Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: Only Enchanting (Survivor's Club #4) by Mary Balogh

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An Emotional romance both believable and touching
Title: Only Enchanting
Series: Survivor's Club
Author: Mary Balogh
Publisher: Piatkus, UK
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Releases: 28th October, 2014
Mary Balogh is an historical romance author whose name I always remembered and admired even if I had only read one book from.

While I had thoroughly enjoyed it I don't remember why I never picked up her back list. Nevertheless, that wont happen from now on as I intend to remedy that oversight.

Only Enchanting is book 4 in the Survivor's Club series but it didn't feel like it the writing is so well done that it feels like a stand alone. Flavian, Viscount Posonby is recovering from a war wound on his head. On the surface he seems fit as a fiddle but he struggles with a stammer and gaps in his memory. But that does not stop him from being utterly charming and witty. For this year's Survivors' Club meeting they descend down into Middlesbury Park, where he meets Agnes, the window neighbour who is good friends with his host. In just a few meetings, Flavian decides that he wants Agnes as his wife but Agnes doesn't know that Flavian may have been running away from his Velma, his fiance before he came back an invalid and she married his friend.

With New Adult tittles and romances where the tortured war hero falls in love with the plain girl with problems of her own , a dime a dozen, Only Enchanting managed to feel real to me. Due to the sheer numbers of these kind of stories, the emotional aspects become less likely to make an impact. Not with Only enchanting. Mary Balogh knew her characters and when they faced emotional distress, I felt it too. I had tears in my eyes from the emotional blows they kept getting and Mary Balogh makes it look almost simple that the effect on it's reader is profound.

I loved Agnes with her quiet strength and determination. She was brave and her emotional scars ran deep. I loved how she handled the knowledge about Velma. Flavian won my affection hands down. It is quite common that when side characters in romance series get their own books, they lose that bit of uniqueness that made them endearing to the reader like Take You On. But not with Only Enchanting. I may not have read it's predecessor, but Flavian's wit and intelligence shone through out the story. His masked of boredom, which to my amusement Agnes called sleepy eyes, spoke volumes about the person he was. Even in a challenging situation or an emotional scene where he is spilling his heart out, his personality shines through. even deeply in love he does not turn into an emo-fool or a noble idiot.

some readers may find disappointing that it does not have that many smexy scenes but the book does not suffer even a little from the lack of them. They are few and not explicit but manage to keep the readers interested.

I really enjoyed reading Only Enchanting with it reluctant hero and heroine who managed to find love , overcoming their own demons in the process. Only Enchanting had me enchanted.

Review copy received from Piatkus, 

Releases on 28th October, 2014


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard #1) by Christina Lauran

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Sexy, funny and light. The right mix.
Title: Beautiful Bastard
Series: Beautiful Bastard
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 13th February, 2013
Beautiful Bastard has been on my TBR for ages. I got it for review, which I wanted to read but the mixed reviews put me off and slowly I forgot about it. Then my friend on Twitter reminded me that it was a love hate romance and that I will enjoy it. Hence, I had no choice but to.

Surprisingly, I did enjoy it. With an intriguing title and a stamp of approval, I was pleased to have all my expectations fulfilled. Bennett is Chloe's new boss. Annoying and taxing, he is a boss from hell. He is the bane of Chloe's life at work and does everything in his power to make her miserable. From being rude to not acknowledging her hard work, he gets on Chloe's last nerves. Then one day everything changes when he touches her. Surprised at their own reactions, they have a rather passionate encounter. Which does not improve their relationship the least. In fact it throws their apparent dislike for each other out in the open. But they are uncontrollable in each other's company. As soon as they are alone, they are at each other like rabbits. On the stairs, public bathroom, car park, and even in a lingerie dressing room.

I give it to Christina Lauren with devising so many places where you can have sex out of the bedroom. I enjoyed the back and forth between Chloe and Bennett and watch them struggle to leash their passions for each other. There really wasn't much of a plot but it kept the story together and it all felt cohesive. The romance between them felt interesting, believable and towards the end even bone-meltingly sweet.

It was equal parts sexy and funny. It's been a while since an erotica has been funny and it had many laugh aloud moments. Beautiful Bastard was written in alternative point of views or else Benet would have seemed like a evil, sexual tyrant. I loved his panty stealing antiques. If someone did this in real life it would be not only weird and perverted but also gross and smelly but Christina Lauren make it work.

Beautiful Bastard was light, fun and enjoyable. Amongst the hot sex an making out, there was a sweet love story melded with characters which invoke your emotions and make you invested in their happily ever after.

I'd recommended it to romance readers looking for some fun, light reading which will make you smile and laugh.

ARC received via Simon and Schuter


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Land by Alex Campbell

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A Dystopia which doesn't shy away from important issues
Title: Land
Author: Alex Campbell
Publisher: Hot Key Books
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 4th September, 2014
This debut novel written by Alex Campbell revolves around Christy who lives in a city called The Land, which is surrounded by seas with only the great white walls protecting them from the ever increasing sea. Land is a dystopia, so we have the the government and a class systems leeching off the poor working class, the different classes are made to wear different colour to further distinguish between the classes. Christy is the daughter of a rebel who was executed by the government but there are rumours that he is alive. With rebellion brewing, her life partner being chosen by the government, Christy is soon embroiled in the politics, rebellion and soon finds herself torn between love, and loyalties.

The premise is quite interesting and the concept of the pairing is fascinating. I went into the book with an open mind, and was rewarded for it. I liked reading from Christy's Point of view and the people she cared and loved. I felt for Christy as everyone and everything that she loved was taken away from her and soon she had absolutely nothing. Her life unravelled and she had no control over it.

The various other character were interesting with a special mention to Salinger, added another layer to the drama. Though I liked the writing and the plot I wish a few plot lines were given more importance. I am still not sure what purpose Tobin's character had, and it's unclear what Christy thought of him. I wish there was more emphasis on the romantic plotlines.

I would also have to commend the author for not taking shortcuts and describing scenes which usually YA authors shy away from like death and childbirth. I liked that Alex Campbell unabatedly showed the atrocities of unplanned pregnancy and the horrors of childbirth. In fact some fighting scenes were quite graphic, which made the blood thirsty in my giggle with glee.

Overall, Land, was a interesting, though invoking dystopia, with a sweet romantic plotline and gory action and a ray of hope.

Review copy received from Hot Key books, UK



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ARC Review: Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt

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A new flavour and spin to a historical romance.
Title: Darling Beast
Series: Maiden Lane
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Piatkus Books, UK
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Releasing: 14th October, 2014
Darling Beast is my second book by Elizabeth Hoyt. I have read To Seduce A Sinner and was blown away by the emotional depth she had managed to pack into a story which was basically a historical romance with a marriage of convenience. Therefore I went into Darling Beast with high expectations.

Apollo is Viscount Kilbourne, who has been condemned for murder and been sent to Bedlam. Now escaped, he is hiding in a burned Foley, working as a Gardner, to bring it back to life. Here he meets, Lily, an actress who is living in the ruins of the Foley with her son and her maid. A chance encounter leads to more and slowly, Apollo forms a bond with lily and her son Indio. Soon both him and Lily can't deny their attraction for each other, but can a condemned man, wanted for murder, ever get the happiness he craves?

While the premise was interesting, the story did not entice a lot of interest from me. It was refreshing to read a story where the heroine was not a virgin and the hero was not your classically handsome rake. Apollo was rough around the edges, so much so that Lily's son, thought that he was a huge, hulking monster.

While the characters were likeable and the plot mildly interesting, Darling Beast failed to make an impression on me. It was pleasant while reading it but as soon as the book was closed, it left my mind just as promptly.

The chemistry between Lily and Apollo was a little lacklustre and the plot was predictable. I felt that the most interesting character of them all was the Duke of Montgomery who was elusive and untrustworthy.

Overall, Darling Beast was an enjoyable read if unremarkable. It entertained me while it lasted but lacked the magic which would make me revisit any time soon.

Releasing on the 14th of October, 2014

Review copy received from Piatkus Book, UK




Sunday, October 12, 2014

ARC Review: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

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A heroine with bite, sword and a brain.
Title: Snow Like Ashes
Series: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Blazer+Bray, USA
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 29th September, 2014
With all the raving month's before the release of Snow Like ashes, I had to read this book immediately. Meira is on the run, with a band of her fellow refugees who have been banished from their country by the evil King in the neighbouring kingdom. Their queen was dead but their hopes of getting their kingdom back is not. Meira has been trained as a child to train as a warrior in the incoming war but it seems she has a crush Mather, the heir to the throne but this is not the lest of her troubles. As King Angra's evil gets darker so does the urgency to get Mather to the throne and hence begins Meira's adventure.

I have no idea how to start writing this review as I have so much to say and yet it all boils down to a few pint. so I'll try to keep this as succinct as possible. The best thing I enjoyed about snow Like Ashes was the world building. The idea about eight kingdoms with four seasons and four rhythms was intriguing. I loved how the author gave physical features of it's resident in line with their kingdoms. For example, Winter was obviously wintery and it's people had silver blond hair and blue eyes, while residents of autumn has red hair and ochre eyes. This gave a wonderful visual to the reader and I was immediately sucked it.

Meira on the other hand was a little hard to like in the beginning as she was stubborn and difficult but as the story moves on we get to see the changes in her, how she matures over the course of this book.

Readers will be pleased to also know that even though there are two love interests, there is no love triangle. It is clear whom Meira want. she may not be very clear about her feeling but it's evident whom she really likes. Mather when first introduced was everything a YA hero should have and then Theron walks in and steals my heart. I can't say more as I don't want to give away the plot, but I will assure you, this book has everything you would ask of a fantasy and more.

Snow Like Ashes had a heroine who showed growth and development, a swoon worthy hero you can root for, a villain you will truly despise, world building which paints a vivid colourful palate for your eyes to savour, action that will have you holding your breath with a dash of romance and a a gripping mystery which unfolds towards the end. I'd recommend it for all YA fantasy fans who like their heroines with a bite and who can actually swing a sword and kick some serious butt.

Releases on the 14th of October, 2014. Grab your copy now.

ARC provided by Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss


Thursday, October 9, 2014

ARC Review: Cover Him With Darkness by Janine Ashbless

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Beautiful, provocative and sensual
Title: Cover Him With Darkness
Author: Janine Ashbless
Publisher: Tempted Romance
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Releases: 14th October, 2014
I absolutely love it when a book surprises me. I picked this after just reading the blurb and despite its lack lustre blurb I decided to give this a try. I am so glad I did. I was hooked from the first page.

Milja is the daughter of a Priest living high in the mountains and hiding a family secret. Her family is in charge of keeping a prisoner under the thousands of tons of rock. A man bound and captured in a cave deep within the mountain, naked and bound it her family's responsibility to fed it and ensure that it is keep here. Watching him since she was a little girl until one day she realises she is in love with him. When her father finds out he send her to the United States. Few years later, she comes back to tend to her ill father and all hell breaks loose. Will she uphold the request her father made or will she be compelled by her love to go release the man in pain.

It is due to books like these that I am willing to pick up new authors and new books. I want to be surprised, the rug snatched under my feet. Janine Ashbless was an unknown author to be but I am willing to pick up her works now that I have read Cover Him With Darkness.

Milda may be described as one of those heroines which may annoy some reader and she makes some very bad decisions. But under it all, she is a kind, and passionate person. She hides behind her meek fa├žade but she has been so passionately in love with a man trapped under her house that she cannot stop thinking about them. He has taken over her mind. Usually I would cringe in a situation where the heroine claims she is in love with a guy she barely knows and the same happens in this story but somehow I believe her. He is fascinated and equally terrified of this beautiful man about which she knows nothing about. Sexual, lush and seemingly inviting she knows she is smitten for life. Azazel is another ball game all together. Dark beautiful, passionate, and insane he seems obsessed with Milja. I found him so hard to understand and I wish he had more page time. In my opinion he is the one who moves the story forward. He is so hard to decipher and from millennia's worth of captivity he has gone slightly insane. He is volatile, powerful and compelling. He is the epitome of a tortured hero but I loved how he becomes so vulnerable where Milja is concerned. I'm still not sure how and what he feels but I desperately want to know more.

Then there is Egan is the beta to Azazel's alpha and while I do find him sweet and somewhat endearing I feel that he lacks Azazel's magnetism.

The sex scenes are beautifully written which are sexy. Provocative and sinfully delicious without being raunchy or cheap. With Azazel's enemies hunting Milja, only the next book will tell us what Milja has unleashed by releasing him.

The story was written with such flare and this deep sense of respect about all this angelic and religious that I could feel the author's research and reverie on the book. Milja is deeply religious due to her upbringing and so many quotes from the Bible and religious texts are used and so beautifully woven intot he story line that adds that extra bit of authenticity to this dark romance.

Cover Him in Darkness is one of those books which will take you by surprise you and makes you sit up and take notice. It seems low key but it's dark, beautiful, and intense. I do hope the Janine picks this up for a sequel as that will make me very. Very happy. Highly recommended for paranormal romance, and dark romance readers.

ARC received from Tempted Romance via Edelweiss


Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Blogger UKYA Awards - Winners!!!

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UKYA Award
Hello All!
Today I am here to announce the winners of the Book Blogger UKYA Awards! Before I do so, however, I just want to send out a quick thank you to every single person who nominated and voted.

I also want to take another minute to thank all of the wonderful bloggers who helped out.

Faye @ A Daydreamer’s Thoughts
Jim @ Ya Yeah Yeah
Caroline @ Big Book Littl
e Book
Daphne @ Winged Reviews
Lucy @ Queen of Contempora
ry
Debbie @ Snuggling on the Sofa
Luna @ Luna's Little Library
Sarah @ Feeling Fictional
Cicely @ Cicely Loves Books
Charli @ To Another World
Fi @ Bookish Outsider
Raimy @ Readaraptor
Michelle @ Much Loved Books Shaila @ Hush Hush Revealings
Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf
Sam @ The Little Munchkin Reader
Julianne @ This Fleeting Dream
Laura @ Bookish Treasures
Samina @ Escapism From Reality
Catriona @ Fabulous Book Fiend


But now onto what you're all really here for...

The Winners!


Funniest Book3 Best First Sentence1 Best Ending1 Most Heart-Breaking3 best contemporary1 best historical1 Best Crime-Mystery1 Best LGBT1 Best Horror1 Best Paranormal1 Best Sci-Fi-Fantasy1 Best Adventure1 Best Protagonist1 Best Friendship1 Best Couple1 Best Villain1 Best Self Published3 Most Social Author Online3 Most Social Author Offine Author Whose Mind You Wish Was Yours2

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!




 

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