Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Sunday Post (31-01-2016)


Sunday Post



Writing 

So having finished my first draft of Cloaked I now can't do anything with it for a couple of weeks (after which I will basically rip it apart in my first round of editing!) So instead I've been working on a story based on Phantom of the Opera, it started out as just an idea that was going around in my head, but my best friend (and fellow Phantom fan) ended up encouraging me to take it further. After I've finished this one I think I'll be working on one of my ideas that doesn't retell another story!

Also I am currently providing review copies of my novella, Awakening, on instafreebie. You can get a copy here!

My Life

Not sure there's really much to report here. The Brownies have just been preparing for the Gang Show, to the extent that my Mum (who is a Scout Leader and is organising the Gang Show) came down to teach them some songs. She later commented that we had such a lovely group of girls and I couldn't help but feel really proud of them! Other than that there's not really much to report. We had the back lash from the storm over in the US last weekend, but it was just very windy and wet as opposed to the snow storms the US had!

Reading this Week

I DNF'd a book again this week. Seems to be becoming a habit. This week it was Daughter of Sand and Stone by Libbie Hawker which was my TBR list book so I swapped it for the second most voted for! Th

Georgie by Cherroie Mack (2016Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016,  2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, Winter COYER 2015-2016,
January by Audrey Carlan (Winter COYER 2015-2016
A Single Girl's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse by JT Clay ( Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame)
Midnight's Surrender by Donna Grant ( Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame)
The White List by Nina D'Aleo  ( Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame) 

On the Blog This Week

The Sunday Post (24-01-2016)
My Inspiration for the Journalist
Pan's Conquest by Aubrie Dionne (TBR List Read)
The Charmer by CJ Archer (Internet Book Club Read)
Crystal by Cherrie Mack
Tainted Snow by Amos Cassidy
Blood Moon by JD Wright
Quanta by Lola Dodge
Trick of the Dark by Val McDermid

Book Club Meme - PLEASE help! There is a tie happening!

This is the meme that I started at the end of last year (you can check out the post here) The idea is that other bloggers vote for the book of the month and then in the last month anyone that has read it can link up on my blog and check out other people's reviews! 


Create your own user feedback survey 


Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau & Joe King

Title: Rend the Dark
Series: An Echo of the Ascended (#2)
Authors: Mark Gelineau & Joe King
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 15th October 2015
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 point)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Ferran was once an orphan that no one believed when he said he could see the darkness at the hearts of men. But now, living in a world full of horrors, he hunts down the monsters that escape and kills them. Alongside his fellow Acolyate, Mireia, and the local Warden, they come to a village where all is not as it seems and they soon find themselves truely in a fight against the dark...

I will admit to just having an 'oh' moment while looking at the Goodreads page...I hadn't actually twigged the link between Ferran and Elinor (from A Reaper of Stone). I knew that Rend the Dark focused on a different character in the same universe, but that bit slipped me by! But honestly that just makes me think even more highly of the authors and how cleverly they have weaved together their series (I say this, but I have only read two of it so far!)

Somehow the authors have managed to create a compelling fantasy novella. As a reader you only see a small snippit of the character's world but in that there is a great amount of detail and it really helps to paint a picture. Before coming across An Echo of the Ascended I wouldn't have thought it was possible!

The characters do come fully formed due to the length of the book, however I liked that the prologue let the reader see a little but of Ferran's background, so that at least the lead character has a story. So while there is no active growing, it still works, without bogging down the prose with character development. Saying that I don't feel as if the characters were flat in any way, they worked well and I do look forward to learning more of them.

This was a great short read. It concentrates on the action and the world, and for a novella that works!

Bookish Reslutions (January 2016 Link Up)


2016 Bookish Resolutions

Blogging Goals 
  1. Schedule posts before the day they are 'due' (especially for challenge updates!)
    Actually doing really well on this one! I'm ahead with everything so far, though there are certain posts (like The Sunday post) that I do the night before. 
  2. Reintroduce non-review content
    Ignoring memes, I've had one non-review post this month. 
  3. Cross post Blog Posts regularly, preferably in under a week since post date
    I've managed to get myself into a habit of cross posting as soon as I get in from work, which seems to be working! 
  4. Tidy up the Trips Down Imagination Road Facebook & Twitter Pages
    Not started this one yet.
  5. Visit other blogs regularly (I used to but this dropped off the radar a bit)
    I'm doing better...still got work to do though!
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).
    So far I've managed to improve my ratio by 2% so there's definitely some hope! 
  2. Finish 10 series this year. (I get distracted a little easy! I can have already started the series previously)
    Don't think I've finished any yet, but I will have done by the end of the year.
  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.
    Well...I haven't failed this one yet. 
  4. Read 3 books a month that were already on my kindle at the start of 2016 (can be from Netgalley, Amazon etc.)
    I haven't actually counted how many but it's way more than 3!
Personal Goal
  1. Finish Cloaked (the sequel to my published Novella)
    I finished my first draft! Which is a massive step and I have some hope!
Link up now and let us see your progress! 

