Monday, 20 October 2014

Review: The Last Good Knight - Tiffany Reisz

The Last Good Knight is an Original Sinners novella starring Mistress Nora, released in five parts.

Part 1 - SCARS AND STRIPES:
It's lust at first sight when Mistress Nora encounters a sexy newcomer to The 8th Circle. She's happy for the distraction, since she left her lover, Søren, but her session with Lance is cut short when her boss, Kingsley Edge, reveals they're all in danger...

Part 2 - SORE SPOTS:
With a potential stalker on the loose, Kingsley hires Lance as Nora's bodyguard, but stipulates no sex while he's on duty. Frustrated by the ex-SEAL's noble chivalry, Nora is driven to seek release with the one man she's trying to forget...

Part 3 - THE GAMES DESTINY PLAYS:
Shocked to see Nora's bruises, Lance is furious that she put herself in danger and demands to know where she got them. As Nora confesses her true nature, she's equally shocked to learn that Lance has some secrets of his own, drawing them together despite Kingsley's orders...

Part 4 - FIT TO BE TIED:
With her feelings for Lance warring with her recent encounter with Søren, Nora returns to Lance's bed and finds herself toying with the idea of…toying with him on a permanent basis. But after she gets a glimpse into his personal angst, Nora realizes she has the power to rescue this white knight...

Part 5 - THE LAST GOOD NIGHT:
Now that the perpetrator has been apprehended, Nora sadly acknowledges she doesn't need a bodyguard anymore. She adores Lance and wants to keep him but is faced with a dilemma—if she uses her connections to help Lance, she'll have to give him up forever...

The Original Sinners Series:
Seven Day Loan (Novella) (This novella was also released with the title The Gift)
Little Red Riding Crop (Free short story found on the author's website)
Submit to Desire (Novella)
The Last Good Knight (Serialized Novella published in 5 parts)
The Siren (The Red Years book 1)
The Angel (The Red Years book 2)
The Prince (The Red Years book 3)
The Mistress Files (Short Story Collection)
The Mistress (The Red Years book 4)
The Saint (The White Years book 1)
The King (December 2014) (The White Years book 2)

Visit Tiffany Reisz's website for more information.

Review:
The Last Good Knight is a serialised novella in Tiffany Reisz's Original Sinners series, it fits into the time line before The Siren but I wouldn't recommend reading any of the prequel novellas until you've read at least the first main book in the series so that you'll be familiar with the characters and their relationships with each other. This novella was published in five instalments (see list below) but I have chosen to review the story as a whole so I'm going to keep my discussions about the plot fairly vague and focus more on how I felt about it.

I have been a huge fan of this series from the get go, Tiffany Reisz has managed to pull me into her world so completely that I feel like she's actually writing from personal experience and that all of these characters really do exist out there somewhere. I can't think of any other series where all of the characters feel so real to me, even the ones we don't get to spend a lot of time with like the newbie in this story Lance.

I have to tell you how much I adored Lance, he was such a wonderful, sweet and caring guy and I really wanted him to find happiness more than anything. I was so angry with life for screwing him over the way it had and it was actually painful to see what he had to give up in order to get the one thing he'd been fighting for for such a long time. I know that sounds vague but like I said, I really don't want to give you spoilers and I'm sure once you've read the story you'll understand exactly what I mean. The chemistry he had with Nora was absolutely wonderful and I really did feel that they could have been perfect together so it was hard to see the world trying to pull them in different directions.

As with any story by this author The Last Good Knight is incredibly hot, and will definitely leave you fanning yourself. Tiffany Reisz never fails to turn up the heat and Nora doesn't like to be kept waiting so you know you're in for a treat when she's in full on Domme mode. Her relationship with Lance isn't just about sex though, there is so much more to it than that and they have a strong emotional connection too. The story also has plenty of drama, action and mystery as well as giving us glimpses of both Soren and Kingsley which always makes me happy. As much as I would have loved a full length novel staring Lance (and I kind of hope we'll get to see more of him in the future!) I still enjoyed every minute of this novella and it's helped tide me over until the release of the next full length novel. I don't think I'll ever get enough of this series so I hope we've got many more stories to come!

Here is the reading order for the instalments in The Last Good Knight serialised novella:
1. Scars and Stripes
2. Sore Spots
3. The Games Destiny Plays
4. Fit to be Tied
5. The Last Good Night

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

Other Reviews:
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Review: Storm Glass - Maria V. Snyder

Untrained. Untested. Unleashed

With her unique magical abilities, Opal Cowan has always felt unsure of her place at Sitia's magic academy - but now it's time to test her powers in the real world.

Under threat from a deadly massacre, the powerful Stormdancer clan need Opal's unusual skills to protect their people. And their plea is impossible to resist, especially when it comes from mysterious, mercurial Kade.

Yet pulling her powers in unfamiliar directions pushes Opal to uncover a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening, with danger and deception rising around her, will Opal's untested abilities destroy her - or save them all?

The Chronicles of Ixia:
Poison Study
Assassin Study (Short Story)
Magic Study
Fire Study
Power Study (Short Story)
Ice Study (Short Story)
Storm Glass
Sea Glass
Spy Glass

Visit Maria V. Snyder's website for more information

Review:
I have become a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder's since I discovered her books, I absolutely loved the Study trilogy staring Yelena and Valek but I was also looking forward to exploring more of this world she has created and meeting a new cast of characters in the Glass series. Although these trilogies are about different characters I would personally recommend reading the Ixia books in order, starting with the Study books and then moving on to the Glass series. It will make more sense to you that way as you'll get to see the full scope of the world and characters from previous books do make appearances in Storm Glass.

Opal was introduced in the previous books but we didn't get to know her well so I was really excited to learn more about her abilities to create wonderful creatures using glass and capture magic inside them. The magical glass she makes can be used by other magicians to communicate over long distances and I was interested to see what else she was capable of. One of my favourite things about this book was the description of glass blowing, I found it absolutely fascinating and it was described so vividly that I was able to picture exactly what Opal was doing. I actually quite fancy learning how to blow glass myself now and might have to look into the possibility of finding a class if it's not too expensive.

Opal has been studying at the Keep under the master magicians for four years now and although she is the only one who has the ability to trap magic within glass she really struggles with even the easiest kinds of magic. The other students make fun of her and consider her a one trick pony and she feels incredibly frustrated that she can't get the hang of anything else. She worries that she doesn't deserve her place at the Keep and is nervous that she will be sent back home.

Kade is a Stormdancer who is able to trap the energy from storms in glass orbs, these orbs are then used as an important energy source for factories and businesses but it is creating them and bleeding energy from the storms that helps the clans survive the winter weather. The Stormdancers have a problem though, the latest batch of orbs aren't able to do the job they were made for and they are cracking when they try to fill them with energy. Not only does this mean they are unable to reduce the strength of the upcoming storms but it also puts lives at risk when they try to channel the energy. Since this is a problem with glass Opal is the obvious person for the Keep to send to assist them but things are a lot more complicated than they first appear and Opal soon finds herself in the midst of a complex web of deceit and betrayal.

I found myself really liking Opal, she isn't as strong as Yelena was in the beginning, in fact, she's a little unsure of herself and doesn't really have much confidence in her magical abilities but she's intelligent and hard working which made it easy to respect her. We've already seen her kidnapped and tortured so the fact that she's come out the other side of her ordeal and with her sanity in tact shows that she has a strong backbone even if she doesn't realise it herself. I loved seeing her grow in confidence throughout the story, she really does come a long way and I'm sure we're going to see that continue throughout the series. I loved seeing her discover new sides to her abilities and things are definitely going to get interesting now we've seen more of what she is capable of. Opal may not be kick-ass in the same way Yelena was but she definitely has her own strengths and I'm glad she's so different to our previous main character.

I loved Stormdancer Kade from the beginning so was rooting for the two of them to end up together. I was a little frustrated by the triangle that formed when Ulrick came on the scene, I never really warmed to his character and hope that he doesn't have such a big role in the second book. It was also great to catch up with some of the characters we already know and love, Yelena makes an appearance along with her brother Leif and we also get to see a fair bit of Janco which was nice. I'll admit to being a little disappointed that we didn't get to catch up with Valek but I'm hoping that will change in the next book. Even though Storm Dance is a long book I found it to be a very quick read because I didn't want to put it down. Maria V. Snyder has a way of writing that hooks me in from the get go and I always feel incredibly invested in her characters and the journey they take. I can't wait to continue reading this series and see where she takes Opal next!

Source: Received from Mira Ink in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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Paperback / Kindle:

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Quick Review: Ice Study - Maria V. Snyder

Ice Study is a short story that can be read for free on Maria V. Snyder's website HERE.

This is a short story about Yelena and Valek as they race to keep the powerful Ice Moon from a rogue magician.

The Chronicles of Ixia:
Poison Study
Assassin Study (Short Story)
Magic Study
Fire Study
Power Study (Short Story)
Ice Study (Short Story)
Storm Glass
Sea Glass
Spy Glass

Visit Maria V. Snyder's website for more information

Review:
Ice Study is a free short story that can be read on Maria V. Snyder's website here. It fits into the series timeline after events in Fire Study so I would recommend waiting until after that book to read it.

After everything they've been through in the series you'd think that Yelena and Valek had earned the right for a little peace and quiet, some time just the two of them - kind of like a honeymoon perhaps? Well, of course nothing is ever quite that simple for these two and they are pulled straight into another adventure. This time Leif and Valek have been captured and Yelena is the only one who can save them both.

I don't like to go into too much detail when talking about these short stories because it is way too easy to give spoilers. I loved being able to visit this couple again though and I loved that the story is told from both Yelena and Valek's points of view. It is always fun to catch up with these guys and although I was disappointed that the couple were separated for the majority of the story you can still really see how perfect they are for each other and how in love they are.

I have enjoyed all three of these short stories from Maria V. Snyder and really hope that she'll decide to write more of them in the future. I don't think I'll ever get enough of this world or these characters!

Source: Free read on Maria V. Snyder's website here.

Other Reviews:
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Quick Review: Power Study - Maria V. Snyder

Power Study is a short story that can be read for free on Maria V. Snyder's website HERE.

Ari and Janco deal with a Sandseed Story Weaver and a cocky young soldier while Valek is off helping Yelena.

The Chronicles of Ixia:
Poison Study
Assassin Study (Short Story)
Magic Study
Fire Study
Power Study (Short Story)
Ice Study (Short Story)
Storm Glass
Sea Glass
Spy Glass

Visit Maria V. Snyder's website for more information

Review:
Power Study is a free short story that can be read on Maria V. Snyder's website here. It fits into the time line of the series during events in Fire Study so I wouldn't recommend reading it until after you've finished that book.

Ari and Janco were my favourite side characters in the series, they added a lot of humour to every scene they were in so I was excited to spend some time getting to know them a bit better. This short story shows us what they got up to towards the end of Fire Study when Valek was off on a secret mission leaving Ari and Janco in charge of the other soldiers in the Commander's army. Since the two of them have never been particularly good at following orders I'm sure you can imagine the kind of trouble they get themselves into!

I'm not going to go into the plot because you should just read it for yourself to see what happens but I loved seeing things from their POV. They are both such fun characters and I enjoyed the chance to get inside their heads for a bit. I will say that I wish it had been longer but then I say that with any short story I read.

I love the fact that Maria V. Snyder has given us these little shorts to show us more of the side characters we've come to love throughout the series. It's always nice when authors give a little something back to their fans and it's something I really appreciate.

Source: Free read on Maria V. Snyder's website here.

Other Reviews:
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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Review: Beyond Addiction - Kit Rocha

She’s fought like hell to leave the past behind.

Trix changed her name and her life when she got clean four years ago. Now, she has a new family and a job she loves—tending bar and dancing at the Broken Circle. As an O’Kane, she’s happy, untouchable. Until a nightmare from her old life tears her away from her home and drags her back to Hell—also known as Sector Five.

He’s still living—and dying—in it.

Losing Trix was the kick in the head Finn needed to get sober, but working as an enforcer for a man he hates is slowly crushing his soul. The only thing that keeps him going is his determination to destroy Sector Five from the inside. Then Trix comes back into his life—alive, in danger—and nothing else matters.

Getting her home could be a suicide mission. The only thing deadlier is the old spark that flares to life between them. Soon, Finn and Trix are battling the one addiction neither of them ever managed to kick—each other. And it could cost them everything.

Beyond Series:
Beyond Shame
Beyond Control
Beyond Denial (Free Short Story)
Beyond Pain
Beyond Temptation (Novella in the Marked Anthology, available from 1st of June as a separate ebook)
Beyond Jealousy
Beyond Solitude (Novella in the Alpha's After Dark Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Addiction
Beyond Possession (Novella) (release date to be confirmed)
Beyond Innocence (release date to be confirmed)
Beyond Ruin (release date to be confirmed)

Visit Kit Rocha's website for more information.

Review:
This series really does get better and better with every instalment and I am completely and hopelessly addicted to the O'Kanes! I have been dying to get my hands on Beyond Addiction ever since we saw Trix being captured by thugs from Sector Five at the end of Beyond Jealousy, I thought the wait might drive me insane but it was so, so worth it.

Trix escaped Sector Five four years ago and since leaving behind a life of abuse and drug addiction she has made a home for herself with the O'Kanes in Sector Four. She changed her name and let the people she knew in Sector Five think she was dead so that they wouldn't come looking for her. Finn is an enforcer for the Sector Five leader but he loved Trix more than anything and losing her broke his heart. He managed to get clean but is biding his time until he can escape from the sector after destroying his boss and everything he stands for. Finn had no idea that Trix was still alive but the second he finds out she has been captured he knows he has to help her escape, it doesn't matter if it kills him he will make sure he gets her safely back to the O'Kanes.

Trix and Finn's story is action packed from the get go. The shit hits the fan the second that Finn sees how much trouble Trix is in and the drastic action he has to take to get her free is only the beginning - he still has to get her safely back to O'Kane territory. Sector Five bring out the big guns searching for them and Finn's actions give them the perfect excuse to go to war with Sector Four. Dallas isn't one to back down from a battle though and when one of his people is in danger his whole crew will fight to protect them. The story is incredibly fast paced and I spent the majority of the story with my heart in my mouth praying that Trix and Finn would make it to safety.

I loved seeing Trix and Finn's relationship rekindle, they had obviously had a strong connection before but they were both in a drug fuelled haze most of the time so things are very different between them now that they are clean. I was pleased that they both took the time to get to know each other again, they had both changed a lot since they'd last seen each other and even though they still had a deep bond they had to learn each other all over again. I loved seeing Trix stand by her man when they got back to Sector Four. Understandably the O'Kane crew were wary of Finn, he used to be an enforcer for their enemy so they aren't going to just let him walk in like he belongs there but they were grateful for his help getting Trix out and were willing to give him a chance for her sake. Finn has to earn their respect and trust though and I appreciated that he was willing to do that for her.

This story was just as addictive as the previous instalments and this has fast become a favourite series. I always immediately drop everything the second I get my hands on one of these books (I did actually read this back in August & had a great excuse to reread it recently because I'd left it so long to sit down and write my review). I will always auto-buy anything that Kit Rocha writes, these stories are dark, sexy and absolutely fantastic and I don't think I'll ever get enough of them!

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

Other Reviews:
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Friday, 17 October 2014

Review: Every Second Counts - Sophie McKenzie

Outlawed teenagers Charlie and Nat are on the run, falsely accused of terrorism and kidnapping. With few people they can trust, they are desperate to bring down their accusers and return to their former lives, but time is running out.

Charlie has a plan that might just save them - but it will only work if she goes alone.

Could being together be even more dangerous than being apart?

Split Second Series:
Split Second
Every Second Counts

Visit Sophie McKenzie's website for more information

Review:
It is impossible to review Every Second Counts without including major spoilers for the previous book so please don't read this review unless you've already read Split Second (you can always find my review of that HERE if you haven't - it's a fantastic start to the series that I would highly recommend). So, if you're still reading I'm going to assume you've already read the first book & if you haven't it's entirely your own fault if you end up ruining the series for yourself!

As we saw at the end of the previous book Charlie and Nat have both been framed by Roman Riley and they're now wanted by the police for terrorism. Proving their innocence isn't going to be easy when Roman is such a powerful political force but that doesn't mean Charlie and Nat aren't going to try. They don't have long before the general elections though and unless they work fast Roman could end up becoming even more powerful than he already is.

Both Charlie and Nat have been through so much since we first met them, they thought they were working to stop the terrorists who killed Charlie's mum and put Nat's brother in a coma only to find out that they had been working for the very people that they hate. How can they show the world what Roman is really up to though? Is there anyone they can trust with the truth and to hopefully fight alongside them? It looks like the only way to get proof of Roman's plans is for Charlie to go undercover, she has a good excuse for going back to him but it won't be easy to pull off the deception. At the same time Nat will try to find backup from the resistance so they are ready to move as soon as Charlie gets hold of the information they need.

Every Second Counts is just as fast paced as it's predecessor and I couldn't put it down. I have to admit that this story felt a little less realistic than the first one, Charlie and Nat seem to get out of so many impossible situations without a scratch on them and it did start to get a little on the ridiculous side. I also felt that Charlie in particular was far too trusting and willing to take things at face value. Nat seemed to have more sense in that regard but even he was led into quite a few traps by not thinking things through properly. As much as I found it hard to believe some of the situations they got themselves into I did find myself really enjoying the ride, if you're willing to suspend belief a little then this really is a very action packed story. It also raises some interesting questions about the balance of political power and the potential for things to go very, very wrong if a leader has bad intentions. Overall I've really enjoyed this duology and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fast and thrilling read.

Source: Received from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Quick Review: A Mere formality - Ilona Andrews

A Mere Formality is a free short story that can be downloaded from Ilona Andrews's website HERE.

This is the author's description of the story:

Warning: this story is one big dirty joke. There is no actual sex, but there is a lot discussion about it. It was written on a dare. Someone told us that we couldn’t write a short story around one particular phrase, and we did. So I recommend this for people 18+. Because you know, we wouldn’t want to corrupt your minors.

Visit Ilona Andrews' website for more information

Review:
It's no secret that I'm a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Ilona and Gordon Andrews and I absolutely adore their Kate Daniels series. All of their stories are full of humour, fantastic world building and great characters and even though A Mere Formality is only a short story (with 26 pages) it's no exception.

This story is completely stand alone so you don't need to have read any of the author's previous books to enjoy it and it's available to download for free from their website here: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/blog/2014/09/22/mere-formality/

I'm deliberately keeping this review very vague because it would be too easy to give you spoilers but it's basically a story about three alien species who are negotiating a peace treaty. You can expect lots of innuendos, jokes and dirty talk so it's recommended for adults only but there isn't any actual sex.

For a quick read this is a lot of fun and I'd definitely recommend it whether you're already a fan of these authors or not.

Source: Free read on author's website

Other Reviews:
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