Monday, 31 October 2016

The Retribution by Val McDermid (#7 Tony Hill & Carol Jordan)

Title: The Retribution
Series: Tony Hill & Carol Jordan (#7)
Author: Val McDermid
From: Amazon
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Release Date: 1st September 2011
Challenges: 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): There is one serial killer who has shaped and defined police profiler Tony Hill's life. One serial killer whose evil surpasses all others. One serial killer who has the power to chill him to the bone: Jacko Vance. And now Jacko is back in Tony's life. Even more twisted and cunning than ever before, he is focused on wreaking revenge on Tony - and DCI Carol Jordan - for the years he has spent in prison. Tony doesn't know when Jacko will strike, or where. All he knows is that Jacko will cause him to feel fear like he has never known before - and devastate his life in ways he cannot imagine...

While The Retribution, the 7th book in the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series could theoretically be read as a standalone I would highly recommend reading the other books first, most notably book 2, Wire in the Blood, as that deals with the same criminal and the events that led up to The Retribution. This review is spoiler free for books 1 and 3-6 but contains spoilers for book 2 (it is impossible to write this review without them I'm afraid). 

My feelings on The Retribution are very very mixed. As a thriller it works fantastically, and I imagine if you hadn't read the previous 6 books then there would be very little mixed feelings, however I also kind of felt that it was a little unnecessary. Carol and Tony have suffered enough in past books, the events of this one just seemed a little cruel. 

As normal there are two main crime arcs, a string of murdered prostitutes in Bradfield (the resolution of which was a little "what?!?" but worked at the end of the day) and the revenge of the newly escaped Jacko Vance (who was imprisoned at the end of Wire in the Blood, which I'm guessing is set about a dozen years before this one). 

Now...Vance's storyline is where I have the kind of issue. I bought into his plot for revenge, and the way he took revenge worked well with his character and how he wanted payback. My issue was actually just why it had to happen at all. I was on a bit of a high with this series after Fever of the Bone, and now I feel a little more wary and like no one is safe. Though definitely not enough to put me off. 

I liked seeing Carol's more human side. Normally she's quite closed off to anyone but Tony, but in this book things happened that meant she just couldn't hold it in like normal and it definitely made her seem more human. Tony on the other hand...I get that he's different and doesn't think "normally" but actually he seemed to lack a little empathy.

The Retribution was good if I look at it away from the rest of the series, but it does have me slightly worried about multiple characters going forward it must be said. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Bookish Resolutions Link Up (October)

2016 Bookish Resolutions



Bookish Resolutions is a challenge I co-host with Michelle @ becausereading.com! Yet another month has passed! It's October, like seriously October, I think that's freaking me out just a little bit! Anyway, let us know how you did this month!

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'm about 10 reviews ahead, haven't come close to missing a day in a while and it feels good!
  2. Post a detailed update on everything on the first Sunday of each month (previously Reintroduce non-review content)
    I've started my Sunday Posts again! Hopefully I can keep this up...but this is me so it may be a vain hope!
  3. Cross post Blog Posts regularly, preferably in under a week since post date
    I've been managing to cross post every couple of days (at least!) which considering everything going on in real life really isn't bad!
  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)
    I've not done quite as much as I would like, but I have managed to comment a bit and read some great reviews!
Reading Goals 
  1. COMPLETED: 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).
    Up to 12% added now! Not too sure I can make 20%, but that was an additional goal!
  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 20 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, Coded for Love by Lynne Silver, Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter by Nikki Jefford, Midnight Masquerade by Kate Harper, Scoundrels & Secrets by Erica Ridley, Avry of Kazan by Maria V Snyder, Sisters of the Craft by Lori Handeland
  3. COMPLETED: 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 4 so far!
    2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame
    My others are all on track too, but can't actually be finished until the year ends!
  4. Read 3 books a month that were already on my kindle at the start of 2016 (can be from Netgalley, Amazon etc.)
    I think I've read 9!
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!) 
Now let us know how you did! 

