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Defiance by HG Chambers

Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

After a wait while the book got written and prepared for publication, all I can say is, what a finale to this series! I enjoyed reading the first two books in this phenomenal, inventive world, and Defiance was really the icing on the cake. Finally pulling the different actors together in a showdown to end all showdowns, Chambers nevertheless packed in quite a few surprises. Expect the unexpected with this and you’ll do just fine.

While the ending wasn’t quite what I’d envisaged… it was better, suitably twisty, perfectly fitting the nature of the series.

For me, I see this series as a fine merger of science fiction and fantasy – which often makes for some very inventive worldbuilding in my experience. From the first book this has been a world that’s excited me with its possibilities, and as the series has gone on I haven’t been disappointed.

Thanks for the fun!

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The House that made the Sixteen Loops of Time by Tamsyn Muir

Source: Own Collection
Format: Hardcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Dr. Rosamund Tilly lives at 14 Arden Lane, a house with issues. But not the kinds of issues you’re thinking of, I’m sure. This house is a magical house, and it has temper tantrums. If things aren’t going precisely as it desires, then, well, take your pick. Pretty much anything can happen, from creepers overgrowing to the dogs’ coats changing colour. Sounds like a recipe for driving any rational human being insane, right? Well, spare a thought for Rosamund – and her family.

So, one day the house isn’t happy, and comes up with a new scheme. Instead of changing anything, it just decides to put time on replay. For sixteen loops. And only Rosamund is aware of what’s going on.

This is quite a humorous story, really, and I lapped it up. The house’s antics are fascinating, and Rosamund’s patience with it is… admirable. Fortitude, really. An entertaining romp that left me with a smile on my face at the end.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Source: Own Collection
Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I finally picked this up, and what a delight. Inventive and creative, Gaiman blends English folklore and nursery rhymes with an entirely original story that is delightfully related in this fantastical tale of heroism driven by love.

Living on the edge of a magic land has its advantages and disadvantages, and that’s what the inhabitants of the village of Wall experience. When Tristran Thorn sees a falling star, he vows to retrieve that exact star for the woman he loves in order to win her hand. However, when he has to go through the wall to locate it, he begins to learn that life isn’t all he thought it was. To complicate matters, he isn’t the only one out to catch a falling star.

I particularly loved that, while I thought I had it all worked out, I found I hadn’t, which is what makes Gaiman the outstanding storyteller he is.

Creatus by Carmen DeSousa

CreatusSource: Own Collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Overall Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

As the sun’s rays peeked above the horizon, lighting the abyss below her, she inhaled a deep breath, closed her eyes, and jumped. She didn’t scream; she didn’t look down. As much as she hated her life, she hoped it wouldn’t end this way. She’d really like to see him one more time.

Her life didn’t flash before her eyes as she’d always heard. Just an image of her mother covered in blood and her Dark Angel telling her he was sorry.

What really attracted me to this book is the tag-line to the series – “The reason we believe in fairy tales – and monsters”.

At first glance, the Creatus may appear to be vampires, but as it turns out, that’s far from the case. My memory is hazy – comes of writing a review long after I’ve read the book – but if I recall, the Creatus crash-landed on Earth four thousand years ago (okay, so I got that from the blurb) and have worked to integrate into human society – as well as hide from it – over the millenia.

From They Exist we learned that Derrick has been watching over Kris since she was a little girl – since he saved her from certain death the night her mother was killed. Over the years since, she has lived in numerous foster homes, and is somewhat reckless given that she knows she has a “saviour” “out there”, and wants to meet him – she has learned that he only turns up when her life is threatened. So, not surprisingly, this book starts with her throwing herself off a bridge in a bid to bring him out into the open. Unknown to her, her action attracts the attention of a rogue Creatus, who discovers Derrick’s attachment to Kris.

This book is a fantastic read, and thankfully isn’t your run-of-the-mill vampire tale. In fact, forget vampires. The Creatus are something completely different. DeSousa’s writing is excellent, drawing one in to the tale with ease, and then one is trapped, following events as they unfold.

At times, especially in the first chapters of this book, Derrick can appear to be very controlling, trying to restrict Kris’s movements. However, one discovers that this is more out of a desire to protect her from a danger he cannot tell her about (for reasons that eventually become clear) than a desire to clip her wings, so to speak.

An excellent romantic suspense that leaves one wanting to read more.

Creatus: They Exist by Carmen DeSousa

Creatus - They ExistSource: Own Collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Overall Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

For four thousand years, creatus have concealed themselves from the humans who hunted them almost to extinction. Unwittingly, one creatus will endanger them all…

As with most of his family, Derrick Ashton knows his future and what position he’s destined to fill within his unique society. Everything changes, however, when he breaks one of his family’s strictest laws and falls in love-with a human.

In his quest to protect the woman he can never have, a twist of faith propels him into a new role that will cause dissension among his family and endanger the anonymity that they’ve strived for thousands of years to protect. Now, he will risk everything to save the girl from humans and his own kind. The one thing he can’t save her from, however…is herself.

This novella tells the story of how Derrick comes to be Kris’s Dark Angel, the person always there who looks out for her. I read this book before reading any of the other books in the Creatus series, and it has piqued my interest. Very intriguing, filled with hints of more to come, and quite a few surprises.

I definitely need to get on with reading the rest of the series now.