Saturday, 23 April 2016

Review: Gifted Thief (Highland Magic #1) by Helen Harper

Gifted Thief by Helen   Harper
Gifted Thief

Author: Helen Harper
Series: Highland Magic
Pages: 348
Publisher: Createspace
Release date: 29th January 2016
Source: Amazon

Synopsis (Goodreads) Orphan. Runaway. Thief.


Since the moment I was ripped from my mother's womb, I've been an outcast amongst my own kind. The Sidhe might possess magical Gifts, unbelievable wealth and unfathomable power but I don't want a thing to do with them. I ran away from their lands in the Highlands of Scotland when I was eleven years old and I've never looked back. I don't need a Clan. I've got my own family of highly skilled thieves who mean more to me than any Sidhe ever could.



Unfortunately for me, the playboy heir to the Moncrieffe Clan has something I desperately need. To get it back, I'm going to have to plunge myself back into that world, no matter what the consequences may be. I suppose it's just as well I have sense of humour. I think I'm going to need it.
Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

I stumbled on Gifted Thief whilst browsing through Amazon, I have never read anything prior by Helen Harper but everything has ticked my boxes so far, except the romance but I am hoping that improves as the series progresses.

Our MC is Integrity, a Sidhe who fled the highlands of Scotland and a life of hell when she was eleven years old. She has lived as a human and has abandoned her heritage and former life to become a skilled thief. Unfortunately, when a job goes wrong Integrity is forced to deal with her past and involve herself with the Sidhe in order to save her friends.

Integrity is the sort of character I adore! Witty, strong and fiercely independent; she looks after herself without needing to rely on anyone. She has a close group of friends, Speck, Brochan, Lexie and Taylor that she considers her family and who also have her back. She wasn’t a fighter, she abhors violence but she seemed to be able to talk her way out of any situation, she was treated terribly by many but she always stood strong, I also found her jokes really amusing and lightened the storyline.

Byron Moncrieff has a reputation as a player, he is well respected amongst the Sidhe but he holds a lot back. Integrity has had a crush on him for some time but I found him to be a bit sly initially; as the book progressed I liked him a little more but I still can’t fully trust his motives especially since he is the reason Integrity is now having to play nice with people that despise her existence,

The world building was done well but I would have like further clarification on the clans, clanless and humans and how they each live side by side peacefully; the setting was also lacking in imagery for me. The plot flowed at a decent pace; I enjoyed Integrity’s family backstory, she is the last member of the Adair clan; her father wiping out everyone and more or less erasing them from the history books but as Integrity finds out there is more to the story than what people are letting on,  there is deceit, mystery and some pretty huge secrets being kept; there is also magical gifts and a prophecy that we are yet to learn more about.

The romance or possibility of a romance was a letdown, there was chemistry between Integrity and Byron but she fell between the sheets so willy nilly with his friend which didn’t make sense, it was a sex scene that I feel was included just so that it was there.  I’m not quite sure if they will end up together, especially since Byron is meant to be with someone else for family reasons but I hope if they do it is done tastefully.

I can’t fail to mention Bob the Genie who is now with Integrity until she makes her three wishes; he is hilarious! I love his page time.

Gifted Thief is a nice start to the Highland Magic series, it is an Urban Fantasy that ticked most boxes for me but could have done with a little more editing, there were a number of mistakes but nothing that couldn’t be overlooked. I’m looking forward to learning more about Clan Adair and the fascinating characters in the next book, Honour Bound.



Helen   HarperAbout the author: Scottish native Helen Harper is the author of the hugely popular Blood Destiny series, as well as the gritty urban fantasy Bo Blackman books and the romantic Olympiana novels. A self-confessed cat lady with an over-active imagination, she spends her time lost in fantastical worlds filled with kickass heroines, intricate legends and lots and lots of dangerous excitement.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

ARC Review: Ruined by Amy Tintera

Ruined (Untitled, #1)Ruined

Author: Amy Tintera
Series: Unknown
Pages: 316
Publisher/Source: HarperTeen
Release date: 3rd May 2016

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Amy Tintera’s debut series Reboot so I was eager to read Ruined which is the first book in her new YA high fantasy series.

Our MC is Emelina Flores who is from Ruina, she is a Ruined that has no powers but wields a sword with ease. On a quest for vengeance for the family that killed her parents and kidnapped her sister Olivia, she journeys to the kingdom of Lera in order to infiltrate the royal family and exact her revenge.

When Emelina, acting as Princess Mary Anselo of Vallos arrives the first task in her plan is to reluctantly marry Prince Casimir Gallegos as part of the treaty marriage, it’s the only way in which to salvage her kingdom but he is not what she was expecting and they come to share a sweet bond.

I really took a liking to the main characters; Emelina was strong, confident and determined to bring justice to her family no matter the cost. Cas was a little innocent, I didn’t see any real future king traits from him until towards the end of the book but I did like that he was logical, was kind and took care of Emelina/Mary. All of the side characters were written well and played a pivotal part in the overall story; my heart did break for Damian, I liked Galo, Aren and Iria, I didn’t trust Jovita at all and I am most curious about what has happened to Olivia.

The plot was interesting and flowed well but there were a few aspects I still questioned; I found parts of the background history especially about Ruina were lacking, I needed to know more about the world they were living in and also about the Ruined and their powers, but despite this it was thrilling with some fabulous and at time gruesome action sequences, I thought the way the planning and plotting took place and the key players in it was well done; I didn’t quite know who at times could be trusted and during some scenes things seemed a little rushed but I liked the revenge theme.

Amy Tintera’s writing is wonderful, her setting, the storyline and the characters all kept me entertained and wanting more. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Overall, if you are after a story filled with deceit, character progression, ongoing action, enjoyable writing and an intriguing plot then you would quite enjoy Ruined by Amy Tintera.


About the author: (From authors website)

Hi! I’m Amy Tintera, and I write novels for young adults. I grew up in Austin, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in journalism. After receiving a masters in film at Emerson College I moved to Los Angeles, where I promptly discovered I didn’t enjoy working in the film industry, and went back to my first love, writing.


REBOOT and REBEL are published by HarperCollins/HarperTeen.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Why the Young adult genre is frustrating me!


WHY YA IS FRUSTRATING ME!

You know, I read so many young adult books that I shouldn’t be surprised by the recurring storylines but I still find myself shaking my head on numerous occasions and just hoping for something new. I tried to mix up my reading a little recently after hitting a dreadful slump but I still went back to YA; which admittedly is my fave but I’d love to read something a little more fresh and unique.

The past few books that I have read seemed to all blend into one another because they were all so similar:

I’d love any recommendations if you have read something really amazingly awesome recently that stood out from everything else?

My gripes!

The ‘dreaded’ love-triangle * I think this point would be at the top of almost everyone’s list, it has been done to death unfortunately, I’m not a huge hater of love triangles if it is done right but to be honest, they rarely are and someone is always bound to end up hurt (& then they end up with a series of their own!). It also always seems to be the girl who gets two guys, I read a heap of YA novels and I have never read about two girls wanting the same guy?

The ‘necessary’ heart-ache or heart-break * Why oh why do authors find it necessary to cause unnecessary drama when it comes to a romance? Why can’t a couple have a relatively ‘normal’ relationship without the hidden problems that always pop up that seem to be thrown in for the shock factor alone but doesn’t actually contribute to the storyline?

The ‘special’ main character that has a hidden talent that they are completely clueless about * I have read quite a few books where the MC has no idea that they are ‘special’ or of another kind or species, I mean they know that there is something odd going on, wouldn’t you stop and panic just a little bit and worry about why you’re different. Clueless! It seems to be something that is all too common and the main character is always shocked but adjusts seemingly well into their new role of whatever it is they are.

The ‘absentee’ family * Why do a majority of characters have no parents present or they have left them or are deceased? I love reading books that have a strong family dynamic, where there are boundaries and realistic themes but it seems to be lacking in YA.


What are your thoughts on this subject?? Are there any gripes that annoy you in the YA genre?


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Review: Jockblocked (Girdiron #2) by Jen Frederick

Jockblocked (Gridiron, #2)Jockblocked

Author: Jen Frederick
Series: Gridiron #2
Pages: 496
Publisher: Createspace
Release date: 11th February 2016

Synopsis (Goodreads) – College junior Lucy Washington abides by one rule—avoid risk at all costs. She’s cautious in every aspect of her life, from her health, to her mock trial team, to the boring guys she dates. When a brash, gorgeous jock walks into the campus coffeeshop and turns his flirt on, Lucy is stunned by the force of attraction. For the first time ever, she’s willing to step out of her comfort zone, but can she really trust the guy who’s determined to sweep her off her feet?

He’s always played around…

Entering his last year of college eligibility, linebacker Matthew "Matty" Iverson has the team captaincy in his sights. And it’s his for the taking, if he can convince his quarterback Ace Anderson to give up the starting position. Luckily, Matty already has an edge—the hottie he’s lusting over just happens to be Ace’s childhood best friend. Getting Lucy on his side and in his bed? Hell yeah. Matty is more than confident he can have both, but when he falls hard for Lucy, it’s time for a new game plan: convince the woman of his dreams that she’s not sleeping with the enemy.


Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I am such a huge Jen Frederick fan so I was super excited to read the latest instalment in her Gridiron series, Jockblocked which is Lucy Washington and Matthew Iverson’s story.

Lucy is a college junior, working in the local brew house and a sociology student; she avoids risk at all costs and is extremely cautious when it comes to everything in her life from her health to dating, she has a tendency to dissect every decision that she makes. I found myself really liking Lucy; she was a sweetheart and really logical.

Matthew ‘Matty’ Iverson is in his last year of college and a line-backer, he has the team captaincy in his sights and will do anything to obtain it including getting close to Lucy who happens to be the quarterbacks best friend. Matty was charming and I enjoyed learning more about him, he has a bit of a man-whore reputation which always irks me but he was always amazing with Lucy.

I enjoyed how Jockblocked progressed, nothing was rushed and everything happened at a realistic pace, including the slow to burn romance between Lucy and Matty; they were chalk and cheese but I loved their interactions and witty banter, I also adored the way he looked out for her. Of course there was a bit of miscommunication but I felt it was dealt with well.

What let this book down for me was Ace, Lucy’s quarterback best friend and the drama that surrounded him, it seems his relationship with the coaches daughter has well and truly come back to bite him on the butt! I really liked him in Sacked but he came across as a real douche in this book, his antics created too many problems.

Other than this, I loved the book. I can’t fault Jen Frederick’s writing, her main characters are wonderful and the romance had me swooning. I am clueless when it comes to Gridiron, I have no idea about this sport but I have loved reading about the time and the effort that goes into it for these players, its pure dedication and Jen explained it all well.

Jockblocked is another great instalment in the Gridiron series; I am looking forward to reading the next book Downed which has an anticipated November release date.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.


EXCERPT  

I grab her foot and pull it into my lap. “Let’s do a risk/reward test.”

“Let’s not.” But her foot doesn’t move.

I massage her foot beneath the sock, pressing hard against the ball and then digging into the arch. She releases a tiny moan and her head falls back in a dick-hardening sexy motion. Fuuuuck. If this is how I feel from just touching this girl’s hand and foot, what would it be like to be between her legs, to suck on her tits, to feel her pussy pulse around my dick? Light-headed and incredibly aroused, I almost fall off the chair.

I gotta focus here. If I’m ever going to get past the foot and hand, I need to convince her that the reward with me would be off-the-charts amazing.
Clearing my throat, I keep rubbing her foot. “Having your foot in my lap, that’s a risk right? But you’re enjoying the rubdown. That’s a risk worth the reward.”

“Keep rubbing and stop talking,” she orders. Her eyes are closed.

Okay, but I’m not touching some other guy’s sock, particularly the guy whose bed she’s sleeping in. I don’t know if I fully buy into her “just friends” explanation for Ace. He has her picture in his locker. She’s wearing his socks. For all that, he’s at the Gas Station dry humping a Kappa and Lucy’s home alone. I pull off the sock and toss it aside and stare at her toes.

“Your nail polish is blue.” Since when did I think toes were sexy?

She wriggles them. “Yes, on both feet. You’re very observant. Haven’t you ever seen a girl’s toes before?”

“I’m sure I have.” I just don’t remember them. I have this strange feeling I’ll remember hers, though.

I run a light caress over the anklebone, down the spine of the Achilles tendon, and around the edge of her instep.

Her breathing hitches, so quiet and so soft, I might have imagined it.

“What’re you doing?” Her words are a husky whisper and my body responds accordingly.

My balls tighten and my dick’s so hard I’m worried it’ll snap in half, but I can’t reach into my jeans to readjust or I’ll scare her away.

“We’re testing your risk assessment.” And driving myself crazy.

“You should stop.”

“I can’t.” I move my hand up her ankle to cup the slender calf. “Feel good? Worth the risk?”

“I’m not sure.”

That’s an invitation if I ever heard one.

Is it possible to come from just rubbing a girl’s leg? I might test out that theory.

“And now?” My fingers find the tender hollow behind her knee. Her pulse beats rapidly against my palm. She’s as turned on as I am and I haven’t even gotten to the good parts.

“It feels riskier,” she croaks.

Yeah, because pretty soon my hand is going to be on your thigh and I don’t know how I’m going to stop there.

Her fingers are turning white as she grips the sides of her chair. Is she holding herself back? Or keeping herself there?

Fuck, I want to kiss her so bad. I want to kiss her lips but I’d settle for her toes or her knee or‑shit, if all she’ll allow is for me to touch the tips of her fingers, I’d be okay with that. I need a taste of her. I’m dying for a taste of her.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

ARC Review: A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink

A Walk in the SunA Walk in the Sun

Author: Michelle Zink
Series: -
Pages: 336
Publisher/Source: HarperTeen
Release date: 3rd May 2016

Synopsis: (Goodreads) In this Bridges of Madison County for teens, Michelle Zink weaves a magnetic tale about summer love that stays with you long after the seasons change.

Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected tragedy she has no choice but to put her plans for the future—and dreams of escaping her small town—on hold. 

Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September—until he meets Rose. 

Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all....

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

Rose Darrow knows grief, having recently lost her mother; her days are filled working the family farm, any plans she had for college or travel are now on hold as her father has checked out and she is left to more or less fend for herself and keep the farm afloat with next to no help.

When Aunt Marty, who was pretty awesome, hires help – Bodhi Lowell, a farmhand with a heart-breaking yet interesting backstory things for Rose quickly start to change.

The story was written well and the main misgiving the author highlights was for Rose choosing to be happy and leave her obligations and to follow her heart or remain in a rut. I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love it, there was a morose feel to it; Rose was stubborn and held her emotions intact, I didn’t instantly like her but I felt her grief. Bodhi was an interesting character but he also fell flat; I would have liked more dialogue between them, some witty banter or some fun interactions that would lead to their eventual romance, all I really felt was the sadness.

I enjoyed the side characters, Maggie was wonderful as was Marty; there wasn’t a lot of page time with Rose’s dad and I don’t feel his issues were addressed. Will came across as a bit of an ass and I liked Lexie, Rose’s bff.

Overall, A Walk in the Sun was a quick and easy read; it didn’t completely wow me but it was enjoyable none the less.



About the author: Michelle Zink is author of the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy, A Temptation of Angels, and This Wicked Game. Her next book, Lies I Told, releases Spring 2015. 

Learn more on Michelle's blog at
www.michellezink.com. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Review: Demons (Eirik #1) by Ednah Walters

Demons (Eirik #1)Demons

Author: Ednah Walters
Series: Eirik
Pages: 310
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
Release date: 15th December 2015

Synopsis (Goodreads) – Demons continues the Runes series by USA Today bestselling author Ednah Walters. What happened to Eirik after he left his friends on Earth and went to Hel? 

Eirik Baldurson—son of Baldur, God of Light—failed living as a Mortal. He lost the girl of his dreams and nearly got his friends killed. Now, he's gone to the underworld to meet the mother he’s never known. Torn between his duty to her and the man he used to be, Eirik struggles to find himself, until a witch appears in his world. Feisty and stubborn, she is a reminder of everything good he left behind. 

Celestia Devereaux proudly attends a charter high school for “gifted” teenagers who embrace magic. Witches. However, she keeps a terrible secret—a prediction that she would one day be responsible for massive destruction and death. Though Celestia uses her clairvoyant abilities to help people, she worries that it is just a matter of time before she goes over to the dark side. 

Her world changes when she unexpectedly astral projects to a place she didn’t believe existed and meets a tortured man who needs her help. Will helping him cause her fears to come true, or will he sacrifice everything to save her? 

Keywords: Witches, New Orleans, Soul reapers, reapers, Hel, gods, magic, runes, Norse gods, dragons, dragon-shifters, giants, teen romance, Mortals 

Runes series continues with Eirik's books. 

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers from the Runes series.

Demons is a continuation of the Runes series but from Eiriks POV.

Eirik is Raine from the Runes series best friend and has recently found out that he is the son of Baldur, God of Light and has been hidden in the human world not having any idea of who his real parents were. I have always loved Eirik, he was a strong character so it was great to read from his POV and see the changes in him – there is more anger but he is trying to adapt to his new life.

We follow Eirik into the world of Hel in order for him to meet his birth mother, Goddess Hel who rules the underworld but his welcome is definitely not what he expected and he ends up thrown in the dungeon until he can prove himself to her. The dynamic between Baldur and Hel was certainly interesting but my heart broke for Eirik and what we learn of his past. 

Celestia Devereaux is a seventeen year-old witch in training and is able to astral project to save others; this is how she first met Eirik or so she thought. Celestia was pretty amazing! She has such a strong personality and complimented Eririk well. She is strong willed, determined, a little stubborn but also very sweet. There is a prediction about Celestia in that she would one day be responsible for destruction and the harbinger of death, something that she fights with every day and keeps secret but I loved her witch pride and the way that she was so eager to help everyone that she was able to astral project to. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Ednah Walters’ world-building, it is full of norse mythology and intrigue, with a really sweet slow to burn budding romance, my favourite! The mythology was well explained and I loved learning more about the souls and other creatures that reside in Hel.

We meet some great side characters, I loved Trudy; a gigantress and it was great to see a reappearance from Echo.

I have read all of Ednah Walter’s series and enjoy her engaging writing style. She writes incredible characters that are true to life and storylines that keep you mesmerised and wanting more.



About the author: Her award-winning, International Bestselling YA Paranormal Romance—Runes Series—started with Runes and has a total of 6 books to date. The last one, Witches, released in March 2015, was a Readers Choice Awards winner. Her most recent addition is Demons, A Runes Companion Novel (Eirik Book 1). Demons is the story of Raines best friend and former crush Eirik Seville.
Her international bestselling YA Urban Fantasy series, The Guardian Legacy Series, focuses on the Nephilim, children of the fallen angels. The series started with Awakened and has a total of 4 books to date. The latest Forgotten was released in June 2015.
She also writes Contemporary Romance as E.B. Walters-from The Fitzgerald Family series and Infinitus Billionaires series. 

Whether she’s writing about Valkyries, Norns, and Grimnirs, or Guardians, Demons, and Archangels, love, family, and friendship play crucial roles in all her books. 

If you enjoyed reading her books, please consider leaving a review. Reviews can make a difference in the ranking of a book. 

To be updated on more Runes exclusives, the next book in Eirik's story, giveaways, teasers, and deleted scenes, join her newsletter. 

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For the discussion about the series, join her private page on FB:http://bit.ly/EdnahsEliteValkyries 

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http://ednahwalters.com

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