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Misfortune of Song (Druid’s Brooch #5) by Christy Nicholas – Review by Sarah Oakes

Misfortune of Song (Druid's Brooch #5)Misfortune of Song by Christy Nicholas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about love. Maelan is a warchief who loves his granddaughter Orlagh dearly despite her stubborness. When a travelling bard and his troupe come to their village, their simple lives are turned upside down. Desperate to escape a marriage, Orlagh follows her heart. But how far can you go for love?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns that j just couldn’t put down. Well developed characters like Orlagh standing up for herself but also vulnerable underneath or Maelan struggled between love and duty as a devoted grandfather. Great cast of supporting characters like the funny Eogan or the wise and sweet Eolande or the mother figure of Yana.
I loved the visual detail throughout the book like in the sense of nature like the sunrise in the dew by the stones for a sense of magic and wonder that takes your breath away. Or the little purple and blue flowers bright and bold and vibrant against the dark greens of the forest beautifully written. And also in the bright colours of the dresses of Yana and Temuirr with the spring and autumn reds and blues and oranges bright and beautiful.
The switch of narratives between Maelan and Orlagh worked well to display both sides of events and was easy to follow. I loved the use of the Irish names and places and pronounciations was a lovely touch and added to the feel of the ancient world. This combined with the use of myths and stories made for a captivating read. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

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Lights, Camera, Action (Paranormal Talent Agency #1) by Heather Silvio – Review by Sarah Oakes

Lights, Camera, Action (Paranormal Talent Agency, #1)Lights, Camera, Action by Heather Silvio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about acting. Catherine is an empathy launching her acting agency business in Las Vegas. Things are going well as she sets up shop and hires new actors for movie projects. But at the same time, actresses are turning up dead in mysterious circumstances across the city. Before too long, her agency is targeted. With her lead actor suspected of murder and a killer closing in, can she solve the mystery before its too late?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Catherine doing what she loves and also standing up for herself or Alex as charming but also kind underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the bubbly Mia or the creepy councilwoman or the strange Robin.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like in the scenes with the party full of life and colour and people with the vivid sense of the flowers smelling so strong it is as if you were actually there. Or the sense of colour with the masquerade ball with bright greens and blues and purples and blacks with wonderful costumes perfectly written. This contrasted beautifully with the pure white council room chamber that was too perfect for a sense of unease.
The use of suspense was written well, with mystery and intrigue making you want to keep reading to find out what really happened. I also enjoyed the use of the supernatural with powers and magical creatures unusual to this kind of novel. This mix with the realism of acting and crime made for a captivating read.
The only issue I would raise is that it felt like the protagonist was talking to audience instead of being a narrative, giving it a light hearted tone that didn’t fit with the serious themes of death and crime but this could be resolved by switching to the third person. Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.

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Desperately Seeking Sixty-Nine: A Spicy Romantic Comedy About the Afterlife (The Green Room Chronicles #1) by J.D. Frettier – Review by Sarah Oakes

Desperately Seeking Sixty-Nine (The Green Room Chronicles #1)Desperately Seeking Sixty-Nine by J.D. Frettier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about life. When Bonnie dies, she is sent to the Green Room, a version of the afterlife. But when she gets there, all she wants to do is be with her beloved husband Peter who is still alive on Earth. Desperate to be with him, she tries everything. Is their love deep enough to even bridge the afterlife?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like the grief stricken Peter or the independent Bonnie. Great cast of supporting characters like the fun loving Dee or the strict and bossy Dharma. The only issue I would raise is that Bonnie was repeatedly said to be a fun loving free spirit, but in the afterlife this didn’t come across
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel wit the continued use of green bright and colourful instead of the whites heaven usually is, refreshing as a sign of hope in the afterlife. I also liked the garden, as a source of peace and tranquillity with tis grass and benches and fountains.
A different take on the afterlife that was refreshing with old friends and jokes making it feel more believable than other versions and the puns with the names was a great touch.
The memories of the past worked well to display how the love between Peter and Bonnie began and how it grew over time and didn’t disrupt from the narrative of the present. I also liked how the novel started straight into the action, grabbing the readers attention with the hospital scenes. Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.

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Age of Saints (Druid’s Brooch Series #7) by Christy Nicholas – Review by Sarah Oakes

Age of Saints (Druid's Brooch #7)Age of Saints by Christy Nicholas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great read about protection. Conall lives his life as a mason apprentice who has a secret, a magical brooch given to him by his father. He lived a normal life until his world is turned upside down when his stepfather tries to hurt his little sister, Lainn. Fleeing from him, they find themselves on an adventure filled with dangers and wonders alike. Can they find safety somewhere?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns that I just couldn’t put down. Well developed characters like Conall trying to look out for his family no matter what or Lainn’s carefree spirit or the gentle old wise man of Adhna;  a great villainous figure in Setna, cruel but believable.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel in the sense of the ancient world with the little wooden houses in the forest with the hearth fire and stables as if you were actually there. Or the sense of nature like with Adhna’s house, small and thatched but full of moss and flowers with bee hives and ravens and local resources.
Or the sense of ancient lore and fantasy with the druids and the standing stones; and its sense of wonder with the arch of trees and the glade and the waterfalls for the sense of a hidden and sacred world full of magic and song as if you had stepped back in time. Also loved the use of Irish language and pronunciations at the start which was a lovely touch and added to the character of the novel. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

Reviewed by @sarahoakes

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Dancing Queen by Charlotte Roth – Review by Sarah Oakes

Dancing QueenDancing Queen by Charlotte Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about dancing. Fiona Madsen has always loved to dance, but has been held back by everyone opinions since she was seven. When her boss tries to get her and co-worker Stu on a dieting course, they both think it is a waste of time. When they are forced to do quilting as a hobby, Stu finds an alternative they might love; a dance competition in town. What follows is a wonderful adventure about doing what you love and following your dream. Can Fiona dance without worrying about what others think?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns that I just couldn’t put down. Well developed characters like Fiona standing up for herself but still struggling with insecurities or Stu as a funny friend who is supportive and kind underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the optimistic Diane or the bright and bubbly Lizzie. Fiona’s love of dancing was beautifully written as something that makes your heart fly forever and always. Her struggles with her weight and comfort eating were emotive and relatable and perfectly written.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like in the vivid colours like with Stu’s colourful scarves and umbrellas bight and bold against the plain walls of the office and coffee shop contrasting beautifully to put a smile on your face. Or the dance rooms later on filled with life and people and music with piles of colourful costumes everywhere for that true feel to a dance stage performance. Overall, a wonderful read and I would give it five stars.

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The Inheritance: The Story of an Unlikely Submissive by India Kells – Review by Sarah Oakes

The InheritanceThe Inheritance by India Kells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about passion. Lani Mackay is a struggling artist trying to make her way in the world to her own exhibition. When her uncle dies and she is surprisingly named in the will, it is too good an opportunity to pass up. But it comes with a strange request. To gain her inheritance, she must complete a series of tasks contained in a mysterious box. Can she complete them all and get the money she needs to fund her dream?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Lani going for her dream no matter what or Max supportive and kind but another side to him. Lani’s struggles as an artist were emotive and relatable and her passion for art and the itch to paint was a lovely touch and was beautifully written.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the secluded nature of Max’s house deep in the forest with its wooden cabin feel and hearth fire place as homely as if it’s a world away from the stresses of life. Or Lani’s art painted in vivid colours with passion and beauty. Or the little village in the snow, magical and wonderfully hidden in the forest. Or the opposites of the red fires and the blue ice so intense it was as if you were actually there and contrasting beautifully. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

Reviewed by @sarahoakes

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Coming Home: The Sequel to Flowers in December by Jane Suen – Review by Sarah Oakes

COMING HOME (Flowers in December, #2)COMING HOME by Jane Suen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about moving on. Connor Norton returns to his home town after grieving for the death of his mother. Whilst there, he bumps into Mary Ann, hoping to resume their friendship from the previous novel. But too much time has passed and she is moving on with her life. Can he move on with his life too?
A great read. Well developed plot. Well developed characters like Connor dealing with his grief but still kind underneath or Mary Ann doing what she loves but standing up for herself. Great cast of supporting characters like the supportive Norma or the old friend Alana. I loved the sweet bubbly nature of Ron and his enthusiasm for nature was a lovely touch. Connor’s grief was beautifully written, as he remembers Christmases with her in sweet reminiscences that hit him from nowhere, emotive and sad and sweet.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the Christmas feel of the town with its string lights and trees full of life and people. Or the sense of the small town with its little shops and streets where everyone knows each other and where things are the same even after years away which was perfectly written. Or the little coffee shop with its colourful decorations of red and green and ivy and holly bright and jolly in vivid colours, beautifully written.
I also liked the use of dates in the chapter titles, which was a great addition to fuel the Christmas feel of the novel and time passing and also helping with the backstory of Alana for the flashbacks to work well with the narrative of the present. Overall, a wonderful read and I would give it five stars.

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Broken Sand Dollar (The Sand Dollar Series #3) by J.D. Boudreaux – Review by Sarah Oakes

Broken Sand DollarBroken Sand Dollar by J D Boudreaux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about forgiveness. Alex has always done his utmost to help people and care for them,, but sometimes he takes on too much. Withdrawing from it all after the events of the previous books, Alex tries to look after himself. Whilst doing so, he discovers that he is enough, but can he fix the broken relationships of the past or is too late?
A great read. Well developed plot. Well developed characters like Payton as funny but kind underneath or Leigh struggling with her feelings but still standing up for herself or Alex trying his best but still caring underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the supportive Lacey or the mother figure of Gigi loud and bubbly. This helped to create the sense of a family that sticks together and helps each other out which was a lovely touch. The only issue with this was that sometimes it felt like there were too many characters to keep track of and perhaps reducing this slightly would help the reader follow the narrative. I also liked Paytons story with her struggles with vision and life that were relatable and emotive and beautifully written.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel with the sense of home with the coast with its familiar sights and sea and sand and restaurants all welcoming to the characters for a sense of belonging. Or the garden and the little birds as one little corner of peace in their busy lives. The use of memories in the narrative worked well to display what happened to Payton with wonderful visual detail of the parks and the water and was easy to follow with the use of italics and didn’t distract from the narrative of the present. Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.

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Little Do You Know (Bayou Devils MC #5) by A.M. Myers – Review by Sarah Oakes

Little Do You Know (Bayou Devils MC 5)Little Do You Know by A.M. Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about time. Noah has been in prison for seven years and has been missing the love of his life, Kady every day since he went inside. When he is released, his mission is to find her and pick up where they left off. But there’ a problem, no one has seen or heard of her for years. With barely anything to go on, can he find her and wil she want him back in his life after all this time?
A great read. Well developed plot. Well developed characters like Noah’s sense of humour but also struggling with his feelings or Kady standing up for herself but caring underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the supportive Blaze or the grumpy Streak
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like in the sense of open and closed spaces with the prison and the park or the clubhouse and the stars contrasting beautifully for the sense Noah struggling to fit in anywhere. Othe use of tick for the time passing like a clock while he waist was a great idea and gave the sense of impatience brilliantly written.
The only issue I would raise is that the prologue felt unnecessary as the first chapter grabs the readers attention more, and most of the details in the prologue were covered in reminiscences by Noah, which caused repetition. These memories were written well and didnt distract from the narrative of the present, giving sympathy to Noah over the happy life he lost. The switch of perspectives worked well to display both sides of events and was easy to follow with names as chapter subtitles.Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.

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There Be Demons (Andor Demon Wars #1) by M.K. Theodoratus – Review by Sarah Oakes

There Be DemonsThere Be Demons by M.K. Theodoratus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great read about opposites. Gillen is a gargoyle warrior trying to protect the world from demons from another world invading and hurting people. Stretched thin, he and his team try their best as imps attack the docklands with more ferocity than ever before. When the Angeli Commanders finally send their hosen warriors, Gillen thinks all their problems will be resolved. But he is in more than he expected and is tested to his limits. Can he rise to the challenge or is he stuck in his old ways?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns that I just simply couldn’t put down. Well developed characters like Britt standing up for herself but caring underneath or Cahal sarcastic but kind and supportive underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the kind and supportive father figure Uzeel or the strong minded Treasa.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel in the sense of overcrowding with the small spaces and the city full of life and people all jostling for space in the flats. Or the authors wonderful sense of imagination with the vivid colours of purples and reds and greens of the monsters with horns and fangs terrible but beautiful or absurd but still believable with creatures like Abraxas. Or the use of smell throughout with the horrible odors so strong and pungent it is as if you were actually there. Or the gargoyles themselves as something new in the fantasy genre as a wonderful mixture of wings and tails and ears for a creature that is magical but still believable and beautifully written. I loved the authors fun sense of exploration, with new creatures and powers with their own rules and societies and hierarchies and laws existing side by side with humans.
A wonderful addition to the fantasy genre. This was made more compelling by giving the gargoyles more humanity with Gillen’s worries and anxieties or Uzeel’s kind supportive nature or with the instead of just being cold superior beings angels usually are in literature. this made them more realistic and sympathise more with their problems for a great read.
I also loved the way the chapters alternated between the realism of high school life and the fantasy of the demons combined perfectly for a great read. The use of thoughts as part of the narrative was a brilliant addition and worked well to display the different characters struggles and worries
Fast paced action and high stakes in a fantasy world made for a highly captivating read. Overall, a great read and I would give it five stars.

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