Friday, 24 February 2017

Review: Barbarian Lover - Ruby Dixon

As one of the few humans stranded on the ice planet, I should be happy that I have a new home. Human women are treasured here, and one alien in particular has made it clear that he wants me. It's hard to push away the sexy, flirtatious Aehako, when all I want to do is grab him by his horns and insist he take me to his furs.

But I've got a terrible secret - the aliens who abducted me are back, and thanks to the translator in my ear, they can find me. My presence here endangers everyone...but can I give up my new life and the man I want more than anything?

Ice Planet Barbarians:
Ice Planet Barbarians
Barbarian Alien
Barbarian Lover
Barbarian Mine
Ice Planet Holiday (Novella)
Barbarian's Prize
Barbarian's Mate
Having the Barbarian's Baby (Short Story)
Ice Ice Babies (Short Story)
Barbarian's Touch
Calm: Slice of Life (Short Story)
Barbarian's Taming
After Shock: Slice of Life (Short Story)
Barbarian's Heart
Barbarian's Hope
Barbarian's Choice
Barbarian's Redemption

Visit Ruby Dixon's website for more information

Review:
I really do love these hunky blue aliens (who doesn't need some alien smut in their lives sometimes?) and Aehako is my new favourite. He's just such a funny, easy going guy who doesn't take himself too seriously. I wasn't so sure about pairing him up with Kira at first, she's always been the most standoffish of the women and I was worried she'd bring Aehako down, but they ended up working really well together.

I liked Kira a lot more than I expected to when I learned about her backstory and it was pretty heartbreaking that she was expecting to be rejected by the clan when they found out that she can't have children. Aehako has been drawn to Kira from the moment he saw her, he doesn't care that they haven't resonated for each other because he's convinced that she's the only woman for him and he's determined to prove it to her. Kira is more reluctant though, what if she gives Aehako her heart and then he resonates for someone else in a few months or years time and abandons her? I loved Aehako's reaction when he realises that Kira can't have children and that's whats holding her back, he doesn't care if that means they'll never have kids of their own he just wants Kira to be his.

My favourite moment was when Aehako presents Kira with a courting gift. Only Liz would manage to convince an alien that it's traditional for human men to present the women they're interested in with a carved replica of their own penis and only Aehako would see the funny side of her playing that trick on him. His reaction was just priceless and I laughed out loud throughout that whole scene. It just showed how sweet and funny Aehako is.

This story isn't all about the romance though, there is also a bit more action thanks to the return of the aliens who originally kidnapped the women and brought them to Not-Hoth. Kira still has the translator implant in her ear that they gave her on the ship and she can hear that they have retuned and are searching for them. She's worried that the translator will have a locator chip that will allow them to find her and she's terrified about leading the aliens to the rest of the group so she decides to go off alone and confront her enemies. Of course Aehako isn't going to let her leave without him but with only primitive weapons they're no match for the other aliens so it's going to take all of Kira's smarts to figure out a way to defeat them.

Barbarian Lover was definitely my favourite book in the series so far. I do have one complaint about something that happened to Kira right towards the end of the book but I can't really talk about it without giving spoilers, it was something I had guessed pretty early on would happen but I was disappointed when I was proved correct. I just don't think it sent the right message to other women out there who can't have children (or don't want them) and I would have loved this book even more if Ruby Dixon hadn't taken the obvious route to give this couple their HEA. It's a fairly minor niggle in the grand scheme of things though and I'm still really looking forward to continuing the series.

Source: Purchased

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Review: Caraval Stephanie Garber

Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

A mesmerising, magical and stunningly imaginative debut novel for anyone who loved The Night Circus.

The hardback will have FOUR secret hidden-on-the-board covers featuring stunning foiled illustrations. The one you receive will be random, but all are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Caraval Series:
Caraval
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Stephanie Garber's website for more information

Review:
It's always makes me nervous when books receive the amount of hype that Caraval did, my expectations are raised sky high and that can be hard for any book to live up to so it often ends in disappointment, especially when you compare a book to two of my favourites - The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Night Circus! Thankfully in this case Stephanie Garber's debut more than lives up to it's reputation though and I was captivated from the very first page.

Scarlet and Tella's father has gone from overprotective to downright abusive since their mother's disappearance and the girls are desperate to escape his clutches. For years Scarlet has been trying to get them tickets to Caraval, an exclusive performance of magic and mystery held once a year and offering one lucky winner the chance at a price of a lifetime. She had hoped to use that prize to win their freedom but after getting no response to her letters from Caraval's Master Legend Scarlet has found another way to escape - an arranged marriage to a stranger. Then just days before her wedding the sisters receive the tickets they've always wished for but will Scarlet be brave enough to risk her future happiness for a game that she has very little chance of winning.

I honestly don't know if I can do this book justice, especially when I want to go into as little detail as possible about what happens after the girls arrive at Caraval. This is the kind of story that it's best to go into without knowing what to expect, you'll have a lot more fun with it if you just let things unfold as you're reading. Scarlet is repeatedly told that Caraval is only a game and that nothing is quite what it seems but it's very hard not to get sucked into the events that play out around her, especially when Tella is missing and it's up to Scarlet to find her. Stephanie Garber throws twist after twist at her readers and I loved experiencing everything through Scarlet's eyes and seeing how much she grew over the course of the book.

Scarlet and her sister are complete opposites but they both try to protect each other in the best way they know how. Scarlet is the shy sister, the one who overthinks things and tries to plan ahead for every possible outcome, she's less of a risk taker but she's very, very protective of Tella. On the other hand Tella is much more impulsive, she lives for the moment and doesn't worry about the future when there is fun to be had in the present. She wants to escape their father just as much as Scarlet does but she wants to have her freedom rather than finding another safety net. They have very different ways of looking at life but it's obvious that they care about each other deeply and that sisterly love shines through in a lot of different ways. I found Scarlet much easier to relate to and very easy to root for while Tella could come across as a little selfish and rash. One of my favourite characters was Julian though, he's very much a mystery for most of the book and he's keeping some pretty major secrets but I loved the way he brought out Scarlet's more adventurous side and how he was always there to help her. The romance that develops between them was sweet and even though it happened over a fairly short time period it never felt rushed.

Caraval contains a bit of everything from action and romance through to magic and mystery. The island is like a huge playground for adults where every dream can come true but so can every nightmare, anything you could wish for is there for the taking but you have to be very careful you don't end up bargaining away something you can't live without. I was completely captivated by Stephanie Garber's beautiful writing, the story is very cinematic and it's easy to picture events unfolding in front of you so it's no surprise that movie rights have already been optioned. I would absolutely love to see this on the big screen so I'm really hoping that the movie will go ahead. This was a fabulous debut and I'm already looking forward to reading the sequel, Stephanie Garber is definitely an author to watch out for.

Source: Received from Hodder & Stoughton in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
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Hardback / Paperback / Kindle:

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:
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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:
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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:
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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

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