Thursday, 27 July 2017

Game of Thrones #26 Joffrey Baratheon

Welcome to my Game of Thrones Gossip, where all of us fanatics get the chance to discuss everything we love about this amazing TV series. I did a few spoiler free posts about the series last year but I found that there were other bloggers out there who were also itching to talk more freely about favourite characters and events without spoiling things for those visiting the blog. So I decided to do a whole series of these discussion posts that let us say everything we want and enjoy every second of it! The topics may talk about a death, an event, a character or be season reviews and so on. Please feel free to comment fully and without restriction!

I have to warn you that it is important that you have seen all six seasons before reading any of these posts because these posts and blogger comments will be oozing and exploding spoilers all over the place. If you haven't watched the series and plan to, be warned that it's a bad idea to be here right now! I take no responsibility if you read on and things are spoiled for you nor do I take responsibility for any mistakes on the pages I link you to.

For those of you who stuck with me through my season one posts, thank you loads! Now I'm going to look at the main characters introduced in season two, what our season one characters were doing in season two and looking at all the bests bits. Enjoy the season two posts! 

Joffrey Baratheon was the firstborn son and heir of Cersei Lannister and Robert Baratheon-at least this is the lie that Robert and the Seven Kingdoms were told. In fact his father is his uncle Jaime, the result of a union of incest between Cersei and Jamie. He has withering patience for  sister Myrcella and brother Tommen and utter hatred for his uncle Tyrion, who in turn also despises his nephew. It would be true to say that he might fear Tyrion a little but the only one who he is scared of is his grandfather Tywin.

The first sight of Prince Joffrey is when he rides into Winterfell in the Royal Party and exchanges interested glances with Sansa Stark. Robert is determined to join his house with Ned's and proposes an union between Joffrey and Sansa, to her delight and Ned's dread. It doesn't take long for Joffrey to show himself as a vain and self obsessed idiot when he refuses to give his sympathy to Catelyn after Bran's accident. It was satisfying to see Tyrion slap him several times for his trouble! That is the first moment when we see that Joffrey will not be Sansa's dream prince after all but at this stage he looks like a whiny mummy's boy.

We see how truly nasty he is when he and Sansa find Arya sparring on the riverbank with the butcher's son Mycah. Seeing a chance to bully Mycah, it is obvious that he loves scaring the boy. When Arya intervenes his anger explodes and only the intervention of her wolf stops Arya being hurt by him. The anger drains from the injured Joffrey and he begs Arya not to hurt him as she holds his sword, as a cowardly bully reacts to losing a fight. By the time he gets back to his parents he is making up stories about being attacked by clubs, leading to the murder of Mycah and Sansa's wolf Joffrey. I was truly furious with Sansa for not backing up her sister and siding with the evil little monster!

Ned, following in the footsteps of Jon Arryn, discovers that Joffrey is Jaime's bastard and tries to stop him taking the Throne by informing Stannis Baratheon that he is the rightful heir. His attempt to foil the Lannisters earns him a cell in the dungeons. Cersei sees the opportunity to exile him to Castle Black out of the way but even she is shocked when Joffrey ignores her plan and demands that Ned is beheaded, causing the North to rise in a fury and ending any chance of Jaime being traded for Ned in a prisoner exchange. I don't actually belive that Joffrey even gave a damn about Jaime and his safety. He begins to exert his evil nature on the Court, taking Sansa to view the heads of her father and his servants, unaware that The Hound stops Sansa from pushing him to his death for it.

Tywin sending Tyrion to be acting Hand of the King infuriates Joffrey as Tyrion is not at all intimidated by him and steps in every time he sees Sansa being abused by his nephew in public. He cannot, however, stop Joffrey from slaughtering all of his 'father's' bastards who could lay claim to the Throne, perhaps aware by this stage that rumours of his parentage may be true. Bronn suggests giving the boy a couple of prostitutes to curb his aggression but Joffrey forces one to torture the other as a message to his uncle about his interference. The people don't like their new ruler either, throwing cow dung and calling him bastard as he returns from seeing his sister off to Dorne. His angry outburst, telling his guards to kill everyone, starts a riot that leads to death and almost kills Sansa, which he cares little about.

