Monday, 29 August 2016

Sworn to War by Terah Edun

Title: Sworn to War
Series: Courtlight (#9)
Author: Terah Edun
From: Amazon
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 29th July 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Read the Books You Buy, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Ciardis Weathervane is facing a war on two fronts. One with the dragons. One with the deities. She is ready to face the god that they’ve known was coming for months, but the people that she thought would coalesce around her are faltering under the pressure, the lies, and the deceit. She knows that the very foundation between ruler, nobility, and commoner had fractured down to its core. Now the capital city and its people need to be reforged, bound in fire before they’re consumed by brimstone. But the citizens of the empire need more than a speech to believe in the rulers that betrayed them just days before. With their empire on the line, Sebastian lays out his first ruling edict which may be more than even he bargained for. As Sandrin comes together once more before the final struggle, the daemoni prince is struck down and the princess heir-in-waiting has doubts as to whether they can forge a more perfect union without the one that completes their souls. With Thanar trapped in purgatory while they fight to resurrect the city that gave them life—Ciardis and Sebastian are in a battle to the death against a god bent on living forever.

Sworn to War can not be read as a standalone as it relies heavily on events and relationships established in the previous books. In particular it relies on the events of Sworn to Sovereignty from which it continues. This review may contain spoilers for the previous books in the Courtlight series. 

I definitely had a moment while reading Sworn to War when I thought about just how far Ciardis has come as a character. It was probably spurred on by both Ciardis and other characters, that I don't want to name to avoid spoilers, were thinking about and mentioning the girl she was when she first came to Court. 

The events of Sworn to War take place in a very short amount of time, but there was so much information and build up going on that I was glad that Edun decided to make this book about that and not squish the scenes down and put them in with another book. I felt like each moment was important, both for Ciardis and for the plot in general. 

I do still have questions though! And some theories about motivations and who unknown characters are. This book did answer a few of the lingering questions I had though, including a hint about Sebastian's father. 

As with the other Courtlight books the romancantic elements were subtle. Sebastian, Thanar and Ciardis now seem to have fit more comfortably into their bond, and there even seems to be a warming relationship between the two men. Though Sworn to War did significantly warm me towards Thanar, who I was a little wary of before. 

This was a great addition t the series and answered some burning questions, I just can't wait for more!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Cocky Roomie by Faleena Hopkins

Title: Cocky Roomie
Series: The Cocker Brothers of Atlanata (#1)
Author: Faleena Hopkins
From: Amazon
Genre: Romance
Release Date:  16th June 2016
Challenges: Summer COYER 20162016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Read the Books You Buy
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): DREW: I'm in over my head. This move to Atlanta from my small Georgia town was a dream I've finally made into a reality now that I'm goin' through this divorce. But I need a place to stay and I'm out of options. When Jake Cocker opens the door wearin' only a towel and a confused smile (eight years younger than me and hotter than hell in August) I decide this is a VERY bad idea. But what am I supposed to do, give up and go back home? JAKE: With our dad being a congressman, and us coming from old-money, women throw themselves at me and my brothers. But Drew Charles is from a small Georgia town and doesn't know about us. I only rented to her out of pity, because I hate to see a woman cry. Then I braced myself for a nightmare... but she just hides in her room, studying. Why has that given her the starring role in all of my fantasies? And how can I convince her to make them real?
 The Cocker Brothers of Atlanta, Georgia, have earned their nickname -- The Cocky Brothers. Their daddy taught them to be real men. Their momma told them, "Hold out for a different kind of woman." They have one thing in common: ARROGANCE.

Since reading Cocky Biker (which is actually book 2) there's been a part of me niggling away until I read Cocky Roomie, and I'm glad there was. I really enjoyed Drew and Jake's story. I don't feel like I missed out by reading book 2 first either as the two are standalone and also I think Jett came across a bit less brash simply because I knew him first. 

Drew and Jake had a lot of tension from the very start and it grew as the book went on. There were a couple of misunderstandings, but everything seemed to work towards a stronger relationship for them and more sexual was a bit of a relief when they finally got down to it! However I did like that they didn't do anything until issues between them were cleared up and they didn't make a big deal out of the fact that there was something between them. 

Jake wasn't a bad boy (like Jett was!). He was definitely cocky and a bit full of himself but it was definitely endearing. He was also protective and supportive. As the book went on I defintiely softened towards him as a character and found him more likeable. 

Drew was indpendent. She was an older female protaganist than is maybe traditional, but she was strong willed and determined and not without baggage of her own. I believed in her as a character and was rooting for her getting through the rubbish! 

This was a good read, and I can't wait for more, particularly after seeing more of the brothers in this one than in Cocky Biker

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Series: Harry Potter (#8)
Authors/Playwrights: JK Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
From: Amazon (Hardback edition)
Genre: Fantasy, Play Script
Release Date: 31st July 2016
Challenges: Summer COYER 2016, 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016  It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child can't really be read as a standalone, especially if you're a Harry Potter fan. It works as an 8th book but I do think that it relies quite heavily on the plots of the previous canon to be truly standalone. However, on stage it may work as more of a standalone (but I am yet to book tickets for that!) As per JK Rowling's instructions, this shall be a spoiler free review, though with everything going round my head after reading that may be a tricky thing for me to pull off.

I'd forgotten the excitement of waiting for the delivery on a Harry Potter release day until today! (FYI it's 31st July as I'm writing this and the book arrived a couple of hours ago, at which point I dropped what I was reading for this!) As someone who grew up with Harry Potter release days in their childhood the wait was almost as exciting as the story itself!

It's been 6 years since I had to read anything in script form (since my A2 English Lit plays!) so it took me a little bit to get back into the swing of it, but because we know the characters and the settings so well (for the most part!) it was easy to sink back into the story and completely forget the way in which it was written.

The old characters were true to form, and there were a few more surprising ones in there that I hadn't expected, and the new characters added something different. I liked the additions and thought some of the more minor plotlines were genius, they fleshed out the characters and made them as real as those in the original books. I do have a serious question about one of them though, but I can't ask anyone yet!

There was one thing in the entire story that I expected, and it was actually very important, but the rest of it took me completely by surprise. There was no point where I thought I knew what was going to happen and I found myself completely entranced, just like with the previous 7 books.

This was undoubtably magical and a fantastic edition to such a loved series. I hope I get to see it on stage soon!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Stitching Snow by RC Lewis

Title: Stitching Snow
Author: R C Lewis
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi, Fairy tale retelling
Release Date: 14th October 2014
Challenges: 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, My TBR List Meme, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Princess Snow is missing. Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all. Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

So Stitching Snow  is one of those books that's been sat on my kindle for ages. In fact this is the second time I've actually started it, though the first time I think I must of become distracted because there is no way that I wouldn't have continued reading, especially after the book really picks up its pace. 

Stitching Snow is a real mix of genres. While the setting has a sci-fi/space opera feel to it, with space travel, advanced technology and multiple planets, there were also some elements of the dystopian genre coming through, and of course the retelling aspect in the form of Snow White. 

The retelling itself was incrediably clever. While maintaining classic elements of the fairy tale, Lewis made the story her own. The moments of the story were interwoven with the setting and the fast moving plot in a way that left it recognisable but with an original twist. 

I liked Essie as a character and she is definitely not a pampered Princess by any stretch of the imagination. This story was really about her finding herself though, and how she could become the person she needed to be alongside the person she wanted to be. 

The romance in Stitching Snow was very subtle, and in contrast to the original tale, the Prince figure is there for the majority of the story. However Dane and Essie spend most of the book getting to know each other without actually rushing anything, it was a cute relationship and I loved it. 

This was a great read, I'm disappointed in myself for leaving this book so long to read!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bad Blood by Nikki Jefford

Title: Bad Blood
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter (#3)
Author: Nikki Jefford
From: Amazon (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Box Set)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: 12th June 2014
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Aurora returns from boot camp to a new assignment, an unwelcome roommate, and the increasingly amorous attentions of a certain vampire hunter. College is starting, and so is Aurora’s undercover work at a network of swanky parties known as “Tastings” for high rolling vampires who like their blood laced with fine wine. But Aurora’s not the only one on the prowl. An underground investigation is under way to find out who killed one of Anchorage’s most prominent vampires… and Aurora is a prime suspect.

Bad Blood shouldn't be read as a standalone. It's the third book in the Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series, and ideally should be read after book 2.5, Stakeout. This review may contain minor spoilers for the previous books in the series. 

I love this series! Each book is cementing it more and more in my head. It was good to get back to Aurora's POV too, though Noel's POV in Stakeout did reveal a lot of very interesting information (as well as clearing Noel of some potential crimes!)  and that made Bad Blood an even better read. 

It's safe to say that Aurora's love life isn't the only thing that got complicated in this book, though I wasn't too sure about some of the developments love life wise in the first half of the book, though I think even Aurora knew that. 

I liked the ups and downs that came with friends as well. I remember how complicated it was in my late teens friend wise and Bad Blood captures that so well. While things weren't perfect at the end of the book you could see them righting and I can already tell that the next book is going to be super interesting! 

There were several more reveals in this book, and a lot of connections to previous books. There's a lot going on for Aurora and she realises some things before others can actually tell her (sorry that has to be cryptic!) it all makes a fascinating story. 

I am really excited to continue with the Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series, especially as I'm not 100% sure of where its going next. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Werewolves of New York: Eli by Faleena Hopkins

Title: Werewolves of New York: Eli)
Series: Werewolves of New York (#2)
Author: Faleena Hopkins
From: Amazon
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 30th April 2015
Challenges: Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Eli Jackson’s dimple and those always laughing eyes of his would melt the panties off a woman even when she's still wearing her pants. But his knack for finding abused women who need his help is no laughing matter. He and his packmates vowed to use their abilities to take down evil when they find it, and Eli's got a new 'case.' Helping Diana brings him face to face with Rose Hendricks who needs no man’s help, and she’s certainly not why does he want to take her down in ways he knows he shouldn’t? He made a pact with Darik to stay why can't he control his wolf whenever Rose is around? Rose Hendricks is a funny, All-American attorney smartass who doesn’t like to lose. In the courtroom, she rarely does. But in life? She just lost her best friend to love. Another one bites the dust, as the single girls say. But Rose won’t let her friend go without a fight, and when another unanswered call goes to voicemail, she hightails it to Michelle’s apartment only to find Eli there, wearing only a blanket, telling her Chelle doesn’t live there anymore. Say what? Sparks fly like crazy and soon Rose is looking at glowing eyes from a man who supposed to be human. What is he, really? And what’s everybody hiding?

Werewolves of New York: Eli can be read as a standalone, though it does mention events of the previous book (Werewolves of New York: Nathaniel) and includes some of the same characters. I liked having the continuity but as it's been a while since I read the previous book anyway I did need some memory jogging first! 

Though there is a little bit of instalove going on, this is paranormal and linked to werewolf mates which makes it acceptable in my eyes, plus the characters were a little more subtle about it.  They actually more acted on an attraction between them first and even then there were issues that stopped things happening. 

As a result there was some great chemistry between Rose and Eli, which built up over the course of the book and made the reader truly believe that theere was something between them. It was undeniable and moved things along well. 

There was also the underlying theme of the characters helping other people, both Eli's more rough form of justice, and Rose's determination in the courtroom. This made both of them strong and highly likeable characters and also added that something extra to the story.

This was a highly enjoyable read, not that I expected any less!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Stakeout by Nikki Jefford

Title: Stakeout
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter (#2.5)
Author: Nikki Jefford
From: Amazon (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Omnibus)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: 4th February 2014
Challenges: 2016  Read the Books You Buy, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Noel Harper got a second chance at life when the government recruited her as an undercover vampire informant. Since the day they brought her back from the good-as-dead, she has wanted to prove herself worthy. When a member of her investigative unit is murdered, Noel is paired up with a vampire hunter named Dante to spy on a suspect in Fairbanks. The problem? They're not the only ones on stakeout. Taking down murderous vampires is one thing. Dealing with the past is another. But this time, Noel isn't letting fear win. She's calling in help from the other side and discovers a shocking secret along the way.

Stakeout happens concurrently with the events of Northern Bites, book 2 in the series, and can't be read as a standalone. There may be minor spoilers for previous books in the series within my review. 

It took me a little longer to warm up to Noel than it did to Aurora as a narrator, but actually I even thought that Aurora herself came across a little cold at some points, though she wasn't in the story much and knowing what she went through in the previous book it does kind of make sense. 

I really liked the banter and growing friendship between Noel and Dante! It was different from how Dante is with Aurora and it made me feel like he was a more real character. It also painted Noel in a very different light, much less dark and gothic than her appearance previously suggested. 

There were a couple of big reveals in Stakeout, one being what happened to Noel to make her into an Informant in the first place, and the other I think will have a major impact on the future story and I'd kind of started suspecting it at the end of Northern Bites and definitely by the beginning of Stakeout

This was a good addition to the series and I'm looking forward to how the information in this book will impact the story! 

Monday, 22 August 2016

On a Rogue Planet by Anna Hackett

Title: On a Rogue Planet
Series: The Phoenix Adventures (#3)
Author: Anna Hackett
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi, Space Opera, Romance
Release Date: 16th November 2014
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge2016 Blogger ShameSummer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Unlucky-in-love salvage mechanic, Malin Phoenix, didn’t intend to get caught up in a coup and kidnapped by a sexy cyborg. But she finds herself swept into an adventure to help the deadly, emotionless CenSec, Xander Saros, retrieve an ancient Terran artifact and save his planet. Soon she’s racing across uncharted space and is magnetically drawn to the cyborg whose strong arms and muscled body ignite a desire that burns brighter than a supernova. But Mal can never let herself forget that she can’t fall in love with a cyborg who can never love her back. The crowning glory of the Centax Security program, Xander is heavily enhanced, his emotions dampened to nothing to allow him to be the most efficient, lethal killer in the galaxy. As he and Malin hunt for the remnant of the galaxy’s first computer, the Antikythera Mechanism, their quest leads them into the lair of a dangerous technomancer. But Xander can’t identify his greatest threat—the enemy or the fascinating woman who’s making him feel.

On a Rogue Planet can be read as a standalone, however it does reference the events and characters from the previous two books and as such is better read as a part of a series. This review may contain minor spoilers for the previous books in the series, At Star's End and In the Devil's Nebula

I think that On a Rogue Planet is quite possibly my favourite book from this series so far! There was so much about it to like. It was action packed as well as being a break from the traditional romance roles that so many books end up falling back on (and don't get me wrong, I love a well written trope as much as the next reader, but sometimes shaking it up is good!) 

Mal isn't a typical girly girl, though there were a couple of moments where she did put effort into dressing nice and doing make-up, so basically she came across as normal. She was a mechanic and it's been clear since the reader first met her that she loves it. As such she was no weakling and fought not only for herself but for those she cared about too. 

Xander was a big strong fighting machine, and definately futuristic. As a combination of man and robot his character was an interesting one, and his main character progression was learning to deal with emotions. As such, he was the naive one in the relationship, both physically and emotionally, and it was an interesting dynamic to read between the two leads. 

There was some great world building in On a Rogue Planet too. There was the introduction of Rogue Planets themselves, which was interesting and nothing like I would have expected, as well as some new races and planets. On top of that there was also some relationship building for Nik and Nera which has been going on for all the books! (And I'm guessing they'll get their own at some point!) 

I really enjoyed On a Rogue Planet and hope to read more from Hackett!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand

Title: Imitation
Series: Imitation (#1)
Author: Heather Hildenbrand
From: Netgalley
Genre: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, YA
Release Date: 12th March 2013
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me. Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face.  Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now. When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

I need to start my review with a sort of disclaimer, because inadvertantly it affected my reading experience. However I would also like to reiterate that it is completely my own fault. When I started reading Imitation, it was the copy on my Kindle which came from Netgalley, I then however switched to using my phone where the copy of Imitation came from Amazon. This led to a very confused 10 minutes until I figured out that they were different versions of the same book. I back tracked 5% or so then began reading the version from Amazon from where it differed to what I'd already read. However one of the big reveals later in the book had already been revealed in the other version which kind of detracted from the shock value. 

Ven was an interesting character. As a clone she was created to mimic her Authentic, Raven, in everyway. She studied her life and the things she was involved in but Ven didn't seem to like Raven very much (and yet she never actually met her). I actually ended up feeling a little sorry for the absent Raven, mainly because I didn't want to believe she was anywhere near as bad a person as Ven seemed to think, especially given how controlling her father came across. Also, where is the real Raven? Its a question I really want an answer for. 

I found the growing relationship between Linc and Ven good. It went at a fairly slow pace and on his side seemed to come from spotting discrepencies in Ven's behaviour while pretending to be Raven (she really wasn't very good at it!) It took a while for them to act on what they were feeling and there were several moments where trust became an issue between them. 

Most of the book was centred around Ven trying to fit into Raven's old life (and failing) but there were snippets of what the world as a whole was like. There seem to be three distinct "classes" of people, the Rich, the Poor and the Imitations. The latter seemed to basically be an exaggeration of modern day celebraties, whereas the poor were basically everyone from the middle class down (the world became too damaged for the middle class to exist), and the Imitations weren't counted as people (or well known about). In future books I hope that these are explored more. 

While my reading experience was hindered by my switching copies, I was still entertained and do plan on reading book 2 at some point!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Too Sinful to Deny by Erica Ridley

Title: Too Sinful to Deny
Series: Scoundrels & Secrets (#2)
Author: Erica Ridley
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: 19th July 2016
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): TOO TEMPTING TO OBJECT...One look at the towering ocean-side manor that is to be her new home, and exiled socialite Susan Stanton knows: This is a place haunted by secrets and riddled with menace. For Susan, there is no escaping it. At best she can stay clear of the most dangerous element of all--dark-haired smuggler Evan Bothwick, a man whose shaded countenance cannot hide his wicked intent. But Susan has a secret of her own--a special gift that renders her privy to the darkest mysteries lurking within the walls of the manor and in the labyrinthine cellars beneath. And the only man who can help her make sense of it all is Evan, the very scoundrel and rogue she would do anything to be able to resist...

I was really looking forward to reading Too Sinful to Deny after really enjoying Too Wicked to Kiss and while I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I enjoyed the first book, it was still a fantastic read. Too Sinful to Deny had some minor paranormal elements like the first book and had the same gothic feel to it. I love the Gothic genre anyway, so having that paired with a modern writer that I really like has worked well for me. 

Susan was a returning character from the first book, though there was definitely more to her in this one. That was probably since there was more from her own point of view in this rather than from the characters who found her a little bit in the way. She grew on me a lot throughout the book and by the end I definitely liked her as much as I liked Evangeline in Too Wicked to Kiss

Evan was clearly a more decent man than even he thought he was, but through the book he did manage to continually convince the reader of that...even if he made other characters work to get to that realisation. 

The chemistry between the two leads was incrediable and I found myself truly believing it. They didn't try and outright deny it to themselves either, though they did try to convince themselves that it would pass. It felt like there was a bit more substance to their relationship than a lot of book couples get. 

The mystery, which was introduced almost straight away, was complex and kept me guessing. I don't think I'd ever have managed to guess the culprit before things started slotting together and I like it when books keep me guessing, it adds to the experience for me. 

I'm loving this series from Erica Ridley, definitely different from her other stuff I've read!