The charmed life of Alex Moore by Molly Flatt- Book review

This strange genre mix of science fiction and contemporary fiction produces an intriguing story of a woman whose life changes spectacularly, only to find out her success has completely messed up the worlds biggest secret.

Genre: Science Fiction/Contemporary fiction

Review

I picked up this book in the science-fiction section of my bookshop and was a little thrown by the first hundred pages which had no hint of science fiction or fantasy at all. The science-fiction kicks in at this point and changes the focus of the story – in fact, this is a book of two halves.

When we meet Alex Moore she is enjoying her success with a new startup tech company with no regrets about leaving her old life behind. In fact, in the last six months her life has changed beyond recognition and while she is happy, her friends and family, including  Harry her fiancée, are a bit worried about her.

But Alex realises something isn’t right especially when she is mugged, then accused of killing someone’s father and she has to leave the restaurant she is having lunch due to a bomb threat.  After another argument with Harry, she decides to accept an invitation to a research project in the Orkney Islands. But then she stumbles open something that changes everything …

To say anything more would be the worst kind of spoiler.

The Alex at the start of the book is more Bridget Jones than Katniss Evergreen and not the usual heroine you would see in science fiction and while her character can be annoying, she is hilarious. The initial part of the book is an easy, enjoyable read with a few laugh out moments but then at about a hundred pages in the book finally displays its science fiction parts which changes the direction of the story and Alex’s character completely. Alex is an interesting protagonist and I was invested in her story and was genuinely worried about what would happen to her when she found out the truth of her story.

The plot was a bit confusing and it took a while to figure what the ‘Readers’ in Orkney did. The romance between Alex and  one of the Oakney men, felt forced and the brief, sex scene was so sudden and unromantic. Harry, her fiancé may have been boring but he did stand by her so it made no sense for Alex to leave him for someone she didn’t really know. This development did mar my enjoyment of the book and ending and it would have been so much better if Alex had made a different choice.

Perfect for Fans

Anyone who likes humour and romance in their science fiction and fans of Bridget Jones who don’t mind a little weirdness in their fiction.

Summary

An enjoyable original genre mash-up and would recommend this to anyone who wants a different kind of book despite the fact I didn’t like Alex’s choice at the end of her story.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott – Book Review

Unconquerable Sun, Book 1 of the Sun Chronicles was a perfect book to lose myself with epic space battles, aliens, pollical intrigue in an eastern-based Galaxy far far away and I can’t wait to read the next instalment.

Genre: Science Fiction, space opera

Review

I read this book last year, at the peak of the pandemic and I found myself immersed in its eastern-based Chaonia and its battles with the Phene and the Gatoi and reread the book before I read the second part.

Sun, is half Chaonian and half Yele, the daughter and heir to the Queen- Marshall but despite her military successes, she still has to defend her right to be heir against ambitious houses seeking to put their children forward as heir. The book follows her, and her companions and court as they battle enemies in dining rooms and space as well as untangling the numerous political intrigues and plots that abound.

The book has chapters from the points of view of Sun, and Aparna a Phene fighter pilot as well as a 1st person POV from Persephone Li, former space cadet and now reluctant companion to Sun.

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The ( Charlie) Parker Series by John Connolly- Series Review

Genre – Crime ,magical realism

First Book Every Dead thing

Number of Books to Date (2021) 18

The Charlie Parker books by John Connolly blend crime with strong supernatural making this a unique and riveting series for both crime ,urban fantasy buffs or anyone looking for a different twist to their crime thrillers.

Review

I first picked up the first Charlie Parker book, Every Dead Thing, in an airport 15 year ago and have enjoyed every harrowing book since then. This series is an indescribable blend of crime, thriller and the supernatural with one of my  favourite fictional characters.

 Charlie Parker is a grizzly, grumpy, loner detective who starts off as a young New York Detective mourning the gruesome murders of his wife and daughter. We see him become a wiser( but still grumpy)private detective who has a group of loyal friends and allies  as very well as a father to a gifted daughter.

