Lightning Blade by D N Erikson

Ruby Callaway is in prison, in a time loop. She keeps re-living the same day, where an FBI agent releases her from prison in order for her to assist with the removal of a Necromancer. But Ruby and the Necromancer are the only ones that know about the time loop and every time she relives the day she has to convince the FBI agent that she is the one who can do this, but that they need to work together.

Despite being in a time loop, Ruby is in a race against time. The longer the time loop exists, the harder it is to break out. So she must find a way before she is stuck forever. She needs to break out of the time loop, in order to break out of her prison.

A really enjoyable story, it grabbed my attention from the opening lines. There were no blocks to the reading and I did find myself reading late into the night because I didn’t want to put it down. On finishing this book I went straight on to reading the short Novella which gave the prequel information on Ruby’s life prior to ending up in prison. I look forward to reading the next story in the series very soon.

“Words from two hundred years past echoed in my mind as the completed form streamed into the data cube. You’re a hunter, Rebecca Callaway. A killer.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Lightning Blade (The Ruby Callaway Trilogy Book 1)

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Official description:
When the FBI releases supernatural bounty hunter Ruby Callaway after 20 years, the terms are simple: kill the necromancer killing public officials in return for amnesty. But then the necromancer plunges a blade through her heart, and Ruby reawakens at midnight, back in jail. Alive.

Which means one thing: the necromancer has thrust the world into an endless time loop that only he and Ruby can see. And Ruby is the only one capable of stopping him before the world burns. But as she unravels the necromancer’s sinister plan, two questions repeat in Ruby’s mind: Just how dangerous is a vengeful serial killer with nothing but time?

And what if the necromancer isn’t the worst thing lurking in the shadows of this brave new world?

Lightning Blade is the first book in the Ruby Callaway Trilogy, mixing dark, gritty urban fantasy with a sprinkling of futuristic sci-fi & cyberpunk. Not your typical bounty hunter. Not your typical urban fantasy.

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Endohuman Love vs Duty by Nick Dream

I was asked to read and review this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I read the book fairly quickly and found it to be an interesting plot. I am not interested in werewolves and the like, so in places where it was moving towards that style of book I lost a bit of interest. Mind you, if I had seen the cover before I had read the book, I wouldn’t have even started reading it.
Adam is being brought up by his grandfather in a very strict and restrictive manner. His explanation is that Adam needs to be trained for something very important and that Adam must not break any of the ancient rules or he will lose his powers.
One of the rules is that he must not fall in love, so his grandfather tries to instil in Adam the need to avoid girls.
Of course Adam rebels and rails against this rule, while at the same time trying to honour his grandfather’s wishes.
Overall as a story I liked this book. In parts I really got fed up with it due to the afore-mentioned werewolves and vampires affliction. I think the story could go further in future books, and if the affliction is omitted I may well be a reader.

“I put my hands in my pockets to conceal my fingernails. They have involuntarily begun expanding into mini claws.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully) I was going to give 2.5, but I’ve rounded up rather than down, so it’s ended up with a 3.

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ENDOHUMAN: Love Vs Duty: Book 1 (A Paranormal Superhero Romance Series)

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Official description:
A page-turning debut, ENDOHUMAN is perhaps what Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight would look like in “Stranger Thing’s” upside down world with its X-Files mystery, Da-Vinci-Code-like style quest, Hitchcock suspense and countless plot twists and cliff-hangers that will keep you guessing. And you’ll still be wrong!
*Currently being adapted into Movie Screenplay

One of Wattpad’s top read books in 2016, making it to Top 10 Charts in “Paranormal” and “Romance” Categories with over 300k reads!

Book Synopsis:
Endohumans are not destined for love. It is against the Ancient Rules. Eighteen- year – old Adam Vanolf is about to be one of the last known Endohumans left on Earth as his dying grandfather rushes to complete his training. These superhuman hybrids descended from the ancient Greeks and Romans live concealed among us, sworn to protect mankind and safeguard an almost forgotten secret that is rooted back to the creation of man and the universe. Alas, the life and path an Endohuman must follow is lonely and dangerous , especially for a teenager trying to unravel the mystery that his ancestry hides. Gods? Vampires? Werewolves? Fallen Angels? Or just the creation of an unstable mind? An ancient evil is awakening and even though he doesn’t know it, the world needs Adam now more than ever. Yet Adam also needs love, so when he meets Evie, the girl of his dreams, a difficult choice must be made…

About the Author
Nick was born in London but now lives in Nicosia, Cyprus. He graduated from Lancaster University in the UK with a BA in Accounting and Finance with a focus on banking and financial services.

