Tuesday 25 April 2017


Title: From Darkest Skies
Author: Sam Peters
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: 16th February 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
After a five year sabbatical following the tragic death of his wife and fellow agent Alysha, Keona Rause returns to the distant colony world of Magenta to resume service with the Magentan Intelligence Service. With him he brings an artificial recreation of his wife's personality, a simulacrum built from every digital trace she left behind. She has been constructed with one purpose - to discover the truth behind her own death - but Keona's relationship with her has grown into something more, something frighteningly dependent, something that verges on love.
Cashing in old favours, Keona uses his return to the Service to take on a series of cases that allow him and the artificial Alysha to piece together his wife's last days. His investigations lead him inexorably along the same paths Alysha followed five years earlier, to a sinister and deadly group with an unhealthy fascination for the unknowable alien Masters; but as the wider world of Magenta is threatened with an imminent crisis, Keona finds himself in a dilemma: do his duty and stand with his team to expose a villainous crime, or sacrifice them all for the truth about his wife?



How long did it take you to write From Darkest Skies, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Such a simple question, such a complicated answer…

From the point of having a fully formed set of ideas on the world, the characters and the overall arc of their stories, it took about nine months including a few gaps between rewrites; but that starting point was a very long way away from where the original ideas grew. Parts of the world of Magenta, parts of some of the characters and a few nuggets of the plot go back years to a table-top role-playing game set on Magenta where the players were the local equivalent of the FBI investigating crimes with a slightly occult twist. A lot has changed in the evolution of those ideas into something that works as a coherent story – there was no Alysha back then, the sinister secret of Settlement 64 was something quite different and so were the Masters – but I think the world will still be very recognisable to those of us who played in that game.

Then there was probably six months of back and forth while I settled on a plot before the actual writing started. That took quite a while to get right.

Where did you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
All sorts of places. I think the theme of grief and coping with loss that runs through the story certainly has a lot to do with a death in the family. The idea that bringing someone back from the sum of everything they left behind doesn’t necessarily bring back quite the person you remember owes something to the dementia they suffered in their last year and to a couple of people I’ve known who’ve gone through intense trauma and come out the other side changed. I think those things gave me the desire to write story about how our ideas and memories of the people we know aren’t necessarily the people they actually are.

Then there’s the more superficial plot which unashamedly owes a lot to the noir thrillers of the forties and fifties. The fact that a passing character is called Royja Bhatti might betray a love of Bladerunner but really that’s already noir dressed up as SF; and while the replicants of Bladerunner offer a parallel to Liss, I think she owes at least as much to Frankenstein. Throw in some Twin Peaks, X-Files (I’m showing my age here I know), some Scandi-Crime (The Killing and The Bridge in particular) and a really good conspiracy thriller like State of Play and you’re about there.

The Masters probably owe something to Chaoseum’s interpretation of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos for the sense of something unknown and unknowable.

How did you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book? Who designed the Cover of your books?
I wasn't conscious of this at the time but it’s the title of a My Dying Bride album which I suspect lodged somewhere in my mind better than the music ever did. I know I knew that particular album once. I suspect my subconscious pulled a fast one, latched onto the theme and pulled it out of deep storage without telling me where it came from.

The Gollancz art department did the cover. The cover image is by James Macey. The closest I got to any say in the matter was suggesting a riff on the iconic image of Maria from Metropolis:

Did you basic plot/plan for From Darkest Skies, before you actually began writing it out? Or did you let the writing flow and see where it took the story?
A bit of both. I think there are two very different sides to From Darkest Skies. On the one hand the plot very much aims at being a crime/conspiracy thriller. I think that to make a thriller work you need to know exactly who did what and why and what clues are there to be found in order to unravel the mystery; then you need to give thought to the order in which the clues need to be found to unravel the mystery in the right way, pacing little breakthroughs with bigger ones and mixing in the odd red herring. I find for that side of things it helps me to lay out that backstory in quite a lot of detail – but the rest tends to be more a case of letting the story flow to see what happens, particularly with characters. They start to talk and act and come alive and often turn out not to be quite the people I thought they were once I start to write them. Then whenever the story feels like it needs to twist or slow or make a breakthrough I go back to my careful plan and look at all the clues that might have been left behind and pick the one that seems to fit best.

The result is usually a mess and takes several rewrites to get right.

Could you ever see a time in the world’s future that could actual recreate a person?
It’s the strangest thing: if you’d asked me that before I started From Darkest Skies then I think I would have said yes. Writing the story (and some of the rather peripheral research provoked by it) has convinced me that no, I can’t. I can certainly foresee a time when it’s possible to recreate a convincing simulation of a person, even a specific one… but that’s what it would be: a simulation. We all have our secrets and you can’t recreate something you don’t know exists. A true recreation akin to resurrection? No.

