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Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England)

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Chaos Rises: A Veil World Urban Fantasy
Chaos Rises: A Veil World Urban Fantasy
Price: £2.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaos Rises book 1, 1 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I absolutely love Pippa DaCosta's Veil series so of course I was desperate to get my hands on the spin off and have the chance to revisit the world again. You know what? Even though I had incredibly high expectations for Chaos Rises I think it managed to surpass them and I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up loving the new characters even more than the original ones! And let me just tell you that is saying something because Muse, Stefan and Akil are right up there with my favourite characters EVER.

Anyway, we have a new cast for Chaos Rises, I did wonder if our previous favourites would make an appearance but I'm actually kind of glad that they didn't. I wouldn't mind catching a glimpse of them in the future but this book is all about Gem, her brother Delta, Torrent (another half-blood of questionable loyalty) and Gem's demon boss (aka the pain in the butt that she can't quite get away from) Allard. It's hard to know how much to say about the plot of this book because I really don't want to give anything away so I think I'm going to keep this deliberately vague and focus more on the new characters.

Let's start with Gem (short for Gamma), she is one kickass half-demon who is fiercely protective of her brother. The two of them have been to hell (literally) and back but their worst enemy by far is the very human Institute who made life so difficult for Muse in the previous series. You may even remember Gem and Del being mentioned briefly in the earlier books as the half-bloods that Akil rescued from the Institute just before things went completely crazy when the Veil fell. Gem and Del have very little experience of the human world since the Institute kept them so isolated so they were easy prey for Allard and he now keeps them on a tight reign. Gem definitely isn't a pushover though and she fights back at every possible opportunity. We don't get to know Del as well in this book but I'm very intrigued about him and definitely want to know more about his powers.

Torrent is another brilliant character, it's hard to tell whether he's completely trustworthy (Pippa DaCosta is excellent at writing morally ambiguous characters!) but I'm already half in love with him. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between him and Gem and the way he constantly puts her on edge. She's never had anyone but Del show her even a small amount of kindness before so she's not quite sure how to react when Torrent helps her and she's definitely not sure if he can be trusted in the long run. Allard is the kind of character I love to hate, he's everything you'd expect from a powerful demon in this world and he uses every trick in the book to get the things he wants.

I'm not going to say anything more because I want readers to go in with no idea what to expect, I want you to experience the book the way I did so that you can appreciate the edge of your seat action, the brilliant characters and the fantastic world building for yourselves. I guess people who are new to Pippa DaCosta's writing (Who are you crazy people? You need to fix that issue IMMEDIATELY!) are probably wondering if they can pick up Chaos Rises without reading the Veil series. I guess my answer to that would technically be yes, this series is all about new characters that we know practically nothing about beforehand and it's the start of a definite new story arc, but the world building does continue closely from the previous story. Although you can start here personally I think you'd be crazy to skip the Veil books, purely because they are so fantastic! It is one of my favourite urban fantasy series and considering that I've read a lot of UF that's very high praise.

It's no secret that I'm a fan girl when it comes to this author, I've loved everything that she's written and Chaos Rises is no exception so I can't wait to see where she takes these characters next. It's going to feel like a very long wait for the next book but I'll be first in the queue to read it when it's published!

Allegiance of Honour: The Psy-Changeling Series
Allegiance of Honour: The Psy-Changeling Series
by Nalini Singh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psy-Changeling book 15, 27 Jun. 2016
There is a reason that Nalini Singh is my favourite author, she consistently writes amazing book after amazing book and she is the absolute queen of world building and creating fantastic characters. It's not often you get to book 15 in a series and find that the author has once again managed to give you something fresh and new but that is exactly what she has done with Allegiance of Honour. This book is a tribute to all the previous couples we've met and fallen in love with and all the side characters whose stories we're still desperately waiting for. It ties together a lot of little loose ends hanging around after the fall of Silence and at the same time it also kicks off the beginning of a brand new story arc.

If you've ever read Nalini's newsletter you'll know she loves to include little short stories and snippets giving us glimpses into some of her characters after they have their happily ever after. Well imagine a whole glorious book that gives you a chance to spend time with everyone again. This is an ensemble cast where no one couple takes centre stage for the whole story (although I think little Naya and the pupcubs steal more than their share the spotlight but more on them later!) but instead we get to see where they're all at in their lives right now. If it was any other author I might have been nervous about an ensemble cast but I have absolute faith in Nalini and she pulled it off more wonderfully than I ever could have imagined.

Not only does she give us a glimpse into couples from 14 other books (as well as several novellas and short stories) but she weaves in several new stories for them all to get involved in. One story in particular allows us to get to know certain members of BlackSea a little better and that helps build trust between all the different groups that are currently working together - DarkRiver, SnowDancer, Psy like Kaleb, Anthony & Nikita, the Arrows and the Empaths, the Human Alliance, the Forgotten, the Rats and Rainfire. I'm sure I've probably forgotten some but all of these groups have their own role to play in a desperate rescue attempt for one of the lost BlackSea changelings.

Naya is one of the stars of this book, she is the first child born to one Psy and one Changeling parent and nobody knows what kind of abilities she's going to have but she is definitely seen as a symbol of hope for all those who believe in the fall of Silence. Of course that makes her a major target for those who aren't happy about the recent changes. She's not an easy target to get at though and she has a huge family around to protect her. Naya is about 1 year old now and she is so utterly adorable in this book that she made my heart melt. There is also a lot of excitement around the impending arrival of Mercy and Riley's pupcubs. It was so much fun seeing all the adults talking about the pubcubs and placing bets on how many there would be along with the sexes and animal forms. I think Judd's guess amused me the most just because he'd put so much thought into it:

Judd had placed a two-and-two bet. Word was the pupcubs' changeling animal would be linked to the dominance of each respective parent, and Judd wasn’t about to bet against either Mercy or Riley. They were the most evenly matched dominant changeling pairing he’d ever seen.

I'm not going to tell you whether he was anywhere close to correct in his guess though, you won't get a word out of me! All I'll say is they're finally here and they're absolutely adorable!

Allegiance of Honour was everything I didn't know I wanted. If I had to put it into one word it could only be PERFECT. If you were worried that this series might be coming to an end let me assure you that we have so many exciting things still to come and I for one can't wait to get my hands on the next book. In the meantime I'm going to pick up my copy of Slave to Sensation and start reading the series again from the beginning because this book has reminded me just how much I adore all of the previous characters.

Source: Received from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review

The Fires Of Heaven: Book 5 of the Wheel of Time
The Fires Of Heaven: Book 5 of the Wheel of Time
by Robert Jordan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

3.0 out of 5 stars Wheel of Time book 5, 26 Jun. 2016
I've found it really difficult to write a review of The Fires of Heaven, mainly because as much as I'm loving the Wheel of Time series as a whole I was actually a little disappointed with this instalment. It was much slower than the last couple of books, particularly in the first half, and it took me much longer to read than it should have.

I thought it was very weird that Perrin, Loial and Faile were completely absent for the entire book. They played such huge parts in the last one that perhaps it was time to let some of the other characters shine but I would have liked just a glimpse at what is going on with them, especially considering the way things were left with them at the end of The Shadow Rising.

I was also incredibly irritated by nearly all of the women in this book. Nynaeve has been a favourite character of mine since the beginning but it's like she's had a personality transplant and she's acting like such a brainless idiot that I wanted to smack some sense into her. It really says something when you have Egwene call you out for your behaviour and it was shocking to find that Egwene was actually the most sensible of the two for this book - she's definitely learning something from the Wise Ones but I think Nynaeve must have had a brain injury! I honestly don't know how Elayne has coped with the pair of them though, I would have murdered them both if I was in her position. Although she doesn't have much of a leg to stand on considering the way she behaved around Thom for most of the book, it was actually embarrassing to watch.

Min and Siuan's story was probably the most interesting part of this book for me but even that went downhill once they met up with more of the Aes Sedai and were relegated to the side lines. I'm also kind of fed up with Elayne, Min and Aviendha mooning around over Rand (and his constant thoughts about the three of them!), I hate to say it but Robert Jordan isn't very good at creating believable relationships and I don't really feel much of a connection between any of them yet. Let's hope that improves as the series continues. Moiraine spends much of this book distancing herself from everyone else and being just as secretive as ever which is still irritating and I think the only woman who didn't get on my nerves for at least part of the story was Birgitte.

On the positive side it was great to see Rand step up and take action as the Dragon Reborn, he's finally accepted his destiny and started making plans for the future. I love spending time with the Aiel too, especially the Maidens of the Spear, and they get a big chunk of page time in this book. Mat has continued to improve as a character too so I'm looking forward to seeing what he decides to do next.

The Fires of Heaven wasn't a bad book but it just didn't live up to my high expectations for this series. I'm still hugely invested in the world and want to spend more time with the characters (even the ones who irritate me!) so of course I'll be diving into the next book very soon.

Hard Ever After (Hard Ink Novella)
Hard Ever After (Hard Ink Novella)
by Laura Kaye
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £2.81

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard Ink book 4.6, 26 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're a fan of Laura Kaye's Hard Ink series then you're going to love Hard Ever After. This novella is a perfect extended epilogue to the entire series and even though it's a continuation of Nick and Becca's love story it's very much a chance to drop in on all of the previous couples and see how they're getting on a few months down the line. After everything they've all been through they all thoroughly deserve their happily ever afters but before they can celebrate Nick and Becca's wedding they'll have to face one last enemy.

I love all of these characters so much, the strong, protective guys who have worked so hard to clear their names and the women who have supported them through it all and who each had their own roles to play. It was just so nice to revisit them all and see how much stronger the bond is between everyone now. The guys have been like brothers since their army days but the women have also become close friends and we get to see lots of friendly banter and bonding time which was lovely.

There was just the right amount of action to add a little suspense to the story without taking away from the romance and friendship that has been at the heart of the entire series. I'm going to miss these characters but I'm excited to move onto the Raven Riders spin off and hopefully we'll still see a few glimpses of these characters in those books.

Source: Received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review but I also purchased my own print copy to take pride of place on my shelves with the rest of the series.

RivaCase 5107 7 inch Bag for Tablet/PC - Black
RivaCase 5107 7 inch Bag for Tablet/PC - Black
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great protective bag for your tablet or eReader, 26 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really nice well padded protective bag for a 7 inch tablet or kindle (I've been using it with my really old Kindle Keyboard & that fits inside the bag even in it's case which makes it useful for me. The bag is made of quite thick foam type material that I think will protect it really well. The main compartment has a zipper closure and there is also a small zippered pocket in the front that is big enough to hold a notepad and pen or perhaps pop your mobile phone in. It also comes with a long detachable strap which will come in handy for travelling.

This is a very small bag so while it offers great protection for your tablet / eReader there isn't much room in it for anything else so you're not going to be able to use this in place of your handbag. Since it's so small it should easily tuck inside a handbag / rucksack or briefcase and give your device some extra protection from any other items in your bag though.

Secret of the Gargoyles (Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles Book 3)
Secret of the Gargoyles (Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles Book 3)
Price: £2.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles book 3, 26 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mika has a very rare ability that makes her a perfect gargoyle healer and she has dedicated all her time to helping gargoyles in need ever since she discovered it. Unfortunately there is one problem she has so far been unable to resolve and that's healing the gargoyles who are lying dormant around the city. Mika knows there is something very wrong with them but none of the research she has carried out has helped her find answers. It's taken a long time but now she has finally gained the trust of an older gargoyle who knows what is causing the problem but it isn't something that she can solve on her own and she is forced to turn to the FPD for help. Since most of the squad is currently unavailable it is up to Marcus to help Mika and Oliver on their dangerous quest, the only question that remains is will they be fast enough to save the gargoyles currently in Mika's care?

Secret of the Gargoyle is a fantastic finale to the Gargoyle Guardian trilogy that's full of action, danger and magic. Rebecca Chastain has created such a bright and vivid world and it's one I love spending time in. The way she describes magic use is wonderful and it just got even better in this book as Mika manages to tap into a power that humans aren't even supposed to know exists. The gargoyle characters are brilliant, I've loved Oliver from the beginning and it's been wonderful watching him grow from the tiny hatchling Mika rescued in Curse of the Gargoyles to the courageous companion he has become. Oliver loves Mika beyond all reason and thinks nothing of putting himself in harm's way to protect her but that is something that definitely goes both ways and Mika would do anything to look after him and any other gargoyles that cross her path.

Mika is brilliant, she's smart, brave and incredibly caring. As the only known gargoyle healer she sees it as her responsibility to look after all of the gargoyles and she thinks nothing of putting herself at risk to save them. I admire how focused she is on her goal but I loved that Marcus calls her out when she gets in over her head. She doesn't always see the dangers to herself until it's almost too late and she needs someone to help her take a step back and look at the bigger picture sometimes. Marcus obviously cares deeply about her and I really enjoyed the slow build romance that has developed between them. There were hints of an attraction between them in the previous stories but this is the book that really moves things forward since they spend so much time working together. I think they make a great couple, their personalities fit well together and they both bring something different to the relationship.

I've loved every minute of this series so I'm incredibly sad that it's come to an end but I'm still kind of hoping that Rebecca Chastain will choose to revisit this world again in the future. I'd be very happy to read more books from Mika's point of view but there is also definitely story potential for Mika's friend Kylie and a certain Captain. No matter what she's writing about this author is on my auto-buy list though and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Poison or Protect: A Delightfully Deadly Novella
Poison or Protect: A Delightfully Deadly Novella
Price: £2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Deadly book 1, 25 Jun. 2016
Poison or Protect is a stand alone romance set in the Parasol Protectorate world and although you can pick this book up even if you've not read anything else by Gail Carriger fans of the series will love the chance to spot a few familiar faces. Who would have guessed that I'd come to like Preshea considering she was one of the bullies in the Finishing School books? I have to admit I was a little nervous when I realised that she was going to be the heroine but I ended up really enjoying seeing a different side to her character.

Preshea is kind of like a black widow, she's certainly put her finishing school training to good use since she's killed all of her previous husbands, but now she's nearly finished her time working for Lord Akeldama she has no intention of marrying again. If she can just carry out one final assignment then she'll finally be free to live life on her own terms and it's something she's really looking forward to. All she has to do is protect one Lord from assassination while also convincing his impressionable young daughter not to marry a fortune hunter. What she hadn't counted on was the fortune hunter's best friend and the rather shocking attraction she feels towards him.

I loved Gavin's character, he's the perfect kind of hero who is capable of fighting alongside his woman not just wrapping her in a protective bubble. He's also brilliant at taking things slow and encouraging Preshea to open up to him and he loves nothing more than making her smile. Preshea initially comes across just as cold hearted as you might expect an assassin to be but once you get to know her you'll start to see a softer side that she usually keeps very well hidden. She's never really had anyone care for her before so it takes her time to learn to let Gavin in but even though their relationship develops quite quickly it never feels rushed or forced.

Poison or Protect was everything I've come to expect from one of this Gail Carriger's stories, it had great characters, a brilliant setting, plenty of humour and a wonderful (and surprisingly steamy!) romance and I can't wait to read more of these Delightfully Deadly novellas.

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Inseverable: A Carolina Beach Novel: Volume 1
Inseverable: A Carolina Beach Novel: Volume 1
by Cecy Robson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Carolina Beach book 1, 22 Jun. 2016
If you've been following my blog for any length of time you'll already know I'm a huge fan of Cecy Robson's. I love her Weird Girls urban fantasy series as well as her emotional and hard hitting Shattered Pasts and O'Brien Family contemporary romances so of course I was excited about her new Carolina Beach series from the minute I heard about it. I couldn't wait to read Inseverable and it's right up there amongst my favourite of her books, it was lighter hearted and more humorous than her other contemporary series and such a fun story to read. That's not to say that the characters have it all easy but it definitely had a lighter tone and would make a perfect holiday read considering the beach setting.

Trinity and her friends have finished college and are spending one final summer together at the beach where they grew up before adult life has them all heading in different directions, some to further studies and Trinity to a two year tour with the Peace Corps. Callahan was an army sniper but has now left the forces and just needs some peace and quiet to try and recover in. He's suffering with PTSD after watching so many of his friends killed in combat and the last thing he wants is to let anyone close again. Trinity knows she's not going to be around for long but she can see how much Callahan needs a friend and she's determined to bring him out of his shell, no matter how reluctant he is to let her.

These two were brilliant characters, in a lot of ways they're complete opposites - Trinity is bubbly and outgoing, the life and soul of the party who sees the good in everyone while Callahan is jaded, wary and just wants to be left in peace - but they bring out the best in each other. Callahan desperately needed Trinity to shake him out of his self imposed exile and Callahan makes Trinity feel like a beautiful and sexy young woman for the first time in her life. You could practically feel the chemistry they start throwing off the minute they meet but I loved the slow burn to their relationship, it takes time for Trinity to break through Callahan's barriers and get him to open up but oh boy is it worth the wait and when he finally gives in to his desire their connection is off the charts.

I did get a little frustrated that Trinity didn't open up to Callahan about her plans to join the Peace Corps a little sooner but I could understand why she did it and I loved the way things played out at the end so it's a very minor complaint. Alongside the main couple we also have a great set of side characters, Trinity's group of friends are brilliant and I love how they always look out for each other. The banter between the friends was fun and I enjoyed seeing them help Trinity tease Callahan. I'm excited that we're going to see more of these characters in future books, the epilogue gave us a lovely glimpse into this couple's future but also hinted at whose story is next and I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on the next book in the series.

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

The Loneliness of Distant Beings: Book 1 (Ventura Saga)
The Loneliness of Distant Beings: Book 1 (Ventura Saga)
by Kate Ling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars The Loneliness of Distant Beings, 18 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Seren was born on a spaceship and, along with her entire family, she knows it is where she will die. Her ancestors volunteered to take part in a deep space mission expected to last over 700 years in order to investigate a signal received by earth and hopefully make first contact with a new alien species. Life on the spaceship is strictly regimented, jobs are assigned according to skills and even your future partner is selected by a computer program designed to ensure genetic diversity. Children aren't conceived naturally which enables them to control the number of boys and girls that will be born to each generation and life partners are expected to do their duty and procreate as required. It's not a life that many people would choose to live but it's all Seren has ever known and the only option she has.

Everything starts to change when Seren falls in love with Dom, a young man who isn't her assigned life partner. The couple fight back against the system that wants to keep them apart but they have no idea how much danger they are facing. Their attempts to be together start a chain of events that nobody could have predicted and nothing will be the same for the couple ever again.

I have really mixed feelings about The Loneliness of Distant Beings, on one hand it makes some really interesting observations about free will and being able to choose your own destiny but on the other it has one of the worst cases of insta-love I've come across in a long time. I wasn't the biggest fan of the relationship between Seren and Dom, it happened so quickly that I never fully believed in it and because of that I was never fully invested in them as a couple no matter how much they went through to be together. Seren can be quite childish at times and she was also quite selfish and uncaring about the effect her actions would have on the people around her. While I could understand her fight for the right to make her own choices I didn't like the way she was so negative about people who had managed to make peace with their path in life and find happiness where they could. She was particularly mean about her sister when as far as I could tell her sister had never done anything to deserve it.

Although I wasn't completely invested in the relationship side of things I did find this an incredibly quick and quite addictive read. I whizzed through it in no time and I did really like the way the author tackled issues like the lack of free will the citizens on board were given. It was such an interesting concept that your ancestors could have signed up for a deep space mission and given up all sense of freedom for many generations to come. They are on a mission following an unknown signal that they still haven't been able to decode over 90 years after first receiving it and they know it's going to take them at least 350 years to reach the source of the signal and can hope to get any answers. I'm really not sure what to make of that ending either. It wasn't the outcome I was expecting and if this turns out to be the first book in the series then I'm definitely going to have to buy the sequel to see what happens next.

The Loneliness of Distant Beings is an interesting read and I do think it has potential as the start of a series, I just wish the author had taken more time developing the relationship between Seren and Dom so I could give it a higher rating.

Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Post-It 6844LNB Sticky Note Super Sticky Notes, 102 x 152 mm, 12 Blocks A 45 Sheet, Ledger Style/Blue
Post-It 6844LNB Sticky Note Super Sticky Notes, 102 x 152 mm, 12 Blocks A 45 Sheet, Ledger Style/Blue
Price: £25.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for longer notes or shopping lists, 17 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These Post-its are much larger than the standard yellow ones (aprox 10 x 15 cms) and the paper is lined which makes them ideal for either leaving notes or making lists. I've been using them mainly for my shopping lists but I can see them coming in useful for all kinds of things. They're just as sticky as you'd expect from any Post-it product and a great addition to the range

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