maandag 29 februari 2016

Hampton Charles - Miss Seeton at the Helm

The seventh book in the Miss Seeton series, published September 1, 1990.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: bad, I much prefer my Dutch covers

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Retired art teacher Miss Seeton steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles. This time, the lovable but unlikely detective is off to the Mediterranean on a cruise - bound for disaster.

Sir George Colveden is taking his wife Meg on a Mediterraean cruise for their 25th wedding anniversary, at the suggestion of his friend Sir Wormelow Tump. It is a cruise that will lead them along countless ruins and ancient artefacts, and not something Sir George fancies himself, but he knows his wife will enjoy it. Sir Wormelow is one of the guest speakers on board. But when Sir George finds out that their other friend Ferenz Szabo has legal troubles with one of the other guest speakers, Adrian Witley, he immediately plans to take matters in his own hands, or rather, Scotland Yard's hands, by having Miss Seeton invited along the cruise as well. He is sure she will find out more about Adrian Witley, and if he is indeed a fraud.
Of course, putting Miss Seeton in an unfamiliar situation is sure to cause a lot of trouble…

I still have trouble with how Hampton Charles portrayes the characters I came to enjoy in the first five books, written by Heron Carvic. He makes caricatures of them, making Sir George be more stupid, and Miss Seeton less innocent and lovable, an older lady getting involved in strange situations purely by accident. And what he did with Inspector Delphick in this book, no, I want to think that the original Inspector has more integrity than that. Also, the dialogue is just not very good, and he focuses on ladies bodies a bit too much.

Still, the story is entertaining, and I know I will read the rest of the series fast. The one thing that is still unclear to me, is who the real killer was?

5 stars out of 10.

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 28 februari 2016

J.D. Robb - Devoted in Death

Book 41 in the In Death series, published September 15, 2015.
Genre: futuristic romantic suspense/police procedural
Cover: fits the series.

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When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a dead body in a seedy alley in downtown Manhattan, the victim's injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart and the initials E and D…
In Oklahoma, Ella-Loo and her recently released ex-con boyfriend Darryl, don't intend to part ever again. So they hit the road, but then things get a little messy in Arkansas and they wind up killing someone. It's an experience that strokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo and Darryl: to kill again.
As they cross stateliness on the way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they leave a trail of evil behind. But now the duo has landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, Eve has every intention of hunting down the killers and giving them exactly what they truly deserve…

I know, book 41 in the series, and I am still hooked. It is 2060 in New York, and after a short vacation with her husband Roarke, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is back on the job. With her long time partner, Detective Peabody, they get a new case in the early hours of a very cold winter morning. A body has been found in a seedy alley, but that is not where he has been killed, nor was his death easy. The man, who was a gifted musician and composer, was tortured for days before he slowly bled to death. After investigating his life, his family and friends, Eve comes to the conclusion he must have been a random victim, especially when she starts a search for like crimes, and finds dozens of them. The FBI is on the case as well, but they haven't done much except making a profile. And even happens to disagree with them, as she keeps unearthing more cases that fit.
When Deputy Will Banner from a small village in Arkansas gets notified of her computer search, he sets out to New York to speak with Eve in person. He has a case that everyone has ruled as accidental death and he just doesn't believe it. He knows his victim was murdered. The feds don't believe him, or about some other cases he has found, as it doesn't fit their profile. But he knows he is right, and it is important to find out who the killers are, to go back, and trace their trail to where it began, which is exactly as Eve is doing.
And so Banner is added to her team, and is helping with the investigation, while two of her own are send into the rural wilds of Oklahoma and Arkansas to find out more details, and trace their leads.

It is a great book, and I was glued to the pages until it was finished. It is not a case of "who is the murderer" as we know that already, but Eve doesn't and she needs to find them in time to save their next victims. And that was just so good to read. The suspense, when the killers have the pagetime, abducting their victims and experiencing their rush. They are escalating, and it is a race against the clock for Eve.

There was not much development in the personal lives of Eve and her team and friends. Just a few nice scenes, but overall, just hard police work. A good, solid story, with really deranged killers to catch.

9 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 27 februari 2016

Hampton Charles - Miss Seeton, by appointment

The sixth book in the Miss Seeton series, published April 1, 1990.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: bad, I much prefer my Dutch cover.

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Miss Seeton is off to Buckingham Palace to spy on a royal retainer who might be a Russian agent. But one mystery is not enough for the indomitable spinster, and she is determined to investigate a tip about a fabulous jewelry heist in the making. This popular series continues with new titles authorized by the estate of Miss Seeton's creator, Heron Carvic.

The Secret Service think they have found a lot of Russian sleeper spies, and one of them has an important position with the Queen. So before they charge him, or make him disappear, they have to be sure. And Miss Seeton seems to have a knack for drawing the truth about a person, so if they can arrange a meeting between Miss Seeton and Sir Wormelow Tump, perhaps she can make a drawing of him … And so it happens that Miss Seeton gets an invitation for afternoon tea with Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace. Lucky for her, she doesn't have to go alone, as Sir George and Lady Margaret Colveden, her dear friends, have received an invitation as well.
Of course it was not at all necessary, to go to all this trouble, as Miss Seeton has already met Sir Wormelow Tump at an art gallery, where young Nigel has taken her. His parental home has been chosen as the venue for some fashion pictures, with famous Lalique jewellery, and of course he has fallen in love with the model, Marigold. And so he has taken Miss Seeton with him to a showing of the jewellery at a gallery, now knowing she knows the famous photographer from her college days, so Nigel can spend some time with Marigold and Miss Seeton can look at art.

So when Miss Seeton meets Sir Wormelow again at the Queen's garden party, he takes her to his place of work, to show her some of the strange gifts her Majesty has received over the years from foreign dignitaries and diplomatic guests. When they have to depart kind of abrubtly, Miss Seeton does not have the time to put the object she is studying back, so she ends up taking it with her in her purse, determined to give it back to Sir Wormelow as soon as possible.

A few days later, at Rhytham Hall, the fashion shoot is going well, and guests are arriving, who will become fast friends after the adventure of the almost robbery is over …

Another fun story, but it was not as good as the Heron Carvic stories. Hampton Charles has made caricatures out of most characters, making them more stupid and eccentric, and not how they have been written before. Like Sir George, who is a country gentleman, a Justice of the Peace, and lots more, and was very smart in the first books. He is now being portrayed as loud and stupid and ignorant. Talking just like Miss Seeton, explaining herself midsentence and confusing everyone.
I did enjoy the ending though, and this time, Nigel's ladylove is not killed but goes off with another man.

6 stars.

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 26 februari 2016

Christina Henry - Black Howl

The third book in the Black Wings series, published February 28, 2012.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: good

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Madeline Black is an agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. But lately, some spirits don't feel like crossing over…
Something is wrong with the souls of Chicago's dead. Ghosts are walking the streets, and Agent of Death Madeline Black's exasperating boss wants her to figure out why. At the same time, the pact that Maddy unwittingly made with the local werewolves comes back to bite her when their alpha is kidnapped. As Lucifer's heir, she should be able to discover who - or what - is responsible for both occurrences, but the fallen haven't been too happy with her since she agreed to harbor Gabriel's half brother, Samiel.
And while work is bad enough, Maddy has a plethora of personal problems too. Now that Gabriel has been assigned as her thrall, their relationship has hit an impasse. At least her sleazy ex-fiancĂ© Nathaniel is out of the picture--or so she thinks…

I have fallen hard for this series, as it hits all my buttons. I love the heroine, Maddy, whose life is overturned completely when she finds out who her father is: Azazel, one of the Fallen, and even more when she finds out she is Lucifer's many-greats granddaughter. They both want her in their court and under their thumb, but Maddy has no intention of doing that, and succumbing to their laws and wishes. She has her own life, and her job as an Agent of Death is important to her. She has friends, and a man she can't have according to Nephilim law: Gabriel, one of Lucifer's grandsons and a thrall, which is some kind of slave.
After rescuing him in the previous book, he is now given to her as her thrall, and she doesn’t like that at all. Besides, Gabriel only obeys her when he wants to. His job is to keep her safe, and that is very hard work with all the enemies she has made lately.

The story is fast paced and Maddy heads into danger to safe her friends and allies, no matter what. She faces scores of demons, to safe the abducted werewolf cubs, fights giant spiders although she is arachnaphobic (as am I) and braves her father's court to extract a traitor…

I was happy for something that Lucifer made happen, after he manoeuvred her into taking a job for him she never would have accepted, but in the end I cried my eyes out. What an evil ending, I am so glad I have the whole series on my shelves already.
Maddy is spunky, still learning to control her powers, loyal and hard working. She is not rich, or extremely pretty, she is just a normal women with very unnormal powers and jobs. Maddy refuses to touch her father's money as she doesn't want to be beholden to him. All she wanted was a father who would love and accept her, and all Azazel wants is to uses her for his own purposes. Like marry her off to Nathaniel, one of his flunkies.

Lots of danger, lots of action, and lots of humor, especially with Beezle, her guardian gargoyle (who is only the size of a guinea pig and loves to eat donuts and popcorn and other bad stuff). I really like Christina Henry's writing style, her sense of humor and who she makes me fall in love with the characters so fast. She really engages my emotions, and that makes it a good series.

9 stars.

A blogger made me buy it
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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 25 februari 2016

Recommendations from Karin for February 2016.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.


I have read a few of the bundle books this month and unfortunately I have to say I was quite disappointed with them. So I tried my comfort reads – books I have enjoyed immensely and re-read every now and then.
And then I lucked out. When browsing Amazon I stumbled across a series of books which sounded promising. I’m talking about

I bring the Fire by C. Gockel

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I’m not very familiar with the Norse mythology (I’m better acquainted with the Greek and Roman Gods) but I knew that Loki was supposed to be the villain in most of the stories I vaguely remember.
The first book was free and I thought it might be okay just to browse through and get an idea if I’d like the series or not. It also took me some time to get used to the writing style – the story is written in Present Tense. I think I lasted for about 15 pages and then I knew I was hooked. Very rarely have I read a book where the hero is a villain and still manages to grab my heart, to have my fingers crossed that somehow everything will work out for him – just for once. In one sentence: Ms. Gockel managed to endear Loki (the liar, the Mischief Maker,…) to me to an extent that I’m still hoping something good will await him in the end (I’m in the middle of the third book, but I fear for Loki, I greatly fear for him!!)

The heroine – Amy Lewis – is a lovely young person who cares deeply for her grandmother (oh, and Loki, of course!!), and her really very ugly dog, Fenrir. She studies to be a veterinarian - so it’s clear: she is the ideal heroine.

The supporting characters are simply great, I like each and every one of the good guys and girls, I loathe the idiots – in short, Ms Gockel grabbed my attention and I think she won’t let go of it until I finish the series.

Reading order:
I bring the Fire – Wolves
I bring the Fire Monsters
I bring the Fire Chaos
I bring the Fire In the Balance (short story)
I bring the Fire Fates
I bring the Fire The Slip (short story)
I bring the Fire Warriors
I bring the Fire Ragnarok

I highly recommend this series although I’m only in the middle of book three. But perhaps you want to give it a try and download the first book. Just read and see!

I also want to draw your attention to a new series I discovered the other day. It’s

Dead Eye (a Tiger’s Eye Mystery) by Alyssa Day

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Perhaps you know this author from her “Warriors of Atlantis” series. She wrote a spin-off with the huge tiger-shifter Jack Shepherd. I liked his character a lot in the afore mentioned series and I had high hopes for this book. It’s so good that I will buy the second in the series as well, but to tell the truth I would have liked more action from the ferocious tiger than I got.

This may be due to the book being written in the first person (not really a favourite of mine) but I still liked it enough to purchase the second book which will hopefully be published in April.

So, I think this is it for this month. Until we meet again next month: Happy Reading!

Karin photo Karin 2_zps9oybhsee.png

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I do love Alyssa Day's Warriors of Atlantis series, and this spin off is on my TBR. I do look forward to reading it.