If recreating someone you lost was an available technology would you ever do it?
I don’t think they’d ever be quite the same person (as From Darkest Skies starts to explore and we're back to Frankenstein again). I’m not sure I'd want the responsibility of creating life and I’m not sure I could find the hubris to bring a new life into being purely to service my own needs. Again another topic I wouldn’t ever have given much thought until I started writing about it.

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Friday 21 April 2017


Title: The Scent Of Rain
Author: Anne Montgomery
Genre: General Fiction, Teens & YA
Publisher: Treehouse Publishing
Release Date: 4th April 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away. 

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl--Rose--running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father's age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?


I am quite fascinated with learning about different cultures and ways of life, and find the TV programs about the FLDS, Mormons, Amish, Polygamists etc fascinating. Some people call these organisations, and refer to these as cults, where others would call them religions or "ways of life". I find the people that take part in these programs intriguing. So when I read the blurb of this book, it did immediately grab my attention. I was also interested that the author Anne Montgomery had spoken to Flora Jessop, who escaped this way of life twice and who now helps others that want to leave these communities.

The cover shows a young female  kind of hiding behind her long blonde hair. This female I would say is a good representation of Rose - one the main characters in the book. The title doesn't really give a great deal of information about the book or its contents but as you finish you reading you understand why it is the title. I'd say that "The Scent of Rain" represents the fact that the rain washes things away, both physically and metaphorically within the book. The title is a way of saying that the bad things can be washed away for Rose, Adan and even to an extent Brooke and that they can start anew. 

I would say this book has more than just one main character. There is 16 year old Rose, who has been born into a branch the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that still practiced polygamy and were situated in Colorado City, near a small town called Hurricane. We meet Rose as she is down at the creek, she knows she should hurry home back to her chores but cannot resist putting her bare feet in the creek and wading in the cool water enjoying the sunshine first. When she returns home she knows she will be in trouble and she is severely punished by her mother Bliss. Bliss calls her daughter recalcitrant, (rebellious & unruly) and insists her daughter should remain clean and tidy at all times and dress and behave in line with the requirements of their Prophet, Eldon Higbee. Bliss regularly quotes the following to Rose "Dirty clothes prove one harbours dirty thoughts!"
Women and young girls should dress in a certain style of dress, that is to be made in a plain pastel colour and have a high neck, cover the arms and reach the ankles. The women are told to never cut their hair but to braid and roll it up high in their head. When Rose cannot confirm with all these stringent requirements it is common for her mother to strike her repeatedly with a wooden spoon, slap and strike her and put her in a small, dark room within her mothers closet, leaving her with no food or water. Rose's father, Logan Madsen stands by as his daughters are punished, just telling Bliss "Don't mark the face, mother!" A mark on the face would reduce Rose's potential to be married. One of Rose's regular chores is to wash and dress her younger sister Daisy. Sadly Daisy is disabled both mentally and physically, she has a genetic condition caused by the inter breeding of bloodlines within their community, called Fumarase Deficiency.
The community was originally created by just two families, the Barlows and the Jessops, and with the practice of polygamy and relatives marrying relatives, it has caused lots of birth defects. Later in the book a character called Dr Chase Allred actually attempts to explain the problems and how to prevent further genetic problems to the community but is just ignored as the people blindly believe that God wants them to live and procreate in this way. Any child that is born disabled is considered a punishment from God, sort of a "cross to bear" and be hidden away. God sends them to remind them to strive to be better, to reach their goal of one day joining him in the celestial kingdom. Everyone thinks that Daisy is stupid and doesn't know what is going on around her. Yet, on at least three occasions she shows she understands what is going on around and that in her own way she can communicate. When Rose washes Daisy she loves to splash in the water. Daisy also attempts to communicate with a little parakeet that was found and put in her room. It is the little parakeet and the fact the Prophet Eldon Higbee orders all pets and animals that are not working ones or for food must be killed by the person who owns them. There is an horrific scene where Logan and Bliss demand Rose help them place the parakeet in Daisy's hands so that they can move her hands and kill the animal! I won't reveal exactly what happens but the result is Rose running away.
I love that no matter what is done to Rose throughout the book she still keeps her spirit and she certainly needs that and a whisper of hope to survive everything that is thrown at her in this book.
Another character I love is 17 year old Adan, who is also running away, but is lucky to be found dehydrated and barely concious by Trak Benally. Trak was a medic in the army and his best friend is Dr Chase Allred. Between them they care for the mystery boy who tells them he is already 18 and is called Andy. Adan has no idea about the polygamist community nearby, yet become curious about Rose when he glimpses her on a few occasions. They end up together at one point, both trying to help the other within some really scary situations, but I won't go into those.
Another character in the book who I initially disliked but then in the end felt a little pity and sympathy towards was Marshal Sterling Buttars who is supposed to be head of the law enforcement for the area. However Sterling Buttars is a member of the community ruled by Prophet Eldon Higbee. So when problems arise and the Prophet orders them to be "taken care of" Sterling Buttars does as he is told as he is afraid of not getting into the celestial kingdom, or even having his wives taken away and being banished. 
Logan Madsen has two wives and they are striving to please the Prophet so that he will assign them another wife. As when you have three wives and are procreating regularly you are almost guaranteed your place in the celestial kingdom with God! Though this doesn't excuse his behaviour and turning a blind eye to the harsh treatment of his daughters it reveals what his reasoning and motivation is. 
When Sterling Buttar has to kill his pet dog he begins to resent the Prophet and his orders. Then when his youngest and third wife, Bonnie is found dead with her head and face battered he cannot just hide the crime. He ends up having to face up to what has happened and eventually the shock of who has killed Bonnie!
Brooke, the new child protection officer continues to come to dead ends in all the cases she has to pick up from the last person in the job. The majority of the reports were made by a man called Bob Wayland, a science teacher at the school. However Prophet Eldon Higbee has decreed that all the children should be home schooled and it appears that Bob has disappeared into thin air. Though there are plenty of little hints as to what may have happened to him when the school closed.
I could seriously go on and on about this book, it felt like a whole book series compacted into one book! The Scent of Rain covers so much, from the cult like community of polygamists continuing traditions that are not supposed still be happening, to the "outsiders" that live in the surrounding area. Then there's the different plots within the book, of a runaway boy called Adan hiding something, a young woman called Brooke who is harbouring her own secret and has just moved to the area to take over the job of Child Protection Services, to a man undercover in the area looking into unsolved disappearances in the area. This does sound a lot and makes you wonder how it all dovetails together but it really does. Almost everything leads back to the cult like society with its secrets and what some would call strange ways and traditions. 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, though did find myself on occasion being irritated when the chapters changed and we moved onto something happening with another character when I wanted to stay with the one whose story I was engrossed in. It's a shame that this is a standalone book as I would have loved to read more about both Rose and Adan. As well as learning what happened to the characters that remain in the polygamist community, and those outsiders who have vowed to help anyone who wishes to escape as well as uncovering what happened to those people that just disappeared.
My immediate thoughts when finishing the book were, that is was an intriguing yet shocking story. This author has done extensive research into the culture and ways of life of those depicted in the book. It certainly makes you think twice about the poor children born into this way of life, and the fact they have little choice but to do as they are told.
I also want to add that this isn't a book you read and switch off from. It is thought provoking, both whilst you are reading it and after finishing it. I find it incredible to think that there could quite possibly be children out there in the same sort of position as Rose right now! Then thinking about Adan and his character is also a realistic story line today. We think, or I know I would like to think we live in a civilized society but the realism in this book and many other realistic fiction books certainly proves you don't know exactly what is happening behind closed doors! The Scent Of Rain is a book that stays with you, that you continue to think about long after finishing to read it. 

Tuesday 18 April 2017


Title: Exiled
Series: Phoebe Meadows
Author: Amanda Carlson
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Mythology
Release Date: 24th March 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
Phoebe Meadows is on trial for her life.

After freeing her half-brother, Baldur, Phoebe is set to stand before the Council in Asgard to answer for her actions. The threat of exile if she’s found guilty looms, not to mention the added stress of meeting her real father for the first time.

Upon entering Asgard, Phoebe discovers new allies in a half-brother she’s never met as well as an oracle who is in possession of valuable information. A little added help couldn’t have come at a better time, because when Phoebe is tossed into an unknown realm, she’s only armed with Gundren, a jewel, and her wits.

When Loki shows up, all bets are off. The trickster god throws a wrench in Phoebe’s plans and kidnaps Fen, her only ally. And just when she thinks she sees the light at the end of the tunnel, Phoebe finds she has to defeat one last obstacle: The Norns.

And they aren’t planning to go down without a fight…


As I am approaching reading this book I am looking forward to reading a book that I know from the experience of reading the two prior books in the series, will be action packed. I have so many questions from finishing Freed running around in my head. Such as what will the result and sentencing of Fenrir and Phobe. . .will they be given a fair trial? What will Frigg want as revenge for Phoebe freeing her son Baldur that ultimately led to his death? I also wonder if Odin will try or be able to lessen any charges or there consequences for the daughter he has yet to meet? I've noticed in the blurb another half brother is mentioned, what will he be like. . . Baldur was good and supported Phoebe but not all half brothers will be the same...And one of my big questions is Will Fenrir and Phoebe be exiled together?Or will part of their punishment be that they are separated?

So the cover is dominated by the figure of Phoebe brandishing her power through Gundren, her twin swords. You can see the power bursting forth from Gundren.  The Cover background colour is orange which to me suggest fighting, perhaps in another realm . . like hell maybe, certainly not a wholly great or safe place. Also the small black bird once again features on this cover, is he carrying a message or help from his master Odin to Phoebe?
The by line on the cover is "Lightening strikes Eternal" so I guess the exact meaning of that will be revealed upon reading the book. This book cover fits well with the rest of the series (hmmm *sighs dreamily* look fantastic together on a book shelf) yet has its own colour and elements too. As with the rest of the series, my opinion is this book will shout out from the bookstore shelves.

So we left Freed with Phoebe having to go to Asgard to face court and sentencing as well as facing Frigg who holds her totally responsible for the death of her son, Baldur.
When Fenrir, Phoebe, Tyr, Sam, Leela, Ingrid, Rae and some other Valkyries arrive via Ringhorn the ship that previously belonged to Baldur. (Baldur had left Ringhorn to Tyr.) When the group arrive at Asgard they have to wait to be inspected prior to being allowed into Asgard. There's plenty of posturing between Reggie the head of the guard and his cousin Rae, a Valkyrie accompanying Phoebe. Eventually it is agreed that the Valkyries could march along with Reggie and the Guard taking Phoebe and Fenrir through the streets of Asgard. The crowd is hostile believing what they have been told be the Norns, Verdandi and Skuld who have arrived early for the trial. Most people believe that the word of the Norns is always honest and in the best interest for everyone. Even though the Phoebe, Fenrir and the Valkyrie, etc know that the Norns can, and do lie to benefit themselves. Phoebe is shocked by the appearance of the Asgardian people on the streets. They are certainly not what she expected as the women in particular are dressed in a more old fashioned style, with women in Phoebe also realises that the Asgardians are also more conservative in their ways than she had thought they would be too.
The first compromise Phoebe has to make, is the fact that once at the gates of the jail she has to leave her mother and the majority of her friends behind. Only Tyr is allowed to accompany Phoebe and Fenrir inside. Tyr explains that Fenrir will be taken to a cell to await trial as he has escaped on many occasions and considered unstable. It is hoped that Phoebe will be able to return outside and stay with the rest of her friends and family with Valkyrie Ingrid and her family as Ingrid has organised. Phoebe also has to relinquish her swords/Gundren to Tyr for safe keeping. Tyr promises to make sure they are returned to her prior to her being exiled. Both Phoebe and Fenrir hope that they will be sent to Helheim together but the details of their exile still remain uncertain. Their fate is quite literally in the hands of Frigg. As far as Frigg is concerned it is Phoebe who killed her son. Phoebe and those that stand for her plead her innocence, and swear to the fact that Baldur was killed by Vervandi throwing a mistletoe dart straight through his heart. Frigg will not listen and still blames Phoebe for freeing Baldur from his prison, saying that led to his death.
The task Phoebe and Fenrir are given is to go to Helheim and and convince Hel to allow Baldur to return to Asgard. Odin cannot be seen to favour either Phoebe or Fenrir in any way. He must appear to remain impartial.

One of the scenes I loved most in the book was when Hugin leads Phoebe to the secret, private meeting with her father, Odin. In amongst all the angst and worry of the trial, it is a brilliant scene of their first meeting. As they part Odin does warn his daughter that he will appear a totally different man in the courtroom to prepare her. 
As usual things never really go to plan for Phoebe, she had an inkling her trial would not be a particularly fair one as Frigg has already decided upon her guilt. The scene in the courtroom is all set for a fair trial, with people to speak up on her behalf, of course things are going badly so, Phoebe attempts to speak up for herself. Frigg doesn't want to hear the truth she is a grieving mother and wishes to blame the young Valkyrie standing in front of her so it's off to Helheim for Phoebe! When she arrives in Helheim before Fenrir which was the original rough plan she has to adapt quickly and has to go it alone for a while. 

We meet Hel for the first time who is daughter of Loki so sister to Fenrir, though you don't really see much family love from any of them. Though Phoebe has a set plan, she has to change it often and let it evolve as the circumstances are continually changing, rather like fate is also constantly changing. Of course we also have more from the Norns in this book too. They certainly seem to have their own agenda and Phoebe is the one thorn in their side! There's lots of trickery, rumours and gossip going on in Asgard, which has Phoebe having to be very careful about who she trusts and gives the Valkyries a difficult job of guarding her too.

A new character I loved was Vali, a quieter character but a very loyal one who has an important task and becomes embroiled in Phoebes mission.
An old favourite character that we've already met is Sam who is once again feisty and fearless when trying to protect her best friend Phoebe. Sam is still loved up with Tyr and he is finding out that she is not a "sweet, mild, quiet" woman who wishes to stay home and have babies. Sam is independent and I think if given the chance would possibly become a Valkyrie like Phoebe! Another plot theme running throughout the book is the fact that Sam seems to be changing whilst being in Asgard, and at the very end of the book we do get a suggestion of both what she may be and what her heritage/parentage is. I'm hoping for more of that in the next book! 

I also enjoyed learning more about Asgard and the authors descriptions of Phoebe's surroundings helps you visual them.  Grete's house sounds so . . . . well the words cute, endearing, and charming don't cover it. Asgard sounds idyllic, picturesque, and quaint. I loved the description of the renaissance style clothes the women wear. Only Valkyries wear trousers! Valkyries fight until they retire to find a mate and have children. Though if the future of Valkyries can be influenced and their "rules" changed I think Phoebe could be at the centre of the changes along with her mother Leela and grandmother Grete.

So that's as specific I am going to get for now, as I don't want to spoil your own reading of the book! I will say Mythology is not a genre I would immediately think of reading, and some I have tried I haven't been so keen on but I love this series by Amanda Carlson. There is lots of action, adventure, mishaps and mayhem in this book to be enjoyed! If you love mythology, then this is definitely for you! But even if you are not in love with the mythological genre

My final thoughts as I finished reading the book late the other evening were . . . Wow! another fantastic book about Phoebe Meadows our favourite kick butt Asgardian. Lots of action, lots of plot twists, loved it......when can we have the next one Amanda Carlson? I love Phoebe Meadows & Jessica McClain & I am eagerly waiting to meet Holly Danger too!

Friday 14 April 2017


Previously published with a different publisher

Title: Wolf Unbound
Series: Cascadia Wolves
Author: Lauren Dane
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 1st February 2017

BLURB from Netgalley
The Cascadia Wolves will do anything to protect their own. Tegan Warden knows that better than anyone. The Pack closed ranks around her years ago when her mate died, and much as she appreciates their support, it's time to move on. That means dating—and for Tegan, it also means finding someone who understands her needs in the bedroom. 

Finding Ben.

The dominant human may not be a wolf, but he makes Tegan shiver from their first encounter. He knows what she needs and doesn't hesitate to give it to her. What's more, they share a bond beyond sex. It's been years since any man has made her feel so alive, so beautiful and desired. 

But there's an enemy working against the Cascadia Wolves, an enemy gathering forces to strike. The looming war is a threat to wolves and humans alike, and if they can't stop it, the love that Tegan and Ben have worked so hard to find may not be enough to protect them from what's coming. 


Having loved the books and novella's previously to this one, and loving the Warden family and their pack I am definitely looking forward to reading this book. I am hoping that Wolf Unbound returns to the more plot driven styles of Reluctant Mate and Pack Enforcer or maybe about the same level of steam as Wolves' Triad but no more thanks! I am totally loving the pack side just the steaminess was beginning to take over in Wolves'Triad.too much for my personal reading taste.

I was not sure if I could read past the rather racier parts of this book to get to the Cascadia pack characters that I love, and back to the Warren Pellini situation. I did originally have to DNF this book even though I adore the characters, especially the characters that are in the Cascadia Wolf Pack. I think the dynamic of the Warden family is brilliant and love discovering more about each character as the books continue the series.

I like the cover once again it adds to the cohesiveness with the wolf and forest scene at the bottom of the book. The couple at the upper part of the book, do a good job of representing the characters of Ben and Tegan. It would certainly encourage me to pick the book up from a bookstore shelf to learn more about it.

This book fits in the paranormal, fantasy genre, but it also crosses the line into the erotica genre too. As I have said throughout this review I much preferred the paranormal, fantasy, werewolves aspects of the book.

With this book it feels like there are two books kinda smushed together....there's the werwolf/shifter romance side that in this book rapidly became more explicit to the point I didn't want to read those parts. Having said that there was the other side of the book on how the packs are trying to unify and work together to find out if Warren Pellini has the Lycanthropy virus and finally oust him from the rather comfortable niche he has created for himself within the National Pack. As much as I didn't particularly want to read the steamier side of the book I really was intrigued and wanted to read paranormal & Warren Pellini situation.

