Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Review: Otherkin - Nina Berry

Sixteen-year-old Desdemona Gray doesn't even bother with crushes on cute boys now that she's forced to wear a hard plastic back brace all day. What guy would want to literally have to knock on a girl to be let in? So she squashes down every impossible desire until an uber-awkward brush with a boy brings out all her frustration and she changes...into a tiger. In that bewildering moment, she is captured by Ximon, the leader of a fanatical group hell-bent on wiping out the five remaining tribes of shape-shifters, known as the otherkin.

With help from a handsome, mysterious fellow captive named Caleb, she escapes and goes on the run, finding allies and learning the truth behind the legends of wizards and were-creatures. Then Ximon goes too far, and Dez must tap into all her buried desires to find her inner tiger and save herself, her new friends, and the boy she loves.

Otherkin Series:
Otherkin
Othermoon (2013)

Visit Nina Berry's website for more information.

Review:
Dez has always thought she was a normal teenager - apart from the back brace she has to wear 23 hours per day thanks to her scoliosis - so the day she gets angry and transforms into a tiger comes as quite a shock! The next thing she knows someone is shooting through her bedroom window and she wakes up trapped in a cage. She manages to escape captivity with fellow prisoner Caleb and finds herself on the run from a group of people she never knew existed. Learning she is one of the Otherkin is a lot to take in and she has little choice but to trust Caleb when he tells her about a school where she can learn about her powers and be kept safe from the members of the Tribunal who want to kill her.

As soon as I saw the cover for Otherkin I had to read it - just take one look at that image and tell me it doesn't make you want to pick up the book! I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I do it time and time again and luckily in this case my instincts were right. Nina Berry has created an interesting world with different kinds of shapeshifters, a world where two realities are layered on top of each other and the Otherkin are able to access the layer that most people can't see and use the shadow they find there to effect our world. I do still have some questions about exactly how the Othersphere works but I'm looking forward to learning more as the series continues.

The different shifters come from five different families - cats, wolves, bears, birds of prey and rats. All of the other species have died out and there are all sorts of conflicts between the remaining clans. Each group has very specific characteristics that don't always allow them to live in harmony together. It was believed that there were no tiger shifters left so when Dez turns up she comes as quite a surprise to the others and they aren't sure what to make of her. She was adopted as a baby and has no knowledge of her family history so this whole world is very new to her and there is a lot to understand. I did think that she accepted her very first transformation a little too easily but it was interesting to see her thrown in at the deep end and having to cope in an extremely high stress situation. She proves herself to be both strong and brave, especially when she refuses to leave without rescuing Caleb first.

I enjoyed meeting the different characters who were studying at the school and learning about the powers they all have. Along with the different kinds of shifters you also have Callers who have the ability to make things using the shadows from the Othersphere. There is distrust amongst the different shifters species but none of them trust the callers so this makes it easier for the Tribunal to pick them off one at a time. It is up to Dez to try and get the others to work together against a common enemy but that isn't going to be easy.

Otherkin is a great start to a new series and has left me excited to find out what happens next - I'll definitely be picking up a copy of Othermoon when it is published early next year. If you're looking for a YA urban fantasy with action, intrigue, a few surprising twists and the beginnings of a promising romance then look no further - Otherkin is just what you need.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Monday, 30 July 2012

Review: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey - Fanny Merkin (aka Andrew Shaffer)

Young, rich and handsome tycoon Earl Grey has a dirty secret. He brings Anna, a naive college student, past the waterbed, the strobe light inside his 'Room of Doom' and into his twisted world of, well, mostly naughty dialogue and light spanking. Anna is enthralled - after all he's rich, and has a habit of buying every company she has ever worked for in an attempt to get close to her. But on the flipside he's a moody bastard whose fifty shames constantly threatens to overwhelm her. Can Earl Grey and Anna ever have a normal life together? Or will his dark desires, love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, Magick) and constant smirking drive her over the edge?

Fifty Shames Series:
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey
Fifty Shames in Space (Release date to be confirmed)

Visit the Fifty Shames website for more information.

Review:
I'm a huge fan of the Fifty Shades series but as much as I loved the books I also love to hate them - there are so many things about the series that irritate me that I laughed a lot while reading the books. So of course as soon as I heard about the parody Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin (aka Andrew Shaffer) I wanted to read it. The author has certainly put his own unique twist on the story that we are all now so familiar with and he does a great job of highlighting the things I found ridiculous about the original books. I love the way he has also managed to blend in some jokes about the Twilight series considering this is a parody of a story that started out as Twilight fan fiction.

I think anyone who loved the series will find themselves amused by Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, especially if you are open enough to accept the problems with the original books. Anyone who hated the books will probably adore this though as it will point out all of the things you didn't like about the book in the first place but in a much more humorous way. I don't recommend reading this unless you've read at least the first Fifty Shades book though as I don't think a lot of the jokes would make as much sense if you're not familiar with the characters and storyline.

I don't think I've ever come across an explanation for BDSM that made me laugh as much as this one did:
"I'm a Dungeon Master, Anna."
What? My inner guidette screeches to a halt on her hamster wheel. I have no clue what he's talking about. "What exactly does a Dungeon Master do?"
"I'm into BDSM," he says.
"Is that a workout thing, like Zumba?"
"No, Anna, it's not anything like Zumba. BDSM is a live-action role-playing game: Bards, Dragons, Sorcery and Magick. I play with women in my dungeon and things can get a little . . . hot."

I enjoyed Fifty Shames of Earl Grey and I did laugh out loud a couple of times while reading but I have to say there were a few points when I felt the book was trying just a little too hard to be funny. It was still a quick, amusing read though and one I'd recommend to anyone who wants to laugh at the phenomena that Fifty Shades of Grey has turned into.

Source: Initially received from publisher via NetGalley but I also received a print copy from J R Books in exchange for an honest review

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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Review: No Peace for the Damned - Megan Powell

Magnolia Kelch is no stranger to pain. Beautiful and powerful, she’s spent her entire life at the mercy of her sadistic father and the rest of the Kelch clan, who have tortured her and tested the limits of her powers. After one particularly heinous night that leaves Magnolia nearly dead, she finally sees her chance for escape…

But this first taste of freedom is short-lived when she collides with Thirteen, head of the Network — a secret organisation dedicated to fighting supernatural criminals — who recruits her into the group. Even as she’s coming to grips with this new life and the horrific memories that still haunt her, she’s conflicted by her growing attraction to fellow team member Theo and the emergence of new, untested abilities. After months of gruelling training, her loyalty to the team is tested when she learns her target is the Network’s most wanted: the Kelch family.

