Ellie reads fiction

27 Mar 2015

Review: Afterimage by Ais and Santino Hasell

Title: Afterimage (In the Company of Shadows #2)
Author: Santino and Ais
Genre: Romantic suspense, Dystopia, M/M

Santino's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest
Ais' links:

My rating: 4 Stars 
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In the Company of Shadows is a series about two people who are thrown together as partners in a secret agency; their mission is to disband rebels who have propagated in a post-war future, but they have to deal with everything that comes with an unlikely partnership as well.

Miscommunication, periods of distance, fleeting smiles and learning to trust someone when a person can't even trust himself, these are what they struggle with while still trying to do their jobs. One is a psychopath, called a murderer and monster and generally deemed subhuman by nearly everyone who knows of him; the other is an introvert, cold and emotionless and so lost in thoughts that he would agree that he can be called a monster of inhumanity. But what makes a person human; is it humanity, compassion, or is it simply the ability to reason? Can a monster be human, and general humanity breed monsters?

While they learn about each other, they learn about themselves; where their loyalty and morality lies, and how learning to trust another person can be incredibly difficult, bittersweet, and rewarding all at the same time. Join Hsin Liu Vega (aka "Sin") and Boyd Beaulieu as they struggle to find where they fit in a world slowly recovering from war.

Mini Review

This is the unedited version, so it's much longer and wordy than book 1. It took me some time to read it but I really enjoyed it. 

I found it a bit slow, especially at the beginning. I found it too introspective and the inability of Boyd and Sin to really talk to each other, though understandable given their background and current situaiton, was really frustrating.  

Boyd and Sin go through a lot here; though they are separated most of the time and their relationship hits an all-time low here. I  feel so much for Sin that I'm ready to accept/excuse his behaviour no matter how inappropriate it was. Boyd, on the other hand, made some spectacular msitakes. I realize he meant well and he needed to take care of himself, but his actions did make me so angry and sad. I 'm struggling with myself to forgive him.

I love how emotionally invested I'm in everyone we meet in this series. The authors introduce a lot of new characters in this installment and they have quickly warmed their way into my heart as well (Kassian, especially but also Cade and Emma and the rest of their group). We see some old secondary characters in a new light - Ryan, Ann, Carhart and I particularly appreciate how multilayered the both the plot and characters are becoming. 

Ais and Santino make a perfect blend of compicated relationships, interesting plot full of unexpected turns and lots of action and heartbreaking moments of honesty and intimacy. It feels like a truly epic story, painfully real despite the dystopian setting. 

This whole series is available for free on http://www.inthecompanyofshadows.com/

26 Mar 2015

Cover Reveal for All of You by Laura Florand

RT Magazine calls her works “silky and addictive”, nominating Florand for Best Book of the Year, Publishers Weekly says they’re “decadent”, and Library Journal says they’re as “sexy and flirtatious as… poignant and caring”. Now international bestselling author Laura Florand brings you her sexiest, sweetest romance to date: All for You.

PARIS HEARTS: A new series from Laura Florand 
Three young women trying to make their way in the most romantic city on Earth must learn how to open their hearts to love. 

ALL FOR YOU (Paris Hearts Book 1)

Some crushes aren’t meant to be

When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old CĂ©lie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.

Let alone the same man.

But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.
Especially when he did it all for her.

Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…

Coming May 5, 2015! 
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Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Her international bestselling books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Romantic Times and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. 

After a Fulbright year in Tahiti and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, and several years living in Madrid and Paris, Laura now teaches Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, this means she primarily teaches French language and culture and does a great deal of research on French gastronomy, particularly chocolate. For more information, please see her website: www.lauraflorand.com

*** *** ***

As a big fan of Ms Florand's books I've read and reviewed quite a few of them. Here are the links to my reviews, if you are curious to check them out:

The Chocolate Touch (Amour et Chocolat #4) - 3.5 Stars
The Chocolate Heart (Amour et Chocolat #5) - 4.5 Stars
Shadowed Heart (Amour et Chocolat #5.5) - 3.5 Stars
The Chocolate Temptation (Amour et Chocolat #6) - 4 Stars
Snow-Kissed (Snow Queen #1) - 5 Stars
Sun-Kissed (Snow Queen #2) - 3.5 Stars

25 Mar 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Suddenly One Summer by Julie James

Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Suddenly One Summer (#2)
Author: Julie James
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, Lawyer
Release Date: 2 June 2015

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Pre-order: AmazonB&N / Kobo / Itunes


From the New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Wedding comes a novel about a man and a woman whose summer is about to get very, very steamy…

Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade has seen enough unhappy endings to swear off marriage forever. That doesn't mean she's opposed to casual dating—just not with her cocky new neighbor, who is as gorgeous and tempting as he is off-limits. But once she agrees to take on his sister's case, she's as determined to win as ever—even if that means teaming up with Ford…

Investigative journalist Ford Dixon is bent on finding the man who got his sister pregnant and left her high and dry. He's willing to partner with Victoria, despite the fact that the beautiful brunette gets under his skin like no other woman. He might not be looking to settle down, but there's no denying the scorching attraction between them. Still, the more time he spends with Victoria, the more he realizes that the one woman as skeptical about love as he is might be the only woman he could really fall for…

*** *** ***

Why am I waiting for this book? - I love Julie James' US Attorney/FBI series and this one is loosely connected with it since we met the hero in one of the previous books. My James creates engaging contemproary romances with life-like characters, witty banter and hot chemistry, what more can a girl want. And she just shared the Prologue to this book in her latest newslatter, so now I'm even more impatient for this release.

24 Mar 2015

Release Day Blitz for Salvation of Vengeance by Nancy Haviland

The Salvation of Vengeance Blitz Banner 

The Salvation of Vengenace CoverTitle: The Salvation of Vengeance (Wanted Men #2)
Author: Nancy Haviland
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Organized Crime, Romance
Purchase links: Amazon - Nook

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Only something as important as her best friend’s wedding to mob boss Gabriel Moretti could allow Nika Paynne a reprieve from captivity. Her abusive husband has kept her under his thumb with footage of her beloved brother, Caleb, killing another man. But the respite from her violent life isn’t the only draw. Vincente Romani—Gabriel’s deadliest guardian—will be one of the best men at the wedding, and Nika has lingering thoughts about the fascinating mobster…covetous thoughts that may put her life in danger. With the heartbreak he’s suffered and the brutality he effortlessly delivers, Vincente knows he’s the last person who can offer Nika a happily-ever-after. But his vow remains. He will do everything in his power to free his redhead from her violent prison—even if that means losing her forever. In the second thrilling and passionate Wanted Men book, a dangerous line is drawn between loyalty to the mob and loyalty to one’s heart.

About Nancy Haviland

Nancy Haviland
Nancy Haviland writes about her alpha mobsters and their ladies from her home near Toronto, Ontario. She has three children, an arrogant but playful kitty named Talbot, and she adores her Tim Horton's coffee, as any self-respecting Canadian would. She writes contemporary romantic suspense but will happily read anything that involves two people smooching.

IndieSage PR

19 Mar 2015

Review: Champion by Marie Lu

I'm joining another challenge this week. TBR Challenge 2015  hosted by Wendy at Misadventures of Superlibrarian. The topic for March was catching up with series we have neglected. 

Title: Champion (Legend #3)
Author: Marie Lu
Date of publication: 5 November 2013
Genre/Themes: Young adults, Dystopia 

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
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My rating: 4.5 stars


He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion? 

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position. 

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything. 

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.


I used to read a lot of YA, including Dystopian back in 2011-2012 and Marie Lu's Legend series definitely stood out among the rest. I loved books 1 and 2, they had all the element I enjoy in dystopian stories - great world building, captivating story, character development, complex plot. One of my all-time secondary characters comes from this series, June's brother, Metias, was a formidable presence in this series, even just as a memory.

Gradually, I started reading more romance and less YA, so by the time the final book was released, I got it and kind of left it on my Kindle. I've been meaning to read it for a long, I even have a wonderful board on Pinterest about it which reminds that I don't know what happened with June and Day but other books kept popping up and stealing my attention. Honestly, I don't know how I've avoided reading any major spoilers so far.

Recently, I came across the TBR Challenge on Elisabeth Lane's blog and the topic for March was reading a book in a series we need to catch up and I knew right away that now was my chance to complete this series. 

I'm glad to say that Marie Lu didn't disappointment and this book was the perfect ending to a great series. The story was very dynamic, full of action and plot twists that kept me on the edge till the very end. We have alternating chapters told from dual POV and we get to see the complexity of emotions of both Day and June.
I loved their romance, their getting back together was slow and real, fraught with tension and whispered confessions. It was not overly sappy or melodramatic but just right - first time, once in a lifetime, true soulmates kind of love.

I very much enjoyed all the other characters - Anden, Eden, Tess, Pascao. Even the bad guys had a powerful presence, I particularlt appreciate the complexity of Thomas' storyline.

This was not just a romance but also coming-of-age story where we see June and Day (and Anden) slowly growing up, becoming adults amid war and chaos. I loved the mixture of painful, raw and beautiful. The decisions the characters were forced to make, all the moral dilemmas they faces resonated deeply with me. 

I'm not very happy with a particular episode involving Day's mother but I understand why it was there, yet it felt too sentimental and cliched for me. It's a matter of personal preference rather than a weakness of the story.

The epilogue was brilliant. And the ending was just beautiful! (it's no spoiler that things end on a happy note with the possibility/certainty for HEA to come).

Ms Lu has a great writing style, imaginative, yet real and she manages to give her characters normal human emotions in a bleak dystopian world. It's an engaging story which involves some politics, some action, some sweet romance, overall a recommended series for fans of dystopian YA!

Purchase links: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
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