Thursday 26 January 2017

Book Trailer: The Dark Days Pact - Alison Goodman

I'm really looking forward to returning to Regency England in The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman so when I spotted the book trailer I thought I'd share it here. The book actually released today so if you've been waiting for it now is your time to grab a copy, I'm planning on reading it very soon so keep an eye out for my review too.

Here's a bit more information about the book:

Combining Jane Austen's high society and Cassandra Clare's supernatural underworld, Alison Goodman's second novel in the Lady Helen trilogy will delight fans of historical fiction and fantasy.

Brighton, July 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is spending the summer season in Brighton, where she will continue her Reclaimer training and prepare for her duties as a fully fledged member of the Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, believes that a Grand Deceiver has arrived in England, and there is no time to lose in preparing Helen to fight it.

As she rushes to complete her training, Helen finds herself torn between her loyalty to Carlston and the orders of the Home Office, who wish to use her to further their own agenda. Meanwhile, the Duke of Selburn seems determined to try and protect her, irrespective of the risk to himself. With so much at stake, Helen must make an agonizing choice between duty and devotion.

Lady Helen Series:
The Dark Days Club
The Dark Days Pact

Visit Alison Goodman's website for more information

Just in case you've not read the first book you can watch this video of Alison Goodman reading from The Dark Days Club:

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Review: Chester 5000-XYV - Jess Fink

1885: an age of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. Pricilla is a woman with needs, and her inventor husband Robert is a little too busy with his experiments to keep her fully satisfied. Science to the rescue! With a few gears and springs, the proper appendages, a little lubrication, and a lot of love, Chester 5000 is born! He's the perfect tool for the job... but what if Chester is more than just a machine? What are the consequences of trying to engineer love?

A vintage delight for adult readers of all stripes, Jess Fink’s Top Shelf debut reads like a whimsical love-child of steampunk, silent film and erotic comics.

CHESTER 5000: Because sometimes love comes with detachable body parts.

Chester 5000 Series:
Chester 5000-XYV
Chester 5000-XYV: Isabelle and George

Visit Jess Fink's website for more information

Chester 5000-XYV is an erotic graphic novel that can be read online for free on Jess Fink's website here but is also available as an ebook or in print from Top Shelf Comix if you want to support the artist. I'm still fairly new to graphic novels in general and definitely ones of the erotic variety but I somehow stumbled across the website and ended up devouring this book (and the sequel!) in less than an hour.

This is the story of Priscilla, her inventor husband Robert, and Chester, the sexbot he builds to cater to her needs when he is busy working. Priscilla is fed up with being neglected by her husband and with the loyal sexbot doting on her both in and out of the bedroom she soon finds herself falling in love with Chester. Robert wasn't anticipating this turn of events and he's not exactly happy about it either but you'll have to read the comic for yourself to find out what he does about it.

I absolutely love the artwork in both of these stories, Jess Fink cleverly uses different perspectives and styles to make each page unique. They're the kind of drawings you appreciate more the longer you look at them as you notice the clever little details like the way she'll blend Pricilla's hair into the curling pattern at the boarder or how she uses a fisheye lens to draw attention to certain details. There is no dialogue, in fact the only words are a few sound effects along the way so reading this is a lot like watching an old silent movie and that fits in with the feel of the Victorian Steampunk nature of the story perfectly. The romance is surprisingly sweet considering it's between a human and a robot as well as being incredibly erotic.

Source: Read for free online at Jess Fink's website

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

Hardback / Kindle:

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Review: Carve the Mark - Veronica Roth

Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally bestselling author Veronica Roth’s stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favoured by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not – their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power – something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive – no matter what the cost.

When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive – or to destroy one another.

Carve the Mark Duology:
Carve the Mark
Second book title and release date to be confirmed

Visit Veronica Roth's website for more information

I loved Divergent but after getting accidentally spoiled on the ending of Allegiant I still haven't been able to bring myself to read it so I was a little wary going into Carve the Mark. I like it when authors can make me invested in their characters but I'm not a fan of being emotionally manipulated and it makes me wary of going back for more. I still had high hopes for this new series though, I was expecting a fast paced and fairly action packed story like we got with Divergent and I really wanted to meet new characters I could root for. Unfortunately that's not really what I got and while I liked both Cyra and Akos I found Carve the Mark an incredibly slow read, particularly in the first half. It took me 11 days to finish reading this and I can get through a 1000 page Wheel of Time book in 2-3 days when I give it my full attention! I enjoyed the story just fine when I picked it up (especially in the second half) but it was just one of those books that was very easy to put down and left you with very little urge to go back to it.

