Friday 31 May 2013

Review: Under the Covers - Rebecca Zanetti

Opposites don’t attract. They ignite.

The small Montana town near the Kooskia reserve seemed like the perfect place for Juliet Montgomery to hide from her not-so-law-abiding family. But when her peace is shattered by a break-in and threatening phone calls, it’s clear someone back in New York knows where she is. It’s time to plan her getaway, and fast—but first, she needs to tie up a few loose ends. Namely, finding out exactly what the town’s sexy cowboy sheriff is hiding in his holster...

Sheriff Quinn Lodge has enough demons of his own to know when someone’s hiding something. Clearly, he needs to do a thorough investigation to uncover what’s beneath Juliet’s uptight, city-girl exterior—preferably one piece of clothing at a time. But when their chemistry goes from fizzy to full-on explosive, things start getting complicated. How can Juliet stay beneath the covers with Quinn, when doing so means blowing her cover?

Maverick Montana Series:
Against the Wall
Under the Covers
Rising Assets
Over the Top

Visit Rebecca Zanetti's website for more information

Juliet is keeping secrets, she is running from her past and from her family but she doesn't want anyone to know why. She has tried to make a new life for herself and fulfil her dream of opening an art gallery but her money is about to run out and she has a feeling her past is about to catch up with her so she knows that she'll have to move on soon. She's determined to make a success of her gallery first though and at the same time help her friend Sophie hold her first public showing of her work. Local sheriff Quinn has had his eye on Juliet for months, he knows she is hiding something and is determined to get to the bottom of it but most of all he is keen to act on the chemistry that has been building between them. Juliet knows she is leaving soon so spending a little time with Quinn before she goes can't be dangerous can it? Well, not unless he steals her heart anyway.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series so I couldn't wait to get my hands on Under the Covers and get to know Quinn better. I loved Jake and I wasn't sure if Rebecca Zanetti could top him but she proved me wrong and Quinn is now my favourite Lodge brother! Everything I loved about Jake was taken to the next level in Quinn, he was even more dominant and loved to take control, especially in the bedroom (or on a table, or against the car, or . . . well you get the picture!). Quinn is the kind of guy who puts everyone else before himself, he looks out for the entire town and always has time to help someone in need even if it is with something that isn't officially part of his job description. He is also a hero who is suffering with PTSD from his time in the Special Forces, something that causes him to suffer horrific nightmares and makes him worry that he could end up hurting Juliet by accident.

Juliet is a really sweet woman but she is obviously keeping a major secret. It takes some time before this secret is revealed to the reader and even longer before Quinn discovers the truth. I did want her to open up to Quinn a little earlier than she did but considering that she hadn't known him for long I could understand why she was scared to let him in. They have fantastic chemistry together, the kind that makes them want to rip each others clothes off so they can get down and dirty immediately no matter what their location is, so expect super hot sex and plenty of it. I would have liked a little more time spent developing their emotional connection and getting to know each other but they were so hot together it didn't really matter too much.

One of the things I love about this series is the side characters, along with Quinn's entire extended family (who I love and can't wait to see more of!) you have a lot of colourful side characters in the town who add an extra layer to the story. I loved the way the whole town rallied to push Quinn and Juliet together, so many people could see they were perfect for each other and wanted them to be happy. It was great to catch up with Jake and Sophie, five year old Leila remains a star of the story and we also get to spend more time with the other Lodge siblings Colton and Dawn along with family friend Hawk. I have a feeling that Colton's book will be next and while I'm definitely looking forward to his story I'm desperate to get to Hawk's book - I'm pretty sure he will end up being my favourite hero of the series. He's quite a mystery at the moment but there is definitely something appealing about him and I can see why Dawn is so obsessed. While you don't have to read this series in order because each book is about a different couple I would suggest picking up Against the Wall first because there is so much character development across the two books. Both stories are excellent, sexy romances and ones that I'm sure I'll read again at some point in the future so I can happily recommend them. Rebecca Zanetti has joined my list of must read authors and I can't wait for the rest of this series to release.

Source: Received from Entangled Publishing 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.


Thursday 30 May 2013

Review: Blood Prophecy + Sound and Fury - Alyxandra Harvey

'It is done.'
She bowed in my direction. 'Hail the queen.'
I cringed, holding the bloody crown in my hands.

Solange Drake will deny her birthright; she will not be queen as vampire tradition dictates. But change always comes at a cost . . .

Consumed by visions, Solange commits heinous crimes against the vampire tribes. Trust is broken and the treaty between the Drakes and the Helios-Ra is threatened. To fight for the fate of the royal crown - and win - Solange must find the strength to unfold time and memory and free herself from the mind of a vengeful twelfth-century witch.

Her destiny, and her heart, depends on it.

The Drake Chronicles:
Corsets and Crossbows (Novella)
Lost Girls (Novella included in the UK paperback of Blood Moon)
My Love Lies Bleeding (released in the US with the title Hearts at Stake)
Blood Feud
Out for Blood
A Killer First Date (Novella)
Bleeding Hearts
A Field Guide to Vampires: Annotated by Lucy Hamilton (Novella)
Blood Moon
Sound and Fury (Novella included in the UK paperback of Blood Prophecy)
Blood Prophecy
A Tithe of Blood and Ashes (Novella)
The Longest Night (Novella)

Visit Alyxandra Harvey's website for more information

Blood Prophecy is the 6th and final book in the Drake Chronicles series so please be aware that although I won't include spoilers for this book I will be mentioning events from the previous 5 stories. If you're not up to date with the series then you probably shouldn't continue reading so I'll just say that this is a fabulous conclusion to one of my favourite series and I'd highly recommend giving it a try if you haven't already. I love the humour and sense of family loyalty throughout the series and I dare anyone not to swoon over at least one of the Drake brothers! I have to admit that I was nervous about picking up Blood Prophecy, not so much because I didn't think I'd enjoy it (I've yet to come across something written by Alyxandra Harvey that I haven't liked) but because I didn't want the series to end. I have thoroughly enjoyed my adventures with the Drake family and I didn't want to reach the end of the journey. As much as I'm sad that it's over I would prefer to have a series go out on a high than drag on until I'm bored with it so I think it's ended at a good point and it left me feeling satisfied with the outcome.

The story picks up straight after the ending of Blood Moon and is told from the perspectives of both Lucy and Solange with occasional chapters narrated from previous heroines Christabel, Hunter and Isabeau. The Drake family are still reeling from Solange's actions at the end of the last book, they still can't quite believe that Solange took the crown from her mother and has banned the entire family from the Blood Moon ceremonies. They believe that Solange is suffering from blood lust but Lucy is the only one who recognises that something much worse is at play, she knows her best friend better than she knows herself and there is no way Solange would have acted in the way she did of her own volition. Lucy has a theory about what is going on but she must convince the rest of Solange's family that she is correct and then they have to try and figure out a way to help her. At the same time Dawn is still causing trouble trying to set the Helios-Ra and the Drake family against each other and hoping to cause widespread panic by letting the human population learn about the existence of vampires. The Drakes have their work cut out if they are going to keep things together but Solange is also fighting the battle of her life, one that could cost her everything if she loses.

Lucy has always been my favourite character in this series and that hasn't changed, I love her friendship with Solange and her relationship with Nicholas but most of all I love the way she refuses to take a back seat just because she is human. She knows being human puts her at a disadvantage physically but that doesn't stop her training her butt off so that she can fight for those she cares about. I had found myself a little mystified at the changes in Solange in the last book so it was good to uncover the reason behind her attitude. In this instalment she is much more like her old self but she really doesn't have it easy trying to fight an enemy that she can't even see. I enjoyed her part of the story much more this time around and I was impressed with how much her character has grown from the very beginning of the series. I don't really know what else I can say about Blood Prophecy without giving spoilers so I'm just going to tell you that fans of the series won't be disappointed. This book has everything that you'd expect from the series and is an action packed and explosive finale that you won't want to miss out on.

The UK paperback also includes the Sound and Fury novella as an added extra. This story fits into the time line just before Blood Prophecy starts and gives Solange's older brother Duncan his chance to shine. It's a fairly short story at around 30 pages but it was action packed and hinted at a future romance between Duncan and new vampire Sky. It's a cute little story and it was nice to get to know Duncan a little better. I really wish we'd been able to spend more time with him and some of the other older Drake brothers throughout the series so I'm hoping that Alyxandra Harvey will revisit them in the future either as part of a spin off series or just through a series of novellas.

Source: Received from Bloomsbury 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.

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Wednesday 29 May 2013

Review: The Originals - Cat Patrick

I glance at the three baby portraits in thick wooden frames.
I feel a familiar prickling on the back of my neck.
Because I know there's another picture somewhere- and the baby in that photo looks identical to the babies on the wall.
Somewhere, there's a photo of the Original.

Ella, Betsey and I look like sisters: triplets, you might think.

But that's not all.

We are clones in hiding. We split our lives and exist as one person in the outside world. And we've always been happy.

But now I've fallen head-over-heels in love . . . and that changes everything.

Because, to let love in, I need to be allowed to be Me.

Visit Cat Patrick's website for more information.

Lizzie, Ella and Betsey may look like triplets but in fact the three of them are all clones created illegally by scientists in a genetics research lab. Their mother was the egg donor and gave birth to them but their DNA was all copied from another child. When she found out that two of her babies would be destroyed their mother ran and the family have been in hiding ever since. Worried that they will be discovered she has become obsessed with protecting the girls and she insists that they pretend to be only one person. Each girl gets a different part of the day when they are allowed to leave the house, Ella gets mornings, Lizzie gets afternoons and Betsey gets evenings. At all other times they must remain in their isolated house being home-schooled in the lessons that only one of them gets to actually attend. They must juggle friendships, act the same, dress the same and never, ever be seen in public together.

Cat Patrick always comes up with such unusual stories and I wanted to read The Originals from the minute I read the synopsis. I have no clue where she gets her ideas from but her books always make you think and that is one of the things I love about them. It was really interesting to see how different each of the clones was to each other. Although they are physically identical their personalities are very different, they all have different strengths and weaknesses and they don't agree on anything. In a lot of ways they are like any other sisters, they have their arguments and disagreements but they always have each others backs. Unfortunately because they have to pretend to be one person they have more clashes than most, it can be difficult for them to even agree on their outfits for the day or what to do with their hair. I felt so bad for them the way their mother controlled everything about their lives and the more you learn about her behaviour the more worrying it became.

I can't really talk too much more about the plot for fear of spoilers but I will say I loved the way Sean handled things when he found out what was going on. The relationship between him and Lizzie developed a little too quickly for my taste but he was such a sweet guy and he was so determined to look out for Lizzie and her sisters that you have to like him. The majority of the plot revolves around how difficult it is to have three very different girls pretending to be one person. I had expected more danger, especially when you realise that the mother stole the girls from the lab, but I enjoyed Lizzie's voice and getting to know the girls. The stakes are raised when Lizzie meets Sean and becomes determined to find a way to date him. She starts to realise that her mum is keeping secrets and the girls have to work together to find out what is really going on. There were some interesting twists from that point onwards, a couple that I'd made pretty good guesses at but others that took me completely by surprise. The Originals is a great story, one that raised questions I'm still thinking about days after I finished reading it. I already had Cat Patrick on my auto-buy list and I can't wait to see what crazy idea she comes up with next!

Source: Received from Egmont in exchange for an honest review

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

Paperback / Kindle:

The Originals Blog Tour: Author's Animal Antics with Cat Patrick

It has been a long time since I posted an Author's Animal Antics post but I've always enjoyed them so I was really excited when Cat Patrick offered to share a couple of animal related stories for The Originals blog tour. I loved Cat Patrick's debut novel Forgotten (read my review here) so I couldn't wait to read her latest book The Originals. She always comes up with such unusual stories and the idea of three clones living together and pretending to be one person fascinated me. I'll be posting my review of The Originals later today but I'll tell you right now that it is such a fun read and one I'd definitely recommend.

I glance at the three baby portraits in thick wooden frames.
I feel a familiar prickling on the back of my neck.
Because I know there's another picture somewhere- and the baby in that photo looks identical to the babies on the wall.
Somewhere, there's a photo of the Original.

Ella, Betsey and I look like sisters: triplets, you might think.

But that's not all.

We are clones in hiding. We split our lives and exist as one person in the outside world. And we've always been happy.

But now I've fallen head-over-heels in love . . . and that changes everything.

Because, to let love in, I need to be allowed to be Me.

Visit Cat Patrick's website for more information.

Now please give a very warm welcome to Cat Patrick!


Cat Patrick
(Image linked from the author's website)

Animal Antics with Cat Patrick, author of The Originals

Thanks for having me on the blog today. As someone with an allergic husband, my family doesn’t have pets, but I do have two animal stories to share. The second is a scaredy cat story—the Cat in the story being me—and the first is related to my book, The Originals, which is about three identical clones who live as one person to hide from the world.

Dumptruck the Dog

A friend teased me about the name of Sean Kelly’s dog in The Originals—Dumptruck—so I thought I’d tell you where it came from.

One of my twins is named Lucy. She’s smart and quirky and likes things her way. We moved to a new town and met a neighbor’s dog for the first time: an adorable Dachshund who also happens to be called Lucy. Two at the time, my Lucy proclaimed that the dog Lucy could clearly not share her name. “Lucy is a girl name, and that is a dog, and she needs a dog name…like Dumptruck.”

The nickname stuck—we call Lucy the dog Dumptruck to this day—and when it came time to describe Sean’s four-legged friend in the book, that’s who was on my mind.

(Note from Sarah: This isn't Cat's picture of Dumptruck, 
it's just an image I found online to give you an idea of what he looks like)

Don’t Bite My Toes

One year when I was very small, my older sister got a kitten for Christmas. The kitten was called Jenny, and she looked like black and white tiger. She was very cute, though not nearly as cute as my yellow lab, Sam.

At the time, my sister and I shared a small bedroom in the back of the house. My bed was the trundle that pulled out from under hers, cause she was older and got to claim things like beds with stationary legs. The only problem was that the trundle was broken, and sometimes either the head or the foot would collapse without warning in the middle of the night. So, for example, when the foot side went, I’d slide out of bed and end up a tiny pile of kid on the floor. (Thanks, Mom and Dad.)

Cute as she was—though not as awesome as Sam—turns out Jenny Kitty was actually kind of a jerk. She was a foot biter. The moment I’d put my feet under the covers at night, Jenny would pounce on them like they were mice, biting and batting at them until they stopped moving. And she had sharp teeth! Living in fear of the tiny kitty, my nighttime regime went something like this:
  • Brush teeth
  • Run to bed
  • Shove feet under covers as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Don’t move a muscle for entire sleeping duration
  • Never ever get out of bed
The nighttime hours became all about avoiding a cat-tack. And I got pretty good at it, until one night, all hell broke loose. (Or as much hell as a four-year-old can conjure.) I’d followed the regime. I was stiff as a board, barely breathing. Jenny Kitty was prowling the room like a tiger looking for a lame zebra. But, committed to being still as Han Solo in carbonite, I was winning.

Then the bed broke.

It was the head of the bed that time, and let me tell you: It’s challenging to stay still when the top half of your resting body suddenly plummets to the floor.

My feet moved.

Jenny pounced.

I screamed.

My sister laughed.

If there were a superhero movie about me, and I, Cat, battled villain cats, that night on the trundle bed with the toe cat food would be my origin story. Because, my friends, on that fateful night, I began to fear felines. A few years later, the evil Siamese that attacked my ankles after school when I just wanted to go inside my friend Brad’s house and eat gingerbread cookies smelled my fear. My brother’s cat Nancy hisses because she really is plotting to eat my face off: She just hasn’t made her move yet. The black cat at my friend’s house last night knew I would be powerless when he tried to eat my carrots and ranch dip, so I let him, shaking in terror on the inside.

Irony is sharing a name with something you most fear in life. I guess it could be worse, though. I could be called Airport Bathroom.


Thanks for a fabulous guest post Cat! I did wonder how you came up with the name Dumptruck for Sean's dog - it's such an unusual name for a dog LOL. As you can probably tell from my blog header I love cats, I do know that they have a special ability for sensing people's fear of them though. It's funny how cats are always drawn to people who are either scared or allergic to them!

Don't forget to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour and drop back later today to read my full review of The Originals.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Reads of 2013 So Far

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week has a different theme & you can find all the details about how to join in HERE.

This is the first time I'm taking part in the feature, it's one I've been seeing around the blogosphere for a long time now so I'm excited to finally join in! Today's topic is actually a freebie which means you can pick any theme you like. I've decided to go with my top reads of 2013 so far (this is actually a topic that everyone will be doing in a couple of weeks but I have a blog tour that day so won't be able to take part & thought I'd do it now instead). I'm finding it impossible to narrow it down to just 10 books so I decided I'd split this into 3 categories - YA, NA and adult - and I'm going to choose my favourite 5 books from each age range.

My Top 5 Young Adult reads of 2013 so far:

Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood (read my review here)

With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent (read my review here)

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (read my review here)

Boundless by Cynthia Hand (read my review here)

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder (read my review here)

My Top 5 New Adult reads of 2013 so far:

While it Lasts by Abbi Glines (read my review here)

Losing It by Cora Carmack (read my review here)

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (read my review here)

Wait for you by J Lynn (read my review here)

The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen (read my review here)

My Top 5 Adult reads of 2013 so far:

Down London Road by Samantha Young (read my review here)

Night Blade by J.C. Daniels (read my review here)

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha (read my review here)

Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian (read my review here)

Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox (read my review here)

What are your favourite books of the year so far? Do you agree with any of my choices? What topic have you chosen for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday? Leave me a link in the comments & I'll come and visit your post :o)

Monday 27 May 2013

Cover Reveal: Into the Deep - Samantha Young (Her first NA contemporary romance!!)

Anyone who follows my blog probably already knows what a huge fan I am of Samantha Young's adult contemporary romance series. I loved On Dublin Street and Until Fountain Bridge but her new release Down London Road was even better and just blew me away (you can click on the book titles if you'd like to read my reviews). Anyway, I can't tell you how excited I was to receive an email from Samantha about her upcoming release Into the Deep. This is her first new adult contemporary romance, publishing on the 20th of August and I for one can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Now I know you're all dying to see the cover so I'll stop waffling and get to the important bit :o)

and here's the official blurb:

Live young. Live hard. Love deep.

Charley Redford was just an ordinary girl until Jake Caplin moved to her small town in Indiana and convinced her she was extraordinary. Almost from day one Jake pulled Charley into the deep and promised he was right there with her. But when a tragic incident darkened Jake’s life he waded out into the shallows and left Charley behind.

Almost four years later Charley thinks she’s moved on. That is until she takes a study year abroad in Edinburgh and bumps into none other than Jake Caplin at a party with his new girlfriend. The bad-boy-turned-good attempts to convince Charley to forgive him, and as her best friend starts spending time with Jake’s, Charley calls a truce, only to find herself tumbling back into a friendship with him.

As they grow closer, the spark between them flares and begins playing havoc with their lives and relationships. When jealousy and longing rear their destructive heads, Charley and Jake struggle to come to grips with what they mean to one another.

And even if they work it out, there is no guarantee Charley will ever trust Jake to lead her back into the deep…

So what do you all think? Who else is adding this to their wish list? It's gone straight to the top of mine! don't forget if you're taking part in the British Books Challenge this one will count towards your total.

Samantha Young is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She's been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestselling novel ON DUBLIN STREET. For more info on Samantha's adult fiction visit you can also find out more by visiting Samantha's blog

Sunday 26 May 2013

Review: West of Want - Laura Kaye

Betrayal is all he's ever known, but in her, he'll find a love strong enough to be trusted...

When Marcella Raines' twin brother dies, she honors his request to be buried at sea, never expecting the violent storm that swamps her boat. Though she's gravely injured--and still emotionally damaged from her recent divorce--Ella fights to survive.

Zephyros Martius is the Supreme God of the West Wind and Spring, but being the strongest Anemoi hasn't protected him from betrayal and loss. Worse, he's sure his brother Eurus is behind it. When Zeph's heartbreak whips up a storm that shipwrecks a human, his guilt forces him to save her.

Ella is drawn to the vulnerability Zeph hides beneath his otherworldly masculinity and ancient blue eyes. And her honesty, empathy, and unique, calming influence leave Zeph wanting...everything. When Eurus threatens Ella, she and Zeph struggle to let go of the past, defend their future, and embrace what they most want--a love that can be trusted.

Hearts of the Anemoi Series:
North of Need
West of Want
South of Surrender
East of Ecstasy

Visit Laura Kaye's website for more information

Things haven't been easy for Ella, her parents are dead and she found out her husband was a lying cheat but it was the death of her twin brother that really tipped her over the edge. Ella may be grief stricken but her losses have just made her even more determined to live her life to the fullest, particularly to make her brother proud of her. She wants to honour his memory by scattering his ashes at sea like he'd always wanted but caught in a sudden and vicious storm she soon finds herself fighting to survive. Zeph is the supreme god of the west wind and the guardian of spring. When his emotions get the better of him he accidentally causes the storm that nearly costs Ella her life. Realising what he has done Zeph is overcome with guilt and manages to get her to safety but he finds himself unable to leave her side until he knows she is going to be OK.

Since I first read North of Need last year I have become a huge fan of Laura Kaye and I am slowly working my way through the rest of her stories. With the upcoming release of the 3rd book in this series it really was about time I picked up West of Want though and I'm so glad I did. I am such a huge fan of Owen (from the first book) that I knew Zeph was going to have a hard time winning me over but he managed to give Owen a run for his money and he has stolen a little piece of my heart.

One of the things I love most about this series is that the heroes aren't just your typical alpha guys who are so common in paranormal romance. Now I do love an alpha hero but it makes a nice change to read about men who are a little more sensitive and less possessive and controlling. Zeph has suffered a lot of betrayal throughout his life so he has shut himself away and tries to keep his emotions locked inside. As the god of spring he has a huge respect for life though and he loves to make the season blossom. He is drawn to Ella's fighting spirit and he feels guilty for causing her harm but he is wary of trusting her and letting her in because he knows from past experience that is just asking to get his heart broken. Zeph is the kind of guy that fights love but when he falls he falls hard and he gives his all to the person he is with. There was one point when he makes a very big mistake but I was able to forgive him for that because of the hurt he was feeling, apart from that he was pretty much a perfect guy - romantic, caring and oh so sexy!

Ella has been through so much that it would have been easy for her to let the grief take over and give up on life. She is a fighter though and no matter how hard she gets knocked down she gets back up even more determined to win. When she first meets Zeph he turns her world upside down with the revelations about his abilities. She isn't sure what to think but she wants to take the chance to get to know him better. After the betrayal she suffered from her ex husband she is understandable wary, especially knowing that she can't give Zeph the one thing he needs, but her feelings are so strong that she pushes through her fears to take a chance on love. The connection between them is incredibly strong and they have such fantastic chemistry, I think this story was even hotter than the first book!

This instalment to the Hearts of Anemoi series gives us a lot more background into the gods and really builds on the mythology we started to learn in the first book. I loved getting to see a glimpse of how things are going with Owen (he always makes me smile when he appears on the page - particularly when he has ice cream in his hands!) and getting to learn more about Zeph's brothers Boreas (Owen's father), Chrys and Eurus. Eurus is a real nasty piece of work who causes all sorts of trouble for Zeph but I found myself really liking Chrys and I'm very excited to read his story in South of Surrender. This is a great series that I'm sure paranormal romance fans will love, Laura Kaye writes characters who have such heart that you can't help but fall in love with them.

Source: Received from Entangled Publishing 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:

Saturday 25 May 2013

Review: The Disgrace of Kitty Grey - Mary Hooper

Kitty is living a happy, carefree life as a dairymaid in the countryside. The grand family she is employed by looks after her well, and she loves her trade, caring for the gentle cows and working in the cool, calm dairy. And then, of course, there is Will, the river man who she thinks is very fond of her, and indeed she is of him. Surely he will ask her to marry him soon?

Then one day disaster strikes: Will disappears. Kitty is first worried and then furious. She fears that Will has only been leading her on all this time, and has now gone to London to make his fortune, forgetting about her completely. So when Kitty is asked to go to London to pick up a copy of Pride and Prejudice, the latest novel by the very fashionable Jane Austen, Kitty leaps at the chance to track down Will. But Kitty has no idea how vast London is, and how careful she must be. It is barely a moment before eagle-eyed pickpockets have spotted the country-born-and-bred Kitty and relieved her of her money and belongings. Dauntingly fast, she has lost her only means of returning home and must face the terrifying prospect of stealing in order to survive - and of being named a thief . . .

Visit Mary Hooper's website for more information

Kitty may not be rich but she is happy with her life, she works for a wealthy family as a dairymaid and although her hours are long she is well treated and has plenty of food to eat. She even has a sweetheart, local ferryman Will, who she adores and hopes to one day marry. Then Will disappears leaving Kitty to look after his four year old sister Betsy alone. Will didn't even say goodbye but Kitty knows he has family in London and wanted to go there to make his fortune so when the opportunity comes up she decides to go in search of him to reunite Betsy with her brother. What Kitty didn't realise was how big London is or just quite how harsh life can be there for a woman alone with a young child. Within minutes of their arrival all of their belongings are stolen and Kitty is forced to take desperate measures just to survive, ones that end with her arrested for stealing.

I'm a huge fan of Mary Hooper's writing, she has a way of bringing history to life and I think that's partly down to all the little details she adds to her stories - those little snippets from true stories that show how well researched her books are. I love the way she always introduces some less talked about aspects of history too, in Fallen Grace it was Victorian funeral traditions, in Velvet it was the horror of baby farms and in The Disgrace of Kitty Grey it was the treatment of female prisoners and the prison ships that were sent to colonise Australia along with some very interesting snippets about the life of a milkmaid.

Kitty is such a great character, she is quite innocent, especially when it comes to the ways of city life, but at the same time she has a great inner strength that is what pulls her through the difficult times. Nothing about London is what she was expecting it to be and it was a real struggle for her just to survive, she tries so hard to get a job and earn the money she needs to look after Betsy but circumstances keep going against her. It makes you really appreciate the justice and welfare systems we have in place now because it was practically impossible for single women to make an honest living in the past, especially one with a child because of the stigma of being an unmarried mother. The conditions in the prisons were just horrific for the poor, sentences for relatively small crimes were high and unless you had the money to bribe the guards for extra food or even a blanket then life was miserable. In contrast if you were rich then prison could have all the comforts of home right down to a four poster bed if you paid enough for the privilege!

There were a couple of coincidences in The Disgrace of Kitty Grey that were a little hard to believe but that didn't stop me thoroughly enjoying the story. Kitty was lucky enough to find some supportive friends who made life at Newgate prison a little more bearable for her and Betsy. I think anyone with even a slight interest in history is going to love any of Mary Hooper's books and this one is no exception. I can't wait to see what interesting topic she introduces next.

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

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Friday 24 May 2013

Review: The Queen is Dead - Kate Locke

Xandra Vardan is the newly crowned Goblin Queen of England, But her complicated life is by no means over.

There are the political factions vying for her favour, and she's under the all-too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria, who for some reason wants her head. Not to mention her werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell-bent on destroying the monarchy. Now she's the suspect in a murder investigation - and Xandra barely knows which way is up.

What she does know is that nothing lasts forever - and immortality isn't all it's cracked up to be.

The Immortal Empire Series:
God Save the Queen
The Queen is Dead
Long Live the Queen

Visit Kate Locke's website for more information

God Save the Queen was a fantastic start to Kate Locke's alternate history urban fantasy series so I've been looking forward to getting my hands on The Queen is Dead ever since I first read it. If the stunning covers for this series aren't enough to convince you to read them then the mash up of genres should be, throw in a hint of steampunk, vampires, werewolves and a heroine who has just found out she is the goblin queen and you're definitely onto a winner! Everything I loved about the first book was back again in this 2nd instalment and it's left me desperate to read Long Live the Queen when it publishes in November.

Xandra had quite a shock at the end of the last book when she discovered that she is in fact a goblin rather than the halvie that she always thought she was. The goblins are the most ferocious of the supernatural races and the ones who are most feared by the rest of the population. She has always thought of them as monsters so her world view has taken quite a battering thanks to her newly acquired status as their queen. Not only is she questioning herself and worrying over her new abilities but she also finds that she has become a political pawn that each of the different factions all want to win into their corner, she is going to have to pick her allies wisely though or she'll just end up in an even bigger mess. After everything that Xandra went through in the first book to protect her siblings I have to say I was a bit disappointed in them for abandoning her when she needed their support in return, it's just a good job she had Vex to lean on. Of course the fact that they have been ignoring her for the last few months doesn't stop Xandra diving straight into the investigation when she discovers that her brother Val is missing no matter how much trouble it might get her into. She is the kind of girl who will protect her loved ones at any cost and I can't fault her for that.

I love the way things have developed between Xandra and Vex and I think she sums up my feelings for him perfectly when she says "One of the things I adored about him was he didn't go all chest-thumping on me and treat me like a delicate flower. I knew he'd rip apart anyone who tried to hurt me, but he'd give me first crack at it." I love the fact that although he is an alpha he doesn't try to take charge of every situation. He is supportive and protective of her without being smothering and I like the way he is so calm and centred while Xandra is struggling to come to terms with the revelations of her heritage. Vex obviously loves Xandra for who she is and he is the only one who has always been there for her when she needed him.

Another thing I really enjoyed was getting to learn more about the goblins, we get to see a different side to them as Xandra reluctantly spends more time with the plague and I've come to really like the goblin prince. There have also been a few interesting developments with Vex's werewolf pack and it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the next book. I'm thoroughly enjoying this series and I'm sure anyone who enjoyed the first book is going to love this instalment just as much. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Source: Received from Chrissie at Once Upon a Series in exchange for an honest review (this review will also appear as a guest post on Chrissie's blog).

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Thursday 23 May 2013

Review: Bonds of Need - Lynda Aicher

When Kendra Morgan attends a party at an exclusive sex club, she's not driven by mere curiosity. Hoping to prove she's put the past behind her, Kendra must instead face up to needs she's denied for too long. Despite her lingering fears, she can't resist the temptation to play…

Deklan Winters has had his eye on his attractive neighbour for months, but only senses Kendra is no stranger to the BDSM scene when she walks into his club. And he can tell that's not her only secret. What surprises him is his own overwhelming desire to give her what she craves—and to show her a side to the Dom/sub relationship she's never known.

With Deklan's guidance, Kendra begins to accept her forbidden needs and to recognise the fine line between pleasure and pain. But when her former Master returns to reclaim her, it will take all her courage—and all of Deklan's love—to defy her past.

Wicked Play Series:
Bonds of Trust
Bonds of Need
Bonds of Desire
Bonds of Hope

Visit Lynda Aicher's website for more information

Kendra is a natural submissive and a masochist but her previous boyfriend twisted her desires and abused her so badly that she has become convinced that there is something shameful about her needs. She is reluctant to even visit a BDSM club but agrees to go to The Den with her friends Cali and Allie as a kind of test, a way of proving to herself that she is no longer interested in that lifestyle. Club owner Deklan has had his eye on Kendra ever since she moved into his apartment complex months ago but he never realised that she was into the BDSM scene until he sees her reactions when she visits his club. He can tell that her past haunts her and he is determined to prove to her how a real Dom/sub relationship should be. Just as Kendra starts to let go of her demons and trust in Deklan her ex appears back on the scene though and he'll do whatever it takes to get Kendra to come back to him.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Bonds of Trust, but I have to say I enjoyed this 2nd instalment even more. I really liked the way the relationship developed between Kendra and Deklan, I felt her reactions to him were realistic considering what she had been through and I respected Deklan for the way he was so sensitive to Kendra's needs. Kendra had been so badly abused in the past and she believed it was her fault because she had initially asked her ex to spank her. Eric had blamed her desires for the way he treated her and it left her feeling like her needs were dirty and something she should be ashamed of. It took time for her to come to terms with the fact that Eric was the one with a problem and that there is a big difference between consensual BDSM and abuse. Deklan opened her eyes to the way a Dom/sub relationship should work and helped her to realise that she had the power to stop their play at any time.

Deklan is the kind of guy who has always looked out for those around him so it was natural that he would want to take care of Kendra. I liked the fact that he let her fight her own battle in the end though, he just made sure she realised that he would always be there as her backup if she needed him. The reappearance of Kendra's ex Eric added a nice element of suspense to the story and I'm so pleased that she didn't go off on her own to do something completely stupid like so many heroines I've read about. She makes a stand but does it without putting herself at risk. If ever there was a character who I wanted to see get his comeuppance it would be Eric, the things he did to Kendra were beyond despicable and I wanted to reach into the book and crush him like a bug! I'm not going to say how things work out in the end but I will say I was happy with the outcome. Bonds of Need is a great instalment to the series and I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on Bonds of Desire when it is published in July.

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

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Tuesday 21 May 2013

Review: Infinite Sky - C.J. Flood

Iris Dancy’s free-spirited mum has left for Tunisia, her dad’s rarely sober and her brother’s determined to fight anyone with a pair of fists.

When a family of travellers move into the overgrown paddock overnight, her dad looks set to finally lose it. Gypsies are parasites he says, but Iris is intrigued. As her dad plans to evict the travelling family, Iris makes friends with their teenage son. Trick Deran is a bare knuckle boxer who says he’s done with fighting, but is he telling the truth?

When tools go missing from the shed, the travellers are the first suspects. Iris’s brother, Sam, warns her to stay away from Trick; he’s dangerous, but Iris can no longer blindly follow her brother’s advice. He’s got secrets of his own, and she’s not sure he can be trusted himself.

Infinite Sky is a family story about betrayal and loyalty, and love.

Visit C.J. Flood's website for more information.

Ever since her mum left Iris's family has been falling apart, her dad has been drinking too much and her brother Sam has become angry and withdrawn. Iris is only 13 years old but she is the one who is trying to hold them together, she does her best to take care of the house and cook for them all but it isn't easy and she's left feeling sad and alone. The day a family of travellers move onto their land changes everything, her father and Sam are both angry and want the travellers gone but Iris can't help but be curious about them. As she secretly gets to know Trick she realises that her family's prejudices against him aren't true and they form a close friendship that helps them both through some difficult times. As tensions increase between the two families Iris and Trick are caught in the middle but when tragedy strikes who will be the last one standing?

Infinite Sky is the kind of book that doesn't come along very often, one of those stories that touches your heart and will make you shed a few tears but that will also make you smile along the way. It's very clear from the prologue that something terrible has happened, Iris is at the funeral of someone she is close to but you are given no indication of who it is that died. The story then begins several months earlier and you spend the summer watching Iris blossom from a child into a young adult as she falls in love for the first time. At the back of your mind you always know that something bad is coming but that sense of foreboding doesn't make the journey any less enjoyable, in fact I think it is what makes this quite such an addictive read.

I don't want to go into much more detail about the story because I think it is a book that needs to be savoured and is best read with as little knowledge as possible. I'd rather talk about how much I loved the characters, Iris is a young girl that I think most people can relate to. She is going through a difficult time at home and is at that age when you start to question the things you are told and stop believing everything just because a parent tells you it's true. She is learning some hard truths about family and friendship and her experiences help shape her into the woman she is going to become. Iris is constantly being told that the travellers are bad news but she wants to make up her own mind about them by getting to know them. She is smart enough to realise that no family is perfect and that we should react to people based on the way they treat us not because of someone else's prejudice.

I didn't feel we get to know Trick as well as we know Iris, probably because the story is told from her point of view, but we know enough about him to hurt on his behalf when he is bullied and picked on by local teens. The events that unfold towards the end are heartbreaking and I think it was made even worse by the fact that that people who are most to blame are the ones who walk away from the incident unaffected. Infinite Sky is a book that will make you think, it touches on difficult themes but does so in a sensitive manner. The writing is beautiful for it's simplicity and it's hard to believe that this is C.J. Flood's debut novel, I know I'll automatically be reading anything she writes in the future. If you haven't already fallen in love with Infinite Sky then I urge you to pick up a copy as soon as possible, the setting makes it a perfect book for reading on a lazy summer afternoon and I'm sure you won't regret giving it a chance.

Source: Received from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review

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Review: Own the Wind - Kristen Ashley

Too hot to handle...

Tabitha Allen grew up in the thick of Chaos--the Chaos Motorcycle Club, that is. Her father is Chaos' leader, and the club has always had her back. But one rider was different from the start. When Tabby was running wild, Shy Cage was there. When tragedy tore her life apart, he helped her piece it back together. And now, Tabby's thinking about much more than friendship...

Tabby is everything Shy's ever wanted, but everything he thinks he can't have. She's beautiful, smart, and as his friend's daughter, untouchable. Shy never expected more than friendship, so when Tabby indicates she wants more--much more--he feels like the luckiest man alive. But even lucky men can crash and burn...

Chaos Series:
(This is a spin off from the Dream Man series)
Own the Wind
Fire Inside (June 2013)

Dream Man Series:
Mystery Man
Wild Man
Law Man
Motorcycle Man

Visit Kristen Ashley's website for more information

I've been hearing great things about Kristen Ashley's books for a long time now but although I've had several of her books on my wish list for ages I still hadn't got around to buying any of them. When I got the chance to request a review copy of Own the Wind I couldn't resist though and I'm glad I now know what all the fuss is about! Own the Wind is the first book in Kristen Ashley's new Chaos series revolving around members of the Chaos Motorcycle Club, this is actually a spin off from her Dream Man series, well the last book in the series, Motorcycle Man, anyway. Motorcycle Man is the story of the Chaos MC leader Tack and the heroine of this story is his daughter Tabby. I've already mentioned that this is my first KA book so I can confirm that you don't have to have read the other series to follow the events in this one but I will tell you that I'm definitely planning on working my way through the Dream Man series (and the rest of KA's back list!) while I wait for the next Chaos book, Fire Inside, to release.

Before I actually start my review I should probably point out that this isn't going to be the book for everyone, these kind of Motorcycle Club (MC) romances tend to be love or hate books. You've probably already guessed that I love them (this is only my second but I'd also highly recommend Reaper's Property by Joanna Wylde) but I do have to be in a certain mind set before I start reading. I'm speaking from a limited experience but MC romances tend to feature very alpha guys, ones who often have a very sexist attitude towards women - especially ones they consider an easy lay. These guys live outside normal rules but they still have a very strict code of honour, just not necessarily one that follows the letter of the law. They fight for what they want, protect what they see as theirs and like to party. The women who hang around the clubs tend to belong to one of two categories, you have the ones who are just there for fun, who will happily sleep around with the club members and who are just kept around by the guys for sex on tap and to tidy up after them. These women aren't respected and the guy's attitudes towards them usually sucks but they're there of their own free will and you only get treated the way you let people treat you. The other women are a completely different kettle of fish, they are the ones that have won the heart of a MC member and are usually referred to as old ladies. The men respect them (and any children they may have), they will lay down their lives to protect them and nobody would dream of touching another man's old lady. I'll say upfront that I wouldn't want to live this lifestyle but I still find it fascinating to read about these tough guys and the women who bring them to their knees. I can separate reality from fantasy and enjoy these stories for what they are but if the above makes you want to scream in frustration (and I can understand why it might!) then you're going to want to give this type of book a very wide berth.

OK, so now I've got that warning off my chest let's talk about Own the Wind specifically. Tabby's father, Tack, is the leader of Chaos MC so she has grown up surrounded by bikers and understands the lifestyle. She has always known that the members of Chaos have her back and she is close with a lot of them but she has still managed to make a life for herself away from the club, she studied hard to become a nurse and she likes being independent. Tabby had a crush on Shy when she was in her teens but when she was going through a rebellious phase Shy tried to warn her off the path she was heading towards and the way he did it both embarrassed her and broke her heart. Since then she has given him the cold shoulder but when tragedy strikes it is Shy who is there to help her put the pieces of her life back together. I loved the fact that they became friends first, after everything Tabby had been through she needed someone who was going to look out for her and I wouldn't have believed in them as a couple if Shy had made a move on her any sooner than he did. Shy is the kind of guy I would run a mile from in real life but as much as he can be an ass he could also be very sweet and caring towards Tabby. I did love the way he looked out for her and the fact that he was prepared to give up everything to be with her if that's what it took.

I ended up devouring Own the Wind, it's the kind of story that sucked me in and held me completely gripped until the last page. I did find the time jumps a little confusing at first but once I got used to the writing style it made a lot of sense and allowed us to get a real sense of the way things developed between Shy and Tabby over time. I loved meeting the various side characters and am really looking forward to reading Hop and Lainie's story in Fire Inside but what I'm really hoping more than anything is that we're going to see more of Shy's brother Lan. I think I fell for Lan just as much as Shy which is quite an achievement considering he doesn't get anywhere near as much page time and I would LOVE to see him get his own happy ending. Note to the author - just send him my way and I'll make sure he gets one LOL. So, Kristen Ashley has found herself a new fan in me and I'm looking forward to working my way through her back list in the near future.

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

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Sunday 19 May 2013

Review: The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey

The Passage meets The Hunger Games in The 5th Wave - a gripping new series from Carnegie-shortlisted Rick Yancey.

Took out half a million people.

Put that number to shame.

Lasted a little longer. Twelve weeks . . . Four billion dead.

You can't trust that people are still people.

No one knows.
But it's coming.

On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs.
Runs from the beings that only look human, who have scattered Earth's last survivors.

To stay alone is to stay alive, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope.

Now Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

The 5th Wave Series:
The 5th Wave
Titles and release dates for further books to be confirmed

Visit Rick Yancey's website or The 5th Wave website for more information.

The arrival of an alien spaceship had mixed reactions from the human population, some were scared while others were hopeful but after 10 days with no form of contact the excitement was starting to turn into fear. Then the first wave hit, wiping out the electricity and causing accidents that killed half a million people worldwide within a few seconds. Confusion and panic spread and continued to grow as humanity was faced with one disaster after another. The 2nd wave was a massive tsunami that wiped out 3 billion people, the 3rd wave was a virus that killed another 4 billion and the 4th wave turned humans against one another so the few remaining survivors started killing each other. Nobody knows what the 5th wave will be but they know that it's coming. It's time for humanity to make their last stand but how do you fight an enemy you have never even seen?

There has been a lot of hype surrounding The 5th Wave which I have to admit made me a little nervous to pick it up, I had such high expectations that I wasn't sure Rick Yancey would be able to fulfil them. Thankfully on this occasion the hype is well deserved and I was hooked on the story from practically the moment I picked it up. The story is very character driven and it is a fascinating look into how far humans can be prepared to go in order to survive. It is about trying to keep hold of your humanity in the worst of situations and it will make you think about what you would be prepared to do to keep yourself and your family safe. It will also make you look at movies like Independence Day and realise just how unrealistic the ending was - what chance would we really have against an alien race who have the technology needed to reach our planet? The story is chilling, creepy, dark and twisted but at the same time it shows just how much our will to survive gives us the hope needed to keep fighting for what we believe in.

The 5th Wave is told from several different points of view and is set after the 4th wave but with flashbacks showing exactly what happened from the moment the spaceship first arrived. The main character is Cassie, a teenage girl who has witnessed the deaths of both of her parents and whose only remaining relative is the much younger brother who was taken from her. Cassie promised Sammy that she would find him and she is determined to do whatever it takes to try and fulfil that promise. She hasn't seen any other humans for weeks and is beginning to think that she may be the last survivor but she won't stop searching for Sammy until she knows for sure that he is gone. While we are following Cassie's journey we also meet Zombie, a teenage boy who was rescued by the army and taken to a military camp where they are training survivors and preparing to make humanity's last stand against the aliens. The different threads of the story eventually come together but not in the way you're expecting them to.

In case you hadn't guessed I loved this story, I really liked the characters and I'm fascinated to see how things play out with the aliens as the series continues. I wasn't a huge fan of the romance and I really hope that we aren't seeing the beginning of a love triangle starting to form but I loved Cassie's relationship with her brother and the friendships that started to develop between Zombie and the rest of his unit. The story was full of twists and turns, some I'll admit I saw coming but a few that shocked me, and the character development was great. This is a series I'm very much looking forward to continuing so I hope we don't have to wait a whole year for the next instalment!

Source: This was a gift from Sammee at I Want To Read That, thanks Sammee!!

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Saturday 18 May 2013

Review: Voodoo for Two - Elle James

Be careful what you wish for…

Determined to marry the most eligible bachelor in the parish to save her family, Lucie LeBieu turns a “love bug” loose to cast its Voodoo spell. What she doesn’t count on is hitting two targets—the golden boy congressional candidate, and her Cajun-hot ex. To set things right, she must undo the spell before she falls into bed—-and back in love—with a certain down and dirty heartbreakin' cop.

Undercover investigator Ben Boyette is back in Louisiana on special assignment when he runs across his old flame, brewing up trouble as usual. But when hometown threats turn deadly, Lucie's life is on the line. Determined to protect both her and his politician assignment from falling victim to a murderer, Ben finds that he's the one who's falling hard...for the irresistible bayou temptress.

Cajun Magic Series:
Voodoo on the Bayou
Voodoo for Two
Deja Voodoo

Visit Elle James's website for more information

Lucie will do anything to help her family, even if it means marrying a guy she doesn't love so that she can help her grandmother financially. Eric is a wealthy politician who can not only help her family but who would also be Lucie's ticket out of the Bayou and into the life she's always wanted. Determined to catch the eligible bachelor Lucie turns to voodoo to make sure she wins his heart. Unfortunately for her she isn't very good at casting spells and her love bug ends up on the loose causing chaos in the bayou. Things are complicated further by the return of her ex boyfriend Ben, it has been 7 years since she last saw him but she can't deny the attraction that still simmers between them. Lucie must decide whether to follow her head and marry Eric or to entrust her heart to Ben for a second time.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series so I jumped at the chance of reading Voodoo for Two when I was offered a review copy by Entangled Publishing. This was a fun and light hearted romance that is full of humour and hot chemistry but I have to admit I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Voodoo on the Bayou. Having said that this was still an enjoyable read and I'm definitely planning on reading the next instalment (Deja Voodoo) when it is published in June.

I think the main reason I didn't enjoy this quite as much is that I wasn't a huge fan of Lucie. I could understand her motivations for wanting to marry Eric but when she started to realise that she still had feelings for Ben I was annoyed that she kept playing Eric along for so long. I just felt she started to come across as really selfish when she was saying to herself that Eric deserved someone who actually loved him but then decided to carry on with her plans anyway. It also seemed like she was messing Ben around and neither of the guys deserved that. When she finally made up her mind to break the spell I started to like her again though and by the end she had redeemed herself. I absolutely loved Ben though, he was one sexy Cajun with a bad boy smile and a heart of gold. He had his heart broken by Lucie years ago but he knows that there is something special between them and he sets out to prove it to her.

Alongside the romance you have the antics of Lucie's love bug which were quite amusing to watch and I enjoyed getting to spend time with some of the other crazy bayou characters. I have to say I was slightly disappointed in the latest development between the previous couple Craig and Elaine and I really hope that gets addressed in the next instalment. One of my favourite characters in this story was Lucie's best friend Alex (who also happens to be Ben's sister), she was often the voice of reason and wasn't afraid to tell Lucie exactly what she thought of her plans. I would really like to see Alex get her own story and I'd quite like to see Eric get a happy ending of his own because they both deserve it, I'm not sure if I picture them together though so I guess I'll just have to wait and see who the author has lined up for the next book. If you're looking for a fun series full of magic and mayhem then I'm sure you'll enjoy these stories. I know I'll be reading more from Elle James in the future.

Source: Received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review

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