Sunday, 31 March 2019

Stacking the Shelves ★ 4

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

Welcome to my fourth posting of Stacking the Shelves! I'm finding my feet on this and I'm actually remembering books that are on my kindle, waiting for me. So this is helping me curb my bookshopping problems. I already have books that need reading, let's read those! yeah, right. Anyways, let's get this show on the road! Enjoy the peek at my romance books and don't judge me!

When You Dare by Lori Foster
The tougher they are, the harder they fall… 
Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard-and-fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure. 
Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she's uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful estranged father? The ex-fiancé who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all…

I'm a romance novel addict and I make no apologies for it. 
The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks
It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.
His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he’s built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond… until he receives anonymous information claiming Rachel is alive.
To save her, Ethan will have to dodge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise. And even if he succeeds, he’ll have to force Rachel to recover memories she can’t and doesn’t want to relive—the minute by minute terror of her darkest hour—for their love, and their lives, may depend on it.

I love Maya Banks' KGI series and I have plans to review the entire series, so be on the lookout for those. I bought the first three at a used bookstore maybe a decade ago and I was a goner for some guys named Kelly.

So what if he's a bit older and usually regards a human female as dinner, not a dinner date? Yes, Roman Draganesti is a vampire, but a vampire who lost one of his fangs sinking his teeth into something he shouldn't have. Now he has one night to find a dentist before his natural healing abilities close the wound, leaving him a lop–sided eater for all eternity.
Things aren't going well for Shanna Whelan either...After witnessing a gruesome murder by the Russian mafia, she's next on their hit list. And her career as a dentist appears to be on a downward spiral because she's afraid of blood. When Roman rescues her from an assassination attempt, she wonders if she's found the one man who can keep her alive. Though the attraction between them is immediate and hot, can Shanna conquer her fear of blood to fix Roman's fang? And if she does, what will prevent Roman from using his fangs on her...

Is it bad that I'm just noticing that the title isn't Billionaire with a 'B'? Like I've said time and time again, I am not a fan of vampires and read a select few vampire books. Kerrelyn Sparks is one author whose vampires don't make me want to 'pull a Buffy'. They're amazing vamps and I adore them. 
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
All the creatures of the night gather in "the Hollows" of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party... and to feed.
Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining - and it's Rachel Morgan's job to keep that world civilized.
A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she'll bring 'em back alive, dead... or undead.

This series has been on my shelves since I was 14 years old. Glorious!

The Warlord wants Forever by Kresley Cole
In this scorching series opener, #1 New York Times bestseller Kresley Cole introduces the captivating Immortals After Dark series. The eBook also includes an exclusive extended excerpt from MacRieve, the highly anticipated next installment in the series.
The Warlord
Nikolai Wroth, a ruthless vampire general, will stop at nothing to find his Bride, the one woman who can “blood” him, making his heart beat and filling him with strength. Coldly interested only in the power his Bride will bring, he can hardly believe when Myst the Coveted awakens him body—and soul.
The Seductress
Famed throughout the world as the most beautiful Valkyrie, Myst has devoted her life to protecting a magical jewel and to fighting the vampires.Wroth provides her with the perfect opportunity to torment her sworn enemy—for with his new heartbeat comes a consuming sexual desire that can only be slaked by her. Denying him, she flees, struggling to forget his searing, possessive kiss.
The Hunt is on…
She eludes him for five years, but he has finally chased her to ground and stolen her enchanted jewel, giving him absolute power over her. Now that she’s his for the taking, he intends to make her experience first-hand the agonizing, unending lust she subjected him to for half a decade.Yet when Nikolai realizes he wants far more than vengeance from Myst and frees her, will she come back to him?
When my ankle got chewed on in a dog attack and was on a "limited mobility" order, my mum went out and bought the first 11 books of the series at Books a Million and I read through them while my ankle wasn't weight-bearing. The addiction to this series hasn't faded. Nucking Futs Nix is my queen.

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.
Two lovers will dare to risk all.
Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul . . .

Larissa Ione is my dark goddess and she is a pretty cool lady. I had absolutely no idea how to pronounce Eidolon's name and I was so frustrated so I tweeted her and asked how to pronounce it and she took the time to tell me, back when Twitter was a baby and it sucked with notifications and we used carrier pigeons. This is not your Great American Novel, I won't pretend it is. It is smutty, it is paranormal romance, there is weird demonic ish abounding and I love it.

Okay, that's six books from way back on my shelves, virtual and physical. I have both. I've started and stopped like 30 different books since I said goodbye to Zeus and I don't even know. But I'm diving back into the past for some books I know I love to get me through and you'll be meeting them in the reviews soon. Until next time, have a happily ever after.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan Blog Tour

Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan
Something Dark and Holy #1
Published on 2 April 2019 by Wednesday Books

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

I was approached with the incredible opportunity to participate in the Wicked Saints launch tour and since I’ve been anticipating the release of Wicked Saints since April 2018, I signed up. And a month or so later (time is a construct that I struggle with), I got news that I was one of the people selected to be part of the tour. Whoo! *In case that’s not clear enough, I received an ARC of Wicked Saints in exchange for a review and I’m participating in the blog tour portion of the book launch. As honoured as I am to be among these amazing bloggers participating, none of this influenced my rating or review of Wicked Saints.
Let me start off by saying that Wicked Saints is a roller coaster ride of emotions. You will love this book, you will shed tears because of this book, you will gasp and you will take deities’ names in vain, you will mourn and your heart will clench and break and there will be so many emotions ripping through you that you will suffer emotional whiplash and sit there for an actual hour after finishing the book, thinking to yourself “what am I supposed to do with my life now that it’s over? How will I survive until the next book comes out? Why did I have to read this?”
Before I lure you in with how much you should read this book, I want to get the content warning out of the way. Because this book has some triggering content and y’all need to take care of yourselves. If you have any issues whatsoever with self-harm, past or present or just get queasy at the idea of reading about mages whose magic is blood-sourced, I strongly caution you about reading Wicked Saints. I speak from experience when I say that it is hard to ignore the temptation when you see it in media and this book centres around mages who use their own blood for magic. Please, be careful in your reading if you choose to read Wicked Saints.
Ms Duncan brings to life a rich and bloody world that is brimming with bits of Eastern European beauty. I took a bit longer than usual reading this simply because I wanted to be exact in my pronunciations of names and I have, like, next to zero experience with Slavic languages. I know maybe two words in Ukrainian and three in Russian and I learned them through osmosis. Consequently, I was refreshingly challenged with Wicked Saints. I knew very little about the language or how closely enmeshed religion is with everything. I got to have a little enlightenment with my entertainment, which I always welcome.
What we need to know first off is that Wicked Saints takes place amid a century-long holy war between Nadya’s country of Kalyazin and Serefin and Malachiasz’s country of Tranavia. Tranavia no longer worships the gods and practises bloodmagic which isn’t okay to Kalyazin or the edicts of their pantheon of deities. The Tranavians wanted to ‘eradicate’ the gods from Kalyazin like they had from their own country and the Kalyazi wanted to bring the gods back to the ‘lost’ Tranavians and stop the profaning of their deities (the practise of blood magic).
Wicked Saints has three principal characters. Nadezhda Lapteva, or Nadya, is a cleric residing at a secluded mountain monastery. The priests and priestesses of the monastery are trained in battle, but in the event of an actual battle, Nadya was to be protected at all costs. Because she could speak with the gods and work their magic. Serefin Meleski, the Tranavian High Prince and a powerful blood mage. Serefin has so much going on, as is the per usual with royals, I feel like somebody *cough* Ostiya *cough* needs to be there for him 24/7 to have his back because dude. I worry for his liver and I also want to hug him and bundle him up in a handknit afghan and give him some tea, dude needs some TLC in the worst way. Serefin rose to the rank of general, six months after going to battle at sixteen because his father sent him to the front and his mum is too worried about her ownself to worry about her son. Serefin’s hard and untrusting and scary and hurting and terrifyingly cruel and he is so tired of fighting, and, oh yeah, his battalion (is that the word?) just invaded Nadya’s monastery. And finally, Malachiasz Czechowicz is a Tranavian deserter and not just any deserter, but a Vulture. Malachiasz showed so much promise as a bloodmage that he was sent to become one of the elite Vultures who are sect of Tranavians with a grotesque amount of power and this guy defected. Malachiasz is wandering Kalyazin with his two Akolan companions, when they encounter Nadya fleeing the monastery battle. And the fate of their countries lie in their hands. 
Wicked Saints switches POVs between Serefin and Nadezhda throughout the story but is told primarily from Nadya’s view. Normally POV changes bother me because the transitions are so haphazard within chapters and the characters aren’t very distinguishable from each other. But not so with Ms Duncan. The transitions are well-timed and each chapter is labelled with the character whose POV it’s written in. That is so thoughtful! Ms Duncan pulls off differing POVs beautifully. Nadya’s POV and Serefin’s POV have vastly different ‘voices’, you won’t mistake whose POV you’re reading.
I enjoyed the interactions between Nadya and Malachiasz, there were the Kalyazi-Tranavian vibes where they butt heads over their beliefs but there’s also the friendship that slowly forms between them and the slow sparks that start showing up along the way. And then, you toss in their magics melding and working together as the book progresses and I squee. I don’t care if squee isn’t a word. It’s there. The end.
I sped through Wicked Saints because I had to know what was next in store for our principal triad and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. There was torture and there were battles and court deceptions and a betrothal battle because that’s a Tranavian custom that I am totally here for and there is a library that I would sacrifice my nephew for (the problem child one, he’d understand, he’s a bookworm), and a cathedral and I love cathedrals so much. They’re pretty and they’re spooky in the dark, okay? Anyways my heart was all over this book and I need to get my hands on the next book, like, yesterday because this is a trilogy and you cannot leave me like you did. I have feelings, y’know!
I’m not going to lie. None of these characters are going to be nominated for the Humanitarian of the Year or anything, but I’m going to fangirl over Nadya and Malachiasz and Serefin because they were written as flawed and they’re gritty and they are so fed up with the status quo and something has to change and they each have the ability to do something so why not try? Also, I was curious so I went and found out that ‘Nadezhda’ means hope. Excuse the tears but I am having emotions and I cannot control the feelings. NADEZHDA MEANS HOPE.
I’m giving Wicked Saints 5 stars because I loved this book so much and it tore me apart, glued all of my pieces back together, and I still asked for more at the end. I have so much more to say on this book but I’m closing in on the 1500 mark and I am not writing an essay on this book, dang it! I want to thank Meghan H. from Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press who decided to include me in the bloggers approached about participating in the Wicked Saints launch tour, I’m truly over-the-moon ecstatic and honoured to have been included in this endeavour. I hope I’ve done justice to it.

What's Being Said By Other Authors

“Prepare for a snow frosted, blood drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare. Utterly absorbing.” - Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen 

"Full of blood and monsters and magic—this book destroyed me and I adored it. Emily is a wicked storyteller, she’s not afraid to hurt her characters or her readers. If you’ve ever fallen in love with a villain you will fall hard for this book." && “This book destroyed me and I adored it.”-  Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

"This is the novel of dark theology and eldritch blood-magic that I’ve been waiting for all my life. It’s got a world at once brutal and beautiful, filled with characters who are wounded, lovable, and ferocious enough to break your heart. A shattering, utterly satisfying read." - Rosamund Hodge, author of Cruel Beauty and Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

Wicked Saints is a lush, brutal, compelling fantasy that is dark, deep, and bloody—absolutely riveting! With a boy who is both man and monster, mysterious saints with uncertain motives, and a girl filled with holy magic who is just beginning to understand the full reaches of her power, this gothic jewel of a story will sink its visceral iron claws into you, never letting go until you’ve turned the last page. And truthfully, not even then -the explosive ending will haunt you for days! ” - Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy

“Dark, bloody, and monstrously romantic. This is the villain love interest that we've all been waiting for.” - Margaret Rogerson, New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens 

"Seductively dark and enchanting, Wicked Saints is a trance you won’t want to wake from. Duncan has skillfully erected a world like no other, complete with provocative magic, sinister creatures, and a plot that keeps you guessing. This spellbinding YA fantasy will bewitch readers to the very last page." - Adrienne Young, New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep 

EMILY A DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master's degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore text through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Her public social media links are ::

Now, as I said before, I struggled with the names in Wicked Saints because none of my languages are Slavic, and I stumbled across this handy dandy pronunciation guide after I'd finished reading the book. Yes, I read the entire book with a pronunciation aid app on hand, because I do things the hard way. But for those of you who are reading this, you're blessed with the pronunciation guide before you read the book.

There's already a few amazing artists out there picking up their instruments of choice and making fanart in homage to Wicked Saints and my favourite so far is the one of Nadya in this trio posted by Nicole.Deal.Art on Instagram. I love it so very much!

I had no real idea of where to put this excerpt because I wanted to include the lovely damask pattern on the edge of the chapter page. Look at that gorgeous thing! It's not in the ARC I have, but I'm picking up a copy at my local Barnes & Noble (we don't have an indie store locally) just so I can have that lovely pattern on my shelf. I love damask patterns. They're everything good in this world. Okay, I'm closing out my talking portion of this post and leaving you for the excerpt.
My charity for this post is the Autistic Self Advocacy Network because Autism Pride Month is next month and I'm dreading the deluge of 'light it up blue' idiocy where people think Autism $peaks is a wonderful organisation that doesn't promote torturing autistic children in 'therapy'. Unlike Autism $peaks, ASAN is run by autistic individuals for autistic individuals of all ages. Anyways, Don't light it up blue for April we want red instead for acceptance. Until next time, have a happily ever after! (Don't forget to keep reading for the excerpt!!)



Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Down the TBR Hole ★ 4

Down the TBR Hole is a bookish meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.
Down the TBR Hole 411
Down The TBR Hole is a meme that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there.Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!
It works like this:
• Order on ascending date added.
• Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
• Read the synopses of the books
• Decide: Keep it or should it go?

We're back again with Down the TBR Hole! I'm not sure how well this is going since I seem to be adding books at about the same rate I'm removing them, but hey, content is content and maybe I might just make a small dent if I keep at it, right?

Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E Reichert
I'll admit it, I was hungry when I added this book and I was craving lemon meringue pie (I still haven't completely mastered making it). I'm not a fan of gambling or the contemplation of infidelity, so I blame the hungry me. I do whatever my stomach tells me to when I can't feed it. I KNOW HOW BAD THAT SOUNDS! Anyways, I'm taking this one off my TBR and I'm also going to work on not surfing Goodreads when I'm hungry.

The Hideaway by Lauren K Denton
The Hideaway sounds like a book that will wring you of every emotion you ever thought of having. Which could be dangerous for my well-being so it's staying on my TBR list indefinitely but I want to read it so bad. Maybe when I'm in a better headspace, I'll go hunting for this one.

The Wings of Fire by Alma Alexander
I'm not sure how I feel about The Wings of Fire, I love that the synopsis talks about other members of the paranormal community besides vampires and werewolves and faeries (not that I don't love my fae and weres!) but it honestly sounds like another Mary Sue special and I cannot roll my eyes hard enough for that. For the Mary Sue feature alone, I'm taking it off my TBR but for the eclectic range of paranormal beings, I'm going to keep a sticky note of it in my notebook.

Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton
Wow, I just noticed this is also by Ms Denton! I'm not keeping this one, just so many reasons I'm not touching on right now. Just no. Hard pass.

A Time to Kill by Jeanette Raleigh
I don't even know how this wound up on my TBR but I'm going to give it the boot today!

I have no real idea what kind of hallucinogens were used in the writing of this, but the synopsis is kind of trippy. I'm on the fence about this one. I think I'll keep it for now, but I might come back and remove it when my mood's more stable. To be honest, I'm still in the emotional rollercoaster of recovering from losing Z so eh this is fuzzy.

I'm going to close out this session with that. I just really want to read and I'm kicking myself for not starting at the beginning of the break for my premade posts. I'm fueled solely by ramen and coffee this week. Ta.