Thursday, 3 September 2015

Death's Lover by Marie Hall

Title: Death’s Lover
Series: Eternal Lovers (#1)
Author: Marie Hall
From: Amazon
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 3rd September 2013
Links: GoodreadsAmazon

Eve and Michael are happily married and trying for a baby when life as they know it is changed for good. Victims of a hit and run, they are both marked for death, until Death, named Cian, can’t take Eve and breaks with the rules of his court. When the Morrigan finds out that Cian didn’t reap Eve’s soul it sets in motion a series of events that could lead to both Eve and Cian’s deaths. Cian can’t forget about the witch whose life he stayed, and he finds himself drawn back to her in a way he can’t describe…

I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I started Death’s Lover, I’ve read a fair few Marie Hall books and they’ve all been completely unique so that didn’t give me that much of a clue! Like her other books, Death’s Lover was unique, a true blending of reaper lore and urban fantasy.

I liked the fact that there was only the one place where werewolves, witches and vampires could live openly, and that it was a kind of beta test, and I liked the way that most of them seemed to care for the world around them. It made for an interesting setting, especially considering that they didn’t have to hide what they were.

The Reaper lore used was interesting, and I really liked the way that it also weaved into the Fae courts, that wasn’t something that I’ve seen before. I also liked that attention was paid to the little details, like how a reaoper’s hand reacts when a soul is ready to be reaped.

Death’s Lover did leave me wondering exactly what was going on with the higher powers in the story. They clearly had their own agenda but it was quite difficult to work out what that was at some points. I’m intrigued though and want to know more for sure!

The romance was quite a slow one. There was a fair bit of chemistry between Eve and Cian right from the start, but they were quite slow to act on it for several reasons, meaning that it wasn’t the main focus at most points, though the connection between them was the reason behind a lot of the plot.

I enjoyed Death’s Lover, it was different and entertaining. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Ariella's Keeper by Michelle M Pillow

Title: Ariella’s Keeper
Series: Divinity Healers (#1)
Author: Michelle M Pillow
From: Review Copy
Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance
Release Date: 22nd May 2013
Links: GoodreadsAmazon

With her family dead and in a dimension that is not her own, Ariella is a prisoner. Her keeper, Medical Supreme Walter, has infected her with a virus that only he has a cure for, and uses it to force her to do everything he wants her to. When this includes marrying his son, Dr Sebastjan Walter, Ariella still has no choice. But Sebastjan was forced into the marriage too, and before long the two of them realise that they’re not only physically compatible, but that they could be very great allies and maybe even more…

I was excited to be returning to the Divinity universe but with a new series (I’d previously read the Divinity Warriors series) and was interested to find that though Divinity Healers is set in the same universe it is actually set in a different dimension. It added an interesting development in the story, and I liked that though it was in a different dimension there was a catch up with some old characters from Staria.

I felt sorry for Ariella at the start of Ariella’s Keeper, she seemed to have suffered a lot and that was sad. This actually went on to the point where I felt that Ariella wasn’t really her own person at all. But as the book progressed she definitely came into herself more and more which I did like.

The romance between Sebastjan and Ariella was a slow burn. They were forced together and seemed to accept that, but their relationship progressed from having just met, to friendship, to more. I liked that it happened more slowly with the feelings coming. There was also no denying the feelings, they both accepted what they felt for the other person.

One thing that didn’t take them long was discovering compatibility physically. They had a lot of sex in the book, and it worked as a platform for their growing relationship. The chemistry was there, making the sex scenes work.

I enjoyed Ariella’s Keeper, it was good to be back in a familiar universe but getting to start a new set of stories! I’m looking forward to more!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The High Priestess by Katee Robert

Title: The High Priestess
Series: Sanctify (#0.5)
Author: Katee Robert
From: COYER Secret Santa
Genre: Sci-fi, Romance
Release Date: 17th March 2012
Links : GoodreadsAmazon

Gerard prides himself on his loyalty to Sanctify and his mission of ridding the universe of Aliens. When injured on a mission he is forced to seek aid of a local bar keeper, and while in the bar he meets Marianna. Marianna knows that as a Diviner she should avoid Sanctify at all costs, the alternative being death by torture and burning. When her cards and the Lady lead her to Gerard she ends up in the hands of Sanctify with no hope of escape. But the cards tell a different story. All she has to do is trust in her captor.

