Thursday, 31 March 2016

My Favorite Contemporary Romance Tropes/Themes


The Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge is hosted by Gone with the Words and Love at First Page. As part of the challenge they are setting a different topic every month that participants can choose to join in with which I think is a brilliant idea so you can expect a post like this to appear at random most months throughout the year.

The March Prompt is:
My Favorite Contemporary Romance Tropes/Themes
(Links below will take you to my reviews)


Friends to Lovers


  1. Once Pure - Cecy Robson
  2. Before Jamaica Lane - Samantha Young
  3. Wrecked - Shiloh Walker
  4. Falling for His Best Friend - Katee Robert
  5. Let it Ride - Vivian Arend
  6. Rising Assets - Rebecca Zanetti


Brother's Best Friend / Best Friend's Brother


  1. Dare to Resist - Laura Kaye
  2. Rumour Has It - Jill Shalvis
  3. Summer in Napa - Marina Adair
  4. Come Back to Me - Mila Gray
  5. Recipe for Seduction - Gina Gordon
Reunited Lovers


  1. Once Loved - Cecy Robson
  2. Wicked Games - Samanthe Beck
  3. Tempted by the Soldier - Nicolette Day
  4. Rescue My Heart - Jill Shalvis
  5. Homefront - Jessica Scott
Reclusive / Loner Heroes


  1. Ride With Me - Ruthie Knox
  2. Unbound - Cara McKenna
Famous Heroes (Rock Star / Actor / Sportsman)


  1. Rock Hard - Nalini Singh (Rugby Player)
  2. Rock Addiction - Nalini Singh (Rock Star)
  3. Lick - Kylie Scott (Rock Star)
  4. Playing the Part - Robin Covington (Actor)
  5. Hollywood Dirt - Alessandra Torre (Actor) - I'll be posting my review for this one very soon but the story is absolutely fantastic!

Forbidden Romances


  1. Losing It - Cora Carmack (Teacher / Student)
  2. Hard Time - Cara McKenna (Prisoner / Prison Librarian)

Geeky Heroes


  1. Sexcapades - Christine d'Abo
  2. Flirting With Disaster - Ruthie Knox
  3. Playing for Her Heart - Megan Erickson
  4. The Theory of Attraction - Delphine Dryden
Fake Relationships


  1. One Night of Trouble - Elle Kennedy
  2. Falling for the Marine - Samanthe Beck

Two Strangers who meet in the dark 
(who even knew this was a trope? I HAD to include it though since this is one of my favourite contemporary romance novels EVER!)

  1. Hearts in Darkness - Laura Kaye
So those are some of my favourite romance tropes & some of my favourite contemporary romances. These are all books I've recommended to friends and most of these authors are firm favourites. Are there any books in these tropes that I've missed? I'm always looking for new books so recommendations are very welcome. Are there any tropes that you love that I've forgotten to mention?

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Review: A Gathering of Shadows - V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last magicians with the ability to travel between parallel universes, linked by the magical city of London. It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into his possession and he met Delilah Bard. Four months since the Dane twins of White London fell, and the stone was cast with Holland's dying body back into Black London.

Now Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila. And as Red London prepares for the Element Games - an international competition of magic - a certain pirate ship draws closer. But another London is coming back to life. The balance of magic is perilous, and for one city to flourish, another must fall . . .

Shades of Magic Series:
A Darker Shade of Magic
A Gathering of Shadows
A Conjuring of Light

Visit V.E. Schwab's website for more information

Review:
I absolutely loved A Darker Shade of Magic so of course A Gathering of Shadows was one of my most anticipated books of 2016, I couldn't wait to dive back into this world to catch up with Kell and Lila and I had incredibly high hopes for this story. Perhaps my expectations were a little too high because I certainly came away feeling disappointed. I won't go as far to say AGOS is a bad book but it definitely suffers from second book syndrome and in no way lives up to it's predecessor. The pacing was off in this book and the story dragged, and I mean it REALLY dragged. It took me 9 whole days to finish it because I would read a couple of chapters and make an excuse to put it down and do something else, then I'd have to force myself to pick it back up again later. Things do pick up in the last third but then you are hit in the face with a giant cliffhanger so I can't even call the ending satisfactory.

The beginning of the story sees Lila off looking for adventure like she promised she would at the end of the previous book, she's managed to earn a place on the crew of a pirate sorry privateer ship and she's having a brilliant time exploring the world and finding new ways to steal from people. She's also started learning magic under the supervision of the ship captain Alucard (who is a brilliant new character by the way, he was probably my favourite thing about the whole book!). The trouble is Lila has started to get comfortable in her new life, she's actually started to feel settled and even to consider the crew as friends and that is making her very nervous. Lila doesn't do well with routine or friendship and she decides that she's going to have to make her excuses and leave so when Alucard announces that they'll be returning to Red London for the Essen Tasch, the world's greatest magical tournament, she decides that's a perfect time for her to start yet another new life for herself.

I absolutely loved Lila in the first book and even at the beginning of this one I was praising her for her cocky and self assured attitude because she has always had the skills needed to back up any claims she makes. Lila has the kind of adventurous spirit that means she's always getting into trouble but that doesn't bother me because she nearly always has a plan to get herself back out again and her adventures along the way are so much fun to read about. No matter how much I love her she did start to annoy me in this book though, she grew up in Grey London and didn't have even a tiny amount of magical ability or training until she came to Red London four months ago yet she decides she deserves a place competing amongst the best trained magicians in the whole world. She doesn't even know the rules of the game yet she thinks she has a right to be there competing even though the competitors were chosen months ago.

I don't think I'd have minded so much if she had earned her spot in the contest, in fact she could have even won it by cheating another magician in a card game and I'd have cheered her on from the sidelines. Instead she attacks a complete stranger with absolutely no plan and no idea how she is going to keep him out of the way for the entire contest. What the hell would she have done if Alucard hadn't turned up out of nowhere and found a solution for her? Would she have gone so far as killing the rightful competitor just to take his place? That whole situation left a very bitter taste in my mouth and I still haven't forgiven her for it. That's without thinking about the way she suddenly has the skills to compete in a magical battle against magicians who have trained for YEARS when she's not had a single day of training to fight in a magical duel. She supposedly picks up everything she needs to know from watching the couple of fights before her own match. Up until that point Alucard has been teaching her the basics of how to control the elements and she's been struggling with that so you really expect me to believe she's now a brilliant fighter using nothing but her magic to attack and defend herself? You have got to be kidding me.

So Lila's side of the story started well but went downhill rapidly and left me with a pretty low opinion of her but what about Kell? Kell's whole world has been turned upside down after events at the end of the previous book, his life has forever been bound to Rhy's and he is the only thing keeping the prince alive. The King and Queen also blame him completely for everything that went wrong and they're now treating him worse than ever. So Kell has every right to be upset and angry but it does mean that he spends a lot of his time moping around and feeling sorry for himself. I could completely understand why that was but it doesn't make for very interesting reading. I do love the bond between him and Rhy though, the boys are closer than ever and Rhy is determined to do whatever it takes to pull Kell out of his black mood - even if it does mean secretly entering him into the Essen Tasch, something which is strictly forbidden since Kell is so powerful. At least Kell has the skill needed to make his spot in the contest valid though and I actually really enjoyed seeing him go into battle. His side of the story picked up dramatically when the Essen Tasch started and it was nice to see a more positive side to him that had been missing earlier on.

So there were parts of this story that I enjoyed immensely but there were others that either made me really angry or completely indifferent to the characters. We are also hit with a KILLER cliffhanger at the end of the story. There are two different types of cliffhangers, ones that leave you feeling like you had a decent ending to the book but still make you desperate to get your hands on the sequel or ones that make you want to throw the book across the room and vow never to start reading another series by this author until all the books have been published. Unfortunately for me this was of the second variety. I understand that authors want to hook readers in so that we'll buy the next book but I'll do that anyway if I love the characters and the world building. A Gathering of Shadows reads more like a very long prequel to the third book in the series than a story in it's own right. It's a filler book in which very little actually happens and I'm sorry to say it but I'm disappointed. Will I read the next book? Of course I will, I loved the first book so much and I'm still really invested in these characters so I want to find out what happens to them. I'll be waiting for confirmation that it's definitely a trilogy before starting the next book though, if it's going to be a longer series then I'll wait until all the books are available before I carry on reading.

Source: Received from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Review: Naked in Death - J.D. Robb

Named by the social worker who rescued her as a child, Eve Dallas is now a New York City cop who lives for the job.

While recovering from her latest case, Eve is sent to investigate the brutal execution of Sharon DeGlass. A high-class escort and senator's granddaughter, Sharon has been shot three times with an illegal gun and left naked and posed on her own bed.

All the evidence points Eve towards Irish billionaire, Roarke. With an instant sexual attraction between them, Eve and Roarke must work together to find a sadistic killer - but can Eve really trust a man whose past is as damaged as her own?

In Death Series:
Naked in Death
Glory in Death
Immortal in Death
Rapture in Death
Ceremony in Death
Vengeance in Death
Holiday in Death
Midnight in Death (Novella)
Conspiracy in Death
Loyalty in Death
Witness in Death
Judgement in Death
Betrayal in Death
Interlude in Death (Novella)
Seduction in Death
Reunion in Death
Purity in Death
Portrait in Death
Imitation in Death
Big Jack (Novella in the Remember When Novella)
Divided in Death
Visions in Death
Survivor in Death
Origin in Death
Memory in Death
Haunted in Death (Novella)
Born in Death
Innocent in Death
Eternity in Death (Novella)
Creation in Death
Strangers in Death
Salvation in Death
Ritual in Death (Novella)
Promises in Death
Kindred in Death
Missing in Death (Novella)
Fantasy in Death
Indulgence in Death
Possession in Death (Novella)
Treachery in Death
New York to Dallas
Chaos in Death (Novella)
Celebrity in Death
Delusion in Death
Calculated in Death
Thankless in Death
Taken in Death (Novella)
Concealed in Death
Festive in Death
Obsessed in Death
Devoted in Death
Wonderment in Death (Novella)
Brotherhood in Death
Apprentice in Death (2016)

Visit J.D. Robb's website for more information.

Review:
I've been hearing great things about J.D. Robb's In Death series for years now - in fact I think it was about 4 years ago that I actually bought my copy of Naked in Death! - but no matter how many friends have recommended it to me I kept putting off starting it. Mainly because it's such an intimidating series, let's face it the series is going from strength to strength with book 43 publishing later this year and that number doesn't even take into account the novellas and short stories! So it wasn't so much that I was worried that I wouldn't like this book but that I was terrified that I would, I mean who really has time to commit to a series of that length? But mainly due to some persistent nagging (thanks for that Aly!) I FINALLY bit the bullet and dove head first into this world and boy I'm glad I did. I just had so much fun with these characters and I'm excited that I get to spend so much more time getting to know them.

I'm not really sure if it's even worth writing a review of this book since pretty much everyone I know seems to have already read it and there are certainly no shortage of other reviews out there but I feel like I probably should though just in case you're one of those people who, like me, have been feeling intimidated by the series and wondering if it's really worth all the fuss it gets. I want to say categorically, based just on the first book, that yes, YES it is worth grabbing a copy of Naked in Death and I hope you end up enjoying it as much as I did!

Even though this book was first published just over 20 years ago it doesn't feel dated thanks to the futuristic setting J.D. Robb has created, the series starts in 2058 so it's not so far into the future that it feels alien but it's just far enough that the author is able to include some interesting technology and make her own rules regarding current laws etc. The setting is well done and we were given enough information to catch my attention without it feeling overwhelming. The focus of this story is definitely the mystery and I though that side was very well handled, it kept me completely hooked and I enjoyed seeing how Eve worked the crime scenes and slowly pieced everything together.

Eve is a tough, no nonsense cop who loves her job and wants to help people, she doesn't remember much about her childhood thanks to repressed memories but readers get a hint of the things she has been through in the form of flashbacks that she suffers. I'm sure there is a lot more left to learn but seeing the vulnerable side of her was quite heartbreaking and it makes me sick to think of the things that she's been through. Eve doesn't want sympathy though, she just wants to focus on the future and doing her job to the best of her ability. It seems like she has a tendency to use her work as a shield against her emotions and she can come across as a little cold at times but that quickly starts to change when she meets Roarke and he starts to get under her skin.

Roarke is a character I've heard so much about so I was really excited to meet him. He's a billionaire businessman with a bit of a shady past and it's hard to tell whether he's 100% on the right side of the law even now. He obviously has a code of honour and there are lines that he won't cross but I suspect that all bets are off when the people he cares about are in trouble. When Eve crosses paths with him it's because he's a suspect in her murder investigation and she's left feeling very conflicted by the attraction she feels towards him, she can't decide if he's really innocent or whether her hormones are leading her astray but at least she is aware of the way her feelings could be affecting her decision making. Roarke is the kind of character who really should raise loads of red flags, he's very possessive and definitely shows more than a few stalker tendencies that I would find REALLY off putting in a real life situation but somehow J.D. Robb pulls it off and she had me falling head over heels for him in spite of the warning signs. So much about him is still a mystery and I can't wait to dig deeper into his past and find out what makes him tick.

As we get to know him it becomes clear that Roarke is just as messed up as Eve and they understand each other on a level that people who don't have their experiences would never quite be able to achieve. As a couple they just work so although things to progress between them very quickly it didn't feel unbelievable. I do wish the author had taken more time to get them to this point of their relationship, considering the length of the series I think we could have had that delicious will they / won't they pull between them for at least a couple of books, but even though things have moved quickly they still don't know each other that well and I'm sure we're going to enjoy seeing them open up and share more of their secrets. In fact, I'd rather have them become a couple in the first book than have to deal with yet another dreaded love triangle so I'm not going to complain about the romance even a little bit!

Naked in Death is a fantastic start to this series and it's definitely left me eager to spend more time with these characters. I think my bank balance will suffer when I rush out and buy the rest of the series but I'm looking forward to having so many books to binge on!

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:

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast . . . and Owl has to pick sides.

The Adventures of Owl:
Owl and the Japanese Circus
Owl and the City of Angels
Owl & the Electric Samurai (2016)

Visit Kristi Charish's website for more information

Review:
Owl used to be an archaeology student but now she's an antiquities thief and a very good one at that. If there is treasure hidden in a tomb somewhere and you want to acquire it Owl is your girl but at the moment you might find she's a little distracted by the vampires that are trying to murder her in revenge for an unfortunate accident. Staying one step ahead of the vampires is exhausting and not likely to be something she can manage for any length of time without help but there isn't really anyone she can turn to. Until she is approached by Mr. Kurosawa, a dragon shifter who owns a popular Las Vegas casino, that is. Mr. Kurosawa has a small task for her and if she can find an artifact that was stolen from him 3,000 years ago he has promised to deal with her vampire problem permanently. Either way he'll keep them off her back while she's working so it's not really an offer she can turn down.

Owl and the Japanese Circus is a promising start to Kristi Charish's first series, there are definitely a lot of things to like about the world she has created and I enjoyed this enough to want to pick up the sequel. I really liked the author's take on vampires, it can be hard to come up with something different in such a saturated market but she managed it, and the whole supernatural underground has a lot of potential, we've already met several different species and I'm sure there are more to come as we continue to explore the world with Owl. I also really enjoyed the Indiana Jones feel to the treasure hunting parts of the story, I actually would have liked to see Owl spending more time exploring ancient sites searching for clues but I was satisfied with what we've had so far.

Where things went slightly wrong for me was actually with Owl and that's a potentially huge problem. I liked her a lot in the beginning but the more time we spent with her the more she seems to come across as stupidly stubborn and a little childish. She makes quite a few stupid mistakes and I was incredibly annoyed with the way she treated the people closest to her, especially her kind of boyfriend Rynn (more on him later). I absolutely hated the names she called him, particularly when the first time it happened she really hurt him but then she continued to use the same names deliberately as a "joke". It wasn't funny the first time Owl so it sure as hell wasn't funny the second, third or fourth time either. I get that Owl doesn't spend much time with people, she's always been a loner and even though she is fairly close to her best friend Nadya they don't spend much time together so she's more than a little socially awkward. That excuse holds up to a point but when you keep making the same mistakes over and over again then the excuse starts wearing very, very thin. Learn from your actions and change them next time please. I do have hope that Owl will grow as the series continues, after all it's no fun if main characters start out perfect, the whole point of reading a series is that we get to see the characters improve, but she's going to have to make a few big changes fast or I doubt I'll get beyond book 2 and that would be a real shame.

Now I've got that little complaint out of the way let's get back to the positives. First and foremost I absolutely loved Owl's main sidekick, her Egyptian Mau cat called Captain. Captain has been trained to hunt and kill vampires and he just added so much fun to the story. I actually have a bit of a soft spot for feline sidekicks so that's definitely an easy way to get bonus points from me! I also liked Nadya who I think must have the patience of a saint to put up with Owl sometimes. Then you have Rynn, now he is a character I want to spend more time with! As far as book boyfriends go Rynn is pretty much spot on, he's hot, he's protective, there is a lot more to him than meets the eye and he has that bad boy charm that comes from being dark and mysterious. I love that we've already uncovered a few of his secrets but I'm sure there is a lot more to come from his character too.

Overall, I do think this was a positive start to the series and I'm definitely planning on reading Owl and the City of Angels to see what happens next. If Owl can just make a concerted effort to be a bit nicer to the people around her then I think I'm going to end up loving this series.

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:

Friday, 25 March 2016

Review: Grey - Christi J. Whitney

Can you still love with a heart of stone?

Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.

But when Romany gypsies arrive in town, Sebastian discovers that his world is not what it seems. There is an age-old feud between his family and the gypsies – and this isn’t the only secret his brother has been keeping from him. His life is not his own. The girl he’s been dreaming about has just turned up at school, and he feels compelled to protect her at all costs.

