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The Istanbul Conspiracy (Code Raven #7) by Lynda Filler – Review by Sarah Oakes

The Istanbul Conspiracy (Code Raven #7)The Istanbul Conspiracy by Lynda Filler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about weddings. Tensions run high and danger lurks when the daughter of the Minister of Defense and her new groom are found murdered. All Luke and Samaar want to do is get married on a yacht in Instanbul. But life seems to have other ideas in store for them when a security breach puts their plans on hold. With these targets on new couples, the team of the Raven Group race to find the culprits before they strike again. Can they find out the truth before it’s too late?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Luke determined but loving underneath or Samaar standing up for herself but vulnerable underneath.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the scenery of a Istanbul or Turkey with its seas and beaches for sense of peace and tranquility, but also foreboding bad tidings.
The switch of perspectives worked well to display both sides of the story and was easy to follow with names in the chapter titles. I also liked the use of suspense with small details revealed slowly to make you keep reading to find out who’s behind it and why they’re attacking weddings. Fast paced action and high stakes made for a captivating read. Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.

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Second Chance (The Conclusion Of the Flowers in December Trilogy) by Jane Suen – Review by Sarah Oakes

Second Chance (Flowers in December #3)Second Chance by Jane Suen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about second chances. When Connor was dealing with his mothers death, he met Mary Ann who was the florist. But with grief, he distanced himself from her and the chance of a relationship with her. A few months later, he returns to the town with a new outlook on life. He bumps into Mary Ann again and old feelings resurface. But will she give him a second chance at love?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Connor going after what he wants but also unsure or Mary Ann standing up for herself but vulnerable underneath. Great cast of suoporting characters like the no nonsense Mrs Steele or the perceptive Alana.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the snow covered forest and sparkling trees on the car drives making the countryside peaceful and magical.
Or with the cards later on with the childlike fun and togetherness as they make the best of a bad situation. Or with the memory of her father with the colourful trees and hot chocolate and bonfires with sights and sounds and smells so vivid its as if you’re actually there.
The switch of perspectives worked well to display both sides of the story and was easy to follow with names at the start of chapters.The memories worked well to portray the events of the past and didn’t disrupt from the narrative of the present. The only issue I would raise is that there was some repetition in places which could have been reduced. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

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Dagda”s Daughter (Raven and Hummingbird Book Two) by Nikki Broadwell – Review by Sarah Oakes

Dagda's Daughter: Raven and Hummingbird Book 2Dagda’s Daughter: Raven and Hummingbird Book 2 by Nikki Broadwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about consequences. Dagda is the all father of Celtic mythology who has broken all the rules. To protect his family and legacy, Dagda has been wiping his daughter Katels memories for years. But when a young boy named Brant enters her life, strange things start to happen. As events unravel, Katel rediscovers her memories and finds a legacy she didn’t know she had as danger approaches. Can she stand up to her father and make him see the consequences before it’s too late?
A great read. Well developed put with twists and turns that I just couldn’t put down. Well developed characters like Katel standing up for herself but also vulnerable and unsure. Great cast of supporting characters like the wise Gwen or the supportive Freya or the manipulative Dagda.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the green forest with its tall trees and herbs and flowers and spirits for a sense of a fairy tale forest full of magic and wonder and beauty. I also loved the contrast in the forest later on with the use of blacks and greys for a sense of destruction wonderfully written. I also loved the use of the weather throughout with the deep dark clouds for a sense of foreboding and pathetic fallacy with colours getting darker throughout was a lovely touch. Or with the visions with their sounds and smells and sights so vivid its as if you’re actually there.
A great example of world building with fantastic beings with their own rules and laws and societies living alongside humanity. I loved the use of Celtic and Norse mythology given the respect they deserve and true to their origins, wonderfully written. The only issue I would raise is that I would have liked a list and pronunciations of the names of the Celtic gods and creatures to help the reader follow things more easily. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

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The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne (Book Three) by C.L. Schneider – Review by Sarah Oakes

Magic-Borne (The Crown of Stones, #3)Magic-Borne by C.L. Schneider
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

  1. A great read about answers. Ian Troy struggles to keep going against the strength of his enemies. Desperate for answers to solve things and tackle his ever growing magic, he seeks the stories of the past. Can he find the answers and defeat his enemies before it’s too late?
    A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Ian trying to keep going despite the odds. Great catsbof supporting characters like the stern Sienn or the caring Jillyan or Jarryd as wise but kind and more to him.
    I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the prologue with the stones and auras and waterfall and magic with their bright and beautiful colours for a sense of awe and wonder so vivid it’s as if you’re actually there. Or the portal with its vivid colours and strange sensations wonderfully written. Or Kabri later with its white sand and beaches in the sunset for a sense of beauty and calm.
    A great example of world building with a range of fantastical beings with their own rules and laws and societies. I loved how the author explored more of the history of the Shinre in this novel adding more to them.
    I loved how the book brought the reader straight into the story with short sentences and fast paced action to grab your attention and draw you in to make you want to read more. I also liked the use of the journal entries as part of the narrative was written well and didn’t disrupt from the narrative of the present. It also added suspense, with small details revealed slowly to make you want to keep reading, wonderfully written.
    The only issue I would raise is that I by the end of the story I felt the rivalry between the world and Langorians was never truly explained when it was a major point in previous novels. Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.View all my reviews

Naughty & Nice (Spicetopia #4) by Phoebe Alexander – Review by Sarah Oakes

Naughty & NiceNaughty & Nice by Phoebe Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about temptation. Natalie is busy trying to organise the wedding of Cyrus Sweet and Jolie Cox, the owners of Spicetopia. To make things worse, Cyrus’s family have ordered a vicar who is very religious to officiate the wedding. The vicar, Micah struggles to accept the world of Spicetopia and battles with his attraction to Natalie. Can he keep to his duties or will he surrender to desire?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Micah naive but stubborn or Natalie confident but vulnerable underneath.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the theme park with the castle and palm trees for the luxurious and beautiful feel of the theme park. Or with the theatre with its colorful vases and the carvings of dragons intricate and colourful and beautiful. Or the scene in the love tunnel with the fairy lights making it magical.
The switch of perspectives worked well to display both sides of the story and was easy to follow with names in the chapter titles. I also liked the use of contrasts with religion versus sex and a vicar in an unusual setting. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

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The Crown of Stones: Magic-Scars (Book Two) by C.L. Schneider – Review by Sarah Oakes

Magic-Scars (The Crown of Stones, #2)Magic-Scars by C.L. Schneider
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about memories. After the events of the last book, Ian was drugged and imprisoned. He is set free and taken to safety but when he wakes up he has no idea who he is. But he must remember, as Kings and enemies grow more powerful and threaten the lives of everyone. Can he find himself again before ti’s too late?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Ian as a brave warrior but also lost and vulnerable underneath. Great cats of supporting characters like the sarcastic but caring Malaq or the distrustful Krillos.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like the icy regions at the start with its sense of beauty and danger, wonderfully written. Or with the memories of Kabri with its sand and sea, full of life and people and bright colours so vivid its as if you’re actually there.
A great example of world building with a fantasy world with its own history and geography. I liked the sense of expansion, as the author explores more of the world with seas and ice and mountains, adding things to develop this world further. The first person narrative worked brilliantly to show Ians struggle to find himself again. I also liked the use of suspense, with small details revealed slowly to make you keep on reading to find out what happened. The memories and flashbacks worked well to display what had happened and didn’t disrupt from the narrative of the present. The only issue I would raise is that there were a lot of long sentences that were hard to read which could be reduced with a variety of sentence lengths. Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.

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Misplaced (Joined Book Two) by Mara Gan – Review by Sarah Oakes

Misplaced: Joined: Book TwoMisplaced: Joined: Book Two by Mara Gan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about theft. Meda wakes up on a beach with no memories except her name. She tries to make a life for herself on an unfamilair world and ends up stealing to make ends meet. In her own way, she does what she can to help those in need under a corrupt and tyrannical Prince. But can her meddlesome ways keep her out of trouble or will she end up in danger?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Meda as brave and bold but kind underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the concerned Kako or the enigmatic Kyrios.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the white beaches and grass and blue sky in the sun drawing the reader in with exotic beauty. Or the volcano inside the island under the clear sky with the sound of the birds as fantastical yet serene, wonderfully written. Or with the market on the island later on full of life and people with the food and wares with their sights and sounds and smells so vivid its as if you’re actually there.
A great example of world building with a fantasy world with its own geography and history, full of life and colour. The first person narrative worked well to display Meda’s journey to find herself again. I also loved the use of Greek mythology with characters true to their origins and given the respect they deserve, with some new perspectives on characters like Medusa that were a lovely touch. The only issue I would raise is that it felt slow to start. It also had lot sof long sentences making it hard to read which could be resolved with a variety of sentence lengths. Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.

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A Song To Remember: A Crescent City Wolf Pack Novella (Mystifying Music Book 3) by Carrie Pulkinen – Review by Sarah Oakes

A Song to Remember: A Crescent City Wolf Pack Novella (Mystifying Music Book 3)A Song to Remember: A Crescent City Wolf Pack Novella by Carrie Pulkinen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about memory. Shane is a musician and a werewolf. When performing a gig in a pub, he meets Bekah and they instantly connect as she is the fated mate that he’s been waiting for. But when a friend dabbles in dark magic, he is robbed of his memories. Can he find her again without his memories?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns that I just couldn’t put down. Well developed characters like Shane confident but vulnerable underneath or Bekah standing up for herself but with her worries underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the skeptical Chase or the cautious Luke or the sweet Emma.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with New Orleans cathedral of white marble and tall spires and colourful houses and little backstreets as somewhere full of magic and wonder. Or the saxophone itself with its case and keys in simple beauty. Or its music sweet and melodic drawing you in so vivid it’s as if you’re actually there, wonderfully written.
A great example of world building with fantastical creatures living alongside humanity with their own rules and laws and societies. I also loved the passion for music throughout the novel was a lovely touch. The switch of perspectives was easy to follow with named in the sections and to display both sides of the story. I also liked the use of suspense with small details and memories revealed slowly to make you want to keep reading to find out what happened. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

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The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price by C.L. Schneider – Review by Sarah Oakes

Magic-Price (The Crown of Stones, #1)Magic-Price by C.L. Schneider
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about temptation. Ian Troy is a Shinree, one of a race of magical beings. Ten years ago, he stopped a war with dark magic and paid the price. Now, he roams the world, helping out where he can. When pursuing an assassin, he discovers there may be more to magic than he imagined. As events unravel, Ian finds friends and foes alike and struggles to resist the addiction of magic. Can he use magic for good or will he pay the price of death and destruction once again?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns that I just couldn’t put down. Well developed characters like Ian as a strong warrior but with his anxieties underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the sarcastic but kind Malaq or the supportive Jarryd.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the destruction and the use of grey and dark colours draining even the description of life. Or the scenes with the eldrings later on as gothic and monstrous and beautiful, wonderfully written. Or the swamp with its mud and bogs with their sounds and smells so vivid its as if you’re actually there.
A great example of world building with a range of magical beings in a fantasy world with their own rules and laws and histories.i also liked the sense of geography with its islands and swamps and mountains giving the reader a sense of the world as .harsh and unforgiving.
I also liked the use of suspense with details revealed slowly to make you want to keep on reading to find out the truth.The only issue I would raise is that there was some reptition with ians guilt which could have been reduced. Overall, a great read and I would give four stars.

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Lost in Carmel by Terri Lee – Review by Sarah Oakes

Lost in CarmelLost in Carmel by Terri Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about recovery. Natalie Hampton has always been a Hollywood movie star, living a life made of lies. In a bad mental state, she ends up in Rome. She is unsure at first, but with small steps and the help of new friends she makes her way into recovery and finding her true self. But when Hollywood lies find their way into Roman paradise, will Natalie return unscathed?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns that I just couldn’t put down. Well developed characters like Natalie finding her feet but strong underneath. Her journey of discovery and the scenes with the therapist Anne were moving and powerful, with a relatable and emotive depiction of mental illness and its struggles and small steps wonderfully written. Great cast of supporting character like the kind Anne or the funny but caring friend Monty or the sweet Nico.
I loved the visual detail throughout he novel like with the piazza with its little cobbled streets and cates full of life and people. Or the sky throughout the novel with its bold and vivid colours beautifully written.
I also loved the use of Italy with its food and culture and people given the respect it deserves and giving the novel a sense of character. I liked the use of time with the dates in chapter titles to help differentiate between past and present. The flashbacks worked well to display what happened and didn’t disrupt from the narrative of the present. I also liked the use of suspense with small details revealed slowly to keep you reading to find out what happened. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

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