Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Shelf: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

A Near-Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

[This novel contains adult situations and is only suitable for readers who are 18+]

More info on Goodreads....


Ensnared by Rita Stradling is Beauty and the Beast meets I, Robot in this fairytale retelling with a sci-fi twist that will be perfect for those who love Sarah J. Maas and Marissa Meyer. 

Set in a futuristic world, a young woman named Alainn Murphy finds herself imprisoned in an artificially controlled tower when her inventor father is commissioned to create a robot named Rose to be the companion of a mysterious and reclusive millionaire. Made in Alainn’s image, Rose looks like a human and acts like a human, but Alainn knows there’s something sinister lurking behind Rose’s eyes. To save her father from a prison sentence should he not turn over Rose, Alainn take’s the robots place, but passing for an artificial machine is harder than it looks. And as Alainn begins to slowly get to know her captor, it becomes clear the scarred man who interacts with her is much more than he first seems…

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Ensnared, devouring it in only a couple of sittings. Capturing my attention the moment I realised it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a science fiction twist, Rita Stradling quickly had me enthralled with the story from the opening few chapters with her strong characters and delightful world.

Unfolding through Alainn’s POV with the occasional different character thrown in, Ensnared details a near futuristic world where robots and auto machines are every day ways of life. Refreshing and fun, I liked the world Stradling has created and wished to have seen more of it. The robotics were intriguing, especially the AI monkeys who were just beyond adorable and who I would take home in a heartbeat if they were real. 

I really liked Alainn and Lorccan as the main characters and was very much behind their relationship. Yes, I admit they weren’t perfect and there were a few small things that could have been tweaked had we had time—Lorccan’s “curse” and Alainn’s experience of abuse in the past—but given that this is a standalone novel, I think Rita Stradling worked well with the time she had.  

Alainn was strong but sweet and very capable. She stood up for her loved ones and was willing to fight for what she wanted, while Lorccan was an isolated recluse, afraid to have people see his scars who was used to darkness. They went well together as a couple and became happier people as the novel progressed and they spent more time together. 

With Lorccan having lived in complete isolation and having known nothing outside his home, I enjoyed seeing his relationship develop with Alainn. As the only two humans in Lorccan’s home, they spend a number of hours together and though these start out grudgingly on Alainn’s part, they grow to be something she deeply enjoys. For some reason I started the novel expecting it to be YA, so I wasn’t necessarily expecting the sex scenes and physical aspect of Alainn and Lorccans romance, but again, I felt this fit in well with the story and was done well. Although how Lorccan didn’t know Alainn was human and not a robot based on her body’s natural reactions, I’ll never know.

Full of wonderful romance and danger, there were only a few things that kept Ensnared from being a flat out 5 star book for me. I felt there were a few vital parts missing from the story or could have been explored a bit better. That being said, I did really love Ensnared and highly recommend it! 

Sent for review by publisher (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Kindle Press      
Format: Kindle ebook

Release Date: May 23rd 2017
The Book Depository | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Final Thoughts: I highly enjoyed this book and really loved this retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Highly recommend.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Book Blitz: Lady of Sherwood by Molly Bilinski- Excerpt & Giveaway

Today I'm happy to be taking part in the Book Blitz for Lady of Sherwood by Molly Bilinski thanks to Xpresso Book Tours. Lady of Sherwood looks like a delightful twist with a gender change on Robinhood and I hope you enjoy the excerpt and giveaway I have for you today. 

Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn't the only thing she wants--she wants revenge.

As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin's choices begin to haunt her. She'll have to choose between what's lawful and what her conscience believes is right--all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.

Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.


From Lady of Sherwood.....

“That still makes it murder. It doesn’t change that. Nothing changes that.”

 “You’re an outlaw, then.” Maggie shrugged. “You’re the Lady of Lockesly. You’re a warrior woman from the old tales. None of those things mean we don’t want you to stay with us.”

 “You came back to the manor,” Kitty added. “You came back for us. To find Gisborne and protect us. You could have abandoned us.”

 Robin’s expression morphed into something stricken, and her eyes widened. “Why would I have done that? You’re—you’re family. You’ve always been as much family as my mother.” True, Jemma was the sister she’d never been gifted with, but the others had a spot in her heart all the same. One that was rapidly growing by the second.

 “Then come with us.” Maggie’s tone said she wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Be an outlaw, but come with us. Even outlaws need friends.”

 “I’m an outlaw, same as you,” Jemma murmured when Robin looked meaningfully at her. “I went with you to kill him, and I attacked his men.”

 Robin locked eyes with each girl in front of her and she found nothing but tempered steel staring back at her. All of them might have been younger than her and Jemma in physical years, yet they showed a resilience and a courage born from the night’s events. 

Robin knew she’d been right earlier to call them smart. Nottingham was large enough for them to all blend into new crowds, and if they kept their wits about them, no one would ever have to know the last survivors of Lockesly Manor were harboring two outlaws.

 “All right,” she said. “We stay together and head for Nottingham tomorrow at dark. We don’t want to be seen,” she added. “Not if any of Gisborne’s men are still in the village.” And looking for revenge if he was dead.
Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend...and any five minutes she can find). When she's not writing or working, she's scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.

Visit Molly:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 19, 2017

Blog Tour: Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs by Jacinta Maree- Excerpt & Giveaway

I'm beyond excited to be taking part in the Blog Tour for Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs by Jacinta Maree today thanks to Xpresso Book Tours!

Not only is she an incredible author, but Jacinta is someone I'm honored to consider a friend and I'm stoked to share her latest release Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs with the world. This is a wonderfully unique steampunk read I definitely recommend!

I have a clock for a heart…
And the man who put it there tried to take it out.

Time Collectors are modern day genies capable of exchanging wishes for time. Elizabeth Wicker lives within a steampunk world riddled with the supernatural. Among the stories of witches, Bacts and other monsters, Time Collectors remain as the greatest hushed secret among the noble families.

They are temptation's greatest tools. A contract with a Time Collector is a guaranteed death sentence, and for some the prize isn't worth the price.
But when Elizabeth is struck down by a fatal heart attack, she finds herself trapped beneath a Time Collector's blade. With no time left to offer, she makes a desperate sacrifice at a second chance of life.

If there's only one truth, it is a Time Collector will always come back to collect.

Add on Goodreads or check out my 4 star review!
From Time Weaver.....

Klaus and Elizabeth boarded the large airship to make the long trip across country to Gothsworth. The airship glided across the skies. The large balloon housed rows of seats, cafes, an indoor garden, and open balconies for people to look over the railings. Clouds settled overhead, casting a long, grey blanket across the horizon. Klaus’ eyes trailed down his arm, his fingers lightly touching the taint of Nikolas’ corruption. 

“What did you wish for?” he asked. 

Elizabeth turned away from the window at his question. She glanced down at his arm and reached across to soothe the rash. “You have it too?”

 “When it comes to magical wounds, we are connected.” Klaus pulled his sleeve down. “What did you wish for?” 

“I’m not entirely sure,” she answered honestly. Klaus gently nodded and then turned away, showing disinterest in further conversation. He proceeded to act cold toward her for the rest of the trip, pretending to be interested in the inflight newspaper to avoid her questions. And as they walked, he intentionally walked too fast, making it difficult for Elizabeth to keep up. Every time she checked to see if everything was okay, he’d feign ignorance and brush it aside. He couldn’t explain exactly why he acted this way. It wasn’t his disinterest in her company, despite his body language saying that it was. Whenever they were alone together, he couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by her. As soon as they sat in the car Lady Rose sent to collect them at the port, he understood the feeling. Vulnerability.

Gothsworth consisted of large columns of houses stacked on top of each other like shelves and domed around a grand cathedral in the centre. Bridges connected the segregated community in criss-crossing channels, while automatic trolleys moved up and down each column in massive, cage elevators. The entire complex resembled a beehive, a city squashed into four quarter circles. The entire community had been jammed packed so tightly together that the only space remaining was on top of their neighbours’ roof. As earthquakes were the deathly fear of the city, they installed massive steam powered pegs that gripped the earth and stabilized the entire foundation.

Elizabeth craned her head back as the high-rise towers disappeared into the low hanging clouds. Even with the giant pegs, the buildings would wobble and shift. Lady rose lived at the top of the tower, which must have been seen as a luxury. The driver escorted Klaus and Elizabeth to one of the pulleys and it clicked and clanked its way up the structure, passing by other houses so close Elizabeth could see through their front windows. She gripped the handle bar as the open cage swayed with the wind. The trolley came to a shaky stop outside the top house, opening up to the rock garden and outwards to a massive earth coloured two-story manor. At the front door, they were greeted by an elegant woman waiting for them.
Born in Melbourne Australia, Jacinta Maree considers herself a chocoholic with an obsession with dragons and Japan. Published in 2012 to USA publisher Staccato Publishing, Jacinta writes a variety of genres from YA paranormal, steampunk, horror and fantasy. Winner of 2014 Horror of the year and best selling author, Jacinta writes to answer all of her absurd questions and to explore themes and characters not often seen in main media.
Visit Jacinta:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Shelf: Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs (Time Collector #1) by Jacinta Maree

I have a clock for a heart…
And the man who put it there tried to take it out.

Time Collectors are modern day genies capable of exchanging wishes for time. Elizabeth Wicker lives within a steampunk world riddled with the supernatural. Among the stories of witches, Bacts and other monsters, Time Collectors remain as the greatest hushed secret among the noble families.

They are temptation's greatest tools. A contract with a Time Collector is a guaranteed death sentence, and for some the prize isn't worth the price.
But when Elizabeth is struck down by a fatal heart attack, she finds herself trapped beneath a Time Collector's blade. With no time left to offer, she makes a desperate sacrifice at a second chance of life.

If there's only one truth, it is a Time Collector will always come back to collect.

More info on Goodreads.....


Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs is the first novel in Australian author Jacinta Maree’s new Time Collector series and is a riveting and engaging tale that introduces readers to a deeply mysterious but alluring world of steampunk and hair-splitting danger.

Elizabeth Blackmore is a young woman living on borrowed time. Suffering a dangerous heart problem, Elizabeth’s whole world changes forever when her mother passes away. With no one else, Elizabeth faces two choices; find herself sold off to a cruel lord as a maid, or reach out to her estranged father, the eccentric and mysterious Doctor Wicker in the hopes he will take her in. Becoming a Wicker changes everything Elizabeth knows as she finds herself discovering the dangerous world of Time Collectors; immortal beings who exchange wishes for time but whose inhuman abilities come with a price. When Elizabeth suffers a heart attack and she faces death, will the ultimate sacrifice be made to keep her alive? And what will happen when the Time Collector responsible for so much death catches up with Elizabeth?  

I’ve previously had nothing by good experiences with Jacinta Maree’s books and was super stoked to read Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs. Drawing us into a vivid steampunk world, Time Weaver was highly entertaining. The tale primarily follows Elizabeth, but also often details situations concerning and featuring a few other minor characters including Klaus, who readers will quickly come to like and learn plays an intricate part in the story. 

Time Weaver was quite an interesting book. Maree details a gritty Steampunk/Victorian world where magic and monsters exist and multidimensional and complex characters bring the story to life. I’ll admit there was a few times where the multitude of minor characters confused me and I needed to focus to keep track of everything that was happening; but I have no doubt there’s a reason behind each and every character and situation and that Jacinta Maree will let us all know and understand in time.

Personally I quite liked Elizabeth as the main character and thought her easy to follow and likable, but found myself most intrigued with Klaus and the Time Collectors. Maybe it was just me, but Time Weaver made me think about human complexity and human nature; especially as the novel progressed and some of the seemingly “bad guys” became more than they first appear.  

Take Klaus for instance. The fact that he’s a love interest aside—I always seem to adore them regardless—Klaus is a very complex individual who brings about a range of emotions in me. What he is means he’s often the perpetrator of many questionable acts where lives are taken. Yet this is a fundamental part of what Klaus is. He can’t help it. There’s a coldness to him that Elizabeth is slowly starting to thaw and I actually felt sorry for him a lot of the time; especially towards the end of the novel where so much happened that was out of his control or he just didn’t mean to cause happen. 

It’s fascinating to read a book and have a character start out as villain you anticipate hating, yet instead you see them in an almost human light as time goes on. Another strong personality within the story is Nikolas, whose determination knows no bounds and who towards the end of the novel finds himself experiencing emotions he wasn’t expecting. It’s intriguing, as so many of his actions have been out of love and the binds he experiences as a Time Collector. 

As the first novel of a series, Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs offers us a glimpse and taste of this steampunk world Jacinta Maree has brought to life. There’s a lot going in within the story with various characters introduced and little snippets left to hint at more. The world of Time Collectors, Guardians and other creatures are full of possibilities and I for one am looking forward to seeing more of Elizabeth and Klaus and seeing where Jacinta Maree plans to take this promising series!

Sent for review by Xpresso Book Tours and Jacinta Maree (Thank you ladies!)
Publisher: Ragnarok Publishing      
Format: Kindle ebook

Release Date: February 14th 2017
The Book Depository | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Final Thoughts:
I highly enjoyed this book and am super excited to see where Jacinta Maree takes the series next!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #179

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight an upcoming release that you're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on.....

Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster
Releases on: October 10th 2017
Add on Goodreads!

Sev has been tattooed with the White stars of a criminal since she was eight. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half-sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev must do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

Ooooh, does Last Star Burning sound good or what!?! A girl whose mother is branded a traitor and who is blamed for a bombing herself and the only person who can help her is the son of some chairman? Seriously, that just spells forbidden romance, angst and excitement. Bring it on! Defintely wanting to get my hands on a copy of this one!

Does Last Star Burning sound like something YOU want to read?
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Shelf: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

More info on Goodreads.....


Gilded Cage is Vic James debut novel and is a unique and enigmatic tale, introducing readers to a darkly magical world of aristocrats and those that serve them.

In an alternate Great Britain, not everyone is born free. While those lucky enough to be born with powerfully abilities known as Skill live high and mighty lives, those born without Skill must pay for the sins of their ancestors by participating in a mandatory ten years of slavery in service to the Skillful. The Hadley family have just agreed to serve their ten years at the same time, believing they’ll be placed together, but when their teenage son Luke is sent to a different slavetown than the Kyneston Estate the rest of the family are sent to, the family are left separated. One of the most influential families in existence, the Jardine’s are known for their cruelty and indifference towards their slaves. With the Jardine sons known for their different levels of abilities and influence it would be a dangerous thing for the Hadley’s to get more involved with the family than just slave-to-master relationship they’re supposed to have. Rebellion and romance is in the air, yet with intentions not to be trusted and power the ultimate prize, will Hadley siblings Luke and his sister Abi pay the ultimate price in this dangerous world? 

Gilded Cage turned out to be a bit of a mixed bucket for me. To begin with the premise sounded absolutely spectacular but unfortunately I found the execution to be somewhat lacking. While I don’t necessary believe Gilded Cage was a badly written or bad story, it just didn’t appeal to me as I had hoped it would heading into the story; especially considering how anticipated a novel it was of 2017. Gilded Cage seemed to have it all; intricate world, mystery, magic and even a hint of forbidden romance, but it just seemed to be missing that special thing to take it to the next level. That being said, there was something about the book that kept me reading, and the final few chapters certainly had me entranced! 

Branded as Downtown Abbey-esque with magical aspects (I’m not a fan of Downtown Abbey by the way) Gilded Cage introduces readers to a world where Skilled aristocrats hold themselves in high regard compared to the rest of the community and those without abilities are seen as less than human. The world Vic James has created does hold a lot of promise coming across as a mix of turn of the century/early 1900’s attitudes and values and an almost dystopian like society. 

Unfolding through various POV’s including siblings Luke and Abi, Gilded Cage spends a lot of time bouncing back and forth between Luke’s life at Millmoor and Abi’s experiences at Kyneston. Throwing in a few chapters here and there from other individuals, Skilled heirs and “bad guys” Gilded Cage offers a well rounded experience. One of my issues with the story though is that I failed to truly connect with the characters at times. I wanted that little extra something to really suck me in, and I wanted to care about the characters and their lives and it wasn’t until towards the end of the novel I began to feel that way. 

For me personally, the best part of the story came at the end when quite a few developments occurred and there were revelations that changed or shaped the story immensely. These final few chapters had me eagerly turning pages and keen for more. Ending superbly and on a cliffhanger, I do find myself interested to see what happens with Vic James’s world next. I think the series has the potential to grow and will definitely tune in next instalment to see where James takes the story!

Sent for review by publisher (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Format: Paperback ARC
Australian RRP:
Release Date: February 1st 2017
Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts:
Gilded Cage was a slow going read, but picked up towards the end. I will definitely look out for the sequel to see what happens next.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Owl Post #121

Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows us bloggers to showcase the books we've bought, won or received throughout the week and is hosted by Brodie over at Eleusinian Mysteries. We all know that the Owl Post is the fastest way to send and receive mail and they certainly make me happy every time they drop a book off.
Hi guys and welcome to another Owl Post! Hope it's al been a great week in books this recent week for you all!
For Review:
From Simon & Schuster:
- The Do-Gooder by Jessie L. Star
I hadn't heard of this book before I received this copy, but I do think it sounds good. Makes me think of an Abbi Glines read and I LOVE Abbi so I think this one should be really good!
....Thanks guys!
I Bought:
- Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
I've had this one on my TBR list for a while and was thrilled to score a hardback copy of this from my local Book Exchange for a great price!
- The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset
Another one I snagged from the Book Exchange. I've been wanting to read this for a while, but hadn't gotten around to getting a copy. Great price, great condition!
- Riveted by Jay Crownover
I LOVE Jay Crownover and finally got around to getting a copy of Riveted! Can't wait to read this as I've loved the series so far :)
And that's me!
What did the owls bring you this week?