Review of Seared by Bethany Adams

A reluctant prince
After more than three hundred years on Earth, Prince Ralan has finally returned to Moranaia. But with his wicked brother Kien on the loose, the homecoming is a short one. A dire vision sends Ralan back to Earth to save his soulbonded from his dark brother. The problem? Ralan’s Sight grows more erratic by the moment even as danger closes in on every side.
A woman far from home
Ever since a failed alliance ruined her family, Cora has lived on Earth. Far from discontent, her days are spent running her clothing shop and helping newly arrived fae adapt to mundane life. Then a golden-eyed prince strides into her store, trouble stalking his heels. Big trouble.
A fate foretold
Ralan’s Sight might be broken, but one thing remains clear—stopping Kien will mean Ralan’s death. So how could the Gods choose now to introduce his soulbonded? As Ralan and Cora search for Kien, their relationship grows stronger. Unfortunately, so does the threat. Now Ralan must choose between his own life and the fate of all their worlds.

Just WOW! Seared is an amazing addition to the Return of the Elves series.  It is a series which has never disappointed but this was just exceptional and it is always a huge testament to the skill of an author when a series goes from strength to strength in the way this series does.  In all honesty Seared utterly blew me away and left me almost breathless at times.  There is never a dull moment and like a seers threads, there are so many avenues and possibilities across the pages.  We are introduced to some new characters with perhaps a hint of future things to come from the series as well as a healthy dose of the characters we know and love.  Of course there will always be plenty of time for more Kai!

This book however,  focuses on Ralan, who had already endeared himself as an amazing character from the previous books,  Kien is still on the loose and needs to be shut down.  Ralan has angered the goddess of sight so all he ever sees is his own painful and inevitable death. There is a level of acceptance until Cora appears on the scene. There is an immediate affinity between the two, having spent as much time on earth as each other in the past – but there is more to it and in more ways than you would think.  As has become a feature of the series, we know that each book now will be based around a soulbond, which I love! But for Ralan and Cora it is bittersweet and proves to be one of the most shocking and standout moments of the series when the depth of their connection is revealed.  I was left reeling after that scene which was so emotional and intense, I struggled to pick my jaw up off the floor. Eri continues to be just adorable, so much sight and pressure on one so young though. One of my favourite lines in the book sums her up so perfectly “When a six year old seer with the touch of the goddess tells you to go save someone you do it.” I hope that she remains such an integral part to the series in future as great things can come from her.

This book also shows the start of a more darker tone. Yes, there is still the wonderful less is more but still hand fan worthy romance, but there is no shying away from the fact that there is bad stuff going down.  The two meld so well together which adds to the pace and emotion in the words.  Kien’s threat is real and dangerous and the story isn’t tempered in that regard. It’s not often a book leaves me so speechless I struggle with writing a review but I really have with this. There are lots of twists and storylines coming together but I don’t want to say more for fear of spoilers, but the payoff in Seared is huge!

Seared is outstanding. If you have not read the series yet I recommend you do so right now!  The depth of the world building, the character development and the layers upon layers of amazing story telling make me want to give this six stars and beyond if I could but for now I give this a highly commended 5*



Review of Between the Sea and Stars by Chantal Gadoury

A Legend, 
A Magical Shell 
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More… 
Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea. 
When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land. 
With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner. 
Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

Between the Sea and Stars follows the current trend for fairytale retellings and appears very loosely based on the tale of The Little Mermaid, that’s not to say that it’s a retelling by numbers though.  The story has great mix of content with a nod to Disney in there too, but mainly it has a whole world of imagination in the direction the story is taken. Lena is the perfect example of a sheltered child, one who has not had much to fear in her life and is therefore more reckless. Sadly her inability to recognise her own recklessness has dire consequences.  I liked how Lena’s transformation was not sugar coated, not just focusing on the creation of her legs but also the impact on her lungs as she went through the realisation that the water that she breathed now had the capacity to drown her.

Through seemingly good fortune Lena quickly finds herself with a roof above her head and a plausible story as to how she came to be on the beach that night. She comes to care for the elderly Edwin, an utterly charming character, and befriends the bookish Soren and so her life starts to be pulled in different directions  – those who believe in the Merrow folk and those who believe it all to be simply legend. Around it all hovers the villainous Lord Jaarl, always there to cause fear and spout cryptic clues that give Lena pause. Pieces of the story start to slot into place as Lena finds out more about those who inhabit the land so close to the sea where she grew up, these appear in tantalising morsels and I really loved how the parallels were delicately weaved.

There are some beautiful lines as well, a stand out for me was “sorrow drops anchor in the eve, but it often sails away with the dawn.” but there were many in this story which truly is beautifully written, I never found it lulled or was a chore to read.  That being said I was kind of disappointed that it left of where it did, going into this I was surprised to see it was part of a series as many retelling’s are stand alone.  There is a lot of of world building and character development, which is awesome but the action seemed all to take place within the last few pages and left me clawing for a few pages more!  I also have to say well done to the author as writing action isn’t always easy, especially when it goes against the tone of the book up to that point, but this action was fast paced, heart pounding and seamless and I look forward to more of it in future books in the series.

The end of the book had a helpful phonic section (and a beautiful illustration!) as quite a few of the words appear to have a nod to its Scandanavian origins, I have to say I found this a little frustrating as I found I had been pretty much mispronouncing all of them in my mind as I read, it would have been helpful to have this at the front as none of the words could be considered spoilers.

I really enjoyed Between the Sea and Stars and look forward to future books in the series! 4*

Between the Sea and Stars is released on the 19th June and is available through Amazon via Paliament House and is currently available to pre-order by clicking here


Review of The Ultimate Agent 2 by Derek Borne

Your Mission:
Reconvene with The Ultimate Agent, Specialist, and their team as they uncover a threat of biblical proportions.
Agent #772 – Dr. Isaiah Manning
A reclusive geneticist with ground-breaking concepts and technology is recruited to the Ultimate Agency, making it possible to create endless advancements which could change the world for the better.
Agent #125 – Spencer Raymond
A low-key yet crucial operative for the agency is thrust into a life-changing assignment. Further details are classified.
Mission Data – Confidential
Agent Devon Bertrand and Dr. Jade Hathaway take a new step in their relationship. Due to unexpected circumstances, Dr. Brett Gallagher faces new responsibilities which may hinder his ability to protect the innocent at full capacity. Agent Valeriya Yashin and her dynamic abilities are now an invaluable part of the team. Unite with agents old and new as they fight to eradicate those responsible for terrorizing the world with unfathomable creatures.
A WARNING to the readers of this review **SPOILERS** were difficult to avoid here because so much of Book 2 relies on having previously read Book 1.
The Ultimate Agent: Book 2 by Derek Borne was a fantastic addition to the series. At the beginning, a reader could certainly be thirsty for the straight-into-action feel that was all throughout Book 1. Since the first part of the book was focused on establishing a solid relationship between Devon and Jade, it was a bit of a slow start and didn’t feel like an action-packed comic book until about 30% of the way into the book. The relationship itself was sweet, it was cute, the whole book was PG, which is something to really appreciate! Devon gets an opportunity to reconcile his past by running into his parents. Honestly, this part of the story seemed forced and short, but it gets brought back to the readers attention throughout the story and remains a problem for The Ultimate Agent to work through and resolve. Mostly, what was unsettling about the interaction, was that Devon’s parents were able to get their act together as a direct result of him leaving, and as a reader who is very empathetic to the characters of a story, that was a really difficult conflict to overcome. It was okay at the end, but more could have been there. Maybe Borne is saving that for Book 3. New agents are introduced in the second book like Agent Spencer, who is transformed into a literal Tiger/Shark by a mad geneticist. At first, this almost lost the book a star because there were so many ways to infer how the character was going to grow through the book, and it was really, really, really out there. However, it’s a superhero story, so everything is on the table, and the character ends up very well rounded and becomes an excellent addition to the Ultimate Agency. He even became a personal favorite (but no one beats The Specialist). He has a very heartbreaking interaction with his cousin that put a lot of emotion and character building and resolve in one spot. It was a difficult hump to get over as well, but again, ultimately, it helped to move the characters forward at a reasonable pace. To avoid too many spoilers, I’ll say that there are some deep losses in this book, and it moves all of the agents into a more visceral place, a place that made them more human and easier to relate with from a “normal person” point of view. They’re still vulnerable, and that’s important to keep at the forefront of stories like this. Borne did an excellent job with that. The book finally became something that I couldn’t put down at about 50% of the way through the story. Before then, the story was still good, and the characters were still lovable. After that half-way mark, the action came back, sunk us back into the story, and kicked some major hind end. Even with all of the epic superhero powers, abilities, gadgets, and gizmos at the disposal of the agency, Konstantin is a formidable foe. There was some serious super villain character fleshing out, and Derek really opened up a whole new can of worms through this expansion of Konstantin’s character. The conclusion of the book leaves me wondering where Derek is going to take The Ultimate Agency next, and I am so ready to find out when he publishes Book 3. Overall, The Ultimate Agent: Book 2 was amazing and earned its full five stars. *****
The Ultimate Agent 2 is due for release on the 27th July and is available for pre-order now via Amazon by clicking here
If you want to start the series now in time for book 2’s release you can find it here and it is currently free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers!

Review of The Ganga Shift by Mary Bernsen

Life hasn’t been easy for Isabella. She spent most of her childhood in the foster care system, and now at twenty-two she has landed herself in prison on drug charges. Her troubled past is what makes her a perfect candidate for the government’s latest scientific endeavor, Operation Gene Re-sequencing. No one will miss her. No one will question her absence. But, when it’s discovered Isabella is immune to their DNA-changing drugs, she is selected to be used as prey for those who aren’t.
Chase and Brayden couldn’t be more opposite; Chase is calm, reserved, and completely insistent that he will control the changes the virus is causing in his body. Brayden, on the other hand, has always been wild and uninhibited. He welcomes the new animalistic nature coming over him. The one thing they have in common? They both have a taste for the cute little Asian inmate who is now sharing their cell.

I am not sure what I actually expected with this book but was pleasantly surprised and it starts of with a bang and keeps going from there. Isabella is being used as a test subject for a crazed scientist to create hybrid humans that have an animalistic side, unfortunately for Isabella her stubborn side is also causing there to be no apparent effect to the serum. That leaves her stuck in the pod (a man made island) sent there by Dr Conley to force her to show her new self along with having to survive by hiding from a pack of guys who have completed the experiment and become less than human at night.
Who does she trust to keep her safe, Hayden who can get her stuff to ease the pain of whats going on and leader of the pack, Chase the cool, calm and level headed guy who is always there to help or just rely on herself as thats what she has had to do for so long.
There are plenty of surprises, twists and an ending that you are like “what!” I really hope there is going to be a book 2 in this series as I would love to know what happens next.


The Ganga Shift is currently available through Amazon via Parliament House Publishing and can be found here

Review of Infection by M.P. McDonald

When the United States crumbles, and services stop, there’s only one thing to do…take your family and run. The countdown to the end of the world begins silently.
No one realizes there’s a deadly illness spreading like wildfire until it’s too late. With few symptoms, victims literally drop dead after a brief surge of energy. Within days, it tears through the population of the United States. Now, faced with the very real possibility of extinction of the human race, Cole Evans has only one chance to save his family and survive: a safe haven on an isolated, hard to reach island. Can he convince his brother that the danger is real and that there’s enough space for his family as well?But can they all reach the island before the lights go out for them…forever?

It’s been so long since I have read a truly great apocalypse story and the thriller aspect to this made it immensely page turning.  Infection really goes to the grass roots of this type of novel, more recently the ones I have read often feel cliched or like a parody of the genre.  From the get go this book is powerful and brings up so many “what if” scenarios.  Whilst our focal point is Cole and his quest, there are also the stories of his son Hunter, and his friend Elly which help to bring home how the infection has impacted upon both urban and rural areas. Sympatico itself is an unusual disease and the manic euphoria experience makes it a chillingly creepy one too and I like how it doesn’t fall into the more obvious route.

Cole’s history of dealing with infectious diseases makes him the perfect candidate to fully understand the impact of what is happening. The balancing act he has to play between prepping like mad and convincing his family he isn’t actually, well, mad is a difficult one for him to manage.  Asking your family to give up their jobs and homes, your child to give up school – all on a hunch? These are topics so often overlooked and I found it really refreshing to get this aspect in a story, the snapshot of time where things haven’t truly hit the fan, but something clearly isn’t right and having to make a life altering decision.  It of course always helps when the one person who can identify things in advance has a handy island bequeathed to them. But that is the focus, and hey, handy islands have to belong to someone!

Elly’s story is the more harrowing of the 3, urban areas often are though and whilst being on the 18th floor of a hotel is great for views, it runs the risk of becoming Elly’s tomb.  Whilst Hunter is on quite the adventure, being in more rural parts makes day by day survival more perilous as time goes on.  I love the juxtaposition between the 3, the inventiveness and resourcefulness they must all come to in order to make their way forward.

There are little in the way of light hearted moments and it’s right that it should be that way, the world has become a very tough place to be, especially when we are at day 1 of the disease, the sparing use of these lighter moments gives it a much truer feel of what the characters are going through.  There are some really harrowing scenes and my heart was pounding in places, really willing the story to play out the way I hoped it would – this is not a HEA though and not everything will go to plan.  The pace and flow of the book is perfect with everything unravelling at a believable pace, great care has been taken to get these things right and it really pays off.

It looks like this is book one of a trilogy and it does round off in a satisfying way whilst also being open ended for book 2.  If you like your apocalypse books to be from Day 1 with a real life feel, you will love Infection!


Review of Blizzard (Book 2 of the Black Ice Trilogy) by Mikayla Elliot

Desperate to find her niece Neva is willing to do anything to get her back, but the path she follows unveils a dark past with volatile truths, and a present intertwined with unforgiving consequences. In a race against time and dire odds, Neva embarks on a journey that will forever change the lives of those she knows and loves, as well as her own
Blizzard by Mikayla Elliot is another fantastic display of Elliot’s talent and an absolutely awesome roller coaster of evolution. The way she weaves all of these various stories, main character Neva’s as well as all of the support characters and the history of all of the major supernatural species that exist in Auria, is an art form that is often lost in this genre. Maps at the start of the book show the transformation of Auria over centuries. Starkness and beauty, horror and romance all coalesce into a strikingly beautiful and tangible new world while the reader’s view of all of the characters from Book One, Snow, is transformed through the story. As Neva comes to know herself as Kareese, the characters from Snow begin an astonishing metamorphosis. Through visions of the past, the reader is completely reintroduced to characters from the first installment of The Black Ice Trilogy, and Zachariah, Eliza, and Xavier develop whole new emotional attachments to the reader’s heart strings. Zachariah’s is of most interest, but that secret will stay, tucked away from this review, safe in the bindings of Mikayla’s work.
Throughout the book, Neva relinquishes her timid, grief stricken life as a baker and widow to become a strong willed, combat ready female heroine. The tumultuous romantic relationship between Neva and Thedryk is a staunch contrast against the gruesome battle being waged on Reegan’s demonic forces, and it’s deliciously horrifying. The writing in Book Two mirrors the graceful writing in Book One that reminded me so much of Anne Rice – the riveting details, the sensory immersion, the vivid imagery. In Blizzard, the battle scenes played through my head like a scene from The Underworld intermingled with the garb and castles from classics like Dracula or Nosferatu. Although I’m still not completely certain what the titles are building into, why they are associated with snow aside from the series being titled The Black Ice Trilogy, I am absolutely thirsty for more, and this book receives a full five stars. *****

Review of The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave. 
But when the Kingdom strikes back, kills Rags’s best friend, and sends its second-in-command to destroy Rondo in four days, Rags must make a choice: seek revenge, or save her loved ones who are trapped in a town bound for slaughter broadcast Kingdom-wide. With little more than a stolen dream to guide her, and a growing attraction to a sly Kingdom informant, Rags is about to give the Kingdom four days it’ll never forget—if the bounty on her head doesn’t get her killed first.

First of all, I have to disagree with the description of this book. I would not classify it as either Steampunk or Western. The fact that people wear buckskins with fringe and have a horse or mule to ride does not make it a Western. And, there was only (maybe) one element of Steampunk-type technology in the whole book. To me, it should be classified as dystopian.

That being said, the story did hold my interest for the most part. But, I really never felt engaged by the characters. The world building was OK, but could have been better. I never really understood a lot of the story. The world has changed and been thrown into constant winter by the eruption of a volcano in Yellowstone. Struggles abound because of the cold temperatures and lack of food that is caused by the weather

Rags is a young woman who was born a slave and rescued by a man called Tracker. She comes to think of him, Sadie and Matthew as her family, since she never really had a family. She and Tracker are Rustlers for Rondo, going out into other settlements to steal supplies.

Hyperion, who is only talked about in the book, is the ruler of everything, demanding that all bow down and pledge allegiance to him. Rondo refuses to worship Hyperion and therefore they are cut off from supplies by the Kingdom. There are hints of Christianity, but it is never really clear in the book. If a whole settlement refuses to worship Hyperion, I think that their faith would be very strong and should be evident throughout the book.

There is a lot of action in the book, but a lot of it dragged for me too. I really wanted to love the book, but just came away liking it. It is well-written and the author does a great job in her descriptions. Not sure if I will continue the series or not. I just never really felt engaged by it that much.


The Bone Roses is currently available through Amazon via Parliament House Publishing