Sunday, 31 March 2019

Fairyloot Unboxing - February 2019 "Beauty and the Beast"

FairyLoot February Box "Beauty and the Beast"

I'm a HUGE Beauty and the Beast fan so there was no way I could resist the February FairyLoot box, especially after I was so happy with the December dragons box. I honestly expected to love everything about this box, I mean how can you go wrong with a theme like Beauty and the Beast? I've seen a lot of love for this box online so it looks like I'm in the minority here but I was so, so disappointed with this one. Apart from the book there isn't a single item in here that I'd actually have chosen to spend my money on, there are a couple of items that are okay but I can think of a million ways this box could have been improved.


The first item in the box was this HUGE wall tapestry with a design based on the ballroom scene from the movie. It doesn't really make a good wall tapestry unless you have a lot of spare wall space though (anywhere I had this much wall is now hidden behind a bookcase!). Size wise it's big enough to completely cover a standard double bed apart from the pillows so it's more like a bed throw than a tapestry. My biggest issue with this is the design though, I just think for such a beautiful scene this is a really dark and dreary design - the predominant colour is navy blue FFS! That glorious golden dress, the romance of the scene and in my opinion it's completely ruined by this depressing colour scheme.


Next we have this plastic tumbler which is okay but I don't think it's anything special. It's full of glittery sequins but they're all stuck together in big ugly clumps that don't look particularly attractive and I don't think the design is anything new or different. I've seen nicer tumblers going cheap in my local supermarket to be honest.


Then we have this little trinket dish with a quote from the movie on it. It's nice enough but not really one of the most obvious quotes to use, there are many others I'd have preferred. Nothing about the design or colour scheme particularly screams Beauty and the Beast to me so if you didn't recognise the quote I don't think you'd associate it with the fandom.


Next is this little roll on perfume inspired by Mrs. Potts, it smells like vanilla and is probably one of the nicer items in the box but again it's not really something I'd have purchased separately.


This enamel pin is probably my favourite item in the box apart from the book, it's so obviously inspired by the show and is really pretty.


I also really like this Belle print but I have so many of these now and nowhere to display them all so I always think of prints as a fairly useless item no matter how pretty they are.


The one thing I'm really excited about is the book, I've heard great things about this Beauty and the Beast retelling and I can't wait to read it. I love the little rose shaped signature bookplate and the artwork on the back of the author letter too. This is an exclusive hardback too, the UK edition of this book is only being sold elsewhere as a paperback so that makes it more of a collectors item.


So that's all of the contents of the Beauty and the Beast box (with an additional cat since Sparrow refused to get out of the way so I could take the picture LOL). What do you think? The only two items I'd probably have purchased myself are the book and the enamel pin so for me this box definitely wasn't worth the over £30 I spent on it but all the other comments I've seen online about this box have been extremely positive.

I think it's probably time for me to take a step back from Fairyloot again for a while, I like the mystery of receiving these boxes but it's very rare that I think they're good value for money as there are always at least a couple of things I wouldn't choose to buy separately. I'm probably better off spending my money on Etsy picking and choosing items that really appeal to me that I'm going to actually be excited to receive.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Review: Summoned to Thirteenth Grave - Darynda Jones

It's lucky number thirteen . . . this is the epic finale for our favourite Grim Reaper and her sinfully sexy son-of-the-devil husband, Reyes.

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She's been kicked off the earthly plane for eternity - which is exactly the amount of time it takes to make a person stark, raving mad. But someone's looking out for her, and she's allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.

She's missed her daughter. She's missed Reyes. She's missed Cookie and Garrett and Uncle Bob. But now that she's back on earth, it's time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine for a broken heart? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

It's Charley's last adventure, and the one thing we know for sure is that it's going to be one wild ride . . .

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

Visit Darynda Jones' website for more information

Review:
If you follow me on Goodreads you'll know I binge read the last five books in this series in less than a week, I've been totally hooked on this series and overall I've really enjoyed it. The trouble with final books in popular series though is that it can be hard for authors to live up to fan's high expectations and I think that was the problem with Summoned to Thirteenth Grave.

This book had all the elements I love from this series, the humour, brilliant side characters, madcap plans to save the world and of course the heat from Charley and Reyes' relationship. There has been a lot of build up for this story and I was happy with a lot of events and reveals in this story. I did feel sad about the way a few of the characters stories ended but if you've read the rest of the series you'll probably know not to expect everyone getting a happily ever after.

I think my two biggest issues with this story were one that the major battle was such a tiny part of the story and over far too quickly and easily and two the way things ended for Charley and Reyes. Yes they kind of get a happy ending but it wasn't the ending I was hoping for for them and Beep and it certainly wasn't the ending they deserved. I know we're gearing up for a spin off series about Beep and her future adventures and I'm 99% sure that I'll be reading those books but it makes me sad to think about how things were left at the end of this story and that makes me a little nervous about how things will move forward from here.

You know a series ended well when it leaves you completely satisfied but in this case it actually left me feeling sad and that's disappointing for a series I've had so much fun reading.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Friday, 29 March 2019

Review: Sky in the Deep - Adrienne Young

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings - and all heart.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights for her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield - her brother, fighting with the enemy - the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, Eelyn is captured and must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbour is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Sky in the Deep Series:
Sky in the Deep
The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Visit Adrienne Young's website for more information

Review:
The Aska and Riki clans have been enemies for centuries thanks to an argument between the two gods they worship. Every five years warriors from both clans travel to the battlegrounds and there is a huge scale battle to the death as they fight for the honour of their clan. Seventeen-year-old Eeyln is an Aska warrior who has spent the last five years training to take part in her second battle against the Riki, the last time she watched her brother Iri die and now she's determined to get payback. Eeyln couldn't be more shocked when she sees Iri on the battlefield, not only did he somehow survive his injuries but he has now switched sides and is fighting for the Riki.

When Eeyln is captured and taken back to a Riki village she is surrounded by enemies, people she has fought against for her entire life. The biggest enemy of all is the brother who betrayed her and her father though, how can she ever forgive him for staying with the enemy instead of returning to them? Everything changes when the village is attacked by a third clan, a group with enough warriors to wipe out both the Aska and the Riki, unless two enemies are prepared to do the unthinkable and fight side by side against a common enemy.

Sky in the Deep is a fabulous debut from Adrienne Young, from the very first page you are thrown straight into the action watching Eeyln fight for her life in battle. This book doesn't shy away from the death and destruction caused by war and Eeyln is a fierce character who fights hard for her honour and to protect her clan. Even when she is captured she doesn't take it lying down, she fights at every turn for the chance to escape and make it back to her family. She ends up being taken in as a slave by the family that have adopted her brother but it is too dangerous for anyone to find out about her connection to Iri so they have to keep their relationship a secret.

Eeyln is as bitter and unhappy about her new situation as you'd expect so she's not the easiest character to be around for the first half of the book but as she gets to know the Riki she realises that they aren't really all that different to her own clan. They love and laugh just like the Aska and all they really want to do is survive. It makes Eeyln start to question everything she's been brought up to believe and wonder whether perhaps the enmity between the two clans is pointless. This book is very much about found family and about realising that deep down, no matter what clan they call home, people are all the same.

I really enjoyed seeing Eeyln soften towards the Riki as she got to know them better and I loved the interactions between her and her brother but I really would have liked to spend more time seeing them resolve their differences. I liked Fiske as a character and the beginnings of the romance that starts to develop between him and Eeyln but I felt like it needed a little more depth, I thought it might be expanded upon in the next book but that seems to be more of a companion novel featuring different main characters so I'm not sure if we'll see much of the characters we've met here. I do desperately want to read it though, it was really fun to read a viking inspired story and I'm looking forward to spending more time in this world.

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

Other reviews of this book:
Book Haven
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: Sky in the Deep - Adrienne Young

Today I'm excited to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the UK release of Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. This is the first book in a fabulous viking style fantasy series and I loved every minute of it (make sure you check back later today to read my full review). In the meantime I have an excerpt to share with you now but first let me tell you a little more about the book:

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings - and all heart.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights for her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield - her brother, fighting with the enemy - the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, Eelyn is captured and must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbour is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Sky in the Deep Series:
Sky in the Deep
The Girl the Sea Gave Back (September 2019)

Visit Adrienne Young's website for more information

Excerpt from Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young:

Iri was still watching me. The dark leather of his armor vest made his hair look like an icy waterfall of bloodstained braids. The scruff on his face sat below sharp cheekbones and round, blue eyes.

Eyes I’d known all my life.

I pressed the heels of my hands into my forehead, thinking about the last time I’d seen him. Five years ago. Fighting beside me in the snow-covered glade with an axe in each hand. Snowflakes in his hair. Blood on his hands. He was tangled in the fight with a young Riki before they fell over the edge of a deep crevice carved into the earth. I could still hear the sound of my own scream as I watched him dis- appear. I’d crawled on my hands and knees to the edge, where the ground almost gave beneath me. He was lying on his back, his insides spilling out from a gaping wound. His eyes were already empty, staring up into the sky. And beside him, the Riki boy was half-buried in the snow.

I looked up, and Iri’s eyes fixed on mine for another wordless breath, as if he was remembering the same moment. And then he kicked his horse, cutting left into the group, and disappeared.

********************

Book Trailer:



If that isn't enough to whet your appetite I don't know what is! Don't forget to stop by later to read my full review and in the meantime you can check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour below:

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Review: The Trouble With Twelfth Grave - Darynda Jones

Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the twelfth installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series.

Ever since Reyes escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley accidently trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle. But that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday life of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up.

Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper. Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor sharp claws. Then again, her number one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question becomes, can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?

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

Visit Darynda Jones' website for more information

Review:
After the ending of the previous book I couldn't wait to dive into Twelfth Grave and this was another action packed instalment in the series. Reyes may have escaped from the hell dimension BUT while he was there he regained all his godly memories and now it looks like the Reyes Charlie knows and loves has left the building. In his place is Rey’azikeen, the malevolent god with the power to destroy the world if Charley doesn't manage to get through to him.

This story sees Charley focused on trying to find Rey’azikeen and show him that he doesn't have to be evil. She also has a supernatural serial killer to deal with, one that was also set loose when Reyes escaped from the god glass dimension, and who is currently targeting people who have any kind of ability to see beyond the human plane. As if that wasn't enough she's Amber and Quentin have also decided to open their own private detective agency so Charley and Cookie are mentoring them as they try to solve their first case.

I loved this book, it has all the usual mayhem and madcap antics from Charley and her friends and Reyes is delicious even when he's veering towards the dark side. I think what I loved most was how strong Charley's faith in Reyes is, she knows that despite all the horrendous things he has been through there is good inside him and she's determined to find a way to bring back the man she loves. She won't accept any other option and she refuses to let anyone else sway her mind on that.

This book does end on a killer cliffhanger though, seriously if you thought the last book was bad you haven't seen anything yet! If I'd read this book when it was first published I would be pulling my hair out waiting for the next instalment but luckily Thirteenth Grave is already available and I've already been able to start reading. It isn't often that I binge read a series quite as fast as I have this one and I'm actually pretty sad that it's about to come to an end.

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Review: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight - Darynda Jones

A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah . . . demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people.

As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead.

Now Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. The forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension but with the son of Satan himself as her husband, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all.

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

Visit Darynda Jones' website for more information

Review:
This review is deliberately going to be short because after THAT ENDING I have to go and start the next book as fast as humanly possible. This is where Charley's superpowers would come in handy but sadly I'm not a god.

In this book we see Charley investigating the couple who stole Reyes as a baby from his birth parents and gave him to the monster Earl Walker. It turns out that Reyes isn't the only child they stole, something that Charley has suspected for a while now but has only just set out to prove. Reyes isn't happy that she's digging into his past again but this time she's been hired by another one of their victims so she can't turn away from someone else who needs her help.

There are plenty of other things going on in this instalment too, there is still a god from Usen on the loose and hunting for Beep, Amber has picked up a crazy stalker who is sending her messages that no thirteen year old girl should ever have to read, Ubie is acting like a madman and has Cookie convinced he's having an affair and Reyes is determined to make Charley learn more about her abilities even if it means throwing her off the top of very tall buildings and hoping she figures things out before she hits the bottom.

The ending though, THAT ENDING!! It really has left me desperate to find out what happens next and I'm so ridiculously glad that I don't have to wait for book twelve to be published. That cliffhanger would probably have killed me if I didn't already have the next book on hand!

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: A Very Charley Christmas - Darynda Jones

Exclusive Charley Davidson Short Story featured in the December 2016 newsletter.

You can read this story for free online here: https://us11.campaign-archive.com/?u=c2c549bf3e53fa785a8d3bb0d&id=4372d0474e

The story is set after The Curse of the Tenth Grave and contains spoilers for previous books.

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

Visit Darynda Jones' website for more information

Review:
I love Charley and Reyes so I'll jump at any opportunity to spend more time with them but to be honest for a Christmas story this one was pretty depressing. I never expected Reyes to have happy childhood memories so that wasn't a surprise but to find out Denise's apathy towards Charley lead to her getting half the number of presents that Gemma did just made me all the more angry with Denise AND with Charley's father. He watched his wife treat his daughter like a second class citizen for her entire life and didn't do anything to stop it. If he was any kind of decent father he'd have kicked Denise out YEARS ago and no matter how many good things he's done in the last couple of books it doesn't make up for years of neglect.

Throw in the fact that this is Beep's first Christmas and Charley and Reyes won't get to spend it with her and it was just heart breaking. Charley is overcompensating by buying a million presents for her but thats really not the same. This should be such a happy time for them and they should be getting to finally make some happy Christmas memories as a family yet they can't.

No, this wasn't the fun and cheery Christmas snippet I was hoping for, thats for sure.

Source: Read for free on the author's website

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.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Review: The Curse of the Tenth Grave - Darynda Jones

Part-time PI and full-time grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister's hair before she wakes up? But, "How do I trap not one god, but three?" was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.

But one of them stole her heart a very long time ago. Can a god of absolute death and destruction change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiance lie with his brothers?

Those are just some of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl on the run for her life, a man who's been framed for murdering a woman who is still very much alive, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we're saved. If not, well...

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

Visit Darynda Jones' website for more information

Review:
I'm so happy that this series is completely back on track now that Charley has her memory back. We're back to seeing her work her magic as she simultaneously tries to prove a man is innocent of murder, help a young runaway who believes she has been cursed, deal with a blackmailer, oh and try to figure out a way to stop the gods of Usen and thwart the apocalypse. All of that would be much easier if she wasn't trying to keep secrets from Reyes but he's been keeping her at arm's length ever since they got back from New York and she's got no idea how to bridge the gap between them (thank goodness for Cookie on that one because she comes up with a very creative way to get them talking again!).

There have been some really interesting revelations about both Charley and Reyes in the last couple of books, ones that are going to have a huge impact on the rest of the series so I'm dying to see how everything all comes together now we're in the final stretch. I did find myself frustrated that Charley still doesn't completely trust Reyes, he has been through so much trying to keep her safe and it just takes one small thing, that potentially happened years before they became a couple, for her to doubt his love for her. I could understand why she was keeping certain secrets but I was so relieved when everything was out in the open and that they're now fully back on track relationship wise.

It's also great to see Charley starting to push herself and figure out what her abilities actually are, she's learning all the time and is capable of far more than she ever expected. There was one moment that left me utterly heartbroken for Reyes in this book, he's lost so much already and it really isn't fair for even more to be taken from him. I was far more upset about that than I was about Charley's loss in the previous book but I am extremely worried about a certain revelation about Ubie and hope Charley is able to figure out a way to stop what is coming. Anyway, I'm glad I can dive straight into the next book so I won't have to wait to find out what happens next. I have a feeling I'm going to be binging the last three books very quickly!

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

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Monday, 25 March 2019

Review: The Dirt on the Ninth Grave - Darynda Jones

In a small village in New York Charley Davidson is living as Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her-even from her new and trusted friends-the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

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

Visit Darynda Jones' website for more information

Review:
I'm a huge fan of this series but I have to admit after the disappointment of book eight I put off starting this one for quite a while. I just wasn't sure what to expect from a Charley with no memory and was worried that this would be another filler book that didn't really add much to the overall story arc. In a way I was right about that, nothing huge happens in this book and I don't think you'd really miss much by skipping it. However, this was FAR better than book eight, it's back to being more of an action oriented story as Charley goes out of her way to try and solve a mystery and save people she's only just met. It feels like this series is starting to get back on track and I'm back to being excited to carry on reading it

Charley spends nearly the whole book in a strange kind of limbo wondering who she is and where she's from, more importantly she wonders why nobody has come looking for her. What she doesn't realise is that her closest friends and family have all inserted themselves into her new life so all of they're still with her even if she doesn't recognise them. I have to say I didn't really buy the reasoning of keeping their identities hidden from her, Charley is so distraught at not knowing who she is and she thinks she must have been a terrible person because nobody is looking for her and they could have saved her a lot of that pain by being honest with her.

It was interesting to see that even without knowing her history her personality hasn't changed. She still cares about the underdogs and wants to help people. Watching her try to figure out why she could see dead people everywhere she went was quite hilarious, particularly when she had a run in with a ghost horse! I also loved getting back that intense sexual tension between her and Reyes. Charley doesn't remember him but she's still totally attracted to him and doesn't understand why he goes from practically eating her with his eyes to acting like he hates her. Reyes on the other hand is dreadfully angry at Charley for leaving him, he's angry about the situation they're in and he's hurt that she could forget him but he still loves her and is desperately hoping she'll come back to him. It makes for some wonderful will they / won't they moments between them that I couldn't get enough of.

I'm very glad that Charley eventually gets her memory back, I don't think I could read another book of her second guessing herself and everyone around her because she knows they're hiding things but doesn't know what or why. I'm hoping that from here onwards we're going to get back to the series I love and I can't wait to see how Charley and Reyes' story ends.

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

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Sunday, 24 March 2019

Review: Brighter Than the Sun - Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson has enough to be getting on with. She is, after all, incredibly pregnant and feeling like she could pop at any moment. But, just her luck, twelve deadly beasts from hell have chosen this time to escape, and they've made Charley their target. She takes refuge at the only place they can't get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. Before long, Charley also has a new case to hold her attention: the decades-old murder of a newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows of the convent.

Add to that the still unsolved murder of her father, the strange behavior of her husband, and Charley's tendency to attract the, shall we say, undead, and she has her hands full . . . but also tied. While the angry hellhounds can't traverse the consecrated soil, they lurk beyond its borders like evil sentries, so Charley has been forbidden from leaving the sacred grounds and is powerless to get the answers she wants.

Luckily, she has her loyal team with her, and they're a scrappy bunch. They scour the prophesies, searching for clues on the Twelve, and their presence is comforting - it's almost as though they've all been drawn to her as part of a bigger picture . . . But the good feelings don't last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life.

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

Visit Darynda Jones' website for more information

Review:
I'd been flying through this series and enjoying every minute of it but then I hit book eight and just kind of stalled. It pains me to say it but I just didn't feel the magic with this one. To be fair it's very hard to write an exciting book when your narrator is not only 8 months pregnant but also trapped in a convent to avoid being eaten by hellhounds. Charley has spent months stuck in one location and as much as her friends and family drop by to keep her company it's just really not the same as seeing her out and about kicking butt and taking names.

I was a bit wary when we found out Charley was pregnant, to be honest I prefer to avoid kids in UF books unless they're either old enough to be interesting characters in their own right, or come at the end of the series to signify the the fact that the main characters are finally getting to settle down and have their well earned happily ever after. I mean how is Charley supposed to deal with a potential apocalypse if she's carting around a newborn? Well that issue was kind of resolved but I'm not even sure I like the way that side of things was handled either. It just seems a bit pointless to bring a kid into things and then do what happened in this book.

So this book wasn't as full of action as the previous stories and if I'm honest the first half was kind of boring. I was frustrated with Charley for going against Reyes' wishes and trying to track down his birth parents when he specifically asked her not to but I think I was even more angry at the way that entire plot thread ended and I wanted to smack some sense into the pair of them for keeping such ridiculously stupid secrets from each other. I was also really irritated by Gemma and the way she kept trying to force Charley to accept Denise, the stepmother from hell, back into her life. Denise has been horrible to Charley throughout the entire series, was a monster to her when she was a child and now expects to be allowed to play grandmother of the year. No chance and the fact Gemma was taking Denise's side made me really mad. I have to admit I loved the way things played out with Denise though, I think that probably makes me a terrible person but I don't care because the whole thing was hilarious!

The story did improve towards the end, we finally start getting some answers about Charley's powers and why she's been given them. I still have a lot of questions and some things confused me a bit but we're getting answers and that's great. I'm still not sure how I feel about the twist at the end though, in some ways I think it'll make things really interesting and will hopefully send the series back in the right direction action and plot wise but in others it felt like a bit of a cop out. I guess I'll have to see how it plays out in book nine before I make my mind up. Even though this wasn't my favourite book I'm still hooked enough that I want to know how things play out so I'm definitely going to be continuing the series.

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

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Saturday, 23 March 2019

Review: North Cyprus (Bradt Travel Guide)

Hike up to Buffavento, stroll through the cloisters of Bellapais Abbey or go barefoot on the golden sands of the Karpas Peninsula. Rugged North Cyprus offers charming unspoilt villages, deserted beaches and hidden monasteries - things of the past in the developed south. Revised and expanded, the eighth edition of North Cyprus reveals churches, castles, classical ruins and newly accessible sites. Accompanying this is an entertaining and in-depth overview of the ancient and modern history that has shaped this complex and divided island.

Visit the Bradt website for more information

Review:
I'll admit that I usually go straight for Lonely Planet books when I'm looking for travel guides but since they don't have one specifically for North Cyprus (just for the island as a whole) I ended up choosing this Bradt one and being very happy with it.

This is a pretty comprehensive guide to North Cyprus full of interesting background information on the island. There is so much history to uncover in Cyprus and this guide includes a timeline of important events dating from 6000BC right through to more recent years. The division between the Turkish controlled North and Greek controlled South of the island is complex and versions of events are likely to differ depending on whether you ask someone from Greek or Turkish descent but the information included in this guide is factual and seems pretty non-biased which I appreciated.

As well as the history of the island you'll also find information on the types of flora and fauna you can expect to see, detailed information about the different regions in the North and notes about most of the main tourist attractions as well as the usual tourist tips and info you'd expect from a tour guide and some handy Turkish language hints. There are countless mosques, churches, monasteries, castles and even Roman ruins to explore, beautiful beaches (I wish we'd travelled at the right time to see the turtles who come every year to lay their eggs), wonderful scenery and friendly people. The North side of the island is much poorer than the South so they rely on tourism to boost their economy and because of that they're really very warm and welcoming.

Cyprus really is a beautiful island and the North is far less built up than the South which actually made it a really nice place to visit, you won't find western chains of shops and restaurants there (although everything is still priced in Euros so I'd recommend taking those not Turkish Lira) and it's far less unspoiled than most tourist destinations. This was really noticeable in the capital city Lefkoşa (Turkish) / Nicosia (Greek) which is split in two by the green line, a barbwire barricaded no mans land that marks the boarder between the North and South. If you have your passport you can walk across the boarder in certain places after passing through two checkpoints and as soon as you cross to the Greek south side you'll see an immediate difference spotting chains like Starbucks and KFC that are completely absent in the North.

This guide was published in 2015 so I expect some of the hotel and restaurant information is probably out of date by now but we did a week long coach touring trip that took us around most of the North so we didn't really need that information anyway. It did include information about most of the places we visited and although our tour guide was extremely knowledgable it was nice to be able to look up extra information in the book too and have it as a reference guide to look back on now we're home. If you're looking for a guide for Northern Cyprus then I'd highly recommend this one and the island itself is well worth paying a visit to.

Source: Purchased

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Friday, 22 March 2019

Review: Salvatore - Cecy Robson

Desperate men do desperate things . . .

Salvatore Torre is a dangerous man. If you’ve lived the life Sal has, rage is to be expected and maybe so is heart. After his father killed his mother in a jealous rage, Sal was left to raise his two younger brothers, becoming a parent long before he was ready.

Desperate for money to support his family, Sal sought help from his old friend, Vincent Maggiano, the son of New Jersey’s top crime boss being groomed to take over his ailing father’s empire.

Sal never planned to join the mob. He also never planned to fall for his brother’s sweet and ultra conservative counselor, Adrianna Daniels.

Aedry isn’t the type of girl Sal is usually drawn to. Her skirts are longer, her hair is tamer, and her heels aren’t clear. But he can’t deny the attraction he feels. And Salvatore’s dark, sexy, and dangerous persona is the exact opposite of the clean-cut business men who usually catch Aedry’s attention.

Neither planned on a life of crime nor did they plan on love. But now, both are in too far.

In Too Far Series:
Salvatore

Visit Cecy Robson's website for more information.

Review:
I've been a fan of Cecy Robson's books since she first started writing her Weird Girls urban fantasy series and I've followed as she moved into writing contemporary romances too. I already knew she writes excellent conflicted heroes but this time she's taken things a step darker as Salvatore is an enforcer for the mob. Don't go into this expecting it to be too dark though, Salvatore has done a lot of things he isn't proud of but he's never killed anyone and we don't see a huge amount of his gang life on page. There are a few scenes with his boss Vincent where lines are crossed and murder is involved but Salvatore is never the one pulling the trigger.

Salvatore never wanted to join the mob, he was actually training as an MMA fighter and close to hitting the big time but when his father brutally murdered his mother before killing himself Salvatore's life was turned upside-down overnight. Salvatore would to anything to protect his younger brothers Apollo and Gianno but he desperately needed money to fight for custody of them and stop them being swallowed up in a system he didn't trust to keep them safe. He turned to his childhood friend Vincent for help but that left him indebted to the son and heir of one of New Jersey's top crime bosses. Salvator's life is a dangerous one and he knows it's only a matter of time before he's forced to cross a line he can never come back from.

Aedry is the total opposite of Salvatore, she's shy, sweet and innocent with a heart of gold and a desperate need to help people. She is a guidance counsellor at the school Apollo and Gianno attend and she reaches out to Salvatore when his brothers get in trouble for fighting and skipping classes. The attraction between Aedry and Salvatore is instant but Salvatore is unwilling to pull her into his dangerous world and Aedry knows she'd never be able to hold the attention of someone so magnetic. Instead she focuses on helping his brothers and by doing that she starts to turn the whole family's lives around.

I have to admit I got a little frustrated that Salvatore kept pushing Aedry away but not giving her the full information on why he didn't feel good enough for her. He was trying to be noble but he was keeping so many secrets that she wasn't able to make an informed decision about whether she wanted to be in his life or not. I did think their romance was incredibly sweet though, I loved the interactions between the whole family and the way she became a motherly figure for Salvatore's brothers. She brought a lot of stability to all of their lives and I liked how protective they became of her when they thought Salvatore wasn't treating her right. Aedry put up with a lot from Salvatore, there were times when I wanted her to push back at him harder but in the end she did stand her ground and make the best choice for her own peace of mind.

The ending seemed a little too easy considering the situation Salvatore was in at the beginning but I really liked how things turned out for them as a family so I'm willing to overlook that. I did really enjoy the story and I'm looking forward to the next book in this series which I hope will be about Lucca and Autumn.

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

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Blog Tour: Salvatore - Cecy Robson


SALVATORE

by Cecy Robson
Publication Date: March 13, 2019
Genres: Adult, Gritty, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone


AVAILABLE NOW!



SYNOPSIS

Desperate men do desperate things . . .

Salvatore Torre is a dangerous man. If you’ve lived the life Sal has, rage is to be expected and maybe so is heart. After his father killed his mother in a jealous rage, Sal was left to raise his two younger brothers, becoming a parent long before he was ready.

Desperate for money to support his family, Sal sought help from his old friend, Vincent Maggiano, the son of New Jersey’s top crime boss being groomed to take over his ailing father’s empire.

Sal never planned to join the mob. He also never planned to fall for his brother’s sweet and ultra conservative counselor, Adrianna Daniels.

Aedry isn’t the type of girl Sal is usually drawn to. Her skirts are longer, her hair is tamer, and her heels aren’t clear. But he can’t deny the attraction he feels. And Salvatore’s dark, sexy, and dangerous persona is the exact opposite of the clean-cut business men who usually catch Aedry’s attention.

Neither planned on a life of crime nor did they plan on love. But now, both are in too far.



ABOUT CECY ROBSON:


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

Connect with Cecy online:


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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Review: The Fever King - Victoria Lee

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Feverwake Series:
The Fever King
The Electric Heir (2020)

Visit Victoria Lee's website for more information

Review:
Set in a distant future after a worldwide plague wiped out a large chunk of the population and you'll find America has split into several different countries. Noam is an undocumented immigrant living in Carolinia who spends his time fighting against the government to try and get better rights for refugees. With regular outbreaks of the magical plague outside the boarders Carolinia is determined to keep people out and conditions in the refugee camps are just getting worse and worse. When the plague hits Noam's camp he is one of the only survivors and his newly gained, and incredibly rare, technomancer magical talent makes him a valuable tool that the government wants to use. Noam is determined to use his ability against the government but first he needs their help to learn how to use his ability.

I'll admit this was a total cover buy, I hadn't heard of the series before but when it popped up in the first reads program that cover and the blurb had me totally sold. I had very high hopes going in so I really hate to say this but I did end up feeling a little disappointed. There were a lot of really interesting ideas here but I don't think they were executed particularly well, the world building came in the form of sporadic info dumps that were boring to read and hard to understand. Even by the end of the book I didn't feel like I had a strong grasp of what happened to splinter America or even how the much of the world had survived the magical plague. I just have no idea how many countries are left or what kind of state they are in.

One bonus I'll give the story is that it does have good representation, the main character is mixed race and bisexual, there is a gay romance and it also raises interesting talking points about refugees and the way they are often demonised for doing nothing more than trying to survive. I just wish the world building had been better and the plot had been more cohesive. I also felt that the major plot twists were too well telegraphed because I saw them coming from a mile away. I liked the characters well enough but I don't feel particularly invested in their story and even though it ended on a pretty big cliffhanger I currently have very little interest in picking up the sequel. This is Victoria Lee's debut and I should probably give it some leeway because of that so that's why it gets 3 stars rather than 2 but unless I see some really glowing reviews for the next book I doubt I'll be continuing the series.

Source: Purchased

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Review: Reunion in Death - J.D. Robb

Murder was work. Some went about the job devotedly, others carelessly. And for some, murder was a labour of love.

On the day of his sixtieth birthday, Walter C. Pettibone is blissfully unaware of his impending death. His final act in life is to accept a glass of champagne by a woman with startling green eyes. A big mistake.

Homicide lieutenant Eve Dallas knows she faces a deadly foe - one with a frightening vendetta. And as the chase draws Eve dangerously close to her own dark past, her focus slips.

But then Eve's billionaire husband's name is put on Julianna's fatal list - and Eve ups her game. Luring Julianna into a dangerous trap which puts everyone at risk, Eve finds herself fighting for more than justice.

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

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

Review:
I've totally fallen in love with this series and lately I just can't seem to get enough of Eve and Roarke. Reunion in Death has a lot of emotional upheaval for Eve, as always she has a killer to track down but in this book she's also forced to face more of her past when the case takes her to Dallas to interview a potential witness. I always find it really painful seeing Eve relive her childhood traumas and this book was even more heart wrenching than the others but it's good to see her learning to rely on Roarke for support and even turn to Dr Mira for extra help when she needs it. She'll never get over what happened but hopefully she will eventually find better coping mechanisms and stop her regularly recurring nightmares.

While this book was quite dark in places it also had plenty of the humour fans of the series already know to expect. Eve has decided Peabody is ready for more responsibility and she gives her a cold case to work on her own. I love seeing how far Peabody has come under Eve's watchful eye and seeing Eve as a teacher shows us a different side to her character. We also have a visit from Peabody's parents which I have to admit was a bit on the weird side, Peabody's mother somehow manages to manipulate Eve into inviting them to dinner and then she manages to get Roarke to invite them both to stay which was surprising to say the least. I'm not sure why they'd choose to spend their time staying with Eve and Roarke not with their daughter - well the mansion, swimming pool and incredible food might have something to do with it! - but it was still odd. There were some interesting conversations while they visited but I didn't like the way they ended up making Eve feel uncomfortable in her own home though.

I found the murderer in this book quite fascinating though, it's not often we go into a book in this series already knowing who the killer is but that's exactly what we have here. Eve has already caught this murderer once but she's now been released on parole and immediately gone back to her old ways. What's interesting here is seeing Eve work out how to capture someone who has spent years planning her crimes and who hasn't left them many clues to work with. It was also interesting to come across a female serial killer, not something we see often in real life or fiction. Julianna was a worthy opponent for Eve and their battle of wits was extremely entertaining.

It's not often that I get 14 books into a series and still find myself desperately wanting more so J.D. Robb is doing a wonderful job on that front and I have a feeling it's not actually going to take me too long to catch up on the remaining 30 or so books that have already been published!

Source: Purchased

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