Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

They hear the spirits. They must obey.

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire's worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed by an ancient evil, Moria and Ashyn must race to warn the empire of a terrifying threat. Accompanied by a dashing thief and a warrior with a dark history, the sisters battle their way across a wasteland filled with reawakened monsters of legend. But there are more sinister enemies waiting for them at court - and a secret that will alter the balance of their world forever.

The first volume in the Age of Legends trilogy, Sea of Shadows is a thrilling dark fantasy where evil hides in every shadow and the deadliest monsters of all come in human form...

Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and the Seeker of the Forest of the Dead. Criminals get sent into the Forest and if they survive, they're told they get to be placed back in society - no one ever survives. The Seeker and the Keeper are tasked with dealing with the souls of the dead so they don't become evil spirits. This is Ashyn's first solo journey as the Seeker and it doesn't go to plan - turns out there's more in the forest than the souls of the dead. After their town gets attacked, Ashyn and Moria are separated and in finding one another discover something is very wrong.

With Kelley's Otherworld series at an end, she's introducing some new stuff. No new adult series as yet but this is her new YA/New Adult series (I don't know the difference between the two - genres aren't my strong point). Moria and Ashyn are both very different and likeable in their own ways.

Moria is strong and kick ass, she's not afraid to stand her ground and will fight anything to protect her family and her town. Ashyn is quiet and calm, the complete opposite of Moria and that's why they work so well together. They counter each other and are better for it.

I love Kelley's writing as anyone who has read my reviews before will know but sadly this one fell a bit short with me, I still liked it and will continue with the series but it was quite slow going and hard to pick up once it was put down - which is very unlike all Kelley books for me. I usually find them unputdownable. I would still recommend this to any YA Fantasy fans but if you're a Kelley fan it is quite unlike her other books so don't go into this expecting another Darkest Powers or Darkness Rising.

Book Depository: Sea of Shadows
Amazon UK: Sea of Shadows

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Cursed by Angela Addams

Wherever there's a lying, cheating scumbag who's broken a woman's heart, Vengeance Dealer Darcy Wells is there. So what if she isn't the most skilled witch around? She's only using one spell, which leaves the hapless male suffering tormenting lust for one woman. Her.

The beautiful part? This curse comes equipped with a blinding agent, allowing her a clean getaway. Unrequited lust, coming right up! As far as Darcy is concerned, it's justice served. Her next target: Raven Glock, rock band bassist and drop-dead-gorgeous sex god.

When Raven lays eyes on the luscious Darcy, he gives her what he promises all the starry-eyed groupies who toss their panties at him — one unforgettable night in his bed. Sex with Darcy is so epic that he forgets his cardinal rule: to get her out before morning.

At the crack of sunrise, Darcy serves Raven a face full of cursed ash. But something goes horribly wrong ... and she finds herself magically tethered to one pissed-off werewolf.

Worse, breaking the spell could cost her everything ... maybe even her life.

Darcy does one thing - she curses guys that women feel have done them wrong. Next on her list is Raven - who happens to be a werewolf. After a night of amazing sex, Darcy does her thing but this one feels different and she needs to reverse it - if it's possible.

Very short but hot read from Addams. Darcy is a bit naive and slightly gullible and Raven is all alpha-male and growly. There's chemistry and it's sizzling - the story isn't great but I don't know if it's because there wasn't time to embellish what with this being a novella or if it's just not that great a story to tell.

The thing I find with a lot of these short, sexy stories is that I can't read some of the dialogue without snorting 'cos I just find it so funny - and I don't think it's meant to be funny. Sexy talk always comes across as so corny and unbelievable to me and it actually does put me off a story slightly when I have to read a lot of it - which there is in this.

Amazon UK: Cursed

Meeting His Match by Katee Robert

When New York matchmaker Addison St. Claire is tasked with matching her best friend's new brother-in-law, she almost refuses. But the sexy southern CEO turns out to be a challenge she can't resist, because if anyone needs to meet his soul mate, it's this man. And if matching him with someone else removes the temptation of being near him? Even better.

The last thing Caine McNeill needs is a matchmaker — especially a gorgeous redhead who spouts nonsense about soul mates, critiques what he drives and how he dresses, buys him a dog, and pesters him about a million little things he couldn't care less about. It's a crying shame he has to keep his hands off because chemistry like what's flaring between them ought to be explored. Thoroughly.

And so the battle begins. Addison is determined to stick to her plan of setting him up on dates with other women, and Caine is equally determined to ignore these women and seduce her.

Addison is a matchmaker that believes in soul mates, and she believes she's had and lost her one and only. Caine is a CEO that doesn't have time for other activities, including having a relationship but his sister-in-law feels he needs one so sets Addison on him. But there's attraction between Addison and Caine that Addison refuses to acknowledge which only makes Caine more determined to follow it through..

Caine and Addison are actually tied into the Wedding Dare series through Katee's book in that - Caine is Brock's brother and Regan's brother-in-law, and Addison is Regan's best friend. I liked Addison to a point - her unmoving devotion to someone only having one soul mate is annoying. Because despite her attraction to Caine, she refuses to believe there may be a future together for them. I liked Caine slightly more than Addison, he was willing to work to prove to her that there was something worth chasing between them.

I really like Katee as an author and have so far, I believe, read all her releases and will continue to do so as long as she keeps writing them.

Amazon UK: Meeting His Match

The Wedding Dare series by Laura Kaye, Jen McLaughlin, Tessa Bailey, Katee Robert & Samanthe Beck

Trapped and tempted, this battle of wills rages all night long...

Kady Dresco and Colton Brooks click on a level that defies logic. There are only two problems. One, he's her older brother's irritating best friend, and two, they're bidding on the same military security services contract.

When the competition heats up, Colton is torn between wanting to strangle Kady (and her annoying brilliance) and kissing her into submission. Which is a bad idea for a million reasons, because Kady's submission is exactly what he craves. Being trapped in a tiny motel room with the object of his darkest fantasies will require every ounce of his restraint.

Kady doesn't want his restraint, but Colton knows better. She deserves love, marriage, and a white picket fence — three things Colton can't give her. But her proximity and the memory of their steamy near-miss three years ago slowly destroys his resolve. And he's not sure how much longer he can keep his hands off ... or his heart closed.

Colton knows what he wants in the bedroom and is certain it's not for Kady. But Kady has a secret of her own - she's been secretly craving a taste of what she reads about. And who better to introduce her than Colton.

Ooh this starter novella was a steamy little surprise! I've never read anything by Laura Kaye before and damn did she do good on my debut read of her. Colton and Kady couldn't seem more different - until they get together and man ... is it hot when they get together! Great sex, great chemistry, great read.

Amazon UK: Dare to Resist

She's the one that got away. He's the one she can't forget.

Photojournalist Christine Forsythe is ready to tackle her naughty little to-do list, and who better to tap for the job than a hot groomsman? But when she crashes into her best friend's older brother, Christine realises her list needs updating. And fast. Tyler Dresco took her virginity during the best night of her life, then bolted. Now that they're trapped together at a destination wedding, she's going to get her revenge.

Tyler has never forgiven himself for how completely he lost control all those years ago. Being in Christine's arms had felt right ... until he realised what he'd taken from her in the hallway of a cheap motel. And oh, how she's making him pay for it now. The insatiable heat between them has only grown stronger, but every time things heat up, Christine walks away.

With every encounter, things go a little bit further until Christine's caught in her own trap of seduction. And before their time's up, Tyler's not the only one wanting more...

Tyler and Christine had a thing many moons ago which turned sour when Tyler felt guilt over taking Christine's v-card in a dingy hotel hallway. When they meet for the first time since then, the chemistry hasn't died.

Again another first time author for me and another surprise offering. McLaughlin managed to write good back stories in a short time - well written characters and great sex.

Amazon UK: Falling for the Groomsman

He'll own her from the very first touch.

Julie Piper and Reed Lawson have nothing in common. She's a people-pleasing sorority girl hiding behind her perfect mask. He's a take-no-prisoners SWAT commander who isolates himself from the world. But when they're forced together at their friends' posh destination wedding, one thing is clear — Reed wants Julie more than he wants his next breath. Which is why he's not about to stand by when she's dared to seduce another man.

Julie wants neat, tidy sex, so she could get back to what she does best — making everybody else happy. She never expected to slip into a dark bedroom and have her mind blown by rough, demanding hands, and a sinfully filthy mouth — neither of which belong to the best man.

One night should have been all Reed needed to get the blond temptress out of his system, but when one taste is nowhere near enough, he'll be forced to confront the effects of his hellish past. One that may push Julie away forever ... just when he realises he can't live without her.

Their first encounter was an accident, Julie never meant to surprise Reed with sexy times but she did and they're both surprised by how hot it is. Reed wants more, Julie doesn't want to want it but she does. So she throws herself into trying to forget it - unsuccessfully.

I liked Reed - he's damaged, he's sexy as fuck! Julie's a bit annoying and too eager to please - I know in most stories opposites attract but I don't think these two are a good match. Yeah the sex is hot but that doesn't amount to a good match.

Amazon UK: Baiting the Maid of Honor

She has a plan. He's about to change it.

Regan Wakefield is a headhunter in both name and personality: driven, motivated, and unafraid to pursue what — and who — she wants. Naturally, she's thrilled when her friend's wedding offers her an opportunity to score Logan McCade, the practically perfect best man. Unfortunately, groomsman Brock McNeil keeps getting in her way, riling her up in the most delicious of ways. But Brock's smooth southern charm isn't part of the plan ... so how exactly did they end up having searing-hot sex?

Regan may pretend the erotic electricity sparking between them is merely a distraction, but Brock knows better. She refuses to see beyond the devil-may-care façade he presents to the world, while he sees straight through hers. Changing her mind — and getting under her skin — is a challenge he can't resist. And when he wins, Brock will do whatever it takes to convince Regan that the best man for her is him.

Regan has studied Logan and decided he's the perfect man for her for this wedding, unfortunately her plans don't come to fruition and she ends up with Brock. She thinks he's just the lazy younger brother of a CEO living off daddy's name and money and refuses to see past that. He knows exactly what she is and plans to get to know her more.

Along with Julie, Regan is my only other unlikeable character in this series. I can't pinpoint it exactly, I just never got into her the same as the others. Brock, I liked - he's the younger brother that doesn't want to be under his father's shadow and has secrets of his own. Plus they make a wee cameo in Katee's next book.

Amazon UK: Seducing the Bridesmaid

How far can one favor go...

Logan McCade arrives at his best friend's wedding overworked and in desperate need of a vacation, only to discover his best man duties have been ... expanded. He must coax Colton's sister out of her shell, or risk her hiding in her room all week. Logan figures he can handle one introverted bridesmaid, but he's not expecting how much he enjoys "handling" Sophie ... or how much she enjoys being handled.

Socialising has never been web designer Sophie Brooks's strong suit, but she's determined to shed her wallflower image and embrace the "New Sophie" — a feat made easier with the supremely sexy Logan McCade tempting her to explore all her forbidden fantasies. If she's not careful, she just might fall for the best man.

Sophie's sweet, sexy, and delectably awkward demeanour brings much-needed calm to Logan's hectic life. With the nuptials only days away, Logan is forced to face the possibility that his favour to a friend might have become something else entirely ... and that he's not willing to let Sophie go. Ever.

Sophie has had body image issues her whole life and when she's finally feeling good about herself, she's determined to be a new person - she doesn't plan for it to involve Logan, her brother's best man.

Sophie is such a wee sweetheart, you can't help but love her. And you can totally understand while Logan falls for her. After Dare to resist, this is my favourite of the series.

Amazon UK: Best Man with Benefits

Seducing Mr Right by Katee Robert

He's not who she thinks, and he has seduction plans of his own...

Danielle Kastien is done with powerful men. After months of near-saintly behaviour, she's determined to use the company costume party to have her wicked way with every delicious inch of the sexy-but-sweet mail guy she's been meeting for coffee. Though her costume is designed to send him into a haze of blind lust, Danielle quickly realizes Grayson is not the kind of man she can control.

Grayson Harper is used to having his way at work and in the bedroom. He's dominant. Commanding. Obeyed. He's been patiently biding his time with Danielle, enjoying spending time with someone who sees him as someone other than the CEO of Harper Industries. But before he can confess, he has Danielle right where he wants her. Where he's wanted her since the day they met. And he's in far too deep to risk his claim on the one woman who makes him hard with need...

Danielle thinks she's been flirting with the mail guy all this time but she's actually been flirting with a CEO - and she has serious issues with powerful men. When she discovers who he is, Grayson has to convince Danielle why she should stay with him.

I've been enjoying this series and this novella is just a tiny taster of the great writing you can expect from Katee Robert. Danielle was introduced as a friend in an earlier book and I was happy when I saw she was the character in this novella - although I would've liked to see her in a longer book.

Katee writes likeable characters - in all the books I've read, her characters are well written and mostly likeable (I THINK there was a character I disliked in one of her books but I can't remember exactly so I may be wrong). The sex is always hot as well so big thumbs up there. *tee-hee*

Amazon UK: Seducing Mr. Right

Wrong Time for Love by Lola Drake

Cupid decides something drastic is needed to help the once burned career-focused Raina open herself up to love. Breaking all the rules, he takes her back in time to medieval Scotland to meet the ultimate alpha male and rekindle her confidence in relationships. He doesn't plan for them to fall in love, but even Cupid can't control the passion that ensues.

The 13th century was a treacherous time, and any alpha male in that era accumulated dangerous enemies. Will Raina survive long enough to find the love of her life? Will she want that love to be her Scottish Laird or the mystery man Cupid promised her back home?

Cupid breaks all rules and takes Raina back in time to rekindle her belief in love and romance. Unfortunately she actually falls in love with Tristan, her Scottish laird. This wasn't Cupid's plan - he plans on taking her back to her own time to meet her true love once she's opened her heart to love again.

As much as I've been enjoying this series, I didn't really enjoy this one. Books set in Scotland, tend to instantly get my dislike until they change my mind - sadly this one didn't. I can't remember exactly why but I think it was just little things - like, I'm sure at one point Tristan talks about being coastal but then mentions Dundonald castle which isn't coastal. I also don't think Tristan sounds like a very Scottish name - yeah in this day and age but back then I can't imagine a name like that being used. There really was just a few little things that bugged me.

I do enjoy this series and will continue to read it as I like the multi author angle and each release having its own characters and story which don't have to relate to previous ones at all. It's just this book in particular that doesn't get my love.

Amazon UK: Wrong Time for Love

Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

In the Houses of Montague and Capulet, there is only one goal: power. The boys are born to fight and die for honour and — if they survive — marry for influence and money, not love. The girls are assets, to be spent wisely. Their wishes are of no import. Their fates are written on the day they are born.

Benvolio Montague, cousin to Romeo, knows all this. He expects to die for his cousin, for his house, but a spark of rebellion still lives inside him. At night, he is the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona — and he risks all as he steals from House Capulet. In doing so, he sets eyes on convent-bound Rosaline, and a terrible curse begins that will claim the lives of many in Verona...

...And will rewrite all their fates, forever.

Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet so I'm not going to retell it in mini version here. This is set in the same time as Romeo and Juliet but is told from Benvolio Montague's point of view as he lives a secret life while also living up to his grandmother's expectations of him to keep Romeo in line.

I've always loved this Shakespeare tale and I've loved Rachel Caine's writing since I first picked up the Morganville series. She does a great job of embellishing on the characters that Shakespeare first imagined all those years ago and introduces more of Benvolio and Rosaline while, surprisingly, keeps Romeo to a minimum and Juliet even more so.

Unfortunately, I don't think there will be more from Caine in this series unless she plans on following suit with other Shakespeare tales. I don't feel like she can embellish on this one any further as the story was well and truly ended in my opinion. Which is a shame since I did really enjoy this.

Book Depository: Prince of Shadows
Amazon UK: Prince of Shadows