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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.

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Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Slave to SensationSource: Own collection
Format: Ebook
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind – and none of the heart. In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of ‘rehabilitation’ – the complete psychic erasure of her personality . . .

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murder of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation . . .

This book was recommended to me by a huge fan of the Psy-Changeling series.

Sascha Duncan is a Psy, and daughter of a member of the Psy Council. The Psy have dedicated themselves to the eradication of emotion. But Sascha feels emotions, and her shields are beginning to show signs of wear as she grows older. Assigned to oversee a development run by Lucas Hunter, a Changeling, she finds herself among people who live and exude the sensations she must, as a Psy, deny herself. And yet she finds herself allowing sensation in, attempting to satisfy the cravings.

But there is so much more to this book than that. There’s a serial killer who is known by the Changelings to be Psy, and there’s a member of the Psy Council who wants to have a private chat with Sascha. And there are leopard cubs.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I began to read this story, but what I got out was an excellent, well-structured story with plenty of suspense, tension and, well, sensation. One of the things I really appreciated was how “sensational” (for want of a better word) it was. With Sascha’s obsession with and craving for sensation, Singh focused in on this beautifully, communicating Sascha’s need so well. This book wouldn’t have been the same without this element, and it totally reinforced the title. I also liked how protective Lucas is as a person. To a fault, in some instances, but for the most part his heart is in the right place.

An excellent read for those who love animal shifters and characters with psionic abilities. I will be looking out the next book in the series.

Pirate Bound by Carysa Locke

Pirate BoundSource: Copy from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Talented Pirates have suffered loss. Some years ago a deadly virus swept through the female Pirates, decimating them. Now the Pirates face extinction since they have few viable females to bear talented children. Then the Pirates come across two female Talented, Sanah and Nayla, exhausted and wary, who have escaped from a Talented organisation known as Veritas. Nayla is a biokineticist, able to heal on a cellular level, who’s Talent is required by their brother Niall – working for Veritas – for it’s killing abilities.

What a fantastic story. Each of the main characters, and a few of the secondary characters, are well developed with differing personalities, goals and desires. Dem’s qualities as a protective hero make him very endearing, and I enjoyed his internal battle with his Talents. That really made me chuckle. Cannon was an extremely insightful Pirate King who really keeps his finger on the pulse. It would be nice to one day read more about him, and also about Treon, Dem’s enigmatic brother.

Inventive and well-written, I hope to read many more books about the Telepathic Space Pirates. This definitely checks all my boxes in space opera, psychic talents and romance. This is excellent stuff right here, reminiscent of the best of Anne McCaffrey.

Hallow’s Eve by Pippa Jay

Hallow's EveSource: Own collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

When love comes home…

Twelve months ago, Hal’s world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He’s waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he’s learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk…

Hal, a warlock, lost Eve, his girlfriend, twelve months ago, on Halloween. Now he plans to bring her back using Necromancy – a practice forbidden by the Circle. With them keeping a close eye on him, will he be able to carry out his intentions?

This is a very well constructed story and, for it’s length, manages to create a very clear image of Hal and other more minor characters – particularly Hodge, a sprite, who made me chuckle.

Jay’s work is always a delight to read, as her style is very accessible. This shorter work is no different.

And the title – really loving Jay’s titles lately!

For readers who would prefer to steer away from witchy/warlock tales and spell incantations, I’d suggest avoiding this one. But if you don’t mind all that, and a smidge of romance beside, then this is for you.

All of Me by Lea Kirk

All of MeSource: ARC from author
Format: ebook
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Following the Anferthian invasion of Earth (recounted in Lea Kirk’s Prophecy), the Matirans help Earthlings to rebuild. “Gunner” Reed is overseeing the development of Terr Base One on Earth. During the invasion he rescued April Burowski, and she is currently working at an orphanage near Terr Base One. April is mourning the death of Dave, the father of her unborn child.

This is a heart-warming, gentle tale of respect, love and tenderness. I really enjoyed reading it, and would pick up any book Kirk writes.