I'm not really going to discuss the racism issues this raises or the problems people have had with the way this refers to chronic pain in detail in this review. Those things have already been mentioned by other reviewers who have been able to explain the issues far better than I could but, while I don't think it was intentional on the author's part, I can understand why people have taken issue with the way certain characters were portrayed. The concerns Justina Ireland raised on her blog are hugely important ones and they've definitely made me think about things that I might not have noticed previously, not just in this book but in many others too.

Even if you completely discount those issues I found there were major problems with both the pacing and the world building that stopped this from being an incredible book. I don't think the world building was handled brilliantly, you're thrown in at the deep end and left to struggle your way through and I think too much time was spent on things that weren't important to the story which threw the pacing off. The last third was when things started getting really interesting though and that's the point where I actually found myself excited to see where the story might end up going so because of that I'm pretty sure I'll be picking up the second book to give this series another chance. I'm hoping that now we're more familiar with the world and the pace has picked up the sequel will hold my attention better.

On the positive side I can say I liked both of the main characters and I though the idea of people all having different current gifts was an interesting (if not unique) one. It was nice to see a gender reversal in the way Cyra was the more bloodthirsty of the two while Akos was much more gentle and less eager to fight. Both characters are well developed and have their own motivations for doing things, on the surface they are opposites in everything from upbringing to personality type but they have more in common than you might think. Cyra's gift has kept her isolated from the people around her, she can't touch anyone without both causing and feeling pain and her brother has used her gift to torture his enemies so she thinks of herself as a horrible person. Akos' current gift negates hers though and for the first time Cyra is able to feel relief from her constant pain and spend time with someone else. She already hated her brother for the way he treats people but Akos shows her that not all families are like hers and he gives her an idea of what life could be like if she escaped. Cyra has a tough outer shell and pretends not to care about anything other than herself but that's not completely true and we gradually see her attitude change throughout the story.

Akos may be a pacifist at heart but he will do whatever it takes to save his brother no matter how much it costs him. He's a very selfless character and he has a great sense of right and wrong but he will bend the rules when he needs to. He is automatically prejudiced against Cyra due to the circumstances in which they meet but even when he has good reason to hate her and her family he isn't blind to the good side of her. I liked the way these two got to know each other slowly and that the experiences they shared together changed them both equally. This is a rare case of a slow build romance and I enjoyed it all the more because of that.

Carve the Mark may not have hooked me quite as much as Divergent did but the second half far outdid the first and it left me wanting to know what's next for both Cyra and Akos so I'm hopeful for the sequel.

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

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

Hardback / Paperback (Preorder) / Kindle:

Book Trailer: Carve the Mark - Veronica Roth

I'll be posting my review of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth later today but in the meantime I thought it would be fun to share the book trailer with you.

Veronica Roth has also recorded this helpful pronunciation guide to help us with the character's names:

Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally bestselling author Veronica Roth’s stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favoured by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not – their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power – something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive – no matter what the cost.

When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive – or to destroy one another.

Carve the Mark Duology:
Carve the Mark
Second book title and release date to be confirmed

Visit Veronica Roth's website for more information

Monday 23 January 2017

Review: Homecoming - Patricia Briggs, David Lawrence, Francis Tsai & Amelia Woo

Mercy Thompson is a walker, a magical being with the power to transform into a coyote. She lives on the fine line dividing the everyday world from a darker dimension, observing the supernatural community while standing apart.

When Mercy travels to the Tri-Cities of Washington for a job interview, she quickly finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a gang war between rival packs of werewolves. And as if fangs and fur weren t bad enough, Mercy must deal with the scariest creature of all: her mother, who is convinced that Mercy is making a mess of her life and determined to set her daughter on the right course.

The thrilling adventures of Mercy Thompson Moon Called, Blood Bound, and Iron Kissed have topped the New York Times bestseller list. Now Mercy makes her comics debut in an exclusive new story created by Patricia Briggs. Mercy Thompson: Homecoming is sure to please longtime fans and capture new ones with its mix of unforgettable characters and thrilling supernatural intrigue."

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

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

Visit Patricia Briggs' website for more information

I'm a huge fan of the Mercy Thompson world, its one of the few series that I read on pretty much an annual basis and I just started my 4th reread so I'll be ready for when the latest book, Silence Fallen, releases in March. I realised recently that even though I keep rereading the full length books and the short stories I'd never actually picked up the graphic novels so I thought it was about time I finally gave them a try.

