Friday, 29 November 2019

Review: New York to Dallas - J.D. Robb

New York homicide cop Eve Dallas is plunged into a terrifying nightmare, where her past and the present are about to collide.

Eve Dallas was just a rookie cop when her instincts led her to the apartment of Isaac McQueen, a murderer and paedophile, who was keeping young girls in cages.

Now a homicide Lieutenant, Eve is one of the most distinguished officers in the city - and then she learns that McQueen has escaped from jail.

Bent on revenge against Eve and with a need to punish more 'bad girls' McQueen heads to Dallas, Texas - the place where Eve was found as a child, the place where she killed her own abusive monster when she was only eight-years-old.

With Eve and her husband Roarke in pursuit of McQueen, everything is on the line and secrets from the past are about to be explosively revealed.

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 available in the Mirror, Mirror anthology or separately)
Concealed in Death
Festive in Death
Obsession 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
Vendetta in Death
Golden in Death

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

Review:
As a murder cop Eve deals with death on a daily basis, she sees the worst of the worst and she does it without flinching because she's made it her mission to stop the bad guys and protect others. Thanks to her past it always hits a little closer to home when children are involved though and this case is one of her worst yet. She was a rookie she first came up against murderer and pedophile Isaac McQueen, she rescued the children he had kept locked in cages but was too late for the ones he had already killed and even the survivors had to live with what had been done to them. McQueen should have been imprisoned for life but when he manages to escape he goes straight back to his old ways, but this time he also has a vendetta against the woman who took his freedom from him. He wants to make Eve suffer and he's had enough time to dig into her past and know just how to hurt her the most. Luring her to Dallas by kidnapping one of his previous victims McQueen is going to remind Eve exactly where she came from and if he has his way he'll make her live through her worst nightmares all over again.

New York to Dallas was definitely the most intense book of the series so far, McQueen's crimes were horrific to read about even though J.D. Robb doesn't go too far into the gory details. It was also really difficult to see Eve dragged back to a place that has so many painful memories for her. She has come so far over recent books and seemed to be finally putting the past behind her but it's all brought right back to the front and centre here. She no longer has to deal with this alone though, she has Roarke, Mira, Peabody and the rest of her team right beside her and no matter how much time McQueen has spent planning this he's forgotten how smart Eve is and how good her instincts are.

While this was a hard read at times it was also really uplifting to see Eve and Roarke working through things together, she's supported him facing his past and his family in Ireland and now he's doing the same for her. There were also a few really great scenes with Mira and I think Eve is finally starting to understand how much the other woman cares for her. We also get some answers to questions about Eve's past that came up in quite a shocking way. There was probably a little less humour in this one than in most of the books because Peabody has been left behind in New York but she's not completely absent from the story and I think this was a part of Eve's story that needed to be a little more serious.

It's going to be interesting to see if this trip to Dallas was cathartic for Eve or whether revisiting her past is going to cause a set back to her mental health as the series continues. Whatever happens she's got people on her side that will help her get through it which is the most important thing. I'm so totally hooked on these books and I can't wait to carry on reading.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Thursday, 28 November 2019

Review: The Journals of Octavia Hollows: Books 1-6 - Stacey Rourke

With a touch of her hand, Octavia Hollows can restore life. Yet, she couldn’t save the man she loved from the horrific accident that stole him from her. Octavia thought she could outrun the pain, but ghosts from the past refuse to be silenced. Out of options, she chooses to retrace her wayward journey across the country in search of answers. Surrounded by baffling mysteries of the undead, what she learns about herself along the way might become her greatest weapon.

This six novella series chronicles Octavia's adventures in:
Wake the Dead
Dead Man's Hand
Caught Dead
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Dead Ringer
Dead as a Doornail

"This is Rourke at her finest: sassy and completely unapologetic. Proving again why she's a powerhouse in this industry."
-USA Today Best Selling Author Rue Volley

"This book has it all: a kickass heroine, loads of action... and a pig named Bacon."
-NYT & USA Today Best Selling Author Karen Lynch

The Journals of Octavia Hollows Series:
How the Dead Lie (Prequel novella, this is also part of the Havenwood Falls multi-author series)
Wake the Dead
Dead Man's Hand
Caught Dead
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Dead Ringer
Dead as a Doornail
The Journals of Octavia Hollows: Books 1-6 (Bind Up Collection Containing the first 6 novellas)

Visit Stacey Rourke's website for more information

Review:
This book is actually a collection of the first 6 novellas in the Octavia Hollows series by Stacey Rourke. I listened to the audiobook which narrated by Brenda Scott Wlazlo who I thought did a brilliant job with the different character voices. I often find my mind drifts when I'm listening to audiobooks but she did a great job of holding my attention and I ended up devouring the whole series far faster than I usually listen to audiobooks.

I'll talk about each one separately below but lets start with a brief overview of the series. Octavia is a necromancer with a rather unusual ability. Rather than raising a zombie like creature she is actually able to restore a dead body to its original healthy state and the person she raises is effectively given a whole new chance at life. Her life was turned upside down by the death of her fiancé Elba, that wouldn't usually be a big problem for her but when someone steals his body before she can reanimate him it all goes to hell. Now Octavia's only focus in life is to try and figure out where Elba's body is so that she can bring him back from the dead.

This was a fun and light hearted urban fantasy series that I couldn't read fast enough and I really, really hope that Stacey Rourke decides to write more stories set in this world.

Wake the Dead

This is a great introduction to Octavia and this world. We get to find out about her ability to raise the dead and meet the most adorable sidekick in her pet pig called Bacon. The story starts with Octavia retracing her steps to Seattle looking for clues about Elba's missing body. While there she is asked for help by a desperate family whose children both seem to be dying. Add in a dead nurse, a visit to the morgue and a dangerous curse and Octavia is going to need to keep her wits about her if she wants to survive this adventure.

We only find out a little about Octavia's past here but we start to understand how alone she has been since falling out with the Coven who raised her until she was 16.

Dead Man's Hand

The second story sees Octavia retrace her steps to Las Vegas where she's hoping her old boss might have some answers for her about the man who is stalking her. We get to see Bacon cause chaos on a construction site before Octavia gets herself caught up in a new supernatural case after she reanimates an ex gambler who was burned alive. She's trying to stay under the radar of her Coven, dodge the police and a mob hitman while trying to figure out who is behind the murders so it's probably no surprise that things get a little crazy.

I'm really enjoying getting to know Octavia, she may be on a mission but that never stops her from trying to help others along the way.

Caught Dead

The next stop of Octavia's journey sees her in Galveston, Texas. She's still searching for Elba's body but at the same time she's also trying to find out more about the mysterious stalker who seems to be shadowing her every move. While here she witnesses a body being recovered from a fishing net but he's too far gone even for her magic abilities. Unable to ask the victim directly about his murder she has to do a bit more digging on her own here and soon gets caught up in a tale of sea monsters.

This story gives us a lot more information about Octavia's past as she uncovers things about herself and her family that she'd never heard of before. She was an orphan before the Coven took her in but this gives her a chance to find out about the parents she doesn't even remember. It ends on quite a cliffhanger so I was really pleased that I had the entire series on hand ready to continue!

Drop Dead Gorgeous

After her abduction in the previous story Octavia is still at the mercy of a cold blooded siren who would happily see her dead. With Bacon and her new friend Squidface being held hostage and used against her Octavia didn't have much choice but to agree to travel to meet the rest of the siren pod. The last thing she's expecting is to find them running a travelling beauty pageant where they target pervy old men to feed from but it's actually a pretty perfect way for the sirens to feed without going on a killing spree.

Octavia finds herself caught up in siren politics after stumbling across a double homicide and she'll have to keep her wits about her if she wants to save her friends in time. This ends in another cliffhanger so again I was ready to dive straight into the next story.

Dead Ringer

Knowing that her stalker has abducted her entire coven has put Octavia's hunt for Elba's body on hold. She will do anything to save the women who raised her and her search for them begins in New Orleans. Retracing her steps seems to be working well for her so far so she heads back to the boxing gym she used to work at. When she realises her old boss and one of the new fighters Reid have got themselves in some kind of trouble with an underground fight club she knows she has to step in and help but she's definitely going to end up with more than she bargained for this time.

All the way through this series I've been rooting for Octavia to track down Elba and bring him back to life but for the first time I'm starting to wonder whether that's actually the best option for her. She had some great chemistry going on with Reid so although nothing has really happened there so far I find myself almost hoping that will change in the future. We're definitely getting closer to a resolution one way or the other when it comes to Elba though so I couldn't dive into the final book fast enough.

Dead as a Doornail

Her journey has come full circle and now Octavia is back in Tallahassee, Florida, the place where Elba died and where her stalker is now holding her coven captive. Reid has travelled with her wanting to help her and pay back the debt he feels he owes her but her focus remains on finding Elba's body and rescuing her coven.

I'm not going to say too much about this final instalment because I don't want to give spoilers but I will say I was really happy with the way this series ended (although I'm still hoping for more in the future!). This was an intense part of Octavia's journey, she has to face some terrible choices and is forced to face up to both her past and what she wants from her future.

I had so much fun reading this series, I ended up devouring all 6 novellas in less than 24 hours because they kept me totally hooked from beginning to end. I loved the colourful characters and the humour and while this may have been my first Stacey Rourke series it definitely won't be the last!

Source: Received audiobook for review

Other reviews of this book:
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Review: How the Dead Lie - Stacey Rourke

A necromancer in a butcher shop. What could possibly go wrong?

Haunted by a horrifying past, Octavia Hollows has lived her life on the move. Like all supernatural beings, when she crosses into Havenwood Falls, she sets off the town’s protective wards. Unlike with most, the officials take immediate action, recognizing her as the powerful necromancer who, as a child, raised the dead in a gruesome public spectacle.

Still, they give Octavia a chance. Ninety days probation. No dark magic. Achieve that, and she will be granted residency. They even secure employment for her at Pyntz’s Butcher Shoppe.

A necromancer working in a butcher shop. What could possibly go wrong?

Just when she settles in and begins opening up to the possibility of a forever home, Octavia discovers a dead body stuffed in the shop’s meat freezer. He’s nude. He looks like a cover model. And now, thanks to Octavia momentarily losing control of her abilities, he’s alive … again.

Fearing someone would go so far as to kill to drive her out of Havenwood Falls, Octavia teams up with Willie, the resurrected hottie, to solve the mystery of his murder. They must work fast, though, before more corpses appear. Otherwise, Octavia could find herself booted from town along with an army of raised undead.

_____________________________

Welcome to the secluded mountain town of Havenwood Falls, home to sexy men, strong women, and neighbors who bite. Discover supernatural mystery, thrills, and romance in a place where everyone has a deep, dark, and often deadly secret.

This is a stand-alone paranormal murder mystery in the world of Havenwood Falls, a collaborative series in the fantasy genre featuring a variety of supernatural creatures. Each author writes a stand-alone story, so they can be read in any order.

The Journals of Octavia Hollows Series:
How the Dead Lie (Prequel novella, this is also part of the Havenwood Falls multi-author series)
Wake the Dead
Dead Man's Hand
Caught Dead
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Dead Ringer
Dead as a Doornail
The Journals of Octavia Hollows: Books 1-6 (Bind Up Collection Containing the first 6 novellas)

Visit Stacey Rourke's website for more information

Review:
How the Dead Lie is an introduction to Stacey Rourke's Journals of Octavia Hollows series, if you've already read the other novellas this gives you the chance to see first hand how she met her adorable sidekick Bacon and learn more about her journey started. It's also part of the Havenwood Falls series, I have to admit I've not read any of the other books in that series but as far as I can tell it's a multi-author series linked by a common location. From the characters we meet in this book it seems like Havenwood Falls is populated by a large range of supernatural creatures from werewolves and witches through to goblins and vampires and beyond. I'd actually be interested to try some other books in the series, it seems like a great way to find some new to me authors.

Anyway, I picked this up because I love Octavia Hollows and I spotted this additional story listed on Stacey Rourke's website. Octavia's story is one of those fun, quirky urban fantasy series that has you giggling your way through as Octavia stumbles from one disastrous situation to the next. This introduction to her world is no difference, I mean what else do you expect when you give a necromancer a job in a butchers shop? Hopefully this story will introduce some Havenwood Falls fans to a new series just like it's helped me discover Havenwood Falls.

Source: Purchased

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.

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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Review: The Lunatics: Volume One - Navessa Allen

Layla Fitzpatrick lives a simple life, for a werewolf. And that's just how she likes it. Her childhood was less than ideal. She'd like to spend her adult years flying under the radar of more powerful preternatural creatures. Because she knows from experience what happens when they notice you.

Everything changes one early summer night when she attends a ritual bonding ceremony meant to join two werewolves together for life. Midway through, the spell becomes corrupted and she finds herself unexpectedly mated to the stuffiest shifter she's ever laid eyes on.

Michael Kolbeck is more man than wolf. He spends his days in a skyscraper, building his family's empire. At night, he prowls the streets of Boston, a city where shifters, witches, and vampires walk a delicate tightrope of ceasefire masquerading as peace.

Little do they know that Layla's arrival will act as the spark that ignites the fire, and that thin veneer of peace is about to vanish.

Visit Navessa Allen's website for more information

Review:
I'm a huge paranormal romance and urban fantasy fan so I knew going in that this was going to be just my kind of story but it's like Navessa Allen has been rooting around inside my head and plucked out every single item on my wish list for this kind of book then meshed it all together into The Lunatics. We have a strong, independent, intelligent heroine who knows what she wants from life and isn't afraid to go looking for it. Then there's a hero who is alpha without being over the top about it, he's sexy but in a more subtle way than a lot of heroes you read about and he doesn't mind when a woman is physically stronger than him. Throw in fantastic world building, a society where race, sexuality and gender seem to matter very little and a great cast of side characters and I'm hooked.

Layla and Michael are thrown together by circumstance, having a mate is not something either of them was ready for but they both accept the situation when they're accidentally bonded in a ceremony gone wrong. Neither of them is willing to rush into a relationship no matter how attracted they are to each other or how much their new bond is messing with their emotions but they're not pushing each other away or fighting it either. Instead they take time to get to know each other, they gradually build trust between them and they discuss the possibilities for their future like adults so that they're both fully on board with every choice they make. I love the slow build of their relationship, the chemistry is simmering along nicely in the background pretty much from first sight but it takes a long time before they're willing to take that step into a physical relationship.

Layla is really laid back and much more relaxed than Michael, she fully accepts her werewolf side and is happy to spend time both as a wolf and as a human. She enjoys spending time with her family and her pack and is happy to live a fairly simple life. Michael on the other hand has grown up learning how to suppress his wolf instincts, his family live in the city and they spend nearly all their time as humans. It's a careful balancing act in Boston with territory split between the werewolves, vampires and witches while the human population is completely oblivious to their very existence. For Layla living in the city is a real test, the sights, sounds and scents are completely overwhelming to her senses and she's walking on a tightrope over a field full of political landmines having no idea what wrong move could set off an explosion. Michael tries hard to help her fit in but it's fair to say his family are a nightmare and I think things are only going to get worse before they get better.

While the story doesn't end on a cliffhanger it did leave me desperate to get my hands on Volume Two so I'll be eagerly awaiting the next instalment. I have a feeling this is going to become one of my favourite series!

In interests of full disclosure I have to point out that Navessa is a very close friend of mine, however that hasn't affected this review or my rating. I purchased this book myself and these are my honest opinions of the story.

Source: Purchased

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.

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Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Review: Treachery in Death - J.D. Robb

'There's another body on a slab, Dallas. Dirty cop or not, he's dead, and she's responsible. She has to be shut downbefore she decides to clean house again.'

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is about to come up against her most formidable criminal yet: Lieutenant Renee Oberman, daughter of a New York Police legend. After eighteen years on the force, Oberman is efficient, decorated - and utterly corrupt.

When Eve's partner Peabody overhears a damning conversation between Oberman and one of her flunkies, Peabody, Eve and her husband Roarke are soon on the case.

Together they must find the hard evidence needed to bring Oberman and all her dirty cops down - knowing all the while that she will kill anyone who gets in her way.

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 available in the Mirror, Mirror anthology or separately)
Concealed in Death
Festive in Death
Obsession 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
Vendetta in Death
Golden in Death

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

Review:
Eve deals with murderers every day, she sees evil in all it's forms and she has dedicated her life to stopping it so there is very little that makes her as angry as the idea of a corrupt cop. Let alone a whole squad full of them. When Peabody overhears a conversation between Lieutenant Renee Oberman and one of her lackeys where they are arranging the murder of one of their informants she goes straight to Eve for help. But Oberman is a decorated officer with eighteen years of service to the NYPSD and her father is still a legend even after his retirement. Making any kind of allegations without having serious evidence to back them up would lead to all sorts of political fallout but going up against someone so experienced, and so obviously willing to kill anyone who stands in their way, makes this the most dangerous case Eve and Peabody have worked yet.

I know you're probably sick of hearing me rave about this series by now but these books just keep getting better and better and Treachery in Death was one of my favourites so far. There is such a sense of foreboding while you're reading and there were honestly times I was worried that not all of my favourite characters would survive. This is the case of a lifetime, not only is Eve pitting herself against a fellow Lieutenant but she's also trying to root out any other members of Oberman's squad who are dirty. She has the backing of her team and her superiors but everything has to be done totally by the book and there is no margin for errors.

We've seen Eve throw herself into danger more times than I can count but I will never tire of seeing her pit herself against an intelligent enemy and still manage to remain one step ahead. Alongside the fabulous hunt for corrupt cops Eve still has other cases to work and we get to see her show once again how great she is at her job but also what a fantastic leader she is. She works hard to make sure her squad are the best at what they do and to show them that she will always have their backs. While Eve may dealing with a difficult case this book still has all the humour and love of the previous instalments, the fun banter is there with Peabody, McNab, Feeny and the others, Roarke is still pretty much the perfect guy and Eve proves again why she's one of the best cops in NYC.

Source: Purchased

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

Paperback / Kindle:

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Review: Possession in Death - J.D. Robb

An exclusive J.D. Robb short story.

'The devil killed my body. I cannot fight. I cannot free her. You must. You are the one.'

A dying Romanian woman's words send a chill down Lieutenant Eve Dallas' spine. And soon Eve notices some interesting side-effects: visions of the deceased and even fluency in Russian.

Against her better judgment, Eve is convinced the spirit of the old woman is inside her, unable to rest until she's found her great-granddaughter who vanished two months ago. Desperate to be back to normal, Eve realises a string of young women have gone missing, and if Eve doesn't find them, no one will.

Set between Indulgence in Death and Treachery in Death.

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 available in the Mirror, Mirror anthology or separately)
Concealed in Death
Festive in Death
Obsession 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
Vendetta in Death
Golden in Death

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

Review:
Possession In Death is a novella available either as an individual ebook, or, as a bind up in print or ebook, that also includes the novella Chaos in Death. I read it as part of the bind up but I'm reviewing both stories separately as I'm reading the whole In Death series in order and these stories don't follow each other chronologically.

This story picks up immediately after the end of Indulgence in Death, we even get to see Eve hosting the barbecue she was arranging to cheer up Morris, but the case is a brand new one. When a dying woman begs Eve to find her missing granddaughter Eve finds herself making a promise that she might not be able to keep.

I love that the novellas in this series are a little more on the paranormal end of the spectrum, we've had possible ghosts and demons before and usually there's a plausible explanation but here we see a rather convincing case of possession. I'm keeping this review deliberately vague but it was another fab instalment to the series, I'm so glad I decided not to skip the novellas because they're always such fun to read.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Possession in Death Kindle Or Bind Up Paperback / Kindle that also includes Chaos in Death:

Friday, 22 November 2019

Review: The Black Prince - Ariana Nash

In the war-torn rubble of the human world, can a rebel elf and a lost dragon prince find love, or will a dark threat tear them and their world apart forever?

A new land, a new court, a new king, but some things never change.

Broken in all ways, Akiem fled his life as the amethyst prince only to land at the mercy of the beautiful but deadly diamond king, Luceran.

Akiem knows dragons. He knows he’ll die today, tomorrow, whenever Luceran’s executioner brings down his axe, and maybe it’s all he deserves. He’s ready for death, craves it even, like he craves the elf with flame-red hair and a sly smile, the damn elf whose stolen kiss lit Akiem up in ways he didn’t know were possible.

Akiem doesn’t do males and he definitely doesn’t do elves. But some things do change.

Drifter, mercenary, lover — Zane is all those things. He’ll do almost anything for coin. But he doesn't do dragons and he definitely doesn’t do love.

It's not such a bad life for an elf. Better than the rest of his kin, living under the rule and whims of the dragon king, Luceran.

Working as a bodyguard in Bayston should have been quick coin in his pocket before moving on. But King Luceran has a new toy he parades at court. A dragon with eyes of gold and scales as black as night.

He probably shouldn’t have kissed him. Definitely should have killed him.

And now, moving on is the farthest thought from Zane's mind. Because Luceran's new toy is not like the other dragonkin. And maybe, just maybe, the terrible, beautiful beast has the key to freeing all the persecuted elves and unlocking Zane's restless heart.

Zane doesn't do love and he doesn't do dragons.

But with the arrival of the Black Prince, everything is about to change.

***

The Black Prince is part of the Silk & Steel world and takes place after events in Silk & Steel. It can be read as a standalone.

Silk & Steel Series:
Sealed with a Kiss (Prequel short story)
Silk & Steel
Iron & Fire
Blood & Ice
Lost & Found (Novella)
The Black Prince

Visit Ariana Nash's website or Pippa DaCosta's website for more information

Review:
If you'd asked me at the beginning of the Silk & Steel series if I wanted to read a whole book about Lysander's brother Akiem the answer would have been a resounding no, but by the time I'd read Blood and Ice, I'd definitely changed my mind. Anyway, as you might have guessed from the title, The Black Prince picks up Akiem's story after the end of the original trilogy. It was a very broken version of Akiem that fled across the ocean trying to escape his past and what he found there was a world very different to the one he grew up in but once more it's a world where he has no control over his own life.

Akiem has caught the eye of the dragon Luceran and nobody tells the diamond king no and lives. All Akiem can do is try to find a place for himself in Luceran's court, he just wants to fit in and not draw too much attention to himself but that becomes increasingly difficult when the king's brother starts trying to draw him into a conspiracy. Mercenary Zane is an elf who drifts from one place to the next earning whatever cash he can along the way but when he discovers a secret he's horrified by the actions of one of his own people. Then his friend is abducted and Zane knows he'll do whatever it takes to mount a rescue, even if that does mean seducing the king's latest pet dragon.

I'm not going to say much more about the story so you'll just have to read the book for yourself. What I will say is that Ariana Nash is extremely good at making me care about characters that are flawed. We all saw Akiem do terrible things in previous books yet I found myself really feeling for him here and wanting him to find some kind of happiness. After all Akiem grew up with the same mother as Lysander and although he was the favoured son that doesn't mean his life was easy. He did terrible things just to survive but the difference is he feels guilt for what he's done, he's now trying to make amends for his previous actions and that makes it much easier to forgive him. Zane was another great character, someone who doesn't always make the right choices but who tries to do the right thing. He's seen a lot of suffering in his life but that hasn't jaded him past the point where he can see the good in others.

This story was a great addition to the Silk & Steel world. It's set in a different country so it can be read as a stand alone but I think you'll appreciate how far Akiem has come much more if you know his story from previous books. All of the other characters are totally new though and there are definitely some interesting ones there so I'm kind of hoping we might end up getting a few more stories set in this world.

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

Other Reviews:
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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Review: The Bear's Fated Mate - Vivian Arend

He’s going to pick someone perfectly wrong for him—because fate isn’t in charge of his world!

A stand alone title in a brand-new shifter trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend.

As head of security for the family company, polar bear shifter Alex Borealis has intel warning something big is about to happen. His prime suspect? Tantalizing, infuriating Lara Lazuli, youngest daughter of Borealis Gems’ main competitor. But when mating fever hits, he decides she’s the perfect one to turn to. They’ve got chemistry hot enough to melt the polar ice caps, but he doesn’t trust her enough for a permanent connection to form.

Being with Alex is one step shy of torture for Lara. As a wolf shifter, she scented the truth the instant she met him months ago—he’s her mate. But she’s not about to trap anyone into being with her, especially not a man who thinks she’s up to no good. Add in her own suspicions of wrong-doing in her pack and Lara’s caught between heaven and hell.

But tangled sheets lead to real communication, and a bond of friendship forms that neither expected. When Lara asks for help, Alex finds himself living in the pack house, scaring off random Alpha wolves and fighting at her side.

Because the mating fever knows a thing or two about fate and forever.

Borealis Bears Series:
The Bear's Chosen Mate
The Bear's Fated Mate
The Bear's Forever Mate (February 2020)

Visit Vivian Arend's website for more information

Review:
The Bear's Fated Mate is the second book in Vivian Arend's Borealis Bears series staring three polar bear brothers. We already saw James find his mate in The Bear's Chosen Mate and now it's his older brother Alex's turn to find love. Their meddling grandfather is determined to see all of his grandsons settled down and he's not above playing dirty to get what he wants.

Alex is head of security for the family's firm and he's pretty sure that their main competitors are up to something. He's been keeping an eye on Lara, the youngest daughter of the rival firm's founding family, and he's sure she's hiding something which makes him determined to root out all of her secrets. The fact that they have great chemistry is just a bonus, especially since he can feel his mating fever coming on. Who better to burn off the fever with than a wolf shifter from a rival family who couldn't possibly be his mate?

Lara is worried that her family are about to do something stupid and start some kind of war with Borealis Gems. She's been trying to find out what her sister is hiding but so far all she's managed to achieve is catching Alex's attention. Spending time with Alex is a unique kind of torture for her, all her wolf instincts tell her that he's her fated mate but Alex has no interest in a long term relationship and she doesn't want to get her heart broken no matter how much she longs to accept his advances. With Alex about to go into mating fever things are going to get complicated!

I think I enjoyed this even more than the first book which is saying something because the first book was great. I loved the chemistry between Lara and Alex, they fit together really well as a couple and have a lot of similar interests and skills. What's really funny is that Lara, her wolf and his bear all recognise each other as mates but Alex is too stubborn to see what is right under his nose until he nearly looses it. Grandfather Giles is up to his old tricks and meddling in his grandson's affairs but he's not the only family member involved this time and it was brilliant when all of the trickery going on behind the scenes was finally revealed. I enjoyed seeing Alex spending time living amongst the wolf pack and it was fun to see James and Kaylee so loved up too. I'm really looking forward to Cooper's book so I'm glad we only have to wait until February for it to release.

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

Other reviews of this book:
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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Review: Outmatched - Kristen Callihan & Samantha Young

What happens when a boxer finds chemistry with a geek?

Parker Brown can’t believe she needs to hire a fake boyfriend. When she landed her dream job in renewable energy, she thought she’d be entering a world at the forefront of progressive thinking. But the head boss prefers to promote employees who are “settled.” Thankfully, she’s found the perfect candidate, a fellow intellectual looking for some quick cash. What Parker gets is his protective big brother—Rhys Morgan. The tall, muscled ex-boxer with a foul mouth shows up just as her boss does, and now she’s stuck with the manipulative jerk.

Responsibility weighs heavily on Rhys. Now permanently out of the ring, he’s trying to hold together his late father’s gym and keep his younger brother, Dean, on the straight and narrow. To save Dean from himself, Rhys takes his place, ready to give this society girl a piece of his mind. Instead, he finds an opportunity. Even though they can hardly stand each other, posing as Parker’s boyfriend is a win-win deal. She gets to keep her job, and he’ll charm her star-struck boss into sponsoring his gym.

Problem is, they can barely keep their hands off each other. And what started as an easy deal isn’t so easy anymore. Because what future can a rough ex-boxer, afraid to open his heart, and a polished society geek, who has sworn off real relationships, possibly have?

They say opposites attract. These opposites are about to combust on impact.

Visit Kristen Callihan's website or Samantha Young's website for more information

Review:
When two fantastic authors like Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young announce they're going to be writing a book together that book immediately jumps to the top of my wish list. So it's fair to say I went into Outmatched with high expectations but I was still completely blown away by this story. If you love enemies to lovers or pretend relationship type tropes then you really don't want to miss this book.

Parker Brown comes from a privileged upbringing but she's no spoilt princess, instead she's someone who wants to make her own way in the world. She's fully aware of the advantages she's had but she's worked hard to earn her dream job with a renewable energy firm and is desperate to convince her boss's boss to give her a permanent contract. Unfortunately said boss is a misogynistic piece of work who doesn't believe women are good workers if they're not already in a stable, long term relationship. Parker is willing to go to desperate measures to get this job and if that means hiring a fake boyfriend until the contract is signed then that's what she'll have to do.

Rhys Morgan is a retired professional boxer who has focused all of his energy on running the family gym after the death of his father. Unfortunately his father was a gambler and the business is in serious trouble but that won't stop Rhys working hard to fix things. When he hears that some posh rich girl has hired his brother as a fake boyfriend Rhys is livid and determined to put a stop to it but when he finds out that Parker's boss is a huge boxing fan he realises there might be a way to solve both of their problems. He'll be Parker's pretend boyfriend so that she can get the job and hopefully he'll manage to swing sponsorship for his gym at the same time. What could possibly go wrong?

The banter was absolutely everything in Outmatched, sparks fly the minute Parker and Rhys meet as they both rub each other completely the wrong way and the witty jabs continue throughout the story. On the surface this is two people with pretty much nothing in common but sometimes opposites attract and these two are definitely magnets on a collision course. I love that they both gave as good as they got, neither of them ever had the upper hand for long as they challenge each other constantly. The chemistry was there from the very first meeting but this was still a slow build romance as they gradually became friends and then it turned into something much more.

I also really appreciated the lack of unnecessary drama here, this story chooses to focus on building friendship and trust between Parker and Rhys and they always have each other's back as far as the outside world is concerned. The romance was both sweet and super sexy, the story had me smiling the whole way through and I loved side characters like Rhys's brother Dean. I really, really hope this isn't the last we see of Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young in collaboration, their styles melded together seamlessly into one of my favourite contemporary romances of the year.

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

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

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Blog Tour: Outmatched - Kristen Callihan & Samantha Young


Outmatched by Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young
Release Date: November 19, 2019


Outmatched, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by New York Times bestselling authors Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young.

What happens when a boxer finds chemistry with a geek?

Parker Brown can’t believe she needs to hire a fake boyfriend. When she landed her dream job in renewable energy, she thought she’d be entering a world at the forefront of progressive thinking. But the head boss prefers to promote employees who are “settled.” Thankfully, she’s found the perfect candidate, a fellow intellectual looking for some quick cash. What Parker gets is his protective big brother—Rhys Morgan. The tall, muscled ex-boxer with a foul mouth shows up just as her boss does, and now she’s stuck with the manipulative jerk.

Responsibility weighs heavily on Rhys. Now permanently out of the ring, he’s trying to hold together his late father’s gym and keep his younger brother, Dean, on the straight and narrow. To save Dean from himself, Rhys takes his place, ready to give this society girl a piece of his mind. Instead, he finds an opportunity. Even though they can hardly stand each other, posing as Parker’s boyfriend is a win-win deal. She gets to keep her job, and he’ll charm her star-struck boss into sponsoring his gym.

Problem is, they can barely keep their hands off each other. And what started as an easy deal isn’t so easy anymore. Because what future can a rough ex-boxer, afraid to open his heart, and a polished society geek, who has sworn off real relationships, possibly have?

They say opposites attract. These opposites are about to combust on impact.


Download your copy today!

Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/OutmatchedKCSY



Excerpt:

AngryTink: Hey. This is Parker. Parker Brown.

My phone dinged loudly. I fumbled around my bed, finally finding the damn thing under a pillow. Wiping the sleep off my face, I rolled onto my back and read the text that had pulled me out of a pleasant sleep. I smiled. It was just so … Parker. Settling in, I answered her.

RhysThis: Don’t have to tell me who you are. Your number is programmed on my phone. What do you want?

AngryTink: Well, good morning to you too, Happy Pants.

My smile turned into an evil grin. The girl was always going to punch back and make it count.

RhysThis: That’s Mr. Happy Pants. Though, TBH, my pants aren’t too happy at the moment. Want to help me out with that?

AngryTink: Tempting. Truly. But, no.

RhysThis: RU sure? ‘Cuz Happy Pants Rhys is much more agreeable than Sad That He Had to Self-Satisfy Rhys.

AngryTink: Would you please behave?

RhysThis: I’m not the one who mentioned the emotional state of my pants.

AngryTink: ARGH!

A chuckle rumbled in my chest as my thumbs tapped out a response I knew would piss her off more.

RhysThis: Was that even English? Honestly, Ms. Brown, I thought you were educated.

She took a moment to answer. I could picture her, phone in hand, grinding her teeth.

AngryTink: You’re deliberately trying to annoy me, aren’t you?

RhysThis: You’re quick. I’ll give you that.

AngryTink: Mr. Morgan, I’m about ten seconds away from finding an alternate fake boyfriend. A goat on a rope would be a better candidate at this point.

It was cute she thought that was threatening.

RhysThis: Yeah, probably. But the goat doesn’t have a signed contract. I do, Tinker Bell.

AngryTink: ARGH@!!

RhysThis: You’re kind of cute when you talk pirate.

About the Authors:

About Kristen:
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she'd rather be. She is a RITA winner and three-time nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer's Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine's Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher's Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Connect with Kristen:
Twitter - Kris10Callihan

About Samantha:
Samantha Young is a New York Times and #1 International bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. On Dublin Street was Samantha's first adult contemporary romance series and has sold in thirty countries. She has since published over thirteen romance titles including the New York Times Bestsellers Into the Deep, Hero, and her most recent contemporary romance Play On. When writing Adult Paranormal romance she writes under the pen name S. Young.

Connect with Samantha:

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Blog Tour: Coldest Fire - Juliette Cross


COLDEST FIRE

by Juliette Cross
Dominion, #3
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Amara, Paranormal, Romance, Angels


Buy Now:



Synopsis:

Archangel Uriel is hell bent on revenge on the demon prince Vladek. To get into the prince’s impenetrable fortress, he’ll have to fight in the pits of the underworld. And he’ll need the help of the last person he can trust––the demon witch Nadya.

There is no way Nadya, who spends her days taking care of others, expected to find Uriel on her doorstep. He seems no happier about being there than she does. But helping him means evening the scales against her backstabbing sister, and she’ll do whatever it takes to make that bitch pay.

Using the fight pit circuits in the demon underworld, Nadya helps Uriel combat his way to the arena at the castle in Russia. Only she isn’t what she seems. As a matter of fact, she may hold the key to his redemption…and to his heart.



Excerpt:

Nadya

Oh, God.

My heart plummeted into my stomach, ice bleeding into my veins. It couldn’t be him. I blinked hard, willing the frightening vision to go away. But it didn’t. Quite the opposite, he drew farther into the semicircle of light spilling from my doorway. Dressed in full black, the striking contrast against his skin and hair and wings punched me in the gut. The firelight gilded his white wings gold, shining on the blond hair falling past his shoulders, dipping over the sharp, beautiful angles of his face, and hardening the lines to terrifying perfection. But his eyes. Christ, his eyes. Two pools of cold blue that had always reminded me of Arctic waters. Deep, dark, and absolutely deadly. The last time I’d looked into them, they were hazed with pain, fury, and for the briefest of seconds, gratitude. I’d tried to rid myself of that memory, but it haunted my dreams anyway. He haunted them.

I saw none of that in his eyes now. No. The archangel standing in front of me was a lethal warrior, wearing revenge like a cloak. And I knew better than any what he sought revenge for. I could all but feel restrained fury eking out of his pores, seeping into the air, creating a shield of stand-the-hell-back around him. Even when I last saw him as a captive, helpless in chains, the power of this archangel rippled off of him, lapping off of me in electrifying waves. It had stunned me stupid then, just as it did now. He was power personified.

“May we come in?” asked Anya softly.

Standing there in a stupor for a few more seconds, I finally blinked several times and opened the door wider.

“Of course.”

Anya entered, keeping her wings tight against her back. Dommiel followed, his boots echoing on the floor. I glanced away—unable to look directly at him—and sucked in a breath as a pulse of potent force pushed against me, against the whole world, as Uriel walked past.

Mother of God, why was he here in my home?


About Juliette Cross:


Juliette is a multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance. She calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab named Kona. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance–brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more books set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.


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