Category Archives: book review


Serpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #26)Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars
An exciting start with a new form of lycanthropy for Anita to investigate, and potential political problems for Micah to deal with.

I felt this book dragged in the middle, lingering too much on navigating through airports and tricky relationship issues. With so much focus on polygamy, it was great to see some asexual character representation too. I felt Anita’s pain having to deal with bitchy bridesmaids, and wedding plans.

The action finally picked up towards the end, delivering everything I love about this series; Anita kicking ass, scary creatures, and often scarier humans. Overall a fun read.
(view spoiler)

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The Savior's Champion (The Savior's Series, #1)The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An exciting, gory, and occasionally steamy read. The perfect mix of violent gladiatorial challenges, forbidden romance, with a hint of magic.
The opening scene plunges straight into the action, shocking the reader with the most brutal and gory introduction into the world of The Savior. Though the main character Tobias has still not been revealed. We see the bustling realm of Thessan, the magic of it’s revered ruler, and some dark intrigue beneath it’s surface.
Tobias quickly comes to the fore as we see his day to day life turned upside down by fate, family, and a friend. He is flung from his hard but simple life as a labourer into the dangerous Sovereign’s tournament and it seems he is ill equipped for the challenge. As the story progresses Tobias learns how to set his skills to use to fight for his survival.
In an added twist to Tobias’ already complicated life, instead of falling in love with The Savior who he should be fighting to marry, he falls for someone else. Their relationship gradually develops, along with the sexual tension between them. Whilst Tobias faces life threatening challenges from both the tournament and his competitors, the two would-be lovers steal moments together, teasing the reader with false starts and awkward situations. More intrigue follows as we learn that she has her own secrets which make their relationship even more dangerous.

Although Tobais is the main character, the reader never feels that he is safe. The odds stack hard against him, he sometimes falters in strength and in heart. The Sovereign’s challenges are not the only mortal dangers Tobias has to face, as only one man can survive to wed The Savior. Some of his opponents are easy to hate, and all who die are given the most satisfyingly gruesome deaths. In contrast, some deaths hit hard as Tobias makes friendships and allies, despite knowing he will at some point have to fight them for the prize. Tobias is not left unscarred physically or mentally by the many traumas he has to endure.
The climax is a terrifying and bloody battle which seems impossible for Tobias to survive. Just when the reader is taking a breath from the turmoil and carnage, a shocking revelation twists the plot upside down, leaving more to be explained in the next installment.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to The Savior’s Sister.
If you enjoy a good bloody fight, political intrigue, magic, and some romance then I’d recommend giving this a read.

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Book review: Akresha

A very fair & thoughtful review.
For more great book & movie reviews, writing, & science , I recommend checking Richard’s blog.

Richard's Blog


Lancashire-based author Jay Tomkinson has recently published his first novel, Akresha – and after learning about it, I was interested to check it out.

The protagonist, Jake, has recently been released after the latest of several spells in prison, and is determined that this time, he will turn his life around. However, he doesn’t get long to consider his next steps before he begins to hear a voice in his head; it belongs to Akresha, an immortal, dimension-hopping being that feeds on emotional energy and wishes to use Jake as a conduit for recharging itself off humanity’s emotions. Jake agrees, not realising that Akresha was exiled by its race for wreaking havoc on other worlds, and intends to use him to become powerful enough to find its way home and seek revenge.

I liked the initial buildup before Jake and Akresha come into contact for the first time. The story…

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Greetings readers,

As you may or may not know, my partner Jay Tomkinson has recently released his debut novel Akresha into the wild.

It’s a really great sci-fi story. You can head over to his author pages on Facebook & Amazon to learn more.

Akresha is available in paperback, & most e-book formats through Beaten Track Publishing


Thank you for your time & support.


Here’s a cool twist on the usual vampire fiction from a fellow WriMo K.Orion Fray.

After discovering their writing vlog on Youtube way back in 2010, I was heartened to find Son of the Revolution was their 2009 NaNoWriMo novel. Which gives me motivation to get some of my NaNoWriMo first drafts edited and published.

Have a wander over to their blog I am not lost… for indie book recommendations and reviews, as well as some older writing extracts inspired by observations working in a coffee shop. Fray is skilled at capturing human interaction with a few lines of dialogue & subtle moments between characters. I look forward to reading more of their work.

Son of the RevolutionSon of the Revolution by K. Orion Fray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Son of the Revolution is an original take on the vampire mythos. This dystopian vampire novel is a slow-burner. There are no one-dimensional sparkly vamps here, it’s all about the characters. Alistair and his group of friends are ordinary folk (albeit with fur or an aversion to sunlight ) doing their best. The author pulls on issues facing real life otherness as characters battle prejudice from society, and often their own families. Alistair fights an internal battle over what he has become and his past mistakes, while trying to stop those in power who would seek to destroy his kind.
The feel of the novel is low key and realistic. Here the fight is lost and won in bars, warehouses, back streets. While there is plenty of exciting action & blood shed throughout, this is not an all-guns-blazing superhero battle.
I love that these vampires have to earn their powers, which seem to elude most but the oldest or most powerful. Turning into a bat, mind control, day walking comes at a price. Most vampires struggle to get enough blood to sustain them day to day, and stop from turning into the bloodthirsty creatures some make them out to be.
My only niggle is that I had to suspend disbelief a couple of times. Alistair has means to save himself but does not think to use it, and an ally turns up by coincidence at just the right time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters are portrayed as realistic and fragile despite their supernatural state. I was truly wondering if they would make it against such great odds, and was left on the edge of my seat right up to the end.

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An enjoyable introduction to Kristen Martin’s YA Dystopian trilogy.

The Alpha DriveThe Alpha Drive by Kristen Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Alpha drive is a solid debut novel from Kristen Martin. I enjoyed the fast paced action scenes, and the Matrix inspired plot.
Alpha drive would appeal to adult or older teen readers wanting a quick sci-fi / dystopian read, as well as YA readers who’d enjoy a contemporary novel with a twist.
According to the author, Alpha Drive started life as a NA contemporary novel, which was then rewritten as a YA Dystopian. This novel does seem to straddle a line between the two.
The main characters fit more in the NA age group. The setting seems to be a college/ uni, rather than a boarding school. Emery drives a car, has a long term relationship with her boyfriend, and drinks alcohol in a club.
The writing style and plot is clunky in places, but the story kept my interest with its Matrix inspired theme.
I enjoyed this book for what it is-a quick, fun read. I will be reading the rest of this trilogy to see how the story develops.

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I’m looking forward to reading more of Kristen Martin‘s books. I will finish The Alpha Drive trilogy as it should be a fun sci-fi fix. I am thinking that her dark fantasy Shadow Crown series will be more suited to my taste.

Kristen has a YouTube channel, which I watch for her useful writing advice and vlogs.
I also enjoy listening to her podcast That Smart Hustle while doing my morning workout. Kristen’s upbeat, motivational, common sense thoughts on life and writing are a great way to start the day.