I only really picked up this anthology for the Dragon Kin story by Shelly Laurenston (aka G.A. Aiken) but I thought I'd give the otBuddy read with Aly
I only really picked up this anthology for the Dragon Kin story by Shelly Laurenston (aka G.A. Aiken) but I thought I'd give the other stories a chance and I'm glad I read them all. Spellbound and Turn Me On were both enjoyable stories and it was nice to be able to try out a couple of new authors. Can't Get Enough was definitely my favourite story of the bunch though and I think this anthology is worth picking up for that alone if you're a fan of the Dragon Kin series.
Can't Get Enough by Shelly Laurenston (aka G.A. Aiken) - 4 stars
Having already read Dragon Actually (and the novella included in that book Chains and Flames), I had already met both of the main characters from Can't Get Enough. In fact Ailean and Shalin are the grandparents of Fearghus and I was quite curious to see how they'd met and fallen in love considering how different their personalities are. I knew immediately that I was going to love Ailean, he's a complete player and absolutely unapologetic about that fact. He's the kind of guy who has always known what he wants and happily goes out to get it but when he falls he falls hard and he now only has eyes for Shalin. Shalin is much shyer and more reserved, all she ever wanted was to be left alone with her books to get on with her studies but Ailean is a temptation she can't ignore no matter how much trouble he might get her in.
As much as I enjoyed the relationship between Ailean and Shalin (and that was a lot!) I think what I enjoyed most about this story was Ailean's crazy family. He's from a large and boisterous family where everyone has an opinion and they all think they have the right to interfere in each others lives and I just love that. I'm from a small family myself so I love seeing that interaction and close connection that the dragons all have. It is hilarious seeing the family squabble and tease each other but when it comes down to it they have such a strong bond and will always unite together against anyone who crosses them. They're quite a bloodthirsty bunch too so I'm hoping we get to see them causing plenty of trouble throughout the Dragon Kin series.
Spellbound by Cynthia Eden - 3.5 stars
Serena and her coven are being targeted, her friends are being picked off one by one by a warlock who is trying to steal their powers and she's getting desperate. Desperate enough to call for help from a Cazador - a powerful soul stealer whose duty is to protect the world from supernaturals who use dark magic - but she knows that help will come at a price. Luis isn't happy when Serena summons him but when he discovers the situation she is in he knows he has to help her, it doesn't hurt that he finds the witch incredibly sexy either.
These two had great chemistry from the beginning so although their relationship moves quite quickly I didn't have a problem with it. I enjoyed seeing them fight together as they hunted Serena's enemy and I thought they suited each other. This was a quick and fun read and I wouldn't mind revisiting the characters in the future.
Turn Me On by Noelle Mack - 3 stars
Turn Me On is a difficult story to review, in some ways I really loved it but in others I felt a little let down. I liked the main characters and enjoyed the interaction between them and I absolutely loved finding out more about Justin's past and where he came from however I think there were far too many unanswered questions and it was hard to accept how quickly Beth believed everything he told her. Towards the end the story took a turn into the completely ridiculous and we didn't get a full explanation on how things happened or why Justin did what he did. It just didn't make sense to me and that made it hard to believe the way their relationship moved forward from that point.
This story really did have so much potential though and I think if it had been a full length novel with a little more depth and background then I would have absolutely loved it. I don't believe that this is part of a series but if the authors revisited these characters or this world then I'd be very tempted to give it her another chance to win me over....more
I loved Katee Robert's first two books in the Serve series so was really looking forward to getting to know Garrett and Will's baby sister Sara. I kneI loved Katee Robert's first two books in the Serve series so was really looking forward to getting to know Garrett and Will's baby sister Sara. I knew I'd enjoy Protecting Fate but I didn't think it would be possible to top Garrett and Will as some of my favourite dominant heroes, until I met Z that is! I have to say I think this was Katee Robert's hottest story yet and I absolutely loved the chemistry between Z and Sara, in fact if it hadn't been for one of my least favourite tropes being used towards the end of the book this would easily have been my favourite instalment in the Serve series.
Sara works for her uncle as a Fixer but she's got in a little over her head and now has someone out to get her. Her uncle and brothers want her out of the city where she will be safe but they're sending a team along just to make sure she is protected. The last thing Sara wants is a babysitter but there is something about Z that draws her like a moth to a flame. Z only took the job as a favour to his best friend Garrett and getting involved with Sara would be wrong on so many levels but no matter how hard he tries to resist she manages to push all his buttons. Sara knows what she wants and she isn't taking no for an answer.
Sara and Z have absolutely fantastic chemistry right from the moment they lay eyes on each other. Sara is a strong and confident woman, someone who is capable of standing on her own two feet and who is highly independent but she loves to submit in the bedroom. She has very strict rules though and will never sleep with a guy more than three times because she absolutely doesn't want any kind of a relationship. She's seen first hand what happens when a marriage goes bad and she refuses to open herself up to that kind of hurt. Z also has very good reasons to be wary, he's been badly burned before and has had his Dominant side locked down tightly for a long time. Sara brings it bubbling to the surface and even though he knows how dangerous it is he just can't seem to help himself around her.
I loved both of these characters and I loved the fact that Z was quite quick to make up his mind about what he wanted. Once he'd set his sights on Sara he wasn't going to settle for anything less than being a permanent part of her life and as much as she resists him for a while it didn't take too long for him to worm his way into her affections. I really enjoyed seeing them learn to open up and trust each other both in and out of the bedroom. I already mentioned that there was one particular thing that happened towards the end that I wasn't happy with but that's more down to a personal preference than something that will bother most readers and I can't really say too much about it without giving spoilers. All I'll say is that it felt like a way of adding drama when there didn't really need to be any but I was happy that the problems didn't continue for too long and both Sara and Z were adult enough to admit their mistakes and move forward. They did both need a kick to get them there but that gave us the opportunity to see a couple of characters from the previous books so it wasn't all bad. I think I just would have preferred the drama in the story to have come more from the storyline of someone being after Sara, that would have felt more natural and would have added more pace to the story overall.