Homecoming is actually a prequel story to the main books in the series which shows how Mercy came to live in the Tri-Cities area and ended up working as a mechanic for Zee. It also shows her first interactions with Zee, Tad, Stefan and Adam which are all things that fans of the series will probably be interested in seeing first hand. Although it's technically a prequel and can be read even if you're not familiar with the series I think you'll probably appreciate it more if you're familiar with the world and can recognise the characters as they appear.

The downside of being so familiar with this series is that I already had pretty set ideas in my head about what each of the characters would look like, these are characters who already feel real to me and I'll admit that the artist depictions didn't always match my own versions. Obviously no artist will be able to create versions that appeal to every fan of the series so I don't hold that against anyone and overall I did really enjoy the artwork. The major problem here is that the artist changed at some point during the process so characters like Mercy weren't drawn consistently throughout the book. I've included a picture showing four of the different faces Mercy was given just in the first few pages of the book, she would pretty much change from scene to scene (even within drawings from the same artist!) and I found that incredibly jarring.

It wasn't just Mercy's face that changed, her body type did too - she'd be slim in one scene and voluptuous in the next and that lack of consistency bothered me far more than the fact that the characters weren't quite how I pictured them in my head. I'd been so excited when I saw the cover because that version of Mercy is pretty close to how I expected her to look but I don't think she actually appeared again anywhere inside the book.

Although I was disappointed I'm still glad I read this story, it was fun getting to see a bit more of Mercy's background and it made a nice change to see the characters in a different format. I'm just not sure I'd bother rereading this every time I revisit the series. I think if you're a huge fan of the series then it's still worth picking up a copy of Homecoming but if you decide to skip it you're not really missing out on anything vital.

Source: Purchased

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

Hardback / Kindle:

Friday 20 January 2017

My Ten Most Anticipated Contemporary Romances for the First Half of 2017

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

The January Prompt is:
Ten Most Anticipated Contemporary Romances for the First Half of 2017
(Links below will take you to the book's Goodreads Page)

  1. For 100 Nights - Lara Adrian
  2. Mastering Her Senses - Laura Kaye
  3. Madly - Ruthie Knox
  4. Crave Me - Cecy Robson
  5. Rope 'Em - Delphine Dryden
  6. Too Wilde To Tame - Tonya Burrows
  7. Accidentally On Purpose - Jill Shalvis
  8. After I Fall - Jessica Scott
  9. Love in Lingerie - Alessandra Torre
  10. It Started with a Kiss - Marina Adair

Are any of these books on your list? Which other contemporary romances should I be looking out for?

Thursday 19 January 2017

Book Trailer: King's Cage - Victoria Aveyard

I love Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen series and can't wait for the King's Cage to release in February. This trailer has made me even more excited so I had to share it on here for anyone who hasn't seen it yet!

The highly anticipated new novel from New York Times Number One bestselling author of RED QUEEN.

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal.

Now a king, Maven continues weaving his web in an attempt to maintain control over his country - and his prisoner.

As Mare remains trapped in the palace, the remnants of the Red Rebellion continue organizing and expanding. As they prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows, Cal - the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart - will stop at nothing to bring her back.

In this breathless new novel from the bestselling author of the Red Queen series, blood will turn on blood and allegiances will be tested on every side. If the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Red Queen Series:
(Links will take you to my reviews)
Cruel Crown (Anthology containing 2 prequel novellas)
Red Queen
Glass Sword
King's Cage

Who else loves this series as much as I do?

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Review: Phantom Kiss - Chloe Neill

In this all-new novella from the New York Times bestselling author of Midnight Marked, Merit, Ethan, and the rest of Cadogan House crew discover that not all undead creatures are kindred spirits…

Vampires generally aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, but Merit and Ethan are extra jumpy after a recent attack by a dark sorcerer. So when they learn that someone is messing with graves in Chicago’s cemeteries, stealing skulls and snatching souls, they fear that their powerful foe might be back for even more magical vengeance.

But after a specter begins haunting Cadogan House—and targeting vampires—they realize that they're being taunted by an altogether different sort of monster. A ghoulish villain straight out of the Windy City’s urban legends is on the prowl—and he won’t stop until he’s killed again...

Chicagoland Vampires Series:
Some Girls Bite
Friday Night Bites
Twice Bitten
Hard Bitten
Drink Deep
Biting Cold
House Rules
Biting Bad
High Stakes (Novella in the Kicking It anthology)
Howling for You (Novella)
Wild Things
Blood Games
Lucky Break (Novella)
Dark Debt
Midnight Marked
Phantom Kiss (Novella)
Blade Bound
Slaying It (Novella)

Heirs of Chicagoland Series:
(Spin off set approximately 20 years on from the end of the Chicagoland Vampires series)
Wild Hunger
Wicked Hour

Visit Chloe Neill's website for more information

As a huge fan of the Chicagoland Vampires series I love it when Chloe Neill writes these novellas to help tide us over until the next full length book releases. Phantom Kiss was a great way to slip back into this world and it definitely left me more eager than ever for the April release of Blade Bound.

