Author Archives: Nici

Grassmarket Blood by Bronwen Winter Phoenix

From the first line of the ‘Author Disclaimer’ – I am a teller of tall tales – you knew that this was going to be a good book. As an avid reader of Bronwen’s first two books, I could not wait to get started on GRASSMARKET BLOOD. Fast paced from the beginning, I was absorbed instantly into the secret world hidden in the streets of Edinburgh. A thriller full of sinister suspense with a touch of romance and quick wit, it kept me turning the pages. Likeable characters with their own quirky traits, made Grassmarket Blood very readable as well as gripping. Once again Bronwen has written an extremely brilliant, fantastic book, which didn’t disappoint. Bronwen’s stories just gets better and better.

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Kicked Out ~ Richard W Hardwick

Kicked Out ~ Richard W Hardwick

Sixteen-year-old Danny is kicked out by his parents and has nowhere to go but a shelter for homeless teenagers. There he finds a friend in the more experienced Goochy, who helps him find his feet. But the other residents are every bit as troubled and complex as Danny, and with drugs, alcohol, crime, sex and violence always on the cards, the house is soon simmering like a pressure cooker about to blow. In this turbulent environment, between binges and wild escapades, Danny begins to reflect and grow. But a discovery about his family places him under a pressure he cannot contain…

Kicked Out draws on the author’s experiences of working with young homeless and young offenders and is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand today’s unwanted youth. Hard-hitting and unsentimental without being bleak, gripping, at times hilarious – you will never look at kids on the street in the same way again.

My thoughts:

I knew from the very first page that this book was going to be great and I was right; I finished it in four days which for me, is very quick!

The book follows the life of Danny, a 16 year old who finds himself in a Children’s Home. He quickly makes friends, and enemies. Bearing in mind that the author is writing from his own experiences of working in such an environment I found this book really rather sad that these forgotten children could end up living such a life.

The characters were all so different and each had their own individual traits. Some I found really rather amusing and I laughed at their antics. The children had all been abused in one way or another and its not surprising that they were mostly very angry and turned to drink and drugs for a release.

Apart from Danny ‘the angry new one’, my favourite characters were Goochy ‘the experienced one’, Paul ‘the smackhead’ and Lucy ‘the I’m too good to be here one’.

The storyline was brilliant and I haven’t stopped raving about this book to all those that would listen. It has given me some real insight into how homeless children are cared for and the reputation that they are often given when all they really wanted was to be loved. They are the way they are because of other people mistreating them.

I feel that I could write and write about this book but I wouldn’t want to give anything away.

A gripping book which I couldn’t put down and when I finished it, I hugged my 13 year old son a little tighter.

I really hope the author writes some more books about his experiences.

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Things I want my Daughters to know ~ Elizabeth Noble

things i want my daughters to know

Synopsis from Waterstones

‘My beautiful girls. If you’ve read this, you’ll know it contains some – not all, but some – of the things I want my daughters to know. And the greatest of these is love …’ How would you say goodbye to those you love most in the world? Barbara must say a final farewell to her four daughters. But how can she find the words? And how can she leave them when they each have so much growing up to do? There’s commitment-phobic Lisa. Brittle, unhappily married Jennifer. Free-spirited traveller Amanda. And teenage Hannah, stumbling her way towards adulthood. Barbara’s answer is to write each daughter a letter, finally expressing the hopes, fears, dreams and secrets she couldn’t always voice. These words will touch the girls in different – sometimes shocking – ways, unlocking emotions and passions to set them on their own journey of discovery through life.

My thoughts

What a lovely book. I don’t normally read much ‘chick lit’ but this book was recommended to me by the BCF and has really reflected what I have recently gone through with my mum.

Barbara, the girls mum is dying of cancer and has written each of them a letter to read when she is gone and also had kept a Journal of her fight with cancer.

The book follows the four daughters and their lives and how they deal with their mums death. At times funny, at times sad but nevertheless a lovely lovely book. I could relate to so much of this book and found myself recognising myself in many of the experiences.

There were so many similarities to my mums own way of dealing with cancer; arranging her funeral with everyone wearing bright colours, being buried at an humanist site in a biodegradable coffin and the wake being held outside on a bright summers day.

I would like to quote the following from the book about her funeral:

It was exactly how she would have wanted it to be – good friends, good food, good weather.

Even if you haven’t (thankfully) lost your mum it is still a good read and certainly I will look out for more of the authors work.  If you have sadly lost your mum,  I think this book would offer you comfort and understanding.

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Atonement ~ Ian McEwan

Synopsis from Fantastic Fiction:

On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl’s imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

My thoughts:

Hurray for the first time in months I have finished a book!

I throughly enjoyed Atonement. The author does tend to ramble quite a lot but nevertheless still a good read.

I thought the second half of the book was better than the first and indeed I know of quite a few people who gave up on it before it got really good. So I am glad I stuck with it.

Set mostly during WWII, It tells the tale of how one moment in time, one mistake, can change the future so dramatically.

I find all thing WWII related really interesting so to get different points of view from Nurses and Soldiers was fasicinating.

Quite a sad tale really but totally compelling. Going to watch the film now! 🙂

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Kiss of Darkness ~ Jennifer St Giles

Synopsis from

A vampire bite has Sheriff Sam Sheridan on the fast track to hell and demons are taking over Twilight Tennessee. He’s battling not only to save both his soul and his town, but also his love for one woman, Emerald Linton. Emerald has a secret that could destroy both her and Sam. She is an angel, and if she can’t save Sam from turning evil, then she’ll have to kill him, no matter how much of her heart belongs to him. Sam is determined to take as many demons and vampires down with him as he can and to protect Emerald, but as the seductive dark power in him grows will he condemn Emerald to share his doomed fate, or will they both find a way out of hell.

My thoughts:

Book 3 in the Shadowmen series and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

Continuing from the first two books in the series, Kiss of Darkness follows Emerald, the resident psychic as she battles to save Sam, her love interest. The story flows seamlessly from the previous book, Lure of a Wolf and picks up right where we left it. Emerald is my favourite character in the series.

A good mix of good versus evil with a nice twist of erotica. A sexy, fast paced must read book.

I would love the write more in this review but I don’t want to spoil the story or give anything away. Go read the book and see for yourself!

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Nightswallow ~ Bronwen Winter Phoenix

‘Night Swallow is dead. A former travel journalist, she lost herself in beautiful worlds far from the London apartment where she was murdered. Following a series of dark events on an isolated island, she must face her face as she is forced to learn the ways of the spirits around her. As things start to spiral out of control, she is sucked deeper into a world she no longer recognises to battle the unstoppable force she uncovered on her travels. With help from mesmerising spirits along the way ~ Magnus, a mysterious loner; Gabrielle, an extravagant former theatre actress and Leon, an unusual librarian with a penchant for seeing the dead ~ Night has to stop her killer from destroying all that she loved. But will her unfinished business lead her to the final answer?’


My thoughts:

Well, what a fantastic book! Considering this is only the author’s second book, it is written as if she has been writing forever!


From the first sentence I was hooked, I was even showing my friends what a great first line this book started with!


Following Night’s journey, you are taken into the past as well as the present; both stories intertwining brilliantly.


I loved the characters, particularly Magnus and the description of places, people and events were brilliantly written. The life after death aspect has certainly given me something to think about.


A great book and I look forward to reading more of the author’s work. This will go down as one of my favourite books of the year.

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The Lure of the Wolf ~ Jennifer St Giles

Synopsis from Fantastic Fiction

Mighty warriors sworn to protect humanity, the shape-shifters known as The Shadowmen move between two worlds. Now their dark leader has exiled himself from the spirit world, opening the door to the forces of chaos…and to the power of love. Half wolf, half man, Aragon has abandoned his brethren to repay a debt of honor; he is sworn to kill a rogue Blood Hunter, though exacting revenge will doom him to a ghostly existence trapped between two worlds. But when a mortal woman unexpectedly calls him to her side, the heat of her soft flesh arouses a hunger in him that threatens to complicate his mission. Dr. Annette Batista, a dedicated healer, is determined to find her missing sister. With the amulet found at the site of her sister’s disappearance, she unwittingly summons a shadowy warrior. She wonders if she can trust this powerful male named Aragon, who claims he can vanquish her sister’s captor — the very monster he’s vowed to destroy. Or is Annette blinded by her shocking passion for the most alluring, mysterious man she’s ever seen?

My thoughts

Book two in the Shadowman series and yet another cracking read!

This book was more fast paced than the first and kept you on the edge of your seat until the end. Leading on from the first book in the series, you follow the same characters with some new ones added with a more sinister twist.

A nice sexy racy read, I wonder where I can get hold of one of these Shadowmen?!  😉

Looking forward to reading book 3 ~ Kiss of Darkness.

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Touch a Dark Wolf ~ Jennifer St Giles

Synopsis: Jennifer St. Giles begins a dazzling new series that takes you into a world of seductive shape shifters and mystical beings, and into the hearts of a band of heroic warriors known as The Shadowmen. . . .

Yesterday, Erin Morgan worked for a pioneering Manhattan medical center. Today, she’s on the run, witness to a chilling conspiracy. Fleeing for her life in the Tennessee mountains, she is run off the road by a mysterious beast . . . and things only get stranger when she wakes the next day to find a naked Adonis sprawled on the hood of her car.

For centuries, Jared has been a shape shifter, sworn to protect mortals like Erin. But in saving her, Jared has damned himself, for the poison from his battle wound stirs a terrible blood lust. Determined to protect Erin, Jared stays by her side and discovers a sensual rapture beyond imagining . . . and a love that can change his fate. But can Jared overcome his savage thirst and protect Erin from the beast within?


My thoughts:

A very easy and enjoyable book. Quite sexy in places, a perfect bed time read!

I thought the characters were described well and I visualised them all very easily in my mind. A good mix of excitement and romance with a supernatural twist of vampires and werewolfs. Really looking forward to the second book, Lure of the Wolf which I will be starting tonight.

If you want a sexy and exciting supernatural romance, this is the book for you!

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Inkheart ~ Cornelia Funke

Synopsis from Amazon:
Meggie’s father, Mo, has an wonderful and sometimes terrible ability. When he reads aloud from books, he brings the characters to life–literally. Mo discovered his power when Maggie was just a baby. He read so lyrically from the the book Inkheart, that several of the book’s wicked characters ended up blinking and cursing on his cottage floor. Then Mo discovered something even worse–when he read Capricorn and his henchmen out of Inkheart, he accidentally read Meggie’s mother in.

Meggie, now a young lady, knows nothing of her father’s bizarre and powerful talent, only that Mo still refuses to read to her. Capricorn, a being so evil he would “feed a bird to a cat on purpose, just to watch it being torn apart,” has searched for Meggie’s father for years, wanting to twist Mo’s powerful talent to his own dark means. Finally, Capricorn realizes that the best way to lure Mo to his remote mountain hideaway is to use his beloved, oblivious daughter Meggie as bait!

My thoughts:

This book has the potential to be a cracking read. The author knows how to describe characters and the settings very well. I particually liked the description of Tinkerbell and her ‘tinkling’. However, unfortunetly the plot just wasn’t enough to hold me. Perhaps it was because it is a childrens (teenage) book and I personally need something more. I will be passing this book onto my 13 year old son as I am sure that he will absolutely love it.

Overall, not a bad read but not good enough to read the rest of the series.

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Sepulchre ~ Kate Mosse


An elderly priest brutally murdered. The body of a young man floating in the River Aude. A nervous woman sitting in a damask-draped room. A smiling man in the shadows. Four different people, scattered across France, scattered across the ages. The only link, the painted tarot cards they hold… SEPULCHRE is a spellbinding adventure that carries us back from the present day in the French spa-town of Rennes-les-Bains, first to the 19th century, and then further back into the stories of the ancient kings buried there with their treasure. For those who stumble upon the cards, unravelling the mystery of the painted deck will take them on a treacherous journey of forbidden knowledge, the power of the church and the pull of the occult. A tale of strange music, personal ruin, murderous greed and age-old secrets – prepare yourself to turn over the cards…
My thoughts:
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! I couldn’t put this book down. At a whopping 739 pages I was hooked right until the end.
The characters were brilliant and the two stories of Meredith and Leonie merged wonderfully. Lots of twists and turns and even though some of them were predictable it was still a very enjoyable book.
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