Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Review: Stuffed Stockings - K.A. Mitchell

Have a holly, very jolly Christmas…

Lucas doesn’t usually do the anonymous holiday gift exchange. But when his office crush, Zane, extends an invite, how could he say no? A little holiday cheer might be nice for a change.

What he doesn’t expect are the bonus presents accompanying the bulge in his Christmas stocking—increasingly kinky gifts that have him wishing he’d torn into them in the privacy of his bedroom.

Though Lucas can’t stop fantasizing—in vivid detail—that his seductive Santa is Zane, he can’t quite believe it’s true. That is, until Zane starts dropping clues that have Lucas blushing almost as much as the erotic gifts themselves.

One thing is for sure: Christmas may be right around the corner, but waiting to unwrap his final sexy surprise is going to be a challenge…

This book is approximately 26,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

The Dirty Bits from Carina Press: what you want, when you want it. Over-the-top sexy microromances designed to be read in an hour or two.

Visit K.A. Mitchell's website for more information

Review:
Coming in at around 90 pages Stuffed Stockings is a fairly short read that is very easy to read in one sitting which is a great thing because once I stared reading about these two I couldn't put it down! Lucas is shy and socially awkward with people he doesn't know well, he's not great at reading social situations and tends to be pretty oblivious when someone is flirting with him so he hadn't picked up any signals at all from his sexy colleague Zane. Zane on the other hand is much more confident and outgoing, he knows exactly what he wants and he sets out to get it by convincing Lucas to join in the company's secret Santa gift exchange.

In the run up to the holidays the secret Santa is supposed to leave two gifts a week for their partner and they'll only reveal who has been giving them the gifts at the office Christmas party. Zane has made sure he is partnered up with Lucas and let's just say the gifts get more and more kinky as the weeks go by! Lucas spends a lot of his time fantasising about using the gifts with Zane but in spite of the increased flirting he still isn't sure whether Zane is actually the one leaving the presents.

Stuffed Stockings was the perfect combination of really sweet and incredibly spicy. Yes, you have to suspend belief a little that colleagues would take quite so many risks with gift giving in the workplace but I was enjoying the story so much that I was able to completely gloss over that aspect. I loved both Lucas and Zane and really enjoyed getting to know them. Lucas had a hidden dominant side that was just waiting for Zane to bring out while Zane appeared super confident but had a more vulnerable side once you got to know him better. They made a ridiculously adorable couple but damn their chemistry was intense. The addition of the secret Santa gifts was perfect and I was just as eager to see what was inside each parcel as Lucas was! I would LOVE another story about this couple, not because their story felt unfinished but because I was having so much fun reading about them, either way I definitely need to check out more books by K.A. Mitchell.

Source: Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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Kindle:

Monday, 30 December 2019

Review: Snowspelled - Stephanie Burgis

In nineteenth-century Angland, magic is reserved for gentlemen while ladies attend to the more practical business of politics. But Cassandra Harwood has never followed the rules...

Four months ago, Cassandra Harwood was the first woman magician in Angland, and she was betrothed to the brilliant, intense love of her life.

Now Cassandra is trapped in a snowbound house party deep in the elven dales, surrounded by bickering gentleman magicians, manipulative lady politicians, her own interfering family members, and, worst of all, her infuriatingly stubborn ex-fiancé, who refuses to understand that she’s given him up for his own good.

But the greatest danger of all lies outside the manor in the falling snow, where a powerful and malevolent elf-lord lurks...and Cassandra lost all of her own magic four months ago.

To save herself, Cassandra will have to discover exactly what inner powers she still possesses – and risk everything to win a new kind of happiness.

A witty and sparkling romantic fantasy novella that opens a brand-new series for adults from the author of Kat, Incorrigible, Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets.

The Harwood Spellbook Series:
Spellswept (Prequel Novella)
Snowspelled
Thornbound

Visit Stephanie Burgis' website for more information

Review:
Snowspelled is a novella set in 19th Century Angland, a kind of alternate history of our own world but with added fae and magic. Also this is very much a matriarchal society so if you've been looking for a feminist historical romance this will hit the spot perfectly!

It was a truth universally acknowledged that women were the more pragmatic sex; that was why we were expected to run the government, while the men attended to the more mystical and imaginative realm of magic.

In this world the women are the politicians, they make the rules and govern society while the men engage in more frivolous pursuits like magic. Cassandra Harwood's mother was a respected politician and Cassandra was expected to follow in her footsteps but she was always more interested in magic. It took hard work but she finally achieved her lifetime dream of becoming the world's first female magician, she had everything she wanted in her career and was engaged to the love of her life, fellow magician Wrexham, but when a spell went horribly wrong her world came crashing down around her. Now unable to use magic Cassandra has lost her purpose in life and she broke off her engagement because she didn't want to bring Wrexham down with her.

Several months later Cassandra finds herself trapped at a house party and completely out of her comfort zone surrounded by lady politicians, who should be her peers but aren't, and male magicians, who used to be her colleagues. To make matters worse Wrexham is stubbornly following her around trying to convince her to change her mind about their relationship and she also seems to have caused a bit of bother with the local elves that could cause a political nightmare.

Snowspelled was an utterly charming story by Stephanie Burgis, the world building was fabulous, full of diverse characters and feminist themes, the characters were fun to spend time with, there was a good amount of action and the romance was incredibly sweet. I was amazed how much the author managed to pack into a relatively small number of pages and I'm already looking forward to continuing the series.

Source: Won in a giveaway from the author

Other reviews of this book:
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Sunday, 29 December 2019

Review: Festive in Death - J.D. Robb

The kitchen knife jammed into his cold heart pinned a cardboard sign to his well-toned chest. It read: Santa Says You've Been Bad!!! Ho, Ho, Ho!

It's Christmas, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas is in no mood to celebrate. While her charismatic husband Roarke plans a huge, glittering party, Eve has murder on her mind.

The victim - personal trainer Trey Ziegler - was trouble in life and is causing even more problems in death. Vain, unfaithful and vindictive, Trey had cultivated a lot of enemies. Which means Eve has a lot of potential suspects. And when she and Detective Peabody uncover Trey's sinister secret, the case takes a deadly turn.

Christmas may be a festival of light, but Eve and Roarke will be forced once more down a very dark path in their hunt for the truth.

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 (2019)

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

Review:
Every so often Eve finds herself investigating the death of someone who almost brought it on themselves and that's definitely the case with personal trainer Trey Ziegler. The more Eve and Peabody find out about their victim the harder it is to have much sympathy for him but Eve is strong believer in justice and as much as she'd have liked to lock Trey up for his crimes he didn't deserve to die for them. The trouble with finding his killer is that so many people had a good reason to want Trey dead and it's hard to narrow down the suspect list.

I happened to read this book at the perfect time of year since not only is Eve hunting a killer but she's also having to shop for Christmas presents and preparing to help Roarke host the party of the year at their home. Eve is never the best at social gatherings so I always find it really amusing to see her out of her comfort zone, especially as Summerset ropes her into helping with the party prep this year and she's forced to deal with arguing party planners and floral arrangements. Present buying isn't her forte either and I appreciate her skill of pretty much one stop shopping and buying gifts for all her friends in one fell swoop. She always puts more thought into the gifts she buys Roarke though and their private celebration and gift swap just made me smile.

It was fun to see all of the familiar faces at the party, especially as we get to see Roarke's friends starting to mingle with Eve's, but it's the quieter moments that have more meaning. Eve definitely appreciates her friends more these days than she did in the beginning, there was a really sweet father/daughter type moment with her and Feeny, Peabody made me laugh with her reaction to a certain gift and I love seeing how happy Mavis and her little family are.

I was less invested in the murder investigation simply because I hated the victim but I had to agree with Eve that he deserved to be locked up for his crimes rather than murdered. I will say that I'd figured out the twist of the killer long before the big reveal but it's very unusual for me to be one step ahead of Eve like that. It's hard to believe that 39 books in I'm more addicted to this series than ever, especially if you look at how many of these books I've binge read this year alone, but I'm totally hooked and already jonesing for my next fix.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Friday, 27 December 2019

Review: Concealed in Death - J.D. Robb

Between the wall he'd opened and the one barely a foot behind it lay two bundles wrapped in thick plastic. But he could see, clearly enough, what they were . . .

There is nothing unusual about billionaire Roarke supervising work on his new property - but when he takes a ceremonial swing at the first wall to be knocked down, he uncovers the body of a girl. And then another - in fact, twelve dead girls concealed behind a false wall.

Luckily for Roarke, he is married to the best police lieutenant in town. Eve Dallas is determined to find the killer - especially when she discovers that the building used to be a sanctuary for deliquent teenagers and the parallel with her past as a young runaway hits hard.

As the girls' identities are slowly unravelled by the department's crack forensic team, Eve and her staunch sidekick Peabody get closer to the shocking truth...

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 (2019)

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

Review:
Roarke's latest project includes renovating an old building which is nothing unusual but finding the bodies of 12 murdered girls hidden in the walls is definitely unexpected. They may have been killed five years ago but that isn't going to stop Eve from doing everything in her power to find out what happened to them and bring their murderer to justice.

Concealed in Death was a bit different to Eve's usual case because it involves historical murders and the killer seems to have dropped off the radar. Usually a killer like this would have continued to escalate so Eve needs to find out why they stopped, perhaps they left the area and have continued their killing spree elsewhere, or perhaps they're in prison on a different charge. Either way Eve wants to find justice for the victims and to give their families a little peace knowing that the killer won't be able to harm anyone else in the future.

While this story seemed a little slower paced than most of J.D. Robb's books I actually enjoyed seeing Eve work on a historical case, she has much less evidence to work with and it's not so easy to find witnesses but Eve and Peabody put the effort in and are rewarded for that. It's hard to call the ending satisfactory but I can't really say why without giving spoilers, I'll just leave it by saying the victims get a different kind of justice than normal and leave it at that. As always I loved the interactions between Eve and Roarke, Peabody brings her usual humour to the series and I liked the introduction of a new forensic anthropologist too, Dr DeWinter did a great job of pushing Eve's buttons. I think what I appreciated most about this book is that J.D. Robb is still finding new ways to shake the series up even though we're 38 books in now, it's not easy to keep a series fresh for that length (I can't think of any other author's who have managed it!) and I'm still as excited as ever to carry on reading.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas!


Just a quick note to wish all of my followers a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year. 2019 has had more than it's fair share of ups and downs so I hope you all get to spend a relaxing few days with family and friends and that 2020 brings lots of brilliant things your way.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Review: Mirror, Mirror - Anthology

Once upon a time...

...in a world far removed from the days when fairy tales were new, five bestselling authors spin versions that take the classic stories into a new dimension. You’ll recognize Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and other enduring characters, but they’ll exist in realms beyond your imagination, where the familiar is transformed into the extraordinary and otherworldly.

Includes:
Taken in Death by J.D. Robb
If Wishes Were Horses by Mary Blayney
Beauty, Sleeping by Elaine Fox
The Christmas Comet by Mary Kay McComas
Stroke of Midnight by R.C. Ryan

For more information about any of these authors you can visit their websites by clicking the links below:
J.D. Robb
Mary Blayney
Elaine Fox
Mary Kay McComas
R.C. Ryan

Review:
Mirror, Mirror is an anthology containing five stories inspired by fairytales and written by bestselling authors. I wanted to read this for J.D. Robb's contribution but I enjoyed the other stories too and have found a couple of new to me authors who I want to read more from in the future.

Taken in Death by J.D. Robb

This story is J.D. Robb's take on Hansel and Gretel, normally Eve is only involved in investigating murders but after the body of a nanny is discovered the team quickly realise that the children she was looking after have been abducted. Eve finds herself in a race against time to track down missing seven year old twins Henry and Gala before they come to harm at the hands of the evil witch who stole them.

Taken in Death was a really creepy novella with a cannibalistic evil twin and a couple of pretty smart children who are able to leave a trail for Eve to follow. A perfect read-in-one-sitting story that'll give you your Eve and Roarke fix while you're waiting for the next full length book to arrive.

If Wishes Were Horses by Mary Blayney

Mary Blayney's contribution is a historical romance inspired by the tale of Goldilocks, it's not what I'd call a complete retelling but you can definitely see hints of the original tale in here. This was quite a cute story that had a feel of Downton Abbey to it, there were a few things that didn't feel particularly realistic about this story but I found it fairly easy to overlook those because I liked the main characters and was interested in seeing them get a happily ever after.

