I love reading! Well, I suppose you worked that out from the title of this site, didn’t you?

I read flash fiction, short stories, novelettes, novels, full-length books and am quite fond of book series too.

I also read most genres, though there are some I am more likely to read than others, but hey, I will give pretty much anything a go!  You never know when you are about to uncover a hidden gem.  Unless you read it, you don’t know if you will love it…and that is part of the magic of books.

I like to do what I can to support indie authors (I’m one myself), so if you would like me to review your book / story, just get in touch:-)

If you have any suggestions, recommendations or review requests, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Have a great day!

To learn more about me, read my about page.  To see what I’ve already reviewed, visit the A-Z review index.

Novella Review: Vastian Lore by S.C. Gregory

vastian lore by s c gregory

This novella is packed full with as much action and plot as a full length novel, so as to not give too much of the story away, I thought I would give you the story description in the author’s own words rather than my own for a change, for fear of spoilers.

Sometimes taking the job means betraying family…

Turns out Norarl is fine with that, once he accepts that his whole life has been a lie.

His half-sister wants him dead.  His twin brother would only be too happy to help her succeed, but they also want more than just his murder.

Arius and Zadraal will do everything in their power to free an army whose sole purpose is to destroy all life not like their own.  The only problem?

To break the magical seal of the Gate of N’sumenel requires the sacrifice of an Earthbound Elemental.

The real test will be if Norarl cares enough about his new-found allies to fight alongside them?

The first thing I want to talk about is the cover.  I think the artwork looks amazing.  The style and colours work so well with the story and it makes you want to pick up the book and skim through the pages.

Next, the world the author has created is full of description and a level of depth that shows she knows this world inside out.  From the rules that govern magic and the creatures that are found in the story, to the knowledge of the religion and the world’s history, even the names of the characters, which are pronounceable (unlike some fantasy worlds where the author is trying to do something different and stand out), there is no question of consistency and continuity from the beginning of the story to the end.

What I liked most about the story was the banter and interaction between Norarl, Zaria, Leso and Orlan.  As a group, they worked really well together. Norarl is a very interesting character with a complex backstory and as I worked my way through the book, I couldn’t help but wonder how things were going to end.

The pace of the story is fast and fuelled with high energy action (and humour).  The story and the world it is set in certainly captures the imagination and the twists in the plot will keep you guessing at what will happen next.  And as for the end, it is intriguing and does a great job of setting the scene for what is to follow.

I would definitely read more by this author.  She has a flair for wordsmithery, as she has shown in her vivid descriptions.  If you like steampunk fantasy and story that you can sink your teeth into, I can’t recommend Vastian Lore highly enough.  It’s a great read that I read in one sitting simply because I couldn’t put it down.

I received a free signed copy of Vastian Lore by S.C. Gregory from a giveaway run on the author’s blog.  You can learn more about S.C. Gregory by visiting her blog, here.  You can purchase a copy of Vastian Lore, as a kindle book or a paperback via Amazon.

Book Review: Focus by Sarah Doughty

Focus is the second book in the Earthen Witch series by Sarah Doughty.

When Aisling Green wakes up, she realises two things: that she has been captured by the Kramer Scholars and that her powerful, intense magic is not working like it should.  As she undergoes a bout of torture at the hands of this strange, ancient sect, she knows that she must survive so that she can find Conner and escape before they both end up dead.

To complicate matters further, not only are they being pursued by a well-connected, well-funded, almost military-style paranormal eradication group, someone has summoned a very dark, very dangerous demon.  And the only person strong enough to fight it is Aisling, with her powers of an Earthen Witch.

But, when the demon is getting stronger and stronger by the day, will they be able to find it in time before it can reach ascension.  If they can’t, a lot of people are going to die and the world will be destroyed.

Focus picks up the story line where the first book in the series, Just Breathe, finished off, and it does so seamlessly.

It was nice to see a bit of the world beyond that which we saw in Just Breathe with this instalment, illustrating that the rules that govern this Earthen Witch world are widespread.  The story is full of energy and action, and the pace quick; there is never a dull moment in these books.

As well as the supernatural creatures from the first story (vampires, werewolves, witches and fairies), we are introduced to a new one this time round, though I won’t say any more.  Suffice to say that with so many different characters and creatures, the story is always moving forward with drama and excitement.

I think that the idea that someone’s power and magic stems from love is an interesting theme that runs through this series.  And, as the relationship between Aisling and Conner intensifies, there are a few more adult scenes in this book than the first one.

A lot of pressure rests on poor Aisling’s shoulders and as she has her own personal battles to fight as well as everything else, it is easy to get caught up in the emotions she is feeling and experiencing.  However, the group she has around her – Connor, Liam, Shadow and Angela – are a great supporting cast.

I will be adding the other stories from the Earthen Witch world (including a couple of short stories as well as another novel) to be my TBR.  And I can’t wait to read them.  This series is just so addictive and so well-written.  Paranormal romance at its best:-)

I downloaded a copy of Focus by Sarah Doughty for free from Smashwords.

Book Review: Just Breathe by Sarah Doughty

Just Breathe is the first book in the Earthen Witch series by Sarah Doughty.

Aisling Green has been having a tough time all her life, but a new tough chapter begins when she turns 21.  However, not long after, her grandmother dies and she loses the only family she’s got left and the only one it seemed that had any answers for her.  As a coping mechanism she forces herself not to feel anything.  The only one she will let get close is her friend, Angela, a librarian in the town where she lives.

