The Qwillery | category: Bec McMaster


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019

Apologies dear readers. I had so wanted to get my October Month in Review posted in October. I could have done it and was pretty close to having it written. Alas, the lurgy hit with probably the worst case of sinusitus I have had in at least a decade. I could barely think let alone write a review. There was almost tears folks especially when my GP told me she didn't want to give me any antibiotics because of the growing resistance to them.  Boooo. I am not quite 100% but thought I better get my review out to you before it turned into an October & November months in review. So what did I read?

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
I am going to start with what I listened to rather than the first book I devoured in October. All hail the fantastic combination of Philip Pullman and Michael Sheen with The Secret Commonwealth the second in the Book of Dust series. If you read my September post you will know that I thoroughly enjoyed book 1 La Belle Sauvage (the audio version) and this instalment is even better. Set 20 years later and Lyra is now a young woman, studying at university while Malcolm in a professor and agent of Oakley street. When Lyra's daemon Pantalaimon witnesses the murder of a botanist no one would have ever guessed the epic journey he and Lyra would find themselves on. Across Europe and to Asia Lyra, Pan and separately, Malcolm find themselves on the search for  a city haunted by daemons and to uncover the secret of Dust. All with the Ministerium's agents in hot pursuit. The race is on!

I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Commonwealth even though I found the adult Lyra a bit obnoxious in parts. Michael Sheen's performance narrating this tale is a masterpiece. He had me on the edge of my seat throughout. There is one scene in a train station and he does so many different voices it was like you are watching a play or a movie. Pullman successfully advances the plot line, in fact, several different plot threads and slowly develops Lyra and Pan. He has been quite ambitious and I think he is going to struggle to wrap everything up in the final book. I am not sure how he is going to do it without leaving a few teasers. Just a note to parents and guardians. This isn't a suitable book for a younger reader due to one of the scenes is quite disturbing and adult in nature. I don't want to say any more and give anything away.  For anyone who isn't a young reader and fans of this series this is a must read and for added tension go for the audio version.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
Next up is Mark Lawrence's One Word Kill which is the first in the series Impossible Times. Set in the mid 80's Nick is a pretty normal Dungeon and Dragons loving teen. He has friends and doing OK in school and things start to look up when the new girl  in school decides to join his group of friends and D&D games. Everything changes when he finds out he is dying...dying from cancer. The diagnosis is only the start of big changes that are about to take hold of his life.  A strange, yet very familiar man enters his life with a cryptic message and an uncanny knowledge of Nick's life. He has to save the girl. What can this mean and why? Nick is soon to discover that something or someone else might end his life before the cancer does and its game on.

I enjoyed One Word Kill. While the plot isn't that challenging (I always guessed what would happen next) it was quick and enjoyable read. It wasn't as harrowing as some of Lawrence's other novels which was a bit of a change for me. I thought Nick was a believable D&D fan who had a 'Stranger Things' like group of friends that all had their own part to play in the story. The plot was well paced but while Nick was well developed, not all of the characters were. Certain characters, especially the main villain were a bit one dimensional. However, Nick's experiences with chemo and the people he met while having it were very believable and true to life. I don't know if Lawrence has personal experience with childhood cancer/cancer treatment but this was very well done. I have book number 2 - Limited Wish all ready to go. Stay tuned to find out what happens next.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
Back to my audio selection - I went back in time but still on a Pullman theme and listened to his Sally Lockhart series. In this post I am going to tell you about the first 2 novels The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North. I read these novels around the same time as His Dark Materials but Pullman first published them in the late 80s. The Ruby in the Smoke is set in the late 19th century and the teenage Sally believes her father has died in a tragic accident on sailing back from Singapore. When she receives a cryptic message from her father she couldn't possible imagine the dangerous mystery she would be embroiled in. Lucky for Sally she meets people who would soon become her family and they would do anything to keep her out of harms way.  It's a mystery of a different kind on The Shadow in the North. Sally is now in her early 20s and a financial consultant. When one of her clients loses all their life savings in an failed investment Sally is determined to uncover what has gone wrong and to get the money back. This mystery takes Sally and her friends all over London and England following the money trail with rather tragic results.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
The audio version is narrated by Anton Lesser (think Game of Thrones) which was quite interesting to have a male narrator when the majority of the book is told from one of the female characters POV. He is excellent. While maybe Lesser doesn't generate quite as much excitement as Michael Sheen he is a very, very gifted actor and is very believable with both female and male voices. Both books are very enjoyable with a great mysteries to solve and a great set of characters to join Sally. I especially loved Jim, Sally's friend. He has all the best lines and would do anything to protect Sally and all their friends. Whether you chose to read the traditional book version or the audio version these are a great series of books that give you a glimpse into life in late 19th century England.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
Last up is Bec McMaster's newest Promise of Darkness which is book 1 of the Dark Court Rising series. Princess Iskvien is caught in the middle of the war between the Queen of Thorns and the Prince of Evernight. As part of an ancient treaty the Princess is forced to become a political hostage for three months. Her mother expects her kill the Prince when she is in his court but one look into his handsome face she knows she can't end his life. The longer Vi is around the Prince the more something doesn't seem right. He doesn't seem to be as evil as her mother has portrayed. Who is telling the truth? Who is the real enemy? Vi has only three months to find out.

This book is described as a twisted fairy tale and that is a an apt description. The story is full of the fairy courts, demons and mythology the romance between Vi and Thiago is almost secondary to that back story. I thought this book was a teeny tiny departure for McMaster in the hot and heavy didn't start between our lovebirds until nearly the end of the book. I really felt that McMaster was telling a story rather than than just bringing two characters together in an romantic entanglement. I will definitely will continue with this series.

Well folks that is it for me and October...or October in November. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get rid of this cold and feeling fit as a fiddle so that I can share with you my November reads before mid December. Until next time Happy Reading.

The Secret Commonwealth
The Book of Dust 2
Audible Audiobook, October 3, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
The #1 New York Times Bestseller!

Return to the world of His Dark Materials—soon to be an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, and Lin-Manuel Miranda—in the second volume of Philip Pullman’s new bestselling masterwork The Book of Dust.

The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought. Lyra is now a twenty-year-old undergraduate at St. Sophia’s College and intrigue is swirling around her once more. Her daemon Pantalaimon is witness to a brutal murder, and the dying man entrusts them with secrets that carry echoes from their past.

The more Lyra is drawn into these mysteries, the less she is sure of. Even the events of her own past come into question when she learns of Malcolm Polstead’s role in bringing her to Jordan College.

Now Lyra and Malcolm will travel far beyond the confines of Oxford, across Europe and into the Levant, searching for a city haunted by daemons, and a desert said to hold the truth of Dust. The dangers they face will challenge everything they thought they knew about the world, and about themselves.

One Word Kill
Impossible Times 1
47North, May 1, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 204 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
Ready Player One meets Stranger Things in this new novel by the bestselling author whom George RR Martin describes as “an excellent writer.”

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

The Ruby in the Smoke
Sally Lockhart 1
Audible, June 16, 2004

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
In search of clues to the mystery of her father's death, 16-year-old Sally Lockhart ventures into the shadowy underworld of Victorian London. Pursued by villains at every turn, the intrepid Sally finally uncovers two dark mysteries, and realizes that she herself is the key to both.

The Shadow in the North
Sally Lockhart 2
Audible, November 17, 2004

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
An elderly lady loses her money on an investment; a conjuror is pursued by thugs; and a clairvoyant mentions the name of the richest man in Europe and his mysterious company. Seemingly unconnected events set Sally Lockhart on the trail of an evil far more awful than she could ever imagine.

This thriller, by the author of The Ruby in the Smoke, evokes its 19th century setting and at the same time remains remarkably contemporary in the originality of its plot and larger-than-life characters. An unabridged reading of Philip Pullman's nerve-shattering thriller.

Promise of Darkness
Dark Court Rising 1
Lochaber Press Pty Ltd, September 17, 2019
eBook, 430 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019
Princess. Tribute. Sacrifice. Is she the one prophesied to unite two warring Fae courts? Or the one bound to destroy them?

In a realm ruled by magic, the ruthless Queen of Thorns is determined to destroy her nemesis, the cursed Prince of Evernight.

With war brewing between the bitter enemies, the prince forces Queen Adaia to uphold an ancient treaty: she will send one of her daughters to his court as a political hostage for three months.

The queen insists it’s the perfect opportunity for Princess Iskvien to end the war before it begins. But one look into Thiago’s smoldering eyes and Vi knows she’s no assassin.

