In a creepy sort of way, once he had noticed Winter, Thaddeus watched her carefully from a distance. For the first few days he would come night after night, just watching her, watching how people treated her and how she handled them. When he feels ready he approaches Winter, offering to buy her dinner and to explain what he would like to do for her.

Although Winter is very doubtful and doesn’t trust Thaddeus there is something about his voice and besides, what did she really have to lose? Thaddeus’ offer is for Winter to travel to St. Ives with him to his mansion where she would be fed, clothed, paid and have a roof over her head. Her side of the bargain is to cook and clean for him as well as to carry out some odd tasks that he would ask of her from time to time. One of these being to stand in the moonlight when there is a full moon.

The atmosphere of this book is very creepy. Although Thaddeus has a soothing voice, good looks and appears to be helping Winter, the reader cannot trust him and is constantly worried about Winter’s well-being. Winter is occasionally ridiculed by him only for him to realise and apologise. She knows that there is more to him than meets the eye and she does try to find out. The whole setting is very strange. During most part of the day Winter is left alone in the mansion whilst Thaddeus is in his room.

In order to create this dark, eerie atmosphere I did find the story in parts to be a little slow. When Winter is on her own I imagined what it is like to be in a large, strange house alone with nothing but your mind and imagination going wild. Paranoia sets in. Insecurity sets in. Time drags. Tim O’Rourke has written this very cleverly though as the reader goes through all of these motions with Winter. I was screaming for her to run. Every ounce of mistrust, every ounce of fear the reader can feel.

Without spoiling the story, as it nears the end there is a great deal of action, gore, horror and emotions running wild. The story is like an orchestra playing and the music gradually builds up, becoming louder and louder until it reaches a great crescendo. I was a little conscious in the middle of this book, thinking how indecisive Winter was about running or staying, and was hoping for more action and more underlying plots, BUT boy did I get what I wanted as the story grew!

Some readers may think Winter to be foolish by going along with Thaddeus, better the devil you know, as she placed herself in a vulnerable situation, alone with a guy she didn’t even know and couldn’t trust. However, a part of me cannot help but feel that she was courageous, she took a risk. But, did the risk pay off? With the danger that ensued it definitely made her think about her choices. As Thaddeus places Winter in a dangerous position, for partly his own benefit, there is a great deal of mistrust for him and he is partly a coward for doing this.

I think that the length of this novel was just right. As with all of the Tim O’Rourke books that I have read to date ‘Moonlight’ makes the reader feel as if they are a part of the story. You feel for Winter as if she were your sister or best friend. And I cannot explain how much terror you feel for her. I just wanted to jump into the book and pull her out to safety. There are very few authors that make the reader feel like they can almost touch the characters and live in the story but Tim O’Rourke has this fascinating gift. I would definitely recommend to any young adult/adult, depending on the intended audience, to read Tim’s books. You will not be disappointed. If you’ve tried once, try another. I find these stories suck you in and you are in another world. This is fantasy as it’s best! I will be looking forward to the following two books in this Moon Trilogy.

Other series’ to try are Keira Hudson, Black Hill Farm, Samantha Carter and Doorways. You can find all information on Tim’s website.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series Two Book 5) by Tim O’Rourke

Dead Wolf by Tim O'Rourke‘Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 5)’ draws the reader in from the very beginning, especially for those of you who have followed this series, as it picks up from where we left off in ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’. However, for those readers that are not familiar with the Keira Hudson series yet, the beginning of this novel is well-explained, easy to follow and provides the background knowledge that is needed to follow the story.

As a fan of the series, I would urge those readers that haven’t already done so, to read the entire Keira Hudson series for the stories of each of the characters. This is because they all have their own story to tell in-between the main focus of their adventure and these stories are written from each characters point of view. It is amazing how Tim O’Rourke places himself in the mindset of each of his characters and describes every emotion that they are feeling intensely.

So, ‘Dead Wolf’ is told mostly from Murphy’s point of view. However, it does begin from Keira’s, after she has found out a great deal about Jack Seth’s history and about herself. Keira is still at a crossroads when it comes to choices and the information she has learned will not make her choice any easier to make, if she makes one at all.

Keira and her friends are in a world that has been ‘pushed’ from the one that they knew before, there are statues that appear to be sending them signs and, without making a decision, it is highly possible that Keira herself will turn to stone. The only lead they seem to have at the moment between the world they knew and this new ‘pushed’ version is that of a mystery photographer who has managed somehow to go from one world to the other, leaving photographs for some of them to find.

Meanwhile, Murphy, Kayla and Sam have an ordeal of their own in Chapter 2. This chapter really excited me due to its intensity, passion, action, violence and gore. There are moments where I found myself cringing, but loving every word. I truly feel alive as I visualise every movement as if I am there when reading this series, and this scene was no exception. My heart is racing as I am hoping for a positive outcome. I worry for the characters and long to be of assistance. The reader is completely gripped as the story then moves on.

Shortly after, ‘Dead Wolf’ becomes Murphy’s story, as he narrates his history of family, friends, relationships and his career. Murphy’s story throughout is full of emotion. The reader finds out how Murphy became a police officer, how he feels about the Vampyrus and Lycanthrope, who has touched his heart and, on a lighter note, why he wears his beloved slippers! Although Murphy’s story is emotionally intense as it is full of sorrow, lies, deceipt, betrayal there are also some lighter moments and I found myself laugh out loud on a few occasions.

The emotional rollercoaster that Murphy has been on does not seem that different in one way than that of Jack Seth’s. They have both seen their fair share of deceipt and lies and they have both lost people that are dear to them. They are two sides of the same coin in one way: they have both been through great ordeals, they both care about family, they have both been deceived. However, one is Vampyrus and the other Lycanthrope. They are possible enemies under most circumstances.

Tim O’Rourke always brings something new and fresh to each instalment of the series. ‘Dead Wolf’ introduces the reader to different characters that have played parts in Murphy’s life, such as his mother, Pen, Chloe, Marc, Steve and Annie. We are also made aware of how much Rom, a character from earlier in the series, has supported Murphy and helped him with his career and his ordeal.

It was lovely to read this book as it was snowing out of my window, as was the setting for some scenes in ‘Dead Wolf’. This assisted me even moreso (not that it needed to whatsoever) to relate to the scenery in the story. We are taken on a scenic journey as well as an emotional adventure in regard to the scenery, as always with this series, as we go deep in the caves at The Hollows to the forest and the lake.

The end of this novel is written from Keira’s point of view, which I feel wraps it up really nicely and brings us back to the here and now with Keira and her friends. The reader has travelled a long journey with Murphy, but then returned to the present situation that the characters are in. Will they find the photographer? Will Keira turn to stone? How are Potter and Keira going to be with each other? Will they all return to the world they once knew as their reality/home?

The next instalment is ‘Dead Water (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 6) which should be out soon! I really cannot wait to see where the characters will go from here, on their next adventure, to try and get their lives back on track.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Dead Seth (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #4) by Tim O’Rourke

Again, Tim O’Rourke has left the reader completely shocked. I do not usually begin my review with the end of the book, however, it is the end which unravels some serious revelations, after many twists and turns. I love how these novels surprise the reader. They are unpredicatble and yet still believable and in line with the whole series. Hence, the five stars that it truly deserves.

The writing is excellent, as in ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’ we are subjected to the history and background behind Jack Seth, the Lycanthrope, the cursed killer wolf. This novel is written from mostly Jack Seth’s point of view as he narrates to Keira his story of how he became cursed and detailing the life that he led growing up. As in most of the Keira Hudson novels there are many twists and turns, especially on the emotional scale. This book is no exception.

We realise the many corners that Jack Seth’s life turned, how he was mentally tormented and how unstable his whole family life was. It would be wrong of me to reveal anything more without spoiling the story as this is a must-read. There are moments when the reader hates what he is doing and other moments when we feel compassion and understanding for him. Once the reader is engrossed in the thick of the story it is easy to empathise with Jack and I must admit that, apart from the paranormal/fantasy side, there are elements that feel very real. The mental torment, lies, betrayal, and the instability are all elements that real people, real children have lived through and are living through.

