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Sci Fi Series Review: Polaris Rising/Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik (Consortium Rebellion #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.

Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.

When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.

But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .


Amazon kindle US | UK | Audible US/UK

9/10

Polaris Rising is basically Kate Daniels in space. It kicks butt in a spectacular, showy way and the main characters are not only larger than life, but their snarkiness and chemistry are also both off the charts.

Sci-Fi Romance Review: Dark Matters by Michelle Diener

Dark Matters by Michelle Diener (Class 5 #4)


ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
 DARK MATTERS . . . taking matters into her own hands

A time bomb, waiting to go off . . .

Lucy Harris is on the run, not sure where she can turn to for help, or if help is even available. But even as her abductors chase her down, she realizes they don't just want to recapture her, they want to erase her.

When your very existence puts a planet at the risk of war, there's no choice but to do everything in your power to stay out of your enemies hands.

A predator . . . waiting for the chance to pounce

The powerful AI battleship, Bane, is accompanying the United Council envoy to Tecra to mete out the punishment the Tecrans have earned for breaking UC law. He revels in the power he's about to have over his old masters. But his mission isn't only to rain down retribution on the people who kept him chained for years, he's also looking for a human woman his fellow Class 5 thinking system mentioned in the final seconds of his life. Paxe admitted to taking Lucy Harris from Earth, and Bane has been looking for her ever since.

A warrior conflicted . . .

Commander Dray Helvan thinks the Grih made a mistake in not pushing for war with the Tecran, but he's had to accept the compromise, that he and the other envoys from the United Council will go to Tecra and dismantle its military from the top down. His mission is not one of his choosing, but when he and his team arrive, he's handed a very different job. While he distrusts Bane on principle, when the thinking system tells him there's a woman running for her life on the planet below, he will do whatever he has to to see her safe. And if that means war for Tecra, well, then it means war.

This is book 4 in the award-winning Class 5 series.


Amazon kindle US/UK

8.5/10

* * *
 Never mind. He would experience karma. She would make sure of it.
She would be karma's handmaiden.

I loved this book, folks!

I actually enjoyed this whole series immensely, and can't recommend it enough for the fans of all things space opera and technology. It's easy, it's a fast read and as usual with Michelle's books, it portrays a strong, admirable, resourceful and determined heroine kicking butt with gusto. 

Fantasy Audiobook Review: The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken (The Scarred Earth Saga #1)


bought on audio

Synopsis from Goodreads
When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.  
The Old King Is Dead
 
With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …


Amazon kindle US/UK | Audible US/UK

8/10
* * *

“You have a trebuchet?” Caid asked . . . because he couldn’t think of anything else to say. “Mum made it. She gets bored when she’s pregnant.”  

If The Blacksmith Queen were a movie it would have been directed by Taika Waititi. Because when I think of  Keeley Smythe, all that comes to mind is Thor: Ragnarok. Deadpan humour at its finest.

Short and Sweet YA Fantasy Audiobook Review: Gilded by Christina Farley

Gilded by Christina Farley (Gilded #1)


bought on audio

Synopsis from Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's next.

But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for.


Amazon kindle US/UK | Audible US/UK

8/10

* * *
 I had this book on my kindle for ages and finally got to it by buying an audio companion to listen to instead. And, my dear ladies and gents, it was a delight.

Urban Fantasy Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacy #4)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.


Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

9/10

* * *
 You know what happened to me after finishing Sapphire Flames, folks? Like any other self-respecting fan of Ilona Andrews, I went back and re-read the whole series! Tell me, you somehow had the willpower not to do the same? *grinning*

Chinese Drama Review: Go Go Squid!

Go Go Squid (2019)


Episodes: 41
Status: Completed

Synopsis from MyDramaList
A cute romance between an adorable singer who develops a crush on a guy that she is too scared to approach, he is a genius in the field of computer engineering and a legend in the world of professional gaming.
It is late evening when Han Shang Yan walks into an internet cafe. While helping her cousin watch the shop, Tong Nian catches a glimpse of Han Shang Yan and immediately falls for him. She is usually brave, outgoing and has tens of thousands of followers from singing covers online, but she fumbles whenever she encounters him.
She is used to interviews, but can't even utter a word when speaking to him. He is cold, hard to reach and not the type of guy to be interested in girls, but Tong Nian's unique personality and her persistent ways to get close to him begin to catch his attention.


9/10

* * *
This was an absolute cuteness overload for me, peeps! The closest I can compare it with is Penny Reid's Elements of Chemistry series. It's geeky and adorable and very addictive.

Contemporary Romance Early Review: Grit by Elizabeth Hunter

Grit byElizabeth Hunter (7th and Main #3)


ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
He’s been patient; she’s been busy.
Patience is running out.

Melissa Oxford is a widow with a ranch, an orange grove, a goat-obsessed ten-year-old, and not enough time. She doesn’t have time to make friends. She doesn’t have time to stop and chat, and she definitely does not have time for a boyfriend.
Which is fine, because Cary Nakamura is far from being a boy. Cary’s the man who helped Melissa plant her trees. The friend who keeps offering advice, even when she’s is too stubborn to take it.
He’s also the man who kissed Melissa in broad daylight on a sidewalk in Metlin, California, smack in the face of God and everyone.
But while Melissa may spend a little too long dreaming about Cary from a distance, she knows the kind of passion he promises is more than she can handle.
She just doesn’t have the time.
But sometimes, no matter how busy you are, life makes you stop. It pulls you up short and makes you see things a little more clearly. Things like…
The people you can count on.
The dreams you keep pushing away.
And the passion that can’t be denied.
GRIT is a stand-alone, friends-to-lovers romance in the Love Stories on 7th and Main series by Elizabeth Hunter, author of INK.


Release date: Sept 3rd, 2019.

Amazon kindle US/UK

8.5/10

* * *
 Grit is my favourite book in the series, peeps. Perhaps, because it involves farmers, goats and orange groves. Perhaps, it's the characters I can relate to the most.

Korean Drama Review: Search: WWW

Search: WWW (2019)

Status: Completed
Episodes: 16

Synopsis from MyDramaList

This drama is about the conflicts, the wins, and losses one experiences when working. It will follow the story of 21st century women, who chose to not be a wife or a mother and successfully work without discrimination or impediments.
Bae Ta Mi works as a director for a big web portal company. She is in her late 30's and is quite competitive. With her competitiveness, Ta Mi enjoys success. The methods she uses to win has her wondering if she is doing the right thing with her life. Has she sacrificed too much of her personal life for success?

Park Mo Gun is a man in his 20's and is a gifted composer. He creates music for video games. Mo Gun meets Ta Mi at an arcade. He falls in love with her due to her competitive spirit.


9/10

* * *
It's no secret that in the last year I have fully immersed myself in the world of Asian Dramas. And I am hoping to lure some of you down the rabbit hole with this particular gem.


More often than not, Asian dramas surprise me with reversed gender stereotypes and the absolute kickassery of the female leads; in this, Search: WWW is one of the best I've seen in awhile.


It follows three strong, successful women at the peak of their careers in rival search engines in South Korea. In fact, most of the badass characters in this drama be that heroines or vilainesses have been women. The three male love interests had subdued secondary roles as pretty ornaments to flesh out the female leads. *grins*


Bae Ta Mi "Tammy" get thrown under a bus by her friend and boss to take the blame for manipulating keywords in the search engine during a presidential election campaign. She manages to twist the situation and shift the blame to someone else, but she resignes from her beloved company devastated and gets picked up by the rival search engine in order to get it to the top. While she is going through the turmoil, she meets Park Mo Geon, who is 10 years younger and owns a company creating music for the video games. He is smitten and pursues her relentlessly, while she suffers from guilt from being attracted to him and constantly tries to push him away. Tammy is not interested in kids and marriage, and that's some serious issues considering that Park Mo Geon intends to have both sometime in the future. The chemistry between them is off the charts, and there are many poignant and touching moments.

Song Ga Kyung, Tammy's ex-boss is forced  to betray her because her search engine is being manupulated by the head of the powerful conglomerate, who is also her mother-in-law in an arranged marriage. The whole series she is not only trying to outmaneuver and prevail against all odds, she wants to take that b*tch down! Her and her husband have a bittersweet relationship, both caught up in the scheme and both trying to help each other to win.

Finally, Cha Hyun "Scarlett", is a fiery executive in the rival engine, Tammy starts working in. She is very talented and has an explosive temper, and she is also a very old friend of Song Ga Kyung. While she learns to work with Tammy towards success, the two bond and help each other through various troubles. Scarlett falls for a younger kdrama actor, a gentle and thoughtful guy, her complete opposite. The situations between them are hilarious.


Overall, this drama is a tightly run ship with a fantastic finale. It satisfied me on so many levels, it showed true friendship between women, and none of these three had any need at any point to rely on men. Extremely refreshing, great soundtrack as well and I can't recommend it highly enough. Watch it!


Fantasy Romance Review: Altered by Vicki Stiefel

Altered: The Made Ones Saga (Book #1) by Vicki Stiefel


ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
The Eleutians are dying out, one female at a time. To save their species, the powerful Alchemic Clan conscripts women from parallel worlds, altering them into the perfect breeding stock.
Kitlyn, a retired circus equestrian broken in both body and spirit, awakens on a strange world in her own much-younger body. She has been transformed into a Made One, but the gift of youth and the promise of a new life come at a terrible price.
Rafe, the Wolf Clan's warrior champion, vows to find the cause of the species' decline. He's certain the Alchemics' bid to save the Eleutians is but a thin veneer masking a dark purpose.
That vow becomes hard to keep with the threat of an inter-clan conflict and the arrival of the proud Made One named Kitlyn.
To save herself and those like her, Kit must carve a dangerous path in this new reality and make a choice that may cost her her freedom, her life, and the life of the Eleutian warrior she's come to love.


Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

7.5/10

* * *
  I always read Vicki's books with great pleasure. They are so vivid, original and incredibly cinematic, I can almost imagine them on the big screen. Altered is no exception.

Contemporary Romance Review: Hooked by Elizabeth Hunter

Hooked by Elizabeth Hunter (7th and Main #2)


ecopy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
She’s in high heels; he wears hiking boots.
Can these two opposites make romance in Metlin work?

Tayla McKinnon is not a small town girl. The fashion blogger moved to Metlin with two goals in mind: help her friend start a book store and have a little fun. A year later, Tayla has made new friends, successfully launched INK, and is ready for a new challenge. Too bad she can’t get a certain rock-climbing, comic book geek off her mind.

Jeremy Allen has been playing the long game with Tayla, even though the avid outdoorsman was certain she was the one from the minute he set eyes on her. They may have different tastes, but their chemistry is undeniable.

When a job opportunity from a new fashion start-up lands in her inbox, Tayla takes it as a sign. She’s not meant for a small town, even though her best friend and her inconvenient crush are trying to convince her otherwise.

Jeremy can’t believe Tayla would be willing to leave her new life behind, but maybe he’s been playing it too cool. Summer in Metlin can sizzle, which gives Jeremy an excuse to turn up the heat.

Hooked is a stand-alone, opposites-attract romance in the Love Stories on 7th and Main series by Elizabeth Hunter, USA Today Bestselling author of INK.


Amazon kindle US/UK

  9/10

* * *
This turned out to be a really cosy, beautiful contemporary romance series, Elizabeth Hunter has started. Ink was lovely, but in my view, as the author started settling in into Meitlin lives, Hooked was even better. I don't know why I'm surprised as it happens with every book from Elizabeth Hunter I read.

Urban Fantasy Review: How to Dance an Undead Waltz by Hailey Edwards

How to Dance an Undead Waltz by Hailey Edwards (The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #4) 


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Keep a spot open on your dance card. This is one ball you don't want to miss.

Grier is nursing a broken heart after Boaz announced his engagement to another woman, but life goes on. Or it would if vampire assassins would stop taking pot shots at her every time she leaves Woolworth House. Seriously, who sends archers to deliver murdergrams these days?

To protect herself, Grier must pull out all the stops, even if it means revealing her darkest secret. All eyes are on her, and — for the first time — she begins to understand why Linus wears so many masks. But the target isn’t Grier, and when the archers single him out, it feels like one of their arrows might have struck what remains of her heart.


Amazon Kindle US/UK

8.5/10

* * *
I hope you are following this series that way I am, which is bingeing. Because it's worth it. I am worth it. *grins*

March New Book Releases I'm Dying to Read!

Wild Country by Anne Bishop (The World of The Others #2)


In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side...without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others.

One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance.

But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the Blackstone Clan, outlaws and gamblers all, will uncover secrets…or bury them.


Add to Goodreads

* * *

Now that I caught up to everything, I can't wait to see what happens in this book. This series is so nail-bitingly intense! 

 A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn


Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker's brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly's house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée--much to Stoker's chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly's wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband's mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker's help to discover the host's true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund...
 


Add to Goodreads

* * *

Another excellent series here. Every time I read about Veronika's adventures I have so much fun!

 A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

 

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident--or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion--all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret--one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life--or rescue it from annihilation.


Add to Goodreads

* * *

The premise snagged me, and while I know nothing about this author I am willing to try this book.

  The Devil and The Dancer by Elizabeth Hunter


 Sometimes falling is the safest step to take.

Chloe Reardon has a problem, and his name is Gavin Wallace.

Okay, Gavin isn’t exactly a problem, unless you consider a highly attractive wind vampire with dubious intentions a problem. Especially if that vampire is your boss. With an affinity for kilts and excellent taste in music.

But none of that matters because Chloe Reardon has had enough of dangerous men. Danger is overrated. Danger is the opposite of sexy. So Gavin is the last man—or vampire—on earth she needs to let into her heart.

Except what if the most dangerous man you knew was also the one who made you feel the strongest?

The Devil and the Dancer is a paranormal romance novella in the Elemental Legacy series. 


Add to Goodreads

* * *
 I actually have this one as a review copy and looking forward to reading it as I really like Chloe and Gavin.


Urban Fantasy Review: How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey Edwards

How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey Edwards (The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #3)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Grier finally has the one thing she’s always wanted: Boaz Pritchard. Too bad her dream boyfriend is keeping her up nights, just not in a sweaty or fun way. Boaz has dialed down the Southern charm and stopped returning her calls. His job forces him to keep secrets, but his radio silence is cranking up her suspicions. He’s a shameless flirt, but he’s her shameless flirt… right?

Soon an attack on Woolworth House leaves her with bigger problems than he loves me, he loves me not. Vampires are on the prowl, and they aren’t the only predators circling. A new threat has emerged, one with blood rights to Grier. With enemies closing in on all sides, she must choose her allies, and the decision could make or break her… and her heart.

Warning: This book contains a buttload of zombie parakeet poop. Like grab a poncho and thank me later. Watch out, y’all. It’s about to hit the fan. Hearts will break, and heads will roll. Literally.


Audible US | Amazon Kindle US/UK

8.5/10

* * *

So much cool stuff. Each book gives a little bit more juice, and it just becomes a little bit more delicious. I am starting to dread discovering that Linus is a closet villain (so far, he is not), but that boy is just a liiiittle bit too perfect. 

Urban Fantasy Review:How To Claim an Undead Soul by Hailey Edwards

How to Claim an Undead Soul by Hailey Edwards (The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #2)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Life was simpler for Grier when she was flat broke and a social pariah. Now she's carrying the baggage that goes along with the title of Dame Woolworth, and shouldering that weight is giving her a serious crick in the neck. Her work as a Haint is the one thing that makes her feel normal, but even that's more paranormal than usual.

Spirits are vanishing from well-known hot spots on the ghost tour circuit, and vampires are turning up as shriveled husks. When Grier stumbles across the menace preying on Savannah's supernatural community, what she uncovers is bigger than a few flickering lampposts gone dark. It's a deadly threat unleashed by one of their own, and the cost of saving her city might be her life.


Audible US | Amazon Kindle US/UK

8.5/10

* * *
 It's the second book in series and I am still enjoying the ride. It's a helluva one at that! I think the author is just warming up.

Steampunk Fantasy Romance Review: Mission: Improper by Bec McMaster

Mission: Improper by Bec McMaster (London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Three years ago, London society changed forever, with a revolution placing the widowed Queen firmly on the throne her blue blood husband tried to take from her. Humans, verwulfen and mechs are no longer considered the lesser classes, but not everybody is happy with the new order…

Entire families have gone missing in the East End. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances. Hunting criminals is what the darkly driven blue blood does best, and though he prefers to work alone, the opportunity is too good to resist.

The problem? He’s partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting.

Soon they’re chasing whispered rumours of a secret project gone wrong, and a monster that just might be more dangerous than either of them combined. The only way to find out more is to go undercover among the blue blood elite… But when their hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy, Byrnes and Ingrid must set aside their age-old rivalry if they have any chance at surviving a treacherous plot.


Amazon Kindle US/UK | Book Depository

8.5/10

* * *

I had a long break from steampunk which means I missed on quite a few of Bec McMaster's books.

Mission: Improper restored my desire to read more in this genre, - it was really vivid, visceral and extremely entertaining. As it's the first book in a spin-off from London Steampunk series, the plot has a long development in making and I can not wait to delve into it even more.

Paranormal Fantasy Early Review: Tree of Dreams by Mel Sterling

Tree of Dreams by Mel Sterling (The River: After Dark #1)


ecopy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
It's said that if you sleep under a willow tree, you'll dream of your true love.

Emma Leighton doesn't believe in fairy tales or monsters until a bolt of lightning from a freak summer storm reveals a glimpse of a river creature so fantastical, she can't be certain he's real.

Stranded by the storm, she spends the night in eerie Willow Cottage where terrified guests check out early, vowing never to return. Emma sees nothing out of the ordinary, but her dreams bring her a secret lover like no other, disturbing and alluring in equal measure. Moss is half man, half water serpent. His kisses are cool and deep as the Columbia River itself, and he's been in love with Emma for a long time.

What begins as a dream becomes flesh, an erotic fusing of hearts, souls and bodies. But when others learn the secret sheltered by Willow Cottage, they'll do anything—including kill—to possess it.

Welcome to The River: After Dark.

First in a new series.


Release date: February 15th 2019

Amazon Kindle US/UK

8/10

* * *
 Tree of Dreams is lovely, peeps. It has this sleepy, dreamy, poetic cadence which makes you enjoy not only the plot and the characters but the way we are told about them as well.

Also, fae sex. LKH, eat your heart out! There was something really magical and gentle about it.

Contemporary Fantasy Review: The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.


Amazon Kindle US/UK | Book Depository

8/10

* * *
 The Secret Ingredient of Wishes was lovely. It reminded me of Amy E. Reichert's books of which I am a big fan, mixed with Practical Magic. A little bit of magic and a whole lot of baking, - what can go wrong?

Friday Mini Reviews: Penny Reid, Holly Black & Cathy Yardley

Kissing Tolstoy by Penny Reid (Dear Professor #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Proceeds for the month of release go to hurricane relief efforts.

What do you do when you discover that your super-hot blind date from months ago is now your super-hot Russian Lit professor?

You overthink everything and pray for a swift end to your misery, of course!


‘Kissing Tolstoy’ is the first book in the Dear Professor series, is 46k words, and can be read as a standalone. A shorter version of this story (28k words) was entitled ‘Nobody Looks Good in Leather Pants’ and was available via Penny Reid’s newsletter over the course of 2017. 


Amazon kindle US/UK | Book Depository

8/10

* * *
 This was an absolutely delightful read and Penny Reid at her finest. Also, I loved the joke on the cover. It says: "Kissing Tolstoy", but the actual picture is of Pushkin. I found it really funny. Being Russian myself and all that. Honestly, great romantic comedy.  Read it.
* * *
Ну, милейшая книга! Пенни в своем неподражаемом стиле. Особенно порадовала обложка с ее шуточкой. Ведь на ней написано "Целуя Толстого", а изображен Пушкин! Я конечно посмеялась. Короче, замечательная романтическая комедия. Умная и шутливая. Читайте.


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of The Air #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
 


Audible US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Book Depository

9/10

* * *
This was one of the best books I read last year. I always enjoyed Holly Black's depictions of Fae. They are dark, vicious, very alluring and incredibly complex, so this was dark chocolate ice cream: rich and intense and yummy. Great characters, I would even say, epic. Read it, you would not be disappointed. 
* * *
Одна из лучших книг прошлого года для меня и для многих других читателей. Мне всегда нравились описания фэйри от Холли Блак. Темные, яростные, чарующие и неверояно сложные, прям как мороженое из темного шоколада: богатые по вкусу и очень насыщенные. Прекрасные, даже скажу, эпичные характеры. Читайте, не пожалеете.


One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley (Fandom Hearts #2)


ecopy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads

They couldn't be more opposite, the Hollywood actor and the hometown girl, but all they need is a little convention magic to become the perfect ship in Cathy Yardley's One True Pairing.

Jake Reese needs a decoy girlfriend. Fast. The lead actor of the popular TV show, Mystics, is tired of losing his shirt to overeager fans. Literally. Which is why a chance meeting with gothabilly bookworm-slash-barista Hailey Frost seems almost too perfect to be true. Hailey is not impressed with his TV fame and is desperate to save her family's bookstore. It's a match made in Hollywood, but as the two pretend to date, fan fiction becomes reality. Can this OTP become canon?
 


Audible US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK

7/10

* * *
Cute, entertaining and very easy to read romantic comedy. I already mentioned in reviews of book#1  and book #3 how much I like this series. It's geeky and light and really quick to read, so you don't feel like you are committing. Jake is endearing, and Hailey is as bristly as a hedgehog, but their story is lovely and the secondary plotlines are just as interesting. Go for this series when you crave a comfort read.
* * *
Милая, развлекательная и очень легкая романтическая комедия. Я уже упоминала в рецензиях на книгу первую и третью, насколько мне нравится эта серия. Она гиковская, простенькая и читается быстро, особенно когда не хочется тратить время на тяжелые тома. Джейк - очаровашка, Хэйли щетинится как морской еж, но история их симпатичная, да и второстепенные сюжетные линии интересны. Читайте, особенно когда хочется чего-то комфортного.

Paranormal Fantasy Early Review: Blood Apprentice by Elizabeth Hunter

Blood Apprentice by Elizabeth Hunter (Elemental Legacy #2)


ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
If you’re a human in a vampire’s world, nothing goes according to plan.

When a map to the mysterious fortune of notorious privateer Miguel Enríquez falls in the lap of Ben and Tenzin, only one of them is jumping at the opportunity. Tenzin can’t wait to search for a secret cache of gold. Ben, on the other hand, couldn’t be less excited.

All Ben knows about Puerto Rico is what he hears on the news and a few lingering memories of his human grandmother. Going back to his roots holds zero appeal for the carefully constructed man he’s become.

In the end, the lure of hidden gold can’t be denied.

Ben and Tenzin head to Puerto Rico where the immortal world is ruled by Los Tres, a trio of powerful vampires commanding the wind, the waves, and the mountains that make up this small island in the Caribbean.

To find Enríquez’s treasure, they’ll have to walk a fine line between flattery and secrecy. To leave the island might mean a bigger fight than either one of them foresaw.

Blood Apprentice is the second novel in the Elemental Legacy, a paranormal mystery series by Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Irin Chronicles. 


Release date: February 12th 2019.

Amazon Kindle US/UK

8.5/10

* * *

Whoa! How the dynamics have changed between my favourite couple! This book was gripping, entertaining and bittersweet.

Historical Mystery Review: A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (Veronika Speedwell #3)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker.

His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past.

Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .


Amazon kindle US/UK | Book Depository

8/10

* * *
 
Deanna Raybourn really is a fantastic writer! Veronika and Stoker are a riot together, sharp, violent, cocky, alike. They really feel each other's frequency and bounce ideas off of each other like no one else.

February New Book Releases I'm Dying to read!

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.


The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

  
Goodreads 

 I remember Samantha Shannon's writing. It's phenomenal. I am totally adding this to my shelf!

* * *

 Forced to lie to protect her sister . . .
From the New York Times Bestselling Author, Penny Reid

One week.
Home alone.
Girl genius.
Unrepentant slacker.
Big lie.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Mona is a smart girl and figured everything out a long time ago. She had to. She didn’t have a choice. When your parents are uber-celebrities and you graduate from high school at fifteen, finish college at eighteen, and start your PhD program at nineteen, you don’t have time for distractions outside of your foci. Even fun is scheduled. Which is why Abram, her brother’s best friend, is such an irritant.

Abram is a talented guy, a supremely gifted musician, and has absolutely nothing figured out, nor does he seem to care. He does what he feels, when he feels, and—in Mona’s opinion—he makes her feel entirely too much.


Laws of Physics is the second trilogy in the Hypothesis series; Laws of Physics parts 1 (MOTION) & 2 (SPACE) end with a cliffhanger.


Goodreads

I really liked the first trilogy in this series, so I am really looking forward to geeking out to this one :)

 * * *

 A contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their futures--and the TV show they host--in their senior year of high school.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show's guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he'll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous...and momentous.


Goodreads

I don't know anything about the author, but with the synopsis like that I have a feeling I will like it. What do you think? 

* * *
 
 It's said that if you sleep under a willow tree, you'll dream of your true love.

Emma Leighton doesn't believe in fairy tales or monsters until a bolt of lightning from a freak summer storm reveals a glimpse of a river creature so fantastical, she can't be certain he's real.

Stranded by the storm, she spends the night in eerie Willow Cottage where terrified guests check out early, vowing never to return. Emma sees nothing out of the ordinary, but her dreams bring her a secret lover like no other, disturbing and alluring in equal measure. Moss is half man, half water serpent. His kisses are cool and deep as the Columbia River itself, and he's been in love with Emma for a long time.

What begins as a dream becomes flesh, an erotic fusing of hearts, souls and bodies. But when others learn the secret sheltered by Willow Cottage, they'll do anything—including kill—to possess it.

Welcome to The River: After Dark.

First in a new series.


Goodreads 

 I've just read and reviewed this one, and it's lovely. 

* * *

 If you’re a human in a vampire’s world, nothing goes according to plan.

When a map to the mysterious fortune of notorious privateer Miguel Enríquez falls in the lap of Ben and Tenzin, only one of them is jumping at the opportunity. Tenzin can’t wait to search for a secret cache of gold. Ben, on the other hand, couldn’t be less excited.

All Ben knows about Puerto Rico is what he hears on the news and a few lingering memories of his human grandmother. Going back to his roots holds zero appeal for the carefully constructed man he’s become.

In the end, the lure of hidden gold can’t be denied.

Ben and Tenzin head to Puerto Rico where the immortal world is ruled by Los Tres, a trio of powerful vampires commanding the wind, the waves, and the mountains that make up this small island in the Caribbean.

To find Enríquez’s treasure, they’ll have to walk a fine line between flattery and secrecy. To leave the island might mean a bigger fight than either one of them foresaw.

Blood Apprentice is the second novel in the Elemental Legacy, a paranormal mystery series by Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Irin Chronicles. 


Goodreads

I've got a copy for review and I can not wait to dig in! Benzin is my favorite duo of all Elizabeth's couples! 

Urban Fantasy Review: Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop (The World of The Others #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
In this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.


Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Book Depository

9/10

* * *
 Oh my god, soooo goood!

I loved The Others, and this spin-off does not disappoint with its intensity and amazing atmosphere.

Urban Fantasy Review: How to Save an Undead Life by Hailey Edwards

How to Save an Undead Life by Hailey Edwards (Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Grier Woolworth spends her nights weaving spooky tales of lost souls and tragedies for tourists on the streets of downtown Savannah. Hoop skirt and parasol aside, it's not a bad gig. The pay is crap, but the tips keep the lights on in her personal haunted mansion and her pantry stocked with ramen.

Life is about as normal as it gets for an ex-necromancer hiding among humans. Until the society that excommunicated Grier offers her a second chance at being more than ordinary. Too bad no one warned her the trouble with being extraordinary is it can get you killed.


Warning: This book contains one ex-con/ex-heiress with a pet zombie parakeet who lives next door to her ex-army/ex-crush. Brace yourselves, we're talking more exes than a pirate treasure map here.


Audible US | Amazon Kindle US/UK | Book Depository

8.5/10

* * *

A really excellent urban fantasy, and an author I felt at ease with from the get-go.

Fantasy Romance Review: Lady of Light and Shadows by C.L.Wilson

Lady of Light and Shadows by C.L. Wilson (Tairen Soul #2)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
She feared the dark visions and the magic within her. And she dreamed of the miraculous love that could save her.

Like an enchanted fairy tale prince he stepped from the sky to claim her—the Fey King, her destiny, her one and true love.

But behind the mesmerizing beauty of Rain’s violet eyes Ellysetta saw the passionate hunger of the beast . . . and a sorrow, deep and ancient, that she alone could heal. Only for him would she embrace the frightening power that dwells within her. Only with him at her side could she confront the shadows that haunt her soul. For an epic battle looms on the horizon—and only united can they hope to turn back the armies of the darkness.


Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Book Depository 

8.5/10

* * *
 C.L. Wilson is very similar to Anne Bishop in style. She keeps you on the edge of your seat with her vivid action scenes and juicy villains.

Romantic Comedy Review: Good Girl by Jana Aston

Good Girl by Jana Aston 


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
I’ve always been a good girl.
I work hard, I follow the rules, and I always achieve my goals.

But sometimes good girls want things that aren’t good for them.
Or someone who isn’t good for them.
Like their new boss.

And sometimes they do very bad things to get his attention.
Like sell their virginity in an auction.

Who knew he’d be so very, very mad?
Maybe this was not my best laid plan…


Audible US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Book Depository

7.5/10

* * *
 This book was fun and sexy and just plain relaxing after a long, hard day! My first Jana Aston read and definitely not the last.

Murder Mystery Review: Murder in All Honour by Anne Cleeland

Murder in All Honour by Anne Cleeland (New Scotland Yard/ Doyle and Acton #5)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Things are a bit grim at Scotland Yard, this Christmas. On the heels of a nasty corruption scandal, the CID must now contend with a killer who is murdering pregnant women, so as to steal their babies. Chief Inspector Acton doesn't want Doyle anywhere near this case, of course, but she can't shake the feeling that there is more to his concern than his usual over-protectiveness—and more to this case than the usual psycho-killer.

Audible US/UK | Amazon Kindle US/UK | Book Depository

8/10

* * *
 This particular Doyle and Acton's instalment didn't grab me straight away, and it took me a while to get through the first 30% of the book.

And yet, I persevered. Once things started moving, this unique pairing sucked me right in.

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KARINA IS READING

READING

The Night Circus
Legacy
Gabriel's Inferno
Touch

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In case of zombie apocalypse

Hey, guys! I feel like I should say this just in case :)
If you'd like to sponsor a fellow book addict who sometimes can't sleep at night worrying that she won't have enough books to read if internet goes down in the event of zombie apocalypse (I'm convinced it's one of the top five ways to go for human race) you can donate through Paypal to olivesandacorns at gmail dot com or buy a book through any of the links provided with my reviews which will send me a small percentage from the sale. All proceeds will go towards my enormous TBR. I will also shelter you on the remote farm in Portugal when zombie apocalypse starts provided you survive getting there. There will be books, yay?
Thank you! Love you all

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