Beltane by Alys West @AlysWestYork #UrbanFantasy set in #Glastonbury #reviewed for #RBRT

  • BeltaneAuthor: Alys West
  • Published: December 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Urban Fantasy, Romance
  • five-stars

Finn McCloud is a druid, connected by magic to the earth. He’s made a big mistake; one that could cost him his life. 

Maeve Blackwell has plans for a new start, free of the façade she so carefully maintains. At Beltane, the Celtic festival of fire, all her preparations will come to fruition. 

Struggling artist Zoe Rose is in Glastonbury to work on the illustrations for a book. But when she arrives at Anam Cara, the healing retreat run by Maeve, she finds it’s not the haven she hoped for.

Continue reading

Shadows in Time ~ Time Travel #Romance @AnnGimpel #Novella #TuesdayBookBlog

  • ShadowsAuthor: Ann Gimpel
  • Published: December 2015 by Ann Gimpel
  • Category: Time Travel, Romance, Novella
  • four-stars

A disgruntled heiress and a sexy Scottish laird are drawn together by a determined ghost whose love—and magic—reach beyond the grave.

I’ve had a few of Ann Gimpel’s novels on my Kindle for a little while, and added this book earlier in December. I’m glad I got round to one of them eventually. I’m hoping it won’t be anywhere near as long before the next one.

Aidan MacTavish, a druid, is mourning the loss his fae wife, Moira. She didn’t survive childbirth and disappeared into the Dreaming, ceasing to exist in the earthly world. Moira can see the future and knows it’s time Aidan moved on with his life. She predicts he will meet a woman who he is destined to marry, so he must let her go and begin to live again.  Continue reading

The Iron Druid Chronicles ~ the books

 

  • ID1Tricked ~ book 4
  • Author: Kevin Hearne
  • Published by Del Ray
  • Category: Urban Fantasy
  •  four-stars

Tricked picks up the story more or less straight after Hammered. Lots of gods from several pantheons are after Atticus for what happened in Asgard. Atticus decides on extreme action and fakes his own death with the help of Coyote who, of course, wants something in return. And not just a little something so again Atticus is drawn into battles he wouldn’t have chosen. Because he owes Coyote Atticus agrees to help the Navajo people. Coyote has worked things to his advantage and Atticus is obliged to fight shapeshifting skin walkers whose only thought is to kill.

Some new characters are introduced including a Navajo shaman, Frank, who proves to be a great addition to the story.  So, the mythology and culture leans more towards Native American which, again, has been thoroughly researched and is very interesting.

Lief makes a minor appearance, his creator, Zdenik is in Phoenix because Lief arranged for him to take over if he was killed or too badly injured in Asgard to continue as leader. It seems though, that Zdenik is planning to take over the territory regardless….

Thoughts

Another solid Iron Druid story, action packed with battles and fearsome creatures.  Oberon is back and so is the humorous banter. It was interesting to learn more about Atticus’ back story and I like the way the relationship is developing between Atticus and Granuaile.

I loved Lief, the friendship of sorts and conversations between him and Atticus in the first three books and hope he reappears as the Lief of old…on to book 5 to find out 🙂

  • ID2Trapped ~ book 5    
  • five-stars

Twelve years have passed since Atticus and Granuaile ‘died’ and Granuaile has finished her training and is a fully fledged druid. All Atticus has to do now is bind her to the earth. This involves intricate tattooing and communing with Lady Gaia and takes three months.

The only available place, for various reasons, is Olympus. Not the best place so needless to say it doesn’t go smoothly. The binding gets interrupted more than once because those who believed Atticus and Granuaile dead now know otherwise. They are attacked by several immortals including a vampire, Bacchants and a band of dark elves and have to fight their was round and through them all. Not to mention a battle royal with Hel and her brother, the wolf Fenris.

Finally Atticus and Granuaile find a quiet place to finish the tattooing which is very long…. and intimate. The sparks that have crackled between them from the beginning ignite good style, much to Oberon’s amused bewilderment at ’the mating habits of humans’.

Now hold on! First, you didn’t have to watch, because I specifically suggested you not do so, and second, it wasn’t grody. It was the stuff Al Green sings about.

 < It was you who told me that proverb thingie: ‘Grody is in the eye of the beholder’>

 No, Oberon, that was beauty.

Thoughts

The picture of Granuaile on the cover gives away the fact she features prominently in the story.  Now she’s a full druid and is bound to the Earth she can shape shift, her animals are brilliant, and perform magic.  She comes into her own in a big way and she and Atticus make a great team. Oberon, hilarious as ever, especially now he and Granuaile can communicate through thoughts as well.

The plot is intricate, a lot of Atticus’ past actions and enemies come back to bite him and there were almost too many gods and pantheons to keep track of. Leif returns but his relationship with Atticus is no better, Atticus believes Leif is using him for his own ends again.

The ending is a cliff hanger leaving several threads unresolved.  Straight on to book six for me then!

  • ID3Hunted ~ book 6
  • four-stars

So, carrying straight on from Trapped, Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon are under attack from Artemis and Diana because they have imprisoned Bacchus on an Island where time is frozen. The Morrigan holds the goddesses off and gives the three a head start. The consequences  are dire. Malina and her Polish coven also offer assistance in return for Atticus keeping Poland vampire free for a year.

