Monday 28 September 2020

I've been reading... The Switch, The Wright Brother, and The Wrong Prince Charming

 Some bookish thoughts on a trio of contemporary/contemporary romance reads!

The Switch by Beth O'Leary

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena's tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it's time they swapped places...

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She'd like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen's romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile, Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn't as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect - and distractingly handsome - school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

This book brought nothing but pure joy from beginning to end! I seriously loved it, it was so precious! It was heartfelt, effortlessly hilarious, and had a cast of wonderful characters that will stay with me for a long time... Especially Eileen, Leena's 79 year old grandma who absolutely rocks!
The book captures rural village life beautifully, along side the hussle and bussle of London. The author tackles unconventional friendships, complicated family dynamics and major life events with care and wit resulting in me cackling like a crazy person every other chapter while simultaneously poking me in the feels, repeatedly.

The Switch has what I'd class as background romance but it isn't really a romance book... It's a book about relationships in all the forms they come. A book about finding yourself, being true to yourself and the bonds you have with other people. (But it does come with a lovely happy ever after, so don't fear!)

I listened to The Switch on audiobook and I don't think I could read it any other way now... The narrators (one for Eileen, one for Leena) did a knockout job of bringing Leena and Eileen to life, not to mention the other characters, and I highly recommend taking it in in this format for an extra helping of wonderful from this wonderfully special book.

Narrators: Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones
Duration: 10hrs 12min

The Wright Brother by KA Linde

I'd dated his brother.
He didn’t remember and I wish I could forget.
I may have sworn off the Wright family a long time ago. But when I returned home, Jensen Wright crashed into my life with the confidence of a billionaire CEO and the sex appeal of a god. Even I couldn’t resist our charged chemistry, or the way he fit into my life like a missing puzzle piece.
Too bad he’d forgotten the one thing that could destroy us.
Because Jensen Wright doesn’t share. Not with anyone. And if his brother finds out, this could all go down in flames.
When it all was said and done, was he the Wright brother?

This was my first contemporary romance from KA Linde and it won't be my last! The Wright Brother was fun, sexy and had the right blend of emotional highs and lows to keep me flipping the pages.

The beginning was a bit rocky for me as Emery breaks up with her long-term partner in chapter one then within the space of a week (less than?) she was falling for Jensen but I got over it quickly for her long-term partner was a cheating scumbag and no loss. But then I also had to get over the fact that Emery had been in a serious relationship with Jensen's brother (back in high school) and that was harder for... ugh, family sharing! (I don't care that it's been 10 years. That is weird.) However, I got over it, again, for Jensen and Emery's chemistry was awesome.
Once I'd shaken off the ick, I was all in and happy as a clam while reading about the messed-up Wright family and getting super excited for all the future books that I haven't read yet.

If you're looking for a fun, flirty, sexy, little-bit angsty contemporary romp then I'd recommend this one!

The Wrong Prince Charming by Holly Renee

Every little girl dreams of being swept off her feet by a charming Prince.
But my life was no fairy tale.
And in this kingdom called college, the rules went out the window.
I’d known golden boy, Theo Hunt, was the one for me since we were kids. My heart was his for the taking, but I had become nothing more than the MVP of the campus king’s friend-zone.
Easton Cole was a storm I couldn’t have predicted. He knocked me off my feet and stole my heart. But he was off-limits. Not only was he Theo’s frat brother but he was the teacher’s assistant in English 101 and I was acing every test.
My heart was torn, my feelings tangled.
Because as soon as I noticed Easton, Theo finally noticed me.
I was in love with two guys, as different as night and day, but I could only have one.
I only hoped I didn’t choose The Wrong Prince Charming.

Oh where do I begin with this one... I wanted to love it. Heck, I wanted to like it but it was so very firmly meh I have no idea why so many people raved about it when it released.

Maddy was irritating. Her relationship/friendship with Theo was utterly whacked. Easton was pretty cool but his willingness to throw away everything he'd worked for on Maddy - who'd leave his bed to go and snuggle with her BFF Theo - was incomprehensible.
Maddy had this magical allure thing going on quite clearly and, naturally, all the guys (Theo and Easton) were so hot that they just fried her brain cells and turned this allegedly smart gal her into an idiot.
The "love-triangle" was the most ridiculous and forced thing I'd ever read and I have no idea what the hell happened in the final quarter beyond forced drama for the sake of drama.
The sad thing is, even though the book wouldn't have been all that, it would have been a good-enough read if it wasn't for the descent into absolute farce towards the end.

Needless to say, I don't recommend and I'll probably avoid books by the author in the future.


Tuesday 22 September 2020


I'm hopeless at making a list of books at and telling myself I'm going to read them at a specific point (I'm too moody a reader) but I decided to make this list because THERE ARE SO MANY AWESOME BOOKS RELEASING IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS! 
Seriously guys... What is going on?!
It's like the mother-load of my most anticipated releases of the year are releasing throughout Autumn so I am actually confident that I will read all of these before Winter arrives and I don't think I've ever been able to say that before! lol

Wild Fire by Kristen Ashley 

More Chaos! It may only be a novella but I'll take it! 
(And let's be honest... KA novellas are the length of most author's full-length novels!)

Damned Souls and a Sangria by Annette Marie 

This one doesn't release until the 2nd of October but I'll be inhaling it as soon as it hits my kindle! 
I'm dying to know how it all ends for Tori and the gang!

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan 

The final Trials of Apollo book releases on October 6th and we're ready for it! 
(But I'll need to wait until the little dude listens to it first... Sigh.)

Delivering Evil for Experts by Annette Marie

There's no cover for this one yet but it marks the end of another Annette Marie's series and I'm so excited and so sad that it's over!
The 16th of October cannot come soon enough!

The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neill

Magic on the high seas? Who wouldn't want to read this?

Grave War by Kalayna Price 

Grave War is the final book in the Alex Craft series and I'm super excited to see how it all ends!
November is going to be super fun!

How The King of Elfhame Learned To Hate by Holly Black 

A little more Cardan will make a heart happy!

Hellbound Guilds and Other Misdirections by Annette Marie and Rob Jacobsen

Book two in Annette Marie & Rob Jaconsen's Guild Codex Warped series and I already know it's going to rock (because all the Guild Codex books do!)
It doesn't release until December 4th but I'll make a nice pre-Christmas treat!


Are any of these on your Fall TBRs? 

Monday 14 September 2020

Sting of Thorns, How To Rattle An Undead Couple & Booked For Murder!

Three paranormal books to ease you into spooky season!

Sting of Thorns by Kristen Brand

The fight is over, and Leigh Morgan won. After spending months spying in Otherworld as a servant, she’s rescued the humans who were abducted by the Others and sent them safely home. She had to stay behind to destroy the gateway between worlds and keep them safe, but tough luck. She’s prepared to pay the price.
But she didn’t expect the curse the queen of Otherworld lays on her: a thorny vine growing under Leigh’s skin that will kill her when it reaches her heart. The queen will lift the curse…if Leigh uses her connections in the human realm to locate a magical weapon lost hundreds of years ago.

To ensure she succeeds, the queen sends her son, Dredarion Rath, the cunning prince Leigh had to betray to save her people. With anger and hurt still fresh, they can barely stand to be in the same room together, much less cooperate on such a dangerous mission. But as Leigh’s friends risk everything to help her, she’ll have to find a way to reconcile with Dredarion before their quest gets her and everyone she cares about killed.

Sting of Thorns picks up immediately where Poison and Honey ends. Leigh and Dredarion are forced to work together - along with Leigh's friends - to save Leigh and retrieve the weapon that could save Dredarion's people. The book is fast-paced, packed full of revelations and utterly addictive from beginning to end. I'm thoroughly enjoying this series and recommend it for those who love fantasy/urban fantasy and are looking for an awesome but quick read!

How To Rattle An Undead Couple by Hailey Edwards

Bring on the cakes, balloons, cakes, gifts, cakes, and…well…cakes. It’s time for Grier’s baby shower!

