Review: It’s a Bears Life: That’s No Picnic by Astrid V. J.

Where are my urban fantasy, shifter story fans? I’ve got a treat for you today. Fancy getting stuck into a brand new series about animal shifters set in inner-city Sweden? This is a prequel novella introducing us to some of the characters that will feature in the full length series that, if you ask me, can’t come soon enough!

Title: It’s a Bear’s Life: That’s No Picnic (The Last Vasa #0.5)

Author: Astrid V. J.

Rating: 5 stars

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Its-Bears-Life-Thats-Picnic-ebook/dp/B0B25J5H1P/


Blurb

There’s nothing much more life-changing than a bullet to the neck…

While he contemplates death and the consequences his will bring for his family, Bashir is offered a chance at a new life by the Swedish police officer who finds him in a dark alley of Gothenburg’s infamous north-eastern suburb. Bashir’s new life comes with the surprise that nothing is as he previously believed: magical creatures exist, and preying on the weak are forces far more sinister than the drug dealers he’d contended with before.

But if becoming a part of Sweden’s hidden underworld of shifters weren’t enough, Bashir’s discoveries are upended when he meets Milena: the last Vasa.


Review

This was a great introduction to an exciting new urban fantasy world, one set in Sweden and based in reality, but with a secret community of shifters and magic. Being a prequel novella and therefore quite short, the book doesn’t delve too deep into the lore or details of the shifter abilities or magic system, and I’m really looking forward to finding out more when the first book in the main series is released.

Astrid did manage to weave together elements of history, folklore, politics, religion and culture into this story, hinting at so much more to come.

Bashir’s experiences as an immigrant were so well portrayed and gave the story an added layer of tension and credibility, it was heartbreaking to see his physical reaction to authority figures like the police and the train ticket collector due to his past, negative experiences.

When the mysterious figure of Milena was introduced I desperately wanted to find out who and what she was, but I suppose I’ll have to wait until I get my hands on the first book in the main series, as the trilogy will focus on Milena’s life, with Bashir as a secondary character.

I’m so intrigued by the world of these bear shifters and the part the Last Vasa has to play in the forthcoming series. I can’t wait to read book one now!

You can grab a copy of It’s a Bear’s Life now for just 99c!

Lyndsey

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Review: Tribe of Midnight by Iris Knox

I just finished listening to the audio book of Tribe of Midnight and I had to come straight here and tell you all how good it is. So please grab your beverage of choice, put your feet up, and enjoy as I tell you why you NEED to read this book.

In the Tribe of Dawn, one must always follow the rules:

Never steal from a neighbour
Never curse the skygods out loud
Never lie to the High Court
Never wander into the East woods alone
Never speak to an enemy clansman
Never approach the boundary
Never, ever cross the boundary

The rules must always be followed.

Lilian Utopiv is wandering through the woods alone one afternoon when she sees a boy across the boundary. She knows the rules. She knows what will happen if she breaks them.

With secrets unravelling at every turn, and an enemy tribe hungry for her blood, Lilian is pushed to her limits–physically, mentally, spiritually. Her enemies want her to be a coward. They want her to spill her secrets. They want her to turn on the Sungod she serves.

But she can’t. Or her tribe will pay with their lives.


Title: Tribe of Midnight (The Skygod Tribes, #1)

Author: Iris Knox

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Tribe-Midnight-Iris-Knox-ebook/dp/B09B941BG2/

Rating: 5 Stars (and if it was possible, I’d give it even more!)

Review: I have never been so mad that I didn’t write a book. Reading this book, I WISHED I had been the one who had written it, I loved it THAT much.

Aside from being mad at Iris Knox that she gets to be the one to claim this wonderful story as her own, what did I like? Well, for starters, the world building was incredible, the world Knox has created for this story is fully formed and described in rich detail, without being overwhelming or including too much exposition.

The two tribes, the Tribe of Dawn and the Tribe of Midnight, absolutely came to life for me, everything about them was so well thought through and described throughout the story. I felt as though I could have been standing right beside Lillian as she stumbles across the boundary and is taken prisoner by a warrior from the opposing tribe.

The plot pacing was perfect, fast enough to keep me interested from start to finish (it’s a relatively short book, at just 155 pages, or 4 and a half hours for the audio book) but never rushed. I grew to love Lilian for her strength and loyalty, and to hate Wyren for his cruelty, over the course of the book, and I loved discovering more of the Midnight Tribe’s city and culture as Lilian did.

This book is Romeo & Juliet meets Red Riding Hood meets epic fantasy, with elements of The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson, and a hint of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. The enemies to lovers (more like enemies to even worse enemies) romance reminded me of Serpent & Dove (without the steam – or really even the romance), and I’m struggling to see how Wyren will ever redeem himself for his horrific actions in this book, if we’re ever to see Lilian and him fall in love in a future book. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Darkling/Tamlin vibe, as I can’t forgive Wyren for his awful treatment of Lilian and I don’t think Lilian should either.

Tribe of Midnight sets the scene for what will be an absolutely incredible high fantasy series, with two rival tribes destined to do battle on the lavender fields every Solstice, and two fiercely loyal and skilled tribal warriors who will do anything to protect their people.

Only one wears a red cloak, but which one is the wolf? Read Tribe of Midnight and make up your own mind…

I listened to a free, review copy of the audio book (thanks Iris!), but I actually bought the ebook back when it first came out, and I’m so glad I have both. The audio, narrated by Cassondra Ladd was brilliant, with English and Scottish accents to distinguish the two tribes, and I’m definitely going to read the ebook before book two comes out (which will hopefully be very soon, please Iris!!) to reimmerse myself in this brutal and captivating world.

Happy reading,

Lyndsey

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