Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My favourite contemporary romance books of 2013


I did try honestly to compile a top ten of my favourite contemporary romance books of 2013 but it was completely impossible, there's been way too many fantastically schmexy books steaming up my kindle in 2013 so I've narrowed down errr slightly and sneakily added in a few of my top badass biker books of 2013 too.

Contemporary romance tugged at my heartstrings
Down London Road by Samantha Young put me through the emotional wringer and then some. I went from initially disliking the gold digger heroine Jo to absolutely adoring caring, protective and all round lovely Jo at the end. Also in Down London Road's favour is the gorgeous Scottish hero Cam who is to die for.
Review  |  Goodreads 

Contemporary romance with an air of mystery intrigued me
I loved the second instalment in Lisa Renee Jones Inside Out series Being Me, it turned the whole story around with it's revelations and surprises I just wished the third instalment Revealing Us hadn't let the side down.

Some contemporary romances were just plain schmexy
Tattoo artist Seth "Ghost" Warren from Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn was another to die for hero of 2013 that steamed my kindle up completely. Not only that he loves his Nana too.
 
Everything Ruthie Knox wrote or recommended in 2013 was amazing
Making It Last by Ruthie Knox was the final instalment in her fantastic Camelot series and I was up to all hours reading it. The final check in with Tony and Amber was so much more than a quick glimpse into their HEA, Making It Last was a realistic and thought provoking story that showed that when the romance wears off Tony and Amber, like the rest of us, had to work at making their marriage last. Ruthie is firmly on my author auto buy list and her recommendations are always immediately added to my "must read" list. 

 I discovered that I wanted to be a Rock Chick
With the release of the final Rock Chick book I completely fell in love with Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick series. I think I've re-read the first book quite a few times now, I seem to need  my Lee and Indy fix quite regularly. I want to be as cool as Stella. Sadie's book had me crying buckets of tears. And Ally, who doesn't want to be Ally? I'm determined to get all eight books in paperback so that I can have them on my shelf despite the cost. Rock On! 

I decided I wanted to move to Australia to find myself an Onslow hottie
 I devoured An Endless Summer and That One Summer by my favourite Aussie author C.J. Duggan. They both made me laugh and swoon in equal measure
An Endless Summer Review  |  Goodreads
That One Summer Review  |  Goodreads
 
 I discovered Cara McKenna's special brand of heroes
I read After Hours by Cara McKenna on holiday and loved the realistic hero Kelly, he wasn't a billionaire, a biker, or a member of the hot bunch he was just a guy but I completely fell for him. After reading Unbound I realised that I really do love Cara McKenna's very character driven books her heroes may just be normal guys but they completely suck me into the story.
Review  |  Goodreads
 
Contemporary romance made me laugh in 2013
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
 and Tangled by Emma Chase both had me laughing out loud, as far as I'm concerned hot and hilarious are the prefect kind of contemporary romance books.
 
 
 Dirty talking became popular
Phew! Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey was one steamy read, Daniel is a sexy cop with a dirty mouth and got a 5 out of 5 from me.
 

Badass bikers became my book of choice 
It all started with Horse in Joanna Wylde's Reaper's Property, then I discovered Madeline Sheehan's Undeniable and Kelly Jamieson's Hot Ride and before I knew it I was one clicking pretty much anything with a biker/MC theme. I had to create a special shelf on Goodreads and share my love of badass bikers with the world in a special post. I felt it was my civic duty. When I realised Kristen Ashley was extending my beloved Motorcycle Man Tack's story into a new biker series I near enough died and went to heaven. 2013 has definitely been the year of the badass biker for me.
 
  

Monday, 30 December 2013

My favourite Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy books of 2013

 

Goodreads tells me I've read 200 books in 2013 which is about average for me but makes it very difficult to narrow down my favourites of the year so I figured I would cheat a bit and split them into categories starting with my all time favourite Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. So here's what floated my boat in 2013.
 
Night Blade by J.C. Daniels (aka Shiloh Walker) broke my heart and blew me away. Kit is in a race against time to investigate and clear her alpha cat boyfriend Damon's name and can't discuss her investigation with anyone, let alone Damon who is getting increasingly suspicious. The final 30% of the book honestly destroyed me I couldn't sleep for thinking about it. For Urban Fantasy fans this series is a MUST READ.
 
 
 
 
 
    
Magic Rises By Ilona Andrews book six in the amazing Kate Daniels series became my favourite book of the series (and that's saying something because they are all fantastic). Full on action with epic battles and we see a more vulnerable side to Kate as my favourite Beast Lord Curran is a complete arse to her (I forgave him eventually). I kind of also secretly liked bad guy warlord Hugh D'Ambray and Kate's inevitable battle with her father Roland seems that little bit closer now. Another 5 out of 5 book for me.
 
 
 
 
 
I almost had to remind myself to breathe during the final epic battle in Nalini's Singh's Archangel's Legion the sixth book in the Guild Hunter series. The Archangel of New York Raphael, his consort Elena and his Seven looked completely outnumbered in their battle to protect the tower. It was beyond tense! Again, this is a series that just keeps on getting better and better.
 






I always seem to be playing catch up with Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series and By a Thread convinced me that I really do need to read faster. Gin finally gets to confront her ex boyfriend Mr Judgemental Donovan Caine and puts him right in his place. As a massive Gin fan It felt VERY satisfying.
 








Lauren Dane's Bound by Magick series is another one of my all time favourites so I was beyond happy to get my paws on a copy of Going Under before it was published. Not only did I love Molly and Gage's very schmexy romance, the tension between the Others and the humans had me shivering with anticipation. Another 5 out of 5 book for me.
 






Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh was probably my most anticipated book of 2013 and it more than lived up to the hype. I'm a long term follower of Nalini's Psy/Changeling series but bizarrely rarely review them because I just couldn't possibly do them justice. Heart of Obsidian was for me the best book of the series because everything has been building up to the big reveal of the Ghost and it was certainly well worth the wait.








Temping Is Hell by Cathy Yardley
 was one of my first reads of 2013 and has remained on my favourites list. Quirky and hilariously funny I was absolutely glued to the pages. I've been checking and re-checking ever since I finished it for details of the next instalment because I thought it had so much potential to be a brilliant series but there's no word as yet, I've got my fingers crossed for more from Cathy in 2014.
 
Review  |  Goodreads  
Much love also for...
 

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Last new books of 2013!


Hey there!
I hope you had a great Christmas, I've been in full blown sloth mode since finishing work for Christmas but I have managed to buy and read a few books. I think I've only posted one "new books" post in December so I thought I would post my final new books post for 2013.
Here's what I got:
 
For review
 
 I bought
I had pre-ordered Spider by Jennifer Estep months ago in the hope I would have caught up with the series (which I haven't!) so I really need to put this on my "must read" list for 2014. I've been buying the Kristen Ashley Dream Man series paperbacks when they are released even though I've read them all I just need to have them on my shelf, I want a whole KA shelf! I also bought Wallbanger by Alice Clayton because I want to get it signed at the Romance Author & Reader Event in Edinburgh July.

Some new badass biker kindle bargains
I can never pass up the opportunity to check out a badass biker kindle bargain these caught my eye and my birthday gift voucher was just burning a hole in my virtual pocket.


With a bit more time on my hands and in between a few French Martini's at Hogmanay I'm planning on reading a few of my review books and creating a few favourites of 2013 posts.

 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Review and giveaway: Dragon Awakened by Jaime Rush

Dragon Awakened
The Hidden #1
Jaime Rush
Publisher: Forever Mass Market
Publication date: 17th December 2013

I love dragon shifter books so I'm always on the look out for a new dragon series to devour and Jaime Rush's series The Hidden is definitely one to look out for.

Fifteen years ago dragon shifter Cyntag Valeron was given the order to take out everyone on board the yacht Physikal out at sea. As an assassin Cyn was used to following such orders but didn't expect to see the couple he killed's young daughter sleeping soundly throughout the ordeal, this leaves Cyn with a real dilemma.

Fast forward to the present day and Ruby Salazaar has been brought up by her pseudo-uncle Moncrief believing that her parents died in a boating accident. When Mon calls Ruby urgently telling her there are some things he should have told her long ago, Ruby rushes straight to his house to find that that a strange bolt of green lightening has speared Mon to the wall and in his dying breath all Mon is able to do is warn Ruby that this is magick lightening sent by someone dangerous that will kill her also if it sees her. In his final words the only clue Mon is able to leave Ruby with is the name Cyntag.

As Ruby tries to piece together what Mon was trying to tell her, Ruby finds that the stories Mon created for her a child full of a hidden world of magick, angels, sorcerers, dragons and a dragon prince in a book known as The Book of the Hidden are actually true and that Ruby's world is going to change forever.

Ruby starts her journey convinced that the mysterious Cyntag is somehow responsible for Mon's death and is determined to find and confront his killer. Ruby traces Cyn to the mixed martial arts studio he now owns but Ruby has no idea whatsoever that Cyn is not only a powerful dragon shifter or that he is connected to the death of her parents. Protecting Ruby from her true heritage, Mon cast a spell to keep the magick in Ruby's eyes hidden but now that Mon is gone the spell is finally wearing off putting Ruby in extreme danger. With no knowledge about her true powers its up to Cyn her sworn protector and saviour to now train and protect Ruby the child he spared fifteen years ago.

I loved the world building of Dragon Awakened, basically Ruby should have been initiated or "awakened" at puberty to her dragon heritage but Mon had a real reason to keep Ruby hidden. With no real knowledge of the dragon world whatsoever Ruby has to get a crash course on being a dragon from Cyn and copes with it all quite well I thought!

The relationship between Cyn and Ruby with their complicated history is never going to be plain sailing. Cyn comes across as the older teacher/protector and therefore Ruby is very much initially off limits to him, he thinks she's too young and not actually his type but simmering away in the background their dragons are hot for each other. I liked that they both awaken each other, Ruby really brings back Cyn's passion for life and Cyn teaches Ruby about true dragon history.

All in all, I was really impressed with the start of this new series and with the next instalment Magic Possessed out on January the 28th I know I'll be tuning in for more from The Hidden. 4 out of 5.

Here's a little excerpt:

Cyntag slowly waved his hand in front of her face, his eyes staring straight into hers between his long fingers. “Crescents can identify one another by our eyes. Some are icy glitter, some swirling mist, and others burning embers.”

Her heart hitched. Hadn’t she seen a glow in his eyes?

He lowered his hand. “Moncrief cast an illusion spell to hide the magick in your eyes. You looked like a Mundane, a regular human. Now that he’s gone, the spell is wearing off. Soon it will be obvious to every Crescent who sees you.”

She walked over to a gilt-framed mirror on the side wall and stared at herself. No glow. He was full of it. “I don’t see anything like what you described.”

“Because you cannot see.” He came up behind her. “You have not been Awakened. Crescents are initiated in a ceremony at thirteen, when their powers begin to appear. It’s similar to those of many native tribes to celebrate a coming of age. But much more comes with being an Awakened Crescent.”

Thirteen. She remembered a gnawing hunger deep in her belly and vivid dreams filled with colors and longing and…dragons.

Cyntag brushed her bangs from her forehead, his thumb grazing the skin near her burn. “The orb did this?” She nodded, and anger shimmered over his face. “Unacceptable.”

“I thought so.”

He’d said it as though the attack on her was a personal affront to him. Like he owns you.

“Right now you’re like a baby chick fallen prematurely from the nest, without feathers developed enough to fly from danger or any way to fight enemies. Unable to even see them. You might get a glimpse now and then, but that won’t be enough.”

“You’re saying I have powers?” Could her disbelief be more clear? “Can I make one of those orb-lightning-bolt things?”

Another twitch of a smile. “Sorry, no. However, you are much more magnificent than mere magick.”

“I’m magnificent. Yeah.” She couldn’t help but glance down at herself. “Fine, how do I get…what’d you call it? Awakened?” Let’s play along.

“Considering the circumstances, only I can awaken your powers.”

Did his arrogance know no bounds? Dumb question, Ruby. “What do I have to give you for that?”

“You assume there’s a price?”

“There’s always a price.” She could see that he had one too.

He stepped closer, again breaching boundaries. She wouldn’t move away. If only she didn’t have to look up at him. Even being five-foot-eight, he was way taller. His heat reached out, beckoning her. She stiffened her stance. The dragon tattoo eyed her, but no, she did not see it move.

He waited until she drew her gaze back to his face. “The price is that once you see, you can never go back to being blind. Once you know, you can never forget. Once you experience your true nature, you can never ignore it.”

“Ignore what?”

He released a breath. “We’d better start with the small stuff.”


JAIME RUSH ONLINE:
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In celebration of the release of DRAGON AWAKENED into the wild there's a fab giveaway ongoing. 15 yes 15!!! winners will receive the Hidden prize pack, featuring a bound flip book of the first two novellas DRAGON MINE and DRAGON AWAKENED, a print copy of DRAGON AWAKENED, advanced copies of the next two books in the series, MAGIC POSSESSED and ANGEL SEDUCED, plus a series bookmark and a special Jaime Rush dog tag! How amazing is that? All you need to do is enter via the Rafflecopter thingy below.
 
 

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Release day review and giveaway- Reaver by Larissa Ione

Reaver
Lords of Deliverance #5
Larissa Ione
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 17th December 2013

Larissa Ione's Lords of Deliverance series has been one of my favourite paranormal romance series of late. Every book in the series has been thrilling and full of action with some pretty inventive smexy scenes along the way. Every time I've finished a book it immediately becomes my new favourite in the series, they have all been that good and Reaver is no exception, it was absolutely OUTSTANDING!

Larissa pretty much teased us throughout Rogue Rider of the possibility of a little something between Reaver and Harvester. Reaver is the angel with a past, the watcher and father of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, fellow watcher Harvester is the angel who gave up her wings to work undercover in hell alongside her Daddy not so dearest Satan. With Harvester's cover now blown she is being kept and endlessly tortured by Satan in hell. Larissa doesn't hold back when describing the torture Harvester has endured which makes Reaver even more of a hero in my eyes when he decides he's going to head into hell with a half baked but gutsy plan to rescue Harvester right from underneath Satan's nose.

Reaver and Harvester have a history stretching back thousands of years, they know they have some sort of a connection other than just a love hate attraction, but neither of them quite understand why. Reaver's memories have been mostly wiped so he doesn't quite remember what he did to Harvester and why and Harvester remembers a time when she was in love but can't quite put a face to the name she knows that hurt her so badly and changed her forever. It was agonisingly good as their story started to unravel. Harvester has always been bitchy, sarcastic and evil and I never really knew how much was her "in character" undercover or how much was her true personality and although we see a much softer side to Harvester in this instalment there's still plenty of sarcastic and hilarious banter between her and Reaver.

I knew starting Reaver that the path to Harvester and Reaver's happy ever after was never going to be a smooth one but I was beyond satisfied with their ending! Reaver has some pretty fantastic twisty plot turns that kept me on my toes and Larissa does a pretty amazing job of tying up all those loose ends as well as providing some pretty intriguing hints to where the series is heading next. As usual I will be eagerly counting down the weeks to the next instalment.  Reaver gets a well deserved 5 out of 5 from me and has been added to my list of favourites of 2013.   
 
Series reading order:
 
Here's a little Reaver and Harvester excerpt:
“R-Reaver?”

Reaver held Harvester’s frail body tight against his as he navigated the final steps of a winding ledge that dropped them into a world of weird. “It’s me. It’s okay. We’re safe.”

Relatively safe, anyway. Relative meaning that they weren’t dead. Yet. He just hoped the same could be said for Tavin, Matt, and Calder. When he’d left them to sneak into Satan’s realm, they’d been engaged in a battle they’d initiated as a diversion. It had been a risky move, and Reaver could only pray they’d make it to the rendezvous point.

A hunter’s horn sounded in the distance and was answered by another, closer horn signal. Satan’s minions hadn’t gained ground, but they were spreading out. Damn.

He scanned the landscape of thorny plants, hills of blackened earth and trees, and twisted, abandoned structures. Nothing moved.

He looked down at Harvester, and as before when he first saw her hanging over a pit of acid, he felt sick to his stomach. He didn’t like Harvester even though he was grateful for the things she’d done, but she didn’t deserve this; her naked body too thin and mottled with bruises and ligature marks, her once silken black hair tangled and dull, and worst of all, missing her gorgeous green eyes.

Under ideal circumstances, an angel could heal from even the most heinous injuries within hours. But these were far from ideal circumstances, and Harvester’s source of power, her wings, had been severed. Without wings or medical assistance, it could take weeks, even months, for an angel’s body to fully heal.

“I can’t risk healing you more than I did,” he said. “My power isn’t reliable right now, and I could do more harm than good.”

“Reaver,” she croaked, as if he hadn’t spoken. “Why…how…”

“Shh.” He tucked her face into his chest, quieting her. “We’re going to meet up with some friends, and then I’ll answer all your questions.”

Reaver and the assassins had worked out a plan A and a plan B. Plan A had been shot to hell when iron gates had prevented Reaver from getting out of Satan’s realm to the south, where his companions would have been waiting. Now, with demons in pursuit, they were on their way to plan B. Hopefully Tav, Matt, and Calder had realized quickly that Reaver’s escape route had gone bad.

Inhaling the stench of rotten vegetation that permeated this section of Sheoul, he started away from the skeletons of some burned-out buildings and toward a mountain range as expansive as the Rockies. He moved swiftly, outrunning the sounds of pursuit and pausing once to blast a group of imps with a ball of lightning. The sphere struck the leader, and from there sent electrical strikes at each of the surrounding imps, frying them all in a handy eight-for-one.

Harvester slept in his arms, barely stirring when he stopped to listen for anyone following them. By the time they neared the plan B meeting site, Reaver was sure they’d lost the demons—temporarily. Reaver wasn’t naive enough to think they were off the hook. The demons chasing them were only the first wave, the security detail unlucky enough to be guarding the dungeon Harvester was kept in.

Once Satan got wind of this, if he hadn’t already, Reaver and Harvester were going to have legions of minions on their heels.


LARISSA IONE ONLINE:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon US  | Amazon UK |  Barnes & Noble  |  Indiebound  |  Bookish
 
 
Grand Central Publishing are holding a fab REAVER release day giveaway, one lucky winner will get the grand prize of a Kindle Fire and 4 winners will get a signed set of Larissa Ione’s Lords of Deliverance Series: Eternal Rider, Immortal Rider, Lethal Rider & Rogue Rider! Enter via the Rafflecopter thingy below.
 
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Friday, 13 December 2013

Mini reviews: Axel and Cage by Harper Sloan

18241159Axel
Corps Security #1
Harper Sloan
Publication date: 8th July 2013

If you love Kristen Ashley's books especially her addictive Rock Chick series then you will love Harper Sloan's Corps Security series it's equally unputdownable.

Isabelle West and Holt Axel Reid (cool name or what?) were high school sweethearts but when Axel left to join the Marines seventeen year old Izzy is left home alone when tragedy strikes. As Izzy tries to put her life back together with the help of best pal Dee Izzy meets and falls in love with Brandon and discovers his true violent nature after they marry.

Six years later again with the help of Dee Izzy escapes and the ladies set up in a new town and befriend the very lovable and protective Greg Cage. When creepy Brandon starts terrorising Izzy again Cage calls in some favours from his badass pals one of which happens to be Axel, the same Axel from Izzy's past.

Axel has everything I love- protective alpha males, former badass marines, long lost love, drama by the bucket load and a gripping if slightly OTT storyline.

18241166Cage
Corps Security #2
Harper Sloan
Publication date: 9th September 2013

Cage is the mucho alpha best friend and protector of Izzy before Axel arrived back on the scene, now that Izzy has Axel its obvious that this tough guy deserves his own HEA.

Cage's story is pretty heart-breaking, he failed to save his sister from her violent partner and has been hell-bent on getting his revenge ever since, Cage is now determined that no female on his watch should ever be hurt. Melissa also lost her sister to a violent partner so has that in common with Cage but what she doesn't know is it was the same violent partner and when Cage realises this, that he didn't act in time to save Melissa sister from s similar fate he is devastated and feels guilty. Melissa and Cage connect 100% and both realise early on it's the real deal but the truth about Melissa's sister's killer hangs very much over their relationship.

After devouring Axel I knew there would be heartache and drama from Cage and I wasn't disappointed with some pretty heart-breaking and intense scenes I enjoyed Cage ever more than Axel I think I might be a little bit addicted to this series now, can't wait for the next book Beck

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