Happy Easter to all our Readers!

Easter 2013 018-001I was hoping to post a picture of some golden daffodils in our garden, whilst basking in the spring sunshine, but the British weather has other ideas. Instead, I have made an internet star out of the Easter Chick my eldest made at Brownies this week. I hope that you like him!

I am about half way through reading Kellyann Zuzulo’s The Genie Ignites and hope to post a review  in the next few days. So far it is a very sexy and engrossing read, with strong elements of suspense and intrigue.

I noticed this week that Amazon has some deals on the following e-books (please note that the prices were correct at the time of posting but may have changed when you read this post):

Darker After Midnight (Midnight Breed 10), by Lara Adrian

Amazon UK 99p            Amazon US $1.51

I loved this book, but then I love all of the Midnight Breed Series! I recommend it if you like vampire romances, featuring some very alpha males, although I would advise starting with the first book in the series. Lara Adrian has a great take on the vampire myth as her vampires have alien DNA.

Knight Awakened (Circle of Seven #1), by Coreen Callahan

Amazon UK 99p        Amazon US $1.50

I haven’t read any books by this author as yet, but I am tempted to try this one.

Consequences, by Aleatha Romig

Amazon UK 73p          Amazon US $1.10

I purchased this book late last year and have not been brave enough to read it yet! It is the first book in a trilogy. Most readers elsewhere have loved it. It sounds like a dark read along the lines of an erotic thriller, but I believe that it does contain some violent scenes.

Once Burned: A Night Prince Novel: Night Prince Series, Book 1, by Jeaniene Frost

Amazon UK £1.99       Amazon US $3.03

I have read some of the author’s Night Huntress Series which pairs a half-vampire Cat with a scrummy vampire called Bones, and I really enjoyed them as they are sexy and funny, with a kick-ass heroine. Also Bones is one of my favourite vampire characters. According to the book blurb, this tale features Vlad Tepesh, who inspired the greatest vampire legend of them all, and a woman whose body has been scarred by a tragic accident, giving her the power to channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets. It will be a great read if it is as good as the Night Huntress novels that I have read.

Happy reading!

Tina and Caroline 🙂

The Key to Helmbrooke. For the Love of Isabelle. By Jayn Wilde

41JsSzD0w2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-074Sweet Fantasy Romance

The Key to Helmbrooke. For the Love of Isabelle by Jayn Wilde is her first published work. It contains an evil queen, a young maiden and a man intent on committing one final foul deed before he starts a new life. It is a short story of circa 82 pages.

Isabelle’s mother died a year previously and on the anniversary of her death her father is kidnapped and spirited away by the queen’s men, as he refuses to give them a special key they are seeking. Isabelle leaves her fiancée behind and sets out from her village, alone and on foot to find him, heading to the palace of Helmbrooke, home to the queen. Isabelle is a young woman with a free spirit and craves adventure.

Queen Tristana, feared by all, tasks Zander, a skilled tracker and hunter, with finding Isabelle. She instructs him to earn Isabelle’s’s trust, take the key from her and return it to the palace, leaving her to die in the forest. Zander, a tortured hero, is not proud of his past and decides that this will be his last job for the queen, before takes the gold he is due and uses it to fund a more reputable future.

Isabelle loses her way and by chance comes across Zander, who points her in the right direction. Zander is intrigued by Isabelle and follows her as he is curious as to why anyone would voluntarily seek the palace. Isabelle employs him to escort her there and it is not long before Zander realises that she is the woman he needs to deceive and abandon in the forest. However, the more he gets to know her, the less he desires to do this.The remainder of the plot includes capture, incarceration, magic and a sword wielding queen. We learn what happened to Isabelle’s mother, why the key is so important to the queen and whether Zander and Isabelle have a future together.

The book is a sweet romance. Isabelle and Zander are attracted to each other almost immediately, although Zander tries to fight this because of his orders and as such Isabelle thinks that he does not care for her. However, in the course of their journey to the palace we are given many examples of how their attraction grows and how they come to develop feelings for each other. I particularly liked the two scenes which took place at the waterfall – the descriptions were very vivid and they made me smile. I also enjoyed the humorous banter between Zander and Isabelle, which formed part of their courtship.

Overall it is a heart warming romantic tale. I could imagine it being told by the fireside to young and old alike. I liked the plot and thought that the pacing of the story was excellent. I would have liked a little more back story about the two main characters, but this would have been difficult due to the length of the book. I would certainly read another book by the author and recommend it to all lovers of a sweet romance.

Author Jayn Wilde’s Blog

The Hourglass Killer Trilogy by LR Potter

The Hourglass Killer Trilogy - All 3 BooksWhat a brilliant and carefully written dark, dark crime thriller? Poor Tess!!! Tess Champion is a police detective in Colarado, and we begin the first novel, ‘Dwindling Sands’, with Tess being subjected to a violent, torturous, sexual attack in her own home. As she returns to work, alongside her partner, Anthony Delgado, they are faced with a murder of a woman with similar scenarios that Tess found herself in. Is she going mad? Is she scared after what happened to her? Is she adding two and two together and coming up with five? However, over time there are more murders, each with a possible link to her ordeal.

Tess, although now feeling vulnerable and weak, is actually one of the strongest heroine’s that I have read about. Mentally, she has been teased and taunted, confused and, after the third book, ‘Cascading Sands’, in that much despair that it is a wonder that she doesn’t end her own pain. However, she keeps on going. She is a fighter deep down and her inner strength helps her to survive.

As Tess’ attacker knew her by name, it is believed throughout that it must be somebody that she knew. There are five main characters to keep you guessing; Anthony Delgado, her partner; Carter, her twin brother (even though unlikely, you can’t rule anyone out!); Thom Wyndom, her new love interest; Dominic Wyndom, Thom’s brother and an acquaintance to Tess, and finally; Dane Carver, the first and only true love from Tess’ past. I kept an open mind as different areas of the story led me to believe that each of these characters were capable and had the opportunity but as the story unfolded there were so many possible scenarios that the reader simply cannot determine the culprit until it is all made clear at the end.

Due to the motivation, the obsession, of the murderer and their perseverance it does feel very personal. Therefore, each event that happens with Tess is very believable and horrific. He, the murderer, is referred to as ‘The Angry Man’ and, in the prologue, he is the first character the reader encounters. We learn of his obsession, his need for control and throughout the book we know how he despises those he deems vulnerable and weak. These can be disposed of, as far as he is concerned, as there is no real need for them.

Initially, I was planning to read ‘Dwindling Sands (Book 1)’ of The Hourglass Killer Trilogy and separate each book with another of my choice in between. However, I was hooked! Each book of this trilogy is carefully interwoven with the next that I just had to simply carry on reading. The stories, settings, characters, etc, are so fluent that it felt like I was reading only one novel. ‘The Hourglass Trilogy’ is absolutely gripping, with so many twists and turns and unexpected turn of events. Just when the reader thinks that there are no more ordeals for Tess – bam! – another hits you right in the face.

There are many adult themes in these novels, such as abduction, rape and murder. Hence the strongly recommended 18+ year age warning. LR Potter’s style of writing these horrific scenes is amazing. The reader feels so tense in parts and there are some scenes that are creepy and yet the writing of these scenes is not over-exaggerated. LR Potter displays her sensitivity towards these scenes when she describes Tess at her worst, after each ordeal. It would be so nice just to pick Tess up from the book and pop her in your pocket to keep her safe! She is in trouble, without even realising it at times, and, working for the police department, she feels like she should be able to protect herself. It is so upsetting, knowing that she is vulnerable and a possible target/link to this monster.

I am disappointed to let Tess go – although to be fair she has been through enough. However, the whole setting and characters of these books make me want to read more about her. If you are interested in crime thrillers this is a must-read. If you would like to try a crime thriller for the first time, ‘The Hourglass Killer Trilogy’ will blow you away, at the same time as keeping you on your toes. After this absolutely brilliant introduction to LR Potter’s work , I am definitely looking forward to reading more of her novels.

‘The Hourglass Killer Trilogy’ was sent to me for the purpose of a honest and just review. Received gratefully, with thanks, from the copyeditor, Carolyn Pinard.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Books I’ll be reading this week

genieignites_full-17942442_std[1]I am planning to read Kellyann Zuzulo’s romance novel, The Genie Ignites (Book 1 of the Zubis Chronicles), which she has kindly provided ARR for an honest review. I am very excited as I have never read a book with a genie as a hero and having read the excerpt on Kellyann’s site I am intrigued. This is the book blurb from her publisher, Boroughs Publishing:

Girl meets genie. They fall in love. Girl gets killed. Genie gets cursed. Three millennia later, she’s reincarnated as a smart, somewhat sardonic 21st century editor who can’t remember the great love of her existence. The genie however, will never forget her.

I think that the pairing of a modern day woman with an ancient genie has all the ingredients of a great read. I hope to post my review in the next week or so.

Templar Publishing have also kindly provided us with copies of a proof of a forthcoming young adult publication, Drummer Girl, 16691515[1]-002by Bridget Tyler, for an honest review. In this novel, five London schoolgirls form a band and win a talent show that takes them to L. A . However, L.A. has a dark underbelly and the girls find themselves having to deal with issues such as murder and drug addiction, alongside the usual teenage trials of first love and self-image, in this coming of age novel. Caroline and I have decided to read and review this independently of each other and post our reviews side by side this week. The novel is scheduled for publication this May. See Amazon UK  and Amazon US  sites.

We love reading and reviewing books for the site, but we are also looking into ways to spice up the content where we can. Look out for some guest posts from authors or other bloggers, blog hops and some special themes, starting with our Werewolf theme coming soon!

Tina 🙂

Cover design for Drummer Girl by Will Steele

Update from Tina

Books I’ve read recently

assassin%20(1).jpg.opt134x203o0,0s134x203[1]I read and reviewed Samantha Holt’s The Angel’s Assassin, which takes place in medieval England. If you have read my review you know that I enjoyed this immensely. The hero, a dark mercenary knight, is not only an alpha, but a tortured alpha. The woman he is sent to kill is the very woman that melts his heart!


15724366[1]-002I also re-read Connie Balfour’s Deceptive Lord, (Lords of Bondage Series #1). I read this last year before we began our blog and it is one of those unforgettable reads that I just had to share. The story takes place in an alternate Earth, at first in Flourda, in the household of a deranged dominatrix Countess Nefertiti, who keeps a male harem, which is on the receiving end of her depraved passions. The hero of the tale, Drest, an alien/Druid hybrid from the land of Asstrumnia, infiltrates her household on a mission from his king. In escaping Nefertiti’s clutches, he kidnaps Lady Eden Avenal, Nefertiti’s half-sister, and transports her to Asstrumnia, rendering her a captive in an alien land. I have posted this on our Sizzle and Burn site. It is a very naughty and humorous romp! For adult readers.

I also read a couple of novels that I don’t plan to do a detailed review of but which I found to be great reads:

Kristen Ashley’s Knight, book 1 in her Unfinished Heroes Series, an erotic romance. This is the first book I have read from this author and the characters are addictive. The main character, Knight, is an alpha male and an anti-hero.  He has had a dark past and lives life on the wrong side of the law, although he has his own code of honour.  He meets a young woman, Anya, who does not belong to his world, and although he does not think he will be good for her they begin a passionate affair. Knight is  very dominant in and out of the bedroom and I enjoyed all of the scenes the main couple had together! The main tension in the plot not only came from whether Anya enjoyed Knight’s dominance but also whether she could accept him for what he was, especially when the extent of his operations comes to light. It was a super hot, romantic read and I will be reading Kristen Ashley again.

Elizabeth Hoyt’s To Desire a Devil, is a great conclusion to her Legend of the Four Soldiers Series. Each story has centred on one of the four soldiers who survived the betrayal of their regiment and suffered torture at the hands of natives in the American colonies. In this instalment, Reynaud St Aubyn  returns to Georgian England seven years after being presumed dead, to reclaim his Earldom, after being enslaved by the natives who tortured his fellow soldiers. He is a scarred hero, inside and out, and I loved the way he courted the heroine, Beatrice, the neice of the current Earl.

The main tension in the plot is whether Reynaud can reclaim his title, as he is suffering from post combative stress disorder and it is in the interests of others to prove him insane. There is also the matter of who is responsible for the attempts on his life and what impact these events and his state of mind have on his relationship with the heroine. I love reading Elizabeth Hoyt, as her heroes and heroines and the situations she puts them in are always so original. I have read all of her books now and am eagerly awaiting the next in her Maiden Lane Series.

Happy reading!

Tina 🙂

Deceptive Lord (Lords of Bondage) cover art by kind permission of Corinne Balfour

The Angel’s Assassin, by Samantha Holt

assassin%20(1).jpg.opt134x203o0,0s134x203[1]The Redemptive Power of Love

In this medieval romance penned by Samantha Holt, a dark knight finds redemption through the power of love, in a romantic tale that I found had an almost fable like quality.

In The Angel’s Assassin, Nicholas, a hardened mercenary knight, is employed by Lord Benedict. He is tasked with taking his niece Annabel, under the pretext of protecting her from rebels, from her home at Castle Alderweald, and return her to Benedict’s abode. Once there, he is to guard her until he receives word from his employer to return her to Alderweald, ensuring that she then meets with a fatal accident. In the intervening time Lord Benedict will persuade the king, Williams Rufus, that Annabel is a traitor, thus paving the way for him to inherit Alderweald, without suspicion falling on him. Nicholas has not killed a woman before, but accepts the task. When he reaches Alderweald Castle it is already under siege from the rebels. Nicholas therefore easily persuades the terrified young woman that he has been sent by her uncle to bring her to safety, and they escape on foot into the adjacent forest.

Nicholas has never met a woman like Annabel, whom he finds angelic, almost fey like in her appearance and he fights his attraction knowing what he must do. Annabel in turn is grateful to her rescuer, seeing him as a brave and honourable man. Forced into close proximity a strong attraction develops into something far deeper. Yet will Nicholas fulfil his contract? What will Annabel do if she finds out his real motives for rescuing her? Annabel’s evil uncle will go to any ends necessary to claim Alderweald, even if Nicholas decides to leave his contract unfulfilled. The remaining plot contains some sweet and hot love making scenes, deceit, violence, betrayal and redemption.

Nicholas, a lonely man, has accumulated wealth due to his misdeeds but he sees no joy in life until Annabel. He is awed by her blind trust in him as her saviour, but also her kindness and intelligence. I loved the way she seems to mesmerise and bewitch him. Annabel has had no experience of men outside her own family. She is immediately grateful to her mysterious and taciturn rescuer and little by little she breaches his defences, finding out as much as she can about him. She knows that he is not unaffected by her presence and finds him equally attractive.

I found the tale to be a sweet romance with likeable central characters. I love a dark hero and was praying for his redemption and a HEA throughout. Much of the plot centred on the couples’ growing attraction towards each other, the conflict coming from Nicholas’ own feelings of self loathing and from the machinations of Lord Benedict. I found that Annabel was not your typical Medieval heroine, as she succumbed to the physical side of their relationship more easily than perhaps a lady would have done at the time. However, she is portrayed as a character who knows her own mind and I think that any woman faced with a hero such as Nicholas would have acted the same way! I enjoy Samantha Holt’s writing style, which enables the reader to get into the head of her characters and transports them into another time and place. If you like medieval romances I can also recommend her novel A Crimson Castle.

Author Samantha Holt’s website

Sizzle and Burn Book Reviews

Tina-001We like our fiction with an element of romance in it, be it a paranormal, sci-fi, contemporary or an historical, from books aimed at young adults to adults.

However,  sometimes the novels we read may be controversial and darker and we are not comfortable putting a review of them on this site.This is because some of our readers are below 18. It is for that reason that I have set up a separate blog site Sizzle and Burn, where Caroline and I will make the ocassional book review of erotic romance, dark fantasy and erotica.

It is an Adults only site for  those of you like us who like your romance to sometimes push the envelope. If you think that you might be interested than pop over to the site to check it out. If you are at all offended by anything that goes beyond a mainstream erotic romance than it may not be for you. We will continue to post adult books which we feel are not as controversial on A Reader’s Review, labelling them as containing adult content where we think it is necessary. In fact we have a review of an erotic paranormal for A Reader’s Review planned very shortly!

There are currently three reviews on Sizzle and Burn, the latest being Corinne Balfour’s Deceptive Lord, the first book in her Lords of Bondage series.  If there is anyone out there who wishes to blog alongside us on Sizzle and Burn, we’d be delighted to discuss it.

If we post a review on Sizzle and Burn, we’ll mention it as part of any updates we put on this site. You can also click on the link on the left of A Reader’s Review screen.

Happy reading!

Tina @ ARR

Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter, Book One) by Tim O’Rourke

I thought Tim O’Rourke had me with the Keira Hudson series. I thought the same again when I read ‘Moonlight’, from his Moon Trilogy, and then in his latest series, Sydney Hart, in the novel ‘Witch’. ‘Vampire Seeker’ is no exception to the rule. It’s wacky, adventurous, action-packed, fun and gory. From a vampire seeker in London, 2012, to a cowgirl in the Wild West in 1888, Samantha Carter is a brilliant heroine.

‘Vampire Seeker’ begins with Samantha following a Jack the Ripper copy-cat killer in London 2012. Samantha believes that the killer is a vampire and, as she has had an obsession in trying to prove their very existence, when she hears of the latest murder via a police scanner she exploits the situation by tracking him down. This is a very brave and courageous move, and even though risky, Sammy is on a mission for what she believes in. She is studying criminology but reading about, researching and studying vampires is her thing. She cannot let this moment pass. She is so close to the truth.

With the police on her tail, as she is seen near the crime scene, she follows the stranger she believes is a vampire and murderer as quickly and quietly as she can. She ends up at a Tube station and boarding a train she sees the stranger take. With only moments before the police reach her she pushes her way through the carriages to find her ‘vampire’. Throughout the following pages words are exchanged and then there is a bright light….

….when she wakes, Sammy is in the Wild West in 1888. She is dressed in denim and can handle a gun or two very well. She is in a tricky situation as soon as she wakes, with a gang of men lying around her that she has supposedly killed and another man behaving in a threatening manner towards her who has disarmed her and ready to take advantage. It is at this point that Samantha meets the Preacher, Louise, Zoe and Harry, a group of possible outlaws that treat Samantha as if she were one of their own.

To elaborate any further would completely spoil the story, however Samantha needs to work out how she arrived in the Wild West in 1888, why she woke up there and how she can get back to London, 2012. Is it connected to the murders taking place, or the possible vampire she had followed? Or is it all a dream?

Sammy’s character is very strong. She is a decisive gal with ambition and courage. She handles herself well in most situations and stands up to the other characters in the novel. Although she isn’t easily pushed around or deceived easily she still retains her femininity and sexiness. Samantha is wise and is able to pick up skills very quickly, despite having to get used to a new way of life.

Throughout ‘Vampire Seeker’ there are many action scenes that are quick-paced, violent, gory and sickening. This all adds to the thrill and excitement and the pace of the novel. Tim’s writing is so clear to the reader that although you are using your own imagination, the details of these action sequences are still vivid and clear from the writing. Every movement made can be imagined easily, allowing the reader to live in the moment themselves.

With Tim’s books that I have read thus far I have felt alive when reading them, as if beside the characters, like I am there with them. With ‘Vampire Seeker’ I felt most of this, however I not only wanted to be there with Samantha but I wanted to be Samantha Carter. I wanted to know how it would feel to shoot pistols and ride a horse in denims, belonging to a group of possible outlaws. Would I want to stay in the Wild West, 1888, or return to London in 2012?

‘Vampire Seeker’ not only makes for such a great read, but it captivates the imagination so much that you can see it, you can feel it. I was taken on a roller-coaster ride of fantasy every few pages where one minute it is like the TV series ‘Life on Mars’, the next ‘Back to the Future Part III’. The only difference being that here we have a female lead character. I have been watching a few westerns on TV recently, such as ‘Deadwood’ and ‘Hell on Wheels’, and reading Vampire Seeker simply tied in with this theme with the added bonus of the faster, more adventurous pace, along with the paranormal direction. There are also so many twists and turns that one direction that the novel took made me think of the movie ‘From Dusk ’til Dawn’ but I will not elaborate too much here, other than to say that a relationship between certain characters have similar circumstances.

The Preacher character is almost like a father-figure type character in my mind. He is out on a mission himself with his fellow riders and he is a leader. Samantha is helped by the Preacher and although he, Zoe and Louise have been friendly and accepting of Samantha, taking her in as one of their own, Sammy has her doubts about the group as the story unfolds and questions the Faith of the Preacher.

And then there is Harry, Harry Turner. I can definitely see why this novel is for new/young adults, 17 yrs plus, as the sexual tension is very hot and intense. If you are looking for a romance theme, or at least the hope of one with a strong and silent type cowboy you will not be disappointed. He is like Clint Eastwood in ‘High Plains Drifter’, which funnily enough has an almost paranormal feel but not in quite the same way that ‘Vampire Seeker’ has. Aside from Samantha, Harry is my favourite character that I cannot live without. I am just dying to know just how bad he is. I can honestly say that if the action and gore don’t get the blood pumping, Harry certainly will!

I need to read the sequel right now. I cannot wait for the release date!

‘Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter, Book One)’ was received gratefully from the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Other series’ to try are Keira Hudson, Black Hill Farm, The Moon Trilogy and Doorways. You can find all information on Tim’s website.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Arcadia Burns, by Kai Meyer

arcadia_burns[1]Suspenseful Paranormal Romance

Arcadia Burns is an exciting and compulsive paranormal read. Although it has a romance at its heart, it also contains strong elements of suspense and mystery. The book is set in the mafia world and has overtones of Romeo and Juliet. It features lovers Rosa and Alessandro, heads of the rival Alcantara and Carnevare clans, who, as Arcadians, can shape shift, Rosa into a snake and Alessandro into a panther.

The novel is the second in a trilogy by author Kai Meyer, the first being Arcadia Awakens and the third, Arcadia Falls, scheduled for 2014. Although I have not read the first, I had little difficulty in picking up the plot as the history of the characters is cleverly woven into the early chapters. Rosa has unexpectedly become head of the Alcantara clan, after the murder of her sister and her aunt, and is trying to get to grips with the position. She departs for New York in search of answers to events that happened in book 1. Whilst there, she encounters the American branch of the Carnevares. Rosa barely escapes with her life, in one of the most nail biting and gory scenes in the book. We are left in no doubt as to how the animal instincts of the Arcadians come to the fore when they have shifted from their human form.

Rosa is also reunited with her mother and some truths about her family are revealed. Revelations about the horrifying experience she was subjected to in book 1 are also made, before she returns to Sicily and Alessandro. There are many who wish to undermine their relationship, and the influence of  unforeseen forces and a mysterious and ancient organisation hovers in the background. The plot is full of secrets, mystery and intrigue and ever present danger, with the only constants being Rosa and Alessandro’s love. We also learn more about the ancient history of the Arcadians. There is much betrayal and bloodshed ahead before the gripping and action-packed conclusion.

At the heart of the novel is the romance. Rosa and Alessandro both struggle to head their respective clans, without letting centuries of hatred and mistrust between their forebears tear them apart. Rosa matures quickly as she strives to end some of the Alcantara’s more shady, albeit profitable, business dealings. She has also had to adapt to learning that she is part of a shape shifting dynasty that can change into a snake. In this novel Rosa tries to come to terms with the events that happened to her in New York, of which she has no memory, but which are key to the plot development. Alessandro is a truly likeable hero and it is easy to understand why Rosa is so enamoured of him. Although he withholds some secrets, I feel that he does so with Rosa’s interests at heart, as he is  both loving and protective, whilst still respecting her independence.

Secondary characters include Trevini, the Alcantara family lawyer, and Iole, who appeared in the first book. Others that were pivotal in the events in book 1 also make an appearance. The grim reality of prior events are slowly revealed, as are enemies out to destroy both Rosa and Alessandro. The secrets which are revealed from those now departed from this world are as shocking as those kept by the living. I was kept in suspense throughout and I could not anticipate the next plot twist or the exciting conclusion.

I liked the author’s writing style. The book has a complex plot, with strong characters and evocative descriptions. I particularly liked the descriptions of New York early on in the book, as well as Sicily, the setting for most of the scenes. I was compelled to read the book to have all of the questions raised within the plot answered and I was also hoping for a HEA for Rosa and Alessandro. I think it is very brave of the author to tackle so many emotive and difficult issues in a book aimed at younger readers. It is done in way which is sensitive yet not in any way patronising, recognising that young people, as well as adults, wish to explore challenging issues in the safety of a fictional environment.

Although the book worked very well for me as a stand alone, I would also like to read the first instalment to fully appreciate the back story of all the characters involved. I recommend the book to young adults and adults. I would definitely like to read more from this author and I am looking forward to reading the conclusion of this trilogy.

This book was given to me by the publishers, Templar Publishing, for the purpose of an honest review.

Author Kai Meyer’s website.

Templar Publishing website

Cover art by kind permission of Will Steele

Click her for my colleague Caroline’s review of Arcadia Burns.

The Return by Carter Vance

The ReturnThis book was received thankfully from the author in return for an honest and fair review.

‘The Return’ is a story about the rebirth of Christ, the second coming. Only, as the dark forces are doing all they can to prevent this major event from taking place we find out that the Knights Templar are still in existence and have been waiting for this moment where they can use their resources to protect Him and His family.

The story begins with Geoff, an investment banker, having a holiday at his friend Jacque’s house in Southern France. Here, Geoff finds a secret room full of literature. He discovers a book referring to the Knights Templar, written in modern day language and referring to the Templars as being in existence today. From here, Geoff quickly takes a plane back to London and carries out in-depth research regarding the Templars and their purpose, theories and background. He travels various places around the globe to carry out more, extensive research.  And, gradually, certain people begin to get suspicious and track him down to find out what he knows.

I found Geoff to be a little naïve as there was at least one occasion when he felt that he was being followed. Later, he is approached by a woman, Regina, claiming to be a lawyer, who just happens to be inquiring about something in relation to the Templars and yet he doesn’t add these situations up. He doesn’t seem to think that it is too much of a coincidence. This was a little frustrating and he was subsequently killed.

Personally, I wasn’t happy with the storyline at this point as Geoff appeared to be the main character, the hero, and yet here he was being killed off. I was left trying to pick up the pieces of the other characters to try and connect with them but this did prove to be difficult as up until this point Geoff and his findings were focused heavily on, making the other characters appear to be more brief, background characters.

The story then unfolds to reveal that Geoff’s friends, Peter Christos and Sarah Davidson, become an item, marry and Sarah falls pregnant. Her baby is destined to be Him, the one that the human race has been waiting for for centuries. This seems to happen all too quickly with very little attention paid to connecting with these characters and feeling their relationship and romance grow. More description and detail were needed in these areas.

The reader is then taken on an adventure as the Knights Templar make preparations for the birth and protection of Him, whilst constantly under the threat of the dark forces. Both sides have very strong allies and support from the Vatican to scientists to drugs traffickers, etc. This adds intensity to the story as the reader is never sure which side will possibly win as they both seem fairly equal.

This novel is mostly written to the point. It is very direct and factual when it comes to theories, however it did lack some description in parts and emotion to the characters. On the one hand, it was nice to follow as theories were occasionally repeated, not too often, but enough to keep the reader in check. And, on the other hand, it would have been an idea to elaborate more with romance and emotion on the relationship between Peter and Sarah, thus helping the reader to engage with their characters and gain a great sense of how they became so close so quickly.

When it comes to the theories, it is obvious that Carter Vance has a great deal of knowledge in this area and he does explain these ideas well. This is the first book I have read covering this subject and I initally felt that this would be way over my head, however I did understand and enjoy the storyline.

My overall opinion of ‘The Return’ is a mixed bag. However, on the whole it is an enjoyable, well-written read. It has kept me entertained throughout and it is surprisingly a nice read to follow, as opposed to losing me with language and theology.

Carter Vance’s website – http://www.cartervancebooks.com

Book cover by kind permission of Carter Vance.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker