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Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019


Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019


I can't believe July is over. The month has evaporated just like all the water I keep putting on my tomato plants (lets just ignore the fact that my tomatoes keep turning black!) Unlike my wilting toms I have been quite productive and read a couple of really good books. I am 'booking reading smug' this month as I got through more books then I expected. I am one of the Qwillery's agents for the next SPFBO and I wasn't sure that I would get much read but I managed to read some of my own books and some of the SPFBO books. Hurrahs!


Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
First up is Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan. I have to admit that I listened to the audio version rather than read it. The characters really come to life through the narrator Billy Howle. If you are still aren't sure about audio books then this is a safe bet.

The story is set in an alternate 1980's England with a backdrop of the Falklands war. The main character, Charlie has so far successfully avoided having a real job and drifts through life following the news about the Falklands and secretly pining over his next door neighbour Miranda. When Charlie inherits some money he decides to buy one of the very first synthetic humans - a male named Adam. Despite designing Adam's personality with Miranda it's not long before Charlie is relegated to the third wheel when a love triangle starts to form. It's not long before Charlie starts to regret his impulse purchase. The story really starts to evolve when a secret from Miranda's is exposed which tests her relationship with Charlie and leaves Adam grappling with the morality of the situation.

For me, the story had two main themes. The obvious one - whether a machine, regardless of how human it appears, can truly think and act like a human. This was a question that Charlie regularly tried to grapple with and something that becomes Miranda's undoing. The second theme was the different types of love - romantic love, love for a friend, love from a child, love for your parents/family. McEwan explores these different types of love through the lens of the machine - Adam. Again, another exploration of whether a machine can love or understands what it means to love. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. McEwan is a master at creating characters that you don't always like but can always relate to. The science was plausible. You could also believe, based on McEwan's, prose that you were reading non-fiction rather than fiction in his explanation of how technology evolved to create a living, breathing android. Adam puts Star Trek's Data to shame. If you need a book that gets you thinking then I highly recommend Machines Like Me. This is going to be in my top books of 2019!


Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
My next two books are courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley. I used to get the majority of my books from NetGalley but I haven't had much luck finding anything I want to read that wasn't a 'wish for it'. First up is Thea Harrison's American Witch. Molly Sullivan's life has turned upside down. On the same day she discovers her husband has been unfaithful, again she also discovers that she has new powers awakening. Josiah Mason, a very powerful witch and leader of a secret coven has offered to help Molly manage her powers but can she trust him? Molly finds she doesn't have a choice when both her husband and her divorce attorney are brutally murdered. A deadly secret links Molly's husband and Josiah's sworn enemy. They decide to join forces to bring down someone who hides in the shadows and who is merciless and cruel. Its not long before what draws Josiah and Molly together isn't just the hunt for the killer but their explosive mutual attraction. Will they survive long enough to see if their romance has a chance?

I didn't realise when I requested this book that it was also in the same world as the Elder Races although none of the characters from that series popped up. My disappointment was that I was really hoping for something completely new. Overall, the story was a bit of a re-hash of Harrison's other novels - boy meets girl, boy and girl don't get along, boy and girl become attracted against all odds and despite immanent threat to their 'persons', boy and girl fall in love for ever and ever. Molly does in the end stand up for herself and become a power in her own right. The love interests were just a bit too one dimensional for my like. If you are looking for something to read at the beach then this may be a book to consider.


Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
Book number 2 from NetGalley is The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken which is the first instalment in The Scarred Earth Saga series. The story starts out with lots of violence that follows the death of the old King where his sons go on a rampage of killing each other and anyone loyal to them in order to gain the throne and the power that it represents. However, a prophesy tells of a queen who will ascend the throne ....a daughter of a farmer. As the different factions fight it out the story switches to Keeley Smythe, the big and powerful blacksmith who likes nothing more than working her forge and loving her family. When a band of kilt wearing mountain warriors come to her small village she doesn't at first realise how much she will depend on their help and protection. Especially from the gruff but hunky Caid. When the prophesy seems to point to Keeley's bookish sister Beatrix as being the intended queen she has no choice but to defend her family from the royals who don't want to see a farmer's daughter on the throne. Luckily she has some help because she is going to need it.

The Blacksmith Queen is written in a similar style to Aiken's Dragon Kin series with fun loving characters, strong female heroines, and super natural beings. Keeley is fun, strong (both physically and mentally) and knows her power. The romance really didn't make an appearance until near the end of the book which was refreshing and the sex scenes weren't as 'detailed' as in some of Aiken's other books. What is also different is that there are chapters from Caid's POV which gives a different perspective and works well when Keeley wasn't able to be part of the scene (no spoilers here). There is also a very good twist involving one of the baddies that I wasn't expecting and makes me really want to see how this character gets their comeuppance. I am very likely going to continue with this series and if you are a fan of her other books I suggest you give The Blacksmith Queen a go.


Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
The final book I am going to tell you about - a novella really - is Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews. This is a novella and part of the Innkeeper Chronicles series. The story is told, this time, from Maud's (Dina's sister) POV. Maud has travelled with Arland to his home world along with her daughter Helen. There is a big wedding planned between two, former rival vampire Houses which House Kaur are hosting. In the backdrop of Maud's reluctant romance with Arland there is something much more sinister at play and it's up to Maud to uncover what the other Houses are really up to and to protect her daughter and Arland's family in the process.

If you follow my posts you will know that I have already read Sweep of the Blade when it was released as a serial. I love this series and especially Dina, the Innkeeper. I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this serialised short story as much. I thought the plotline and the prose were tightened up from the serialised story to the book which made for a much sharper and enjoyable story line. There are also a few of the gorgeous drawings throughout the book which have been one of my favourite parts of reading these books. Even if you have already read the serialised version I urge you to give the published version a go. I am confident you will love it.


That is all for me for July. I hope you have had as many good books to read as I have had. Keep your fingers crossed that I have as many reviews in August for you. Until then Happy Reading.





Machines Like Me
Nan A. Telese, April 23, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
New from Ian McEwan, Booker Prize winner and international bestselling author of Atonement and The Children Act

Machines Like Me takes place in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first synthetic humans and—with Miranda’s help—he designs Adam’s personality. The near-perfect human that emerges is beautiful, strong, and clever. It isn’t long before a love triangle soon forms, and these three beings confront a profound moral dilemma.

In his subversive new novel, Ian McEwan asks whether a machine can understand the human heart—or whether we are the ones who lack understanding.





American Witch
American Witch Trilogy 1
Teddy Harrison LLC, April 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 476 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the first in a new spellbinding trilogy…

Power can change a person…

For months Molly Sullivan endures the inexplicable: electrical surges, car breakdowns, visions. She even wonders if she might be the cause… and wonders if she might be crazy. Then she discovers her husband has cheated on her. Again. Now Molly realizes she is a newly awakening witch and a woman pushed over the edge.

Revenge can shape a person…

Josiah Mason is a Powerful witch and the leader of a secret coven with a shared goal: to destroy an ancient enemy who has ruined many lives. Josiah lost years to this man, and his sole focus is revenge. He’s prepared for every contingency—except encountering a beautiful new witch who understands nothing of the immense Power building within her or the attraction she wields over him.

Danger can bring them together…

When divorcing her husband, Molly uncovers a dangerous secret he’s willing to kill to protect. She turns to Josiah for help, and they discover a connection between Molly’s husband and Josiah’s enemy.

As they work together, a spark ignites between them that threatens to become an inferno. But Molly is done compromising herself for any man, and Josiah’s mission is his top priority. And the enemy is cunning, cruel, and drawing ever closer.

As the danger escalates, so does the tension between them. Is a lasting relationship possible? Will either of them live long enough to try?





The Blacksmith Queen
The Scarred Earth Saga 1
Kensington Books, August 27, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.

The Old King Is Dead

With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned.





Sweep of the Blade
Innkeeper Chronicles 4
NYLA, July 16, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 314 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
Maud Demille is a daughter of Innkeepers—a special group who provide ‘lodging’ to other-planetary visitors—so she knows that a simple life isn't in the cards. But even Maud could never have anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her young daughter, Helen, were exiled with him for his treachery to the desolate, savage planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud—completely abandoned by his family—has spent over a year avenging his debts. Rescued by her sister Dina, she's sworn off all things vampire.

Except... In helping Dina save the world, she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr, one of the most powerful vampire houses. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined. Arland is not used to hearing the word ‘no;’ and try as she might, Maud can't just walk away from Arland. It doesn't help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is extremely influential and Maud knows that a woman—a human, with a very questionable past—who's turned down a proposal from its most beloved son won't get a warm reception. Maybe she’s not sure about marrying Arland, but House Krahr isn’t going to decide for her. Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there's a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.

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.





Spellbinder
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…

Melanie's Week in Review - April 16, 2017


Melanie's Week in Review - April 16, 2017


Happy Easter to those who celebrate and to those who don't Happy April 16th! Apologies for missing last week. I was at home in Canada where the internet was as slow as dial-up. I couldn't have posted even if I had enough to tell you about!


Melanie's Week in Review - April 16, 2017
First up is Mira Grant's Final Girls. Esther Hoffman is a woman with a mission..a mission to debunk Dr. Jennifer Webbs invention which uses a combination of virtual reality and scenarios out of horror movie to cure psychological problems. When Esther agrees to take part in one of the scenarios in order to prove Dr. Webb is a quack she doesn't realise that she has made a life or death decision until the virtual horrors become real ones.

Grant does it again. Another great story that had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Grant manages to make a big story out of this novella with her well developed characters and atmospheric plot. As you may know I am not the biggest fan of short stories as I always feel a bit let down when they are over so quickly but not so, in the case of Final Girls. Grants takes the reader on a journey, albeit a short one, through Esther's virtual reality life. With the help of Dr. Webb, Esther discovers the value of friendship and her own inner strength despite the horror of what happens to her. This is a difficult book to review as there is a lot I could say but I don't want to drop too many spoilers. What I will say is to prepare yourself for a poignant/sad ending. It took me by surprise and I had to read it twice for it to really sink in. Great short read.


Melanie's Week in Review - April 16, 2017
I decided that I needed some airport suitable reading material and turned to my Amazon recommendations which led me to Moonshadow by Thea Harrison. This is the first in the series of the same name and introduces us to the former police consultant witch, Sophie, and Nikolas, knight of the Dark Court. When Sophie is offered the opportunity to travel to the UK to learn more about her childhood she jumps at the chance. She only just arrives in the country when she unwittingly becomes embroiled in a centuries old war between the Dark and Light Court of the Fae. Barred from his homeland Nikolas would do anything and use anyone to return home and protect those he cares about. When he discovers that Sophie holds the key to returning home he is determined that nothing will stop him from using her to get what he wants. Caught between two sides of an ancient feud Sophie tries to resist her growing attraction to the enigmatic knight of the Dark Court. Can she resist? You will have to read it to find out.

I rather liked this first instalment of Harrison's newest series. I have been reading her Elder Races series and felt that with each passing book the same plot is just re-told with new characters. I wasn't completely sure if this series is following along the Elder Races world as many of the same races are found in this series as with the original. There was just enough different to make it unique and I thought that Sophie was a more well rounded character and a bit more flawed than what I have come to expect from this author. This is the perfect read when you need a tiny bit of PNR or when you are on a long flight/commute. There is just enough happening to keep you interested and the plot isn't that complex that you are going to get lost. Hoping that Harrison avoids the same formula of the Elder Races and I will look forward to finding out what happens next.


That is it for me this week. I hope you had a great week and found your perfect read. Until next week Happy Reading.




Final Girls
Subterranean Press, April 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 112 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - April 16, 2017
What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they've been missing their whole lives—while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But…can real change come so easily?

Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father's life. She's determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb's budding company. Dr. Webb's willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther's not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other's only hope of survival.

With her new novella Final Girls, bestselling, award-winning author Mira Grant has conjured a heartstopping, gut-wrenching story filled with as many twists as it is versions of reality. Grant offers a chilling exploration of how surviving horrors might define us all.




Moonshadow
Moonshadow 1
Teddy Harrison LLC, December 13, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 498 pages
Review Copy: Reviewer's Own

Melanie's Week in Review - April 16, 2017
From bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the first in an explosive new trilogy set in the Elder Races world….

Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….

Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.

He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….

Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.

When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.

Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.

As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.

Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…

Melanie's Week in Review - March 20, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - March 20, 2016


Hello everyone.  Spring equinox is just a day away and despite losing an hour of sleep soon (clocks change next weekend in the UK) I am looking forward to it being light for longer in the evening. I used to daylight's saving time but now it means that summer is not very far away and with it all my favourite things - ice cream, my garden in bloom, ice cream, sitting outside reading, ice cream, Pimms, ....and you guessed it ....ice cream :) Anyway, I digress onto what I read this week.


Melanie's Week in Review - March 20, 2016
I started the week with Eugene Lambert's debut YA novel The Sign of One. Kyle is just like any another teenager stuck in the Barrenlands of Wrath trying not to get beaten up by bullies and bowing to peer pressure. His life is about to change in a monumental way after he sneaks away from home to attend the Peace Fair. Kyle is horrified when he discovered the star attraction of the Fair is watching 'twists' get tortured and eventually killed. On Wrath twins are called twists and they are separated from their parents as young as possible, tested and then the alleged evil twin is killed. When Kyle is attacked on this way home from the Fair he doesn't realise that his whole life is about to change and everything he thought he knew about himself has been a lie. On the run with a young rebel girl he met in the Fair Kyle is about to blow open a sinister plot involving the twists and nothing will be the same again.

I enjoyed The Sign of One and started to think that twins really get a hard time in science fiction. I thought back to The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig which also featured twins where one twin suffered while the other thrived. Lambert created a interesting landscape to tell his story and Kyle was realistically portrayed as the innocent and frightened teenager. The plot did get a bit stereotypical in parts, especially the villains but it was a quick and easy read nonetheless. I am looking forward to seeing how Lambert continues this series.


Melanie's Week in Review - March 20, 2016
UK Cover
Book number 2 for me was the 9th instalment in Thea Harrison's Elder Races series  - Shadow's End. This time the story focused on the sentinel Graydon and the Elven royalty, Beluviel. Graydon has been keeping a secret for Beluviel for 200 years which has left them indebted to the malevolent djinn Malphas. The debt is about to come due and Graydon will do anything to protect Beluviel and the love that he has felt for her for two centuries. To take down the djinn Graydon and Bel will need to work together and fight for their love.

While I have a love not so love with some of the books of this series I haven't actually ever been bored before. I found Shadow's End very dull and Graydon and Bel's relationship lacked any real depth or 'fire'. The best part about it was the coming together of characters across the series and a couple I had actually forgotten about. This book kind of read like a final instalment but I am not sure if it was. I think it is time that Harrison lets these characters go on with their enchanted lives.


That is it for me for this week. I am keeping it rather short and sweet but hope to regal you next week with some more good books. Until then Happy Reading.




The Sign of One
Sign of One #1
Electric Monkey, April 7, 2016
eBook, 400 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - March 20, 2016
One for sorrow, two for death…

On Wrath, a dump-world for human outcasts, identical twins are feared. Only one will grow up human, while the other becomes a condemned monster with ‘twisted’ blood.

When sixteen-year-old Kyle is betrayed, he flees for his life with the help of Sky, a rebel pilot with trust issues. As the hunt intensifies, Kyle soon realises that he is no ordinary runaway – although he has no idea why he warrants this level of pursuit.

The hideous truth they discover could change the fate of Wrath and its harsh laws forever. Their reluctant, conflicted partnership will either save them – or bring about their destruction.



Shadow's End
A Novel of the Elder Races 9
Pitakus, December 1, 2015 (UK)
Berkley, December 1, 2015 (US/Canada)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - March 20, 2016
US Cover
The author of Lord’s Fall and Midnight’s Kiss returns with an enchanting and sizzling new tale about debts that cannot be repaid and hunger that cannot be satisfied…

For Beluviel, consort to the Elven High Lord, and Graydon, gryphon and First Sentinel of the Wyr, even the slightest desire for each other is forbidden. But two hundred years ago, after a desperate play to save Beluviel’s stepson left them indebted to the cruel Djinn Malphas, they found their fates inexorably linked together—and the hunger between them growing too strong to ignore…

Two centuries later, with their debt to Malphas coming due, Beluviel and Graydon realize that, if they are to stand any chance of saving their souls, they must once again work together—this time more closely than ever before. But every moment they spend with each other brings them nearer to losing something even more vital—their hearts…

Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015


Happy 1st of November and a belated Happy Halloween. I love Halloween but barely get enough trick or treaters to get through the 4 bags of candy the hubinator bought to dish out. I am sure to on a week long sugar rush after eating the leftovers. It's a sacrifice that I will just have to suffer through. But you probably want to know what I read this week.  Please note, the unintentional theme in all of the books I read.


Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015
I have had a fairly unproductive week this week both in the quantity of books read and my satisfaction in reading them. The hubinator and I went to Amsterdam for a long weekend so I didn't really get that much time to read. One short story I did find while waiting to board the plane was Dragos Goes to Washington by Thea Harrison. This is the first in a three party story that takes place after the events of book 8 Midnight's Kiss. All is not well in the relations between the humans and the supernatural species and Pia and Dragos have to attend a summit in Washington to try to broker a better relationship between all parties. Sounds fairly straightforward until the vice president's husband is murdered in their house. To complicate matters Pia decides to she wants to have another baby and a majority of the book is spent with the couple trying to get pregnant. This short should have an R rating as there is an awful lot of sex described in minute detail. In fact the murder plot and the wider plot of the troubles between the humans and everyone else didn't really feature until 3/4 of the way through. I think I will stick to the main novels going forward as a bit of erotica I don't mind but not interested in it taking over the plot.


Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015Continuing on with the sexy theme I was having a look on NetGalley and discovered that the next book in the Dragon kin series by G.A Aiken.  Feel the Burn centers on the inevitable love story between Gaius Domitus, the one eyed lord who we met in an earlier in the series and Kachka, one of the Daughters of the Steppes. Gaius is determined to seek the revenge of his sister's imprisonment by his relatives and Kachka wants nothing to do with the lazy and pampered lord. Their romance unfolds in the backdrop of the continued war with the god Chramnesind. Every character we have met so far makes an appearance and quite a bit of the story involves Anwyl, the twins and the very powerful young witch Rhi. These regulars combined with the Daughters of the Steppes makes for an amusing read (in parts).

Overall, I thought this book was OK. I certainly enjoyed it more than the previous instalment which involved Kachka's sister - the one eyed Elina and the dragon Ceyln. There is more going in this story than just the romance between the two lead characters and further development of the wider plot arch involving the half dragon/half human twins. This is a quick and easy read with much more in way of both plot and character development.


I also started Raptor which is the 6th book of the Dragon Blood series by Lindsay Buroker. I am not sure I am going to be able to finish though. The main character Cas is sooo whiny and feeling sorry herself that it is making for a rather boring read. I may give it another go this week or it may hit one of my very few DNF.


That is all for me this week. I hope you have had a more enjoyable week in reading. Until next time Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 10, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - May 10, 2015


Hello everyone! I hope you had a good week. This was a big decision week for me and not just decisions about what I would read. I made the big decision this week to change jobs and nail biting was big on the agenda this week. I did enjoy a couple of good books that I would like to share with you.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 10, 2015
If you read my WIR last week you will remember that I had received a copy of Pirate's Alley by Suzanne Johnson (Tor Books, April 21, 2015). It seems AGES since I read the last book Elysian Fields but its only been a year. This series has really grown on me and Pirate's Alley is another great instalment in the Sentinels of New Orleans series. This book starts not long after the events of book 3 where the hero of the tale and sentinel DJ gets blood bonded to an Elven big-wig, is left homeless after an undead axe murderer burns her house down, and is almost turned into a loup garou. It's a wonder that she can keep her disasters straight she has so many and in book 4 she is due for a few more.

In this instalment DJ is expected to guard the undead hunky pirate Jean Lafitte during a perilous time for the various supernatural factions. Lafitte is on the war path and out for revenge all while DJ is expected to stop him from doing just that. Her job becomes that much more difficult when her best friend Eugenie divulges a big secret that forges alliances and destroys relationships all over New Orleans. On top of this DJ's relationship with her shifter boyfriend, Alex, is strained by the brewing war between the supernatural races and the sense of duty they both feel towards their friends and loved ones. This instalment explores which will prevail.

I thoroughly enjoyed Pirate's Alley. I like DJ more with each new instalment. She is really torn between what she should do and what is better is better for her loved ones. This makes her seem all the more realistic and true to her character. I am glad that Johnson hasn't allowed DJ to become too self righteous or too much of a goody two-shoes. Pirate Alley is another great book in this series. Again, the book cover rocks....I LOVE this cover and appreciate that the model stays the same across all the books. This is one of the few models who looks exactly how I imagine the character to be.


Melanie's Week in Review - May 10, 2015
Book 2 of the week was Midnight's Kiss by Thea Harrison (Berkley, May 5, 2015) which is the eighth of The Elder Races series. This instalment features the vampire king Julian and one of the princesses of the Light Fae, Melisande. The former lovers had an acrimonious separation twenty years ago but when Melisande gets kidnapped by the evil Justine, Julian is in hot pursuit. Escaping a dungeon, feral vampires and a  political coup are all in a days work for Julian but can love prevail?

I thought this instalment was just OK. I think this series is getting a little stale and formulaic as I there doesn't seem to be a series arc and every instalment is just two opposites attracting. Also, Harrison broke my number 1 romance rules - any woman who gets kidnapped, locked in a dungeon, almost killed and almost raped does not want to have sex with her extremely hunky ex-lover - but yet, that is what Melisande does. There is quite a bit of 'cave' sex and it just didn't come across as romantic. I hope that Harrison ramps up the excitement in book 9.


Melanie's Week in Review - May 10, 2015
I was looking on my Amazon recommendations (again, I know very naughty) when I came across Dog with a Bone by Hailey Edwards. I was mostly attracted to the 99p price of this Kindle edition and thought that Thierry sounded like an interestingly conflicted character. I was however, quite disappointed. This is a fairly standard young adult urban fantasy. Thierry is a half human/half supernatural who becomes a peacekeeper just like her estranged father. She is joined on her first case by the incubus Shaw, also her trainer and love interest.

I think the preview didn't really represent the story and I wouldn't have bothered reading it had I known that the plot was going to be 90% teenage angst and 10% character development. Thierry and Shaw can barely focus on the murders mystery they are trying to solve during several bouts of heavy petting. Overall, I find it quite dull. Perhaps a younger a reader would find it more enjoyable.


My final read for the week was Day Shift by Charlaine Harris. This book was reviewed last week by Qwill so check out what she thought of it.


That is it for me for this week. I hope you have had a productive week and until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014



*** BUMPER WEEK IN REVIEW ***

Yes folks I have a bumper crop of books to tell you about. I finished 5 books and mid-way though a 6th. So no messing around. What did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014
Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014If you read my WIR last week you will remember that I read Evernight (Darkest London 5) by Kristen Callihan and was a tad ashamed to say I couldn't remember the series or the characters. I decided to go back and read a few of the books. I started back at the beginning with Firelight, moved quickly onto Moonglow and ended my re-read with Winterblaze. I have discussed these books before so I won't bore with the details again. The first time I read the books I had the biggest issue with Moonglow  and while I still thought the explanation of the GIM (Ghost in the Machine) was flawed there was something else that bothered me this time I read it. I thought I would explain this in the form of a quiz.

Imagine you are arriving back at your lycan lover's stately home and are involved in a serious case of heavy petting in the back of the carriage (tee hee...petting your werewolf boyfriend....tee hee) when your most beloved sister arrives to inform you that your brother-in-law has been mortally wounded in a werewolf attack.  Do you ....

a)  ignore your sister and continue with the hot and steamy with your furry honey;
b)  go with your sister to the bedside of your brother-in-law only to leave your shell-shocked sister alone to go back to your love interest's home for some 'tupping';
c)  pop down to the local pub for a nice lunch as all the excitement makes you hungry;

or

d)  all of the above.

Well which do you think the heroine of Moonglow chose to do? Please let me know! I decided not to bother with book 4, Shadow Dance, as everything had come back to me and I had other books to read.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014
I was quite excited to discover that not 1 but 2 books I had pre-ordered on Amazon had popped down onto my Kindle. I started with Knight's Honor by Thea Harrison which is the 7th in the Elder Races series. This book is a bit of a departure from the previous books and doesn't centre on Dragos, Pia or one of the Sentinels. This time it tells the story of the mousey, shy, computer geek Tess who finds herself as a human attendant in the dangerous vampire, Xavier. Tess is on the run and trying to hide from a revengeful Djinn. Tess has got everything and nothing to lose by working for the hunky vamp, except maybe her heart...of course (this is PNR after all).

I like the fact that Harrison chose to write a book in the Elder Races world but not about Dragos or Pia (or friends). I also like the fact it was set back at the same time as the Sentinel Wars so before book 6 - Kinked. However, I think the characters are a bit bland and far too goody good for my liking. Tess is quite dull which is disappointing as I think Harrison missed a trick by not exploiting her humanity and computer genius skills. Xavier is a former priest/assassin/spy who quotes poetry to his lady love and tries to teach her to waltz. Not very gritty. Even still it is a quick read and quite good on a long tube journey.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014Book number 5 on my reading list for the week was Forged by Desire* by Bec McMaster. This is the 4th book in the London Steampunk series and tells the love story of Captain Garrett Reed and his fellow Nighthawk Perry. Reed never noticed the mannish Perry until she displayed her assets in a lovely ball gown while in disguise in The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace (a novella). Reed is suffering from the ill effects of the vampire disease and there is only a matter of time before he turns into a violent killer. In the meantime Perry is confronting a secret from her past while investigating the murder of two innocent girls. Can Perry and Garrett get together before her past comes back to haunt her or before Garrett succumbs to the disease?  Well I won't tell you. This is a gritty tale and Perry's past is a deep, dark secret indeed. Some of my favourite characters from the previous books appeared including Blade. You will be glad to know that Honoria still hasn't given him those elocution lessons!

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014
My final book for this week is Our Broken Sky by Sarah Harian. This is a novella in the Chaos Theory series. I have only just started this so not much to tell. Well that is it for me. I am super impressed with my book reading accomplishments this week. Fingers crossed I don't revert back to my previous poor performance. Until next week Happy Reading.








* You may read an excerpt of Forged by Desire here and see a list of all the books and novellas in this series.


Melanie's Week in Review - July 6, 2014



Melanie's Week in Review - July 6, 2014


Welcome to July! Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day to our respective Canadian and American readers. I must hang my head in shame as I completely forgot it was Canada Day on Tuesday. It's almost a sackable offense! I was however, distracted as I was eating cake surrounded by cats in London's very first cat cafe on the day. I was a tiny bit disappointed as cats being cats they were too busy ignoring the guests who had made their reservation back in March. Ho hum. At least I did have a good week reading. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - July 6, 2014
If you read my WIR last week you would have discovered I had started The Digital Wolf by Jon Rosenberg which is the second in the Hidden Academy series. The book starts a few months after the harrowing events of book 1 where David Ash, Summoner and member of the Hidden Academy almost dies protecting his friends and colleagues. While he is out on a run David almost gets munched by an enormous wolf and not just any wolf but Fenris, son of Loki who has been entrapped for centuries. David just barely escapes and embarks on a mission to save all of humanity from a rogue digital wolf being controlled by one pissed off ice giant. David has a lot more on his plate with his boss in the hospital, Oberon  - Lord of Fairy is missing and a murderous computer program that needs David's help to find its missing part. David needs all the help he can get to save his friends and the rest of world.

I am enjoying this series so far but will have to admit that I didn't think The Digital Wolf wasn't as amusing as The Unicorn Crisis. There were a few one lines that had me tittering and all delivered by David's elf friend Llewellyn.  I thought I would share with you one of the especially funny lines when David asks the gadget and TV addicted elf for help to fight the ice giant.
So what?  you want me to go in there and call her names? What do you think will do the trick? Mother of Grief, Origin of Ruin? Frosty the fat-arsed Snowbitch?
Rosenberg has created a fantasy and mythology mash-up in this novel where Titania, the Queen of Fairy and the Norse Gods - Thor and Odin are deeply entwined together. He also ventures to give these characters a modern twist by having them manipulate technology for their nefarious plans. There is a lot going on in this novel and with the overlap the gods of both Fairy and Norse mythology it did get a bit too 'busy'. Even still it was an enjoyable read with lots happening to ensure you pay attention throughout.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 6, 2014I then tried to read Breath of Air by Katie Jennings. This is young adult fantasy but geared to a much younger reader. I quite like young adult and youth fiction but not so the case for book. It starts out with the poor little orphan Annie/Capri who doesn't know where her powers come from until one day a handsome prince rescues her and takes her a beautiful land where her handsome father greats her with open arms and dresses her in the most beautiful clothes. It had so many stereotypes that I couldn't justify spending any more time reading it so I am afraid I gave up.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 6, 2014I felt the need to finish something quickly and remembered that Thea Harrison had released a novella - Pia Saves the Day which is part of the Elder Races series. Well it was a quick read but I didn't really enjoy it. I think an author can like their characters a little too much and stop thinking rationally about them. I found this novella to be quite indulgent with not a lot of substance. I know this is a romance series but I found the 'romance' to be a bit denigrating to woman. The plot involves Dragos losing his memory and turns on Pia, almost using her unicorn horn to pick his teeth after munching her down. Fair enough that she tries to help him remember who he was and their love for each other but the gratuitous sex scenes when he still doesn't remember who Pia is/was to him makes her sound a bit too easy. At least in book 1 she had known him for a few days and he had saved her life a few times before the 'steamy' starts.

I am almost finished Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron and I will tell you what I thought next week. 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 - October 27, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013

I think I was a tad too smug last week with the number of books I read as this week it was much more dismal.  I only read 1 measly book!! ONE BOOK!!!  Well I should qualify that and say I only finished 1 book but started a few more.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013
I managed to read Hidden Among Us by Katy Moran. It is the story about a baby, named Lissy who is stolen from her parents by the fae. She is returned but only after her mother agrees to return her in 14 years. The story fast forwards 14 years and we find Lissy, a truculent teenager returning to rural Wales and almost directly into the hands of her childhood captors. The story is largely told from Lissy's POV so  I guess it is YUF (tee hee)  - young urban fantasy. The chapters alternate between Lissy's brother Rafe, their mother Miriam and another boy named Joe. The fae are largely infertile and have been stealing babies for centuries in the hope of using them for breeding stock when they mature. Lissy is different and it isn't long before we find out why.  I normally quite enjoy UF/YA but in this case I thought Hidden Among Us was a bit boring. While there was quite a bit of action towards the end there is little character development so I just didn't care what happened to the protagonists. Perhaps this improves over the series but I don't think I will find out.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013
I also read Dragos Takes a Holiday by Thea Harrison which is an e-novella in the Elder Races series. I got it from the good people at NetGalley. It is Harrison's first self-published work and will be out on November 25th. The clue to the plot is in the title with this one but it took a slightly different format with POV chapters from Pia, Dragos and even from little baby Liam. He sounded adorable and portrayed exactly how you imagine a baby to be thinking/doing. With all the stress of looking for new sentinels, having a baby, killing some baddies Pia decides its high time they go on a holiday so the family find themselves in sunny Bermuda looking for lost treasure. This story is all about sun, sand and sex with a little twist. I quite enjoyed this mini installment and it was like taking my own short holiday reading it as it seemed to fly by.  I am looking forward to Kinked (Berkley, November 5, 2013), the 6th Elder Races novel.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013I have to admit I haven't made much progress with King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence as I picked up and started two other books. One is Kindred and Wings by Philippa Ballantine (Shifted World 2) and the other is Blood Shadows by Lindsay J. Pryor.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013I always love Ballantine's writing and really enjoyed the first book of the Shifted World series. An added bonus is the cover. It is lovely although the cover of Shifted Worlds 1, Hunter and Fox, was a stunner.  I was always staring at it.  I will be reviewing Kindred and Wings so don't want to say too much plus I am not that far into either book to make any real judgements.

That is all I managed to accomplish this week and I am heading off to Canada for a holiday and to see my family. I will be in the same time zone as some of you so maybe you will leave me a comment or two! Until next week Happy Reading.
Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - April 16, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - March 20, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - May 10, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - July 6, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013

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