Saturday 31 December 2011

Event Report - Author's After Dark 2011 - #AADPhilly

I just realised that we're about to reach the end of 2011 and I still haven't shared any of my American adventures from the summer.  I had a whole series of posts planned but with everything that has been going on with the house (in case you missed the updates I've been in temporary housing since a couple of weeks after we got home, first in a B&B and now in a flat with no internet access!) I haven't had the time to write them.  My Dad, brother and I had an amazing time in Washington, New York and Niagara Falls but I'll tell you more about that some other time.  For today I want to share with you one of my bookish highlights of the whole year - the Authors After Dark Con in Philadelphia.  Really this was the most amazing experience and although there were a few problems with the hotel I loved every minute of the weekend.

Day 1 - 11th August

Thanks to a mix up over train times I ended up getting to Philadelphia later than planned so I'd missed the convention opening and quite a few panels but luckily I managed to find my roomies quickly so we could get checked in & offload our bags.  I can't tell you how excited I was to finally meet Larissa (from Welcome to Larissa's Bookish Life) her blog is one of the first ones I discovered when I started blogging and she is just as lovely in person as she is online.  I was also really looking forward to meeting Jaime (author JA Saare who also writes as Aline Hunter) who I have been chatting to on twitter forever and I love her!  She has the most adorable southern accent & we were the terrible red-headed twosome for the weekend :o)
Roomies! Jaime, me & Larissa

I can't believe I had to go all the way to America to meet one of my favourite UK bloggers and twitter friend Jules (Minxy) from Loose Knickers and Window Lickers (isn't that just one of the coolest blog names!).  Jules and I had a blast and we're already plotting ways to try and do the whole Brit Chick on tour thing again & get back to AAD another year.  If only flights weren't so damn expensive!  Someone else I'd really been looking forward to meeting was Jen from That's What I'm Talking About.  I've been chatting to Jen for so long now and it was awesome to finally see her in person.

The first event we all went to was the Blogger ARC party where we got to meet some amazing authors, were given a stack of fabulous books and I got to chat with some other fab bloggers.  I know I'm going to have missed some off this list (probably some that I spent lots of time chatting to over the weekend knowing my memory!) so I'll apologise in advance for that but a big shout out to Bells (Hanging With Bells), Joy (Joyfully Reviewed), Grace (Livre D'Armour), Robin (Intense Whisper), Pam (Wicked Lil Pixie), Marq (Love to Read for Fun), Felicia (Geeky Blogger) & Mandi (Smexy Books) and everyone else I spoke to (please let me know if I missed you!).

Lara Adrian & me

Then there was my highlight of the entire year, you know that moment where you meet your favourite author ever, the one you love so much that your first ever tattoo was a symbol from her series?  Well, perhaps not everyone knows that exact moment but you get the idea lol.  Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series was the first adult paranormal romance series I ever read and it hooked me in from the minute I picked up Kiss of Midnight.  I have spoken to Lara on twitter and via email pretty much since I started blogging but I can't begin to tell you how excited I was to finally meet her - it was the whole reason I wanted to go to AAD in the first place (although finding out that Larissa Ione was going to be there too was just the icing on the cake!).  The fact that Lara spotted me from across the room, knew who I was (OMFG SHE KNEW WHO I WAS!!) and came over to give me a hug made my day!  Not only that but I got to go for dinner with Lara and some of the others which was fantastic.  Lara is so lovely and I'm so pleased I got to spend time chatting with her!

Larissa Ione & me

After dinner we went to an event hosted by Lara Adrian & Larissa Ione where we had lots of giggles and begged for spoilers (not that I could possibly tell you if we got any or not!) and posed for pictures.  So less than 1 full day at the con & I'd already met my two favourite authors!  Yup, it was a good day :o)  Larissa is just as lovely as I knew she would be and meeting her was awesome!  Lara & Larissa are both the friendliest and coolest people and I may possibly have worried them a little by stalking them bumping into them all weekend.

Day 2 - 12th August

I have to admit the second day passed in a bit of a blur, I'd only had about 3 hours sleep since Jaime, Larissa and I were a bit hyper and over excited the night before.  It was like being a teen again at a girly sleepover where you spend all night whispering in bed, I think we finally turned the lights off at about 4am but since Larissa forgot to turn off her alarm we were up again by 7am!  I know we went to several panels but I forget which ones & you're probably not going to believe this but I was incredibly lax about taking pictures.  I think I was so overwhelmed by the whole experience that I just completely forgot I was walking around with a camera in my hand.  I met so many fabulous authors and hardly took pictures of any of them, not at all like me I know and I was really annoyed with myself afterwards.

