Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Pirate's Lady by Julia Knight

The Pirate's Lady (2012)
Julia Knight
Grade: C++
Genre: ship, historical romance
Sex scenes: almost non-existant
Source: NetGalley

The brilliant, uncatchable Van Gast only wants one thing: Joshing Josie. He loves her with every fibre of his being and almost had her, but fate intervened and he’s been chasing her ever since. When Josie comes to save him during a twist and propositions him with a challenge that he can’t resist, Van Gast finds himself doing the chasing once again, hoping to catch the biggest prize of his life …

In Estovan, there are ten thousand gold sharks on Van Gast’s head and looking for a crew isn’t going to be easy when potential crewmates could make so much more simply by turning him in. He leaves it to his friend Holden to put together a crew that are lured more by the chance to work with the infamous Van Gast than the thought of all that money, while he tries to catch up with Josie long enough to discover what on earth she’s planning.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merlin 5.12: The Diamond of the Day I

This is the first of the two-part finale and I'm beyond ecstatic. Yes, after five years, one of my favourite television shows is ending, but it's going to be good - I know it because it can't be anything but I want Arthur to find out about Merlin's magic as soon as possible so that he can witness Merlin using it for the force of good, but that was never going to happen. Anyway, if you want a reminder of the other episodes of series 5, then look no further: Arthur's Bane Part 1, Arthur's Bane Part 2, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon, Another's Sorrow, The Disir, The Dark Tower, A Lesson in Vengeance, The Hollow Queen, With All My Heart, The Kindness of Strangers and The Drawing of the Dark

In Morgana's castle with Mordred at her side, the sorcerer Ari (Peter Guinness) is brought in, smiling evilly, thinking that Morgana has another errand for him to run. Instead, he's the one who should be shaking in his boots because Morgana uses him to demonstrate to her entourage and supporters that she has the means to get rid of Merlin's magic. After all:
"Arthur is nothing without Emrys; and Emrys is nothing without magic."
This line previewed at the end of last week's episode, but watching it in context is everything. So even though I knew it was coming, it's still going to be devastating.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Considering Kate by Nora Roberts

Considering Kate (2001)
Nora Roberts
Grade: A-
Genre: 'contemporary' romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Stanislaski series: (1) Taming Natasha, (3) Falling for Rachel, (4) Convincing Alex and (5) Waiting for Nick

Once I read Waiting for Nick, I couldn’t not start Considering Kate – NR and her Stanislaski series is just much too addictive. Considering Kate wasn’t what I expected (though I didn’t know what to expect) but all in all, it was a brilliant way to round off what is arguably NR’s most consistently excellent series.

At twenty-five and still in her prime, Kate has decided that it’s time to retire from the stage and return home to open up her own ballet school. It’s a difficult decision to make, especially since she’s still so young, but years of endless rehearsals, performances, travelling and making small talk with those in the arts and culture circles has made Kate weary and she longs for a family and life of her own in the small town where she grew up. An old building in the area has recently gone on the market and while neglected and in need of serious refurbishment, it’s the right place for what Kate wants; and what Kate wants, she gets.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Passion by Lisa Valdez

Passion (2005)
Lisa Valdez
Grade: A-
Genre: historical erotica
Sex scenes: scorching
Source: own
Passion Quartet: (1) Passion

I don’t need to tell you that contemporary erotica is currently taking the publishing world by storm; who knows how long this will go on for, but I’m hoping that it will be a long time. In my books, anything that gets the romance genre more accepted and recognised amongst wider society is a good thing. Historical erotica isn’t nearly as big and I for one hadn’t ever set foot in this territory, mostly because I had no idea where to start. Passion is one of those books that I have meant to read for ages because I’ve heard so much about it; when I saw it on eBay, I leapt at the chance to own it despite knowing absolutely nothing about what it was about, or that it would be as hot as it is. It has its flaws, but boy am I glad that I bought it.

Merlin 5.11: The Drawing of the Dark

Really, you should be shot if you haven't watched episodes 1-9 already. If you have and want a reminder, read all about it here: Arthur's Bane Part 1, Arthur's Bane Part 2, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon, Another's Sorrow, The Disir, The Dark Tower, A Lesson in Vengeance, The Hollow Queen, With All My Heart and The Kindness of Strangers

I didn't think that I would ever see the day when I would feel sorry for Mordred, be on his side and want to cry for him, but every day (and every episode of Merlin) is full of surprises. His presence has been a constant threat throughout the entire series, not only because of legend, but in particular this series because he's had an active role; this episode is really Mordred's episode. There's several glimpses of hope where we think there might be a chance for redemption and a happy ending, but this is fate after all, and you don't mess with fate.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Waiting for Nick by Nora Roberts

Waiting for Nick (1997)
Nora Roberts
Grade: A
Genre: 'contemporary' romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Stanislaski series: (1) Taming Natasha, (3) Falling for Rachel, (4) Convincing Alex

I have been waiting for Freddie and Nick’s book since Falling for Rachel when Nick was first introduced and the pair met for the first time. At thirteen, with her first glance at the rugged, nineteen-year-old bad-boy, Freddie tumbled headlong into puppy love that has only developed into the real thing over the years. Fresh into New York to start a new life for herself, Freddie is determined to partner with Nick and slot herself into his life until he asks himself why she wasn’t there all along. All the Stanislaskis know that Freddie is in love with Nick as well as she knows it herself; now it’s just time for Nick to realise the same …

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Merlin 5.10: The Kindness of Strangers

Haven't seen episodes 1-8 of series five? That should be criminal, but regardless, click here to see my round-ups: Arthur's Bane Part 1, Arthur's Bane Part 2, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon, Another's Sorrow, The Disir, The Dark Tower, A Lesson in Vengeance, The Hollow Queen and With All My Heart

We begin in the forests as some unlucky soul is being pursued by Morgana and her minions. When he is captured, we see that it is Alator, the Catha priest hired by Morgana last series (?) to kidnap and torture Gaius into revealing Emry's identity. Morgana knows that Alator knows, and is determined to torture it out of him.

Merlin is accompanying Arthur and Gwen as they take a ride through the forest and have some time to themselves (Merlin's presence doesn't count). Merlin notices a strange burn mark on a tree, evidence from Morgana and Alator's earlier struggle during the latter's capture, but Merlin doesn't know that yet. He feels the weight of powerful magic in the air and tries to convince Arthur that something bad happened here, but as might be expected, Arthur doesn't take his servant seriously. Merlin goes back on his own and finds papers and other personal items that look like they've been abandoned unwillingly. Most importantly, he finds a coin/token which Gaius later tells him is the mark of a Catha priest.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster (2012)
Jamie McGuire
Grade: C+
Genre: New Adult
Sex scenes: mild
Source: NetGalley
Beautiful: (1) Beautiful Disaster

This is the sort of book that I should hate. I can’t really identify with any of the characters; Travis is an asshole; it’s much too long; the characters all take the blatantly wrong decisions when it’s clear that it’s the last thing they want, yet continue to pretend to each other that all is merry; and the emotional ping-pong is worse than an Eastenders omnibus. Yet why did I stay up until past 3am to finish it and why can’t I help but like it? Read on …

Abby Abernathy came to Eastern University with her best friend America to make a fresh start for herself, away from everything that surrounds her less-than-perfect past and family life. She’s going to keep her head down, study hard and make something good for herself to erase her ugly past. They she meets Travis Maddox …

Thursday, 13 December 2012


L-R: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter, Waiting for Nick & Considering Kate by Nora Roberts, Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts and Reflected in You by Sylvia Day 

I did some work as a Brand Ambassador for back in October and got paid in Amazon money. It's not as good as real money, but when you have a book-buying, book-owning, book-reading addiction like I do, it's gold. It's taken me since October to decide which books I wanted. I had a list of about twelve but the annoying thing was that most were cheaper on Book Depository! There was no way that I was buying a more expensive version from Amazon, regardless of the fact that I had a voucher.

So they arrived Monday, of course, when no one was in, and so I picked them up today. I'm unbelievably excited to start, but I could say the same about the 60-odd books in my room that I have yet to crack open not to mention all the Galleys I've got waiting for me ...

Which book would you start first? Have you bought lots of new books recently?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

At Last by Jill Shalvis

At Last (2012)
Jill Shalvis
Grade: A-
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: NetGalley 
Lucky Harbour series: (4) Lucky in Love, (5) At Last, (6) Forever and a Day 

The last thing that Amy Michaels wants is a relationship, yet her Chocoholics Anonymous group are determined to get her there. Now that Mallory has her HEA with Ty and Grace is still trying to get a job, never-mind a relationship, they’ve decided that Amy is next.

Amy has one mission in Lucky Harbour: to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and find her hope, peace and heart. With her grandmother’s journals committed to memory and her sketchbook in hand, Amy puts her dislike of the outdoors to one side and ventures into the dense countryside that surrounds the town … only to promptly find herself lost. And knowing her luck, who comes to her rescue? Only Matt Bowers, uber hot forest ranger and for the sake of her fickle hormones, a guy she wants to stay well away from.

Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas

Dream Lake (2012)
Lisa Kleypas
Grade: C+
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: milder than might be expected from Lisa Kleypas
Source: own
Friday Harbour: (1) Christmas Eve at Friday Harbour, (2) Rainshadow Road
After getting divorced when her husband left her for another man, Zoë Hoffmann has sworn off men for good. She has teamed up with her feisty, outgoing cousin Justine to set up a B&B on Friday Harbour and business is booming. With Zoë in charge of all the cooking and baking, she’s in her element and very content with life.

Zoë’s mum abandoned her when she was young and her father followed suit by passing her off onto his mother. When she gets news that ‘Upsie,’ as she calls her grandmother, has had a series of mini-strokes, developed vascular dementia and will require constant care, Zoë doesn’t even consider any other option but moving Upsie in with her. Upsie owns a small lake house in Friday Harbour, but years of neglect and disuse has made it uninhabitable and it will need extensive repairs in order to adapt it to Upsie’s needs. Luckily, Justine knows just the man for the job: Alex Nolan.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Merlin 5.09: With All My Heart

Want a reminder of episodes 1-8 of series five? Click here: Arthur's Bane Part 1, Arthur's Bane Part 2, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon, Another's Sorrow, The Disir, The Dark Tower, A Lesson in Vengeance and The Hollow Queen. Beware of spoilers, spoilers and you guessed it: more spoilers! The first paragraph already contains a spoiler, and so you're not even getting a taster before you have to click 'Read More'!

You seriously don't want to miss this episode. It's a convenient way of getting around a recent thorny problem which is a slightly annoying way to make everything better just as it has been announced that the series is about to end, but whatever, I'm not complaining. Much. Just WATCH IT

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Cover Reveal: The Elite

I've read virtually no YA books in 2012, but The Selection by Kiera Cass is by far my favourite. I liked the cover when it appeared on NetGalley and while the summary sounded great, the cover was definitely my motivating reason for requesting it for review.

The cover for book two, The Elite, doesn't disappoint. The theme for The Selection was initally a great choice and so they've done well in following it and keeping with the theme, yet the colour scheme gives the book it's own character and independence. It's stunning.

I can only keep my fingers crossed that it's going to be available on NetGalley in the new year! Can't wait for April 2013!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Merlin 5.08: The Hollow Queen

Read all about Merlin season 5, episodes 1-7 here: Arthur's Bane Part 1, Arthur's Bane Part 2, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon, Another's Sorrow, The Disir, The Dark Tower and A Lesson in Vengeance. Spoilers like crazy! If you're going to read this post without having watched the episode or any others before it, then do take the time to read my highlights of each.

Gwen and the guards stumble upon a boy wandering inside the grounds of Camelot. Gwen persuades them to let him go - he's only a boy, after all. He manages to make his way into the castle and locates Merlin to ask for his help. Somehow, he knows that Merlin has magic and desperately needs him to go with him and heal his sick sister. Merlin initially refuses but eventually can't help but give in to this plea for help.

Much Ado About Nothing Movie Poster

There's really too many upcoming films releasing news at the moment that I'm getting excited about. I don't know how my heart is going to cope when the trailer comes out for Much Ado.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Trailer

Watch here!

I love Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. Granted, I haven't cracked one open in years nor read beyond book three, but I'm happy with that. I'm not entirely sure that I'll be able to say that I still love the series if I do touch book four. I had been completely content at the time of reading City of Glass in the knowledge that it was the last book in the series. I was pretty pissed when I heard that there was going to be more books, because it meant that the HEA would be fucked up. Authors have got to learn when to stop.


Criminal law unassessed essay - tick
Victoria Fisher essay competition - tick
Merlin episode round-ups - tick
NaNoWriMo - not so much ...

I may not have finished NaNo, but I'm pretty pleased with my progress overall this month. November has been beyond hectic and I just capped the week with a 10-4pm Fair Trade Market where I did not quite as well as I would have liked (you never do) but generally very good. And it's not even Sunday yet!