Despite being an accountant, in his free time he loves reading, watching science fiction movies and spending quality time with his family as well as writing poetry, short science fiction stories and children’s books.

In March 2014 he was admitted as a Member of Torr, one of the world’s most selective high IQ societies. Torr is a modern micro social network intended to stimulate original ideas, awaken and develop talent throughout the world, provide fellowship, and ensure a better appreciation of the arts and sciences.

Endohuman began life on Wattpad, where it climbed to the Global Top 10 Paranormal Romance Stories for its original, multifaceted and highly entertaining plot. Critics comment that even though the style of the book is Young Adult Fiction, the love story spans a multitude of genres including paranormal, suspense, romance, mystery, werewolf, vampire, sci fi, action and adventure. Nick likes to play with multiple twists in the story clearly influenced by his favourite author, Ray Bradbury, and creates a memorable protagonist in Adam, with a storyline that could go, frankly, anywhere!

Nick is currently working on the second and third instalments of the Endohuman trilogy.

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Enigma Key by Barnes and Wearmouth

This is a really great book if you grew up with the birth of computing and computer gaming (as I did), it really brings back the memories.

Eddie York is the main character of the book, his grandfather Brigham York also plays a lead role, but he is dead. Brigham has left Eddie a trail of clues which he must solve and follow in order to find the Enigma Key and save the world.

The clues need knowledge of the world of Flux, which was a computer game and also a comic that Brigham wrote for Eddie when he was a child.

Eddie’s adventure starts at the point of receiving a letter advising him to visit his grandfather’s grave prior to visiting the solicitors for the reading of his grandfather’s final will. Even getting to the solicitors requires Eddie to have his wits about him. The true race for the prize starts from then on.

Eddie meets up with various individuals during the quest set by his grandfather, some are friendly allies, some are yet to show their true colours and some are outright evil ‘so and so’s’. Some of the allies join up with Eddie to help him move forward with his time critical quest to save the world. Of those, Sol and Gert are two who are with him from the start, while others join him as he goes along (don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say who).

The only thing that mildly irritated me was the ‘love interest’ at the very end. It wasn’t really needed, it was so formulaic really, as if pandering to the masses. It is one of the things that really irritates me in stories – people don’t have to ‘fall in love’!

“A wave hit them. Eddie’s head sank below the freezing water. He kicked his legs, bursting back to the surface as fast as he could.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Enigma Key : A Gripping Adventure Thriller

 

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Official description:
THE FATE OF THE WORLD HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

ONE MAN IS THRUST INTO AN INTERNATIONAL RACE AGAINST TIME TO SECURE THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS WEAPON: THE ENIGMA KEY

Eddie York—manhunter, codebreaker—is set on a dangerous mission by the last wishes of his deceased grandfather, a prominent member of the Guardian Group, a secret agency designed to protect the world from dangerous new technologies falling into the wrong hands.

Eddie is tasked to recover the Enigma Key, an object that holds the balance of worldly power. Using information from an old computer game that his grandfather had created to hide the key’s location, and working with unlikely allies, he must fight his way through a sequence of challenges for an answer that reaches into history.

If Eddie and his team don’t recover the Enigma Key before their enemies, then nobody or nothing will be safe again.

Enigma Key is the first book in an exciting new series from Colin F. Barnes and Darren Wearmouth. Written for fans of thriller and action fiction who love fast-paced twists and turns. Mixing history and cutting-edge technology, Barnes and Wearmouth invite you into a new world of fast-paced, exciting adventures.

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Murders of Misfortune by Ian D Wright

A mother wants her missing daughter found and contacts an old acquaintance to seek assistance in finding her.

When Steve and Emily are tasked with that same duty they discover that said daughter went missing about 5 years ago and mother is trying to find her in time for a visit to England by her divorced husband.

