*REVIEW* – The Path to Horn Cottage: A Cunning Folk Mystery, by Prudence S Thomas

#fantasy #alternatehistory #suspense #magic #crime #mystery

Blurb

Horn Cottage, an ancient cave house, has been home to the cunning folk of Thornton Cleveleys for generations. The early death of her mother left Meryall as the cunning woman for her village before her training was complete. A young man seeking Meryall’s help to find his missing sister draws her into an ever more complex and sinister mystery. Can she use her divination skills to help solve the mystery of the missing woman and avert a tragedy? An atmospheric journey through a mystical land, The Path to Horn Cottage is the first book in the Cunning Folk Mysteries series.

My Review

A Delightful Read – 5 Stars *****

I found Prudence S Thomas’ A Path to Horn Cottage to be a thoroughly entertaining read, which effortlessly transported me into a world of magic and belief in the old gods and their ways.

Also what a gorgeous cover – it perfectly reflects the essence of the story and it’s central character, the young ‘cunning woman’ Meryall, as she strives to reveal the whereabouts of a missing woman whilst balancing her own responsibilities to fellow villagers. As the story unfolds Meryall finds she has to journey from her home in her quest to uncover the shocking truth.

The author does an excellent job of creating an alternative reality where England has resisted the conversion to Christianity, instead cleaving to the old religion and its associated magic. I liked the central character Meryall: a strong and capable young woman, who is finding her way in life. She harbours her own doubts and frustrations as she seeks to balance her duty as her village’s ‘cunning woman’ with her natural curiosity to explore more of the world. Her partner Madoc is a perfect foil for her. The book is full of many interesting secondary characters, not least Meryall’s adversary.

I enjoyed the world the author has created,  – it is clear she has done a considerable amount of research into making it both credible and diverting. I look forward to reading more about Meryall in future works.

Recommended for readers who enjoy a suspenseful read set in a historical/fantasy context.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK 

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://prudencesthomas.com/

https://www.facebook.com/prudences.thomas.9

 

*REVIEW* ~ Rising for Autumn (Philadelphia Coven Chronicles Book 3), by Katherine McIntyre

#paranormal #romance #urbanfantasy

Adult Read

Book Blurb

Crisis and danger have become second nature for Alanna Carrington. After all, as the boss of the Philadelphia Coven, she’s responsible for upholding the laws amongst the supernatural. Which means when the Order of the Serpent rears its ugly head, this time with the most powerful necromancer this city’s ever seen, she’s the one person who can keep Philly safe. Ex-Order djinn and now ally, Samuel Karim, happens to be the best-suited guy to help. Except he’s also the first man who’s stoked her interest in far too long, and ever since she commandeered the lamp he’s tethered to for safekeeping, he also hates her guts.

As the Order gathers the necromancers of her city and sparks a dangerous alliance, she finds herself working with Samuel Karim more and more. Hatred turns to passion, and when he exhibits a strength and compassion that breaks through her ironclad defenses, she finds herself falling deeper despite the complications between them. Yet with her city under siege and their lives on the line, the sharp desire between them erupts into the temptation to break their own rules, before the Order of the Serpent robs them of the chance permanently.

My Review ~ 4 and a half stars

Enemies to Lovers Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

I just love an enemies to lovers romance –  there is something beguiling about all that emotionally intense angst filled hate, flip flopping and fuelling the desire afflicting two individuals attracted to each other despite their best convictions! Rising for Autumn is the third book in Katherine McIntyre’s Philadelphia Coven Chronicles series. The read pairs world weary djinn Sam with Alanna, the ice princess, who is head of the Philadelphia Coven. Those familiar with the earlier books in the series Hunting for Spring and Scrying for Summer (click on titles for reviews) will already be familiar with both characters and I have been looking forward to reading their romance.

The odds are stacked against the two would-be-lovers from the start. Sam clearly has reason to despise Alanna, for as she is the holder of his lamp, he is obliged to do her bidding. As Sam was previously in thrall to the Order of the Serpent the Coven’s arch enemy, Alanna cannot take his loyalty for granted, even as he assists her and her team in its battle against the Order. Sam resents her control over him, as he has resented the control exercised by all those who have possessed his lamp. However, the Coven’s work is a worthwhile cause and once more their current adversary, a powerful necromancer, is one with whom he has an important personal score to settle.

I enjoyed the story and romance between the couple, for although they seem to have so much against them, they find they have much in common if only time and fate will give them a chance. I loved that despite his situation Sam finds himself drawn to Alanna, especially when they are increasingly thrown together and circumstances conspire to expose the real woman beneath the hard exterior. He is intrigued, even as he resents her for possessing his lamp. I found Alanna rather remote and cold in the previous books, but I soon warmed to her as the author turned this around and made me empathise with her through revealing her character and backstory. It will take Sam, an immortal and a former enemy, to penetrate her hard exterior and I found myself becoming invested in their HEA very quickly. The book has plenty of romance, including explicit lovemaking scenes.

Yet how can the couple have a future together when the balance of control is clearly stacked in Alanna’s favour? Once more what chance do they have when the powerful necromancer Akanda will use every weapon in her arsenal to destroy the Coven, its allies and above all Sam with whom she has a history? It is not clear who will remain standing after she unleashes her worst and whether Alanna and Sam will be amongst them, let alone find a HEA.

The read is an action packed one and there is plenty of dark magic as the necromancers and their army of the undead attempt to destroy the Coven and wreak their evil plans on the city. The blood and gore flow as the Coven’s witches and their allies do battle with the wights, redcaps and necromancers.

Rising for Autumn is recommended for readers of action-packed paranormal and urban fantasy who like their reads served with plenty of passion and romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Website: http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Tumblr: http://www.booksteacoffee.tumblr.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kmcintyremt

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixierants

 

*REVIEW* ~ Scrying for Summer (Philadelphia Coven Chronicles #2), by Katherine McIntyre

#paranormalromance #urbanfantasy

sfs

Book Blurb

Jev was looking for an adventure, however she wanted the usual variety of stomping out nasty fae in the city as an enforcer of the Philly Coven. Instead, handsome as sin Liam O’Reilly shows up on her doorstep dropping news of the worst organization of fae they’d dealt with on the rise again. Except, he’s a traitor, an asshole, and the absolute last person she wants to work with.

However, the longer they work together, the more the fire between them burns, turning from rage and irritation into something primal. And as she gets to know the real Liam O’Reilly behind the charming smiles and sexy lines, he becomes so much deadlier. Because the protective, self-sacrificing man underneath his facade is just the sort she could fall for.

My Review

Fast, Furious and Sizzling! 5 stars

Scrying for Summer is the latest instalment in Katherine McIntyre’s Philadelphia Coven Chronicles. It is a smexy read from start to finish, which fans of romance, especially paranormal and urban fantasy will love. Whilst the book works as a standalone, reading the previous book would give more of an insight into the main characters and the world of the Fae.

I hugely enjoyed the pairing of Jev, a gutsy Coven Enforcer with Liam, (the previously turncoat Hunter) both of whom we met in the previous book Hunting For Spring (click on book title for my review). There is an awful lot of sexual tension between the two from the off, although it is not acknowledged. Jev despises Liam on account of his past alliance with the enemy and views him as a traitor. She is upfront and honest in her opinions,  disliking deceit of any kind, in contrast with Liam who guards his true self and traumatic past beneath a bad boy devil-may- care exterior.  Whilst Jev trusts Liam not an inch she is prepared to work with him to rid her beloved city of evil and is careful to both watch her back and guard her heart against the man necessity compels her to work with.

Nevertheless as the two work ever closely together their respective masks come off and they begin to fall hard for each other. Indeed, there are some smoking hot scenes amongst those of blood, magic and gore which typify the battles between Jev and Liam and their arch enemy. Yet will they survive? Once more will they take a chance on love and admit their feelings for one another are more than just lust?

This book, like the previous one, contains some expertly crafted battles between the forces of good and the evil Unseelie, where no quarter is spared and where Jev and Liam must use everything in  their arsenal if they are to survive.

All in all a super addition to the series and I am looking forward to future instalments!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review. 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon.com

Author Links

Website: http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Tumblr: http://www.booksteacoffee.tumblr.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kmcintyremt

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixierants

**REVIEW** JAXSON (River Pack Wolves #1) by Alisa Woods

You may remember our reviews of Alisa Woods True Alpha and Dark Alpha short story series from earlier in the year. Now she has returned with a full length novel New Adult paranormal romance shifter series, River Wolves Pack, with the first being released this week, Jaxson.

Jaxson (River Pack Wolves 1) - New Adult Paranormal RomanceTitle: Jaxson (River Pack Wolves #1)

Author: Alisa Woods

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Date released: September 5th, 2015

Published by: Sworn Secrets Publishing

Length: 167 pages

Blurb: Three brothers. Three Secrets. One hope to save the shifters of Seattle.
Former SEAL Jaxson River would give his life for his brothers and his pack, but if he doesn’t claim a mate soon, he’ll be forced to step down as their alpha. There’s only one problem: Jaxson’s dark secret would kill any mate he claimed. With someone kidnapping shifters off the street—and only Jaxson and his brothers, Jace and Jared, to stop them—now is not the time for his secret to come out.

Curvy Olivia Lilyfield is a half-witch orphan with a dark secret of her own. She wants to atone for it by doing good in the world, so when she finds a wolf being tortured in an alley, she doesn’t hesitate to help… even though wolves and witches mix like matches and TNT.

Olivia’s dangerous magic means she can’t let anyone get too close—but Jaxson can’t keep his hands off her, and his kisses are more than she can resist. As they race to save the disappearing shifters of Seattle, the true danger lies in loving each other. They’re playing with magical fire… and their secrets could end up destroying them both.

Jaxson is a complete novel with HEA, the first in the River Pack Wolves trilogy (Jace and Jared coming soon).

Contains scorching shifter sex, alpha military heroes, and sexy witches. Only readers over 18 should dive into the deliciously hot world of the River brothers.

REVIEW ***** (5* RATING)

I couldn’t wait to get my paws on Alisha Woods‘s latest NA paranormal romance release, Jaxson. After reading the authors other works in this genre, True Alpha and Dark Alpha short story series, and loving every minute of them, I knew I would jump straight into the River Pack Wolves with excitement.

Jaxson is a full length novel told from both Jaxson and Olivia’s point of view. I probably love novels written in this manner best of all as this allows the reader to empathise with more than one character, which can explain their behaviour and actions. The story really flows at a good pace and has a great mix of romance, magic and action.

Jaxson is leading the River pack, trying to find out just who is kidnapping shifters off the street. Many shifters do not return, while some others have come back, but they are not the same as they were when they went in. It’s as if some of their inner magic has been taken. It is up to Jaxson and his brothers, Jared and Jace to ensure the safety of shifters before there aren’t many left to take. For this, the River pack need a good, strong leader. To become stronger still, it would be advantageous for Jaxson to be mated. The magic bond that is created between a shifter and his female mate is like no other. And, it would fare well if they had little ones as they too would be strong and healthy, being born into mated, bonded parents.

However, Jaxson has a secret, but now is not the time to tell his pack. They need him. At least to see out the attack on shifters. But, the truth is that he can’t mate. He was cursed by a witch, meaning anytime he went to take a mate, one bite would kill them!

Olivia Lilyfield is not having a great time. After walking out of her job, not wanting to adhere to her boss, and wanting to get into the thick of things with her reporting, she is left jobless and in debt. After meeting Jaxson in a sticky situation, she finds herself drawn to him. It isn’t too long before he realises her situation, and, being equally attracted to her in both his human side and inner wolf, he reaches out and offers her a steady job with good pay. How could she say no? Here is this HOT shifter offering her what she needs.

It is quite clear to the reader just how intensely attracted they are to each other. And the physical closeness that Jaxson has to Olivia at times really do turn the heat up. The passion is practically burning, it is so hot. However, after becoming so close to Jaxson, and unaware of his secret curse, Olivia realises that she couldn’t possibly be his mate – he needs to mate with a female shifter, to be an even stronger alpha and lead his pack.

They become so close that Jaxson confides in her. He also airs his concern of the missing shifters and that he needs to remain alpha at least while they deal with this problem. Working together, Olivia has a plan which will help Jaxson keep his secret a little longer, keeping his family from pressurising him, help build stronger allies with other local shifter packs and allow him the time to deal with the current disturbances, which Jaxson strongly feels are set up by the government and allowing the experimenting on the shifters.

These characters are certainly in love, and very passionate. But, to Olivia, it still couldn’t work out between them, especially now. For she also has something that she hasn’t told him; she is half-witch. On finding this out, surely he would go crazy, for it was a witch who had cursed him. Even if her were to listen, wolves and witches do not mix well together. She doesn’t practice magic, but would he believe her? And, after having an ‘accident’ with her magic years ago, could she even trust herself to be with him? Surely she was dangerous?

Readers will be treated to a story where love, romance, heat, action and magic all come together in Jaxson. You’ll be gripped from the beginning, rooting for a HEA, and constantly questioning how each of them are going to overcome their problems, their fears, and their love.

