Review: Pyramid (Jack Howard #8) by David Gibbins

Source: NetGalley & Bookbridgrcover55131-medium
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle & Large paperback
Publish Date: 6th November 2014
Price: N/A
Date Read: 4th November 2014
Genre: Action Adventure / Thriller
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Pyramid for free in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone knew the story of Ancient Egypt. Until now.

For thousands of years, Egypt was a rich, ingenious civilization. Then it became a fertile hunting ground for archaeologists and explorers. Now the streets of Cairo teem with violence as a political awakening shakes the region. In the face of overwhelming danger, Jack Howard and his team of marine archaeologists have gathered pieces of a fantastic puzzle. But putting it together may cost them their lives.

Howard has connected a mystery hidden inside a great pyramid to a fossilized discovery in the Red Sea and a 150-year-old handwritten report of a man who claims to have escaped a labyrinth beneath Cairo. For that his team is stalked by a brutal extremist organization that will destroy any treasure they find.

As people fight and die for their rights aboveground, Jack fights for a discovery that will shed an astounding new light on the greatest story ever told: Moses’s exodus from Egypt and the true beginnings of a new chapter in human history.

I first came across the pure delight of David Gibbins’ work with words one month a few years ago when my book group read ‘The Tiger Warrior’; the 4th book in the Jack Howard series. I absolutely loved the wording, imagery and adventure that flowed into my mind from the words written simply on the page. The world of Jack Howard was and is something far out of my range of experience so being allowed to escape into the mind and life of such a character was pure escapism. Life however always seems to get in the way and although I borrowed and/or bought copies of other books in the series, it wasn’t until now, with the chance to read and review the latest offering and adventure that I have been able to pick up and read another of these treasures.

Pyramid, like the other Jack Howard series, is a standalone novel but with one long and rather complicated storyline seemingly going throughout the entire series. Pyramid closely follows the previous story in the series; Pharaoh, though as I did, you can read Pyramid without having read Pharaoh first. This story is set (as you would imagine) mainly around the pyramids of Egypt, although also moving around to the coast of Spain and into Israel. Egypt though is not a safe place to be in at this time and I must warn readers that things do get extremely hard to read at certain points. The country is, you see, at the point of there being a coup, with religious extremists set to take over the government and kill all those who are seen to be against what they stand for. The horror of these times is well and straightforwardly written, with many things that could have been hashed over for the more sensitive readers not missed out.

The story though isn’t all death, destruction and rioting. One quote on the front of the book likens Jack Howard and the series to a cross between Indiana Jones and Dan Brown. This is extremely accurate. Jack Howard is many things; a seriously talented diver, an archaeologist, a historian and so much more which you’ll find as you read the story. All this experience and knowledge is all thanks to the talent of the author who has experience is these very different areas himself and this really shines through in the writing. I was pleased in fact to be reading much of the time on a Kindle as it saved on the many times I needed to turn to a dictionary to find out what a word meant – having a built-in dictionary was perfect for this type of book! Some of the harder and more interesting words and phrases included ‘sepulchral gloom’ and ‘bellicose’. From the way in which the word was used you could guess at a meaning but having a definition there was fantastic.

The overwhelming genre of this book is action adventure. You could call it a thriller but an unconventional one if it is. There is no ‘bad guy’ to point to, just a country undergoing one of the worst points in living memory. Despite all this however, Jack Howard and his best friend Costas manage to make their way through a dive to discover the truth behind the biblical book of Exodus, follow the footsteps and clues left by an ancient Pharaoh; Akhenaten, and at the same time expounding a historical story or theory in incredible detail, often at the worst possible times. The relationship between Jack and Costas is fantastic though and hilarious at times to watch. All characters are well detailed, explained and you really get to know them during the course of the book and series. I honestly hope it doesn’t take me as long again to read another of this wonderful series.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ ½ – I utterly loved it. (Note: This rating is rounded up when a ½ is unavailable)

Review: Damsel In Distress? (Time-Travel to Regency England #2) by Kristina O’Grady

Welcome one and all to my stop on the Damsel In Distress? Blog Tour. Before we start with the review, do we all have refreshments to hand? Good!

