Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Review: Hopcross Jilly - Patricia Briggs, Rik Hoskin & Tom Garcia

Mercy is a shapeshifting coyote and honorary member of the Tri-Cities werewolf pack. When the pack stumbles upon the buried bones of numerous dead children, she shapeshifts into a mystery of the legendary fae - a mystery that draws Mercy's stepdaughter Jesse into the fray!

The supernatural romance series Mercy Thompson continues in this all-new, original story by New York Times bestselling author, Patricia Briggs, exclusively created for the comic book medium!

Collects the six-issue Mercy Thompson comic book series from 2014-2015, a story set in official continuity.

Mercy Thompson Series:
Homecoming (Graphic Novel)
Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne
River Marked
Frost Burned
Hopcross Jilly (Graphic Novel)
Night Broken
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson
Fire Touched

Alpha and Omega Series:
(This is a spin off to the Mercy Thompson series)
Alpha and Omega (novella found in the On the Prowl anthology)
Cry Wolf
Hunting Ground
Fair Game
Dead Heat

Visit Patricia Briggs' website for more information

Review:
Hopcross Jilly is the second Mercy Thompson graphic novel I've read and I have to say I think I liked it more than the first one. The characters still aren't exactly how I pictured them but I don't think any artist would be able to get this perfectly right for every fan out there so that's not a real issue. The main thing is that the characters are easily recognisable and the artwork is much more consistent here than it was in Homecoming. If you're wondering where this story fits into the series time line it's between Frost Burned and Night Broken (and just after events in Dead Heat if you're reading the world order including the Alpha & Omega books - which I'd HIGHLY recommend you do!) so it may contain spoilers if you're not at least that far into the series.

Just in case you'd like to get an idea of what the main characters look like in Hopcross Jilly here are Mercy, Adam and Jesse.


This is a story about missing children and it gives us a chance to spend some time with Adam's daughter Jesse which I really enjoyed. I really hate that she is treated so badly at school just because her dad is a werewolf but considering how ruthless teenagers (and humans in general if we're honest!) can be towards anyone different I didn't find that at all surprising. When Adam's pack finds a bunch of very old skeletons and then children start to go missing they immediately become suspects in the eyes of the public and Jesse becomes a convenient target for the missing teenager's friends. Fear and ignorance is never a good combination and we see that in spades here.

Things have definitely got interesting in the series since the fae decided to stop hiding how dangerous they are, especially since they seem to be deliberately letting the worst of their kind out of the reservations with the sole purpose of reminding humanity that they are a force to be reckoned with. I hope that means we're going to see lots more interesting fae creatures from here onwards.

I think the graphic novel format worked really well to tell this story, it doesn't give the same depth of characterisation as a normal book but now we're at a point where we know the main players so well it was fun to see them in a more visual manner. I absolutely love this series though and will happily devour as many stories as Patricia Briggs can write no matter what format they come in!

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.

Hardback / Kindle:

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Spotlight: Mastering Her Senses - Laura Kaye


Decadent… Sensual… Forbidden…

12 Masters. 12 Desires. 12 Fantasies Come to Life.
Meet the Masters of Blasphemy…


About MASTERING HER SENSES (Blasphemy #2, 2/21/17):

12 Masters. Infinite fantasies. Welcome to Blasphemy…


He wants to dominate her senses—and her heart…

Quinton Ross has always been a thrill-seeker—so it’s no surprise that he’s drawn to extremes in the bedroom and at his BDSM club, Blasphemy, where he creates sense-depriving scenarios that blow submissives’ minds. Now if he could just find one who needs the rush as much as him…

When an accident leaves Cassia Locke with a paralyzing fear of the dark, she’ll try anything to get help. Ready to fight, she knows just who to ask for help—the hard-bodied, funny-as-hell Dom she’d always crushed on—and once stood up.

Quinton is shocked and a little leery to see Cassia, but he can’t pass up the chance to dominate the alluring little sub this time. Introducing her to sensory deprivation becomes his new favorite obsession, and watching her fight fear is its own thrill. But when doubt threatens to send her running again, Quinton must find a way to master her senses—and her heart.





