Friday, 27 March 2015

Book: Moon's Flower by Marie Hall

Title: Moon's Flower
Series: Kingdom (#6)
Author: Marie Hall
From: Amazon
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling
Release Date: 22nd November 2013
Challenges: 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge  (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Calanthe is a flower fairy, but she's always felt like she doesn't quite fit in. When she steals a Moon's Flower and lets it grow; something changes. Her soul becomes connected with the Man in the Moon. Jericho has been trapped in the Moon for 200 years, only being able to roam the land once a month. When they meet the passion consumes them, even if it breaks laws, rules and hearts.

So it's been ages since I last picked up a Kingdom book, but I was just in the mood for some kind of happy fairy tale romance, with a little bit of maturity to it! Except Moon's Flower wasn't quite the same as the previous books, and I haven't worked out whether to count the ending as happy, sad or just bittersweet.

One thing Moon's Flower did do was answer several questions about Danika...partly how she ended up having to be Godmother to the Villians, but also what her past is with several of the other fairies. I liked finding out more about her, but felt that some of it was quite sad.

The romance between Calanthe and Jericho was sweet for the most part, with a couple of passionate encounters and I thought it worked well. I wasn't sure where the whole thing was going to go because of the Moon's connection to the Sun, but again I thought that this worked.

I did end up completely surprised by the major plot twist in Moon's Flower. Did not see that one coming at all, though I do think that it worked well. I like being surprised by the books that I read, especially cause it doesn't often happen. In fact I wasn't sure how this book would end until it did.

Definitely a good addition to the series, and I'm looking forward to the rest!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Book: Aurora by Amos Cassidy

Title: Aurora
Author: Amos Cassidy
From: Beta then Amazon
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Release Date: 27th February 2015
Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 

True and Oz have grown up close, as siblings on the run from just about everything. Oz earns money through the fights while keeping True safe and sheltered. But with their Ma's health rapidly deteriorating, things are about to change, and the truth about several things, including True and Oz's heritage and all that comes with that.

Firstly I need to state that Aurora will be reviewed slightly differently from normal, simply because I've read this twice, first as a beta reader and secondly as the available book. Some things have been edited and changed a bit, so it wasn't quite a re-read, but because I knew some of the main plot twists I read certain things (that may shock first time readers) in a slightly different way (and saw a few clues that I'd missed the first time!) I enjoyed Aurora when I beta read but enjoyed it even more this time around.

Aurora has two main characters, True and Oz, who on the surface seem completely opposite (for a pair of twins). Whereas Oz is a typical alpha male, True at first appears to be a fairly sedate, calm and nuturing female. Or at least at the very start. True's journey is the most remarkable, as she surprises even herself with her strength. Personally I love that as a character, True can be both soft and feminne as well as strong and level headed. She didn't have to be one or the other but it just worked.

Romance...well there's not much I can say about this without giving away some major spoilers (which I don't want to do!) But the romance in Aurora is complicated, in a way that I imagine it would be given the circumstances. I wasn't quite as sure about the way that it concluded when I beta read (I liked it overall but something didn't quite click) but this time round I found myself actually appreciating the nuances and think it ended right!

The secondary characters all worked well as well. This goes not only for love interests, but for the friends, allies and enemies that were created along Oz and True's journey. There are several of them that I would be interested to know more about, particularly those living inside Aurora, I think it makes a great setting!

I loved Aurora the first time around (which was May/June-ish in case anyone wants to know) but this time around I enjoyed it even more. This is a great writing duo!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Book: Ever Darkening by Janeal Falor

Title: Ever Darkening
Author: Janeal Falor
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 28th January 2015
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Kaylyn's whole purpose in life has been to defeat evil. But now she's done that things aren't quite right still. Fetched to a village close to their own where darkness is over taking things, Kaylyn tries to figure out what is going on along with her friends. With her feelings for Jorrin growing, despite her best friend Marsa also having feelings for him, Kaylyn has to decide what the best thing to do for her people is.

First in a really weird twist, for some reason it's taken me nearly 2 months to finish Ever Darkening. I'm not too sure why that is, but I kept picking it up reading a bit and putting it down again. I enjoyed the story, but there was something missing I think. Partly I do think I was just a bit confused in a few places.

