Wednesday, 26 November 2014

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#95)

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Jess's WoW
23587984Maybe Not
by Colleen hoover
Release Date: November 24th, 2014

When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.

Or maybe not.

Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.

Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Jess's thoughts: Loved the first book, Maybe Someday. And although this is just a novella, I can't wait to read it and get more from these characters. 


Donna's WoW

23309796
Swept Away
by Michelle Dalton
Release Date: May 5th, 2015

Beachfront love blossoms in this refreshing summer romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

Mandy Sullivan isn't exactly looking forward to the summer months as tourists invade her seaside hometown on the coast of Maine. Her best friend, Cynthia, has abandoned her for camp and her older brother just announced he'll be staying at college taking classes for the summer, leaving Mandy with nothing to do and no one to hang out with. Hoping to keep herself busy, Mandy takes a volunteer job at the Rocky Pointe Lighthouse. On her very first day, Oliver Farmingham asks for a private tour. A new and incredibly cute face in Rocky Pointe, Oliver seems more interested in Mandy than the lighthouse and its history.

Without her best friend at her side, Mandy is scrambling to act the right way and say the right things when Oliver is around. Cynthia not Mandy has always been the confident, flirtatious girl that everyone wanted to be around. As Mandy and Oliver spend more time together exploring the coast, biking through the woods, and attending the local summer festivals, their budding friendship becomes much more. But with Mandy's insecurities creeping to the surface, can she open her heart to someone who will only be in town for three months?

Donna's thoughts: I finished Michelle Dalton's Pulled Under over the weekend and loved it. Swept Away will be the third book I read of her's and I can't wait! Or maybe the fourth book if I get Fifteenth Summer before May! =)

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
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Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

{Review} Pulled Under (A Sixteenth Summer Novel) by Michelle Dalton

18778883Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Finished Date: November 22nd, 2014
Publishers: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Source: Gifted
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
A shy teen befriends an attractive beach town tourist in this refreshing summertime romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

In the small town of Pearl Beach, Florida, Izzy Lucas needs only her surfboard and the water to be completely happy. She wants nothing to do with parties, popularity contests, or showing her face around the clich├ęd touristy hangouts. Izzy’s tight group of coworkers at the local surf shop have tried relentlessly to break shy Izzy out of her (sea)shell. But Izzy isn’t interested…until the day Ben Barker walks into the store.

Ben’s from the city. He’s cute, charming, and wants her help adjusting to beach town culture. As the weeks of surfing lessons and pizza shack visits fly by, Izzy and Ben realize their attraction goes beyond mere friendship. But Ben is only in town for three months, and Izzy wonders if this amazing guy is worth stepping out of her comfort zone for what might be the perfect summer romance—or her first heartbreak.

The Review: Pulled Under is the second book I’ve read by author Michelle Dalton and she’s definitely becoming one of my favourite authors for writing the perfect summer read because Pulled Under is the perfect summer read!

Isabel Lucas lives in a small tourist town called Pearl Beach, Florida with her happily married parents, her two best friends whom she shares everything with and works with at the local surf shop but the most important is, that she lives right next to the beach so she can surf any time she wants. It’s during the summer holidays that her friends force her to take a risk and take a chance on the new guy in town, Ben who is spending his summer in Pearl Beach instead of his hometown of Wisconsin.
But Ben is only in town for 3 months and can Isabel take the risk of getting close to Ben, knowing full well that by the end of the summer she’ll be alone again.

I absolutely loved Pulled Under. I had planned to read it during the summer but didn’t have chance and even though it’s not summer here now in the UK, it was still a great read – one that could be read at any time of the year and one I’m sure you’d enjoy.

I had a smile on my face pretty during the whole of the story because of how fun it is. Isabel is a great character. She’s down to earth, fun and even though she’s shy, she’s not too shy that makes her not enjoy her life. She opens up and grows throughout the summer and yeah, most of that is down to Ben who opens her up to more experiences, but even without Ben, I felt as though she is still a good character to get to know. And Ben is awesome. Even though he does have a tough time during the story, he’s still lovely to get to know and just a little swoon-worthy.

In all, I’m dying to read more from Michelle Dalton. Fifteenth Summer is high on my wish list while I waited for the next Sixteenth Summer Novel – Swept Away!

Monday, 24 November 2014

{Review} Reclaiming the Wolf (Cascade Shifters #1) by Jessie Donovan

21491514Posted by Melanie
Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Finished Date: November 14th, 2014
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: Unknown
Female wolf-shifter clan leaders are rare, but Kaya Alexie thrives on the challenge and can handle anything the men of her pack throw her way. However, when the male cougar-shifter who broke her heart ten years ago shows up on her doorstep with a dead wolf-shifter in tow, her whole world goes off-kilter. She’s determined to ignore him, but when a virus threatens to decimate her clan, she has no choice but to work with her ex and his brother to survive.

Sylas Murray is sent by his brother to ask for the wolves’ help in solving the mystery of a recent wolf-shifter attack. There are a few problems, however. Not only is he a cougar-shifter among a pack of wolves, the clan leader is also his ex-girlfriend. To say they had a bad break-up would be putting it mildly—Sy’s actions nearly destroyed the truce his clan had with the wolf-shifters. But as a virus threatens the GreyFire wolves, Sy and Kaya must put aside their past to find a cure.

As they work together and race against the clock, Sy starts to wonder why he let Kaya go in the first place. Despite their past, will he be able to reclaim the wolf that captured his heart and start over?

The Review: With Reclaiming the Wolf, Jessie Donovan is definitely becoming one to watch in the paranormal romance genre as she brings a great story with great characters every time and this is no different.
Kaya and Sylas have history, the thing about these two is that they are both from rival shifter clans - with Kaya being a wolf and Sylas being a cougar - they were in a relationship when they were younger and it turned sour. Fast forward 10 years and Kaya is now the Alpha of her pack, a very strong capable woman who has pulled her pack back from disorder & bankruptcy and earned the respect of everyone around her. When wolves with purple eyes start attacking cougars and one turns up dead on their doorstep, Sylas is thrust back into her life and not wanting to risk the tenuous relationships between packs – Kaya is forced to co-operate with the man who stole & broke her heart all of those years ago. I love a story where the lead male & female have known each other beforehand and especially when they have had a relationship and parted on bad terms because usually, it’s a misunderstanding or someone has come between them in a meddling sort of way. I love these because there is always sexual tension and unfinished business which carries across to the story and that is exactly what we get here. The chemistry between these two is HOT! You can tell they still have the connection that they shared all of those years ago and these two are not about to beat around the bush when it comes to getting what they want – that isn’t to say that they don’t need to hash out the past to clear the air, because they do – but they both aren’t stupid when it comes to realising what they are to each other and what they could be again, which led to a lot of sexytime.

With the arrival of the purple eyed wolves it becomes apparent that someone is infecting the wolves with something and letting them loose on cougar land which could end up in either a war between the two clans or her pack being wiped out to the virus, so it makes sense that a representative from each side do the investigating. This is a perfect excuse to team Kaya and Sylas up giving them plenty of opportunity to get to know each other again, learn how each other operates and hopefully that they can trust each other again. The investigation gives us an insight into how Kaya saved the pack but also shows us that not everyone is as honest as they should be and when the virus spreads, it becomes a race against time to find a cure and uncover the culprit. I enjoyed the plot in this and thought the virus brought something new to the usual shifter stories we get, I also liked that it showed what the shifters did to stay afloat and how they’re actually helping humans in a way. I liked the investigative feel of it and how they went about doing it, there’s a little twist part way through too that will have you hoping against hope that a cure will be forthcoming and we see just how far the couple have come relationship wise in such a short time.
To sum it up – this was a great book, great story, great characters, lots of sexytime and everything I love in a paranormal romance and I’ll be looking out for more in the series.

Thank you to Jessie Donovan for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

{Review} Otherworld Nights (Otherworld Stories #3) by Kelley Armstrong

17827953Posted by Melanie
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Finished Date: November 3rd, 2014
Publishers: Orbit
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Anthologies
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 353
 This short story collection will include many brand-new tales and others only previously available on Kelley Armstrong's website. Most of the stories will feature the werewolves of the Otherworld, Elena and Clay, Jeremy, Karl and other members of the American Pack. These are some of Kelley Armstrong's best-loved and most enduring characters, from bestselling books such as Bitten, Stolen and Frostbitten.

1) Demonology - Adam's mother discovers what he is
2) Stalked - Clay/Elena honeymoon story from "My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon"
3) Hidden - SubPress 2012 Elena/Clay novella
4) Twilight - a Cass story from "Many Bloody Returns"
5) Chivalrous - Reese's backstory from SubPress's long sold-out "Tales of Dark Fantasy 2" (the Dec'14 SubPress graphic novella picks up this storyline)
6) Lucifer's Daughter - Hope/Karl story from "Blood Lite II: Overbite"
7) From Russia with Love - Elena bonus story included with hardcover of "Thirteen"
8) Vanishing Act - brand-new Savannah/Adam novella set after "Thirteen"

The Review: Otherworld Nights is a collection of short stories from Kelley Armstong’s Otherwold series. I’m a huge fan of this series anyway so there was no doubt I would love this book. It was great to be back with the characters from the series again, they feel like old friends and I have missed the series since it ended. I had read all but two of these stories as freebies on the authors website over the years and appreciated them the second time around too. The two new ones that I hadn’t read were Chivalrous – where we get one of the packs newer recruits – Reese’s – background story and it gave a great insight into his character & totally explains why he is so skittish about the pack and why he was unwilling to trust any of them. The other one is Vanishing Act which was written for this book and featuring Savannah & Adam. It was great to be back with these two characters and see a little more of them in action, the story was great with a lot of action and characters crammed into the short space of the story and you can actually feel the maturity of Savannah now in how she deals with everything from her life, her love, her attitude towards the investigation and also her future with Adam. I was pleased we got a little more of their relationship because this one only started in the end book and it didn’t have much time to mature as say …Elena & Clay or Paige & Lucas etc. it was still new and I feel we didn’t get enough of them. In this however they speak of long term plans, Adams worry about the age gap and holding her back and Savannah’s worries about where her life should be going and where she wants it to go – so a nice balance of plot drama and relationship drama. This is a must read for fans of the series, it was great to be back with them – I only wish we had more books to look forward to because this really does whet the appetite for more.

Friday, 21 November 2014

{Review} Mercury Rising (The Adventures of Hermes, #1) (The Cursed Satyroi, #2.5) by Rebekah Lewis

23274977Posted by Melanie
Release Date: October 31st, 2014
Finished Date: November 12th, 2014
Publishers: Breathless Press
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: Unknown
Nymphs in peril, obsessive gods, females who literally cannot admit when they're wrong, and unruly satyrs. Just another typical day for Hermes.

When Zeus refuses to demand Apollo release Daphne from captivity in Olympus, the only option left is for Hermes to free the nymph himself. A simple task for a god with his skillset, but risking the wrath of Apollo never went well for anyone. 

However, imprisoned nymphs aren't distraction enough when a former flame crashes back into Hermes' life. It's been a long time since he laid eyes on Hybris, and the timing couldn't be worse. As the goddess of hubris, she has many quirks—such as being incapable of apologizing. And no matter how much she tries to assure him she can be trusted, the memory of her betrayal remains. 

As they formulate a plan to rescue Daphne, Hermes soon suspects no threat is greater than the tribulations of the heart. 

Don't miss the first part of The Adventures of Hermes, a companion series to The Cursed Satyroi.

The Review: Mercury Rising is a really good short story in the Cursed Satyroi series and also the beginning of The Adventure of Hermes. One of the stand out characters in the main series has been Hermes, not only is he a Greek god but he is Pan’s father too. He stands out because for all he is ancient, he is very current in his demeanour and comes across as if he’s a surfer dude, add to that a wicked sense of humour and this character is a hoot! He also has a heart of gold too and he always pops up to help the Satyroi in his own way, it’s like he adopted them and became a father figure to all of them, even if at times they seem more mature than him.
The purpose of this short story seems to be to set up Melancton & Daphne’s story (which I am very much looking forward to) and as we know from book 2 – Melancton promised he wouldn’t try to rescue his beloved nymph Daphne from Apollo anymore in exchange for his friend being able to be with his nymph. Melancton will make good on that promise but what if he doesn’t rescue Daphne? What if someone else does and gives her to Melancton? This is exactly the type of plot Hermes has in mind as he enlists all the allies he can get. One of those turns out to be the mother of Pan and someone who broke Hermes’ heart – Hybris – and with her arrival, he is reminded of what they had together but he wants her to make peace with Pan but with Hybris being the goddess of hubris…. She simply can’t apologise to anyone.
As Hermes goes about his quest, we see all of the things we love about him – humour, sarcasm, wacky dress sense etc. – but we also see a maturity that we hadn’t before and the paternal role he plays to the Satyroi in full effect, by doing this he risks everything to give someone happiness and he is also trying to reconnect his son with his mother who abandoned him. I think this showed more depth and feeling from this character and definitely made me connect with him more. The story has a bit of everything – humour, plotting, conflict and romance with Hermes getting some of his own sexy time – and I can’t wait for more. 

4.5 flowers!

Thank you to Rebekah Lewis for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

{Review} The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

18712886Posted by Donna
Release Date: July 17th, 2014
Finished Date: November 14th, 2014
Publishers: Bantam Press
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 448
Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.

It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.

But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.

Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.

Combining thrilling adventure and action, dark magic, mystery and romance, The Queen of the Tearling is the debut of a born storyteller blessed with a startling imagination.

The Review: The Queen of  the Tearling has got to be one of my favourite debut novel of this year because Erika Johansen did a fantastic job with the story, creating a marvellous and well written story that captivates you until the very end.

On her nineteenth birthday, Kelsea Glynn must claim what’s rightly hers – her throne and Kingdom. After being hidden away since birth, Kelsea has trained for this day and her future where she needs to be strong for her country, but with many secrets being kept from Kelsea, it’s not until she returns home that she truly finds out what has become of her Kingdom – a Kingdom that is full of fear and a who lotteries their people to the Red Queen so they can become slaves for her. Kelsea maybe young, but she’s determined to save her Kingdom….even if it kills her.

I’ve heard so many good things about The Queen of the Tearling and so I decided to give it a whirl too. Was that a good decision? Totally, I loved it! Usually with fantasy stories they have too many characters or too many different points of view, so that the story becomes complicated and hard to follow. Well not this book. Erika Johansen clearly knew what she was doing when she wrote this book because it’s easy to follow, it’s written well and yeah, it is a great read even though there are a few slow chapters.

I instantly loved Kelsea. She’s a very strong character who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She takes being the Queen of a Kingdom seriously and, rarely complains about the situation she’s been put in. She’s down to earth and joys herself on the finer things in life, like books. She’s focused on educating the children in her kingdom; helping women better their own futures and helping men find work. She does have help from the Queens' Guard but even then she had to prove herself to them, like she has to prove herself to the Tearling. She really wants to make a different to and it definitely shone throughout this book. I loved her!

Now I’ve finished this book though, I am left wanting more. I want more of The Fetch – who wouldn’t want more? I’m curious about him as a character and as a love interest for Kelsea. There’s next to no romance in The Queen of the Tearling and I honestly didn’t mind, but I’d like to see more improvements in the next story. And of course, I want more of this fantastic world that has been created. A great read!