Saturday, 25 March 2017

Review: A Conjuring of Light - V.E. Schwab

The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise. Kell - once assumed to be the last surviving Antari - begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. Lila Bard, once a commonplace - but never common - thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry.

Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery and the Night Spire crew are attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible, as an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown and a fallen hero is desperate to save a decaying world...

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

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

Review:
A Conjuring of Light was exactly what I wanted from the finale of the Shades of Magic series and I love it when a series goes out on a high note! At 666 pages this is a whopper of a book but there is just so much going on that it honestly doesn't feel like it and I flew through it in a couple of days. The action is pretty much non-stop from the first few pages and there is twist after twist as you follow all of our favourite characters to the end. This story isn't all sunshine and roses, there are heartbreaking moments and I'll warn you right now that not everyone survives the book but there are also fantastic friendships and some incredibly sweet and romantic moments to lighten the mood just when you need them.

First let me talk about how much I adore the brotherly bond between Kell and Rhy, these two are brothers by choice even if not by blood and their friendship never fails to make me smile. One of my favourite moments in the book was a conversation Rhy had with his mother near the beginning of the story about the bond he shares with Kell and I think this quote sums up their relationship perfectly:
Rhy shook his head, exasperated. “Kell isn’t the only one you fail to understand. My bond with him didn’t start with this curse. You wanted him to kill for me, die for me, protect me at all costs. Well, Mother, you got your wish. You simply failed to realize that that kind of love, that bond, it goes both ways. I would kill for him, and I would die for him, and I will protect him however I am able, from Faro and Vesk, from White London, and Black London, and from you.”
I also love the relationship between Kell and Lila, they have a lot in common and now that Lila has grown up a bit (she irritated me a bit in the last book but showed a massive character growth in this one!) I think they make a really cute couple. I like that Lila has learnt to accept that she doesn't know everything and that she's willing to take Kell's advice and learn from her mistakes. She's still a very proactive character who doesn't sit around waiting to be saved and is much more likely to be right in the middle of any trouble rather than watching from the sidelines but she's lost a bit of that cocky edge that made her annoying rather than just confident. Kell has changed a lot too, he has the weight of his whole world on his shoulders and that's a lot of stress for anyone to deal with but he is determined to fix the mistakes he made and resolve things. I was shipping Rhy and Alucard so hard from the middle of the last book and that didn't change here. They have a lot of history between them and not all of it is good but I was rooting for them to find a way back to each other.

I think the most surprising character award would have to go to Holland. I never expected to end up liking him after what he did in A Gathering of Shadows but we get to see some really interesting glimpses into his past that showed exactly how he ended up making the choices he did. I still don't agree with his actions but it wasn't too hard to imagine Kell or even Lila making similar choices if they were in his position to begin with. He also works really hard to try and fix the mess he made and I enjoyed the grudging respect that slowly builds between him, Kell and Lila.

A Conjuring of Light was a fantastic end to this story arc but I'm kind of hoping that V.E. Schwab isn't done with this world yet. I think things were definitely left open enough that we could have more adventures in this world but don't worry you're not left with a horrible cliffhanger so it won't matter if there are no more books to come. I'm going to miss Kell, Rhy and the rest though so I hope we'll see more of them in the future.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Friday, 24 March 2017

Release Day Blitz: Exiled - Amanda Carlson

Today is the release day of Exiled, the third book in Amanda Carlson's fabulous Phoebe Meadows series. I've been looking forward to this book for ages so I'm happy to have an excerpt and fab giveaway to share with you today to celebrate the release. This book is jumping right to the top of my to read pile so watch out for a review as soon as I've had a chance to read it :o)

About Exiled:

Phoebe Meadows is on trial for her life.

After freeing her half-brother, Baldur, Phoebe is set to stand before the Council in Asgard to answer for her actions. The threat of exile if she’s found guilty looms, not to mention the added stress of meeting her real father for the first time.

Upon entering Asgard, Phoebe discovers new allies in a half-brother she’s never met as well as an oracle who is in possession of valuable information. A little added help couldn’t have come at a better time, because when Phoebe is tossed into an unknown realm, she’s armed only with Gundren, a jewel, and her wits.

When Loki shows up, all bets are off. The trickster god throws a wrench in Phoebe’s plans and kidnaps Fen, her only ally. And just when she thinks she sees the light at the end of the tunnel, Phoebe finds she has to defeat one last obstacle: The Norns.

And they aren't planning to go down without a fight…

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

EXILED: Phoebe Meadows Book Three

Excerpt
Copyright © 2017 Amanda Carlson. All rights reserved. None of the below can be reprinted without permission from the author

1

“Sweet mother of all that’s holy.” Sam coughed violently into the bucket positioned in front of her. “Please tell me we’re here. My body can’t take much more of this.” She lifted her head, dragging the back of her sleeve over her mouth, wheezing. “I’m pretty sure my tank is finally dry, but bile is a tricky thing, as my body is making more of the hot, searing liquid as we speak.” Tyr stood next to her holding a clean pail, his face a mask of concern.

“Aye, we’re here,” Tyr answered solemnly, bending down to place the new container in front of Sam, who was promptly in need of it.

We all stood on the deck of Ringhorn, my half brother Baldur’s boat, which had been gifted to Tyr upon Baldur’s untimely death. We’d arrived in Asgard less than five minutes prior, so I could face the Council and Frigg, Baldur’s powerful goddess mother, to receive punishment for freeing her beloved son.

I’d broken Baldur out of a dark elf prison—the very place his mother had placed him for protection—only to watch him die a short time later at Verdandi’s hand.

It had been awful and heartbreaking.

The boat had just taken us through an insane vortex. One that had hauled us up in the air at breakneck speed, only to drop us the next instant. I’d lost count of how many times my stomach had hit my knees.
But I’d fared better than poor Sam, who was now huddled on the deck spilling her guts.

“Are we really here? In Asgard?” I asked, squinting into the darkness, trying to discern a single shape on the horizon, but coming up empty. The boat had lurched to a full stop in what looked to be a solid void. “I was expecting it to be a little more…vibrant?”

“We’ve landed in a holding bay,” Fen answered, his frame tense beside mine, his arm tight around my waist. This was the first time he’d been back to his home in many years, and he was poised for any threat that might come our way, his nostrils flaring, his sword at the ready.

My mother came up beside us. “There are various ways in, but if you take magical transportation, like Ringhorn, you must wait to be inspected before accessing the city.”

“Yep,” Ingrid added, moving toward a gated opening that would lead us off the boat. “Lots of nooks and crannies on a big boat like this. We might be harboring unknown aliens. We’ll have to wait for the inspectors to clear us.”

“Why is it so dark?” I asked. The only illumination we had came from the boat itself.

Before anyone could answer, a loud grating noise filled the air. All at once, the scene before us began to change as bright light pierced the space like a dazzling spotlight.

We were in a large cylinder of some kind.

As light penetrated the tunnel, my eyes adjusted, and I began to get my first glimpses of Asgard beyond the tunnel. I noticed blue sky right away. It was cobalt, a deep, resplendent tone that seemed impossibly rich for a sky.

“Brace yourself, kiddo,” Ingrid said as she removed her spear from her waistband. “Along with the inspectors, there will be guards.”

“Why are you drawing your weapon?” I asked, alarmed. “Isn’t this your home?”

“Because I’m getting ready to argue, and I do it best with Betsy at the ready.” She shook her trusty spear, and it seamlessly morphed into an eight-foot killer with a razor-sharp edge.

“Betsy?” Ingrid had never shared her weapon’s pet name before. “You named your spear Betsy?”

“Yep, she was christened my ‘Best Bet’ when I first got her. Found her in a pile of discarded old weapons and never looked back. If these guards try to separate us, Betsy will have her say. And I can guaran-damn-tee”—she waved her spear in the air—“there is no argument we can’t win.”

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

About Amanda Carlson:

Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a BA in both Speech and Hearing Science & Child Development. She went on to get an A.A.S in Sign Language Interpreting and worked as an interpreter until her first child was born. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three kids.

Website: http://www.amandacarlson.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authoramandacarlson
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amandaccarlson
Instagram: http://instagram.com/author_amanda

Giveaway:

To celebrate Amanda Carlson is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. You can enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter form below and the winner will be contacted directly by Amanda or her assistant so they can arrange to send out the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: The Fisherman's Net - Laura Lam

Untold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Fisherman’s Net

A humble fisherman in a village of the coast of the island of Linde buys a trinket at the market, which he discovers is Vestige. The poor man soon becomes the best fisherman in the village and marvels at his newfound wealth. One day, he ensnares a most unusual catch: a Chimaera sea maiden that isn’t meant to exist. And he’s not sure if he can let her go.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

Micha Grey Series:
Pantomime
Shadowplay
Masquerade

Vestigial Tales:
(Series of short stories set in the same world as the Micha Grey series)
The Snake Charm
The Fisherman's Net
The Tarot Reader
The Card Sharp
The Mechanical Minotaur

Visit Laura Lam's website for more information.

Review:
Laura Lam's Vestigial Tales are short stories set in the same world as her Micha Grey trilogy and give us some insight into some of the Vestige artefacts that were left behind when the Alder vanished. The Fisherman's Net doesn't feature any characters from the other series so works well as a standalone and can be read at any point wether you've read the Micha Grey books or not.

This was a much shorter story than The Snake Charm but as it's told more like an original fable the shorter length worked really well. The Fisherman's Net is the story of a man who finds a magic net that helps him become the wealthiest fisherman in his village. You'll have to read it for yourself to find out whether he puts that wealth to good use or if greed takes him down a dangerous path.

This is the kind of story that Micha and Dustin would have had read to them as children and I really enjoyed getting a further glimpse into their world.

Source: Received as part of a preorder giveaway from the author

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

Kindle:

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Review: Dead of Night - Michael Grant

Set in the alternative World War II scenario of his Front Lines novels, Michael Grant, author of the bestselling GONE series, has written this story exclusively for World Book Day 2017.

Rio Richlin doesn’t have superpowers. She is an ordinary young woman. A soldier in the American army, wearing a uniform, carrying a rifle, and fighting alongside thousands who are trying to make a difference, trying to change the world.

At least, that’s the plan. Right now she’s part of a squad on a training exercise in some place called Wales. They’re cold, they’re wet, and Rio’s pretty sure they’re also lost. Spending the night in a creepy old inn wasn’t part of the plan at all…

Rio's only training. But soon, the fate of the world will be in the hands of the soldier girls.

A World Book Day 2017 book.

Soldier Girls Series:
Front Lines
Dead of Night (World Book Day Novella)
Silver Stars

Visit Michael Grant's website for more information

Review:
Dead of Night is set in the world of Michael Grant's Soldier Girls series, a reimagined version of history where American women were actually included in the draft to become soldiers in WWII. As far as the timeline goes this is set somewhere in the middle of the first book, after Rio and her squad have finished their first 13 weeks of training in America but before they're sent to the frontline. They're actually in Wales on another training exercise when they get lost in the fog. Unable to find their way back to base they take shelter in a village pub that they stumble across.

I don't really want to say too much more because it would be easy to give too much away but this was a fun story and a nice addition to the series. It's very different to the full length novels though, where they are very much grounded in reality and almost feel like you're reading true life war diaries this story is a little more surreal and it took me a while to figure out exactly what was going on. I think the nature of the story won't necessarily appeal to everyone but I thought it was very clever and I enjoyed reading something different, I do think events that unfold have a profound effect on Rio so whether they're real or imagined you'll definitely notice the difference in her from Front Lines to Silver Stars.

This has quickly become one of my favourite series so it's one I'd highly recommend, I'm not sure that Dead of Night is the best place to start but if you're read Front Lines then it's well worth giving this a try.

Source: Received from Egmont 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, 21 March 2017

Review: After I Fall - Jessica Scott

Her entire life has been a lie. Being with Eli is the most honest thing she’s ever done.

Parker Hauser lives the perfect life and knows exactly where she's been and where she's going. Parker has to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect body, perfect life.

Until she meets Eli Winter.

Eli throws her entire life into chaos when he denies her the one thing she wants from him.

One chance encounter stokes her desire for the man who refused to touch her and left her questioning everything.

When Parker tries to help his new business, the spotlight turns on Eli's military record. And the war he's tried to forget may destroy them both.

Falling Series:
Before I Fall
Break My Fall
After I Fall
Catch My Fall (2017)

Visit Jessica Scott's website for more information.

Review:
I've been wanting to read Eli's story ever since we met him in Before I Fall, the former officer has been a steady influence on both of the heroes from previous books. He runs the local bar and seems to collect wounded ex-soldiers and adopt them into his tribe where he can keep an eye on them. Eli is always watching out for other people and putting their needs first but he's very closed off about his own past and you just know he's keeping a lot of things to himself so I couldn't wait to get to know him better.

I'll admit I was nervous when I found out he was matched with Parker though, what we saw of her in After I Fall didn't exactly leave me with a good opinion of her. She came across as a typical spoilt rich girl, someone who had everything handed to her on a plate and who had no idea what it was like to live in the real world. I wasn't convinced I'd ever be able to root for them as a couple but I just love it when an author manages to change my opinion about a character and Jessica Scott definitely achieved that here. Yes Parker comes from money and she's never had to worry financially but you quickly realise that her life hasn't been a bed of roses. Her problems are very different to anything I've ever experienced but that doesn't make them any less difficult for her to cope with and she gave me a lesson in not judging someone by the size of their bank account!

I thought Eli and Parker made a great couple, they're both incredibly alone in different ways. Eli is surrounded by people that he cares for and who care for him in return but he always feels like he has to be the one protecting everyone else and he doesn't really let anyone know when he's the one who is struggling. Parker on the other hand has never had anyone put her first, her whole life is dictated by what her father wants from her, she has to look good and behave in appropriate ways to help him with his business contacts and she's even been forced into an engagement with a man she doesn't like because her father has chosen him as his future son-in-law. Eli is the first person to really listen to what Parker wants and to encourage her to follow her own dreams and in return Parker is there for Eli in ways that nobody else is. They fit so well together and have fabulous chemistry too.

If there is one thing I wanted to see a little more of it would have been more of what happened after Parker confronted Davis. I really would have loved an extra scene with her father that perhaps showed he cared for her after all but I guess that would probably have been a bit too much of a fairytale because he wasn't very likely to backdown after Parker chose to defy him. I enjoyed the brief appearances by previous characters from the series though and we get to see a lot of Eli's bar staff Deacon and Kelsey which I loved. I really can't wait to read their book later on this year - I need to know more about their previous history!

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Spotlight: After I Fall - Jessica Scott


I love Jessica Scott's Falling series featuring young veterans who are trying to rebuild their lives after serving in the military. She creates such wonderfully realistic characters, characters who are flawed and damaged but who deeply deserve a happy ending! The stories in this series all work as stand alone but if you read them in order you'll enjoy spotting familiar faces in later books. I've already read After I Fall (watch out for my review being posted later today) but I'm excited to share more information with you here and I have some brilliant extracts too.

Her entire life has been a lie. Being with Eli is the most honest thing she’s ever done.
`
Parker Hauser lives the perfect life and knows exactly where she's been and where she's going. Parker has to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect body, perfect life.

Until she meets Eli Winter.

Eli throws her entire life into chaos when he denies her the one thing she wants from him.

One chance encounter stokes her desire for the man who refused to touch her and left her questioning everything.

When Parker tries to help his new business, the spotlight turns on Eli's military record. And the war he's tried to forget may destroy them both.

Falling Series:
Before I Fall
Break My Fall
After I Fall
Catch My Fall (2017)

Readers who want an extended sample can download here:
Kindle: http://selz.co/Vksquq-Oz
epub: http://selz.co/E14id5-OG

Purchase links:
iBooks: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_ibks.html
Nook: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_nk.html
Kobo: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_kbo.html
Amazon: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_amz.html
Play: http://jsscott.me/afterifall_ply.html


Excerpts:
(Posted with permission of Jessica Scott)

Sexy Teaser 1:

She is on her knees in front of me. It is the most erotic thing I've ever seen in my life.

There is trust in that simple gesture. I cup her chin, stroking my thumb over her bottom lip. I can't look away. Her lips part, and I slide the tip in, just a little. Her mouth is soft and warm and wet. She closes around the edge of my thumb, sucking gently, so gently.

I ache in a way I haven't ached in forever. This touch, this complete surrender to the feelings of erotic, sensual caress.

There is nothing about this that will end well. We are from two very different worlds. And no matter how much I pretend to walk in hers, I'm only visiting. Trying to get funding to keep my business open. Trying to make a difference.

Trying to pretend that the things I do still matter.

But this afternoon, when she walked away, I couldn't let her go. I looked in her eyes and saw something there that called to me. That made me need to make her believe that she was touchable. That she was worth more than the people in her life had led her to believe.

And now she is on her knees in front of me. Waiting, unsure about what to do next. My brain may want her some other way, but my dick is perfectly happy to oblige her at the moment with just how she is.

I have lost control of this situation.

But then she reaches for my jeans, her palm sliding over my cock. She squeezes me, still sucking gently on my thumb. She traces the tip of her tongue over the edge as she pulls my belt open. Jesus, I'm a fucking goner.

The air is cool on my stomach as she pushes open my jeans. I can't move even if I wanted to. I need to see this through. I need to do this right.

But I can't fucking move. I can't blink. I don't want to forget a single moment of the erotic image of Parker on her knees in front of me.

She slides my erection out of my jeans, stroking me gently. Christ, I'm hard as fucking rock. It's everything I can do not to guide her lips to me. To urge her to put that beautiful mouth around the tip of my cock.

I thought I didn't want this? I fucking lied.

She drags her teeth over the edge of my thumb a moment before she releases me. I have nowhere to put my hands now.

I drop them by my sides. I am not in control here.

"Can I kiss you here?" she whispers, rubbing her thumb over the aching crown.

"Yes please." The words are strangled. A plea. She has me under her complete control.

I am completely still as she moves closer. Rubs her lips over the tip. A soft, gentle caress. I'm ready to fucking beg.

And then she opens, tracing her tongue over the edge before sucking me gently, so gently into her mouth.

It's heaven. Pure fucking heaven. Her touch is electric, like a thousand points of heat with every slide of her lips over my cock.

I close my eyes and fight the urge to move, to rock into her.

This…this is supposed to be for her but it's not. Because I am a selfish bastard who is just like a thousand other guys who won't turn down a beautiful woman on her knees.

I'm no saint.

But goddamn, Parker feels good. Touching me. Licking me. Sucking me. I am lost in her touch. Lost in the complete and total need to let her control this, let her take this wherever it will go.

She sucks me a little harder. A groan escapes me. My balls tighten, and I can't fight the urge to rock into her. Just a little.

I reach for her then, urging her to let me go. To stand. And when she does, I pull her against me, harder than I probably should, and kiss her. I'm too far gone at the moment to do anything but kiss her. To drink from her. To take all of her inside me in that single gesture.

"I don't want to come like this,” I whisper, nibbling on the edge of her meal.

"How then?"

"How do you want me?" A serious question. She needs to know that she's controlling things here. She gets to say how far we go. If we even finish. "Because right now? I'd sell the fucking bar to get you to agree to let me do terrible, forbidden things to your body.”

"What are you waiting for?"

I smile and rock against her a little more. "Those five little words."

And then she is on my sofa, her upper body braced on her palms. I capture her face in my palms and kiss her gently, lowering her until she is supported. Slowly, sipping on her lips. Savoring the taste of her. "Can I touch you here?" I slide my fingers down over the length of one of her arms. She makes a noise. "Say yes," I whisper near her ear.

"Yes."

"Can I touch you here?" I trace my fingertips over the edge of her ribs, just along the swell of her breast.

Her response is a huff against my lips. I smile. "Say yes."

"Yes."

I brush the back of my knuckles over the tight edge of one nipple. A shiver runs through her.

"Can I touch you here?" A slip of my fingers against her inner thigh.

She makes a sound. A whimper. Maybe a plea.

"I need you to say yes." I manage to get the words out. Barely. They are somewhere between a whisper and growl. It takes everything I have to restrain myself but this…this isn't for me. "Please say yes."

I slip my finger a little closer, running it gently, barely there, over the seam of her body.

Waiting, intensely and painfully hard, for her response.




Teaser 2:

Parker

"What do you want?" A murmured question that feels like a demand. The single word I need is lodged in my throat. It’s thick and heavy, filled with potential and promise.

"You," I finally say.

"Why?" Such a complicated question. I search his face, looking for an answer, a lie, something simple to fill the space left by his question.

I lift my hand, afraid he'll see it tremble. It takes every ounce of willpower I've got to slide my fingers over his forearm. I'm surprised by the raw power beneath my touch. I expected the tattoos to be physical manifestations of the violence on his flesh. His skin is hot and smooth. My hand looks pale and small against it.

"You seem…" I lift my eyes to his, never removing my hand. "You seem like a straightforward kind of guy."

A man with rough hands and dark ink carved into his skin. A man so unlike the men I'm used to, it's not even funny. I lift my hand to his cheek, just above the edge of his beard. I've never touched a man with facial hair before. He is still beneath my touch.

A moment before I'm about to press my palm to his cheek, he grips my wrist. Not hard enough to hurt, but he definitely gets my attention.

"Not here." I swallow. My mouth is suddenly dry. "Where?"

He jerks his chin toward the dark hallway behind us. I follow him silently, wishing he was already touching me, making me feel, letting me pretend I matter, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

He leads me through the maze of small tables and patrons at various stages of intoxication. Away from the noise and the smell of fries and smoke and cologne and all the good things that bars have.We step out of the noise and into shadows and silence. He doesn't pounce, doesn't push me against the wall and run those rough hands over my skin.

Instead, he leans against it—a casual, arrogant male.

Waiting. I know for what. For me to make the first move.

For me to step into the space between us. For me to touch him first. I want to. But I am paralyzed. Rooted to the damp concrete beneath my feet. The cool night air might as well be chains, holding me, restraining any thought or movement.

He doesn't move. His arms are folded over his broad, heavy chest, his T-shirt straining against his body. The silence hangs on, stretching and thick and tight.

"Scared?" he finally whispers. A dare. A terrible, wicked promise in that single word.

"Should I be?" My throat is tight and dry.

His answer is nothing I expect.

And everything I want.




Teaser 3:

PARKER

I needed to get out of my apartment and away from the creeping sadness that threatened to drown me if I stayed alone one more minute.

Tomorrow, I will find the owner of The Pint. Tomorrow I will figure out how to unfuck my life.

But right now, I’m standing in a closed-in space with a man who looks like a real-life rendition of Jason Momoa, and my panties are currently hosting their own episode of Celebration at the idea of standing just a little bit closer. I should be at the Baywater Country Club drinking top-shelf martinis and celebrating with Kylie and Bethany and Meaghan. But I can't see them tonight. For more than the obvious reasons.

I was planning on drinking myself stupid and forgetting everything about the last twenty-four hours in the human garbage fire that my life has become. It hurts and goddamn it, I'm tired of it hurting. I'm tired of being there for everyone else while I have to smile and look pretty.

Tonight? I thought I wanted the raw pulsing music and the bodies crushed together. I thought I wanted the contact. The distraction.

Don't make a fuss, Parker. Don't say anything to embarrass me, Parker.

What did you do to deserve it, Parker? Why didn’t you just do what he asked? Why do you always have to argue?

Anger crawls up my spine and squeezes my throat once more.

For once in my fucking life, I want someone to look at me and see me. Not my father's car, or my not-allowed-to-be-ex-boyfriend's tailored suits.

I want someone to see me. All of me.

I don’t know what I wanted when I left the apartment, but I think I may have just found it.

And the man standing next to me with the dark beard and dark eyes and terrifying tattoos seems like just the guy to take care of everything for a night.

Except that he might be a little too perceptive. I didn't plan on him seeing the bruises on my arm. Guess I need to rethink that career as a makeup artist if my graduate school plans don’t work out.

He's still watching me, a dark intensity in his eyes. An intensity that feels like a brushstroke over my skin.

I wonder what it would feel like to wake up wrapped in those massive arms, to feel those hands run over my skin while I sleep. What it feels like to be really touched instead of just positioned to receive.
My eyes burn, and I blink rapidly. I will not cry about the dumpster fire of my life and the garbage that surrounds me. I didn’t set out to solve anything tonight. I came out to escape. To try and find some release from the trapped air in my apartment.

Instead I think I’ve found a solution in search of a problem.

The Solution is a big man. Rough, too. The kind of man I would expect my father would call to lead the construction on a new project.

It’s his hands, though, that capture my attention. Big and flat and broad. They're a working man’s hands. Not polished. Not cupped in anger.

Just matter-of-fact hands. Hands that would be honest.

Hands that would feel like heaven on my skin.

I look up to find him watching me. I've never physically felt a look before this moment, this lazy caress of a man's gaze moving inch by inch over my skin.

I part my lips. Just enough that he notices. His nostrils flare.

"Careful, little girl." His voice is thick and deep and smooth. Like the gaze still trailing over my body.

"Or what?" I whisper. Kelsey’s voice slides through my brain.

This is foolish. Utterly stupid.

This is power.

And it is exactly what I need tonight. I need to feel needed. Wanted.

Tonight isn't about rational thought. It's about the opposite. About going in blind, completely on instinct.

"I'm not sure you want to find out."

But he has not moved away. He hasn't turned his back on me, and he hasn't dismissed me as some childish twat playing grownup.

God, but those words burn in my ears.

"Maybe I do."

The muscles in his neck bunch beneath the thick beard. "Do you always hit on random men at bars?"
I press my lips together and dare to take a single step closer. "Nope. You'd be my first."

He lifts one brow. "Oh yeah? What's the occasion?" He jerks his chin toward me. "It doesn't have to do with the bruises, does it?"

I lift my glass to my lips. Slowly I part them, letting the ice cube bounce off the tip of my tongue. When I lower it, his eyes are locked on my mouth. "No," I whisper. "It's got nothing to do with them."

Nothing and everything. But he doesn't need to know that. He only needs to take me some place and touch me.

Parker.

Me. I need him to see me.

He moves in then with a quickness that catches me off guard. In an instant, he is right there, right in my space. I can smell the faint, smoky scent of him. Something woodsy and spicy and smoky.

It's all I can do to stay still. To not back down from the challenge he presents in that single breath of space.

"What do you want?" His is a murmured question that feels like a demand.

The single word I need is lodged in my throat. It’s thick and heavy, filled with potential and promise.

"You," I finally say.


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

About Jessica Scott:


Jessica Scott is an Iraq war veteran, an active duty army officer and the USA Today bestselling author of novels set in the heart of America’s Army. She is the mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, and wife to a retired NCO.

She is the bestselling author of the Homefront series and the Falling series, both about soldiers and veterans adjusting to life after returning from the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. Her bestselling Falling series features soldiers integrating into life on college campuses.

She's also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.

She's holds phd in morality in Sociology with Duke University and she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.
Jessica is also an active member of the Military Writers Guild.

Her debut novel Because of You launched the return of Random House's Loveswept digital imprint and launched the start of the ever popular contemporary military romance genre.

Connect with Jessica Scott online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Tsu / Goodreads

Monday, 20 March 2017

Review: Grimspace - Ann Aguirre

By all accounts, Sirantha Jax should have burned out years ago...

As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace—a talent which cuts into her life expectancy, but makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. But then the ship she’s navigating crash-lands, and she’s accused of killing everyone on board. It’s hard for Jax to defend herself: she has no memory of the crash.

Now imprisoned and the subject of a ruthless interrogation, Jax is on the verge of madness. Then a mysterious man breaks into her cell, offering her freedom—for a price. March needs Jax to help his small band of rogue fighters break the Corp monopoly on interstellar travel—and establish a new breed of jumper.

Jax is only good at one thing—grimspace—and it will eventually kill her. So she may as well have some fun in the meantime...

Sirantha Jax Series:
Grimspace
Wanderlust
Doublebind
Killbox
Aftermath
Endgame

Dred Chronicles:
Perdition
Havoc
Breakout

Visit Ann Aguirre's website for more information

Review:
Sirantha Jax has a rare genetic ability to navigate through Grimspace, her talent is highly sought after and she's always been considered a bit of a celebrity because of that. It all goes horribly wrong when a ship she is navigating crashes killing over 80 people, Jax is the only survivor but she has no memory of how the crash happened. The Corporation she works for seem to believe it was her fault though and she has been a prisoner ever since undergoing psych-evaluations and constant questioning. When a mysterious man breaks into her cell and offers her the chance at freedom it's a chance she has to take, even if it does come with a very high price and leave her with a price on her head.

It's been a long time since the first book in a series grabbed me quite as hard as Grimspace did. I was totally hooked from the very first page and if I'd had more time on my hands I could easily have devoured this in a day. As it was I was irritated that real life got in the way of my reading time and when I was busy doing other things I was constantly trying to find time to squeeze in just a couple more pages. The book wasn't quite perfect and there were a few points where I was a little confused but it gets the full five star rating for its pure addictiveness!

There is just so much to love about this world and particularly the characters. Jax is a mess, she's paranoid, suicidal and only one step away from a full on psychotic break but she's also a tough as nails survivor with a snarky sense of humour and a tendency to act before she thinks. She doesn't let people close easily but once she does she will fight to protect them and she's definitely the kind of person you want to have your back in a tough spot. Then we have Marsh (oh hello new book boyfriend!) who is just as as much of a smartarse as Jax and twice as messed up, he has a homicidal streak a mile wide but he has mad mind reading skills and the boy knows how to use his Theta waves! I love that he's not manipulative, he's pretty much a what you see is what you get kind of guy which means he'll tell you the truth even when you don't want to hear it. The romance between these two was pretty spot on, yes it starts happening very quickly but it never felt rushed and I loved every minute of it.

They're not the only great characters though and I also loved Dina for her sarcastic sense of humour, Doc for always being the peacemaker, Loras for his incredible act of bravery, Baby-Z for all round adorableness and adding so much humour to the story and Velith for being such a surprise. There are so many things to love about this story and the clever dialogue and interesting world building is only part of it. Grimspace has all the humour and action of Firefly, Jax is a space travelling, equally kickass version of Kate Daniels and the story will keep you gripped from beginning to end. I'm so glad I'm late discovering this series because that means I can devour all six books (and the spin off trilogy!) without having to wait between releases. Now I'm off to make a start on Wanderlust!

Source: Purchased

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Review: Silver Stars - Michael Grant

The second novel in the epic new young adult series that Michael Grant is calling his best yet!

It's WWII but not as you know it from school. This time the girls are on the Front Lines and not on the Home Front. Summer 1943. The enemy has been bloodied, but Nazi Germany is very far from beaten. Now the American army is moving on to their next target: the Italian island of Sicily.

With heavy memories of combat, the three young soldier girls – Rio, Frangie and Rainy – now know what they are willing to do to save themselves, and understand the consequences of those actions. On the front lines, they will again come face to face with the brutality of war until they win or die, while simultaneously fighting their own personal battles. No one will emerge unscathed.

In the tradition of The Book Thief, Code Name Verity and Between Shades of Gray, Front Lines gives the experience of WWII a new immediacy while playing with the ‘what ifs?’ of history.

Soldier Girls Series:
Front Lines
Dead of Night (World Book Day Novella)
Silver Stars

Visit Michael Grant's website for more information

Review:
If you thought Front Lines was good then you've honestly not seen anything yet because Silver Stars ups the stakes in every way possible, the danger is greater than ever and the characters have completely come into their own. If you're new to this series then I'd recommend reading the books in order but to give you a brief recap this is an alternative history of WWII imagining one major change - that female soldiers were recruited into the American army and served alongside the men on the front lines. Pretty much everything else is accurate to what really happened and these books are so well written and believable that you actually feel like you could be reading someone's personal diary as they tell you their own life story.

We continue to follow the stories of the three main characters introduced in the first book. First you have Rio Richlin who joined the army with her best friend Jenou after finding out her sister was killed in action. Then there is Frangie Marr who signed up as a medic mainly because her family needed the money, she faces even more prejudice than the others because not only is she a woman she's also black and racism was very prevalent during this time. The third main character is a young Jewish woman Rainy Schulterman who joined the army with the intention of shooting nazis but was quickly recruited into the intelligence community. Each girl has a separate story to tell but there are times when their stories link and I love getting to see the war through their very different experiences.

Rio has been fighting on the front lines for a long time now and she's rising up through the ranks because of her experience. She's become quite a ruthless fighter and has had to try and lock her emotions away but she feels a growing distance between her and her best friend and she's struggling to cope with everything that she's seen and done. As a medic Frangie is right there at the front too tending to wounded soldiers who wouldn't have much of a chance without immediate treatment. Her job definitely isn't a risk free one and she constantly finds herself facing danger while trying to protect others. Rainy has the most dangerous job of all though and is sent on an undercover mission to Italy, she has no backup and not much of a plan on how she's supposed to get herself home again so her story is fraught with danger and she suffers badly when she's captured along the way.

I have totally fallen in love with all three of these girls, I feel their pain and suffer alongside them and I'm desperately hoping they'll all make it through the war alive but we're constantly being shown how much danger they're facing and I'm worried that at least one of them won't survive it. I don't think I can praise this series highly enough, it's dark and can be quite painful at times but it's also totally addictive and utterly absorbing. Michael Grant has done a stellar job with these books, you can tell they're meticulously researched and they really are a must read.

Source: Received from Egmont in exchange for an honest review

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Saturday, 18 March 2017

Review: Midnight Unbound - Lara Adrian

A lethal Breed warrior is called upon by his brethren in the Order to bodyguard a beautiful young widow he’s craved from afar, in this new novella in the "steamy and intense" (Publishers Weekly) Midnight Breed vampire romance series from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian.

As a former Hunter bred to be a killing machine in the hell of Dragos's lab, Scythe is a dangerous loner whose heart has been steeled by decades of torment and violence. He has no room in his world for love or desire--especially when it comes in the form of a vulnerable, yet courageous, Breedmate in need of protection. Scythe has loved--and lost--once before, and paid a hefty price for the weakness of his emotions. He's not about to put himself in those chains again, no matter how deeply he hungers for lovely Chiara.

For Chiara Genova, a widow and mother with a young Breed son, the last thing she needs is to put her fate and that of her child in the hands of a lethal male like Scythe. But when she's targeted by a hidden enemy, the obsidian-eyed assassin is her best hope for survival . . . even at the risk of her heart.

The Midnight Breed Series:
A Touch of Midnight (Novella included in The Midnight Breed Series Companion, now also available separately)
Kiss of Midnight
Kiss of Crimson
Midnight Awakening
Midnight Rising
Veil of Midnight
Ashes of Midnight
Shades of Midnight
Taken by Midnight
Deeper than Midnight
A Taste of Midnight (Novella)
Darker After Midnight
The Midnight Breed Series Companion
Edge of Dawn
Marked by Midnight (Novella)
Crave the Night
Tempted by Midnight (Novella)
Bound to Darkness
Stroke of Midnight (Novella)
Defy the Dawn
Midnight Untamed (Novella)
Midnight Unbound (Novella)
Claimed in Shadows (August 2017)
Midnight Unleashed (Novella) (October 2017)

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

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

Review:
I have been looking forward to Scythe and Chiara's story ever since we met them both in Midnight Untamed and Lara Adrian didn't disappoint. The Order are currently busy dealing with a Rogue issue so when Chiara is attacked in her own home they turn to Scythe and ask him to protect her. Scythe is a Gen One Hunter, raised in Dragos' labs he is a lethal killing machine and his unique skill at detecting danger make him a perfect bodyguard but he's used to living alone and isn't keen on spending time with a young breedmate, especially one he hasn't been able to stop thinking about since they first met several weeks ago.

Like all the Hunters Scythe has a pretty heartbreaking backstory, no-one who was raised in those labs came out without both mental and physical scarring but it was an event that happened after his escape that left him most emotionally damaged. I don't want to talk about what that event was but it left Scythe feeling completely unworthy and pretty terrified of having someone under his protection, he doesn't feel worthy of Chiara and he's worried that he will let her down when she needs him the most.

We already know a bit of Chiara's backstory from the previous story, she is a widow with a young son and has pretty much had to rely on herself for the last three years. Her husband was utterly useless and ended up getting both Chiara and her sister-in-law into a lot of trouble, thanks to the Order and Scythe Chiara should now be free to live her own life but now a stalker has put her in danger again. Chiara is determined to deal with this latest threat so that she and her young son Pietro can live their lives without fear but she needs Scythe's help.

I thought Scythe and Chiara were incredibly sweet together, he's so damaged and convinced he doesn't deserve love but Chiara sees the man inside and she won't let him walk away from her. She has had one useless mate and she's not about to let the one man who makes her feel safe and loved walk away from her. Add in little Pietro, who is utterly adorable, and there are some really heart melting moments here, especially in that epilogue.

I love the Midnight Breed novellas, they usually take a step away from the core characters of the series and I enjoy spending time with the Order's Italian team. They don't focus as much on the series story arc so work well as stand alone stories (although fans of the series will enjoy seeing a few familiar faces) and they're more tightly focused on the romance which is nice. There is still plenty of action as Scythe and Chiara try to figure out who her stalker is and what he wants with her but we also get plenty of focus on getting to know the characters so even though the romance plays out fairly quickly it never feels rushed. I'm incredibly excited that we're going to get Trygg's story later on this year but we also have Aric Chase's full length book coming this summer which I just know is going to be fantastic. This series is still going strong and I'm looking forward to many more books set in this world!

Source: I received an ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Review: Ariadnis - Josh Martin

Back then I thought that if it weren't for that cliff, our cities would be one and there would be no need for all this fierceness toward each other. But then I learned about pride and tradition and prophecy, and those things are harder than rock.

Joomia and Aula are Chosen. They will never be normal. They can never be free.

On the last island on Erthe, Chosen Ones are destined to enter Ariadnis on the day they turn eighteen. There, they must undertake a mysterious and deadly challenge. For Joomia and Aula, this means competing against each other, to end the war that has seethed between their cities for nine generations.

As the day draws nearer, all thoughts are on the trial ahead. There's no space for friendship. No time for love. However much the girls might crave them.

But how you prepare for a task you know nothing certain about? Nothing, except that you must win, at whatever cost, or lose everything.

Erthe Series:
Ariadnis
Future titles to be confirmed

Visit the Josh Martin's website for more information

Review:
Most of planet Erthe was destroyed by a comet many years ago and only one island remains. On that island are two very different cities: Athenas, a city made of metal where they believe technology is the key to survival, and Metis where people have made their homes in giant trees and believe that nature is the most important thing and must be protected. Each of these cities has a Chosen One and according to prophecy they will alone can find a way to bring their people together. The Chosen Ones must complete a selection of challenges, only the best will survive and they will be the one who shows the people the way forward.

Aula and Joomia are the Chosen Ones, neither girl asked for the responsibility and they have both been treated differently their whole lives because of it. The girls only meet once a year, on their birthday, when they travel to Ariadnis, the place between their cities, to receive wisdom from the Chosen Ones who went before them, their trials are supposed to begin on their eighteenth birthday and that is when the prophecy will finally be proven. On the day of their seventeenth birthday the girls are told that they must find a way to unite before their trials start or both their cities will be doomed but with travel between the two cities banned that won't be an easy task.

I've found it really hard to write a review for Ariadnis, not because I didn't enjoy the book but because it's hard to know how much I can say without giving accidental spoilers. This isn't quite like anything else I've read before and it took me a bit of time to get used to the world and understand exactly how everything worked. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters though and I loved how different they were because of the way they were raised. Aula is from Metis and her mentor has focused her training on different types of technology, she is also incredibly strong and powerful so has spent a lot of time training for physical battle. Joomia is much quieter, in fact she is unable to speak and can only communicate with a very small number of people mind to mind. She doesn't have Aula's physical strength but she has a quiet wisdom and she is able to tell a great deal about the world around her by communicating with the trees they've made their home.

There are some great side characters and a lot of positive messages in the story about love and friendship. I loved that neither society is hung up on sexuality so it wasn't unusual for characters to date both boys and girls, there was no shame in characters having more than one sexual relationship and things were much freer and less pressured. Ariadnis is a slow build story, one that focuses on introducing both the world and the characters in the beginning but as you get further in the mystery deepens and you start to realise there are a lot of things going on that you weren't immediately aware of. Aula and Joomia are both thrown into some pretty impossible situations and it was really interesting to see how they coped with what happened to them. The way things unfolded at the end have left me desperate for the next book and I think Josh Martin is definitely going to be an author to watch out for!

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

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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Review: Asking for More - Lilah Pace

The incendiary author of Begging for It and Asking for It again plunges readers into the shadowy depths of love, pain, pleasure and peril...

How far is too far?

Finally sure of each other's strength and love, Jonah and Vivienne continue to explore their darkest fantasies together. However, what should be a night of ecstasy takes a dangerous turn, injuring Vivienne. She shrugs off the incident, but Jonah is haunted by it, particularly by the fear that others may believe he abuses her, or even glimpse the truth of their erotic obsession.

Then Jonah receives a call from his younger sister, Rebecca, who's dealing with trouble of her own in South America. When Vivienne travels with him to aid Rebecca, she learns yet more about his tortured history—and Jonah opens up to Vivienne as never before.

Can Vivienne help Jonah cast off the shadows of his past forever?

Asking for It Series:
Asking for It
Begging for It
Asking for More (Novella)

Visit Lilah Pace's website for more information

Review:
Asking for More was a lot shorter than I expected but it was nice to catch up with Vivienne and Jonah and see how they're getting on several months on from Begging for It. As a couple they've come such a long way and I really liked the changes we see in Vivienne and how she has started to pay attention to Jonah's needs as well as her own. I found her a little selfish in the previous books so this was a massive and welcome improvement.

I like the fact that even though they still enjoy playing out their darkest fantasies that isn't all their is to their relationship anymore, they also have normal intimacy and enjoy each other outside of their fantasies. Jonah in particular is still struggling with his desires and that was something that wasn't focused on as much in the main books so it was nice to see Vivienne support him for a change. They talk through his issues and Vivienne definitely gets a much better idea about why he likes to play their games but also why it worries him so much that he enjoys them.

I wouldn't recommend reading this if you've not read the previous books but if you're a fan of the series then I'm sure you'll enjoy this glimpse into Vivienne and Jonah's future. I feel much more confident about them lasting the distance as a couple now.

Source: Purchased

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Review: Traitor to the Throne - Alwyn Hamilton

This is not about blood or love. This is about treason.

Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince's message has spread across the desert - and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruellest manner possible.

Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl's instinct for survival. For the Sultan's palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper's nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive... But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani's past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.

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

Visit the Alwyn Hamilton's website for more information

Review:
I really loved Rebel of the Sands so Traitor to the Throne was right up there amongst my most wished for books of 2017. Sometimes it can be hard to live up to fan's high expectations but I though Alwyn Hamilton did a brilliant job, this book is very different to the first one but I really enjoyed the new direction the story took and I loved all the twists and turns along the way.

I don't really want to say too much about how this happens but when Amani is captured during a mission for the rebellion she finds herself taken prisoner and held captive in the Sultan's palace. We're used to seeing her as a fierce fighter and someone who never backs down from a challenge but she's now in an impossible situation, trapped without her powers and with no backup on hand. She hasn't given up on getting back to her friends but her hands are quite tied and it's not going to be easy for her to escape. I love that she tries to turn the situation to her advantage though, she is in an ideal situation to spy on her enemies so if she can only figure out a way to pass what information she can find on to the rebels she could be the key to winning the rebellion. I just love that Amani never quits, no matter how impossible the odds look she keeps fighting for what she believes in.

There is a lot going on in this book - political intrigue at the palace, the rebel's attempts to rescue Amani, concubines disappearing from the harem and the Sultan's latest prisoners who are even more dangerous and powerful than Amani. You'll see familiar faces from Amani's past who may or may not be trustworthy, the rebels will suffer plenty of setbacks, friends become enemies while enemies might turn into allies. Nothing is quite what it seems and it all unravels in spectacular fashion in an exciting finale that left me desperate for the final book.

If I had one complaint it was that Jin was missing for much of the book, it makes sense for the plot because he couldn't exactly be held prisoner in the harem alongside Amani but I missed his character. We get to see plenty of whats going on with the other rebels but I would have loved perhaps a few chapters from Jin's POV so we could see what he was up to elsewhere. I'm glad Amani and Jin were reunited in the end though, I think these two bring out the best in each other and I love seeing them fight alongside each other. This series is just so much fun to read and I can't wait to see how everything ties together in the final book.

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

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Review: Valen - Felicity Heaton

Prince of the Underworld and Lord of Lightning, Valen was banished from his home by his father, Hades, two centuries ago and given a new duty and purpose—to keep our world and his from colliding in a calamity foreseen by the Moirai.

Together with his six brothers, he fights to defend the gates to the Underworld from daemons bent on breaching them and gaining entrance to that forbidden land, striving to protect his home from their dark influence. Cursed by Zeus to never know love again, Valen has brought up barriers around his heart to protect it, but with each new barrier he creates, the dark hold his power has over him grows, becoming all he needs.

Until the night he finally crosses paths with the assassin who has been watching him from the shadows, a bewitching mortal possessing the name of an angel and the skills of a devil—a woman who awakens his passionate heart and stirs dangerous desires.

Eva has built a fearsome reputation for herself in Italy’s underworld, but her latest job in her beloved city of Rome has left her feeling that she has stepped into a dangerous world and this mission might end in her death—either at the hands of her mysteriously seductive client or by the blade of the wickedly alluring warrior who is her target.

As the threat from the daemons escalates and more than just the Rome gate becomes their target, will Valen be strong enough to face the fears in his heart and the ghosts of his past to claim everything he desires or will they lure him deeper under their spell and into the darkness?

Guardians of Hades Series:
Ares
Valen
Esher (release date to be confirmed)

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

Review:
Valen is the second book in Felicity Heaton's Guardians of Hades series and I have to admit I wasn't sure what I'd make of Valen because he wasn't exactly the nicest of the brothers in the previous book. I know Felicity is brilliant at changing my minds about her characters though and she proved that again here, I think I actually ended up loving Valen even more than Ares!

Valen's ability revolves around controlling lightening which makes him a powerful enemy to have and someone you definitely want at your back in a battle. He also has a curse that we weren't aware of before though, one laid on him by Zeus before the brothers were exiled to earth to protect the gates to the Underworld. I don't want to talk much about what he did to earn the curse or what the curse actually entails but once you know the details and start to see the way it effects him it makes it much easier to understand why he's so standoffish compared to the others. I didn't really notice in the first book that the brothers all treat him differently to the way they treat each other but it kind of broke my heart seeing how on the outside he always was around them.

Eva is an assassin who was initially hired to track Valen's movements and report back to her employer but the requests he makes of her have started to become more and more strange and she's now really worried for her own safety if she doesn't follow through on what she's promised. She had no clue about the supernatural creatures around her and now she's caught up in the middle of a battle that has been going on for centuries. As a normal human she doesn't stand a chance against gods and daemons but she has a few skills up her sleeve and most importantly she has the will to survive so she'll do whatever it takes to make sure she comes out on top, even if it means allying herself with the man she was initially sent to kill.

I thought Valen and Eva were great together and what I loved most was the way Eva was willing to stand up to Valen's brothers on his behalf. She saw things about Valen that none of the others have ever noticed and she really gave them a few much needed home truths about the way they treated him. They had brilliant chemistry but they also made great partners in battle and even though Eva isn't as physically powerful as Valen she fights by his side and always has his back. We get to see plenty of the other brothers too and as much as I loved Valen I'm practically dying of curiosity about Esher now. I'm so excited that his book is next and I can't wait to read it!

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

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Review: Break My Fall - Jessica Scott

Violence.

I’m addicted to it. It’s how I feel alive. It’s the only thing that’s real any more.

And now I have to sit around and discuss it like it’s physics or calculus. I can’t do it. I can’t pretend that it’s some sterile academic topic. Violence isn’t sterile. It isn’t calm. It’s pulsing. It’s alive.

It’s my drug.

Until I met Abby, I never wanted anything beyond the next fight. Never considered that I might finally find a way back to the land of the living.

Now? Now I find myself dreaming of a woman with golden eyes.

But I can never be with her. Because I am not whole. And I never will be again.

But I cannot stay away.

And loving her might finally be what breaks me.

Falling Series:
Before I Fall
Break My Fall
After I Fall

Visit Jessica Scott's website for more information.

Review:
Jessica Scott writes stories about soldiers who have returned from war and are trying to settle back into life at home. You can tell she writes from experience and she captures the struggles they face perfectly so it is very easy to get inside her characters head's and feel everything right alongside them.

Josh spent two tours abroad and he's come home broken, he's not coping with the stress and is drinking far too much which doesn't help his anger issues so he's often getting into bar fights. He's trying to settle into college but he feels so different to all the other students and his PTSD makes it hard for him to even get to his classes let alone stay focused once he's there. Abby has had her heart broken before and she's determined to put all her energy into getting through college and coming out with good grades. She doesn't really have time or energy for a relationship but she wants to help Josh deal with his issues. Abby makes Josh want to be a better man but can he put the past behind him, deal with his anger and move on with his life?

I loved both the main characters in this story. Josh has been through a lot and is seriously messed up but he wants to deal with his problems and he slowly learns how to open up with Abby and his fellow ex-soldiers. I like that the author doesn't use falling in love as an instant fix for everything, he wants to do right by Abby but he still makes mistakes and has to work at making better decisions with his life. Abby is great too, she's been through her own version of hell and it's made her a strong and independent woman. I loved the friendship between her and her best friend and the way she supported him through his own difficult break up.

I think my main issue with the story was that things started to move quite quickly between Josh and Abby. That wouldn't normally bother me but knowing Abby's history made me find it really hard to believe that she wouldn't be more wary of Josh, especially since the first couple of times she meets him it's obvious he's been in a fight. Someone with experience of domestic abuse is much more likely to be wary of a violent drunk so even though Josh never, ever raises a finger towards Abby or threatens her in any way I just think she'd be more aware of the violence inside him and I think it would frighten her more. I could have totally got on board their friendship developing over a longer period and I do love them as a couple but I wanted things to happen a bit slower. Like I said please don't worry that Josh is an abusive partner because he really, really isn't and I wouldn't have felt so concerned if it hadn't been for Abby's background. This is an issue that's a little personal for me so I'm probably more sensitive to it than most readers will be and I'm sure others wouldn't even notice what I did.

I'm really enjoying this series, I love Jessica Scott's writing and I'm looking forward to Eli's story. He's been a great side character in the previous two books as a friend and almost mentor to both Noah and Josh and I can't wait to get to know him better.

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

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