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Book Review

A WOLF SO GRIM AND MANGY by Caroline Noe

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What a joy to read! A WOLF SO GRIM AND MANGY by Caroline Noe was certainly one of the most fun and entertaining books I have read in a very long time.

An epic fantasy of a kingdom of changers – wolfs, bears, snakes and Eagles, and a regular world-weary woman from London. All cleverly woven together by the very talented Caroline Noe into one hilarious, touching and thrilling read.

The author gives us a brilliant cast and fabulous world-building, with a refreshing heroine Edi, who is definitely not your normal young and perky, perfect princess but bored, miserable and middle-aged. After receiving a regifted secret Santa present, a mysterious book, Edi finds herself marooned atop a frozen mountain in a strange land. With her reluctant, grumpy and ‘mangy’ rescuer, Curt, Edi finds her power of storytelling could be the key to sorting the strife of this waring world.

This book is utterly brilliant and completely unlike anything I have ever read. It’s well-written, funny and compelling, with danger, strife, and a refreshing romance.

Full Review of Amazon and Goodreads.

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Book Review

A DREAM OF DEATH AND MAGIC by Sarina Langer.

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A DREAM OF DEATH AND MAGIC is a little out of my comfort zone; although I read urban and high fantasy, they are not my go-to. Having said that, this felt rather a unique, individual story, and I was drawn very quickly to the world of Esta Anderson and all the chaos that is about to ensue.

Esta Anderson is a young woman with a passion for photography. Through her ability to lucid dream, she finds herself stepping from the shadows into a world surrounded by the Veiled — fairies and vampires, werewolves and demons. But with her newfound knowledge comes a genuine threat that could jeopardise everyone’s existence.

This is the first on a ten-book series, although it stands well on its own. If the prospect of embarking on such a series worries you, don’t let it. Although the author sets up so much more story and characters to come, the tale within this book has a completeness with the turn of the last page.

This is a relatively quick read with a must-read-on feeling from the first chapter. With a beautiful slow-burn romance building (I think I’ve fallen in love too), this book is full of wonderful, diverse characters, great dialogue and vivid, well-written scenes. Although I know the author to be a meticulous writer of epic worlds, I loved this book far more than I imagined.

FULL REVIEW on GoodreadsBookBub and Amazon.

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Audiobook Review

RELEASED by Julie Embleton, Turning Moon, book 2. Narrated by Elyse Osherhaug.

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Following BOUND, book 1, the story continues with Michael Vincent, a minor character at the start, who has spent the last year on the run, convinced he deserves to be alone and tormented by his guilt. His unwitting but devastating actions in book 1 continue to haunt him as he tries to build a new life deep in the Rochfort Mountains, away from his pack. Fate has different plans when he meets his mate, giving Michael a small glimmer of hope for redemption. But as the nightmare and evil of his former life threatens to destroy all hope, can he overcome his guilt, make peace with his pack and rid the evil for good this time?

As with the first in the series, Released is not just wolf fiction, a trope that I don’t usually enjoy. Friendship, love and loyalty feature strongly here, all woven into a suspense thriller that feels far more real than an urban fantasy. The author has a natural gift of pulling you into the story, convincing you that wolves live amongst us in our everyday lives.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Elyse Osterhaug, who I am delighted to say has recorded the whole series. Elyse has a beautiful, easy tone that keeps you listening, bringing compelling depth to her storytelling… wonderful.

The Turning Moon series is a must-read and listen for all lovers of urban fantasy, thrilling suspense, and of course, a fabulous wolf romance. If you are new to audiobooks, these are great places to start. Now on to book 3!

FULL REVIEW on Goodreads, BookBub, Amazon and Audible.

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Book Review – Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

Congratulations to Ruth Miranda on the release of her new fantasy novel, Avalon Hall. I was lucky to have had an ARC edition. Avalon Hall is available to purchase Kindle or Paperback at Amazon.

Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda – this is Ruth doing what she does best. A story of vampires, witches, fantasy and magic. This is a book of two halves, both as important as the other, coming together just enough at the end, but most certainly leaving you craving more.

Modern-day Scotland. We are introduced to a cast of contemporary characters, all well-crafted and intriguing with their own backstories. Set against the magnificent architecture of Avalon Hall, a modern-day school for adult preternatural, a place to nurture their new magical talents that manifest in their late teens or early twenties. This is no Hogwarts; there is more lurking the rooms and halls than just magic; and beyond the Hall, the vast grounds hold their own secrets. There is one student with her own damaged past that has the talent to step beyond the ‘now’ into the ‘then’. She has a vital role to play, unravelling the past mysteries and miseries of Avalon Hall’s hidden resident.

Just as your heartbeat starts racing, the author halts, whipping you off to the past. A place home to myth and Arthurian legend. But don’t think for one second you are about to receive a run of the mill story of King Arthur. Avalon Hall offers so much more. Instead of the general, the author gives us her own interpretations and thoughts, taking you across the lake at Avalon, delving into the history, the ancestry of who we know to be King Arthur, weaving us a tale that is so in-depth you feel kin to it. This second part of the book is so painstakingly meticulous, a richly woven tapestry of characters, each playing their role in carving the future of who will be known as King Arthur.

I’m now eagerly, and not so patiently, waiting for the second book in this series. Avalon Hall offers so much for those who adore fantasy, those stories abundant with witches and magic, but also those like me, who adore the mysteries that surround Arthurian legend.

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Book Review – Chaining Daisy by Julia Blake

Congratulations to my dear friend and fellow author Julia Blake on the release of her new novel, Chaining Daisy, that was released yesterday. It’s available now worldwide on Kindle, Paperback or free to read on Kindle Unlimited. Just remember to add a box of tissues to the order.

You buy the book now at Amazon.

Chaining Daisy, the second book in The Perennials picks up where the first book Becoming Lili ends, pulling you straight into the story. In the first, we are introduced to the main cast of characters, a gang of friends whose lives are based in the late 90s. With Chaining Daisy, the years have moved on a little to the early 2000s, concentrating this time on Daisy who’s struggling with her not-so-perfect marriage, despite appearances, and Kevin, one of Lili’s oldest friends.

Julia Blake as always delivers a riveting story with eloquence and style. Her cast—and I’d always call her characters a cast as they’re so visual, so full and multidimensional, they live and breathe from the page—all have their supporting roles in this, all bringing something to the story. With scene-setting locations going from rural Suffolk to London to Cornwall, she manages to bring so much colour and atmosphere too.

I hate giving the plot away, I think the book blurb gives you enough. But what I will say is this is one hell of a ride. Although the book itself is a huge (well worth its money) read of over 400 pages, the author’s writing talent takes you by the hand, enticing you in; before you know it, you’re halfway through and you’ve not been up for air. It certainly takes your breath away, dealing with difficult topics and situations, and although the author has dealt with these so realistically, so true to life, she has been careful to handle them with a sense of integrity—graphic descriptions where needed and others left to the imagination.

This is one book that stays with you. I read it in a few sittings, needing to close the pages and recover once in a while, reaching for the box of tissues, yet the characters stayed with me, calling me until I picked it up again.

Though I urge every reader to have tissues to hand, this is in no way a mushy love story, though love and life in all its wonder and horror feature strongly, Chaining Daisy is hard-hitting, gripping, incredibly heart wrenching read with soft, tender, beautiful moments. A well-earned 5 stars!