‘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.
‘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.
This year has been another difficult one, but authors have stepped up and given us some amazing stories. I struggled to whittle my favourite books of the year down to a reasonable number. There was no way I could stop at a Top Ten, but I managed a Top Fifteen. These are the books that made my year, and I highly recommend each and every one. Here they are, listed in no particular order:
The Tell Tale by Clare Ashton
2. A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry
3. The Island Between Us by Wendy Hudson
4. The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan
5. Ignis by KJ
6. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
7. Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily R Austin
What’s a Muse to do when her much-anticipated peaceful break is under threat? Calliope Ardalides is the eldest of the nine Muses, and is responsible for arbitrating arguments between the gods and answering for their failures to the humans who complain. Her haven of serenity is a small Scottish village, where the Temple of the Muses is situated. But when an American businesswoman lodges plans for an adventure park right next door, Calliope’s hopes of relaxation and calm are shattered. Despite a powerful attraction neither women appear ready to yield. Can they each get what they want? And will they be able to resist the pull of something more?
I’ve been looking forward to this, the first in a new series set in the Afterlife Inc world. The first trilogy was excellent and my favourite series of the past five years. This time we are with the Muses, and they are just as compelling. Calliope is a talented musician and singer, but has been so caught up in the other aspects of her job, that her artistic side has taken a back seat. Being in Scotland lets her enjoy music again, but the threat to her peace from Jordan James and her plans is worrying. Although she’s used to seeing an issue from both sides at work, it’s more difficult in this case. She’s a kind, thoughtful and sensitive soul and I really liked her.
Jordan wasn’t the big, bad wolf, even though she wanted to build next to the Temple. I could see her point of view, and it would certainly help the local community. But she had to see the whole picture, and Calliope was the person to help her do that. Their attraction was intense and powerful, but it was also healing for both of them.
Brey Willows describes the Scottish countryside perfectly and makes me feel as if I’m there. She sees past the surface and allows the reader a peek of that too. I love the marrying of old and new, the mythology and the present. The story shows wonderful imagination, and I never tire of reading what she has come up with . She knows her characters inside out and allows the reader to become part of their lives.
‘Song of Serenity’ is a stunning story. I highly recommend it.
I found it so difficult to narrow down my list of favourite books this year. And even more difficult put them in order of preference. I loved them all. So, this is my top twelve, and in alphabetical order. I highly recommend all of these books and will certainly be re-reading them again in 2020.
‘Changing Course’ by Brey Willows is a beautifully crafted sci-fi story with exquisite world-building. Jessa Arabelle, privileged intergalactic spacecraft captain, crash lands on Indemnion,a planet most people would be well advised to avoid. Whilst attempting to save her crew she meets worldly-wise Kylin Enderson, a scrounger whose life couldn’t be more different to her own. The attraction between them is powerful, but how can two women with such different outlooks ever be together? As they work together to get to safety they begin to see that there is so much more than what appears on the surface. But will it be enough?
Brey Willows sees into people’s emotions, sees what motivates them. She has taken the genre of sci-fi and injected that emotion and love and made us care for the characters. I loved how she took us to different places on Indemnion and let us see the peoples. I was drawn to one of the groups in particular, but won’t spoil it for anyone by elaborating – but I’d be surprised if a lot of readers don’t feel the same. Feelings can be wonderful but she doesn’t shy away from the reality that love can hurt. And sometimes we have to be prepared for that if we’ve ever to find true happiness.The story is about realising that we don’t have to follow a path determined by society. Our destiny doesn’t have to be decided by our birth – sometimes life throws a spanner in the best laid plans . And taking a chance with someone can be the best decision we’ve ever made. In a planet without hope and full of injustices and cruelty, it takes someone who can see past that. See that there’s a different way. The romantic element was touching and the sex was so hot – but it takes something special to blend that with a fantastic story. ‘Changing Course’ does all of that. I loved it.
I’m just back from my first ever Bold Strokes event in Nottingham. What a weekend! After a delay getting there (due to a cancelled flight and subsequently four cities in a day to make it), I attended the ‘Meet and Speak’ at the Five Leaves Bookshop in the city. As soon as I was through the door I was greeted by a sea of friendly faces – Brey Willows and Robyn Nyx, Valden Bush, Carol Hutchinson, Isabelle Lonitz, Anna Larner and her wife, Jen Silver, Jane Fletcher and her lovely wife Joanie, Jody Klaire, Em and Ferb, Sam Skybourne, Lise Gold and her wife, Anne Holt and many more. After listening to some wonderful readings a few of us headed off to the Pitcher and Piano for drinks and chat. We sat outside in the warm night air until the early hours talking until we realised we had an event to get up for in the morning and headed off to our various hotels.
Saturday morning started with a welcome from the lovely Brey Willows. The room filled up quickly and we were treated to some fascinating panels – Challenging the Norms, Flowers and Wine, Playing with the universe, It’s a Writer’s Life and reading from the authors. I found hearing the authors read their own work made me want to buy more books. We were all able to mingle throughout the day and chat to the authors and get our book purchases signed. The After Party at the Pit and Pendulum nearby gave us a chance to socialise more. As we moved around the tables we all got to know some new people. The banter was fantastic.
Sunday brought some more panels, readings and a hilarious quiz. We all headed off to The New Foresters bar afterwards for a BBQ and lots of chat. Hours passed quickly as we met new people and old friends. The conversations brought us all together and made us realise just how much we all have in common. Getting to spend time together was energising and affirming – and I cannot wait for next year to do it all again.
I so enjoyed book one in this series, ‘Parallel Lives’, and have been eagerly awaiting the release of ‘Crossing Over’. I was certainly not disappointed. Kaitlin and Tannus are now lovers and are expecting a baby. They decide to cross back to Kailtin’s home world and to her family in Cheshire. How will her parents and brother react to her fantastical story? How will Tannus and Carray react to a world so very different from their own.
Seeing our world through the eyes of two people from a simpler, more cut-off existence was very interesting. It was also fascinating looking at romantic relationships from Carray’s point of view, as she was heterosexual and lived in a completely lesbian society at home. A clever device that made me think. I worried about Kaitlin’s father and brother as she had been far from complementary about them in the first book. Would they surprise me? The issue of Tannus’s illness was always there in the background and I lived in hope that a cure could be found. There was so much riding on the year they planned to live in our world and it made the story very emotional and compelling.
By the end I knew that I wanted more from this series. In a good way. I will be counting the days until book three comes out. I have grown to love these characters and want to find out what happens next. How will the characters from each world interact? A highly enjoyable story.
I received an ARC of this book from Global Wordsmiths in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Maggie McShay leads a boring life, in a boring apartment, with a boring job – and with a cat who doesn’t seem to like her. What she wants is some magic in her life and when she answers an ad to look after a fairy tale cottage it appears that things may be looking up for her. The story is of Maggie and her friends as well as a world of fairy stories. It is told in a way that you will not doubt this place really exists. As they work together to save the world from evil villains, Maggie finds out much more about herself and this new world than she could ever have imagined.
From the minute she answers the advert you feel the excitement along with her. We learn as she does and it’s fascinating. I adored Maggie. She was curious, sweet and feisty. Kody was hot, hot, hot – and didn’t Maggie know it. The whole cast of characters in this book leapt off the page – they were vivid and exciting.
The story was wonderfully, magically imaginative. And you know, I didn’t doubt for a minute that the cottage existed exactly where she said it did! The self-discovery by Maggie was pivotal and her growing feelings for Kody were sensitively dealt with. I loved the story and the imagination behind it but most of all I was enthralled by the use of language. It was beautiful and poetic and lyrical. The skilful use of metaphor and simile took the writing to another level. The descriptions of people and places came alive for me. ’Spinning Tales’ is excellent and I highly recommend it.
I was given this Arc for review by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley.