Wraith by Angel Lawson

Wraith (Wraith, #1)What a story! I absolutely loved ‘Wraith’ by Angel Lawson. ‘Wraith’ was received by myself gratefully in return for an honest review. And in all honesty, I found ‘Wraith’ to be a refreshing read with some dark and emotional areas. Aimed at an audience for young adults, this novel suits it’s audience’s needs perfectly, but is also quite a nice read for adults alike.

Not too short and not too long, this novel is just right with some great characters. Jane is the main character. At seventeen she is outcast as a weirdo, a freak, for talking to herself and behaving in a strange manner both in and around school. Little do people know that she is seeing and interacting with Evan, a ghost and her new best friend. Jane spends most of her time with Evan and they have a very close bond. However, when Connor begins Jane’s school she is not the only one who can see Evan. And Connor, having had connections with ghosts himself, is aware that Evan may not only be around Jane for her friendship but also needs her assisatnce to help his spirit move on. Whilst Jane is not ready to accept this, she eventually realises the truth, needing to help Evan’s mum and sisters escape from an abusive partner/stepfather-type, John.

The reader really feels sympathy towards Jane as it must be difficult for a young person trying to make new friends in a new town, at the same time as having to get used to a new school, leaving her old friends behind and being laughed at by her new classmates. Jane is very brave and holds her own reasonably well.

Connor, on the other hand, is familiar with the school as he used to attend it before. He has friends and is quite popular as some would prefer not to say a bad word against him due to rumours of his previous delinquent behaviour. He is seen as the bad boy at school, but a stunner and a charmer all the same. He can be quite sweet and he understands the situation that Jane is in with Evan.

Throughout the novel the reader experiences a great deal of doubt from Jane and mistrust for Connor. These feelings twist from one way to the other. The reader is constantly kept on their toes in regard to Connor. But as he’s so hot you want to trust him and hope that he means well.

Evan is a troubled spirit who is trapped as he hasn’t moved on in the spiritual world. He uses his time looking out for Jane and being a close friend to her. Thus, making company for both of them. However, Evan is worried about the well-being of his mother and sisters. He is a character that needs to be mothered and the reader just wants to wrap him up in cotton wool – if that is at all possible – and show him some affection.

My favourite character is Jeannie, Jane’s aunt. She is an artist and a hippy-type character. She seems very flighty and free. When she sees Jane she notices her aura and is aware that ‘death’ is following her around. Jeannie is definitely a character that could grow with this series and play more of a crucial role in Jane’s life by allowing Jane to confide in her. Jeannie is very spiritual with an elderly mother who shares Jane’s gift. I would love these characters to develop more and possibly add more humour and support for Jane.

There are some dark action scenes in this novel, nothing too graphic or terrifying, as Angel Lawson writes these scenes very carefully to target her attended audience. These scenes were great and intense as the reader can do nothing but hope for a great outcome. John, the abusive partner to Evan’s mum is an awful character as you could imagine an abusive man to be. Without spoiling the story too much, there are a couple of times he follows Jane. I would have liked more detail at these points to confirm how he knew about where and when Jane would be. Maybe I missed this but I felt that these scenes, even though very exciting and tense, come upon the reader very quickly without too much explanation.

I think that ‘Wraith’ is quite original, written well and easy to read. There is one scene, involving a key, that reminded me of the film ‘Ghost’ where Patrick Swayze’s spirit character, Sam Wheat, is able to pick up a penny and balance it on his finger towards his living wife, played by Demi Moore. It is really quite an emotional read in both sad and happy ways. I would like to read the sequel ‘Shadow Bound’ which is available now. So until then “later”!

Angel Lawson’s website: http://www.angellawson.com

‘Wraith’ book cover by kind permission of Anna Benefield & Samantha Marrs. Designer http://www.angstyg.com

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Special Offers on Books

shutterstock_97614038-001I noticed the following special offers on some Amazon Kindle books over the last few days, which some of you might be interested in – a couple of hot contemporaries and a medieval romance:

Kirsten Ashley’s Creed (Unfinished Heroes) is 77p at Amazon UK and $1.17  at Amazon US

Her book Knight (The Unfinished Heroes Series)  is also 77p at Amazon UK and  $1.17 at Amazon US

I have not read any Kirsten Ashley books yet, but the reviews that I have read elsewhere have sounded like I need to get in on the act! These particular two books deal with bad boy alpha heroes, which I believe are her speciality and are for mature audiences.

Samantha Holt ‘s The Angel’s Assassin is FREE at Amazon UK and Amazon US. This book is described as a medieval tale of love and deception, involving a dark knight with a secret. Click on the links for more information. I have read the author’s The Crimson Castle, which I enjoyed, and have decided to read this too as the book blurb promises a romantic read with a hero torn between duty and love.

The offers were for the e books only and were correct at the time I posted this article, but are subject to change.

Tina @ ARR

P.S. I hope that you all felt some love during the whole of February, not just on Valentine’s day and that you are looking forward to the rest of the year. Let me know if you have read any of the above authors and share your thoughts on their books!

Post image: Andreka/Shutterstock

Renegade (The Captive Series, Book 2), by Erica Stevens

15102674[1]-001Vampire Prince and his Rebel Love

If you have not read Captured, the first book in the Captive Series, please note that this review contains spoilers, as it contains refrerences which relate to it. I recommend that this series be read in order gain maximum enjoyment. Please check out my earlier review of Captured if you are interested.

Like the first book in this series, Captured, I found it hard to put this down until I had finished it. The main couple, Arianna and Braith are fated to be together, yet they seem doomed by birth and circumstance to be forced apart.

Renegade picks up the tale of the romance between the human Aria and Braith, the heir to the vampire throne, a few months after Arianna and Max escaped from the palace. Although Arianna knew that as Braith’s captive and blood slave they had no long term future, she is still angry and heartbroken after discovering that he is engaged to marry a female vampire. She seeks solace in the natural environment, but is a husk of her formal self. Matt, her childhood friend and fellow escapee, seeks to support her, believing like her family that Braith brainwashed her into thinking that she cared for him.

Braith has felt betrayed and filled with rage, since Arianna escaped, filling his days with violence and taking blood slaves to try and satisfy his bloodlust. He hopes to forget Arianna as his memory of her only pains him. Palace scouts catch sight of Arianna one day and give chase, but she escapes. Rather than let his brother Caleb or another vampire get their hands on her, Braith goes in search of her to exact his own revenge. He spies Arianna in the woods and gives chase in an extremely quick paced and emotional scene. We find out if Braith can bring himself to harm her or not and also what happens to the couple after Braith later takes her far away from the bosom of her family. The world beyond the palace and its environs opens up to us in this novel and are introduced to some new characters from Braith’s past and the real reasons behind the start of the war between humans and vampires. We also learn more about Braith and Arianna’s special bond. There are some startling revelations towards the end of this novel which set the scene nicely for the next book and impact on the future of all the major characters.

Arianna is on yet another emotional roller coaster with the return of Braith into her life. She is torn between her loyalty to her family and the rebels and her love for Braith, who as a vampire is their enemy. We see more of her prowess as a warrior in this book. Braith, despite his initial anger at what he sees as her betrayal, is as protective of Arainna as ever. He does not like the thought of her ever being with another and hates it when another male touches her. Their bond is such that they cannot bear being parted. I  hope  that Arianna manages to maintain her individuality in subsequent books and does not become subsumed by Braith’s alpha personality.

We do not see a lot of Caleb in this novel, but he remains an ever present threat. We do, however, learn more about Jack, Braith’s vampire brother, who has defected to the rebels, led by Arianna’s father. Jack is very protective of the seventeen year old Arianna and wants to protect her from Braith, as does her family.  Max wants Arianna for himself, despising vampires,  since his torture as a blood slave, and Braith in particular because of what he believes she suffered at his hands.

I love the intense and emotional way that this author writes this tale, leaving the reader in no doubt as to Braith and Arianna’s special connection, despite the many obstacles in the way of their love. It is an incredibly romantic tale; their sharing of each others’ blood in particular is very emotionally charged and for a novel aimed at young adults quite erotic. I recommend this book and the series for those who like to read paranormal romance with great world building, an ever evolving plot and intense characters. Refugee is the next book in this series and I will be posting a review of it fairly soon.  The author’s website indicates that the final novel Salvation will be published in June this year.

Please note – this book is classed as New Adult as it contains some language, violence, and sexual situations. Recommended for ages 16+

Author’s website http://ericasteven.blogspot.co.uk

Cover art by www.EbookLaunch.com and image used by kind permission of Erica Stevens




Only 3 days left to Name our Knitted Character!!!!

405731_10151425124479640_234143526_n[2]We are still looking for a name for our latest knitted character! We have the following names so far: Demonella, Zorra, Rhona, Diva Lady, Cherry, Rose, Rhonda Rock Chick, Davina McDoll, Fiendish Finuala, Fionnuala and Satanic Sacha!

If you have a name suggestion please make a comment below, post it on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AReadersReview or even pick a name from above that you particularly like. We will take all suggestions into consideration. Ultimately, it will be up to Carol Davies, the maker of our knitted characters, to choose a name.  You have until Thursday 28th February 2013 to let us know!

If you do like a name from the list above and it proves quite popular then it may be that that will be the chosen name! Thanks guys and good luck 🙂 Caroline x

To view our full post with extra pics please click on this link:- https://areadersreviewblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/name-our-latest-knitted-character/

Arcadia Burns (Arcadien #2) by Kai Meyer

arcadia_burns[1]‘Arcadia Burns’ is the second book of Kai Meyer’s Arcadien Trilogy. A Reader’s Review Blog received this novel gratefully from Templar Publishing in return for an honest review. After not having read the first book of the trilogy, ‘Arcadia Awakens’, I was conscious that there may be some gaps in my knowledge of the story thus far and the characters. However, once I began to read I found that the introduction was really great. The reader is made aware from the very first chapter of Rosa and Alessandro’s family history and their relationship with one another. This in itself made me feel that this book could be read as a stand alone.

Rosa and Alessandro are both from Mafia clans, albeit different Mafia clans. This does have a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ effect in that members of these families want their relationship to end and will go to great lengths to see this happen. Their love for each other is a very strong bond and although some secrets are kept from each other, it is only with the others’ interests at heart and so they do not allow these to come between them. The novel focuses mostly on Rosa who has recently become head of her clan and is, therefore, expected to oversee quite a few decisions regarding her clans businesses, illegal activities and family problems. However, Rosa does not really want any of this. Rosa returns to New York to find out about her family history in Sicily from her mother. This does not necessarily go according to plan as she later finds that she is being chased from members of Alessandro’s family.

There is also a great paranormal twist with Rosa and Alessandro not always being human. Under certain situations of duress they transform into different creatures: Rosa, a snake, and Alessandro, a Panther. Throughout this novel we learn that Alessandro seems to have more control over his transformation, whereas Rosa still needs to learn how to control hers. It doesn’t help matters when Rosa is injected with a serum, against her own wishes, from a member of Alessandro’s clan, that prevents her transformation from happening for a period of time. This is a fascinating read.

‘Arcadia Burns’ is recommended for young adults, or those age fourteen and over, quite rightly so as there are dark action scenes. However, it is a gentle introduction to some Mafia activity. It allows the reader to absorb what is happening without terrifying them. I think that Kai Meyer has written this very carefully to ensure that this book is suitable to it’s targeted audience.

On opening the book initially, I noticed a beautiful chapter layout, making it very easy to navigate to the last page that has been read. Although the book as a whole is quite lengthy each chapter isn’t so, allowing busy readers to be able to read the story in their own time without having to put the book down during a vital scene. This also added an air of lightness, which is rather nice considering the darkness of the story.

Throughout reading this novel there were occasions when I felt that the chapters didn’t always flow nicely into each other. Sometimes the reader is left wondering what is happening. But, with a little patience and perseverance within a couple of pages my questions were answered. There were also times when I felt that the story was moving a little too slow, however as  the story unfolds and we begin the latter chapters everything is put into persepctive and the reader becomes engrossed with the action, hoping for the best possible outcome. Originally written in German, ‘Arcadia Burns’ was translated into English by Anthea Bell. It would be unfair of me to say how the translation has affected the story as I do not speak German, and therefore haven’t read the original. However, the story is very good, beautifully written with some really strong characters.

‘Arcadia Burns’ has left me hoping that Rosa and Alessandro make it and are allowed to live their life together without intervention of others. I have no doubt in Alessandro’s love for Rosa and hope that it stays this way. This novel has been likened to ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Godfather’. Whilst it is a diluted version of ‘The Godfather’ and has a strong love bond between the two main characters from opposing family clans, I feel that it’s likeness to ‘Twilight’ is not so apparent. I can only assume that this is due to the paranormal sides of the story, but personally I found ‘Arcadia Burns’ to be completely different and original.

Kai Meyer’s ‘Arcadia Falls’ will be the third and final instalment of the Arcadien trilogy and is due to be released in 2014.

Publisher’s website: http://www.templarco.co.uk/

Cover art by kind permission of Will Steele

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

For another take on ‘Arcadia Burns’ please take a look at Tina’s review.

Blood, She Read by Sara Hubbard

BloodSheRead_SHubbard_133-200Murder, Magic and First Love

Blood, She Read is the debut novel of author Sara Hubbard. It is a character driven tale of friendship and first love, which involves murder, magic, deceit, jealousy and betrayal.

In the novel, Petra Maras is a witch from a long line of witches. She and her mother are on the run from her father who is a criminal. They have just moved into her mother’s childhood home in the town of Paradise, Nova Scotia. In addition to being a witch, Petra is also a psychic and can read people, seeing into their past and future. She reluctantly agrees to help the police with their investigation into the murder of a local girl, Josie, by attempting to use her gift to read an object stained with the victim’s blood.

Although she hasn’t identified any individual in her reading, suspicion falls on Finn, one of the boys at school. This does not go down well with Finn’s brother Tommy, who is openly hostile towards her. At the same time Dylan, who was close to Josie, befriends Petra. Finn, however, is drawn to Petra and asks her out. At first Petra resists, as she knows that Finn is a murder suspect, and also because Dylan does not approve of him. However, they do date but Petra cannot read Finn and she cannot be sure if he is as innocent as he seems. Also Petra realises that Finn is hiding secrets from her and begins to question his motives and whether he is the murderer after all.

The tale begins to hot up and contains scenes of attempted blackmail, theft and violence against Petra. These scenes are peppered with magic potions and spells cast by Petra and Gina, which do not always work according to plan! There is also a secondary romance involving Gina. After a number of surprising plot twists, which I did not see coming, the tale resolves in a satisfying HEA.

Petra has experienced a lot of unpleasantness in her life. This has left her strong, as she is used to dealing with adversity, but also vulnerable, as she finds it hard to trust. She is ashamed of her powerful magic and aches to be normal, but is shunned by her classmates, who know that she is from a family of witches. Petra is overjoyed when Dylan becomes her friend and begins to trust him and share her past. She cannot believe it when Finn, the school hunk claims that he is attracted to her. She fears that he has an ulterior motive or it is only because, as a murder suspect, he is being shunned by others and has no one else to turn to.

The characters of the three young men in the book play a big role in Petra’s life and in the development of the plot. Dylan, who befriends Petra, is a misfit. He was close friends with Josie and wants to find her murderer, suspecting Finn. Finn is an attractive and enigmatic figure and it is easy to see how Petra is drawn to him. He seems genuinely attracted to her but is harbouring secrets. Tommy, Finn’s brother, is aggressive towards her and the reader is left to wonder whether he is protecting Finn, has something to hide or if he is the murderer. I found myself chuckling at the teenage relationships in this book as it not only made me remember the positive feelings of first love, but also how uncomfortable they can make you feel!

Gina, Petra’s mother is volatile. Petra and Gina do not have a typical mother/daughter relationship and often Petra acts more like the adult than Gina does. Gina’s romance in the novel is, in typical Gina style, unconventional! The way the relationship between Petra and Gina develops is one of the central themes to the book and I ended up liking Gina a lot more at the end. Other characters include Henry the police officer, who plays a key role throughout the book and Sebastian, a demon, who, bound in service to Petra’s father, makes a brief but noteworthy appearance.

Overall I found the novel to be an engaging read with funny and romantic moments with a lot of suspense. Although the end was satisfying, it also left scope for the author to develop future novels. I would like to find out what happens to some of the other characters, especially Tommy and Sebastian, as well as future adventures of Petra and Finn. I would recommend this book for young adults or adults who like sweet paranormal romance with a strong plot and characterisations, containing humour and a HEA.

This novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of an honest review.

Author’s website    http://www.sara-hubbard.com

Publisher’s website  http://www.etopia-press.net

Cover art by kind permission of Eithne Ni Anluaine


What I am reading now – Blood, She Read by Sara Hubbard

BloodSheRead_SHubbard_133-200I am currently reading Blood, She Read by Sara Hubbard, her debut novel, which I will be posting a review of in a few days time. In it, Petra Maras is a witch from a long lone of witches. She is on the run from her father who is a criminal and she lives with her mother, Gina.

Petra aches to be normal, but this is pretty hard when she can’t always control her powerful magic. She is also a psychic and can read objects and people. She reluctantly agrees to help the police in her new town with a murder investigation. However, things get complicated as the chief suspect, to whom she is attracted, wants to date her! Unfortunately Petra cannot read him and she can’t be sure if he is as innocent as he seems…………………….

So far I am finding it an engaging read, with some funny and romantic moments, with a lot of suspense. A full review to come soon.

This novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of an honest review.

Author’s website    http://www.sara-hubbard.com

Publisher’s website  http://www.etopia-press.net

Cover art by kind permission of Eithne Ni Anluaine

Special Offers on Books

This Thursday, 21st February the Book Depository is discounting a selection of their books – 100 books over 25 hours. Click on the link to be taken to their site to see if it is of interest to you.

I also found that Erica Stevens’ vampire romance Captured (the Captive Series Book 1) is FREE in Kindle format at Amazon UK and Amazon US. Smashwords also has this free in ebook format. I really adored this novel and will be reading and reviewing books 2 and 3 in the series very soon!

I also enjoy redaing Ruth Ann Nordin. I noticed that some of her books are also available FREE in ebook format at the moment. Of these I thought I would mention in Loving Eliza, a sweet historical western romance, where the heroine, a prostitute, finds a second chance at life. Check out Amazon UKAmazon US or  Smashwords if interested. I like to read books where the hero or heroine find redemption and came across Eliza in another book I read by the author and want to find out more about her.

The author’s Suddenly a Bride (Across the Stars Book 1), where the hero, an alien seeks a bride from earth as his home planet has no women also looks like a good read. See Amazon UK, Amazon US or Smashwords.

Happy reading!

Tina @ ARR

Born to Bite by Lynsay Sands

15846345[2]-001An Argeneau Vampire Novel

If you like a heavy dose of humour with your vampires, yet still want heaps of romance, you may want to try Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau Vampire series, which documents the lives and loves of a family of vampires. Born to Bite is book 13 in the series. It can also be read as a stand alone. The Argeneau novels are set in the modern age and have a completely different take on vampires than what we are used to. In Lynsay Sands’ vampire mythology vampires are immortals who hail from the island of Atlantis. Scientists there developed nano technology to the extent that it healed bodies, making the inhabitants immortal. The only drawback being that for the nanos to work they had to live on blood. Thus the vampire myth was born!

In the past, although the immortals were compelled to take blood from humans ‘on the hoof’, today they mainly take it in the form of refrigerated blood bags. They tend to hide their existence from humans, unless they feel that they can be trusted and will not try and stake them or go into panic mode! As with many other vampire mythologies, they can read (most) minds and can wipe memories with the exception of older vampires, whose minds can be harder to read and those who are destined to be their life mate. In the previous books that I have read in the series the romantic pairings at the core of each have been vampire and human.

In Born to Bite, Eshe d’Aureus, an Enforcer, employed by Lucien Argeneau, is sent on an undercover mission to investigate Lucien’s brother Armand. Lucien tells Armand that Eshe needs to lie low for a few weeks as she is being hunted by an enemy. However, she is really investigating the deaths of Armand’s life mate Susanna and his subsequent wives, Althea and Rosamund, and his daughter-in-law Annie. Linked to the investigation is also the fate of Nicholas, Armand’s son, who unbeknown to Armand has been imprisoned by Lucien, suspected of killing a human.

Both Armand and Eshe are immortals and almost as soon as they clap eyes on each other they realise that they cannot read each others’ minds and that they are life mates! Now with these vampires when this happens things become very interesting. It means that they are wildly attracted to and cannot keep their hands off each other. They also start to regain their appetite for food, which wanes if they are without a life mate. These factors make for a number of hilarious scenes. Lucien, rightly concerned that Eshe will find it hard to concentrate on the investigation due to her preoccupation with earthly pursuits, sends a co-enforcer, Bricker, to assist her and keep her mind on the job. As she has been without a life mate for hundreds of years, Eshe is keen to prove that Armand and Nicholas are innocent. The team investigates not just Armand’s alibis, but those of other immortals who were around at the time of the deaths. However, it soon becomes clear that the killer or a killer is very much at large as both Armand and Eshe’s lives are threatened. The remaining investigation includes a great many plot twists, punctuated by passionate trysts between Eshe and Armand, as the team strives to discover who the murderer is before he or she gets to them first!

Armand’s character is sweet and sexy. Suspecting foul play, he has kept himself apart from his offspring for years to protect them. He makes a half-hearted attempt to resist succumbing to Eshe’s charms, to protect her too, but soon wants to keep her, his new life mate, close to protect her. Eshe is a motorbike riding Amazon, who in contrast with Armand, has a larger than life personality. She is very happy to embrace her new life mate from the outset, and is enjoying getting to grips with both sex and eating again.

There are a host of secondary characters, including Bricker, the co-enforcer, the rude and sarcastic Lucien, whom we have met in previous novels and is now himself mated, and other characters linked to Armand, who may have a bearing on the fate of his wives.

Lynsay Sands’ writing style is full of gentle humour, punctuated by comic and sweet sex scenes. However, the tale also has elements of romantic suspense, as the investigation seeks to reveal who committed the past murders and also who wants to kill Armand and Eshe.

I recommend this book to lovers of paranormal vampire romance who maybe want a break from the usual vampire fare of brooding/tortured hero and instead want to read a humorous romantic but suspenseful tale, with loveable characters.

Cover design by Patrick Knowles

Author’s website         www.lynsaysands.net

Publisher website        www.gollancz.co.uk   www.orionbook.co.uk

Our Review Policy

Most of the books that we review are either purchased by us or borrowed from our local library. Sometimes we are lucky enough to acquire one free from a promotion by an online bookseller. Since starting our blog we have been over the moon with how many of you have decided to ‘pop in’ now and again to read our reviews. We are enjoying sharing our thoughts with you and are happy to receive any comments on individual posts or your thoughts on the blog or reading in general.

We have recently been fortunate to be offered sample books to review by a number of authors and a publisher. We are very pleased by this as it gives us the opportunity to expand our reading material and share the resulting reviews with you.

In the interests of meeting our legal obligations as book bloggers and  informing any authors and publishers who wish to approach us, we have drawn up a Review Policy. This is set out on a separate page of our blog and we will update is as necessary.

The main point to note is that if we are given a sample book to review by a third party and we feel that it is something that we would enjoy reading and sharing with you, we do so on the basis that we will carry out an honest review of it. We do not do it for monetary gain, nor are we currently a member of any affiliate programme run by any of the online booksellers. We aim to be as transparent as possible and will let our readers know if a book has been given to us to review by an author or publisher by clearly labelling the review relating to that book. Our readers should assume that all other books reviewed by us on this site have been purchased by us, downloaded for free through a special promotion open to all, borrowed from our local library or (if we are lucky enough) won in a competition.

We would however, love to hear from authors and publishers who wish to offer copies of their books for review or for giveaways, or who wish to feature in guest posts. We feel that this will add to our readers’ enjoyment of reading our blog.

We are new to blogging and therefore welcome any views on our Review Policy from any fellow book bloggers, or readers.

Tina and Caroline ARR