Revenge may course through her veins, but so does the blood of the Kelches. And opposing her family may cost her the thing she treasures most. After all, Magnolia is still a Kelch. And the Kelch are damned.

The Damned Series:
No Peace for the Damned
No Rest for the Damned (Winter 2012)
Further titles and release dates for this series are to be confirmed

Visit Megan Powell's website for more information

Review:
Magnolia Kelch has spent her whole life being tortured by her sadistic father, uncles and brothers. Ever since they discovered that she is impossible to kill they have subjected her to horrific experiments and never ending pain. When she finally manages to escape from the family estate she is rescued by Thirteen, leader of the Network, an organisation created to fight against supernatural terrorists. The Network's biggest target is the Kelch family and Magnolia has vital information that could help them finally bring down one of the most dangerous supernatural crime families. But can Magnolia bring herself to turn against her family even after everything they have done for her and even if she does will the Network trust the information she gives them?

I love urban fantasy so was keen to try Megan Powell's debut novel No Rest for the Damned. This is the first book in a new series although no release date has been confirmed for future books at this time. This wasn't a perfect start to the series but it definitely has potential and I will be reading the next book to see what happens to Magnolia next. The story is quite dark in places and the flashbacks we see of the torture that Magnolia was put through was quite disturbing, this isn't a book I'd recommend to the particularly squeamish.

I found the abilities that Magnolia and her family have interesting (I always like reading about psychic gifts) but most of them are powers I have come across before so they don't stand out as particularly unusual. I would have liked more of an explanation about how they came to have these gifts and also about how many other people in the world are also supernaturals, this was never really made clear and it would have added an extra layer to the story if we had been given more information.

Magnolia herself was likeable enough but I found her frustrating at times. She showed her amazing ability to kick ass occasionally but there were times when I felt she was a bit too quick to accept orders from members of the Network. Considering her history with her family I expected her to be either more into getting revenge or alternatively less willing to face them - she seemed to sway between one and the other and I felt she would have had a much firmer opinion about what she wanted to do. I also hoped we would be offered more of an explanation for the fact that she constantly had a bottle of whisky in her hands and couldn't go more than two minutes without drinking from it. Towards the end of the book it was implied that she drank to drown out the voices she could hear in her head (she was a powerful psychic who could read the minds of everyone in a rather large area around her). This made a lot of sense but I would have preferred if the explanation had come sooner and was in a bit more detail - it would have made me more sympathetic with Magnolia right from the beginning.

I like the idea of the Network and the characters we were introduced to have potential but I never really felt like we got to know any of them well enough, there were too many people for so little page time and I had trouble remembering who was who. If you can't remember who a character is it is hard to care much about what is happening to them and that was one of the problems I had. I do think that the group could be really good once we get to know them better though. I am interested to find out more about Thirteen, he often thinks of his daughter when he looks at Magnolia but when he sees her with Theo he acts more like a jealous potential boyfriend which I found slightly disturbing. I'm hoping that things will become clearer regarding their relationship in future books. I found it hard to become invested in the romance between Magnolia and Theo because the attraction between them has a supernatural element to it that is never explained. I am curious to see how that plays out in the future but I hope the series doesn't change to focus mainly on the romance.

Overall I feel that No Peace for the Damned didn't quite live up to it's potential but was far from a bad book. The book definitely had a readable quality that made it a page turner and I read it in just two sittings. Considering this is a debut novel I have confidence that the series will only get better with each book and I'm definitely planning on reading the next instalment to see if I'm correct.

Source: Received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Review: Melting Jane - Lissa Matthews

Graham Hall is a twenty-six year old Texan with the job of his dreams: being a freelance travel writer for a national publication. He’s just finished his latest article about small winter resort destinations in Colorado and has earned some personal down time. With the six month lease not yet up on the small cabin he rented, Graham decides to stick around the area for a while and in the process, finds himself agreeing to a blind date with a feisty, down on her luck in the love department, candy maker named Jane.

After all, what could it hurt?

Jane, completely oblivious to the set up, arrives at Graham’s isolated little valley cabin to deliver a box of her handmade Chocolate Kick truffles. From the moment Graham opens the door, Jane is tongue tied and ticked off. Edward, her business partner and most certainly former best friend, set her up. When she regains her ability to put two coherent words together, plus size, mid-thirties Jane apologises for intruding and assures Graham that she will take care of the mistake.

What ensues is a series of encounters and confrontations between Jane and Edward, Jane and Graham, and Edward and Graham. At the heart of it all, is Jane’s happiness. Edward wants this for her more than anything. Graham finds himself caught up in her tart tongue and curvy body and isn’t about to call his all too real pursuit a failure, no matter how many times she says no.

With her inability to continue denying herself the man she affectionately refers to as Cowboy Surfer in her head, she gives in and is rewarded with scorching hot sex and a lot of follow-up phone calls after she learns the truth of Graham’s attraction. His persistence leads Jane to believe that life doesn’t have to revolve around chocolate truffles, but rather should revolve around a delicious, well travelled and well built younger man.

**This book was previously published and titled as Sugar Rush. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release.**

Visit Lissa Matthews' website for more information.

Review:
Melting Jane is a short and very sweet novella from Lissa Matthews. This is the first story I have read of hers but it won't be the last because I thoroughly enjoyed it! Since a very bad break up with her ex boyfriend Jane has become a bit of a recluse. Working from home and living with her best friend / business partner Edward has left her with very little need to leave the house so she spends her time slobbing around in comfy clothes and perfecting the recipe for the chocolate truffles they sell. Edward is determined to help Jane get her confidence back so he decides to set her up with Graham, a travel writer who is in the area for the winter. Edward knows Graham is the perfect man to bring Jane back out of her shell but Jane isn't so keen on being set up by her best friend. Can Graham change her mind and get her to give him a chance?

This novella is perfect for anyone who is looking for a short but steamy read that you can easily get through in one sitting. The chemistry between Jane and Graham is fabulous but I actually loved the way he helps to give her back her confidence. She was so worn down by her ex that she had a very low opinion of herself and Graham is determined to show her just how special she is. Graham is absolutely adorable, a hot cowboy but also wonderfully sweet and the things he comes out with would melt even the most sceptical woman's heart! Yes, their relationship develops quickly (it is a novella after all) but it felt believable and you can't help but route for them. I also really liked the friendship between Jane and Edward, he really had her best interests at heart and I would actually like to see Edward get his own happy ending.

Melting Jane is romantic, sexy and steamy and a highly recommended read. I can't wait to get my hands on more from Lissa Matthews!

Source: Won from a giveaway hosted by Minxy at Loose Knickers and Window Lickers

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Review: The Assassin and the Empire - Sarah J Maas

Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose . . .

This fourth fantastic e-novella gives readers an inside look at the characters who appear in the full-length novel Throne of Glass. Don’t miss out!

Throne of Glass Series:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Novella)
The Assassin and the Desert (Novella)
The Assassin and the Underworld (Novella)
The Assassin and the Empire (Novella)
The Assassin's Blade (Anthology containing all 5 prequel novellas)
Throne of Glass
Crown of Midnight
Heir of Fire
Queen of Shadows

Visit Sarah J Maas' website for more information

Review:
The Assassin and the Empire is the fourth prequel novella released in the run up to Sarah J Maas' debut novel Throne of Glass. You don't need to read these stories in order to understand the novel but they do give more of an insight into main character Celaena and the events that happen in the year leading up to the beginning of the book so I would definitely recommend them. I would suggest reading the novellas in order though and it would be better to read them before Throne of Glass.

In this novella Celaena and Sam have paid back their debt to Arobynn but if they ever want to be free of his influence over their lives they must risk it all in order to make enough money to leave him and Rifthold far behind. But how much will this latest job really cost them and is it a price they are prepared to pay?

As I have already read an advanced copy of Throne of Glass I had actually given myself a major spoiler for this final prequel novella. Even though I knew one of the major things that would happen I still found myself holding my breath as I was reading just hoping that I would be proved wrong. I think if I hadn't already known what was going to happen I would have been shocked to the core as events played out, I know when I was reading the book I was horrified but it did mean that the novella didn't have quite as much impact as it should have done. Anyone reading this having only read the first 3 novellas should be prepared for an emotional ride though and possibly keep the tissues on hand just in case!

I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the novellas and I loved Throne of Glass so would definitely recommend the series to any fantasy fan. I can't wait to see what Sarah J Maas comes up with next!

Source: Purchased

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Friday, 27 July 2012

Review: Because of You - Jessica Scott

From the war-torn streets of Baghdad to the bittersweet comforts of the home front, two wounded hearts navigate the battlefield of coming home from war in this explosive eBook original from newcomer Jessica Scott.

Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again — until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.

Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels — for the first time in a long time — like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty — it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected — her deepest desire.

Coming Home Series:
I'll Be Home for Christmas (Novella)
Because of You
Anything for You (Short Story)
Back to You
Until There Was You
All for You
It's Always Been You

Homefront Series:
(This is a spin off from the Coming Home Series but can be read completely separately)
Come Home to Me (Novella, previously published with the title All I Want for Christmas is You)
Homefront
After the War
Forged in Fire

Visit Jessica Scott's website for more information.

Review:
I've only recently started to get back into reading contemporary romance but Because of You has definitely put me in the mood to read more stories about military heroes! This is an incredibly emotional book, one that bought tears to my eyes several times but also had me laughing out loud. This impressive debut from Jessica Scott has left me desperate to get my hands on her next book and luckily I only have a few months to wait for it's release!

Shane is a Sergeant in the army and his whole life revolves around protecting the men he serves with. His only focus is getting his men through the war with as few injuries as possible and it tears him up inside when one of them is hurt or even worse killed. When he is injured in a bomb blast he hates being stuck in an American hospital while his team are still out in Iraq fighting. Being a soldier is what he does best, it's the only life he knows and the idea of not being able to continue the fight leaves him feeling lost, angry and frustrated. Jen is a nurse who works at the hospital where Shane is recuperating. They had met in a bar before he left for Iraq and there was definitely chemistry between them but they both have reasons not to pursue a relationship. Jen has emotional and physical scars from a battle with breast cancer and although having a mastectomy saved her life she feels like less of a woman because of it. She is afraid of getting close to a man in case he rejects her because of her scarring.

Both Shane and Jen are incredibly strong characters, they always put other people's needs before their own and they are the kind of people who will do anything to help or protect those around them. They may be dealing with very different problems but their experiences give them unique insight into what the other is facing and together they are able to work through their issues. I loved watching the way their relationship develops as they slowly fall in love. They share some really sweet and emotional scenes but they also have scorching chemistry that is impossible for either of them to resist. They make a wonderful couple and I loved every scene with them both in it.

One of my favourite things about the book was the interaction with the secondary characters though. Jen is friends with the wives of several of the men in Shane's unit and we get to know them and their husbands. Jessica Scott shows all the different sides of being a military wife - how much they love their husbands and are proud of what they do but also how hard it is to effectively be a single parent for so much of the time. How difficult it is to constantly have to say goodbye to the one they love and know that there is a possibility that their husband won't come home safely. I'm left in awe of all military wives - you'd have to be a very strong woman to deal with everything they face on a daily basis. As much as you get to see things from the wives point of view you also see it from the side of the husbands. These soldiers are every bit the heroes we all know they are but it takes a toll on them spending so much time away from their families and facing the horrors that they see in the war zone they are stationed in. They all deal with things in different ways and I loved the humour and banter between them.

As much as we follow Jen and Shane's story we also get to know some of the other couples and I fell in love with all of them. I hope we get to see more of Carponti and Nikki as the series continues but I am also left desperately wanting a resolution to Trent and Laura's story. Because of You was a wonderful book, at times it makes for uncomfortable reading because you can see how true to life it is but it is also full of humour and the romance is lovely. Until There Was You is at the top of my wish list and I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys reading about military heroes.

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

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Review: Insignia - S.J. Kincaid

More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?

Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.

Insignia Series:
Insignia (The UK release date for Insignia is the 2nd of August 2012)
Titles and release dates for further books in the series are currently unavailable

Visit S.J. Kincaid's website for more information

Review:
Tom Raines lives in a high tech future where the big corporations are in control - they even have patents on the world's food and water supply! They may be in the middle of World War III but it isn't being fought in the traditional way. Instead of soldiers fighting it out, causing the death of millions and mass destruction of earth's resources, the battle is being fought in space by computerised machines controlled remotely by people back on earth. When Tom is recruited to join the team of children training to be the next generation of VR soldiers he jumps at the chance of doing something with his life. As he is drawn into a world where public money is used to fund a war between greedy corporations Tom will have to learn quickly who he can trust not to sell him out to the highest bidder.

Insignia is the first book in a new trilogy by debut author S.J. Kincaid and she has created a detailed world full of fascinating technology and scary corporations who will do anything to win control of the solar system's resources. I did find the story was a little slow going in places as the author introduces the world history and the different technology but it was always interesting enough to keep me reading. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep track of everything but it turned out to be easier than I expected and I think this was mainly down to the fact that I loved the characters so much.

Tom is a great main character, although he's only 14 he actually spends most of his time looking after his father and making sure that the pair of them have food to eat and a roof over their heads. His only way of earning money is to hustle other players playing the virtual reality games in the casinos where his father is busy gambling so Tom has become an accomplished player just to survive. His skills attract the attention of the army and he is quickly recruited to join the ranks of the combatants where he will be turned into a futuristic soldier. Tom is taken to the Pentagonal Spire for training and soon finds himself in over his head - nothing is quite like he expected it to be and he starts to wonder if he has made a terrible mistake.

He quickly settles in starts getting to know people and one of my favourite things about the book was his interaction with Vik, Wyatt and Yuri. The group become firm friends and I loved their banter and the way they worked so well together, each one has different strengths and as a group they make a formidable team. The story really picks up pace in the second half and it is so action packed that you won't be able to put it down. With computerised battles, international espionage, betrayals and more Insignia is sure to be a big hit with anyone looking for a futuristic sci-fi with likeable characters that will make you laugh out loud. I can't wait for the next instalment!

Source: Received from Hot Key Books in exchange for an honest review

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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Review: Need - Sherri Hayes

As Brianna comes to terms with the realisation that she is no longer a slave, she must figure out what she wants for her life. Forgetting her past isn’t an option. It is an integral part of who she is now, and it will forever shape her view of life. The one thing she knows is that she cannot imagine her life without the man who saved her, but can she be what he needs?

Stephan never imagined falling in love with the woman he rescued, but the thought of her no longer being part of his life is physically painful. The scars from her past continue to haunt her, and he is helpless to stop them. All he can do is try to help her work through the traumas of her past. Can he be everything she needs and help her move on?

The two must figure out how to navigate not only their relationship with each other, but also the outside world. A friend from Brianna’s past shows up where she least expects them, and Uncle Richard continues to enforce his well-meaning agenda to get Brianna more traditional help. As forces, both friend and foe, threaten to tear them apart, Stephan and Brianna have to navigate the turbulent waters and find what they need in each other.

Finding Anna Series:
Slave
Need
Truth
Trust

Visit Sherri Hayes' website for more information.

Review:
Need is the second book in Sherri Hayes' Finding Anna series so this review will contain spoilers for the first book Slave. I have absolutely loved both of these books so would highly recommend them but if you haven't read the first book then look away from this review now if you don't want spoilers.

Need picks up the story immediately after the ending of Slave, Stephan has just informed Brianna that she isn't his slave - she is free to come and go as she pleases and do whatever she wants with the rest of her life. However, he has also asked her to consider staying with him and giving them a chance at building a relationship. Brianna is confused about her feelings towards Stephan, her experiences with men have made her very wary but he makes her feel safe and cared for and she is frightened by the idea of a life without him. She knows that he is into the D/s lifestyle though and she isn't sure if she can be the submissive he wants her to be.

Slave has to have been one of the most surprising books I have read in ages, it was nothing like I expected it to be but I absolutely loved it and couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel. I was a little bit nervous that Need wouldn't be able to live up to my expectations but I'm glad to say that it was just as good as I hoped it could be. I'm sure anyone who enjoyed the first book will love the sequel just as much if not more. The book is an emotional and heart wrenching read and one that you will devour. Clear the calendar before you start reading because I guarantee you won't want to stop.

To say I had a crush on Stephan after reading the first book would be an understatement but that crush has grown into fictional hero worship of epic proportions and I absolutely adore him now. I want to pull that man out of the damn books and claim him as my very own!! Why, oh why can't I find a guy like him in real life? He really is the perfect guy and I love watching him with Brianna - he is just what she needs to help her recover from her traumatic past. Stephan has to be one of the most patient men I've ever come across, he cares so much for Brianna that he is willing to take things at whatever pace she finds comfortable. He is there for her night and day and drops everything for her if she needs him for any reason but he also pushes her a little more all the time helping her to slowly build her confidence. I love the fact that he isn't just interested in getting her comfortable with having a physical relationship with him - he wants to help her learn to trust other people again, he wants her to get past her fears of being outside and he is encouraging her to go to college and get an education so she can make something of herself. Even if she chooses not to be with him in the long term he wants to give her the skills she would need to survive on her own.

Brianna is someone my heart went out to the moment I met her. She is emotionally scarred by the things she has been through but she has a great inner strength that she is only just starting to realise is there. She suffers with panic attacks and flashbacks but she desperately wants to be normal and to get her life back on track. She still struggles to know what is expected of her and sometimes it's a case of taking one step forwards and two steps back but I think that just makes her recovery all the more realistic. It would be a slow process for anyone who has been through what she has and I'm really enjoying watching her progress.

Need will tug on your heartstrings, it will put a goofy smile on your face and it will have you falling head over heels for these characters. It will also leave you in need of cold shower because although their relationship progresses slowly that doesn't make it any less hot and the chemistry between Stephan and Brianna is off the charts! The ending just about killed me and it's going to be a long wait for the release of the third book in the series. I just want more - more of Stephan, more of Brianna plus more of Logan and Lily. Sherri Hayes is an auto-buy author and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Review: Slave - Sherri Hayes

Stephan has lived the lifestyle of a Dominant for five years. After several rebellious teenage years, it gave him the stability and control he had been seeking after his parent’s death.

As president of a not-for-profit foundation, he knows what his future holds and what he wants out of life. All that changes when a simple lunch with his college friend and Mentor, Daren, leads him to buying a slave.

Thrust into a situation he never thought he’d be in, Stephan can’t walk away. He is compelled to help this girl in the only way he knows how.

Brianna knows only one thing, she is a slave. She has nothing. She is nothing.

