Review: Archangel's War by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh (UK edition)

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, faces a new challenge that threatens the balance of the world.

The world is in chaos as the power surge of the Cascade rises to a devastating crescendo. In furiously resisting its attempts to turn Elena into a vessel for Raphael’s power, Elena and her archangel are irrevocably changed . . . far beyond the prophecy of a cursed Ancient.

At the same time, violent and eerie events around the world threaten to wipe out entire populations. And in the Archangel’s Lijuan’s former territory, an unnatural fog weaves through the land, leaving only bone-chilling silence in its wake. Soon its becomes clear that even the archangels are not immune to this deadly evil. This time, even the combined power of the Cadre may not be enough . . .

This war could end them all.

Series: Guild Hunter, 12 
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Gollancz (26 September 2019)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

Archangel’s War is the twelfth book in Nalini Singh’s brilliant Guild Hunter series. It continues the story of Guild Hunter Elena Deveraux and of her archangel Raphael. Tensions have been building for a while in the Guild Hunter world, and things really come to a head in this book. The Cascade has been causing chaos in the previous books which has left everyone reeling, there have also been whispers of prophecy. Singh brings together a lot of the plot threads that have spread over the previous eleven books, and in a lot of ways Archangel’s War can be seen as a series climax.

There is a lot going on in this book. A lot. It is also the largest book in the series. My copy has over four hundred and fifty pages. Despite its size this book is a real page turner. Once I picked up Archangel’s War, even though I strung it out over three days, I really did struggle to put it down. The story just pulled me in. Although there is a lot going on Singh managed to make it all easy to follow, and a really enjoyable read. It was also really easy to fall straight back into the world and the story, which I really appreciated.

This book is actually really difficult to talk about without the risk of potential spoilers. I really do feel that this is a book you should go into pretty much blind. It is a real treat for fans of the Guild Hunter series. As I’ve already said, things come to a climax in this book so I did wonder going in if this was the final book in this series. The good news is, at least according to Singh’s website, there are going to be at least three more books in this series which I am supper excited about. So whilst I say that this book brings this to a climax it is not the end.

I think Archangel’s War is a game changer for the series, and something fans will definitely want to dive into as soon as they can get their hands on it – sorry my review is so late, but I hope it’s helpful nevertheless. This might be my favourite book in the series, or at the very least it is one of my favourite. I love the way Singh writes Elena and Raphael, and the chemistry between them – and the very obvious love. They have both come along way from their first meeting in Angel’s Blood. I’m really excited to get my hands on the next book in the series, which probably won’t be out until later in the year.

Reviewlets: City of Ghosts by Victoria Scwab & Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

Sorry that this is late, in trying to fix the image placement I managed to completely delete one of the reviewlets. Anyway, I hope you’re doing well and looking after yourself.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

This is a brilliant ghost story. It just pulls you in. Cass is a fun, interesting character and I really enjoyed following her and Jacob as they explored Edinburgh. I also really enjoyed the fact that Cass can see ghosts, and her parents write about hauntings and have recently started hosting a TV show about them. One of the things I most like about Cars is how independent she is, and I thought her surprise that there were more people like her out there in the world was really believable. I also thought Scwab’s ideas about ghosts and people that can see them are really interesting. I don’t have a lot to say about this book, but I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson, translated by Elizabeth Portch ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

This was a surprise gift from my aunt, uncle, and cousin for my birthday. I used to watch The Moomins when I was younger, so I had a vague idea who everyone is but although this is the third book in the series it is the first book I’ve read. The book is quite short – one hundred and seventy-three pages – and each chapter is like a mini story, so it is quite easy to dive into and out of it. This edition includes some illustrations by Jansson, which are beautifully done. There is also a map of Moonin Valley at the front of the book, which I really enjoyed (I like books that have maps, they’re awesome). It is a lovely thing to hold, and I think fans will enjoy it to add to their Moomin collection. I was a little disappointed with the stories themselves as I found them quite hard to get into, despite them being quick reads. I did enjoy most of the book, so I can see why people read them and enjoy this series, but I don’t plan on getting any more in the series.

Review: Wild Country by Anne Bishop

Wild Country by Anne Bishop

In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side – without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world – places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the Others.

One of these places is Bennett, a town at the nothern end of the Elder Hills – a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfguard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children – one of whom is a blood prophet – hope to find acceptance.

But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the growing community attracts the attention of humans looking to profit. And the arrival of the outlaw Blackstone Clan will either unite Others and humans – or bury them all.

Series: The World of the Others, 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ACE (7 March 2019)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Wild Country is a very interesting book. It’s the second book in The World of The Others, a spin-off from Bishop’s The Others. I’m not totally sure when it is set in relation to Lake Silence, but the storyline runs parallel with Etched in Bone. It introduces a new settlement, that we get to see almost from the beginning which I found really interesting. As always there are multiple narrative lines with a lot of interwoven threads and the fun is trying to work out what is going on. There are also a lot of new characters to get to know.

Fans of the series, and of The Others will enjoy this newest addition. It has everything I have come to expect from a boy set in this world. Tensions are very high between the different groups, which is to be expected considering what else is going on in the world at the same time. Jana, Jesse, Tobais, Tolya and Virgil are all interesting characters, and I enjoyed following them through the story. I enjoyed the fact that this story focuses on trying to find a balance between humans and the terra indigene, and that this co-operation was very much the focus of the narrative.

Wild Country is a little slow to start, but this is typical for books in this series as long time readers will know. I think that this works to the story’s advantage as it helps to build tension, but also allows us as readers to get to know the new characters and place them within the world. Once things get going, they really get going though. This is helped by the alternating narrators, each giving us a little piece of the overall story. Bishop has definitely created a very interesting and complex and dangerous world, which this novel definitely emphasises but is also shows that even within the darkness and horror there can be moments of hope and light.

If you’ve enjoyed the other books in The Others and The World of The Others then I think this story will suck you in, and straight back into the world. If you’re new to the series then I don’t think that this is the book to start with, as there are spoilers. That being said, this book is one heck of a ride and I found it quite difficult to stop as I just wanted to devour it.

Reviewlets: Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo & The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux

Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

I’ll be honest, when I saw this in the August 2017 Illumicrate I wasn’t too sure about this book. I’ve tried reading Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and it really wasn’t my cup of tea. I also don’t know a whole lot about Diana, I’ve certainly never read any of the comics she’s been in so going into this book was something of an adventure. But you know what? I actually really enjoyed this book. I thought having Diana and Alia as dual narrators with alternating chapters worked well. They both had interesting takes on the situation. I also thought the whole idea of a “warbringer” was really cool and well thought out and explained within the text. I would have actually liked to see more of this world, but I don’t think that’s likely. Still whether you’re new to the DC fandom or have been there a while, I think you will enjoy this story.

The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux

This is the second book in the Protection of the Pack series. I thought the first book was interesting and had a lot of potential, so I was curious to try this book. The Omega’s Pack is almost double the length of The Omega’s Bodyguard, and it has many of the same issues as the first book – high on sex, low on plot. That being said I really enjoyed it, and what plot there was was interesting. I liked the way Lux wrote Nick and how he was handling returning from war in a very different way to Rusty and Mike. The fact that so much of the book focused on his and everyone else’s struggles was what I most liked about this book. The Omega’s Pack is a great second book as it builds from the base The Omega’s Bodyguard started. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world. If you enjoyed the first book in this series then you will definitely like this one too.

Review: The Omega’s Bodyguard by Dessa Lux

The Omega’s Bodyguard by Dessa Lux

Sparks fly when a protective alpha meets an omega in danger, but there’s a catch: this omega is still human, and doesn’t know what he could become with a bite from the right wolf.

Being an alpha werewolf made Rusty Jamison one of the best while he served in the Marines, a top team leader in the elite Force Recon. But now his instincts have made military life unbearable – he couldn’t protect his team without revealing what he was. He’s out of the Corps and taking his first job as a bodyguard, using those instincts while protecting his secret. But his client is the last thing Rusty expected: a latent omega, a human with werewolf blood just waiting for a bite to awaken his potential.

Sam Hurley has fended off plenty of unwanted advances in his twenty-four years. As a baby-faced computer genius, he’s used to being sought after for more than just his brains – but now someone is stalking him, and Sam is going ot need help getting him to take no for an answer. His new bodyguard seems like he’ll be able to do the job, but once Sam meets him he wants Rusty for a lot more than protection.

Series: The Protection of the Pack, 1
Genre: LGBT+, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Independently published (9 May 2017)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

Having read and really enjoyed the first book in Dessa Lux’s Wolves of the World series Omega Required, I thought I’d branch out and try another of her series. The Omega’s Bodyguard is the first book in The Protection of the Pack series. In it we meet alpha werewolf Rusty Jamison who is fresh out of the Marine Corps, and Sam Hurley a human with wolf blood who if bitten will become an omega. Rusty comes into Sam’s life when he is hired by a friend to help Sam with his stalker problem. The trouble is Sam has no idea he is anything other than human.

Going into this book I had super high expectations. The Omega’s Bodyguard is a really tiny book, and therefore a super quick read. There are just over one hundred pages. This did make me a little wary, but I actually really enjoyed the story and meeting Rusty and Sam. I will be honest, if this book was more plot driven it would have got a solid 4 (maybe 5) stars from me. As it is this book has definitely got me intrigued by this world, and I will be reading more of the series so I can discover more of the world. In a lot of ways this book feels like a teaser for the rest of the series.

As I’ve mentioned there isn’t really a lot of plot to this book, but then at 106 pages it’s not really much of a surprise. There are a few hot and steamy scenes that I think people who are into that kind of thing will enjoy. That being said, what little plot there is I think Lux writes well and makes interesting. The way Lux writes the werewolves of this world is interesting, and Lux has put a lot of thought into how they would work. They don’t appear to be known, so they exist in the shadows.

Lux plays with expectations of the genre, the omegas in this book are no wilting flowers but some of the alpha werewolves do play into the typical alpha werewolf trope you see in a lot of paranormal romance books. I liked the fact that this is not shown as a good thing. The pack dynamics were themselves interesting. There seems to be a lot of cooperation between packs, and a lot of I suppose checks and balances within the werewolf community to make sure no one over steps.

If you enjoy reading paranormal romances, and enjoy werewolf fiction then I think that you will enjoy this series if you think of The Omega’s Bodyguard as almost a taster for the rest of the series. I think you will particularly enjoy this if you’re looking for something a little bit different within the genre. As I’ve said, there are a couple of hot and steamy scenes but don’t be put off if that isn’t your thing as I think the story is engaging enough even with that. There is a lot of potential within this world, and I’m looking forward to exploring more of it.

Reviewlets: Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux & Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark

Here are another couple of short reviews that I hope you will enjoy. I’m trying to interspace these shorter reviews between longer ones, so I hope the balance is working at the moment.

Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux

Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

After finishing the first book in the Wolves of the World series, I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I really like the fact that the story focuses on two characters we’ve already kind of met in Omega Required. I really enjoyed this, though I do think that there is a lot going on and I’m not totally sure how I feel about how everything was (and wasn’t) resolved. This book explored more of the world of the Wolves of the World which I really enjoyed. It was interesting to see more and different packs, and how they worked. I really liked Casey and Adam as characters, and I enjoyed following their journeys through the book. If you enjoyed Omega Required then I think you will like this book too.

Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I read and loved Chichester Clark’s Plumdog, so how could I resist getting hold of another year in Plum’s life?! It is everything I expected and loved from Plumdog. There are new adventures Plum and Emma embark on, some of them are obviously fun others are not. I like the fact that Chichester Clark includes the good and the bad. I also like the fact that there isn’t something for all 365 days, but rather a series of highlights. The story is narrated by Plum, Emma just provides the illustrations. It’s a great book to either read in one go, like I did, or dive into and out of as each story is self-contained. If you like dogs, then this is definitely a one for you. The illustrations are beautiful, colourful, and convey a lot of feelings.

Review: Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

In this new installment in the No. 1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves . . .

My Name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter . . . And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it.

Series: Mercy Thompson, 11
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (9 May 2019)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

This is one of the books that I have been really looking forward to getting my hands on, even though I didn’t rush to get my hands on a copy when it was first released. In her Mercy Thompson series Patricia Briggs has created a world and characters I really enjoy. So I had high expectations going into Storm Called, and honestly it totally lived up to them. From the first page I was able to dive straight back into Mercy’s world and become completely absorbed in the story, to the point that I was a little disappointed when I had to stop. This was not a book I savoured, though I probably should have: I just devoured it.

Plot-wise this book was not what I was expecting at all, though it did follow a similar formula to previous books in the series. Briggs kept me guessing from start to end about what was going to happen, and I really enjoyed that. I thought the set-up was going to go one way, but Briggs outmanoeuvred me on that front. The storyline was everything I wanted from a book in the Mercy Thompson series and more. My only slight gripe was that one of the events I thought was going to happen, happens off the page but with that there is definitely plenty of scope for future books in the series. It has definitely left me excited to see more of this world in future books, as there is a lot of potential for the future in this book. Fans of this series will, I think, definitely be pleased. Storm Called is definitely a contender for my favourite book in this series.

Not only was the plot interesting, but there is the return of a few familiar faces. I just want to say that Mercy has some awesome friends, and I love the way Briggs writes Mercy’s relationship with Adam and her relationship with his pack. It feels very real. The baddies are intriguing characters, though at times they do feel a little flat and two-dimensional. I don’t really feel that that reflects negatively on the story, to me it just reflects the fact that the story follows Mercy’s point of view and she’s not an omniscient narrator. There is definitely the feel that there is a lot going on behind the scenes, but considering the events of previous books it is somewhat to be expected – after all Mercy and her pack are at the centre of a period of great change within the world.

If you are new to this series and have just stumbled across this review and thought it sounded interesting, then I highly recommend that you give the series a try with the first book in the series Moon Called. If you are a long-time fan of the series, and you haven’t got this book yet then go out and get it. If you’ve loved the previous ten books, or at least liked them, then you will enjoy this one too.

Reviewlets: Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 1 Dark Trinity & Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

After the success of my first reviewlets post, I thought I’d continue it with two more short book reviews for you to enjoy. Sometimes I read a book and I don’t have a lot to say about it, so I find sharing my thoughts in these mini reviews quite helpful – I hope they help you too.

Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 1 Dark Trinity written by Scott Lobdell, artist Dexter Soy, colourist Veronica Gandini ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol 1: Dark Trinity

This is the first time I’ve ever delved into the DC universe in comic form. TV shows and films are where I know most of my DC lore from, but I was curious to learn more about Jason Todd and this seemed like a good place to start. Even with my very spotty canon background I found it easy to dive into the world in this bind-up. Lobdell includes a lot of backstory, so I did not feel lost at all. In fact, I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to getting my hands on the second bind-up and uncovering more about this world. Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini do a brilliant job with the artwork. Soy’s illustrations are incredibly detailed, and yet so clear. Jason was a really great main character, and he really pulled everything together. I loved the way his relationships with Artemis and Bizarro were written, and also his relationship with Bruce (though this is admittedly not something that is really focused on within the comic).

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

This book is an interesting mash-up: part autobiography, part cook book, and hostess guide and yet somehow it just works. There is some really beautiful photography as well that compliments the narrative. Not just great food photos, but there are some beautiful scenery photos as well that give a glimpse into live in the US South. There has been a lot of thought put into this book and it shows. I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, though there are a few I’m tempted to try, I just glanced at them as they’re interspersed within the main narrative of Witherspoon discussing her life growing up in the American south – it is an interesting glimpse into a world I know very little about, apart from what is shown in books, tv and film.

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

EVERY ENCHANTMENT HAS A PRICE.

With a flick of her paintbrush, Isobel creates stunning portraits for a dangerous set of clients: the fair folk. These immortal creatures cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and they trade valuable enchantments for Isobel’s paintings. But when she recieves her first royal patron – Rook, the autumn prince – Isobel makes a deadly mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that could cost him his throne, and even his life.

Furious, Rook spirits Isobel away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously amiss in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending upon each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, perhaps even love . . . a forbidden emotion that would violate the fair folk’s ruthless laws, rendering both their lives forfeit. What force could Isobel’s paintings conjure that is powerful enough to defy the ancient malice of the fairy courts?

Isoble and Rook journey along a knife-edge in a lush world where beauty masks corruption and the cost of survival might be more frightening that death itself.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (3 May 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Funny story, but I only picked up a copy of An Enchantment of Ravens because I saw it on a lot of Instagram posts, back in 2018 when it was published, and thought it looked really pretty. Going into the book I actually didn’t know a lot about it, which I quite enjoyed. First person narration isn’t something I’m particularly keen on. For it to work, I’ve found I have to like the tone and the narrator. So I’m always pretty cautious about trying new books and authors who use this technique, and this book fills both of those criteria. I actually really enjoyed Isobel’s voice, and therefore I found Rogerson’s use of first person narration worked really well and I really enjoyed Isobel’s voice and perspective.

I will be honest, the book is slow to start which is normally something that I’m not particularly keen on. Especially, as with this book, when the plot slowly gains speed to that all the action is contained within the latter half of the story. It can feel a bit cramped together, and whilst it did feel a bit like that in this book I thought the pacing really worked for the story. It worked for me in this case because it allows the reader to get to know Isobel. Whilst Rook is a bit bland and a fairly typical fey prince, but Isobel shines for all that she is mortal, human.

When we first meet her Isobel is painting; providing portraiture for the fair folk. Her work is so skilled that the fey pay, in favours, for a portrait by her. And this is the bit that fascinates me most about her, she never forgets what they are and how dangerous they are to mortals. It also makes this story different from a lot of the books within this genre, and I actually really enjoyed the fact that Isobel is so aware. It is through Isobel’s work that she and Rook cross paths. I know I said that Rook was bland, but he stands out from the other fey in this book because he captures Isobel’s attention.

If you are looking for a story about the fey, then I highly recommend giving An Enchantment of Ravens a try. The story is fairly short, less than three hundred pages in my copy, so if the blurb intrigues you it’s well worth a try. Isobel’s tale is compelling, and Rogerson’s writing sucks you in and before you know it you’ll find yourself at the end. Telling the story through Isobel’s eyes allows Rogerson to remind us the dangers of the fey, but also to show us their beauty and cunning. Judging a book by its cover really worked out well this time, and I’m really pleased to have discovered this story.