Thursday, 30 April 2015

Review: Outside In - Maria V. Snyder

There's something outside.
It wants in.

I'm Trella, I used to be a scrub, cleaning the pipes and corridors of INSIDE. Then I found a whole world beyond the cube we live in and accidentally led a revolution against the Uppers. Now everyone is trying to figure out what happens next.

Except me. The fight's over and I want my life back. I need to explore the new world I've found and work out exactly what's going on with Riley, the Upper who helped me win the war.

But there's something OUTSIDE. And I need to step up. Because once a leader always a leader.

It's coming.
Am I strong enough to stop it?

Insiders Series:
Inside Out
Outside In

Visit Maria V. Snyder's website for more information

Review:
I loved Inside Out so I was glad I didn't have to wait to find out how Trella's story continued and I dove straight into Outside In which I think I ended up enjoying even more. I'm going to assume that anyone reading this review has already read the first book so please be aware there may be spoilers ahead if you haven't.

The rebellion Trella lead has turned life on the Inside upside down and now the Uppers and the scrubs are trying to figure out what happens next. The scrubs are expecting an immediate change in their circumstances but the dirty jobs still need doing and now nobody is willing to do them. The Uppers know that changes need to be made but are reluctant to give up their living quarters and the scrubs aren't trained to do most of the Upper jobs even if they wanted to. Basically it's all a mess and everyone is looking to Trella to fix it. All Trella really wants is to go back to her old life, she never wanted to be in the spotlight and she never wanted to be a leader but she's starting to realise that she doesn't have a choice in the matter. She set things in motion and now it's up to her to find a solution. As if the internal politics wasn't enough for her to deal with Trella makes a startling discovery - there are people on the Outside. People who want in and who may not have the best intentions. Can Trella unite the Insiders and help them work together to keep their world safe?

Trella has a lot of growing up to do in this book, she is young and doesn't want the responsibility of being in charge of the Inside which was completely understandable but things are falling apart without her input and people are looking to her for guidance. There were times when I felt a little frustrated with her because she kept trying to walk away from it all but she does pull herself together when it counts and once she sets her mind to something she gives it her all. I have to admit I missed seeing her and Riley together, he is around and taking part in what's going on here but they don't get to spend as much time together as they did before and I missed the interactions between them. We do get to see some of the other characters shine though, each of the members of the Force of Sheep has a role to play and there were some really surprising twists and turns along the way.

Outside In was a really fast paced story and I quickly devoured it. Maria V. Snyder did a great job of answering the questions we were left with at the end of the first book and I think she wrapped up the duology really nicely. Having said that I would still happily read more books set in this world if she ever decides to revisit it in the future.

Source: Received from Mira Ink in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Review: Changing His Game - Megan Erickson

He controls the game, but she’s rewriting all the rules . . .

Marley Lake is no stranger to awkwardness, but getting caught watching a dirty GIF by the company’s hot new IT guy exceeds even her standards. That is, until she realizes he's as turned on by it as she is. But with a big promotion on the line, she refuses to let her current dry spell be her downfall. Maybe.

Austin Rivers has no business lusting after the irresistible editor of Gamers Magazine. He's a secret partner in the business—and technically Marley’s boss. One look at that GIF, though, and he’s ready to install a whole lot more than just software…as long as she never finds out who he really is.

But reality’s not as virtual as it seems, and when Austin’s identity jeopardizes Marley’s promotion, he has to change his game or risk losing the only woman with the cheat code to his heart.

Gamers Series:
Changing His Game
Playing for Her Heart
Tied to Trouble

Visit Megan Erickson's website for more information.

Review:
Marley loves her job working as an editor for Gamers Magazine but she's had to work hard to earn the respect of her mainly male colleagues. When she gets caught watching porn gifs on Tumblr by the hot new IT guy there is no denying the look of interest in his eyes but the last thing she should be thinking about is getting involved with someone she works with - especially when she's about to interview for the promotion of her dreams. Austin knows he shouldn't make a move on Marley, especially since he's not really a member of the IT department and is in fact one of the owners of the magazine and technically her boss, but there is no way he can resist acting on the attraction he feels for her. Austin is sure he can get her out of his system by fulfilling one of their mutual fantasies but the more time he spends with Marley the more he realises he wants her to be a permanent part of his life. That might not be possible if Marley discovers the truth about his identity though and now he's desperate to figure out a way to fix things before his secret is discovered.

I'm a sucker for Brazen romances, they're always super hot and fun to read and I can't get enough of them. Megan Erickson is a new author for me but as soon as I read the blurb for Changing His Game I knew I wanted to get my hands on a copy - a nerdy hero and a gamer girl? Sign me up! I'm so glad I had the chance to read this early because it was even better than I expected. Austin is that perfect kind of hero, he's definitely a geek and a bit of a loner but he's also really sweet, very dominant and a great dirty talker. He knows exactly how to take control and how to make a girl week at the knees and he is the perfect guy for Marley who is desperate to let someone else take charge in the bedroom since she spends so much of her time being the one in control at work. These two have fantastic chemistry and oh boy the sex scenes are HOT as hell - I'm talking melt your kindle hot!

I don't really want to say too much about the story but the fact that it starts with them both looking at porn on the internet, escalates to more than a little hot and heavy action in surprising public places and ends with them cosplaying at Comic-Con I think it's obvious you're in for a real treat. I can't find any details on the rest of the series yet but I'm desperately keeping my fingers crossed that Austin's best friend Grant and Marley's brother Chad are both going to get their own books. No matter what any future books in this series are going straight to the top of my wish list and in the meantime I'll be checking out some of Megan Erickson's other books.

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

Other Reviews:
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Kindle:

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Review: Bayou Moon - Ilona Andrews

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale - and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny . . .

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swath of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan's long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge - and Cerise's life. William, a changeling soldier who'd left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation's spymaster.

When William's and Cerise's missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly - but they'll have to work together if they want to succeed . . . and survive.

The Edge Series:
On the Edge
Bayou Moon
Fate's Edge
Steel's Edge

Inkeeper Chronicles:
(These two series are set in the same world and characters from The Edge make an appearance in the Innkeeper Chronicles)
Clean Sweep
Sweep in Peace
One Fell Sweep

Visit Ilona Andrews' website for more information

Review:
I'm a total Kate Daniels fan girl but for some reason it's taken me a long time to get around to reading Ilona & Gordon Andrews' Edge series. I have no excuses for why that is and the only reason I'm glad I waited is that the entire series is already in my hands just waiting for me to finish devouring it. I expect this review is going to turn into gushing fan girl praise of this couple and their writing, they always create such brilliant and interesting worlds and they populate them with the best characters too. They excel at writing strong female heroines who are capable of kicking arse and standing on their own two feet, and I don't think I've come across one of their heroes who hasn't made me swoon.

