Book Chick City - Urban Fantasy & Romance Reviews http://www.bookchickcity.com Urban Fantasy & Romance Reviews Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:00:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 REVIEW: The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-the-life-i-left-behind-by-colette-mcbeth.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-the-life-i-left-behind-by-colette-mcbeth.html#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:00:53 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59279 The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBethIn a perfect start to the New Year, The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth is about the journey for the truth and laying your old demons to rest in order to start anew.

Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead six years ago, with her friend and neighbour, David Alden, being arrested for the attack. Her apparent error of judgement has left her unable to trust her own instincts, making her reclusive and fearful in her own home. She now lives with her fiancé, Sam, in a house surrounded by a security fence and with few visitors. Her friends drifted away after her ordeal, or perhaps she pushed them away, as she is unable to remember anything about the attack or the events that led up to it.

She has been moving on with her life, but faces a disruption to her routine when David Alden is released from prison. Already convinced that someone is following her and watching the house, further shocks come when the young Eve Elliot is found murdered in the same park Melody had been left in. When it emerges that she had been looking into David’s case in the belief he had been wrongly convicted, Melody is forced to re-examine the events of that night and question if her neighbour was really to blame. Was her judgement right after all?

If Eve was murdered for getting too close to the truth, then the foundations of Melody’s current life are all a lie, throwing her straight back into the turmoil of six years ago. She is forced to look closely at those around her, including her fiancé and her university friends, in an attempt to unravel the truth about her attack. She might not remember what happened, but the few memory fragments she has might help her to piece together the truth and find justice for both her and Eve.

What I found most interesting about this book was the way it was told using dual narrative perspectives, most predominantly those of Melody and Eve. There are a few sections from the police detective investigating the case, but mainly we get to see Melody’s advances in character and Eve’s almost omniscient presence over the whole story. These alternating perspectives made the book that much more enjoyable as, unlike the majority of multiple perspective novels, I found that I didn’t prefer one character to the other but actually loved both in equal measure. Eve and Melody had their individual charms and quirks, and really come alive during the telling of the story. They are intertwined even though they have never actually met, which adds that little something extra to the suspense of the story.

As far as characters go, I thought Eve and Melody undergo a similar level of development throughout the book, turning them into well-rounded and understandable protagonists. Melody is a particular success, as she sees the greatest level of growth since her attack and slowly learns to believe that she can be a survivor. For the past few years everyone has expected progress from her, to the point where she has felt like she needs to act for their benefit – losing her self in the process. I loved this exploration of Melody’s character, as she can remember the fun-loving girl she used to be but is struggling to see a route back to that carefree person. No-one around her seems to understand how she feels, and it is this isolation that makes her more vulnerable than she realises, clinging to the wrong people in her life.

Of course, from the all-seeing perspective of Eve, we are given an alternate view of the people in Melody’s life and how they are affecting her character. Eve is a parallel of Melody, somewhat reflecting her younger self before the attack and adding a fresh view to what we see before us. After a chance meeting with David, she felt the need to take up his story and delve into the truth of what happened. Eve is reluctant to give him false hope, but at the same time is confident in her investigative abilities to find out what really happened all those years ago. Eve leads Melody towards the truth and a chance at a different future, made all that more poignant by the fact that her own future has been so cruelly snatched from her.

I absolutely loved the way this book was written and the way the suspense is built up gradually, slowly progressing into a race against time to find the killer before it is too late. The perspectives intertwine so naturally that it feels like Eve and Melody are investigating side-by-side, with the clues and asides offered by Eve increasing the suspicion cast on each character. There are lies and secrets to be unravelled everywhere, with red herrings sure to divert your attention onto the wrong suspects. I had no idea who the killer would be until the final reveal, making this novel stand out for me as a successful crime and thriller example. I can’t wait to read more by Colette McBeth if this is the standard of her storytelling.

Verdict

I was absolutely hooked on this book from the beginning, and could barely put it down until I’d finished watching the events unravel. Each character’s perspective offers something new to the plot, with there being very little extraneous detail to derail the focus of the story, keeping your attention attuned to the mystery at hand. The suspense grows throughout the book, with suspicion being cast on all those close to Melody, making the final reveal that much more surprising. This book blew me away with the attention to detail involved in constructing the intertwining plot between Melody and Eve, which works surprisingly well given Eve’s death and can only add to the increasing tension throughout.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth
Crime/Thriller
Headline (1 Jan 2015)
Ebook: 352 pages

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

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WEEKLY ROUNDUP – 25th January 2015 http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/weekly-roundup-25th-january-2015.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/weekly-roundup-25th-january-2015.html#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59511 Weekly Roundup Banner

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


FEATURES & REVIEWS



LAURA’S ROUNDUP


ForsakenIt seems for the moment at least that reading is still slow going for me. Since our last Roundup, I have read Forsaken by Kelley Armstrong. A new novella in her Otherworld series, giving us an insight how life for Clay and Elena is now. As parents and with Elena as alpha, I’d defieinely recommmed it if you’re a fan of the series.

I decided next as I’m struggling with reading a bit to re-read a book I enjoyed. So I have gone for Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James in preparation for the film’s release. I’m hoping I will be able to escape and see it in the cinema. That’s it for me, anyone else looking forward to seeing the film?


BOBBY’S ROUNDUP


45101_Shadows_PB.inddAlthough I’m still not reading as much as I would like, I think that my reading this year is a vast improvement on last year. I’ve managed to read Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick since the last weekly roundup and have now moved on to Monsters. I’ve really enjoyed the trilogy thus far and I can’t wait to find out what the outcome is. I’ve also almost finished The Taking by Kimberley Derting which has been very interesting.

