Tag Archives: The Coast

Beluga Days by Nancy Lord

Overview
Image result for book cover beluga days nancy lord

Title: Beluga Days
Author: Nancy Lord
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: The Coast, Conservation, Non-fiction, Oceans
Dates read: 25th February – 20th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: The Mountaineers Books
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: We headed for the bay, about ten miles from Anchorage, and found the whales, white backs rising, then disappearing.

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Synopsis

Living in the waters adjacent to the city of anchorage, the beluga whales of Cook Inlet, Alaska, once seemed countless. But after sharp declines, this isolated and genetically distinct population is now endangered.

Beluga Days brings to life coastal Alaska and the complex relationships that coalesce in a mad theater around the beluga whale crisis. In the company of regulators, environmentalists, researchers, businesspeople, whale lovers, and hunters, Nancy Lord explore the challenges of protecting whales and habitat while respecting Alaska Native traditions.

First published in 2004, Lord’s timeless story is part personal journey and part inquiry into the processes of science and politics. Today, the Cook Inlet beluga population has begun a slow recovery, assisted by the protection of the Endangered Species Act and increased public awareness.

Thoughts

It took me a little while to get through this novel. Not because it wasn’t incredibly interesting and fun, but because it is a great, easy read. You can read a chapter, put it down, and then pick it up a week or two later. There is so much information in this novel that my head is still reeling from it hours after I have turned the last page.

Most of the books I read around conservation are about grass roots efforts to save an animal, species or landscape. This was a little more formal in the outlook. Where many of these journeys are an incredibly personal anecdote that is incredibly difficult to put down, this was filled with information about the bureaucracy, politics and many different peoples who are directly involved in the lives and livelihoods of the Cook Inlet Belugas.

I know next to nothing about Belugas. They’re not a species of whale that happens to be anywhere near Australia. And I honestly don’t read many books about marine animals – my area of obsession tends towards the terrestrial animals. So not only was I finding out amazing amounts of information about this cutely funny looking mammal, but I was also finding out a lot of information about the ecosystem in which they live and the society which surrounds its shores. One of the parts I loved about this book was that it investigates all of the different stakeholders in the health and safety of the Cook Inlet Belugas. This starts with Lord discussing her own insight into these whales and her own experiences in finding out more and more about their endangered status. Then she starts to delve into the scientific practices of research and understanding. Following this, the politics and requirements of the legislation in protection are investigated. And, finally, to round everything off beautifully, the needs and wants of Native Americans are talked about. By discussing every single angle of the debate, Lord is able to provide a uniquely diverse and well thought out discussion of just what the Cook Inlet Belugas are facing, and just how they might be saved.

 <- Why I Live at the Natural History Museum ReviewThe Compass Inside Ourselves Review ->
Image source: Nancy Lord

Bound Together by Christine Feehan

Overview

Bound TogetherTitle: Bound Together
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Sisters of the Heart #6, Sea Haven #13
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: The CoastFamilyMagicParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: The knots in her stomach told her she was a liar, but no one else – not even Viktor – ever had to know that.

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Synopsis

For five years, Viktor Prakenskii has put his life on hold in order to take down the world’s most feared motorcycle club from the inside. But carrying out the insane violence and seeing the club’s exploitation of the innocent has brought his traumatic past roaring back. And there’s only one cure: to see the wife he left behind…

Blythe Daniels thought she’d never see Viktor again after he murdered her stepfather and left without a word. She rebuilt her life without him, becoming a personal trainer and physical therapist… becoming strong enough for others to lean on. But when Viktor comes back to Sea Haven, he’ll make Blythe question everything she thought she know about good and evil – and the dark desires of the heart…

Thoughts

My first thought on finishing this book was “Yup. Everyone’s dead.” And then I smiled.

Which was a good thought. All of the bad guys that have haunted Sea Haven until this point (or at least, the really evil guy) are finally gone. Which is unbelievably relieving. And it gives this great idea that the next Sea Haven series, Torpedo Ink is at the very least, going to start with everyone trying to rebuild their lives. Which is exactly what I wanted for this incredibly rough and tumble group of characters. My main disappointment is that the only book currently published in this (I’m assuming 17-part sub-series) is Judgment Road.

Meeting Viktor in Fire Bound was kind of annoying, although you can tell that he and Blythe are obviously meant for each other, he was kind of a douche. And there is the idea that Blythe has no idea what he has done behind her back. So reading about their reconciliation and the reasons behind his choices (still made him a douche, but a more understandable one) was an absolute page-turner. Actually, I just stayed up until 2am just trying to find out how it was going to end for all of them. Not just Viktor and Blythe, but the rest of Torpedo Ink and even the Drake Sisters.

