Thursday, 31 December 2015

Review: Acheron - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron endured a lifetime of hatred. His human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Brought back against his will, he became the sole defender of mankind.

Only it was never that simple . . .

For centuries, he has fought for our survival and hidden a past he never wants revealed. Now his survival, and ours, hinges on the very woman who threatens him.

The Dark-Hunters Series:
The Beginning (Short Story)
Fantasy Lover
Dragonswan (Novella) (Were-Hunter 0.5)
Night Pleasures
Night Embrace
Dance with the Devil
Kiss of the Night
Night Play (Were-Hunter 1)
Seize the Night
Sins of the Night
Unleash the Night (Were-Hunter 2)
Dark Side of the Moon (Were-Hunter 3)
The Dream-Hunter (Dream-Hunter 1)
Fear the Darkness (Short Story)
Devil May Cry
Upon the Midnight Clear (Dream-Hunter 2)
Dream Chaser (Dream-Hunter 3)
Acheron
One Silent Night
Dream Warrior (Dream-Hunter 4)
Bad Moon Rising (Hellchaser 1)
Dark-Hunter: An Insider's Guide (Hellchaser 2)
No Mercy (Were-Hunter 5)
Retribution
The Guardian (Dream-Hunter 5, Were-Hunter 6, Hellchaser 3)
Time Untime (Were-Hunter 7, Hellchaser 4)
Styxx
Dark Bites (Short Story Anthology)
Son of No One (Were-Hunter 8, Hellchaser 5)
Dragonbane (Were-Hunter 9, Hellchaser 6)
Dragonmark (2016)

Chronicles of Nick Series:
(This is a YA spin off from Sherrilyn Kenyon's adult Dark-Hunters series)
Infinity
Invincible
Infamous
Inferno
Illusion
Instinct
Invasion (2016)
Intensity (2017)

Visit Sherrilyn Kenyon's website for more information

Review:
I have waited such a long time for Ash's story, he's been a firm favourite of mine from the beginning of the series so my expectations for his novel were incredibly high but I was slightly nervous to start this book. I needn't have worried though, Acheron was everything I could possibly have hoped for and then some.

From the glimpses we've seen of Ash's past I knew this wouldn't be the easiest book to read and I was right because there are times when it is absolutely heartbreaking. This is almost like two books in one, the first half focuses on Ash's human life and how much he suffered after being rejected by his parents thanks to his unusual eyes. Much of this part of the story is told from the point of view of Ash's sister Ryssa, she was the only one who loved her brother and she tried so many times to save him but it seemed like everything she did to try and help ended up dooming him to even further torture. I don't think I've ever hated fictional characters as much as I hate Ash's family and it was appalling witnessing everything that Ash went through.

I've always wondered why Ash puts up with Artemis and the way she treats him but after seeing their early interactions and how their relationship progressed through the centuries I now completely understand his side of things. I hate Artemis more than ever and I really hope we get to see her die a very slow and painful death at some point in the series, but I understand why Ash lets her treat him the way she does. It's his loyalty to the other Dark-Hunters that keeps him by her side and you have to admire him for the way he willingly puts himself through hell to protect them.

The second half of the book still has it's painful moments but it's more like the rest of the books in the series, there are some lighter moments and the romance is incredibly sweet. I'm not going to mention the heroine by name because I think it's nicer going into this book not knowing, I will say that it's someone we've met briefly before and although I was initially surprised she was matched with him it didn't take me long to come around to the pairing. I loved the way she saw beyond the surface and wanted to take care of Ash the way he always takes care of other people. She was willing to take risks and make sacrifices to be with him and he needed a woman who was going to put him first and prove that he was worthy of being loved. There was very little in the way of drama between the two of them but there were so many external conflicts that I'm glad they recognised something special in each other so quickly.

Of course Ash is a major part of all of the Dark-Hunter's lives so we get to catch up with a lot of familiar faces which was great. I loved seeing how surprised everyone was to see Ash acting all possessive over a woman. I also really enjoyed seeing more of Simi who has always been another favourite character, baby Simi is utterly adorable and I love the father/daughter bond she shares with Ash.

I'm not going to lie, this book was incredibly hard to read at times, the things Ash has suffered don't even bear thinking about, but it really shows what an amazing guy he is to come through all that and still feel compassion for others. Ash could have been eaten alive by bitterness and hatred and while he does feel those emotions he also has a great amount of respect and love for others, especially those weaker than him, he's the kind of guy who goes out of his way to help people in need and seeing just how much good he does made me love him even more. Acheron was a book that is worth waiting for, it was my favourite in the series by a long shot and I'm very curious to see how certain things are dealt with in future books now that Ash has broken a few long standing ties. I think things are going to get very interesting with a certain heifer-goddess from here onwards and I'm still praying we get to see her taken down in the not too distant future. Personally I'd be up for handing Simi the barbecue sauce and letting her deal with the problem but I'd be a bit worried that she'd end up with an upset stomach!

Source: Purchased

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Dream Chaser - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Condemned by the gods to live out his existence without emotions, Xypher chose the pursuit of sensations, only to find himself condemned to death. But he is given one last chance: made human for a month, he must redeem himself in that time or Hades will return him to Tartarus and his torture.

Simone Dubois is a coroner who isn't scared by much, especially since she's psychic and can see and hear the people she's working on. When they wheel in another victim, she doesn't think much about it, until he gets up from her table and starts to leave.

Xypher doesn't have time to spend with Simone, but it's not long before mysterious attempts on her life force Xypher to stand between the woman who is beginning to touch the heart he thought had died a long time ago and the danger that is threatening her life.

The Dark-Hunters Series:
The Beginning (Short Story)
Fantasy Lover
Dragonswan (Novella) (Were-Hunter 0.5)
Night Pleasures
Night Embrace
Dance with the Devil
Kiss of the Night
Night Play (Were-Hunter 1)
Seize the Night
Sins of the Night
Unleash the Night (Were-Hunter 2)
Dark Side of the Moon (Were-Hunter 3)
The Dream-Hunter (Dream-Hunter 1)
Fear the Darkness (Short Story)
Devil May Cry
Upon the Midnight Clear (Dream-Hunter 2)
Dream Chaser (Dream-Hunter 3)
Acheron
One Silent Night
Dream Warrior (Dream-Hunter 4)
Bad Moon Rising (Hellchaser 1)
Dark-Hunter: An Insider's Guide (Hellchaser 2)
No Mercy (Were-Hunter 5)
Retribution
The Guardian (Dream-Hunter 5, Were-Hunter 6, Hellchaser 3)
Time Untime (Were-Hunter 7, Hellchaser 4)
Styxx
Dark Bites (Short Story Anthology)
Son of No One (Were-Hunter 8, Hellchaser 5)
Dragonbane (Were-Hunter 9, Hellchaser 6)
Dragonmark (2016)

Chronicles of Nick Series:
(This is a YA spin off from Sherrilyn Kenyon's adult Dark-Hunters series)
Infinity
Invincible
Infamous
Inferno
Illusion
Instinct
Invasion (2016)
Intensity (2017)

Visit Sherrilyn Kenyon's website for more information

Review:
Xypher may be half god and half demon but when fell in love with the wrong woman and agreed to take a punishment that she had earned he was sent to Tartarus where he has been tortured by Hades for thousands of years. The betrayal and the constant suffering have turned him into an angry and uncaring man, he has spent so long without any kind of comfort that kindness and friendship are completely foreign concepts to him. We first met Xypher in Devil May Cry and as a thanks for his help Kat convinced Hades to allow him to spend one month as a human and if he can prove himself worthy he won't have to return to Tartarus at all.

Simone is a human but she's also psychic and she's well aware of the Dark-Hunters and of the evil daimons and other creatures that often prey on humans. Her job as Medical Examiner mean she sees the worst of what these monsters do and she also helps her friend Tate (who is also a squire) cover up anything that would let the world know about the monsters in our midst. Simone's latest case involves a murder victim whose body was able to get up and walk out of the morgue and she's now trying to figure out who is behind the spate of deaths and how the bodies are becoming reanimated. She meets Xypher by accident when she is pulled into his world by his greatest enemy. The two have their life forces bonded together by magical bracelets and now they are forced to work together. All Xypher is interested in is getting revenge on the woman who wronged him before he is sent back to Tartarus to continue his existence of torture and suffering but as he gets to know Simone he starts to wonder if revenge is worth putting her life at risk.

Dream Chaser takes us back to New Orleans and allows us to catch up with some of our favourite characters from the earlier books (yes Ash, I'm talking about you!) which is something that's been missing from some of the more recent books. I really enjoyed seeing some of the core characters even though Simone was new and we didn't know a huge amount about Xypher. There was a lot of humour in this story, Simone has a ghost for a best friend and Jesse definitely added a lot of funny moments but I also really enjoyed the romance between Simone and Xypher. I wasn't sure if I'd like Xypher to start with, he's so grumpy and downright rude in the beginning but it doesn't take long to realise that he's just spent so long without any kind of kindness in his life that he's forgotten what it's like to care or be cared for. I quickly started to feel sorry for him and I loved seeing him slowly open up as Simone started to get under his skin.

There isn't much progression on the series story arc but we are introduced to a new character Jaden who I'm very curious about. I think he has a huge amount of potential and I'm really hoping we're going to be seeing a lot more of him. Dream Chaser is light hearted and heavy on the romance but there was a nice amount of action and it was good to see Xypher redeem himself. I'm loving the Dark-Hunters series and I'm incredibly excited that the next book is Acheron, I've been waiting such a long time for Ash's book!

Source: Received from Piatkus in exchange for an honest review

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Upon the Midnight Clear - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Ever think Scrooge had it right before the ghosts ruined his life? Meet Aidan O'Conner. At one time he was a world-renowned celebrity who gave freely of himself and his money without wanting anything in return . . . until those around him took without asking. Now Aidan wants nothing of the world - or anyone who's a part of it.

When a stranger appears at his doorstep, Aidan knows he's seen her before . . . in his dreams. Born on Olympus as a goddess, Leta knows nothing of humans. But a ruthless enemy has driven her from the world of dreams and into the home of the only man who can help her: Aidan. Her immortal powers are derived from human emotions - and his anger is just the fuel she needs to defend herself. Trapped together in a brutal winter storm, Aidan and Leta must turn to the only power capable of saving them - or destroying them both: trust.

