Thursday, 30 June 2016

Movie Review - The Choice - Based on a Novel by Nicholas Sparks (+ UK Giveaway for 3 copies of the DVD!)


Out on Digital HD 27th June and on DVD 4th July
Based on the book by Nicholas Sparks


Based on the book by Nicholas Sparks, the author who brought us the much-loved classic romance The Notebook, comes THE CHOICE - A story about an irresistible attraction that transforms the lives of an unlikely couple, out to own on DVD and Digital HD this summer.

Travis Shaw (Benjamin Walker) is a young veterinarian committed only to meaningless flings that suit his carefree, solitary lifestyle. Convinced he doesn’t need a relationship, he prefers to flirt with exes and enjoy being a bit of a ladies man.

Meanwhile Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer), a beautiful and ambitious medical student, is preparing to settle down with her committed long-term boyfriend (Tom Welling). When fate intervenes, and Gabby and Travis find themselves living next door to one another, nothing could have prepared them for the powerful chemistry that will turn their lives upside down. As they are forced to acknowledge their developing bond, the seemingly mismatched couple must face up to the choices that will change everything…

THE CHOICE Disc Information: 

Certificate: 12
DVD RRP: £19.99
Extra Features: Deleted scenes / Cinematic choices: Making The Choice / Nicholas Sparks with… / Choosing Home: Nicholas Sparks and North Carolina / Molly & Moby: Choice Dogs / Natalia Safran’s “Daylight” Music Video / Audio Commentary with Director Ross Katz and Actor Benjamin Walker

The Choice Trailer:



Review:

The Choice is classic Nicholas Sparks so if you're already a fan of his books and movies you're sure to love this one just just as much. While many people will say his movies are formulaic you can't deny their appeal. This has all the elements you need for in a romantic drama and gets bonus points for the super cute puppies in a basket! While the lead might not be who I would have initially picked, by the end of the movie he had definitely won me over. The Notebook may still be my favourite Sparks movie but this one is certainly worth a watch.

Giveaway:

The Choice is out to download from 27th June and on DVD from 4th July. To celebrate the release I have three copies of the DVD to giveaway to some of my UK followers thanks to Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

Giveaway terms & conditions:
  • This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
  • The giveaway closes on the 8th of July at 23:59 GMT
  • You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below and the winners will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter and contacted soon after the giveaway ends for their contact information.
  • You will have 48 hours to respond to my email or new winners will be chosen.
  • The prize will be sent directly from my contact at Lions Gate Home Entertainment so by entering the giveaway you are giving me permission to share your contact details if you win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Review: Chaos Rises - Pippa DaCosta

'When the veil fell, any half-bloods not strong enough to withstand Chaos were torn apart. Some, like me and my brother, survived The Fall. Most did not.

That's the good news. The bad news saw a whole other world try and devour ours. Demons, we call them. They came in countless waves. Destroying. Killing. Many people thought it was the end...

The Fall lasted a week.

Tens of thousands died.

Hell almost claimed our world as its own.

And then, from one day to the next, it was over. The veil came back, stronger than ever. I'm not sure if anyone knows how it was put right. But I do know it's been six months since The Fall, me and my brother are on the run, and the leftover demons aren't the most dangerous things in LA.

We are.' ~ Gem

~~~

This heart-pounding new urban fantasy series promises to bring action, suspense, and a hint of romance to the demon-torn streets of Los Angeles.

Chaos Rises Series:
(Spin off from the Veil series)
Chaos Rises

The Veil Series:
Wings of Hope (Novella)
Beyond the Veil
Devil May Care
Darkest Before Dawn
Drowning in the Dark
Ties That Bind
One for Sorrow (Novella)

Visit Pippa DaCosta's website for more information

Review:
I absolutely love Pippa DaCosta's Veil series so of course I was desperate to get my hands on the spin off and have the chance to revisit the world again. You know what? Even though I had incredibly high expectations for Chaos Rises I think it managed to surpass them and I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up loving the new characters even more than the original ones! And let me just tell you that is saying something because Muse, Stefan and Akil are right up there with my favourite characters EVER.


Anyway, we have a new cast for Chaos Rises, I did wonder if our previous favourites would make an appearance but I'm actually kind of glad that they didn't. I wouldn't mind catching a glimpse of them in the future but this book is all about Gem, her brother Delta, Torrent (another half-blood of questionable loyalty) and Gem's demon boss (aka the pain in the butt that she can't quite get away from) Allard. It's hard to know how much to say about the plot of this book because I really don't want to give anything away so I think I'm going to keep this deliberately vague and focus more on the new characters.

Let's start with Gem (short for Gamma), she is one kickass half-demon who is fiercely protective of her brother. The two of them have been to hell (literally) and back but their worst enemy by far is the very human Institute who made life so difficult for Muse in the previous series. You may even remember Gem and Del being mentioned briefly in the earlier books as the half-bloods that Akil rescued from the Institute just before things went completely crazy when the Veil fell. Gem and Del have very little experience of the human world since the Institute kept them so isolated so they were easy prey for Allard and he now keeps them on a tight reign. Gem definitely isn't a pushover though and she fights back at every possible opportunity. We don't get to know Del as well in this book but I'm very intrigued about him and definitely want to know more about his powers.

Torrent is another brilliant character, it's hard to tell whether he's completely trustworthy (Pippa DaCosta is excellent at writing morally ambiguous characters!) but I'm already half in love with him. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between him and Gem and the way he constantly puts her on edge. She's never had anyone but Del show her even a small amount of kindness before so she's not quite sure how to react when Torrent helps her and she's definitely not sure if he can be trusted in the long run. Allard is the kind of character I love to hate, he's everything you'd expect from a powerful demon in this world and he uses every trick in the book to get the things he wants.

I'm not going to say anything more because I want readers to go in with no idea what to expect, I want you to experience the book the way I did so that you can appreciate the edge of your seat action, the brilliant characters and the fantastic world building for yourselves. I guess people who are new to Pippa DaCosta's writing (Who are you crazy people? You need to fix that issue IMMEDIATELY!) are probably wondering if they can pick up Chaos Rises without reading the Veil series. I guess my answer to that would technically be yes, this series is all about new characters that we know practically nothing about beforehand and it's the start of a definite new story arc, but the world building does continue closely from the previous story. Although you can start here personally I think you'd be crazy to skip the Veil books, purely because they are so fantastic! It is one of my favourite urban fantasy series and considering that I've read a lot of UF that's very high praise.

It's no secret that I'm a fan girl when it comes to this author, I've loved everything that she's written and Chaos Rises is no exception so I can't wait to see where she takes these characters next. It's going to feel like a very long wait for the next book but I'll be first in the queue to read it when it's published!

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review (but I also purchased a copy since I love it so much and wanted to support the author)

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:

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Favourite Romance Beach Reads


The Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge is hosted by Gone with the Words and Love at First Page. As part of the challenge they are setting a different topic every month that participants can choose to join in with which I think is a brilliant idea so you can expect a post like this to appear at random most months throughout the year.

The June Prompt is:
Favourite Romance Beach Reads
(Links below will take you to my reviews)

I tried to pick books that have a summery feel to them so most of them have a beach or holiday setting but there are a couple that are just really fun and lighthearted so make the perfect poolside read when you're on holiday!

Young Adult:


  1. Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry
  2. Better than Perfect - Simone Elkeles
  3. The Square Root of Summer - Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  4. Forever - Judy Blume
  5. Saint Anything - Sarah Dessen

New Adult:


  1. Inseverable - Cecy Robson
  2. Come Back to Me - Mila Gray
  3. Slammed - Colleen Hoover
  4. The Secret of Ella and Micha - Jessica Sorensen
  5. While it Lasts - Abbi Glines

Adult:


  1. Simply Irresistible - Jill Shalvis
  2. Roman Holiday - Ruthie Knox
  3. Hollywood Dirt - Alessandra Torre
  4. Sun Kissed - Amanda Abbott
  5. The Pact - Karina Halle

Monday, 27 June 2016

Review: The Fires of Heaven - Robert Jordan

The bonds and wards that hold the Great Lord of the Dark are slowly failing, but still his fragile prison holds. The Forsaken, immortal servants of the shadow, weave their snares and tighten their grip upon the realms of men, sure in the knowledge that their master will soon break free . . .

Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, knows that he must strike at the Enemy, but his forces are divided by treachery and by ambition. Even the Aes Sedai, ancient guardians of the Light, are riven by civil war.

Betrayed by his allies, pursued by his enemies and beset by the madness that comes to the male wielders of the One Power, Rand rides out to meet the foe.

And the Fires of Heaven scour the world.

Wheel of Time Series:
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:
I've found it really difficult to write a review of The Fires of Heaven, mainly because as much as I'm loving the Wheel of Time series as a whole I was actually a little disappointed with this instalment. It was much slower than the last couple of books, particularly in the first half, and it took me much longer to read than it should have.

I thought it was very weird that Perrin, Loial and Faile were completely absent for the entire book. They played such huge parts in the last one that perhaps it was time to let some of the other characters shine but I would have liked just a glimpse at what is going on with them, especially considering the way things were left with them at the end of The Shadow Rising.

I was also incredibly irritated by nearly all of the women in this book. Nynaeve has been a favourite character of mine since the beginning but it's like she's had a personality transplant and she's acting like such a brainless idiot that I wanted to smack some sense into her. It really says something when you have Egwene call you out for your behaviour and it was shocking to find that Egwene was actually the most sensible of the two for this book - she's definitely learning something from the Wise Ones but I think Nynaeve must have had a brain injury! I honestly don't know how Elayne has coped with the pair of them though, I would have murdered them both if I was in her position. Although she doesn't have much of a leg to stand on considering the way she behaved around Thom for most of the book, it was actually embarrassing to watch.

Min and Siuan's story was probably the most interesting part of this book for me but even that went downhill once they met up with more of the Aes Sedai and were relegated to the side lines. I'm also kind of fed up with Elayne, Min and Aviendha mooning around over Rand (and his constant thoughts about the three of them!), I hate to say it but Robert Jordan isn't very good at creating believable relationships and I don't really feel much of a connection between any of them yet. Let's hope that improves as the series continues. Moiraine spends much of this book distancing herself from everyone else and being just as secretive as ever which is still irritating and I think the only woman who didn't get on my nerves for at least part of the story was Birgitte.

On the positive side it was great to see Rand step up and take action as the Dragon Reborn, he's finally accepted his destiny and started making plans for the future. I love spending time with the Aiel too, especially the Maidens of the Spear, and they get a big chunk of page time in this book. Mat has continued to improve as a character too so I'm looking forward to seeing what he decides to do next.

The Fires of Heaven wasn't a bad book but it just didn't live up to my high expectations for this series. I'm still hugely invested in the world and want to spend more time with the characters (even the ones who irritate me!) so of course I'll be diving into the next book very soon.

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:

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Review: Secret of the Gargoyles - Rebecca Chastain

I place the lives of all gargoyles into your hands with what I am about to tell you…

In her brief career as a gargoyle healer, Mika Stillwater has faced some daunting challenges, but none have stumped her—until now. A strange sickness infects a handful of gargoyles in Terra Haven, rendering them comatose and paralyzed. Worse, the cure she seeks is shrouded in the gargoyles’ mysterious culture and the secret they guard with their lives.

Gaining the gargoyles’ trust is only the first step. To save the sick gargoyles, Mika must embark on a perilous mission into the heart of deadly wild magic to a place no human has ever survived...

The captivating conclusion to the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles trilogy, Secret of the Gargoyles will charm readers of all ages, especially those who love extraordinary magic and endearing gargoyles.

The Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles:
Magic of the Gargoyles
Curse of the Gargoyles
Secret of the Gargoyles

Visit Rebecca Chastain's website for more information

Review:
Mika has a very rare ability that makes her a perfect gargoyle healer and she has dedicated all her time to helping gargoyles in need ever since she discovered it. Unfortunately there is one problem she has so far been unable to resolve and that's healing the gargoyles who are lying dormant around the city. Mika knows there is something very wrong with them but none of the research she has carried out has helped her find answers. It's taken a long time but now she has finally gained the trust of an older gargoyle who knows what is causing the problem but it isn't something that she can solve on her own and she is forced to turn to the FPD for help. Since most of the squad is currently unavailable it is up to Marcus to help Mika and Oliver on their dangerous quest, the only question that remains is will they be fast enough to save the gargoyles currently in Mika's care?

Secret of the Gargoyle is a fantastic finale to the Gargoyle Guardian trilogy that's full of action, danger and magic. Rebecca Chastain has created such a bright and vivid world and it's one I love spending time in. The way she describes magic use is wonderful and it just got even better in this book as Mika manages to tap into a power that humans aren't even supposed to know exists. The gargoyle characters are brilliant, I've loved Oliver from the beginning and it's been wonderful watching him grow from the tiny hatchling Mika rescued in Curse of the Gargoyles to the courageous companion he has become. Oliver loves Mika beyond all reason and thinks nothing of putting himself in harm's way to protect her but that is something that definitely goes both ways and Mika would do anything to look after him and any other gargoyles that cross her path.

Mika is brilliant, she's smart, brave and incredibly caring. As the only known gargoyle healer she sees it as her responsibility to look after all of the gargoyles and she thinks nothing of putting herself at risk to save them. I admire how focused she is on her goal but I loved that Marcus calls her out when she gets in over her head. She doesn't always see the dangers to herself until it's almost too late and she needs someone to help her take a step back and look at the bigger picture sometimes. Marcus obviously cares deeply about her and I really enjoyed the slow build romance that has developed between them. There were hints of an attraction between them in the previous stories but this is the book that really moves things forward since they spend so much time working together. I think they make a great couple, their personalities fit well together and they both bring something different to the relationship.

I've loved every minute of this series so I'm incredibly sad that it's come to an end but I'm still kind of hoping that Rebecca Chastain will choose to revisit this world again in the future. I'd be very happy to read more books from Mika's point of view but there is also definitely story potential for Mika's friend Kylie and a certain Captain. No matter what she's writing about this author is on my auto-buy list though and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

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

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

Kindle:

Spotlight: Secret of the Gargoyles - Rebecca Chastain (+ Giveaway)

I absolutely love Rebecca Chastain's Gargoyle Guardian's series so to celebrate the recent release of the final book in the trilogy I wanted to give Secret of the Gargoyles an extra shout out as well as share a fab giveaway that Rebecca is running offering you the chance to win copies of the entire series! I'll be posting my full review later today but in the meantime please check out the info below and make sure you enter the giveaway.

About Secret of the Gargoyles:

I place the lives of all gargoyles into your hands with what I am about to tell you…

In her brief career as a gargoyle healer, Mika Stillwater has faced some daunting challenges, but none have stumped her—until now. A strange sickness infects a handful of gargoyles in Terra Haven, rendering them comatose and paralyzed. Worse, the cure she seeks is shrouded in the gargoyles’ mysterious culture and the secret they guard with their lives.

Gaining the gargoyles’ trust is only the first step. To save the sick gargoyles, Mika must embark on a perilous mission into the heart of deadly wild magic to a place no human has ever survived...

The captivating conclusion to the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles trilogy, Secret of the Gargoyles will charm readers of all ages, especially those who love extraordinary magic and endearing gargoyles.

The Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles:
Magic of the Gargoyles
Curse of the Gargoyles
Secret of the Gargoyles

Buy Links:

Amazon, US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FPX3VYS
Amazon, Everywhere: http://smarturl.it/SecretGargoyles

About Rebecca Chastain:

Rebecca Chastain is the international bestselling author of the Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series and the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles, among others works. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in Northern California with her wonderful husband and three bossy cats.

Here are a few places you can find Rebecca on the Internet:

Website: http://www.rebeccachastain.com
Newsletter: http://www.rebeccachastain.com/fantasy-newsletter/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebeccachastainnovels
Twitter: @Author_Rebecca or https://twitter.com/Author_Rebecca
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5660379.Rebecca_Chastain

Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Secret of the Gargoyles Rebecca Chastain is giving away eBook copies of the entire trilogy (Magic of the Gargoyles, Curse of the Gargoyles and Secret of the Gargoyles) to FIVE lucky winners. You can enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below and the winners will be contacted directly by Rebecca so that she can arrange to send out the prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Review: Poison or Protect - Gail Carriger

Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a stand-alone romance novella set in her popular steampunk universe full of manners, spies, and dainty sandwiches.

Lady Preshea Villentia, the Mourning Star, has four dead husbands and a nasty reputation. Fortunately, she looks fabulous in black. What society doesn’t know is that all her husbands were marked for death by Preshea’s employer. And Preshea has one final assignment.

It was supposed to be easy, a house party with minimal bloodshed. Preshea hadn’t anticipated Captain Gavin Ruthven – massive, Scottish, quietly irresistible, and… working for the enemy. In a battle of wits, Preshea may risk her own heart – a terrifying prospect, as she never knew she had one.

Delightfully Deadly:
(A series of standalone adult novellas set in the Parasol Protectorate world featuring characters you may recognise from the other series, they fit into the timeline between the Finishing School and Parasol Protectorate books)
Poison or Protect
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Parasol Protectorate Series:
The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar (Novella)
Soulless
Changeless
Blameless
Heartless
Timeless

Finishing School Series:
(This is a YA series set in the Parasol Protectorate world but set 25 years before the first book)
Etiquette & Espionage
Curtsies & Conspiracies
Waistcoats & Weaponry
Manners & Mutiny

Custard Protocol Series:
(This is another adult series set in the Parasol Protectorate world but set several decades after the last book)
Prudence
Imprudence (2016)

Visit Gail Carriger's website for more information

Review:
Poison or Protect is a stand alone romance set in the Parasol Protectorate world and although you can pick this book up even if you've not read anything else by Gail Carriger fans of the series will love the chance to spot a few familiar faces. Who would have guessed that I'd come to like Preshea considering she was one of the bullies in the Finishing School books? I have to admit I was a little nervous when I realised that she was going to be the heroine but I ended up really enjoying seeing a different side to her character.

Preshea is kind of like a black widow, she's certainly put her finishing school training to good use since she's killed all of her previous husbands, but now she's nearly finished her time working for Lord Akeldama she has no intention of marrying again. If she can just carry out one final assignment then she'll finally be free to live life on her own terms and it's something she's really looking forward to. All she has to do is protect one Lord from assassination while also convincing his impressionable young daughter not to marry a fortune hunter. What she hadn't counted on was the fortune hunter's best friend and the rather shocking attraction she feels towards him.

I loved Gavin's character, he's the perfect kind of hero who is capable of fighting alongside his woman not just wrapping her in a protective bubble. He's also brilliant at taking things slow and encouraging Preshea to open up to him and he loves nothing more than making her smile. Preshea initially comes across just as cold hearted as you might expect an assassin to be but once you get to know her you'll start to see a softer side that she usually keeps very well hidden. She's never really had anyone care for her before so it takes her time to learn to let Gavin in but even though their relationship develops quite quickly it never feels rushed or forced.

Poison or Protect was everything I've come to expect from one of this Gail Carriger's stories, it had great characters, a brilliant setting, plenty of humour and a wonderful (and surprisingly steamy!) romance and I can't wait to read more of these Delightfully Deadly novellas.

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

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

Kindle:



Author Bio:

Gail Carriger writes steampunk comedies of manners mixed with urban fantasy. Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series for adults, and the Finishing School series for young adults. She is published in 18 different languages and has 13 NYT bestsellers via 7 different lists (including #1 in Manga). She was once an archaeologist and is overly fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea. A full bibliography of her work is available on her wiki.

Connect with the author online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Tumblr

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