Can Stephan help Brianna realize that she is much more than just a Slave?

Finding Anna Series:
Slave
Need
Truth
Trust

Visit Sherri Hayes' website for more information.

Review:
Stephan is a Dom but has been single for a while and is waiting to find the right sub for him. The last thing he is looking for is a slave but when his friend tells him about a young woman who is being held against her will by someone with a sadistic reputation Stephan knows he has to help her. Even if it means going against everything he believes in and buying her from her current master. Brianna was sold into slavery when she was just 17 years old and has spent the last 10 months being brutally treated by her owner. She has been through hell and is completely broken, but can Stephan help to heal her so that she has a chance at leading a normal life again?

I have to admit I wasn't too sure what to expect when I picked up this book. The label of erotic romance made me think there would be a lot of sex and I was definitely expecting quite a hardcore BDSM story but I wasn't sure how I felt about the idea of a young woman who had been forced into slavery being bought by someone else, even if he did do it to save her. I was actually surprised to find that there is no sex between Stephan and Brianna but I'm very pleased about that because I don't think there is any way she would have been ready for a physical relationship and I would have felt like Stephan was furthering her abuse if he had come on to her in that way.

When I picked up Slave I wasn't expecting a romance but that is exactly what I got. The story is dark in places, particularly as we see the things that Brianna suffered at the hands of her previous owner, but Stephan was a wonderful hero and so gentle with her. I completely fell for Stephan - he may be a Dominant but that doesn't mean he is mean or a nasty person, he takes the power he has over his submissives seriously and knows what a responsibility it is to have someone else's life in his hands. He genuinely wants the best for Brianna, he comes to care for her deeply as he gets to know her better but he also knows that she may never recover enough to cope with the kind of relationship that he wants so he doesn't try to push her into anything. Stephan doesn't necessarily make the right choices all the time but you can see how hard he tries to do the best thing for Brianna, just because I didn't always agree with his decisions it didn't make me love him or appreciate him any less.

I loved the fact that Stephan is a normal and nice guy. A lot of the BDSM books I've read have made it seem like people who are into this kind of lifestyle have some kind of issue that makes them like that so I was pleased that this wasn't the case with Stephan because I hate stereotyping! (I'm aware that I've not read a huge number of books in this genre and I'm sure there are plenty of other books out there that don't follow the stereotype - I just haven't found many of them yet so was pleased that this is one of them!). This is also helped by the fact that Stephan's close friends Logan and Lily are also in a D/s relationship and both of them are obviously completely normal and very happy with the way they live their lives. I'm really hoping we get to see more of them both as the series continues because they are such a cute couple.

The story is told from both Stephan and Brianna's points of view which allows us to really see what each of them are thinking and feeling. Brianna is terrified when she is first "sold" to Stephan, as horrible as her previous master was at least she knew what was expected of her and now she finds herself completely out of her element again and has no idea what Stephan might be capable of. It takes a long time for her to come to trust him which was completely understandable but I really enjoyed seeing him gradually start to coax her out of her shell. She still has a long way to go and I did feel that she could have benefited from professional help but we still have two more books in the series so I'm sure we'll continue to see her progress. What makes her story all the more horrific is the fact that there are probably young women out there in the world who are in the same situation and they aren't all going to have someone like Stephan who comes to their rescue. Just thinking about that breaks my heart.

Slave was a completely captivating read and I finished it in one sitting, nothing could have made me put the book down so it's a good job I had the morning free when I started it. This story may have been nothing like what I expected but it was absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to read the sequel Need. Sherri Hayes has definitely become an author I want to see more of and I can't wait to continue the journey Stephan and Brianna have started.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Review: Obsidian - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy Internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbour, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

**SPECIAL FEATURE** E-book version of this title includes two bonus scenes from Daemon's point of view at the end!

Lux Series:
Shadows (Prequel Novella)
Obsidian
Oblivion (Obsidian retold from Daemon's POV)
Onyx
Opal
Origin
Opposition

Visit Jennifer L. Armentrout's website for more information

Review:
I had seen so many rave reviews for Obsidian that I have to admit I was a bit nervous to start reading it. My expectations had been raised so high that I was worried the book wouldn't live up to them and I have to admit in the beginning I didn't think it was going to. There were quite a few similarities with another popular YA series which made the storyline feel familiar and some events were quite predictable. However, despite my initial reservations Obsidian really grew on me and the further you read the less familiar it becomes as it starts to move off in it's own direction.

I loved Katy from the beginning, she is the kind of character that any book blogger will be able to relate to because she shares our love of books, blogging and her online community. I loved her comments about her blog and the way she was so excited to gain new followers or receive books in the post and I could totally understand her joy at finally getting internet access at their new home! Along with being a bit of a nerdy book lover Katy is also an intelligent girl and a good friend. She is immediately drawn to the hot boy next door but she isn't going to let anyone talk to her the way Daemon does without telling them exactly what she thinks of them. I was so pleased that she called him out whenever he was acting like a jerk (which unfortunately was quite regularly!). Daemon isn't the only one she stands up to though and there was a particular scene in the school cafeteria that practically had me jumping up and down and waving pompoms to cheer her on.

Now let's talk some more about Daemon. He totally has the hot body and good looks going for him but his attitude stinks. I think Katy said it best: "Beautiful face. Beautiful body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys." He was such a complete jerk for the majority of the book and there were times I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into him. But no matter how badly he acts he has something about him that draws you in so I could completely understand Katy's attraction. The only word to describe the chemistry between these two is intense. They scorch the pages in every scene and you can never quite tell if they're going to tear each others heads off or start ripping their clothes off! I haven't come across so much heat in a YA book in a long time and that alone makes it worth reading the book. The more you get to know Daemon the more you start to see a sweeter side to him, he keeps that side well hidden but just those glimpses leave you wanting to get to know him better.

I have to mention how much I loved the fact that this series is about aliens rather than the usual vampires, shapeshifters, angels or demons. I don't think I've actually come across any other YA paranormal romance or urban fantasy books about aliens (but if you know of any good ones please let me know because I'd love to read them!) so that made a really nice change. I'm not going to say much about Jennifer L Armentrout's alien mythology because I think it's something you want to discover yourself as you read the book but I did find it really interesting and well thought out. I'm looking forward to learning more about the Luxen as the series continues.

So I have to say that Obsidian surprised me, after a shaky start it did manage to live up to the hype that has surrounded it and it has made me want to check out more books by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I will definitely be picking up a copy of the next book Onyx when it is released in August. One last thing I want to mention is that if you're a fan of this series then make sure you check out the extra scenes she has written and posted on her website. You'll get to see some of the important scenes from the book but told from Daemon's perspective and I promise they'll just make you love him even more! The Kindle version of the book even had a couple of extra scenes included at the end that aren't on her website (and I don't believe they're included in the paperback either so I'm glad I purchased the kindle edition).

Source: Purchased

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Review: Shadows - Jennifer L. Armentrout

The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane.

Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in.

Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence...and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself.

Lux Series:
Shadows (Prequel Novella)
Obsidian
Oblivion (Obsidian retold from Daemon's POV)
Onyx
Opal
Origin
Opposition

Visit Jennifer L. Armentrout's website for more information

Review:
Although this novella is set before Obsidian in the Lux series time line I would actually recommend reading Obsidian first. The way Shadows has been written assumes that you have some familiarity with the world that Jennifer L. Armentrout has created so although you could read it as a prequel I think you'd understand more if you read it as the second book. It is definitely worth reading though and Obsidian fans will really enjoy getting to know the third Black triplet Dawson.

I have to say right now that I love Dawson, he is just so sweet and in a lot of ways the complete opposite of Daemon. Where Daemon is the one with the snarky attitude and bad temper Dawson is much more laid back and friendly. He is more open about his feelings and when he falls for Bethany he falls hard. But just because he is the easy going brother doesn't make him any less sexy, he is just as hot as Daemon and he'll manage to raise your temperature while you're reading! Bethany is perfect for him, she is sweet and quite innocent and can be very shy with strangers but when she opens up to someone she doesn't hold anything back. She isn't as quick to stand up for herself as Katy but she will bite back if she is pushed hard enough - especially in defence of those she cares about - and I liked the way she wanted to stand up for Dawson when his family were hassling him about their relationship.

What I loved most was the way Dawson and Bethany's relationship develops. It starts out as pure lust (don't most relationships?) but they take time to get to know each other and you get to see them build a real connection. Their story reminded me a lot of my first serious relationship and brought back those feelings of first love when you couldn't spend enough time just talking and neither of you wanted to put the phone down first. Shadows definitely focuses more on the relationship and could almost be a contemporary romance if it weren't for the whole fact that Dawson is an alien. Well no boy is perfect right?

Now as much as I love Dawson I have to admit that I'm the kind of girl who is always drawn to the fictional bad boys so he didn't quite manage to take Daemon's place in my affections - it was a close race though. It's funny because Dawson is much more like the kind of guys I end up in real life but when it comes to books it's always the ones like Daemon that I route for. In Shadows we get to see yet another side to Daemon and it helps to explain why he acts the way he does in Obsidian. No it doesn't excuse him for being a jerk but it does make it much easier to understand his reasoning and forgive him for his attitude.

Of course we also get to find out a bit more about the Luxen and the way that the elders and the DOD have so much say over how they live their lives. It must be so hard for Dawson, Daemon and Dee to have their whole lives mapped out for them and no choice about things like where they can go to college, what jobs they can do or who they get to marry. If you take my advice and read Obsidian first then you'll have a good idea about how Shadows is going to end, I'm not going to say much in case anyone reading this review is completely new to the series but be prepared for an emotional finish! I do have a theory about what happened though and really hope I'm proved right when Onyx is released in August. Jennifer L. Armentrout certainly packs a lot into this novella and it definitely shouldn't be missed by fans of the series.

Source: Purchased

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Monday, 23 July 2012

Review: Forever and a Day - Jill Shalvis

UK Cover
Love can happen in a heartbeat.

Grace never thought she'd be starting her life over. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace finds herself caring for his rambunctious son, playing house with the sexy single dad . . .

With so many depending on him, Josh has no time for anything other than his clinic and family - until Grace arrives in town and turns his life inside out. Josh and Grace don't know if what they have can last. But in a town like Lucky Harbor, a lifetime of love starts with just one day . . .

Lucky Harbor Series:
Simply Irresistible
The Sweetest Thing
Kissing Santa Claus (Novella in the Small Town Christmas anthology)
Head Over Heels
Lucky in Love
At Last
Forever and a Day
Under the Mistletoe (Novella)
It Had to be You
Always on my Mind
Dream a Little Dream (Novella in the A Christmas to Remember anthology)
Once in a Lifetime
It's in his Kiss (August 2014)
He's So Fine (September 2014)
One in a Million (October 2014)

Visit Jill Shalvis' website for more information.

Review:
I have loved all of the previous books in Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series so I went into Forever and a Day with high expectations - especially since all of my friends have been telling me that Josh is their favourite heroes so far. Now I knew I would enjoy the book, I knew it would make me laugh, I knew it would be full of witty banter, characters I love and steamy sex scenes but I didn't know quite how much it would blow me away. I now have a new favourite LH family and believe me Josh and Grace become a family by the end of the book - along with Josh's son Toby, his sister Anna and even the demon dog Tank. Their story is one of the sweetest in the series but that doesn't make it any less steamy and I'll tell you right now Josh is one sexy doctor (swimming pool scene anyone?!).

Josh hasn't had an easy time over the last few years as a single parent to five year old Toby (who is completely adorable by the way - I seriously wanted to adopt him!) and also guardian to his younger sister who was left paralysed by the car accident that killed their parents. He works long hours trying to keep his father's practise running but also taking on shifts in the ER along with doing whatever it takes to keep his family together. Josh is the kind of guy who works hard and doesn't have much time to play hard but when he decides he wants to play with Grace he goes all out and sweeps her off her feet. He loves his family and always puts everyone else before himself and you know he desperately needs someone to put him first for a change.

Grace has spent her whole life living the dreams that other people had for her and never really stopped to figure out if that was what she really wanted. She was raised to believe that being a success means having a good career and has felt a failure since she turned down the job that she moved to Seattle for because her boss wanted more than work related favours from her. Running low on funds she has been forced to take all kinds of odd jobs to make ends meet and ends up working for Josh looking after Toby. As Grace gets to know Josh and his family she is the one who sees how desperately he needs someone to put him first for once. She has the ability to see exactly what he needs and how to give it to him no matter how much he tries to hide it. It was lovely to see Grace open up and start to discover her own hopes and dreams, in Lucky Harbor she has finally found somewhere she can belong, a place where she has friends and can find contentment.

One of the things I have always loved about this series is the friendships that each trilogy follows so of course it was great to catch up with Mallory, Ty, Amy and Matt and see how they are all getting along. It was good to see them teasing Josh & Grace and the way that they all encouraged the couple to follow their hearts. I also really loved Josh's family, they gave the story a slightly different feel to the previous books and I've already mentioned how adorable Toby is. As much as I enjoyed the antics of Toby and the crazy dog Tank my heart really went out to Anna. She has been through so much but is a survivor and I would love to see more of her character in the future.

I can't praise or recommend this series highly enough and I can't tell you how thrilled I was when Jill Shalvis announced there will be at least 3 more books in the Lucky Harbor series (including one with a firefighter for the hero!!). There is currently no information on release dates for these books but they are going to be at the top of my "must buy immediately" list. While I'm waiting for those I am planning on working my way through as much of her back list as I can because Jill has quickly become one of my favourite contemporary romance authors.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Review: At Last - Jill Shalvis

UK Cover
Is love here to stay?

Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor and a mountain hike seems like the perfect weekend adventure - until a wrong turn leads her straight into the arms of forest ranger Matt Bowers. Amy might be tempted to kiss that sexy smile right off his face, but she won't make the mistake of getting involved with the town heartthrob.

A former cop whose life went south, Matt doesn't let anyone get too close. But after a hot night under a starry sky, Matt can't deny their attraction - or the fact that the feisty beauty makes him think about forever. Now it's up to Matt to help Amy see that, no matter what is in their past, together they can build a future in Lucky Harbor.

Lucky Harbor Series:
Simply Irresistible
The Sweetest Thing
Kissing Santa Claus (Novella in the Small Town Christmas anthology)
Head Over Heels
Lucky in Love
At Last
Forever and a Day
Under the Mistletoe (Novella)
It Had to be You (2013)
Always on my Mind (2013)
Once in a Lifetime (2014)

Visit Jill Shalvis' website for more information.

Review:
It's no secret that I've become a massive fan of Jill Shalvis since I started reading the Lucky Harbor series so of course I couldn't wait to start reading the fifth instalment At Last. I have been looking forward to finding out more about Ranger Hot Buns Matt for ages now and he didn't disappoint!

Amy has been making regular appearances throughout the series but it was only in the last book that we started to get to know her a little better. Although she has become good friends with Mallory and Grace she still holds herself back, she is reluctant to discuss her past and always tries to put on a front that everything is fine and she doesn't need any help. As we find out more about her troubled past and how she has been on her own since running away from home at 16 you start to understand why she feels the need to have her tough girl persona always in place. Amy is a survivor and has been through difficult times but underneath the surface she is also surprisingly sweet and vulnerable. She cares deeply about her new friends and is working hard to build a life for herself in Lucky Harbor. Amy arrived in the town following in the footsteps of her grandmother who had written in her journal about finding hope, peace and her heart when she visited the mountains there as a teenager. Amy is desperately in need of hope and peace, she thinks she can do without her heart but longs to find the first two so decides to try and find the trail her grandmother took through the mountains.

A city girl though and through it shouldn't come as a surprise that Amy finds herself lost on a trail as dark approaches. Who should come to the rescue but Matt - the sexy ranger she has been trying to avoid the attentions of ever since she arrived in Lucky Harbor. Matt has been drawn to Amy from the moment he saw her and comes into the cafe where she works almost daily just to get a glimpse of her. After leaving the Navy Matt was a SWAT Officer for the Chicago Police Department but his job cost him everything and he moved to Lucky Harbor to start again. He works long hours as a Forest Ranger and spends his spare time with his friends but after the break up of his marriage he isn't looking to find love again. The chemistry between him and Amy is impossible to resist though and although they both go into things agreeing to keep it just a fling that isn't going to be an easy promise to stick to.

I love the way their relationship develops and how they are both slowly forced to face their issues and come out stronger on the other side. The addition of homeless teen Riley added a nice extra element to the story that helped to show Amy's caring side and give an outside view of what her past must have been like. I hope we get to see more of Riley in the future as I'd really like to see her settle in and find a home for herself. Matt and Amy just make the perfect couple, they bring out the best in each other and fit together really well. They are smokin' hot but also sweet, tender and protective and every time they are together sparks fly. It looks like Amy might just find her heart in Lucky Harbor after all but will she find hope and peace too?

One of the things I love most about this series is the friendships that the author forms between characters that continue to build and grow throughout each book. In Lucky in Love Amy and Grace were giving Mallory bad girl lessons but now that they've decided it is Amy's turn to sort her life out I loved the fact that they turned it around on her and started giving her good girl lessons. I can't wait to see what they decide Grace needs in the next book. We didn't see quite as much of the male bonding between Ty, Matt and Josh in the last book but that was more than made up for this time around and we get to see much more of them bantering and generally messing around together. I still feel like Grace and Josh are pretty unknown entities though so I'm looking forward to getting to know them both better in their book Forever and a Day.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Review: Graffiti Moon - Cath Crowley

'We've got at least seven hours to get what we want before the sun comes up.'

School is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. Somewhere in the glassy darkness, he's out there, spraying colour, birds and blue sky on the night. And Lucy knows that a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for - really fall for.

The last person Lucy wants to spend this night with is Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since punching him in the nose on the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells Lucy he knows where to find Shadow, the two of them are suddenly on an all-night search to places where Shadow's pieces of heartbreak and escape echo off the city walls. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.

Visit Cath Crowley's website for more information

Review:
Lucy, Jazz and Daisy are going to celebrate the last day of school by staying out all night and they all have different goals that they want to accomplish by morning. Jazz just wants to be kissed, Daisy wants to get over her ex-boyfriend Dylan and Lucy is determined to track down the mysterious graffiti artist known only as Shadow. She has been a fan of his work for ages and feels like she has come to know him through his paintings, if only she could actually meet him she is sure they would be perfect for each other. Dylan wants to win Daisy back so he tells them that he knows Shadow and Poet and offers to take the girls to places where they might find them. Ed and Leo are dragged along for the ride but as the friends get sidetracked it ends up being just Lucy and Ed continuing the search.