Even if that means life might never be normal again.

The Romany Outcasts Series:
Grey
Shadow (June 2016)
Midnight (2017)

Visit Christi J. Whitney's website for more information

Review:
Sebastian is a normal teenager, all he wants to do is hang out with his friends and get a decent grades in school until he's old enough to apprentice as a tattoo artist in his brother's shop. The only weird thing in his life are the recurring dreams he experiences of a gypsy girl dancing around a campfire but he's sure that is nothing to worry about. Until the day Josephine, literally the girl from his dreams, walks into his class at school that is.

Josephine is a performer in the Circe de Romany, a travelling circus owned and run by romany gypsies. The circus is stopping in Sebastian's hometown for a few months and so Josephine and her brother will be attending his school while they're in the area. The two are thrown together when they are both given main roles in the school play but Sebastian quickly notices some huge changes in himself whenever Josephine is around. It soon becomes clear that there are secrets in Sebastian's family and that nothing about his life, or his past, is quite what it seems and now Sebastian is thrown into a dark world with danger at every turn and no idea who he can trust.

For a start I have to mention how much I enjoyed reading a story from a male POV, so many YA tales are written from the girl's perspective so it was really nice to have the chance to really get inside Sebastian's head and understand what he was feeling. Initially I loved the bond he shared with his brother Hugo and the other tattoo artists that worked alongside him, they seemed like a great team and I loved how close the brothers were in spite of the age difference and the fact that Sebastian was adopted into the family. That all changed when we realised Hugo was keeping so many secrets though, poor Sebastian's whole world was being turned upside down and I found it incredibly frustrating that Hugo wouldn't tell him anything. At first I thought that Hugo was trying to protect him but before long it had me doubting Hugo's motives and it really annoyed me. I understand the need to reveal things slowly so that readers are kept in suspense but I think things were dragged out a little too far in this case and it just started to get on my nerves.

I also wasn't sold on the idea that Sebastian was in love with Josephine, he barely knows the girl, I certainly can't tell you anything about her apart from the fact that she's a gypsy and performs in a circus. I'm not even 100% sure what kind of act she has except I think it involves dancing. Sebastian spends far more time thinking about how beautiful she is and mooning over her than he does actually talking to her. In fact most of the interactions they do have consist of him behaving like a complete idiot so it's very hard to believe that she would be interested in him either. I just needed a lot more time spent showing the two together in normal situations to believe they have any hope of falling in love.

In spite of that I did like Sebastian's character, he has an awful lot thrown at him in a very short space of time and he copes with it surprisingly well. I can't really say too much because I don't want to give spoilers but his whole world is turned completely upside down and all of his plans for the future will have to go completely on hold. The world building was interesting and I am very curious to see how things play out now that Sebastian knows more about his family history. Hugo had even started to redeem himself a little towards the end so I'm hoping we'll get to see more of that protective side of him as the series continues. Grey wasn't perfect but it was enough to pull me in and leave me wanting to know more so I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the sequel to release. The series has a lot of potential and I hope it ends up living up to it.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Review: Four to Score - Janet Evanovich

The problem with being a bounty hunter is it's all on-the-job training. And Stephanie Plum is still learning the ways to get yourself killed. Take the case of Maxine Norwicki . . .

When Maxine failed to turn up for her day in court, Stephanie was given the task of bringing her in. Simple. Except Maxine's boyfriend has now begun receiving mysterious, coded notes from the runaway that hint at buried treasure.

In fact the notes are so indecipherable that Stephanie has to call on the help of Sally Sweet, giant drag queen and code-breaker extraordinaire. And Steph's knight errant, cop Joe Morelli. is also proving useful - although he can't decide what he wants most: Maxine's bounty or Stephanie's body.

Meanwhile a friend loses a finger, a mother is scalped, an apartment is firebombed and a store clerk is murdered. And out in the street, the crazy treasure hunt game goes on . . .

Stephanie Plum Series:
One for the Money
Two for the Dough
Three to get Deadly
Four to Score
High Five
Hot Six
Seven Up
Hard Eight
Visions of Sugar Plums (Between the Numbers book 1)
To the Nines
Ten Big Ones
Eleven on Top
Twelve Sharp
Plum Lovin' (Between the Numbers book 2)
Lean Mean Thirteen
Plum Lucky (Between the Numbers book 3)
Fearless Fourteen
Plum Spooky (Between the Numbers book 4)
Finger Lickin' Fifteen
Sizzling Sixteen
Smokin' Seventeen
Explosive Eighteen
Notorious Nineteen
Takedown Twenty
Top Secret Twnty-One
Tricky Twenty-Two

Visit Janet Evanovich's website for more information

Review:
When Stephanie is asked to hunt down a waitress who skipped bail after stealing her ex-boyfriend's car she thinks it'll be easy. That's before the ex-boyfriend offers her extra cash on the side if she'll tip him off to Maxine's location before the cops get involved though. It turns out that Maxine has been leaving clues for her ex and now Stephanie finds herself on a crazy treasure hunt trying to figure out what Maxine is really up to. When Maxine's friend loses a finger and her mother gets scalped the chase really starts to heat up and it looks like Maxine is in a lot more danger that Stephanie could have imagined.

I really struggle to write reviews for this series, not because I don't love these books but because I just want to rave like a lunatic about how fantastic they all are. The main trouble is that I've probably said it all before, I adore these characters, they're all over the top and completely stereotypical but absolutely brilliant in spite of that (or possibly because of it). These characters are larger than life, funny as hell and all of the books make me snort with laughter. If you enjoyed the previous books then you're bound to love Four to Score too, I'm on at least my 3rd read through of the earlier books in this series and that probably says more about my love for these books than anything else could. It's a series that I continuously go back to when I need something that is going to put a smile on my face.