The more secrets she uncovers about the prince and his court, the more she begins to question her mother’s motives.

Who is the true enemy? The dark prince who threatens her heart? Or the ruthless queen who will stop at nothing to destroy him?

And when the curse threatens to shatter both courts, is her heart strong enough to break it?

Join USA Today bestselling author, Bec McMaster, on a seductive journey through a mythic land, with a wicked prince who holds a thousand secrets, a princess determined to uncover the truth, and an evil queen who threatens to tear them apart. Download this epic fantasy filled with magic and breathtaking romance today!

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019

Bye bye February! It was a blast....sort of maybe..OK maybe not. February was a really topsy-turvy kind of month for me. It all started with one of my beloved fur-babies getting diagnosed with diabetes. Wow....what a change to my schedule and to my non-existent social life that having to give her insulin injections every 12 hours has meant. I don't know which one of us was more stressed out by the injections either! (p.s. it was me!!!!) To make February a bit less exciting the hubinator and I did a gut re-boot diet which involved a lot of salad and no treats. Valentines Day was a chocolate free affair. Then to top it off the last week of February turned unseasonably warm with highs of 17C (62F). While you were shoveling snow I was putting away my winter coat. With all this happening I still managed to finish a few books. Let me tell you all about them.

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Up first is 5th instalment of Bec McMaster's London Steampunk: Blue Blood Conspiracy series - Dukes are Forever. This one starts just a few months after the Company of Rogues rescue their leader Malloryn from Russia. Back in London Malloryn is trying to adjust to life after he was kidnapped and tortured at the hands of Balfour's dhampyrs. Malloryn sees his nemesis Balfour at every turn and starts to suspect his wife Adele of being a spy for him. Determined that she won't get the upper hand he decides to seduce her and discovers all her secrets before she learns his. Adele is determined that Malloryn will not get the upper hand or her heart. Its a battle of wills while the Company of Rogues battle to save the Queen and London. Who will win? Your turn to find out for yourself.

I was a bit surprised that McMaster released this instalment so quickly after book 4 - To Catch a Rogue - which was published in October 2018. Although, it became quite clear how it was possible to release the book so was quite disappointing. Adele and Malloryn's romance was a little lackluster especially given that it has been building across multiple books. The whole thing felt quite rushed and there really wasn't enough 'meat' to the plot. It will be interesting to see if McMaster has said goodbye to Steampunk London or whether there will be additional stories set in that world.

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
I listened to, rather than read the next book I have to tell you about - The Outlaw and the Upstart King by Rod Duncan. This is the second book in Duncan's The Map of Unknown Things series which is the follow on series from his Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series. This story starts from the POV of a new character, Elias. He is out for revenge, revenge for the people that cut off his thumbs and made him an outlaw. He has returned to his native Newfoundland in search of justice. However, he meets Elizabeth a mysterious barmaid who is much more than just a barmaid. It's not long before the story switches to Elizabeth, who along with her friends, crashed onto the unforgiving Newfoundland coast. They are desperate to leave and Elias might be the only way to escape.

I have to admit I had no clue what was going on for the first few chapters. It had been awhile since I read The Queen of All Crows (The Map of Unknown Things 1) and I had to jog my memory of what that book was about it. It didn't take long however before was completely gripped. I couldn't figure out how on earth that Elizabeth was going to avoid becoming a slave or worse at the hands of the main antagonist, Jago. Elias seemed incapable of helping himself let alone anyone else so I was flummoxed as to how she would escape. I would definitely describe this as a slow burn plot but it is well worth a read. Duncan creates such interesting characters and then places them in situations where you can't imagine how they are going to survive. I really like the narrator and thought she did an excellent job with both male and female characters. Well done Duncan. It is hard to follow the books from The Fall of the Gas-lit Empire with another terrific series.

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
My final book is is a short story. The Test by Sylvain Neuvel (one of my all time fave authors for his The Themis Files) is set in England with Idir about to take the British citizenship test. A simple multiple choice test has turned into a game of life or death and Idir gets to decide.

I had to take the British citizenship test so this story resonated with me and boy I am lucky my test wasn't this harrowing. This short story is a real page turner and rather tragic so be prepared. I don't want to say too much as I don't want to ruin the surprise. Don't miss out and get it on your TBR.

Well that is all for me folks. I hope you have had a less challenging February than I had. I am looking forward to smoother sailing in March and watching my daffodils come out. Until next month...Happy Reading!

Bec McMaster

Dukes Are Forever
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 5
Lochaber Press, February 12, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
A compromising situation forced him into marriage. But has his wife been working for the enemy all along?

In a steam-fuelled world where vampires once ruled the aristocracy, a dangerous conspiracy threatens to topple the queen, and the Duke of Malloryn knows his nemesis has finally returned to enact his plans of revenge.

Malloryn can trust no one, and when incriminating photographs surface—of an enemy agent stealing a kiss from his wife—he is forced to question just why his wife, Adele, trapped him into marriage.

Is she an innocent pawn caught up in a madman's games, or is she a double agent working against him?

The only way to discover the truth is to seduce her himself...

Adele Hamilton may have agreed to a loveless marriage in order to protect herself, but that doesn't stop her heart from yearning for more.

Her husband promised her a cold marriage bed. He swore he'd never touch her. But suddenly he's engaged in a campaign of seduction—and the only way to keep her wits about her is to fight fire with fire.

The ruthless beauty has locked her heart away, but can she deny the passion that flares between them? And when the truth emerges, will she be the only thing that can save Malloryn's life?

Or the weapon his enemy will wield against him?

Join Bec McMaster in this ultimate showdown, as the Blue Blood Conspiracy reaches its final, thrilling conclusion. From glittering ballrooms to blood-soaked gaming hells, the Duke of Malloryn must battle his most dangerous opponent yet.... The woman who just might steal his heart.

Don’t miss any of the London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy books!

Book 1: Mission: Improper
Book 2: The Mech Who Loved Me
Book 3: You Only Love Twice
Book 4: To Catch A Rogue
Book 5: Dukes Are Forever

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 1
Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 2
Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 3
Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 4

Rod Duncan

The Outlaw and the Upstart King
The Map of Unknown Things 2
Angry Robot, January 8, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Elizabeth Barnabus returns, to uncover the secrets and mysteries of the Gas-Lit Empire, in the startling sequel to The Queen of All Crows.

As it is inked, so shall your oaths and bindings be.

Tattoos are the only law on the Island of the Free, and there can never be a king. Every clan agrees on that. But a returning exile has smuggled something across the water that could send the old ways up in flames. Elias wants revenge on the men who severed his oaths and made him an outlaw. But, if his wealth and honour are to be restored, he’ll need help from the most unlikely quarter – a mysterious woman, landed unwontedly on Newfoundland’s rocky shore.

File Under: Fantasy [ Indelible Promise | The End Begins | Heart on Sleeve | Castaway ]

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 1

Sylvain Neuvel

The Test, February 12, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 112 Pages

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Award-winning author Sylvain Neuvel explores an immigration dystopia in The Test

Britain, the not-too-distant future.
Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.
He wants his family to belong.
Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.
When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.
How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018

I can't believe December has come and gone and we are now in 2019. I think time is flying at warp 9! Pretty soon it will be time to tell you what I read in January. I am a bit tardy with this post as too much merriment over the holidays meant that I didn't have time to write this when I thought I would.  I did however, manage to read a couple of good books so lets get to it!

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
First up is Genevieve Cogman's The Mortal Word which is the 5th instalment in her Invisible Library series. Irene is enjoying her new life - stealing books for the Library, helping her friend - the great detective Peregrine Vale and enjoying the company of her former apprentice/hunky dragon prince Kai. After almost dying at the hands of the evil Alberich things are looking up...well almost.

After centuries of fighting the Fae and the Dragons are going to make peace and the Library have been asked to mediate the summit where the historial peace treaty is due to be signed. When one of the Dragon delegation is found murdered Irene and the Great Detective are brought in to steal a book and solve the case. Sounds easy? It never is. Irene and friends are in a race against time to find the book, identify the murderer, get the treaty signed and not get killed in the process.

I do love this series, as who doesn't want to work for an invisible library that has portals to alternative worlds? Also, Irene is a great female lead and barely ever needs Kai or Vale to rescue her. However, I was a bit hesitant about reading book 5 as I didn't love book 4 - The Lost Plot. In my opinion, The Mortal Word is a stronger book than its predecessor as I felt the plot picked up elements of the 'Alberich' plot arc and used them effectively. Alberich has a small part to play in the nefarious happenings at the peace summit that both develop Irene as a character and highlight the changes in the Library since he tried to destroy it back in book 3 - The Burning Page. Through the plot we get to learn more about the background and society of the Fae and Dragon races and of the Librarians which makes Cogman's world (or worlds) much more rich and interesting. The ending does feel like it is the actual ending of the story but I believe Cogman will be publishing more books in this series so more opportunities for Irene to get into trouble. Overall, this book was very entertaining as it had just about everything you need for a satisfying read - great characters, a good murder mystery (I only guess quite near the end who 'dunnit'), the right amount of action, and some humour.

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
I discovered in my trawl through Kindle recommendations that the next instalment of Bec McMaster's London Steampunk: The Blueblood Conspiracy  - To Catch a Rogue had been released. With their leader captured by the ultimate baddy - Balfour the Company of Rogues find themselves in the Crimson Court all the way in Russia. Joining them on this dangerous mission is Lark who we meet in the original London Steampunk series. She has been brought onto the mission by the Rogues' youngest member Charlie who broke her teenage heart and who was responsible for the death of her beloved caretaker - TinMan. Lark also has a few secrets to hide herself and the Crimson Court is the last place that she wants to be. Can she keep her secrets and help to save the Duke before it's too late?

You can't beat one of McMaster's London Steampunk series if you need something quick to read that has a distinct formula so know what to expect. The Company are down to their nearly final member to get teamed up in a 'I used to hate you now I love you' romance. This time it was Charlie who needed to be paired up with some romantic entanglements and the only other teenager who fit the bill was Lark. While Lark's secret past had some depth to it the romance with Charlie was a bit lacking. Both characters are in their late teens so all the 'heaving and throbbing' was a out of place with these virginal teens. If I was the Duke I wouldn't have been too happy that my captivity at the hands of my arch enemy was lengthened because Charlie and Lark had some serious flirting to do.  One of my fave characters from the previous series plays a part but I won't let it slip who that is. This is a bit of a filler story and I wonder if this is down, in part, to how many books McMaster releases in a single year. The story felt bitty and rushed. I hope that she spends more time with book 5 and impassive Duke Malloryn.

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
The final book I have to tell  you about is Todd McAulty's The Robots of Gotham. This has been sitting on my TBR for some time and I thought I needed to give it some space between it and the last book I read about robots taking over the world - Sea of Rust. These two books are nothing alike, luckily!

In McAulty's world sentient robots have taken over much of the world forming governments in some countries and as dictators in others. The US has been torn apart by the war of the machines with Manhattan annexed into a robot monarchy and other parts are under foreign rule. Barry Simcoe is in occupied Chicago when a rogue machine almost kills him and many others. This attack set of a chain of events that will change Barry forever. During the drama that unfolds following the robot attack Barry befriends a Russian medic in the Venezuelan military and a damaged robot 19 Black Winter. Barry unwittingly discovers a robot conspiracy to kill off the rest of humanity by releasing a deadly plague. Barry and his two new friends need to work together to stop this from happening and to try to uncover who is behind it all. It's an epic race against time for not just Barry but the rest of the humanity as well.

I am still a bit tired out from reading The Robots of Gotham as there is so much action and intrigue that I couldn't put it down. The chapters are rather long and filled with action and plot developments so it isn't an easy book to read while commuting. I would often find myself reading while walking down the street so I could get to a natural break in the plot....not easy especially when you are walking down busy London streets!

I loved Barry as a character and he is supported by a great cast of both human and robot companions. 19 Black Winter was hardly your typical robot so prepare yourself for his caustic sense of humor and witty responses to some of Barry's questions. Apart from Barry, I thought it was the non-human characters in this story that are the most interesting. Even though you know who the ultimate baddy is McAulty keeps you guessing until the very last pages to find out if Barry will save the day. It's tense! You have been warned. This was a great book and bit of a surprise how much I liked it. Looking forward reading more about Barry and hopefully 19 Black Winter.

That is all for me for 2018. I hope you enjoyed this post and the new format to my mini-reviews. Until the end of January, Happy Reading!

The Mortal Word
An Invisible Library Novel 5
Ace, November 27, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
In the latest novel in Genevieve Cogman’s historical fantasy series, the fate of worlds lies in the balance. When a dragon is murdered at a peace conference, time-travelling Librarian spy Irene must solve the case to keep the balance between order, chaos…and the Library.

When Irene returns to London after a relatively straightforward book theft in Vienna, Bradamant informs her that there is a top secret dragon-Fae peace conference in progress that the Library is mediating, but that the second-in-command dragon has been stabbed to death. Tasked with solving the case, Vale and Irene immediately go to 1890s Paris.

Once they arrive, it seems that the murder victim had uncovered evidence suggesting that he may have found proof of treachery by one or more Librarians. But to ensure the peace of the conference, some Librarians are already hostages in the dragon and Fae courts. To save the captives, including her parents, Irene must get to the bottom of this murder – but was it dragon, Fae, or even a Librarian who committed the crime?”

To Catch a Rouge
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 4
Lochaber Press, October 30, 2018
eBook, 409 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
An impossible heist. A thief and a rogue. But will she steal his heart, instead?

The Company of Rogues finally knows the identity of the mastermind behind a plot against the queen—but their enemy is still one step ahead of them. When he kidnaps one of theirs, the Rogues plan a daring rescue mission that will lead them into the heart of the bloodthirsty Crimson Court.

It's a job for a master thief, and there's nothing Charlie Todd likes more than a challenge. To pull off the impossible, Charlie needs a crew, including the only thief who's ever been able to outfox him.

He broke her heart. But now she must risk it all to save his life...

Lark's spent years trying to forget her past, but the one thing she can't ignore is the way a single smile from Charlie still sets her heart on fire. When he proposes they work together again, it feels just like old times, but she has one rule: this is strictly business.

It's Charlie's last chance to prove he can be trusted with her heart. But Lark's keeping a deadly secret. And as passions are stirred and the stakes mount, it might be the kind of secret that could destroy them all...

The Robots of Gotham
John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 19, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 688 pages
Trade Paperback, June 4, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
A thrilling adventure in a world one step away from total subjugation by machines.

After long years of war, the United States has sued for peace, yielding to a brutal coalition of nations ruled by fascist machines. One quarter of the country is under foreign occupation. Manhattan has been annexed by a weird robot monarchy, and in Tennessee, a permanent peace is being delicately negotiated between the battered remnants of the U.S. government and an envoy of implacable machines.

Canadian businessman Barry Simcoe arrives in occupied Chicago days before his hotel is attacked by a rogue war machine. In the aftermath, he meets a dedicated Russian medic with the occupying army, and 19 Black Winter, a badly damaged robot. Together they stumble on a machine conspiracy to unleash a horrific plague—and learn that the fabled American resistance is not as extinct as everyone believes. Simcoe races against time to prevent the extermination of all life on the continent . . . and uncover a secret that America’s machine conquerors are desperate to keep hidden.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018

Well hello again. Lots has happened since my last post. First I had a super fantastic holiday in Nova Scotia visiting my sister. It is a beautiful part of Canada and if you ever get the chance to go try out October when the autumn colours are all out. Usually holidays aren't always a time when I read a lot but I was visiting my sister who reads more than I do so I got through some really good books. So let me tell you all about them.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
So I have read quite a bit this month so hold on for a loooonnng post. First up is a nice short story - Dragon's Claw by Karen Chance. This is a Dorina Basarab story and set just after the events of Shadow's Bane. When a bunch of vampires end up dead Dorina reluctantly ends up investigating. She winds up with her faithful vamp follower - Ray - in an alternative/magical Hong Kong chasing a killer of killers through the mayhem of the magically enhanced streets. If she loses it means the end of all vampires and a shift in the war with the Dark Circle.

I enjoy the Dorina Basarab series, much more than the Cassie Palmer books and for this very reason - Dory has a job to do and she does it. She isn't busy swooning over Pritkin or Mircea...she just gets on with it. Chance hasn't written very many short stories in this world so it was a real treat that there was one and so soon after the release of a main instalment. It ends rather abruptly and more action packed than character based but for fans of the series, this is a nice diversion.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
For my flights to and from Canada I needed a book that didn't require a lot of concentration or a complicated plot and so I turned to Clash of Storms by Bec McMaster. I read book 1 of this series - Legends of the Storm and really didn't think I would continue but took another chance.

This instalment centres on Malin - the half dreki who has led her life in the shadows - neither full dreki or full human. The dreki warrior Sirius Blackfrost isn't very happy to discover that a half dreki is his fated mate and he can't let on, especially to the Queen who will take advantage of this news. All Malin wants to do is help her princess escape a loveless marriage but with Blackfrost on her tail it might not go as planned. Fated to be parted but destined to be together.

Clash of Storms was pretty much your standard fantasy romance fare. Malin and Sirius were the opposites that attract - the weakling and the warrior all in a race against time with a uber baddie trying to keep them apart. I didn't miss much by not reading book 2 and was rather disappointed that there seems to be a book 4 coming up. If you really like this genre or need something mind numbing to read then give it a go. A bit weak for a McMaster romance in my view.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
I discovered that the lovely Qwill had sent me the ebook of The Amiestrin Gambit by J. Kathleen Cheney and I had yet to read it. Lucky for me I discovered this while on holiday that encouraged reading. For those of you who don't/haven't read my posts I LOVED Cheney's Dreaming Death. While I waited for the next instalment I thought I would tuck into The King's Daughter series.

As the name suggests Ellis Dantreon is the king's daughter but not a beloved one. She has lived, on her own, sequestered on an estate far away from the palace....virtually abandoned by both her parents. No one is more surprised than Ellis when the king decrees that she trains as a soldier. Her home turns into a barracks for the next few years as she trains to become what her father wants her to be. New friends and more importantly enemies await Ellis as she starts her new life as a soldier.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
The Amiestrin Gambit wasn't the only book of this series that I read in October. I also quickly plowed through books 2 and 3 - The Passing of Pawns and The Black Queen. I have to admit I wasn't sure about The Amiestrin Gambit. I had no clue what was going on for the first several chapters as names were very similar, the magical powers were unexplained and races/relationships were hidden away at the back of the book. However, books 2 and 3 were 'unputdownable'. I liked Ellis as a character. She was resilient and strong without being a warrior or hero. She is supported by an interesting cast of characters, some with magical powers and some without. My favourite character, apart from Ellis, was Grandfather who was actually a woman....sort of.....not going to say anymore so that you can find out for yourself. Each book builds an individual story that starts the weave of the plot for the next book. Book 1 focuses on Ellis in her first year of training to become a soldier. She isn't quite old enough to be a full soldier but trains with the men who have been stationed at her estate. Ellis and friends uncover a nefarious organisation of magically gifted people that hope to topple the power structure. They can take the shape of anyone at anytime, putting both Ellis and her friends at risk. The Passing of Pawns continues immediately after book 1 with Ellis's training and the plot by the separatists. As Ellis matures, a sort of love triangle has developed between Llelas (the soon to be Duke of Sandrine) and Captain Carmeyon Dantreon which adds another layer onto the plot arc. By book 3 - The Black Queen - this is more fully established and at this point Ellis is one of the King's guards. Her mother, who abandoned her when she was only 5, is back in town along with her brother who she had never met. The backstory of the Queen's abandonment of her only daughter is told alongside the continuation of the overarching plot. This is probably the best book of the series so far and I am looking forward to find out what happens next. Certain characters, who are quite prominent in one book do not feature in the next which worked well with the chronology of the overall plotline and made it more credible. If you enjoy fantasy or are a fan of Cheney's then these are a must read.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
Cheney has a definite writing 'voice'. Her female leads tend to be young, experience great hardship and persevere, yet supported by very slightly older, more magical male characters. There is no expectation that the man comes into save the day but the male characters are definitely there for backup and Ellis sometimes needs it. Cheney has serialised book 4 - Knight & Nightrider - on her website (in draft form). I did vow to myself that I wasn't going to read another free serialised book as I have found recently that there can be too much angst tied into a weekly freebie. I have however, read the first 10 chapters that have been released. I think I am enjoying them because there is no expectation as to when a new chapter will be released which means I am not disappointed if one doesn't arrive 'on time'. Cheney also releases chapters of the Dreaming Palace series in a 'pay to read' type arrangement whereby you basically pay a subscription to read chapters early. I haven't signed up for this but thought it was an interesting alternative to waiting for the full book to be released.

That is all I am going to leave you with for this month. I hope you had a great month of super fantastic reads and I look forward to telling you what I read in a few weeks time. Until then Happy Reading.

Dragon's Claw
A Dorina Basarab Novella
Smashwords, Inc., September 2, 2018
eBook, 170 pages
  Also available in Paperback

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
A new novella in the New York Times bestselling Midnight's Daughter series!

Everyone knows that vampires are hard to kill. But when Dory Basarab is called to a crime scene in a smelly basement in Queens, she discovers that that may no longer be the case. Somebody has developed a new weapon, a vamp killer, and left her plenty of clues to follow. One of them leads her to the other side of the world, and to a city like no other, where the paranormal is normal and where death stalks the streets. Can she defeat a clever killer before he kills again, and on an unprecedented scale?

Clash of Storms
Legends of the Storms 3
Lochaber Press, September 11, 2018
eBook, 366 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
The old eddas speak of dreki—fabled creatures who haunt the depths of Iceland's volcanoes and steal away fair maidens.

Malin wants none of such myths. As a half-blood dreki, she's beneath the notice of the arrogant warriors who rule the skies—except for Sirius Blackfrost, the most ruthless dreki within the court. This dark prince watches her every move, but he's more villain than hero, and in her favourite fairy tales the servant never earns the prince's heart. But is there something more to the look in the Blackfrost's eyes?

To love her would be to curse her to a fate worse than death...

The second he saw her, Sirius knew her for his fated mate. But Malin is a nobody in the dreki court and her very presence is a threat to the queen's ambitions for him. Forced to hide the truth and accept the match his queen has made for him—to mate with the princess Malin serves— he dares not reveal his heart.

But when the princess flees, he must find her—and his only clue is Malin, who aims to thwart him at every step. With danger surrounding them, they must forge a truce. But can Malin ever give this wicked prince her heart? Because, while Sirius's kiss burns through her like lightning, to love him would be to defy the stars themselves…

Join USA Today bestselling author, Bec McMaster, on a seductive journey through a mythic land, with a wicked prince who's never played the hero, a servant girl with a fate larger than she can believe, and an evil queen who threatens to tear them apart. Download this epic historical fantasy filled with magic and breathtaking romance today!

Don’t miss any of the Legends of the Storm books!

Book 1:
Heart of Fire
Book 2: Storm of Desire
Book 3: Clash of Storms
Book 4: Daughter of Storms (featuring Tormund)

The Amiestrin Gambit
The King's Daughter 1
Dream Palace Press, May 1, 2018
eBook, 384 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
Ellis Dantreon is barely fifteen when she learns that her father–the king of Jenear–has decreed that she’s to be trained as a soldier. Thrust in among the others at the newly reopened War College of Amiestrin, Ellis must earn the other cadets’ respect and trust. Not all of them are pleased at having a girl among them. Ellis has to choose which ones to trust, sometimes pushing back against her instructors’ urging as she does.

But most of all, she must deal with a world far wider than the one she’s known. That world will shape her future, for the Gifted whom her meager staff have always considered myths prove to be very real indeed. Those people want very much to influence the course of a future Jenear. When it comes time for her young brother to take the throne, the Seers among them believe that Ellis will decide whether her younger brother lives or dies, or if he’ll be replaced by another claimant to the throne altogether.

And hiding among the cadets and staff, some of those Gifted have arrived at Amiestrin…

The Passing of Pawns
The King's Daughter 2
Dream Palace Press, June 14, 2018
eBook, 265 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
Ellis Dantreon is sixteen now. For the last year she’s worked to make a place for herself among the first class of cadets at the War College of Amiestrin. It’s been a struggle, but she feels they’ve begun to accept her. But a plot that would have put Ellis’ very life in danger unravels, and it seems that the Separatists may have been behind it.

Ellis has to decide quickly where she’ll place her trust. Are the Separatists trying to remove her from the line of succession? Or trying to frighten her into joining their cause? In the end, will friendships prove stronger than family?

And will the Gifted be able to get to the truth of the plot?

The Black Queen
The King's Daughter 3
Dream Palace Press, July 31, 2018
eBook, 466 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018
When Ellis Dantreon's father ordered her to become a soldier, she became the only female at the war college. Now she’s graduated and has taken her place guarding the king. But the country Seers are still predicting a terrible possibility—that she might end up marrying the Duke of Perisen, Anton Marisi.

And if she does, she probably won’t live long. Nor will her brother, Prince Kerris.

Ellis is baffled by the prediction. She’s never even spoken to the man. She certainly has no intention of allowing him to court her if she does meet him. But when another woman pretends to be her, Ellis realizes how easy it would be for that marriage to happen after all.

Now Ellis has to gather all the help she can to stave off that possibility. Unfortunately, she has an added challenge: her mother, the Queen of Jenear, has come to Verina.

The View From Monday - October 29, 2018

Here are the remaining releases for October 2018.

From formerly featured DAC authors:

The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade 2) by Seth Dickinson;

The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky: A Novella of Cosmic Horror by John Hornor Jacobs;


To Catch A Rogue (London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 4) by Bec McMaster.

The View From Monday - October 29, 2018The View From Monday - October 29, 2018
The View From Monday - October 29, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

The View From Monday - October 29, 2018

Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

October 29, 2018
Fury's Mantle (e) Yasmine Galenorn PNR - Fury Unbound 5

October 30, 2018
The Librarians and the Pot of Gold Greg Cox CF/MTI - The Librarians 3
The Monster Baru Cormorant Seth Dickinson F - The Masquerade 2
Assassin's Creed Odyssey Gordon Doherty MTI/Hist - Assassin's Creed 8
The Spark (h2mm) David Drake SF
Willful Child: Wrath of Betty (h2mm) Steven Erikson SF/SO/Satire - Willful Child 2
Alice Isn't Dead Joseph Fink H
Shades of Wicked Jeaniene Frost PNR - Night Rebel 1
The Supernaturals (h2mm) David L. Golemon SupTh/P/GH - The Supernaturals 1
Shattered Legions Laurie Goulding (Ed) SF - The Horus Heresy 43
Dragonfire Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings 14
Inside American Gods Emily Haynes PerfArts/TV
Terminal Alliance (h2mm) Jim C. Hines SF/AP/PA - Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse 1
The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky: A Novella of Cosmic Horror (e) John Hornor Jacobs SupTh
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition Ursula K. Le Guin F - Earthsea Cycle
Agent of Change (ri) Sharon Lee
Steve Miller
SF/SO - Liaden Universe 1
The Magic Engineer (ri) L. E. Modesitt Jr. F - Saga of Recluce 3
The Towers of the Sunset (ri) L. E. Modesitt Jr. F - Saga of Recluce 2
The Magic of Recluce (ri) L. E. Modesitt Jr. F - Saga of Recluce 1
Deep Silence Jonathan Maberry Th/H - Joe Ledger 12
Deadlands: Boneyard (tp2mm) Seanan McGuire DF/MTI/W - Deadlands 3
To Catch A Rogue (e) Bec McMaster Gaslamp/SP - London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 4
Into the Fire (h2mm) Elizabeth Moon SF/Th - Vatta's Peace 2
Healer's Need Rhenna Morgan PNR - Ancient Ink 2
The Falling Woman (ri) Pat Murphy MR/SF
Last Shot (h2mm) Daniel José Older SF/SO/MTI - Star Wars
Supernatural - Joyride John Passarella MTI/H
Hunters Dawn Peers
Z.A. Recht
H - Z.A. Recht's Morningstar Strain 5
Borderless Eliot Peper TechTh - An Analog Novel 2
Bandwidth (h2tp) Eliot Peper TechTh - An Analog Novel 1
Oathbringer (h2tp) Brandon Sanderson F - The Stormlight Archive 3
Archangel's Prophecy Nalini Singh PNR - A Guild Hunter Novel 11
Stephen King, American Master: A Creepy Corpus of Facts About Stephen King & His Work Stephen Spignesi LC/H/Sup
The Labyrinth Index Charles Stross CF/DF - Laundry Files 9
Fury Rachel Vincent UF/CF/F/MR - The Menagerie Series 3
The Thief (h2mm) J.R. Ward PNR - Black Dagger Brotherhood 16
The God Gene (h2mm) F. Paul Wilson MedTh/SupTh - The ICE Sequence 2

October 31, 2018
Driving to Geronimo's Grave and Other Stories Joe R. Lansdale SpecFic - Anthology

D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
Il - Illustrator
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
Anthro - Anthropology
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Woman
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
GN - Graphic Novel
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
Hist M - Historical Mystery
Hist R - Historical Romance
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
MedTh - Medical Thriller
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Parnormal Cozy Mystery
PerfArts - Performing Arts
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PolTh - Political Thriller
PopCul - Popular Culture
Sc - Science
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SocHist - Social History
SocSc - Social Science
SP - Steampunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 19, 2018

Melanie's Week in Review - August 19, 2018

Hello again. I hope you had a good week. Mine has been busy verging on hectic. Work has gotten soo busy that myself and my team are having to work this weekend just to catch-up. I have found a couple of good books to help wind down on the commute to and from the 'desk of doom'! So what were they?

I actually came across Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox by Forthright from Ilona Andrews. Well not actually from Ilona herself but she spoke about reading it and gave a mini review on their blog. I needed something to read and I thought I would take a punt and give it a go.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 19, 2018
Set in modern times humanity has just discovered the existence of a race that call themselves the Amaranthine. Part human and part animal the Amaranthine are myth and legend come alive and now living amongst humans. Living in a secluded private all girls school has meant that the Tusmiko knows very little about the Amaranthine and pretty much everything else in the world beyond the school gates. That is all about to change when she is left a very large inheritance from a relative that includes a big estate and her very own Amaranthine butler. Argent is not just the butler, he is a slave. He has been serving Tusumiko's family for centuries after being enslaved. He hates the fact that his very life relies on bonding with Tsumiko and desperately wants to be free. However, just when his freedom is within his reach Argent meets his new mistress and discovers she has something he has been craving more than being free.

I read this book fairly quickly and for at least the first half of the book I didn't want to put it down. The hidden world of the Amaranthine was interesting but there wasn't a lot of substance to race or their world to hold my interest for 400+ pages. The latter half of the book seemed rushed and the way in which Forthright dealt with the issue of rape was quite unsympathetic and rather superficial. The ending was very syrupy sweet and rather disappointing. I was hoping for more considering the basics of a good story was there. I don't think I will continue with the series.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 19, 2018
I noticed that Bec McMaster's third instalment of the Blue Blood Conspiracy You Only Love Twice had been released. This story focuses on Gemma Townsend, the Company of Rogue's chief spy. Gemma is on the case to find an assassin called the Chameleon and stop him/her before they attack the Queen. Her investigation leads her directly into the path of Obsidian - a dhamphir who is working for the enemy. What she doesn't realise, until she is in his trap, is that he is the same double agent she lost her heart to 5 years before. Obsidian starts out wanting revenge on the woman he believes tried to kill him but it only takes one kiss for him to realise that their love didn't die in the fire that almost consumed him. Different sides of the same war and their love isn't the only thing in the line of fire.

McMaster's books are usually a quick, easy read and You Only Love Twice is not an exception. All of the characters from the last 2 books have a part to play in this story along with some of my favourites from the previous London Steampunk series (mainly Blade...who never did get his elocution lessons). Overall the plot is quite good and I didn't guess who the Chameleon was until the very last minute. It was quite tense in the final few chapters while story's plot was resolved. The hot and steamy starts early on which is something I noticed across all of the books in this series. It's clear that the Company of Rogues don't mess around when it comes to the bedroom (jail, dungeon, abandoned house, or where ever else). I did skim read a few of the more gratuitous paragraphs in this book but if you like a lot of heaving bosoms and thickened nether regions then this is the book for you. Overall, this was a quick read, Gemma and Obsidian weren't my favourite characters but they were tolerable, and I liked that I couldn't guess what was going to happen at the end.

That is it for me this week. I hope you have managed to find something enjoyable to take your mind off of work or the weather. Until next week Happy Reading.

Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox
Amaranthine Saga 1
Twinkle Press, February 22, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 478 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 19, 2018
Tsumiko inherits an ancestral home, a vast fortune, and a butler who isn’t exactly human.

Humanity is rocked by the Emergence of a people who call themselves the Amaranthine. They are our myths and legends come to life. Neither human nor animal, yet embracing qualities of both, the inhuman races inspire both awe and fear. Every newsfeed is clogged with updates about the peace process, but some places don’t concern themselves with worldly affairs. Like the girls’ school run by Saint Midori’s of the Heavenly Lights, where Tsumiko Hajime grew up.

A letter from a long-lost aunt names Tsumiko heiress to an ancestral estate and its accompanying fortune. Only the legacy comes with an aloof heirloom: an inhuman butler. Argent has served the Hajime family for centuries, and Tsumiko must renew the generational bond or he’ll die. Argent hates her for the hold she has over him, but he craves her soul almost as much as he craves his freedom.

You Only Love Twice
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 3
Lochaber Press, August 14, 2018
eBook, 437 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 19, 2018
With the clock ticking down, the Company of Rogues must find a deadly killer and stop them from assassinating the Queen... before London burns.

First rule of espionage: don't ever fall in love with your target.

Five years ago, Gemma Townsend learned the hard way what happens when you break this rule. She lost everything. Her mentor's trust. The man she loved. And almost her life. Love is a weakness she can never afford again.

When offered a chance at redemption, the seductive spy is determined to complete her assigned task: to track down a dangerous assassin known as the Chameleon, a mysterious killer sent after the queen, whose identity seems to constantly change.

But as her investigation leads Gemma into a trap, she's rescued by a shadowy figure she thought was dead—the double agent who once stole her heart.

A man with few memories, all Obsidian knows is Gemma betrayed him, and he wants revenge. But one kiss ignites the unextinguished passion between them, and he can't bring himself to kill her.

Can Obsidian ever trust her again? Or is history doomed to repeat itself? Because it soon becomes clear the Chameleon might be closer than either of them realized... and this time Gemma is in the line of fire.

James Bond meets Dracula...Join USA Today bestselling author, Bec McMaster, on a thrilling ride through a steam-fuelled London where two spies working for opposing forces must risk it all for love. Download this sexy paranormal romance filled with explosive secrets, diabolical devices and breathtaking romance today!

Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018

Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018

Welcome to 2018! I hope that everyone had a great time on New Year's Eve and that 2018 will bring health, happiness and some really great books. I am also sending warm wishes to all my North American chums who are experiencing the weather bomb (get it..warm wishes?& tee hee). I hope that the power stays on and stay tucked up at home under a duvet with a good read.

I would love to be able to tell you about a book that was published in 2018 that I have read in 2018 but alas, I am not that organised. Instead I have books that were published last year that I either read last year or just finished. I have also been busy reading the SPFBO 2017 finalists from other blogs so bear with me!

Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018
I am a big fan of the Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. I have reviewed each of the previous three books and have loved the very notion of an invisible library where the librarians like Irene work as covert operatives obtaining rare books. The first three books built up the plot arch of the evil Alberich who wanted to bring down Irene and the Library however, that plot was resolved at the end of book 3. In this instalment Irene and Kai are caught in the middle of two dragons who are competing to obtain a rare book and a prominent place in the dragon hierarchy. Irene is determined to keep the Library neutral and maintain the balance of power between the dragons and the fae, if it kills her....and it just might.

The setting of this instalment, The Lost Plot, is an alternative 1930's style Chicago with a heady mix of the mob and prohibition thrown in for a dash of authenticity. Irene and Kai's race against time to stop the Library becoming embroiled in dragon politics is well developed and executed. The allies, enemies and frenemies that help and hinder their progress are delightfully stereotypical and I couldn't decide which enemy I liked more. Irene and Kai's relationship takes a new turn and one that kind of surprised me given the events of a slightly romantic nature during book 3. While I thoroughly enjoyed this instalment it felt like it was out of sequence with the other books as the plot arch was resolved in the last book. It felt like Cogman had more of Irene's story to tell but hadn't done that planning upfront. It was just a bit jarring with all the build up to the resolution to the Alberich plot and then he barely features in this one. While you can't/shouldn't read books 1-3 out of sequence The Lost Plot could really be read at any point or as a stand alone novel. I really liked this book but can't say that I loved it. If Cogman had taken elements of The Burning Page and merged it with The Lost Plot then it would have been the perfect book.

Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018
The second book I would like to tell you about is Bec McMaster's Heart of Fire which is the first instalment in her new Legends of the Storm series. I read quite a few of McMaster's books and I like some more than others. I have to admit that I wasn't really that drawn to this book based purely on the book description. I was on a city break to Oslo and doing a lot of travelling and really needed something that didn't need 100% of my concentration. Heart of Fire fit that bill.

In this instalment we are introduced to Freyja is her town's social outcast who spends her time taking care of her invalid father. When the local dreki (aka dragon) steals her last ram Freyja decides to take action and puts herself on a dangerous path. Freyja doesn't realise that the very dreki that steals her last ram is the very same hotty (Rurik) that she meets in a local village. It's not long before Rurik ingratiates himself into the beautiful Freyja's life, while keeping his real identity secret places her in great danger. Will love survive? Will they survive? I will leave it to you to find out.

Heart of Fire is one of those books that you don't need to invest a lot of time or effort into as the plot is quite straight forward and the characters rather one dimensional. The 'goodies' are very good and the baddies are very bad but it is a very quick, easy read and sometimes your brain just needs something that is nice and easy to digest.

There you go, my first WIR of 2018. I hope to be back next week to tell you about what else I have read so until then Happy Reading.

The Lost Plot
An Invisible Library Novel 4
Ace, January 9, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018
After being commissioned to find a rare book, Librarian Irene and her assistant, Kai, head to Prohibition-era New York and are thrust into the middle of a political fight with dragons, mobsters, and Fae.

In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can’t extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They’ll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library’s own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn’t end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene’s job. And, incidentally, on her life…

Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018
Book 1
Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018
Book 2
Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018
Book 3

Heart of Fire
Legends of the Storm 1
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd., December 14, 2017
eBook, 260 pages

Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018
The old eddas speak of dreki—fabled creatures who haunt the depths of Iceland's volcanoes and steal away fair maidens.

Freyja wants none of such myths. Dreki seducing young ladies? Ha. They probably eat such foolish girls. But when the local dreki steals her last ram—costing her any chance of feeding her ill father through the winter—Freyja intends to confront the fearsome myth.

Sentenced to a life of exile from his clan, Rurik is fascinated by the furious woman who comes to claim her ram. She reeks of mysterious magic and challenges him at every step. He intends to claim the passionate firebrand, but to do so he must take mortal form. It's the only time the dreki are vulnerable, and with a dragon-hunter arriving on the shores of Iceland, he can barely afford the risk—but lonely Freyja, with her elf-cursed eyes and pragmatic soul, tempts him in ways he's never felt before. Is she the key to reclaiming his heritage? Or will she be his downfall?

Don't miss any of the Legends of the Storm books!
1. Heart of fire
2. Storm of Desire (coming 2018)
3. Clash of Storms (coming 2018)

Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017

Welcome to November! I am feeling very novembery as I write this. Perhaps I should be explicit. I am feeling very novembery in the UK - chilly, grey and raining. Boo hoo. I was having one of those 'meh' days until I realised that I have not 1 but 2 end of trilogies to tell you about. Please queue blue skies and rainbows :) Here I go!

Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017
Soulbound is the final instalment of Bec McMaster's Dark Arts series. At the end of Hexbound everything the good guys were fighting for seems lost and London is only days away from being destroyed. Sebastian has never had anyone stick up for him before and when his father sacrifices his own very soul to a demon to save him Sebastian doesn't know how to react. He is drawn to his beautiful wife but doesn't want to hurt her. He doesn't know how to survive in a world where others want to fight to save him but he needs to find the strength to fight for everything that he has grown to care about.

Meanwhile Cleo yearns to save Sebastian but doesn't know how to reach him. She has had a terrible vision of the destruction of London and she knows that she is pivotal to the event and needs Sebastian's help along with their new friends to save them both. The race is on to save their love, their friends and themselves.

I think this series improved with each book. That isn't uncommon but in this case there was less sex and more action with each book which I appreciated. Cleo was quite sugary sweet but this was balanced out by the much darker Sebastian and his half brothers. McMaster included a few of the lead characters from previous books to work alongside Cleo and Sebastian which made them more interested and well-rounded than they would have been had the story focused only on these two. Overall, I liked this series and appreciated that McMaster didn't drag the story out over a longer series, which I think would have made it too mundane. If you are like steampunky fantasy and don't want to invest years reading to find out who wins then this is the perfect series for you.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017
The second trilogy that I finished was the Memory Collector series by Jamie McLachlin with Rise of the Phoenix. The author wraps up the story of Moira, the empath and her forbidden love the police detective Keenan. In this instalment Moira has to come to terms with her role in the deaths of prominent Elite members. At the end of book 2 she discovers who the Phoenix really is and now he wants her to continue his mission to free all empaths, despite the cost. Moira is torn. She has always been a slave and desperate to be free but the price for freedom may be too much.