The Good

 Each book can be read as a standalone but there are so many recurring themes and characters and you would lose out on the big picture if these books aren’t read in order. Parker is a fascinating character and there is a specialness about him, his past and his family that each book slowly reveals particularly when his second daughter is born. His tenaciousness and unwillingness to give up fighting evil no matter the cost is the core of good and hope that runs through these books. The vast number of secondary characters that recur through the book are interesting in their own right especially Louis and Angel ( who get a book of their own too).

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Witherward by Hannah Mathewson Book review

I picked up Witherward by Hannah Mathewson when I saw the amazing cover showing London below  London on a table full of fantasy books for adults in my local bookshop. This YA fantasy was an enjoyable, but predictable book.

Genre YA fantasy

Series Book 1 Witherward

Review

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman, has to be one of my all-time favourite books-  a perfect fantasy of a  London down below, with interesting characters and lots of humour which has now left me buying books that shows any premise of a city hidden with a city. Witherward, a YA fantasy, where there is a hidden London not quite like ours with its own season and political factions and, of course, magic.

Ilsa Ravenwood, a magician’s assistant, in our London with the ability to shapeshift is struggling to get by while hiding her abilities. One day, she is dragged through a portal to the Witherward and thrown into the complicated politics of six rival magical factions, her attraction to Elliot, a conflicted teenager, and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Gideon Ravenswood, the alpha of the changelings. Isla discovers, she too is a  changeling from Witherward, smuggled to the other London when she was a baby to keep her safe when her mother, the ruler of Camden, was murdered and Gideon is her brother.

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Windfall by Shawna Barnett- Book review

I love pirates, especially women pirates and was so excited to read this swashbuckling fantasy adventure full of sea battles, court intrigue and magic, in Windfall, by Shawna Barnett, Book 1 of the Legends of Viola.

From Goodreads

Captain Liana Foley knows a thing or two about fights. She fights the King’s Navy. She fights to balance power in oppressive Vioria. She fights for respect as a female, bisexual, pirate captain. But she’s losing her biggest fight: to escape her secret past as a lost Princess.

 With a mysterious letter and a stranger threatening to expose her, Liana is blackmailed into attending a royal ball and protecting her counterpart, sheltered Princess Rhian. The pretenses are suspicious enough, but Liana takes the risk in hopes to finally unveil the magic plot that killed her parents and forced her into hiding.

 When Liana encounters Rhian’s own lightning-wielding powers, the ball erupts in violence. The sheltered princess falls into the care of Liana—and her band of pirates. On the run, the only safe haven for the Windfall crew to hide is the most-dangerous place of all: under the thumb of Liana’s narcissistic, abusive brother-in-law.

 In order to protect her crew, her family, and naïve Rhian, Liana must demand sacrifices from herself and the people she loves. Her choices will make powerful enemies; good thing Liana Foley knows a thing or two about fighting those.

My review of Windfall

ARC received from Book Sirens for an honest review due to be published August 21.

Windfall was an easy read taking me just two sittings to finish it. I was excited by the heroine being a pirate, there really isn’t enough fiction about female pirates which is weird as there were some fierce women pirates in history.

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Fortunes Fool by Angela Boord, Book review

I was hooked in by the cover with its image of a woman with a a metal arm holding a sword was intriguing and I had to read this book.

Kyrra plots revenge against the powerful family who destroyed her life and the love of her life in a dangerous world of spies, mercenaries and magic with an arm made of metal in this amazing fantasy..

Genre :Fantasy

Series:  Eritrean Series Book 1

From goodreads

A secret affair. A disfiguring punishment. A burning need for revenge.

Kyrra d’Aliente has a bad reputation and an arm made of metal.

Cast out of the safe and luxurious world of silk to which she was born, played as a pawn in a game of feuding Houses, Kyrra navigates a dangerous world of mercenaries, spies, and smugglers while disguising herself as a man.

War destroyed her family and the man she loved.

Vengeance is within her grasp.

But is she willing to pay its price?

Review

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Afterlife by Terri Bruce- book review

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of the Afterlife series

Sex and the City meets Dead like me. When Irene Dunphy dies, her ghost tries to decide what to do next while she stuck among the living while trying to have a social life at the same time.

Book obtained from Author via Voracious readers only for an honest review.

From Goodreads

Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn’t plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex…well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.

 Unfortunately, what waits in the Great Beyond isn’t much better. Stuck between the boring life of a ghost in this world and the terrifying prospect of three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment in the next, Irene sets out to find a third option—preferably one that involves not being dead anymore. Can she wipe the slate clean and get a second chance before it’s too late?

The good

Afterlife was an enjoyable book that only took me a little more than an hour to get through which is perfect if you fancy reading a book that doesn’t tax your brain much. Despite the heroine dying in the first chapter, the book is funny, not particularly introspective, surprisingly cheerful and I found myself laughing out loud at some of Irene’s descriptions of the reality of being dead- like the thought of spending your afterlife in a pair of strappy. sandals with high heels. Jonah, the fourteen-year-old, is Irene’s Guide to the afterlife. I learnt loads about various death rituals from other cultures and the past through him.

  Despite this being marketed as Bridget Jones in the afterlife, there are quieter, introspective periods with the other ghosts inhabiting this world. Amy’s story about trying to lead a full afterlife, doing the things she could not do when she was alive, was haunting (no pun intended). So was Ernest fears about how his death would affect his afterlife. There is a sweet romance between Irene and Ernest, but this is not a romantic story.

The bad

I hated Irene. This is a testament to the writing in the book as I stop reading a book when I actively dislike the main character who is the focal point of view character. I admire the author for writing Irene this way when she could have taken an easier route to making her more sympathetic as a character. I’m not sure I would ever have the courage to do this in my writing.

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Soul Keeper by David Dalglish( Book review)

Genre : Fantasy

Series : The Keepers

One benefit of starting my blog has been discovering new books on other book blogs like Soulkeeper. This fantasy with bold characters and vivid description of a land where magic and monsters have returned didn’t disappoint.

Devin is a Soulkeeper, a priest of sorts and a healer tending to the people in Londheim, a town in The Cradle. One day a surge of black water ravishes the Cradle leading to the return of magic and monsters. Devin and Adria must learn to deal with this new world, both the wonders and the dangers, while protecting other Keepers from a sadistic, magical serial killer.

The good

I read the review for the second book of this series on A Cat, A Book and a cup of Tea and knew I had to try this series out. The premise of the book isn’t original. Magic suddenly returns to the land after remaining dormant for many years but brings with it dangerous magical creatures hell-bent on destroying humanity. The premise of the God-like Sisters, to whom the keepers pray, are actual entities and people’s souls being actual physical objects, was intriguing and hope this is described in more detail in the next book. There are many magical creatures described, from the joyful fairies to the fire being that Devlin becomes friends with and the truly terrifying—I will never look at a gargoyle the same way again. Janus, a magical being, is a serial killer with a difference, an artist who takes pride in his work and was one of the most chilling villains I have come across recently. I found Adria’s ( Devin’s sister) arc the most interesting- from the hesitant healer to something more powerful and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Devlin starts off as a lonely, widowed Soulkeeper but ends his journey in this book with a house full of people and beings he cares for and loves. Tommy, his wise man brother-in-law who can perform magic Jarcanda the soulless person whose soul has been returned and fairy Tes, have their own stories.

Devlin, as a character, has shades of grey and some of his early interactions with Jarcanda show his harsher side, which makes him more human. In the world of the Soulkeeper, men and women are equal, so it isn’t a big deal that there are women healers, priests, soldiers and assassins which was refreshing to read.

The Bad

Jarcanda, at the start of the book, is one of the soulless, a person born without a soul and so she functions like a robot with no emotions or feelings. This makes it difficult to read, especially when she regains her soul and recalls the horrible things she had to do in the past through a new emotional filter.

Janus’s killing of the keepers is gruesomely described in graphic detail.

The ugly

Implied sexual abuse and rape (off page).

Romance

The romance between Devin and Jarcanda is realistically sweet, and I really liked there was no angst or drama.

Perfect for fans

Anyone who loves fantasy with a touch of darkness like the Mistborn series, Chorus of Dragons

Summary

5 stars.