Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Review: Running Back by Allison Parr

Running Back
New York Leopards
Allison Parr
Publication date: 21st October 2013

Although I am very fond of a good book boyfriend now and again I'm often really disappointed in the heroines, not so in Running Back the second book in Allison Parr's New York Leopards series. Here the heroine Natalie really took centre stage, she smart and dedicated and I ended up loving her to bits.

Grad student archaeologist Natalie has been working with her mentor trying to find the lost city Ivernis in Southern Ireland and finally prove the link between Ireland and the Romans. She's very focused and determined, this is as much her dream as her professor Jeremy's so when the owner of the land Natalie wants to excavate in Ireland suddenly dies Natalie is forced to go to the new owner to get his permission to dig on his land. The problem being that the new owner is none other than Mike O'Connor the rather famous American footballer from the New York Leopards and he's super cute. When Mike says no to the dig for "personal reasons" of which he refuses to disclose to Natalie, she's crushed but refuses to be down forever and is determined to head to Ireland to do some further research at the same time Mike, his mother and sisters also visit Ireland to pay their respects to the long lost uncle who left the land to Mike and to finally discover their roots.

At first I found it hard to believe that Natalie could still even speak to Mike after he refused her permission to dig on his land, especially since she has invested so much of her life in trying to find the lost city, she's clearly a bigger person than I would be! But they soon become friends and this friendship leads nicely into a romance whilst Mike and his family uncover their own pretty interesting O'Connor family history. With the local community desperate for the dig to go ahead and bring some much needed money into the area Mike is under increasing pressure to reveal to Natalie the real reason he can't agree to the dig.

I liked the romance between Natalie and Mike. Mike isn't your usual big headed alpha male sportsman and Natalie doesn't believe in happily ever after so seeing them come together was really pretty sweet. I liked Mike's close family and newly found Irish family, they welcomed Natalie with open arms even though she seemed to struggle with the relationship with her own parents. I have to say I absolutely loved all the archaeology references and the historical side of the story both in the search for Ivernis and the O'Connor family history it added a whole different dimension to the book that I really wasn't expecting.

Overall, what I thought was going to be another cutesy romance book was so much more than that and guarantees that I'm definitely going to be looking out for more from Allison Parr in the future. 4 out of 5.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Review: Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh

archangel's legionArchangels’s Legion
Guild Hunter #6
Nalini Singh
Publication date: 29th October 2013

Nalini Singh ramps up the action and intrigue right from the word go in Archangel’s Legion the sixth book in her amazing Guild Hunter series with the first of many strange occurrences threatening Raphael the archangel of New York.

What initially looks like another storm over New York instead results in five minutes of terrifying chaos in which birds and then 887 of Raphael’s angels literally fall from the sky in what becomes known as “The Falling.” The resulting five angel deaths and countless injuries is a visible blow to Raphael’s power and must be downplayed by Raphael, his consort and his seven to convince his enemies that his forces have not been weakened. The main suspect of course, is thought to be Lijuan the Archangel of China who has quickly become the Archangel of Death with her army of reborn but with Raphael’s spymaster Jason confirming Lijuan has not left her territory Raphael knows the Cascade is now in full effect and an Archangel war seems almost inevitable. With a surge in power in the Cadre all archangels will grow in strength during the Cascade. Raphael expects that one or more of the Cadre will also be touched by madness or gain powers that will eclipse the rest of the Cadre shifting the balance of power dramatically and leading to all-out war.

With war imminent Raphael reaches out to his mother, the ancient Caliane, for her guidance on what occurred during the previous Cascade. I loved seeing Raphael connecting with his mother, her love for Raphael shines through and it made me chuckle a little when she refers to him as her “babe” and “beautiful boy” Raphael who we know as a powerful, sometimes arrogant and lethal archangel feared by all. Raphael’s heart aches for his mother never really sure if she is truly sane or will remain stable. He knows that she has always loved her people fiercely, that she loved his father and was changed by his birth. However, when her beloved mate was consumed by madness she was forced to execute him which resulted in her also becoming consumed by madness and hurt her only son leaving him for dead. Raphael isn’t sure that he can ever forgive her for her actions (which just breaks my heart) but he loves her all the same and greatly values her support and confidence.

Raphael also reaches out to fellow archangel Elijah arranging a meeting with Elijah, his consort Hannah and Elena. For Elena this is her first opportunity to build a true friendship in the Cadre with someone who understands the pressures of being a consort and for Raphael this is the first tentative step towards building trust, sharing information and forming a much needed important alliance. We learn more about the new powers in the Cadre: Elijah can command animals, Astaad can control the sea, Neha can create fire and ice, and Favashi can now control winds. Whereas the rest of the Cadre seems to have developed violent new powers, Raphael’s new power, the ability to heal, seems to Elena to be more of a weakness. Elena knows that Raphael can’t afford to stagnate when the others are gaining in power if he ever stands a chance in protecting his territory from his enemies. It’s Elena’s overwhelming fear that she has somehow weakened Raphael that really broke my heart. She's terrified that he has become that little bit more human and therefore more vulnerable as a result of their relationship and that his new power is a negative one because of her. Their resulting argument and very smexy make up was out of this world fantastic! Raphael has to convince her that even an archangel needs a weakness to stop power corrupting him fully (like it has Lijuan) and he delivers what is now my favourite Raphael line of all time:

“Eternity would mean nothing without you. For no power on this earth would I trade my Elena.”   

I loved the development in Raphael and Elena’s relationship; they seem very much a unit in Archangel’s Legion. Yes Raphael is his usual bossy, protective and powerful self but Elena is no push over, meets his demands head on and stands with him in his moments of need as they decide that if “we fall, we fall together.” Against the backdrop of Raphael hearing strange whispers in his dreams and developing a strange savage looking mark on his temple Elena is terrified for Raphael but continues to track down the source of a new vampire disease designed to attack the vampires in Raphael’s territory as well as find her way in her new role of consort to support Raphael.

I really did have to remind myself to breathe in the final chapters of Archangel’s Legion as war is declared on Raphael. Grossly outnumbered this seems like a battle that Raphael, Elena and the Seven cannot possibly win. The battle to defend the tower had me I think reading faster than I’ve ever read before as a win in an immortal war means face to face combat and an almighty showdown. It was beyond intense, completely terrifying and captivated me fully. I loved it.

Nalini Singh remains my all-time favourite author, six books into the series and she still makes my jaw drop and my heart race. Archangel’s Legion is the must read of the year.

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Review: Unbound by Cara McKenna

Cara McKenna
Publisher: Intermix
Publication date: 15th October 2013

I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding Cara McKenna to my list of favourite authors after devouring her latest offering Unbound which had me shedding more than just a few tears. Unbound is now guaranteed to be up there as one of my favourite reads of 2013, I loved it.

After losing her mother and a life changing amount of weight in a year and a half Merry who’s always put others first and herself last, has no clue what she’s doing with her life but is determined to find herself whilst walking 170 miles from Glasgow to Inverness the town her mother grew up in. When disaster strikes and she develops an icky water-borne illness after swimming in a loch Merry just about manages to collapse in a heap at the only cottage around for miles throwing herself at the mercy of its inhabitant.

Rob isn’t exactly the welcoming committee that Merry hoped for. Living deliberately alone and miles from civilisation he isn’t exactly very hospitable towards Merry and only grudgingly allows her to stay in his remote cottage for the initial night despite her ill health. Although he knows he really should drive her to the nearest hospital and get rid of her he doesn't because Rob hasn’t been in the city for a long time and for a very good reason.

Having read a few of her books now I love Cara McKenna’s very character driven stories, her characters to me seem like normal and average kind of people, they aren’t blessed with superstar looks or amazing talents but their story always and I mean always, suck me right in. Rob’s character absolutely destroyed me. He broke my heart into a million tiny pieces and his story had me sobbing like a baby. Living in self-imposed exile he’s hiding from the many demons in his past. Merry gets him to open up ever so slightly to talk a little about his hermit like existence without really telling her in so many words that years of alcoholism have driven everyone away from him and that his exile from civilisation is to ensure he isn’t tempted to drink again. His feelings of self-loathing don’t end there however, but Merry's attraction to him isn’t lessened by his confessions and she quickly learns his real and darkest secret. What Rob wants and needs Merry who is on her own voyage of self-discovery is happy to give him.

What really broke my heart was that Rob knows that he can only be with this amazing and accepting woman in the bubble he lives in here and now. He can’t go back to city living with all of its temptations and triggers even for her, he also doesn’t want to tell her the truth about  his alcoholic past instead he wants her to remember him exactly how he is in his isolated cottage. The incurable romantic in me craved their happy ever after but I really wasn’t sure I would ever get for this lost woman who wants a man to look at her with adoration and love for the first time ever and a lonely man who wants to be accepted by a woman kinks and all. In the end Unbound was absolutely perfect. 5 out of 5.  

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New books and other stuff

Hey everyone nice to see you again!
Here's what arrived through my letterbox this week:
I got some very cool swag
Thanks to the lovely Amanda Carlson for sending me a bag, squishy coaster (I love coasters), a bookmark, tattoo and sticker.
Thanks also to the amazing C.J. Duggan who sent me some gorgeous Boys of Summer swag all the way from Australia, they've got pride of place on my office wall now. 

I bought a few books

I loved Divergent and Insurgent and have had Allegiant the final book in the series pre-ordered for months, I was planning on ditching all my books to read it but when I read that spoiler online I now can't face reading it. How bizarre is that?
I've been reading Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick series as my "me books" and I'm completely addicted, so much so that I've been ditching all my review books! I finished Rock Chick Regret the other day, it's my favourite in the series and I cried my eyes out on more than one occasion for Sadie. I immediately then bought Rock Chick Revolution which is the final book in the series and is Ally and Ren's book. I've promised myself I can read it when I've finished two of my review books in the hope it will motivate me to get them finished! 
I bought Outlander after seeing a picture on Pinterest, it's been out for years and I've always been meaning to read it so I thought I would give it a go and see if I like it as much as everyone else seems to.Finally, on a whim I bought Crash into Me because it's about a bad boy rock star and you know how much I love my rock star romance books!

For review
Vengeance Borne
Sentry of Evil #1
Amanda Bonilla
Publication date: 3rd September 2013
Fated to Hunt…

As the local hunter, and a ward of the Sentry, a secret organization dedicated to eradicating the forces of evil, Jacquelyn has been protecting the small town of McCall, Idaho for the past five years. The hours are horrible, the pay is nonexistent, she has to work with her jealous ex-boyfriend – and forget about quitting. She’s in for life.

Destined to See…
When a rugged drifter comes through town, Jacquelyn immediately knows what he is – an Empath who can read emotions and sense what others are thinking – even though it’s clear the handsome stranger has no idea what, or how powerful, he is…

A Town in Peril…
When people in McCall start turning up dead, viciously ripped to shreds as if by a wild animal, Jacquelyn knows better. Furies are loose in Idaho and hell-bent on exacting revenge. But against whom? And for what purpose? Jacquelyn has until the full moon to stop the Furies’ killing spree and save the people of McCall, figure out how to work with her ex – oh, and there’s a handsome stranger in town who’s in desperate need of some schooling…

Doesn't this sound amazing? When I saw Vengeance Borne on Netgalley I had to get it. Although I do love my contemporary romance my first love is always urban fantasy. 
That's me, pretty good or what?

Monday, 21 October 2013

My favourite shifter romance books

I'm a huge fan of shifter romance, I have a whole bookcase full of my favourite series so I thought I would highlight some of my all time favourites and some new ones that I've got on my TBR list.

One of my all time favourite paranormal romance series is Nalini Singh's amazing Psy- Changeling series. I've read every single book at least twice and still years down the line I can pick up the first book and enjoy it all over again. I would recommend that you read the series in order though it'll make much more sense!

My all time favourite Urban Fantasy series has to be Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series. Kate is a kick ass chick and like many fans I was desperate for her to get together with Curran the alpha male Beast Lord. What I love about this series is that it took ages for them to get together and when they did it was so worth the wait. There's not that many series that six books down the line can still take my breath away but Magic Rises will definitely be in my top books of 2012.  

A relative newbie series that I've come to adore is Amanda Carlson's Jessica McClain series. It's action packed, has a fantastic heroine who is coming into her powers and has a very yummy love interest in the form of Rourke and ancient and seldom seen shifter. This is a series you need to read in order but clear your calendar because when you start reading it you won't want to put it down until the end.

Another old favourite of mine was Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, there's six books in total and I'll admit I cried a little when the series came to an end in 2010. I loved seeing the main character werecat shifter Faythe Sanders mature into being the alpha of her pack. 
Some of my other favourite series 
 If you are looking for some more great shifter romance series I would recommend Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series and her Alpha and Omega series, both are absolutely fantastic. Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld urban fantasy series and her Young Adult series Darkness Rising are pretty good too, although I need to catch up on both series!
 I really enjoyed Suzanne Wright's The Phoenix Pack series, if you are looking for a hot shifter kind of book then this series is just for you. I'll be counting down the days until the third instalment Carnal Secrets is released in February 2014.

 I absolutely ADORE everything that Shelly Laurenston has written her Magnus Pack paranormal series and Pride series are smexy and hilariously funny I can't recommend them enough. Shelly Laurenston also writes as G.A. Aiken who's Dragon Kin series is also one of my all time favourites.

Some other great series to check out
Alpha Pack by J.D. Tyler  |  Eternal Wolf Clan by Stephanie Tyler  | 
Moon Shifter by Katie Reus  |  Were Chronicles by Crissy Smith  |  Cascadia Wolves by Lauren Dane  |  Kitty Norville by Carrie Vaughn  |  Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper        

Some newish shifter books that have caught my eye

I'm always on the lookout for new series to try so if you have any other favourites that I haven't mentioned give me a shout!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Cold Blooded by Amanda Carlson spotlight and giveaway

I'm a huge fan of Amanda Carlson's Jessica McClain series it's one of my favourite Urban Fantasy series EVER so I'm beyond happy to be part of the blog tour for COLD BLOODED the latest instalment in the series. You can check out my slightly fan girly review here and there's a fab giveaway below in which you can win a signed copy of Cold Blooded and a tonne of fab Jessica McClain swag. 

Cold Blooded
Jessica McClain #3
Amanda Carlson
Publication date: 8th October 2013

Jessica arrives back in town to find her best friend missing and the most powerful witch in the country is blaming her for it. But before they can move to save her, the group is attacked.

On the run, Jessica and Rourke head to the mountains. Several surprises await them, but in order to save her father they are forced to leave for New Orleans early.

Arriving on the Vampire Queen's doorstep unexpectedly, and bringing trouble on their heels, the Sects are thrown into an all out war. The vicious
skirmish ends up forcing the vamps and Jessica to fight on the same team.

The Vamp Queen ends up owing Jessica, but what Jessica doesn't realize is just how soon she'll have to cash it in...

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Want to win a SIGNED copy of Cold Blooded and some fab swag including a t-shirt, coaster, bookmark, bag and tattoo?
Enter via the Rafflecopter thingy below.
Good luck!

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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Treasure Your Love by JC Reed excerpt and giveaway

I've really enjoyed J.C. Reed's Surrender Your Love series so far (you can check out my reviews of Surrender Your Love and Conquer Your Love here ) so I'm really pleased to be part of the third instalment Treasure Your Love release day book tour and giveaway, so how about a little sneak preview? 

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Treasure Your Love
Surrender Your Love #3
J.C. Reed
Publication date: 15th October 2013

Meeting Jett was like a drug. Dangerous. Addictive. And better forbidden. In his game, there’s a high price to be paid. But how much is too much?

Brooke Stewart, a realtor in New York, was never in love until she met the green eyed, sexy as sin, six foot two sex god, Jett. The man to whom she surrendered. The man who hurt her once only to conquer her heart again.

Sexy, handsome, and arrogant Jett Mayfield knows he has found his match. Brooke is like no other woman he’s ever met and he has every intention of keeping her in his bed.

Their future seems full of promise...until the past is catching up with them and dark secrets threaten to destroy their lives. Soon they realize that to love means to lose, and some choices are harder than others.

When everything comes crashing down, can mistakes be amended…or will he lose her forever?

A woman who surrendered to love.

A man who would do anything to protect her.

Two lives that are about to be tested…and the last secrets laid bare.

To celebrate the release of Treasure Your Love the author J.C. Reed is running a fab giveaway for a $100 Amazon giftcard and a print copy of Treasure Your Love.
Enter via the Rafflecopter thing below.
Good Luck!

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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #27

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.
Wild Darkness
Bound by Magick #4
Lauren Dane
Publication date: 5th November 2013

The bombing that almost killed Owen witch Molly Ryan has worsened the tensions between the humans and the Others. While the Others desperately campaign to prevent the passage of a law that would strip their people of all rights, the human separatists develop an agenda far worse than anyone imagined. With her position more precarious than ever, security head Helena Jaansen finds herself relying more and more heavily on her personal guard, Faine Leviathan, and, despite her better instincts, falling more deeply into the intimate connection that they share.

As Helena and Faine’s explosive passion grows, a deadly separatist plot is discovered, one which could bring ultimate destruction for the Others, and war breaks out between the two opposing factions. With the Others forced into hiding, Helena must overcome her fear of repeating past failures to save her people—and her heart—before it’s too late...

Have I mentioned how much I ADORE this series? Wild Darkness is the final instalment in what has been a fantastic paranormal romance series by Lauren Dane and I am beyond excited to be finally getting my hands on it. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Review: Raw by Jo Davis

Torn Between Two Lovers #1
Jo Davis
Publisher: Penguin Intermix
Publication date: 15th October 2013

I don't know how many times I've read a contemporary romance and wished the heroine chose the bad boy rather then the hero, which makes the concept of Raw the first instalment in Jo Davis's Torn Between Two Lovers series very appealing to me. This time the reader gets to choose who wins the heroine's heart by way of a public vote, will it be good guy FBI agent Grayson James or bad boy crime lord going legitimate Joaquin Delacruz? I love a bad boy so I think I know how I'm voting already!

Anna Claire is a successful restaurateur in New York, unknown to her some of her employees are involved in drugs trafficking and using her beloved restaurant as a front. FBI agent Grayson James is working undercover in Anna's kitchen to rule out Anna from his investigation he has to get closer to her but never imagined that along the way he would fall for the driven but lonely restaurateur. When Anna discovers his deception she's devastated by his betrayal and flees New York leaving Grayson wondering if he's lost the woman he loves forever. Raw ends with Anna sunning herself in Aruba chatting away with the very smexy bad boy Joaquin who just happens to be the drugs lord Grayson has been trying to catch as part of his investigation.

As a novella Raw was a pretty short read which meant Anna and Grayson's romance developed a bit too quickly for me. I couldn't help but feel Anna's devastation when she realises the man she's had in her bed has been lying to her all along, that she's been a means to an end for Grayson who is determined to send drugs lord Joaquin down. Grayson's not all bad, he sees that Anna is innocent and is determined to prove it and rule her out of his investigation knowing that when she finds out he's not the lowly prep chef his chances of forgiveness are low.

With only a tiny little glimpse of bad boy Joaquin I'm already intrigued, unlike Grayson he's been upfront with Anna telling her he wants to go legitimate and that gets him bonus points in my book. So, I'm very much looking forward to more of Joaquin in the second instalment Risky out on the 19th of November and then it will be up to the readers to decide who Anna eventually chooses. I think I'm ready to vote now!

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Monday, 14 October 2013

Review: The Wrong Billionaire's Bed by Jessica Clare

The Wrong Billionaire's Bed
Billionaire's Boy Club #3
Jessica Clare
Publisher: Berkley Intermix
Publication date: 15th October 2013

Audrey Petty is the good twin, she's super organised and responsible which is why she ends up at childhood friend (and billionaire) Cade Archer's luxury cabin helping her twin sister the famous singer and now train wreck Daphne go cold turkey after her latest drug fuelled scandal. Audrey's had a crush on Cade since childhood and secretly hopes that some alone time with him in the cabin might lead to something more.

What Audrey didn't plan on was finding Reece Durham, another one of the billionaire's boy club, in the hot tub romancing a heiress into a lucrative deal. When Audrey chases off the heiress leaving Reece with no clothes, no transport and no much needed business deal, Reece decides to exactly some revenge on the prim and proper Audrey, some flirty revenge. Reece will keep her crush on Cade a secret if she agrees to stolen kisses and some midnight skinny dipping.

I loved Reece and Audrey's enemies to lovers story. He thinks she's got a stick up her ass, is waaaay too prim and controlling. She knows that he has a reputation as a serious player, he's infuriating and he can press all the right buttons (if you now what I mean *winks*). Determined to wipe the smug grin off his face the sexy and confident Audrey that kisses Reece is completely at odds from the very proper woman he's been teasing which makes Reece all the more determined to fully unleash Audrey's wild side.

Initially Audrey did bug me a little she's determined to be the "good twin" that she thinks childhood crush needs and wants and is completely oblivious to the fact that Cade is clearly in love with her twin sister. Around Reece however, Audrey finally comes into her own and becomes much more lovable and carefree, she finally decides to go for it with Reece and have the fun and flirty diversion she's always wanted but you just know that the sparks between Audrey and Reece aren't going out anytime soon.

Overall I loved The Wrong Billionaire's Bed, the snarky flirting made for fantastic foreplay and the sex scenes were off the charts hot, I'll definitely be looking out for the next instalment. 4 out of 5.

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