Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Review: Silk & Steel - Ariana Nash

A tormented dragon prince.
A captured elven assassin.
Duty demands they fight for their people but love has other plans.

Eroan, one of the last elven assassins, lives for one purpose: kill the queen.

He would have succeeded if not for her last line of defense: Prince Lysander. Now, captured and forced into the queen’s harem, Eroan sees another opportunity. Why kill just the queen when he can kill them all? It would be simple, if not for the troubled and alluring dragon prince. A warrior, a killer, and something else… something Eroan finds himself inexplicably drawn to.

Trapped in a life he despises, Lysander knows his time is running out.

If the queen doesn’t kill him for his failures, her enemies will. There’s nothing left to live for, until an elf assassin almost kills him. A stubborn, prideful, fool of an elf who doesn’t know when to quit. An elf who sparks a violent, forbidden desire in Lysander. If Lysander can’t save himself, maybe he can save the elf and maybe, just maybe… one stubborn elf will be enough to bring down the queen before her reign brings death to them all.

Silk & Steel is a 85,000 word full-length novel.

This series is a dark fantasy intended for mature readers.
Silk & Steel features gay and bisexual characters and encounters.

Silk & Steel Series:
Sealed with a Kiss (Prequel short story)
Silk and Steel
Iron and Fire (2019)

Visit Ariana Nash's website or Pippa DaCosta's website for more information

Review:
I'm a huge fan of Pippa DaCosta's writing so when I found out she was writing a dark fantasy M/M story under the pen name of Ariana Nash I immediately added it to my wish list. Throw in the fact that the main characters of Silk & Steel are an elven assassin and a dragon prince and I just couldn't wait to get started! Anyone who has ever read any of Pippa's stories will know that she excels at detailed world building and tortured heroes and she has outdone herself on both of those fronts with this book.

Eroan is one of the few surviving members of the elven assassins, his whole life has been spent training to kill the dragon queen although he has always known that he is more likely to die in the attempt than to actually succeed. He came so close to achieving his goal but he was captured by the dragon prince Lysander and now he is being held prisoner in their stronghold. The only thing keeping Eroan going is his dream of ending the dragon queen once and for all but the longer he spends in captivity being tortured the slimmer his chances appear.

Lysander has been his mother's plaything since he was a child, nothing he ever did was good enough to earn her acceptance and the title prince is a mockery when he is just as much a prisoner of his circumstances as Eroan. Lysander has given up hope of surviving his mother but there is something about the fierce and proud elf that makes him long for a future he knows is impossible. Perhaps if he can just manage to save Eroan then his entire life won't have been wasted but to do that he's going to have to stand up to the woman who has made his entire life a misery.

You only need to read the blurb for Silk & Steel and the warnings it contains to know that this story is going to be a dark one, it's actually quite uncomfortable to read at times but in that best kind of ways where your heart hurts but you just can't stop reading. The characters are complex with believable motives and although there is a great forbidden romance bubbling along in the background it's definitely  a slow build which works perfectly in this situation. That's not to say there's no heat in this story because there's still plenty of sex happening, both of the M/M and M/F variety, but Eroan and Lysander have a long road to travel if they want any chance at a happily ever after and they're nowhere near the finish line yet.

I'm ridiculously excited to see where this series is going to take us, there have already been plenty of unexpected developments and I'm sure Ariana Nash is going to throw in a few more curveballs along the way. This is shaping up to be one heck of a ride!

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

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Monday, 14 January 2019

Release Blitz: Sealed with A Curse Interactive Game App - Cecy Robson


Download the Free App and explore the Crazy Maple’s Chapters games

Choose your story with Chapters, the interactive story game that lets you choose your path in every story. Read through chapters and chapters of fun interactive stories that fit your mood, from romance to suspense!

Choose your story from our top collection of romance, fantasy, sci-fi, young adult, comedy, and drama series! Chapters combines a unique style of choose your own story gameplay with fiction stories from our top authors that you simply can't put down!

YOU get to make the choices in each story. Decide on hard life choices such as falling in love, discovering secrets, or unravelling deep mysteries! Make your choices wisely; every ending is different!

Chapters Features:
- Choose your story! Dive in and start making choices that affect the overall outcome!
- Adventures start with you choosing your name and style to reflect your personality.
- All stories come with info directly from the author!

Download the FREE APP here:

http://bit.ly/ChaptersAndroid

http://bit.ly/ChaptersDownload

Find Crazy Maple's Chapter Games on social media:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/FBChapters
Twitter http://bit.ly/ChaptersTwit

Game Trailer:



Giveaways:

Gem Giveaway:

Chapter Apps will provide five lucky winners with 100 gems

a Rafflecopter giveaway


US Only Autograph Print Bundle:

Cecy will give one US winner an autographed print bundle of Gone Hunting, A Curse Awakened, and The Weird Girls

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ABOUT CECY ROBSON:


Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

Connect with Cecy online:

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Review: A Whole New World - Liz Braswell

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

Twisted Tales Series:
A Whole New World - Liz Braswell
Once Upon a Dream - Liz Braswell
As Old As Time - Liz Braswell
Reflection - Elizabeth Lim
Part of Your World - Liz Braswell
Mirror, Mirror - Jen Calonita (2019)

Visit Liz Braswell's website for more information.

Review:
I grew up watching the Aladdin cartoon, it’s still one of my favourite Disney movies and I absolutely adore Robin Williams as the genie. Then last year I went to see the Aladdin musical with friends and I walked out of the theatre in the mood for Aladdin in book form, I knew A Whole New World was a twisted version of the story and it sounded like it would hit the spot perfectly so I couldn’t wait to dive in.

The beginning of this book follows the movie pretty much word for word, apart from a little extra from Aladdin’s childhood fans of the cartoon will easily be able to picture events as they unfold so I can understand why some people have said the beginning is a little on the slow side. That didn’t stop my enjoyment at all because it was exactly what I’d picked up this book hoping for.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Twisted Tale if the story stayed exactly the same as the original though and it doesn’t take long for the story to go in a completely different direction. What would have happened if Jafar had stolen the lamp before Aladdin had discovered the genie and made his wishes? Well you’re going to have to read the book for yourself to find out that but it does involve a street rat and a princess who join together to lead a revolution.

I really enjoyed Liz Braswell’s take on such a familiar story and I’m looking forward to seeing how she twists other familiar fairytales on their head.

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

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback:

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Review: The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang

It's high time for Stella Lane to settle down and find a husband - or so her mother tells her. This is no easy task for a wealthy, successful woman like Stella, who also happens to have Asperger's. Analyzing data is easy; handling the awkwardness of one-on-one dates is hard. To overcome her lack of dating experience, Stella decides to hire a male escort to teach her how to be a good girlfriend.

Faced with mounting bills, Michael decides to use his good looks and charm to make extra cash on the side. He has a very firm no repeat customer policy, but he's tempted to bend that rule when Stella approaches him with an unconventional proposal.

The more time they spend together, the harder Michael falls for this disarming woman with a beautiful mind, and Stella discovers that love defies logic.

Visit Helen Hoang's website for more information

Review:
Since she turned 30 Stella's mother has started putting on the pressure about her getting married and starting to produce some much longed for grandkids. Stella doesn't want to let her parents down but as someone with Aspergers Syndrome she finds interpersonal relationships extremely difficult and her few attempts at sex have all ended in disaster because she couldn't bear to be touched so intimately by a practical stranger. She's extremely successful at her career but feels like a failure because of her struggles to hold down a relationship so she decides to hire a professional to teach her how to enjoy, or at least tolerate, sex. She's sure that once she's mastered sex she'll have a chance to find a husband and start building a family.

Michael has been an escort for three years, working on the side to earn enough money to cover his mother's medical bills. It wasn't a career path he went looking for and he's become pretty jaded about both women and sex so he finds Stella's openness about her goals incredibly refreshing. Michael is patient, calm and willing to take things very slowly so that Stella is always in control and feeling comfortable with what they're doing. He listens to her fears, goes out of his way to make things easier for her and never makes her feel awkward. In fact, he's the first person who seems to like her for her quirks rather than in spite of them.

I really loved The Kiss Quotient, it's like a gender swapped version of Pretty Woman and the story was both sweet, sexy and incredibly romantic. I loved Stella's personality, she's very intelligent and caring so although she finds it hard to read people she works hard to understand Michael and his family. She's a total novice when it comes to relationships but the way things slowly develop between them was totally believable and I loved how willing they both were to talk things through and discuss their hopes and dreams. Michael has a lot of baggage of his own and doesn't feel worthy of Stella thanks to some things in his past but he was really sweet and protective of her and they just fitted together as a couple so well. I wasn't a big fan of Stella's parents but Michael's mother and sisters more than made up for that and this whole book just left me with a massive smile on my face.

It's not often that I fall so totally in love with a contemporary romance story but The Kiss Quotient was a one sitting read that I absolutely devoured and I'm definitely going to be purchasing everything that Helen Hoang writes in the future.

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

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Make Me Crave - Katee Robert

UK Cover
‘I crave you…’
Can their hunger be satisfied?

Roman Bassani will do anything to close a deal. Even chase down Allie Landers on her Caribbean vacation to make an offer on her company. He expects a challenge—but not their immediate intense attraction. After an accidental one-night stand they agree to put business aside—for now. The island lulls them into a heated sexual journey…but what happens to their opposing interests when they return from paradise?

Make Me Series:
Make Me Want
Make Me Crave
Make Me Yours (2019)

Visit Katee Robert's website for more information.

Review:
Roman can be quite ruthless when it comes to business and since Allie is determined to avoid him at her work place he thinks nothing of following her to a Caribbean island paradise where she’s taking a much-needed holiday. Allie has put her heart and soul into building a successful gym and using the profits to run a women’s shelter, she sees the two parts of her business working hand in hand and the last thing she wants is a large investor to come along who is more interested in profit than helping people. It’s been years since she last had a holiday so she’s determined to make the most of this break and it doesn’t take much for a hot stranger to talk her into a one-night stand. Unfortunately, the pair get more than they bargained for when they realise they’ve been sleeping with the enemy.

I love a good enemies to lovers story so Make Me Crave was right up my street, throw in a gorgeous paradise island as the location for much of the story and I was totally swept up in the holiday romance fantasy that Katee Robert was selling. Both of the main characters were very likeable, Allie was determined to help people and she wanted to do that by running her business the way she saw fit. Roman on the other hand new that the business was in trouble and wanted to get a big investor on board to help her.

I did think it was a bit silly of Allie to refuse to listen to Roman, she wouldn’t even let him explain his plan to her for such a long time because she was so worried that he would try to take over when in fact his investor liked what she was doing and just wanted to help her continue the good work. They could have resolved things much easier if Allie had just been adult enough to have a proper conversation with him about it. Having said that I did like her independent streak and I did think they made a good couple when she finally started admitting her feelings to herself. This has been an enjoyable series so far and I’m looking forward to the next book.

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

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

US Cover
Paperback / Kindle:

Friday, 11 January 2019

Review: The Dark Vault - V.E. Schwab

The two novels from The Archived Series appearing together for the first time.

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Mackenzie Bishop’s grandfather first brought her here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now her grandfather is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

The Archived Series:
The Archived
The Unbound
Leave the Window Open (Short Story)
The Dark Vault (bind up containing all 3 stories in The Archived series)

Visit V.E. Schwab's website for more information

Review:
The Dark Vault is a bind up that contains all three stories in Victoria Schwab's Archived series together in print for the first time. I'm going to review each of the stories separately but this has been a really fun series to read so it's one I'd definitely recommend trying.

The Archived:

Imagine a world where after you die a kind of copy of your soul is taken to the Archive to be kept as part of the world history. These copies, also known as “Histories”, contain all of your memories and thoughts but they aren’t real people so they are kept unconscious in special drawers a bit like books on a shelf. Occasionally these Histories wake up and escape from the library and it’s at that point where Keepers, like Mackenzie, are called in to capture them and bring them back to the Archive.

Being a Keeper is a dangerous job and it can be really difficult to juggle its challenges alongside real life, especially as Mac isn’t allowed to tell anyone about the Archive or her role in it. It gets really hard to explain her constant disappearing act to her parents but the whole family is already in crisis since the death of her brother and this is just one more way they’re falling apart. As Mac finds herself having to deal with more and more escaped Histories she starts to question everything she thought she knew about the Archive but she has help from a fellow Keeper to try and figure things out.

I have no idea where Victoria Schwab gets her ideas from but I love how completely different each of her series are from each other. You never know quite what to expect from one of her books and I love it when an author can keep me on my toes by constantly surprising me! I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like The Archived before, the world she has created is totally unique and really intriguing so I can’t wait to continue the series.

This story focuses a lot on grief, it’s not been long since Mac lost her younger brother and it was really hard to see how badly that has affected her entire family. They’re all dealing with it, or not dealing with it as the case may be, in their own ways and that side of the story felt incredibly realistic. Mac is also dealing with the loss of her grandfather, the man who introduced her to the Archive and who was the rock who she had always been able to turn to in the past. She’s a bit adrift at the beginning of the story and makes some stupid decisions because of that but she was always relatable and easy to root for. I still have a lot of questions about the Archive in general and think there are a lot of secrets still waiting to be uncovered so I’m really looking forward to continuing the series.

The Unbound:

The Unbound picks up Mac's story a few weeks after the end of The Archived. She's still traumatised from everything that she went through and suffering with nightmares and flashbacks about what Owen tried to do to her. Mac is in a very fragile state emotionally and I thought Victoria Scwhab handled her PTSD very well. She's afraid to sleep because of the nightmares, she's nervous about walking into the Narrows to carry out her job of Keeper and she's having a very difficult time convincing her parents that there is nothing strange going on.

As if that wasn't bad enough she's been put on warning my the Librarians and if they decide she's not capable of doing her job they'll have no qualms about wiping her memory and kicking her out of the Archive. When she finds out about a series of disappearances she realises they all have one thing in common, Mac was the last person to have contact with them before they disappeared, and now her paranoia only gets worse.

I think I enjoyed this story even more than the first one, I was glad that Mac was suffering with real life consequences to everything that had happened. I was also pleased to come across YA parents who actually take an interest in their child and notice when she disappears at odd times with no warning. It makes things more complicated for Mac but it was so much more realistic because of that.

I don't think I mentioned it in my review of the first story but I also really love Wesley, he's another Keeper so he knows all about Mac's secret life and he's the one person she can be completely open and honest with about what is going on. I did find it really frustrating that Mac continues to keep secrets from him and from her librarian mentor Roland but I could understand why she was trying to deal with her problems on her own. I still think she would have figured out things a lot sooner if she'd had their help though and hopefully she's learned her lesson from that.

Leave the Window Open:

Leave the Window Open is a short story told from Wesley's point of view that you can read for free on Victoria Schwab's website here or find in The Dark Vault bind up of The Archived series. The story won't make a lot of sense if you don't read The Unbound first but I loved getting a glimpse inside Wesley's head. He's just so cute and I love his relationship with Mac. Plus we FINALLY get to find out his real name & it was worth waiting for!

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

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback Bind up of the series / Both stories are available separately on Kindle:

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Review: No Mercy - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Shapeshifter Dev Peltier thought he knew it all. But one night when a Dark-Hunter, who is also an official member of the Dogs of War, sashays into his bar, he realises that he might have met his match.

Samia, aka Sam, was one of the fiercest Amazon warriors in her tribe. But an act of brutal betrayal made her a Dark-Hunter and she's been angry ever since. Live fast, fight hard and enjoy the night. That's her credo. But as old enemies and new move into New Orleans, she realises that Dev might just be the only hope she and mankind have to save the world.

The Dark-Hunters Series:
The Beginning (Short Story)
Fantasy Lover
Dragonswan (Novella) (Were-Hunter 0.5)
Night Pleasures
Night Embrace
Dance with the Devil
Kiss of the Night
Night Play (Were-Hunter 1)
Seize the Night
Sins of the Night
Unleash the Night (Were-Hunter 2)
Dark Side of the Moon (Were-Hunter 3)
The Dream-Hunter (Dream-Hunter 1)
Fear the Darkness (Short Story)
Devil May Cry
Upon the Midnight Clear (Dream-Hunter 2)
Dream Chaser (Dream-Hunter 3)
Acheron
One Silent Night
Dream Warrior (Dream-Hunter 4)
Bad Moon Rising (Hellchaser 1, Were-Hunter 4)
Dark-Hunter: An Insider's Guide (Hellchaser 2)
No Mercy (Were-Hunter 5)
Retribution
The Guardian (Dream-Hunter 5, Were-Hunter 6, Hellchaser 3)
Time Untime (Were-Hunter 7, Hellchaser 4)
Styxx
Dark Bites (Short Story Anthology)
Son of No One (Were-Hunter 8, Hellchaser 5)
Dragonbane (Were-Hunter 9, Hellchaser 6)
Dragonmark (2016)

Chronicles of Nick Series:
(This is a YA spin off from Sherrilyn Kenyon's adult Dark-Hunters series)
Infinity
Invincible
Infamous
Inferno
Illusion
Instinct
Invasion
Intensity

Visit Sherrilyn Kenyon's website for more information

Review:
Samia was an amazon warrior before she sold her soul to Artemis for an act of revenge and became a Dark-Hunter. Now she uses her fighting skills to protect humans from daimons and trying to keep the world in balance. She has been called to New Orleans by Acheron to help protect Nick and it's there that she meets shapeshifter Dev Peltier. Dev is the first person who is unaffected by Samia's magic which means he's the first person she's been able to touch without being inundated by his thoughts and feelings but the last thing she really needs in her life at the moment is romance, especially with a possessive bear who wants to claim her as his own.

My favourite Dark Hunter stories tend to be the ones set in New Orleans where we get to see all our favourite characters like Ash, Savitar and Nick so I had high hopes for No Mercy. I did really enjoy the romance between Sam and Dev and I live for the appearances from Ash but I'm starting to get really bored of the daimons and in my opinion this book spent far too much time with the likes of Stryker and Zephyra. Normally my hard and fast PNR rule is don't mess with the happily ever after of previous couples but I really can't stand those two and I hate having to spend time with them. They didn't manage to redeem themselves in their own book and to be honest their actions just get worse and worse every time we see them so I keep hoping that one of the Dark-Hunters is going to just put me out of my misery and kill them both. The daimons got a really hard deal thanks to Apollyon and I'd love to see them find a way to remove the curse BUT Stryker is so horrible that he's starting to make me lose any sympathy for the lot of them.

This book wasn't awful by any means but it definitely wasn't my favourite in the series. I'd have liked more focus on the main couple and less on the bad guys. I just hope that the Stryker storyline gets resolved soon because I don't want it to continue playing a part in every book in the series.

Source: Received from Piatkus in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

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