The ending was certainly interesting, it kind of made me think a bit of a circle, but it does also make me wonder how the problem would have come about in the first place as I'm assuming that not everyone in the world is a good person. But I did think that it was unique, and thaat the whole concept of itself was unique.

For the most part I liked Kaylyn, but there were times when she frustrated me a bit as a character. It was clear she liked Jorrin from the start, but for some reason (despite being a strong and brave female lead) she didn't seem to have the courage to do anything about it. Other than a few blips out of character I thought she was well definied, though ultimately she was a steady character and not one that developed a large amount.

I loved the Zombie Sheep. Completely pointless to mention to anyone that hasn't read the book, but they were genius and I loved the fact that the characters also admitted that talking about zombie sheep was weird!

Ever Darkening was a good read, it was enjoyable over all, though I think I did some harm to my enjoyment with not reading it in one go.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Book: Parker's Honor by Mandy M Roth

Title: Parker's Honor
Series: Prospect Springs Shifter (#2)
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Western, Sci Fi, Romance, Dystopian, Paranormal
Release Date: 14th May 2012
Challenges: 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 point)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Lynn is haunted by the past and by the death of her family, but feels at home with Cole and Molly, her new kind of family. But with Molly returning to Prospect Springs, things are going to change, though the last thing that Lynn expects is to be drawn to the town doctor, Parker. Parker is teased for being a skirt chaser, despite the fact that he barely does at all. Yet being around Lynn does something to him and he can't help but want her for himself.

This is the second book in the Prospect Springs Shifter series, and I'm going to bring up one of the same points that I did with Blaze of Glory. I really liked how the book managed to capture a lot of different genres and tie them all together in a way that just worked. The Western style culture, alongside space travel and supernaturals doesn't necessarily sound like a recipe for success, but I found myself completely sucked back into the world.

Theoretically each book is a stand alone romance, but I would say that I think they should be read in order. There is a slight overlap between the end of Blaze of Glory and the beginning of Parker's Honor, but actually it worked more as a continuation of what happened after the events.

I loved Parker and Lynn's relationship. Even though this is a fated shifter thing (meaning I have little problem with the insta-love) they didn't quite have that. Instead they first were physically attracted to each other, and then had the moment of intellectually being attracted to each other (while Lynn was holding her own at Parker's practice and helping him out) and then came the more love like feelings. For me it worked and I liked reading the progression.

This series is definitely fun! And the books provide interesting (and short) reads!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Book: Game Play by Lynda Aicher

Title: Game Play
Series: Power Play (#1)
Author: Lynda Aicher
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 16th February 2015
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Dylan Rylie has a reputation, not that it's who he really is, but the world doesn't need to know that. Samantha Yates loves hockey, but as a woman, she has very few places to go now that her college career is over. When Dylan and Samantha meet, sparks fly both on and off the ice, and Dylan knows that Sam could help him improve his game in a way that no one else can. If only he can convince her that they're good together off the ice as well...

Firstly I should say that I don't normally read sports books, and not living in a country where ice hockey is a big deal (when we say Hockey we mean played with a ball on a field) I have very little understanding of the game. The reason I picked up this book to read was because I have loved everything I've read from the author so far, and didn't want to miss out on anything. I'm really glad I did read Game Play though because I really enjoyed it.

Hockey didn't take a back seat to the romance in Game Play, it was too much of who the characters were for that to be possible. But rather hockey was a key part of it. Samantha and Dylan had great chemistry on the ice as well as off it, and that definitely added to it. I also thought that it really helped by portraying them as equals going into the relationship. Taking money out of the equation (because neither of them were actually motivated by it) they were both stand out players, giving them an even footing.

I really liked the fact that most of their relationship wasn't built on physical stuff. When it actually came down to it they didn't get physical with each other that often. In fact it was the banter and the more emotional connection that drove their relationship forward, and that just added to the chemistry and the tension between them. Also their relationship didn't happen all at once, it grew slowly and took time, and I liked that a lot.

I really enjoyed Game Play, I'm certainly glad I didn't avoid it because it was focused on sport! I also really liked the check in with Holden and how there was that tiny crossover to Wicked Play!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Sunday Post #17



Apologies

I'm really sorry for my absense from the blogosphere the past couple of weeks. Everything's just getting on top of me and everything just seems to have taken a hit. I'm hoping that I get a chance to check out people's blogs/reviews in the next couple of days cause I have really missed it!

Real Life

I'm not really sure where to start with this week. Everything's been kind of meh feeling. Well not quite everything, but most things. I think I'm in a bit of a rut with it all and can't really work out how to get out. But there were a couple of things that went well. 

Brownies! Somewhere in the past week the fun got injected back into this for me, and me and the other leader got a bit overexcited and decided to set up a fb page for Bobella, our Brownie Bear. The plan is to take photos of her doing the activities with the Brownies and keep it up to date like a blog! You can check out Bobella here.

Also at work, my boss told me what a great job I'm doing. Sounds like a really small thing, but I'm only 2 months in, and apparently he was really worried about the person I took over from leaving but now thinks he has no need to because I'm doing such a great job.

Author Stuff 

I had the very scary moment of one of my friends starting to read Awakening. She's one of the girls that I went to Uni with and caused a lot of teasing in a good way! Went a bit like this (on our group chat): 
18th March
ES: (sends photo of Kindle) About to start reading this :-) 
Me: *hides in a corner!!*
ES: Laura this is saucy! (emoticons I'll not repeat) 
C: Has Laura written erotica and just not mentioned that fact :-P lol 
EJ: Have you actually?????? 
EJ: Kinky B****
EJ: its not actually erotica is it?!
EB: Is it based on previous experience?
EJ: With (not going to reveal the who) 
EJ: You could have asked me for the video Laura?! No need to write a book (Would like to point out the video is NOT what it sounds like here)
Me: No. No. And f*** no.
So basically conversation carries on a bit like that, including one of my friends explaining that its not Fifty Shades style (despite not having read my book) and then ES picking up on when some of the scenes were a bit more explicit (but I toned it down). For the record, not aiming for erotica, but Awakening is for an adult audience!

Read This Week:
I caught up. I actually now have NO reviews scheduled at all and can only post as quick as I read again. So yeah, doing good there. This is what I mean about everything just kind of being in a rut. It feels like even my reading is. 




 Costs of the Week: 

Should have spent: 
This Week: £30.45
March: £31.50
Year to Date: £224.51
Acutally Spent: 
This Week: £3.82
March: £6.32
Year to Date: £17.37

Reviews: 

Vanilla by Megan Hart
Crashing into Love by Melissa Foster
This Time by Marie Hall
Refuge by KJ Colt
Wind Chime Café by Sophie Moss
The Playful Prince by Michelle M Pillow

Other Posts:

 Sunday Post #16

Challenge Updates

So according to my Goodreads challenge, I'm 4 books behind schedule...oops.

Because reading is better than real life
I finally finished an audio book! Yey! But on my none-bookish front, for finishing a writing project I'm doing so bad that I started a new one...oops.


2015HWLogo
I finished This Time this week, which is my first HW book for March
Goal: 48 Books (4 Books a Month) 
Read: 9 Books

Falling For YA
I read Game Play from Netgalley!
Goal: 75 Books
Read: 25 Books


Crashing into Love released this week :-) And Game Play also counts!
Goal: 31-45 Books 
Read: 13 Books

Most of my books counted this week!
Crashing into Love = 2 points
This Time = 12 points
Refuge = 2 points
The Playful Prince = 2 points
Goal: 101+ Points
Read: 56 Points


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Book: The Playful Prince by Michelle M Pillow

Title: The Playful Prince
Series: Lords of the Var (#2)
Author: Michelle M Pillow
From: Review Copy
Genre: Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 1st May 2011
Challenges: 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Dr Tori Elliot was looking forward to some R&R after her last mission, before she gets dragged into clearing up the mines on Qurixilian by the Human Intellegance Agency (HIA). Once there she meets the Var Ambassador, Prince Quinn, and starts to fight the intense attraction she feels for him, until she realises that she could have way more fun if she gives into him. But there are still threats to the fragile peace between the Var and the Draig, and Tori and her team need to save the day...

I think this is actually the longest I've gone between reading books by Pillow, and I had started to get a few withdrawal symptoms! I don't think I should leave it so long again! But I was quickly drawn back into the world of the Draig and the Var with The Playful Prince. One thing I do think though is that this series should definitely be read in order. Whereas the Dragon Lords series happened more or less concurrantly, the events of The Playful Prince only overlap slightly with the first Lords of the Var book, and then continue on. I'd also suggest reading The Dragon's Queen (the prequel to Dragon Lords) first as that gave some background to events in The Playful Prince.

I loved Tori as a character. So often you get the scientist who has been scared of sex, or never found the right person and so is really shy. So I loved that Tori was none of that. She was a confident woman who was interested in sex and was also highly intellegent and a brilliant scientist. It sounds like a really silly thing to like, but personally I think avoiding clichés is a great thing! I also felt that I could get on board with Tori as a character, which always makes the story more enjoyable.

I also really liked Quinn, I thought he was really sweet right from the word go. And actually, even if it took him a while to realise it, he was all for the one woman thing from the start as well. He didn't seem that reluctant to commit compared to Kirill in the previous book, and I think that some of that was his playful nature had a hand in that.

There were a few tense moments in The Playful Prince that had nothing to do with the romance and everything to do with the other events. I thought it worked in tandem and it worked well, allowing the two elements of the story to run side by side. Neither felt diminished and both were enjoyable.

I also loved the introduction of a brother to the leading female character (and the tie in with the Galaxy Playmates series, though I haven't actually read Sapphire yet). It added a completely different dynamic and I also thought that the relationship between Tori and her brother worked well.

This was a great read, as always! I'm looking forward to more in the series!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Audio Tour: Wind Chime Café by Sophie Moss

Title: Wind Chime Café
Author: Sophie Moss
Narrator: Hollis McCarthy
From: Audible Review Copy (Blog Tour)
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 28th January 2015
Challenges: Bookish Resolutions 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon - Audible

After a tragic event at her daughter's school leaves her with PTSD, Annie moves herself and Taylor to Herron Island, a quiet community with a rumoured development which would make Annie's dream of owning a fancy restaurant a reality. But when Will Dozier finds out it is his land that could make the resort a reality, he starts to drag his feet for the sale...or is that because of the new red-head in town? As Will deals with his own PTSD, he finds himself falling more and more for Annie and her daughter, and finds himself remembering the good things about Herron Island.

Firstly let me say that I did half listen and half read this book (due to wanting to know what happened a bit too much when listening wasn't possible!) But actually I found it surprisingly easy to switch between the two, and I found listening to the audio more enjoyable than I expected. I did challenge myself to listening to more audio books, and the reason I jumped for this one was because I've read and enjoyed books by Sophie Moss before, and so felt sure I'd enjoy the story. Once I got into the narrator's reading style I actually found it really soothing.

I really liked Will and Annie's relationship, it started off slow, and built up over the course of time, and even better than that, their relationship always included Taylor. She wasn't a surprise to Will, and he quickly discovered about her PTSD and what had happened to her. The passion was there for the pair of them, but it didn't feel like it was the main focus of Annie and Will's relationship.

I also really liked the way that Will's relationship with Taylor grew. It wasn't just because he was interested in her mother, but also because of their shared traumas the pair of them seemed to bond. It felt realistic and it added a level of comfort to the story, particularly at moments where horrors of their pasts were uncovered.

Annie was a very relatable character for me, and I particularly liked her relisation that there is nothing wrong with 'just' being a waitress. Considering it is a similar career path to the one that I want to take, I found her very relatable and that definitely helped my enjoyment of the story.

This was a good read and a good listen, I don't think I'll be listening to loads of audio books, but this has definitely opened me up to the idea a bit!