Odin and Gaia are on their side but now Loki is on the loose and after them too, along with dark elves and vampires, and Atticus and co are trying their best to avoid Ragnarök along with everything else. Leif Helgarson puts in an appearance and he’s in scheming mode again.

Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon are looking for an Old Way through to Tír na nÓg that isn’t guarded or they must make their way to the forest of Herne the Hunter to escape the Olympians. So they trek across Europe and swim the Channel to England, as the Morrigan instructed, to find a safe portal. They’re ambushed several times along the way and Atticus has to make full use of his healing powers. You didn’t think he’d get away without injuries, did you! Some of which are spectacularly gruesome.

Thoughts

The title says it all, this chapter in Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon’s saga is all about them being hunted, by various gods and an unknown enemy in Tír na nÓg, all through Europe and beyond.  I was totally surprised with a happening in the first few pages which was quite sad. 

The characters are still developing, especially Granuaile who the Elementals have named Fierce Druid. She certainly has a novel way of despatching her enemies.

The original and creative mix up of mythology continues but more so and it was a little difficult to get my thoughts in order, there’s so much to take in. I found this a more challenging read than previous books although it didn’t detract from the enjoyment. It’s easier, I think, listening to the audio. 

The books are available at  Amazon UK and Amazon US

The Iron Druid Chronicles ~ the audiobooks 1-3

 

  • HoundedHounded ~ Book 1
  • Author: Kevin Hearne
  • Performed by Luke Daniels
  • Released: May 2013 by Hatchette Audio
  • Category: Urban Fantasy
  •  five-stars

Atticus O’Sullivan is a powerful, shape shifting 2,000 year old Druid living in Arizona and running an occult bookstore. He’s also an accomplished apothecary by which means he is able to keep himself young. Atticus draws his power from the earth through the Druidic tattoos on his arms.

He’s a warrior with a softer side, he looks out for his friend, the elderly Irish widow who lives down the street. There’s a hugely interesting list of characters which includes Atticus’ attorneys, a werewolf and a vampire, and various gods, goddesses, witches and demons to name but a few! But the star, for me, is Atticus’ sidekick Oberon, the Irish Wolfhound. Atticus and Oberon have a connection and can speak to each other telepathically.

The first story in the series revolves around Fragarach, sword which Atticus won in battle with a dark god, Aenghus Óg, centuries ago. Óg has been hounding Atticus ever since trying to reclaim the sword and kill Atticus at the same time. 

Bloody battles and fast paced action keep the suspense and tension going and there’s never a dull moment. Atticus is a great protagonist, a loveable rogue with a good dose of morality.

  • HexedHexed – Book 2  
  • five-stars 

Since Atticus dispatched Aenghus Óg to the fiery depths of hell everyone now knows where he is and want his services in the god slaying arena. Thor seems to be the favourite target but Atticus isn’t sold on the idea. 

Trouble is a-brewin’ though and the Polish witch coven aka the Sisters of the Three Auroras, want to sign a non aggression treaty with Atticus since several of their sisters were killed.  Atticus has never been a fan of witches with good reason. A coven of evil German witches, who have associations with demons, are out to kill him and take over the area. Not only that, the Bacchants from Las Vegas are also on their way.  Stand by for battles galore with demons, witches and more..

I like Granuaile, the barmaid from Atticus’ favourite Irish pub, who is now an apprentice Druid and training with Atticus. It’ll be interesting to see where her character goes in the next book.

  • HammeredHammered – Book 3       
  • four-half-stars

Atticus manages to steal on of the golden apples of Idunn from Asgard to repay his debt to the Indian witch, Laksha.  The trip is not plain sailing and Atticus has a run in with Thor.  He decides he’s maybe been in Tempe too long and perhaps now is the time to move on. Being a Druid of his word he just needs to keep his promise to Lief and take him to the Norse plain to kill Thor. 

After having a few bevvies and a plate of fish and chips with Jesus at Rúla Búla Atticus has a violent confrontation with the Hammers of God. Jesus saves the day, proving who he is to the disbelieving Hammers of God.  

It’s not every day you see a tie-dyed man with a halo floating above the ground

There’s a feeling of pain and distress running through this story and it’s quite a lot darker than previous ones. Along with Atticus and Lief, Gunnar and several others who have grievances against Thor travel to Asgard and each tells their own story. It’s interesting to know the back stories, especially Lief’s and Gunnar’s and how they became vampires and werewolves.

Oberon, Granuaile and the widow just feature and the beginning and ending of the story and the scenes with the widow are quite sad.

No spoilers but be prepared for changes!

More excellent performances by Luke Daniels. Time and again the tone of the narrations and the character portrayals are just so perfect for each story and it sounds like a lot of fun was had with these characters, especially Oberon. His ‘voice’ is fabulous and if a dog could talk I’d want him to sound just like that 🙂  Magic.

Have a listen to this —> Oberon’s Holiday Message and you’ll see what I mean 🙂

There are lots of laugh out loud (literally) moments from Oberon and Leif. I love the humour Mr Hearne injects into the telling of the story, which is so cleverly written.  The mythology, magic and everything else…brilliant. Well researched and very interesting but the information doesn’t overpower or take over. Really enjoying this series.

Buy the books at Amazon UK and Amazon US