Merit and Ethan's evening starts with a wedding shower organised by Merit's mother and sister and ends with a trip to a cemetery to investigate a freshly disturbed grave. Frankly I'm not sure which of the two events is more terrifying but the fallout for the open grave has far more serious consequences. I don't think we've seen much ghostly action throughout the series so that was a nice change of pace and I thought it was hilarious to see how the Cadogan vampires reacted to the idea that the house may be haunted.

As always I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Merit and Ethan working together and we get to see all our favourite familiar faces like Mallory, Catcher, Jeff and Merit's Grandfather. We also get to spend more time with local necromancer Annabelle which was great, I really like her character and hope we'll see more of her in the final book.

I'm so sad that this series is coming to an end but I have very high hopes for Blade Bound and can't wait to see Merit and Ethan get their happily ever after.

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

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


Monday 16 January 2017

Review: Ride 'Em - Delphine Dryden

Mindy has come to Logan’s dude ranch to convince him to sign away his land’s mineral rights to her stepfather. She doesn’t want to beg, but she will if she has to, like she does Friday nights when she submits to her master’s desire . . .

Logan doesn’t like to be jerked around, in business or pleasure. And when he learns what Mindy is up to, he’s ready to teach her a lesson. In fact, he’d like to tie her up, strip her down, and give her a spanking she’ll never forget . . .

With passion riding high, Logan and Mindy indulge in carnal play that leaves them both wanting more. And with their jobs on the line, they realize that their erotic fantasies might be their ticket to success . . .

Giddyup Series:
Ride 'Em
Rope 'Em

Visit Delphine Dryden's website for more information.

Mindy booked a week's holiday on a ranch in her hometown for one reason only: to convince Logan, a guy she went to school with, to sell the ranch mineral rights to her stepfather's company. She wants her stepfather to see that she is good at her job and he's not exactly giving her many other chances to prove herself. Logan is thrilled to have his childhood crush staying with them and the attraction he feels hasn't been dulled by the years they've spent apart. He's not happy when he finds out why she came though and sets out to teach her a lesson for lying to him. As Logan ties her up in knots Mindy starts to realise that she's had her priorities all wrong but can she prove to Logan that she's now on his side when her stepfather comes to town and starts throwing his weight around?.

I was a bit worried that Mindy's secret would be hanging over their heads for most of the book so I was relieved she was found out pretty much immediately and that she'd already decided she'd made a mistake in trying to trick Logan. She never lies to him and she is quick to apologise and try to make amends which I appreciated. Mindy spent so long desperately trying to get away from her small hometown and make a new life for herself in Dallas that she's shocked by how right it feels being back in Bolero. Then when she realises that Logan is also into the kink scene things just fit together but she's still scared to make the leap.

Logan is a hardworking guy who just wants to make a success of his family's ranch. It's been hard work starting the business and he's up to his eyes in debt but he's determined to turn a profit and get the bank off his back. He always had a crush on Mindy but while he was a geeky teenager she was the homecoming queen and he never stood a chance. Now she's back but he's worried about scaring her off with his kinky side. When he realises she's a sub and shares all the same kinks as him he knows they could have something special but with her stepfather determined to destroy his land it's hard to trust that Mindy isn't still secretly working against him.

Cowboys and BDSM, who knew that would be such a recipe for success? Well actually when you think about it kinky cowboys seems like a bit of a no brainer, I mean who wouldn't want to read a series ? I'd forgotten how much I enjoy Delphine Dryden's writing, I loved her geeky hero Ivan in The Theory of Attraction and she's proved she's just as good at creating alpha cowboys with Logan. Ride 'Em was everything I'd hoped for, it had some very sweet and funny moments, a great cast of side characters, a believable romance and some hot as hell kink. Logan's brother Ethan is up next and since he's a rope expert I have very high hopes for his story too and I can't wait to continue this series.

Source: Purchased

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Sunday 15 January 2017

Crafting Corner: Book Folding Art inspired by Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson Series

I absolutely love Patricia Briggs' writing, her Mercy Thompson series (and the Alpha & Omega books set in the same world) is one of my favourite urban fantasy series and I tend to reread it most years to get ready for the latest release. Since I have a section of my bookshelves dedicated to this series I thought it would be fun to make a book fold to add.

I decided I wanted to do a wolf howling at the moon (yes I get that Mercy is a Coyote but the majority of characters in the series are werewolves and the first book in the series is Moon Called!).

I found this image online and decided to use it as inspiration for my book fold:

It's a little harder to see the details on a book fold but I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out:

What do you think? I really like it but I think I might have to try and come up with a design with a Coyote paw print to match Mercy's tattoo next LOL.

Saturday 14 January 2017

Review: Sweet Revenge - Rebecca Zanetti

The One Man She Can't Have

Matt Dean was born to fight . . . and kill. A member of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be the perfect soldiers with an expiration date. Now, with time running out, he's gone rogue in a relentless quest for the one person who can save them. His mission leads him to Charmed, Idaho . . . and to a beautiful woman with eyes like emeralds and a body made for pleasure.

The One Woman He Can't Resist

Laney Jacobs knows the mysterious, handsome stranger is trouble from the moment he walks into her bar, looking for a job. She's spent years running from her own past-the last thing she needs is a romantic entanglement. But Matt's strong arms offer her protection and his gentle touch promises passion unlike anything she's ever known. As lethal forces surround them, revealing explosive secrets about Matt's past and putting everything-and everyone-he holds dear in danger, can he save them all before time runs out?

Sin Brothers Series:
Forgotten Sins
Sweet Revenge
Blind Faith
Total Surrender

Blood Brothers Series:
(Spin off from the Sin Brothers)
Deadly Silence
Lethal Lies
Twisted Truths

Visit Rebecca Zanetti's website for more information

I have absolutely no excuses for why it's taken me so long to pick up the second book in the series, especially since I really enjoyed the first book, but at least that means the entire series is available so I can now binge read the remaining books!

This series is about four brothers who were genetically engineered to be super-soldiers. Raised to be perfect weapons they were never given a chance at a proper childhood but they always had each other to rely on and they spent years plotting their escape. They've been on the run for several years now but their youngest brother, Jory, was lost in the escape attempt and they've spent all that time believing he was dead until Shane discovered extra video footage of that night and realised there is a chance he is still alive and but recaptured. Now the brothers have two main goals, one find a way to disable the chips implanted in their spine that will kill them if it doesn't receive a new code within the next six weeks and two, find out exactly what happened to Jory and if he's alive find a way to rescue him.

As the oldest brother Matt has always felt responsible for the others, he is the protector, the one who promised they'd never be alone and that he'd always have their backs. What happened to Jory broke him but it's made him more determined than ever to keep the others safe and that means finding a way to disable the explosives in their necks. He has a lead on a doctor who might have implanted the devices and he will do whatever it takes to track her down and force her to help them. With the Commander's forces drawing ever closer he needs to move fast but he's stopped in his tracks when he meets bar owner Laney. Laney takes pity on him when she realises he's been injured and she ends up offering him a job as a bartender come bouncer which is perfect cover as he tries to find the doctor he needs. The attraction he feels for Laney is a huge distraction though and when he realises she has a serial killer on her tail he knows he has to try and protect her too.

As much as I enjoyed the first book in this series I thought Matt and Laney were a much better couple. All of the Dean brothers are pretty irresistible but Josie got on my nerves a bit in the previous book and that definitely wasn't the same here. Laney is much more independent and quite fierce when she wants to be, no matter how attracted she is to Matt she won't let him walk all over her and she's willing to stand up for herself when she needs to. She has a few dark secrets that are about to catch up with her and land her in a whole new heap of trouble but she owns up to any mistakes she's made and wants to do what she can to put them right. I loved the chemistry between Laney and Matt, the attraction is instant but their relationship never felt rushed even though it all happened fairly quickly.

Sweet Revenge is full of action, there are a lot of different plot threads that all have their own dangers and problems for the couple and that really kept me on my toes while I was reading. I enjoyed the banter between Matt and his brothers and loved the way he was such a protector for everyone he cares about. This book definitely got me fired up about the series again and I can't wait to read Nate and Jory's stories.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Friday 13 January 2017

Review: Chaos Choreography - Seanan McGuire

Destiny, Noun:
1. The inevitable or irresistible course of events.
2. The inescapable future.
3. See also “Screwed.”

Verity Price is back on the West Coast and getting back into the swing of the family business: cryptozoology. She's rescuing cryptids from bad situations, protecting them from monster-hunters, and generally risking life and limb for the greater good, with her ex-Covenant partner/husband, Dominic, by her side. Her ballroom dance career is behind her...or so she thinks.

When Verity gets the call from the producers of Dance or Die, the reality show she almost won several years before, she finds the lure of a comeback impossible to resist, and she and Dominic are off to L.A. for one last shot at the big time.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When two of her fellow contestants turn up dead, Verity will need every ally she can find—and a couple she wasn't looking for—in order to navigate the complicated steps of both the tango and a murder investigation without blowing her cover. It doesn't help that her official family backup is her grandmother, Alice Price-Healy, who thinks "subtle" is something that happens to other people.

Winning this competition may have just become a matter of life and death.

Incryptid Series:
14 Jonathan Healy & Frances Brown Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
3 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)
Tricks for Free
That Ain't Witchcraft

Ghost Roads 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)
Last Call at the Last Chance (Short Story available via Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page)
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

As much as I loved getting to know Alex I was really excited for the chance to catch back up with Verity and Dominic. I was looking forward to seeing how married life was treating them and it was great to see what a strong couple they have become. Verity thought she had walked away from her dancing career for good when they left New York but when she gets an invitation to appear on an all star line up of the dancing show that started it all she finds the lure impossible to resist. Heading to L.A. in a whirlwind of sequins and wigs Verity knows she's going to have to work 24/7 to impress the judges.

Dominic has never understood Verity's obsession with dancing but I loved how incredibly supportive he is of her choices, he knows how much dancing means to her and he wants her to have every possible opportunity to fulfil her dreams. Even though he won't be allowed to stay in the dancer's accommodation he heads to L.A. with her just to offer support and to make sure she's safe. Unfortunately for Verity what should be a fun reunion with old friends and the chance of a lifetime for her career ends up getting a lot more complicated when dancers start going missing. After discovering dead bodies covered in strange runes they realise they're dealing with something significant and her parents send backup in the form of Verity's grandmother Alice.

Chaos Choreography was probably my favourite book in the series so far, I enjoyed spending time with Verity and Dominic, the crazy dance show setting made a nice change, the Aeslin mice were on hand to add humour in the darker moments, we get to meet a few interesting new cryptids but most of all I absolutely loved getting to know grandma Alice. We've had a lot of hints dropped about Alice during the series (someone please tell me that Seanan McGuire is going to give her her own book or spin off series eventually - I want to join her on her search for Thomas and we NEED to see them get a HEA!) and we even met her in one of the short stories but nothing prepared me for how completely badass she is. Alice is a weird mix of cookie baking grandma and gun-toting, grenade throwing, dimension hopping supergirl who looks like Verity's younger sister and she is absolutely awesome.

Things got very interesting at the end of this book and now I'm more excited to continue this series than ever. It initially seemed like a weird place to switch to Antimony's point of view for the next two books but having read the blurb for Magic for Nothing March can't get here soon enough so that I can find out what happens next.

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.


Thursday 12 January 2017

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Winternight Trilogy:
The Bear and the Nightingale
The Girl in the Tower
The Winter of the Witch

Visit Katherine Arden's website for more information

Every so often a book comes along that is so good it just blows your mind. In 2014 it was Red Rising, 2015 was Uprooted, in 2016 it was Nevernight and I know it's early to say this but for 2017 it's The Bear and the Nightingale. These are the kinds of books that I actually get anxious about writing reviews for because I know I'll never be able to do them justice. They're the books that I end up buying multiple copies of, books that I walk around bookshops surreptitiously moving them into more prominent places on the shelves and books I start physically handing to random strangers. Basically if you're going to buy one book a year based on my recommendations these are the ones I would push at you.

This is the story of Vasya, the youngest daughter of Pyotr and Marina Vladimirovich. Her mother died just after giving birth to her but Vasya is doted on by her older brothers and sister and she has a wild streak a mile wide. Vasya is a quite a tomboy who would rather spend her time running in the forest or in the stable looking after the horses than indoors learning to cook and sew, she also inherited her mother's second sight and spends her time communicating with the guardians and spirits who look after the land. She isn't afraid of the strange creatures she finds, in fact she befriends most of them and does her best to help them stay alive when the rest of her village start to turn away from them. As Vasya gets older her father begins to worry that she'll never find a husband if she doesn't start to act like a proper young lady so he remarries hoping his new wife will be a good influence. Unfortunately things don't quite work out as planned and when another new arrival appears in the village things just go from bad to worse.

The Bear and the Nightingale is part historical fiction, part fantasy and all magical fairytale. It's beautifully written and highly atmospheric, the perfect book to read on a cold winter's night when you're wrapped up snuggly by an open fire and sipping from a mug of hot chocolate. Katherine Arden weaves a tale so evocative that you'll feel like the world around you is blanketed in snow and you'll be half tempted to leave out an offering of bread and honey for the hearth-spirits in your kitchen. There are so many things I want to say about this book but I find myself lost for words, it really is just the kind of lush story that you have to read for yourself to fully appreciate. I was utterly obsessed when I was reading this, I didn't want to put it down for a minute and I'm already anticipating a reread before the sequel comes out. It's hard to believe that this is actually a debut novel but Katherine Arden has earned a spot on my auto-buy list and I can't wait to see where she takes Vasya's story next.

Source: Received from Del Rey in exchange for an honest review

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

Hardback / Paperback / Kindle:

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Review: Frostblood - Elly Blake

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light - until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby's powers are unpredictable...and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King's men, she's taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her - and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she's spent her whole life withholding.

Frostblood is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies - but together create a power that could change everything.

The Frostblood Saga:
Fireblood (Autumn 2017)
Darkblood (2018)

Visit Elly Blake's website for more information

Ruby is a Fireblood, someone with the ability to control heat and fire. Unfortunately she's not had much opportunity to practise her skills because her people have been so persecuted by the Frostbloods (people with control over cold and ice) that she has to keep her nature secret. Unfortunately Ruby is discovered by the Frost King's soldiers when they raid her village and her mother is murdered in front of her. Ruby is consumed by the desire for revenge but in order to achieve her goals she finds herself having to work alongside a mysterious and scarred Frostblood soldier. Arcus should be her enemy but he has reasons of his own to destroy the Frost King and a gradual truce forms between them as he tries to help her master her powers.

On the surface Frostblood sounds very similar to a lot of other YA fantasy series out there and I'm not going to lie those similarities are real, however, it also stands up as a story in it's own right and I found myself really enjoying it. Ruby is a great character, she's been through a lot but she is quite fierce and determined when she sets her mind to something. She spent her whole life being told she had to hide her abilities so it's quite difficult for her to embrace her skills at first but she perseveres and is willing to to put the effort in so it doesn't feel like everything comes to easy for her. It was fairly obvious from early on that Arcus was going to end up being a love interest but it wasn't a case of insta-love. They were initially wary of each other but over time they developed a grudging mutual respect that eventually turned into friendship.

Arcus was keeping a lot of secrets but I had guessed his true identity fairly early on. I liked the way Ruby reacted when she found out, she was shocked and her first instinct was to wonder if he had betrayed her but then she thought about things like a sensible person and realised that was still able to trust him after everything they'd been through together. Too often we see characters easily believe rumours over their own experiences with a person so that was a refreshing change.

Although the story started out with a similar feel to several other series Elly Blake definitely takes things in her own direction during the second half and I was actually surprised by the way it ended. I think I was expecting it to end on some horrible cliffhanger so I was really pleased that wasn't the case. I like that this ties together and feels like a complete story in it's own right. There is definitely more story to tell and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the next instalment but we do get a nice amount of resolution to some parts of the story. This series is definitely going to be one to watch out for, I have a feeling it's going to be a big hit!

Source: Received from Hodder & Stoughton in exchange for an honest review

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week has a different theme & you can find all the details about how to join in HERE.

Today's topic is Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To. There were actually a lot of 2015 books that I was really excited about but never got around to reading but here are the ones I REALLY want to try and get to soon!

Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To:

Young Adult

  1. Witch's Pyre - Josephine Angelini 
  2. Riders - Veronica Rossi
  3. The Raven King - Maggie Stiefvater
  4. Arcana Rising - Kresley Cole
  5. Torch Against the Night - Sabaa Tahir

  1. Grave Visions - Kalayna Price
  2. Cursed - Sue Tingey
  3. A Closed and common orbit - Becky chambers 
  4. Alliance - S.K. Dunstall
  5. Infernal - Mark de Jager
What books are on your list?

Monday 9 January 2017

2016 End of Year Survey

This isn't something I've really done in the past but I found this fab End of Year Survey on The Perpetual Page-Turner and thought it would be fun to take part. I'm going to try and remember to make this a new annual tradition but I'm not making any promises LOL.

Number Of Books You Read: 245
Number of Re-Reads: 49
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (including Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy & Paranormal Romance)

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
Read my reviews of Red Rising, Golden Son & Morning Star

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Best Series Started:
Soul Eater Series by Pippa DaCosta

Best Sequel:
Night Study by Maria Snyder

Best Series Ender:
Beyond Surrender by Kit Rocha

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Seanan McGuire - I've become totally addicted to her Incryptid series this year and can't wait to carry on reading the rest of her backlist.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Let's Pretend This Never Happened - Jenny Lawson

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Burn for Me and White Hot by Ilona Andrews

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier & Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Read my reviews: Den of Wolves & Breath of Fire

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

The Aeslin Mice from Seanan McGuire's Incryptid Series

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Night Shift: An insight into depression that words often struggle to reach by Debi Gliori

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

A tall man was striding from the far end of the hallway. He wore the black robe and it flared around him, the wings of a raven about to take flight. He walked like he owned the building and he'd spotted an intruder in his domain. Magic boiled around him, vicious and lethal, so potent I could feel it from thirty yards away, he was an elemental force, a thunderstorm clad in black about to unleash its fury.
White Hot by Ilona Andrews (my man Rogan knows how to make an entrance!)

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh (9 pages)

Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan (1040 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Nevada and Rogan from Burn for Me and White Hot by Ilona andrews

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Arland and Helen from One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Roark from the In Death series by J.D. Robb

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Alien Nation by Gini Koch

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

The Book Eaters This is a fairly new blog created by three of my best friends who I met through Goodreads. I was actually supposed to be a contributor too but I have enough on my hands keeping up with this blog so I never got around to it.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

It has to be my rant about A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas (you can read it here), I never normally post DNF reviews but that book made me so angry and disappointed that I just had to talk about it. I know most people completely disagree with me and that's fine but personally I think it was the most horrendous pile of crap that I've ever had the displeasure of attempting to read and one day I will set my copy on fire!

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I think my favourite non-review posts this year have all been about Book Folding Art, I've become a bit obsessed with creating fanart book folds this year & my favourites include the ones inspired by Harry Potter and Pierce Brown's Red Rising Trilogy

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Without a doubt a major highlight of the year was when I was lucky enough to get tickets to go to the Terry Pratchett Memorial in London. My Dad and I have been fans of Terry's writing for about 20 years now and we were both heartbroken when he died but it was wonderful to get the chance to celebrate his life with so many other passionate Discworld fans. Also, how many other excuses am I going to have to get my Dad into wizard robes? I wrote all about the event here.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Getting to meet Pierce Brown at Hodder's Howler party, I'm a crazy fangirl when it comes to this series so that was definitely a brilliant moment even if I did get all tongue tied and make an idiot of myself LOL.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I think just staying motivated to keep writing reviews. Luckily I didn't really suffer with reading slumps but there were many days when the last thing I wanted to do was worry about writing blog posts.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Based on views the top four posts on my blog this year were:
  1. Cover Reveal: Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Mariott
  2. Terry Pratchett Memorial, a wonderful & fitting tribute #speakhisname
  3. Review: A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J Maas (Or in other words: Why I won't be buying any more books by Sarah J Maas)
  4. Review: Who's Afraid - Maria Lewis
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Probably the book folding art I created inspired by Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows series, I'm really proud of this design but I posted about it in that dead zone between Christmas and New Year so it didn't get as many views as I'd hoped.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I am totally obsessed with the gorgeous book fandom magnetic bookmarks that Happy Hello Co create. I already own Harry Potter, Six of Crows and Throne of Glass ones but I've recently ordered Lunar Chronicles and Fantastic Beasts magnets too and can't wait to receive them. You can look through all their amazing designs on Etsy here.

I also love the Literary Emporium where you'll find everything from bookish jewelry, stationery, and all kinds of accessories. I could spend a fortune on their website!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Challenges I took part in for 2016:
2016 Read 100 Books in a Year Challenge - Read 200/200 - COMPLETE
2016 British Books Challenge - Read 40/50 - I didn't quite hit my target but I think 40 books is still a pretty great achievement!
2016 New Author Challenge - Read 44/50 - Again I didn't quite hit my goal but I've still discovered some fantastic new authors this year but I've also enjoyed focusing on catching up with series that I'm already in love with.
2016 Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Challenge - 100/100 - COMPLETE
2016 Contemporary Romance Challenge - 20/20 - COMPLETE
2016 Romantic Suspense Challenge - 17/20 - I was so close to my target that I'm not going to stress about it

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

Riders by Veronica Rossi

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

The final book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews 
(which doesn't actually have a title or cover yet so I'm including the picture for 
book 9 in the series Magic Binds)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

I want to focus on reading what I want to read rather than forcing myself to read things to fit a schedule, it's something I did a lot better in 2016 and it meant I enjoyed it so much more so I plan to continue. No guilt over reading books I bought myself as well as review copies and if I want to reread favourite books and or series then thats fine too.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

White Hot by Ilona Andrews
(This was a bit of a no brainer since I loved it so much I've already read it twice!)


Related Posts with Thumbnails