I intend to read Dead of Winter by Kresley Colenext – partially because she’s my favourite author and partially because I kicked up a little but of a fuss when I didn’t receive the book on the date I had been told. I also have Burned by Karen Marie Moning, which I can’t wait to read and carry on Mac’s story.


HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

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REVIEW: Draw by Cora Brent http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-draw-by-cora-brent.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-draw-by-cora-brent.html#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59144 DrawDraw is the start of a new series about 3 brothers, triplets in fact, this book was recommended to me on Amazon because I like MC romances. Firstly, let me state clearly this is not an MC romance, but it does kind of sit in that area as the heroes of this series are men who sit on the outskirts of society and the law. They are illegal street fighters. Having grown up in a hellish small prison town, the brothers were known as the ‘white-trash Gentry brothers’ and they have clawed their way to escape and survival since.

Saylor has every reason to hate Cord, in school he seduced her on a bet and then told everyone about it in a cruel and unkind game between the brothers. However, after making a frantic escape from an abusive relationship with nowhere to stay and in need of help, Saylor bumps into the last person she would ever want to ask to help from. With nowhere else to turn she accepts help from Cord who is inevitably much more mature and has regretted his actions in the years that have past since.

This book was so mixed for me. I liked the author’s writing style, I really enjoyed the chemistry between Cord and Saylor and also the relationship between the three brothers. But there was also so much that didn’t add up either. I have three big criticisms of the book and unfortunately they are biggies.

Firstly is just how easily Saylor forgives Cord, something that was such a huge deal for her, even years later she hasn’t got over how she was treated in school after what Cord did to her. Not only does she forgive really quickly, she jumps into bed with him, again really quickly. There are two things that were wrong with this for me. You’ve got the whole how quickly she forgave his betrayal and consequently had sex with him, but let’s not forget she has also just escaped from an abusive relationship too.

Of course as the reader you want her to forgive Cord and you can clearly see the chemistry between them as soon as they see each other again, but I just felt like it needed more time. I was really enjoying the build up to it all as they get to know each other as adults and then they were in bed, it was such a shame, because I felt it spoiled things.

Then, and I’m afraid this really, really irritated me. Is the fact they never, ever, use protection. They talk about it, make light hearted comments about maybe making a baby, despite the fact it’s a very new relationship, and neither is in any position to raise one, they just frivolously continue. It really bugged me. I can forgive one mistake in the heat of passion, but to continually never use anything in a fledgling relationship. Well, to be honest, they came across as a bit stupid and completely immature.

And finally, is how quickly they fall in love. They both have so much baggage, there is so much for them to get over from their pasts and it was said so quickly it simply wasn’t believable. I found myself rolling my eyes in frustration and disbelief. This is without even taking into consideration the life that Cord and his brothers lead and illegal fighters and all Saylor needs to come to terms with their style of life.

These three big things really brought the book down, the shame of it is that it had a potential to be an awesome book, I just couldn’t get over what for me were big flaws in the writing.

Verdict

I’ve never read anything by Cora Brent before, I am torn on whether to continue with the series, I’ve also seen she has written a motorcycle romance series too (one of my current obsessions). She really had the chemistry between Saylor and Cord down, it was sparking, exciting and compelling. It’s what kept me reading despite my frustrations. But, at the same time there was a lot of things that really didn’t work. Even now the whole protection thing has me gritting my teeth!

Rating: 2.5 Stars


Draw by Cora Brent
(Gentry Boys #1)
Contemporary Romance
Cactus Kiss Publishing (29 July 2014)
Ebook: 258 pages

Goodreads || Amazon UK: Kindle || Amazon US: Kindle

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Rebecca’s Coveted Releases & TBR for January http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/rebeccas-coveted-releases-tbr-for-january.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/rebeccas-coveted-releases-tbr-for-january.html#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 10:00:49 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59403 Welcome to our monthly feature here at BCC! Each month I will be sharing a selection of releases I’m most looking forward to, as well as giving you all an insight into what is on my TBR pile for that month. I’d love to hear if you’re anticipating (or reading) the same titles as I am!


COVETED JANUARY RELEASES


Happy New Year BCC readers! I can’t believe we’re in a new year already, Christmas certainly flew by! I hope you all got lots of nicely lovely books for Christmas, and maybe I can entice you to buy more with the latest titles this month:

1. Dead Simple by Shirley Wells

Dead Simple - Shirley WellsIf you follow the blog regularly then you’ll know that I am a huge fan of the Dylan Scott Mystery series, and the eighth instalment promises to be just as exciting and mysterious as the last. Dead Simple by Shirley Wells picks up a month or so after the events of the previous book, with Dylan struggling to cope with family life and the responsibilities of being a father to two children. When he hears that ‘Simple’ Stevie has been murdered in the town of Dawson’s Clough, he is determined to find justice for this much-loved local resident. Stevie was instrumental in helping Dylan solve his first ever case, so it only seems right that Dylan should find out who killed him and why. With a host of new characters along the way, this book definitely shapes up to be as good a mystery as the previous books, with Dylan using his usual wit and charm to solve the case!

Release date: 5th January, Carina Press

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThis is a book that has roused a lot of excitement in the build up to its release, and I’m sure that The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins will live up to that hype. Every day Rachel Watson takes her commuter train to London and it stops at the same signal, placing her in viewing distance of the house that backs onto the tracks. In her imagination she has made up lives for the couple that lives there and their perfect marital relationship. Then, one day, she sees something that she wasn’t supposed to and her illusions are thrown into disarray. When the wife of the house then goes missing, it is down to Rachel to come forward with what she witnessed, but anyone believe a girl from the train? Not to mention all of Rachel’s personal issues which come to light throughout the book, this is sure to be a tense tale of suspense and a great psychological thriller that will keep you guessing as to what really happened. I’d definitely say this was a book for your wishlists.

