Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Review: The Fixed Stars - Seanan McGuire

Long, long ago, when the worlds of Faerie and Man had not yet fully separated, a battle was fought to determine the shapes those two worlds would take. Firstborn against merlin; strongest against least. And between those two stood Antigone of Albany, who would later be known as the Luidaeg, and whose loyalty would inevitably sway the fortunes of war...

There was a time when things were different. This is the story of the battlefield where it all began to change.

"The Fixed Stars" was originally published in the anthology Shattered Shields, released in November 2014. Copies are available from a bookstore near you.

Can also be read for free on the Baen website here

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
The Fixed Stars is a Luidaeg short story that was initially published in the Shattered Shields anthology and is also currently available to read on the Baen website here. Set in 572 I believe it's actually the earliest story set in this world but I think you'll appreciate it more when you're familiar with the Luidaeg's character so I wouldn't recommend reading it as a prequel.

This is the story of a battle between the Firstborn and their distant relatives the merlin, it's an important battle that helped to shape the way faerie and the mortal world interact throughout history and into the present. I'm not 100% sure how it all ties together but I definitely think Seanan McGuire is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that will all start to make sense as the main series continues to unfold.

Either way it was interesting to see another side to the sea witch, especially the interactions between her and Blind Michael. I also love the way she manages to use her curses (like never being able to tell a lie) to her own advantage. We've already seen how tricky the Luidaeg can be but this proves that she is the only one of the Firstborn to see the full picture about certain things and shows that she is willing to make difficult decisions for the greater good.

Source: Read for free on theBaen 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: Shore to Shore - Seanan McGuire

October Day story published on Patreon.

Patrick and Dianda are one of my favorite couples in the Toby universe. In the modern day, they're stable and comfortable with each other; they've had a long time to figure out their dynamics. But there was a time when everything was new, and they had to decide what they were going to be...

This is a direct sequel to "Heaps of Pearl."

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
Shore to Shore is a short story from Patrick's point of view that can be purchased from Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page. She posts a short story there every month, some standalone but a lot linked to her October Daye series, and you can receive them for as little as $1 each (there are other perks available for higher amounts but $1 is the minimum). The great news is that signing up as a sponsor gives you access to all the previous short stories and we're up to 7 October Day stories now (5 from Tybalt's point of view plus an Aeslin Mice one for Incryptid fans) so it's well worth signing up!

This story picks up Patrick and Dianda's courtship after their initial meeting (which is covered in Heaps of Pearl, a free short story on Seanan's website in case you missed it!). It may be months since they first met but this is only their second meeting and I'd say it's their first proper date. Patrick is the sweetest guy and the opening scene between him and some pixies was wonderful, I loved that Dianda got to see that side to him when he was completely unguarded and it's easy to see why she would have fallen for his charm. I'm not going to go into details of their date but it was just as sweet as their initial meeting and I loved every minute of it.

I can't even tell you how much I've enjoyed the stories about these two and I'm really hoping that Seanan is planning on writing more about their early years as a couple!

Source: Purchased

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

Review: Heaps of Pearl - Seanan McGuire

Baron Patrick Twycross was an unlanded, comfortably unambitious man. He knew that one day he might inherit his family's estate, but as that day was hundreds of years and most of a continent away, he was content to spend his time fiddling in his workshop and trying to keep his friend Simon from doing something foolish enough to get himself killed. He was happy; he had no aspirations. So how did he wind up married to a mermaid?

When King Gilad holds a ball in honor of the abdicating Duke of Saltmist and his daughter, the Duchess-in-waiting, there's no real way for the nobles of the Mists to avoid attending. All Patrick is hoping to do is survive the night without utterly embarrassing either himself or Simon, or attracting the wrath of Simon's wife. Alas for him, things are going to get a lot more interesting than he's counting on...

Heaps of Pearl is best read after The Winter Long. It is a historical story, but contains character relationship spoilers through book eight.

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
I love the way Seanan McGuire fills in the backstory of some of her side characters through her collection of short stories. Heaps of Pearl can be downloaded for free from her website here and although it's technically a series prequel because these events occur long before Rosemary and Rue you'll give yourself MAJOR spoilers for certain relationships if you read it before book 8 so please don't read this until after The Winter Long.

If you're a fan of Patrick and Dianda then you're going to love this, let's face it it's not every day a very land based Daoine Sidhe ends up married to a mermaid (or a Merrow if you want to get technical) so I always wondered how they met and fell in love. This is the story of their very first meeting and it was totally adorable and a perfect example of a meet-cute! I love how socially awkward they both are and the way they'd much rather spend a party hiding together in the kitchens than socialising with the rest of the court. It's definitely the start of a beautiful friendship and I'm glad we get the chance to see the next step in their relationship in Shore to Shore.

What I found most surprising though was getting the chance to see Simon back in the days when he was happily married and was actually a nice guy. It made me sad to realise how far he's fallen because nothing about the guy we know now makes you think he could be such a good friend to Patrick. He's not the only familiar face though either so you'll have fun seeing several characters in a different light.

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.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Review: Midnight Unleashed - Lara Adrian

Return to New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian’s “addictively readable” (Chicago Tribune) Midnight Breed vampire romance series with a pulse-pounding novella of paranormal seduction and dangerous thrills, where an icy immortal beauty and a lethal Gen One Hunter must confront a powerful enemy while struggling to deny the irresistible calling of their blood.

The Midnight Breed Series:
A Touch of Midnight (Novella included in The Midnight Breed Series Companion, now also available separately)
Kiss of Midnight
Kiss of Crimson
Midnight Awakening
Midnight Rising
Veil of Midnight
Ashes of Midnight
Shades of Midnight
Taken by Midnight
Deeper than Midnight
A Taste of Midnight (Novella)
Darker After Midnight
The Midnight Breed Series Companion
Edge of Dawn
Marked by Midnight (Novella)
Crave the Night
Tempted by Midnight (Novella)
Bound to Darkness
Stroke of Midnight (Novella)
Defy the Dawn
Midnight Untamed (Novella)
Midnight Unbound (Novella)
Midnight Unleashed (Novella)
Claimed in Shadows (Release date to be confirmed)

Hunter Legacy Series:
(A series of standalone romances set in the Midnight Breed world)
Born of Darkness (Winter 2017)

Visit Lara Adrian's website for more information about the Midnight Breed series you will find excerpts from each of the books. Lara can also be found on Facebook & Twitter where she posts regular updates or you can join other fans to chat about the books over at the LAMB (Lara Adrian Midnight Breed) Forum

Review:
I love the Midnight Breed series, I've been reading these books for so many years that getting a new instalment is always like going to visit with old friends, there's just something comforting about diving back into a world I'm so familiar with! I've really been enjoying these novellas surrounding the Order's Italian team so I was really pleased to finally get my hands on Trigg's story.

Trigg is one of the First Gen Hunters born and raised in Dragos' labs, he was trained from childhood to be a ruthless killer and to follow orders without question. The order saved him when they managed to release all of the Hunters when Trigg was just fourteen years old but that wasn't the end of his tortured past, I'm not going to say any more than that but you'll find out more about his tragic backstory in the novella. When Trigg was finally able to choose his own path he joined the Order willingly and he's spent years protecting both humans and breed alike from anyone who is trying to cause discord between the two races.

Sia is a full blooded Atlantean who was exiled from her home due to a tragic series of circumstances, she never meant to hurt her friends and family but putting her trust in the wrong person got someone she cared about killed and she hasn't been able to forgive herself for that. She can't make amends on Atlantis so she's focused all her energies on helping human women and children at a refuge and she's slowly building a new life for herself. Sia's paths cross with Trigg when a woman under her care is murdered by a member of the breed, Sia is determined to find out why the woman was killed and it looks like Trigg is the only one who might have the answers she needs.

This is a novella so you have to go in expecting the romance to happen quite quickly but I think Lara Adrian does a great job of bringing these two characters together in a believable way. They both have darkness in their pasts and that puts a few obstacles in their way but their romance is quite a sweet one once they both give into what they are feeling for each other. There is plenty of action in here too so I flew through this story, we catch glimpses of a few other members of the Italian branch of the Order which is always nice but I'm really looking forward to getting back to Boston in the next full length novel too. Another great instalment to one of my favourite series!

Source: I received an ebook 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.

Paperback / Kindle:

Blog Tour: Midnight Unleased - Lara Adrian


We are so thrilled to be bringing you the Release Day Launch for Lara Adrian's MIDNIGHT UNLEASHED, the latest novella in the Midnight Breed series, brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. Be sure to grab your copy of this sexy paranormal novella today!


About MIDNIGHT UNLEASHED

Return to New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian’s “addictively readable” (Chicago Tribune) Midnight Breed vampire romance series with a pulse-pounding novella of paranormal seduction and dangerous thrills, where an icy immortal beauty and a lethal Gen One Hunter must confront a powerful enemy while struggling to deny the irresistible calling of their blood.

Grab your copy today!



EXCERPT 1

“Tamisia, the house is completely locked down and secure. All of the alarms are engaged. No one can get in without the whole perimeter lighting up and tripping a dozen sirens.”

And yet someone had.

Sia was all but certain of it.

And then, upstairs, a sharp female shriek confirmed her fears. The scream sounded worse than pained. The quiet that followed lasted not even a moment, then a baby started wailing.

“Oh, no.” Phaedra went chalk white. “That’s coming from Rosa and Angelina’s room.”

Sia nodded, grim. No wonder the young mother had seemed so afraid when she arrived a couple of days ago. Her nightmare was far from over. By the awful sounds of it, the man Rosa was running from had decided she wasn’t getting away so easily.

Cold dread swept her, seeping into her marrow.

The whole house was coming awake now, vibrating with confusion and terror.

All Sia heard was the piercing wails of the innocent little baby she’d left sleeping so peacefully just a short while ago.

Dammit, no.

Hot rage replaced the chill and her vision blurred into a red haze.

“Stay here, Phaedra. Call for help.”

“Tamisia, what will you do?”

She didn’t know exactly. There was no time for a plan. She only knew she had to act.

Without answering, she raced for the stairs, pausing only long enough to issue a sharp command to her friend. “The police, Phaedra. Do it now.”

Sia was immortal, inhumanly powerful, but she wasn’t a fighter. Never had been. She was a politician, shielded by a contingent of Atlantean guards who would fight at her bidding. But none of that mattered as she flew up the steps and past the open doors and terrified faces of the shelter’s other residents.

“Back inside, all of you. Don’t come out until I tell you to.”

No one balked at her hushed orders. One by one, the frightened women and handful of small children retreated, shutting their doors.

Pausing outside Rosa’s room, Sia caught the muffled sound of a gravely male voice behind the door.

“It’s gotta be here somewhere. Keep looking! Santino said no loose ends.”

Suspicion pricked at Sia’s conscience. This didn’t sound like a violent ex-lover coming back to harm Rosa. This was something else. And no less dangerous.


EXCERPT 2

“Those men. Is that what they were—drug dealers?”

He stared at her. “You don’t need to know anything more than what I told the cops, Sia. Do us both a favor and leave it at that.”

“They were searching for something, Trygg.”

“So you mentioned.”

“Do the police have any idea what it might be?”

“I didn’t tell them that part.”

Sia gaped. “Why not? Rosa was killed for whatever it was they thought she had. If telling the police about it will help them understand what kind of trouble she was in—”

“The police can’t help.” Trygg blew out an impatient curse. “And whatever those men wanted from the woman doesn’t matter now.”

“It matters to me,” she insisted.

His dark eyes narrowed and he gave a stiff shake of his head. “This conversation is over. I told you, what happened here is the Order’s business. Go back inside and get some rest. Forget about tonight.”

She scoffed. “Forget it?”

When he started to move around her, Sia grabbed his arm. Warm, hard muscle clenched beneath her fingertips, sending a shocking heat through her body. She drew her hand away at once, trying to ignore the distressing awareness she felt for a man who infuriated her more and more the longer she knew him.

“You think I will ever forget what I saw tonight? A young woman was murdered, Trygg. A woman I liked. A woman I was responsible for keeping safe. And now an innocent little baby is without her mother. Maybe that’s something your cold-hearted kind can simply dismiss, but don’t expect me to do the same.”

