Member Reviews

This book was a great read. I found it enjoyable and well written. The characters were great. It was fast paced

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Courting Darkness by L. R. Braden

The paranatural community isn’t done with Alex. She has been summoned to the fae court and she has her her hands full trying to prepare. But her date with the fae will have to wait.

Although vampires, faes, and werewolves are not my favorite to read about, this was a well-planned, well-written book. Very intriguing twists Andi turns. Your will never guess the end.j. I recommend this book.

Thanks to Net Galley for sending me an advanced reader’s copy for my review.

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Alex Blackwood is torn between the human world and the paranatural one. As an unregistered half-fae with unusual powers and connections in high fae places Alex needs to stay off the radar. However, when her boyfriend is accused of murder and she has full blooded fae visiting her unannounced her life starts to get even more complicated that it was already.

I think my journey with Alex is going to end at the book. It isn’t because I hated it; it’s just I didn’t exactly like it either. I just slogged through it for the sake of completing the book so I could write a review. It’s a shame as I think this has a lot of potential. I love an urban fantasy with a variety of different creatures, sadly, for me, this potential wasn’t exploited.

We have a motely bunch of paranatural creatures mainly fae, vampires and werewolves all of whom are friends of Alex. However, it’s hard to think of a single distinguishing characteristic of any of them. They are all very bland and seem superfluous to the story, they added numbers not personality. Then there was the romance between Alex and James which seemed to come out of nowhere. Although there was a hint of it towards the end of book 1, there was no build up, we never saw them together, the author told the reader rather than showing them. Which made it completely baffling when Alex was willing to sacrifice not only her life, but that of her friends to attempt save him from an enemy that she had no chance of defeating.

Although this book wasn’t awful, it was just bland and needed to focus more on character development. I’ve given the series 2 books to hook me, sadly that hasn’t been the case so this is where my journey with Alex ends.

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This book reminds me of the Merry Gentry series, but that may just be because that was the first series I read with a strong female lead and the fae. Just without all the steamy romance and court politics, so I guess there really aren't that much alike.
I was super nervous coming into this book since I have not read the first book in the series. I was worried that I would be lost. The first chapter does a good job about catching you up in the world, to a certain extent and making sure you know the important cast of characters. While there were some aspects of the first book that were mentioned throughout, I was able to follow without having read it.
I really enjoyed the action and exploring the relationship that were built between Alex and the other character. The story was able to keep me hooked, without the romance that I have been craving lately. I see a lot of potential for that as the series continues. Overall, this was a very entertaining read and I think I will pick up other books in the series.

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I did enjoy already book 1 and was looking forward to book 2.
However, it was not as I imagined it would be - for me it was a bit too boring and slow-paced. Also the development of the characters seemed not to be going in the direction I wanted. I did loose interest after a couple of chaperts and it could not light any sparks again.

It is definitely for fans of YA-fantasy, barely any romance, the main focus is on Alex and her rescue mission as well as getting ready for court.

The writing style is very smooth and fine and also good for non natives.

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I am getting more and more into this author and get very excited when a new book is coming out. I would definitely recommend this book and the series to my patrons.

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3 stars - Courting Darkness was action packed and kept my interest, but I did have a few issues with the direction the story went this second book. I was completely on board with the Fae bits in the previous book and at the start of this one - the leading lady Alex is half Fae, she is keeping her heritage secret and there is a human anti fae movement in the world (and the police are wrapped up in it) and trouble keeps finding her and bringing her to the attention of the police . Plus, since she's just discovered her heritage and has a very important relative who is now aware of her existence, she is getting Fae lessons in fighting, etiquette, magic and history in preparation for going to the Fae Court and meeting her Fae relatative. But then vampires. I am not a vampire fan and she suffers some yucky stuff at the fangs of bad vamps when she stumbles into their territory. So this part of the story worked less well for me. Hopefully, though with the way things played out, we'll be back to the Fae storyline in the next book.

ARC via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher, this is the second book in the series and I believe that book 3 and 4 are also available now.

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Courting Darkness by L.R. Braden is a great read. There is lots of danger, excitement and surprise. Love the characters especially Alex. She is spunky and real, even caring. A true hero that is Fallible and yet endearing.

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I was very excited to have the opportunity thanks to the publisher and NetGalley to read the second book in the Magicsmith Series by L.R.Braden. I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction in 'A Drop of Magic' to Alex Blackwood, an artisan who can do remarkable things with metal in particular iron, despite her half fae heritage. This book intensifies the changes occurring in her life partly as the result of discovering who she is related to in the fae world as well as dealing with problems that her love interest, James, is facing in his life. All-round this is an intriguing series that has a number of very interesting characters who are part of Alex's world - I really found myself holding my breath at times as misunderstandings happen and violence ensues. I found I was very invested in Alex finding her way through safely and hopefully bringing her friends with her. Absolutely a series worth engaging with - just do start with book one as it builds Alex's world and those significant to her.

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L. R Braden has done it again with Courting Darkness- the second installment of the Blacksmith series. As soon as I opened the pages, I felt like I was returning home.

Our MC Alex Blacksmith really shows growth in her character both emotionally and physically. Courting Darkness allowed Alex to gradually accept her fae side while opening herself to the possibility of love. I thoroughly enjoyed the honesty of Alex's emotions and the way L. R. Braden has penned her as a fighter and a believer makes for an interesting, entertaining and dynamic read that really stands out among the paranormal/urban fantasy genre.

Always at the thick of things, Alex is unwavering in her loyalty and support for those she cares for which was a far cry from where we first met her in a drop of magic with her "Don't care about anyone" approach.
I love that she isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and that when it comes down to it she is willing to do anything to protect those she loves.

Alex has always felt more realistic to me than most paranormal characters. She isn't the strongest, fastest, prettiest or smartest nor does she possess any insanely kickass supernatural powers. Instead, she has a quiet strength, with an unwavering resilience that helps her utilize the resources she has, combined with her sharp intellect to maneuver the curveballs that are constantly thrown her way. Alex is not infallible, she bruises, she bleeds and she hurts just like everyone else and I think it makes her more real and approachable as an MC.

L. R Braden definitely stepped up in her game in Courting Darkness as there was no shortage of action, action, action. There were tons of fight scenes, drama, mystery, zealous magic haters, suspense, and murder scenes that had me on the edge of my seat.

Once again, Braden has woven an intricate story that focuses on our MC but also allows room for our favorite supporting characters to grow and even included some new additions that only served to enhance the overall story. I was very intrigued to see the gradual incorporation of the faerie world and the introduction of rules, customs, etc which masterfully set the stage for upcoming events.

Courting Darkness was beautifully written, keeping in theme with Braden's style which I highly appreciated. Even in the darkest scenes, Braden made the whispers of death sound poetic and eloquent. I don't want to drop any spoilers but I sense a love triangle of epic proportions for the next installment of the Blacksmith series. I look forward to reading more Alex and Braden's strangely quirky dental hygiene descriptions.

Thank you to L. R Braden, Bell Bridge Books and NetGalley for providing me with an arc of this amazing book. All views and opinions expressed above are my own.

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*Thanks NetGalley for providing this copy in exchanged for an honest review.

Courting Darkness picks up shortly after the events of A Drop of Magic. Alex’s life will never be the same again. Being named as blood-kin by the fae Lord of Enchantment is no luxury. Alex must prepare to make her debut in front of the court in a month’s time. Unfortunately, that means pulling all-nighters and cramming as much fae knowledge, court etiquette and swordsmanship on top of learning to harness her newfound gifts.
As if her plate wasn’t full enough, her romantic life already has its own set of problems. James’ closely guarded secrets are starting to come to light and Alex is further pulled into a dark and macabre world she may never be prepared for.
Wasting no time jumping right back into the thick of it and introducing some new foes along with new along the way. The dynamic between Alex and her new roommates, Kai and Chase, is quirky and fun. A welcomed reprieve from the stress and anxiety Alex is plagued with. Torn between two worlds, she must re-discover her place in the world and who she can trust. Along for the ride are some new faces including an adorable and headstrong, teenage- shifter fae. And a cranky, stick in the mud, old fae who’s sure to make you chuckle.
The romance between Alex and James felt like it came out of nowhere at the end of the first book and in Courting Darkness, the chemistry is still absent. Their couple status being more of a statement that they’re in a romantic relationship without actually seeing them interact as a couple.
With mystery and intrigue driving the story, the plot line was well thought out and not once did it seem to drag. Highlighting the dangers of racial prejudices and how fearmongering can put evil people in leadership roles, sets up a dangerous combination for the next book The darker, more gory elements also added to the appeal and it was wonderful to see Alex starting to trust in herself and fight for her morals along side her new friends.
Courting Darkness is well worth a read if you are looking for a modern fae story with self-growth, political themes and mystery.

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It was a breathless thrill ride being back in this world. Holy cow, this part was intense. Things really took a turn with James, and then another turn, and then another. The twists were delicious. The action parts were so thrilling. I mean edge of your seat fights that were so bada$%. Alex is awesome. She's not only able to hold her own but she doesn't have the usual emotional drama female leads are depicted with. Yes, there are complicated relationships but they don't cripple her, heck when push comes to shove they don't slow down at all. I want to be her when/if I grow up.

Some threads had to take a back seat because of the off the rails war that burst to life and that's perfectly fine by me. However... I must must read the next part starting umm right now because I am dying to see more of Chase, who didn't play a huge role in this part, the new teacher, who made a move that endeared her to me, and I just can't get enough of Kai.

Start this series at part one because there are a lot of moving parts, but do start this series. It's well-written, with characters you will love and plots that are fast moving and complex.

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This is the second book in the Author's 'Magesmith' series and whilst it can be read as a standalone i recommend reading the first book to fully appreciate the worldbuilding and characters .

Alex is under pressure , she needs to prepare for her visit to the Fae and to uncover more about her 'magical' abilities .
That being said her private life is not going too well either , the man she loves keeps cancelling their dates and
now to cap it all he might be in trouble with the law ............... a dead body has been found in his Gallery .
Just who can she trust? - potential allies appear and more enemies arise , who is friend who is foe ?
Kai, her Fae housemate, has sworn to protect Alex and get her ready for the Fae Court BUT with enemies on all sides, both human and supernatural, Alex will need everything at her disposal to protect herself and her friends. Her choices will have repercussions and lead her deeper into the supernatural world .
This is an enjoyable fast paced , quirky , character driven paranormal romance with many twists and turns with one central force - TRUST and LOYALTY

I was given an arc of this book by the Publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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COURTING DARKNESS by L.R. Braden is the second book in The Magicsmith supernatural suspense / urban fantasy series. The female protagonist, Alex Blackwood is a metalsmith creating works of art in Colorado after a fragile peace between the Fae and humans. She’s been summoned to the fae court and needs to learn a lot about proper etiquette and the fae world as a whole. When a dead body is found above an art gallery and a friend is implicated, her life gets even more complicated and her studies suffer for it. Along the way, she learns a lot about herself, her friends, secrets, enemies, relationships and the Fae.

Alex is a likeable main character who is loyal to her friends and is definitely someone you want to succeed. Her goals were clear and her motivations were believable. However, I wanted Alex to be a stronger protagonist. The main secondary characters are getting more developed, but new characters were introduced as well. They did enhance the story and they added to the story rather than detracting from it. Hopefully, Alex will become an even stronger protagonist and the secondary characters will show even more growth and depth as the series develops. The prose was well-written, engaging, and entertaining. The plot was engrossing, fascinating and action-filled. The world-building was good, but I wanted a bit more.

Overall, the book was suspenseful, entertaining and fast-paced. I am looking forward to reading more in this fantasy series. If you enjoy urban fantasies with a lot of action, then this book is one you may enjoy as much as I did.

Many thanks to Bell Bridge Books, Inc. and L.R. Braden for a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

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This second book in the series is not quite as good as the first, or perhaps I wasn’t quite as willing to give it a chance. When an author is new, I feel like there needs to be time to really establish the world building. Also, Sometimes the middle book of a trilogy suffers in quality. But is this series a trilogy? Whatever the case, the world-building needs something stronger going for it. This is more on the bland side. I want to see memorable characters and that doesn’t happen in this book.

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I really have loved this series so far. This book was great, not as amazing as the action packed first book but still a good read. I wish it touched a bit more on Alex’s romantic life and her relationship with James or whoever she might be with. I love a good action story but I really love a bit of romance mixed in and that is missing in these books. That being said I still enjoy them and would still recommend them.

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This book was a fantastic second installment to the Magicsmith series. I really enjoyed reading this book it keeps the action going while weaving in plenty of new secrets and mysteries. Alex remains loyal to a fault even if it doesn't always make senses but I still love her and most of her solutions are logical and work with the overall story-line. This fascinating world is violent and cruel and the descriptions make it vividly real. I shuddered as Merak's throne of bones was described... That is truly the stuff of nightmares. Truly brilliant writing!

Our MC Alex is running out of time before she will have to go before the court in faerie but becomes entangled in werewolf and vampire politics after a grisly murder. As Alex is pulled in every direction she manages to still put loyalty first. Alex has to make some tough choices in this book that will have ramifications for the future and I am excited to see how this all plays out in the next book of the series. Overall a fantastic read and I highly recommend the series. this is not a stand alone so be sure to read the first book before starting this one.

I received this book from NetGalley and Moose Island Books for an Honest review.

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Good written, actionpacked and a little more brutal second Book. I liked how the Charakteres and the story developed and I wonder what comes next.

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This is book 2 in the Magicsmith series. I would recommend reading book 1, A drop of Magic before starting this story. Alex is studying for her appearance in FAE court and the vampires and wolves seems to be working against her. Alex is only part Fae and has been learning about her powers. Now she is drawn into the war of the paranormal community with a body being found in the gallery run by her sometimes boyfriend James. Good story with a big mix of creatures helping or hindering, depending on your point of view. Books 3 should provide some answers soon about Alex's visit to the Fae court and her grandfather. I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review

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Did not realize that this was the second in a series. Want to go back and first one first, but from what I did read of this it looks promising.

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