I really enjoyed the previous Sanctify books that I’ve read (Queen of Swords and Queen of Wands) and so I was excited to read The High Priestess, and thankfully that paid off! The High Priestess was action packed and just as thrilling as the previous two books I’d read. (Or the next two depending what order you read in!)

I did wonder about the name of the book (especially with the other two books being named after Tarot cards) but it all became clear in the course of the book, and showed me the complete lack of knowledge that I have about Tarot cards it seems!

I really liked that Gerard didn’t turn his back on his beliefs for no reason (even if that put Marianna in danger). In fact it wasn’t til he had proof that his views weren’t necessarily right that he even thought he could do much against Sanctify’s wishes, even if he did feel that things went too far sometimes.

The romance between Marianna and Gerard was interesting. Actually I’m not 100% sure it could be classed as a traditional romance (and I think the main reason that I have is because I know the future for the two of them). There was definite physical attraction and interest in the person, but there were no sudden declarations of love, which was definitely a new and interesting way of doing it!

It was also really interesting learning more about Sanctify. This book didn’t give too much away, but I definitely thought it gave more insight into an organisation that has simply been ‘evil’ up until now. Though the status of the organisation isn’t really changed in my mind, it was clear that Robert wanted to point out that even bad organisations have good people in them.

The High Priestess was an interesting prequel. I’m glad I read it after having read books 1 & 2 though, I’m not sure it would have created as much of an impact without reading them first. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

Bookish Resolutions Progress Report (August!)

My own progress is coming soon! We're wi-fi-less cause of the move right now! But let me know how you're all getting on!

Flaw by Ryan Ringbloom

Title: Flaw
Series: Flaw (#1)
Author: Ryan Ringbloom
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, New Adult
Release Date: 20th January 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon

Becca and Aidan are best friends, and living across the hall from each other has created a close friendship that seems like more to people on the outside at times. But when spoiled rich boy, Josh, moves in with Aidan, things get shaken up. Though Josh has previously been a bit of a player there’s something about Becca that has him wanting to change his ways. Meanwhile despite his scarred face, Aidan has been playing Prince for Jordyn, a friend of Becca’s, but can they all figure out what is going on before it’s too late…and can they get past each others’ flaws?

Ryan Ringblooms books are spot on. They’re the truthful look at young relationships with the warts and all. Flaw is set after the events of the previous series (Fast) but I don’t think you have to have read those first. Fast and Wait just make the characters’ pasts with each other fill out a bit more.

There were two “sets” of characters in Flaw, Aidan and Becca, who were potentially classed as less physically perfect (respectively Aidan’s facial scar and Becca’s pink hair and tattoos), and then Josh and Jordyn who were more ‘perfect’ in appearance. I liked how the story wasn’t just about Josh and Jordyn accepting Becca and Aidan’s “flaws” (and vice versa) but it was also about each other characters accepting their own flaws too.

As with the Fast series the POV was split. In the first part of the novel the POV was split between Aidan and Josh, and then in the second part it is split between Becca and Jordyn. It doesn’t mean that the same events are rehashed, the story continues in a linear fashion into the second part, but it is interesting to see how all 4 of the characters think and feel.

I liked that Ringbloom showed that her characters grew and changed as people, not only during the course of her book but also in the time between the previous book and this one (particularly with Josh in this case). I also liked that there was a look in on several of the characters from the previous books (but what happened to Robin! I think she was one of the only ones from the same high school that didn’t make an appearance in Flaw).

I really enjoyed Flaw, though I didn’t doubt I would having enjoyed Ringbloom’s books before!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Steelheart
Series: The Reckoners (#1)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
From: COYER Secret Santa/Netgalley
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Dystopian
Release Date: 24th September 2014
Links: GoodreadsAmazon

10 years ago, David witnessed the rise of the dictator Steelheart, in the moment that changed his life forever; the death of his father. Now 18, David is determined to get revenge on his father’s murderer and to do so he needs an in with The Reckoners, the only group of people who stand up and fight against Epics like Steelheart. But David soon learns that not everything should be about revenge.

Wow. Just wow. I know that I’ll enjoy a Brandon Sanderson book, and there was no doubt in my mind when I picked this one up that it would be good, but even I didn’t actually expect how amazing that book was. It left me with that feeling you get after a really really good book, and had me texting my friend who likes to read saying ‘read it!’

Starting at the end really…there were two big plot twists. One I’d already half figured out and was at the back of my mind, and the other took me well and truly by surprise (but in hindsight the title of book 2 makes more sense knowing what I know now!)  I love being taken off guard, particularly by something like that which makes the whole story look different!

David’s inner monologue kept things going action wise, but there was another side to it too. I found myself laughing aloud at several moments during the book because he just though funny things…and in some cases he said funny things too! I liked the way that the humour lifted the seriousness of the rest of the story.

Now the concept itself…with Sanderson in the past I’ve encountered magic systems which I personally find unique and well structured. In this book I’d say it was less magic and more science. Calamity (which I’m still not 100% sure of the nature of) caused normal humans to manifest powers and become Epics. For the most part Epics seemed to be moraless evil dictators, and lets face it super villains with no superheroes…makes things more interesting!

Even more so is the dystopian element that Steelheart in particular brought to the setting. The people in Newcago were downtrodden, watched all the time and killed on whim, but compared to other places that was a refuge. The dystopian elements worked well and it was interesting, especially combined with super powers!

David did have a love interest in the book, Megan one of the Reckoners, but it didn’t take up a major part of the story. Rather the attraction and feelings he had towards Megan were more a by product of the situation (and as he says several times, she keeps miniature explosives in her bra, that is pretty cool!)

While David was a mature younger character there were still moments that his age came through (see above paragraph!) and I liked that, it made him more relatable. I didn’t even find myself noticing over much that Steelheart had a male first person POV.

This was an amazing book. I loved Sanderson’s books already but this has definitely sealed the deal! 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

Title: The Boleyn Bride
Author: Brandy Purdy
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 25th February 2014
Links: GoodreadsAmazon

Elizabeth Howard was the jewel of her family, pretty and well trained even she knows that the world is at her feet. That is until her father marries her off to Thomas Boleyn, the grandson of a cloth merchant. Horrified by what she deems as being a marriage beneath hers, Elizabeth has discreet affairs throughout her life, even catching the eye of the King, and in doing so watches her children, Mary (the golden child), George (the brooding boy) and Anne (the ugly duckling) from afar. Little did Elizabeth expect that it would be Anne that outshone them all.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about The Boleyn Bride, and I know I’ve had a while to process what happened in the book. It was certainly a different take on the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, and the history of how she got there.

There were points in the book where I felt that what I was getting was a summary of historic events rather than a novel. Particularly when months or even years were only given a paragraph or two in description. There wasn’t a lot of detail about some things. Though in a way it did work, and I did find it enjoyable, there was just something that didn’t quite say ‘novel’ to me.

Elizabeth was an interesting character. She was vain, but knew and accepted that she was vain, but also had moments where she clearly actually cared for her children and her main lover, Remi. In places that made her likable and in other places it just pointed out how little she cared the rest of the time.

The first person narrative really gave a look into how Elizabeth worked as a person, but it also brought in a different perspective of Anne Boleyn’s fall. I hadn’t really ever considered the affect that it might have had on her mother, and this book really brought that to life. It was heartbreaking at times.

I quite liked the version of Anne that was presented in The Boleyn Bride, she was across between the totally sympathetic Anne and the spiteful Anne. She was close to her brother but not incestuous (there have been some books implying she was!) and I liked her as a normal person. Even more so was the fact that her ambition was caused by her parents not thinking that much will ever come of her.

The Boleyn Bride was an interesting and different take on Anne Boleyn’s story, and that of her mother. 


Friday, 28 August 2015

Mating Behavior by Mandy M Roth

Title: Mating Behavior
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 30th May 2012
Links: AmazonGoodreads

Alan will do anything for Katie, his neighbour and the object of all his lust and affection. Only problem is that Katie’s human, and as a werewolf, Alan is forbidden from marking her or even telling her his true nature. Katie’s fascination with wolves takes her and Alan hiking to see the mating rituals near his family’s log cabin, though on second thoughts Katie realises that close quarters with the man she wants isn’t necessarily a good thing, particularly when her witch’s powers come out most in moments of pleasure…

Mating Behavior is short, sweet and hot. The relationship between Katie and Alan is at the forefront of the story, though as with her other books Roth still manages to get in a lot of background and world building without even trying. It makes a short read even more enjoyable!

Katie and Alan’s relationship wasn’t a new thing; in fact they’d known each other for a long while and from that got to know each other. Roth didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on past events, but rather she managed to weave that into the conversation and the settings to give the impression without weighing things down with it.

There was clearly chemistry between the two of them from the very start, and they were also clearly attracted to each other. I found the friends level of sexual attention worked well for the two of them and it came to a natural ending, that showcased both their chemistry and their compatibility.

Shorts from Mandy M Roth always deliver on enjoyability and ease of reading, and its good to know that something like this is there for those times when short, hot and easy reading are needed!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Title: The Red Queen
Series: The Cousins’ War (#2)
Author: Philippa Gregory
From: My Bookshelves!
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 3rd August 2010
Links: GoodreadsAmazon

Margaret Beaufort believes that she has one purpose in life; to be the mother of a King. But when the House of Lancaster falls from the throne of England she has to rethink her plan. Life for a woman in Plantagenet England isn’t easy, and Margaret finds herself passed around in the marriage market and forced to follow the wishes of her husband. Knowing that God wills her son to be King of England gives Margaret purpose, and she will stop at nothing to make it happen.

It’s a fair while since I read The White Queen, in fact it’s a fair while since I read any Philippa Gregory book, and it was while I was unpacking my boxes of books that I came across The Red Queen and thought I should start reading it. I’m not sure if it is because of how my view of books has changed since reviewing became a big thing in my life, but I found myself looking at this Gregory book very differently.

There was something that I found odd in this book, and that was the random parts of third person narrative. There was no real indication of the change, it was only when I read those parts that I noticed. It makes sense in some ways because Margaret as a first person narrator can’t know everything, and the fact that this book is set in the English Civil Wars (not the one where we chopped the head off the King, the ones before that) meant that it was important to the story line. I just found it a bit odd though could kind of see why it was necessary.

Now Margaret…I found her a very difficult character to like, which I think may have been the point. A bit like Jane Boleyn in The Boleyn Inheritance, I think that Margaret was a character that the reader isn’t especially meant to like, more one that can be sympathised to at times. She was very convicted in her thinking and that showed through, and in ways it does seem in keeping with the Historical Woman.

For obvious reasons The Red Queen isn’t necessarily true to history (though for some things, such as the Princes in the Tower, we’ll never truly know) but Gregory is the master of managing to capture the drama and intrigue of the times, and in times such as the War of the Roses that was definitely high.

I did like that even Margaret could see that people weren’t quite black and white. Even when people did things that she thought of as against her cause (like Henry Stafford, or in fact Elizabeth Woodville to some extent) she found herself liking their company at times. It made her a more complex character as well as the characters themselves being complex.

All in all a solid read, and interesting in the way that the main character didn’t seem particularly likeable

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Winter's Bride by Nellie C Lind

Title: Winter’s Bride
Series: The Elders of the Seasons (#1)
Author: Nellie C Lind
From: Review Copy (Blog Tour)
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: 18th August 2015
Links: GoodreadsAmazon

For years Dawn has been in love with the Winter Lord, one of the four Elders that help keep Evermore in balance. When the Winter Lord, Audren, first sees Dawn he is intrigued by her, and with the Summer Lady dying he knows he needs a wife to produce a new body for her. Knowing as a Winter Being that he is not likely to love, Audren sets about making Dawn’s dreams come true by acting, but somewhere the lines begin to blur and when the terrible truth about the oncoming birth is discovered, the Elders will stop at nothing to try and prevent it…

I won’t lie, the main reason I wanted to read this book was because of how stunning the cover is…I mean just look at it! For the most part the story of Winter’s Bride was pretty predictable, but if I’m honest sometimes an easy happily ever after is exactly what I want!

There was an interesting blend of fantasy, romance and a little scifi in Winter’s Bride, mainly relating to where the Elders actually came from in the latter’s case. It was actually quite difficult to pin down an era that the society was like but I quite liked that, especially as it meant that the focus was elsewhere in the story.

It was definitely interesting having a female main character who knew she was in love with the male main character right from the off. There was no sudden realisation or bonding, it was an innocent love that had grown over the years out of a crush. It gave a different perspective.

On the other hand there was the male MC who believed that he couldn’t love, and therefore acted the part. What made it interesting was the way that he accepted he had to act and get on with it. Even for the reader there were times when the line between acting and loving were blurred.

I loved some of the minor characters as well, Aura was a very motherly figure (as made sense given her physical relationship to Audren, and Onyx was a mischief maker. I actually found myself really liking Onyx as a character, particularly later on in the book!

I enjoyed this read, a predictable happily ever after, but sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered!