Tag Archives: great world building

The Sidhe are fully explored in this excellent slow burn paranormal romance

44662243The Marked Prince by M.A. Grant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, that was good, even better than the exceptionally good series opener for me and absolutely jam-packed with everything I want in a fantasy novel.

It’s no secret to anyone who follows my reviews what a massive fan of this genre I am, and one of the overlooked gems for inspiration is Irish Mythology.

MA Grant has firmly established her world’s heritage in the legends of the Sidhe (Irish Fae) and this instalment focuses its gaze on the Summer Court of the Seelie.

I love the Fae, they’re my favourite paranormal inspiration and the Seelie/Unseelie in particular have such a wealth of stories that it’s a challenge to create something new but with a deep foundation in the mythology.

With this narrative we get a glorious and, at times, viciously cruel tale of the Unseelie High Prince Sláine and his captivity at the hands of the Summer Court’s High Princess.

There’s a huge plot twist which I absolutely loved and which fits so perfectly with the character of the villain inhabiting that role that I cheered even though he’s an absolute bastard because it so brilliantly exposes the trickster part of his history.

The romance, like book one, drives the narrative but in an incredibly subtle fashion, it’s what underpins everything without ever being the direct focus.

I loved Sebastian. He’s conflicted, hesitant and desperately naive but also so brave and compassionate and kind.

His friendship with the man he doesn’t know is Sláine trapped behind a Thrall and mask is slow burning but compelling and I loved how their dedication and devotion to each other grew throughout.

The book goes in directions I’d never have guessed and I loved that it surprised me from start to finish.

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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A glorious return to the world of the Mad Creek quickened

46155038._SY475_How to Run with the Wolves by Eli Easton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m pretty sure Eli Easton is a quickened and she’s just giving us a peek into her world because there’s no other way that she’d be able to capture the inherent characteristics of individual dog breeds and then convert them into human traits which match perfectly.

Also, I hadn’t realised quite how much I’d missed Mad Creek until she said there was a fifth book coming and, believe me, this was so worth it as not only do we get a wonderful slow burn romance between husky Timo and Saint Bernard Zeus, but we get confirmation of a spin-off series featuring the Alaskan Qimmiq two skinned (and I’m really hoping I know who the first two paired off are going to be!)

Not a thing was out of place for this story, the strange culture shocks for both shifters as they saw how the other lived, the slow awakening of love, the conflicts and confusion each man felt when their worlds were so different and how they could possibly be reconciled.

The threat to Timo’s pack, which was being squeezed by not only Mother Nature but also the nature of human/shifter genetics, which drove the plot was a great tension builder and worked well.

I won’t go into details because the way Eli unfolds this story is so wonderful that it would ruin everything for people to not see everything open up just as beautifully as the landscape of the Innuit ranges north of Anchorage.

It’s gorgeous, I’m so glad we’re back in this world.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Gloriously & vividly crafted magical fantasy from Jackie

45319502.jpgHealing Glass by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantasy is my favourite cake.

Well written and detailed world building adds a cherry on top and an imaginative and complex narrative gives me lashings of quality double cream to bind it all together.

I’m using food metaphors here because Jackie herself is always sharing her love of cooking and the flavours of the world with her friends and readers and this book felt like an extension of that creative vision.

The book itself is glorious, the pace pitched just right between the slow exploratory early tastings as we’re introduced to characters and plots in motion and the heady details as the narrative drives towards its final conclusion.

There is an amazingly complex world in play here which we’re allowed to discover as we read, no telling what we should be seeing but plenty of feeling the love between Minel and Falcon.

The secondary characters also come to life in vivid detail, the mystery and magic elements of this world are slowly revealed as the story continues.

I loved everything about this book and I can’t wait now to find out more about Javier and Rein.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Yet more incredible world building from the Queen of the fantasy short

44442303.jpg
Don’t Fight the Spark
by Kasia Bacon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Honestly I don’t know how she does it.

I call Kasia My Queen of the Fantasy Short Story because in just a few pages (around 85 ish here) she crafts such amazing characters and world building and nothing feels rushed.

Her Order Universe is such a joy to travel in, and here we bump into Healer Haiatto, last seen saving the day in The Poison Within when he was on hand to heal Master Enforcer Sashe, and discover his fears for his fighter lover Yuu.

Also popping in are the utterly brilliant Furia Eryssa, enigmatic vamper Revendi and the completely fascinating and dangerous Grand Master of the Assassin’s Guild Lu Feninghan.

So, not quite Red and his Sergeant yet or more from our elvish Scouts, but I’ll absolutely take anything from the pen of Kasia.

As a PS: How gorgeous is this cover?!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Complex and intriguing introduction to this new fantasy series

apple boy cover finalApple Boy by Isobel Starling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a lot going on here!

And it’s not concluded at the end of this first book in Isobel Starling’s new fantasy series either, but there is the start of a complex narrative which I’m eager to learn more of.

I believe the three books together will bring different characters’ backgrounds and stories so far into one over-reaching plot that will conclude once all is done.

First up was Adam and Winter and they’re very cute together and delightfully stumble their way not only into a relationship but also into an epic adventure.

It’s really hard to review this without giving the key parts away, which I’m not going to do, but let’s just say I was kept interested from start to finish even when it all got a little bit complicated.

The book itself is gorgeous, with internal illustrations and a stunning world map, there’s also a handy glossary at the start with a decent chunk of background information on each of the realms.

Like all good fantasy novels, it leaves as much unanswered as it does concluded so I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

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Another stunning blending of world mythologies into a thrilling UF

All Souls Near & Nigh (Soulbound, #2)All Souls Near & Nigh by Hailey Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Arhgggghhjjjuhhvvcc – that’s the noise my brain is making at how bloody brilliant this book is.

Full review to come when I’m at my laptop and I can get some semblance of order back!

***

Righty, brain back sort of functioning so here we go.

A bit more detail about why this book is so bloody brilliant. As with Book One A Ferry of Bones & Gold Hailey takes well know mythological Pantheons (Greek, Roman, Norse) and mixes them up with the lesser known ones.

In Ferry it was the folklore of West African, Egyptian and European cultures, here we’re in South America with the Aztec Gods – Quetzalcoatl and Tepoztēcatl, the Mexican/Catholic death cult Goddess/saint Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte as well as the Native American trickster God Coyote or Altse Hashke and it is this blending together of powerful beings into a seamless narrative which is the hallmark of this series.

This plot is a complexly woven and intricately detailed navigation through an urban fantasy world which feels familiar to the reader but which has that otherworldly tinge to it. The after effects of the actions of Book One are still being felt at the opening of this one.

Patrick and Jono have settled into a sort of routine which is just starting to feel like normal when everything starts to kick off. As with the first one, I’m not giving away anything of the actual plot. These books deserve to be read blind and given the chance to work their clever magic on the readers.

I will say all the usual suspects are on hand, we see Hermes, (who I always picture as a used car salesman in my head 😀 ) and the Tempest Pack, Lucien the Master Vampire, (who is still hating on Patrick for the death of his mother Ashanti) and his crew, and the rotten to the core New York God Pack alphas Estelle and Youssef, who I want to punch in the face every time they’re on page!

I’m not sure how many books Hailey is planning for this series but, for me, it’s shaping up to be just as epic as her Sci-Fi Metahumans one.

More please!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

As ever, the fangirling and mythology nerding are my own!

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Stunning debut urban fantasy from Miranda

ShadowingTheLight
Shadowing the Light
by Miranda Turner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well that was an impressive debut from Miranda Turner and another name to add to the urban fantasy genre list.

Lots of excellence in this narrative, great world-building, a wonderful bunch of complex characters and a successful introduction to a new series which looks at the age-old struggle between light and dark.

It did get a tiny bit bogged down in the middle third when there wasn’t much happening and a bit of necessary exposition needed to be given to the reader. But, otherwise, the pacing is superb, keeping the plot flowing organically through a very complex and complicated narrative.

That isn’t to say the book is difficult to read, on the contrary, the reader gets an instant insight into the world within the first few paragraphs.

The romance/mates element never overtakes the thrust of the mission – to find Gabriel’s parents – and instead offers up lots of intimate moments as well as some seriously hot ones.

I may have had a wee eye-roll each time one of the supposedly hetero team members seemed to gain an attraction to another member or an external character of the same sex, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a bit of a big coincidence 🙂

I rationalise it by thinking these guys are living and operating in highly pressurised situations and top-level enemies are trying to kill them all the time and pressure makes us look at people differently.

I have absolutely no idea where the story is going and that takes it onto my favourite books shelf.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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