Saturday, 28 November 2015

{Review} Stalked by Flames (Dragon's Breath #1) by Susan Illene

25502368Posted by Melanie
Release Date: July 25th, 2015
Finished Date: November 8th, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
Bailey Monzac has just graduated college and is leaving town for her parents’ ranch in Texas when a massive earthquake unleashes the unthinkable on the world: fire-breathing dragons.

Chaos erupts as people flee for their lives, and Bailey survives only because she is somehow immune to the dragons’ flames. In the midst of the mayhem, Bailey is helped by a shape-shifting dragon named Aidan, who recognizes Bailey is a dragon slayer and will be an essential ally in the power struggle between—and within—the dragon clans.

Natural disasters intensify and dragons lay waste to the world as civilization all but collapses amid the loss of electricity and running water. Roving gangs prowl the debris-filled streets, and Bailey and her friends manage to find refuge in the university library. As her relationship with Aidan deepens during private training sessions, Bailey must learn to harness her newfound skills or see everything she knows and loves destroyed.

Stalked by Flames is a gritty urban fantasy about a woman’s journey into a dark new reality she never could have imagined.

The Review: Stalked by Flames was a really good introduction to the Dragon’s Breath series.
As the blurb tells us – Bailey is headed home to Texas after graduating college when a massive earthquake hits the college town. She takes refuge in the library with her best friend who works there and plans to head out as soon as things settle. When she does take the chance she and the rest of town are confronted by fire breathing dragons! These dragons are by no means friendly and start burning the place up – people included. Bailey runs for her life but is confronted by a dragon who is intent on roasting her to dust but somehow, she isn’t burned! She isn’t afraid much anymore either especially when she is rescued by a dragon that can shift into a man. The shape shifter is Aiden and he knows what Bailey is even if she doesn’t….and he has plans for her. As this new reality comes to be Bailey and her fellow library survivors face many dangers as the fight for survival begins and Bailey decides that if she is truly a dragon slayer, then she must train to become one and Aiden will be the one to teach her. Can she learn how to kill them to stay alive and save her friends? What about saving her heart too from someone she should never allow into it.
Stalked by Flames was a great read that straddles a couple of genres – dystopian, fantasy and urban fantasy. I thought the author had created a very unique scenario by unleashing dragons on the world the way she did. There is more to it than that but I’ll let you discover that for yourself. I sort of got the feel of ‘The Walking Dead’ but with dragons instead of zombies where people are forced to hide out in homes, scavenge empty stores and homes for food and clothing whilst trying to be aware of their surroundings so a dragon doesn’t roast them or eat them. The story definitely starts with plenty of action with the natural disasters and then the arrival of the dragons, people fleeing for their lives – it’s dramatic and really pulls you into the story and the lives of the survivors. Obviously Bailey is the main character and you can tell she will be something special, I admired her drive and determination. She had some humorous moments in the beginning when she meets Aiden for the first time and I really liked how their relationship unfolded throughout the book, it felt natural and not rushed and even at the end it was only just beginning. They also had a forbidden type of love thing going on that I look forward to seeing develop in the future.
The storyline was full of action and danger that was spaced throughout the book. There are two kinds of dragons here – pure dragons, the savage man eating, burn everything to a crisp kind that are taking over the earth and food chain kind and then we have the shape-shifting dragons like Aiden who shift between man and dragon, Aiden’s clan live mainly in human form and live to hunt down the pure dragons. I like this because it’s always great to read about in air battles & it wouldn’t be much fun if it was left just to the humans. It also gives them a ready made rivalry. When we are with Bailey, the story feels dystopian/UF as they navigate the new world, scavenging and trying to stay alive. They are constantly under fire from not only dragons but other humans who are trying to survive just the same and will stop at nothing to obtain supplies. Then when we are with Aiden, it had a fantasy style feel because they lived in a fortress, battled, wore armour, had servants etc. I enjoyed both aspects and thought they blended well together by bringing Bailey and Aiden together in training sessions where we learn more about each world. Obviously it all heads to a showdown for Bailey to become what she must but to be far, it was like that all of the way through – battling dragons, running from dragons, watching dragons take other dragons out – but there is a little something extra in that last showdown to make me smile. So I really enjoyed this and will definitely look out for the sequel.

Thank you to Susan Illene for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

{Review} Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

23664731Posted by Donna
Release Date: September 3rd, 2015
Finished Date: September 18th, 2015
Publishers: Corgi Childrens
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

The Review: Everything Everything is a book that is highly popular right now and as soon as it released I just knew I wanted to read it. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and I’m glad I did because it’s definitely an interesting read.

Madeline Whittier has spent all of her life in doors because of condition. She’s allergic to the outside world. She has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease meaning she’s never allowed to leave her house otherwise she will die. She’s spent the past seventeen years in her protective life and even though she’s not a fan of it, she deals with it because it’s her life. But when a new family move next door, Maddie is curious about Olly and soon she finds herself wanting more from her life. Can Maddie ever dare to want more?

This was definitely a book I think everyone should read. I have to say it’s a first for me reading about someone with Maddie’s condition and it’s frightening. Both as a person and a parent. I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to live a life like that where you can’t even experience even the basic things that most people take for granted. 

I really liked Maddie and her story. She’s a very likable character and I felt so sorry for her when she tries to push down her hopes and wants because she knows it can never be possible to want more. Olly was a fantastic character and I loved how he was so open to Maddie’s condition. Their romance was a pleasure to read. It grew over time and I hated when they came across so many struggles. But I love that Maddie was willing to risk everything just to get that one happy moment. I’m always a firm believer that it’s the person’s decision on how they want to live their life so was happy when Maddie took control of hers. I honestly read this book believing that there was no hope for these two characters, even while reading it too. I just couldn’t see how the story would end. And then all of a sudden this BIG twist come that I honestly didn’t expect and it turned the story completely upside down. I don’t want to say any more but well done Nicola Yoon for creating a very unique story!

I have to say though I wasn’t a massive fan of the illustrations and diagrams etc. Yes, they were nice to look at but I don’t think they were necessary to the story. If anything they take me away from the story but I know this quite a popular theme nowadays. 

In all, I can see why so many people love this book so go see for yourself and read! 

3.5 stars!  

Thank you to Corgi Childrens for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

{Blog Tour} The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #3) by Julie Kagawa

25269825The Iron Warrior
by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 27th, 2015
Publishers: Mira Ink
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy 
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
The Iron Prince—my nephew—betrayed us all.

He killed me.

Then, I woke up.

Waking after a month on the brink of death, Ethan Chase is stunned to learn that the Veil that conceals the fey from human sight was temporarily torn away. Although humankind's glimpse of the world of Faery lasted just a brief moment, the human world has been cast into chaos, and the emotion and glamour produced by fear and wonder has renewed the tremendous power of the Forgotten Queen. Now, she is at the forefront of an uprising against the courts of Summer and Winter—a reckoning that will have cataclysmic effects on the Nevernever.

Leading the Lady's Forgotten Army is Keirran himself: Ethan's nephew, and the traitor son of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase.To stop Keirran, Ethan must disobey his sister once again as he and his girlfriend, Kenzie, search for answers long forgotten. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan's enemies must become his allies, and the world of the fey will be changed forevermore.

Julie Kagawa’s bookshelf post
The bookshelf in my office is where I keep a few of my favorite books, to-be-read books, research books, and of course the myriad of foreign editions of my own books.  They're arranged in no particular order, but shelf by shelf it goes like this: 

Top shelf: My books. From The Iron King to The Iron Warrior and all the books in between, this shelf is where the Julie Kagawa novels are proudly displayed. A few copies, anyway. There are literally dozens more scattered throughout the house, hiding among the other books, especially the foreign editions.  Good Lord, I have so many foreign editions, and I'm fast running out of shelf space.
Middle shelf: A few favourites that I like to go back to from time to time, and a few To-Be-Read books that I have moved to the top of the stack.  Someday, when I take a break, I will do nothing but sit back and read all those books calling my name. Someday.
Bottom shelf: How-to-write books, history books, non-fiction books, travel books. This is basically my research shelf.  Since several of my novels take place in real cities and I can't go gallivanting off to London at the drop of a hat, I do the next best thing and buy a travel guide with lots of pictures.  Not perfect, but better than getting some fact completely and totally wrong because of scanty research.  

Trophy bookshelf:  This is a special shelf where I like to keep a few unique items, such as my RITA trophy for The Iron King, or a few Grimalkin bookmarks from Japan.  The very first ARC of The Iron King, with a completely different cover, is also housed here.
The Iron Warrior is in shops now! Share your #TheIronWarrior experience

@Jkagawa @MIRAInk

Monday, 23 November 2015

{Review} Satyr from the Shadows (The Cursed Satyroi #3) by Rebekah Lewis

25753595Posted by Melanie
Release Date: July 31st, 2015 
Finished Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 358
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
Long ago, a nymph fell in love with a mere mortal destined to become a legendary hero. Until the gods saw fit to tear them apart and tamper with fate.

Everyone has heard the story of Daphne and Apollo, of her transformation into a laurel tree to escape his obsession. If only it were so simple. Held prisoner for thousands of years, Daphne is close to death until a last minute rescuer smuggles her out of Olympus and to Melancton, the satyr she loves.

Melancton has always preferred to be on his own, keeping to the shadows and maintaining a stoic appearance. Only Daphne can be the light to his darkness, and now that she's returned, the fear of losing her again shakes him. With grave danger lurking on the horizon, Melancton and the satyrs of The Aegean Inn prepare for battle, but the odds are stacked against them.

Meanwhile, Apollo enlists the aid of Dionysus in his determination to reclaim Daphne and punish those responsible for her disappearance. Is it possible to survive the fury of the gods?

The Review: This is the book in the series that I had been waiting for! Throughout the series we have been given snippets of the relationship between Melancton and Daphne – but never did I see the tragedy that their relationship was. I think readers of this series always knew that there was something more to Melancton than being one of Dionysus’s puppets and in the last book we see him make a devastating sacrifice for the sake of one of Pan’s Satyrs; he swore that he would stop trying to rescue Daphne (the nymph he loves) from Apollo otherwise he would forfeit his life. Hermes sees that Melancton has doomed himself for the sake of anothers’ happiness and decides to take matters into his own hands, goes to Olympus and frees Daphne from her prison and delivering her straight into Melancton’s bed. Obviously Apollo is furious - even if he doesn’t know who really took her – and with the help of Dionysus, he gains the aid of someone who track down anything. So he sets out to find Daphne, return her to his temple and kill Melancton in the process for reneging on their deal. Will the lovers survive or will Daphne be doomed to become one with the tree again? So, as I said – I have been waiting for this book. Melancton is quite the multi-layered man/satyr; He loves Daphne and would do anything to protect her – especially from Apollo – but has sort of given up hope of ever having her back in his arms. Some of the lengths he goes to for that love are totally heartbreaking which shows the depth of his love and faithfulness. He has spent centuries without her and that has made him a shell of what he could truly be. The same with Daphne; rather than give into Apollo and sleep with him, she starts to become one with a tree that she has been chained to for over 1500 yrs, longing for Melancton but determined never to be with Apollo for the wrong reasons. She too suffers for her love in a heartbreaking way and has given up because she doesn’t see a way out. When they are reunited , you see a change start to happen in both of them; first of all they must learn to be with each other again; then they both have some hang ups to clear up between each other. It’s clear that they love each other and that is shown in the good amount of sexytime between the pair. The story was really good. One of the things I loved was that we are given their full story, told through flashbacks that give a real insight into how they both found themselves to be in their current predicaments. I also liked that we see some of the time that Daphne spent with Apollo too, definitely a battle of wills. We have two major threads going on in the book – Melancton and Daphne reuniting – that was really good, they had to learn through each other and make exceptions for what each had gone through and there were some very sad moments that really pulled at the heartstrings. Then we have Apollo and his mysterious helper, traipsing about the world in an effort to find the lovers. When we are in Apollo’s POV we learn about his reasons for taking Daphne and why he wouldn’t let her go. It felt like he was going through some sort of precess to be able to let her go. I enjoyed the insight into Apollo’s mind but nothing will prepare you for the final showdown… it was shocking, it was brutal and violent with a solemnness that will affect most involved. I’m curious to see where things will go now especially for the new comer and a certain satyr – could that be the next couple? The author sure knows how to reel a girl in with these smexy satyrs! This was a great addition to the series though and I enjoyed it very much. 

4.5 stars!  

Thank you to Rebekah Lewis for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, 20 November 2015

{Review} Breaking Measures by Emma Raveling

26791896Posted by Melanie
Release Date: September 24th, 2015
Finished Date: October 2nd, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
On the fast track to international success, acclaimed concert pianist Leila Cates is close to achieving her dreams. But her path to certain stardom comes to a crashing halt when the body of her boyfriend, a world-renowned conductor, is discovered on the eve of her New York debut. When rumors about their relationship surface, Leila quickly becomes the primary suspect.

Desperate to clear her name, Leila sets out to uncover the truth. Enlisting the reluctant help of Orion Frazier, the lead detective on the case, their investigation soon entangles her in a world of secrets and lies.

With everything on the line, can Leila find the strength to face what she finds?  

A taut suspense thriller of dark secrets and even darker ambitions, Breaking Measures is a stand-alone prequel novella to A Woven Silence.

The Review: Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery filled with suspense? Well that’s exactly what you are getting with Breaking Measures…. And it’s soooo good!
We have an extremely talented pianist in our heroine – Leila Cates – and she is on the verge of huge success. Unfortunately she stumbles across her boyfriend in the act of the ultimate betrayal and it sends her into a tail spin. What should be the most important week of her life turns out to be the worst when after a very public spat with her boyfriend….. hours later, she finds him dead! Murdered in fact and Leila immediately becomes the prime suspect. Determined to find out the truth about Carlos and why someone would want him dead, she sets about looking for clues but ends up in danger herself when the murderer sets their sights on her.
This is a little different from what I’m used to from this author but her writing skills are evident as she captivates us with an edge of the seat thriller this time. I can’t say that I am totally in the know about all of the dealings of classical music, concerts, recitals and the business of running those things but I appreciated how it was used in the story. I thought Leila’s character was very likable and she seemed very genuine in a world where people’s egos are on show everyday. She was very dedicated to her art and had a very driven nature. She had an innocence about her and came across as a tad na├»ve for her age – possibly to do with her overbearing parents.
The story was very intriguing and as I mentioned – who doesn’t love a good whodunit? The story was set up really well before the murder when the public spat showed that more than one person could have motive for what was to happen. As Leila starts looking for clues, she uncovers more than she bargained for and her world is turned upside down and even though she finds one ally, she has to keep it together because as the saying goes – the show must go on. Obviously we aren’t going to find the culprit until the very end and the final showdown but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a line of suspects throughout the story, I was constantly trying to work out who it was an accused everyone she came into contact with. When Leila finds herself on the killers radar, there became a danger and urgency to solve the case that came across very well to the reader and really kept me on my toes. She did seem to share a connection to one of the policemen investigating Carlos’s murder, so I wonder if that would evolve into something – but there wasn’t any romance to be had.
When we finally have the reveal, there are a few twists and turns in Leila’s life too, bringing out many a skeleton from her closet and making her doubt everyone and this definitely gave the ending a bigger impact.
The story definitely had me intrigued all of the way through, trying to work out what was going on, who did it, what was the motive etc. I really didn’t see any of the reveals coming and thought it was a great mystery set against an interesting background of the professional classical music/musician/business. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it all in one go, I couldn’t put it down until I knew who did it and why. It would also make a very cool movie. 

Thank you to Emma Raveling for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

{Review} Angel Dares (Benedicts #5) by Joss Stirling

24685472Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 1st, 2015
Finished Date: October 30th, 2015
Publishers: Oxford University Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
Angel is impulsive. Disguising her savant ability to control water doesn't come easily to her. Then she meets the broodingly handsome Marcus at a music festival where they're both performing, and finds herself all at sea. For when he sings, her soul answers with its own music. Like the tide, their mutual attraction cannot be held back, but Marcus's mistrust of Angel's gift is even stronger. 

How can they ever be together if Marcus is unable to accept who Angel is or what they could mean to each other? And with the net closing in on the Savant community it's time for everyone to choose a side. 

A stunning new novel from the best-selling author of the Savants series: Finding Sky, Stealing Phoenix, Seeking Crystal and Misty Falls .

The Review: As soon as I finished Misty Falls I just knew that I had to start Angel Dares next because although Misty’s story was over, I was excited to see what would come next the Savant world and of course I wanted to get to Angel more and find out about her story. If I’m honest, I’m not really a massive fan of stories because based around music so I tried not to judge this book too much before reading and give it the benefit of the doubt and I’m surprised I enjoyed as much as I did. I think it definitely helps that the book is written by Joss Stirling though.

Like I said before, I really enjoyed reading Angel Dares. It's a great addition to the series and makes you more invested in these characters and their lives. Angel is such a fun character that you see all different sides to her personality during the story. She can be fun and honest at times but she can also be a little rash and by being so, leads her into trouble. But that's what makes this story so good. Angel is an unpredictable character so you just don't know what kind of trouble she's going to get into but you can guarantee, it'll be dangerous.

When Angel meets Marcus it's definitely a love-hate relationship but with a slight twist. Most of the other stories in the series have been about people that already know about the savant world because they're aware of their gifts. But what happens if someone doesn't know their a savant? And that's the case for Marcus. I really liked that Marcus didn't know anything about his gifts - it definitely put a strain on his and Angel's relationship but as a reader it was interesting to read. I also liked that Marcus' story brought new characters into the fold that weren't aware of their savant status. It makes me interested to know more about them! 

It's clear the savant world is becoming more and more dangerous but with every book I read, I can't help but wanting more. I'm eagerly awaiting details on Stirling's next book in the series and I can only hope she doesn't stop there either.

In all, Angel Dares is a daring and page-turning read and a story that you should definitely read! 

Thank you to Oxford University Press for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#129)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Donna's WoW
The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)
by Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: May 6th, 2016

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

  Donna's thoughts: The Wrath and the Dawn is one of my favourite books for 2015 so I guess you could see why I'd be excited about the sequel!

Melanie's WoW
25530110 Morrison (Caldwell Brothers #2)
by Chelsea Camaron 
Release Date: December 1st, 2015

The sizzling-hot Caldwell Brothers series—perfect for readers of J. S. Scott and Emma Chase—hits the Vegas strip as a bad-boy gambler from Detroit Rock City shows a single mom what it means to play for keeps.

For Morrison Caldwell, life is a game of chance. A high roller with a legendary poker face, he’s the wild card of the family, always chasing the next thrill and never staying put for long. The one place that always lures him back is Las Vegas, with its hot tables and even hotter women. He’s perfectly content to live his life as a series of one-night stands. But when a parking lot confrontation with a cocktail waitress takes a naughty turn, she leaves Morrison aching for another round. 

After a long losing streak in Sin City, Hailey Poe is ready to get lucky. A steamy tryst with a cocky, mysterious stranger is the kind of no-strings encounter she’s been craving . . . until Morrison Caldwell asks for more than she’s willing to offer. But when Hailey’s controlling, soon-to-be ex-husband tries to take her daughter away, she can’t afford to turn down a helping hand. In this winner-takes-all game, Morrison is gambling with Hailey’s life—and her heart.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Melanie's thoughts: I don't read many non paranormal books but I loved the first in this series so I can't wait for this.

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!