Book Chick City - Urban Fantasy & Romance Reviews Urban Fantasy & Romance Reviews Wed, 07 Oct 2015 17:50:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 REVIEW: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent Wed, 07 Oct 2015 17:00:34 +0000 Menagerie by Rachel VincentA brand new series about all the fun of the fair, Menagerie by Rachel Vincent puts an urban fantasy twist on the travelling carnival.

I originally downloaded this book from NetGalley as I loved the description and hadn’t read anything by Vincent before, so this was a great place to start. The plot begins with Delilah Marlow’s birthday and an ensuing trip to Metzger’s Menagerie, a travelling show which promises to both delight and frighten its audience with the promise of cryptids. Cryptids are basically anything non-human in the context of this book, or anything abnormal that could frighten the general population. As such, the Menagerie shows creatures such as ifrits and werewolves, oracles and succubi, and even owns a minotaur.

Having studied cryptid biology at university, Delilah knows all about these creatures and their capabilities, even empathising with their caged conditions. A trip to the Menagerie is about the worst thing her best friend and boyfriend could have bought her, but she goes along anyway to keep the peace. However, when she sees one of the Menagerie’s handlers abusing a werewolf child with an electric prod, Delilah is unable to stay silent. She tells him to stop this unnecessary torture of a child, with her anger steadily increasing and the rage bubbling under the surface. She can feel her hair stand on end and her nails lengthen into talons, exacting her own justice on the cruel handler.

With the crowds around her left staring in shocked silence, Delilah is captured and taken to the local authorities, where her exclamations that she is still human are repeatedly ignored. Awaiting the blood test results to find out what kind of cryptid she is, Delilah is sold into the Menagerie and caged as their latest exhibit. With only her handler, Gallagher, as a potential ally, she is left to fend for herself in a dirty cage with barely any food or water, let alone clean clothing. She doesn’t know what triggered her transformation, but if she can’t repeat the process then she might well be sold to someone worse than the Menagerie, who might just succeed in breaking her fierce spirit.

I really enjoyed this initial book in the series and the world building that Vincent achieves throughout. We are given a clear picture of cryptids and why they might be dangerous and locked up, as well as the human laws which have been introduced to give cryptids no legal rights at all. Through the perspective of a human such as Delilah we get to see how the situation is not always black and white, and that just the belief of a cryptid nature is enough to condemn. This understanding really helps us to feel Delilah’s frustration even more, as you can feel frustrated on her behalf at the injustice, as well as on the behalf of the other Menagerie residents.

I think Delilah made for a strong protagonist, as she is fierce and protective of the cryptids, taking personal offence at the cruelty they have suffered at the hands of the Menagerie. She was admirable in her inability to stand down, remaining strong-willed and independent even if it meant forfeiting her dinner rights. The Menagerie repeatedly beat her down but she always comes back fighting, determined to calculate a way out of her prison. Admittedly, I would have liked to know more about her past and her cryptid studies, as she still seems fairly naïve when faced with other cryptid species when I would have expected her to have a previous knowledge.

When it came to her relationship with Gallagher, I also felt that this was an area that could have been developed a bit more. He is her handler in the Menagerie, tasked with bringing out her transformation no matter the method, yet he always seems difficult to read. There are times when he is compassionate and carries out secret favours, but then the next minute he has sanctioned further cruelty behind Delilah’s back. The reasoning behind his actions does become apparent by the end of the book, but I think this explanation was a little rushed and I still don’t feel like I know him as a character.

Likewise, there are several unanswered questions in terms of the other Menagerie residents and their pasts which I would have liked to see answered. For example, we have perspectives from Romilly’s point of view, one of the oracles, but all we get are vague predictions and the hint that something bad has happened to her at the hands of the Menagerie staff. I would have liked to see more of her, as these perspectives made me think she was going to play an important role instead of being forgotten about. There were a lot of characters introduced during the course of the book, so I did feel that only some are given the descriptive detail that they deserved.

Despite these slight character tweaks, I really enjoyed the concept of this book and think that there is a lot of scope for future stories and new characters. The ending tries its best to wrap up as many loose ends as possible, but there are several threads left open for the next book, not to mention some sudden revelations that beg further explanation. I’m looking forward to reading future books by Vincent, as her writing style flows well and the mixture of character perspectives is useful in showing events from opposing sides. If you like your urban fantasy with a hint of carnivalesque fun and a sassy heroine, then this is definitely a series for you.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
(Menagerie #1)
Urban Fantasy
Harlequin MIRA (29 Sept 2015)
Ebook: 400 pages

Website || Goodreads || Amazon UK: Hardback / Kindle || Amazon US: Hardback

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FEED YOUR FICTION ADDICTION: October’s New UK Releases in Romance Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:00:45 +0000 FEED YOUR FICTION ADDICTION

New UK Releases in Romance

The following list of new releases are from UK and US publishers, however they are based on UK publication dates only. Some of the books listed have already been published in the US, and being a Brit chick, I always want to know when books will be available for me in the UK, which is why I compiled this list. Hope you find it useful. All summaries from Goodreads or Amazon :)

Redemption Road - Katie AshleyREDEMPTION ROAD by Katie Ashley
(Vicious Cycle #2 // Contemporary Romance)

Headline Eternal, 6th Oct 2015

Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, starts dating a biker she knows is completely wrong for her. But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined. Born and bred into the Hells Raiders MC, Nathaniel ‘Reverend’ Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unexpected savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health – and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her.

Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the woman he was never supposed to love?

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

Irresistibly Yours - Lauren LayneIRRESISTIBLY YOURS by Lauren Layne
(Oxford #1 // Contemporary Romance)

Headline Eternal, 6th Oct 2015

Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes-and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her.

Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around – or starting something real.

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US

81ZYBNatDSL._SL1500_COLD-HEARTED RAKE by Lisa Kleypas
(Cold-Hearted Rake #1 // Historical Romance)

Piatkus, 27th Oct 2015

A twist of fate: Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities… and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house… along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own.

A clash of wills: Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny – and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skilfully erotic seduction, only one question remains: Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

Power Play - Tiffany SnowPOWER PLAY by Tiffany Snow
(Risky Business #1 // Romantic Suspense)

Piatkus, 29th Oct 2015

Sage Reese lives for her job. More precisely, she lives for her debonair boss, Parker Andersen. Sage handles everything for Parker, even as she fantasizes about the one thing that isn’t in her job description: him. But when a high-stakes account crosses the line from shady to deadly, a tough cop starts giving Sage the attention she wishes Parker would…

Detective Dean Ryker couldn’t be more different from Parker. While Parker wears expensive suits like a second skin and drives a BMW, Ryker’s uniform is leather jackets and jeans . . . and his ride of choice is a Harley. While Parker’s sexiness is a reserved, slow burn, Ryker is completely upfront about what-and who-he’s after. And Sage tops his list. Now, as Ryker digs deeper into the dark side of Parker’s business, Sage finds herself caught between two men: the one she’s always wanted – and the one who makes her feel wanted like never before…

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository


Playing Dirty - Tiffany SnowPLAYING DIRTY by Tiffany Snow
(Risky Business #2 // Romantic Suspense)

Piatkus, 29th Oct 2015

Faced with a choice between bad-boy detective Dean Ryker and sexy power player Parker Anderson, Sage Reese fought the law – and the law won. But while Ryker’s sizzling touch may rule her nights, Sage’s days belong to Parker’s cool, calculating intensity…

Both Ryker and Parker are determined to protect Sage from a brutal enemy who’d use her to pay for their mistakes. Yet when the usually single-minded Ryker is distracted by ghosts from his past, Parker seizes his opportunity to get Sage’s attention – and keep it in ways beyond her wildest dreams. Now, caught between a mobster out for revenge and two men who were once best friends, Sage must play to win – even if it means getting dirty…

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

Your Tonight - Joya RyanYOURS TONIGHT by Joya Ryan
(Reign #1 // Contemporary Erotic Romance)

Piatkus, 15th Oct 2015

He will give her everything she’s ever wanted… Jack Powell’s confidence is matched only by his intensity. The darkness in him comes from years of secrets and memories he’d rather forget. Lana has an exotic innocence that draws him in and Jack wants a taste of her. She’s a light in the darkness of his world – and she needs help, which he agrees to give her.

The only rule? He makes the rules…. Lana gives up her control, letting Jack take her body however he needs, while she works her way into his heart. But Jack’s past catches up to them and Lana finds herself wrapped up in a scheme that will expose every secret she’s worked so hard to keep. She clung to Jack once when her world was crashing down, but this time, she loves him. She’ll continue to reach for him – her only fear is if he’ll reach back, or go on his way, taking her soul with him…

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

All I Want - Jill ShalvisALL I WANT by Jill Shalvis
(Animal Magnetism #7 // Contemporary Romance)

Headline Eternal, 6th Oct 2015

The sky’s the limit when it comes to love… Pilot-for-hire Zoe Stone is happy to call Sunshine, Idaho, her home base. But her quiet life is thrown for a loop when her brother’s friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent is a handsome flirt with a gift for getting under her skin. And the situation only escalates when Parker hires her to fly him around the area while he collects evidence on a suspected smuggler. Now she has to live and work with the guy. But when they’re in the air, she sees another side of him. He’s driven, focused, and sharp. And while he enjoys giving commentary on her blind dates, she quickly realizes with a shock that it’s Parker who gets her engines going…

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

* Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliated. If you purchase anything via this link I get a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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REVIEW: High Tide by Veronica Henry Mon, 05 Oct 2015 17:00:32 +0000 High Tide by Veronica HenryBringing a bit of last minute sunshine to the British summer, High Tide by Veronica Henry gives us a snapshot of a quintessentially British coastal town.

The book begins with the funerals of two of Pennfleet’s local residents, who each moved in different social circles and so offer us different lifestyles to explore. The first, Joy, was a social worker who brought cheer and goodwill to those she met, with her daughter Kate having flown back from New York for the funeral. Since leaving Pennfleet, Kate has worked her way up in social circles and become a typical New Yorker, with this return home offering a quieter way of life. When she finds an old letter from her mother’s past, she is forced to re-examine her own and question whether her new life is as good as her old one.

