Sunday, 31 July 2016

Let it Snow by Erica Ridley

Title: Let it Snow
Author: Erica Ridley
From: Review Copy
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: 13th December 2013
Challenges: Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Adventurer Lance Desmond needs to produce a fortune before his arch-rival collects the bounty on his head. He risks an ancient curse to retrieve treasure hidden within icebound Castle Cavanaugh, only to become trapped inside. Not with the gold he so desperately needs, but with medieval Princess Marigold who's been cooling her heels since... well, medieval times. The lonely princess refuses to acknowledge the blossoming attraction between them. Not just because she deserves a better future than a penniless rogue. But because at midnight, he'll vanish like all her other would-be heroes. And the evergreen in the parlor will have one more figurine hanging from its boughs...

I won't lie Let it Snow caught me completely off guard...it was not what I expected in the slightest! Don't get me wrong I really enjoyed it, but what I thought I was going to read was something along the historical fantasy/fairy tale lines, what I got instead was so much better. There was a great mix of old and new, and I thought that Ridley did a fantastic job of blending the two eras that the lead characters came from. Plus who doesn't love a medieval Princess having to learn how to play Candy Crush! (Or discovering the Kindle app!). 

The romance was both sweet and steamy, again balancing between the two eras of the main characters. There was definitely a fairy tale feel to it (after all the whole thing starts with a curse) and I think that makes me approach reading differently. I come to expect a bit of insta-love, and these two were definitely attracted to each other from the very beginning. 

There were very few characters in Let it Snow which worked well as it gave both Marigold and Lance a chance to develop themselves. I certainly felt that they were well rounded characters who were interesting to read about and explore Marigold's world with it. 

Let it Snow felt like a very satisfying read, especially as something light hearted (oh and Christmassy!) I'm very much hoping that the author has plans to tell us about more of Marigold and Lance's adventures in the future though!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Can't Hold Back by Molly Mclain

Title: Can't Hold Back
Series: River Bend (#1.5)
Author: Molly McLain
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 6th June 2014
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016, My TBR List Meme
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): To have and to hold. To trust and to obey. To take and to pleasure… Some things just don’t come up in your wedding vows. Off to their honeymoon in sexy, exotic Cabo, Dan and Maddie Hudson are finally free from the microscope of small town living. For Dan, a self-assured attorney, this means indulging in the all-consuming intimacy of marriage—especially the naked kind—wherever and whenever his new wife will have him. But CPA Maddie doesn’t want to be in charge. In fact, there’s something she craves and there’s no one she trusts more than Dan to give it to her. But will pushing the envelope sexually be too much, too soon in their marriage? The last thing she wants is to make her husband regret his vows before the honeymoon is even over. Can Dan be the man Maddie needs, now and forever? Or will her secret desires bring an early end to their happily ever after?

I don't think there's really that much to say about Can't Hold Back, it was a quick read, with plenty of heat but there's not really much more to it. That is mainly because it is an inbetween novella (but I haven't read book one fyi). I didn't mind because I knew what I was going into before I started reading! 

I liked the fact that Can't Hold Back dealt with the idea of things not going super smoothly after the wedding and the HEA! There was never any doubt that Dan and Maddy were in love, or that they'd work it out, but things weren't perfect and I think that that made the characters more real. 

There wasn't a great deal of character development, but then again that's to be expected. I did however get enough of an idea about who the characters were in the book and so it worked for me. 

This was a quick read, and the heat level was definitely high! It has kind of intrigued me about the rest of the series!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Bookish Resolutions Link Up (July)

2016 Bookish Resolutions


Bookish Resolutions is a challenge I co-host with Michelle @ becausereading.com! It's time for you to let us know how you did in July!

My Bookish Resolutions Progress (which is way behind where I should be!)

Blogging Goals 
  1. Schedule posts before the day they are 'due' (especially for challenge updates!)
    I've now ended up scheduled up to the last week in August, and reintroduced weekend reviews...not too sure what happened on that one.
  2. Post a detailed update on everything on the first Sunday of each month (previously Reintroduce non-review content)
    My original aim with this one is completely lost! But my End of the Month Round Up is all ready to go!
  3. Cross post Blog Posts regularly, preferably in under a week since post date
    I've got into a habit (which is good!) so this is definitely going well for me!
  4. Tidy up the Trips Down Imagination Road Facebook & Twitter Pages
    This one is going, mostly because I decided I was pretty happy with where I'm at with it. 
  5. Visit other blogs regularly (I used to but this dropped off the radar a bit)
    Yeah...I visited a few, and mostly lurked. Still need to get back on track with this one!
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 get it up by 7%, so matching last year! I have read alot of Netgalley books this month though! 
  2. COMPLETED: Finish 10 series this year. (I get distracted a little easy! I can have already started the series previously)
    So far I've finished 14 series this year; The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson, Circle of Evil by Kylie Brant, Trevor's Harem by Aubrey Parker, Rook & Ronin by JA Huss, The Seduction by Roxy Sloane, City of Legends by Cheyanne Young, The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, Galaxy Playmates by Michelle M Pillow, Dark Dirty & Deadly by JA Huss, The Dukes of War by Erica Ridley, Everealm by JD Wright, I Am Just Junco by JA Huss, Things to Do Before you Die by Nina Croft, Sisters of the Moon by Nina Croft
  3. Complete 3 year long challenges (may change the number depending on how many I sign up for). Bookish Resolutions does not count for this sub-goal.
    I've completed 2 so far (Prequel & Sequel) & 2016 New Release Challenge. I am however very close to finishing two more challenges! (My Netgalley challenge of 100 books, and my Blogger Shame challenge of 50 books). My Reading Assignment is completely on track (I haven't missed a book yet!) and I'm still passing my Read the Books You Buy.
  4. Read 3 books a month that were already on my kindle at the start of 2016 (can be from Netgalley, Amazon etc.)
    I get 14, but it might be 13
Personal Goal

  1. COMPLETED: Finish Cloaked (the sequel to my published Novella)
    Cloaked is not only finished, but it is now Published! (Here's the link to prove it!) 

LINK UP AND TELL US HOW YOU DID!



Bound to Night by Nina Croft

Title: Bound to Night
Series: Sisters of the Moon (#1)
Author: Nina Croft
From: Review Copy
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: 15th October 2012
Challenges: 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Waking up after a brutal werewolf attack, telepath Tasha Grant finds herself a prisoner of The Facility, an organization carrying out illegal research into the paranormal. She dreams of freedom, a normal life, and going home, but after eight long years, she believes it will never happen. Her life changes with the arrival of the stunningly gorgeous Jack, the latest unwilling guest of The Facility. Passion flares between them, but Jack refuses to share his body or his mind. Jack must fight his burning desire for Tasha; he has a job to do—destroying The Facility—plus a very good reason for keeping his distance from for the young werewolf. Only when they escape their prison, does he admit his feelings and accept the possibility of a future together. However, Tasha yearns for a normal life, and Jack is a vampire…As the past unravels and they uncover the secrets behind Tasha’s attack, she realizes that ‘home’ is farther away than ever. Now, she must decide if that matters when the alternative is an place at Jack’s side…

Bound to Night is one of those books that I've been meaning to read but not quite got around to. So while trying to decide what to read I figured why not, I've already read a lot of Nina Croft's books this month so it's an absolute certainty that I'd enjoy it. 

And I did enjoy Bound to Night, maybe not as much as some of her later stuff, but I thought that it had a great pace and enough world building to wet my appetite. I was definitely left wanting more and will be checking out the other books in the series soon. 

I liked Tasha, she was somewhat naive as was to be expected, and actually it made her character more realistic under the circumstances. I did feel a little bit sorry for her given the events of the book, but she was a strong enough woman to cope. 

Equally I liked Jack, though I definitely want to know more about him! This was a great novella and I'm looking forward to more in the series!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Song of Sparrows by JD Wright

Title: Song of Sparrows
Series: Songs of Everealm (#2)
Author: JD Wright
From: Blog Tour Review Copy
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: 26th June 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): The journey across Everealm to find the magical stones has not come without its challenges. After being plagued by unwanted guests, disagreements, and accidents, Princess Sarita is beginning to wonder if her dream of gaining magic is a fantasy that can't come true. Along the way, new friends and rekindled sparks between old flames have caused quite a stir within the group. As a new wizard joins the effort and gives the princess a reason to continue, the quest for the next stone ensues...As the sun rises over the ridge, our story continues into the Song of Sparrows!

My first thought after finishing Song of Sparrows was "NO NOT THERE!" I honestly didn't want the book to end, and I hope that it isn't too long until Song of Sorrow, because I have so many unanswered questions! That and the book stopped before a Winter's Ball, and having read Everealm I know those always tend to be dramatic!

I may have ended up doing a happy dance half way through Song of Sparrows because I called one of the budding relationships. There were two characters that seemed to be rubbing each other up the wrong way, and yet there was something about them that said to me that they'd end up together...so happy dance when it became apparent they were heading that way...in typical topsy turvy Everealm way!

Now Sarita and Cassidy...those two have been so cute from their first moment together (when they were just kids), but now their relationship is way more than that. Though it does seem to be a bit of a rocky path for the two of them, I have very little doubt that they'll work it out in the end...though I have no idea on the actual how! But Song of Sparrows definitely convinced me on how they feel for each other.

Gabby and Oliver also seemed to take steps forward in this book, particularly compared with how they were in Song of Sovereign, though again I don't think there's any doubt that they have a way to travel still. That's one of the things I love about these books, the romances aren't quite as clean cut as most books and couples still have their issues even when they are together.

It was good seeing more of Jake in this book, as he was only introduced on the periphery in Song of Sovereign. There was also a set up for some of the other characters from the previous series coming back, including Jolene, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how the events of Song of Sorrow turn out for her.

As I said in my review of Song of Sovereign, this book is definitely more enjoyable if you know the background from the Everealm series. Its the little things like knowing about Sabras and how the magic works in more detail. You also defnitely need to have read book 1 in this series for Song of Sparrows as it is a continuation.

I'm loving this series already, and can't wait for more!

Cover Reveal: Acca by Christina Bauer


Acca
Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins, #3)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: December 13th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
In just one week, supernatural warrior Myla Lewis must discover enough evidence to send the evil House of Acca to prison… or she’ll end up in jail herself, along with her fiancĂ©, Prince Lincoln. No pressure.
To gather proof, Myla and Lincoln go undercover at an all-girl’s high school on Earth. Lincoln acts as the new gym teacher; Myla becomes the school’s least popular transfer student ever. To stop them from getting the goods, Acca releases Hell on Earth. Literally. Good thing Myla and Lincoln aren’t afraid of a tough fight. This one promises to be the hardest yet. After all, who ever said high school wasn’t hell?




Previous books in the series:
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Author Bio:
Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Zerto. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.

XBTBanner1

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Song of Sovereign by JD Wright

Title: Song of Sovereign
Series: Songs of Everealm (#1)
Author: JD Wright
From: Blog Tour
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: 20th June 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Princess Sarita has everything. Loving parents, a castle fit for royalty, fine clothes, loyal friends, and an exciting job as a scholar of magic. At eighteen years of age, one might think that she would be content with her position. But one thing has always been missing from her life... full magic, itself. When a strange old woman gave Sarita a secret spellbook as a child, her entire life was changed. The book contains spells, songs, and stories. But most of all, it provides a path to gaining full magic, the only thing that Sarita still needs to feel complete. And now, she has finally prepared to leave her home in search of the Stones of the Divine, the final ingredient she needs to gain magic. Gabrielle has been known as the sister of a knight and best friend of the princess for as long as she can remember. Now an experienced healer's assistant, she is desperate to find her place and purpose in Junacave. An adventurous mission to help Sarita locate a mystical stone may be just the change in her life that she is looking for. King Cassidy is still alone, but not for a lack of trying. His attempts to convince the Princess of Junacave to marry him over the past ten years have been for naught. And being twenty years old, with no heir, he is running out of time. If he can't win the heart of the princess, he may have to face a future without the love of his life.

Song of Sovereign is the start of a new series, but several of the main characters were present in the Everealm series (as children!) Because of this I do feel that reading Everealm first helps the reader to know a bit more of the characters and about the setting. However it was a bit strange having Sarita, Cassidy, Oliver and Gabby all grown up! Whereas the latter two were teenagers in Everealm, Sarita was only 10 at the end of the series, so having her as an adult was almost strange! 

Cassidy and Sarita's relationship was basically a slightly older version of the one they had in Everealm; they wind each other up, and Cassidy's determined to marry Sarita whether she denies it or not. I love their relationship, though there were a couple of times when I wanted to bang their heads together and tell them off for not working it out! 

At the end of Everealm, Gabby and Oliver's relationship seemed to be heading in a good direction, so when I started reading Song of Sovereign I was just like "what?!?!?!?". They weren't together (which introduced two new characters, Calli and Garrison) but clearly still loved each other. I liked that it wasn't just plain sailing for them, and it took a while for the reasons they broke up to become completely clear. 

There were new characters introduced in this book too, as well as some minor characters (Ashur and Jake) from Everealm were fleshed out a bit more. Of the new characters I really liked Emery, and grew to like Calli after a bit, but can't make my mind up about Garrison. I'm not convinced I liked him at all but that could completely change...look at Dahlia in Everealm

I couldn't help but talk to this book as I was reading! Sometimes to laugh, sometimes to say "what?!?!?!" and sometimes to tell the characters off. Having known some of them for 5 books already I'm definitely invested in them, and was enjoying the experience. 

This was full of adventure, with a dash of romance, and I can't wait for more in the series. If it's anything like Everealm (and its looking that way!) I'm going to end up completely engrossed in this series! 


Song of Sovereign (Songs of Everealm #1)
by J.D. Wright
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Release Date: July 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Princess Sarita has everything. Loving parents, a castle fit for royalty, fine clothes, loyal friends, and an exciting job as a scholar of magic. At eighteen years of age, one might think that she would be content with her position. But one thing has always been missing from her life... full magic, itself.

When a strange old woman gave Sarita a secret spellbook as a child, her entire life was changed. The book contains spells, songs, and stories. But most of all, it provides a path to gaining full magic, the only thing that Sarita still needs to feel complete. And now, she has finally prepared to leave her home in search of the Stones of the Divine, the final ingredient she needs to gain magic.

Gabrielle has been known as the sister of a knight and best friend of the princess for as long as she can remember. Now an experienced healer's assistant, she is desperate to find her place and purpose in Junacave. An adventurous mission to help Sarita locate a mystical stone may be just the change in her life that she is looking for.

King Cassidy is still alone, but not for a lack of trying. His attempts to convince the Princess of Junacave to marry him over the past ten years have been for naught. And being twenty years old, with no heir, he is running out of time. If he can't win the heart of the princess, he may have to face a future without the love of his life.

Adventure, romance, and magic await as we travel through Everealm with royalty, wizards, fairies, and more, in the fantasy-romance Songs of Everealm, a five book series by J.D. Wright, author of the Everealm Series.

Note: Adult Content

Songs of Everealm Series is the second series set in the fantasy-filled Everealm. It begins 8 years after the conclusion of the first series, the Everealm Series. 



Song of Sparrows (Songs of Everealm #2)
by J.D. Wright
Genre; Adult Fantasy
Release Date: July 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

The journey across Everealm to find the magical stones has not come without its challenges. After being plagued by unwanted guests, disagreements, and accidents, Princess Sarita is beginning to wonder if her dream of gaining magic is a fantasy that can't come true. 

Along the way, new friends and rekindled sparks between old flames have caused quite a stir within the group. As a new wizard joins the effort and gives the princess a reason to continue, the quest for the next stone ensues...

As the sun rises over the ridge, our story continues into the Song of Sparrows!

Adult content. Intended for mature audiences. 



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:



Book Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

His Forbidden Princess by Jeannie Moon

Title: His Forbidden Princess
Series: Royal Holiday (#4)
Author: Jeannie Moon
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 30th April 2015
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Eight years ago, university student Ian Stuart fell in love with his sweet, beautiful classmate and he’s never forgotten her. Sofie loved Ian with all her heart in return, but she didn’t trust him with one little detail about her life she’d neglected to share. She was a princess, and they could never be together in the outside world. Now Crown Princess Sofia is in danger. An insurgent faction in her country has targeted the royal family, and while Sofia is visiting the United States, she is forced to go into hiding. Assigned to protect her is none other than FBI Special Agent Ian Stuart. Once again Ian and Sofie are in an impossible situation, fighting their feelings for one another, while trying to stay safe. Will their love for each other prove to be the most dangerous game of all?

His Forbidden Princess is a quick romantic read with a little bit of suspense thrown in towards the end. It was definitely a good quick read, and so long as that's what you're after then I'd definitely suggest this book (well the series, I've read The Cinderella Princess in this series too. 

Sofie and Ian had a history (that was introduced to the the reader at the start of the book and gave their relationship a good depth, especially for a short book. The two of them had a good amount of chemistry, which was added to by the storyline in effect being "the one that got away".

A few political issues were touched on, and I would maybe have liked more, but it led to the increased suspense later in the book. I liked that that gave Sofie in particular a chance to show that she wasn't just a pampered princess.

This was a good quick read, and just what I needed at the time!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Cocky Biker by Faleena Hopkins

Title: Cocky Biker
Series: The Cocker Brothers of Atlanta (#2)
Author: Faleena Hopkins
From: Review Copy
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 20th July 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads):My father is Congressman Michael Cocker. He f*cking hates that I live outside the law.  I'm Jett. I don't care that I come from old money. The Ciphers MC - They're my chosen family. We are servants ONLY to our code, our mission. We live it. Breathe it. Search for it. The same force that drives storms, tornadoes and hurricanes, propels us. Like them we arrive without warning and level sh*t, to erect something superior. A loner, I never expected on the most dangerous of our missions to meet an irresistible feral cat. I nicknamed the kitty, Sunshine, and she is anything but. My name is Luna, not Sunshine. I am darkness. Only one thing matters to me...killing the man who murdered my mother when I was ten. I don't have time for Grey Eyes - a f*cking biker named Jett Cocker. No matter how ridiculously hot he is, or how skilled at playing my emotions like a violin. My WHOLE LIFE I've been gearing up for this. I've finally found the murderer. Now. Is. My. Moment. So why am I wasting time with Grey Eyes in this motel room...why is he making me forget my pain? The Cocker Brothers of Atlanta, Georgia, have earned their nickname -- The Cocky Brothers. Their daddy taught them to be real men. Their momma told them, "Hold out for a different kind of woman." They have one thing in common:  ARROGANCE. 

Cocky Biker gives you everything that you expect from a Biker Romance and then a bit more. There's suspense, romance, sex and general bada**ness, from the hero and heroine. The characters are gritty and real and there's some moments where the right thing to do is a little bit wrong in the eyes of the world. 

Luna is definitely a product of her upbringing. But while on the outside she is tough and determined, her inner thoughts leave no doubt that inside she really just wants to be loved. But the best bit is that she doesn't actually change who she is for someone else. She is definitely her own person and won't let anyone change her. Not that that always works in her favour and she was definitely the one holding back the relationship. 

While Jett didn't have as bad a family situation as Luna had had, he had his own issues to deal with and I liked that Hopkins spent the time dealing with his family issues as well as Luna's. Family was clearly important to both of them (which made the ending just perfect!) and for them each to get the same amount of weight in the book worked well for me. 

There was definite tension between them, and I liked that though the lines between attraction and affection were hazy from early on, initially they just acted on the attraction. There was something a bit more realistic about that. Their relationship took work, but they did work well together. 

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

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Northern Bites by Nikki Jefford

Title: Northern Bites
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter (#2)
Author: Nikki Jefford
From: Amazon (Box Set Books 1-3)
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 27th July 2013
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Love bites. Probation sucks. Thanks to Dante’s recklessness, Aurora is now partners with Valerie: the redheaded, backstabbing vixen. Dante is in full flirt mode. Fane’s tactics are more ruthless. Something carnal has awakened in Aurora and neither boy is helping tame her cravings. When a member of the unit’s team is found dead, Aurora and Valerie are sent after a vampire in Sitka, but Aurora suspects the killer’s much closer to home.

I'm still not completely over how different the Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series is from what I was expected. Part of me thought (before I read book 1, I went into Northern Bites with my eyes completely open) that it was just  going to be another YA vampire book, but it is so much more than that. It's grittier, more real feeling and so much darker than I originally expected and I loved that. I wouldn't suggest reading Northern Bites as a standalone as it relies on the events in Aurora Sky too much. 

It was defintiely interesting to see some of the other characters in a different light. Valerie definitely grew on me a little bit in Northern Bites, but I'm not too sure how I'll feel about her character going forward and if that will change. Dante equally got a bit more fleshed out so he was a bit less of a sex-crazed teenager (though he naturally still flirts and acts like that too). 

The character who developed the most though was naturally Aurora. She had all the thought processes of a teenager as well as having the added danger of potentially accidentally becoming a vampire added into the mix. There were a lot of revelations in this book  as well, especially about how she came to be, and it seems that everyone is that little bit shadier than first thought. 

The romance in Northern Bites was only minimal. It's clear that Aurora is still at least a little bit hung up on Fane, but she does seem to get interested in other guys too. It added a more realistic dynamic as well as making Aurora work for her future happiness. 

This was a great read, full of action and the darker side of vampires. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Bands of Mourning
Series: Mistborn (#6) - Alloy Era
Author: Brandon Sanderson
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 28th January 2016
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America. Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.  

This book can't be read as a standalone. Preferably you need to have read all the previous books in the series but you *could* skip the original trilogy altogether (though I'm not too sure why you would!) but you would still need to have read The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. As such there may be some minor spoilers to the previous books in this review.

I had that feeling at the end of The Bands of Mourning that I often get at the end of Sanderson's books, and that was that I just didn't want it to be over. Well that and "Did that really just happen???". There was a twist revealed at the end that I in no way saw coming but actually makes a little bit more sense than the explanation given earlier in The Bands of Mourning. Basically it's a twist that makes me want to read Secret History right now.

This second set of books (which are set in an altogether different era) are doing a great job at following up the original trilogy, the original three books still stand there as one of my all time favourite fantasy series (and let's face it that's a pretty high bar to set). However these characters and the storyline grows on me with each chapter and there is no doubt that they are great books.

I think Steris is the character that has grown on me the most. She's done a lot of growing as a character in The Bands of Mourning and it even caused me to do a little bit of an about turn on my opinion of her relationship with Wax. The two of them work well together, even if they are that little bit different. I think my favourite moment was after the political party and what she'd been carrying around!

I love the way that Sanderson gives each character an inner voice even though he uses the third person narrative. If a section is following Wayne around then the writing is subtly different to if the narrative is following Marasi around, and it works well.

It was really interesting to see new technology being adopted in The Bands of Mourning and even more interesting to see how that works alongside the Metal arts. But nothing seems to escape Sanderson's notice, there were mentions of changing fashions as well as other touches. There was also a bit of world expansion which has me really interested now!

This was a great read, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next book takes the characters!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Ignite by Erica Crouch

Title: Ignite
Series: Ignite (#1)
Author: Erica Crouch
From: Netgalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
Release Date: 11th June 2013
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Penemuel (Pen) fell from grace over a millennium ago, yet there are still times she questions her decision to follow her twin brother, Azael, to Hell. Now that the archangel Michael has returned, threatening Lucifer’s vie for the throne, she begins questioning everything she has always believed. As Hell prepares for war - spreading a demonic virus and pilfering innocent souls to build an army - the lines separating the worlds blur. Fates erase and the future is left unwritten. Azael is determined that he and his sister will continue to serve as demons together, but for the first time in her life, Pen is not ruled by destiny. She has the freedom of choice. With choice comes sacrifice, and Pen must decide which side she’s willing to risk everything fighting for: the light, or the dark.

Well I never once imagined that I'd be referring to the archangel Michael as cute in my head, but at moments he really really was! To say that Pen and Michael were an angel and a demon the two of them had a lot of cute relationship moments. I loved watching them grow together, and Pen becoming who she truly was as opposed to who she'd been forced to be, for me their relationship really worked. 

The mythology in Ignite was really well thought out and seems to stick fairly closely to most Christian teaches (but just to be clear this definitely isn't in a preachy way! More of a these-are-some-really-interesting-characters-way). I really enjoyed the less black and white view of Heaven and Hell as well as the angels (fallen or not). 

There were actually very few characters in Ignite, something that I've only just noticed when I started thinking about what I wanted to say in my review. I think that shows just how engaging the characters that were present and just how involved I felt with them as a reader. 

Pen's relationship to her brother, Azael, was definitely interesting, and continued the theme of me disliking protagonist's siblings that I seem to have fallen into. Azael is basically the perfect demon, but he's also Pen's twin and it's a strange mix of wanting him to be redeemable and disliking him for me. 

I loved the way the author used quotes from poems in the book. They were at the right time and not only embodied Pen's character and why she fell from heaven, but helped the reader to see the relationships to others around her. I don't think quotes always work in books, but in Ignite they certainly did!

This was a fantastic read, and I can't wait to read more in the series. 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Blood and Metal by Nina Croft

Title: Blood and Metal
Series: Dark Desires (#5)
Author: Nina Croft
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi, Romance, Space Opera#
Release Date: 24th August 2015
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): She's his last chance for redemption...if she doesn't kill him first. Copilot of the Blood Hunter, Daisy is a newly-turned vampire, and she's hungry. Really hungry and it's interfering with her plans for revenge. Unfortunately, the only thing that can distract her from said hunger is sex...which is a problem when she can barely refrain from draining any man dry within moments. But old flame Fergal Cain might just be the sexy-assed solution to her problem. Part human, part cyborg, and with a poison coursing through his system, Fergal's running out of time to find the scientist who has the cure. Unfortunately for him, the misfit crew of the Blood Hunter put a serious kink in his plans. And if the poison doesn't kill him, the hot little vamp he can't resist might do the honors herself...

May contain minor spoilers for the previous books in the Dark Desires series. Though the romance itself is standalone, there are several plot arcs that are in effect from the previous books and I personally felt that several events in previous books were important to the story. Saying that, it did take me a little while to twig what role Fergal had played previously! (oops!) 

Daisy and Fergal's relationship was completely different to any that had appeared before in the series, mainly because they'd met and been attracted to one another since before this book. Not a lot (other than greeness and blood cravings) actually changed for the two of them so they didn't have the angst levels as some of the others had...not saying they didn't have problems but they were just different. 

Daisy really grew on me in this book, I didn't dislike her, but up until this point her main personality trait that stuck with me was her crush on Rico. But this book really allowed her to grow as a character even if she had changed into a vampire. I thought that Croft did a great job of showing how vampirism would interact with her genetic modifications (Daisy was part plant) and it was an interesting twist. 

I definitely had a moment where I just stared at the page with this book going "no way!" aka a moment where a plot twist hit me. It wasn't when things were outright revealed, but there was a paragraph about half way through where the twist about Fergal's past (which he was really quiet about) became clear to me and it was brilliant. 

I loved the way that the shift in time worked as well. It didn't have an affect on the characters who had been on the Blood Hunter, but Alex and Jon who'd stayed behind, certainly felt the consequences, and things had really moved on in the Universe creating a very different enemy for the crew. 

I love this series, and I'm excited for the next book (and eager to find out if I'm right about who the next couple will be!) 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Seaside Lovers by Melissa Foster

Title: Seaside Lovers
Series: Seaside Summers (#7) - Love in Bloom
Author: Melissa Foster
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 20th July 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): After months of long-distance communication, actress Parker Collins and artist Grayson Lacroux finally plan to reconnect in the seaside town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. But Parker never shows, and weeks pass without a word, leaving Grayson to believe he's misinterpreted their budding relationship. Parker has been running on autopilot ever since she lost her friend, mentor, and the only family she's ever known, Bert Stein. Armed with junk food, tequila, and her big, lovable dog, she's prepared to hole up and mourn--and determined to mend a fence Bert had never been able to with his estranged and bitter brother. But Parker didn't count on the sinfully hot artist she's been fantasizing about for nearly a year walking in on her grief-induced drunken night. When Grayson stumbles across Parker, he has no idea what to make of the gorgeous blonde who blew him off despite the heat sizzling between them. But that doesn't stop him from feeling protective of the woman who's consumed his thoughts for months, and when he learns of Parker's plans to confront an angry old man, he refuses to leave her side. As Parker's past unfolds, they're led on an unexpected journey of discovery. Their connection deepens, and late-night fantasies become passionate realities, until good intentions spark painful secrets, threatening the love they've found.

I love Melissa Foster books, they always end up making me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and Seaside Lovers was no different. Each of the Seaside Summer books, and indeed each of the Love in Bloom books, is standalone romance, though it does make references to events in previous books. All the Love in Bloom books are set in the same universe and there's plenty of character crossovers between the books!

Parker and Grayson had a lot of chemistry, there was very little doubt of that, but what I particularly liked about their relationship was that it wasn't just about instant attraction. Before the start of the book they'd been emailing each other for 10 months and had built up an exisiting attraction to each other that wasn't just based on looks. It gave their relationship a deeper tone right from the off. 

I loved Parker! She was a woman who knew herself but wanted people around her (even if she didn't think she could have that as an actress). It almost felt as if she was embodying the mask that most people probably use to some extent, except a little bit more pronounced with her being an actress! Saying that her job wasn't a big deal, it was more her not wanting to be hounded by the paparazzi. 

There were naturally some great family elements to Seaside Lovers too. From previous books Grayson's close relationship with his syblings was clear, but there were some other things that happened surrounding the couple that were enjoyable to read but I can't really talk about without risking spoilers! 

Not that I expected any less, but this was a great read!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Tag, You're Dead by JC Lane

Title: Tag, You're Dead
Author: J C Lane
From: Netgalley
Genre: Thriller, YA
Release Date: 5th July 2016
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Six young people play a dangerous Game of Tag in public, chasing through the crowds, streets, and buildings of Chicago. This secret, one-of-a-kind, wildly expensive Game offers a macabre twist to the childhood version...if you get Tagged, you get Dead. Three "Its" have their reasons for buying a place in the Game. Surgically enhanced Brandy is obsessed with destroying a naturally beautiful girl. Untalented Robert covets his target's position as superstar of the basketball team. Brainiac Charles craves a battle against an intellectual equal. Given their elite social status, they reject any possible downside to the contest. Each expects the satisfaction of killing their prey, then walking away. Hand-picked innocents play as "Runners," under threat to their loved ones should they refuse to participate: lovely, small-town Laura; celebrated athlete Tyrese; and Amanda, gamer extraordinaire. Alone, hunted by their adversary, each feels a single hope...to survive. Technological wizardry controls the Game. As soon as Runners receive the "Go" signal on smartwatches locked to their wrists, the Game rockets them through the city, from the El to Michigan Avenue to the Lincoln Park Zoo. There is no time to rest. Every thirty minutes the Runner's location is transmitted to the It, which steadily diminishes the Runner's chance of ever reaching Home Base alive. The Game will not end until someone is Tagged, so the Runners must choose how to play. Will they accept death? Murder their Its? Or find a way to use individual strengths to stop the Game before anyone dies?

What attracted me to Tag, You're Dead was the concept. Its a bit like The Hunger Games was for me, not something that I felt I really should enjoy reading, and yet do. There is a voyeurism to Tag, You're Dead that feels a little uncomfortable and yet enjoyable at the same time, and this is particularly heightened by there being both sides of the chase described. 

On the one hand there's the Runners; Laura, Amanda and Tyrese, and then there's the Its; Brandy, Robert and Charles. The Runners are more or less in the dark about what's happening, whereas the Its had paid to hunt someone down and kill them. All the participants were teenagers and I felt that they actually acted like teenagers. 

I found it hard to sympathise with any of the Its, probably because they'd decided they wanted to kill someone basically for fun, though of the three, Charles was probably the one that seemed the coldest as his motivation did come across as pure boredom, whereas the other two seemed to have hate and jealousy fueling them. 

Tyrese seemed the hardest of the three Runners, and while he was a good athlete, Amanda was a computer genius and Laura was a good person, compassionate and likeable. Each of the three used what skills they had in an attempt to play a game they never signed up for and it worked. 

There was an incrediable amount of suspense going on, though I wasn't surprised by any part of the ending. Each of the Runners, and two of the three Its acted in just the way I thought they would, but even then I was doubting that would be the case until the very last second. 

This was a great read, full of suspense and drama. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Temporal Shift by Nina Croft

Title: Temporal Shift
Series: Dark Desires (#4)
Author: Nina Croft
From: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi, Romance, Space Opera
Release Date: 14th November 2014
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Caught between destiny and desire...After diving into a black hole in search of the source of Meridian, the key to immortality, the crew of the Blood Hunter finds themselves stranded in an alternate universe. Engineer Devlin Stark doesn't want immortality. He just wants to live long enough to get his revenge on the man who murdered his brother. Now, he's trapped in a strange world with a crazy woman who claims he's fated to be her lover. Saffira Lourdes has a destiny: to save humanity and lead her exiled people to the Promised Land. Haunted by visions of the past and future, she's been sustained through the years by a dream lover. Unfortunately, Devlin doesn't believe in fate. But it's obvious there's a connection between them, one that will soon be tested by the limits of time and space. Saffira is about to make the crew of the Blood Hunter an offer they'll find impossible to refuse. They're heading back to Earth, and they're going back in time. 

Its official. I'm addicted to this series. I'm really not sure how I'm going to cope once I finish Blood and Metal and have to wait for the sixth book in the series! Whilst each book is a stand alone romance, there are story arcs that cover multiple books, and I feel that having read the others gives you are more thorough feel for the world and for the other characters. 

Saffira was definitely a new element, and she was involved in a massive twist which even though (looking back!) there were hints of, I had no idea was coming until a chapter or so before it happened. Even more interesting was the change in her character during the book. I liked that a lot but if I said anything else it would definitely count as a spoiler. 

Saffira and Devlin's relationship was certainly interesting. She was certain that the two of them would come to love each other because of her visions, and he was certain that he would never commit to anyone, and that caused an almost antagonistic feel to their relationship at some points! But it worked for them. 

This was a great read, and I'm excited to read Blood and Metal next!

Friday, 15 July 2016

All For A Rose by Jennifer Blackstream

Title: All For A Rose
Series: Blood Realm (#1)
Author: Jennifer Blackstream
From: Amazon
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance
Release Date: 27th August 2015
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): A Man Becoming a Beast . . . The naga lord Daman is trapped between forms, half man half wyvern. Once the savior of enslaved changelings all over the kingdom of Sanguenay, Daman is now a danger to everyone around him. The curse that holds him prisoner in his own skin and scales keeps him in a constant state of imbalance, his altruistic nature fighting with the quick and violent temper of his more bestial side. When his plan to capture the witch who cursed him fails and leaves him with a sweet and beautiful changeling, Daman finds himself with the perfect opportunity to prove to himself that he is more man than beast. But hope dies a little more every day, and with every passing sunset, Daman finds his temper growing more and more out of control… A changeling searching for freedom . . . Guilt is eating Maribel alive. Since her family lost their fortune and had to move out of their mansion to a poor farm, Maribel has never felt better--and her sister has never felt worse. It seems that every time Maribel digs her hands into the earth to work the farm, she feels stronger, and every time her sister even thinks about working the land, she grows weaker. Maribel’s existence is about easing her sister’s pain, and the guilt over wanting freedom from that responsibility is killing her. What does it say about her loyalty when she leaps at a chance to be the prisoner of a monster just to get away from being her sister’s keeper? And what does it say about her that this monster makes her feel more alive than she ever imagined? A tale as old as time… An enchanted rose. A witch’s curse. A beast’s temper. A maiden who can see the potential for good even beneath the scales of a monster. It’s amazing what can transpire…All for a Rose. 

All For A Rose is the start of a new series, but there are some links to the previous Blood Prince series, and especially towards the end there are some spoilers for that series. However it can easily be read as a standalone and the characters haven't appeared in the previous books (as far as I can remember anyway!) 

I thought the retelling of Beauty and the Beast was well done, though there were some moments where the author made it her own, most notably with what actually breaks the curse in the first place. There are a few Disney-esque moments as well, including a talking teapot and an enchanted wardrobe. 

Daman was more likeable than a lot of Beasts, simply because we got things from his viewpoint (but in third person narrative) and so you felt a bit more sorry for him. He also still had the protection of other people in mind which made him much more accessible as a character. 

I did loath one of the characters though, and that was Maribel's sister Corinne. Even before things were revealed about her I was finding myself disliking her. There was just something I didn't like. That meant that the ending for her was a bit hit and miss for me, and I'm guessing she will make a future appearance, which may change my mind about her, but I definitely don't like her much after All For a Rose

Maribel and Daman's relationship seemed like a very sweet one for the most part. When they fixated on what they liked about each other it seemed to be focused on little things like cooking, gardening and in Daman's case, basking in the sun. That was until things heated up slightly in an interesting sex scene that answered questions about half-wyvens that I didn't even know I had. 

This was a good read, It kept me wanting more all the way through!