As she goes about trying to find the answers about what she is, and failing, she is attacked by a dark witch.  Thankfully, the handsome Connor, a light witch, is close by and he rescues her.  Only then, with his help, does she finally discover what she is and what she can do.

But things are not that simple.  Word spreads that an Earthen Witch walks the earth for the first time in three hundred years, and she very quickly comes to understand that people want her dead and will stop at nothing to make it so.  Can she learn how to master the power inside of her before her enemies catch up with them?  And can she protect her friends, the only family she now has left?

I can’t believe how much I loved this book.  I loved it so much that I am almost finished the second book in the series, Focus (look out for that review over the next couple of days).

The book is extremely well written, and each chapter flows nicely on to the next.  The characters the author has created are truly engaging, be they witches, vampires, werewolves, or any other supernatural being, or human.  They simply bring the story to life and what helps is that she has taken these paranormal creatures and made them her own, creating her own set of rules for how they and their magic function.  This makes the book such a refreshing read.

As for detail and description, the story is rich and vivid and consistent throughout.   It is hard not to empathise with Aisling as we discover her traumatic past.  Equally, it is hard not to root for her and her friends as she and they have been through so much.

If you enjoy paranormal romance, I highly recommend giving this a read.  The book manages to capture the imagination from within the first few pages and holds on until you reach the end.  And if you are anything like me, it will compel you to go and start reading book two in the series before you’ve even written the review of the first one!  If this book is anything to go by, this will be an amazing series and I’m looking forward to read the other stories set in this amazing world.  This book is definitely one of my favourite books of the year so far.

I downloaded Just Breathe by Sarah Doughty for free from Smashwords.  I hope you do too:-)

Short Story Review: The Dragon Maker by Elizabeth Baxter

Far off in the future, art is dead.  Some believe that it is no longer needed for technology provides all one could wish for.  But one man, the world’s last artist, is trying to save the world with one of his paintings.  But can one painting really change anything?

This was a very interesting fantasy read, with overtones of a dystopian, end-of-the-world theme running in the background.  This subplot was nicely filtered through the story, revealing a little bit here and little bit there as the story unfolded but never eclipsing the artist and his art.

I was quite struck that there was only the one last surviving artist to be found in the world, as well as how art and being creative was perceived in this society.  The question about how much one should suffer for their art also arises; if one needs complete isolation to bring a creative work to life, is being alone worth it in the end?

I found this short story very engaging and very unique in its story line.  The description, especially of the painting, had a way of pulling you further into the story.  I don’t think I have read anything quite like this before, making it a refreshing read.

This was definitely an interesting short story and it had a dragon.  I love dragons.

I downloaded a copy of The Dragon Maker by Elizabeth Baxter for free from Smashwords.

Short Story Review: Real Lies by Liana Brooks

When a dead body turns up in La Jolla Cove, Kristin’s Saturday morning lie-in is ruined.  As rescue divers, Kristin and her partner are called out to recover the body.

Only, when they are out on the water, things suddenly and unexpectedly change…

Real Lies is an interesting short story, perfect for a coffee-break or lunch-time read.

The author manages to get a lot into the short space of the story, including enough description to set the scene and enough characterisation that the reader can imagine Kristin and what is going on around her.  I am usually quite good at predicting twists in storylines but the one in this short story came as a total surprise.  I didn’t see that coming at all.

This was a very quick read with a great twist.  I recommend giving this a read; the twist on its own will make it worth it.

I downloaded a copy of Real Lies by Liana Brooks for free from Smashwords.

Only One More Sleep To Go…

…Before Indie Only 2016 begins!  Yay!

Indie OnlyI have been busily catching up with all my non-indie reviews so that I can dedicate myself fully to this fun reading challenge.  Yes, it is one of the highlights of my book-reading year:-)

I am still accepting review requests.  If you are interested in seeing your work – whether you have posted it to a blog or published it as an ebook – reviewed on this site, check out this post for details.

Looking forward to hearing from you and sharing what amazing Indie works I have discovered this year.  I have a feeling that July is going to be a great month!

Book Review: Fade Out by Rachel Caine

fade out front coverFade Out is the seventh book in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

With dramatic changes occurring to a now free Morganville, things slowly begin to settle back into normal life – or as normal as they will ever be in a town where humans and vampires live side-by-side.  For Claire Danvers that means that her studies once more become her main priority.

But even when things are nice and quiet, Claire can’t help but make enemies.  Only this time, the person who has taken exception to her is neither human nor vampire.

To top things off, a possible reality TV project threatens to undo everything that Morganville has so far managed to achieve – including keeping the town’s secret, that vampires are real, hidden from the outside world.

Will Morganville ever know what it’s like to live in peace for more than a few days at once?

This was probably the strangest and most fantastical of the books in this series so far.  It might be for this reason that I was able to bring my Morganville Vampires binge to a halt after this instalment, so that I could let all that I read up to this point sink in.  After all, this is such a well crafted series, and there is so much information to absorb.

In this book, we focus quite a lot on someone from Myrnin’s past; a woman called Ada, and she is, to say the least…peculiar.  Yet, given the circumstances, her strange ways are understandable.  And this is Morganville.  No-one is quite what you could describe as normal.

The character of Ada coupled with the very modern notion of reality TV and this book, all of a sudden, becomes quite a unique read, and sets it apart from the previous six books.

I will be returning to the Morganville Vampires series later this year, when I look forward to reading book eight, Kiss of Death.  But first, July is Indie Only Month and August is Historical Fiction Month so we will be having a few months break from Morganville.