Review: A Witch Alone by Ruth Warburton

A Witch Alone by Ruth Warburton

Title: A Witch Alone (Winter Trilogy #3)
Author: Ruth Warburton
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books (7th February 2013)
Blurb:

Where do you go when your heart has been ripped out?

For Anna there is only one answer; into her past, where the truth about her mother, her power, and her real identity lie hidden.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

A WITCH ALONE brings Ruth Warburton’s WINTER TRILOGY to a conclusion. After the events of A WITCH IN LOVE (review), Anna is left adrift, but the desire to know more about her mother – does she still live? – draws her forward and into a series of events that threatens everything – and everyone.

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Review: Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison

Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison

Title: Oracle’s Moon (A Novel of the Elder Races, 4)
Author: Thea Harrison
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (2nd August 2012)
Blurb:

In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, an untested young woman must claim her place as the Oracle – and contend with a powerful Djinn who has decided to become part of her life . . .

As a second daughter, Grace Andreas never had to worry about the intrigues of the Elder Races. But when her sister, Petra, and her husband are both killed, Grace inherits the Power and responsibilities of the Oracle of Louisville, as well as he sister’s two young children – neither of which she’s prepared for.

Yet, she’s not alone. Khalil, Demonkind and Djinn Prince of House Marid – driven by his genuine caring for the children – has decided to make himself a part of the household, both as their guardian and as an exasperating counterpoint to Grace’s impudence towards the Elder Races. But when an attempt is made on Grace’s life, she realises that Khalil is the only one who can protect her – and offer her more than any mortal man . . .

Rating: *** (3 star)
Review:

Oracle’s Moon is the fourth book in the Novel of the Elder Race series, although it is not a direct sequel of Dragon Bound, Storm’s Heart or Serpent’s Kiss. Instead Oracle’s Moon takes characters from Storm’s Heart and Serpent’s Kiss and places them on centre stage. Khalil makes an appearance in both Storm’s Heart and Serpent’s Kiss, whilst Grace appears for the first time in Serpent’s Kiss. I think both Khalil and Grace are an interesting choice on Harrison’s part as neither is really fleshed out until their appearance in this book. Like Dragon Bound, Storm’s Heart, and Serpent’s Kiss, Oracle’s Moon is very definitely a book – and a series – which is aimed at an adult audience.

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Women of the Otherworld Challenge: 13 + International Giveaway!!

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.

So this is it. The final book, and my final post for this challenge.

13 by Kelley Armstrong (UK cover)

13 (Women of the Otherworld #13)
by Kelley Armstrong
Published: 24th July 2012

13. The breath-taking, explosive finale to the Women of the Otherworld series.

War is coming to the Otherworld. A sinister cult known as The Supernatural Liberation Movement is hell-bent on exposing the truth about supernaturals to the rest of the world. Their violent, ruthless plan has put everyone at risk: from werewolves to vampires, from witches to half-demons.

Savannah Levine – fiery and unpredictable – stands at the heart of the maelstrom. There is a new, dark magic inside her, granting her the power to summon spells of terrifying strength. But whether this magic is a gift or a curse, no one knows.

On the eve of battle, all the major players must come together in a last, desperate fight for survival – Elena and Clay; Adam and Savannah; Paige and Lucas; Jeremy and Jamie; Hope, Eve and more . . . They are fighting for their lives. They are fighting for their loved ones.

They are fighting for the Otherworld.

You can find my 4 out of 5 star review for 13 here.

I had really mixed views about 13 when I first heard about it. I wasn’t totally convinced that I wanted to read it – after all, 13 represented the end of an era for me as well as the end of one of my favourite urban fantasy series.

The Women of the Otherworld series had been such a large part of my reading life since my mid/late-teens that I was somewhat disappointed to discover that there were going to be just 13 books in the series, and that the final three books were going to be Savannah’s arc. As I’m sure you know by now, if you’ve been following these posts, Elena is my favourite character. She started the series, and I was hoping that she would end the series – full circle so to speak, but that kind of already happened in Frostbitten so I’m not too disappointed.

In the end I think 13 provided a good ending to the series, and that Savannah was a good choice to lead the final arc of the series. I’m still a little sad to see the series end, but as I own a copy of all 13 books I have plenty of opportunities to re-read them – opportunities which this challenge offered me, so thank you Moonlight’s Gleam for organising and running this challenge!

>>Giveaway!

As this is my last post for the Women of the Otherworld Reading Challenge I have decided to offer ONE lucky person the chance to win ONE copy of their choice from one of the books listed below (to find out more about the book click on the link and it will take you to its Goodread page). To enter click the link to the Rafflecopter form, but don’t forget to read the rules before entering!

You could win a copy of . . .

RULES

  • To enter this giveaway you must be 18 years or older (this is due to the fact that some of the giveaway prizes are aimed at an adult audience).
  • This competition is open internationally (except where prohibited by law).
  • ONE winner of this giveaway will recieve ONE copy of a book of their choice from the list above.
  • The giveaway opens on 14th March 00:00GMT and closes on 11th April 00:00BST. Any entries recieved outside these dates will not be eligable for entry.
  • Only one entry per person is allowed.
  • The winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway.
  • The winner will need to respond to the email within 72 hours of recieving the email or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The Flutterby Room is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.
  • The Flutterby Room is not responsible for any loss or damage of the prize in transit.
  • The Flutterby Room reserves the right to cancel this competition at any time without any prior warning.
  • The Flutterby Room reserves the right to disqualify any entry at any time.

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY IDENTIFYING DETAILS (SUCH AS FULL NAME, OR EMAIL ADDRESS)  IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW. ALL SUCH COMMENTS WILL BE DELETED AS SOON AS THEY ARE NOTICED.

Link to Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!

Review: A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE HOLLOWS SERIES AS A PERFECT BLOOD IS THE TENTH BOOK IN THE SERIES.

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison (UK cover)

Title: A Perfect Blood (The Hollows 10)
Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: HarperVoyager (31st January 2013)
Blurb:

WELCOME TO THE HOLLOWS . . .

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled into help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch-turned-day-walking-demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity might be her toughest challenge yet.

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

A Perfect Blood is the tenth book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, and it continues the story of Rachel Morgan, a witch who recently discovered that she’s actually a demon. The Hollows is one of my favourite urban fantasy series, and I have been waiting a while to get my hands on a copy of this book.

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Women of the Otherworld Challenge: SPELL BOUND

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.

This is the post that brings me up to date with the challenge. Yay!

Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong (UK cover)

Spell Bound (Women of the Otherworld #12)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 4th August 2011

Savannah Levine is in danger. That’s not usually a problem. But, caught in the grip of a disturbing and violent murder case, Savannah swore to give up her unique gifts if it would save an innocent young girl. Little did she know that someone – or something – was listening . . . Now she has no idea how to restore her powers, just when she needs them the most.

In this compelling, fast-paced new thriller, Savannah has to face a host of deadly enemies bent on destroying not only her, but the very fabric of the supernatural world.

As dark forces gather, Savannah isn’t just fighting for her life, but for everything and everyone she loves . . .

You can read my 4 out of 5 star review of Spell Bound here.

It’s kind of scary to think that Spell Bound is the penultimate book in the Women of the Otherworld series. In fact, I think it’s scary that a series that has been so much part of my life as a reader for a number of years is now over. Whilst on the one hand I’m glad Kelley Armstrong chose not to continue the series indefinitely, I’m sad that I have had to say goodbye to some of the characters that really cemented my love of both the urban fantasy and the paranormal romance genres. As I’ve already got up a review on this blog for Spell Bound this challenge entry is going to be a little different. Instead of talking about Spell Bound or the Women of the Otherworld series I am going to talk about the two young adult spin-off series that Armstrong has written: Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising.

None of the main characters from the Women of the Otherworld series make an appearance (to date) in either trilogy, but it is very obviously set in the same world. The Darkest Powers trilogy focuses on Chloe Sanders, a girl who can see ghosts. Chloe finds herself sent to Lyle House, a place full of secrets. I really enjoyed reading the Darkest Powers trilogy, and looking into a world that was both familiar and not. I thought Chloe was an interesting character, in part due to the fact that she has no idea what she is. I also thought the friends she makes at Lyle House were really interesting, and that Armstrong handled the mystery element of the trilogy in a really interesting way. The Darkness Rising trilogy (only two books have been published to date) tells the story of Maya Delaney, a sixteen year-old of Native American decent who lives in a tiny medical research community. I thought Maya was a really interesting character and I enjoyed watching her journey. Watching the plot unfold through the first two books in the trilogy has been really interesting, and I am looking forward to reading the third and final (?) book.

So, although I am sad to say goodbye to the Women of the Otherworld and the wonderful characters in the series. I am enjoying exploring the world through different eyes in her two spin-off series aimed at a young adult audience.

Women of the Otherworld Challenge: WAKING THE WITCH

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.

As this challenge started in March 2012 and it is already February 2013, you can tell that I am a little behind…

Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong (UK cover)

Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld #11)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 27th July 2010

Columbus is a small, fading town, untouched by the twenty-first century. But when three young women are found dead – victims of what appear to be ritual murders – things start to get very dark, and very dangerous . . .

Private investigator Savannah Levine can handle ‘dark and dangerous’. As the daughter of a black witch, she has a lot of power running through her veins, and she’s not afraid to use it. But her arrival in Columbus has not gone unnoticed. Savannah may think she’s tracking down a murderer, but could she be the killer’s next target?

Of course she could always ask her old friend (and half-demon) Adam Vasic for back-up. But Savannah has her own – very personal – reasons for keeping Adam well away from Columbus. And in any case, she can rely on her own powers. Can’t she . . . ?

As with previous Women of the Otherworld Challenge posts this is not going to be a “normal” review.

This book contains many firsts. It is the first book narrated by Savannah, who we first meet in Stolen. Savannah is the first (and only?) character we see in the series grow from a teen into an adult. The story is also about Savannah’s first solo case. In a lot of ways this book is kinda scary, especially when you think that there are just six years between the publication of Stolen and Waking the Witch!

This book was something of a surprise for me. To be honest, when I first got it I wasn’t too sure what I thought of Savannah being the narrator. I was happy with her being a secondary character, and I wanted to see more of the main characters I had come to love. However, I found myself really enjoying the story and having Savannah as the narrator. I also enjoyed the appearance of Adam as a main character.

Waking the Witch is, in many ways, the beginning of the final arc of the series. The plot of the book is surprisingly complex, and a lot of the fallout that comes from this book is reflected in the next book in the series Spell Bound. It was fun watching Savannah solve the case, even if the consequences are less than ideal. Armstrong ends the book with an evil little twist.

Women of the Otherworld Challenge: FROSTBITTEN

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.

As this challenge started in March 2012 and it is already February 2013, you can tell that I am a little behind…

Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong (UK cover)

Frostbitten (Women of the Otherworld #10)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 1st October 2009

The Alaskan wilderness if a harsh landscape in the best of conditions, but with a pack of rogue werewolves on the loose it’s downright deadly.

Elena Michaels, the American Werewolf Pack’s chief enforcer, knows all too well the havoc ‘mutts’ can wreak. When the Pack learns of a series of gruesome maulings and murders outside of Anchorage, Elena and her partner Clay travel to Alaska in the dead of winter expecting to hunt down a pack of dangerous werewolves. But, trapped in a savage, frozen realm, it is their own untamed nature – and their werewolf heritage – they have to confront. . .

As with previous Women of the Otherworld Challenge posts this is not going to be a “normal” review.

In Frostbitten Armstrong returns to my favourite characters in the Women of the Otherworld series – The Pack. In a lot of ways Frostbitten shows how far both Elena and The Pack have come since the events in Bitten. The Pack at the end of Frostbitten are embracing the future and moving forward, and becoming more like the packs of old.

One of the things that I most enjoy about Frostbitten is the fact that Elena and Clay and The Pack get stage time without having to deal with any of the other characters in the Women of the Otherworld series (though Jamie and Hope do make an appearance, for obvious reasons).

I really enjoyed the fact that this book is set in Alaska. Armstrong did a great job at conveying the scenery, and how bleak a place it can be in the middle of winter – and how dangerous, and wild it is too. Frostbitten really showed me how far Elena has come as a character.

The plot of the book was in many ways what I expect from a Women of the Otherworld book, though there were some interesting twists and turns along the way. Until this book I wasn’t sure if The Pack was THE Pack, or The American Pack. By clarifying that, Armstrong has opened up the world within Women of the Otherworld for me.

Women of the Otherworld Challenge: LIVING WITH THE DEAD

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.

As this challenge started in March 2012 and it is already February 2013, you can tell that I am a little behind…

Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong (UK cover)

Living with the Dead (Women of the Otherworld #9)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 6th November 2008

Robyn Peltier has never done anything out of the ordinary and she never makes snap decisions. But when her new boss is murdered and she is named prime suspect, she finds herself way out of her depth. As the bodies pile up, only her best friend Hope Adams, and Hope’s somewhat spooky boyfriend Karl, are on her side.

What Robyn doesn’t realise is that Hope has a few secrets of her own. Namely that she is a half-demon, and her ‘spooky’ boyfriend is actually a werewolf. Robyn has accidentally stumbled into a bloody supernatural turf war, and the only way Hope can keep her friend alive is by letting her enter a world she’s safer knowing nothing about. A world where homicide cops talk to ghosts, defence lawyers are sorcerers and nothing is quite what it seems . . .

As with previous Women of the Otherworld Challenge posts this is not going to be a “normal” review.

Living with the Dead is actually a really interesting addition to the Women of the Otherworld collection because Robyn is the first and only (I think) human who is a major character in one of the books. She is linked to the supernatural through her friendship with Hope, but as she has no direct connection I think she’s an interesting choice by Armstrong. Because of this, Living Dead has multiple narrators – one is, in fact Robyn herself. I really enjoyed the way the supernatural and the mundane crossed in this book.

The plot of Living with the Dead is an interesting and complex one. It is the first one where we start to see Armstrong build up towards the endgame of the series, though at this point there are only little hints: Hope’s thoughts at the end of the book are especially interesting. I really enjoyed the way that Armstrong wove the different narrators and the threads that involved them together to make a cohesive whole.

Women of the Otherworld Challenge: PERSONAL DEMON

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.

As this challenge started in March 2012 and it is already February 2013, you can tell that I am a little behind…

Personal Demon by Kelley Armstong (UK cover)

Personal Demon (Women of the Otherworld #8)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 25th March 2008

Hope Adams, tabloid journalist and half-demon, inherited her Bollywood-princess looks from her mother. From her demon father, she inherited a hunger for chaos, and a talent for finding it. Like full demons,she gets an almost sexual rush from danger – in fact, she thrives on it. But she is determined to use her gifts for good.

When the head of the powerful Cortez Cabal asks her to infiltrate a gang of bored, rich, troublemaking supernaturals in Miami, Hope can’t resist the excitement. But trouble for Hope is intoxicating, and soon she’s in way too deep.

With a killer stalking the mysterious hot spots of Miami, Hope finds herself dangerously entangled, and has no choice but to turn to her crooked werewolf ex-boyfriend for help. What started as a simple investigation has spiralled into chaos. And Hope finds chaos irresistible . . .

For a woman who didn’t know what she was getting into, there’s only one way out: it’s time for Hope to unleash her most potent primal instincts and open herself, mind and body, to everything she most fears – and desires.

As with previous Women of the Otherworld Challenge posts this is not going to be a “normal” review.

The concept of the half-demons that inhabit the Otherworld has intrigued me for a while, which is partly why I enjoy reading Personal Demon so much – it is the first time we really get a glimpse into that world, though there have been hints at it through Eve, Savannah, and Adam. Hope is a really interesting character. She is not what I thought a chaos loving half-demon would be like at all.

One of the things that I most enjoyed about Personal Demon was the fact that the narrative is split between Hope Adams and Lucas Cortez. This is the first time this has happened in the series so far, and I think it adds an extra dimension to the story. I liked the fact that I knew things that neither Hope or Lucas did at the time. Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the interaction between Hope and Karl. In fact, I think I just love the fact that Karl gets some serious stage time in this book.

Armstrong does a good job of using the two different narratives to wind two different plot threads through the book, and still keep them linked together. Hope’s plot thread was an intense ride, fraught with chaos – which I guess you would expect from a chaos lover. Lucas’s thread was very taut and full of intrigue. Both plots have interesting implications for future books, I think.

Women of the Otherworld Challenge: NO HUMANS INVOLVED

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.

As this challenge started in March 2012 and it is already February 2013, you can tell that I am a little behind…

No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong (UK cover)

No Humans Involved (Women of the Otherworld #7)
by Kelley Armstrong

Published: 3rd May 2007

Bestselling author Kelley Armstrong creates a world in which humans unwittingly co-exist with werewolves, witches and other supernatural beings. Now, in this spellbinding new novel, an alluring necromancer must come to terms with her true powers of attraction – and with an evil no one would have thought possible . . .

It’s the most anticipated reality television event of the season: three spiritualists gathered in one house to raise the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. For renowned medium Jamie Vegas there’s just one problem. Unlike her colleagues, Jamie is the real deal: and she knows the house is truly haunted. Not by dead film stars, but by something even stranger and much more disturbing . . .

A tragic mystery lurks in the maze of gardens behind the house: trapped spirits that only Jamie can hear, spirits that refuse to let her rest. Distraught, she looks to her fellow supernaturals for help. As the whispers within the garden grow more frantic, Jamie – and the attractive and unobtainable werewolf Jeremy Danvers – are forced to embark on an investigation into a shocking underworld of black magic and ritual sacrifice.

As events culminate in a psychic showdown, Jamie must use the darkest power she has to defeat a terrifying and previously unforseen enemy . . .

As with previous Women of the Otherworld Challenge posts this is not going to be a “normal” review.

This is another book that features Jamie, though thankfully she’s the main character so we get to know her a bit more than we have in previous books. Jamie really surprised me as a lead character, because to be honest I wasn’t sure if I was going to like her – particularly after both Elena and Paige’s reactions in previous books. I really enjoyed Jamie’s interactions with Jeremy in this book. They were really quite sweet. I also liked the fact that almost all the main cast from the previous books appeared in this one, or were at least mentioned.

The plot of this book is surprisingly complex, and thankfully had nothing to do with Marilyn Monroe. It was quite a scary read, both in terms of the atmosphere and in terms of what the bad guys were doing in this book. I was really pleased that both Eve and Kristof appeared in this book – it was nice to see them working together, I wish Armstrong had written more about their relationship but oh well.