Saturday, 28 February 2015

Book: The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen

Title: The Boleyn Reckoning
Series: The Boleyn Trilogy (#3)
Author: Laura Andersen
From: Netgalley
Genre: Alternative History
Release Date: 15th July 2014
Challenges: Winter COYER, 2015 Reading Assignment, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points + 10 point bonus), 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Despite having survived the smallpox, William aka King Henry IX of England, still suffers from the affects of his illness, no longer giving the careful thought to matters of state that he used to. Announcing to everyone that he intends to marry Minuette, he causes anguish and rifts in his court, as well as between him and his best friend, Dominic, who Minuette married in secret. When secrets get revealed in the Tudor court there can be hell to pay, and even a friend's love can not stand against a lover scorned...

I cried. Just getting it out there. In the last few chapters of the book (and by that I mean the last quarter) I cried several times at the pure tension, emotion and hell that the characters are put through. I considered for a while how best to write this review, because I want to try and involve spoilers, but in some ways that just isn't possible. So though I will try and avoid them where possible (even if that means getting a little cryptic) but one or two may be about.

So firstly...Minuette and Dominic's relationship. This was pretty well established by this point (considering they were married at the beginning of the book) and yet, they had so many hurdles to overcome. I loved the fact that, despite the times they had a marriage of equals (maybe down to the fact that no one actually knew they were married) but even so at times the contemporary views about marriage came out. There were points where my heart was breaking for the two of them, even when I knew that things were better than they thought and later in the book I was openly crying.

There is a pretty big twist. Which I guessed before it happened, but even so when what was 'supposed' to happen happened I cried (after all Tudor wrath isn't easily dealt with without violence) and I couldn't stop reading until I knew the truth about events. More than that though, I kept waiting for certain characters to be rescued only to be disappointed, or it to happen in ways that I didn't expect. Hope that was spoiler free enough! (I'm not talking about the obvious characters in some of that!)

The Boleyn Reckoning is an alternative history story, and as such some events changed, meaning that the fates of several other characters changed as well. As this is about the son of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, obviously Edward didn't exist at all, and his mother and Henry's other wives didn't get a look in. But what I found interesting was what Andersen did with several other characters. Most notably Mary Tudor (who never ruled), Robert Dudley, Jane Grey*, George Boleyn, Jane Parker-Boleyn (or Lady Rochford) and several others.

I was going to say that Mary Tudor and Jane Grey's fates were the only ones that were changed much, but then I realised that it wasn't true. Actually a lot of characters' fates was completely different (the closest to historical truth was Jane Parker-Boleyn's fate, though for obvious reasons she didn't help Katherine Howard commit adultry with Thomas Culpepper). With the exception of Robert Dudley's fate, the other characters happened close to how I would imagine they would have done anyway had Anne Boleyn had a son, they fit with the events and the story in a way that clearly worked. Robert Dudley's fate is slightly different. Though he didn't have to end the story in the way that he did, I think it would have interesting implications for Elizabeth, both as a rular and as a woman.

Now...Elizabeth, torn between affection for her brother and her country. While William went a bit crazy (though to be fair to him if anyone found out their best friend secretly married the woman you want to marry they'd probably go a bit mad), Elizabeth was trying to ensure that the country ran smoothly. It was a fine line she balanced between treason and loyalty and I felt that this really captured the spirit of Tudor politics, which actually have played a large part in the series as a whole. Elizabeth had to get to where she was going to be anyway**, and I felt that The Boleyn Reckoning really got her there.

William was cleverly characterised in a way that made it clear whose son he was. He had the temper, the power and the wrath of his father, with some of the calculation of his mother and uncle. I liked the way that a lot of his actions mirrored his father's, both in his personal life and in his diplomatic life, it seems in line with the influence Henry VIII would have had on his son, as well as on his personality. But the one thing it did do was make you scared for the characters around him. And that was any character, even Elizabeth and his other sister Mary.

I seem to have talked a lot about various other characters and not so much about Dominic and Minuette, who I felt were the main characters, and who really made an impact on me. I loved the two of them as characters individually and together and I'm sad that I have to part from them at the end of their story.

I haven't even touched on many of the minor characters (other than in my cryptic paragraph) but I did find it hard to remember that this book wasn't real history at points, with the rich descriptions and believable characters. I may have been crying at some points (and seriously scared for some characters) and at others I wanted to call them idiots, but I loved every minute of this book, well the trilogy really. I'll certainly be less wary of Alternative History in the future, and anything Laura Andersen writes will definitely be on my TBR list!

*For anyone that isn't all too aware of English Royal History, Jane Grey ruled England as Queen for 9 days between Edward and Mary in an attempt to avoid England returning to Catholisism under Mary, obviously it failed, and Jane died for her part in the plot.

** The whole premise of the series was that Anne Boleyn had a son but Elizabeth still became Queen anyway.

Blitz: Tempest's Fury by Alicia Michaels

Tempest’s Fury by Alicia Michaels

Release Spotlight + Giveaway

Large_front  Title: Tempest’s Fury (The Lost Kingdom of Fallada Book Four) Release Date: February 28, 2015
  Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
  Publisher: Marion Press

  Blurb: Gretchen Thomas isn’t exactly princess material. She’s not thin, perky, graceful, or refined. So, when a mysterious man claiming to be from another world appears, telling her that she’s royalty, her first instinct is to laugh in his face. However, his assertion that she’s from this strange parallel realm rings true—especially given the freakish abilities she’s had since childhood. Yet, with that knowledge comes a set of expectations Gretchen isn’t sure she can live up to. With an entire kingdom relying on her to fight for them against an evil queen, and a long lost family hoping to reunite with her, being a princess doesn’t seem like all it’s cracked up to be. One thing is for sure; when the war between good and evil spills over from one realm into another, disrupting her life and threatening the brother who raised her, Gretchen will not hesitate to unleash the powerful storm brewing inside of her. *A fairytale reboot of Hansel & Gretel*  
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Brooklyn, New York Moisture coated the air, steam from the showers lingering on the air along with the chorus of Miley Cyrus’ “We Won’t Stop”. Gretchen Thomas scowled. She hated the song with a passion, almost as much as she hated the girl who sang it. To add insult to injury, the locker room echoed with the constant chatter of high-pitched voices. They sounded like a flock of birds … a flock of tall, leggy, blonde birds with perfect bodies and daddies who gave them everything they wanted. The goddesses of high school. The banes of Gretchen’s existence. They giggled together and danced to the music, not at all shy about their various states of half-nakedness. Turning her back to them, she peeled off the sweatshirt she’d worn to gym class. Beneath it was her not-so-skinny body and nondescript black sports bra. She tried to be quick about covering herself. Unfortunately, she wasn’t fast enough. “Whale, ho!” one of the high-pitched voices said from behind her. She stiffened, her face growing hot as the insult washed over her. Refusing to turn around, she pulled on her long-sleeved black and white striped tee, before layering it with a shorter-sleeved purple one. “Want some butter for those rolls, porky?” a second voice asked. Ariana Smith and Jessica Simmons … she recognized the voices as two of her most dedicated tormentors. Their insults sent giggles through the locker room, and now she could feel the stares … the eyes of the other girls boring into her. Determined to ignore them, she slid out of her sweats and into her jeans as fast as she could. One of the girls muttered something else, but she couldn’t hear it through the anger causing her heart to pound, filling her ears with the sound. Gritting her teeth, she shoved everything into her backpack and slung it over her shoulder. Not bothering to put her shoes on, she carried them, making a quick escape. “Watch out, wide load!” wailed Ariana, giggling and backing out of her path in a dramatic motion. She glared over her shoulder at both of them, then retreated. She could still hear the laughter as she paused, leaning against the wall outside the locker room and closing her eyes. Ignore them. They’re just a couple of mean girls who put other people down to make themselves feel better. Be the bigger person. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Fitting in is for losers. Yeah, none of that worked. The more she fought against her anger, the worse her need to lash out became until she felt a familiar heat beginning in her palms. The air around her shifted and moved like a gust of wind, and a bluish-white spark flashed in one hand. Taking a deep breath, she swallowed past the lump of rage in her throat. She could hear Hayden’s voice in her head, telling her not to act out, not to use her abilities in public. But, her big brother wasn’t here, and her anger won out. Releasing the emotion on a wave of energy, she grinned as the sound of screams and curses filled the locker room. The staccato pitter-patter of raindrops wasn’t enough to satisfy her, though. Fighting back laughter, she peeked around the corner for a glimpse of her handiwork. Girls ducked and covered their heads, wailing their distress over the soaked clothes strewn across the locker room floor. Water rained down on them from overhead, drenching them all. Ariana and Jessica stood in their midst, screaming as their ruined hair fell around their heads, and water streamed down their faces, ruining their makeup. Gretchen grinned, turning away from the locker room. She slid into her Converse sneakers, then reached into her backpack to retrieve her phone. Jamming her earbuds in, she cranked up the volume as Aerosmith crooned “Janie’s Got a Gun”. Laughter burning in her chest, she made her way to lunch, practically skipping the entire way.    
Check out the rest of the Lost Kingdom of Fallada books, a series of YA fairytale reboots!
Book 1: Daughter of the Red Dawn
A FREE Read!
Blurb: On the outside, seventeen year-old Selena McKinley is like any other teenage girl. Yet Selena has always felt as if she doesn’t belong and is counting the days to graduation and her freedom from the small town that makes her feel so out of place, when the arrival of a stranger turns her world upside down. Selena will learn just how different she is and the truth of where she comes from.
A lost princess, they call her, the catalyst for a war involving a world that Selena was taken from as a child. An evil queen obsessed with her own beauty with a plan to enslave the human race.…the notion seems so silly, yet Selena knows in her heart that it is true. Then there is Titus, the shape shifter whose blue eyes and claims of destiny hold her heart captive. Can Selena find the strength to do what she must while following her heart?
*A fairytale reboot of Little Red Riding Hood*
Book 2: Child of the Sacred Earth
Blurb: Get a degree, get a job, save adorable foster siblings from the clutches of the evil foster mom …
These are Jocylene Sanders’ top priorities as she enters her sophomore year of college. The last thing she expects is to find herself the champion of an entire kingdom. However, that is just what happens when the mysterious Faerie, Rothatin Longspear, appears to her, tasking her with saving a parallel world full of creatures from her wildest dreams.
Jocylene journeys with him into the world of Fallada, hoping for answers about her birth parents and background. What she finds is a mystifying past, and an even more uncertain future, as her heart becomes entangled with the stoic, battle-hardened Rothatin, as well as Eli, the untroubled Panther Shifter with no loyalties and no home. With her heart and soul pulled in so many directions, can Jocylene find the strength needed to become the savior one nation so desperately needs?
*A fairytale reboot of Rose Red*
Book 3: Rise of the Tide
Phaedra Jones’ life is perfect. She loves her small coastal town and the beach, graduation is just a year away, and she’s in love with the boy of her dreams. Unfortunately, everything changes when Phaedra’s boat goes down in a storm. Luckily, Phaedra survives, finding herself in a world beyond anything she could ever imagine. Not only does she discover that she is a Mermaid shifter of the underwater kingdom of Zenun, but the kingdom of Fallada—where fairytale creatures live and breathe—is depending on her. Phaedra risks losing everything: her perfect life, her family, even the boy she loves … all for a cause she has no stake in. Arrian Riverleaf, Elf prince of the Riverleaf Clan, has been shunned by his people for over a century. After his arrogance caused him to be cursed, he became a hideous creature, only a shadow of his former self. When Princess Phaedra arrives in Fallada, he does not intend her to steal his heart. With her lost love to compete with and his own insecurities over his unattractive face, Arrian fights his feelings, knowing she could never look beyond his curse to love him. As the two fight together to save Phaedra’s people, the realm of Fallada and the world of men will both hang in the balance as the battle between good and evil rages on.
*A fairytale reboot of The Princess and the Frog*
Beyond Full 3
Prequel: Beyond the Iron Gate (Zara’s Journey)
In the year 1845, before the mystical land of Fallada was separated from the realm of men forever, the two worlds coexisted in harmony. Man could mingle freely in the world of the Elves and Faeries at will and peace reigned.
In the hills of Shropshire, England, just miles from the gate separating the village of Ludlow from the world of mystical creatures, farmer’s daughter Zara Wells longs for answers. It is not only the golden hair that trail feet behind her, or the strange hue of her violet eyes that separates her from the other girls her village. There is something inside of her, something touched by magic that longs to know more about what lies on the other side of the gate.
In Fallada, darkness has begun to spread. As the youngest and most beautiful girls of her village begin to disappear, Zara comes closer to discovering the true circumstances surrounding her birth. Little does she know, that the closer she comes to the answers she so desperately desires, the closer she will come to being ensnared in the dark queen’s web of growing treachery.
*A fairytale reboot of Rapunzel*
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Friday, 27 February 2015

Tour: Seaside Secrets by Melissa Foster

Title: Seaside Hearts
Series: Love in Bloom (#24)
Author: Melissa Foster
From: Review Copy
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 24th February 2015
Challenges: Winter COYER, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points), 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Amy Maples has been in love with Tony Black forever. And all her friends know, just like they know that Tony feels the same way. What they don't know is that fourteen years ago, Amy and Tony were together, right under their noses, until a tragedy tore them apart in a way they weren't sure they could ever get past. Now Amy has a job offer that could take her to Australia, and decisions have to be made which could change everything...

I have a confession...I actually stopped reading blurbs for Melissa Foster's books and just get excited and sign up as soon as I see the tour invite, and so I actually go into each book without having read the blurb. Having met the characters in previous books, I have to say that I was surprised that Amy had a secret like she did. Like the other characters, I knew her and Tony loved each other, but never actually imagined they had a past.

The past that Amy and Tony shared played a big part in their story, in a way that none of the other Seaside Friends have yet. Because of this I thought that there were some points at which the story got quite deep compared to the others in the series, but I loved it because of this. Because the two of them had known each other so long it felt natural that they had more to get through than the other characters.

The ending to this book was perfect as well. It summed up the girls perfectly and gave all of them the ending that they wanted, without actually ending the series! I thought it fit with all their individual personalities as well as their comaraderie as a group.

The way that the girls interact is one of the things that I absolutely love about this series. It captures best friends talking about things perfectly, and in a way that reminds me of some of my own friends. Girls talk about anything, and I think that Foster has captured that, and the closeness, perfectly. There were also several one liners that had me laughing aloud, from various characters.

I love this series! I'm excited to read more!

Tony Black is the hottest surfer on the planet. He travels the world throughout the year and spends his summers on Cape Cod with his friends, at the Seaside cottages in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.  He’s got his choice of women, but Amy Maples is the one he wants. Fourteen years ago she was his for an entire summer, until a devastating accident changed everything, and what they had seemed like it had never existed—at least for her. 
Amy Maples is as consistent as the day is long. She’s spent summers on Cape Cod forever, she always does the right thing, and she’s spent years trying to reclaim the heart of Tony Black, the only man she’s ever loved.  She’s back for a summer of fun with her friends at Seaside, only this year she’s been offered the opportunity of a lifetime thousands of miles away, and she’s decided to try one last time to reconnect with Tony. But having a relationship with Tony means dealing with her past—and dealing with her past may knock her to her knees.

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women's fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary CafĂ©. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 
Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women's NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Authors Links:

The prize on this tour is 3 ecopies of the previous book in the series – Seaside Sunsets

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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Book: Spice by Scarlet Smith

Title: Spice
Author: Scarlet Smith
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, Erotica
Release Date: 26th February 2015
Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss ChallengeWinter COYER
Links: Goodreads  - amazon

Freelance writer Jess has a new assignment, to write a blog on if you can go from vanilla to kinky in 2 weeks. Armed with a list of things to try in bed and her sexy and gorgeous man onside to help, Jess sets off on a journey that could make or break her career. And her relationship.

I will admit I'm a little bit at a loss about how to describe this book. There's a lot of sex in it (as the description kind of leads to) but it actually became so much more than that. But at the same time I wouldn't count Spice as romance. The couple, Jess and Max, have a good long term relationship going, it doesn't need saving and they don't need to get to know each other. In fact they were happy with their lot and loved each other a lot. Then came the list.

I loved the way that the list was approached. I imagine (because in some respects this is how I feel myself) that the list comprised of things that most people are a little too worried about admitting they want to try, including fairly 'safe' things like role play or spanking, right up to dogging, golden showers and threesomes. The idea was that as a blogger (a paid one!) Jess would approach each one, try it and write about it.

What I liked was that Jess and Max talked about it first, and didn't feel that they needed to do it if they didn't want to (prime example being golden showers, not sure I'd really have wanted to read about that). There was also a few awkward moments where things didn't go to plan or one of them wasn't as into it as the other one. I liked that because it seemed realistic, after all not everyone likes some of this stuff.

You could actually see the relationship between Max and Jess getting stronger as the book went on, and Jess' feelings were pretty strong to start with. All the way through I never really doubted that their relationship would hit a rocky patch, which is good and a nice change from 'normal'. There was a hiccup, but I thought that it was managed well and felt natural all things considered.

I enjoyed Spice. It was fun, it was sexy and actually I really wouldn't mind having a relationship like Jess and Max's!

Blitz: Aurora by Amos Cassidy

Aurora Blurb
Three hundred years ago humanity almost eradicated itself…almost, but not quite. As is the persistence of human kind, we hung on; we survived, but the world as we knew it was changed forever. The exact details of what happened have been lost in time. All we know is that this is our world now and we have no choice but to live in it. 

Oz and his sister True have been travelling for as long as they can remember. Ma feels that staying on the move is safe, that it prevents them getting lazy and complacent. It’s a better way to avoid bandits and raiders, a more effective way to stay alive. But the thing, the person that protects them is Oz – a lethal fighter who will go to any lengths to defend his family.  

Oz makes money from cage fights while dreaming of a better life for them all – a home where they can be truly safe. True dreams of freedom, love and hope and just when she thinks she’s found it their world is turned upside down and they are forced to embark on a journey that rips them apart. For when True is taken by an unknown enemy Oz must enlist the help of a man from the shadows to save her. 

A Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian Romance, filled with action, adventure and fantasy.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Book: The Impatient Lord by Michelle M Pillow

Title: The Impatient Lord
Series: Dragon Lords (#8)
Author: Michelle M Pillow
From: Review Copy
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Paranormal
Release Date: 3rd March 2014
Challenges: Winter COYER, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points + 10 points for finishing a series)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

After thinking his luck hadn't held out again, Mirek is shocked to discover his true wife, Riona, in the woods outside the Breeding festival grounds. Next thing he knows, Riona is in a coma, seemingly having an allergic reaction to the Yellow, flowers that induce sleep. Waking up months later, Riona finds that life has moved on around her, but can she work with her new husband to overcome that? Or will she return to her old ways?

I can't believe that Dragon Lords is over, I really don't want it to be! Let me find out more about the younger generation of Draig, or just something! The Impatient Lord gave an insight into Riona and Mirek's story, but also provided a tie up of the rest of the series, mainly because it took place months later than the rest of the books.

While the other brides all had each other going through a similar time struggling to accept their marriages, Riona had it a bit harder, because when she woke up she was faced with the other three brides in her household already happy in their marriages and moving on with their families. But then Riona had a different attitude from the rest of the brides anyway! Or at least that was the impression that I got.

I liked the relationship between Mirek and Riona. Though their relationship was far from perfect and there were hurdles for them to get over but their attraction, and mutual interests, were never in question. I liked that their feelings grew over the course of a physcial and somewhat emotional journey.

This series has had me wanting to keep reading from the very beginning, and I'm sad thaat it is over! I need more!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Book: The Guardians by Mandy M Roth

Title: The Guardians
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 1st December 2007
Challenges: Winter COYER 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Madelyn has never been normal. As a Guardian she spends her time protecting humanity from the evil members of the supernatural society. As far as she is aware, her best friend Brady knows she isn't totally human but no more than that, or at least that's what she thinks. Brady soon makes a revelation that changes everything that she thought she knew and causes secrets to spill out at an alarming rate...

I absolutely loved this book! The Guardians was one of those that dragged me in from the first page and just made me want to keep reading until the absolute end! And the ending wasn't anything that I would have expected either, and though it is a stand alone title I can't help but want more!

I loved the interactions between the various characters. Not just the romantic leads, but the other characters in the book as well. There was no such thing as a straight forward relationship in The Guardians and that worked really well when it came to the dynamics between characters.

The relationship between Brady and Madelyn was really well done, both capturing the frienship between them, and the story changing into a more romantic and physical attraction. I also really liked the fact that though The Guardians worked on the concept of fated mates, it didn't feel forced and Brady in particular was convinced that Maddy should make the choice herself.

I'd struggle to fault The Guardians if I'm honest! Maddy was a strong female lead, who wouldn't let the men tell her what was what, though actually, they may have joked about it but I would doubt if any of the male characters would actually have stopped her doing what she wanted! It was nice to have alpha male characters who didn't act quite so alpha male ish all the time!

Defintiely one I'd recommend!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Tour: Remote by Lisa Acerbo

Title: Remote
Author: Lisa Acerbo
From: Review Copy for Blog Tour
Genre: Dystopian
Release Date: 20th November 2014
Challenges: Winter COYER
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Yara is an Undergrounder, known as grounders for short, and has lived her life knowing that the New State's reliance on technology is bad. Joshua has been brought up in New State, and is used to all of the technology around him, but his mother doesn't feel it is necessarily right, causing Joshua to question it as well. When Yara runs into Joshua on a raid, everything changes and neither of their lives will stay the same...

Remote was a book that seemed to fly by! There was plenty of action in the book, mainly in the form of raids from the grounders towards the New State. Actually I thought this book got the balance between action and the rest of the story just right, there wasn't too much violence (thought there was some) but there was enough action to make it feel real.

Now the whole premise of the book is scary. This is one of those dystopias that you can see exactly how it could happen, which makes it twice as scary as any other dystopia. The characters lives in a world where technology has become the norm, with CHIPs implanted at birth and each citizen 'hooking up' at night where they can commit crimes, have sex, drink, do drugs or live out any other fantasy that they want. I think that the author did a fantastic job creating a world in which people have become disinterested in each other and in interacting with each other.

I really liked the way that Josh and his parents had to come to terms with living without so much technology (though the grounders didn't like complete reliance on technology they didn't mind using it to improve their lives in a limited not implanting it into themselves). In some books they'd have made the switch easily, but in Remote they actually had to come to terms with it, and I thought the way that played out worked well.

Also it was great to see a YA dystopia (though I'd count this as mature YA) that didn't involve a love triangle. Though there were a couple of chapters where I thought it could be a possibility, turns out I'd just missed the signs of a Gay Best Friend! I really liked that touch, I thought it was interesting and created a different dynamic between Yara, Josh and Masson.

I really enjoyed Remote, it was an engaging and somewhat scary dystopia!

Book & Author details:

Remote by Lisa Acerbo
Published by: Etopia Press
Publication date: November 20th 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

When technology fulfills every dream, reality becomes a nightmare.
Below the streets of New State, the undergrounders fight to remain free of the technological control of the world above. Every night, Yara risks her life fighting New State’s deadliest weapons, the drones. Half human and half machine, their living half tortured until everything human is gone, the drones have only one objective. Kill. And they do it with exacting precision.
Yara is good at her job and committed to her raids on New State. Until one of those raids brings her face-to-face with Joshua, a New State citizen who doesn’t quite fit her preconceived expectations. After a couple of awkward encounters, he shows her the meaning of hooking up—a computer simulation that allows people to live out their fantasies—without the complication of emotional entanglements or physical reality. But what Yara feels for Joshua is very real. And it’s punishable by law.
As she and Joshua grow closer, she convinces him to leave New State for her underground cause. But as the unrest between New State and the underground escalates, and the drones move in to destroy her world, nothing goes as planned. Families are arrested, loyalties are strained, and Yara’s forced to choose between her people and her feelings. The wrong choice could mean the end of her people, and reality could slip away—forever…


Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and holds an EdD in Educational Leadership. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and horse. She is the author of Apocalipstick and has contributed to local newspapers, news and travel blogs including The Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter.

Author links:

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Cover Reveal: Closer by Kaia Bennett

CLOSER cover Closer by: Kaia Bennett Loose Ends #2 Publication Date: March 31, 2015 Also in this series: #1 Crush Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Interracial, Romance CLOSER full cover


After a whirlwind week of hot sex and growing affection, Nicole and Gabriel were forced to part ways and to return to real life. For a while they danced around each other, meeting up when they could, the distance between them rivaled only by their desire to be together again. Now these lovers are no longer star-crossed. They’re in the same city at the same time and can finally indulge their insatiable passion. At least until Gabriel’s increasingly popular band goes on tour. But the ticking clock of his budding music career isn’t the only obstacle to contend with. A blast from Gabriel’s wild past, a guy that kept Nicole warm in Gabriel’s absence, and fear of what the future holds all converge just as they’ve begun to realize this might be love… Add to Goodreads
Closer Teaser

Also in the Loose Ends series...

#1 Crush
#1 Crush by: Kaia Bennett Loose Ends #1 Publication Date: December 1, 2014 Also in this series: #1 Crush, Closer Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance Amazon - Nook - Kobo - Smashwords


Nicole Langley’s #1 Crush has always been Gabriel Roberts, but settling for being a friendly acquaintance has had to be enough.
Gabriel has always seen Nicole as his good friend’s very pretty, but extremely off limits baby sister. Then a hot summer day and an even hotter discovery pushes them over the lines of friendship, over the lines of unrequited desire, and into each other's arms. Will they indulge and move on? Or will this crush turn into something more, something deeper? Something that leaves loose ends begging to be tied… **#1 Crush is Book One in the Loose Ends series. Each book is a full novel and the series will conclude with Book Three**
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About the Author

Kaia Bennett
Kaia Bennett is a native of New Jersey, a college graduate and U.S. Army veteran who loves music, movies, astrology, tattoos, martial arts, animals and, of course, the written word. She heard the siren call of the writer as a teenage girl, but took her sweet time answering it until she had lived and loved enough to share her work with the masses.
She is an erotic author who loves to write stories with diversity, depth, realism and viscerally hot encounters that flirt shamelessly with the taboo. A lover of all genres and a voracious reader, she aims to write stories that are transformative for her characters and readers alike.
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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Book: Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss

Title: Wolf Bride
Series: Lust in the Tudor Court (#1)
Author: Elizabeth Moss
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Romance (Tudor)
Release Date: 29th August 2013
Challenges: Winter COYER, 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Eloise Tyrell is a maid of honour to Queen Anne Boleyn and enjoys her position at court, as well as spending time with her sweetheart, Simon. But when her father appears at court to tell her she is to be married to Lord Wolf, her life changes forever. Though an unknown to her, Eloise can't help but be attracted to Lord Wolf and react to him, though she'll stop at nothing to keep him from discovering that, even if it could mean a happy marriage.

I enjoyed Wolf Bride, but has one major issue with it. To me it didn't feel Tudor period, it felt more like a regency romance, and I had problems with that. There was a bit at the start of the book where I thought it looked really promising, and then briefly the plots and intrigue that I tend to associate with the Tudors came into play a little bit, but for the most part it just seemed side lined.

I think some of this was to do with the name choices. Eloise and Simon both seemed quite modern names compared to most 'traditional' names used in Tudor fiction (thinking Mary, Margaret, Elizabeth, Catherine, Anne, Eleanor etc) and I get that authors want to be different and original but for me it just didn't work. Also at no point was Lord Wolf's first name discovered, and I did think that that was a bit weird.

Very very minor spoiler (to do with Anne Boleyn): I also got quite excited over the idea that this book started off seeming to portray Anne Boleyn as guilty. Now in my opinion I very much doubt that Anne was guilty, and I think she was a remarkable woman for several reasons (after all how many women can say they had a church formed for them, or die without placing the blame on the shoulders of the culprit), but I was interested to see a fictional author outright saying she was guilty. Except I was wrong, and it back tracked a bit later on in the book to my disappointment.

Saying that, I loved the romance between Wolf and Eloise (even if it did feel regency-esque) and how it changed from indifference, to lust, to love. The gradual change worked well in my opinion, though they never really hated each other to begin with. At times I wanted to bang their heads together as well for not realising that they really cared for each other, but that was all part of the story.

I also really liked the fact that several side characters were quite involved with the story, including Eloise's father, her sister Susannah, and Wolf's friend Hugh (who did get a first name!) Often in romances the other characters could get sidelined! But not in this one.

I enjoyed the romance in Wolf Bride, but I didn't feel like it was overly Tudor-ey.

The Sunday Post #13

Real Life 

So...what to put here? Well nothing really much. I'm basically too tired to keep track of my (minimal) social life, though it's the same with just about everything else I'm doing too. I've been working 7 days a week for the past month and a bit, with the only 2 days I've had off being to babysit my brother, which though enjoyable at times is hard work! The Woman that I'm taking over from at work has gone on Maternity leave now, meaning I've been completely in charge for the first time which just seems massively crazy to me if I'm completely honest. 

I realised a couple of days ago that there is now LESS than a month until Awakening releases. Well technically re-releases, though I did change a few things from the original (Gretel's age, otherwise it made the sequel creepy in places, and Keira's reaction to her parents' deaths, this isn't a spoiler, she falls asleep for 100 years so pretty sure its obvious they'd be dead by that time). So I was thinking I should maybe start setting up some here's me asking very nicely if anyone would be willing to post a blitz on 13th March? If so you can sign up here. Also, if anyone would like a review copy of Awakening I'm happy to provide one (though it will be an unedited copy). I've made a form here but if you have my email address then you can just drop me a message :-) 

Read This Week
Reading wise I've had an interesting read. Wolf Bride was enjoyable but felt more Regency than Tudor (review is coming this week for more details) which was kind of disappointing, but other than that I've had a good reading week, enjoying all of my reads! I am also listening to Head Over Heels by Cindy Proctor-King, but I'm not sure exactly what it is I don't like about it!

Costs of the Week 
Should have spent: 
This Week: £21.18
February: £58.49
Year to Date: £151.62
Acutally Spent: 
This Week: £0.00
February: £6.39
Year to Date: £11.05

Reviews This Week 
I've been trying out a bit of a new format for my reviews from this week onwards, mainly cause I've caught up with myself and now actually have less than a week of reviews scheduled (which is a bit scary for me it must be said!) I'm hoping the format makes things clearer for me as well as readers! 

The Reluctant Lord by Michelle M Pillow
Blaze of Glory by Mandy M Roth
Spark Rising by Kate Corcino
Call of the Sea by Michelle M Pillow
Devils Among Us by Mandy M Roth

Other Posts This Week

Challenge Updates
Because reading is better than real life
I listened to some of my ebook while cleaning the house? Oh and I read a couple of Netgalley books, so not totally ignoring my own challenge!

Yey! I read a book for this this week, and most of my other reading for February is done, so I can get another two read this week! Fingers crossed! 
Goal: 48 Books (4 Books a Month) 
Read: 6 Books

Falling For YA
I read two books from Netgalley this week so that's not bad! I do feel like I may have requested a lot though (oops!) One of the books I'd accidentally requested twice though, which means I knocked an extra off according to the Netgalley system ;-) 
Goal: 75 Books
Read: 20 Books

I'VE DONE IT! I've met my COYER goal! There were a couple of days where I didn't think I would. All my books counted this week, and actually one even came from the COYER group Secret Santa (which was awesome!) 
Goal: 80 Books
Read: 81 Books

Nothing to report on this one I'm afraid :-( 
Goal: 31-45 Books 
Read: 3 Books

I've gained 2 points this week! Though the book I'm reading right now will add another 12 cause I get the 10 point series finish bonus! 
Goal: 101+ Points
Read: 6 Points

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Book: Devils Among Us by Mandy M Roth

Title: Devils Among Us
Series: Devils Among Us (#1)
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Paranormal, Erotica
Release Date: 1st February 2015
Challenges: Winter COYER
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Hannah has known for ages that she hasn't been alone, feeling the eyes of an admirer on her. Keane is an immortal, a vampire with responsibilities for ruling the darker side of life. For months he has been obsessed with a human, not knowing the truth about her. When his brother, Janco, also admits an attraction to Hannah, things could go either way, either the brothers could end up fighting to the death or Hannah could make a decision that will change her life forever.

Hannah started Devils Among Us as quite an innocent character, and it was implied that she was just a normal woman, who happened to be a virgin. Then as it progressed through the book, it became clearer and clearer that there was far more to her than just that, and not just because of the vampire brothers' attraction towards her.

There was a fair bit of world building in Devils Among Us as well, both with the community of the slayers which Hannah was a part of, and of the world in which the vampires inhabit. For a book that wasn't overly long in length I was incrediably impressed with the amount of building that was done, and the amount of information that was included in the story...though I definitely want to know more!

Interestingly, considering there are menage elements to Devils Among Us, the main focus was on the relationship betweeen Keane and Hannah, as opposed to Janco's place in it, though it was clear that he was going to be a part of the outcome from his introduction. I actually thought it worked well and there wasn't as much hesitation for the menage itself as can be found at times.

Devils Among Us was a quick, hot and interesting read for sure!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Book: Call of the Sea by Michelle M Pillow

Title: Call of the Sea
Series: Call of the Lycan (#1)
Author: Michelle M Pillow
From: Amazon
Genre: Romance, Paranormal
Release Date: 27th April 2011
Challenges:  Winter COYER (Free at time of purchase)
Links:  Goodreads amazon

Ian is the Prince of his people, wolf shifters, and is expected to marry someone worthy of becoming his Queen. But he is enraptured with a mysterious woman that saved him from the sea years past, a woman whose face he can't recall but whose presence calls to him. Ceana was cursed for stealing her brother back from the Sea Witch, to be a mermaid except for on the night of a full moon. There's only one rare set of conditions that can break her what are the chances that those can be met with Ian?

Wolf shifters AND mermaids? What more could you want! The mythologies presented in this universe for both species was interesting and well woven. I particularly liked the reasoning behind mermaids and their existance, it made a change as well as being somewhat interestingly crossed with Sirens, though that was just what people believed. I also really liked the fact that some of the shifters doubted the existance of mermaids, it made them much more human than before.

The love story was fast moving, and there wasn't that much build up to it, but it did involve the mystery of who Ceana was and why she was calling to Ian. I'll be honest, sometimes I look for love stories that are fairly predictable and the ending a guaranteed easy happily ever after, those books are easy reading to me and sometimes I need that. To me that was what Call of the Sea was. It was always going to be a quick and happy read, along with the characters getting it on a bit of course, and that was what I wanted when I read it!

I also really enjoyed the banter that was happening between the three brothers, it felt natural and made me laugh aloud in a couple of places. This also managed to make me intrigued for the other two brothers' stories (though I would quite like to know the true pronounciation of Rourik, cause I'm sure it's not what I'm reading!)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Tour: Spark Rising by Kate Corcino

Title: Spark Rising
Series: The Progenitor Saga (#1)
Author: Kate Corcino
From: Netgalley/Blog Tour
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian
Challenges: Winter COYER, 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Lena is an anomoly, a high powered female Spark, living away from the city that would have made her vanish at age 5. But now she's been found, by Agent Alex Reyes, except Alex isn't all that he appears, and doesn't have the Council's best interests at heart. His plan involves Lena's potential and her unique set of skills...

I want more! I expected to enjoy Spark Rising but from the very first page I was hooked (a one sitting book for sure). The characters, the setting and the way that the world worked were all well done and I really felt that I was living the life alongside the scary as that was.

In an interesting depature from most dystopias, Spark Rising definitely isn't Young Adult. I don't mean that there's loads of sex scenes or anything like that, because there aren't, but there are a couple and there are some other issues that come up in the book, including a very heartbreaking scene where young girls reveal things (not in detail or anything) that make it a more mature book. Add to that that the characaters are all a bit older, which I liked for sure, and its a more adult audience book.

I loved the tension between Alex and Lena. It was there from the moment that they met, but then grew slowly to become something more than physical. I liked the fact that the relationship between them wasn't actually rushed, and that Lena's affections lay elsewhere at some points, but I'll admit I was definitely on the Lena and Alex together side of the fence! (I can't help it, I always end up choosing sides!) Add to that the electricity between them...both the metaphorical type and physical type, and I think that it just worked.

I loved the intricacies and details about the electricity harnessing and sparks that was included in the story. It was something that more was revealed about as the book went on, both as Lena began to trust the people around her, and as she learnt new things. I liked the way that it was all tied up with the end of the world as well, and it makes sense hat this leans towards a more sci-fiy genre than a paranormal one.

I also really enjoyed the fact that this was about more than a romance. A lot of dystopian genre books these days seem to focus on the romance more than anything else, whereas Spark Rising seemed to be about so much more than that. There was both the plan itself and side characters developed well and it made this a very enjoyable read.

I'd definitely recommend Spark Rising, I was addicted to it from the very first page!

Book & Author details:

Spark Rising by Kate Corcino
Publication date: December 15th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction

All that’s required to ignite a revolution is a single spark rising.
Two hundred years after the cataclysm that annihilated fossil fuels, Sparks keep electricity flowing through their control of energy-giving Dust. The Council of Nine rebuilt civilization on the backs of Sparks, offering citizens a comfortable life in a relo-city in exchange for power, particularly over the children able to fuel the future. The strongest of the boys are taken as Wards and raised to become elite agents, the Council’s enforcers and spies. Strong girls—those who could advance the rapidly-evolving matrilineal power—don’t exist. Not according to the Council.
Lena Gracey died as a child, mourned publicly by parents desperate to keep her from the Council. She was raised in hiding until she fled the relo-city for solitary freedom in the desert. Lena lives off the grid, selling her power on the black market.
Agent Alex Reyes was honed into a calculating weapon at the Ward School to do the Council’s dirty work. But Alex lives a double life. He’s leading the next generation of agents in a secret revolution to destroy those in power from within.
The life Lena built to escape her past ends the day Alex arrives looking for a renegade Spark.


Kate Corcino is a reformed shy girl who found her voice (and uses it…a lot). She believes in magic, coffee, Starburst candies, genre fiction, descriptive profanity, and cackling over wine with good friends. A recovering Dr. Pepper addict, she knows the only addiction worth feeding is the one that follows the “click-whooooosh” of a new story settling into her brain.

She also believes in the transformative power of screwing up and second chances. Cheers to works-in-progress of the literary and lifelong variety!

She is currently gearing up for publication of Ignition Point and Spark Rising , the first books in the Progenitor Saga, a near future dystopian adventure series with romantic elements, science, magic, and plenty of action.

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