Thursday, 19 April 2018

Review: Spare and Found Parts - Sarah Maria Griffin

We are all more than the sum of our parts.

Nell Crane has never held a boy's hand.

In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts - an arm, a leg, an eye - Nell has always been an outsider. Her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanics limbs that everyone now uses. But she's the only one with her machinery on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. And as her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society's good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father's revolutionary ideas when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a lost mannequin's hand while salvaging on the beach, and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city - and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

Visit Sarah Maria Griffin's website for more information

Spare and Found Parts is a futuristic story set in a world that was nearly destroyed by some kind of epidemic that left the majority of the population with missing body parts. Nell's father is a respected scientist who created the biomechanics that are used by those who can afford to have their missing limbs, be they arms, legs, hands or even eyes, replaced. Nell is a bit of an outsider, she struggles to connect with people and she's different because her machinery is on the inside and her mechanical heart that is the only thing that has kept her alive since she was a small child.

This is a society that is very suspicious of computers because it is believed they caused the epidemic but it was never fully explained what actually happened to the world or why, if technology was to blame, that everyone is so happy to walk around with biomechanical limb replacements. I wish the world had been explained better because I was left with so many questions and it really stopped me from fully getting sucked into the story.

Nell was an interesting character but she was quite hard to connect with because she's quite selfish, she has a goal to build herself a robotic companion and she doesn't care what she has to do to achieve that goal. She walks all over people who are just trying to be her friend and that doesn't endear her to me as a reader but at the same time she could also be quite vulnerable and it was easy to see she was just trying to find her place in a world that has always treated her as different.

This story is partly based on the story of Frankenstein and it has some really interesting concepts but unfortunately I found it quite a heavy going read, particularly in the first half, so it took me a long time to read. The story picks up pace later on and becomes much more interesting but I still have so many unanswered questions and feel like I wanted more world building.

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

Other Reviews:
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Review: You Will Call Me Master - Lexi Blake

Thanks for joining me for this series of vignettes featuring the men of Thieves. We all know Zoey’s point of view, but I thought it would be fun to take key scenes from the series and rewrite them from the men’s point of view. I hope you enjoy seeing the series in a different light. I’m enjoying playing around with all of Z’s guys!

This is a scene from Steal the Light. It takes place roughly midway through the book after the fight at the hotel with Stewart, the demon. Daniel has been shot with silver bullets and he’s expended his energy saving Zoey by flying her safely from the top of the building down to the bottom. He wakes up, sure that he’s died only to discover that Zoey won’t let him go….

(This story is free for subscribers to Lexi Blake's newsletter)

Thieves Series:
Steal the Light
You Will Call Me Master (Free short story via the author's newsletter)
Steal the Day
Steal the Moon
Steal the Sun
Steal the Night
She Will Be My Goddess (Free short story via the author's newsletter)
Outcast (release date to be confirmed)

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

You Will Call Me Master is a short scene from Steal the Light but told from Daniel's point of view instead of Zoey's. You'll receive a link to download this story for free if you sign up for Lexi Blake's newsletter and if you're a fan of the Thieves series then I think you'll enjoy this one. It's not a great introduction to the series if you've not already read the first book though, IMO it only really works if you know the context and the history between the characters.

I found it really interesting getting the chance to see inside Daniel's head. We know how much Zoey adores him but he's harder to read because we only have his actions to go on in the first book. It always felt to me that he loves her too but was trying to protect her by keeping her at a distance but this just confirms that. I'd love to see more of his POV in future books (& hopefully some of Dev's too!) but this was definitely a nice little snippet.

Source: Received for free via the author's newsletter

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.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Review: The Cruel Prince - Holly Black

By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him--and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Folk of the Air Series:
The Cruel Prince
The Wicked King (2019)
The Queen of Nothing (2020)

Visit Holly Black's website for more information

Jude and her twin sister Taryn are humans who have been raised in Faerie, officially they are the adopted daughters of Madoc, the Red Cap General of the High King's army, and the person who murdered their parents when he came to take back his real daughter, their half-sister Vivi, but unofficially they are looked down on by everyone because of their mortality. Jude is sick of being bullied because the fae think they are better than her and she is determined to do whatever it takes to prove them wrong and take her revenge for the way they have behaved.

The Cruel Prince is one of those stories that starts out a little on the slow side but it gradually sucks you into the world that Holly Black has created and before you know it you've reached the end and find yourself desperate for the next instalment. I've not read this author's previous fae series but I'm definitely going to change that because she sure knows how to write the deliciously dark and devious fae that wouldn't make it into a Disney movie. These are Grimm's fae, ones who love to play games with humans and think nothing of hurting others purely for their own enjoyment.

Jude herself isn't always the easiest character to like, she is so totally set on her revenge that she can be quite cruel in her own right and she revels in proving that she can be just as bad as any of the fae. I found it pretty easy to see where she was coming from though, she didn't choose to be taken to faerie as a child and she's been surrounded by this amazing world and these supremely powerful beings for her entire life but she always has to look on as an outsider, she's never been accepted as part of things and it's made her jealous and more than a little bitter to be treated so cruelly. Even when I didn't like her actions I couldn't hate her character and I routed for her far more than anyone else we met.