Grier is ready to smile for the cameras, rip open the presents, and finally taste that lemon chiffon cake, but it’s just not meant to be. The Grande Dame is MIA, which turns the big event into an even bigger search party. And that delicious cake? It’s going right back in the fridge.

While Grier doesn’t have the best relationship with her mother-in-law, she’s determined her child will grow up with one living grandparent or else. Even if it means wiggling into maternity jeans, putting on actual shoes, and waddling over to Lawson Manor to investigate the potential kidnapping.

Just as the investigation turns acorner, Grier pays the price for her stress. The baby wants out ahead of schedule, and it has a unique way of making its desires known. Unique and terrifying. Now the race is on to find the Grande Dame before the baby makes his or her first appearance.

What do you get when you cross a goddess-touched necromancer with an Eidolon?

Linus and Grier are about to find out firsthand. Now they just have to survive parenthood.

I never want this series to end! I'll happily read slices of life updates on Linus and Grier forever! I absolutely adore them and, as the blurb and cover make obvious, in this book we get to meet baby Woolworth! However, this IS Linus and Grier and nothing can ever be simple in their lives so before they can welcome their baby into the world, they have to solve the case of Linus's missing mother.

There is plenty of action, laughs and sweet moments, the full gang is present and even though this book is supposed to wrap up Linus and Grier's series of epilogues, I have a feeling that there will be one more for a massive thread was created and then left dangling that really needs tying off... Or maybe Edwards will save that for a spin-off series involving the baby? 'Cause, come on now, there's got to be one! (Or that may just be wishful thinking...)
How To Rattle An Undead Couple is a book for fans of The Beginner's Guide To Necromancy series. It's not something that you should read if you're new to the world but it's a wonderful addition to the world for those who are not. I really enjoyed it.

Booked For Murder by RJ Blain

Life as a bodyguard and driver for the rich, famous, and powerful is dangerous on a good day, and after sustaining a crippling injury while on duty, Janette's left with few options. Having signed a ‘for life’ contract but unable to work, she uses her skills to disappear.

Her new life as a librarian suits her. Nobody cares she limps and sometimes requires a cane to walk. She’s wanted for her knowledge, not her lethal magic. She’s surrounded by books, a woman’s best friend.

But when her former employer’s best friend is murdered on the steps of her library, old loyalties and secrets might destroy her - or set her free.

Teaming up with her co-workers to find the killer might keep her from being booked for murder, but unless she’s careful, she’ll find out exactly how far her ex-boss will go to reclaim what is rightfully his.

Her. For life.

Okay... Where to begin?! For every time I think of this book I flip between giving it two-stars and three-stars because it really is a mixed bag of treats... To start with the positive, I'll say that I'm intrigued as to where the story is going (investigatory cells, librarians, political intrigue, hidden agendas) and that my romance-loving self is shipping Janette and Bradley (even though there are no tender moments or any romantic action in this book). I love Ajani the cat, Janette's brand of magic is absolutely fascinating to my biomed-head and I think there is a lot of potential here.

However, there are so many things wrong with this book that, in my opinion, all come down to non-existent editing.

The book is way too long. It's packed full of unnecessary information and random streams of consciousness that add nothing to the story and, in fact, detract from it for by the time you wade through the deluge you're confused as to what was actually going on.
There are too many characters with no purpose and most of the secondary characters "sound" the same. There is nothing to differentiate between them and character development - across the board with the exception of Janette - is absolutely minimal and physical descriptions are completely absent. Seriously, I finished the book without having a mental picture of anyone - even Janette - for the character descriptions are pretty much non-existent beyond mentioning minor details.
The author frequently contradicts herself from chapter to chapter, she uses too many words to say very little and I was pretty pissed off by a story with so much potential being ruined by - quite frankly - shitty writing.

My masochistic self will probably read the next one, as I'm curious about what happens next, but I doubt anything could make me a fan of the author.
If you're looking for a new UF then I'm not saying avoid/don't read (I would never do that) but what I would say is don't expect too much... And that there are far better series out there.


Monday 7 September 2020

Warping Minds & Other Misdemeanours Blog Tour: Author Interview with Rob Jacobsen!

Guys!!! I'm so excited!! 
Anyone who has followed this blog for more than 5 minutes knows that I absolutely love Annette Marie's books and that the Guild Codex series are my favourite. 

A few weeks back, you'll have seen me fangirling over the release of Warping Minds and Other Misdemeanours (book one in a new Guild Codex series, this time co-authored with Rob Jacobsen) so can you imagine how excited I was to get to interview Rob?!
I'm going to go with understatement: very. 

Read on... 

My name is Kit Morris, and welcome to my warped life.
Picture the scene: Me, an average guy with psychic powers—not that my abilities are in any way average—just trying to scrape by in a harsh world. So maybe I’ve conned a few people, but did I really deserve to be thrown in MPD jail alongside magic-wielding serial killers?

According to Agent Lienna Shen, one-hundred-percent yes.

But her hardass attitude and “Arcana prodigy” status aren’t enough to bring down my former best friend, who slipped through the MPD’s fingers and is days away from unleashing untold horrors upon the city. Or he’s going to steal something. I don’t really know.

Whatever he’s up to, that’s why I’m sitting in an interrogation room with Lienna. And that’s why I just offered myself as her temporary new partner for the purposes of thwarting my ex-accomplice.

And that’s how I’m going to escape. I might even help with the case before I cut and run.

And onto the interview...


Hi Rob, this is the first co-authored series in the Guild Codex world, can you tell me a bit about how that came to be? 

I’ve known Jacob, Annette’s husband, since we were drama geeks in high school together. In 2012, Jake and I started making indie films together and I met Annette around the same time. She often helped with our projects—she even drew a huge tattoo on my back for one! A few years later, I made a book trailer for Annette’s Red Winter series. Then, just before she released her first Spellbound book, Annette and Jake asked if I wanted to co-write a new series inside the Guild Codex universe with her. I think I agreed before she even finished asking. 

How does co-authoring a book work in practice? Is it harder than writing a book solo, or more fun? 

I don’t think I’m allowed to give away our trade secrets on co-authoring! I’ve only really completed one full novel prior to Warping Minds (my MA thesis was a novel and I have no idea if it will ever be published) so my experience is somewhat limited. But I’d say co-authoring is definitely more fun than flying solo. Having another creative brain to bounce ideas off and collaborate with is amazing, especially when that other brain belongs to someone as talented as Annette. 

How would you describe the Guild Codex world to someone who has no clue what we are talking about? 

All right. *Cracks knuckles*...let’s see how awesome my sales pitch is. (If you can, imagine I’m saying this in that husky, baritone voice from every movie trailer in the 1990s). “In a world where magic is real, magic-users navigate the dangers and complexities of their secretive existence. Prepare for adventure! Action! Romance! Humor! Sexy men! Sassy women! And so much more...” 

You can have any magical ability from the books – what would you have and why? 

My first instinct is to say that I’d want Kit’s ability because it is so strange and unique. But I’m going to say that I’d rather be a druid because I desperately want to be as badass as Zak. 

Kit is a movie buff – what are your favourite movies? 

Holy Kubrick, loaded question alert! Can I just list a few dozen of my faves? Fight Club, Inception, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Toy Story 3, Gone Girl...AUGH, THERE ARE TOO MANY. Here’s a better idea: a lot of my favorite movies are referenced in Warping Minds, so just read the book and see if you can find them all. 

If you could have the books turned into a movie franchise or a tv series, what would you opt for? 

You’re making my heart flutter with pure joy just asking that question. It’s gotta be a TV series. There are so many characters and interwoven storylines between the three series—I don’t think a movie could do them all justice. 

How many more books do we have to look forward to in the Warped series? 

We can safely say there will be at least four books in the Warped series. Maybe more. 

Will there be any more series in the Guild Codex world in the future? Either solo or co-authored? 

I hope so. I’m going to pitch a series to Annette in which Kit and Twiggy watch and review movies in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000. What do you think? 

(Nicci - This would be awesome... And absolutely hilarious!)

Any future solo writing projects in the works? 

Always! Right now, I’m working on a couple of screenplays. There might also be a book series lurking in the shadows... 

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities. 

Rob is a Canadian writer, actor, and director, who has been in a few TV shows you might watch, had a few films in festivals you might have attended, and authored some stories you might have come across. He's hoping to accomplish plenty more by the time he inevitably dies surrounded by cats while watching reruns of Mr. Robot.

Currently, he is the Creative Director of Cave Puppet Films, as well as the co-author of the upcoming Guild Codex: Warped book series with Annette Marie.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Nightwalker & Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake (End of Days book One & Two)


*Minor spoilers ahead for the first two books of the series*

Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

For centuries Mira has been a nightwalker—an unstoppable enforcer for a mysterious organization that manipulates earth-shaking events from the darkest shadows. But elemental mastery over fire sets her apart from others of her night-prowling breed . . . and may be all that prevents her doom.The foe she now faces is human: the vampire hunter called Danaus, who has already destroyed so many undead. For Mira, the time has come to hunt . . . or be hunted.

I enjoyed this book well enough but it felt like an uphill slog to get through it! 
Mira, the protagonist, is a vampire with the ability to conjure fire which sets her apart from her brethren. She's strong but she's so unbelievably arrogant and obnoxious sometimes that it's pretty hard to like her and since the entire book is the Mira show, set to the dramatic drumbeat of a reemerging interspecies war, not liking her is a little bit of a problem... 
As a counterpoint to the oh so amazing and wonderful Mira, you have Danaus - a mysterious vampire hunter with powers and secrets of his own. I liked Danaus a lot more than Mira and there were points I didn't much care if he killed her but I must admit it would have been a shame for the dynamic between Mira and Danaus is what makes the book interesting and kept me turning the pages...

I don't really know where the story is going, I don't have much patience for the posturing and politics of the vampires and the writing got on my nerves, but there was enough here to make me want to pick up the next one in the series and see how things unfold. 

If you're new to UF, this is definitely not the place to start but if you're an UF fan looking for something a little bit heavier and darker then it's worth considering. 

Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake

A new day dawns blood redA master of fire, Mira is the last hope for the world. For centuries she has secretly enforced the history-altering edicts of the Triad. Now she and her unlikely ally--the human vampire hunter, Danaus--have come to Venice, home of the nightwalker rulers. But there is no safety in the ancient city, for the threat of conflict is in the wind . . .

Dayhunter picks up pretty much immediately where Nightwalker left off and it sees Mira travelling into the heart of vampire territory with the vampire hunter Danaus by her side as one of her very few allies. Mira is as arrogant and annoying as she was in the first book but I actually liked her a little better in this one. I felt that I knew her a bit better with this book and her vulnerability shone through in many places humanising her. It was interesting to me that such a powerful character is reduced to nothing but a pawn by those even more powerful than she... And everyone wants a piece of Mira so I'm super curious as to what the deal with her actually is but, unfortunately, the author isn't in a hurry to actually divulge that.

 The relationship between Mira and Danaus deepens and the two actually seem to accept that they need each other if they're to stop the evil Naturi (think weird super powered not-fae fae-like creatures) from returning and destroying the world as we know it which is nice... I'm totally rooting for them to fall for each other but I'm doubtful of that with the way things are going but still, a gal can hope.

There are plots and schemes everywhere. Every time I thought I had a handle on what was going on in the story a curveball was thrown at me. One thing is for absolutely certain: I do not like the vampires. Honestly, they're all twisted and kinda evil and even though the Naturi are a bit despicable, I'm not entirely sure that the vampires deserve to "win" the upcoming war which is interesting considering the reader is supposed to be rooting for the vampires... Or maybe we're supposed to be rooting for Mira? I don't know... And I wish I didn't care but Daywalker drew me into the world a little bit deeper than Nightwalker and I need to see what happens next! 
So, I'll be reading the next one...As I said, this isn't a series for new UF readers - or even for those like me that love UF with romance! - but if you want gritter UF then this is a series to try!

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