Thursday, 19 January 2017

RELEASE DAY: Cocky Soldier by Faleena Hopkins



Civilian life has proved more challenging than Jeremy expected when his time in the Marines ended. Even though he's moved back to Atlanta he's still a million miles away, and his brothers don't know how to reach him. When a caramel-eyed aspiring chef almost runs Jeremy and his dog over with her hot pink Prius, his life might have found the purpose he's been looking for. She's got her heart set on another man, so how can Meagan be his miracle, especially when she doesn't even like Jeremy? And what if that other man holds the key to Jeremy's sanity, what then? But then again, the Cocker men always did like a challenge

I didn’t want to wake up, but now that I’m running I feel better. Relieved. Ghosts are left behind me. Just me and my dog and the blissful silence of dawn. My home is in a quiet neighborhood, a deliberate choice. At this hour the streets are always empty. 
If I lived in a busy neighborhood I’d be tense from all the unexpected noises. 
I’d be searching for an oncoming fight that never comes anymore.
Silence is necessary to my sanity. 
But what I don’t need is a Prius so quiet I can’t hear it coming.
My eyes lock with the driver’s. She’s headed right for us. 
Adrenaline shoots into me like I’ve been punched.
I yank Aslan’s leash back. 
His paws struggle to run backwards, the fur around his neck stretched under his chain-collar. 
The girl’s hands dig into the steering wheel, turning to the right. 
Her car skids away just in time, so close that wind touches my face like a whisper from The Reaper. 
But she’s not so lucky. 
With that quick turn she over-corrected and I shout as she crashes right into the oak tree on the corner, the one diagonal from where Aslan and I stand. She wraps right around the damn thing like her car is made of tin.
Everything goes silent again. Except in my own fucked up head. Rifles explode as I race to the wreck. I know they’re not real, just a mirage from my memories I might never be able to shake. 
Put Jeremy Cocker on the front lines. 
He’s the quickest to react.
Jeremy was made to fight. 
He’s never scared. 
Yeah, right. I’m scared all the time, like everybody. 
I just ignore it. 
I make it to the crumpled hunk of metal and yank on the locked door handle, scanning her bloody face like a robot calculating data. The airbag is splattered liquid red and ballooned around her. I shout through the glass. “Hey! You alive?!” 
She doesn’t answer, eyes closed, lips parted. 
“Aslan, go there!” I shout and point him to the sidewalk. Pulling off my hoodie, I wrap the thick cotton around my right arm and slam my elbow through the driver’s side rear window, glass shattering. Reaching over shards of it I unlock the driver’s door and rush to yank it open and lift her out of the car. 
I’ve gotta call an ambulance. 
Cops, too. 
They’ll need a report. 
The car is totaled. 
Left my cell phone at home. Hell, I hardly use the thing, so of course I don’t have it with me. “Aslan, come!”
As we rush back, his leash dragging unmanned, I keep checking on her and repeating, “Hang in there. Don’t die on me,” but the sight of her bloody in my arms is jarring. I grit my teeth and shut the ghosts out. Jesus, how many times have I carried the wounded? 
Too many.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Love, Lies & Clones by Joynell Schultz

Title: Love, Lies & Clones
Author: Joynell Schultz
From: Amazon
Genre: Sci-fi (soft), suspense
Release Date: 
Challenges: Winter COYER 2016-2017
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): June’s deadly secret is she’s a clone, and if she tells anyone her father’s involvement, he’ll face the death penalty. After his suspicious disappearance, the police have failed to find him. During her frantic search, she’s surprised by an AWOL military man who insists her father's the key to finding his brother. Bullet's fly as they uncover more about the horrific experiments. Can June trust someone with her secret... and her heart?

Love, Lies & Clones had me from the first chapter. It's one of those books that has you intrigued and desperate to know more about what's going on. As the book progresses, more and more of the truth comes to light, but what I particularly liked was that there were more mysteries added as the story progressed, and sometimes even the answers to one of the earlier questions raised more questions in itself. 

The genre is actually quite hard to define. It's set in the near future, and there were significant scientific advancements in the field of cloning. The world was half recognisable and half futuristic, and I thought the blend worked really well. More than that though, I liked that the cloning itself, a major plot point, was more than just something scientific, the morals came into it as well. 

June was a strong lead character, determined to discover the truth, and find her father, but she also had a vulnerability that was needed in the role. I liked that she didn't quite have it all together because that made her more real...I know in her situation I would be just as useless! 

The male lead, Elliot, also had some complexities that made him more realistic, including  some strange almost stalkerish tendencies. At first, I wasn't too sure what to make of him, but as his own motivations became clear, he became more rounded, and much more likable. 

The interactions between Elliot and June were believable, with both of them interacting with a level of wariness. I absolutely loved the fact that June didn't just trust Elliot from the off, and made him work for it, it added something else to their story line. 

If you like suspense, with some science and a light love story, then I'd definitely recommend this one! 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Shadow Embraced by Cheree Smith (#1 Haven)

Title: Shadow Embraced
Series: Haven (#1)
Author: Cheree Smith
From: Netgalley
Genre: UF/Paranormal
Release Date: 29th April 2013
Challenges: My TBR Meme (yes the December one, yes I'm late posting!), Winter COYER 2016-2017
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): No escape. Those words haunt Scar's dreams. She thinks the creature that terrorises her while asleep isn't real, but when she's abducted and taken to a reform school meant to contain creatures too dangerous to function in society, she starts to wonder whether she isn't some monster. She turns to an underground fight club full of vampires, werewolves and witches established by the students to control her urges, and who is she kidding, she loves to fight. When fighters begin to disappear, turning Scar into the prime suspect, she must race to prove her innocence before her true nature is exposed. The only problem is that she's not entirely sure she's innocent.

This review is going to be short by necessity, mainly because I'm an idiot and read it ten days ago, but then put off reviewing for various reasons (none to do with the book itself!)  

This was an interesting take on vampires/dhamphirs, and I liked that. There wasn't much mixing with humans, which created an interesting dynamic, as well as some tension between the paranormal species. I liked the way that the world building worked,

What I couldn't work out all the time is if I was supposed to like Scar or not. In some ways she was a little too innocent for the life she was forced to leave, in others she seemed to lack a little bit of emotion about it. 

All in all this was a good read though, had me keeping turning the pages!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Finding Kyler by Siobhan Davis (The Kennedy Boys #1)

Title: Finding Kyler
Series: The Kennedy Boys (#1)
Author: Siobhan Davis
From: Review Copy
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 9th January 2017
Challenges: 2017 New Release Challenge, Winter COYER 2016-2017
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Two fractured hearts and a forbidden love they can’t deny. You shouldn’t want what you can’t have…Faye Donovan has lost everything. After her parent’s tragic death, she’s whisked away from her home in Ireland when an unknown uncle surfaces as her new guardian. Dropped smack-dab into the All-American dream, Faye should feel grateful. Except living with her wealthy uncle, his fashion-empire-owning wife, and their seven screwed-up sons is quickly turning into a nightmare—especially when certain inappropriate feelings arise. Kyler Kennedy makes her head hurt and her heart race, but he’s her cousin. He’s off limits. And he’s not exactly welcoming—Kyler is ignorant, moody, and downright cruel at times—but Faye sees behind the mask he wears, recognizing a kindred spirit. Kyler has sworn off girls, yet Faye gets under his skin. The more he pushes her away, the more he’s drawn to her, but acting on those feelings risks a crap-ton of prejudice, and any whiff of scandal could damage the precious Kennedy brand. Concealing their feelings seems like the only choice.But when everyone has something to hide, a secret is a very dangerous thing.

My immediate thoughts on finishing this book was that I desperately need more! I need to know what happens next. I read a series last month that was super addictive but a little bit wrong because of the relationship between the characters. Despite that I just couldn't put the series down. Well this book was the same (and I suspect the next two will be as well!) I didn't want to finish it, but at the same time couldn't put it down. 

The chemistry between Kyler and Faye was definitely there, even when he was being particularly broody and refusing to have anything to do with her. Kyler also had a few moments where he was really sweet and I bought into the two of them most at those points. 

I loved that Faye didn't just settle in to her new home automatically. She had challenges, and had to make new friends. Equally, her entire life didn't revolve around a guy, and that made it far more believable to me! 

One thing worth pointing out is that Davis included a "translation guide" at the end for the Irish turns of phrase...but I honestly didn't notice them much in the book itself (partly because I was too engrossed, and partly because as a Brit, I use several of them in my daily life). I thought this was a good touch. 

There was plenty of drama, scandal and excitement in Finding Kyler, and I can't wait for more in the series! 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Bookish Resolutions 2016 END POST & GIVEAWAY

2016 Bookish Resolutions

Bookish Resolutions is a challenge I co-host with Michelle @! I can't believe that our second year of Bookish Resolutions has come to an just seems crazy! Don't forget to let us know how you did, and enter the giveway at the end of the post!

My Bookish Resolutions Goals (which is nowhere near what it should be!) 

Blogging Goals 
  1. Schedule posts before the day they are 'due' (especially for challenge updates!)
    Well this one was a bit hit and miss a couple of times during the year (including the past two weeks...but I'll be back organised at some point...honest!
  2. Post a detailed update on everything on the first Sunday of each month (previously Reintroduce non-review content)
    This one didn't go well!
  3. Cross post Blog Posts regularly, preferably in under a week since post date
    The longest I left it was a week, things have just been so hectic that that's all I could manage!
  4. Tidy up the Trips Down Imagination Road Facebook & Twitter Pages
    This one is going, mostly because I decided I was pretty happy with where I'm at with it. 
  5. Visit other blogs regularly (I used to but this dropped off the radar a bit)
    I've done this a lot less than I should have if I'm honest, though there are several books I've read this year because other bloggers recommended them!
Reading Goals 
  1. COMPLETED: Improve Netgalley ratio by at least 10% (if this is achieved by the half way mark then it will be upped to 20%). I did succeed in improving my ratio in 2015 and was actually quite surprised to find I'd improved it by 7% (at the time of writing).
    I added 14% to my Netgalley percentage, which I thought was pretty good going...hopefully I can add to that soon!
  2. COMPLETED: Finish 10 series this year. (I get distracted a little easy! I can have already started the series previously)
    So far I've finished 25 series this year;
    The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson, Circle of Evil by Kylie Brant, Trevor's Harem by Aubrey Parker, Rook & Ronin
     by JA Huss, The Seduction by Roxy Sloane, City of Legends by Cheyanne Young, The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, Galaxy Playmates by Michelle M Pillow, Dark Dirty & Deadly by JA Huss, The Dukes of War by Erica Ridley, Everealm by JD Wright, I Am Just Junco by JA Huss, Things to Do Before you Die by Nina Croft, Sisters of the Moon by Nina Croft, Coded for Love by Lynne Silver, Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter by Nikki Jefford, Midnight Masquerade by Kate Harper, Scoundrels & Secrets by Erica Ridley, Avry of Kazan by Maria V Snyder, Sisters of the Craft by Lori Handeland, Wrong by Jana Aston, Intergalactic Dating Agency by Michelle M Pillow, Werewolves of New York by Faleena Hopkins, Mister by JA Huss, Need by N Isabelle Blanco & KI Lynn
  3. COMPLETED: Complete 3 year long challenges (may change the number depending on how many I sign up for). Bookish Resolutions does not count for this sub-goal.
    I've completed 4 so far!
    2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame. I also passed my 2016 Read the Books You Buy, but unfortunately I failed out of 2016 Reading Assignment this month :-( 
  4. Read 3 books a month that were already on my kindle at the start of 2016 (can be from Netgalley, Amazon etc.)
    I think I've read 3! Its been a slow month!
Personal Goal

  1. COMPLETED: Finish Cloaked (the sequel to my published Novella)
    Cloaked is not only finished, but it is now Published! (Here's the link to prove it!) 
Now let us know how you did for the year, and enter the giveaway...also don't forget to set some new goals for 2017!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Gilded Cage by Sherry D Ficklin (Canary Club)

Title: Gilded Cage
Series: The Canary Club
Author: Sherry D Ficklin
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 1st December 2016
Challenges: Winter COYER 2016-2017 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Masie, the flaxen-haired daughter of notorious boot-legger Dutch Schultz, returns home from boarding school to find her family in crisis. Her mother is dangerously unstable, her father’s empire is on the brink of ruin, and the boy she once loved has become a ruthless killer for hire. To keep her family’s dangerous secrets Masie is forced into a lie that will change the course of her future—and leave her trapped in a gilded cage of her own making. As she watches her world fall apart, Masie must decide whether to take her place in the hierarchy, or spread her wings, leaving the people she loves, and the life she despises, far behind her. Two worlds collide in Gatsby era New York, in a time of dazzling speakeasies and vicious shoot-outs, of gritty gangsters and iridescent ingĂ©nues, where not everything that sparkles is gold.

I haven't read many books set in this era, unless you count The Great Gatsby, but honestly I loathe that book so let's not. However, I have read books from Ficklin before, and her Queen of Someday books were really stand out from my reading last year. Which is actually the main reason that I decided to read Gilded Cage. And I am glad that I did. 

This is only a quick read, but the way that Ficklin captured the age, with all the glitz and glammer, yet with the seedy underworld too, was fantastic. I really felt drawn into Masie's world. Even if I couldn't work out how old the main character was! (I'm assuming 18). 

The characters were odd for me. I couldn't work out if I was supposed to like some of them or not. This was particularly true of Masie's love interest (which I think ended the right way) and her brother. They were both potentially bad people, but the way they treated Masie made them likable. It was definitely an interesting combination! 

This was a great quick read, it really captured the age well and I look forward to reading more in the series!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Out of Bounds by Val McDermid (#4 Inspector Karen Pirie)

Title: Out of Bounds
Series: Inspector Karen Pirie (#4)
Author: Val McDermid
From: Netgalley
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Release Date: 6th December 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from twenty-two years before. Finding the answer to the cold case should be straightforward. But it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself. Meanwhile, Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another mystery that she has no business investigating, a mystery that has its roots in a terrorist bombing two decades ago. And again, she finds that nothing is as it seems. An enthralling, twisty read, Out of Bounds reaffirms Val McDermid’s place as one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business.

While Out of Bounds is the fourth book in the Inspector Karen Pirie series, it is more than possible to read this book as a standalone. The crimes are newly introduced in this book, and are resolved within it. The main things that aren't standalone are the parts of Karen's history that are affecting her (particularly the end of The Skeleton Road) and the fact that the characters at the same as from previous books. It's been awhile since I read The Skeleton Road, and so it took me a few chapters to remind myself.

As with many of McDermid's books, there were two main crime investigations going on. The first was an official cold case, and the second was Karen acting a little outside of her jurisdiction (and knowing that that's what she was doing!) But they interwove well. I liked how they both ended too, though one of them wasn't with much excitement, I thought that it was good to reflect the way that cold cases work.

Part of this book was also about Karen healing over what happened in the previous one. I'm pleased that she didn't just get over it without any work, but I did feel for her greatly, especially as it wasn't an easy thing for her to get past. There was also Jason (her Detective Constable) and his growth through the book, which I definitely liked! You can't read and not have a soft spot for Jason!

I don't want to say anymore, because it's not the kind of story you want to spoil! But I'm a big fan of McDermid, and this book certainly hasn't changed that!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Brass Automaton by Mark Gardner & D Paul Angel (#1 Clockwork Tales)

Title: Brass Automaton
Series: Clockwork Tales (#1)
Author: Mark Gardner & D Paul Angel
From: Netgalley
Genre: Steampunk, Fairy Tale Retelling
Release Date: 27th September 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): "This story happened when His Majesty was still a young man, a huntsman to be precise. It is the tale of a clockwork machine from the future, with a mission to terminate His Majesty to prevent him from meeting his future queen." Jarvis paused for effect. "Then, she was known only as Snow White."

I will admit that there was a little bit of "ooo look at the cover!" going on when I chose Brass Automaton to read. Though the other main factor is that I'd been thinking that I hadn't read anything with steampunk overtones in a while, and that I should do. Plus, fairy tale retelling, this is just winning. 

I went through a bit of a journey while reading Brass Automaton though. At first, I was really intrigued, then I was very confused, and finally it all slotted together and I had the "oooh" moment. I could probably have done without quite so much confusion in the middle, but once I got my head around the magic system it was okay.

Even before the book starts it pitches itself as a combination of the Terminator and Snow White, and I think that the first chapter of this really showed it. This worked surprisingly well, and I thought that the authors worked the time travel element in well.

I liked that Snow White was a strong character. It's always better when that's the case! In fact, the royal couple worked well throughout the book. They both had an inner strength right from the first few chapters and that added to the story.

This was an enjoyable retelling, I'll be looking out for more, though surprisingly complex for a shorter book!