I left the book for a day or so, then started thinking I may try to pick this one back up at at a later time, as I do love the plot and pack side of the books. I feel I was missing out, not reading the rest of the book to discover what happened with the Warden family, Cascadia Wolf pack and the increasingly dangerous and unpredictable situation with Warren Pellini. To be totally truthful it was just the Dominant/Submissive parts that puts me off, the whole thing of one a male being domineering towards a woman.  I think that as women that was on the receiving end of domestic violence could have been the reason why that part of the book/plot didn't sit so well. Having explained all that I still decided I had to finish reading as in my opinion the plot being so good outweighed the "too much detailed information" scenes! 

My favourite characters remain to be Nina, Lex and Cade, the bond they share, how they speak to each other and the genuine love between them. I think its so funny the way Nina calls Lex "Scooby"! Who would have thought that the tough enforcer is as soft as jello on the inside beneath the toughness he has to exhibit to everyone else.

So I did get through the explicit racier parts of the book. Once I was more immersed in the plot I loved reading the book and didn't want to put it down. In my opinion this book would be just as good and for me much better without the really heavily descriptive explicit sexual scenes in it. As for reading more of the series, I think I am officially addicted to the Cascadia Wolves Series! 

Friday 7 April 2017


Title: The First City
Series: The Dominion Trilogy
Author: Joe Hart
Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: 28th March 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
Zoey has only ever known a world with few women and a society capable of unimaginable evil. Now she’s about to learn she may be the only hope it has for salvation.

After she and her companions flee a vicious attack, barely escaping with their lives, Zoey finds herself faced with a new threat: video evidence suggesting she is the mother of an unborn baby girl—and the key to mankind’s survival. Knowing that her former captors will stop at nothing to control the power that lies within her, Zoey sets out on her own for the last American city, Seattle, in search of answers. But a new enemy awaits her there, and the truth she seeks may lead to her destruction as well as that of all humankind.

This stunning finale, hailed by bestselling author Blake Crouch as a “rapturous, thought-provoking, [and] impossible-to-put-down thriller,” begs us all to consider what we would do when asked to choose between humanity’s survival—and our own.


I had been looking forward to reading this book from the moment I finished reading the previous one, The Final Trade. It ended on such a cliff hanger in many ways, and left me asking lots of questions. Such as, Will Zoey find out about her birth parents and her heritage? As well as the possible injuries the characters may have incurred during the fight at the end of the book too.
Having said that whilst I was looking forward to reading this book, knowing it is the last book in this brilliant trilogy is a bit of a downer. I'm not sure there can be a happy ending for the books characters but I do hope we get some of our reader questions answered before the end of the trilogy, or at least hinted at.

The cover of this book shows a phoenix rising through flames, so does that suggest that Zoey is going to rise above all her problems, or does the phoenix represent the world within this books series rising above the devastation of the Dearth and wastelands everyone is existing in. Can this world ever recover, can the few women left in the world be coaxed out of hiding, find a man they love and reproduce to repopulate this almost destroyed world.

This review is difficult to write without giving away large spoilers, I always try to give spoiler free reviews. It feels the better the book, and especially if its part of a series the harder the review is to write!

I would say this book, in fact, this whole series takes you on an emotional journey as the way it is written it encourages you to become attached to the characters within it. I was really shocked at the loss of one of what I considered a main character early within the book. 
Initially the book begins with a flashback scene of Assistant Carter instructing Cleric Simon to accompany him to the nursery to meet his new ward, which is baby Zoey. Cleric Simon has to take along his own toddler son Lee as there is no one to leave him with. The scene is an emotional "feel good" one of the first meeting between the characters of Cleric Simon, his son Lee and Zoey. The only coldness within the scene comes from the clinical, rather robotic way Assistant Carter "introduces" them to Zoey. I truly loved the interaction between Lee and Zoey in this scene, as well as the proudness of his son and the immediate love Cleric Simon shows. After this flashback scene the The First City book then picks up right where action was left at the end of The Final Trade. 

Zoey once again finds herself having to make difficult decisions when someone dies because he was with her, she decides she needs to leave those she loves and has come to think of as her family. Zoey believes the death to be her fault as it was her that the NOA wanted, so she feels her only option is to go off alone so she will not have to face anyone else around her being hurt or killed. Zoey sneaks off when the rest of the group are asleep, deciding to aim for Seattle in the hope of reuniting with Lee. Zoey has decided she must tell Lee about herself being the "key" to the re-population of this world, and more importantly about their daughter too.
I suppose I am revealing a spoiler, which I hate to do but this one is a necessary one. I have to say that Lee is in fact alive, as part of this book is about what he is doing, and what happening to him whilst Zoey is attempting to travel to him in Seattle.
Both Lee and Zoey think about what happened between them before Lee left for Seattle. They both still love each other and are genuinely missing each other. The time scales within the book when they are both thinking about each other at the same time is a really good touch in the book.
Lee is living in Seattle, though he only just made it and was attacked during his journey. A man in Seattle named Ray Ellenbury. Lee has fitted into the way of life there. Helping, working wherever he is needed. In fact that is why he has come to the attention of the Mayor Tyee. When the mayor send for Lee and asks his story of before he came to Seattle, he reels off the made up cover story that he came from Bristol, but is worried when Tyee says he is sending a scouting team to Bristol and if Lee's story is not real he will find out. In the mean time Tyee puts Lee to work with the remaining elderly engineer they have called Loring.
Sadly there is no chance for Lee's cover story to be uncovered as lies as Seattle is attacked from the sea on one side and on the land from another by an army of Chinese men led by Hiraku Hashimoto. Though there are initially many deaths, Hiraku later reveals his own personal story to Lee. Due to a freak accident it seems Hirau can only father female babies so he has literally some over and invaded with the plan to attack and take over the NOA!
I loved the way Joe Hart shows both sides of Hiraku Hashimoto, the tough merciless fighing invader, and then later the man plagued by the nightmare of his own wife aborting their daughter. ? Hiraku replays the way he found his daughter in a crib almost every night.
So I can't really go further into the book plot as then you won't have things unfold and discover them yourselves. I want you to have the parts and the experience of sitting on the edge of your seat, holding your breath and reading way longer than you initially planned because the book is so good and you just have to continue! I'll rather cryptically say that before the end of the book we are introduced to at least two young characters that I immediately fell in love with. There is also a main character we sort of lose but not quite, very near the end of the book. The scenes with this character had my tears rolling down my cheeks. The things done to help this character are so like things suggested for a disease that becomes ever prevalent in our present day. I have an Uncle with this disease and the scenes felt so poignant and probably where they would have more than likely touched my heart, they ended up squeezing it so tightly.
I wanted to mention one certain scene from within the book that I totally loved. It's a scene with just Eli and Zoey. Within the scene Eli finally reveals the details about his tattoo and who the female in his life was. The one that even now still holds his heart. It is a sad story where Eli describes how he lost the love of his life in this mad mad world they are trying to survive in. Both Eli and Zoey are emotional throughout the scene. It is Eli's way of trying to tell Zoey to grab hold of what she wants and hold on tight to it when she has it. It's a piece of advice that comes back to Zoey's mind much later in the book.
So back to other things I can say about the other characters . . . . I've already mentioned the loss of a character I loved that occurs near the start of the book, but I have to mention the loss of a much loved character nearer the end of the book too. Their burial really had me gulping and sniffling. Something Lyle attempts and Zoey says to just leave things alone that maybe its just as its supposed to be really brought forth the tears!
On a brighter note I'll talks about characters that don't necessarily meet their end. . . I loved the tenacity of Merrill, when others reluctantly want to give up, he stands tall and firm and becomes the father figure to Zoey that she hasn't really had. Merrill continues to be the voice of wisdom throughout the book. His partner Chelsea is also a constant in this final book of the series. Chelsea is there when things go bad as she has the most medical experience. Chelsea is pregnant herself but still tries her best, never backs away but pushes on and attempts some risky operations than have varying outcomes. I guess if Merrill is a kind of father figure to Zoey, then Chelsea is the mother figure head.
Two characters I hated in the previous books are looked at in more depth in this book. As readers we finally get to know who the person in charge of what happens at the NOA really is! We also learn about Vivian, and though her story doesn't make you like her, it does strangely make you feel a level of sympathy for her. You get to read why she became the cold hearted, narrow viewed, obsessed scientist she is. I think some of you will be super shocked to read that I also felt a level of sympathy and empathy for the Reaper in this book. By the time you finish the book you will understand what I mean. Neither Vivan nor the Reaper are innocents like the women and children held by the NOA, but I have to say after finishing this book, they are still victims of the NOA system.
A new place, a chance at a better life is shown in this book, but I cannot say more about that without revealing large spoilers but I must add that the revelation of this "place" gives yet another meaning of the phoenix rising from the ashes on the book cover.
I think you will know without my sum up that I adored this boo and am really sad its the last book in the series. In fact I have asked Joe Hart the question that immediately popped into my head upon finishing the book, which was. . . Could there be a spin off series? A novella set a little further on from the ending of this book? . .Or something more? As yet I have received no answer. If/When I do I will add Joe's answer to the bottom of this review. I can truly say I have adored reading the whole of The Dominion Trilogy. What would I compare The Domion Trilogy to in books I have read? If you have read and loved Sophie Littlefield's Aftertime series, then I think you would really enjoy this series.

My "Final Thoughts" that I typed into Goodreads upon finishing the book were as follows. . .
This book takes the characters on yet more dangerous missions, Zoey has to face more people obsessed by what they want from her. We get answers revealed in sad circumstances and quite a few cruel twists for Zoey but those things prove that this world created by Joe Hart is a realistic one not so different to the one we all live in now that contains both good and bad with various shades of white, grey and black within it. The biggest question I hoped Zoey would get answered is answered I did have an inkling as to the identity of Zoeys mother, and I guessed the identity of her father about a page or so before it was revealed.
Brilliantly written, and emotional read, happiness for some, death for more than one of the fantastic main characters. I found myself gulping and tearing up in so many places.

Monday 3 April 2017


Title: Shift
Series: Mackenzie Grey 
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires
Release Date: 10th February 2015

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It's hard enough being an undergraduate student, an intern at Downtown Manhattan's police station, and a bouncer at a local bar. Add her now ex-boyfriend who recently dumped her for the school's resident bimbo—oh, and she's a werewolf. 

Mackenzie Grey meets her match when she is kidnapped by the Brooklyn Pack and tossed between Sebastian and Jonah—the Alpha and the Beta. Being a lone-wolf in the city is dangerous, and now that the Pack has found her, so can every supernatural being in the Tri-State area. And not even her sarcastic, smart mouth can get her out of this. 

When a string of kidnappings involves Mackenzie in supernatural politics, she questions her new acquaintances and finds unlikely allies. Can she escape Pack law and keep her freedom—or will she be condemned to an unwanted path?

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Title: Caged
Series: Mackenzie Grey
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires
Release Date: 26th April 2016

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It’s hard out there for a lone-wolf.

Mackenzie Grey has started a brand new life in an attempt to escape the Brooklyn Pack. She settles in as a detective in a special unit of the LAPD when her identity is put at risk, and she has no choice but to run again. The question is: does she want to run forever?

As events force Mackenzie to confront her past, she is met with many surprises—including the revelation of her true ancestry. When Packs across the country learn of who she is, Kenz becomes the object of desire in a deadly wolf hunt, and she must once again fight to keep her freedom. 

Witnessing first-hand the barbaric treatment of Lunas, Mackenzie has to make a choice—follow the prediction of her Vision Quest or let herself be CAGED...

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Title: Alpha
Series: Mackenzie Grey
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires
Release Date: 15th November 2016

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It’s hard being a Princess.

Mackenzie Grey never felt as vulnerable as she does now—but that won’t stop her from getting what she wants: revenge. Kenz and her friends journey to a new land where everyone has a motive and everyone is a suspect. 
The Lunas find their voices after the massacre but question still stands—who is the real enemy? If Mackenzie wants to free herself, she will need to free them all; and it won’t be easy. As she approaches her 24th birthday—in the middle of a web of lies, deception, and murder—Kenz has to weave her way to the truth before she’s next on the chopping block.

With her companions, Mackenzie will make her final stand and change the course of the Lycan world forever…

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Title: Omega
Series: Mackenzie Grey
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires
Release Date: 11 August 2017

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Being alone is not easy.

Bodies drained of blood are scattered around New York City. With a serial killer on the loose, Mackenzie Grey is obsessed with solving the murders. She dives into her work at the Supernatural Investigative Unit to forget about the events that dismantled her Pack over a year ago. When the killer makes Kenz the target, she falls down the rabbit hole and discovers she has a lot more to do with these murders than she realized. 

As her past creeps up behind her, she must swallow her pride and seek aid from old and new friends. Nothing stays hidden as Kenz learns a valuable lesson: rats swim.
In the epic finale of the Mackenzie Grey: Origins series, she will finally become the wolf she is destined to be…

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Mostly known for her hipster style, New York City swagger, and South Florida Passion; Urban Fantasy author, Karina Espinosa’s true gift is writing snarky but endearing characters in her series like the Sins of the Fallen and the Mackenzie Grey series. When she isn’t writing, you can find Karina binge watching on Netflix or immersing herself in her infatuation with travel, pop culture, and music. You can usually catch her on Facebook, Instagram, and live-tweeting during episodes of The Walking Dead, Orphan Black, and Game of Thrones.

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