Wind Chime Café
by Sophie Moss
Wind Chime #1
Publication Date: January 28, 2015
Genres: ContemporaryRomance
Audio Tour: Wind Chime Cafe by Sophie Moss
Amazon • Nook • iBooks • Audible
When single mother, Annie Malone, purchases a quirky Main Street cafe on Heron Island, she thinks she's finally turned her dream of opening her own restaurant into a reality. Hearing rumors that a developer is about to build a five-star resort on the sleepy Chesapeake Bay island, she plans to transform the cafe into a premier upscale bistro. But Navy SEAL, Will Dozier, has no intention of selling his grandparents' property to a developer. Back on Heron Island for the first time in ten years and secretly struggling with PTSD, Will decides that a fling with the new girl is the perfect way to help him "get his head straight." The last thing Will expects is to fall in love...with his hometown and with Annie. But Will's life and career are in San Diego with the SEALs. Can Annie's love and the healing magic of the island be enough to convince him to stay?
Add to Goodreads

About Sophie Moss

Sophie Profile Pic Square July 2014
Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of four full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives in Maryland, where she's working on her next novel. When she's not writing, she's testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemosswrites@gmail.com or visit her website sophiemossauthor.com to sign up for her newsletter.
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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Book: Refuge by KJ Colt

Title: Refuge
Series: Klawdia (#2)
Author: KJ Colt
From: Review Copy
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd January 2014
Challenges: 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Having run away from her home to avoid having to kill the child growing inside her, Klawdia has trekked up and over the mountains, only to be discovered by Margan, the heir to the Whale tribe. Discovering that the Whales hate the Bears with a passion, Klawdia tells everyone that she is a member of the Fox tribe and begins to make herself a home, but things don't always go to plan.

I knew as soon as I finished Bear Heart that this was going to be one of those series that I loved, and I was right. Refuge drew me in just as much as book 1 did, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from the world (though there is no more in this series itself at the moment, there is another series set in the same world!)

Klawdia took on a bit of a different journey in this book. Whereas Bear Heart seemed quite action driven, with Klawdia doing a lot of hunting, fighting and other things to prove herself as a man (because of the rules of the Tribes), Refuge saw her starting to go on more of an emotional journey, particularly with her feelings for both her child and the men in her life.

Whereas before Klawdia had two love interests, Jeykal and Skelkra, things definitely got shaken up in this book. It became clear that Skelkra had shown more of his true colours to other people, and not just to Klawdia, but also Klawdia seemed to sort out her feelings towards Jeykal and exactly what she wanted from him. For me I thought that it worked well!

Then there was Margan. I can't say I was 100% behind either of the men from Bear Heart for Klawdia, something just didn't click there (which I read as purposeful) but there was a chemistry and a good level of interaction between Margan and Klawdia that really worked for me!

I also loved the imagery that was created, particularly in regards to creating the setting and the culture of the Whale tribe. .It seemed vivid in my mind with a lot of colours and atmosphere. Normally I'm a character driven reader, so this setting really made an impact!

Refuge was a great read, I'm looking forward to reading more from KJ Colt!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Book: This Time by Marie Hall

Title: This Time
Series: Moments (#3)
Author: Marie Hall
From: Rockers After Dark Anthology
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 15th May 2014
Challenges: 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points + 10 points for finishing the series)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Jamie Sullivan knows that her boyfriend since high school, Angel, is no good for her, but feels guilty at the idea of leaving him to face his demons alone. Tor Boler has been admiring Jamie from afar for years, but now is his chance for more. When Tor faces Jamie when she knows she really should leave, it sparks something which neither of them can deny, and will have consequences neither of them imagined...

The characters in the Moments series have all had demons of varying kinds, and I think that that makes the characters and the stories that bit more interesting. You can see how difficult it is for the characters to make the connection to each other in the first place, and then appreciate how they deal with the things they face and grow as characters.

The ending to This Time was quite a bit more dramatic than the previous two books, even more so than the confrontation at the end of Just Now. I liked the slight thriller feel to the ending, I do think it provided closure on one of the things that affected Jamie and Tor's relationship, though I did panic for a moment or two about the fate of some of the characters!

Jamie and Tor's relationship was definitely a passionate one (even if they weren't allowed to show it for a while!) but it was also really sweet. Particularly Tor. I couldn't help but love what he did for Jamie every time he did it. I particularly loved his grand gesture with the paint, but there were other little things that he did that just made him seem perfect without being too so.

I also loved the fact that Zoe and Jamie's friendship played a big part in This Time, even if that did involve Zoe giving Jamie a fair bit of tough love! Particularly where Angel was concerned. I think it made a big impact on the story line and the characters and was definitely a plus.

This series was great! Marie Hall did it again for sure!