Beauty, Sleeping by Elaine Fox

Elaine Fox has written a clever and original take on Sleeping Beauty where Beauty is a man and he's not technically asleep. Instead he's been cursed to spend his life as a ghost that nobody can see, hear or interact with, until his true love comes along and is able to save him.

The Christmas Comet by Mary Kay McComas

Mary Kay McComas' story is inspired by two tales I'm not really that familiar with, The Little Matchstick Girl by Hans Christian Andersen and The Star Money by the Brothers Grimm, so I probably didn't appreciate it as much as I could have. I think my main issue with this one was that the main character was just too much of a saint, it's great that she tried to help so many people but doing it to the point where she couldn't afford to pay her own rent or buy herself food was a bit ridiculous.

Stroke of Midnight by R.C. Ryan

The final story by R.C. Ryan is inspired by Cinderella. I really liked the way Sydney refused to be a victim and chose to live life on her own terms in spite of her step-mother. She and Cullen made a cute couple and I was really enjoying their romance but I have to admit the rushed proposal at the end did spoil it a little. I'd have preferred it if the romance had been developed over a longer time before getting to that point. Still a cute read but not my favourite in the anthology.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Paperback:

Review: Taken in Death - J.D. Robb

'The evil witch killed Darcia. Henry knew it because he'd seen Darcia on the floor, and all the blood. Everything felt funny and sleepy and wrong. He knew he was under a spell. The evil witch's magic spell.'

When twins Henry and Gala are kidnapped and their nanny killed, Lieutenant Eve Dallas steps in to take control. But video footage shows what appears to be their mother arriving and leaving with the obviously drugged seven-year-olds. Something is wrong, and Eve, her husband Roarke and her brilliant team are ready to work round the clock to get the children back alive...

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 (2019)

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

Review:
Taken in Death is an In Death series novella that is available in the Mirror, Mirror anthology or as a separate ebook. I read it as part of the anthology (which I'd happily recommend to fans of fairytale retellings) but I'm reviewing it separately too as I know some people aren't interested in anthologies.

This story is J.D. Robb's take on Hansel and Gretel, normally Eve is only involved in investigating murders but after the body of a nanny is discovered the team quickly realise that the children she was looking after have been abducted. Eve finds herself in a race against time to track down missing seven year old twins Henry and Gala before they come to harm at the hands of the evil witch who stole them.

Taken in Death was a really creepy novella with a cannibalistic evil twin and a couple of pretty smart children who are able to leave a trail for Eve to follow. A perfect read-in-one-sitting story that'll give you your Eve and Roarke fix while you're waiting for the next full length book to arrive.

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 (In the Mirror, Mirror anthology) / Kindle (on it's own):

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Review: Starsight - Brandon Sanderson

All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she's a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumours of his cowardice are true - he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.

Spensa is sure there's more to the story. And she's sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars - and it was terrifying. What she learned turned her world upside down. Everything Spensa's been taught is a lie.

But Spensa also learned a few things about herself - and she'll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

Cytonic Series:
Defending Elysium (Free short story)
Skyward
Starsight

Visit the Brandon Sanderson's website for more information

Review:
Starsight is the second book in Brandon Sanderson's Cytonic series and a brilliant follow up to the first book. It took everything I loved in Skyward but then ramped it up a gear and took us in a totally unexpected direction with Spensa taking on an additional role as spy as well as fighter pilot. It's hard because there is so much I want to talk about but I don't want to give even a hint of a spoiler and ruin the story for anyone so I'm deliberately going to keep this review as vague as possible but trust me, if you enjoyed Skyward you're going to love Starsight!

Spensa is such a fun character to spend time with, she's fierce and sometimes a little over-confident but events in this book push her beyond her wildest nightmares. She is so far out of her comfort zone and doesn't have the rest of her flight squad on hand to back her up so she's forced to make some new allies. I'll admit I missed a few of the old faces but M-Bot and Doomslug were on fine form and I loved some of the new characters she meets along the way too (watch out for the Kitsun who happen to be my favourites).

So much is revealed in this instalment about the Krell, about human history and about the entire universe that Spensa lives in. We find out more about her abilities which she ends up testing to the limits, and we spend time with some of the other alien species too. New allies, shock betrayals and so much action really made Starsight impossible to put down. This series is going from strength to strength and I can't wait to get my hands on the next instalment. Please don't make us wait too long Brandon Sanderson, I'm willing to beg or send bribes!

Source: Received from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
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Hardback / Kindle:

Review: Defending Elysium - Brandon Sanderson

This story originally appeared in the October/November 2008 Asimov’s Science Fiction (in the US) and the UPC Science Fiction collection (in Europe).

"An image came to him. An image of humankind escaping into space. An image of human merchants trading and cheating, of human tyrants capturing the Varvax, Tenasi, and Hommar. Images of wars, of fighting, of a paradise destroyed."

Oddly enough, the ones who made first contact were an outdated, nearly bankrupt phone company. Second contact was made by the United Governments Military when they accidentally shot down a Tenasi ambassadorial vessel. The Phone Company negotiated Earth out of danger following the Tenasi incident. The Phone Company had brought FTL communication to humankind.

And Phone Company operative Jason Write has sworn to keep the galaxy safe from the barbaric humans who would ruin the Elysium that the galactic races currently enjoy.

Cytonic Series:
Defending Elysium (Free short story)
Skyward
Starsight

Visit the Brandon Sanderson's website for more information

Review:
This short story is set in the same universe as the Skyward series and can be read for free on Brandon Sanderson's website here or you can even listen to it via the StarShipSofa podcast (episode 339) here.

Although this story is set decades or centuries before the start of Skyward I would recommend reading it after that novel as it does contain answers to questions that are only raised in that book. I don't want to go into too much detail because it's far too easy to accidentally spoil a 40 page short story but I will say it gives more information about humanity's first interaction with alien species and it definitely explains certain things that we find out towards the end of Skyward.

Having really enjoyed this short I'm now even more excited to start the second book in the series, Starsight, I can't wait to see what happens next for Spensa and her friends.

Source: Read for free on Brandon Sanderson's website

Other reviews of this book:
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Friday, 20 December 2019

Review: Imperfect Match - Corinne Michaels & Melanie Harlow

From NYT Bestseller Corinne Michaels & USA Today Bestseller Melanie Harlow, comes a sexy friends to lovers standalone romance.

Rule number one for a professional matchmaker?
Don’t fall in love with your client.

I screwed that up when I fell for my best friend, Reid Fortino. He’s gorgeous, successful, and sexy as hell. I figured it would be easy to find him a match—and save the family business at the same time.

But the more time I spend attempting to find the perfect girl, the more I realize how much I want him for my own. What’s the harm if we give in for just one night?

I should have known that would never be enough.

Now I’m on the verge of losing my job and my heart.

We were an imperfect match from the start, but I don’t know how to let him go.

Imperfect Match Series:
Imperfect Match
Baby it's Cold Outside (novella in the Christmas in the City anthology)

Visit Corinne Michaels' website or Melanie Harlow's website for more information

Review:
Willow and Reid have been best friends for years, they spend pretty much all of their time together outside of work. They eat together, go out together, chill at home watching TV together, but there is absolutely no romance involved - they're just friends. Honest! Willow works for her mother's matchmaking business but so far she's not been very good at picking matches so in order to prove herself she decides she's going to find Reid his perfect girlfriend.

Reid isn't too sure he actually wants a girlfriend but he agrees to go along with Willow's plan just to stop her nagging him. Then something strange starts to happen between them when she starts sending him on dates. Suddenly Willow finds herself jealous that he's spending time with other women. And Reid realises that none of the women she's setting him up with have anything on Willow. The last thing a matchmaker should do is fall in love with her own client, but would it be so bad if he's starting to fall in love with her too?

After really enjoying Corinne Michaels & Melanie Harlow's novella in the Christmas in the City anthology (which is currently free to download from amazon so if you haven't already got your copy grab it now!) I was really looking forward to reading Imperfect Match. This was a really fun and light hearted contemporary romance that definitely left me with a smile on my face.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Willow and Reid, friends to lovers is one of my favourite tropes because I love the fact that the couple know each other inside out before they even start dating. They know all of each other's good points but also don't mind their bad habits either. This kind of story can be so much more satisfying because there is a real sense of history between them and it doesn't feel like insta-love even when the relationship goes from friendship to something serious really quickly.

Willow and Reid were both realistic characters, they had flaws and hang ups from previous relationships that made them both wary about diving into something serious. They also both wanted different things from life so although they're perfect for each other in a lot of ways and have fantastic chemistry to boot there were a lot of things going against them too so they needed to do a lot of soul searching before committing to a full term relationship. It was fun spending time with them both, the banter kept me smiling and I was rooting for them to figure things out. This was my first full length novel written by these two authors but it definitely won't be the last and I'm looking forward to checking out more of their books in the future.

Source: Received as part of a free ebook promotion from the authors

Other Reviews:
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Thursday, 19 December 2019

Review: Magic for Liars - Sarah Gailey

Sharp, mainstream fantasy meets compelling thrills of investigative noir in this fantasy debut by rising star Sarah Gailey.

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It's a great life and she doesn't wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

Visit Sarah Gailey's website for more information



Review:
I've heard such fantastic things about Sarah Gailey's American Hippo that I jumped at the chance to read their latest novel Magic for Liars. This is the story of PI Ivy Gamble who is hired to investigate a murder at an exclusive school for magic users. One slight problem is that her estranged sister twin Tabitha is one of the teachers there. Ivy and Tabitha haven't been on speaking terms for years ever since it was discovered that Tabitha had magic and she was whisked away to a special school leaving un-magical Ivy home on her own. There's a lot of jealousy and resentment built up between them with them both blaming each other for their rift.

While it's going to be hard working a job and having to deal with her sister Ivy needs the money and she's also desperately curious about the school and magic in general so she accepts the job but it isn't going to be easy when she has to try and keep her identity, and her lack of magic, a secret.

I had such high hopes for this story so it pains me to say this but I ended up finding it a little on the boring side. For a story set in a school for magic users there is surprisingly little magic and more of the focus of the story is on Ivy and her resentment towards her sister. Ivy is a borderline alcoholic who spends most of her time feeling sorry for herself and complaining about her life which made it very difficult to enjoy spending time with her. The magic we did see was really well done and I was kept on hook by the mystery surrounding the murder but some clues were so obvious I couldn't understand why none of the teachers suspected anything until Ivy came along. I did enjoy some of the side characters and I still really want to try reading American Hippo but if this turns into a series I think it's very unlikely that I'd be interested in reading any more of Ivy's adventures.

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

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Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Review: Thankless in Death - J.D. Robb

He looked at his hands, covered with her blood, at the wild spatters of it on the walls. An artist, he mused. Maybe he should be an artist.

Murder doesn't stop for Thanksgiving.

As NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke prepare for family and friends to descend, an ungrateful son, Jerald Reinhold, decides to shut up his nagging parents - for good.

Soon Jerald is working his way through anyone who has ever thwarted him in his path to an easy life. While a frustrated Eve struggles to consider all the potential victims, Jerald stays one terrifying step ahead.

As the holiday begins, Eve is desperately focussed on identifying which victim will be next on Jerald's list . . .

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 (2019)

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

Review:
It isn't often that Eve Dallas knows almost instantly who her murderer is but this one has done very little to hide his tracks. Jerald Reinhold brutally murdered both of his parents, stole their money and is now hiding from the police. At the same time he is working through a very long list of people who have ever wronged him, from the teacher who didn't give him a passing grade because he failed to put the work in, through to the girlfriend who dumped him after she caught him stealing from her, Jerald has a list and everyone on it needs to die. Eve knows who the killer is but he's already changed his appearance and got hold of a fake identity so finding him isn't going to be quite as straightforward as it should be but she needs to work fast before he can kill anyone else.

I love the way each of Eve's cases are so different, sometimes the reader knows who the killer is before Eve does, sometimes it's a surprise right until the big reveal and other times we all know from the beginning just who the bad guy is and we're just waiting for Eve and her team to bring him down. If I have one complaint about this instalment to the series it was that I really didn't enjoy spending so much time in the killer's head. We usually see the results of the murders but it's not so often that we have to suffer through the torture and death alongside the victims and that made for quite difficult reading.

I know we're not supposed to like any murderer but I really couldn't stand Jerald, he's such a whiny little man-baby who refuses to take responsibility for a single thing that has happened in his life. He fails at school and it's obviously because the teacher hated him, his girlfriend dumps him and she's a bitch, it's got nothing to do with the fact he stole all her money and punched her after she confronted him about it. There really was nothing redeemable about his character which made it all the sweeter when Eve and the others FINALLY brought him down. I was definitely cheering at the thought of him in an off-planet prison for the rest of his miserable life.

Skipping all the scenes from the killer's point of view this was just as fantastic as any other instalment of the series. We have all the humour and team banter that I've come to love, Roarke's family is in town for Thanksgiving and they're always a hoot and we even had a medal ceremony that was both really funny and very touching. Eve and Roarke continue to be my favourite power couple and I'm getting nervous that I'm going to run out of books soon.

Source: Purchased

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Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Review: Wicked Hour - Chloe Neill

The second pulse-pounding novel in the bestselling Heirs of Chicagoland series sees vampire Elisa Sullivan get drawn into the shifting sands of Pack politics.

As the only vampire child in existence, Elisa Sullivan grew up with a heavy legacy. Alongside shifter Connor Keene - the only son of Pack Apex Gabriel Keene - she faced down a supernatural evil that threatened to destroy Chicago forever.

After the dust has settled, Elisa is surprised when Connor invites her to a Pack event in the north woods of Minnesota, and by the warm welcome she receives from some of Connor's family, even though she's a vampire.

But the peace doesn't last. The shifters tell tales of a monster in the woods, and when the celebration is marred by death, Elisa and Connor find themselves in the middle of a struggle for control that forces Elisa to face her true self - fangs and all.

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

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

Visit Chloe Neill's website for more information

Review:
Wicked Hour is the second book in Chloe Neill's Heirs of Chicagoland series which focuses on Merit and Ethan's daughter Elisa. As the only born vampire in existence there is a lot that Elisa doesn't know about herself and her abilities and she has nobody else to ask either so she's forging her own path. Her biggest struggle is controlling the darkness inside and it's a battle she's been fighting alone because she doesn't want to worry her parents.

The only person who knows the full extent of her trouble is Connor, her childhood frenemy and the future Pack Apex. Her relationship with Connor has changed a lot in recent months so she is surprised but pleased when he invites her to accompany him to a secret pack ceremony in Minnesota. It's a perfect opportunity for them to spend time together and decide what kind of future they might have but Elisa knows that members of the pack are unlikely to be pleased with the appearance of a vampire at a sacred werewolf ritual.

I'm always impressed with how easy Chloe Neill makes it for readers to step back into this world, I've loved the original series for such a long time now and it looks like I'm going to enjoy the spin off just as much. Elisa is a great character, she's had a pretty privileged upbringing as the pampered princess of Cadogan House but she's worked hard to gain her own independence and spent years living away from her parents. She's worked hard to train as a warrior just like her mother did but she has no plans on working for her parents as she'd rather make her own way. I find the idea of her inner monster really interesting and I'm enjoying watching her fight for control as she tries to figure out how to stop the darkness from taking over.

I really love the banter between Elisa and Connor, they've known each other for their entire lives and spent most of their childhood teasing and fighting each other. They have no secrets and often bicker like the children they once were but at the same time they're building a strong friendship now where they always have each other's backs. The slowly building romance between them has been spot on so far and I can't wait to see what the future holds for the pair of them.

This story was interesting because we got to spend more time outside of Chicago and learn more about life in a werewolf pack. The Minnesota wolves live a fairly simple life but there are definitely different factions building as the older and younger members have very different ideas about how they want the Pack's future to look. Add in the mystery of a killer monster on the loose and things get very interesting for Elisa and Connor.

This series has definitely been added to my auto-buy list and I'm already looking forward to reading more about these characters in the future.

Source: Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Monday, 16 December 2019

Review: War of Hearts - S. Young

Thea Quinn has no idea what she is. All she knows is that her abilities have been a plague upon her life since she was a child. After years of suffering at the hands of a megalomaniac, Thea escaped and has been on the run ever since.

The leadership and protection of his pack are of the utmost importance to Conall MacLennan, Alpha and Chief of Clan MacLennan, the last werewolf pack in Scotland. Which is why watching his sister slowly die of a lycanthropic disease is emotional torture. When Conall is approached by a businessman who offers a cure for his sister in exchange for the use of Conall’s rare tracking ability, Conall forges an unbreakable contract with him. He has to find and retrieve the key to the cure: dangerous murderer, Thea Quinn.

Thea’s attempts to evade the ruthless werewolf are not only thwarted by the Alpha, but by outside dangers. With no choice but to rely on one another for survival, truths are revealed, intensifying a passionate connection they both fight to resist. At war with themselves and each other, Conall and Thea’s journey to Scotland forces them to face a heartrending choice between love and betrayal.

True Immortality Series:
(These stories are all stand alone and can be read in any order but they're in the same universe)
War of Hearts
Kiss of Vengeance (March 2020)

Visit Samantha Young's website for more information

Review:
Conall is the alpha werewolf and chief of a pack in Scotland, his family and his pack are his priorities and it's killing him having to watch his sister waste away from a disease with no known cure. When he's approached by a businessman who offering him a cure in exchange for Conall tracking down a murderer and bringing them to justice he jumps at the chance to save Callie's life.

Thea has always known she is different she just doesn't know why, despite being born to human parents she is faster and stronger than any human should be and her healing abilities are exceptional even compared to supernaturals. After her parents died she was taken in by a family friend but once he discovered her powers she spent years locked up and suffering through experiment after experiment. Escaping cost her everything and she's been on the run ever since trying to stay one step ahead of her enemies. Now Conall is on her trail and he always finds his target, he thinks he's hunting a murderer but Thea knows capture will lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering and she will do anything to escape that fate.

I love Samantha Young's contemporary romances but paranormal is where my heart lies so when I found out she was writing her first adult PNR story I knew I had to read it. War of Hearts was a brilliant slow build romance between two characters who both have everything to lose. They're both great characters and although I was a bit irritated by how easily Conall let himself be duped in the beginning I could understand his desperation to believe anything if it meant saving his sister. Thea has suffered so much but in spite of that she has a kind of charming innocence about her and she believes the best in the people she meets. She could so easily use her abilities to get whatever she wants but she prefers to work hard and make her own way in life, something that Conall quickly comes to respect too. I thought these two made a really well matched pair and I enjoyed watching them finally start to realise how deeply their feelings ran for each other.

The story is full of action as the chase takes them all across Europe as Thea tries to keep out of Conall's reach. Then when someone else starts targeting the pair they realise that they're going to have to work together if they both want to survive. Samantha Young has created an interesting world and while this story works perfectly as a stand alone I'm really excited that she plans to write more stories set in this universe. Kiss of Vengeance is definitely at the top of my wish list for when it publishes next year!

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

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Cover Reveal: Kiss of Vengeance - S. Young

Kiss of Vengeance (A True Immortality Novel) by S. Young

Photo: Wander Aguiar
Cover Design: By Hang Le

A standalone paranormal romance from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young, writing as S. Young.

Fionn Mór was once a high king of Ireland; a fierce warrior who led his tribes against the invading fae. It was a war he couldn’t win and to save his family he turned consort for the Fae Queen. Fionn escaped as the thing he once despised, and the people he loved betrayed him for it. Now, centuries later, it’s time to reopen the gates to Faerie to take his revenge against the Faerie Queen.

At sixteen Rose Kelly discovered family secrets that changed her forever. Years after, she’s still lost, traveling across Europe in search of that elusive missing ‘something’. When she’s attacked by a vampire, not only is she wrenched into a supernatural underworld she never knew existed, a knock on the head releases a spell on her mind and unlocks powers beyond her wildest imaginings. And with them more questions. Questions Fionn Mór claims to have answers to.

Following the powerful and enigmatic Fionn to Ireland, Rose quickly realizes she’s a pawn in his plan for vengeance. What begins as a passionate battle of wills leads to an inexplicable but undeniable connection. One that will force them to face an impossible choice between the deepest love… and the darkest revenge.

Out March 3rd 2020

Preorder Now:

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