Nascent Shadow (Temporal Armistice #1) by Matthew S. Cox

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Synopsis: Brooklyn Amari knew not to get in car with a stranger; when a man tried to lure her―she killed him.
As if taking a man’s life at the tender age of ten wasn’t bad enough, her childhood home burned to the ground two years later. She doesn’t remember how she survived, but she’s felt a pull toward the conflagration ever since. After a troubled patch in her teens, she’s become a respectable firefighter, rushing again and again into the inferno that almost killed her. A routine sweep-and-clear during a hotel blaze takes a deadly turn, but also explains how she escaped death eleven years ago: she’s probably a demon.
Brooklyn had always enjoyed having psychic abilities, but wings?
She’s still trying to come to terms with what she might be when she gets a vision of an arsonist planting a magic bomb. The Fire Marshal’s office is ill-equipped to handle magic, and since she’s the most paranormal thing they’ve got, they offer her a temporary promotion. Unfortunately, she soon finds herself neck deep in an investigation that goes straight over her head.
And oh yeah―she’s supposed to destroy the world.

My review: I really loved this book. I read it in next to no time. It’s a new author to me but I know I’ll be looking for other books to read. 

It’s set in an alternate world where magic is common. Brooklyn is a fire fighter with a passion for fire. For some reason it doesn’t hurt or burn her; really handy when your day job involves saving lives. Rescuing her co-worker she is suddenly covered in armoured plated scales, horns and wings which causes a bit of a shock. Turns out she is only half human. The other half is a beast that is often mistaken for a demon. 

As she learns more about her new body plus the discovery of her real father, Brooklyn is seconded to the fire marshall’s office to help solve a series of magical arson. 

The characters are well defined and we learn about Brooklyn as she does, experimenting with her new talents. The story grips you right from the starts and doesn’t let up. It’s a fast read too. 

An excellent start to a new series and I can’t wait for the next one

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Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers

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Synopsis: Some dangers you cannot outrun. Some nightmares do not end when you wake.
Something is watching Katherine Harris. She can feel it when she goes out. She can feel it inside her home. She feels it in her bed. Her husband, Alex, wants to blame her anxiety on her pregnancy, but he’s often away for work. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be stuck in a small town, to be trapped in a tiny house on a run-down street, to be alone. Kat does, and the feeling only grows worse.
Whatever is going on, Kat’s certain that it’s far more serious than pregnancy jitters. When Alex takes Kat on a second honeymoon to get her mind off things, it becomes far more dangerous as well.

My review: This is a really good psychological thriller with a supernatural twist. Pregnant Kat seems to be losing her mind. I’ve read so many of these and it turns out the husband is behind it so it was a pleasant surprise that in this story Kat and her husband are soul mates and she’s not paranoid at all. I won’t say exactly what is causing the paranoia, the visions and craziness but it is a genuine shocker and something I really wouldn’t have thought of. I’ve read so many books that being surprised doesn’t happen often.

Excellent writing, really suspenseful and completely enjoyed it

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A-List by D P Lyle

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Synopsis:  PI Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison head to New Orleans at the behest of Nicole’s uncle, movie producer Charles Balfour, when his megastar, A-list actor Kirk Ford, awakens in his hotel bed with the body of Kristi Guidry, a local college coed. Ford, in the Big Easy for a location shoot, remembers little of the evening and nothing of the murder. And, to make matters worse, Kristi is the niece of a local mafioso-type who will do whatever is necessary to avenge her death. Balfour is losing money every day the filming is stalled—he needs his actor cleared, and quickly.Surrounded by glitzy Hollywood stars and intimidated by seedy underworld characters, Jake and Nicole encounter nothing but obstacles. Something isn’t right. The facts don’t fit. Who would want Kristi dead? Why frame Kirk for the murder? Everyone has an opinion, including Kristi’s friends and ex-boyfriend, the local homicide detectives, and a fortune-teller. The clock is ticking as Jake and Nicole struggle to decipher who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, and exactly who schemed to murder Kristi Guidry. Nothing is easy in The Big Easy.

My review: I’m not entirely sure about this one. I quite liked the characters. The book flowed quite well and was quick and easy to read. However I just didn’t think much of the plot. I was really confused by the calls to Jake by his ex-wife as they served no purpose at all except to annoy him and I can’t see why I should care. They had no bearing on the plot or helped it move along. Seemed to be there to up the word count only.

Hollywood actor Kirk Ford is suspected of murdering his current plaything but when tox results come back showing both Ford and girlfriend were drugged before the murder t becomes a bit of a locked room mystery. My issue is the gangsters and it’s a personal preference her but no matter what country the book is set I just don’t like anything with mobsters in.

There’s far too much sitting around eating meals or having sex in the shower. They don’t seem to spend much time on the murder at all and when the big reveal happens, the murderer just gives n with a sigh and some tears. No drama whatsoever.

So I think the idea in principle is good and I do like the dynamics between the characters. I would like a bit more of a story next time

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The Awakened Dreamer: How to Remember & Interpret Your Dreams by Kala Ambrose

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Synopsis: Your dreams can be an important part of your decision-making, relationships, and problem-solving–if you properly apply them. This easy-to-use book shows how to strengthen the connection between your conscious and unconscious self, helping you achieve your goals and discover valuable insight. You’ll explore dreams and sleep phenomena of all kinds, including:
Recurring – Prophetic – Teaching – Visitation – Lucid – Nightmare – Daydream – Sleep Walking – Sleep Talking

My review: An excellent book for anyone interested in dreams and their interpretation. I’ve a few dream meanings books but this book also helps you fully understand how they affect everyday life and how you can use them to best help you.

Lots of information, easy to read and really informative. Highly recommended

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Astrology and Relationships: Simple Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Anyone by David Pond

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Synopsis: Most of the advice you’ve read about astrological relationships covers the same ideas over and over. Libra gets along well with Leo, Aries clashes with Capricorn, and so on. But there’s one problem: people are not that simple, and neither are relationships.

Using the power and wisdom of the planets, this revised edition of Astrology and Relationships uncovers the secrets to improving all your relationships. It addresses the complexities of real connections by revealing the essential nature, needs, strengths, and challenges of each sign. Explore unique exercises to help you increase self-understanding and manifest the true potential of your relationships. Discover ideas and techniques that have been tried, tested, and refined so that they’re easy to integrate into daily living. Drawing on experiences and knowledge gained from working with thousands of people, David Pond presents a program that has been proven to work, not just in theory but also in real life.

My review: I’m quite new to astrology. I read my horoscopes but haven’t really ventured much further than that. This book though gives more detail and helped me gain a lot more understanding in how my relationships with certain people work.

It’s a quick, easy to read book and I found it simple to follow even as a beginner to the subject. Lots of information and highly recommended

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Life Should Be Simple and Easy: If You’re Doing It Hard, You’re Doing It Wrong by Conrad Aquino, Bryson Miller

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Synopsis: The book, Life Should Be Simple and Easy: If You’re Doing It Hard, You’re Doing It Wrong , shows us the downright, honest truths about life. In doing so, this book gives us the tools to live life in the best possible way. It is a unique self-help book, in the sense that, it does not try to change you, motivate you, inspire you, or teach you coping skills. It drills down to the basics of how we become who we are, in turn, revealing the origin of stress.

My review: This is quite a thought provoking book. Ideally you read over a series of weeks and there are some exercises that may take even longer. However if I followed that to the rule I’d never get the review done.

Some books like this you read and then don’t go back to do the work involved. With this I probably will. If you’d asked me a few weeks ago what I believed a simple life was I’d probably have said something about decluttering, eating clean and so on. With this book it’s more about letting go of what society thinks and the constant stress and anxiety of trying to meet expectations of what the media says is the correct way to be.

There are some interesting thoughts on the term ‘rock bottom’ which for me were the thought provoking bits and the idea that you can hit rock bottom and stay there for a bit shuffling sideways until truly ready to move (which is what I think happened to me). 

I wasn’t so keen on the religious chapter. Mostly because I’m not religious and wasn’t brought up in a religious household so I don’t really have anything to let go of in that respect but that’s a personal reflection and it could be quite important for others. 

Overall interesting, thought provoking and recommended

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A Little Christmas Faith (Choc Lit) by Kathryn Freeman

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Synopsis: Faith Watkins loves Christmas, which is why she’s thrilled that her new hotel in the Lake District will be open in time for the festive season. And Faith has gone all out; huge Christmas tree, fairy lights, an entire family of decorative reindeer. Now all she needs are the guests …
But what she didn’t bank on was her first paying customer being someone like Adam Hunter. Rugged, powerfully built and with a deep sadness in his eyes, Adam is a man that Faith is immediately drawn to – but unfortunately he also has an intense hatred of all things Christmassy.
As the countdown to the big day begins, Faith can’t seem to keep away from her mysterious guest, but still finds herself with more questions than answers: just what happened to Adam Hunter? And why does he hate Christmas?

My review:

This is a really quick and easy book to read. I read it in one day and still managed to do a full days work. I think one of the reasons for this is that it is split into a 10 day countdown (to Christmas) and while there are chapters within each ‘day’ you feel like you need to finish the day to see how each bit ends. Each day is it’s own little story and I found that quite endearing.
All the characters are enjoyable. For once (it feels like) the hero isn’t in the style of Mr Darcy and while he does harbour the usual deep secrets he seems quite affable rather than dour and I could see him very clearly in my imagination.
 
Faith herself is a woman trying to start her own hotel business and hoping for it’s success, worrying that her hotel won’t be full over the Christmas season. But this is a Christmas love story so you know it will all have a happy ending. The fun is in how we get there. I loved the accidental nativity scene with pregnant Mary, Joe and the three wise men. I liked the resolutions of the past. Truly a heart-breaking event that happened but I enjoyed everyone making up, acknowledging wrong doings and the brief discussion of mental health problems that arise.  It was nice to see this tackled and sensitively (trying to discuss without spoilers!)
 
Overall I really enjoyed this, it’s a nice book to read as we run up to Christmas, it’s warm and cosy and everyone has the happy endings they deserve. What’s not to love?

Love-Based Goals: Your Guide to Living Your Purpose & Passion (Love-Based Business Book 5) by Michele P.W

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Synopsis: Are you frustrated with your lack of progress on your goals?
Maybe you struggle with focus or procrastination. Or, maybe it feels like no matter what you do, you’re not able to create new habits that support where you want to go.
What’s even worse is you KNOW you’re destined for something bigger! Maybe you’re supposed to make a big difference in the world. Maybe your business isn’t where it’s supposed to be or you still have books or other creative projects inside you. Or maybe you’re not living your purpose or your passion.
If you’re not living the life you’ve dreamed of, there’s likely something deeper going on—something that’s going to stand in your way no matter how many planners you use or productivity hacks you try.

My review: Overall I enjoyed this. I’ve trained a coach and I’ve read many, many books on goal setting. It’s a favourite topic of mine so I was intrigued as to what difference this would would bring.

It’s an interesting concept; one in which we fail to achieve our goals because they are not made with love. It may be that you are making decisions based on ‘should’s or ‘have to’s’ and so the intention is there but do you absolutely want it?

You are asked to take a good hard look at yourself, your feelings about decisions and your reasoning for making these goals. Sometimes it can bring up some painful thoughts but it’s all part of clearing the negative to focus on moving forward

The book is packed full of exercises and links to the authors website. There are many titles in this series and the book often links back to these. I’ve not read them yet but I probably will. One thing I did like was the holistic nature of the actions. It’s not all about scribbling in a notebook (although it is key) but taking time for yourself, doing meditation and even just doing some work with candles and soft music.

It also acknowledges that we are all different and everyone learns differently and so there are tasks that suit most people

Overall it does offer something a little different. It’s easy to use, quick to read and hopefully will give you plenty to think about when changing your life

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Year One (Chronicles of The One #1) by Nora Roberts

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Synopsis: It began on New Year’s Eve.
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practising in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travellers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a saviour, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
The end has come. The beginning comes next.

My review: I haven’t read many Nora Robert books preferring instead the works of her alter-ego JD Robb but as this is more fantasy I decided to give it a go. And I really enjoyed it. It doesn’t re-write the apocalypse genre but it is a good read and I did like the magical twist. 

As with many of this type of book there’s a host of characters but Nora juggles them well with lots of individual personalities and is some cases abilities. We have fairies, elves, telekinetics and more. I quite liked the inclusion of all the babies. That’s an interesting twist and they’ve been set up (for the most part) to have big roles in the next few weeks. 

I didn’t quite enjoy the ending. I accept that we needed to follow the story of Lana and the birth of her daughter but her leaving the sanctuary of New Hope meant we didn’t get to really say goodbye to the rest of the people in the book. As this is the first of a series I know they’ll be back but it did feel a bit abrupt for me. 

Oh and I kept waiting for the Big Bad to turn up and didn’t quite get that. There are one or two characters that are bad and again you can see they will have more of a role in the second book but I was expecting a super-evil but I’m happy to wait and see what happens next.

Overall I really enjoyed this. I’m intrigued enough to follow the series to its conclusion and looking forward to what happens next

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Lay Me to Rest by E.A. Clark

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Synopsis: Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.
She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…
Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby?

My review: This is a quick and easy to read ghost story. I enjoyed the first 2 thirds as Annie uncovers not one but two ghosts in the holiday home she is staying in after the death of her husband and sets about uncovering the mysterious circumstances of both disappearances. 

I liked Annie and the secondary characters for the most part are well defined. There were one or two bits around the accomplices to events that I can;t say without spoiling the story that left me a bit unsatisfied. I’d have liked more detail and maybe a bit of comeuppance for it all. 

It’s not a deep ghost story but that’s ok as not every story needs a thousand layers to it. This has a simple premise – ghost follows Annie around until she solves the crime, occasionally coming to her in dreams and telling her what happens when she’s not quick enough to get the answers. 

The final chunk of the book feels like an add on to boost the word count and would have worked better for me as a short story or the introduction of a second book as it looks like Annie is about to embark on a career as a medium. It just didn’t work for me as it had no real links to any of the rest of the book. It wasn’t horrible I just think it wasn’t necessary. 

Overall not a bad book and I did like the general story. 

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