As Stannis lands at King's Landing, Joffrey goes quickly from boasting Prince to whining Prince as he questions Tyrion's battle plan, finally showing that he is a coward by fleeing into the Castle to hide while they fight. Only Tyrion's intervention stops them from deserting and saves King's Landing from falling to the enemy. It is suspected that it was Joffrey who told Ser Mandon Moore to murder Tyrion during the battle, instead falling to Tyrion's squire Podrick Payne. In the aftermath of the battle everyone except Tyrion is honoured and Joffrey takes the chance to dump Sansa and become betrothed to Margaery Tyrell. She is a lot smarter than Sansa and her influence will change many things in season three.There will be more about Joffrey in my season three posts!

Chuckles Retro Reads: Royal Destiny by Morgan Howell (Queen of the Orcs #3)

A delicate alliance between human and orc has been achieved. Now Queen of the Orcs, Dar works toward making that peace last. Her position has helped her to finally feel part of a community, to find a life to call her own.

But sudden, strange outbreaks of unrest and ominous signs throw both realms into turmoil. Dar must draw on her knowledge and skills to confront a merciless long-time enemy–and an evil she once only barely survived. To keep human and orc from destroying one another, Dar risks everything on a desperate gamble–and her own future on a heartbreaking sacrifice.

My Review:
Dar has been made the new Queen but her injuries make it a desperate rush to return to the Orcs home so she can be kept alive long enough to select a new Queen. The Orcs are split on having a human ruling them even temporarily and she may be forced to risk her life in a ceremony designed to test how worthy she is. Plots are taking place around her as each clan wants their representative to be Queen, and the old enemies are once again plotting against Dar and her Orcs.

It was an interesting twist to have the Queen select Dar as being worthy to be the new Queen and to possess all the learning of the Orc World. It is an added burden that Dar does not need, especially when she knows that many are against her. Knowing her enemies makes it easier to make plans though. Dar pines for Kovok-mah and her handsome soldier friend tries to persuade her to start a new life with him instead. There is plenty going on to keep this book interesting but I was just obsessed with wanting Kol to DIE!

One thing that bugged one? The damn ending! Come on, you just can't leave it like THAT!!!

3 stars. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Chuckles Retro Reads: Clan Daughter by Morgan Howell (Queen of the Orcs #2)

Enslaved by King Kregant’s army, Dar survived by befriending the fierce orcs who were also forced to serve. Now she has escaped–only to find that the price of freedom may be her destiny.

Calling on her untried leadership abilities, Dar guides the surviving orc soldiers to the safety of their homeland–but the clan leaders refuse to accept her unless she can release their queen from Kregant’s fortress. Shaken by her growing gift for dark prophecy and a fate she feels unprepared to accept, Dar must infiltrate the very heart of the despot’s empire. There she will discover unexpected treachery and an ancient power that threatens the future of all.

My Review: 
Having escaped from the army, Dar uses her visions and leadership skills to try to safely guide the Orcs to their homeland, hoping that she can live there with Kovok-mah, though not all the Orcs trust her or approve of taking her along. Her welcome once there is mixed and Kovok-mah's family want them seperated. Fearing for the future Dar goes on a quest to find and release the Queen of the Orcs from the very army that she has just escaped from, aware that her mortal enemy is looking for revenge.

Dar's relationship with Kovok-mah develops into a love affair that horrifies some of the Orcs and there can be no future for them without the approval of his family, which he believes will not come. Dar is in despair and when the Orcs are sent back to fight with army, she decides she must go and find the Queen, to persuade her not to send the Orcs to their death in the human King's war. Trying to get to the Queen unseen by her enemy is going to be a challenge...

Readers of this book seem to fall into two categories-those who are for the relationship and those who are against. I was in the 'for' category as I love Kovok-mah and it seemed obvious to me in book 1 that the friendship was going to become love. The new characters throw up some interesting plot twists and the tension filled rescue plan was well written and exciting. I'd love the chance to read these books again and see if I put my rating up to 4 stars but sadly I read them in a bookcrossing book ring so I don't have my own copies!

3 stars. 

Chuckles Retro Reads: King's Property by Morgan Howell (Queen of the Orcs #1)

Born into hardship, Dar learns to rely on herself alone. When her family betrays her, Dar is conscripted into King Kregant’s army and its brutal campaign to conquer a neighboring country. Now she is bound as a slave to a dreaded regiment of orcs, creatures legendary for their savagery and battle prowess. 

Rather than cower, Dar rises to the challenge. She learns the unique culture and language of the orcs, survives treachery from both allies and enemies, and struggles to understand a mystical gift that brings her dark, prophetic visions. As the war escalates–amid nightmarish combat and shattering loss–Dar must seize a single chance at freedom.

My Review: 
Dar's family abandon her to a group of soldiers where she is branded and forced into slavery. Part of the job is to serve the Orc Army who also fight for the King and his troops and who can only be served by women according to Orc Law. When a commanding officer decides to claim Dar as his, she seeks protection from Kovok-mah, an Orc with a sympathetic attitude who is willing to risk a split in the camp to keep her safe.

Dar is a good strong character who does make mistakes. She goes against all the rules to shun being a man's mistress to befriending an Orc. The women call her an Orc whore, thinking there is a sexual relationship with Kovok-mah, the shunned man is determined to get Dar at all costs and the Orc clan also disapprove of this new friendship. As the fighting grows more intense Dar has to keep her wits about her to stay alive.

This is certainly dark fantasy, and a very grim world for the female slaves. There are the women who betray their kind to tell tales to their soldier lovers, the soldiers who are evil rapists and the brutal fighting Orcs with their own rules that are greatly feared. But the author paints the picture of the Orcs as a race who are unaware that their strength is being used to save soldiers risking their own lives, and we start to see the different personalities of the Orcs coming through in their interactions with Dar. The monsters have feelings and the true monsters are the soldiers themselves.

This was different from anything I had read before and it doesn't go too heavily into the fantasy side. It is more character based than that which is why I liked it.

3 stars.  

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at to spotlight and discuss books we're excited about but haven't read, which may not even be released yet. 

The biggest solar flare since the 1859 Carrington Event is about to bring the world to its knees.

When a huge plasma ejection from the sun hits the Earth’s atmosphere, the resulting EMP pulse fries electricity grids and disables fragile electronics. Transmission wires melt, transformers explode and modern vehicles cease working. In less than a minute, the world is taken back two centuries.

Sergeant Rick Nolan is in Syria on a covert ops mission against ISIS. When the solar storm wipes out his communications and his air cover, he and his team find themselves on the same level as the enemy that surrounds them. Caught in a desperate fight for survival, Rick thinks about his wife and children and wonders how he’ll ever get home to them.

Lauren Nolan is attending a seminar in New York when the blackout hits and the transportation system grinds to a halt. Trapped in the panic that envelops the metropolis, Ellen worries for her two children, five hundred miles away in North Carolina. Unable to get word to them and stuck on her own, she needs to find a way back before it’s too late.

Twelve year old Josh Nolan is in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his grandparents. Witnessing society’s terrifying collapse as water pumps fail, food runs short and the law ceases to exist, he has to do what he can to protect his little sister.

Seven year old Lizzy Nolan can’t understand what’s happening. Frightened and bewildered, she only wants to know one thing:
When are Mom and Dad coming home?

I can never resist a good apocalypse book and EMPs are particularly enjoyable! I love the collapse of society and the scary aftermath where everything has changed. This was released on July 22nd and I hope to try it soon!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Book Cave Feedback Request!


I'm taking a mid year look at what is on the blog and what I can do to improve things. What I'm looking to do is find out which features you like in my regular posts and which posts you don't generally look at for whatever reasons. I'd appreciate it if you could give your opinions on the questions below, in the comments section. Thanks!

1) Book Reviews 
-How many book reviews do you prefer to see in a week on a blog?
-Would you prefer to see a different genre on each review posted in a week? 
  ie one apocalypse, one UF, one horror?
-Do you prefer full series reviews spaced out over weeks or one after the other?
-Favourite genre being reviewed on this blog?

2) Chuckles Chat
Which kind of topics do you prefer for these posts? Which would you comment on or avoid? Do you have any topic suggestions you would like to see featured? 

3) What are your favourite posts on the blog?

4) Which posts don't you usually look at? (you can say why if you want!)

5) Anything you'd like to see more of each week?

6) What do you like on other blogs that you don't see at the Book Cave? 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!   

TTT is still on hiatus so here is part 4 of my Best Urban Fantasy Series. 

1) Christina Henry-Black Wings 
Maddy is an Angel of Death who escorts souls to the afterlife who is about to face off against a demon that eats souls before she can reach them. With a father from Hell (literally), a popcorn eating gargoyle and a new tenant bodyguard, life is going to be far from dull. I loved Beezle the gargoyle! Maddy is a great character and I liked the mix of action and humour, along with the visits to Hell and demon fighting. Need to finish this series. 

2) KA Stewart-Jesse James Dawson
Jesse is a modern day warrior who can be paid to fight for those who endangered their souls in bargains with demons but his fellow warriors seem to be dying a lot more regularly. The rules have changed and Jesse must adapt or die. I liked that the MC is married with a kid which is unusual in the genre. It is a bit slower than the usual UF but it is well written with an interesting plot. 

3) Jennifer Rardin-Jaz Parks
Jaz is a human brought back to life after a traumatic event that killed her team and is paired with vampire Vayl. Now a cult are raising a demon, Vayl's psycho wife is back and a vampire terrorist is planning to release a plague. Allin a days work...I love Jaz and Vayl and root for them to be a couple and I love nerdy paranoid tech geek Miles and witch Cassandra. Great action and humour and flawed heroes.

4) David Bussell-The Ghosted 
Jake is an exorcist with a deteriorating marriage, a partner he hates and he has just been pushed under a train and has to deal with being dead. As a ghost he is determined to solve the mystery of his murder and get a bit of payback. I read this short story prequel and really liked it so I'm planning to read the entire series. Jake is a great character and there was plenty of humour which I hope continues. 

5) Alex Hughes-Mindspace Investigations
Adam is a telepathic former addict brought in to look into the mind of the five year old witness to a murder, to find the truth. This was a good short story to introduce Adam and Isabella the cop who calls on him. It has an intriguing idea for the MC and his past could be interesting to explore. I've only read the short story but I want to read the main series now.

6) Carrie Vaughn-Kitty Norville 
Kitty is a werewolf DJ who hosts a late night talk show popular with paranormal fans and who has a difficult relationship with her Pack. People are being killed in violent attacks and a werewolf hunter is after her but who hired him? I liked Kitty but I read this book so many years back that I can't remember much about it so I need to reread it before I finish the series. 

7) Rob Thurman-Cal Leandros
Cal was once taken by evil elves and now they are chasing him and his brother Niko again. Cal is the key to them unleashing evil in the world and the brothers must find a way to stop them. I've read about half of the book and was loving it but somehow never finished it which is strange but I'm looking forward to reading it and the rest of the series. 

8) Thomas E Sniegoski-Remy Chandler
Remy is an angel who has turned his back on heavenly wars to live as a human with his dog Marlowe and his wife who is now dying. The last thing he needs is to learn that the sacred scrolls which can start the apocalypse are missing along with the Angel of Death himself. I like the characters and the plot. I didn't actually finish the series as I did find it a bit too slow in places for my reading tastes but I wanted to include it to tell others about it. 

9) JA Cipriano-Lillim Callina
Lillim is part of a race of guardians, meant to protect humans from supernatural threats but she has run away and doesn't want to alert her family to her location. Jean Luc knows who she is and asks for help in ridding his town of vampires. I just read this one a few weeks ago and I liked what I saw in this short story. Lots of action and supernatural monsters and an interesting MC with magical swords! I plan to read on in the series. 

10) MV Stott-London Coven
Stella is the newly created familiar for the London Coven and her first mission is to track a shapeshifting monster who is killing humans. However Stella is new to her job and things don't go according to plan. This was a good story to start a series and I very much liked Stella and look forward to more about the Cove. Lots of action in this book. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Game of Thrones Review: Season 7 Episode 2 (spoilers!!!)

Welcome to my Game of Thrones reviews posts which are an episode by episode guide of season 7. The entire post will be nothing but spoilers so don't read it if you intend to watch it! The format will be done as a house by house analysis, not a minute by minute report. 

On Dragonstone, a howling storm seems to match Dany's mood as she talks to her advisors. Tyrion thinks that if other great houses will join them, they could take King's Landing without mass bloodshed. Dany turns her wrath on Varys for serving her father, then the usurpers, then Viserys and then her, selling her to Khal Drogo and using his spies which led to an attempted assassination. Varys does not believe he is disloyal and says he only serves the people rather than blind loyalty to incompetant Kings, pointing out his beginnings as a slave and offering. Dany tells him not to plot but tell her if she is failing the people but warns she will kill him if he betrays her. Melisandre arrives to pledge her support and Varys gets her to admit that her help didn't end well for Stannis. Dany is willing to forgive those who served other Kings. She is intrigued when hearing about the prophecy of the Prince that was promised and Melisandre says both Dany and Jon Snow have a role to play. Tyrion vouches for Jon as a potential ally and Dany sends a summon to him. Greyworm and Missandei go to bed together.

Jon, Sansa and Davos discuss the letter. Sansa thinks that Tyrion is not like other Lannisters but the risk to Jon is too great. Davos points out that her dragons would be the best way to fight the wights in the north. Arya pays a surprise visit to Hot Pie who is pleased to see her. He tells Arya that the Boltons are dead and that Jon is in charge at Winterfell and is King In The North, which makes Arya turn for home. Jon receives the message from Sam about the dragon glass and knows that he must get Dany to let him mine it and hopes to get her to ally with him to fight the White Walkers. Sansa is sure that it is a trap and thinks Jon needs to stay with his people, which his bannerman and Lyanna Mormont agree with. Jon decides to take Davos and take the risk of meeting Dany, leaving Sansa in charge. Littlefinger makes the mistake of declaring his love for Sansa to Jon, who threatens to kill him if he touches his sister. Arya is surrounded by a wolf pack and reaches out to Nymeria who lets Arya go but is no longer willing to be with her.

Cersei calls the Tyrell bannermen to her to ask them to support her, calling the Tyrell's traitors who are bringing Unsullied and Dothraki hoardes to the city to kill everyone. She reminds the men what Dany did to the Masters in Slaver's Bay with her men and dragons. Qyburn shows Cersei the dragon skulls in the dungeons and shows her how his new weapon could kill them.

Randyll Tarly attends King's Landing at Cersei's summons and asks her how she intends to stop the dragons, which Qyburn answers by saying they are working on something. Jaime tries to persuade Randyll to be his general in the battle to which he is told that House Tarly swore an oath to House Tyrell and they are not oathbreakers. Jaime then offers him Warden of the South if he is loyal to his Queen. At the Citadel, the Archmaester tells Jorah that in six months the greyscale will destroy his mind and that he will give Jorah one last day. Sam is determined to risk his place and career to try a dangerous treatment which may cure him and Jorah decides to let him try.

Olenna Tyrell, Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand join Dany's War Council. They are in favour of attacking King's Landing even if it kills many innocent people. Tyrion says that they do not poison innocent young girls and Ellaria retorts that Myrcella was a Lannister and she wishes Oberyn had not died to fight for Tyrion. Tyrion says that a siege around King's Landing must only involve troops from Westeros as Cersei will use the fear of foreign invaders to unite the Houses against Dany. Yara will transport the Dorne fighters to King's Landing to join House Tyrell while Dany's armies will take Casterly Rock from Cersei. Yara and Ellaria are just getting cozy on the ship when Euron's troops attack. Ellaria is taken hostage with daughter Tyene and two of her Sand Snakes are slaughtered in battle. Theon flees when Euron captures Yara rather than fight his uncle.

My thoughts:
Firstly, I never much liked the dumb Sand Snakes so I didn't care about their demise this week and it was interesting to see the psycho side of Euron Greyjoy instead of the clownish aspects that we've seen so far. I liked Ellaria until Myrcella was killed but perhaps now that she is going to be handed over to Cersei, I will feel sympathetic towards her again. How is the attack by Euron going to dent plans for a siege of King's Landing? If Yara's fleet were on their way to Dorne to collect Ellaria's forces, then the plan can still go ahead but the Dornish may have to go by land rather than sea as Dany's forces need their ships for the attack on Casterly Rock. The fact that Ellaria was asking Yara if she had been to Dorne would suggest that they were on their way there. I hated Randyll Tarly when he treated Sam so badly but he showed some steel when Jaime was trying to manipulate him.

This was the first moment when I didn't much like Dany. She is very cold to Varys who has been loyally supporting her since arriving from King's Landing and helping her to rule in Meereen yet she was warmer to Melisandre who tried to put Stannis on the throne by burning people. Her attitude of Jon kneeling to her before even meeting him does not make me greatly happy. She is becoming a bit too much like her father for my liking. I loved seeing the backbone that Varys showed when Dany was questioning his loyalty and I just love his character. Tyrion shows his worth bycoming up with the ideal plan which Euron then wrecks. The other person that I really don't like at the moment is Sansa. I'm tired of her undermining Jon in front of his men and not even trying to see things from his point of view. She is becoming the whiny bitch that I really disliked in season one and to be honest I wouldn't care much if she died.

Please let us see the demise of Littlefinger this season! Hopefully Arya will take care of him when she gets to Winterfell. I'm glad she visited Hot Pie but I'm also sad that Nymeria wouldn't go with her. Maybe the wolves will stay close as protectors until she reaches Winterfell. I also want to see Jaime leave Cersei and go north to Winterfell to hook up with Brienne but that was probably wishful thinking. My favourite thing in this episode was Sam going heroic and determined to save Jorah even if it ends his career at the Citadel. Watching him go rogue has been very satisfying and I hope that he can cure Jorah. Go Sam!!!

What are your thoughts on this episode?

Around The Blogs With Chuckles

We all enjoy snooping and lurking on other people's blogs right? Why not share those entertaining things you found with other readers and bloggers too! Welcome to Around the Blogs with Chuckles, where I take time out to show you some of my favourite blog posts from the previous seven days and link you up so you can check them out.

This Week! 

1) Game of Thrones S7 Review
Sarah at Dragons & Zombies takes a look at the first episode of season seven. 

2) Book Review: Magic Study by Maria V Snyder
Sam at Tsundoku Books reviews the second book in the series. 

3) Big Brother Is Watching You
Ready Nutrition give their thoughts on the next generation of policing and security measures.

4) Game of Thrones Season 7: Dragonstone
Greg at Book Haven shares his thoughts on the first episode of the new series. 

5) Book Review: Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Mogsy shares thoughts on a Peter Pan retelling and has a giveaway for US readers. 

6) Book Review: Fear Inducer by Ellie Douglas
Laura at fuonlyknew takes a look at a nice gory horror that is now on my Kindle! 

7) A-Z Survey Tag 
Barb at Booker T's Farm shares her booky A-Z with us! 

8) This Or That Book Tag 
AJ at Read All The Things shares her thoughts in this fun tag! 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Chuckles Goes Sampling #2

Seeing Kermit surrounded and almost buried in leaves kind of reminds me of my relationship with books. I'm pretty much buried in them too! I have no more space in my house for the books I buy and piles are sitting on the floor which isn't good and I can't read them quick enough because I keep buying!!! I've battled to reduce the tbr without success this year but now Kermit and I are embarking on a new plan to reduce the book buying and give me a chance to reduce the tbr at last. The Plan? Download samples instead of buying!

This is what I looked at this week:

1) Sarah Gailey-River Of Teeth 
A bayou is overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe are sent in to take care of the problem. I was intrigued by the idea of mad hippos running around and killing people, a hunter v hunted but which is which storyline, and the characters riding tamed hippos. It just sounded so great and it was set in a creepy bayou which is a setting made for a gory creature feature. I had planned to just go and buy it but a few blogging friends and Goodreads reviews had me a bit concerned and I decided on a sample instead.

What a waste of time that was! The vast majority of the sample is index, chapters, maps, an introduction to the real attempt at hippo farming proposed in the US...leaving just three and a bit pages for the actual story. So we got obnoxious sounding man goes into building and embarrasses federal agent then sits on a hippo. The End. Based on that I doubt anyone would buy it! Looking at the reviews again I saw talk of poor characters, western type setting, badly explained gender neutral character/characters, diversity thrown in for the sake of diversity and most important, not enough hippo mayhem. I decided not to buy this one.

2) Rowan Casey-Veil Knights 
When I first downloaded this sample, I wasn't paying much attention to the fact that 'Rowan Casey' is a collaboration of twelve different authors writing this series. That set me on alert straight away. When I looked at the authors I noted a few that I have tried and not greatly liked. That concerned me but the main worry is how will the story flow and be constant when each book has new authors with different ideas and writing styles? 

I read the sample and found it ok but not really gripping. The blurb suggests that the MC has to take drugs to stop the terrible visions that she gets but as soon as I start reading, it turns out our MC is a heroin addict, which I do not find appealing to read about. By the time she started getting high, I had already lost interest. No thanks!

3) JC Staudt-Gambit
Cade works for Zip Maids, a cleaning service for the rich, as well as being a wizard and a thief. In his job he is able to steal things like werewolf fur from the shower drain to use in his spells, until of course he gets caught. Now he must appease the werewolves, dodge the bounty hunter chasing him and deal with the poltergeist making a mess of his kitchen. I really liked the sound of this UF book and I was intrigued that Cade lived with his small talking dragon mentor Ersatz. This is why I grabbed a sample.

I liked what I read. Cade is interesting enough to want to read more about and I liked the basis of his relationship with the dragon. The plot sounds good and the sample introduces the annoyed werewolf and the dragon, and gives the start of Cade's first big bit of magic. I also liked his interaction with the troll on the bus! Yes I'm going to get a copy of this one at some point.

4) J Kent Messum-Bait 
Six heroin addicted strangers wake up on a deserted island. Mysterious people watching from the water introduce them to the game-swim to the heroin stash on the next island and hope you can swim faster than the sharks...I love sharks, so when I was told about this one, I had to get a sample to see what it was like. I was a bit iffy about the contestants being heroin addicts though as I'm never keen on drug addicts as my MCs, which is why I would never have risked buying the book.

The prologue puts us six months in the past in the final stages of a game, as one remaining man tries to get to the shore. There is the tension from the fact that nobody is screaming any more amongst the others, the land getting a little nearer and the sharks starting to bump him to check him out as prey. After we see his fate to switch to Nate, an addict. We see him wake up on the island in confusion, mixed with a flashback to how he came to be there, then back to him on the island. I admit that I'm not a huge fan of flashback-flashforward-flashback in novels so that does concern me a bit, but I'm intrigued enough to give the whole book a try! I've ordered a second hand paperback online and hope to read that one later this year!