We were introduced to William in On the Edge so I was already half in love with his character, he's just such a sweet guy and learning about his upbringing was heartbreaking. He's never had a family of his own or much of a childhood even and it wasn't until he met Rose and her brothers that he realised what he had been missing. William dreams of having a family but he doesn't feel it is something he deserves or that he'll ever be able to have so he tries to put a brave face on things and lock that dream away. William meets Cerise when he is sent on a mission for the Mirror, he is on the hunt for an old enemy and determined to make him pay for the crimes he has committed but it looks like Cerise and her family may hold the key to finding him.

Cerise and her family are just trying to survive, we've already seen how difficult life is in the Edge but for the Mars it is worse than normal. They come from an old Edge family and have a large amount of land but they have a lot of mouths to feed and very little in the way of income. Cerise has taken on the burden of trying to look after her family since her parents disappeared but it isn't easy and things are made even harder by an ongoing feud they have with another local family. Cerise is struggling to keep their heads above water but she's determined and there is no way she's going to give up without a fight so her enemies better watch out.

I loved the romance between Cerise and William, this series is far more focused on the action and the world building than the romance which is something I love about it but I still enjoyed the slow burn between them and the way they gradually come to trust in each other. Both have reasons to be wary but their temporary alliance soon becomes something much more important. I can't believe I haven't even mentioned Cerise's family yet! Another thing the Andrews' excel at is creating eccentric family members and really strong family dynamics. We are introduced to some great secondary characters here and I wanted to spend more time with all of them which just shows how much fun they are.

Bayou Moon is full of action, we get to learn a lot more about the world than we did in the first book and we find out more about the Weird politics and how that effects the Edgers. I was hoping that Rose and Declan would make more of an appearance in this story but we do get to catch up with them towards the end and it was nice to see how they, along with Jack and George, are getting on. This series is fast becoming another favourite of mine and I can't wait to see what happens in Kaldar's story.

Source: Purchased

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Friday, 24 April 2015

Review: The Deepest Poison - Beth Cato

Octavia Leander, a young healer with incredible powers, has found her place among Miss Percival's medicians-in-training. Called to the frontlines of a never-ending war between Caskentia and the immoral Wasters, the two women must uncover the source of a devastating illness that is killing thousands of soldiers. But when Octavia's natural talents far outshine her teacher's, jealousy threatens to destroy their relationship—as time runs out to save the encampment.

Fans of Beth Cato's debut, The Clockwork Dagger, will love this journey into Octavia's past—as well as an exclusive excerpt from the sequel, The Clockwork Crown!

Clockwork Dagger Duology:
The Deepest Poison (Short Story)
The Clockwork Dagger
The Clockwork Crown

Visit Beth Cato's website for more information

Review:
The Deepest Poison is a short story set before beginning of The Clockwork Dagger. Technically it's a prequel so it can be read before either of the full length novels (which is what I did) but I do think you'll probably enjoy it more if you read it after the first book. The story is very short, less than 50 pages, and for me I didn't feel the author had enough time to introduce a whole new world and new characters in a way that made me feel invested in them.

There isn't really too much I can say about The Deepest Poison because not a great deal happens and I didn't really understand where it fits into the series as a whole. The story is set in an army camp and a mysterious illness is killing thousands of soldiers. Two healers, Octavia and Miss Percival, are trying to uncover what is causing the sickness and searching for a cure but there seems to be a rift forming between them as the younger woman's healing abilities start to far outreach those of her mentor. I believe that Octavia is the main character in the next two books and I'll be interested to see things from her point of view rather than Miss Percival's.

Although I found myself a bit lost when reading The Deepest Poison it was definitely enough to intrigue me and make me want to read The Clockwork Dagger though so it's achieved it's goal there and I may even come back and reread this after I've read the next book to see if it makes more sense to me. Personally, although this is technically a prequel, I wouldn't recommend starting the series here but I'll come back and update this review if my opinion changes after reading the next story.

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

Other Reviews:
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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Review: Valentine - Samantha Young

Joss & Braden. Ellie & Adam. Jo & Cam. Olivia & Nate. Hannah & Marco. Shanon & Cole. And one Valentine’s Day they’ll never forget.

It’s Valentine’s Day! How do Joss & Braden, Ellie & Adam, Jo & Cam, Olivia & Nate, Hannah & Marco and Shannon & Cole keep the fire burning in their relationships while trying to juggle busy careers and the joyful chaos of parenthood? Find out in VALENTINE, six sexy and emotional short stories, one for each couple in the On Dublin Street series so far, making up a short novella about one very special day.

VALENTINE: An On Dublin Street Novella is a special gift to fans of the series in thanks for supporting HERO, her first standalone contemporary romance.

On Dublin Street Series:
On Dublin Street
Until Fountain Bridge (Novella)
Down London Road
Castle Hill (Novella)
Before Jamaica Lane
Fall from India Place
Echoes of Scotland Street
Valentine (Novella)
Moonlight on Nightingale Lane

Visit Samantha Young's website or the On Dublin Street website for more information

Review:
I'm a huge fan of Samantha Young's On Dublin Street series and I absolutely love it when author's revisit favourite couples and give us a glimpse of how they're getting on after we've read about their HEA. I especially love it when authors give their fans these little snippets for free as a thank you for supporting their work and that's exactly what Samantha Young has done with Valentine.

This novella contains 6 short stories, one about each of the previous couples in the series and shows them celebrating valentine's day together. Some of them are home babysitting, others are getting a rare night away from the kids and normal day to day responsibilities while the younger couples are just wanting to do something special with the ones they love. Some of the couples are stronger than ever where others are going through a rough patch and need to reconnect. Each of these stories offers something different, some are super romantic, others tug at your heart strings but they all include a little spice and they're all very realistic for the couple they feature.

This is a fab little collection and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with everyone and seeing how they're getting on. Of course we all have our favourite couples and I'm sure you'll love some stories more than others but they're all great little slices of life and this is well worth a read if you're a fan of the series.

Source: Free read from the author (downloaded from Amazon)

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Review: Reckoning - S.J. Harper

Join Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She’s sacrificed. He’s suffered. They’ve both been betrayed.
Now it’s time for a reckoning.

Special Agent Emma Monroe has a secret. She’s a Fallen Siren, cursed by the gods and banished to Earth for her failure to prevent the kidnapping of Persephone. As an FBI agent she saves the lives of others believing redemption could be one rescue away.

Her partner Zack is a werewolf and former Black Ops sniper who once carried out a string of questionable assignments. Now he’s determined to atone for his past. Ironically, there’s a portion of his past Zack doesn’t remember—an affair with Emma. Giving into their attraction for one another almost led to their undoing. Now it’s back to business as usual.

While trying to unravel the mystery behind a series of kidnappings in Southern California, Emma and Zack become entangled with political tensions in the vampire and Were worlds. Not to mention the struggles they face in their relationship with one another. With so much uncertainty, they come to realize the only thing they can really count on is one another…or can they?

Fallen Siren Series:
Captured (Novella)
Cursed
Reckoning
Forsaken (Novella)

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

Review:
Emma is a siren who was cursed thousands of years ago by the goddess Demeter for not preventing Hades from kidnapping her daughter Persephone. Emma and her sisters have spent their whole lives trying to atone for their mistake in the hope that they will achieve redemption and be allowed to return to their home. As part of their punishment they are forbidden from falling in love, if they do their partner will suffer Demeter's wrath. Emma is working as an FBI agent and has a strong bond with her werewolf partner Zack but to protect him and save his life she had to wipe his memory of the intimate part of their relationship. It's the worst kind of torture for Emma, she gets to spend her days with the man she loves knowing that they can never have any kind of personal relationship. Zack may not remember the time they spent together but that doesn't mean he has lost his feelings for her and he doesn't understand what has Emma running so scared when he knows she is attracted to him.

This series is going to break my heart, I can't even tell you how much I love Zack and want him and Emma to find a way to be together but everything is against them and has been from the very beginning. The opening few pages of this book almost had me jumping for joy but even though I knew deep down that things couldn't possibly be what I thought they were I still found myself incredibly disappointed when I realised that Emma has started a relationship with someone else. The only reason she is with the vampire Kallistos is because she knows there is no chance she will fall in love with him and that's a pretty sad kind of relationship if you ask me. She is with him because she wants a connection with someone but he will never be that equal partner she has in Zack. I hate to say it but I'm really not a fan of Kallistos, I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him and I don't think he has Emma's best interests at heart. Unlike Zack I can't imagine Kallistos risking anything to protect her unless he has something else to get out of it. Kallistos lies to her, he treats her like his property and I don't think he has any respect for her.

Seeing Emma with Kallistos was enough to drive me crazy, it was just so obvious that they're wrong for each other and I really wanted to climb into the book and shake some sense into her. I can understand why she is afraid to be with Zack and she's doing it to protect him but that's no reason to be with someone else. I know she's a siren but women can be single and happy for crying out loud! We do get a bit of light at the end of the tunnel as far as Emma and Zack goes later on in the book but they aren't out of the woods yet and it's quite obvious that Demeter has a few more tricks up her sleeves when it comes to the two of them. I really do want to see them work things out though because they're obviously meant to be together.

I know I've spent a lot of time talking about the romance but that isn't all that this series is about and just like with the previous stories there is plenty of action and mystery going on as Emma and Zack investigate another missing persons case. This time they are looking into the disappearance of three teenage girls, girls from poor families that have received no ransom demands. Emma is determined to find them and bring them home but as they dig deeper they find more questions than answers. Can they find the girls in time or have they already lost their lives?

This series is going from strength to strength and I really hope we don't have to wait too much longer for the next instalment!

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

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Review: Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta

Blood sings to blood . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.

The curse on Lumatere has been broken, and Froi, wild as he is, has finally found somewhere he feels he belongs: bythe side of Finnikin and the queen. However, he must channel his savage side when he is sent on a mission to a rival kingdom. With a frenzied princess roaming the palace, and danger lurking in every corner, Froi needs to discover the truth before it's too late.

Lumatere Chronicles:
Finnikin of the Rock
Froi of the Exiles
Ferragost (Novella)
Quintana of Charyn
Lady Celie (Novella) (2015)

Visit Melina Marchetta's website for more information

Review:
I absolutely loved Finnikin of the Rock when I read it last year but I have to admit I was nervous when I realised that Froi was the main character of the sequel. After one particular scene with him in the first book I was absolutely convinced that I would never be able to like his character and had nearly made up my mind not to continue with the series but then by the time I finished reading Finnikin Melina Marchetta had already gone some way towards showing a nicer side to Froi so I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did because this series really is fantastic, it's dark and some of the characters go through some pretty horrific things but I'm totally invested in what happens to them and desperate to see how the series finishes.

If you read the first book (and I really don't recommend continuing with this review if you haven't!) then you'll know exactly what scene with Froi I'm talking about and I'm sure I'm not the only one who was horrified by his actions. I still haven't forgiven him for what he tried to do to Isaboe and to be honest I don't think I ever will but I still ended up growing to really care about his characters and that just proves what a fantastic writer Melina Marchetta is. Froi is a messed up guy, he had a terrible upbringing and saw a lot of horrific things when he was living on the streets. I'm not trying to excuse his actions, there really is NO excuse for what he did, but it does make his thought processes easier to understand. His whole life has been about pain and he learned at a very young age that if you're not the one dishing it out then you're the one who is being made to suffer. Like I said that's no excuse but Froi never once tried to excuse his actions. It is obvious that he regrets what he did and he tries every single day to make up for it but he doesn't ask for, or expect, forgiveness. I couldn't have come to like him if I didn't feel like he regretted his actions and was trying to atone for his past mistakes and he totally won me around.

Froi of the Exiles is a huge book (just over 700 pages) but it's one I absolutely devoured and didn't want to put down for a minute. It's set three years after the first book and although this is mainly Froi's story we also get to catch up with all our favourite characters and see how they're getting on now. There have been big improvements for some of them and life in Lumatere is finally starting to settle down now that all of the refugees have been able to return home but there is still a lot of resentment and confusion between those who were left behind and those who were on the outside. Finnikin and Isaboe are trying to bring their people back together but it isn't easy and everyone is desperate for revenge against the king of Charyn, the person who cursed them in the first place. When they have the opportunity to get close to the king Froi is sent undercover but what he discovers when he reaches Charyn is completely unexpected. In fact, the people there are suffering just as much as the people of Lumatere have and Froi has some very difficult decisions to make, especially when it comes to Charyn's princes Quintana.

I absolutely loved Quintana, she is completely crazy but utterly brilliant and she's one of the most complex characters I've come across in a long time. I don't really want to tell you much about her because it's much better for you to discover her for yourself but she has been put in such an impossible situation that she's pretty much split her mind in two to protect herself. She definitely has multiple personalities and it was completely heartbreaking to see how much she has suffered for her people. She's so funny though, at one moment she'll be completely innocent and naive but the next she's like a wild cat spitting and fighting to defend herself. I loved how Froi was able to see through her sharp edges and understand how vulnerable she was and seeing the two of them together was adorable.

I honestly don't have the words for how much I loved this book. Melina Marchetta turned me into an emotional wreck, she ripped my heart into shreds and then set fire to the remains one minute but then had me laughing out loud the next. This is a book of heartbreaking tragedies and incredible injustices but also of characters with huge amounts of inner strength and hearts of gold. There are epic love stories and wonderful friendships as well as deep betrayals and surprising family connections. The plot is so complex that it's impossible to guess what will happen next and there were times when I was so shocked I nearly fell out of my chair. I will warn you now that it ends on a killer cliffhanger - seriously if you thought the ending of Finnikin of the Rock was bad you've not seen anything yet! - so you're going to want to get your hands on a copy of Quintana of Charyn ready for as soon as you finish this book. I have so much love for this series and I really do think it's one that everyone should read. It may be set in a fantasy setting but there are so many things about it that make it feel relevant to today, the characters are incredibly easy to relate to and I don't think many people would be able to read these books without getting some kind of strong emotional reaction to what happens.

Source: Received from Walker in exchange for an honest review

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Birthday Giveaway Winners!


I have the winners of my birthday giveaways to announce today with the help of Rafflecopter

First we have the UK giveaway for a signed copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Secondly we have the international giveaway for a signed copy of Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations to you both! I have sent you an email asking for your addresses and you now have 1 week to respond or a new winner/s will be chosen. I will be sending out the prizes for these giveaways so your details won't be shared with anyone else.

Thanks so much to both Hodder & Stoughton and Mira Ink for sponsoring these giveaway & thanks to everyone who entered. I'm sorry if you didn't win but I'll have more giveaways coming up soon so make sure you check back for another chance to win prizes.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Review: Rock Hard - Nalini Singh

In New York Times Bestselling author Nalini Singh’s newest contemporary romance, passion ignites between a gorgeous, sinfully sexy man who built himself up from nothing and a shy woman who has a terrible secret in her past . . .

Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.

Rock Kiss Series:
Rock Addiction
Rock Courtship (Novella)
Rock Hard
Rock Redemption
Rock Wedding

Visit Nalini Singh's website for more information

Review:
It wasn't easy for Charlie to put her life back together after escaping from an abusive relationship but she has worked hard to get where she is now and although she is still painfully shy she is good at her job and is independent. When Gabriel is brought in to completely overhaul the company she works for Charlie is terrified she's about to be fired but instead she finds herself promoted and working directly for Gabriel as his personal assistant. Gabriel is a terrifying T-Rex of a man, he demands a great deal from his staff and puts Charlie under a huge amount of pressure but at the same time she feels incredibly safe around him. No matter how scary she finds him she knows without a doubt that he would never hurt her and she finds herself gaining confidence in herself with him at her side. Gabriel wants Charlie from the moment he sets eyes on her and it doesn't take him long to realise just how special she is. He can see she's been hurt in the past though and he is more than willing to take his time stalking his prey.

This series really does get better and better with every single book, I've been looking forward to Charlie mouse and T-Rex's story for such a long time now and it was totally worth the wait. I've always been a huge fan of Nalini Singh for her paranormal romances but with this series she's proving that she's just as good at writing contemporary and this book was utterly perfect. I don't think I would change a single thing about it and just thinking about how much I enjoyed reading it has me wanting to pick it back up and devour it for a second time.

We all know that alpha heroes have become a huge trend in contemporary romances recently and I love strong, dominant heroes as much as the next girl but I'm often disappointed because some authors seem to think that alpha male is equivalent to domineering, abusive arse. If you want to meet a REAL alpha let me introduce you to Gabriel. Yes the man is grumpy and domineering at work, he knows what he wants and he expects his staff to do it immediately - he isn't known as the T-Rex for nothing - but he isn't unreasonable. He expects hard work from everyone else because he works hard himself, he puts in longer hours than anyone and wouldn't ask you to do something that he wasn't willing to do too. Outside the office Gabriel is the nicest guy you could ever hope to meet, he is sweet, kind, funny and thoughtful. He has a take charge attitude but he also knows when to take a step back and hand the reigns over to someone else.

I have a lot of respect for the way Gabriel treated Charlie, he set his sights on her very quickly but he could see that she was skittish and nervous and he respected her need for space and to take things slowly. He takes time to get to know her, to build trust between them and to just show her what a great guy he is before he even hints at wanting anything more than a business relationship between them. When he finally makes his move he knows just how far to push her so that things start to move forwards but he backs off immediately the second she gets nervous.

I absolutely loved seeing Charlie's confidence in herself increase, even before they're in a relationship Gabriel has a way of building her up and showing her just how special she is. She starts the story very mousy and almost afraid of her own shadow, something that isn't too surprising when you find out about her history, but by the end of the book she can really fight her own corner. I thought Nalini Singh handled her past sensitively and Charlie's progression was perfect, she wasn't cured of her fears overnight - nobody who had survived what she did could be - but she makes steady progress because she has the support of a guy who is willing to listen to her needs. Gabriel's instincts make him want to protect Charlie but he understands how important her independence is to her and he helps her live life on her own terms.

The whole Rock Kiss series has been brilliant but Rock Hard takes things up to a whole new level and Charlie and Gabriel are definitely one of my favourite Nalini Singh couples. I know I'll be reading this story again and again while I wait for the next book in the series to release and I'm really hoping that we're going to get stories about Gabriel's brothers that will allow us to catch up with these two too. I can't recommend Nalini Singh's books highly enough, she never lets me down and always, always makes me fall head over heels for her characters.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley 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:

Monday, 13 April 2015

Review: Taken by a Dragon - Felicity Heaton

Possessed by a need to save a beautiful Amazon warrior from the vision he witnessed, Loke snatched her from the midst of the battle between the Third and Fifth realm of the demons, and carried her to his home deep in the black mountains of Hell to protect her. But as the fierce little female awakens, he finds she’s anything but grateful, and his dragon instincts roar to life to warn she might be more to him than an enemy—she might be his fated female.

Anais remembers meeting a handsome warrior in the heat of battle, a man who was her enemy but who looked at her with eyes that held dark heat and wicked promises. When she wakes to find that same dragon shifter has taken her captive, desire is the last thing on her mind, but escaping him to return to Archangel, the hunter organisation she works for, sounds less than appealing when he reveals the reason he took her—to stop her from dying.

Can Loke protect Anais from the dangers of his realm and how far will he go to save her from the future he keeps witnessing? Can Anais resist the fierce attraction that burns between them as hot as fire and stay true to Archangel or will her heart be taken by the dragon?

Eternal Mates Series:
(This series is set in the same world as the Vampire Erotic Theatre series but can be read completely separately)
Kissed by a Dark Prince
Claimed by a Demon King
Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Hunted by a Jaguar
Craved by an Alpha
Bitten by a Hellcat
Taken by a Dragon
Marked by an Assassin
Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Awakened by a Demoness
Haunted by the King of Death

Vampire Erotic Theatre Series:
Covet
Crave
Seduce
Enslave
Bewitch
Unleash

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

Review:
I've loved the whole Eternal Mates series so far but since I have a special soft spot for dragons I have to admit I was even more excited for Taken by a Dragon than normal. There is just something about dragons that fascinates me and I can totally get on board with a sexy hero who can turn into a beautiful, majestic, fire breathing beast! So to say I had high hopes for this is an understatement and happily it was just as good as I hoped it would be.

If you've read the previous book you may well remember when a dragon captured Anais during the battle for the Third Realm in Claimed by a Demon King. I've been desperate to know what happened to her ever since so it was great to finally get her story. Dragons have the gift of foresight and the moment Loke saw Anais he realised she would die on the battlefield. There was something so magnificent about her that he refused to stand by and watch her death though so instead he scooped her up and took her to his home in the mountains of hell. Loke may have been trying to do the right thing but Anais was horrified to wake up and find herself his prisoner. She is determined to escape and find her way back to the battle no matter what it takes but as she spends time with Loke she starts to see that his intentions were honourable and wonder whether she really wishes to return home. Unfortunately Hell is full of danger and Anais may not survive long enough to make her choice.

What I love most about this series is that the women are just as capable of fighting and protecting themselves as the men are. As a member of Archangel Anais is a warrior, she has spent years training to fight so although she isn't as physically powerful as a dragon she isn't a completely helpless human either. She stands her ground against Loke and isn't afraid to tell him exactly what she thinks of being kidnapped and taken away from everything she's ever known. Unsurprisingly Loke was my favourite though, he was possessive, demanding and very alpha but he also had a totally sweet and caring side. He would do anything to keep Anais safe, even if it meant battling his entire species to do it.

I loved spending time with these two and I really, really hope that we're going to get the chance to spend more time with the dragons as the series continues. It was interesting to see the hierarchy of the dragon clan and there were certainly some unlikeable and dangerous characters amongst them but there were a couple who have me intrigued. We also had the chance to catch up with a few of the previous characters and I'm getting more and more certain that my favourite is going to get his story told soon. I haven't seen an announcement about the next book yet but it will definitely be jumping to the top of my list the minute I can get my hands on a copy no matter which character it stars.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Review: Homefront - Jessica Scott

He's always loved her . . .

First Sergeant Gale Sorren waited a war and half a lifetime for a chance to get stationed near the ex-wife who left him years ago. When he finally musters the courage to see her, the life he imagined she was living was nothing close to the reality.

She's never stopped loving him . . .

Melanie never stopped worrying about Gale each time he headed off to war. But he's never been there when she needed him and she's had fifteen years to steel her heart against him.

But when Gale moves to Fort Hood, he finally has a chance to make things right with Melanie and the daughter she raised without him.

Can Mel trust her heart to a man who has always let her down?

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

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

Visit Jessica Scott's website for more information.

Review:
I love Jessica Scott's Coming Home series so I was really excited to find out she was writing a spin off and couldn't wait to read Homefront. Although you'll spot some familiar faces if you've read the previous stories each full length novel focuses on a different couple and works really well as a stand alone. I've loved all of the books I've read by this author though and would happily recommend any of them!

Homefront is a story about second chances, it's about reconnecting with old loves, letting go of past mistakes and forgiving people for the hurt they've caused. It's about rebuilding trust and focusing on the future you always wanted but never expected to have. Mel and Gale were young when they fell in love and married, they were crazy about each other but the pressures of a new baby and Gale's long deployments overseas tore them apart. Mel felt that Gale was never there for her when she needed him and decided she would be better off alone but she never stopped loving him and was never able to move on and start a new relationship. Gale never meant to let Mel leave him without a fight but spending so much time downrange didn't give him much of a chance to talk her around. He never felt worthy of her anyway and came to the conclusion that she was better off without him.

Now, 15 years later, Gale has been assigned to Fort Hood and is living near his wife and daughter for the first time in years. He is determined to take the opportunity to reconnect with the woman he never forgot and to build a relationship with his daughter but it's not going to be easy to convince them that he is home for good and that he wants to be a solid presence in their lives. Things haven't been easy for Mel and her daughter, Jamie is a troubled teen with a lot of issues to deal with and their mother/daughter relationship is very strained. I actually found this side of the story quite hard to read at times because it reminded me so much of the issues my mother and I had when I was Jamie's age but that just shows how realistic the writing is and how much I connected with the characters.

Mel isn't used to Gale being someone she can rely on, in the past whenever she has needed him the army has got in the way but now Gale is making a determined effort to be there to support her and she realises how much she enjoys having him around. I absolutely loved seeing them reconnect, they obviously had a deep and long lasting love between them but they realised that they had both made mistakes in the past. They were able to talk through their issues though and find ways to get past previous hurt and disappointment. They are a great couple with fantastic chemistry and a deep respect for each other. Seeing them working as a united front against Jamie was great and I enjoyed the added emotional pull of seeing Jamie's relationship with each of her parents slowly improve throughout the story.

Homefront was a great start to this series, it was great to catch up with a few familiar faces but what I enjoyed most was spending time with this little family and watching them put their lives back together so I hope we get to see more of them in the next few books. After the War is definitely at the top of my wish list.

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

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

Kindle:

Spotlight: Homefront - Jessica Scott


I'm a huge fan of Jessica Scott's writing, she creates such realistic characters and her romances are always completely swoon worthy so I always look forward to reading her books and the start of her new series is no exception to that. I've already had the pleasure of reading Homefront (watch out for my review later today) and trust me you're going to love it. I'm thrilled to have a few excerpts to share with you today so that you can see exactly what I'm talking about but first let me give you a bit more information about the book:

He's always loved her . . .

First Sergeant Gale Sorren waited a war and half a lifetime for a chance to get stationed near the ex-wife who left him years ago. When he finally musters the courage to see her, the life he imagined she was living was nothing close to the reality.

She's never stopped loving him . . .

Melanie never stopped worrying about Gale each time he headed off to war. But he's never been there when she needed him and she's had fifteen years to steel her heart against him.

But when Gale moves to Fort Hood, he finally has a chance to make things right with Melanie and the daughter she raised without him.

Can Mel trust her heart to a man who has always let her down?

Homefront Series:
Homefront
After the War (May 2015)
Face the Fire (release date to be confirmed)

Add Homefront to your Goodreads Shelf

Buy links:

Amazon / B&N Nook / iTunes/iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


Excerpts:

1

“What if he comes here?”

“He won’t.”

“You don’t know that.”

“You’re right,” he admitted finally. He sighed heavily. “I’ve known him a long time and this doesn’t gel with what I know of him. He's not going to hurt you.”

“You sound so certain.” Her fingers danced over his ribs, as though she wasn’t sure where to place her hands. “Why?”

“Because you’re mine,” he said, giving voice to the powerful feelings he could finally identify for what they were. “And if he puts his hands on you or our daughter, I’ll kill him.”

And then he kissed her.

It was a powerful kiss, filled with a riot of emotions that had started building in him years ago when she’d first left him. It was a kiss filled with fear. With uncertainty.

With desire.

He gave in to the maelstrom inside him, holding back only enough to be certain that he wasn't crossing the line.

Mel opened to his kiss, wanting badly to push away the sadness and the fear and the worry that had been squeezing the air from her lungs since she’d found Gale outside her office.

There was fear in her response, a tacit admission that this was something fleeting and yet, it was the only tangible thing between them.

He shifted then until their bodies pressed together, until she breathed with him and felt part of her soul take flight from the bonds of worry and sadness and daily life.

Her fingers flexed against his ribs. Gale felt the moment she gave in to the kiss, savored the moment of her surrender. Her body relaxed against his, fitting perfectly against his chest.

This was something good. Something pure. Untainted by the darkness that had caused him to seek her out today, needing her when he needed to lean. This. This was what he craved. His wife’s touch. His wife’s taste.

She was not his wife. That ugly piece of reality crashed into him and he stiffened.

Mel felt it instantly, her body tensing. “What?”

The words lodged in his throat. There was no way he could admit the feelings that churned inside him. That he still thought of her as his wife after all these years.

He nipped at her bottom lip, hoping to distract her. “We should do this more often.”

He felt her smile beneath his lips. “You think so?” There was something light and breathless in her words.

“Very much so.” He kissed the corner of her mouth. The edge of her jaw.

He traced the outside edge of her ear with the tip of his tongue. Felt the pleasure of her gasp against his cheek. His teeth scraped over her earlobe. “That’s nice,” she breathed.

“You like that?”

“Yeah.”

He closed his eyes, pulling her tight, needing the comfort of her touch, the pleasure to drive away the darkness. He breathed in her scent, holding her close. Her pulse scattered against his cheek and for a moment, he simply held her.

“You make me crazy, Melanie,” he whispered.

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

2

“Jamie’s upstairs.” Her voice sounded off. Heavy and sultry. Her eyes were dark and clouded with shadows, and something else.

Something he thought he knew but was afraid to name.

He cleared his throat before he spoke. It was a long time before he found the words he needed to say.

The words he wanted to say started with please and ended with them naked. He wasn’t sure that would go over well.

And besides, he wanted to keep the moment untarnished in his memory. It had been so fucking long since he’d held her.

“So what’s our negotiating position?” he asked.

“On what?” She frowned and looked down at her wine glass.

“I’m going upstairs. Are there any things that are expressly forbidden? I don’t want to undermine you.”

She smiled and it was warm and sunny. “You sound like you know how kids play mom against dad.”

He grinned down at her, fighting the urge to stroke his fingers over her cheek. She was so fucking adorable. “It’s part of the duty description of being a first sergeant,” he said mildly.

She frowned. “I’m quite sure I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Soldiers will try to get between you and your commander. It’s up to the commander and the first sergeant to present a united front.”
She opened her mouth to say something then closed it.

He stepped close. “What?”

“I—” She paused, refusing to lift her gaze to meet his. “I guess I hadn’t thought about it.”

Something he’d said upset her. It cut at him, slicing away the moment before and replacing it with something raw and bleeding. “What, Mel?”
He lifted his hand to her cheek then, more to offer comfort than to steady her.

He was shocked when she didn’t pull away.

“I guess I never thought about you and me being a united front.” Her words were thick and uncertain, filled with fear and old hurts. Because he could find no other way to soothe the aching hurt in her eyes, he lowered his mouth to hers. A gentle kiss. Hesitant. A brush of lips.
Tentative and seeking. He sucked gently on her bottom lip, urging her to open for him, begging her with his mouth to not pull away.
There was fear in his kiss. Terror that she would pull away and slap at him.

But then her lips parted. Just a little, but it was enough for him to feel her breath on his tongue. She tasted sweet and sunny from the wine. He could get drunk on her taste. He deepened the kiss, slipping his tongue against hers and losing a piece of his soul.
He held himself viciously in check. Barely cupped her cheeks as he fought the turbulent need inside, as it surged up, wanting her, only her. To remind her that she was his, she’d always been his.

But this was a campaign, not a single battle.

He eased back before she could pull away. “I’m here now.” His words brushed against her mouth. “For as long as you’ll let me, I’m here.” He stroked his thumb over her cheek. “I know I haven’t been someone you can count on.” He brushed his lips against hers again. “But I’d like to be.”

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

3

Olivia grinned wickedly and it was the smile that Mel remembered all too well. The smile the other woman used when she was about to rip someone a new one. “Well, since you put it that way.” She took a sip of coffee. “We’re trying to build relationships that will strengthen the community. We’ve got a massive problem with soldiers being involved in misconduct off post and we want to get civilian agencies involved before the police get involved.”

And just like that, all the pieces clicked into place. “So you’re bribing the landlords with shitty coffee and donuts in the hope that we’ll call you guys instead of the cops?”

“More or less.” Olivia set her coffee down and retrieved a folder from the table. “We’ve got this handy little quick reference guide with all the unit phone numbers. Kind of a cheat sheet of names and numbers to call. We even laminated it to make it durable. Isn’t it nice and shiny?”
Mel shot her friend a wry look. “Is this even legal?”

“I’m not going to offer an official opinion on what I think of this program.”

“Why don’t you approve?” Mel asked, keeping her voice low.

Olivia sighed. “Because it enables some people’s misconduct to be hidden away and covered up. I prefer we work things through official channels. Transparency and all that.” Olivia’s smile could have cracked glass. “Community outreach with the realtors keeps problems handled through informal networks instead of the Bell County legal system.”

Melanie opened her mouth to speak but the words locked in her throat.

The tea in her stomach turned bitter and cold as her guts twisted with recognition and surprise at the last person she’d expected to see here today.

Gale.

Her heart slammed against her ribs as anxiety and something else knotted in her belly. For a moment, she thought about turning away. About hiding from the man who’d just walked into the room like he owned it.

But it was too late.

Because across the conference room, near a tray of donuts and a box of coffee, her ex-husband’s eyes met hers.
The world tilted beneath her feet. He was supposed to be stationed at Fort Lewis, halfway across the country. And instead he was here. In this room. At this moment. As a first sergeant?

Closer than he’d been in over two years. His jaw was iron, his shoulders broad and strong. It was criminal how good that uniform looked on him. And damn it, she was not going to notice these things about him.

But despite herself, she noticed everything about him. His dark brown eyes were hard and filled with shadows now. Colder than she remembered. A smarter woman might have been intimidated by him. A younger woman might have already been wringing out her panties. But she remembered him for the boy he’d been. The boy she’d loved.

The boy she’d left.

He was not that boy anymore. And she was no longer the scared uncertain girl trying to find her way in the world.

"Are you okay?" Olivia's voice came from very far away.

"Yeah. Excuse me a sec?" She hated bailing on her friend but this was not a conversation she wanted to have with an audience.

She offered a tense, flat line in place of a smile as he approached. Defenses up, that’s what she needed. She could not do this with him right now. “I’m not exactly sure what the correct greeting is,” she said, doing her damnedest to keep her voice level.

As though they were perfect strangers, talking about unimportant things.

The hush between them swelled into a living thing, pulsing with raw and ragged emotions.

“I can explain.” His voice was rough and deep.

“How long have you been here?” Her words were too sharp on her own ears. She sucked in a deep breath, trying to stave off the riot swirling in her belly. No matter how much time they spent apart, every single time they were around each other things went to shit in a rapid, predictable manner. She really wanted to avoid that at the present moment.

“Long enough.” Gale cleared his throat and had the decency to look embarrassed. “I should have called you.”

“And yet you didn’t, so there we are.” She turned, looking for her cup, needing space, needing distance between them before she broke apart into a million ugly pieces in front of her peers and coworkers and a half dozen random strangers.

Gale’s hand was rough and strong on her shoulder. “Mel…”

“Don’t.” She moved away from his touch, barely keeping her voice low. “You don’t have permission to touch me.” Mel bit her lips together, inhaling a deep, hard breath. Gale lowered his hand and they stood there at an impasse.

A few months. No call. No note. Nothing. Hadn’t tried to see Jamie. Just move to town and don’t say a word.

That told her all she needed to know about where she and Jamie stood in his priorities. Just like always, the Army won. She bit down harder, trying to divert the pain in her heart to the pain in her lip. “Jamie will be happy to see you,” she said finally.

She didn’t mean to throw Jamie in the middle but that’s the way things were with them. It was the way it had been since…since always.

He stiffened. His hands flexed by his sides. Like he needed to do something with them that hopefully didn't involve her.

“I meant to call.” There was a rough edge to his voice. A blade, like cut steel, ragged and raw.

“I’m sure you did.” Her words were brittle. She headed for the door in what she hoped was a relatively inconspicuous manner.

She needed a few minutes to put everything back in the box she marked “Gale” and did her best to ignore.

Because she’d be damned if she was going to cry over this man one more time.

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

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She's also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.

She's pursuing a graduate degree in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Tsu / Goodreads

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Crazy Times

I just wanted to write a quick note to apologise for things being a bit quiet around here over the last few weeks. What with my birthday then Easter things have been pretty busy but I've also been going through a really crazy reading and reviewing slump and just haven't felt like spending much time online.

I have finally started reading again in the last few days (although I still have 6 books on my currently reading shelf that I have absolutely no interest in going back to!) but I'm still struggling to get my head in gear to actually write reviews. I'm hoping that it won't last much longer though & that I'll be back to posting as much as usual very soon.

 In the meantime I hope you'll all bear with me and I thought I'd share this fun Simon's Cat video just to give you all an idea of what seems to happen in my house every time I sit down to read at the moment LOL.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Review: The Novice - Taran Matharu

Fletcher was nothing more than a humble blacksmith's apprentice, when a chance encounter leads to the discovery that he has the ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, he must travel with his demon to the Vocans Academy, where the gifted are trained in the art of summoning.

The academy will put Fletcher through a gauntlet of gruelling lessons, training him as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire's war against the savage orcs. Rubbing shoulders with the children of the most powerful nobles in the land, Fletcher must tread carefully. The power hungry Forsyth twins lurk in the shadows, plotting to further their family's interests. Then there is Sylva, an elf who will do anything she can to forge an alliance between her people and Hominum, even if it means betraying her friends. Othello is the first ever dwarf at the academy, and his people have long been oppressed by Hominum's rulers, which provokes tension amongst those he studies alongside.

Fletcher will find himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with nothing but his demon Ignatius to help him. As the pieces on the board manoeuvre for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands . . .

Summoner Series:
Origins (Free prequel novella)
The Novice (5th May 2015)
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit The Summoner Facebook Page for more information

Review:
From the minute I saw the cover of The Novice I wanted to read it, I'm a huge fantasy fan and that stunning cover totally did it's job on me. Then I heard that the story was a Wattpad sensation and to be honest that made me a little nervous, I know from experience that being a Wattpad hit doesn't always mean a book is good. In fact, some of the Wattpad success stories I've attempted to read have been pretty terrible and I really, REALLY didn't want that to be the case here. I'm so glad I decided to give this story a chance though because I ended up really enjoying it, it's fast paced and very easy to read and it actually managed to pull me out of a really annoying reading slump where I'd DNFed 6 books in a row!

The Novice isn't perfect, there were times when I found myself getting the secondary characters muddled up so I had to backtrack to remind myself who was who and the plot is fairly easy to guess because of the similarities to several other well known stories but overall there were far more positives than negatives and I think the series as a whole has a huge amount of potential.

I really liked the main character Fletcher and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him as the series continues. Abandoned as a baby Fletcher was adopted by the town blacksmith and has had a fairly good life, he works hard but has been well cared for and his adoptive father obviously loves him. Fletcher is an apprentice blacksmith and he fully expects to spend his life working alongside Berdon supplying swords for the army and shoeing horses. Everything changes the day he finds an old scroll though, when he accidentally summons a demon while reading it. Demons in this series aren't quite the evil things we expect them to be though, in fact they are kind of a cross between the Daemons from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series and pokemon. There are numerous different types of demons, they all have different abilities and different power levels and summoners are able to create a bond with them so the demons will do their bidding. Fletcher's demon, a salamander called Ignatius, is utterly adorable and I loved him.

Summoners are rare but extremely useful in the ongoing war with the Orcs because the demons they control can make a huge difference in the outcome of any battle. When Fletcher's summoning abilities are discovered he is sent to the Vocans Academy where he will be trained alongside other summoners and learn everything there is to know about demons. It is only recently that commoners have been accepted into the academy, previously it was believed that only those of noble blood were capable of summoning, but now they are so desperate for demons to help turn the tide of the war the rules have changed. Not everyone is happy about the new system though and there is a lot of bad blood between the nobles and the commoners, something that isn't helped by the academy accepting their first ever dwarf and elf students too.

The Novice is mainly Fletcher's story, we get to see him grow as he learns more about his abilities and tries to find his place in the world. I really liked how loyal he is, he's the kind of guy you'd want to have at your side because he always has his friend's backs, even when that puts himself in danger. He isn't afraid to stand up for himself even against people who are stronger and more powerful than he is but that doesn't mean he is stupid and I enjoyed seeing him come up with smart ways to protect himself. The world building is interesting, The Novice touches on themes of bullying & racism and there is also plenty of politics. I have lots of questions about the ongoing war that I'm hoping will be answered as the series continues but this was definitely a strong start that has hooked me enough to want to carry on reading.

Source: Received from Hodder 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.

Hardback / Kindle:

Winner: Headline Eternal Spring Fling Prize Pack


I have a winner to announce today with the help of Rafflecopter for the fabulous Headline Eternal Spring Fling Prize Pack including the following books:
  • Nyrae Dawn – Masquerade
  • Nyrae Dawn – Façade
  • Nyrae Dawn – Charade
  • Monica Murphy – One Week Girlfriend
  • Rhyannon Byrd – Take Me Under (SIGNED)
  • Rhyannon Byrd – Keep Me Closer (SIGNED)
Without further ado I'm happy to announce that the winner is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations Sammee! I have sent you an email asking for your address and you now have 1 week to respond or a new winner/s will be chosen. The prize pack will be sent out directly by my contact at Headline Eternal so you'll need to give me permission to share your details so the prize can be sent.

Thanks so much to Headline Eternal for sponsoring this giveaway & thanks to everyone who entered. I'm sorry if you didn't win but I still have two other giveaways going on so don't forget to enter them if you haven't already (Links can be found at the top of the sidebar on the right hand side of my blog).

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Review: Extreme Exposure - Pamela Clare

In the years since her child's father left her, Kara McMillan has kept men at bay. The hard-boiled journalist has vowed never to become vulnerable again, however lonely she feels.

With his dangerous good looks, charm and power, Senator Reece Sheridan could have just about any woman he sets his piercing eyes on. But he's intrigued by only one: gutsy, sensual reporter Kara, who promises to be every bit the firebrand in bed that she is in print.

But this is no fling. A sudden political scandal - and attempts on Kara's life - threaten to drive them apart. Yet maybe adversity will draw them into a bond even more intense than their steamy embraces . . .

I-Team Series:
Extreme Exposure
Heaven Can't Wait (Novella)
Hard Evidence
Unlawful Contact
Naked Edge
Breaking Point
Skin Deep (Novella)
First Strike (Novella)
Striking Distance

Visit Pamela Clare's website for more information.

Review:
Kara works hard juggling her career as an investigative reporter and life as a single mum and it doesn't leave her much time for dating. Past experiences have left her wary of men anyway so she'd rather focus on her son and her job. She meets Reece on a rare night out with a friend and the chemistry is there from the very beginning but getting involved with a Senator could be a huge conflict of interests, especially considering the story she is currently working on. Kara has been contacted by a whistleblower and the deeper she digs the more it looks like the company that has been accused of illegal pollution has someone on the Senate in their pocket. As Kara's story puts her life in danger she is forced to decide whether Reece can be trusted, not just with her life but also with her heart.

I have heard so many great things about Pamela Clare's I-Team series from American bloggers so I was incredibly excited when I found out that the series now has a UK publisher and when Headline Eternal offered me review copies of the first three books I jumped at the chance of reading them. Romantic Suspense is a genre that I've been wanting to read more of and I have to say that this series was a great place to start, Extreme Exposure has fantastic characters, a really sweet and sexy romance and of course plenty of action and danger.

I loved how normal Kara is, she's just a hard working mum who is juggling a demanding day job with the needs of her four year old son. She feels guilty that she can't spend more time with Connor but at the same time it's up to her to pay all the bills and she loves working as a reporter. She's smart, witty and very good at what she does. Kara won't let anyone intimidate her and she is very determined to get to the truth but at the same time she isn't willing to take risks with her safety. Apart from one mistake towards the end of the book, which to be fair was down to an emotional reaction when she was under extreme pressure so I found it very easy to forgive, she has the street smarts to survive and unlike some heroines I wasn't left rolling my eyes wondering how she'd even survived the first chapter.

Reece is an idealist, his first love is teaching but he took a step into politics to prove to his students that one man can make a difference. He is determined to make positive changes and is well known for supporting bills that will help the environment. I found it incredibly easy to fall for Reece, he has a great sense of humour but most of all he was incredibly sweet and patient when it came to Kara. He could tell how badly she had been hurt in the past and wanted to prove that not all men are as useless as Connor's father. I loved the interactions between him and Connor too, he takes Kara's son under his wing and falls in love with him just as much as with his mother. Together Reece and Kara make such a great couple and I enjoyed spending time with them both, the sex was hot but it was the romance that really made me swoon and I loved every minute of it.

Extreme Exposure is a fantastic, fast paced read that had me alternating between laughing out loud and swooning when I wasn't about to fall of the edge of my seat. I'm already looking forward to getting to know the rest of the I-Team and can't wait to get started on the next book, Hard Evidence, I think I may have discovered a new favourite series!

Source: Received from Headline Eternal in exchange for an honest review

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