Monday, 13 August 2018

Event Report: Penguin YA Secret Society Party

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Penguin YA Secret Society Party which was a fab event with Sally Green, Melissa Albert, Elizabeth Klehforth and Emily Barr. It was one of the hottest days of the heatwave so we practically melted on the journey up to London and with the venue being in a basement pub it was a super hot night but we had such a fab time that it was definitely worth it.

Penguin had gone to so much effort to decorate the venue and each author had their own section that was decorated with something that had a meaning to their book and there were even four different cocktails to try, one inspired by each story!

The first section was where we got to meet Elizabeth Klehforth who was there to talk to us about her book All These Beautiful Strangers which sounds like a really exciting thriller that I'm really looking forward to reading! In this section we all got to choose props and pose for polaroid photos which was a lot of fun.

Charlie Calloway has a life most people would kill for.

With her wealthy family's pedigree, a loyal set of friends, and a fast-track to whichever college she chooses, she's all-but untouchable at her exclusive East Coast boarding school.

But Charlie isn't interested in what most people want.

She's a Calloway. She's been taught to want more.

So when she's invited to join her school's exclusive secret society- the A's - her determination to get in is matched only by her conviction that she belongs there.

But behind their mysterious facade is a history of lies and cruel games which threatens to unravel everything Charlie thought she knew about herself... including the story behind her mother's disappearance ten years ago.

In the second section we entered the Hazel Wood to meet Melissa Albert and talk about her debut novel The Hazel Wood which is a modern fairytale that sounds just up my street! I have a feeling I'm going to love this book so I'm definitely planning on reading it very soon.

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels.

But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate - the Hazel Wood - Alice learns how bad her luck can really get.

Her mother is stolen, by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world from her grandmother's stories.

Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began . . .

The third section was where we got to meet Sally Green to talk about the first book in her new series, The Smoke Thieves. I've already read and loved this one (you can read my review here) so I'm impatiently waiting for the sequel but if you're a fantasy fan you definitely need to pick up a copy! Here we also got to choose a glitter tattoo to represent one of the main characters and of course I picked the demon hunter!

A princess, a traitor, a soldier, a hunter and a thief. Five teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Five nations destined for conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father, while her true love, Ambrose, faces the executioner's block.

In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town.

And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our five heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war.

Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

Last but not least we got to meet Emily Barr and talk about her latest book The Truth and Lies of Ella Black. I have to say that even though I don't read much contemporary YA these days I'm really intrigued by this one and looking forward to giving it a try!

Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .

Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.

And realises her life has been a lie.

Her mother and father aren't hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they'll never think to look - the favelas.

But there she learns a terrible secret - the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . .

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Penguin for inviting me to the event and to all the authors for taking the time to talk to us. I had such a fantastic time and can't wait to read all of the books I came home with!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Review: One to Keep - Lexi Blake

Stefan Talbot likes order and control. He approaches his life with the same meticulous precision that he uses to put paint on his canvas. Nothing good comes from chaos, and that is why he has refused to allow himself to get close to Jennifer Waters. They are like fire and ice. Though she is younger, her talent as an artist is unquestionable. But she lives her life like she paints—with wild, passionate abandon. It is intoxicating and terrifying, and he can’t get her out of his head.

Jennifer ran from Bliss to put Stef behind her. She had come to the mountain town seeking a mentor but found much more than she bargained for. Cool and distant, Stef was like a marble statue and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break through his shell. She moved to Dallas to start over, but nothing is going as planned. When the art gallery where she works is robbed and a precious painting is stolen, Jen is accused of the theft. Jen is thrilled when her bail is met, until she realizes her savior is Stef and he has a few conditions. First and foremost, she has to return to Bliss.

Against the backdrop of the Winter Festival, Stef and Jen’s attraction catches fire. But the dark forces behind the robbery in Dallas have followed Jen home. A criminal syndicate believes she still has the stolen painting and they’ll kill to get their hands on it.

Nights in Bliss, Colorado Series:
(Originally published under the pen name Sophie Oak)
Three to Ride
Two to Love
One to Keep

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

One to Keep is the third book in Lexi Blake's Nights in Bliss, Colorado series and we've seen the push and pull between Stefan and Jen in previous books so I was really looking forward to their story. We know that Stef keeps Jen at a distance because of their age difference but I could never quite understand why that was such a huge sticking point for him before reading this book. I'm not going to go into details in my review but let's just say that I'm able to understand him so much better now. I still found it totally infuriating when he'd pull Jen close only to push her away again any time it seemed like she might have broken through his barriers but I could understand why he did it and why Jen forgave him not just once but several times.

This is one of those stories where you know that they'll be perfect together but one of the characters is running scared and I enjoyed seeing Jen break through Stef's barriers and making him realise that what they had was worth fighting for. Stef has a constant need to be in control but as much as Jen enjoys him taking over in the bedroom she is happy to stand up for herself in other situations and she doesn't let him mess her around without pushing back at him.

I really enjoyed going back to Bliss and catching up with the previous characters, it's great to see how happy they all are in their various relationships and I was really pleased that Jen has supportive friends for when Stef was acting like an idiot. I'm enjoying the Texas Sirens books (which are set in the same world with some characters appearing in both series) but it doesn't have as many quirky and fun side characters as this series does and I miss them. I loved the addition of Alexei and I'm really happy to know he's getting a book later in the series too.

This series has a little of everything - sweet romance, plenty of steam, fun characters and strong friendships with a little suspense and drama thrown in - and I can't wait for the next book!

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:

Blog Tour: One to Keep - Lexi Blake

One to Keep
Nights in Bliss, Colorado, Book 3
By Lexi Blake writing as Sophie Oak
Coming August 7, 2018

Stefan Talbot likes order and control. He approaches his life with the same meticulous precision that he uses to put paint on his canvas. Nothing good comes from chaos, and that is why he has refused to allow himself to get close to Jennifer Waters. They are like fire and ice. Though she is younger, her talent as an artist is unquestionable. But she lives her life like she paints—with wild, passionate abandon. It is intoxicating and terrifying, and he can’t get her out of his head.

Jennifer ran from Bliss to put Stef behind her. She had come to the mountain town seeking a mentor but found much more than she bargained for. Cool and distant, Stef was like a marble statue and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break through his shell. She moved to Dallas to start over, but nothing is going as planned. When the art gallery where she works is robbed and a precious painting is stolen, Jen is accused of the theft. Jen is thrilled when her bail is met, until she realizes her savior is Stef and he has a few conditions. First and foremost, she has to return to Bliss.

Against the backdrop of the Winter Festival, Stef and Jen’s attraction catches fire. But the dark forces behind the robbery in Dallas have followed Jen home. A criminal syndicate believes she still has the stolen painting and they’ll kill to get their hands on it.



Stef turned back to Jen. “Let’s move, Jennifer. I have a plane ready. We need to be at Love Field in an hour. I have an officer waiting to process you out.”

Jen’s head whirled. “Plane?”

“Yes, plane. We’re going back to Bliss.”

“No way.”

Cool, gray eyes slitted, and she could practically feel the will rolling off him. Stef was tense, and she knew it was a bad idea to push him, but she couldn’t help it.

“I’m serious, Stef. I’m not going anywhere with you.” She couldn’t go back to Bliss. Panic threatened to swamp her. He was here. He was right here in front of her, and her heart didn’t give a damn that he was a bastard. For the first time in months, she felt desire for something besides her art. She couldn’t, wouldn’t, go down that path again.

He got into her space, a move he’d perfected seemingly long before he met her. She held her ground. Even though he didn’t touch her physically, he seemed to surround her. Suddenly her whole world was Stef, his gray eyes, the heat of his body, his masculine, clean scent. He filled her every sense.

“I’m not going home with you.” She forced herself to say the words.

His lips hitched up. “At least you admit Bliss is your home.”

That wasn’t what she’d meant. Bliss, Colorado, had felt like home when she’d been there, but she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bliss wasn’t big enough for the two of them. “It’s your home. Hell, Stef, it’s your little kingdom, and you like to play the king, don’t you?”

“Yes, because everyone does what I say.” Stef’s low growl made her breath speed up. “Everyone in Bliss bows down to me. Have you been gone for so long that you forget Max regularly kicks my ass? And Nell and Henry are currently protesting my gardening practices.”

He was too close for comfort. She gave in and took a step back. She could see plainly that he was satisfied with her discomfort. “Don’t try to play the poor rich boy with me. You’re a puppet master. You like to pull the strings and see how people dance. Well, I’m not in your kingdom anymore, and there’s no way you can get me there again. So you can take your money and go back to Colorado.”

It was stupid. Even as she said the words, she wanted to take them back. She’d spent the last twenty-four hours terrified in a jail cell. She would have to be the stupidest woman in the world to turn him down, but she’d never thought around Stef. Since the moment she’d met him, she’d been a quivering mass of emotion and desire every time he entered a room.

“Stubborn thing. I’ll make it easy on you.” His hands caught hers, and before she could think she felt cold metal surrounding her wrists. He flicked the cuffs on with the cool precision of a man who often cuffed the women in his life.

“What are you doing?” She stared at her hands. At least this time they were in front of her. She preferred it that way. Damn, her life had taken a wrong turn when she could compare and contrast her experiences with men who handcuffed her.

“Taking you home, Jennifer. Whether you like it or not.”

He leaned down and picked her up. She was in his arms, nestled close to his chest. She looked up at the square, inflexible line of his jaw. His arms tightened around her, and she was caged more closely than she’d been in the holding cell. She had the suspicion that this time Stef would be harder to escape from than before. He kicked open the door and started down the hall.

Yep, like it or not, she was going back to Bliss.

About Lexi Blake:

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn't until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.


Monday, 6 August 2018

Review: Iron and Magic - Ilona Andrews

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

The Kate Daniels Series:
A Questionable Client (Short Story in the Magic Graves anthology)
Magic Bites
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes
Magic Mourns (Novella included in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology or available separately as an ebook)
Magic Bleeds
Magic Dreams (Novella included in the Hexed anthology or available separately as an ebook)
Magic Slays
Magic Tests (Short Story included in the An Apple for the Creature anthology)
Magic Gifts (Novella available for a limited time as a free ebook from the authors and included in the print version of Gunmetal Magic)
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniel's World book 1)
Retribution Clause (Short Story in the Hex Appeal anthology)
Small Magics (Anthology containing previously published stories including A Questionable Client, Magic Tests and Retribution Clause as well as 2 other stories not set in the Kate Daniels world)
Magic Rises
Magic Steals (Novella included in the Night Shift anthology)
Magic Breaks
Magic Shifts
Magic Stars (Novella, Grey Wolf book 1)
Magic Binds
Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant book 1)
Magic Triumphs

Visit Ilona Andrews' website for more information

I have been excited about the idea of a Hugh book since way back when it was just a silly April Fool's joke on Ilona and Gordon's blog so of course I was over the moon when I found out it was actually going to be written after all. Hugh has always been a brilliant villain in the Kate Daniels series and a character that I desperately wanted to know more about but I have to admit I wasn't quite sure how he could be redeemed into a character I could root for. I have total faith in the Andrews writing team though and this isn't the first time they've pulled off the almost impossible, they've managed to make Hugh a complex character, maintain his total a-holeness but still make me love him and that's quite an achievement!

This is the first book in a spin off from the Kate Daniels series, Iron and Magic is designed to be read after Magic Binds but before the final book Magic Triumphs and I would highly recommend sticking to that reading order to get the most out of both series and avoid giving yourself any spoilers. In fact, if you're reading this review before you've read Magic Binds stop right now and go catch up with my all time favourite series. You'll thank me when you're done, I promise!

Hugh has done some pretty inexcusable things throughout the series, he's hurt a lot of characters we care about and caused a lot of trouble for Kate and Curran so I've never looked at him as a good guy but it was still pretty shocking to see Roland abandon him the way he did. Hugh is now completely on his own and it's had a huge affect on him but it is his Iron Dogs that pull him back from the edge. They need him if they're going to survive and Hugh is in a difficult situation because he has no way to provide all the things they need. He ends up seeking a marriage of convenience with Elara, she has a castle full of people and plenty of supplies but they are in danger and in need of protection, Hugh, on the other hand, has trained soldiers who are desperate for a home and willing to fight to defend it.

This isn't a marriage built on love or even on trust, in fact it's far closer to insta-hate because Hugh and Elara rub each other up the wrong way from the moment they set eyes on each other, which leads to some glorious banter let me tell you! This is two leaders who are willing to do anything to protect their people and if that means marrying the enemy then that's what they'll do. Their relationship is gradually changing but there's still a long way to go before I'd consider them a happy couple and I'm really glad about the slow build romance we're seeing here. Romance is definitely not the focus of the story, it's just a nice little extra going on in the background.

Instead the focus is on getting to know Hugh better and meeting some of the Iron Dogs, as well as finding out about Elara and her people. At the moment I have far more questions than answers about Elara but I can already tell you she's totally fascinating and more than capable of standing her ground against Hugh - there couldn't be a more well matched pair than these two. As always with Ilona Andrews books you get the most wonderful side characters and I love that we're introduced to a completely new set of characters here. Hugh is the only familiar face for most of the story (there are a couple of cameo appearances later on though) and even with him we get to learn so much that we never touched on in the main series so there is a lot of new territory to cover here and I loved every minute of it.

This story was everything I could possibly have wanted and I'm so excited to continue reading about Hugh, Elara and their people. It's taken me a long time to write this review because I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately but I've been completely obsessed with this book since it's release and I've already read it four times so that should give you some idea about how much I love it. As sad as I am that the main Kate Daniels series is coming to an end I'm extremely happy that Hugh and Elara are going to be around to pick up the reigns when Kate and Curran slip off into retirement!

Source: Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Event Report: Orion Blogger Brunch #OrionBloggerBrunch

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited the the Orion Blogger Brunch to find out all about some of the fantastic titles they have coming out throughout the rest of 2018. I can tell you right now they have some super exciting books to look forward to and my wishlist practically exploded while they were talking to us! They mentioned too many for me to list them all here so I'm just going to talk about the books I'm most excited about (although to be honest even then this is still going to be a looooong post LOL).

Award-winning author Ellen Kushner's classic of modern fantasy, set in a world of unforgettable characters whose political ambitions, passionate love affairs and age-old rivalries collide with deadly results.

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless- until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead a of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye . . .

First up was Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, this is actually a rerelease of a modern fantasy classic and it sounds wonderful! To be honest this is one of those books I should probably have read years ago but it's definitely on my radar now and I'm hoping to buy a copy soon.

Feminist Fairytales for Young and Old

Reimagining traditional tales, this empowering collection of stories, poems and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover.

Gone are the gender stereotypes of obliging lovers, violent men and girls that need rescuing. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains and you'll meet brave princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle and a courageous Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

'Await no princes to save you
through their lips touching yours
whilst you are in unwilling slumber.
Wake each other up instead.'

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill is an illustrated, modern, feminist twist on fairytales we know and love and it sounds like my perfect read. I love fairytales and retellings so I'm sure I'll love this book. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Nikita Gill's poetry collection Wild Embers at the event so I have something to tide me over until Fierce Fairytales releases in September!

Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. It was a magic they cherished - until the day a terrible accident took Essie's life and trapped her soul in this world.

Dax - the heir to Firgaard's throne - was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa's people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she'd give him the army he needed if he made her queen.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax's promises go unfulfilled. Roa's people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises - an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king.

Next up is The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli, I absolutely loved the first book in this series (read my review of The Last Namsara here) so I can't wait for the sequel!

A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man's journey to find his destiny.

Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He's never questioned it; that's just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend Cade are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free . . .

But what lies beyond the prison walls is more terrifying still. Rescued by a man who hates him yet is oath-bound to protect him, pursued by inhuman forces, Aren slowly accepts that everything he knew about his world was a lie. The rules are not there to protect him, or his people, but to enslave them. A revolution is brewing, and Aren is being drawn into it, whether he likes it or not.

The key to the revolution is the Ember Blade. The sword of kings, the Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up . . . but it's locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land.

All they have to do now is steal it . . .

I love fantasy and at over 800 pages this is going to be pretty epic! The Ember Blade is the first book in a new trilogy by popular author Chris Wooding and it sounds brilliant.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless and beloved A Wizard of Earthsea - '...reads like the retelling of a tale first told centuries ago' (David Mitchell) - comes this complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles, including over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin's vision of her classic saga.

Contains the short story, 'The Daughter of Odren', published in print for the first time, and her last story 'Firelight'.

Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea novels are some of the most acclaimed and awarded works in literature-they have received prestigious accolades such as the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, and many more honors, commemorating their enduring place in the hearts and minds of readers and the literary world alike.

Now for the first time ever, they're all together in one volume-including the early short stories, Le Guin's "Earthsea Revisioned" Oxford lecture, and new Earthsea stories, never before printed. With a new introduction by Le Guin herself, this essential edition will also include over fifty illustrations by renowned artist Charles Vess, specially commissioned and selected by Le Guin, to bring her refined vision of Earthsea and its people to life in a totally new way.

Stories include: 'A Wizard of Earthsea', 'The Tombs of Atuan', 'The Farthest Shore', 'Tehanu', 'Tales From Earthsea', 'The Other Wind', 'The Rule of Names', 'The Word of Unbinding', 'The Daughter of Odren', and 'Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University'

With stories as perennial and universally beloved as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of The Rings-but also unlike anything but themselves-this edition is perfect for those new to the world of Earthsea, as well as those who are well-acquainted with its enchanting magic: to know Earthsea is to love it.

- 1,008 pages
- 56 illustrations (including seven lavishly coloured plate sections)
- maps of Earthsea
- stunningly beautiful endpapers
- Six novels
- 4 short stories
- An essay

I don't think there are many fans out there who haven't heard of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle, I'm actually pretty ashamed to admit that I haven't read it! To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this classic series Gollancz are publishing this fantastic looking hardback which collects all six novels, four short stories and over 50 gorgeous illustrations from Charles Vess. I think this book is going to be a must have for fans of the series but it will also be the perfect place to start for people like me who have never read the books before.

Spensa's world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity's only defense is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what's left of the human race.

Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's - a pilot who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa's chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim and none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is still determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They've doubled their fleet, making Spensa's world twice as dangerous . . . but their desperation to survive might just take her skyward . . .

A new YA sci-fi from the king of fantasy Brandon Sanderson, hell yes, sign me up for Skyward!!

An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings, "Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairn's father,
Far less the land that he staps in.
(Child Ballad, no. 113)

So begins a stunning tale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas, and drama on the land. The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man.

Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there - without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

The Blue Salt Road is a new modern fairytale from Joanne Harris set in the same world as A Pocketful of Crows (another book that has been on my wishlist forever!) and once again illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins. I'm going to try and read A Pocketful of Crows before this releases in November because both books sound fabulous.

In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Green - co-creator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers and SciShow - spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realising she's part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship - like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armour - April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world - everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires - and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the centre of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric and radicalisation; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. This edition includes beautifully designed endpapers and is definitely not one to miss out on.

I have to tell you about Hank Green's upcoming debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, which is being published in September. I have to confess I've not read anything by John Green (sacrilege I know but I'm not really a big reader of contemporary YA) but Hank's debut sounds much more like my kind of thing. We got to watch a video of Hank talking about the book at the event and it sounds like such a brilliant read, this isn't the actual video but it does tell you more about the story so I thought I'd include it here:

After teasing us with all their upcoming books it was time for Orion to introduce us to a couple of their authors, Ed McDonald, author of Blackwing and Ravencry, and Catriona Ward, author of Rawblood and Little Eve. We got to listen to them talk about their books and the difference between writing a first and second novel. I wish I'd known Ed was going to be there because I'd have brought my copies of Blackwing and Ravencry to get them signed but it was great to meet both authors and we got a chance to mingle with them while we took a break for pizza and cupcakes - just have a look at these delicious little beauties:

After out break it was time for Orion to taunt us with some books that we're going to have to wait until 2019 to get our hands on, oh the cruelty LOL.

Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal for readers of Sabaa Tahir and Alwyn Hamilton.

All hail the Girl King.

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty's first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min's hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set's reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters' greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

First up was The Girl King, a deput fantasy from Mimi Yu inspired by East Asian mythology! You should all know by now what a huge fantasy fan I am so this sounds right up my street and it's going to be sheer torture waiting until January next year to read it!

'Inspirational, funny and wise' - Kit de Waal

Queenie Jenkins can't cut a break. Well, apart from the one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That's definitely just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Stuck between a boss who doesn't seem to see her, a Carribbean family who don't seem to listen (if it's not Jesus or water rates, they're not interested), and trying to fit in two worlds that don't really understand her, it's no wonder she's struggling.

She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?

A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on modern life, QUEENIE will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity, and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way.

Perfect for fans of Dolly Alderton, Bryony Gordon and Dawn O'Porter, and anyone who loved Fleabag and Dear White People.

Last but definitely not least we got to hear Candice Carty-Williams talk about her March 2019 debut Queenie. I don't read much contemporary but this sounds like such a funny read that I'm definitely going to make an exception!

I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Orion for inviting me to a fabulous event. It was wonderful to spend time chatting with the authors, publicists and other bloggers about all these exciting books and I can't wait to start reading them!

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Review: Claimed by her Cougar - Felicity Heaton

Having lost his parents and mate in a brutal attack on his cougar shifter pride by a hunter organisation, Rath burns with a need to keep humans off his land and out of his life. He'll do whatever it takes to protect his pride from them, but when a lone female wanders into his territory, it isn't a burning need to drive her away he's feeling and it isn't his pride that needs protecting - it's his heart.

Down on her luck, Ivy follows a lead to a spot where she hopes to photograph black bears, but what she discovers there is a mountain of a man who lacks manners and seems determined to drive her off his property - a man who stirs unbidden fire in her veins and a strange sense of home.

With a pride gathering on the verge of happening at Cougar Creek and the air charged with a mating heat, the last thing Rath needs is a human on his land, especially one as beautiful and alluring as Ivy, one who rouses a fierce need to fight for her, but he can't convince himself to let her go... and that proves dangerous for them both.

Cougar Creek Mates Series:
(Set in the same world as Vampire Erotic Theatre & Eternal Mates series but can be read completely separately)
Claimed by her Cougar
Captured by her Cougar
Courted by her Cougar
Craved by her Cougar

Vampire Erotic Theatre Series:

Eternal Mates Series:
(This series is set in the same world as the Vampire Erotic Theatre series but can be read completely separately)
Kissed by a Dark Prince
Claimed by a Demon King
Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Hunted by a Jaguar
Craved by an Alpha
Bitten by a Hellcat
Taken by a Dragon
Marked by an Assassin
Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Awakened by a Demoness
Haunted by the King of Death
Tuned by a Tiger
Tamed by a Tiger
Treasured by a Tiger
Unchained by a Forbidden Love

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

Claimed by her Cougar is the first book in Felicity Heaton's new Cougar Creek Mates series, this is a spin off set in the same world as the Eternal Mates books but can be read completely separately. I don't believe there will be any crossover of characters in this series so you won't be lost if you start here.

Rath's parents and mate were killed in an attack on their pride by a group of Hunters and ever since then he ha done everything in his power to protect the survivors. Cougars tend to be solitary creatures so although they have a meeting point where they can come together for gatherings most of the time they roam alone or in small family groups. Rath is preparing their isolated home ready for a gathering when a human enters their territory, he has sworn to keep their community secret and the last thing he needs is a woman walking around taking pictures but his instincts want him to claim the stranger rather than send her on her way. Ivy is a photographer who is searching for bears when she comes across Rath and his home, she knows nothing of shifters and has no idea what she has stumbled into but when danger comes calling she has to decide what path her future will take,

If you've read any of the Eternal Mates books you'll know what to expect from this series, Felicity Heaton always writes great paranormal romances with characters that are easy to root for, sweet and sexy romances and a nice amount of action thrown into the mix. We haven't met many members of the pride yet but I'm already looking forward to Storm's story and to meeting the rest of Rath's brothers too. These are the perfect kind of story for when you just want something quick and satisfying to read and I'm glad we don't have to wait long for the next release!

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

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:

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Blog Tour: Cougar Creek Mates Series - Felicity Heaton

New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton is here today for the book tour of her new shifter romance release, Claimed by her Cougar, the first book in her brand new Cougar Creek Mates Series. Set in her popular Eternal Mates world, Cougar Creek Mates takes you into the deep Canadian wilderness to a secret place that's home to a cougar shifter pride led by four sexy brothers, each guaranteed to steal your heart and set it racing! With all four books in the series releasing just weeks apart, this is going to be one hot summer.

Check out the book and be sure to enter the awesome grand giveaway happening at her website!

Felicity Heaton

Having lost his parents and mate in a brutal attack on his cougar shifter pride by a hunter organisation, Rath burns with a need to keep humans off his land and out of his life. He'll do whatever it takes to protect his pride from them, but when a lone female wanders into his territory, it isn't a burning need to drive her away he's feeling and it isn't his pride that needs protecting - it's his heart.

Down on her luck, Ivy follows a lead to a spot where she hopes to photograph black bears, but what she discovers there is a mountain of a man who lacks manners and seems determined to drive her off his property - a man who stirs unbidden fire in her veins and a strange sense of home.

With a pride gathering on the verge of happening at Cougar Creek and the air charged with a mating heat, the last thing Rath needs is a human on his land, especially one as beautiful and alluring as Ivy, one who rouses a fierce need to fight for her, but he can't convince himself to let her go... and that proves dangerous for them both.

Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win one of a $75, $50 or $25 Amazon Gift Card at the Claimed by her Cougar book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on August 12th. Enter now:

If the tip she had received turned out to be nothing, Ivy was going to kill the person who had given it to her. She rubbed her hands together, struggling to keep the chill off her numbed fingers as she made her way through the thick coniferous woods, following a faint path that she hoped would lead her down to the river she had heard almost a mile back. She paused and checked her position on her GPS.

She was getting close to the coordinates she had been given now, and not even the freezing morning temperatures, or the chilly night camping that had seen her awake more than asleep, listening tensely to every noise in the darkness, could dampen her excitement.

Black bears.

If she could get some photographs of a mother with cubs in undisturbed habitat, it would be incredible, perfect for her series on Canadian bears, an idea she had hit on last year when trying to shatter a creative wall that had left her close to giving up photography altogether.

Yasmin had talked her through it, always the voice of reason and support, convincing her not to give up just yet and to think of a project that could stir her passion again.

Ivy was glad that she had listened and had decided to try a series on bears, because some of the photos she had taken of grizzlies in the fall had restored her faith and now she had found the energy she had been missing, the enthusiasm she had always had for photography.

It wasn’t her work. It was her passion.

One she couldn’t believe she had almost given up on now that she was back in the saddle.

She carefully picked a path over the roots of the spruces and pines that towered above her, half of her focus on the world around her and half of it on the project.

If things went well with the black bears, maybe she could head over to the coast and find some spirit bears. It would be more of a challenge, but she had done her research and there was a place that was off the beaten trail, just like this one. No tourist groups to disturb her work or get in the way. Just unspoilt and untamed nature at its finest. She could picture the photographs now, just as she could see the ones she could get in her current location, and another bubble of excitement burst inside her, bringing a smile to her lips.

She could do it if her funding held.

Ivy didn’t want to think about that, not when what had happened with one of her sponsors had sent her into her creative depression in the first place.

She adjusted the straps of her backpack, one that he had bought her.

One she had wanted to ditch but getting a bag of this calibre, one that could safely store all her equipment, some clothing and food, and her camping gear, was expensive, and she had never been one to do something as frivolous as throwing away a perfectly good bag and buying a replacement.

Her budget was stretched tight enough as it was.

She was damned if she was going to risk running out of money just to spite a man who didn’t give a damn about her.

Ivy paused and listened, searching for the sound of the river through the patches of birdsong. Nothing. She pushed onwards, heaving a sigh as her feet started to ache in her boots. She must have walked a few miles already, had started out from her camping spot at first light, as soon as she had been able to walk without needing a flashlight.

It was growing lighter now.

Ahead of her, the trees thinned, and she peered through them. Golden light cast shadows, telling her there was an opening of some sort in that direction.

She quickened her pace, the thought of standing in the weak sunlight and letting it warm her driving her more than the thought the river might be there. She needed to warm up or her brain was going to freeze. She should have found her gloves in her pack this morning, and maybe a hat, something to keep the chill off so it wasn’t such a distraction, but she had been so excited by the thought of finding black bears in this pristine wilderness that she had rushed to keep moving towards the location she had been given.

An animal called in the distance and she stilled, her head whipping in all directions, pulse jacking up as she listened hard, trying to figure out where the sound had come from, and what had made it.

A deer broke cover just a few metres ahead of her and she almost shrieked as she jumped and stumbled back a step. The heel of her hiking boot caught on a root and threatened to send her down, and she staggered as she fought to maintain her balance so she didn’t land on her backside, and her pack.

The animal glanced her way, called again and bounded into the trees to her right as she grabbed the trunk of the pine to stop herself from falling and breathed hard and fast, her heart hammering as adrenaline flooded her veins, leaving her trembling.

When the sound of its footfalls disappeared, and the birds began singing again, she breathed a little easier, focused on each one she pulled down into her lungs to steady her racing heart as she sagged against the tree.

Damn, being so deep in the woods was making her jittery.

She wasn’t sure she had ever ventured so far into the wilderness before, and she hadn’t realised it would put her so on edge, afraid of every noise she heard. She had been so caught up in the fact the person she had spoken to at a bar in Golden, deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, had told her he had seen a lot of bears in this valley in the past that she hadn’t really thought about how remote it was.

Or how alone she was.

Normally when she headed into the wilder places in the world, she had a guide with her.

This time, she was flying solo.

Looking for bears.

Damn, she hoped she hadn’t made a terrible mistake by trekking into the middle of nowhere and wasn’t about to meet a grisly end.

Pun intended.

Ivy looked back over her shoulder as she palmed the bear spray hanging from her belt of her brown trousers, using the feel of it to calm her nerves. If she trekked all day, she could probably make it back to her Jeep where she had parked it at the end of a logging track. It would be dark when she got there, but she could sleep in the safety of the vehicle and drive at first light.

She glanced at the forest around her, and shook her head, causing her ponytail to sway across the shoulders of her beige weatherproof jacket.

No. She had to keep going forwards, wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she didn’t do this. It would always play on her mind, tormenting her with the fact she had given up when she might have been able to get award-winning photographs of bears.

When she scanned the woods again, and spotted mist creeping through the trees below her to her right, her feet took the decision out of her hands. She marched down the slope, winding through the broad trunks of the ancient trees, and slowed as she left them behind.

The river.

It was eerily silent as it stretched before her, shallow and broad, rippling over rocks.

She stared at the dense dark green woods on the other side and the mountains that speared the azure sky beyond them, the cragged peaks still laced with snow.

The beauty of it hit her hard, had her standing still and taking it in as she swept her gaze across the scenery, to her left towards where the sun was rising, not quite visible beyond a dip in the mountains.
She wasn’t sure she had ever been anywhere that felt so tranquil.

Where she felt miles from civilisation.

It was breathtaking.

A smile crept onto her lips. The trek and the terrifying night sleeping in a flimsy tent had been worth it just to see this.

She followed the rocky bank of the river, letting it lead her now, forgetting her GPS, sure this was the spot the old man had told her about, and that she would get the photographs of bears that she wanted here, if she had a little patience.

And damn, they were going to be amazing.

She could feel it as a shiver over her skin, a sweep of prickles that stirred her excitement to a whole new level and had her looking at all the angles, seeking just the right one to make a composition that would blow the world away.

She found it as she rounded a bend in the river and the trees hugging the bank eased away from it, allowing the scenery to open up.

It was perfect.


The shallow river rippled over rocks, flowing swiftly around the bend, and trees enclosed it on both sides. The mountains embraced those trees, rising high into the sky. Yes, this was the place. She was going to get the shots she wanted here, she was sure of it.

As the sun broke the horizon above the mountains, and mist swirled across the river, she reached for her camera. She had to photograph it. It was too beautiful to let it slip through her grasp. She pulled her backpack off, set it down on the bank near the trees and unzipped it, taking out her camera. She fixed a wide-angle lens on it, one that would give her enough field of view to really capture the beauty of the valley but could zoom to give her a close up if a bear appeared, and positioned herself.

Ivy snapped a picture and looked down at the screen of her Nikon, smiled at the shot, adjusted her settings, and lifted her camera to take another. As she swept it across the scenery, looking for the best composition, she imagined a black bear emerging from the haze and how perfect it would be. It was a magical scene as the sun rose and mist hung just above the rippling water, and it would only be made even more magical by a bear.

She took a handful of photographs, the changing light as the sun rose leading her to take another and then another, documenting the splendour of the scene as it subtly shifted.

She had never seen anything so beautiful.

So breathtaking.

She swung her camera left, towards the side of the river she was on, wanting to capture a shot of it with the glacier in the distance and the sun rising above it.

A shape loomed in the mist, disturbing it, and her heart lodged in her throat, a thrill chasing through her as she pressed down on the shutter release, sure it was a bear.

But as the mist parted, it wasn’t a bear that emerged.

It was a man.

A mountain of one.

He moved towards her with a predator’s gait, prowling through the mist that tried to cling to his long powerful jeans-clad legs and the cuffs of his worn dark green fleece, the sun rising behind him casting golden highlights in his thick dark hair. His square jaw, shadowed by stubble, tensed and his stony grey eyes darkened as they narrowed on her.

It took Ivy a moment to realise he was talking to her.

“You’re trespassing.” His gravelly deep voice rolled over her, a growl that suited his appearance.

He looked more dangerous than the wild animals in these parts.

Book 2: Captured by her Cougar (coming 18th August 2018)
Book 3: Courted by her Cougar (coming 8th September 2018)
Book 4: Craved by her Cougar (coming 29th September 2018)

Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you're looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:


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