Book Chick City - Urban Fantasy & Romance Reviews Urban Fantasy & Romance Reviews Sat, 03 Oct 2015 09:02:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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WEEKEND READS: Something Spooky! Sat, 26 Sep 2015 10:00:09 +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:


Ghostly - Audrey Niffenegger

I finally get myself out of a reading slump and fall straight back into one! The last couple of weeks my mind has been elsewhere and I just haven’t been able to read or connect to anything book related, but I’m back! Autumn is finally here, it’s my favourite time of year! Crisp mornings, sun on dewy grass, nights drawing in and just all round cosiness.

So I’ve decided that this weekend I’ll be getting my spook on! Ghostly by Audrey Niffenegger is the most beautiful book, if you get chance to go and stroke this thing, go do it! The cover is thick black matt and the rest is beautifully foiled and the end papers, are stunning! Ghostly is a collection of stories with a haunting factor that Audrey has collected herself and illustrated. Amongst other authors, Edgar Allen Poe, Neil Gaiman and M. R. James have short stories in this collection. I thought this would be a brilliant way to kick off Autumn and gear myself up for all things scary in October. Have a fabulous weekend!


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NEW VIDEO | BOOK DISCUSSION: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara *spoilers* Fri, 25 Sep 2015 09:00:58 +0000 Today’s video is a discussion of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This video contains spoilers, so if you haven’t read it yet, you have been warned. For those who have read the book I hope we can discuss it further in the comments section – I would love to hear your thoughts. I hope you enjoy the video! :)

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REVIEW: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson Thu, 24 Sep 2015 17:00:15 +0000 Steelheart by Brandon SandersonI love reading anything by Brandon Sanderson, so when Steelheart popped up on NetGalley I knew I had to have it right away.

The book begins in the past, with a flashback to our protagonist, David, and his father visiting a bank on a seemingly ordinary day. Their lives have changed in the wake of Calamity, an event which transformed a select few humans into Epics – beings with extraordinary powers. These powerful men and women are now running the city of Newcago, with one in particular claiming the ultimate reign. This Epic is Steelheart, a man who can turn anything into steel and is invulnerable to any form of attack, with bullets simply rebounding straight off of him. He walks into the bank that day to assert his dominance, but a surprise turn of events sees his cheek bleed, prompting him to kill all those present.

David’s father is amongst the fallen, whilst David finds himself to be the only survivor of the bank attack, having seen the invulnerable Epic bleed. If Steelheart knew he was alive then he would be in grave danger, as he might have witnessed the clue to finding out the Epic’s weakness. For the next ten years of his life, David dedicates his time to researching the various types of Epics and their weaknesses, creating his own encyclopaedias about how their powers might work and what Steelheart’s weakness could be. He has dedicated his life to revenge, and thinks the Reckoners could be the ones to help him achieve his goal.

The Reckoners are a rebel group, and the only one in existence that is still willing to fight back against the Epics. They spend their time tracking and exterminating small-time Epics, but David is determined to join their ranks and use their specialist technology in his war against Steelheart. Becoming part of the crew requires that he prove himself, with David’s extensive research standing him in good stead, especially when he can enlighten them on certain Epics’ weaknesses. However, convincing them to make Steelheart their next target is the biggest challenge that the Reckoners have ever faced, and could well end in the death of the entire rebellion.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it flowed with all the usual Sanderson flair, proving once again his talent for creating a rich and engrossing fantasy world. He introduces you gradually into the world of the Epics and their abilities, and I loved the idea that each one had a specific weakness, as it becomes a puzzle trying to work out what might bring Steelheart down. The technological advances are also introduced slowly, with their being new and exciting devices for David to get to grips with in his training with the Reckoners. I think these technology ideas worked so well because they aren’t too abstract, and are definitely within the realms of scientific probability.

In this way, a creative world of magic powers and science are woven together seamlessly, with it being easy to understand every aspect of the plot and not be overloaded with information. This might be due to David’s first person perspective, as we learn things at the same rate as the character and also get to see his relationships grow. At the beginning, he is fairly naïve and would be content to let someone take the fall if it meant he achieved his revenge. However, the Reckoners help him to see that his single-minded goal will leave innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, which makes him no better than the Epic he seeks to fell.

I think David does develop as the book goes on, but he definitely wasn’t my favourite of Sanderson’s protagonists. His young age of eighteen shows, and I didn’t find all of his quirks as funny as intended. For example, he always mixes up his metaphors and makes crazy comparisons, which were funny to begin with but then grew more and more abstract. I also struggled slightly with his strong connection to Megan, one of the Reckoner crew, who he seems to take a shine to instantly even though she is overtly hostile towards him. Despite these little niggles, on the whole David is an intelligent and clever young man, who is good in a crisis and a brilliant improviser. Some of his impulse ideas are ingenious, earning him a definite spot on the Reckoners team.

As always, Sanderson shows us both sides of the war, enforcing that there are never any winners and losers. Even though the Reckoners cause is for the greater good, there is still no way of knowing whether the loss of Steelheart will pave way for an even worse Epic. It is these moral dilemmas that continue to crop up throughout the book, helping to mould David into a more rounded character, making him more considerate of those around him. I particularly liked how this affected his relationships with the other Reckoners, as the crew are an interesting bunch and all given their own personalities to make them stand out.

Once again, I loved everything about Sanderson’s writing style and his ability to bring a fantasy world to life. He has a way of integrating you into the world so that you know every nuance, whilst weaving a plot around you that is full of surprises and suspense. There are twists and turns around every corner, with the best revelations saved until the last few pages. Once again, these reveals are hard to anticipate and always give a shock, making you want to read on until you’ve devoured every page and every secret. There were some details left open for the sequel, which I can’t wait to read after seeing where the conclusion leaves the team.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
(The Reckoners #1)
Gollancz (26 Sep 2014)
Ebook: 400 pages

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

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REVIEW: True North by Liora Blake Tue, 22 Sep 2015 17:00:36 +0000 true north by Liora Blake

I bought True North on a whim on the hunt for a great rock star romance, and after a Goodreads recommendation. Liora Blake is a totally new to me author but the book had good reviews and I was so glad I read it.

Let’s start with the hero, Trevor (aka Trax). I really enjoyed that he wasn’t just an ordinary rock star hero. No, he was a baggy jeans wearing, cocky rapper, and the difference was great and very refreshing, and sets this story apart from some of the other rock star romances I have read of late.

Onto our heroine, Kate. Small town author and widow, who lost her husband in a tragic accident three years ago, used her grief to write a bestselling novel. She might be bookish, but she is also sassy and sexy. No shy, retiring librarian types here, which was another part of the book I found equally refreshing. Bookish (as well all know) does not have to equal glasses, mousey hair and no sense of fashion. Hurrah for that.

Kate and Trevor meet on a TV show and sparks fly. I love Kate’s mouth and her ability to put most people in their place. I really enjoyed that while the chemistry was explosive from the onset, Blake built the relationship between Kate and Trevor over time, as it added believability. From the sexy nights out to fun jogging expeditions and Trevor’s amusing text dialogue, it made the romance more real.

Their scenes are fabulously sexy, helped by the awesome Kellan, who comes in as Kate’s stylist and minor match-maker. Honestly, Kate ends up with a wardrobe to die for. Also, be prepared to fan yourself, Trevor is one super hot hero.

Another thing that I felt was really well written was Kate’s grief. You felt the mourning and guilt over her husband’s death deep inside you as if it were your own. It didn’t detract from her relationship with Trevor. The author also didn’t go down the route of diminishing the love Kate felt for her husband or in anyway lessen than her feelings for Trevor, it was just different.

The only part of the story that frustrated me was Kate’s attitude, particularly at the end of the novel. I understand that she has a lot of baggage, and it is hard to write about without giving away any spoilers here, but I think she treats Trevor a bit poorly on a couple of occasions, and Trevor is incredibly forgiving and understanding.

A great rock star romance with a slightly different hero. I have downloaded book two to read straight away. Trevor and Kate are a fab couple, and I loved their story. Seriously sexy, but also funny and heart wrenching at times. It probably would have been a 4.5 star review if it wasn’t for the fact that some of Kate’s actions annoyed me on occasion. I would most definitely recommend it to rock star romance fans.

Side note – I have no idea why they chose this book cover as it doesn’t represent the book at all – total pet hate, but anyway. Also as a Kindle book this is on the slightly expensive side too.

Rating: 4 Stars

True North by Liora Blake
(True #1)
Contemporary Rockstar Romance
Pocket Star (April 2015)
Ebook: 288 pages

Goodreads || Amazon UK || Amazon US

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REVIEW: The Brigadier’s Runaway Bride by Erica Ridley Mon, 21 Sep 2015 17:00:04 +0000 The Brigadier's Runaway Bride by Erica RidleyHaving read the previous books in this historical romance series, I was looking forward to reading The Brigadier’s Runaway Bride by Erica Ridley when it came up on NetGalley.

It helps that we have already met the heroine of this book, Sarah Fairfax, in previous instalments, although this doesn’t mean that the book can’t be read as a standalone. Of course, the thing that made Sarah stand out in previous books was the fact that she is pregnant, with the father of her child believed to have died on the battlefield. As such, the opening of this book sees her at the altar and about to wed the Duke of Ravenwood, who has offered to raise her unborn child as his own and ensure that it doesn’t grow up a bastard. She might not love the duke, but Sarah has to do what’s best for her child and give it the best future she can.

Of course, these things rarely go to plan and her wedding is interrupted by the arrival of none other than Edmund Blackpool, whom everyone presumed dead. He was shot on the battlefield and it has taken him months to recover from his injuries, taking every ounce of his fighting spirit to make it back to England. The only thought getting him through his recovery was of his beautiful Sarah, and he is determined to wed his love when he returns. To find her about to marry another man is a huge shock, but to find that she is pregnant is even more so, as he was expecting his beautiful, young angel to remain unchanged.

Successfully stopping a society wedding and gaining a special licence in record time, Edmund is finally free to marry the girl of his dreams, yet he is not the same man who left for war. He is mentally scarred and refuses to discuss his recovery, keeping his distance from Sarah for fear of hurting her. The way he sees it, he has already hurt Sarah enough by putting her in this position, yet all he succeeds in doing is creating a distance between them. She wants to be held and loved by him but he is reluctant to reach out to her, making this marriage a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

I will admit that this book was not as good as its predecessors, despite my hopes to the contrary. Having met Sarah in previous books I knew that I would like her character, as she is just trying to make the most of her situation and provide the best future for her child. She has been grieving for Edmund for almost nine months, and is beyond surprised to learn that he survived the war after all. She is delighted at the prospect of marrying who she loves, but she is faced with a lot of insecurities about her body and the way she looks after childbirth. Sarah is scared to let Edmund close to her for fear of ruining his impression of her as his beautiful bride, even though all she craves is his touch and attention.

Similarly, Edmund was easy to like and relate to, having set his mind on marrying Sarah and letting nothing get in his way. What was disappointing was the forthright and immediate way he set about it, as they are married very quickly and then the novel seems to lose some of its focus. We don’t get to know Edmund as intimately as we do the prior protagonists, with him becoming more remote after the wedding and determined to hide away in their townhouse. It’s as if he’s scared of the outside world and yet we aren’t given much insight into his thought processes or how he feels about his return to London. All we do know is that he loves Sarah with all his heart, and is determined to prove himself a good husband and father.

Unfortunately for me, this book didn’t grip me as much as the others have, with there being a lot more that could have been done to expand the plot. The whole book seemed to be over incredibly quickly, with the conclusion being thrust upon the reader somewhat unexpectedly, as I had anticipated a lot more to happen between the couple. I liked that the book began with a wedding rather than ending with one, but the dynamics between the couple never felt like they achieved a healthy balance. The relationship didn’t have the heat and passion of the previous books, with there being a romantic love but not much chemistry to go with it. I did like them as a couple, but I was hoping for there to be a bit more development between them and some more exploration of their new relationship after the impact of war. I was disappointed with the hastiness of the plot in this novel, so I’m hoping that the next instalment will pick the series back up.

Rating: 3 Stars

The Brigadier’s Runaway Bride by Erica Ridley
(The Dukes of War #4)
Historical Romance
Intrepid Reads (1 Sept 2015)
Ebook: 250 pages

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

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