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 24 februari 2016

Lisa Shearin - Wild Card

A prequel novella in the Raine Benares series, published November 25, 2014.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: good

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My name is Raine Benares. I'm a seeker, a finder of things lost and people missing. I've never had to do both in one day, or had this many lives at stake - including mine. The search for a missing ring leads me to the abduction of eight magically gifted children. Their souls were stolen while they slept, and unless I find those souls by sunrise, their bodies will die.
Both cases have one thing in common - they're linked to a goblin secret society high-stakes poker game, whose members are practitioners of the blackest of black magic. As a seeker, I can track those captured children's souls, but to spring them will take magic I haven't got.
That's where Tamnais Nathrach comes in. He's the seductive embodiment of sin itself. He's also a goblin dark mage with an even darker past, the owner of the city's most notorious casino - and the only person with magic enough to reach the kids in time. Why are the most dangerous predators the most beautiful? The stakes are high; the odds of success are low. And I'm betting with my life - a life I'll have to trust to a darkly tempting goblin mage I just met.

The paper books in this series had been on my shelves for years, until I finally started reading them two years ago, and immediately fell in love with it. I devoured all 6 books. And somehow, I missed this prequel novella.
I only recently saw it on Amazon, and asked my friend Freya to buy it for me.

It is a sweet story, the first meeting between Raine, the heroine in the series, who is an Elf, and Tamnais Nathrach, who is a Goblin dark mage. It was fun to witness, and I really liked how Tam came to Raine's aid in this story, to save those children's souls from the Khrynsani.

Cousin Phelan, the pirate, plays a nice part in this story as well, so if you like him (and I do), you will be happy with his role in things. He does his best to protect Raine, while also having fun.

I really enjoyed reading this little novella, and getting involved in the series again for a short while. And yes, it was very short, as this is only 83 pages on my Kindle App. But it is fun to read about the start of a series you love, and to remember what makes you love it. And now I want to re-read them all before the new book is released.

9 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 23 februari 2016

Heron Carvic - Odds on Miss Seeton

The fifth Miss Seeton novel, published 1975.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: I am getting used to these pictures.

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Scotland Yard has disguised Miss Seeton as a high roller to get a police sketch of a mysterious crime boss. But she is soon playing a very dangerous game of big money and murder, and it is a sure bet that someone--perhaps Miss Seeton--is in mortal danger.

Again Scotland Yard needs Miss Seeton to go undercover. A crime syndicate is taking over the gambling business in England, casino's are burning down, and people are getting hurt. And it is not just casinos; even the gambling on the race track and on country fairs is getting taken over.
Scotland Yard thinks they know who the leader of the Syndicate is, but they have never managed to get his picture. So perhaps Miss Seeton can meet him, disguised as a famous foreign lady gambler, and draw his picture for them.

And so Miss Seeton ends up wearing a fortune in jewellery and fur, lots of make up and a wig, in a London casino. But when she does meet her mark, he immediately knows she is not whom she claims to be, and plans to have her and her police escort (yes, he knows that as well as his security is flawless) abducted and the money they have won, taken back.
Of course, Miss Seeton can take care of herself, and her escort, when needed, even without her umbrella! And as it happens, Inspector Delphick and Sargeant Ranger are waiting outside to escort her and her winnings home…

The next day, a young lady they met at the casino, comes to ask Miss Seeton for her help. Her younger brother is in trouble, and so is her father, who is one of the directors of the casino they went to last night. She is so certain that Miss Seeton can help her, Miss Seeton has no choice but to reluctantly accompany her home.
Her father is being blackmailed by the syndicate, and was almost killed in an accident. Her brother though, he is a lost cause as he has a liking for a life of crime, and doesn't hesitate to have a guest under his parents' roof killed. But Miss Seeton is ready for the killer when he shows up …
And the next day at the race track proves to be very exciting as well, and very dangerous.

Another good story in this charming series. I am really enjoying re-reading them all, even though they are severely outdated by now they are still fun to read. Of course, part of that might be that I have read them a few times before over the last 20 plus years.
I enjoyed how Miss Seeton took a gamble on a horse, because she liked the jockey's kind face and his shirt colors. She knew nothing about the race track at all, had never made a bet before.

The ending to this book was again a kind of open end. You know what she has done, and you know what would have happened as a result, but it is not told on the page. Still, it doesn't bother me.

This is a 3 author series, and this is the last one by Heron Carvic. And I am sorry for that, as his successor doesn't do as good a job as Heron did on these characters.

8 stars.

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 22 februari 2016

Sharon Lathan - In the arms of Mr. Darcy

The fourth book in the Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy series, published October 1, 2010.
Genre: Pride and Prejudice continuation
Cover: lovely, of course I just see Colin Firth in his role of Mr. Darcy instead of this cover model.

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This lushly romantic and historically fascinating story is filled with lavish details of Regency customs and social events including Elizabeth's presentation to the Prince Regent, Georgiana's debut at the exclusive Almack's Assembly, and the Darcys' travels through the dramatic Peak District of Derbyshire. Romance finds nearly everyone as confirmed bachelor Richard Fitzwilliam sets his sights on the seemingly unattainable Lady Fotherby, Georgiana Darcy learns to flirt, the very serious Kitty Bennet develops her first crush, and Caroline Bingley meets her match. Through it all, Elizabeth and Darcy are kept busy helping friends and family navigate true love's inevitably rocky course.

The blurb says it all, kind of. If you love Pride and Prejudice, and you don't want it to end with the wedding scene, this is the series to start reading. The story continues, and I love it. Every time I pick up one of those books, I am back into that world, the use of language, the familiar characters, I love it.
Darcy and Lizzie are so very deeply in love with each other, and their first son, Alexander. Georgiana is growing into a beautiful and less shy young woman, and Kitty Bennett is one of her dear friends.

Does it have a plot, a storyline, suspense perhaps? No, not really. It is "just" a recounting of their lives together, what happens, where they go and what they do, and some new romances for those around them. I never expected Caroline Bingley to find her match, but she does. And Colonel Fitzwilliam is in for a big change in his life as well. The only character I did not know from the tv-series (sorry, can't remember the book at all, although I have read it a few times, I watch the tv-series way more often), is Dr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy's uncle. He is a very flamboyant character, dressed in Indian clothes in loud colors, who loves to flirt with the ladies but whom is also a very skilled doctor.

I only have one more book on my shelves, Miss Darcy falls in love, and I am contemplating buying the rest of the series, although they are so very expensive. I just love the atmosphere, the feeling of these books, and they make me smile and sigh. What more can you ask of a book, than to make you smile and feel good?

8 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 21 februari 2016

Heron Carvic - Miss Seeton Sings

The fourth book in the Miss Seeton series, published 1973.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: okay

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Retired art teacher Miss Seeton steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles. Her uncanny knack for getting to the heart of a crime lands her amidst a ruthless gang of European counterfeiters and killers--where a musical password has a very dangerous chorus.

What I haven't told you in my earlier reviews, is that the adventures of Miss Seeton have been raved about in the newspapers, and now many people who don't know her, think she is some kind of super agent of Scotland Yard. So when a Swiss bank has a big problem with counterfeit English money, they demand her presence to solve it, as it involves one of their biggest clients. And the upper brass in England comply with that demand, sending her on a plane to Switzerland … against the express wishes of Inspector Delphick's superior officer, who does know the truth about her.
When Delphick finds out, he is furious. How can he protect her when she has never even been abroad and he is not allowed to go with her? It all starts going wrong at the airport, when Miss Seeton's escort leaves her alone as he is rather flirting with young women than spending time with an old lady. And so, left to her own devices and the care of an Italian lady, Miss Seeton ends up in Genoa, Italy, instead of Geneva, Switzerland … on the trail of an art fraud …

Trying to help her by alerting the local police to her presence, Miss Seeton ends up in jail instead, until they find out their mistake, that she is Scotland Yards famous MissEs. They try to find out what she is in their country for, but as Miss Seeton doesn't have a clue herself, she can't tell them anything either. But she was also recognized on Heathrow airport by the villain of the story, and he wants her out of his way, and quick.
So once in Geneva, her life is in danger, but strangers always seem to come to her rescue in the nick of time… And when she finally meets with the bankmanager, she still hasn't got a clue what to do about it al, but draw pictures of the main players.

And so Miss Seeton manages to retrieve stolen paintings while at a gallery's opening night, find stolen jewellery in a bank safe, and put an end to the counterfeiting … and catch a murderer, all in a few days time … From Italy to Switzerland, and then to Paris, France, where she stars in a show … and she still has no idea what she did.