The mother has very little information about her daughter (she hadn’t even noticed that she was missing straight away), so Emily and Steve interview the housekeeper for more information.

As each piece of information leads to another they build a picture of what has happened. Along the way they end up investigating an old high profile murder case and risk their own lives as they start to get close to the truth about both that and what happened to Felicity.

This is a fast paced story so you won’t get bored reading it. There are one or two bits that can be anticipated, but that doesn’t detract from it. And it doesn’t mean that you can work out what comes next. I did enjoy the book and would definitely read Ian D Wright’s work again.

“When rich perverts, like Threston, overstep the mark, they call her in to put things right. She cleans up the crime scene and gets rid of the evidence, and when all else fails, she will fix it by buying their way out of trouble.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Murders of Misfortune: A gripping story of a missing daughter and a trail of lies, blackmail and murder. (Murders of Consequence, Necessity & Misfortune)

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Official description:
Murders of Misfortune tells the story of a troubled girl, from a wealthy family, who becomes estranged from her parents and goes to live in 1960’s London. She is soon caught up with a wild set of celebrity party-goers in the drug-driven, anything goes atmosphere that was the swinging sixties.
Up and coming young stars of music, film, theatre and fashion, together with the off-springs of millionaires, politicians and royalty, create a high-octane, free-wheeling setting for this story of misadventure and murder.
Two up and coming young investigative journalists, Emily and Steve Moon, set out to discover what has happened to the lost girl and find themselves caught up in a conspiracy of lies, blackmail and deception. They are also under the spell of the atmosphere in London at that time but are determined to find out what has happened to the missing girl.
They follow a trail from London to Paris and then on to St Tropez. They discover a ring of wealthy, depraved men, who are using the new social freedoms of the time to pray on and exploit young girls in both England and France. Emily and Steve are determined to get to the heart of the ring and those who are organising these orgies of depravity. The tenacious pair stir up a hornet’s nest as they move closer to the powerful people behind the scenes. This leads to kidnapping and confirms that there are people involved at the highest levels of law enforcement and government.
Murders of Misfortune is an intriguing, complex and rapidly moving story, in which Emily and Steve receive support from unexpected sources.
This is the third book in a series of three featuring the investigative journalists Emily and Steve Moon. The other two, Murders of Consequence and Murders of Necessity and also available on Amazon Kindle.

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The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

“He can’t let her go by herself. And he won’t, because he’s a gentleman. A gentleman who doesn’t let young girls walk home alone from parties when they’ve been drinking enough to forget their coat, bag and– he lifts the flap on the little velvet envelope, checks inside– keys, college ID and phone too. And he wants to make sure Jen knows that. Mr Nice Guy, he calls himself. He hopes she will too.”

I really wanted to read Catherine’s second novel, her first one was so different to books I’ve tended to read and I enjoy her way of crafting her stories.

Alison has been living in the Netherlands for 10 year’s, only seeing her parents when they come to visit her. She hasn’t been back to visit Ireland in the interim and has no intention to either.

Then two Gardaí turn up at her home and ask them to accompany them back to Dublin to meet with a convicted murderer who will only speak to her, when a copycat murder takes place.

Packing the minimum needed for an overnight stopover, Alison relents and starts on a journey which will bring back everything that she has tried to bury deep in the recesses of her memory.

Will, her ex-lover and now languishing in a psychiatric hospital, pending transfer to full prison status, has something important to tell her in Ireland.

It’s when she gets to Dublin that she is pulled into something more. Things start to happen that drag her further into the ongoing investigation and ultimately put her in danger.

I was drawn into the story and enjoyed watching it unfold. The obvious endings and suspects weren’t quite as I expected, hooray! I like a different baddie and ending to the usual.

I predicted that Catherine would produce further quality novels – I wasn’t wrong! If you like suspenseful crime stories, I’d recommend you read this one.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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An unmissable, utterly compelling thriller from the bestselling author of Distress Signals.

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.

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The Girl in The Tower by Katherine Arden,

“”It is a talisman, that thing,” Morozko said. He spoke as though he were choosing his words. “It may be some protection.””

This is book two, I haven’t read book one, but the story still worked for me.

Vasya has left home, her parents are dead, the villagers think she is a witch and will kill her if she returns. She doesn’t want the life of a woman in Rus, life in a convent or a tower. Vasya wishes for life as a traveller, on the move, experiencing new places. That is not something a woman can do.

