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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Review: Mythology by Helen Boswell ★★★1/2


Mythology by Helen Boswell
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Mythology #1
Publication Date: July 27th 2012
ISBN: 9781475210750
Page Count: 418
Rating: ★★★1/2
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice



Synopsis: Hope Gentry doesn’t believe in Fate. Born with an unusual power to see the dark memories of those around her, Hope just wants to be a normal teenager. But on the first day of her senior year of high school, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to a transfer student named Micah Condie. At first glance, Micah seems like a boy that most girls would dream about. But when Hope's powers allow her to discover Micah's darkest secret, she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of mythical entities she never dreamed existed. Was this her destiny all along? And will her powers help her survive the evil of the Demon Impiorum?

Mythology isn’t just for English class anymore.


Review:


A YA paranormal series with plenty of promise 

Mythology has been on my radar for a little while now, and after meeting the lovely Helen Boswell on Twitter, I decided it was high time I satisfied my curiosity and bumped it to the top of my pile. I'm glad I did, too. Mythology is a good, solid read, and a fine start to a series that has lots of potential.

The story is told from the POV of orphaned high school senior Hope, who has the ability to see auras and flashes of others' not-so-pleasant thoughts or memories. It's a dark gift if ever there was one, because so much of what she glimpses is negative. Worse, she can't turn the ability off, and she can't tell anyone about it without sounding crazy - and her classmates already think she's a freak as it is. Her older brother Davis is the only one who knows her secret, and fortunately for her, he's 100% supportive. (Seriously, best brother EVER.)

The book doesn't waste any time getting off the ground. There's a shootout in the first chapter, and the next, Hope meets the gorgeous, six foot tall, blond and blue-eyed Micah Condie, a new transfer student with secrets of his own. Right away, there's a spark, and then it's off to the races as Hope and Micah are plunged into a dangerous supernatural world they never knew existed.

Despite the tragedy and troubles she's dealt with in her young life, Hope is a wonderfully strong female protagonist. She's optimistic, loyal, and speaks her mind. Doormat? Not here, folks! I wish I'd been even half as together as she is when I was that age. She's almost too mature, more of a junior adult than a teenager, but she pulls it off believably. Truthfully, she's the kind of heroine I wish more YA novels had: well-rounded instead of constantly insecure and angst-ridden, and with a good, clear head on her shoulders.

Hope's leading man, Micah, is a total sweetheart. I was on the fence about him at first, because I'm not a big fan of the too-good-to-be-true type, and Micah certainly falls into that category. I fully expected my inner cynic to turn up her nose at him, but to my surprise, she never did. Micah worked his magic, making me awwww and sigh and smile, winning me over one word and scene at a time. It worked, too. I heart the heck out of that boy.

The supporting cast is fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the character of Jonathan Draper. He was one very cool cat, and quite the scene-stealer.

The romance happens quickly. Too quickly for my taste, but in a weird way, I think it actually made Mythology a better story - and trust me, as someone who hates instalove as much as I do, that's really saying something! I just can't see how the story would have worked if Hope and Micah hadn't fallen for each other as hard and fast as they did.

If the book lacks anything, it's bite. The action was gripping, but it was like watching a movie on TV versus seeing it in the theater, where everything is bigger, badder, and more intense. That is the experience I wanted, and what I hope to get in the next book. We're dealing with guardians and demons here; souls and magic; the age-old struggle between good and evil. Ramp it up. Push the envelope. Drag me to the edge of my seat and make my heart race with excitement. The same goes for the romance. Cut back on the sweet and add more sizzle, and I guarantee a 5-star rating.

All in all, Mythology is an enjoyable read with lots of promise, and I do plan to read the sequel which is slated for release later this year.

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

Reviewed by:

Friday, 22 March 2013

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi ★★★★


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Shatter Me #1
Publication Date: November 2011
ISBN: 9780062085504
Page Count: 368
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: Own Purchase
Reviewed by: Janice


Synopsis: 
I have a curse.
I have a gift.

I'm a monster.
I'm more than human.

My touch is lethal.
My touch is power.

I am their weapon.
I will fight back.
No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.


Unforgettable

True story: The first time I picked up Shatter Me, I only made it through one and a half chapters. My inner editor simply couldn't handle the stream-of-consciousness writing style, with its long sentences, missing punctuation marks, and heavy use of the strikethrough feature. If I'd had a red pen and a copy of the manuscript, I would have gone crazy fixing what my brain identified as mistakes. There was no way I could read something like this, I told myself. No way, no how. So I tossed Shatter Me back into my TBR pile and moved on to other books written "the right way". You know, books with neatly organized sentences and paragraphs, and main characters whose jumbled thoughts didn't make me feel slightly dizzy.

The thing is, though, I couldn't forget what I had read. Something about it got under my skin and stayed there, and over the next week or two, my mind kept circling back to it. Try as I might, I couldn't let the book go. I simply had to know what happened and where this seemingly crazy story was headed. So I retrieved it from my TBR stack, took a deep breath, and plunged in.

Best decision I ever made.

Juliette's world is a grim place. Mother Nature is on the fritz, and the earth is a devastated ruin. Those who remain are ruled with an iron fist by the Reestablishment. Resources, money, people, the government - the Reestablishment controls it all. They don't just rule the world; they own it.

At the story's start, Juliette is locked up, alone, and clinging desperately to the fragile threads of her sanity. She's been the Reestablishment's prisoner for three years, declared a danger to society because of a fatal ability that endangers everyone she comes in contact with. Literally. Her entire life, she has been shunned and ostracized. No friends, no loving touches, no anything. The result is one very messed up young woman. Like a dog that has been kicked too many times, Juliette is paranoid and skittish, trusting no one. She thinks of herself as a monster, because that's what everyone calls her and how they've always treated her.

And then one day, he shows up. Adam. A blast from her past. Confused and more than a little wary, Juliette tries to keep her distance, but Adam won't allow it. He is determined to befriend her. Instead of cruelty, he shows her kindness. He talks to her without any trace of fear or judgment. The more she's around him, the more she wants things she thought she could never have.

Let's call that Big Surprise #1 in Juliette's life. Big Surprise #2 comes not long later in the form of Reestablishment soldiers. Apparently, someone in power has taken a very keen interest in Juliette's "case". Suddenly, she's valuable, and before she knows it, she is out of prison and whisked away to Sector 45, where the commander in charge, Warner, eagerly awaits her arrival. Warner has big plans for Juliette, and he's prepared to do whatever it takes to get her on his side.

Juliette isn't an easy character to relate to. She's so damaged, so incredibly starved for the most basic of human attentions, it's almost painful to read. Yet buried beneath all of her tangled thoughts and feelings is an intelligent, compassionate and remarkably resilient girl. Given the chance, I believe she has the potential to become a seriously badass heroine. That is, if she doesn't crack first. She's holding on by her fingernails, but she is holding on. For now.

Pulling Juliette in two very different directions are Adam and Warner. One is light, the other dark, and both have crucial roles to play in the story as well as in Juliette's life. Adam is everything a hero should be: tough when he needs to be, passionate, loyal, and gentle at all the right moments. I guarantee you will fall in love with him. I certainly did! Warner, on the other hand, will either repel or fascinate you. Cast in the villain's role, it's difficult not to write him off as just another manipulative and power-hungry douchebag who believes the end justifies the means. Certainly, he does reprehensible - even unforgivable - things in the course of the book. And yet, as much as I felt I should hate and despise him, I couldn't. Instead, I was reluctantly compelled by him, and oddly protective of his fate as a character. You'll have to make up your own mind about him, of course, but personally, I'm (sort of) rooting for him.

Shatter Me isn't an action-packed read, so if you are hunting for a shoot-'em-up, bang-'em-up thrill ride, look elsewhere. If, however, you are the type of reader who thrives on feels, romance, and characters you won't soon forget, do yourself a favor: Add Shatter Me to your TBR list immediately.

4 Stars ★★★★
Reviewed by:

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Review: How Beauty Saved The Beast by Jax Garren ★★★1/2


How Beauty Saved The Beast by Jax Garren
Genre: Paranormal/Dystopian
Series: Tales of the Underlight #2
Publication Date: February 11th 2013
ISBN: N/A
Page Count: 208
Rating: ★★★1/2
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice



Synopsis: Jolie Benoit left her old life behind to become an agent of the Underlight. Training under Sergeant Wesley Haukon, she’s honing her combat skills, all the while coping with the intense sexual attraction she feels for Hauk. She keeps their friendship casual, but when his high school sweetheart transfers into their division, Jolie finds herself grappling with jealousy.

The Underlight gave Hauk a purpose, but he can’t escape his past completely. The physical and emotional scars from the fire that killed seven fellow Army Rangers will mark him forever. Jolie sends his protective instincts into overdrive, but he’s convinced he’ll never be worthy of her love.

Hauk is determined to keep Jolie from harm. But when the Order of Ananke ambushes them with a new weapon that neutralizes Hauk, making him vulnerable, it’s Jolie who must tap into her hidden strengths to rescue him—or risk losing him forever…



Review:


Character Love

Before I get started with my review, I must give a quick shout-out to the cover artist. Whoever you are, you deserve a bazillion gold stars. I adore the covers for this series. They are absolutely gorgeous and totally eye-catching. Job well done!

What's behind the cover is pretty darn good too. All the characters I fell in love with in the first book (check out my review here) are back and in fine form, making me laugh and sigh and cheer, and completely catching me up in their lives and adventures.

Some things have changed since the last book. Jolie is still performing at the Pussy Will-Oh! but she's also training to become a full agent for the Underlight. Her friendship with the scarred and very swoon-worthy Wesley Haukon (Hauk) is slowly but surely heating up, and of course, the Order of Ananke remains the bane of all their existences. Only this time, the Order is targeting Hauk specifically, and it's up to Jolie and company to figure out what the heck is going on and how to stop it. If they don't, they could lose Hauk for good.

There's a lot of page time devoted to Hauk and Jolie's budding relationship. They are a classic case of opposites attract, with Jolie's spunky, outgoing personality a direct contrast to Hauk's quieter nature and his ingrained wariness. Yet despite their obvious differences, they are drawn to each other like magnets. But can they, should they, take things to the next level? Will it ruin their friendship? Doubts and insecurities abound, and the sudden appearance of someone from Hauk's past doesn't help matters any.

Certain aspects of the plot are too predictable, and I did grow a little frustrated with all the romantic drama, mostly because I am impatient for Hauk and Jolie to get together. I've been rooting for them from the get-go, and I am more than ready for them to make the leap into coupledom. Sue me.

What I love best about this book - and the entire series - is its enchanting cast of main and supporting characters. I just plain like these people (well, everyone except those Ananke jerks!), and I am not at all ashamed to admit that I growled like a grumpy dog when I reached the end of How Beauty Saved The Beast, because it meant my Hauk and Jolie time was over until the next book.

This is a wonderful series, folks, and I really can't recommend it enough. The third and final installment, How Beauty Loved The Beast, releases in a few short months (May 2013) so you've got plenty of time to catch up and read the first two books before then. Get on it!

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

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Review: Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft ★★★

Bittersweet Blood (The Order, #1)
Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal romance
Series: The Order #1
Publication Date: February 18, 2013
ISBN: 9781622669592
Page Count: 246
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Tara Collins just wants to be normal. Everyone else wants her dead. Tara’s eccentric aunt raised her to be fearful of the world and follow the rules. But after her aunt’s death, Tara is ready to take control and experience life for the first time. But she quickly discovers that everything she’s been told is a web of lies. Determined to solve the mystery of who she is truly, she hires private investigator to help her uncover the truth. Christian Roth is more than your average PI. A vampire and ex-demon hunter, Christian lives among the humans, trying to be “normal.” But recently, things seem to be falling apart. There’s a crazed demon hell-bent on revenge hunting him down and a fae assassin on the loose with an unknown target. Plus, the Order he abandoned desperately needs his help. As the secrets of Tara’s past collide with the problems in Christian’s present, she finds herself fighting her attraction to the dark and mysterious investigator. Falling in love does not fit into her plans at all, but Tara soon learns that some rules are meant to be broken.

Review:


Bittersweet Blood

For the most part, this book was a hit for me. I enjoyed the plot, the setting (London, whoo!), and the surprises and twists along the way. Mostly I liked the characters and the romance, too, but I felt both could have been better.

The romance between Tara and Christian happened a little too quickly for my liking, and the attraction felt somewhat baseless. It did pick up, though, and they certainly had some nice (and hot) moments together, but I'm not sure it felt like love to me. Lust, perhaps, but not love. I'm always disappointed when the 'L' word is bandied about prematurely in books. If it's used before the reader has really been made to believe it possible, it feels hinky and unauthentic. They sometimes call it 'insta-love' which is a pretty good descriptor, and I felt the slight sting of it here with this book. But that's really my only foible. Well, that and that Christian had a nasty habit of laughing/chuckling at Tara, which was most patronising and annoying.

There was a nice mix of characters, however, and some great scenes and dialogue passages. I was totally surprised at one or two of the plot twists and shocked by yet others. And, again, it was really nice to have it set in the UK for a change. Christian, when he wasn't chuckling at Tara, was a pretty hot Vamp, it has to be said. He'd range from suit-wearing, all business Private Investigator, to jeans and T-shirt clad super hottie. It was enough to turn Tara's head, and maybe mine too. He wasn't too alpha or growly, and he was certainly willing to go the extra mile for Tara.

Tara was quite naive and clueless but with very good reason. She has a lot to learn about the world and herself throughout the book, and I thought she handled all the shocks fairly admirably.

The premise was certainly interesting, too. A girl (Tara) whose childhood has been about as sheltered as Rapunzel's, suddenly finds herself out in the real world after her aunt's death, and is slowly but surely breaking every one of the rules she's lived by for all the 22 years of her life so far. Rules such as: Don't, under any circumstances, drink alcohol. Well, that's kind of a party-pooper, but nothing too tragic. But what about: Never, ever, ever take off your necklace? Now that one's just weird, and begs the question: why not?

Want to find out the answer? Then read this book. Aside from my misgivings about the romance—which may not even bother some people—it was an enjoyable read with a nice mix of characters and is definitely worth taking a chance on.

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

Reviewed by:

Monday, 11 March 2013

Review: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa ★★★


The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1
Publication Date: October 23rd 2012
ISBN: 9780373210572
Page Count: 377
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.


Review:


Back to Never Never

It's been a while since I've been in Kagawa's world of the Fae. I received this book as an ARC some months ago, but for some reason, it never made it to the top of my pile; I kept putting it off. Why? Mmm, perhaps partly because the cover makes me feel a bit queasy and wrong, and partly because I was happy with the way Meaghan's story had ended in the main series, and wasn't sure I wanted to disrupt that in any way. But, I've now read it, and I have to say it was nice to be back. It was a very different experience this time with having a male protagonist, and while The Lost Prince may not have captured my attention like Meaghan's story did, there was still plenty to enjoy.

So this story follows Ethan Chase, who fans will recall is Meghan's younger brother, who at just four years old, was kidnapped by the Fae, thus beginning Meghan's entire quest to reclaim him in The Iron Fey series. Now all grown up (well, up to seventeen, anyway), Ethan is a fairly tormented character. He tries to portray a standoffish, Bad Boy attitude to his peers in an attempt to make them stay away, going so far as to deliberately make himself look unfriendly and intimidating. When in truth, he is actually quite a sweet boy just trying to hide the fact that he can see blasted faerie creatures everywhere he goes. He's found—through experience at the many different schools he's attended and/or been kicked out of—that it's best to just be a loner and keep his head down, rather than to risk people noticing his odd behaviour.

Yeah, well, so much for that. This wouldn't be much of a story if that little plan worked out, now would it? A certain half-fae character, a persistent human girl, and some unsettling new fae creatures are all it takes to set Ethan back on a trip to the very place he's been trying not to think about for thirteen years: The Never Never.

Kagawa's worldbuilding for this setting is always fun, and it was nice to be back with old friends such as Grimalkin, Meaghan, Ash and even Puck. Unbelievably, Kagawa has given us yet another new brand of Fae. As if the Iron Fae she created in the first series weren't fascinating enough. These new "ghost fey" will be familiar to a certain extent to those who read the end of the Iron Prince, but the idea has been built on and fleshed out.

The most disappointing aspect for me with this book was the total lack of engagement in the romance between Ethan and another character. I thought the secondary romance going on in the background and off page was more interesting than the MC's. That can't be right, surely? Also, having read Kagawa's new vampire/dystopian series, The Blood of Eden, in between these two connected series, I can safely say I prefer Kagawa when she's letting her dark side run free. This suddenly felt very young.

Would I recommend? For fans of the original series, yes, definitely.

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

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Review: On Every Street by Karina Halle ★★★★★


On Every Street by by Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Artists Trilogy #0.5
Publication Date: March 12th 2013
ISBN: n/a
Page Count: 100+
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice



Synopsis: When young con artist Ellie Watt decides to call herself Eden White and go after the drug lord who ruined her as a child, she never expects to fall for one of his henchmen. But Javier Bernal is no ordinary man. Subtly dangerous and overwhelmingly seductive, Eden finds herself passionately in love with Javier, the very person she's set-up to betray. With her body and heart in a heated battle against her deep need for revenge, no one will walk away from this con a winner.

This 50K word (100+ pages) novella takes place six years before Sins & Needles. It can be read before or after Sins & Needles and may also be read as a standalone.

Review:

A Must Read! 

I'm on to you, Karina Halle! I see what you're doing here. You know I've got a thing for flawed male characters and that I've fallen head over heels for all the ones you've written. First there was Dex Foray, the reigning king of all my book boyfriends. Then you introduced me to Sage Knightley, the sexy musician, and Camden McQueen, the uber-delicious tattoo artist. And now, now you've upped the stakes with bad boy villain Javier, practically daring your readers to resist him. Because you're evil like that ;)

On Every Street is the story of con artist Ellie Watt and her quest for revenge against the man who left her scarred for life. She wants to ruin him, to hurt him the way he hurt her. But gaining access to her target won't be easy. Travis is too powerful, too well-protected. The only way to get to him is by pulling a long con. She must seduce and use a man within her target's organization, and then strike when the moment is right. It's beyond risky, and if she doesn't play her cards right, she could end up dead or worse. But Ellie is nothing if not motivated. She needs to do this. And so, Ellie Watt becomes Eden White. She carefully chooses her mark, Javier Bernal, and puts her plan into motion.

One problem: Javier is not the easy mark Ellie hoped he would be. From the moment they meet, sparks fly. He wants her, and to her surprise, she wants him too. Badly. Maybe even more than she wants her revenge. Within a mere matter of days, Javier has swept EllieEden off her feet, into his bed and moved her into his home.

It's not hard to see why Ellie fell for Javier. He is compelling, charismatic, incredibly passionate, and when he's with her, his words and actions ring with sincerity. He makes her feel alive and treasured. Not just loved, but beloved. What woman doesn't crave that? Especially a woman like Ellie, whose life has been one long series of hard knocks. Javier is her first real love and he makes her happier than she's ever been. For Ellie, that's everything. He is everything. And she's willing to do, well, pretty much anything to be with him. Whether you agree with her or not - whether you think Javier's the bee's knees or a crazy possessive mofo who should be shot at dawn - one thing is certain: You will be fully engaged and hanging on to every word. It's impossible not to be. That's the magic of Karina's writing. She draws you so deep into the story, you feel like you are right there. Like everything is happening to you and not just the characters.

Love. Lust. Obsession. Lies. On Every Street has it all and so much more. Karina whips up one of her trademark emotional storms, and as I was reading, it was all I could do just to hang on and hope to hell I survived the experience. I was all over the place. Up, down, sideways, flipped over and turned inside out. I was, in short, a freaking mess, and you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

One thing I didn't expect was how much OES would make me miss Camden. I felt his absence so keenly while I was reading, and I am more eager than ever (translation: desperate) to read Shooting Scars, the next book in the Artists Trilogy, which is scheduled to release in July.

In short, my lovelies, On Every Street is packed with awesomeness. It's a gripping, sexy-as-hell, and emotionally rich read, and one you won't want to miss. You can read it as a standalone, or as part of the Artists Trilogy series. It works either way. Just read it!!

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

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Review: The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord ★★★


The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
Genre: Sci-Fi 
Series: N/A
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
ISBN: 9780345534057
Page Count: 320
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice


Synopsis: A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.
Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.

Review:


Slow but Steady

Science fiction is a tricky genre for me. I respect it, but I've never really connected with it as a reader. Plus, I look for at least a bit of romance in everything I read, and the sci-fi books I've read rarely have enough to satisfy me. So when I do chance upon a sci-fi book that hits the right notes for me, needless to say, it's a big deal.

The Best of All Possible Worlds was an interesting reading experience for me. The premise itself is pretty straightforward. A once-powerful, scientifically-minded alien race suddenly finds itself homeless, and a group of male survivors seeks refuge in the colony of Cygnus Beta. As a government scientist and language expert, Cygnus Beta native Grace is assigned as a liaison to the Sadiri to help them set up homesteads (settlements) and further integrate into Cygnus Beta society. Her Sadiri counterpart in this endeavor is Dllenahkh, and together, with a small team of other Sadiri and Cygnus Beta representatives, they set off on an expedition across the colony.

There was a lot of stopping here and going there, and the result is a patchwork collection of scenes sewn together. For the most part, that style worked, but I have to admit, I sometimes felt like I was reading filler, and I'd find myself impatiently waiting for The Next Big Thing to happen. It's also impossible to avoid comparisons between the Sadiri and the Vulcans from Star Trek. Personally, I didn't mind that, although I suspect some readers might.

The real meat and bones of this book is the relationship between Grace and Dllenahkh. Theirs is a thoughtful, mature relationship based on mutual respect, liking, and shared interests. Despite having very different personalities and backgrounds, Grace and Dllenahkh work extremely well together. Their interactions are so right and natural, and it's obvious they hold one another in high regard. Did I hope for a romance between them? You betcha! The potential is certainly there, but the hints are subtle. Almost too subtle. And yet, somehow, I was fine with it. As much as I wanted big declarations of love, or better yet, some hot and sexually charged moments, I didn't need it. That's practically unheard of for me.

Though slow at times and loosely structured, The Best of All Possible Worlds turned out to be a fascinating sci-fi novel and one I'd recommend to anyone who likes character driven stories with light romantic elements.

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

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Joint Review: Temping Is Hell by Cathy Yardley

Temping Is Hell by Cathy Yardley 
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Necessary Evil #1
Publication Date: January 20th 2013
ISBN: n/a
Page Count: 254
Rating: Janice - ★★★1/2
Rating: Lynsey - ★★1/2
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice & Lynsey


Synopsis: WORST. JOB. EVER.

Kate O'Hara can't wait until this temp assignment is over. The woman who hired her is a psychotic pageant queen, her coworkers are convicts-turned-clerks, and it's so boringly corporate it makes her skin crawl. Even her sexy-as-sin boss, famed billionaire Thomas Kestrel, isn't enticement enough to keep her there. Once she makes enough to pay off her bills, she's out. Or so she thinks...

WHAT THE HELL?

Next thing she knows, she's accidentally signed over her soul. Literally. And she's discovered Thomas's real mission: to kill thirteen bad guys in one year, in order to get his—now his and Kate’s—souls back.

IT'S NOT JUST A JOB. IT'S A MISADVENTURE.

From learning to boost the morale of some paper-pushing demons to navigating her way through blood-red tape, Kate has to work closely with her super-hot supervisor and get her flaky act together, before somebody clocks her out—permanently!

Janice's Review:


A Breezy Read

Entertain me. That's what I asked TEMPING IS HELL to do when I started reading it, and that's exactly what it did.

From her very first day at Fiendish Inc., temp-extraordinaire Kate O'Hara knew this assignment was going to be different. From her incompetent supervisor who has an unhealthy obsession with the company CEO, to the strange workers in the basement, it seems every time Kate turns around, a new warning bell goes off in her head. She could quit, but times are tough and jobs are hard to come by, and Kate can't afford to be out of work. She's determined to stick it out, come hell or high water. Little does she know that working at Fiendish could be very hazardous to her health - and her soul.

I enjoyed the heck out of Kate's character. Sure, she was a bit impulsive, and yes, trouble had a way of finding her, but she's also smart, sassy and bighearted, and I am in complete awe of her office skills. Seriously. It's no wonder Thomas fell for her. And speaking of Thomas, what a doll he was! Even when he was keeping secrets in the first part of the book, I couldn't help rooting for him. He was just a good guy trapped in a bad situation, and....well, you try holding it against him. I sure couldn't!

The world-building is a bit vague, even confusing at times, especially in the beginning,  but it does tighten up toward the end. And for all you romance junkies out there, I think you'll like what the book has to offer. Kate and Thomas sizzle well together.

The story does contain some darker elements, but I would never call TEMPING IS HELL a dark read. There's too much humor, an almost playful quality to the writing that invites you to crack a smile even when things are at their worst.

If you are looking for a fun, paranormal read that doesn't take itself too seriously, you should definitely give this one a try.

3.5 Stars ★★★1/2
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Lynsey's Review:


Light and fluffy

Office romances can be hell, and falling for your boss is rarely a good idea. Getting on the wrong side of the office bitch? Even worse. Throw in a basement full of demons and a complicated romance where your hunky fella is just as likely to have you killed as kiss you, and you've got a good idea of the kind of madcap story you'll be getting with TEMPING IS HELL.

Your main characters are Kate (the temp), Thomas (boss man big), Maggie (office tramp) and a few other tertiary characters including one particularly likeable demon called Slim. But really, for me, this was the Kate show. Her character made this book what is was, and I really enjoyed her narration and dialogue. She was witty, sarcastic and funny, but I also appreciated her showing her competence and ability within her job (her 'mad filing skills,' as she called them) and her willingness to work hard. The latter was enough to compensate for her smart mouth and unprofessional attitude.

TEMPING IS HELL was just a little too fluffy for my tastes. More Chick Lit + demons than true Urban Fantasy with any kind of worldbuilding of note. I also don't think the story is substantial enough to warrant a series. Most of the way through the book I'd assumed it would be a stand alone novel with a nice, if predictable, conclusion. As I got to the last 20% and realised it wasn't going to wrap up, I was disappointed.

Do I recommend TEMPING IS HELL? Well, if you're just dipping your toe into this genre for the first time and want something easy breezy to get you started, then yes. It's a quick, easy and entertaining way to spend a few hours. For true Urban Fantasy fans who prefer grittier stories with more substance, action and worldbuilding, then no. I think you will find it lacking.

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

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