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

Jaxson (River Pack Wolves #1) by Alisa Woods is now available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can also check out our reviews of Alisa Woods’s True Alpha and Dark Alpha series:-

Desired (True Alpha #1) – short story

Guarded (True Alpha #2) – short story

Hunted (True Alpha #3) – short story

Captured (True Alpha #4) – short story

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5) – short story

Claimed (True Alpha #6) – short story

A True Alpha Christmas – novella – stand alone short story

Torment (Dark Alpha #1) – short story

Pleasure (Dark Alpha #2) – short story

Deception (Dark Alpha #3) – short story

Escape (Dark Alpha #4) – short story

Penance (Dark Alpha #5) – short story

Loved (Dark Alpha #6) – short story

**REVIEW** Dead Ever After: A True Blood Novel (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris

After having a clean break from the wrapped-up True Blood tv series, as well as the book series, almost two years on from the release of the book I finally found a moment to read the final Sookie Stackhouse story: Dead Ever After. Read as a one-off book, I found it to be refreshing, with plenty going on in the paranormal world and magic that surrounds Sookie Stackhouse. It’s certainly sad to see the end of the journey we have all shared with Sookie!

Dead Ever After: A True Blood Novel (Sookie Stackhouse)Title: Dead Ever After: A True Blood Novel (Sookie Stackhouse #13)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy

Release date: May 7th, 2013

Released by: Gollancz

Length: 352 pages

Blurb: Sookie Stackhouse has one last adventure in store.

Life has taken her from a waitress in Merlotte’s Bar, Bon Temps, to part owner; from social outcast to the heart of her community; from a vampire’s girlfriend to the wife of one of the most powerful vampires in the state.

She has survived explosions, revolutions and attempts on her life. Sookie has endured betrayal, heartbreak and grief… and she has emerged a little stronger, and little wiser, every time.

But with life comes new trials…

The question is, in the end: who will love, who will live, and who will be dead ever after?

There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart…

Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

REVIEW

Almost two years has passed since the release of Dead Ever After, but after not being completely bowled over by Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12), I was reluctant to read it. However, I couldn’t read a whole series and then miss out the last book! And, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this final story! Amazingly, I have also been able to avoid reading any other reviews of the book and so have read Dead Ever After with a fresh approach.

Throughout the story Sookie has many worries. To begin with, after raising Sam from the dead, using her magic from the cluviel dor (which could only be used once), she noticed a clear coldness from Eric. Is he annoyed with her for using her magic on Sam and not saving it for him? Well, that’s just tough luck for Eric as there was no way she’d let Sam die! Not only has she to worry about Eric, but Sam seems to have changed after his experience too.

Sam seems really quiet and a little off with her, or maybe he is shaken up from the whole coming-back-to-life episode. Sam has been through a lot and, when Sookie sees Sam next, he has forgotten a great deal. Sookie then reminds him of everything, even the events he probably doesn’t want to remember, as she knows it’s in his best interests for him to face up to them. This is also a great way for Charlaine Harris to recap the last story, and provides the reader with enough detail to understand what has happened, but doesn’t bore the regular reader of the series either.

As the story moves forward Sookie is in for some more surprises. First, Arlene, an ex-friend and colleague, has been released from prison and approaches Sookie at Merlotte’s bar asking for her old job back. Now a part-owner of Merlotte’s, Sookie clearly stands her ground and refuses. She can’t believe the nerve of her after Arlene had tried to have her killed. Shortly after, Arlene’s body is found in the dumpster behind Merlotte’s, and you can just imagine who will be accused. Yes, poor Sookie!

And then, there’s Eric. After everything that has happened, Eric has almost abandoned Sookie for reasons that Sookie and the readers are not sure of. It appears to us that he may be a little irked after the incident with Sam. And yet, there is more going on in the vamp world that he needs to attend to and this will have a definite impact on Sookie. The ever-practical Eric has to do not just what is in his best interests, but also what is expected of him.

Will Sookie be cleared of a murder she didn’t commit? Will her and Sam be able to return to a their comfortable friendship? And, will Eric deal with his vamp problem and return to Sookie? Or, will Sookie rekindle her love with her first love, Bill? This final instalment certainly has many questions to answer. And the reader will find out the answers to all as it all wraps up.

Although fairly well written, with plenty more going on, I found it didn’t grip me with intensity. However, the storyline itself was good. Sookie’s love interests were not present too much in the book and I know many won’t be too happy with the ending. But, I was fairly happy. As long as Sookie ended up with either Bill, Eric or Sam I was going to be happy as I have come to appreciate all three characters over the course of the book series, as well as tv series.

It is very difficult to read this after seeing the tv series, though, as it is hard to differentiate between the, sometimes very different, storylines but with the same characters. In hindsight, I do wish I had read all of the books first, before watching the tv series. That said, I do like how the book series has gone in terms of keeping more with the telepaths and witches. This certainly adds to the magic of the story, as well as remind us that our focus is Sookie, even though we can all get carried away with the strong male characters.