I spent quite a bit of time on the 5th floor balcony which was where most of the smokers gathered and there was always someone to talk to.  It was there that I got talking to Dakota Cassidy who is without a doubt one of the funniest people I've ever met.  Seriously, if you ever get a chance to meet her do it but expect to laugh until your sides hurt!  I hadn't read any of her books before but I bought several at the AAD signing and if they're half as funny as she is in person then I know I'll love them. 

Stella Price & me

Jules and I also managed to spend a few minutes with the lovely Stella Price who works so hard to organise AAD every year.  I know there were a lot of complaints about some things that happened at AADPhilly but that was mostly down to the seriously bad customer services of the hotel, I can guarantee I'd never go back to that hotel again!  It was irritating that events switched rooms at the last minute and you couldn't always find what you were looking for but that didn't stop me from having the most amazing time at the con so I'm not going to say anymore about it.  Other things that people have complained about didn't effect me personally so I'm going to stay away from the drama there, yes I'm sad that some people were disappointed but I'm not going to let that colour my experiences.  I thought AAD was fantastic and I would love to go again every year, the only thing stopping me is the flight costs but trust me as soon as I've saved up enough I'll be going again!

Jules & me

Jules and I might have sneaked into the hotel bar for cocktails before we went to get changed for the Masquerade dinner & ball.  The evening was great fun and there were some fabulous costumes, everything from Greek goddesses to Medusa, geisha girls to faeries.  Leanna Renee Hieber & her partner Marcus looked absolutely amazing dressed as the Goddess and Alexi from her book The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess and I also loved Stephanie Burke's geisha outfit (you can see pics in the slide show below).  We got to sit with Larissa Ione for the dinner which was fantastic as it was also her birthday so we got to help her celebrate.  After the dinner there was dancing but I have to admit I spent most of the evening sitting outside chatting so I missed most of that. 

Day 3 - 13th August

This was the busiest day of the con and I'm still not quite sure how I survived it considering Jamie, Larissa and I had spent another night gossiping and giggling rather than sleeping!  Jules and I hit a couple of panels in the morning including the "It's All About the Fangs, Baby" panel with Larissa Ione, Lara Adrian, Jess Haines, Jennifer Armintrout, Alexandra Ivy and Samantha Sommersby which was great fun and added quite a few books to my wish list!

Jess Haines, Lara Adrian, Larissa Ione, Samantha Sommersby, Jennifer Armintrout & Alexandra Ivy

After the panel we had about 2 hours to spare before the big book signing in the afternoon.  Jules and I were both leaving Philadelphia as soon as the convention finished so we decided it would be nice to spend a little bit of time exploring.  Admittedly we didn't have time to see everything but at least we can say we ventured out of the hotel now!  We were able to go on a tour of Independence Hall which is where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were discussed and then signed.  We also got to go and see Liberty Bell, there was quite a long queue but luckily it was fairly fast moving and we managed to get back to the hotel just in time.  Here are a few pics I took as we were walking around Philadelphia, I'd love to go back and explore properly one day:

Then it was time for the signing, we had been given quite a few books by authors who were at AAD but there was also a book seller outside the signing room where we could buy more.  I have to confess that I got a bit carried away at that book stall & I spent nearly $200 buying books (well when am I going to get the chance to get books signed by all these American authors again?).  I'd heard so many good things about Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke (which I have since read & reviewed here - it was AMAZING!), I loved the first book in Nicole Peeler's Jane True series (Tempest Rising reviewed here) so had to pick up the next couple of books and I've wanted to read Leanna Renee Hieber's Strangely Beautiful series for ages so I couldn't resist them either.  I also bought books by Jess Haines, Carolyn Crane and Dakota Cassidy who had all been on my wish list and I'm sure some more that I've forgotten about.  Of course I'd bought full sets of Lara Adrian and Larissa Ione's books with me to get signed too :o)

I had so many books to get signed that I had to carry them in 3 batches (by the time I'd packed a box to ship home I could barely pick it up!).  Along with the authors mentioned above I got to meet and get books signed by Lia Habel, Kristen PainterAnton Strout, Lydia Dare, Karin Harlow, Sidney Ayers, Erin Kellison, Theresa Meyers, Nancy Holzner, Monica Burns, Judi Fennell, Jessa Slade, Bianca D'Arc, Sylvia Day, Jennifer Estep, Bronwyn Green, Mia Watts, Brynn Paulin, Samantha Kane and Stephanie Julian.  Stupidly even though I had my camera with me I only remembered to take one picture with Leanna Renee Hieber.  If I ever make it to AAD again I WILL be more organised with my camera!

