Thursday, 31 May 2012

After Fifty review: The Siren by Tiffany Reisz


The Siren
The Original Sinners #1
Tiffany Reisz

The Siren by Tiffany Reisz is both uncomfortable reading and completely captivating. Honestly, I don’t know how that works but somehow it did.

The Siren isn’t like any other book I’ve read and isn’t remotely like the hot, sexy romantic escapist reads I usually go for. The characters are likeable but also completely unlikeable, the subject matter at times had me squirming (and not in a good way) and to top it all off it has the most unexpectedly unhappy but totally right ending ever. Nothing about The Siren is easy but I couldn’t put it down.

At the heart of the story is well known erotica writer Nora who is also a well paid dominatrix living with a very young, sweet and almost pet like “intern” Wesley. Keen to break through with a large publishing house Nora begins working with Zach Easton the “London Fog” his boss has ordered him to work with Nora to rewrite her latest book before he disappears off to pastures new. Zach is completely out of his comfort zone working with an erotica writer but finds himself captured like a fly in a spider’s web in both Nora’s book and in Nora personally, whilst in the background he’s still pining for his wife back in London that he’s recently separated from.

I loved how The Siren’s story lines cleverly mixed with the re-writing of Nora’s book, not just in her relationship with Wesley but in the scenes she deletes which detail the long term submissive relationship she had with Soren. It’s the Soren part that left me completely reeling, there are some really shocking parts (his “occupation” for starters, the agreed and accepted violence in their relationship and the “gift” he gives her) that could I think, come across as being deliberately sensational and shocking and definitely won’t appeal to everyone. Despite my initial shock I was so invested in the story I had to continue to read it. It did make me think about the notion of love and whether there is in fact a place for pain/violence in a relationship if both adults are consenting.

The Siren like Nora’s book isn’t a romance novel. It’s neither sexy nor titillating but as the story builds almost in layers I honestly couldn’t stop reading no matter how uncomfortable I felt. Would I read it again? No. Would I read anything by Tiffany Reisz again? Absolutely. I like a challenge and I like my books to be a bit “thinky” (kinky that makes you think!). Powerful, captivating and uncomfortable The Siren is like nothing else out there right now.

after fifty

After Fifty rating: 4.5 out of 5
Domineering male with issues Thumbs up
Sex scenes with a kink Thumbs upThumbs up

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

My book boyfriend Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley

My book boyfriend is hosted by Missie @ The Unread Reader

I have a number of expectations from a Kristen Ashley book:
1. There will be a swoon worthy alpha male.
2. He will say "babe" a lot.
3. There will be some scorching hot sex scenes.
4. There will be OTT plot developments e.g kidnappings and drive by shootings.
5. I will have a WTF ?? moment and continue reading regardless.

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley has all of the above, the swoon worthy male is Cabe "Hawke" Delgado, he does say "babe" a lot, there are some red hot scenes, a couple of kidnappings and a drive by shooting. Oh, and a serious WTF moment when I realised after a one night stand Cabe had been returning to Gwen's bed for 18 months and she hasn't asked him his name! Hence he's the "Mystery Man". So yes, as a reader I had to suspend disbelief and just with the flow of the story, but it's a good hot escapist read. You can check out my review here. So here's some of the quotes I may (or may not) have read 15 times:

"He was so goddamned handsome, all that brown skin, those black eyes, that strong jaw, that thick, short, black hair, his beautifully chiseled features and equally beautifully chiseled physique. All of it hinting at Hispanic or maybe Italian and all of it freaking, unbelievably amazing

"You wanna play this with that attitude, Sweet Pea, I'm tellin' you that is not the right play because that attitude of yours is not a turn off."
"Stop calling me Sweet Pea," I snapped because I was again freaking out and I was trying to hide it.
His smile got bigger. "There it is," he whispered, "and I like it."
"Step away," I demanded, pushing at his waist where my hands were but he didn't move.
"There it is again."
I clamped my mouth shut and glared at him.
He emitted another short, amused, deep, manly chuckle.
Then his lips hit mine and he murmured, "Hot." 

"You sure you don't need space anymore?"
"That kind of space means, you're there, you need to go somewhere, anywhere you go is far away from me so, yeah, I don't need that space anymore."
Oh my God.
I knew what he was saying. I knew what he meant and I lifted my hand to his jaw.
"You're in deep with me, aren't you, baby?" I whispered my question just to confirm.
"Drowning" he whispered back.
Oh my God. He felt the same as me!
"I love you, Cabe."
"Love you too, Sweet Pea."

*Sighs* if only that duvet could move, you know, up a little bit??? Thanks to the ever so muscularly Josh Kloss for being my Mystery Man this week.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone
The Grisha Trilogy
Leigh Bardugo
Publication date: 5th June 2012

Shadow and Bone has been on my wish list for a while ever since  the blurb caught my eye on Goodreads. I have to say after reading it the blurb actually doesn't do the book justice, Shadow and Bone actually surpassed all my expectations and then some.

Alina and her best friend Mal grew up together in an orphanage and left together to go into military service, Mal as a tracker and Alina as a cartographer (map maker). Whereas Mal is good looking, confident and turns heads wherever her goes Alina has always been a little bit slower and weaker with no special powers she very much lives in Mal's shadow. However, when Alina saves Mal from a volcra attack (think big giant scary bird thing) by shielding him, summoning and sort of omitting a blindingly bright light Alina finds herself marched off by soldiers to face the Darkling, the mysterious and dark leader of the magical elite the Grisha. Alina is told she possesses a special power she is the Sun Summoner the Darkling has been waiting years for, and her destiny is to save the people of Ravka and destroy the fold.

Alina is plucked out of military service and taken to the Royal Court to learn how to fight and cultivate her newly found powers. Here Alina really struggles as the Grisha are all good looking, powerful and in full control of their powers whereas poor Alina still isn't able to summon and harness her Sun Summoner powers unless she is under attack. With the very seductive and powerful Darkling encouraging her and the nation's hopes all pinned on her Alina is in a race against time to claim her powers.

I really don't want to ruin what is an AMAZING and epic story, all I want to say is that Shadow and Bone should not be missed. With fantastic world building (it only takes a short while to get used to the Russian-ish words don't let that put you off), a driving plot and characters that are break your heart fantastic Shadow and Bone is really out of this world fantastic (too many fantastic's I know but I honestly can't help it!). I loved Alina she doesn't believe she is anything like the untouchable Grisha and childhood friend Mal is just super sweet  but I have to say I really really liked the Darkling. A little warning at exactly 65% through reading Shadow and Bone I nearly fell off my chair with shock and probably yelled some very choice language at my Kindle. It's not a cliffhanger as such, more of a fantastic (grrr that word again) change in direction that leaves Alina wondering who she can really trust. So be prepared!

If like me you loved Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson or Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers then Shadow and Bone is the very book for you. I loved it.

Thanks to Net Galley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Shadow and Bone.

Check out the different covers, in the UK it's going to be called The Gathering Dark. I think I prefer the Russian-esque cover of Shadow and Bone the UK one looks a bit more little blue riding hood!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

Dark Frost
Mythos Academy #3
Jennifer Estep
Publication date: 29th May 2012

Dark Frost definitely has a darker more intense feel to it, the third book in Jennifer Estep's Mythos Academy series sees Gwen, her friends and her school under real threat. The very explosive start to Dark Frost really sets the tone for the rest of the book. Gwen and her friends find themselves in the middle of a battle with the Reapers in the Crius Coliseum the museum which showcases artifacts used during the Chaos War. The Reapers are fully prepared to eliminate anyone who gets in their way of finding the Helheim Dagger which they need to free head bad guy Loki from his prison. For the kids of Mythos Academy it's what their training has prepared them for but there is still a sense of real fear, shock and loss when students and museum staff are actually lost in battle. As I said, for me it really sets the tone of the whole book- this battle of good vs evil is real and it's imminent and absolutely everyone at Mythos Academy is in real, real danger.

For Gwen (who I seriously love to bits despite her nosiness) she finds herself face to face with Loki's Champion, the girl who is also responsible for the death of Gwen's mum. Gwen is under real pressure to find the dagger before the Reapers do, her task made all the more poignant by the fact that the dagger was hidden for safekeeping by Gwen's mum when she was at Mythos Academy and like Gwen was Nike's Champion. Gwen finds herself going through her mum's diary to search for possible clues and with her mum's death still very much at the forefront of Gwen's mind this is a particularly heart breaking task.

I loved the darker tone and the developments in both Daphne and Gwen's powers, their struggle is not made any easier by the fact that they are still kids. Gwen really does have a lot of pressure heaped upon her young shoulders. I just about broke my heart on a number of occasions, one in particular with Gwen and Logan and then with Gwen and Nickamedes, Logan's rather grumpy uncle and librarian. Full of action, suspense and some real heart breakingly good but sad moments Dark Frost is not to be missed. The additional tantalising hint of the next instalment Crimson Frost (Crimson= red blood, more danger??? eeeeeck) makes January 2013 seem so far away.

Thanks to the AMAZING Jennifer Estep for the opportunity to read and review Dark Frost before its publication date on the 29th of May.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

New Books

I bought

Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent
Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh

I loved Blood Bound the first in Rachel Vincent's Unbound series so I'm hoping Shadow Bound is equally as good. I've read Dark Frost already so my review should be up this week, again I love the Mythos Academy series and I've even got my friends daughter reading it! Sweet Evil I had ordered a while ago. And finally Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh arrived a few days earlier than I expected so I finished it last night. I love Nalini Singh her psy-changeling series is one of my all time favs but I liked rather than loved Tangle of Need I think I wasn't totally invested in the couple and maybe a little bit more interested in the build up and other well known characters.

Books I read this week

I have a lot of reviews to catch up on, The Siren and Motorcycle Man reviews will definitely be part of my "After Fifty" series of reviews. Both were A- MAZING.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

After Fifty review: Knight by Kristen Ashley

13565914 Knight
The Unfinished Hero #1
Kristen Ashley
Publication date: 8th April 2012

Kristen Ashley warned fans that Knight was going to be a little bit different from her normal books as the hero Knight is actually an anti-hero type of character. I was intrigued but fully prepared to not like Knight, but he turned out to be no more controlling and alpha male-ish than Ashley’s normal heroes.

Yes, Knight is domineering in and out of the bedroom, yes there are some pretty hot scenes between Knight and Anya but that’s what I expect now from a Kristen Ashley book. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading loads of erotica recently and I’m more used to it now, I don’t know, but I didn’t find Knight to be shocking or a huge departure from Ashley’s other books. For me the only real difference was his dirty talk and insistence that Anya calls him “Daddy” in the bedroom, some might find that titilating but I have to say it irritated me no end and was a bit on the creepy side too. That said, I really enjoyed their story and swooned massively at the ending which was absolutely to die for.

after fifty
After Fifty rating: 4 out of 5

Smouldering, controlling hero with issues Thumbs up
Millionaire Thumbs up
Protective streak Thumbs up

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

My book boyfriend- Ty from Lucky in Love

My book boyfriend is hosted by Missie @ The Unread Reader

I am seriously loving Jill Shalvis's books right now, despite usually sticking rigidly to a series reading order I jumped straight into book four Lucky in Love (gotta love that Net galley) in her Lucky Harbour series and loved it to bits. Jill really does seem to write the best book boyfriend worthy male characters EVER.

Ty is an ex-Navy Seal medic recuperating in Lucky Harbour, he keeps himself to himself but is on the ladies of Lucky Harbour's radar and Facebook page as "Cute Mysterious Guy." Ty doesn't want commitment and Mallory is only looking for a little walk on the wild side but their agreed one night stand (in a storage loft of all places) turns into another night and another night. Here are a couple of yummy quotes:

"Are you coming onto me?"
"Well technically, you're on top of me," she pointed out. "So I think that means that you're coming onto me." 

"He was dressed in cargoes and a dark T-shirt snug across his broad chest and loose over his abs. He looked big, bad, built and as dangerous as hell.
And he was hers for the evening.
Not one of her smartest moves. But stretching her wings wasn't about keeping her head. It was about ... being. Living. Feeling.
And the man definitely made her feel, a lot. Already in their short acquaintance, he'd made her feel curious, annoyed, frustrated, and the topper ... Aroused."

"Mallory, you can use me anytime."
"But you said one-time only," she reminded him.
"Actually, you said that. And plans change. Apparently I left you needing more, which is the same thing as unsatisfied in my book." His gaze went hot and dark. "We'll have to fix that."

My Ty is played by model Julian Escott who is clearly well versed in looking mean and moody near a fence (always very important). Ty is my 49th, yes 49th! book boyfriend.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

New Books

From Net galley
The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
Immersed in Pleasure by Tiffany Reisz
Coveted by Shawntelle Madison

I bought
A Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day
Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley

Books I read this week

I've made a serious dent in my Net galley TBR pile so I'm quite proud of myself!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Review: Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis

Lucky in Love
Lucky Harbour #4
Jill Shalvis
Publication date: 1st June 2012

Lucky in Love is actually my first visit to Lucky Harbour despite this being book number 4, but my lack of Lucky Harbour knowledge didn't make the slightest bit of difference as I ended up loving Lucky in Love and immediately added the first three books to my "must read urgently" list. I love a good contemporary romance and Jill Shalvis just seems to routinely write yummy swoon worthy heroes and heroines I would happily befriend.

Ty Garrison is recuperating in Lucky Harbour, an ex-Navy Seal medic he survived a plane crash that his colleagues perished in so it battling mental as well as physical scars. Not one for putting down roots he keeps himself to himself, rebuilding cars whilst he builds up his stamina. However, he finds himself on the radar of the Lucky Harbour ladies and their Facebook page as "Mysterious Cute Guy." Mallory Quinn is a local nurse, she's a good girl with a heart of gold and after rescuing Ty in a snow storm her chocoholic pals tell Ty he can pay her back by being her date at the charity event she has organised to raise funds for the new day clinic she wants to open.

Mallory like all good heroines is a bit fed up being a good girl and fancies a walk on the wild side with the gorgeous Mysterious Cute Guy. She knows he's probably a Mr Wrong rather than her Mr Right but their agreed one night stand develops despite Ty's insistence that he doesn't want any form of commitment and that he will be off as soon as his leg heals. I loved that their "one-time only" turned into another night and then another night, their chemistry and hot moments (and there were plenty) kept me glued to the page. I'm a sucker for a damaged hero who could be saved by the love of a good woman so I was rooting for them all the way. Lucky in Love is a fantastic contemporary romance with two really likeable characters that left me smiling.

Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for the opportunity to read Lucky in Love.