Friday, 26 August 2016

Stitching Snow by RC Lewis

Title: Stitching Snow
Author: R C Lewis
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi, Fairy tale retelling
Release Date: 14th October 2014
Challenges: 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, My TBR List Meme, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Princess Snow is missing. Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all. Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

So Stitching Snow  is one of those books that's been sat on my kindle for ages. In fact this is the second time I've actually started it, though the first time I think I must of become distracted because there is no way that I wouldn't have continued reading, especially after the book really picks up its pace. 

Stitching Snow is a real mix of genres. While the setting has a sci-fi/space opera feel to it, with space travel, advanced technology and multiple planets, there were also some elements of the dystopian genre coming through, and of course the retelling aspect in the form of Snow White. 

The retelling itself was incrediably clever. While maintaining classic elements of the fairy tale, Lewis made the story her own. The moments of the story were interwoven with the setting and the fast moving plot in a way that left it recognisable but with an original twist. 

I liked Essie as a character and she is definitely not a pampered Princess by any stretch of the imagination. This story was really about her finding herself though, and how she could become the person she needed to be alongside the person she wanted to be. 

The romance in Stitching Snow was very subtle, and in contrast to the original tale, the Prince figure is there for the majority of the story. However Dane and Essie spend most of the book getting to know each other without actually rushing anything, it was a cute relationship and I loved it. 

This was a great read, I'm disappointed in myself for leaving this book so long to read!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bad Blood by Nikki Jefford

Title: Bad Blood
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter (#3)
Author: Nikki Jefford
From: Amazon (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Box Set)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: 12th June 2014
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Aurora returns from boot camp to a new assignment, an unwelcome roommate, and the increasingly amorous attentions of a certain vampire hunter. College is starting, and so is Aurora’s undercover work at a network of swanky parties known as “Tastings” for high rolling vampires who like their blood laced with fine wine. But Aurora’s not the only one on the prowl. An underground investigation is under way to find out who killed one of Anchorage’s most prominent vampires… and Aurora is a prime suspect.

Bad Blood shouldn't be read as a standalone. It's the third book in the Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series, and ideally should be read after book 2.5, Stakeout. This review may contain minor spoilers for the previous books in the series. 

I love this series! Each book is cementing it more and more in my head. It was good to get back to Aurora's POV too, though Noel's POV in Stakeout did reveal a lot of very interesting information (as well as clearing Noel of some potential crimes!)  and that made Bad Blood an even better read. 

It's safe to say that Aurora's love life isn't the only thing that got complicated in this book, though I wasn't too sure about some of the developments love life wise in the first half of the book, though I think even Aurora knew that. 

I liked the ups and downs that came with friends as well. I remember how complicated it was in my late teens friend wise and Bad Blood captures that so well. While things weren't perfect at the end of the book you could see them righting and I can already tell that the next book is going to be super interesting! 

There were several more reveals in this book, and a lot of connections to previous books. There's a lot going on for Aurora and she realises some things before others can actually tell her (sorry that has to be cryptic!) it all makes a fascinating story. 

I am really excited to continue with the Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series, especially as I'm not 100% sure of where its going next. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Werewolves of New York: Eli by Faleena Hopkins

Title: Werewolves of New York: Eli)
Series: Werewolves of New York (#2)
Author: Faleena Hopkins
From: Amazon
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 30th April 2015
Challenges: Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Eli Jackson’s dimple and those always laughing eyes of his would melt the panties off a woman even when she's still wearing her pants. But his knack for finding abused women who need his help is no laughing matter. He and his packmates vowed to use their abilities to take down evil when they find it, and Eli's got a new 'case.' Helping Diana brings him face to face with Rose Hendricks who needs no man’s help, and she’s certainly not why does he want to take her down in ways he knows he shouldn’t? He made a pact with Darik to stay why can't he control his wolf whenever Rose is around? Rose Hendricks is a funny, All-American attorney smartass who doesn’t like to lose. In the courtroom, she rarely does. But in life? She just lost her best friend to love. Another one bites the dust, as the single girls say. But Rose won’t let her friend go without a fight, and when another unanswered call goes to voicemail, she hightails it to Michelle’s apartment only to find Eli there, wearing only a blanket, telling her Chelle doesn’t live there anymore. Say what? Sparks fly like crazy and soon Rose is looking at glowing eyes from a man who supposed to be human. What is he, really? And what’s everybody hiding?

Werewolves of New York: Eli can be read as a standalone, though it does mention events of the previous book (Werewolves of New York: Nathaniel) and includes some of the same characters. I liked having the continuity but as it's been a while since I read the previous book anyway I did need some memory jogging first! 

Though there is a little bit of instalove going on, this is paranormal and linked to werewolf mates which makes it acceptable in my eyes, plus the characters were a little more subtle about it.  They actually more acted on an attraction between them first and even then there were issues that stopped things happening. 

As a result there was some great chemistry between Rose and Eli, which built up over the course of the book and made the reader truly believe that theere was something between them. It was undeniable and moved things along well. 

There was also the underlying theme of the characters helping other people, both Eli's more rough form of justice, and Rose's determination in the courtroom. This made both of them strong and highly likeable characters and also added that something extra to the story.

This was a highly enjoyable read, not that I expected any less!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Stakeout by Nikki Jefford

Title: Stakeout
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter (#2.5)
Author: Nikki Jefford
From: Amazon (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Omnibus)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: 4th February 2014
Challenges: 2016  Read the Books You Buy, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Noel Harper got a second chance at life when the government recruited her as an undercover vampire informant. Since the day they brought her back from the good-as-dead, she has wanted to prove herself worthy. When a member of her investigative unit is murdered, Noel is paired up with a vampire hunter named Dante to spy on a suspect in Fairbanks. The problem? They're not the only ones on stakeout. Taking down murderous vampires is one thing. Dealing with the past is another. But this time, Noel isn't letting fear win. She's calling in help from the other side and discovers a shocking secret along the way.

Stakeout happens concurrently with the events of Northern Bites, book 2 in the series, and can't be read as a standalone. There may be minor spoilers for previous books in the series within my review. 

It took me a little longer to warm up to Noel than it did to Aurora as a narrator, but actually I even thought that Aurora herself came across a little cold at some points, though she wasn't in the story much and knowing what she went through in the previous book it does kind of make sense. 

I really liked the banter and growing friendship between Noel and Dante! It was different from how Dante is with Aurora and it made me feel like he was a more real character. It also painted Noel in a very different light, much less dark and gothic than her appearance previously suggested. 

There were a couple of big reveals in Stakeout, one being what happened to Noel to make her into an Informant in the first place, and the other I think will have a major impact on the future story and I'd kind of started suspecting it at the end of Northern Bites and definitely by the beginning of Stakeout

This was a good addition to the series and I'm looking forward to how the information in this book will impact the story! 

Monday, 22 August 2016

On a Rogue Planet by Anna Hackett

Title: On a Rogue Planet
Series: The Phoenix Adventures (#3)
Author: Anna Hackett
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi, Space Opera, Romance
Release Date: 16th November 2014
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge2016 Blogger ShameSummer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Unlucky-in-love salvage mechanic, Malin Phoenix, didn’t intend to get caught up in a coup and kidnapped by a sexy cyborg. But she finds herself swept into an adventure to help the deadly, emotionless CenSec, Xander Saros, retrieve an ancient Terran artifact and save his planet. Soon she’s racing across uncharted space and is magnetically drawn to the cyborg whose strong arms and muscled body ignite a desire that burns brighter than a supernova. But Mal can never let herself forget that she can’t fall in love with a cyborg who can never love her back. The crowning glory of the Centax Security program, Xander is heavily enhanced, his emotions dampened to nothing to allow him to be the most efficient, lethal killer in the galaxy. As he and Malin hunt for the remnant of the galaxy’s first computer, the Antikythera Mechanism, their quest leads them into the lair of a dangerous technomancer. But Xander can’t identify his greatest threat—the enemy or the fascinating woman who’s making him feel.

On a Rogue Planet can be read as a standalone, however it does reference the events and characters from the previous two books and as such is better read as a part of a series. This review may contain minor spoilers for the previous books in the series, At Star's End and In the Devil's Nebula

I think that On a Rogue Planet is quite possibly my favourite book from this series so far! There was so much about it to like. It was action packed as well as being a break from the traditional romance roles that so many books end up falling back on (and don't get me wrong, I love a well written trope as much as the next reader, but sometimes shaking it up is good!) 

Mal isn't a typical girly girl, though there were a couple of moments where she did put effort into dressing nice and doing make-up, so basically she came across as normal. She was a mechanic and it's been clear since the reader first met her that she loves it. As such she was no weakling and fought not only for herself but for those she cared about too. 

Xander was a big strong fighting machine, and definately futuristic. As a combination of man and robot his character was an interesting one, and his main character progression was learning to deal with emotions. As such, he was the naive one in the relationship, both physically and emotionally, and it was an interesting dynamic to read between the two leads. 

There was some great world building in On a Rogue Planet too. There was the introduction of Rogue Planets themselves, which was interesting and nothing like I would have expected, as well as some new races and planets. On top of that there was also some relationship building for Nik and Nera which has been going on for all the books! (And I'm guessing they'll get their own at some point!) 

I really enjoyed On a Rogue Planet and hope to read more from Hackett!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand

Title: Imitation
Series: Imitation (#1)
Author: Heather Hildenbrand
From: Netgalley
Genre: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, YA
Release Date: 12th March 2013
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me. Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face.  Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now. When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

I need to start my review with a sort of disclaimer, because inadvertantly it affected my reading experience. However I would also like to reiterate that it is completely my own fault. When I started reading Imitation, it was the copy on my Kindle which came from Netgalley, I then however switched to using my phone where the copy of Imitation came from Amazon. This led to a very confused 10 minutes until I figured out that they were different versions of the same book. I back tracked 5% or so then began reading the version from Amazon from where it differed to what I'd already read. However one of the big reveals later in the book had already been revealed in the other version which kind of detracted from the shock value. 

Ven was an interesting character. As a clone she was created to mimic her Authentic, Raven, in everyway. She studied her life and the things she was involved in but Ven didn't seem to like Raven very much (and yet she never actually met her). I actually ended up feeling a little sorry for the absent Raven, mainly because I didn't want to believe she was anywhere near as bad a person as Ven seemed to think, especially given how controlling her father came across. Also, where is the real Raven? Its a question I really want an answer for. 

I found the growing relationship between Linc and Ven good. It went at a fairly slow pace and on his side seemed to come from spotting discrepencies in Ven's behaviour while pretending to be Raven (she really wasn't very good at it!) It took a while for them to act on what they were feeling and there were several moments where trust became an issue between them. 

Most of the book was centred around Ven trying to fit into Raven's old life (and failing) but there were snippets of what the world as a whole was like. There seem to be three distinct "classes" of people, the Rich, the Poor and the Imitations. The latter seemed to basically be an exaggeration of modern day celebraties, whereas the poor were basically everyone from the middle class down (the world became too damaged for the middle class to exist), and the Imitations weren't counted as people (or well known about). In future books I hope that these are explored more. 

While my reading experience was hindered by my switching copies, I was still entertained and do plan on reading book 2 at some point!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Too Sinful to Deny by Erica Ridley

Title: Too Sinful to Deny
Series: Scoundrels & Secrets (#2)
Author: Erica Ridley
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: 19th July 2016
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): TOO TEMPTING TO OBJECT...One look at the towering ocean-side manor that is to be her new home, and exiled socialite Susan Stanton knows: This is a place haunted by secrets and riddled with menace. For Susan, there is no escaping it. At best she can stay clear of the most dangerous element of all--dark-haired smuggler Evan Bothwick, a man whose shaded countenance cannot hide his wicked intent. But Susan has a secret of her own--a special gift that renders her privy to the darkest mysteries lurking within the walls of the manor and in the labyrinthine cellars beneath. And the only man who can help her make sense of it all is Evan, the very scoundrel and rogue she would do anything to be able to resist...

I was really looking forward to reading Too Sinful to Deny after really enjoying Too Wicked to Kiss and while I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I enjoyed the first book, it was still a fantastic read. Too Sinful to Deny had some minor paranormal elements like the first book and had the same gothic feel to it. I love the Gothic genre anyway, so having that paired with a modern writer that I really like has worked well for me. 

Susan was a returning character from the first book, though there was definitely more to her in this one. That was probably since there was more from her own point of view in this rather than from the characters who found her a little bit in the way. She grew on me a lot throughout the book and by the end I definitely liked her as much as I liked Evangeline in Too Wicked to Kiss

Evan was clearly a more decent man than even he thought he was, but through the book he did manage to continually convince the reader of that...even if he made other characters work to get to that realisation. 

The chemistry between the two leads was incrediable and I found myself truly believing it. They didn't try and outright deny it to themselves either, though they did try to convince themselves that it would pass. It felt like there was a bit more substance to their relationship than a lot of book couples get. 

The mystery, which was introduced almost straight away, was complex and kept me guessing. I don't think I'd ever have managed to guess the culprit before things started slotting together and I like it when books keep me guessing, it adds to the experience for me. 

I'm loving this series from Erica Ridley, definitely different from her other stuff I've read!

Friday, 19 August 2016

New Vampire Online by Annie Carroll

Title: New Vampire Online
Author: Annie Carroll
From: Story Cartel
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: 13th January 2014
Challenges: 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Cate the vampire, or as she thinks of herself, a ‘night person’, has launched a new online business with the help of Conrad, that sexy Cuban-American vampire. And her website is as hot as he is! Everything seems almost perfect until Evgeny the Zombie Vampire and his girlfriend, Tatiana the Liar, leap over the wall and land on the terrace beside her. Then her old boyfriend, Jack the Surfer, turns up again. Before long, cops show up asking questions. And more cops. Then there is that little adventure at the Chateau Montaigne near the Sunset Strip and the disappearance of her RV. Maybe Conrad is right: Cate seems to run into trouble everywhere.

I really wanted to like New Vampire Online, I thought it'd maybe be a little bit quirky with a comedy element and maybe a little bit of romance. And all I could think all the way through is how much I wanted to llike it and just couldn't seem able to. In fact the only thing that kept me going after I hit 50% (and had given up on it turning into the book I wanted to be) was that I'd already got that far, I may as well percevere to the end. 

I think my number one problem with New Vampire Online was the characters. There just wasn't anything there for me to relate to. Cate's main thoughts were of her business (which is fair enough) but seemed to be focused more on just how much money she made than on the intricacies of the other aspects which often got brushed off as "see I can fix this without Conrad".

I also just didn't get Cate and Conrad's relationship. He just seemed a little bit cardboard cut out and there for when Cate wanted sex. She told the reader that he was protective, but he never showed it, it was just talked about. Also if he's protective then what on earth was going on where Jack was concerned because that just seemed a bit weird. 

Most of the book just seemed to be about the vampires daily lives, and the somewhat boring tasks that they were doing. There was an overall plot arc and it did have potential but actually it seemed to get forgotten about for large sections at a time. On top of that it brought out one of the issues I had with this book; Cate's concience. 

When it came to killing other vampires Cate felt that it was wrong, and said that it was wrong. But when it came to killing humans it was fine so long as they hid the bodies well. I'm fine with reformed vampires, I'm fine with vampires killing only criminals, I'm fine with vampires falling off the wagon, but Cate & co,'s blantant disregard for human life of any kind made it very difficult to like them. 

However, I did like the chatty style that the author chose to write in, that was what I was expecting and I just wish that the content had lived up to that. 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Mr Corporate by JA Huss

Title: Mr Corporate
Series: Mister (#3)
Author: JA Huss
From: ARC
Genre: Romance, Suspense
Release Date: 17th August 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Weston Conrad is the best headhunter in the business. That handsome smile goes a long way towards convincing most people to trust him with their future. I’m not most people. I’m his direct competition. And it doesn’t hurt to be just the kind of woman he’s been looking for. I’m gonna flash you these legs, Weston Conrad. I’m gonna wear low-cut shirts and micro-mini skirts. I’m gonna dazzle you with wit and conversation and kiss those lips like they’re exactly what I’ve been waiting for. So don’t hate me when you figure out my secret. You understand, right? You’re Mr. Corporate and this is just business. 

While the events of Mr Corporate, and the romance, are standalone, there is an overall story arc in the Mister series that involves all the main characters therefore I would suggest reading the series as a whole, especially because its awesome. This review should be free of spoilers for the other books. 

I went into Mr Corporate with no expectations on what would happen, mostly because you can never second guess Huss when it comes to plot! So the only thing I was expecting was that the book would be amazing, and I was right on that count! However there was a tidbit dropped for Mr Mysterious which is simultatneously exciting and an "OH" moment! 

The two main characters, Victoria and Weston, had history together, which made the first part of the book mostly about how much they loved and hated one another. Their relationship was certainly turbulant but it was clear to the reader how much they cared, even if they did have secrets. 

There were plenty of secrets in Mr Corporate and them being revealed caused a lot of twists and turns. A lot of them revealed things about the main characters themselves, but there was also some information about "that night" itself. In true Huss style the secrets and revelations went places no one expected and made the plot entertaining and intrigueing on so many levels. 

In the later parts of the book there was a lot of suspense that came from the mysteries being revealed and it was glued to the book level of suspense. I didn't want to put Mr Corporate down anyway because I've been excited to read it, but also because of everything that was going on. 

There were several side characters that were fleshed out a bit in Mr Corporate too, including Mr Mysterious, who I am now super intrigued about! We also got to see a couple of characters that were a bit younger in another Huss series, and naturally that is super exciting! (Though you don't need to have read the other series to read this one, but it is equally awesome!) 

This was a great read, not that I ever thought it wouldn't be! Each of the Mister books is so different from the others that this series will just keep being surprising!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Chased by Love by Melissa Foster

Title: Chased by Love
Series: The Ryders (#3) (Love in Bloom)
Author: Melissa Foster
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 17th August 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Actress Trish Ryder takes her job seriously and has no time for those who don’t. When she’s awarded a major role in a new movie featuring America’s hottest rock star, Boone Stryker, she’s beyond excited. The six-two, tattooed hunk of burning desire is known for his dedication to his craft—but when he ditches their first meeting, she begins to wonder if he’s just another rocker with a great PR team. Sex, booze, women, and music pretty much sum up Boone Stryker’s private world. He’s coasted through life playing by his own rules with plenty of people willing to cover his tracks, and he’s not likely to change—until he meets a woman who refuses to give him the time of day, much less anything more. Sparks fly from the first moment Trish and Boone meet—Tensions run hot and desire runs hotter when they’re trapped together on a remote location with no place to hide. Will sparks ignite, or will a hurricane douse the flames?

Chased by Love can be read as a standalone books though some events of previous books in The Ryders subseries and other Love in Bloom books. There may be minor spoilers for other Love in Bloom books but as each is a standalone they should definitely be minor! 

Chased by Love had a different feel from the other Love in Bloom books I've read simply because both the main characters were famous (whereas in the books I've read only one of the couple has) and Boone and Trish had such polar PR representations that it added another level to their relationship. 

Neither of the main characters had direct problems, and it was more about them opening up to each other, particularly relating to Boone's past. Though Boone himself was actually pretty clean cut in himself, but he was incrediably protective of his family, friends and where he came from. This also translated into his relationship with Trish too. 

Trish and Boone had plenty of chemistry and I loved that it was all wrapped up in their film as well as in real life. The movie set and real events linked together well and the film's plot worked well as a way to help the two of them move their relationship forward. 

Family was an important theme in Chased by Love, not just in the support Trish and Boone gave towards their families, but also the support their family gave to them. It felt natural to have the families act like that. 

Once again a great read from Foster and I look forward to reading more from this fantastic author!