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Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!


Would you like to win a Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit from Penguin Random House?

Go here to enter: https://sweeps.penguinrandomhouse.com/enter/fantasy-romance-starter-kit-giveaway

The winner will win the following six first-in-series books!

Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!

20 runners-up will receive an advance reading copy of Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven!

Open to US residents, 18 and older. Hurry and enter! The giveaway ends on September 19, 2018!




Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!
PHOENIX UNBOUND by Grace Draven
A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.


Phoenix Unbound
The Fallen Empire 1
Ace, September 25, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital–her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion–and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire–and burn once more.


Look for Melanie's review of Phoenix Unbound later this month!




Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!
MAGIC BITES by Ilona Andrews
Ilona Andrews invites you to experience the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series featuring the intriguing fantasy world of mercenary Kate Daniels…


Magic Bites
A Kate Daniels Novel 1
Ace, December 31, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews invites you to experience the first novel in the “intriguing world” (Locus) of Kate Daniels with this special edition of Magic Bites

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t want it any other way…

This special edition includes in-depth information about the world of Kate Daniels, with descriptions of its characters and factions. Explore Kate’s Atlanta like never before with answers to FAQ and a quiz to find your place there. And don’t miss the prequel story “A Questionable Client,” as well as scenes of events in Magic Bites from Curran’s point of view.




Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!
WRITTEN IN RED by Anne Bishop
Enter the world of the Others in the first novel in New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s thrilling fantasy series: a place where unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—rule the Earth and prey on the human race.


Written in Red
A Novel of the Others 1
Roc, March 04, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Enter the world of the Others in the first novel in New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s thrilling fantasy series: a place where unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—rule the Earth and prey on the human race.
As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.




Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!
CRY WOLF by Patricia Briggs
#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs presents the first Alpha and Omega novel—the start of an extraordinary series set in Mercy Thompson’s world, but with rules of its own…


Cry Wolf
Alpha and Omega 1
Ace, July 29, 2008
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs presents the first Alpha and Omega novel—the start of an extraordinary series set in Mercy Thompson’s world, but with rules of its own…

Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country is about to recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.




Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!
WILD HUNGER by Chloe Neill
In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill’s spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.


Wild Hunger
An Heirs of Chicagoland Novel 1
Berkley, August 14, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill’s spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.




Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!
SLAVE TO SENSATION by Nalini Singh
THE FIRST PSY/CHANGELING NOVEL from the New York Times bestselling author of Shards of Hope, Shield of Winter, and Heart of Obsidian

The book that Christine Feehan called “a must-read for all of my fans.”


Slave to Sensation
Psy-Changling 1
Berkley, September 5, 2006
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

THE FIRST PSY/CHANGELING NOVEL from the New York Times bestselling author of Shards of Hope, Shield of Winter, and Heart of Obsidian…

The book that Christine Feehan called “a must-read for all of my fans.”

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”—the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

Melanie's Week in Review - December 7, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - December 7, 2014


I can't believe that it is already December and everyone has started the countdown to Christmas. I have spent the week hoping to have read loads of books but I have only managed to finish 2. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - December 7, 2014
I started the week with Richard Parks' To Break the Demon Gate which features the disgraced Lord Yamada. I got this book from NetGalley a few weeks ago but only just found the time to read it. I wasn't completely clear when the story was set but I am guessing the late 1800s to early 1900's. It was steeped full of mystery, intrigue and haiku. Yamada uses his knowledge of supernatural to keep a promise, a promise to a princess. With little but his honour to protect him Yamada embarks on a mission to save the future emperor and to keep a promise to a former love. If you read this book description you would expect non stop monster and ghost battles but this is not the case. In fact the story is quite slowl moving. However, there is a beauty in this story and it comes from the haiku poetry sent and received by Yamada. I am not the biggest fan of poetry or haiku but it was definitely the highlight of the book. This isn't a book for someone who likes a lot of action. The story seems slow but gently flows along and finally just ends but with quite a big twist. A gentle book for an over taxed mind.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 7, 2014I found a posting by Ilona Andrews that they had released a short story in the anthology Night Shift. I immediately went and pre-ordered the book and it didn't take too long for it to arrive on my Kindle. For those of you who know my reading likes and dis-likes you will know I am not the biggest fan of short stories but I do make the exception for my favourite authors. I know that Nalini Singh is very popular but her contribution to this anthology did not gel with me. In fact I didn't finish it. I did however, enjoy Andrews contribution set in the Kate Daniels world with a story of Jim and Dali. This short had almost my every favourite element  - Dali - plain, not athletic but intelligent. Jim is everything Dali isn't but he loves her anyway. They are caught up solving the mystery of why a group of shop owners have been cursed while at the same time starting to realise what they mean to each other. A solid continuation of the Kate Daniels series.