Stephanie is just as out of her depth here as ever, but she always manages to come out on top no matter how crazy the situations she lands in are. Grandma Mazur and Lula are two of my favourite fictional sidekicks but here we have the addition of transvestite Sally Sweet who I really hope is going to become a cast regular (it's been so long since I read these books last that I really can't remember if he crops up again later but I'm keeping my fingers crossed). We also have two great guys to swoon over and after all these years I'm still not sure if I can choose a favourite. Things are progressing well between Stephanie and Joe Morelli though and we even get to meet his family in this book. His grandmother is one scary lady and I certainly wouldn't want her giving me the evil eye! Ranger is still around too and I love the friendly flirtation between him and Stephanie, I don't think it'll ever go anywhere but I enjoy it all the same and who doesn't like to daydream about a batman type of superhero? These books are pure entertainment, perfect for when you're in the mood for something light hearted, a little bit silly and guaranteed to make you giggle and I don't think I'll ever get bored of spending time with Stephanie and her friends!

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:

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Review: The Exiled Queen - Cinda Williams Chima

You can’t always run from danger . . .

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery – but the bargain they make is one Han may soon regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

Seven Realms Series:
The Demon King
The Exiled Queen
The Gray Wolf Throne
The Crimson Crown

Shattered Realms Series:
(Set in the same world as the Seven Realms but 20 years later)
Flamecaster
Shadowcaster (2017)

Visit the Cinda Williams Chima's website for more information

Review:
This series is just getting better and better, The Exiled Queen picks up not long after where The Demon King left off so we both Raisa and Han going through huge changes in their lives. Han is travelling to Oden's Ford with Dancer so that they can both begin their magical training at Mystwerk House but that's going to put him squarely in the sights of the Bayer twins who are both holding a grudge against him. Both of the boys struggle to fit in, Dancer is an outcast amongst the other wizards who all look down on him for his clan heritage while Han is caught between the people who want to use him for their own ends and those who would rather see him dead.

At the same time Raisa is travelling back to school with Amon and his triple, she is hiding in plain sight as a new recruit named Rebecca and trying to stay under the radar to avoid the Queen's Guard. If anyone discovers who she really is the best outcome would be getting dragged back home and forced into an unwanted marriage but with rumours circulating that the High Wizard is trying to have her sister declared heir to the throne it's more likely she'd meet with an unfortunate accident. Raisa is determined to make the most of her time at Oden's Ford though and she puts everything she has into training as hard as possible and learning anything that she feels could be an advantage in her future role as queen.

The Exiled Queen had me hooked from the first page, I enjoyed getting to learn more about this world as we journeyed across the country with the characters and we meet some interesting groups along the way who I'm sure are going to have roles to play as the series continues. The story really picks up the pace once we arrive at Oden's Ford though, I don't want to talk too much about what actually happens there but I loved seeing how much all of our characters changed and grew throughout the story. They are gradually starting to figure out their places in the world and are all starting to understand what they need to do to achieve their goals.

I still love the friendship between Dancer and Han, although Han was a little neglectful of his friend for a while so I'm hoping that doesn't continue. Cat is an excellent addition to the cast and it was also nice to see Raisa make some friendships amongst the other soldiers. Amon is still my favourite character but I'm a little angry with him for some of the choices he made in both in the previous book and in this one. I think my ship has basically hit an iceberg and sunk without a trace but I'm still kind of holding out hope for it to be mysteriously resurrected, please Cinda Williams Chima don't break my heart completely! Whatever happens I'm definitely excited to continue reading this series and I'm sure there are going to be lots more shocking developments before it reaches the conclusion.

Source: Purchased

Other reviews of this book:
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Paperback / Kindle:

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Cover Reveal: Race the Darkness - Abbie Roads

It’s precisely 7:22 pm ET, the sun has just set in the east, and it’s starting to get dark...

We are excited to reveal the cover of Race the Darkness, a dark, gritty, emotional and sexy romantic suspense novel by debut author Abbie Roads.


First in a gripping paranormal romantic suspense duo by a Golden Heart finalist debut author whose clinical work gives her chilling insights...

Cursed with a terrible gift
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

That threatens to engulf them...
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

About Abbie Roads:
Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark, emotional novels, always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. Her novels have finaled in RWA contests including the Golden Heart. Race the Darkness is the first book in the Fatal Dreams series of dark, gritty romantic suspense with a psychological twist.

Race the Darkness will be available on October 4th.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/22nGnVk
B&N: http://bit.ly/1pwghOK
BAM: http://bit.ly/1RmOgoN

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

Dear Readers,

I wrote Race the Darkness from start to finish three different times, with three different story lines, and with three different titles! The only thing that ever remained the same between the versions was Xander and Isleen. I believed in them and the story they wanted to tell. I hope you love reading about their tragedies and triumphs as much as I enjoyed writing them… All three times! And isn’t the cover amazing, beautiful, gorgeous? I cried the first time I saw it! It made all the hard work to get this book to you worth it!

Abbie Roads

P.S. I would love to connect with you and hear what you think about the cover! You can find me here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

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

An excerpt from Race the Darkness:

No fucking way was he going to die running. He stopped, turned and faced the truck barreling toward them. The tires ate up the ground at an indecent rate. He clutched Isleen tighter to his chest. For her sake, he wanted it to be a quick death. No more lingering. No more pain.

That thought infuriated him. None of this was right. They shouldn’t be on the verge of death. Again.

The truck kept coming—twenty-five feet.

Everything slowed, happened as if through the quicksand of time. A white dandelion floaty meandered on the breeze directly between them and the truck. His heart no longer ran a staccato rhythm. Duh…duhm. Pause. Duh…duhm.

Pause.

His life didn’t flash before his eyes. The future did. Isleen’s future. In an ethereal dream beyond time, her skin was gilded by firelight, her eyes void of sadness and fear, her body whole and healthy. She smiled, an expression so full of warmth and tenderness and undiluted joy that it plunked itself down inside his heart and wouldn’t leave.

He ached to create that kind of smile on her face, but their lives were over and it all could’ve gone so differently if he’d only listened to her, believed in her, found her years before now.

Review: Fool's Gold - Jaye Wells

In the 1970s, Sabina Kane was a rookie assassin looking for first big kill. But when the day finally comes to prove her skills to the Dominae, she finds herself shadowing Slade Corbin, a more experienced assassin with a huge chip on his shoulder. Together, they must track down a blackmailer who's threatening to expose the existence of vampires to the world. Will Sabina and Slade be able to find the blackmailer in time, and, more important, will they be able to get through the mission without killing each other?

Sabina Kane Series:
Fool's Gold (Novella)
Red-Headed Stepchild
The Mage in Black
Violet Tendencies (Novella)
Green-Eyed Demon
Silver-Tongued Devil
Blue-Blooded Vamp
Rusted Veins (Novella)

Visit Jaye Wells' website for more information

Review:
Fool's Gold is a short prequel novella to the Sabina Kane series that gives readers a bit more insight into Sabina's past and her first job as an assassin. Sabina aced her assassin training and came out top of all her classes but in spite of that her half-blood status has always been held against her. While her other classmates were all able to get straight to work Sabina has been palmed off with easy enforcer work because the Dominae don't trust her with anything more complicated.

She's finally being given a chance to prove herself though, someone is threatening to out vampires to the human population unless the Dominae pay him a crazy amount of money. Of course they should have known better because the Dominae were never going to pay blackmail money when they have a team of assassins they can send to get rid of the problem. Sabina has been teamed up with their top assassin Slade to work on the case and if she can prove to him that she's capable then she'll be able to begin working as an assassin full time.

I'm not going to say anything more about the plot but this was a fun story and I liked the fact that it was set in the late 70's, it made for an interesting change of pace compared to the first book in the series. I'm assuming that Slade is a character that we'll meet again later on (I've currently only read the first book: Red-Headed Stepchild so know he wasn't in that book) and after the way things were left at the end of this story the next meeting between him and Sabina should be interesting to say the least. I'm actually quite looking forward to seeing that happen so I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't show up again!

I'm glad I read this story, it was nice to learn more about Sabina's past and it's even easier to understand why she has such a big chip on her shoulder now. I did miss Giguhl but there were still some funny and light hearted moments provided by a different sidekick that goes by the name of Satan.

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:

Monday, 21 March 2016

Review: Girl From Above: Falling - Pippa DaCosta

Caleb Shepperd is a fixer. He'll do anything for credits.

When he's hired to track and kill a woman who's muscled in on a dangerous smuggler's territory, he figures it's just another day in the black...Until he's trapped in a silo with his mark.

'Just another day in the black' could turn out to be his last day alive.

A short story prequel to the bestselling science fiction series 'Girl From Above ~ The 1000 Revolution'.

Can be read at any time before, during, or after any of the main books in the series.

NOTE: This is a short story of approximately 35 pages.

*Originally published in The Galaxy Chronicles 2015 (since modified for re-release).

The 1000 Revolution:
Girl From Above: Falling (Short Story)
Girl From Above: Betrayal
Girl From Above: Escape
Girl From Above: Trapped
Girl From Above: Trust

Visit Pippa DaCosta's website for more information

Review:
I absolutely love Pippa DaCosta's 1000 Revolution series so of course I was excited when I found out she had released this prequel short story. If you've ever wondered how Caleb and Fran met and ended up working together then Girl From Above: Falling is a must read.

This is only a short story but it packs a lot in and I think it's a fabulous introduction to the series so if you've been unsure whether to read it or not this free read should help you make up your mind. The series is so much fun to read, the characters are a completely morally ambiguous bunch who are just as likely to stab each other in the back as they are to offer everlasting friendship but that makes them all the more fascinating. You really never can tell what to expect next, tentative truces can be destroyed in a moment and then you'll see enemies working together against an even greater foe but as soon as the threat is dealt with then all bets are off again.

My only disappointment with this story was that we didn't get to see #1000 since she's one of my favourite characters but I loved finding out a bit more about Caleb and Fran's history together and it's left me wanting to reread the rest of the series.


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: Pack - Jeaniene Frost

**Previously published in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance and the Under Her Skin anthologies—now updated to include over 20% more sizzling extra material**

Lost in the woods . . .
Marlee Peters is tired of putting her dreams on hold, so when her friends can’t continue on a long- anticipated hike of Yellowstone National Park, she goes on without them. But Marlee isn’t alone in the woods; she’s being hunted by a pack of frighteningly intelligent wolves. When a fight for survival takes an impossible turn, Marlee realizes that the enigmatic stranger who saves her might either be her dream come true . . . or her waking nightmare.

Big, bad wolf . . .
As the pack’s enforcer, Daniel is sworn to keep the existence of werewolves a secret. He knows that Marlee’s bites may change her life in a way she can’t imagine, but if they don’t, he can’t let her tell others about his race. Yet Marlee is awakening Daniel’s most primal urges, and soon, neither one of them will be able to resist the call of the wild . . .

Visit Jeaniene Frost's website for more information

Review:
Pack is a short story that was originally published in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance (back in 2009) and has apparently been updated and added to before it was re-released as a stand alone ebook. I can't confirm how much has changed because I never read the original but I have to admit that this isn't Jeaniene Frost's best work.

It's not a terrible story but it's only around 50 pages long so there isn't much time for character development, especially considering this isn't set in a world we're familiar with and is actually the author's first attempt at writing about werewolves. I didn't dislike the story but I can't say it was particularly memorable, there is definitely potential here and if the author said she was going to write more books in this world then I'd happily buy them but I think we needed a longer story to give us time to connect with the characters.

I'm not sure whether to recommend this or not, if you just want something quick to read then it isn't a bad way to spend 20 minutes but if you're looking for something with a bit more depth then there are plenty of other options available.

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:

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Review: How it Works: The Wife - Jason Hazeley & Joel Morris

From bestselling authors Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris - a nugget of wisdom in the phenomenal Ladybirds for Grown Ups series.

This delightful book is the latest in the series of Ladybird books which have been specially planned to help grown-ups with the world about them.

The large clear script, the careful choice of words, the frequent repetition and the thoughtful matching of text with pictures all enable grown-ups to think they have taught themselves to cope. Featuring original Ladybird artwork alongside brilliantly funny, brand new text.

Ladybirds for Grown Ups Series:
How it Works: The Husband
How it Works: The Wife
How it Works: The Mum
How it Works: The Dad
The Ladybird Book of the Mid-Life Crisis
The Ladybird Book of the Hangover
The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness
The Ladybird Book of the Shed
The Ladybird Book of Dating
The Ladybird Book of the Hipster

Visit the Penguin website for more information

Review:
It's my Mum & Dad's wedding anniversary today and what do you get for a couple that have been together for 34 years? Something silly of course so the Husband and Wife versions of the Ladybirds for Grown Ups How it Works series seemed like the perfect option!

Do you remember those old Ladybird books you used to read as a child? I have fond memories of fiction titles like Mick the Disobedient Puppy, The Discontented Pony and who could forget books like Tasseltip and the Boozle but there were also the educational ones that were actually supposed to teach you something. The books were all illustrated, written in very simple language and easy for children to read, something that has been continued into the adult versions that have been released much more recently. Including illustrations from the original series these books are like a step back in time but a very humourous one.

These books are snarky, play on male and female stereotypes and epitomise a dry British sense of humour. All in they're just fun, silly books that aren't meant to be taken too seriously but are designed to put a smile on your face.

My favourite quote from How it Works: The Wife -

Wives like to be right.

Sara has been waiting for her husband Tom to arrive. He is half an hour late.

Sara is delighted. She knew this would happen.


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 / Kindle:

Review: How it Works: The Husband - Jason Hazeley & Joel Morris

From bestselling authors Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris - a nugget of wisdom in the phenomenal Ladybirds for Grown Ups series.

This delightful book is the latest in the series of Ladybird books which have been specially planned to help grown-ups with the world about them.

The large clear script, the careful choice of words, the frequent repetition and the thoughtful matching of text with pictures all enable grown-ups to think they have taught themselves to cope. Featuring original Ladybird artwork alongside brilliantly funny, brand new text.

Ladybirds for Grown Ups Series:
How it Works: The Husband
How it Works: The Wife
How it Works: The Mum
How it Works: The Dad
The Ladybird Book of the Mid-Life Crisis
The Ladybird Book of the Hangover
The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness
The Ladybird Book of the Shed
The Ladybird Book of Dating
The Ladybird Book of the Hipster

Visit the Penguin website for more information

Review:
It's my Mum & Dad's wedding anniversary today and what do you get for a couple that have been together for 34 years? Something silly of course so the Husband and Wife versions of the Ladybirds for Grown Ups How it Works series seemed like the perfect option!

Do you remember those old Ladybird books you used to read as a child? I have fond memories of fiction titles like Mick the Disobedient Puppy, The Discontented Pony and who could forget books like Tasseltip and the Boozle but there were also the educational ones that were actually supposed to teach you something. The books were all illustrated, written in very simple language and easy for children to read, something that has been continued into the adult versions that have been released much more recently. Including illustrations from the original series these books are like a step back in time but a very humourous one.

These books are snarky, play on male and female stereotypes and epitomise a dry British sense of humour. All in they're just fun, silly books that aren't meant to be taken too seriously but are designed to put a smile on your face.

My favourite quote from How it Works: The Husband -

The husband finds some things very difficult. Being wrong is one of these things.

When he is wrong, the husband will refer to the times he was right, even if they date back many years.


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 / Kindle:

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Crafting Corner: Book Folding Art inspired by JK Rowling's Harry Potter Series


I know I've written a few posts about Book Folding recently but I'm a little obsessed with it at the moment so I can't help sharing :o)

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Harry Potter, I've been obsessed with that series for years, the books have been read multiple times, the movies have been watched over and over and of course I can't get enough of the merchandise. One day I'm going to get another bookish tattoo and it'll definitely be Harry Potter related so it only made sense that I combined my new book folding hobby with HP.

I thought about just creating the Deathly Hallows symbol (the triangle and circle design with a line through it that represents the invisibility cloak, the resurrection stone and the elder wand) but since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is such a huge book (just over 600 pages) I figured I had enough space to write a whole word. Since ALWAYS has become such a popular quote from the Deathly Hallows (and it sums up my feelings about the whole series so well!) that was the logical word to choose, especially when I found this image using the Deathly Hallows symbol as the letter A making it part of the word.


In case you're not familiar with the quote it's taken from a conversation between Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape, they're talking about Snape's feelings for Harry's mum Lily:

Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.

So here is my attempt at recreating that design using the book folding technique. This is only my 3rd attempt at book folding and I can't even tell you how thrilled I am with the results. It's quite a large piece though (it's about three times as wide as the wolf I created for the Red Rising trilogy) so it's been really difficult to get a good picture.

After all this time?


Always!

What do you think? It's actually much easier to read when you can see it in the flesh so to speak & I love it! I can't wait to reorganise my bookshelves and create a bit of a Harry Potter related display with all my books and some of my favourite merchandise :o)

Friday, 18 March 2016

Review: The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

Blue has spent the majority of her sixteen years being told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Gansey’s spirit on the corpse road she knows there is only one reason why – either he is her true love or she has killed him.

Determined to find out the truth, Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys, four boys from the local private school (lead by Gansey) who are on a quest to discover Glendower – a lost ancient Welsh King who is buried somewhere along the Virginia ley line. Whoever finds him will be granted a supernatural favour.

Never before has Blue felt such magic around her. But is Gansey her true love? She can’t imagine a time she would feel like that, and she is adamant not to be the reason for his death. Where will fate lead them?

The Raven Cycle:
The Raven Boys
The Dream Thieves
Blue Lily, Lily Blue
The Raven King

Visit Maggie Stiefvater's website for more information

Review:
I'm a massive fan of Maggie Stiefvater but, for possibly the first time ever, I actually managed to hold off on starting a much anticipated series until just before the release of the final book. No year long wait between each new instalment can only be a bonus, especially when it means I can read the whole series over the space of a couple of months (I'm reading with a group of friends & we're reading one book every 2 weeks otherwise I'd probably have devoured the entire series in one massive long binge). I didn't have any doubts that I would love this story because I already know how beautifully Maggie writes but I went in knowing pretty much nothing about the story or what to expect from it.

The Raven Boys is very much a character driven story and it has such wonderful characters at the wheel that you'll be hooked in no time. Blue was my personal favourite, as the only non-psychic in her family she has been raised to believe in the paranormal but she's never seen it for herself. Blue is smart, independent and she follows her own path even if that means she never quite manages to fit in amongst her peers. She is also living with a dire prediction over her head, one that means if she ever kisses her true love he will die so that obviously makes even the idea of dating just a little bit difficult. While Blue never doubts the abilities her mother and the other women they share their home with she is desperate to experience some kind of magic for herself so it's no surprise that she's drawn to Gansey and his band of adventurers.

Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah are all Raven Boys, known as such because their school crest is a Raven. Aglionby is a boys school for the wealthy elite (as well as the occasional scholarship student) it's the kind of school that gives students the best education money can buy and almost guaranteed acceptance into the most prestigious colleges out there. Each of the boys is attending the school for different reasons and they all undoubtedly bring their own baggage to the party but Gansey is the central character that the other boys seem to revolve around. He is the glue that holds them all together and it is his obsession to find the Ley lines, along with something he believes has been hidden along them. The others aren't so interested in the Ley lines for themselves but want to help Gansey achieve his goals.

I loved all four of the boys in different ways, Gansey can be pretty hopeless in social situations because he is so stuck inside his own head that he is often oblivious to what is going on around him but he has a strange kind of magnetism and he's the kind of guy that people would follow anywhere. Adam is probably the most normal of the bunch but he is dealing with a very difficult situation at home that is quite heartbreaking to read about. He wants to deal with things on his own terms and I do respect him for that but at the same time it was frustrating to watch him constantly refuse the help he desperately needed and that his friends were willing to offer. He has a bit of a chip on his shoulder as far as money goes and even though I could understand where it was coming from it did get a bit irritating to read about. Ronan is the brooding mysterious one with an anger problem, at first glance he's the boy your parents warned you to stay away from but that's probably what makes him so fascinating. I want to dig deeper and uncover his secrets and we've already had a glimpse that he's not quite as tough as he pretends to be. Noah spends most of his time in the background but the others rely on him to help keep the peace. I don't want to say too much about him but he was the character who surprised me the most and I just want to climb into the book and hug him!

It's not surprising that Blue is drawn to the boys and their quest is something she is in a unique position to help them with thanks to her family abilities. She also knows things about them that they are completely unaware of and there are things she is determined to stop from happening. This isn't a fast paced story, instead it's one that takes time to fully develop the various characters, but that doesn't mean nothing happens. In fact there are some brilliantly vivid and creepy scenes and we're only just beginning to scratch the surface of the mystery surrounding the Ley lines. I can't wait to see where their investigation takes them next and events at the end of the story have definitely set things up for future instalments.

Source: Received from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Review: Red-Headed Stepchild - Jaye Wells

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn't really fit in. And being an assassin - the only profession fit for an outcast - doesn't help matters. But she's never brought her work home. Until now.

Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex, and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she's on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life-changing, but together, they could be fatal . . .

Sabina Kane Series:
Fool's Gold (Novella)
Red-Headed Stepchild
The Mage in Black
Violet Tendencies (Novella)
Green-Eyed Demon
Silver-Tongued Devil
Blue-Blooded Vamp
Rusted Veins (Novella)

Visit Jaye Wells' website for more information

Review:
Sabina Kane has always been an outcast thanks to her mixed blood heritage, as a half-vampire/half-mage she is seen by most as an abomination. Abandoned by the mage side of her family as a baby she was raised by her grandmother, a member of the Dominae (the ruling council of the vampires). Sabina has never been able to fully live up to her grandmother's expectations of her, and the vampires are able to find fault in pretty much everything she does but they are the only family she has ever known and she is completely loyal to them.

Although Sabina usually works as an assassin her latest task is much more dangerous and it's not going to be an easy one to pull off. Sabina must convince the entire supernatural community that she has broken ties with the Dominae and go undercover with the enemy to try and uncover his plans. That would be hard enough if she wasn't being stalked by a mage who wants to train her to use her magic and introduce her to the other side of her family but Adam adds a whole new set of complications. Sabina has been raised to hate mages and she doesn't find it easy to trust but the more she uncovers about her past the more she starts to realise that the Dominae, and her grandmother, have been keeping a few too many secrets from her. She is forced to question everything she's ever been told but how can she decide which path she should take from now onwards?

I've seen mixed reviews for Red-Headed Stepchild but I thought it was a great introduction to the Sabina Kane series and it definitely left me wanting to know more. Sabina isn't always the easiest character to get along with, she's spent years being brainwashed by the vampires and even when certain things are staring her in the face she is very quick to try and justify her grandmother's actions. I can't say I blame her for that though, the vampires are the only family she has ever had and no matter how badly they treat her they are still the only ones who have ever been there for her. She may be stubborn but she's not stupid and even though it takes a while she does start to put all the pieces together later on in the story. Once she's made a decision about the right thing to do she is determined to see things through no matter what it costs her.

Although I liked Sabina I have to admit it was the side characters who really stole the show in this book. My favourite was her demon sidekick Giguhl who added a lot of humour to the story and constantly made me laugh while I was reading. I also really liked Adam, the mage who has come searching for Sabina. It took me a while to decide he could be trusted but I liked the chemistry between him and Sabina and I hope we get to see a lot more of them working alongside each other. The world building was done well and I enjoyed finding out about the history of vampires and mages, I still have a few questions but I'm sure it'll all come clear as the series continues. We have a good mix of supernatural characters, alongside the vamps and mages you also have demons, faeries and nymphs but I wouldn't be surprised if there are more species yet to be introduced. Yes this is a fairly standard urban fantasy world but I think the characters are strong enough to pull it through and I'm hooked enough to want to continue reading.

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:

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