Lots of action in this book, and I liked the people that Miss Seeton meets. She even manages to pick up a nice wedding present for Sargeant Ranger and Anne Knight while in Paris.

8 stars.

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 19 februari 2016

Cecy Robson - Cursed by Destiny

The third book in the Weird Girls series, published January 7, 2014.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: nice

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Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls - with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird...

Celia's a girl in trouble. Her heart is bound to Aric, but he is a pureblood were who must deny her or risk condemning his species to extinction. And that's just her love life. She's also been called to take down a group of demon terrorists looking to overthrow the paranormal world. (No pressure.)
In order to bring them down, Celia must ally herself to Misha, the master vampire who has made no secret of his desire for her.
And if that weren't enough misfortune for one girl, a clairvoyant's prediction could destroy Celia and Aric's love for good. The only way to protect the world from unbridled supernatural terrorism is for Celia to bind herself to her destined mate. And that doesn't appear to be Aric...

I loved the ending of the previous book, when Celia chose for herself, and to fight the heartache when Aric promised to marry another … She went to live with Misha, the local master vampire she gave his soul back …
But she still keeps Misha at arms length, longing for Aric, and learning to fight and use her abilities. Misha keeps tempting her, and she is so lonely, but she just can't. It is Aric she wants.
The Tribe are after Celia, demon children just spawned know her name, and the Tribemasters are targeting her specifically. How do they know about her? Why is she so dangerous to them? And who is betraying her whereabouts time and again?

When neither the Pack nor the vampires can help her, at least her sisters are there for her. Taran, with her power over fire, Shayla, who can change anything metallic into weapons, and Emme, whose most used power is to heal, but who is also a very strong telekinetic. Celia can shift herself into a tiger, but she is not immortal and she doesn't heal like real were's do. So she is vulnerable, but she is courageous and she will fight to the death to protect those she loves, and innocent people. Taran and Shayla have found their mates in the weres that run with Aric, but Emme's Liam has told her she is not his mate. And that has broken her heart. Aric is Celia's mate, but they can never be together, his pack Elders forbid it, he has to mate with another pureblooded were, to safe their race …Both Celia and Aric are miserable, but for now, they have a duty, to fight the Tribe and the seven headed fire demon they raised …

I really enjoy this series a lot, I like Celia and her sisters, they are all so very different and so close. The ending left me flabbergasted, I knew he was her enemy, but I had no idea that he could and would do this!

I am very disappointed that the rest of the series is self published, and ebook only, but I will read them. I hate it when series I started reading in paper and really enjoy, are ended by the publisher, but I am glad that Cecy keeps on writing more books in this series. I have to know what happens next.

The story is original, I like the main characters a lot, and although the adventures/battle scenes in this book are perhaps a bit easy for Celia, it is a book I was really lost in and glued to the pages.

9 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 18 februari 2016

Heron Carvic - Witch Miss Seeton

The third book in the Miss Seeton series, published 1971.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: okay.

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Unlikely detective Miss Seeton goes undercover at the request of Scotland Yard to investigate some bewitching shenanigans after a sudden interest in the occult sweeps through Plummergen.

Miss Seeton has come to the conclusion that she needs a job to be able to keep living in her beloved cottage in Plummergen, Kent. And suddenly, she gets two offers. One from the local village school, as a substitute teacher, and one from Scotland Yard, so they have first pick of whatever she is drawing.
Trouble is brewing in Kent, Satanism is on the rise and an abandoned church is defiled with black rituals. And there is a new cult on the rise as well, promising that sinning is fine, and that those who will pay and become a member, will be saved from the coming apocalypse. Infiltration by police officers has failed twice already, so now they want Miss Seeton to act likes she is rich and wants to become a member. The police is sure it is a scam somehow, but they need proof before they can act. It has all happened in Scotland before, but the only one willing to press charges died under suspicious circumstances.

Detective Foxon of the nearby Ashton police force, will keep her safe during her excursions, to both Nuscience, as the old church. Or is it the other way around after all?

It was great seeing Miss Seeton in action in this book, how she stumbled upon clues and evidence, and how she always survives with the help of her umbrella, or what ever item she is carrying. All the while thinking it is all a misunderstanding, as she is a proper lady, and proper ladies don't become entangled in things like this…
Again young Nigel Colveden falls in love, with the wrong person…

8 stars.

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 17 februari 2016

Theresa Romain - Season for Desire

The fourth book in the Holiday Pleasures series, published October 7, 2014.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: nice

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Properly Wicked
Like her four sisters, Lady Audrina Bradleigh is expected to marry a duke, lead fashion, and behave with propriety. Consequently, Audrina pursues mischief with gusto, attending scandalous parties and indulging in illicit affairs. But when an erstwhile lover threatens to ruin her reputation, Audrina has no choice but to find a respectable husband at once.
Who would guess that her search would lead her to Giles Rutherford, a blunt-spoken American on a treasure hunt of his own? When a Christmas snowstorm strands the pair at a country inn, more secrets are traded than gifts--along with kisses that require no mistletoe--and Audrina discovers even proper gentlemen have their wicked side. . .

Rarely have I read a blurb that is as misleading as this one, as it promises a fun book with a feisty heroine, and does not deliver it at all. I have to admit, I am fast falling out of love with Theresa Romain. I loved her first three books, her original stories and especially her heroines. I did not really like her second series, so I was having high hopes for this fourth book in her first series, as it does feature some of the previous characters. But alas.

I thought Audrina a sad girl, who did things in the hope of getting noticed by her parents, of having someone care enough for her to step in when she was being stupid. She did not have an affair because she was in love, or in lust, but for all the wrong reasons. She did not show much backbone after the first chapter either, and had no clue what she wants.
I also never got interested in the hero, Giles. He is accompanying his father, to keep him from getting into trouble and squandering money they can't afford on his dream of opening a jeweller's shop once he finds some jewellery his late wife apparently hid in a Japanese box. Giles doesn't want to design jewellery, he wants to be an architect. And he is afraid he has inherited his mother's rheumatism as his hands and wrists often pain him severely. He is certain he cannot offer a future to a lady, and although he is attracted to Lady Audrina, she is too much above his station in life.

So thrown together in an inn, and later a castle where the first box is found, they spend time together and start talking. But still, there is no fire, no passion, no ideas. I found them lacklustre and clueless about what they want in life, and with no intention to go after it.

Should I like this story, as the author has put some drama in the inhabitants of the castle they are staying? The old lady with the Alzheimer, their widowed daughter-in-law, who is secretly gay and is hiding her self in her study of astronomy?

There is just no joy in this book, not much humor. Perhaps the redeeming factor is the second romance, between Giles' father and the old Lady Irving. Now there is a character.

I really do prefer my characters to be bolder, outspoken, to know what they want and be sure of themselves. It really doesn't have to be the usual rake and bluestocking or tomboy, but these characters I just could not feel for. They felt as victims of their circumstances and did not rise above it. Even the last chapter could not make up for this book.

4 stars out of 10.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 16 februari 2016

Heron Carvic - Miss Seeton Draws the Line

The second book in the Miss Seeton series, published in 1969.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: bad, I much prefer my Dutch covers

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Miss Seeton's every attempt at a portrait of little Effie Goffer has become a chilling picture of a corpse. Is Miss Seeton actually drawing a clue to a series of child murders in rural England? And can she turn from sketching to catching a skilled killer?

Miss Seeton has moved to Plummergen for good, and is content in Sweetbriars, her little cottage. With Martha as her housekeeper, same as she was for Mrs. Banner, Miss Seeton's late godmother, and her husband Stand to take care of the garden and the chickens, they manage fine.
Two new couples have just moved into Plummergen, and the village gossip lines are red hot. The woman of one couple is working as a cleaning lady in many of the houses, while her husband does nothing (his back, you know), and the young brother she is looking after is not going to school at all, as he is deaf and mute.
The other young couple is shy and keeps on their own, which is not approved at all by the gossips, who just want to know everything, so they are making this up. As the young man is working nights, he must be a criminal …
Meanwhile, Miss Seeton is having a problem. Mrs Goffer would love to have a picture of her horrible daughter Effie, and Miss Seeton just can't do it. One half of the face comes out fine, but the second half, is just horrible, a death mask. Is something wrong with her? Did she have a stroke or something? Finally, she decides to see Dr Knight about it. The good doctor checks her over, and declares her extremely fit for her age, and what is her secret? And so it comes out, that Miss Seeton is practicing yoga, as she got problems with her knees a few years ago, and the book promised to remedy that. And so it has!
But Anne, the doctor's daughter, senses something else when she hears the story from her father. Why did Miss Seeton think that? So when she finds out about the drawings of young Effie, she sends one to her boyfriend, Sargeant Ranger at Scotland Yard.