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Pan's Conquest by Aubrie Dionne

Title: Pan's Conquest
Author: Aubrie Dionne
From: Netgalley
Genre: Mythology, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 24th February 2014
Challenges: Winter Coyer 2015-2016, 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, My TBR List (Meme)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Pan, God of Fertility, has wanted Syrinx, self styled Goddess of Chastity, since Ancient times. Now Syrinx is living as a florist by the name of Sylvia, and Pan is determined that he can woo her. Not known for standing by any woman longer than a night, Pan starts to get to know Syrinx while pretending to be Parker Thomas, a local millionaire. As the two of them begin a relationship, their secrets begin to eat away at them and they learn more about love and friendship in the 21st centuary than they ever did in Olympus.

Just before I get properly started on my review a note on this month's TBR Meme. Pan's Conquest was actually voted into second place behind Daughter of Sand and Stone by Libbie Hawker. Unfortunately I didn't feel that I could give Daughter of Sand and Stone a fair review (you can read why here) and so I replaced it with Pan's Conquest for the meme.

And I'm glad I did! Because Pan's Conquest was a really enjoyable read. There was nothing unpredictable about it it must be said, but the characters went on a journey and discovered things about themselves as well as about each other. Even when they were doing things wrong they could easily set things right, and that was the kind of read I needed at that point in time.

I really liked how Dionne put more emphasis on the building of a relationship between Pan and Syrinx (even when they were being Sylvia and Parker). It wasn't all about sex (in fact there are no explicit scenes in the book), there was far more to it than that and I enjoyed reading about them dating.

I also liked that both characters had a 'side kick' who taught them more about human feeling. I did wonder about Rutherford (Pan's butler) having a secret identity at one point even! Kaye (Syrinx's assistant) was a bubbly character who encouraged Syrinx to live even when she thought she shouldn't.

This was an interesting take on mythology and proves that there is something to be said for just randomly picking a Netgalley book at some points!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Crystal by Cherrie Mack

Title: Crystal
Series: Follow That Dress (#1)
Author: Cherrie Mack
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 1st October 2015
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Robert Salinger needs a date and fast; a woman who can hold her own but knows that two weeks is all they will get and nothing more will come of it. Crystal doesn't believe in Happily Ever Afters, but there's something about Robert that makes her want to know him more, even if that isn't on his cards. As the two weeks progress the two of them find themselves more and more entrenched in their relationship and it gets harder for them to seperate their true feelings than their charade.

This book admits in the blurb (on Goodreads anyway) to being insta-love and insta-lust, and actually in a weird way that made it far more acceptable to me as a hater of insta-love. Saying that, I didn't actually feel that it was too rushed, and there was a build up for the characters admitting how they feel about each other.

I loved Crystal as a character. She was very much an every girl. Not perfect looks wise (or at least she didn't think so) but smart, wanting to get on in life and happy to eat cookie dough. She felt like a real person and not a perfect character, which really helped with the tone of the book.

Robert was most definitely a trope. The hot, brooding rich guy who just needs the right woman to set his heart free. But actually it worked...particularly when he started debating Fifty Shades of Grey with Crystal's sister and eating pot brownies.

There were some steamy scenes in Crystal, but these were fleshed out with the rest of the story and it felt like the characters truely got to know each other before jumping in the deep end of insta-love. This was a great quick read, and I'm happy knowing I have the next book in the series on my kindle. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Tainted Snow by Amos Cassidy

Title: Tainted Snow
Series: Tales from Beyond the Veil (#4)
Author: Amos Cassidy
From: Review Copy
Genre: Fantasy, fairy tale retelling
Release Date: 7th January 2016
Challenges: COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 point)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

After the death of her father, Snow's Step-Mother became the Duchess of Crystal and controlled her life. Snow's step-mother constantly punishes Snow for her promiscuity, not that that will stop her, but with a visit from the Duchess of the Seas and her son, Lord Zale, looming things are about to change. With the Duchess of Crystal wanting Zale for her own, and Zale enamored with Snow, she has to turn to dark magic to get what she wants...

You can read my review of the previously published Tainted Snow here.

When the Tales from Beyond the Veil novellas were first released, Tainted Snow was probably my favourite (though they're all good so it's difficult to call!) and this time around it was just as good. Tainted Snow isn't quite as connected to the other books (Snow doesn't know Ash, Silver and Scarlett) but there are small indications tying them all together.

Tainted Snow has more sex scenes than the previous three novellas and Snow is very liberated in that sense. It put a different spin on the story but that made Snow a unique and interesting character, as well as giving her relationship to Zale another level when that got going.

Last time I read Tainted Snow I said that I really wanted to know what happened next, because there is a little bit of a cliff hanger, and I have exactly the same question now! There is still a question over what happened to Zale and Snow after the ending of the book and I still want to know!

I'm not surprised in the slightest to be enjoying an Amos Cassidy series, and I need more already!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Quanta by Lola Dodge

Title: Quanta
Series: Shadow Ravens (#2)
Author: Lola Dodge
From: Netgalley
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Release Date: 13th October 2015
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points), 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Quanta has been trapped in a secure testing facility for more than half her life. Not knowing who to trust, even when she can see the future, means that Quanta is constantly on edge. When Altair, a Senator's son and secret Shadow Raven, arrives at the facility it triggers a future that Quanta didn't think was possible; one that involves love. The two of them find their feelings unable to be controlled, and they discover that there is more to Quanta's power than looking through time.

Quanta was an absolutely stellar read. So much so that I kept having to remind myself that I had finished the book because I just wanted to pick it back up. It's the first book I've read from Lola Dodge, but it is the sequel to Cipher, a book by Aileen Erin, an author that I love. I got totally immersed in Quanta's world (just like I did in Cipher) and I definitely want more!

There was romance in Quanta but it actually kind of took more of a back seat at the same time as being integral. Sounds strange I know. Altair and Quanta's relationship grew throughout the book, and with it their powers also grew. But the love between them was slow growing. In fact Quanta even went as far as thinking (in her part of the narration) that she wasn't in love with him yet but could see how she could be. That was definitely refreshing considering most people in her situation seem to end up in insta-love.

There was plenty of action in Quanta, and both Quanta and Altair were in the thick of it. They both wanted to save the other and would do what it took to make that happen. It added to the need to keep reading as well as progressing the story along.

There was also a lot more revealed about the Shadow Ravens themselves, mainly because Quanta had more to do with them before the book started than Cipher did. I'm now super interested in finding out more about them and how they fit into everything.

I can't wait to read more from this series!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Trick of the Dark by Val McDermid

Title: Trick of the Dark
Author: Val McDermid
From: Amazon (on sale!)
Genre: LGBT, Crime, Thriller
Release Date: 23rd August 2011
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Dr Charlie Flint is awaiting a decision on her career after her testimony resulted in freeing an innocent man who then committed murder. Relegated to teaching teenagers and invigilating exams, she is intrigued when a package of newspaper clippings about a murder. Charlie soon finds out that the package was sent by an old professor of hers from Oxford. Intrigued by what her professor is suggesting, Charlie begins to investigate and though at first she thinks it is a wild goose chase before long she can't help but agree with Corinna's suspicions.

I've had to really think about how to write this review, mainly because I really don't want to give anything away. I picked up Trick of the Dark because I was still in a crime mood after having to DNF my previous read, and I know that I'll enjoy a McDermid book, and it did live up to that.

So the murderer...I was convinced the whole way through (as were Charlie and her friend Nick). Everything pointed towards one person and then the ending took me by surprise. There was definitely a red herring or three thrown in and there was one character who I was suspicious of but didn't have anything concrete on. Basically the ending, and the various suspects, took me completely by surprise...hopefully that is cryptic enough!

A lot of the lead characters in Trick of the Dark were lesbians, and while that doesn't bother me I know it could bother some readers. There were several relationships, Charlie and her wife Maria, as well as Charlie's love interest Lisa. There was also Magda (the widow of the man who was murdered) and her girlfriend, Jay. As with McDermid's other books the romances were chugging along in the background, with the added drama of Magda having to come out.

I don't want to say anymore because I don't want to ruin the book for anyone! But I enjoyed this book, there was plenty of suspense and it had a great pace.  

Monday, 25 January 2016

My Inspration for The Journalist

Talking to +Daniela Ark in the comments section of last week's Sunday Post has led to me thinking about what led me to write my short story, The Journalist (other than wanting to contribute to a Halloween anthology!) It wasn't until I started thinking about it that I realised just how many things had influenced me, so I thought I would share some of it!

Whitby

The setting that I chose is a Seaside town in North Yorkshire, England, about an hour away from where I grew up. I've been visiting since I was a little girl and there's just so much about it that I love; the old cobbled streets, the ruined abbey, stunning views and Lucky Ducks included (though Lucky Ducks aren't quite relevant to this post, they are interesting and I do own 4 of them!)

But what makes Whitby the perfect setting is the combination of ghost sightings (you can even go on Ghost Tours!), pirate graves, ruins and of course the Dracula connection. 

These photos were taken on a camping trip me and some of my friends took a couple of years ago.



Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula1st.jpeg
Dracula is one of my favourite classic novels (depending on your definition of classic of course!) and I believe one of the best Gothic work of the time. Though The Journalist isn't connected to Dracula in the sense that there are definitely no vampires in it, I can see how Dracula influenced me. Not only was the setting for my story Whitby (see above!) but I also used Newspaper articles in parts of it. For anyone who hasn't read Dracula, it is written in the epistolary format through a series of letters, diary entries and newspaper clippings written and encountered by the various characters involved. Stoker defined the modern vampire, Count Dracula, and introduced characters such as Van Helsing. The most memorable scene of Whitby for me is set in the graveyard of Whitby Abbey, a supposedly haunted site.

Cinderella

Now this one is a little bit of a stretch for anyone that has read The Journalist, and my inspiration from this tale didn't actually come through much (I don't think!) It actually comes back to when I was writing the original form of Awakening (which is nothing like the novella it eventually became but is included in the anthology Touched by Shadow Carressed by Light). I was torn between writing a short story about Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, which then developed into a ghostly masquerade.

The ghostly masquerade idea stuck, even if I never wrote the story at the time. It had certainly moved on from Cinderella by this point! This idea was also influenced by the Haunted Mansion ride in Disney World Florida (though more likely it's Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris that stuck in my mind, though as far as I am aware they are very similar). The ride included a ballroom scene which is very cleverly done, and the influence of that is definitely visible in my short story!

The Journalist from the anthology Amidst the Shadows
For years people have been going missing near Ivy Manor and Maria is determined to find out why. 


Certainly the story that I ended up with is nothing like my first ideas, or even my first draft for that matter, but it has been interesting for me to return to the beginning and look at my influences in writing my story!


I had a lot of fun with this one, and it was useful to have a break from writing stories related to the world of Alventia! (Though Amidst the Shadows does also contain a prequel short story to my novella Awakening called Betrayed). 

Blood Moon by JD Wright

Title: Blood Moon
Series: Everealm (#3)
Author: JD Wright
From: Review Copy (Blog Tour)
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 1st January 2016
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

With the Wildfire banished and Sidonie now in full control of her powers, everything is looking up for the people of Bree's kingdom. That is until a member of her family is kidnapped along with the sister of her future brother-in-law. Meanwhile Princess Rianne wants to escape the life her parents have mapped out for her, including her marriage to a much older King. During her escape she meets Zander, a young wizard on a quest for revenge. Meanwhile Rianne's brother Xavier has developed feelings for a talented blonde bard...

I was looking forward to Blood Moon ever since I finished Wildfire, and I must say that even though I already thought the first two books were good, Blood Moon blew that all out of the water. As soon as I turned the last page (and if I'm honest before that) I wanted more, and though it's frustrating having to wait I know that the next book will be just as worth it as this one.

While Blood Moon still continues the stories of the characters from the previous books, a lot is settled for them now, especially with Bree and Rowan settled (I'm pretty sure that Rowan is my favourite character, I love his sarcastic comments, though it is a tough one to call). But Blood Moon also concentrated on some of the more minor characters from the previous book (Xavier, Rianne and their brother Tristan, as well as some Reeve and Rhea). All of the stories wove together well and I can see how they will come together (thought not what will happen after that!)

Rianne was one of the characters that took centre stage and I loved her. She was a typical teenage rebel (with good reason to be fair) but she had the guts to pull it off. Her romance with Zander was also really sweet. They were a little less 'rip clothes off' than some of the other characters, and the contrast (and the fact they were 18 and 19) made their relationship that bit different.

There were some big reveals in this book (as with the others) and some things became more common knowledge to more of the characters, which again added another dimension. I'm really eager to see what certain characters *cough*Sarita*cough* do with the information that they now have too.

I loved this book, though I never doubted I would, and I can't wait for the next in the series (no seriously can't...I need it now!)

Blood Moon (Everealm #3)
by 
J.D. Wright
Release Date: January 1st 2016

Summary from Goodreads:


The aftermath of the wildfire has caused undesirable events to unfold in Everealm. When something precious is taken from Junacave, Bree and the others must hunt down a wizard and retrieve a stolen amulet in order to save their beloved. Little do they know, the amulet may very well be hiding secrets of its own.
On her journey to a better life, away from Labara, Rianne discovers that being on her own is more challenging than she had predicted. Determined to escape her betrothal to King Carneath, she must do everything in her power to avoid being captured or else face a certain life of misery. Along the way, she stumbles upon a new ally, who may be the answer to her prayers.

Bonds are broken, relationships are tested, and new love is forged under the Blood Moon, Book Three of the Everealm Series.

Adult content. Intended for mature audiences.




Buy Links:

About the Author

Writing has always been a hobby of mine, beginning as a young child. It was a way to cope with losing my father at seven years of age. I started with poetry and was featured several times on the amazing poetry blog, Autumn Leaves, by Sondra Ball. My love for poetry soon led to writing songs in middle school and beyond, which I still do occasionally. Music has always been an important part of my existence, so writing songs came naturally to me. In high school, I started my own novel, however, life got in the way and I never finished it.

Fast forward many years later and I find myself married with three children, absorbed in my busy life with commitments to my family, work, school, church, and charities, among other things. One day I came across my old binder, with notes from my first novel, and it was with those notes that I conjured up the elusive Everealm.

I write to please readers such as myself, who have a love for fantasy and romance, but like a little danger and sex in their reading. I wrote the book with a mature audience in mind, who can appreciate a hearty imaginary world with magic and the unknown, but want more than fluffy love stories with wizards in them. They want the romance, magic, and danger, all wrapped into one.

Author Links:



GIVEAWAY:

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Book Tour Organized by:



Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Sunday Post (24-01-2016)

Sunday Post


Reading this Week

I DNF'd a book again this week. Seems to be becoming a habit. This week it was Daughter of Sand and Stone by Libbie Hawker which was my TBR list book so I swapped it for the second most voted for! Th

Blood Moon by JD Wright (Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge 2016 New Release Challenge
Crystal by Cherroie Mack (2016Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016
Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau & Joe King (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Heirs & Spares by J L Spohr (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Blogger Shame
The Lion and the Unicorn by Dara Fraser ( Winter COYER 2015-2016)
The Seduction 2 by Roxy Sloane (Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge)
Pan's Conquest by Aubrie Dionne (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Blogger Shame, My TBR List Meme

My Life

So...this week. In good news I put the final touches to my first draft of Cloaked so I'm pretty pleased with myself! In not so good news, my kind-of-ex (not sure what other way to describe him) turned up for lunch at work and it was super awkward. The Brownies have been doing food craft again and we had a fake campfire (because its cold!).

On the Blog This Week

The Sunday Post (17-01-2016) 
Touching Evil by Kylie Brant
Manic by JA Huss
Facing Evil by Kylie Brant
Ash Rising by Amos Cassidy
e-Murderer by Joan C Curtis
Special Agent: Austin by Joni Hahn
The Vampire Games by Stephanie Archer

Book Club Meme

This is the meme that I started at the end of last year (you can check out the post here) The idea is that other bloggers vote for the book of the month and then in the last month anyone that has read it can link up on my blog and check out other people's reviews! 


Create your own user feedback survey 


The Charmer by CJ Archer (Internet Book Club)

Title: The Charmer
Series: Assassins Guild (#1)
Author: CJ Archer
From: Amazon
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 2013
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, Internet Book Club
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Orlando Holt is a member of the Assassins Guild, and for the first time ever he has been charged to assassinate a woman. But his Guild doesn't kill people without good reason and Orlando's first job is to investigate whether or not Susanna Lynden is guilty of killing her two husbands. Susanna just wants to focus on her orange trees, and selling her marmalade could be the only way to save her home from complete ruin. Soon Orlando and Susanna find that there is more to life than the Guild and oranges...

In a way The Charmer was a little predictable. It was clear from the beginning that Susanna and Orlando liked each other and would end up together, but actually they got to it a little quicker than I expected which was a good thing. There was definitely good chemistry between them and that came out while reading.

Especially considering the historical setting, Susanna was a very independent. She didn't want to marry unless she wanted to and she wanted to be the one to fix her home and run it. I liked having a strong female character though at moments it didn't feel like all of the characters necessarily fit the time period.

In fact I frequently forgot what time period the book was set in. To be clear I was enjoying the series but because of the way the characters were portrayed it was easy to forget. There were a few reminders, mostly in the clothing and the attitude of some of the characters (i.e. Walter).

This was an enjoyable read, if a little predictable.

You can link up your review of The Charmer here. 


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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Ash Rising by Amos Cassidy

Title: Ash Rising
Series: Tales from Beyond the Veil (#3)
Author: Amos Cassidy
From: Review Copy
Release Date: 7th January 2016
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 point)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

The Hollow, home to the pixies, has been terrorised by Goblins. With her mother missing, Ash takes it on herself to make sure that everyone is fed and as safe as possible. When the pixies all have to go to a ball, it is announced that the person whose foot fits a small shoe will marry the Goblin ruler's son, Garnet. Garnet is surprised when Ash's foot fits, thinking that the shoe was too small for anyone's foot. But Ash and Garnet soon find themselves liking each other, and will do whatever they can to defeat the Goblins.

Ash Rising is the first new new story in Tales Beyond the Veil (the others have been revamped stories I'd read before). I like how the series are fairy tale retellings but actually are nothing like the original. There are a lot of hallmarks of the classic Cinderella tale in Ash Rising, but it is made completely the authors' own.

Ash is a strong female character, she knows what she wants and doesn't shy away from getting on with it. I liked having a female character that wouldn't let the man do all the saving. Saying that when her and Garnet worked together they did even better.

There were a few links to the previous books, mainly in references to Silver and Scarlett. Though the stories are related it isn't 100% necessary to read them in order and they can be read as stand alone. However don't...because it's a great series and you should read them all!


Friday, 22 January 2016

e-Murderer by Joan C Curtis

Title: e-Murderer
Series: Jenna Scali Mystery (#1)
Author: Joan C Curtis
From: Netgalley
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Release Date: 17th December 2015
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

When Jenna receives emails about a murder she first dismisses it as a patient playing a prank. But when a woman turns up murdered exactly how the emailer described she starts to take notice. With her boss telling her to wait on going to the Police, and her best friend, Quentin, urging her to, she is torn. But soon this becomes bigger than Jenna and she finds herself wrapped up in the mystery of who was responsible.

So...I'm still not sure how I want to review this book. On the one hand it was enjoyable, I didn't want to abandon it at any point but on the other I found it disappointing. This was mainly because I figured out who the murderer was really early on and then only questioned my decision once. Other reviews seem split between it being easy to figure out and there being a lot of twists that made people doubt their guess.

Part of what I like about the genre is trying to put together who the culprit is and why they were murdering anyone in the first place, and just like the who, I'd also figured out the why quite early on (though maybe not all of the why). This wouldn't have been too bad if I'd doubted myself a lot, but because I didn't the ending didn't really pack a punch.

What I did like was Jenna's life and the bits of that in the story. Her friendships with Quentin and Starr were strong, as were her confused feelings about her ex-husband, Michael. Her life wasn't quite straight forward and there was plenty of figuring it out.

Romance in the book was quite tame, especially considering that Jenna had two boyfriends; Timothy and Frank. Part of the story was Jenna figuring out how she felt about the two of them. One of them definitely had a more friend vibe to him whereas the other one I took an almost instant dislike to, but again this worked in the story about Jenna's life.

I enjoyed e-Murderer, and I would read another book in the series, but the ending was just a little bit disappointing for me.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Vampire Games by Stephanie Archer

Title: The Vampire Games
Author: Stephanie Archer
From: Netgalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Dystopia
Release Date: 3rd January 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Bianka thought that she was just a normal teenage girl. Until she was Harvested by Vampires and discovered that her whole life was leading up to that moment. Just like everyone else in her town. Bianka catches the eye of Prince Phillip and soon finds herself in the Games, where the winner gets to be Created and join the vampire ranks. But Phillip has enemies who see more than Bianka realises, making her participation in the Games all the more difficult.

I read the blurb to The Vampire Games and it struck me straight away as something that little bit different. There are a lot the hallmarks of YA vampire/paranormal fiction, as well as some of those of YA dystopia and it's combined in a very interesting way, especially when you combine with the Roman Colosseum and gladiator culture, well and technology. It was an interesting mix and I thought it worked itself into something entertaining.

 The Vampire Games was left on a bit of a cliffhanger, but I think it was a good place to stop the book. That part of the story had come to a natural close which made it less frustrating it must be said. There are still a lot of unanswered questions though, and I don't personally think that things are quite as black and white as Bianka is trying to make them.

There wasn't a great deal of romance in The Vampire Games. It is very strongly hinted at that there is something between Bianka and Phillip (and I'm pretty sure that Bianka's friend Marc has a thing for her). I thought the hints and not outright romance worked well all things considered, though I would have liked Bianka to have seemed a little more interested!

I have a few theories about what's going to happen to certain characters next, and it will be interesting to see how that turns out. This book has certainly piqued my interest!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Facing Evil by Kylie Brant

Title: Facing Evil
Series: Circle of Evil (#3)
Author: Kylie Brant
From: Netgalley
Genre: Crime
Release Date: 20th October 2015
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (12 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Having discovered that there was in fact a mastermind behind the killings, Cam and Sophie have to step up their game to find the person they thought was a victim. But the killer has other things in mind, namely revenge against those that had ruined her son's life, even if the true culprit was closer to home. As the investigating team get closer to catching them, the killer seems to be one stop ahead, until the end result could end up costing more than anyone bargained for.

What a conclusion. This series has been brilliant from the word go, with twists and turns all the way. It wasn't until the end of the last book that the true mastermind came to light and up until then I certainly hadn't suspected a thing. It's incredibly interesting especially when the reader does know who is committing the crimes and why, if you'd said that was the case before reading the series I wouldn't have thought it would work but Brant did it masterfully.

The suspense element was very strong, both for the investigating team and the killer themselves. As it got towards the end of the book you could feel the investigating team's (and particularly Cam's) need to get the killer caught and to bring this to a close, but you could also sense the killer's desperation to get away and to exact their revenge. It was a good combination and had me on the edge of my seat reading.

Things had certainly progressed for Sophie and Cam. They clearly cared a great deal for each other, which you could tell from book one, but their main issue in this book was accepting what each other felt. This made their ending particularly cute. I loved the two of them as a couple.

There was a bit more high speed action and chasing in this book, which I thought the author did just as well as the intellectual investigation and suspense. It added to the story, the suspense and the sense of urgency in the book. It was one of those that really grips the reader and takes them on the journey too.

I loved Facing Evil, and in fact the whole series (though it does seem strange to say that considering some of the subject matter) but it was a very enjoyable series. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Special Agent: Austin by Joni Hahn

Title: Special Agent: Austin
Series: The D.I.R.E Agency (#6.5)
Author: Joni Hahn
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-Fi, Superhero, Romance
Release Date: 19th January 2016
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 point)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

All Austin wants to do is make the D.I.R.E Agency and work alongside his super powered brother, Jaydan. All Belle needs to do is find D.I.R.E's weakness so that Madam can destroy it. What she can't do is fall in love with a man, nor let one touch her. When Austin first sees Belle at the airport he wants to protect her. But when he sees her at a D.I.R.E event he knows something is up and is determined to find out what it is.

I *may* have got a little overexcited when I saw Special Agent: Austin on Netgalley. But in my defense, The D.I.R.E Agency is a great series, and I think it was one of the first ones I really got into when I discovered blog tours. Though this one is only a novella, I still feel it was completely worth the excitement.

Admittedly Belle and Austin seemed to develop feelings for each other rather quickly. However because it's a novella and because that had a purpose in propelling the story forward I didn't find it much of a problem. Plus the two of them had some great chemistry between them and in some ways them being together was completely necessary or Belle's story wouldn't have worked so well.

There was some plot tie ins with Teague (from book 6) and where she came from which opened up a whole new can of worms with who the 'bad guys' of the series are, and the introduction of Belle's sisters has left me some questions that I want answers for. Some of the other previous characters also played a role in the book and it was good to see the D.I.R.E agent's fiancée's having an active role in the agency.

I really enjoyed Special Agent: Austin and it just made me more excited for Agent U7: Keegan, which I'm not going to lie, I kind of hope isn't the last in the series!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Manic by JA Huss

Title: Manic
Series: Rook and Ronin (#2)
Author: JA Huss
From: Rook and Ronin Box Set (Amazon)
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 1st August 2013
Challenges: 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Having signed the STURGIS contract there is now nothing that Rook can do to avoid it, even if that means risking losing Ronin. With Antoine's niece, Clare, in rehab, Ronin is torn between helping his family and supporting Rook, and with his old friends turned enemies Spencer and Ford on the scene he is definitely worried. But things soon take a turn and it'll take all Ronin, Spencer and Ford have to save Rook from her past.

I want to read Panic now. Which is a potential problem considering the rest of Rook and Ronin is on my Reading Assignment list and I can't read anything off that until February now! But I think that tells a lot about the strength of the story and the characters; I want more from them.

Ronin as a character took me by surprise. He did in Tragic, but even more so in Manic. He has a lot of the tendencies towards being an alpha male but there is a much softer side to him that he doesn't even try to hide. He is honest with Rook about what he wants, and he's honest to himself about hurdles in that. Though Manic did reveal a little but of an unsavoury past, so it could be interesting to see how that effects the books to come.

I liked how Rook cultivated friendships with Spencer and Ford. They were obviously a little more complicated than "friendships" but I can't really think of a better word. Both of them opened up to her and as a reader it was interesting to learn more about them. There was the dual purpose in that of fueling Ronin's jealousy too, which certainly on Ford's part seemed to be purposeful. I liked the banter between them all, ,it worked well for me.

Rook really grew in this book too. From the beginning of Tragic it's clear that she has been through a lot and that she is just picking up the pieces of her life. So Manic let her grow more. She found some confidence as well as recognising her feelings for various characters. I liked that growth.

There was a touch of suspense towards the end of the book and that had me reading quicker and being desperate to know what would happen next. It worked well with the rest of the story as well as tying up some loose ends.

I loved Manic. Not that there was much doubt that I would! But it is definitely one to read!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Sunday Post (17-01-2016)

Sunday Post


Reading this Week

This week was a little slow reading wise, and I had to start it with a DNF of Keith McCarthy's The Final Witness, which was just a little too wordy for me to enjoy. 

Trick of the Dark by Val McDermid (Winter COYER 2015-2016
Ash Rising by Amos Cassidy  (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016
Quanta by Lola Dodge (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016
The Charmer by CJ Archer (Internet Book Club Meme, Winter COYER 2015-2016
Tainted Snow by Amos Cassidy (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, Winter COYER 2015-2016

My Life

I've had lots of meetings about various things this week which is why I haven't been able to read quite so much. But nothing really of too much note I don't think. We started preparing for a Gang Show with the Brownies and they're straight into it, I was very proud!

On the Blog This Week
The Sunday Post (10-01-16) 
Home by JA Huss
The Captain's Blue Stocking Mistress by Erica Ridley
Clutch by JA Huss
His Fire Maiden by Michelle M Pillow
Crossing Hudson by Mandy M Roth
Phantom's Dance by Lesa Howard
Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
Touching Evil by Kylie Brant

Book Club Meme

This is the meme that I started at the end of last year (you can check out the post here) The idea is that other bloggers vote for the book of the month and then in the last month anyone that has read it can link up on my blog and check out other people's reviews! 


Create your own user feedback survey 


Touching Evil by Kylie Brant

Title: Touching Evil
Series: Circle of Evil (#2)
Author: Kylie Brant
From: Netgalley
Genre: Crime, Contemporary
Release Date: 20th October 2015
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge,  2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

With the man who kidnapped her in prison everything should be over for profiler Sophie Channing. But the man in jail isn't the one that other people have identified. As the hunt heats up, Sophie manages to convince Cam, the leading agent, that she can still consult on the case. Working together isn't the only thing that the two of them have in mind though, and after her previous ordeal, Sophie only feels closer to him.

I'm still not quite over how much I enjoyed Touching Evil (though it does feel weird to say that when there was necrophilia involved). And I don't think I've completely processed my thoughts yet, but I need to read the next book because the twist at the end was completely unexpected (and so I need to write my review now!)

One of the sub-plots was the romance between Sophie and Cam. They have history together and as such there was good chemistry between them. But by this point it was more than just sex. They were both relying on each other more and more. However there was one scene in the entire book that I felt dragged, and that was a moment between them. It wasn't enough to detract from the overall book though.

There is a lot of suspense in the book. Both from the crime solving point of view and from the characters getting quite involved in the plot line. It had a good pace and really kept me wanting to read. I don't think I've actually read a book that had me quite so involved in a while (hence why I need to read the next book).

I don't want to say so much because as a crime book the enjoyment is in the mystery, but this one is well worth the read!