Saturday, 30 April 2016

Bookish Resolutions Link Up (April)

2016 Bookish Resolutions

You can check out the rules and stuff here! Bookish Resolutions is co-hosted by myself and Michelle @ because reading 

Blogging Goals 
  1. Schedule posts before the day they are 'due' (especially for challenge updates!)
    I've been doing alright at this, not great but alright. This month has been different for me because of my change in job (though through completely bizarre circumstances it might be changing back anyway)
  2. Reintroduce non-review content
    I've been taking part in a new meme, a Book's Genisis, which has been fun, but I really need to start posting more non review content.
  3. Cross post Blog Posts regularly, preferably in under a week since post date
    I did accidentally leave this for over a week! But other than that not too bad.
  4. Tidy up the Trips Down Imagination Road Facebook & Twitter Pages
    I did update both this month!
  5. Visit other blogs regularly (I used to but this dropped off the radar a bit)
    I've done terribly. I'm sorry guys, I will try to do better. 
Reading Goals 
  1. 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've gained 5% so far this year, so it's going ok! Though I didn't add to that this month! Ooops!
  2. Finish 10 series this year. (I get distracted a little easy! I can have already started the series previously)
    So far I've finished 9 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
  3. 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 1 so far (Prequel & Sequel) but I'm on track with the rest of them!
  4. Read 3 books a month that were already on my kindle at the start of 2016 (can be from Netgalley, Amazon etc.)
    I read 7 this month I think.
Personal Goal
  1. Finish Cloaked (the sequel to my published Novella)
    I finished my first round of edits last weekend, and plan on doing the next round today & tomorrow, so this is on track!
How are you doing? Link up and let us know!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Beyond Reach by Siobhan Davis

Title: Beyond Reach
Series: True Calling (#2)
Author: Siobhan Davis
From: Review Copy
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, YA
Release Date: 18th May 2015
Challenges: 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

*May contain spoilers for the previous books in the series*

Having escaped from Nova, but left her mother, sister and fiancé behind, Ariana Skyee is torn. On the one hand there's the first love that she doesn't remember, Zane, and the new love she left behind, Cal, she also has to learn more about herself. The rebel movement, Clementia, is pressuring Ariana for the information given to her by her father but something is stopping her from handing it over, though she isn't too sure exactly what it is...

So I had to re-read my review of True Calling before writing this review because I had a niggle about what I think of Zane. Turns out my feelings really haven't changed that much; there's something about him that I really don't like that much and I can't quite put my finger on what. I do kind of go back to what I said in my review of True Calling and say that I'm pretty set when it comes to who I think should end up with who, so I take less of a liking to them.

It took me a little while to get into Beyond Reach, but I do think that was something to do with me not being in the right mood as opposed to anything about the book itself; this is definitely supported by how engrossed I was by the end and the exclamations of "NO! NOT THERE!" when I finished it. So fair warning it is one heck of a cliff hanger we're left on!

I like that the characters act their age. While Ariana, Zane and Cal all have mature things to worry about, their relationships with each other very much reflected the fact that they were still teenagers. There was uncontrollable lust, rage and jealousy going on and it all added to the authenticity of their relationships in a very enjoyable way.

There were a couple of twists in the book, one of which I had a feeling was brewing from the previous book, one was a complete surprise, and the other had a lot of little clues and niggles throughout the book so worked well but wasn't a massive surprise. It definitely worked to keep the suspsense going.

This was an enjoyable read, and the cliff hanger really has left me wanting more!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Red by Alison Cherry

Title: Red
Author: Alison Cherry
From: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 8th October 2013
Challenges: 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Felicity StJohn lives in Scarletville, a redhead sanctuary. But while it's a great place to be if you're a redhead, if you're not then life can get pretty tough. As the girl with the reddest hair in school, Felicity has it all; a popular boyfriend, great friends, and a shot at being Miss Scarlet, a highly coveted prize that only twelve girls from Felicity's year can participate in. Except that Felicity isn't a real redhead by Scarletville standards and has had her hair dyed to cover her true strawberry blonde colour ever since she was born...

I only just realised that Red was supposed to be a satire and that has made me feel a little silly. Going into it I kind of read it as across between a high school story and a slightly dystopian plot (because basically you're descriminated against if you're not a redhead) and honestly I do think that it works in that way. Probably better than it works as a satire.

There is the obvious theme throughout of being true to yourself and accepting who you are and what you look like, and these were done pretty well. I actually liked the fact that the ending was a little more realistic than some books would have it. *Slight spoiler alert in the next sentance* I was a little disappointed that Felicity didn't enter the pageant with her natural hair colour in the end, I was expecting something a little more Cady from Mean Girls from her.

I liked the budding romance between Felicity and Jonathan. As a non-redhead he did come across as a bit more real than several of the other characters and I felt that he and Felicity actually managed to build on more in common than some of the other characters. I'd go as far as saying that Jonathan is what saved Felicity from being a ridicolously shallow character. In contrast Felicity's jock boyfriend was incrediably annoying, and was basically a stereotype (which even she seemed to realise).

I will admit to still being a little confused about why Gabby was choosing to blackmail Felicity, especially as she said that it wasn't actually personal. Some of the things she got her to do didn't really seem to have the effect that she wanted them to. But at least it showed a character (albeit a brunette one) trying to rail against society.

I did enjoy Red, and I didn't ever feel like I should put it down, but I can't help but think that it could have been so much better!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Meet Me In the Dark by JA Huss

Title: Meet Me In the Dark
Author: JA Huss
From: Amazon
Genre: Suspense, Romance
Release Date: 15th April 2015
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Sydney Channing has waited 8 years for Merric Case to return for her like he said he would when she was 16. Merc is a freelance assassin, who had to make the choice between 16 year old Sydney, and another, younger, girl. Now Merc is going to finish what he started and find the man controlling Sydney before he kills her. But things don't necessarily go to plan and Sydney isn't the woman that Merc thinks she is. When things start to unfold they both find out things they weren't prepared for.

I'll start by saying that Meet Me In The Dark is definitely not for everyone. To say it's a dark read is probably an understatement, but it covers a range of potentially sensative subjects such as torture, mind control and drugs. However if you're willing to get that far this book keeps you reading because you have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next.

Meet Me In The Dark is technically a stand alone book, but I think that you really gain something by reading the other related books first. The later Rook & Ronin spin off books include Merc a little but, but it's Dirty, Dark & Deadly (Come, Come Back and Coming For You) that really help set the scene, particularly where the Company and how that works is involved. There are several cross over characters (mostly mentioned rather than seen though).

This book worked so well because for the most part there was only Sydney and Merc involved. It was told from their dual POVs, but they were alone in the wilderness for most of it. They both thought about (and in Merc's case talked to) other characters, but no one really appeared on page til much later on. This meant that there was more page time for Sydney and Merc's character growth, and how their interactions changed.

I would have to say that Sydney is probably one of the most messed up characters of Huss that I've read (and I started my Huss journey with 321 so that says a lot!) but that made her fascinating. She was an odd combination of strong and submissive (mostly due to events that happened to her before the book started) and yet it worked really well.

I think that's just about all I can really say without giving too much away, but this was a great (albeit very dark!) read and it kept me guessing the whole way.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Torment of Others by Val McDermid

Title: The Torment of Others
Series: Tony Hill & Carol Jordan (#4)
Author: Val McDermid
From: Amazon
Genre: Crime
Release Date: 1st May 2005
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

*May contain minor spoilers for other books in the series.*

Having returned to policing after her undercover mission gone wrong, Carol Jordan is heading a serious crimes unit focusing on cold cases when there's nothing current on. Dr Tony Hill has tried to be an academic but realised it's not for him. Soon the two of them once again find themselves embroiled in the hunt for a killer in Bradfield, but this time it's not just Tony's demons they're having to fight behind the scenes.

I'll start off by saying that this was a re-read for me. I read the first four Tony Hill & Carol Jordan books back in my teens sometimes (so we're probably talking about 6-8 years ago). With the other two that I re-read recently (The Mermaids Singing & Wire in the Blood) I could remmeber the major twist, but with the Torment of Others I just kept pulling up blank. I could remember that there was one, and that it surprised me last time, but couldn't think what it was.

The Torment of Others kept me well and truely engaged and I didn't want to put it down once I'd started it. There's something about the characters that McDermid creates, as well as the mystery and suspense itself that just makes you want to keep reading.

Carol and Tony's relationship is the main thread linking the series together, and in this book they're probably the most honest they'd been with themselves about how they felt, but there was still more to it than that. Carol herself is still trying to move past the event of the previous book and that helps her grow as a character, whereas Tony has had his demons since the very beginning (but seems more at peace with them).

The murders are actually pretty gruesome (not sure what that says about McDermid's imagination!) and the events aren't sugar coated, just in case that would put anyone off. The whole book deals with the underground world of drugs, prositution and other crimes.

This was a really good read, the second time as well as the first, and I'm looking forward to reading on in the series, especially because now I have no idea what's coming at all!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Performance Criteria by Reagan Hawk

Title: Performance Criteria
Series: Cyborg Desires (#1)
Author: Reagan Hawk
From: Review Copy
Genre: Sci-fi, Romance
Release Date: 28th March 2016
Challenges: N/A
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Watching the man she loves die in front of her was too much, but Dr Aeron Braxton has a plan to honour him. She spends years building a droid cross over which mimics Brad Fairbanks in everyway imaginable, even though she knows she can nver have him. Brad has known what Aeron's been doing almost since the beginning and has enjoyed her uncensored talks with him. But when an old friend remerges his jealous side emerges and he reveals to Aeron that he's more than just a droid...

I knew I'd like this book, but I must just have been in the right mood when I picked it up because I actually really really enjoyed it. It was fun and sexy, and it was good reading a book where the characters actually admitted what they wanted early on and went on to actually get it without that much hassle.

It was interesting having Brad as part human part droid. It was made clear that he remembered who he was and still had the same desires, but Hawk did manage to bring out the droid side of him too. The two sides of him worked well both as a character and as a plot point.

Aeron was a smart woman, and determined. I liked that there was very little messing about from her. She knew what she wanted and accepted what she wanted which made it interesting watching her when she was confused.

This was a good read, only a quick one, but it was fun!

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Brigadier's Runaway Bride by Erica Ridley

Title: The Brigadier's Runaway Bride
Series: The Dukes of War (#5)
Author: Erica Ridley
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: 1st September 2015
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

*May contain minor spoilers for previous books in the series*

Heartbroken and in need of a marriage to legitimise her baby, Sarah Fairfax is all set to marry Ravenwood, until her long lost love, Edmund Blackpool, makes an appearance very much alive as opposed to dead like his friends believed. Now Sarah and Edmund need to reconnect, as well as prepare for their unexpected arrival.

It was fairly clear from the other books that Edmund would reappear and save Sarah from a loveless marriage just in time, but the way it worked surprised me slightly. It put a real emphasis on the friendship and bonds between the men and what they'd do to protect something each of them cared about.

I liked that things weren't easy for Edmund and Sarah. They'd been a part for over 8 months and that's bound to have an impact, particularly when Sarah was grieving and Edmund was clueless about the pregnancy, and the added stress of parenthood added another dynamic as well.

While The Brigadier's Runaway Bride could be read as a standalone there is cross over to the rest of the series, and each installement offers something different. The women, including Sarah, are strong and willing to work for what they want, and the men often need knocking some sense into.

Ridley is a good go to for feel good Regency Romance. There's never any doubt that things would work out but the way in which it happens is what makes these books unique.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Cleanskin by Val McDermid

Title: Cleanskin
Author: Val McDermid
From: Amazon
Genre: Crime
Release Date: 18th May 2006
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

When the crime boss that Andy Martin has been watching for years, turns up dead in a suspected suicide, it sets him on a course to try to discover exactly who is to blame for his death, and the trail of corpses that seems to have appeared in it's wake. When another body turns up it causes both a shock and a breakthrough that even Andy couldn't see coming.

I wasn't sure what I thought about a short crime book, especially when the suspense is a big part of it and that takes time to create. However I have enjoyed all of the McDermid books I've read in the past so it made sense for me to give this one a go when it came down to just £0.79, and I'm glad I did!

While Cleanskin didn't go into quite the amount of detail that McDermid reaches in her other books, it's still a solid read and keeps you turning pages and wanting to know exactly who was to blame for what. While I think one of the twists was fairly obvious, the other took me completely by surprise.

I liked Andy as a narrator. I was actually kind of surprised to have a first person narrative at all, but it actually worked well for a quick read as it was easier to keep things quiet from the reader. It also humanised his character a lot because the reader got to see his response to the things going on around him.

This was a good quick crime book, but I definitely think I want a longer one next!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

River of Love by Melissa Foster

Title: River of Love
Series: The Bradens (Love In Bloom) (#15)
Author: Melissa Foster
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 20th April 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 

Faith loves her job and the life she's built for herself after being left heartbroken by her ex. Sam Braden has a reputation; he loves women and isn't afraid to admit it. But for Sam, there is something about Faith that's different from all the other women he's ever known, and he can't help but want more from her. Faith isn't a woman to let herself be blind sided by a man with a reputation such as Sam's, and if he wants to prove to her that he's serious about a relationship then he has his work cut out for him

I love knowing what I'm in for when I read something by Foster. Her books have great chemistry between the lead characters, as well as romance, family and enough drama to keep the story going without it becoming unrealistic...or at least that's the best way I can think of to sum up Foster's books!

I loved Sam! He wasn't quite the classic bad boy, other than the fact he slept around a bit and had a reputation, he didn't actually do anything "bad", and even the sleeping around wasn't actually bad, after all he wasn't cheating on anyone or hurting anyone on purpose.

I did however like that Faith made him work for her. She didn't want to fall for the town player and she didn't want to let him in without him proving that he was worth her. I loved that Faith had enough self worth for that, and Sam really had to pull out all the romantic stops for her!

The romance, and the chemistry, was great between the two leads. As a reader you were with them in the moment going "awww" or wanting them to rip each others' clothes off. It worked well and added a level of realism to the story. As a reader you find yourself truely caring for them and wanting it to work out.

There was a big focus on Sam's relationships with his three brothers, Nate, Ty and Cole, and so a lesser extent his relationship with his sisters, Tempest and Shannon. The brothers had the balance of protectiveness, straight talking and comeraderie. I love the sense of family these books give!

This was another great read from Melissa Foster!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Tigress by J E Taylor

Title: Tigress
Series: Night Hawk (#2)
Author: J E Taylor
From: Netgalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd July 2013
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Reading Assignment
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Happily married, Naomi and Damien are in the middle of nowhere enjoying life, or at least they are until Lilith arrives. After shooting Naomi with an antedote to vampirism making Damien allergic to her in the process, Lilith breathes her last. But Lucifer is behind her attempt to drive Naomi and Damien apart, and they ar emore determined than ever to beat him, even if it means risking everything...

I didn't realise when I put this on my 2016hw list that it was book 2 in a series, and actually this is one of those cases where reading book one would have been really beneficial. Saying that, by the time I'd put the pieces together from the beginning I actually found myself completely sucked into the book and didn't want to put it down. While I'm intrigued about book one, I got enough of a sense of what happened for Tigress to make sense.

Damien and Naomi's relationship was already established at the beginning of Tigress, I assume from the first book, and so this was more of a growth book for them. Naomi was a strong character and she seemed to be the glue that held their relationship together. It was made evern more intense by the fact that they couldn't actually touch each other for most of the book.

I loved the way that mythology was weaved together with vampires/shifting in the book. It gave another dynamic as well as humanising several of the main figures in Christian mythology. It was intriguing and enjoyable to read.

This was a good book, wish I'd read book one first, but it was enjoyable without it al the same.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Thin by Alicia Michaels

Title: Thin
Series: Sharing Spaces (#3)
Author: Alicia Michaels
From: Review Copy
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 15th April 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Having admitted that she has a problem, Kinsley finds herself as an inpatient at a facility for people with eating disorders. A combination of therapy and art has Kinsley feeling more like her old self, at least she would if it wasn't for one of the group therapy leaders; Royce. Royce knows that he shouldn't want to try anything with Kinsley, and yet there is a part of him that really doesn't want to...

Wow this book just takes you and messes up your emotions. In some ways it's a tough story to read, Kinsley is bulimic and Thin not only goes into how she deals with that and getting better, but also why she got that way in the first place. It's both riveting and moving reading, which I found particularly so because I'm close to someone that suffered from an eating disorder at one point.

The romance between Kinsley and Royce wasn't full on. This story is about Kinsley and I think that should be stressed. There is tension mounting between the two of them from the very beginning, and it works really well, but the focus is on her and not them. I liked it, I thought it made Thin a very strong book.

There is a big focus on friendship in the book. Both in Kinsley's old friendships and her new ones. I liked that Thin truly reflected real life. I loved the bond between Kinsley and Dawn and how it was built on something bad but made into something good.

Kinsley was an amazingly strong character and her story was incrediably moving. Sharing Spaces is a great series that I'd definitely recommend.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

Title: Once Upon a Dream
Series: Twisted Tales (#2)
Author: Liz Braswell
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Release Date: 5th April 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Aurora Rose has lived her whole life living in a castle, ignored by the parents that wanted a son...until Malificent took control and changed her life. After defeating the dragon, Prince Phillip tries to wake the love of his life, but something goes very wrong and he ends up trapped along with Aurora. After all, what happens when Sleeping Beauty doesn't wake up?

After loving A Whole New World (despite it's mixed reviews) I was really excited to read Once Upon a Dream. Though it was good, I don't think it quite lived up to the previous book for me, though that could be to do with some of the differences between Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin, after all in the original Disney films Aurora is a lot more passive than Jasmine. However this book did have me humming the song its named on almost constantly...

I liked that Aurora got a chance to have a developped character, and what the book managed that the film didn't is it managed to make Aurora feel like she was 16. She was struggling with growing up and with learning as well as the adventure element.

The dream itself was well crafted and I liked the use of magic within it. Malificent seemed to take on characteristics of both the evil villian from Sleeping Beauty and at times the more sympathetic version in Malificent. She did lean towards one more than the other but my lips are sealed on ehich one.

Once Upon a Dream did take a little bit of getting into, though that could be because I was constantly trying to second guess what was really going on. But this was a good read overall.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Scala by Christina Bauer

Title: Scala
Series: Angelbound Origins (#2)
Author: Christina Bauer
From: Amazon
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

*May contain spoilers for Angelbound*

Now the Great Scala, the only being able to move souls to Heaven and Hell, half-Angel, quasi-demon, Myla has more responsability than ever before. To make matters worse, before leaving the Ghouls hid Lucifer's Orb in Purgatory, making Myla unable to move any souls to Heaven. With the Ghost Towers about to burst and an arch enemy on the loose, Myla has her work cut out for her...

I swear this series has me completely hooked. It only took me a couple of days after finishing Angelbound to pick up Scala, and now I'm itching to read Armagedden, because I'm sure that that is just as good!

Scala combines just the right amount of mythology, action, love and sassy teenage quasi-demon, which makes it move at a good pace without missing any of the important stuff. Myla's inner voice is laidback and does genuinely remind me of the kind of thought I had 5 years ago! One of Myla's most important traits though, which has been an undercurrent through the books so far, is that she wants to be fair. She doesn't want to abuse her power and instead wants to do what's right.

Myla and Lincoln's relationship is more established at the beginning of Scala than it was at the end of Angelbound, but as she lives in Purgatory and he lives with the other Thrax (Demon Hunters) in a place that I can't remember the name of, they don't see each other that often. The book then deals with how they progress, as well as how they try to convince the Thrax people that a quasi-demon is a suitable consort for their Prince (even if her father is an Archangel).

I loved that one of Myla's biggest enemies was another girl about her age; Adair. And that the reason behind why Adair became her enemy was principally based on the fact that Lincoln fell in love with Myla in Angelbound. There is also the fact that Adair had been the fake Scala Heir (whereas Myla was the real one) and so Adair saw Myla as having stolen her life, her power and her man.

I'm loving this series so far. The characters are interesting and complex, and I love that Myla's tail seems to have a life of it's own! Definitely one to read!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Coming For You by JA Huss

Title: Coming For You
Series: Dirty Dark & Deadly (#3)
Author: JA Huss
From: Amazon
Genre: Romance, Suspense
Release Date: 19th November 2014
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (12 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

*My contain spoilers for the previous books in the series*

With James and Sasha presumed dead, Harper's father proceeds with his original plan, and with the original man he promised Harper to. But even though Harper thinks James killed Sasha, and knows he's done atrocities, she can't help but want him to come for her and to save her. James won't let something as small as an attempt on his life stop him from getting Harper back, but more than that, he wants to free all the Company children...

The ending! (And yes I am starting backwards on this one!) I wasn't expecting certain characters to make an appearance and I tell you it had me welling up! The other consequence of the ending was me really wanting to read Sasha's book (Wasted Lust) straight away...though I'm doing things right and going for Meet Me in the Dark next!

I love that there is no real way of telling who is good and who is bad in this series. All of the characters have done things that could be considered evil, and yet some of them are working towards good outcomes. But that doesn't stop them being likeable in the slightest. Despite what they've done, you find yourself routing for Harper and James to make it back together, and for them to suceed!

Sasha! Oh my goodness Sasha! I liked her before, and now...well who doesn't like a kick a** 13 year old! I am a little confused over her past relationship with Nick (Harper's twin) and where that will go in the future, but I'm content to find out when I get to Wasted Lust. It was easy to forget at times that Sasha was just 13, but then she'd do (or think) something that reminded the reader.

The POV switches worked really well. There were three (not including the ending where there was another one added in briefly); James, Harper and Sasha. There was only one point, near the end, where all three of them knew everything, and so switching between the three of them really helped keep the suspense going and moving the story along.

I still can't believe I was unsure about Come in the beginning, especially as this book ended the series on such a strong note. Definitely worth a read!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

March by Audrey Carlan

Title: March
Series: Calendar Girl (#3)
Author: Audrey Carlan
From: Calendar Girl Volume One (Amazon)
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 17th March 2015
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

*May contain spoilers for previous books in the series*

In her third month of working as an Escort to pay her father's debts, Mia Saunders finds herself pretending to be the finacée of restauranter Anthony Fasano. At first she wonders why he'd need a fake fiancée, but when she meets his partner, Hector, it all becomes clear. Mia soon strikes up a friendship with the two men, all the while still pining after the one she walked away from...

I loved having two gay characters around Mia! Both January and February focused on more sexual relationships (though the former was a bit more than that!) so it was good to have a break from that and to introduce a different dynamic. There are still some sex scenes, curtesy of Mia and Wes' quasi-relationship, but for the most part the focus was on the friendship between Mia and the two clients.

I really liked the dynamic between Hector and Mia. They quickly became good friends, but there was no over the top or stereotypical behaviour from Hector (other than a great sense of style) which I liked. I'm actually very glad that the author didn't use gay stereotypes for these two as I think it made the story more realistic.

Mia and Wes' relationship is still a little on the strange side. They both clearly want each other, but as of yet they haven't committed properly. It seems clear that Wes wants to, and that Mia is running away from the fact that she wants it too, but they still have some time to work it out.

This was a great next installment of the story and I'm definitely intrigued as to where this series will go next.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Right by Jana Aston

Title: Right
Author: Jana Aston
From: Amazon
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 6th April 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Read the Books You Buy
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Ever since she was 6 years old, Everly has been certain that Finn Camden is the man for her. Even going as far as picking her college based on the one he teaches at. But when Everly ends up on a car journey with Finn's brother, Sawyer, things start to change, and Everly realises that maybe Finn wasn't the right man for her all along...

There are really no words to describe Right! It was just perfect. It made me laugh and go "awww" more than once, and had that perfect balance. Honestly it's like watching a chick flick only much better (I don't have the attention span for films!) It's a real feel good book, just like Wrong was. The fact that I read it in less than a day (on release day naturally!) says it all for me.

I loved the chemistry between Everly and Sawyer. Not only was it there physically, but mentally they also worked well together. There was a good back and forth between them and it made their relationship feel comfortable. There was no part where I thought they weren't perfect for each other.

And the was just perfect. Not quite the massive "aww" factor that Wrong had, but it was still cute and really well suited to the couple. It tied together all the loose ends and didn't let the rest of the book down!

The fact that there are female friendships in Right makes it all the better too. You see the other side of Everly and Sophie's friendship that was introduced in Wrong, but also are introduced to Chloe (who I hope is going to get her own book, and I hope is going to end up with who I think she is!). It makes the whole story more realistic for me, because let's face it, women talk to each other about those things!

I loved this book. I'm not even sure I can express quite how much!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

My TBR List Winner (April)


Thank you to everyone that voted! The Winner is: 
Title: Beyond Reach

Series: True Calling (#2) 
Author: Siobhan Davis 
From: Review Copy 
Genre: Dystopia 
Release Date: 18th May 2015
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis: SOME SECRETS ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. Back on Earth, Ariana is caught in a dangerous crossfire between clandestine rebel organization Clementia and the power-hungry government. Refusing to divulge the location of the secret information entrusted to her by her late father, she desperately tries to bargain for her Mom, Lily, and Cal’s rescue. She’s fighting a losing battle, and the clock is ticking. Presented with evidence of her fiancé Cal’s apparent betrayal, she loyally defends him despite her concerns. With her emotions in turmoil, matters become even more complicated as she grows closer to her ex-boyfriend Zane. When the stakes are raised, a succession of shocking revelations rocks her world, setting her on a path that will not only change her destiny but the fate of humanity.  Confronted by a memory so abhorrent comes a truth she would do anything to forget. But some things just can’t be undone.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Xena by Michelle M Pillow

Title: Xena
Series: Galaxy Playmates (#4)
Author: Michelle M Pillow
From: Amazon
Genre: Erotica, Sci-fi, Romance
Release Date: 14th July 2010
Challenges: 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 point)
Links: Gooreads - Amazon

Special agent Xena is determined to succeed in her mission to prove high up business man, Cole, is making illegal deals, and to do so she poses as one of the Galaxy's most coveted women, a Galaxy Playmate. But there's something about Cole that has Xena all fired up, and no matter what she tries, dancing for him makes her want to completely forget about her mission and concentrate on something else entirely...

Galaxy Playmates is a series of four short stories with a more erotic theme that are set in the Dragon Lords universe. They each make the universe used in serveral of Pillow's series. I thought that Xena actually tied in with the other books that little bit more, mostly because of her connection to the HIA and her hunt for the Medical Mafia (which played a big role in one of the Dragon Lord books).

Interestingly Xena actually seemed to put more of a focus on the dancing side of things, whereas the other playmates seem to have focused on the personal meeting side. It was a different combination to see someone who was only pretending and was having a one on one.

The chemistry between Cole and Xena was there, but I thought that their ending seemed a little bit open ended, and like there could be something more to come of it. Knowing what I was reading made Xena enjoyable (as this is the last in the series for me) but I'm not sure I would have as much if it was just a random book I'd picked up.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

February by Audrey Carlan

Title: February
Series: Calendar Girl (#2)
Author: Audrey Carlan
From: Amazon (Calendar Girl Volume One)
Genre: Erotica, Romance
Release Date: 20th February 2015
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

*May contain spoilers for January*

Mia's second contract in her attempt to save her father from his debts, and this time it's with artist, Alec Dubois. The Frenchman wants Mia to be his muse and she complies, not just for the money but because of the tension between the two of them. As the month progresses, Mia poses for stills and paintings for Alec, giving her an experience like never before...

I didn't really know quite what to expect from February because I liked Wes so much in January and felt that him and Mia had a good thing going. So I didn't really know how a new guy was going to work for me. It does simply because Mia doesn't go about it in a forgetting Wes way, in fact she thinks about him a fair bit, but she does have some fun.

Alec and Mia have some great chemistry, but the boundries between them are set early on, so even as a reader you know what to expect from them. I was a little surprised that it worked so much better than I thought, though that could just be because the author is talented at writing the chemistry between the two characters.

I loved the descriptions of Alec's art too. It would have been so easy for the author to gloss over that as just something that Alec was doing, but instead she describes the pictures and how Mia feels about them. It added something else to the story.

I'm looking forward to carrying on with this series!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Angelbound by Christina Bauer

Title: Angelbound
Series: Angelbound Origins (#1)
Author: Christina Bauer
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 17th December 2013
Challenges: 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Arena fighting quasi-demon, Myla, has always wanted to know who she was; and who her mother was before her. Living in Purgatory isn't easy for her, especially with the quasi-demons being held in thrall to ghouls and forced to serve. With the King of Hell up to his old tricks, and the Scala, the being who transports souls, on the decline, things are looking even shakier than normal. But when Myla meets the thrax Prince, Lincoln, she discovers that there are some things worth fighting for, even if at first it doesn't seem like it.

I feel super guilty that it took me so long to read Angelbound, especially because it was so good! I've found that books from this publisher are all really enjoyable and done in their own unique way. This was a tricky book to catagorise genre wise though, it has elements of modern living (technology and clothing mostly) but is set in another land, Purgatory, and has a lot of action, magic and swords, which is all very fun...oh and tails.

The tails were actually one thing I struggled to get my head around. Not for Myla, because her tail is like the one that appears on the cover (and had a mind of it's own, which made me laugh several times!) but it was the dog, bird and other tails. Mostly I think that's a problem with my imagination though!

I loved Myla. She was a typical teenager, sneaking out, not wanting to tell her Mom about a boy, falling out with her best friend, but she also loved defeating the bad guys in the arena. There was a fair bit of focus in the book about good and evil and I think Myla centred around that a lot. As a quasi-demon she was assumed to be evil by a lot of people at first, including Lincoln, but then actually they realised she had a very clear concience (which was clear to the reader early on).

There was a lot of mystery going on in Angelbound, especially surrounding Myla's heritage (though I had that plot twist figured fairly early on, it was just the details that needed fleshing out!). But her Mom's past was a point of contention between them and as that came to light more was revealed about Myla as a person. Of course this made the ending super moving.

Now, Myla and Lincoln; they're very much appear to be a couple that clash majorly. But as the book, and their relationship, progressed and more was learnt about their cultures, it became clear that there was a lot more to it. I felt that their relationship went at a good pace (especially considering Myla was trying to keep her lust demon side under control!) and it felt believable.

I'm definitely excited to read more now!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

My Lady Viper by E Knight

Title: My Lady Viper
Series: Tales of the Tudor Court (#1)
Author: E Knight
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 30th June 2015
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Since saving her from certain ruin at the hands of the Earl of Surrey, Edward Seymour has earnt the devotion of his wife Anne. But Anne is as much an asset to Edward as she is a wife, and her skill at playing court intrigues has earnt her the name of viper. Anne is a flesh and blood woman, and even though she loves and desires her husband, she can't help but be drawn to another man, though she knows it's wrong.

Hopefully no one thinks there are any spoilers in this review, but as events are based on history I don't fully think some of the plot points count as spoilers.

My Lady Viper spans the time between Anne Boleyn's excecution and the death of Henry VIII, though it mostly focuses on the reign of Jane Seymour as royal consort. Actually I thought the story after Jane's death was a little bit rushed, each of Henry's last three Queens seemed to rush by, even though there still seemed to be a lot going on.

On a completely random side note I was binge watching The Tudors on Netflix just before reading My Lady Viper so all I could picture were the actors for Edward Seymour, Henry Howard & Anne Stanhope/Seymour. It made for an interesting read!

I loved Anne as a character. She was a strong woman, and even though she was a little haunted by her past, and showed weakness in a couple of other regards, those things made her that bit more human. Knight took the stance that this Anne had a lot to do with what was going on behind the scenes, particularly for things like the downfalls of three of Henry's Queens (Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves & Catherine Howard).

The relationship between Edward and Anne was a little strange at times. There was a mutual respect, attraction and maybe even love between them, and yet there were some things that coloured their relationship, like infidelity. It was an interesting take on these two characters, who were at the end of the day, important historical figures (Edward became Lord Protector for King Edward VI after Henry VIII's death).

Anne Stanhope/Seymour is always a character who has interested me, and it was good to see a take on her as opposed to the other popular characters. There were actually some really interesting views taken in this book. For the most part Anne seemed to think favourably of Anne Boleyn, at the same time as being confidante and sister-in-law to Jane Seymour. It's not a view often taken and I actually found it quite believable.

This was a good and interesting read!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Broken Communication by Mandy M Roth

Title: Broken Communcation
Series: Immortal Outcasts (#1)
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 4th December 2014
Challenges: N/A
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Casey Black has lived his life under the radar after escaping from genetic testing. Though labelled a failed experiment, Casey finds himself able to shift into a wolf, and when the woman he knows to be his is kidnapped, he'll do anything in his power to get her back to him safe and sound. Harmony has known about the paranormal world for years, especially with her own magic being a part of her life. But knowing about that side of life has led to danger, though she's determined to get out.

Broken Communication is the first novella in the Immortal Outcasts series, but is also related to the Immortal Ops world. I love that Roth has several interconnected series as each of the books adds to the already established world. I think this book gives a lot of background to the genetically modified supernaturals.

I liked that Harmony and Casey already knew each other before the start of the book, it gave them somewhere to base their relationship off which does get rid of some of the risks associated with instalove. Though actually, given Roth's previous world building, I'm surprised they lasted that long!

I definitely loved that Harmony was a strong female character. She was willing to attempt to get herself out of bad situations, even when feeling fear. She also admitted to doing what she needed to do in order to keep herself in the right place. Plus she knew what she wanted and she wasn't afraid to get it.

This book also gave more Gus and Bill time, and I really like those two, they're sweet! Though I am wondering exactly where their stories will take them!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

A Book Genesis (March)


A Book's Genesis is  a monthly meme hosted by +Daniela Ark, you can check out the rules/future topics here

So basically it's all about Works in Progress (WIP) and each month there'll be a different topic related to a WIP. Because April is the first month of this it's kind of like an intro post! 

An Introduction to my WIP 

While I technically have more than one WIP going on at the moment, I'm focusing on one that is currently only called Phantom, which is a purely working title. This is a story that is based on The Phantom of the Opera and while originally it was just a story in my head, as soon as my best friend found out about it she told me I had no choice but to write it. So as it stands I'm 41,115 words in and approaching the big finale, which is kind of planned out. 

As it stands, Phantom follows the story of Annabelle Phillips, who is the assistant director/stage manager of an amateur theatre troupe's production of The Phantom of the Opera. Annabelle has stayed away from relationships since getting out of her abusive relationship with local radio DJ, Toby Withers, 3 years ago.But when one of the lead roles from the production, Jack Fenton, comes on the scene she begins to change her mind, spurred on by her best friend, costume designer, Hayley McCarthy. While characters have their parallel characters (Annabelle = Christine, Hayley = Meg, Jack = Raoul, Toby = the Phantom/Erik, there's even a Carlotta character!) I tried not to get too stuck in them personality trait wise. There are also other unrelated characters! 

A Bit About How I Write 

I feel it'll be easier to talk about any WIP if I talk about how my writing process works first. Basically I engross myself in a story (thought there will be other stories that I note down in that time) then once I've finished a draft I abandon it for a while. I come back to it and rip it apart (which is how I describe the editing process to myself. 

I am terrible at planning ahead. I have basic plot points clear in my head, but most of the time I just write and my characters tell me what to do! In fact the one time I didn't do this I ended up really struggling to link up the beginning of the story and the end (I did manage though!) 

My Phantom WIP has been a little different though. I've had certain scenes planned longer than others, though I try not to write them until I get there. And naturally, moments of inspiration strike at very random points in time! Particularly while I'm driving. 

End of the Month Round Up (March)

Costs of the Month

Last year I decided to keep track of what I was spending and saving on books, which I found really interesting! And while I've changed the way I'm keeping track (it's now all on one spreedsheet with my review schedule as opposed to on two seperate ones) I'm still carrying on! To be clear this is for the books that I have read (not necessarily the ones I've bought!) I take the Kindle book price at the time I'm writing the review vs. how much I paid for the book. If/when I have any giftcards to take into account I'll add them on a different total!

This month costs have been fairly down anyway because of my book buying ban for lent, though I did tick off some books I'd bought previously! 

Year Total £255.77£30.23
January £82.18£5.45
February £87.17£18.83
March £86.42£5.95


FYI my Bookish Resolutions update will be seperate this year!


Goal: 101+ Points (Vetran) 
Points: 138
Status: Complete

  1. Burning Choice by Aubrey Parker (#3 Trevor's Harem) = 2 points
  2. The Seduction 4 by Roxy Sloane (#4 The Seduction) = 1 point
  3. Come Back by JA Huss (#2 Dirty Dark & Deadly) = 2 points 
  4. Empire Rising by Cheyanne Young (#3 City of Legends) = 12 points
  5. Slack by JA Huss (#4 Rook and Ronin) = 1 point
  6. Taut by JA Huss (#5 Rook and Ronin) = 2 points
  7. Bomb by JA Huss (#6 Rook and Ronin) = 1 point
  8.  Guns by JA Huss (#7 Rook and Ronin) = 2 points
  9. Happily Ever After by JA Huss (#3.5 Rook and Ronin) = 11 points
  10. Fledge by JA Huss (#2 I Am Just Junco) = 2 points 
  11. Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau & Joe King (#4 An Echo of the Ascended) = 1 point
  12. Burning Ultimatum by Aubrey Parker (#4 Trevor's Harem) = 12 points
  13. Tarnished by Kate Jarvik Birch (#2 Perfected) = 2 points
  14. Flight by JA Huss (#3 I Am Just Junco) = 2 points
  15. Claimed by Love by Melissa Foster (#2 The Ryders) = 2 points
  16. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutoski (#3 The Winner's Trilogy) = 12 points

Falling For YA

Goal: 100 Books (Diamond)
Read: 34
Status: On Going

  1. In the Dark by Sally Eggert
  2. Waking Up Alive by Emma Shortt
  3. Empire Rising by Cheyanne Young
  4. Nexis by A L Davroe
  5. Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau & Joe King
  6. Tarnished by Kate Jarvik Birch
  7. The Lady of Misrule by Suzannah Dunn
  8. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutoski
  9. Queen of Broken Hearts by Jennifer Recchio
  10. Cursed by Christina Bauer
Because Reading is better than real life

Goal: 48 Books (4 Books a Month)
Status: On Going

Read List

  1. Slack by JA Huss (March) 
  2. Taut by JA Huss (March) 
  3. Bomb by JA Huss (March) 
  4. Guns by JA Huss (March) 
Blogger Shame

Goal: 50 Books
Read: 12
Status: Ongoing

  1. In the Dark by Sally Eggert
  2. Come Back by JA Huss
  3. The Lady of Misrule by Suzannah Dunn
  4. Queen of Broken Hearts by Jennifer Recchio

Goals: 45+ Books - New Release Enthusiast   
Read: 25
Status: Ongoing

  1. Burning Choice by Aubrey Parker (01/03/2016) 
  2. Waking Up Alive by Emma Shortt (18/01/2016) 
  3. Empire Rising by Cheyanne Young (02/02/2016) 
  4. Burning Ultimatum by Aubrey Parker (15/03/2016) 
  5. Heartbreaker by Kat Bastion & Stone Bastion (22/03/2016) 
  6. Claimed by Love by Melissa Foster (23/03/2016) 
  7. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutoski (24/03/2016)
  8. The Vampire's Daughter by Leigh Anderson (22/03/2016) 
  9. Cursed by Christina Bauer (29/03/2016) 
  10. Rock by JA Huss (07/03/2016) 
Read the Books You Buy Reading Challenge 2016 Badge

Goal: 80-100%
Read:  75 %
Status: On-Going

The list is books I have bought in 2016, when they're linked they are read!  I've not included free books, just those I have spent money on!

  1. Burning Choice by Aubrey Parker
  2. Burning Ultimatum by Aubrey Parker
  3. Rock by JA Huss

Bingo Card 

  1. Irish/Ireland
  2. Royalty: The Lady of Misrule by Suzannah Dunn
  3. Birthday
  4. Witch: Cursed by Christina Bauer
  5. Started a Series: Nexis by A L Davroe 
  6. Steam Punk 
  7. Magic: Cursed by Christina Bauer
  8. Family Dinner: Claimed by Love by Melissa Foster
  9. Time Travel 
  10. Private Investigator 
  11. Easter Egg 
  12. Historical Setting: The Lady of Misrule by Suzannah Dunn 
  13. Green on the Cover: Empire Rising by Cheyanne Young
  14. Blue on the Cover: Waking Up Dead by Emma Shortt
  15. Fairy Tale Retelling 
  16. Children's Fiction 
  17. Trope 
  18. Spring
  19. Werewolf: The Vampire's Daughter by Leigh Anderson
  20. Alien: Onyx by Alicia Michaels 
  21. Adversaries to Lovers: Claimed by Love by Melissa Foster
  22. Humour 
  23. Finished a Series: The Seduction 4 by Roxy Sloane
Books Read: 

Anderson, Leigh
The Vampire's Daughter 

Bastion, Kat
Heartbreaker (Unbreakable #1) 

Bastion, Stone
Hearbreaker (Unbreakable #1) 

Bauer, Christina
Cursed (Beholder #1) 

Davroe, A L
Nexis (Tricksters #1) 

Dunn, Suzannah
The Lady of Misrule

Eggert, Sally 

Foster, Melissa
Claimed by Love (Love in Bloom: The Ryders #2) 

Gelineau, Mark
Faith and Moonlight (An Echo of the Ascended #4) 

Huss, JA
Bomb (Rook & Ronin #6) 
Come Back (Dirty, Dark & Deadly #2) 
Fledge (I Am Just Junco #2) 
Flight (I Am Just Junco #3) 
Guns (Rook & Ronin #7) 
Happily Ever After (Rook & Ronin #3.5) 
Slack (Rook & Ronin #4) 
Taut (Rook & Ronin #5) 

Jarvik Birch, Kate
Tarnished (Perfected #2) 

King, Joe
Faith and Moonlight (An Echo of the Ascended #4) 

Michaels, Alicia

Myers, Heather C
Death in Neverland (Neverland #1)

Parker, Aubrey
Burning Choice (Trevor's Harem #3) 
Burning Ultimatum (Trevor's Harem #4) 

Pillow, Michelle M
Sapphire (Galaxy Playmates #1) 

Pink, Lily
The Lion's Heir

Recchio, Jennifer
Queen of Broken Hearts (Stone Throwers #1)

Roth, Mandy M
Broken Communications (Immortal Outcasts #1) 

Rutkoski, Marie
The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3 )

Shortt, Emma
Waking Up Dead (End of Days Love #2) 

Sloane, Roxy 
The Seduction 4 (The Seduction #4) 

Young, Cheyanne
Empire Rising (City of Legends #3)