Fifth Soul by Laura Greenwood and Arizona Tape

Gaming Dragons…? Totally awesome!!

Fifth Soul

I’d actually read a preview of this after reading  Torn Soul, another book set in the Twin Souls Universe. So it was a bit awkward reading again through drunk Lola’s antics, although it was nice to have some context to it finally.

Lola is running away from everything to do with Fire Dragon tradition. Fated Mates, Mating Ceremonies, she wants none of it. But what she does want is to support her friend, a misfit who’s been outcast by the Fire Dragon community, and gaming. She loves gaming! Unfortunately for her, gaming appears to bring along the very things she’s been avoiding most of her life…

I loved the interaction between the characters, and all the gaming elements in it (I was an “almost” gamer at one point, but never quite got into it seriously). Lola cares about her mates once she finds them, all of them, and truly does try her best to please them all. In the end, everything works out for them. But it appears to have gained them a few frowns from the Fire Dragon community… I’m looking forward to the next book and finding out what happens!

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

Not Today by Arizona Tape

Cutesy FF Romance

This is a great second book to the series. Although, it was a bit confusing at first, as there was a ten-year jump at the end of the first book, which meant that this book goes “back in time” to straight before the jumping epilogue (I am aware that this has now been corrected and that there is a new epilogue).

I seriously enjoyed this book and the dynamic between the characters here was wonderful! It takes both Harper and Nix so long to accept their feelings for each other, especially as both have scarring from past relationships. Harper’s anxiety is well written and played out, so recognisable and understandable.

Nix and her best friend have both sworn off relationships for the rest of their lives, neither wanting to live through crazy partners and terrible break-ups again. Yet that pact is tested when love interests come along. And, of course, it takes a whole book for these love interests to be realised!

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that there wasn’t true conflict resolution. There was an incident in the book, which I was hoping would be explained away rather than just being walked past (like, was it because of the crazy ex that it happened)? I can’t say too much without revealing what it was (I can’t use spoiler tags on all platforms!) but, considering all the build-up, I was expecting there to be a reason for the incident.

But I still enjoyed the story a lot, so only minus one star for the lack of resolution.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

Unicorn Luck by Laura Greenwood and L.A. Boruff

Moving up a notch!

This is a great second book to the series. Although, it was a bit confusing at first, as there was a ten-year jump at the end of the first book, which meant that this book goes “back in time” to straight before the jumping epilogue (I am aware that this has now been corrected and that there is a new epilogue).

But, in this book, we get far more dynamic, far more character development, most notably from Leola. She is forced to confront an element of her past that she was too young to remember. The decisions she makes based around this show how much she has grown in just the few weeks that she’s been around the shifters.

We are introduced to a few new characters, who just add to the fun. And, of course, the relationship between Leola and her three lions is just growing!

Lots of fun, love, and sex in this book. A great continuation to the story.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

Rats: Tori (complete) by Laura Greenwood

Fun Steampunk adventures

This book is all three stories in one, so I will review each individual story below.

Ruler of Rats

The series starts us off with Tori and her three husbands looking to take over the “Rats” – the people so low of class that anyone of actual class pretends that they don’t exist. They have no official status or place in society at all. But, they have their own society, of sorts, which has traditionally been organised to benefit whoever is in charge, but Tori wishes to change that. But, in order to take over the Rats, she has to perform a task – steal a well-guarded necklace.

This was a nice, fun adventure, but what I found it lacked was the purpose of the mission; this item obviously has some value, so what is its story?

The book does end with a time jump, but it doesn’t disturb the continuation of the story in the following book.

Rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

Collector of Rats

In this second adventure, Tori decides to call in a debt. But, considering how the story has gone so far, it won’t be easy at all. She needs all her wits about her to complete the task, along with the assistance of her beloved husbands. Luckily the target doesn’t know about her relationship status, so they are able to play their difficult mark together.

This, for me, was the least interesting of the three stories. There was minimal adventure, with the main part of the story being the encounter with the “villain”.

This story also ends with a time jump, which left me to start wondering about what their ages must be at this point.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ – Sort of liked/OK

Yuletide of Rats

This, I must admit, was the best of the three stories, most prominently for attacking such a complicated subject. It had a “nice” twist in it, with a historical reveal that actually linked back to one of Tori’s husbands. In fact, two of her husbands were affected by the situation. It is hard to say anymore without actually revealing any spoilers!

This also ended with yet another time jump so, if I’m assuming they’re still around eighteen when they start, it would make them in their late forties by the end of this story. Not such spring chickens anymore!

Oh, and there was a sort of reference to the necklace from the first book, but it was a little bit dismissive, really. In the end, there was no mystery?! That was probably the most disappointing part of it all.

Rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

All stories considered, there was some fun to be had across their broad spectrum. With all the usual Steampunk accessories, like steam cars and airships, as well as some steam pistols (I must admit, I still prefer flintlocks). It gave a flirty nod to the genre, rather than bringing flesh blood to it.

And another thing to note, there is a surprising lack of children about. Now, no sex is fine, as you can have plenty of fun in a book without it, making this more a young-adult story, but it did feel a little like there was something else missing.

Final rating (rounded up): ★★★★☆ – Really liked

Unicorn Mates by Laura Greenwood and L.A. Boruff

An OK start to the series

I have mixed views about this book. It wasn’t a bad story, and even the shock of the different parties jumping on each other when first met didn’t put me off (I’d just come away from reading a slow-burn story, so the change of pace always comes with a bit of necessary mental adjustment).

It was a cute little story of “fated mates”, where a unicorn shifter, who doesn’t even really know what she is, having never actually seen herself in a mirror, due to the nature in which she found out she was a shifter and not having had time to be taught what it meant, is, erm, where was I? Yes, this unicorn shifter, with a complicated background, meets a pack of mountain lion shifters, who teach her not only about shifting and what it means to be a shifter, but also about love, and plenty of hot sex.

This is a story that’s all about the “meating” (can I throw meeting/mating/meat all into one?!). The characters are thrown together, have sex a couple of times, and we find out a bit of background. This means that we find out a lot in such little space, which doesn’t leave much space for actual character development (more sexual than character development. Ahem).

Then there’s the time jump at the end, which leaves a feeling of incompleteness. So much more could have been put into the story, to develop it further, which is a bit of a shame, really.

All in all, this doesn’t make it a bad story, but it doesn’t make it a concrete one. I really hope for a bit more development in the next book in the series.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆ – Sort of liked/OK

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

First Time’s a Charm by Laura Greenwood

Lots of squee moments!!

The basis of my review for this book can probably be summarised so:

1. Cute kittens!!
2. Harry Potter references!!!
3. MORE cute kittens!!1! Squeeeee!!!11!!

OK, ahem, I’ll calm down a bit now, and try to write my thoughts in a more orderly manner.

This is the first book in a new series, which is roughly based in the broader Paranormal Council Universe. Of course, the whole paranormal school/college/university trope has been used a lot, but I’m lucky to not have read too much of it (aside from Harry Potter, but this was quite gleefully filled with HP references. And, of course, those cute kittens). Ooops, got a bit distracted again but, for me personally, this does bring something new to the table.

We have a young, eighteen-year-old witch, who has been relatively brilliant at magic, until one day, she isn’t. She’s been cursed to reproduce kittens with every spell. Except, she is completely clueless as to what’s going on with her magic. But, despite not really being a cat lover, falls completely in love with these balls of fur that keep appearing with every spell.

You have the class bitch, a “harem” of potential boyfriends, and a brilliant and quirky best friend. Plus, yes, those cute kittens…! Tell me – what more could you ask for?!

A nice, good, fun read, with plenty of mishaps and shenanigans. Considering the language used, it fits quite easily into the young-adult genre, yet I’m not so sure the sequels will be, if our young witch is going to get her men…!

Final rating: ★★★★★ – Loved it/couldn’t put it down

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

Beyond the Northern Lights by Arizona Tape

A boy meets girl story with a twist

The boy is a terminally-ill human; the girl is an alien light being. Both are alone and lonely, until they meet by chance under the Northern Lights.

This I found slow to get in to, with the first couple of chapters with Ben and Y’me talking to themselves not really pulling me in. I had to wait until the middle of the book before it actually became interesting, when Ben and Y’me finally meet and start talking to each other.

The funniest part for me was their discussion about “silly human behaviour”, like (paraphrased), ‘why does paper beat rock?’ ‘It just does…’ And, my favourite one, ‘Isn’t ketchup technically a fruit smoothie?’ Haha!

Up until that point, I wasn’t so impressed with the story, but as it started to progress from there on, it slowly warmed to me. Then, the ending – it was probably one of the most profound things I’ve read in a long while. The last paragraph just took my breath away and gave the story such wonderful roundedness.

It’s a story that requires some patience, but once you’re in there, you will be hooked.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

If the Shoe Fits by Laura Greenwood

The shoe fit quite well, thank you!

I’m actually quite surprised that this book has a mediocre average rating, but I actually only tend to trust those who write full reviews rather than just slapping a couple of stars on a book. So, therefore, if you go on the basis of actual reviews, this book appears to be a hit.

And, if you come onto me, it was a hit with me as well!!

Now we must mention that there are some cheesy moments. I mean, “Fairy Gay Mother” just had me cringing! lol! But, as a retelling, of course you had to have the similarities in there, in some way, and that’s just one of them.

Sadie’s life has been compared to that of Cinderella by her best friend and I guess she moderately agrees, but she just has a stepmother who hates and would rather ignore her than one who submits her to drudgery. But when she sees a man she must have on the TV, she decides that she just has to get to the ball to meet him, even if her stepmother had forbidden it.

And there are familiar characters who come along, in the shape of Queen Amara and her consorts; I didn’t quite recognise them at first, but when I remembered that I’d read their story, too, it was a nice squidgy moment.

All in all, a good fun read.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*