Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Blog Tour: Otherworld - Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller (Exclusive Excerpt)

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the release of Otherworld, the latest release from Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. I've already read the book (watch out for my review coming soon) so I can tell you that it's a fantastic, fast paced adventure in both the virtual reality world and the real one. Thanks to the UK publisher Rock the Boat I have a fab excerpt to share with you today but before we get to that let me tell you all about the book.


The Company Welcomes you To OTHERWORLD The new generation of gaming.

Welcome to real life 2.0.
Are you ready to play?

There are no screens. There are no controls.
You don’t just see and hear it—you taste, smell, and touch it too.
In this new reality there are no rules to follow, no laws to break.
You can indulge your every desire.
Why would you ever want to leave?
Step into Otherworld.
Leave your body behind.

Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have created a brilliant and terrifying view of a possible future that’s not far away. OTHERWORLD asks the question we’ll all soon be asking: if technology can deliver everything we want, how much are we willing to pay?

Excerpt:

I step through the opening and into another reality. And damn, is it amazing. It may not be Earth, but it’s no game, either. With an Otherworld headset, you can see, hear and touch, but that’s the extent of your sensory experience. Here, I’m immediately hit by the fragrance of flowers. I inhale deeply as a light breeze ripples the hem of my robe. I’m standing on a balcony on a tall white building. I can feel the floor beneath my feet. I reach out for the metal railing and it’s warm from the sun. Far below me is a beautiful city surrounded by tall stone walls. Beyond the walls lies a vast green land. I can see the hazy outline of mountains in the distance. Inside the city walls, there are other white buildings, all marvels of modern architecture. They’re linked by a paved path that snakes through the town. I’m watching a driverless pod navigate the curves in search of its next passenger when a magnificent bird lands on the railing beside me. Its face is golden and its feathers a shimmering iridescent green. Intellectually I know these are graphics. Every other part of me believes it’s all real. I can see the shaft in each of the bird’s feathers and every scale on its feet. The creature regards me with an intelligent, slightly hostile expression. Then it squirts a dollop of guano onto the balcony and flies off toward the puffy white dream clouds that decorate the sky.

I turn around and see that the portal to the setup environment is gone. In its place is a set of glass doors. They slide open easily, granting me access to an apartment. On a nearby side table is a tablet. It lights up as I approach, offering an impressive home decorating menu (starting with Amish farmstead, Argentinian estancia and Ashanti traditional), along with the options to build your own pets, children and companions from scratch. I quickly scroll through the companion menu—just to see what’s available. I’m expecting a good snicker, but it seems disappointingly clean. And even if it weren’t, I remind myself, I’m not here to play house with some AI hottie. I’m here to find Kat. I toss the tablet onto the couch and head straight for the front door.

The hallway outside my apartment is empty. I take a glass elevator to ground level and it deposits me at the bottom of a silent atrium. The plants soaking up the digital sunlight are unlike any I’ve ever seen in New Jersey, but I could swear they’re all real. I can smell the soil they’re growing in. I can see the tiny ridges and valleys on their leaves. I reach out and grab one of the round red fruits dangling from a nearby tree. I bite into it and I can feel and hear my teeth break through its skin. The flesh is sweet and smells like a plum. There is nothing about the experience that feels artificial—nothing to remind me that my brain has teamed up with software to trick me. In fact, there’s only one thing about this whole experience that strikes me as odd: There doesn’t seem to be anyone else around. The building is empty.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour:

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Review: Wicked Ugly Bad - Cassandra Gannon

Once Upon a Time...

Scarlett Riding is NOT an ugly stepsister. Cinderella is the evil one in the family and Letty is determined to prove it. Unfortunately, that’s kinda hard to do from behind bars. After the debacle at the ball, Letty and her sister Dru were dragged off to the Wicked, Ugly and Bad Mental Health Treatment Center and Maximum Security Prison. While Cindy’s planning her dream wedding, her two stepsisters are being forced to endure life in the dreariest dungeon in the land.

Luckily, Letty has a plan to change that unhappy ending. If she can just get to Prince Charming and prove the glass slipper doesn’t fit Cinderella’s foot, she can reclaim her life. In order to do that, though, she needs to convince The Big Bad Wolf to lend a hand in organizing a jailbreak.

Marrok Wolf isn’t sure what to make of the idealistic redhead in his group therapy sessions. With fifty counts of Badness on his criminal record, Marrok’s used to being surrounded by crooks and scumbags. Scarlett wants to lecture him about equal rights for trolls! When the little do-gooder comes up with an elaborate plan to break their entire “share circle” out of prison, though, Marrok is certainly willing to go along with the plot. And not just because he wants to see her naked. The woman may not be wicked, ugly, or Bad, but she’s definitely the only one who can save him.

Together with a wicked witch, a timid bridge ogre, an evil prince, and other villains straight out of a storybook, Scarlett and Marrok are about to make sure that Baddies finally have a happily ever after.

A Kinda Fairytale Series:
Wicked Ugly Bad
Beast in Shining Armor
The Kingpin of Camelot
Happily Ever Witch (release date to be confirmed)

Visit Cassandra Gannon's page on Goodreads for more information

Review:
Okay I'm going to hold my hands up and say that if I'd stumbled across this cover on Amazon I don't think I'd even have got as far as reading the blurb, the only reason I even picked this up was because Ilona Andrews raved about the third book in the series (The Kingpin of Camelot) and I can't read a series out of order so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm so glad for that recommendation though because I had so much fun reading Wicked Ugly Bad! This is a fairytale retelling that is totally different to any others that I've come across, in fact it's not really a retelling, more a completely new story but with characters you may find familiar.

Cassandra Gannon has created a world where characters are either born "good" or "bad", there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason over who gets put into which camp, it's something you're categorised as at birth and you can't do anything to change it. What is very clear is that this is a world designed to let "good" characters thrive and where "bad" characters are constantly discriminated against. Scarlet Riding (Letty) is bad, she was born bad and she's happy to be bad just like her grandmother but she knows there is a big difference between being bad and being evil. In fact the evil one in her family is definitely her stepsister Cinderella but Cindy has conned everyone into believing she's the hard done one in the family who has been abused by Letty and her sister Dru for years.

Cindy has set Letty and Dru up and now they've been imprisoned in the Wicked Ugly Bad Mental Health Treatment Centre and Maximum Security Prison while Cindy plans her wedding to Prince Charming. Letty is determined to show everyone that Cindy is lying (she even has the glass slipper to prove it!) but first she has to arrange a prison break with the help of her support group.

I don't want to say too much more about this novel but it was absolutely hilarious, nothing you've ever believed about your favourite fairytale characters is true and the author makes it so incredibly easy to see Cindy as the bad one and have us rooting for the ugly stepsisters. I'm not going to lie there were a few spelling mistakes and this could have been incredible with a proper edit but there are FAR less errors than a lot of self published novels and I was enjoying the story so much that I just didn't care about the problems. I loved the characters, there was a brilliant romance, the humour was fantastic and the story was full of adventure. This series has me excited and I can't wait to see how the author twists all the other fairytales on their head as it continues.

Source: Purchased

Other reviews of this book:
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, 6 November 2017

Review: Blind Faith - Rebecca Zanetti

A betrayal he couldn't forget . . .

For Nate Dean, love is a four-letter word. As part of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be ruthless soldiers with an expiration date. They were loyal only to one another . . . until Nate laid eyes on the woman who stole his heart and blew his world apart. Now, years later, his family is still paying the price for his mistake. But as time runs out, there's only one person who can save his family: the very woman Nate swore he'd never trust again.

A love she couldn't deny . . .

The moment Audrey Madison spies Nate across a crowded ballroom, she can barely breathe. He's just as undeniably sexy as she remembers, yet there's an edge to him now that's as irresistible as it is dangerous. When he asks for her help, Audrey can't refuse. But she has secrets of her own--secrets that, if Nate ever discovers them, may cost them both their lives . . .

Sin Brothers Series:
Forgotten Sins
Sweet Revenge
Blind Faith
Total Surrender

Visit Rebecca Zanetti's website for more information

Review:
Nate is the second oldest of the Dean brothers and he's always taken on the role of protector of the youngest two alongside his Matt. In fact in some ways Nate was the one who worked hardest to give them as much of a childhood as they could have growing up on an army base where they were being trained as super-soldiers. Matt did the hard jobs to keep them safe but Nate was the centre of their family all the same. We've seen in the previous books what a horrific childhood they suffered thanks to the Commander and we also know they all have bombs literally ticking away inside their skulls waiting to destroy them if they can't be disarmed in time. In the last book we found out that the girl who broke Nate's heart may be the one person who has the answers they need so Nate goes in search of Audrey and answers.

Audrey's mother is doctor and scientist who plays a key role in the Commander's off the books programs including the creation and training of the Dean brothers. She threw Audrey and Nate together deliberately because she wanted to see how the boys would react to falling in love and she betrayed both of them deeply with her actions. Audrey never really had anyone who loved her before Nate and she was heartbroken when the Commander forced them apart but she was proud of the brothers for escaping and has always imagined them living a happy life somewhere without her. She only stayed behind because she was determined to put a stop to the Commander's experiments once and for all. When Audrey sees Nate all of her old feelings immediately come rushing back but there are so many secrets and misunderstandings between them that it is hard for either of them to trust each other fully.

I've loved every book in this series but I have to admit I think Blind Faith was my favourite so far, this series really does have everything I want from romantic suspense - fantastic action packed storylines, lots of twists and betrayals, a great cast of characters (I'm a sucker for a group of brothers who care about each other as much as the Deans do!) and hot but sweet romances. Nate and Audrey have brilliant chemistry but they were friends first and that shines through in every interaction between them along with a deep sense of caring and protectiveness. Throw in the chance to catch up with the other brothers and a few more hints about what could have become of the youngest Jory and I was on cloud nine reading this. I absolutely can't wait to read the next book but I have to admit I'm kind of sad the series is coming to an end!

Source: Received from the 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:

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Review: Full of Briars - Seanan McGuire

Meet Quentin Sollys. Squire. Hockey fan. Canadian. And Crown Prince to the entire continent of North America, known as “the Westlands” to the fae, currently ruled by his parents, High King Aethlin and High Queen Maida. Not that most people know that, since he’s a blind foster squired to a changeling—not exactly something that screams “hidden royalty.”

But with a new Queen on the throne in the Mists, his parents have finally come to town to see how he’s doing…and to take him home with them. That’s going to be a problem, since Quentin doesn’t particularly want to leave, and his knight, Sir October Daye, doesn’t particularly want to let him go.

Set after Chimes at Midnight and before The Winter Long, it’s finally time to meet the parents in our first-ever story narrated by Quentin himself.

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
This short story fits into the series timeline between Chimes at Midnight and The Winter Long so please don't read it before that point or you'll end up with spoilers! It's the first (but hopefully not the last!) Quentin POV story though and it's definitely well worth reading.

If you were disappointed that you didn't get to see Toby meeting Quentin's parents at the end of Chimes of Midnight then this story is for you. I really enjoyed getting the chance to see the High King and Queen, especially because Toby is always so awkward on major social occasions, but what I liked most was seeing characters like Toby, Tybalt and May through Quentin's eyes. Quentin has come a long way since he started training as Toby's squire and while I'm really pleased with the way he now thinks about changelings I was a bit irritated that he still doesn't seem to have a very high opinion of Tybalt. I took it that he's acting like a protective brother who doesn't think anyone could be good enough for Toby but I love Tybalt so I was a bit disappointed Quentin doesn't approve of their relationship. I did like enjoy the little hints at the direction Quentin's love life is taking though and am definitely looking forward to seeing more of that romance in the rest of the series.

Source: Purchased

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.

Review: A Red-Rose Chain - Seanan McGuire

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
When the Kingdom of Silences declares war on the Mists by using elfshot against Queen Windermere's seneschal Toby finds herself in a position she's not used to and definitely hasn't been trained for - that of a diplomat! Arden sends Toby to Silences to try and talk them out of starting the war but Toby has never really been the best at holding her tongue and when her allies come under attack there is nothing that will stop her from doing whatever it takes to protect them.

I think I've probably lost all ability to be rational about this series, I just can't get enough of these characters and I love spending time in this world. Toby is probably the least likely person to be called diplomatic so I thought it was absolutely hilarious to see her sent into such a difficult position, especially when we find out who her true enemy is in this case. She has her usually allies with her - Tybalt, Quentin, May and even Walther this time - but she's also out of her comfort zone, in completely unfamiliar territory and enemy number one in the eyes of the King of Silences. Even though she should have diplomatic immunity we all know that the bad guys never play by the rules and the bad guys here are evil to the extreme. I was so angry about some of the things going on in Silences but that definitely shows how invested I am in this series.

I don't want to say too much about Silences but I really enjoyed getting the chance to visit another court and see how different things were there, we meet some really interesting characters too and get a chance to find out a lot more about Walther's background too (I love his character by the way!). We even get to visit another King of Cats and there were several characters introduced in this book that I'm hoping we'll see more of later down the line. Toby's growing in strength and her relationship with Tybalt is rock solid. No matter how much he worries about her I love that he doesn't try to stop her doing what needs to be done and that he's always a reassuring presence at her back. Quentin and May were fabulous as always and although we don't see the Luidaeg face to face there are a couple of phone calls that are full of her usual sarcastic wit.

This is definitely one of my favourite urban fantasy series and it's one I think everyone should read!

Source: Received from DAW 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 / Kindle:

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Book Trailer: The Jewel - Amy Ewing

I have absolutely no excuse for not starting the Lone City series by Amy Ewing yet - I even have the first two books sitting on my shelves giving me the side eye as I type this - but I stumbled across the book trailer and thought I'd give the series some love by sharing it here. I really need to bump this up the to read pile!

A shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing; The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide.

Violet Lasting is no longer a human being. Tomorrow she becomes Lot 197, auctioned to the highest royal bidder in the Jewel of the Lone City. Tomorrow she becomes the Surrogate of the House of the Lake, her sole purpose to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess. Imprisoned in the opulent cage of the palace, Violet learns the brutal ways of the Jewel, where the royal women compete to secure their bloodline and the surrogates are treated as disposable commodities. Destined to carry the child of a woman she despises, Violet enters a living death of captivity – until she sets eyes on Ash Lockwood, the royal Companion. Compelled towards each other by a reckless, clandestine passion, Violet and Ash dance like puppets in a deadly game of court politics, until they become each other’s jeopardy – and salvation.



Has anyone read this series yet? If so leave me a comment telling me why I need to read it!

Friday, 3 November 2017

October 2017 Recap


Books read in previous months but reviewed in October:
(Links will take you to my reviews)
  1. The Black Lily - Juliette Cross (Read in June, reviewed in October)
  2. Paradise Found - Vivian Arend (Read in June, reviewed in October)
  3. The Dragon's Playlist - Laura Bickle (Read in June, reviewed in October)
  4. Overtaken - K.F. Breene (Read in June, reviewed in October)
  5. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (Read in July, reviewed in October)
  6. Rapture in Death - J.D. Robb (Read in July, reviewed in October)
  7. The Good, The Bad and The Undead - Kim Harrison (Read in July, reviewed in October)
  8. Bound - Sue Tingey (Read in July, reviewed in October)
  9. The Dragons of Nova - Elisa Kova (Read in August, review coming soon)
  10. The Bone Witch - Rin Chupeco (Read in August, review coming soon)
  11. Blind Faith - Rebecca Zanetti (Read in August, review coming soon)
  12. Wonder Woman: War Bringer - Leigh Bardugo (Read in August, review coming soon)
  13. Wicked Ugly Bad - Cassandra Gannon (Read in September, review coming soon)
  14. The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork - Seanan McGuire (Short Story) (Read in September, reviewed in October)
  15. Tangleweed and Brine - Deirdre Sullivan (Read in September, review coming soon)
  16. Deadlines and Dryads - Rebecca Chastain (Novella) (Read in September, review coming soon)
  17. The Act of Hares - Seanan McGuire (Short Story) (Read in September, reviewed in October)
  18. Instruments of Darkness - Seanan McGuire (Short Story) (Read in September, reviewed in October)
  19. With Honest Trifles - Seanan McGuire (Short Story) (Read in September, reviewed in October)
  20. The Bastard Legion - Gavin G Smith (Read in September, reviewed in October)
  21. Haunted Blade - J.C. Daniels (Read in September, reviewed in October)
  22. The Winter Long - Seanan McGuire (Read in September, reviewed in October)
Books read in October:
(Links will take you to my reviews)
  1. Danger's Vice - Amanda Carlson
  2. Heaps of Pearl - Seanan McGuire (Short Story)
  3. Shore to Shore - Seanan McGuire (Short Story)
  4. The Fixed Stars - Seanan McGuire (Short Story)
  5. Vanguard - Ann Aguirre (Review coming soon)
  6. Midnight Unleashed - Lara Adrian (Novella)
  7. Full of Briars - Seanan McGuire (Short Story) (Review coming soon)
  8. A Red-Rose Chain - Seanan McGuire (Review coming soon)
  9. Ice Planet Holiday - Ruby Dixon (Novella) (Review coming soon)
  10. Harry Potter: The Character Vault - Jody Revenson (Review coming soon)
  11. Outlander - Diana Gabaldon (Originally published in the UK as Cross Stitch) (Review coming soon)
  12. The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman (Review coming soon)
  13. Even the Darkest Stars - Heather Fawcett (Review coming soon)
  14. Once Broken Faith - Seanan McGuire (Review coming soon)
  15. Dreams and Slumbers - Seanan McGuire (Short Story) (Review coming soon)
  16. The Last Namsara - Kristen Ciccarelli (Review coming soon)
  17. Artemis - Andy Weir (Review coming soon)
  18. Ride Wild - Laura Kaye (Review coming soon)
  19. Lonely Planet Nepal (Travel Guide) (Review coming soon)
  20. Clean Sweep - Ilona Andrews (I re-read this book but the link takes you to my original review)
  21. Sweep in Peace - Ilona Andrews (I re-read this book but the link takes you to my original review)
Guest Review:
Other October Posts
October Books of the Month:
(Choices are made from books reviewed this month and the links will take you to my reviews)

My top YA read in October:

Shocking I know but I didn't actually review any YA books in October

My top NA read in October:

I didn't read any NA books this month

My top adult read in October:


The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire (read my review here)

My Challenge Updates:

Here are the 2017 challenges I've signed up for:
2017 Read 100 Books in a Year Challenge - Read 181/200
2017 British Books Challenge - Read 20/20 - DONE
2017 New Author Challenge - Read 32/50
2017 Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Challenge - Read 78/100
2017 Contemporary Romance Challenge - Read 20/20 - DONE
2017 Retellings Reading Challenge - Read 6/12

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