Saturday, 31 December 2016

Bookish Resolutions 2016 END POST & GIVEAWAY

2016 Bookish Resolutions

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

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

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

  1. COMPLETED: Finish Cloaked (the sequel to my published Novella)
    Cloaked is not only finished, but it is now Published! (Here's the link to prove it!) 
Now let us know how you did for the year, and enter the giveaway...also don't forget to set some new goals for 2017!
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Thursday, 22 December 2016

Gilded Cage by Sherry D Ficklin (Canary Club)

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 19 December 2016

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Release Date: 8th November 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen. At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship. Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I picked up Heartless for a couple of reasons. The first is that I've recently read, and really enjoyed, Cinder, and so knew that I liked Meyer's writing style. The other reason is that I've read a couple of great reviews from bloggers that I trust, and that always propels a book to the top of my to-read list! 

However, it is worth noting that I am completely indifferent about Alice in Wonderland, I've read both the books, at some point at least, I don't remember exactly when. And have nothing against it, I just don't love it, if that makes sense. This is despite two things (1) the city I spent the first 11 years of my life in had some pretty amazing Alice in Wonderland carvings in the Cathedral (Click here for the google image search! ) and Lewis Carrol having a home there. (2) for the Brownie Guide 100 Years celebration we through an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party, I even dressed up as the Cheshire Cat! 

So baring in mind that I'm not Alice's biggest fan, Heartless had some overcoming to do. However, so many times during the story I just couldn't help but think how fantastically Meyer managed to capture Wonderland. I felt that she managed to tell her own story, at the same time as remaining faithful to the original, and that feels like no mean feat!

Now, Catherine. I knew from the start that Meyer said she wasn't going to change the ending, which made me want to dislike Catherine (aka the future Queen of Hearts) from the start. However, she is just so likable. Sure, she made some bad choices, but she made some good ones too. And Meyer did a good job of bringing her to the point where she is the Queen of Hearts we all know and loathe. Oh, on that note, the last words of the book; absolute perfection. I'd hoped that's what they were going to be, and was pleased to see I was right! 

Catherine and Jest's relationship was sweet, and kind of tragic. You know it's going to end badly, and yet from almost the moment they meet, you can feel yourself wanting it to end differently, and wanting their story to be the true one. It was actually quite difficult to read the final chapters, because tragic really is the way you'd have to describe it. 

The cast of side characters was brilliant too, with Heartless explaining how a lot of them, even minor ones like the pepper incident in one of the Alice books, came to be. I liked that this served as more than just Catherine's story. 

This was a good read, and I suspect that if I loved Alice in Wonderland then I'd be giving it 5 stars, so it's not really Heartless' fault that it hasn't got that!

Friday, 16 December 2016

The Clothing Mogul by Aubrey Parker (#2 The Trillionaire Boys' Club)

Title: The Clothing Mogul
Series: The Trillionaire Boys' Club
Author: Aubrey Parker
From: Amazon
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 6th December 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “You have to fall in love,” Alyssa suggests. And then, because she’s my publicist, she adds the key word: “Publicly.”  My name is Ashton Moran, and I’m CEO of the $2.2 billion Hurricane Apparel company. You’d think that’d be enough, but it’s not. Not for Alyssa. She says my public image sucks. She says my being a womanizer is hurting Hurricane’s brand.  So she found this girl, Jenna, who I’m supposed to pretend I’m in love with for the press. I’m not supposed to sleep with any other women for as long as this farce goes on. Only with Jenna — if she’s into it, which she will be. I understand what Alyssa is trying to do by making Hurricane more “family friendly,” but … Me? In love? With only one woman?  There’s no way this is going to work. 

The Clothing Mogul can be read as a standalone, though there are small references to the previous book in the series, The Connector. The reader doesn't need to have read the previous book to understand this one and vice versa. 

I don't quite know how I feel about this book yet. On the one hand, I was compelled to keep reading, on the other hand, for about 75% of the book I just wanted to yell at Ashton and call him names. He wasn't a nice person, and he didn't think  nice thoughts, particularly about women. 

However, the fact that he was like that meant that his transition and growth were more obvious. It happened in small stages, but there was a clear turning point in what he felt towards Jenna, and i think it was obvious not only to the reader, but to him as well, he just didn't want to admit it. 

I think my favourite part of this book though was Alyssa. She appeared in the previous one, but came across as a bit of a witch (sorry amazon friendly word needed!) but in this one, she came across as more of a powerful woman in her own right. Even Ashton actually seemed to respect her, which really says something. 

There was a good amount of chemistry between Jenna and Ashton, even if their emotions were all over the place. But I could buy into the two of them. The ending was also really sweet and made their journey worth it! 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Own by KI Lynn & N Isabelle Blanco (#3 Need)

Title: Own
Series: Need (#3)
Authors: N Isabelle Blanco, KI Lynn
From: Amazon
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 28th November 2016
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy2016 New Release Challenge 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (12 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Kira’s finally mine. Mine. And nobody and nothing is going to take her from me. I’ll fight for her, to the death. Do anything for her. There’s no more living without her. No more holding back my feelings. If only it was enough. We’re surrounded every day.  Watched. Stalked. Judged. Everyone knows us. Now, they suspect. The odds are stacked against us more than before.
We live in the shadows, hiding our love from the entire world. But not for long. I refuse to live like this anymore. I’ll do whatever it takes to own her. I’m waging a dark war against those that stand against us. And I will win. That girl is going to be mine forever, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Own should not be read as a standalone. The events in the book follow on directly from those in Take and rely heavily on the past between Kira and Brayden. While I was reluctant to actually admit enjoying book 1 (for various reasons you can read in my review from last Monday!), this series well and truly sucked me in and I didn't want to put it down. I had to know how it would end. 

So...Brayden. Even in Take I wasn't his biggest fan. He'd done a lot of bad things in the first book, and the second book was him trying to change his ways, but it was in Own that I finally felt he came into his true self. I started to like him more, which was a real mix of influences I think. First there was his relationship with Kira, and his friendship with her brother Ryan, then there was the twist, and the relationships that revealed, and I think that made a massive difference. 

Kira was more the iffy one in this book. She was a little bit in denial about what the two of them were to one another, which did include a rather amusing moment where she asked several people in the know if Brayden was her boyfriend. I had a real smile on my face during that one. 

Brayden and Kira's relationship definitely settled down in this one. They had good chemistry, and frequently acted upon it, but it was more than that. They admitted what they felt to themselves and that moved them along. Instead, the drama in this book came from the outside. 

At the beginning of Own, there were a handful of people that knew about their relationship, and a lot of people who suspected, and this book was really about the two of them coming to terms with that. There were a lot of loose ends tied up, and I thought that the end was definitely satisfying. 

This series has been oh so wrong, but oh so satisfying to read. I'd recommend it as a guilty pleasure definitely!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Acca by Christina Bauer (#3 Angelbound Origins)

Title: Acca
Series: Angelbound Origins (#3)
Author: Christina Bauer
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 13th December 2016
Challenges:  2016 New Release Challenge2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): In just one week, supernatural warrior Myla Lewis must discover enough evidence to send the evil House of Acca to prison… or she’ll end up in jail herself, along with her fiancĂ©, Prince Lincoln. No pressure. To gather proof, Myla and Lincoln go undercover at an all-girl’s high school on Earth. Lincoln acts as the new gym teacher; Myla becomes the school’s least popular transfer student ever. To stop them from getting the goods, Acca releases Hell on Earth. Literally. Good thing Myla and Lincoln aren’t afraid of a tough fight. This one promises to be the hardest yet. After all, who ever said high school wasn’t hell?

Acca could be read as a standalone as there is enough information during the course of the story to catch a reader up on the events of previous books. However, for the full affect, I think it is better to read at least the first two in the series. I've also read the last book in the series Armageddon (as it was already out) and the two Angelbound Offspring books, so picked up on a bit of foreshadowing in this book! 

THE WEDDING! Totally not a spoiler because Myla is wearing her wedding dress on the cover! Oh it was all kinds of perfect! Just Myla and Lincoln from start to finish! I was reading the wedding scenes with a smile on my face, and there's little doubt as to why.

Myla and Lincoln's relationship is well and truly established by this point. Despite the fact that the two of them have some major hurdles to overcome (like their people hating each other), their foundation is solid. The two of them work together well as a team and there is mutual respect. While they do want to protect each other, neither of them goes about it in a way that suggests the other isn't capable of that. 

I'd forgotten how funny Myla is as a narrator! The last two Angelbound books I read where Maxon and Portia, the Offspring books which were narrated by their namesakes. Each of them is their own person, but neither of them come close to Myla in snarkiness! (Probably a good thing or I'd end up feeling very sorry for poor Lincoln!) 

This book had it all, there was action, romance, and snark enough to make you smile!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Midnight Echoes by Mandy M Roth (#1 Crimson Ops)

Title: Midnight Echoes
Series: Crimson Ops (#1)
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Release Date: 13th December 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): He’s a bad-boy vampire feared the world over… She’s off limits… Vampire and Crimson Operative Bhaltair hasn’t always played for the side of good. He’s walked a fine line throughout his immortally long life and has very few regrets. He’s always had everything he’s ever wanted—that is until Meena. As a human descendant to the master vampire he serves, Meena isn’t on the menu. That is until he learns he’s in danger of losing her to another supernatural male.

Midnight Echoes is the first book in the Crimson Ops series, and is related to the other series set in the Immortal Ops world. While some of the characters have been mentioned (and made brief appearances) in Roth's other books, I felt that this one didn't need the prior knowledge of her other work. However, Midnight Echoes really added something to the overall world that Roth is creating. 

Midnight Echoes had a very interesting take on vampires, and some of the nuances in their nature weren't like anything that I'd ever read before. I liked the new angle, especially as it kept some of the more bloodthirsty nature of vampires which seems to be so often left out in some books these days. There was also the way that this mixed with other supernatural beings, and as with Roth's previous books, I just thought that that worked really well. 

There was definite chemistry between Bhaltair and Meena, and while they were mates, the chemistry seemed to have been building up over a matter of years, but with things to complicate them being together. For me this really worked as it gave both of them, as well as their relationship a deeper bond. 

I liked the twist to Meena's supernatural status too. I felt like Roth used this greatly to her advantage when crafting Meena's character, and that it worked with the overall arc of the story. There were also a few ties to the overarching plot that seems to run behind most of the series set in this world, which was good for regular readers of Roth, but didn't detract if this was a one-off read. 

I really enjoyed Midnight Echoes and can't wait for more from the Crimson Ops!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by JK Rowling

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
Author: JK Rowling
From: Tesco
Genre: Fantasy, Screen Play
Release Date: 18th November 2016
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt's fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Before I start, I feel that I need to make it clear that I'm yet to see the film version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and I was unsure whether I wanted to read the screenplay before or after I saw the film. After hearing that the film itself was sort of disappointing (other than the CGI, which was raved about, and to be clear this was from people that know what they're talking about when it comes to that kind of thing). I'm more of a read-it-and-imagine kind of person anyway, so I decided I'd read it first. Plus, it actually took me less time to read than it would to go watch the film, which made perfect sense to me. 

This was a completely different experience from reading a play, and it was interesting to say the least. It was almost like reading a hybrid between prose and play, which worked really well for my imagination. Because there were descriptions of people, places and even emotions, more than there would be in a play, I found it easy to slip into the world of Fantastic Beasts.

The characters were an interesting mix, and it was sometimes a little bit difficult to keep track of them. The lack of accents in writing made it easier for me to appreciate them individually rather than be frustrated if I don't like the way their voice sounds (yes I'm one of those film watchers). 

There was a lot of imagination that went into this screenplay, not that I'd expect anything less from JK Rowling. And it was clear that a lot of it had a lot of planning behind. I also found it interesting how she tied it in with other wizarding history events. 

Plus, the artwork is beautiful! Not sure about in the Kindle version, but it certainly is in the hardback!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Take by N Isabelle Blanco & K I Lynn (#2 Need)

Title: Take
Series: Need (#2)
Authors: N Isabelle Blanco, K I Lynn
From: The Need Box Set (Amazon)
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 6th January 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): He broke me. The only man I’ve ever loved. Wrecked me beyond recognition. But I can’t get away from him. Brayden haunts me, persistently. His last name is what he is—a hunter. And I’m his prey. I just want to move on, forget him. But he won’t let me.  He’s a whore and I break, letting him in. One hit is a gateway drug, and I’m suddenly unable to stay away. So I take what I need from him. I hate him. I love him. And I don’t even have a fighting chance against him.

Take is the second book in the Need series, and shouldn't be read as a standalone. It takes place directly after the events of Need and involves the same characters who are still dealing with the same obstacles. This review should be spoiler free. 

For anyone that read my review on Monday (yes it really didn't take me long to cave and read book 2. In fact, I've already got book 3 on my Kindle, so yep it's going to be one of those series), you know that I had some issues with it. Basically some of the book made me uncomfortable, and yet it's addictive nature made me love it. Well, Take has slightly less of those issues. Both of the main characters are now over 18 (which takes away most of my problems really!) and it has the same addictive quality, I read this one in just under 3 hours, because I just couldn't bring myself to put it down. 

Brayden has redeemed himself a little in my eyes. In the first book he wasn't a particularly likable character. He just kept hurting Kira, the female lead, over and over again, and it made him difficult to like. In this book, the dislike hasn't totally gone, but he's realised what he wants and what he has to do to prove himself. He still goes about it a little heavy handedly at times, but least now his heart is in the right place. 

Now Kira...she's definitely one jaded 18 year old, but then again I can't really blame her. Brayden has been so hot and cold with her that it just didn't seem possible for her not to be. She didn't just let him have his way all the time, instead she made him work hard for her attention. It took her a lot of the book to even come to terms with the fact that she wanted him. 

What made this really interesting was the way that their quasi-relationship was seen from the outside. The story is told from dual first person POV, and so we don't actually know what other people are thinking. But there were a lot of hints that their feelings for each other were clearer to the outside world than they thought. After the end of the first book, it was clear that Kira's brother (and Brayden's step-brother), Ryan knew about the two of them. But this one made it clear that more people know than they'd hope. Including Ryan's father. 

This book still isn't for everybody. Once the two of them finally get it on, the floodgates open and they have a lot of sex, but then it'd been building for a book and a half. I still feel the characters are acting a bit older than they are, but now that age isn't a big thing to the plot, that's actually easy enough to ignore. And they're still step-siblings. So yeah, not for everyone, but highly addictive!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Mr Match by JA Huss (#5 Mister)

Title: Mr Match
Series: Mister (#5)
Author: JA Huss
From: Review Copy
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 7th December 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (12 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Oliver Shrike thinks ahead. He likes to make lists and tick off boxes. He plans, he plots, and he’s got everything under control. Until one day he sees my videos on his dating site. The private erotic videos I make just for him. When I’m looking at the camera I can practically see his face. Hear the internal arguments. Feel his desire. Because I’m that kind of woman. You should delete my videos, Oliver Shrike. It’s your job to keep that dating site on the up and up. But you don’t, do you?You watch them. You get off to them. You crave them. Every week I make a new one with you in mind. I’ve got you addicted to my body, my moans, my secrets. I’ve hooked you now, Mr. Match. You’ve been in control for way too long and this is where it ends.

Mr Match is the fifth, and final, book in the Mister series and should not be read as a standalone. The reader needs to be aware of the events of the previous books in order to fully appreciate that. This review is likely going to be frustratingly cryptic because I just can't risk giving too much away! 

So this was the perfect ending...Oliver wasn't really anything like I expected him to be, and I don't know why because he's the perfect combination of his parents' influence as well as being his own man. You don't have to have read Spencer and Veronica's story (Bomb/Guns) in order to understand Oliver's because they're completely separate, but there were moments when I enjoyed the nods to previous books and the personality traits of the original gang. 

Oliver and Kat had amazing chemistry, like seriously amazing. They didn't even have to be in the same room and they were incredibly hot to read. I was trying to think of a way to describe their story, and the closest I can come up with is a second chance romance...except that's not quite right either, for various reasons. I really felt them together, and while they're not my favourite Mister couple (toss up there between Nolan/Ivy and Pax/Cindy), their story was spot on.

Now the twists and turns...on reflection there are some points in the previous books that *could* point in the right direction, but I don't think I noticed them particularly. The way that it was all tied up worked well, it gave an explanation for everything (well almost everything, there is still one mystery that I really REALLY want solved, but it'll hopefully be a future book!) at the same time as being suitably twisted.

And the epilogue...just worked. I was getting a little bit emotional from reading it, probably because I realised that this was it for the Misters, and while I don't doubt that they could appear in future Huss books, they're unlikely to be the centre of attention once again.

This is a fantastic series, with each couple having their own struggles. There are twists, turns and intrigue aplenty and you just can't predict it. Yet, it all still comes together in a way that makes you realise it all made sense all along!

Oh also, read this in two sittings (only because I had to drive in between). Didn't want to put it down at all.

Read the series. No, seriously, read it now!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Darkest Flame by Donna Grant (#1 Dark Kings)

Title: Darkest Flame
Series: Dark Kings (#1)
Author: Donna Grant
From: Netgalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 29th April 2014
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge2016 Reading Assignment 2016 Blogger Shame
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): The Dark Kings have fought for centuries to preserve their dragon magic. But one of the most powerful warriors of his kind will be put to the ultimate test. Is he strong enough to resist his greatest temptations? Or will he be forced to surrender - body and soul? Her beauty is a weapon. Denae Lacroix is a beautiful MI5 agent on a deadly mission. Sent to the Scottish Highlands to spy on the mysterious Dreagan Industries, she discovers too late that she’s been set up - as human bait. She is an irresistible lure for a man who has not seen or touched a woman for centuries. He is a man with a destiny - and a desire - that could destroy them both... His passion is a curse...It’s been twelve hundred years since Kellan has walked among humans - and there’s no denying the erotically charged attraction he feels for Denae. But as a Dragon King, he is sworn to protect his secrets. Yet the closer he gets to this smart, ravishing woman, the more her life is in danger. All it takes is one reckless kiss to unleash a flood of desire, the fury of dragons…and the fiercest enemy of all. 

This was an interesting book when it comes to the whole standalone factor. I think I've maybe read one book by Donna Grant before this, but despite this being the first book in a series, I did feel like I was maybe missing a little something from not reading previous series. However, once the book got going, it didn't really matter and I got into it easily enough. 

I loved the fact that the heroine was not only able to take care of herself, but was allowed to take care of herself. Sure, Kellan had his alpha moments about wanting to protect her and all that, but he also let her be herself, and when she managed to protect herself he felt proud rather than berating her. 

This was an interesting take on the insta-love/mate thing. Neither of the characters were particularly moony by nature, and neither of them spent the whole book just thinking about the other one and how they didn't know how they were feeling. Now don't get me wrong, there was a little bit of that, but it wasn't taking over the prose. I felt like they were their own people and they got on with their own jobs. 

Now a side character, I loved Rhi and enjoyed the fact that there was more to the story than just the couple busy falling in love. I was slightly confused about exactly which Dragon King had an affair with the Fae, but I feel like it will come out in later books anyway, so I probably shouldn't worry about it too much! 

This was a good read, I love dragon-shifters, and this mythology was well thought out and interesting. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Need by N Isabelle Blanco & K I Lynn (#1 Need)

Title: Need
Series: Need (#1)
Authors: N Isabelle Blanco, K I Lynn
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 3rd March 2015
Challenges:  2016 Blogger Shame2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge 2016 Reading Assignment
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): I was Kira’s from the first moment I saw her. Maybe it was love at first sight, but I was only ten. She became my best friend. My crush. The girl I can’t live without. But I have to. She was almost mine, but my father took away my chance. Now she lives across the hall from me. Instead of possessing the title of girlfriend, she’s now my stepsister. But that doesn’t stop how I feel, how I want her. Thankfully, I’m off to college two hundred miles away, but even that doesn’t help. She’s under my skin, all around me, and all I can do is watch her morph from a sexy teenager to an irresistible woman. I can’t take it anymore, I need her. Is it possible to ever be happy without the one person you need?

A slight disclaimer before I really get into my review, well a couple really. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to write about this book, and asked advice from the ladies in the ever-helpful COYER facebook group, so with their encouragement, here is my, potentially contradictory in places, review!

Let me start by saying that I don't really read step-brother romances, I have a step-brother myself, so find the whole idea that little bit icky, but I've read books by both of the authors of this one before, and enjoyed their work, so this one ended up on my Reading Assignment list. 

I wasn't too sure about some parts of the book. This reads like NA, with plenty of graphic language and thoughts, so while the characters are mostly YA age (through most of the book, the younger character, Kira, is between 15 and 18 years old), there was a lot more sexual content than I'd expect under normal circumstances. It did make me feel a little bit pervy while reading (and I'll get to why I didn't stop in a minute) but if this had involved two adult characters then I would definitely have catagorised it as hot, because it was. There was some great chemistry sizzling away. But Kira's age was a big deal to the plot, which kind of counteracted that. 

I kind of found it difficult to like the male lead, Brayden, at all. He treated Kira really badly almost from the start (though they were kids at the very beginning and that was just cute!) He didn't seem to really think about what he was doing. Now the whole story was about the angst the two of them were feeling about their highly forbidden relationship, so it did kind of work, and most of the book is the two of them lashing out at one another, quite badly in some cases. 

Now...completely disregard everything I just said. Because this book was ridiculously addictive. To the point where I couldn't put it down for more than 15 minutes at a time, and I one clicked the sequel as soon as I finished. I'm not sure exactly what it was about it that made it this way, but despite all the things that should be raising alarm bells for me, they really didn't!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Challenge Sign Ups 2017

All of my Challenge Sign ups are going in one's safest that way!

Bookish Resolutions 2017

This one is the challenge I host alongside Michelle @ because reading, and let's face it, it's also the one that I do the worst on! I think it *could* be because I'm too hard on myself, but we'll see! Click here to sign up! (Don't forget you set your own goals in this one!)

Reading Goals

  1. Get my Netgalley rating up to (at least) 50%...let's just say I'm not as far away as I was fro this, but it's still going to mean a lot of Netgalley books! 
  2. Read 5 books a month that were on my Kindle at the beginning of the year 
  3. Read 1 Paperback a month (may sound like a small challenge, but trust me, this one is massive for me! I'm not very good at reading paperbacks anymore!) 
Blogging Goals
  1. Write posts in advance! Meaning sooner than the night before...
  2. Visit other blogs at least once a week (not that I did well at this one last year, but maybe it is doable if I keep going!) 
  3. Create (and keep up to date) a 2017 Review schedule including costs and ratings 
Writing Goals (< FYI this section is new this year!) 
  1. Finish 5 first drafts (setting the bar high on this one!) whether new stuff or WIP! 
  2. Publish 3 books (again, setting the bar a bit high, but I need the motivation!)
  3. Join NaNoWrMo again! (I finished it by the skin of my teeth in 2016, so we'll make this goal also to finish before the 30th and not on the 30th!) 
FYI, I'm skipping the personal goal this year! I just can't think of anything and previously I've used that to put a writing goal in...which I don't need anymore! 

Because Reading is better than real life

Hosted by Michelle @ because reading and Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun Right, time to be super harsh on myself with the books I have on my Kindle but actually should really get around to reading! As normal, I'm making things difficult for myself and am going for the 4 books a month option - it really helps me clear through the books I should read but keep putting off! You can sign up here!

  1. Blood Healing by KJ Colt 
  2. Blood Sacrifice by KJ Colt 
  3. Omega by Lizzy Ford 
  4. Theta by Lizzy Ford
  5. Riot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision 
  6. Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision
  7. Dreamwielder by Garrett Calcaterra
  8. Snow's Lament by S E Babin
  9. The Syndicate by Sophie Davis
  10. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard 
  11. Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
  12. Lastland by A R Ivanovich
  13. Monarch by A R Ivanovich
  14. Paperglass by A R Ivanovich
  15. Bad Romeo by Leisa Ryven
  16. Broken Juliet by Leisa Ryven
  17. Cinderella's Dress by Shona Slayton
  18. Cinderella's Shoes by Shona Slayton 
  19. Marcus by Anna Hackett
  20. Wandering Soul by Cassandra Chandler
  21. Back in Play by Lynda Aicher 
  22. Penalty Play by Lynda Aicher
  23. Travel Glasses by Chess Desalls 
  24. Insight Kindling by Chess Desalls
  25. Siren's Fury by Mary Weber
  26. The Copper Witch by Jessica Dall
  27. The Ice Goddess by Hannalore More
  28. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  29. After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue
  30. Deviation by Heather Hildenbrand
  31. Cinderella and the Ghost by Marina Myles
  32. See Me by Susan Hatler
  33. That Risen Snow by Rob E Boley
  34. Under My Skin by Shantelle Madison
  35. Leading Her Witness by Cheryl Ann Smith
  36. Shattered Witness by Anna DeStefano
  37. Crane by Stacey Rourke
  38. Her Wicked Captain by Sandra Jones
  39. Reign of the Vampires by Rebekah R Ganiere
  40. Fire Rising by Donna Grant
  41. Burning Desire by Donna Grant
  42. A Hero for the Empire by Christina Westcott
  43. Call of the Dragon by Elianne Adams
  44. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
  45. His Secret Superheroine by Patricia Eimer
  46. The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas
  47. Dark Child by Adina West
  48. Swan Prince by Erin Lark

New Release Challenge 2017 - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My! and Lexie @ (un) conventional book reviews. This year I've managed to read 105 new releases so far, so for 2017 I'm going to go for New Release Enthusiast 101-200 Books, seems pretty doable right? You can sign up for this challenge here!


I'm definitely excited for this one! Maybe this year, I'll finally actually manage to clean out my e-reader rather than ending up just adding to it! Though who am I kidding, that will still happen too! Go over to the COYER website to learn more!

My TBR List Vote (December)

Thank you to  Michelle @ Because Reading's for hosting! I like to have themes for my TBR list votes, mainly because otherwise I have no idea how else I'd choose which books to go with! So this month I searched "shadow" on my Netgalley shelf to see what came up, and picked three random books!

Title: Claudette in the Shadows
Series: Winter Saga (#0.5)
Author:  MJ Hearle
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 1st October 2014
Links: Goodreads 
Claudette Duchamp was born into a life shadowed by fear. Ever since she can remember her family has been running. Running from a man named Victor Bonnaire and the men in his employ, the Devil’s Bane.

Her family has a secret. One her parents refuse to tell Claudette or her twin brother, Blake. It has something to do with why Victor pursues them. And something to do with her dreams…

For Claudette has begun to feel a strange stirring in her heart. A wildness that is both thrilling and frightening. Soon, she will uncover the truth of her family’s haunted legacy. She will discover the world that lies on the other side of midnight. She will take her place in the shadows and embrace the darkness withinopper Witch 

Title: Pleasure's Shadow 
Author: Skyler White
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, Erotica

Release Date: 31st March 2015
Links: Goodreads 
Private detective Vivian discovers the true nature of the otherworldly erotinaut she's been chasing, and her partner reveals something surprising about himself as well. Will she choose love, lust, or her agency's commission? Or can she have all three? 
SilkWords LLC is the go-to source for interactive women’s fiction, offering high quality romance and erotica that allows individual readers to choose how stories proceed. Two formats are available: branched fiction ("pick your path") and linear stories that are produced with reader participation. Pleasure's Shadow was developed with reader participation. You can see this process in action at our website.

Title: Shadow Embraced
Series:  Haven (#1) 
Author: Cheree Smith
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 29th April 2013
Links: Goodreads
Synopsis: No escape. 

Those words haunt Scar's dreams. She thinks the creature that terrorises her while asleep isn't real, but when she's abducted and taken to a reform school meant to contain creatures too dangerous to function in society, she starts to wonder whether she isn't some monster.

She turns to an underground fight club full of vampires, werewolves and witches established by the students to control her urges, and who is she kidding, she loves to fight.

When fighters begin to disappear, turning Scar into the prime suspect, she must race to prove her innocence before her true nature is exposed.

The only problem is that she's not entirely sure she's innocent.

Thank you for voting!

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