Review //\\ Professional Development

Photo by Mohan Reddy Atalu on Pexels.com

Professional Development (Benchmarks #1) by Kate Canterbary

The book starts commences with Tara’s point of view, and I quickly found myself detesting, loathing, Drew with an absolute passion. Oh my word I wanted to shake him until his teeth rattled. Condescending, bullish and down right rude. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Kate Canterbary would have me loving him by the end, and I wasn’t wrong. Between his penchant for providing arm porn and his tight ass in grey pinstripes, he needs a health warning label. Tara deserves a medal for the amount of self restraint she demonstrated, is it wrong to want to be her BFF since she’s a fictional character?


Novella’s are not often a format I bother with, they often leave me with a feeling that things just weren’t quite developed enough. Not enough depth to the protagonists, not enough plot, not enough heat, not enough believability. We’ve all seen facsimiles of the Mona Lisa, but there’s nothing quite like standing in the Louvre gazing upon the genuine article. That’s how I view novella’s, they’re the reproductions, the lacklustre images that don’t do the real thing (ie novels) justice.


Apart from that once in a blue moon moment, when all the stars align perfectly and a great author produces that exception to the rule, an amazing novella. That is exactly what Ms Canterbary has achieved with the masterpiece that is Professional Development. I quickly came to adore both main characters and totally believed in the strength of their feelings for one another. I swooned with delight when the walls finally tumbled down and grinned like a loon over those final scenes of the book.


Bravo Ms Canterbary, this is a truly wonderful story.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Contemporary Romance Novella

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50315164-professional-development

Tara Treloff and Drew Larsen hate each other. They really hate each other.
This would be fine except for the issue of them sharing a job title
…and an office
…and now a five-hour-long drive to a conference their boss has made mandatory to resolve their issues.
And they would’ve been able to muddle through all of those matters but a major snowstorm is heading their way
…and there’s only one bed.

Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? The End of August Edition

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a wonderful place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be, reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! Everyone is welcome. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn over at The Book Date.

Since it’s the last day of the month I will do a round up of August, rather than just the last week. Though I have to say, the end of August?! I’m still looking for May and June, I’m sure they got lost somewhere because I really don’t remember where they went!

Photo by Freddie Ramm on Pexels.com

Books Read In August

In total I read 22 books during August, mainly novels of about 3 hours reading time. 14 of these were ARC books and I went on to buy, or had pre-ordered, 7 of these. Only 5 books were “free choice” reads, I had hoped the figure would be higher but I had a LOT of unexpected or early ARC’s this month. The final 3 books were beta reads.

5 Star Reads

Eternal Sin is an MM Fantasy where a demon and an angel fall in love. Gosh that book gave me all the feels and totally pulverised me. In a good way.
Professional Development is notable in that it is one of the few novella’s ever to hit full marks with me. This is another author who not only makes me feel but whose characters feel like real people.
I highly recommend both of these reads.

4 and 4.5 Star Reads

3 and 3.5 Star Reads

Currently Reading

I adored the author’s Eternally Yours series and hope this is just as well written.

Reading in September

Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Pexels.com

I’ve got a few ARC reading commitments in September, including the third Punishment Pit book and Heresy, Book #4 in the Antihero Inferno Series by Lily White.
I’m also expecting a couple of Measha Stone books and a few beta reads. I had originally planned on rereading/completing the entire Demigods of San Francisco series by KF Breene, however I may just re-read book #4 and then read #5 and #6. Time will tell.

Release // Crown of Lies

Title: Crown of Lies

Author: L.L. Hunter

Genre: YA Fantasy
Cover Designer: Stephanie Sew of Sevenstar Book Covers
Publication Date: August 31st, 2020
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

A close up of a logo

Description automatically generated


Blurb:
At the Midnight Ball, not everyone is who they say they are…
Still haunted by the events that took place in Underworld, Grace seeks refuge back home in Sydlandia.
But it is not a vacation.
She put her life in the palace on hold to find out who she was, but she still has to put her parents to rest.
When she discovers her mother’s diary hidden in the back of her closet, more secrets are unveiled…
Secrets that will take her to the precipice of another world – a third world unknown.
And lead Grace on a new adventure, one that will either make her,
Or break her.


Crown of Lies is the second instalment of the much-anticipated new YA fantasy series from L.L. Hunter, and the sequel to Reign of Secrets.

Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/3JjodE

Author Bio:
L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Garden of Eden. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. She has been writing since her teens – everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.” Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @llhunterbooks, and her blog – http://llhunter.blogspot.com.au.

Author Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/LL-Hunter/110104129132865
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LLHunterbooks
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1So75bF
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6559537.L_L_Hunter
Blog: http://llhunter.blogspot.com.au
Authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/LLHunterbooks
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/llhunter
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/l-l-hunter
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/by8k0r

Review //\\ Shadowlands Sector #2

Shadowlands Sector, Two (Shadowlands Sector #2) by Mila Young

Photo by patrice schoefolt on Pexels.com

I thoroughly enjoyed this second installment of the Shadowlands Sector Trilogy. You do need to have read book 1 prior to this, and it does end on the cliffiest of cliff-hangers.


The story picks up right where we left the action in book #1, with the infected attacking the Ash Wolves compound and Meira using it as an opportunity to escape. A third alpha male is added to the mix – it would seem that Meira’s wolf isn’t happy with just 2 fated mates! The scenes between Meira and her new mate are scorchingly hot, and we also get more scenes with Dulsan. I do feel Lucien hasn’t been given his fair share of her time but I did enjoy how Meira’s relationships with all three males have evolved and I liked how their personalities and characteristic have also been developed.


Unlike many reverse harem tales, this had plenty of action and adventure to enhance the story. And with how this book ended – well I can’t wait for book #3.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Shadowlands Sector, Two by Mila Young

Genre – PNR/ RH Shifter

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53699048-shadowlands-sector-two

It’s only a matter of time before I destroy them all…
A raging, bloodthirsty wolf isn’t the only deadly thing inside me. So, I have to do what I’ve always done best. Run.
Leaving my alphas and the first taste of love I’ve ever known is the only answer now.
And even when Fate steps in and puts us all back together, including a sexy new alpha with troubles of his own, I can’t stay. Even though it’s killing me to go.
The pain of being away from them will literally kill me, but no matter what happens to me, I can’t let them pay for my weakness.
I can’t save myself, but I can save them. I can save them from seeing what I will become…
But my dominant alphas are better hunters than I am prey, and they’re determined to keep me…whatever the cost.

Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com



30 Day Book Challenge

Day #30 – Doomed Relationship

I can’t believe today is the last day. I’m actually a little sad not to be continuing after today, though the school break is almost over and in a few days I’ll be returning back to work full time. In the UK we are introducing a “new normal” , one where different year groups are kept apart as much as possible. I work in an alternative education provision, so I don’t think I will see as many changes in that way – though I will be spending two days a week teaching at a hospital school. So lots of new things to learn there!

For today’s prompt I had considered nominating Ren and Della, from Pepper Winter’s Ribbon Duet. However I don’t consider their relationship doomed, just unfairly shortened on Earth, because it was pretty damn clear that pair would meet again and be together for eternity somewhere else. Oh lord, there I go tearing up just thinking about them! And they’re fictional for heaven’s sake 😂.

So today I’m going to highlight Jake and Desirae/Daisy from Fool’s Desire, by Poppy Flynn. I know it would have been “settling” and both went on to get their HEA’s but there was a part of me that felt this pair would have been happier together, rather than apart.

#SixForSunday

Six For Sunday – Favourite Colour

Six For Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Steph @ A little But A Lot. If you want to know more, or are thinking of joining in, do pop over and visit her. Prompts are published well in advance and Steph even provides banners should you wish to use them.

Today’s prompt is to share 6 book covers that feature my favourite colour. Part of me wants to say I don’t particularly have a favourite colour – and from my home and my clothing you probably wouldn’t be able to identify one either. I love colour full stop. However there is one colour which ALWAYS catches my eye when I see an item in it, and that’s purple. Hopefully I can find 6 books I’ve read that fit the bill!

Just An Illusion – EP by D. Kelly
A Contemporary Romance that is guaranteed to produce an ugly cry. It isn’t standalone, Just An Illusion Side also Side B must be read first. It is a great NA trilogy.

Black Light: Valentine Roulette by Various
An anthology of BDSM romance short stories. Normally I’m not a big fan of anthologies – I often only read or enjoy a few of the stories. However the Black Light anthologies always have a great cast of authors who produce some scorchingly hot BDSM scenes to indulge in.

Deacon by Kit Rocha
A hot SFR set in a dystopian future and featuring alpha males and equally strong females. This is a follow on series to the steamy adventure that is the O’Kane series. Whilst each book can be read standalone, it is one of those series’ that is best read in order.

Resistance by Pippa DaCosta
The sixth book in the science fiction/space opera 1000 Revolutions series, this can NOT be read standalone. It is a totally captivating series that will give you all the feels.

Reign to Rule by Zoey Ellis
This is third “Reign to” book and part of a fantasy omegaverse series that must be read in order. I would recommend reading the Crave trilogy first, for background, though Reign is set on a different continent and this trilogy can be read separately.

Daddy PI by EJ Frost
A DD/lg story that is one of the best kink books I have ever read. The attention to detail is fantastic and the author cleverly weaves in consent and discussions without making the book feel like an instruction manual. One of my favourite reads of 2020.



30 Day Book Challenge

Day #29 – Complicated Plot

I can’t believe this is the penultimate day of the challenge. I’ve really enjoyed these prompts, courtesy of Kessily Lewel, and will keep a look out for similar challenges.
Today’s topic is really easy, my answer has to be The Kingmaker Saga by London Miller. This series runs concurrently with her Den of Mercenaries series but is entirely from Uilleam and Karina’s points of view, and contains new information/scenes too. The story is packed with intrigue and plotting, seemingly throwaway comments come back later and have deeply significant meaning. I am continually amazed by how intricate a story the author weaves.

Review //\\ Maximum

Maximum (Cultivated #6) by Elin Peer

Photo by Lori Glaholm Heron on Pexels.com

Maximum is a story of personal growth, letting go of fear and love. Neither protagonist is perfect, in fact they both of issues that hold them back. However compromise, listening to one another and wanting to be a better person results in a unique and compelling love story. Maximum and Fleur are both likeable, down-to-earth characters – even though both had a far from normal upbringing. I adored not only them but also their story.


This book doesn’t follow the usual cliche of meet, get together, break up and reconcile. Instead we see a couple work through their issues together. Observe how persistence and respect are used to form a connection and watch as they fall in love. Nothing in life is perfect but it is how we deal with those bumps in the road that can make or break a relationship. Fleur and Maximum might not get it right first time, but they do persevere and endeavour to be better.


I loved the epilogue, who knows if it will pave the way for stories in the future. It was also great to “bump into” some very old friends too.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Maximum (Cultivated #6) by Elin Peer

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54322138-maximum

What if your soulmate gave up on love before even meeting you?
I’ve lived my life trying to undo the evil my father caused in this world. With every penny I donate, and every orphan I help, I feel lighter, but it never lasts long. Always on the move, I’m restless and feeling more lost than I allow people to see.
That is, until I met Fleur. She is as grounded as Mother Earth and fearless around wild animals, but is she brave enough to take another chance on love? And if so, would she ever fall for someone as flawed and troubled as me?

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Series Release & Giveaway

Title: The Fae Prophecy

Author: Toni Cox

Genre: YA Fantasy
Editor: Sam Talarico
Cover Designer: Julie Nicolls
Publication Date: August 25th, 2020
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR


Blurb:
Amongst the chaos of the magical kingdom of Draeguard being attacked by strange dark magic, fae princess Dana discovers she has mysterious powers. To save her the king begs her to leave him to his fate.

Now Dana must unravel the mysteries of her powers while fending for herself in a land she thought she knew all while finding a way to save her father and the kingdom.

Moonstones, a witch, dark elves, and a wolf shifter all stand in her way as she tries to absolve her father of the atrocities the fae folk accuse him of.

A picture containing text, book, sheep, food

Description automatically generated

Blurb:
Princess Dana’s father is back on the throne, but the constant attacks of dark magic undermine his rulership. With the dark elves now in possession of some of the moonstones, the balance of power has shifted.

Desperate, Princess Dana once again seeks the help of the witch and the wolf shifter, but she can’t always be certain if they are friend or foe.

Her only hope to save the kingdom is to return the moonstones to the fae palace but to do so requires that they travel to the enchanted forest of Raven Hall.

Forest wolves, malicious plants, and a gryphon turn this into a perilous journey.

A picture containing dog, sitting, blue

Description automatically generated

Blurb:
A long-kept secret changes the face of the kingdom of Draeguard, and Princess Dana faces yet more life-altering decisions.

Although Arianna has returned to the fae kingdom and pledged her allegiance, her presence there is more problematic than Dana could ever have imagined.

The dark elves, livid at their defeat in the woods, summon a secret weapon, and ready themselves for battle, resuming their attacks on the country of Wiltera.

Desperate for help, the fae princess leaves the magical realm and steps into the human world.

A price on her head, deceit, and assassination all threaten the success of her quest.

A picture containing text, book

Description automatically generated

Blurb:
The fae kingdom has suffered the most significant loss after the last fight with the dark elves.

After a personal attack on Princess Dana, she decides to take matters into her own hands. No longer does she believe that the kingdom of Draeguard will be able to save Wiltera.

It is now up to her to return the stones to the fae and to enact the new laws as she promised the country.

With a ragtag army of legendaries, she marches forth to fulfil her prophecy.

A magical forest, light elves, dark elves, and trickery lie before them. The planets’ alignment with the moon is drawing nearer, and so is their impending doom.

Book Links: 

Fae Prophecy: https://amzn.to/32kcxoi

Fae Unrest: https://amzn.to/3j7YJ70

Fae Uprising: https://amzn.to/2Yx4DXz

Fae Conquest: https://amzn.to/3aScKTg

A person smiling for the camera

Description automatically generated

Author Bio:
Born in Germany in 1976, Toni Cox moved to South Africa in 1991. Although she has spent much of her working career in the timber wholesale business, she is also an accomplished horse rider, has a diploma in project management, photography, and nutrition, and has a passion for books and all things fantasy.

From a young age, her dream had always been to put her imagination into words – give the stories life. When she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2013, she decided life is too short not to follow her dream. So, with the support of her husband and three children, she began writing book 1 of the Elemental Trilogy in January 2015.

Toni Cox writes Epic Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian Fantasy, and Dark Fantasy. She is a firm believer in dragons.


Author Links

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ToniCoxAuthor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/tonicoxelemental

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/toni-cox

WordPress: www.tonicoxelemental.wordpress.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/tonicoxauthor/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authortonicox

FB Group: www.facebook.com/groups/toniselementals

Website: www.tonicoxauthor.com

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WqBTAt

GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/tonicoxauthor

Pinterest: https://za.pinterest.com/cox1488

30 Day Book Challenge

Day #28 – Sequel Required Stat!

I’m going to offer up a wish and a possibly controversial suggestion. The first book I’d love for a sequel to is Ballistic (Icarus #2) by Aria Michaels. Whilst the duet gave us a sort of complete story, there were lots of “loose ends” that I’m hoping the author will return to at some time.
The other choice would be for the much promised but never delivered Que, by Addison Cain, the follow up to Sigil (Irdesi Empire #1) and Sovereign (#2). This book was meant to be released several years ago but sadly we are still waiting.