Monday, 30 November 2015

A Druid of Her Own by Mandy M Roth

Title: A Druid of Her Own
Series: Druid (#4)
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: 30th November 2015
Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 point)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

For decades, Kennard O'Caha has been after the dark mage Athol, and now he's defeated him, alongside his cousins. Except there's something that strikes Kennard as not quite right about Athol's death, and he thinks more is afoot. Since she was a little girl, Maggie has been dreaming of a snake headed man, but her nightmares have now taken on a turn for the worse. When they first see each other sparks fly between Kennard and Maggie, and it doesn't take long to discover why...

I don't want to sound repetitive in my reviews, but I know that sometimes I do. So at the risk of that, A Druid of Her Own definitely showed off Roth's great writing traits. There was plenty of action, there was romance, and there was world building, all packed into a not that long story. It means that when I pick up one of her books I know I'm going to enjoy it (and likely going to praise similar things as I have for her other books! But when an author you love does things this well, what's the harm in repetition!)

There was real chemistry between Maggie and Kennard, though they were a bit slower to act on it than some of the other characters in Roth's books, mainly because of just how much was going on. Other than the initial attraction, they were both pretty good at dealing with what was going on, though that didn't stop the tension between them from growing! It definitely added another dynamic.

I loved the other relationships that Roth managed to get into the book too. Maggie and her best friend Maria for example, and I especially love that they did ordinary girl things like binge eat ice cream, as well as fighting evil obviously! There was also Kennard and his cousins, and though there was a lot of ribbing going on between them it was clear that there was also a lot of affection and that really came off. Equally, there was banter between Maria and the twins which I also enjoyed.

There was so much packed into a small amount of story, and it just worked so well. This series is definitely a good one!

Bookish Resolutions Progress Report

Can you believe that it's just been the penultimate month of this challenge?? And of the year! I don't really know where 2015 has gone! Look out for our sign up post for 2016 Bookish Resolutions...we've made a few changes! And at the end of next month there will be the rafflecopter for this year's winners! 

  1. Listen to 4 audiobooks this year
    January: 0 Audiobooks
    February: 0 Audiobooks
    March: 1 Audiobook
    April: 1 Audiobook
    May: 3 Audiobooks
    June: 1 Audiobook
    July: 0 Audiobooks
    August: 1 Audiobook
    September: 0 Audiobooks
    October: 0 Audiobooks
    November: 0 Audiobooks
  2. Read 1 'classic' book a month
  3. Read at least 6 Netgalley books a month
    January: 14 Netgalley Books
    February: 7 Netgalley Books
    March: 6 Netgalley Books
    April: 10 Netgalley Books
    May: 10 Netgalley Books
    June: 8 Netgalley Books
    July: 9 Netgalley Books
    August: 8 Netgalley Books
    September: 6 Netgalley Books
    October: 8 Netgalley Books
    November: 12 Netgalley Books
  4. Read 2 books a month that have been bought (which does include free amazon books) rather than given for a review
    January: 5 Bought Books
    February: 6 Bought Books
    March: 6 Bought Books
    April: 9 Bought Books
    May: 12 Bought Books
    June: 3 Bought Books
    July: 7 Bought Books
    August: 9 Bought Books
    September: 5 Bought Books
    October: 5 Bought Books
    November: 5 Bought Books
  5. To finish at least 1 of my writing projects 
    I was published in a Halloween Anthology which you can check it out here! Though I didn't help myself by actually adding yet another project to my long list of things I started! 

Link Up Here to show us how you're doing!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Eighteen (18) by JA Huss

Title: Eighteen (18)
Author: JA Huss
From: Amazon
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Release Date: 18th November 2015
Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

It's Shannon's 18th birthday, and she is having the day from hell. Having moved around a lot and then been forced to deal with the death of her sister and her new living situation, she now doesn't have the right credits to graduate. Despite having more than the required amount. When she discovers that her trigonometry catch up classes are with private tutor, Mateo, she is faced with a whole new set of problems. Technically he is her teacher, but that doesn't stop him wanting to get his hands on her...or her hands on him...

JA Huss does it again. Eighteen (18) is gritty and real at the same time as being hot and steamy. Shannon's life is far from perfect, and she gets by with an attitude of really not caring. But because it's first person narrative I found that as the book progressed she softened and showed more of her true nature. I loved the character development from her, it worked well with the rest of the story.

Similarly I thought Mateo developed well. I wasn't sure at the beginning if he could be anything other than the older guy in the story but again he progressed and grew. Though he had a rough side, as well as secrets, I thought that even early on he managed to show some softer and sweeter tendencies.

I felt a little unsure about just how Eighteen (18) was going to end until it did. The ending fit perfectly with the story, but I do think that it could have gone one of two ways. I think Sunday had a lot to do with that, and his growing friendship with Shannon made me question where he would end up in regards to her heart. But again I thought it worked out well.

I loved the added element of Olivia too. Having a child in the story really changed some of the dynamics, and I couldn't help but find myself worrying for the little girl and hoping that she was ok, all the while routing for Shannon because she was the only one who seemed to care.

I loved Eighteen (18) it was just as addictive as other Huss books, and I'm excited for more.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Crime
Series: The Winner's Trilogy (#2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd March 2015
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 New Release Challenge, My TBR List Meme, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Having secured the treaty and independence for Arin's people by agreeing to marry the Emperor's son, Kestrel finds herself living in a world she no longer knows. Treading the fine line between acting the future Empress and staying true to herself, she plays a dangerous game feeding information to Arin, without him knowing.

If the first book messed up how I felt, then The Winner's Crime was twice as bad. About 53% in I realised just how badly the ending was going to affect me, and that it wouldn't end in a traditional happy ever after. I honestly am at the point where I'm not sure the trilogy will work out the happy way (though I really hope it does). However I am in no way saying that the ending didn't work, because it did. It worked fantastically for the plot, the characters and the book. It just broke my heart for poor Kestrel (and to a lesser extent Arin).

So starting with the romance. I was very happy to discover that Rutkoski didn't go for a love triangle were it would have been easy to do so. Verex, Kestrel's fiancé, is as resigned to their engagement as she is, but the two of them do seem to develop some kind of friendship. I can see a potential happy ending for him, though I'm not sure if he'll get it or not.

But Arin and Kestrel's romance wasn't typical. Though it isn't a major part of the story at some points it was the driving force behind them. Because of the politics they couldn't be together, and each of them seemed to believe that the other didn't care for them. My heart just kept breaking for them as they figured out the other's true motives (not the ones they told each other) and imagined themselves together. I love them as a couple, but at the moment I am struggling slightly to see how they will manage it.

The politics in the book is strong. There are a lot of people playing a lot of games and Kestrel is central to a lot of it. I think this really drove the book forward and made it a page turner. To say there was a lot of politics involved, I couldn't help but notice there weren't actually that many characters. The cast was still fairly small and it worked well.

I loved reading this. Pretty sure some parts of it are going to be haunting me for days though!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Touch My Heart by Paloma Beck

Title: Touch My Heart
Series: Heart & Soul (#2)
Author: Paloma Beck
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, BDSM-lite
Release Date: 25th October 2013
Challenges: 2015 Reading Assignment, 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 Prequels & Sequels Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Ever since he first saw Aubrey, William has been smitten. Though he won't admit it to his friends, all he really wants is a wife and someone to share the BDSM lifestyle with. But he realises that he has to go slowly with Aubrey, and as he breaks down her barriers he learns new things about her that only draw them closer together.

I've read Paloma Beck's books before and really enjoyed them, but something about Touch My Heart frustrated me a little bit. All through William's narrative I thought that there were a few moments where he would fixate on something and repeat it several times within a chapter where it wasn't needed. It was something minor, and maybe I was just in that kind of mood where I was picking up on things like that but it did detract some enjoyment from the book.

I don't read many books from a male point of view (whether that is just because they are fewer or something I'm not sure) but I didn't really think there was much difference with William. I was just reading his world and it didn't matter that he was male. What was slightly different was that it was from the POV of the dominant, which I wasn't convinced worked quite so well in my opinion.

I think I left it too long between reading Hold My Hand and Touch My Heart because I found it quite difficult to remember the plot points (and the books happen more or less simultaneously) which is actually quite unusual for me. So I was glad that this book did let me learn about the characters all over again.

The thing that I really did like about Touch My Heart though was the fact that William's friends and parents got a look in, and he was actually quite open with how he felt about them. I like seeing more to characters like this.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Book of Shadows by Willow A Renner (DNF)

Title: Book of Shadows
Series: The Lux Seekers (#2)
Author: Willow A Renner
From: Story Cartel
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: N/A
Challenges: 2015 Reading Assignment 
Links: Goodreads

Having saved the home that she never knew she had, Alexa and her brother Ian are ready to start school in their new home. But things aren't all good, especially since the elf that Alexa loves, Quinn, has broken off their relationship because he is her teacher.

N.B. The Seeker Must Awaken and Book of Shadows are no longer being published. I had copies of these books from Story Cartel and as they are on my #2015hw list I have read them. 

So I wasn't a massive fan of The Seeker Must Awaken, though I did think that it had potential. I have read bad first in the series books that then turned into great second in the series books, so figured I may as well give Book of Shadows a go. Unfortunately I did have to stop at 30% because it just wasn't working for me. 

The same issues that arose in the first book appeared in this one too, and to add to that there seemed to be a lot of repetition of the events that happened in the first book (which only took up a paragraph of explanation). 

Also Alexa seemed to be forming friendships super quickly and I didn't like it. Not everyone is going to like everyone, and yet she moved into her new dorm room and they all suddenly seemed to be best friends. Now this could have changed later in the book, but even at the beginning it was frustrating. 

There was also a lot of modernisms in the book. Normally I don't mind them, but the things like computers and slang just didn't seem to mold seamlessly into the fantasy setting, which I didn't like. It was just a little frustrating. 

I think that one of the main reasons these books didn't appeal is because they had so much potential. There was a good plot premise and it could have been really interesting if they had successfully pulled it off. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Logan by Melissa Foster

Title: Logan
Series: Wild Boys After Dark (#1)
Author: Melissa Foster
From: Review Copy
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: 10th November 2015
Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Stella Krane lives her life looking over her shoulder for the ex-boyfriend that nearly killed her. One look at her tells Private Investigator, Logan Wild, that she's hiding something, but that isn't enough to keep him away. Feeling something growing between them, he interrupts before she can get seriously injured and takes her under his wing. Though Stella is reluctant to draw anyone else into her dangerous world she slowly finds herself growing to trust Logan like she never has anyone else...

Wow. I knew before picking up Logan that the tone was going to be a little different from the other books I've read by Foster, and that could certainly be said! There was a bit more dirty talk, a bit more suspense and a bit more action. Saying that there were still the hallmarks of a Foster book that I've come to know and love.

One of the big things is the family element. Close knit relationships between families is something that Foster does well and it doesn't seem to matter what type of contemporary fiction she's doing it in, she manages to get it spot on for the tone of the book and Logan was no different. The other thing is tying all the books together. Even though this is a separate series there are still links to the other characters and I liked that her world includes them all.

The chemistry between Stella and Logan was through the roof, and there were some very steamy sex scenes, complete with dirty talk (the main departure from the other Foster books that I've read) and it worked well. It added another element and definitely furthered their relationship.

There was also more action in the book and darker demons to get past. Both Stella and Logan had a past and they were both struggling to get past it in their own ways, but with each other's help they start to succeed.

The tone was different in this book, and I think that it worked well and created something different from the Love in Bloom series but with a few elements that make it clearly Foster's.

Wild Boys After Dark: Logan (Book 1)
Release Date: 10th November 2015
Pages: 249
Genres: Erotic Fiction

Everything’s naughtier after dark… Fall in love with the Wild & Bad boys. Long enough to burn up the sheets and short enough to leave you craving more.

If raw emotions, cursing, dirty-talk, or intense, passionate sex that sometimes includes a silk tie, turn you off, then the After Dark books are not for you. *NO CLIFFHANGERS*


Stella “Stormy” Knight is an expert at hiding—her feelings, her past, and her identity. Sometimes all that hiding takes its toll, and she needs to come out from under that heavy suit of armor and cut loose—but it never takes her long to put it right back on and disappear without a trace.

Private Investigator Logan Wild is relentless in his pursuit to discover the truth for his clients. He works hard, plays even harder, and always walks away unscathed and untethered. Until he meets mysterious and sexy-as-hell Stormy, who leaves him craving more than a one-night stand.

Passion ignites, secrets are shared, and their deep connection is impossible to ignore. But in order to have a future, Logan must uncover Stormy’s dark past—and when he does, he’ll hold her fate in his hands.



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  World Literary Café and Fostering Success. 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 social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.
Authors Links:
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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Kiss Kill Love Him Still by Jamie Blair & Dawn Rae Miller

Title: Kiss Kill Love Him Still
Author: Jamie Blair & Dawn Rae Miller
From: Netgalley
Genre: Crime, Contemporary
Release Date: 10th November 2015
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

When Jackson Landis turns up dead the women in his life start to worry about who was responsible for his death and if they had anything to do with it. More than that though, who has he told their secrets to? There's Val the closet lesbian, Reggie the campus drug dealer, Haddie the bookworm trading sex for papers, and Livie the kleptomaniac. Can they work out who the guilty party is before their secrets are aired.

I was really enjoying this book, there was a lot of mystery to be solved and secrets to come out. Then unfortunately the ending happened. And I really couldn't help but think that the ending really let down the whole book. I felt that this was one of those books where everything just stopped. It wasn't tied up in anyway and it really let it down for me.

However up until that point I'd been absolutely hooked on this book and had barely put it down (in fact I did finish it in one night) so I do think that it had potential. Each of the four narrators (Haddie, Val, Livie and Reggie) had their own voice and their own story to tell and it was interesting to see them interact with each other.

What I found the most interesting was that it wasn't necessarily the characters that I thought I would relate to that I found myself liking the most. On the surface I would have said that Haddie as the nerd would probably have appealed to me the most, but I actually found her kind of dislikable. On the other hand was Reggie, who I didn't think I would like but actually came across the best. Livie got a lot of sympathy from me and I wasn't really sure about Val. But I liked having such a diverse range of characters and feelings towards them.

This book is a bit like Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars crossed with a murder mystery (which actually kind of the plot to Pretty Little Liars come to think of it). And it really drew me in and was enjoyable, the ending just let it down a little bit for me.

Monday, 23 November 2015

True Calling by Siobhan Davis

Title: True Calling
Series: True Calling (#1)
Author: Siobhan Davis
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian
Release Date: 28th January 2015 (2nd Edition)
Challenges:  2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Online Book Club Meme
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Ariana Skyee has been dreading the day that the Calling came. Every 17 year old on Novo has to participate in the Calling, where they are each given a list of 10 people who they can date. At the end of the Calling they have to be engaged, married before they're 18 and have three children before 22. Ariana hates the idea of the Calling, but when she discover Cal Remus is on her list things start to look up.

I'm not really sure where to start with my feelings on True Calling. I enjoyed reading it and found myself wanting to know how it ended, but I also felt that some of the plot devices used were a little bit of a rehash of other dystopian fiction. It made it a little predictable for me, but I did enjoy it none the less.

I loved the romance between Cal and Ariana. It felt like they were 17 and they were just discovering how to love and about relationships. It wasn't all plain sailing for them and that made their relationship stronger. They also had parents to deal with as well as the authorities which added another level of complications for them.

Just going to get this out there though; I didn't like Zane. I didn't find his part of the narration nearly as compelling as Ariana's, but there was something else that I just didn't like about him. Maybe it is my tendency to take sides in love triangles but it was definitely something!

I loved the fact that the dystopian society was split over two planets. I felt that that did give True Calling a different edge. I thought that the way in which the characters were fighting against the government on two fronts also worked well and the links between the two were definitely there.

I'm definitely intrigued by where True Calling will go next, and I love Ari and Cal together.

Book Club (November Link-Up)

trips down imagination road

Remember to keep up to date with the hashtag! #internetbookclub

 So this month's book is:

True Calling by Siobhan Davis (Goodreads)
Free Book
Genre: Science-Fiction/Dystopian (according to Amazon)
Released: October 2014


Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17-year-old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, ‘The Calling’, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.

Reviews are due the 23rd-30th November! Linky is below! 

Don't forget you can still vote for December's book! Create your own user feedback survey

If you want to grab the button then you can use this code:
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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Lotus by C J Pinard

Title: Lotus
Series: Daughter of Darkness (#1)
Author: C J Pinard
From: Amazon
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: 6th September 2015
Challenges: N/A
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Half-faery, half-vampire Lotus, has never met her parents and doesn't even know the name she was born with, but she hasn't let that stop her. Working in law enforcement she helps make the world a better place. but with a vampire serial killer on the loose and someone stalking her she has her work cut out...until a new lead takes her to Vegas and she discovers just who is after her...

I said after reading Jezebel that i was going to try the other sisters' first books before making a decision on the series (the first four; Jezebel, Lotus, Blair and Victoria are free) and I must say with Lotus things are looking up from how they were with Jezebel, so maybe this series can be saved!

Lotus was a strong heroine. She had a backstory that was quite moving at some points, and proved that she had come about her strength in a legitimate way. There was also a backstory to her career and why she did it. I thought she was a well rounded character in that regard. Though she could hold her own in a fight or other situation she did make mistakes which made her more likeable.

There were a lot of mysteries still left in Lotus. I think because I read Jezebel first I had a little more of a handle on what was going on with their father, but that could be the effect of the series. But I'm not overly convinced that I actually learnt anything new about Vlad in this book.

It was interesting seeing how faery powers worked and how that combined with Lotus' vampire side. I always find it interesting when authors have their own take on mythology.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Everealm by J D Wright

Title: Everealm
Series: Everealm (#1)
Author: J D Wright
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 31st October 2014
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

At 14, Bree has her first kiss with Rowan. At 16 she gives him far more. But when her parents, the King and Queen, find out they separate the two of them. But after seven years apart, when the death of her father and Bree's coronation brings them back together, they are still thinking of one another. When Bree's uncle, Silas, threatens her country, she enlists the help of the introverted ladies man and wizard, Dagan, and her new friend Sid, in order to help her.

Words! I need words! I'm not going to lie, what drew me to Everealm was it's cover, and what prompted me to read it straight away was seeing the sequel come up on Netgalley (yes I know its shameful!) but I'm so glad that happened because this was such a good read. It took me less than a day to read because I couldn't put it down! If I had to describe it I would say that Everealm was a bit like Game of Thrones crossed with softer fantasy and with a slight contemporary twist.

The contemporary twist isn't in the setting, but more to do with the language used. At first I wasn't sure that I liked it, but actually I think it worked well in making this book stand out. Words like 'sexy' made an appearance, and the younger couples (who were all around their mid-twenties, the MCs Bree and Rowan were 23 and 25 respectively...I think!) acted like New Adult couples in contemporary fiction just with way more awesome clothes (let's face it Bree is a Queen, she's allowed fancy frocks!)

There were a couple of plot twists, one of which hasn't actually been revealed yet but I have a strong feeling about, and the other main two took me completely by surprise. I love it when I can't see twists coming, and Everealm definitely gave me that.

I also loved that each of the characters brought something different to the plate. Though she was young, Bree didn't want to be useless and actually did things. Amazingly for a young female protagonist she actually listened to advice as well. Don't get me wrong she acted her age, but having a female character who like girl things and was capable was brilliant!

I loved this book, and I'm excited to see what's coming next!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

King King Goose? by Mandy M Roth

Title: King, King, Goose?
Series: Realm of the Dragon Shifters
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Christmas, Romance, Paranormal
Release Date: 30th May 2012
Challenges: N/A
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Dragon shifter and King of his people, Narjarni, wants to make his human wife of three years, Tara, happy by giving her the Christmas celebration she misses out on by living in his world. Sending some of his trusted men to find out about Christmas traditions, they set up a feast, complete with a Goose named Roger, to capture the Christmas spirit...or that's the plan at the very least...

King, King, Goose? is a short fun read (and it's free on amazon!) which I think introduces readers to the things that Roth does amazingly. Even in short stories such as this one, she manages to build a world, and in this case I haven't actually read any of the books from it!

One thing that I always thinks stands out in Roth's books is that the characters that aren't from Earth don't fully understand Earth customs, and as such they make mistakes and misunderstand things about them. This leads to funny comments and even some physical humour, which I love reading because it gives the book that something different.

The heat level in King, King, Goose? is a lot less than in most of Roth's books, though there are references to sex and other activities, but I didn't think it had anything lacking because of that, I enjoyed it all the same!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

Title: The Golden Braid
Series: Hagenheim (#6)
Author: Melanie Dickerson
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Release Date: 17th November 2015
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Dragged around by her mother, Rapunzel has never been able to make friends and every time a man seems interested in her, her mother moves her on. When she saves a knight, Sir Gerek, on the road, she decides that it is time that she learnt to read and sneaks to the monastery where he is healing so he can teach her. As Rapunzel begins to take some of her life as her own she discovers the web of lies she's been told.

I love fairy tale retellings, and after having read a brilliant retelling of Rapunzel recently I was excited to read The Golden Braid. Unfortunately there was something about it that didn't make me go 'wow'. It was a decent read, but that was it, definitely no wow factor.

I think one of my major issues with The Golden Braid was the religious aspects. I can understand that religion was an important part of the setting but I wasn't keen on the way that Rapunzel, and Sir Gerek, focused on the scripture and were talked to by 'God'. To be clear I don't have a problem with religion, in fact I identify myself as a Christian, but I'm not too keen on it being 'preached' in books, a bit like this was. Saying that it wasn't too overwhelming or I would have stopped reading, however Christian fiction isn't something I choose to read and there was no real warning with this one.

The romance between Rapunzel and Sir Gerek was sweet and slow burning, which I always thought that added something to the book. Their relationship was one that started with them bickering and saying they didn't like each other and for that to then progress felt right.

This was written well and had a lot of the classic Rapunzel elements but it didn't flow quite well for me because of the religious elements really.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A Very Alpha Christmas (Anthology)

Title: A Very Alpha Christmas
Author: V M Black, Terah Edun, Cathyrn Fox, Carina Wilder, Chloe Cole, Mandy M Roth, Michelle M Pillow, T S Joyce, R E Butler, Jaycee Clark, JC Andrijeski, Tasha Black, Christina Rayne, Jaide Fox, Michele Bardsley, Renee George, T J Michaels, Elsa Jade, Allisoon Gatta, Arial Burnz, Mandy Rosko, Candice Gilmer, Dawn Michelle, Sylvia Frost, Lissa Matthews, Lexy Cole
From: Review Copy
Genre: Anthology, Romance, Paranormal, Christmas
Release Date: 17th November 2015
Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 point = Stirring Up Trouble)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Vampire Games by V M Black 

At Sea with her vampire fiancé, Cora finds herself playing a different kind of game...One in which winning could mean losing and losing could mean winning.

This story was all about the foreplay. The whole thing was Cora and Dorian playing a sex game that had the intention of improving their relationship  (which I do think it managed). As the first story on the anthology I am curious as to if it also serves as some kind of foreplay for the rest of the anthology and am excited to find out.

As a teaser to the author's other books, Vampire Games works well, there was clearly a back story to the two characters and there were hints towards what sounded like an intriguing and different set of rules about vampires. I'm definitely intrigued.

When Darkness Falls by Terah Edun

Rhiannon is a witch and a demon hunter, one who is always late. When she hears on the news that a plane crashed into a skyscraper in New York she dismisses it, until she sees visions of chaos that are just three days away.

I've read a lot of Terah Edun's work and loved it so I wasn't surprised at all that this short story dragged me in...only thing is that I want more!

I liked what Edun did with the attack on the World Trade Centre, merging the events with a world that knew about heaven, hell and demons. I didn't feel that it was done in a disrespectful way but Rhiannon's shock captured the true mood and horror of that day (I was 9 at the time and still remember the news that day).

Wrapped Up by Cathryn Fox

Lawyer Carter knows that to get anywhere in the world he's going to have to be ruthless. On top of that his past in the foster system has led to him hating Christmas, especially because he never got given the puppy he desperately wanted. Now stranded in a town that is obsessed with Christmas, he meets the sweet and sexy Josie, and soon he discovers parts of himself that he thought were gone forever.

Wrapped Up was such a sweet read. I didn't feel like Carter was a bad guy at the start so there wasn't really any reforming going on, instead Josie seemed to bring out in him things that he'd tried to forget about on his way to the top (but kind of failed at doing). It made the romance between them sweet and enjoyable to read.

There were some moments in the book that boarded on the supernatural with the White Wolf, but I do think that it could also just be read as folklore and coincidence, so if you're not into the supernatural then this story is still good to go!

Christmas Past, Christmas Presents by Carina Wilder

Kiara is a young journalist who gets her big break when she is asked to go to Micah Drake's home and write an article on his art collection. But when she gets there she encounters the man himself and instantly becomes enamored and intrigued by him. As Kiara learns Drake's secrets she finds herself in situations that she hadn't thought possible.

I had fun trying to guess what Drake's secret was before the big reveal. I did go through several different ideas before settling on the right one though I did cut it fine for figuring it out before the reveal! I like it when stories keep me guessing, and even when it was revealed I found myself slightly surprised about the how.

There was a bit of insta-love going on in this story, though probably more insta-lust that developed quite quickly. Because it was only a short story I didn't find that I minded too much and still enjoyed the story between Kiara and Drake.

Hunted by Chloe Cole

When Gabriel is asked to get close to a woman who could be a threat to the Nightwalkers, he tries to refuse. But there is something about squeaky clean librarian Zara that draws him to her and when they meet there is an irresistible pull between them.

Well I am now very intrigued by what could happen next for Zara and Gabriel, especially because this is one of those stories that had me hoping the male MC would tell the female MC the truth. I mean she'd pretty much figured it out but then dismissed it, but still.

The chemistry between Zara and Gabriel was intense, and in the case of this story took a slight BDSM twist. It wasn't massively intense but did play a large role in the sex scene between characters.

Heated Holiday by Mandy M Roth

Cassie has been forced to supress her supernatural side for years due to her purist stepfather. Cambridge has been leading negotiations for a peace between humans and supernaturals, despite high protest levels. The moment that Cassie first sees Cambridge something sparks between them, but the impending bomb threat distracts them both.

This novella just reminds me of why I love Roth's writing! She manages so effortlessly to straddle the line between standalone and series (though I am yet to read the previous story) making reading enjoyable and fun. There is plenty of heat between the two leads, and being supernatural there is some insta-emotions going on, but the strength of the story means they are easy to deal with.

I also love the humour in this story, in this case it was mainly brought out by quasi-couple Finn and Mimi.  The banter between them was on point and had me laughing aloud several times!

Stirring Up Trouble by Michelle M Pillow 

Since the death of his wife Elsbeth, Fergus has been looking for her soul in every woman that he meets. When Donna feels the sudden urge to bake and deliver goods to the MacGregor clan she doesn't know what has happened to her. Not remembering baking, nor any good at it, she still persists. When she meets Fergus for the first time there is an instant connection causing Fergus' guilt to flair up.

It was good to be back with the MacGregor clan! Pillow really creates a family dynamic between her characters, with a lot of teasing and messing with each other across the generations (as they are immortal it doesn't make such a difference what their various ages are!) I love reading the family dynamic, and how potential love interests work into that!

I also found the reincarnation ideas in the book interesting. I did wonder how the story was going to work considering that Fergus' wife died on the first page, but it actually worked well and Pillow kept me on my toes with what was really going on!

Baby It's Cold Out Bear by T S Joyce

When Emry gets stuck in a snow drift, her landlady Helena, sends out the new lodging bear shifter, Graylan, to save her. Emry and Graylan are instantly attracted to each other, though Graylan admits that he is very nomadic and doesn't like to settle in one place for too long. Slowly Emry finds that he is warming up, and getting more and more into the spirit of the season.

I think Baby It's Cold Out Bear is one of my favourites from this anthology. There was plenty of chemistry between the two lead characters as well as some sweet moments, particularly from Graylan. They both had a past which was surprisingly well fleshed out considering the length of the story, and it worked well in developing them both.

I found it interesting that the author chose to have bear shifters "out" in the world, and then explore the idea of that being the case. There was no easy route of acceptance, and some of the bears didn't find that at all, but I liked the realism that this brought. It also meant that Graylan's bear type was kept underwraps for a while (though I did guess!).

Monday, 16 November 2015

Cipher by Aileen Erin

Title: Cipher
Series: The Shadow Ravens (#1)
Author: Aileen Erin
From: Netgalley
Genre: Dystopia, Sci-fi
Release Date: 31st October 2014
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Cipher is in hiding, as a Red Helix, her DNA is unstable and she has developed powers; an ability to manipulate electricity. Knight has worked his way to being a green and black Helix, all with the intention of finding the Red Helix that saved his life as a child; Emma. When Cipher and Knight meet in person, sparks fly (and not just the electrical kind!) and they are thrown together, having to rely on each other in order to stay one step ahead of the Seligo.

It's official. I'm an Aileen Erin addict now. Having finished what is out of her Alpha Girls series, I've been looking forward to reading Cipher, and I'm not sure why it took me so long. This was all the good bits of her writing thrown into a well developed dystopian world, quite frankly what isn't to love!

I do think that the audience for Cipher is definitely more in the mature YA category, there's nothing explicit in the book but several of the characters do swear (and more than once!) though I do think they were using swearwords at highly justifiable times.

The split POV between Cipher and Knight worked well in telling the story from various angles, as well as strengthening their relationship. Erin has a fantastic way of making a romance an integral part of the story and yet not the main focus at all. I think it's a lesson that a lot of authors, particularly those writing YA, could do with! Also no love triangle! That is awesome in itself!

There was another level of caring added as well between Cipher and her friend Mona. Though they hadn't been friends for long there was clearly a bond there that some female friends just get, and it was good to see characters having a positive female based relationship.

I loved Cipher and am excited to see what the rest of this series brings, especially as it is coming from authors that I haven't actually read yet!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Human by Milan Bakrania (DNF)

Title: Human
Author: Milan Bakrania
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopia
Release Date: 28th February 2014
Challenges: N/A (due to DNF status, otherwise 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

(From Goodreads) Zenith has been 'dead' ever since his Uncle Ryan mysteriously disappeared when he was a child. Present day - Zenith is now 42 years old. The world is at the mercy of a relentless virus. His friend, Joy Irani, is missing. No one has seen him. It's all too familiar! But Zenith will stop at nothing to find him.A series of anonymous text messages leads him to a deserted village. Moments later, he finds himself on a boat heading into the open ocean...HUMAN is a week long account of an irritable cleaner from India as he sets out on a journey of a lifetime. From a bustling city to a place where the stars descend from the sky, it's going to be a week like no other!

So to be clear, I didn't finish this book. I did get to about half way through but then decided the book just wasn't holding my attention enough to warrant carrying on. The book isn't bad, and I can see how people would enjoy it, but it wasn't for me. However because I got to half way through I do feel I have enough to say to warrant a review. 

The narrative is interesting. Though it doesn't become completely clear until a bit of a way in that the main character, Zenith, is writing in a diary. To begin with I did just think it was some kind of inner monologue aimed at "Uncle Ryan" (though up until the point I got to it was never really made clear who Uncle Ryan was. 

From the description, and the way the virus comes across in the book I'd half expected there to be some kind of undead uprising, and though there are hints that maybe the dead wouldn't always stay dead, the virus actually seemed to have very little impact on what was going on. 

Then there was the disappearance of Zenith's friend Joy. I thought that it was going to turn out to be some kind of government disappearance or something else exciting, but for me the search just kind of dragged and there was a lot of going to temples to pray and hope for his return. 

All in all not for me. The POV style was interesting and what I read was well written though.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Seized by Love by Melissa Foster

Title: Seized by Love
Series: The Ryders (#1) part of Love in Bloom
Author: Melissa Foster
From: Review Copy (Blog Tour)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 28th October 2015
Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Florist Lizzie Barber has a secret identity; the Naked Baker. Originally from her days in college, she now hosts the seductive podcast to pay for her sister Maddy's education too. But being the Naked Baker has meant that she has kept everyone at arms length, especially the very sexy Blue Ryder, even if he has constantly been asking her on dates for the past year. But then one evening something makes Lizzie give into Blue and she discovers things she never thought possible...

I love Melissa Foster's books! They often seem to come along at points where all I want is a good love story and I know with the Love in Bloom books that is exactly what I'm going to get. There are strong heroines, sexy heros, some steamy moments but mostly the really cute moments associated with falling in love!

I really liked that Lizzie had a part of herself that she wanted to keep quiet. I found it quite relatable in some ways. Though being the Naked Baker is a lot more of a dramatic secret than blogging, I find myself keeping that quieter, which makes Lizzie a relateable character, which I love.

Add to that sexy Blue Ryder, who is an all round great guy. He respected Lizzie right from the off, even before the events of Seized by Love and I honestly think that that is one of the most important parts of the book. He liked her exactly as she was (not meaning to echo Bridget Jones there!) and let's face it...every girl wants that!

There are plenty of cross over characters from the other books in the Love in Bloom series; most notably from the Seaside Summers sub series, the books that first introduced Lizzie and Blue, as well as some of the others. I love having a catch up with old characters like that, it makes the whole series really seem like a community!

YOU FELL IN love with Blue Ryder and Lizzie Barber in Seaside Summers, now follow their journey to find true love in SEIZED BY LOVE, the first book in the Ryder series. Coming soon.
Lizzie Barber runs a successful flower shop by day and secretly hosts the Naked Baker webcast at night to help pay for her younger sister’s education. To keep friends and family from finding out about her sexy secret, she’s put her social life on hold until her sister’s education is paid off and she can stop filming the webcast.
Blue Ryder fell hard for Lizzie Barber when he met her a year ago, and he hasn’t been able to get her off his mind since. Everything about the feisty little brunette, from her tight bod to her seductive smile, cuts straight to his heart. Though Lizzie has turned down every invitation he’s extended—Blue is not about to give up trying.
Renovating Lizzie’s kitchen brings Blue further into Lizzie’s life, and the oven is not the only thing heating up. One night and one powerful kiss changes everything. But when Lizzie’s secret is revealed and the safe bubble she’s hidden in shatters, true love may not be enough to put the pieces back together.

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About Melissa Foster
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  World Literary Café and Fostering Success. 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 social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.
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