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Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review: The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids by Michael McClung

Author: Michael McClung
Series: Amra Thetys #1
Audience: +16
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Ragnarok Publications
Release Date: May 17th 2016
My Rating: 4 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The self-published edition of this title is the winner of Mark Lawrence's Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (out of 270 entrants).

They butchered Corbin right out in the street. That’s how it really started. He was a rogue and a thief, of course. But then, so am I. So when he got himself hacked up in front of his house off Silk Street, I decided somebody had to be made to pay. They thought that they could just sweep him away like rubbish. They were wrong."

Amra Thetys is a thief with morals: she won't steal from anybody poorer than she is; of course, anybody that poor generally doesn't have much worth stealing.

When a fellow thief and good friend is killed in a deal gone wrong, Amra turns her back on burglary and goes after something far more precious: revenge. Revenge, however, might be hard to come by. A nightmare assortment of enemies, including an immortal assassin and a mad sorcerer, believe Amra is in possession of The Blade That Whispers Hate—the legendary, powerful artifact her friend was murdered for—and they'll do anything to take it from her.

Trouble is, Amra hasn't got the least clue where the Blade might be. She needs to find the Blade, and soon, or she'll be joining her unfortunate friend in a cold grave rather than avenging his death, and time is running short for the small, scarred thief.

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids is the first volume in Michael McClung's Amra Thetys series.

*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley and Ragnarok Publications in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or opinion of the book in any way.

I really love discovering hidden gems in the literary world, and The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids is just that.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about this book is the world building. I loved the characters, don't get me wrong, but the world of this book is so rich and so colorful. In a way, it almost felt like reading a post-apocalyptic book. It didn't feel dystopian, but it was certainly a book set sometime in the future, after the fall of mankind as we know it. I like how there really isn't a great detail of what happened in the past, and I have a feeling that that's actually the entire mystery of the series.

Amra is a great heroine. She's daring, she keeps her promises, she's much more honorable than many of the people she encounters that should be honest, and she isn't one to shy away from violence. The book starts off with her receiving a visit from a friend of hers, also a thief. And even from the very beginning you can tell that if Amra says she'll do something, she will do it. I liked that about her. I also liked the fact that she wasn't one to use pretty, "ladylike" language. If she needed to curse, then she did that, and I loved her for it.

The plot was pretty well paced. I did have a few moments where I felt as if maybe the plot was too fast. My only issue was with the way the book ended. The entire mystery of who killed Corbin, and why, is solved in a totally unexpected way, maybe because I wasn't expecting it. At the very end of the book we get kind of a history lesson about how the world in this series came to be, without actually answering the question of what happened before. It kind of stays somewhere above the real story, giving you a glimpse of what's to come, but also sharing bits and pieces of information that might or might not be revealing.

The book ended in a very interesting way, with Amra facing more problems than she imagines. I'm definitely curious about what will happen next and I cannot wait to read the next books in the series. I'm really glad I stumbled across this book on Netgalley.

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Book Review: Mistletoe Games by Jaci Burton (ARC)

Author: Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #6.5, 8.5. 10.5
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 18th 2016
My Rating: 4 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
No one brings the sexy out in sports like Jaci Burton, the author of the New York Times bestselling Play-by-Play novels. Now, she puts together a holiday hat trick with three novellas featuring the hottest sports around: baseball, hockey, and surfing—because hard bodies are always in season...

Holiday Games
For the high-achieving Elizabeth and her husband, baseball player Gavin Riley, failure is not an option. So when it comes to making a baby, they’re not about to let any holiday distractions get in the way of their necessary pleasures...

Holiday on Ice
It’s the season for giving and superstar hockey player Patrick “Trick” Niemeyer is ready to give dancer Stella Slovinski his heart wrapped up in bow. But he’ll have to melt the ice surrounding her heart to keep her from walking away...

Hot Holiday Nights
Christmas in Hawaii brings sports agent Tori Baldwin two presents: a young surfer at the top of his game and his business manager. But this hot threesome has to decide if the romantic wave they’ve caught is nothing more than a vacation fling, or the kind of love that could change their lives forever...

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Berkley in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or my opinion of this book in any way.

Jaci Burton's Play by Play series is the first series that made me fall in love with sports romance, so when I saw this book on Netgalley I might have danced and made a few raptor noises, due to my excitement.

Holiday Games was absolutely adorable, mainly because of Elizabeth. I love Gavin, don't get me wrong, but Elizabeth is my girl. She's such a badass character, and she's actually someone I'd love to meet in real life. I love that she's a woman who made it in a career that's dominated by men, and she's good at her job. And Gavin is such a sweetheart, like always. I loved reading about them, about how their story continues. I also love reading about Liz being more open to other people. I remember that when we first meet her, she's this cold woman, that will do anything to do her job as she sees fit, which sometimes wasn't a good decision. But Gavin changed her in a way, and I really enjoy reading more about this Liz.

Holiday On Ice is one story I've been dying to read for a long time. I've always been curious to know more about Stella. It's probably one of my favorite things about this series, the fact that there isn't just one sport that it's explored. In this case, with Stella, we see a glimpse into the world of professional dancing. Stella and Patrick are really great characters! Their chemistry is amazing, it's just the type of relationship that I'm used to reading in one of Burton's books. My favorite scene is when Patrick sees Stella dance for the first time. There's just something so incredibly sweet in that scene, I just love it.

Hot Holiday Nights is the last novella on this collection. Victoria, the heroine of this book, is another female sports agent and, if my memory isn't playing tricks on me, she actually appears in the second book of this series, alongside Elizabeth. I have to say though, I wasn't as in love with this novella as I was with the other two. I can't explain it, but to me it felt more like a holiday fling than a beginning of a love story. I do have to say I really enjoyed reading about surfing. The two heroes, Alex and Ben, are surfers. Ben was actually a professional surfer before he had an accident that prevented him from even playing the sport at a competitive level, while Alex is currently a professional surfer. I loved reading more about this sport, and I hope there will be more books in this series that include surfers. Like I said though, I didn't feel as if this was the start of a romantic relationship, but a really hot holiday affair.

As always, Jaci Burton knows just how to write a hot relationship, and how to get me interested in finding out more about certain sports. I am curious to see which character will get their stories told next, as well as which sport will be featured in future books.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Book Review: Fish Out Of Water by Hailey Edwards

Author: Hailey Edwards
Series: A Gemini Novella
Audience: +18
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: CrushStar Multimedia LLC
Release Date: September 18th 2016
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Harlow Bevans was a changeling mermaid working as a diving consultant for the Earthen Conclave. Then he came along. Charybdis. A serial killer who possessed her body and wrecked her mind. Now she's an inmate—patient—at Edelweiss Mental Institution.

When a haunting song lures her to the scene of a brutal murder, the calm of the past few months is shattered. A fellow patient is dead, and Harlow is caught standing over his body by a mysterious guard who hides his own secrets behind a pair of aviator sunglasses her fingers itch to remove.

Unwilling to be a pawn in another psychopath's game, Harlow sets out to discover the real killer. What she uncovers makes her a prime target, and the next song she hears could be her last. Curiosity may not have killed the cat, but it just might fillet the mermaid.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this copy from Netgalley and CrushStar Multimedia LLC in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or my opinion of this book

The world of the Black Dog and the other connected series keeps getting bigger and bigger, and that makes me insanely happy. The latest book in the series brings you the story of Harlow, after she is rescued from Charybdis, and it shows her road to recovery.

What I love most about this book is that the story takes place in the facility where Harlow is recovering at. She's still struggling with what Charybdis did to her, she's not healed yet. Actually, this book shows Harlow go from the mute girl who would only make sounds as she's having gruesome nightmares about what happened to her, to the adventurous girl who will try to save everyone around her. So it's actually a book about healing, which I enjoyed a lot.

I feel like Harlow still has a lot to deal with, and there's a lot she still needs to face, to be fully healed, but she's getting there. Maybe she'll never again be that pink-haired mermaid that she was before being used as a pawn in a serial killer's sick game, but at least she won't be a living ghost anymore. She'll have a life, as normal as possible. I'm actually really proud of how much she's managed to accomplish in this book.

A character that intrigued me a lot was Lam. He's a mystery, and it isn't until very close to the end of the story that we get to find out more about him. I'd really love to know more about him, and more about his past.

We also get to learn what happened to the pregnant werewolf from the Gemini series, Bianca. Her story is still heartbreaking, it's still painful, and it seems that, at least for now, it will continue to be that way. However, I have hope. I love the little twist at the end, and what that kind of means for her future, so I have hope for her. I do wish we get to read more about her in the next books, especially in the Lorimar Pack series.

Speaking of series and future books, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more Harlow books. I love her so much, and I'd love to see how she recovers from being kidnapped and possessed, as well as learn more about Lam, and the patients at the Edelweiss Mental Institution.

The book was pretty well paced, and I read it pretty quickly. I'm very happy Harlow is on her way towards a happy ending, and I can only hope we'll get to see more of her in future series. If you still haven't started reading this series, trust me, you're missing out on a lot of fun.

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