Monday, 29 February 2016

Review: The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan

The Forsaken are loose, the Horn of Valere has been found and the Dead are rising from their dreamless sleep. The Prophecies are being fulfilled - but Rand al'Thor, the shepherd the Aes Sedai have proclaimed as the Dragon Reborn, desperately seeks to escape his destiny.

Rand cannot run for ever. With every passing day the Dark One grows in strength and strives to shatter his ancient prison, to break the Wheel, to bring an end to Time and sunder the weave of the Pattern.

And the Pattern demands the Dragon.

Wheel of Time Series:
New Spring (Prequel Story but it's recommended to read after Crossroads of Twilight)
The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Shadow Rising
The Fires of Heaven
Lord of Chaos
A Crown of Swords
The Path of Daggers
Winter's Heart
Crossroads of Twilight
Knife of Dreams
The Gathering Storm
Towers of Midnight
A Memory of Light

Visit the Wheel of Time series website for more information

Review:
I'm so glad that I have finally bitten the bullet and jumped onto the Wheel of Time bandwagon, 2 books in and I'm already totally hooked so I'm excited that I've still got another 12 books to go before the journey ends! The Great Hunt started out a little slower than I expected but that gives us a chance to really spend time with the main characters and see how much they've already started to change. I'm loving watching them blossom as they start to gain more experience and grow more confident in their own abilities, some of them still have a lot to learn but they're all taking positive steps and starting to figure out their roles in the big picture.

The one item they need more than anything to help in their battle against the Dark One is the Horn of Valere, a magical horn that will recall the heroes from all ages to fight on behalf of the person who sounds it. Now that the horn has been found it is inevitable that the army of dead heroes will be called into battle, the question is which side will they be fighting for? When Darkfriends manage to steal the horn out from under Rand and the other's noses it looks like all could be lost before the real battle has even started and it all hinges on them being able to retrieve it before it's too late. Rand and the boys are really up against it in this book, they're fighting amongst themselves thanks to Rand's stubborn attempts to protect the others and they're all facing different but dangerous personal challenges but they'll have to find a way to pull together if they want to succeed.

While the boys hunt the horn the girls travel on to Tar Valon to begin their Aes Sedai training. I already loved Nynaeve but she really comes into her own here, she hates everything the Aes Sedai stand for and has an incredibly difficult time sticking to their rules but she has so much raw power that she's going to be a force to be reckoned with when she gains full control of it. Egwene is more willing to learn but has less life experience that Nynaeve so she's placed with Elayne and Min right at the bottom of the ladder but all four of these young women are awesome and I can't wait to see where the series takes them. Nothing is simple in Tar Valon and although Moiraine has never been very upfront about her plans for any of the others at least she has always done whatever she can to protect them, the same can't be said for all of the other Aes Sedai and the girls are going to have to watch their backs.

There is so much going on in this book, we get to see a few familiar faces when some of the minor characters from the first book make unexpected reappearances but we also have a lot of new people to meet, some you'll immediately love and others will make you much more wary. It's hard to know who to trust and there are definitely lots of side plots and foreshadowing going on that I think will make more sense on a reread (and I can pretty much guarantee I'll be rereading this series again in the future to test that theory!). Once again I was pulled straight into this story and I actually devoured it quite quickly compared to book 1, it starts a little slower but the pace really ramps up in the second half and I'm so invested in the characters that even when there's not a great deal happening I'm just so happy to be spending time with them all. While I wouldn't quite place this series as a favourite yet it's definitely heading in that direction and I'm sure it will be on the list well before I reach the final book.

Source: Purchased

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Magic of the Gargoyles - Rebecca Chastain

Updated Cover
Grab your copy of this fast-paced, imaginative fantasy adventure today!

Someone has kidnapped a nest of helpless baby gargoyles and is using them as pentagram focuses, devouring their magic—and their lives—for a horrific, illegal power boost. Swept into the dangerous underworld of black magic, earth elemental Mika Stillwater must cobble together her limited resources and skills to have a chance at being the hero the baby gargoyles desperately need. If she fails, the city will be at the mercy of the gargoyles’ murderers and their overwhelming destructive magic.

But pitting herself against powerful black-magic villains is proving just as deadly for Mika as for the gargoyles.

The Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles:
Magic of the Gargoyles
Curse of the Gargoyles
Secret of the Gargoyles
Lured (Free novella)

Terra Haven Chronicles:
(Set in the same world as the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles but featuring side character Kylie)
Deadlines and Dryads (Novella)

Visit Rebecca Chastain's website for more information

Review:
All earth elemental Mika has ever dreamed of is opening her own store where she can sell her magical creations, she has been saving for months and almost has enough to put down a deposit on a shop in an ideal location, all she needs to do is complete her latest order in time and her dreams will finally come true. Everything changes when a young gargoyle hatchling turns up at Mika's apartment begging for help. The gargoyle's siblings have all been kidnapped and their lives are in great danger as an unscrupulous magician is siphoning off their life forces to increase his magical abilities. Mika knows that she can't leave the gargoyles to be ruthlessly tortured by a monster but going up against such a powerful enemy will put a target on her back and could end up costing her everything.

Most novellas I read tend to be part of a larger ongoing series where I'm already familiar with the world and the characters so I'm instantly invested in the story and it's very easy to dive into them. I wasn't too sure how Rebecca Chastain was going to manage to create a whole new world, introduce an entirely new set of characters and create an engaging story in less than 100 pages but after loving all of her other novels I knew I had to give Magic of the Gargoyles a try. Consider me incredibly impressed because she did a fantastic job of all of those things and I enjoyed every minute of this story.

