Friday, 31 August 2018

Review: The Mermaid - Christina Henry

Once there was a fisherman who lived on a cold and rocky coast and was never able to convince any woman to come away and live in that forbidding place with him. One evening he pulled up his net and found a woman in it. A woman with black hair and eyes as grey as a stormy sea and a gleaming fish's tail instead of legs.

The storm in her eyes rolled into his heart. She stopped her thrashing and crashing at his voice, though she did not understand his words. But her eyes had seen inside of him, and his loneliness caught her more surely than the net. So she stayed with him, and loved him, though he grew old, and she did not.

Remarks of this strange and unusual woman travelled from village to village and town to town, until they reached the ears of a man whose business was in the selling of the strange and unusual.

His name was P.T. Barnum, and he d been looking for a mermaid.

Visit Christina Henry's website for more information.

Review:
When I first heard about The Mermaid I kind of assumed that it would be a retelling of The Little Mermaid but with Christina Henry's own twist on the story but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that wasn't the case. Instead the author has come up with something uniquely her own, loosely based on PT Barnum's American Museum and the Feejee Mermaid he displayed there.

This book starts with the mermaid Amelia falling in love with a human fisherman but after a loving lifetime together the main story actually kicks off after Jack has died of old age. Amelia is kind of lost without the man she adored, not sure if she'll be welcomed back amongst her own kind she instead decides she'd like to swim to New York and explore more of the human world. Once there she meets PT Barnum and before she really understands what she has agreed to she finds herself on display in his museum.

Life in New York is totally different to anything Amelia has ever faced before and Christina Henry does a fantastic job of showing how wearying it is for her to be constantly under the spotlight with the eyes of the world looking on. Barnum is a conman who is more interested in his profit margin than the safety and happiness of his exhibits but his business partner Levi tries to look after Amelia's best interests.

I loved the mix of real historical figures (although the author does admit that her versions are only marginally similar to the originals) and places with the fantastical idea of a real mermaid being on display. This was really Amelia's tale though, a story about her finding her place in the world and refusing to conform to society's expectations for her. Add in a hint of romance and a satisfying ending and Christina Henry has picked up a new fan in me - I'm definitely looking forward to making a start on her backlist!

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Review: City of Bastards - Andrew Shvarts

Tilla, bastard of House Kent, has it made. Safe from her murderous father in the dazzling capital of Lightspire, she lives a life of luxury under the protection of the Volaris King, alongside her boyfriend, Zell, and best friend, Princess Lyriana.

So why isn't she happy? Maybe it's the whispers and stares that follow her wherever she goes, as the daughter of the traitor waging war against Lightspire. Or maybe it's the memories of her beloved brother, Jax, who lies cold in his grave even as she tries to settle into a life in the city's prestigious University.

Then Tilla stumbles upon the body of a classmate-a friend. The authorities are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but when Tilla herself is attacked by a mysterious man with terrifying powers, she's convinced of a conspiracy. Her friends beg her to stay silent; what she's suggesting is impossible . . . and treasonous.

But Tilla can't-won't-let it go. And the deeper she digs, the more questions she uncovers. How is the West beating the supposedly invincible Lightspire mages in battle? Is it connected to the shadowy cult wreaking havoc in Lightspire? Nothing is as it seems in the glorious capital, and Tilla's presence might just be the spark that sets the Kingdom aflame.

Royal Bastards Series:
Royal Bastards
City of Bastards
Title and release date for book 3 to be confirmed.

Visit Andrew Shvarts' website for more information

Review:
Note: City of Bastards is the second book in Andrew Shvarts' Royal Bastards series so please be aware that this review will contain spoilers for the first book. If you'd rather find out how the story begins you can read my review of Royal Bastards here.

So now we've got that cleared up let's talk about this story. Tilla, Zell and Lyriana have finally made it safely to the city of Lightspire and Lyriana has been returned to her family. While the king is grateful that his daughter has come home and is grateful for the help that Tilla and Zell gave her he's in a very difficult position because both of their fathers are still in open rebellion and trying to overthrow him. He can't really allow Tilla and Zell free roam of the city and he's not completely sure they can be trusted so he offers Tilla a place at a prestigious university to study alongside his daughter and Zell is asked to join the City Guard and help train the others on his fighting techniques.

This story has a very different feel to its predecessor, rather than the non-stop action of their journey this book is about trying to find a place in a new life. Tella is completely out of her element and trying to learn a whole new set of rules to live by. Where life in her father's castle was very relaxed and she could spend her time as she pleased here she must follow the rules and try not to upset the balance. We're introduced to new characters and have time to explore a completely new setting in Lightspire which I really enjoyed. While this book has a more sedate pace during the first half there is still plenty of action later on, Tella quickly realises that everything within the city is not what it seems and she's left trying to figure out who can be trusted and who is lying to her.

I have to admit that while I liked the new characters that are introduced I still missed Jax and I was a little disappointed that Zell wasn't around as much but I was soon swept up into the story and found myself eagerly reading waiting to see what would happen next. Some of the twists in the second half were great and things have definitely been set up for an explosive finale in the next book. This series has been a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes together!

Source: Received from Turnaround 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:

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Review: Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

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

Visit Ilona Andrews' website for more information

Review:
Anyone who knows me or who has been following my blog for any length of time should already be aware that I'm a proud member of the Ilona Andrews fan club and totally addicted to this writing duo's books. The Kate Daniels series has been one of my favourites for such a long time now and it's one I reread over and over again so it's fair to say I'm hugely invested in this world and these characters. It's really hard to write a review for the final book in a much loved series because you want to be able to talk about ALL THE THINGS that happened and rave about how incredible it was but I don't want to spoiler anyone so I'm going to deliberately try to keep this vague.

If you're a fan of this series you'll probably have a good idea of what to expect anyway: there's humour, fabulous banter, incredible characters (ones you'll love and ones you'll love to hate), fascinating mythology, weird and wonderful creatures and high drama action scenes that have you praying all the characters you love will survive. This is a story that will make you laugh and cry but will leave you with the biggest smile on your face by the end. Some series go out on a fizzle but Kate Daniels is going out with a BANG. It ends on the highest of highs and gives us a fitting end to a series that we've invested years in but it also leaves a few doors open for some of the side characters to get their chance to shine.

We already know that Hugh and Elara have another 2 books left in their series, Ilona has also mentioned a potential story about Roman and she's not discounted the possibility of other characters (and possibly even Kate and Curran) to make the occasional come back in a book or novella. I for one will be happy to read any other story that Ilona and Gordon choose to set in this world (or any other for that matter!) but at the same time I'm so, so happy that Kate and Curran are going to get to enjoy the happily ever after they've spent so long fighting for.

This series continues to be an all time favourite and I know it's one I'll continue to reread at least once a year so if you've not discovered this world yet now is the perfect time to start. Whatever you do don't start with Magic Triumphs though, this book is the culmination of 10 books and numerous short stories and novellas and if you don't start at the beginning with Magic Bites then you'll be doing yourself a huge disservice. Please do give the series a try though, it's absolutely wonderful and I'm so jealous of those people who are still going to get to experience it for the first time!

Source: Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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

Hardback / Kindle:

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Review: Memento Mori - Lexi Blake

Six men with no memories of the past

One leader with no hope for the future

A man without a past

Jax woke up in a lab, his memories erased, and his mind reprogrammed to serve a mad woman’s will. After being liberated from his prison, he pledged himself to the only thing he truly knows—his team. Six men who lost everything they were. They must make certain no one else gets their hands on the drugs that stole their lives, all while hiding from every intelligence organization on the planet. The trail has led him to an unforgiving mountainside and a beautiful wilderness expert who may be his only hope of finding the truth.

A woman with a bright future

River Lee knows her way around the Colorado wilderness. She’s finally found a home in a place called Bliss after years lost in darkness. The nature guide prefers to show her clients the beauty found in the land, but she also knows the secrets the mountains hold. When she meets Jax, something about the troubled man calls to her. She agrees to lead him to the site of an abandoned government facility hidden deep in the forest. She never dreamed she was stepping into the middle of a battlefield.

A love that could heal a broken soul

Spending time with River, Jax discovers a peace he’s never known. Their passion unlocks a side of himself he didn’t even know he was missing. When an old enemy makes his first move, Jax and River find themselves fighting for their lives. But when his past is revealed, will River be caught in the crosshairs of a global conspiracy?

Masters & Mercenaries: The Forgotten Series:
Memento Mori
Lost and Found (February 2019)

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

Review:
Memento Mori is the first book in a spin off from Lexi Blake's Masters and Mercenaries series featuring a group of men known as "The Lost Boys" who were previously rescued by Taggart and the McKay crew in the original books. I have to admit I'm fairly new to Lexi's work, I fell in love with her writing this year when I discovered her rereleases of the Nights in Bliss and Texas Sirens series previously written under the pen name of Sophie Oak and I'm slowly catching up on her urban fantasy Thieves series but I've not actually read the Masters and Mercenaries books yet (they're on my list but she has a huge backlist so it's going to take me a while to get fully caught up!).

Anyway, that means I've met Taggart and some of his men in the series I've already mentioned but I don't know any of the background history of the Lost Boys so I was worried I might be a little lost starting this book. Luckily Lexi Blake does a great job of catching new readers up and even though I'm now even more excited about reading the previous stories I didn't have any problem diving in here. I think it helps that all of her books are so interconnected, the setting for this story is actually Bliss so we get to catch up with characters from that series and it was good to see some familiar faces.

Jax is one of the Lost Boys I've previously mentioned. Alongside his brothers he has no memories of his life until approximately 3 years ago when they woke up in a lab after having their memories wiped in a sick experiment. The men have no pasts and before their rescue they were regularly tortured as their captor tried to reprogram them into perfect soldiers. Now they're on the run from some very powerful people but at the same time they're trying to track down more information about what was done to them and find out about their lives before they were initially captured. Their research has led them to Bliss where they believe that a secret government lab is hidden in the wilderness that may contain the key to their missing memories. River is an experienced tour guide who knows the area like the back of her hand so Jax and his brothers need her help desperately to find the secret laboratory, but can they find the information they're searching for before their past catches up with them?

Jax and his brothers are great, I loved getting to meet everyone and see how much they've all been affected by what they suffered and I'm looking forward to all of their stories. The brothers are all totally different but have been bonded by their shared experiences and they have some powerful allies in Taggart and his team. I really hope they're all going to get a book because I want to know more about all of them. Jax is a really sweet guy, he's been through so much but somehow still manages to put his trust in River and show her how much she means to him. He's ashamed of things he did in captivity but has done his best to move forward with his life and just really wants to find a place to call home.

River is quite a prickly character at first, she had a pretty bad experience with her ex that left her understandably wary of men and the recent death of her father has left her worn down and struggling to cope. I found her very easy to relate to and although there was a point where I wanted her to trust in Jax and not listen to a complete stranger I did understand where she was coming from and felt it made her character even more realistic. I enjoyed the chemistry between her and Jax, they hit it off immediately before they know they're going to be working together, and things are only made complicated thanks to a mistake on his brother's part and the fact that River has huge trust issues. Jax is very patient with her though and when River makes up her mind she puts her all into helping Jax and his family.

I really enjoyed this story and I'm definitely excited to continue this series, it's also left me even more eager to catch up with the original Masters and Mercenaries books too so Lexi Blake has definitely gained a fan in me this year!

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Blog Tour: Memento Mori - Lexi Blake


Memento Mori : Masters and Mercenaries: The Forgotten, Book 1

By Lexi Blake, Available Now


Six men with no memories of the past

One leader with no hope for the future

A man without a past

Jax woke up in a lab, his memories erased, and his mind reprogrammed to serve a mad woman’s will. After being liberated from his prison, he pledged himself to the only thing he truly knows—his team. Six men who lost everything they were. They must make certain no one else gets their hands on the drugs that stole their lives, all while hiding from every intelligence organization on the planet. The trail has led him to an unforgiving mountainside and a beautiful wilderness expert who may be his only hope of finding the truth.

A woman with a bright future

River Lee knows her way around the Colorado wilderness. She’s finally found a home in a place called Bliss after years lost in darkness. The nature guide prefers to show her clients the beauty found in the land, but she also knows the secrets the mountains hold. When she meets Jax, something about the troubled man calls to her. She agrees to lead him to the site of an abandoned government facility hidden deep in the forest. She never dreamed she was stepping into the middle of a battlefield.

A love that could heal a broken soul

Spending time with River, Jax discovers a peace he’s never known. Their passion unlocks a side of himself he didn’t even know he was missing. When an old enemy makes his first move, Jax and River find themselves fighting for their lives. But when his past is revealed, will River be caught in the crosshairs of a global conspiracy?

AVAILABLE NOW





“This place is beautiful,” he said when she hesitated.

She nodded but didn’t move from her seat. “I love it here. I went to college in Denver, but I always missed this place. When I was younger, my dad had a house in Creede. He started the business there, but when he could, he moved us out of town. My dad was a loner, I suppose. Creede has a population of four hundred and Dad thought that was way too many people.”

“I know the feeling. I lived in London for a while. That was definitely too many people.” He kept his tone even. It was odd. Now that he was here, that hunger he always felt was tempered by her fear. He’d thought he would take anything offered to him, but he couldn’t having met her. If the blonde had offered herself up, he would have turned her down. Over the two hours they’d sat in the booth, eating fried food and drinking beer, he’d figured something out. Some people were more special than others. River was special. He should be more cynical. He could hear Damon Knight telling him to be cautious, but he couldn’t make himself do it. Perhaps it was the fact that he didn’t have a long well of history to draw from and to teach him that this was likely a mistake.

It didn’t feel like a mistake.

“Wow. I’ve never been farther than Kansas City.” She still wasn’t moving and her voice had taken on a tremulous tone.

His heart constricted, and it was surprisingly easy to not listen to his dick. His dick was pleading with him to get aggressive. His dick was trying to convince him that if he could get inside her, she would accept him.

Yeah, he wasn’t going to listen to his dick.

“If you’ve changed your mind, I can call my brother to pick me up. I have a phone and so does he. His number is programmed in. I don’t want to scare you. I had a good time talking to you tonight. It was one of the nicest nights I’ve had in a long time.” Ever. It was the best night ever. It was the first night he felt normal, though he wasn’t exactly sure what that word meant. Comfortable was a better one. That tight feeling in his chest had eased as he’d sat in the booth with River and Tucker and Heather.

Although he’d hated lying to her.

She finally turned, looking at him. Her eyes shone in the moonlight. “You mean that, don’t you?”

He wanted to touch her. He’d had to force his hands not to move toward her all night long. The most he’d allowed himself was to have their hips and shoulders touch as they’d sat next to each other. He’d decided it had been a good thing he’d sat next to her because he was fairly certain he had a case of Big Tag’s crazy eyes, and she would have seen them had he sat across from her.

“I do mean it. Please don’t get me wrong. I want you. I would like nothing more in the world than to take you into that cabin, lay you out, and make a feast of you. I want to kiss you and when I say that I don’t merely mean your lips. I want to put my mouth all over your body. But more than I want that, I want you to like me.” It was important somehow. He wouldn’t see her after tonight, but he couldn’t stand the idea that she was afraid of him.

Everyone was afraid of him. Everyone he knew was waiting for his powder keg to blow, but he’d sworn to himself earlier in the evening that it wouldn’t blow around her. He would protect her even if it was only for one night.


About Lexi Blake:

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


Monday, 27 August 2018

Book & Nook Unboxing - July 2018 Monthly Candle Collection - Epic Adventures


This was my second Book & Nook candle box and I loved it just as much as the first one. I'm talking about the July box so I'm actually a little late posting this (it arrived at the beginning of the month!) but I wanted to spotlight these fab candles.

The July theme was Epic Adventures and knowing it was going to include candles relating to Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials and Narnia made it a must buy for me. All of the monthly boxes include five 4oz candles, a bookish item and a bookmark and the current price is £21.99 + shipping so I think it's quite reasonable for what you actually get.

Here are the contents of the July Box:


Lets have a look at the candles first:

  1. Cittagazze - inspired by the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman this was probably my favourite scent from this month's candle collection Choca Mocha (it really smells good enough to eat LOL). I've been a fan of this series for years now so I was really excited to have a candle for this fandom.
  2. The University - inspired by The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss the scent is Lemon Verbena, Bliss and Dark Fairytale. I've not actually read this series but I've heard a lot of great things about it so it's one I think I'm going to have to read soon.
  3. The Magic Wardrobe - inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, a childhood favourite, and the scent is Snow and Berries.
  4. The Shire - inspired by The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien the scent is Cedarwood and Pine. This is another series that I've been a fan of since I was a teenager so this really was perfect for me.
  5. Dracarys - inspired by Game of Thrones by George RR Martin smells of Fireside, Leather and Night and is of course in honour of the dragons in the series (along with this month's other bookish item). I'm ashamed to admit I've not read these books but I'm a HUGE fan of the TV series and a dragon lover in general so I was really happy with this one!
These candles all smell gorgeous and I love how sparkly they are too. The tins are a nice size and make perfect shelf decorations when you're not using them.



Lets have a closer look at the other items included in this box. First we have this lovely bookmark which has a quote from Lord of the Rings on the back.


And last, but definitely not least, was my favourite item in the box - this absolutely adorable dragon keyring which is obviously inspired by the Game of Thrones series with the 3 really pretty dragon eggs as well as a lovely silver dragon.


Since I was placing an order I also treated myself to this 7oz candle jar inspired by Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows series. The scent is Sea Breeze, Oudh & Snow and it's topped with black, silver and holographic glitter.


If you've not bought anything from Book & Nook before I can definitely recommend them. The theme for their September box is Unique Leading Ladies with items inspired by the Grishaverse, Raven Cycle, Shatter Me and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I'm VERY tempted to order it! You can find their products on Etsy or buy directly from their website and they are also on Instagram.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Vuelio Top 10 UK Literature Blogs 2018


Last year I was incredibly shocked and honoured to be included in the Vuelio 2017 list of Top 10 UK Literature Blogs, I'm still not quite sure how that happened if I'm honest! So I was even more shocked to receive an email a couple of days ago to say Feeling Fictional has made it into the Vuelio 2018 Top 10 UK Literature Blogs list too! You can find the full list of blogs on the Vuelio website here and once again it's a fabulous list so I'm very excited to have been included again.

Again I'd like to thank everyone who takes the time to visit my blog and read my reviews. I've made so many fabulous friends in the blogging community over the last 9 years, had the chance to meet some wonderful authors both in person and online and I've met a lot of wonderful publicists who have helped feed my book addiction with a whole heap of review copies. Book blogging is a labour of love but it's totally been worth all the effort so thank you all for your support! And thank you to Vuelio for including me in this list!

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Review: Foundryside - Robert Jackson Bennett

She thought it was just another job. But her discovery could bring the city to its knees . . .

The city of Tevanne runs on scrivings, industrialised magical inscriptions that make inanimate objects sentient; they power everything, from walls to wheels to weapons. Scrivings have brought enormous progress and enormous wealth - but only to the four merchant Houses who control them. Everyone else is a servant or slave, or they eke a precarious living in the hellhole called the Commons.

There's not much in the way of work for an escaped slave like Sancia Grado, but she has an unnatural talent that makes her one of the best thieves in the city. When she's offered a lucrative job to steal an ancient artefact from a heavily guarded warehouse, Sancia agrees, dreaming of leaving the Commons - but instead, she finds herself the target of a murderous conspiracy. Someone powerful in Tevanne wants the artefact, and Sancia dead - and whoever it is already wields power beyond imagining.

Sancia will need every ally, and every ounce of wits at her disposal, if she is to survive - because if her enemy gets the artefact and unlocks its secrets, thousands will die, and, even worse, it will allow ancient evils back into the world and turn their city into a devastated battleground.

Founders Series:
Foundryside
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit the Robert Jackson Bennett's website for more information

Review:
I have a confession to make, Foundryside is the first book I've read by Robert Jackson Bennett and that's something I definitely need to change because it was absolutely awesome! When I was offered a review copy of Foundryside and invited to take part in the UK blog tour I spotted that three of my friends on Goodreads had already read and loved it so I couldn't pass up the change to see exactly what they were all raving about. I'm so glad I did because this is one of the best fantasy books I've read in AGES and I can already tell you it makes it onto my top books of 2018 list.

Robert Jackson Bennett has created a world where people have industrialised magic, they can inscribe symbols on any kind of object that will affect the way that object interacts with reality. Lets say you have something really heavy that you need to ship somewhere, well just inscribe it with symbols to make it believe that its only quarter of its actual weight and away you go. Or how about telling a door that it is only allowed to open under very specific circumstances or for people who are holding a certain object. Want to fly? Well, that one is so complicated that it's actually illegal but it is technically possible if you manage to convince an item that gravity's direction is up not down. You just have to be very, very careful that you don't go too far and end up floating right off the planet and out into space! This world is absolutely fascinating, incredibly well thought out and a joy to spend time exploring.

Of course world building doesn't matter unless you have great characters and a strong plot and Foundryside has all of that and then some. Our main character is Sancia, an ex-slave who now lives in poverty in the Commons and steals from the wealthy Merchant Houses to survive. She has some very special skills (you'll have to read the book for yourself to find out what they are) that make her an excellent thief so when she is offered a ridiculous amount of money to break into an extremely secure warehouse and steal an ancient magical artefact she knows this is her chance to earn enough to completely start over. Of course nothing is ever quite that simple and when she realises what the artefact is capable of there is no way she can just hand it over to her client with a clean conscience.

Along with a ragtag team of unlikely heroes it is up to Sancia to stop an evil plot that could lead to the death of thousands of people. I'm not going to go into more detail than that but what follows is a non stop thrill ride of daring heists, dangerous missions, clever use of magic and fantastic plot twists. Sancia is just one of a multitude of brilliant characters, one of whom isn't even an actual person, and they're all well fleshed out people with their own strengths, weaknesses and motives. I loved every minute of this book and even though it comes in at just over 500 pages this is a story I could have easily devoured in one sitting if I'd had a day free to do nothing but read. As it was I was constantly wishing real life away so that I could get back to my book.

Foundryside is a fantastic start to this series and I'm already desperately waiting for the next instalment but while I wait I'm definitely going to get started on Robert Jackson Bennett's backlist because I have a very strong feeling I've just discovered a new favourite author!

Source: Received from Jo Fletcher Books 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:



Don't forget to check out the rest of the stops on the Foundryside blog tour:

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Review: Captured by her Cougar - Felicity Heaton

In the wake of an Archangel attack on Cougar Creek, Storm is seething with a need for revenge against the hunter organisation and the key to it might be the petite blonde mortal he’s locked in his cabin, one he’s determined to make sing for him. Only the beauty has a fiery temperament to match his own, and the more time he spends with her, the more she stokes a fire inside him. One that fills him with a startling and undeniable need to make her sing in another way—in his arms.

Gabriella isn’t going to take her captivity lying down. She’s going to give the pig-headed brute holding her against her will hell until he finally believes she’s innocent. He might be a cougar shifter, but she isn’t afraid of him. Or at least she isn’t afraid of what he is. The way he affects her, the flames that lick through her whenever they’re close, terrifies her though, because the longer she’s around the towering sexy-as-sin shifter, the hotter that fire blazes, and it’s only a matter of time before it burns away all her restraint.

With the mating heat and the attack bringing cougars back to the creek, Gabriella is a complication Storm doesn’t need, but she’s one that he wants… because she might just be his one true mate.

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

Vampire Erotic Theatre Series:
Covet
Crave
Seduce
Enslave
Bewitch
Unleash

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

Visit Felicity Heaton's website for more information

Review:
Captured by her Cougar is the second book in Felicity Heaton's new Cougar Creek Mates series and gives us the chance to get to know one of Rath's brothers Storm. Storm doesn't spend much of his time at Cougar Creek, preferring city life instead he has only returned now to help his brothers oversee the gathering and make sure nothing happens to his pack mates. After the recent attack by Archangel they are expecting trouble and Storm is looking for more information. The one person who might be able to provide it is Gabi, the half-sister of the man who led the latest attack who is currently Storm's prisoner. Gabi claims she knows nothing about Archangel and wasn't aware of what her brother had planned but Storm and his family have been hurt by humans before so it isn't going to be easy for her to gain his trust, no matter what his instincts are telling him.

This has been a really fun series so far and I enjoyed this instalment just as much as the first book. These stories are short, fast reads with plenty of humour and a good dose of romance and heat. Gabi is completely out of her depth, she didn't even know cougar shifters existed until her brother launched an unprovoked attack and one changed shape right in front of her, she was horrified by his actions but is also wary of her current situation knowing that she is trapped with no way of escape. No matter how much Storm tries to scare her into talking she refuses to let him intimate her and it doesn't take long for her to understand the fear that is behind his actions. She stands up to him from the very beginning and they have a spark from the moment they meet.

This was a fun story that gave us the chance to see a little more of Cougar Creek and gave us a brief glimpse of both of Rath and Storm's other brothers but we've not seen enough for me to guess which one will be the hero of the next story and I definitely have no idea who their love interests will be so I'm going to enjoy finding out.

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

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Blog Tour: Captured by her Cougar - Felicity Heaton


New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton is here today for the book tour of her new shifter romance release, Captured by her Cougar, the second book in her brand new Cougar Creek Mates Series. Set in her popular Eternal Mates world, Cougar Creek Mates takes you into the deep Canadian wilderness to a secret place that’s home to a cougar shifter pride led by four sexy brothers, each guaranteed to steal your heart and set it racing! With all four books in the series releasing just weeks apart, this is going to be one hot summer.

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



Felicity Heaton

In the wake of an Archangel attack on Cougar Creek, Storm is seething with a need for revenge against the hunter organisation and the key to it might be the petite blonde mortal he’s locked in his cabin, one he’s determined to make sing for him. Only the beauty has a fiery temperament to match his own, and the more time he spends with her, the more she stokes a fire inside him. One that fills him with a startling and undeniable need to make her sing in another way—in his arms.

Gabriella isn’t going to take her captivity lying down. She’s going to give the pig-headed brute holding her against her will hell until he finally believes she’s innocent. He might be a cougar shifter, but she isn’t afraid of him. Or at least she isn’t afraid of what he is. The way he affects her, the flames that lick through her whenever they’re close, terrifies her though, because the longer she’s around the towering sexy-as-sin shifter, the hotter that fire blazes, and it’s only a matter of time before it burns away all her restraint.

With the mating heat and the attack bringing cougars back to the creek, Gabriella is a complication Storm doesn’t need, but she’s one that he wants… because she might just be his one true mate.


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



Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win one of a $75, $50 or $25 Amazon Gift Card at the Claimed by her Cougar book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on August 12th. Enter now: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/captured-by-her-cougar-shifter-romance-book.php



Storm slid his gaze back towards the door.

Towards Gabriella.

She groaned and moved again, and this time, it sounded more like a whimper. He focused. Her heartrate was off the scale too. Having a nightmare?

He didn’t give a damn if she was.

Really didn’t.

Storm scrubbed a hand over his mouth. Fuck, it had been a mistake to set up his cabin as her cage. Sure, it had been the right thing, because it would keep her safe from the other males coming to the area and it was easier for him to keep an eye on her in his own home.

But the whole place smelled of her already.

Her scent was embedded in everything, felt as if it was seared right into his soul.

Sunshine, sand and surf, with a hint of something tropical.

He snagged the red comforter from the couch, brought it to his nose and inhaled, and muttered a ripe curse as it smelled of her.

And damn, she smelled good.

Had his instincts as a male firing on all cylinders.

He growled and hurled it away from him as he stalked to the front door of the cabin, intent on leaving.

He froze there, his senses immediately locking on her.

Gabriella.

What had happened to Rath was her fault.

That refused to stick and he wanted to growl again, a need to blame her so he could direct some of the anger burning inside him at her twisting him into knots inside. He didn’t feel it though, not when it came to her.

He thought about Alexander, and sure enough, the blame stuck to him like super glue, had his anger flaring hot in his veins all over again.

He tried blaming her for what had happened to his parents, and to him, all those decades ago. It refused to stick too.

“Fuck,” Storm muttered and strode to the small white refrigerator beneath the kitchen counter, one that was rapidly warming now the power was out.

He yanked it open, grabbed a beer and slammed it shut again.

He cracked the brown bottle open, chugged the contents so fast he almost choked on them as he glared at the darkening world outside through the window, and didn’t flinch as he tossed the empty in the sink and it smashed.

Gabriella gasped.

Her fear shot through him.

Storm looked at the broken glass in the metal sink, and then over his left shoulder at the bedroom door.
He huffed as he strode to the main door of the cabin, tugged it open and slammed it behind him. He stepped off the raised covered deck that surrounded three sides of his single-storey cabin, and stormed along the worn path towards the clearing to his right. His fingers curled into fists and then flexed, his anger getting the better of him as he took long strides towards the river, the fading warmth of day washing over his bare chest.

He breathed hard, each one laboured as the need to burn off some energy returned, had him wound tight and his cougar side agitated, almost to the point of frenzied.

Two males came out of the thick woods to his right, stepping into the clearing, and he bared fangs at them and growled, hungry for a fight.

The younger males gave him a wide berth though, so all he could do was pace the stony bank of the river as the sun began to set.

He wasn’t sure how long he strode back and forth across the grass, his eyes on it as he fought to quell the urge to shift and start a fight.

When he felt eyes on him, it was darker, but his vision adjusted the second he lifted his head and fixed his gaze on the male approaching him.

Rath.

His oldest brother raked fingers through his thick brown hair, his grey eyes guarded.

“What are you doing pacing the riverbank?” Rath’s deep voice rolled over him, as smooth and calm as the water that raced over the rocks behind Storm.

He flashed fangs at Rath. “Pacing. What the fuck does it look like I’m doing? You have a problem with me pacing?”

“I have a problem when it leads to you being aggressive towards others.”

“Aggressive?” Storm snorted and took a hard step towards his brother, getting in his face. “You haven’t seen me aggressive.”

“I have.” Rath’s calm tone grated, had Storm wanting to grab him and do something. Rattle him. Shake him until he bit. “I take it things aren’t going well with Gabriella?”

Storm bared his teeth again at the mention of her name. “Little Bird will sing.”

Rath arched a dark eyebrow at that, but didn’t pick him up on the nickname he had given her. “Maybe you need to go back to your cabin and cool off.”

“Maybe you need to get the fuck out of my face?” Storm took another hard step forwards, bringing himself chest to chest with his brother.

Rath just sighed. “I’m not going to fight you, so quit trying to make it happen.”

Storm felt like a dick as Rath took a casual step backwards, placing some distance between them. Threatening his brother when he was injured? What the fuck was wrong with him?

He stared at Rath’s right shoulder, seeing beyond the dark fleece he wore to the wound beneath.

An injury her brother had given him.

He growled and looked towards his cabin, seething with a need to return to her and do something to make her talk.

“She hasn’t said anything at all?” Rath’s measured tone, so calm and even, soothed him and he clawed back some control over his mood, enough that he could progress from merely growling and snapping at his brother to having a conversation.

“She asked about your condition, and she wants to see Ivy.” Storm didn’t take his eyes off his cabin.
“Ivy mentioned that Gabriella was the one who secured her initial funding from her brother, and they get along.”

So Little Bird hadn’t been lying about that then.

Rath continued, “Maybe it’s a good idea that Ivy speaks with her. I’ll go with her.”

Storm growled at that, a low vicious one that echoed around the forest and had a few birds flying their roosts.

Because no damned way he was letting Rath take over things with his Little Bird.

If she was going to sing for anyone, it was going to be for him.

He pushed past his brother, his words a dark snarl in the fading light, filled with purpose and determination.

“I’ll get her talking.”


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



Book 1: Claimed by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Book 2: Captured by her Cougar – Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Book 3: Courted by her Cougar (coming 8th September 2018)
Book 4: Craved by her Cougar (coming 29th September 2018)


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

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

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

Monday, 20 August 2018

Review: Darkest Heart - Juliette Cross

Wrong side of heaven...right side of redemption.

Anya—a stoic, blue-winged angelic warrior— was bitten by a demon prince in battle, and now she has precious little time to find a cure for his deadly venom. But the only archangel with the power to stop the dark poison from corrupting her body and soul is missing. She’ll have to trust her guide, the outcast high demon Dommiel, who is as handsome as he is dangerous if she has any hope.

An outcast of his own kind, high demon Dommiel stays under cover while the war between angels and demons rages on. But when the only person who ever showed him kindness asks for his help, he has no choice but to try to save the angel. Venturing back into the dens he has avoided for so long, Anya makes him want and feel things he never thought possible.

But Dommiel knows there is no way an angel can ever love a demon…

Dominion Series:
The Deepest Well
Darkest Heart

Visit Juliette Cross' website for more information

Review:
Anya is an angel on a mission to save the missing archangel Uriel and if that means she has to pair up with the demon Dommiel, a very unlikely ally, then she's willing to take that risk. The journey to find Uriel is fraught with danger but Anya is on a deadline and she knows that failing to find him quickly will have devastating consequences.

I didn't realise when I requested Darkest Heart that this is a spin off from Juliette Cross' Vessel Trilogy and to be honest there were times, particularly at the beginning of the story, that I was a little lost in this world. I think if I'd already read the previous trilogy I would have found this story much easier to get into but as it stands I still have a lot of questions about how angels and demons ended up using earth as a battleground. I got a bit lost when it came to the different groups of fighters and who was fighting for which side. This did get easier in the second half but it made the first half of the book lag a bit while I tried to figure things out so I definitely think people who are familiar with the earlier books will appreciate this one more. Having said that I did enjoy the story enough that I want to go back and read the earlier series and I'm definitely hoping that we're going to get a book about Uriel soon!

Anya and Dommiel are total opposites which isn't surprising when you consider one is an angel and the other is a demon. Anya was a little too innocent for my tastes but she was a very skilled warrior in her own rights and I liked that she was willing to accept her own feelings quite quickly, we didn't have a pages of her doubting herself and Dommiel and instead she was focused on making things work. Dommiel is a reluctant ally at first, once an angel he was stripped of his wings when he fell and became a demon and he now seems to play both sides off against each other. I wish we'd been given more information about his background and what happened to make him fall, he seemed to believe he was betrayed by his brother but I'm still a little hazy on why that is or how it all happened. He may be a demon but Dommiel has his own moral code and there are lines he isn't willing to cross, make no mistake he admits he's done terrible things, but he's not an all out evil character and I think we probably would have seen some of his struggle in previous books.

This is paranormal romance so the attraction between Anya and Dommiel is pretty instant but as far as relationship building goes they did take a little time to act on it. I enjoyed spending time with them both the banter between them was fun and there was a nice amount of flirting as things started to heat up. I'm definitely interested to see where this series goes, especially if we're going to get a book about Uriel, but I think I'll try to read the Vessel Trilogy and the connected novel, The Deepest Well, before I continue reading. Hopefully that will give me a better understanding of the world and help me avoid the sense of confusion I felt reading this one.

Source: Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Paperback / Kindle:

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Review: Slaying It - Chloe Neill

Merit, the Sentinel of Chicago's Cadogan House, is pregnant. She's ready to meet her daughter, but also excited to see her feet again. While out on an evening walk, Merit stops to help a man in need, only to find herself the victim of a kidnapping attempt. Someone with a serious debt to some very serious people thinks Cadogan House will pay a rich reward for Merit's return.

Jonah, the handsome captain of Grey House's guards, is on his way to a meeting at Cadogan--and if he's honest with himself, to drop in on Cadogan's gorgeous and brilliant chef, Margot--when he stumbles on the aftermath of the attack. He'll stop at nothing to help the Cadogan vampires, including Margot, face down the threat.

Chicagoland Vampires Series:
Some Girls Bite
Friday Night Bites
Twice Bitten
Hard Bitten
Drink Deep
Biting Cold
House Rules
Biting Bad
Howling for You (Novella)
Wild Things
Blood Games
Lucky Break (Novella)
Dark Debt
Midnight Marked
Phantom Kiss (Novella)
Blade Bound
Slaying It (Novella)

Heirs of Chicagoland Series:
(Spin off set approximately 20 years on from the end of the Chicagoland Vampires series)
Wild Hunger

Visit Chloe Neill's website for more information

Review:
Slaying It is a bridge novella that gives us a nice additional epilogue to the Chicagoland Vampires series and introduces us to the youngsters that are going to be picking up the reigns in the new Heirs of Chicagoland series.

I love Merit and Ethan so of course I'm always happy to have a chance to catch up with them, especially when she's eight months pregnant and ready to pop. We also get to see how all of our favourite side characters are doing and alongside some action when someone attempts to kidnap Merit we also get a really sweet look into the developing romance between Jonah and Margot.

This story was just what I needed and it definitely left me excited to spend time with the next generation in Wild Hunger! I'm glad we don't have to say goodbye to this world and I'm excited to see what direction the new spin off will take us in.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Friday, 17 August 2018

Excerpt Reveal: Memento Mori - Lexi Blake


Memento Mori : Masters and Mercenaries: The Forgotten, Book 1

By Lexi Blake, Coming August 28, 2018


Six men with no memories of the past

One leader with no hope for the future

A man without a past

Jax woke up in a lab, his memories erased, and his mind reprogrammed to serve a mad woman’s will. After being liberated from his prison, he pledged himself to the only thing he truly knows—his team. Six men who lost everything they were. They must make certain no one else gets their hands on the drugs that stole their lives, all while hiding from every intelligence organization on the planet. The trail has led him to an unforgiving mountainside and a beautiful wilderness expert who may be his only hope of finding the truth.

A woman with a bright future

River Lee knows her way around the Colorado wilderness. She’s finally found a home in a place called Bliss after years lost in darkness. The nature guide prefers to show her clients the beauty found in the land, but she also knows the secrets the mountains hold. When she meets Jax, something about the troubled man calls to her. She agrees to lead him to the site of an abandoned government facility hidden deep in the forest. She never dreamed she was stepping into the middle of a battlefield.

A love that could heal a broken soul

Spending time with River, Jax discovers a peace he’s never known. Their passion unlocks a side of himself he didn’t even know he was missing. When an old enemy makes his first move, Jax and River find themselves fighting for their lives. But when his past is revealed, will River be caught in the crosshairs of a global conspiracy?

PREORDER NOW



“This place is beautiful,” he said when she hesitated.

She nodded but didn’t move from her seat. “I love it here. I went to college in Denver, but I always missed this place. When I was younger, my dad had a house in Creede. He started the business there, but when he could, he moved us out of town. My dad was a loner, I suppose. Creede has a population of four hundred and Dad thought that was way too many people.”

“I know the feeling. I lived in London for a while. That was definitely too many people.” He kept his tone even. It was odd. Now that he was here, that hunger he always felt was tempered by her fear. He’d thought he would take anything offered to him, but he couldn’t having met her. If the blonde had offered herself up, he would have turned her down. Over the two hours they’d sat in the booth, eating fried food and drinking beer, he’d figured something out. Some people were more special than others. River was special. He should be more cynical. He could hear Damon Knight telling him to be cautious, but he couldn’t make himself do it. Perhaps it was the fact that he didn’t have a long well of history to draw from and to teach him that this was likely a mistake.

It didn’t feel like a mistake.

“Wow. I’ve never been farther than Kansas City.” She still wasn’t moving and her voice had taken on a tremulous tone.

His heart constricted, and it was surprisingly easy to not listen to his dick. His dick was pleading with him to get aggressive. His dick was trying to convince him that if he could get inside her, she would accept him.

Yeah, he wasn’t going to listen to his dick.

“If you’ve changed your mind, I can call my brother to pick me up. I have a phone and so does he. His number is programmed in. I don’t want to scare you. I had a good time talking to you tonight. It was one of the nicest nights I’ve had in a long time.” Ever. It was the best night ever. It was the first night he felt normal, though he wasn’t exactly sure what that word meant. Comfortable was a better one. That tight feeling in his chest had eased as he’d sat in the booth with River and Tucker and Heather.

Although he’d hated lying to her.

She finally turned, looking at him. Her eyes shone in the moonlight. “You mean that, don’t you?”

He wanted to touch her. He’d had to force his hands not to move toward her all night long. The most he’d allowed himself was to have their hips and shoulders touch as they’d sat next to each other. He’d decided it had been a good thing he’d sat next to her because he was fairly certain he had a case of Big Tag’s crazy eyes, and she would have seen them had he sat across from her.

“I do mean it. Please don’t get me wrong. I want you. I would like nothing more in the world than to take you into that cabin, lay you out, and make a feast of you. I want to kiss you and when I say that I don’t merely mean your lips. I want to put my mouth all over your body. But more than I want that, I want you to like me.” It was important somehow. He wouldn’t see her after tonight, but he couldn’t stand the idea that she was afraid of him.

Everyone was afraid of him. Everyone he knew was waiting for his powder keg to blow, but he’d sworn to himself earlier in the evening that it wouldn’t blow around her. He would protect her even if it was only for one night.



About Lexi Blake:

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

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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