Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: Protecting Their Mate (Part 2) by Moira Rogers


Title: Protecting Their Mate (Part 2)
Author: Moira Rogers
Release date: 31st July 2017
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Erotica
Source: ARC from the authors

Description: As Ashley settles in to her life at the lodge, she meets more of her new pack mates–including wicked, intense Jud. His touch arouses her hunger–and Blake’s possessiveness.  Lucas, the unyielding alpha, grows concerned with the attachment between Blake and Ashley and sends Blake out on a mission.

While Blake is away, Ashley meets the most elusive member of her new pack—the enigmatic Connor, a hacker who, like her, was raised among humans. For Connor, sex is volatile—dangerous—and being near Ashley draws out the feral edge of the wolf inside him. As Ashley’s connection with Blake–and with Lucas—grows deeper, an outside force threatens the peace of the Last River pack.

Protecting Their Mate was originally published as an eight part serial under the penname Mia Thorne. It has been repackaged, but the story remains the same.

My thoughts: Firstly, my part 1 review is here.

The sexiness of part one continues as Ashley meets the rest of the pack and gets to know them... intimately. My favourite part was getting to see more about Connor, who has clearly had some kind of tough time in the past. He connects with Ashley in a way the others don't, but similarly, he doesn't feel the draw towards her as strongly as the others do, and it's clear to him that while he cares for her, they're not going to mate. I got the strong impression that Connor will have a different book focussed around him.

There are also hints about another pack in the area, who want to get in touch with Lucas's. I expect that's going to be a large focus in the third & final segment of this book.

There is a lot of sex in this part of the story, and not so much plot, but it's very well written sex, so it was a fun read! Since I think that's a big part of what the book was setting out to do, I can't fault it much for having a lighter plot than some Moira Rogers stories. I'm giving part 2 of Protecting Their Mate 6/10.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mini review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa


Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release date: 2011
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Free copy via previous job

Description: Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined. . .

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school. . . or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth— that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.

Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face. . . and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

My thoughts: I have friends who rave about the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa and I like stories that use celtic faery stories so I thought I'd give it a go. Megan lives in the USA, until her brother is kidnapped and she discovers that she can enter a faery 'underworld'. She decides she has to rescue him, but along the way becomes entangled in other plots.

I liked the story to some extent, but it felt very similar to many other young adult fantasy stories, and linked to that, very predictable. I don't really know what else to say about it apart form that, it was a very 'meh' book and a pretty quick read. I do have others in this series on my bookshelf already, and I might read them at some point, but I don't feel any urgency to do so, I'm not feeling excited to find out what happens next. There were fun bits in the book, the writing was alright, but nothing about it stood out to me. This is a 5/10 read for me.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Review: Protecting Their Mate (Part One) by Moira Rogers


Title: Protecting Their Mate (part one)
Author: Moira Rogers
Release date: 24th July 2017
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Erotica
Source: ARC from author

Description: Blake is on a mission from his alpha--to track down a werewolf whose parents dragged her into the human world years ago, one who may be in danger. He expects the lead to go nowhere, given how few wolves live among humans, but he discovers something rare indeed, caged in a basement: a beautiful, curvy woman gripped by the fever, ready to mate.

Ashley Todd has never fit in. She's always been too much--too big, too demanding, too aware of the wolf hiding beneath her skin. She's been locked away for months--been alone for a lifetime--and in walks Blake to save her from her prison. Her rescuer is hard, intense--a dominant wolf whose bossy attitude makes her growl...and yearn to submit.

Soothing Ashley's mating fever is Blake's responsibility--and his pleasure. Their passion is explosive, undeniable. But what started out as a job for Blake quickly becomes something more, and the toughest part of his mission looms: taking Ashley back to his pack so she can choose her permanent mate from amongst his brethren.

Ashley is drawn to dominant Blake, but meeting the rest of the pack reignites her desire. She is overwhelmed by her new life and all it entails, but embracing her inner wolf means embracing the truth: if she doesn't explore her attraction to the other members of the pack, she'll never find her forever mate .

Protecting Their Mate was originally published as an eight part serial under the penname Mia Thorne. It has been repackaged, but the story remains the same.

My thoughts: This is part one of a three part serialisation, with parts 2 & 3 to follow in the next couple of months. The story opens with a young woman called Ashley locked in a basement. She's fighting down her werewolf instincts, which are telling her 1) that she should shift into wolf form and 2) that she needs to find a mate. Luckily, she's soon rescued by Blake, another werewolf, who begins to correct some of the many lies she's been told about werewolf life. The most important thing is that as she's now in heat, only having sex will ease the pain she's experiencing and that she can sleep with lots of different members of the pack before it'll become clear who her mate is.

Blake and his pack have been searching for Ashley for a while, for various reasons. He's angry about the conditions he found her in but more than happy to look after her, doing anything she wants with his body...

Ashley has had a pretty horrible upbringing, but despite the host of revelations she gets as the pack bring her back to their home, she takes it in her stride. She's confident, and embraces the fun of getting to sleep with the other men in the pack, not just Blake.

It's a very sexy story, and there are also some hints dropped about problems in the wider werewolf community. I'm looking forward to seeing more about that in parts 2 & 3. It was a fast read, as you'd expect from part of a serial. I'm giving part one 6/10 - it was very sexy, but most of the plot revolves around that.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh


Title: Silver Silence
Author: Nalini Singh
Release date: 15 June 2017
Publisher: Gollancz
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #1
Source: Bought (at Waterstones)

DescriptionControl. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that's exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence--her mind clear of all emotion--Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That's what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious...and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...

My thoughts: I'm a huge Nalini Singh fan, and this world is my favourite. It follows on from her Psy-Changeling novels but as the main story arc of those books has now come to a close, this new book marks a step in a slightly different direction, following a new pack and focussing on a new area of the globe (although there are cameos from some familiar faces).

I was excited about the new characters before I started reading, and I'm pleased to say that they live up to the packs from the original series. There are jokers, trouble makers, and that overwhelming sense of family. There are just a couple of people who we get to know well in the pack, but already several who I want to see get more stage time and explore their stories. I think this is one of Nalini Singh's great strengths - her supporting characters are all detailed enough that you want to know their own story, without them being so strong as to steal the show.

Valentin is very playful, particularly with Silver, who he's decided to pursue before the book starts. Being an alpha, of course he also has a lot of responsibilities, and he's always looking out for the people in his pack. Silver, we've met already in previous books, and I loved seeing more of her family dynamic, and how, despite them being Psy, they're very close as a family.

I enjoyed the political aspects of the story, the conflicts going on in the wider world and how Silver and (to a lesser extent) Valentin are tied in to them. I wasn't so keen on the internal conflicts, like Silver's issues that hold her back from letting go of her Silence. I'm being vague to avoid spoilers, but I didn't like how the issue was resolved - I didn't think it was explained well enough. While we met a lot of the bear pack, who are all a lot of fun and I can't wait to read more about them, we don't meet many knew Psy. I think I would have liked to get a few more new characters on that side of things. One notable exception is Silver's brother, who is gay. I'm so happy that it looks like there might be a male/male romantic pairing getting a more central focus. Nalini Singh has had same-sex relationships between side characters before in the series, but those were already established off-page, and there was never much attention on those characters. With Arwen that might change!

Unsurprisingly, given my love for all the other Nalini Singh books I've read, I really enjoyed Silver Silence. It's not my favourite in the Psy/Changeling world, but I do think it's an excellent start to a new story arc, and I'm already looking forward to the next one. Overall, I'm giving Silver Silence 8 out of 10.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

June Reading Wrap-Up


I hope everyone had a good week? It was my first week back after a holiday, so a bit of a struggle, but I did manage to film a reading wrap up for the books I've read over the last six weeks or so. I'll do some written reviews of books mentioned, but here is a brief summary.


Have you read any of these? What do you think? And what's on your reading pile for the next few weeks? Let me know in the comments!

~Ailsa

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Book reviewe: You Will Grow Into Them by Malcolm Devlin


Title: You Will Grow Into Them
Author: Malcolm Devlin
Publication date: 12th June 2017
Publisher: Unsung Stories
Genre: Horror
Source: E-copy for review from publisher

Description: The world is a far stranger place than we give it credit for. There, in the things we think familiar, safe, are certain aspects. Our fears and desires given form. Moments that defy explanation. Shadows in our home.
In Malcolm Devlin’s debut collection, change is the only constant. Across ten stories he tackles the unease of transformation, growth and change in a world where horror seeps from the mundane. Childhood anxieties manifest as debased and degraded doppelgängers, fungal blooms are harvested from the backs of dancers and lycanthropes become new social pariahs. The demons we carry inside us are very real indeed, but You Will Grow Into Them.
Taking weird fiction and horror and bending them into strange and wondrous new shapes, You Will Grow Into Them follows, in the grand tradition of Aickman, Ligotti and Vandermeer, reminding us that the everyday world is a much stranger place than it seems.

My thoughts: I read the occasional short story online, but don't buy them very often, but since I'm trying to step out of my reading comfort zones this year, I thought I would give it a try when Unsung Stories offered me a copy of You Will Grow Into Them to review. It's a collection of horror stories with a fantasy element to them, which varies in strength from one story to the next.

I have to say that as a whole, I didn't enjoy the stories all that much, and it was for the same reason with most: the endings. I felt like most of them left the endings on far too much of a 'draw your own conclusions' note, and I would have preferred to have some more concrete answers to what was going on. Let me quickly hop through each of the stories.

Passion Play - A girl acts out the last steps of her missing friend for a TV appeal. I really wanted to know what had happened to the friend, and how many of the things friends & neighbours thought they had seen were actually true, but the conclusion you get is a bit vague.

Two Brothers - The older brother goes off to boarding school, when he returns for the holidays his younger brother knows something's not right. Again, I wanted concrete answers, and in this one the reader is very much left to draw their own conclusions.

Breadcrumbs - Magic takes over a city tower block and affects all the residents. I think this was the one where I was happiest with the ending, I did quite enjoy how you see the attitudes change over the course of the story, and the gradual acceptance and adaption of the people.

Her First Harvest - on a colonised planet, crops are grown on the humans themselves. This one icked me out a bit, so I skimmed through it - no strong thoughts about it other than the slightly gross factor!

Dogsbody - A few years ago, some people turned into werewolves for a few hours but it's never happened again. I liked this story a lot, seeing the prejudices the main character has been facing and also how his attitude is affecting his whole life. I wanted to know where they would turn into werewolves again but that isn't where the story goes. I guess my own expectations and hopes got in the way a little bit with this one.

We All Need Somewhere To Hide - This had the most promising set up for me. It's an urban fantasy-type story, with a demon hunter as the main character. I feel like there's so much potential in this story for it to be bigger - novella length at least - and obviously in a short story those avenues couldn't all be explored and not all questions could be answered. My favourite story in the collection.

Songs Like They Used To Play - I don't know how to summarise this in one sentence. At one point I thought a cool time travel thing might be happening, but it turns out no. This story was just too weird all around for me, and there are no explanations at all of what was really going on in the spooky house.

The Last Meal He Ate Before She Killed Him - I don't want to give away the twists in this one, because a lot happens in a small space. It was ok, a bit creepy, but not overly memorable or special.

The Bridge - I didn't really understand what was going on in this story that was spooky, or what the story was trying to get at. A bit meh, unmemorable.

The End of Hope Street - Houses on the same street gradually become 'unliveable', killing anyone inside, and the story looks at how the residents adapt. Interesting, but once again, no whys, which was frustrating.

All around, the stories are interesting and have potential, but left me feeling
unfulfilled & frustrated. 5/10.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

May & June Book Haul


I'm going to try over the summer to do more of the things I enjoy, rather than just getting home from work and slumping in front of the tv - so that includes regular blog and booktube posts! Here's my May & June book haul.



Have you read any of these books? What books have you bought/borrowed/been given recently? Let me know in the comments!

~Ailsa
 

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