Saturday, 29 September 2012

Ms Cellophane by Gillian Polack

First published as Life Through Cellophane by Eneit Press, Ms Cellophane by Gillian Polack was recently republished by Momentum Books as an ebook. While I agree that Ms Cellophane is the catchier title, I can't help but feel that the original title described the book better.

This is by far the most literary book I've read all year. To clarify, I mean literary in the sense of the genre in which the main character's journey is internal, as opposed to the external journeys typical of genre fiction (SFF, crime, romance, etc). That said, Ms Cellophane is also decidedly magical realism.

The protagonist is Elizabeth, who is made redundant from her public service job at the start of the novel and struggles a bit to work out what she's going to do with her life, beyond the immediacy of spending her redundancy package on redecorating her house. As part of the redecorations, she buys an antique mirror which, as you might guess from the cover, features heavily. Throughout the novel, Elizabeth grows closer to a couple of her ex-workmates and, eventually, starts to venture out of her shell. Most telling is that the beginning of the novel is written mostly in diary entries and the end mostly in third person, as she grows less dependent on diarising.

The book sets a very specific mood. I was never bored, but I found I read the first half quite slowly and had to be in the right mood to take it in. The second half was a bit more fast paced and harder to put down, however.

Aside from a few key events, most of the action takes place in Elizabeth's head. It's very much the story of her self-actualisation and discovery. No longer does her job consume her entire life, despite what her somewhat psychotic former boss might want. She always thought of herself as a lonely spinster, but when first friends and then tentative love move into her life, these labels can no longer apply. Not that Elizabeth in any way hesitates to give herself endless labels.

What I enjoyed most about Ms Cellophane was the extent to which I found myself empathising with Elizabeth. I'm neither forty nor a retired public servant, but for most of the book I really understood exactly how she felt. Particularly in the nothing moments where she was rambling to herself. (Also, Polack is a deft hand at having her character say the same things in different and interesting ways that from another writer would probably have come across as repetitive.) I found it a very relatable book, despite my own personal lack of creepy mirror and psychotic ex-boss.

I recently read this interview/conversation between Alan Baxter and Gillian where Alan quotes his original review of Ms Cellophane to say:
I must admit that I felt a bit weird reading it. It was like I was hiding out during a secret women’s business meeting, hearing about things I shouldn’t know.
and they go on to discuss that reaction a bit further. Now having read the book, I'm even more fascinated by this response. Yes, it's a very personal look into Elizabeth's head but is the inside of Elizabeth's head really that foreign to men? If any men reading this have read the book, I'd love to hear from you. Of course, this type of narrative from the inside of Elizabeth's head is quite rare in speculative fiction which is usually concerned with some sort of exterior journey not solely an interior one.

All in all, I enjoyed Ms Cellophane a lot and I strongly encourage anyone looking for something a little bit different in spec fic to give it a go. And anyone who usually reads literary fiction (though why you're reading this blog, I'm not sure) and is looking for a soft introduction to magical realism.

4.5 / 5 stars

Thursday, 27 September 2012

New Booksies

More books to report on!

I got City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare as my achievement unlocked +1 book and read it more or less straight away and have already reviewed it. Book 5 in the Mortal Instruments series, it was a vast improvement on book 4, which I found I had only vague memories of (despite reading it only a month ago). I had to keep asking hubby if things happened in book 3 or 4 (he hasn't read 4 yet). So yay for improvement.
And from Netgalley/Carina Press I got Courting Trouble by Jenny Schwartz which I am SUPER excited about because steampunk in Australia whoo! And because I enjoyed the first novella in the series (the Bustlepunk Chronicles, heh), Wanted: One Scoundrel.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls is the fifth book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. You can read my reviews of the rest of the series at these links:
  1. City of Bones
  2. City of Ashes
  3. City of Glass
  4. City of Fallen Angels
City of Lost Souls continues to follow Clary and Shadowhunter friends as they (mostly) fight the good fight and try to stop demons destroying the world.

I enjoyed City of Lost Souls much more than the previous book, Fallen Angels, which fell a bit flat for me. It picks up immediately where the story left off in book 4, and I was worried it would be more of the same in a bad way. But it wasn’t. I spent a lot of time shaking my head at Clary’s poor decisions but they were entirely in keeping with her character and none of them were overly stupid (something I hate), just risky.

In the previous book, I started to warm to Simon, Clary’s best friend, after being fairly ambivalent towards him in the original trilogy. He continues to increase in awesomeness, as do most of the Team Good (hehe) characters, with the exception of Alec to whom I was previously ambivalent and now spoilers. Perhaps it’s just that Alec dulls in comparison with Magnus, who had the most amusing lines in this one.

Vague review is vague, but it’s difficult to review a book 5 without spoilers for previous books. I have enjoyed this series (admittedly not as much as the prequel series set in 1870s London) and I highly recommend it to fans of urban fantasy YA. This is the only series featuring angels that I’ve read which hasn’t annoyed me with its religiosity. (Also, it has a Jewish vampire, what’s not to like?) If demon killing and humour sound like they might be your thing (kind of Buffy-style humour, although Clary and Buffy aren’t that similar), give the Mortal Instruments series a go.

4.5 / 5 stars

Monday, 24 September 2012

Countdown by Mira Grant

Countdown by Mira Grant is a novella set in the same universe as her Newsflesh trilogy. You can read my reviews of the trilogy at the following links:
Countdown tells the story of the causes of the Rising — the development and spread of the viruses that became Kellis-Amberlee, the zombie pandemic. This review contains mild spoilers which are only really spoilers if you haven't read any of the Newsflesh books.

The novella doesn't contain spoilers for the main series, so could be read beforehand. However, it definitely fleshes out a lot of the back story, so I think a reader will get more out of it if they have read the Newsflesh trilogy.

There's no main character in Countdown. Instead, it tells the story through scenes about different characters: the two doctors who created the two parts of the virus, the Amberlee family, the Masons who we know from Newsflesh (and actually their story was the one I felt relied most on the reader's knowledge of the future, although not too heavily), CDC researchers, the people responsible for releasing the Kellis cure into the wild. Even though I knew the final outcome (dooooom), If found it interesting to follow.

The one thing I was hoping it would address but didn't was how the entire rest of the world (outside the US) got Kellis-Amberlee. I have no issues with the Kellis part because of how it was released, but the Marburg Amberlee part still doesn't make sense to me. It was a cancer cure undergoing trials in Denver. By itself it wasn't very contagious and Kellis-Amberlee started in the trial patients and their closest friends and relatives. Kellis-Amberlee was highly contagious, but it also acted quite quickly (making people sick then dead then zombies). So HOW did it get out of the US in large enough numbers to infect the whole world? A plane full of dead/zombies wouldn't do it because of all the red flags it would raise upon landing (assuming the pilot survived which isn't implausible given current aeroplane safety procedures). The novella mentioned people in the UK and India getting Kellis-Amberlee but how? Just the Marburg Amberlee part couldn't've reached them and KA needs reasonably close contact and also those places are far from the US and it takes more time to get there than the time needed to zombify. There wasn't much mention of KA lying dormant while being passed around which is the thing that needed to be emphasised to make me happy.

OK, that was a bit ranty, but it was the aspect that bothered me in the trilogy and that I was so hoping would be explained in Countdown.

But nitpicking aside, this was an enjoyable story. I definitely recommend it to anyone whose read Newsflesh and is interested in filling in some of the worldbuilding gaps.

4 / 5 stars

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Corpse Rat King by Lee Battersby

The Corpse Rat King is the debut novel from the prolific Australian short story writer Lee Battersby. Released at the end of August by Angry Robot, a copy of this novel was provided for review by the publisher.

My first impression, when I started reading The Corpse Rat King, was that it wasn't a book for me. It contains more toilet humour than I generally like (although I hasten to mention it's not what I'd call a comedy) and I didn't find the protagonist particularly sympathetic. And there weren't any proper (more than a few scenes) female characters. However, I didn't find it badly written either so I pressed on and it picked up.

Marius is a scoundrel. The novel opens with him robbing corpses on a battlefield (hence the title) and treating his apprentice like an idiot. But when he steals the fallen king's crown then plays dead to avoid repercussions, the dead (in the more general sense than just of the battlefield) mistake him for the king and demand he rule over them. Panicked, he refuses and instead they charge him with the quest of finding them a replacement king. At first he tries to run away from this task but eventually he gets on with it.

I warmed to Marius when we learnt about his past. In the present, he starts out as a somewhat terrible person, but I gained sympathy for him when he started learning life lessons and coming to stark realisations. It was actually the introduction of his long-suffering sort-of-girlfriend which made me keep reading through to the end. She doesn't feature much in person, but I like that she became a driving force for his motivations once he realised he might not ever get to win her back.

The world building was fairly detailed. The actual setting was quite broad in terms of the variety of places mentioned (sometimes in passing). It seemed like Battersby had thought up a complete world, even though the action only took place in small parts of it. There's no map, but at times I found myself wanting one, not because it was integral to the main action, but because I was curious as to where the places mentioned in passing were. There was a tendency in Battersby's writing to go off on descriptive tangents to set a new scene, which also added to the world building, although I found they were perhaps a bit too numerous overall.

As I said at the start, this isn't a bad book, but it's not for me for reasons of content rather than style. I don't doubt that other people will enjoy it much more than I did and so I recommend it to anyone who thinks they might enjoy a book filled with walking corpses, excrement (in the most literal sense) and a quest.

3.5 / 5 stars

Thursday, 20 September 2012

New Booksies

Ms Cellophane by Gillian Pollack  

Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken Dodger by Terry Pratchett What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang  

New books I’ve acquired since my last post:
  • Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken; YA; Australian edition from Netgalley. I can’t find a full-sized shot of the Aussie cover, so I’ve used the US one up there. Mini version of the Aussie cover on the right.
  • +1 achievement unlocked book is Ms Cellophane by Gillian Pollack, an Australian author I’m very much looking forward to reading
  • The Price of Fame by RC Daniells (aka Rowena Cory Daniells) arrived unexpectedly from the author. I was only expecting The Outcast Chronicles, so this was a pleasant surprise. Already reviewed.
  • Exempt from my read three-buy-one scheme because Pratchett, I bought his latest novel, Dodger. Despite the cover, it’s not a Discworld book, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect.
  • I got a copy of What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang from the publisher on Netgalley. It’s a debut YA book which sounds weird in a spec fic but hard to say which subgenre way (without reading it, anyway). So that should be interesting.
Yay, books!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Price of Fame by RC Daniells

The Price of Fame by RC Daniells is epic fantasy writer Rowena Cory Daniells' first foray into paranormal crime. Just as her fantasy books are intense and difficult to put down, so was The Price of Fame.

The Price of Fame is the story of Antonia, a film school graduate who moves from Queensland to Melbourne to make a documentary about the Tough Romantics, an 80s punk band whose singer was murdered just before they made it big. Accompanied by former classmate and hunk, Monty, as her camera and effects man, she begins to dig into the band's past. Her initial plan is to focus on their early creative dynamic and steer clear of the sensationalist murder angle. She even rents the house in St Kilda where the band lived before they were famous. Of course, the more she digs into the past, the more it becomes apparent there's more to the singer's murder than generally known.

As Antonia and Monty learn more, their present-day story is interspersed with a story of events in the 80s centred about, O'Toole, the taxi driver who was accused of the murder. Through his eyes we see the visceral reality of life on the Street (Fitzroy St) for the fringes of society in St Kilda. As you might expect (especially if you know anything about Melbourne and St Kilda's history), that world is full of drugs and casual violence.

Daniells has O'Toole not originate in that world but move there after his divorce. In some ways, he's not so different to the people around him, but he's different enough that he's still a bit of a tourist. This is a clever move on the author's part as it gives the reader a more easily relateable character who can report on Street conditions without being entirely a part of the scene (and neatly sidesteps any issues of authenticity compared with writing from the point of view of a Street personality).

I have a soft spot for stories set in Melbourne, my home city. I might not have spent all that much time in St Kilda, but I've walked down Acland Street and bought pastires, and been to Luna Park and ridden the same roller coaster the band rides in the book (a few safety-induced renovations later). The language Daniells uses is distinctly Australian, particularly in the slang all the characters use, which I also enjoyed.

Overall, I enjoyed The Price of Fame and read it in two sittings, finding it difficult to put down, especially once the 80s story started to unfold. It has minor paranormal elements, but they don't really become pivotal until the end and could almost be dismissed as magical realism (if paranormal elements aren't your sort of thing). This easily one of the most realistic novels (as opposed to speculative fiction) I've read this year. (Shift by Em Bailey is the only other one that competes.)

I strongly recommend The Price of Fame to anyone who enjoys mystery/crime novels, paranormal fiction and/or historical Melbourne.

5 / 5 stars

A copy of the book was provided by the author for review.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings is a rollicking great read out from Strange Chemistry (YA imprint of Angry Robot) on  October 2nd in the US/Canada and ebook and on October 4th for the UK/Aus paperback. A copy of this book was provided for review from the publisher. Also, how awesome is the cover? I love it.

Julie is a trainee witch, still learning the craft from her mother. The only person who knows her secret is her best friend Marcus. An excerpt from the blurb:
When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it’s pretty obvious to Julie there’s a supernatural connection.

In fact, there’s a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie’s high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it’s a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won’t just lose her mother’s soul, she’ll lose her mother’s life.

This was a great fun read packed full of action and (magical) explosions. I liked Julie as a kick-arse heroine but one who hadn’t come into her full power yet. When bad things happen, she’s still supposed to call her mum and when she doesn’t, she gets told off and grounded. It’s nice to see a YA book where the main character’s parent has some agency and acts like a normal parent despite the supernatural elements (even if she spends half the book unconscious — it’s still an improvement).

Marcus is painted as a love interest early on and, although Julie panics at first, I found her examination of her feelings (in between something trying to kill her) believable. Oh and Marcus is a science geek and keeps trying to work out how magic fits in with physics. It was great.

The only thing I didn’t like was Julie’s other (female) friend’s jealousy regarding Marcus. It would have been nice if there was also a strong girlfriend relationship but at least there were no queen bitches at the school (a trope I’m a bit sick of).

I very much enjoyed this read and I hope that there will be more books about Julie in the future (and from his website it seems that Cummings is working on a follow up, Student Bodies, so yay). I recommend Poltergeeks to anyone who wants a quick, fun read with lots of action, crazy paranormal activity and a dash of awkward romance. And bonus: it’s set in Canada for a bit of variety.
4.5 / 5 stars

Friday, 14 September 2012

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore is a book I’ve heard many good things about, and a book I’d been meaning to read for a while. It’s a fantasy book about an arse-kicking heroine and it elicited a variety of different feelings in me.

Katsa is Graced with supernatural fighting ability. In her world, when people have two different coloured eyes they will have some sort of magical Grace which can differ wildly between people (ability to hold breath for a very long time, ability to predict the weather, supernaturally good dancer, fighter, musician, etc). Katsa is also the niece of King Randa. In his kingdom, all Gracelings must be sent to serve the king as soon as their Grace becomes apparent. He sends the more “useless” people (eg good swimmers) back to their families and keeps the more useful ones. Katsa, with her fighting/killing Grace, becomes a useful tool he shapes into his weapon as she grows up. And so she serves as his thug, breaking kneecaps bones or killing when people owe him money or slight him. Until one day someone points out that she’s more powerful than the king and the king can’t actually force her to do anything.

Which was sort of odd, I thought. That she never realised it herself, I mean. She has no family or friends that aren’t also valued to the king (the king’s only son, for example, and his spymaster). On the side, they and a few others had even been running a secret Council — a network of well-meaning people running around, helping the less fortunate. In fact, the book opens with Katsa rescuing an imprisoned old man, about whom they know little, simply because he was imprisoned apparently unjustly. This is one of the ways in which Katsa is a bit of a contradiction of a character: she runs around defying the king in secret without realising that defying him openly wouldn’t be much harder. She thinks she’s a terrible person because of how easily she can kill, but she spends a lot of time helping people she has absolutely no obligation to even care about. She thinks the amount of power a person has dictates how horrible a person they are, yet she’s pretty powerful and not a horrible person. The girl full of contradictions was interesting to read about.

For the first half or so of the book, my thoughts were that it wasn’t bad but that it had perhaps been over-hyped a bit. Aside from a few amusing (laugh out loud) exchanges, it felt a bit directionless. It seemed as though Katsa was going along with things that happened to be convenient. In the end, everything from the first half of the story tied in with the main action but it was hard to see that until later. Half way through, the story picked up significantly, adding genuine danger to Katsa (since normally no one can hurt her) and giving her a concrete mission for the rest of the novel. After that I enjoyed it much more and the second half was significantly more un-put-down-able than the first.

I had a few pet peeves crop up as I was reading, another aspect which mixes up my feelings for Graceling. It bothered me when Bitterblue, a ten year old princess, was constantly referred to as the child instead of by her name. It’s true she didn’t have a lot of agency for most of her time in the story, but it felt a bit dehumanising, like she was just a person Katsa had to protect, not so much a person in her own right (she wasn’t treated that way all the time in the narrative, but enough to bother me). There was also, near the start, the moment where Katsa gleefully fed a dirty and damaged dress into the fire. It was very much in character for her to hate anything which hampers her movement, but in a pre-industrial realm such a dress would have taken days to make, with the fabric imported from far away, etc. While her not caring about her uncle’s money makes sense, destroying the dress so insensitively (especially since her maid is so invested in the dresses) bothered me.

Cashore’s series (Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue) has a different central character in each book. As such, Graceling ties up all the loose ends in Katsa’s life without entirely giving us a “happily ever after”. I expect to see her pop up in the later two books and I look forward to seeing how she goes. (And while I hope she never changes her stance on marriage, I hope she and her love interest are happy together.)

Graceling is not a long read, for a fantasy book, and I recommend it to fans of fantasy and kick-arse heroines.

4.5 / 5 stars

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

The Traitor Queen is the final volume in Trudi Canavan’s Traitor Spy Trilogy. I read the first two books as they came out and while I only have vague recollections about the plot of the first book, I didn’t find this to be an issue at all with picking up the story again.

The Traitor Queen is very much two story lines running parallel with little impact on each other. There are a few minor common characters — most notably Sonea, who was the main character in the Black Magician Trilogy set earlier in the same world — but for the most part the two story lines took place in different countries and didn’t intersect. I didn’t have a problem with this as I was already invested in both sets of happenings from the earlier books. I can see how others may find this more irritating, however. The two story lines did come together at the very end in terms of having related consequences on the future of the world, but otherwise weren’t very thematically linked either.

The war that takes place in the The Traitor Queen is fairly short by fantasy book standards (and by Canavan’s own past writings) but what I found interesting was that it dealt with non-combatants caught suddenly in a war zone. And not miscellaneous peasants (who always get caught in war zones in these sorts of things) but foreign diplomats who don’t necessarily have a clear “side” and who will have to deal with whichever side does win. Assuming they’re not caught in the cross-fire. Although the shortness of the war meant this wasn’t explored in a large amount of depth, I very much liked that it was included and that there were tangible consequences for the observers.

I continue to like all the characters we’re supposed to like in this series. My favourite is easily Lilia who grows quite a bit as a person throughout this book. There are few lesbian protagonists in fiction, so it’s nice to see that the number isn’t actually zero. And she gets to save the day. (Actually, given what happens in Sachaka as well as in Kyralia — where Lilia is — the Traitor Spy Trilogy is fairly heavy in empowered women, so yay.) My only objection to Lilia’s story is that I would’ve liked to see a bit more of a conclusion to her run-ins with the novice bully magician.

Canavan has left the ending open so that there might be a sequel but with all the loose ends absolutely tied up. From her website, I see that Canavan is working on something in a completely different world, so I wouldn’t be expecting more Kyralia/Sachaka/Allied Lands books soon if at all.

I recommend this series to fantasy lovers, especially those who enjoy non-medieval Europe settings. Of course, you should start from the first book in the trilogy, Ambassador’s Mission, then read the second, The Rogue, before reading The Traitor Queen. If you want the full effect, I suggest reading the Black Magician Trilogy first (The Magician’s Guild, The Novice, The High Lord) but that isn’t necessary for the Traitor Spy trilogy to make sense. Although if you’re thinking of reading the Black Magician Trilogy, Traitor Spy does contain spoilers for the ending as the consequences are important to the world building.

4 / 5 stars

Friday, 7 September 2012

New Booksies

It’s time for another post detailing books I’ve acquired recently, because getting books is fun and looking at pretty covers is nice.

Since my last post:

  • I bought the newly released Coyote by Rhonda Roberts. If you’re wondering, it’s a freebie and doesn’t count against my read-three-buy-one scheme. Because.

  • I received for review Broken by A. E. Rought from Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. I am super excited to read this, partly from the blurb but partly because my experiences with Strange Chemistry books so far have been exceedingly positive.

  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare was a +1 achievement unlocked book in my read-three-buy-one scheme. Already reviewed.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince is the second book in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy. You can read my review of the first book, Clockwork Angel, here.

First up, I loved this book. I very much enjoyed the first one, but the familiarity with the characters in this sequel breeds ever wittier banter (or persiflage, as Jem puts it) and builds greater empathy for the characters as we watch thier hopes and dreams destroyed by tragic irony.

Clockwork Prince continues to follow Tessa, Will, Jem and the other inhabitants of the London Shadowhunter Institute as they continue their search for the arch-bad guy of the series. Along the way they encounter exploding automatons, magic and love. There are twists and reveals and minor characters with bigger roles. I particularly liked that we saw more of Magnus, partly because he’s cool and partly because I was looking forward to observing things which were alluded to in the Mortal Instruments (set in the present of the same world).

I liked the way Clare set up the love triangle in this series. Unlike some YA books (Twilight is an obvious example), it felt like Tessa had a real choice and up until things came to a head she really could have chosen either boy (whereas Jacob the werewolf in Twilight never had a chance). Also, choices have consequences something which Clare properly explores and will hopefully continue doing so in Clockwork Princess, the final instalment due out in 2013.

I don’t think I can say much more without spoilers. Clockwork Prince is an excellent read and I highly recommend the series to any fans of YA, steampunk or manner-punk. I also strongly suggest starting with Clockwork Angel, the first book in the series.

5 / 5 stars

Monday, 3 September 2012

Beneath a Rising Moon by Keri Arthur

Beneath a Rising Moon by Keri Arthur is a werewolf-heavy paranormal romance. A copy of the book was provided to me by the US publisher for review purposes. I believe it was first published in 2008 (UK/Aus) and the edition I read was a US re-release.
This is the second book of Keri Arthur’s I’ve read, the first being Full Moon Rising, the first Riley Jensen Guardian book. Because I can’t help comparing, I’ll say I enjoyed Riley Jensen more, partly because she kicked more arse, partly because Full Moon Rising was set in Melbourne and partly for reasons I’ll get to shortly.

Beneath a Rising Moon follows Neva and Duncan as they investigate a series of murders in a small werewolf town in the vicinity of Aspen, and discover that they are soul mates.

Neva’s twin sister — to whom she is psychically linked — is head ranger and was attacked by the murderer but survived. While she’s in hospital, Neva decides to do some investigating of her own. As the full moon approaches, she goes to the Sinclair Mansion, renowned for its debauchery, and seduces the one Sinclair she knows can’t be the murderer, Duncan.

Duncan, meanwhile, has returned to Ripple Creek to investigate the murders that are somehow linked to his family (the dead girls were all sexual partners of his brothers). He quickly becomes suspicious of Neva’s motives in approaching him, believing her to be somehow linked with the murderer. So he decides to be an arsehole to her to get her to admit her motivations.

That was the point where the book lost a bit of appeal for me. While I understood what Duncan was trying to do, some of the ensuing sex scenes were a bit rapey (yes, I mean forcing her to have sex with him when she doesn’t want to and also while she’s asleep) and rather put me off. Then later, when everyone works out what’s going on, Duncan feels bad and tries to make amends but at no point does he sit down and apologise and explain to Neva. That she got over it anyway made me like her less as a character, although in general she was pretty good. Apparently they were destined to be together, but I would have liked to have more time spent on them overcoming their issues as a couple rather than just their personal issues (which were also plentiful).

Overall, Beneath a Rising Moon was well written and full of steamy sex scenes (except for those discussed above). If you enjoy paranormal romance and don’t think my qualms above would bother you, then give Beneath a Rising Moon a shot. Personally, I think other Keri Arthur books might be more my thing.

3.5 / 5 stars