Saturday, 14 September 2019

Review: Mantis by India Millar 4 of 5 stars

Mantis Mantis by India Millar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Keiko's brother and father are dead after being slaughtered by starving peasants she is the last of her line and the ancient house of Hakuseki will die. To try and save it the noble samurai warrior woman is forced to humble herself at the feet of the local daimyo but he just ridicules her and takes the family estate for himself. According to the samurai code of bushido, there is only one thing left for - vengeance. So she plots to take revenge for all the action of the greedy noble lord and revenge against the men who wanted to buy her and keep her as their slave. Just like the praying mantis, she lures her enemies into a sense of safety before taking her revenge.

This was a more dramatic and involved story than the first book in the series as Keiko was busy plotting and doing what she could in order to punish the men she saw as doing her harm. Some of her behaviours were genius and she was very clever, but some of the things that she did were a bit strange. Sadly against she wasn't the nicest person towards her lover even when he was there let alone while he was away working - not sure he will appreciate some of what she has been up to when he returns. I loved the feel of this Japanese world with all the customs and behaviours. An enjoyable read that becomes addictive.

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Review: Vampire CEO (New Orleans After Dark Book 1) by Erin R. Bedford 4 of 5 stars

Vampire CEO Vampire CEO (New Orleans After Dark Book 1) by Erin R. Bedford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Witch Abigail was thrown out of her coven and had to go into the normal human world and get a real job. She has no skills outside of the witch's skills so magics her details slightly so she can get employment as the Secretary of the CEO at Midnight Pharmaceutical. But something strange is going on at the company as her hot boss keeps odd hours with women leaving his office every day. Can she find out what is going on or will her boss work out what she is by taking a bite out of her?

This was a fun story with a building romance between a witch and a vampire - where their attraction to each other overrode the natural instinct for the two races to avoid each other. I grew to like him a lot more than I did her in the end as she seemed to be very flighty and unreliable the way she blew hot and cold with him. It was well told and everything was clear and easy to understand.

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Thursday, 12 September 2019

Review: Firefly by India Millar 4 of 5 stars

Firefly Firefly by India Millar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Japan, a Samurai was the highest level of a warrior and they followed the bushido code of honour. Through the centuries samurai women fought alongside their men but they no longer exist and are considered a myth. Keiko is an exception to that belief and as an ugly younger sister she was tolerated and fated to run errands for her beautiful older sister and obey her father (when he acknowledged her existence). That all changed when her older brother thought it would be funny to teach her the ills and martial-arts of the onna-bugeisha (female samurai). Before long the pupil excelled the master and it became clear the legend of the onna-bugeisha was real.

This was a fascinating story that did its best to explain all the Japanese names, customs and words. Some of the sexual words were a little odd (trunk being an example) but generally, it was a fascinating story. I did find the older sister irritating (which I'm sure was intended), the brother was a typical cocky young male, but Keiko was a weird mixture of determination, foolishness and confidence. Very enjoyable story that opened up a new world to me.

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Review: Free To Love by Maggie Mundy 3 of 5 stars

Free To Love Free To Love by Maggie Mundy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

18-year-old Marie and her two younger brothers came to America to live with their aunt however instead of an answer to prayers they found themselves at the hands of an aggressive drunkard of an uncle which came to a head after their aunt dies. In desperation, Marie liberates the car her aunt used to drive and leave. Widow Robert Connor has a small child and believes that love is no longer something he can have - that is until he stumbles across Marie when their lives are going to change forever.

This is a sweet short story which sets the scene for the Connor Clan series of books by the same author as she explains how the grandparents at the head of the Connor Clan met. A pleasant read.

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Review: Burning Violet by Kallysten 4 of 5 stars

Burning Violet Burning Violet by Kallysten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pyromancer Idris has been in a government detention centre for paranormal abilities for the last 5 months. But he decides no more - he will try once again to escape or die trying. Anyone who gets in his way he will set on fire! For phoenix shifter Violet, it was just another mission to help her squad free paras who have been unjustly imprisoned and get them to Sanctuary and safety. But she draws her leaders ire when she realises that one of the prisoners might be her mate where she has to choose between duty and destiny. Idris then has only one thought - revenge against the person who betrayed him to the authorities - he is fine when Violet tags along (after all he has been celibate for months) but when he realises why she is interested in him he can't run away fast enough - danger on his own is preferable to love.

This was a powerful shifter story with drama, danger, passion and love in spades as the story unfolded of how Idris and Violet found each other. I loved the detail of the paranormal skills of both of them and the coolness of what they could achieve. Their coming together was very passionate as they struggled to come to terms with being together as mates as well as the danger they were finding themselves in. Well written and very enjoyable.

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Review: Lucas by Dale Mayer 4 of 5 stars

Lucas Lucas by Dale Mayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A retiring K9 Tophat was accidentally sent to Canada in a batch of rescue dogs and Lucas agrees to look for him during a visit to his sister (who leaves near to his ex-fiancee too). However, he finds that he was handed over to a trainer who deals with aggressive dogs and when he arrives at the property he finds himself in the brutal world of dogfighting. Tanya used to share her flat with her two best friends but one has been killed in a hit-and-run and one is badly injured and in a coma. As part of re-evaluating her life, she realised how much she had missed - including Lucas. So seeing him there again has completely flipped her world. As Lucas tries to find Tophat the dogfighting world starts to protect their own.

This was both a heartbreaking story with all the danger and abuse that the dogs were going through but heartwarming as well as Lucas fought to do the best he could for them ensuring they had medical attention and freedom. It was also sweet to see how Lucas and Tanya worked to resolve their differences talking through everything that had happened and trying to keep each other alive in the face of such sustained attacks from the dogfighting world. Well written and very enjoyable it was a charming story with a HEA at the end. You did not have to read the previous books in the series.

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Sunday, 8 September 2019

Review: Soul Fire by Nazri Noor 5 of 5 stars

Soul Fire Soul Fire by Nazri Noor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Darkling Mage Dustin Graves is in grave danger - the most powerful witch of the century (at least) has awakened, the all-father Odin has promised wrath and once again the Dark Room is open again as an inferno of rage in his heart. The Great Beasts may hold te key to taming his wild magic and ending Agatha Black's reign. Failure would mean the end via fire, shadows or the lingering madness in the corners of the Dark. Can this snarky mage with an inability to keep his mouth shut survive (and can the world survive too)?

This is a story full of danger, drama, intrigue and confusion as Dustin strive to try his best to work out what is going on, how to survive and handle everything that is being thrown at him (and those he loves)? Will the world survive? Can he gain help from the gods and skills to handle everything that is thrown at him? There are so many dramas and dangers as well as encounters with ancient beings as the story progresses still with no sign of a final conclusion. We certainly learn a little more about his purpose even though it is still not completely clear. Well written and very enjoyable, I think it would be far more enjoyable if you have read the previous books in the series first.

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