#Review Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson @BrandSanderson @Gollancz

Description

Welcome to New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller Brandon Sanderson’s first collection of short fiction.

These wonderful works, originally published individually, have been collected for the first time and convey the true expanse of the Cosmere. Telling the exciting tales of adventure Sanderson fans have come to expect, Arcanum Unbounded include the Hugo Award-winning novella ‘The Emperor’s Soul’, an excerpt from the graphic novel ‘White Sand’, and the never-before-published Stormlight Archive novella ‘Edgedancer’.

The collection will include nine works in all:
‘Edgedancer’ (Stormlight Archive)
‘The Hope of Elantris’ (Elantris)
‘The Eleventh Metal’ (Mistborn)
‘The Emperor’s Soul’ (Elantris)
‘Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania’ (excerpt; Mistborn)
‘White Sand’ (excerpt; Taldain)
‘Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell’ (Threnody)
‘Sixth of Dusk’ (First of the Sun)
‘Mistborn: Secret History’ (Mistborn)

This superb collection also includes essays and illustrations which offer an insight into the numerous worlds in which the stories are set.

Review

Arcanum Unbounded is the first short story collection from Brandon Sanderson, centred around the Cosmere, the universe that Sanderson has built his worlds upon you get a real feel for how each world relates to each other with this book a sense of just how big his worldview is and yet how small it is as well.

These short stories take you on journies, introduce you to new characters in familiar worlds, new worlds, new magic and in some cases bring us back to familiar faces and familiar places bringing a sense of homecoming.

Each story has a small note to inform of which novels it relates to and if there are spoilers so that you can skip those stories that may be an issue. There were a couple that I skipped because I’m behind on a couple of the series but I’ve marked the stories to return to them later.

It wasn’t really a surprise that the two stories I connected with the most were linked with novels I had loved the most. Firstly The Emperor’s Soul which was an Elantris story, to this day Elantris remains my all-time favourite Sanderson novel, and The Eleventh Metal which is a Mistborn story and sees us following a favourite character.

These stories given their short length are complex and detailed, they draw you in and as you would expect from Sanderson have plenty of twists and drama. This is a definite must-have for any Sanderson fans bookshelf.

I must thank Gollancz and Brandon Sanderson for the review copy of this book so that I could provide my honest opinion.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleArcanum Unbounded
SeriesThe Stormlight Archive 2.5
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy | Epic Fantasy | Short Stories | Anthology
Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: 24 November 2016
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 672
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon USWaterstones | Foyles | Book DepositorySpeedy Hen | Wordery | Audible

#Review: Hard Rock Roots Boxset by C.M. Stunich @CMStunich

Description

*Get Five Sexy, Gritty Rockstar Romance Reads in One Volume (plus three bonus short stories)*

Turner Campbell is an as*hole.
I f*cking hate him.
But I can’t get enough either.
He sings like an angel and f*cks like a devil.
If I could, I’d run away and never look back because to tell you the truth, I think this man might be the death of me.

& & &

Naomi Knox is a b*tch.
I can’t f*cking stand her.
But I can’t stop thinking about her either.
She looks like an angel and plays like a devil.
If I could, I’d f*ck her good and forget all about her, but to tell you the truth, I think this woman might be my last saving grace.

*This set includes the following books in the Hard Rock Roots Series:
1. REAL UGLY
2. GET BENT
3. TOUGH LUCK
4. BAD DAY
5. BORN WRONG
Short Stories Include:
1. DIRTY CANDY CHERRY POPS (Turner and Naomi’s prequel)
2. HARD HOT BLOW UP (Ronnie and Lola’s first meeting)
3. POP ROCK ROOT B*TCH (a Hayden Lee story)

Review

Wow…Sitting down to read this boxset I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Five full length novels and three bonus short stories to cap off the reading experience. I agonised over the best way to write this review and decided that short reviews of each individual novel was the way to go…so here we go get ready…

Real Ugly - C.M. StunichReal Ugly
Indecency are headlining a big tour and Turner Campbell is their lead singer, Amatory Riot are their main support and Naomi Knox is their leader and lead guitarist. Turner and Naomi met once before but Turner doesn’t remember, it’s scorched in Naomi’s memory though and she hate’s him with a passion of a thousand suns. As Turner gets to know Naomi though he starts to remember and wants to know more, trying to win her over and convince her he’s not the guy she thinks he is. But something is sinister is happening, and something from Naomi’s past threatens to destroy her future. I was gripped, tearful and completely absorbed in this book which I read in one sitting.

Get Bent - C.M. StunichGet Bent
Turner is desperate and I got completely swept up in his desperation in this book. Naomi is missing presumed dead, and all Turner wants is to find her but there are no leads and weird things keep happening. As the tour continues with people filling in the gaps in the bands for the missing and dead Turner investigates and tries to figure out what is happening and who is causing all of the mayhem. This is an incredibly tense read and not at all what I expected when I started this series, but I just couldn’t put it down. This is the point where these characters really started digging into my skin and becoming a part of me.

Tough Luck - C.M. StunichTough Luck
Ronnie is the drummer in Turners band Indecency and Lola drums for one of the support bands Ice and Glass, we learn so much more about the evil plot in this book thanks to Lola who has been a part of it but jumps ship to join the good guys. These two are about as fucked up as any character I’ve read of C.M. Stunich yet and she writes them so well you can’t help but to adore the hell out of them. They are so perfect for each other and really do need each other to get through this bloody awful situation.

Bad Day - C.M. StunichBad Day
We’re back with Turner and Naomi in this book and the range of emotions is a true rollercoaster as we battle with them dealing with potentially losing one of Turner’s friends, Naomi battles with her feelings for Turner which is understandably hard for her given their history, and Turner has to try and handle his feelings of jealousy over Dax, her bandmate, being in love with Naomi. So much going on here and I was so engrossed I flew through the book in record time and this series is proving to be romantic suspense at it’s best, I’m on the edge of my seat and the sex is off the charts hot.

Born Wrong - C.M. StunichBorn Wrong
Dax McCann has been one of my favourite side characters in this series, his being in love with Naomi has been a little annoying though and he needed shaking out of it and in this novel C.M. Stunich gives him a good shake up with Sydney Charrel, stripper sister to Trey, Turner’s band mate. As soon as they meet sparks fly. She knows he’s in love with Naomi but they feel a need to be near each other anyway. You know all the great romances start like that right? I feel like there will be so much more to this story…SO much more!

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleHard Rock Roots Box Set
Series: Hard Rock Roots #1-5
Author: C.M. Stunich
Genre: Romance | Suspense | Mystery | Music
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 14 February 2016
Review Format: eBook
Other FormatsPaperback
Pages: 702
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Most Popular Reviews 2017: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins @MLTompkins @PenguinUKBooks @penguinusa

This week, I am sharing the five most popular reviews this year by visits to the blog. Thank you to all of you for visiting and supporting me, and the blog, but most importantly your support for all of the authors I’ve featured.

The most popular review on the blog this year is a book which swept me away into a world of history, myth and magic was The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins. I posted my review for this on 5 April and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Description

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic
introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.

Review

The first time I read the description of this novel I knew I had to read it. My feeling that this book was for me wasn’t to be disappointed as I started reading the first few pages set in our time, an air of mystery swept over the story before Mark Tompkins took us back several thousand years to where the real story happened.

Set mainly in Ireland with some trips around Europe this story weaves magical myth, historical fact, papal legend, and pure fiction to bring together a beautiful yet heartbreaking magical fantasy about how magic left not only Ireland, the centre of all magic, but the world.

Using Goddesses, witches, fairies, vikings, kings, queens, angels, knights, mermaids/men and just about every other creature from legend you could think of without them being out of place or it feeling overcrowded Mark Tompkins has made this feel like a world full of infinite possibility under attack from people who don’t understand.

I couldn’t help but see connection between the way the church were portrayed in this book as pursuing the end of magic and the way over the years they pursued and tortured different groups for things they saw as a threat such as women they called witches, and those from other religions. I think this contrast was on purpose, it certainly wasn’t lost on me and I found many of the papal characters unnerving and in some cases quite sickening!

Our Goddesses on earth Aisling and Anya are twins and between them hold the power of the goddess all the magical creatures worship and follow. They are strong girls and will only become stronger. They each had strengths, Aisling, the fighter, Anya the bookworm and I loved the both for each of the their strengths as I could relate to both.

You know from the title of the book, it’s not going to be a happy go lucky novel. Things aren’t going to go the way you want them to and I’m almost tempted to pigeon-hole this a dark fantasy as it gets pretty grim in places. Despite this I couldn’t help feeling like there was hope, all the way through I just felt like something was going to turn around make things better.

I’m hoping beyond hope that there will be a second book as this was an astounding read. I haven’t read anything like this in, well, ever!

A huge thanks to Mark Tompkins for so kindly sending me a signed copy, I will treasure it. I also thank Penguin for the eARC to read in return for my honest review.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Last Days of Magic
Series: N/A
Author: Mark Tompkins
Genre: Fantasy | Dark Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 400
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen

#Review: Neil by Sybil Bartel @SybilBartel

I’m finally caught up on this fantastic series, to catch my other reviews follow the links below:

Book 1 – Talon
Book 2 – Neil (see below)
Book 3 – André
Book 4 – Bennett

Description

I didn’t know he was a billionaire, or that he was capable of murder.

The first time I saw Neil Christensen, I was being dragged onto his boat from the waters off the coast of Key West.

The second time I laid eyes on the six-foot-six billionaire, he was walking into my strip club, demanding I quit.

The third time I encountered the Viking-sized monster of a man, my life fell apart.

Dominant, controlling, and uncompromising in every way–Neil Christensen wasn’t a man you met by coincidence.

He had a plan.

I only hoped I could survive it.

Review

I have loved Neil in the other novels that I’ve read, his no-nonsense approach to dealing with everything has meant that whoever won his heart would have to be someone special, someone who could break through the tough exterior and also be able to deal with his curt way of speaking and acting.

Ariel is a young single mother who works for André, as an ex-stripper she takes no nonsense from the marines who work at the company and is the only person who has gotten away with nicknaming Neil, Viking. Neil has taken an interest in Ariel and we see her fighting his interest while needing support as her past comes back to bite her in the butt putting her and her son in danger.

Unusually for Bartel this is told completely from Ariel’s point of view with none of the book told from Neil’s, I kind of missed getting his point of view but it really worked for this novel, Ariel is such a strong woman and she fights hard against Neil not standing for any of his nonsense, not liking his bossy nature while being inextricably pulled towards him.

I loved this couple, so much and I loved learning more about Neil and the kind of man he is which just made me love him so much more than I did going into this novel. Another stellar novel from Sybil Bartel.

Rating

 

Book & Buy Links

TitleNeil
Series: Uncompromising #2
Author: Sybil Bartel
Genre: Romance | Contemporary Romance | Erotica | Military
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 22 August 2016
Review Format: eBook
Other FormatsPaperback
Pages: 376
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US

#Review: Talon by Sybil Bartel @SybilBartel

Talon is the first book in the Uncompromising series, however, not liking to do things in a logical order I’ve already reviewed book three in this series if you wanted to check out that review I’ve linked it below along with the buy link for book two which I will be reviewing soon.

Book Two: Neil
Book Three: André

Description

Talon

I surf.
I f*ck.
I pretend to smile.

Two years ago my life was perfect, until it wasn’t. I scattered my wife’s ashes then walked away from the Marines. I didn’t think I had anything left to lose.

I was wrong.

The blonde showed up on my doorstep beaten and stabbed. I did what I was trained to do—I stitched her up. I didn’t have a clue who she was and I told myself I didn’t care. Until they came looking for her.

I swore I’d take my last breath before I let anyone else hurt her, except I didn’t know she was keeping a deadly secret. Now I had two choices, her life or mine.

Marriage and combat taught me the same thing—I was no one’s hero. And I was about to prove it.

Review

I can always rely on Sybil Bartel to give me a good strong dose of testosterone-fuelled enjoyment with her books. Her men are full-blown alpha males, muscled, intelligent, witty, over-protective and sexy as hell. But she doesn’t stop there because the women are no damsels in distress. They could easily walk out in front of the trouble hurtling towards them with none of the protection on offer and handle it with one arm tied behind their back. But this protection is a pretty darn good added bonus.

Talon is a moody bugger and nobody is able to break his ice-cold barrier until Nicole turns up, battered and beaten, looking for a safe haven. Seeing Talon battle with his feelings vs how he felt he should be acting was nothing short of adorable. Nicole was cute yet feisty, she is one who won’t suffer fools gladly and has taken more than enough shit over the years and isn’t going to take any more, even from a man like Talon.

Seeing Talon let down his guard learn to love and trust and be the man he was meant to be and not the moody man he has become is an emotional journey and one that it’s a pleasure to have been on.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleTalon
Series: Uncompromising #1
AuthorSybil Bartel
Genre: Romance | Erotica | Romantic Suspense | Military
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Paperback
Pages: 389
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US

#Review: Risky and Wild by Violet Blaze @IAmVioletBlaze @CMStunich

This is Book Two in the Bad Boys MC Series check out my review of Book One: Raw and Dirty Here.

Description

The Alpha Wolves Motorcycle Club President wants me for his old lady.

Like that could ever happen.

Royal McBride is a total a-hole. He’s rude, impulsive, and the rest of his club hates me. Of course, the man in question has a lethal swagger, a sinful smirk, and a British accent that melts my lacy crotchless panties. Plus, the guy’s got timber wolves as pets and lives in a Victorian house by the sea.

How could I say no to that?

But I can never forget that he’s the head of a criminal organization that’s in trouble with both the FBI and a rival MC. If I thought things were bad before, they’re about to get worse. Danger is in his job description; outlaw is his whole life.

A turf war between two clubs is no place for the mayor’s daughter; in the tattooed arms of the man in charge feels exactly like where I belong.

Falling into bed with him was a big mistake; falling in love with him could be deadly.

A motorcycle club president … an aspiring politician.
There’s no way in hell this is going to work.

Review

Lyric has fallen for Royal the hot and rugged president of the Alpha Wolves MC. But she still wants her career, the career she’s worked her backside off for, a backside that Royal really likes by the way! Add to that the club hates her, the old ladies really hate her and things aren’t looking so great for this new couple.

With a rival club really stirring things up and everyone in danger things are just getting worse and Royal’s attention is split between his woman and the club at the worst possible time. Lyric meanwhile just can’t decide what to do for the best, until she does decide.

I was swept along with this, I read this immediately after the first book, and was well and truly on their bike. I was eating, drinking, breathing them by this point and just needed to know what they were doing, why they were doing it and what they were going to do to get through it…together.

I spent so much time gasping, shaking my head, screeching, screaming, and generally telling them both off that I’m surprised I came out of the book without needing therapy.

The sexual scenes are smokin’ but I wouldn’t expect anything else at this point, and I love how imaginative Blaze is coming up with new places and ways for them to come together to keep the reading interesting.

We get to know other members of the club and Lyric’s family much better through this book which was a nice touch and opens things up much better for the final book in the series… review coming very soon!

Another slammin’ MC read from Violet Blaze, be ready to binge read this series it’s a necessity to just get through them quickly.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleRisky and Wild
Series: Bad Boys MC #2
Author: Violet Blaze
Genre: Romance | Contemporary | Erotica | MC Romance | Bikers
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 20 October 2016
Review Format: eBook
Other FormatsPaperback
Pages: 440
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US

#Review: Raw and Dirty by Violet Blaze @IAmVioletBlaze @CMStunich

Description

Make nice with the President of the Alpha Wolves Motorcycle Club.

Yeah right.

It was what my job description called for—I just never realized exactly how nice I needed to be.
I certainly never expected to find myself twisted up and tangled in the raw, dirty world of an outlaw motorcycle club … or in the sexy, tattooed hands of the man in charge.

Royal McBride is a jerk—but a jerk with a swoon worthy accent, a big bike, and big … well, other things.

I didn’t think falling in love with him would threaten my life. His life.
That we’d both risk losing everything we hold dear.

The mayor’s daughter … an outlaw MC president.
It’s a match made in heaven … a match tested in hell.

Review

Lyric walks into the Alpha Wolves Motorcycle Club confident and in control, she is the Deputy Mayor of this town and she knows exactly what is expected of her. Make a deal with the club’s President so that the town knows the club is part of the town once and for all. Then she meets Royal, the club’s baking hot President and everything goes to hell.

As a girl who spent a lot of her childhood around an MC here in England, I kinda loved that Royal was an English expat. I felt so close to him because of that and he really exudes everything you want from a biker, he’s tough, incredibly sexy, has the most amazing bikes (I’ll admit to drooling a little), and damn if he doesn’t know how to treat his woman.

Lyric is a very straight woman, she has worked hard for her political career and a man like Royal is definitely not part of her plan, in fact he could send her hurtling off course and despite their incredible chemistry she needs to decide if he is a man she really wants a future with.

Royal wants Lyric completely and will do just about anything to keep her with him, but he can see she wants the life she’s worked so hard for and realises as much as it breaks every one of his instincts he may have to let her walk away.

This is the first part in a trilogy and I will have reviews for the remaining two books coming very soon so stay tuned, even better read this one and then you’ll be ready for the next review when it goes live!

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleRaw and Dirty
Series: Bad Boys MC #1
Author: Violet Blaze
Genre: Romance | Contemporary | Erotica | MC Romance | Bikers
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 1 February 2016
Review Format: eBook
Other FormatsPaperback
Pages: 326
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US