Aberrant by Ruth Silver (#1 Aberrant)

Title: Aberrant
Series: Aberrant (#1)
Author: Ruth Silver
From: Netgalley
Genre: Dystopia
Release Date: 16th April 2013
Challenges:  2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Reading Assignment 2016 Blogger Shame
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): In the future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen." The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system. With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.

This is one of those books where I end up questioning why it took me so long to get around to reading it! I've thought about picking it up a couple of times but until now I just hadn't and I've been missing out by not! After a little bit of a slow start this one drew me in and made me part of the world, and in some ways I think that it breaks some of the YA dystopian mould which is definitely a good thing! 

The main thing that broke the mould for me is that the couple was pretty much established before the book started. While they didn't quite realise how the felt about each other they were both well on the way to it, and as best friends they were well placed for that. There were a couple of touch and go moments where one of them said the wrong thing but that just made them more realistic as a couple. Basically I really bought into Olivia and Joshua, they worked well together. 

I loved the fact that the rebels in this situation were almost as bad as the dystopia itself in some ways, and I liked it that Olive and Josh actually figured that out. Even when things were set against them they worked together and found a way, though I am unsure about how a certain surprising character is going to affect the future. 

There were definite twists and turns in the book and it kept me turning pages. The characters were mature enough to feel real but naive enough to be believably 18. The settings were interesting and the dystopia complex, especially with what's been revealed so far! 

I'm looking forward to continueing this series!

Sunday Post (30/10/2016)

Sunday Post

Thank you to Kimberly @ caffinatedbookreviewer for hosting!


My Life This Week 


Well it's safe to say that this week has been well and truly rubbish. I've been suffering from a flu/cold like thing for over a week and it's really wiped me out. To top that off, some other stuff came to light in my personal life and it basically ended up with me almost having a break down at work...so yep great week! I've managed a bit of writing, but nowhere near as productive as last week, and reading wise...well it took me 5 days to finish a book. For me that is shockingly bad.


My Writing This Week 

What Lies Beneath the Mask is now on Kindle Scout, so queue very nervous Laura obsessing slightly despite it being out of my control! I'm currently taking part in an Author Vs Author tournament and I'm gearing up for my first ever Nanowrimo! I've finally taken the plunge on a proper domain for my author website, so there's a good thing! 

So what I've written this week:
WIP Class 1 is currently at 15,679 words
Short Story, The Humra, is finished at 3960 words. This is a space opera kind of based on Beauty and the Beast (I can't help it I just love fairy tales!)
Chapter for Author vs Author at 1683 words

Reading This Week 

Song of Sorrows by JD Wright (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge
Moirai by Ruth Silver (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 Reading Assignment, 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (2016 Reading Assignment)
Flying Through Fire by Nina Croft  (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge

On the Blog This Week 

This week I've posted a blitz for Debbie Cassidy's new book, Desert of Destiny, which I am super excited to read (it's already on my Kindle). I've also posted reviews for new releases Cocky Cowboy, Concealed, Flame and Glitter (the last of which I read back in July because I got too excited about the concept...was definitely worth it though!) Btw those are contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi ish and dystopian respectively.

My TBR List book this month was Circle of Fire, an urban fantasy/suspense, which was honestly a little disappointing. I also reviewed two other urban fantasys this week, Radar Deception and Heat of the Moment.

On my author blog, I posted an excerpt from chapter 18 of What Lies Beneath the Mask, and a blog post about the cover

Next week on trips down imagination road I have reviews from the rest of my Val McDermid binge, The Retribution, Cross and Burn and Splinter the Silence. Contemporary romance, Cocky Romantic (the next book in the series after Cocky Cowboy that I linked above), dystopian (and #2016hw book) Aberrant and historical romance, Sins of a Duke. I also have blitzs for two great authors, Nina Croft and Laura Kenyon! 

Around the Internet

There was a buzzfeed post about what Disney Princesses would look like today (fashion wise) and I found myself agreeing with a couple of them, just a bit of fun that one! My friend also shared with me an article called 23 Stupid Question About British People, which had us both in stitches! I wish I could say that the stereotypes in it aren't true, but as a Brit I would totally be lying!