Keira’s point of view is also told in ‘Dead Seth’, as she is desperately wanting to escape in order to save her father and Potter. However, as Jack is telling her his story she does feel for him. At the same time she is gradually turning to stone which proves difficult for her to even talk to him at times. During the whole read I kept asking myself; will she escape, will she rescue her father, Potter, or both or will she turn into a statue?

Throughout the first half of the book I did feel the need to know exactly what Potter was doing and how Murphy and Kayla were. This is no different to when reading the novella, ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1.5)’, and ‘Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 2)’ where we are told Potter’s story and in the latter, Isidor’s. As these books focus on the one character mostly I did terribly miss the others and was desperate to know what they were going through and what they were thinking.

However, in hindsight, I think that this is a fantastic way of writing as it allows the reader to get up close and personal with each character, good and bad, and become fully aware of them and understand their point of view. It also makes it the more exciting when we are reunited with the other characters in the following books as we have waited with eager anticipation and cannot wait to sink our minds into the next adventure.

All of the Keira Hudson books are interwoven and provide a great backbone for all of the others. I would strongly recommend that any reader of this book, along with ‘Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 3)’, should read the earlier books and novellas of series one and series two. This would really assist the reader in understanding the whole picture: where these characters have come from, their adventures together and also their connection between each story and the other characters.

I simply cannot wait for the next instalment, ‘Dead Water’. However, I am glad that I am finally up-to-date with the series.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Dead Statues (Kiera Hudson Series Two #3) by Tim O’Rourke

Dead Statues (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #3)This novel has left me feeling utterley shocked and impatient to find out exactly what is going to happen next. Keira Hudson is definitely back and the main focus of this book, along with Potter. The story is told from both points of view and is completely filled with mystery, emotion, action, adventure, fear and dread.

At the beginning of the book is an Author’s Note. This is a short account of what ‘Dead Statues’ has in store for the reader, i.e. the areas and characters it will be focusing on. It also explains the connections between the previous novellas, ‘The Wolf House’ and ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets, and this novel. I, personally, would take notice if you haven’t already read the previous novellas as they do provide great background information and knowledge of certain characters that will help the reader understand the emotions behind this novel.

Keira and her friends have just escaped a huge attack from the Skin-walkers, however it did not end well. They are all contemplating what had just happened and are trying to rest before they figure out what to do next. Before much can be said we find that they are in the thick of it again with the Skin-walkers. When events begin to calm, Keira is made aware of secrets that Potter has kept from her. Keira is hurt, angry and confused. How could Potter do this to her? She thought that he loved her.

Because she feels deceived and has found out that her father is alive in this ‘pushed’ world, Keira decides to leave her friends behind in search of her dad. Her friends, in the meantime, have problems of their own. And Potter has a great deal of making up to do. Potter goes in search for Keira, hoping to explain himself to her.

Throughout this novel it is easy to sympathise with Keira as she is the one that was kept in the dark and deceived. However, for those that have read the two novellas, Potter is also easy to sympathise with as the reader will understand the how’s, where’s and why’s. On saying this, I do believe that Potter should have explained all to Keira, for at least then she would know the truth firsthand, without becoming more paranoid and having more questions and doubts.

Throughout this series we have been introduced to the statues. These statues seem to appear from nowhere and when unseen they change positions. Some appear to whisper, but without their lips moving. They are eerie and it is the whole mystery surrounding them that make the reader fear for what or who they are, at the same time as wonder whether this will end up being Keira’s fate.  These statues remind me of the Weeping Willows in the ‘Doctor Who’ series. And, likewise, they make me feel all goose-bumpy as they are strangely ghostly. Who are these statues, where are they from and what connection do they have to Keira and her friends?

The setting for this main novel is largely at a cottage where Keira’s friends are holding out for her, a graveyard near Keira’s fathers’ house and Keira’s fathers’ house. The atmosphere is very moody, very emotional, scary and terrifying. The snow is falling all around, in contrast, creating a more calm background, especially as the last novel was very stormy with thunder and lightning.

The ending of this novel is a complete cliffhanger and it is an absolute must to read the following novel, ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’. Keira and Potter both seem stuck in at their own dead end and it is impossible to know what will happen next. Will their enemy succeed? Will Keira or Potter be saved? I hope both, but the chances are slim.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker