Thursday, 31 July 2014

Review: Starlight's Edge - Susan Waggoner

Zee has given up her entire world to be with David, confident that love and their desire to be together will overcome all obstacles. But is love enough?

Beneath its lustrous surface and dazzling technology, New Earth is full of challenges, including David's wealthy, powerful and highly competitive family, whose plans for David's future don't include anyone like Zee.

As Zee struggles to adapt to her new life, she must also find a way to re-establish her career as an Empath and fledgling Diviner. And then when David vanishes on a mission to Pompeii on the eve of the Vesuvius eruption, Zee realises that he is in mortal danger. Will she be able to rescue him in time?

A remarkably gripping novel about star-crossed love and future life.

Timedance Series:
Neptune's Tears
Starlight's Edge

Visit Susan Waggoner's page on Goodreads for more information

Review:
Starlight's Edge is the second book in Susan Waggoner's Timedance series and I can't review it without including spoilers for the first book so please don't continue reading this review if you haven't already read Neptune's Tears.

At the end of the first book we saw Zee agree to leave everything - her home, her family and her friends - behind to travel 1,500 years into the future to be with David. She knows that her journey to New Earth can only ever be one way and that she will never be able to return so now that she has finally been cleared to make the trip she is both excited and apprehensive. Everything is different on New Earth and she struggles to fit in and make it her home. It is clear that David's family don't want her around and she can't even find a job because disease and illness are a thing of the past and Empaths are no longer needed. She loves David but she is feeling lost and lonely. Zee isn't the kind of girl to sit around complaining though so she sets out to make friends with other Time emigrants and to find a way to make use of her Empathic and Divining abilities. It is when David is on another mission, this time to Pompeii just before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, that Zee has a vision and knows he is in danger but can she find a way to get back there in time to save him?

As with the previous book I found Starlight's Edge to be a very fast paced and easy to read story. Susan Waggoner has created a brilliant futuristic world and I enjoyed seeing the details of how people lived their day to day lives. The trials and tribulations of the Time emigrants was really well thought out and I enjoyed seeing Zee getting to meet different people from throughout history and watching them all start to find a place for themselves on New Earth. I also really enjoyed the trip further back in time to Pompeii and the mystery over who was trying to harm David and whether Zee would be able to help him in time. I've enjoyed both of these books and would definitely be happy to revisit these characters again if the author decides to continue the series. There is so much scope when it comes to time travel and you really could take these characters anywhere. What I love is that these books are both complete books and there are no horrible cliffhanger endings but there is definitely room to revisit them in the future.

One thing I do wish is that these books were a bit longer and more detailed though. I was having so much fun exploring New Earth and learning about the different technology and customs that I was almost disappointed to leave it to travel back in time again. Although I enjoyed the trip to Pompeii I would have liked to have spent more time there, that section of the story felt a little rushed and could easily have been expanded upon to give readers more background information about that time period. There were actually quite a few places where I felt the story could easily have been expanded and I would have enjoyed it even more if that was the case. Having said that these books do make very good quick reads and are perhaps a great way to get more reluctant or slightly younger readers to give the stories a chance. If you enjoy time travel and like getting to explore futuristic worlds with fascinating technology then this is definitely a series you'll enjoy and I'm sure fans of Neptune's Tears will enjoy Starlight's Edge even more.

Source: Received from Piccadilly Press in exchange for an honest review

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Review: Neptune's Tears - Susan Waggoner

It's 2218 and Zee McAdams is in her second year as a healing empath at a busy London hospital. When a mysterious young man becomes her patient, Zee's hard-won calm is pierced. Her attraction is complicated by the fact that David Sutton is an alien, a group whose presence - and purpose - on Earth is deeply mistrusted. When London and other cities experience a wave of anarchist attacks, Zee and David are brought even closer together. The more time Zee spends with David, the more she likes him - and the more questions she has. Even as their relationship deepens, Zee knows that David is still hiding something from her.

Will Zee have the courage to follow her heart, no matter where it takes her?

A remarkably gripping novel about star-crossed love and future life.

Timedance Series:
Neptune's Tears
Starlight's Edge

Visit Susan Waggoner's page on Goodreads for more information

Review:
Neptune's Tears is the start of Susan Waggoner's Timedance series which is set 200 years into the future. Zee is training as an empath and working at a London hospital where she helps patients heal using her abilities. She loves her job and enjoys helping people so the last thing she is looking for is a relationship, especially when falling in love could have a devastating effect on her powers. She meets David when he is injured and under her care in the hospital, although it is forbidden for her to get involved with a patient she finds herself unable to forget him even when he has been released to return home. As their paths keep crossing they fall naturally into a relationship but there is more than one obstacle in their path. The main one being that David is an alien and he is only on Earth for a limited time before he will have to return to his home world and leave Zee behind forever.

I found Neptune's Tears was a really fast paced and fun book to read, there was a lot I liked about the world that the author has created and I was fascinated by the idea of empaths who are able to heal people with their powers. I enjoyed reading about a future where no major disaster has taken place and the world hasn't fallen apart around our ears, it meant the author was able to include lots of cool technology without having an apocalyptic feel to the story. That doesn't mean lives are easy though and there are a group of anarchists who seem determined to cause terror amongst the population and they have quite terrifying weapons at hand to do it with.

I found the main characters very easy to like, Zee is an admirable and brave young woman and I enjoyed learning about her abilities. She spends a lot of time with one patient in particular and I really liked the grandmotherly role that Ellie played in the story. Often YA books don't have positive adult role models so it made a nice change to see that here. David is more of a mystery and we don't find out much about him until close to the end of the book but I still liked him and I wanted to dig deep and learn all his secrets.

Although there were a lot of things I liked about the story I do think there was room for improvement. This is a very short book and I really felt it could have been so much better if certain points had been expanded on further. I really wanted some background information on how some humans had gained empathic abilities, where did these powers come from? Why are only some humans effected? I just needed a bit more depth to the world building to make the story more believable. The other main issue was with the romance between Zee and David. I actually quite liked them as a couple but because their romance is given very little page time and we only find out about most of the dates they go on because Zee discusses them with Ellie. Seeing everything second hand like that made their relationship feel like a major case of instalove when in reality events played out over a time period of several months. I really would have liked to spend more time with them as a couple so that I could have felt more connected with them and invested in their relationship.

In spite of those problems I did enjoy reading Neptune's Tears and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. There was always something happening and I seemed to fly through the book incredibly quickly. There is also an interesting twist towards the end that I can't wait to see play out in the sequel Starlight's Edge.