I love that this entire series ties in to every other book and the two series are seamlessly worked together. You could read each series independently of each other but reading all of them in order is even better. And the fact that each sub-series (so far) has tied up all of the loose ends at the conclusion meant that Bound Together, like Hidden Currents was completely impossible to put down. After all, I didn’t only want to see what was happening to the Sisters of the Heart, but also The Drake Sisters

 <- Fire Bound Review Judgment Road Review ->
Image source: Christine Feehan

Fire Bound by Christine Feehan

Overview

Fire BoundTitle: Fire Bound
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Sisters of the Heart #5, Sea Haven #12
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: The CoastFamilyMagicParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: An inch.

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Synopsis

Flame-haired Lissa Piner is a skilled glassblwoer whose delicate gift conceals a burning inner strength that can destroy as exquisitely as it can create. Commissioned to design chandeliers for a string of luxury hotels, her remarkable skills have taken her to Italy. But Lissa’s real mission there is a secret. For her entire life has been a lie, leading to a chance to avenge a terrible wrong.

Enlisted as her bodyguard is Casimir Prakenskii, a trained assassin living off the grid. In Lissa, he sees a kindred spirit – something unexpected and wicked, mysterious and sensual. But something more than desire is about to bring them together, because both of their pasts cry out for revenge. And for two people with this many secrets, this much passion and this many enemies, someone is bound to get burned.

Thoughts

This was probably the least intense of the sexual attractions and romances in the Sea Haven series so far. At least for me. It was also the first one that I was able to put down for a little while. Something about it was just that slight bit slower and more easily paced. That isn’t to say that I didn’t love it just as much as the first eleven Sea Haven books.

Although Casimir and Lissa’s romance doesn’t feel quite as steamy as that of the other sisters (in both series), it feels far more romantic. There is something about Casimir and the (very controlling) way in which he plans out everything for Lissa that is so much sweeter and more thoughtful than any of the previous Prakenskii brothers. Which made me sigh a few times and clutch the book into my chest in that terrifyingly cliché way that women do in movies. Apparently some women do it in real life when they read something gloriously sweet. Or maybe it is just the wedding scene that tends to make me feel this way about Casimir.

Lissa’s character is insanely tough. Where the others are emotionally and mentally tough in their own way, this is the first Sisters of the Heart who is actually physically tough as well. She is an amazing assassin with my favourite back story of the series – nothing like what I was expecting from the previous books. But apparently everything that I was secretly yearning for.

Fire Bound also introduces Viktor and Blythe’s relationship which will be explored throughout Bound Together. It also gets rid of one of the villains and sets the scene for the even bigger bad guy who is (I’m sure) going to give me the absolute heebie jeebies in the final book in this series.

 <- Earth Bound Review Bound Together Review ->
Image source: Christine Feehan

The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury

Overview
The Fish Ladder

Title: The Fish Ladder
Author: Katharine Norbury
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves:
 Biographies, The CoastEasy readingMemoirs
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: But if we were in the wrong place, so too had Ieuan Lleyn been, when he came here in 1799.

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Synopsis

Katharine Norbury was abandoned as a baby in a Liverpool convent. Raised by loving adoptive parents, she grew into a wanderer, drawn by the beauty of the British countryside.

One summer, following the miscarriage of a much-longer-for child, Katharine sets out – accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter, Evie – with the idea of following a river from the sea to its source. The luminously observed landscape provides both a constant and a context to their expeditions. But what begins as a diversion from grief soon evolves into a journey to the source of life itself, when a chance circumstance forces Katharine to the door of the woman who gave her up all those years ago.

Combining travelogue, memoir, exquisite nature writing, fragments of poetry and tales from Celtic mythology, The Fish Ladder has a rare emotional resonance. A portrait of motherhood, of a literary marriage and a hymn to the adoptive family, this captivating story of self-discovery is, most of all, an exploration of the extraordinary majesty of the natural world. Imbued with a keen and joyful intelligence, this original and life-affirming book is set to become a classic of its genre.

Thoughts

I needed to read a book with a river on the cover. When I googled such a requirement, this is one of the few books that came up. And man, am I glad that it did. There is just something about the winding, lazy way in which Norbury tells her story that was both completely relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable. Although I have nothing to compare her adventures to, I almost feel like there is a part of me that has now been discovered and it gives me the inspiration to go forth into my own life and keep finding my own way forward.

Unlike a lot of the memoirs that I have recently read, there isn’t really a central story that is outlined here. Not one specific journey or moment of epiphany that really strikes out at me. Instead, there is the central theme of family and motherhood. The idea that even though she is adopted, there are strong familial ties between Katharine and her adoptive family. But there is also a strong tie to the woman who gave her up for adoption and it is this that really drives the feeling of longing forward and into the reader a Katharine’s beautiful words unfold.

This wasn’t one of those earth shatteringly amazing stories. It probably hasn’t changed my life in anyway. But it was incredibly beautiful. And immensely easy to read. It was a great lazy Sunday read to sink my brain into while I was trying to unwind at the end of the long day. And it certainly reminded me of how lucky and grateful I am to have the mother and family that I have.

<- Laughing All the Way to the MosqueBecoming ->

Image source: Bloomsbury

The Feast of Beauty by Helen Scott Taylor

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance

Title: The Feast of Beauty
Author: Helen Scott Taylor
In: The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: CelticThe CoastFae, Paranormal fantasy
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Running Press
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: They floated to the ground and her back landed on the soft sand.

Synopsis

Kate thinks that she’s visiting Ireland to fulfill a promise to her Grandmother and film an episode of her show. But what she finds there could be much more.

Thoughts

I really didn’t know what to expect when I first started reading this short story. The rest of the stories in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance have a heavy focus on the past and the days when Celtic beliefs were the primary ways in which to view the world. This tale on the other hand was heavily based in today’s modern world. And although it still featured fae and the same themes occurrent throughout this collection, it was a complete breath of fresh air.

Kate is the kind of woman I can most heavily associate with. There is this vague understanding and feeling of “the other”, but she is still firmly centred in this world. This reality. The struggles of everyday living. She’s also convinced that she has to work her absolute butt off to get where she wants to go in life (who hasn’t heard this mantra?). Yet, it turns out she is intricately connected to the world of the fae, and the beauty in this festival and understandings left me with a really pleased and relaxed smile on my face at the conclusion of this story.

<- QuicksilverCompeer ->

Image source: Goodreads

Earth Bound by Christine Feehan

Overview

Earth BoundTitle: Earth bound
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Sisters of the Heart #4, Sea Haven #11
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: The CoastElementsFamilyMagicParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: I’d like to come if I have time.

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Synopsis

After escaping from a cult, Lexi found refuge with her sisters on the farm that more than sustained her body – it nurtured her soul as well. But she never forgot the terror she left behind or the always present fear that the cult would find her again, and claim her. Then her nightmare came true.

Lexi was discovered and threatened – only to be suddenly saved by a stranger. He is Gavriil Prakenskii, and he’s awestruck by the woman he has rescued. She is destined for him. He can feel it in his soul. But how can Lexi find happiness with a man steeped in secrets and shadows, one intimately acquainted with violence, and whose very love could be the death of them?

Thoughts

This was so heart wrenching. And heartbreaking. And just generally completely gut wrenching. Lexi is such a sweet and adorable character. And her past is stomach-curdlingly ill-inspiring. The fact that she ends up with the most damaged of the Prakenskii brothers too helps to make this both beautiful and… well, heartbreaking. There really is no other word. This seriously tore at the heartstrings and made it impossible to put the story down.

Where most of the other tales feature sex quite strongly, Lexi’s past makes it almost impossible to have this featured so strongly. And it was kind of a nice way to change the pace and trajectory of the storyline. This was also a lot more violent and bloodthirsty. Which was good. Because the whole cult at eight-years-old and all sorts made me feel incredibly bloodthirsty while reading this. I might have actually cheered when Lexi’s past is finally overcome. Also when she kicks Gavriil for being annoying.

Gavriil and Lexi’s story doesn’t strongly feature the noose around the Prakenskii brothers’ necks. But it does help to tighten the noose and set up the tale perfectly for Fire Bound. There’s also the surprise reveal about Lissa’s past which makes me want to read the next story all the more. But, really, I need to actually get some work done… I might just have to hide the book from myself in an attempt for some self-control.

 <- Air Bound Review Fire Bound Review ->
Image source: Pinterest

Air Bound by Christine Feehan

Overview

Air BoundTitle: Air Bound
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Sisters of the Heart #3, Sea Haven #10
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: The CoastElementsFamilyMagicParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: He was systematically destroying her world.

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Synopsis

For as far back as she can remember, Airiana Ridell has always been aware of her extraordinary gift. She can intuit revealing and illuminating “patterns” in the air around her – whether in a spary of mist, in billowing clouds or in the dense swirls of an impenetrable fog. Her abilities led to her placement in a secret government training facility when she was a child, but everything changed after her mother was murdered.

Airiana fled the program, but she couldn’t outrun the desperate members of a shadowy cabal who want her, who need her, who will kill to get her. Kidnapped and held abroad a ship bound for dangerous seas, her only chance for rescue is Maxim Parkenskii. He has his reasons for helping her, but he isn’t about to reveal them to Airiana. Not yet. Not as the two are drawn together as moth to flame. Not when there are so many secrets yet untold that could shatter the quaint community of Sea Haven and all who reside there…

Thoughts

I’ve been relating to all of the women throughout the Sea Haven novels in one way or another. But I certainly related to Airiana on a whole other level. She gets lost in numbers and her thoughts. And although I don’t get lost in patterns and numbers to the same degree, I honestly spend days on end in my own head, forgetting what else is around me. I’ve not really read any other stories that understand this level of distraction that your thoughts can drag you into.

This is the first of the Sisters of the Heart books that isn’t actually set on the farm. I also felt like Maxim helped to kind of destroy the no-killing thing that the previous two couples were trying to set up. In Water Bound and Spirit Bound, Levi and Thomas are sort of discouraged (and banned) from killing people as their first aim of defense or protection for the women. After all, they want to start their new lives together. And then Maxim comes along. He literally runs around this entire time killing. Where the previous nine Sea Haven books involving very little murder and mayhem, Maxim is more than able to make up for this. I found it kind of hilarious that all the hard-won “new life” that had been discussed for the Prakenskii brothers very quickly went down the drain. It was kind of hilarious.

Air Bound also helped to further twine the storylines together in a way that you know two epic showdowns are about to occur. It makes me not only want to read the next love story, but also to find out how these intricately intertwined stories are all going to come to a head in the finality of this series, Bound Together.

 <- Spirit Bound Review Earth Bound Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Spirit Bound by Christine Feehan

Overview

Spirit BoundTitle: Spirit Bound
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Sisters of the Heart #2, Sea Haven #9
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: The CoastElementsFamilyMagicParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: He lives the way he wants to live.

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Synopsis

Lethal undercover agent Stefan Prakenskii knows a thousand ways to kill a man – and twice as many ways to pleasure a woman. That’s why he’s looking forward to his new mission. He must go to the coastal town of Sea Haven and insinuate himself into the life of an elusive beauty who has mysterious ties to his past and a link to a dangerously seductive and equally elusive master criminal who wants only one thing: to possess her.

Judith Henderson is an artist on the rise, an ethereal and haunted woman whose own picture-perfect beauty stirs the souls of two men who have made her their obsession. For years she has been waiting for someone to come and unlock the passion and fire within her – waiting for the right man to surrender it to. But only one man can survive her secrets and the shadow she has cast over both their lives.

Thoughts

I like damaged artists. There is something about them that just seems to work really well and makes a kind of perfect sense. Yes, it’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s one that really works. Judith is haunted and stunning. She is the epitome of a feminine artist and wonder. And something about that makes this story feel kind of ethereal and stunning all of itself.

I’m still not really sure whether to call Thomas, Stefan or Thomas. Throughout the tale, Stefan almost seemed to suit him better and added an extra layer of mystery to him. Thomas is just so simply ordinary, and there is nothing ordinary about the leading man in Spirit Bound. Or the woman either for that matter. They are both withdrawn and spirited, a contrasting set of ideals that somehow work incredibly well. Add to this a backdrop of intrigue and mystery, danger from Judith’s past, and an amazingly not-so-sleepy coastal town.

Spirit Bound starts to set up a greater storyline and intrigue that has been hinted at in Water Bound. The defense system and man who Gavriil almost died for starts to tie himself in amongst the girls’ lives. As each storyline unfolds, the pieces click into place. As does the reason for their eventual demise (if the big, bad Russian man has his way). And now I can’t wait to find out how this will continue to unfold, and whether the Prakenskii brothers will finally find a way to their own happy endings…

 <- Water Bound Review Air Bound Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Water Bound by Christine Feehan

Overview

Water BoundTitle: Water Bound
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Sisters of the Heart #1, Sea Haven #8
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: The CoastElementsFamilyMagicParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: She rubbed her itching palm down her thigh and then pressed her hand hard against her tummy.

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Synopsis

The last thing Lev Prakenskii remembered was being lost in the swirling currents of the ocean and getting sucked deeper into the nothingness of a freezing black eddy off the coastal town of Sea Haven. Just as quickly, just as miraculously, he was saved – pulled ashore by a beautiful stranger. But Lev has no memory of who he is – or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. All he knows is that he fears for his life, and for the life of his unexpected savior.

Her name is Rikki, a sea-urchin diver in Sea Haven. She has always felt an affinity for the ocean, and for the seductive pull of the tides. And now she feels drawn in the same way to the enigmatic man she rescued. But soon they will be bound by something even stronger, and their tantalizing secrets will engulf them both in a whirlpool of dizzying passion and inescapable danger.

Thoughts

This might have been one of my favourite paranormal romance books. Not because the romance was anything amazing. Not because the obstacle thrown in their way was momentously different from any of the other Feehan books (and other paranormal romance tales) that I have read. But, honestly, because the lead woman was autistic. I NEVER seem to find good books that deal with autistic people. Realistically delve into how differently the world is seen through autistic eyes, and, more than that, finding a way to make a great storyline and couple that doesn’t feature this aspect of the character, but has it there as part of who they are. Completely in love with this. There need to be more books out there about people who are not mainstream. About people being able to find love when they don’t fit into others’ ideals of the ‘norm’. I could honestly wax on and off about this all day…

Water Bound starts off a whole new sisterhood in the Sea Haven universe, and although the Drake Sisters are mentioned from the very beginning (it starts on the day of their wedding), they are not intimately involved in the storyline. Which I quite liked. Hidden Currents gave all of them a happy ending, and now it is time for a new batch of women to get theirs. The fact that I think these women are going to be a lot darker and more experienced with the horrors of the world actually makes me far more interested in this series than I thought. Rikki has a few horrors in her past, and although she manages to fall for a certified killer, he helps her to heal and move on.

Lev Prakenskii is the first of Ilya’s brothers to find his new home in Sea Haven, and although I felt like his story was mostly finished at the end of Water Bound, there are a few lingering doubts about their happily ever after that make me want to hurry up and read the rest of the story… so I suppose it’s time to crack the spine of Spirit Bound and find out what happens with the next brother to find his way to this amazingly picturesque town.

 <- Hidden Currents Review Spirit Bound Review ->
Image source: Christine Feehan

Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan

Overview

Hidden CurrentsTitle: Hidden Currents
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Drake Sisters #7, Sea Haven #7
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: The CoastFamilyMagicParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: We made it faster than we expected, and the girls are waiting.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

From afar, Sheriff Jackson Deveau has always loved Elle Drake, the youngest telepath of seven sisters. After a long time away, she’s finally returning to the small coastal village of Sea Haven. But someone has other plants for Elle, someone who doesn’t want her to make it back.

When Elle fails to arrive home, her disappearance strikes fear in the hearts of everyone who loves her. Now it’s left to Jackson to uncover the mystery of Elle’s vanishing and rescue her from an unseen danger. But Sea Haven is no longer safe for anyone, and it will take the powers of all the Drake sisters and their men to survive the oncoming storm.

Thoughts

I picked this book up because I had had a panic attack, and the first six books in this series really helped to settle me. After all, they are filled with romance, family, love and all sorts of nice things. And while Hidden Currents is certainly like that – it was also the worst possible book to read when I wasn’t in a great headspace… Elle is in some serious trouble within the first three chapters. Trouble that was so bad I almost threw up, wanted to throw the book across the room, and was just generally feeling shocked and shattered. Feehan is such a brilliant writer that it wasn’t difficult at all to imagine all of the bad things that were happening. It’s the first time I’ve ever wished someone wasn’t that good at writing to be honest.

But it’s okay.

It gets better from there. In the fourth chapter the bad things stop, and it becomes about the love story and the two leads again. You just have to get over that initial HOLY CRAP, WHAT IS HAPPENING feeling. Then it is completely amazing, like the rest of the Drake Sisters stories and it becomes incredibly easy to immerse yourself in. The fact that I wanted to see the bad guy get his comeuppance also meant that I didn’t stop reading this book, even carrying it around the house and kitchen while I was cooking tea (very interesting to do one handed if you’re curious).

Although there is another series (Sisters of the Heart) that continues the Sea Haven world, Hidden Currents beautifully completes the overarching tale of the Drake Sisters. It is primarily about Elle and Jackson, but it pulls in the rest of the seven couples beautifully, giving a great insight into the ways in which they have all lived their lives since the completion of their own stories. A fantastic (albeit a little distressing) ending to one of my favourite series…

 <- Turbulent Sea Review Water Bound Review ->
Image source: Christine Feehan