Also found this great image on the Journalister facebook page, which is definitely worth a giggle!


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur (#1 Damask Circle)

Title: Circle of Fire
Series: Damask Circle (#1)
Author: Keri Arthur
From: Netgalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 20th August 2001
Challenges: 2016 Blogger Shame2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss ChallengeMy TBR List Meme
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Sixteen teenagers taken from their homes. Eleven bodies recovered, each completely drained of blood. Some believe vampires are responsible, but Jon Barnett knows it's something far worse. To stop the killers in Taurin Bay, he becomes enmeshed in a web of black magic and realizes he needs help. But fate gives him only one choice in the form of recluse Madeline Smith. Madeline Smith has retreated to an isolated farmhouse, afraid of the psychic abilities she can't control-abilities that have killed. But when "ghost" Jon Barnett brings a warning of danger and her nephew disappears, Maddie has to leave her haven. She also has to learn to control the abilities she fears and place her trust in Jon Barnett, a man who is neither human nor ghost. But as the search for the teenagers becomes a race against time, and the noose of sorcery threatens to kill Maddie and Jon, the greatest danger to them both could be the feelings they have for each other-feelings that they refuse to acknowledge.

I'm a little bit apprehensive about writing this review. Circle of Fire took me a long time to read (something like 4 days which is virtually unheard of for me unless it's a 600 page book). For whatever reason the book just wasn't sticking and I didn't have the "I need to find out what happens next" vibe I normally get from books. Especially with a lot of bloggers whose opinions I trust saying that they love the author I feel kind of like I've let them down. 

What I don't want to do though is give off the impression that this is a bad book because it's not. It has everything in it that should have worked; magic, romance, drama, suspense. This one is definitely on me and not the book! 

I liked that Maddie was determined, she didn't just give up even if she had done in the past, and that made her a good character. She learnt from her mistakes and grew with them. She also spent time talking to her sister and trying to ensure that their parents mistakes weren't repeated which gave her a bit more depth. 

The romance was subtle, which worked well with the plot as it didn't steal attention from what was going on. There was a good connection between Jon and Maddie and even though the events only really took place over a week, the connection between them didn't feel rushed. 

I'm really not sure what didn't click between me and this book, and I'm disappointed that that was the case, but it does have all the ingredients for something great. 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Blitz: Desert of Destiny by Debbie Cassidy (#2 Sleeping Gods)

Title: Desert of Destiny (Sleeping Gods book 2)
Author: Debbi Cassidy
Genre: High Fantasy
Cover Artist: DC Creations
Editor: Read Head Editing
Blurb:
...Priya was overcome by a longing to know him, to understand him, this man who had given her life. But her life was soon to end and she would never know anything ever again. Her vision blurred and she wiped at her eyes.
“Do not be afraid, Priya,” he said.
“I’m just a girl, in the face of death I don’t know how else to feel”
The answers dwell beneath...
The capital has been taken and the streets run crimson with the blood of the innocent. The only hope to end the butchery lies in finding the Fist, a duty which rests heavily on Priya’s delicate shoulders. A responsibility that she believes will be shared by her allies, until the moment the illusion is shattered...
Suddenly Priya is on the run.  With the shadow of betrayal over her heart, Priya must step onto a perilous road. One that will test her limits, and throw her into the path of a danger from which there may be no return. As alliances are tested and secrets are revealed, Priya must decide whether the bonds of blood will serve to define her, or whether her destiny can be hers to forge alone.
To save the Isle, Priya must first save herself...
Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Debbie has been writing for eight years under the pen name Amos Cassidy with her best friend, Richard Amos, but the Sleeping Gods Series is her first solo venture, and Desert of Destiny the second book in a four book high fantasy saga.
You can connect with Debbie via her website at amoscassidyauthor.com. Check out her personal page and her other books under the pen name Amos Cassidy. You won't be left without a great read while you wait for the next installment in the series.
Sign up to Debbie's newsletter to get updates on her new releases: http://amoscassidyauthor.us10.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=f76c8c798d67fc89872bcd9bd&id=23d1a8a76e
Buy Links:
Forest of Demons: http://amzn.to/2dQiz4R
Blood Blade (Novella): http://amzn.to/2dQg0zD
Desert of Destiny: http://amzn.to/2e1OVNe
ARYAN
He was wide awake and on his feet before he knew why. The interior of the barn was warm and humid from the exhalations of the five men and cattle, yet he knew what had awoken him lay outside.
“What is it chief?” Bojan whispered.
“I’m not sure. Maybe nothing.”
Bojan’s lips turned down. “You don’t believe that.”
“No. No I don’t. Wake the others, quietly.”
Bojan snorted. “And Fen?”
“A swift kick up the ass and a hand over his mouth to staunch his yelp should suffice.”
The two men exchanged a conspiratorial look. Fen was, and always had been, a heavy sleeper. Aryan recalled a time they had dressed him in female robes and painted his face with rouge and kohl, all while he slept. The horror on his face when he had realized what they had done still brought a chuckle to his throat. Right now the chuckle was ominously absent. Fen, more than the rest of them, was struggling with what they had become, and Valesea’s position as the source of all evil didn’t aid him in coping. She was the woman Fen had loved.
Aryan strapped on his weapons belt, shrugged on his furs, and moved on stealthy feet toward the barn doors. The gaps in the planks that made up the entrance were wide enough to gain a good view of the outside.
He scanned the yard; the tall tree in the center standing majestically, its naked arms a dark map against the moonlit sky; the small farmhouse, silent and sleeping. It was strange, the darkness, the moonlight. It made everything seem so . . . peaceful. His brows met; maybe he had dreamt the disturbance. He made to turn away, preparing his apology to his tired men when a figure broke from the shadows surrounding the farmhouse and moved low and fast toward the barn. More shadows came to life, breaking away from the mass one by one and stealing across the open stretch of ground.
Aryan stepped back, reaching for his sword and grasping air. Crud! He’d forgotten he’d lost his sword to a possessed tree.
“Chief?”
Aryan looked up as Bojan drew his sword and handed it over. Aryan hesitated a moment but Bojan simply grinned, reaching over his shoulder to draw his mace.
Aryan matched his grin, taking the proffered sword. Around him the barn had come to life. His men were ready and if they went down they would do it fighting.
“How many?” Fen asked rubbing his backside absently, all sleep chased away by the imminent threat.
“Seven, maybe more,” Aryan said.
“Crud!”
“We can take them,” Cadoc said with a conviction that made Aryan’s chest swell with pride.
“Guru. Climb up to the loft and hide. Do not come out until one of us comes for you,” Bojan instructed.
Guru’s face had drained of color, yet he swallowed and held his ground. “Give me a weapon, I want to help.”
He was no coward this one, but his valor would serve no purpose in this fight. His slight body would be mere kindling to their attackers.
Aryan offered a smile to soften the rejection. “Thank you friend, we respect your courage, but we need you alive if we are to find our destination.”
Guru’s jaw jutted in defiance. Aryan stared him down. Guru’s shoulders slumped and Aryan turned back to the doors knowing at least one battle had been won.
There was only one way in or out, no windows except the one high in the loft.
“Brace yourselves,” Aryan said.

Cocky Cowboy by Faleena Hopkins (#3 Cocker Brothers of Atlanta)

Title: Cocky Cowboy
Series: Cocker Brothers of Atlanta (#3)
Author: Faleena Hopkins
From: Amazon
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 11th September 2016
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy2016 New Release Challenge2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): JAXSON: Can you really find your soulmate when you're only eight years old...only to lose her two years later and never know what happened ? No way. It can't be...Yes, it's her... Getting kissed long and slow by that city boy douche-bag is Rachel Sawyer, my best friend and secret love, back when I was just a boy. The only girl who could ever hold my interest past a minute. I want to punch that guy for touching her like that...and I just might. But I've got a ranch and live a quiet existence until I saw her. There's no way I can compete with her flashy New York City life.I don't care. If I don't steal Rachel away from that dick, I'll never have another chance. I won't lose her. Not to him. Not to New York. Not to anyone. Not again. RACHEL: As Ryan answers yet another work email, I spy a gorgeous man intently staring at me, emerald green eyes daring me to remember him. Oh my God it's him...my first kiss... The one who always got me into trouble is now trouble-incarnate. Jaxson Cocker. All grown up into the rugged and masculine drop-your-panties-at-the-door kind of sexy. But I love Ryan...so why the hell am I walking toward Jaxson like he's a magnet and I'm metal? We're no longer the innocent children we used to be. That chemistry we once had has ripened into something dangerous. I want him to touch me, but I shouldn't. I want him to kiss me, but I shouldn't. Just because Ryan said those horrible things...doesn't mean I have the right to do this. Does it?! Why is it some men have the power to make you do things you never dreamed you'd do? Do you follow your heart or your head?

Cocky Cowboy is the third book in the Cocker Brothers of Atlanta series, but the romance between Jaxon and Rachel could easily be read as a standalone. Reading the previous two books in the series, Cocky Roomie and Cocky Biker, gives you a background for the family and some of the other characters but the events aren't relied upon in this book. This review is spoiler free. 

I'm not really too sure where I actually want to start with this review, mainly because the points I want to make are all bouncing around my head in a giddy way. I finished reading a quite heavy going book (Splinter the Silence, a crime/thriller) and wanted something that I knew would be romantic and easy going, and that's where one of Hopkins' books fit the bill, and especially with the next in the series coming out the same week (fyi it's been a few weeks between reading and my review posting on my blog) I figured that Cocky Cowboy was the way to go. 

The chemistry between Rachel and Jaxon was intense, not so much in the flashbacks to when they were children, they were just sweet, but as adults it was really something! But their relationship was so much more than that. The two of them talked to each other and had interests in common, but also there was an emotional support there despite their years apart. 

There was a definite twist in this book that I did not see coming. Even knowing how it would turn out (because this is a romance and there really only was one way it could without things turning a bit odd) it was still a shocking turn of events, and paired with the later heartbreak for Rachel, it really made the two of them work at their relationship. 

I loved Rachel and Jaxon's story. They were well suited to one another and that really came through!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Radar Deception by Mandy M Roth (#3 Immortal Ops)

Title: Radar Deception
Series: Immortal Ops (#3)
Author: Mandy M Roth
From: Review Copy
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 11th October 2016 (Re-release)
Challenges: 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Dr. Thaddeus Green survived a werepanther attack long ago, leaving him immortal and a member of the I-Ops team. He’s dedicated his life to genetics and to serving his country. After his mutated DNA led to the death of his loved one, he vowed to never let anyone close to his heart again. Try as he might, Green is unable to stop the mystical pull to the tall, leggy blonde with a sharp tongue and an even worse bite. Thinking Melanie is suffering from mating withdrawal, Green is prepared to do what he must to assure her survival, even if it means claiming her for himself, regardless of his need to protect his heart. Little does Green know that fate has been preparing him for Melanie Daly all his unnaturally long life. When ghosts from the past resurface, in ways he never dreamt possible, the normally mild-mannered scientist finds himself drawing on his inner beast and rage to assure his mate and their future are protected. But even Green can’t fight all of Melanie’s battles for her. Some she has no choice but to face on her own. Can their bond stand the test of time?

Radar Deception centres around a standalone romance, and could be read as a standalone bond. However there have been hints about what was building between Green and Melanie in both the previous books. This is an updated and extended anniversary edition, though I had not read the old edition so can't comment on any changes. This review is spoiler free. 

Something had been building between Green and Melanie from the moment they met and it was definitely interesting discovering their story! The two of them were both strong and determined characters which made it an interesting match, plus there were things that they hadn't told the others around them meaning that their story brought more of that to light too! 

There was definite chemistry between Green and Melanie, and I felt that that definitely extended beyond the physical. They intereacted with each other well on other levels and their personalities complimented each other well. 

I loved that Melanie, and to some extent the heroines from the previous books, Missy and Perin, formed a friendship with Wilson! He kind of works as the runt of the litter for the men and having the friendship with the women meant that he could come into his own more, I enjoyed learning more about him and am looking forward to his book! 

I was slightly worried about the role that Green's late wife was going to play in this book, and if he'd just suddenly get over her. It didn't work out anything like that and the twist in that regard definitely took me by surprise! I thought that it was resolved well and worked with the rest of the story. 

I enjoyed this one, as I am guaranteed to with all Roth's books anyway!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Concealed by Christina Bauer (#2 Beholder)

Title: Concealed
Series: Beholder (#2)
Author: Christina Bauer
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 25th October 2016
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge,2016 New Release Challenge2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): As a Grand Mistress Necromancer, Elea’s a witch who commands the ultimate power over spirit and bone. It’s magic that she’ll need in order to stop the Vicomte Gaspard from killing her Sisters by draining their magic along with their life force. To find and free her fellow witches, Elea must venture into some of the most dangerous places in the realm. What starts off as a rescue quest could easily turn into a suicide mission. And with the handsome warlock Rowan along to help, Elea may be risking more than her life. Her growing feelings for Rowan might put her heart on the line, too.  

Concealed is the second book in the Beholder series, and while it follows on from Cursed, you could possibly read it as a standalone. However I do think that it is better to read the series from the beginning as it introduces several of the characters and gives a background to why Elea was doing what she was doing. This review may contain minor spoilers for Cursed.

I like Elea, though she doesn't quite have Myla's (Bauer's heroine from Angelbound Origins) pizazz in my eyes, she was strong and determined. She also had a more fallable side that made her human and the book more interesting. I liked how she tried to cling onto the necromancer way and how she was trained, and yet she accepted that it might not be the right way.

The ending...well my heart broke for Elea. I saw the twist coming from quite early on, well kind of, I saw the heartbreaking bit coming, but it was still well done. Part of me worries more about Elea's future with her friend Amelia than with the other person involved though (I'm sure they'll work it out). I liked seeing Elea form friendships other than with Ada (her motivation throughout the book).

Now Philippe...not all too sure how I feel about him. He wasn't a bad character, in fact he was interesting and intrigueing, it was more what him being a character could end up meaning for Elea. I think the issue could be that there is already a love interest firmly cemented from the previous book, and I like Rowan, so I don't want someone coming in and messing it up for Elea.

I'm super intrigued about what is to come next, especially now that certain things are resolved!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Glitter
Author: Aprilynne Pike
From: Netgalley
Genre: Dystopia, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 25th October 2016
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette in a near-future world where the residents of Versailles live like it’s the eighteenth century and an almost-queen turns to drug dealing to save her own life. Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison. When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.
Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed. But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

This book had me hooked from the moment I read the blurb, which is why I read it three months before its release (aka in July!) and then as soon as I started reading it really drew me in. I lost track of time while reading, I dreamt about it, and after I finished I just wanted to keep reading (and I really hope there is a second book after that ending!) 

However, this book isn't for everyone and I fully recognise that some people won't like it. This is especially true because the main character is morally grey verging on all out bad. Danica also had some downright selfish moments which were balanced out a bit by her naivety and her growing sense of what was right. 

While Danica didn't always do the right thing I found that I liked her characterisation. At the beginning of Glitter she was incrediably naive, but events in the book did change her outlook, particularly when Saber was around and pointing out exactly what she was doing. Towards the end of the book as well she started growing up in other ways too. 

The romance between Danica and Saber was subtle. It was clear that they were attracted to each other, but it took them a while to actually get past that stage, mainly because there were things standing in the way. The subtlty worked really well with it. 

Now the Baroque-ness. I absolutely loved it. It was a blend of modern technology and Baroque culture, both in the dress style and some of the concept. There was court politics as well as hints at the company that runs things. It was intriguing and well constructed. 

I loved every minute of reading this book, it was a genuinely fantastic read (but maybe not for everyone!)

Monday, 24 October 2016

Flame by Michelle M Pillow (#2 Intergalatic Dating Agency)

Title: Flame
Series: Intergalatic Dating Agency (#2)
Author: Michelle M Pillow
From: Review Copy
Genre: Sci-fi, Romance 
Release Date: 24th October 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Vin (aka Flame) can't believe he's in yet another holding cell. Stupid Earthlings wouldn't know fun if it bit them in the hindquarters. Speaking of fun, the hot little number who claims she's a guard at the jail has been making his body respond in ways he's very happy about. If only she'd get on board with the plan and help him escape back to his ship. First she'd have to believe he's an alien. Right now she's taken to thinking he's crazy.

Flame is the second book in the Intergalatic Dating Agency series which follows the (mis)adventures of two brothers and their cousin in their search for love. The romance, between Vin and Angela, is standalone though there are references to the events in the previous books. This review is spoiler free.

What I love about Pillow's books, especially those where aliens visit other cultures, is that I also end up reading them with a smile on my face! Their naivety and misunderstandings create highly lovable characters who also come across as believable simply because they don't quite fit in as well as they should! This also adds more background to the Galaxy Brides company that plays such a large part in the Dragon Lords universe!

I loved Angela's response to discovering that there are aliens. While she didn't freak out freak out, it still took her time to come to terms with it, and even once she had there was still a natural curiousity, especially surrounding her budding romance with Vin.

Their romance worked well, it had an unconventional start (I love the fact that Vin suffered a sugar high from eating too much ice cream!) but they communicated with each other as well as having a good chemistry when it came to the physical side of their relationship.

The ending was so sweet as well, it was absolutely perfect and summed up Vin as a character. This series is fun and light hearted, and completely enjoyable when that's what you need!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Heat of the Moment by Lori Handeland (#2 Sisters of the Craft)

Title: Heat of the Moment
Series: Sisters of the Craft (#2)
Author: Lori Handeland
From: Netgalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 30th June 2015
Challenges: 2016 Blogger Shame2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge 2016 Reading Assignment2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads):  A spell that tore three sisters apart is broken four hundred years later, when the magic in their blood reunites them. Now, one of them will discover her gift—and reignite a love long thought lost…Flame-haired Becca Carstairs was born to be a veterinarian. Since childhood, her affinity for animals has been special, and her healing touch nothing short of magic. But only Becca knows the truth—that she alone can hear the creatures’ voices. She’s always trusted her sixth sense… until a string of missing pets, an attempted murder, and a face from her past converge into one explosive mystery, with her at its center. Is haunted Owen McAllister, the boy who broke her heart ten years ago, related to the sinister crimes that have peaceful Three Harbors, Wisconsin, on its guard? Or is his reappearance part of the answer to questions that have troubled her all her life? As Becca delves into her strange heritage, she’ll have to fight for her life… and the man she will always love.

While Heat of the Moment contains a standalone couple, there were links to the previous book (In the Air Tonight) and important information linked the two books. However it has been a long time since I read In the Air Tonight but it was easy to remember what happened once I'd started Heat of the Moment. This review may contain minor spoilers. 

I really liked Becca, she was a strong female character who didn't take her life for granted. She had an affinity for animals which meant that she heard their thoughts, and while she learnt as a child not to express that, it didn't stop it happening. As a qualified vet, she's well known and respected in the community, which made her interactions with other characters seem natural. 

Her relationship with Owen was complicated by history, and the more was revealed about that the more I felt sorry for the young couple they'd been. While they'd both been hurt by the seperation, at first it seemed like completely Owen's fault, though when the truth was revealed it showed that that wasn't quite the case. 

I liked that characters from the previous book, including Raye, Bobby, Pru and Henry, were included in the story, and not just on the periphary. They were an integral part of the book and the plot. It was good seeing Raye again and seeing how she and Bobby had progressed in their relationships. 

There were a couple of mysteries in Heat of the Moment, one was who sacrificed the animals and set off the chain of events for the whole book, and one was who attempted murder. I had the latter right by the time the reveal came along, but was somewhat surprised when the former was revealed. 

The only thing that made me stumble on this book was the first time the POV shifted. Other than a break in the text there wasn't really anything that signified it had happened (it was first person POV for Becca and third person for Owen) but once I was used to it it was really only a minor thing. 

This was an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to finding out how it all ends in the final book.

Sunday Post (23/10/2016)

Sunday Post

Thank you to Kimberly @ caffinatedbookreviewer for hosting!


My Life This Week 


So after promising myself that I'd post Sunday Posts regularly I kind of massively fell off the radar...oops! I promise to get back on it now though! I went through a few months of being really down (I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression a few years ago and it hasn't seemed to have left me alone fully yet) and then other things kind of got in the way! I've done loads since my last Sunday Post consequently! I've been to a couple of weddings, finally completed my Brownie Guide warrant (making me a proper leader) and lost over 2 stone of weight, simply by being a bit more sensible with what I'm eating. I've also made ice cream cupcakes (I didn't eat one!) 

My Writing This Week 

Right, so this is where things have all changed completely since my last Sunday post! I finished book 2 of the Alventia series, Cloaked, and I've also finished my Phantom of the Opera retelling, which took a little bit of a departure from what I'd planned it on being. But anyway What Lies Beneath the Mask is now on Kindle Scout, so queue very nervous Laura obsessing slightly despite it being out of my control! I've also just started this really cool tournament/creative writing challenge called Author Vs Author, which I've been enjoying so far! I'm finally getting sorted on the other things I need too, like a mailing list (there's a signup on my side bar) and actually keeping my author blog up to date! 

And I thought that was going to be it when I wrote this post earlier in the week, but it turns out I was wrong...for the first time I've signed up to Nanowrimo! I've been doing a lot of thinking and planning about my writing recently and have decided I really need to write more, with the intention that next year I can really start to get my work out there! On that note (as of Friday night) I've reached 8000 words on my latest WIP, it's an idea that's been hanging around in my imagination for a while, but I finally got it started on Tuesday!

Reading This Week 

So because it's been so long I'm just going to do the books I've read this month so far, and then next week onwards I can start on what I read each week! As you may be able to see I have had a little binge read of Val McDermid's Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series!

Werewolves of New York: Darik by Faleena Hopkins (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge
Fever of the Bone by Val McDermid (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge
Concealed by Christina Bauer (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge)
The Retribution by Val McDermid (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge
Mr Mysterious by JA Huss (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge)
Radar Deception by Mandy M Roth (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge
Cross and Burn by Val McDermid (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame
Mr Monday by Shana Gray (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge)
Flame by Michelle M Pillow (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge
Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame
Cocky Cowboy by Faleena Hopkins (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge
Aberrant by Ruth Silver (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Reading Assignment)
The Dragon Shifter's Duty by Mandy M Roth (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge)
Cocky Romantic by Faleena Hopkins (2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge)
Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame, My TBR List)  
The Spaniard's Kiss by Nina Croft (2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame)  

On the Blog in the Past Week (and this is the past week not the past month!)

So this week I've had paranormal romance reviews of Werewolves of New York: Darik, The Dragon Shifter's Duty (a new release!) and . As well as a fantasy review of Blood Blade, and urban fantasy, Smoke on the Water.

The start of my binge reading of Val McDermid's Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series (well the last 5 books of it) started with Beneath the Bleeding and Fever of the Bone.

On my author blog I've been posting information about my latest book What Lies Beneath the Mask, including an excerpt, a bonus scene and a post about the settings in the book. There is more going further back too!

Around the Internet

This may take me a little time to compile because I've been lurking a lot this week! But definitely check out Michelle's feature this month, Monster and Book on becausereading.com (which I also did a guest post for!) I also read a really interesting article from Emma Darwin about the length of books (and if you think your manuscript is too long!) In a more light hearted vein though, I took this fun quiz on buzzfeed which is a British Tea Drinker's nightmare (they were right it really was!) Also here's a sign up link for a blitz for a fantastic author! Just thought I'd share!