Category Archives: Book Review

June 2021 Reading List

Top ASX stock picks for June

June was an interesting and completely unique month. We found out that we’re pregnant at the end of May, so my whole reality and routine got thrown COMPLETELY out of whack. And I honestly just struggled to find the energy to read! Which was completely horrifying to me… but I still managed to get through a few books. (All that time I couldn’t go to the gym did give me a little more reading time).

Non-fiction

Poems

Series

Standalones – Novels

Standalones – Short stories

Image source: Motley Fool

The Master of Rampling Gate by Anne Rice

Overview
Image result for by blood we live book cover

Title: The Master of Rampling Gate
Author: Anne Rice
In: By Blood We Live (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: GothicHorror, Vampires
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: “What have they done to me?” he whispered.

Synopsis

Two siblings were left with strict instructions of their father’s death – destroy Rampling Gate. But a visit to find out what they are to destroy has them questioning everything.

Thoughts

This had a very gothic / Dracula feel to it. But just not quite as horrifying and twisted. Actually, it had kind of surreal sort of happy ending. Not one that I necessarily went head over heels for. But one that I enjoyed nevertheless.

I like that there was a mystery and a feeling of family traditions and horrors throughout this tale. It wasn’t overly dark in and of itself, but that potential lingered throughout the tale. And it left me feeling very happily intrigued as I flicked through the pages.

I’ve heard of Anne Rice many times. I mean, who hasn’t when you like anything paranormal? So it was fun to know what her writing is actually like. I’d definitely be intrigued to buy one of her novels now…

<- Snow, Glass, ApplesUnder St. Peter’s ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction

The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker

Overview
A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: The Silk Blade
Author: Natalie C. Parker
In: A Universe of Wishes (Dhonielle Clayton)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: LGBTQI, Medieval fantasy, Romance
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Crown
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: I have him exactly where I need him to be, but before I can swing around to his other side, Rabi is there.

Synopsis

It’s the competition of a lifetime – three competitors competing to be the consort to the ruler of them all – the Bloom. But a chance meeting just before the final battle may change everything.

Thoughts

I love that from the get go of this story, gender and sexuality isn’t even a thing. There are multiple attractions and couples, but no set expectations for which genders are together. The way that there is no big deal made out of this needs to happen more frequently in YA stories as far as I’m concerned.

The idea of a great big challenge to be the consort of the Bloom was fun. There was this beautiful poetry and feeling of elegance that I got throughout this book. One that I wasn’t really expecting. But definitely enjoyed. Especially when there is that final challenge / battle at the end…

All in all, I loved this short story. I found it adorable and fun. With a great sense of action and drama. Add to that the romance and connection that weaves through the tale and the fantastic world building… I was sad when this ended.

<- A Universe of WishesThe Scarlet Woman ->

Image source: Goodreads

On the Run by Kay Staples

Overview
Proud by Juno Dawson & various (9781788950602/Paperback) | LoveReading

Title: On the Run
Author: Kay Staples
In: Proud (Juno Dawson)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, LGBTQI
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Little Tiger
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: The next message I’d got from him was at eleven thirty at night, after I’d settled down to sleep because I had college in the morning.

Synopsis

Two teenagers on the run. They thought it’d be a little more glamorous… but reality isn’t always what we expect. It can be better!

Thoughts

This was a seriously cute and sweet story. At the beginning, I was a little uncertain.. I mean two teenagers on the run? You’ve gotta be concerned. But, as the story unfolded… it was just beautiful!

I love how the information and uncertainty of being Nicky unfold as the story unfolds. Its such a cute and sweet tale that makes you… smile. You just keep hoping for the best with these characters and wanting the happily ever after they so obviously need.

What I found surprising about this is that they were not on the run due to their identities. It was a total twist that I wasn’t expecting. And I seriously, deeply enjoyed it!

<- PenguinsThe Phoenix’s Fault ->

Image source: LoveReading4Kids

Pattern Recognition by Dana Cameron

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Pattern Recognition
Author: Dana Cameron
Series: Fangborn #0.4
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: And her brother; apparently he’d taken on Cesar’s men when they broke into the apartment.

Synopsis

Siblings Claudia and Gerry are fangborn, and when one of Claudia’s patients rings her with an odd experience… they realise that things are starting to enter the mythological realms of prophecy and ruin.

Thoughts

I know I’ve read a fangborn short story before. And I know that I enjoyed it enough to add the series to my wish list. And I remember that I loved the idea of Gerry and Claudia… werewolf and vampire siblings. This story was just as enjoyable and surprising.

I wasn’t quite surprised to find a story like this in the Murder and Mayhem in Muskego book. I wasn’t really expecting a paranormal story in here. I’m not really sure what I was expecting expecting be fair as this is only my second story of the collection… but still. I like that there is a paranormal tale in here. Its incredibly fun and left a huge smile on my face.

I really liked the mayhem throughout this story. It didn’t quite touch on murder as much as I expected. But I really enjoyed all of the mayhem. And the blood. And the fact that there was impaling of the bad guys… I’m not bloodthirsty at all!

<- Hollywood LanesSlider ->

Image source: Amazon

The Veiled Prophet by David B.

Overview
Image result for xo orpheus book cover

Title: The Veiled Prophet
Author: David B.
In: Xo Orpheus (Kate Bernheimer)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Graphic novels, Mythology
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: It was said that Simorgh the bird strode at the head of this veiled man’s perennially victorious army.

Synopsis

A nice, short comic retelling of the Prophet of the Veil. This was dark, complex and fun.

Thoughts

This would have been a creepy and disturbing story in prose. The fact that it was illustrated just helped to drive that home. It was just… unsettling. Particularly by the end of the story.

