Moonshadow by Thea Harrison, narrated by Sophie Eastlake

hot guy in dark suit with white shirt mostly open, in front of an eerie blue/green city scapeWhy I read it:  I’m a fan of the series. I made a smart decision to pre-order the ebook for $2.99 and then I got the audio version on a Whispersync special for $1.99 which on any view is an absolute bargain.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the UK to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.

Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.

When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.

Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.

As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.

Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love….

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Other than that the book is set in the UK and follows the European Elder Races, I knew nothing much about the book before starting it. I’ve enjoyed the previous books enough to know that I was going to like it to one degree or another and sometimes it’s fun to see where a story takes me with no expectations (beyond enjoyment) whatsoever.

Moonshadow is book 10 of the Elder Races and book 1 of the Moonshadow series. It becomes apparent throughout the story that the Moonshadow series arc (which I understand will comprise of three books) is about defeating Queen Isabeau of the European Light Fae Court and restoring King Oberon of the European Dark Fae Court to health and, presumably, his rightful place on Earth. Moonshadow, however focuses closely on Sophie Ross and Nikolas Sevigny and restoring a crossover pathway from Lyonesse, the seat of the Dark Court, to England/the Earth.

Helping Hand by Jay Northcote

Helping HandWhy I read it:  I saw some positive reviews from trusted Goodreads friends, so I bought it.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie—Big Mac to his mates—are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.

When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn’t expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your straight friend can only end badly, unless there’s a chance he might feel the same.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Jez and Mac live (with others) in a share house while they study at university in Plymouth (in the UK). Mac has to stay in because he’s falling woefully behind in his classes and Jez has to stay in because in the first year of uni he went a bit overboard with the partying and ran up a massive overdraft. His wealthy parents are teaching him a lesson by requiring him to work off the debt himself which means he has little spare money for going out. As a result, Mac and Jez are regularly home on Friday and Saturday nights when the rest of their housemates are out.

The List by Joanna Bolouri

the list bolouriWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn’t feel fabulous. It’s been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.

The List: ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached.

Simple, right?

Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe’s got her work cut out for her.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Given the story is about a list, I thought it might be fun to review it in list format too.

1.     I’d categorise this book as “chicklit” (even though I don’t love the term).

Yes it has a romance and yes there is a happy ending but it’s really more about one woman’s journey over the course of a year and it doesn’t have much by way of deep character description of anyone other than Phoebe.  I liked many of the characters, but I can’t say I really got to know them all that well.  It is a different book to Bridget Jones’ Diary but it has a similar vibe and style so I think it would work for readers who enjoyed the Helen Fielding novel.

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