Review of ‘Lines of Love’ by Brey Willows

‘Lines of Love’ by Brey Willows is the story of Eris Ardalides, the Muse of Love. A Muse who has lost any interest in love. As she sees it, love doesn’t mean anything anymore. Why bother? Grace Gordon, a divorce lawyer, is privy to the worst of relationships, and has no desire to become entangled in one herself. Like Eris, sex is fine, just don’t expect her to settle for anything less than perfection. 

When Eris is sued for failing in her perceived duty to those seeking love, Grace takes on the case. Attraction is certainly a factor between them, but since they’ve both sworn off love, how can it ever work out? As they fight to save Eris’s reputation and what it might mean for the rest of the gods and immortals, will they give in to their passion? 

I love the world Brey Willows has created. She writes about the interaction between gods and mortals in a fascinating and engaging way. Although I’ve read the whole series, and the previous books about Afterlife Inc, there is no need to have done so to enjoy this book. It works just as well as a stand-alone. But you’d be missing out if you didn’t check out the entire body of work. 

This isn’t just romance, there’s peril and danger this time. And boy, does she know how to up the ante! It was great to have some of my favourite characters show up and play a part in this novel too. My favourite Afterlife Inc character, Dani, is always a welcome addition to any story. 

It’s emotional and passionate and utterly beautiful. Love conquers all. Brey Willows excels again.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Crevice Chaos’ by Anne Hagan

Anne Hagan’s writing never fails to delight me. ‘Crevice Chaos’ is no exception. Bethany decides to treat girlfriend Renn to a Halloween adventure in Crevice Cave, hundreds of feet under ground, with the prospect of flying bats, cold and damp. For women who spend their working lives in such conditions it’s actually quite a fun idea. But Bethany’s plan is to search for a long forgotten witch’s coven meeting room. When things don’t go according to plan, the women must keep their wits about them if they are to reach the surface intact. 

Anne Hagan build up the tension magnificently in this story. One can almost feel the cold and the creepy feelings engendered in the women as they crawl through the caves. I love short stories and this author has mastered the art. ‘Crevice Chaos is a spine-tingling story with a great twist. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Vision of Virtue’ by Brey Willows

‘Vision of Virtue’ by Brey Willows is the second story in the Memory’s Muses series. This time we are with Clio Ardalides, the Muse of history and virtue. She seeks to show the good in every situation. Positivity is her mantra. But sometimes her TV show veers too far towards the superficial. 

Kit Kalloway is the complete opposite. She is for truth and reality, whatever the situation. It irks her that Clio focuses too much on appearance and the lighter side of life. She may find the Muse extremely attractive, but that won’t stop her voicing her disapproval. 

When the pair are pushed together in a terrible situation, can they see past first impressions? And can they find a way to take their mutual attraction further?

Brey Willows breathes new life into classical characters. Characters who would otherwise have remained in dusty tomes, unknown to the majority. Her stories are thrilling, exciting and fascinating. The world she has imagined, where gods and mortals coexist, is a stroke of genius. 

Clio wasn’t the person I thought at first. She had lived a long life and had witnessed some awful things. She didn’t want to dwell on all that horrible stuff – and who can blame her? Sometimes we all need to shut off the news.  

Kit had a huge chip on her shoulder, but spending time with Clio let her see that immortals are not all the same. She didn’t seem to consider the feelings of others. Until faced with some home truths – and the fear of losing a chance for love. 

Brey Willows took Clio and Kit to a place where they had to face who they really were. Humans and immortals can both be guilty of self delusion. Sometimes it takes a kind soul to point out the truth. Or an inciting event forces reflection. It takes courage to change and a desire for something more than the status quo.

I loved being back with the muses. All of them. Tying their stories together works so well and I look forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Time After Time’ by Louise Pentland

‘Time After Time’ by Louise Pentland is a heartwarming, funny and delightfully insightful story. 

Tabby’s life is suddenly upended when her dad makes a surprise announcement over Sunday lunch. She likes to stay well within her comfort zone, but the dominoes begin to fall and there’s nothing she can do to stop them. As she tries to cope with the changes, she wishes she could go back in time, where things were simpler. Meeting Bea begins a voyage of discovery. The only problem is, Bea is in the 1980s, and Tabby has been pushed into the past. So why does everything feel right in 1989? And will her travels in time be the answer to her present day problems?

I loved the time travel element of this novel. As someone who grew up in the 1980s, I revelled in the retro fashion details. I adored the mention of long lost shops. I couldn’t get enough of the tiny day to day differences. I felt I was with Tabby as she discovered the world of big hair, even bigger shoulder pads and mountains of Elnett hair spray. 

It was about Tabby discovering what she wanted from life. Wouldn’t we all love the chance to see ourselves from another perspective? 

It was a beautiful story of love, self-discovery and hope. I adored it.

I was given this ARC to review. 

Review of ‘Cold Blood’ by Genevieve McCluer

‘Cold Blood’ by Genevieve McCluer is a vampire story set in Toronto. I’ve read her previous books set in the city and have enjoyed them very much. This is the story of Kalila, a vampire seeking revenge for the murder of her wife and son, and her own turning. A newcomer to Toronto, she must first find out where he is hiding – and for that she needs the help of an information broker. Dorenia has a somewhat similar tale and seeks revenge on her nemesis too. By working together will they be able to find peace, and maybe something more?

I like Genevieve McClure’s writing style. It is fast and immediate and draws me in. I loved the nod to a previous novel ‘Olivia’, and to some recognisable areas of the city. She makes monsters sympathetic characters and gives them entirely plausible lives alongside the other residents of Toronto. I like this world she has invented.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Coven Be Charmed’ by Caitlin Ryan

‘Coven Be Charmed’ by Caitlin Ryan is a lovely, up-beat and thoroughly engaging witchy tale. Rose is a life coach with her feet firmly on the ground. When her girlfriend takes her to a charming B&B in the countryside, she finds herself re-evaluating all she believes about things supernatural. Witches can’t be real, can they? And she certainly can’t be one. But when she is surrounded by witches, warlocks and demons, what else can she conclude?

Rose is thrust into a mystery, with weird goings-on and some very strange people. I loved every minute of it. 

My favourite kind of story will always have a puzzling mystery and witches. Caitlin Ryan has woven both into this well-thought out novel. I look forward to many more in this series.

As this is a story featuring witches the author addresses the mention of the HP universe in her notes at the end.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Dying For You’ by Jenny Frame

‘Dying For You’ is the story of Victorija Dred, Principe of the the Dred Clan, and arch enemy of Byron, Principe of the Debrek Clan. Feared by all, Victorija has a reputation for ruthlessness. So when she unexpectedly becomes blood bonded to Daisy McDougall, why won’t she take her? Even when blood sickness weakens her, she refuses to force Daisy to submit. Daisy feels a pull towards Victorija. Has her family history a part to play? As the pair struggle, threats within the Dred Clan could change everything. Is Victorija strong enough to fight? 

I’ve read all of the books in this series and love it. I was delighted to find that Jenny Frame had decided to write Victorija’s story. At this difficult time we all need a bit of escapism – and this story did it for me. It had it all. Love, family and magic. It was fascinating to find out more about the Dred Clan, and the other paranormal elements working with them. Although this was Victorija and Daisy’s story, we still got to spend time with Byron, Amelia and the rest of the Debreks. And Jenny Frame has shown that there is so much more to this world. I can’t wait for the next one.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘This Charming Man’ by C.K. McDonnell

‘This Charming Man’ by C.K. McDonnell is the second in The Stranger Times series. I haven’t read the first one, but got most of the jist pretty quickly. That said reading the first one will give a greater understanding of what on earth is going on from the get-go. 

The Stranger Times is a publication reporting on the very odd things happening around Greater Manchester and beyond. This weird group of characters involved in the paper work together in the most bizarre circumstances. Yet they manage to keep a sense of humour – well most of them do. When it appears vampires are on the loose in the city, wreaking havoc and leaving bodies in their wake, an investigation is demanded. What will they uncover – and can they really trust what they find?

It was funny, irreverent and just plain bonkers. But lots and lots of fun. This urban, supernatural fantasy kept me laughing. The author sees the bizarre in every situation and keeps the reader engaged until the end.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Marion Lane And The Deadly Rose’ by T.A. Willberg

‘Marion Lane And The Deadly Rose’ is the second in this series by T.A. Willberg. The year is 1959, and as the Cold War heats up, Scotland Yard is baffled by the discovery of murder victims with roses branded on their bodies. They turn to Miss Brickett’s agency for help. Marion is once again tasked with helping solve to solve the mystery, and working on one of her own. One of the new first year recruits should not be trusted. But which of them is up to no good? 

I enjoyed being back with Marion and her fellow Inquirers, working within the tunnels and underground passageways beneath London. This is a well-imagined series, full of intrigue and mystery. There is danger and darkness, but also camaraderie and hope. Marion had more confidence and a sense of purpose. She could see that her talents were appreciated and this made her push on in pursuit of justice. 

I enjoyed the group dynamic, as her friends and colleagues played a part in the case. The interactions between them were important and bode well for the future of the series. An enjoyable story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Enchanted Autumn’ by Ursula Klein

‘Enchanted Autumn’ is an engaging romance, full of magic, interesting characters and the perfect setting. Hazel is a Salem witch – and a real one at that. With a black cat, her very own broom stick and a penchant for potion-making, she is proud of who she is. That is until English academic, Dr Elizabeth Cowrie, arrives in town. The history researcher has an interest in the Salem witch trials, but does not believe in magic. In fact she scoffs at the very idea that it may exist. Hazel’s attraction to her is going to be a problem, as she must decide if she’s willing to give up her true self in pursuit of love. 

I loved that the story was set in Salem. The author managed to weave some historical details from the witch trials into this modern romance. But it was ultimately about the triumph of magic, of love. Hazel was an astute businesswoman, but still managed to stay true to her roots. Her witchcraft was important to her and to the whole community, even if some of them were not aware of her true nature. Elizabeth may have been a sceptic, but she was kind, passionate and intelligent. I adored the ‘Britishisms’ scattered throughout the story. They were spot-on. I also enjoyed the writing style, which pulled me into their world, a world I’d like to revisit. 

I was given this ARC to review.