Graffiti Moon is told from both Lucy and Ed's points of view in alternating chapters with some of Poet's poems scattered throughout the story. This allows us to really get to know both main characters and gives us the advantage of seeing the same scene from their differing perspectives. Lucy is such an interesting character to get to know, she comes from an unusual family and has definitely been raised to think outside the box. Her way of looking at the world is at times innocent but also very astute and her observations about the people and world around her were fascinating. An artist herself Lucy works with glass rather than with paint and I really enjoyed learning a bit about her training as a glass blower. I've watched glass blowers work in the past and was amazed at the way they were able to create such beautiful and intricate works from what is basically just melted sand with a few extra ingredients. Lucy has been falling for Shadow since she first saw his paintings and she is convinced that if they ever met he would be the perfect guy. She has had all these imaginary conversations with him and thinks they would be able to have these fantastic discussions about their favourite artists and paintings.

Ed dropped out of school because he struggled to read and write, he isn't stupid by any means but words always confuse him. I believe he is probably dyslexic but as he was never diagnosed he didn't get the help he needed. He isn't a stranger to Lucy, in fact they even went on a date once but it ended up being a disaster when she broke his nose for touching her arse! They haven't spoken since and both have their own resentments from that night. As Ed helps Lucy search for Shadow she starts to discover that they have much more in common than she ever suspected but will she realise what is right in front of her before it's too late? Ed is keeping secrets of his own and is afraid of the way Lucy will react if he owns up. With their past and secrets between them can they find a way to reconnect?

This was the first book I've read by Cath Crowley but I'm sure it won't be the last, I really enjoyed her descriptive writing style and she really brought to life the paintings she described so I could see them in front of me as I was reading. Graffiti Moon was an enjoyable read and one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance or who is interested in art.

Source: Received from Hodder in exchange for an honest review

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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review: Bound Temptations - Shiloh Walker

BOUND TEMPTATIONS contains two stories, BEG ME and TEMPT ME, two stories that are available separately in ebook. This is their first time releasing in print.

TEMPT ME
She's a temptation he can't resist...

Roxanne ‘Rocki' Monroe's life is full of secrets and hidden heartaches. Cole Stanton would love to heal her pain and chase away the ghosts of her past, but she's just a complication he doesn't have room for in his life.

Or so he thinks.

It doesn't take Cole long to realise he's more than willing to let temptation get the best of him, more than happy to deal with complications if that's what it takes to get her.

What he has and what he needs are two different things...and what he needs is Rocki.

BEG ME
Beg me...there had been a time when those words made her burn with desire. But now, there was only fear.

Once, Tania Sinclair's life was almost perfect...oh, it had its ups and downs but she was happily married to a guy that adored her, one who had no problem indulging every kinky fantasy she ever had. But a couple of tragedies later, she's barely holding it together. A car accident took away her husband, and an attack from somebody she should have been able to trust has shaken not only her confidence, but it's also stripped away her fantasies and even made it painful to look back on her memories of her husband without fear.

Two years after her attack, Tania is determined to take her life back and the first step is taking back herself...her fantasies, her dreams, her memories. There's only one person she can trust to do it, too. One person she wants enough...Drake Bennett, her husband's best friend.

Falling for your best friend's wife-never smart. Drake's watched Tania quietly for years, watched her...wanted her, knowing he'd never have her. First, she was taken. And then, that night two years ago-a night that still scars her, a night that's left bruises on her that still haven't healed. He does what he can, though, because he loves her too much not to. He's her friend, there when she needs him.

And now she needs him. She's asked him for a favour...one that just about blows his mind...

Warning: This book involves light bondage play, rape fantasy & role-playing. The acts between the hero & heroine are consensual, but they may not be ideal for all readers...

Visit Shiloh Walker's website for more information.

Review:
The Bound Temptations anthology contains two novellas (Tempt Me and Beg Me) by Shiloh Walker that have both been previously released as ebooks. I'm going to talk about each of these stories individually in this review. Overall though I'd have to say that I liked the anthology but I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected to. I quite liked Tempt Me but I'm afraid I wasn't a big fan of Beg Me.

Tempt Me

This was my favourite of the two stories. I really liked Rocki, she is the widow of a policeman who now runs her own lingerie store, life has been hard but she is ready to move on and find love again. I loved the fact that she isn't a skinny supermodel type, she has curves and is happy and confident about her fuller figure that she shows off wearing the corsets and the other lingerie she sells in her store. It's so nice to read about a woman who has no insecurities about her body and it was one of the things that drew Cole to her.

Unfortunately I wasn't as keen on Cole, he starts the story engaged to ice cold bitch Mara. Now as much as I hated Mara with a passion and felt she deserved to be kicked to the kerb it irritated me that Cole is completely oblivious to how awful she is until he is attracted to another woman. Suddenly after one meeting with Rocki he realises what a cow his fiancee is and decides to dump her. Then before you know it Rocki (who is still nursing a broken heart for the husband who died 5 years ago - she even wears her wedding ring still) and Cole are madly in love despite the fact they've only met a handful of times and been on a couple of dates. I know things have to move fast in a novella but that was just too fast for me and didn't make it believable. The story had real potential but I felt it could have been so much better if it had been given more page time.

Beg Me

Now, I'll admit that if I'd realised the contents of this story before I picked the anthology up I probably wouldn't have read it so I'm not really the best person to judge this one. I'm not a fan of rape fantasies but I decided to give it a try because I like the author's writing style. I did like Tania at first, she had been through a horrible ordeal after the death of her husband and then being raped in her own home and I felt really bad for her. I can't even begin to imagine how messed up that would have left her and I admired her for wanting to take her life back and replace the bad memories with good ones. Drake was her husbands best friend and has been in love with Tania forever, he has always been there for her and was understandably the first one that she turned to.

Now I consider myself quite an open minded person and although Tania's fantasy isn't my idea of fun I don't have a problem with it as long as the people involved are consenting adults. The bondage side to their relationship and the dirty talk was fine and was even quite hot in places but events towards the end left me cold. Where it went wrong for me was when Tania practically forced Drake to do something that he was obviously very uncomfortable with - she was trying to wipe away the memories of her own rape which I can understand to a degree but that doesn't give her the right to force the man she is supposed to be falling for into doing something that hurt him emotionally. I felt so bad for Drake, he loves Tania so much that he would do anything for her and I felt she took advantage of that and it really made me dislike her. That scene ruined the whole novella for me which was such a shame.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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