Friday 30 October 2020

Book Blogger Hop: The Halloween Edition!

The Book Blogger Hop questions this month have been fun!
They fit the month of pumpkin spice, candy and ghosties quite well and in anticipation of Halloween tomorrow, I decided to answer them all in a onesie!


What is your favourite candy to snack on while reading? 

I don't really snack while reading. 
More accurately, I don't feel the need to snack while reading any more or less than I'd usually do.
I'm more of a drinker when I read and my drink of choice is tea.


If you go trick-or-treating with your favourite book character, who would it be? 

It'd have to be one of my UF heroines!
I'd quite like to go trick or treating with Tori from the Guild Codex series... She'd be a riot and the mages would probably come with her so it'd be even more fun.


Would you consider giving out books to trick-or-treaters instead of candy? 

Erm, no.
This year may be a mutated Halloween thanks to Covid but books wouldn't really be practical in any situation... Kids want candy on Halloween. Books, while completely awesome, are very subjective in that people like very different kinds of stories so there's no way to find something (or even a small selection of somethings) that would work for all the randoms who ring the doorbell.

I'd happily give my kid a book for Halloween though. I know what his reading preferences are!


Do you read paranormal romances? If so, what is your favourite thing about the genre? 

I'd say that I absolutely read paranormal romance but I do not read anywhere near as much paranormal romance nowadays as I used to. 
Paranormal romance was once my most beloved genre, my go-to, my first true bookish love but I burned myself out on it quite spectacularly quite a few years ago so switched to other genres. When my love for paranormal resurfaced, the need was filled by Urban Fantasy so it's still a rare(ish) occasion when I actually settle down to read paranormal romance.

My favourite thing about paranormal romances are the varied range of settings, the mixing of genres, the characters are more than regular people so it provides opportunities for very different plot lines than contemporary books and there is always a romance with a happy ever after!


Do you read books that have an autumn theme? 

I don't know. I can't think of books that specifically have autumn themes... I tend more towards witches and paranormal beasties in the darker months so I guess they're my autumn reads but I also enjoy a good contemporary romance that's set around Halloween/Bonfire Night although I don't deliberately seek them out... Although, this year, I'm tempted to read Fawkes.

Sunday 18 October 2020

Delivering Evil For Experts by Annette Marie (Guild Codex: Demonized #4)


*Warning! I've tried to keep this spoiler-free but it's the final book so beware!*

I promised to avenge my parents.
But their killer is still on the loose, and he's stolen more than my parents' lives. Now, as he draws closer to his mysterious goals, he's poised to destroy what little I have left.
I promised to translate an ancient grimoire.
But it holds the secrets of my family—and the secret history of demon summoning. I fear its answers as much as I need them. Who was the foremother of Demonica…and who am I?
I promised to send my demon home.
But the way he watches me, the way he protects me, the way he touches me⁠—how can I cast him away forever? I swore I would do this for him, but can I? Should I?
But I promised—and I will keep my promises even if they cost me my heart, my soul, and my life.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

I. Am. Speechless. 
I've tried to write my thoughts on this book for over three days and I've got nothing... Nothing can convey how much I loved this ending.
Annette Marie has delivered a fantastic finale to this series and I literally could not have asked for anything more... I feel like she gave the readers so much more than we expected, for how do you deliver a happy ever after for two characters from different worlds?
Read Delivering Evil For Experts and find out!
Seriously... I freaking cried. I cried because I was so emotional. I cried because I was so happy. I cried because it is the end of this series and I LOVE these characters and I don't want to say goodbye. 
(That's also why I didn't read the ARC for days after receiving it... I didn't want it to end!)

Robin and Zylas have come such a long way and have overcome so much... The book is a rollercoaster. I thought it would be impossible for anymore bombshell reveals to be dropped but Annette managed it.
There were some beautifully quiet and simple moments interspersed with the action. Everything that the series had been building towards came to a head, exploded, and was resolved in the best way... 
It was wonderful!

PS - This is my absolute favourite Demonized cover!!! Look at those wings! Where did they come from?! (Read the book and that question is totally answered... I'm just not spoiling, lol)


Wednesday 14 October 2020

The Jock Row series by Sarah Ney (Jock Row, Jock Rule, Jock Road)

I was in the mood for some college sporting romances... This series kept popping up in my recommendations. It was in KU so I thought, "why not?" Sigh... 
Each book had its moments (obviously they did or I wouldn't have read the three) but all in all, I'd say this series was completely underwhelming and badly needed editing as the number of typos is ridiculous.
As college sporting romances go, there are so many better series, but this wasn't the worst.
The books are amusing, they're low on drama and definitely provide an opportunity to switch the brain off and exist somewhere else for a while... So if that sounds like just the ticket, then enjoy!

Want to know more? Read on!

Scarlett is always the sensible one: The sober driver. The planner. The one holding your hair back while you're worshipping the porcelain gods.
Week-after-week, she visits Jock Row with her friends — the university's hottest party scene and breeding ground for student athletes. And if keeping her friends out of trouble, and guys out of their pants, was a sport, she'd be the star athlete.
Being a well known jock-blocker gets her noticed for all the wrong reasons; just like that, she's banned from Jock Row. NO GUY WANTS A GIRL AROUND WHO KEEPS THEIR JOCK FRIENDS FROM GETTING LAID.
"Rowdy" Wade is the hot shot short-stop for the university's baseball team — and the unlucky bastard who drew the short straw: keep little Miss Goody Two-Shoes out of the Baseball House.
But week-after-week Scarlett returns, determined to get inside.

For starters, the blurb is a little misleading: Scarlett isn't a "well-known jockblocker", she accidentally cock-blocks once and effectively gets thrown out of the Baseball house on jock row and is banned from attending parties in future through fear of her clock-blocking. There's a difference, for Scarlett isn't really a cockblocker. She just doesn't have any patience for the lies dripping from the lips of jocks out to get laid... I liked Scarlett even though she could be salty as hell. I liked Rowdy (the guy whose task it is to keep her out the house) even though he was full of himself. I loved the back-and-forth between them. Reading their story was a whole load of fun and it was just what I needed, when I needed it, but it was so incredibly basic. I'm all for no drama for drama's sake in a book but you've got to give the reader something and this book doesn't really give much of anything. They are who they are, they spar, they're horny, they fall in love. That's all there is to it. Nothing more, nothing less. No character development, no depth, just what you see is what you get.
Rowdy was a typical jock (baseball player) but not really a skirt-chasing manwhore. Scarlett was a virgin who wasn't "saving herself" for marriage but was just 21-years-old and had never been so inclined until she met the man-wonder that was Rowdy... 😏 Yeah, it was that kind of romance but whatever. It was fun, it was funny and it easy to keep turning the pages.
Jock Row won't be winning any literary awards but if no-drama college romance is what you're looking for, look no further! Oh! But beware of the typos and poor editing...

Kip Carmichael is no pretty boy.
He's a rough. Dirty. Giant. Hair so unruly, and a beard so thick, his friends on the team call him Sasquatch.
The first time Sasquatch lays eyes on Theodora "Teddy" Johnson across the keg at a party one night on Jock Row, she'd been relegated to the sidelines by her jock hungry "friends."
Week-after-week, he watches beautiful but bashful Teddy getting overshadowed, and overlooked. Sasquatch finally broad shoulders his way through the crowd, offering to to be her hairy godmother. But the minute their eyes meet? He's a goner.
Teaching her the RULES for winning a jock will be the easy part. Not falling in love with her is going to be a losing game.

Wait a minute... Didn't I just read this one? Only with a slightly different flavour? Oh wait! Yes! Yes, I did. Whereas Jock Row (book one) featured the Baseball house (and a baseball player), Jock Rule features the Rugby house (and a rugby player).
The grumpy/salty and personable/friendly roles are gender-swapped in book two but we've still got the big-eyed virgin waiting for the right guy going on in Teddy and naturally Kip - who is avoiding entanglements due to keeping his super rich/trust fund baby reality a secret - just can't help himself but become her friend, her big hairy protector, and then more...

I sound like I really didn't like the book but that's not a fair assessment. I liked it just fine. It was just super predictable and very samey. Would I have felt that way if I hadn't just read book one when starting this one? Maybe not, but I did so... Kinda hard to hide the rinse and repeat.

On the plus side, I found Kip to be super funny in his bluntness and I liked how down-to-earth Teddy was. I liked Kip and Teddy together and I think they're good together. I'd have probably rated this higher than Jock Row if it weren't for how Teddy freaked out when Kip shaved and she realised he was actually attractive... I mean, the fuck? Pointless drama and extremely irritating but resolved fairly quickly which was appreciated.

Those are Jackson Jennings, Jr’s three mantras . His entire life, he’s been a trained athlete with only one end-game: the Pro’s. No girls. No parties. No alcohol.
Every Friday night, Triple J cruises the strip on campus, bored, lonely and conditioned not to party. But the night he meets Charlotte Edmonds on the side of the road, he wonders if his three mantras will ever be enough.
Charlie has no time for Jackson’s antics. Not when he’s stealing her food or teases her to no end, making her tingle in all the right places. But if she’s ever going to have a boyfriend, she’d choose one who isn’t a Neanderthal. One with manners and actual time to spend with her. Not a hulking man-child who cruises the strip at night, in his Big. Dumb. Truck.

This series is my only real experience of Ney's writing (except for a co-authored book) so I have no idea if they're all the same story packaged up with different spices but it is most definitely the case the Jock Row series and honestly? Even though I still rate it around 3 stars, Jock Road was the worst. Mostly, this was because I found "triple J" cruising around in his truck every bit as stupid and pointless as Charlie does. Probably more so. I also wanted to nut him over the whole queue jumping/food nabbing thing...
In this book, we visit the Football house! Jackson and Charlie are as salty and annoying as each other but they did make me laugh a fair bit. Unlike the others, it wasn't the girl that was the blushing virgin - it was Jackson! It's not very often in romance you read a book and the guy is the virgin so that was novel and definitely the books unique selling point. However, his reasons for keeping it in his pants were not... The book was fairly predictable, the characters harder to like than the others, and ultimately there are so many other college romance books that are better than this so call me underwhelmed.


Friday 2 October 2020

Damned Souls and A Sangria by Annette Marie (Guild Codex: Spellbound #8)


Spoiler Free!!

Once upon a time, I was your average spunky redhead with the lamest employment history ever, a shaky relationship with my only family member, and no idea what I was doing with my life.

Now, I'm a pseudo mythic with the best bartending job in the world, the most amazing (and hot) best friends I never knew I needed, and a guild of misfit magic-users who've become my extended family.

And I'm about to lose it all.

In my desperation to save Ezra, I stumbled into a web of ruthless deception—and seriously pissed off a sleeping hydra. Now its every murderous head is turned toward me and my guild, and I don't know how to stop it. I'm not sure I can.

I'm not sure anyone can.

But if we don't, we're all doomed—Ezra, Aaron, Kai, and my beloved guild.

The last book of a series is always bittersweet and anyone who reads UF/Fantasy (or any series really) will know that the endings are notoriously hit or miss amongst the fans because we've followed the characters for so long and have very strong attachments - thus opinions - regarding how everything goes. That said, I truly have no idea how any fan of this series could have a problem with how Annette Marie wraps up Tori's story. 
It was fabulous. 
It was everything I wanted and everything I didn't know I needed wrapped up in a bow while staying true to the story, the characters and the world she had built. 
I was enthralled from the first page until the last. 
The book had everything. 
Sweet moments, pulse-pounding moments, heart-fluttery moments, laugh out loud moments... Fan favourite characters are integral to the tale and it was freakin' epic!

I can't say much more really without risking spoilers so I'm going to say nothing more except that this series has been a joy from beginning to end and although I'm gutted that GC: Spellbound is over I'm thrilled that the Guild Codex world continues and we'll get to see so much more of beloved characters in the spin-off series. 

(Yep, I'm going to be Annette Marie Fangirling for years to come, lol.)

PS - Annette Marie's covers are always stunning but this one is my favourite!
It's just Tori, standing there all badass and defiant with the magic of her three mages swirling around her... Man, I'm going to miss this series so much! 
Thank god there are a couple more GC series in the works! Fingers crossed for cameo appearances. 

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