Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Most Anticipated 2017 Reads

As we close out 2016 I wanted to talk about some of the fabulous books that I'm looking forward to reading next year. I'm going to focus on releases from the first half of 2017 and I'll try to make a similar list in the summer to cover the rest of the year.

Young Adult:

  1. Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder - I'm a huge fan of the Chronicles of Ixia series, Yelena and Valek are two of my favourite YA characters of all time so I can't wait to read the latest book even though I'm incredibly sad it's the last one.
  2. Traitor to the throne by Alwyn Hamilton - Rebel of the Sands was one of my favourite books of 2016 so of course I have very high hopes for the sequel.
  3. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - If you've read The Daughter of Smoke and Bone you'll already know why I'm looking forward to this one, I just adore Laini's writing.
  4. Caraval by Stephanie Garber - There is so much hype surrounding Caraval which makes me a little nervous but Hodder publish some of my favourite books so I think this will be awesome, especially since it's described as perfect for fans of The Night Circus.
  5. Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima - I first discovered Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series this year and I was hooked from the very beginning, I devoured all four books as well as the first book in the Shattered Realms spin off and I can't wait to see what happens next.
  6. Heartstone by Elle Katharine White - This is a debut novel that turns Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice into a high fantasy story with dragons. With dragons people, Pride and Prejudice with DRAGONS! Do I need to say any more than that?
  7. Roseblood by A.G. Howard - I love it when authors take a well known story and put their own spin on it so I'm very excited to see what twists A.G. Howard is going to add to the Phantom of the Opera.
  8. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth - I absolutely loved the Divergent series (even though I've refused to read the last book since someone spoilered me!) so I've been waiting a long time to see what Veronica Roth would come up with next.
  9. The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine - I really love fairytales and retellings and this series combines the two so I'm looking forward to reading this one.
  10. Silver Stars by Michael Grant - This is a little different to the other books on my list since it's not high fantasy but Michael Grant has imagined WWII as if women had been allowed to fight on the front lines. I enjoyed every minute of the first book so I'm looking forward to continuing the journey these women are taking.

Adult:

  1. White Hot by Ilona Andrews - This is a bit of a cheat since I've already read White Hot (twice!) but it's so absolutely awesome that I can't wait to read it again and we also have the third book in the series, Wildfire, to look forward to later on in the year so I'm all about this series next year.
  2. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - This debut fantasy is being sold as perfect for fans of The Night Circus and Uprooted which happen to be two of my favourite books so I'm expecting great things from this one.
  3. Silver Silence by Nalini Singh - I love everything Nalini Singh writes and her Psy-Changeling series is absolutely fantastic so of course I'm looking forward to the next instalment.
  4. Scorpion Trap by Pippa DaCosta - I discovered Pippa DaCosta in 2015 and completely fell in love with her writing. Since then I've devoured her entire backlist but luckily for me she's quite a prolific writer and I can't wait for the next book in her Ace Dante series. 
  5. Blade bound by Chloe Neill - Well the end is here, the last book in the Chicagoland Vampires series. This is going to be a bittersweet read because I'm not ready to say goodbye to these characters but at the same time I can't wait to see how things turn out for Merit and Ethan.
  6. Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs - Mercy Thompson is one of my favourite urban fantasy heroines, I reread this series regularly but it's been a couple of years now so I'm hoping to find time to read them all before Silence Fallen releases.
  7. Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet - A Promise of Fire was another of my favourite 2016 debuts so I'm sure this will be just as awesome.
  8. The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz - I'm a huge fan of Tiffany Reisz's writing so of course this is at the top of my wish list.
  9. Ride Rough by Laura Kaye - I may not read much contemporary romance these days but there are a couple of authors who I automatically preorder and Laura Kaye is one of them.
  10. Too Wilde To Tame by Tonya Burrows - This is another series that I love and have been waiting almost a year for the next instalment of.

Are any of these books at the top of your list? What other books are you excited about reading in 2017?

My Favourite Reads of 2016

It's always fun to look back over the year and try to pick out my favourite reads. I've read a lot of amazing books this year but I've also reread a lot of series I love so I've decided that I'm only allowed to include first reads in this list and I'm also going to try and limit it to one book per author so that a few favourites don't dominate the list! The links below will take you to my reviews.

Young Adult:

  1. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  2. Morning Star by Pierce Brown
  3. Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
  4. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  5. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  6. Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition - J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay
  8. Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  9. The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
  10. Secret of the Gargoyles by Rebecca Chastain

Adult:

  1. Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
  2. Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh
  3. Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
  4. See No Evil by Pippa DaCosta
  5. A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
  6. Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
  7. Siege by K.F. Breene
  8. Beyond Surrender by Kit Rocha
  9. Lets Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
  10. Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre

What were your favourite reads in 2016? Do any match up with the ones on my list?

Friday, 30 December 2016

Review: The Circle Gathers - Rowan Casey

Not all legends are make-believe...

Three years ago, Jessie “the Berserker” Noble was at the top of the MMA fight game, a world-title contender with a brilliant future ahead of her. Then the visions started and her world came crashing down. Hard. Now Jessie’s a shadow of her former self, taking no-holds barred fights in the underground circuit to earn just enough to buy the drugs she needs to keep the horrible things she sees at bay.

When a man named Dante Grimm tells her she’s the modern incarnation of a champion of old and that she and her soon-to-be companions are desperately needed to hold back the darkness to come, Jessie thinks he’s as insane as she is.

But Grimm’s far from crazy. There is a battle coming the likes of which the world hasn't seen in centuries, a battle against a foe straight out of their worst nightmares.

And for them to succeed, Jessie going to have to dive deep into the heart of the very thing she's been running from all this time - her visions.

Arthurian myth meets urban fantasy in this new series from Rowan Casey!

Veil Knights Series:
The Circle Gathers
Hound of Night

Rowan Casey is a pseudonym for twelve bestselling authors who are writing together in a shared world. For more information about each of the author's click on their names to visit their websites:
Lilith Saintcrow, CJ Lyons, Joseph Nassise, Steven Savile, Annie Bellet, Jon F. Merz, Pippa DaCosta, Robert Greenberger, William Meikle, Steve Lockley, Hank Schwaeble, and Nathan Meyer

Review:
In case you missed it Rowan Casey is a pseudonym for twelve bestselling authors who have come together to write in a shared world. The authors involved are Lilith Saintcrow, CJ Lyons, Joseph Nassise, Steven Savile, Annie Bellet, Jon F. Merz, Pippa DaCosta, Robert Greenberger, William Meikle, Steve Lockley, Hank Schwaeble, and Nathan Meyer but it was Pippa DaCosta's name that got me excited about the series. I've absolutely loved everything else Pippa has written so I went into this with extremely high hopes and I hate to say this but unfortunately I was disappointed.

I know that the first book in any series has a lot of work to do, it has to introduce a whole bunch of new characters, give readers an idea about the rules of the world and at the same time it needs to include enough of a story to make it an enjoyable read. It's not always an easy task and I tend to judge first books a little less harshly because of that. There is no doubt that the series has potential, anything with the tagline "Arthurian myth meets urban fantasy in this new series" definitely gets my attention, but The Circle Gathers just didn't hit the mark for me.

Jessie is an interesting main character, she was a top MMA fighter but her world crashed around her when she started getting visions of strange worlds and even stranger creatures. She turned to drugs to try and block out the visions and now fights in an illegal underground club trying to earn enough money to pay for her next fix. I had to suspend belief a bit that someone who has been taking heroine for two years would still be fit enough to not just take part in a fight club but to actually win every match and I also thought it was ridiculous that she was just able to immediately stop the drug taking when she was offered a chance at a better quality of fight. I don't think addictions are quite that easy to walk away from! As interesting as Jessie is I just don't find her a realistic or even a particularly likeable character but that may change as we get to know her better.

I think where it really went wrong was trying to introduce too many different characters all in one go, towards the end of the book we're thrown in at the deep end and introduced to all the different Knights and it was really hard to keep track of them. I'm assuming that each story will focus on a different Knight which could be interesting but at the moment I don't particularly feel invested in either the group or any of the individuals. Since this is quite short it might have been better to focus on Jessie and perhaps introduce just a couple of the others. It would also have been nice for there to have been more of a plot, this doesn't feel like a complete book and it ends just as things are starting to get interesting.

Like I said I do think the series has potential and I've already bought the second book, Hound of Night, so I'm hoping that this'll be where the series hooks me in properly.

Source: Purchased

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

Kindle:

Review: Unexpected Hero - Willow Summers

All Jenna wants is to grace the NYC skyline with a building of her design. But to do it, she must tear down a neighborhood riddled with dangerous criminals who will stop at nothing to claim vengeance.

Sent away from the threat for a week long tour in the wilds of Colorado, Jenna meets a stranger so intense her desire is equally mixed with fear. Tall, built, and incredibly handsome, he isn't what he seems.

After a mission gone badly wrong, Josh left the SEALs without looking back. Haunted by his past, he hides his identity in order to pick up the pieces. But when he meets the sassy architect, the control he tries so desperately to hang on to, flees.

As their mutual attraction and constant battle of wills sets their bodies aflame, danger once again finds Jenna. Josh must face his past if he ever hopes to bring Jenna out of the wilds alive.

Skyline Trilogy:
Unexpected Hero
Unexpected Danger
Unexpected Guardian

Visit Willow Summers' website for more information.

Review:
Jenna is an architect who has been working on a major new project along with the rest of her team. There is a slight issue with the location for their new building though - it is currently being used by criminals for a money laundering operation and the gang understandably don't want to see the property rebuilt. As things heat up and staff come under threat Jenna's whole team is sent away on a retreat in the middle of nowhere while their boss tries to resolve the issues. Josh is working as a guide for the company that organised the hiking retreat while he licks the wounds he received when working for the military. He doesn't like people much and would rather keep his distance from the world but when trouble comes calling he's exactly the kind of man you'd like to have at your back.

I'm a huge fan of K.F. Breene's Warrior Chronicles series so as soon as I heard about this series (written under pseudonym Willow Summers) it went straight to the top of my wish list. It's fair to say I had high expectations but unfortunately the story didn't quite live up to them. It's not a bad book by any means and I will continue the series but there were a few issues that stopped this from being an amazing read.

I think the main issue was the lack of suspense, for the majority of the book the only thing I was worried about was who was going to get attacked by Jenna's rapist-in-waiting colleague Dale. There was no buildup of tension, no real sense of danger and watching the group traipse around the countryside frankly started to get a bit boring. I get that the author was giving us time to get to know the characters but I think it could have been handled better. Another major no-go for me is the fact that that the hero and heroine had sex without using protection. It's even worse because she is on the trip with her boyfriend so she ends up having sex with two different men in a day and not using a condom with the guy she only just met! She does break up with the boyfriend first so she wasn't cheating but it's the lack of condom that really bothers me. The first time they have sex neither of them even think about protection and the second time they start with a condom but for some completely bonkers reason remove it halfway through and finish without it. What on earth was that all about? I'm now completely convinced that Jenna is going to end up pregnant before the end of the series but I'm really hoping I'll be proved wrong about that.

Also, let's backtrack and discuss Dale for a minute. He is an architect who is obviously working for a respectable company but the way he acts is beyond ridiculous and totally unacceptable. He stares at his female colleagues constantly making offensive comments and grabbing at them at every possible opportunity but nobody takes him to one side and tells him to stop? He is so bad that the women can't go anywhere unaccompanied because they genuinely fear that he will attack them and they even have to warn women from other groups to keep their distance and watch out that he doesn't follow them. I'm sorry but this just isn't acceptable, why was he even allowed on this trip in the first place if he can't be trusted to act like a normal human? Why wasn't he fired from his company years ago for sexual harassment? Why do we even need a character like him in the book except to add a sense of danger that isn't coming from anywhere else and to have a convenient target when things start to go wrong? I don't like the threat of rape being used as a cheap plot point when it doesn't add anything to the story, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable and I just don't think it's necessary.

So I've complained about a lot of things that didn't work for me in this book but there were positives too. I really liked Jenna's character, I appreciate a woman who knows what she wants and I like that she's so independent. She can be quite abrasive and holds herself a little distant from the people around her but it made a nice change to read about a heroine who doesn't feel the need to be liked by everyone around her. Josh was great too, he obviously has a lot of demons chasing him from his time in the military but at the moment he's a man of mystery and I'm looking forward to finding out his secrets. The chemistry between these two was great and the sex was hot when I wasn't stressing about the lack of a condom. There are a lot of humorous moments and Jenna's best friend Erika really balanced out Jenna's awkwardness, the friendship between them was brilliant though and it was lovely to see how they stood up for each other.

Unexpected Hero was a little slow in the beginning but the pace picked up nicely towards the end and that's what left me wanting to read more. I have high hopes that the next two books are going to be much faster paced and I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out. I'll warn you now that the book kind of ends right in the middle of things so you'll definitely want to have the sequel to hand so you can dive right in after finishing this one.

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:

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Review: Pocket Apocalypse - Seanan McGuire

Endangered, adjective: Threatened with extinction or immediate harm.
Australia, noun: A good place to become endangered.

Alexander Price has survived gorgons, basilisks, and his own family no small feat, considering that his family includes two telepaths, a reanimated corpse, and a colony of talking, pantheistic mice. Still, he s starting to feel like he s got the hang of things at least until his girlfriend, Shelby Tanner, shows up asking pointed questions about werewolves and the state of his passport. From there, it s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Australia, a continent filled with new challenges, new dangers, and yes, rival cryptozoologists who don t like their visiting expert very much.

Australia is a cryptozoologist s dream, filled with unique species and unique challenges. Unfortunately, it s also filled with Shelby s family, who aren't delighted by the length of her stay in America. And then there are the werewolves to consider: infected killing machines who would like nothing more than to claim the continent as their own. The continent which currently includes Alex.

Survival is hard enough when you re on familiar ground. Alex Price is very far from home, but there s one thing he knows for sure: he s not going down without a fight.

Incryptid Series:
14 Jonathan Healy & Frances Brown Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
2 Alice Healy & Thomas Price Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Discount Armageddon
Midnight Blue-Light Special
4 Antimony Price Short Stories (Read some for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
3 Istas and Ryan Short Stories (Read most for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Half-Off Ragnarok
1 Sarah Zellaby and Arthur Harrington Short Story (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
5 Verity Price & Dominic De Luca Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Pocket Apocalypse
Chaos Choreography
1 Elsie Harrington Short Story (Short Story in the Shadowed Souls anthology)
Magic for Nothing

Ghost Stories Series:
(Stories are set in the Incryptid World)
Sparrow Hill Road
Train Yard Blues (Short Story in the Coins of Chaos anthology)
The Ghosts of Bourbon Street (Crossover Short Story with Verity from the Incryptid series free on Seanan McGuire's website)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
In Pocket Apocalypse we continue to follow Alex's journey but this time we get to see him travel to Australia with Shelby to help her family deal with a Lycanthropy outbreak. I've come across a lot of different werewolves over the years, from scary monsters to ones who have complete control over their transformations and I have to say that Seanan McGuire's are some of the creepiest I've read about. In this world Lycanthropy is a disease and it if you're infected it changes your body in all kinds of horrible ways. What makes it even worse is that it's not only humans who can be infected and the disease can pretty much be spread to any mammal. The smaller ones don't tend to survive their first transformation but larger animals end up becoming pretty terrifying when they're also werewolves. The prologue showing Alex's first encounter with werewolves was scary but there was a scene later on in the book that was enough to give me nightmares!

Anyway, Australia is a closed ecosystem and they've never had to deal with werewolves before so when Shelby finds out what is going on back home she asks Alex to go with her to help her family. Alex is pretty terrified of werewolves but there is no way he can let Shelby deal with the situation alone so, along with a splinter colony of six Aeslin mice, they set out to help. I think at this point I have to say again how much I adore those mice, I wish I could have a colony of my own and they are always a highlight of these books! I love how devoted they are to the Price family and it always makes me smile when they mention Alex's ancestors, especially when they follow rules that were set by previous members of the family.

I enjoyed getting to see Alex out of his element, Australia is a very different environment to what he is used to and we meet some interesting local Cryptids but the thing that really bothered me was the way Shelby's family and the rest of the Thirty-Sixers treated him. I could kind of understand that her family don't want Shelby to fall in love with an American and end up moving away permanently but considering Alex has put his life at risk to come and help them I was annoyed by the way they acted. Even if you ignored her father's posturing and threatening the new boyfriend attitude there was no excuse for the way the society treated a visiting expert - the ONLY person they had around with any previous werewolf experience. Their utter ignorance and refusal to listen to reason ended up causing some pretty devastating consequences and I've not forgiven them for that yet.

I did love the way Shelby stood up for Alex though, she told her family in no uncertain terms that Alex was going to be a permanent part of their lives and they just had to deal with it. I've really grown to respect Shelby in this book, I liked her before but now I'm totally rooting for them as a couple. Shelby has learnt a lot about Cryptids from Alex and his family and she wants to share that information with the Thirty-Sixers, she realises that they've made mistakes with how they've dealt with certain creatures in the past and she's willing to apologise and make things right in the future. Unfortunately the Thirty-Sixers are much less willing to see where they've been going wrong and I'm not convinced they'll change their ways any time soon. Alex also goes on a sharp learning curve in this book, his family have only had limited dealings with werewolves in the past and he makes a lot of new discoveries here that he's going to be able to share with everyone else when he returns.

I'm having so much fun reading this series and I've really enjoyed getting to know Alex and Shelby but I'm equally excited that we're getting to revisit Verity and Dominic in the next book before moving on to Antimony's story. I hope that we've not seen the last of Alex though, I'd like to see this series continue for a long time and keep switching up the narrators so we get to carry on spending time with everyone.

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:

Reviews: 5 Incryptid Short Stories Narrated by Verity Price & Dominic De Luca - Seanan McGuire

If you're a fan of Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series you may or may not be aware that she has written a large number of short stories set in the world but written about various different characters. A lot of these short stories are available for free on her website HERE but a few of them can only be found in anthologies. I thought it would be nice to have one place to write quick reviews for the short stories but since there are so many of them I'm going to split them out by the characters and these reviews may be updated in the future if the author writes additional stories.

This review includes all the short stories that have been written about Verity Price & Dominic De Luca, stories by other narrators will be reviewed separately.

Entire Incryptid Series:
14 Jonathan Healy & Frances Brown Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
2 Alice Healy & Thomas Price Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Discount Armageddon
Midnight Blue-Light Special
4 Antimony Price Short Stories (Read some for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
3 Istas and Ryan Short Stories (Read most for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Half-Off Ragnarok
1 Sarah Zellaby and Arthur Harrington Short Story (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
5 Verity Price & Dominic De Luca Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Pocket Apocalypse
Chaos Choreography
1 Elsie Harrington Short Story (Short Story in the Shadowed Souls anthology)
Magic for Nothing

Ghost Stories Series:
(Stories are set in the Incryptid World)
Sparrow Hill Road
Train Yard Blues (Short Story in the Coins of Chaos anthology)
The Ghosts of Bourbon Street (Crossover Short Story with Verity from the Incryptid series free on Seanan McGuire's website)

Short stories narrated by Verity Price and Dominic De Luca (circa 2012-):
(Unless otherwise stated all stories are available for free on the author's website)
The Ghosts of Bourbon Street
Snake in the Glass
Swamp Bromeliad
Waking Up in Vegas
My Last Name (New story added January 2017)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

The Ghosts of Bourbon Street

Verity Price and Dominic De Luca are currently putting their relationship through what can only be termed the ultimate stress-test: they're traveling from one side of the country to the other in a rented U-Haul, accompanied only by Verity's colony of Aeslin mice and the contents of her iPod. (Dominic is receiving a crash course in modern dance and pop music.)

But what's a road trip without a hidden purpose? Verity knows she's driving Dominic toward the biggest confrontation of his life—her parents—and that means she needs to start easing him in gently. What better way than with a stop in New Orleans to drink layered cocktails and meet her fun-loving Aunt Rose, who just happens to be a Predeceased American?

Poor Dominic didn't set out to become part of a ghost story, but it looks like that's exactly what's happening, as the old, new, and undead collide all over Bourbon Street.

Best read after Half-Off Ragnarok

Review:
If you've already read Half-Off Ragnarok (which I'd actually recommend you do before starting this short story so if you haven't look away now!) then you'll remember that when Alex phoned Verity she was just arriving in New Orleans with Dominic, well The Ghosts of Bourbon Street fill us in on what they got up to while they were there.

Verity and Dominic are in the process of driving cross-country across America as Verity moves back home to be nearer to her family. It's the ultimate test of their relationship, especially since Verity is still introducing Dominic to the cryptid world her family is so deeply a part of. She's trying to desensitise him to crazy happenings before she eventually has to take him home to meet her parents and she decides that a good place to start would be introducing her ghostly aunt Rose. What should be a relatively fun night partying with a dead relative gets a little more complicated when another ghost asks for their assistance.

I really enjoyed catching back up with this couple, poor Dominic really has been thrown in at the deep end since he first met Verity and the pressure hasn't let up yet. He's still coming to terms with the fact that pretty much everything the Covenant raised him to believe is actually a pack of lies and he's definitely nowhere near as knowledgeable about supernatural creatures as Verity and her family are. Verity doesn't believe in making it easy on him though, she's much more of a throw-you-off-the-boat-and-hope-you-learn-to-swim-quickly kind of girl. I think she's actually dreading the day when it will all get too much for him and he'll decide to walk away from her so she's pushing him hard and fast as a way of testing his feelings for her but luckily Dominic is up for the challenge.

I'm glad we've not seen the last of these two and I'm definitely looking forward to the eventual meet the parents scenes that I'm sure are coming soon.

Snake in the Glass

After New Orleans, Verity and Dominic are continuing to put their relationship through what can only be termed the ultimate stress-test: after all, there's a lot of country left to cover before they get to Oregon, and it's not like Verity is picking the most direct route. After all, she'd like him to meet her extended family before he meets her parents. Her parents are more likely to let him live if he has a few letters of recommendation.

The Carmichael Hotel in Chicago has long been a favorite destination of the Price family when they need a home away from home, and what better way to test Dominic's evolving attitudes toward the cryptid world than by dropping him into a nest of gorgons? Besides, any excuse to see Uncle Mike and Aunt Lea is a good one...although there may be a few complications. There always are.

When the modern world meets tradition and tradition meets practicality, it will be down to Dominic and Verity to show that sometimes, the ways you think are best are the ones that won't do anything to save you.

Review:
Verity and Dominic are still travelling cross country making their way to Verity's home in Oregon and this short story lets us join them as they stop over in Chicago to catch up with Uncle Mike and Aunt Lea. It would be far too easy for Dominic if they were just stay with family though so once again Verity drops him in at the deep end by booking them in at the local gorgon hotel.

You may remember the hotel from the Fran and Jonathan short stories so it was nice to catch up with the friendly gorgon family who run it. There is no mystery waiting for Verity and Dominic to solve so instead this story gives us the chance to see them just relaxing together while Dominic gets to know her friends a bit better.

What I enjoyed most was hearing from Dominic about how he views the changes in his life since he met Verity. His character has changed so much since the beginning and I love the way he looks at things now he's met her and she's shown him a whole different side to the cryptid community. There were some very sweet moments between them as a couple too and I'm glad we're getting the chance to spend more time with them both.

Swamp Bromeliad

The next stop on Verity and Dominic's great road trip brings them back to where it all began: Buckley Township, Michigan, the town where two expatriates from the Covenant of Saint George once decided to settle down and rebuild their shattered family. It's a sleepy, rural community, long removed from the excitement of those early days...but the woods are still dark and deep, and the things that dwell there are still dangerous to the unwary.

When two little boys appear at the Old Parrish Place, claiming that a flower has devoured their friend, it's up to Verity and Dominic to go out into the woods and see whether or not there's something left to save. It's a journey into someone else's dark place, and it's hard to say who's more frightened by the idea: Verity, who knows how much she has to lose, or Dominic, who has no idea.

It's time to see where the past meets the future, and how the echoes of the one continue to inform the other. It's time to return to the woods of Buckley, and see what can be seen there. It's time to bring a child home.

Review:
It's time for Verity to take Dominic back to her family's roots in Buckley, the place where her great-great grandparents Alexander and Enid settled when they left the Covenant. None of the Price family currently live there but the town is a huge part of their family's heritage and Verity wants Dominic to know exactly what he's getting himself into by dating her.

I think Verity is pretty determined to make Dominic experience everything her family has to offer, she's convinced that at some point it's all going to get too much for him and he'll leave her so she's trying to push him into making that decision sooner rather than later. She already loves him but doesn't want to end up with a broken heart months or years down the line. Luckily for her Dominic is a pretty determined guy, he may struggle to accept a lot of the things she tells him but he quickly adapts to new situations and he's willing to fight for their relationship.

We've seen some really great development in their relationship across the last two short stories in particular (Snake in the Glass and Swamp Bromeliad) and I'm really enjoying seeing Dominic loose some of his reserved outer shell and start to let Verity know how he feels about her. This short story had some particularly hilarious moments, in particular thanks to a song that the Aeslin mice have composed about Dominic. I really would like to hear the full song in all it's glory at some point but we got just enough to make me laugh out loud.

These little stories add so much depth to the Incryptid world and I'm so grateful that Seanan McGuire offers fans the chance to get all this extra information, especially since she offers most of her short stories for free on her website.

Waking Up in Vegas

Where does a journeyman cryptozoologist-slash-professional ballroom dancer take her former enemy and current boyfriend for the last stop on their continent-spanning road trip adventure?

Vegas, naturally.

When Verity Price and Dominic De Luca roll into Las Vegas, Nevada, what should have been an easy end to their working vacation quickly turns into something a lot more complicated, and a lot more important, since without the efforts of a family friend, Dominic may not be able to stay with Verity for much longer.

They're almost home. Now it's time to see if they can't beat the house odds and make it the rest of the way before things finally decide to start going horribly wrong.

Review:
Before Verity takes Dominic home to meet her parents they have one last stop to make. They've already faked Dominic's death but that will come to nothing if they don't set him up with a brand new identity so that the Covenant can't track him down later.

There is nobody better at creating new identities than her Uncle Al and since he's based in Las Vegas it is also the perfect opportunity for the couple (and the Aeslin mice!) to let their hair down and have a little fun. Of course gambling and drinking aren't the only things Vegas is known for so it could also be the perfect place for Verity and Dominic to tie the knot but first they have to survive the nightlife unscathed.

I will never get enough of this world and this story gives us another sneak peek into Verity and Dominic's cross country road trip. It's good to see them getting to spend time together as a couple and the Aeslin mice also get a chance to shine as they make the most of their access to room service and cable TV.

My Last Name:

Vegas was fun, if a little more exciting than originally planned; more importantly, Dominic De Luca is officially gone, leaving Michael Delgado in his place. It's only a name, but a name can change the world in the right hands. A name can change everything.

Everything except for the heart of the one who wears it. No matter what he's called, Dominic loves Verity, and marrying her was the best choice he's ever made. Now if he can just convince the rest of her family of that, he'll have a chance of seeing his next birthday.

With the Covenant behind them and the future ahead of them, it's finally time for Verity and Dominic to face the greatest challenge yet: explaining to her parents why they ran off to Las Vegas to get married, and what the hell she thinks she's doing hooking up with a member, however rebellious, of the Covenant of St. George.

Things are about to get interesting. And not in the necessarily good way.

Review:
We've been following Verity and Dominic's journey across the country to her hometown for a while now and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that we never got to see her parent's reaction when she brings home an ex-covenant member and introduces him as not just her boyfriend but her husband so I was really glad when I found out that Seanan McGuire had added this extra short story to her website.

My Last Name is the perfect ending to this little series of short stories and it's another turning point in their relationship. It's never easy to meet the inlaws but doing it as an ex-covenant member just makes things even more complicated for poor Dominic. Let's face it the Price family weren't going to be happy with anyone that Verity brought home but the whole covenant thing and the fact they're already married are both huge black marks against Dominic before he's even said hello.

It was interesting to see the full lengths that Verity's father goes through just to confirm she's who she says she is, it shows how careful they have to be and how many security measures they have in place to protect the family. Then his reaction to Dominic was priceless, that's one father you don't want to get on the wrong side of! Her mother is equally shocked that the wedding has already happened but I liked the way she dealt with things. What I really liked was seeing Dominic prove his worth and the way Verity stood by his side 100% when things got awkward. Hopefully now the introductions are over Dominic will be able to earn the family's trust as the series continues.

Review: 1 Incryptid Short Story Narrated by Sarah Zellaby & Arthur Harrington - Seanan McGuire

If you're a fan of Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series you may or may not be aware that she has written a large number of short stories set in the world but written about various different characters. A lot of these short stories are available for free on her website HERE but a few of them can only be found in anthologies. I thought it would be nice to have one place to write quick reviews for the short stories but since there are so many of them I'm going to split them out by the characters and these reviews may be updated in the future if the author writes additional stories.

This review includes all the short stories that have been written about Sarah Zellaby & Arthur Harrington, stories by other narrators will be reviewed separately.

Entire Incryptid Series:
14 Jonathan Healy & Frances Brown Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
2 Alice Healy & Thomas Price Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Discount Armageddon
Midnight Blue-Light Special
4 Antimony Price Short Stories (Read some for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
3 Istas and Ryan Short Stories (Read most for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Half-Off Ragnarok
1 Sarah Zellaby and Arthur Harrington Short Story (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
5 Verity Price & Dominic De Luca Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Pocket Apocalypse
Chaos Choreography
1 Elsie Harrington Short Story (Short Story in the Shadowed Souls anthology)
Magic for Nothing

Ghost Stories Series:
(Stories are set in the Incryptid World)
Sparrow Hill Road
Train Yard Blues (Short Story in the Coins of Chaos anthology)
The Ghosts of Bourbon Street (Crossover Short Story with Verity from the Incryptid series free on Seanan McGuire's website)

Short Stories narrated by Sarah Zellaby and Arthur Harrington (circa 2013-):
(Unless otherwise stated all stories are available for free on the author's website)
IM

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

IM

Arthur Harrington's situation is...special, thanks to having an incubus for a father and a semi-stable grasp of his "special powers" (if you can call them that). As a consequence, he's always been allowed to stay somewhat sheltered from the family business, communicating with the outside world largely via the computer and his cousins.

Then Sarah got hurt. He's been climbing the walls ever since, trying to think of something he can do to help—but when no one really understands the way a cuckoo's mind works, what can he possibly do to make things better? Especially when she's in Ohio and he's in Oregon?

All he wants is a sign that she's going to be okay...and that she's still going to be the girl he thinks no one knows he's in love with.

Best read after Half-Off Ragnarok. Contains spoilers for Midnight Blue-Light Special, although if you've read the story description, you've already been spoiled. Surprise!

Review:
IM is one of the shortest stories that Seanan McGuire has written for this series but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading. This isn't one for people who are new to the series but it adds another layer for fans who have read the first two books so as long as you go in expecting something short and sweet I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

We all know how much Artie has been missing Sarah since she injured herself saving Verity's life. He's spent weeks waiting for his best friend (and the love of his life even though he won't admit that to anyone else in his family) to recover and although she has been making improvements she's still not back to her normal self and Artie hasn't been allowed to see or even speak to her. It's driving him crazy that he can't do anything to help her but then he gets just a tiny glimmer of hope that Sarah is starting to get back to her old self again and that's all he ever wanted.

Artie is utterly adorable in this. It's hilarious that he thinks he has managed to keep his feelings for Sarah secret from the rest of his family but I'm sure they'll all start meddling again as soon as Sarah is back to full health. I really hope we might get a full length book or two about them at some point in the future.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Review: Nevernight - Jay Kristoff

A wonderful new epic fantasy set in the dark heart of an academy for assassins.

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her.
And they drink her fear.

The Nevernight Chronicles:
Nevernight
Titles and release dates for future books in the series are TBC

Visit Jay Kristoff's website for more information

Review:
Sometimes you read a book that is so amazing that you find it too intimidating to even attempt to write a review for it because you just know you won't be able to do it justice. That is what has kept me from writing this for such a long time because Nevernight is one of those books. I honestly haven't been this excited for a new series since I first picked up Red Rising and anyone who knows me knows I'm a super fan of those books! Jay Kristoff has totally outdone himself here and there is no doubt in my mind that Nevernight is my top fantasy read of 2016.

Imagine what would happen if Hogwarts was a school for assassins. Now imagine that Voldemort was the headmaster, all the teachers were Death Eaters and all of the students were sorted into Slytherin. Got that picture in your head? Great, that should give you a pretty good idea about what the Red Church is like. This isn't a school for any old wannabe assassin, it's a school for people who are serious about causing death and destruction wherever they go. In fact, you have to prove you've already killed to even enter the building so if you're not completely ruthless you might as well just walk away now. As you can guess a school run by the world's top assassins isn't going to be a walk in the park and not many of the students are expected to survive the year. It's not only the other students that you have to watch out for because you're just as likely to get a knife in the back (or poison in your cup) from one of your teachers.

Mia has spent years honing her skills so that she is ready to attend the Red Church, she is determined to get revenge on the people who destroyed her family and she knows that she'll only be able to do that if she has the best possible training. Everything she has ever wanted depends on her graduating as one of the top four students and she won't let anything get in her way, not even friendship, so she isn't setting out to make allies. I absolutely love Mia and her shadow cat Mister Kindly, I also fell hard for Tric, the boy who is the closest Mia has to a friend in the Red Church. There is just a hint of romance between them which I really enjoyed but you know all along that they're both working towards their own goals and that not even love will get in the way of them achieving what they've set out to do.

You know those YA books where the assassins are more interested in clothes and make up than making a kill? Well Nevernight is nothing like those books and Mia is more than willing to prove it to you. Technically this isn't even a YA book, just because Mia is sixteen at the beginning of the story doesn't mean that it's YA, there are graphic descriptions of violence and sex from the opening chapter and the blood doesn't stop flowing until the last page so it's not one I'd recommend to younger teens but it will have huge crossover appeal between older teens and adults.

Nevernight was everything I could have wanted, it is beautifully written, the characters are fantastic, the world is dark and vicious, the plot is full of twists and deadly turns and I was completely hooked from beginning to end. I still haven't forgiven Jay Kristoff for page 553 though (UK hardback edition, page number may be different in other formats), that was totally brutal and left me utterly heartbroken. The only thing I didn't like about this book is that the rest of the series hasn't been printed yet, it's going to be a long wait until I have the final book in my hands but I guess that gives me plenty of time to fit in a few rereads while I wait.

Source: Received from Harper Voyager in exchange for an honest review

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

Hardback / Kindle:

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Review: A Promise of Fire - Amanda Bouchet

US Cover
KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER...

“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

The Kingmaker Chronicles:
A Promise of Fire
Breath of Fire
Heart on Fire (2017)

Visit Amanda Bouchet's website for more information

Review:
Every so often a book comes along that surprises you and that's exactly what happened with A Promise of Fire. I saw it was getting some incredibly positive reviews but that just made me more nervous in case it had been over hyped, thankfully that wasn't the case though and this is an impressive debut from Amanda Bouchet that's left me with incredibly high hopes for the Kingmaker Chronicles. The author has created an interesting and well thought out world but where she really excels is with her characters and I totally fell in love with all of them here.

Cat has been hiding in plain sight since she escaped from her powerful and ruthless family several years ago, she works as a fortune teller in a travelling circus and has done her best to keep her true powers hidden from the people around her. She wants no part of the destiny that the gods saddled her with and just wants to be able to live her life in peace. Griffin is pretty sure that she's the Kingmaker, someone with the rare ability to tell when people around her are lying, and he desperately needs her help to ensure his non magical family are able to maintain their crown when they're up against enemies whose abilities are far greater. Cat has no intention of coming out of hiding to help him so he does the only thing he can think of and takes her captive.

I have to admit that I was nervous about that very early development in the story, I'm not a huge fan of heroes who kidnap their leading ladies and literally tie themselves to her for the first quarter of a book, especially when there is a romance involved. Let's face it, potential Stockholm Syndrome isn't very sexy is it? But Amanda Bouchet managed to not only make it work but to make me enjoy every minute of it. I liked that we got enough information about Griffin's motivations to understand why he did the things he did even if I didn't always agree with his choices but what I liked even more was that Cat wasn't a passive captive. She didn't just automatically follow his lead and she fought him every step of the way. She wasn't at all happy about the situation she found herself in and her reactions were completely believable.

Cat is a fabulous character, she's quite a tomboy and she's very open in her dislike of Griffin and his band of men. She pushes and pushes at them and even though there is some immediate chemistry between her and Griffin she absolutely refuses to act on it when he's holding her prisoner. I loved that the relationship between them develops slowly, Cat gradually comes to respect Griffin as she gets to know him and sees the way he treats the people around him. She's used to dealing with royalty that treat their subjects like dirt so she's shocked that he genuinely cares about his men and fights alongside them. Griffin isn't at all the man she first thought he was and it's only when she starts to see beyond the kidnapping that she starts to fall for him.

Griffin is one of those heroes that does things that you know logically should make you hate him but that you find yourself falling for anyway. To be fair, aside from the kidnapping he was a pretty great guy and when you find out why he did what he did it becomes much harder to vilify him for it. I'm not trying to justify his actions because he was totally in the wrong but he was trying to make the best of a bad situation and he was doing it to protect his family and the people he cares about so it's hard to hate him for it. It took time for him to trust that Cat would help his family and she's still keeping a pretty major secret from him but I enjoyed their relationship so much. I also really enjoyed seeing him with his men and I loved the banter between the whole group, especially when Cat had been added into the mix. She earned the respect of everyone around her and just fitted in with them like she was meant to be there.

A Promise of Fire was full of action, suspense and humour, the romance element was done perfectly and the world building was brilliant. It's a story that sucked me in on the first page and kept me completely hooked until the last, I was actually annoyed when real life got in the way and I had to put it down. I loved both the setting and the characters and I can't wait to see what happens next.

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.

UK Cover
Paperback / Kindle:

Spotlight: Breath of Fire - Amanda Bouchet (Excerpt & Giveaway)

I recently read (and absolutely loved!) Amanda Bouchet's debut novel A Promise of Fire so I can't wait to read the upcoming sequel which releases on the 3rd of January. To celebrate the release of Breath of Fire I have a fabulous excerpt and giveaway to share with you today but first let's hear from the author herself as she tells us a bit more about what we can expect from the second book in the Kingmaker Chronicles.

A note to readers of The Kingmaker Chronicles from Amanda Bouchet:

Breath of Fire comes out on January 3rd and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I hope that readers who met Cat and Griffin and followed their exploits in A Promise of Fire will be looking forward to this second installment in The Kingmaker Chronicles, and I hope that new readers will be interested in giving this fantasy romance trilogy a try. The story picks up right where A Promise of Fire left off and with a shocking moment of truth: Cat’s secrets are finally revealed to all. But with the cat out of the bag (pun definitely intended!), important plans can now form to move Thalyria toward unification under Cat and Griffin’s joint rule—plans that will certainly keep Beta Team on their toes. But while Cat’s violent past and lingering self-doubt still haunt her on a deep level, Griffin won’t let her back down from the fate she’d love to avoid. As Griffin propels her toward her inevitable destiny and Cat tries to come to terms with the prophecy that’s haunted her for eight years, readers can expect plenty of adventure and danger, more of Cat’s smart-mouthed humor, exciting Beta Team moments, and a romance that heats up to positively scorching levels. Friendships solidify into unshakable bonds, and perilous quests lead the members of Beta Team into uncharted territory where monsters, magic, and mayhem abound. With Breath of Fire, I hope that readers get swept away and caught up in the emotion and adventure as Cat and Griffin try to navigate their developing and intensely passionate relationship while also taking on the daunting and dangerous task of conquering the world. But most of all, I hope you simply enjoy the book!

About Breath of Fire:

SHE'S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD…
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a warrior queen to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or die trying.

About Amanda Bouchet:

Award-winning author Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, first at Bowdoin College and then at Bowling Green State University. She moved to Paris, France in 2001 and has been there ever since. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children, who will soon be correcting her French.

Social Networking Links:

Website: www.amandabouchet.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaBouchetAuthor/
Twitter: @AuthorABouchet
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14469474.Amanda_Bouchet
To Buy: http://www.amandabouchet.com/breath-of-fire.php

Excerpt from Breath of Fire:

Waking up from a deep, healing sleep reminds me of rushing toward the surface of a lake, brightness beckoning from above and bubbles fizzing all around me.

Consciousness threads through me in a delicate weave. It’s afternoon. The air smells of bright sun, hot stone, and endless days of summer drought. Insects chirp, their droning song a parched melody, the heat so thick I could cut it with a knife. I don’t question the time of day, just which day, and I’m guessing it’s not the same day I fell asleep. And almost died. Again.

Under the sheet, I brush my fingers over the tender skin on my stomach, finding the raised bump of a fresh scar there. Just one more mark to join the others, inside and out.

I look toward Griffin’s side of the bed, not surprised to find it empty and the sheets cold. He has things to do, a realm to run.

I sigh, which is absurd. I never sighed until I met Griffin.

The indent of his head still creases the pillow, and I slide my hand into the hollow, thinking about how far we’ve come since he abducted me for my Kingmaker Magic and I fought him at every turn.
But Griffin got more than he bargained for with me, and I still can’t bring myself to tell him the worst.

Harbinger of the end. Destroyer of realms.

I squeeze my eyes shut, craving the blissful avoidance of heavy sleep again. But I’m not tired anymore, and half-truths and glaring omissions fester in my belly, cold blocks of dread sitting right there under the heat of my new scar. Who I am. The dreadful prophecy. I wasn’t even truthful about Daphne’s lurking and threats, and hiding things from Griffin is exactly what landed me in this bed, injured and aching. Griffin’s former lover knew what she was doing when she hid in the shadows and threw a knife into my gut. What she didn’t know was that I would pull it out and throw it back.

The door opens, and I turn my head, my heart thudding at the sight of Griffin. Tall, broad, muscular but sleek, he stalks into the room like a predator, his gait balanced and sure, his glittering, gray eyes focused entirely on me. Inky hair, a hawkish nose, that stubborn jaw, and thick, black stubble make him look hard and intimidating. With his sword strapped on and his dark brows lowered, he’s a warlord on the prowl.

I shiver. I couldn’t want him more.

A lightning storm sizzles to life in my magic-charged veins. I look at Griffin, feel him near, and I can ignore all the terrifying things that make me want to crawl inside of myself and disappear. He stops next to the bed, and my blood simmers with heat and need. I wonder what he’ll do to me. What I’ll do to him.

I reach for him, but Griffin crosses his arms and stares down at me from above.

