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Fantasy Romance Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (Fallen Empire #1)

Egalley thanks to Ace Books

Synopsis fromGoodreads
A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

  Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The BookDepository


* * *
Guys, guys, this book is amazeballs! I totally cried at the end. First of all, this is Grace Draven we are talking about: an author I always trust to deliver.

Secondly, the story is ruthless and at the same time, kind, bittersweet and raw. I kept thinking of Spartacus, with a smidgen of C.L. Wilson and Elizabeth Vaughan in that sense, that the main hero is a conqueror himself. Or he goes from a slave to a conqueror. And the main heroine... Holy crap, peeps! I loved her spirit and the depth of her self-awareness.

Romantic Comedy Review: Level Up by Cathy Yardley

Level Up by Cathy Yardley (Fandom Hearts #1)

ecopy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can't do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.

Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?

  Audible US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK


 Fun, easy, upbeat series with the right amount of geeky humour to suit the fans of The Big Bang Theory with a dash of  New Girl. I blitzed through three books I had and would have happily munched on more.

September New Book Releases I'm Dying To Read!

Guys, I know I suck! Sorry for the internet silence for the past month, but it's been the busiest on the farm and there are no breaks from long hot days. By the time I'm in bed I have 30 mins of reading max and I'm asleep...

Anyway, as soon as it cools down, I expect to pick up reviewing again. Phoenix Unbound is amazing, pre-order it! Especially if you enjoyed Elizabeth Vaughan's Warprize or C.L. Wilson's The Winter King. This has that kind of feel to it. I luuurved it! 
What are you dying to read this month? Dish it out! :)

August New Book Releases I'm Dying to Read

Some epic releases this month, yes? I am nervous about the last Kate Daniels, peeps... It will truly feel like the end of an era, which is why I'm avoiding any reviews or previews. What are you dying to read in August? Let me know.

Time Travel Mystery Review: An Urchin of Means by April White

An Urchin of Means by April White (Baker Street #1)

ecopy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Ringo Devereux knows far too much for a man of his times. There’s no simple explanation for it that doesn’t involve improbable conversations about the future, and Ringo’s advanced understanding of three-phase generators and the secret histories of his city are not things he can discuss with the Victorian Londoners around him. Even his origins as an orphaned street thief are far too dangerous for a young gentleman of means to reveal.

An encounter with a ten-year-old pickpocket, and a luncheon with Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle draw Ringo back into the shadows of his criminal past. A stolen gemstone, a suspicious pawnbroker, and a damning bundle of letters are mysteries that require Ringo’s thief’s instincts, his obscure facts, and the help of a little girl with the skills of deduction like his.

But are these crimes as random as they first appear? What do a covert affair and a blue carbuncle have in common? Ringo knows too much, but someone knows more, and the identity of a mysterious red-haired woman is perhaps the most diabolically complicated plot of them all.

  Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The BookDepository


Ladies and gentlemen, if you loved following Ringo's adventures in The Immortal Descendants series, you will adore the man this series honed and distilled him into now!

Contemporary Romance Review: Ink by Elizabeth Hunter

Ink: A Love Story on 7th and Main by Elizabeth Hunter

ecopy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
It’s everything but business as usual.

Emmie Elliot hadn’t expected to come back to Metlin, California. She definitely didn’t expect to stay. She returned to her childhood home with a mission: Sell the building that housed her grandmother’s book store and move on with her life.

But life doesn’t always go according to plan.

To reopen her grandmother’s book shop, Emmie will need a hook. She’ll need a strategy. She’ll need an… Ox?

Miles Oxford doesn’t have much interest in quiet bookstore owners. He’s a tattoo artist without a space to work, and the last thing he wants is to get involved with anyone after his last disaster of a relationship. Work and pleasure don’t mix for Ox, but since he doesn’t have any interest in the cute girl with the bold business proposal, he should be safe from any awkward complications, right?

She sells ink. He tattoos it. Unusual? Yes. But a book shop/tattoo studio might be the ticket for both Emmie and Ox to find success on their own terms. As long as they keep their attention focused on business.

Just on business.

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


* * * 
"She couldn't say no when someone asked for a book recommendation. It was a compulsion."

I think to me this was a love story between a reader and their passion for books. Elizabeth just had to get inside a bookworm's head and show what's bubbling under the surface. And I luuurved it! From nerdy t-shirts to cosy sassiness of Emmie's mugs, including her care for her gran's bookstore and unstoppable desire to make it work again. Duh, never discount romance readers! We are a force to be reckoned with. *grins*

Fantasy Audiobook Review: The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library #4)

audiocopy courtesy of Audible Studios

Synopsis from Goodreads
After being commissioned to find a rare book, Librarian Irene and her assistant, Kai, head to Prohibition-era New York and are thrust into the middle of a political fight with dragons, mobsters, and Fae.

In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can't extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They'll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library's own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn't end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene's job. And, incidentally, on her life...

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


* * *
I always really enjoy listening to Genevieve Cogman's stories. The world-building of The Invisible Library is very original, and because it's a multitude of alternative worlds, I don't imagine we, as readers, would ever tire of it.

July New Book Releases I'm Dying to Read!

Wow, new Dorina Bassarab and new Naomi Novik books were a pleasant surprise! I've been out of the loop for a few months, peeps. Sorry about that! Am trying to get back on track.
What are you dying to read this month?
hugs x

Urban Fantasy Review: Chest of Stone by Vicki Stiefel

Chest of Stone by Vicki Stiefel (Afterworld Chronicles #2)

ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
A Daring Mage. A Damaged Monster. A Deathly Mission.

Mage Clea Reese hunts a deadly Creature that ritually slaughtered three shifter children. In order to unearth the beast, she needs the aid of her broken lover, James Larrimer.

Together, they aim to smoke out the killer while pursuing Clea’s quest for the magical Chest of Stone and preventing the Magical and the Mundane worlds from splintering. 

Their hunt for the beast drags them from the Mundane realm to the Magic one, where a lethal sorceress seeks to destroy Clea and procure the chest for herself.

The race for the killer and the Chest is on, but time's against Clea and Larrimer when the Creature kidnaps another child and seeks Clea for its own dark purposes.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The BookDepository

* * *


I really like the way Mrs Stiefel expresses herself. Her writing is very original, it just flows, always in the moment, always unconstrained by having to choose one or the other train of thought. Her heroine's mind flits from one thing to another and finds snarky humour in the most absurd of situations. It's fluid, it wanders just like our minds. And I don't see it expressed like that very often.

Friday Mini Audiobook Reviews #109: Sarah J. Maas, C.D. Reiss & Paul Cornell

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

bought on audio

Synopsis from Goodreads
Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

  Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository
I've been enjoying this series more than Celaena, peeps. It feels more together and a bit more mature (pun intended). I also love that they are such long books that it's worth buying them on audio for countless hours of entertainment. I think I did 6 days of olive harvest to this book. *grins* I totally dig Rhys and Feyre. Theirs is an awesome union of two souls who really took time to understand each other. The overall story arch is on epic scale, and it's a vivid, fast-paced fantasy. Absolutely recommended.
* * *
Честно, слушаю я эту серию с большим удовольствием, чем Селину Сардотьен. Все-таки, она эмоционально повзрослее, и, к тому же, каждая книга - это увесистый том, который выгодно покупать на аудио и слушать очень долго. Под эту книгу я по моему собирала урожай оливок чуть ли ни неделю. *смеясь* Мне очень нравятся Рис и Фейра как пара, так как их союз достался им нелегко, и они долго друг к другу присматривались и приценивались. Да и главная сюжетная линия здесь совершенно эпичного масштаба, яркая и динамичная. Скучать не придется, рекомендую. 

Marriage Games by C.D. Reiss (The Games Duet #1)

bought on audio

Synopsis from Goodreads
That’s all Adam Steinbeck demands of his wife.
Thirty days in a remote cottage, doing everything he demands. After that, he’ll sign her divorce papers and give her complete ownership of their company.

That’s how long he has to rediscover the man he once was. The Dominant Master he hid when he fell in love with her five years ago.

She wants the business they built badly enough to go to the cottage for a month. Cut off ties to the world and do his bidding. She can submit to him with her body, but her heart will never yield.

She thinks this is his pathetic attempt to repair their marriage.

She’s wrong.

  Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The BookDepository
Not my favourite read by this author, ladies and gents. Mostly, because it feels like a lost cause with a note of underlying bitterness. The relationship broke down, and no matter what, it can not be put back together the same way. It was an interesting experiment to follow, and I did enjoy the characters on their way to self-discovery, but they confused the heck out of me together. I'll listen to book two to see what happens, because right now I have no clue how it'll all ends.
* * *
Не очень мне понравилась эта книга от С.Д. Райсс, несмотря на свою оригинальность. Ну, не вижу я как отношения, которые закончились могут вернуться к прежнему статусу кво. Ведь сама пара и их восприятие друг друга сильно поменялись. Эта книга оставила у меня привкус горечи, но читать вторую часть все-равно буду, так как понятия не имею как этот дуэт закончится. 

London Falling by Paul Cornell (Shadow Police #1)

bought on audio

Synopsis from Goodreads
The dark is rising ...Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack's murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law -- until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again.

As the group starts to see London's sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game - and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.

  Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The BookDepository
It's like a toss between Joe Hill and Ben Aaronovitch. I liked the narrator a lot, and how tense and suspenseful the chase after the villain had been, but there were so many main characters with their own storylines, I kind of lost focus. The setting and the atmosphere were fascinating, and I'll be definitely picking up more by this author. I can easily imagine this series on TV.
* * *
Это какое-то смешение Джо Хилла и Бена Аароновича. Рассказчик мне очень понравился, все было напряженно и динамично, с большой дозой хоррора. Не понравилось то, что здесь слишком много главых героев с разными сюжетными линиями, и читатель теряет фокус. Атмосфера шикарная и сам мир очень интересный, так что буду продолжать серию. Мне ее легко представить на ТВ. 
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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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