The Dark-Hunters Series:
The Beginning (Short Story)
Fantasy Lover
Dragonswan (Novella) (Were-Hunter 0.5)
Night Pleasures
Night Embrace
Dance with the Devil
Kiss of the Night
Night Play (Were-Hunter 1)
Seize the Night
Sins of the Night
Unleash the Night (Were-Hunter 2)
Dark Side of the Moon (Were-Hunter 3)
The Dream-Hunter (Dream-Hunter 1)
Fear the Darkness (Short Story)
Devil May Cry
Upon the Midnight Clear (Dream-Hunter 2)
Dream Chaser (Dream-Hunter 3)
Acheron
One Silent Night
Dream Warrior (Dream-Hunter 4)
Bad Moon Rising (Hellchaser 1)
Dark-Hunter: An Insider's Guide (Hellchaser 2)
No Mercy (Were-Hunter 5)
Retribution
The Guardian (Dream-Hunter 5, Were-Hunter 6, Hellchaser 3)
Time Untime (Were-Hunter 7, Hellchaser 4)
Styxx
Dark Bites (Short Story Anthology)
Son of No One (Were-Hunter 8, Hellchaser 5)
Dragonbane (Were-Hunter 9, Hellchaser 6)
Dragonmark (2016)

Chronicles of Nick Series:
(This is a YA spin off from Sherrilyn Kenyon's adult Dark-Hunters series)
Infinity
Invincible
Infamous
Inferno
Illusion
Instinct
Invasion (2016)
Intensity (2017)

Visit Sherrilyn Kenyon's website for more information

Review:
There was a time when Aidan had it all, both rich and talented he was an Oscar winning actor who was engaged to the woman of his dreams, but then he was betrayed by his family and closest friends and lost his faith in humanity. Now he lives in the middle of nowhere and keeps the whole world at a distance, the last thing he needs is for anyone to get close enough to betray him again and he has no intention of returning to the movie business no matter how much money they're offering him. His brother isn't content to let things lie though and he has one last plot up his sleeve, he has summoned a god of pain to destroy Aidan once and for all. Luckily for him the god of pain has an enemy and goddess Leta will do whatever it takes to protect Aidan and defeat her nemesis once and for all.

While I liked both of the main characters in this I have to admit I didn't enjoy it as much as I have previous Dark-Hunter novels, probably because it has no connection to any of the previous books we've read and both main characters are completely new to the series. It's mentioned that Leta is M'Adoc's sister and we do see him briefly but that wasn't enough to give me the Dark-Hunter fix I was looking for.

Aidan had suffered some terrible betrayals but I have to say I started to get a little fed up with his constant complaining, he was so determined to push everyone away that he came across as quite gruff and unfeeling and I started to get bored of his internal monologue. Leta was more interesting, I enjoyed finding out more about the Dream-Hunters and their curse and I did like seeing her bring Aidan out of his shell.

Overall I'd say this was an okay read, it had a bit of a Christmas feel to it with Aidan's Scrooge impression going on and a holiday celebration thrown in for good measure, it was also a very quick and easy read but it didn't grab my attention like the books in this series usually do and it wasn't as good as I expected. The romance did have quite a sweet ending and I wouldn't mind getting an update on the couple as the series continues, perhaps they'll have some important impact later on that I'm not currently aware of. I have admittedly high expectations for Sherrilyn Kenyon but I'm hoping the next book goes back to some of the main characters who I'm much more excited to read about.

Source: Received from Piatkus 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:

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Review: Mog's Christmas Calamity - Judith Kerr

Mog and the Thomas family are looking forward to Christmas. But when Mog wakes up, calamity strikes! Can Mog save Christmas Day?

Since she first appeared in Mog the Forgetful Cat, Mog has become everyone's favourite family cat and her adventures have delighted countless children worldwide.

Judith Kerr, HarperCollins and Sainsbury's will donate all of their profits from the sale of this book to Save the Children to improve child literacy in the UK.

The money donated to save the Children will go towards their UK literacy work and will also give funding to support the aims of the national Read On. Get On. campaign of which they are a founding member.

Visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/christmasisforsharing or www.mogthecat.com for more information

Review:
I don't review many children's books but after watching the Sainsbury's Christmas advert about a million times I couldn't resist buying a copy of Mog's Christmas Calamity, especially since it's raising money for such a great cause. Judith Kerr, HarperCollins and Sainsbury's agreed to donate all profits from this book (and the adorable plush Mog that goes with it!) to Save the Children who will be using the money to improve child literacy in the UK.

I have fond memories of reading the Mog series to my younger brother and this newest story is just as cute as the others. Judith Kerr is a wonderful illustrator and she captures the chaos cats can cause perfectly.

Cassie has taken to the new member of the
household a lot faster than she took to Sparrow!

Sparrow's just worried that she might not
be the cutest kitty in the house any more!

If you haven't already seen the advert that goes alongside the book (I'm assuming this will only apply to people outside of the UK!) and you're a fan of cute cat videos then you really should watch it now. It's utterly adorable!



Source: Purchased

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

Review: Valentine - Heather Grothaus

Introducing the Brotherhood of Fallen Angels—an epic new series set in the medieval Holy Land, where four heroic Crusaders find themselves caught in the crosshairs of revenge, devotion—and love . . .

He’s a man of passion and principle. But would he kill for his convictions? That’s the question that has Valentine Alesander fighting for his innocence. He’s been accused, along with three other Brothers, of orchestrating the horrific siege at the Christian fortification of Chastellet. Could this fatefully-named Crusader be a lover, a fighter, and a traitor? One woman from his past is about to find out.

Gorgeous, free-spirited Lady Mary Beckham has escaped her guardians in England to travel across the world—and find the notorious Valentine. Years ago, she was promised to him…and now she wants out of their marriage contract. Mary wants to wed another and requires Valentine’s blessing—until she discovers they share a tempestuous attraction. But with a vengeful band of sworn enemies at Valentine’s heels, is desire worth the risk of losing . . . everything?

The Brotherhood of Fallen Angels Series:
Valentine
Adrian

Visit Heather Grothaus' website for more information

Review:
Lady Mary Beckham has fallen in love and is ready to get married but there is a tiny problem - she already has a husband. Even though she has never met Valentine her parents arranged their betrothal when she was a baby and she needs Valentine's agreement to annul their contract. This is made even more awkward by the fact that Valentine is a wanted criminal and she's terrified that if her new fiancé finds out about their connection he'll walk away from her. Mary isn't one to shy away from a challenge though so she sets out to find Valentine, all she needs is for him to sign a piece of paper and then she can come home to her happily ever after.

Valentine isn't quite the master criminal and traitor she was expecting though and she soon discovers that he's actually an honourable man who, along with three of his friends, was wrongly accused of treason. Now really isn't a great time for his wife to turn up looking for him, he's far too busy trying to prove his innocence to have to deal with the naive young lady who has arrived without a chaperone, but he can't just walk away and leave her and when his enemies start to close in it's not just his life that is at risk. As the pair work together to escape they also find themselves fighting against a fierce attraction and Lady Mary starts to realise that perhaps she doesn't want to marry someone else after all.

I have to admit that Valentine was a little slow to get started, this is the first book in a new series so Heather Grothaus understandably has to take time to introduce the characters and also the historical setting. It may take time for the story to really get going but I liked both of the main characters and enjoyed the slow build of the romance, the banter between them was good and there were some quite comical moments as the pair did the equivalent of a medieval road trip across Europe. I'm not sure why but I was expecting this to be quite a dark story so I was actually surprised at the light tone but that didn't stop me enjoying it. I'm looking forward to getting to know Valentine's friends a bit better and seeing how they manage to clear their names and prove who was really behind the treasonous plot in later books in the series.

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:

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016


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

Today's topic is Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016. There are so many upcoming releases that I'm looking forward to but since I already posted a list of my most anticipated 2016 Debuts I decided to focus this list

  1. Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh: I absolutely love everything Nalini writes so I can't wait to get my hands on this book. It's not often you find series that are still going so strong at book 15 but this is definitely one of them.
  2. Morning Star by Pierce Brown: I've been addicted to this series since I first read Red Rising nearly 2 years ago, the series has gone from strength to strength and I can't wait to see how it ends.
  3. Night Study by Maria V Snyder: I'm a huge fan of the Chronicles of Ixia series and I'm really pleased Maria decided to revisit the original main characters Yelena and Valek in these new books. I don't think I'll ever get enough of this world!
  4. Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs: It's no secret that I love Patricia Briggs, in fact I'm currently on my third read of the Mercy Thompson series because I couldn't resist reading it again before the new book comes out. I think that says all there is to say about how fantastic it is!
  5. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas: I love Sarah's Throne of Glass series but I think I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses even more so I'm going to be dropping everything the second I get my hands on a copy of ACOMAF.
  6. Of Flame and Promise by Cecy Robson: The Weird Girls series is another of my favourites, this is the first book to be told from Taran's point of view and I'm really looking forward to getting inside her head and finding out what makes her tick!
  7. Judged by Liz de Jager: I've known Liz since she was a blogger so I was thrilled when she got her publishing contract and I've loved every minute of the Blackheart Legacy. I'm going to be taking part in the blog tour for Judged, the final instalment in the trilogy, in January so happily that means I get to read it very soon :o)
  8. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: A Darker Shade of Magic was absolutely fantastic so I'm really looking forward to seeing what trouble Kell and Lila get into next.
  9. Camp Alien by Gini Koch: This is another series that makes me drop everything when I get my hands on the latest instalment, the books are always completely crazy and laugh out loud funny.
  10. Midnight Marked by Chloe Neill: I love the Chicagoland Vampires, this series just gets better and better and I'm looking forward to spending more time with Merit and Ethan.

So those are my most anticipated reads from early 2016. Do any of them match the books on your list? What books are you most excited about?

Monday, 28 December 2015

Sale News: A Curse Unbroken - Cecy Robson (+ Giveaway)

I'm the biggest fan of Cecy Robson's Weird Girls series, so of course I'm super excited about the upcoming release of the newest instalment, Of Flame and Promise, in January. To celebrate the new novel Random House are having a fabulous sale on A Curse Unbroken so if you're not up to date with the series you can get your copy now for only 99 cents. The sale is only for a limited time though so grab it while you can!

A Curse Unbroken:

Fans of Keri Arthur will love the Weird Girls, four sisters cursed with supernatural powers. In Cecy Robson’s latest urban fantasy romance, the search is on for an unholy grail, while evil is licking its wounds—and looking for revenge.

The preternatural world is changing. After a massive magical throwdown tore apart the established order, the dark elements are rebuilding their ranks unopposed. Celia Wird’s world is changing, too. She’s the mate of the pureblood were Aric, and his Warriors are honor-bound to protect her family as she and her sisters recover from unimaginable horrors.

Celia hesitates to reveal the true extent of the Wird sisters’ trauma, but they aren’t the only ones keeping secrets: Aric and the werewolf Elders are tracking a stone that grants limitless power. So is a tough coven of witches. Then Misha, a master vampire with his own plans for the stone, sends Celia after it. Can she and the vamps beat both the weres and the witches to the treasure before it falls into the wrong hands?

Fearing for Celia’s safety, Aric begs her to stay out of the hunt. What they don’t realize is that they’re the ones being hunted. But Celia’s ready to prove that she’s not easy prey.

Buy Links: Random House / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book A Million / Google Play / iBooks / Kobo

Of Flame and Promise:

Perfect for fans of Keri Arthur and Bella Forrest, this short novel kicks off a sizzling new series in the award-winning Weird Girls saga as Celia’s sister Taran fights to have it all: independence, hot romance, and enough firepower to torch an army of blood-thirsty supernaturals.

“One of my favorite books series.”—Jessie Potts, USA Today

Cursed by a spell meant to destroy them, Taran Wird and her sisters instead developed unique magical talents. With the power of fire and lightning literally at her fingertips, Taran doesn’t fear much. Demons, vamps, whatever—bring ’em on! Only one thing terrifies her: commitment.

Taran is crazy about her boyfriend, Gemini, a sexy were with the incredible ability to split into two separate wolves. But after watching her sister go through heartbreak with the pack’s Alpha, Taran knows not to count on happily ever after—despite Gemini’s desire to claim her as his mate. Reluctantly, she agrees to meet his very traditional and conservative parents. Taran’s a badass with a mouth to match, and Gemini loves her for it. She’s just not positive these attributes will please Mom and Dad.

Unsurprisingly, every attempt by Taran to bond with Gemini’s folks proves disastrous. But in the end, Taran finds that winning them over means unleashing her powers . . . and proving that this foul-mouthed fire-starter is a force to be reckoned with.

Buy Links: Random House / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book A Million / Google Play / iBooks / Kobo

About the author:

CECY ROBSON is the New Adult and Contemporary author of the Shattered Past series, the O’Brien Family novels, and the award winning author of the Weird Girls Urban Fantasy Romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Cecy counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song, despite her family’s vehement protests. A full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the South, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.

Connect with Cecy online:
cecyrobson.com
https://www.instagram.com/cecyrobsonauthor
https://www.facebook.com/Cecy.Robson.Author
https://twitter.com/cecyrobson
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6177334.Cecy_Robson

Giveaway:


To celebrate the sale Cecy Robson is holding a fab giveaway includes: autographed paperbacks of Sealed with a Curse, A Cursed Embrace, and Cursed by Destiny, the first three Weird Girls novels, a limited edition A Cursed Bloodline T-shirt, two limited edition Weird Girls water bottles, Team Aric & Team Misha pins, two Shattered Past ladies T-shirts, Cursed by Destiny bookmarks, and magnets from Cecy Robson’s Weird Girls Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance series and her Shattered Past Contemporary / New Adult series. You can enter the giveaway using the form below, winners will be announced via rafflecopter and contacted directly by Cecy or her assistant so that she can arrange to send out the prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Crafting Corner: Making Christmas Trees Out Of Old Books


I haven't posted many crafting corner posts recently, I guess I've not been feeling very creative over the last few months so I haven't had a lot to talk about on here. I've seen various versions of these Christmas Trees made from old paperback books and it's been something I've wanted to try for a long time now but when my awesome blogger friend Susan K Mann posted a picture on her Instagram page of a book tree she'd made with her son (see image below) I found myself feeling really inspired to give it a go!

I had no clue where to start but after a little bit of googling I found the following tutorial video. Jeannie actually includes all sorts of ideas on how to decorate your finished tree which I might try next year but for now I really loved the simplicity of Susan's tree.



I took step by step photos as I went along so here are my really simple instructions on how to make your own bookish Christmas Tree. If you have any problems following you might want to watch the above video because it's hard to describe the process!

1. Take an old paperback and remove the cover. This was probably the worst part because I felt so terrible destroying a poor innocent book! I used a fairly short book and folded used just over 200 pages to make my tree. I don't think you'd really need more pages than that so you can cut off any excess pages using a sharp knife (please be careful & supervise any children at this point!) but I might try making one with less "branches" just to see how it turns out.

Step 1

2. Take the top right hand corner of the page and fold it towards the left hand side, it's hard to explain that in words but hopefully you'll see what I mean from the picture above (imagine you're folding one side of a paper aeroplane!)

Step 2

3. Fold the paper for a second time so you have a long thin triangle, think step 2 of making your paper aeroplane.

Step 3

4. You need to get rid of the overlap at the bottom of the book so that the tree will stand on it's own when it's finished. I found the easiest way was to fold the paper upwards to make a crease and then tuck the corner inside the folded page so that it doesn't spring open.

Step 4a

Step 4b

5. Now you just need to repeat steps 2 - 4 approximately 200 times! Obviously it's entirely up to you how many pages you choose to work with but that seemed to work well for me this time around. It's surprising how quickly you'll settle into a rhythm once you get started and this is something that is very easy to do while you're sat in front of the TV or listening to an audiobook.

Step 5 in progress

By the time you're finished you'll have something that looks a lot like this:

Step 5 complete

Now I actually think the tree looks pretty cute on it's own but you can decorate it any way you want to. I don't have any paint or glitter in the house (although I might try that for next year) but I loved the star topper Susan made so I searched for origami star instructions online to make my own.

The star tree topper I created was made using this tutorial on Homemade Gifts Made Easy. I made it using some spare wrapping paper I had laying around and attached the star using blu tack so it'll be really easy to change the decoration whenever I feel like it.

My Decorated Book Tree

You could always make a star with a spare page from your book like Susan did but pretty much anything goes when it comes to decoration. The sky is your limit and I'm already thinking about decoration ideas for next year and I have a feeling I'm going to end up with a family of book trees eventually LOL.

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas & a very Happy New Year! Let me know if you've made your own bookish tree, I'd love to see pictures and get some more inspiration for next year :o)

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Book & Movie Review: The Martian - Andy Weir

I'm stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth.

I'm in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the Habitat breaches, I'll just kind of explode.

If none of these things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So Yeah. I'm screwed.

Visit Andy Weir's blog for more information

Review:
Mark Watney is part of a six man mission to Mars, the plan is to spend thirty days on the planet carrying out various experiments but just six days into the mission a major storm changes their plans and they have to evacuate. Unfortunately Mark has an accident as they're leaving and the others, presuming he's dead, are forced to leave him behind. Now Mark is trapped, completely alone on a planet over 50 million miles from home with no way to contact Earth. He's in a habitat that's only designed for short term use and he only has enough supplies to last a year (and that's if he rations them!). That might not be so bad if the next mission from Earth wasn't four years away but as things stand he's completely screwed.

What follows is a bit like Robinson Crusoe on Mars only Mark's chances of survival are much, much lower, in fact he's facing pretty impossible odds whichever way you choose to look at things. The good news is that Mark is well trained, he's a mechanical engineer and a botanist which might just save his life. If Mark can figure out a way to grow crops on a planet with no soil he might be able to make enough food to stay alive long enough for a rescue mission to reach him. Of course it's not quite as simple as that and there are lots of other issues to deal with but food has got to be one of the top priorities.

The Martian is one of my favourite books of 2015, I wanted to read it after seeing trailers for the movie but I had no idea how much I'd end up loving it. Mark's story captured me from the very first page and I absolutely devoured it. The main part of the book is told in the form of Mark's daily mission logs but as we get further along and people on Earth realise he survived the initial accident we start to see what's happening at the NASA base and how they are doing their best to rescue him. It's funny because The Martian is quite a science heavy story which isn't usually the kind of thing that appeals to me but the science is told in such a straightforward and personable manner that I didn't find it at all overwhelming. In fact I was just fascinated by Mark's thought processes and the various tasks and goals he set himself in order to survive.

Mark's a great narrator, he's in this horrendous situation with very little chance of actually surviving but he still manages to keep his sense of humour and I was surprised how many times I laughed while reading this book. Nothing quite goes to plan for him though, every time he solves one problem and thinks he has things figured out something will happen that throws everything back up in the air again. Mars is an incredibly hostile environment and I think the planet is trying to tell him something - humans just aren't meant to survive out there.

Considering I picked this book up on a whim to read before the movie came out I'm still surprised by how much I loved it but it's a story I'd recommend to everyone. There was just something about it that completely caught my attention and I loved every minute of it. While I'm on the subject of the movie I thought they did an excellent job with the adaptation. Obviously it doesn't follow the story 100% but movies never do, it included all of the major plot points though and more importantly it captured the feel of the book. The special effects are phenomenal and I loved Matt Damon's portrayal of Mark. Both the book and the movie are well worth checking out, personally I'd recommend reading the book first but I think that pretty much goes without saying!

Just in case I haven't convinced you here's the movie trailer to really catch your interest.



Source: Purchased

Other reviews of this book:
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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I'd Like Santa to Leave Under My Tree


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

Today's topic is Top Ten Books I'd Like Santa to Leave Under My Tree. I don't tend to get many books for Christmas, most people know I have a LOT of books already and are too afraid to get me more in case they buy ones I already have. My Dad shares my love of reading though and always likes to get books as a present so I have to send him a list of some different choices that he can pick from, that way I still get a sort of surprise but he knows he's buying something I want. So this is the list I've sent him & hopefully some of them will be waiting for me to open them on Christmas Day, otherwise I guess I'll just have to use some of my Christmas money to go shopping and hopefully find some of them in the January sales LOL.

  1. Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner: I love the first two books in this series so can't wait to see how everything ties up in this final instalment!
  2. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: I keep hearing fantastic things about this book
  3. Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill: I read this author's second book, Asking For It, recently and it blew me away. Her debut got fantastic reviews too so I definitely need to read this one.
  4. Evernight & Soulbound by Kristen Callihan: I have the rest of the series already but it's a series I've been wanting to finish for a long time now. I need the US paperbacks to match the rest of my set though because I started buying them before a UK publisher had picked up the series.
  5. Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre: I love steampunk and I've enjoyed everything else I've read by Ann Aguirre so I'm very curious to try this series that she writes with her husband.
  6. Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs: I already own these books on kindle but it's one of my favourite series (I'm currently rereading it for the third time!) so I'd love to have print copies for my shelves.

So those are my choices! Which books are you hoping to find under your tree this Christmas?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Review: Queen of Shadows - Sarah J Maas

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. Now she returns to the empire – to confront the shadows of her past . . . The fourth breathtaking instalment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.

Bloodthirsty for revenge on the two men responsible for destroying her life, and desperate to find out if the prince and his captain are safe, Celaena returns to Rifthold, the seat of so much evil. She has accepted her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, there are dark truths to learn and debts to be paid. Aelin must stay hidden beneath her assassin's hood and draw on her mortal strength as Celaena to prevent the King of Adarlan from tearing her world apart. Only then can she fight for her people.

Readers will be held rapt as Celaena's story builds to an agonising crescendo, packed with heart-pounding action and swoon-worthy romance.

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

Visit Sarah J Maas' website for more information

Review:
Queen of Shadows has been a really hard book to review (I've been trying to write this for a long time!) because there were things I both loved and hated about this story. I've been a fan of the series from the beginning and if you've read any of my previous reviews you'll already know who I've been shipping for Celaena/Aelin to end up with (don't look unless you've already read this book or you'll end up with potential spoilers!) so I was gutted by the complete turn around in this story. I know it's not the end of the world when your ship doesn't work out, and to be honest it's not like I don't like the new love interest, but this comes out of nowhere. Someone we've known for a very long time acts completely out of character for well over half the book and Aelin's reactions to him are also very odd. Then the new love interest is someone who I never even considered as a possibility (and there have been several possibilities in the earlier books so I wasn't only focused on one guy!) so it just didn't sit right with me.

It was pretty damn obvious from very early on where Sarah J Maas was taking things but it didn't happen organically and felt very forced, almost like she'd discovered a new favourite character and had to shoehorn him into the position she wanted him in because there wasn't really a space already waiting for him. Anyway, I'll get over my shipping disappointment and I'm glad that my well loved character was acting more like his normal self by the end of the book but I no longer trust Sarah J Maas with my poor broken heart and with another couple of books left before the series ends I'm refusing to get invested in any relationships Aelin has until the final couple of chapters of the very last book because I don't want the rug pulled out from under me again.

So now I've mentioned my very negative reaction let's talk about why I loved the rest of the book. One thing this series has always had is strong female characters, Aelin and Mannon are the most notable but there was also Nehemia and some of the other witches. In Queen of Shadows we get to meet a few more, the most surprising of which was probably Lysandra. If you've read the prequel novellas you'll probably be very surprised by her character's story arc but it was definitely a positive storyline. We also get to meet Aelin's cousin Elide who is now one of my favourite characters. When the plot had gone a little south on Aelin's side with her strange behaviour and her new googly-eyed suitor it was the witches that pulled me through. I've loved Mannon and Abraxos since they were first introduced but adding Elide to their group just made their storyline even better. There is actually a huge amount going on with the witches right now and Mannon is going to have to start making some important decisions very soon.

While the witches are off fighting their own battles Aelin is doing her best to help Chaol rescue Dorian. I have to admit Dorian's story was heartbreaking, we get a few scenes from his point of view and it was horrendous to see how much he was suffering. It honestly doesn't look like there is any hope for him and it just proves how far the king is prepared to go to keep his crown. I'm not going to say much more about the plot but there was plenty of action and some very important developments to the overall world that are going to have a huge impact on the series from this point onwards. I'm definitely pleased with the way things are going and I'll be devouring future books the minute I can get my hands on. This isn't a series for the feint hearted, Sarah J Maas doesn't shy away from toying with our emotions, she is happy to kill off well loved characters and she loves to shake things up to upset the balance. You honestly never know what she'll do next and as much as that can make these books hard to read it's also one of the reasons they're so much fun.

Source: Received from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review

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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Review: Uprooted - Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia - all the things Agnieszka isn't - and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.

Visit Naomi Novik's website for more information

Review:
I absolutely adore Uprooted, in fact I think it's probably my favourite book of the year, but it's taken me a long time to write my review. You know how you feel when you discover an amazing book, a book that you want to run out and place in everyone's hands so that they can all enjoy it as much as you did? That's how I feel about Uprooted but I just don't seem to have the right words to do it justice so hopefully me saying that I've already read it twice and yet I'm still tempted to pick it up and start all over again should give you a bit of a clue.

Agnieszka lives in a small village surrounded by a dark and dangerous Wood where all kinds of terrible creatures prey on anyone who gets too close. They, and their neighbouring villages, are protected by a powerful sorcerer known only as the Dragon but they pay a high price for his services. Every 10 years the Dragon chooses a village girl to go and live with him, the girls aren't harmed but they come home different, both highly educated and more cultured than before they find themselves unable to fit back into village life. The Dragon gives them all a large dowry and most of them choose to move to the city to study or start their own businesses and are never seen again after a short visit to say goodbye to their families. Now the time has come for the Dragon to choose his new companion and everyone knows that Agnieszka's best friend Kasia will be picked. Kasia is the most beautiful of all the girls in the right age group and everything that the Dragon usually looks for so it comes as a huge shock to everyone when Agnieszka is taken instead.

I don't want to talk about why Agnieszka was chosen instead of Kasia and I'm not really going to go into much detail about the plot from this point onwards but what follows is a fabulously dark and kind of twisted fairytale. Naomi Novik writes so beautifully and she brings the Wood vividly to life so you can practically feel the evil lurking inside seeping through the pages. The characters are fantastic and there is a wonderful slow build romance bubbling along in the background but that isn't the main focus of the story which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.

The Dragon is quite cold and standoffish, he's not nasty but he has lived for 150 years and seen many people come and go in his life so he doesn't allow anyone to get close to him. He's good at keeping his distance and doesn't socialise with anyone, instead he focuses all his energies on studying magic. He likes things controlled and organised, he has set routines and he wants to understand how everything works. Agnieszka is his opposite in so many ways, she is chaos incarnate and absolutely hopeless at keeping things neat and tidy. She does everything by instinct and she cares deeply about the people around her. At first you think they'll never be able to see eye to eye but their different styles are surprisingly complementary and together they can achieve much more than they ever could have done alone. I loved seeing them get to know each other and the gradual trust that builds between them, it's not easy but a common enemy unites them and turns them into a team.

Uprooted is just a fantastic story, the world building is rich, the writing evocative and it will capture you from the very first page. Naomi Novik has created a fantasy story with a real fairy tale feel to it and it's one that will stay with me for a long time to come. I can't believe that this is my first time discovering this author and I know I'll be reading a lot more of her books in the future.

Source: Received from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review

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Saturday, 19 December 2015

Review: Then Came You - Jill Shalvis

One night's sizzling fling will turn her world upside down . . .

Veterinary intern Emily can't believe she wound up in the small town of Sunshine, Idaho, instead of the Los Angeles clinic she had always imagined. Now she has to put her plans to move to LA on hold for a year while she fulfils the obligation of her scholarship.

Then Wyatt, her gorgeous one-night stand from a Reno vet conference introduces himself as her new boss. And Emily is just as drawn to his seductive looks and quiet strength as she was on that very steamy night. She soon learns that Wyatt isn't just a laid-back doctor, but a delicious alpha male tempting her away from her carefully laid-out plans . . .

Animal Magnetism Series:
Animal Magnetism
Animal Attraction
Rescue My Heart
Rumour Has It
Then Came You
Still the One
All I Want

Visit Jill Shalvis' website for more information.

Review:
Emily has her entire life mapped out, finish her Veterinary intern ship and get a well paying job in LA so she can take care of her father and sister. The plan didn't include spending a year in the middle of nowhere working at a country practise but it's part of the terms for her scholarship so she'll do her time before getting out of there as quickly as possible. Things get a little bit awkward when she realises that her new boss, Wyatt, is the same gorgeous guy she had a one night stand with at a veterinary conference. It doesn't help that she still finds him insanely attractive, especially since he seems to return the sentiment, but she's determined that nothing and nobody will derail her plans for the future.

I always know I can turn to Jill Shalvis when I'm looking for something that is light hearted and fun. She is definitely one of my go to authors for contemporary romance and she never fails to leave me with a smile on my face. I love her Lucky Harbor books but I actually think the Animal Magnetism series is my favourite, any animal lover is sure to be charmed by the multitude of cute and crazy animal sidekicks this series has to offer and I love how authentic the scenes at the clinic feel. It's also nice to catch up with familiar faces along with getting glimpses of future couples and I'm very excited to start the next book which happens to be A.J. and Darcy's story.

I absolutely loved the romance between Emily and Wyatt, they have great chemistry from the beginning but the emotional connection and friendship between them builds slowly as they're working side by side. They have a lot in common and I found it completely believable that they'd fall head over heels fairly quickly. At first I struggled to understand Emily's plan and why she was so desperate to move back to LA but it quickly becomes clear that she's never had much financial stability in her life and she feels responsible for both her father and her sister's well being. She puts money and success above her own happiness because she feels like she has so many obligations. The longer she spends in Sunshine the more she starts to fall in love with not just Wyatt but also the rest of her co workers and the town in general. She starts making friends and collecting her own menagerie of animals and it's pretty obvious to everyone except her that she's where she's meant to be.

Wyatt was great, not only is he sexy as hell but he's a genuinely lovely guy, he has a great sense of humour, is good with animals, cares about his friends and family and wants to settle down. His childhood was spent constantly moving around the world with his diplomat parents and all he ever wanted was to find a place to call home. He has a history of choosing the wrong women and nobody ever seems to put him first so the last thing he needs is to fall for a woman with one foot already out the door but everything else about Emily is perfect for him. These two had a really sweet romance and the sex was smoking (I do love a couple who are a little adventurous) and I loved every minute of it.

This series just gets better and better and I can't recommend Jill Shalvis' writing highly enough. She has never let me down and I can guarantee her books will leave you with a smile on her face.

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

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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Review: Hearts in Darkness - Laura Kaye

Two strangers . . .

Makenna James thinks her day can't get any worse, until she finds herself stranded in a pitch-black elevator with a complete stranger. Distracted by a phone call, the pin-striped accountant catches only a glimpse of a dragon tattoo on his hand before the lights go out.

Four hours . . .

Caden Grayson is amused when a harried redhead dashes into his elevator fumbling her bags and cell phone. His amusement turns to panic when the power fails. Despite his piercings, tats, and vicious scar, he's terrified of the dark and confined spaces. Now, he's trapped in his own worst nightmare.

One pitch-black elevator . . .

To fight fear, they must reach out and open up. With no preconceived notions based on looks to hold them back, they discover just how much they have in common. In the warming darkness, attraction grows and sparks fly, but will they feel the same when the lights come back on?

Hearts in Darkness Duology:
Hearts in Darkness
Love in the Light

Visit Laura Kaye's website for more information

Review:
I'm a huge fan of Laura Kaye's writing and I've heard amazing things about Hearts in Darkness so I'd actually bought a copy of this book a couple of years ago but for some reason I'd never got around to reading it. I'm not even sure why I put it off for so long because I was expecting to enjoy it but I think I kind of liked knowing I had a fab book tucked away ready for a rainy day when I might need it. Then I found out that Laura is releasing a sequel in the new year so I decided it was about time to dive in and now I'm kicking myself for not getting to it sooner because I absolutely loved this story. Considering the majority of the book is about two strangers trapped in a pitch black elevator together waiting for the power to come back on I'm kind of surprised by how fabulous it was!

Makenna was digging for her phone while rushing to catch the elevator so she wasn't paying attention to the person who held the door open for her and all she saw of Caden before the lights went out was a tattooed hand. Caden just saw a mountain of shopping bags and a flash of gorgeous red hair before everything went dark and his claustrophobia sent him into a panic. It's only the sound of Makenna's voice that helps him push back his fear so he urges her to keep talking and help take his mind of things. The longer they are trapped together in the dark the more they realise how much they're enjoying each other's company but will the magic persist after the lights come back on and they get to see each other for the first time?

Hearts in Darkness sucked me in from the first page, I fell in love with both of the characters and I really enjoyed spending time watching them get to know each other. Caden is the kind of guy who looks tough, and possibly a little scary, at first glance with his shaved head, tattoos and multiple piercings but he's actually incredibly sweet and has a heart of gold. He's the kind of guy I'd be happy to get stuck in an elevator with that's for sure! Makenna looks a lot more conservative but is actually really friendly, outgoing and a little bit of a tomboy. They aren't the first couple you'd put together based on looks but in terms of personality and their outlook on life they fit really well.

I love that while they're so different on the surface they actually have a lot in common and you could really feel the emotional connection between them. I guess I just liked the whole idea of getting to know someone without looks playing a part in the equation and I thought Laura Kaye did a fantastic job of building up the heat between them even when they both had no idea what the other one looked like. I'm really excited that these characters are going to get a sequel too, I loved the romance and we did see a little of them after they got out of the elevator but I definitely want more and I'm looking forward to seeing them as a couple in a normal situation. Love in the Light is right at the top of my January wish list and I know for sure I'll be rereading Hearts in Darkness while I wait for it to release.

Source: Purchased

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