My hand hangs awkwardly in the air, and my heart hovers along with it. An awful tightness clamps around my throat, turning my voice to gravel. “I can still feel you inside me.”

His stony expression doesn’t change, but his iron gaze dips to my bare breasts. When his eyes flick back up, they’re like frosted granite. “Have you enjoyed making a fool out of me?”

The bottom of my stomach drops out with sickening force. I pull the sheet up to cover myself, clutching it hard to keep my hands from trembling. It doesn’t work. Adrenaline roars through me, making me shake.

“What do you mean?” My eyes are wide, my words reedy. Guilty. It’s a good thing I’m not a gambler if this is my game face. But I’ve never had so much to lose.

Griffin reaches out and rips the sheet from my hands and right off the bed. He holds on to it. “I think you know. Or are there too many lies to choose from?”

I sit up, shame and anxiety splashing red-hot color all over my naked skin. At the realm dinner, Griffin vowed to uncover my secrets. I didn’t think he’d do it this fast.

Find your perfect match from the Beta Team:


Giveaway:

Win one of ten copies of A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet, the first book in her The Kingmaker Chronicles series, plus a signed bookplate!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 26 December 2016

Review: Barbarian Alien - Ruby Dixon

Twelve humans are left stranded on a wintry alien planet. I’m one of them. Yay, me.

In order to survive, we have to take on a symbiont that wants to rewire our bodies to live in this brutal place. I like to call it a cootie. And my cootie’s a jerk, because it also thinks I’m the mate to the biggest, surliest alien of the group.

BARBARIAN ALIEN is a sequel to ICE PLANET BARBARIANS. You do not have to read both in order to understand the plot, but the story will be richer if you do!

Ice Planet Barbarians:
Ice Planet Barbarians
Barbarian Alien
Barbarian Lover
Barbarian Mine
Ice Planet Holiday (Novella)
Barbarian's Prize
Barbarian's Mate
Having the Barbarian's Baby (Short Story)
Ice Ice Babies (Short Story)
Barbarian's Touch
Calm: Slice of Life (Short Story)
Barbarian's Taming
After Shock: Slice of Life (Short Story)
Barbarian's Heart
Barbarian's Hope
Barbarian's Choice
Barbarian's Redemption

Visit Ruby Dixon's website for more information

Review:
I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I have been enjoying this series, I picked it up just expecting some fairly straightforward alien smut but there is actually a pretty decent story and some great characters in there too. We saw Raahosh sneak away with Liz at the end of the previous book, his khui recognised Liz as his mate immediately and but he was worried someone else in his tribe would try to claim her so he stole her away to give her time to accept the bond between them.

I loved Liz but I can understand why she could rub some people up the wrong way, especially in the beginning thanks to her abrasive attitude. She's quite a brash character who knows what she wants and doesn't like being told what to do, she is skilled though and she's got the abilities she needs to survive without the help of her big blue alien kidnapper. She is not at all happy with the way Raahosh has treated her and she's even less happy that she had to accept a khui to survive on this new planet so she's not about to let her new "cootie" decide who she has to spend the rest of her life with. She is determined to resist Raahosh at any cost but her feelings towards him start to change when she spends more time getting to know him.

Raahosh is her opposite in a lot of ways, he's also a skilled warrior but he's been fairly isolated amongst his tribe and is a bit of a loner in a lot of ways. He is much more sensitive and thoughtful than it first appears and he's actually quite adorable when you get to know him. I really enjoyed seeing him try to win Liz around, it was amusing seeing how confused he was by the way Liz reacted to things he said and did. She wasn't at all the woman he expected her to be but I think he grew to respect her even more because of it.

The one thing that irritated me about this book was the way the rest of the tribe treated Raahosh and Liz. It's understandable that they had to have rules in place but I was annoyed that they wouldn't even let Liz have a say in certain things that would effect her entire future. I was even more annoyed by Liz's friends who should have stood up for her but basically let her get on with things with no support. Luckily that wasn't dragged out for too long and I was happy with the way things resolved so it didn't bother me too much. This series has been a lot of fun so far and I'm looking forward to continuing it.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Christmas


Just a quick post to wish you all a very happy Christmas, whether you celebrate the holidays or not I hope you all have a wonderful day with your family and friends. I wish you great food, and lots of bookish presents and more than anything I wish you a wonderful 2017 (I can't be the only one who is more than ready for this year to be over!).







Happy Holidays!!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Review: The 12 Dares of Christmas - Leigh W. Stuart

Tis the Season to be Daring

Lauren Hall has one wish for Christmas this year—raise money to build a new, no-kill animal shelter for the town of Sycamore Cove. And she is prepared to do anything to make it happen. Even dare a man she just met to perform a strip tease for the local knitting society.

Gabe Nicholson has one wish too—obtain the job of a lifetime to launch his career. Only his wishes get snowballed when his best friend's little sister hands him a pair of stripper pants and a bottle of eggnog-flavored body oil.

It’s all sugar plums and mistletoe until a scandal caused by Lauren’s fundraiser threatens to ruin it all. With Gabe's work opportunities disappearing before his eyes and Lauren's fundraising efforts tanking, their game of dares stands to burn them both. Unless it ignites a spark of Christmas magic.

Visit Leigh W. Stuart's website for more information.

Review:
Lauren has been doing everything she can to raise enough money to build a new animal shelter for her hometown, the shelter they have is in very poor condition and she wants to create something so much better. The local knitting society have been incredibly supportive of her efforts and she's arranged a fun night for them to show her appreciation but when the stripper doesn't turn up it looks like she's going to be in trouble. Until her brother's best friend Gabe walks in and she dares him to take the stripper's place.

There are a few things I look for when I pick up a Christmas story, I want something funny and sweet and it has to have plenty of holiday spirit, and The 12 Dares of Christmas hit the spot perfectly. This is a really light hearted and fun read but it has plenty of heat to it too and I loved both of the main characters. There is no unnecessary drama but instead you'll find lots of humour, some fun side characters, a sweet romance and an almost naked man jumping out of a giant cake.

Lauren and Gabe make a great couple, I enjoyed the chemistry between them and I absolutely loved the back and forth between them as they kept daring each other to do things. This is definitely a story I can picture myself rereading in the future and I'll be watching out for more from Leigh W. Stuart in the future.

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

Other Reviews:
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