Saturday 31 January 2015

The Time Travel Society Series by Crystal Miles Gauthier

Troianne (Time Travel Society Book 1)


'Troianne Shelden is your everyday, intelligent student. With a love for history and stunning figure, she's a catch for any guy. But after a night of passion with a handsome stranger, introduced to her by their mutual friends, she finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn for advice. 
Her parents passed away long ago and, soon after Troianne finds out she's pregnant, her grandmother passes, too. Left with a large inheritance, she looks forward to life with her new baby. 
Fate takes the wheel when she goes into labor. On her way to the hospital, she passes out from intense pain and wakes up in a very different place... 
The next thing she knows, she's hearing carriage wheels and voice shouting for help. Lightning illuminates the inside of what was, only moments before, the back of a taxi cab. When the door opens, she's greeted by a handsome man dressed like he stepped out of the past. 

In shock, she realizes that she's somehow traveled back in time-- ...and she has no idea how to return.'

Although this is a time travel romance where the modern day heroine goes back in time to 19th century England, (my favourite kind of time travel romance) there are lots of other genres in the mix which some readers might not expect or enjoy as it isn't obvious from the book blurb. I would label this as a paranormal/historical/time travel romance where you can expect to meet all kinds of magical and otherworldly enemies and allies. 

The plot is quick paced, romantic and filled with action. The story grabs you pretty quickly and you can't help but sympathise with Troianne in her situation and root for her and Duncan in their blossoming romance.

The writing needs a bit of polish but don't let that put you off reading this series. I really enjoyed it.

Diana's Magic (The Time Travel Society Series Book 2)
Diana's Magic

'Being one of the most powerful sorceresses in the world is a challenge for sixteen year old Diana. Still haunted by the evil forces who kidnapped her in infancy, she is taught to fight those who want to steal from her everything she loves. 
One night during what was supposed to be a teenagers rebellious night out, she encounters a sight that rocks her to her knees. Diana runs away angry, veering off the normal path, a small accident leaves her unconscious. 
When she wakes she finds herself in a strange new place. Everyone seems to be joyful and content in this place called Shae’lan. What awaits Diana in this happy place will not only leave her wanting more, it will also have her questioning her life’s decisions. 
Two men will determine Diana’s fate. One is Evil, One is Good. Both will be a factor in determining the rest of her life. '

 'Diana's Magic,' opens sixteen years after Troianne's adventure in book 1 and the story continues with her daughter Diana. Being a powerful sorceress with the potential to defeat evil demons presents Diana with many challenges to overcome.  She needs to be trained in how to control her powers, deal with teenage angst and fight to survive when she comes face to face with evil.

This second in the series didn't disappoint and I was glad I continued after  'Troianne.' The story has an interesting premise with lots of great secondary characters. I loved the abilities that some of the characters have and I'm interested in hearing more about Diana's cousins and what their role will be. Happily, the writing in 'Diana' is more polished, the story line is well paced and nicely constructed.
I also have a good idea of the direction the story will go from here. 

If you want to know more about the series, check out the author's blog

Monday 19 January 2015

Itsy Bitsy Spider by Kimberly Shursen, Narrated by Owen McCuen

Itsy Bitsy Spider (Unabridged)

''While celebrities and politicians are often under the media’s microscope, their wealth and privilege allows them to carry many of their darkest secrets to the grave. Those in power have one goal: maintaining a squeaky clean image – whatever it takes. 
"Itsy Bitsy Spider" is a could-be-ripped-from-the-headlines tale that provides a chilling and stirring reminder of the real-life secrets that thousands in power work hard to hide from those closest to them. 
When Claire McCallin, step-daughter of the powerful Boston Mayor Jack McCallin, hears her three-year-old daughter singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" her life begins to spiral out of control. And when McCallin finds Claire and his granddaughter missing from his Belmont mansion, fearing Claire is about to disclose his dark secret, McCallin sets out on a mission; one that will silence his step-daughter. ''     Goodreads

A fast paced, action driven plot that keeps the reader engaged and entertained right to the end. 
I enjoyed this book as I like suspense and the author certainly delivers on that score. 

The character development, however, suffers somewhat because the story is so intensely action driven. The relationship between Claire and Matt is instantaneous and also simultaneous with her attempt to escape from Mayor McCallin, her stepfather, and expose him for what he is. Everything happens just a little too quickly.

