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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Quickie Review: The Reese Malcolm List by Amy Spalding ★★1/2



The Reese Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: N/A
Publication Date: February 5th 2013
ISBN: 9781620612408
Page Count: 352
Rating: ★★1/2
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice



Synopsis: 

Things I know about Reece Malcolm:
1. She graduated from New York University.
2. She lives in or near Los Angeles.
3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week.
4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon.
5. She’s my mother.

Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much.

L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love.


But then the Reece Malcolm list gets a surprising new entry. Now that Devan is so close to having it all, can she handle the possibility of losing everything?
Review:
Quickie Review:

Hit and Miss

When I read the blurb for The Reese Malcolm List, I was intrigued. I thought to myself, "Hmmm, this could be interesting". And it was. The mother-daughter relationship that builds between Devan and the mother she never knew, Reese Malcolm, was by far the highlight of the entire book. There was awkwardness; there was humor; there were mistakes aplenty and some truly beautiful, touching moments. Unfortunately, there was also a lot of high school drama. I was prepared for that (this is a YA novel, after all) but I didn't expect it to affect me so much.

I think the problem was age. Mine, specifically. It's not something I run into often but every once in a while, a YA book will really make me feel my years, and sadly, this was one of them. The school scenes, and the joys (and pains) of first love that Devan experienced, didn't draw me into the story, but rather, pushed me out of it. No matter how hard I tried - and I did try - I simply couldn't relate to that side of Devan's life. It was terribly frustrating, because I genuinely liked Devan as a character and wanted to enjoy all of her story instead of merely part of it.

Don't let my experience sway you, though. The Reese Malcolm List has real heart, and you may find it is exactly the book for you. Give it a try and see for yourself.

2.5 Stars ★★1/2
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Reviewed by:

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Blog Tour Stop: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan


Today we have an excerpt for you from the book
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. It's a memoir style book chronicling the adventures of Lady Isabella Trent set in an imagined alternate history. The book features beautiful pencil sketches of several of the dragons from the story by artist Todd Lockwood, an example of which can be found below.



Synopsis:

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.


Book Details:

Title: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Memoir style

Publication Date: February 5th 2013

ISBN: 9780765331960 

Page Count: 336
By Todd Lockwood

Author Bio:



Marie Brennan is a former academic with a background in archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, which she now puts to rather cockeyed use in writing fantasy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to many short stories and novellas, she is also the author of A Star Shall Fall and With Fate Conspire (both from Tor Books), as well as Warrior, Witch, Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, and Lies and Prophecy. You can find her online at SwanTower.com.








Excerpt:

We filed through into a large room enclosed by a dome of glass panels that let in the afternoon sunlight. We stood on a walkway that circled the room’s perimeter and overlooked a deep, sand-floored pit divided by heavy grates into three large pie-slice enclosures.
            Within those enclosures were three dragons.
            Forgetting myself entirely, I rushed to the rail. In the pit below me, a creature with scales of a faded topaz gold turned its long snout upward to look back at me. From behind my left shoulder, I heard a muffled exclamation, and then someone having a fainting spell. Some of the more adventurous gentlemen came to the railing and murmured amongst themselves, but I had no eyes for them -- only for the dragon in the pit.
            A heavy clanking sounded as it turned its head away from me, and I saw that a heavy collar bound its neck, connecting to a thick chain that ended at the wall. The gratings between the sections of the pit, I noticed, were doubled; in between each pair there was a gap, so the dragons could not snap at one another through the bars.
            With slow, fascinated steps, I made my way around the room. The enclosure to the right held a muddy green lump, likewise chained, that did not look up as I passed. The third dragon was a spindly thing, white-scaled and pink-eyed: an albino.
            Mr. Swargin waited at the rail by the entrance. Sparing him a glance, I saw that he watched everyone with careful eyes as they circulated about the room. He had warned us, at the outset of the tour, not to throw anything or make noises at the beasts; I suspected that was a particular concern here.
            The golden dragon had retired to the farthest corner of its enclosure to gnaw on a large bone mostly stripped of meat. I studied it carefully, noting certain features of its anatomy, comparing its size against what appeared to be a cow femur. “Mr. Swargin,” I said, my eyes still on the dragon, “these aren’t juveniles, are they? They’re runts.”
            “I beg your pardon?” the naturalist responded, turning to me.
            “I might be wrong -- I’ve only Edgeworth to go by, really, and he’s sadly lacking in illustrations -- but my understanding was that species of true dragon do not develop the full ruff behind their heads until adulthood. I could not get a good view of the green one the next cage over -- is that a Moulish swamp-wyrm? -- but these cannot be full-grown adults, and considering the difficulties of keeping dragons in a menagerie, it seems to me that it might be simpler to collect runt specimens, rather than to deal with the eventual maturation of juveniles. Of course, maturation takes a long time, so one could --”
            At that point, I realized what I was doing, and shut my mouth with a snap. Far too late, I fear; someone had already overheard.

Giveaway winners:

Our giveaway winners were  Katana and Negine. Hope you both enjoy your hardback copies of this book!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Review: The Chieftain by Margaret Mallory ★★★★1/2

The Chieftain (Return of the Highlanders, #4)
The Chieftain by Margaret Mallory
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Return of the Highlanders #4
Publication Date: February 26th 2013
ISBN: 9780446583114
Page Count: 448
Rating: ★★★★1/2
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis:

 Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

A Warrior's Heart

Connor, chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat, holds the fate of his people in his hands. Rival clans are plotting to take over his lands, and duty determines whom he will fight, trust . . . even marry. Seeking guidance, Connor turns to Ilysa, a young lass with the gift of foresight, who reveals an approaching danger-and a passion that burns only for him. But the warrior must make a powerful marriage alliance, and Ilysa's bloodline is far too humble.

With her powers to heal and see evil where others cannot, beautiful Ilysa dresses plainly, speaks softly, and loves her chieftain from afar. Yet when Connor finally stokes the embers of desire that have so long burned within her, Ilysa feels bliss unlike any she's ever known. Now as he is forced to place duty before happiness, Ilysa senses Connor is in grave peril. Can she find a way to prove she is the woman he needs by his side?

Review:


Another triumph for Margaret Mallory.

So here we are with the fourth (and final?) story in this wonderful Scottish Romance series, featuring the last of the returning warriors, the chieftain himself, Connor MacDonald. I had a great time with this book; watching the stoic and steadfast leader finally setting out on his way to his own slice of Happily Ever After. Especially after seeing him put duty first for so long. It can't have been easy watching his three closest friends fall hopelessly in love with their new wives while he adamantly went without so as to be sure he had no children with chieftain's blood out of wedlock. But I have to say, after waiting so long, he really couldn't have picked a more worthy heroine to fall for than young Ilysa.

Ilysa is an interesting character because she's very quiet, timid, shy and rather plain-looking. She's also fierce, loyal, brave, intelligent and beautiful. How can she be both of those things at the same time? Well, you'll have to read it yourself for the long version, but let's just say she was taught to go unnoticed to keep herself safe, and it worked! For the first nineteen years of her life, it worked brilliantly. Too well, in fact. She was known and liked by all as Duncan's baby sister, and the person who runs Connor's household while he has no wife to do so for him. Certainly no one would ever have a bad word to say about her, but neither would they have much of anything else to say, either. She mostly just blended into the background, getting things done, going unnoticed, wearing her drab, shapeless gowns, her ugly headcoverings and her quiet, unassuming nature like a shield. Until one day, after a bit of a makeover from past female characters in the series who want to see her as happily married as they are, she does get noticed. A lot! Big, big, BIG much! And it was fabulous to read! Who doesn't love a makeover scene, seriously? It just appeals to the fairytale lover in me, whenever there's a "Cinderella moment." I don't care how often they are used, I still enjoy them every single time.

But, even with this new revelation, things don't go as smoothly as you might think. Connor has had strict plans in place for his marriage for many years. As part of his "duty first" attitude, he sees his marriage as just another thing he has to do with his clan's future and prosperity as the only deciding factor. Love is for people who aren't in charge of the welfare of hundreds of people. Not for men such as him. Or is it?

(I'll give you a clue: this is a romance novel *wink*)
 
The really great thing about this particular series—aside from the gorgeous, heart-pounding romances—is the relationship between the four warriors at the heart of it. These four men—who are cousins, childhood friends, and bothers in arms in the real sense of the phrase—are certainly worthy of the title highland hero. I adore Mallory's brand of hot Scot, I really do, and I'd be very happy to hear if this series was to be extended. What about Lachlan's story? Or Niall's? I just don't feel ready to leave these lovely characters yet, so I will sit with my fingers and toes crossed, wishing and hoping for more!

4.5 Stars ★★★★1/2
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Blog Tour Stop: And With Madness Comes The Light by Karina Halle

And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror, #6.5)
And With Madness Comes The Light by Karina Halle
Genre: Horror/Romance
Series: Experiment in Terror #6.5
Publication Date: February 14th 2013
ISBN: n/a
Page Count: 89
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey & Janice



Synopsis: The Man. The Mystery. The Madness.

Dex Foray has never been anyone’s fool – until he missed his chance for happiness with Perry Palomino. Broken and alone, Dex has no choice but to rise from the ashes Perry left behind and find his own path to redemption. But nothing in Dex’s life has ever come easily, especially when there’s a dark madness waiting in the wings.

Told from Dex’s POV, And With Madness Comes the Light is short story/novella that spans the time period from the end of Lying Season (Book #4) until the end of On Demon Wings (Book #5). If you were ever wondering what really happened to Dex while Perry was gone - his journey to Dex 2.0 - now is your chance.


Lynsey's Review:

A real treat for Dex fans!

And really, who reading this series isn't a Dex fan? How could anyone not be? It's impossible not to love that man, even as flawed and downright incorrigible as he is!

So, this novella picks up the morning after the night before; that now infamous scene from the end of Lying Season that is forever scarred across my heart. I had to take a minute, actually, to just sit and recall that scene, to put myself in Dex's current headspace (which is basically a cluster**** of raw emotions and self-loathing), so that I wasn't coming to it too cold. Ideally, I would have read this straight after On Demon Wings as I think it fits in better there than as #6.5, but there you go.

So, our Dexy is in a terrible, dark place. And so he damn well should be! This is the story of how he climbed out of that deep pit of despair (which can be found via the second tree on the left—Princess Bride, anyone?) and how/why he became the Dex version 2.0 that came waltzing back into Perry's life in book five. There are a couple of really gut-kicking moments for Dex in the book. It was both enlightening and painful to see them from his perspective. His POV is refreshing and interesting and I can't wait to see how it works as a full-length novel in Come Alive when that releases later this year.

All together, a great read. One of those rare novellas that is well worth its cost and then some, and an absolute must read for fans of the series. It basically only reaffirmed what I already knew: I love Dex and Perry!

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

  
  
Reviewed by:


Janice's Review:

"There can be only one...Dex Foray" 


The famous tagline, "There can be only one", may have been written for the Highlander movies, but I think it perfectly describes Dex Foray. He is truly an original. Who else can shock, entice, and make us laugh the way he does? It's no coincidence he is at the top of nearly every EIT fan's book boyfriends list. Goodness knows he's at the top of mine! It's because with Dex, we know there will never be a dull moment. Good or bad, he always finds ways to surprise us. It's what makes him so fascinating and fun to read about. It's also the reason all other male characters stand in his shadow. Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of truly amazing male characters out there and I've ranted and raved about quite a few of them, but there is only one Dex.


In his 2nd novella, And With Madness Comes The Light, we see Dex at his very lowest, starting right after the fateful events of book 4, Lying Season. He's a despairing wreck, neglecting himself, his apartment, his job, even Fat Rabbit. Fortunately, he has some excellent friends who refuse to let him go quietly into that good night. Rebecca, Emily and Dean are lifesavers, and without their support and help, Dex would still be lost in the darkness of his own misery.

I love Dex to bits, but I'm almost glad he hit rock bottom. There have been too many mistakes, too many moments missed and chances blown. It was time for him to step up and be the man we all believe he's capable of being. To prove, not just to Perry, but to himself as well, that's he's worthy of her.

