Saturday, 28 February 2015

{Review} Dog with a Bone (Black Dog #1) by Hailey Edwards

23211040Posted by Melanie 
Release Date: October 31st, 2014
Finished Date: February 18th, 2015
Publishers: Self Published 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 100
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US

Half-bloods with Thierry’s skill set are given two options. They can join the conclave’s marshal program, or they can pack their bags. Turn down the job offer, and you’ve just shredded your residency pass for the mortal realm and booked yourself a one-way ticket to Faerie.

Texas is the only home Thierry has ever known, and she’s not going anywhere. Even if it means following in her notorious father’s footsteps as a peacekeeper. 

But pinning on the badge opens her eyes to the fact sometimes fae need protection too, and that sometimes humans are the real monsters.

The Review: Dog with a Bone is the first book in the Black Dog series and what an opener it was !
We meet Thierry Thackerey in the thick of her qualifying exam to become a Marshall, failure is not an option for her considering the program is the only place that offered her sanctuary when her gift manifested. She has been trained by Shaw who is an incubus and let’s just say….. his lure isn’t the only thing that draws Thierry to him. He’s her friend and one of the only ones who’s immune to her gift making him perfect to train her. They share a mutual attraction but nothing can come of it whilst she is still his student but come graduation… he won’t be staying in the friend zone for much longer if Thierry has her way.
After successfully qualifying to become a Marshall, she is partnered with Shaw for a few weeks of on the job training but when they head out to their first assignment…. It turns out to be bigger than any of them ever expected.

I honestly loved this book, I loved everything about it. Thierry was the sort of heroine one could really route for and has all of the traits a good UF leading lady should have – awesome power, kick ass moves, sense of humour and of course a hot sidekick/partner. She is more than capable of doing her new job and you can tell that she is gutsy and willing to take a risk to do what’s right. I liked the love connection with Shaw, her power actually compliments his and they have a very easy going camaraderie going on where they are attune with how the other thinks, making them perfect partners to work together. Not only that but they have a forbidden love thing about them too with Shaw being her trainer and her being the student…. I love this type of love connection and with the way they know each other it just makes sense that they would seek each other for love. They give us a few hot moments throughout the book when they give out a ‘will they, won’t they’ vibe and I’m quite looking forward to seeing their relationship develop.
With this being the first in a series it is very much a getting to know you and your world book but unlike some, it isn’t overloaded with information and the story shines through. The job Thierry is aiming for as Marshall is to police the Fae of the world, humans are still in the dark about it and everyone wants it to stay that way so the Marshalls keep the peace. Thierry is a half breed so has her foot in both worlds and that gives her an edge in her job because she can view things from both points of view but her investigation does make you wonder who the bad guys really are – Fae or Human? I thought the investigative thread of the story was fab! I love anything like that and it is probably why I love UF like I do. This story kept me engrossed in the book, I wanted to know what was going on and the more into the story we got, the more we were introduced to different species and enveloped in the world. The plot definitely kept me on my toes with plenty of action and mystery, leading to secrets being revealed and I was kept guessing right up until the end about what had happened, so when you add to that great pacing, great characters and a sprinkle of love…. I’m well happy. I thought this was a great introduction to the series, it has tons of potential but I want a longer story next time and maybe more of Thierry’s background so that I can really get behind her. 

4.5 flowers! 

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

Friday, 27 February 2015

{Blog Tour + Kindle Giveaway} Rebecca Newton and the Last Oracle by Mario Routi (UK only)

20567230Rebecca Newton and the Last Oracle by Mario Routi 
Release Date: April 4th, 2015
Publishers: Oak Tree Press, UK
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Rebecca’s life is about to change!

In the beginning, the ancient Gods created not just the earth. They also created three other worlds: the Elysian Fields, a paradise where they themselves live; Tartarus, the dark world of demons and Titans, ruled over by the ancient deity Cronus; and finally the Land of the White Sun, where all the heroes and creatures of myth dwell – Centaurs and Minotaurs, Cyclopes and Gorgons, Amazons and flying horses! In this land the Creator planted the Sacred Flame, the Cosmic Source that keeps the universe in balance and must be protected from the Dark monsters and Evil Gods who desire to seize it, in order to destroy all the worlds.

Hearing that Rebecca is charismatic, Turgoth, ruler of the kingdom of Beast, arranges for her abduction. When the two of them come face to face, they realise that there is a strange bond between them and their destinies become entwined forever. But although they start to share deep feelings for each other, they are doomed to fight on opposite sides...

Rebecca Newton and the Sacred Flame is a tale of epic wars, grand passions, mythical creatures and ancient Gods – an adventure story which reaches to the core of what we mean when we speak of “Good” and “Evil”. 

To celebrate the release of his second YA fantasy, Rebecca Newton and the Scared Flame with have author Mario Routi here with us today who will be answering a few of our questions;

1)   How did you come with the idea for the series?
I’d wanted to write the series for a few years.  Several paranormal experiences turned the flame on, but one of these was a chance encounter with an old man in a restaurant many years ago.  He read my first adult book, Orizon, also based in world of Rebecca Newton, and claimed that the place was real and that he’d been there!  As well as that, a life-long love of fantasy fiction inspired me to pick up my pen and give this series a go.

2)   How long does it take to you to write a book?
It takes me about a year to write a book. I make a rough mapping for the plot – where I want the story to go, end up and how I want my characters to behave.  Once I get started, however, I let myself relax and let the story go where it pleases, all the while checking back that I’m keeping to the rough ‘map’. 

3)   Which was the most challenging thing about this book to write?
I think the most tricky thing is to keep a good balance between description and action. I love writing both, but you need the right balance to keep the story moving but give it life. 

4)   Do you have a favourite character from the book? 
Rebecca is of course my little girl, but I see a lot of myself in Turgoth.

5)   Do you have a favourite quote from the book?
I do! It’s short, but to the point! ‘Souls are immortal!’

6)   Whatʼs next for you?
I'm currently on the 3rd book of the Rebecca Newton Saga. Once that's done, I guess there will be another Mythical Epic Fantasy – watch this space!

To celebrate the publication of Rebecca Newton and the Last Oracle, I have a brand new kindle and a copy of the book to give away to one lucky reader. 

To be in with a chance of winning, simply tweet your answer to the this question:

‘If you were granted one superpower, what would it be?’

to @BookPforLife and @MarioRouti using the hashtag #RebeccaNewton

The giveaway is UK only! 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

{Review} Becoming Rain (Burying Water #2) by K.A. Tucker

22609610Posted by Donna
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Finished Date: February 25th, 2015
Publishers: Atria Books
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set-one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game-at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to. 

The Review: Is it just me or are there simply not enough books out by K.A. Tucker? Every time I finish one of her books I left want more and that’s because her stories are so addictive and, Becoming Rain is just as addictive as the rest!

Luke Boone knows his Uncle Rust’s business isn’t legal but he doesn’t care, whatever Rust is up to he wants in on it because he wants the lifestyle that comes with it – fast cars, fast girls and fast money. 

Clara Bertelli has just been given the opportunity of her career and that’s to take down the people who are running car theft rings within the west coast. Now undercover and posing as Rain Martines, she is ready for her assignment and that’s to get close to Luke Boone. But as Clara gets more involved with Luke, it’s hard to keep her two lives separate especially when she starts falling for her target when she discovers that Luke isn’t what he seems…..

Another fantastic read by K.A. Tucker! Although I do prefer her Ten Tiny Breaths series just because I find them lighter reads than this series, this is still another amazing read and a series that you can really get hooked into. 

Becoming Rain was definitely a faster paced book than Burying Water and I really enjoyed it. I loved that I was able to get stuck right into the story and root for the characters from the moment I started and there wasn’t too much of a back story. Maybe this was because I was already familiar with Luke’s character because he stared in Burying Water and Clara was an easy character to like as well as a strong role model. But either way, I definitely enjoyed reading their story more. 

It was great watching Luke and Clara's relationship develop. Luke isn't a very trusting person and seeing how he opens up to Clara bit by bit just made me love him all the more. Even though Clara was keeping a lot of secrets, you could tell how much she started to fall for Luke too. She sees that he is not what the FBI seem to think and because of that, she puts a lot of fate in him. They were a great couple to read about! And of course it was great seeing how Alex and Jesse were doing too.

In all, Becoming Rain is a fast-paced and romance filled book and I loved every minute of it. I'm eager to see who book three will be about though, I thought maybe Elmira or even Warren? Either way, I can't wait! 

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

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#105)

 
"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
17404295
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2)
by Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 13th, 2015

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

Donna's thoughts: I need this book like now. October seems too far away. I need more Theron! 

Melanie's WoW

15816410Grave Visions (Alex Craft #4)
by Kalayna Price
Release Date: March 25th 2015

Grave Visions by Kalayna Price is the much-anticipated fourth installment in the kick-ass urban fantasy series about Alex Craft, a grave witch who can communicate with the dead. 

If you want to hear voices from the dead in Nekros City, you call Alex Craft. She's a Grave Witch with reasonable rates and extraordinary powers, who specializes in revealing the secrets of the dead. But now she's the one fighting to keep her own secret. She's not human—and her newly discovered heritage is causing havoc for her both in the human realm and in Faerie. But her status as an unaffiliated fae also makes her an ideal candidate to investigate a new street drug that has surfaced in several of the spaces between the human and fae worlds. 

This glamour-infused drug causes hallucinations that turn real—at least for a while and often with deadly consequences. Searching for the source of this drug—and its purpose—lands Alex front and center in the conflict brewing in Faerie and she must find answers before she's dragged so deep she loses her freedom.

Melanie's thoughts: I've been waiting for this book for about two years if not longer! It's such a fab UF series and I was hooked from the start and I'm definitely shipping Alex & Death. hopefully the March release date doesn't get pushed back again (fingers crossed)

<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!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

{Blog Tour} Hilary Freeman; #UKYA Extravaganza



Author Interview with Hilary Freeman


1) You’ve written several books, which was your favourite to write? 
That’s a tough question. They’ve all been enjoyable and also frustrating/difficult in their own ways. Loving Danny, about a girl who falls in love with an edgy musician, was my most autobiographical book - so it was fun to use my real experiences and fictionalise them - and also the first, so I didn’t really know what I was doing, which was quite liberating.

I liked writing the voice of my main character in Don’t Ask, which is about a girl who gets herself into a big mess trying to find out some secret information about her boyfriend by inventing a new identity on social media. She was fun to write as she was quite mischievous.
2961799
But I probably enjoyed writing Lifted most because I was able to play with different styles: a mixture of third person chapters from several perspectives, as well as first person blogs. It made the writing process more interesting.

2) How do you come up with the ideas for your books?
My ideas can be triggered by anything - my work as a journalist and agony aunt, something I hear on the radio, a news story, something that happened to me, a picture I see, or something somebody tells me, even just a phrase that I like. Something will capture my imagination and then, over the next few weeks or months, a story will start to grow in my head, complete with its characters. There’s no formula and you can’t predict how or when it will happen. And not all the ideas are good ones. It’s definitely not a science!

3) How long does it take to you to write a book?
That’s difficult to say because I rarely have the luxury of working full time on them; I juggle my book writing with my work as a journalist and agony aunt. I usually dedicate Sundays to writing and take a few weeks off here and there to do big chunks. The more time I have to write, the more I write because once I’m ‘in the zone’ I speed up. I write an average of 1000 words a day, sometimes 2000 or even 3000 if I’m really steaming. It can take up to a year to write my first draft - unlike many writers, I only do one draft, editing as I go along -  but if I was doing it full time, it would probably be possible in three months or so. 

4) Which was the most challenging book to write?
7993173My latest book, When I was Me, which is coming out in the autumn, was probably the most complicated in terms of its plot - it’s a psychological thriller and the main character wakes up one morning to discover her life isn’t her own. Reflecting her confusion and panic, and creating tension, without making it too confusing or giving too much away, was a challenge. The book also deals with quite heavy themes, like philosophy and physics, which I had to convey in simple terms that a teenager could understand, and in the voice of a 17-year-old. 

5) Do you have a favourite character or couple to write about? 
My favourite character is probably Noah from Lifted, my novel about a shoplifting blogger. He’s a noble, lovable, gangly computer geek who makes a big sacrifice for his best friend, even though she takes him for granted and barely notices him. Lots of people have told me they really liked Noah. He’s the guy I wish I’d known when I was a teenager.

6) Do you have a favourite quote from any of your books?
17276271Ooh, that’s tricky. Now you’ve asked that, I can’t think of a single quote from any of my books. (This is why I hated doing English exams; terrible memory for quotes. Actually, terrible memory full stop: sometimes I can’t remember my own characters’ names!) The line which lots of readers seem to like best is the opening line of Loving Danny: ‘Isn't it weird how the truly significant moments of your life often begin as the most banal?’ I think it strikes a chord because we’re all aware that the most important, life changing things that happen often come out of the blue and seem trivial at the time. We never know what’s going to develop from them. The same idea: that tiny decisions can have big consequences is explored in more depth in When I was Me.

7) Out of all your book covers, which is your favourite?
I really like the covers for my Camden Town Tales series: The Celeb Next Door, Stuck on Me and The Boy from France. They’re very pretty to look at, with gorgeous designs and colours, and they work so well together. The little motifs that decorate them - like bracelets and converse and flowers - reflect Camden Town and, hopefully, really appeal to their target readership too.

8) What’s next for you?
I’m just at the editing stage for When I was Me, and then I’ll have to start publicising it. It’s always exciting waiting for a new book to come out. As for writing, I have a few ideas, including an adult thriller set in the South of France, but I haven’t started writing it yet. Watch this space….

Monday, 23 February 2015

{Review} Locked in Stone (Hearts of Stone #1) by Tory Michaels

24804321Posted by Melanie
Release Date: February 23rd, 2015
Finished Date: February 15th, 2015
Publishers: Entangled: Covet
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 200
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

A paranormal category romance from Entangled's Covet imprint…

Her enemy is her only hope...

Rose Johnson's adoptive mother was murdered, and Rose is next. She may be the last gargoyle in the world—the last being who stands between this world and the evils of Otherworld. In order to keep her existence a continued secret, Rose needs to find the stone that holds her adoptive mother's soul. Which means enlisting the help of her enemies the Sentinels...

Sentinel Cal Levesque never forgave himself for failing Rose's family years ago. Seeing Rose alive is shock enough, until the stunningly beautiful gargoyle attacks him upon sight. As they strike an uneasy peace—and unexpected and escalating attraction—Cal knows he'll have to tell Rose who really betrayed her family. And with Rose's life in greater danger than ever, Cal has a chance to make up for the past...as long he doesn't fall in love.

The Review: Locked in Stone is a great paranormal romance and as the title would suggest…. Has Gargoyles!
As the synopsis tells us, Rose Johnson is forced to ask for protection from the Sentinels after the death of her adoptive mother and presuming that she is next. The Sentinels are more than happy to help when it is revealed that she is a Gargoyle and a special one at that. Rose has always been lead to believe that she is the last Gargoyle alive and that the Sentinels are the enemy but she needs their help in finding a stone that holds her adoptive mothers’ soul so that her secret remains intact. It doesn’t help that the first Sentinel she comes upon is the one who should have protected her real mother when she was a child.
Cal Levesque is a Sentinel who never forgave himself for the death of Rose’s family, he was meant to protect them and he is stunned to find Rose standing there when she had been presumed dead for years. She is no longer the young girl he used to know, she is now a woman who is more than capable of looking after herself but everything in him screams that she must be protected…. Not to mention the electric connection they seem to share. When they decide to help Rose with her mission he sees it as a chance to finally prove that he can do his job right…. But will history repeat itself? There are some shocks in store for them both as they try to triumph over evil.
I really enjoyed this story and thought it was a great start to the series and showed some good potential. Whilst Gargoyles seem to be becoming popular, I haven’t really read many stories with them in so that gives me a fresh and different read which is always welcome. I really liked the idea of the story, Gargoyles keep the veil between Earth and the Otherworld intact so that evil and its creatures can’t seep through. Whenever there is a break in the veil (a rift) it’s up to a special kind of Gargoyle to repair it and up to Sentinels to keep those ‘mothers’ safe from what comes through. Rose just happens to be one of those who can repair it but doesn’t know anything about it because of the circumstances of her upbringing and it’s through that, that she is led to believe she is the only one left. As soon as we meet Rose, we see that she is kick ass! She has a very streetwise way about her, a hardness that says she is a survivor and a free spirit that will bow to no-one – just the way I love my leading ladies to be. She has a great attitude also and shows very little vulnerability so when Cal comes along, she is a little swept away by the new feelings that he stirs. Cal is astounded to see Rose alive but he always remembered her and lived with the guilt of not saving her family so in the beginning we have to wonder if it is his sense of duty that makes him want to protect Rose… but at the chemistry between them heats up, it’s clear to see we have a love match going on. I was more than happy with this because they made a great pair and brought a sprinkle of romance to the story.
Obviously bad things will happen that will test them and showed us just how they all work together. We have enemies in the form of demons, witches, vampires, necromancers etc. and they all bring some sort of danger to our MCs. We see the rift happening and how they deal with it, see just how innate Rose’s power and instincts are. Cal also has a special gift that we see in action too which I thought was really intriguing and made me wonder just what the other Sentinels will be capable of doing. The whole idea of searching for her adoptive mothers’ soul stone is to keep Rose off everyone's radar but that sort of gets messed up quickly and gives the feeling that a countdown has begun with Rose now in the enemies sights. They have to battle for their lives numerous times bringing a lot of action to the story as Rose becomes reckless and Cal is burdened with guilt and opposing responsibilities forcing them to re-evaluate a lot of things. As we come to a shocking conclusion though, we will have learned a whole lot of secrets, truths and lies. The ending, even though tied up well and answering a lot of questions raised throughout has a small cliffhanger, nothing major but an awesome segway into the next book – which I will definitely be looking out for. 

Thank you to Entangled: Covet for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

{Review} Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oak #5) by Miranda Kenneally

23750981Posted by Donna
Release Date: April 7th, 2015
Finished Date: September 10th, 2014
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 320
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

"Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet." — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You 

The Review: I adore this series and I’ve said before but with each book I believe Miranda Kenneally’s work gets better and better and Breathe, Annie, Breathe has to be my favourite to date! 

This story follows Annie, a girl that is trying to escape her boyfriend’s death by running a marathon that Kyle was planning on racing in. In doing this race Annie hopes to leave the all the guilt behind and somehow find some peace, but when Annie hires a running coach to help her get into shape, she becomes even more guilty for her sudden feelings for Jeremiah who is slowly becoming her rock during training. Can Annie find the peace she needs but also find the strength to move on?

Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an adorable and cute read but it’s also one packed with emotions. Annie’s story is about loss, grief and finding the will to move on after a death, but it’s also a hopeful one in the sense that good things can come even at a difficult time. 
There were plenty of times during this story that I was nearly in tears for Annie and the hard times she had to overcome, but she also made me respect her because of her strong willed mind and her determination to do the impossible and push her body to the maximum limits. I really connected with her as a character, like I end up doing with all of Miranda’s characters and that’s because she writes such relate able leads. 

I really liked Jeremiah as well and how well he’s grown since Things I Can’t Forget. I bet you’re thinking what? Yep, he’s Matt’s little brother. And yes we do get to see how Kate and Matt are doing too. 

In all, there are only a few go-to authors for me and Miranda Kenneally is definitely one of them. Bring on Jesse’s Girl. 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.