And as Inspector Delphick is in the middle of a serial killer case, where random young children are the victims, he sees a clue. Is this Effie the next victim? So he sends for Miss Seeton, and takes her to the morgue to draw a picture of the latest victim. Miss Seeton doesn't mind being in the morgue, as she has seen dead bodies before, during her drawing lessons at art school. It was a way to learn to draw muscles and such.
So when she draws the young boy, new clues are presented to the Inspector. Are the child murders connected to the spree of home invasions and robberies of post offices lately?

The next day, with her trusted umbrella, Miss Seeton manages to disturb a robbery in progress at their own local post office in Plummergen … setting the gossip tongues into working overtime! She stole the money herself … she is in cahoots with the robbers … she is a heroine … she is the masterbrain, nothing bad happened until she moved to Plummergen …

A great story, with a disturbing killer, but her umbrella saves Miss Seeton just in time!
The shy young couple comes to her aid, and she helps them in turn. And Inspector Delphick is left to clean up the mess.

8 stars.

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 15 februari 2016

Recommendations from Peggy for February 2016.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have read in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Peggy from Belgium.


I have read 7 novels in the past month, and the 3 books I enjoyed the most are:

1. Sweet fall – Tillie Cole

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2. The billionaire’s obsession – J.S. Scott

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3. Chasing crazy – Kelly Siskind

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This last month I was lucky enough to discover three new writers whose books I really enjoyed. And although the three books were very different from each other, each one of them held my attention from the beginning till the end! I will definitely read more books from these three writers.

I think by now that you all know that I love reading new adult books and Tillie Cole was one of those writers whose books were waiting on my ‘to read’ shelf to get read some day. But this month I finally got around to reading two of her books and now I’m only sorry that I didn’t start reading her books a little bit sooner.

‘Sweet home’ and ‘Sweet fall’ are part of the ‘Sweet home’ series that involve around the University of Alabama where American football is an important part of life. A very important part! The first book ‘Sweet home’ is about Molly, an English student and Romeo, the star quarterback and the second book ‘Sweet fall’ is about their best friends Lexington ‘Lexi’ Hart and Austin Carillo. And I know what you’re thinking when I tell you that Lexi is a cheerleader and that Austin Carillo is a starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide. But this book is much more that the clichĂ© story! I found it a very emotional story (and for the writer a very personal one too).

Both books held my attention from start till finish. Both were emotional reads and what I liked about them was that although the guy and girl were very different from each other, they were perfect together and that’s something I like very much in my books. I will definitely read the next book of this series very soon!

J.S. Scott is the second new writer that I discovered this month. Her book ‘The billionaire’s obsession’ reminded me of Jessica Clare her billionaire’s series (a series that I love very much). This story is more than a story about another billionaire. I liked Simon and Kara very much. Although Simon has an alpha, dominant side he also has a tender, protective side.
Another book that I read from J.S. Scott is ‘A dangerous bargain’ (about demons) that also tasted for more. You can (at the moment) find one or two books for free if you want to give this writer a try.

Kelly Siskind was the third discovery that I did this month, whose book ‘Chasing crazy’ had me laughing out loud from the very beginning! It’s a really funny book. Nina, the girl in the book, has the misfortune of getting herself in embarrassing situations but luckily for her she meets Sam on her way to New Zealand. ‘Chasing crazy’ is also a story about accepting who you are and that you don’t have to be perfect to find love.

That’s my recommendation for this month.

Until next month.
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Aurian: Thanks for the recommendations Peggy! Three unknown to me authors. How about you reader, have you read any of these books?

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian