White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler – Blog Tour

Firstly, I would like to thank Amina Black for inviting A Reader’s Review Blog to read and post a review of Pavarti K. Tyler’s recently released novel, White Chalk!

White Chalk

White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler is an extremely raw and gritty psychological coming-of-age story and is recommended for adult readers, at least 17yrs and over.

Book Blurb:

Chelle isn’t a typical 13-year-old girl—she doesn’t laugh with friends, play sports, or hang out at the mall after school. Instead, she navigates a world well beyond her years.

Life in Dawson, ND spins on as she grasps at people, pleading for someone to save her—to return her to the simple childhood of unicorns on her bedroom wall and stories on her father’s knee.

When Troy Christiansen walks into her life, Chelle is desperate to believe his arrival will be her salvation. So much so, she forgets to save herself. After experiencing a tragedy at school, her world begins to crack, causing a deeper scar in her already fragile psyche.

Follow Chelle’s twisted tale of modern adolescence, as she travels down the rabbit hole into a reality none of us wants to admit actually exists.

White Chalk delves heavily into the life of a young teenage girl, Chelle, who feels like she doesn’t belong to any particular group of people. Her parents mostly ignore her, as her father drinks himself silly while her mother works stupendously to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Chelle is left mostly to carry out the more mundane aspects of life with the housework and laundry instead of having fun and enjoying her young life. Chelle is lost and alone, with very little self-esteem and, as you can imagine at the age of thirteen, she is sensitive and needy. A desperate soul is one way to describe this thirteen year old girl.

Chelle’s life has a glimmer of hope when she notices newcomer Troy Christiansen at her high school. Will Troy be the answer she is looking for? Can he be her Mr. Right and save her from her mundane life? Or is she pinning all of her hopes on one person?

As an adult reader this novel truly takes you back to the harsh reality of how it once felt at times to be a teenager, constantly feeling unsure of where you belong, searching for your own identity and confidence as well as hoping for Mr. Right to turn up.

White Chalk is certainly a very dark side of teenagehood. Chelle is at the point in her life where she longs to be needed and wanted both physically and emotionally and, because of these reasons, there are moments when the reader feels that she would give herself freely to anyone that wanted her – with the exception of Sebastian who appears to be a nice lad who is genuinely interested in her!

As Chelle’s life has been spiralling downward for a while, it isn’t too much of a surprise when the reader is made aware of her regular extra-curricular activities with Mr. Harris! I am no expert by all means, however I believe that due to the lack of attention her parents provide as well as not ‘fitting in’ at school, it is the desperation of wanting to be wanted, someone to pay attention and treat her with some form of affection that leads Chelle down this dark and seedy path. Of course at her young age she feels that at least someone wants her. This novel is certainly not for the faint hearted or for anyone looking for too much fun. However, the drama and psychological element of White Chalk pulls you in to where Chelle is at and you cannot ignore her. You have to keep on reading!!

Developing gradually throughout the story, Chelle finds friendship in Cat. Cat is older than Chelle, has her own apartment and works in a music store. Cat certainly grows on the reader as she looks out for Chelle and becomes the only person that Chelle can confide in. She does provide comfort and support for Chelle and despite the initial reaction to Cat she really is a likeable character.

White Chalk has a dark and twisting path from beginning to end and is certainly a novel you will not forget in a hurry. It hangs over you, gripping you, without any solution as to how to help Chelle – apart from hoping that Troy will pull through for her. He notices Chelle, he takes care of her and throughout the novel the reader begins to pin all of their hopes in him too!

A copy of White Chalk was provided by Amina Black (blog tour host) for the purpose of an honest and fair review. You can find a list of websites/blogs where the White Chalk blog tour will go, along with dates the reviews are due to be scheduled for each site below.

For a chance to win a White Chalk Paperback, Amazon Gift Card and a Pavarti Swag Pack click on the link for a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Blog Tour Schedule

August 1st
Amina Black (www.aminablack.com)
A Reader’s Review Blog (www.areadersreviewblog.com)
August 2nd
Beth Art From the Heart (www.bethartfromtheheart.blogspot.com)
August 3rd – Stuffed Shelves (www.stuffedshelves.com)
August 4th
Shelves of Books Blog (www.justinevandale.blogspot.ca)
Blog is I Feel the Need, the Need to Read(www.ifeeltheneedtheneedtoread.com)
August 5th
Recent Reads (www.recentread.com)
August 6th
August 7th
Sweet Southern Home (www.sweetsouthernhome.net)
August 8th
August 9th
August 10th
Inside BJ’s Head (www.insidebjshead.blogspot.com)
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog (www.wiccawitch4.blogspot.ca
August 11th
Teen Blub (www.teenblurb.org)
August 12th
Tiffany Talks Books (www.tiffanytalksbooks.com)
Mother.Gamer.Writer (www.mothergamerwriter.com)
August 13th Candy Coated Book Blog (www.Sweettreatblogblog.wordpress.com)
August 14th
Jenn’s Review Blog (www.jennsreviewblog.com)
August 15th

A Werewolf Wish List to Sink Your Fangs Into!

shutterstock Werewolf1_89654491-001In May we produced a list of recommended books featuring werewolves, which we have read and thoroughly enjoyed. Here are some other werewolf themed books on our Kindle and bookshelves, which we have yet to read, but which look as if they would be tasty morsels to sink our fangs into! The Goodreads link is there, where available, if you are interested in finding out more:

If you have read any them please let us know your thoughts, we would love to hear from you.

Tina 🙂

Romeo and Juliet: A Vampire and Werewolf Love Story. H. T. Night

Set in the distant future, the city of New York is beset by bitter feuding between families at war. The Vampires, led by the House of Capulet are led by Juliet’s father. The werewolves are led by Lord Montague, Romeo’s father.

The Werewolf Prince and I (Moretti Werewolf Series). Marian Tee.

This looks like a fun read! Misty’s boring life as an intern at Moretti Inc.’s Administration Department is about to change when she encounters Domenico Moretti, the ruthless, cunning and aloof CEO, her boss. Goodreads link.

Her Viking Wolf. Theodora Taylor.

Chloe Adams is engaged to the hottest alpha in Colorado. But a sexy time-traveling Viking werewolf appears to claim her as his fated mate! Goodreads link.

Forever Bound (A Vampire and Werewolf Romance Anthology). Cynthia Eden.

Includes Bound by Blood, Bound in Darkness,Bound in Sin and Bound by the Night. Dark and sexy novellas, where vampires and werewolves are forced to trust each other and lose their hearts. 90,000 words. Goodreads link.

 Macreive. Kresley Cole.

Uilleam MacRieve craves the oblivion of death. Until he finds her—a young human so full of spirit and courage that she pulls him back from the brink. Seized for the auction block, Chloe Todd is forced to enter a terrifying new world of monsters and lore as a bound slave. Until she’s claimed by him—a tormented immortal with heartbreaking eyes, whose touch sets her blood on fire. Yet his sensual mate becomes something more than human, evoking his savage past and testing his sanity. Goodreads link.

Pleasure of a Dark Prince. Kresley Cole.

Lucia the Huntress harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her—and those she loves. Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own. Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia’s greatest weakness—her wanton desire for him. Goodreads link.

Canyon Wolf Bride. Alisha Paige.

Her debut novel, which has been republished. Olympic ski champion Sean Wilson takes his best friend’s widow on vacation to the Grand Canyon, here romance blooms. Yet Paige is unable to see herself married to a half man half wolf. Goodreads link.

Post image: Minerva Studio/Shutterstock.com


Update by Caroline

With one thing and another – summer breaks, end of term activities for the children and now their summer holidays, we have been a little slow on the reviewing since our last update. However, the weather in the UK has been hot and sultry, which is just how we like it as it gives us plenty of excuses to indulge our passion for reading whilst lazing in our back gardens!

17927636[1]-001Over the last week Tina has read and reviewed one of Eve Rabi’s recent novels, Obsessed With Me. Books 1 and 2 of When She Rejected Him He Set Out To Destroy Her are covered here. This is a passionate and heartrending love story with adult content.

WolfstoneTina has also reviewed Justin Richards’  The Wolfstone Curse and will be knocking together a Werewolf Wish List, which will suggest some tasty morsels you may want to sink your teeth into! Look out for that soon!

18214817[1]Next up for Tina to review is The Proposal, by Mary Balogh, a Regency Romance. She also has a copy of Kellyann Zuzulo’s The Genie Smolders, Book #2 in The Zubis Chronicles, a paranormal romance. Tina reviewed the previous novel, The Genie Ignites in April. You can check out her review for that here.

Heart of the Diamond, a Regency Romance by Carrie Brock is also on Tina’s reading list.

White ChalkMeanwhile, I will be posting my review on Pavarti K. Tyler’s White Chalk on Thursday 1st August as the beginning of a blog tour for the book. White Chalk is a mature read for those who enjoy a psychological drama about coming-of-age teenager, Chelle, who finds it difficult to fit in with most people, including her own family. Will high school newcomer, Troy Christiansen, change all of this for Chelle? We soon find out as Chelle hangs her hopes and dreams on the new guy that takes an interest in her!

Wolfen DominationI am quite open-minded with any reading and just finished reading Celeste Anwar’s Wolfen Domination. This is a highly tensed up adult paranormal with some rather disturbing elements to the story, including some brief non-consensual intimate scenes. Certainly not for the young or faint of heart, however it is an exciting, adventurous read and the intimate scenes are necessary for the story.

Boreal and John Grey (Complete Season 1)My current read is Chrystalla Thoma’s urban fantasy, Boreal and John Grey Season 1. I have just begun this series and I am completely gripped already. After centuries of The Gate between the human world and the elf world being closed the elves have found a way to open it. However, when The Gate was open before the elves almost conquered humankind. With the dangerous Shades, elves and goblins it is largely left to Ella Benson, who is an agent of the Paranormal Bureau, to fight these dangerous beings. Coming close to death herself, she is saved by a hot, mysterious hero, Finn. Although having secrets of his own, Ella partners up with him and they fight together. I cannot wait to find out what Finn’s secrets are and who will win in the end – the elves or the humans?

My following reads will be fantasy The Pull by Brooke Morris and thriller/horror The One Percenters by John Podgursky.

And, last but certainly not the least, we can announce our winners for our fantastic Tim O’Rourke giveaway. Drum roll, ta-da-da, congratulations to Claire White and Cassie Sansom! We know that you will enjoy your signed paperbacks. Thanks to all of you who entered are competition and for all of you great followers for your support.

We hope that you have a fantastic week.

Caroline and Tina 🙂

The Wolfstone Curse, by Justin Richards

WolfstoneThrilling Paranormal Adventure Age 12+

The Wolfstone Curse by Justin Richards is a fast paced novel, full of action and adventure with a paranormal theme.  At its centre are the mysterious Wolfstone Circle and Wolfstone Manor, whose dark secrets slowly unravel. The tale extends across Europe to Russia and back in time to World War 2 and the more distant past of myth and magic surrounding werewolves. Scroll down after reading this review for links to Caroline’s review and to an exclusive interview with author Justin Richards.

In The Wolfstone Curse, Peter  is dismayed when his archaeologist father asks him to accompany him and his associates  on what he believes will be a less than exciting dig of a stone circle near the village of Wolfstone in the Coltswolds, a quiet backwater which has little to recommend itself to a teenager on the cup of adulthood. However, Peter is soon drawn into the history of Wolfstone, where the ancient inhabitants of the old manor were said to be afflicted by a curse, and where werewolves and the mystical Wolfstone Circle also feature. He soon discovers some strange goings on at the dilapidated Wolfstone Manor, the adjacent land of which is being redeveloped into a new housing development by the mysterious Sebastian Forrest, who has employed his father to investigate the circle.

He is further encouraged to stay by an unlikely friendship he strikes up with Carys, the daughter of the lady who runs the Fleece Inn, where he and his father are staying. Carys ‘ family is a font of wisdom concerning the old myths and legends of the local wolves, legends which the locals still take seriously, avoiding  going outside on nights which fall on and around the full moon. Indeed, it is said that no good comes of anyone who decides to investigate the mysteries of the stone circle…… It is not long before Peter suspects that Carys and her family know more than they are letting on and that they have their own secrets. When Peter witnesses some shocking events one night centred on the manor and the stone circle, his life and that of others is put in danger and he and Carys must travel deep into Europe to delve deeper into the mysteries and events linked to the manor and the circle and their apparent connection to experiments undertaken by Nazis in World War 2. They must use all of their intelligence and guile to work together to escape their enemies and destroy the threat of great evil before its plans can grow to fruition.

The relationship between Peter and Carys is central to the story as they work together to uncover the secrets surrounding the Wolfstone Circle and overcome the evil that is connected to it. After a bit of a shaky start, they form a tight friendship and their mutual respect grows into a budding romance as the tale progresses. Their bravery and tenacity are tested to the full as they find themselves in many fearful, hair raising and truly horrific situations, where their lives are threatened. The supporting cast includes Carys’ mother and her grandfather, Peter’s father and the owner of the Wolfstone Manor and surrounding land, Sebastian Forrest and his son David. There is also a mysterious character known as The Old One, who plays a key role.

I enjoyed how Justin Richards’ novel referred to fictional events from the past, specifically the experiments undertaken by the Nazis in World War 2 to produce genetically created Wolfen soldiers. I also liked how he referenced many of the werewolf myths and legends which exist within Europe, particularly how the power of the moonlight was harnessed by the stone circle. The use of ‘source documents’ throughout the text, including letters and a journal, add considerable depth and interest. There are a number of twists and turns in the novel which I did not see coming and I was entertained throughout.

I recommend this book to those with a reading age of 12 and above who enjoy exciting, nail biting, paranormal tales with strong elements of mystery, suspense and horror.

Copies of ‘The Wolfstone Curse’ were given to A Reader’s Review Blog by Templar Publishing in return for an honest and fair review.

Cover art by the-parish.com

Click here for an exclusive interview with author Justin Richards

Click here for Caroline’s review of The Wolfstone Curse

Templar Publishing Website

LAST CHANCE to enter our Tim O’Rourke GIVEAWAY!!!

Hi everyone, this is the last 24 hours of our fantastic TIM O’ROURKE GIVEAWAY! Tim is kindly giving away a copy of his brilliant paranormal novel, Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson, Series One Book 1), and a copy of his paranormal horror Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy Book 1). Both books will be signed paperbacks. You can enter for either book OR both. All you have to do is follow us via our blog, Facebook or Twitter and leave a short comment to let us know which book (or both) you’d like. 🙂


Thank you for those of you that have already entered. Good luck everyone!!! 🙂


Check out Tim O’Rourke’s recent author biog/post here. Original giveaway post here. (Feel free to reblog, share on Facebook and/or reTweet!)

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy, #1)

Obsessed with Me – When She Rejected Him He Set Out To Destroy Her, Books #1 and #2, by Eve Rabi

17927637[1]-001Passionate and Heartrending Love Story  Adult Content

This tale has so many twists and turns that it kept me on the edge of my seat, with my heart in my throat and my head in my hands at what the heroine was going through! It is yet another stellar work by author Eve Rabi which plays with your emotions and comments on social issues and power within relationships. The tale is set in 1993, in Cape Town, in a South Africa a year before Nelson Mandela became President, and apartheid officially ended,  a time ripe for change, when racism and corruption such as we see in the tale was rife. The tale contains violence, strong language, racial slurs, sex scenes and sexual violence.

Obsessed with Me is a tale about Tanin, a young Indian woman living in South Africa and Tarago Jackobus, a wealthy, white Africaan. It tells of what happens after Tanin turns Tarago down, after he invites her to share a drink with him. No one, but no one refuses Tarago! Thus begins a very unorthodox seduction, which introduces a series of harrowing events, where Tanin loses her job, has no  prospect of employment and her family is threatened with losing their home. She even finds herself in jail. There is however no knight in shining armour to save her, her boyfriend having deserted her. Instead to keep a roof over her family, pay her mum’s medical bills and support them financially, she is compelled to make a deal with the very Devil himself, Tarago.

Tanin finds herself living at Tarango’s mansion, where day after day Tarago and his inner circle of hangers on, women and men, subject her to racist taunts and Tarago uses her body to satisfy his lusts. Tarago is a real brute and a hateful figure, but such is the skill of the author that somehow, part way through the tale, the real Tarago is forced to reveal himself, faced with Tanin’s strong spirit, resilience and inner strength. I actually found myself beginning to empathize with him and like him. Not only that but he appears to genuinely care for Tanin, who begins to reciprocate his feelings.  There are some truly romantic, very sexy  and humorous scenes between the couple. Has beauty charmed the beast for real? It all seems too good to be true, especially when there are some amongst Tarago’s inner circle who are dead set against their union and will go to any lengths to destroy it. Will Tanin and Tarago’s love prevail or will it be destroyed by the whims of others?

I enjoyed the character of Tanin. She is immediately likeable young woman when we first meet her, studying hard for her future and working part time to support her family, paying for her mother’s medical bills and her siblings’ education. Due to the situation Tarago puts her in and the shocking events which follow, Tanin has to seriously toughen up and I shed more than a few tears over what she had to go through as the tale progresses and what she suffers is not all at Tarago’s hands. If any heroine deserves a HEA it is Tanin. 17927636[1]-001

Tarago started off as an out and out read b******, with no redeeming features. A giant of a man, he is not only a womaniser and a drunk but arrogant, racist and as sexist as they come. However, as the story progresses and I learned of his background and need for real affection I began to empathize with him. His brash exterior masks his true self, which is more sympathetic than is at first evident. Indeed, he too becomes very much a victim of events as the tale unfolds.

The cast of supporting characters is varied and they all have their role to play. They include Tanin’s boyfriend Ashwin and her best friend Rheema, who play pivotal roles. Tanin’s mother is a tour de force when Tanin needs her. Tanin even finds support amongst some of Tarago’s hangers on, who at first reviled her for her colour and/or being a rival for Tarago’s affections. However, there are certain characters – I will not reveal their names, who have only their own interests at heart. As usual the author does not shy away from including controversial issues in her storytelling and we are compelled to examine our own feelings towards them and the complex characters she creates.

Obsessed With Me is another must read for Eve Rabi fans and those who like to be entertained by a wild and totally thought provoking romance, told in her trademark indomitable style.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Eve Rabi’s website http://everabi.wordpress.com/

Eve Rabi Facebook https://www.facebook.com/eve.rabi

Obsessed With Me Amazon UK

Obsessed With Me  Amazon US

Update by Caroline

Vampire Shift - The Graphic Novel (Kiera Hudson Series One) Vol. 1

Well, what can I say – I think we have had quite a treat this last week for fans of author, Tim O’Rourke. We have reviewed both of his latest releases, Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy, Book Two) and Vampire Shift – The Graphic Novel (Keira Hudson Series One) Vol. One, we have hosted a brilliant author post/biog from Tim as well as a SUPER GIVEAWAY for some lucky people to win either a signed paperback copy of Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson Series One, Book One – original novel) and/or Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy, Book One)!!!! Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy, #2)We are extremely excited about Tim’s work as we have followed him for over a year as an independent author and after recently being signed for a three book deal with LittleBrown/Piatkus he is about to have his first Vampire Seeker novel (e-book version) released on 15th August 2013, followed in January 2014 with a paperback version. We wish Tim every success in this latest venture! His books are fun and cover young adult, adult, horror, paranormal, fantasy, time travel and not without the element of romance! There is something for everyone here.

Product DetailsOver the last few days we have also posted reviews on Gary Richardson’s short story, Ratty’s Bones, regarding an inmate that has remained mute for the past 6 years. He suddenly decides to open up to his social worker, telling of his broken childhood and friendships as well as his friend, Ratty! 16042863[1]-002Meanwhile, Tina has reviewed the fantastic paranormal/urban fantasy Lover at Last by J.R. Ward from the renowned Black Dagger Brotherhood series and Nalini Singh’s Tangle of Need, #11 in the Psy-Changeling Series!

candlewithoutaflame333x500-001Tina has also posted a review of Mary Raimes Curtis’ new blog, A Writer’s Journey, in which Mary has shared an excerpt from Chapter 2 of her exciting new work Candle Without A Flame with our readers, which is serialised on her blog in the same way that Dickens serialised his novels.

Mulberry_WEB.smIn other news, SJ Sprague’s Mulberry has been released on Amazon.com in paperback version for $13.29 or in the UK at Amazon.co.uk for £9.39. Prices are correct at the time of posting, however may be likely to change.

Product DetailsUpcoming we have Tina’s review of Eve Rabi’s Obsessed With Me – When She Rejected Him, He Set Out to Destroy Her Books 1 & 2:-

Book Blurb: Tarago Jakobus was intelligent, arrogant and extremely wealthy. He was also openly racist, politically incorrect and a chauvinistic pig.  When his eye fell on Tanin, he expected her to fall into his arms. However, she was unimpressed with his wealth and rejected him. He became obsessed with her and decided to win her over, his way – destroy all that is precious to her, so that she would have no choice but to need him. If that didn’t work he would take away her freedom.

Tina is also hoping to post her review of Justin Richard’s The Wolfstone Curse. You can find our interview with Justin here, along with a short author biog and my review of The Wolfstone Curse.  Tina will also be posting a Werewolf Wish List, listing all of the novels and short stories we read during our Werewolf theme.

White ChalkI am currently reading and reviewing White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler, ready to post my review on 1st August 2013 at the beginning of the book blog tour! White Chalk is a disturbingly raw and gritty coming-of-age book. It is extremely dark with a very real feel!!! My following reads will be urban fantasy Boreal and John Grey Season 1 by Chrystalla Thoma, fantasy The Pull by Brooke Morris and thriller/horror The One Percenters by John Podgursky!

We hope that you have all been enjoying your summer so far. As well as enjoying a great read. Please don’t forget to enter our fantastic GIVEAWAY, ending Thursday 25th July 2013! We will look forward to hearing from you! Have a great week, guys!

Caroline 🙂

Artwork for Candle Without a Flame is credited to Marion Sipe.

Luscious and Lethal (The Gilded River Chronicles), by Mary Raimes Curtis

In response to the interest that we have had in this week’s post about author Mary Raimes Curtis, her new blog, A Writer’s Journey and Candle Without A Flame, her new work which is serialized online, here is a reblog of our review of her novel Luscious and Lethal. I hope that you enjoy it. Tina 🙂


lusciouslethal200x300[1]-001Luscious and Lethal is the first in a The Gilded River Chronicles by Mary Raimes Curtis. It is a great book to curl up with and contains a lively romance between two complex individuals, set against the ever present threat of sinister events on the shores of the Atlantic. This novel is the second I have read by the author, the first being Tamed by the Hawk, a historical novel, which I also enjoyed.

In Luscious and Lethal plus size supermodel Dani Renaldo has taken refuge in her rural property at Jancy’s Cove, after the fallout from her bitter and public divorce from her abusive and cheating ex husband and the loss of her unborn baby. She hopes to regain her emotional strength and also develop a new business venture with her friend Jay, which she hopes will help compensate for her financial losses after her divorce and give her…

View original post 611 more words

Lover At Last, Black Dagger Brotherhood Series #11, by JR Ward

16042863[1]-002From Friends to Lovers – Dark Sexy Paranormal at its Best!

m/m Romance Adult Content

In this long awaited book vampire super hotties Qhuinn and Blay, whom readers have known from their pre-transition days, finally succumb to their mutual attraction. The emotions and sexual tension are high and misunderstandings abound. Moreover the lovemaking scenes are off the Richter scale –  what you would expect when two male vampire warriors finally get it on – the furniture in the mansion takes some serious pounding! Also I take my hat off to the author and publisher for not shying away from telling this couple’s story.

In Lover At Last Qhuinn has done his best to cope with the knowledge that for the past year Blay has been shacked up with Saxton, his own cousin, living alongside him in the Brotherhood mansion. Qhuinn has not had sex for a year, apart from with the Chosen, Layla, who came into her needing in the previous novel. However, their sexual union was strictly between friends, both of them keen to sire a young. Qhuinn believes that Blay is devoted to Saxton, for how can his own rough edges compete with such suave, sophistication and honeyed words? Blay for his part has been rejected by Qhuinn in the past and believes that Qhuinn has secured the future he has always sought as  Layla is carrying  his child.

I love the characters of Blay and Qhuinn, they complement each other so well. Blay comes from a stable, loving and supportive family. Qhuinn on the other hand, with his mismatched eyes, was considered a curse by his family and disavowed by them before his kin were brutally slain by the Lessers, enemies of the vampire race. The couple have had a long friendship, training, fighting and clubbing together, but despite their attraction they have never been lovers. Both are compelled to confront their true feelings and Qhuinn especially his own sexuality and it is a very emotional ride. Throughout much of the novel Qhuinn is subjected to one sucker punch after another, not just his relationship with Blay, but Layla’s pregnancy, events within the Brotherhood, in which he plays a key role, and a past which comes back to haunt him.

It is a very tangled web indeed that JR Ward weaves. Whilst I was itching for Qhuinn and Blay to find their HEA, I also sympathised with Saxton, who is deeply in love with Blay. I also enjoyed the scenes with Layla, who has really come into her own as a character. As one of the Chosen, who have decided to leave the home of the Scribe Virgin and reside on Earth, she has been faithful in her service to the other vampires when they have required sustenance in the form of her blood and is desperately seeking to make a life for herself. Her own life is complicated by the mutual attraction she has for the traitor Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, who recently made an attempt on Wrath the King’s life. I am looking forward to where the author will take their relationship. Xcor is still busy manipulating members of the glymera, the vampire aristocracy, for his own political ends in this novel. Although Xcor and his men are enemies of the Brotherhood, I am nevertheless both fascinated and entertained by their exploits, in battle, politically and sexually.

The Lessening Society  is under the leadership of a new Fore-Lesser who is seeking to replenish their coffers via the drug trade. This brings them into direct contact with Assail, who is busy gaining control of the local drug circuit. Both the Brotherhood and the Band of Bastards battle with the Lessers throughout and there is one fantastically memorable battle scene between the Brothers and the Lessers early on in the novel. Also characters we have met in previous books make appearances, not just the other Brothers and their Shellans, but notably Trey and IAm, who we learn more about. Indeed, there are some interesting developments afoot for Assail (I am so in love with this bad boy character) and Trey in particular, with the introduction of possible love interests. Wrath and Beth’s relationship also begins to come into focus as the author begins to set the scene for the next book, The King, scheduled for April 2014. I can’t wait!

Lover At Last is a must read for fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. For those not inducted into the fabulous  Brotherhood, I seriously recommend that you begin with the first novel, Dark Lover, which introduces the reader to their world and recounts the romance between Wrath, the King, and Beth, a human who does not realise that she is half vampire. The series is one sexy and addictive dark paranormal read, which just keeps getting better and better. I cannot recommend it more highly.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

If you like J R Ward you may also want to check out our review of Rapture, #4 in her Fallen Angels Series

Lover At Last Published 2013 by Piatkus

Cover images: Man copyright Shutterstock, city copyright the-parish.com

Design: www.the-parish.com

J.R. Ward website

Ratty’s Bones (a short story) by Gary Richardson

Product DetailsRatty’s Bones is the second story from author Gary Richardson, following The Purple Haze which we reviewed earlier this year. Ratty’s Bones, however, is a completely different read to that of The Purple Haze. Whereas The Purple Haze was a fantastic zombie horror story, Ratty’s Bones is a very powerful, disturbing and violent drama. The reader follows Bruce Stevens, an inmate at the young age of 22, who hasn’t spoken a word since his arrest 6 years previously. During which time he has been visited regularly by his social worker, Diane Parker. Therefore, you can imagine her surprise when at one meeting Bruce decides to talk about his childhood, family, friendships and how his life connected with a talking rat.

When we are first introduced to Ratty I did find him a little difficult to connect to, however some of the scenes with Ratty are quite refreshing in between the seriousness of the remainder of the book. It was the powerfulness of the drama that made me want to continue reading as there are many reasons to connect and sympathise with Bruce. He is a young man who has had to deal with his fair share of abuse, tragedy and bullying. The story divides itself into three areas; Bruce at the age of 8 and 9 when he enjoyed a fun childhood, Bruce at the age of 15 and 16 after his life had made a downward spiral, and then the man of 22 who has had time to process his whole life and situation he is in.

Ratty is a funny sort of character. He speaks at times with a comical air about him – which to begin with is difficult to see how he fits into the rest of the story. Although, at the time when Bruce meets Ratty, Bruce’s life has been quite negative for a few years and there is a comparison between Ratty’s life and Bruce’s which does help to connect the reader with Ratty as the story goes on. It is Ratty that begins to urge Bruce to be brave and to try and change the course that his life is on.

I would recommend this short story to a more mature reader due to its violent content in parts. It is a nice length story, with nothing being dragged out, written in a direct manner whilst holding back some areas of the story until the reader approaches the end of the book. This creates a great tense atmosphere as the reader is desperate to find out what has happened to Bruce throughout his life.

Although I  found it difficult to begin with, it became clearer as the story unfolded that Ratty’s role had a much more profound meaning. I found the whole story to be quite tragic, with a surprising turn towards the end. Due to the manner in which this short story finishes, I would love Gary Richardson to write a follow-up simply to find out what becomes of Bruce in the near future!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Here is our review of the highly recommended – The Purple Haze (short story) – by Gary Richardson

Please check out some author info and Gary’s books at Amazon.co.uk. Both short stories can be purchased in the UK for 99p (Kindle version) or Ratty’s Bones £4.75 (paperback) and The Purple Haze £5.99 (paperback)!

Here’s Gary’s page on Amazon.com. Prices for the Kindle versions are around $1.50. Paperbacks are £6.74 for Ratty’s Bones and $8.54 for The Purple Haze – both prices are accurate at the current time of writing this post, however they are possible to change.

We hope you enjoy these stories. It would be great to hear your thoughts on these great short stories!