Friday, 24 March 2017

Release Day Blitz: Exiled - Amanda Carlson

Today is the release day of Exiled, the third book in Amanda Carlson's fabulous Phoebe Meadows series. I've been looking forward to this book for ages so I'm happy to have an excerpt and fab giveaway to share with you today to celebrate the release. This book is jumping right to the top of my to read pile so watch out for a review as soon as I've had a chance to read it :o)

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…

********************

EXILED: Phoebe Meadows Book Three

Excerpt
Copyright © 2017 Amanda Carlson. All rights reserved. None of the below can be reprinted without permission from the author

1

“Sweet mother of all that’s holy.” Sam coughed violently into the bucket positioned in front of her. “Please tell me we’re here. My body can’t take much more of this.” She lifted her head, dragging the back of her sleeve over her mouth, wheezing. “I’m pretty sure my tank is finally dry, but bile is a tricky thing, as my body is making more of the hot, searing liquid as we speak.” Tyr stood next to her holding a clean pail, his face a mask of concern.

“Aye, we’re here,” Tyr answered solemnly, bending down to place the new container in front of Sam, who was promptly in need of it.

We all stood on the deck of Ringhorn, my half brother Baldur’s boat, which had been gifted to Tyr upon Baldur’s untimely death. We’d arrived in Asgard less than five minutes prior, so I could face the Council and Frigg, Baldur’s powerful goddess mother, to receive punishment for freeing her beloved son.

I’d broken Baldur out of a dark elf prison—the very place his mother had placed him for protection—only to watch him die a short time later at Verdandi’s hand.

It had been awful and heartbreaking.

The boat had just taken us through an insane vortex. One that had hauled us up in the air at breakneck speed, only to drop us the next instant. I’d lost count of how many times my stomach had hit my knees.
But I’d fared better than poor Sam, who was now huddled on the deck spilling her guts.

“Are we really here? In Asgard?” I asked, squinting into the darkness, trying to discern a single shape on the horizon, but coming up empty. The boat had lurched to a full stop in what looked to be a solid void. “I was expecting it to be a little more…vibrant?”

“We’ve landed in a holding bay,” Fen answered, his frame tense beside mine, his arm tight around my waist. This was the first time he’d been back to his home in many years, and he was poised for any threat that might come our way, his nostrils flaring, his sword at the ready.

My mother came up beside us. “There are various ways in, but if you take magical transportation, like Ringhorn, you must wait to be inspected before accessing the city.”

“Yep,” Ingrid added, moving toward a gated opening that would lead us off the boat. “Lots of nooks and crannies on a big boat like this. We might be harboring unknown aliens. We’ll have to wait for the inspectors to clear us.”

“Why is it so dark?” I asked. The only illumination we had came from the boat itself.

Before anyone could answer, a loud grating noise filled the air. All at once, the scene before us began to change as bright light pierced the space like a dazzling spotlight.

We were in a large cylinder of some kind.

As light penetrated the tunnel, my eyes adjusted, and I began to get my first glimpses of Asgard beyond the tunnel. I noticed blue sky right away. It was cobalt, a deep, resplendent tone that seemed impossibly rich for a sky.

“Brace yourself, kiddo,” Ingrid said as she removed her spear from her waistband. “Along with the inspectors, there will be guards.”

“Why are you drawing your weapon?” I asked, alarmed. “Isn’t this your home?”

“Because I’m getting ready to argue, and I do it best with Betsy at the ready.” She shook her trusty spear, and it seamlessly morphed into an eight-foot killer with a razor-sharp edge.

“Betsy?” Ingrid had never shared her weapon’s pet name before. “You named your spear Betsy?”

“Yep, she was christened my ‘Best Bet’ when I first got her. Found her in a pile of discarded old weapons and never looked back. If these guards try to separate us, Betsy will have her say. And I can guaran-damn-tee”—she waved her spear in the air—“there is no argument we can’t win.”

********************

About Amanda Carlson:

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:

To celebrate Amanda Carlson is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. You can enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter form below and the winner will be contacted directly by Amanda or her assistant so they can arrange to send out the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: The Fisherman's Net - Laura Lam

Untold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Fisherman’s Net

A humble fisherman in a village of the coast of the island of Linde buys a trinket at the market, which he discovers is Vestige. The poor man soon becomes the best fisherman in the village and marvels at his newfound wealth. One day, he ensnares a most unusual catch: a Chimaera sea maiden that isn’t meant to exist. And he’s not sure if he can let her go.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

Micha Grey Series:
Pantomime
Shadowplay
Masquerade

Vestigial Tales:
(Series of short stories set in the same world as the Micha Grey series)
The Snake Charm
The Fisherman's Net
The Tarot Reader
The Card Sharp
The Mechanical Minotaur

Visit Laura Lam's website for more information.

Review:
Laura Lam's Vestigial Tales are short stories set in the same world as her Micha Grey trilogy and give us some insight into some of the Vestige artefacts that were left behind when the Alder vanished. The Fisherman's Net doesn't feature any characters from the other series so works well as a standalone and can be read at any point wether you've read the Micha Grey books or not.

This was a much shorter story than The Snake Charm but as it's told more like an original fable the shorter length worked really well. The Fisherman's Net is the story of a man who finds a magic net that helps him become the wealthiest fisherman in his village. You'll have to read it for yourself to find out whether he puts that wealth to good use or if greed takes him down a dangerous path.

This is the kind of story that Micha and Dustin would have had read to them as children and I really enjoyed getting a further glimpse into their world.

Source: Received as part of a preorder giveaway from 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.

Kindle:

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Review: Dead of Night - Michael Grant

Set in the alternative World War II scenario of his Front Lines novels, Michael Grant, author of the bestselling GONE series, has written this story exclusively for World Book Day 2017.

Rio Richlin doesn’t have superpowers. She is an ordinary young woman. A soldier in the American army, wearing a uniform, carrying a rifle, and fighting alongside thousands who are trying to make a difference, trying to change the world.

At least, that’s the plan. Right now she’s part of a squad on a training exercise in some place called Wales. They’re cold, they’re wet, and Rio’s pretty sure they’re also lost. Spending the night in a creepy old inn wasn’t part of the plan at all…

Rio's only training. But soon, the fate of the world will be in the hands of the soldier girls.

A World Book Day 2017 book.

Soldier Girls Series:
Front Lines
Dead of Night (World Book Day Novella)
Silver Stars

Visit Michael Grant's website for more information

Review:
Dead of Night is set in the world of Michael Grant's Soldier Girls series, a reimagined version of history where American women were actually included in the draft to become soldiers in WWII. As far as the timeline goes this is set somewhere in the middle of the first book, after Rio and her squad have finished their first 13 weeks of training in America but before they're sent to the frontline. They're actually in Wales on another training exercise when they get lost in the fog. Unable to find their way back to base they take shelter in a village pub that they stumble across.

I don't really want to say too much more because it would be easy to give too much away but this was a fun story and a nice addition to the series. It's very different to the full length novels though, where they are very much grounded in reality and almost feel like you're reading true life war diaries this story is a little more surreal and it took me a while to figure out exactly what was going on. I think the nature of the story won't necessarily appeal to everyone but I thought it was very clever and I enjoyed reading something different, I do think events that unfold have a profound effect on Rio so whether they're real or imagined you'll definitely notice the difference in her from Front Lines to Silver Stars.

This has quickly become one of my favourite series so it's one I'd highly recommend, I'm not sure that Dead of Night is the best place to start but if you're read Front Lines then it's well worth giving this a try.

Source: Received from Egmont in exchange for an honest review

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Review: After I Fall - Jessica Scott

Her entire life has been a lie. Being with Eli is the most honest thing she’s ever done.

Parker Hauser lives the perfect life and knows exactly where she's been and where she's going. Parker has to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect body, perfect life.

Until she meets Eli Winter.

Eli throws her entire life into chaos when he denies her the one thing she wants from him.

One chance encounter stokes her desire for the man who refused to touch her and left her questioning everything.

When Parker tries to help his new business, the spotlight turns on Eli's military record. And the war he's tried to forget may destroy them both.

Falling Series:
Before I Fall
Break My Fall
After I Fall
Catch My Fall (2017)

Visit Jessica Scott's website for more information.

Review:
I've been wanting to read Eli's story ever since we met him in Before I Fall, the former officer has been a steady influence on both of the heroes from previous books. He runs the local bar and seems to collect wounded ex-soldiers and adopt them into his tribe where he can keep an eye on them. Eli is always watching out for other people and putting their needs first but he's very closed off about his own past and you just know he's keeping a lot of things to himself so I couldn't wait to get to know him better.

I'll admit I was nervous when I found out he was matched with Parker though, what we saw of her in After I Fall didn't exactly leave me with a good opinion of her. She came across as a typical spoilt rich girl, someone who had everything handed to her on a plate and who had no idea what it was like to live in the real world. I wasn't convinced I'd ever be able to root for them as a couple but I just love it when an author manages to change my opinion about a character and Jessica Scott definitely achieved that here. Yes Parker comes from money and she's never had to worry financially but you quickly realise that her life hasn't been a bed of roses. Her problems are very different to anything I've ever experienced but that doesn't make them any less difficult for her to cope with and she gave me a lesson in not judging someone by the size of their bank account!

I thought Eli and Parker made a great couple, they're both incredibly alone in different ways. Eli is surrounded by people that he cares for and who care for him in return but he always feels like he has to be the one protecting everyone else and he doesn't really let anyone know when he's the one who is struggling. Parker on the other hand has never had anyone put her first, her whole life is dictated by what her father wants from her, she has to look good and behave in appropriate ways to help him with his business contacts and she's even been forced into an engagement with a man she doesn't like because her father has chosen him as his future son-in-law. Eli is the first person to really listen to what Parker wants and to encourage her to follow her own dreams and in return Parker is there for Eli in ways that nobody else is. They fit so well together and have fabulous chemistry too.

If there is one thing I wanted to see a little more of it would have been more of what happened after Parker confronted Davis. I really would have loved an extra scene with her father that perhaps showed he cared for her after all but I guess that would probably have been a bit too much of a fairytale because he wasn't very likely to backdown after Parker chose to defy him. I enjoyed the brief appearances by previous characters from the series though and we get to see a lot of Eli's bar staff Deacon and Kelsey which I loved. I really can't wait to read their book later on this year - I need to know more about their previous history!

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.

Paperback / Kindle:

Spotlight: After I Fall - Jessica Scott


I love Jessica Scott's Falling series featuring young veterans who are trying to rebuild their lives after serving in the military. She creates such wonderfully realistic characters, characters who are flawed and damaged but who deeply deserve a happy ending! The stories in this series all work as stand alone but if you read them in order you'll enjoy spotting familiar faces in later books. I've already read After I Fall (watch out for my review being posted later today) but I'm excited to share more information with you here and I have some brilliant extracts too.

Her entire life has been a lie. Being with Eli is the most honest thing she’s ever done.
`
Parker Hauser lives the perfect life and knows exactly where she's been and where she's going. Parker has to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect body, perfect life.

Until she meets Eli Winter.

Eli throws her entire life into chaos when he denies her the one thing she wants from him.

One chance encounter stokes her desire for the man who refused to touch her and left her questioning everything.

When Parker tries to help his new business, the spotlight turns on Eli's military record. And the war he's tried to forget may destroy them both.

Falling Series:
Before I Fall
Break My Fall
After I Fall
Catch My Fall (2017)

Readers who want an extended sample can download here:
Kindle: http://selz.co/Vksquq-Oz
epub: http://selz.co/E14id5-OG

Purchase links:
iBooks: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_ibks.html
Nook: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_nk.html
Kobo: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_kbo.html
Amazon: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_amz.html
Play: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_ply.html


Excerpts:
(Posted with permission of Jessica Scott)

Sexy Teaser 1:

She is on her knees in front of me. It is the most erotic thing I've ever seen in my life.

There is trust in that simple gesture. I cup her chin, stroking my thumb over her bottom lip. I can't look away. Her lips part, and I slide the tip in, just a little. Her mouth is soft and warm and wet. She closes around the edge of my thumb, sucking gently, so gently.

I ache in a way I haven't ached in forever. This touch, this complete surrender to the feelings of erotic, sensual caress.

There is nothing about this that will end well. We are from two very different worlds. And no matter how much I pretend to walk in hers, I'm only visiting. Trying to get funding to keep my business open. Trying to make a difference.

Trying to pretend that the things I do still matter.

But this afternoon, when she walked away, I couldn't let her go. I looked in her eyes and saw something there that called to me. That made me need to make her believe that she was touchable. That she was worth more than the people in her life had led her to believe.

And now she is on her knees in front of me. Waiting, unsure about what to do next. My brain may want her some other way, but my dick is perfectly happy to oblige her at the moment with just how she is.

I have lost control of this situation.

But then she reaches for my jeans, her palm sliding over my cock. She squeezes me, still sucking gently on my thumb. She traces the tip of her tongue over the edge as she pulls my belt open. Jesus, I'm a fucking goner.

The air is cool on my stomach as she pushes open my jeans. I can't move even if I wanted to. I need to see this through. I need to do this right.

But I can't fucking move. I can't blink. I don't want to forget a single moment of the erotic image of Parker on her knees in front of me.

She slides my erection out of my jeans, stroking me gently. Christ, I'm hard as fucking rock. It's everything I can do not to guide her lips to me. To urge her to put that beautiful mouth around the tip of my cock.

I thought I didn't want this? I fucking lied.

She drags her teeth over the edge of my thumb a moment before she releases me. I have nowhere to put my hands now.

I drop them by my sides. I am not in control here.

"Can I kiss you here?" she whispers, rubbing her thumb over the aching crown.

"Yes please." The words are strangled. A plea. She has me under her complete control.

I am completely still as she moves closer. Rubs her lips over the tip. A soft, gentle caress. I'm ready to fucking beg.

And then she opens, tracing her tongue over the edge before sucking me gently, so gently into her mouth.

It's heaven. Pure fucking heaven. Her touch is electric, like a thousand points of heat with every slide of her lips over my cock.

I close my eyes and fight the urge to move, to rock into her.

This…this is supposed to be for her but it's not. Because I am a selfish bastard who is just like a thousand other guys who won't turn down a beautiful woman on her knees.

I'm no saint.

But goddamn, Parker feels good. Touching me. Licking me. Sucking me. I am lost in her touch. Lost in the complete and total need to let her control this, let her take this wherever it will go.

She sucks me a little harder. A groan escapes me. My balls tighten, and I can't fight the urge to rock into her. Just a little.

I reach for her then, urging her to let me go. To stand. And when she does, I pull her against me, harder than I probably should, and kiss her. I'm too far gone at the moment to do anything but kiss her. To drink from her. To take all of her inside me in that single gesture.

"I don't want to come like this,” I whisper, nibbling on the edge of her meal.

"How then?"

"How do you want me?" A serious question. She needs to know that she's controlling things here. She gets to say how far we go. If we even finish. "Because right now? I'd sell the fucking bar to get you to agree to let me do terrible, forbidden things to your body.”

"What are you waiting for?"

I smile and rock against her a little more. "Those five little words."

And then she is on my sofa, her upper body braced on her palms. I capture her face in my palms and kiss her gently, lowering her until she is supported. Slowly, sipping on her lips. Savoring the taste of her. "Can I touch you here?" I slide my fingers down over the length of one of her arms. She makes a noise. "Say yes," I whisper near her ear.

"Yes."

"Can I touch you here?" I trace my fingertips over the edge of her ribs, just along the swell of her breast.

Her response is a huff against my lips. I smile. "Say yes."

"Yes."

I brush the back of my knuckles over the tight edge of one nipple. A shiver runs through her.

"Can I touch you here?" A slip of my fingers against her inner thigh.

She makes a sound. A whimper. Maybe a plea.

"I need you to say yes." I manage to get the words out. Barely. They are somewhere between a whisper and growl. It takes everything I have to restrain myself but this…this isn't for me. "Please say yes."

I slip my finger a little closer, running it gently, barely there, over the seam of her body.

Waiting, intensely and painfully hard, for her response.




Teaser 2:

Parker

"What do you want?" A murmured question that feels like a demand. The single word I need is lodged in my throat. It’s thick and heavy, filled with potential and promise.

"You," I finally say.

"Why?" Such a complicated question. I search his face, looking for an answer, a lie, something simple to fill the space left by his question.

I lift my hand, afraid he'll see it tremble. It takes every ounce of willpower I've got to slide my fingers over his forearm. I'm surprised by the raw power beneath my touch. I expected the tattoos to be physical manifestations of the violence on his flesh. His skin is hot and smooth. My hand looks pale and small against it.

"You seem…" I lift my eyes to his, never removing my hand. "You seem like a straightforward kind of guy."

A man with rough hands and dark ink carved into his skin. A man so unlike the men I'm used to, it's not even funny. I lift my hand to his cheek, just above the edge of his beard. I've never touched a man with facial hair before. He is still beneath my touch.

A moment before I'm about to press my palm to his cheek, he grips my wrist. Not hard enough to hurt, but he definitely gets my attention.

"Not here." I swallow. My mouth is suddenly dry. "Where?"

He jerks his chin toward the dark hallway behind us. I follow him silently, wishing he was already touching me, making me feel, letting me pretend I matter, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

He leads me through the maze of small tables and patrons at various stages of intoxication. Away from the noise and the smell of fries and smoke and cologne and all the good things that bars have.We step out of the noise and into shadows and silence. He doesn't pounce, doesn't push me against the wall and run those rough hands over my skin.

Instead, he leans against it—a casual, arrogant male.

Waiting. I know for what. For me to make the first move.

For me to step into the space between us. For me to touch him first. I want to. But I am paralyzed. Rooted to the damp concrete beneath my feet. The cool night air might as well be chains, holding me, restraining any thought or movement.

He doesn't move. His arms are folded over his broad, heavy chest, his T-shirt straining against his body. The silence hangs on, stretching and thick and tight.

"Scared?" he finally whispers. A dare. A terrible, wicked promise in that single word.

"Should I be?" My throat is tight and dry.

His answer is nothing I expect.

And everything I want.




Teaser 3:

PARKER

I needed to get out of my apartment and away from the creeping sadness that threatened to drown me if I stayed alone one more minute.

Tomorrow, I will find the owner of The Pint. Tomorrow I will figure out how to unfuck my life.

But right now, I’m standing in a closed-in space with a man who looks like a real-life rendition of Jason Momoa, and my panties are currently hosting their own episode of Celebration at the idea of standing just a little bit closer. I should be at the Baywater Country Club drinking top-shelf martinis and celebrating with Kylie and Bethany and Meaghan. But I can't see them tonight. For more than the obvious reasons.

I was planning on drinking myself stupid and forgetting everything about the last twenty-four hours in the human garbage fire that my life has become. It hurts and goddamn it, I'm tired of it hurting. I'm tired of being there for everyone else while I have to smile and look pretty.

Tonight? I thought I wanted the raw pulsing music and the bodies crushed together. I thought I wanted the contact. The distraction.

Don't make a fuss, Parker. Don't say anything to embarrass me, Parker.

What did you do to deserve it, Parker? Why didn’t you just do what he asked? Why do you always have to argue?

Anger crawls up my spine and squeezes my throat once more.

For once in my fucking life, I want someone to look at me and see me. Not my father's car, or my not-allowed-to-be-ex-boyfriend's tailored suits.

I want someone to see me. All of me.

I don’t know what I wanted when I left the apartment, but I think I may have just found it.

And the man standing next to me with the dark beard and dark eyes and terrifying tattoos seems like just the guy to take care of everything for a night.

Except that he might be a little too perceptive. I didn't plan on him seeing the bruises on my arm. Guess I need to rethink that career as a makeup artist if my graduate school plans don’t work out.

He's still watching me, a dark intensity in his eyes. An intensity that feels like a brushstroke over my skin.

I wonder what it would feel like to wake up wrapped in those massive arms, to feel those hands run over my skin while I sleep. What it feels like to be really touched instead of just positioned to receive.
My eyes burn, and I blink rapidly. I will not cry about the dumpster fire of my life and the garbage that surrounds me. I didn’t set out to solve anything tonight. I came out to escape. To try and find some release from the trapped air in my apartment.

Instead I think I’ve found a solution in search of a problem.

The Solution is a big man. Rough, too. The kind of man I would expect my father would call to lead the construction on a new project.

It’s his hands, though, that capture my attention. Big and flat and broad. They're a working man’s hands. Not polished. Not cupped in anger.

Just matter-of-fact hands. Hands that would be honest.

Hands that would feel like heaven on my skin.

I look up to find him watching me. I've never physically felt a look before this moment, this lazy caress of a man's gaze moving inch by inch over my skin.

I part my lips. Just enough that he notices. His nostrils flare.

"Careful, little girl." His voice is thick and deep and smooth. Like the gaze still trailing over my body.

"Or what?" I whisper. Kelsey’s voice slides through my brain.

This is foolish. Utterly stupid.

This is power.

And it is exactly what I need tonight. I need to feel needed. Wanted.

Tonight isn't about rational thought. It's about the opposite. About going in blind, completely on instinct.

"I'm not sure you want to find out."

But he has not moved away. He hasn't turned his back on me, and he hasn't dismissed me as some childish twat playing grownup.

God, but those words burn in my ears.

"Maybe I do."

The muscles in his neck bunch beneath the thick beard. "Do you always hit on random men at bars?"
I press my lips together and dare to take a single step closer. "Nope. You'd be my first."

He lifts one brow. "Oh yeah? What's the occasion?" He jerks his chin toward me. "It doesn't have to do with the bruises, does it?"

I lift my glass to my lips. Slowly I part them, letting the ice cube bounce off the tip of my tongue. When I lower it, his eyes are locked on my mouth. "No," I whisper. "It's got nothing to do with them."

Nothing and everything. But he doesn't need to know that. He only needs to take me some place and touch me.

Parker.

Me. I need him to see me.

He moves in then with a quickness that catches me off guard. In an instant, he is right there, right in my space. I can smell the faint, smoky scent of him. Something woodsy and spicy and smoky.

It's all I can do to stay still. To not back down from the challenge he presents in that single breath of space.

"What do you want?" His is a murmured question that feels like a demand.

The single word I need is lodged in my throat. It’s thick and heavy, filled with potential and promise.

"You," I finally say.


********************

About Jessica Scott:


Jessica Scott is an Iraq war veteran, an active duty army officer and the USA Today bestselling author of novels set in the heart of America’s Army. She is the mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, and wife to a retired NCO.

She is the bestselling author of the Homefront series and the Falling series, both about soldiers and veterans adjusting to life after returning from the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. Her bestselling Falling series features soldiers integrating into life on college campuses.

She's also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.

She's holds phd in morality in Sociology with Duke University and she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.
Jessica is also an active member of the Military Writers Guild.

Her debut novel Because of You launched the return of Random House's Loveswept digital imprint and launched the start of the ever popular contemporary military romance genre.

Connect with Jessica Scott online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Tsu / Goodreads

Monday, 20 March 2017

Review: Grimspace - Ann Aguirre

By all accounts, Sirantha Jax should have burned out years ago...

As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace—a talent which cuts into her life expectancy, but makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. But then the ship she’s navigating crash-lands, and she’s accused of killing everyone on board. It’s hard for Jax to defend herself: she has no memory of the crash.

Now imprisoned and the subject of a ruthless interrogation, Jax is on the verge of madness. Then a mysterious man breaks into her cell, offering her freedom—for a price. March needs Jax to help his small band of rogue fighters break the Corp monopoly on interstellar travel—and establish a new breed of jumper.

Jax is only good at one thing—grimspace—and it will eventually kill her. So she may as well have some fun in the meantime...

Sirantha Jax Series:
Grimspace
Wanderlust
Doublebind
Killbox
Aftermath
Endgame

Dred Chronicles:
Perdition
Havoc
Breakout

Visit Ann Aguirre's website for more information

Review:
Sirantha Jax has a rare genetic ability to navigate through Grimspace, her talent is highly sought after and she's always been considered a bit of a celebrity because of that. It all goes horribly wrong when a ship she is navigating crashes killing over 80 people, Jax is the only survivor but she has no memory of how the crash happened. The Corporation she works for seem to believe it was her fault though and she has been a prisoner ever since undergoing psych-evaluations and constant questioning. When a mysterious man breaks into her cell and offers her the chance at freedom it's a chance she has to take, even if it does come with a very high price and leave her with a price on her head.

It's been a long time since the first book in a series grabbed me quite as hard as Grimspace did. I was totally hooked from the very first page and if I'd had more time on my hands I could easily have devoured this in a day. As it was I was irritated that real life got in the way of my reading time and when I was busy doing other things I was constantly trying to find time to squeeze in just a couple more pages. The book wasn't quite perfect and there were a few points where I was a little confused but it gets the full five star rating for its pure addictiveness!

There is just so much to love about this world and particularly the characters. Jax is a mess, she's paranoid, suicidal and only one step away from a full on psychotic break but she's also a tough as nails survivor with a snarky sense of humour and a tendency to act before she thinks. She doesn't let people close easily but once she does she will fight to protect them and she's definitely the kind of person you want to have your back in a tough spot. Then we have Marsh (oh hello new book boyfriend!) who is just as as much of a smartarse as Jax and twice as messed up, he has a homicidal streak a mile wide but he has mad mind reading skills and the boy knows how to use his Theta waves! I love that he's not manipulative, he's pretty much a what you see is what you get kind of guy which means he'll tell you the truth even when you don't want to hear it. The romance between these two was pretty spot on, yes it starts happening very quickly but it never felt rushed and I loved every minute of it.

They're not the only great characters though and I also loved Dina for her sarcastic sense of humour, Doc for always being the peacemaker, Loras for his incredible act of bravery, Baby-Z for all round adorableness and adding so much humour to the story and Velith for being such a surprise. There are so many things to love about this story and the clever dialogue and interesting world building is only part of it. Grimspace has all the humour and action of Firefly, Jax is a space travelling, equally kickass version of Kate Daniels and the story will keep you gripped from beginning to end. I'm so glad I'm late discovering this series because that means I can devour all six books (and the spin off trilogy!) without having to wait between releases. Now I'm off to make a start on Wanderlust!

Source: Purchased

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Review: Silver Stars - Michael Grant

The second novel in the epic new young adult series that Michael Grant is calling his best yet!

It's WWII but not as you know it from school. This time the girls are on the Front Lines and not on the Home Front. Summer 1943. The enemy has been bloodied, but Nazi Germany is very far from beaten. Now the American army is moving on to their next target: the Italian island of Sicily.

With heavy memories of combat, the three young soldier girls – Rio, Frangie and Rainy – now know what they are willing to do to save themselves, and understand the consequences of those actions. On the front lines, they will again come face to face with the brutality of war until they win or die, while simultaneously fighting their own personal battles. No one will emerge unscathed.

In the tradition of The Book Thief, Code Name Verity and Between Shades of Gray, Front Lines gives the experience of WWII a new immediacy while playing with the ‘what ifs?’ of history.

Soldier Girls Series:
Front Lines
Dead of Night (World Book Day Novella)
Silver Stars

Visit Michael Grant's website for more information

Review:
If you thought Front Lines was good then you've honestly not seen anything yet because Silver Stars ups the stakes in every way possible, the danger is greater than ever and the characters have completely come into their own. If you're new to this series then I'd recommend reading the books in order but to give you a brief recap this is an alternative history of WWII imagining one major change - that female soldiers were recruited into the American army and served alongside the men on the front lines. Pretty much everything else is accurate to what really happened and these books are so well written and believable that you actually feel like you could be reading someone's personal diary as they tell you their own life story.

We continue to follow the stories of the three main characters introduced in the first book. First you have Rio Richlin who joined the army with her best friend Jenou after finding out her sister was killed in action. Then there is Frangie Marr who signed up as a medic mainly because her family needed the money, she faces even more prejudice than the others because not only is she a woman she's also black and racism was very prevalent during this time. The third main character is a young Jewish woman Rainy Schulterman who joined the army with the intention of shooting nazis but was quickly recruited into the intelligence community. Each girl has a separate story to tell but there are times when their stories link and I love getting to see the war through their very different experiences.

Rio has been fighting on the front lines for a long time now and she's rising up through the ranks because of her experience. She's become quite a ruthless fighter and has had to try and lock her emotions away but she feels a growing distance between her and her best friend and she's struggling to cope with everything that she's seen and done. As a medic Frangie is right there at the front too tending to wounded soldiers who wouldn't have much of a chance without immediate treatment. Her job definitely isn't a risk free one and she constantly finds herself facing danger while trying to protect others. Rainy has the most dangerous job of all though and is sent on an undercover mission to Italy, she has no backup and not much of a plan on how she's supposed to get herself home again so her story is fraught with danger and she suffers badly when she's captured along the way.

I have totally fallen in love with all three of these girls, I feel their pain and suffer alongside them and I'm desperately hoping they'll all make it through the war alive but we're constantly being shown how much danger they're facing and I'm worried that at least one of them won't survive it. I don't think I can praise this series highly enough, it's dark and can be quite painful at times but it's also totally addictive and utterly absorbing. Michael Grant has done a stellar job with these books, you can tell they're meticulously researched and they really are a must read.

Source: Received from Egmont in exchange for an honest review

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