Release date: 15th January, Transworld

3. How to Seduce a Billionaire by Portia Da Costa

How to Seduce a Billionaire by Portia Da CostaIt’s rare for me to include erotica in my most coveted releases list, as I’m not the hugest fan of the genre. However, How to Seduce a Billionaire by Portia Da Costa sounds like it has a feisty heroine who will be in control, even though is in her twenties and still a virgin. Jess Lockhart fantasises about finding the perfect man to fulfil her desires and is starting to believe that perhaps he doesn’t exist. When her new boss, handsome billionaire Ellis McKenna, takes an interest in her, she is determined to seduce him and cast him as her fantasy man. However, Ellis has sworn never to do ‘serious’ relationships again after a tragic event in his past, but can Jess teach him about love as well as seduction? This definitely sounds like an intriguing title, and I’m interested to see how the erotica is handled.

Release date: 29th January, Ebury Publishing

4. Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa RomainI read the first in the Matchmaker Trilogy a while back, and I can’t resist the cover of this final part of the trilogy. Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain is about heiress, Augusta Meredith, who can’t help but stir up trouble and gossip wherever she goes. When she arrives as a stranger in Bath society she pretends to be a young widow, enchanting the locals with her wit and charm. However, when the handsome Joss Everett arrives from London, he threatens to uncover her charade and reveal her for what she really is. Augusta manages to persuade him to keep her secret in exchange for one of his own, but both soon come to realise that they can only be their true selves in each other’s presence, and not in front of society. Being able to be true to themselves is a powerful seducer, and I can’t wait to read what promises to be a steamy match. I highly enjoyed the first book of the series, so I’m sure this one is sure to follow suit.

Release date: 6th January, Sourcebooks Casablanca


JANUARY’S TBR


The books that I’m hoping to read throughout January from my ever-increasing TBR pile are:

1. Curtain Call by Anthony Quinn

Curtain Call by Anthony QuinnA new book which is also released this month, Curtain Call by Anthony Quinn is an interesting mix of crime, history and romance that also mixes with the drama and flair of the West End. Set in 1936, the book begins with actress, Nina Land, stumbling across an attempted murder in a London hotel room, but faces a dilemma when she cannot reveal her reasons for being in the hotel without getting herself in trouble. She is having an affair with a married man, but when she realises other women are at risk from the ‘Tie-Pin Killer’, she feels compelled to reveal what she has witnessed. Then there is theatre critic Jimmy Erskine and his secretary Tom, who also have a chance encounter with the same woman from the hotel. Madeleine Farewell is the only one to have escaped the killer, and so could prove instrumental in his capture… Bringing together a cast of unusual characters and adding the brightness and frivolity of ’30s London, this book definitely sounds like it will go out with a bang.

2. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris by Brandon SandersonHaving loved the Mistborn series and its subsequent spin-off novel, I can’t wait to read Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, a book that topped my Christmas wishlist. Sanderson’s novels were recommended to me by a friend, and I have to say that so far I have not been disappointed. Elantris was once a revered place of glory and the capital of Arelon, home to people who had been transformed into magic-using demigods by the Shaod. Then the magic began to fail and Elantris crumbled, leading to the new capital of Kae, where a princess arrives. Sarene is to be married in order to unite the nations against imperialists, but her husband-to-be is now dead and Sarene clashes with the high priest over his beliefs. In typical Sanderson fashion there is the promise of hidden secrets and political misdemeanours, which I can’t wait to see unfold in this fantasy series.

3. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Game of Thrones - RR MartinAs if my TBR wasn’t large enough, my mum surprised me with the boxset of A Song of Ice and Fire, so I now need to find the time to read the first book, A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Having watched the TV series, I feel like I know what to expect, and I particularly love the fantasy world that I’ve seen built up so far on the series. This first book tells how Lord Eddard Stark, the Warden of the North, is called upon by King Robert to take the position of Hand of the King, much against his will. In a time of supposed peace, it is up to Eddard Stark to take charge of the King’s affairs and to ensure that he continues his rule from the Iron Throne. With threats from the heirs of the deposed king, Stark has to deal with threats from afar as well as treachery in the court. I can’t wait to explore the books that inspired the series, and to embrace R. R. Martin’s fantasy prose.

4. The Snow Queen by Alana Albertson 

The Snow Queen by Alana AlbertsonThis short novella has been sitting on my TBR pile for quite a while, so I’m pleased to finally get around to it this month. The Snow Queen by Alana Albertson intertwines mystery with ballet, and it was the beautiful cover that first drew my attention to this story. Each year the Cambridge Ballet put on a Christmas performance of The Nutcracker, but for the last five years a dancer from the company has been disappearing after closing night. Protagonist, Nieves Alba, is now old enough and talented enough to gain the role of the Snow Queen, but is scared that she could be the ballet dancer to disappear next. I’m hoping that this story will turn out to be as beautiful as its cover.

5. Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill MansellHaving read books by this author before I know what to expect, so I’m sure Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell will be just as good as her previous books. This time around we meet Hallie, who has fallen in love with a single man who is out of bounds, and her friends are refusing to help her because they know she doesn’t have long to live. Then there is Flo, who really likes Zander but knows that his scary sister would not be amused if they were friends, let along anything more. Finally, there is Tasha, whose new boyfriend is the adventurous type and she wonders whether his adventures may well get him killed. Hallie could be about to get a new heart, but whose will it be? I love the integration of three different protagonists, and I’m sure that this will be an emotional journey for all those involved.

I hope you’ve enjoyed me sharing my Monthly Releases and TBR, what releases do you plan to get your hands on in January?

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TAKE TWO REVIEW: Hounded by Kevin Hearne http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/take-two-review-hounded-by-kevin-hearne.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/take-two-review-hounded-by-kevin-hearne.html#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59241 Hounded by Kevin HearneAlthough this first instalment to The Iron Druid Chronicles was reviewed by Laura a while ago, I decided to give Hounded by Kevin Hearne a try for myself.

The premise of the book places a Celtic Druid of over two-thousand-years-old in modern-day Arizona, running a paranormal book store that also specialises in herbal teas and remedies. This Druid is currently known as Atticus O’Sullivan, who appears to be eternally twenty-one and has specifically chosen this area to be free from fae and godly interruptions. There is one particular Celtic God whom he has no desire to see again, with Aenghus Óg having tracked Atticus for centuries in the pursuit of a stolen sword.

Fragarach, or the Answerer, is a blade of extraordinary power which Óg wants back sooner rather than later, determined to use any lengths to prise it out of Atticus’ hands. This includes the manipulation of fellow gods, witches and demons, with these threats being brought straight to Atticus’ shop door. He must use brains rather than brawn, never knowing who to trust or whose advice to take. With the body count from the collateral damage rising, it is left to Atticus to prevent this angry Celtic God from reclaiming the sword – or die trying.

I think that one of the problems I had with this book was the supposed simplicity of the plot, as it can be summed up as an angry Celtic God coming to reclaim his sword and that’s it. However, I wasn’t prepared for the intricacies of the world building, as Hearne goes to great lengths to incorporate a vast amount of supernatural elements into this first instalment. We don’t just have Atticus the Druid to contend with, as there are fae, witches, werewolves, vampires and gods, to name just a few. It was all these competing elements that somewhat let the book down for me, as they are weaved into the plot well but still offer a lot to deal with and remember as you’re reading.

Nevertheless, as a hero Atticus had his moments, as he is gifted with some superb one-liners and witty comments, even as his life is in jeopardy. At times this did make him seem overly arrogant or cocky, but with over two-thousand years of experience, I’m sure it’s only natural to have the upper hand. He is quick-thinking and clever, but very distrusting of others and especially of witches. It makes me think that there is some element of history there, but we are privy to very little of Atticus’ past in this first book. I’m hoping that this would be explored in future, as it would be nice to have a little more background on the protagonist.

What I did love about this opening book was the relationship between Atticus and his pet Irish wolfhound, Oberon. They can communicate via a mental link, which makes for some very comedic interludes when it comes to tense scenes. Oberon is fixated on sausages and French poodles, as well as having his belly rubbed at convenient intervals, and is very food-motivated when it comes to helping Atticus! It was interesting to see that Atticus could also shapeshift into a wolf, allowing him to run alongside his pet and participate in hunting games.

I think that this comedy is what kept me reading the book, as the dense amount of detail did seem heavy for what is a fairly short book. I did enjoy the incorporation of mythology and folklore into the plot, especially as I don’t know much about Irish legends, but I thought it could have been handled slightly differently to make the plot flow more smoothly. As far as series openings go, this was an impressive effort and definitely sets the scene for the sequel, but I’m hoping for improvement now that the initial world building is complete.

Verdict

Although I wasn’t hugely impressed with this first instalment to the series, I can definitely see that it has potential to grow into something a lot bigger, with the hard work being done here to lay the foundations. Atticus is a likeable hero, and I particularly enjoyed the interaction with his dog, Oberon, so I’m hoping that these comedic interchanges continue. I am open to reading the sequel, but would hope for a little more background or detail about the various gods and myths, especially for those not learned in Celtic lore.

Rating: 3 Stars


Hounded by Kevin Hearne
(The Iron Druid Chronicles #1)
Urban Fantasy
Orbit Books (1 Sept 2011)
Paperback: 289 pages

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

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REVIEW: Prisoner by Annika Martin and Skye Warren http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-prisoner-by-annika-martin-and-skye-warren.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-prisoner-by-annika-martin-and-skye-warren.html#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 10:00:17 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59213 PrisonerPrisoner was one of those books I bought on a whim and then devoured with absolutely no feelings of guilt despite the leaning TBR piles gracing my bedroom. The synopsis immediately made me take notice and as soon as the book had downloaded I started reading and didn’t want to stop.

I suppose in one way, the idea of this book is nothing particularly new. The prison is a titillating setting and hasn’t been overdone - however much I might wish there were more stories based round that idea. However, there are alpha bad boys aplenty nowadays – whether you want them or not – and unfortunately not every author can write that kind of character well. I don’t know if it was something to do with the joint effort of the two authors but Grayson was so well-written he all but jumped off the page. I must also admit to having a soft spot for our heroine as well - a bookish (doesn’t that sound familiar) librarian (dream job alert) who hides behind books and  doesn’t know what she’s letting herself in for when she reluctantly agrees to take her under-grad post at the prison.

The prison setting does add interesting dimensions to the story (as well as having a hint of Prison Break about it, which can only be a good thing). The attraction between our two protagonists is instantaneous but the setting doesn’t really allow for anything else. The couple are initially constrained to seeing each other for a short period of time in the company of others – and we all know what wanting something we can’t have is likely to result in. The physical prison that holds Grayson is reminiscent of the mental one that holds Abigail, drawing parallels between these two seemingly disparate characters.

Things really start getting going – if you’ll pardon the pun- when they are on the run, however. Grayson and Abigail’s relationship develops, certainly, although you might feel at times like it’s one step forwards, two steps back. More than that, though, we start to learn more about the characters before life brought them together and though it would be madness not to admit that they both have made, and continue to make, mistakes in their life it’s difficult not to root for the deeply flawed characters they are both separately and together. On the run is where their sexual relationship starts proper and, although it’s not for everyone, it does add a lot to their relationship rather than being gratuitous – although it is certainly enjoyable.

Grayson begins using Abigail as means to an end but as time goes by it becomes indistinguishable who is helping the other more as they start to work towards Grayson’s revenge together. They each make sacrifices for each other and, as cheesy as it may sound, learn what love actually means and that it’s worth fighting for.

Verdict

Although I liked this book enough to finish it in one sitting it’s difficult to say exactly what I liked the most. I expected it to be a diverting read from the start but I didn’t think that the story or the characters would grip me as much as they did. It works as so much more than the erotic novel that I thought I was downloading and I really can’t wait for further books in the series.

3.5 Stars


Criminal by Skye Warren and Annika Martin
(Criminals and Captives #1)
Erotic Romance
Self-Published (22 October 2014)
Ebook: 310 pages

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

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NEW SERIES ALERT: Phoenix Rising Rock Band by Kathryn Kelly http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/new-series-alert-phoenix-rising-rock-band-by-kathryn-kelly.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/new-series-alert-phoenix-rising-rock-band-by-kathryn-kelly.html#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59212

Inferno by Kathryn Kelly (Phoenix Rising Rock Band #1)

Self-Published (March 10 2015)
Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter


Inferno

I’m a rocker with the eyes of the world on me. Waiting for my triumph or my downfall…just waiting. Most of my life is in my hands. My destiny? That’s another story. My destiny isn’t as debt free. My band, Phoenix Rising, arrives in Houston to cut a new album. Before we perform our first concert in the city and I choose my groupies of the night, I’m thrust into debauchery. Sleeping with a gorgeous woman twenty years older than me has its perks, especially when her husband orchestrated the encounter and eagerly watches. To me, performing is performing. If a man wants to share his wife, who am I to stop him?

Unfortunately for me, I don’t make a clean getaway as I leave the McCall mansion. Georgie, their sixteen-year-old daughter, is in the midst of her own intrigue, sneaking home in the middle of the night after an evening of drugs and sex with her older brother’s best friend. In her, I see me. She’s lost and drifting. Her hedonistic parents insist she’s old enough to make her own decisions. Instead of time and love, they give her money and things.
I’m a twenty-five-year old international superstar and I know better. I’m cocky and arrogant. I know it so I own it. Somehow, I’ve always bested the fates. I have all to lose—my reputation, my career, and my freedom. Her mother’s jealousy forces my hand and I take Georgie on the tour.

This is our story and our secret relationship and the destruction of my life. You know the adage about secrets? Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead. Wise words from a wise man. If only I had listened. Secrets have a way of revealing themselves in the harshest way.


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Vikki’s Top Ten Most Anticipated Reads of 2015 http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/vikkis-top-ten-most-anticipated-reads-of-2015.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/vikkis-top-ten-most-anticipated-reads-of-2015.html#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59328 Top Ten Banner

Vikki’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Reads of 2015

I pre-order, I pre-order a lot. In fact I need to pre-order less because it’s getting ridiculous how many open orders I have on Amazon. There’s just one problem. I need these books. I need them the day they come out. I get very upset if that doesn’t happen, and you don’t want to make me upset. See the Amazon saga of 2012 for reference. All of these books are sat in my pre-order section…and then some :)


magic shifts
1. Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews (4th August 2015)

Book 8 in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Breaks was my only 5 star read last year and that was when everything changed for Kate and her shapeshifter mate Curran. Lord only knows where this book will take us but if you want magic, mystery and mayhem then this is the series for you!


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2. Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones (19th May 2015)

The 8th book in this fun series, and it’s going to be good! Charley is still pregtastic and now roughly the size of a beached whale having hidden from the 12 hounds of hell for the last several months. Hidden in a convent no less and Charley…well…she’s not so good with rules. To keep from going more bonkers than she already is, Charley tries to solve the case of newly avowed nun murdered decades ago. But, being the grim reaper pregnant with the Son of Satan’s child is bound to cause mayhem and I cannot wait to see the mischief Charley is causing those poor unsuspecting nuns!!!


Dead heat

3. Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs (3rd March 2015)

The 4th instalment in the Alpha and Omega Series, the last of which had the Prince of the Fae declaring themselves separate from humanity, beginning a cold war between the two species. Either way life is about to get a whole lot more interesting for Charles and his Omega mate Anna. The boogeyman of the werewolf race, Charles is often called out to enforce the laws of their people. However this time all he wants is to spend time with his wife, when they run into a situation that puts them in the middle of the war, and it’s about to hot up!


Bound by Flames

4. Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost (29th January 2015)

So this one is nearly here! Bound by Flames was originally meant to be the climax to this smoking hot series, but Jeaniene Frost has announced that there will have to be a fourth book as she couldn’t finish Vlad and Layla’s story in just 3! Either way I’m still super excited for this and have heard some great things already from those lucky enough to have already had a peak!


born of defiance

5&6. Born of Defiance / Born of Betrayal by Sherrilyn Kenyon (12th May 2015/ 7th July 2015)

I’ve combined these two into one post because they are from the same series and because I think I may have been confused as to which was being released first. I vaguely remember reading something about a change in release order but that was a while back. Anyway, I love Sherrilyn Kenyon’s League series, ,my only problem had been the sheer size of the last two books, they’ve been great but they aren’t exactly portable and I get the feeling that these two will have the same problem.

Born of Defiance is about Tayln Batur, my first question was ‘WHO THE HECK IS THAT!’ then I read the sample chapter and it all became clear! Now I cannot wait because just from those few pages Tayln made a big impression. He’s a strong proud man who has had to fight for all he has. As an Andarion, the worst thing to have is no lineage. Tayln’s father has never claimed him and so Tayln is the lowest of the low in their society. He’s still a man of honour and a conspiracy against the crown will test that to it’s limits. I can’t wait!
Born of Betrayal is Fain’s story. Fain gave up everything for the human woman who said she loved him, his home, his family and his fiancée, when that crumbled he had no where to turn and he became one of the most ruthless outlaws to live. When chance throws his ex-fiancée back into his life, Fain has a chance to make amends…if she doesn’t castrate him first. His book is directly tied to Tayln’s and with such close release dates I will be enjoying a lot of time with my favourite bunch of assassins!!


deadly spells

7. Deadly Spells by Jaye Wells (12th February 2015)

The 3rd novel in the Prospero’s War series that follows Kate Prospero and her team at the Magic Enforcement Agency. Having broken her self imposed ban on cooking magic Kate is now trying to get back on the bandwagon but an certain individual from her past is making that increasingly difficult. After the murder of one of the coven leaders Kate is called to investigate before an all out war breaks out. Unfortunately, the limelight is turned on Kate’s history as a member of one of the covens and now her reputation and life are at stake. A brilliant series that only seems to be getting better, I can’t wait to get my hands on this.


Pure blooded

8. Pure Blooded by Amanda Carlson (18th June 2015)

With book 4 in the Jessica McClain series still sat on the TBR pile I’m a little behind with these, but what I’ve read so far has got me intrigued. Arriving back from the underworld Jessica finds her alpha father up to his neck in a battle with made werewolves, who soon come after her. My new series discovery this year I read books 1-3 within a week and now I’m looking forward to diving back into this world!


grave visions

9. Grave Visions by Kaylana Price (26th March 2015)

FINALLY! Having read book 3 back in 2012 as an ARC I have been looking forward to this series returning for ages! If you want to hear voices from the dead in Nekros City, you call Alex Craft. She’s a Grave Witch with reasonable rates and extraordinary powers, who specializes in revealing the secrets of the dead. Having had her heritage revealed in book 3 it’s Alex who now is fighting to keep her secrets. Add to that a new drug that causes the users hallucinations to become real – with deadly consequences, Alex is fighting to keep her head above water. A great series with an interesting concept, I can’t wait for it’s return!


Reap the wind

10. Reap the Wind by Karen Chance (3rd November 2015)

The longest wait on my list this year is for the 7th book in the Cassie Palmer series. We follow Cassie who is the world’s chief seer, but don’t think that it’s an easy job. Oh no, Cassie’s life has been one supernatural disaster after another and it’s exactly the same here. Rescuing her friend John Pritkin should have been an in and out kind of deal, but with the near-immortal mage’s soul lost in time, Cassie has to hunt for it through the ages—with Pritkin’s demon dad in tow. Pritkin is a beloved character and the sexual tension in these pages will burn your fingers off. I woundn’t have it any other way ;)


Honourable mentions
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton
Viper Game by Christine Feehan
The Shadows by J.R. Ward
Midnight’s Kiss by Thea Harrison
Staked by Kevin Hearne
Untitled Guild Hunter #8 by Nalini Singh
Spider’s Trap by Jennifer Estep
Killing Pretty by Richard Kadrey
Wicked Embers by Keri Arthur


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REVIEW: The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-the-hawley-book-of-the-dead-by-chrysler-szarlan.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-the-hawley-book-of-the-dead-by-chrysler-szarlan.html#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59154 The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler SzarlanI wasn’t sure what to expect when beginning this novel, but The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan makes for a pleasant surprise and combines mystery with a touch of magical flair.

The book opens with an introduction to Reve (short for Revelation) and her husband Jeremy, as they prepare for their stage show in Las Vegas. As the amazing magicians, the Maskelynes, this night should be like any other, with the show ending with a disappearing bullet trick. Reve pulls the trigger on her husband, who then pretends to be shot and produces the bullet from his mouth. However, this show is about to change Reve’s life, as someone has switched the blanks in the gun for a real bullet, causing her to shoot and kill her own husband. She is understandably devastated, now having to care for their three children on her own.

When Reve receives a missive from her Nan stating that she should return to her childhood home of Hawley, she initially dismisses the idea. Then, she begins to receive photographs of her girls from an anonymous source, letting her know that they are being watched. Remembering her Nan’s childhood story of the Fetch, a relentless pursuer of souls, Reve escapes to Hawley in an attempt to keep her children safe and find out who killed her husband.

Upon arriving at their new home of Hawley Five Corners, Reve realises that the community are keeping secrets from her, with everyone reluctant to tell her the history of her new home. Even her Nan is tight-lipped about what happened years ago, refusing to tell her more about their family history. It is then that she finds the Hawley Book of the Dead, supposedly written by the Revelations who came before her and possessing an incredible amount of power. It has come to her in her time of need, but can she use it to save her family, or will it only bring more destruction? Not to mention that the culprit behind Jeremy’s murder will stop at nothing to get their hands on the Book…

It was difficult to put this book into words, as a lot happens throughout the novel that all seems to impact upon the plot. I liked that there was very little extraneous detail, with everything tying in to the story in some shape or form. I think the concept of the Revelations was a little difficult to get my head around at first, as the information is given at different points of the story and begins in quite a vague way. As the novel goes on, this becomes a lot clearer to understand and easier to place into the context of the story. It also gives the plot a good grounding, as I liked that Reve was part of a bigger tradition and could succeed where her ancestors had failed.

As a heroine, Reve was smart and upfront, not taking any nonsense from anyone – especially those who believe she plotted her husband’s death. She maintained vulnerability where her children were concerned, and she possesses a fierce motherly instinct to protect them at any cost. Her inner strength is her most admirable quality, and I think that’s what I liked most about her relationship with Jeremy. He always knew that he didn’t need to be there to catch her as she could land on her own two feet, if only she’d believe it for herself. I think she grows even more as a character as the book goes on, and I found that I really liked her as a protagonist, with the first-person perspective letting the reader get inside her mind in more detail.

Szarlan manages to evoke empathy with each of her characters, which is no mean feat considering the large cast that feature in this novel. We are even encouraged to empathise with the one who is stalking Reve and her family, despite the evil intentions lurking in the background. As much as I would have liked a little more information about some of the characters featured, I found the plot was cleverly weaved around them all and I think each one had a part to play in the eventual outcome.

I don’t think I was expecting as much magic to be featured in this book, but I really enjoyed it and would state that this book is not as centred around witchcraft as it might sound. It is rife with the supernatural but this works given the context, and helps to create a plot that is unique as the town of Hawley itself. This is not your typical murder mystery or your typical supernatural adventure, instead finding a niche somewhere between the two genres. I found that I really enjoyed the concept of this book and definitely look forward to reading more from Szarlan in the future.

Verdict

A mysterious tale of magic and murder, this book delves deep into family history to solve the problems of the present. I enjoyed the concept of the Revelations and the powers passed down throughout the generations, and thought this made for a great change of pace in comparison to typical mystery novels. The opening of the book is captivating and will grip you for the duration, especially once the family moves to Hawley and the Book is found. I would have liked a little more exposition on some of the historical detail, but nevertheless this is a great read for those who enjoy a little magic.

Rating: 4 Stars


The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan
Fantasy
Cornerstone (23 Oct 2014)
Ebook: 352 pages

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

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WEEKLY ROUNDUP – 11th January 2015 http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/weekly-roundup-11th-january-2015.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/weekly-roundup-11th-january-2015.html#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59387 Weekly Roundup Banner

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


FEATURES & REVIEWS



LAURA’S ROUNDUP


magicrisesHappy new year! Welcome to our first Weekly Roundup of 2015. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas? I did manage to fit in some reading amongst the Christmas craziness. I read  Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews. It was an awesome book, I completely loved it – my first and only 5 star review of 2014 in fact.

I’m now reading Broken Dove by Kristen Ashley. I started it earlier in the year and then put it down again, then picked it up and then put it down again. The crux of the problem is that I don’t really like the hero. I will finish it, because I’m at over 70% now and I’m determined to do so. But as a huge Ashley fan, I’ve been a bit disappointed by this one so far.


BOBBY’S ROUNDUP


In the Shadow of BlackbirdsAs Christmas periods go, this could have been both better and worse reading-wise. I did manage to eke some reading time out of the time I had off as well as making sure to spend some time with my family. I read In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters which I really, really recommend to anyone who might bother listening to me. It wasn’t very Christmassy in theme but it was engrossing and intriguing. I also read The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoskiwhich was a bit of a slow starter for me but definitely grew on me by the end.

I’m currently reading The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters.I’m not very far into it yet – I’m a little worried that I’ll get sucked into it like I did with In the Shadow of Blackbirds and stay up all night reading it and be a zombie at work the next morning.

I hope you all got some lovely books and got a lot of reading done over the holidays!


HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

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REVIEW: The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-the-lady-risks-all-by-stephanie-laurens.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/review-the-lady-risks-all-by-stephanie-laurens.html#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=58906 The lady risks allI haven’t read a 19th Century romance in years and unfortunately The Lady Risks All reminded me why that is the case. Set in London in 1823, we follow the lives of two people who while coming from the same social standing, couldn’t be more different from each other. This is the story of Neville Roscoe, the man who gave up everything to save his family and Miranda Clifford, an unmarried woman trying to find her place in the rigid upper class society. We follow them through what could have been a fascinating tale of mystery, intrigue and romance. Unfortunately, I didn’t always enjoy it, it was longer than it needed to have been and this caused me to start to dislike the characters.

Neville Roscoe is a notorious gambling lord, he runs the rings in London and everyone from lords to the lowest criminal know not to cross him. Originally Lord Julian Delbraith, he belonged to one of the most respected lines in the country, however his family has a dark curse. The men are all degenerate gamblers – though none of them have ever lost enough to put the family fortune in jeopardy. Or so they believed. The Duke, Julian’s older brother George, was thought to have escaped the family curse, so when he commits suicide the family are horrified to learn that they are broke, everything had been lost. Fortunately, Julian can be their saviour, for once in every 3 or so generations a Delbraith is born with good fortune, able to gamble and not lose. The only downside is that he will have to reinvent himself to avoid besmirching the Delbraith name.  Giving up his titles, Julian vanishes and Neville Roscoe is born.

The story begins 12 years after Julian becomes Roscoe and he is now a notorious gambling lord in London’s underworld. Basically, he runs the majority of the gambling establishments within London. He is not someone Miranda Clifford wants her younger brother Roderick to associate with,  so when she follows Roderick to Roscoe’s house she is ready to fight to get her brother away from the clutches of the ‘evil’ Mr Roscoe. What Miranda discovers is quite a different story, mollified but still distrusting of the mysterious but undeniably handsome Mr Roscoe, Miranda wants nothing more to do with him. However when Roderick disappears a few days later Miranda finds herself at Roscoe’s door asking for help to find him. The pair discover that Roderick has been kidnapped and taken out of London and is injured. What follows could have been a great tale of romance and mystery,  however the entire book was drawn out far longer than it needed to be.

The characters are well written, Roscoe is a strong male lead, willing to do whatever it takes to get him to his goal, whether that goal is protecting his family, finding Roderick or seducing Miranda. He’s a multitude of contradictions, aristocratic yet down to earth and not afraid to do things that basically stick the middle finger up at  the ‘entitled’ lords and ladies of the ton.  All the while he has a sense of vulnerability and loneliness that his self imposed exile from his family has caused. His tough outer shell only melts around Miranda, she is the only one he lets see the real him, the blend of Roscoe and Julian that make him utterly desirable to her.

Miranda is under a curse of her own. As an unmarried woman in her late 20′s Miranda’s options are rapidly reducing, yet she yearns for adventure. There is a problem though, anyone in Miranda’s family who has strayed from the path of respectability has met an untimely end, her parents and sister included. Living with aunts who are practically pushing her out the door into the first loveless marriage available , Miranda is fending off suitors and dreaming of love. She is not naive, but she is susceptible to the roguish charm of Roscoe and the sense of adventure he has offered her, even though she knows it can never last. As an unmarried woman of this time, Miranda is a virgin, so when her and Roscoe first have sex it’s quite an important part to the story. However, the following 1000 times (slight exaggeration) are wholly unnecessary since it’s basically the same scene repeated over and over, every emotion analysed in fine detail. Something that quickly became very tiresome to read.

The underlying plot of this book is good but at 461 pages, this book was far longer than it needed to be and was a tedious read. The journey out of London was far too long, I was beginning to wonder if the pair would ever actually get anywhere! As mentioned above the sex also was repetitive and all in all I think that 100 pages of the book could have been cut and I would have been fine with it.  I honestly think that if it hadn’t been a review book I would have put it down and never thought of it again. In my years of reviewing I haven’t ever not finished a review book, but this was by far the closest I’ve ever come to writing a DNF review.

If I were to describe this book in one word it would be WORDY. I wish I had more good things to say about this book but the aspects that were enjoyable have been utterly destroyed by the negative points to the point where the negative is all I remember. Sadly, I won’t be picking up anything more from this author.

Rating: 2 Stars


The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens
Historical Romance
Piatkus Entice (25th September 2012)
Paperback: 461 pages

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

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Laura & Rebecca’s Most Anticipated Reads of 2015 http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/laura-rebeccas-most-anticipated-reads-of-2015.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/01/laura-rebeccas-most-anticipated-reads-of-2015.html#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59218 All of us at BCC have favourite authors and series, which means that each year there are books we just can’t wait to get our hands on. Here are the books each of us are most looking forward to in 2015. What are yours?


LAURA


Deep

I think it’s fair to say that 2014 was one of the worst reading years for me. I read very few books (31) which also meant that I fell behind with some of my favourite series too – the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews springs to mind. Although I did manage to read Magic Rises over Christmas I am determined to catch up on asap in preparation for Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) release, because it really is fab and the first new release I cannot wait to read.

There are several books I can’t wait to get my hands on this year. Two of my favourite books of 2014 were Play and Lead in Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series. I really cannot resist a bit of rock star romance at the moment and this is brilliant. Which means I’m very much anticipating the release of Deep (Stage Dive #4).

I am am still mourning the end of Cat and Bones, which means I need to fill the void with a certain Hot (in every sense of the word) Vlad. I am very much looking forward to Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince #3).

Back to a rock star romances, a new favourite series was added to my list in 2014 and that was the Rock Kiss series by Nalini Singh. It is hot, sexy and full of dark, brooding rock star heroes. I cannot wait to get my hands on Rock Hard by Nalini Singh (Rock Kiss #2), this time the story is about Molly’s best friend Charlotte and her interestingly sexy boss, if you’ve read Rock Addiction, you will know the story has already been more than hinted at.

Last and by no means least is The Shadows by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13). The Black Dagger Brotherhood will always have a soft spot in my heart, Ward continues to weave the storylines cleverly and there are many parts unresolved. This time it’s Trez and iAm’s book, at the moment I cannot see how those two could possibly get a happy ending. I hope Ward manages to weave her magic once more.

Am I also allowed to mention a certain movie out next year too? It may contain shades of grey… ;-).


REBECCA


The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsI had a fairly good reading year in 2014, finally getting up-to-date on several series which have been sitting on my TBR pile for quite some time. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement, and I aim to try and cut down my TBR pile even more in the new year! Of course, these bright and shiny new releases might put a halt to that ambition, as I always want to buy more books, especially when they look this good. Admittedly a lot of my New Year excitement is over the crime genre, with the first day of the year seeing the release of The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth. This book is about an attack victim who is forced to revisit her ordeal six years later when a woman is killed in similar circumstances. She has lost her trust for everyone around her, and has to rebuild her own life whilst questioning whether the man arrested for her attack was really to blame after all.

The next book I’m excited for is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, which is a crime and mystery novel centred around a daily commute on the train. Rachel gets the same train every morning and evening, stopping at the same signal and seeing the same couple breakfast on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess seem so happy together, but one day Rachel sees something she shouldn’t have and Jess disappears. Rachel is chasing the truth and unable to trust anyone, even herself. This sounds like a great thriller, and the added dimension of the daily commute certainly makes this into a more relatable tale, as it is definitely easy to make up lives for the people that you see every day.

Last but not least is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, a new series by the fantasy author which is set in the same universe as her popular Grisha series. This new series is set in Kerch, a small island nation with tremendous economic power and a centre of international trade. Within this powerful nation is a notorious criminal underworld, with a crew of misfits being brought together to break into one of the most guarded places in the world. I love the sound of this book, as it sounds like a great heist novel with unique protagonists and a twist of the fantasy world we already know and love. The only unfortunate thing is that it isn’t scheduled for release until October!

As a final note, if Laura is mentioning a certain film release, I just want to voice my excitement for a certain Marvel blockbuster sequel scheduled for 2015!


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