Sunday, 31 December 2017

Review: The Christmas Truce - Tiffany Reisz

After months of fighting a cold war with Søren, Kingsley and Mistress Nora sneak over to Sacred Heart in the hopes of declaring a Christmas Truce for one night with their infuriating priest. When the offer of a truce is accepted, the UnHoly Trinity celebrates the holiday together as only they can.

The 7th Annual Original Sinners Christmas Story
This story takes place three Christmases before THE SIREN during Nora and Søren's five-year estrangement. It features Nora, Kingsley, and Søren and one very Merry Christmas Eve night...

The Original Sinners Series:
Seven Day Loan (Novella) (This novella was also released with the title The Gift)
Little Red Riding Crop (Free short story found on the author's website)
Submit to Desire (Novella)
The Last Good Knight (Serialized Novella published in 5 parts)
The Christmas Truce (free short story for the author's newsletter subscribers)
The Siren (The Red Years book 1)
Something Nice (Free short story for the author's newsletter subscribers)
The Angel (The Red Years book 2)
The Prince (The Red Years book 3)
The Mistress Files (Short Story Collection)
The Mistress (The Red Years book 4)
The Saint (The White Years book 1)
The King (The White Years book 2)

Visit Tiffany Reisz's website for more information.

Review:
The Christmas Truce is a short story set about three years before The Siren at a point when Nora and Kingsley are fighting with Soren and have pretty much cut him out of their lives. They both still love him though and Christmas gives them the perfect excuse to call a one night truce between them. As a huge fan of the Original Sinners series I love that Tiffany Reisz still gives fans little snapshots of her character's lives in her free short stories every Christmas.

This one was brilliant, I love these three together and there are some really heartfelt and emotional scenes between them. Of course this being an Original Sinners story means it's also incredibly hot and it just wouldn't be the same if the three of them hadn't ended up in Soren's bed! This may be a quick read but it packs a punch and it left me contemplating a reread of the series.

Source: This is a free short story that is sent to subscribers of Tiffany Reisz's newsletter

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: Ice Planet Holiday - Ruby Dixon

All this snow and no holidays? What's a stranded human to do?

Create a new holiday, of course. Georgie and the other women decide to bring some new traditions and cheer to the sa-khui. More babies are born, presents are exchanged, and a new romance blossoms between a human woman desperate for a change, and the alien determined to protect her.

This 25,000 word novella is NOT intended as a stand-alone. Looking for a place to start? Try ICE PLANET BARBARIANS, book one in the series.

Ice Planet Barbarians:
Ice Planet Barbarians
Barbarian Alien
Barbarian Lover
Barbarian Mine
Ice Planet Holiday (Novella)
Barbarian's Prize
Barbarian's Mate
Having the Barbarian's Baby (Short Story)
Ice Ice Babies (Short Story)
Barbarian's Touch
Calm: Slice of Life (Short Story)
Barbarian's Taming
After Shock: Slice of Life (Short Story)
Barbarian's Heart
Barbarian's Hope
Barbarian's Choice
Barbarian's Redemption
Barbarian's Lady
Prison Planet Barbarian
Barbarian's Rescue
Barbarian's Tease
The Corsair's Captive
The Barbarian Before Christmas (Novella)

Icehome Series:
(Set in the same world as the Ice Planet Barbarians series but introducing new characters)
Lauren's Barbarian

Visit Ruby Dixon's website for more information

Review:
Ice Planet Holiday isn't so much a stand alone story in this world but more of a chance to catch up with previous couples and see the women try to explain the traditions of Christmas to the aliens of Not-Hoth. Can you imagine trying to explain the tradition of mistletoe to someone who has never heard of Christmas? Georgie and the other women have been talking about holidays they miss and thinking about creating their own traditions for their new home but confusion abounds when Georgie tries to explain Christmas to Vektal. Of course he would do anything to keep Georgie happy but understanding what she actually wants is a whole world of fun.

It surprises me how much I enjoy seeing day to day life in the caves and I liked seeing some of the new, youngest, tribe members arrive far more than I expected to. Often babies can be my kryptonite and they're not usually something I want to read about, especially in smut books, but they were actually fun here & I'm enjoying seeing the tribe slowly expanding.

Even though this is a fairly short novella (less than 100 pages) Ruby Dixon still treated us to a new romance between Claire and Ereven, they don't get so much page time as the previous couples did in their books but I didn't feel that their relationship was particularly shortchanged and I'm sure we'll see more of them as the series continues. Ereven was adorable and I thought he was a great match for Claire. This is such a fun series and I'm glad there are already so many books published so I have plenty more already waiting for me to read them.

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, 30 December 2017

Review: Wild Card - Rachel Vincent

Kaci Dillon is a man-eater.

She’s grown up on the fringes of shifter society, hearing the whispers. One desperate act as a starving, terrified child has made her the first tabby in history with no romantic prospects. But whatever. Eighteen is too young to get married anyway. Still, when she stumbles upon an opportunity to get away for a few days, who could blame her for seizing it?

Justus Alexander is screwed.

Confined to the South-Central territory, awaiting trial for crimes he committed as a traumatized, newly infected stray, Justus has discovered that the tribunal already intends to vote for the death penalty. He has no choice but to run. Too young to touch the trust fund that could finance his escape, he’s betting on a big win at the poker tables—until Kaci, his secret crush, catches him sneaking out and demands that he take her with him to Las Vegas…

After a wild night she can’t remember, Kaci wakes up with a ring on her finger, next to a young billionaire who can’t access his fortune until he turns twenty-five—or ties the knot. If she can keep her hands off her hot, charismatic new groom, she can have their unconsummated marriage annulled. But can she really abandon Justus to his death sentence, just to undo her own mistake?

Shifters Series:
Stray
Rogue
Pride
Prey
Shift
Alpha
Hunt (Novella that links the Shifters and Wildcats Series)

Wildcats Series:
(This series is set in the Shifters world featuring characters we've already met but is paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy)
Hunt (Novella that links the Shifters and Wildcats Series)
Lion's Share
Blind Tiger
Wild Card

Visit Rachel Vincent's website for more information

Review:
Kaci is a bit unusual in the Shifters world, she is only a werecat because both of her parents carried recessive genes so she wasn't raised in a Pride and it was a complete shock to her when she hit puberty and turned into a giant cat. Totally traumatised Kaci ended up in a bad place and if she hadn't been rescued by Faythe and the others she would still be living wild in her cat form. Faythe and Marc have been like parents to her and she's been loved and cared for on the Lazy S ranch but because of her man-eater status (and I mean that in a literal sense rather than a figurative one) she is the only rare tabby who doesn't have a crowd of adoring toms just waiting for her to be old enough to marry. Sick of being looked at like a monster and overhearing the enforcers make snide comments when she sees a chance at a weekend of complete freedom she jumps at it.

Justus is a stray who was turned against his will and left to fend for himself as part of an elaborate plot against his brother Titus. He wasn't given any help during his transition period and ended up accidentally killing two people and infecting a third. To make sure he was given a fair trial Faythe and Marc took him into their Pride to give him the rights not normally extended to strays. When he overhears some of the other enforcers talking he realises that the outcome of the trial has been decided before the alphas have even heard his side of the story. Unwilling to just sit around and wait for his death sentence to be announced Justus plots his escape. The last thing he planned to do was take one of the pride's valuable tabbies along with him but when Kaci blackmails him into helping her he doesn't have much choice.

Rachel Vincent states at the beginning of the book that this has a lighter tone to the previous two Wildcats stories because Kaci is younger than the previous heroines and also because she has such a traumatic past. I have to agree that was the case but it didn't stop me enjoying Kaci and Justus's story just as much as all the others. Wild Card was much more humorous and I really loved the slow build relationship between the main couple, the attraction was there from very early on but Justus was very patient with Kaci and didn't want to push her into anything she wasn't ready for. They both had a difficult introduction to their lives as shifters and that made them understand each other in a way a lot of others didn't. I was actually incredibly angry with the way some of Faythe's enforcers spoke about Kaci, I couldn't believe they held her past against her when she was just a young and seriously messed up kid at the time it happened. I'm happy to say that they got what they deserved in the end but be prepared to be angry in the meantime!

I really loved the chance to catch up with Faythe, Marc and so many of the characters from the original Shifters series. As always there was plenty of political manoeuvring by the alphas going on in the background but I absolutely loved the way Kaci was able to talk her and Justus out of trouble on several occasions. That girl should definitely become a lawyer because she can talk anyone into her way of thinking! We don't see much of Titus in this instalment but he does make an appearance nearer the end of the book. I have to admit I was annoyed by one particular thing he did but he came around eventually and redeemed himself in the end. There are some huge changes in this book that are bound to have a knock on effect as the series continues and I can't wait to see what is in store for the rest of the strays now. I can't tell you how much I love being back in this world, the Shifters series is still one of my favourites and this spin off is just as fantastic so I'm hoping we have many more books still to come!

Source: Purchased

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Blind Tiger - Rachel Vincent

Robyn Sheffield wants her life back.

As the only female stray in the US, she's had to deal with bloodlust, flashbacks, a lack of impulse control (which might not have anything to do with being a shifter), and weeks under house arrest for crimes she never meant to commit. But when she overhears the territorial council plotting to marry her off to an eligible tom? It's time for this chick to fly the coop.

Titus Alexander wants recognition.

He’s spent the past year carving his territory out of the Mississippi free zone, forming a community for strays exiled and forgotten by the US Prides. As the first stray Alpha, he’s sworn to bring the toms under his authority the rights, support, and respect that official confirmation from the council will bring. But then the council’s precious female stray sneaks into the free zone in the back of his car and demands sanctuary.

The council gives Titus a choice: send Robyn back and have his Pride acknowledged, or prepare for war. Citizenship for his men is within his grasp. So why is it so hard for him to let one rebellious tabby go?

Shifters Series:
Stray
Rogue
Pride
Prey
Shift
Alpha
Hunt (Novella that links the Shifters and Wildcats Series)

Wildcats Series:
(This series is set in the Shifters world featuring characters we've already met but is paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy)
Hunt (Novella that links the Shifters and Wildcats Series)
Lion's Share
Blind Tiger
Wild Card

Visit Rachel Vincent's website for more information

Review:
I'm a huge fan of Rachel Vincent's Shifters series and I can't even tell you how much I'm enjoying being back in that world seeing glimpses of characters we already know and love while at the same time getting to know a whole new pride of werecats.

Blind Tiger picks up Robyn's story a couple of months after the ending of Lion's Share, her secret is out and she's been placed under house arrest as punishment for killing the human hunters who were tracking her and Abby. She's supposed to be learning how to control her new cat instincts and she's also undergoing contestant medical tests as they try to figure out how she was able to survive to become the first female stray in America. Robyn knows she agreed to her punishment (it was that or have her claws cut off and her teeth removed!) but she's so tired of being trapped inside and constantly monitored whatever she's doing. The last straw is when she hears several of the Alphas discussing which of their sons should get the chance to be her husband, she wants to go back to school not get married and start popping out little shifter babies.

Titus has spent years trying to turn the strays from the Mississippi free zone into a genuine Pride and he takes his Alpha responsibilities very seriously. He has been working alongside Jace, Abby, Faythe and Marc to get the Alpha Council to recognise them as an official Pride so that his men will have the same rights and opportunities as all the other werecats but a lot of the Council are old and stuck in their ways and it won't be easy to get them to accept a stray Alpha. When Robyn escapes from her house arrest by sneaking into his car she makes his goals even less achievable. Robyn begs him for protection, something he has promised to all strays in his territory, but if he doesn't return her then the council won't just refuse to acknowledge his Pride, they'll also go into full out war to get her back.

This was another great instalment in the Wildcats series, I loved seeing how Jace and Abby are getting along and I really enjoyed getting to know Titus and some of his enforcers. So many great characters and I really hope we're going to get stories for all of them eventually (even though that could be difficult considering the severe lack of tabbies in this world!). Robyn has been through a lot since she was turned and it was no surprise that she was rebelling against the way the Council were treating her, the old guard are so traditional that it would drive me insane being under their control and this is totally outside of Robyn's comfort zone. Titus is stuck between a rock and a hard place, by helping Robyn he would be risking everything he's worked so hard for and the lives of the rest of the strays under his protection but if he doesn't help her then he'd be turning his back on a stray that desperately needs his help.

Add in the mystery of someone who is deliberately breaking the rules and making new strays at an increasingly high rate and Titus has his work cut out to keep peace in his territory. I have to admit I'd guessed who was behind that mystery very early on, there weren't that many suspects after all, but I still enjoyed seeing Titus and Robyn try to figure things out. Their romance was great too and I loved seeing how they dealt with the Council. Robyn was willing to make a difficult sacrifice but they also had a lot of friends working with them and I think the Council is going to get a real shake up over the next few books. It's great to see Pack politics going through some much needed changes and I'm excited to see where the series goes from here.

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, 29 December 2017

Review: Dreams and Slumbers - Seanan McGuire

"Dreams and Slumbers," included in all editions of Once Broken Faith. After the conclave is over, Queen Arden Windermere in the Mists has a choice to make, and no one to help her make it.

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)
In Deepest Consequence (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)
Write in Water (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Live in Brass (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 Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Of Things Unknown (Short story included in The Brightest Fell)
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
This short story is included in Once Broken Faith and is set just after the end of the conclave. Arden is faced with a difficult decision, whether to wake up her brother early even though her life is in disarray after taking over their father's kingdom, or whether to let him sleep until the elf-shot wears off so she can concentrate on building her power base.

I have to admit Arden isn't my favourite side character in this series (let's face it, she has a LOT of competition from other far more interesting characters!) but I was curious to get the chance to see a story from her point of view. I'm a bit torn about the results though, in some ways I feel sorry for everything that she has been through and I can understand how alone and scared she must be feeling, but in other ways I found it really difficult to see her contemplating leaving her brother asleep for another 20 years just because she was scared about how he'd react to everything that had happened while he was asleep. I couldn't understand how leaving him for longer would make any of that easier to explain to him and surely the sooner she wakes him up the sooner she has an ally that is 100% in her corner and who has the best idea of what she's suffered.

I was happy with how the story ended and it was nice to see cameo appearances from Walter and Cassandra but Arden can be a little too whinny and self-centred for my taste.

Source: Short story included in Once Broken Faith

Other Reviews:
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Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Once Broken Faith - Seanan McGuire

Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches.

Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.

Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe.

As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save.

Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.

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)
In Deepest Consequence (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)
Write in Water (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Live in Brass (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 Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Of Things Unknown (Short story included in The Brightest Fell)
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
In The Winter Long we saw Toby and her friends create a cure for elf-shot, a weapon that has been used in Faerie for thousands of years. Elf-shot kills Changelings and humans but because it only puts full blooded fae to sleep for 100 years it's always been considered a fairly harmless form of warfare and a great way to take out your enemies without breaking Oberon's law. Now that a cure is available monarchs from across the country, along with the High King and Queen, have gathered to decide how and if the cure should be used. Politics is never simple and this is an outcome that a lot of people are highly invested in so the arguments are fierce. Things get even worse when someone starts committing murders to try and throw the talks off track and unless Toby can figure out who the killer is one of her friends may end up being the next target.

You know a series is good when you hit book 10 (plus numerous extra short stories along the way!) and the storyline just keeps getting better and better. Honestly this has quickly become a favourite series since I started reading it earlier this year and I've thoroughly enjoyed binging on Toby's story. I love seeing how far Toby has come since the beginning of the series, she's definitely a force to be reckoned with and even though she'd much rather be left out of the spotlight she keeps getting dragged into the action against her will. She's amassed a large selection of friends and allies along the way and I love the entire group she's surrounded by, especially Tybalt, the Luidaeg, Quentin and May.

One of the things I've enjoyed most about this series is the slow build relationship between Toby and Tybalt, they took a long time getting together but their relationship is solid now and there is no forced drama between them just to create tension. Sometimes politics and their responsibilities get in the way of them working together but there is never any doubt that they have each others backs and will always be around when they're needed most. The way they tease each other and play together always makes me smile and I just love every moment they spend together. We also get to see more of Quentin's background in this story which was fun, I enjoyed seeing him interact with his parents and it's nice that a few more people now know his real identity so he's not having to keep quite so many secrets. The Luidaeg always knows how to make an entrance and that's no different here, it's good to know she's on Toby's side because she reminds us once again what a terrifying enemy she would make but certain people definitely needed that reminder. It's becoming more and more clear that the Luidaeg has big plans for Toby's future and I'm really curious to see how that will play out over the next few books.

This series is just going from strength to strength and I can't wait to pick up my copy of The Brightest Fell!

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: In Deepest Consequence - Seanan McGuire

With Cailin in need of a teacher, Tybalt must rekindle a friendship perhaps better left to languish, and ask himself once and for all whether he wishes to belong to the Court of Cats or to the Divided Courts.

Patreon Short Story for December 2017

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)
In Deepest Consequence (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)
Write in Water (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Live in Brass (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 Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Of Things Unknown (Short story included in The Brightest Fell)
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
In Deepest Consequence is a short story from Tybalt'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 8 October Day stories now (6 from Tybalt's point of view plus an Aeslin Mice one for Incryptid fans) so it's well worth signing up!

I can't get enough of these Tybalt stories, I love that we're getting the chance to fill in some of his backstory from the years before he met Toby. I really enjoy his relationship with his niece Cailin and this story is all about him finding a teacher to help her learn to use the magic she inherited from her father's side of the family. What is interesting is that seeing Tybalt's early years as a King of cats also gives us some insight into the Torquill family that are starting to answer some of the questions that we're left with from reading the main books. I'm definitely hoping for more from Tybalt's POV but I'll happily read as many stories as Seanan McGuire will write in this world no matter who the narrator is!

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.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Fairyloot Unboxing - November 2017 "Ladies that Slay"

FairyLoot November Box "Ladies that Slay"

The November FairyLoot box was another fab one, this was another box with two books in it which is pretty cool but the thing I was most excited about was definitely the book sleeve! Let's have a look at everything that was included:


Bookish candle = tick, Hermione bookish candle = an even bigger tick! It's no secret I'm a total Potterhead so I was thrilled with this Hermione candle by Flick the Wick. The scent is Vanilla, Lily, Musk, Raspberry & Citrus and it's divine, I love those musky berry kind of smells so this is perfect for me.


Also included was this really cute tin from Bookish Teas, it's called Blue's Brew and was inspired by Blue from the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. You can't really see from the picture but it's even got edible glitter in it so it's such a pretty blend. I'm not much of a tea drinker but this smells so good that I'm going to have to try it, if you're interested in the details it's a fruit tea with black and red currants, blackberries, apple, hibiscus and rose hip peels.


Fairyloot's first ever book sleeve was designed by Aunjuli Art and the pattern was designed to represent ladies that slay. I own a few different book sleeves now (in case you don't already know they're padded pouches that are designed to keep your books safely protected from harm when you're out and about) and what I love about this one is that the inner lining is waterproof so that should help keep my books safe even over the winter when there's a constant risk of rain soaking through whatever bag I'm carrying! What I'm a little disappointed with is that the pattern is printed on white material, I know from experience with other book sleeves that pale colours start to look dirty very quickly so I know this won't look so bright and pretty for very long. Hopefully the dye is set well enough that I'll be able to wash it with a damp cloth but I'll probably end up sticking with my darker sleeves most of the time which is a shame.


One of the bonus items included with the box was this proof copy of Furyborn by Claire Legrand which I'm really looking forward to reading. I'm glad fairyloot don't seem to have counted this as one of the official box items because as a blogger I know publishers give out ARCs (advanced reading copies) for free but I think they make a brilliant bonus item!


Another item in the box was this Mockingjay inspired patch from Literary Emporium, as patches go it's a nice one & I've bought stuff from Literary Emporium before so I know it'll be good quality but I don't really have any use for patches so I'm not very excited about this item.


The last item was this Fight the Darkness sticker designed by Reverie & Ink and inspired by An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. This was another item I found it hard to get excited about, I like the quote but it's just a small sticker and it's not even a particularly pretty one so I doubt I'll stick it anywhere!


The main book for this box was The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli and the cover is gorgeous, it's a fairyloot exclusive with silver foil rather than gold and it comes with a signed book plate and a letter from the author. I've already read this one and it's brilliant so I'd highly recommend checking it out. I've not had time to write my review yet but I'll try to get it posted ASAP.


So that's the contents of the November fairyloot box. I have to admit there were a couple of misses for me this month but book sleeves can be quite expensive so they're a fairly high value item and so are bookish candles so overall I think it was still good for the price. Unfortunately I'm having to take a break from my subscription for a while, I just can't afford to buy a box every month right now, but I still love Fairyloot and I'm planning to buy the occasional box for now and I really hope I'll be able to resubscribe at some point in the future.

Fairyloot Unboxing - October 2017 "Villainous"

FairyLoot October Box "Villainous"

I know I'm really late posting my unboxings for both the October and November FairyLoot boxes but better late than never right? Even if nobody else is interested in reading these I like to keep a record of the subscription boxes I've purchased!

This was another lovely box from Fairyloot with lots of brilliant items included in it.


The first thing I found was this pretty Maleficient Candle from Meraki Candles. The scent is Jade Orchid & Lotus Blossom & it's gorgeous. Candles are definitely one of my favourite subscription box items so I love that Fairyloot include them regularly.


The next item was this Moriarty inspired Villain Coaster designed by Evie Seo. I always love Evie's designs and this one is no exception, this has already become my favourite coaster for my morning coffee!


I love this Death Eater enamel pin from House of Wonderland, I'm a HUGE Potterhead so of course I can never get enough HP merchandise!


This lovely mirror by Little Inkling Designs is so cute and it's perfect for carrying around in your handbag. The quote comes from Marie Lu's Young Elites series which is actually one I've not read yet but have been meaning to get around to for such a long time. I think I need to push it to the top of my to read pile!


This pretty print is another Evie Seo design, the quote comes from the poem The Aeneid by Virgil but you might recognise it from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series.


I absolutely love Leigh Bardugo's Grisha series so I was really excited when I found out that this box would include a hardback of The Language of Thorns, an anthology of short stories and fairytales set in the world. This is such a beautiful book, not only does it have a pretty foil cover (I wish I'd been able to get that to show better on the photo!) but it's also illustrated throughout with such gorgeous images. I've already posted my review which includes pictures so you can read all about the book HERE if you're interested.


These gorgeous postcards with artwork from The Language of Thorns were also included in the box.


Last but definitely not least was Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C Dao, this book is described as a reimagining of the evil queen from Snow White based on Asian folklore and mythology which sounds right up my street! It was already on my wish list so I'm definitely looking forward to diving into my copy. As with all the Fairyloot boxes the main book comes with a signed bookplate and a letter from the author which just makes it even more special.


So that's everything that was included in the box, what do you think? I loved getting two books AND a bookish candle and all the other items were just lovely bonuses so I'm definitely impressed with this one. Thanks for another fab box Fairyloot!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Review: The Night Before Christmas - Clement C. Moore (Illustrated by Richard Johnson)

"'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."

This classic Christmas verse is well known to every parent and child preparing for Christmas and this beautifully illustrated new edition is the perfect Christmas gift for young and old.

Visit illustrator Richard Johnson's website for more information

Review:
I have read this story every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, it's always been part of our Christmas traditions and it will always have a special place in my part because of that.

I don't think there are many people out there that aren't familiar with this poem by Clement C. Moore that was originally published in 1823. Theres a reason it's a classic and that's because it captures the magic of Christmas. We've had many versions of the book over the years but the one we read from now is beautifully illustrated by Richard Johnson, this is such a gorgeous book and I can't imagine a Christmas without it!


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONNER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!


Source: Purchased

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Saturday, 23 December 2017

Review: Make Me Believe - Shiloh Walker

Chelly is going nuts-she thinks. And she's fighting for the right to keep her little boy. Right before Christmas, her ex announces he is going to sue for custody of their child. Because she is losing her mind. She is talking to a man who doesn't exist. A tall, sexy creature with wicked blue eyes and magic in his hands. And he can't possibly exist. After all, elves aren't real.

Visit Shiloh Walker's website for more information

Review:
Ever since Chelly was a child she's had an invisible friend that nobody else has been able to see, people expected her to grow out of it but even now she's a mother she still sees Nikolai in her dreams. When her son is badly injured her life is turned upside down when Nikolai literally steps out of her dreams to save him. Their lives will never be the same again but can Chelly forgive Nikolai for taking away her choices from her?

I should point out that this is a short and very quick read that comes in at about 50 pages so you have to go in expecting things to be resolved fairly quickly. This was a fun read and I enjoyed the author's take on elves and Santa, it's a hot read too and there is plenty of attraction between Chelly and Nikolai but I can't help thinking how much better this could have been if their relationship had been a slower build. Yes, he's been part of her life for as long as she can remember but she never believed he was real before and after everything that happened when her son was injured I think I just needed a little more time with them talking things through and discussing their future before they jumped into bed.

This is definitely a nice Christmas story though and I'd be quite happy to read more stories about these characters, or some of the other elves we met, in the future.

Source: Purchased

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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Review: The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman

Will is twelve years old and he's just killed a man. Now he's on his own, on the run, determined to discover the truth about his father's disappearance.

Then Will steps through a window in the air into another world, and finds himself with a companion - a strange, savage little girl called Lyra. Like Will, she has a mission which she intends to carry out at all costs.

But the world of Cittagazze is a strange and unsettling place. Deadly, soul-eating Spectres stalk its streets, while high above, the wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. And in the mysterious Torre degli Angeli lurks Cittagazze's most important secret - an object which people from many worlds would kill to possess . . .

His Dark Materials:
Once Upon a Time in the North (Novella)
The Collectors (Short Story)
Northern Lights (Released as The Golden Compass in the US)
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass
Lyra's Oxford (Novella)

The Book of Dust:
(Companion series to His Dark Materials)
La Belle Sauvage

Visit Philip Pullman's website for more information

Review:
I've been a fan of the Dark Materials series for such a long time now, it's one I've reread so many times over the years that I've completely lost count, so I think it's fairly obvious that these books hold a special place in my heart. I've tried to review The Subtle Knife before but I'm not sure I really have the words to do it justice. Stepping back into this world is like stepping back in time though, it brings back so many memories and always puts a smile on my face.

This book picks up Lyra's story pretty much immediately after the ending of Northern Lights (published as The Golden Compass in the US), she followed her father through to another world and has now found herself in a strange place with no adults where kids roam freely in gangs. The city is plagued by invisible Spectres that feed on people's souls but they have no interest in children and only attack after adolescence sets in. It is in Citagazze that Lyra's path crosses with Will, a young boy from our own world who is on the run from men searching for his father who has been missing since an expedition many years ago. Will has so many questions and Lyra is the only one who might have some answers for him so they choose to work together as they search for his missing father.

Lyra is just as impulsive as ever which has a tendency to get her into trouble but with Will's help she's learning to think things through before she acts. He's much more cautious so reigns her in a bit but he's just as fiercely determined to find out what is really happening and he's intelligent enough to figure out the best way to move forward. They actually make a great team, she brings him out of his shell and he tempers her wilder side, they're both from different worlds so bring different skills to the table and of course Lyra always has Pantalaimon at her side to help them.

You'll see plenty of familiar faces from the first book along the way as well as meeting new ones. Lee Scorsby and the witches all have a part to play and so does Mary, a scientist from our world who has been studying Dark Matter. Her storyline is only just starting though and gets much more interesting in the next book. I started this reread because I'm so excited about the new trilogy Philip Pullman is writing, I've waited a long time for him to revisit this world and I'm incredibly excited to pick up my copy of La Belle Sauvage but there are so many things I'd forgotten from the original series that I'm glad I decided to reread it first.

Source: Purchased

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Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Review: Not Safe for Work - Charlotte Stein

“Employees must maintain clear boundaries between personal and professional relationships and conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the office…”

When Hartford brings in Abel Hernandez as the new CEO for his company Hartford Industries, he's prepared for Abel to shake things up…but not quite like this and certainly not with his personal assistant Amy, the one woman he's always wanted but never taken. He sees them breaking all of his precious rules, and he intends to reprimand them for it. The only problem is, it isn't anger he feels towards his two most trusted employees…it's possession. It's desire.

Originally published in the Filthy & Rich box set, get ready for some #NSFW action in Charlotte Stein's sizzling standalone novella featuring two billionaires and the woman caught between them. Not Safe for Work is your dirtiest boss-secretary fantasies come to life.

Visit Charlotte Stein's website for more information

Review:
Amy's boss Thomas Hartford is as uptight as they come, he's a stickler for rules and runs his company with an iron fist. When he brings in his best friend Abel as the new CEO Amy's shocked by how different the two men are, where Thomas is stuffy and abhors anything personal getting in the way of business Abel is down to earth, fun and makes his attraction for Amy very clear from the beginning. It's not long before Abel and Amy are a couple but what shocks Amy is that Thomas seems jealous of their relationship and when Abel starts putting ideas in her head about the three of them together she finds it impossible to resist acting out her wildest fantasies.

This is the first longer story I've read by Charlotte Stein and there's no denying she can write incredibly hot books, the chemistry between Abel and Amy was fantastic and the spark was there between them from the moment Abel walked into the office. I enjoyed their relationship and the fantasies they shared with each other but I have to admit I struggled a bit when Thomas joined in. I found him a really hard character to connect with because he came across as so cold and because this is a novella there didn't seem to be much of a build up to let me believe he was really attracted to either of them. With Abel and Amy you could feel the passion they felt for each other and for Thomas but with Thomas it was more like he was scratching a biological itch. That would have been fine if the story hadn't been trying to convince me that they were going to end up in a permanent three way relationship. It would have been easier to have accepted Abel and Amy as a couple who just liked to add an extra partner for the occasional bit of fun.

As far as short and spicy stories go I did enjoy this, the heat levels were certainly there, but I did end up more than a little disappointed with the romance side. I think if it had been just a few pages longer with a little more time spent getting to know Thomas it could have been so much better.

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

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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Review: Chaos Falls - Pippa DaCosta

"There are no other demons like me."

Restaurant owner, Hollywood socialite, Prince of Pride: Li'el is one of few demons left this side of the veil, and he has every intention of reveling in his new-found freedom.

But being the last demon in LA means that when mauled and shredded bodies are found within a few blocks of Li'el's popular Decadent-i restaurant, the list of suspects is a short one.

Add to that the suspicious death of a well-known reporter during one of Li'el's infamous after-parties, and he soon finds himself wanted for all the wrong reasons.

With the Dark Court gone and his powers waning, his reign at the top of the demon food chain could be over.

The Prince of Pride is about to discover there are worse creatures than demons in LA...

The demons are back in Chaos Falls, the third and final installment in the Chaos Rises series.

The Veil Series:
Wings of Hope (Novella)
Beyond the Veil
Devil May Care
Darkest Before Dawn
Drowning in the Dark
Ties That Bind
One for Sorrow (Novella)

Chaos Rises Series:
(Spin off from the Veil series)
Chaos Rises
Chaos Unleashed
Chaos Falls

Visit Pippa DaCosta's website for more information

Review:
It's no secret that I'm a huge Pippa DaCosta fangirl, I've loved every book she's ever written but the Veil books have a special place in my heart because it's the first of her series that I ever read & it's what got me hooked on her writing to start with. The Chaos Rises spin off series has been just as fantastic, if not better, than the original one and when Pippa announced that the book would be told from Li'el (Prince of Pride)'s point of view I was over the moon. His character has fascinated me from the first time we met him and throw in a guest appearance from Akil and you pretty much have the demon dream team right there.

I really don't want to say too much about this story but I will tell you that it was even better than I could ever have imagined. Li'el is such an incredibly complex character, he's lived for thousands of years, most of them on the other side of the Veil in the demon realm, but his time amongst humans has changed him. He definitely isn't a reformed man but he isn't pure evil anymore either, it takes time to dig deep into his motives and figure out what he really wants and I think half of the time he's not too sure of the answer to that question himself. Life should be much easier for him now that the tear in the Veil is closed but typically humans just don't know when to leave well alone and it shouldn't surprise anyone to hear they find a way to make an even bigger mess of things. Li'el is facing an impossible enemy and the only people he has to work with are just as likely to turn on him as they are to have his back.

Chaos Falls is full of twists, totally action packed and an emotional rollercoaster that will leave you breathless and smiling at the end. I loved getting the chance to see some familiar faces from the previous books and meeting some new ones but it was Li'el who totally stole the limelight, not that you could expect anything else from a Prince of Pride! This was a fitting end to a fantastic series, I'm sad it's over but it definitely went out with a bang and I'm looking forward to the next adventure Pippa is sure to take us on.

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

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