Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Review: Infinite - Cecy Robson

Hale Wilder, aka the Anaconda of Wall Street, spent his childhood fighting to be the best to win his father’s love. He was the best student and the best athlete, who grew into a successful businessman and took the finance world by storm. Want to retire before you’re forty-five? He’s got you. Need your millions to be billions? He’s your man.

Young, rich, and powerful, Hale was unstoppable, until a company scandal destroys his reputation and threatens to bring down everything he’s bled for.

Becca Shields is the kickass public relations goddess spinning scandals to gold and launching has-beens into superstardom. She never expected to see Hale again—not following the humiliating night when her family caught them on the beach, barely clothed.

When Becca discovers Hale is in trouble, she can’t turn her back on the boy who was once her world and the man she never forgot.

Hale never thought he’d have another shot at greatness or with Becca. Now that he has both, he won’t let either go without a fight.

*NOTE* Although a part of a series, INFINITE can be read as a complete STANDALONE and features a new couple!

Carolina Beach Series:
Inseverable
Eternal
Infinite

Visit Cecy Robson's website for more information.

Review:
I love second chance romances and having seen a little of the obvious chemistry between Becca and Hale in Inseverable I was really looking forward to reading their story and finding out exactly what had happened between them. These two have been friends for most of their lives but those feelings grew much stronger when they were teenagers and they finally came close to acting on them the summer after they finished college, just before all their friends went in their separate directions to start their careers. Unfortunately what should have been a perfect night was ruined by Becca's controlling and abusive father and although they've seen each other occasionally since that night ten years ago things have never been the same.

Now Hale is in trouble, he's been falsely accused of fraud and the investigation has put him in the middle of a media storm that is ruining his reputation and about to destroy his business. Becca is a public relations expert and she will do whatever it takes to help Hale fight his corner, even if spending time working closely with him is going to be hell on her emotions. Both of these characters have never really gotten over each other but life got in the way and pulled them in opposite directions. There have been misunderstandings but I was really pleased with the way they discussed things like adults and were willing to listen to each other's points of view. They've both had it tough but have found their own ways to survive and make a life for themselves.

I really loved these two together, Becca is the kind of girl you could easily be friends with, she's sweet, funny and will do anything for her friends. Hale is just as nice, he has made a name for himself in business but he's not ruthless and for once we get to read about a rich, successful business man who doesn't just sleep around with anyone who takes his fancy. It was really nice to catch up with Trinity, Callahan and some of the other members of their friendship group too. Although this story can be read as a standalone fans of the series will definitely appreciate the appearance of those familiar characters.

Infinite was a sweet romance with a really great couple but like with all of Cecy Robson's contemporary romances she's not afraid to touch on difficult subjects so there were some really quite painful scenes with Becca's family in particular. I think this story is all about showing that your family isn't just the group of people you were born into but also the people you choose, the friends that will stick by you through thick and thin, and that's a reminder most of us could use at one point in our lives.

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:

Blog Tour: Infinite - Cecy Robson


INFINITE

by Cecy Robson
A Carolina Beach Novel, #3
Publication Date: August 15, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone


NEW RELEASE!


SYNOPSIS

Hale Wilder, aka the Anaconda of Wall Street, spent his childhood fighting to be the best to win his father’s love. He was the best student and the best athlete, who grew into a successful businessman and took the finance world by storm. Want to retire before you’re forty-five? He’s got you. Need your millions to be billions? He’s your man.

Young, rich, and powerful, Hale was unstoppable, until a company scandal destroys his reputation and threatens to bring down everything he’s bled for.

Becca Shields is the kickass public relations goddess spinning scandals to gold and launching has-beens into superstardom. She never expected to see Hale again—not following the humiliating night when her family caught them on the beach, barely clothed.

When Becca discovers Hale is in trouble, she can’t turn her back on the boy who was once her world and the man she never forgot.

Hale never thought he’d have another shot at greatness or with Becca. Now that he has both, he won’t let either go without a fight.

*NOTE* Although a part of a series, INFINITE can be read as a complete STANDALONE and features a new couple!



EXCERPT:

I was prepared to see Hale. On my grandmother’s grave, I swear I was.

Until I actually saw him.

His hair isn’t as blond as it was when we were young and taking advantage of the sun and surf. The lack of boyish charm is also something new, likely hidden far beneath his pristine suit. Life away from Kiawah hardens and ages you faster than you’re ready. So does life away from those who most love you.

Hale steps through, anger displacing his shock and what remains of the young man I fell in love with.
The sapphire blue skirt suit I’m wearing draws most eyes. Hale’s focus remains fully on my face. I try to smile, but my smile doesn’t come. All the tender thoughts I’m feeling at seeing him are kicked aside by Hale’s sharp tone.

“What the fuck?” he says, his steely gaze meeting Mason’s.

“Hale,” Mason says. “Take it easy.”

“Take it easy? Are kidding me?” Hale asks. “What the hell is she doing here?”

Hale storms forward, stopping inches from me. My breathing has increased for no apparent reason, matching his harsh intakes of breath.

The last time we stood this close, his touch sent sizzles of raw hunger penetrating through my chest. He’s not touching me now. He might as well be, his ultra-masculine presence like liquid fire.


DON'T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE CAROLINA BEACH SERIES

*****FREEBIE ALERT****

INSEVERABLE, A Carolina Beach Novel, #1

How can you imagine forever with someone who's leaving everything behind?

Callahan, a former army sniper, wants to make an escape from his past and everything he experienced at war, but most of all, just not feel. Feeling leads to pain and he's suffered enough. When he inherits a house on South Carolina's Kiawah Island, he packs his bags, lured by the peace and seclusion he thinks it will bring. But, Callahan never counted on meeting anyone like Trinity . . .

Trinity has always been the cute, and funny one, who most guys overlook in pursuit of her "hot" friends. She became used to being everyone's pal, until the day the young man she was attracted to, was drawn to her in return. He became her first great love, and first crushing heartbreak when she found him in bed with one of her closest friends.

To move forward, and to carry out her commitment to helping those in need, Trinity enlists in the Peace Corps, but not before returning to Kiawah for one last memorable summer. She just never imagined it would be so unforgettable.

Callahan doesn't want to get close to anyone-let alone Trinity. He finds her perkiness insufferable and her attempts to entice a smile distracting. After all, he's in Kiawah to leave all feelings behind. But when it comes to Trinity, who feels everything, it's hard not to feel something.

Neither expected to fall in love. And no one could have predicted how inseverable they'd become.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2mbSQdv (FREE)
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2LdSWw0 (FREE)
iTunes: https://apple.co/1UNd6iP (FREE)
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Nd13K5 (FREE)

ETERNAL, A Carolina Beach Novel, #2

After months of bad luck and even worse men, Luciana Diaz just wants to crawl under the covers and forget the year ever happened. Her friend has other plans, convincing Luci to attend a New Year’s Eve party on the affluent shores of Kiawah Island.

Luci never expected to have fun. She also never expected to wake up with a man she just met, or for this man to be the new attorney at her firm.

Landon Summers is done with drama. After an ugly separation and even worse divorce, he has no desire to jump into another relationship.

When his sister Trinity drags him to a New Year’s Eve party, he doesn’t plan to stay long. One drink, a few hellos, and he’s out. Until he meets Luci, the first person in months to draw his smile and incite his passion.

Neither Luci nor Landon planned on each other, and they definitely didn’t plan on love. But the New Year means a fresh start, and eternal possibilities neither could deny.




ABOUT CECY ROBSON:


CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY


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Excerpt Reveal: Fighting for What's His - Laura Kaye


From New York Times bestselling author Laura Kaye, comes the second standalone title in her brand, new Warrior Fight Club series, FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS. Preorder your copy of FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS, and join the Warrior Fight Club world today!


About FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS (Warrior Fight Club #2, 8/7/18):

This fight club has one rule: you must be a veteran...

Resisting her only makes him want her more...

Private investigator Billy Parrish is good at three things—fighting, investigating, and sex. MMA training with the other vets in the Warrior Fight Club keeps his war-borne demons at bay—mostly, and one night stands ensure no one gets too close. But then his best friend from the Army Rangers calls in a favor.

Shayna Curtis is new to town, fresh out of grad school, and full of hope for the future. With a new job starting in a month, she’s grateful when her brother arranges a place for her to stay while she apartment hunts. But she never expected her roommate to be so brooding. Or so sexy.

Billy can’t wait for Shay to leave—because the longer she’s there, the more he wants her in his bed. To stay. He can’t have her—that much he knows. But when fight club stops taking off the edge, Billy lets down his guard…and starts fighting for what’s his.


PRE-ORDER FIGHTING FOR WHAT'S HIS:


Add to your Goodreads



A note from Laura Kaye:

I’m so excited to share Fighting for What’s His, because this story is such a sweet, sexy, and funny roommates-to-lovers and brother’s best friend story! Need more to pique your interest? Enjoy this excerpt:

“I got the bandages you asked for. I’ll grab them,” Shayna said.

Without looking at her, Billy nodded once. She heard the frustrated breath he released as she left the room. When she came back up, he was waiting at the top of the steps. “I got it from here, thanks.”

“I can help—”

“I’ve got it,” he said again, not quite meeting her gaze.

“You helped me, so why can’t I help—”

Shayna.

Billy.” She understood how guys like Billy and her brother thought. She’d been around enough Rangers to know they hated needing help. But that didn’t mean they didn’t actually need it. “You won’t be able to reach the back of your shoulder. Let me help.”

He let out a harsh breath, then turned away. “Fine.” He disappeared into his bedroom at the back of the hallway.

She followed the rectangle of light spilling from the master bathroom and found him gathering supplies from the medicine cabinet. For a moment, she just stood in the doorway, because she could feel the anger rolling off of him. “I’m sorry if carrying my stupid desk made your shoulder worse.”

He slanted her a look, and it was clear that he was attempting to beat back his frustration. “It didn’t, so don’t worry.”

“I’m kinda predisposed to think things are my fault, so it can’t be helped.”

He frowned, and this time all the frustration bled from his expression. “Why do you say that?”

Because my idiocy and stubbornness killed my brother. That was what she thought, but what she said was, “I don’t know. Old habit.”

Billy shook his head. “Well, this isn’t your fault, Shayna. And I’d be willing to bet that whatever else you’re worrying about isn’t either.” He closed the toilet lid and sat heavily, and Shayna was glad that he looked away, because his words had unleashed a sting at the backs of her eyes. “I hate that I need help with this. Not that you’re the one helping.”

There went her belly again. “Just pretend I’m Ryan,” she said in a quiet voice.

He smirked up at her. “Why would I do that?”

“Because you probably wouldn’t care if a buddy was patching you up, right?”

He shrugged with one big shoulder. “Anyone ever told you that you can be too damn perceptive?”

“I am a photographer, after all. It’s literally my job to notice things.”

“Mine, too,” he said, tossing an appreciative glance over his shoulder. Their gazes collided. Held.

Made Shayna’s heart beat harder. “So, do I need to do anything special or just clean, bandage, tape?” she asked as her gaze scanned over his burn scars.

“Put antibiotic cream on before you bandage. Otherwise, that’s it. And be sure to pat rather than wipe. Because of the movement of the joint, this spot is the one area that has struggled to heal.”

She washed her hands and ran warm water over a wash cloth, then did as he said. “Let me know if I hurt you.”

“You won’t,” he said. “I can’t feel much where its scarred. My nerves are mostly shot back there.”

Shayna debated whether humor would help or hurt the situation, then went for it. “Well, in case you have one left, I don’t want to get on it.”

One beat passed, then another. Billy chuckled, and the sound did funny things to her chest. “Appreciate that, smart ass.”

She put a playful sauciness in her voice as she said, “You noticing my ass, Billy Parrish?”

He didn’t answer, even though his mental debate as to how to respond seemed to ring loudly, making her laugh as she tended to him.

“This is pretty much the same thing I had to do when I got the tattoo on my shoulder,” she said, smoothing antibiotic cream over the rent skin. She grimaced as she did so, not because she found it unpleasant, but because she worried about hurting him despite his reassurances.

“How many tattoos do you have?” he asked in a low voice.

The question reminded her that he’d seen one of them—her most intimate one, and heat filtered into her cheeks as she positioned the bandage. “Four. The one on my hip, and three on my back and shoulders. Once you have one, it’s kinda addicting.”

“Is that right?”

“Mmhmm,” she murmured, concentrating on the tape. “I think the bottom piece of tape might need to wrap under your arm a little to hold it in place. Is that okay?”

“Whatever you say, Goldilocks.”

“That’ll be Dr. Goldilocks to you, ya git.” She smoothed the tape down.

He chuckled again. “What’s with the colorful cursing?”

She grinned. “I grew up with brothers. Am I offending your sensitive ears, Ranger Parrish?”

“Hell, no,” he said. “I’m a fan.”

“There,” she said, surveying her work. Satisfaction warmed her belly, because she’d gotten to help him. And he’d called her pretty. And said he was a fan of the crazy crap that came out of her mouth. “All done.”

He rose and peered in the mirror. “Perfect, Shayna,” he said, their gazes meeting in the mirror.

And she could’ve sworn he said, “Perfect Shayna,” without the pause between. Especially when he looked at her like he was doing right now.

As if she had on far too many clothes. And Jesus did she suddenly agree.

“Any time you need patched up, consider me your girl,” she managed, still meeting the heat in those brown eyes.

Brown eyes whose reflection looked her up and down. “Don’t you mean woman? Consider you my woman?” he teased, throwing her earlier words back at her. “You know, when I need patched up.”

Shayna released a shaky breath. “Yeah. Exactly.”

He gave a slow nod, then turned to look at her directly, bringing them toe to toe. “Then, consider me your man when you need muscle. Now, how about I go move your car and help you build a desk?”


AND GRAB BOOK 1, FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING, right now!


Add to your Goodreads

“The always amazing Kaye is kicking off a terrific new contemporary romance series that centers around a wounded warrior’s fight club. Kaye does a beautiful job exploring the fallout from war and PTSD as various characters struggle to cope in their own ways. The love story between Noah Cortez and his childhood friend Kristina Moore is both compelling and touching, for the obstacles in their way loom large. A truly memorable read!” ~ RT Book Reviews

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Review: Furyborn - Claire Legrand

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.

Empirium Series:
Furyborn
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Claire Legrand's website for more information

Review:
Furyborn is one of those debuts that has had a HUGE amount of publisher push behind it so it ended up being hyped to the max. I quite often have problems with books like this because my expectations are sky high and therefore almost impossible to reach. I hate to say it thats definitely what happened here, the story was good but it just never reached the heights I was looking for so I came away disappointed.

The story is told from two points of view with the chapters alternating between the characters. First you have Rielle, a young girl who has spent her life keeping her powers secret but who risks everything to save the life of the boy she loves. She is immediately the easiest of the characters to relate to and I was really hoping to see her get the happily ever after she deserves but the biggest problem is that her story is set 1000 years in the past and you know from the prologue how her journey is going to end. Yes we have questions about how she ended up in that situation but there is absolutely no sense of mystery about how things will turn out for her. I think giving so much away so early on pretty much ruined her story for me because I was always waiting for the shoe to drop.

The other main character is Eliana and unfortunately she was much harder to like. I could understand her motivations in trying to keep her family and friends safe but the way she's happy to walk all over anyone who stands in her way makes it hard to respect her. She does grow and change throughout the story but I still feel more invested in the people around her than I do in her. One thing I do enjoy is the strong friendships that both of the main characters have, there are some really great side characters here that I'd definitely like to see more of.

Furyborn is an action packed story, there is always something major happening in each different plot thread and you're often left on a cliffhanger for one girl's story before diving back into the other. This works really well to a certain extent but after a while it starts to feel like this is all action and no character development. There were times when I felt the story would have benefitted from slowing down a little to let us have time to get to know the characters better and then perhaps I could have felt more connected to them.

Overall this wasn't a bad book, it was fun to read and I flew through it fairly quickly for such a long book, but at the same time it wasn't perfect. It did hold my attention enough that I want to read the sequel but I'm really hoping to see some big changes in the characters as they start to understand exactly what is happening around them.

Source: Received via Netgalley 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 / Kindle:

Monday, 13 August 2018

Event Report: Penguin YA Secret Society Party


A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Penguin YA Secret Society Party which was a fab event with Sally Green, Melissa Albert, Elizabeth Klehforth and Emily Barr. It was one of the hottest days of the heatwave so we practically melted on the journey up to London and with the venue being in a basement pub it was a super hot night but we had such a fab time that it was definitely worth it.

Penguin had gone to so much effort to decorate the venue and each author had their own section that was decorated with something that had a meaning to their book and there were even four different cocktails to try, one inspired by each story!


The first section was where we got to meet Elizabeth Klehforth who was there to talk to us about her book All These Beautiful Strangers which sounds like a really exciting thriller that I'm really looking forward to reading! In this section we all got to choose props and pose for polaroid photos which was a lot of fun.

Charlie Calloway has a life most people would kill for.

With her wealthy family's pedigree, a loyal set of friends, and a fast-track to whichever college she chooses, she's all-but untouchable at her exclusive East Coast boarding school.

But Charlie isn't interested in what most people want.

She's a Calloway. She's been taught to want more.

So when she's invited to join her school's exclusive secret society- the A's - her determination to get in is matched only by her conviction that she belongs there.

But behind their mysterious facade is a history of lies and cruel games which threatens to unravel everything Charlie thought she knew about herself... including the story behind her mother's disappearance ten years ago.


In the second section we entered the Hazel Wood to meet Melissa Albert and talk about her debut novel The Hazel Wood which is a modern fairytale that sounds just up my street! I have a feeling I'm going to love this book so I'm definitely planning on reading it very soon.

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels.

But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate - the Hazel Wood - Alice learns how bad her luck can really get.

Her mother is stolen, by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world from her grandmother's stories.

Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began . . .


The third section was where we got to meet Sally Green to talk about the first book in her new series, The Smoke Thieves. I've already read and loved this one (you can read my review here) so I'm impatiently waiting for the sequel but if you're a fantasy fan you definitely need to pick up a copy! Here we also got to choose a glitter tattoo to represent one of the main characters and of course I picked the demon hunter!

A princess, a traitor, a soldier, a hunter and a thief. Five teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Five nations destined for conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father, while her true love, Ambrose, faces the executioner's block.

In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town.

And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our five heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war.

Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?


Last but not least we got to meet Emily Barr and talk about her latest book The Truth and Lies of Ella Black. I have to say that even though I don't read much contemporary YA these days I'm really intrigued by this one and looking forward to giving it a try!

Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .

Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.

And realises her life has been a lie.

Her mother and father aren't hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they'll never think to look - the favelas.

But there she learns a terrible secret - the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . .




I'd like to say a huge thank you to Penguin for inviting me to the event and to all the authors for taking the time to talk to us. I had such a fantastic time and can't wait to read all of the books I came home with!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Review: One to Keep - Lexi Blake

Stefan Talbot likes order and control. He approaches his life with the same meticulous precision that he uses to put paint on his canvas. Nothing good comes from chaos, and that is why he has refused to allow himself to get close to Jennifer Waters. They are like fire and ice. Though she is younger, her talent as an artist is unquestionable. But she lives her life like she paints—with wild, passionate abandon. It is intoxicating and terrifying, and he can’t get her out of his head.

Jennifer ran from Bliss to put Stef behind her. She had come to the mountain town seeking a mentor but found much more than she bargained for. Cool and distant, Stef was like a marble statue and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break through his shell. She moved to Dallas to start over, but nothing is going as planned. When the art gallery where she works is robbed and a precious painting is stolen, Jen is accused of the theft. Jen is thrilled when her bail is met, until she realizes her savior is Stef and he has a few conditions. First and foremost, she has to return to Bliss.

Against the backdrop of the Winter Festival, Stef and Jen’s attraction catches fire. But the dark forces behind the robbery in Dallas have followed Jen home. A criminal syndicate believes she still has the stolen painting and they’ll kill to get their hands on it.

Nights in Bliss, Colorado Series:
(Originally published under the pen name Sophie Oak)
Three to Ride
Two to Love
One to Keep

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

Review:
One to Keep is the third book in Lexi Blake's Nights in Bliss, Colorado series and we've seen the push and pull between Stefan and Jen in previous books so I was really looking forward to their story. We know that Stef keeps Jen at a distance because of their age difference but I could never quite understand why that was such a huge sticking point for him before reading this book. I'm not going to go into details in my review but let's just say that I'm able to understand him so much better now. I still found it totally infuriating when he'd pull Jen close only to push her away again any time it seemed like she might have broken through his barriers but I could understand why he did it and why Jen forgave him not just once but several times.

This is one of those stories where you know that they'll be perfect together but one of the characters is running scared and I enjoyed seeing Jen break through Stef's barriers and making him realise that what they had was worth fighting for. Stef has a constant need to be in control but as much as Jen enjoys him taking over in the bedroom she is happy to stand up for herself in other situations and she doesn't let him mess her around without pushing back at him.

I really enjoyed going back to Bliss and catching up with the previous characters, it's great to see how happy they all are in their various relationships and I was really pleased that Jen has supportive friends for when Stef was acting like an idiot. I'm enjoying the Texas Sirens books (which are set in the same world with some characters appearing in both series) but it doesn't have as many quirky and fun side characters as this series does and I miss them. I loved the addition of Alexei and I'm really happy to know he's getting a book later in the series too.

This series has a little of everything - sweet romance, plenty of steam, fun characters and strong friendships with a little suspense and drama thrown in - and I can't wait for the next book!

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:

Blog Tour: One to Keep - Lexi Blake


One to Keep
Nights in Bliss, Colorado, Book 3
By Lexi Blake writing as Sophie Oak
Coming August 7, 2018

Stefan Talbot likes order and control. He approaches his life with the same meticulous precision that he uses to put paint on his canvas. Nothing good comes from chaos, and that is why he has refused to allow himself to get close to Jennifer Waters. They are like fire and ice. Though she is younger, her talent as an artist is unquestionable. But she lives her life like she paints—with wild, passionate abandon. It is intoxicating and terrifying, and he can’t get her out of his head.

Jennifer ran from Bliss to put Stef behind her. She had come to the mountain town seeking a mentor but found much more than she bargained for. Cool and distant, Stef was like a marble statue and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break through his shell. She moved to Dallas to start over, but nothing is going as planned. When the art gallery where she works is robbed and a precious painting is stolen, Jen is accused of the theft. Jen is thrilled when her bail is met, until she realizes her savior is Stef and he has a few conditions. First and foremost, she has to return to Bliss.

Against the backdrop of the Winter Festival, Stef and Jen’s attraction catches fire. But the dark forces behind the robbery in Dallas have followed Jen home. A criminal syndicate believes she still has the stolen painting and they’ll kill to get their hands on it.

AVAILABLE NOW:



EXCERPT

Stef turned back to Jen. “Let’s move, Jennifer. I have a plane ready. We need to be at Love Field in an hour. I have an officer waiting to process you out.”

Jen’s head whirled. “Plane?”

“Yes, plane. We’re going back to Bliss.”

“No way.”

Cool, gray eyes slitted, and she could practically feel the will rolling off him. Stef was tense, and she knew it was a bad idea to push him, but she couldn’t help it.

“I’m serious, Stef. I’m not going anywhere with you.” She couldn’t go back to Bliss. Panic threatened to swamp her. He was here. He was right here in front of her, and her heart didn’t give a damn that he was a bastard. For the first time in months, she felt desire for something besides her art. She couldn’t, wouldn’t, go down that path again.

He got into her space, a move he’d perfected seemingly long before he met her. She held her ground. Even though he didn’t touch her physically, he seemed to surround her. Suddenly her whole world was Stef, his gray eyes, the heat of his body, his masculine, clean scent. He filled her every sense.

“I’m not going home with you.” She forced herself to say the words.

His lips hitched up. “At least you admit Bliss is your home.”

That wasn’t what she’d meant. Bliss, Colorado, had felt like home when she’d been there, but she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bliss wasn’t big enough for the two of them. “It’s your home. Hell, Stef, it’s your little kingdom, and you like to play the king, don’t you?”

“Yes, because everyone does what I say.” Stef’s low growl made her breath speed up. “Everyone in Bliss bows down to me. Have you been gone for so long that you forget Max regularly kicks my ass? And Nell and Henry are currently protesting my gardening practices.”

He was too close for comfort. She gave in and took a step back. She could see plainly that he was satisfied with her discomfort. “Don’t try to play the poor rich boy with me. You’re a puppet master. You like to pull the strings and see how people dance. Well, I’m not in your kingdom anymore, and there’s no way you can get me there again. So you can take your money and go back to Colorado.”

It was stupid. Even as she said the words, she wanted to take them back. She’d spent the last twenty-four hours terrified in a jail cell. She would have to be the stupidest woman in the world to turn him down, but she’d never thought around Stef. Since the moment she’d met him, she’d been a quivering mass of emotion and desire every time he entered a room.

“Stubborn thing. I’ll make it easy on you.” His hands caught hers, and before she could think she felt cold metal surrounding her wrists. He flicked the cuffs on with the cool precision of a man who often cuffed the women in his life.

“What are you doing?” She stared at her hands. At least this time they were in front of her. She preferred it that way. Damn, her life had taken a wrong turn when she could compare and contrast her experiences with men who handcuffed her.

“Taking you home, Jennifer. Whether you like it or not.”

He leaned down and picked her up. She was in his arms, nestled close to his chest. She looked up at the square, inflexible line of his jaw. His arms tightened around her, and she was caged more closely than she’d been in the holding cell. She had the suspicion that this time Stef would be harder to escape from than before. He kicked open the door and started down the hall.

Yep, like it or not, she was going back to Bliss.


About Lexi Blake:

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn't until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Monday, 6 August 2018

Review: Iron and Magic - Ilona Andrews

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

The Kate Daniels Series:
A Questionable Client (Short Story in the Magic Graves anthology)
Magic Bites
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes
Magic Mourns (Novella included in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology or available separately as an ebook)
Magic Bleeds
Magic Dreams (Novella included in the Hexed anthology or available separately as an ebook)
Magic Slays
Magic Tests (Short Story included in the An Apple for the Creature anthology)
Magic Gifts (Novella available for a limited time as a free ebook from the authors and included in the print version of Gunmetal Magic)
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniel's World book 1)
Retribution Clause (Short Story in the Hex Appeal anthology)
Small Magics (Anthology containing previously published stories including A Questionable Client, Magic Tests and Retribution Clause as well as 2 other stories not set in the Kate Daniels world)
Magic Rises
Magic Steals (Novella included in the Night Shift anthology)
Magic Breaks
Magic Shifts
Magic Stars (Novella, Grey Wolf book 1)
Magic Binds
Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant book 1)
Magic Triumphs

Visit Ilona Andrews' website for more information

Review:
I have been excited about the idea of a Hugh book since way back when it was just a silly April Fool's joke on Ilona and Gordon's blog so of course I was over the moon when I found out it was actually going to be written after all. Hugh has always been a brilliant villain in the Kate Daniels series and a character that I desperately wanted to know more about but I have to admit I wasn't quite sure how he could be redeemed into a character I could root for. I have total faith in the Andrews writing team though and this isn't the first time they've pulled off the almost impossible, they've managed to make Hugh a complex character, maintain his total a-holeness but still make me love him and that's quite an achievement!

This is the first book in a spin off from the Kate Daniels series, Iron and Magic is designed to be read after Magic Binds but before the final book Magic Triumphs and I would highly recommend sticking to that reading order to get the most out of both series and avoid giving yourself any spoilers. In fact, if you're reading this review before you've read Magic Binds stop right now and go catch up with my all time favourite series. You'll thank me when you're done, I promise!

Hugh has done some pretty inexcusable things throughout the series, he's hurt a lot of characters we care about and caused a lot of trouble for Kate and Curran so I've never looked at him as a good guy but it was still pretty shocking to see Roland abandon him the way he did. Hugh is now completely on his own and it's had a huge affect on him but it is his Iron Dogs that pull him back from the edge. They need him if they're going to survive and Hugh is in a difficult situation because he has no way to provide all the things they need. He ends up seeking a marriage of convenience with Elara, she has a castle full of people and plenty of supplies but they are in danger and in need of protection, Hugh, on the other hand, has trained soldiers who are desperate for a home and willing to fight to defend it.