“Yes, Tamisia. That’s exactly what I expect.” He scowled now, his scarred, sinister face taut with growing irritation and something more difficult to define. “In fact, I’m fucking demanding it. You do not want to be involved in this. So stow your questions and march your fine ass back into that house and stay there.”



EXCERPT 3

While he’d sure as hell rather be surrounded by his tech equipment at the command center, Trygg couldn’t find much to object to as he followed Sia up an exterior staircase to a private third-floor entrance of the house. As irritated as he was after her power play in the car just now—not to mention her earlier act of defiance that had rattled him more than he cared to admit, even to himself—it was hard to think about much else except the rhythmic sway of her hips as she mounted the old iron steps.

Very hard.

Her long, elegant spine and firm backside were a temptation that stoked a growing heat inside him as he stalked up the climb behind her. Everything male in him burned with desire. Everything Breed in him hungered for her too. If she chanced a look over her shoulder, it would be damn close to impossible to hide the amber lighting his irises or the press of his sharp fangs as they filled his mouth.

Letting her win just now was a mistake he already regretted, but that’s where her control was going to end. He’d go inside as she insisted and they’d do a cursory look through the rest of the items they’d brought with them. He would point out something or other so she’d have a bone to chew on, then he’d take everything back to the command center and dig into the meat of the scant evidence alone.

The way he preferred to operate.

He scowled at her when they reached the top of the stairs. “Is this the way you sneak in all the men you bring home with you?”

“Only the surly ones.” Her blonde brow arched over her long-lashed eyes. “And to answer the question you really want to ask, I’ve never brought anyone up here before.”

He didn’t want to ask that, so why did her answer give him such a healthy stab of satisfaction?


Lara Adrian’s MIDNIGHT UNTAMED – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

October 11
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Under the Covers – Review & Excerpt
Knotty Girl Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog – Excerpt Only
Kimberly’s Hot Reads – Excerpt Only  
October 12
BTH Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt
Rantings of a Reading Addict – Review & Excerpt
My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt Only
October 13
Nerdy Dirty & Flirty – Review & Excerpt
KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt
Vagabonda Reads – Review & Excerpt
Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt Only
All Things Dark & Dirty – Excerpt Only
October 14
Panty Dropping Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
I Smell Sheep – Review & Excerpt
Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt
Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt Only
Ever After Book Reviews – Excerpt Only
October 15
Avephoenix Naughty Readings – Review & Excerpt
The Reading Café – Review & Excerpt
The Escapist Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
K&J Book Promotions – Excerpt Only
Reading Between the Wines – Excerpt Only
October 16
Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt
That’s What I’m Talking About – Review & Excerpt
Friends Till the End Book Blog – Excerpt Only
Bobo’s Book Bank – Excerpt Only
October 17
Mom’s Secret Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Torie’s Book Obsession – Review & Excerpt
Feel the Book – Excerpt Only
October 18
A Hopeless Romantic’s Booklandia – Review & Excerpt
Diane’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
I’m A Sweet and Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt
Bookasms Blog – Review & Excerpt
I Can’t Help Where My Mind Goes – Excerpt Only
October 19
Ms. Me28 – Review & Excerpt
Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt
The Romance Review – Review & Excerpt
October 20
Amo’s Book Corner – Review & Excerpt
Dirty Girl Romance – Review & Excerpt
Pardon My Blurb – Review & Excerpt
G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt Only




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LARA ADRIAN is a New York Times and #1 international bestselling author with nearly 4 million books in print and digital worldwide and translations licensed in more than 20 countries. Her upcoming release is FOR 100 REASONS, the third book in a contemporary romance series that reviewers are calling "phenomenal" and "one of the hottest series of the year." Learn more about the author and her books at LaraAdrian.com.


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Blog Tour: The Last Namsara - Kristen Ciccarelli

Today I'm really excited to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the release of Kristen Ciccarelli's debut novel The Last Namsara. This is a book I've been dying to read ever since I first heard about it (watch out for my review coming soon!) so I'm really happy to have a fabulous guest post from Kristen to share with you today. Before we get to that let me give you some information about the book!


Blurb:

Destroyer. Death bringer. Dragon-slayer. I am more weapon than girl.

Asha is a dragon-slayer. Reviled by the very people she's sworn to protect, she kills to atone for the wicked deed she committed as a child - one that almost destroyed her city, and left her with a terrible scar.

But protecting her father's kingdom is a lonely destiny: no matter how many dragons she kills, her people still think she's wicked.

Even worse, to unite the fractured kingdom she must marry Jarek, the cruel commandant. As the wedding day approaches, Asha longs for freedom.

Just when it seems her fate is sealed, the king offers her a way out: her freedom in exchange for the head of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard.

And the only person standing in her way is a defiant slave boy . . .

THE LAST NAMSARA is an extraordinary story about courage, loyalty and star-crossed love, set in a kingdom that trembles on the edge of war.

This is the first book in the Iskari series and you can find out more on Kristen Ciccarelli's website here.

I thought you might be interested in these videos I found too, this first one is of Kristen talking about the story behind The Last Namsara:



And here's the official book trailer:



Now I'll hand over to Kristen who is going to share her playlist for The Last Namsara! Thanks for stopping by Kristen :o)




“Dragon Slaying”
Pacific Rim (featuring Tom Morello)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPaP7KsZ0yw

“Asha”
My Body by Young the Giant
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQYpF2pCkLI

“Badass Girls”
Don’t F with My Cat by Lumi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cze56A0xwrs

“In the Pit”
Is She With You (Wonder Woman Theme) by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw_o7XUX3fg

“Asha vs Kozu”
Brothers in Arms by Junkie XL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xllG3fSUAOw

“An Escape”
Fate Has Smiled Upon Us by Marc Streitenfeld
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbGDNOGkmtg

“Torwin Feels I”
In My Veins by Andrew Belle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0KZuZF01FA

“Havenfall”
Arrival to Earth by Steve Jablonsky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8wqpQ78sx0

“Dragon Flight II”
We Bought the Zoo by Jonsi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw1ahI_o388

“Torwin Feels II”
Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHTEGQbtP1I

“Goodbye”
Lily’s Theme by Alexandre Desplat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP2AP0WvHkc

“Going In”
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkIWmsP3c_s

“Escape from Firgaard”
Run by Daughter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psiILfa-G1c

“First Dance”
Callie’s Wedding
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La-O_X4PohU



The playlist on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPaP7KsZ0yw&list=PLcn4OGbFfI6xnPIF0zf65mScVcQ2puxLk



About the author:

Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She spent her childhood running wild with her cousins, adventuring in the woods, building forts in the barn, and obsessing over books, dragons, and girls wielding really cool weapons. She wrote The Last Namsara for the girl she used to be (and sometimes still is).

Connect with Kristen online:
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Review: The Winter Long - Seanan McGuire

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It's time to learn the truth.

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
This series really does get better with every instalment and The Winter Long was a game changer in every sense of the word. So many revelations and answers to questions we've been asking since the very beginning but those answers raise a whole new set of questions and I can't wait to see what direction they take us in. This book is going to be a very hard one to review because there are so many things I want to talk about but can't because it would be a spoiler. I'm going to keep this deliberately short and vague because of that but trust me, if you enjoyed the first seven books you're going to love this one!

Toby has faced her fair share of battles already but this time she's going up against enemies that have already beaten her once before. Her allies are still out in full force but as she discovers that some people very close to her have been keeping major secrets she starts to wonder whether they are really the people she thought they were and whether they deserve the trust she has placed in them. I was a little heartbroken right alongside Toby when certain heroes fell from their pedestals but I'm so happy that most of the people she trusts have her back 100%.

Toby is incredible as always and she's learning more and more ways to use her magic which is fascinating to watch. The Luidaeg and Quentin are favourite side characters as always and we're starting to uncover more about all of their pasts which has been great. I'm still head over heels for Tybalt and think him and Toby are a perfect partnership, he's incredibly protective of her but at the same time he understands her better than anyone and he would never try to force her into anything. He knows that she needs to have the freedom to fight for both herself and the people she cares about and he'd never try to put her in a protective bubble no matter how much his instincts demand it. I love that they always have each other's backs and that they each bring different strengths to their relationship, Toby is an equal partner and isn't someone who sits around waiting to be rescued.

You can tell that Seanan McGuire has been building up to this book, so many threads are starting to come together now and I have a feeling that the shocks are just going to keep coming as the series continues. This really has become one of my favourite urban fantasy series and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Source: Received from DAW 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:

Review: The Dragon's Playlist - Laura Bickle

From the author of THE HALLOWED ONES and NINE OF STARS comes a new novel blending the magical and the real…

“This is war,” the dragon said. And she believed him.

Di fled rural West Virginia to study music and pursue a bright future as a violinist. But when a mining accident nearly kills her father, she is summoned back home to support her family. Old ghosts and an old flame emerge from the past. When Di gets a job as a bookkeeper at the same mine where her father worked, she is drawn into a conflict pitting neighbor against neighbor as the mine plans an expansion to an untouched mountain.

If the mining company’s operation goes forward, there will be more at stake than livelihoods or the pollution of the land: Di has discovered a dragon lives deep within Sawtooth Mountain, and he is not happy with this encroachment upon his lair. When catastrophe strikes, Di must choose between her family’s best interests and protecting the dragon – the last surviving bit of magic in Di’s shrinking world.

In every fight, sides are chosen. And there can be no yearning for what has been left behind.

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
Di has been away at college studying music, she escaped her hometown as fast as she could and was hoping never to have to return. That all changed when her father was badly injured in a mining accident, he is no longer able to work so her family are struggling to make ends meet, especially since her father's medical bills aren't being covered by the company he worked for. Di is forced to return home and take a job at the same mining company just so she can help out her family but she's extremely resentful and unhappy about being back. The mining company is planning on destroying the mountain to make their job easier and protesters are determined to do whatever it takes to stop them from destroying the area. There is a huge amount of conflict between locals who rely on the mine for their incomes and outsiders who are there to protest the work that is being planned and Di is caught in the middle of it, especially when she realises that there is something hiding deep in the mountain that needs her protection.

I love dragons so I had very high hopes for this book but unfortunately I just didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped to. It's not a bad book in any sense of the word but for me it focused a little too heavily on the contemporary issues of living in a mining town and the damage to the environment and not enough on the dragon. It raises a lot of important issues but I went into this expecting it to be all about dragons and the dragon was really only a minor part of the story. If I'd gone into it knowing it would have more of a contemporary feel then perhaps I'd have enjoyed it more so thats why I feel the need to point that out in my review.

I think my biggest issue was that I didn't feel much of a connection to any of the characters, Di just came across as a bit too spoiled and selfish for me to ever like her. I get why she was upset to return home but it felt like her dreams of studying music were more important than her father's health and I found that hard to get my head around. This book has a lot of positive reviews so I'd never try to put anyone off giving it a try, hopefully you'll enjoy it much more than I did!

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.

Paperback / Kindle:

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Cover Reveal: Villain - Samantha Young

I'm a huge fan of Samantha Young, she writes such fabulous contemporary romances and her characters are so easy to fall in love with. I really enjoyed her standalone book Hero when I read it a couple of years ago (you can read my review here) so I'm excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for a new companion novella, Villain, today.


Cover Design: By Samantha Young
Release Date: December 5th 2017
Preorder links coming soon!


Blurb

The sexy and emotional companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance HERO.

Nadia Ray is not just a broadcast meteorologist. She’s Boston’s morning television It Girl. Successful and independent, she’s put a past she’s ashamed of behind her and is forging a future she can be proud of. However, when her new boss discovers her secret he blackmails her, intent on using Nadia’s popularity to make them the number one morning show in Massachusetts. He wants her to be part of uncovering the city’s biggest scandal - a secret billionaire Caine Carraway is hiding.

Soon Nadia is thrown into the path of Caine’s best friend: sexy, wealthy bachelor Henry Lexington. But she doesn’t encounter the dashing high society gentleman Henry is purported to be. Instead she’s faced with an insulting and defensive villain who misjudges her at every turn.

When Henry finally realizes the truth, and decides to make amends, Nadia wants nothing to do with him. But she underestimates his determination and charm and soon they find themselves embroiled in an intense, passionate affair.

An affair Nadia knows must come to an end before their feelings grow any deeper and he discovers her secrets.

After all, Henry Lexington isn’t the only one who played the part of a villain once…

About Samantha Young:

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017.

Connect with Samantha Young Online:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSamanthaYoung/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSamYoung
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorsamanthayoung/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/samyoungauthor/
Website: http://authorsamanthayoung.com
Email: authorsamanthayoung@gmail.com

Doesn't it sound fabulous?! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Release Day Launch: Midnight Unleased - Lara Adrian


We are so thrilled to be bringing you the Release Day Launch for Lara Adrian's MIDNIGHT UNLEASHED, the latest novella in the Midnight Breed series, brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. Be sure to grab your copy of this sexy paranormal novella today!


About MIDNIGHT UNLEASHED

Return to New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian’s “addictively readable” (Chicago Tribune) Midnight Breed vampire romance series with a pulse-pounding novella of paranormal seduction and dangerous thrills, where an icy immortal beauty and a lethal Gen One Hunter must confront a powerful enemy while struggling to deny the irresistible calling of their blood.

Grab your copy today!



Read an Excerpt:

Sia had never seen anything as magnificent. Every inch of him was dense muscle and firm skin swirling with the strange, alien markings, these living, moving testaments of his need for her. Nothing at all like the sun-kissed, golden skin of her past lovers in the colony, including Elyon, whose fine-hewn physical perfection could have made the angels weep.

No, with his massive build and bulging muscles, Trygg looked more demon than angel. And her hungry eyes couldn’t get their fill of him.

“You’re glorious, Trygg.” She smoothed her fingers over his warm muscles and the stunning glyphs that were uniquely his own. “The most incredible man I’ve ever seen.”

His sensual mouth twisted at her praise, but this time he didn’t reject it. His breath sawed out of him, his fangs like pearly daggers as he gazed hungrily at her beneath him.

“Beautiful Sia,” he said, his hands roaming from her waist to the swell of her hip. Gripping her there, he dragged her against his groin, using his hold to crush their bodies more tightly together. “Have you ever been with a Breed before?”

Although phrased as a question, he meant it also as a warning. One that made her veins throb and the heat gathering in the center of her turn even more molten.

She shook her head. “I’ve never wanted to be. Now I can’t think of anything I’ve ever wanted more. Just you.”

With the press of his hard, thick arousal jutting against her, she moaned, suddenly desperate to get even closer. He leaned over her, tugging hard on her hair as he took her mouth again, his hold tilting her head back on her shoulders, baring her throat to him.

She could feel her pulse pounding there and froze, wondering if he wanted to sink his teeth into her flesh. Some wild, reckless part of her wanted him to. Dared him to. Anything to make this dark, needy pull inside her subside. But no, he only skimmed his lips over her skin, leaving a trail of flames in their wake as he moved lower.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LARA ADRIAN is a New York Times and #1 international bestselling author with nearly 4 million books in print and digital worldwide and translations licensed in more than 20 countries. Her upcoming release is FOR 100 REASONS, the third book in a contemporary romance series that reviewers are calling "phenomenal" and "one of the hottest series of the year." Learn more about the author and her books at LaraAdrian.com.


Monday, 9 October 2017

Review: 1 Incryptid Short Story Narrated by the Aeslin Mice - Seanan McGuire

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

This review includes all the short stories that have been written about the Aeslin Mice, stories by other narrators will be reviewed separately.

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

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

Short Stories narrated by the Aeslin Mice:
(Unless otherwise stated all stories are available for free on the author's website)
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork (Purchase though Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork

Review:
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork (great name for a story right?!) is a short story that can be purchased through Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page. It fits into the Incryptid timeline immediately after events in Magic for Nothing and will include huge spoilers if you haven't read that book yet so look away from this review now if you're not up to date with the series!

This story is narrated in alternating chapters by the Aeslin mice Mindy and Mork as they navigate the airport to make their way back to the Price family to tell them of Annie's adventures; and Sam, Annie's circus boyfriend who is desperately trying to figure out a way to track down his missing girlfriend. We don't get to see a resolution to either of these plots as I'm pretty sure that's going to be covered in the next full length novel, Tricks for Free, (due to publish in March 2018) but this story is a fantastic filler and I loved every minute of it.

If you're anything like me then you'll already love the Aeslin mice but this was a chance to see things through their eyes and fully understand their devotion to their gods and priestesses. I loved Mindy's dedication to Annie and her determination to return to the colony with a full record of her experiences with the covenant. Mindy knows that unless she makes it back to the family the Prices will never know exactly what happened or why Annie has gone into hiding but she also has a mission of her own to take Mork to her home and figure out a way to return the rest of the splinter colony that are still hiding in the covenant headquarters.

Sam and Annie had their ups and downs, especially when he realised she'd been keeping such huge secrets from him, but I was really pleased that it hasn't changed his feelings for her. He is worried out of his mind that she is out there all alone and he's determined to figure out a way to find her. Something that is going to be easier said than done but he might have a little help in the form of a certain Crossroads Ghost.

Like I said this is a filler story and I doubt it's going to be an essential read between the main books but if you've read any of Seanan McGuire's other short stories you'll already know she always manages to pack a lot of heart into a small number of pages and they're always a fun addition to the series.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Book Trailer: Beasts Made of Night - Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts Made of Night is an October release that I'm REALLY looking forward to reading! It's a debut by Tochi Onyebuchi and I found this video of him talking about what you can expect from the story on YouTube so I had to share it with you guys.



Doesn't it sound fantastic?! Here's the blurb and the gorgeous book cover for you:

Debut author Tochi Onyebuchi delivers an unforgettable fantasy adventure that powerfully explores the true meaning of justice and guilt. Packed with dark magic and thrilling action, Beasts Made of Night is a gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy perfect for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Nnedi Okorafor. In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts—lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a member of the royal family, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves—and his own life.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Fairyloot Unboxing - September 2017 "All That Sass"

FairyLoot September Box "All That Sass"

I loved the September FairyLoot box, so many fab items in here and I love the look of the book too! The boxes seem to get better every month and I'm already incredibly excited by both the October and November themes so I'm very glad I started this subscription.

As usual I've deliberately waited until the FairyLoot photo challenge starts before posting my unboxing because I'm hoping that means everyone will have received their boxes. There will be spoilers beyond this point so look away now if you don't want to know what was included in the box!


I always love it when the box includes a candle so I was thrilled by this In the Wick of Time High Warlock candle inspired by Magnus Bane from the Mortal Instruments series. It smells of sandalwood, incense and lavender which is a lovely masculine scent and I think it fits the character perfectly.


The next item was an exclusive Rattle the Stars beanie designed by Reverie and Ink that was inspired by Celaena from the Throne of Glass series. I love winter hats so this is perfect for me and I can't wait for it to get cold enough outside for me to wear it!


Next we have this gorgeous tote bag designed by Miss Phi that was inspired by the Infernal Devices series, I love Miss Phi's designs and think this bag is beautiful. I have to confess I haven't read this series yet (even though I bough the books as they were released!) so I really need to get on with that LOL.


I absolutely love this notebook inspired by Nikolai from the Grisha trilogy, he is one of my favourite characters and with the recent news that he's getting his own spin off series this item arrived with perfect timing. The design was by talented Alexis Lampley and if you've read the Grisha trilogy you'll know it's spot on!


I have to admit I've not read the Percy Jackson series but who doesn't love hot chocolate? This is going to be perfect for autumn and winter and if you want to buy your own check out Brontie & Co for all kinds of vegan chocolate treats!


I love this gorgeous magnet Ink and Wonder Designs, everyone knows I'm a huge Potterhead and I absolutely love the Weasley twins so this is perfect and the design is really pretty too.


We also received these gorgeous art prints by Taratjah, I've been eyeing up her Six of Crows and Lunar Chronicles fan art on Society6 for ages now so I was really excited by these. In case you couldn't figure it out the characters above are Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles and Delilah Bard from Shades of Magic. Aren't they gorgeous?!


This month's book is The Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett and as usual it came with a signed book plate and a letter from the author. I've been looking forward to this book for ages so I was thrilled when I figured out it was the September book, this is definitely one I'll be reading soon.


So what did you think of this month's box? This is month five of my subscription and I think it was probably one of my favourite boxes so far. There seemed to be so many items included and I loved them all. We know there will be two hardbacks in the October box so I'm looking forward to receiving my next parcel. Thanks Fairyloot, awesome job!

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