Monday, 31 December 2018

Review: Loyalty in Death - J.D. Robb

Eve Dallas has been chosen by a deadly revolutionary group, Cassandra, as their one true adversary. While investigating the seemingly simple case of a jealous lover killing her partner, she receives a disk from Cassandra, telling her to expect a demonstration of their power. Arriving just in time to see one of her billionaire husband Roarke's empty properties blown up, the link continues as more of Roarke's city landmarks are destroyed, testing Eve and her team to the limit and costing more and more lives.

Discovering that Cassandra is linked to a previous group, responsible for blowing up the Pentagon several years ago, things turn increasingly sinister as Eve realises that the murdered man and his family are implicated, and she races to break down the web of deceit and destruction before the city falls.

In Death Series:
Naked in Death
Glory in Death
Immortal in Death
Rapture in Death
Ceremony in Death
Vengeance in Death
Holiday in Death
Midnight in Death (Novella)
Conspiracy in Death
Loyalty in Death
Witness in Death
Judgement in Death
Betrayal in Death
Interlude in Death (Novella)
Seduction in Death
Reunion in Death
Purity in Death
Portrait in Death
Imitation in Death
Big Jack (Novella in the Remember When Anthology)
Divided in Death
Visions in Death
Survivor in Death
Origin in Death
Memory in Death
Haunted in Death (Novella)
Born in Death
Innocent in Death
Eternity in Death (Novella)
Creation in Death
Strangers in Death
Salvation in Death
Ritual in Death (Novella)
Promises in Death
Kindred in Death
Missing in Death (Novella)
Fantasy in Death
Indulgence in Death
Possession in Death (Novella)
Treachery in Death
New York to Dallas
Chaos in Death (Novella)
Celebrity in Death
Delusion in Death
Calculated in Death
Thankless in Death
Taken in Death (Novella)
Concealed in Death
Festive in Death
Obsessed in Death
Devoted in Death
Wonderment in Death (Novella)
Brotherhood in Death
Apprentice in Death
Echoes in Death
Secrets in Death
Dark in Death
Leverage in Death
Connections in Death (2019)

Visit J.D. Robb's website for more information.

Review:
Loyalty in Death sees Eve face her most dangerous enemy yet, a terrorist organisation known as Cassandra that is targeting public and highly populated areas with bombs and creating an ever increasing body count. The organisation claims to be a revolutionary group that aims to improve society but the way they're willing to murder innocent people so viciously proves they're out to do as much damage as possible and Eve is determined to stop them.

As much as I enjoyed Eve's hunt for the terrorist group as well as her investigation into what first seems to be a fairly simple murder committed by a jealous lover I think what I loved most about this book was the side characters. I've always loved characters like Peabody and McNab but we really see them shine in this book and I have to confess to cheering at certain developments in their personal lives. I also really loved the chance to meet Peabody's brother Zeke who comes to town for a job and to catch up with his sister. It was interesting to learn more about Peabody's family and I really liked the bond she shared with Zeke, it gave a bit more insight into what Peabody must have been like when she first arrived in New York but I don't think she can ever have been quite so naive as her brother or she wouldn't have survived her first week!

We get to see plenty of Roarke and Eve too which is always a highlight of these books, they have a few rocky moments here but Eve is getting much better at understanding what Roarke needs from her and she's much more willing to try and express herself than she was in the beginning. She still finds it hard to open up and things from her past understandably weigh heavily on her but it's been good to see how much progress she's made already.

I think this story was one of the most tense ones in the series so far, the stakes are incredibly high and the sense of danger was really enhanced so I was on the edge of my seat for much of the story but particularly the ending. I'm so glad I've decided to focus on catching up with this series because I really can understand now why all my friends have been raving about it for years!

Source: Purchased

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Review: Conspiracy in Death - J.D. Robb

Eve Dallas must stray into the bowels of New York City when she is called to a street sleeper's homicide. All expectations go out the window when she discovers a laser-perfect hole where his heart used to be - the work of a highly skilled surgeon.

Research reveals that similar deaths have been occurring across America and Europe, but all her efforts to work out why are confused by the fact that the organs are always faulty. As she digs further and the medical community shuts against her, Eve's problems become much worse as an internal investigation leaves her suspended from action and fighting to retain her fragile sense of identity. Eve and those loyal to her must go to even greater lengths as they get closer to the mastermind killer and the stakes are raised.

In Death Series:
Naked in Death
Glory in Death
Immortal in Death
Rapture in Death
Ceremony in Death
Vengeance in Death
Holiday in Death
Midnight in Death (Novella)
Conspiracy in Death
Loyalty in Death
Witness in Death
Judgement in Death
Betrayal in Death
Interlude in Death (Novella)
Seduction in Death
Reunion in Death
Purity in Death
Portrait in Death
Imitation in Death
Big Jack (Novella in the Remember When Anthology)
Divided in Death
Visions in Death
Survivor in Death
Origin in Death
Memory in Death
Haunted in Death (Novella)
Born in Death
Innocent in Death
Eternity in Death (Novella)
Creation in Death
Strangers in Death
Salvation in Death
Ritual in Death (Novella)
Promises in Death
Kindred in Death
Missing in Death (Novella)
Fantasy in Death
Indulgence in Death
Possession in Death (Novella)
Treachery in Death
New York to Dallas
Chaos in Death (Novella)
Celebrity in Death
Delusion in Death
Calculated in Death
Thankless in Death
Taken in Death (Novella)
Concealed in Death
Festive in Death
Obsessed in Death
Devoted in Death
Wonderment in Death (Novella)
Brotherhood in Death
Apprentice in Death
Echoes in Death
Secrets in Death
Dark in Death
Leverage in Death
Connections in Death (2019)

Visit J.D. Robb's website for more information.

Review:
Eve’s latest case revolves around someone who is illegally harvesting organs from homeless people and killing them in the process. Eve is the first person to link the killer to similar crimes all around the world but now she’s got to work fast before even more people die. Her job is never easy but a run in with another officer, Bowers, just makes things even more complicated. Bowers is a bad cop but she’s one with a big mouth and she’s set her sights on making Eve’s life a misery. All Eve wants to do is focus on solving her case but with Bowers making multiple unfounded complaints about her she finds her reputation on the line and her job at risk.

Conspiracy in Death was a brilliant instalment to the In Death series, not only do you have the action of Eve’s hunt for a serial killer but you also have her coming under attack in her professional life thanks to Bowers. Everyone knows Bowers is a troublemaker but unfortunately, she’s very good at making waves and Eve’s bosses have to follow procedure now that official complaints have been made. Eve’s entire self-worth is tied up in her knowing that she’s brilliant at her job, it’s the one thing that she has always focused on and by protecting others she feels like she is doing something positive with her life. It was painful to see how badly shaken she is when her job is at risk, we really get to see Eve at her most vulnerable here and it hurt to see her brought so low by someone so awful.

On the other hand, Eve being in such an impossible situation really gave her friends a chance to rally around her and show her how much they care which was fantastic. Of course, Roarke is always her number one supporter but characters like Peabody, Feeney, Mavis, Mira and so many others went out of their way to show Eve that they had her back and would never let Bowers win. I loved all the supportive friendships that were showcased here and they gave Eve the safety net she so desperately needed. Roarke is as perfect as ever and the relationship development between him and Eve is the main reason I love this series as much as I do so it’s great to see that Eve is finally starting to be more open with him about how she feels. They really are a brilliant couple and I’m glad I have so many more books to devour before I’m caught up with the series!

Source: Purchased

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Sunday, 30 December 2018

Review: Saga Volume 7 - Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

From the worldwide bestselling team of FIONA STAPLES and BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained SAGA event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience.

Collects issues 37 through 42.

Saga Series:
Saga Volume 1
Saga Volume 2
Saga Volume 3
Saga Volume 4
Saga Volume 5
Saga Volume 6
Saga Volume 7
Saga Volume 8
Saga Volume 9

Visit Brian K Vaughan's website or Fiona Staples' website for more information

Review:
Now that Hazel is back with Alana and Marco you'd think things would finally start to get better for the little family, and they do to a certain extent. For a few months anyway. The unlikely group, including Prince IV and Petrichor, are in desperate need of more fuel for their ship so they make an unscheduled stop on a war torn comet that is rich on resources in spite of being the middle of a war zone. The family make some adorable new friends but it never seems to take long for their enemies to catch up with them and this time the consequences are disastrous.

Meanwhile The Will is still searching for Sophie and Lying Cat, Gwendolyn is making some questionable alliances, Hazel has a few anger issues, Alana and Marco are focused on keeping their growing family safe, Prince IV has an inappropriate crush and Petrichor seems to have more than one big secret.

I absolutely love this series but I'm warning you now Volume 7 is pretty hard hitting and quite upsetting to read in places. Yes, there's still the humour I've come to expect from these graphic novels but there were also moments that left me feeling like I'd been punched in the gut and I'm still not sure I've forgiven the authors for that! It just goes to show how invested I am in these characters though, I want things to go well for them so even when Hazel drops some pretty HUGE hints that major things are about to go down I don't want to believe her so I ignore the warnings and end up getting blindsided. I'm glad I already have copies of the next two volumes because I have a feeling I'm going to devour them over the next couple of days!

I was so happy to have the whole family together at last!

Hazel just gets cuter and cuter

They make friends with an adorable group of meerkats!

I still love Lying Cat and Sophie

Source: Purchased

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Review: Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood - Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda

Maika Halfwolf is on the run from a coalition of forces determined to control or destroy the powerful Monstrum that lives beneath her skin. But Maika still has a mission of her own: to discover the secrets of her late mother, Moriko.

In this second volume of Monstress, collecting issues 7-12, Maika's quest takes her to the pirate-controlled city of Thyria and across the sea to the mysterious Isle of Bones. It is a journey that will force Maika to reevaluate her past, present, and future, and contemplate whether there's anyone, or anything, she can truly trust--including her own body.

Monstress Series:
Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening
Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood
Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven

Visit Marjorie M Liu's website or Sana Takeda's website for more information

Review:
Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood picks up Makia's story not long after the first book ended, she's still trying to figure out exactly what kind of monster she has living inside her and to do that she needs to uncover secrets from her past. Things her mother kept hidden from her, possibly for a very good reason. Following in her mother's footsteps takes Makia to an old family friend, one who just happens to be the Commander of a fleet of pirate ships. With several enemies on her tale the race is on to uncover her mother's secrets before she is captured but is she really ready to discover the truth?

I'm really enjoying this series so far, the artwork is dark, atmospheric and absolutely gorgeous and I've become really invested in Makia and especially her little sidekick Kippa. I love the variety of creatures we meet and the addition of the pirate crews, especially Kippa's swimming teacher, was brilliant. We get to uncover a lot of secrets in this instalment but that also raises a whole bunch of new questions and I can't wait to see how things play out from here.

I've included a couple of pictures below to give you a feel for the artwork and some of the characters:

I'm not sure how much I trust the cats but I love them anyway!

It's nice that at least one person in Makia's life seems to care about her

The pirates were a great addition

Kippa is still my favourite

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

Other Reviews:
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Saturday, 29 December 2018

Review: Tangled Webs - Anne Bishop

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to the "bewitching" world of the Black Jewels with a tale that will "leave readers' hearts pounding" (Publishers Weekly).

The invitation was signed Jaenelle Angelline, she who had been both Witch and Queen...

Surreal SaDiablo, the former courtesan and assassin, is the first to arrive--only to find herself trapped in a nightmare created by the tangled webs of Black Widow witches. And if she uses Craft to defend herself, she risks being sealed in the house forever.

Now, Jaenelle and her family must rescue Surreal and the others inside without becoming trapped themselves--and uncover the monsters capable of designing such an evil place...

Includes the Black Jewels short story "By The Time The Witchblood Blooms"

The Black Jewels Series:
Daughter of the Blood
Heir to the Shadows
Queen of the Darkness
The Invisible Ring
Dreams Made Flesh
Tangled Webs
The Shadow Queen
Shalador's Lady
Twilight's Dawn

Visit Anne Bishop's website for more information

Review:
Everyone knows that Jaenelle and Marian have something spooky planned for Halloween so when the family all receive an invitation to the grand opening of a haunted house they don’t really question it. Not until Surreal, and her companion Rainier, find themselves trapped inside a house full of dangerous magical traps trying to keep a group of human children safe. This is a powerful trap but it failed to capture the entire family and now it’s up to Daemon and Lucivar to find a way to free the others.

I absolutely love Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series so it was fantastic to have another full length novel about the core group of characters from the original trilogy. This is quite different to the other novels in the series, the plot is more focused and there is less of the outside world than we’re used to but it still has all the fantastic character development you’d expect and I absolutely love getting the chance to spend time with all of these characters and seeing how they’re all getting on now.

There are so many wonderful moments in Tangled Webs showing the loving relationship between Daemon & Jaenelle, happily married Lucivar who dotes on his wife and child, the growing relationship between Daemon and his mother, Surreal slowly rebuilding her friendship with Daemon, and of course poor Saetan who is watching over his ever-growing family with love and bemusement. I could read about these characters every day and not get bored so I loved every minute of this book. There was enough tension and action to keep me hooked but really it’s the relationship development and getting to see these characters finally living their happily ever afters that I’m here for and I can’t get enough of that.

Source: Purchased

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Friday, 28 December 2018

Release Blitz: The Weird Girls - Cecy Robson


THE WEIRD GIRLS

by Cecy Robson
Weird Girls, #0.5
Publication Date: December 28, 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Standalone


AVAILABLE NOW! FIRST TIME IN PRINT!


SYNOPSIS:

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they’re products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird…

The Wird sisters are different from every race on earth—human and supernatural. When human society is no longer an option for them, they move in among the resident vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region. Could this be the true home they’ve longed for? Um, not quite. After the sisters accidentally strip a witch of her powers in a bar brawl, they soon realize the mistake will cost them. Because to take on a witch means to take on her coven. And losing the battle isn’t an option.


THE WEIRD GIRLS EXCLUSIVE: CHAPTER ONE

The music pounded hard enough to shake Emme’s fuzzy navel, the umbrella in Shayna’s piña colada, Taran’s martini, and my Corona. I’d shoved pieces of cocktail napkin into my über sensitive ears the moment we sat. But I wasn’t going to complain about the eardrum-busting music or the crowd of young men sitting across from us ogling my sisters. We were there to celebrate.

Two years had passed since we’d left our native New Jersey. Two years of roaming the States as travelling nurses. Two years of searching for a place to settle down. We’d stumbled into the Lake Tahoe region when our agency transferred us to a local hospital on temporary assignment. We’d thought it would be fun to check out the area. We hadn’t expected to fall in love with the lush forests, the breathtaking mountains, or the mysticism of the lake. But we had, and collectively agreed to make it our home sweet home.

Shayna raised her girly drink; her blue eyes and grin sparkled despite the dimness in the booth. “To the Wird Girls finding an awesome place to live,” she hiccupped.

“To a thirty-year mortgage and a shitload of remodeling,” Taran muttered. She tried to complain, but couldn’t hide that siren grin that made males trip over their erections. She was happy to settle down, and she damn well knew it.

“To beautiful Lake Tahoe,” Emme added almost silently. She blushed when I glanced her way. I’d like to say she was just tipsy, but no. Emme blushed as easily as the wind blew fireflies. “W-well it is beautiful here, Celia.”

“I know, sweetie.” I tapped my bottle against her frou-frou drink. “Salud.”

I polished off my beer. It was my sixth round, still no buzz. Then again I could chug a keg. Alcohol had no effect on me. My lightweight sisters already slurred their words after three. In their defense, they didn’t have an inner beast with the metabolism of four linebackers to help them out. The waitress rushed over and slapped another Corona down before I could ask and hurried off. I snagged it before it tipped over. Ordinarily one might think of her as a diligent, fast, hardworking, go-getter―nah, she was just scared I’d eat her. Humans never knew what we were, yet they perceived we weren’t anything like them. They didn’t need the amplified senses of preternaturals to know we were different. Problem was, different didn’t appeal to most. And “weird” just plain terrified.

“Oh my goodness,” Emme said. “You didn’t even peek her way or anything.”

My sisters had definitely received the less-daunting side of our backfired curse. I pushed my long hair from my face and shrugged. After years of being feared, I was almost used to it. Almost. “I don’t think tigers have to necessarily look at their prey to scare them.”

Emme placed a gentle hand on my shoulder. The jarring club lights further lightened her fair skin and blond hair and bleached out most of her freckles. “It’s not you, Celia. It’s these silly humans who never want to give you a chance. You’re beautiful. And so is your inner golden tigress.”

Taran rolled her huge blue eyes. “Tigers are beautiful, Emme. But most people aren’t stupid enough to pet one.” She sipped her martini as she gave me the once-over. “Or piss one off.”

Or date one, I thought to myself, taking in the frat boys on spring break continuing to stare and whisper about my sisters.

“Adriana Lima is mine,” one said of Taran.

“I’ll take the blonde,” the other murmured.

“I’ll go with the cute brunette with the ponytail.”

“Hey, I called dibs on her first,” his friend complained.

There were four of them. Four of us. One of the guys fighting over Shayna had taken an interest in me. That is, until he looked at me. Really looked at me. He smiled, but his scent of anticipation and lust quickly evaporated, replaced by the aroma of fear. He’d seen beyond my green eyes, olive skin, and long wavy hair to spot the predator lurking within. He saw her ready to pounce, ready to shred, ready to kill. Beautiful or not, tigers had that effect on humans.

Taran shimmied out of the booth. An impressive feat in the tiny, curve-hugging yellow dress she wore. If the hem lay an inch shorter, she’d end up on the Internet. “Shit. I have to pee.”

Shayna grinned at Taran as she ambled out, her eyes alternating from sparkly to glassy. So not a good sign. “I think that’s an oxymoron, dude.” She threw in a giggle, just to further clarify she was snockered.

I shook my head. Emme smiled softly. “I’ll go with Taran.” Emme was only five feet tall, and just shy of a hundred pounds soaking wet and bloated. Taran, although only three inches taller, towered over her in those step ladders she affectionately referred to as “shoes.” Me? Nothing said comfy like jeans, Uggs, and a long-sleeved tee.

The minute they disappeared into the hall leading to the ladies room, one of the good ol’ frat boys approached Shayna, careful to avoid eye contact with me. “Hey, hot stuff. How about a dance?”

Shayna’s glee faded when she realized I’d be alone if she went to dance. I smiled as best I could without scaring her potential date for the evening. “It’s okay. I’ll just hang and wait for Emme. Go on,” I urged when she hesitated.

The guy snaked his arm around Shayna and led her onto the dance floor. Her sleek black ponytail whipped behind her as she shot me one more tentative glance. She watched me for a while. At first I thought she might return to hang with her spinster-in-the-making sister until the call of Beyoncé loosened the hesitant muscles of her slender frame. It didn’t take long for Shayna to move like the world’s happiness depended on her booty shakes. It did, however, take a hell of a long time for Emme and Taran to return from the bathroom. The waitress dropped my eighth beer down just as I spotted Emme’s hands waving madly amidst the crowd forming near the ladies’ room. “Celia! Ceeeeeelia!”

What the hell?

I slipped out of the booth and rushed toward the crowd. The throng of horny and drunken patrons parted as I stalked, my hips swinging like a predator staking out her turf. That’s right. Stay back. Scary female approaching.

As I reached Emme, a deep buzzing sound vibrated from the bathroom, followed by a high-pitched squeal, topped off by Taran’s oh-so colorful language. I half-groaned, half-growled. Crap. How much trouble can someone get into in the bathroom?

I froze. Apparently a lot.

A fiery redhead stomped out of the restroom smelling like burnt toast, sporting a spiky new hairdo most porcupines would envy. I swore under my breath. Taran must have struck her with a mini-bolt of lightning. Her tresses stood out like wires, and the singed tips smoked. And God only knew what Taran had done to the rest of her dress. Scorched pieces of fabric barely covered Red’s pricey and fricasseed bra.

Her crazed eyes scanned the crowd. “Who’s with the slutty brunette?”

Emme glanced my way before raising a cautious hand. “Sh-sh-she’s my sister.”

The redhead stormed to Emme and jabbed an irate finger in her face. “Your sister’s a bitch.”

Maybe. But Emme certainly wasn’t. I shoved my way between them. “Leave her alone, and get out of our way.” My raspy voice remained deceptively calm. Yet Red easily picked up on my underlying threat: Mess with her, mess with me.

Red’s finger slowly lowered and her jaw slackened. She stumbled back, tripping over her feet and shoving her way through the crowd and out the exit. The ladies in line quickly followed suit and gave us ample room to pass. Perhaps there was a nice fir tree they could use out back. Emme stayed close to my heels as I shoved opened the door to the bathroom, her meek little voice shaking. “Should I get Shayna?”

“No, I think―”

My first clue should have been that Taran’s swear words had stopped bouncing off the stark white tiles like ping-pong balls. My second? The waft of dry herbs that filtered into my nose and screamed a warning. Witch. Witch magic. Taran was going head-to-head with an official worship-the-earth-talisman-wearing-broom-humper extraordinaire.

Taran’s blue irises blanched to crystal from the gamut of power tingling around a sandy-haired witch’s aura. “Sandy” smiled though it lacked any hint of warmth, friendliness, or love. In fact, if she was going for, “I’ll skin you alive and use your flesh as bedroom slippers,” one might say she pulled it off.

Silentio. Non vide,” Sandy muttered, all the while smiling and calling forth her bladder-releasing power.

Knowing Spanish helped me translate the Latin words. Silence and . . . don’t look?

Every muscle and tendon in my body tightened. She’d cast a spell to conceal any sound, any image from the club patrons. Jesus, what did she plan to do?

The aroma of crushed thyme thickened the air as her spell accelerated, coating my taste buds with a hint of her power. Yup, definitely not a good sign. My inner tigress circled restlessly, pawing at my ribcage with her claws, demanding out. “Taran,” I warned, “time to go home.”

Taran met the witch’s smile with one that sent Emme running, hopefully to get Shayna, the car, or both. The heavy door swung shut behind Emme. A loud click told me Sandy locked us in, and anyone who could possibly help us out. Sparks sizzled from the tips of Taran’s elegantly manicured hands as she gathered her magic. “No worries, Ceel. This will only take a minute.”

Taran,” I warned again. My fangs protruded without my consent. Another sign proclaiming deep shittiness awaited.

The sparks magnified into mini bolts of lightning as Taran stretched out her fingers. A small funnel of wind gathered around Sandy, sending bits of abandoned toilet paper circling around her. The fluorescent lights hummed and flickered just before everything went black.

“Taran!”

I tackled Taran into the handicapped stall as the equivalent of a supernatural cherry bomb took out the wall instead of my sister. The hole, roughly the size of our new dining room table, gave a great view of the dance floor where Shayna continued to shake her tiny, yet obviously shimmy-able butt. The crowd of onlookers had returned to their drunken debauchery, swallowing poor Emme as she jumped up and down trying futilely to get Mini-Shakira’s attention. It might have been funny, had I not feared we were finally about to die that miserable death we’d spent a lifetime avoiding.

Taran rubbed her head. “Son of a bitch.”

A deep growl thundered in my chest. My tigress eyes replaced my own and locked on the witch’s feet. She casually walked across the checkered floor, her red stilettos clicking like the pendulum of a grandfather clock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

She reeled into the black stall where we lay. Time was up.

For her.

“Well, well―”

I kicked the door right in her face.

She flew backwards into the sink and smashed her head into the mirror. Sometimes, I couldn’t control my strength. Fear of dying in a public bathroom will do that to a gal. I hauled Taran up by her elbow while her latest fan seemed down for the count. The cracks in the mirror spiderwebbed from her bleeding skull. I secretly hoped that since it was technically her head that broke the mirror, the bad luck fell on her.

When Sandy lurched from the sink and a second, equally pissed-off version of herself appeared to block the door leading out, I knew I was very much mistaken. Taran’s head whipped back and forth between them. “It’s the same person,” I snarled. She smelled the same, looked the same, and also bled from her forehead the same way. The only difference was she’d divided her magic in two.

Taran gathered her power once more. “I’ll take the bitch at the door. You take the bitch at the sink.”
Sandy―both of them―surprised me by laughing. “Mures,” they both spat.

That one pretty much got lost in translation. I prowled toward her. My claws shot from my fingers like bullets from a chamber. She didn’t move. She didn’t gather her magic. She didn’t blink. She simply laughed. Either she’d hit her head a little too hard or she didn’t fear us. The latter scared the hell out of me. My beast remained sure we could take her. My human half knew something sinister lurked beneath, bubbling with a touch of dark and a spoonful of evil.

A transparent heaviness filled the air, reeking of garbage and festering meat. The ten plastic soap dispensers lining the wall of the mammoth counter exploded one by one, like a row of bottles being shot to bits. Paper towels fluttered in the air around us like birds. The pipes beneath us clanged and a toilet flushed for no reason.

I hated when my human side was right.

I heard the first squeak and the scratch of tiny clawed feet followed by a few more. A lot more. Taran heard it, too. In her panic, she blasted a bolt of lightning into her psycho witch, taking out the obviously evil tampon dispenser in the far wall. Chunks of cardboard and cotton pelted me in the hair and back, and still I heard the squeaks getting louder, getting closer, getting scurrier.

The Sandy Taran attempted to fight had somehow appeared on the sink next to her other half. She sat on the counter with her legs crossed, swinging them merrily as the result of her enchantment reached a creepy crescendo.

The large brass drain near the sinks began to stir. “Taran. We need to get out of here.”

“Damn it, Celia―”

I clutched her arm when the brass drain tipped and a pink whiskered nose poked through. Mures. . . . Rats.



ABOUT CECY ROBSON:


Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

Connect with Cecy online:


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Monday, 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas!


I just wanted to take the opportunity to wish all of my followers a very Merry Christmas, whether you celebrate the season or not I hope you have an enjoyable few days with family and friends, great food and even better books.

It's going to be quiet around here for a few days but I'll be back soon enough so Seasons Greetings and I hope the holidays bring everything you wish for! Oh and if you'd like to have a go at making your own Christmas Wreath, like the ones in my picture above, you can find my tutorial here.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Review: Naughty but Nice - Donna Kauffman

ʼTis the season for sweet surprises . . .

Businessman Griffin’s never believed in luck . . . until sassy-sweet small-town baker Melody turns his world around. Except there’s a catch: There’s no way he’ll be able to build his empire and hold on to her. This new love could destroy all his dreams—or make this Christmas better than he ever imagined possible . . .

Originally in the The Naughty List anthology

Hamilton Christmas Series:
Unleashed
Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells
Naughty but Nice

Visit Donna Kauffman's website for more information.

Review:
Naughty but Nice is a novella by Donna Kauffman that was previously published in the The Naughty List anthology and has now been rereleased as an ebook as part of the Hamilton Christmas series in time for the holidays.

Melody gave up a stressful career and big city life and hasn't looked back once since she became a baker in a small town. She loves the more relaxed pace of life in her small but charming town so is absolutely horrified when she finds out a developer wants to give the place an upgrade to put it on the map. The last thing she wants is to see an influx of tourists destroy the friendly atmosphere she moved here for so she is determined to work alongside other small business owners to stop the development from going ahead.

Griffin is struggling to deal with the revelation that he had a whole other family that he never new about and the fact that he is the heir to the Hamilton fortune. Unfortunately things aren't all what they appear in Hamilton Industries and unless he manages to turn things around Melody's town is going to be in serious financial trouble. He knows exactly what he needs to do to make things happen and he has a track record of getting it right but first he needs to get Melody and the other locals to accept his plans and help him implement them.

This story is more of an enemies to lovers trope. Melody is determined to stop Griffin from making the changes the town needs but she doesn't understand the motives behind his choices. The attraction between them is instant and since this is a novella the romance moves at a quick pace between them but it was still a fun story and it was nice to see the conclusion to questions about the Hamilton family that were raised in the first book in the series, Unleashed. Overall I've really enjoyed this series, it got me in the mood for the holidays and was a perfect December treat.

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

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

Kindle:

Review: Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells - Donna Kauffman

The best holiday gifts aren’t always under the tree . . .

Holly hates the yuletide season more than ever since she received her very early inheritance: her mother’s Christmas novelty store. Now she has to put her life on hold to deal with the shop, while her parents settle into their busy sunny Florida retirement. But Holly’s childhood pal, Sean, is determined to warm her up—to Christmas and to him. When they uncover a diary concealing secrets involving both their families, this could be the Christmas that changes their lives forever . . .

Originally part of the Kissing Santa Claus anthology.

Hamilton Christmas Series:
Unleashed
Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells
Naughty but Nice

Visit Donna Kauffman's website for more information.

Review:
Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells is a novella by Donna Kauffman that was previously published in the Kissing Santa Claus anthology and has now been rereleased as an ebook as part of the Hamilton Christmas series in time for the holidays.

Born on Christmas Eve to parents who are obsessed with the holidays and who run their own Christmas novelty store Holly grew up hating the season and couldn't get away from her hometown fast enough. Now suddenly her parents have decided to retire early and have given her her inheritance early so she finds herself the owner of a Christmas store and no real idea what to do with it. She's taken two weeks leave from work and plans to dismantle the shop as quickly as possible so she can return to her life. That was before her childhood friend and crush Sean walks back into her life though and now she finds herself considering other possibilities.

As much as I enjoyed the first story in this series (Unleashed) I did feel that the romance was a little rushed so the friends to lovers / second chance romance theme of this story worked much better for me in that regard. Holly and Sean grew up together so although they had never been more than friends there is a long history between them and that made their romance feel less rushed and more believable. They make a really sweet couple and I appreciated that Sean didn't put pressure on Holly to make huge decisions without taking the time to think things through. He wanted her to take a chance on them as a couple but he also understood that she couldn't make any promises when her whole life was in another country.

This whole series has had a nice festive feel to it and stories they've been really quick and fun December reads.

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

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

Kindle:

Review: Unleashed - Donna Kauffman

A raging winter storm and a holiday spent pet-sitting reveals there’s more than one kind of animal in the house . . .

When Emma Lafferty is hired by a billionaire CEO to watch his pets over the holidays, she expects to enjoy a quiet Christmas in opulent surroundings. What she doesn’t expect is to spend the week trapped in the mansion with Trevor Hamilton, the CEO’s sexy great-nephew—and heir—whose motives are as shady as his desire is crystal clear . . .

Originally in the To All a Good Night anthology

Hamilton Christmas Series:
Unleashed
Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells
Naughty but Nice

Visit Donna Kauffman's website for more information.

Review:
Unleashed is a novella by Donna Kauffman that was previously published in the To All a Good Night anthology and has now been rereleased as an ebook as part of the Hamilton Christmas series in time for the holidays. I've not read anything by this author before but I love Christmas stories at this time of year so I couldn't resist giving this one a try.

Emma is a pet sitter who has been hired to look after a billionaire's pets over the holidays, she didn't really want to spend Christmas alone but the money is too good to resist and she's hoping a recommendation for doing a good job could bring an influx of wealthy clients to her new pet care business. She's supposed to be the only one in the mansion so it comes as quite a shock when her client's nephew turns up & thanks to a storm they end up stuck there together.

Since this is a novella events happen very quickly and the relationship between Emma and Trevor develops at warp speed, in fact I think the entire story happens within 24 hours with a short epilogue set about a year later, but I can forgive that in a sweet Christmas read. The characters were fun, there was a nice amount of banter and they had good chemistry. The addition of the animals Emma was looking after was cute and the story left a smile on my face which is all I ask for from a quick holiday read. I'm looking forward to reading the next one!

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

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

Kindle:

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Review: Mirage - Somaiya Daud

The crown of Dihya had been stripped from me, my face changed, my body broken.
But I was not a slave and I was not a spare.
I was my mother's daughter, and I would survive and endure. I would find my way back home.

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation and receiving a sign that one day, she, too, will have adventures, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects. She is kidnapped by the government and taken in secret to the royal palace. There, she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double to appear in public, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can't help but enjoy the palace's beauty - and her time with the princess' fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear, and she soon realises that one wrong move could lead to her death...

Mirage Series:
Mirage
Court of Lions (2019)

Visit Somaiya Daud's website for more information

Review:
Everyone Amani knows is struggling to survive under a brutal occupation by the Vathek Empire, they are punished for the slightest thing, their culture is slowly being stripped from them and they have become little more than slaves who work hard only to have their crops and produce taken from them by the Vathek elite. Life is hard and although Amani has always dreamed of adventure the last thing she ever wanted was to be forced away from her family and taken to the Vathek capital. It's only when she arrives at the palace that she realises why she was taken, Amani is a perfect double for the Vathek princess and she is there to take over Maram's public appearances. Maram is extremely disliked even among her own people and in constant danger so Amani is going to be the one who takes all the risks putting her own life on the line to protect Maram. So now Amani must learn to mimic her enemy and all it will take is one tiny slip up and her life will be forfeit.

Mirage is a beautifully written debut by Somaiya Daud, the Moroccan inspired setting is rich in detail and described so well you'll feel like you're actually there. The story itself is a fairly slow paced one but with writing this lovely that really doesn't matter and I enjoyed getting the chance to really get to know the characters well. It's very easy to relate to Amani but I was surprised at how interesting Maram's character is too. She's a very angry and bitter girl who has a mean streak a mile wide and I'm never going to be rooting for her as a hero but she's far more complex than most bad guys and the slowly building alliance between her and Amani was really interesting to see. Then you have Idris, Maram's fiancé, whom Amani is forced to spend a lot of time with at public appearances. There seems to be the start of a slow build romance there but he has his own motives for everything he does so it's hard to tell what the outcome will be.

I really enjoyed this story and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where Somaiya Daud takes things throughout the rest of the series.

Source: Received from the publisher 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 / Paperback (Preorder) / Kindle:

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Review: Third Grave Dead Ahead - Darynda Jones

Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she's drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because every time she closes her eyes she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan.

Granted she did imprison Reyes for all eternity, but how is she supposed to solve a missing-persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil's son just won't give up on his plan of seduction.....and revenge?

Charley Davidson Series:
First Grave on the Right
For I Have Sinned (Novella)
Second Grave on the Left
Third Grave Dead Ahead
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Fifth Grave Past the Light
Shimmer (Free Short Story)
Glow (Free Short Story)
Sixth Grave on the Edge
Seventh Grave and No Body
Eighth Grave After Dark
Brighter Than the Sun (Novella)
The Dirt on the Ninth Grave
The Curse of Tenth Grave
A Very Charley Christmas (Free Short Story)
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
The Trouble with Twelfth Grave
Summoned to Thirteenth Grave

Visit Darynda Jones' website for more information

Review:
Charley has been hired to find a missing woman but really that's the least of her problems considering she's just found out that the man Reyes' has spent the last 10 years in prison for killing may actually be alive after all. Determined to track down Earl Walker and get Reyes out of lock up she's taking more risks than ever, and she's doing it in a state of exhaustion as she tries to stay awake to keep Reyes out of her head. Ever since she bound him to his corporeal body the only time she sees Reyes is when she's sleeping and let's just say he's not too happy with her right now and she'd rather avoid having to deal with his anger. Yes, life is definitely complicated.

This series just gets better and better and I can't believe I left it so long to go back to it. The only advantage of that is that the entire series has been published now so I don't have to wait months for each new book to release. You can definitely expect me to binge the rest of them over the next few weeks! I love Charley, she's such a fun and sarcastic character but she's also fiercely loyal and would do anything to protect the people she cares about. I love her friendship with Cookie and the great relationship she has with her uncle Bob but I have to admit I'm really getting sick of seeing how badly her dad treats her. He crossed a line in the previous book but in this one he goes a step further and if I was Charley I'd seriously be considering whether I even wanted him in my life anymore. I'm sure he has a lot of guilty feelings about using her abilities when she was younger to help him solve crimes but his attempts to protect her now are totally over the top and unwarranted.

In this book we start to get more of an insight into Charley's abilities and what that might hold for her future, she still has a lot of learning to do about her powers though and I'm looking forward to learning more alongside her. We also finally start to learn more about Reyes' upbringing and his motives, he's still very much a man of mystery but for some reason I love his character and I can't wait to unravel more of his secrets. There are a lot of revelations in this book that are going to have a knock on effect as the series continues so I have a feeling that the next book is going to be even more exciting.

These stories have plenty of humour but also tons of action and more than a little danger as Charley constantly seems to find herself in danger. There was one moment that absolutely broke my heart and was totally unexpected but overall I was extremely happy with the direction things are headed in and I'm looking forward to reading more.

Source: Received from the publisher 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.

Paperback / Kindle:

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Review: Winnie-the-Pooh: Gloom & Doom for Pessimists - A.A. Milne & E.H. Shepard

Piglet explained to Tigger that he mustn’t mind what Eeyore said because he was always gloomy; and Eeyore explained to Piglet that, on the contrary, he was feeling particularly cheerful this morning.

Eeyore is one of Winnie-the-Pooh’s most deep-thinking friends and his thoughts usually turn to the gloomy side of things. If you have a similarly cynical friend or relation, or indeed if you, yourself, view life as a glass half empty, then this collection of pessimistic contemplations is just for you. It is part of a brand-new range of Winnie-the-Pooh gift books for adults - a beautifully presented range of four books to collect and enjoy!

Now We Are Grown Up Winnie-the-Pooh gift book series:
Winnie-the-Pooh: Little Somethings & Smackerels for Food Lovers
Winnie-the-Pooh: Deep Thoughts & Ponderings for the Wise
Winnie-the-Pooh: Doubt & Disquiet for Worriers
Winnie-the-Pooh: Gloom & Doom for Pessimists

Visit the Egmont website for more information

Review:
There's something very special about Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends which is why these characters are still so popular nearly 100 years after the first story about them was published. I grew up reading the books, also having them read to me long before I was able to read them myself, so I'll always have a soft spot for them all and they always put a smile on my face. Thats why I was so excited to discover Egmont have created the Now We Are Grown Up collection of Winnie-the-Pooh quote books aimed at adults. These are gorgeous little hardbacks that are perfect for dipping in and out of and each one includes fabulous quotes from the stories by A.A. Milne along with E.H. Shepard's gorgeous original illustrations.

Each book collects quotes related to a different mood or feeling and as I'm sure you can guess Winnie-the-Pooh: Gloom & Doom for Pessimists gives Eeyore his turn in the spotlight but that doesn't stop our gloomy friend from always looking at the negatives. There are so many fabulous quotes but I've included a couple of my favourites just to give you an idea what you can expect:




Source: Received from Egmont in exchange for an honest review

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

Hardback:

Review: Winnie-the-Pooh: Doubt & Disquiet for Worriers - A.A. Milne & E.H. Shepard

‘What?’ said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn’t been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice in an exercising sort of way.

It’s hardly surprising that Piglet, a Very Small Animal, should find the Hundred Acre Wood a rather alarming place. Full of nervously twitching ears and an extreme lack of pluck, this is the perfect gift for those of an anxious disposition. It is part of a brand-new range of Winnie-the-Pooh gift books for adults - a beautifully presented range of four books to collect and enjoy!

Now We Are Grown Up Winnie-the-Pooh gift book series:
Winnie-the-Pooh: Little Somethings & Smackerels for Food Lovers
Winnie-the-Pooh: Deep Thoughts & Ponderings for the Wise
Winnie-the-Pooh: Doubt & Disquiet for Worriers
Winnie-the-Pooh: Gloom & Doom for Pessimists

Visit the Egmont website for more information

Review:
There's something very special about Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends which is why these characters are still so popular nearly 100 years after the first story about them was published. I grew up reading the books, also having them read to me long before I was able to read them myself, so I'll always have a soft spot for them all and they always put a smile on my face. Thats why I was so excited to discover Egmont have created the Now We Are Grown Up collection of Winnie-the-Pooh quote books aimed at adults. These are gorgeous little hardbacks that are perfect for dipping in and out of and each one includes fabulous quotes from the stories by A.A. Milne along with E.H. Shepard's gorgeous original illustrations.

Each book collects quotes related to a different mood or feeling and as I'm sure you can guess Winnie-the-Pooh: Doubt & Disquiet for Worriers gives Piglet a chance to show us that even the most timid can be brave and usually things aren't quite as bad as you thought they would be. There are so many fabulous quotes but I've included a couple of my favourites just to give you an idea what you can expect:




Source: Received from Egmont in exchange for an honest review

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

Hardback:

Review: Winnie-the-Pooh: Deep Thoughts & Ponderings for the Wise - A.A. Milne & E.H. Shepard

'Pooh hasn't much Brain, but he never comes to any harm. He does silly things and they turn out right. There's Owl. Owl hasn't exactly got Brain, but he Knows Things.'

Winnie-the-Pooh may be a Bear of Very Little Brain, but he sometimes has surprisingly astute and helpful observations on life. Full of thingish thoughts and clever plans, this is the perfect gift for deep thinkers and the philosophically inclined. It is part of a brand-new range of Winnie-the-Pooh gift books for adults - a beautifully presented range of four books to collect and enjoy!

Now We Are Grown Up Winnie-the-Pooh gift book series:
Winnie-the-Pooh: Little Somethings & Smackerels for Food Lovers
Winnie-the-Pooh: Deep Thoughts & Ponderings for the Wise
Winnie-the-Pooh: Doubt & Disquiet for Worriers
Winnie-the-Pooh: Gloom & Doom for Pessimists

Visit the Egmont website for more information

Review:
There's something very special about Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends which is why these characters are still so popular nearly 100 years after the first story about them was published. I grew up reading the books, also having them read to me long before I was able to read them myself, so I'll always have a soft spot for them all and they always put a smile on my face. Thats why I was so excited to discover Egmont have created the Now We Are Grown Up collection of Winnie-the-Pooh quote books aimed at adults. These are gorgeous little hardbacks that are perfect for dipping in and out of and each one includes fabulous quotes from the stories by A.A. Milne along with E.H. Shepard's gorgeous original illustrations.

Each book collects quotes related to a different mood or feeling and as I'm sure you can guess Winnie-the-Pooh: Deep Thoughts & Ponderings for the Wise shares some of our favourite Bear of Very Little Brain's wisest musings, along with insightful comments from many of his friends. There are so many fabulous quotes but I've included a couple of my favourites just to give you an idea what you can expect:




Source: Received from Egmont in exchange for an honest review

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

Hardback:

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