Excerpt:

Taking Cassia’s hand, Quinton guided her to the locker room, then through it to one of the private Jacuzzis. It sat flush with the floor and had tiled steps down into the shallow tub. He adjusted a few knobs, and the bubbling water came to life. He turned to her. “After what happened earlier, I’ll completely understand if you prefer to do something else. I just want to make you feel good. So, no blindfolds and no darkness, just pleasure. Do you feel up to that?”

“I think that sounds incredible,” she said. “I love hot tubs.”

Brave woman, once again. “Well, all right, then. Go ahead and get in. I need to make one further arrangement.” When she slipped into the water, he stepped out of the room and called the club’s food service to order a tray of refreshments for them to share. “How’s the water?” he asked when he returned.

“Ah-mazing,” she said, submerged almost to her chin with her head resting against the curved tile.

“Good.” He unbuttoned his jeans and shoved them down over his hips.

Cassia’s mouth dropped open.

Quinton grinned, and tugged the denim all the way off until he stood before her naked as the day he came into this crazy world. “Damn, girl, you know how to make a man feel ten feet tall.”

Her lips snapped shut. “I, uh…”

“Don’t pick up your jaw on my account. I mean…” He waded into the water.

She rolled her eyes. “My jaw did not drop.”

“Oh, Cassia. Did you just roll your eyes at me, little one?” He moved until he stood right in front of her. The water bubbled just below his hips, leaving his half-erect cock exposed and nearly at her eye level.

A fast shake of her head as her eyes went wide.

“No? You didn’t just roll your eyes at me?” He donned a well-practiced stern expression and affected an ice-cold stare, even though Quinton was totally enjoying himself. “Because I know I was quite clear on what the consequences would be if you did.”

“I’m sorry, Sir,” she said, holding up her hands. “I won’t do it again.”

“Sit on the edge of the tub, Cassia.”

“Sir—”

Now.

Slowly, she complied. And he enjoyed every goddamned second of the water sluicing off her body. Over her breasts, her nipples, the curve of her belly. Lower…

“Feet up on the edge next to you. Legs open.” He arched a brow.

Releasing a shaky breath, she got into position, and fuck if she wasn’t a vision. Pussy open to his view. Rivulets of water running over her skin. A flush in her face and anticipation in her eyes.

“Wider,” he said.

She let her knees fall to the sides.

“Just like that.” Without another word, he sank in the water to his knees right between her thighs and cupped her ass in his hands. “Now, don’t move a muscle.”

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Books in Series:






Join the MASTERING HER SENSES Facebook Party on February 21st!

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Monday, 20 February 2017

Review: Dawn Study - Maria V. Snyder

The exhilarating conclusion to the Chronicles of Ixia series

Despite the odds, former poison taster Yelena and warrior Valek have forged an irrevocable bond - and a family - that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the bring of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixia plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of an insidious evil that could force her to make a dangerous deal whilst Valek peels back the layers of another dark betrayal. At its rotten core lies a powerful sorcerer . . . and his latest discovery - that the fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons.

One may turn the tide.

The other could spell the end of everything . . .

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
Shadow Study
Night Study
Shattered Glass (Novella)
Dawn Study

Visit Maria V. Snyder's website for more information

Review:
I fell in love with Yelena and Valek in Poison Study and have been a devoted fan of this series ever since then. Maria V. Snyder has created such a wonderful world along with so many favourite characters and I just devour each new instalment so I'm pretty heartbroken that Dawn Study is the final book. If you're going to end a series then it has to be on a high note though and she has definitely achieved that goal here. This book was action packed from beginning to end, we get a chance to catch up with all our favourite characters (old and new) and I don't think there could have been a more fitting end to the series.

This is the conclusion we've been building up to, the final showdown between Yelena and her herd and their longstanding enemies, and it was well worth the wait. Owen Moon thinks he has everything planned down to the tiniest detail, he has the Commander brainwashed, the Master Magicians and the Sitian Council are under his control and he is about to start a war between Ixia and Sitia to destroy the magicians once and for all. Unfortunately for him Yelena, Valek and their allies are determined to stop him at any cost. They're short on manpower, they're up against weapons they have no idea how to counter and they are still trying to figure out all of Owen's backup plans but they're fighting for their lives and they're aiming to win no matter what it costs them.

I'm not going to say anymore about the plot but just when you think you have everything figured out Maria V Snyder throws another curveball to change the game completely. Our team are hit with one thing after another and the danger has never been greater so it's genuinely an edge of the seat read that leaves you praying everyone you love will make it to the end. If I have one complaint it's that I'd have liked a longer epilogue but that's only because I'm not ready to say goodbye to these characters and I wanted to spend more time with everyone, not because the book actually needed any more. I can't help it, I'm greedy when it comes to this world! In reality I actually think the author was right to end Yelena and Valek's story here, it's about time they found some peace and are able to focus on themselves and their growing family.

That doesn't mean I'm not hoping for more in the future though, I'd be happy to read extra stories about ANY of the characters in this world but what I'm really keeping my fingers crossed for is a spin off set a few years down the line starring some of the younger characters. I'd love to see more of Reema and Teegan as they grow into their powers and just imagine how much they could achieve if you had them working alongside Fisk and his helping hands or Valek's younger siblings. Onora would be another interesting character to follow and I'd be happy to spend more time with Ari and Janco too. There are so many options for expanding this world and of course if we could get a glimpse into Yelena and Valek's future too that would just make things even sweeter.

This is without a doubt one of my favourite series and it's one I can't recommend highly enough. It has been excellent from beginning to end and Maria V Snyder continues to be an auto-buy author for me so no matter what she decides to write next I'll definitely be reading it.

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

Other Reviews:
Blackplume
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:

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Review: Chester 5000-XYV: Isabelle and George - Jess Fink

1889: an age of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. Isabelle is a lonely orphan, reprimanded at every turn by her strict matron. George is an inventor on the cusp of a brilliant discovery. Together they find love, but in an age of violent mechanization and military secrets, can their passion survive?

After the smash success of CHESTER 5000’s first volume (the tale of a Victorian woman and her robot lover), beloved webcartoonist Jess Fink returns with another triumphant story of boundary-breaking love, sex, and technology. Discover the origins of your favorite characters along with all-new thrills. All the drama and adventure of the silent film era is here, enlivened with modern whimsy and erotic charm.

Chester 5000 Series:
Chester 5000-XYV
Chester 5000-XYV: Isabelle and George

Visit Jess Fink's website for more information

Review:
If you enjoyed the first book in this series then you're bound to love this one just as much if not more. Once again you can read it completely for free on Jess Fink's website but there is also a print edition releasing on the 14th of February. This story actually starts before the first book begins but I would definitely recommend reading them in order because it spans a much larger length of time and continues beyond the end of Chester 5000-XYV.

We already met Isabelle in the first book but this story allows us to get to know her and her husband George much better from how they met and married through to when Isabelle was introduced in the first book. I have to say I like George a LOT more than I liked Robert but we actually get the chance to see more of Robert here too and he wasn't as bad as I initially thought he was. We get to see just why he became so work obsessed and started neglecting Priscilla and that made him an easier character to like.

As with the first book Chester 5000-YXV: Isabelle and George is written completely without dialogue so it's impressive how well you are able to connect with all of the characters and understand what motivates them without them ever speaking. The artwork was just as impressive and I think this had more of an actual story than the first book. That's not to say there isn't sex in here (in fact I think it's a little more risqué this time around!) but there were other things going on too which is probably what held my interest enough to read both books in one sitting. I hope that this isn't the last we've seen of these characters, the web comic hasn't been updated in a year but the book is only just being released in print so perhaps there is still more to come.

Source: Read for free online at Jess Fink's website

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.

Hardback:

Monday, 13 February 2017

Cover Reveal: Exiled - Amanda Carlson

I love Amanda Carlson's Phoebe Meadows' series so I'm thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for  the third book in the series, Exiled, today. I also have a giveaway for the first book in the series, Struck, so that'll give someone the perfect chance to catch up before the new book releases!

First though let's have a look at the stunning cover for Exiled!


About Exiled:

Phoebe Meadows is on trial for her life.

After freeing her half-brother, Baldur, Phoebe is set to stand before the Council in Asgard to answer for her actions. The threat of exile if she’s found guilty looms, not to mention the added stress of meeting her real father for the first time.

Upon entering Asgard, Phoebe discovers new allies in a half-brother she’s never met as well as an oracle who is in possession of valuable information. A little added help couldn’t have come at a better time, because when Phoebe is tossed into an unknown realm, she’s armed only with Gundren, a jewel, and her wits.

When Loki shows up, all bets are off. The trickster god throws a wrench in Phoebe’s plans and kidnaps Fen, her only ally. And just when she thinks she sees the light at the end of the tunnel, Phoebe finds she has to defeat one last obstacle: The Norns.

And they aren't planning to go down without a fight…

About Amanda Carlson:

I’m a Minnesota girl, born and bred. I started writing stories about teenage girls and their social missteps when I was in high school. I still have the handwritten spiral notebooks to prove it.

I started writing FULL BLOODED because kickass heroines rock and I love shifters of all kinds. There aren’t enough warm-blooded girls to go around, in my opinion. I fell into Jessica’s story and had such a great time writing it and now I couldn’t imagine writing anything other than urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When you’re creating a story in this fantastic genre, it can contain almost any elements you can dream up. Creatively, for me, there’s nothing better.

Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a BA in both Speech and Hearing Science & Child Development. She went on to get an A.A.S in Sign Language Interpreting and worked as an interpreter until her first child was born. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three kids.

Website: http://www.amandacarlson.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authoramandacarlson
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amandaccarlson
Instagram: http://instagram.com/author_amanda

Giveaway:

I'm giving away 1 digital copy of Struck by Amanda Carlson (winner can choose between epub or mobi format). You can enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter form below, giveaway closes on the 21st of February and the winner will be contacted soon afterwards.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Review: Incredibuilds: Harry Potter: House-Elves: Deluxe Book and Model Set - Jody Revenson

House-Elves are some of the most beloved magical beings of the wizarding world. With a special focus on Harry Potter's friend Dobby, this book provides a thrilling behind-the-scenes look at how the house-elves were brought to life for the Harry Potter films, from early designs to film-making secrets. This deluxe book and model set includes everything you need to create your own wooden Dobby model. Features easy-to-assemble laser-cut wood pieces, step-by-step instructions, colouring and crafting ideas, and a character guide book featuring interviews from cast and crew of the Harry Potter films, plus film-making and special effects secrets.

Harry Potter Series:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Illustrated Edition (Illustrated by Jim Kay)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Illustrated Edition (Illustrated by Jim Kay)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (with John Tiffany & Jack Thorne)

Pottermore Presents:
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Short Story Collection)
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Short Story Collection)
Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Short Story Collection)

Harry Potter Products:
Harry Potter: Winter at Hogwarts: A Magical Colouring Set (Colouring Book, Gift Tags & a build your own 3D Firebolt in a Keepsake Box)
Incredibuilds: Harry Potter: House-Elves (Deluxe Book and Model Set)

Visit J.K. Rowling's website or the Pottermore website for more information

Review:
I've been wanting to buy one of the Incredibuilds Harry Potter model kits ever since I built the Firebolt from the Winter at Hogwarts box set so when I spotted a copy of this at a good price I couldn't resist. The set comes with a small (in page numbers rather than in size) hardback book that's full of fun facts about some of the House Elves from the Harry Potter books and movies. Obviously Dobby is the star House Elf of the series but there is some information about Winky (who never made it into the movies) & Kreacher too.

See pictures of some of the artist sketches created when they were trying to decide what Dobby looked like, learn about how the Dobby you see on screen was the first fully computer-generated character in the Harry Potter series (they used tennis balls on sticks as place holders for the actors to interact with during filming!). Although he was a CGI character they still created several life sized models of him to help with placement on set but the only time one of them appears in the movie is during Dobby's final heartbreaking scene. This booklet is only about 40 pages but it's packed full of fun facts and I really enjoyed flicking through it.


Of course the main thing about these Incredibuild sets are the models though. You'll receive a laser cut sheet of wood (whatever you do don't pop out all the pieces before you get started - remove them as you need them so you can easily find the pieces you're looking for!) and an instruction sheet. All of the pieces are numbered and they're very easy to pop out, just follow the simple instructions and slot the pieces together and before you know it you'll have a finished model of Dobby.


You'll find tips on decorating your model inside the main hardback (rather than in the separate instruction sheet which seems a little illogical to me!). To be honest it would probably be easier to paint the pieces before you slot them all together but since I made the model before looking at the book I didn't figure that out until it was too late. I actually quite like my model as it is though so I'm not planning on decorating it further at this time.


Dobby stands about 15cm high and 8cm wide from elbow to elbow, he's very steady on his feet so you don't need to worry about him tipping over and I think he'll make a lovely addition to anyone's Harry Potter collection. I can't wait to make more of these (I've already ordered the Buckbeak and Golden Snitch versions!).

Source: Purchased

Other reviews of this book:
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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Review: Towers of Midnight - Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

The end draws near....

The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight.

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.

Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way--at long last--to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways--the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn--have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.

This penultimate novel of Robert Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling series--the second of three based on materials he left behind when he died in 2007--brings dramatic and compelling developments to many threads in the Pattern. The end draws near.

Dovie’andi se tovya sagain. It’s time to toss the dice.

Wheel of Time Series:
New Spring (Prequel Story but it's recommended to read after Crossroads of Twilight)
The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Shadow Rising
The Fires of Heaven
Lord of Chaos
A Crown of Swords
The Path of Daggers
Winter's Heart
Crossroads of Twilight
Knife of Dreams
The Gathering Storm
Towers of Midnight
A Memory of Light

Visit the Wheel of Time series website for more information

Review:
So I reached book 13 in the mammoth Wheel of Time series, the last book (and last battle) is in sight and I have to ask myself am I glad I started reading it? The answer is without a doubt yes. There was a sticky patch in the middle there where I almost gave up but at that point I was probably already about 6000 pages in and so invested that I needed to keep going. It felt like Robert Jordan had lost control a bit and the story had started to wander in so many different directions that it took away from the main story line but that has improved so much since Brandon Sanderson took over and I think his books have probably been my favourite books of the series (certainly of the later ones anyway).

The pace is so much better now, he's tightened up the plot and is focused on the main characters we've been following since the beginning. The unnecessary side characters have all but been eliminated and that has made such a huge difference, there are still a lot of plots to follow but they're all interesting ones that are going to have an impact when it come to the final battle.

Rand has grown into his role as the Dragon Reborn and it feels like he might have a chance against the Dark One, Nynaeve is finally showing why she was named Wisdom of her village at such a young age (in fact she outshines Egwene in this book!), Mat attempts a daring rescue, Thom has an unexpected romantic encounter, Egwene has brought the White Tower back together with clever manoeuvring but she still drives me insane because of the way she treats Rand (they grew up together - surely she can give him a tiny bit of trust!?), Perrin makes some interesting discoveries in the Wolf Dream. The only character I still don't really care about is Elayne, she's not quite as bad as she used to be but it's still only Birgitte that make her chapters bearable.

While I'm excited to read A Memory of Light I'm also a little nervous, I think what I'm most worried about is how the Seanchan will be handled, their attitude to women who can channel is horrific and I'm finding it really hard to see a future where they'll willingly abolish slavery. I hope that whatever happens with them is a believable progression but I really need them to turn it around because I want to root for a happily ever after for Mat and Tuon! I guess I'm just sad that the series is nearly over, I'm not sure I'm ready to say goodbye to these characters yet and that's quite an achievement by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson considering how considering the huge amount of time I've spent in this world already.

Source: Purchased

Other reviews of this book:
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Paperback / Kindle:

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