Sunday, 31 May 2015

Magic To The Bone by Devon Monk

Using magic meant it used you back. Forget the fairy-tale, hocus-pocus, wave a wand and bling-o, sparkles and pixie dust crap. Magic, like booze, sex, and drugs, gave as good as it got.

Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user - maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying, and they Offload the cost onto innocents. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell's caster - and Allison Beckstrom's the best there is.

Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune - and the strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magic Offload that has her father's signature all over it, Allie is thrown into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.

Now Allie's out for the truth - and must call upon forces that will challenge everything she knows, change her in ways she could never imagine ... and make her capable of things that powerful people will do anything to control.

I've heard of this author before but not the actual name of the series so when I saw it on offer on Kindle I decided to give it a try.

I really enjoyed it, Allie is a great character who is very well written and I like the whole magic takes from you theme. It puts limits on magic unlike other books where it's unlimited, limits on magic makes for very interesting story telling. Allie (and others) can't just go throwing magic around willy-nilly - not even when her, or someone else's, life is in danger.

I liked all the characters introduced in this book and look forward to reading more from them. I also love the world Monk has created with this series, the theory behind the magic and its uses are especially intriguing to me. The rest of the series is definitely on my TBR list.

Book Depository: Magic to the Bone
Amazon UK: Magic to the Bone

Mayhem by Angela Addams

He will rock her world... once he shows her how he really howls.

By night, Mayhem howls out monster rock hits to roaring crowds, and lives the rock 'n' roll dream. But lately he wants more than empty sex marathons with lusting fangirls. When he spies a beautiful redhead at his latest album launch party, his wolf howls only for her.

He can taste her sweetness and innocence hovering just beyond his grasp, but it'll be a delicate task showing her the side of his life no one ever sees. When the sun rises, and his wolf form takes over.

Fledgling rock magazine editor Hannah knows the minute she lays eyes on Mayhem that she won't fit into his world. But that doesn't mean she can't fantasize that she's the only woman wrapped around his smoking-hot body.

One kiss — one perfect kiss — and Mayhem is ready to seal the deal of and for a lifetime. But before he can properly introduce Hannah to both halves of himself, she is gone without a trace. And the rapidly cooling trail smells distinctly of Hunter...

I have to start by saying if I was to properly judge a book by its cover, I wouldn't buy this. I just ..... I can't see the selling point in that cover, do readers actually like that sort of stuff? Am I abnormal in my dislike of this type of cover? Anyway, the cover does not a book make so on with what I think of the actual book.

This is long awaited for any fans of Order of the Wolf that may have a crush on Mayhem (personally, I'm a Dyami fan), as the alpha and lead in the band he was due a big story. Sadly, the actual storyline doesn't have the "Wow" factor I might have expected for Mayhem. The heroine is semi-likeable but I wasn't hugely impressed by her.

I like this series but the stories seem to be on and off for me. I find, I'll like one but maybe not the next or I'll be "meh" about one and excited about the next.

Amazon UK: Mayhem

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Country vs Country - Healer

The order for this one is UK, US, Australian

Julie-Anne: I like all of these. The facial expression on the US cover is a bit weird, almost like she's pushing her chin out. I really love the Australian one, it's just so pretty - the colours and the smoky looking flower. Australia wins.
Danielle: I'm not loving the US cover here. I agree, her face looks weird. The UK cover is nice. She's facing the camera straight on, but I think the fact that she's looking down is enough to save it for me. The Australian cover wins, hands down though. Absolutely love the colours and the design.

J: The chick on the US cover kinda looks like Kristen (Kirsten?) Stewart - I can't even be bothered looking this up, the no expression chick from the Twilight movies. Again, I like all these covers but, also again, Australia is the clear winner for me.
D: She really does look like Kristen Stewart. I wonder if that was on purpose to try to gain the Twilight audience. Either way, I don't like it. I actually really like the UK cover here. I love the white. And if the Australians hadn’t made a cover, it would win. But, the Australians did make a cover, and it's once again spectacular. Love it. Clear winner again.

J: Are they the same women in the US and UK covers? It's hard to tell with the cup and smoke partially covering the face on the UK chick. I think it has to be Australia again. I just really like the designs the Australian publisher uses for the covers for Snyder's books.
D: I agree with everything you've said again. The UK cover is really nice here too. I like the colours and I like that she's partially covering her face. But that Australian cover is so sharp. Definitely Australia for me again too.

Julie-Anne: This is the first series from Snyder I've read that isn't based in the same world - Glass and Study series are all part of the Ixia chronicles. I really enjoyed this series, and even though it's not the same world it has a lot of the same elements so if you enjoy the Ixia books, then you'll enjoy this series.
Danielle: Again, I haven't read these, so I can't comment on the content. The covers are really nice though. That doesn't always happen with books anymore. They always seem to be the same cookie cutter styles. But these are unique, and I'm assuming flow well with the stories themselves.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Falling for his Best Friend by Katee Robert

Avery Yeung's biological clock just went off early. Thanks to her family's medical history, she's running out of time to get knocked up. And the only guy within donating distance? Her overprotective — and irritatingly hot — best friend. So clearly she needs an anonymous donor...

Anonymous donor? Over Sheriff Drew Flannery's dead body. While daddyhood will never be in the cards for a man with his past, Drew won't let Avery shop for a "popsicle pop". He'll do what's right for his best friend by doing his best friend. But only if they do it properly.

But there's nothing "proper" about it. Between the bed, the kitchen counter, and against his squad car, Avery and Drew are having the hottest sex ever. They can't get enough of it — or each other. And without knowing it, they've crossed the one line that could ruin their friendship forever...

Finally we get to Avery and Drew's story, I know there are plenty of Robert's fans waiting for this story as much as I was since we met them in In Bed With Mr Wrong. And apparently being friends for your whole life can make for some seriously sexy moments!

Robert gives us the story we've all been waiting on and she doesn't disappoint. Of course there's the weird feeling after they have sex and they're both worried about ruining their friendship because neither of them want to admit their real feelings in case the other one doesn't share them. And this is point in these books where I find myself shouting "Just talk to one another!" in frustration.

Seriously, most books have conflict purely because the characters don't talk about mutual feelings and then misinterpret something that someone says or does. I get that it's hard to create conflict without this trope but it's too predictable.

Even with that particular trope being used, this is my favourite of the Out of Uniform series so far.

Amazon UK: Falling For His Best Friend

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Country vs Country - Study and Glass (Chronicles of Ixia) by Maria V Snyder

This week is a little different. I've decided to combine both the Study and Glass series since they're both part of Chronicles of Ixia and I've also included the Australian covers since I saw them and thought they were so pretty.

The order of Study is UK, US and Australian

Julie-Anne: I like all the covers but I don't like US as much. I don't understand why there was a random UK cover (it's the one I've got so kinda mad that they changed it) but I prefer the 1st over the 2nd/ The US is nice and pretty but a bit boring. And the Australian one, while could be described as plain, is actually gorgeous - it's the colours. I think Australian wins for me.
Danielle: I think you've said every single thing I was thinking here. I agree on every aspect. Australia definitely wins for me too. Popped right out immediately for me. I love the colours, I love that it looks like poisonous flames. Beautiful. US is pretty, but makes me think more of a historical novel. I don't really like the 2nd UK cover much. It's all right, if it were the only one I wouldn't pass it over, but it doesn't stand out like the others. It almost reminds me of those books that get re-covered for the movie. I like the butterfly around the door in the 1st UK cover. Aussies win.

J: Again, I think US is my least favourite here. It's not as boring as Poison Study, the greenery saves it from that. I think I'm going to pick Australian again. I have noticed that the UK covers of all these series seem to follow the same theme - I like that. The blue in the Australian is really nice and stands out.
D: I like the US one here. I like the greenery. The UK again seems like it's re-covered for a movie. Aussie's win again for me. I love the colours and the pattern the colours make. Really beautiful.

J: US has went back to boring on this one. And as nice as the Australian one is, I prefer the UK one for this book. As soon as I bought this book, I thought it was very pretty - my favourite of all the UK covers for sure.
D: This is my favourite of the UK covers too. It looks far less like a movie cover. I still don't love it though. I agree that the US is not as nice. Boring, and again, they seem to have gone back to the historical look to me. I still love the Australian cover. Yes, it isn't as sharp as the previous two, but I still think it's really pretty. I pick Australia here again.

Julie-Anne: I really love this series. Yelena and Valek are a great leading couple, and happily Snyder just brought them back for another series. I'd recommend this series to any fantasy reader that's looking for a new series.
Danielle: This is a series I haven't read yet. I keep meaning to, but have never gotten around to it, even though it is so highly rated by my peers. Everyone I know who has read this series has loved it.

The Glass series is in the order of UK, US 1 & 2 and Australian

Julie-Anne: I really like all four of these! I'm having trouble picking a favourite - I may actually just try and remove my least favourite until I have one left. 2nd US with the face is my 1st least favourite. UK is my 2nd least favourite - not sure why, I just prefer the remaining two. 1st US is my 3rd and final least favourite so I guess Australian wins this one for me.
Danielle: I think I agee with you again. Australia definitely wins out for me without having to eliminate. It just really jumps out for me. I think I just don't like the hood on the UK covers. I haven't read this series though, so maybe the MC wears a hooded cloak, and this really fits in. I like the US the least as well, though I do love the (I'm assuming) glass design on it. Very pretty. But as I've said before, I really dislike full faces on covers, so that is a big strike against this one. I like the US probably second in this one. But Australia wins.

J: Again, I love all of these. And again I'm going to list them backwards. In fourth place is 2nd US again - it's the big face thing. In third place is UK again. In second place is Australian. Purely because I really like this image on the 1st US cover.
D: I'm torn between Australia and the first US here too. I really love all the Australian covers, but I do really like the US one here. Least favourite is definitely US#2 (full face, blah), and third place goes to UK. It just seems a little boring next to the Australian and 1st US cover. I think I'll pick the first US cover for this one, though I really did have to think on it.

J:Once again, I'm going to list them backwards because I really like them all. Fourth place is 2nd US again - her face is taking up too much of the cover. Third place is UK. 2nd place is 1st US - I think it's the colour. First place is Australian again.
D: Australian wins here for me. 2nd US is definitely last, and I actually like the UK better than the first US here. At least the first US has her face covered enough that it doesn't put images into your head. It does look like the models from the last book and this one are different. Are they not about the same girl? Australia wins for me. Though of the Aussie covers, this one is my least favourite.
J: Yes, different MC in this series. Although a lot of crossover does happen with characters.

Julie-Anne: This may be a first for me - a series that I like all the covers for all the books. Plus we have 2 US ones and Australian in there so there's more covers to choose from. Snyder's publication companies are good at covers! I love Snyder's work, I've still to finish this series but it's purely laziness on my part.
Danielle: Again, I have not read this series. I'll steal JA's words and say that it is pure laziness on my part as well. I really should read them, as everyone I know loves them. I also agree that this is probably the first time I've like all the covers from each of the countries.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Country vs Country - Midnight Breed

Danielle: I can honestly say, I'm not a fan of the covers for this series at all. Not in either country. They're kind of cheesy with their couples in various "throes of passion". Blergh. I really don't like the two-covers-in-one of the US style. I do like the bottom half of the US cover, and wish the whole book had been that. I do like the "glyphs" on the UK cover. Those play an interesting part in the series, so I like that touch. I really don't know what to pick here as I don't care for either. I'll pick UK, just because I don't like the two-tone of the US.
Julie-Anne: I agree the covers aren't great and I feel like they could have merged the two colours better, or at least used colours that went together in the US cover. The solid line is a little off putting and the colours too different. I'm also not a fan of the UK cover colour and the pose the couple are in, but it's the lesser of two evils so I'm choosing UK.

D: Again, not really a fan of either. I really like pink, but the UK cover is a lot of pink. I really dislike the colour combo of the US. Again, I think I would like it better if it was just the bottom picture on the whole cover. I think I'll pick UK, just because it's the lesser of the two evils here. I don't care for either.
J: Holy pinkness, Batman! (Also, spooky that you used the same term as me for your choice). But the US one isn't really any better, the two tone thing just isn't working. I don't want to choose, do I have to choose? Can I choose this one instead?

D: Yes! I choose the little Scottie! Look at his little bendy ears!

D: More dislike from me here too. I really wish the US publisher would have just chosen the bottom halves of those covers and just went with those. I think I'll choose UK here again, even though I don't really love it.
J: I haven't read this series but I'd guess erotica based on the covers and wouldn't look twice at them if I was perusing for new books. The awkward kiss on the UK cover is horrible. And not only are the colours in the US one so different but they're also both horrible on their own. Purely for the colour, I guess I'll pick UK (but I'd still rather have the Scottish fold kitten!)
D: Also, the cover models on the UK cover look African American. This couple is most definitely not. They’re both blonds I believe.

D: Why is the dude in the UK cover so angry? Sheesh! He reminds me of Christian Bale in American Psycho there. I'm picking UK again, despite the "hero" being so angry. If the US was just the bottom half, it would have won. Though I like this cover better than the previous US covers. The colour difference isn't so contrasting.
J: Haha, the guy does look pretty pissed off. Maybe he's just discovered she's a smoker after sniffing her hair? The two colours on the US aren't as bad as previous colours but I'd still rather they tried to soften the split. I don't like the colour or either of their facial expressions on the UK one so I'll choose US here.
D: Nothing like a smoker to turn you off! I'd be pissed too.

D: Okay, we've finally gotten away from the split cover. These two are almost identical, though you'd think they'd have the same city scape, since they're the same book. I think I'll pick US here actually, just because I don't like the guy's mouth in the UK. It looks like he's talking or something. It's just weird.
J: Woohoo to one colour covers and I have no arguments with black - it goes with everything. These are so similar in style that it's hard to pick a favourite. I'm going to go with US just because I like the little symbol behind the title better than the UK one.
D: And black is so slimming!

D: These are really red/orange. I've liked covers that are bright colours before, but I don't know. Maybe this series just feels like it should have darker colours. The previous book fit more in my mind with the greyscale. I think I'll pick UK here because the guy is kind of cute.
J: These are both a horrible colour. The woman in the US cover looks like she's in pain. For that, and that alone, I'm going with UK.

D: The US has kind of gone back to the two-tone, even though it's not as defined. I don't like the colour choices though. That's a lot of yellow. I'll pick UK here I think.
J: Wow, are those US colours ever horrible! At least they've finally stopped with the solid separating line, although they should've stayed with the one colour like the last two covers. I like this shade of blue in the UK cover, although the couple look awkward - she almost looks like she's not looking in his eyes but off to the side a little. Saying that, I'll still choose UK over US.

D: I don't really care for either cover here, again. I don't like the little drip of blood on the girl's mouth. I love facial hair, but I don't like the scruff on the dude. Also, the hero in this book is African American. That dude is white white white. I think I'll go with the US cover, just because I like the blue.
J: And US have switched from the two tone again! I prefer the colour of the UK cover and the image at the bottom over the US one so I'll choose UK.

D: I really don't like the bite marks on the UK cover. We know they're vampires by this point. I don't think we need that. If she didn't have the bite marks, I'd pick UK, only because the US is cheesy with the couple. I think I'll still pick UK, actually.
J: The bite marks are a bit crap, they're too fake looking. I prefer the colour of the UK cover and the lack of cheesy couple pose, although the woman on the UK cover doesn't have a nice pose either.
D: She looks rather awkward really.

D: This is the same model from the last cover. Not sure why it would be the same girl. Regardless, I'll pick UK, even though this model is exactly how I pictured Renata from Veil of Midnight.
J: Maybe they were shooting both covers on the same day? Or the photographer just had a bunch of going images that they chose from. I hate the couple on the US cover but I like the colours more. Saying that, I think I'll still choose UK.

D: This was my favourite book of this series, actually. This is where the series starts kind of anew. This book is set 20 years after the end of Darker After Midnight, and starts featuring the younger generation of the other books. I really liked the turn the series took here. Now, the covers. On the UK cover, I do not like Kellan having fangs here. They look ridiculous and fake. Even though it's cheesy, I think I'll pick US here, just because I really dislike those fangs.
J: Wow, that green is disgusting! And those teeth on the male model are even worse. Even though I still hate the cheesy couple theme on the US cover, I prefer the colour and I really hate the fake teeth on the UK one so I choose US.

D: Again with the bite marks. I don't like it. I really don't care for either of these covers again. The kiss in the UK cover looks awkward, but the pure cheese of the US is such a turn off as well. I'll pick UK because I like the colour better.
J: I like the purple-y of the UK cover but I kinda like the blue of the US as well. Both have cheesy-pose couples. I don't like that the author name in the US one is so much bigger than the title (although as I scroll up, I realise the last book was the same). I vaguely prefer the pattern on the US over the UK so it ekes the win.

D: This is a series I've read (except for Crave the Night), and really enjoyed. I will say, they are extremely similar to JR Ward's BDB series. Extremely. I thought it would bother me more than it did though. I read through this series rather quickly. The characters are engaging enough to keep you interested. The covers suck though. Someone should really fix that.
J: I haven't read this series and I wouldn't even pause to look at them in a bookshop with those covers. This is a series I'd only read based on a trusted recommendation.