The Qwillery | category: Blackthorn


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019

Bye bye May! I can't believe that May has come and gone. I hope that May brought you some blooming great books (get it...May flowers....blooming???...tee hee).  Well excuse my poor sense of humour. I have jetlag after a rather long journey back from the east coast of Canada. The holiday did provide me with the opportunity to read some good books though. So what did I read?

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
One of my sisters is an ardent fan of Patricia Briggs (she introduced me to the author) and had the most recent Mercy Thompson book - Storm Cursed. I had forgotten that this book had been released so I grabbed her Kindle and piled in. This book is set a mere few months after the events of book 10 when Mercy was kidnapped and held in Europe. Rather than referencing the events of the last book Storm Cursed carries on the plot arc from books 8 and 9. Just when Mercy has a little bit of stability in her life a deadly coven of witches threaten the peace talks between the humans, fae and werewolves. Mercy and the pack promised to protect the Tri Cities and they are determined regardless how many zombie goats they have to kill in the process.

I enjoyed Mercy's 11th adventure more than I thought I would. This instalment links more closely to the overall plot arc (or what I believe is the plot arc) then the previous instalment Silence Fallen (book 10). A number of my favourite characters are back including Zee, Uncle Mike and Larry the Goblin King. The book also emphasizes how Mercy is a bit of an outsider and if it wasn't for being Adam's mate she wouldn't have the support from all of the pack. I felt the book was a bit more like the early books with the dynamic between Mercy, Zee, Tad and the vampire Stefan. Zombie goats aside there are some rather violent sections in this book although much of the violence is recounted rather than experienced by one of the characters. Mercy does get beaten up but not as badly as in previous books. I know this isn't popular with some readers of my posts but I really wish Briggs would wrap up this series. I like Mercy but I think she needs to have her HEA.

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
I decided to switch it up and read some science fiction after a glut of fantasy and urban fantasy. I turned to the short story Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The story is told by astronaut Gary Rendell. Gary has gone on a mission across the stars to investigate an alien structure. Disaster strikes not long after landing and Gary is alone and lost inside the structure with something or somethings lurking around every corner.

I enjoyed this short story mainly for the witty way in which Tchaikovsky tells the story through Gary's POV. The story switches between the present and the past as Gary recounts how he has ended up in his unique predicament while he wanders through the endless dark tunnels trying to survive. The story is rather light hearted because of Gary's witty story telling until the very end when it gets rather much darker. If you are a science fiction fan and want something that doesn't take ages to read then give Walking to Aldebaran a go.

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
In case you missed it one of my other reads in May was the final instalment of Lindsay J. Pryor's Blackthorn series - Blood Broken. In honour of this being the final book of the series I wrote a full review which you can read here.

For all you Ilona Andrews fans you are going to be totally jealous that I got an advance copy of Sapphire Flames which is the soon to be released latest book in the Hidden Legacy series. I have to wait a bit before I am able to review it. It is out in August so look for my review sometime in July.

That's all I have for you for this month. I am going to be a bit more dedicated to the blog and get some full reviews posted so wish me luck. Until June happy reading!

Storm Cursed
Mercy Thompson 11
Ace, May 7, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves…

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.
And a coyote shapeshifter.
And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe.  As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

Walking to Aldebaran
Solaris, May 28, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 140 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
Chilling story of a lost astronaut on an alien artefact from Arthur C. Clarke award-winning Adrian Tchaikovsky

My name is Gary Rendell. I’m an astronaut. When they asked me as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “astronaut, please!” I dreamed astronaut, I worked astronaut, I studied astronaut.

I got lucky; when a probe sent out to explore the Oort Cloud found a strange alien rock and an international team of scientists was put together to go and look at it, I made the draw.

I got even luckier. When disaster hit and our team was split up, scattered through the endless cold tunnels, I somehow survived.

Now I’m lost, and alone, and scared, and there’s something horrible in here.

Lucky me.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Review: Blood Broken by Lindsay J. Pryor

Blood Broken
Author:  Lindsay J. Pryor
Series:  Blackthorn 8
Publisher:  Bookouture, May 20, 2019
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 500 pages
List Price:  US$14.99 (print); US$4.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781786813992 (print); 9781786813985 (eBook)

Review: Blood Broken by Lindsay J. Pryor
‘Our love could save us both. Or it could destroy everything.’

Leila McKay is both blessed and cursed. Her potent serryn powers are growing stronger, but they come with a heavy price. And to prove her love for vampire leader Caleb, she needs to bring his murdered brother Jake back to life. The only way is to cast a spell no one has dared to attempt before, that could tear apart the fabric of time itself…

But Caleb fears that treachery runs deep in Leila’s veins. Although the heat between them grows hotter by the second, Caleb’s past has left him with a hard heart and a mistrustful nature, and it was at her sister’s hands that Jake was killed… but with his brother’s life in the balance, giving in to his primal instincts is more tempting than ever.

Time is running out for Caleb. In a matter of hours, Jake will be past the point of saving: and around them, all-out war rages in Blackthorn. With genetically modified lycans and vicious convicts roaming the streets, Sirius Throme at the Global Council has secret plans that threaten to devastate the whole district… and Leila is the only one powerful enough to save them all. But can Caleb really trust her?

With countless lives at stake, will Leila and Caleb’s fierce attraction be strong enough to see them through the ultimate test? Or in unleashing the darkness within, will they destroy everything they hold dear?

The explosive, action-packed conclusion to the utterly addictive Blackthorn series will leave fans of paranormal romance breathless. Blackthorn is an eight-book series with an overarching plot, so if you’re at the start of your Blackthorn journey, read BLOOD SHADOWS to discover how it all began…

Melanie's Thoughts

I can't believe the time has come when I have to say good-bye to Leila, Caleb, Kane, Caitlen and the rest of the Blackthorn crew in this final instalment of the Blackthorn series, Blood Broken. The prophecy that has threatened our heroes and heroines over the last 7 books is about to come to pass....or is it? The fourth dimension has broken through, super lycans have wreaked devastation, the cons have escaped out of their territory killing innocents all while the Global Council has a devastating plan to rid the world of the 3rd species. Blackthorn has become a battle ground and Leila has the solution to all their problems. Can she be trusted? Will she succeed and save Blackthorn? I will leave it to you to find out.

You could be led to believe that this is another story of Caleb the vampire king and the vampire killer Leila but it's much more. All of the main characters across the whole series have full chapters or part chapters dedicated to their own personal story. All our favourite goodies and baddies have something to say about the prophecy and whether the 3rd species should prevail. I especially enjoyed those chapters dedicated to the various baddies that have made our heroes and heroines lives hell over the series. I especially like Sirius Throme. Even his name sounds nasty and boy he is really really nasty. Since most of the characters are paired off with their love interests there isn't a lot of character development until near the very end of the story and be prepared for the big plot twist that comes with that.

Blood Broken is rather a challenging book to read due to the violence, specifically the violence against women. I have mentioned in previous reviews that I have found the sex scenes rather disturbing and this is even more so in this instalment. If you read one of the sex scenes out of the context of this series then you could very much believe that it was a scene of sexual assault and not of love making There was nothing that was loving, romantic or caring about the scene and I am not sure it added that much to the story as a whole.

Violence aside Pryor ensures that fans of this series are left satisfied as every thread of the plot over the entire series are tied up, every baddy gets their comeuppance and there is a bittersweet HEA for certain characters. Pryor delivers a very satisfying epilogue to end the series which I thought was a good touch.  Overall, I liked Pryor's innovative and complex plot and this would have been a 5 star series had I liked the characters a bit more and she toned down the kidnapping and abuse of the female leads. If you like your bad boys to be really bad then this is the series for you.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 2, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - October 2, 2016

Welcome to October home of such amazing things as The Qwillery's 8th birthday (which was yesterday) and Hallowe'en. Two of my favourite things! Sorry, I missed writing last week but I just didn't get anything fully read. Hopefully I will have made up for it this week with 2 of the books I have to tell you about.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 2, 2016
I was pursuing NetGalley when I came across book 7 of Lindsay J. Pryor's Blackthorn series - Blood Bound. This instalment focuses on the exiled angel Jessie and her bad boy boyfriend Eden. It's only a week after their dramatic escape from 'the Row' and into the relative safety of Blackthorn. The vampire kingpin Kane is ready to move the troops out but uber bad guy Sirius Throme has trapped them behind an electromagnetic barrier while sending in his troops to decimate what is left of the survivors. It's more bad news when Jessie discovers that her angel tears that she used to cure Eden and his terminally ill niece will actually kill them both. That's not all either. Jessie and Eden get separated while searching for answers to the side effects of her tears. What happens next is both of their worst nightmares and leaves Jessie wondering if she ever really knew Eden at all. Everything and everyone they care about hang in the balance and time is not on their side.

I have really enjoyed Pryor's gritty plotlines and the plot arc of the series is excellent. I can't say I am the biggest fan of some of the sex scenes as I think in some cases they verge on abuse. In the case of Blood Bound the sex scenes aren't verging - they crossed the line in at least one case. I was a bit surprised that Pryor chose to focus the penultimate book on Jessie and Eden rather than Caitlin and Kane who I think are the more interesting couple. There were some excellent scenes with Kane but the scenes with Caleb were pure cat and mouse. The ending itself was 100% cliffhanger and I am not even sure it is going to be HEA for the couples of Blackthorn. I am really looking forward to the final book of this series and how Pryor is going to resolve her complex plot arc.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 2, 2016
Book 2 for me was Thomas Hocknell's The Life Assistance Agency. It is the story of the literary wash-out Benjamin Ferguson-Cripps. Ben is seriously down on his luck when his novel fails to sell and he ends up working for a former colleague at The Life Assistance Agency. Ben's very first case is to find a man who is linked to the Elizabethan angel scryer Dr. Jonathan Dee. The case takes Ben all across Europe and makes him face a few of his own demons along with an angel or two all while being pursued by a covert organisation. It's a hair raising journey not just to find the missing person but for Ben to find out little bit more about himself on the way.

The Life Assistance Agency is Hocknell's debut novel and while the concept was interesting the story itself dragged in parts. There were at least 3 chapters in the middle of the book that could have been cut and which I felt like skimming. In the first 1/3 of the book Ben was a joker and the dialogue (both inner and verbal) was quite a amusing. This changed by the time the story switched to Europe from London and it was during this same section of the novel that the story became very dis-jointed. One minute Ben would be fumbling around, then he was being stabbed and in the next chapter he was in a big shoot out. These chapters did not flow very well and made the story hard to follow. It felt like the story didn't have sufficient beta reading prior to its release. Although saying this, I was reading an eArc so perhaps it was polished afterwards.

That is it for me this week. I am hoping to get back my reading groove so that I have lots of great books to tell you about next week. Until then I am going to be eating my imaginary Qwillery birthday cake :) and reading.

Blood Bound
Blackthorn 7
Bookouture, September 18, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 344 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 2, 2016
Love can be heaven. Or it can hurt like hell.

For exiled angel Jessie, falling for Eden Reece has been her salvation. When she discovers that her angel tears, used to heal Eden, are actually poisoning him the burden of guilt is crushing.

Jessie is determined to make things right and, with Eden by her side, they are a formidable team. But with Blackthorn surrounded by an impenetrable barrier and the army of Sirius Throme closing in, their mission is a desperate one. When Jessie discovers they are up against her own kind too, it looks impossible.

Eden and Jessie don’t just need a cure, they need a way out – and have less than 48 hours to find both.

Eden will fight to the last to protect Jessie, but when they are captured and separated, demons from his past return to haunt him. Suddenly, Jessie is forced to question everything she knows about the man she loves.

Yet the most shattering twist is still to come. Because what you care about most can be your biggest weakness.

For Blackthorn to survive, either Jessie or Eden will have to make the greatest sacrifice of all…

The thrilling penultimate story in the Blackthorn series will leave you breathless.

The Life Assistance Agency
Urbane Publishing, January 1, 2017
Trade Paperback, 320 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 2, 2016
Do you want to live forever?

Ben Ferguson-Cripps is a struggling writer with a surname that gets more comments than his waning blog. In desperation Ben sets aside his literary ambitions to join the newly established and enigmatic Life Assistance Agency. The agency’s first case is to trace a missing person with links to the Elizabethan angel-caller Dr John Dee. Pursued by a shadowy organisation – and the ghosts of Ben’s past – the trail leads them on a white-knuckle ride through Europe into the historic streets of Prague.

As forces meet in a deadly climax, the long-buried secrets of Dr Dee’s achievements are finally revealed…and Ben will discover there is always more to life.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016

Hello readers. I hope you have had a good week. I apologise in advance if this WIR does not sound quite as polished as they normally do (or as I intend them to be). I literally just put down my iPad after finishing one of the books I want to tell you about.  I need to get this written before my bedtime :). So without further adieu.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016
I was having a little trawl through NetGalley when I found the next book of Lindsay Pryor's Blackthorn series will be out soon. Blood Instinct focuses on the story of the serryn Phia and the Alpha Jask. It has only been a week but 2 books ago where Phia gets turned into the vampire killer serryn, gets herself captured and then falls into love with the broody wolf shifter Jask. A lot of has happened in that short amount of time and a lot more happens between start and finish of Blood Instinct. Unfortunately for this unlikely pair, Phia's serrynity brings out the worst in Jask and leads him down a very destructive path. All this in the back drop of the unrest within Blackthorn, the military lockdown and impending prophecy of the rise of the vampire Tryan.

Nearly all the characters we have met in the previous books play a part in this plot including Phia's sisters, Caitlen, Jessie, Eden, and of course, the vampires Caleb and Kane. This instalment is quite different from the other books as there is less romance than in the other books. While the sexy scenes start quite early in the story they are more 'ouch' than romantic. There isn't quite the same level of subjugation of the female leads as I felt there were in the other books and the sex scenes were a slightly more aggressive, in part due to the changes both Phia and Jask are experiencing. The plot arc of the prophecy involving the serryn, the Tryan and the fourth species doesn't advance until towards the end of the book but is discussed throughout.