Contribution 3 was from Lisa Shearin and story of a small town girl in the big city of New York fighting crime in a supernatural police force. This story was OK. I didn't mind the characters and thought the plot was OK. Leprechauns on a stag do didn't sound like an exciting plot but in the end it was pretty action packed. I would consider reading more from this author. The final tale in this anthology was from Milla Vane and was surprisingly high fantasy. This story was so unlike the others but again, another author I would like to read more of. Overall, I found this anthology quite disjointed. There didn't seem to be an over-arching theme or if there was one it wasn't obvious. Had Ilona Andrews not been involved I don't think I would have bought this book

For those of you who have read my WIR before you will know I have been following 2 weekly serials. I have to say I have been quite discouraged of late. One of the authors hasn't posted since early October and despite large breaks the other has been more regular. Its rather disappointing as both authors have great stories to tell but for whatever reasons aren't able to keep to a regular schedule.

That is it for me this week. Qwill has given me the heads up on the next Karina Cooper book is available on NetGalley so hopefully I will have  chance to tell you about it next week. Until then Happy Reading!

The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013



The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013I was never a big fan of books involving angels. It wasn't until I read Angelfall by Susan Ee and when I was completely blown away by that book that I decided that perhaps angels were better heroes than I had thought. I am sure that you think I am weird for not liking these heavenly creatures but they were always just a bit too good, a bit too gorgeous and a bit too stereotypical for me to really think they were credible hero material. I have read a number of books since and a few with other avian species such as harpies, gryphons and other birds but I feel that maybe I have been more unfair to more saintly of our feathered friends. I have been thinking about what it would be like to have your very own set of celestial wings and have come up with a list of the pros and cons of being an angel.




Pros:
    The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013
  1. Wings make for the perfect accessory that will never go out of style. 
  2. You could save on domestic fights and never get stuck in traffic jams.
  3. You have built in sunshade for lounging on the beach.
  4. Dusting the house would take half the time with your very own in-built feather dusters.
  5. You would be the first choice for christmas concerts or singing in a choir.
  6. As you would be immortal you have lots of opportunity to learn several languages, learn to play a few instruments and play the stock market.
  7. If you didn't have a pen to hand one of your feathers would make a handy quill. Just remember to carry ink in your handbag.
  8. You never have to worry about 'does my bum look big in this' as your wings provide effective camouflage.
  9. Your innate ability to play the lute and harp would give you the potential of play at renaissance fairs or in movies set in medieval times.
  10. Someone standing to close to you? No problem, just knock them to one side by stretching out your powerful wings. Very handy if travelling on London Underground. The reverse would apply if you wanted to hide any PDAs with your sweetie - you could hide your smooching from the public with your wings.


Cons:

The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013
1. Finding clothes that fit over your wings would be extremely difficult or you need to stick to wearing halter tops. If you were a boy angel you would have to go topless which could get chilly.
2. Your friends would always want to bum a ride when they were late for work.
3. You could never have cats.
4. You wouldn't be able to go swimming or scuba diving.
5. You would be prone to show off with your glorious wings
6. You'd be stuck always sleeping on your stomach.
7. Might be hard to keep friends with your gorgeous wings, immortality and omnipotence.
8. It would be impossible to find an umbrella large enough to keep your wings dry in rainy weather.
9. It would be really hard to look over your shoulder.
10. You could never sit in a chair or sofa with a back rest. Furnishing your home might be a challenge.



If you are interested in finding out whether you agree/disagree with my list, here are some series that feature angels to get you on your way. I would LOVE to know what you think of my pros and cons and if you can think of anymore.



Susan Ee - Penryn and the End of Days

1.  Angelfall
2.  World After


    Nalini Singh - Guild Hunter 

    1.  Angel's Judgment
    2.  Angels' Blood
    3.  Archangel's Kiss
    4.  Archangel's Consort
    5.  Archangel's Blade
    6.  Archangel's Storm
    7.  Archangel's Legion


    Kate Griffin - Matthew Swift

    1.  A Madness of Angels
    2.  The Midnight Mayor
    3.  The Neon Court
    4.  The Minority Council


    Linda Poitevin - Grigori Legacy

    1.  Sins of the Angels
    2.  Sins of the Son
    3.  Sins of the Lost


    If you like angels, you may enjoy the Angels of Darkness anthology featuring novellas by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Sharon Shinn, and Meljean Brook.  See Qwill's review of the Sharon Shinn novella, Nocturne, here.

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013


    Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013


    I am back in the UK after 10 days in Canada and suffering from jetlag. Its quite a coincidence then that my WIR has a flying theme. I didn't plan it but nearly every book I finished this week involved creatures that could fly. So what did I read?

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013
    I finished the second in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh, Archangel's Kiss. I quite liked it but perhaps not as much as book 1. I think that the world where vampires serve angels is an interesting concept. I don't think anyone has done that before but I am not sure as I  haven't read that many angel series. I would have liked a bit more history as to why that was the case and I wasn't entirely sure whether angels needed blood to survive. The angels also didn't appear to serve anyone, apart from themselves and seems on the whole to be quite power hungry but that is one of the reasons why I like the series so far. Book 2 teased out Elena's tragic past which I thought was almost better than the Lijuan plot. Not to be undone I then decided to read book 3, Archangel's Consort which further developed Elena's and Raphael love story. I wasn't terribly fond of this book however, as I thought that the 'sexy' bits took over the main plot about the awakening of Raphael's mother. The world seemed to be falling apart around them with 'mother' induced hurricanes and volcanoes but that didn't stop the lovebirds from staring longingly into each others eyes throughout the novel. There was a bit more about Elena's past but this was much less dominant in the plot. I have decided against reading anything further in this series as the books that follow focus on secondary characters and I am not convinced I will like them.

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013Two books magically downloaded onto my Kindle (well my iPad really) while I was away. The first one I A Tale of Two Dragons by G.A. Aiken which is a novella within the Dragon Kin series. For some reason I find this series to be quite amusing but not so much the case with this story. This was the story of Braith and Addolgar and is set before the main books of the series. I thought it was OK but have enjoyed some of the other stories more so. The second book that appeared was Kinked by Thea Harrison which is book 6 in the Elder Races series. I actually read this book on the plane on the way back and got me wishing I was a harpy. Ayral got all the good lines and most of the action. This book is quite 'saucy' so if you like the love interests to prefer candlelight dinners to whips then perhaps choose another book.

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013
    The only book I read that didn't have an avian theme was Blood Roses by Lindsay. J Pryor. This was the second in the Blackthorn series. I discussed my unease with the love scenes in my WIR last week between the two main characters and I was even more uncomfortable with the ones in Blood Roses. This book centered around Leila who is a serryn which is a vampire killer (not quite Buffy) and Caleb who is a not so coincidentally, a vampire. Leila rushes into Blackthorn to rescue her sister who has become entangled with Caleb's brother and ends up locked up by the moody and handsome vamp. I was not happy however, that once again the heroine is locked up, handcuffed and generally belittled by her soon-to-be love interest. Whereas Caitlin from book 1 uses sex to get information Leila didn't seem to have much choice in the matter and Caleb was constantly threatening her. It was overtly male dominant and I couldn't actually see what Leila could find to love in Caleb as he was never very nice to her....even at the end. These books are odd as the beginning and endings are really intriguing but are let down by the middle when the two love interests come together. There is too much aggression from the men which I don't really like that much. I am undecided if I want to finish the series based on book 2 but the overall plot is really good and I don't want to miss out on what  happens next. I am not sure when book 3 is out so I may have some time yet to make up my mind. I love the cover though and think it is gorgeous.

    I got a few more books finished this week to last but was very naughty and didn't read either of the books I took to with me on holiday specifically to finish.  I am currently reading Kindred and Wings by Philippa Ballantine (back to the flying!) and hope to have it ready to review soon. That is all from me as its time for this jetlagged lady to get back to her book. Until next week Happy Reading.

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013


    Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013


    Greetings from Canada! I have been enjoying the delights of rural Ontario for the last week as I visit with my Mom and one of my sisters. I am so close to where Kelley Armstrong lives that I could almost stop by to borrow a cup of sugar (no I am not stalking her....yet....). While its been fun it also means I haven't been reading that much and in fact I only read 2 books. I do also have the excuse that Halloween was last week and FINALLY, I got to see lots of trick or treaters. They really haven't embraced Halloween in the UK like they have in North America so it was great to see so many kiddies in their cute costumes. I have also been driving my Mom around and sampling the delights of a few of the local chocolate shops. My diet starts when I get back.

    Enough of my holiday so what have I managed to fit in between trips to Stratford and London?

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013
    I started and finished Blood Shadows by Lindsay J. Pryor which was the first of the Blackthorn series. This first installment centres on Caitlin Parish who works for the Vampire Control Unit and who is determined to capture and question the notorious vampire, Kane Mallory. Its not long before the hunter becomes the hunted and Caitlin ends up handcuffed to the bed by the hunky vampire. Caitlin practically sells her soul along with her body to find out what Kane knows about the death of her parents years before. Blood Shadow was a tiny bit more UF than PNR as sex came before love and romance. While I quite fancied Kane I did have a problem with Caitlin or I guess more about the way she was written especially in the first sex scene. Normally, the two love interests try to deny their attraction, then finally succumb to end up hopelessly in love by the end of the book. In this story however, Caitlin and Kane are attracted to each other but he kidnaps her, keeps her handcuffed in his bedroom and rather than succumbing she more or less gives in, knowing he isn't going to tell her what he knows until she sleeps with him. While this may be a bit more realistic it didn't sit well with me as it fell more into coercion rather than romance. Apart from this chapter of the book, I liked the story over all and think I will continue with the series.

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013
    The second book I read was a total impulse purchase. Rather than reading one of the many books I have had approved from NetGalley I ended up buying Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh. I got an email from the UK publisher (Gollancz) which had an article about the newest book in the Guild Hunter series and I was slightly intrigued. I had a look on Amazon and book 1 was really cheap so I decided to buy it. I was quite surprised that I liked it as much as I did as I haven't been a fan of her Psy-Changeling series. In fact I liked it so much I also bought and am currently reading Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter 2).

    Finally, I thought I would share with you a reading device that has transformed my Mom's life. Mom is now only partially sighted following a detached retina (in her good eye) about 18 months ago. She was an avid reader and belonged to two reading groups. Needless to say losing her vision has been a difficult adjustment and she became quite despondent at the thought of not being able to read anymore. Thanks to the local CNIB Mom was given a 'reader' (basically a microfiche) which she now uses to read not only books but newspapers and the labels off her medication. I can remember using a microfiche years ago in university and thought they were virtually obsolete due to the accessibility of online journals etc. Now this seemingly obsolete technology has given an old lady back the joy of reading. Big thank you to the lovely people at the CNIB.

    Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013

    Thats it for me folks and I will be back in the UK for my next Week in Review so until then Happy Reading.

    Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit - Giveaway!Melanie's Week in Review - December 7, 2014The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - November 3, 2013

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