Cold Burn of Magic (by Jennifer Estep)

Young Adult / Urban Fantasy

Lila lives in a town ruled by magical mobsters. After her mother was murdered by the most violent of the mobsters she went into hiding living in a tiny room in the basement of a library and making money by robbing cashed up tourists.

When she steps in to rescue Devon, the son of one of the crime bosses she suddenly finds herself reluctantly pulled into the world. Forced to work as his bodyguard. If she can survive a year she will earn her freedom, but with one attack after another, Devon is proving to be a dangerous person to be around.


Really great book. Loved every single moment. That is all.

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The Comfort of Favorite Things (by Alison Kent)

Contemporary Romance

After escaping an abusive relationship, Thea returned to her childhood home of Hope Springs with a suitcase full of money and ragtag group of women, other survivors of domestic violence. She immediately bought a decrepit old house and a shop with plans on turning the house into a shelter for women on the run from their abusers and the shop as a place to get them working and earning a few dollars.

Then her boyfriend from high school walks in the door and she finds herself dealing with her past as well as her present.

The last time Dakota saw Thea was the night before he was dragged off to prison for beating up his sister’s rapist six ways to Sunday. After his release he hit the road and it’s only now with the birth of his niece and his sister getting married that he has returned to Hope Springs. But despite everyone wanting him to hang around, the road is calling him and once he finishes the renovation for Thea he plans on moving on.

Such a beautiful, sweet book. It’s about damaged women who are getting their lives back and I really found myself engaging with all of them. While it sits comfortably in Contemporary Romance there are definitely some elements which I would describe as Women’s Fiction. Truthfully the romance didn’t really start till the last 30% of the book and that’s fine. Everything about this book is great.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide

Tower of Thorns (by Juliet Marillier)


Blackthorn has lost everything. All she has left is a small cottage on the edge of an enchanted forest, her companion Grim and a promise made to the Fae to never turn away someone who asks for her help. So when Lady Geiléis approaches the prince with a tale about an enchanted tower Blackthorn does everything she can to avoid being asked for help.

Then an old friend shows up, a friend from the time before, the time she was a different woman and she finds herself agreeing to help Lady Geiléis despite her misgivings. But as she travels north to the Tower of Thorns her misgivings turn into suspicions that all is not as it seems.

The only person she can trust –– the only person who can save her is Grim, but in order to complete the task she will need to push him away.

Tower of Thorns is in no way an easy book. It’s a great book but definitely not easy. The story builds slowly and requires a commitment from the reader, but for those who have the patience it’s all worth it. Blackthorn and Grim are at the top of my list of favorite fictional characters and I just love these books.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.12.41 pmMany thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide

The Unleashing (by Shelly Laurenston)

Urban Fantasy

When she returned from Afghanistan, Kera took a job in a café just to make ends meet. Then one night as she is taking the trash out to the dumpster in the back alley she runs into a man attacking a woman. She steps in and is stabbed in the chest. As she is about to take her last breath, the Norse goddess Skuld makes her an offer. If she joins with her minions, the crows she can have a second chance at life. But the price is she must deliver Skuld’s judgement to humans who are deemed deserving of death.

So, that sounds promising and there are definitely great moments. Moments that could have been pulled right out of a favorite graphic novel. But the book is a bit of a mess. It suffers from way too many POVs, things happen for no apparent reason, and there are characters whose purpose for being in the book is tantamount to a child being given the role of a mushroom in the school play. Who knows, maybe they’re important in the coming books, maybe the many POVs start to make sense as the series develops … but this book needs to stand on its own and I’m sorry to say it didn’t.

And the icing on the cake is a cover that makes no sense. I mean presumably that’s supposed to be Ludvig, and I guess he’s the hero, though really secondary character. He’s also described as scruffy, hairy and having a beard. That isn’t a beard. That’s designer fuzz.

OK maybe I should quite bitching….of wait. Bitching. The number of times one female character refers to another female character as “bitch” is close to 50. So maybe it’s just me but aren’t we better than this? Haven’t we moved on? It really doesn’t add anything to the story and honestly I was kind of over it after the third “get the bitch” before page ten.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.21.53 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide

Hidden Trump (by Mark Henwick)

Urban Fantasy

Amber has accepted that she’s Athanate (a vampire) and is making her first hesitant steps as the head of her own House with responsibilities and kin. Making her already complicated life even more complicated a rival Athanate House is hunting her down and plans to run medical experiments on her. Keeping her head down would be the smart thing to do but she finds herself once again in the middle of things and she’ll need every skill the army taught her if she’s to have a chance of getting herself and her kin out alive.

This book is perfect –– I just can’t think of a single bad thing to say about it. At 600 pages it’s longer than your typical Urban Fantasy but it’s one of those (rare) cases where longer doesn’t translate to yawns. I finished the book and was kind of sad that it ended, I really think I could have gone on indefinitely without a care in the world.

For this series I’ve been listening to the audiobooks. Book 1 Sleight of Hand was released in late 2014, This book came out about a week ago, and Book 3 Wild Card is on the way. Hidden Trump introduces a new narrator, Julia Motyka, and she’s perfect. She does both male and female voices well and she completely owns Amber Farrell.

If you want to try some on some great urban fantasy, Mark Henwick is definitely worth the effort.  He’s one of the few authors who make me so happy I could jump.

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From Russia with Claws (by Jacey Conrad)

Romantica / Romantic Suspense

After studying in California Galina returns to her home in Seattle to help out with the family business. That business being crime. She is an alpha-werewolf and a part of the Russian mob. When her sister’s abusive husband is killed she enlists the help of Audrey Lupesco, the brutal boss of the Roma mob to investigate.

Adding to her woes, it quickly becomes apparent that her brother is completely unhinged and unless something is done he will take over the family business and usher in an era drenched in blood. Galina has some plans for the family but the Russian mob is conservative and patriarchal. As a woman not only does she have to fight for a seat at the table, she will need to challenge her brother in a fight to the death if she’s to have any hope of taking over.

What you really need to know about this book is Jacey Conrad is Molly Harper and there is a reason she’s writing under a nom de plume. While the book does have Molly Harper’s trademark wit, it’s much more violent and sexual than her usual offerings. I can’t be sure of this but I suspect some of the lower ratings this book is getting is a reflection of Molly Harper’s diehard fans getting offended by the content.

Honestly it’s pretty damned brilliant, but if you want cute and quirky you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

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Elements of Chemistry series (by Penny Reid)

New Adult

Kaitlyn has spent her life hiding in closets and generally being invisible. And the one person she is hiding from more than any other is Martin Sandeke, her lab partner.  He has a reputation as a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy. Someone who breaks a woman’s heart and leaves her in tears.

After one of her closet excursions she overhears two students plotting against Martin. Disgusted with what they are planning she sets about saving him from their scheme.  But it seems that in saving him she has inadvertently come to his notice.

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Elements of Chemistry is a three book series that to be honest is a single book in three acts. It has all the things you expect in New Adult novels –– infatuation, lust, misunderstandings, jealousy, angst –– but those elements aren’t overplayed and the series is better for it.

I do think parts one and two are a little stronger than part three which seemed to drag a little but I’m still more than happy to say this is probably the best New Adult series I’ve read.

Oh…and the answer is Oxytocin if you were wondering.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 6.08.18 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide