Book Review: Haven, by Lindsay J. Pryor 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

She’s done it again. 

It never fails to amaze me the incredible skill that Lindsay J. Pryor has for creating a world – a world that’s been in the making for a very long time. Settings and plot lines and districts and locales, full-bodied characters with enough history to fill a library. 

The dedication she’s made to her stories; her characters, and the world in which they are embroiled, is incredible. 

Haven is the first standalone book in Ms. Pryor’s new series: Lowtown; a spin-off to the incredibly addictive Blackthorn series. 

Except herein lies the difference. The Blackthorn novels span an 8-book series (the desperately-awaited finale currently in the making), with overarching storylines weaved within an incredibly intricate plot. And while each book leaves you with that odd thrill mixed with a sense of desperation, of NEEDING to know what happens in the next book in the series, sometimes you need a well-rounded novel to give you that fully-satisfied feeling of starter, main course and dessert. A novel like Haven. 

However, the gratification we crave is always just that one step ahead where Haven is concerned; there are plenty of sharp twists and turns and shock revelations to leave you guessing right up until the last minute, to keep you turning the page and in danger of a serious lack of sleep. 

True to form, Ms Pryor has beautifully gift-wrapped (and the wrapping is certainly appreciated when it comes to one particular male lead) and delivered us some wonderful characters with issues akin to real life – and they’re not your average human-nature problems. These character flaws go deep – she’s not afraid to pack the layers. 

Because this novel is not just about romance. Or the paranormal. It’s about power, about real-life struggles. About danger. Death. Destruction. And all the crap the universe could possibly throw at you in one lifetime. 

It’s clever. It’s dark. It’s intense. 

Honestly? You need to read this book now. Click here for buy links. 

(Thank you to Piatkus Fiction for supplying me with a no-obligation paperback copy of this delicious novel, in return for which I gratefully leave my review.)

The blurb

A spin-off from the bestselling Blackthorn series by Lindsay J. Pryor, set in Lowtown, the neighbouring district to Blackthorn. The product of a brutal class system, the dark, gritty world of Lowtown will grip you and never let you go.

Every few days the handsome stranger comes into the café in Lowtown for an hour a time. Most of the time he keeps himself to himself – one drink and he leaves. Sometimes people meet with him but about what remains elusive, the edge of mystery and danger adding to his allure.

Not that Ember is allowed to think about him. She’s finally on the cusp of gaining her citizenship and escaping Lowtown for good, so she can’t be seen to be involved with a vampire – evidence of one single bite would be the end of her prospects. But when those prospects are rocked by her links to the district’s dark underbelly, the stranger she must avoid could be her absolution – and she could be his . . .

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Haven.

That one word is all we need.

Because today’s the day that Haven – A Lowtown novel – is finally released.

Haven is the first book in the new standalone series by Lindsay J. Pryor – the spin-off to the absolutely fantastic Blackthorn series.

The build-up has been spectacular.

The excitement, the suspense, and the sheer delight as we countdown the days until this amazing author has her first – undeniably well-deserved – print publication.

Huge congratulations, and happy publication day, Ms. Pryor!

HAVEN – A Lowtown Novel

 HRHAVEN

A spin-off from the bestselling Blackthorn series by Lindsay J. Pryor, set in Lowtown, the neighbouring district to Blackthorn. The product of a brutal class system, the dark, gritty world of Lowtown will grip you and never let you go.

Every few days the handsome stranger comes into the café in Lowtown for an hour a time. Most of the time he keeps himself to himself – one drink and he leaves. Sometimes people meet with him but about what remains elusive, the edge of mystery and danger adding to his allure.

Not that Ember is allowed to think about him. She’s finally on the cusp of gaining her citizenship and escaping Lowtown for good, so she can’t be seen to be involved with a vampire – evidence of one single bite would be the end of her prospects. But when those prospects are rocked by her links to the district’s dark underbelly, the stranger she must avoid could be her absolution – and she could be his . . .

WOW

 

Lindsay J. PryorLindsay J. Pryor is the author of the Amazon bestselling BLACKTHORN series, her dark, complex and gritty urban paranormal romances having achieved numerous Gothic and PNR number ones in both the UK and the US. LOWTOWN, a spin-off from the Blackthorn world, is her upcoming urban fantasy series of standalone books.

Quickly deciding that fantasy was more interesting than reality, Lindsay has been creating stories since she was nine years old. She holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology and Communication and is a qualified Psychology lecturer and English teacher. She taught for eighteen years before becoming a full-time author.

Lindsay was born and grew up in Wales and now lives in South West England with her husband, their rescue bunny and a plethora of wild woodland creatures.

BLACKTHORN is published by Bookouture. Her LOWTOWN novels are being published by Piatkus (Little, Brown Book Group).

To find out more about Lindsay and her books, please visit her website: lindsayjpryor.com

Website http://www.lindsayjpryor.com

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Haven: A Lowtown Novel

Buy Links

iBooks http://apple.co/2uOjXkl

Waterstones http://bit.ly/2un4iYI

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2udfh5t

KOBO http://bit.ly/2tSm9Dj

Amazon US (for eBook) http://amzn.to/2vzifl4

Amazon US (for paperback) http://a.co/cT6hwyt

Amazon http://a.co/9hmDloA

Amazon ANZ http://amzn.to/2uN9CFW

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2yoeSxC

Amazon.ca http://a.co/eZ6XoQP

Indigo http://bit.ly/2jXHbRe

 

 

Book Review: The Keepers: Archer, by Rae Rivers

The Keepers: Archer (The Keepers #1)The Keepers: Archer by Rae Rivers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sienna.

A powerful Beckham Witch, and her Keepers. And the forbidden feelings between Sienna… and one particular Keeper: Archer.

Sienna and her Keepers (brothers Archer, Ethan and Declan) have grown up together. They’re blood-bound to protect her. They’ll do anything to keep her safe. But things get a little tricky when Sienna and Archer can’t deny their growing attraction to each other – there’s an ancient curse that prevents them from being together, and if they ignore that curse, the results could be catastrophic. Except, that’s not all, because they’re also fighting a very real evil that could threaten everything they stand for and the world as they know it. The forbidden love story in this paranormal romance is brilliantly interwoven with a fabulous story arc of thrills, suspense and page-turning excitement.

Rae Rivers has a fantastic way of bringing her characters to life – and bring them to life she does. The action is powerful, the magic scenes so vividly written they should come with a health warning – you could feel yourself whipped up in a wind storm. I love a book where I feel as though I’m watching a movie, and Ms Rivers does exactly this when portraying a character’s mannerisms. One of the characters in the book reminded me of a certain MC in The Vampire Diaries (TV series) – and if you’re a fan of the Vampire Diaries, you’ll have to check this series out to decipher who I’m referring to.

With Archer (and the prequel Sienna) already demonstrating fantastic story-telling with plenty of page-turning suspense, The Keepers series promises to be a rollercoaster ride, and I can’t wait to read the next one.

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Here’s the Blurb

‘Don’t ever look for me again, Archer.’
His mouth curled into a smile. ‘Game on.’

Central Park. Sienna Beckham is out jogging in the autumn sun, feeling almost ordinary. Trouble is, she’ll never be. She’s on the run from her life as a powerful witch and the three Keepers blood-bound to protect her.

Evil is hot on Sienna’s tail and Archer Bennett is searching for her, desperate to find her before they do. As one of her Keepers, he will fight to his death to defend her.

Sienna must return and defend her hometown, Rapid Falls – but she has to face the past and master her powers. And as forbidden feelings blossom between Sienna and Archer, will their love survive the ultimate war?

The Keepers: three strong and handsome warrior brothers, born to protect.

Click here for more details and buy links.

Book Review: The Writer and The Rake, by Shehanne Moore

The Writer and the Rake (Time Mutants #2)The Writer and the Rake by Shehanne Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love a bit of time travel romance, so I was looking forward to falling into this story and discovering how the two main characters would stumble across each other – or, in the heroine’s case, appear in the 18th century in the blink of an eye.

Brittany is your classic heroine; she portrays a strong, don’t-mess-with-me, nothing-can-hurt-me-exterior, but as the story moves on you begin to notice cracks in her resolve.

It took me a while to warm to Mitchell, however, as he came across as conceited and totally void of emotion and empathy. Except this is where Ms Moore has written her colourful, full-bodied characters so well. They are perfectly flawed, because no-one is ever as they seem on the surface.

The overall story arc is beautifully chaotic, comical and a touching read. It left me with that wistful sigh of the happy-ever-after, and tailed-off thoughts of… what happens next?

I’ve not read The Viking and the Courtesan, but it’s definitely being added to my TBR pile.

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Book Review: Hard to Protect, by Incy Black

Hard to Protect (Black Ops Heros #3)Hard to Protect by Incy Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Incy Black delivers once again!

Our third hero in the Black Ops Hard to… series, Will Berwick, is about as penetrable as a rock, and his therapist, Dr. Angel Treherne really doesn’t like him with his egotistical alpha-male temperament, even if he does have a grief-stricken past.

Then there’s the rather awkward matter of Will’s orders from The Top to seduce the doctor, to find out whether she’s harbouring her fugitive brother; something Will has absolutely no intention of doing. Not only is she evidently repelled by him, Angel Treherne does ice better than Queen Elsa. And anyway, that’s DEFINITELY NOT his style.

Despite this obvious conflict, the chemistry between them is rife; he’s a mass of iron filings to her magnet (and vice-versa) even if they can’t see it themselves.

True to form, Incy writes a cracking suspense novel with a conflicting romance bubbling underneath, threatening at any moment to boom or bust. When the guards are lowered, passion and intimacy is heightened, but not for long. Both Will and Angel have their own secrets to hide, and their defences are as tough as a relentless winter; you’ll be left wondering if there’s enough heat to melt their hearts indefinitely.

Incy Black writes fast-paced, action-packed romantic suspense novels. If you like intricate thrillers featuring alpha-males and feisty heroines, a touch of dry-humour and a healthy dose of sexual chemistry, you’ll love Hard to Protect. ♥

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Book blurb and buy links below:

“Some Black Op missions are too dark—even for him.

Volcanic hot and ambitious Special Agent Will Berwick doesn’t give a damn what his orders are; he’s not taking the enemy—the lovely but arctic Dr. Angel Treherne—to bed. Oh, he’ll root out her secrets, but on his own terms.

Caught up in a tangled web of deceit and betrayal, Angel trusts no one—certainly not alpha-cocky, cunning Will Berwick. First he’s hostile, then he’s charming. Why? What’s he hiding? With her life on the line, she needs to know. Preferably without losing her heart in the process.”

NB: The above book blurb is taken from Entangled Publishing‘s website.

Book Review: He Said/She Said, by Erin Kelly

He Said/She SaidHe Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book grew on me. At first I found it a little slow-going (hence four, rather than five, stars), but the storyline was intriguing, with an uneasy undertone.

But like most great books, once embroiled in the story, I couldn’t put it down.

The story follows a back-and-forth timeline, although it is quite easy to determine the past or present from the narrative if you (like me) often don’t pay attention to the chapter title.

The research and work that has gone into this novel is commendable. To write about such a grave (and often taboo) subject, the pin-balling of human emotions, court-cases and all the legalities with such detail cannot have been a walk in the park, and I feel the author deserves recognition for that.

What I loved most about this book was the feeling that something wasn’t quite right in what each of the characters were portraying, and that’s what kept me turning the page; I felt each one of them had a secret to hide.

It’s definitely a He Said/She Said case – who do you believe?

***I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review***

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Book Review: Blood Dark by Lindsay J. Pryor

Blood Dark (Blackthorn, #5)Blood Dark by Lindsay J. Pryor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every time I read a new instalment in the Blackthorn series, it’s touch and go whether they will top my favourite (which happens to be Blood Roses – the second book in the series of eight). I love all of the Blackthorn books that I’ve read so far – they never cease to keep you on the page, turning the leaves long after you should have put the book down and go to sleep… or feed the kids… or the cats… or do the weekly food shop (you know, the boring-but-necessary stuff). But it’s always been Blood Roses for me. The ultimate will-they-won’t-they love affair, the kind of love that’s impossible to survive against the odds, and leaves you hanging like an unspent intake of breath. If there was ever a contest for the best in the series, for me, it’s Blood Roses. Hands down. The emotional turmoil and suspense in THAT book tops them all.

Until now.

Blood Dark is the fifth instalment of the Blackthorn series, and brings us back to Kane and Caitlin, who we saw in the first book of the series. The pair have an undeniable chemistry, which we were privy to in Blood Shadows. As a VCU (Vampire Control Unit) agent, Caitlin Parish is the most unlikely candidate for a relationship with Kane Malloy – the most wanted vampire by the head of the Global Council. And her decision to return to work after the dangers they faced and battled together is driving a wedge between them. Kane has his own demons to deal with – literally – and the ultimate struggle for this hero/heroine is that they still can’t seem to trust each other, especially as they both seem to be on different sides. It’s not just a battle of vampires vs. humans in this series, or indeed this story, as Lindsay J. Pryor introduces us to more of the intricately described – and terrifying – fourth species (monsters to any Blackthorn virgins). As a master vampire, it’s Kane’s job to keep Blackthorn safe, but his relationship with Caitlin is complicating matters. He’s got an important job to do, and being with Caitlin is not only putting her life in danger, but also the future of Blackthorn. The whole book is a rollercoaster of emotional tension, but it was the twist at the end that got me. I’ve since read Blood Instinct – book number six – but Blood Dark is still very much at the forefront of my mind. Kane Malloy is a classic alpha male hero – you know he’s bad, he can be really bad – but this book gives us what many Kane fans will already have guessed; that underneath it all is a tortured bad boy who really just wants to love and be loved in return. It’s got it all – the suspense, the horror, the heat, the ‘ahhh’ moments, and best of all, the ‘oh my god I can’t believe the author has just done that to me!’ moment.

I LOVED it. I frowned. I gasped. I cried. I had my hand clamped over my mouth on a plane from Inverness to London. Then it ended. I closed the book, and then I mourned for a brief period. You know – that book hangover period.

And then I downloaded the next one.

If you haven’t tried Blackthorn yet, isn’t it about time you did?

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The following text is from the book description on Amazon.co.uk. See below for buy link:

‘There are guardian angels, and there are monsters with wings’

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

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

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

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

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

Download Blood Dark from Amazon here.

If you’re a Blackthorn virgin, click here to begin your journey into the world of Blackthorn with Blood Shadows.

Are YOU in control of YOUR life?

I recently discovered a little gem, delivered in the form of a book, which was recommended by Jeff Goins – an inspirational guy who blogs about writing and marketing, creative business ideas and making a difference.

I’ve not yet finished this book, but it has reawakened in me something that I have long believed (and recently forgotten), and that is the knowledge that we are in charge of our own destinies. In fact, it’s not even that I had forgotten this, more the fact that I have succumbed to what the book’s author comes to describe as Resistance. If this sounds familiar, you might indeed have already read this book – aptly titled The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Because there is a little war going inside all of us. Resistance – as the beginning of this book talks about – is that little voice in our heads that prevents us from being productive, or making those all-important changes in our lives. That health-kick you keep promising yourself. That change of job you really want to go for. It’s the voice of procrastination, the nagging doubt that we won’t be good enough, that we will fail. By listening to these thoughts, we’ve already set ourselves up to fail. If you’ve ever read Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers, you’ll be conscious of that familiar feeling that stops you doing something you know will benefit you in the long run. Instead, you subconsciously (or, even consciously), make all the excuses you can come up with, not to pursue an opportunity. Often, one excuse is all you need to talk yourself right out of it. You then convince yourself that you made the right decision, and feel better for it. Because it’s so much easier to stay locked inside that comfort zone of those familiar slippers, that warm blanket; to stick with what you know, and not attempt to stretch yourself. Take that path of least resistance (excuse the irony here). Because any opportunity that can make you grow as a person, isn’t going to offer that instant gratification we crave as human beings. It’s going to be hard work, you’re going to have to stretch yourself, and what if the end result is failure, after all that effort you’ve put in?

This book has triggered a whirlwind of thoughts and I’m not even a third of the way through it yet. It’s actually got me sitting up in bed at 5am, drafting this blog post with a cup of chamomile because I can’t sleep, and overcoming Resistance. It has got me laughing Resistance in the face, ignoring the voice of ‘But I can’t drink tea and read! I have to go back to sleep so that I’m not tired in the morning,’ followed by, ‘I will still have I don't have enough timeto get the kids up and do the school run and all the other chores that await me!’ This book has enabled me to go one step further, and actually write 500 words in the middle of the night (it might be morning to some of you, but it’s still the middle of the night to me). And that is the first step to me resuming my life’s journey – on my calling to writing, on improving my health, and the next step towards the rest of my life.

As Steven Pressfield says in his opening paragraph of the chapter ‘What I do’; it doesn’t matter if the words I wrote weren’t that great. The only thing that matters, is that I reached my daily goal. I ignored that nagging voice that prevented me from achieving my work or desire. I overcame Resistance. You see, that one word, that has so much control over us, is the only thing stopping you from fulfilling your dreams and aspirations.

Click here for more information: The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Book Review: The Dangerous Gift by Jane Hunt

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted one of these, and I’m sure some of you may be wondering if I’ve disappeared off the radar. The thing is, the smallest now-one-year-old-child (together with the four-year-old) is truly running me ragged, and it’s rare I get an opportunity (or, let’s be frank here, a dose of energy) to read. When I do get a chance to indulge, it’s usually at bedtime, and within about 5 or 10 minutes my eyelids are drooping.

So when I find a book that will keep my attention for just that little bit longer, you know it’s going to be a winner. As I mentioned in her cover reveal, I had the pleasure of reading the first three chapters of The Dangerous Gift some time ago, when my friendship with Jane was just blossoming, and we were bouncing ideas off each other and lending a supportive ear. I loved the story. I loved the suspense, and the way she kept me guessing, and was desperate to read more, and felt slightly dismayed that I’d have to wait to find out what would happen. So when she offered me the chance to review this book on publication (the news of which I was absolutely thrilled to hear), I jumped at the chance. Jane – let me just publicly apologise for the time taken to complete reading the book and posting this review, but I can assure you it was well worth it. With a little snippet each night (and some days when I could get away with it, a cheeky half-hour on the sofa with a cuppa), I actually savoured my first book in over a year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Dangerous GiftThe Dangerous Gift by Jane Hunt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After leaving the life she knew, having been rejected by her first love, Jennie Taylor must return from her new life in England to the Texan ranch and Jared – the very same cowboy who broke her heart – as the two of them are forced together again through tragedy. However, it’s just the start of things to come – as soon as she arrives her visit is fraught with accidents and threats; it seems there’s danger lurking around every corner. And with her feelings for Jared still running high instead of being behind her where she’d tried to put them, Jennie finds herself in turmoil as she tries to determine whether she should remain on the ranch and follow the path of fate, or return to England and her careful, sensible plans. Her life is in the balance but her heart wants to rule her head. After all, you never forget your first love, do you?

As with Jane’s other books, her descriptive voice is wonderful and she has a great ability to draw you into the story, on to the page. The end of each scene was left with a little cliff-hanger, just begging for you to read on to the next page (when you know you should be putting the book down and going to sleep). You’re invested in the characters, and you want to know what happens to them – will they get out of this alive? Can everyone breathe a sigh of relief yet…? Honestly? Don’t be lulled into a sense of security. Not only does this author keep you on your toes, but she manages to weave a couple of red herrings in there too.

The obvious chemistry between our hero and heroine, coupled with the brilliant suspense, makes a very well-written book from this lovely author.

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Thank you, Jane, for bringing me back into reading.