I was a little disappointed that the bond between the twin sisters wasn't stronger but Taryn reacts to things in a totally different way to Jude. Rather than fight to prove her own power Taryn just wants to find someone else who can offer her protection and she just desperately tried to fit in. I actually found her pretty weak and I was really angry about the way she treated Jude most of the time. Their older sister Vivi was the voice of reason in the family, she's half-fae and fully accepted as her father's heir so she has a lot less to deal with than the twins but she wants as little to do with faerie as possible.

There is a lot going on in this story, I had actually guessed a couple of the biggest twists well before they were officially revealed but that didn't stop my enjoyment and the ending left me fully primed for the sequel. This was a brilliant start to the new series and I'm definitely planning on checking out Holly Black's other fae stories while I wait for the next book in the series.

Source: Received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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Monday, 16 April 2018

Review: Steal the Light - Lexi Blake

When dealing with demons, the devil’s in the details…

Stealing mystical and arcane artifacts is a dangerous business, especially for a human, but Zoey Wharton is an exceptional thief. The trick to staying alive is having friends in all the wrong places. While having a witch and a werewolf on the payroll helps, being partners with a vampire really opens doors.

Zoey and Daniel were childhood sweethearts until a violent car crash took his life and left her shattered. When Daniel returned from the grave as a vampire, his only interest in Zoey was in keeping her safely apart from the secrets of his dark world. He has vowed to protect her, but his heart seems as cold as the night he calls home.

Five years later, a mysterious new client named Lucas Halfer offers Zoey a fortune to steal the Light of Alhorra. The search for the Light leads Zoey into the arms of an earthbound faery prince. Devinshea Quinn sweeps her off her feet, showing her everything the supernatural world has to offer, but Daniel still calls to her heart.

As the true nature of the Light is revealed, Zoey discovers Halfer is a demon and much more than money is at stake. Per her contract, she must give him the Light or spend an eternity in Hell. What’s a girl to do except fight for her soul…and her heart.

Thieves Series:
Steal the Light
You Will Call Me Master (Free short story via the author's newsletter)
Steal the Day
Steal the Moon
Steal the Sun
Steal the Night
She Will Be My Goddess (Free short story via the author's newsletter)
Outcast (release date to be confirmed)

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

Zoey is a thief who specialises in stealing arcane artefacts, as the only human on her crew she often finds herself in dangerous situations but she's usually quite good at getting out of them too, especially with the help of her vampire ex-fiancé and the witch and werewolf they work alongside. That is until the day she is tricked into signing a contract with a demon and now her very soul is at risk.

I'm fairly new to Lexi Blake's writing, I've recently been devouring her rereleases of the books she previously published under the pen name Sophie Oak and when I realised she also had an urban fantasy series (one of my favourite genres) I just had to dive in. Steal the Light was a fab start to the series and I plan to devour the rest as soon as possible.

Zoey had her heart broken when her fiancé and childhood sweetheart, Daniel, died in a car crash. She was overjoyed when he came back as a vampire but then he was dragged away by the vampire council and when he returned two years later he wasn't the man she knew and loved. Zoey still desperately loves him but Daniel keeps her at arm's length and insists that there can be no future for them other than friendship. They work together and make a good team but Daniel's heart is completely closed off from her. When they are tricked into searching for a fae artefact for a demon the job leads Zoey to faery prince Dev and for the first time she finds herself attracted to someone other than Daniel. Romance is complicated though and she really should be focused on getting the demon off her back and saving her soul.

Normally I shy away from books with even a hint of a love triangle in them, it's a trope that has been done to death in UF and it's one I'm really sick of reading about but knowing Lexi Blake's penchant for writing menage stories I'm kind of hoping that this one will have a much different outcome to most! I actually thought the triangle was handled really well here and I have a hard time deciding which of the guys I like most. There is a lot of history between Zoey and Daniel and you can feel how much she loves him, he has always been the centre of her world but the new, brooding and secretive vampire is not the Daniel she fell in love with and he refuses to let her get close to him again. Dev, on the other hand, is far less complicated. He is warm, funny and leaves Zoey in no doubt that he is attracted to her. Dev gives her the attention she has been craving for such a long time and he makes it all so easy.

We know all along that Daniel is keeping things from Zoey but I have to admit I was angry with him when the depth of his deception was revealed towards the end of the story. I know he was trying to protect her but I hate it when people keep important things hidden from their loved ones so I could understand why Zoey felt so betrayed and I wasn't at all surprised by how things played out. I'm hoping that we'll see him start to redeem himself in future books though and I'm also looking forward to learning more about Dev.

Steal the Light has great main characters, plenty of humour, lots of action and all the heat you'd expect from a Lexi Blake book so I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Source: Purchased

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Saturday, 14 April 2018

Review: Hollywood - Pearl Foxx

"All right, Hollywood, time for your first lesson: don't let some random stranger take you home. You never know what kind of trouble you might find."

He a charmed life in skycity
She’s got an attitude sharped in the Cyn City Slums.

Fresh out of the Cyn City Academy, Bryant is ready for a military career of ease and luxury. Even his smart-ass mouth can’t get him in too much trouble, all he has to do is flash those pearly whites and remind everyone he’s Commander Gideon’s nephew and he’s made in the shade. Besides, he’ll be off this rock and on Zynthar Space Station sooner than you can shake a tail feather.

Sage makes her living as a scrapper, stripping anything she can find for metal and bio-parts for a local cynker. When a hot-shot academy kid comes to see how the other half lives, she lures him away from the local bar, the Ball & Joint, intending to strip his hovercar, and maybe him, for parts.

What she finds beneath his cocky attitude though is worth more than all the titanium on Earth. But without the technology, metal, and biology she’s promised the cynker, Sage is going to have to make good somehow, even if it means donating herself.

Cyn City Cyborgs Series:
Hollywood (Free prequel novella)
Enver (May 2018)

Visit Pearl Foxx's website for more information

Bryant is from a wealthy family and was raised in the skycity where he has just finished his military training and is ready for his first off world mission. Before he leaves the planet he's determined to have a night of fun down in the slums but he has absolutely no idea what he's just let himself in for. Sage is a scrapper who lives hand to mouth and survives by committing terrible sins. The minute she spots Bryant she can tell he'll be an easy mark and if she doesn't take advantage of him someone else will so she might as well get in their first.

Hollywood is a prequel to Pearl Foxx's new Cyn City Cyborgs series that you can get for free by signing up to her newsletter. It introduces us to a new world where human flesh is expensive and cyborg parts come cheap. Down in the Cyn City Slums the best way to make money is by selling your organs, limbs or tissue, or if you're brave enough you could sell someone else's. It's a hard world and pretty dark and grim but I'm very curious to see where the story takes us as the series continues.

I have to admit this story needed a little more world building for me, I get that it's just an introduction and I'm sure my questions will be answered in the next book, but I was left with a few too many questions and the romance felt more than a little rushed in this one which is why it didn't get a higher rating. It was enough to make me want to try the next book though so I'm hoping Chance, the first full length book in the series, will hook me in even further.

Source: Received for free via the author's newsletter

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.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Review: Society of Wishes - Elise Kova & Lynn Larsh


Josephina Espinosa makes her living as a hacker-for-hire in the Lone Star Republic, a remnant of the fractured U.S.A. That is, until the day she and her best friend are gunned down in a government raid.

With her dying breath, Jo uses magical lore passed down from her grandmother to summon a wish-granter. Her wish? To save her friend’s life. Except wishes have costs, and for Jo, the price is the erasure of her entire mortal existence.

Now, as the most recent addition to the mysterious Society of Wishes, Jo must form a new “life” alongside the seven other members, one of which being her savior himself. Living as an occupant of the Society’s lavish mansion should be quite the perk, but while it is furnished with everything its inhabitants could possibly need, it lacks one thing—freedom.

Her otherworldly identity crisis takes a backseat, however, when Jo learns that the friend she sacrificed everything for is headed down the same path to ruin. Jumping in head-first, Jo uses her newfound magical abilities to protect him, only to realize that the ripples of her actions have far-reaching consequences. When the Society’s aloof leader Snow decides to give her a taste of his own ancient magic, Jo discovers that there are threads woven into the tapestry of her new reality that reach far beyond the wishes she is now required to grant. Ones that, if tugged on, could mean the unraveling of the world itself.

Wish Quartet Series:
Society of Wishes
Circle of Ashes
Birth of Chaos (2018)

Visit Elise Kova's website or Lynn Larsh's website for more information

Jo's world is turned completely upside down when she uses her last breath to make a wish to save her best friend's life. Saving her friend has the unexpected consequence of also saving her own life but not the same version she used to live. Now her family and friends have completely forgotten she ever existed and she finds herself the newest member of the Society of Wishes, a group of people who use magic to grant the wishes of anyone who knows the correct ritual. As Jo struggles to come to terms with everything that has happened to her she realises that the best friend she gave up everything for is about to walk into the same trap she already saved him from once. Refusing to let her sacrifice be in vain she breaks all the rules to try and save him and ends up causing more trouble than she could possibly have imagined.

Society of Wishes is the first book in a new series by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh, the idea of the Society is a really intriguing one but I have to admit I struggled a little with the world building. Jo is taken away from everything that is familiar with and thrown completely in the deep end within the Society, nobody takes the time to explain anything to her an it leaves both her and the reader very confused about what is happening. The way the other characters just tell Jo not to do things but don't explain why leads her to make some very stupid mistakes but that's pretty understandable when nobody bothers to talk through the consequences of her actions. If she was working alone that wouldn't be so bad but she has a lot of help from another member of the Society, one who should know exactly how badly her plans could screw up things for everyone else and I just couldn't understand why he was willing to go along with her.

We're introduced to a diverse group of characters and I'm definitely interested in learning more about all of them but I also really need some more answers about how the Society works and how it came to exist in the first place. I think because I didn't really understand why things happened I found it harder to connect to the story and the characters but I'm hoping that will get easier as the series continues.

One thing I really wasn't sure about here was the romantic element though. There are not one but two potential relationships thrown out there but they both pretty much came out of nowhere, there isn't much in the way of a slow build up and that made Jo's feelings hard to believe. The sex scene was well written but it felt out of place and didn't really fit in with the rest of the story, it felt more like an afterthought added to make the story fit the NA category and it could easily have been left out. I tend to prefer some romantic tension that takes a while to reach a payoff in urban fantasy, when you have a series you don't have to rush to fit it all in the first book and it can be better to tease your readers a little and keep them waiting.

I think this series has a lot of potential but unfortunately for me the first book didn't quite live up to that. It can be really hard to introduce a whole new world in just one book though so I'm always willing to give a series with an interesting premise at least two books to fully catch my interest. I'm hoping that things will start to fall into place in City of Ashes and I'm curious to see what will happen next.

Source: Purchased

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Thursday, 12 April 2018

Book Trailer: Scythe - Neal Shusterman

I usually post book trailers to talk about books I'm really excited about but just haven't got around to reading yet but in this case I want to talk about a book I read recently and absolutely LOVED. I've fallen behind on review writing and I'm currently having some computer problems so I want to spotlight this book now and encourage everyone to read it then I'll hopefully get a full review posted sometime next week!

Anyway, Scythe is the first book in Neal Shusterman's new sci-fi dystopian series about a world where  natural death has been all but eliminated. Now that disease and crime are no longer a factor and people are able to live long lives thanks to medical progress the only way to keep the population under control is manually and that's where the Scythe's come in. It is their job to kill, they can choose their victims and the method of death but they have a quota they must stick to and they must avoid bias in their choices. In a perfect world Scythes would be beyond reproach but what happens if the Scythedom becomes corrupt? Who can protect the world from the only remaining killers?

This book was dark, it was fascinating and it was like nothing else I've ever read. I absolutely devoured it and I can't wait for the sequel, Thunderhead, to publish in the UK next month!

In a perfect world, what is there left to fear? A chilling and thought-provoking sci-fi novel from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman.

A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death.

In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ("gleaned") by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes' apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe's apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice's first task will be to glean the loser.

Visit Neal Shusterman's website for more information

What do you think? I can't recommend this one highly enough but if I've not persuaded you with the trailer keep an eye out for my review which I'll hopefully get posted very soon!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Review: Her Guardian Angel - Larissa Ione

After a difficult childhood and a turbulent stint in the military, Declan Burke finally got his act together. Now he’s a battle-hardened professional bodyguard who takes his job at McKay-Taggart seriously and his playtime – and his playmates – just as seriously. One thing he never does, however, is mix business with pleasure. But when the mysterious, gorgeous Suzanne D’Angelo needs his protection from a stalker, his desire for her burns out of control, tempting him to break all the rules…even as he’s drawn into a dark, dangerous world he didn’t know existed.

Suzanne is an earthbound angel on her critical first mission: protecting Declan from an emerging supernatural threat at all costs. To keep him close, she hires him as her bodyguard. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that she’s in over her head, defenseless against this devastatingly sexy human who makes her crave his forbidden touch.

Together they’ll have to draw on every ounce of their collective training to resist each other as the enemy closes in, but soon it becomes apparent that nothing could have prepared them for the menace to their lives…or their hearts.

The Demonica Series:
Pleasure Unbound
Desire Unchained
Passion Unleashed
Eternity Embraced (Novella)
Ecstasy Unveiled
Sin Undone
Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 1)
Vampire Fight Club (Novella in the Supernatural anthology or as a separate ebook)
Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 2)
Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 3)
Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 4)
Azagoth (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 1)
Hades (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 2)
Base Instincts (Novella)
Z (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 3)
Razr (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 4)
Hawkyn (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 5) (March 2018)
Her Guardian Angel (Novella) (Demonica Underworld book 6, also part of the Masters and Mercenaries Crossover Collection)

Masters and Mercenaries Crossover Collection:
Close Cover - Lexi Blake
Justify Me - J. Kenner
Say You Won't Let Go - Corinne Michaels
His to Protect - Carly Phillips
Rescuing Sadie - Susan Stoker
Her Guardian Angel - Larissa Ione

For more information visit Larissa Ione's website

Her Guardian Angel is a crossover that mixes Larissa Ione's Demonica Underworld with Lexi Blake's Masters and Mercenaries world, it's actually part of a collection of crossover novellas in the Masters and Mercenaries world that is designed to introduce readers to a range of new authors and worlds. I have to confess I've only recently discovered Lexi Blake's writing so I'm new to the Masters and Mercenaries series (it's DEFINITELY on my radar now and I plan to check it out asap!) but I love the Demonica world so I couldn't miss this story and I think it works well as an introduction to either series.

Declan is a professional bodyguard who works for McKay-Taggart, the company I believe is central to the Masters and Mercenaries series. He takes his work seriously and prefers more dangerous jobs so when he's tasked with babysitting a rich socialite he's not exactly thrilled with the idea. Suzanne isn't what she first appears though, she's actually one of the memitim, an earthbound angel who is tasked with protecting important humans until she can earn her place in heaven. Declan is being targeted by a demon and needs her protection so the easiest way for her to keep an eye on him is if she's around him all day long.

I'm not going to say much more about the plot but this was another fabulous paranormal romance from Larissa Ione. I think she did a brilliant job of introducing new readers to a few characters from each series, she definitely did enough to make me curious to check out the Masters and Mercenaries books and I enjoyed catching up with characters I already know from the Demonica Underworld. As a Demonica fan I'm excited by the direction this series is taking and I can't wait to read more about Suzanne's siblings. Suzanne and Declan were a great couple who went through a lot together in a short space of time and that baptism of fire created a strong bond between them. They had brilliant chemistry but also worked well together as partners and I'm sure we'll see more of them as the series continues.

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

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

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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Release Day Launch: The New Lexi Blake Crossover Collection

Discover the Lexi Blake Crossover Collection
Release Date: April 10, 2018

Close Cover by Lexi Blake
A Masters & Mercenaries Novella

Remy Guidry doesn’t do relationships. He tried the marriage thing once, back in Louisiana, and learned the hard way that all he really needs in life is a cold beer, some good friends, and the occasional hookup. His job as a bodyguard with McKay-Taggart gives him purpose and lovely perks, like access to Sanctum. The last thing he needs in his life is a woman with stars in her eyes and babies in her future.

Lisa Daley’s life is finally going in the right direction. She has finally graduated from college after years of putting herself through school. She’s got a new job at an accounting firm and she’s finished her Sanctum training. Finally on her own and having fun, her life seems pretty perfect. Except she’s lonely and the one man she wants won’t give her a second look.

There is one other little glitch. Apparently, her new firm is really a front for the mob and now they want her dead. Assassins can really ruin a fun girls’ night out.

Suddenly strapped to the very same six-foot-five-inch hunk of a bodyguard who makes her heart pound, Lisa can’t decide if this situation is a blessing or a curse. As the mob closes in, Remy takes his tempting new charge back to the safest place he knows — his home in the bayou.

Surrounded by his past, he can’t help wondering if Lisa is his future. To answer that question, he just has to keep her alive.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Her Guardian Angel by Larissa Ione
A Demonica Underworld/Masters & Mercenaries Novella

After a difficult childhood and a turbulent stint in the military, Declan Burke finally got his act together. Now he’s a battle-hardened professional bodyguard who takes his job at McKay-Taggart seriously and his playtime – and his playmates – just as seriously. One thing he never does, however, is mix business with pleasure. But when the mysterious, gorgeous Suzanne D’Angelo needs his protection from a stalker, his desire for her burns out of control, tempting him to break all the rules…even as he’s drawn into a dark, dangerous world he didn’t know existed.

Suzanne is an earthbound angel on her critical first mission: protecting Declan from an emerging supernatural threat at all costs. To keep him close, she hires him as her bodyguard. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that she’s in over her head, defenseless against this devastatingly sexy human who makes her crave his forbidden touch.

Together they’ll have to draw on every ounce of their collective training to resist each other as the enemy closes in, but soon it becomes apparent that nothing could have prepared them for the menace to their lives…or their hearts.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Justify Me by J.Kenner
A Stark International/Masters & Mercenaries Novella

McKay-Taggart operative Riley Blade has no intention of returning to Los Angeles after his brief stint as a consultant on mega-star Lyle Tarpin’s latest action flick. Not even for Natasha Black, Tarpin’s sexy personal assistant who’d gotten under his skin. Why would he, when Tasha made it absolutely clear that—attraction or not—she wasn’t interested a fling, much less a relationship.

But when Riley learns that someone is stalking her, he races to her side. Determined to not only protect her, but to convince her that—no matter what has hurt her in the past—he’s not only going to fight for her, he’s going to win her heart. Forever.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Say You Won’t Let Go by Corinne Michaels
A Return to Me/Masters & Mercenaries Novella

I’ve had two goals my entire life:
1. Make it big in country music.
2. Get the hell out of Bell Buckle.

I was doing it. I was on my way, until Cooper Townsend landed backstage at my show in Dallas.

This gorgeous, rugged, man of few words was one cowboy I couldn’t afford to let distract me. But with his slow smile and rough hands, I just couldn’t keep away.

Now, there are outside forces conspiring against us. Maybe we should’ve known better? Maybe not. All I know is that I want to hold on, but I know the right thing to do is to let go...

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His to Protect by Carly Phillips
A Bachelor Bad Boys/Masters & Mercenaries Novella

Brain versus Brawn.

Talia Shaw has spent her adult life working as a scientist for a big pharmaceutical company. She’s focused on saving lives, not living life. When her lab is broken into and it's clear someone is after the top secret formula she’s working on, she turns to the one man she can trust. The same irresistible man she turned away years earlier because she was too young and naive to believe a sexy guy like Shane Landon could want her.

Shane Landon’s bodyguard work for McKay-Taggart is the one thing that brings him satisfaction in his life. Relationships come in second to the job. Always. Then little brainiac Talia Shaw shows up in his backyard, frightened and on the run, and his world is turned upside down. And not just because she’s found him naked in his outdoor shower, either.

With Talia's life in danger, Shane has to get her out of town and to her eccentric, hermit mentor who has the final piece of the formula she’s been working on, while keeping her safe from the men who are after her. Guarding Talia's body certainly isn't any hardship, but he never expects to fall hard and fast for his best friend’s little sister and the only woman who’s ever really gotten under his skin.

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Rescuing Sadie by Susan Stoker
A Delta Force Heroes/Masters & Mercenaries Novella

Sadie Jennings was used to being protected. As the niece of Sean Taggart, and the receptionist at McKay-Taggart Group, she was constantly surrounded by Alpha men more than capable, and willing, to lay down their life for her. But when she learns about a friend in trouble, she doesn't hesitate to leave town without a word to her uncle to help. After several harrowing weeks, her friend is now safe, but the repercussions of her rash act linger on.

Chase Jackson, no stranger to dangerous situations as a captain in the US Army, has volunteered himself as Sadie's bodyguard. He fell head over heels for the beautiful woman the first time he laid eyes on her. With a Delta Force team at his back, he reassures the Taggart's that Sadie will be safe. But when her past catches up with her, Chase has to use everything he's learned over his career to keep his promise...and to keep Sadie alive long enough to officially make her his.

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Close Cover by Lexi Blake

“Lisa? Are you listening to me?”

Nope. “Yes, of course.”

He stared at her like he knew she wasn’t listening. “I was saying you need to take this seriously. You’re in a dangerous position.”

“Jimmy isn’t violent. He’s a jerk but he’s not violent.” Suddenly she wasn’t hungry. The whole day had been one long mistake. Did she need to cap it off by making one more?

“You know what? I’m really tired. I think I’m going to go to bed.”

His stare pinned her. “So I hit on a touchy subject and you punish me by sending me away?”

“No, I’m tired and I had a shitty day and I want to go to bed.”

“I want to go to bed, too,” he said, his voice low.

The moment seemed to stop, his words right out there in the open, his eyes intent on her. There was heat in those eyes.

“Ask me again, Lisa. Give me another chance.”

All the reasons she shouldn’t fell away because damn it, she was an optimist and at some point in time her luck had to change. She didn’t want to miss that because she was too scared to try. “Would you like to go to bed with me, Sir?”

“Tell me why you left the club.”

Damn it. That wasn’t an answer. “Because I gave up my car and I didn’t want to admit it to my family because they’re nosy as hell. Because I’ve been too depressed to play. Because I couldn’t play with the man I wanted to play with.”

His hand came out and he tugged her up, maneuvering her until she was sitting on his lap.

And what a comfy lap it was. She fit easily, her butt on his big thigh, his muscular arm around her waist making her feel dainty and feminine.

“I’m going home soon and I probably won’t be back,” he explained.

She nodded. “It’s okay. I wasn’t looking to get married. I’ll be honest. When I asked you six months ago, I was looking for a Dom, but not now. Now I just want someone to help me get through the night.”

About the Authors

About Lexi Blake:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. She began writing at a young age concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon

About Larissa Ione:

Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About J. Kenner:

Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.

Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.

J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Amazon

About Corinne Michaels

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.

After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.

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About Carly Phillips:

Carly Phillips is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels, including the Indie published, Dare to Love Series. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.

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About Susan Stoker:

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She's married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Review: The Crossover - Kwame Alexander

‘With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .
The court is SIZZLING.
My sweat is DRIZZLING.
Stop all that quivering.
Cuz tonight I'm delivering’

12-year-old Josh and his twin Jordan have basketball in their blood. They’re kings of the court, star players for their school team. Their father used to be a champion player and they each want nothing more than to follow in his footsteps.

Both on and off the court, there is conflict and hardship which will test Josh’s bond with his brother. In this heartfelt novel in verse, the boys find that life doesn’t come with a play-book and it's not all about winning.

Crossover Series:
The Crossover

Visit Kwame Alexander's website for more information

Not being a teenager and knowing absolutely nothing about basketball, I think it's pretty safe to say I'm not really the target audience for this novel. I love verse novels though and seeing a video of the author reading part of the story had me curious enough to give it a try and I have to say I loved it far more than I expected to and I can see why it's won so many awards!

The story is about twelve-year-old twins who until now have been utterly obsessed with basketball, their father was a professional player who now focuses his energies on training his sons and they're both stars of their school team. It is about so much more than basketball though, it's also about growing up and growing apart, it's about finding your first love and how that changes things, it's about discovering things from your parent's past that you never knew before and it's about learning to deal with an emotional crisis.

Verse novels can be so much fun to read and this is definitely one of the better ones I've come across, the pacing is perfect and the language is clever. I think this will appeal to even the most reluctant reader and I'm handing my copy straight to my 13 year old nephew who I think will love it even more than I did!

And in case you want to watch the video I saw of Kwame Alexander reading from The Crossover here it is:

Source: Received from Andersen Press 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:

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Review: Small Magics - Ilona Andrews

***The stories in this anthology have been previously published***

Now collected for the first time, an irresistible compilation of five previously published stories by the bestselling author of the Kate Daniels series; including Kate’s very first meeting with Saiman, some related adventures, and two unforgettable ‘outside’ excursions.

In this ‘intro’ to the Kate Daniels world, we meet the extremely ‘shifty’ Saiman for the very first time, when Kate takes on the task of serving as his bodyguard to protect him from some very determined—and dangerous—Russian wizards.

Saiman’s cousin, Adam—a frost giant and also an insurance adjuster—and his enigmatic partner, Siroun, set out on an impossible mission to enforce a client’s Retribution Clause; that is, to kill the person who killed her. But is their target even guilty? Magic and mayhem and a little personal chemistry will reveal the truth!

A young adult story about a girl, a pig, some magic, and the worst date ever.

Chad Thurman is a thug, who carries brass knuckles in both pockets and lays magic traps for intruders into "his" neighborhood. The last thing Alena Kornov wants to do is to go on the date with him. But when her family pressures her, she can't say no. Now the ice-cream is absent, the pig is running for its life, and we won't even mention the dead guy...

Grace has always known she wasn’t like everyone else and that her family has magic abilities. After flying to meet the head of Clan Dreoch in order to fulfill her families’ “duties” as servants, Grace finds herself in the middle of a mage clan war…

A short story in the Kate Daniels universe. Kate recruits her teenage ward, Julie, to search out a missing student whose location spell has her hidden somewhere on campus…

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

Visit Ilona Andrews' website for more information

I've read and reviewed a lot of these stories separately or as part of other anthologies but it never hurts to have everything all in one place so I'm going to post those reviews again here. Three of the stories in this anthology are set in the Kate Daniels world but two are completely standalone (and one of those was completely new to me).

A Questionable Client (Kate Daniels 0.5):

A Questionable Client is a prequel short story for the Kate Daniels series and shows a bit of Kate's history with the Mercenary Guild and we see her first meeting with shape shifter Saiman. This is a great introduction to the series and I loved finding out more about Saiman who is a character that intrigued me in the first book Magic Bites. Although short this story is full of humour and was a quick, enjoyable read that has reminded me how much I liked the first book in this series and made me keen to continue reading Kate's story.

Retribution Clause (Kate Daniels 5.6):

This is set in the same world as the Kate Daniels series but we don't get to see any of the characters we already know and love, we do get to meet Saiman's cousin though so there is a link there. I really loved Adam, as much as I find Saiman's constant body swapping amusing it is also kind of creepy so it was interesting to see how different Adam is and how comfortable he is in his own skin. Adam and his partner, Siroun, work as insurance adjusters which sounds boring on the surface but in reality means they are charged with investigating any suspicious deaths among their clients. In the case of murder victims it is up to them to dispense justice to their killers. Although this is a farily short story there is a mystery to solve and I enjoyed getting to meet these characters and explore this world further. There is definitely some great potential for these two and I'd love to read more stories about them in the future.

Of Swine and Roses:

This short story introduces us to teenager Alena Kornov who is under pressure from her family to date Chad Thurman, a boy from one of the local families who they need a favour from. Alena has absolutely no interest in Chad but her mother is a master of guilt manipulation and Alena ends up agreeing to her demands. What follows is an absolutely hilarious first date from hell. I'm not going to say any more than that so you'll just have to read it for yourself but it was definitely a fun read.

It's official, team Andrews can do no wrong! Even in a 23 page short story they manage to hook me completely in and get me fully invested in the characters they've created. I actually would have loved to see this turned into a full length novel but it was surprisingly satisfying for such a short read. You can definitely tell this is one of the stories that eventually developed into the Hidden Legacy series, it's totally different worlds and the rules of magic aren't quite the same but there are plenty of similarities there too.

Grace of Small Magics:

This is another story that shows the beginnings of the ideas behind the Hidden Legacy series, Grace knows her family is different and that she has a magical ability but her family have done their best to keep her untrained and under the radar. What she doesn't know is that her family owe a huge debt to one of the magical elite families due to a long running vendetta and now Nassar, the head of the other family, is calling in their debt. This story has plenty of action and some great characters alongside a satisfying romance. There were a lot of things that reminded me of Nevada and Rogan from the Hidden Legacy books and reading this left me itching to start a HL reread - AGAIN (seriously I can't get enough of those books!).

Magic Tests (Kate Daniels 5.3):

I've always quite liked Julie's character, she can be a little annoying at times but I think she is a fairly typical teenager in that regard, and it was nice to see a story from her point of view. Although this story isn't essential reading as part of the series because it doesn't really effect the ongoing story arc it was nice to get to know Julie a bit better and I'd actually like to see more from her POV in the future. We've all seen how much Julie hates the boarding school that Kate sent her to and now she's home and living in the Keep she seems to think she can get away without going to school at all. Kate has other plans for her though and she has a very clever way of getting Julie to go along with them. We are introduced to some great new characters but the one I was most excited about seeing again was Yu Fong (you may remember him from Dali's short story Magic Dreams). I was already hoping he'd end up being a major character in the series and now I'm thinking he's more likely to re-appear thanks to his friendship with Julie. I loved getting to see Julie grow up a bit and actually work out a way to use her ability to help someone else and I'd definitely like to see her get her own book or spin off series in the future.

Source: Purchased

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


Friday, 6 April 2018

Product Review: Book & Nook's February Monthly Collection

I'm a bit late posting about this because I received my box about a month ago now but I really love this collection so I had to give Book & Nook a shoutout on my blog anyway. Since I've been enjoying receiving the Fairyloot boxes but my favourite items are usually the candles I figured it would be fun to try out one of the candle collections I'd come across on Etsy.

The Book & Nook theme for February was Fairytale Magic and I knew it would include items related to Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and The Lunar Chronicles so as a HUGE fairytale fan it was perfect for me. The box included five 4oz candles as well as a bookish item and a bookmark and was only £19.99 + Shipping which I thought was a pretty great deal.

Here are the contents of my box:

The bookish item this month was a "Happily Ever After" room spray and I have to admit that I didn't love it as much as the candles, I'm not really keen on the scent of it unfortunately, but I still think the box was brilliant value just for the candles.

The candles included were:

  1. Stars Above - inspired by the Lunar Chronicles the scent is Lotus Blossom, Magnolia and Bergamot.
  2. Glass Slipper - inspired by Cinderella the scent is English Pear, Mistletoe and Freesia.
  3. Tale as Old As Time - inspired by Beauty and the Beast the scent is Amber, White Peach Blossom and Gold Orchid.
  4. Mirror Mirror - inspired by Snow White the scent is Pink Peony, Summer Flowers and Gardenia Blooms.
  5. Down the Rabbit Hole - inspired by Alice in Wonderland the scent is Chamomile, Strawberry and Peppermint.

The candles all smell lovely and they're all topped with glitter for that little extra sparkle. I love the tin designs too and they look lovely on my bookcases.

Since I was placing an order I also treated myself to this Strange the Dreamer inspired Weep candle (you might as well order big to save on shipping costs right?!).

The colour has been designed to match the UK hardback design (which incidentally is the same as the US paperback!) and the scent is Strawberry, Orange and Green Apple and it's almost good enough to eat LOL. Strange the Dreamer is one of my favourite books and I can't wait to reread it with this candle burning in the background, I'm sure the smell will help me fall even deeper into the story.

If you've not bought anything from Book & Nook before I can't recommend them highly enough, they're not doing a monthly box for April but I'll definitely be buying more candles from them in the future. You can find their products on Etsy or buy directly from their website and they are also on Instagram.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Review: Esher - Felicity Heaton

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

Together with his six brothers, he fights to defend the gates to the Underworld from daemons bent on breaching them and gaining entrance to that forbidden land, striving to protect his home from their dark influence. Tormented by his past, Esher burns with hatred towards mortals and bears a grudge against Hades for forcing him into their world, condemning him to a life of battling to keep a fragile hold on his darker side-a side that wants to kill every human in the name of revenge.

Until he finds himself stepping in to save a female-a beautiful mortal filled with light and laughter who draws him to her as fiercely as the pull of the moon, stirring conflict in his heart and rousing dangerous needs long forgotten.

Aiko knows from the moment she sets eyes on the black-haired warrior that he is no ordinary man, just as she's no ordinary woman. Blessed with a gift, she can see through his stormy façade to the powerful god beneath, and the pain and darkness that beats inside him-pain she grows determined to heal as she falls deeper under his spell and into his world.

When the daemon bent on turning Esher against his brothers makes her move, will Esher find the strength to overcome his past and fulfil his duty, or will the lure of revenge allow the darkness in his heart to seize control, transforming him into a god intent on destroying the world?

Guardians of Hades Series:

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

I love a tortured hero so I've been looking forward to Esher's story ever since Felicity Heaton started the Guardians of Hades series. We never knew much about his background from previous books but we do know he has serious issues and has a bad history with humans in general. His brothers help him keep his powers under control but he definitely has a dark and dangerous side that they're all wary of. We find out a lot more about what actually happened to him in this book and its easy to understand why he's bitter about being given the task of protecting the human realm.

Aiko is probably the softest of the heroines we've met so far but she was just what Esher needed, she's not a warrior like Eva or a healer like Megan but she is aware of the supernatural because of her ability to see ghosts and spirits. She recognises immediately that Esher is a god and that fact never worries her, she just accepts him for who he is and gives him the care and love that he so badly needs. Esher has always kept his brothers at a distance but Aiko gets under his skin and breaks down his protective barriers in a way that nobody has ever managed before. I mentioned that Aiko is the softest of the heroines in this series but don't take that to mean that she's a doormat or incapable of fighting for what she wants. She may not be trained for battle but she has the strength she needs to stand at Esher's side as a partner.

The ongoing storyline with the daemons who have been plotting against the brothers is really hotting up here too so alongside the romance there is plenty of action and lots of new information to unravel. We also get to know each of the other brothers a bit better and I'm really curious to see whose story is up next, I'm actually getting excited about all of them now so I'm sure I'll be happy whoever takes the lead. This series is a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes us next.

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

Other reviews of this book:
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