28 February 2015

Thoughtful by S. C. Stephens

Hey everyone,

My last few days have been consumed by Thoughtful. I loved the original Thoughtless trilogy and devoured them one after another; to this day it is one of my favourite trilogies. Therefore when I found out that S. C. Stephens was writing Kellan’s POV I was both ecstatic and nervous. Ecstatic because this was Kellan! But nervous  because whenever I’ve read a companion book before I’ve been disappointed.

The book:

In Thoughtless, Kiera told her story. Now it's time for Kellan Kyle to share his side in Thoughtful . . .

The only place Kellan has ever felt at home is on stage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around his music and his band mates, and that's the way he likes it. And then one woman changes everything . . .

Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting - she's smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction . . . until Kiera's own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing: he won't let Kiera go without a fight.

My thoughts:

I loved this book! I loved it more than Thoughtless and that is probably because I found Kellan a more likeable character. Reading the story from Kellans POV was like wearing an old jumper that had been distorted in the wash. 

25 February 2015

The Lycan Hunter by Kelsey Jordan

Hey everyone,

The publishers sent me a copy of The Lycan Hunter by Kelsey Jordan in return for an honest review. Its a paranormal romance where the hero and heroine are on opposite sides of the Forever War and in my opinion it has a pretty awesome cover.

The book:

When Alexis James arrives at her first assignment in months, she anticipates the danger and violence rife in her calling as a Lycan Hunter. What she doesnt expect is a handsome, blue-eyed wolf saving her life and kidnapping her. Surrounded by the enemy, Alexis must not only survive her prisoners but the bonds of a different sort that begin to form against her will.

Mikko Kyran was chosen by the gods to lead his pack, and he has made it his mission to end the eight thousand years of war plaguing his people. The Alpha never suspected that the key to the prophecy ending the Forever War would be held by a smart-mouthed, sexy Hunter determined to kill him.

Can two people from different worlds set aside everything they know about one another long enough to survive retribution from the Hunters, the pack, and the gods? Or will their difference start war that neither can win?

My thoughts:

As previously mentioned this is a paranormal romance, and yet in some ways it felt more like a fantasy romance, purely because of the incredible and complex world building. Kelsey Jordan has not only created two ‘species’ in the form of her Lycans and Hunters she has imbued them with an entire back storying, a religion, God and Goddesses, specific rituals and even a language. I personally haven’t read a paranormal romance with such in-depth world building for quite some time and it was surprisingly refreshing.

22 February 2015

A New Man by P.D. Singer

Hey everyone,

I stumbled across A New Man by P.D. Singer by accident on Amazon and it looked too tempting to resist. The blurb completely intrigued me and I’ve spent most of Sunday reading it. So without further ado lets get on with the review!

The book:

Senior year of college is for studying, partying, and having fun before getting serious about life. Instead, Chad’s days are filled with headaches and exhaustion, and his fencing skills are getting worse with practice, not better. Then there’s his nonexistent love life, full of girls he’s shunted to the friend zone. Is he asexual? Gay? 

Grad student Warren Douglas could be out clubbing, but his roommate is better company, even without kisses. He’s torn up watching Chad suffer, gobbling ibuprofen and coming home early on Friday nights. If Chad weren’t straight, Warren would keep him up past midnight. They’re great as friends. Benefits might answer Chad’s questions. 

A brief encounter with lab rats reveals Chad’s illness—he needs surgery, STAT, and can’t rely on his dysfunctional parents for medical decisions. Warren’s both trustworthy and likely to get overruled—unless they’re married. “You can throw me back later,” Warren says, and he may throw himself back after his husband turns out moody and hard to get along with, no matter how much fun his new sex drive is. Surgery turns Chad into a new man, all right… 

…but Warren fell in love with the old one.

My thoughts:

To say A New Man packed an emotional punch would be an understatement. From the blurb I knew this book wouldn't be a chocolate box love story, partly due to Chad’s illness but also because of what Warren was willing to risk and lose. Yet I wasn’t prepared for the book to make me cry and think about some of the issues raised. P.D. Singer did a fantastic job of portraying topics such as illness, coming of age, alcoholism and infidelity without relaying on melodrama.

Did I say yes because I him enough to let him go if he needs to go? Or does that mean I don't love him enough to fight for him?

19 February 2015

The Raven by Sylvain Reynard (Audiobook)

Hey everyone,

I feel like this is the book everyone is talking about this month, and because I had an excessive amount of credits on my audible account I decided to get the Audiobook version. Now, although I probably don’t need to I’m going to introduce the book, because tradition and all that.

The book:

Raven Wood spends her days at Florence's Uffizi gallery restoring Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semiconscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attackers' screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her . . .

Cassita vulneratus.
When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. 

Upon returning to the Uffizi, no one recognizes her. More disturbingly, she discovers that she's been absent an entire week. With no recollection of her disappearance, Raven learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history--the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the police identify her as their prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence's wealthiest and most elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets . . . 

My thoughts:

What is it about this author? Every single one of Sylvain Reynard’s book draw me and absorb to the extent that the rest of the world ceases to exist until I’ve finished. It the alluring wonderful quality of these books that resulted in me staying up until three in the morning listening to it and then spending all of the next day listening too it. Seriously I listened to TEN hours worth in one day. Driving, food shopping, cooking, working etc everything was done with The Raven as my background.

16 February 2015

Off Course by Bailey Bradford

Hey everyone,

Hopefully you all had a lovely Valentines day, regardless of whether you were all loved-up or flying solo. Today I thought it was time I got back to reviewing some actual books, for some reason it felt like ages since I’d reviewed one. Therefore I give you Off Course by Bailey Bradford an M/M paranormal romance e-book that came out late last year.

The book:
For the coyote shifters near Del Ray, hope lies in a prophecy that Miller Hudson, their would-be alpha, doesn’t believe is ever going to come true. As far as he’s concerned, their old medicine man ingested a few too many hallucinogens. Nothing the man did helped the newer generations of coyote shifters. They might as well have just called themselves regular ol’ humans.

Something has happened to them, and no one has been able to shift since long ago.

Only time and faith will hold them together.

Only a return to their true nature will save them.

Only love will fulfill them.

My thoughts:

In many ways this was the ideal book for my reading mood and it actually brought be out of a prolonged book slump, which is always a good thing. I really liked Bailey Bradford’s relaxed and witty writing style, none of the dialogue felt forced but the characters still maintained their individuality.

13 February 2015

My Top Eight Period Dramas!

Hey everyone,

Over the last week I’ve been watching a lot more movies than I’ve been reading books. In part this is because I’ve just got a Netflix accounts but also because I’ve been on way too many long haul flights.  There is only so many times a person is meant to cross the Atlantic Ocean in one month. Therefore rather than reviewing a book I thought it would be interesting to tell you about my favourite Period Dramas that feature a strong romantic element.

Since the popularity of Downtown Abbey the amount of people producing, writing and watching Period Dramas has increased and below is just a small selection of my favourite Period Drama movies with a strong romantic element. Also because I found it impossible to rate by favourite I decided to order them chronologically based on the time they are set, starting with the oldest.

Tristan & Isolde (2006)

Set in Britain and Ireland during the Dark Ages this movie is based on the medieval legend of Tristan & Isolde. In my opinion they are the original Romeo and Juliet as these star-crossed lovers are separated by feuding nations instead of feuding families. Tristan played by James Franco is a ‘British’ warrior who is extremely loyal to his Lord Marke, who is attempting to unify the various clans that rule Britain in this period.

7 February 2015

Let's talk about re-writes

Hey everyone,

So this week I was all set to review a paranormal M/M romance novel, however, at the start the author acknowledged it was a re-vised and re-written version of a previously published novel. This simple statement got me thinking about re-writes or revisions or whatever people want to call them. Do we like them? Do we think they're just a publishing scam to make more money? Do we think the author is just trying to improved a book for his/her readers?

I don't have the answers but I'd thought it'd be interesting to start a dicussion about authors and publishers re-vising, re-writing and then re-publishing old novels.

Like most arguments there are always mulitple sides to the same coin, and like most arguments there is no clear cut right and wrong answer, what I hope to achieve with this post is other all sides of the arguments and perhaps (although unlikely) start a discussion on this topic.

5 February 2015

Romance Covers and What They Mean

Hey everyone,

Whether you've been reading romance books for decades or have just discovered the genre, one thing all of us have in common is that we will have looked a romance cover. Perhaps that cover, or covers, may have convinced you to pick up the book in the first place. I know the first romance book I read was partly chosen because of the pretty cover. Today I want to take an indepth look at what a romance cover can tell us and the key identifiers you should look out for when trying to find you're favourite sub-genre within the romance world.

Most, if not all, of what I'm about to say is purely based on observation and therefore it could all be fairly obvious, however, I thought it be interesting to discuss the differences between the sub-genres of romance covers. Partly because despite what people think they are not all the same.

Contemporary Romance

Contemporary is a huge category and in many ways is a bit of a catch-all as it can incorporate mutliple sub-genres under one roof. Due to this I would argue that there are different styles within the Contemporary Romance Covers umbrella.

Perhaps the most obvious to identify from their covers are small-town romances. Often it'll feature a smiling couple who are probably hugging or embracing or just about to kiss, and the background will most likely be some rural setting. Perhaps a mountain and blue skies in the distance, or a deck with a lake/sea/river in the background. I've also noticed that pastel colours, particularly pink is extremely popular for small-town romances. If you like this genre look for nature, a happy couple and pink.

1 February 2015

Mastering A Sinner by Kate Pearce

Hey everyone,

So I seem to be on a bit of a historical romance kick because I have another regency romance I want to review. Unlike my other ones, however, this is high on sexual content so if that isn't you're thing or you're under eighteen look away now! So this week I'll be reviewing Mastering A Sinner by Kate Pearce, an erotic BDSM historical romance based around the Sinners Club.

The book:

Bound by sensual secrets and illicit fantasies, the select members of the Sinners Club are privy to carnal pleasures too shocking to share...

Alistair Maclean enjoys his work as secretary at the Sinners Club until the women at the Club demand a secretary of their own. Suddenly Alistair finds himself at the mercy of a wanton beauty who demands Alistair submit to her in ways he's only ever dreamed about...

Diana, Lady Theale, has secrets from her past she must protect. But that doesn't stop her from enjoying passion in the present. She needs Alistair's help to untangle the mystery of her parentage, but she also needs his body to satisfy her darkly erotic desires...

My thoughts:

This book will not be everyone. Some people will read it and hate it. Others probably wouldn't even consider reading. The reason for this is simple, despite the fact the romances featuring BDSM have become huge since Fifty Shades, people still feel uncomfortable reading books where the woman is the dominant and the male is the submissive.

"I will expect you to be naked and on your knees.” 
He looked over his shoulder at her. “Go to the devil, Lady Theale.”