This story made me think about all of the things and “falsities” that we trap ourselves with. It makes me seriously question the different things in life that tie and trap us.

This was dark and fun. A story that I would read again. It was surprising, and I found it a great little journey down the well hole… pun intended.

<- Friend RobinHenry and Booboo ->

Image source: Goodreads

Nothing Will Hurt You by David Morrell

Overview
Hauntings: Datlow, Ellen: 9781616960889: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Nothing Will Hurt You
Author: David Morrell
In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: FamilyHorror
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Synopsis

Parents are supposed to be able to protect their children. But what happens when they fail?

Thoughts

To start with I had some pretty amazing Edward Scissorhand vibes. I’m not entirely sure why, maybe there’s a reference I picked up subconsciously from my long ago watching of the movie. And honestly, I thought that reference was dark enough…

It got darker. It got more disturbing and I felt quite uncomfortable by the time I’d finished this short story. Which, I suppose makes sense for the fact that it’s in the Hauntings collection. It also left you with a but of a “haunting” feeling when you turned that final page…

I love the idea that a father will do anything to protect his daughter. I also loved how this story took that protective instinct WAY too far. Combined with the haunting by the daughter, a quest for revenge and just the general creepiness of this story… well, I’m still tingling.

<- Delta Sly HoneyThe Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4) ->

Image source: Amazon

Flying by Delia Sherman

Overview
Image result for teeth ellen datlow terri windling book cover

Title: Flying
Author: Delia Sherman
In: Teeth: Vampire Tales (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CircusVampires
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: I’m making an egg for your father.

Synopsis

Lena’s parents gave up everything to help support her through cancer. But now all she wants to do is fly… what will the cost be?

Thoughts

I really loved this mix of circus performers and vampires. It was fun and exciting. And you constantly hoped for the best where Lena was concerned. Her battle for health and happiness was beautiful, and for me, this story became less about vampires and more about finding your happily ever after.

It was kind of sad that Lena’s happily ever after really, really didn’t involve her parents. After all, they are beautifully kind and supportive. Although, I suppose that we all find a happily ever after that really doesn’t involve our parents…

I always love stories by Delia Sherman. This one was no exception and I absolutely adored this tale. I love the imagery of the circus and a trapeze artist. The cats and the bats. Everything worked so beautifully and seamlessly together. Leaving me with a huge, happy grin on my face.

<- Bloody SunriseVampire Weather ->

Image source: HarperCollins

The Sons of Ra by Helen Scott Taylor

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: The Sons of Ra
Author: Helen Scott Taylor
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: The highlights in his hair shone guinea gold in contrast to the black trousers and black leather jacket he’d donned for their night foray.

Synopsis

A trip for information takes Trish back to the man that broke her heart twenty years ago. But finding out that he hasn’t age is just the tip of this very confusing iceberg.

Thoughts

I thought that the concept of this story was unique and cute. It didn’t necessarily completely hook me. But I did find it enjoyable. Which, for me, is enough. It was fun and easy and just… cute.

I love the integration of Egyptian mythology into this story. It was a little surprising and very enjoyable. It was also not something I see very much. I tend to find most of the stories I read featuring mythology feature Greek, roman or norse.

Trish’s desire to choose her own destiny and not fall for the man she loves mindlessly made me incredibly happy. I mean, she has a right to be pissed (I think she didn’t quite make him work hard enough for forgiveness to be honest. But, she still kept her head high. So alls well that ends well.

<- NightDrakeEve of Warfare ->

Image source: Amazon

Be Mine Tonight by Kathryn Smith

Overview
Be Mine Tonight (Brotherhood of Blood, #1) by Kathryn Smith

Title: Be Mine Tonight
Author: Kathryn Smith
Series: Brotherhood of Blood #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceParanormal romance, Vampires
Dates read: 27th – 28th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: Oddly enough, that realization wasn’t annoying so much as it was warming.

Synopsis

I am called Chapel…

For nearly six centuries I have roamed the night, a mortal man no longer. Would that I could undo the past – when I entered the sanctuary of the Knights Templar to wrest from them the Holy Grail, only to discover the chalice I raised to my lips was not the sacred relic but a hellish cup of damnation. Now I shun the day and all things human, driven by an ungodly thirst. And yet…

Never have I known a maiden the like of Prudence Ryland, whose beauty and spirit awaken a heart I feared long cold and dead. But her young life is slipping away, and she also seeks the deliverance of the Grail – unaware that the cost of her search could be her soul. I must help Prudence, for in six hundred years, no other woman has stirred my passions so. But dare I tender to my beloved that which she most desires – the sensuous “gift” of forever that is both rapture and a curse: my immortal kiss?

Thoughts

This was one of those books that I was like “eh, eh, eh, WOW.” It took quite a while for me to warm up to the storyline. But, once I got there… wow was I happy. It happened about a third / half the way in. Then, I really, really wanted to know what was going on. I also cried at one point.

I bought this book because I read a novella in this series which intrigued me. But, honestly? I had no idea what to expect or even what time period this would be in. I was pleasantly surprised that this read like a regency romance. Just with a much more intense paranormal spin.

Chapel is kind of a fool and a little bit too whiney for my taste in lead men. Plus, the constant need for retribution was just… seriously dude? You’re 600 years old!!! Grow the hell up! Luckily, Pru agreed and kicked his butt multiple times with her frustration at his stupidity. It made him more likeable since Pru found a reason to like him in spite of his stupidity…

All in all, this was a fun start to a series. Yes, there was this beautiful part towards the end that had me crying. But, mostly it was a good, easy read. I particularly liked how the story ended… leaving plenty of opening and intrigue for the next tale in the series.

<- More Kathryn SmithNight of the Huntress ->

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