Pennfleet’s other funeral is for Spencer, a rich man who frequented the town on weekend visits but never really became involved in the day-to-day activities. He had become distant from his wife, Vanessa, after an ectopic pregnancy left them unable to have children, with her choosing to reside permanently in Pennfleet. It might be unseemly for a widow, but Vanessa is now free to do as she chooses and perhaps to fall in love again, with a man who might give her a little more attention. When she finds herself kissing the young Nathan Fisher following the funeral, she is shocked at what the town will think of her with a younger man, scared of her own feelings in case she becomes a laughing stock.

Our last character is one of Pennfleet’s newest residents, Sam, who has moved his two children to the town following the death of their mother. The family needed an escape from the busy life of London, so Sam opened a café and has been slowly integrating himself into town life. However, he now has to deal with the drama of his daughter finding her first boyfriend and his devious children trying to set him up on a blind date. Is he really ready to move on after the death of his wife?

I think the plot of this book surprised me as it wasn’t what I had anticipated based on the synopsis and front cover. I was prepared for a summer romance, but instead was greeted with snapshots of town life and its different residents. The overall impression of the town is created well, with there being glimpses of both the average family and the richer class, with each character having their niche appeal. I was slightly disappointed that the stories didn’t really interconnect, as it would have been nice for there to be more interaction between characters, especially given the attempts to reinforce that Pennfleet is a tight-knit community.

With the shifting perspectives throughout the book, I found that I was most looking forward to Nathan and Vanessa’s, as they share a passionate kiss after the funeral but then seem scared to seek each other out and find out what happens next. Vanessa is understandably scared of being a cougar, especially when her husband has only just been buried, but at the same time it is easy to relate to her craving for affection and someone to take an interest. Likewise, Nathan is worried that he might have preyed on her grief and that all she needed was a shoulder to cry on. He might have feelings for her, but he doesn’t want to rush into anything and be nursing a broken heart later on.

I think I liked their story because it had more of a focus, with there being a definite plotline to follow and an outcome to root for. I think Kate and Sam’s stories struggled a bit more with having a direction, as Kate doesn’t really explore her past or her mother’s letter at great speed, with there being more detail about her struggles with New York life versus Pennfleet, and the stress of her job and her boss’s demands. In the same way, Sam doesn’t really have a problem with his teenage children until halfway through the book, when he finds out about his daughter’s first date and then the ensuing matchmaking attempt. I was never sure which direction these plotlines would go in, or what the point of them would be, as they didn’t really interrelate with anything else that was going on and felt slow to come to fruition.

On the whole, I did enjoy the picture that Henry created of Pennfleet and the slower pace of life that was enjoyed there. I would have liked a little more character development with Kate and Sam, but I liked how Vanessa and Nathan’s story was told and could really see them as a couple despite the age difference. I think the author tries to deal with a variety of issues in this book, and perhaps would have been better focusing on fewer dramas and to instead give more character or relationship detail. Nevertheless, this was a fun book to bring back a taste of the summer, and gives a great look at the British way of life in a small town.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

High Tide by Veronica Henry
Contemporary Romance
Orion (24 Sept 2015)
Ebook: 328 pages

Website || Goodreads || Amazon UK: Paperback / Kindle || Amazon US: Paperback / Kindle

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FEED YOUR FICTION ADDICTION: October’s New UK Releases in Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:15:10 +0000 FEED YOUR FICTION ADDICTION

New UK Releases in Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

The following list of new releases are from UK and US publishers, however they are based on UK publication dates only. Some of the books listed have already been published in the US, and being a Brit chick, I always want to know when books will be available for me in the UK, which is why I compiled this list. Hope you find it useful. All summaries from Goodreads or Amazon :)

Autumn Thorns - Yasmine GalenornAUTUMN THORNS by Yasmine Galenorn
(Whisper Hollow #1 // Urban Fantasy)

Headline Eternal, 25th Oct 2015

Enter Whisper Hollow at your own risk, for in this town spirits walk among the living, and the lake never gives up her dead. Whisper Hollow is no ordinary place. In this haunted town, people don’t stay buried. Kerris Fellwater isn’t your usual human. She’s a spirit shaman who drives the dead back to their graves. Fifteen years ago, Kerris ran away from her hometown. But now she’s back, and there are deadly magical forces at work, wreaking havoc.

Whisper Hollow holds painful memories for Kerris, but a lot has changed. There’s a mysterious new guy in town, Bryan, who Kerris feels powerfully drawn to. Together they unearth a horrifying family secret, and unravelling the mystery means working with – rather than against – the dead. Can they defeat Whisper Hollow’s enemy, before it destroys them?

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

The Shadows - J R WardTHE SHADOWS by J. R. Ward
(Black Dagger Brotherhood #13 // Paranormal Romance)

Piatkus, 6th Oct 2015

Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by Sunday Times bestselling author J. R. Ward. Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on . . . except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around… but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating. Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice . . .

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

Dragon on Top - G A AikenDRAGON ON TOP by G. A. Aiken
(Dragon Kin #0.4 // Paranormal Romance)

Zebra, 27th Oct 2015

I am Ghleanna the Decimator. I am a warrior. A soldier. I know no fear. No pain. No mercy. I do, however, know acute embarrassment! How could I not after getting dumped by a bastard dragon in front of my own troops? So I tuck tail and return to my cave, drowning my sorrows in ale—as is my family’s way. But instead of leaving me to my misery, I’ve been summoned to the Dragon Queen’s court.

As if my life wasn’t pathetic enough, Her Majesty now has me escorting the highborn Bram the Merciful through dangerous territories—not exactly the best use of my military training. And just so he can negotiate with enemy dragons instead of battling them? Honestly, what has my world come to? Then again…Bram is quite easy on the eyes. And the perfect distraction for what ails me. Perhaps I’m looking at all this the wrong way. Maybe there is a place for a little “mercy” in my life…

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US

The Society of Blood - Mark MorrisTHE SOCIETY OF BLOOD by Mark Morris
(Obsidian Heart #2 // Urban Fantasy)

Titan Books, 16th Oct 2015

Alex Locke is still searching for his missing young daughter. Transported through time to the dank streets of Victorian London, his only hope of finding her lies with the obsidian heart, the enigmatic object to which his fate seems inextricably bound.

Desperately seeking the heart, Alex follows the trail of a gruesome murderer that will lead him through the opium dens of Limehouse into the dark and twisted world of the Society of Blood, and ever closer to unlocking the secret of the heart and finding his daughter.

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

White Trash Zombie Gone Wild - Diana RowlandWHITE TRASH ZOMBIE GONE WILD by Diana Rowland
(White Trash Zombie #5 // Urban Fantasy)

DAW Books, 6th Oct 2015

Angel crawford has buried her loser past and is cruising along in undead high gear–that is, until a murder-by-decapitation sends her on a hazardous detour. As Angel hunts for the killer, she uncovers a scheme that would expose zombies to the public and destroy the life she’s built, and she’s determined not to rest until she finds out who’s behind it. Soon she’s neck-deep in lies, redneck intrigue, zombie hunters, and rot-sniffing cadaver dogs. It’s up to her to unravel the truth and snuff out the conspiracy before the existence of zombies makes headline news and she’s outed as a monster.

But Angel hasn’t quite escaped the pill-popping ghosts of her past–not with an illicit zombie pharmaceutical at her fingertips. Good thing she’s absolutely sure she can handle the drug’s unpredictable side effects and still take down the bad guys…or maybe she’s only one bad choice away from being dead meat–for real this time. Angel knows a thing or two about kicking ass, but now the ass she needs to kick might be her own

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

The Devious Dr Jekyll - Viola CarrTHE DEVIOUS DR. JEKYLL by Viola Carr
(Electric Empire #2 // Sci-Fi Steampunk)

Harper Voyager, 27th Oct 2015

Dr. Eliza Jekyll, heroine of the electrifying The Diabolical Miss Hyde—an edgy steampunk retelling of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—investigates a bizarre murder case in an alternate Victorian London while battling her treacherous secret half: Lizzie Hyde. Solving the infamous Chopper case has helped crime scene physician Dr. Eliza Jekyll establish her fledgling career in the chauvinistic world of Victorian law enforcement. But the scrutiny that comes with her newfound fame is unwelcome for a woman with a diabolical secret. And there is the mercurial Royal Society agent and wolf man Remy Lafayette. Does he want to marry her, eat her, or burn her at the stake? Though Eliza is uncertain about Remy, her dark and jealous shadow self, Lizzie, wants to steal the magnetic and persistent agent, and usurp Eliza’s life.

It’s impossible to push Remy away when he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a bizarre crime. The search for a bloodthirsty ritual torturer dubbed the Pentacle Killer draws them into a terrifying world of spies, art thieves, and evil alchemy, where the price of immortality is madness—or damnation—and only Lizzie’s dark ingenuity can help Eliza survive. As Eliza and Remy race to thwart a foul conspiracy involving the sorcerous French, they must also overcome a sinister enemy who is all too close: the vengeful Lizzie, determined to dispose of Eliza for good.

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US

Mercury Retrograde - Laura BickleMERCURY RETRODRADE by Laura Bickle
(Dark Alchemy #2 // Urban Fantasy)

Harper Voyager Impulse, 27th Oct 2015

Something venomous has come to Temperance… It’s been two months since Petra Dee and her coyote sidekick Sig faced off against Temperance’s resident alchemist, but things are far from quiet. When an Internet video of a massive snake in the backcountry of Yellowstone goes viral, a chase for the mythical basilisk is on. Monster hunters swarm into the area, and never one to pass up the promise of discovery, Petra joins in the search.

Among the newcomers is a snake cult on wheels―the biker gang Sisters of Serpens. Unlike some, the Sisters don’t want to kill the basilisk―they want to worship it. But things get complicated when the basilisk develops a taste for human flesh that rivals the Sisters’ own murderous skills. Meanwhile, the alchemical tree of life is dying, and the undead Hanged Men of Temperance who depend on it know the basilisk may be their last chance for survival.

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US

* Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliated. If you purchase anything via this link I get a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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WEEKLY ROUNDUP: 28th Sept – 4th Oct 2015 Sun, 04 Oct 2015 09:00:00 +0000 Weekly Roundup Banner

Hi Guys! Hope you’re having a great weekend. Here’s the low down on what happened at BCC this week…



Grave Peril - Jim ButcherI still haven’t managed to pick up a physical book but I have been listening to audiobooks.

The first is Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming, the first in the zombie series of the same name. I’m now around 50% in and although I’m enjoying it not a lot has happened yet. I get that it’s quite character driven and I like that about it, but it would also be good, considering it is a zombie novel, to have some zombies, and fights, and stuff.

The second audiobook I managed to finish was Storm Front by Jim Butcher, this is the first in The Dresden Files urban fantasy series. I enjoyed it but mostly because it was narrated by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer <3). Harry Dresden has quite a dry wit and he is funny and snarky, but I didn’t feel connected to him as much as I wanted to, although I still enjoyed the story.

I then went straight onto book two, Fool Moon, and this time I felt as though I got to know Harry a lot better as well as really enjoying the story. This time it was all about werewolves. There was lots of action and it was fast-paced. I’m kind of falling for Harry. I really like his humour and there’s also a bit of backstory coming through that’s intriguing.

I’m now on book three, Grave Peril. I’m only a short way in but already I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’m just going to continue until there are no more books to listen to.

So, while I’m in this reading slump I’m just going to listen to fun audiobooks, and The Dresden Files fits the bill perfectly.


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WEEKEND READS: Harry Dresden, Wizard Sat, 03 Oct 2015 09:00:00 +0000 What are you reading this weekend? Anything you think we should be reading, or maybe your current read is just a bit… bleh. Whether you’re loving or hating your current read, we want to know about it! We love to hear about books (as if you didn’t know).

Here’s a run down on what we’ll be reading this weekend:


Grave Peril - Jim ButcherI haven’t been able to pick up a physical book for weeks as I’m still in my reading slump, but I have found an urban fantasy series to listen to on audiobook: The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I know, I’m pretty late to the party with this series, (which is on its 15th book), but I did read book one years ago, I just didn’t continue. Not only are these fun, fast-paced, action packed stories, but they are also narrated by James Marsters, aka Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and he’s absolutely fantastic. He really brings the stories to life, and he has the character of Harry Dresden down pat.

Harry is a wizard, a much better wizard than he thinks he is, (he has some confidence issues), he’s funny, snarky, and does pretty well with the ladies considering he’s a bit awkward and dorky. He’s so loveable though, and gets himself into all sorts of dangerous situations. He also has to take a lot of flack from Murphy, the local police detective, who to be honest is a bit of a dick. She’s mean and thinks she knows better ALL the time. I find her most irritating. Their relationship, however, is sparky so I’m anticipating romance at some point in future books.

I’ve just started book three, Grave Peril, and as with the preceding two, it’s started with a bang. This time it’s all about ghosts…


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CURRENTLY WATCHING: Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes Fri, 02 Oct 2015 09:00:00 +0000 We love a good TV show, especially if it’s a long running series, so we thought it would be fun to make it a bit of a feature here at BCC. Every fortnight we will be talking about the shows we are currently watching, whether they are re-runs of old classics or a shiny new series we’re excited about. This week, it’s all about Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes


Ashes to AshesFor the past few months, my boyfriend and I have been trying to watch the entirety of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, which I have had the absolute pleasure of introducing him to. These were two BBC series that were screened a few years ago about police detectives who suffer a fatal accident and find themselves waking up in the past. Are they mad, in a coma, or really back in time?

Whilst Life on Mars was set in the 1970s, Ashes to Ashes is set firmly in the 80s with a killer soundtrack to match. We’ve now made it onto the third and final series (there’s only 8 episodes a series so this is a good one if you want a quick watch!), and I can’t believe how many small details I’m picking up on now I know the ending. Of course, my boyfriend keeps badgering me to tell him how it all ends, but the final episode is a total surprise and is one that should really be enjoyed spoiler-free. I think it’s DCI Gene Hunt that makes both of these series such a pleasure to watch, as he’s a tough, old-school copper who isn’t afraid of knocking some sense into the criminals he encounters. With the 80s setting, it also serves as a reminder of how politically correct we are nowadays and begs the question of whether old-school policing really does yield results…


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REVIEW: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:00:52 +0000 A Curious Beginning by Deanna RaybournIt was the cover of this book that first led me to download it from NetGalley, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when starting A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn.

This book is the first in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series, and introduces us to our kick-ass heroine and her unique profession of lepidoptery – or butterfly hunting. Veronica loves nothing more than to travel the world looking for unique species of butterfly, indulging in the occasional romantic dalliance along the way. The death of her spinster aunt at the beginning of this book signals a new beginning for Veronica, as she is now free of any familial ties to England and can continue her plans for a world tour without interruption. However, as she is about to embark upon her adventure, she is accosted by a German baron who claims to know about her past and her true parentage.

Having never known her mother or father, Veronica is intrigued to learn what information the baron might be able to share with her, especially when he claims that she is in grave danger. Allowing herself to be whisked off to London, she then finds herself placed in the care of Mr Stoker, a close friend of the baron’s who is none too pleased at being asked to babysit. When the baron then turns up dead, Stoker and Veronica are forced to go on the run together, as Stoker’s past reputation makes him the top suspect with the police.

In a most unlikely partnership, our protagonists find themselves thrown into a series of extreme circumstances as they attempt to avoid the law and find out the truth behind the baron’s murder. It clearly has something to do with Veronica’s past and the secrets the baron was about to reveal, but what could possibly be so scandalous that someone would kill for it? And will Stoker and Veronica manage to put their differences aside for long enough to find out the truth and bring the villain to justice?

Having never read anything by Raybourn before I was impressed at how quickly we get a feel for Veronica’s character and her feisty temperament. She is an entirely modern and forthright woman in a Victorian setting, being unwilling to back down in an argument and not letting a man tell her what she can or can’t do. This refreshing attitude leads to more than one altercation with Stoker, as she is reluctant to let him dictate where they should go or how their investigation should be carried out. She keeps her secrets close to her chest, only revealing information when she deems it necessary to do so, or when her relationship with Stoker becomes more trustworthy.

It was the connection between Stoker and Veronica that made this book such a joy to read, as their characters bounce off of each other and produce some very amusing interchanges. For instance, Veronica is not shy about discussing carnal relationships with men, often embarrassing Stoker with her unabashed honesty and desires. I thought that just the right balance had thus been achieved between sexual chemistry and companionship, as their developing friendship and chemistry is a gradual process that doesn’t interfere with the plot and feels like a natural progression. Veronica might only indulge her pleasures whilst abroad, but I think it becomes more obvious over the course of the book that Stoker might just be her exception to the rule.

I thought that Stoker made a great male lead, especially as he seems able to keep Veronica to check the majority of the time, coping fantastically well with her wit and feminine wiles. He has secrets of his own, with the inference that he has done dark things in his past, although we don’t get to learn the full extent of these by the close of the book. All we are repeatedly told is that he has a violent reputation and that the police wouldn’t hesitate to fit him up for the baron’s murder, so I was a little disappointed that we didn’t learn more about him. The sole focus of this first book seems to be Veronica and her past, so I’m hoping that perhaps Stoker will come into his own in the second book, as he always seems overshadowed by our strong female lead.

As much as I enjoyed the plot of this book and the characterisation of the protagonists, there were also some little details that frustrated me and found me questioning the likelihood of events. My biggest problem was unfortunately with Veronica, as I found it very hard to believe that someone with her inquisitiveness had never before questioned her parentage or tried to dig for information about where she came from. It is only when the baron turns up claiming to have information that she suddenly seems interested and desperate to know the truth, hence giving the novel its focus. I also had issues with the ending, as it seemed a bit rushed and tied up too easily, not leaving much time for repercussions.

Nevertheless, I thought this was a great book for the first in a series, and definitely leaves me with great hope for future instalments. The secret in this book is unexpected and cleverly thought out, whilst at the same time being outlandish and scandalous. I grew to love the protagonists as the plot went on, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the relationship between Stoker and Veronica ends up, and whether romance might be on the cards in future.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
(Veronica Speedwell Mystery #1)
Historical / Mystery
Penguin NAL (1 Sept 2015)
Ebook: 352 pages

Website || Goodreads || Amazon UK: Paperback / Kindle || Amazon US: Paperback / Kindle

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5 STAR REVIEW: Secret Garden Artist’s Edition by Johanna Basford (Adult Colouring Book) Wed, 30 Sep 2015 17:00:00 +0000 Secret Garden 1

Adult colouring books have recently become very popular. They’re meant to relieve stress and anxiety, they’re used as therapy, and as an outlet for those of us who maybe have limited artistic flare, able to create something beautiful without having to do the actual drawing. I bought my first adult colouring book a couple of months ago and I’ve really enjoyed the colouring-in process. It really does help me focus on something other than life. I get absorbed, and if you’re anything like me, become a a little bit obsessed, especially with keeping within the lines!

Click for larger image

The Secret Garden Artist’s Edition was sent to me for review, and I will say that it is a lovely book. All 20 illustrations are beautiful and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed colouring them in. I’m on my fifth illustration now and I have a feeling that this is one colouring book that I will complete. What is also a big plus with Secret Garden Artist’s Edition is that the pages are made from high-quality card, so you can pull them out and frame your finished piece of work if you wish. I don’t think I’m good enough for that right now, because although the designs have already been drawn, there is an artistic quality needed to create something worthwhile enough to frame (of course this is only my personal opinion and in regards to my own work). The use of different colours, shading, etc to create something beautiful does take practice. I’ve googled lots of completed designs and I can honestly say that some people really have a talent for it, and are able create something truly beautiful. I think I have a way to go yet.

However, the good thing about adult colouring is that it isn’t all about being the best at colouring-in, it can be just for you, whether you are good at it or not. You don’t have to show anyone your work, you can just colour at your hearts content, then close the book and put your pens away until the next time. The act of colouring-in is relaxing and fun, and now, not just for children.

Secret Garden 3

Colouring in progress

I’d definitely recommend this lovely adult colouring book. The illustrations are beautiful and the quality of the card is excellent (if you use pens like me there is no bleeding at all). Highly recommended for colouring-in fans of all ages.

Rating: 5 Stars

Do you enjoy adult colouring? What is it about colouring that you love so much? Do you like pencils or prefer pens? Let’s chat!

Secret Garden Artist’s Edition by Johanna Basford
(Adult Colouring Book)
Laurence King Publishing (14th Sept, 2015)

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

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REVIEW: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:00:40 +0000 Otherworld Night - Kelley ArmstrongOtherworld Nights is the first of three anthologies that are set in Kelley Armstrong’s epic, Women of the Otherworld series! Yes, you did hear right. This is the first of three, and each book has been packed with novellas that feature some of our favourite characters. I am huge fan of novellas, I think they add something extra within a big series of books. These long stories are a way for us to get back to our favourites, such as Elena and Clay and will allow the reader to explore themes and certain sub plots that we wished we could’ve explored more within the main books.

In this particular edition, we get a brand new novella, Vanishing Act. This is set after the series finale, 13. I have yet to read Vanishing Act, as I have been holding off reading the final book. You know when you love a series so much, and you don’t want it to end? That’s why I’ve been putting 13 off, but no more! With the arrival of these awesome anthologies I can safely wrap up the series and still get my dose of the Otherworld. In this bindup we get a whopping eight novellas. Demonology, Twilight, Stalked, Chivalrous, Lucifer’s Daughter, Hidden, From Russia, With Love and Vanishing Act.

It’s very hard for me to talk about some of these novellas as some of you may not be finished with this series or are yet to get as far book 6, Broken. A particular pair are featured heavily within Otherworld Nights and the events take place after Broken would give away particular spoilers. One of my favourite stories is Hidden. I just love these two characters and it was just perfect to read about their family and getting a glimpse into how life will be for them. Even though things didn’t turn out as expected, the growth of one of these characters (not saying the name to avoid spoilers) was emotive and it was a real pleasure to watch her come full circle. I loved how this book was less about a threat and more about the pleasure of coming together as a unit.

I just LOVE Kelley Armstrong. She is a magnificent writer and keeper of fabulous plot twists! Armstrong’s writing is addictive and her world building is creative and thrilling. I look forward to the next instalment of novellas that Kelley is writing for us and I am excited for a brand new, original novella. I highly recommend Otherworld Nights for all fans of Kelley Armstrong and urban fantasy fans!

As a side note, to give you a better idea of where about these stories take place, I’ve listed them for you. Demonology you can read anytime after Bitten, this is voiced by Talia. Twilight fits in after the 7th book, No Humans Involved and is told by Cassie. Twilight was actually bound in a previous anthology Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris. Stalked you can dive straight into after reading Twilight and is told by Clay. Chivalrous is Reese’s backstory and should be read after the 8th book, Personal Demon. Lucifer’s Daughter told by Hope should be read after Frostbitten, book 10. Hidden can be read after Lucifer’s Daughter and is a Clay and Elena story. From Russia, With Love should be read after 13 and features Elena. Then finally, Vanishing Act. Hopefully that will help you read these in the right order within this universe.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong
(Otherworld Stories #3)
Urban Fantasy
Orbit Books (7th Oct, 2014)
Paperback: 351 pages

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US || Book Depository

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5 STAR REVIEW: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Mon, 28 Sep 2015 17:00:14 +0000 Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoAfter reading and loving Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series, I’ve been on tenterhooks waiting for her next release, Six of Crows, the first in a duology.

I knew I had to dive into this book as soon as I received it from the publisher and, like her previous books, I couldn’t put it down until I’d read to the very end. This new series is set in the same universe as the Grisha, although it is by no means a prerequisite to have read the previous books, with this first instalment introducing us to a whole new cast of characters. Set in the bustling streets of Ketterdam, where anything can be bought for the right price, we meet Kaz Brekker and his spy, Inej, also known as the Wraith. Kaz is the leader of the Dregs, an underground gang of criminals and informants with a growing reputation amongst Ketterdam’s finest. He is ruthless and would do anything for money, trading in people’s darkest secrets to get his desired outcome.

The opening scenes of the book offer us a glimpse at his cutthroat nature, as he harshly punishes a traitor to the gang and proves that he will not bow to threats from other street gangs. Of course, he relies heavily upon Inej and her stealth to take out any snipers that might be lurking nearby, always seeming to have calculated every angle. It is this ability to get out of any scrape that earns him the notice of Van Eck, a merchant who offers him an incredible sum of money in exchange for carrying out an impossible heist. Kaz can’t resist the challenge, even if he does have to break into the impenetrable Ice Court, retrieve a potentially dangerous hostage and make it back in one piece.

First up, he has to build himself a crew, as Kaz knows that this mission will require meticulous planning and the right mix of individuals. Inej is his first port of call, as her stealth will be invaluable, not to mention her ability to access places other people can’t. Then there is Nina, a Grisha Heartrender who can use her magic to both heal and destroy, not to mention the added bonus of being able to disguise their appearances. However, to get Nina they also have to get Matthias, who knows the Ice Court better than any of them but will prove difficult to get on side, especially when Nina is the last person he’d want to work with. Lastly, we have firearms expert Jesper and demolitions expert Wylan, who both have their hidden qualities which will be revealed in time. With such a crew of misfits and clashing personalities, their heist could either be a perfect success or a spectacular failure of epic proportions.

I have found it especially difficult to sum up the plot of this book, as I really want to give Bardugo’s book the credit it deserves and make sure I haven’t overlooked any of the key details. Needless to say, there is a lot more depth and detail than I have covered here, particularly when it comes to the cast of six characters. I wasn’t sure how this would be handled, as six is quite a large number when it comes to narration and character development, but Bardugo handles this with ease and leaves you feeling like you know each character’s quirks as well as their importance to the mission. Each individual has a role to play, with the narrative switching perspectives with each chapter and giving you a deeper insight into what makes each one tick. Unlike other multiple perspective novels, I didn’t find that I preferred one character over another, and instead found that I looked forward to each one equally, as each enhanced the overall plot.

I may not have preferred certain character perspectives, but I do want to give special consideration to Kaz and Inej, as these characters feature more heavily than the others, especially at the beginning before the crew is formed. Kaz was an indomitable leader, always with a trick up his sleeve and no consideration for the feelings of those following him. He is more than happy to keep a secret if it means he has the advantage, only letting certain members of the crew in on a plan at any given time. Inej is often the only one he trusts enough to give information to, yet he still keeps his distance from her and tries not to let his concern show. She similarly keeps her feelings locked up inside, but it is clear from the off that they share a close bond, the formation of which is to be revealed gradually throughout the book.

In the same way, Bardugo cleverly drip feeds us information about the past between Matthias and Nina, which tugged on my heartstrings from the beginning and had me desperate to know the full story. Each one claims to loathe the other, yet they still protect each other and have a connection that runs deeper than they’d care to admit. The main antagonism between them is Grisha magic, as Matthias’ homeland despises and hunts the Grisha, whilst Nina sees them as barbaric and hateful of anything different. She is still human, even with her magic, with Matthias struggling with the concept that everything he has been taught could be wrong.

These ongoing dynamics between characters lend this series that extra something special, enabling it to fall into a number of a different genre categories. There is the potential for romance between Nina and Matthias; the ongoing political impact of their heist; the suspense of the mission and its consequences; the fantasy element of the world building and magic use; and of course the adventure we follow as the plot unfolds before us. I admire the way Bardugo crams so much into such a compact plot structure, as there is nothing that isn’t relevant to the overall outcome, with the spark of romance influencing the final few scenes rather than detracting from the action. I also loved the fact that the novel features the author’s signature wit and humour, with there being some excellent one-liners and jokes to lighten the mood throughout.

I absolutely loved the intricately planned heist and all its mishaps that occur throughout the book, with there being some truly ingenious escapes devised by Kaz and his crew. There are so many twists and turns that you won’t know who to trust or which way is up by the end of the book, with Kaz playing his cards close to his chest the whole way through. You can always be sure that he’ll have a solution in that crafty mind of his, even if it does involve using those around him to achieve his own ends. This book has a distinctly darker feel to it than the previous Grisha series, with there being some dark acts of violence that give it a more adult tone and make you forget that most of these characters are only seventeen. That said, I think Bardugo handles their characters perfectly, making you feel each one’s drive and insecurities personally and using her strong cast to move the plot forward. I loved this book from beginning to end and am now desperately awaiting the conclusion to this fast-paced duology.

Rating: 5 Stars

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
(The Dregs #1)
Indigo (29 Sept 2015)
Paperback: 528 pages

Website || Goodreads || Amazon UK: Paperback / Kindle || Amazon US: Hardback / Kindle

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WEEKLY ROUNDUP: 21st – 27th September Sun, 27 Sep 2015 15:14:28 +0000 Weekly Roundup Banner

Hi Guys! Hope you’re having a great weekend. Here’s the low down on what happened at BCC this week…



The Heart Goes Last - Margaret AtwoodI’ve had real trouble reading over the last few weeks after finishing A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I loved that book so much it gave me a huge hangover, and I’m still finding it difficult to read anything else. So a lot of my free time has been used up by binge watching Buffy. This is my third time watching it and I still love this show so much.

I have managed to listen to audiobooks though, although I haven’t finished any as yet. I’m currently listening to: Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming, the first in the zombie series of the same name. I’m around 35% in and I’m enjoying it so far, although not a lot has happened yet.

The other audiobook I have on the go is Storm Front by Jim Butcher, the first in his The Dresden Files urban fantasy series. I read this back in 2008 but never continued the series. When I saw that James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) was narrating the series I decided to read/listen to it again so I can hopefully continue the series.

This coming week I would like to start listening to The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood, which I was given a credit by audible UK to review. This will be the first time I’ve read/listened to anything by this author, so I’m really looking forward to starting it.


a shade of vampireThis week I have been reading A Shade of Vampire by Bella Frost, it was recommended to me via a Facebook advert for Twilight fans, and I can’t help it I really did love Twilight. And, well it’s been a bit of a disappointment if I’m honest. It really is a bit too angsty for me and I’m not identifying that well with the heroine. There are things that are intriguing me – the world building for instance and the male lead, but I don’t know if it’s enough to keep me reading the series, I have yet to read the ending so maybe it will be a killer and change my mind.

Which means after a bit of a blah book, I want one I know will be good. I have also had a lot going on at the moment and been struggling to sleep, so a book that can hook me in is a must. I am torn between picking up a Kristen Ashley which I know will be good or going back and re-reading an old favourite which often does the trick when I am feeling like this. Anyone read any cracking books lately they want to recommend to me?


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