Sunday, 30 September 2012

Review: Impulse - Moira Rogers

Her submission can heal him. His dominance can free her.

Sera Sinclaire is a New Orleans rarity: a submissive coyote trapped in a town overrun by dominant shapeshifters. Worse, she lacks the willpower to deny the alphas-in-shining-armor who need her soothing presence, even when their protectiveness threatens to crush her hard-won self-reliance.

The only shifter she doesn’t want to push away is Julio Mendoza, a wolf so dominant he’s earned a place on the Southeast council.

Julio doesn’t have the luxury of indulging in the vacation his psychic shrink insists he needs. He can’t turn his back on responsibilities he’s beginning to wish he’d never shouldered. When an obsessive ex endangers Sera, though, instinct drives him to get her out of town. Watching her come to life outside the city makes him feel like he’s finally done something right, and her touch ignites desire he doesn’t want to ignore.

But soon, lighthearted flirting becomes a dangerous game of seduction, where every day spent falling into each other is another day avoiding the truth. Sera’s ex isn’t the only one who’d disapprove of their relationship. There are wolves who would kill to get Sera out of Julio’s life—starting with his own blood kin.

Warning: Contains endless summer road trips, family drama, redneck werewolves, sexual power games and a taboo love affair between a submissive coyote who’s among the last of her kind and a dominant wolf who loves his heroine’s ass. Literally.

Southern Arcana Series:
Crux
Crossroads
A Peyton Family Christmas (free short story on Moira Rogers' website)
Zola's Pride (free short story on Moira Rogers' website)
Deadlock
Two Weddings (and One Near Funeral) (free short story on Moira Rogers' website)
Cipher
Impulse
Enigma

Visit Moira Rogers' website for more information

Review:
I am a huge fan of the Southern Arcana series, in fact I love pretty much everything that the awesome duo behind the name Moira Rogers write so of course I was excited to get my hands on Impulse. I have to say I think this was my favourite instalment to the series so far - I definitely have a new favourite couple in Julio and Sera!

As a submissive coyote shifter Sera has the ability to sooth the dominant alpha werewolves in her life. Just spending time with her calms them and she instinctively wants to do their bidding even when it goes against her own wishes. Having escaped her dominant and abusive ex husband the last thing she wants is to let someone else have control over her future, she is determined to be independent and stand on her own two (or four!) feet for once. Although she longs for the freedom to make her own choices deep down she loves her submissive side, she is just frightened of having her trust abused again by letting the wrong person into her life and into her heart.

Julio is an extremely dominant and sexy alpha werewolf who is strong enough to have become a member of the Southeast council. It has been 13 months since the torture he suffered when trying to protect his friends in the last book and he is still trying to deal with the emotional effects that has had on him. I absolutely fell for Julio, he pushed all the right buttons for me and I thought he and Sera were perfect together. I loved the way their personalities complimented each other, I loved that although Julio wanted to protect Sera he also wanted to give her the confidence to achieve her dreams and I particularly loved the fact that they're both just a little bit kinky!

One of my favourite quotes from the book:
"You're a dirty bastard" "Are you complaining?" "No"

I have to confess that I wouldn't be complaining either if I was Sera - she is one lucky, lucky coyote! The tag line from the story "Her submission can heal him. His dominance can free her" sums up their relationship perfectly.

It was also great to have a chance to catch up with some of the other characters from the series and see how they are getting on now. There are also some really interesting developments with the Southeastern council and the Conclave that are going to have some huge knock on effects in future books. My only disappointment with this series is that I now have to wait again for the next instalment - I just wish I could have a new book every month! If you're new to the series then I would highly recommend reading them in order starting with Crux - this is one of my favourite paranormal romance series and one I think everyone should be reading. Fans of the series are just going to love Impulse!

Source: Received from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

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

Kindle:

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Review: Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff

One girl and a griffin against an empire.

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear their lives are over - everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he'd rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shogun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko uneasy, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kage cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shogun's crimes, both against her country and her family.

Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shogun pay - but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

The Lotus War Series:
Stormdancer
The Little Stormdancer (Children's Picture Book)
Titles and release dates for future books in the series are TBC

Visit Jay Kristoff's website for more information

Review:
I knew I wanted to read Stormdancer from the moment I first saw the cover, I can't even decide if I prefer the UK or US version - I actually want to buy both just so I can sit and stare at them! This is one of those books that had so much hype surrounding it that it had taken the blogosphere by storm well before it had even been released so I have to admit that I felt nervous when I first picked it up in case it didn't live up to my expectations. Then when I started reading it took me a long time to get into, Jay Kristoff has a beautifully descriptive writing style but I found the beginning particularly heavy going. This was probably because a lot of the Japanese terms used were so unfamiliar to me but I did find it off putting. In fact I got about 80 pages in and decided that the book just wasn't for me and gave up on it. Thankfully a few of my friends on Goodreads persuaded me to give it another try, they assured me that it was worth the effort of pushing through and that once the story clicked I would be hooked and am very happy to say that they were right.

By the time I'd got around 130 pages into the book I was well and truly addicted and I didn't want to put it down for a second. I don't give up on books often but once I do I never go back to them so Stormdancer was an unusual exception that turned into one of my favourite fantasy reads of the year so far. I don't want to go into too much detail regarding the storyline (there are plenty of other reviews out there that already do that) but I do want to tell you that this is a book that shouldn't be missed. It has something in there to appeal to fantasy fans of all ages - a futuristic dystopian world that is on the verge of apocalypse thanks to human pollution; a steampunk feel to it with airships, face masks and samurai with chainsaw katanas; a wonderful mixture of mythology and fantastic creatures and last but by no means least a collection of well drawn characters who you will come to both love and hate - sometimes at the same time!

The main character is sixteen year old Yukiko and the story follows her as she is sent along with her father on an impossible mission. They are tasked with capturing a griffin and bringing it back for the Shogun but everyone knows that griffins are long extinct. The Shogun will accept no failure though - they either bring back his prize or their lives are forefit. When they finally manage to capture a griffin Yukiko finds she has a bond with him that is stronger than anything she could have dreamed of. Without a doubt the griffin (also known as a thunder tiger) Buruu was my favourite character in the story, from the moment he flies onto the page I couldn't get enough of him. I loved the relationship that slowly develops between Buruu and Yukiko, separately they are great but put the two of them together and they become unforgettable. The way they influence each other through their psychic bond was wonderful to see and I adored the conversations between them.

Stormdancer may get off to a relatively slow start as we are introduced to the complex and detailed world that Jay Kristoff has created but once the pace picks up it quickly gains momentum and the action doesn't stop until the heart wrenching end. The author certainly isn't afraid to take risks with his characters and there were times I was genuinely terrified for Yukiko and Buruu's safety. It's been a long time since I was quite so captivated by a story and to say that Stormdancer is an impressive debut would be an understatement - my only complaint is that I now have to wait a year for the next instalment. I'm so relieved that I gave this book a second chance and I would urge anyone else who finds the beginning a bit heavy going to stick with it - I promise you it is more than worth the effort.

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

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

Hardback / Kindle:

Friday, 28 September 2012

Review: Angel's Ink - Jocelynn Drake

Buyer beware . . .

Looking for a tattoo - and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using his unique potions-a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks-to etch the right symbol, he can fulfil any heart's desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price.

No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practise magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment-execution-will be swift.

Though he's tried to fly under the radar, Gage can't hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead - or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage just might make it through this enchanted world alive.

The Asylum Tales:
The Asylum Interviews: Bronx (Novella)
The Asylum Interviews: Trixie (Novella)
Angel's Ink

Visit Jocelynn Drake's website for more information

Review:
Gage was trained from a young age to become a warlock but in a world where the warlocks and witches rule the other races with an iron fist he didn't feel comfortable with the way his mentor and the other inhabitants of the Ivory Towers lived their lives. Gage doesn't believe that the ability to harness magic makes the warlocks any better than anyone else and he hates the way they treat humans and other supernatural beings with contempt and as little better than insects to be crushed at will. He is the only apprentice warlock who ever chose to leave the Ivory Towers and return to living amongst humans and he was only allowed to leave under the condition that he never uses his magic again except in self defence. Even then the warlocks aren't happy that he decided to leave and he knows that they are constantly watching him and waiting for him to make a mistake.

All Gage wants to do is live his life in peace and remain under the radar of the warlocks. He has become one of the most successful tattoo artists in the area and is skilled at creating potions to add to the ink he uses in his art. If you want a tattoo that will bring you luck or make you attractive to the opposite sex then Gage is the person you want to see. His colleagues, troll Bronx and elf Trixie, are both equally skilled artists and potion stirrers but both have their own secrets and reasons to keep to themselves. It seems like their pasts might be about to catch up with them though so can they work together to keep their freedom?

I really enjoyed the two prequel novellas for Jocelynn Drake's new series so I couldn't wait to start reading the first full length novel Angel's Ink. I was looking forward to learning more about Gage's background and to spending more time at the tattoo parlour with him, Bronx and Trixie. For those who haven't read the prequel novellas I do think that Angel's Ink can be read on it's own, the prequels basically show how Gage met each of his fellow tattoo artists and how they came to work at his tattoo parlour The Asylum. They are fun reads but this information isn't necessary to follow the story.

I have to admit that after really loving the prequels I ended up finding myself slightly disappointed with Angel's Ink. I had hoped to spend more time getting to know Gage, Bronx and Trixie - we had been given hints of secrets that they were all holding back and I wanted to learn more about them. Although we do uncover more about Gage's past and learn who Trixie is hiding from I was sad that we didn't get more of Bronx. In fact his role in this book was mainly backing up Gage when he got himself into various different kinds of trouble and when he wasn't running to the rescue he just kind of disappeared into the background. It was a shame because I really liked Bronx in the prequels and had hoped to learn more about him. I also have to admit that I wasn't a fan of the romance between Gage and Trixie, it happened too quickly and ended up feeling forced.

When I read urban fantasy I'm not looking for something that focuses on the romance - I'm more interested in a fast paced plot and really getting to know the characters and the world that the author has created. Yes a lot of my favourite urban fantasy series do contain a hint of romance but most of the time it has that kind of will they / won't they theme running through at least the first few books and I really enjoy that kind of tension between the characters. In the case of Gage and Trixie there was no tension, everything flows together too easily and at times felt a bit more like I was reading a paranormal romance. I just didn't feel invested in either of the characters and didn't believe that there was any real emotional connection between them, definitely not enough for them to become a couple.

The plot is fast paced but at times it gets a little too complicated - Gage can't go a chapter without finding some new kind of trouble to get himself into! This was amusing at first but it got to the point where I just wanted some kind of resolution to the problems he already had rather than for him to dig another hole to fall into. Some of these issues are dealt with by the end of the book but we are definitely left with questions for future books in the series to answer. In spite of my complaints I did still enjoy the story, the world that Jocelynn Drake has created has a lot of potential and I hope that we will see a lot more time spent developing the characters and the background as the series continues. Gage is a likeable guy but I want to see a lot more of Bronx in future instalments and I'm quite excited to get to know new character Sofie who doesn't make her appearance until nearly the end of the book.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: The Asylum Interviews: Trixie - Jocelynn Drake

The second of two prequel stories to Jocelynn Drake's Angel's Ink.

Gage's ex-girlfriend is back in town and needs help escaping a master vampire. While not the easiest of tasks, he certainly didn't count of getting help from a mysterious woman with a few secrets of her own.

The Asylum Tales:
The Asylum Interviews: Bronx (Novella)
The Asylum Interviews: Trixie (Novella)
Angel's Ink

Visit Jocelynn Drake's website for more information

Review:
This is the second of two prequel novellas introducing the main characters of Jocelynn Drake's upcoming Asylum Tales series. These novellas are both narrated by Gage who is the owner of the Asylum Tattoo Parlour. The first story introduced us to tattoo artist Bronx and showed how he ended up working at Asylum. The Asylum Interviews: Trixie is set 18 months after the first novella and introduces us to another new tattoo artist - Trixie.

Gage's ex-girlfriend Jo has returned to town and the attraction between them is still sizzling. He is worried that she doesn't seem to be quite her usual self but it takes Jo's friend Trixie to fill him in on the problem. Jo is being bullied by a master vampire and tattoo artist Trixie comes to Gage looking for help to put a stop to it. Can Gage, Trixie and Bronx find a way to free Jo from the vampire's clutches?

Gage and Bronx have been working together for over a year and things at the tattoo parlour are busier than ever. They have become good friends but both are suffering from overwork and they really need another artist to help take some of the pressure off. They need to find someone that they will both get on with though and it has to be someone who is as skilled at both creating tattoos and making the special potions they use in the ink too. Will they get on well enough with Trixie to offer her the job?

We don't find out much more about Gage's past in this story but he does seem to gravitate towards people who also have secrets of their own. He doesn't push them for answers and he knows they're not likely to want to delve into his past either. Trixie is hiding her true identity and I'll be very interested to find out why that is as the series continues. As much as we don't get to find out more about Gage's secret past we do get to know his character a bit better. I am really coming to like all of these characters, Gage can come across as a bit of an ass at times but that is his way of keeping people at a distance and deep down he is a nice, caring guy. Bronx always manages to add humour to any situation but he is definitely the kind of guy you'd like to have at your back if you're in trouble and Trixie is a straight talking, spunky woman who won't take any crap but who will risk herself to protect her friends.

If you enjoyed The Asylum Interviews: Bronx then you'll love Trixie's story just as much. You don't have to read either of these novellas before picking up the first book in the series but I would recommend giving them a try. These stories have left me eager to get started on Angel's Ink - this is definitely a new urban fantasy series to watch out for.

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

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

Kindle:

Review: The Asylum Interviews: Bronx - Jocelynn Drake

In Low Town, where humans walk and work side-by-side with elves, vampires, ogres, and all manner of creature, it's understandable that people occasionally need a little help in their lives. Whether is love, work, or ... other, tattoo artists are there to try to help turn the odds into your favour. When Gage's friend Parker needs help with his love life, tattoo artists Gage and Bronx are only too happy to help. But the incubus ends up getting more than he bargained for with his new tattoo, and his friends are forced to scramble to fix the mess they've created before someone gets hurt.

The Asylum Tales:
The Asylum Interviews: Bronx (Novella)
The Asylum Interviews: Trixie (Novella)
Angel's Ink

Visit Jocelynn Drake's website for more information

Review:
The Asylum Interviews are two prequel novellas for Jocelyn Drake's new Asylum Tales series and this first story Bronx gets us off to a great start. The author has created what looks to be a promising world full of an interesting selection of paranormal creatures from warlocks and witches through to incubi and even trolls. It can be hard to introduce a new world in a novella but I think the author has done a fantastic job, she gave enough information to hook me in without too much info dumping to take away from the story. The plot was solid and gives a good insight into people who I'm assuming will be some of the main players in the series.

Our main character is Gage who is the owner of the Asylum tattoo parlour and a skilled tattoo artist. We get a few hints at a troubled past and he seems to have plenty of secrets that I'm looking forward to exploring as the series continues. When a night out with a friend goes awry Gage is rescued by troll Bronx. Bronx is also a tattoo artist and is in the area because he had heard that Gage might be hiring so when Gage's friend asks for a tattoo to help with a very specific problem Bronx offers to help. The tattoos that Gage and Bronx create aren't quite the same as the tattoos that we are all familiar with, well they may look the same but potions mixed in with the inks can be used to create all kinds of different effects. Unfortunately the tattoo they create for incubus Parker has a very awkward side effect and it isn't going to be easy for Bronx and Gage to fix the problem that they have caused.

As someone who loves tats I always look out for stories where the main characters have tattoos - there is something irresistible about a hunky, inked up hero! - so I can't tell you how excited I am about the idea of a series set around a tattoo parlour. Especially one that creates magical tattoos! If the unforeseen side effects of the tattoos are always this interesting then I have a feeling this is going to be a very amusing series. I would like to point out that the cover is a little misleading, it looks more like a paranormal romance cover but the story is definitely urban fantasy. There is no romance in sight so though don't be put off by the cover if you're not a PNR fan.

If you're already excited about Jocelynn Drake's new series then this novella will definitely help to whet your appetite for Angel's Ink but if you've not heard of the series before or like me are new to the author then this would be a great place to start.

Source: Purchased

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

Kindle:

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Guest Post: Behind the Scenes of the Royal Street Characters with Suzanne Johnson

Earlier this year I really enjoyed reading Royal Street, the first book in Suzanne Johnson's new Sentinels of New Orleans series so I was very excited when I heard that the series is now being published in the UK by Headline. To celebrate today's UK release I am thrilled to welcome Suzanne Johnson to the blog today to talk about how she went about developing the characters for the series.

Before I welcome Suzanne to the blog I want to give you a bit more information about Royal Street. This is a fantastic start to a new urban fantasy series and one I'd highly recommend reading (you can read my full review here).

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco spends more of her time mixing potions and retrieving pixies than she does sniffing out the supernatural bad guys that slip over from the preternatural beyond. It is DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, who is tasked with protecting the city.

But when Hurricane Katrina hammers the city's fragile levees, it unleashes more than flood waters. As the winds howl and Lake Pontchartrain surges, the borders between the modern city and the otherworld start to crumble away . . .

Now the dead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover. To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards' Elders have assigned a grenade-toting asshat as DJ's new partner, and an unsavoury, undead pirate called Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank.

If she is going to survive, DJ will have to learn that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies can be found in unlikely places . . . and that duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.

Sentinels of New Orleans Series:
Royal Street
River Road (November 2012)

Visit Suzanne Johnson's website for more information.

So now you've found out a bit more about the book I'm very excited to hand over to Suzanne Johnson who is going to introduce to you the characters! Please give her a very warm welcome

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

Behind the Scenes: Developing the Characters of Royal Street
by Suzanne Johnson

Ever wondered how authors come up with characters? First, relax. We rarely base them on people we know. After all, we don’t want to lose friends or provide ammunition to enemies.

Instead, every author I know develops characters based on a kernel: a personality trait or problem. We assign a trait to a hero or heroine, then begin expanding our embryonic character’s backstory. Yes, we usually pull random habits, characteristics, or expressions from people we know—often unconsciously. Most of that backstory, however, never appears in print. It’s hidden on hard drives and private dossiers that never see daylight.

Here are a few random facts from the private dossiers of the main characters in Royal Street.

Drusilla Jaco, or DJ. She’s the heroine of the Sentinels of New Orleans series and a junior-level Green Congress wizard (i.e., a geek).

The “kernel” for DJ: I wanted to start this urban fantasy by exploring some of the issues faced by people in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005—and yet form the basis for an entertaining series that could transcend the hurricane setting. So I needed someone who wasn’t quite human but was still relatable, who was young enough to be completely cast adrift by the loss of the things (her mentor, her job) on which she’d anchored her identity and yet who was resilient and driven more by her heart than her head.

Random trivia: In early drafts of Royal Street, DJ was a shapeshifter rather than a wizard, until I read a transcript of a speech by Sir Terry Pratchett called “Why Gandalf Never Married” and realized I wanted to break through the wizard glass ceiling by having a female wizard as my heroine. Once I settled on wizards, the whole worldbuilding for the series fell into place for me.

Gerald St. Simon. DJ’s boss and mentor and a Red Congress wizard (i.e., warrior class).

The “kernel” for Gerry: I wanted to explore the idea of science having driven magic from our world, and imagined it would be a subject that would be a source of annoyance for a wizard. I also wanted a mature wizard whose magical skills complemented DJ’s. Her magic is slow and methodical ritual magic, while Gerry harnesses physical magic.

Random trivia: Gerry is British but was assigned by the Congress of Elders to be the New Orleans sentinel more than thirty years earlier. The house Gerry lives in in Royal Street is the house I lived in when I first moved to New Orleans in 1993. It was located three blocks from the main levee failure that sent eighty percent of New Orleans under the waters of Lake Pontchartrain. Thankfully, I had moved to another part of the city before Katrina.

Alexander Warin. The assassin/enforcer assigned to be DJ’s partner after the hurricane.

The “kernel” for Alex: DJ is a geeky wizard skilled in ritual magic; she doesn’t do guns. So I wanted her new partner to be the anti-DJ. Someone physical rather than cerebral, prone to shoot first and negotiate only when necessary.

Random trivia: Alex is from the town of Picayune, Mississippi, which lies about forty miles north of New Orleans. He played high school football for the Picayune Maroon Tide and is the youngest of four sons.

Jacob Warin: Alex’s cousin and rival—they’re more like brothers than cousins.

The “kernel” for Jake: I wanted someone not related to DJ’s business to whom she could be attracted because he was human. She’s surrounded by so much chaos, and Jake’s humanity is something that both attracts her and makes her question her own identity.

Random trivia: Jake is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who came home from Afghanistan scarred both inside and out. At the time Royal Street begins, Jake has battled his way back from alcohol abuse. More of his inner demons will be exposed as the series progresses.

Jean Lafitte: Legendary 19th-century pirate and member of the historical undead.

The “kernel” for Jean: New Orleans has had so many colorful characters in its history that I created a class of preternaturals called the Historical Undead, famous humans given immortality in the Beyond by the power of human memory. As long as people remember them, they live. And no one is more famous in New Orleans than Jean Lafitte.

Random trivia: Jean Lafitte was originally meant to appear only in the first scene of Royal Street, but he wouldn’t leave. He’s now a major series character. My version of Lafitte is very much based on historical research, from his size (six-two, which was HUGE in 1815) to his wicked sense of humor to his intelligence.

There are other characters in the series, of course, including more of the Historical Undead (jazz great Louis Armstrong, voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, author William Faulkner m) and more preternaturals (loup-garou, shapeshifters, merpeople and maybe even a weregator or two). There might even be one or two from the scariest species of all: humans.

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

Thank you so much for a wonderful guest post Suzanne, I love finding out more about where authors get the inspiration for their characters! One of the things I really enjoyed about Royal Street was the addition of the Historical Undead - it is so much fun to see people from the past brought back to life. I'm very excited to see that Jean Lafitte is going to keep cropping up as the series continues, I was drawn to him from the very first page!

UK Cover
US Cover

So what do you all think of Royal Street? Which character intrigues you the most? Have you already read the story? Leave me a link to your review if you have. Finally which cover do you prefer the UK one or the US one? I really like the way DJ is using her magic in the US cover - it feels like a real action shot! I think I prefer the UK cover though, I love the colouring and I like the way you can see the storm in the background. I prefer the writing on the UK cover too, the font used for the title is fab!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Book Trailer: The Mystic City - Theo Lawrence

I've incredibly excited about Theo Lawrence's debut novel Mystic City ever since I first heard about it. Come on take a quick look at the cover and blurb below and tell me that this doesn't sound like an awesome book! Anyway, we don't have too much longer to wait for the UK release on the 11th of October so I thought I'd share the trailer with you here and see what you all think of it.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud - and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths.

But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place.

Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection - and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city - including herself.



So who else is looking forward to this book as much as I am? What do you think of the trailer? If you've already read Mystic City I'd love to hear your thoughts so leave me a link to your reviews!

Winner: Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas


With the help of Rafflecopter I am excited to announce the winner of a copy of Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas is:

Sammee (email address starting iwanttoreadthat@...)

Congratulations Sammee! You should have already received an email from me asking for your addresses so please make sure you look out for it. If I don't hear back from you within 48 hours then a new winner will be chosen. Your prize will be sent out by my contact at Bloomsbury so you'll need to give permission for me to forward your address to them.

I'd like to say a massive thank you to Bloomsbury for allowing me to host this giveaway for them.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Review: Turf - John Lucas

Jay is fifteen years old and a member of the Blake Street Boyz gang. With a knife in his pocket and his best friend Milk by his side, he spends his time fiercely defending their turf. He takes his lessons from the streets and thinks he knows everything about choices.

Choose the right gang, and they will protect you. Choose the right clothes, the right chat, the right snacks and you will be respected. But now he's coming of age and he's being given the chance to step up. He must stab and kill a member of a rival gang... and there are no choices left.

This is a story set against the backdrop of London's inner-city tower blocks, where killing can be easier than choosing a chocolate bar; where gang violence rules, and where loyalty can cost you your soul.

Visit John Lucas's page on Goodreads for more information

Review:
Turf is a gritty and raw debut from British author John Lucas that offers a no holds barred insight into today's youth gang culture. Set on an estate of run down council tower blocks in London it is easy to imagine teens today who are caught in the same trap as fifteen year old Jaylon.

Jay never really made the choice to join the Blake Street Boyz, it was just something that all the kids on his estate aspired to. Those who aren't in the gang desperately want to be but those who are in soon find that there is no backing out. Every decision you make is monitored by the gang and if you make the slightest mistake then you risk losing your spot in the pecking order. Lines are drawn between the territory owned by the Boyz and the territory belonging to the Yoot (a gang from the neighbouring estate). Everything from where you buy your food, to which benches you can sit on and even the desks you choose at school comes down to which gang you are a member of. Kids who have known each other their entire school lives are enemies just because of the estate they live on.

Now Jay is about to turn 16 it is time for him to face his initiation to move from the Youngers to become a fully fledged member of the Older Boyz. In order to pass the test he must kill a member of the Yoot, a boy from his class at school whose main crime is to live in the wrong area. Jay doesn't want to become a murderer but he doesn't really have much of an option. He lives in a world where it is kill or be killed, even his fellow gang members won't hesitate to take him out if he fails and when they threaten the lives of his family and girlfriend his decision becomes even harder.

You have to give John Lucas credit for not being afraid to tell it like it is, he doesn't hesitate to show the downside of gang life, the way the gang leader motivates the members with fear, the nasty side of fighting both within the gang and outside it along with the drug taking and dealing that goes along with it. This isn't a story for the faint of heart but it does show just how hard it is to escape from the gang life once you've been caught up in it. I have to admit that I wasn't so keen on the heavy religious tone that flows through the story although I can see what the author was trying to achieve with it. There were also parts of the story that were quite surreal, I think it was mainly down to the drugs that narrator Jay was using but it did leave me feeling confused in places.

Overall I have to say that Turf is an impressive debut, one that is hard hitting and that will appeal to fans of books like Keren David's When I Was Joe. It will be very interesting to see what John Lucas comes up with next.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Book to Movie Comparison: Now Is Good (Before I Die) - Jenny Downham


I absolutely loved Jenny Downham's book Before I Die (which has now been re-released as Now is Good to match the movie title) when I read it last year. You can read my review of the book here for more information but if you haven't read it yet then I'd highly recommend it. The story is a heartbreaking one that definitely requires tissues but at the same time it will make you appreciate the important things and want to make the most of every moment.

Book Covers and Synopsis:


It's really going to happen. They said it would, but this is quicker than anyone thought.

Everyone has to die. We all know it.

With only a few months of life left, sixteen-year-old Tessa knows it better than most.

She's made a list though - ten things she wants to do before she dies. Number one is sex. Starting tonight.

But getting what you want isn't easy. And getting what you want doesn't always give you what you need. And sometimes the most unexpected things become important.

Uplifting, life-affirming, joyous - this extraordinary novel celebrates what it is to be alive by confronting what it's really like to die.

Anyway, as a huge fan of the book I was looking forward to seeing the film adaptation so when Random House offered me the chance to attend a preview last month I couldn't say yes fast enough! Kirsty (from The Overflowing Library) & I set off for London early and spent the day hunting for Wenlock and Mandeville statues (more about that in another blog post next week!) before making our way to the Warner Bros offices to see the film.


I have to say that I think Warner Bros have done a fantastic job with the adaptation of Now is Good. They can never fit as much detail into a movie as there is in a book but I felt they have captured the essence of the story perfectly. Dakota Fanning gives a heartbreaking portrayal of Tessa and I loved Jeremy Irving as Adam. The relationship between Tessa and her father was moving and her younger brother Cal was adorable.

Considering I cried buckets when reading the book I knew the film would be a tearjerker and I'm glad I'd remembered to take plenty of tissues with me. I don't think there was a dry eye in the theatre! My only warning would be for fellow blood phobics out there, if you are the kind of person who faints at the sight of blood then I can warn you when you need to leave the cinema. My blood & needle phobia has caused me to faint many, many times (during blood tests & injections, at the dentist, visiting people in the hospital, when I've had a bad nose bleed, during my first aid course - the list could go on forever!) but I had NEVER fainted at the cinema before!

There was one particular scene where Tessa has a very nasty nose bleed that sent me over the edge and yes I managed to faint in the middle of the film! Luckily Kirsty was the only one who noticed so although I practically frightened the life out of her I didn't completely humiliate myself in front of the entire cinema. One thing about fainting when you're already sat down is that you don't nessecarily fall out of your seat LOL. I thought I was probably the only one who had this problem so I wouldn't have bothered to warn people but Clare from Random House found out that one of the other publicists fainted at exactly the same point during another preview screening so you have been warned!

In spite of the awkward fainting moment and feeling rather traumatised after it happened I did really enjoy the film. I don't think the ending had quite the same impact on me that it would have if I wasn't still recovering though. I did cry but not as much as I think I could have!

Now is Good is in cinemas in the UK now so make sure you book your ticket. In case you haven't already seen it here is the UK trailer:


I'd like to say a massive thank you to Random House & Warner Bros for inviting us to the preview screening - it was definitely a memorable experience!

Shhhh don't tell everyone but Kirsty even got to meet Batman on the way out!

Who was there:
Clare - Random House

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Review: The Dark Garden - Eden Bradley

Are you ready to surrender?

When Rowan Cassidy meets Christian Thorne in an exclusive club, he challenges everything she's ever believed about herself.

He then makes an outrageous proposal: give herself over to him completely for thirty days and discover her most secret fantasies and her true nature.

Give in to absolute pleasure with Eden Bradley's romantic, liberating and utterly addictive debut novel.

Visit Eden Bradley's website for more information.

Review:
The Dark Garden was originally published in the US in 2007 and has just been released for the first time in the UK. The story has been recommended for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey (FSoG) but the only real similarities between the two books are that they both have a main character called Christian and that they both include light BDSM. Having said that if reading FSoG gave you the inclination to find out more about the BDSM lifestyle then this book makes an interesting next step.

Rowan is a Domme at an exclusive BDSM club but has recently been finding her time playing with the submissive boys she usually favours has started getting a little dull. She finds herself irresistibly drawn to Dom Christian but has learnt from experience that being a submissive doesn't work for her. Christian is convinced that deep down Rowan is more sub than Domme and just wants a chance to prove it to her. He asks her to give him 30 days to show her her submissive side and its an offer she can't refuse.

I still consider myself fairly new to the erotic BDSM genre so I wasn't too sure what to expect from The Dark Garden. I was a bit nervous that it might be too hardcore but it was actually much lighter than I expected it to be. I did learn quite a bit about the BDSM community as I was reading though. I'd never come across things like subspace or vampire gloves before but they were introduced in a way that made them fascinating and left me wanting to find out more.

I really loved Christian's character, the way he is so caring towards Rowan and he works so hard to slowly bring out her submissive side was really sweet. Although he is a Dom he was very patient with her and took the time she needed to gradually push past her fears. Rowan had been badly hurt in the past and was terrified of the idea of giving someone else control over her life. She has spent years hiding her submissive nature and trying to convince herself that she is a dominant so it isn't easy for her to accept the feelings that Christian brings out in her. I think most of us can find it easy to relate to her struggle to give up control - although the idea of submission intrigues me I don't know if it is something I'd actually be able to do in reality. The way their relationship developed felt very natural although I did find the ending a little rushed.

I also really enjoyed the side romance between April and Decker, in fact I developed a serious crush on Decker and would have loved to have seen more of him. April is a natural submissive and although she is newer to the BDSM scene than Rowan I liked the way she helped Rowan put her feelings into perspective. My only complaint was that I wanted more of their story - and would have especially loved to have seen some scenes from Decker's point of view. I wanted to know why he did certain things and to see him explain his actions to April. They make such a perfect couple that I would have loved to read about them in a full length book.

Overall The Dark Garden was an enjoyable read and one I would recommend. This is the first book I've read by Eden Bradley and I'll definitely be looking out for more of her books in the future. Don't pick this up expecting to find something similar to FSoG or you might find yourself disappointed. However, if you pick it up wanting to learn more about what it is like to become a submissive and hand complete control to someone else then you'll find it an enjoyable read.

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

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

Kindle:

Friday, 21 September 2012

Cover Reveal: Opal - Jennifer L. Armentrout

I have been really loving Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series so I'm really excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for the third book in the series Opal. So lets have a look at the cover:


and here is the blurb:

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.


Follow this link to an ~~~ EPIC CONTEST ~~~ Announcement. You will want to bookmark this page!


USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.

Find Jennifer on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog

So what do you all think of the Opal cover? Have you started reading the Lux series yet? If so I'd love to know what you think of it! If you haven't then what on earth are you waiting for? Seriously - you need to get hold of a copy of Obsidian asap!!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Review: Her Demonic Angel - Felicity Heaton

A demonic angel with a heart of ice, Veiron walks a dark path with vengeance on his mind. Nothing will sway him from his mission to destroy his master... until he risks his life to enter Hell once more to save a mortal female. The fiery beauty makes him burn with hungers he must battle and needs he cannot deny, tempting him to surrender body and soul to her.

Erin is convinced her refusal to do the Devil’s bidding will see her die in a terrifying realm straight out of her nightmares. The last thing she expects is the lethally sensual warrior who breaks into her cell and awakens the darkest desires of her heart and a fierce longing to know the heat of his caress.

Pulled into an incredible world where war is set to ignite and darkness is on the rise, Erin races with Veiron to escape the Devil’s legions in a journey fraught with danger and filled with passion that flares white-hot.

When Erin is faced with a life-shattering realisation and an extraordinary destiny, will their love give them the strength to battle both Heaven and Hell or will they be parted forever?

Her Angel Series:
Her Dark Angel
Her Fallen Angel
Her Warrior Angel
Her Guardian Angel
Her Demonic Angel
Her Wicked Angel
Her Avenging Angel
Her Sinful Angel

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

Review:
I am a huge fan of Felicity Heaton's Her Angel series so I couldn't wait to get my hands on Her Demonic Angel. This is the longest book in the series so far and it is also my new favourite. Although each of the books in this series works as a stand alone story I would recommend reading at least the fourth book Her Guardian Angel before picking up this instalment. That last book was a game changer for the series and events that occurred had a big impact that has continued into this one. As such this review may contain slight spoilers for the last book but it will remain spoiler free for Her Demonic Angel.

Anyone who has read Her Guardian Angel has already met the hero of this story - Veiron was the demonic angel who has been locked in an eternal battle with Marcus for Amelia and he was the one that helped them change their fate. Now all Veiron wants to focus on is getting revenge on both the devil and heaven for the way they have controlled them all for centuries. He doesn't intend to let anything get between him and his goal but when Amelia asks for his help rescuing her sister he doesn't have much choice but to agree.

Erin has been captured by the devil and taken to hell to be used as bait for her sister. She had no idea that hell was real or that angels existed but the last few weeks of captivity have proved otherwise. She may be being held against her will but she is still determined to get answers about why the devil wants her and she isn't going to let him force her into making a deal. When a sexy man arrives at the door to her cell and tells Erin that Amelia sent him to rescue her she is wary and thinks it is some kind of trick but faced between remaining in her cell and taking a chance at freedom she goes with him.

The attraction between Veiron and Erin is instant but the regular misunderstandings between them don't make it easy for them to become a couple. I loved the way they slowly get to know each other and when they start to fall they both fall hard. It may take a while to get to the sexy times but it is definitely worth the wait and Veiron is the hottest of the angels yet which probably shouldn't be surprising since he is demonic! Veiron has a tough outer shell that he shows the world, he comes across as grumpy and arrogant but deep down he has a heart of gold. He has never had anyone who loves him for who he is and isn't put off by his demonic side so it takes him a while to believe that Erin really does care for him. He is wary of letting her into his heart but once he puts his fear to one side she quickly becomes everything to him. Erin is a great heroine, she is strong and smart but she cares deeply about her family and friends. She isn't afraid of fighting for what she believes in and she will risk her life to protect those that she loves.

Along with a wonderful love story Her Demonic Angel is also full of action and some shocking twists. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough but I also didn't want the story to end! This was a fantastic instalment to one of my favourite series and one that I can't recommend highly enough. Paranormal romance fans who haven't discovered Felicity Heaton yet are really missing out.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Extract: Her Demonic Angel - Felicity Heaton + International Giveaway of Her Warrior Angel

Her Demonic Angel, the fifth book in Felicity Heaton’s Her Angel romance series, is now available, and to celebrate the release she’s holding a fantastic giveaway at her website and she’s also giving away the first book in the series, Her Dark Angel, for FREE at selected Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books and Apple iBookstore sites.

You can find all the links for the FREE book, including a sample, at the following page: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/herdarkangel/

Find out how to enter the Her Demonic Angel international giveaway (ends September 23rd) and be in with a shot of winning a $75, $50 or $25 gift certificate at her website, where you can also download an 8 chapter sample of the novel: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/ebooks.php?title=Her%20Demonic%20Angel

Here’s more about Her Demonic Angel, including an excerpt from this long angel romance novel.

Her Demonic Angel
Felicity Heaton

A demonic angel with a heart of ice, Veiron walks a dark path with vengeance on his mind. Nothing will sway him from his mission to destroy his master... until he risks his life to enter Hell once more to save a mortal female. The fiery beauty makes him burn with hungers he must battle and needs he cannot deny, tempting him to surrender body and soul to her.

Erin is convinced her refusal to do the Devil’s bidding will see her die in a terrifying realm straight out of her nightmares. The last thing she expects is the lethally sensual warrior who breaks into her cell and awakens the darkest desires of her heart and a fierce longing to know the heat of his caress.

Pulled into an incredible world where war is set to ignite and darkness is on the rise, Erin races with Veiron to escape the Devil’s legions in a journey fraught with danger and filled with passion that flares white-hot.

When Erin is faced with a life-shattering realisation and an extraordinary destiny, will their love give them the strength to battle both Heaven and Hell or will they be parted forever?

Her Angel Series:
Her Dark Angel
Her Fallen Angel
Her Warrior Angel
Her Guardian Angel
Her Demonic Angel

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

Her Demonic Angel is available from:
Amazon.com Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00995OSTQ/
Amazon.co.uk Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00995OSTQ/
Apple iBookstore US: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781909306301
Apple iBookstore UK: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/isbn9781909306301
Apple iBookstore Australia: http://itunes.apple.com/au/book/isbn9781909306301
Apple iBookstore Canada: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/isbn9781909306301
Kobo Books: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=9781909306301
Author’s Website: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/ebooks.php?title=Her%20Demonic%20Angel

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

Her Demonic Angel – Excerpt

Erin stared at the man as he took the tray from the beast she had thought was the Devil, removed the cover with a flourish, revealing the most amazing and mouth-watering food she had ever seen, and turned to hold it out to her.

Tempting her.

He was the Devil.

Erin backed away on instinct, aware that before her stood a man who had made her feel compliant by only looking into her eyes and behind her was a sheer drop to a very painful death. She swallowed, heart hammering, and clenched her fists, determined to stand her ground. She had feared the three demonic creatures that had regularly visited her cell but she hadn’t let them get the better of her, and she hadn’t let her captivity break her. She wasn’t going to let this man sweep in and do in seconds what they had failed to do in days.

She straightened and glared at him, lifting her chin in defiance. She was strong. Brave. Her limbs trembled but she refused to let her fear show. The Devil surely thrived on the fear of his victims and making them suffer. He would get no satisfaction from her.

“I apologise for the way you have been treated, Erin,” he said, his deep voice sending another burst of heat over her skin. The sickening feel of it distracted her from what he had said but the moment it had passed, she frowned.

He knew her name.

Erin supposed that shouldn’t surprise her. He was the Prince of Darkness after all. It answered one of the questions that had plagued her during her captivity. He had come specifically for her.

“What do you want with me?” She stood her ground as he moved a step closer, still holding the tray out to her.

“Why don’t you have a seat and enjoy this meal, and we will discuss why I desired your company.”

Erin frowned. “There is nothing to sit on besides the floor.”

He smiled and a large dark carved wooden table appeared behind him, followed by two matching tall-backed chairs with black padded seats. He bowed his head and swept an arm towards them.

“Is this better?” he said and set the tray of food down on the table. “Whatever comforts you desire are yours to have.”

For a price, no doubt. Erin didn’t move. She didn’t trust this man. If she sat on the chair, it would probably wrap itself around her to trap her or something bizarre like it. Her head reasoned that if he wanted to hurt her, he could probably do so without tying her up first. He was the Devil, and he had already shown her that all he had to do was stare into her eyes and she started thinking about doing whatever he asked of her.

“Come, Erin.” He held his hand out to her, the sleeve of his crisp black jacket pulling back to reveal the cuff of his equally dark shirt and glittering jet-black cufflinks. “I have apologised for your treatment, have I not? Can we not talk like civilised people?”

“No, thank you. Your goons took me in the middle of the night and you’ve been holding me in this cell for God knows how long.”

The Devil hissed, his straight white teeth sharpening to points and his eyes burning red.

Erin backed away another step.

He smoothed his hand over his black hair and cleared his throat. The crimson drained from his golden eyes. “I apologise. That word does not sit well with me.”

“What word... oh... God?”

He snarled and was before her in an instant, his fingers closed around her throat and choking her, sharp black claws digging into her skin. He released her as quickly as he had grabbed her and distanced himself.

Erin couldn’t move. She had gone rigid, frozen to her core, the moment he had launched himself at her. Her heart felt as though it wasn’t beating.

Note to self. Never speak about God in the presence of the Devil.

“Self-righteous bastard,” the Devil spat and snarled again, pacing away from her, his body shifting with the sensual and lethal grace of a predator. He turned red eyes on her and frowned. “You would do well not to believe in such a malevolent conceited creature. Now, sit!”

Erin didn’t get a choice. One moment she stood near the edge of her black cell, the heat buffeting her as it rose from the abyss, and the next she sat at the dark wooden table with the tray of food in front of her.

“Eat.” That word was little more than a growl.

She didn’t trust the delicious-looking steak, potatoes and vegetables in front of her but she wasn’t about to tell the Devil where to stick them when she had already managed to royally piss him off. She took the fork in one hand and the steak knife in the other, and paused to stare at it.

“Do not even think about it.” The Devil casually slid into the chair opposite her. He crossed his legs at the knee and leaned back into his chair, his eyes amber again and a false sense of calm about him. She glanced at the three huge black-skinned demons protecting the door.

Erin cut into her steak. Eating the food was probably the wisest move she could make. Not only would it give the Devil a chance to get what looked to be a temper that surpassed everything she had heard about it under control but it would give her much-needed strength. If she was going to survive whatever ordeal lay ahead of her and get the heck out of Hell and this mess, she was going to need her strength.

She devoured the food, uncaring of the way she looked to the three creatures and man, if you could call the Devil a man, watching her.

It was delicious and strangely revitalising. Every mouthful she swallowed filled her stomach and sent heat flowing through her veins, urging her into taking another bite. Was there something in it?

That thought made her pause and she looked up from her plate to the Devil, meeting his gaze. “What sort of steak is this?”

He smiled. “I believe it was the last unicorn.”

Erin retched and covered her mouth, barely managing to keep the food down. “You’re kidding. Right? There’s no such thing as unicorns.”

“Not anymore, there isn’t.” His smile held and she could see the truth in his eyes. God. She was eating a horse. Not just a horse, but a mythical creature. Didn’t unicorns have amazing powers of healing or some rubbish like that? No wonder she felt so revitalised.

And sick.

Erin pushed her plate away.

“You are not finished.” The Devil frowned at the remains on her plate, leaned across the dark wooden table and pushed it back towards her.

Erin shoved it back at him and then smiled politely. “I really couldn’t eat another bite.”

His look darkened. “Sentimentality will be your failing. I find it disappointing to discover such feelings in you.”

She didn’t care if it turned out he was right or what he thought about her. She didn’t want to eat horse, let alone the last unicorn. The sick feeling in her stomach worsened, the food she had consumed sitting like lead in it now.

“Please tell me you didn’t kill it just for this meal?”

The Devil smiled. He had. She felt lousy. She was personally responsible for the extinction of a creature.

“I had to find a way to restore your strength. See, these idiots were not supposed to take you from your home until yesterday and it was supposed to be done during the day... and they were supposed to have brought you directly to me.”

That sounded like three strikes to Erin. The Devil’s golden gaze remained on her but her attention leapt to the three creatures standing in front of the cell door. The one who had taken her shifted foot to foot, a nervous edge about him now.

He looked down at his feet. The ground there burned bright orange and began to bubble. The creature took a leaping step forwards, straight into the path of the Devil. She hadn’t seen him move. He grabbed the large demon by the throat, swung himself up onto his back and took hold of his wings. The creature shrieked and snarled, and frantically tried to shake the Devil off his back. The two other creatures remained at the door, eyes forward, not watching the horror as it played out in front of them.

Erin didn’t want to watch either but she couldn’t take her eyes off the fight. The huge demon struggled but it was no use. The Devil planted his shiny leather shoes between the creature’s shoulder blades, held his leathery dark wings at their base where they attached to his immense body, and leaned back. The demon arched forwards and roared in pain as his wings tore from his back. Blood splattered onto the black floor of her cell, drenching and then soaking into the basalt.

The Devil landed on his feet and casually discarded the pair of wings.

The demon stumbled forwards, face contorted in pain, and tried to get away. It was no use. There was nowhere for him to run. The Devil stalked towards the creature, his expression a mask of darkness and his eyes glowing bright crimson, and grabbed him by one thick arm. He spun on the heel of his polished shoes, swung the demon towards the open wall of her cell and released him.

He screamed the whole way down. Erin covered her ears, closed her eyes, and curled up in her chair.

She had presumed the Devil would be a sadistic and vicious bastard, but he exceeded her expectations. The table knocked against her elbows and she peered up, afraid of what she might see. The Devil sat opposite her, blood splattered across his handsome face and coating his hands. He huffed, produced a deep red handkerchief from his breast pocket, and set about cleaning the blood off his face.

“Now, where were we?” he said and discarded the bloodied handkerchief.

He had missed a spot, a single red streak that cut across his sculpted left cheek, but she didn’t have the courage to mention it. All of her bravery had drained from her and she trembled in her seat, afraid that she would be the next one he pitched over the edge and into the abyss.

“You have lost your fire.” He frowned, black eyebrows pinching tightly, and then sighed and relaxed into his chair. “I apologise. I should have meted out his punishment in private. It was not my intention to startle you.”

Startle? She wasn’t startled. She was petrified.

Erin shook her head, unable to do anything else or speak.

The Devil smiled at her. “Now, I believe you asked why you are here?”

She nodded, heart pounding, fearing what he would say.

“The answer is very simple. It regards a game and your role in it.”

“A game?” She swallowed. What sort of sinister game was he talking about? He nodded and she found her courage. “What’s my role?”

His smile widened, turning cruel and evil.

“You are bait.”

She frowned. “Bait for who?”

Who did she know that the Devil was interested in luring down to Hell?

He waved a hand and a shimmering image appeared behind him. A tropical island. The image zoomed in to the white shore and a woman there.

A shiver cascaded over Erin’s skin and icy fingers squeezed her heart.

Her silver hair reflected the bright sunlight and that part of her didn’t make sense to Erin, but she knew her without a doubt. She would recognise this woman anywhere, had spent the past few months worried about her because she hadn’t been in touch since then, and her calls had been infrequent since a year before that.

Her sister.

Erin’s throat closed and her eyes filled with tears of relief that her sister was safe even while the claws seizing her heart tightened their grip.

“Amelia.”

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

Her Demonic Angel is available now from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Apple iBookstores and direct from the author. It will soon be available for Barnes and Noble Nook too.

Find all the links, a fantastic 8 chapter downloadable sample of the book, and also how to enter the Her Demonic Angel giveaway and be in with a shot of winning a $75, $50 or $25 gift certificate at her website: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/ebooks.php?title=Her%20Demonic%20Angel

About Felicity Heaton:
Felicity Heaton writes passionate paranormal romance books as Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. In her books she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons!

If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, Felicity Heaton’s best selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series she writes as F E Heaton or any of her stand alone vampire romance books she writes as Felicity Heaton. Or if you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try Felicity Heaton’s new Vampire Erotic Theatre series.

In 2011, four of her six paranormal romance books received Top Pick awards from Night Owl Reviews, Forbidden Blood was nominated as Best PNR Vampire Romance 2011 at The Romance Reviews, and many of her releases received five star reviews from numerous websites.

If you want to know more about me, or want to get in touch, you can find me at the following places:
My website: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk
My blog: http://www.indieparanormalromancebooks.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/felicityheaton
Twitter: http://twitter.com/felicityheaton
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/felicityheaton

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

Giveaway Details:

Einar is one of Heaven’s best hunters and he’s on a mission to uncover why an angel was working with demons. When he finds the first demon fighting a beautiful woman named Taylor, he intervenes and saves her life. Taylor has spent her whole life protecting London from the lowest demons and she’s not about to let an angel waltz into her city and take over her job, and she’s certainly not about to fall in love with him, even if he is gorgeous. The reason why she can’t is simple—she’s half demon.

There is no love in this world more forbidden than that between an angel and a demon.

Sense tells Taylor to get out before she gets her heart broken, but she winds up convincing Einar to partner with her instead. Einar is certain that working with Taylor is a bad idea, and not only because he can’t focus when he’s around her, but he can’t let her go. The mission leads them deep into the city’s underworld, where old flames burn Taylor while new flames of passion and fear of the consequences consume them, and the threat of Einar’s demons hangs over them both.

Can a love so forbidden ever have a happy ending or are they destined to break each other’s hearts?
  • Felicity has very kindly offered to give one international winner an ebook copy of Her Warrior Angel (see details above or read my review here)
  • The winner's prize will be sent out directly by Felicity so I will need to pass on your email address so she can send your prize.
  • The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received.
  • To enter please use the rafflecopter below, there are optional extra entries for following or tweeting about the giveaway but these are not required to enter.
  • The giveaway will close at 12:01am EST on the 4th of October 2012 and the winner will be contacted soon afterwards. You will have 48 hours to reply to me with your required ebook format or a new winner will be chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Review: Blackwood - Gwenda Bond

On Roanoke Island, the legend of 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just a story for the tourists. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people right now, and unlikely pair of 17 year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island's most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can't dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

Visit Gwenda Bond's website for more information

Review:
Gwenda Bond's YA debut Blackwood is based on the true story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. Now I have to admit that I knew practically nothing about the legend of Roanoke before starting this book, the little I did know actually came from another popular YA book but since I didn't really enjoy that story I was never inspired to look up more information about the legend. That all changed when I read Blackwood though and I've since spend some time looking into the facts surrounding the Lost Colony. It's hard enough to imagine an entire colony of 114 people vanishing back in the 1500's but fast forward to the present day on Roanoke and imagine that another 114 people vanish overnight. Where have they gone? Has someone taken them? Is it just a big publicity stunt or are the rest of the islanders in danger? Those are just some of the questions that will come to mind when you start reading Blackwood.

I absolutely loved the way Gwenda Bond has taken a real historical incident and recreated it in modern times. We will never know what really happened on Roanoke back in 1587 but our main characters Miranda and Phillips have a chance at uncovering the mystery behind the current disappearances and their investigation had me hooked from the first page. The author has created and engaging story full of historical detail (with a supernatural twist), modern small town life and a great cast of characters and it is a story I'd highly recommend. The story is told from both Miranda and Phillips point of view in alternating chapters but I loved the way occasional small sections are also told by some of the missing people and their families.

Miranda is the town outcast, her family is looked down upon by the other permanent residents of the island and they are considered cursed. Rumours aren't helped by the way her father became the town drunk after her mother's death. Miranda has created a tough outer shell to show the world she doesn't care about the rumours but deep down she is lonely and just longs for acceptance. Phillips is the bad boy son of the island's police chief but what people don't realise is that the reason he caused so much trouble was because he was so desperate to be sent away from Roanoke. When on the island Phillips is brought to his knees by voices that only he can hear yet as soon as he steps foot on the mainland the voices disappear. When his father begs him to return to help investigate the current disappearance he is reluctant but in the end something draws him there almost against his will.

Together Miranda and Phillips work towards solving the mystery and bringing about the return of their missing family and friends but can they get to the bottom of things before any damage is permanent? I really enjoyed the interactions between the two of them and the way their relationship develops from wariness to a gradually built trust which eventually turns into something more. The romance was believable and enjoyable to read but I appreciated the way it never overtook the main story and I absolutely loved the fact we aren't treated to yet another love triangle. I was also really pleased that Gwenda Bond has tied up all of the lose ends in one book, we're not left on tenterhooks waiting for the next instalment to find out what happens next which is quite novel in today's YA market. Don't get me wrong I do love a good series but when you are waiting at least a year between each new release it starts to become impossible to remember what happened in previous books and I find myself less and less interested in picking up the sequels.

Overall I have to say that Blackwood is a great debut and one that has me excited to see what Gwenda Bond will come up with next. If you're looking for a story that brings history to life and then puts a supernatural spin on it, a story that will keep you gripped and make you desperate to uncover the mystery then look no further.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails
There was an error in this gadget