Source: Received from Piccadilly Press in exchange for an honest review

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review: Ugly Love - Colleen Hoover

UK Cover
An unforgettable love story that breaks all the rules.

When Tate Collins finds airline pilot Miles Archer passed out in front of her apartment door, it is definitely not love at first sight. In fact, they wouldn't even consider themselves friends. But what they do have is an undeniable mutual attraction.

He doesn't want love and she doesn't have time for a relationship, but their chemistry cannot be ignored. Once their desires are out in the open, they realise they have the perfect set-up, as long as Tate can stick to two rules - never ask about the past and don't expect a future.

Tate convinces herslelf she's ok with it, but soon realises that it's harder than she thought. Will she be able to say no to her sexy pilot when he lives just next door?

This new romance from Colleen Hoover will have you laughing and crying in equal measure - definitely her best book yet!

Visit Colleen Hoover's website for more information

Review:
I don't know how she does it but every single time I pick up one of Colleen Hoover's books she manages to hook me in from the very first page, she then takes me on a roller coaster of incredible highs followed by heartbreaking lows and once she has me so twisted up that I don't think I'll ever smile again she manages to capture a perfect moment of happiness that leaves me in tears of joy. I don't know how she does it but she does it Every. Single. Time I pick up one of her books and I love her for it! So, obviously I had high expectations for Ugly Love and I wasn't disappointed, in fact I think I now have a new favourite Colleen Hoover book.

I'm not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to start Ugly Love just before I went to bed but my copy had arrived that afternoon and it was the first opportunity I had to pick it up so I convinced myself that I would just read one chapter to get a taster before I went to sleep. I should have known better, in fact I do know better, but I lied to myself so I could justify diving into the story. What I should have remembered is that it is nearly impossible to put down one of this author's books once you start them and I ended up staying up nearly all night reading. I would have finished this book in one sitting if I'd just been able to keep my eyes open for an extra hour but as it was I fell asleep with the book in my hand. The characters were the first thing I thought of when I woke up and I refused to do anything else (even get out of bed!) until I'd finished reading the story.

Ugly Love is told from the dual perspectives of both Tate and Miles, Tate's POV is set in the present and shows us how she meets Miles and starts to fall in love with him, while Miles' POV takes us back six years into the past and shows his first relationship - one that obviously broke his heart and turned him away from the idea of love forever. This is a story that is about second chances and finding your way through heartbreak so you can learn to live again. It's about finding the courage to love even knowing the amount of pain it could potentially cause you, it's about being brave enough to realise that no matter how much it might hurt in the future the happiness and joy you can have now is worth taking that risk for.

I loved Tate from the very beginning, she has just moved to San Francisco to study for her Masters degree in nursing and she's moving in with her brother, Corbin, until she gets on her feet and finds a place of her own. She meets Miles when she first arrives because he is sprawled out on the floor in front of Corbin's apartment in a drunken stupor. To say this isn't love at first sight is an understatement and they don't exactly hit it off. Tate doesn't always like Miles but she can't deny the attraction she feels towards him so when he offers her a no strings attached sex only relationship she thinks it's ideal. She's so busy with studying and working in the hospital that she doesn't really have time for a relationship anyway so why not scratch an itch with someone she has great chemistry with? Tate knows exactly what she wants out of life and she isn't under any delusions about what Miles wants from her. It doesn't take long for her to get in over her head though and she soon finds herself falling for him and wishing for the impossible. The closer the two of them seem to get the more resistant Miles becomes and the more he tries to push her away but he still won't open up about why he is so scared to fall in love again.

Miles is a really sweet guy but I have to admit I found it a bit weird reading his POV and watching him fall in love with another girl. His relationship with Rachel is very intense, like first love so often is, but readers are kept in the dark about what happened between them that has turned him so against the idea of loving anyone else. I'm not going to say too much about his back story other than to tell you it was absolutely heartbreaking so make sure you have tissues on hand. What I will say is that I loved the fact that Miles was a genuinely nice guy, he wasn't like a lot of the alpha a-holes we see in so many new adult novels and he obviously cares about Tate and doesn't want to hurt her. It is hard watching him keep pushing her away and I felt her pain because of it but he told her from the beginning that there were two rules they needed to stick to - no asking about his past and no expecting a future - and he stuck to those rules like they were his lifeline. We see little hints that Tate is getting under his skin but he keeps himself so closed off that it is very hard to know if she'll ever break through his barriers. There is such a huge difference in the Miles we see six years ago to the Miles that Tate is with today and I was desperate to find out what caused that change in him.

I really don't want to say more about what happened either in Miles' past or between him and Tate in the present because I want you to be able to enjoy the journey as much as I did. If you've read any of Colleen Hoover's other books you'll already know how capable she is of tying her reader's emotions in knots and that is no different here. One thing I will say is that I think this was probably her hottest book so far and the chemistry between Tate and Miles is off the charts SCORCHING! If you aren't already suffering from heat stroke because of this summer heatwave you soon will be once you start reading this so have your fans at the ready. Colleen Hoover has been one of my favourite authors for a long time now but even if you've never read any of her books I can't recommend this highly enough. If you want a story that is going to make you feel intense emotions, one that will rip your heart to shreds but leave you full of hope and joy at the end, then you need to pick up a copy of Ugly Love today. I'll warn you now though, clear your diary before you sit down to read it because you will not want to put it down!

Source: Received from S&S The Hot Bed in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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US Cover
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Monday, 28 July 2014

Cover Reveal: Tempted by a Rogue Prince - Felicity Heaton

I'm a huge fan of Felicity Heaton's Eternal Mates series (click these links to read my reviews of Kissed by a Dark Prince and Claimed by a Demon King) so I'm very excited to be able to share the cover for the third book, Tempted by a Rogue Prince, with you all today. If you haven't already started reading this series then trust me you REALLY need to!


Well hello Vail, you sexy, sexy elf prince! I'm looking forward to spending time with you LOL. What do you guys think of the cover? I LOVE it! Now here's what the book is all about:

An elf prince on the verge of losing himself to the darkness, Vail is maddened by the forty-two centuries he was under the control of a witch and forced to war with his brother. Now, he roams Hell seeking an escape from his terrible past and the heads of all who bear magic. When demons of the Fifth Realm capture him, he sees a chance to end his existence, but when he wakes in a cell to a beautiful female, he finds not death but his only shot at salvation—his true fated mate.

