Monday 31 December 2018

Dark Arts and a Daiquiri - Book Review

Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (The Guild Codex: Spellbound #2)
by Annette Marie

What is it about:
When I found myself facing down the scariest black-magic felon in the city, practically daring him to abduct me, I had to wonder exactly how I ended up here.

It all started when I accidentally landed a job as a bartender—but not at a bar. At a guild, populated by mages, sorcerers, alchemists, witches, and psychics. Good thing this lame-o human is adaptable, right?

Then my favorite guild members—three sexy, powerful, and intermittently charming mages—asked for my help. Did they want access to my encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails? Oh no. They wanted to wrap me up in a pretty ribbon and plunk me in the crosshairs of a murderous rogue to lure him out of hiding.

So that's what we did. And that's why I'm here. About to be kidnapped. Oh, and our grand plan for safely capturing said murderous rogue? Yeah, that completely fell apart about two minutes ago.

Why did I agree to this again?


Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn't a reverse harem. It's 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.

What did I think of it:
I loved the first book in this series, so I was very happy when I got the second book for Sinterklaas.

And this book is just as much fun as the first.

The action starts up soon and Tori soon finds herself in trouble. Luckily she is resourceful and not afraid to use other people's magical artifacts. As she tries to find and save a kidnapped young girl, she discovers secrets that may lead to her being the one who needs rescuing instead.

The story is fast-paced, fun, and suspenseful. I would have loved a few more scenes with Ezra, who is becoming my favorite mage, but there were new characters who were also very intriguing. I finished the book almost in one sitting as I couldn't put it down.

All in all a fun and very enjoyable read. You bet I will get my trotters on book three as soon as it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool and fun Urban Fantasy read.

buy from Amazon

Friday 28 December 2018

The Queen's Rising - Book Review *Top Pearl 2018*

The Queen's Rising (The Queen’s Rising #1)
by Rebecca Ross

What is it about:
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

What did I think of it:
This is a beautiful read.

Brienna starts studying at Magnalia House when she is ten. She knows she is a bit of a charity case, which makes her want to succeed all the more when she finally decides on the passion she wants to master: knowledge. Little does she know what fate has in store for her.

I loved the idea of the passions: one subject that is studied until mastered. Once this is done a student is sought after by patrons. If there's one thing I could say against this book, is that I wished the part about Brienna's studies had been longer. I'd have easily read a book just about Magnalia House alone.

Luckily the intrigues Brienna gets involved in after she leaves Magnalia House are just as fascinating as her studies. I had to keep reading to find out what she got herself into and if she would get out unscathed. I worried at times she might have allied herself with people who didn't deserve her trust.

Next to a very suspenseful main storyline full of secrets, danger, and possible betrayal there is a very subdued, but beautiful romance storyline, but it's Brienna's search for truth and a place to belong that takes the stage in this beautifully written Fantasy.

The ending is satisfying and makes this book perfectly readable as a standalone. Knowing there will be more books in this series however, makes that I'll eagerly await the next book.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful Fantasy read.

Buy from bookdepository

Thursday 27 December 2018

Grace and Fury - Book Review *Top Pearl 2018*

Grace and Fury (Grace and Fury #1)
by Tracy Banghart

What is it about:
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace - someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

What did I think of it:
This book was even better than I hoped it would be.

I liked that there wasn't a twisted relationship between Serina and Nomi where the oldest seems to think she can decide what is best for the younger. Instead they were evenly matched. Both thought the other was not doing things as they should, but apart from some griping they weren't too much into each other's face. I liked both of them from the start and was invested in both their stories.

Once the two are separated both have their own problems. Serina has to literally fight for her life, while Nomi must take care to not make a wrong step in the political dance she gets involved in. Both are out of their normal element and must adapt to survive. I loved reading how they cope.

I will confess that at a certain point in Nomi's story I had an idea of what I wanted to happen and of what I thought would happen based on my experience with other YA books. For once I was pleasantly surprised though, and the conclusion of this book was everything I could have hoped for. You bet I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book.

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful and suspenseful YA Fantasy.

Buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 26 December 2018

The Arrows of the Heart - Book Review *Top Pearl 2018*

The Arrows of the Heart (The Uncharted Realms #4)
by Jeffe Kennedy

What is it about:

As the Twelve Kingdoms and their allies are drawn toward war, a princess cast aside must discover a purpose she never dreamed of…

Karyn af Hardie behaved like a proper Dasnarian wife. She acquiesced, she accepted, she submitted. Until her husband gave her a choice: their loveless, unconsummated royal marriage—or her freedom. Karyn chose freedom. But with nowhere to run except into the arms of Dasnaria’s enemies, she wonders if she’s made a mistake. She wants love, security, a family. She can’t imagine finding any of it among the mercurial Tala.

Worst of all is Zyr. The uninhibited shapeshifter is everywhere she looks. He’s magnetic, relentless, teasing and tempting as if she’s free to take her pleasure where she wishes. As if there isn’t a war rising before them, against a vile and demanding force far stronger than they. But with Karyn’s loyalty far from certain, Zyr offers her only chance to aid the defense—a dangerous gambit to seek out a land not seen in centuries, using clues no one can decipher. Together, they’ll have every opportunity to fail—and one chance to steal something truly precious…

What did I (and Voodoo Bride) think of it:
If you've paid attention you know by now that Jeffe is one of my favorite authors, and I love her books. So it can't be a surprise that I got my greedy trotters on this book early and already read it (twice). Still I'm eager to get hold of a print copy to add to my keeper shelves.

This book is awesome!

Karyn and Zyr are great together. Karyn is on her own for the first time in her life, unused to making decisions for herself, and unused to handsome men flirting with her. For Zyr flirting with pretty girls seems to be as natural as breathing, but let me tell you: there is so much more to him than what he shows on the outside. I loved their banter, and the growing attraction between them. Voodoo Bride wants me to add that Zyr is the yummiest of all the yummy men in this series, and he is totally her favorite.

Next to the delicious romance there is a very cool action storyline. Karyn and Zyr are looking for a lost land, but others are seeking it as well. There is danger, and the things the two of them encounter and endure are creepy and disturbing. I was rooting for them to stay alive. I could wax poetic about all the cool and creepy stuff in this book, but it would be too spoilery though.

This being a Fantasy Romance there is a very satisfying end to this book, but the problems for the Twelve Kingdoms aren't over yet, so I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in this series, both hoping that everyone gets a happily-ever-after, and hoping that the happily-ever-after will take many books to reach.

Why should you read it:
It's a delicious Fantasy Romance

Find buy links here

Tuesday 25 December 2018

Pawned - Book Review *Top Pearl 2018*

by Laura Bickle

What is it about:
For fans of Stranger Things and the works of Neil Gaiman, Pawned is a Young Adult novel that blends dark fantasy adventure and noir — on the New Jersey boardwalk.

You can hock almost anything at my family’s pawn shop…even your own soul.

You think running a pawn shop full of cursed objects with your dad and grandpops is cool? Try it for a week and get back to me. Now try picking up any random object and seeing its creeptastic history play out right before your eyes — yup, that’s my little “gift.” It’s my job to sort out what’s haunted and hexed from what’s not, and do my best to keep all of us — including Bert, our ice-cream-truck-driving-lizard demon — employed.

So it wasn’t all sunshine, roses, and possessed samurai swords even before grandpops’ heart attack — but now things are garden-gnome levels of bad. Dad made a deal with the wrong end of the dark side to save grandpops’ life, putting my whole family smack dab between the forces of evil and our friendly local blow-your-pawn-shop-to-smithereens mobsters. And Lily next door…I shouldn’t even be thinking about Lily.

All I ever wanted was to get out of this crap town and away from my messed-up family, and instead it looks like I’m gonna have to use every scrap of magic in this joint or there won’t be any family left to leave behind…

What did I think of it:
As soon as I heard about this book I pre-ordered it! I mean: 'ice-cream-truck-driving-lizard demon'! Even if it wasn't by one of my favorite authors I wouldn't have been able to resist that! (Also: he looks like a T-Rex!)

Then Laura offered me an ARC and I was in heaven!

This is such a cool and fun read.

Raz is fed up with being different and with having to help his family with the pawnshop. Especially using his gift on the items coming in is something he really doesn't like. And when you read how it affects him, you can understand how he feels.

Then nasty things start happening, and Raz is in the middle of it, whether he wants to or not. As he uncovers secrets, fights for his life and the life of others, he will have some important decisions to make and lines to draw.

Raz is a great character, and I felt for him. I really wanted to bust some skulls for him, I'll confess. I was rooting for him, cursing others on his behalf, and hoping he would find a way out of trouble. I also loved Bert, the demon who looked lie a mini T-Rex. He may be a demon, but it was clear he had grown attache to Raz and his family. He made me wish for my own mini T-Rex demon who'll have my back.

The story was suspenseful, and full of action, betrayal, and strange events. I had to keep reading to find out if Raz and his family would survive. The ending is satisfying, but leaves enough open that I'll be hoping for a sequel, because I want more!

You bet I'll be rereading and that I'll get my trotters on a print version of this book.

Why should you read it:
ice-cream-truck-driving-lizard demon!

Buy from Amazon

Monday 24 December 2018

Contagion - Book Review *Top Pearl 2018*

Contagion (Contagion #1)
by Erin Bowman

What is it about:
After receiving a distress call from a drill team on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is sent into deep space to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

When they arrive, they find the planet littered with the remains of the project--including its members' dead bodies. As they try to piece together what could have possibly decimated an entire project, they discover that some things are best left buried--and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

What did I think of it:
I love it when a book is even better than I hoped it would be.

When I heard about this book it was pitched as 'Alien meets Outbreak'. Enough for me to preorder and beg some preorder goodies off Bowman. So when the book arrived I had a signed bookplate to put in the book and a matching bookmark.

And what an awesome read this is!

A small group based on a research base is ordered to investigate a distress call, because they're closest to the planet it originates from. As soon as the team arrives on the planet it is clear something went terribly wrong. Pleas to stay on the ship and wait for backup are ignored by the captain and the crew disembarks to investigate. There are several viewpoint characters, all with their own secrets and dreams.

I was hooked from the start. Strange and creepy things have been going on, and slowly the rescue team discovers what transpired, and they start to realize they might be in danger as well. The building tension and suspense is really well done. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn't put this book down. Each new discovery racked up the creepy atmosphere and made me fear for my favorite characters.

As the story unfolds there are some really brutal action-scenes, cool revelations, betrayal, and more. As I said: I had high hopes for this book and it totally delivered.

The ending was very satisfying in my opinion, even though it's clear there's lots more to come. And you can bet I'll be getting my greedy trotters on the second book, because I want and need more!

Why should you read it:
Alien meets Outbreak! Need I really say more?

Buy from bookdepository

Friday 21 December 2018

Happy Holidays!

It's almost Christmas, so I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays!

I hope you all get to celebrate how you want, and that you'll have lots of fun, and some time to read a good book or two.

Next week I'll be reposting reviews of some of my favorite reads from this year.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Crazy Rich Asians - Book Review

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)
by Kevin Kwan

What is it about:
Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

What did I think of it:
People were raving about the movie based on this book, so that's why I decided to give the book a try.


I might have to try the movie, because although there were fun parts in this book, and I really liked Rachel and Nick, most the people in this book were total dicks (women included).

I kept reading to see if things would work out for Rachel and Nick, but it only got worse and worse. While intrigued by the world of the Asian JetSet I despised the characters and their pettiness. The ending made up just a little bit for all the shit thrown Rachel's way, but left me mostly frustrated and unsatisfied.

As I said: I might try the movie, but no way am I going to continue reading this series.

Why should you read it:
It has its moments.

buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - The Vampire Knitting Club

Even if he was an expert on ancient books who lectured at fancy colleges, I'd make sure all the lights were on in the shop this evening, and try and keep the conversation short.

(page 43, The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 17 December 2018

No Podcast Today

I wanted to finally post a podcast again, but the kitty disapproved. So no Podcast or other bookish post today. 

Friday 14 December 2018

Five Golden Rings - Book Review by Voodoo Bride (repost)

Five Golden Rings
by Jeffe Kennedy

Novella, ebook

What is it about:
On the first day of Christmas, my lover gave to me...

Matilda Campbell's plans to spend Christmas solo in the sun take an erotic turn when she encounters the handsome and enigmatic Miguel D'Oro on the plane to Mexico. As the CEO of a major firm, Tilda's used to being the one in charge--but now she'll have to learn how to take orders instead.

In the spirit of the season, Miguel offers Tilda naughty gifts for each of the twelve days of Christmas. There's just one rule: she must accept them--and fulfill his commands--or face the sensual consequences. Intrigued and aroused, Tilda agrees to let Miguel take control of her pleasure.

What follows is a week unlike anything she's ever experienced. From choosing her sexy new wardrobe and naughty accessories, to pushing her boundaries with BDSM play, Miguel satisfies every forbidden craving. But as their time together runs out, she must decide if there's room in her real life for her holiday lover and her newly discovered kinky side.

31,000 words

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
Jeffe Kennedy wrote yet another delicious story I could fall in love with.

The idea of a naughty twelve days of Christmas was alluring and I loved how Kennedy translated the song into a sensual and intense BDSM romance.

The story starts out uncomplicated enough. Tilda meets the attractive and charming Miguel and decides to take him up on his offer of a kinky Christmas, eager to explore her own sexuality. But what starts as a casual holiday fling, turns intense fast when their emotions get involved.

I love how Kennedy writes her BDSM romances. She gives her readers the hot, steaming bondage scenes as well as a romance you can believe in. As in many of her other stories she shows how submitting yourself to your lover isn't necessarily a sign of weakness, but how it can be one of strength. Tilda sure shows she's strong enough to handle Miguel.

All in all this story is hot, intense and very satisfying, and even though set in a tropical paradise it is a wonderful Christmas read. I can tell you this novella has earned a place on my list of Christmas traditions: bake a Christmas Bundt cake, watch The Sound of Music and read Five Golden Rings.

Why should you read it:
It's a delicious BDSM Christmas romance

Find buy links here

Thursday 13 December 2018

Christmas in Dogtown - Book Review (repost)

Christmas in Dogtown
by Suzanne Johnson

What is it about:
A standalone novella from the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and Penton Legacy paranormal romance series (as Susannah Sandlin). Expanded from a previously published short story, now out of print.

A woman who spent years escaping her rural past learns that Dogtown, Louisiana, hides more family secrets than just the recipe for boudin blanc.

Resa Madere’s on the verge of losing it all. The boyfriend’s gone. The job’s history. Her beloved house is on the brink of foreclosure. She’ll do anything to save it--even spend a long Christmas holiday working in St. James Parish, Louisiana, helping her uncle run the family meat business. But the community of Dogtown, which has been home for seven generations of the Madere and Caillou families, has deep roots and deeper secrets. For Resa, going home is one thing. Getting out might not be so easy.

What did I think of it:
I have yet to come across a book by Suzanne Johnson/Susannah Sandlin I do not like, so I was happy to receive this story for free as a newsletter subscriber.

I loved the atmosphere Johnson created and could picture Dogtown easily. Resa was a character I could relate to and I was rooting for her to find happiness. The story is set up nicely and I really liked to read about the Christmas preparations of this close knit community.

As Resa finds out more about the secrets of her hometown she has choices to make. Whether you think she finally makes the right choice will depend on your view of the world.

All in all a very enjoyable Christmas novella that I can recommend to anyone who loves a story full of atmosphere and secrecy.

Why should you read it:
It's an enjoyable Christmas read.

Buy it here

Wednesday 12 December 2018

A Bewitching Christmas - Book Review by Voodoo Bride (repost)

A Bewitching Christmas (Under Realm Assassins #1)
by Amanda J. Greene

What is it bout:
It has been seven years since Analette Dyson stopped practicing magic and headed to New York, where she created a new life, complete with a fabulous job, an apartment in Central Park West, and a sexy werewolf fiancé. She never planned on returning to her small home town in Maine, but when she learns her grandmother is ill, she decides to pop over for a visit and what better time than Christmas? Excited for her fiancé to meet her family, they head up a day early.

Worst idea ever!

After doing some last minute Christmas shopping, Analette returns to their hotel to find her fiancé in bed with another woman. Cursing the universe for her never ending bad luck with men and dreading telling her family about her cheating fiancé, she heads to the bar to self medicate.

Not one to celebrate the holidays, vampire and assassin, Cole McRae, has followed a lead to a rustic town in witch territory. But after a few days of research and waiting for his target to show, he begins to suspect he has wasted his time. That is, until he meets a curvaceous blonde with bewitching green eyes at the local bar. One night with the enchanting Analette could make this useless trip well worth his time.

Their passion is undeniable and unbeknownst to them, their fates are intertwined. Magic and romance will strike on Christmas, changing their lives forever.

~ A Holiday Novella, Erotic~

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
This is a hot Christmas romance.

Analette and Cole are introduced to the reader, they meet, and soon after they indulge in a steamy one-night-stand. The morning after they discover they have to work together to make it to Christmas alive. Can they turn lust into love?

I loved the steamy scenes between Ana and Cole. They were deliciously hot. The story that followed after their one-night-stand was really enjoyable. There was some suspense, but mostly it was about Ana and Cole connecting on a less physical level.

The world building was very intriguing. I think this novella works very well as a standalone, but it's a perfect way to introduce readers to the setting and get them interested in the Under Realm Assassins series as well. I know I am more than tempted to read more in this series.

All in all this is both a hot and sweet read that I can advice to anyone who's looking for a Paranormal Christmas read.

Why should you read it:
It's a steamy holiday read.

Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Since Last Christmas - Christmas Read Recommendation

Looking for a Christmassy read?

Be sure to get hold of this Contemporary Romance that is full of Christmas spirit! And romance, and yummy food (and yummy men according to Voodoo Bride), and lots more!

Since Last Christmas (Missed Connections #3)
by Jeffe Kennedy

This Christmas, Amy is getting what she wants. Her career in fashion design is taking off. Her boyfriend Brad is the dictionary definition of a catch. Soon he’ll buy the massive diamond that makes it official: she’s nobody’s hard luck case anymore.

Her old friend Jon ought to understand. A decade ago he was the other scholarship kid with a crap family. He got her quirks, her insecurities, her rules, her passions. Now he swears she’s not really happy, and she’s forgotten something that proves it.

When Amy throws away everything she’s worked for with one impulsive, impossible word, she’s horrified she’s proved Jon right…and strangely, secretly excited. That he knows more than the past she wants to forget — he knows what heats her up, what makes her heart race.

But remembering what she’s forgotten since last Christmas might mean breaking all the rules…

Find buy links here

Monday 10 December 2018

Unmask Me If You Can - Book Review by Voodoo Bride

Unmask Me If You Can (The Survivors #4)
by Shana Galen

What is it about:
This masked lord...

Lord Jasper, younger son of a duke, suffered horrible burns fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He wears a mask to hide his face from the stares and screams and finds comfort in the shadows. Jasper is an exceptional bounty hunter, so when a woman summons him to her deathbed and asks him to find her runaway daughter before she passes away, he doesn't refuse. Jasper is close to his quarry when he's knifed by an assailant. Imagine his surprise when he regains consciousness in the arms of the woman he seeks. Except she's not at all what he expected.

Is not the only one with scars.

On a remote cliff on the sea, Olivia Carlisle calls her five-year-old son in from an approaching storm. But the little boy is more interested in the man he's found on the trail to their hidden cottage. Olivia fears men and wants nothing more than to leave the injured man where she found him. But his knife wound is severe, and with the approaching storm, she knows leaving him will condemn him to death. As Jasper begins to heal, Olivia acknowledges her attraction to him, even though such emotions terrify her almost as much as returning to London. Jasper must convince her that her only chance at safety is to challenge the man who pursues her. They must travel into the lion's den—he to face his vulnerability and she to face her worst fears.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
I always enjoy Shana Galen's Historical Romances, so when I was offered a review copy of this book I jumped on it.

I encountered Jasper in An Affair with a Spare and he was a very intriguing character. So I was happy to discover he is the hero in this book. He is scarred by the war, both physically and mentally, although he isn't really aware of the last. He's become jaded, although he keep to his strong code of honor.

And then there's Olivia. She is scarred mentally as well. She had enough sense to run away from those that would hurt her and her son, but she's so busy with protecting her son from harm, she doesn't really realize how lonely she is.

The first half of the book Jasper and Olivia get to know each other and both have to get over some of their deepest fears. I loved seeing the both of them grow and start to trust each other. Olivia's son was a nice addition. I usually don't care for children in romances, but Richard is a cute and inquisitive kid.

The second half of the book there is more suspense and danger for the three of them. I rooted for Jasper and Olivia to realize what they felt for each other and for them to be able to face their demons and beat them. I couldn't put the book down. I had to see them overcome their problems and find their happy end.

All in all this is a delightful and suspenseful romance and you bet it won't be the last book by Shana Galen I'll read.

Why should you read it:
It's a delightful Historical Romance

buy from Amazon

Friday 7 December 2018

Three Mages and a Margarita - Book Review

Three Mages and a Margarita (The Guild Codex: Spellbound #1)
by Annette Marie

What is it about:
Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig.

It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview — to see if I'd mesh with their "special" clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That's the definition of fitting in, right?

I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they… offered me the job?

It turns out this place isn't a bar. It's a guild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I'm exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there's a good reason no one else wants to work here.

So what's a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course — with a pay raise.

Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn't a reverse harem. It's 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.

Tori has no problem getting herself into trouble in every book in the Guild Codex series, but each one is a complete adventure—no cliffhanger endings.

What did I think of it:
This is a really fun book!

I was hooked from the start and couldn't stop reading: I had to know what trouble Tori would get herself into next.

The worldbuilding was fun and intriguing and I loved Annette Marie's writing style.

Tori is fun, has a very short fuse, and is impulsive, but it's these last two things that not only get her in trouble, but also out of them a couple of times. I was rooting for her all the way through.

And the three mages! Wow. You know how I usually feel about love triangles, menages and everything, but here I was actually a little disappointed this isn't a reverse harem, because I loved all three of the male lead characters in this book and want lots and lots more of them. I seriously hope they are recurring characters in the series.

The suspense/action storyline starts up pretty far into the book, but I wasn't bored even one second before things got dicey. When the action does start up things get even more interesting and I was on the edge of my seat, eager to see how things would turn out.

All in all a great read, and you bet I'll get my greedy trotters on the next book.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool Urban Fantasy read.

buy from bookdepository

Thursday 6 December 2018

Teasing on a Thursday - Scarlet

Cinder staggered against the wall, dizzy. "Oh stars-is he dead?"

(page ??, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Forgot to check the page before closing the book)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Wednesday 5 December 2018

The Rains - Book Review

The Rains (Rains #1)
by Gregg Hurwitz

What is it about:
It's never really been my thing to be the brave one - that's always been my older brother Patrick - but something world-changing is happening in our small town of Creek's Cause. Parasites have infected everyone over the age of eighteen, making them violent, and if they even sniff a kid they either bash our brains in or take us back to their creepy lair.

We're trapped at the school with the other remaining survivors, including Patrick's girlfriend Alex, and we don't know how long we'll last. The school is surrounded by infected adults, and we're sure that there is something else out there, something controlling the people that used to be our parents, our guardians.

But here's the real problem, Patrick is turning eighteen in a few days, so it's up to me - Chance Rain - to find a way to save him. And maybe, just maybe if we survive the next few weeks then we can help save humanity.

What did I think of it:
This is a cool action-packed read.

The story isn't that logical or suspenseful: You just know that Chance's older brother won't die until at least late in the book if at all, so some of the scenes that were meant to be dicey didn't get my anxiety for their safety going I will confess. But I didn't much mind. I picked this book up to be entertained by teens fighting against zombie-like adults and that is exactly what I got.

There is of course some teen angsty love stuff going on, teens getting in each others face and posturing for dominance, and other things like that, but those things only added to the entertainment value of this book.

All in all a great read if you're looking for a fast paced and enjoyable zombie read (even though they are not called zombies). I'll read the next book soon.

Why should you read it:
It's a very entertaining YA read.

buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Valiant - Release Day Book Review (repost)

by Merrie Destefano

What is it about:
The Valiant was supposed to save us. Instead, it triggered the end of the world.

Earth is in shambles. Everyone, even the poorest among us, invested in the Valiant’s space mining mission in the hopes we’d be saved from ourselves. But the second the ship leaves Earth’s atmosphere, our fate is sealed. The alien invasion begins. They pour into cities around the world through time portals, possessing humans, forcing us to kill one another.

And for whatever reason, my brother is their number one target.

Now the fate of the world lies in the hands of me, a seventeen-year-old girl, but with the help of my best friend, Justin―who’s suddenly starting to feel like more―maybe if we save my brother, we can save us all...

What did I think of it:
You can bet I pre-ordered this book after seeing the cover and reading the blurb. Then I was offered an Advance Reader Copy, and I just couldn't say no to the chance to read it early.

The book begins with a prologue to explain the situation and what is at stake: After the launch of the Valiant aliens attack earth and for some reason they're particularly interested in Sara's brother Gabe. Only minutes into the invasion he is killed. Then Sara meets an alien who sends her back in time and tells her it is important to keep Gabe alive if humanity is to survive.

And that's where the story really kicks off: Launch of the Valiant is near, Sara knows what's coming, and knows she has to keep her brother alive.

I was immediately drawn into the story which is a thrill ride of dangerous situations for Sara and her friends. As they barely escape one attack, the next danger is already waiting for them. This book is about 400 pages long, but with all the action it felt much shorter. I couldn't put it down, I had to know what would happen next, and if Sara and her friends manage to keep Gabe alive and out of the hands of the aliens.

In between the fighting, fleeing, and planning their next move Sara starts to realize she might be feeling more than friendship for her best friend Justin. This storyline takes second place (as it should in such a dangerous situation), but is very sweet. I also liked Sara's relationship with her friend Natalie which is one of mutual support. During their adventures they also meet other people, but when the aliens can take over a human body, who can you really trust?

All in all this is a really awesome, action-packed read, with twists and turns I didn't see coming and that kept me on the edge of my seat.

The book ends in a way that makes it work as a standalone, but it also made me more than eager for more. You bet this book ends up on my keeper shelves once my print copy arrives.

Why should you read it:
It's a thrilling and suspenseful YA SciFi read.

buy from bookdepository

Monday 3 December 2018

Cinder - Book Review

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
by Marissa Meyer

What is it about:
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder's brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it "a matter of national security," but Cinder suspects it's more serious than he's letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that's been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter's illness, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an "honor" that no one has survived.

But it doesn't take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

What did I think of it:
I read this book in 2012 and really enjoyed it, but because I had borrowed it from a friend I never got to reading the other books as I wanted to own the first book before buying more books in the series. Recently I decided to buy and reread this book and finally continue reading the rest of the series.

And this book is just as enjoyable and entertaining as I remembered.

I remembered more from this book than other recent rereads, but still there were things happening in the story I didn't remember. My previous review mentioned that it was easy to see certain things coming, and that was true now as well, although some things might have secretly lingered in my brain. Even so, this is a great read and I was kept entertained from start to finish. I really like how Meyer tells her own story using elements from the original fairytale, but making them her own. I love the characters she created and was rooting for Cinder and prince Kai.

The ending didn't feel as cliffhangery as the first time, but that might be because I have the next book waiting for me already: I was lucky enough to receive a gift card which I used to get the next three books. It won't take another 6 years before I think about continuing this series.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool SF re-imagining of Cinderella

Buy from bookdepository

Friday 30 November 2018

Skyward - Book Review

Skyward (Skyward #1)
by Brandon Sanderson

What is it about:
Spensa's world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity's only defense is to take to their ships and combat the Krell. Pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race.

Becoming a pilot has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring above the earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with that of her father--a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa's chances of attending Flight School at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They've doubled their fleet, which will make Spensa's world twice as deadly . . . but just might take her skyward.

What did I think of it:
This book was even better than I hoped.

It's not mentioned in the above blurb, but other blurbs, like the one on Goodreads mention Spensa finds a spaceship that is sentient. People talked so much about the spaceship that I expected that it would be the focus of the story. But it is not, luckily enough.

Yes, the spaceship certainly plays a big role, but Spensa's attempts to become a pilot, and to discover the truth about her father and the Krell are just as important if not even more so. All these storylines together, the worldbuilding, and the characters grabbed me from the start, and I read the book in a single day. I just couldn't put it down.

I liked Spensa, even though she is reckless and rash at times. She is passionate, stubborn, and loyal. I rooted for her to succeed. There were some really interesting and cool other characters as well, but Sanderson isn't afraid to sacrifice characters for the good of the story, so I lost a few of my favorites. There is the start of something that might become a romance, I'm curious to see how it will develop.

All in all this is a really cool SciFi read, and you ca bet I'll get my greedy trotters on the next book once it releases. In the mean time I'll have to investigate Sanderson's Fantasy books.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome YA SF read.

buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 28 November 2018

The Star-Touched Queen - Book Review

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1)
by Roshani Chokshi

What is it about:
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

What did I think of it:
This is a beautifully written fairytale.

When I started this book I thought it would be a story filled with political intrigue, but soon I discovered it was more of a fairytale. One that uses a lot of elements I recognized from other fairytales. And I loved it!

The writing is lyrical and fits the fairytale feel. This being a fairytale the relationship between Maya and Amar and the feelings between them went fast and wasn't really shown, but I didn't mind. I was too engrossed in the story to grumble about minor details like that.

I loved the worldbuilding and the atmosphere, and I also loved discovering all the familiar fairytale themes. This story really shows how closely linked European and Indian mythology are. All in all a wonderful read. You bet I ordered the next book in this series (which is readable as a standalone as far as I understand).

Why should you read it:
It is a beautifully told fairytale.

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Tuesday 27 November 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - Cinder

Another reread, although I remember more from this story than from my previous two rereads.

The little orange light clicked on and she dropped the wrench in surprise. It clattered to the tile floor, but she was too dazed to worry about it.
He hadn't said anything/ How could he be lying?

(page 96, Cinder by Marissa Meyer)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 26 November 2018

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet - Book Review

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson #4)
by Darynda Jones

What is it about:
Sometimes being the grim reaper really is, well, grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple of months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above...or at least get dressed. It becomes clear something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. But the more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.

In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved.

Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans in this hilarious fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling series.

What did I think of it:
This series keeps being fun and suspenseful.

I liked that Charley isn't indestructible. At the start of the book she is suffering from trauma caused by the events in book three. I felt for her and cheered her on.

The case she gets involved in is cool and intriguing. I kept trying to guess what was going on. There were some surprises along the way.

The storyline involving Reyes and the demons was both thrilling and frustrating. Of course there is another woman to make Charley jealous, and Charley falls for it. Still I was too invested in the story to be really annoyed. The demons are a lot more interesting than the love drama though.

All in all this is a fun and very entertaining addition to the series. I'll be reading the next book soon.

Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable UF read.

Buy from bookdepository

Friday 23 November 2018

A Ghostly Affair - Book Review

A Ghostly Affair
by Merrie Destefano

What is it about:
A GHOSTLY AFFAIR: One haunting tale of romance and revenge, told in four short stories.

ONE: A Dark And Twisted Heart
Katrina is so beautiful, she's almost perfect. She only has two flaws. She's possessive. And she's dead.

TWO: A Long and Wild Hunt
Trapped in a cursed forest with the boyfriend who murdered her wasn't how Katrina planned to spend the Afterlife. She might be a ghoul and hell-bent on revenge, but that doesn't mean she has to be miserable. Or does it?

THREE: A Dark And Wicked Night
One wicked night. One blast from a silver horn. Then the Wild Hunt begins as the Faery King summons all the dead to rise from their graves and join him.

FOUR: A Long And Wretched Curse
Girlfriend. Victim. Ghost. Katrina has been all of these things. Now, the Faery King wants her to become his Queen. But she’s seen what the King does when a ghost disobeys him. He turns the ghost to ash and erases him from existence.

For fans of AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White and MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs.

Please note, this set was previously published as The Dark Heart Boxed Set.

What did I think of it:
I read the first two short stories in this bundle when they just released and loved them, but didn't read the other two. So when I saw this bundle I thought it was time to reread the first books, and finally read the others as well.

This is a great read.

Destefano knows just how to create a creepy, dark atmosphere to go along with this bittersweet tale of death, love, and redemption. The first book is told from the viewpoint of William. He has dark secrets he is hiding, but it seems his murdered love Katrina won't stay silent and is set on teaching him a lesson. This book is haunting and disturbing in a good way.

From the second book onward we see the story through Katrina's eyes. She is brave, stubborn, and emotional. As she discovers she and the two people closest to her are trapped in a cursed faerie forest, she starts to plot a way out. The tone of the story changes a bit, from disturbing to spooky. I was eager to find out if Katrina would succeed to be happy in the afterlife she ended up in. Her impulsive decisions might not always lead to the best outcome.

All in all this is a wonderfully atmospheric bundle that mixes ghosts and faeries, making this a great read for a dark autumn night. You might reconsider taking a walk through the woods late at night after reading this though.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful, atmospheric read.

Buy from Amazon

Thursday 22 November 2018

The Penguins and Pigs of Christmas Book Exchange

Random Penguin and Sullivan McPig are excited to collaborate on this fun holiday book exchange! Here are the details:

You are invited to join the Penguins and Pigs of Christmas Book Exchange, organized by Kerry & Carien with help from Random Penguin and Sullivan McPig.

We thought it would be fun to spread joy and books this Christmas. So if you like books and spreading some Christmas cheer and the love of books, this exchange is the thing for you.

How it works:

This is a one on one exchange, not a pyramid scheme promising that when you send one book you might get a gazillion books, and you don’t have to try to talk other people into joining. You will send one book, get one book. Each participant will get the address of one other participant and send a book to that person. No need to sell others on this exchange, unless you want them to join the fun.

If you want to participate, please send the following information to sullivanmcpig(at)
your name
your mailing address
a book wish list - please only include books that are $10 or less OR
elect to have the giver send you one of their favorite books. Beware that with this option you may already own the title you receive.
If you want to join, let us know before November 30.

Once we have a list of participants Carien will send everyone the name and address of the person you are sending a book to. (This might not be the person who is sending to you, btw) Please try to send around December 8th the latest, especially if you are sending overseas.

You can then either buy and send a book to this person yourself, or buy from bookdepository or amazon and have it shipped directly to that person. If you are assigned to someone overseas is the best option, as there will be no extra shipping costs. You can of course send a card separately in this case to add to the Christmas fun.

Once you receive your book, you can tell Carien at sullivanmcpig(at) so she can keep track who still needs to get their book. And if you want you can share on social media with #PenguinPigCBExchange.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Guilty Pleasures - Book Review

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1)
by Laurell K. Hamilton

What is it about:
Anita Blake is small, dark, and dangerous. Her turf is the city of St. Louis. Her job: re-animating the dead and killing the undead who take things too far. But when the city’s most powerful vampire asks her to solve a series of vicious slayings, Anita must confront her greatest fear—her undeniable attraction to master vampire Jean-Claude, one of the creatures she is sworn to destroy...

What did I think of it:
Another book I read back in 2011, but where the story was deleted by my brain. As a friend gave me 12 books in this series I decided to do a reread of this book.

And this first book is... problematic.

The world building, setting, and Anita's profession are promising, but not fully realized in this first book. And once again this is a first book where I felt that it started at the wrong place. There seemed to be a history and connection between Anita and Jean-Claude that I apparently just had to fill in myself. It also felt like there were important things missing from the story at times.

Still I was entertained enough to keep reading. Anita wasn't making it easy though: she's a bigot and quick to judge those who are different. Luckily I was told by several people that the books get better, and there is significant character development ahead, so I kept reading and only grumbled softly at Anita.

Overall this a nice read. I'll pick up the next book soon to see if Anita will indeed shape up, and to read more about Jean-Claude, because he seems interesting.

Why should you read it:
It's a nice Urban Fantasy read.

Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

His words caused my pulse to quicken, my breath to shorten. The only thing that wanted me, the only animal Reyes would hunt, was a demon.

(page 74, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones)

Buy from bookdepository


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 19 November 2018

Mass Effect: Annihilation - Book Review

Mass Effect: Annihilation (Mass Effect: Andromeda #3)
by Catherynne M. Valente

What is it about:
An official tie-in to the hit video game Mass Effect: Andromeda.

As the Quarian ark Keelah Si'yah sails toward the Andromeda galaxy, it carries 20,000 colonists from several races including the Drell, Elcor, and Batarians. Along the way a routine check reveals that many of the Drell colonists have died in their cryopods, and a pathogen is discovered. It begins to jump species, then the ship's tech begins to fail, making it clear that this is no accident. It's murder, and the perpetrator is still on board.

The ship's systems rapidly degrade, and panic spreads among the colonists. To make matters worse, the virus yields a terrible swelling of the brain that causes madness, hallucinations, and leads to violence. If the ship's crew can't restore their technology and find a cure, the Keelah Si'yah will never make it to the Nexus.

What did I think of it:
I loved Mass Effect Andromeda and for a long time after finishing the game I held hope there would be DLCs. One of those could have been about the Quarian ark, as at the end of the game it is revealed the Keelah Si'yah is in trouble. Alas: EA decided to pull the plug and I didn't get a Quarian ark DLC. So you bet I preordered this book as soon as I knew it was about the Keelah Si'yah.

And this is a really great book. Even better than Nexus Uprising.

The Quarian ark is travelling through space, all its occupants in cryosleep when three sleepwalkers (specialists who wake up once in awhile to check the ship) are woken up off schedule, because the ship detects an anomaly. The three of them soon realize there is trouble and they need to act fast or the whole ark may be lost.

The three specialists are the viewpoint characters in this book, and I especially loved Yorrik: an Elcor doctor who dreams of being an actor once the ark reaches Andromeda. He has to work on finding a cure together with a Hanar who doesn't like him. Yorrik's chapters were my favorite, and I rooted for him to save the day and realize his dreams.

Then there is Senn, a Quarian who loves machines and VI's. He's not your typical Quarian, and I very much liked him as well. He is levelheaded, and open to change and creative solutions.

The last viewpoint character was a Drell detective and she was the least interesting to me. Most probably because she keeps lying and adapting herself according to who she is talking to, so you don't really get to know her. Luckily the characters she gets teamed up with - a Batarian and a Volus - are interesting.

The story is suspenseful and tense. I couldn't put the book down, I had to know if they could catch the culprit and save the ark. There were some really heartbreaking moments, and the ending was bittersweet. If it was impossible to get this story as a DLC, this book is certainly the next best thing. I might need to do another playthrough of the game soon.

Why should you read it:
It is a suspenseful and beautiful SF read

buy from bookdepository

Friday 16 November 2018

Diamond Fire - Book Review

Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy #3.5)
by Ilona Andrews

What is it about:
Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

What did I think of it:
I loved the first three books in the Hidden Legacy series, so was eager to give this novella a try.

And while it has nothing of the suspense and danger the other books have, this is a fun and entertaining read.

I liked Catalina, she is capable and level headed. I can understand why people put her in charge of things. Why people also let her younger sister help is a mystery however. She has annoyed me since the start of the series.

Events in this book were predictable in my opinion, but I didn't mind. Even with the predictability it was an entertaining story. There was information that Catalina discovered during the story held back for the big reveal at the end, but that was a minor annoyance.

All in all a quick and fun read. I will most probably read the next book as well once released.

Why should you read it:
It's an enjoyable UF Mystery read

buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Girls of Paper and Fire - Book Review

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1)
by Natasha Ngan

What is it about:
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honor they could hope for...and the most cruel.

But this year, there's a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it's Lei they're after--the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king's consort. But Lei isn't content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable--she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

What did I think of it:
*spoiler about love interest*

So I'm going to give a spoiler about the love interest, because it was what made me interested in this book. Lei falls in love with one of the other Paper Girls. I loved how this romance unfolded, and rooted for both of them to be able to be together, and to escape their gilded prison and the king.

I also really loved the interaction between all the girls. There is friendship, jealousy, competition. I liked how Ngan showed the different ways people can react to the same situation depending on background, character, and things like that.

The setting and the worldbuilding was beautiful. It is inspired by Eastern cultures and Ngan's writing painted a clear picture of the opulence of the palace, which starkly contrasted with the small village Lei grew up in.

I was a little annoyed by Lei being special as she isn't part of the normal selection, but gets added to the girls at the last minute. For a while it even looked like she was one of those special YA heroines who are so special that they miraculously manage to escape the horrors that happen to all the other girls around them, but luckily Ngan didn't make that mistake.

The violence and sexual abuse was handled well I think. There were some brutal scenes, but the abuse was mostly kept of page and mentioned instead of shown. Still I can advice to stay clear of this book if you're easily triggered.

All in all I loved this book and was hooked from the start to the end. The way the end was written makes that it can be read as a standalone, but it also makes me eager for the sequel. You bet I'll keep an eye out.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful (YA) Fantasy read.

Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - Guilty Pleasures

Another reread, because I got 12 books in the series from a friend, but can't remember much about this book.

The hair at the back of my neck crawled. I could meet her gaze, but evil has a certain feel to it.

(page 56, Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton)

Buy from bookdepository


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 12 November 2018

Once Bitten, Twice Shy - Book Review

Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Jaz Parks #1)
by Jennifer Rardin

What is it about:
I'm Jaz Parks. My boss is Vayl, born in Romania in 1744. Died there too, at the hand of his vampire wife, Liliana. But that's ancient history. For the moment Vayl works for the C.I.A. doing what he does best--assassination. And I help. You could say I'm an Assistant Assassin. But then I'd have to kick your ass.

Our current assignment seemed easy. Get close to a Miami plastic surgeon named Assan, a charmer with ties to terrorism that run deeper than a buried body. Find out what he's meeting with that can help him and his comrades bring America to her knees. And then close his beady little eyes forever. Why is it that nothing's ever as easy as it seems?

What did I think of it:
I've read this book before in 2011, but couldn't remember a thing! Usually this is a bad sign. My brain has the habit of blocking books and movies I hated. Still, my review from back then didn't sound ranty, and I even stated being willing to try a second book in the series. As I could get the first 5 book in this series for a steal at the charity shop I decided to give this series another chance and reread this book.

And this is an enjoyable read. My brain must have decided to also forget reasonably nice reads.

The book starts with Jaz being told she's going to work with Vayl, and then immediately switches to six month later. I will confess I wish I got the story of their first six month working together as well. Still I really like Jaz and Vayl. The tension between them is interesting and promising.

The story itself is suspenseful, but at times a bit chaotic. I'm not sure if it's the writing or that the plot might be too convoluted. A small annoyance was the fact that Jaz as narrator didn't reveal information she had, but kept eluding to it: "I haven't been the same since.... THE THING!!!" Ok, I'm paraphrasing here, but mention like that were many before we finally were informed about what happened in the past.

That aside the story was entertaining enough that I'm curious about the next book, and want to see how the relationship between Jaz and Vayl will develop. I'll be picking up book two one of these days.

Why should you read it:
It's a nice Urban Fantasy read

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Friday 9 November 2018

Wickedly Dangerous - Book Review (repost)

Wickedly Dangerous (Baba Yaga #1)
by Deborah Blake

What is it about:
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart...

What did I think of it:
This is a fun book.

I really liked the concept of Baba Yaga being a job title instead of being just one person. Barbara is and intriguing character, and I liked her and her otherworldly friends.

The story was fun although I thought there could have been a bit more obstructions along the way. But even though it didn't seem to take any real effort, I very much enjoyed the read.

I thought when I started on the book that the whole series would have the same lead character, but it turned out that each book has another lead character, so there are no big cliffhangers to frustrate you at the end of the book.

All in all a fast and fun read that falls somewhere between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable UF/PNR read

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Kindling the Moon - Book Review (repost)

Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell #1)
by Jenn Bennett

What is it about:
Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

What did I think of it:
In an attempt to at least get one TBR-orphan read this month I picked up Kindling the Moon from my tbr-pile.

And now I'm wondering why it took my so long to get to reading it!

This is such a cool read.

I fell in love with the setting and with Arcadia from the start. The world building is fun and original. And then Lon entered the stage and I was completely sold. Lon is gruff, grumpy, but strangely likeable. I loved getting to know him.

I also love how Lon, as the love interest, has a son who is also part of the story. I usually get annoyed by lead characters or love interests with children/wards, because those children are often only there for being cute or showing the vulnerable/softer side of the parent/sibling. Not so with Jupe. He's past the age to play the cute card. instead he's a teenager and a handful. I really like how he got included in the story and I'm actually hoping to see lots more of him in future books.

The action is almost non-stop and I almost couldn't put this book down. I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. All in all I finished this book in two days and that's only because I had previous engagements that I couldn't cancel in favor of reading.

So you can bet on it that I'll be getting my trotters on book 2 as soon as possible and that it won't end up as a TBR-Orphan.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome UF read with magicians and demons.