If you're looking for feels, you'll find lots of them in AWM. Maybe you'll cry, maybe you won't, but you WILL experience every high and low Dex does. He WILL tug at your emotions, he WILL pluck all your heart strings. And yet, as often as I ached for Dex and what he was going through, I was so damn proud of him too. Perhaps that's strange to say about a fictional character, but it's true. And I loved him all the more for transforming himself into a better man while still retaining his essential Dexness. He's still the same pervy weirdo we fell for in Darkhouse; he's just a new and improved version. Dex 2.0.

And With Madness Comes The Light is flawlessly written and sure to shoot straight to the top of every Dex-lover's favorites list. I read it twice in 24 hours, and then a third time a few days later. If that doesn't say it all, I don't know what does!

I cannot wait for Come Alive (EIT #7) to release later this year. An ENTIRE BOOK written from Dex's POV? Yes please!

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Reviewed by:



Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Review: The Cat's Meow by Stacey Kennedy ★★★★

The Cat's Meow (Witch's Brew, #1)
The Cat's Meow by Stacey Kennedy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Witch's Brew #1
Publication Date: December 13th 2012
ISBN: 
9781622668571
Page Count: 256
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Libby is an Enchantress—a witch gifted by the Goddess to conjure spells. When a magical presence is detected around a recent string of feline slayings, Libby takes the case to uncover the reasons behind the odd deaths. Much to her displeasure, the coven also sends a sexy warlock, Kale, to assist her.

While having the muscle around proves to be useful, fighting the attraction between them is worse than a hex, especially considering Kale is keeping secrets. But soon, Libby has bigger problems than the elusive warlock when her spells turn up clues that point to something far more sinister than slaughtered cats.

Now Libby has landed herself in the midst of an uprising. She trusts no one and isn’t safe—not from the warlocks stirring up trouble. Not from the worrisome rebellion she can’t escape. And certainly not from Kale, who is weaving a very dangerous spell over her heart.


Review:


Fun and flirty UF

This was a good read with lots of potential for future plots. I've read a number of promising starters in the last 6 months in the Urban Fantasy genre, which is as exciting as it is daunting. Joining a series so early means a commitment of 5-6 years of waiting for new releases, sometimes after crippling cliffhangers, so only the really good ones will I pick up for books two, three, four... This is one I will continue with, for sure.

It was a fun, exciting and well-paced story following a likeable young witch (an Enchantress, actually) called Libby, who is working a case for her coven. The ritualistic killing of cats leads her to discoveries way above her usual pay grade. Since she's so far out of her depth, you'd think she'd be happy to have a darkly handsome and enigmatic warlock turn up to assist her. Right? Yeah, not so much. Libby's past experiences with warlocks have led her to be wary and slow to trust. And that's putting it very mildly. Something Libby probably wouldn't bother to do. She's more the 'say it as you see it' kind of gal. Her smart mouth was entertaining and only once or twice did I think she took it too far with the wrong people. I really liked Libby's "voice" and felt for her as the frustrations of dealing with her new and extremely evasive shadow got her down.

Warlock Kale, the potential love interest and a man who answers questions with yet more questions, or simply diverts, distracts or fails to answer at all, was so annoyingly interesting I wanted to scream! And so did Libby by the end. He takes secretive to a whole new irritating level and yet I still liked him. I loved how slowly their relationship developed—largely because of his refusal to give away any information about himself—but it was something that I was invested in nonetheless and had me turning the pages like a crazy woman. And although it was slow to start, it had a more than satisfying conclusion!

Can't wait to find out what happens next after all the shock revelations in this book. Bring it on!

4 Stars ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by:

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Blog Tour Giveaway: And With Madness Comes The Light by Karina Halle



The Man. The Mystery. The Madness.

Dex Foray has never been anyone’s fool – until he missed his chance for happiness with Perry Palomino. Broken and alone, Dex has no choice but to rise from the ashes Perry left behind and find his own path to redemption. But nothing in Dex’s life has ever come easily, especially when there’s a dark madness waiting in the wings.

Told from Dex’s POV, And With Madness Comes the Light is short story/novella that spans the time period from the end of Lying Season (Book #4) until the end of On Demon Wings (Book #5). If you were ever wondering what really happened to Dex while Perry was gone - his journey to Dex 2.0 - now is your chance.

Blog Tour Giveaway:

Hey, all you EIT fans! To celebrate the release of the new Dex novella, And With Madness Comes The Light, Karina is giving away 10 autographed bookplates!! Just click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win. Easy, right? So what are you waiting for? Get to it! :) 



**The giveaway will run from midnight on through midnight on February 24th. There will be 10 winners. Once the winners are chosen, they will be contacted at the email address they entered in the rafflecopter. Each winner will have 48 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within that time period, an alternate will be chosen.

Good luck, and be sure to visit us on February 21st when we post all our fangirl musings about Dex....errr, I mean, when we review And With Madness


Saturday, 16 February 2013

Quickie Review: The Better To See You by Kate SeRine ★★★★


The Better To See You by Kate SeRine
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Transplanted Tales #2
Publication Date: February 7th 2013
ISBN: N/A
Page Count: 265
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice


Synopsis: Once upon a time, a spell went awry and Make Believe characters were cast into the ordinary world. And the results aren’t always happily ever after…

Everyone thinks fairy godmothers can do no wrong. But if not for a certain spell miscast by Lavender Seelie, Cinderella’s former fairy godmother, the Tales would not be stuck in the Here and Now. Fortunately for Lavender, she’s about to get a second chance at a happy ending…

The Refuge, a sanctuary for wayward Tales, seems like the perfect place for Lavender to start a new life—especially when she discovers an unexpected ally in Seth, the brooding werewolf who’s been typecast as a villain ever since his run in with Little Red Riding Hood. But when humans from nearby towns start turning up dead, their bodies mutilated with archaic Tale symbols, Lavender wonders if Seth’s deep sensuality has blinded her to the truth. And that distraction could put innocent lives in danger. Including her own…

Quickie Review:

Sequel success! 

Kate SeRine's debut novel, Red, was one of the last books I read in 2012. (Check out Lynsey's review HERE). Less than 50 pages into it and I knew I'd struck reading gold. I mean, c'mon, a series about fairy tales and literary characters living among us? Sign me up, please!

Each Transplanted Tales book focuses on a different couple. In Red, we had Tess and Nate, and in The Better To See You, we get Lavendar and Seth (aka The Big Bad Wolf). While they didn't rock my socks off as much as Tess and Nate did, they sure did give me a fun story to read!

Lavendar has her share of crazy, quirky moments, but she's a smart, sarcastically funny gal, and I found it very easy to like and root for her. Her leading man, Seth, is very much a "good guy" hero, and not nearly as tortured and brooding as I perceived him to be in Red. Romantically, they are a good match, balancing out each other's strengths and weaknesses, and boy oh boy, do they ever burn hot in the bedroom!

Whereas Red had more of an urban fantasy feel to it, The Better To See You leans more toward paranormal romance, especially in the first half. I'll be honest and say I thought the romance happened too quickly, but only because I prefer a slower buildup. Others will like it just fine. In the second half of the book is where the real action is, when the mystery really kicks in and the story shifts into high gear. I thought SeRine did a wonderful job laying a trail of false clues for her characters and readers to follow. When the Big Bad was revealed, I was totally surprised.

By combining the real and the fantastic, and casting make-believe characters as her leading men and ladies, Kate SeRine has created a delightfully unique world for herself and her readers to play in. The story possibilities are practically endless, and I look forward to reading many more Transplanted Tales in the future.

4 Stars ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Quickie Review: Nice Girls Don't Live Forever by Molly Harper ★★★★


Nice Girls Don't Live Forever by Molly Harper
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Jane Jameson #3
Publication Date: December 29th 2009
ISBN: 9781416589440
Page Count: 324
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: Audiobook
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Nothing sucks the romance out of world travel like a boyfriend who may or may not have broken up with you in a hotel room in Brussels. Jane Jameson’s sexy sire, Gabriel, has always been unpredictable. But the seductive, anonymous notes that await him at each stop of their international vacation, coupled with his evasive behavior over the past few months, finally push Jane onto the next flight home to Half Moon Hollow — alone, upset, and unsure whether Gabriel just ended their relationship without actually telling her.
Now the children’s-librarian-turned-vampire is reviving with plenty of Faux Type O, some TLC from her colorful friends and family, and her plans for a Brave New Jane. Step One: Get her newly-renovated occult bookstore off the ground. Step Two: Support her best friend, Zeb, and his werewolf bride as they prepare for the impending birth of their baby . . . or litter. Step Three: Figure out who’s been sending her threatening letters, and how her hostile pen pal is tied to Gabriel. Because for this nice girl, surviving a broken heart is becoming a matter of life and undeath...

Quickie Review:


A trip to heartbreak hotel

This was definitely one of the stronger instalments to the series. Lots of lovely drama, as well as all the usual funny scenarios and witty banter that come part and parcel with everyone's favourite vamp next door, Jane Jameson.

You might recall Gabriel—Jane's sire and on/off boyfriend with complications—was acting mighty peculiar during the last book. Lots of visits out of town, lots of evading direct questions.... Jane, being the laidback, awesome character she is, has been giving him the benefit of the doubt until now, trusting him to tell her what's going on in his own sweet time. But even former mild-mannered librarians have their limits, and when Gabriel keeps disappearing for hours at a time during their romantic vacation, Jane finally reaches hers. Big time. Now it's answer hour. Give it up or get the hell out. Only that ultimatum doesn't go quite as she planned, and has devastating results.

So, it's a different, more sombre, Jane that returns back to the Hollow, but she has her new book store and good friends in the form of Andrea and Dick to keep her occupied, as well as some other strange happenings to try and figure out. And all of these things combined help to dull the ache, or at least take her mind off it a bit. Of course, it's only a matter of time before it all comes to a head once again, and when Jane finds out the real truth, that's when things get really scary. For everyone involved.

All together one of the better plots in the series and it comes with lots of the answers we've been waiting for. Definitely worth a read!

4 Stars! ★★★★

Reviewed by:

Monday, 11 February 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway: And with Madness comes the Light by Karina Halle


The ridiculously talented Karina Halle is off on another Blog Tour, this time for the highly anticipated And With Madness Comes the Light, the second Dex POV novella. Yay!

She's also offering up 10 book cover plates! Check out the blog tour stops below to enter for your chance to win. We'll be giving you our own verdict on the book in our review stop on Thursday 21st, and don't forget to checkout our giveaway post on the 16th!

Here's a bit about the book:

And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror, #6.5)



Genre: Romance - paranormal, Romance-Fantasy, Romance-Suspense
Series: Experiment in Terror #6.5
Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Synopsis:
The Man. The Mystery. The Madness.

Dex Foray has never been anyone’s fool – until he missed his chance for happiness with Perry Palomino. Broken and alone, Dex has no choice but to rise from the ashes Perry left behind and find his own path to redemption. But nothing in Dex’s life has ever come easily, especially when there’s a dark madness waiting in the wings.


Told from Dex’s POV, And With Madness Comes the Light is short story/novella that spans the time period from the end of Lying Season (Book #4) until the end of On Demon Wings (Book #5). If you were ever wondering what really happened to Dex while Perry was gone - his journey to Dex 2.0 - now is your chance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

*Represented by Scott Waxman of the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency*
The daughter of a Norwegian Viking and a Finnish Moomin, Karina Halle grew up in Vancouver, Canada with trolls and eternal darkness on the brain. This soon turned into a love of all things that go bump in the night and a rather sadistic appreciation for freaking people out. Like many of the flawed characters she writes, Karina never knew where to find herself and has dabbled in acting, make-up artistry, film production, screenwriting, photography, travel writing and music journalism. She eventually found herself in the pages of the very novels she wrote (if only she had looked there to begin with).
Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she's preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

Blog Tour Dates:

And With Madness Comes the Light Blog Tour Stops

February 16th

February 17th
My Book Muse


February 20th
Smardy Pants Book Blog

February 21st
The Demon Librarian

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Review: Red by Kate SeRine ★★★★1/2


Red by Kate SeRine
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Series: Transplanted Tales #1
Publication Date: August 2nd 2012
ISBN: 9781601830180
Page Count: 330
Rating: ★★★★1/2
Review Copy: Own Purchase
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: “My name is Tess Little. But everyone calls me Red.”

Once upon a time, a spell went awry, stranding Make Believe characters in the ordinary world. Since then, Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood—has worked as an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the Fairytale Management Authority. But, consider yourself warned—she’s not just some waif with a basket of goodies. All grown up and with nothing to lose, a gun and combat boots is more her style. And Red’s new assignment threatens to be short on happily ever afters…

Someone is murdering transplanted Tales in gruesome fashion. The list of fictional characters capable of such grisly acts is short and includes more than one of Red’s old flames. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another complication, in the form of sexy, enigmatic Nate Grimm, the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. Used to following her own rules and living life on the edge, Red has managed to avoid taking on a partner until now. But Nate’s dark side makes him perfect for a case like this. That is, if she can trust him. Because if there’s one thing Red knows for sure, it’s that believing in the wrong person can have big, bad consequences…

 
Review:


4.5 Fun-filled stars

Oh, what an absolutely fabulous read! This was a simply brilliant mix of tongue in cheek humour, serious crime solving, kick-ass characters, unique worldbuilding, all combined with a cleverly written mystery and a positively enthralling romance. I suggest every Urban Fantasy and/or Paranormal Romance fan grab this book ASAP as it will bring you something really fun and totally different to your favourite genre.

I kept bringing to mind the movie WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?' while I was reading this for a couple of reasons: Firstly, it was the idea of make believe characters living alongside us in the real world; 'Toons' in Roger Rabbit's case, and 'Tales,' as they were called here. All your favourite fairy tale, literary and nursery rhyme characters are over here, in our world, trying to fit in with society. Secondly, it was the presence of a certain detective with a penchant for 1940's clothing; trench coat, fedora and all. More about him later:)

So, as you might have guessed from the title, this is Red (of the riding hood-wearing variety), aka Tess Little's story. A story you might think you are familiar with. But here's the thing. After being accidentally kicked out of the Land of Make Believe and sent to the Here and Now, these former fictional characters no longer have to follow their predetermined fates. They can go down a different path if they so choose. Some find this concept harder to accept than others, however. Villains find it really hard no to be villainous, insipid fairytale princesses find it really hard not to be air-headed bimbos...you get the idea. But, if you weren't happy with your lot in your original story, this is your chance to change it and be totally different. So don't assume you know how Red's story will go, because you will be very surprised. I certainly was. I couldn't predict anything, not even the outcome of the mystery, which was great.

The story, as I've said, is mystery based. A murder mystery to be precise. And Red, as an Enforcer for the Fairy Tale police, is called in to assist lead detective Nate Grimm (of the trench and fedora) since it appears the identity of the killer may well be someone Red is intimately familiar with. The Big Bad of all Big Bads himself, Seth Wolf.

Although I loved the mystery element and all the action, my favourite part of Red has to be the romance. It was slow to get going— very slow, actually, with even a couple of detours along the way which I wasn't totally thrilled with—but it was so worth the wait! It was simmering and intense and I was absolutely along for the ride. The 1940's look has never been something that struck me as particularly sexy before, but Nate Grimm changed my mind! Whoo boy, did he ever... He was a really interesting character, too, with a fascinating backstory that we learn as Red gets to know him more.

As for Red herself, she's pretty badass. She makes a few mistakes and can be a little brash, but underneath all that, she's still that little girl, lost in the woods. I think you'll like her character if you can keep an open mind about some of the choices she makes.

The rest of the cast, as you can well imagine by now, was positively filled with familiar faces. And the really clever part was how they were used, where they were placed. I'll tell you just a couple because I don't want to spoil it, but for example: Old King Cole, who you may know, is a merry old soul, runs a pub for Tales. Nicky "Little boy" Blue, is a gangster. The Pied Piper runs a pest control business. Don't you just love it? I sure did.

So, all in all, a great and surprising read. Not as silly as you might think from the premise, with a fab romance and really good twists and turns. Go check it out!

4.5 Stars ★★★★1/2

Reviewed by:

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Cover Reveal: Shooting Scars by Karina Halle




Cover reveal for the second instalment in the exciting Artists Trilogy, Shooting Scars.

Told in dual POV, it seems only fitting that we should have Camden on the cover this time. Yummy!



A second chance at first love.

There are a few things worth risking everything for - even your life. For Camden McQueen, this is one of them.

Shooting Scars is the second book in The Artists Trilogy and is told from the dual POV of Camden and Ellie.


AUTHOR BIO
Karina Halle
The daughter of a Norwegian Viking and a Finnish Moomin, Karina Halle grew up in Vancouver, Canada with trolls and eternal darkness on the brain. This soon turned into a love of all things that go bump in the night and a rather sadistic appreciation for freaking people out. Like many of the flawed characters she writes, Karina never knew where to find herself and has dabbled in   acting, make-up artistry, film production, screenwriting, photography, travel writing and music journalism. She eventually found herself in the pages of the very novels she wrote (if only she had looked there to begin with).

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she's preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

Author Links:


Review: Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter by Jessica Sims ★★★★

Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter (Midnight Liaisons, #2)
Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter by Jessica Sims
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Midnight Liaisons #2
Publication Date: October 30th 2012
ISBN: 9781451661811
Page Count: 353
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: Audiobook
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Following the page-turning debut, Beauty Dates the Beast, this is the second novel in the fresh and funny new series about a paranormal dating service.

Sarah Ward, the werewolf sister of Bathsheba from Beauty Dates the Beast, and co-owner of their paranormal online dating agency, Midnight Liaisons, is voluntarily traded to a wolf clan in exchange for a kidnapped female were-cougar. Fearful of what might happen to her while with the wolf clan, she and Ramsey, a were-bear who’s part of the were-cougar alliance, pretend to be engaged so he can stay with her for protection. The last thing either of them expect is for their pretend engagement to lead to a very real love affair….

Review:


I want a were-bear!

Well, I want one if he's anything like Ramsey, anyway. He's the strong, silent, stoic but gentle type of man-tree that just....sigh. Yeah, he was lovely. Built like a forest oak, with rare but devastating smiles, he totally won my heart in this second instalment of the midnight Liaisons series, this time featuring Bathsheba's werewolf sister, Sarah.

If you read book one, you'll recall the claim that was made to the werewolves at the end of that book. This book begins just a few days before that, with the conversation that led to that decision. What comes of that claim is Sarah having to prove to the werewolf clan that she's mated to were-bear Ramsey, because that's the only thing that could possibly save her from having to go and live with them—even the claim of your own clan isn't strong enough to separate a mated couple. The wolves, for their part, desperately need another female wolf for breeding, and since they're so rare, they're determined to do everything possible to snare Sarah. Except the thing is, Sarah isn't really mated to Ramsey. They barely know one another. It's all a big lie. And unfortunately, although brain cells aren't exactly abundant among the werewolves, even they don't believe her since she looks positively terrified of him. Of course, they don't realise that after Sarah's hellish past, she's terrified of most men. And Ramsey being so huge doesn't exactly help with her nerves, either. Still, she puts on her bravest face and tries to convince them of her love for her "Huggy Bear" in the hopes that they'll go away and leave her be. Sadly not. They remain unconvinced and insist one of their wolves remain behind to observe them. By living in Ramsey's house.

So, here we have two people—one nervous and jittery after being abused by her former boyfriend, the wolf who turned her, and one naturally quiet and shy who generally prefers to keep himself to himself—who would probably never have naturally come together of their own accord, but who are forced to act the part to maintain a deception. But what happens when you start to realize that you may not actually be acting anymore? Is the other person still just acting? Are you still playing the same game with the same rules? Or have things changed?

These confusing questions and feelings led to a wonderful and engaging paranormal romance. One I thoroughly enjoyed. Sarah and Ramsey's interactions were both swoon-worthy and, eventually, scorching hot. The relationship developed at the perfect pace and it just made my heart happy, as all good romances should.

The Big Bad in this case was the werewolf pack and their insistent claim on Sarah, which all comes to a head in the exciting final pages. There were also a couple of interesting developments with other potential couples in the series, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about them in future books.

A wonderful PNR, and again, a great audio production!
4 Stars ★★★★

Reviewed by: