ARC Review: Taken (Blood Trails #3) by Jennifer Blackstream

Flora Reviews… Taken (Blood Trails #3) by Jennifer Blackstream. My thanks to the author for the free eBook in exchange for my honest review.

What’s Taken about?


Read: 17th – 24th August 2018

Taken is the third book in Ms Blackstream’s new series Blood Trails. An urban fantasy series set in America about a village witch, Shade Renard, turned private investigator. The Blood Trails world is a place inhabited by a host of mythical and supernatural beings, including; witches, vampires, wizards, sorceresses, pixies, dwarves, trolls and various species of fae living, unseen, alongside us mere mortals.

Taken is a detective story within an urban fantasy framework.

Fans of Ms Blackstream’s Blood Prince series and Blood Realm series will be familiar with the creation myth found in the Blood Trails world. You may recognise some of the characters who sometimes cameo within the books. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to have read these series to enjoy the Blood Trails books.

So far, Shade and her trusted pixie familiar, Peasblossom, have had to solve a different case in each book, the crimes varying from petty theft to cold-blooded murder while a gentle story-line of Shade’s past, the origins of her magical power, her expanding contacts and her growing relationships – both personal and professional – continues in the background. Ms Blackstream eloquently weaves any pertinent facts regarding previous adventures and subsequent information learned into this one, meaning that Taken can be read as a standalone story, if you so wish. However, I do feel that as the series grows, you’d likely miss the nuances of knowing re-occurring characters and understanding the dynamics of those relationships.

What did I like about Taken?

Ms Blackstream has become a tried and trusted author on my bookshelf. I find her writing style intelligent and easy to read, her plot lines gripping and her characters captivating and believable.

Taken did not let me down.

In this book Shade teams up with FBI Agent, Andy Bradford, to try to solve one of the many cold cases at the bureau but right from the start, we know that things are probably not what they seem. I liked the mix of tension and humour as we are re-introduced to some characters from previous adventures while meeting some new ones on this quest. I love a good quandary too. Put your fate in the hands of an acquaintance whom you have learned not to trust or that of a dangerous stranger offering help but whose motives are unclear.

I already liked our heroine, Shade, right from the first book.

However, she’s continued to grow in my estimations. Shade has proved herself to be intelligent, witty and has loads of gumption. I liked her perseverance and her maturity to admit her mistakes and learn from them.

The secondary characters that Ms Blackstream created to populate her world felt just as real as our leads. They weren’t just filling the page, they all had the complexities that we’d see in those around us. Having a good balance of strengths and insecurities to make them feel real. It made me want to know more about them. I liked that we’ve been introduced to a few more new supernaturals during this story. It helps the paranormal world that Ms Blackstream is creating to grow.

I enjoyed the attention to detail that Ms Blackstream wrote into the crime drama aspect.

Although Taken is an urban fantasy tale featuring a host of paranormal species, it’s the detective/police crime aspect that kept me gripped. The more mundane police procedures that are used to solve crimes. For example, the leg work, going over files with a fine-toothed comb, interviewing witnesses and potential suspects, etc. I loved the way Ms Blackstream included the real ambiguity of our laws and legal system into her fictional tale. She certainly caused me to pause and consider the wisdom of flexibility compared to a more rigid approach.

Taken kept me guessing.

I think a story becomes more gripping when “out of the frying pan and into the fire” gets thrown into the plot. here are some unexpected twists and turns during Shade’s investigation that satisfied my Sherlock-Holmes-tendencies. I liked that it wasn’t all easy sailing for our heroine; there is danger, tension and some scary moments in this book.

I was kept me on the edge of my seat.

There are references to Shade’s adventures from the previous books. However, Ms Blackstream weaves any pertinent information new readers might need beautifully into this tale. Although we get to learn a couple of interesting nuggets about Shade’s past, there are a few continuing mysteries that are not solved. However, fear not dear reader no cliffhangers here. The case of the missing teenagers is solved by the end of the book! (Woohoo!)

I loved the fact that Taken had me on the edge of my seat holding my breath with tension. With fear during a few scenes too, eek! Wiping a tear from my cheek and fuming with indignation. Luckily, it also had me chuckling out loud too.

Was there anything I disliked about it?


As with all books within a series, there are certain questions left unanswered about Shade’s history. Such as where her magical power comes from and what her future potential is. In my opinion this is a good thing. It leaves background story arcs that can continue into subsequent books which tie the whole series together.

Basically what I’m saying is…

I really loved Taken. This series just keeps getting better and better!

It’s got everything that I look for in a 5 star read. Great action to get the adrenaline pumping. An intelligent mystery to get the little grey cells whirling. Nail biting tension and well written humour to balance it all out.

So, has my review of TAKEN (BLOOD TRAILS #3) encouraged you to find out more? Click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself. Keep reading to find out more about the series and the author herself.

Blood Trails Series

An urban fantasy series set in America about a village witch, Shade Renard, turned private investigator. Every book has a different crime or murder mystery for Shade to investigate, which she solves by the end of each book.


Click below to read my review or check out the books yourself.

Buy any of the stories in Blood Trails series in print and ebook formats through the usual sources, including:

Amazon UK ¦ Amazon US ¦ The Book Depository

I’m part of various affiliate programmes to help with the costs of running a self-hosted blog. Consequently, when you use my links to buy a book, I’ll get a (very) small % from the sale.

Click HERE to read my full disclosure statement.

As promised, here’s Jennifer Blackstream’s bio.


signature graphic. Happy reading from flora image sitting on books

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts about Taken. I really appreciate it. Jennifer Blackstream is one of my favourite authors. Before you go, click HERE to see my other favourite writers.

Buy for now,

Flora x

By Flora

I'm in my late forties, my interests are varied but since menopause hit a few years ago, I find myself becoming a "grumpy old woman" all too frequently - where has my infinite patience gone!?! Lol!
I bought a Kindle in the summer of 2013 and haven't stopped reading since. If you want to know more about me, check out my blog -

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