All-in-all, the book series is a great read, and I would encourage anyone, whether read the series before or not, to start at the beginning and read each book in order to remind ourselves of Sookie’s journey, and what Charlaine Harris wanted us to get from the series.

Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

**REVIEW** Loved (Dark Alpha #6) (short story) by Alisa Woods

Today is the release of the final instalment of the new adult, paranormal romance Dark Alpha series, LOVED. Written by the brilliant Alisa Woods (True Alpha short story series), this is a super climatic ending of such a gripping and lovable series. If you are a fan of shifter paranormals, or even romance in general, this is such a lovely series of one proving their love for someone, helping them to escape their unwanted mate, and ultimately showing a sacrifice of their own life to protect the one that they love…

Loved (Dark Alpha 6)Title: Loved (Dark Alpha #6)

Author: Alisa Woods

Genre: New adult, paranormal romance

Released date: March 30th, 2015

Released by: Sworn Secrets Publishing

Length: 60 pages

Blurb: Shifters live in the shadows of Seattle, just under the skin of the alpha male, dot-com entrepreneurs who are building a new Silicon Valley in the Emerald City.

The final installment of Dark Alpha…

Is love stronger than magic? Or will breaking an unbreakable bond destroy them both?

Loved (Dark Alpha 6) is 60 pages or 15,000 words. It’s the final of six episodes in the Dark Alpha serial. Dark Alpha is the sequel series to True Alpha, the debut shifters-in-Seattle paranormal romance from Alisa Woods. 

REVIEW

Everything comes together in this last instalment of Dark Alpha, but not necessarily how we would all expect… LOVED picks up from where we left off in Penance (book 5), where after rescuing his love Arianna from the grasps of her unwanted alpha, Mace, Jak is now sacrificing himself for Arianna’s complete riddance of Mace from her blood, and for the safety of her and her family’s future. With the help of a witch, Circe, the spell should draw out Mace’s wolf from Arianna’s blood, and join Jak’s – where the two will fight it out until Jak’s body can no longer bare it. Only Arianna doesn’t know Jak’s plan.

Many questions are to be asked during the first few pages; will Circe’s spell work and free Arianna from Mace totally, or will Mace’s magic bond be forever mixed with her own blood forever? Plus, will this experience really kill Jak, or is there a shred of hope?

As Arianna witnesses and realises Jak’s sacrifice she cannot believe it. She can’t bear it – she can’t live now without Jak. But, is it too late to save him? And, even if she could, how could she save him? Arianna is completely overwhelmed with Jak’s love and devotion to her, and even towards her family who he doesn’t know. But, without Jak her escape from Mace is meaningless. He rescued her from Mace to begin with- she needs him to carry on, to give her the love and life she wants to be a part of.

And then, we come back to the question, ‘Is love stronger than magic? Or will breaking an unbreakable bond destroy them both?

Not only do we have to worry about Jak’s welfare here, there is also the threat of Mace finding them, and what he’ll do to them when he does. It was only a matter of time before Mace caught up with them. The circumstances were a little surprising and unexpected, but make for a more fearsome scene that is certainly unpredictable, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Throughout this series, I absolutely loved reading a little about Gage, Mace’s brother and Jak’s alpha. He is aware of Mace’s vicious and dark side, but Mace is his brother. At the same time, he saved Jak from a bad life himself, and brought him up like a son. This would be a fascinating character to explore more, and I would love it if Gage showed up in any future work of Alisa’s.

I can’t wait to see what Alisa Woods has in store for her fans next. Her writing is exciting, emotional, suspenseful and dark. You can catch up with both True Alpha and Dark Alpha now available in individual boxed sets, or as individual short stories. These 5* series are not to be missed!

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

Loved (Dark Alpha #6) is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

To find out more info of the previous instalments of Dark Alpha, as well as Alisa Woods‘ first series, True Alpha, along with reviews, please check them all out below:-

Desired (True Alpha #1) – short story

Guarded (True Alpha #2) – short story

Hunted (True Alpha #3) – short story

Captured (True Alpha #4) – short story

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5) – short story

Claimed (True Alpha #6) – short story

A True Alpha Christmas – novella – stand alone short story

Torment (Dark Alpha #1) – short story

Pleasure (Dark Alpha #2) – short story

Deception (Dark Alpha #3) – short story

Escape (Dark Alpha #4) – short story

Penance (Dark Alpha #5) – short story