The Shade and the Nine Lower Levels is a dark urban fantasy with supernatural elements. It started off slow for me and left me with unanswered questions. The story line is unique and I look forward to reading more in this series. This novel has vampires, demons, angels, hellions and a new creature called a Shade.
Skye introduced several key characters. Kai, is a demon’s mistake known as a Shade. We learn about his past, and find him living in the woods near the town of Madeira Park. He is for the most part a recluse, and has very little interaction with the townspeople. Riley, the protagonist, of the story is strong, talented and protective of her friends Willow and Fay. I sometimes found her to be annoying and moody. Riley, spent her life in and out of foster care, and carries secrets about her past. Riley and Fay work at the local pub known as The Grasshopper. Riley attends art school at night, and has been friends with Keetes for over a year. She senses Keetes likes her, but he hasn't made a move. Riley finds herself attracted to Kai but his signals are mixed. What she doesn’t know is that these two are far from human, and Keetes has horrible plans for her. Fay is just eighteen and troubled with dreams involving Riley. She learns that she is clairvoyant and tries to warn Riley of the danger she senses from Keetes. Willow is Fay’s sister and the mother figure for the Riley and Fay. The three women live in a cabin deep in the woods outside of the town.
In the Shade and the Nine Lower Levels, Skye introduces you to the characters and then slowly reveals who and what they are. Be patient, as most answers are slowly revealed, and some will shock you. The descriptions of heaven and hell were interesting, as was the tale of Lucifer. While some of the writing and editing was shaky, the tale was well worth my time. This is a fresh storyline and I can see the writer’s vision. The second half of the book shows growth, for both the writer and the story. These emerge as details began to tighten up and the storyline became fast paced. I loved some of the scenes, the suspense and unexpected revelations that occurred throughout the story. Skye's descriptions of the town, the pub and the cabin were vivid. By the end I had connected to the characters, the tale and was left wanting more.
I highly recommend the Shade and the Nine Lower Levels to fans of dark urban fantasy, vampires, demons and the supernatural. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. This book is currently only available as an eBook.
I want to thank the author for providing me with this ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.
Spiritus is the first book in an exciting new young adult, paranormal series, by author Dana Michelle Burnett. I enjoyed this suspenseful and romantic read. I loved the characters Burnett created and the history of the home she placed them in. Spiritus is the type of book that captures your attention from page one, while the rest of the world slips away.
The tale is about seventeen year old, Becca McAllister, who moves with her father back to his ancestral home in Corydon, Indiana. She and her new friends perform a unsuccessful séance in her home. Later that same evening, she awakes to feel a presence in the corner of her room. It’s the ghost of a young man, named Alastor Sinclair. Unsure of the ghost's intentions and her own dreams, Becca researches the ghost and her home. At the library she finds a startling connection to herself. The story that unfolds is romantic, sad, and mysterious.The romance in this novel is sweet, innocent, dark and dangerous. The ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger and will leave you wanting more.
Becca is a strong character, who fights to maintain a balance between her life and her time with Alastor. She is a bit of a loner, but finds herself suddenly with friends. She isn't very confident about her appearance and is shocked when the school jock shows interest in her. Alastor is handsome with gorgeous blue eyes and a devastating smile. You feel for him, but are never really sure of his intentions. He wants to keep Becca all to himself, feels guilt regarding the past and is extremely jealous.
I highly recommend Spiritus, to fans of YA, paranormal romances and ghosts stories. Burnett’s shares a tale about a love that survives beyond death. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this novel and look forward to reading the next book entitled the Haunting. I am hoping that her second novel is longer in length and more detailed. This was a quick, fast paced read, which is sure to please. This novel is currently only available as an eBook.
I want to thank the author for this ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.
Torn is a YA paranormal romance filled with shape-shifters and power struggles. Murray creates a tale that is both fascinating and unique. This novel kept me engaged and I finished it in one evening.
The tale focuses on Alec Graves. He is the alpha of his wolf pack and seventeen years old. They live in Sanctuary; a small town surrounded by woods. Alec is having trouble with another Alpha named Brandon. Brandon’s pack has been pushing deeper into Alex’s territory trying to claim dominance. Murray gives just enough back-plot to let us know there has been a rift, and that it was caused by Alex's deceased father. There is tension within Alex's pack and he is working to resolve it. Both packs are wealthy and Alec seems to control the small town, but Brandon is seeking to change that. As if Alec doesn’t have enough on his plate already in walks Adriana Paige. Something about Adriana is different; she glows but doesn’t appear to be a shape-shifter. Alec is leery of her at first, but she begins appearing in his dreams and ultimately she becomes very important to him. This would be lovely, but she had also attracted the attention of Brandon and she appears to be dating him.
The tale that unfolds is fast paced, with battle scenes as the shifters defend their territory. Murray’s descriptions of the shape-shifter transformation and battle strategies are fascinating. There are some key characters whose stories I wanted to learn more about. The romance between Adriana and Alex is sweet and develops at a natural pace. I really liked Alex. He has what seems like the weight of the world on his shoulders. In a lot of ways he is a typical teen, but he is also loyal, honorable and attempts to be a good leader. The ending offers an epic battle scene that had me quickly turning the pages.
Overall, I liked this character driven novel and recommend it to fans of shape-shifters and paranormal romance. I am hoping that Murray writes a second novel, so that we can learn more about the world and characters he has created. This novel was told from the POV of Alec and you can read it from Adriana’s point of view in the novel Broken. I look forward to reading more work by this author.
I want to thank the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
Gold Train by Lada Ray is a non-stop adult-fiction thriller set in Russia. Protagonist, Jade Snow, a journalist and amateur detective who appeared in Ray’s previous novel entitled Stepford U.S.A. is back in an new tale. Based on historical facts, Ray takes us to Russia, to discover what happen to the entire Gold reserve of the Russian Empire. It vanished without a trace during the Civil War in 1918. The tale offers, suspense, mystery, murder and a touch of paranormal.
We are introduced to Jade Snow, former journalist, wife and stay-at-home Mom to her thirteen month old daughter. They reside on the Upper East Side of New York. Her husband works for Time magazine and while they seem to have the good life, Jade admits she misses her career. Jade’s family is from Russia and she longs to visit, when a phone call offers her a chance to collaborate on a book surrounding the Gold Train, Jade jumps at the opportunity. Jade is in Russia less then forty-eight hours when the Russian journalist she is working with is murdered. The tale that unfolds is suspenseful, full of twists and takes us to Moscow, St Petersburg, the Menshikov Mansion, the infamous KGB headquarters and the grand houses. We travel on high-speed trains, attend balls and walk through the gorgeous Russian Metro. Not everyone is who they appear to be, and Jade will have to use her wits to solve it. The conspiracies, political intrigue and cast of characters had me racing to the dramatic ending.
While the ending is intense, it wraps up nicely, without a lot of unanswered questions and even hints at where Jade’s next adventure will be.
Jade is a bright likeable character. She is educated and good at connecting the dots. While she has no training as a detective, her inquisitive mind and investigative reporting skills find her entwined in the mystery. I loved Jade the detective, but struggled to like Jade the person. While on this adventure she strays and breaks her marriage vows. Call me old fashioned, but this doesn’t sit well with me; even though the romance was passionate and Jade felt he was her soul mate. I realize this won’t affect everyone, so do not let this deter you from a great adventure. For my more delicate readers, I must warn you that while most is implied, the romance does get pretty hot and heavy.
The plot developed at a good pace, and the tale kept me captivated. Ray’s description of Russia and the grand houses were delightful. I want to thank Lada Ray for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
Marcie’s Murder is the second book, in author Michael J. McCann’s, Donaghue and Stainer Crime Fiction novels and my first time reading his work. I found this to be an entertaining crime novel, with likable characters.
The tale begins when Donaghue is awakened in the middle of the night, beaten and handcuffed. Despite his cries of being a police officer, he is dragged down to the station. His vacation stop in Harmony quickly turns into a nightmare as he is accused of murdering the chief-of-police’s wife. When he gets his phone call, he calls his partner from the Maryland PD, the snarky Detective Karen Stainer. Stainer quickly gets Donaghue released and they end up assisting the local police department. Small town politics and secrets make this tale interesting as they work to solve the case.
Town folk are reluctant to share but Donaghue and Stainer begin putting the pieces together. McCann’s depiction of the small town and the characters residing there was colorful. The story is told in third person, and we are provided information regarding the murder and suspects as they are revealed to the detectives. Clues helped me piece together the information before it was revealed, but I enjoyed the climactic capture of the murderer.
I liked both Detective Donaghue and Stainer. They are bright, intelligent and witty. They seem to work well together. Donaghue, for having been beaten and held in prison has a well tempered personality. He is quiet and calm; she is loud and in your face. We learn more about Detective Stainer and her background. She is engaged, but hasn’t completely opened up to her fiancé about family matters and her fears. She is haunted by an old case and confesses this to one of the townsfolk. We learn of her affection for guns. This woman knows her weapons. She is a tough cop and doesn’t take any crap. McCann creates a unique set of characters for the town of Harmony, each with their own history. This made the murder; the town and the story feel genuine. He completely captured the politics associated with living in a small town.
Fans of weapons will love the detailed description of weapons throughout the novel. We also get an in-depth look at Indian ancestry from a friend of the victim. This occurs when Donaghue interviews her. I felt both topics were not necessary to the plot, and slowed the pace. I did find the information interesting and it was well researched. This was a good story, but the overall plot wasn’t as fast paced and intense, as I prefer in a crime novel. The pace was fast in the beginning, fell flat in the middle, and moved at a maddening pace towards the end.
I recommend Marcie’s Murder to fans of crime novels and small towns. Fans of the Agatha Raisin series and Cozy Mysteries should find this delightful.