Superbly narrated by Owen McCuen, he somehow manages to make the novel sound better than how it actually reads in print and in my head. He is adept at using well placed pauses, quickening of the pace in other places and adopting various tones of voice for the different characters. I read some of the ebook along with the audio and found the audio version to be a much better way to experience this novel. Highly recommended.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

See No Evil, My Pretty Lady by Miss Mae. Narrated by Marcus Hyde

See No Evil, My Pretty Lady | [Miss Mae]

An absorbing and entertaining murder mystery set in Victorian London at the time of the Whitechapel murders. The writer's twist on an old story is both well written and clever. The story is full of interesting characters with a good few red herrings and likely suspects to keep you guessing right to the end. Dorcy and Gareth were two very likeable characters and I enjoyed the nod to the gothic romance genre in the way their relationship unfolded.

The story starts off with Dorcy's discovery of Mr. Davenport's dead body and her subsequent attack by an unknown assailant. It is not long before we are introduced to the other main characters. To fulfil a request from the dead man's will all the suspects and the police inspector take up temporary residence on an isolated island, in the hopes of discovering the identity of the murderer, who is also believed to be Jack the Ripper. Soon there is a series of sinister events, tricks and attacks. Tensions are rife and it isn't long before suspicions and accusations abound.

The police inspector is another interesting character and I'm hoping that Miss Mae has plans to write more mysteries for him to solve, along with help, of course, from Gareth and Dorcy.
The narrator Marcus Hyde did a wonderful job of bringing all the characters to life and his telling of the story added to the wonderfully gothic atmosphere of the novel.
I'm a huge fan of historical mysteries and romance so I loved this addition to the genre.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

A Time of Shadows by Monique Martin (Out of Time #8)

A Time of Shadows: Out of Time #8 (Volume 8)…
The 8th in the 'Out of Time' series and it still has me hooked. There is a little twist in this instalment as Elizabeth and Jack don't actually time travel but instead have to save the world in their own time. Thankfully they have some help from the lovely Jack and a cranky but skilled Monsieur Renaud. (More from these two please)
 An unexpected visitor from the future sets in place a race to find the very special but dangerous 13th pocket-watch. To discover where the watch is hidden, Elizabeth and Simon must solve the clues that are hidden in various places relating to their past. At the same time they are pursued by agents from the Shadow Council who will stop at nothing, including kidnap and murder, to get their hands on the watch.

Some questions are addressed in 'A Time of Shadows.' Jack comes to a decision about his future and I'm glad that he'll be around for more adventures. The issue of Simon and Elizabeth losing a child is also addressed. I won't add any spoilers but I think everyone can stop worrying....for now!

I love this series and hope it continues well into the double digits!
New readers would be advised to begin at #1 Out of Time which is still available for free on Kindle.

Monday 12 January 2015

The William Shakespeare Detective Agency #2 The Dark Lady by Colin Falconer

In this historical novel the author once again proves that he can write about any era. He describes the London of the 16th century exactly as how I would imagine it- the sights, smells, the state of the Thames at this time, the political intrigues and tensions in society, the poverty and squalor of the poor and the danger in the street from pickpockets and thieves. The writer describes things in such detail that you can't help but be transported to Shakespeare's London and have a good look around!The William Shakespeare Detective Agency:…

This is the second in a series involving the cousin of, and with the same name as, William Shakespeare. To save confusion, I'll refer to him as Will. Will has moved to London to get a job working in the theatre but he has no skills and is mostly only useful for moving heavy things about. He ends up sharing a room with his cousin and owing him money for rent. That is until he decides to set up business as a 'discoverer,' and is hired to retrieve some letters from some shady and villainous characters.

Will's interactions with other people lend a lot of humour to the story.  This includes much banter between he and his cousin, William Shakespeare, and with his cousin's mistress.

On top of trying to make a success of things in his working life Will tries to straighten out his romantic attachments. Unfortunately for him, he is in love with, a  not very likeable, married lady, Elizabeth Walsall, and is constantly at odds with himself and her over their feelings for each other. This relationship is set up to evolve and continue into the series.

Will is quite a bungling character but he is good natured which holds him in good stead. His adventures in the big city are all the more humorous for this and I look forward to reading more.