Monday, January 28, 2013

Letterbox Love

Hello all! Unfortunately I had another busy week & weekend, so wasn't able to post the book reviews I wanted to, but hopefully I should get a few written this week! I've had a good week for books, so here they are:

'Ever After' by Kim Harrison
'An Natural History of Dragons' by Marie Brenan
'Trickster' by Jeff Somers

As I said in the video, I'm attending Kim Harrison's event in Raleigh, NC at the weekend - if anyone else is going, feel free to drop me a line! It would be cool to meet up with other bloggers & readers.

What did you get this week? Leave your links in the comments and I'll check them out!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Letterbox Love

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme to share the books we got this week, hosted by Lynsey at Narratively Speaking.

Hello everyone, welcome to this week's LL post! I had a busy weekend and an extra day off from classes yesterday, so didn't get around to posting - so you'll get my review of Wallbanger by Alice Clayton later on today as well.

I received one book for review this week, from Netgalley:

A Conspiracy of Alchemists, by Liesel Schwarz

I saw this with it's beautiful, steampunk inspired cover, and thought it looked great, and luckily the blurb lived up to it! Here's the description from Goodreads: In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.

When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.

That's all for me this week - what did you get? Leave your links in the comments, and I'll check them out!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Timeless, by Gail Carriger

Title: Timeless
Author: Gail Carriger
Release date: March 2012 - available now!
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: Steampunk
Source: Christmas present
Notes: #5 in the Parasol Protectorate series

Description: Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.
Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

My thoughts: I've been a fan of this series and the world Gail Carriger has created since I read Soulless (the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series). So it was a little bittersweet to pick this one up knowing it's the end of the series, even though we have other books set in the world to look forward to.

In 'Timeless', the questions about the God-Breaker Plague come back again, and this time the characters need to look deeper. Conveniently for that investigation, after a few adventures in London, Alexia & her family are summoned to Egypt. Meanwhile back home, the werewolves are dealing with another problem we had seen in an earlier book (I forget which one) which had been sorted out at the time - that Professor Lyall had engineered Lord Maccon coming down to take over the Woolsey pack. It turns out they have other repercussions to deal with from that.

The short version is, I loved this. I think Gail joins the people like Keri Arthur and Ilona Andrews in my head where I know that I'm going to like the book, regardless of which characters it includes, or what adventures they get up to.  We get to spend a lot of time with the werewolves in Timeless, who I always love reading about. A relationship that I was really hoping for did develop, and I'm so happy for the characters involved, and hope we'll see more of that in the spin-off books. Lord Akeldama also gets plenty of page time, and it's interesting to see how, even as an old vampire, he is being affected by changes, and the developments of the world. Akeldama is another person who I hope will be there in the future spin off books, because I think there is more to him, more facets of his personality, than we've seen so far.

As a whole, I felt like the book was.. heavier, than some of the others. There seem to be a lot of things here that are setting up for future things (ie, seeing Prudence's powers, and the restrictions on them), and a lot of things that are tying up this series. It was a very filling book, I finished it feeling pretty contented about everything, and the way it had ended.

Overall, 'Timeless' is another example of Gail Carriger's humorous, engaging style, a good conclusion to the Parasol Protectorate series that also leaves readers eager for the upcoming spin-off books.

I give Timeless 9 stars


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Books & Covers!

If you've been following the blog for a little while, you'll have noticed me reading & reviewing a lot of romance stories from Entangled Press in the last year or so. I just find they hit the spot for me with light enjoyable romances. So here are a couple more stories coming from their Bliss imprint this week, with their covers just revealed.

Luck of the Draw, by Kelly Vitollo

About: Rowan McKinley isn’t looking for one wild night while vacationing in Vegas, but she gets it anyway when she meets professional poker player—and professional ladies’ man—Breck Wilder. Breck’s easygoing charm and lighthearted banter draw in the reserved Rowan, and though she’s always dreamed of the kind of forever love her best friends Sidney and Kade share, she’ll settle for one night with the charismatic player.
After their crazy one-night stand, Breck never expected to see the mysterious redhead again. So when he shows up at a Shamrock Falls B&B looking to get away for a few weeks and Rowan answers the door, he’s floored. Breck’s rolling-stone lifestyle and ill-fated history with women means he’s not interested in anything long-term. But the longer he stays at the B&B, the more he considers dropping the poker face and putting all his cards on the table…for Rowan.  

You can buy it here (links to book page): Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Falling for her Fiance, by Cindi Madsen
About: Danielle and Wes have been best friends since college, and so when Wes needs a date for his sister’s wedding and Dani needs a partner for her company’s retreat, they devise the perfect plan: a fake engagement to get through both events unscathed. But neither expects the feelings that develop. Putting their friendship on the line is dangerous, but so is passing up a chance at true love…

This one sounds like fun! I'm going to have to get a copy soon :)
Buy it here: Amazon; Barnes & Noble.

Have you read any Entangled books recently that you would recommend?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Letterbox Love

Letterbox Love is a weekly meme to share the books you've received, started by Kirsty at Narratively Speaking.

Happy Monday! To cheer ourselves up at the start of another week, why don't we share some books? I only got two this week, but here's my short vlog about them & what I think so far:

Iced by Karen Marie Moning
Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander

I will hopefully be sharing my review of Nightshifted next week, and rather than review Iced, I might do a 'what I thought' type post - I'll see how I feel once I've read it!

If you didn't see them, I posted two reviews this week:
Real Men Don't Break Hearts by Collen Kwan (7 stars)
Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin (9 stars)

Which books did you get this week? Leave me your links in the comments and I'll have a look :)


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sins of the Angels, by Linda Poitevin

Title: Sins of the Angels
Author: Linda Poitevin
Publication date: 2011
Publisher: Ace
Length: 325 pages
Genre: urban fantasy
Source: Christmas present

Description: A detective with a secret lineage. An undercover Hunter with a bulletproof soul. And a world made to pay for the sins of angel...
Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial-killer case - a partner who is obstructive, irritatingly magnetic, and arrogant as hell.
Aramael is a Power - a hunter of the Fallen Angels. A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul.
Now, faced with a Fallen Angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse, Alex and Aramael have no choice but to join forces, because only together can they stop the end of days. 

My thoughts: I wish it hadn't taken me so long to read this book! I loved it. Although the good part is that I don't need to wait to read the next part of the story!

The story gets straight to the action, with Alex at the scene of a gruesome murder, and trying to push away thoughts of a similar scene from when she was a child - we soon discover that her mother had been mentally ill and eventually killed herself. Unfortunately, one thing her mum thought she saw was angels, so when Aramael shows up and Alex keeps catching sight of his wings, she fears she's developing the same illness. The story races from one murder scene to the next, with Alex and the police frantically trying to find a connection that can lead them to the killer. At the same time, Alex is trying to deal with Aramael as an irritating partner, someone she's very attracted to, and a man who she keeps seeing with wings, making her question her sanity. I enjoyed how there was that extra level to the story - not just a fight between whether she likes him or not, but the connection between him and her 'visions'.

It is also told from several points of view, following not just Alex and Aramael, but also the killer and some of the other angels. Behind this current crisis is a problem in the realm of the angels, a threat of war that has been hanging there for a long time and now seems about to spill over, while secrets are uncovered that are changing things.

There is a lot going on for a tidy little paperback, but Poitevin handles it well - it never got confusing to keep people or plots straight. I was very engaged in the story, and sped through the book in just two days - I needed to know what happened next! I haven't read many angel stories, and I liked the world set up in Sins of the Angels.

Overall, Sins of the Angels was a very exciting read. I loved the introduction to the world and the emotional turmoil of multiple characters in the story. As soon as I can, I'm going to have to find the sequel to see what becomes of the world and the characters who were introduced here.

I give Sins of the Angels 9 stars.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Real Men Don't Break Hearts, by Coleen Kwan

Title: Real Men Don't Break Hearts
Author: Coleen Kwan
Publication date: December 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Bliss imprint)
Genre: contemporary romance
Length: 235 pages
Source: review copy from publisher

Description: Ally Griffin is horrified to learn her new landlord is none other than the infuriating playboy Nate Hardy—the man she blames for getting her jilted at the altar six years ago. Plus, now her ex-fiancĂ© is back in their hometown of Burronga, Australia, to marry his beautiful new bride…for real this time. Everybody’s treating Ally with kid gloves, as though she’s still heartbroken, but she’s just fine, thank you very much.

Nate Hardy is tired of his high-flying city career and bachelor lifestyle and is looking for something more real. The last thing he needs is to find himself undeniably attracted to Ally, the woman with whom he never saw eye-to-eye. But is he even capable of what Ally wants and deserves?

As Ally tries to pull her life out of the rut it’s fallen in, she doesn't count on Nate stirring up her emotions. A short-term fling with the resident bad boy is practically irresistible, but only if she can guard her heart…

My thoughts: Real Men Don't Break Hearts is a light read with interesting, believable characters and a happy ending, 'Real Men Don't Break Hearts' was a nice book to read over the break. 
We're first introduced to Ally as she's working in her struggling gift shop. She took it over when her gran, the founder, had health problems, and now Ally wants to prove to everyone that she can be successful at running it, even though at the moment she's behind on her rent. We also meet Nate just as he's returning to Burronga and has bought the building from Ally's landlord. Ally is still mad at him for the way he acted when they were younger, and thinks it was his fault Seth (the ex-fiance) ditched her. 
I actually really liked Nate. He's been in Sydney, been very successful, and has changed a lot since he left his hometown, but he regrets a lot about how he acted when he was younger. He wants to fix some of that, and as the book goes on you get to see him finding ways to make amends and show to the townspeople that he really has changed. 
I liked Ally too, but not as much as Nate. I was as frustrated as she was that people kept assuming she was still in love with Seth - I think if I was her, I would have thrown something at someone. It's been years since that break up but lots of people kept trying to be sympathetic for how awful she 'must' have been feeling over Seth getting married there... and of course Ally doesn't care about that. I also got a bit frustrated towards the end of the book where she kept judging Nate based on how he used to act, despite spending plenty of time with him and seeing the person he's become. He would say something or do something, and she would take it wrong because of how the 'old' Nate was. 

Overall, I enjoyed Real Men Don't Break Hearts. The small town setting was nice, and something I could definitely relate to, and the characters and their growth over the story was believable. Overall, I give this book 7 stars. 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Letterbox Love

Welcome to another Letterbox Love post! Here are the books I received or bought over December. I'm planning to go back to video posts for Letterbox Love next week, but there are quite a few to catch up on here ;)

First up, some ebooks:

Real Men Don't Break Hearts
 I got this one for review from Entangled Publishing, it's a fun read so far. I'll be finishing this one in the next couple of weeks and have a review up this month. It's available now.

I bought this after reading a couple of great reviews for it, and I love it, it's such a fun book. I'm re-reading at the moment, and will post the review this week.

Dead Spots
I bought this because I wanted a good UF read while on holiday with my laptop and no good bookstores around. I'm about 3/4 through it, and really enjoying this one. This is another book I'll be reviewing this month.

Then, the actual books:

In my family, we get a new Christmas story each year - since I was away from home this year, Dad sent me these. They are 'The Best Christmas Present in the World' and 'On Angel Wings' both by Michael Morpurpo, which were cute stories, and J. R. R. Tolkien's 'Letter's from Father Christmas', which he wrote to his children as they were growing up, and are fun to read.

My lovely boyfriend gave me these for Christmas. 

Sins of the Angels, is the first in the Grigori Legacy series, and I've seen lots of good things about it, it's been on my 'to read' list for a while. 
Timeless, is the last in the Parasol Protectorate series, which I adore. I'll be posting something about this book soon, I'm almost done with it. 
Death's Rival, is the latest book in Faith Hunter's 'Jane Yellowrock' series about a skinwalker who hunts vampires for a living. I love this series and I'm looking forward to hearing about what the characters have been up to since I last saw them. 

These ones were bought while I was travelling over the break.

Lover Reborn, still not as good as some of the others in the series, but I did like it more than Payne & Manny's book. I probably won't be reviewing this one, but now I'm ready to jump in to Qhuinn & Blay's story when that comes out! 
Destiny Kills, I love pretty much everything Keri Arthur writes and this was no exception. I'll have to track down the other book set in this world, which I think is Mercy Burns. Again, probably won't be reviewing this, but I do recommend it. 
Hunting Ground I finally found the short story that starts this series, from 'On The Prowl', back in November, and read 'Alpha & Omega' just before the end of term, so I was excited to find this in a lovely 2nd hand bookstore in St Augustine. It's another good book from an author I love, but another I don't think I'll be reviewing.
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - a retelling of Cinderella set in Holland, this was quite an interesting story, and I did enjoy it, even though it wasn't as fast paced as I usually like. 

Finally, I got this one from my parents for Christmas - 747 thing to do on a plane. I'll have to take it with me next time I fly. 

Phew! That was a lot. Which books did you get recently? Share your links in the comments and I'll check them out!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, New Start

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday period.
I'm using this new year as a fresh start with getting back into reviewing regularly. I'm still studying abroad this year, so last term got a little hectic with adjusting and getting used to things, but I've missed being part of the review community and sharing my thoughts on the books I've read.
So, in theory for the next few months, I'm going back to my original aim of two reviews a week, plus a Letterbox Love post once a week to share the books I've received. There's a few books that I read in December which I'm really excited to talk about, and there's some great new releases coming up that I can't wait to talk about.
So, it's good to be back! Good luck with your resolutions if you're making them. Are there any you'd like to share? And I will have a review for you very soon.