Proper Scoundrels by Allie Therin- Book Review

Read my review of Proper Scoundrels – a perfect blend of mystery and paranormal romance, part of the Magic in Manhattan series by Allie Therin.

Publication date 28 Dec 2021

Publishers: Harlequin Carina

Source ‘NetGalley

Sebastian de Leon is trying to atone for his actions while under the influence of blood magic. So it’s no wonder when  he jumps in to help protect the grumpy and cynical Lord Fine who  becomes the target of a magical serial killer. Unfortunately, Lord Fine remembers Sebastian from his time in Manhattan and is reluctant to trust him. Can they work together to find the magical killer and help each other learn to trust again?

Book review

I received a copy of this book from Harlequin Carina for an honest and unbiased opinion.

This book is a standalone book in The Magic In Manhattan series but can be read alone with reading the others(it made no difference to me following the story). The book is told from the points of view of the two main characters – Sebastian who is dealing with PTSD from his time being controlled by blood magic and Wesley, Lord Fine who is dealing with the aftermath of World War I.

Both Wesley and Sebastian are well written and the chemistry between them is real, unforced, and beautifully written. Wesley was perfectly placed to understand Sebastian’s difficulty in the aftermath of his ordeal and this helped convey the distress caused by PTSD. I liked the fact that Sebastian wasn’t cured instantly by just falling in love.

 I must confess, the grumpy Lord Fine was my favourite but Jade and Zhang, Sebastian’s magical friends were equally fascinating and left an impression despite not having a lot of page time.

The underlying mystery of a magical serial killer is intriguing, and the villain is creepy with an interesting backstory of his own.

The world-building and magical systems are well described with some unique types of magic. The book has lots of humour mostly provided by Wesley’s grumpy interactions with almost everyone he comes across.

My only criticism is the use of the word Fall instead of Autumn by the very English  Lord Fine which felt very out of place (unless I received the US version).

Content Warning

Descriptions of past self-harm

Perfect for Fans of 

Paranormal romance

This is the first Allie Therin book  I have read but I will be reading more.

Behind the Veil by E. J Dawson – Book review

I enjoyed this atmospheric, gothic ghost story with a strong romance at its core. Here is my review of Behind the Veil by E J Dawson.

@ejdawsonauthor @RRbookTours1  #RRbookto

Behind the Veil

Publication Date: October 1st, 2021

Genre: Gothic Noir/ Paranormal Suspense

Source : Initially R and R book tours but then borrowed from Kindle unlimited

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

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Review

I was particularly impressed with the clear, and inclusive content warning present in the index of the book- not many books highlight miscarriage or loss of children in books and I was glad this was highlighted, so I didn’t have the usual pit in my stomach when I came across this.

But despite the content warning, this was I book I really enjoyed and is full of optimism about life after grief, loss and trauma.

Letitia, the heroine of the book and the main point of view character is a reluctant medium but uses her gifts to help people say goodbye to their loved ones. She has a strict set of rules about the clients she takes one, so turns down the determined Mr Driscoll and his sister. But she relents when she finds out why they are desperate for her help despite the risks to her own life and sanity and helps Mr Driscoll’s niece with her own blossoming gifts. Letitia has to be one of the most interesting characters I have read recently.

The growing attraction and romance between Letitia and Mr Driscoll is slow and provides a counterpoint to the ghosts and some of the darkness of the story. I found myself rooting for Letitia- a survivor who keeps going and can see the good in everyone around her despite the horrors in her own life.

The romance isn’t the main focus of the story and the ghostly element, as well as the mystery of the missing girls, are interesting. I read the book in one sitting to find out who the kidnapper and the ghost was and how the story ended.

I was invited to read the book by RR tours for a free, unbiased opinion but I have also borrowed the book from Kindle unlimited for a reread and help support the author.

Content warning ( from the book)

Miscarriage, suicide, paedophilia, murder, rape and possession- however, there are no graphic descriptions.

Perfect for fans

Anyone who enjoys mild horror, or gothic romances.

Book review- Song of the Forever Rains by EJ Mellow

Series  The Mousai

Genre: Fantasy ,Fantasy romance

This is a  sweet romance set in a fantasy setting with a feisty, heroine and a tortured hero but I really wanted to learn more about the world and the Thief King and his kingdom.

Larkyra is one of the Mousai, a trio of sorceresses, who just happens to be sisters. The Mousai helps the Thief King reign over his kingdom where magic exists hidden away from the rest of the world.  Larkyra power lies in her voice, and she can slay monsters with her voice but this is a gift she uses sparingly. On becoming an adult, she is given an assignment to pose as the Duke of Lachlan’s potential bride to stop him stealing drugs from the Thief Kingdom then using this to fuel his magic and abuse his tenants. But of course, her mission is complicated by her growing attraction to the tortured ( literally)  Darius who happens to be the Duke’s stepson.

There are vivid descriptions that bring the world of Aadilor to life- I loved the description of the thief kingdom as seen through Darius’s eyes when he visits the land for the first time.  I was really intrigued by the premise of the weather being permanently stormy and grey in Lachlan as a result of the Duke’s sadness. The story is told from both Larkyra’s and Darius’s viewpoint, so there we know straight away Darius is a good man, who cares deeply for his people and is horribly abused by his uncle instead of having to wait several hundred pages for the Larkyra to find out. The romance between Darius and Larkyra is sweet but runs a predictable course and in my view is the main focus of the story rather than part of it. The Duke is an unpleasant villain and truly creepy leaving me genuinely feeling sad for Darius and the awful childhood that he had.

If you wanted a book with a strong romance in a fantasy setting with interesting characters then this is a perfect book for you. But if like me you wanted more fantasy and more action, then you may be disappointed. I really wanted to learn more about the Thief King and his Kingdom- how did he manage to create an invisible kingdom, why is it invisible and more about the people who live there but most of the book was set outside of the Thief Kingdom. I was expecting a lot more intrigue and ninja action from Larkyra and her sisters especially as Larkya was sent to spy on the Duke.

Descriptions of cutting, self-harm.

Romance

Yes. Lots of angst, deep looks and flirting.

Any Cliffhangers

No cliffhangers and no overriding series arcs that I could pick up on

Perfect for Fans

Anyone looking for a strong romance in fantasy with vivid and descriptive writing.

Summary

4 stars,  this book wasn’t for me but I’m sure other people will love it.

Book review-Plain Bad Heroines

I was really looking forward to read this book, after reading a review in a magazine describing this as a gothic horror. But unfortunely, I was left sorely disappointed despite the amazing cover.

Author:Emily M Danforth with Illustrations by Sara Lautman

Genre: Romance/drama( sometimes described as horror but more feels more creepy than scary)

Content :warning attempted rape scene

Good reads summary

Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations. 

Plot

This book is about a film about a book that is about a book- a memoir written in early last century by a teenage feminist Mary MacLane. Merritt, a young wonderkid whose bestseller about a tragedy occuring in 1902 is about to be turned into a film starring the famous actress Harper Harper. Merritt’s book delves into the death of two young girls obessed with Mary Maclane in a progressive school run by Libby and her lover Alex. But the main players in this story are being filmed to capture how the Merritt and Harper respond to a number of staged , creepy moments except these may not be staged, the film and the book may actually be cursed ( or not, I just couldn’t work this out by the end of the book.).Confused, I have to admit I was for most of the book.


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