Friday, 18 August 2017

Book Trailer: The Crown’s Game - Evelyn Skye

As a huge fantasy fan The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye is one of those books that has been on my radar for a long time now so I really have no idea why it's taking me so long to get around to reading it! The fact that it's compared to Shadow and Bone and the Red Queen in the blurb makes me a little nervous but if it can pull off those claims then I'm guaranteed to love it. If you've read The Crown's Game already I'd love to know what you thought of it.

Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process—from debut author Evelyn Skye.

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.



More information about the series from Epic Reads:

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Review: A Local Habitation - Seanan McGuire

October "Toby" Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood.

Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, most changelings are second-class children of Faerie spending their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills.

Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County on Tamed Lightning - otherwise known as Fremont, CA - to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O'Leary whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment - but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. January runs a company that produces computer fantasy games, and her domain is a buffer between Sylvester's realm and a rival duchy whose ruler is looking for an opportunity to seize control. And that is the least of January's problems. For Tamed Lighting has somehow been cut off from the other domains, and now someone has begun to murder January's key people. If Toby can't find and stop the killer soon, she may well become the next victim . . . 

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell (September 2017)
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
Two books in and I'm already totally hooked on the October Daye series! Toby seemed a lot more settled in this book, she's still dealing with the emotional fallout of events from the first book but she's got past the stay in bed all day wallowing part and now she's more ready to face the world and her friends again. She's back doing what she does best, working as a PI taking on cases for both humans and the fae and she's starting to get her life back on track.

A Local Habitation kicks off with her liege Sylvester asking Toby to travel to his niece's realm Tamed Lightning to check on her. January normally calls him regularly and he's worried because she's been out of contact for weeks and isn't returning any of his phone calls. It should be a simple job, check out Tamed Lightning and remind January to call her uncle then come straight back home, but when she arrives Toby quickly discovers something suspicious is going on. People in Tamed Lightning have been dying in mysterious circumstances and it is up to Toby to try and figure out exactly what is going on - before she can become one of the victims herself.

This series is still pretty dark and watching Toby working her blood magic was disgustingly creepy at times but there seemed to be more lighter moments in this book than the first one. I was really glad that Toby had a new sidekick in trainee Quentin, he's a bit like a younger brother to Toby and adds a lot of humour to the story. We also got to see more of Connor who I like as a character but I'm really hoping doesn't turn into a love interest, he has history with Toby and it looks like he'd be more than willing to pick things up where they left off but he also happens to be married which is a total no go area for me even if his marriage is a political match rather than a love story. My favourite character by far is Tybalt though, he steals the show with every appearance and I have a strong suspicion that he's far more interested in Toby than she realises. I'm totally on board ship Tybalt and I'm hoping his role in the story will continue to increase as the series continues.

I don't want to say too much about what is happening in Tamed Lightning but I really enjoyed the way Seanan McGuire has mixed old and new to come up with something completely unique. There were definitely concepts that I've not come across before and I'm really enjoying how she's expanding her world. I had my suspicions about several of the characters and while some of my guesses were partly correct I was never quite able to nail things entirely because of the twists the author threw at us. There was a fascinating scene with the Night Haunts and we're introduced to a few other types of fae in this instalment so I'm enjoying learning about all their different abilities.

This series has me totally hooked and I'm planning on diving straight into the next one now I've finished writing this review!

Source: Received from DAW Books in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Cover Reveal: Treasured by a Tiger - Felicity Heaton (Excerpt & Giveaway)




Felicity Heaton

Despised by his tiger shifter pride as an abomination, Grey has ventured far from home, deep into the bowels of Hell in search of answers about the machinations of Archangel, the mortal hunter organisation who held his twin captive. With no knowledge of the realm, and little skill with the local languages, he quickly finds himself at a dead end - until he crosses paths with a beautiful hellcat female who rouses his darkest most dangerous instincts.

Lyra has been a fool, falling for the charms of a male whose only desire was to make a fast buck by selling her. Shackled and collared, her strength muted by magic, she awaits her time on the stage at a black-market auction, but before it can come, all hell breaks loose and she seizes a chance to escape - and runs straight into a majestic warrior who steals her breath away and tempts her like no other as he battles alone to free everyone.

When Lyra offers her services as a translator to repay Grey for saving her, will he be strong enough to resist the needs she awakens in him and spare himself the pain of her inevitable rejection when she discovers the truth about him? And when the powerful male in charge of the slave ring starts a bloody hunt for Lyra, can she escape another collar and find the courage to trust the tiger who is capturing her heart?




The special sneak preview for Treasured by a Tiger begins on September 3rd, exclusive to Felicity’s mailing list. Every subscriber is entered into the giveaway to win a signed personalised paperback copy of Treasured by a Tiger, with a chance to win a copy in each of the three exclusive sneak peek chapters being sent out on September 3rd, 5th and 7th.

Not only will joining her mailing list ensure you’re in with a chance of winning one of the signed copies of Treasured by a Tiger, it means you’ll start receiving her newsletters, where she gives away 2 x $25 Amazon Gift Cards in each issue, and rewards subscribers with exclusive excerpts, teasers, flash fiction and cover reveals, and plenty of fun! Plus, you’ll receive FOUR FREE EBOOKS in her Series Starter Library just for signing up!

Join her newsletter at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/newsletter.php


Someone peered over his shoulder.

A black clawed finger landed on the piece of paper in front of him, close to his. “Here.”
Grey jumped and growled at the male beside him. The warlock. Wizard. Whatever the hell he wanted to be called. He reeked of magic and death.

Even the succubus backed off, her usual bright smile and sultry air turning cold and dark. She said something, and the male said something back at her, a bite in his tone.

“You speak English?” Grey didn’t want to talk to the male, but he wasn’t going to get anywhere speaking with the bartender or anyone else in the joint.

The male didn’t nod.

Not a good sign.

“This is here?” He pointed to the name on the piece of paper again.

The male nodded and looked around. “Here.”

It was a start.

“You speak her tongue?” Grey pointed towards the bartender. “Speak. Her.”

The male frowned, his icy green eyes darkening a shade, and looked at the female, and then back at him. “Yes.”

Getting there.

But the male didn’t really understand him. He couldn’t ask complicated questions and have him relay them to the bartender for her to answer, and the male wouldn’t know the answer to them himself since he was clearly just passing through and using the village as a rest stop.

He needed to boil it down into something the male might understand.

“Mortals. Humans.” It was worth a shot. He pointed to himself. “I’m looking for mortals.”

The male’s eyes lit up. He pointed east. “Mortals.”

Grey looked in that direction. East. The dragon realm and the Devil’s lands were east of here. He slid his blue gaze back to the male, his hackles rising and his animal side growing restless, prowling beneath his skin.

Was the male telling him the truth?

“Mortals?” Grey pointed east, along the length of the bar.

The male nodded and attempted a smile. It came off twisted and disturbing rather than reassuring.

“Definitely?” Because he was starting to get the feeling that the male was trying to get him killed.

“Because dragons are that way.”

The male shook his head. “No dragons. Mortals.”

Grey pulled the map out of his trouser pocket, spread it across the bar top and jammed a finger against the area Sable had labelled as ‘here be dragons’ and had drawn what he imagined was meant to be a dragon, but it looked more like a snake fighting a spider.

“Dragons.” He tapped the paper.

The warlock shook his head again, his eyes darkening another shade and his thin lips flattening. He jabbed a black claw against a spot west of the dragons, and east of their current location.

“Mortals. There.”

So close?

Was it possible?

“Here?” Grey pointed to the map.

The male looked as if he was going to kill him if he asked again, an inky sort of darkness growing around his pupils to devour the pale green of his irises.

“Okay. Here it is. Got it. Thanks.” Grey bundled up his papers and his backpack in his arms and left before the male could even think about muttering a spell to flay his fur off his body.

He breathed deep as he hit the village square again, shaking off his nerves and the sensation that the male was trying to get him killed. He just smelled of death, that was all it was. It had put Grey on edge.

He looked back at the tavern. Even the succubi had avoided the male. He turned away from the village and headed east, glancing at the male’s tent as he passed it. It was set up a good distance from the rest of the tents and from the huts, placed right against the perimeter wall of the village.

That struck a chord in him.

The warlock had come to the village, but had separated himself from them, was keeping his distance even though he obviously wanted to be around others.

The male had been helpful, but because he had looked different to the others, Grey had found it difficult to trust him. He had judged him on his appearance, and had believed he wanted to kill him because of that. He was no better than the others.

He should have been.

Experience should have taught him something, should have made him react differently to the male, but he had treated him with suspicion, just like the rest.

Just like his pride had treated him.

All because he was different to them.

Gods, he was no better than them.

He hated that.

It weighed him down as he trekked east, following the lead the male had given him.

It took him across the valley basin to the foot of a low mountain range.

He looked along it in both directions, and then at his map. By his calculations, the quickest route would be over the mountains, because the range stretched in both directions for miles. If he tried to go around, it would take him at least another day to reach the destination the warlock had marked for him.

By then, Archangel might have moved on.

He adjusted his pack on his shoulders, huffed and started forwards, picking a path up the gently sloping side of the mountain. He crossed a trail around two hundred metres up and followed it as it wound through the sharp towering rocks and up through tall crevasses that sliced into the black mountain. The trail grew narrow near the top, heading towards a sweeping curve between two peaks.

He brought his pack around to his front and pressed his back against the black rock as he edged sideways along the path, his eyes on the steep drop to jagged rocks below and his heart hammering against his ribs. No damn way he was going to fall. He breathed through the fear, refusing to let it get to him, and looked to his right, focusing on the path instead.

It opened up a short distance ahead.

Relief was quick to sweep through him when his boots hit the wider path and the trail led away from the edge, over the ridge.

Gods, he was tired.

He pulled a cloth from his back pocket and wiped the sweat from his brow, and ran his other hand over his silver hair. He would rest on the other side. This high up the mountain, he was unlikely to run into any wild beasts. He could spare a few minutes to catch his breath and rest his legs. He unhooked the canteen from his pack, took a swig of the tepid water, and capped it and put it back again. He was getting low.

Thorne had warned him not to trust the water in Hell.

Apparently, some of it wasn’t water at all.

Grey didn’t want to know what that meant.

He figured it wouldn’t end well for him and that was enough to have him steering clear of hitting any stream he saw for a refill of his canteen.

He reached the top of the mountain.

His breath caught.

Good gods.

It was as if he could see the entire world.

Or at least all of Hell.

Beyond the valley far below him, steeper mountains rose, forming ridge after ridge into the distance, where the sky glowed bright gold. The Devil’s domain.

Hell was bleak, grim, but had a strange sort of beauty to it from up here.

He started down the mountain, his eyes leaping back to the view whenever they could, drinking it in. It was incredible. How big was Hell? He should have looked back in the other direction at the ridge to see if he could figure it out. Maybe he would stop there and drink it all in if he came back this way.

He picked out a spot to rest as he scouted the route ahead of him, a nice flat space just a little over halfway down the mountain and only accessible from one side, giving him some protection.

He was close to it when lights in the valley caught his eye.

He slowed his steps and tracked them as they flickered and danced, a row of flaming gold spots crossing the darkness, heading to his left, deeper into the valley.

Archangel?

He looked in the direction they were heading, and frowned. More lights glowed there. Another village? Or a base of operations for a mortal hunter organisation up to no good?

Thoughts of resting scattered and he marched down the mountain, intent on reaching the valley floor before the people walking towards the settlement reached it. He needed to find out if they were Archangel soldiers, and he needed to do it before they joined up with the others. He could handle a few hunters, but not an entire base of operations.

His boots skidded on the loose black shale as he hurried down the mountain, and he fought for balance more than once, attempting a controlled slide that would get him down into the valley quicker than using the paths.

When he hit the valley floor, he paused for breath, his eyes scanning the dimly lit world around him. He spotted the torches off to his left, about five hundred metres out from his current position. He drew down a deep breath, held it in his lungs to steady his heart and centre himself and exhaled slowly. His senses sharpened, his animal side rising to the fore, allowing him to see into the darkness ahead of him.

Allowing him to see the people crossing the valley.

Every inch of him stilled.

And then a slow burn started in his blood.

It wasn’t Archangel.

He growled low in his throat at the sight of the large male figures, at the thick chains they gripped, and the captives they dragged along behind them.

It was slave traders.

He caught a flash of the two tiger shifter females he had found huddled naked and terrified in their cages, held against their will by Pyotr, the male Maya had been promised to as a cub.

That burn grew hotter, fiercer, blazing white hot, and he curled his hands into fists, his emerging claws digging into his palms as his tiger side raged, battered his control and pushed him to react, to obey his instincts.

To protect.

No one deserved to be treated that way. No one deserved to be abused, mistreated, held captive and condemned to a life of fear.

He snarled through his fangs.

Dumped his backpack and stripped off his t-shirt.

These bastards were going to pay for what they were doing.




Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (Only 99c at all retailers!)
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar
Book 5: Craved by an Alpha
Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon
Book 8: Marked by an Assassin
Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness
Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death
Book 12: Turned by a Tiger
Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger
Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger


Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you're looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Review: Horde - Ann Aguirre

The epic conclusion to Ann Aguirre's USA Today-bestselling Razorland trilogy.

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they're not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker, and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn't run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade's love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn't been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

Razorland Series:
Foundation (Free short story on the Tor website)
Enclave
Endurance (Novella)
Outpost
Restoration (Free short story on the MacMillan website)
Horde
Vanguard

Visit Ann Aguirre's website for more information

Review:
With the Horde camped all around Salvation and everyone Deuce has come to care about once again in danger she has set out with Fade, Tegan and Stalker to try and get help from the nearest settlements. The number of Freaks they're up against leave them facing almost impossible odds but Deuce and her friends are determined and as they gradually gain the respect of other settlements their army starts to grow. They're going to need a miracle if they have any chance of winning though and the assistance they badly need comes from a very unexpected quarter.

This book was fantastic, it's fast paced, full of action and pretty bloody and brutal. I think it's probably the darkest book in the series but there were moments of lightness that stopped it being too dark. I love that Ann Aguirre doesn't try to sugarcoat things though, this is a war, the stakes are high and every victory they have is going to cost them. Sometimes the price is almost too much to bear but giving in isn't an option so Deuce just has to find a way to keep pushing on. She's come such a long way since the first book and now she's such a wonderful young woman, she's not perfect and she makes mistakes but she has the heart of a lion and she is determined to make a positive difference with her life. The relationship between her and Fade has been great, they've been through so much together and Fade is in a bad place at the start of this book but Deuce never gives up on him and they fight to find their way back to each other.

Horde had some brilliant twists to it and there were a few shock moments that I definitely wasn't expecting. In fact one thing upset me far more than I would have expected it to. We're introduced to some great new characters along the way and there are a few familiar faces from Deuce's past that I was really happy to see. It was interesting to see how each different settlement lived and how they went about protecting themselves in this new world. Travel between the settlements was treacherous so each group had to be pretty self sufficient but some of the towns and villages they came across were more dangerous than others.

I know Horde was originally meant to be the final book in this trilogy and as such it's actually a pretty great ending that ties up all the major threads that have been running through the series. I'm glad that Ann Aguirre decided to give fans another story set in this world though, I love Tegan and am looking forward to spending more time with her but more than anything I'm curious to see how the world goes about rebuilding after the major battle in this book.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Hardback / Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Restoration - Ann Aguirre

If you wondered why Fade retreated from Deuce at the end of Outpost, find out in his own words.

Short Story that can be read for free on the MacMillan website.

Razorland Series:
Foundation (Free short story on the Tor website)
Enclave
Endurance (Novella)
Outpost
Restoration (Free short story on the MacMillan website)
Horde
Vanguard

Visit Ann Aguirre's website for more information

Review:
Restoration is a free short story can be read on the MacMillan website. Please be aware that it contains spoilers for Outpost so I definitely don't recommend reading it until after that book!

This story is told from Fade's point of view and it shows us exactly what was going on in his head at the end of Outpost. It was heartbreaking to see how depressed he was and how worthless he was feeling and as much as I was annoyed by his actions when I was reading the book this explains a lot and you can't help but feel sorry for him.

Edmund gives Fade a brilliant "daughter's boyfriend" speech which I think should earn him the Dad of the Year title. I also liked Fade's little dig at Stalker towards the end, it was good to see he's still got some fight left in him & I think he's going to need it for the next book. Restoration was a great addition to the series and I'm definitely looking forward to the remaining books.

Source: Read for free on the MacMillan website

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Review: Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire

The world of faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival - but no secret can be kept forever, and when they fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October "Toby" Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Fae world, retreating into a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the Fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery . . . before the curse catches up with her.

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell (September 2017)
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
As a huge fan of Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series I had very high expectations for October Daye and I'm happy to say that Rosemary and Rue kicks things off to a very promising start. October (known as Toby) is a changeling - born to one human parent and one fae and never quite fitting into either world. Full fae look down on changelings because they're not as powerful as them but humans often sense something a little off about them and it can be hard having to constantly hide the power they do have. Toby had opted to live a more human life than most, she had a human fiancé and a young daughter but her job as a private investigator often involved working fae cases. It was when she was trying to locate her liege lord's missing wife and daughter that things went really wrong for her though. She was only meant to track the suspect and report back so that someone more powerful could be involved in the take down but unfortunately she walked right into a trap and suddenly found herself transformed into a koi fish.

It took 14 years for the curse to wear off - 14 years of living as a fish totally unable to interact with anyone or even remember that she was human! - and in that time her fiancé and daughter decided that she was just a deadbeat parent who had chosen to walk out on them. They didn't know anything about Toby's fae heritage or magic so they moved on with their lives and have no interest in letting Toby back in now. Toby is understandably bitter about everything that happened and she is determined to stay far away from the fae from now onwards, or she was until she received a message on her voice mail from an old friend. Countess Evening Winterrose knows she is about to die and she asks Toby to investigate and bring her killer to justice. Now Toby will have no option but to confront her past as she carries out her friend's dying wish.

Toby has lost everything that ever meant anything to her, the people she loves most want nothing to do with her and the only people who still want to know are from the life that caused all her pain. It's no wonder that when we meet her she's pretty down on life, she's depressed and she's pretty much given up so she's just doing the minimum to make ends meet and just survive. Evening's curse gives her something to focus on and that has the effect of slowly dragging her out of her pit of despair and making her interact with the world again. The further we get into the book the more interesting her character becomes as she finds the will to fight back against the people who wronged her. She's out of touch though and it is hard to know who is an ally and who might be plotting against her. The focus of this story is definitely on finding Evening's killer but I think we're going to learn more about Toby's past and what happened to her as the series continued and I'm really looking forward to her getting vengeance for everything that was done to her.

I find the fae fascinating and Seanan McGuire has created a detailed world populated with interesting characters and all kinds of fae lore, as this is the first book we're still only scratching the surface but we've already seen all kinds of interesting creatures (I love the rose goblin!) and characters I really want to spend more time with (I'm looking at you here Tybalt!). This series is very different to the Incryptid one, it's much darker for a start and there was less humour, but the writing is just as brilliant and I have a feeling I'm going to end up loving these characters as much or even more than the Price-Healey clan. There are lots of questions I still want answers to and I'm really hoping that Toby will get the chance to make amends with her daughter at some point but for now I'm just happy that I've got another 9 books sitting here waiting for me to dive straight into. I can feel a binge read coming on!

Source: Received from DAW Books in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Review: Destined to Live - One Woman's War, Life, Loves Remembered - Sabina Wolanski & Diana Bagnall

Sabina van der Linden-Wolanski (1927-2011) was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust in eastern Poland. After the war, she spent time in Silesia (now part of Poland) and Paris before emigrating to Australia in 1950. A diary and a few photographs were all she had left to remind her of her youth. Decades later, these unique items became part of the exhibition in the Information Centre of the Holocaust Memorial. Sabina gave a speech as a guest of honour at the inauguration on 10 May 2005. Her autobiography is a testament to the determination and the uncertainties of a young girl facing violence and murder, but also to the strength of character that enabled Sabina to make a new start on the other side of the world as a wife, mother and businesswoman.

This edition is available to purchase from The Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.

Visit Jenny's blog Sabina Wolanski's Wikipedia Page for more information

Review:
If you follow my blog then you'll already know that I don't read or review much non fiction, especially not memoirs, but we read about some of Sabina Wolanski's story at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin and when we found out they had an English copy of her memoir for sale we immediately bought a copy. Sabina actually gave a speech at the opening of the memorial and we heard a recording of part of that speech while touring the museum and I found her words were both poignant and deeply meaningful considering the rise of prejudice and hatred that just seems to be building in the west over the last few years.
What have I learned from my bitter experience? I have learned that hatred begets hatred. I have learned that we must not remain silent and that each of us as an individual must fight the evil of racism, discrimination, prejudice, inhumanity.
This book isn't an easy read, it took me a long time to read because I kept getting so emotional and had to take a break and walk away. I cried buckets of tears while reading and I'm welling up again now as I write this review, but don't let that put you off picking up a copy because it's such an important story.

Sabina was just 12 years old when Nazis invaded her hometown of Boryslaw (at the time part of Poland but now within Ukraine boarders) and her world was turned upside down. She talks unflinchingly about the aktions she witnessed, the way people were rounded up and sent to death camps to be gassed like her mother or just shot in the head like her father and brother. She talks about her fears and how as a child she just couldn't understand the way she was suddenly no longer able to attend school or play with her non Jewish friends, she goes into detail about life in the ghettos created to house Jewish people and about her time spent hiding in underground shelters or people's basements trying to avoid detection.

Out of all the countries in Europe Poland suffered the largest losses of Jewish life under Hitler's regime, out of 3.5 million Jews before the war 3 million people were murdered. From a Jewish population of 15,000 in and around Boryslaw Sabina was one of an estimated 800 survivors. Those kind of numbers are just so hard to comprehend, it's a tragedy on a scale that I can't wrap my head around it but that's why books like this one are so incredibly important. Sabina puts a human face to just one of those stories while so many more have been forgotten and will never be told. This book should be required reading for everyone and if you ever go to Berlin then the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is also a must visit.

This isn't only about Sabina's live during the war though, it's also about her life after she escapes Europe and emigrates to Australia. You can see the way the events she witness shaped her whole life but she fought against all odds to survive and even travelled back to Germany to be a witness at the trial of the man who ordered the murders of her father and brother. Sabina's story is one of survival against the darkest odds, it's about the people who were willing to risk their lives to help her along the way and it's about good triumphing over evil. The most important message is that we must never forget this tragedy and we must never allow it to happen again.
I understood that while anti-Semitism had been my particular burden to bear, prejudice and hatred in any form, whether it be against blacks, or Asians, or Muslims, or women, demeaned humanity and contained within it the seeds of evil. I understood, and wanted future generations to understand, that those who remained silent in the face of prejudice and hatred gave prejudice and hatred permission not only to exist but to flourish.
Source: Purchased

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