The important thing is that everything worked out okay in the end and I absolutely loved the little epilogue. Sara and Z were such a cute couple, their chemistry was fantastic and Protecting Fate was a hot as hell story. If you're looking for a steamy read you can't go wrong with any of Katee Robert's instalments in this series (Mistaken by Fate, Betting on Fate and Protecting Fate) and although each of these books does work as a stand alone story I would highly recommend all three of them....more
I've become a huge fan of Maria V Snyder since I discovered her Avery of Khazan and Chronicles of Ixia series but for some reason I'd never quite gotI've become a huge fan of Maria V Snyder since I discovered her Avery of Khazan and Chronicles of Ixia series but for some reason I'd never quite got around to trying her Insiders books. I'm really not sure why I left it so long and now I'm kicking myself because Inside Out was fabulous! I think I'd just got a bit bored of YA dystopia, the market has been completely flooded with the genre for a long time now and although this series was published during the early wave because I missed it at the time it's taken a while to make it's way back onto my radar. What I can say is that even though I seem to have read a ton of books in this genre Inside Out was different enough to hold my attention and I love it for that alone.
Trella is an interesting main character, she's a bit of a loner and kind of hard to relate to at first. She only really has one friend and she even keeps him at a distance so she can come across as quite selfish at times but really it's her defence mechanism. She thinks that by keeping to herself she is rebelling against the system but gradually she realises that she has fallen hook, line and sinker for the lies they have been feeding her and that she has been reacting in exactly the way the people in charge want her to. Once she starts to understand how things really work she realises that she is going to have to start putting her trust in others if she wants to find a way to change the status quo. I really grew to respect Trella, she is smart, resourceful and incredibly brave, she may not be the easiest person to get to know but once someone has earned her trust she is fiercely loyal and she will do anything to protect those she cares about. She also cares about her people as a whole, she wants to create a better life for the scrubs who live on the lower levels. She wants equality and the chance to choose her own destiny and you've got to love her for that.
I haven't even mentioned the world building yet and there is so much I could talk about there. Trella lives in an enclosed world, a giant cube built on four levels that each have a very regimented layout. There is no known exit and nobody knows what happened to the Outside or why they are unable to leave. The Uppers live on the top two levels, they have complete control over the society and make all the important decisions. They live in luxury while the scrubs from the bottom two levels do all the work to keep the society functioning. The scrubs live in overcrowded barracks, they aren't allowed to remain in family units and they work long hours doing the jobs that the Uppers think are beneath them. Scrubs resent the Uppers who have it all but perhaps everything isn't quite what it seems and when Trella finds herself caught up in a rebellion she starts to realise that it isn't only the scrubs who are being lied to.
I don't really want to say too much more about the plot but I loved watching everything unfold through Trella's eyes. I had so many questions and spent a lot of time speculating about the cube that they lived in and why they were unable to get out. Had there been a nuclear holocaust or some kind of asteroid? Was it a virus? Were they underground? Would they be able to return to the surface? No matter how many possibilities I came up with I didn't once guess at the real answer and it was nice to be so surprised by it. I'm just going to say that even if you think you're bored of YA dystopian stories it is well worth picking up a copy of Inside Out. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can't wait to start on the second (and final) book Outside In....more
As someone who has been a fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series for close to twenty years I was absolutely devastated when he passed away last weeAs someone who has been a fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series for close to twenty years I was absolutely devastated when he passed away last week. I have read and reread the earlier Discworld books so many times over the years but unfortunately I hadn't kept up with the more recent releases. I guess that's probably something to be glad about now because it means I still have a few new Discworld adventures ahead of me. Anyway, I've been telling myself for ages that I would do a series reread and review all of the books on my blog but although I've read a few of the books I've never managed to complete the task. After hearing the news I just had to dig out one of my old books to read though and since Death has always been one of my favourite Discworld characters I decided to start with his mini series and pick up Mort. I couldn't think of a more appropriate book to read right now and I have to say it cheered me up no end imagining the conversations that Terry Pratchett is now hopefully having with one of his most popular characters.
Although Death had played a minor role in several of the earlier books Mort is the first story where he is one of the main characters and it was here that we really start to get to know him better and understand what his life is like. He is such a fascinating character and I love reading his observations about humanity and life in general. Death doesn't look at things in the way that most of us do but he's an incredibly witty character and so much fun to read about. He also has a special fondness for cats so I'd love him for that if nothing else!
Death has decided it's time for him to take on an apprentice and Mort is the lucky guy who lands the job. Unfortunately things don't quite go to plan when Mort accidentally thwarts fate because he doesn't want to see a young girl die. Mort may have given Keli a temporary reprieve but when it's your time, it's your time and the world is determined to set things right. Mort has set a whole chain of events in motion and it's now up to him to figure out how to resolve things.
Mort contains all the crazy hijinks you'd expect from the Discworld but it is also a coming of age story as we get to see the kind of man that Mort will grow into and it gives a rather poignant look at Death both as a character and as an inevitable event in everyone's lives. I found the last couple of paragraphs particularly heart wrenching in the circumstances so I just have to end this review with them:
'Goodbye,' Mort said, and was surprised to find a lump in his throat. 'It's such an unpleasant word, isn't it?'
QUITE SO. Death grinned because, as has so often been remarked, he didn't have much option. But possibly he meant it, this time.
I PREFER AU REVOIR, he said.
RIP Sir Terry, I'm going to picture you sitting side by side with Death putting the world to rights over a game of chess!
You know how you sometimes need a palate cleanser? Something that is just going to be light hearted, funny and if we're completelyBuddy read with Aly
You know how you sometimes need a palate cleanser? Something that is just going to be light hearted, funny and if we're completely honest a little on the ridiculous side? Well that's exactly what you're going to get if you pick up a copy of Dragon Actually, the first book in G.A. Aiken (AKA Shelly Laurenston) 's Dragon Kin series. It's full of sexy (and incredibly horny) dragons and kick ass warrior women who aren't afraid to take what they want. There are no blushing virgins or simpering, downtrodden women in this book, they are all fighters who give as good as they get when they come up against these very alpha males.
Annwyl the Bloody is a warrior princess who is raising an army to go up against her brother the king. She is determined to maker her brother pay for his sins and she's completely ruthless when it comes to achieving that goal earning her a reputation for beheading her enemies. When Annwyl is injured in battle she is rescued by a black dragon who takes her back to his cave and manages to heal her. Fearghus is also a fierce warrior but the dragons tend to keep to themselves and he has no interest in human wars. Where Annwyl's strength and determination have put men off in the past it is exactly what Fearghus finds so attractive about her and it isn't long before they are unable to resist the building attraction between them. Fearghus is keeping a big secret though, one that would normally make me really annoyed with a hero but in this case I just found it so funny watching things unfold that I forgot to be irritated with him. I loved these two, they have great chemistry and wicked banter but we also get to see a deeper friendship develop and I believed in them as a couple.
Dragon Actually also contains a bonus novella, Chains and Flames, that tells the story of how Fearghus's parents, Bercelak and Rhiannon, met and fell in love. I have to admit I wasn't sure I'd like Bercelak because he was a bit of a bastard in Dragon Actually but I ended up loving him from the very beginning of his story and it was Rhiannon who took a while to win me around. Rhiannon is a spoiled and pampered princess who is horrified when her mother tells her she must mate with low born Bercelak. She believes that she deserves so much better than him but when they are forced to spend time together she is surprised by how much they actually have in common. I think I ended up loving Bercelak even more than Fearghus, he's completely baddass and a well known warrior and he was also a Dom who made me a little weak at the knees.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed both of these stories and I can't wait to continue reading the series. The whole dragon family are completely crazy and so much fun to read about so I'm hoping that all of the siblings will get a book of their own (I deliberately haven't looked ahead to see whose stories have already been written) eventually. I love reading about sibling relationships, the way they tease each other mercilessly but will always have each other's backs when it comes down to it, and I'm hoping that we'll get a chance to keep up with previous couples as we're introduced to new ones....more
I'm a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder, I was late to the party when it came to the Chronicles of Ixia books but I absolutely LOVE the Study trilogy and YeI'm a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder, I was late to the party when it came to the Chronicles of Ixia books but I absolutely LOVE the Study trilogy and Yelena and Valek are still one of my favourite fictional couples so I can't tell you how excited I was to find out they were going to be the main characters in this new series. Although I enjoyed the Glass trilogy and would recommend reading the Chronicles of Ixia series in order (start with the Study trilogy, then the Glass trilogy and finally the new Soulfinders trilogy that starts with Shadow Study) I had missed Yelena and Valek as the main characters and was looking forward to them taking a central role again. Better still, Shadow Study finally gives us a chance to see things from Valek's point of view as he is one of the story's narrators alongside both Yelena and Janco.
Shadow Study was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it more than lived up to expectations. There is just so much to love about these characters and this world and I loved getting the chance to see inside Valek's head and the chance to learn more about his childhood and his assassin training. Did you ever wonder how he ended up working for the Commander or why he wanted to kill the king of Ixia? Did you want to know who taught him about poisons and how he became so skilled with a blade? You'll get the answers to those questions and so many more, Valek has always been a bit of a mystery so it was great to get to know him better. His relationships are sorely tested in this book, people he trusts are keeping major secrets and he isn't sure why but Valek has never been one to back away from a challenge and you just know he'll move heaven and earth to protect Yelena so anyone who is out to hurt her is going to end up in a world of trouble.
I have to admit I would have liked for Yelena and Valek to have spent more time together than they did but I can understand why things were that way and I think we're going to see them working closer together as the series continues. At least the time they do spend together was quality time and I love seeing how strong their bond is and how happy they still are after so many years as a couple. Adding Janco as a third point of view was brilliant, he is able to give us insight into both Yelena and Valek and he is just such a fun character to spend time with.
Yelena finds herself in an impossible situation here, she has several enemies coming at her and very little way of protecting herself against them. I don't want to go into too much detail about what happens but I found it interesting seeing her a bit out of her depth for a change, she is so used to being able to handle anything that is thrown at her and it comes as quite a shock to find herself feeling vulnerable. I had a suspicion about something for quite a long time and I was absolutely thrilled by the big reveal at the end of the story. In fact there are so many things I desperately want to talk about but I can't because they're all veering into spoiler territory.
Shadow Study is absolutely fantastic and it was one of those books that I wanted to devour in one sitting, so much so that I was annoyed because life kept getting in the way. It was great to catch up with some familiar faces but we are also introduced to some interesting new ones and the plot was just amazing. My only real problem with this book is that the rest of the trilogy isn't available for me to devour immediately - it's just not fair that I'm probably going to have to wait 2 years to get hold of book 3 and I actually think Maria V. Snyder is trying to kill me! I can't fault her though, any author who has me so totally invested in the lives of her characters is obviously doing something right and I will be right at the front of the queue on release day impatiently waiting for my copies of Night Study and Dawn Study when they are published....more
Even if you've already read the previous version of Ice Study I'd definitely recommend rereading the new version before you start Shadow Study because it gives some extra information about what has been happening with both Yelena and Valek since the end of Fire Study.
The updated version includes a new prologue and epilogue but I think there was also at least one extra chapter in there too (I may be wrong about that though because there was a long gap between me reading the two versions). The story is told from Yelena, Valek and Janco's point of view (the same as Shadow Study) and I loved catching up with all three of these characters....more
I've enjoyed everything I've read by Alyxandra Harvey (which includes pretty much her entire back list) so of course I was incredibly excited when I fI've enjoyed everything I've read by Alyxandra Harvey (which includes pretty much her entire back list) so of course I was incredibly excited when I first heard about Red and I couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately this was one of those cases where high expectations weren't quite met so while this is a quick and easy to read story I didn't love it as much as I had hoped to.