The other main plotline involving Sirius and the Third Species Control Division ("TSCD") advances farther in comparison. Pryor has really created an excellent villain in the TSCD's head honcho. Thankfully, Pryor gives us a bit of a re-cap of the overall plot and the prophecy but does this in a very subtle way. I was grateful for this as there have been a number of twists and turns throughout the series. In fact, I have decided that if you stripped away the romance and the sex from this series you are left with a complex, intricate and well constructed plotline. I am still not sure who is going to come out the winner in the end. A great read and I am looking forward for the penultimate book. Hopefully Pryor won't make me wait too long.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016
Book number 2 for me was City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett which is the second in The Divine Cities series. You may remember that Qwill already reviewed this book in January 2016. You can check out what she thought here along with a video interview with Robert Jackson Bennett. As this book has both been out for a while and reviewed I am not going to recount the plot for you and I am sure you will agree that Qwill is much more eloquent in her review. I loved book 1 - City of Stairs - and this instalment passed me by as I waited for the price of the ebook to drop a bit. I finally discovered it on Amazon this week and decided that it was time I continued the series. I will admit I was initially disappointed that story centered on Turyin Mulaghesh rather than Shara Thivani who I thought was an excellent character (from book 1). My disappointment didn't last very long however, and I was soon completely engrossed in the story of Mulaghesh and the City of Blades. I really enjoyed this story and I didn't think it was possible for Bennett to get any better at world building than he already was but he really stepped it up with the landscape, the culture, the history and the mythology the story is based on. City of Blades is a fantastic book and the series is definitely worth starting at book 1 - City of Stairs.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016
The final book I can tell you a little bit about is The Men Who Killed God by J. Alex McCarthy. I found this book on NetGalley and while not my typical choice of subject matter I thought I would give it a I loved the cover. I was really disappointed and I regret to say that I stopped reading before I got to the 4th chapter. From the book description August sounded like the hero that saves the world from the tyranny of God but comes across as a truculent, lazy killer who murders his own father in chapter 1. It seems like it was almost a non-event and while his father was evil August shows no remorse and barely acknowledges the event in any 'real' way. I felt that the characters lacked and depth and the writing style wasn't sophisticated enough to keep my interest despite this. Sorry, folks one of my very few DNFs. (great cover though)

That is all for me this week. You are going to have at least 1 week off next week as I will be flying to Canada rather than writing my WIR so until May (*gasp* May already?) Happy Reading.

Blood Instinct
Blackthorn 6
Bookouture, May 5, 2016
eBook, 356 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016
‘I think what is inside of you triggers the worst of me’

Sophia McKay has always had a reckless streak, but falling for lycan leader Jask Tao gave her something to live for. Now, cursed with a serryn bloodline, a darkness inside Phia is awakening. A darkness she knows could prove deadly to those she loves most.

Approaching a blue moon, Jask Tao and his pack are living close to the edge due to a delay getting the herbs required to stop their morphing. Worse still, the growing strength of Phia’s serryn powers are dangerously provoking the lycan in Jask.

At a time when Jask and Phia need each other more than ever, their very passion has become a poison that puts both their lives at risk.

With Sirius Throme, leader of the Global Council, on the verge of invading Blackthorn – working together is the only chance of survival. But Jask is holding on to a secret that could just blow everything apart.

And so is Phia.

Will the truth destroy them all?

City of Blades
The Divine Cities 2
Jo Fletcher Books, January 7, 2016
Paperback and eBook, 448 pages
(UK Edition)
Reviewer's Own

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016
Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death, or do they have plans of their own?

A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of war and death, the birthplace of fearsome supernatural sentinels who killed and subjugated millions. Now the city's god is dead and the city itself lies in ruins. And to its new military occupiers, the once-powerful capital is just a wasteland of sectarian violence and bloody uprisings.

So it makes perfect sense that General Turyin Mulaghesh - foul-mouthed hero of the battle of Bulikov, rumoured war criminal, ally of an embattled Prime Minister - has been exiled there to count down the days until she can draw her pension and be forgotten. At least, it makes the perfect cover story.

The truth is that the general has been pressed into service one last time, dispatched to investigate a discovery with the potential to change the world - or destroy it.

City of Blades
The Divine Cities 2
Broadway Books, January 26, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 496 pages
(US Edition)

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016
A triumphant return to the world of City of Stairs.

A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of war and death, the birthplace of fearsome supernatural sentinels who killed and subjugated millions.

Now, the city’s god is dead. The city itself lies in ruins. And to its new military occupiers, the once-powerful capital is a wasteland of sectarian violence and bloody uprisings.

So it makes perfect sense that General Turyin Mulaghesh— foul-mouthed hero of the battle of Bulikov, rumored war criminal, ally of an embattled Prime Minister—has been exiled there to count down the days until she can draw her pension and be forgotten.

At least, it makes the perfect cover story.

The truth is that the general has been pressed into service one last time, dispatched to investigate a discovery with the potential to change the world–or destroy it.

The trouble is that this old soldier isn’t sure she’s still got what it takes to be the hero.

The Men Who Killed God
Sinner of the Infinite 1
April 5, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 392 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016
They have finally done it.

They have finally killed a god.

In August’s world, everything was created by a single, secular god. HE—the creator of everything. However, HE left the world to be ruled with a subtle, iron fist by less powerful gods.

It had been two years since August stepped foot into his hometown, Sotira. It had also been that long since he’d last visited his father, seen his crooked smile, and felt those familial ties.

He wished he didn’t have to return. However, at the request of his girlfriend and his family, he was heading back home. To a place where the foundations themselves were built with false truths, hidden behind the ‘utopia’ the gods supposedly created. He knew fear lay under all that outward, deceitful happiness—a terror that Sotira would be next to come under the wrath of the gods.

When August arrived home, he wasn’t prepared for what he found. His best friend had been hung and turned into a monument in the middle of town by the order of his father and the gods. The world he thought he knew had been turned upside down. To turn it right again, August would do anything… even start down the path that would allow him to gain the power to kill God.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015

I can't believe there is only 27 days to Halloween (which I love) and I haven't turned the heating on yet. Hurrah. God bless a good Indian summer as it has been beautiful this week and lots of time to read outside. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
I discovered that Blood Dark had been released which is the 5th book in Lindsay Pryor's Blackthorn series. We return to Caitlin and Kane who were the stars of book 1 Blood Shadows. Caitlin  returned to her job at the Vampire Control Unit despite being instrumental in the downfall of her former boss, her stepfather, and former boyfriend due to the evidence she uncovered of their nefarious activities. She isn't exactly popular with most of her colleagues nor was her decision popular with her lover and vampire king-pin Kane. Kane didn't want her to return to her former life especially when dangerous creatures from the fourth dimension start to appear and threaten everything and everyone he loves, including Caitlin. This is all against the backdrop of the prophecy of the rise of a master vampire, the role of the serryn and the opening of the fourth dimension and the hell it would unleash. While their relationship all seems trivial in comparison, it is the cornerstone to the prophecy itself and the fate of Blackthorn.

I have a love/not-so-love relationship with this series. I think that the heroines in this series are brutalised a bit too much by their respective love interests to truly fall in love with them but the overall plot arc is too interesting to miss out on. The tension really ramps up in this instalment as we re-visit Caitlin and Kane's relationship. For approximately the first half I thought I was reading the cross between JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood book or and E.L James Fifty Shades with all the kinky/post-near-death experience/vampire sex the hero/heroine were having. I am not that much of a fan of erotica and it was verging a bit too close to that for me. However, from 50% onwards (reading the Kindle version) the plot came into the fore and overtook the romance as Caitlin finds out something about Kane that changes almost everything she has ever thought about him or herself for that matter. Pryor includes a number of rather clever recaps for the reader which I found very useful as sometimes the prophecy, which is central to the overall plot, is a bit confusing. Overall, I found it a good read. It would have been a great read had it not been for all the erotica but I am still looking forward to book 6 where I hope Pryor starts to bring the plot arc together.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Book number 2 for me was Red Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire. I can't believe this is the 9th in the October Daye series. Once again our hero knight finds herself in another near death experience or two. Just when Toby thought that her life was going to be a little less dramatic after the events of the last 8 books she ends up in the Kingdom of the Silences on a diplomatic mission that might not be that diplomatic. I did enjoy it but seriously, McGuire needs to give Toby a little break. Its another marathon for Toby with barely any sleep, barely anything to eat and lots more blood/bleeding. Also, dear reader...don't attempt to read this while eating...especially anything in a bacon or ham food group. Might never touch meat again.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Remember when I said a few sentences ago that I don't like erotica? Well I have been making the exception for the Dragon Kin series by G.A. Aiken.  I have been finding the sex scenes interspersed with some rather funny scenes although in the last few books there have been fewer funny scenes and the dragon sex scenes get a bit too repetitive. Dragon on Top is technically book 0.5 of the series which tells the story of events before the main Dragon Kin series. In this one it features the love story of Ghleanna the Decimator and Bram the Merciful. Readers of this series will remember these two characters as the parents of main characters in the main series but here in Dragon Kin we find out how they get together. As per the other books in this series it involves mayhem, death, sex and well....dragons. In this instalment Ghleanna the Decimator is sent to escort Bram the Merciful on an important diplomatic mission when they are attacked and Ghleanna almost dies. Left alone in an underwater world with potentially more dangerous dragons the pair must find a way to get rescued while fighting their growing attraction to each other. The typical tale of how opposites attract. Rather standard fare for Aiken and I hope she returns to the main story, as despite the quick read, these are becoming a bit too stereotypical.

Well folks that is all for me for this week. I hope you have had an equally good week and congratulations to The Qwillery on its 7th anniversary earlier this week. Until next week Happy Reading.

Blood Dark
Blackthorn 5
Bookouture, September 21, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 396 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
‘There are guardian angels, and there are monsters with wings’

Caitlin Parish should have been the last person to fall for a vampire. A member of the Vampire Control Unit, her relationship with master vampire Kane Malloy had explosive consequences. Caitlin’s colleagues count her as the enemy. And now she’s going back.

Kane has made powerful enemies of his own – and is being targeted by the head of the Global Council, Sirius Throme. With the stakes higher than ever before, Kane knows caring for Caitlin makes him vulnerable. Worse, her decision to return to VCU feels like betrayal.

With Throme threatening to tear Blackthorn apart, and the prophesied vampire leader finally revealed, Kane and Caitlin must both fight with everything they have to stop an all out war. But they’re fighting on opposite sides…

Right when she needs him most, Caitlin makes a shocking discovery about Kane. Has he been playing her all along? And can she trust him with her life when he won’t even trust her with the truth?

The choice Caitlin makes will change the game in Blackthorn forever.

