Friday, 19 October 2018

Excerpt Reveal: Shadow and Ice - Gena Showalter


The Queen of Paranormal Romance, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter, stuns with SHADOW AND ICE, the first title in her scorching new paranormal romance series Gods of War Series. Check out the sneak peek below and pre-order your copy of SHADOW AND ICE today!


Gena Showalter, the New York Times bestselling author who brought you the Lords of the Underworld, introduces a scorching new paranormal romance series… Gods of War.

Knox of Iviland has spent his life competing in the All Wars, where vicious warriors with supernatural powers fight to the death to claim new realms. One winner takes everything—and all losers die. Enslaved as a child for his ability to control shadows, the most ruthless champion in history will stop at nothing to kill his king. But first he must win the battle for Earth. When a fearsome weapon imprisons every combatant in ice, centuries pass without progress…until she walks in.

Vale London craves a fun arctic getaway with her foster sister before settling down to open a bakery. Street-tough but vulnerable, she is unprepared to find ancient gods escaping a frozen cave—merciless beings who target her when she inadvertently enters their war.

Though Vale is now his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can prove victorious, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.




“I love this world…this is Gena Showalter at her best!”—J.R. Ward, #1 New York Times bestselling author


“The Gods of War series is my new obsession.”—Christine Feehan, #1 New York Times bestselling author


Excerpt:

Wearier by the second, Shiloh scrubbed a hand down his face. “This is my first All War. I knew it would be tough, but I am my home’s strongest competitor, and I believed I could do…anything. I was wrong.”

“You sound as if you’re eager to die. Good news. I’m happy to help.”

“I’m sure you are, but I don’t want to die. I don’t want to kill, either.”

“Ah, I see. You’d rather make your people suffer.”

Shiloh glowered.

For the “privilege” of participating in an All War, a realm’s sovereign had to give the High Council thou­sands of children. The exact number depended on a combatant’s order of elimination. The faster you were eliminated, the more your realm had to pay. But in order to forfeit a war entirely, sovereigns had to hand over even more children.

From infancy to the age of eighteen, boy or girl, chil­dren were chattel, commodities raised to be Enforcers.

Only the winning realm was exempt.

“My people already suffer,” Shiloh said. “Our realm is overcrowded.”

Iviland was overcrowded as well, more and more im­mortals born or created every day. New realms were desperately needed.

In the beginning, whenever a new one was discov­ered, multiple armies invaded at once. Battles raged, the trespassers hoping to seize control. Violence spread far and wide, ultimately destroying everything, leaving the lands uninhabitable.

Under the guise of saving future domains, ruling factions created the High Council and All War—an on­going battle between a single representative from each otherworld, the new realm acting as the arena.

In the past few months, the people of Terra had begun fighting back and setting traps. Not a first, but definitely a problem on days like today. The citizens weren’t bound by assembly rules. But then, they had no supernatural abilities and were no match for immortals.

Knox had seen no sign of a human army today. Maybe they’d fled in fear? To them, combatants were gods.

Knox, they’d nicknamed Loki, the “evil trickster.” A moniker he bore with pride.

“When I killed a woman I respected, a part of my soul died,” Shiloh said, pulling him from his thoughts. “Why can’t the realms reach terms without bloodshed?”

“Greed.” Why else?

Movement at the side of a mountain. Knox slid his gaze across the ice—at last. Zion. A man of six and a half feet, like Knox, with dark hair, wide shoulders and a body honed on the most savage battlefields with no hint of softness. Also like Knox.

But unlike Knox, he refused to use the weapons he won. Reasons unknown. The choice angered Knox, even though it aided his cause. Such a waste.

He tightened his grip on his most prized possessions—the daggers he’d taken from his first victim. The blades were serrated, hooked at the tip, and had brass knuckle hilts. With a single blow, he could slice, dice and pul­verize.

Zion reached the check-in point and spread his arms, all Here I am, come and get me. Embedded in his arms were jewels, each one set in specific patterns, as bold as the man himself. On his hands, a pair of spiked metal gloves able to punch through anything.

I want. I take.

Locked on tonight’s target.

Anticipation resurged and redoubled, burning inside Knox, and growing hotter by the second. Zion was a warrior he would gladly slay.

“Come.” Knox jumped from his perch, falling down, down, landing a few yards away from the check-in point. Though the impact jarred him, he walked forward without a hitch in his step, boots crunching in the snow.

Shiloh jumped, as well, and hurried to catch up.

As they passed the invisible wall that sealed them inside the clearing, Knox experienced a familiar and abhorrent vibration from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. His ability to control shadows had just been neutralized.

“So nice of you to join us,” Bane said, his tone as smug and condescending as ever.

Like most Adwaewethians, he had pale hair, golden eyes—and a beast trapped within. When the creature took control of his body, his appearance changed. He became a monster, hideous beyond compare, strong beyond compare, and developed an appetite for blood. No one and nothing was safe.

About Gena Showalter:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series--Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles--and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she's appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black--if you ask her about it, she'll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Thursday, 18 October 2018

Spotlight & Updated Review: Tangleweed and Brine - Deirdre Sullivan

New Paperback Edition
with extra story included
Paperback edition of bestselling book from 2017, with a bonus story in this edition

A collection of thirteen dark, feminist retellings of traditional fairytales from one of Ireland's leading writers for young people.

In the tradition of Angela Carter, stories such as Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin are given a witchy makeover, not for the faint-hearted.

Intricately illustrated with black and white line drawings, in the style of Aubrey Beardsley, by a new Irish illustrator Karen Vaughan.

Visit Deirdre Sullivan's website for more information

Review:
***** I've already posted most of this review before but I wanted to update it to include the additional short story only available in the new paperback edition of the book *****

Tangleweed and Brine is a collection of thirteen feminist fairytale retellings (fourteen in the new paperback edition) written by Deirdre Sullivan and beautifully illustrated by Karen Vaughan. Even as an ebook it's a gorgeous book but I really think I'm going to have to invest in a hardback copy for my library.

These stories aren't always easy to read, just like traditional fairytales they're dark and sometimes disturbing, they definitely don't have the Disney happy endings we've grown so used to these days! In fact you'll probably find some of these stories are now even darker than the original versions but they're very reflective of the way women were treated at the time the originals were written and they feel very true because of that. These stories don't all have happy endings for the female characters but some of the girls manage to find their own path and take revenge on the people who wronged them which I loved.

In case you're interested here's a list of the stories included (and the original tale they're based on):
1. Slippershod (Cinderella)
2. The Woodcutter's Bride (Little Red Riding Hood)
3. Come Live Here and be Loved (Rapunzel)
4. You Shall Not Suffer... (Hansel and Gretel)
5. Meet the Nameless Thing and call it Friend (Rumplestiltskin)
6. Sister Fair (Fair, Brown and Trembling)
7. Ash Pale (Snow White)
8. Consume or be Consumed (A Little Mermaid)
9. Doing Well (The Frog Prince)
10. The Tender Weight (Bluebeard)
11. Riverbed (Donkeyskin)
12. The Little Gift (The Goose Girl)
13. Beauty and the Board (Beauty and the Beast)
14. Waking Beauty (Sleeping Beauty) - this new story is in the paperback edition only!

It's hard to pick a favourite story but I think it would probably have to be either Riverbed for sheer creep factor and the brilliant ending or The Little Gift which adds a lesbian romance to the tale of The Goose Girl.

Just one of the gorgeous illustrations you'll find in this book,
this one is from The Little Gift.

The new story in the paperback edition is called Waking Beauty and is based on the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. It was surprising to see that this story was from a male POV (I believe all the others are from the women's POV) but that made so much sense once the story gets going. An interesting look at some men's sense of entitlement when it comes to what women owe them and particularly relevant today when we're talking more and more about Me Too and rape culture. I think that was possibly my new favourite story in the collection!

Source: Received from Little Island Books in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
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Hardback Cover
Hardback / Kindle / New Paperback with extra story included:

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Review: Temeraire - Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik’s stunning series of novels follow the global adventures of Captain William Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire as they are thrown together to fight for Britain during the turbulent time of the Napoleonic Wars.

Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old; finding a warmer berth in Nelson's navy than any he enjoyed as the youngest, least important son of Lord Allendale. Rising on merit to captain his own vessel, Laurence has earned himself a beautiful fiancée, society's esteem and a golden future. But the war is not going well. It seems Britain can only wait as Napoleon plans to overrun her shores.

After a skirmish with a French ship, Laurence finds himself in charge of a rare cargo: a dragon egg bound for the Emperor himself. Dragons are much prized: properly trained, they can mount a fearsome attack from the skies. One of Laurence's men must take the beast in hand and join the aviators' cause, thus relinquishing all hope of a normal life.

But when the newly-hatched dragon ignores the young midshipman Laurence chose as its keeper and decides to imprint itself on the horrified captain instead, Laurence's world falls apart. Gone is his golden future: gone his social standing, and soon his beautiful fiancée, as he is consigned to be the constant companion and trainer of the fighting dragon Temeraire...

Temeraire Series:
Vici (Short Story)
Temeraire (Published as His Majesty's Dragon in the US)
Feast or Famine (Short Story)
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
Empire of Ivory
Victory of Eagles
Tongues of Serpents
Crucible of Gold
Blood of Tyrants
League of Dragons
Golden Age and Other Stories (Short Story Collection)

Visit Naomi Novik's website for more information

Review:
Temeraire (published with the title His Majesty's Dragon in the US) is the first book in Naomi Novik's alternate history series set during the Napoleonic Wars but with the addition of dragons and an Aerial Corps to the fighting forces.

Laurence was a Navy Captain who expected to come home a hero after capturing a French ship containing a rare dragon egg, after all the eggs are precious and hard to come by and the Aerial Corps are always trying to get more of them, but things got slightly problematic when they realised that the dragon would hatch before they could get it safely back to dry land. You see, dragons create a special bond with someone from the moment they are born and once that bond has been made it is very hard to break it. Nobody on Laurence's ship wanted to take on that bond and be forced to leave the Navy to instead join the less well thought of Aerial Corps. Laurence would never have chosen to bond himself to newly hatched dragon Temeraire but thats exactly the situation he finds himself in and now his life will never be the same again.

I enjoyed this book so much, the pace is actually pretty slow in places but that's because this is all about setting up the world, introducing the main players and watching Laurence and Temeraire bond and train together. There are some great battles at sea both at the beginning and end of the book and I loved the aerial fights between the dragons too. What I loved most was Temeraire and the other dragons though, the fact that they can talk was wonderful and the conversations between Temeraire and Laurence always left me smiling. Laurence may not have chosen his new life but he accepts his responsibility towards Temeraire and does everything he can to keep his dragon happy and healthy. I loved the way that older, bigger dragons are basically like airships that have whole crews on board when they go into battle. I enjoyed the dragon hierarchy and the competition between the humans too.

This is nothing like Uprooted or Spinning Silver but I can already tell I'm going to love this series so I can't wait to start reading the next one.

Source: Purchased

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Review: Vici - Naomi Novik

This story can be read for free on the Fantasy Magazine website

Also published in The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy edited by Jack Dann.

“Well, Antonius,” the magistrate said, “you are without question a licentious and disreputable young man. You have disgraced a noble patrician name and sullied your character in the lowest of pursuits, and we have received testimony that you are not only a drunkard and a gambler—but an outright murderer as well.”

With an opening like that, the old vulture was sending him to the block for sure. Antony shrugged, philosophically; he’d known it was unlikely his family could have scraped together enough of a bribe to get him let go. Claudius’s family was a damn sight richer than his; and in any case he could hardly imagine his stepfather going to the trouble.


Temeraire Series:
Vici (Short Story)
Temeraire (Published as His Majesty's Dragon in the US)
Feast or Famine (Short Story)
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
Empire of Ivory
Victory of Eagles
Tongues of Serpents
Crucible of Gold
Blood of Tyrants
League of Dragons
Golden Age and Other Stories (Short Story Collection)

Visit Naomi Novik's website for more information

Review:
Vici is a free short story in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series that can be read for free on the Fantasy Magazine website. Set in Ancient Rome this is long before events in the first book and there is no crossover of characters so this works well as a standalone or introduction to the series.

Antonius is the son of a noble but even a wealthy family will only get you so far when you've built up the amount of dept that he has. The magistrate has given him two options to clear his debt to society, the first is execution and the second is to singlehandedly slay a large dragon that has been terrorising local villages. Everyone knows he's very unlikely to survive a dragon but on the very narrow chance he does manage to kill it the magistrate will consider his debt repaid and he will be able to go back to his normal life keeping any treasure the dragon had collected.

I'm not going to give away anymore so you'll have to read the story for yourself to find out what happens next. I loved the dragon Vici and her partnership with Antonius, the dragons in this series are always fun to read about and she adds a lot of humour to the story with her strange way of looking at things. I also enjoyed seeing a few familiar historical figures mentioned.

Source: Read for free on the Fantasy Magazine website

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Review: In the Vanishers' Palace - Aliette de Bodard

From the award-winning author of the Dominion of the Fallen series comes a dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land...

A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village's debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world.

A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference.

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn's amusement.

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies—and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn’s dark, unspeakable secrets...

Visit Aliette de Bodard's website for more information

Review:
In the Vanishers' Palace is the third Beauty and the Beast retelling I've read recently (I can't help it, it's my favourite fairytale so I can never resist retellings!) and I think it was the most unique of the three. Aliette de Bodard has created a really interesting world based on Vietnamese mythology which I just wanted to spend more time exploring. I could happily read book after book set in this world learning more about the Vanishers who devastated the earth before disappearing and leaving humanity behind trying to pick up the pieces.

This is an f/f retelling where the beast is actually a shapeshifting dragon, with a full asian cast and plenty of diversity which is another huge plus for me. I loved that there were a couple of gender neutral characters and nobody seemed to bat an eyelid at same sex relationships, that was all just a normal and accepted part of the world just like it should be.

Yên's mother is a healer and Yên has always been her apprentice and a scholar but their family is very low in the hierarchy of their village and the Elders have very little use for Yên so when they need to give a sacrifice to the dragon Yên is the one who is chosen to be sent away. Yên knows she's been given a death sentence, everyone knows the dragon is a murderer, but she knows she'll never be accepted in another village and it's too dangerous to be wandering around unprotected so she has no choice, especially when the Elders threaten her mother if she doesn't go along with them.

Vu Côn may be a dragon but she is nothing like what Yên is expecting, instead she finds that Vu Côn is a compassionate healer who would do anything to protect her children. Yên is given the task of teaching the twins, Liên and Thông, and quickly starts to settle into life in the palace. What she doesn't realise is that Vu Côn is keeping a major secret, one that Yên will find very difficult to forgive.

I've already mentioned how much I enjoyed the world Aliette de Bodard has created and I can't say enough how much I want to spend more time exploring it. I did feel that the romance between Yên and Vu Côn felt a little rushed to me and unfortunately the sex scene was more of a turn off than a turn on thanks to the way Vu Côn's human form was described. Every time Yên mentions touching Vu Côn she uses words like cold and slimy, even when the dragon is in human form and to be honest I was a bit creeped out when she started changing back into her dragon form while they were in the middle of having sex. I just don't think snouts and slimy tails have any place in the bedroom!

This was the first story I've read by Aliette de Bodard and even though there were parts of it that didn't work quite so well for me I'm definitely interested in trying more of her books, she has a really lovely writing style and her world building was very creative so I'm looking forward to seeing what else she can come up with.

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

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Monday, 15 October 2018

Review: Beautiful Beast - Kyla D. Knight

Original Cover (isn't it gorgeous!)
Dark, sexy...beautiful.

Axis shouldn’t leave his castle. He’s a wolf shifter, and his wolf form…has some problems. But he hates the confinement. Hell, he hates everything about his life.

Until he grabs an excuse to get away from his comfortable prison and meets Layna.

She’s bold. She’s beautiful. And she’s in trouble.

But Axis can’t stay away from his castle for long, so what else is there to do but bring her to his home to keep her safe? Well, safer. Sort of...

The second Layna sets foot in Axis’s remote, eerie castle, she knows she’s stepped into a place of secrets—and they aren’t pretty ones. Axis may be the sexiest man she’s ever seen, but what is he hiding? Why is he so difficult and moody?

And what the hell is making that sound?

Reader advisory: strong language and explicit sexual content. Not intended for readers under 18.

Visit Kyla D. Knight's website for more information

Review:
I've read quite a few Beauty and the Beast retellings recently - it's always been my favourite fairytale and I can never resist a book that even hints at being a retelling! - but I think this was probably my favourite out of all of them. The thing that first drew me to this book was the stunning original cover so I have to say I'm a little bit disappointed it's been rebranded to something so generic (I probably wouldn't have even looked at the blurb of this book if I'd seen the new cover on Amazon) but I guess they do always say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.

Anyway, more important than the cover is the story and Beautiful Beast was an enjoyable read. Layna has broken ties with a drug cartel and now she finds herself in trouble thanks to the revenge she tried to take. Axis is a wolf shifter who has trouble controlling his wolf form and who buys drugs from the cartel to help control himself. He rescues Layna and offers her a way out of the city by taking her with him back to his countryside castle retreat but he's keeping a lot of secrets from her about his wolf side and the emotional trauma he is dealing with from an abusive childhood.

I think what I liked most about this story was that Layna was a strong character who knew what she wanted and was prepared to fight to get it. She's not a damsel in distress and she's capable of looking after herself. Axis is the more vulnerable of the two emotionally even though he's physically stronger and that made them feel like quite an even match. I do love a brooding, damaged hero so Axis was a hit on that front and I enjoyed the way Layna brought out a different side to him and the way she was willing to take the reigns in the bedroom to help bring him out of his shell. Sex and love was never used as a cure for his emotional problems either which I think was important.

Gareth and Tristan were great side characters who added a bit of humour to a story that was quite dark in places. Axis had suffered a lot of abuse as a child and that could be quite hard to read about so it needed a bit of humour to tone things down and I think Kyla D. Knight did a good job getting the balance right. This was her debut novel and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for what she publishes next, if it's anything like this one I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

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

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Updated Cover
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Sunday, 14 October 2018

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge - Lisa Jensen

Filled with magic and fierce emotion, Lisa Jensen's multilayered novel will make you question all you think you know about beauty, beastliness, and happily ever after.

They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier's cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.

Visit Lisa Jensen's website for more information

Review:
***Trigger warning: This story contains a rape scene and attempted suicide***

I love fairytale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is a particular favourite of mine so I was really excited for this book. Especially when I realised that Lisa Jensen was going to turn things around by making the beast the hero rather than the prince. I was really curious to see how that would work and had very high hopes for this story but unfortunately it didn't quite live up to expectations.

I think the first thing people need to know if they're thinking about reading this is that there is a fairly descriptive rape scene within the first few chapters, told from the point of view of the girl being raped so you're inside her head and feeling everything that happens right alongside her. I really wasn't expecting that (although perhaps that's my fault for not checking any reviews before I started reading) and I came pretty close to quitting the book on the spot. How was I ever supposed to think of Jean-Loup or the Beast as a hero after seeing him rape the narrator? I know the prince was a nasty piece of work in the original story and that this is all about redemption BUT there are things I don't think you can come back from and that made it very hard to continue the story.

I am glad I persevered though because I liked some of the things the author did with this story, I really liked the fact that Jean-Loup was portrayed as evil and stayed that way even after the beast had been "saved" and turned back into a human. Lisa Jensen didn't, in fact, try to redeem his character in any way shape or form and it was the Beast who was the hero from beginning to end. It was fairly easy to think of them as two separate people because Beast has no memories of his life as Jean-Loup and he acts totally different too. That was good because it meant I could like him but at the same time it was bad because you don't get the redemption arc that you do in the original story. Beast doesn't redeem himself because he doesn't remember the things he did wrong in the past and Jean-Loup remains evil until the end so I just didn't get the same kind of satisfaction from the story as I expected.

I thought it was interesting to tell the story from the point of view of maid Lucie rather than that of Beast or Rose (the Belle character) but I found it really hard to watch her fall for the man who raped her, even though she was falling for the Beast side not the human (I'm not even going to get into the magical explanation for why they are two completely different people because it didn't make a huge amount of sense to me!). I also found her story much more interesting when she was in her human form, once she was turned into a candlestick via magic there were sections where she spent literally days sat in a cupboard or on a windowsill just listening to what was happening around her which didn't make for a particularly interesting story.

I think for me the big sticking point was the rape though and I would probably have enjoyed the rest of the story a lot more if that hadn't happened. Jean-Loup could still have been a terrible person without having to go so far as raping Lucie and then I would have found it much easier to get on board with the later romantic feelings developing between Lucie and Beast. I think my rating would probably have been higher if that was the case.

Obviously this is my personal opinion so you may enjoy this more than I did but I definitely think this story should come with a trigger warning because it's never nice to be blindsided with an unexpected rape scene closely followed by a suicide attempt.

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

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Saturday, 13 October 2018

Review: Stars Uncharted - S.K. Dunstall

In this rip-roaring space opera, a ragtag band of explorers are out to make the biggest score in the galaxy.

On this space jump, no one is who they seem . . .

Captain Hammond Roystan is a simple cargo runner who has stumbled across the find of a lifetime: the Hassim, a disabled exploration ship--and its valuable record of unexplored worlds.

His junior engineer, Josune Arriola, said her last assignment was in the uncharted rim. But she is decked out in high-level bioware that belies her humble backstory.

A renowned body-modification artist, Nika Rik Terri has run afoul of clients who will not take no for an answer. She has to flee off-world, and she is dragging along a rookie modder, who seems all too experienced in weapons and war . . .

Together this mismatched crew will end up on one ship, hurtling through the lawless reaches of deep space with Roystan at the helm. Trailed by nefarious company men, they will race to find the most famous lost world of all--and riches beyond their wildest dreams . . .

Stars Uncharted Series:
Stars Uncharted
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit S.K. Dunstall's website for more information

Review:
After loving Linesman I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of Stars Uncharted and I have to say that S.K. Dunstall has done it again and created another fast paced, action packed story full of great characters and fun world building. I loved the fact that all of the main characters were keeping secrets, some we know about from the beginning and others that you only discover as you carry on reading. Nothing on board Roystan's ship is quite what it seems but the characters all have reasons to hide their full identities and are distrustful of others due to past experiences.

I really enjoyed the banter between the shipmates and the way that there was such a strong bond between the original crew members who had been working together for a long time. Roystan was a great captain who looked out for his people and they respected him for that. Josune had joined the ship under false pretences but quickly grew to like the people she was working alongside and started questioning everything about her mission. Then you had body-modification artist Nika who was running from dangerous people and needed safe passage off planet to pretty much anywhere that she could start over under a new identity.

Each character brought something different to the story and I loved the way body-modification was described, what a fantastic technology that would allow people to change their appearance via their DNA so those changes were permanent. Well, until they fancied another new look anyway! Although Stars Uncharted works well as a standalone I'm really glad that the Dunstall sisters plan to write more stories about this group & I'm definitely going to be first in line for the next one.

Source: Received from Turnaround in exchange for an honest review

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Friday, 12 October 2018

Review: Lifel1k3 - Jay Kristoff

US Cover
On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

Lifelike Series:
Lifel1k3
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Jay Kristoff's website for more information

Review:
I'm a huge fan of Jay Kristoff's writing and have loved everything he's written so far so of course I had a copy of Lifel1k3 on preorder the minute I heard about it. What I love most about his books is that he's so good at creating totally different worlds, none of his series are even slightly similar but they're all incredibly well written, full of fantastic characters, plenty of action and brilliant twists. I pick up a Jay Kristoff story knowing to expect the unexpected but he still manages to surprise me again and again.

Lifel1k3 is set in a post-apocalyptic America, where the earth has nearly been destroyed and what's left of humanity is clinging on by a thread trying to make ends meet in a world full of radiation and very few resources. Eve and her friend Lemon Fresh scavenge to get by and she uses her skills to build giant mechanica that she fights with in the arena hoping to win enough credits to buy her grandfather the medication he needs to survive. Her grandfather is the only family she has left but she also has a brilliant robotic sidekick and a small robopup pet.

Eve's life is turned upside down when she finds a rare Lifel1k3 AI robot, she knows she could earn good money by selling Ezekiel's parts but she'll have to fight off other scavengers first and it looks like Ezekiel has enemies of his own who are closing in.

I really don't want to say much more about the story because it's far more fun to read it for yourself but I will say I loved this little group of misfits. The strong female friendship between Eve and Lemon Fresh, the fun robotic sidekicks and even the hints of forbidden romance. There are so many secrets to uncover and Jay Kristoff puts his characters through hell (which is nothing unusual!) so you can never be quite sure what will happen next. The story is fast paced and I flew through it desperate to see what would happen next - I'm definitely going to be first in line to buy the sequels as they release!

In case my review hasn't convinced you to give Lifel1k3 a try check out the book trailer:



Source: Purchased

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UK Cover
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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Review: Craved by her Cougar - Felicity Heaton

For the last twenty years, Cobalt has burned with a need of one female, a beautiful raven-haired cougar who captured his heart the moment he set eyes on her. His position as pride protector has been a blessing at past mating gatherings, keeping females away, but this time it feels like the worst of curses, because the female who has bewitched him so thoroughly is taking part for the first time and all he can do is watch as males battle for her.

As much as she hates the way her mother controls everything in her life, Ember is thankful for it as she constantly turns away suitors, unaware of the pain she’s sparing Ember from with every male she rejects. Every male who isn’t the gorgeous blond with darkness in his eyes and an easy smile she burns for with an intensity that scares her, awakens feelings in her that have her verging on doing something reckless. Damaged goods he might be, dangerous and unpredictable, but with every contest over her that pulls her closer to her doom, she grows more determined to follow her heart, no matter the consequences.

With every fight over the right to Ember, the tethers on Cobalt’s feelings twist and threaten to snap, a torment he cannot bear and one that has him willing to risk it all, because a single kiss would make even the harshest punishment worth it. He would die for one moment with her… his fated mate.

Cougar Creek Mates Series:
(Set in the same world as Vampire Erotic Theatre & Eternal Mates series but can be read completely separately)
Claimed by her Cougar
Captured by her Cougar
Courted by her Cougar
Craved by her Cougar

Vampire Erotic Theatre Series:
Covet
Crave
Seduce
Enslave
Bewitch
Unleash

Eternal Mates Series:
(This series is set in the same world as the Vampire Erotic Theatre series but can be read completely separately)
Kissed by a Dark Prince
Claimed by a Demon King
Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Hunted by a Jaguar
Craved by an Alpha
Bitten by a Hellcat
Taken by a Dragon
Marked by an Assassin
Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Awakened by a Demoness
Haunted by the King of Death
Tuned by a Tiger
Tamed by a Tiger
Treasured by a Tiger
Unchained by a Forbidden Love

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

Review:
Cobalt has known that Ember is his fated mate for 20 years but he was waiting until she reached 100 before acting on his feelings. He thought he had plenty of time to talk her around but now her mother is determined to find a mate for her at the pride gathering and Cobalt's position as protector means he's not allowed to step forward and try to win her heart.

Ember has spent years following her mother's plans and allowing her to control her life, that's been great while her mother was turning away unwanted suitors but she's not so happy now that her mother has decided it's time for her to settle down. There is only one man Ember is interested in and he's taken great pains to keep his distance from her. Finally deciding to take her fate into her own plans Ember intends to go get her man but first she needs to break a few pride rules to claim him.

Craved by her Cougar is the fourth and final book in Felicity Heaton's Cougar Creek Mates series and I really enjoyed getting to know Cobalt better. Like his brothers he blames himself for not protecting the pride better the night that Archangel attacked and killed his parents and a lot of other pride members and he has been punishing himself for that ever since even though there was nothing more he could have done at the time. Now seeing all his brother's happily mated while he isn't even allowed to tell Ember how he feels is tearing him apart.

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of the way the cougar males battle it out to win a chance to woo the female pride members, especially when it seems like any male can step forward and try whether the woman is interested in them or not. I know she gets to say no to any winners but it seems so pointless letting them have all these battles when the woman isn't going to say yes to any of the men who are fighting so viciously! I was a bit worried that there was going to be a lot of that in this story but luckily the fights that do happen are mainly off page until towards the end of the book and there aren't as many as I expected. Ember knows she wants Cobalt and she's not interested in the battles either, she just wants to claim her man and have him claim her in return. This has been a fun series and I'm glad we've seen all of the brothers find happiness now.

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

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Paperback / Kindle:

Blog Tour: Craved by Her Cougar - Felicity Heaton


New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton is here today for the book tour of her new shifter romance release, Craved by her Cougar, the fourth and final book in her brand new Cougar Creek Mates Series. Set in her popular Eternal Mates world, Cougar Creek Mates takes you into the deep Canadian wilderness to a secret place that's home to a cougar shifter pride led by four sexy brothers, each guaranteed to steal your heart and set it racing!

All four books in the series are out now, meaning it's complete and ready for a good binge-read! Who doesn't love a series binge-read? Every book has a happily forever after and there are no cliff-hangers, because there's nothing worse than a cliff-hanger!

Check out the book, download it with your Kindle Unlimited subscription if you have one, and be sure to enter the awesome grand giveaway happening at her website!



Felicity Heaton

For the last twenty years, Cobalt has burned with a need of one female, a beautiful raven-haired cougar who captured his heart the moment he set eyes on her. His position as pride protector has been a blessing at past mating gatherings, keeping females away, but this time it feels like the worst of curses, because the female who has bewitched him so thoroughly is taking part for the first time and all he can do is watch as males battle for her.

As much as she hates the way her mother controls everything in her life, Ember is thankful for it as she constantly turns away suitors, unaware of the pain she’s sparing Ember from with every male she rejects. Every male who isn’t the gorgeous blond with darkness in his eyes and an easy smile she burns for with an intensity that scares her, awakens feelings in her that have her verging on doing something reckless. Damaged goods he might be, dangerous and unpredictable, but with every contest over her that pulls her closer to her doom, she grows more determined to follow her heart, no matter the consequences.

With every fight over the right to Ember, the tethers on Cobalt’s feelings twist and threaten to snap, a torment he cannot bear and one that has him willing to risk it all, because a single kiss would make even the harshest punishment worth it. He would die for one moment with her… his fated mate.


Read it with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription or buy now from…



Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win one of a $75, $50 or $25 Amazon Gift Card at the Craved by her Cougar book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on October 14th. Enter now: http://www.felicityheaton.com/craved-by-her-cougar-shifter-romance-book.php



As her mother started talking about the males currently residing at the creek, Ember pushed the door open and peered out, and relief washed through her when she saw the male who had been ogling her was gone now.

She carried her mug of coffee to her favourite recliner on the deck that wrapped around her family’s large cabin and eased into it, loosing a deep sigh as she let all the tension drain from her limbs and savoured the silence of morning.

She loved this time, when the creek was quiet, the babbling river and the movement of animals in the distance the only sound.

The quiet before the storm.

It wouldn’t be long before the rest of the creek woke and the first fights of the day happened.

Although, she wasn’t the only one who was up and out early today.

She glanced off to her right, up the two hundred metre clearing to the cabin that stood proud at the top of it, sheltered by deep green pines, and the two males on the deck.

Rath raked a hand over his thick dark brown hair and said something she couldn’t hear to his brother.
Cobalt.

The towering platinum-blond had his back to her, his fine backside pressed to the railing around the deck and his hands planted beside his lean hips, bracing himself upright. His shoulders were tense beneath his black t-shirt, his hair mussed in a way that made him look as if he had come straight from his bed to see his brother.

Or from a female.

Ember hadn’t failed to notice the way a lot of the females at the creek looked at him, blatant desire in their eyes as they tracked his movements. She had never attended a gathering before, but she knew that as a member of Rath’s family, he was responsible for overseeing everything and wasn’t allowed to participate in the fights or see to the females.

So it had shocked her when she had seen the way they eyed him, hungry gazes raking over him, and how they flirted with him whenever he happened to stop near them. A few of them used any excuse to touch him, laying a hand on his arm as they spoke about something innocent like the fight schedule, or brushing their bodies against his.

He never reacted, other than to move away and place some distance between them, but he was male and that meant he wasn’t immune to the instincts the spring gathering roused in him. The mating heat affected him too. His brothers, Storm and Flint, had eyed the females in return, had even flirted with a couple.

Did Cobalt ever flirt in return?

Did he ever secretly sleep with the females?

Gods, the thought he might twisted her stomach and heart in knots.

Partly because she didn’t want him to secretly bed the females, and partly because she wanted him.

Always had.

Always would.

If she approached him, if she flirted with him as the other females did, would he turn her away? Would he draw back from her and distance himself as he did with them? Or would he give her what she needed?

What she needed from only him.

She had agreed to come to the creek for the gathering because she had wanted to see him, had needed to see him. For over thirty years, she had watched him, had seen him grow and mature, had witnessed him come into his own, becoming more alluring to her as he had found his feet and his confidence.

For three decades, she had harboured what she had thought of as a ridiculous crush on him, watching him from afar, secretly yearning for him to even glance at her whenever they were at the creek at the same time.

Aching for him to notice her.

Whenever he had taken the time to speak with her, she had been assaulted by nerves, convinced she would say or do something stupid that would tarnish his opinion of her, whatever that was.

It had taken maturing for her to discover her own confidence, to settle into her skin and be comfortable in it, to realise that she was beautiful enough to contend with the other females at the creek, to vie for his attention and maybe even steal his heart if she set her mind to it.

Her mother had rattled that confidence when she had asked Rath to tend to her, and had been chipping away at it ever since, with every male who fought for her and every time she was paraded in front of them.

It didn’t help that Cobalt seemed determined to avoid her, barely looked at her now when he had let his eyes linger on her at times in the past, before she had matured.

Ember looked down at herself.

She had put a little more weight on her bones, her hips curvier than before, belly rounded and breasts fuller. Maybe he didn’t like the changes she had made to herself, but this was who she was, and she liked it. She loved her curves, didn’t want to be a stick thin female.

Her curves made her feel sexy, empowered.

Movement off to her right drew her attention back to Cobalt.

He pushed away from the railing, heaved a long sigh that lifted his broad shoulders, and said something to his brother.

Rath nodded, stood and clapped a hand down on his shoulder as Cobalt scrubbed a hand over his mouth and rubbed it across his straight jaw. His brother smiled at him, but Cobalt’s handsome face remained sober as he nodded in return, twisted and stepped off the deck.

He strode down the green, long black-jeans-clad legs making easy work of the distance between her and him, and she couldn’t take her eyes off him, watched him over the rim of her mug as he approached.

Damn, he was fine.

He radiated an alluring sort of danger and temptation, roused her instincts and brought them to the fore, until she was restless with a need to stand and move around the deck, to let him get a good look at her and what he was missing out on, all in an effort to lure him to her.

Ember kept her backside planted to her recliner instead.

Not because she didn’t want Cobalt to look at her, or because she would have been ashamed at herself for trying to lure his gaze to her by parading herself in front of him when her mother insisted on her showing off her curves to every male who fought for her, but because her confidence was low today, the last few weeks battering it.

Every fight she had to watch, and every suitor who stood before her stole a piece of it.

Every horrible moment where she had to wait, praying her mother would refuse that suitor, shook it.

Every day when Cobalt ignored her tore it down a little more.

But every day when she set eyes on him, he gave back that fragment he ripped from her. Just looking at him started a fire within her, one that burned so hot it had her forgetting that she was tired of males, tired of fights.

And whenever he did look at her?

When his stunning pale grey-gold eyes landed on her, that fire exploded into an inferno that had a shot of adrenaline blazing through her, filled her to the brim with confidence again.

Ember tracked him across the green, silently willing him to look at her. She needed his eyes on her today, needed that boost so she could finally tell her mother she was done with letting her control her life, that it was time for some changes and she was going to make her own decisions from now on.
But he didn’t even glance her way as he neared her.

His grey eyes remained locked on the grass, a troubled edge to them that echoed the emotions she could sense in him as he grew closer.

Emotions that had her wanting to rise onto her feet for a different reason, not to lure his eyes to her but to ask him what was wrong.

The sight of him troubled roused her deepest instincts, ones that had come into sharp focus over the past few weeks and had hit her with a revelation that had rocked her, but gods, it had explained so much at the same time.

She had always believed the attraction she felt towards Cobalt was based solely on his charisma, looks, and personality, all the sorts of things that falling in love with someone normally involved.

But this was the first time she had seen him since she had matured, and the attraction she had felt towards him when she had set eyes on him again had burned so fiercely it had left her shaking.

Over the weeks, that attraction had only grown stronger, seemed to multiply one hundredfold every damned day, and now it was becoming a struggle to restrain herself when he was near, to deny her instincts to approach him and push him, to initiate something by attempting to dominate him.

To provoke a reaction.

It hadn’t taken her long to realise the reason why.

He was her fated male.

Was he aware that she was his fated one?

He was older than her, matured three decades ago now, and as far as she knew, males were meant to be more aware of their true mate, found it easier to tell who it was than the females of her species. Males were driven by instincts that females also possessed when it came to a mate, but hers weren’t as fierce or as controlling.

She felt an ache for him, soul-deep and consuming, one that demanded she provoke him, push and cajole him, rub against him and make him notice her. Her instincts wanted her to tease him into dominating her and staking a claim on her.

His instincts should have been pressing him to do just that, to seize her and bite her nape, and bind them as mates. They should have been riding him as hard as hers were, demanding he take care of her, and drive any unmated males away from her.

If he was feeling any of that, he was hiding it well, because he was more distant than ever, had barely said three words to her over the past few weeks and showed no sign of desire when he did look at her.
He watched the fights over her without a trace of emotion on his face, in complete and utter control as he oversaw them, and didn’t even seem bothered when her mother mulled over whether to give the winner permission to ease her needs.

Didn’t he want her?

The thought that he might not left her cold and aching inside, scraped out and hollow.

Was it possible she was wrong about him and he wasn’t her fated one?

If she wasn’t mistaken, was it possible for a male to not want his true mate?

Rath had gone crazy over Ivy when she had come to the creek, and Ember had witnessed both Storm and Flint driven to extremes to protect and win their fated ones.

Was it really possible that Cobalt didn’t desire her as his mate?

He finally lifted his head and a shiver bolted through her when his eyes slid her way and his gaze settled on her, some of the shadows lifting from his face as he looked at her.

Ember opened her mouth to greet him.

Her mother stepped out onto the deck and Cobalt’s grey gaze shifted to her.

“Two more fights today.” Her mother sighed. “Neither of them containing any males really worthy of you. If only Rath had accepted our offer.”

Ember’s eyes widened as Cobalt’s narrowed, her heart hitching in her throat and pounding there as she fought to find her voice to say she didn’t want Rath and it hadn’t been her idea to approach his brother.
She swore Cobalt’s face darkened before he looked away and lowered it, and his pace picked up, long legs carrying him swiftly past her. She watched him go, feeling the faintest echo of his emotions and trying to decipher them, because she needed to know what he was feeling.

She needed to know whether he felt anything at all for her.

She just needed a sign.

One sign.

A look. A smile. Anything to make his feelings clear.

Because then she was sure she would find the courage to follow her heart.

And it would lead her straight to him.


Read it with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription or buy now from…



Book 1: Claimed by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Book 2: Captured by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Book 3: Courted by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Book 4: Craved by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!


Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you're looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Review: Sin & Chocolate - K.F. Breene

Some people are ordained for greatness…

Those people usually have a lot of drama in their life. Drama I happily do without. I live in a forgotten corner of nowhere for a reason: there is safety in anonymity. I have enough problems just trying to get by.

But when Kieran, a sinfully sexy demigod at the pinnacle of power, crashes into my life, suddenly my whole world is turned upside down.

He’s harboring a deadly secret, one that could destroy all he holds dear. He thinks I’m the key to his salvation, and he wants me to help him claim vengeance.

He also wants me with a passion that burns my body from the inside out.

To ignore him is impossible, but to give in to my desires, even for a night, would thrust me into danger I might not survive.

Can I resist the temptation?

Demigod of San Francisco Series:
Sin & Chocolate
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit K.F. Breene's website for more information

Review:
In a world that's split between people who have magic and those that don't there is a lot of distrust between the two groups and those who fall between the cracks struggle to survive. Alexis has magic but her ability to see and talk to ghosts isn't really a money maker so she works whatever odd job she can find to make ends meet. It doesn't help that she has two teenage wards to take care of, Mordecai, who is a shapeshifter with a serious illness, and Daisy, a young non magical girl who ran away from an abusive foster home. Life is difficult for the three of them, they're constantly struggling to get enough money for food and Mordecai's medication but they have a strong bond with each other and all appreciate their little family.

Alexis is more than happy to live out of the spotlight and she does her best to avoid those with a lot of magic but her world is turned upside down when demigod Kieran crashes into it. Kieran needs Alexis' help to rescue his mother and he's not taking no for an answer, no matter how determined Alexis is to walk away from him.

Sin & Chocolate was a brilliant start to K.F. Breene's new paranormal romance series, I loved the introduction to this world and the different types of magical abilities people have. It's always interesting to see worlds where those with magic are out in the open and the way that affects their interactions with normal humans and this world felt very believable in the way the two different groups were often prejudiced against each other. There was a lot of humour in the story which made it a delight to read and I absolutely loved Alexis' little family group. Alexis, Mordecai and Daisy are all dysfunctional in their own different ways but they have chosen each other as family so no matter how much they bicker amongst themselves they will fight fiercely against the rest of the world.

Kieran was incredibly intriguing and I'm really looking forward to getting to know him and the six members of his guard better, we see some chapters from his point of view which was great to give us the chance to see what he's thinking and feeling but I was glad he's still quite mysterious so we have more secrets to discover as the series continues. Kieran was definitely an alpha male and his behaviour towards Alexis could be quite stalkerish at times but I liked the way she stood up to him and how she never let him take an inch. The banter between them was great and you can already see the chemistry there even though they haven't acted on it yet.

I'm really excited to see where this series goes next. It's going to be fun to see how Alexis copes with the changes in her life since she's started learning more about herself and her own background and I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time with her, Kieran and the others.

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

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