Friday, 31 May 2013

My books of the month- On Dublin Street by Samantha Young and Being Me by Lisa Renee Jones

Each month I highlight my book of the month, the book that I devoured, squeeeeed over, swooned over or cried buckets over the most. I had two favourites this month both were the second books in a series and both were completely outstanding, I honestly couldn't choose between them.
Down London Road
On Dublin Street #2
Samantha Young
Publication date: 7th May 2013
I loved Down London Road's very real Scottish characters. The heroine Jo is one complex lady and almost unlikeable at the start as a bit of a gold digger. However, as her story unfolds and the root of her insecurities becomes clearer I ended up loving her to bits.
Samantha Young definitely knows how to create completely fanciable male characters, first Braiden and now Cam yum! Cam starts out as a bit of an arse when he also writes Jo off as a gold digger before really getting to know her. Their enemies to friends to lovers story was just perfect, I loved it and you can check out my review here.

Being Me
Inside Out Trilogy #2
Lisa Renee Jones
Publication date: 11th June 2013

Being Me the second instalment in Lisa Renee Jone's Inside Out trilogy completely surprised me. I knew it was going to be good as the first book was A-MAZ-ING but Being Me was even better than I thought it would be. I loved the fantastic twists and turns and I ended up changing my mind about how I felt about the main characters more than once. You can check out my slightly squeeeeeey review here.

I'm already counting down the days until the final part of the trilogy is released and hoping we get a lot more "quality time" with Mark.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Mini reviews: Extreme Love by Abby Niles and Skin In the Game by Jackie Barbosa

16224801Extreme Love
Abby Niles
Publication date: 30th April 2013
Reviewed by Lesley

What’s it about? Love 'em and leave 'em MMA fighter Dante "Inferno" Jones falls for curvy Caitlyn Moore right before the biggest fight of his career. She's not keen on his violent career and isn't sure she's really the kind of woman for him. Dante however disagrees and goes all out to get her, taking his mind very much off his important fight.

I liked that heroine Cait who despite having insecurities about her weight was happy and healthy and was able to help others by starting a weight loss programme. She was a very likeable heroine. I also really liked that she set MMA fighter Dante (cool MMA name btw) straight that it isn't easy to take that first step into a gym and face people looking at you.

I disliked Cait's bonkers plan to date Dante's slightly evil rival to get Dante to hate her and consequently concentrate on his fight. Could she not have just told him to cool off their relationship for three weeks and that she would be there for him during and after the fight? (I realise there would be no conflict and plot but still!)

Rating: A good sports romance, worth a read.

17834434Skin in the Game
Jackie Barbosa
Publication date: 27th May 2013
Reviewed by Lesley

What’s it about? Hot shot NFL star Cade Reynolds goes back to his hometown to take over as interim high school coach and falls for high school maths teacher and football coach Angie Peterson.

I liked that Angie didn't want Cade to remember her as the mousey looking football expert from high school, after lusting after him for years she takes the bull by the horns and has a night of hot smex with him and then does a runner. Angie doesn't realise that the coach has invited Cade to work with her team and that her one night stand is now technically her boss. Angie's determined to prove herself as a coach and play expert and Cade is determined to get her back into his bed. Who will come out the winner?

I disliked absolutely nothing! Skin In the Game is a great sports romance with a hot alpha male sport star and a smart complex woman in a perfect small town setting. I loved it.

Rating: Fans of steamy sports romance will love it!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #13

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

As the queen of pre-orders I thought I would join in with the Waiting on Wednesday meme highlighting some of the upcoming books that I’m keen to get my hands on.
Ruthie Knox
Publication date: 10th June 2013
Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.

Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.
Ruthie Knox is my "go to" author for sexy contemporary romance, I've loved every single book she's written and the previous two books in her Camelot series have been absolutely delicious. Roll on the 10th of June!! 
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Monday, 27 May 2013

Review: By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

by a threadBy a Thread
Elemental Assassin #6
Jennifer Estep
Publication date:
Reviewed by Lesley

I'm playing catch up with Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series, after finally defeating Mab Monroe in Spider's Revenge I took a little break from Gin Blanco's world and although I was now keen to get back to the series I wasn't exactly sure what was in store for Gin. If I'm honest I wasn't exactly sure if the series would be half as exciting without Mab in it she was such a fantastic baddie.

By a Thread was actually way better than I'd expected. It had action, heartbreak and an evil Vamp villain who really had Gin on the run. Hands down though, my favourite part of By a Thread was Gin finally getting to confront Donovan her ex-boyfriend from the start of the series. Donovan never really accepted Gin and her occupation and was so judgemental I almost suspected his full name was in fact Donovan Judgemental Cain. As I'm firmly on Gin's side he annoyed me no end, but Gin never really had closure on their relationship so it was incredibly satisfying to see Gin rise above him and show him what he had been missing.

I also really enjoyed seeing the changing dynamic of Gin and her younger sister Bria's relationship. Although reunited their relationship has never really felt very natural, and for me, Bria gave off some very Donovan-esque disapproving vibes, as a cop she firmly believes in upholding the law and isn't too keen on Gin's "occupation". However, when Gin is called upon to help Bria's best friend Callie and her beloved restaurant Sea Breeze, Bria finally sees that sometimes Gin's brand of justice is the only option when up against some series bad guys. I loved the little twist with Callie- she's almost the respectable version of Gin, she owns a restaurant, enjoys cooking oh and has Donovan Judgemental Cain as her fiancee!

Overall, By a Thread was a fantastic instalment in the long running series. I love that six books into a series the plot still feels fresh and exciting to me, I genuinely thought that Gin was a goner this time! As a fan of Gin and the series I'm glad that Bria finally has a better understanding of why Gin does what she often has to do, that for Gin it's not all about money sometimes it is about justice. Although I think their relationship will never be perfect I think that Gin is finally getting the respect she deserves and that I have to say that left me with a giant smile on my face.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

New books and what's on my TBR list

Hey everyone, here's the new books I got over the last two weeks.
I bought
I met the very lovely Samantha Young with Emma from Belle Books at her recent signing in East Kilbride Scotland. She was lovely and patiently answered all our questions and even remembered Emma and I from her first ever signing in Edinburgh. My signed copy of Down London Road is now on my real keeper shelf on one of my bookcases and I have an extra signed copy for a giveaway.

 Do you ever pre-order a book when it's going cheap on The Book Depository and then forget all about it? Yep, I do. I can't resist those £3.74 books.   
Kindle Bargain
Tangled is the next big contemporary romance book that everyone is talking about. I had to buy it, read it in one day and laughed out loud at Drew the hero numerous times. You can check out my review here. 
From Netgalley
 Excellent, excellent netgalley week. I love Kristen Ashley and I love Jennifer Estep so I was beyond excited to get Fire Inside and Spartan Frost. All previous reading plans are well out the window.

I read The Fault In Our Stars today sitting outside on my decking in the sun with tears streaming down my face. It was out of this world good and I know I couldn't even begin to review it if I tried.

Tangled by Emma Chase was hilarious, Unbeautifully by Madeline Sheehan was pretty hot and Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent was dark but good. 
I DNF Rock With Me by Kristen Proby, I just got bored and couldn't be arsed finishing it. I very rarely DNF a book as I always end up continuing to read a meh kind of book worried that it will pick up and I'll have missed something awesome. Dream Nights with the CEO by Kathy Lyons was okish.

Next up to read
I'm reading another book from my Clear my shelves YA challenge Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler and then I'm going to read my 2 newest Netgalley additions Spartan Frost and Fire Inside.

 Have a good week!


Friday, 24 May 2013

Review: Down London Road by Samantha Young

Down London Road
On Dublin Street #2
Samantha Young
Publication date: 7th May 2013
Reviewed by Lesley

Characters always make or break a book for me and there were two character related reasons why I loved every freaking minute of Down London Road. Firstly, Samantha Young made me dislike both the hero and heroine and I wasn't sure that I would ever be able to like them but as their story unfolded I completely changed my mind about them both and ended up really loving them. I'm pretty impressed by that. Secondly, Down London Road is a very Scottish book with very Scottish characters and I really, really loved that too. Most of the books I've read with Scottish characters in them are usually those pretty awful Highland-ish romances where the hero wears a kilt and says "I doona ken lassie" about four billion times. Those books are not written by real Scottish people and believe me it shows. As a fellow Scot Down London Road felt very, very real to me.

I loved the complexities of Jo's character. Jo has brought up her younger brother Cole ensuring he doesn't want for anything the way she did growing up. She also puts up with and still cares for her alcoholic mother and protects Cole from the cruel outbursts her drunken mother still lashes out with. So this caring, protective and responsible woman is so at odds from the gold digger Jo that we initially meet. I didn't really like her much at the start, any woman who is prepared to smoother her own personality to get and keep a guy is not much of a heroine as far as I'm concerned. Or so I thought. Like most people Jo faced I judged her too before I realised that she's using the only thing she thinks she has in her favour- her looks, to snare a wealthy guy who can look after her. Despite being stunning looking her self confidence is completely nonexistent. Deep down she genuinely believes that she's not smart enough or interesting enough to get or keep a guy. It was only really when little bits of her terrible upbringing came to light that I finally understood the reasons for Jo's heart breaking insecurities and with that, my opinion of her completely changed.

When Cam the very, very yummy good looking new bartender initially acts like a complete idiot and decides that Jo is a gold digging thicko I didn't appreciate his judgemental arse much either. It took me a while to change my mind about him. When Jo doesn't set him straight and let's him continue to think she's really like that I honestly wanted to scream. I ended up completely caught up in their enemies to friends to lovers journey and I'm pretty sure I'll not get the changing room sex scene out of my brain for a long time, phew it was good!

Although I loved the romance Down London Road is more than just a good contemporary romance, I know it sounds a bit "X factor-ish" but it really was a journey. A realistic, heart breakingly good journey as Jo realises her family isn't just her and Cole it's Cam, Joss and Braiden, Uncle Mick and Olivia, Ellie and Adam, Elodie, Clark and Hannah too. Talk about a book putting you through the emotional wringer. Down London Road had me ranging from being as disapproving as an ancient maiden aunt, raging mad on poor Jo's behalf, swooning like a Victorian lady, really, really squirmy hot under the collar and crying like a freaking baby with tears and snot the lot! Definitely a sign of an amazing book and one of my favourites of 2013 so far.

Favourite quote (which still makes me sniff and get all emotional):

"Be Caledonia." Cam grinned, love in his eyes for the man who was his Dad. "He said that Caledonia wasn't a name we'd given to our land, to Scotland, but the name the Romans had...
You know, the world will always try to make you into who it wants to be. People, time events, they'll all try to carve away at you and make you think you don't know who you are. But it doesn't matter who they try to make you, or what name they give you. If you stay true, you can chip off all their machinations and you're still you underneath it all. Be Caledonia. It might be the name someone else gave the land, but it didn't change the land. Better yet, we embraced the name, keeping it but never changing it. Be Caledonia."

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Review: Tangled by Emma Chase

Emma Chase
Publication date: 20th May 2013
Reviewed by Lesley

"Don't put off till tomorrow anyone you could be doing today"

Everyone, I want to introduce you to my brand new book boyfriend. His name is Drew Evans and he's a successful, confident, good looking ladies man with a killer smile. You're going to love him!

I saw a couple of 5 star reviews of Tangled by Emma Chase on Goodreads that proclaimed Drew to be a hilarious, adorable man-whore so I rushed straight off to Amazon to buy it, and let me tell you, it was worth every single penny!

Told from Drew's POV Tangled had me laughing, blushing and drooling in equal measure. Drew is definitely 100% a man-whore but I fell in love with him anyway. A successful businessman he works hard during the week and by the weekend he is unashamedly on the look out for a hook up with a "random" and wants nothing more. He doesn't do relationships and isn't looking for love, that is until he meets Kate Brooks the already engaged woman who turns him down. Out celebrating her new job Kate doesn't fall at Drew's feet like most women and when she starts work at Drew's father's business Drew is completely knocked for six.

"Katherine Brooks.
The girl from the bar. The girl who I let get away.
And she works here. In my office, where I have sworn to never...ever...screw around. Her warm, soft hand slides perfectly into mine, and two thoughts enter my head simultaneously.
The first is: God hates me. The second is: I have been a naughty, naughty boy for most of my life, and this is my payback. And you know what they say about payback, right?
Yep, She's one hairy bitch."

I liked Kate she's smart, creative, determined and takes no shit from Drew. As they go head to head to get the chance to pitch to rich client their dirty and juvenile tricks had me laughing. Tangled is very much Drew's book though. His lady killer one liners and love of innuendo had me rolling my eyes and giggling but it's the internal and very alpha male dialogue in his head that stole the show for me. It was the sarcastic, hilarious and honest male voice that I've always wanted an insight and was just so completely spot on. I genuinely think Emma Chase must have been a guy in a previous life!

"Now, I know some women have issues with their bodies. Maybe you've got a little extra junk in the trunk? Get over it. Doesn't matter. Naked kicks Modest's ass every single time. Men are visual. We wouldn't be fucking you if we didn't want to look at you.
You can write that down if you like."

I loved Drew, he's used to getting exactly what he wants and fully admits that he is an arrogant, selfish and spoiled prince so seeing him tying himself up in knots over a woman that isn't immediately prepared to worship him was entertaining and hilarious. Drew and Kate's love-hate relationship builds up perfectly as Drew falls completely for Kate and Kate tries to ignore her growing attraction to Drew. You just know their feelings for each other are going to explode and when it did it was sooooo good. But can a man-whore ever really change? Is it love Drew is feeling or is it merely man flu? You need to read it to find out. I guarantee you will enjoy it. I devoured it. Great story, great characters and one hell of a fantastic debut from Emma Chase.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #12

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

As the queen of pre-orders I thought I would join in with the Waiting on Wednesday meme highlighting some of the upcoming books that I’m keen to get my hands on.
Undeniable #2
Madeline Sheehan
Publication date: 5th June 2013
The story of Ripper and Danny.

The first time I fell in love it was with a pair of blue eyes and a wide dimpled grin.

“Your old man loves ya, Danny girl,” He whispered. “You never ever forget that, yeah?”

I never did. And I never thought I could ever love any man as much as I loved my father. But as we grow, we change, we begin to make our own decisions and thus become independent and self sufficient and start turning away from our parents and turning to others. We form friendships, strong bonds and ties and begin experiencing life outside of the bubble we grew up inside of.

And we fall in love…a second time.

The second time I fell in love it was with a badly scarred face, the stuff of nightmares; the sort of disfigurement that mothers steer their children away from. Ugly, jagged slashes marred the skin from the top of his skull, down over his right eye, an eye that had been dug out of his face with a serrated blade. The scars continued across his cheek, over his lips and down his neck, ending at the top of his shoulder. His chest was a hundred times worse; scar tissue as far as the eye could see.

“Baby,” He said gruffly, “Man like me got no business with a girl like you. You’re nothin’ but fuckin’ beauty and I’m a whole lot of fuckin’ ugly who’s already halfway to hell.”

But he was wrong.
Everything has beauty. Even the ugly. Especially the ugly.
Because without ugly there would be no beauty.
Because without beauty we would not survive our pain, our sorrow, and our suffering.
And in the world I lived in, the world he lived in, a secret world within the world, a world of of constant crime and cruel, cold, death, there was almost nothing but suffering.

“You may not be beautiful the way you were before,” I whispered, cupping his ruined cheek. “But you’re still beautiful. To me.”
I really enjoyed Undeniable, despite the age gap between Eva and Deuce I loved their story that seemed to span their entire lives. Unbeautifully's blurb makes me think it will be the same kind of unconventional romance and I'm always a complete sucker for a rough hero with scars. 
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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Review: Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole

shadow's claimShadow’s Claim
Kresley Cole
Publication date: 27th November 2013
Reviewed by Lesley

I got pretty excited when I saw that Kresley Cole had a new series out, her books ALWAYS have a place on my real keeper shelf because I really do love her brand of feisty and a little bit bonkers kind of heroines. Shadow's Claim is a bit unusual (in a good way) in that it could be read and enjoyed both as a standalone by a new reader and by a long term Kresley Cole fan. It has a few links and cameos from her Immortals After Dark series but not too many that it would be confusing for a first time Kresley Cole reader so if you haven't read any of her books previously then I would recommend that Shadow's Claim is a great place to start.

Bettina is a halfling demon and sorceri who after a serious attack from four evil Vrekeners which almost left her for dead has had her power syphoned off to prevent it from being reincarnated into a newborn sorcerei when she dies which leaves her both frightened and at risk. Bettina's Godparents the powerful and slightly scary-crazy Morgana and demon Raum arrange a tournament to find Bettina a worthy protector. They want to find the strongest champion in the Lore for her and offer up Bettina's hand in marriage as the prize. Bettina however, is already infatuated with childhood friend and tracker Cas who unfortunately only sees Bettina as a sister rather than potential bride.

Trehan Daciano, Prince of Shadows and deadly assassin has been sent to Bettina's realm to find and kill Cas but instead himself drawn to Bettina who is actually his fated Bride. Trehan has searched for hundreds of years to find his Bride, the one woman who will make his Vampire heart beat for the first time ever, give him a pulse and allows ahem, "down below" to really start working. However, not only does Trehan find that his fated bride is in love with another man, but that man is the one man he must kill and Trehan realises that he runs the risk of never winning over Bettina if he is the one to kill off Cas.

Trehan finds himself entering the tournament, which has been opened to all creatures in the Lore, to protect Bettina and win her hand in marriage but in doing so has to for the first time ever, come out of the shadows which basically means he can never return to his kingdom, and although Trehan has lived his life obeying and enforcing the rules he is willing to leave it all behind to protect his Bride.

Bettina really annoyed me at times with her "love" for childhood friend Cas who clearly is not in the least bit interested in her, it took me a while to really warm to her. I did however, love Trehan pretty much from the start as he's a ruthless assassin who loves to read. What's not to like about that? As a dutiful Royal assassin he's really just been going through the motions for hundreds of years and is only finally awoken by discovering his Bride. I loved how protective he was even if he was a bit cavemanish at times!

Much of Shadow's Claim is centred around the actual rounds of the tournament which made it really fast paced and entertaining as each round brought something a little bit different to the story. Although I knew that Trehan's ruthless assassin skills would come in handy in disposing of some of the slimy creatures that entered the tournament some of the other contestants seemed pretty unbeatable. As a Kresley Cole fan I did squeal with excitement when previous Immortals After Dark characters were mentioned, seeing Nix trying to start a Mexican wave at the tournament not only made me laugh it made me want her book even more, I'm thinking that we will probably get to see more of Trehan's cousins Viktor, Stelian and Mirceo before we finally get Nix's book though. Overall, I loved every minute of Shadow's Claim, my copy now sits proudly beside all of Kresley Cole's other books on my real keeper shelf.

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Monday, 20 May 2013

The Jessica McClain Ultimate Swag giveaway!

To celebrate the release of HOT BLOODED Amanda Carlson has organised another fab swag giveaway. Look what's up for grabs!
You can enter via the Rafflecopter thingy below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #11

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

As the queen of pre-orders I thought I would join in with the Waiting on Wednesday meme highlighting some of the upcoming books that I’m keen to get my hands on.
One sweet rideOne Sweet Ride
Play by Play #6
Jaci Burton
Publication date: 4th June 2013
Race car driver Gray Preston enjoys fast cars and an uncomplicated life, until political aide Evelyn Hill enters the picture and complicates the hell out of it with a request that he help out his estranged father’s political campaign. Racing and politics don’t mix, but Gray and Evelyn’s sexual attraction sizzles like asphalt in August.
I absolutely adore Jaci Burton's Play by Play series, it's one of my favourite sports romances series. The yummy covers demand me to pick up the book but it's the delicious romance inside that ensures I come back to this series time and time again. I love them. 
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Monday, 13 May 2013

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass #1
Sarah J. Maas
Publication date: 2nd August 2012
Reviewed by Rebecca

I really struggled with this book and debated whether to give it a 3 or 4 star review. I hit a reading slump not long after I started it and took quite a while to get out of it. Whether it was the books fault, I do not know but I pride myself on honest reviews and have to admit that the book did start off quite slowly.
The main gist of the story is that Celaena Sardothien has been serving a year of hard labour in the salt mines of Endovier for her many and varied crimes - Celaena, before she was captured, was an assassin - and a very good one at that. One day, she is unexpectedly called for an audience with the Crown Prince Dorian who informs her that she must compete in a competition for the new royal assassin - and in return, he will grant her the freedom she truly desires. Of course, she is not the only champion entering this competition and her identity is kept secret from the many men she faces. They think very little of Sardothien, believing her to just be a female jewel thief - no match for them. But if her true identity was to be revealed, the men would be left quaking in their boots!

Although the book started off slowly, once I came out of my slump and back reading again, I actually sped through this novel. The parts where Sardothien, Dorian and Captain Westfall are travelling to the royal palaces are quite boring but as soon as she arrives, the action really heats up. Just the fact that no one except the Prince, the Captain and her maid know who she truly is keeps the suspense built up and when a second storyline is introduced alongside the competition; where competitors are getting murdered one by one; it really helps the story in reaching its conclusion.
I am intrigued to see just what will happen in the second novel and in what direction the kind of 'love triangle' goes - there are a few stolen kisses and a lot of secret thoughts throughout the novel but I can't wait to see who Celaena chooses overall.

I cannot give this 5 stars as I do believe that the beginning of the novel should pick up pace a little more - however, when the story gets going, boy do you want to keep on reading! 4 out of 5.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

New books and what's on my TBR list

Hey everyone I hope you're having a good weekend.
Here's the new books I got over the last few weeks:
I bought
Rogue Descendant by Jenna Black and Oath Bound by Rachel Vincent were both pre-ordered ages ago from The Book Depository and I bought Etiquette & Espionage from The Works.

For review
Blind Attraction by Eden Summers

 From Netgalley
I went a bit mad with the contemporary romance requests, I think.
Kindle bargains

 I haven't had much time to read over the last two weeks as work has been pretty exhausting but I really enjoyed Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright which I finished last night, it's turning out to be a pretty good shifters series.
I'm not sure what I'm going to read next I know I have quite a few series to catch up with so I might try to ignore my many kindle bargains and concentrate on books on my shelf.
I still have a giveaway on to win an e-copy of Inked Ever After you can check out the giveaway here.