Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Review: Lost in Bliss - Lexi Blake

Laura Niles walked out the door and never looked back. As she left Washington, DC, her career was in ruins and her love life decimated. Her desperate flight eventually led her to Bliss, Colorado, where she managed to find a new home and a little peace. That will have to be enough because Laura cannot imagine finding happiness without the men she left behind.

For five years, Rafe Kincaid and Cameron Briggs have searched for the only woman they ever loved. When she disappeared, everything became crystal clear. For one night, everything had been perfect and instead of embracing what they had found, they let it all slip away. They had let worries about their FBI careers and what others might think destroy the most precious gift they had ever been given. Now they have finally tracked her down, and they want answers.

Laura is shocked when her former loves show up in her new home. When the full force of the FBI arrives with them, Laura knows that the quirky little town is in for a rough ride. The killer that ruined her life has been watching and waiting for the opportunity to strike again. For Rafe, Cam, and Laura it’s time for second chances — to stop a monster, and to reclaim everything they lost.

Nights in Bliss Series:
(Originally published under the pen name Sophie Oak)
Three to Ride
Two to Love
One to Keep
Lost in Bliss

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

Review:
Laura worked for the FBI as a profiler but after her job put her in the crosshairs of a serial killer and nearly cost her her life she fled from DC and has never looked back. Now happily settled in Bliss she is doing her best to move on with her life but she's never been able to forget the men she left behind. Rafe and Cameron were FBI partners who worked alongside Laura and were both desperately in love with her. They felt like they failed her and blamed themselves for everything she went through but even though she left five years ago they haven't given up on finding her. Cam left the FBI so that he could focus on the search for Laura while Rafe remained with the FBI to continue trying to track down the serial killer who targeted her. Finally Cam has a lead on Laura's location but in trying to get their woman back have they just put her back in the crosshairs of a killer with unfinished business?

I always love getting the chance to go back to Bliss and catch up with all the quirky characters who live there, it just seems like such a fun place to live and I really enjoy how supportive the whole town is. The people who live there may be a weird bunch but they look out for their own and nobody judges anyone for their lifestyle choices so it's a really inclusive place. Laura has settled into the town well, she's made good friends and she's happy with her life there but she's never forgotten Rafe and Cam or felt ready to move on in a new relationship.

I normally love the menage relationships in this series but I have to admit I struggled with this one in the beginning mainly because Rafe and Cam didn't really seem keen on the idea themselves. It was more something they seemed willing to go along with because they both loved Laura and she couldn't choose between them but for a lot of the story they didn't seem too happy about that. I think that's mainly because their friendship has suffered so much since Laura left, they both blamed themselves (and to a certain extent each other) for what happened to Laura and it had put a wedge between them. It took a while but eventually they were both able to admit that they had missed each other and not just Laura so although there was zero romantic interest between them they did have a strong, more brotherly, kind of love. Once they decided to work together it became a lot easier to get invested in their relationship and I could easily see why Laura didn't want to pick one over the other.

As with all the books in this series there is also a hint of danger as it appears yet another serial killer may be at work in Bliss. I was pretty convinced I knew who the killer was, in fact I thought Lexi Blake had made it too easy to guess, but I should have known better because it turns out I was completely wrong. It was fun to catch up with previous couples and I really enjoyed getting to know Wolf (Leo's brother) better. I definitely think we're going to get his book soon and it's one I'm definitely looking forward to.

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Blog Tour: Lost in Bliss - Lexi Blake


LOST IN BLISS
Nights in Bliss, Colorado Book 4
By Lexi Blake writing as Sophie Oak
Coming September 25, 2018

Laura Niles walked out the door and never looked back. As she left Washington, DC, her career was in ruins and her love life decimated. Her desperate flight eventually led her to Bliss, Colorado, where she managed to find a new home and a little peace. That will have to be enough because Laura cannot imagine finding happiness without the men she left behind.

For five years, Rafe Kincaid and Cameron Briggs have searched for the only woman they ever loved. When she disappeared, everything became crystal clear. For one night, everything had been perfect and instead of embracing what they had found, they let it all slip away. They had let worries about their FBI careers and what others might think destroy the most precious gift they had ever been given. Now they have finally tracked her down, and they want answers.

Laura is shocked when her former loves show up in her new home. When the full force of the FBI arrives with them, Laura knows that the quirky little town is in for a rough ride. The killer that ruined her life has been watching and waiting for the opportunity to strike again. For Rafe, Cam, and Laura it’s time for second chances — to stop a monster, and to reclaim everything they lost.

AVAILABLE NOW



EXCERPT

Rafe didn’t miss the way Laura’s body went still, her muscles stiffening where a moment before she’d been laughing with her friends. She changed the second she became aware of them. It wasn’t the greeting he would prefer. Back when they were friends, when she would see him coming, her whole body would go soft and a welcoming smile would transform her face from something professional to an intimate visage, one only meant for someone close to her. He’d taken great pride in the fact that he’d only ever seen that look on her face for one other person.

“Hello, bella.”

She frowned at him. Even with her lips turned down, she was stunning. She looked only slightly out of place in her yellow heels. The rest of her outfit was charmingly Western. She had on a full cotton skirt, a yellow tank top, and a light denim jacket. It wasn’t far off from what many of the other women were wearing, yet Laura made it seem elegant. Everything she did had an air of grace to it, even when she was bitching at him.

“I thought I asked you to stop calling me that.”

He wasn’t going to let her push him. He gave her what he hoped was an easy smile. “And I asked you to stop calling me asshole. I doubt you’ve done that. Dance with me.”

Her eyes widened, a look of horror crossing her face. “No.”

“Come on, baby. Don’t say no.” Cam crowded her, but she held her ground. Those heels were planted firmly in the grass beneath her. “I can’t dance with you until you dance with him. I lost the coin flip.”

“Oh, that’s romantic.” Her hands found her hips, and those gorgeously full lips pursed. “Every woman in the world wants to be won by the flip of a coin.”

“We didn’t have time to play cards,” Rafe admitted. He was well aware that people were listening in. Oh, they were pretending to be doing other things, but they leaned over and then talked behind their hands. The citizens of Bliss seemed to be enjoying the drama. Damn, he couldn’t get used to it. In DC, no one paid a bit of attention to what was going on around them. He tried to ignore it. “We weren’t sure how else to handle it, bella. You have to teach us.”

Her lips rose in a sarcastic grin. “See, that’s easy. Let me teach you how to handle a situation like this. You both turn around and walk out the way you came in. You get in your car and drive to Alamosa and get on a plane back to DC.”

Cam sighed. “That’s not going to happen.”

Cam ran a hand up her arm, and Rafe was satisfied with the way she shivered. She still responded to Cam. Would she respond to him? He reached out and took her hand, studying it. Her hand was small in his, her skin fair against his olive tone. Her nails weren’t as long as she used to keep them, but they were still manicured and painted a pretty pink. “Come on and dance with me. We came all this way. We’ve looked for so long. Can’t you spare a moment of your time? I promise to behave.”

He wouldn’t behave. He had every intention of reminding her of the chemistry they’d had, but he wasn’t going to announce it.

“Fine.” She pushed off of the picnic table she’d been leaning against. “One dance and that’s all.”

“With both of us,” Cam added quickly, pushing the advantage. “It’s only fair. Otherwise, we’ll both dance with you here and now.”

There it was. Rafe’s heart soared. Her eyes had flared momentarily, and it wasn’t with disgust. When they had checked into the odd motel at the edge of town, they had decided it would be best to come at her together. She’d been turned on by sex with both of them. They needed to remind her of what they had to offer.


About Lexi Blake:

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn't until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Monday, 24 September 2018

Review: To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo

Dark and romantic YA fantasy for fans of Sarah J Maas - about the siren with a taste for royal blood and the prince who has sworn to destroy her.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all.

With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most - a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian's heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavoury hobby - it's his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she's more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good.

But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind's greatest enemy?

Visit Alexandra Christo's website for more information

Review:
To Kill a Kingdom was a really enjoyable dark retelling of The Little Mermaid and an impressive debut from Alexandra Christo. Lira is a siren princess, daughter of the Sea Queen she has earned the nickname Prince's Bane because she has killed so many princes and stolen their hearts. She's fierce and bloodthirsty and our introduction to her was one of my favourite opening lines in a book ever:
I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive. There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody.
Lira's life is turned upside down when she accidentally saves the life of Prince Elian rather than killing him and her mother punishes her by turning her human. Elian isn't your average prince, in fact he is a pirate who has made it his mission in life to rid the world of sirens and who particularly wants to kill the Prince's Bane. He has another great introduction:
Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.
I already knew only 3 chapters in that I was going to love this story! I really enjoyed the world that Alexandra Christo has created and I loved the depth she gave her characters. Both Lira and Elian have done things that they aren't proud of, Elian with the goal of protecting his people and Lira because she has been damaged by her mother's cruelty. These are two characters who should be on the opposite sides of the ongoing war between their species but they both want to find a way to bring peace and save the people they care about.

I love seeing characters grow and change and we get a lot of that in To Kill a Kingdom, we also get a lot of action and some really fun battles with all kinds of sea creatures. Theres even a hint of romance but I appreciated that it didn't overtake the rest of the story and it was very much a slow build as the characters got to know each other. I really enjoyed this story and I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on this author in the future, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

Review: Vengeance in Death - J.D. Robb

The smell grew riper, thicker. She began to breath through her teeth. She'd smelled violent death too many times to mistake it.

When New York homicide lieutenant Eve Dallas makes the gruesome discovery of a mutilated and dismembered body, the hunt is on to find an evil sadist hell-bent on destruction.

The murderer is close at hand, haunting Eve with cryptic riddles about his next crime - riddles that always leave her with too little, too late.

But when the next butchered body is found, murder gets personal. Eve may be newly married but the honeymoon is well and truly over. New husband Roarke's ugly past is catching up with him, and his secret is the last vital clue in the search for a vengeful killer.

In Death Series:
Naked in Death
Glory in Death
Immortal in Death
Rapture in Death
Ceremony in Death
Vengeance in Death
Holiday in Death
Midnight in Death (Novella)
Conspiracy in Death
Loyalty in Death
Witness in Death
Judgement in Death
Betrayal in Death
Interlude in Death (Novella)
Seduction in Death
Reunion in Death
Purity in Death
Portrait in Death
Imitation in Death
Big Jack (Novella in the Remember When Novella)
Divided in Death
Visions in Death
Survivor in Death
Origin in Death
Memory in Death
Haunted in Death (Novella)
Born in Death
Innocent in Death
Eternity in Death (Novella)
Creation in Death
Strangers in Death
Salvation in Death
Ritual in Death (Novella)
Promises in Death
Kindred in Death
Missing in Death (Novella)
Fantasy in Death
Indulgence in Death
Possession in Death (Novella)
Treachery in Death
New York to Dallas
Chaos in Death (Novella)
Celebrity in Death
Delusion in Death
Calculated in Death
Thankless in Death
Taken in Death (Novella)
Concealed in Death
Festive in Death
Obsessed in Death
Devoted in Death
Wonderment in Death (Novella)
Brotherhood in Death
Apprentice in Death
Echoes in Death
Secrets in Death
Dark in Death
Leverage in Death
Connections in Death (2019)

Visit J.D. Robb's website for more information.

Review:
This series just keeps getting better and better, in Vengeance in Death Eve is faced with a particularly sadistic and brutal killer and it's even more personal than ever when he is going after targets from Roarke's past. Eve has always valued the law more than anything else in her life so it's really interesting to see her in a position where she is uncovering more of the unsavoury side of Roarke's history and she has to decide whether she loves him enough to look past the things he did as a younger man.

I always love learning more about Roarke's background, we've known for a long time that he crossed lines in the past and he will happily cross them again in the future if that's what it takes to protect the people he cares for. Eve is so by the book that that side of him should make her uncomfortable but at the same time she has experienced the worst kind of evil and I think she takes comfort in the fact that whatever Roarke has done it's always been done for a reason. It does irritate me that he's still keeping so many secrets but I'm enjoying seeing them both slowly open up about their backgrounds and it's not like Eve has always been an open book either. Their relationship is definitely only getting stronger over time.

I really enjoyed the addition of McNab's character and hope he's going to be a new cast regular, he's a lot of fun and the banter between him and Peabody was hilarious. I think there's a bit of a spark there but we'll have to wait and see if it turns into something or not. It was also fun to see Summerset in the hot seat when it looks like he could be the murderer, I've never liked the way he treats Eve so it was good to see him sweat knowing that she's the one person who stands a chance at proving his innocence. I hope we'll see him start to be a little nicer to her now but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

I realised recently that even if I read one In Death book a month it's still going to take me about 4 years to catch up with this series (and that's not even counting the extra novellas and short stories available!) but I love these characters so much that I'm going to make a concerted effort to do just that. I'm not very good at binging books one after the other or I could catch up faster but I think one a month is more realistic. We'll see how long I can actually keep it up for but keep your fingers crossed for me!

Source: Purchased

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Saturday, 22 September 2018

Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A Picture Book - Kim Smith

What's that strange sound coming from inside the closet? Buffy, Xander, and Willow are determined to find out! The campy, cult-classic '90s TV show is now a charming picture book for fans who are still a little too young for slaying. Join little Buffy and her friends as they investigate the mysterious noise, consult Giles, the school librarian, and encounter all your favorite Buffyverse monsters. This sweet, silly, and not-so-scary book makes a perfect bedtime story, and is ideal for parents introducing the next generation to Buffy and fans looking to experience it in a whole new way. With eye-catching illustrations by Kim Smith, this newest addition to the POP Classics series is a must-have for the shelves of Buffy fans everywhere.

Pop Classics Series:
(Picture books based on popular TV Shows and Movies)
Home Alone: Classic Illustrated Storybook
The X-Files: Earth Children are Weird
E.T. The Extraterrestrial: Classic Illustrated Storybook
Back to the Future
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A Picture Book

Visit illustrator Kim Smith's website for more information

Review:
I'm a huge Buffy fan and have watched the series several times over the years so of course when I was offered a copy of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Picture Book I couldn't resist. This really is the cutest little picture book and it's a great way to introduce another new generation to a series so many adults already love.

The story doesn't stick strictly to cannon which is absolutely fine in my opinion, it wouldn't exactly be child friendly if it did now would it! What it does is take us back in time to meet a young eight year old Buffy who is afraid of the dark, we get to see younger versions of Willow and Xander too and even Giles puts in an appearance which should thrill fans of the series.

I'm not going to say much more so I'll just end this review with a couple of pictures but I'm sure Buffy fans will love this and I can't wait to read it to my nephew when he's just a tiny bit older!




Source: Received from Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review

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Review: The Dowager Magus - Sebastien de Castell

Set during the events of the first Spellslinger book, Mer’essan, a Dowager Magus of the Jan’Tep finds her contemplations interrupted by a mysterious stranger who brings unexpected danger into Mer’essan’s life.

This is a free short story that can be read on Sebastien de Castell's website

Spellslinger Series:
Spellslinger
The Dowager Magus (Free short story)
Shadowblack
Charmcaster
Soulbinder
Queenslayer (May 2019)
Crownbreaker (October 2019)

Visit Sebastien de Castell's website for more information

Review:
I really enjoyed this little short story showing the first meeting between the Dowager Magus Mer’essan and the wanderer Ferius of the Argosi.

I'm not going to say much about it but you can get this and other short stories for free by signing up to Sebastien de Castell's newsletter here: https://decastell.com/secrets/

Source: Read for free on the author's website

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Friday, 21 September 2018

Review: Spellslinger - Sebastien de Castell

MAGIC IS A CON GAME.

Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage's duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There's just one problem: his magic is gone.

As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path.

Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi - a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She's difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen's only hope...

The first in a rich and compelling fantasy series bursting with tricks, traps and a devious talking squirrel cat.

Spellslinger Series:
Spellslinger
The Dowager Magus (Free short story)
Shadowblack
Charmcaster
Soulbinder
Queenslayer (May 2019)
Crownbreaker (October 2019)

Visit Sebastien de Castell's website for more information

Review:
Kellan comes from a people with two very different types of citizen, you either pass your magic trials before your sixteenth birthday and become Jan'Tep (a mage) or you fail and become Sha'Tep (basically second class citizens whose only duty is to serve the mages). Kellan comes from a powerful family so there should be no question about whether he'll pass or not, there's just one small problem though, his magic is gone. If Kellan can't find a way to get it back his life will be a misery but when Ferius, a mysterious traveller, passes through his village she makes him question everything and offers him the chance at a different kind of life.

There is a lot to love about Spellslinger, the story was fast paced and had me totally hooked from very early on. It was very easy to connect to Kellan and it felt like I was going though the trials right alongside him, I hurt for him when he failed and I wanted to climb into the book to defend him when he was bullied by other kids his age for his practically nonexistent magic. There was a lot of humour in the story but there were some really dark things too. It was hard to like any of the Jan'Tep and Kellan's parents crossed lines that were incredibly painful to read about so I'd happily set them on fire and watch them burn.

It was only the humour that Ferius brought to the story and the addition of Reichis, the talking squirrel cat, that kept this from being a bit too dark for me but they were such fun characters to read about and I was so invested in Kellan's story that I couldn't put the book down. I have very high hopes for this series and can't wait to see where Kellan's journey takes him next.

Source: Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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