I really liked this series. I think that Moira is a truly conflicted character and this conflict is even more prevalent in this instalment. Moira learns the true extent of what happened to her when her memories are returned. She was a slave in more ways than her body. The Phoenix takes almost everything away from her and I couldn't even guess how she was going to save herself and the newly found love for Keenan. McLachlan also delivers a HUGE twist towards the end of the book which I did not see coming. There is quite a bit more sex in this instalment than I would have preferred but it was still a great ending to a great series.

That is it for me this week. I am going to find another series to love. Any and all suggestions are welcome. Until next week. Happy Reading.

The Dark Arts Trilogy 3
Lochaber Press, October 24, 2017
eBook, 400 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017
A dark force is rising in London...

Sebastian Montcalm knows freedom for the first time in his life, but it has come at the cost of his father's soul. If he can learn to harness his uncontrollable sorcery then he might be able to save his father from a demon's grip, but every move he makes leads to failure. The only thing that gives him hope is the innocent touch of Cleo Sinclair, the woman he was forced to marry. But will his darkness drown out her light?

He could be her destruction…

Cleo knew her father only ever loved her for the power of her visions, but when he bartered her away in marriage to a man she'd never met, she realized how little value she truly had. Her husband, Sebastian, was nothing more than a dark warmth in her bed, a stranger who refused to touch her. But together, the two tortured souls found friendship. And now, when he needs her the most, he won't even look at her.

...Or she could be his salvation...

When Cleo receives a powerful vision of a darkness that threatens London, she knows she is the key to defeating it. Only by working together can she and Sebastian prevail. But is Sebastian the one who can end this prophetic doom, or the one bound to begin it?

Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017
Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017

Rise of the Phoenix
The Memory Collector 3
Penner Publishing, October 24, 2017
eBook, 339 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017
Moira has dreamed of freedom ever since she became a concubine at the Pleasure House. With the Phoenix locked in prison, she's finally as free as a slave to the Elite could ever be.

But the Phoenix, a serial killer intent on freeing empaths, is not who she thought, and this time he wants her to use her powers of persuasion to help him. Moira must decide what's worth more: freedom, survival, or the destruction of her enemies. Her growing relationship with Detective Keenan Edwards threatens all three, even if he offers her something she never dreamed of—love.

When she's imprisoned for an Elite member's death, she finds herself back where it all began: facing her execution. In her darkest moment, she'll have to dive into the deepest parts of her mind to defeat the Phoenix once and for all. But the past won't stay hidden for long, and it demands a price.

Her freedom. Her life. And the only man she's ever loved.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017
Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017

Well hello summer! We have had another week of lovely summer weather. It was super scorchio on Friday which was nice despite having to go to work. To make up for it I spent most of Saturday sitting in the shade watching Glow on Netflix (which is a great show, I might add) and reading my newest book (a recipe book!). Don't worry I have read other things then cake recipes! So without further adieu......

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017
Starting my week of romance was Bec McMaster's The Mech Who Loved Me which was the second in the London Steampunk Blue Blood Conspiracy. This series centres on Company of Rogues who are the good guys trying to stop the baddies - the Sons of Gilead - from breaking the peace between the different races within this steampunk version of London. The love interests in this instalment are Ava, the virginal scientist who is tired of being treated like a glass doll by the rest of the Company, and the part mech - Kincaid. This is definitely the case of opposites attract as the lovely Ava is also a blueblood which the former blueblood killer Kincaid has learned to hate. There was a 'frisson' between the pair in book 1 and things heat up to thermo nuclear levels. Ava is determined to lose her virginity and has set her sights on Kincaid to do the honours. When a terrible poison that is targeted at bluebloods starts to take hold in London, Ava and Kincaid are teamed up to solve the mystery of who is responsible and put a stop to it. The more they work together the closer they become and despite trying to avoid Ava, the ladies men mech finds he is drawn to innocent scientist.

This instalment is pretty standard PNR. The hot and steamy starts from the very start and keeps going all the way through to the end. The plot arc of the Sons of Gilead was almost secondary to the frisson between the pair. The real action didn't really start until near the end as earlier chapters were about developing the sexual relationship between Kincaid and Ava. I think I want to like this series more than I actually do. The opposites attract plotline is wearing a bit thin as it was a similar pairing in the first book, as well as, the original London Steampunk series. I will continue with the series as the plot for book 3 sounds much more exciting.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017
My second book 'of love' was Thea Harrison's Spellbinder which continues the Moonshadow series. This instalment tells the story of one of the baddies from book 1 - Morgan le Fae, the enforcer of Queen Isabeau's hounds. Le Fae has been enslaved by the Queen of the Light Fae for centuries and forced to do terrible things in her name. When the very human and very famous musician Sidonie Martel is kidnapped, tortured and left to rot in Isabeau's dungeon Morgan is drawn to saving the human from his cruel master. Can Morgan overcome Isabeau's spell to save Sidonie or will it be a human in a supernatural world who will be Morgan's saviour? I will leave it to you to find out.

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I thought Harrison was quite clever in her version of the Arthurian legend - Morgan le Fae. I did think that Sidonie had a little bit Stockholm syndrome by falling for Morgan despite the fact he was the reason for the trauma she endures. She was quite a strong female character and could stick up for herself which isn't always the case in this genre. It will be interesting to see if Morgan joins the fight against 'the light side' guys in future books or whether Harrison leaves him in peace. Rather looking forward to seeing what happens next.

That is all from me this week. You will find me in the sunshine! See you next week and until then Happy Reading.

The Mech Who Loved Me
London Steampunk The Blue Blood Conspiracy 2
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, June 27, 2017
eBook, 396 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017
Ava McLaren is tired of being both a virgin, and a mere laboratory assistant for the Company of Rogues. When a baffling mystery rears its head, it presents her with the opportunity to work a real case... and perhaps get a taste of the passion that eludes her.

Blue bloods are dying from a mysterious disease, which should be impossible. Ava suspects there's more to the case than meets the eye and wants a chance to prove herself. There’s just one catch—she’s ordered to partner with the sexy mech, Kincaid, who's a constant thorn in her side. Kincaid thinks the only good blue blood is a dead one. He's also the very last man she would ever give her heart to… which makes him the perfect candidate for an affair.

The only rule? It ends when the case does.

But when an attempt on her life proves that Ava might be onto something, the only one who can protect her is Kincaid. Suddenly the greatest risk is not to their hearts, but whether they can survive a diabolical plot that threatens to destroy every blue blood in London—including Ava.

Moonshadow 2
Teddy Harrison LLC, July 18, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017
From author Thea Harrison comes the latest story in the New York Times bestselling Moonshadow trilogy….

Kidnapped while on tour, musician Sidonie Martel is transported to the mystical land of Avalon. A human without magical ability, she is completely vulnerable to the deadly forces surrounding her.

When she defies her captors and refuses to share her music, an act of violent cruelty leaves her broken, her ability to play silenced, maybe forever. Her only hope is a whisper in the dark, gentle hands that offer healing, and a man who refuses to show her his face yet who offers advice she dare not ignore.

One of the most feared and powerful sorcerers in history, Morgan le Fae serves a Queen he despises, Isabeau of the Light Court. Once a famous bard and an advisor to kings, Morgan has been enslaved to Isabeau for hundreds of years, acting as enforcer and the commander of her deadly Hounds.

Sidonie’s music touches Morgan in places he had abandoned centuries ago, and her fiery spirit resurrects feelings he had believed long dead. For Sidonie, trapped in captivity, passion offers a comfort she cannot resist.

But Isabeau holds Morgan bound in magical chains that only Death can break. And in the court of a cruel, jealous Queen, the only thing that burns hotter than love is revenge…

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23

This is the twenty-third in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.

Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here

Will McIntosh (2011)

Tor Books, October 25, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
Faller is a new gripping standalone, science fiction thriller by Hugo Award-winning author Will McIntosh.

Day One: No one can remember anything—who they are, family and friends, or even how to read. Reality has fragmented and Earth consists of an islands of rock floating in an endless sky. Food, water, electricity—gone, except for what people can find, and they can't find much.

Faller's pockets contain tantalizing clues: a photo of himself and a woman he can't remember, a toy solider with a parachute, and a mysterious map drawn in blood. With only these materials as a guide, he makes a leap of faith from the edge of the world to find the woman and set things right.

He encounters other floating islands, impossible replicas of himself and others, and learns that one man hates him enough to take revenge for actions Faller can't even remember.

Burning Midnight
Ember, January 31, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave,this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent. When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.

K. M. McKinley  (2015)

The City of Ice
The Gates of the World 2
Solaris, December 27, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
An ancient city. A wondrous invention. A perilous journey.

The epic sequel to the incredible debut novel The Iron Ship.

Deep in the polar south stands a city like no other, a city built aeons ago by a civilisation mighty and wise.

The City of Ice promises the secrets of the ancients to whomever can reach it first. It may prove too little knowledge too late, for the closest approach of the Twin in 4000 years draws near, an event that has heralded terrible destruction in past ages.

As the Kressind siblings pursue their fortunes, the world stands upon the dawn of a new era, but it may yet be consumed by a darkness from the past.

Industry and magic, gods and steampower collide in the captivating sequel to The Iron Ship.

Peter McLean (2016)

A Burned Man Novel 2
Angry Robot, November 1, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
In the tunnels deep under London, the Earth Elementals are dying.

Hunted by something they know only as the Rotman, the Elementals have no one trustworthy they can turn to. Enter Don Drake, drunken diabolist and semi-reformed hitman, and an almost-fallen angel called Trixie.

When Don learns that Rotman is actually the archdemon Bianakith, he knows this is going to be a tough job. The fiend is the foretold spirit of disease and decay whose aura corrupts everything it comes near, and even the most ancient foundations of London will crumble eventually. Now Don, Trixie and his ever-annoying patron the Burned Man have to hatch a plan to keep Bianakith from wiping out the Elementals and bringing down the city. But the Burned Man has other plans and those may have dire consequences for everyone.

The past never stays buried, and old sins must be atoned for. Judgement is coming, and its name is Dominion.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ The Devil You Knew / Deeped & Down / Great Irresponsibility / London’s Burning ]

A Burned Man Novel 3
Angry Robot, May 2, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
Don Drake is living rough in a sink estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, doing cheap spells for even cheaper customers while fending off the local lowlifes. Six months ago, Don fled from London to Glasgow to track down his old girlfriend Debbie the alchemist.

With the Burned Man gradually driving him mad, Don meets with an ancient and mysterious tramp-slash-magician, with disastrous consequences. Now his old accomplices must step in to save Don from himself, before he damns himself for good this time.

File Under: Urban Fantasy

Bec McMaster (2012)

The Many Lives of Hadley Monroe
Lochaber Press, April 4, 2016
eBook, 52 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
When the clock stops ticking, and the storm rolls in, Hadley Monroe knows exactly what’s going on. Forty years ago her grandfather made a pact with Death, and now Death has come calling again.

Forced to make her own deal with the reaper, Hadley has only three weeks to answer his question, or he’ll take her grandmother too. The problem is, there’s no way to answer it, and three weeks is not long enough with the reaper who’s beginning to steal her heart…

Warning: This short story has been previously published in the Mammoth Book Of Southern Gothic Romance.

The Dark Arts Trilogy, Book 1
Lochaber Press Pty Ltd, May 8, 2016
     eBook, 377 pages
Lochaber Press Pty Ltd, May 27, 2016
     Trade Paperback, 454 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
When a powerful relic goes missing from a secret society that dabbles in the occult, Miss Ianthe Martin is charged with finding it at all costs. She needs help, but all clues point to someone on the inside being the thief. The only sorcerer she knows that can't possibly be involved, is the very man she saw locked in Bedlam a year ago...

The mad, bad, dangerous Earl of Rathbourne.

When the seductive Miss Martin appears in his Bedlam cell, Rathbourne fears he's finally lost his mind. The devilish sorceress played a hand in his incarceration, and now she comes asking for help? Perhaps she should begin by begging for mercy...

But Ianthe's offer of freedom is one he can't refuse, although he has a clause of his own to add. She may bind him with her power–the only way to still the demons haunting him–but for every day spent under her command, the nights will be his... to wreak delicious revenge on her willing flesh.

Nobody's Hero
The Burned Lands 1
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, May 22, 2016
     eBook, 281 pages
Lochaber Press Pty Ltd, July 25, 2016
     Trade Paperback, 370 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
First rule of surviving the Wastelands: don't be caught out after the sun sets...

After her father was killed in a warg attack, Riley Kincaid was forced to stand on her own two feet in the brutal Wastelands she calls home. She knows how to survive, but when a lapse in judgment leaves her out after dark, Riley realizes she's in trouble. The sun has set, the monsters are out to play, and there's a band of reivers heading straight for her settlement. Riley needs to warn her people, but that's before she runs a handsome stranger down in her jeep. A stranger who might not be a man after all...

Kidnapping her was the worst mistake he ever made.

Dangerous outlaw, Lucius Wade, lives only for revenge. But when he kidnaps Riley in order to lure an old friend into a trap, suddenly the tables are turned. Riley has no intentions of being bait, and she tempts him in ways he hasn't felt for a long time. He's never played the hero, but suddenly a part of him wants to. Even as he knows there's no point.

When dangerous secrets are revealed, and Luc realizes an old enemy is on his trail, he's forced to change his plans. The hunter is suddenly the hunted, and the only allies he has... is a stubborn blonde who thinks there should be more to live for than revenge, and the ex-friend who shoved a knife in his back ten years ago.

Mission: Improper
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 1
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, August 11, 2016
     eBook, 360 pages
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, October 5, 2016
     Trade Paperback, 432 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
Three years ago, London society changed forever, with a revolution placing the widowed Queen firmly on the throne her blue blood husband tried to take from her. Humans, verwulfen and mechs are no longer considered the lesser classes, but not everybody is happy with the new order...

Entire families have gone missing in the East End. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances. Hunting criminals is what the darkly driven blue blood does best, and though he prefers to work alone, the opportunity is too good to resist.

The problem? He's partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting.

Soon they're chasing whispered rumours of a secret project gone wrong, and a monster that just might be more dangerous than either of them combined. The only way to find out more is to go undercover among the blue blood elite... But when their hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy, Byrnes and Ingrid must set aside their age-old rivalry if they have any chance at surviving a treacherous plot.

The Dark Arts 2
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, October 18, 2016
eBook, 356 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
It should have been an easy task…

Verity Hastings has a little trick: she can find anything, no matter where it’s hidden. It’s a skill that’s kept her safe and fed all the way from the orphanages and workhouses of her youth. But when she steals a mysterious item for a masked man, she knows the con is on her this time.

In order to protect herself from his associates, she can turn to only one person: Adrian Bishop, the sorcerer she stole the relic from.

Scarred recluse Adrian Bishop is rarely surprised anymore. But when a rather enticing little handful turns up on his doorstep, claiming to be his mysterious thief, he doesn’t know what to think. He needs the relic back, no matter the cost, and he’s not above using Verity to find it. But as Verity begins to sneak under his guard, for the first time in years there’s a ray of light in his dark world. He will do anything to protect her – anything – but can Verity ever love him once she learns the truth of his dark talents? And will he be able to protect her from the trap he sent her into himself?

Holly Messinger  (2015)

Curious Weather
A Jacob Tracy Novel 2
Thomas Dunne Books, November 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
On the heels of her starred Publisher’s Weekly debut, The Curse of Jacob Tracy, Messinger delivers another remarkably original novel where she deftly recreates the tumultuous post-Civil war era and clashes the natural with the supernatural.

When Jacob Tracy—Civil War veteran, ex-seminarian, and reluctant psychic—agrees to move into Miss Fairweather’s St. Louis mansion and study magic with her, he has one purpose in mind: to hunt down and destroy the necromancer Mereck, a predatory madman who has twice tried to make a meal of Trace and trapped Trace’s partner Boz in a monstrous half-life.

Sabine Fairweather has her own grievance with Mereck, though Trace doesn’t know the details and doesn’t particularly want to. The woman may be a brilliant scientist and a powerful witch in her own right, but there is darkness in her and bitter secrets that threaten the tenuous faith Trace has in her.

With Mereck’s minions circling ever closer, and old allies posing unexpected threats, Trace knows he and Sabine have no choice but to trust each other. But for that to happen, he will have to lay bare all the deepest secrets of her soul…and quite possibly her heart.

Melanie's Month in Review - October 2019Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018Melanie's Month in Review - October 2018The View From Monday - October 29, 2018Melanie's Week in Review - August 19, 2018Melanie's Week In Review - January 7, 2018Melanie's Week in Review - November 12, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23

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