Captured by the enemy of the Third Realm when the war ended, Rosalind has spent months in the cells of the Fifth Realm with her magic bound, forced to heal the new king’s demon warriors, and haunted by the lives she has taken. When she’s brought to heal an unconscious man, she discovers her only hope of escape has come in the form of her worst nightmare and the first part of a prediction that might spell her doom—a devastatingly handsome and dangerous dark elf prince.

Unwilling to fall under the control of anyone ever again, Vail must escape before the Fifth King can use him as a pawn in a deadly game of revenge, but he cannot leave without Rosalind, the woman who looks at him with dark desire in her stunning eyes and awakens a fierce hunger in his heart. A witch who drives him mad with need even as the darkness within whispers she will enslave him too.

Can Rosalind escape her fate as they embark on a journey fraught with danger and resist the temptation of her rogue elf prince? And can Vail overcome the memories that madden him in order to seize his chance for salvation and the heart of his fated female forever?

Pre-order links and a first chapter preview of Tempted by a Rogue Prince are available at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/tempted-by-a-rogue-prince-paranormal-romance-novel.php

Tempted by a Rogue Prince is due for release in ebook and paperback on August 9th 2014 and will be available from all major online book retailers.

Join Felicity’s mailing list to receive a notification when Tempted by a Rogue Prince is released, PLUS a sneak preview of the first 6 chapters of the book and chances to win a signed copy: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/newsletter.php

Add the book to your Goodreads shelf at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20940832-tempted-by-a-rogue-prince

Books in the Eternal Mates paranormal romance series:
Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar – coming in 2015

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

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

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

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Laini Taylor

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Daughter of Smoke & Bone Series:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Night of Cake and Puppets (Novella)
Days of Blood and Starlight
Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Visit Laini Taylor's website or the Daughter of Smoke and Bone website for more information

Review:
I absolutely adore Laini Taylor's writing style and I have devoured loved all of the books in this series like they were made of the most delicious, decadent chocolate. So it'll come as no surprise when I say that I had high expectations for the final book in the trilogy, in fact my expectations were so high that I was almost scared to start reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters because I was worried that there was no way it would be able to live up to them. I can't even begin to tell you how much it pains me to say this but unfortunately my fears did kind of come true.

I don't want to say that this was a horrible novel because it really, really wasn't BUT it didn't quite manage to reach the highs of the earlier books. It still has Laini Taylor's beautiful, descriptive writing and it still has the characters we've come to know and love so much but I did find the story dragged in places and there were actually times when I wanted to put the book down and walk away which is unheard of for me with this series. I was torn between giving this book a 3 and 4 star rating but the parts I loved I REALLY loved so I've been generous and gone with the higher number.

I have been rooting for Karou & Akiva since the very beginning but I was nervous that there was no way they would be able to find their way back to each other after everything they had both seen and done. There has been betrayal and hurt on both sides and it isn't going to be easy for either of them to get past that. Not to mention the fact that they're both on opposite sides of a war that has been raging for centuries. Even if they want to be together they would have to leave everyone else that they love and care about for that to happen, unless they can find a way to make the chimaera and angels work together. Now that both sides have a common enemy and both stand little chance of surviving unless they put their differences aside they are closer to a truce than they have ever been in the past but that doesn't mean putting aside over a thousand years of hatred is going to be easy and it's going to take a lot of patience on both sides if they are going to have a chance of success.

I absolutely loved the way the author brings the two sides together, it isn't an easy truce and there are times when I feared it wouldn't be successful but it is so cleverly written that it was believable that these enemies would be able to put the past behind them even if it is only temporarily. I loved seeing Karou and Akiva working together to achieve their goals, this is something they have dreamed of since they first met a whole lifetime ago and now it is finally within reach. The story contains heart-stopping action, some unexpected twists and moments that absolutely broke my heart. I was a sobbing, hysterical mess during some scenes and towards the end I was crying tears of happiness. Laini Taylor pulled on my heart strings for sure and it's the fact that she can make me so invested in the lives of her characters that made me go with the higher rating for this story.

It isn't only Karou and Akiva that I'm invested in though, I also absolutely adore Zuzana, Mik, Ziri, Issa and Liraz and was just as keen to see how things would play out for them too. It's unusual for a series to have so many side characters that I become attached to and I desperately wanted all of my favourites to get a happy ending. I fell more in love with these characters throughout this book seeing their loyalty to Karou, Akiva and each other. They are all willing to risk everything in the hope of achieving peace in Eretz and risks like that aren't always rewarded so I was incredibly nervous about how things would play out.

As you can see there was a lot to love about Dreams of Gods and Monsters so you're probably wondering why I was disappointed. I don't really want to dwell on the negative but I hated that so much of the story was told from the point of view of a complete stranger. Eliza's character seems to have been included here as a convenient way of tying certain plot threads together and it felt like she had been added on as an afterthought. I had no connection to her because I've not spent the previous two books getting to know her. Quite frankly I couldn't care less about her and the chapters that were from her point of view left me feeling bored and irritated. I wasn't interested in the pointless drama between her and a work colleague and I could have done without learning her family history. I just wanted to get back to Karou & Akiva or any of the other characters I love.

Towards the end of the book I also found myself getting incredibly irritated at the way things kept contriving to keep Karou and Akiva apart. The will they / won't they pull between them has kept me hooked throughout the whole series but there comes a point when it starts to get a little ridiculous and overdone. I just think there was a point at about three quarters of the way into the book where it would have been nice for things to come together for them. Then you add in the fact that the series doesn't really have an absolute resolution, although a lot of lose threads have been tied up to me it definitely felt that things have been left open for a sequel and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. I just think if we hadn't had Eliza added to the mix we could have trimmed a good hundred or more (boring) pages from the story and also had a more resolved ending. If the story had been tightened up like that it would have been a much more gripping and addictive read and I think I'd probably have finished it in one sitting.

Like I said I don't want to dwell on the negative though because even though Dreams of Gods and Monsters wasn't my favourite book this is still one of my favourite series and Laini Taylor is definitely an amazing author. A not so good book from her is still better than most of the other books out there so when I rate this a 3.5 star read by her standards that's probably still the equivalent of 5 star books by many other authors. If you haven't started the series yet then I honestly can't recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone highly enough, I reread the previous books before starting this one and I loved them even more the second time around. There is no doubt that I will buy anything Laini Taylor writes in the future, I can't think of another author who writes so beautifully and I'm excited to see what she comes up with next.

Source: Purchased

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Review: Night of Cake and Puppets - Laini Taylor

In this new stand alone novella from New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor comes the story of a funny and fantastical first date. In NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy - the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it's the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her 'rabid fairy', her 'voodoo eyes' are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or 'Violin Boy', her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It's a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter's night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself!

Violin Boy's not going to know what hit him.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone Series:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Night of Cake and Puppets (Novella)
Days of Blood and Starlight
Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Visit Laini Taylor's website or the Daughter of Smoke and Bone website for more information

Review:
I have loved Zuzana from the very first book, she is such a fantastic character and I love the fact that no matter what happens she always has Karou's back. I can never get enough of strong female friendships and theirs has been a favourite since the beginning. I also completely and utterly adore Mik, it's so nice to come across a fictional guy who isn't an overbearing alpha who wants to control everything his girlfriend does. Mik couldn't be further from that if he tried, he's sweet, sensitive, laid back and able to cope with whatever Zuze throws at him. He's ready to roll with the punches and although he may not be a fighter he would do anything to make Zuze happy. The two of them together have given me some of my highlights of the whole series so I couldn't have been more excited to discover Laini Taylor had written an extra story that focuses entirely on them.

We've come to know them quite well as a couple throughout the series but until now we never got to see their first date and how they ended up getting together in the first place. This story fits into the series timeline somewhere during Daughter of Smoke and Bone so can be read at any point after you've read the first book. I'm going to deliberately keep this review pretty vague because I would hate to ruin the magic of it for anyone who is yet to read it. Just trust me, Laini Taylor fans will LOVE this story, it has everything you would expect from this author - beautiful writing, wonderful characterisation and more than a touch of magic.

Zuze is such a quirky character so I'm sure you wouldn't expect her to go on any kind of normal, boring first date but the adventure she plans for Mik is nothing short of magical. In fact, it's perfect for them and Laini Taylor has captured this couple so brilliantly that I feel like I know them in real life. Without a doubt this is my favourite ever fictional first date and I just wish we could have had a whole book starring these two characters. It's not often I give a novella 5 starts but Night of Cake and Puppets was utterly perfect and it deserves every single one of them.

Source: Purchased

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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Review: Summer Rain - Anthology

What happens when love gets caught in the rain?

In this romance anthology, RITA-Award winning author Molly O’Keefe shows us the power of a city thunderstorm from the top of a skyscraper, while Amy Jo Cousins soaks us in a rain in Spain. New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox’s heroine is devastated by a winter storm, while a summer thunderstorm grants Alexandra Haughton’s hero and heroine a second chance at love. Rain sparks self-awareness in the robot in Charlotte Stein’s story and allows Mary Ann Rivers’s heroine to fall in love with her hero and her own art. Rain causes romance between the college students in Audra North’s and Shari Slade’s stories, while romance causes rain in Cecilia Tan’s myth-inspired tale of a sacrifice to a demi-god. Nine romance novelettes, edited by Sarah Frantz.

All proceeds from the volume will be donated to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (www.rainn.org), the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States.

Visit the Summer Rain page on Goodreads for more information

Review:
Summer Rain is a romance anthology containing nine stories from authors who are all donating 100% of the proceeds to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) which is the largest anti-sexual violence organisation in America. Personally I think it's worth buying the anthology for that fact alone and I can't applaud these authors enough for giving their time to such a worthy cause.

The anthology contains a wide selection of stories, most with a contemporary setting although there are a couple of sci-fi / fantasy stories too that were an unexpected but pleasant surprise. These stories look at all kinds of relationships - from friends with benefits, to a marriage on the rocks and even a virgin sacrifice. All of the characters have different fears, desires or needs but they are all looking for something that has been missing from their lives before. Not all of the stories contain a happily ever after but most of them at least end with a happy for now.

I wanted to read this anthology because I'm a huge fan of Ruthie Knox but I enjoyed getting the chance to try stories by Molly O'Keefe, Cecilia Tan, Charlotte Stein, Mary Ann Rivers, Amy Jo Cousins, Audra North, Shari Slade & Alexandra Haughton and have definitely discovered some new authors that I'm keen to read more from. I haven't reviewed each of the stories individually because I think one of the fun things about picking up this kind of anthology is letting it surprise you with the total variety of stories it contains. As with any anthology there were some stories that really stood out for me and a couple that I found harder to connect with but overall the quality was really high and the stories were all well written and edited.

This is the perfect kind of book to pick up when you're short on time and want to dive into a satisfying story that you can devour in one sitting. It's also a perfect way of trying some new authors and I'm pretty sure that, like me, you'll end up discovering a few new favourites. By the time you add in that in buying the book you are also donating to an incredibly worthy cause and there really is no excuse not to grab a copy now.

Source: Received from Ruthie Knox in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
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Friday, 25 July 2014

Review: Heir to the Shadows - Anne Bishop

Witch - the woman who would bring freedom to the realms - has come, but now she is lost in darkness, and has a long road to recovery ahead of her.

While her adopted father Saetan waits for her to return to the living world, the third side of the triangle needed to complete the prophecy - the love, Daemon - walks in the Twisted Kingdom on the edge of madness.

As insidious whispers and dark schemes ferment treachery and betrayal, Jaenelle must make a choice: to protect those she loves, she must be more than an heir, she must become a Queen.

The Black Jewels Series:
Daughter of the Blood
Heir to the Shadows
Queen of the Darkness
The Invisible Ring
Dreams Made Flesh
Tangled Webs
The Shadow Queen
Shalador's Lady
Twilight's Dawn

Visit Anne Bishop's website for more information

Review:
Daughter of the Blood may have been an incredibly dark and at times shocking story but I loved every minute of it so although I had to brace myself beforehand I couldn't wait to continue reading Jaenelle's story in Heir to the Shadows. I was expecting an intense read when I picked up this book and I wasn't wrong but I was also pleasantly surprised to find it isn't quite as dark and disturbing as the first book. Although this sequel wasn't quite as painful to read it does still contain scenes of mental and physical torture so I should probably warn anyone new to the series that you need to prepare yourself for the worst. I'm not trying to put anyone off because it's a FANTASTIC series but if you don't know what to expect you'll end up getting quite a shock! You also need to make sure you read this series in order, the world building is detailed and complex, there are a lot of different characters to keep track of and they have all had significant growth just in the first two books. You'll be completely lost if you pick up the books at this point and I would hate to see people to ruin the series for themselves.

As much as I enjoyed Daughter of the Blood I loved Heir to the Shadows even more, I can't tell you how grateful I am to already have my hands on the next book because as soon as I've finished writing this review I'm diving straight back into the world Anne Bishop has created! I just can't wait any longer to discover what happens to all of my favourite characters next. I don't think I have it in me to write a review that will fully explain what an amazing book Heir to the Shadows is or just how much I adore this series but I'm going to do my best in the hope of convincing you to read it for yourself.

At the end of the previous book we saw Jaenelle suffer the worst kind of physical and mental torture imaginable, it actually hurt my heart thinking about everything she went through and it's the kind of thing that no woman should ever have to deal with - let alone a 12 year old child. It was hard to see how Jaenelle would survive, let alone come out of the ordeal mentally stable but I had underestimated the amount of love and faith her friends and adopted family have and they pulled together to help her through. It takes 2 years for her mind to heal enough to return to her body but Saetan never loses faith in her. She has blocked the memory of the event that nearly killed her but she is still a very different girl to the Witch we met in the beginning. She is much more wary and finds it hard to fully trust even the people she was closest to before, she is also angry and has much less control over her temper. It takes a long time and the help of some very close friends before she starts to emerge as the fun loving and friendly girl she used to be but even then there will always be lasting effects from her trauma.

I absolutely loved meeting some of the friends that she'd spoken of in the previous book but that we hadn't been introduced to. We knew she visited lots of people besides Saetan, Daemon and Lucivar but now we get to meet her Kindred friends for ourselves along with the other young witches and warlords she has met over the years. Jaenelle draws both people and animals to her, they feel her power and know that she is the longed for Witch who has the ability to bring peace to the realms but that isn't the only reason they care for her. Jaenelle has no intention of setting up a court or taking over the duties of running a territory but she is still incredibly protective of the people she cares about and will use the power she was born with to keep them safe no matter what it costs her.

One of the characters who nearly broke my heart in the first book was Lucivar, every time we saw him he was either being tortured or being forced to watch someone else suffer and his POV made for some uncomfortable reading. I badly wanted to see him escape and find some happiness so I was absolutely thrilled with how things progressed for him in this book. He is finally reunited with his father Saetan and he is at Jaenelle's side like the protective older brother he's always wanted to be. Jaenelle needed men around her who had no interest in her sexually and I loved her interactions with both Lucivar and her adopted father Saetan. Their family dynamics are difficult at times because they all have reasons to distrust each other but there is such a sense of love between them and that really shines through in every conversation.

The one person missing from the family reunion is Daemon and although I understood his absence I'll admit I missed him because he doesn't play such a big role in this part of the story. Daemon is the one who saved Jaenelle's life but mentally throwing himself into the abyss to reach her cost him dearly and now he's paying the price. Daemon's memories of what happened to Jaenelle are vague and now he's not even sure if she's dead or alive. Worse still, he can't remember what caused her injuries and he is terrified that he did something to hurt her. His anguish over her possible death and the role he may have played in it have caused him to lose his mind and now he is walking in the Twisted Kingdom completely lost and alone. The only person who has the power to reach Daemon and bring him back is Jaenelle but when she blocked the memories of what happened to her she also blocked out the time she spent with Daemon. The most important question is will she remember who he is in time to save his life?

I've already said that this story isn't quite as dark as the first one but that doesn't mean things are all plain sailing and there are still plenty of enemies out out there making plots against Jaenelle and her family. I was glad we see some people start to get what they deserve but others like Hekatah and Dorothea are still plotting and getting ready to cause more trouble. In a lot ways the focus of this story is Jaenelle's recovery and seeing her build a network of close friends and allies that I think she will need on her side in the next book though. This instalment almost feels like the calm before the storm and I have a feeling things are going to go downhill fast for our favourite characters as the series continues in Queen of Darkness. I just hope Jaenelle and her allies are strong enough to face whatever is about to be thrown at them.

Source: Received from Jo Fletcher Books in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Who is your favourite Dirty Talking Hero? Visit Under the Covers to vote for your favourite book boyfriends in their Burning Up July event!


The fabulous Under the Covers Book Blog is currently celebrating summer by hosting BURNING UP JULY where they're showcasing some of their favourite book boyfriends and asking readers to vote for their favourites in several different categories.

They asked lots of different bloggers to take part so in case you missed it yesterday I thought I'd write a quick post directing you to my guest appearance where I was raving about one of my favourite dirty talking heroes Matt from Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey.

Tessa always writes such fabulous heroes and they are some of the best dirty talkers I've come across but Matt is my absolute favourite of her characters and he is one super hot dominant alpha both in and out of the bedroom!

Have a look at my fantasy casting for Matt and see if it encourages you to head on over to Under the Covers and find out a little more about him!

My Fantasy Casting for Matt
(Sorry but I don't know who this model is, if anyone can help me out with that please
leave a comment because I'd love to be able to google more pics of him LOL)

The Under the Covers team will be posting about a few more of their favourite heroes for the Best Dirty Talker category over the next couple of days so make sure you keep checking back to meet Matt's competition! Once all of the heroes have been posted they'll be opening up a giveaway where you'll be all given the chance to vote for your favourite.

Two other categories are already complete and the giveaways are already open and waiting for your votes so don't miss out on your chance to win prizes.

Ultimate Dom Nominees:
Alexander Devries from Edge of the Enforcer by Cherise Sinclair
Ronin Black from The Mastered Series by Lorelei James
Soren from The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz

Soren is getting my vote in this category!

Ultimate Book Boyfriend Nominees:
Sevastyan from The Professional by Kresley Cole
Dex Foray from The Experiment in Terror Series by Karina Hale
Landon Lucas Maxfield from Breakable by Tammara Webber

I haven't had a chance to read Breakable yet but I LOVED Lucas in Easy so he definitely gets my vote (even though I'm rather partial to Sevastyan too LOL).

Best Dirty Talker Nominees:
Matt Donovan from Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey
Other nominees to be added over the next couple of days

Of course Matt will be getting my vote in this category - I am his champion after all!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Just for Now - Abbi Glines

Preston Drake is one bad boy. He has a different girl in his bed every night, which is just how he likes it - no strings, no issues, just fun. The problem is, he keeps finding himself thinking about the one girl he shouldn't . . . his best friend's little sister, who's suddenly all grown up.

Amanda Hardy has had a crush on Preston forever, but his reputation always kept her away. Now that it seems the attraction might be mutual, it's getting harder to ignore her feelings . . .

No one wants them to be together - but their attraction is too strong to keep them apart.

The Sea Breeze Series:
Breathe
Because of Low
While it Lasts
Just for Now
Sometimes it Lasts
Misbehaving
Bad for You
Hold on Tight

Visit Abbi Glines' website for more information.

Review:
I've really enjoyed the previous books in Abbi Glines' Sea Breeze series and I was looking forward to getting to know bad boy Preston a little better in Just for Now. We've seen quite a lot of him in the previous books but while he's a good friend to Marcus he's also always been a player and a ladies man and I wasn't sure how Amanda was going to get him to change his ways.

What we didn't know before was quite how much pressure is on Preston from his waste of space mother who she relies on Preston for everything. He pays her rent, buys her food and even puts petrol in her car for her and he does it all to protect his younger siblings Jimmy, Brent and Daisy. Preston is in college full time trying to get a decent education but he needs to earn money and he doesn't have enough free time to work a full time job as well. He's resorted to desperate measures but while the income means he can look after his family the work makes him feel dirty and cheap. He doesn't feel worthy of love and he's so ashamed of his situation that he doesn't feel that he can ask his friends for help or even tell them what is happening in his life. Because of that his friends just think of him as a party boy who doesn't have a care in the world when in reality that couldn't be further from the truth.

Amanda is Preston's best friend Marcus's little sister and completely off limits. Preston knows she is special but she is far too pure and innocent for the likes of him, besides Marcus would kill him if he ever found out about Preston's feelings. Amanda may be innocent but she knows what she wants and once she realises that Preston is attracted to her she deliberately sets out to get her man. Amanda sees Preston for who he really is and once she starts to get under his skin she realises how much he does to protect his siblings. I loved Amanda for the way she was so caring towards Jimmy, Brent and Daisy and I really enjoyed every scene with the younger kids in. They had such a tough upbringing but were really sweet kids and that was down to Preston and the way he had cared for them.

One thing that I found really noticeable in this story was the double standards and slut shaming though. All of the girls that Preston had been with were called names and considered whores by Amanda and the rest of Preston's friends but the fact that Preston slept with a different girl every night was completely fine. At one point Amanda actually thought "So he slept around. A lot of guys did. He was sowing his wild oats. It was okay to do that." about Preston but she'd earlier introduced one of her supposed friends to readers by thinking "Jess, Rock's cousin and the town slut". I'm not going to get into the whole issue of sleeping around and whether it's right or wrong but what I really HATE is that people seem to think it's OK for guys to do it but not for girls. Double standards irritate me and it did stop me enjoying this book quite as much as I would have done otherwise. If you want to get on your high horse about sleeping around you should call out the boys for their behaviour just as much as the girls! Or you can just take the opinion that they're all consenting adults and they have every right to do whatever the hell they want. Either way would be better than what happens here.

I did like Preston, he was in an impossible situation and he was doing the only thing he could think of to make sure his family survived. I'll admit I got a little irritated with him for not confiding in his friends sooner and asking for help but I could understand why he hadn't. In general I liked Amanda but her double standards kept making me want to shake some sense into her. I have really enjoyed the sea breeze series though so even though Just for Now wasn't my favourite instalment I'm still looking forward to reading more about this group of friends.

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

Other Reviews:
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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Review: Reaper's Legacy - Joanna Wylde

Reaper's Legacy is a raw and intensely erotic tale in Joanna Wylde's Reapers Motorcycle Club series.

Eight years ago, Sophie gave her heart-and her virginity-to Zach Barrett on a night that couldn't have been less romantic or more embarrassing. Zach's step-brother, a steely-muscled, tattooed biker named Ruger, caught them in the act, getting a peep show of Sophie he's never forgotten.

She may have lost her dignity that fateful night, but Sophie also gained something precious-her son Noah. Unfortunately, Zach's a deadbeat dad, leaving Ruger to be Noah's only male role model. When he discovers Sophie and his nephew living in near poverty, Ruger takes matters into his own hands-with the help of the Reapers Motorcycle Club-to give them a better life.

Living with outlaw bikers wasn't Sophie's plan for her son, but Ruger isn't giving her a choice. He'll be there for Noah, whether she wants him or not. But Sophie does want him, has always wanted him. Now she'll learn that taking a biker to bed can get a girl dirty in every way.

Reapers MC Series:
Reaper's Property
Reaper's Legacy
Devil's Game
Reaper's Stand (October 2014)

Visit Joanna Wylde's website for more information

Review:
I have a confession to make, MC (Motorcycle Club) stories are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine and I love Joanna Wylde's Reapers MC series. These stories aren't traditional hearts and flowers romances, they're dark, gritty and often disturbing. The men are alphas to the extreme and live outside the normal rules of society. Women fall into two categories - sweet butts who are hangers on who are basically fair game for any of the club members to do what they want with or old ladies who are pretty much the property of one of the MC members. The men have no respect for the sweet butts but the old ladies are well protected and cared for and any of the guys will put their lives on the line to keep them safe. It's a misogynistic society and one that I REALLY wouldn't want to live in but I find it incredibly fascinating to read about.

Sophie knows very little about MC life, the only connection she has to the Reapers is that one of the members, Ruger, is the uncle of her eight year old son, Noah. Sophie always had the biggest crush on Ruger but it was his step-brother, Zach, that she met first and foolishly gave her heart to. Zach was an abusive partner and a deadbeat dad who has had no contact with Noah in years. Sophie struggles to support herself and her son financially but although Ruger has offered to help her in the past he had no idea just how bad things were for her until one night when she finds herself in over her head. It is Noah who calls Ruger for help and now he's realised exactly what is going on he is determined to get his nephew to safety.

I love that Sophie was more willing to stand up for herself than Marie was in the previous book. Sophie has had enough of men walking all over her and she isn't about to let Ruger take control of her life no matter how hot she finds him. Ruger wants Sophie and Noah in his life, he wants to take care of them both and he wants to be able to act on the attraction that sizzles between him and Sophie but he isn't prepared to make her any promises and feels like he should be allowed to see other women too. Sophie knows she deserves better than that, she is wary of the MC lifestyle for a start but she's definitely not prepared to sit back and let Ruger sleep around on her. She'd rather be on her own than let that happen and I was so pleased to see her stand her ground on that issue. I also enjoyed seeing her get to know the other old ladies and realising how strong the friendship was between them. The old ladies rally around and offer her advice on how to get what she wants from Ruger and I really enjoyed the camaraderie between them all.

Ruger is out of his depth when it comes to Sophie. He is used to being in control and for women falling over backwards just to be with him. He's never really had to fight for what he wants before but Sophie and Noah are worth it and he is forced to reassess his own life to decide what is really important. I loved the interactions between Rugar and Noah, he is so patient and caring towards his nephew and a great father figure for him. You know without a doubt that Ruger would do anything to protect his family and Sophie and Noah are the centre of his world. Of course it doesn't hurt that Ruger is hot as hell and he's definitely a skilled dirty talker.

Reaper's Legacy isn't just about their romance though, trouble was brewing between the Reapers and rival gang the Devil's Jacks in the first book and it escalates even further in this book. There is plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat and Joanna Wylde has really set things up to get even more interesting in the third book Devil's Game. I can't wait to read Em's story!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Fight Night: Championship Round (Last chance to win fantastic prizes!)


I have to confess I'm a little sad today - my favourite Ace was knocked out of Fight Night in the second round and I'm a bit gutted that means Kit Rocha won't be writing a short story about him at the end of the championship. However if Ace was going to be knocked out by anyone then I'm glad it was by Dallas, the undisputed King of Sector Four.

Final Round: Bren vs Dallas:


My Vote:

I mentioned in the last post that I felt a bit guilty voting for voting against Dallas even if it was for my man Ace so I'm definitely back to rooting for him in the final! He's tough enough to keep a whole sector in line so it's pretty obvious he has skills and as much as I love Bren I don't think he's going to be able to knock Dallas off the top spot. It's a matter of pride for Dallas and I don't think Lexi would ever let him live it down if he didn't win!

Read Bren's story in Beyond Pain (my review is here) or Dallas's story in Beyond Control (my review is here).

As per the previous rounds you can vote using the Rafflecopter form below and you'll be in with the chance of winning some fantastic prizes (including eARCs of book 5 in the series Beyond Addiction - I AM DYING TO WIN THAT PRIZE!!!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Review: Tiger Eyes - Judy Blume

"You have sad eyes, Tiger", he says. "A bright smile but sad eyes." He waits for me to say something. I don't.

Davey's life has been ripped apart by her father's murder. Uprooted and taken to stay in New Mexico with her uptight aunt and uncle, she feels trapped - by their fearfulness, by her mother's grief, by her own anger and pain. Then she meets Wolf - intense, brooding, mysterious Wolf. Without asking questions, somehow he's the only one who understands what she's feeling . . .

A powerful, raw and brilliant novel about love, grief and learning to live again.

Visit Judy Blume's website for more information

Review:
I was a massive fan of Judy Blume as a teenager, at the time there weren't the huge range of YA books that we have now and she was one of the few writers that I could turn to when I wanted to read a book about teenagers with real problems, ones that I could relate to. Recently Judy Blume visited the UK and I got the chance to attend an event with her and I can't tell you how excited I was to meet the author who wrote some of my favourite childhood books. It had been a long time since I'd read any of her work though so I decided to re-read a couple of her books before the event.

The first one I re-read was Forever and while I did still really enjoy it I have to admit in a lot of ways it was quite dated and I'm not sure if teens today would love it as much as I did when I was younger. Tiger Eyes has a different feel to it, although it lacks modern conveniences such as mobile phones and the internet (no those things really didn't exist when I was a child and doesn't that make me feel old LOL), it didn't feel quite so out of touch as Forever did. I'm not quite sure why that is but it doesn't really matter, it just meant that I enjoyed Tiger Eyes as much as I always used to.

Davey is just fifteen years old when her father is murdered during a robbery of their family store. She is completely devastated by his loss and since her mother has completely fallen apart she is feeling lost and alone. Her aunt and uncle offer to take the whole family in so that they can get away from the memories of what happened and Davey finds her life completely uprooted. She's living across the country away from all of her friends and forced to attend a new school where everyone has grown up together and she is the outsider. Her mother and young brother, Jason, seem to be thriving under the care of her aunt and uncle but she is suffocating with their strict rules and more lonely than she's ever been in her life. Can Davey find a way to put the pieces back together and be happy again?

Tiger Eyes is a coming of age story but most of all it's a story of loss and grief, it's about coping with the aftermath of something horrific and realising that life does go on even when you really don't want it to. It's about losing someone you love but it's also about realising how important the people left behind are to you, it's about family bonds and making new friends. There are just so many lessons to be learnt from this book and Davey's story is a heartfelt and emotional one. I grieved with her and I felt her loneliness but I also smiled when she started to move forward in her life and I enjoyed seeing her family learn how to lean on each other in their grief. Although there is a hint of romance it is by no means the main focus of the story but that doesn't matter because this book is so much more.

Whether you're an old Judy Blume fan, like me, looking to recapture childhood memories or someone who has never read one of her books before I would definitely recommend giving Tiger Eyes a try. It's a beautiful story and one that I'm sure will still be relevant in another 30 years.

Source: Received from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review

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Friday, 18 July 2014

Review: Cracks in the Armour - Helena Hunting

UK Cover
Chris, a sexy tattoo artist, tries to win the heart of Sarah, a grad student with little interest in him, in this second e-short and follow-up to Helena Hunting’s gripping love story, Clipped Wings—“twisted, dark, incredibly erotic…a love story like no other” (USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton).

Part owner of the Chicago tattoo shop Inked Armor, Chris Zelter is a talented artist who decorates skin with gorgeous designs. He might look the part of the typical jacked-up, inked-up bad-boy, but underneath is a fiercely loyal, complicated man. Kicked out at sixteen, Chris has had to fend for himself for the last twelve years, making his Inked Armor crew as much family as they are business partners. For him, it’s enough—until he meets Sarah Adamson.

A grad student waitressing at the local strip club, Sarah is used to propositions and crude comments. The job is a means to an end—finish her MBA, pay off the tuition loans, and get a good job. Then she won’t have to rely on anyone to take care of her. So when brawny, tatted up Chris begins hanging out at the club, she rebuffs his advances. At first. But Chris isn’t like her usual clientele: despite his hard exterior, he’s almost…sweet.

Sometimes, the people with the roughest edges have the biggest hearts.

Clipped Wings Series:
Cupcakes and Ink (Short Story)
Clipped Wings
Between the Cracks (Free Short Story)
Inked Armour
Cracks in the Armour (Short Story)

Visit Helena Hunting's website for more information

Review:
I've really enjoyed reading this series but as much as I've loved Hayden and Tenley I've also become quite attached to the side characters so I was really excited to find out that Helena Hunting had written a short story about Chris and Sarah. We've seen their relationship starting to develop in the previous books but I was looking forward to getting to know them both better through this story.

Although I liked Cracks in the Armour I have to admit I was a little disappointed that so much of the focus was still on Hayden and Tenley. The first half of this short story (which is only around 60 pages long) is told from Chris's point of view but rather than focusing on his thoughts and feelings about Sarah he takes us on a guided tour of Hayden and Tenley's new house and talks about how the two of them are getting on now they're living together. Yes, it was nice to have a bit of an update on them but to be honest we didn't learn anything particularly new or exciting about them and I didn't pick up this story expecting an extended epilogue of Inked Armour.

We do get to learn a little more about Chris's background but not in as much detail as I was hoping for. When the point of view switches to Sarah the focus does move away from Hayden and Tenley which I appreciated but we don't get to see Sarah and Chris's HEA which was disappointing. This story actually reads more like a prequel so I can only assume that Helena Hunting is planning on writing a full length novel about Chris and Sarah. I have no confirmation of that at the moment though so I can't help feeling a little cheated. I hate to say it but I think you can easily skip this story and I'm not convinced it's worth paying for. I received this for free from the publisher for review but I'd have been very disappointed if I'd paid for it. If the author does decide to write a novel about Chris and Sarah then I'll probably read it but I'm beginning to think that I'm done with this world now and I'm not convinced there is much story left to tell.

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

Other Reviews:
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US Cover
Kindle:

Review: Inked Armour - Helena Hunting

UK Cover
Scorching, addictive and seductive, this is a love story like no other.

Tenley has gone.

And in the wake of her leaving, Hayden's carefully ordered world threatens to spiral out of control. Balanced on the brink of self-destruction, he realises he needs to face the truth about his past if he has any hope of a future.

Back in her hometown, Tenley lays her ghosts to rest. And despite her grief, her feelings for Hayden remain as intense and all-consuming as ever.

Desperate to repair the damage she has done to their relationship, Tenley returns to Chicago and the man she loves. But there are still so many obstacles in their path. Will their love conquer all? Or will it tear them apart?

Clipped Wings Series:
Cupcakes and Ink (Short Story)
Clipped Wings
Between the Cracks (Free Short Story)
Inked Armour
Cracks in the Armour (Short Story)

Visit Helena Hunting's website for more information

Review:
After really enjoying Clipped Wings I was excited to pick up Inked Armour and find out how things turned out for Tenley and Hayden. The last book left us on quite a cliffhanger when Tenley left Hayden to return to her old life with her brother-in-law Trey and I was desperate to know what would happen next.

Tenley has no intention of returning to her old life permanently, in fact she just wants to sell her old home so that she can put the past behind her forever and move forward in her new life at Hayden's side. I loved seeing her stand up to Trey, he was obviously trying to control her and only looking out for his best interests and Tenley has come such a long way to be able to go against him like that. What really irritated me was her complete refusal to have any kind of contact with Hayden, she knew he must be hurting and feeling that she'd abandoned him and she was even hurting herself but she couldn't even send him a quick message to tell him that she needed to sort things out but would be back as soon as she could be. I kind of lost respect for her because of that which was disappointing.

Hayden on the other hand has fallen apart completely because he thought she had left him forever. We saw him chase after her in the free short story Between the Cracks (I'd highly recommend reading that before you start this book if you haven't already) but since that unsuccessful trip he's lost all faith in their relationship. It was completely understandable considering she refused to answer his calls or reply to his messages but I did find myself rolling my eyes at just how hopeless he was without her there. I guess I wanted to see him have a bit more backbone and I really would have liked for him to have made her work a bit harder to get him back once she returned.

When Tenley does get back I appreciated the fact that they were both willing to talk about their issues rather than jumping straight back into bed together though. They both have very traumatic pasts and it was good to see Hayden starting to make some headway in processing what had happened to him. I do love as a couple and I've been rooting for them since the beginning so it was nice to see them get some kind of closure there but as much as I liked the book I'm disappointed to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

I think I mentioned in my previous review that there were a few other story lines thrown in that felt like they'd just been inserted to cause extra drama. I still feel that this whole series could have been so much better without the over the top feel of these situations (I'm talking about the police harassment and the whole mess with Tenley's tutor here). I just think that I'd have enjoyed it more if the focus had stayed on their relationship and the way events from their pasts were effecting them both. Didn't they both have enough to deal with without that added on top?

I may not have loved Inked Armour but it was still a likeable read and overall I have really enjoyed this series. I love the main characters but I also feel invested in the whole group of friends and I'm very much looking forward to reading the final novella (Cracks in the Armour) to see the resolution to Chris and Sarah's story.

Source: Received from Orion in exchange for an honest review

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Quick Review: Between the Cracks - Helena Hunting

Tattooist Chris Zelter doesn’t always make the best decisions when it comes to the people he cares about, or the women he gets involved with. Things have changed recently, though. Chris has lost interest in casual flings as he finds himself wrapped up in Sarah Adamson, a waitress at the local strip club he frequents. It takes months of persistent attention before she finally agrees to date him, and he's determined not to mess it up.

Just as things are finally going his way, Chris receives a troubled phone call in the middle of the night from Hayden Stryker, his best friend and business partner. Unexpected revelations and the sudden departure of his girlfriend, Tenley, has nearly sent Hayden over the edge. Add in a speeding ticket and an impounded car, and Hayden is balanced on the precipice of a total meltdown. Worried about his friend, Chris sets out on a rescue road trip, first to get Hayden, and then to bring back Tenley. The two men run into unforeseen roadblocks, proving even the best intentions don’t guarantee results.

Chris and Hayden return to Chicago empty handed, and Chris is left feeling as if he’s let down all the people who matter, especially Sarah. But Chris discovers that sometimes the best way to deal with failure is to find a way to forget about it. And losing himself in Sarah is the perfect way to do just that.

Clipped Wings Series:
Cupcakes and Ink (Short Story)
Clipped Wings
Between the Cracks (Free Short Story)
Inked Armour
Cracks in the Armour (Short Story)

Visit Helena Hunting's website for more information

Review:
Between the Cracks is a free short story set just after the ending of Clipped Wings but told from the point of view of Hayden's best friend Chris. This story is only around 50 pages long so I'm not going to go into details about what happens because it would be far too easy to give you spoilers.

Instead I'll talk about how much I enjoyed getting to know Chris a little better. He shows just what a caring and nice guy he is in the way he looks out for Hayden but also tries his best to help Tenley too. I found it really interesting seeing Hayden through Chris's eyes, we get to learn a little more about the way Hayden copes with stress and how his friends always have his back and are there for him.

This is a nice little freebie that I think readers will enjoy but please don't read it until after you've read Clipped Wings or you'll end up giving yourself major spoilers. I always enjoy it when author's give us insight into their side characters and I really hope that we'll get to spend more time with Chris in the future. In the meantime I can't wait to read Inked Armour and find out what happens next for Hayden and Tenley!

Source: Downloaded free ebook via Amazon

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