Friday Book Blogger Hop ~~~ Traditional verses Indie books

Friday Book Blogger Hop

 The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books. It is now hosted by Billy @Coffee Addicted Writings. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog. 



Are you more willing to read traditionally published books than self-published (indie) books? Or do you not have a preference?

submitted by Julie @ JadeSky

When I used to buy physical books they were always traditionally published, but I’m talking late 90’s early 00’s. For those that weren’t alive back then, or are too young to remember, that was before the internet was a part of everyday life and when a mobile (cell) phone was the size of a house brick. The only indie published books were the ones tapped out on a typewriter, photocopied at great expense and sold or given to friends and relatives.


Raising a family seriously cut into my reading time, and I only read a few books a year. Books either gifted as a birthday present or borrowed from a relative. I only got back into reading in 2016 when I got my e-reader, and with a limited budget I discovered the joys of the freebie book. Most, if not all, were by indie authors and despite what some would think many are just as talented as the more well known names. I have quite a wide list of indie authors whose work I know I will enjoy and, given that there books are often half or a third of the price of traditionally published e-books, who and what to buy is a no-brainer.

So the TL;DR answer is that I prefer, and almost exclusively purchase, indie published books.

#BookReview #Omegaverse #PNR // Brutal Mate by Lee Savino & Tabitha Black

Brutal Mate
Planet of Kings #1
by Lee Savino & Tabitha Black

This is very much a candy floss (cotton candy) book, in that it catches your eye, you know it tastes sweet on the tongue but it will ultimately leave you unfulfilled. I liked the writing style, the two author’s voices certainly blended seamlessly, and the prose flowed very smoothly. The main protagonists, Emma and Khan, were both likeable, though I didn’t feel as though we really got sufficient depth in the hero’s character.


A huge positive of the plot was the realistic reactions of Emma, particularly towards the latter parts of the book, though I was disappointed with the rather trite and easily won ending. There was also absolutely no reason for Khan’s secrecy at the end. Why wouldn’t he tell Emma about the portal and his intention to journey home with her? That just didn’t make any sense! The world building was also very limited, whilst there were some attempts, my favourite of which was the first painting scene, the entire plot could have been translocated to a mafia setting or powerful billionaire setting, and the story would still work.


There wasn’t a lot of connection building between the protagonists either – I’m sorry dear authors but a propensity of sex scenes does not equate to showing a couple falling in love. Those paragraphs would have been much better used to show conversations and “normal” interactions between Emma and Khan, of which there were actually very few and most of them were of them falling out/struggling in their relationship!


A big disappointment for me was Emma’s total 180 at the end of the book on the topic of having children. Oh, big mistake, she actually did want them after all, it was just that she was worried about being abandoned by their father! . Her original position was clearly put in place to cause conflict but in the end it was like a very disappointing firework that fizzles and splutters for a few seconds before going out in anything but a blaze of glory.


Overall I enjoyed the story, it readily held my attention as well as entertaining me. It won’t be a book that I remember much of in a few weeks, but as a fun, smexy “throwaway” read it’s definitely a hit.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Paranormal Romance

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58761258-brutal-mate

Synopsis
One minute I’m walking back home from a nightclub. The next, I’m waking up in a cage.

Abducted by aliens. Given to an alien race. Put up for auction. But instead of being sold to the highest bidder, I’m rescued by one of the Brutal Ones: the biggest, baddest bullies in the universe.

But it’s not a rescue. Not really. My rescuer makes it clear he wants something in return for saving my life…
…an Omega.

Me.

#BookReview #PNR #RH // Three Trials by Kristy Cunning

Three Trials
The Dark Side #2
by Kristy Cunning

I’m really not quite sure how or why, but this series is really working for me. It doesn’t have the greatest world building or the most complex of plots, but I adore Keyla/Paca’s feisty, sarcastic and adorably sweet nature. Her banter, random comments and crazy attitude utterly pleases me and she is definitely one of my favourite book heroines.


I enjoyed the second half of the book more though hindsight, following some expected and unexpected revelations, helps to explain how our intrepid quintet were able to complete the task in hell so easily. We finally (and in that we I am definitely including Paca) got our long anticipated steamy moments. Kai definitely ended up as my favourite following that rather steamy not so little tryst.


Thank you to my fellow Buddy Readers over in the DE group – can’t wait to read book #3 with you all!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

**Contains sex scenes**

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36839899-three-trials

Synopsis
So, I’ve checked off some life goals and added a few new ones to my list.

Goal #5: Get out of hell’s belly without letting my ungrateful charges die.
Goal #6: Get a new name that’s more badass.
Goal #7: Stop wasting my breath on lectures and start annoying the quad hell squad every time they annoy me. Fight fire with fire. Ha! Another hell pun.
Goal 8: Find out who the hell killed me.


I’ll add more. I don’t want to overwhelm myself before I even finish checking off my old goals. But seriously, I really do need a more badass name, considering how much I have to keep saving my damsels in distress. I probably shouldn’t call them damsels, since they’re a little murderous and all.

Maybe I should add seeing a hell-certified psychologist to my list of goals.

Tell Me Something Tuesday #TMST ~~ Cover Love

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post hosted by Jen @That’s What I’m Talking About, where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the questions from Jen’s blog and answer it on your own.


Have you ever bought a book just because you fell in love with the cover?
And did such book live up to it?

I can only answer the first part of that because no I have never bought a book based on cover alone. I think as a teenager I might have picked up the odd book based on cover from the library, but that was far too long ago for me to recall the outcome.


However when it comes to purchasing books then author and description are the two most important factors for me, particularly as I only read e-books now. However back when I haunted the shelves of Waterstones for the latest Fantasy and Sci-Fi/Space Opera releases I would begin my search by looking for specific authors. A good cover buys the book time for me to read the blurb, if I’m still unsure I might read a sample of the book. (Yes I used to stand in the bookshop and read the first page or two of a book – naughty me!)


It actually feels like a reading challenge we should all take part in. Choose a book based entirely on the cover, without reading the blurb or looking at genre. It would either be an amazing experience or the worst mistake ever!


I am looking forward to seeing covers that made others buy a book.

#BookReview #ContemporaryRomance #MafiaRomance // Reaper by A. Zavarelli

Reaper
(Boston Underworld #2)
by A. Zavarelli

Reaper was even better than I remembered from my first read of it. I am SO glad this series was chosen as a Buddy Read because it allowed me to fall in love with Ronan, and Sasha, all over again. I absolutely adored this book and that was entirely down to the depth of emotion that the author made me feel again, and again, and again.


The story moves with good pace, it definitely had more convincing mafia vibes than Crow and I fell for both main characters really quickly. Reading about Ronan’s childhood absolutely broke my heart, I just wanted to hug him and smother him with love. Sasha’s devotion to him was the very least that gorgeous man deserved and the fact that she could still offer that after the crappy hand life had dealt her only her more wonderful. This pair both demonstrated great character growth throughout the story, and understood one another in a way that made me envious.


I genuinely don’t feel as though I am doing this story justice, all I can say is that it has firmly re-cemented Ronan as my favourite book boyfriend ever, as well as made me fall in love with A. Zavarelli’s writing all over again.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Romantic Suspense

Contains explicit sex scenes and violence

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30242566-reaper


Synopsis
Sasha.
He’s dark and mysterious. Quiet and lethal. An Irish mobster. Pure sin wrapped up in a beautiful package. But there’s also something off about him. He doesn’t feel anything. He shows no emotions. Sometimes I question his humanity.
He hasn’t spoken to me in two years. Not a single word. But we share a secret, he and I. And if it ever comes out, I have no doubt in my mind…
He won’t have a problem killing me too.

Ronan.
I’ve slain for her. I’ll do it again. When it comes to Sasha, there isn’t a line I won’t cross. I watch her. She doesn’t know it.
She thinks I hate her. Sometimes, I think I might too. But I’m always there, lurking in the shadows. Craving her. Trying to keep the beast within at bay. I’ll keep her safe. I’ll slaughter anyone who tries to hurt her. The only thing I can’t do… is protect her from myself.

Sunday Wrap-Up

Each Sunday I will be rounding up my week and linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberley @Caffeinated Reviewer as well as The Sunday Salon meme hosted by the wonderful Deb @Readerbuzz. Do please pop by their blogs and show them a little love 💗.

Life Last Week

Despite some rather heavy cloud and ominously grey skies, we got to enjoy a warm autumn walk last week, accompanied by a preponderance of speckled woodland butterflies.


Yesterday saw another visit to the salon, earlier than normal but my stylist is away on holiday for a few weeks. I’m not sure I would have coped had my appointment been for AFTER his vacation.

Books Read Last Week

It was an incredibly slow reading week, though it did include some more beta reading, along with giving feedback on a short story.

I finally finished Three Trials, this series is turning out to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to buddy reading the final two books.

I did skim parts of The Brigand Children, I had beta read this a while ago (along with several other people) and whilst some of my feedback was acted on I still had difficulty connecting with the main protagonist.

Currently Reading

This really HAS been retold very much in a fairy tale style, however it does mean that occasionally I find myself rather irritated by the female protagonist. The hero is absolutely perfect though, so whilst this may have been pushed on the back burner, I do intend to finish it.


Judged is one of the books I’ve mentioned beta reading over the past few months. In fact I’ve probably read this three of four times now, but I know I’ve missed some alterations so am reading the final FINAL version.

Looking forward to…

…introducing the students I teach to more cultural celebrations and observances. As part of learning about other cultures and religions we spent some time learning about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I quite enjoyed the apple dipped in honey.


…seeing what other strange contortions my cat will achieve in order to get to “sleep”.


…my middle child being able to drive himself to University because he passed his driving test this week. He was hugely nervous as failing meant a long wait for a retest and a two hour bus journey to lectures! He also got a part time job, so it’s been a very positive week for him.

On The Blog Last Week

Monday – Review of Crow by A. Zavarelli ⭐⭐⭐⭐
TuesdayIs it ever too late to comment on a post? with Tell Me Something Tuesday
Wednesday – Review of Dream of Dragons by Aja James ⭐⭐⭐⭐
ThursdayMystic Bonds by C.C. Solomon ⭐⭐⭐
FridayImages on your Blog with the Friday Book Blogger Hop
SaturdayTriggers in Books with Let’s Talk Bookish

2021 Reading Stats –
Books read in 2021 – 120 (118) including Phantom & Wraith and Restraining Reeba (x2) beta reads
Re-reads in 2021 –  7 (7)
Owned books from TBR list read – 20 (19)
5 Star reads – 28 (28)
DNF’s – 14 (13)

Let’s Talk Bookish – Triggers.

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A BOOK TRIGGERS YOU? 


SUGGESTED BY JILLIAN @ JILLIAN THE BOOKISH BUTTERFLY

Prompts: Everyone has different reactions to triggers; what is yours?

Hmmm, is it shockingly bad that in terms of content I’ve yet to read something that has genuinely triggered me? I’m actually a huge fan of dark romance and dark erotica, in fact it’s much more likely that I will be moaning that a book wasn’t dark enough for me – or wasn’t even dark at all. Dub-con, non-con, torture, violence, mayhem and murder as a rule doesn’t bother me.


The terrible triggering truth is that I am much more likely to be set in a tizzy by bad writing, a TSTL character, decisions that defy all logic or an author mistaking arrogance in a hero for ‘alpha-ness’ and have rarely taken issue with dark content in a book. Those occasions when I have are generally more to do with the content feeling as though it has been included purely for its shock value, with the author seemingly on a quest to include as many vile and depraved events as they possibly can, in place of an actual plot or any character development.


I do firmly believe that trigger warnings are a must on books, I really don’t understand authors and readers who eschew this idea. For those who do have triggers, unexpectedly coming across distressing or upsetting content can hugely impact their mental health.

If you get triggered without previously knowing there would be a trigger, do you still care to finish the book? Does it affect your eventual rating/review?

So now we’ve established that my triggers are more to do with the book’s plot or characters annoying me, I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to know that I most definitely do NOT finish the book. Or that it does affect my rating and review. Anything that affects your enjoyment of a book surely affects your rating and/or review, I know it does for me!

Have you ever read a book knowing that something within it would trigger you?

Can I just ask why? Why would you deliberately read a book that you KNOW will upset/bother/trigger you? Do not be that idiot who, after ignoring the clearly labelled trigger warnings, leaves a low/negative review for a book because of not liking that very content. Please for the love of all things bookish do not, I beg you just don’t, criticise a book for being dub-con, non-con, violent, whatever, when that content has been very clearly warned about in the synopsis or intro for the book.


OK, I’m stepping off my soap box now.

Friday Book Blogger Hop ~~~ Images

Friday Book Blogger Hop

 The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books. It is now hosted by Billy @Coffee Addicted Writings. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog. 




17th – 23rd Where do you get background images for your posts, or do you create them yourself?


submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews


I love this question and can’t wait to see all the answers to it!


Mine are from a variety of sources, both personal and “borrowed” from the internet. Book covers and images in reviews are usually URL links, though the section headings of “review” and “synopsis” along with the star rating are ones I’ve created by editing and adding text or stars to images found online. My blog header and images for memes were made in the same way. I did take the photo that I use for The Sunday Post, and I’ve used other photos I’ve taken for memes and headers.


I do like to use URL’s when possible as it doesn’t use up storage space on my account and I do want to use more of my own photos for meme headers etc.

Where are your images from?

#BookReview #UrbanFantasy // Mystic Bonds by C.C. Solomon

Mystic Bonds
Paranormal World #1
by C.C. Solomon

I’m a little on the fence with this one, there were parts I loved and other aspects that didn’t work for me. Times when I couldn’t put it down and others where I had to re-read a paragraph to make sense of it. The ending was quite a shocker and definitely has you intrigued as to what will happen next.

I liked Mina, she really didn’t have her s##t together but for me this actually made her much more realistic and eminently more likeable. I would have liked a little more depth from some of the supporting characters, particularly Erik, Charles and Phillip, at times I felt I learnt more via what others TOLD me, rather than through what I experienced. However there was enough development for me to enjoy the book.

I know this is both (a) fiction and (b) PNR/alternate reality, therefore “made up”, but some elements of the plot just stretched the imagination. Looking at blurbs for future books I’m presuming the bad guy in this (who wasn’t paranormal) was perhaps being helped by other “beings”, however in this book there was no real recognition or acknowledgement of his actions being impossible. The characters also felt more Young Adult than the late 20’s early 30’s they were meant to be. In fact had the very brief, single sex scene been removed this could easily have been a YA book.

At times I was totally absorbed by the story, particularly during scenes of action and scenes heavy with dialogue. Sadly there were passages where the heroine actually narrated the story to the reader, rather than allowing them to experience it for themselves. It was almost as though someone was recounting an event or memory, resulting in the story losing it’s flow and pace and disconnecting me from the book. This very tell not show experience extended into the somewhat limited emotional aspects of the book. The very brief mention of how Mina felt, and that information was sometimes very contradictory, conveyed no essence of fear, anger, anxiety or passion. The lack of any detailed descriptions of feelings was a significant negative for me.

On balance there were more positives than negatives for me and at some point I hope to continue with Mina’s story.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Fannce

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44047432-mystic-bonds

Synopsis
Mage Amina Langston thought surviving the supernatural apocalypse, which killed fifty percent of humankind and changed most of the surviving population into paranormal beings, were the biggest challenges in her life. That is, until she and her brother go on the run from non-gifted humans who want to steal their magical blood to make a power-giving serum. Now she’s in search of a handsome stranger who keeps appearing in her dreams and a secret paranormal city to help free those still held in captivity for their blood.

During her journey, Amina befriends several other magical beings also searching for the mysterious town, including a sexy were-jackal who distracts her from locating the man of her proverbial dreams. However, when the group finds the city, it’s filled with dangerous magic and a barbaric were-pack. Facing these new troubles, will Amina take down her human pursuers and save the other paranormals she left behind or end up in greater peril?

#BookReview #Fantasy // Dream of Dragons by Aja James

Dream of Dragons
Dragon Tails #1
by Aja James 

Overall I very much enjoyed this fantasy/PNR fusion, and despite initial concerns it does read as both a standalone and separate to the Pure/Dark Ones series. I did put this down for a few day, fairly early on, as I found the character of Erebus to be extremely irritating. I’m pleased to report that he did get less so as the story progressed, though that may equally have been because we saw less of him. He was an OTT camp mix of Julian Clary and John Inman’s character (Mr Humphries) from Are You Being Served?


Since I had only reached the 11% mark, I picked this back up and actually went on to enjoy it. Whilst it didn’t take itself too seriously, the author blended Arthurian and Welsh legends together, twisted them sideways and created quite a compelling story. It even, in part, explained why those tales are so blurred. It wasn’t the most complex of world building, but it very much suited the story, setting and characters, so I’ve no complaints there.



What didn’t work for me, hence temporarily setting it aside, was (a) it starting with a sex scene between two characters from a previous series and (b) Erebus. This is a spin off, in effect an entry point for new readers who have zero connection to Ere and Sorin, who care not one jot for them, so for us the sex scene felt clinical, a little crude and entirely unnecessary. It took far too long to meet and get to know the actual protagonists of this book, Rui and Wolfe – much longer than it’s taken me to mention them!



Rui left me cold at first, but that’s all part of her character arc and it didn’t take long for me to absolutely adore this little firecracker. She was a beguiling and utterly believable mix of kick-ass warrior and naïve kitten-y dragon. She’s definitely up there as a favourite heroine. Wolfe was so mean, moody and ruggedly gorgeous, I loved him from the first moment we met. Not only did I buy their developing relationship, I was fully invested in it – I may even have had a “must be hayfever” moment or two towards the end. Sigh. So good.



In summary I went from regretting requesting an arc of this (and the next one) to having found an author I want to read more of. If it hadn’t been for that initial “gah!” of the first few chapters I probably would have given this 5 stars. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Song of Dragons.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fantasy Romance

Contains sex scenes and very mild violence

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56338749-dream-of-dragons

Synopsis
Every lore of every clan, across time and space, dreamed of dragons. Did you ever wonder why?

Erebu and Sorin fought through countless lifetimes of trials and tribulations to find one another again. They even conquered death. But Ere’s rebirth requires a price: he must answer the Celestial Summons when it comes and faithfully complete each task the Jade Emperor sets before him.

On the bright side, he doesn’t have to perform miracles alone. Sorin will be right there with him. One the not so bright side, his Fate, the Fate of all dragon Kind, and by extension, the Universal Balance, depend on the successful execution of each quest. No pressure.

His first task is find and retrieve the Jewel of Dreams.
Location: Unknown. Time travel will be required.
Clues: Too few. But there may be a dragon-slayer, a king, a wizard, and a few mythical monsters along the way.
Accompaniments: His beloved Sorin (who is all he needs!) A humorless, anti-social female dragon (who he doesn’t need). Though her kickass fighting skills do come in handy in a pinch.
Timing: ASAP. Determined by an arbitrary Sandglass in the Jade Emperor’s possession.

The end of the world may be just around the corner. Along the way, enemies may become lovers, reluctant friendships may form, and lots of hot, desperate, this-may-be-the-last-time-we-have-sex sex will definitely be had.

And who knows, you may never want to wake up from this…