A Red-Rose Chain
October Daye 9
DAW (September 1, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life — and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

A Red-Rose Chain is the ninth installment in Seanan McGuire’s urban fantasy October “Toby” Daye series.

Dragon on Top
Dragon Kin 0.5
Zebra, October 27, 2015
eBook, 176 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Try a little dragon tenderness.

I am Ghleanna the Decimator. I am a warrior. A soldier. I know no fear. No pain. No mercy. I do, however, know acute embarrassment! How could I not after getting dumped by a bastard dragon in front of my own troops? So I tuck tail and return to my cave, drowning my sorrows in ale—as is my family’s way. But instead of leaving me to my misery, I’ve been summoned to the Dragon Queen’s court.

As if my life wasn’t pathetic enough, Her Majesty now has me escorting the highborn Bram the Merciful through dangerous territories—not exactly the best use of my military training. And just so he can negotiate with enemy dragons instead of battling them? Honestly, what has my world come to? Then again…Bram is quite easy on the eyes. And the perfect distraction for what ails me. Perhaps I’m looking at all this the wrong way. Maybe there is a place for a little “mercy” in my life…

Previously published in Supernatural (Zebra, September 1, 2011) featuring stories by Larissa Ione, Alexandra Ivy, Jacquelyn Frank, and G. A. Aiken.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 2, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - November 2, 2014

Happy belated Halloween and Happy November. I hope you have had a good week. I have as we had lots of trick or treaters which is rare in the UK where Halloween still isn't that popular. I love dressing up, carving a Jack-o'-lantern and especially, eating the leftover candy. I am destined for a diabetic coma. Anyway, what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - November 2, 2014
Lucky for me I started the week with a new book from a series I have been enjoying - Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones.  If you have been reading this series you will remember that Charley was pregnant with the child of the son-of-Satan, Reyes at the end of book 6. Well she is trying to come to terms with that along with solving the murder of several young children while being chased by hellhounds. The hunky Reyes is determined to protect the lovely grim reaper no matter what but she keeps getting herself into trouble.

While there was a few murder mystery threads in this instalment the focus was very much on Charley, her unborn baby and the prophecy. Despite the fact that Reyes and her friends are almost killed more than once by hellhounds Charley continues to make sassy/smart alec remarks. It wasn't until the final chapter or two that Charley actually acts with gravity and maturity for her situation. In the previous books I thought that Charley could be as amusing as the chapter headings but as she grows up and really bad things continue to happen to those she loves I thought that she could lay off sounding like an insensitive teenager. Lots happens in this instalment so its a must if you have been reading this series. I hope that Jones doesn't drag it out for too longer as much as I enjoy these characters.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 2, 2014
Next on my reading agenda was Blood Deep (Blackthorn 4) by Lindsay J. Pryor. I have a love/not love relationship with this series. I really like Pryor's world building and the over-arching plot but do not like the subjugation/sexual dominance of the male lead over the female lead. This instalment was a departure from that with Jessie who is locked in the roughest area of Lowdown in an area controlled by the criminal Pummell. She has strong powers including the power of healing which is lucky when the hunky Eden lands on her doorstep close to death from a vicious beating. Jessie has something to hide and Eden is determined to find out what that is all while trying to save his niece, release Jessie from the prison of her life and not to get killed in the process.

Lots of the prophecy alluded to in previous books is revealed in this instalment through Jessie and the ending brings it full circle to the ending of the previous instalment. In fact I had to go back and re-read the ending of all the previous books to refresh myself as to what had happened. It was really well constructed by Pryor and quite clever. Pryor also creates two engaging characters. They weren't so black and white as previous characters and there was no virginal heroine caught in the trap of the big, hunky baddy. Eden was quite hard but had a big, squishy, marshmallow centre while Jessie was trapped by who and what she was as the witness in a nearly a century of brutality.  I am really looking forward to the next instalment.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 2, 2014
Finally, I ended my week with the first release in Ilona Andrews new series starting with Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy 1). If you have read my other reviews you will have guessed that I am a big fan of Andrews but of all their books the Kate Daniels series is by far my favourite. I was a bit hesitant about starting this series as I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it as much given its romance billing. I thought their Edge series was a bit average so another romance series didn't fill me with anticipation. I was however, pleasantly surprised. I liked Nevada, I liked her family, I liked Mad Rogan and I even liked Adam Pierce (well liked to dislike). I thought Nevada's inner dialogue was really amusing but she wasn't wise cracking when bad things were happening like Charley Davidson would have been.  There was a good balance between plot development and action all combined with good characterisation.

Nevada has been given the extremely difficult and most likely deadly task of bringing in the uber bad boy Adam Pierce. Just when she thought life couldn't get any more difficult she is kidnapped by the Prime/super powerful Mad Rogan. She ends up teaming up with the equally hunky and dangerous Rogan to bring in Pierce when she discovers the case is not quite straight forward. Magic, mayhem and great characters are at the heart of this story. Andrews fan or not this is a great start to a series.

