Tuesday 31 March 2020

Ten Signs That You're A Book Lover


You always have a book on you. 
It doesn't matter whether it's a physical book, an ereader, or a reading/audiobook app on your phone, you are never without the ability to consume a story. 

You collect bookish things (and in some cases have no idea what to do with them!)

You say things like, "it's not as good as the book," when watching tv/movie adaptations and you're not even sorry. 


You already own more books than you can read in a year (or, you know, ten) but you still pile more on because you'll get to them eventually.


Libraries and bookstores are your happy places (and leaving without a new book is just rude.)


You'd rather read than talk to people or go out and do stuff that involves interacting with people.

You know that anything can be used as a bookmark.

You really want to read a book but you keep putting it off because of the anticipation/expectation/fear etc. If you don't read it, it can't disappoint you! But if you don't read it you'll never know how awesome it can be! Argh, the dilemma! 

You understand that reading is not "doing nothing."
And you won't judge your fellow book lover for nutting the one stupid enough to suggest it is...


You'll never understand the person that doesn't like books...


What have I missed?
😀
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Monday 30 March 2020

Hunting Fiends For The Ill-Equipped by Annette Marie


*Some spoilers for other books in both Guild Codex series ahead!*
 Sorry, they're getting unavoidable.



I thought I understood power.

My parents taught me that magic attracts equal danger, and everything I've seen since becoming a demon contractor confirms it. I've witnessed how power twists and corrupts--and I've tasted power no human should wield.

I thought I knew greed.

Ambition and avarice drove my family into hiding. My parents died for someone else's greed. I've never hunted anything in my life, but now I'm hunting their killer--with my demon's help.

I thought I'd seen evil.

But with each step closer to my parents' murderer, I'm uncovering a different sort of evil, piece by hidden piece. I've stumbled into an insidious web that silently, secretly ensnares everything it touches. My demon and I came as the hunters...

...but I think we might be the prey.


*eARC provided by author*

OMG! This book just about killed me! It was perfect!
Packed full of Robin and Zylas goodness and I am shook, people. Shook!
There was so much packed into the story... I don't even know how to begin to convey how much I loved this instalment.
It had everything I wanted and some stuff I barely dared to hope for!

The first third of Hunting Fiends overlaps with events in Druid Vices and A Vodka (GC: Spellbound series).
You get to see key moments from Robin and Zylas's pov and it brings a whole other dimension to what's been going on in the world.

Robin and Zylas's relationship evolves in a major way and my little shipper heart almost exploded from happiness! We finally get to peel back layers of guardedness and mistrust and find their soft squishy centres. The relationship these two are building is amazing and it's made even more special with a huge reveal about why it's forbidden to summon 12th house demons!
(I'm betting the why they can do what they do is also very interesting but I guess we have one more book to wait and see if I'm right on my suspicion relating to Robin's ancestor!)

Honestly, there was just so much in this book, I don't even know how to talk about it...
There are lots of revelations about the Athana's sorcerers, Amalia is actually useful and we get to see more of Kit and Leiana (from an upcoming spin-off series).
Things reach a boiling point with Claude (aka Mr Evil Bastard) and I fear for Zylas in the next book due to something he did to protect Robin...
Most important of all there's lots and lots of Ezra!! And not just Ezra, Eterran!!
Yep, that's right folks! Ezra and his demon are out the closet to Robin and her demon and they actually work together! It was amazing! I loved seeing Ezra separate from Tori, Kai and Aaron. He's still our beautiful sweet Ezra but he has a harder edge in this book driven I assume from desperation as I have no idea how much longer he and Eterran can hold on...

The end is in sight!
It's foot fully down on the throttle now and I'm both terrified for and super hopeful that all our lovelies will make it through this together and in one piece!
That may be misplaced optimism but I NEED to believe it.
There's going to be hard-decisions and sacrifice to come but I have faith that Annette Marie will bring it home in a way that doesn't shatter our souls...

Honestly, if you've spent more than five minutes on this blog, you'll know how much I love the Guild Codex series so it's almost pointless to say I really recommend it but I REALLY RECOMMEND IT!
😁
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Tuesday 24 March 2020

(Top Ten Tuesday) British Romance Authors!


For this week's genre freebie I've decided to list 10 British authors who write romances that I adore!

Why British authors you may ask? 
Well, I am British and I love romance! However, most of the authors I read tend to be American and that just seems... Not wrong but a little unloyal to my compatriots so this is my shout out to them. 
I see you and I read you! 
(Although it was more than a little bit difficult to find you on my kindle... Sorry!)

 Jodi Ellen Malpas

Okay, so Malpas is probably a bad place to start since she's well known on a global romance reading scale... But still, she's British so she totally counts for this list.

Emma Hart

Another romance author who is British but writes mostly American based romances... I guess it is a massive market and you write to your audience! 

Tillie Cole

Oh bloody hell... Okay, I know. Another British romance author who writes books not based in the UK but at least a fair few of them have British characters! (Or, at least, Sweet Home/Rome and Eternally North do!)

Talia Hibbert

Okay, confession time, I haven't actually read any of Hibbert's books but I love her twitter game, she's British and I DO have Get A Life, Chloe Brown on the TBR just waiting on me reading it.
Fingers crossed she actually bases some books here or this list is going off the rails rather quickly... 😐

Lindsey Kelk

Kelk's I Heart series will forever be a favourite even though it dives down the rabbit hole more times than I can count... And I'm totally ignoring the fact that the main character Angela runs away to America. She is British and Kelk writes quirky British gals perfectly!

🌻

Okay... Need to dig deeper now... Need British authors who write about British characters in Britain!
Or else I'm not doing a very good job of shouting 'mon the Brits!

Actually, now I come to think of it...

Giovanna Fletcher

Giovanna Fletcher is one of those awesome people who is unashamedly herself and has an awesome social media game. She's married to Tom Fletcher from the band McFly and she writes nice contemporary romances (which I've enjoyed) as well as writing non-fiction books on motherhood. 
She also writes YA books with her husband but I haven't read those. 

Katie Fford

Fford is one of those authors that I read everything she had to offer back in my late teens and early twenties with one complaint - the characters were "too old" (being in their late 20s-30s). Now, 15 years later, my perspective is very different, lol. I haven't read her books in a long time but I've recently acquired her newer ones so we'll see how it goes now "I'm older"...

Jaimie Admans

Jaimie writes lovely uncomplicated romances that make me smile from start to finish. 
Each is different but delivers a low drama HEA.

Carla Burgess

Carla's books are sweet and addictive! I've adored all I've read and can't wait to catch up with those I haven't. (I'm side-eyeing you, Stuck With You...)

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Monday 23 March 2020

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #3)


Spoilers ahead! You've been warned! 





I could smell her fear, and it satisfied something deep inside me that had been writhing under her cool, superior gaze. I curled my upper lip so she could get a good look at my sharp teeth. I might only weigh thirty or so pounds in my coyote shape, but I was a predator...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape - but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.

Mercy's loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can't decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her...


OMG! How much did I love this book? Lots and lots and lots.
But it also broke my freakin’ heart! 

I don’t know where to start talking about this book. I want to jump straight to the end but can’t. I need to talk about the before then the after… So, we had the intro to the world in book one, an up close and personal with the vampires in book two and here in book three all things fae come to the forefront of the series.

Mercy has a favour called in by the fae and when things go horribly wrong she sets out to save her friend and mentor - Zee - from being used as a scapegoat for the Grey Lords (hidden rulers of the fae).
On top of this, things are coming to a head in Mercy’s love life and she has to make her choice between Adam (the pack Alpha) and Sam (past love and the Marrok’s son). Thankfully, things go the sensible way in that regard and Briggs managed to resolve it in a way that didn’t cut the other out of her life which was awesome.

The book is pretty action packed and it was completely engrossing.
The characters are becoming more beloved and their backstories and personalities are developing beautifully. The “bad guy” I guessed surprisingly early but what I couldn’t work out is how he did it but was thoroughly enjoying how it all played out… Then something truly despicable happens to Mercy and even though I knew it happened before reading - so spent a whole load of the book on edge waiting for it - I still wasn’t prepared. No one should suffer through that but Briggs handled it well.

I was so upset and angry… Rape isn’t something that is ever easy to read about but the insidiousness of what happened to Mercy was brutal. Wonderful, strong Mercy broke and no one could blame her but then she picked herself up and started to piece herself together. The healing, I imagine, will take a long time but she has amazing people around her who will help her through.

Adam and his pack knocked it out of the park in this book. They rallied behind Mercy, supported her and protected her as best they could. In the beginning of the series, I wasn’t a fan of any of Adam’s wolves (except Warren) but they’ve grown on me and now I adore so many. Especially Ben! (Now I just need the reason he truly left London answered and I’ll be happy! For after this book  there is no way he did what he is accused of.)

I have no idea what to expect next. I have no idea how the events of this book will impact upon Mercy and her relationship with Adam but I have faith in them. Adam will be whatever she needs him to be, I’m sure of it. I’m also 100% sure Adam, Sam and the rest of the werewolves are going to go into super protective mode and that’s going to cause Mercy untold headaches!

Iron Kissed was a wonderfully written but in the end a tough read. It definitely stepped the series up to another level and I am so excited to continue the series!

Favourite Quotes

“Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to my face when I push them down a flight of stairs.”

💬

“When things started to get dangerous, it was important to have people who knew as much as you did. That way, when you stupidly got yourself killed, someone would have a starting place to look for your murderer.”

💬

“There's something really disturbing about finding out how little you really know about something you felt like you were an expert on.”
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Saturday 21 March 2020

Dark Tempest by Annette Marie (Red Winter #2)


*Possible minor spoilers for Red Winter (book 1) ahead!*





Emi has dedicated her life to becoming the perfect vessel for the goddess Amaterasu, but the insidious betrayal of another deity has changed everything. Now Amaterasu has charged Emi with an urgent mission: to find and free the earthly gods before mankind is brought to its knees beneath divine tyranny.

At her side is Shiro, the mysterious fox spirit. When she first saved his life, she could never have imagined that behind his cunning and confidence, he was lost—his power bound by a devastating curse and his memories obscured. His veiled history is somehow tied to the missing gods, but he can't remember how or why.

As their search leads them into the murky depths of the spirit realm, the shadows of Shiro's past begin to emerge. With each brief awakening of his true self, she loses a little more of him. The fate of the heavens and earth rest in her mortal hands, and she must find the missing gods before time runs out for her world—and for Shiro.


Dark Tempest picks up days after the events of Red Winter and see’s Emi having to convince the shrine guardians of Amaterasu that Izanami and the other Amatsukami - think god-like beings from the heavenly realm - are up to evil and that Amaterasu has given her a mission to find and free the missing Kunitsukami - god-like beings of the Earthly realm - before it’s all too late.
Basically, Emi has to complete mission impossible... But she is not alone!
She has allies within the shrine, she has friends/allies amongst the yokai and she is a spirited and brave young woman who won't give up without a fight! She’ll do what she must to serve her Kami and prevent Izanami from destroying the world.

Like Red Winter, Dark Tempest has a slow beginning as Emi tries to enlighten the shrine guardians of what's really going on, however, once she sets off with Shiro and Yumai (two powerful yokai) to do what she must, the action kicks into high gear.

Emi’s power is increasing, her bond with Shiro is growing and the stakes have never been higher!
 She is intelligent, fierce and loyal and I adore her!
 She started this series a super sheltered girl studiously preparing herself to be the perfect vessel for Amaterasu without a thought for herself and within a few short weeks, her entire world is flipped on its head as she's essentially thrust into a war between god-like beings.
Given her upbringing she should be hiding behind a cascade of shrine warriors and delicately rocking in a corner, not fighting monsters and beings from myth and legend in order to save the world - but she does! She rises to the occasion. She knows what the ultimate price will be and she will pay it.

We find out who Shiro really is, we find out more about Yumai, we meet other powerful Yokai and the mystery surrounding what happened to the Kunitsukami is unravelled!
Dark Tempest leaves everyone with much still to do but Emi’s list of allies is growing as we head towards the conclusion.

I have no idea how this series can have a happy ending for our star crossed lovers - Emi and Shiro - but I’m not entirely convinced it’s supposed to… Which makes me sad as the pair of them deserve happiness. (Their friendship, banter and budding romance is just everything.)

Annette Marie has created something beautiful and truly special with this series... The world-building is fantastic and the characters slip inside your soul and take root.
I cannot wait to read how it ends!
If you love fantasy tales or Japanese folklore, you need to read this!

Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller

Favourite Quotes

“What about death is to be feared? The burdens of life can be so great that it would be a comfort to know that someday it will end...that someday, we will have earned final rest.”

💬

“Are you ready to die?”
“No,” she whispered.
“Then rise and take up your sword.”
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Friday 20 March 2020

The Book Blogger Hop Collection! #1


The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Billy at the Coffee Addicted Writer.
I often participate in the hops but sometimes I don't have a lot to say to the questions - thus it doesn't make a very good blog post - so I don't join in.
Well, like what I did with the Tell Me Something Tuesday prompts a couple of weeks ago, I've decided to bunch some of the past questions up and answer them all at once!

 If you could add one interactive feature to reading books, what would it be?

The ability to tap on a word and hear how it's pronounced!

Other than book reviews, what do you feature on your blog? 

Other than book reviews, I take part in bookish memes (such as this one), I join the Sunday Post every week and I occasionally post cover reveals and take part in book blitzes if the book or author interests me or is a favourite. 

At the moment, the only non-bookish thing I share on my blog regularly is my family adventure posts where I share some pictures and details of days out to interesting places.

When did you first know you’re truly a bookworm? Did you lose sleep over a novel?

I've lost sleep over many novels but losing sleep over a book wasn't the moment I realised I was "truly" a bookworm. I actually have no idea when I realised I was a bookworm... It was probably when I left home to start university and would rather stay in and read than go out drinking.

What is your go-to recommendation for someone who doesn’t read often?

I don't have one and I'd find it impossible for no book is a catch-all for every single person!
In order to recommend a book for someone, you need to know a bit about them and where their interests lie. 

 What were some of the most memorable books you read as a child? What made them memorable?

I honestly don't remember a lot of books I read as a child beyond things I read in school like The Witches, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Terry Pratchet's Diggers, Truckers and Wings. 

The one book from my childhood that really jumps out at me is one called Both Sides of Time by Caroline B Cooney. 
It was a YA time-travelling adventure with a doomed romantic element... It's probably the beginning of my romance reading fixation and I'm going to read it again one day and see if it's as I remember.

Name one book being released in 2020 that you would prefer to skip.

I have no idea... The only books I maintain any real awareness of are ones I'm waiting on releasing because I want to read them!

I guess one release I kept hearing about but couldn't care less if I tried is Karen McManus One of Us Is Next.

 What is your opinion of bibliotherapy? Do you think this is a useful way of dealing with psychological issues?

I have no idea what bibliotherapy actually is so I can't really comment!
However, I do personally find reading to be a wonderful thing for my own mental health so if it involves using books to work through your issues then I don't see why it wouldn't be useful!

 Do you talk to strangers about books especially when you see someone reading a book?

No, talking to strangers out in the wild is my idea of torture and if a random person were to start gibbering at me about whatever book I was reading (say on a train or something) I'd want nothing more than for them to shut up and leave me alone. 
(Oh wow, reading that back it seems really harsh... But sadly, true.)

Do you think that readers make better employees, as opposed to non-readers? Why or why not?

I fail to see what difference being a reader makes to a person's performance at work with the exclusion of those who work in bookshops or libraries.

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Monday 16 March 2020

The Duchess Deal & The Governess Game by Tessa Dare


Both The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game are full-length Regency romances from Tessa Dare. Her books are well written, full of humour and both her leading ladies and her men are loveable and easy to like.

I don't know how long my regency kick is going to last but I can definitely see why Tessa Dare gets a lot of love from fans of the genre!
The Girl Meets Duke series is one I'll definitely be continuing to read.

🌻


*ebook*


When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…


This book felt like a regency retelling of Beauty and The Beast! I’m not sure that it was supposed to be a retelling but that doesn’t change the fact that it triggered B&B vibes in my brain!

You’ve got a seriously battle-scarred Duke who is bitter and grumpy expertly manoeuvring a kind natured young woman into marrying him as he desperately needs an heir.
The deal is that once he has an heir, she needn't ever share his bed but she’ll be taken care of for the rest of her life and expected to raise the child well.
Sounds like a sweet deal right? Especially when you’re estranged from your family and barely making ends meet as a seamstress!

I love that Dare doesn’t dilly-dally in getting to the point. The Duke (aka Ash) and Emma meet in the first few pages and they’re married within a few chapters. It’s quick and transactional just like it’s supposed to be because all the fun stuff comes after they’re married!

Ash has a heart but it has been badly damaged by people’s cruel words and actions since returning from the battle of Waterloo badly disfigured. Emma has her work cut out for her to tear down the walls and reach his heart but she isn’t a cold, nor faint, hearted ninny so goes for it!
Watching the pair of them fall in love, and watching Ash learn to accept himself, was a pleasure and I inhaled the book over the course of a single evening as I couldn’t put it down.
It was the perfect little escape from the real world…

I’m very much looking forward to reading the other books in the series and watching Emma’s friends meet their matches, for I think this is quite possibly the quirkiest and most interesting bunch of women I’ve seen crop up in regency romances ever!

🌻


*ebook*


He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson...

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.


This was my second Tessa Dare book and it was delightfully different than the first!
It had the same charm and humour but the characters and their journey was completely different than Emma and Ash (from The Duchess Deal) so I was very happy about that.

This book belongs to Alexandra and her “bookshop rake” Chase.

Alex is a common-born lady who has a good education and works for her living but through a series of minor misfortunes ends up having to accept an offer to be Chase’s governess in order support herself and generate the income needed to pursue her goals.

Chase is a man-whoring charmer with a heart of gold.
He has gone from 4th in line to inherit a dukedom to the heir over a few short years of pain and misfortune and along with the incoming title he has inherited the guardianship of two delightfully morbid young girls who had me laughing out loud more than once with their antics.

Watching the inevitable befall Chase (i.e falling in love with Alex and his two wayward charges) was super enjoyable and I adored Chase’s goodnatured acceptance of the daily funerals and excentricities of the girls, even if he was bloody-minded for so long about sending the girls off to boarding school!

I found it easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable but there was something about Chase's past man-whoring ways that felt, I don't know, almost sleazy... It wasn't that he did anything wrong, it's just the I struggled to accept how much he'd spread it about in the past thus I would not have wanted to take him on even if he was charming, lovely and utterly devoted to me (if that makes any kind of sense...) Still, I was happy he was able to accept love and family in the end and become a one-woman man with Alexandra.

It was lovely catching up with the rest of the gang throughout the book and despite not loving this one as much as The Duchess Deal, I was left looking forward to reading more!
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Thursday 12 March 2020

The Rich Boy by Kylie Scott


Kylie Scott has been a favourite author of mine for quite some time and I was super excited (but also nervous) to read The Rich Boy... Thankfully, it didn't disappoint!
I absolutely loved it! And it is therefore a pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour today!

Read on for my review and an excerpt.
😊



I’m the type of girl who’s given up on fairy tales. So when Beck – the hot new busboy at work – starts flirting with me, I know better than to get my hopes up. Happily ever afters aren’t for the average. I learned that the hard way.

But how can I be expected to resist a man who can quote Austen, loves making me laugh, and seems to be everything hot and good in this world?

Only there’s so much more to him than that.
Billionaire playboy? Check.
Troubled soul? Check.
The owner of my heart, the man I’ve moved halfway across the country to be with, who’s laying the world at my feet in order to convince me to never leave? Check. Check. Check.

But nobody does complicated like the one per cent.

This is not your everyday rags-to-riches, knight-in-shining armor whisking the poor girl off her feet kind of story. No, this is much messier.


*eARC granted as part of the blog tour.*


I adored this book!
The Rich Boy is classic Kylie Scott packed full of insta-feels, humour, sizzling chemistry and heart.

Alice is working as a waitress and I'd say she's a little bit lost as to what to do with her life.
Beck, the new super hot busboy, and Alice hit it off in a big way but Beck has secrets.
Before long (a few chapters in) you find out what Beck's deal is and Alice has to make a choice to take a chance on something that could be incredible or to continue drifting along.
Obviously, she chooses to take the chance and we get swept along with her - a normal girl - into the world of the super-rich.

There are weird family dynamics, family drama, elitist muppetry, and ex-girlfriends to contend with as Alice learns how to live in Beck's world and she handles it beautifully.
 I really liked Alice and how she was willing to compromise in order to fit in but wasn't blinded by the wealth and managed to be her own person.
Beck is an absolutely swoon-worthy character who found something special in Alice and refused to let her go. He goes above and beyond trying to make her happy and I loved him for it.

I had to suspend reality a bit for the premise of this book to work for me (which could be an issue for some) but it was absolutely worth it. It is a lovely piece of escapist heaven.

Beck's family is full of weird and wonderful characters and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't desperately hoping for a follow-on book featuring Beck's brother, Ethan!

The Rich Boy left me warm, giddy and happily buzzing so I definitely recommend to my fellow contemporary romance lovers!


“You haven’t told me your story,” he says once we’re seated in a booth and have ordered.
 “I finished my degree and realized it was basically good for nothing and there were next to no jobs available anyway. Or at least nothing that appealed. Teachers and librarians are fighting for every scrap of funding they can get while newspapers are folding. The publishing industry is going through serious cutbacks. Majoring in English Lit may have been a mistake.” I shrug. Truth is, I got stuck for various reasons. But this explanation is easier to swallow. “Figured if I was going to wind up serving then I’d like to do it somewhere I can walk along the beach now and then, without getting stuck in traffic for hours.”
He nods. “Makes sense.”
“I thought so. I’ll figure out what I want to do with my life eventually.”
“No rush. Good that you can take the time and space to figure things out for yourself without anyone pressuring you.”
“Just the student loans hanging over my head,” I say.
His answering smile is brief and small. “Grow up around here?”
“Close enough, San Bernardino,” I say. “What about you?”
“No, I’m half a country away from home and intend to keep it that way. Though maybe half a country away is still too close. I hear Iceland’s nice this time of year.”
I raise my brows in question.
“Family.” He shrugs. “What can you do?”
The waitress delivers our food, filling up the table with Beck’s order of half of the breakfast menu. Without hesitation, he proceeds to devour it all. If I ate that much, my ass wouldn’t fit in the seat.
“Want some?” He offers me a forkful of pancake, dripping with syrup. “It’s good.”
“I’m fine with my burger. Thanks.” And I’m curious as heck about his family, but pressing him further wouldn’t be polite. Dammit.
“So what are my future wife’s favorite hobbies and or interests?”
“Hmm.” I stick a fry in my mouth and chew, thinking it over. “Reading, films, music…the usual. You?”
“Lots of things.”
“Such as?”
“I don’t know…hiking, rock climbing. Stuff like that.”
“So basically I like to sit still and you’re all about being busy and athletic. We have nothing in common.”
“No. Wait. I can change,” he jokes. “Give me another chance.”
“You shouldn’t have to change.” I swirl another fry in some ketchup. “I’m sure you’re perfectly fine just as you are.”

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Tuesday 10 March 2020

Crush The King by Jennifer Estep




A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance.

Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies.

There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes.

Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.


*eArc granted in exchange for an honest review*

Yeseeessss!
This book delivered what I’d wanted for a long time!
Evie and her crew on the offensive and Lucas Sullivan where he belongs - at Evie’s side!

The book centres around an event that is a cross between the Olympics and gladiator games but features all seven of the kingdoms - including the evil Morta so we finally get to meet the Mortan king!
It book didn't have the slow start of the others, it dived straight into the action and it never lets up!
It's full-on twisty, plotty, schemey, fighty goodness! And I loved it.

Evie has grown so much and I loved that this book gave her ample opportunity to shine in front of her people and the other kingdoms.
She may not have been anyone's first choice for queen but she has proven what an awesome queen she is and will be for her people! She's a formidable and fierce lady and I pity anyone who forgets it.

Crush The King was a fantastic end to a super enjoyable trilogy but the reason I didn't give it five stars (again for none of them have got me to five stars) is that too many things were left hanging!
Not about the main plot of the trilogy, for that wrapped up nicely, but it's obvious that threads were left hanging (and freshly woven) into this one so that they could be pulled at a later date for more books and it irked me.
It irked me because if those later books are never written those loose threads will be forever dangling and irritating. On the plus side, I'm game for reading more books in this world so... Maybe I need to let it go, lol.

If you're a fantasy fan, or just a fan of kick-ass females, then you've gotta give this series a try!
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Thursday 5 March 2020

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #2)




Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.



Blood Bound is book two on the Mercy Thompson series and it takes place months after the events of the first book, Moon Called.
If book one was the book that introduced you to the werewolves then book two is the book that throws you neck-deep into the world of the vampires.

This time, the threat is a demon-possessed vampire which just makes everything darker, scarier and bloodier than the first outing. Mercy is well and truly out of her depth here but in true Mercy fashion, her friends are threatened so she’s all in, even when the little coyote should run and hide!

There were lots of interesting dynamics on display in this book with the fae, the vampires and the werewolves.

We learn more about Warren - Adam the pack alpha's third - and I'm curious as to how the revelations there will play out in future books... I like him a lot and adore his friendship with Adam. I love how Warren can be himself with Adam, and Mercy, but I despised the homophobia that seems to run rampant through werewolf packs and how it clouds their judgement when it comes to Warren. He's good people, a strong wolf, but it doesn't seem to matter to the small-minded assholes in Adam's pack because he's gay. Grrr!
We also get to see more of Ben the bad boy werewolf from London! I must admit that I disliked Ben in the first book but he started to grow on me in this one. I really hope he's not guilty of what he was accused of back in London! Really really hope he is not.

Mercy's position in Adam's pack is also a curiosity and how they respond to her in Adam's absence was really telling... Adam may have claimed her years ago to protect the coyote from his pack of wolves but I think the fact she can exert dominance over even his second shows that Adam wasn't just taking protective steps - he is serious about it.
I hope this means the annoying ass love-triangle that is hovering like an annoying pigeon between Adam, Mercy and Sam is a moot point and that she chooses Adam very soon!
I wish there was a bit more romance in this book but alas... It's not that kind of series. However, I liked what we got!

One thing that annoyed me (and I know it's still early in the series but still) is that we’re still none the wiser as to why walkers are perceived as such a threat to vampires beyond being immune to most of their powers! Maybe that’ll be revealed as the series goes on, or maybe that’s all there is to say about it but I found it very disappointing in a book heavily featuring the vampires that it wasn't explored.

The book had a lot going on and both the story and the character development had me hooked from the first chapter. As you can no doubt guess, I'm becoming very attached to some of these guys and I can't wait to see what is in store for them next!

Favourite Quotes

“The problem with deciding to bend the rules was trying to figure out just how far you could bend them.”

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“Some wounds need to be pricked so they can drain. Others just need to be left alone.”

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“Sometimes the most interesting part of the conversation with someone who can't lie is the questions they don't answer.”
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Tuesday 3 March 2020

Protect The Prince by Jennifer Estep (Crown of Shards #2)





Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…


In Kill The Queen, Evie avenged her family upon her evil cousin and seized the throne and in Protect The Prince we see her fight to keep it.

Her nobles are plotting and scheming and she must outmanoeuvre and simultaneously win them over as well as travel to the neighbouring kingdom of Andvari and reinstate trade and peace treaties while taking it one step further and convincing them to ally with Bellona against the threat of the Mortan king.

Sounds dramatic, right? And it was!
This book was one heck of a ride and I loved every single second of it.

Evie has come a long way from the girl she once was. She's growing into her position, learning more about what it means to be a Winter Queen and beginning to understand what her true power actually is and her friends are by her side every step of the way.

I loved the plotting and scheming of the royal courts - both Andvari and Bellona.
I loved how Evie was could be both ruthless but also vulnerable and unsure depending on the situation.
My heart ached over her complicated love-affair with Lucas and the personal sacrifices expected of a queen... I was so frustrated by the barriers keeping them apart for they were so stupid! But at the same time, I could understand why they felt they couldn't cross them.
Thankfully, the author didn't make us wait another book for a resolution and gave us romantics a nice ending! But before we got to that romantic ending, we had to survive Mortan assassins, outright assaults and betrayals the cut straight to the heart of our beloved characters.
Needless to say, the book was a rollercoaster; not good for the blood pressure but a hell of a lot of fun!

My only complaint about the book (and the reason it's four stars and not five) was the overly descriptive writing... I don't know if it's just Estep's style or if it's specific to this series (for the first book was the same) but by god, she can go on and on about things!
I can't speak for other readers but I get rather bored after the fifth or sixth description of someone's dress or tunic and I don't give a monkey's ass what colour the bloody thread is!
And don't get me started on the repetitive nature of how Evie interprets smells... (Which is one of her magical gifts.) I was on my knees by the end begging for mercy over peppery anger, lime truthfulness and jalapeno rage.

Ranting over the writing style aside, I loved this instalment and cannot wait to see how it ends in Crush The King!
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