Vasya rides Solovey, a bay stallion, with whom she is able to communicate. Solovey helps to keep Vasya safe wherever he can. But even immortal horses have their limitations.

Her brother Sasha is a monk and he too is a traveller. Wandering about the countryside doing the bidding of his masters.

There are characters in the story whose aim is to do mischief and mayhem in order to enrich their own lives. These are the people who are set against Vasya, Sasha and their companions. Vasya must hide herself under the guise of a boy throughout it all, in order to protect herself.

Morozko ‘Winter King’ is there on the periphery watching out for Vasya where he can, but he cannot reach into the city and that is where Vasya is most at risk, and where disaster hits.

I found myself worrying about Vasya when I was away from the book, there were parts where she was in dire straits and I couldn’t help but wonder what would come next.

A well written tale of the old gods of medieval Russia. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
The next in The Bear and the Nightingale trilogy.
For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic…
The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.
Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical…

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WaR: Wizards and Robots by will.i.am & Brian David Johnson

“‘The Mechanical Men, The Mechanical Men, They came one day And stole life away. Beneath the sun We went underground To the heart of the ankh Where hope is found.’”

This is a children’s book therefore it is short. The concept is one of a world (our world effectively) in which there is magic (wielded by Wizards) and also Robots (who have come from the future).

The main characters are a schoolgirl named Ada Luring (and her mum Sara) and a boy wizard named Geller (son of the Wizard Elder).

Geller has been asleep for 500 years and his nightmares have awoken him. His father sends him on a mission with a group of Wizards aiming to destroy the ‘first robot’. Things don’t go to plan and Geller is left behind by the other wizards. He escapes, with help, and returns to the underground hideaway of the wizards. He discovers the existence of Ada and is drawn to her.

Ada is a ‘techno-nerd’ and doesn’t fit in at school. Her mum is trying to build the first intelligent robot to win a competition, which means Ada doesn’t get much attention from her, so has ‘free reign’ on how she goes about her daily routine.

The robots need to save the world in which they exist, in the future. They need the help of Ada and ultimately Geller. Somehow the book contrives to get them all together to give them this chance.

The story is quite fast paced, so although it is short, you do get your story’s worth. I would certainly recommend it to young school children. It may even encourage some weaker readers that enjoy wizard or robot stories, particularly as it has will.i.am as one of the authors.

The only off putting thing I found was the numbers at the start of EVERY line, even if mid-sentence. It may well be that it was because it was a proof copy, in which case, it shouldn’t affect anyone reading the final version. With the numbers I give this book the stars indicated below. Should they be removed for the final edition, then you can add half to a full star to it, for the improved readability.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
An explosive action-adventure novel created by will.i.am and renowned futurist Brian David Johnson. Wizards are real, robots from the future are here, and the fate of our world rests in the hands of one unsuspecting teenager. When a young man breaks into her home claiming her life is in danger, Ada Luring’s world changes forever. Geller is a wizard, on the run from his father’s hidden clan who want to kill Ada and her mother. Sara Luring is the scientist who will create the first robot, the wizards’ age-old foes. But a robot has travelled back in time to find Ada, and will lay everything on the line to protect her, as she may just be the key to preventing the earth’s destruction in the future. Ada, Geller and the robots must learn to work together to change the past and secure the future. But they don’t have much time before a mysterious enemy launches its attack on Earth…

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We Care For You by Paul Kitcatt

Synthetic humans (‘helpers’) and nanobots restoring elderly residents to better health. It sounds wonderful, until you read further and find out more of the intentions of the helpers.

I was very drawn to Margaret, crotchety old lady that she was, especially after her rejuvenation and restoration to full mental alertness. Her helper ‘Winifred’ seemed nice enough in her own way too. In fact the characters were all believable.

Winifred seems to want to learn from Margaret, to access the accrued wisdom that she has. Margaret is flattered that Winifred thinks so highly of her mind.

It’s when the helpers start to determine what happens to their charges that things start to seem a little bit off. But the care home is doing so well. Everyone wants the healing nanobots, especially on the NHS! I’m not sure that I do! Not now!

“Mortality must resume. People in this care home must continue to die. Not at the old rate, because that would cast doubt on the achievements of the nanobots.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
Margaret Woodruff is slowly dying in a care home. When her son is presented with the chance of exceptional care in her final months, he finds the offer hard to resist.

Winifred is assigned to Margaret’s care. She’s a Helper: a new kind of carer that’s capable, committed and completely tireless – because she’s a synthetic human being.

Under Winifred’s care Margaret’s health improves beyond everyone’s expectations, and Winifred begins to learn from Margaret what it means to be alive. After all, she has a lifetime of experience to pass on – and in a world where youth is the ultimate prize, perhaps it takes a robot to recognise the value of old age.

But how will Winifred use what she learns from Margaret – and what does she truly want from her?

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The Pets at Primrose Cottage: Part One A Place to Hide by Sheila Norton

“Back in Primrose Cottage, I celebrated by locking myself in the bathroom and smothering my hair in Cheeky Chestnut.”

I do like Sheila Norton’s books. But she is so naughty keeping me waiting for part two when I read part one in just one night!

Emma has moved from America to the little remote Dartmoor town of Crickleford in Devon. Her family don’t want her around, she is a liability! So she is lodging in Primrose Cottage in Devon, and trying to work out how to earn an income to pay for her board and lodgings.

Something happened to Emma while she was living in America and she doesn’t want anyone to know who she is. She is keeping a low profile and fending off questions from the locals. But in doing so finds herself telling whopping lies. Lies that she has to live with or denounce. She really can’t afford to be noticed.

She finds herself settling in to Crickleford, imagines settling there permanently. She just needs an income!

More please! I want to know what happens next. Engaging to read and relaxing too. As I already said, I enjoy reading Sheila Norton.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
PART ONE of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.
Emma Nightingale needs a place to hide away. Pursued by the demons left by her ex-boyfriend, she takes refuge in quiet Crickleford, a sleepy town in Dartmoor, where she can lay low.
Life in Crickleford is quiet and peaceful, but it won’t be for long if people discover the truth about Emma’s past. Not wanting to make too much of a fuss, she ends up lying about why she’s there – she’s looking after some cats, she says – then suddenly the town’s new ‘pet-sitter’ is in high demand!
While looking after an Alsatian, Emma finds all attention is on her, and the handsome young reporter from the local paper takes an interest in her story…
Note: this is part one of a four-part serialised novel. The full length paperback will be available in April 2018

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Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

“We built a bonfire outside, emptied everything from the refrigerator into a castiron pot— beef, potatoes, onion, black beans, tomatoes, garlic, rice—and let it stew over the open flame. We crouched over our stew like Vikings, hair falling into our bowls, scooping it up with chunks of bread and slurping the rest.”

This book gets one of my rare fives. It is well written and immersive.

The story is about Weylyn Grey, his life and those around him. Some would say his life was magical, I think Weylyn would disagree.

His tale is told through the commentary of others who are part of his life and occasionally of Weylyn himself.

He first appears as someone to whom a young girl named Mary is tasked to make a delivery, by her father. Mary makes further deliveries after this initial one, then when Weylyn’s money runs out and he is forced to move on, she runs away with him.

Mary eventually gets reunited with her father and Weylyn is fostered by a Reverend and his family.

Sadly Weylyn is destined to move on from his new home and from many of his future relationships. He spends his life leaving people behind, in his own mind, to protect them.

This book was very involving, instead of a straightforward telling of Weylyn’s life from one viewpoint, it is told from the eyes (and voices) of many. This keeps it fresh and engaging. There were many points in the story that grabbed my attention.

My favourite bit was when Weylyn and another had a meal and “crouched over our stew like Vikings, hair falling into our bowls, scooping it up with chunks of bread and slurping the rest.”

I don’t really want to spoil the book for anyone, so I’m deliberately being vague – part of the enjoyment is the discovering for yourself. What I will say though is that this book was so well described throughout and extremely enjoyable. I really recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of fantastic, natural, magical storytelling.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us how to find magic in the ordinary in her magical realism debut Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance.

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places, jeopardizing not only his own life, but the life of Mary, the woman he loves.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell: great storms that evaporate into thin air; fireflies that make phosphorescent honey; a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

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