That is it for me for this week. I hope you have had as good of a week in reading as I did....if not you have some good suggestions. Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 23, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - March 23, 2014

In my first week back at work for a while was a middling success on the reading front. I finished two books, I continued with one and started another. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - March 23, 2014
I will start with the books that I finished. I discovered that the third book in the Blackthorn series, Blood Torn had been released so I had to read it. I have had a bit of a love/not love so much feeling with this series. I really liked the underlying plot but didn't like how the female characters were bullied and virtually forced into a sexual relationship by the heroes of the story. I thought that book 3 has turned a corner and focused much more on the plot than the sex. While the book's plot focuses on the love story between the werewolf Jask and the new serrryn Sophie a few characters from the previous books, mainly Caitlan Parish from book 1 return to help advance the plot. We find out what happens to her following the trial that exposed her friends and family as the villains. But back to the book's main characters, Sophie has just inherited her serryn powers and struggles to reconcile her attraction to Jask and her mission to fight the third species. This plot point takes us nearly to the end of the book before it is resolved in its almost happily ever after. The more interesting plot however, takes place behind the scenes in the overall plot arch. I am really looking forward to see how it unfolds. I was slightly disappointed with the cover. I really loved the gothic style book covers from the first two books but Blood Torn looked much more commercial. I am really looking forward to book 4 as there was some nastiness at the end of this book and I want to see someone get their comeuppance!

Melanie's Week in Review - March 23, 2014
I also finished book 2 of Sentinels of New Orleans series, River Road by Suzanne Johnson. This was another book that I received in my Qwill book care package and one where I thought that the series has really improved. I liked book 1 - Royal Street but I thought that the lead character, DJ had some seriously growing up to do and grow up she did in the three years between books 1 and 2. In this instalment of the series DJ has been asked to investigate a conflict between two families of merman. Its starts as a simple case of 'who's poisoning the river' into a full blown murder investigation when two wizards are found murdered in a most disturbing fashion. DJ teams up with the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, her sentinel buddy Alex and his cousin and now loup garou Jake to solve the mystery. DJ has matured since book 1 and some of the dialogue (and inner dialogue) is quite amusing and I thought the plot was interesting. Johnson also creates an great teaser for the next book by bringing the elven connection of DJ's heritage more into the forefront of her life. The elven stick that DJ rescued from her father Gerry's house in book 1 is still with her and starts to become a silent character in her life. It is this magical tool that also brings DJ to the notice of the local elven kingpin who wants to get to know her. The elven stick reminded me a a similar plot device in the Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs. Perhaps magical sticks are a big thing in elven folklore but I hope Johnson doesn't go too far with this. I love this book cover (and book 1's as well). I think the model is exactly how I pictured DJ and in combination with the swirling pattern of her hair and the elven stick make this an appealing cover.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 23, 2014
So what didn't I finish? I am still reading Dream London by Tony Ballantine. This is a long book and quite confusing so I want to take my time with it. Plus I am reading it on my iBooks app (which I love) and didn't take my iPad into work with me this week so I only had a few opportunities to make much progress. A few weeks ago I started reading David Daglish's A Dance of Cloaks which is the first of the Shadowdance series.  I dip into it once or twice a week but never seem to make much progress. This book is everything I usually like - fantasy, complicated plot with different characters brought together in a series of plot twists and strong female leads but I find it hard to read. I can't quite put my finger on it other than I just haven't found a character that I really like and therefore, I am not really interested in them. Anyone else find this? I would like to know if I should persevere. I LOVE the cover though, so dramatic.

I am hoping to finish some of my 'in progress' books this week and start one (or two) more. I hope you have a good week ahead and until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013

I am back in the UK after 10 days in Canada and suffering from jetlag. Its quite a coincidence then that my WIR has a flying theme. I didn't plan it but nearly every book I finished this week involved creatures that could fly. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013
I finished the second in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh, Archangel's Kiss. I quite liked it but perhaps not as much as book 1. I think that the world where vampires serve angels is an interesting concept. I don't think anyone has done that before but I am not sure as I  haven't read that many angel series. I would have liked a bit more history as to why that was the case and I wasn't entirely sure whether angels needed blood to survive. The angels also didn't appear to serve anyone, apart from themselves and seems on the whole to be quite power hungry but that is one of the reasons why I like the series so far. Book 2 teased out Elena's tragic past which I thought was almost better than the Lijuan plot. Not to be undone I then decided to read book 3, Archangel's Consort which further developed Elena's and Raphael love story. I wasn't terribly fond of this book however, as I thought that the 'sexy' bits took over the main plot about the awakening of Raphael's mother. The world seemed to be falling apart around them with 'mother' induced hurricanes and volcanoes but that didn't stop the lovebirds from staring longingly into each others eyes throughout the novel. There was a bit more about Elena's past but this was much less dominant in the plot. I have decided against reading anything further in this series as the books that follow focus on secondary characters and I am not convinced I will like them.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013Two books magically downloaded onto my Kindle (well my iPad really) while I was away. The first one I A Tale of Two Dragons by G.A. Aiken which is a novella within the Dragon Kin series. For some reason I find this series to be quite amusing but not so much the case with this story. This was the story of Braith and Addolgar and is set before the main books of the series. I thought it was OK but have enjoyed some of the other stories more so. The second book that appeared was Kinked by Thea Harrison which is book 6 in the Elder Races series. I actually read this book on the plane on the way back and got me wishing I was a harpy. Ayral got all the good lines and most of the action. This book is quite 'saucy' so if you like the love interests to prefer candlelight dinners to whips then perhaps choose another book.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013
The only book I read that didn't have an avian theme was Blood Roses by Lindsay. J Pryor. This was the second in the Blackthorn series. I discussed my unease with the love scenes in my WIR last week between the two main characters and I was even more uncomfortable with the ones in Blood Roses. This book centered around Leila who is a serryn which is a vampire killer (not quite Buffy) and Caleb who is a not so coincidentally, a vampire. Leila rushes into Blackthorn to rescue her sister who has become entangled with Caleb's brother and ends up locked up by the moody and handsome vamp. I was not happy however, that once again the heroine is locked up, handcuffed and generally belittled by her soon-to-be love interest. Whereas Caitlin from book 1 uses sex to get information Leila didn't seem to have much choice in the matter and Caleb was constantly threatening her. It was overtly male dominant and I couldn't actually see what Leila could find to love in Caleb as he was never very nice to her....even at the end. These books are odd as the beginning and endings are really intriguing but are let down by the middle when the two love interests come together. There is too much aggression from the men which I don't really like that much. I am undecided if I want to finish the series based on book 2 but the overall plot is really good and I don't want to miss out on what  happens next. I am not sure when book 3 is out so I may have some time yet to make up my mind. I love the cover though and think it is gorgeous.

I got a few more books finished this week to last but was very naughty and didn't read either of the books I took to with me on holiday specifically to finish.  I am currently reading Kindred and Wings by Philippa Ballantine (back to the flying!) and hope to have it ready to review soon. That is all from me as its time for this jetlagged lady to get back to her book. Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013

Greetings from Canada! I have been enjoying the delights of rural Ontario for the last week as I visit with my Mom and one of my sisters. I am so close to where Kelley Armstrong lives that I could almost stop by to borrow a cup of sugar (no I am not stalking her....yet....). While its been fun it also means I haven't been reading that much and in fact I only read 2 books. I do also have the excuse that Halloween was last week and FINALLY, I got to see lots of trick or treaters. They really haven't embraced Halloween in the UK like they have in North America so it was great to see so many kiddies in their cute costumes. I have also been driving my Mom around and sampling the delights of a few of the local chocolate shops. My diet starts when I get back.

Enough of my holiday so what have I managed to fit in between trips to Stratford and London?

Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013
I started and finished Blood Shadows by Lindsay J. Pryor which was the first of the Blackthorn series. This first installment centres on Caitlin Parish who works for the Vampire Control Unit and who is determined to capture and question the notorious vampire, Kane Mallory. Its not long before the hunter becomes the hunted and Caitlin ends up handcuffed to the bed by the hunky vampire. Caitlin practically sells her soul along with her body to find out what Kane knows about the death of her parents years before. Blood Shadow was a tiny bit more UF than PNR as sex came before love and romance. While I quite fancied Kane I did have a problem with Caitlin or I guess more about the way she was written especially in the first sex scene. Normally, the two love interests try to deny their attraction, then finally succumb to end up hopelessly in love by the end of the book. In this story however, Caitlin and Kane are attracted to each other but he kidnaps her, keeps her handcuffed in his bedroom and rather than succumbing she more or less gives in, knowing he isn't going to tell her what he knows until she sleeps with him. While this may be a bit more realistic it didn't sit well with me as it fell more into coercion rather than romance. Apart from this chapter of the book, I liked the story over all and think I will continue with the series.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013
The second book I read was a total impulse purchase. Rather than reading one of the many books I have had approved from NetGalley I ended up buying Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh. I got an email from the UK publisher (Gollancz) which had an article about the newest book in the Guild Hunter series and I was slightly intrigued. I had a look on Amazon and book 1 was really cheap so I decided to buy it. I was quite surprised that I liked it as much as I did as I haven't been a fan of her Psy-Changeling series. In fact I liked it so much I also bought and am currently reading Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter 2).

Finally, I thought I would share with you a reading device that has transformed my Mom's life. Mom is now only partially sighted following a detached retina (in her good eye) about 18 months ago. She was an avid reader and belonged to two reading groups. Needless to say losing her vision has been a difficult adjustment and she became quite despondent at the thought of not being able to read anymore. Thanks to the local CNIB Mom was given a 'reader' (basically a microfiche) which she now uses to read not only books but newspapers and the labels off her medication. I can remember using a microfiche years ago in university and thought they were virtually obsolete due to the accessibility of online journals etc. Now this seemingly obsolete technology has given an old lady back the joy of reading. Big thank you to the lovely people at the CNIB.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013

Thats it for me folks and I will be back in the UK for my next Week in Review so until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019Review: Blood Broken by Lindsay J. PryorMelanie's Week in Review - October 2, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - April 24, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - November 2, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - March 23, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013

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