Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

If you’ve enjoyed Laini Taylor’s previous books, I’d say this should definitely be at the top of your to be read pile. The writing style is incredibly lush. I found it was something I wanted to savour and take slowly, rather than rush through. There are some truly beautiful passages in the book that make this a truly dreamy fantasy.

The pacing of the first third of the book was a little slower than I would have liked. I think I am used to a shorter format and cracking pace. There was a lot of set up with Lazlo, his obsession with Weep, his rather shadowy backstory and his interactions with the current ruling family where he lives. I loved the scenes in the library. Being a library fan, I was rather fond of his time there. I enjoyed the growth of his character. He has a quiet kind of strength, which I appreciated.

The time in Weep was fascinating and while some elements are telegraphed so there were not too many surprises, I found it incredibly engaging. Particularly the last third, which I felt was a little more tightly written. I am now rather impatient to see what happens next as we’re left with some things resolved, but more urgent matters we left hanging. Beautifully written.

Grade B+

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Illeagal Contact by Santino Hassell

I loved this book. I’ve already re read it twice. It has all the elements I like in a contemporary sports romance and it hit all the right notes.

Gavin is a total grump, who I am quite sure just needs a few pats. He just wants to play football on his own terms and not be referred to as just some rough kid who’s made good. To him, this seems like no ones business but his own. He’s an incredibly loyal friend and it’s this that gets him in to trouble in the first part of the book. Plus a slightly crappy temper. When Noah comes into his life as a much needed PA, Gavin’s dealing with being housebound and admittedly seems to also be angling for jerk of the year. Noah however has some serious patience and begins to see Gavin has more than a few redeeming features.

Noah has a history of making bad decisions in his love life, and is pretty sure falling for his current employer would be a super rubbish idea. However, when he discovers Gavin might just be completely grumpy BUT kinda wonderful and bi, all bets are off and it gets incredibly hot, pretty damn quick. Omg. This book.

I loved Illegal Contact. This has some of my absolute favourite tropes, a grumpy hero, close proximity, bi representation, friendship, sport and romance. It was just perfect. Straight onto the keeper shelf, and I am dying to read the next book in the series.

Grade A

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Wildfire by Iona Andrews

This was an action packed final book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the resolution with Nevada’s grandmother, the big bads and there was also plenty of broody Rogan. One thing, they introduced some fascinating secondary characters… and I now want their stories too. I am hoping with fingers crossed that there is more.

Grade A-
Amazon

Goodreads

Bookish Candle Review.

Flick the Wick are the 4th lot of bookish candles I’ve ordered and they are by far my favourite.

As a company they were excellent to deal with. My candles were sent promptly and arrived in a relatively short period of time considering they were going from the USA to New Zealand. It was easy to pay, contact them and discuss anything too, which is not always the case as I have discovered with other sellers I have ordered from.
They all arrived beautifully packaged. All were in individual boxes and wrapped, which again is important if you’re shipping something halfway round the globe. All the candles were in perfect condition and exactly like what was represented on their site. The labels are really clear and are easy to read with great graphics.

The scents are beautiful. This was probably the most important aspect. Out of the set, my favourites are the Aelin candle which is the orange one pictured and the second is the Bibliophile candle. The rest are really good too, but these are heavenly. I highly recommend them! Do you have a favorite bookish candle seller?

July Wrap Up.

These all the books I’ve read this month. Just a few… Some fantastic reads!

I absolutely loved  Silver Silence, The Gentlemen’s Guide, Illeagal Contact and House of Cards. Hope you’ve had some fab reads this month too.

A ~ The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Epic. Loved it!!
Amazon Goodreads
A ~ Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell 5 Stars. Loved it!! So damn hot. Longer review to come.
Amazon Goodreads
A ~ Rat Queens Volume 1. Excellent first volume.
Amazon Goodreads
A ~ House of Cards by Garrett Leigh. Save the chickens. Srsly.
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A- ~ Rat Queens Volume 2. Good… not as awesome as volume 1.
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B ~ Paper Girls Volume 1. Ok, some of the language used as a little meh.
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B+ ~ Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine. Ok. Requires suspension of disbelief.
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B+ ~ Silver Silence by Nalini Singh. Epic start to a new series. She’s so awesome!
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B ~ Trust by Kylie Scott. Cute contemporary. Nice to see a heroine who is bigger.
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B ~ Monstress by Marjorie Liu. Liked it, be interested to see the 2nd volume.
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B ~ Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen. Cute LGBTQIA series.
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B ~ Come Sundown by Nora Roberts. The thriller with a extended family cast. Good summer read.
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B ~ Spun! By J. L. Merrow. Cute LGBTQIA contemporary series.
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B ~ Flame in the Mist Renee Ahdieh. Fantasy YA adventure, with romantic elements.
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C ~ Dating you / Hating you by Christina Lauren. Contemporary romance.
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C ~ Damaged like us by Krista Ritchie. Crazy sauce LGBTQIA romance. Requires much suspension of disbelief.
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D ~ Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow. Found this a difficult read. Not for me.
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D ~ The Watcher by Bella Jewel. Had some issues with male lead.
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Come Sundown by Nora Roberts.

Set in snowy, western Montana, this new thriller from Nora Roberts really made for great, cosy winter reading.

Bodine Longbow, who runs the family’s ranch and retreat, comes back into contact with her childhood crush Callen Skinner. Callen has returned from Los Angeles to set up a more permanent home base. Their relationship develops against a backdrop of a large, close family the ranch, retreat and beautiful surrounding hills and trails.

One family member is absent however. Bodine’s Aunt Alice, who disappeared years earlier. The family had assumed she’d just run off, but she makes a startling reappearance after two murders take place.

I think because I’ve been listening to so many murder and crime podcasts at the moment, that this really hit the spot. It was a thriller that built slowly, and had me at times on the edge of my seat. Super creepy, with a nasty villain to boo and hiss at.

I think that I got so caught up in the crime aspect, that the relationship between Callen and Bodine took a back seat. This was definitely one of Robert’s ensemble cast books, with lots of well fleshed out secondary characters and that whole close family vibe going on. I think enjoyment wise, I preferred her last thriller, The Obsession, a little more than this one. Maybe it was just a little too much going on, and think I prefer something a little more stripped back in secondary characters and plots.

However, it was a solid read and I spent it tucked up in front of the fire and well engaged.
B

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House of Cards by Garrett Leigh

I enjoyed this so much I nearly read it in one sitting. At 2 am I forced myself to put it down. It was such a great story of comfort and healing and I found it incredibly romantic.

Calum is on the run from his past and a seriously toxic relationship. He finds himself on the Cornish coast and runs into an old friend, Brix. When Brix sees him, he immediately takes him in and looks after him. Calum has always had a bit of a soft spot for Brix and the feeling was most definitely mutual, although when they new each other years before, they did nothing about their attraction.

This was such a slow burn. Both men have pasts and secrets. There is plenty of comfort and a chance for these two to heal old wounds and fall in love. I was just engrossed. They are such a perfect pair and it was beautifully paced and written. The secondary characters, Brix’s family and the tattoo shop added to the mix and Porthkennack was a character in itself. This has to be one of my favourites of 2017. Loved it.

A-

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Amazon

Are you a library or book store user? 📚

Hey all! Are you a library or book store user? I use both, but I’d say I use the store more than the library. I’m really lucky where I am that the staff at our local city libraries are amazing and get a huge range of fiction, romance, YA, urban fantasy and sci fi. They also have a massive graphic novel and comic collection and DVDs.

There are a couple of great book stores locally. The Children’s Book Store looks after all my YA needs 🤓😊💕 But, the bigger bookstores in NZ do not carry a lot of romance. This really bugs me. Considering it is a genre that earns more than crime, thriller or sci fi and fantasy, I think NZ needs to catch up a little. 😁

I love having books on my shelves and in the last few years my consumption of ebooks has been huge. I am horribly impatient, so hooray for instant gratification and downloading a book when you see it. 😳The Book Depository is a bit of a godsend too, as shipping from the US is a mare.

I’d love to know where you get most of your books? And do you read more ebooks or paper/hard backs?

The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

This was pretty gripping from the get go. Mariko is on her way to be married when her entourage is attacked. The attackers don’t realise they’ve left her alive and because she is near Jukai Forest she believes the deed has been perpetrated by the infamous Black Clan. Hoping to betray the Black Clan and revenge the deaths of her servants, Mariko makes her way through the forest inserting herself into the group dressed as a boy. Adventures ensue.

I loved that Mariko is not a helpless heroine. Despite the setting, she doesn’t necessarily conform to gender roles of the period, which I appreciated. It is written in such a way that it fits in the narrative and isn’t a contemporary implant into that age. I also liked that matter what situation she gets in and despite at times being harrowing, she is always thinking and intrepid, which was quite refreshing to read. She most definitely displays bushidō!

I adored the setting. So often fantasy, particularly in the YA I come across seems to have a very European backdrop. Japan, the culture and mythology is so rich and I felt how it was portrayed was vivid and exciting. Plus, much sweeping court intrigues and magical elements. I think this reminded me a little of Robin Hood and the rising tide of anger amongst the people against the powers that be. There was a little romance and while the tension ramps up a little towards the end of the book it didn’t feel like a total cliff hanger.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series!

Grade B +

Goodreads

Amazon

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