Like a lot of people Kia has a temper, unfortunately her temper comes with an added problem that most of us don't have to worry about - she is a fire starter. No I don't mean she likes to commit arson, but she does have the power to start fires with her mind and it's an ability she has practically no control over. As soon as she gets annoyed things have a nasty habit of catching fire and she has developed quite a reputation because of it. After being kicked out of school Kia is given a fresh start when she is sent to live with her grandmother. Her grandmother is a housekeeper for the wealthy Blackwood family and Kia finds herself stuck living in their creepy old estate. She is sure something is going on but she has no idea how much danger she is actually in.
I actually quite liked Kia's character, she is feisty and doesn't let anyone put her down. I loved the way she was able to stand up for herself against the would be bullies at her new school but it did get to the point where I felt her temper was a little over the top and I wanted to see her mature a bit. Unfortunately the other characters were cardboard cut outs, you had the mysterious, brooding hot boy who seems interested in Kia one minute and then pushes her away the next and, of course, you had the bitchy girl who wants the boy and is angry at the new girl because he seems to have taken a shine to her. There were other clichés in there too but I don't want to list them all here because it would take too long. Ethan's character never really caught my attention and I didn't have any interest in getting to know him which is probably a good thing because even now he is pretty much a mystery. I also felt that their relationship came completely out of nowhere and I didn't feel any connection between them.
I think my main problem with the story was that there just wasn't enough background information given though. I wanted to know more about what happened at Kia's previous school, I wanted to know more about her mother and I wanted to learn more about her abilities. I also wanted to learn more about what was happening on the estate and the organisation that was behind everything. Even now I still don't understand why the parents of Ethan and his gang did the things they did, what their motives were or even how they ended up brought into the organisation that they worked for. I also didn't understand why they were allowed to get away with their behaviour considering that it seemed like the Blackwood estate was the only one that was run that way. There was so much potential when we started to discover what was going on but no matter how interested I was in all the different creatures we come across I wanted more information about how they all came to be there. At around 200 pages this is a fairly short novel and I think it could have done with an extra 50-100 pages to give us more background and so that more time could have been spent on character development.
Don't get me wrong, Red isn't all bad. It was an easy and fun read and I think there is a lot of potential there if Alyxandra Harvey decides to turn it into a series but I don't think it was up to the level I expect from this author and I would recommend starting with her Drake Chronicles series if you've not read any of her books before....more
I already wrote a semi coherent review about Angelfall HERE so I'm not going to write another one.
What I will say is that this book is just as fantastic on a second reading, in fact if anything, I think I loved it even more! This really is an outstanding series and it's one I'd highly recommend to anyone. I can't wait to finally read End of Days & see how the trilogy ends...more
Merit and Ethan are taking a well earned vacation, somewhere quiet where they can have a few days spending quality time as a couple. Well, that was thMerit and Ethan are taking a well earned vacation, somewhere quiet where they can have a few days spending quality time as a couple. Well, that was the idea anyway, but we all know that trouble tends to follow them so it shouldn't surprise anyone that before their first night is over they find themselves caught in a centuries old feud between the local vampires and shapeshifters!
It's no secret that I'm a bit of a Chicagoland Vampires fan girl so of course I couldn't wait to dive into this novella and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Merit and Ethan. It was great to see them outside of Chicago in an unfamiliar environment but still kicking butt as we'd expect. There are also appearances from Gabriel and Damien which is always a huge bonus in my books, I LOVE the shapeshifters and am still desperately hoping that Chloe will give us a spin of story about Damien at some point.
I loved Lucky Break, the mystery behind the ongoing feud was interesting, I enjoyed seeing Merit stand up for herself and her man and as usual I loved the banter between her and Ethan. I think my only complaint with this story was that it was a novella and I wanted it to be a full length book but that's just because I'm greedy and I can never get enough of this world or these characters.
Although this story doesn't impact the ongoing series story arc I would happily recommend it to fans of the series & it's a great way to get a Merit fix while you wait for the next full length book....more
As a huge fan of Samantha Young's On Dublin Street series I was really excited when I first heard about her new standalone romance, Hero, and it wentAs a huge fan of Samantha Young's On Dublin Street series I was really excited when I first heard about her new standalone romance, Hero, and it went straight to the top of my wish list. Samantha Young excels at writing fabulous chemistry between her characters and Alexa and Caine are no exception, the heat between them practically set fire to the pages and there was never a doubt in my mind that they were going to be explosive together when they finally gave into their attraction.
Alexa and Caine have a complicated relationship though, mainly down to something her father did that destroyed Caine's family and turned his whole life upside down. I don't want to go into much detail about that because you'll find out for yourself when you read the book but it was a heartbreaking back story and I couldn't blame Caine for feeling resentment towards Alexa's father. I was even able to understand him taking his frustration out on Alexa to a certain point becase she had blind sided him with her identity when he wasn't expecting it and it put him completely on the defensive. At that point I really found myself admiring Alexa because she absolutely refused to let him grind her down, she was so determined to make him see that she was nothing like her father and there were quite a few times where she gave as good as she got. I absolutely loved the back and forth between them, I always love characters who have a bit of fire to them and Alexa and Caine both fit the bill perfectly.
Unfortunately for me Caine's bad attitude continued for far too long, he continued to punish her and hurt her for a good 70% of the story while Alexa turned into more and more of a doormat the longer it went on. She started losing that sparky attitude that I'd admired so much in the beginning and then she started making excuses for him. She even seemed to give up on things that had seemed important to her beforehand and I really just wanted to shake some sense into her. It got to the point where I was angry with the pair of them and all the hot sex in the world (and trust me there was a lot of EXTREMELY hot sex - another thing that Samantha Young excels at writing!) just couldn't make me fall in love with them as a couple. It felt to me like they brought the worst out in each other and had started to make each other miserable which is the opposite of what a good relationship should be all about.
Throw in the family drama with Alexa that seemed to come out of absolutely nowhere and the story lost me a bit. Especially when even something absolutely terrifying happening wasn't enough to snap Caine out of his determination to push Alexa away. Since that didn't shock him enough to make him realise he loved her I wasn't able to believe the sudden turn around he made a little later on in the story. It's such a shame because I had incredibly high hopes for this story but it just wasn't as good as I had expected it to be. It wasn't all bad and there were things I liked about it, particularly during the first half of the story but it certainly isn't a new favourite. I do still love Samantha Young's writing style though, even when I was frustrated with the characters I never once considered giving up on the book and I found Hero was an incredibly quick read. She is still an auto-buy author for me and I'll definitely be grabbing a copy of her next book as soon as it's published....more
**spoiler alert** It's been eighteen years since scientists accidentally tore a hole in the universe and changed the world forever. Humanity is now di**spoiler alert** It's been eighteen years since scientists accidentally tore a hole in the universe and changed the world forever. Humanity is now divided in two - the Gifted who are capable of magic and Ashkind who aren't. The world was turned upside down in a moment and things quickly escalated into a full on world war. Things are slightly calmer now though, the government has regained control and the Department plays a huge role in keeping the peace but there are still dissenters who believe that the Gifted and Ashkind should live separately, people on both sides who believe they should be the rightful rulers and who aren't happy with the way the war ended.
Rose's father works for the Department, in fact he pretty much set up the place, so she has been practically raised as part of the agency and has always intended to work for them when she grows up. But Rose and her father have a secret, one that could get them both killed if they are ever discovered, so when she is blackmailed by a convicted murderer she has to decide whether she is willing to betray the Department to protect herself and her father.
Helena Coggan wrote the first draft of The Catalyst when she was just 13 years old and now, at 15, she is a published author. I have to give her a huge amount of credit for that because it's an incredibly impressive achievement! I'm going to admit I was a little sceptical going into this one, I just wasn't sure what to expect considering the author's age and I worried that the writing might be a bit basic and too young for me. I'm happy to say I was very impressed, if I hadn't known beforehand I would never have guessed this book was written by a teenager. Helena Coggan has a brilliant writing style that I would say is far beyond her years, her descriptions, sentence structure and concepts were way beyond anything I expected and the story is incredibly easy to read. It's the kind of book that keeps you completely hooked and constantly turning the pages and I was able to devour it very quickly.
Rose is a likeable character, I liked the fact she's a pretty normal girl and I really loved the relationship she had with her adoptive father. The two of them are incredibly close and I enjoyed seeing their interactions but I think that made it harder to understand why she didn't go to him for help when she first found herself in trouble - especially since it was their joint secret that was at risk of being exposed. I was able to put that to one side fairly easily though and I enjoyed seeing Rose's opinions of the world change as she learned more information about both her father and the Department and realised that not everything was as it seemed. She is smart enough to work things through for herself and she always does what she thinks is right even when it means taking the harder path.
Right up until about halfway through the book I was all prepared to give this book a rave review but that's when things started to go wrong. Considering all the things Rose had done that were basically a complete betrayal of her father and the Department I couldn't understand why there were no consequences for her actions. It was more than a little ridiculous that they welcomed her back with open arms and it completely negated everything that had happened up until that part of the story. What was the point of everything we'd just read about? There really wasn't one and that just made me feel cheated. I'm afraid from that point on the story kind of lost me because if there aren't going to be consequences to Rose's actions then I stop feeling the danger of any new situations she finds herself in. The story continued to move along at a fast pace, in fact things really ramped up a gear towards the end, but I'd lost all connection to what was happening and didn't really care any more.
I don't think it helped that the constant point of view changes (which I have to admit were pretty jarring even in the beginning) only increased towards the end of the story. I found myself struggling to figure out which character's POV we were reading and having to keep rereading the beginning of new sections trying to work out what was happening. The choppy style made it harder to follow what was going on and meant I lost interest even more. Now I don't want to come across as completely negative here because the story definitely had it's good points and Helena Coggan has a huge amount of potential as an author, if she is capable of writing The Catalyst now I can't wait to see what she comes up with in the future. I have a feeling that this is going to be the first book in a series and if that's the case I will definitely be reading the next book and I have high hopes that the problems here will be ironed out in future instalments. ____________________________________
Thoughts before reading: The author wrote the first draft of this book when she was 13, now she's 15 and already a published author. I feel like such an underachiever!!...more
I'm such a fan girl when it comes to this series, from the minute I pick up any of these books I'm completely sucked into the world Cecy Robson has crI'm such a fan girl when it comes to this series, from the minute I pick up any of these books I'm completely sucked into the world Cecy Robson has created and I get really irritated when real life gets in the way and makes me stop reading for any reason. This series has been full of humour from the very beginning but after the last book, which was somewhat darker, I really, really appreciated the hilarious opening couple of chapters to A Curse Unbroken. I'm not going to give you any hints about what happens but I will say that it's the kind of disaster that only Celia could have happen to her and I was practically crying with laughter. Although the story starts on a humorous note there are also some really sweet and heartfelt moments as well as all the action and tension that you'd expect from one of these books.
Celia and Aric have been through hell and back but their happily ever after was never going to come easily and they're not about to be able to walk into the sunset without at least one last major battle. I'm not going to say too much about the plot but I will tell you that A Curse Unbroken ties up all the lose ends to Celia and Aric's story, it isn't the last book in the series but it's the last that will be from Celia's point of view (for now anyway!) and her sister Taran will take over the lead role in the next book. I'm absolutely thrilled that we're going to get to know Taran, and eventually the other sisters, better - they're all still reeling from the emotional roller coaster that they've been on and now they've got to start trying to put their lives back together again.
A Curse Unbroken is a fantastic instalment to the series, it will keep you hooked from beginning to end and will leave you with a massive smile on your face. We get so many hints at what could be to come for the whole Weird family and I'm so glad that this series is still going strong. I definitely can't wait to get my hands on the next instalment!...more
As a fan of Jessica Scott's Coming Home series I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of her first NA book and Before I Fall was even bett4.5 stars
As a fan of Jessica Scott's Coming Home series I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of her first NA book and Before I Fall was even better than I'd hoped it would be. I love contemporary romances, I even enjoy NA contemps but I'm sure I can't be the only person who is sick of reading the same old tropes and clichés in nearly every story I pick up? Well, I'm very, very happy to say that Before I Fall avoids all of those pitfalls. There is no player hero who can suddenly keep it in his trousers for that one special girl, no virginal, sweet and innocent heroine who has never even been attracted to a boy before, no bitchy best friends, catty girls or slut shaming, no ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends who are trying to split up the main couple, no cheating, no love triangles and absolutely no pointless drama just for the sake of it. Nope, not a single one of those tropes and I can't even tell you how refreshing that is!
So now I've told you all about what we haven't got let me tell you a bit more about what you can look forward to. You're in for a treat, trust me! You have two realistic main characters, people who have problems but who are basically decent people who have been dealt a bad hand in life, the kind of people you went to school with, hell the kind of people you're probably friends with. You also have a really, really sweet romance with plenty of sexy times and a love that brings light into the darkness of their lives but that doesn't magically fix all their problems. Great supportive friendships for both main characters and even a decent adult role model who is there for both of them. The characters who have issues accept they have a problem, understand that they are the only ones who can fix it and guess what - they actually ask for the help they need to turn their lives around. Shocking right?
Beth's father was a soldier until he was badly injured and he is now medically retired. He suffers chronic, debilitating pain and is unable to hold a job down but the disability cheques he receives aren't enough to pay for the medical care he needs. Beth is desperately trying to hold things together, struggling to find enough money to pay the bills, buy her father's medication and just put food on the table. She is also trying to keep up her grades in the hope that she'll be able to get into a decent graduate program - the only chance she has of ever getting a job that will help her pay off the family's horrendous debts. Noah is a soldier who has served his country but who was injured in a bomb blast that killed most of his unit. He is suffering with PTSD and extreme anxiety but he is determined to get his life back on track and do well at college.
Beth never wanted to get involved with a soldier but Noah is the first person in a long time who sees what she is going through and puts her first for a change. I absolutely loved seeing how Noah looked out for her, just the little things he did to make life easier for her were so sweet to read about. He makes mistakes by keeping things from her but I never felt angry with him because you could feel what he was going through. Likewise, when Beth found out about what he was hiding I didn't blame her for flipping out, she had been through so much because of her dad and couldn't face the thought of it happening all over again with someone else. I loved them both for acting like adults and actually talking through their issues though. They make such a sweet couple and it really was easy to imagine them being happy together.
One of the things that really stands out in all of the books I've read by Jessica Scott is how well she understands the life of a soldier, as a career officer herself she has a lot of experience regarding the issues that soldiers face on a daily basis but also how difficult it is for the families who are left at home waiting for news of their loved ones. This is something that really shines through in her writing and it makes her stories feel all the more realistic. I absolutely loved Before I Fall and I was incredibly excited to find out who the main characters are for the next book Break My Fall (that information is included at the back of the book for anyone who is curious). The sequel is definitely going to the top of my wish list so I just hope we don't have to wait too long for it to be published!...more
Having absolutely loved These Broken Stars I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of This Shattered World so I could dive back into the world thatHaving absolutely loved These Broken Stars I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of This Shattered World so I could dive back into the world that Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner created. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I first realised that Tarver and Lilac weren't going to be the main characters for the entire series but the more I thought about it the more I realised changing characters was the best way for us to be able to explore more of this universe. It was also a great opportunity to see another side of what Lilac's father has been getting up to and just how deep the conspiracy goes.
Jubilee, known as Lee to her friends, is an army captain and one of the best soldiers on Avon. It is her job to keep the rebel forces from causing all out war on the planet and she is very, very good at her job. Flynn is the leader of the rebels and he is determined to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict. All the rebels want is to find out why the terraforming of Avon is so far behind schedule and why they are being denied the supplies they so desperately need and they are sick of being ignored and pushed to one side. Some of Flynn's people are getting restless and threatening to revert to violence so Flynn knows he doesn't have long to come up with an alternative option to all out war. When Flynn manages to capture Lee he is hoping to use her safe release as a bargaining tool but when he realises her life is in danger from his people he is forced to change his plans.
I think one of the things I love most about this series is the sheer scale of the world building and it was really interesting to visit Avon and see the struggles the people there are facing. It was easy to understand why Flynn and the rebels were so desperate but that doesn't justify the lengths that some of them were willing to go to to get what they want. At the same time, although Lee and the other soldiers are only doing their jobs, it was harder to sympathise for them because you knew they weren't in the right. The trouble here is that the big corporations who pay for the terraforming are also the ones funding the army and their agenda is purely profit driven and doesn't focus on the lives of the people actually living on the planet.
Although I liked both Lee and Flynn I did have a bit of trouble with their relationship, things happen a little too quickly between them and considering the circumstances I struggled to believe their reactions. One time in particular Flynn has every reason to think that Lee has betrayed him and caused the death of some of his closest friends and family members yet he still takes her side without a second thought and walks away from everyone and everything he has ever known. I just couldn't understand why he would do that and it made me question his character. By the end of the book they had both grown on me and I was able to start rooting for them but I was never quite as invested in either of their characters as I was in Tarver and Lilac which is probably why their appearance was such a highlight for me.
While This Shattered World didn't quite manage to knock These Broken Stars off the series top spot it was still a fantastic read and I'm thoroughly enjoying this series. We've already met one of the main characters of the final book, Their Fractured Light, and I can tell you right now she's going to be fabulous. I have a feeling this trilogy is going to go out with a bang and I absolutely can't wait to see the downfall of LaRoux Industries!...more
This Night So Dark is a free novella that can be downloaded from the These Broken Stars website here. I have to warn you that the story is shorter thaThis Night So Dark is a free novella that can be downloaded from the These Broken Stars website here. I have to warn you that the story is shorter than it looks because nearly half of the ebook is taken up with sample chapters from both These Broken Stars and This Shattered World but although I would have liked it if the story was longer I can't really complain when the author's have offered this for free.
Although the main events in this story actually happened before events in These Broken Stars I wouldn't recommend reading this until after you've read the first book. People familiar with the first book will already know that Tarver is a war hero but we never really got much information about the mission that earned him that title. In This Night So Dark we find out what really happened in the form of flash backs as Tarver describes the event to Lilac after waking up from a nightmare.
I don't want to say too much about the plot but I will say it gives us some more insight into the kind of man Lilac's father is, it hints at the conspiracy that Tarver and Lilac have already started to uncover and I think it shows that there is even more going on under the surface that we don't know about yet. It was nice to see Tarver and Lilac together after their rescue but if I'm honest I really wanted a bit more information about what they're up to now. I was kind of disappointed when I found out that This Shattered World is about two different main characters because although I'm sure Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner will make me fall in love with them too I'm still going to miss Tarver and Lilac. Hopefully we'll still get a little information about them as the series continues, I have a feeling that Lilac is going to have a key role to play in stopping her father's plans so I'm confident we'll have to see more of her.
If you enjoyed These Broken Stars then you can't go wrong reading This Night So Dark, especially since it's free! It's always nice to be able to revisit characters and get more background information and this little novella achieves both of those goals and has left me eager to pick up the story in This Shattered World....more
**Please be aware that although this review will be spoiler free for Dark Debt it will include spoilers for previous books so if you haven't read Bloo**Please be aware that although this review will be spoiler free for Dark Debt it will include spoilers for previous books so if you haven't read Blood Games yet I would suggest that you don't continue reading**
I'm a huge fan of the Chicagoland Vampires series and after the game changing events at the end of Blood Games I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of Dark Debt to find out what happens next! I was expecting the plot of this story to revolve around the dissolution of the GP and the newly established Assembly of American Masters but although that does play a role the main part of the story is something that has a much bigger impact on the three Chicago houses. It's difficult because there are so many things that I want to talk about but at the same time I would hate to give spoilers so I'm going to keep this review deliberately vague in regards to the plot. What I will say is that there is plenty of mystery and we are introduced to a surprising new enemy who I think will be keeping the team on their toes for quite a while to come.
Merit and Ethan's relationship has been through the wringer but just when they get to a fairly good place an old face from Ethan's past shows up and threatens to ruin everything. This vampire is old and extremely powerful, likely stronger and faster than Ethan even, so for once he finds it it impossible to keep Merit safe. She is in the firing line and more vulnerable than we have ever seen her and it leaves her shaken and unsure of herself. As much as I love Merit because she's usually so kick ass it was interesting to see her in such a difficult situation, she suddenly finds herself no longer immune to vampire glamour and unsafe even when she's inside Cadogan house which is utterly terrifying for her. You should already know that Merit doesn't let anything hold her back for long though and as scared as she is her love for Ethan and her determination not to be his weakness soon have her fighting back harder than ever.
It isn't only vampires who are causing them trouble though and they are actually at greater risk from a human mafia like group who have managed to get their claws into Navarre House. I think anyone who reads the series will probably agree with me that Morgan has been a bit of an idiot since the beginning. His attitude has annoyed me on more than one occasion and I haven't been a fan of his for a long time now so I was surprised to find myself feeling more than a little sorry for him here. His house is in a mess and although he didn't create the situation he certainly hasn't helped it but now he finally has the opportunity to turn things around and it looks like we might be about to see him man up for a change. I'll be really interested to see if this continues over the next few books and if it does Cadogan might just find they have a new ally in Navarre. I expect Morgan has a fight on his hands though so it might not be as smooth has he hopes.
There is a lot going on in Dark Debt, there are plenty of plot twists and the amount of action is just right - enough to keep you gripped to the pages and not wanting to put the book down but still leaving room for the series trademark humour and for the brilliant characters to shine. Mallory and Catcher get a lot of page time and they were adorable, they actually made my heart melt a little! We even get to see a very surprising side to Merit's father, we all know what a terrible father he has been so far but perhaps this might go a little way towards making up for it. Of course Merit and Ethan are always my favourites, I just love seeing them together and their banter never fails to make me smile. As usual they have difficult battles to face here but this time they don't let it pull them apart and it just makes them a stronger couple than ever. I love this whole series but I think Dark Debt is probably one my favourite books so far and I just can't wait to see what happens next, we have definitely been given a hint of things to come too and, trust me, it's going to be a wild ride. I just wish I didn't have to wait for the next book to be published!...more
I've heard a lot of great things about V.E. Schwab's writing, in fact I had several of her books on my wish list, so when I was offered a review copyI've heard a lot of great things about V.E. Schwab's writing, in fact I had several of her books on my wish list, so when I was offered a review copy of the first book in her new series, A Darker Shade of Magic, I jumped at the chance to read it. I'm so glad I did because I can certainly see what all the fuss was about and I'm definitely going to be working my way through her previous titles while I wait for the release of the next book in this series.
A Darker Shade of Magic is a wonderful mix of historical fantasy, swashbuckling adventure and magical mayhem. Here there are three very different versions of London, three distinctive parallel universes that only a rare few people known as the Antari are able to travel between. Grey London is closest to a historical version of our world, there is no magic and most people are completely unaware of the other universes. Red London is a lavish kingdom where magic is plentiful and people on the whole are happy and healthy, most people are aware of the other worlds but have no desire to leave their own home. White London has magic but it is a different, darker, kind and people are constantly battling for power over each other, this London is a place where the weak are preyed upon and only the strong survive. There used to be a fourth world but there the magic was twisted and decayed, Black London was being destroyed from the inside out so the other versions of London banded together to permanently close the gateways and cut them off and it is believed that the world has since destroyed itself.
Kell is one of only two known Antari, he was born in Red London and he is tasked with the role of delivering messages between the royal families from each remaining version of London. Although it is forbidden to bring anything between the different worlds Kell is a collector and he regularly smuggles what he believes are harmless trinkets between the Londons to trade with the few people who know of the different realities. Kell meets Lila when his hobby lands him in trouble, injured and trapped in Grey London Kell has nobody to turn to and is forced to rely on Lila to help him. Lila has always dreamed of adventure so when Kell tells her about Red London and the other universes open to him she is determined to find a way to travel there and see them for herself. What the two of them don't realise is that they have dangerous enemies, ones who could be powerful enough to destroy not just Red London but all three remaining universes.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this story, each version of London is vividly described and I found it incredibly easy to picture them. I loved learning about the magical Red London, it sounds like such a brilliant place to visit and I would love to see the glowing red Thames and experience the magic flowing through it. White London sounds absolutely terrifying, it is cold and harsh with danger lurking on every corner and definitely not the kind of place you would choose to go to while Grey London is dreary and smog filled, pretty much exactly what you'd expect of early 1800's London. I loved the descriptions of magic too, we get to see some exciting magical battles and I enjoyed learning more about Kell's ability to travel between the different worlds.
One of the places A Darker Shade of Magic really shines is in it's characters though, nobody is what they first seem to be, they all have complex layers to them and very real motives for everything they do. Kell is great, he is intelligent and powerful but he isn't perfect, he makes a lot of mistakes and has to rely on his wits to get him out of the messes he finds himself in. Lila surprised me, I wasn't sure if I was going to like her at first because she seemed to have so little regard for anyone other than herself but it didn't take me long to warm up to her and I loved how badass she was. Lila is feisty, smart and ruthless, she doesn't play by the rules but she does have her own code of honour and no matter how much she tries to pretend to be completely blasé about things she really does care. What I loved most is the friendship that builds between her and Kell, in the beginning they have no reason to trust each other, they are thrown together though and have to work together if they want to survive. It was great to see that Lila, a girl from Grey London who had no magic of her own, was often the one who rescues Kell even though he is the powerful magician. There are so many other characters who are worth a mention here, prince Rye is definitely someone I'm looking forward to seeing more of but V.E. Schwab also created some truly creepy and terrifying villains.
A Darker Shade of Magic is a fantastic story that was completely different to anything else I've read which is what makes it really stand out. If you love rich world building, brilliant multifaceted characters and plots with plenty of surprising twists then you need this book in your life. It's definitely a series to watch out for and V.E. Schwab has added herself to my list of must read authors....more
Broken Honor is the third book in Tonya Burrow's HORNET series and although each of the romances work as stand alone stories I would recommend readingBroken Honor is the third book in Tonya Burrow's HORNET series and although each of the romances work as stand alone stories I would recommend reading the series in order to get the most out of watching the team bond together as a solid group of brothers. I've enjoyed every one of these stories so was expecting big things from Travis and he delivered on every level. This series is just so much fun to read and I'm always excited to get my hands on a new instalment.
We already knew that Travis has been suffering with blackouts and memory loss since the car accident that cost both him and Gabe their careers as SEALs but they have since built the HORNET team into something that they are very proud of. Travis knows his time with the unit is running out though, it is getting harder and harder to hide his blackouts and on the last operation he ended up putting other team members at risk so he is facing the very difficult decision of having to walk away from everything he has worked so hard to build. Travis and Mara had a hot fling six weeks ago but Travis ran scared when he realised he was starting to develop feelings for her, now Mara is pregnant but before Travis has a chance to step up she is taken hostage to be used against him. Travis knows he doesn't have much of a future and that he has nothing offer a woman like Mara but he will do anything to keep her safe. His last job with the HORNETs is going to be his most important one yet but he wouldn't trust anyone else with the woman he loves and their unborn child.
I've liked Travis from the very beginning of the series but I have to admit there were a few times I wanted to punch him in the face for the way he treated Mara at the beginning of this book. He was scared to admit he had feelings for her so he walked away and left her but it was his reaction to finding out she was pregnant that really made me want to slap him. Thankfully he came to his senses very quickly though so I was able to forgive him fairly easily, especially because you can see just how much he adores her. Once he'd got his head around things he was brilliant and he was soon back to the guy I'd respected and started to fall for in the previous books. Mara is a great character too, she is strong and independent and although she wants Travis by her side for her pregnancy she is willing to do it without him, she won't put up with any of his crap and calls him on his bad behaviour when she needs to. They make a great couple and have fantastic chemistry, even when they're not in the best situations but what I really loved was seeing them working together to escape the situation they found themselves in. I also really pleased that although Mara never doubted that Travis would come to her rescue she didn't sit around waiting for him and took an active role in trying to save herself.
What I love most about this series is the bond between the team members and I've loved seeing this go from strength to strength throughout the series. The guys are bonded now and will always have each other's backs. This is tested a little when Jesse finds out that Travis slept with his cousin Mara, he is absolutely livid that Travis went behind his back and broke the bro code but they work things out in typical alpha man style. I've loved Jesse from the beginning and we get to meet his match in this story, I'm not going to tell you much about her but I will say that I think she's going to really put him through his paces and I absolutely can't wait to see it happen!
The HORNET series has been full of action and suspense but I think that the bar was raised even higher in Broken Honor. Tonya Burrows has been laying down the building blocks for Travis's story since the first book and we see a lot of lose ends tied together here. I didn't find this book quite as heart wrenching as the previous instalment but I absolutely loved the epilogue and I was left with a huge smile on my face. The next book can't come soon enough!...more