I did remember to take lots of pictures at the steampunk ball though!  I'd been looking forward to seeing everyone's steampunk costumes for months, it had taken me forever to decide on my own costume too but I had some help on that one.  I have to say there were some absolutely fantastic outfits and people had come up with so many different ideas.  One of my favourites was Lia Habel who looked like a princess in her pretty pink dress (you can see some action shots of her dancing in the slide show below), Leanna Renee Hieber and her partner Marcus both looked fab and I loved Meljean Brook's wonder woman tshirt and corset combo.

I wasn't too sure what to make of the carnival side show, I'm a bit squeamish so someone hanging weights off of hooks that have been poked through their eye lids is enough to send me running from the room!  I think it was a fun idea if you have a stronger stomach than I do but I stayed outside until it was over and then came back in for the dancing.  It was a great evening though and one that involved a bit too much drinking and yet another late night.

Day 4 - 14th August

Jules, Jen & me

It was so sad to reach the last day of AAD, we'd had such a fantastic time that I didn't want it to end!  Unfortunately the closing ceremony had been cancelled so there were no organised events on the last day but I did get to go for breakfast with Larissa, Jules, Jen and some of the other bloggers before it was time to check out of the hotel.  I have to say by the time my Dad and brother collected me to head for the train station for our trip to New York I was ready to sleep for a week.  I had less than 10 hours sleep in 3 nights and was completely running on empty but it was worth every minute. 

AAD was such a fantastic experience, I met some amazing people - some who were already friends and some who are now, I have some wonderful memories and some fab books that I really need to make time to read.  Thanks to everyone who I spent time with for helping make it so special and I hope I'll get to see you all again another year!

Review: Trapped - Michael Northrop

The day the blizzard started, no one knew it was going to keep snowing for a week.

Scott and his friends are among the last seven kids at their school waiting to get picked up that day and they soon realise that no one is coming for them.  Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night there, especially when Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall.

Then the power goes out.  Then the heat.  The pipes freeze.  The roof shudders.  As the days add up, the snow piles higher, the empty halls grow colder and darker and the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision . . .

Visit Michael Northrop's website for more information

Trapped is the story of seven teenagers who are left stranded at their school in a terrible blizzard.  As the snow storm continues their situation gets worse and worse and it seems less likely that they will be rescued.  It's a fight for survival but will they all make it through?

I wasn't too sure what to expect when I picked up Trapped, I was a little worried that it might be too scary for me but although the story was very creepy in places it didn't frighten me as much as I expected.  The story definitely makes you feel claustrophobic though and I also found myself shivering as I read about the ever increasing levels of snow (I actually had to curl up in a blanket to continue reading the book!).

I enjoyed the interaction between the students and watching them get to know each other better.  The story is narrated by Scotty who stayed late with two of his friends (Pete & Jason) to work on building Jason's go-kart.  Scotty feels quite lucky to be trapped with his best friends, he feels it gives them an advantage over most of the others who didn't really know each other before becoming snowed in, but the longer they are stuck with no sign of rescue the more their tempers begin to fray and the friends are at risk of turning on each other.  On the other hand you have kids from completely different social groups who would normally never even talk to each other that realise they have more in common than they would have expected as they get to know each other.  It was really interesting to see the unexpected friendships that start to develop as the story continues.

I think I was expecting their fight for survival to be harder than it was, not to say that they had an easy time of it because that is far from true, but they had access to a ready food supply and managed to quickly come up with ways to get water and some heat.  I guess it makes sense that a school would have plenty of food supplies but it did make the story a little less dramatic than it could have been.  This was still a story that I couldn't put down though and it did make me think about whether I would have survived in similar circumstances.  By the time I'd finished reading I wanted to go to the supermarket and stockpile food just in case of a snow storm.  This was an enjoyable read and one that makes for very creepy winter reading, just make sure you're sitting in front of a roaring fire before you pick it up!

Source: Received from Atom 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.

Review: Street Game - Christine Feehan

For Mack McKinley and his team of GhostWalker killing machines, urban warfare is an art.  Danger is just another part of the game - but now Mack's come face-to-face with a woman who can play just as tough.

She's Jaimie, a woman with a sapphire stare so potent it can destroy a man.  Years ago she and Mack had a history - volatile, erotic and electric.  Then she vanished - but now she's walked back into Mack's life again.  Against all odds, she's hooking up with him one more time to take on an enemy that could destroy them both - or bring them back together in one hot, no-holds-barred adrenaline rush.

GhostWalkers Series:
Shadow Game
Mind Game
Night Game
Conspiracy Game
Deadly Game
Predatory Game
Murder Game
Street Game
Ruthless Game
Samurai Game (2012)

For more information visit Christine Feehan's website

I'm a big fan of Christine Feehan's GhostWalkers series but I would definitely recommend reading the series in order because you would be missing a lot of back story to pick up the series starting with Street Game (which is actually book 8).  I have to admit that I was a bit confused when I picked this one up and realised that Christine has now moved on to the third group of GhostWalkers.  It's not that I don't like the new group, more that there are still so many characters from the first 2 groups that I've been hoping to find out more about!  I was disappointed to find that there was no interaction with any of the members of the previous two groups throughout the whole book, in fact the only cross over to make it part of the same series is that the bad guy is still Doctor Whitney and he still has a whole host of unknown people helping cover his tracks and allowing him to continue his illegal and immoral experiments.

Mack and his team have a much stronger bond than the first two teams of GhostWalkers, they all grew up on the streets together and have had each others backs since they were children.  They know each other inside out, can predict how everyone else thinks and will react in different situations and they have a great rapport which allows for a lot of fun banter between them.  Jaimie was part of their group as a child and joined the GhostWalker program alongside them but when she left Mack two years ago she abandoned the rest of the team as well.  They all think of her as a sister so when Mack stumbles back into her life she not only has to deal with her very alpha and controlling ex who wants her back but she also has a bunch of protective older brothers on her case.  I liked Jaimie but I do think she caved in too easily to the demands of Mack and the others, I would have liked to see her stand up for herself a bit more.  I alternated between wanting to slap Mack and wanting to hug him.  At times he absolutely drove me insane and if I could have shook some sense into him I would have done but then he'd show a softer, more vulnerable side that melted me just a little bit.

I really hope that we're going to get some kind of resolution to the Whitney plot line soon, I'm starting to have trouble keeping up with who the bad guys are, which GhostWalkers are part of which team and all the evil deeds that the doctor has committed.  It would be nice to see Christine Feehan move the series in a slightly different direction now.  The story has left things set up nicely for Kane's story (which is up next in Ruthless Game) but I'm also curious to find out more about Jaimie's friend Joe and I'd love to see more of Javier too.  What I'd really like in the next book is some more interaction with the previous two teams though, I want to know how all the other couples are getting on and it would be good to have everyone working together for some kind of big show down but I guess I'll have to wait and see if that happens.

Street Game seemed to focus a little less on the romance than some of the more recent books have which isn't necessarily a bad thing but I would have liked a little more than we got.  I also found the plot moved a bit slower than normal.  There seemed to be a lot of sitting around and waiting for something to happen and the only thing that stopped me from getting bored was the banter amongst the team the fact I was getting to know a new set of characters.  This wasn't my favourite book in the series but it was still an enjoyable installment and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next. 

Source: Library

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.

Friday 30 December 2011

Publisher Spotlight: Headline - January - March 2012

I thought it would be fun to start spotlighting new releases that different publishers have coming up over the next few months for us to look forward to.  I'm constantly looking for new books to add to my wish list and thought it would be a nice way of spreading the bookish love with other bloggers.  I'm not sure how regular the posts will be yet but I have quite a few lined up already and we'll see how things go over the next few months.  So in the spotlight today we have . . .

Headline have some fabulous YA books coming out in early 2012.  I'm really looking forward to reading them all!  Check out the Headline website for more information.

I'm sure you'll all have heard of this first book - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith.  This has been all over the blogosphere for months now and although I don't read a lot of contemporary romance I'm really looking forward to picking this one up when it comes out on the 5th of January.  I think it'll make a nice change from all the paranormal stories I usually read.  You can find out more at Jennifer's page on Goodreads.

Today should be one of the worst days of 17-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. She’s stuck at the airport in New York, late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley’s never even met. So it’s a complete and utter surprise when she happens to meet the perfect boy in a cramped waiting area in JFK. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s booked in seat 18C. Hadley is in 18B. In the tradition of great romantic movies, Hadley and Oliver fall in love on a seven-and-a-half hour flight from New York to London. After a cinematic kiss outside customs in Heathrow, Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos, and Hadley realizes that she doesn’t even know his last name. Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves.

On the 2nd of February we have Pure, the first book in a new post apocalyptic trilogy by Julianna Baggott.  I'm really enjoying dystopian fiction at the moment which is a good thing as it definitely seems to be the current big YA trend.  Pure looks fab and I'm looking forward to reading it.  You can find out more at Julianna's website here.

After the detonations, the world is divided in two: the Pures and the Wretches. Those who were not selected to live a life inside the dome felt the full force of the detonations – fused to whatever they were closest to – they cut a shocking image. Birds are fused to backs, groups of people fused together to create ‘Groupies’ and Pressia, holding a doll, now has a dolls head for a hand.

Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the 'Pure'. Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders' regime, isn't as perfect as others think. Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world.

On the 16th of February Headline are publishing The Snow Child which is a debut novel by Eowyn Ivey.  This sounds like a perfect winter read for when it's snowing outside and you're curled up in front of a nice warm fire!  Definitely another one I'm looking forward to reading.  Find out more at Eowyn's website here.

Set in 1920s Alaska, Eowyn Ivey’s magical debut novel The Snow Child introduces the reader to Jack and Mabel and their life on the homestead. Jack and Mabel are drifting apart—he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone, but they catch sight of an elusive, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in the Alaska wilderness, life and death are inextricable, and what they eventually learn about Faina changes their lives forever.

Inspired by the classic Russian fairy tale of the snow maiden, The Snow Child will transport the reader to a fantastical, beautiful and heartbreaking place. It is a place you will want to return to, as the author breathes life into a familiar tale and makes it as fresh as winter’s first snowfall.

The last book I'm going to mention today is The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall.  This debut novel is being published on the 1st of March and I think it will be a beautiful story.  I don't think I've read anything set in Hungry before so I'm very curious to find out more about the country.  You can find out more at Emylia's blog here.

Beth Lowe has been sent a parcel. Inside is a letter informing her that her long-estranged mother has died, and a scrapbook Beth has never seen before. Entitled The Book of Summers, it’s stuffed with photographs and mementos complied by her mother to record the seven glorious childhood summers Beth spent in rural Hungary.

It was a time when she trod the tightrope between separated parents and two very different countries; her bewitching but imperfect Hungarian mother and her gentle, reticent English father; the dazzling house of a Hungarian artist and an empty-feeling cottage in deepest Devon. And it was a time that came to the most brutal of ends the year Beth turned sixteen.

Since then, Beth hasn’t allowed herself to think about those years of her childhood. But the arrival of The Book of Summers brings the past tumbling back into the present; as vivid, painful and vital as ever.

Headline have some fab titles coming this spring don't they!  Which ones are you most looking forward to?  Have you read any of them already?  If you have I'd love to know what you thought of them.

Review: Immortal Rider - Larissa Ione

UK Cover
The prophecies were there but no one listened. Until now. They are the Lords of Deliverance and they have the power to usher in Doomsday . . . or prevent it.

Sexy, powerful and immortal, Limos is on a crash course with destiny. She's been marked as Satan's bride and her jealous fiancé wants her all to himself. The only way this Horseman can keep herself - and everyone else - safe to keep her distance. But not even Limos can save herself from the secrets she's kept . . . or resist the seductive allure of one very brave human.

Arik Wagner knows the saying 'love hurts' better than most, yet he never thought stealing a kiss from Limos would land him in hell. Literally. It takes all his military training to survive the demon torture, but once he's topside, Arik realises that the agony has just begun. With the Apocalypse looming and Satan demanding his bride, will Arik and Limos surrender to the dark desire smouldering between them? Or will giving in to their passion unleash hell on earth?

The Demonica Series:
Pleasure Unbound
Desire Unchained
Passion Unleashed
Eternity Embraced (Novella)
Ecstasy Unveiled
Sin Undone
Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 1)
Vampire Fight Club (Novella in the Supernatural anthology or as a separate ebook)
Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 2)
Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 3)
Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 4)
Azagoth (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 1)
Hades (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 2)
Base Instincts (Novella)
Z (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 3)
Razr (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 4)
Hawkyn (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 5)
Her Guardian Angel (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 6, also part of the Masters and Mercenaries Crossover Collection)
Dining with Angels: Bits & Bites from the Demonica Universe (Short Story Collection & Recipe Book, Demonica Underworld book 7)
Cipher (Demonica Underworld book 8)
Reaper (Demonica Underworld book 9)

For more information visit Larissa Ione's website

Limos is the only female Horseman of the Apocalypse and if her seal breaks she will become Famine. That is the least of her worries though as she is also destined to become Satan's bride. She has spent 5,000 years trying to avoid her fiancé and putting off the wedding but one stolen kiss from Arik means all hell breaks loose. Arik is a human who works for the army's paranormal division and knows all about the demons and other creatures that roam the earth.  He has been attracted to Limos from the moment he first saw her but he had no idea what would happen to him if he tried to act on that attraction. As soon as he kisses her he finds himself dragged to hell to be tortured, if Satan's minions can just get him to call out Limos' name she will be forced to go through with the wedding. Can Arik manage to protect her and what will it cost him if he does? Is there any way he can escape?

I loved the first book in the Lords of Deliverance series (Eternal Rider) but I have to say that Immortal Rider was even better. I'm not sure how Larissa Ione manages so consistently to top her previous books with every new instalment but she does and she always leaves me desperate for more. If you're a fan of paranormal romance and you haven't tried this author yet you seriously need to do something about that. The Lords of Deliverance series can be read separately to the Demonica series but I'd recommend reading the Demonica books first because we get to see some of the characters again in this newer series.

Limos is a great heroine and one who is full of contrasts, she is both a girlie girl who loves painting her nails, dressing up and drinking cocktails but she is also a kick ass warrior who can fight with the best of them. Her brothers may be protective of her but it isn't because she is weak and unable to look after herself. She has a shady past full of dark secrets and she is terrified that if her brothers and Arik find out the truth they will all hate her, she does some stupid things trying to keep her secrets but I was proud of her when she finally confronted the truth. Arik is a swoon worthy hero, how can you not love someone who endures a month of the most horrific torture rather than give up the woman he has been lusting after? I do love a protective hero, oh and the plans he has for Limos are guaranteed to leave you fanning yourself! The romance between them is sweet and incredibly sexy and I enjoyed seeing how things worked out for them.

As you'd expect from a novel by Larissa Ione the plot of Immortal Rider is action packed and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Although the focus remains on our main couple Arik and Limos there are so many other plot threads that Larissa effortlessly weaves together making for a complex tale that you won't want to put down. I loved finding out more about Thanatos and can not wait for his story (although I'm a bit worried that I won't be able to forgive Regan for her actions in this book but you'll have to read it yourself to find out why). It was great to see some of the characters we already know and love make appearances, along with Ares and Cara we also get to see some of the Demonica characters and catch up with what has been happening with them.

I really can't recommend this series (and the Demonica books) highly enough and I can't get enough of the world that Larissa Ione has created. If you're a fan of strong characters, intricate plots, hot romance and demons (or horsemen!) to swoon for you need this book!

Source: Initially received from publisher via NetGalley but I also received a print copy from Piatkus 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.

US Cover
Paperback / Kindle:

Thursday 29 December 2011

2012 Morganville Vampires Reading Challenge

OK so this is the last challenge I'm signing up for in 2012 (well unless I see something else I just can't resist anyway lol).  I've heard so many good things about the Morganville Vampires series that I actually bought the first 9 books before I even started reading the series.  I finally read the first book in November and really enjoyed it so it's about time I got around to finishing the rest of the series.  The Morganville Vampires Reading Challenge is being hosted by Jo over at Ink and Paper & I have to thank her for giving me the excuse to finally dig into these books.

There are 5 levels to choose from for the challenge:
Sam Glass: Books 1-3
Oliver: Books 1-6
Amelie: Books 1-9 (I'm aiming for this level since I already own these books but I may change my mind later in the year)
Myrnin: Books 1-13
Bishop: Books 1-13, plus all short stories (in anthologies or otherwise).

If you want to join me in taking part in the challenge you can sign up here.  I'll add links to my reviews below as I post them.

1. Glass Houses
2. The Dead Girls' Dance
3. Midnight Alley
4. Feast of Fools
5. Lord of Misrule
6. Carpe Corpus
7. Fade Out
8. Kiss of Death
9. Ghost Town

Update January 2013:
So as you can see I failed abysmally at this challenge and I've still only read the first book in the Morganville series. I really thought it would be easy reading less than 1 book a month so I'm not sure why it went so horribly wrong! I really must carry on reading these books soon though because I know I'm going to love them.

2012 New Author Challenge

This will be my third year taking part in the New Author Challenge hosted by Literary Escapism.  As much as I have many favourite authors on my auto buy list I still love to discover new authors.  This ties in really well with the Debut Author Challenge but it is also great to discover popular and well known authors that I haven't got around to trying yet.

2010 - I tried 104 new authors
2011 - I tried 115 new authors

I think I'm going to aim to discover another 100 new to me authors in 2012 so we'll have to see if I can achieve that for the third year in a row or not.  If you'd like to join me and take part in the challenge you can sign up here.

I will update this post with a list of the new authors I try and include links to my reviews (see links to other participant's reviews here)
  1. 15 Days Without A Head - Dave Cousins
  2. Cinder - Marissa Meyer
  3. Tempest - Julie Cross
  4. Smoulder - Brenna Yovanoff
  5. Fracture - Megan Miranda
  6. The Weight of Water - Sarah Crossan
  7. A Witch in Winter - Ruth Warburton
  8. A Touch of Power - Maria V. Snyder
  9. Magic to the Bone - Devon Monk
  10. A Demon Does it Better - Linda Wisdom
  11. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
  12. Mortal Chaos - Matt Dickinson
  13. Dark Parties - Sara Grant
  14. Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
  15. This Is Not Forgiveness - Celia Rees
  16. Firelight - Kristen Callihan
  17. Daylight Saving - Edward Hogan
  18. Tomorrow, When the War Began - John Marsden
  19. The Other Life - Susuanne Winnacker
  20. Sword of Light - Katherine Roberts
  21. Shadow Bound - Erin Kellison
  22. Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
  23. Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists - Gideon Defoe
  24. The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey
  25. Fury of Fire - Coreene Callahan
  26. Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi
  27. Heart of Darkness - Lauren Dane
  28. North of Need - Laura Kaye
  29. Everneath - Brodi Ashton
  30. Hollow Earth - John & Carole E. Barrowman
  31. Grave Witch - Kalayna Price
  32. The 13th Horseman - Barry Hutchison
  33. Eternal Hunger - Laura Wright
  34. Hollow Pike - James Dawson
  35. Oliver Twisted - JD Sharpe
  36. Kiss of the Vampire - Cynthia Garner
  37. Fever - Dee Shulman
  38. Crave - Melissa Darnell
  39. Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress - Sarwat Chadda
  40. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James
  41. Wonder - R.J. Palacio
  42. The Alchemy of Forever - Avery Williams
  43. Royal Street - Suzanne Johnson
  44. Fateful - Claudia Gray
  45. Illegal - Miriam Halahmy
  46. Chasing Fire - Nora Roberts
  47. Changeling - Philippa Gregory
  48. Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers
  49. Lord of Rage - Jill Monroe
  50. Witchblood - Emma Mills
  51. About Last Night - Ruthie Knox
  52. Chosen Ones - Tiffany Truitt
  53. Burn Mark - Laura Powell
  54. Bared to You - Sylvia Day
  55. Throne of Glass - Sarah J Maas
  56. Clarity - Kim Harrington
  57. The Goddess Test - Aimee Carter
  58. Shadow's Edge - J.T. Geissinger
  59. Dead Radiance - T.G. Ayer
  60. Redemption - Susannah Sandlin
  61. White Witch - Trish Milburn
  62. The Darkest Day - Britt Bury
  63. Sharing Hailey - Samantha Ann King
  64. Simply Irresistible - Jill Shalvis
  65. Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake
  66. A Night of Southern Comfort - Robin Covington
  67. Fated - Benedict Jacka
  68. Seraphina - Rachel Hartman
  69. Deep Autumn Heat - Elisabeth Barrett
  70. The Theory of Attraction - Delphine Dryden
  71. Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini
  72. The Siren - Tiffany Reisz
  73. Bound Temptations - Shiloh Walker
  74. Graffiti Moon - Cath Crowley
  75. Obsidian - Jennifer L. Armentrout
  76. Slave - Sherri Hayes
  77. Insignia - S.J. Kincaid
  78. Because of You - Jessica Scott
  79. No Peace for the Damned - Megan Powell
  80. Fifty Shames of Earl Grey - Fanny Merkin (aka Andrew Shaffer)
  81. Otherkin - Nina Berry
  82. Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry
  83. Earth Girl - Janet Edwards
  84. Hell on Wheels - Julie Ann Walker
  85. When You Wish Upon A Duke - Isabella Bradford
  86. Deceiving the Witch Next Door - Melissa Bourbon Ramirez
  87. God Save the Queen - Kate Locke
  88. ReVamped - Ada Adams
  89. Wrong Bed, Right Guy - Katee Robert
  90. Blood Red Road - Moira Young
  91. Timeless Desire - Gwyn Cready
  92. Blade Song - J.C. Daniels
  93. The Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin
  94. Blackwood - Gwenda Bond
  95. The Dark Garden - Eden Bradley
  96. Turf - John Lucas
  97. Angel's Ink - Jocelynn Drake
  98. Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff
  99. The Obsidian Mirror - Catherine Fisher
  100. Immortally Yours - Angie Fox
  101. Beautiful Disaster - Jamie McGuire
  102. The Restorer - Amanda Stevens
  103. The Gathering Dark - Leigh Bardugo
  104. Touch - Jus Accardo
  105. Long Shots: Books 1-3 - Christine d'Abo
  106. Storm - Brigid Kemmerer
  107. Chopsticks - Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
  108. Mystic City - Theo Lawrence
  109. Witch Crag - Kate Cann
  110. The Duke's Tattoo - Miranda Davis
  111. Innocent Darkness - Suzanne Lazear
  112. Matched - Ally Condie
  113. Kissed by Darkness - Shea MacLeod
  114. Back to You - Priscilla Glenn
  115. The Pleasures of Winter - Evie Hunter
  116. Blood Law - Karin Tabke
  117. Katya's World - Jonathan L. Howard
  118. Heart of Danger - Lisa Marie Rice
  119. Slammed - Colleen Hoover
  120. Luminosity - Stephanie Thomas
  121. The Fireman Who Loved Me - Jennifer Bernard
  122. The Vincent Boys - Abbi Glines
  123. Devoured - Emily Snow
  124. Night School - C.J. Daugherty
  125. Demon's Curse - Alexa Egan
  126. Kissing Under the Mistletoe - Marina Adair
  127. Easy - Tammara Webber
  128. Yours at Midnight - Robin Bielman
  129. Rock the Heart - Michelle A. Valentine
  130. Greta and the Goblin King - Chloe Jacobs

2012 British Books Challenge

I've really enjoyed talking part in the 2011 British Books Challenge hosted by Becky at The Bookette.  As a British blogger I think it's important to support home grown talent and that's something I want to focus on even more in 2012.  I'd like to say a massive thanks to Becky for starting the challenge this year and also to Kirsty at The Overflowing Library for taking the baton and continuing the challenge into 2012.

In 2011 I managed to read 58 books by British authors so I'm hoping to read at least 50 books for next years challenge.  You don't have to read that many though so if you'd like to join me you can sign up here.

I will keep a list of books read along with links to my reviews in this post.

January (read other participant's reviews here)
  1. 15 Days Without A Head - Dave Cousins
  2. A Witch in Winter - Ruth Warburton
  3. Mortal Chaos - Matt Dickinson
February (read other participant's reviews here)
  1. Dark Parties - Sara Grant
  2. Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
  3. This Is Not Forgiveness - Celia Rees
  4. The Wood Queen - Karen Mahoney
  5. Daylight Saving - Edward Hogan
  6. Sword of Light - Katherine Roberts
  7. Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists - Gideon Defoe
March (read other participant's reviews here)
  1. Witchblood - Emma Mills
  2. Burn Mark - Laura Powell
July (read other participant's reviews here)
  1. Fated - Benedict Jacka
  2. Losing Lila - Sarah Alderson
August (read other participant's reviews here)
September (read other participant's reviews here)
  1. Unfed - Kirsty McKay
  2. Witch Crag - Kate Cann
November (read other participant's reviews here)
  1. Katya's World - Jonathan L. Howard
December (read other participant's reviews here)

2012 Speculative Romance Challenge

I love romance and I love anything paranormal so how could I resist this new challenge by Carolyn from Book Chick City?  The challenge includes anything from all of my favourite genres:
  • Paranormal romance
  • Dark fantasy romance
  • Urban fantasy romance
  • Steampunk romance
  • Sci-fi romance
  • Apocalyptic romance
I've not kept track of the number of books I've read across all of these genres before but I know I read a lot of them.  Considering I read 124 books for the Speculative Fiction challenge in 2010 and 98 books towards the Horror & Urban Fantasy challenge in 2011 (this doesn't include paranormal romance, steampunk, sci-fi or apocalyptic books I've read) I should manage to read quite a few books for this one in 2012!

If you'd like to join me in taking part in this challenge you can sign up here.

I'll keep a list of the books I've read towards this challenge and include links to my reviews below

January (see links to other participant's reviews here).
  1. Cinder - Marissa Meyer
  2. Tempest - Julie Cross
  3. Smoulder - Brenna Yovanoff
  4. Lord of the Vampires - Gena Showalter
  5. Darker After Midnight - Lara Adrian
  6. Moon Sworn - Keri Arthur
  7. A Demon Does it Better - Linda Wisdom
February (see links to other participant's reviews here)
  1. Ruthless Game - Christine Feehan
  2. Firelight - Kristen Callihan
  3. Even Vampires Get the Blues - Katie MacAlister
  4. Shadow Bound - Erin Kellison
March (see links to other participant's reviews here)
  1. The Darkest Day - Britt Bury
  2. Secret of the Wolf - Cynthia Garner
August (see links to other participant's reviews here)
  1. Moonglow - Kristen Callihan
  2. Deceiving the Witch Next Door - Melissa Bourbon Ramirez
September (see links to other participant's reviews here)
  1. The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart - Leanna Renee Hieber
  2. Blood Law - Karin Tabke
December (see links to other participant's reviews here)


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