Source: Carina UK via Girls Love to Read Blog Toursdamsel-in-distress4
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish / Release Date: 30th September 2014 by Carina UK
Price: N/A
Date Read: 26th October 2014
Genre: Time-Travel / Historical – Regency / Romance
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received this review copy of Damsel In Distress? for free in return for an honest review during this blog tour. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please be aware that this book contains language and situations that are adult in nature.

 

Damsel In Distress is the second book in the ‘Time-Travel to Regency England’ series by author Kristina O’Grady. I’ve been hearing fabulous things about this series so I was eager to join in when I heard about this fantastic tour.

Goodreads Summary:

A chance meeting that could scandalise the ton!

19th century England. Harriet is running for her life, chased by three men on horseback through Hyde Park. Knocked unconscious, everything goes black…

Philip, Baron Eaglestone, has never seen such a beautiful damsel in distress. And he’s even more intrigued when she opens her eyes, and begins to speak. Because this irresistible woman can only remember her first name, and has no knowledge as to who was trying to kill her… or where she is!

As Philip cares for Harriet, their attraction burns… and neither can shake the feeling that their chance meeting was truly a moment out of time. But if her memory returns, Harriet will be faced with a question. Will she return home or could it be that family is where her heart is – with a Regency rake!

Add Damsel In Distress on Goodreads here!

I have been a massive fan of regency romances since my introduction to Mills & Boon books many years ago. Since then I haven’t really picked any up, but since reading Damsel In Distress? I’m once again raring to pick them up again along with all the Jane Austen’s, Bronte’s and so forth. Damsel In Distress? however, brings something rather different to the table; time-travel. Somehow, the main female character has travelled back in time from the present day to England in the regency era. Whether there was also some country-to-country travel too I couldn’t quite work out though I do suspect so. I loved the idea of time-travel though – it opens up so many possibilities and answers the fantasies of many historical romance fans! How the time-travel element is explained though was a little…unbelievable, though so I kind of skipped over that. I had no trouble imagining the scenes of horse chases, balls and carriage rides thanks to lashings of Pride and Prejudice marathons in my youth and the wonderfully descriptive text of the author.

I found the characters of Harriet and Philip to be fun, exciting, likeable and well-matched. It was definitely a romance story with some mystery and action thrown in for good measure. After Harriet is knocked unconscious, she doesn’t remember anything apart from her name so the majority of the story concerns her trying to find out who she is, why she is being chased and (of course) falling in love with Philip. Philip, a Baron and rather rakish character, is quick to fall for the mysterious and amnesiac beautiful woman he rescues in Hyde Park. Of course, scandal is ripe in this age and rumours are soon flying about the ton (fashionable society)! There were a few intimate scenes between Philip and Harriet but these, although steamy, were descriptive enough to get the gist but didn’t overly go into detail. As for the other characters in the story, they all have their own individualistic characteristics which separate one from another; from the butler to the Duchess and the maid to Philip’s sister, each person has their own way about them and you can tell how much the author has really put into this story.

The story flowed at a good pace with relatively short chapters – please don’t be put off when you see 38 chapters listed! The book when put down was easy to pick back up again if you needed to or could only read for a short time. Personally my attention was caught in the first couple of pages and I read the book in a single evening.  I haven’t yet read book one of the Time-Travel to Regency England series but as it appears the stories can be read individually it will be easy to go back to the start. This book does contain the major characters from book 1, though as minor characters in this story. Overall it was a very enjoyable read and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more in this series and by this author in the future.

Thank you to Carina UK for giving me the opportunity to review this fantastic book.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

About the author:

Kristina O’Grady

Kristina O’Grady has always loved telling a good story. She took up writing at a young age and spent many hours (when she should have been doing her math homework) writing romance stories in a book she hid in her sock drawer. She still remembers the first romance book she ever read. She was without anything to read (oh no) while on vacation with her family and bought a book in the small shop in the hotel lobby. It involved an Earl, a horse and very bad fever and of course, a Lady. Since then she has been hooked on the Regency era.

Kristina grew up on a cattle ranch in Western Canada and although has been told many times she should be writing about cowboys, she can’t seem to leave the fantasy of Dukes and Earls alone. She worked in the Oil and Gas Industry for several years first as a laborer, machine operator, crew foreman, technician and eventually as an environmental consultant. She loves getting out in the fresh air and enjoying the peace of nature. In mid 2000 Kristina met her own knight in shining armor/cowboy who swept her off her feet and across the world to New Zealand, where she now lives on a sheep and beef farm with her amazingly supportive husband, three gorgeous young kids, seven working dogs and one very needy cat.

Twitter // Website

 

This blog was brought to you by JennyBee’s Book Blog in concert with Girls Love To Read Blog Tours

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Review: Whipped by Sabrina York

Source: NetGalley22838382
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 19th August 2014 by Three Twenty-One, LLC as part of the ‘Brought to His Knees’ anthology.
Price: N/A
Date Read: 18th August 2014

 

Note: I received this review copy of Whipped by Sabrina York for free through NetGalley in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Please note if you’re looking for this on Amazon: Whipped is published for a limited time as part of the ‘Brought to His Knees’ anthology but it will later (apparently) be published as a novella.

 

Whipped is a relatively short story at around 50 pages but I certainly enjoyed it!

Mourning the loss of his best friend (to marriage, not death) alpha male Dane takes solace in the arms of a hooker for a night while in Las Vegas for the bachelor party and wedding of said best friend. Unfortunately, the ‘hooker’ is actually his best friends sister, Tina. The morning after, with no knowledge of who the mystery woman really was, Dane is shocked to see her cosy-ing up to the bride and even more disturbed to find out he’s broken the bro code (a few times!) with his best friend’s sister – a massive no-no if ever there was one. Unfortunately feelings start to come into the matter and Tina and Dane find themselves unable to stay away from one another or stave off the jealousy when they see the other speaking to someone else when they’re apart. Will Dane give in and confess his attraction – and maybe even love –  for the out-of-reach sister of his best friend since childhood?

Overall this was a decent short story and the genres that fit it best are, I believe, contemporary fiction and mild erotica. I found the characters to be well written and introduced and their personalities really came through the authors writing. I would have loved a longer story with more in it but for the length it was good. As an enjoyable but quick read, I can imagine that this would be a great addition to an anthology.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥ – I liked it

 

Review: Claimed by the Alpha Dolphins (Bound to the Sea Part 1) by Lyra Fawn

claimed-by-the-alpha-dolphinsSource: NetGalley
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish date: 15th July 2014 by Victory Editing
Price: N/A
Date Read: 12th August 2014

Note: I received this review copy of Claimed by the Alpha Dolphins (Bound to the Sea Part 1) by Lyra Fawn for free through NetGalley in return for an honest review. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

 

Claimed by the Alpha Dolphins is a short 60-odd page introduction / first instalment to the full story. I hadn’t quite realised it was so short and left at a cliffhanger when I first got it so the end came far too quickly.

Mona is a librarian who, on her days off goes to the beach to soak up some rays and admire the speedo-wearing surfers. One day she notices two extremely handsome surfers who really stand out. While watching from behind her book a shark attack leaves the beach in chaos. Mona, still watching her two surfers sees them transform into dolphins and fend off the shark. This transformation goes unnoticed by anyone else on the beach. Following the two afterwards, Mona lies her way into their motel room, leaving her bag behind in the hopes that one of the two will return it to her.

I both really enjoyed this book and found much of it to be unbelievable, even for a paranormal romance/erotica. I loved the wording, descriptions and exciting storyline; The two men are royal princes bound to find the woman who will unite two clans and save their world. I even loved the sizzling sex and hot romance. I did however find that some elements of the story were silly; a lone woman following two strange shape-shifting men who-knows-where, unprotected sex with a man who had been rude and only got interested when he noticed the colour of her eyes. Oh and then going out into the sea with that man for a trial in which many before had drowned.

It was an enjoyable quick read which, if I didn’t put too much thought into it, was very good. My only real hang-up was the length; it was far too short! I will try further instalments of this series when they come out to see how this author further tells the story of Mona, Lucan and Dario.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥ – I liked it

Events: #SexMeUpReadathon and #Sunathon 2014

This week is going to be fun and busy with two exciting events going on this week. Along with a normal week of work I shall be joining other twitterati and book bloggers to celebrate books and reading… By reading! I’m so eager to start that I’m up at 6am on a Sunday writing this blog!

 

#SexMeUpReadathon : Monday 21st – Friday 25th July 2014

First up, running Monday to Friday we have the #SexMeUpReadathon. You can follow on Twitter with that hashtag, along with #LetsGetItOn and #StaySexy. Even better is that I have written a guest post for it; my very first! My post, titled ‘The Taboo of Erotica’ will be going live at 5pm on Wednesday 23rd. Definitely a *squee* moment going to be going on there!

There is so much else to be looking forward to during the week including Q&A’s, other guest posts, short stories, authors (including J Kenner!) talking sex and a very exciting amount more. You can find a (nearly) finalised schedule for the week over at the #SexMeUpReadathon blog here. I shall be printing a copy to keep with me!

 

#Sunathon : Monday 21st – Sunday 27th July 2014

The second event runs from Monday to Sunday and is #Sunathon. Again, follow on Twitter with that hashtag. You can read Emma Louise’s fantastic introductory blog post about it here.

 

The object and idea of both readathons is to encourage people to pick up their books and read. They aren’t races to finishing lines or competitions to see who can read the most- a view I absolutely adore. As I joined up first to the #SexMeUpReadathon my book choices have mainly been for that, although all books will also count for #Sunathon. Maybe I am being a little hopeful in the amount I will be reading but no matter as I will enjoy reading all I can!

So, my list of Erotica for #SexMeUpReadathon:

#SexMeUpReadathon

Sources: The Story of O – My Bookshelf // Bound to Danger – BookBridgr // Crazy About the Baumgartners – NetGalley // Heated – Goodreads First Reads // Claimed By the Alpha Dolphins #1 – NetGalley // The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty – Library 

And my list of other books to include for #Sunathon:

#Sunathon

 Sources: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House – Goodreads First Reads // Don’t Fall – Giveaway Prize by Mily @TheYANightstand // Good Omens – My Bookshelf // Do or Die – NetGalley

All in all a lot to look forward to, although some of the books with rather large numbers of pages (such as ‘The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House’ – which I will eagerly admit to having started already – with 504 pages and ‘Do or Die’ with 577 pages)  are starting to worry me. Fortunately these are offset by some with very few! I keep reminding myself though, it’s not how much I read that matters, only that I am reading! I’m also excited to be mixing physical copies of books and e-books. It will be interesting to see which I prefer.

So, will you join us this week in celebrating reading? It doesn’t matter at all what you read or which Readathon you join in with – if you join in at all. Just read. Visit your local library or pick something dusty off your shelf. Give it a glance, give it a read. Browse Amazon for free books to try on Kindle or computer/phone app or buy a dozen which catch your imagination.

Give it a go.  I certainly hope you do and invite you warmly to join, watch and take part.

 

Review: The Tycoon’s Convenient Bride…and Baby by Shoshanna Evers

TTCB&BOwn the book: Yes
Source: NetGalley
Format: Kindle E-book
Publish date: 28th July 2014 by Entangled Publishing
Price: N/A
Date Read: 16th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of The Tycoon’s Convenient Bride…and Baby by Shoshanna Evers for free through Entangled Publishing on NetGalley. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

First off, i’m going to abbreviate this title to TTCB&B as typing that out a few times would likely double the length of my review on its own.

TTCB&B is the story of two people, Mack; rich tycoon and playboy, and Lauren; career business woman who has put all thoughts of a family of her own firmly behind her. The two are brought together when Mack’s business partner and best friend – the twin brother of Lauren – and his wife go missing and are presumed dead leaving behind their baby daughter. The little cutie Callie, bound by her fathers will to live with a married couple, is left to the fate of the fostering system unless Mack and Lauren can find a way around it. And they do… they’ll marry each other. Just until Callie’s parents are found. They can get an annulment, right?

I really enjoyed TTCB&B – it was an easy, engaging read which made me eager to read more and I sped through it in a few hours. The characters Mack and Lauren were at times beyond frustrating. Many times I was longing to hit their heads together or lock them in a room so that they’d just come out and say something, not just hope that an action was being construed for what they should have been saying out loud. This frustration just made the book better though and the ending even more poignant.

Shoshanna’s work was a wonderful escape and I absolutely loved it. There was heat (boy, was there!), love, misunderstanding, despair and so many other emotions all rolled into one little package. All in all a wonderful story. Thank you for allowing me this preview.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