Mika is a great main character, she isn't the strongest magic user but she has a lot of heart and she puts herself at risk to protect the gargoyles because they aren't old enough to fight for themselves. You can't fault her bravery and I loved seeing her figure out more about her own skills along the way. I always complain about the lack of female friendships in some stories so I also really enjoyed the bond between Mika and her best friend Kylie, the two support each other 100% and Kylie immediately comes to Mika's aid when she is in trouble. What made this story for me was the gargoyles though, they were utterly adorable and each of the siblings had different quirks and characteristics that made them stand out as individuals. I'd quite like a family of baby gargoyles to move into my house actually, they would make life interesting for sure!

Magic of the Gargoyles is a fantastic little novella full of action and adventure and a very well built world considering how short it is. There is plenty of room for the story to be expanded upon and I'd love to read about more of Mika's adventures so I was very excited to discover that Rebecca Chastain is already at work on another 2 stories in this world. I'll certainly be buying any new instalments on release day and I can't wait to spend more time with Mika and the gargoyles!

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.

Original Cover
Kindle:

Friday, 26 February 2016

Review: Night Study - Maria V. Snyder

A new darkness is rising for Yelena Zaltana

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been in peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities - the powerful magic that has protected her before - has made her more vulnerable to her enemies.

As she searches for a way to reclaim her abilities neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a way threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Now with the most sinister threat she has ever faced approaching, Yelena will have to find a new way to fight the dark.

The Chronicles of Ixia:
Poison Study
Assassin Study (Short Story)
Magic Study
Fire Study
Power Study (Short Story)
Ice Study (Short Story)
Storm Glass
Sea Glass
Spy Glass
Shadow Study
Night Study
Shattered Glass (Novella)
Dawn Study

Visit Maria V. Snyder's website for more information

Review:
I'm not very rational when it comes to this series because I just love it so damn much but I think Night Study might just be my new favourite from Maria V. Snyder. Yelena and Valek have been one of my favourite fictional couples ever since I read Poison Study and my love for them both has only grown throughout the series so you're just going to have to forgive me for fangirling a little (or probably a lot!) in this review.  I'm going to assume that anyone who is reading this review has read at least as far as Shadow Study so please be aware that there may be spoilers beyond this point for anyone new to the series but just in case you've been hiding under a rock for the last few years and are yet to discover the Chronicles of Ixia you're just going to have to trust me that these books are AMAZING and you NEED to read them! So, if you're not up-to-date step away from the screen now and get reading, I'll wait right here until you're finished.

Are you back? Okay you've had your spoiler warnings so this is where the real discussion starts. Night Study picks up immediately after the ending of Shadow Study and you're already aware of the cliffhanger that ended on so I'm sure you've been desperately waiting for this book just like I was! Yelena has just made a very big discovery and now it's time to break the news to Valek, this is a huge time of change for the couple and things aren't helped by the fact that Yelena is still unable to access her magic. Valek is understandably feeling very protective towards his heart mate but he is torn between his love for her and his duty to the Commander. It's not going to be long before Valek is forced to make some difficult choices, especially since the Commander seems to be hiding so many things from him lately.

I really don't want to say too much about the plot here but there is a LOT going on that is will potentially have a huge impact on lives in both Ixia and Sitia in the future. Yelena and Valek are dealing with enemies both old and new, there are new friendships, strengthening of old ties, surprising allies and betrayals from unexpected corners. Night Study is full of action and romance, it will tug on your heartstrings and shock the hell out of you but leave you with a huge smile on your face. Our favourite characters are facing difficult challenges and danger but they are also learning a lot about themselves and the people they care about. The best news of all is that Yelena and Valek actually get to spend quite a lot of time together in this book, yes they still have separate tasks that they need to perform but they also spend some quality time as a couple and their relationship is stronger and more wonderful than ever.

This series has gone from strength to strength and Night Study is the best instalment yet, I'm absolutely devastated that Yelena and Valek's story is coming to an end but at the same time I can't wait to see how things play out. There are a lot of loose ends but things are finally coming together and I can't wait to get my hands on Dawn Study to see how it all plays out.

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

Other Reviews:
Blackplume
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:

Blog Tour: Night Study - Maria V. Snyder

I absolutely LOVE Maria V. Snyder's Chronicles of Ixia series so it shouldn't be any surprise that I was incredibly excited to get my hands on an early copy of the latest instalment Night Study. I'll be posting my full review later today but trust me, if you're a fan of this series you NEED this book! I think it might be my favourite book yet and that's really saying something! Anyway, to celebrate the release of Night Study I have a fab guest post from Maria for you including a special visit from one of my favourite characters but before we get to that let me give you a bit more information about the book.

A new darkness is rising for Yelena Zaltana

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been in peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities - the powerful magic that has protected her before - has made her more vulnerable to her enemies.

As she searches for a way to reclaim her abilities neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a way threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Now with the most sinister threat she has ever faced approaching, Yelena will have to find a new way to fight the dark.

The Chronicles of Ixia:
(Links will take you to my reviews)
Poison Study
Assassin Study (Short Story)
Magic Study
Fire Study
Power Study (Short Story)
Ice Study (Short Story)
Storm Glass
Sea Glass
Spy Glass
Shadow Study
Night Study
Dawn Study (2017)

Visit Maria V. Snyder's website for more information

Now I'm really thrilled to hand the reigns over to both Maria and Valek who have very kindly agreed to drop by today and introduce themselves!

Maria V. Snyder

Introducing Valek

Maria: (Instead of me telling you about Valek, I asked him to tell you about himself.)

Valek: Maria said you’ve been asking about me. I’d like to know why. If you think you can bypass my security measures to reach the Commander, you are sadly mistaken. As the Commander’s chief of security, I’m responsible for his safety. I’ve been at this job for twenty-four years and know all the tricks. Before that, I trained as an assassin for two years at the School of Night and Shadows, and practiced my craft for two more years until I assassinated the King of Ixia when I was seventeen. This allowed the Commander to take over command of Ixia. If you insist on knowing my age you can do the math.

Most people are terrified when they see me. Although at six feet tall with black hair and blue eyes, I don’t look as threatening as my friend Ari. While he has the broad shoulders and the biceps to knock over an ox, I’m more lean, which helps when I’m climbing walls and escaping prisons. It’s when I’m in disguise that you really have to worry as I’m quite capable of changing my appearance and have even gone undercover as a woman for a season as Queen Jewel’s hairdresser. The Queen died without a clue. The King, however, being a magician—albeit corrupt and evil—put up quite the fight. Good thing I’m immune to magic.

I’ve a heart mate named Yelena and we’ve been together for eight years. Don’t even consider harming her or you will be hunted and killed by yours truly. I am also in charge of a vast network of spies. Members of my corps are in every city in Ixia and Sitia, so you can run, but you can’t hide.
Now you know all about me. And now that I’ve distracted you…turn around

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

Thank you so much for a wonderful guest post Maria, Valek stole my heart when I read Poison Study and he remains one of my all time favourite book boyfriends so it's always great to hear from him!

Don't forget to check back later today to read my full review of Night Study and make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour for lots of exciting posts and reviews!


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Review: Men & Cats - Marie-Eva Gatuingt & Alice Chaygneaud

A brilliant collection of photographs that brings together two of the world's favorite things: hot men and cute kittens.

Based on the chic French Tumblr Des Hommes et des Chatons, Men & Cats presents an original collection of 50 pairs of sexy men and adorable cats. Each clever match-up shows a heartthrob posing alongside a cat in a similar pose or with a similar expression. Not sure if you want to look at sexy men or cute cats? With this book, you don't have to choose.

Visit the Des Hommes et des Chatons Tumblr for more information.

Review:
If you've ever seen the Des Hommes et des Chatons Tumblr page you'll know exactly what to expect from Men & Cats. It's an entire book full of pictures of hot guys and cute kitties, which in my opinion is pretty much the perfect combination!

There are some absolutely gorgeous photos in here and I love the way they are paired up so you have a guy and a cat in a very similar pose. My only slight complaint was that some pages have a lot of white space around the pictures, I'd have liked the images to be a little larger to reduce that but it really is a minor thing and not enough to cause reduce my rating.

Men & Cats is a hilarious coffee table book, my friend and I giggled the whole way through it but there may also have been a small amount of drooling too. With pics like these who could resist?






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.

Hardback:

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Review: Beyond Ruin - Kit Rocha

The sectors will never be the same . . .

Adrian Maddox fled his royal life—and tragic past—in Sector One, choosing instead to join up with the O’Kanes. For years, he’s lived by one rule: love fast, love hard, and always be willing to walk away. He’s managed to guard his heart, keep it whole and untouched—until now.

They couldn’t be more different—Dylan, the brilliant, burned-out doctor from Eden who drowns his pain with drugs and self-destruction. Scarlet, the sensuous, sexy rocker from Three, a woman unafraid to embrace the world. And Jade, the whore turned spy from Sector Two, who battled addiction and came out stronger than anyone he’s ever met.

Separately, they make Mad long to open his heart, to tumble head-first into a sea of possibilities and wild love. Together, they make him burn, inside and out, with lust and unbearable, unimaginable pleasure.

Then one fateful moment shakes their world to its foundations—and leaves the sectors on the verge of all-out war with Eden. It’s the biggest fight the O’Kanes have ever faced, and Mad and his lovers are at the dead center of it. They could end up with everything they never knew they wanted—or lose it all. Including their lives.

Beyond Series:
Beyond Shame
Beyond Control
Beyond Denial (A Beyond Happily Ever After free short story)
Beyond Pain
Beyond Temptation (Novella in the Marked Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Jealousy
Beyond Solitude (Novella in the Alpha's After Dark Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Addiction
Beyond Possession (Novella)
Beyond Innocence
Closed Doors (A Beyond Happily Ever After short story)
Blank Canvas (A Beyond Happily Ever After free short story)
Beyond Ruin
Beyond Ecstasy
Beyond Surrender
Beyond Doubt (An O'Kane for Life novella)
Beyond Forever (An O'Kane for Life novella)

Gideon's Riders Series:
(Spin off series)
Ashwin
Deacon

Visit Kit Rocha's website for more information.

Review:
I've been the biggest fan of the Beyond series since the very first book and I'm always desperate to get my hands on the latest instalment. I don't think I've actually read a book about a permanent foursome before but since the Ace, Cruz and Rachel triad is my favourite relationship in the series I had every confidence that Kit Rocha would convince me that Mad, Dylan, Jade and Scarlet would work together as a group. Unfortunately even though I liked all of the characters as individuals and definitely felt the chemistry between certain pairings I'm still not convinced that they fit well as a whole group and that left me feeling a little disappointed with Beyond Ruin.

I'm having a really difficult time pinpointing exactly why this didn't work for me as much as the books in this series usually do. There is no doubt that the sex is hot, in fact I think it might be some of the hottest that these authors have written yet but in my opinion there was definitely something missing. I could feel the connection between Mad and Dylan, Mad and Scarlet and between Dylan and Jade but wasn't invested in the relationship between Scarlet and Jade which is odd since they were the ones who were already in a relationship before the book started. I also spent a lot of time feeling like Jade was always on the outside looking in, for much of the book it didn't feel like she was as connected to the rest of the group and I felt quite sorry for her because she so desperately wanted to be loved for who she was but everyone was constantly underestimating her.

Although I didn't fall in love with these characters quite as much as I expected to I still really enjoyed finding out more about Mad's past and life in Sector 1. I also loved seeing how much Jade has done to help the women from Sector 2 since she was able to escape, she never forgot the people who were left behind and has dedicated herself to doing what she can to protect those left behind. In fact, Jade has become quite a powerhouse and I have very high hopes for her plans for the future. Where Beyond Ruin fell down in relationship development it really ramped up the stakes in the outside world, things are changing in all of the Sectors and we're now reaching a critical point where things with Eden are about to come to a head. Nothing is ever going to be the same again after certain events and I can't wait to see how this plays out.

So, Beyond Ruin isn't my favourite book in the series (and I'm in the minority for not loving this book so don't let me put you off reading it!) but this is still one of my absolute favourite series and I'm just as eager to get my hands on the next instalment as I always have been. I'm a fully paid up O'Kane for life and can't wait to go back to Sector 4!

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

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

Kindle:

Quick Review: Blank Canvas - Kit Rocha (A Beyond Happily Ever After Short Story)

Caution: this story is not meant to stand alone.

The Beyond Happily Ever After stories are vignettes and outtakes showing the O'Kanes in their daily lives, in between the adventures and often after their happy endings. These stories were written exclusively for readers and fans of the series, and will probably not make very much sense to anyone not familiar with the characters.

You can download the story FOR FREE in epub, mobi or pdf here: krocha.link/blank-canvas-free

(If you decide to buy this story for 99 cents at one of the vendors anyway, we thank you for your support!)

Blank Canvas

There are a lot of different ways to take care of the people you claimed as your own. In this short story, Cruz has a surprise for Ace that results in a road trip, a hot night with Rachel, and a new hope for their future.

Length: 6,300 words
Characters: Ace, Cruz & Rachel
Timeline: Set between Beyond Innocence and Beyond Ruin.
Download Free: krocha.link/blank-canvas-free

Beyond Series:
Beyond Shame
Beyond Control
Beyond Denial (A Beyond Happily Ever After free short story)
Beyond Pain
Beyond Temptation (Novella in the Marked Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Jealousy
Beyond Solitude (Novella in the Alpha's After Dark Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Addiction
Beyond Possession (Novella)
Beyond Innocence
Closed Doors (A Beyond Happily Ever After free short story)
Blank Canvas (A Beyond Happily Ever After free short story)
Beyond Ruin
Beyond Ecstasy
Beyond Surrender
Beyond Doubt (An O'Kane for Life novella)
Beyond Forever (An O'Kane for Life novella)

Gideon's Riders Series:
(Spin off series)
Ashwin
Deacon

Visit Kit Rocha's website for more information.

Review:
Blank Canvas is a very short story set in Kit Rocha's Beyond series that can be downloaded for free from their website or purchased on Amazon. It isn't meant to be read as a stand alone, it's just a VERY hot little slice of life starring some of the characters fans will have met in previous books. I am totally addicted to this series, the books are scorchingly hot and continuously push my boundaries but I can't get enough of them so any chance to revisit favourite characters is always going to be welcome in my book.

Ace, Cruz and Rachel are my absolute favourite characters in the Beyond series, I just adore this triad and and am fully on board with their relationship (if you've not met them yet then you're SERIOUSLY missing out - go and read Beyond Jealousy NOW!). I don't think I'll ever get enough of these guys so it was fantastic to see them getting to spend a little downtime together away from the O'Kane compound. I'm not going to say much about what happens because you should just read it for yourself but Cruz has a fabulous surprise planned for his lovers and they're going to enjoy every minute of it. As you'd expect from Kit Rocha Blank Canvas is hot as hell and even though it's a fairly short read it's absolutely brilliant, these characters have been through so much to be together and seeing them happy just puts a smile on my face. I hope we get more of these little shorts in the future and I'd dearly love to visit these three again further down the line.

Source: Downloaded for free from the author's website

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:

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Spotlight: Beyond Ruin - Kit Rocha (+ Giveaway)


I'm a bit of a rabid fan girl when it comes to Kit Rocha's Beyond series so I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to finally have a copy of Beyond Ruin in my hands! This series just gets better and better so I can't wait to dive in and spend time with Mad, Dylan, Jade and Scarlet :o)

The sectors will never be the same . . .

Adrian Maddox fled his royal life—and tragic past—in Sector One, choosing instead to join up with the O’Kanes. For years, he’s lived by one rule: love fast, love hard, and always be willing to walk away. He’s managed to guard his heart, keep it whole and untouched—until now.

They couldn’t be more different—Dylan, the brilliant, burned-out doctor from Eden who drowns his pain with drugs and self-destruction. Scarlet, the sensuous, sexy rocker from Three, a woman unafraid to embrace the world. And Jade, the whore turned spy from Sector Two, who battled addiction and came out stronger than anyone he’s ever met.

Separately, they make Mad long to open his heart, to tumble head-first into a sea of possibilities and wild love. Together, they make him burn, inside and out, with lust and unbearable, unimaginable pleasure.

Then one fateful moment shakes their world to its foundations—and leaves the sectors on the verge of all-out war with Eden. It’s the biggest fight the O’Kanes have ever faced, and Mad and his lovers are at the dead center of it. They could end up with everything they never knew they wanted—or lose it all. Including their lives.

Purchase Links:

Amazon / AppleB&NKobo / ARe / Google

For More Information:

About Beyond Ruin:
Goodreads / Kit Rocha's website

About Kit Rocha:
Website / Facebook / Twitter

Beyond Series:
(Links take you to my reviews)
Beyond Shame
Beyond Control
Beyond Denial (Free Short Story)
Beyond Pain
Beyond Temptation (Novella in the Marked Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Jealousy
Beyond Solitude (Novella in the Alpha's After Dark Anthology or as a separate ebook)
Beyond Addiction
Beyond Possession (Novella)
Beyond Innocence
Beyond Ruin


Giveaway:

I have an exciting giveaway just for my blog readers which is perfect for anyone who is yet to discover the Beyond series. I'm giving away an ebook copy of Beyond: Volume One, this ebook contains the first three books in the Beyond series - Beyond Shame, Beyond Control and Beyond Pain. If that isn't enough to get you completely hooked on this series then nothing will be!

This giveaway is open internationally for anyone who is 18 and over and you can enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends on the 2nd of March and the winner will be announced soon afterwards. I will be sending the prize directly to the winner in the format chosen on the rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Quick Review: A Christmas Proposal - Sherri Hayes

Matthew Andersen knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Cali Stanton. Since she came into his life just five months ago, his world had completely changed for the better. With everything in their lives finally coming together, he was determined to make their first Christmas a memorable one.

Hidden Threat Series:
Hidden Threat
A Christmas Proposal (Short Story)

Visit Sherri Hayes' website for more information.

Quick Review:
A Christmas Proposal isn't meant to be a stand alone story, it's more of a long epilogue for Hidden Threat so I would really recommend reading the full length novel before picking this up.

If you enjoyed the first story though I'm sure you'll like the chance to catch up with the characters and see how they're getting on a couple of months later as they spend their first Christmas together. The title of the story gives away Matthew's plans for the holidays so it's pretty obvious what you're going to get but this is a sweet little short with a nice Christmas feel to it.

Source: Downloaded for free from the publisher's website

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: Hidden Threat - Sherri Hayes

***This book was originally published under the same name in 2010. It has been rewritten, re-edited, and contains over 15,000 words of new content.***

Cali Stanton has one goal in life, being a doctor. She has spent the last two years helping the less fortunate in Africa. It’s a job she loves and intends to do for the foreseeable future. That is until she receives a call from her father saying he’s been injured and needs her back in Chicago. Less than a week later she finds herself behind her father’s desk at Stanton Enterprises, running the family business . . . something she never wanted to do. But how could she say no to her father when he insists that she is the only one he can trust?

Matthew Andersen and his brother, Jason, have spent the last two years managing security at Stanton Enterprises. However, someone is determined to take down the company and with it its acting CEO, Cali Stanton.

Cali and Matthew must work together to find out who is behind the threats to not only the company but to Cali herself while they fight their growing attraction for each other. Can they figure out the hidden threat before it’s too late?

Hidden Threat Series:
Hidden Threat
A Christmas Proposal (Short Story)

Visit Sherri Hayes' website for more information.

Review:
Please note that this book was originally published in 2010 but my review is for the updated version of Hidden Threat (published in January 2016) which has been extensively rewritten and contains a lot of additional content.

Cali Stanton has never been interested in taking over her father's company, she's much more focused on her own career working for Doctors Without Borders in Africa, she loves everything about being a doctor, especially being able to help people who are less fortunate than she is. However, when she finds out her father was in an accident and will be out of commission for several months she agrees to come home on a temporary basis to look after things for him until he's back on his feet. Cali is really thrown in at the deep end, she knows very little about running a business, so the endless meetings and numerous spreadsheets are completely overwhelming but on top of that she has to try and help her father's security team figure out why the company is being targeted and how so many of their deliveries are being hijacked before they reach their destinations.

Matthew Anderson is the head of security for Stanton Enterprises, Cali's father brought him and his brother, Jason, in to investigate the missing shipments but they're still struggling to uncover exactly what is going on. They have increased security and been able to protect some of the latest deliveries but they know someone fairly high up in the company must be involved somehow and leaking information and it's not easy trying to pin down who. As the threats become increasingly personal and Cali's life is put at risk it is up to Matt to try and keep her safe but can he figure things out in time?

I had high hopes for this novel since I usually love Sherri Hayes' writing so this should have been an instant hit. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to my expectations and although both the main characters were fairly likeable there were too many things that didn't quite fit together for this to become a favourite new story. I think my first issue was with Cali taking over her father's company, it just seemed utterly ridiculous for him to hand the reigns over to her when she had absolutely no clue what she was doing. She may be a brilliant doctor but that doesn't qualify her to run a multinational corporation and it didn't make sense that he would expect her to be able to walk in and just get on with things, especially when he had a member of staff on hand whom he had been training to take over when he retires. As it turned out her father's assistant had to do most of the work for her so it would probably have been better to leave her in charge!

Then you have the attraction between Cali and Matt, I get that they were trying to be professional and not have an employee / employer kind of affair and to be honest I respected them for that but they acted like a pair of hormonal teenagers which irritated me no end. From the very first time they saw each other pretty much all they could think about was how sexy the other person was and how much they wanted them, they practically started drooling whenever they were in the same room with each other and it got incredibly frustrating and quite boring being stuck inside their heads for the same thoughts over and over and over again. It improved a lot when they finally gave into temptation though and I can't deny that they had great chemistry but by that point I was already struggling.

The mystery side could have been really good and there were parts of it that were unexpected but the I'd pegged the main bad guy incredibly early on. It wasn't difficult since there was a very limited pool of suspects, in fact there is only one person I can actually think of! I kept hoping I would be wrong and that there would be some kind of twist to it so I was sadly disappointed by the ending. The book isn't all bad though, there are some very sweet moments between Cali and Matt, I enjoyed getting to know some of the side characters and the story had plenty of humour it was just lacking the sense of anticipation and worry that I normally expect from romantic suspense. This may not be my favourite Sherri Hayes book but I'll still planning on reading A Christmas Proposal, a short story featuring this couple set after the end of Hidden Threat, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for new releases from this author.

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

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Saturday, 20 February 2016

Review: Simon Drew's Inappropriate Address Book - Simon Drew

This may well be an address book but it is certainly unlike any other. Profusely illustrated throughout in full colour, it contains a delicious selection of Simon Drew's highly idiosyncratic drawings and accompanying written captions. Throughout this book there are countless distractions: this means that as you look up an address you will find yourself amazed at the drawings and quirky words and will soon discover that you have forgotten what you were doing in the first place. What could be more surprising than finding a mole wandering across Auntie Flo's address? Or maybe an earthworm writhing past a telephone number? Gifted with a quirky sense of fun and a lively imagination, Simon Drew interprets conventional words and phrases, situations and circumstances in pictures and prose. It is an address book designed to delight all those who enjoy verbal and pictorial puns.

Visit Simon Drew's website for more information or to watch the videos

Review:
I wouldn't normally write a review for an address book but I received Simon Drew's Inappropriate Address Book as a Christmas gift and fell in love with the quirky artwork and thought I'd take the chance to spotlight a fab British artist.

Simon Drew is a master at putting a unique twist on well known sayings or song lyrics and creating illustrations to match. Every page of this address book has something different to draw the eye and looking up an address takes far longer than it should do because I keep getting distracted by the illustrations.

This is more of a desk address book than something you'd carry around with you (it's about A5 size) but it has plenty of space for writing addresses along with slots for mobile phone numbers and email addresses. The book is a lovely keepsake and it's one I'm sure I'll be using for many years to come.

Here is just a small sample of some of the illustrations to give you an idea what you're getting:





Source: Purchased

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Friday, 19 February 2016

Review: The Story of Son - J.R. Ward

First released in the anthology Dead After Dark, dive into this hot novella from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward. Available for the first time ever as a standalone ebook, get lost in the sinful pleasures of a vampire so obsessed with one woman, he will relinquish her blood, if only he can have her heart . . .

Held captive by a dark, seductive vampire with an unworldly hunger, the beautiful Claire Stroughton fears her life as a lawyer has irrevocably taken a turn for the worse. But when this deeply sensual-and highly dangerous-vampire convinces Claire that his desire for her is stronger than his lust for blood, she is compelled to give everything up to him, body and soul . . .

The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series:
The Story of Son (novella set in the BDB world but about completely unrelated characters)
Dark Lover
Lover Eternal
Lover Awakened
Lover Revealed
Lover Unbound
Lover Enshrined
The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide
Lover Avenged
Lover Mine
Lover Unleashed
Lover Reborn
Lover at Last
The King
The Shadows
The Beast (2016)

The Fallen Angels Series:
(This is a spin off series set in the same world with a slight crossover of characters)
Covet
Crave
Envy
Rapture
Possession
Immortal

Black Dagger Legacy:
(A second spin off series that stars the original characters from BDB and the new recruits they're training)
Blood Kiss

Visit J.R. Ward's website for more information

Review:
I've seen mixed opinions on whether The Story of Son fits into J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series or not, some people say it's set in the same world but about stand alone characters while other's say it's in an entirely separate world. I can't confirm for sure either way but to me it feels like a story written by the author before she had finished fully developing the BDB world. In a lot of ways it has a very similar feel to that series (although these aren't characters you'll have met before and I didn't spot any cameos from familiar faces) but it doesn't quite follow the BDB rules, it's almost as if this was a trial run and she used the story to help her figure out the vampire mythology that a lot of fans are now familiar with thanks to the BDB series. That isn't a negative, I just thought it might help to clarify things for readers who (like I was!) are confused about where this story fits into the series.

It's also worth noting that this story was previously included in the Dead After Dark anthology before being released as a stand alone eBook. Again not a complaint but just something you might want to be aware of so you don't end up buying something you've already read.

So, now we've got that out of the way let's talk about the actual novella! The Story of Son is fairly short so you're going to have to just go with the almost instant connection between the main characters but I don't think you'll find that too hard because it's written to J.R. Ward's usual high standards and both Son and Claire are extremely likeable characters. I don't want to say too much about the plot because it would be very easy to give spoilers but when lawyer Claire is asked to visit an important client about a last minute change to her will she ends up getting a lot more than she bargained for.

Son, who Claire thankfully renames Michael, has had a pretty horrible time of things and I felt terrible for the way he had been treated by the people who should have cared for him. Claire is the first person to see underneath the monster he's been told he is to the sweet, caring guy that he actually is and it's her love that helps to save him. I really liked both of these characters and I enjoyed their story even though I would have loved to see this turned into a full length novel. I'd quite like to see more of Michael and Claire but I'm not really sure how that could work, I can't see them being able to appear in the BDB books because of certain inconsistencies in the world building but I can't imagine J.R. Ward creating a whole new series around them when it would be so similar to the books she already writes. It's a shame really because they could have been a great couple to spend more time with.

I'd kind of lost my love of the BDB series a little over the last few years and have fallen behind by not reading the last few releases but this reminded me why I always loved J.R. Ward's writing so much. It's made me realise how much I've missed the BDB world so if nothing else I'm glad it's rekindled my excitement and I'm now looking forward to continuing with the main series.

Source: Purchased

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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Review: Mind Games - Jana Oliver

Riley Blackthorn's life as a Demon Trapper is about to hit the wall. Knowing she will always be a target for those who want to exploit her "connections" with Hell, she's learning defensive magic. It seems the only way to ensure she and her fiancé, Denver Beck, have a future together. But not everyone in Atlanta, or at the Vatican, is pleased by the news. In fact, some want to ban the use of all magic, and Riley would make the perfect scapegoat.

As a new demonic enemy stalks her, Guild politics roil the city, throwing trappers into chaos. To protect herself and the man she loves, Riley will be forced to choose: continue in her legendary father's footsteps, or carve her own path. A path that may well lead to her losing everything she so desperately seeks to protect.

The Demon Trappers Series:
Retro Demonology (Free Short Story)
Forsaken (Released in the US as The Demon Trapper's Daughter)
Forbidden (Released in the US as Soul Thief)
Forgiven
Foretold
Grave Matters (Novella)
Mind Games

Visit Jana Oliver's website for more information

Review:
I absolutely love Jana Oliver's Demon Trappers series and I was really sad when it came to an end so I'm thrilled that the author decided to revisit it and give us a chance to see how the characters are getting along. Mind Games picks up not long after the Grave Matters novella, Beck is still living in Scotland while he finishes his training to become a Grand Master while Riley is back in Atlanta. It's hard being so far away from the man she loves but Riley has plenty to keep her busy: she's helping train new apprentices, she's put in her application to become a Master Trapper and as if that wasn't enough she is also studying magic with both the witches and the necromancers so that she'll be able to protect herself properly.

Riley has always struggled to get the respect she deserves from some of the Guild members, there are those who just don't want a female trapper around and others who don't trust her because of her father's actions even though he was a legend in his own right before his mistakes became public knowledge. Anyway, the fact that she is now studying magic has given the people who are against her even more ammunition to throw at her but Riley isn't one to back down easily and she knows that she's following the correct path. As Riley faces off against the outspoken few who fear her the entire Atlanta chapter of the Guild are facing even bigger problems and it's going to take all of Riley's skill to try and talk them out of it.

Mind Games is a great addition to the series, I love seeing how confident Riley has become and it was great seeing her start to pass on her knowledge to a whole new generation of Trappers. I'm so sick of seeing people look down on her though and it really made me mad that she doesn't get the respect she has earned from all of the Guild. Luckily her enemies are few and she has far more allies these days, ones who will have her back no matter what. It was interesting getting the chance to catch up with Simon, after everything that happened with him in the earlier books there was a point where I felt I'd never be able to forgive him for his actions but he's really come a long way and totally redeemed himself. Of course the best part was Beck, he's always been one of my favourite YA heroes and nothing has changed there! When Riley is in trouble Beck is the first person to stand at her side and when he finds out what is going on in Atlanta he jumps straight on the next plane home. I will never get bored of reading about him and Riley and I just love seeing them so happy together. There are some really sweet moments between them in this book and I hope we haven't seen the last of them.

Source: Purchased

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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Review: Dead Heat - Patricia Briggs

The Alpha and Omega novels transport readers into the realm of the werewolf, where Charles Cornick and Anna Latham embody opposite sides of the shifter personality. Now, a pleasure trip drops the couple into the middle of some bad supernatural business . . .

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles's role as his father's enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal - or at least it starts out that way . . .

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae's cold war with humanity is about to heat up - and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.

Mercy Thompson Series:
Homecoming (Graphic Novel)
Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne
River Marked
Frost Burned
Hopcross Jilly (Graphic Novel)
Night Broken
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson
Fire Touched
Silence Fallen

Alpha and Omega Series:
(This is a spin off to the Mercy Thompson series)
Alpha and Omega (novella found in the On the Prowl anthology)
Cry Wolf
Hunting Ground
Fair Game
Dead Heat

Visit Patricia Briggs' website for more information

Review:
I absolutely love Anna and Charles, they're one of my favourite couples and I can't get enough of them. What I enjoy most about them is the way that even though Charles is protective of Anna he also understands her need to stand on her own two feet, he wants her to be an equal partner and he encourages her to be independent while still promising to have her back whenever she needs him. Charles has always kept his distance from everyone else though and even Anna knows very little about his past. It's not been easy for him to work as his father's executioner and it's hard to make friends with other wolves when you know that one day you could be called on to kill them if they ever cross the line.

So the people that Charles considers part of his inner circle are very few and Dead Heat gives us the chance to meet one of his oldest, dearest friends. A friend who is human and who Charles has avoided visiting for a long time because it hurts him to see how old Joseph has become. Charles knows that the time is coming when he'll have to say goodbye and even thinking about that is painful for him. The story is quite bittersweet in some ways but it's also about appreciating the people you love while you still can and I really enjoyed getting to see a more funny, slightly lighter hearted version of Charles. It was also great to learn a bit more about his past and see how much he has changed over the years.

Dead Heat is slower paced than the previous books but I felt that worked really well here, there is a lot of character development and a lot of time just seeing Anna and Charles enjoying each other's company and spending time with friends like a normal couple. Of course, it wouldn't be a Patricia Briggs book if they didn't find some kind of mystery to investigate and I enjoyed the reappearance of FBI Agent Leslie who I think makes a nice addition to the series cast. The mystery was well drawn out and definitely raised the stakes since they were up against a predator who was focusing on children. The one thing I didn't enjoy so much was Anna's desperation to talk Charles into them having kids of their own, it's not a trope I particularly enjoy reading at the best of times but it seems particularly strange when you're talking about a couple who are probably going to have hundreds of years to spend together. Why do they need to start a family so soon? Surely they'd want to enjoy time as a couple first? Having said that I do think the author did a good job of explaining Anna's feelings so it's really personal preference that I wanted them to wait. I'll see how it plays out over the next few books though because I'm sure if anyone can sell it to me Patricia Briggs can!

I don't think this was my favourite novel in the Alpha & Omega series but it's still a solid instalment and I love Anna and Charles as much as ever. I just have a fangirl worship thing going on for this entire world though, I love the cross over of characters between this and the Mercy Thompson books and I always know that picking up a book in this world I'm going to get completely lost in the story and not surface for air until I reach the last page.

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

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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Review: Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton

Sold immediately at auction across the world, this phenomenal novel is the first in a trilogy packed with shooting contests, train robberies, festivals under the stars, powerful Djinni magic and an electrifying love story. This promises to be a global super lead.

"Tell me that and we'll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that's how you want your story to go and we'll write it straight across the sand."

Dustwalk is Amani's home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan's enemies are on the rise.

Rebel of the Sands Series:
Rebel of the Sands
Traitor to the Throne
Future titles & release dates to be confirmed

Visit the Alwyn Hamilton's website for more information

Review:
All Amani has ever wanted is to escape her small desert hometown Dustwalk and make her way to the nearest city like her mother had always dreamed of doing. Now that her uncle is looking to force her into marriage she knows she has to leave soon before it's too late. Taking all the money she has spent years secretly saving Amani enters a sharpshooting contest hoping to win enough to purchase her train ticket out of there but unfortunately it all goes horribly wrong. Now Amani finds herself on the run from an army of soldiers and Jin, a young foreigner who is wanted for treason, is the only person she can trust to help her escape. Amani has no idea why Jin is a wanted man but she knows that the only way they'll survive is if they learn to work together.

I have been desperately waiting to get my hands on this book since I first heard about it at a Faber & Faber blogger event last year, it was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2016 and oh boy did it deliver in every way. I've heard Rebel of the Sands described as Wild West meets Arabian Nights and I can't think of a more apt way to summarize it. The story is wonderfully atmospheric with a harsh but beautiful desert setting and I was pulled into the world Alwyn Hamilton has created from the very first page. I don't want to go into too much detail about the mythology because I think it's the kind of story where it's much nicer to go in knowing only minimal details but the world building is very well done and djinni aren't something you come across a great deal in YA so it was nice to read about something so different.

The characters are fantastic, Amani is wonderful, a fiercely independent young girl who also happens to be a sharpshooter and is more than able to protect herself. Due to circumstances she has to hide a lot of what she is, girls aren't allowed much freedom in her culture and it would be impossible for her to travel alone so she thinks nothing of disguising herself as a boy and setting off for an adventure. As much as I love her independent streak I also love that she isn't afraid to accept help when she needs it and she is a very loyal friend to anyone who has earned her trust. There are hints of romance and I'm definitely shipping Amani and Jin but I'm glad that the romance didn't overshadow the rest of the storyline.

This book has it all: action, adventure, mystery, a wonderful setting, great characters, magic, gunpowder and a touch of romance. The pace is perfect and once I started reading I didn't want to stop. I can't wait to see where Amani's journey takes her throughout the rest of the trilogy and will be eagerly awaiting each new release.

I also have to give a little shout out to Faber & Faber for such a fantastic marketing campaign for the book too. They really built up the hype for this one and thankfully the book wasn't a let down. My favourite part was the awesome personalised proofs they sent out & this book is already taking pride of place on my favourites shelf :o)


Source: Received from Faber & Faber in exchange for an honest review

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