This isn't a marriage built on love or even on trust, in fact it's far closer to insta-hate because Hugh and Elara rub each other up the wrong way from the moment they set eyes on each other, which leads to some glorious banter let me tell you! This is two leaders who are willing to do anything to protect their people and if that means marrying the enemy then that's what they'll do. Their relationship is gradually changing but there's still a long way to go before I'd consider them a happy couple and I'm really glad about the slow build romance we're seeing here. Romance is definitely not the focus of the story, it's just a nice little extra going on in the background.

Instead the focus is on getting to know Hugh better and meeting some of the Iron Dogs, as well as finding out about Elara and her people. At the moment I have far more questions than answers about Elara but I can already tell you she's totally fascinating and more than capable of standing her ground against Hugh - there couldn't be a more well matched pair than these two. As always with Ilona Andrews books you get the most wonderful side characters and I love that we're introduced to a completely new set of characters here. Hugh is the only familiar face for most of the story (there are a couple of cameo appearances later on though) and even with him we get to learn so much that we never touched on in the main series so there is a lot of new territory to cover here and I loved every minute of it.

This story was everything I could possibly have wanted and I'm so excited to continue reading about Hugh, Elara and their people. It's taken me a long time to write this review because I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately but I've been completely obsessed with this book since it's release and I've already read it four times so that should give you some idea about how much I love it. As sad as I am that the main Kate Daniels series is coming to an end I'm extremely happy that Hugh and Elara are going to be around to pick up the reigns when Kate and Curran slip off into retirement!

Source: Received 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:

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Event Report: Orion Blogger Brunch #OrionBloggerBrunch


A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited the the Orion Blogger Brunch to find out all about some of the fantastic titles they have coming out throughout the rest of 2018. I can tell you right now they have some super exciting books to look forward to and my wishlist practically exploded while they were talking to us! They mentioned too many for me to list them all here so I'm just going to talk about the books I'm most excited about (although to be honest even then this is still going to be a looooong post LOL).


Award-winning author Ellen Kushner's classic of modern fantasy, set in a world of unforgettable characters whose political ambitions, passionate love affairs and age-old rivalries collide with deadly results.

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless- until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead a of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye . . .

First up was Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, this is actually a rerelease of a modern fantasy classic and it sounds wonderful! To be honest this is one of those books I should probably have read years ago but it's definitely on my radar now and I'm hoping to buy a copy soon.


Feminist Fairytales for Young and Old

Reimagining traditional tales, this empowering collection of stories, poems and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover.

Gone are the gender stereotypes of obliging lovers, violent men and girls that need rescuing. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains and you'll meet brave princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle and a courageous Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

'Await no princes to save you
through their lips touching yours
whilst you are in unwilling slumber.
Wake each other up instead.'

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill is an illustrated, modern, feminist twist on fairytales we know and love and it sounds like my perfect read. I love fairytales and retellings so I'm sure I'll love this book. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Nikita Gill's poetry collection Wild Embers at the event so I have something to tide me over until Fierce Fairytales releases in September!


Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. It was a magic they cherished - until the day a terrible accident took Essie's life and trapped her soul in this world.

Dax - the heir to Firgaard's throne - was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa's people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she'd give him the army he needed if he made her queen.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax's promises go unfulfilled. Roa's people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises - an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king.

Next up is The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli, I absolutely loved the first book in this series (read my review of The Last Namsara here) so I can't wait for the sequel!


A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man's journey to find his destiny.

Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He's never questioned it; that's just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend Cade are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free . . .

But what lies beyond the prison walls is more terrifying still. Rescued by a man who hates him yet is oath-bound to protect him, pursued by inhuman forces, Aren slowly accepts that everything he knew about his world was a lie. The rules are not there to protect him, or his people, but to enslave them. A revolution is brewing, and Aren is being drawn into it, whether he likes it or not.

The key to the revolution is the Ember Blade. The sword of kings, the Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up . . . but it's locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land.

All they have to do now is steal it . . .

I love fantasy and at over 800 pages this is going to be pretty epic! The Ember Blade is the first book in a new trilogy by popular author Chris Wooding and it sounds brilliant.


Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless and beloved A Wizard of Earthsea - '...reads like the retelling of a tale first told centuries ago' (David Mitchell) - comes this complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles, including over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin's vision of her classic saga.

Contains the short story, 'The Daughter of Odren', published in print for the first time, and her last story 'Firelight'.

Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea novels are some of the most acclaimed and awarded works in literature-they have received prestigious accolades such as the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, and many more honors, commemorating their enduring place in the hearts and minds of readers and the literary world alike.

Now for the first time ever, they're all together in one volume-including the early short stories, Le Guin's "Earthsea Revisioned" Oxford lecture, and new Earthsea stories, never before printed. With a new introduction by Le Guin herself, this essential edition will also include over fifty illustrations by renowned artist Charles Vess, specially commissioned and selected by Le Guin, to bring her refined vision of Earthsea and its people to life in a totally new way.

Stories include: 'A Wizard of Earthsea', 'The Tombs of Atuan', 'The Farthest Shore', 'Tehanu', 'Tales From Earthsea', 'The Other Wind', 'The Rule of Names', 'The Word of Unbinding', 'The Daughter of Odren', and 'Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University'

With stories as perennial and universally beloved as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of The Rings-but also unlike anything but themselves-this edition is perfect for those new to the world of Earthsea, as well as those who are well-acquainted with its enchanting magic: to know Earthsea is to love it.

- 1,008 pages
- 56 illustrations (including seven lavishly coloured plate sections)
- maps of Earthsea
- stunningly beautiful endpapers
- Six novels
- 4 short stories
- An essay

I don't think there are many fans out there who haven't heard of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle, I'm actually pretty ashamed to admit that I haven't read it! To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this classic series Gollancz are publishing this fantastic looking hardback which collects all six novels, four short stories and over 50 gorgeous illustrations from Charles Vess. I think this book is going to be a must have for fans of the series but it will also be the perfect place to start for people like me who have never read the books before.


Spensa's world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity's only defense is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what's left of the human race.

Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's - a pilot who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa's chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim and none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is still determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They've doubled their fleet, making Spensa's world twice as dangerous . . . but their desperation to survive might just take her skyward . . .

A new YA sci-fi from the king of fantasy Brandon Sanderson, hell yes, sign me up for Skyward!!


An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings, "Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairn's father,
Far less the land that he staps in.
(Child Ballad, no. 113)

So begins a stunning tale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas, and drama on the land. The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man.

Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there - without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

The Blue Salt Road is a new modern fairytale from Joanne Harris set in the same world as A Pocketful of Crows (another book that has been on my wishlist forever!) and once again illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins. I'm going to try and read A Pocketful of Crows before this releases in November because both books sound fabulous.


In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Green - co-creator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers and SciShow - spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realising she's part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship - like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armour - April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world - everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires - and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the centre of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric and radicalisation; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. This edition includes beautifully designed endpapers and is definitely not one to miss out on.

I have to tell you about Hank Green's upcoming debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, which is being published in September. I have to confess I've not read anything by John Green (sacrilege I know but I'm not really a big reader of contemporary YA) but Hank's debut sounds much more like my kind of thing. We got to watch a video of Hank talking about the book at the event and it sounds like such a brilliant read, this isn't the actual video but it does tell you more about the story so I thought I'd include it here:




After teasing us with all their upcoming books it was time for Orion to introduce us to a couple of their authors, Ed McDonald, author of Blackwing and Ravencry, and Catriona Ward, author of Rawblood and Little Eve. We got to listen to them talk about their books and the difference between writing a first and second novel. I wish I'd known Ed was going to be there because I'd have brought my copies of Blackwing and Ravencry to get them signed but it was great to meet both authors and we got a chance to mingle with them while we took a break for pizza and cupcakes - just have a look at these delicious little beauties:


After out break it was time for Orion to taunt us with some books that we're going to have to wait until 2019 to get our hands on, oh the cruelty LOL.


Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal for readers of Sabaa Tahir and Alwyn Hamilton.

All hail the Girl King.

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty's first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min's hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set's reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters' greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

First up was The Girl King, a deput fantasy from Mimi Yu inspired by East Asian mythology! You should all know by now what a huge fantasy fan I am so this sounds right up my street and it's going to be sheer torture waiting until January next year to read it!


'Inspirational, funny and wise' - Kit de Waal

Queenie Jenkins can't cut a break. Well, apart from the one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That's definitely just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Stuck between a boss who doesn't seem to see her, a Carribbean family who don't seem to listen (if it's not Jesus or water rates, they're not interested), and trying to fit in two worlds that don't really understand her, it's no wonder she's struggling.

She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?

A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on modern life, QUEENIE will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity, and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way.

Perfect for fans of Dolly Alderton, Bryony Gordon and Dawn O'Porter, and anyone who loved Fleabag and Dear White People.

Last but definitely not least we got to hear Candice Carty-Williams talk about her March 2019 debut Queenie. I don't read much contemporary but this sounds like such a funny read that I'm definitely going to make an exception!

I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Orion for inviting me to a fabulous event. It was wonderful to spend time chatting with the authors, publicists and other bloggers about all these exciting books and I can't wait to start reading them!

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