Friday, April 28, 2017

Month in Review: April 2017

We've been busy Weres this month! We've also been rather ecclectic in our reading tastes - graphic novels, YA contemps, romantic suspense, and some of our urban fantasy faves. There's something for everyone this month.

What We Reviewed



Wild Ride (Black Knights Inc # 9) by Julie Anne Walker
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Beauty and the Beast Manga by Mallory Reeves
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennet
Sarah Scribbles #1 and 2 by Sarah Anderson
Veiled Menace (Veiled Magic #2) by Deborah Blake
Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep
A Natural History of Dragons (Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan
Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires #13) by Chloe Neill

We Love Lists

If you missed any of out Top 5 Wednesday posts this month, here's a linky list.

  Special Blog Tour Posts

We've had the opportunity to participate in a few blog tours this month and have some exciting posts because of it! Two even have giveaways attached to them!
Excerpt from Snared by Jennifer Estep (Giveaway goes through April 30th!)
Q&A with Marie Brennan
Chicagoland Vampires Swag Pack Giveaway (Goes through May 3rd!)

Reading Challenge Update

I'd been slacking on my Rock My TBR challenge for the first few months of the year, saving my TBR read until the last minute. This month I finally got out ahead of it. 


I've had some of Jennifer Ashley's Shifters Unbound novellas that I got for free hanging around for a while, but in April I read them all. I haven't read any of the full length books in the series yet, but my interest is peaked. The shifters in this world are out to the public, but segregated from the human population and forced to wear collars to control their animal sides. It's just a little bit dystopian and so fascinating.

What We're Waiting For

May 2
Cold Reign (Jane Yellowrock #11) by Faith Hunter
Borrowed Souls (Soul Charmer #1) by Chelsea Mueller

May 9
Blood Kissed (Lizzie Grace #1) by Keri Arthur
Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Adventures of Owl #3) by Kristi Charish

May 16
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Thick as Thieves (The Queen's Thief #5) by Megan Whalen Turner

May 23
Refuge for Masterminds (Stranje House #3) by Kathleen Baldwin

May 30
White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) by Ilona Andrews
Spectacle (Menagerie #2) by Rachel Vincent
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday (on Thursday) Authors We Want to Read More From

Top 5 Wednesday is a group of bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers posting on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.

This week's topic is:
Authors You Want to Read More From

Rose Red's Top 5

5. Becky Chambers
Becky Chambers's debut novel, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, immediately became an all-time favorite as soon as I finished it. I can't wait to see what she writes next!

4. Jenn Bennett
 I have loved everything that Jenn Bennett has ever written. They are some of my most prized books in my collection. I just need more of her books to read whether they're her urban fantasies, her historical paranormal romances, or her YA contemporaries! She's well-earned her place on my auto-buy list.

3. Brian Selznick
 I absolutely adored Brian Selzick's The Marvels and The Invention of Hugo Cabret! I know his books take time since he does all the illustrations himself but I want more of his books! I only have Wonderstruck left to hold me over until he releases something else.

2. Tara Sim
 It's very rare that a debut author will make it onto my auto-buy list. Tara Sim is one of those rare few. I am completely enamored with her Timekeeper book! I love everything about it from the mythology to the world to the characters. I am eagerly waiting for her next book.

1. Ashley Poston
My nerdy little heart couldn't help but love Ashley Poston's modern Cinderella retelling, Geekerella. I loved it so much that I really want Poston to modernize other fairy tale classics like Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, or Sleeping Beauty. Also, bonus points if they were obscure fairy tales like Donkeyskin.

Gretl's Top 5

5. Amanda Bouchet
Though I enjoyed the first book in Bouchet's Kingmaker Chronicles more than the second, I'm really looking forward to more fantasy romance from her. High fantasy can be too much for me, but she has a way of infusing enough familiar elements to make it relatable.

4. K.C. Alexander
You might have seen us mention how much we love Karina Cooper here on the blog. She's writing SF and cyberpunk under a new name now. I loved last year's Necrotech and can't wait for more.

3. Emily Skrutskie
Her first two books, The Abyss Surrounds Us and The Edge of the Abyss, feature girl pirates and sea monsters in an alternate world. I hear she's writing a book set in space next.

2. Chelsea Mueller
Her debut novel, Borrowed Souls, features a unique, and really cool, magic system. I'm excited to learn more about soul magic and to see what else she has in store. (Watch for Rose Red's review of Borrowed Souls on the blog next week.)

1. Ann Aguirre
This one's not a case of the author needing to write more so much as my needing to read it. There's a whole YA series, Razorland, and a SF series, Sirantha Jax, that I've had on my wish list for years. But I loved The Leopard King and The Demon Prince so what I really want is more PNR from Aguirre.

Which authors do you want to read more from?


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Blade Bound by Chloe Neill

We're both excited and sad to be included on the blog tour for Blade Bound, the last book in the Chicagoland Vampire series. Our Rose Red has a short review of the book and we're excited to have a special swag pack to give away thanks to Chloe Neill. Read on for the details. :)

Blade Bound
(Chicagoland Vampires #13)
Chloe Neill
Release: April 25, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
The thrilling final installment of Chloe Neill’s New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series sees a sinister sorcery advancing across Chicago, and it may usher in the fall of Cadogan House…

Since the night of her brutal attack and unwilling transformation to vampire, Merit’s stood as Sentinel and protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House. She's saved the Windy City from the forces of darkness time and again with her liege and lover, Ethan Sullivan, by her side.

When the House is infiltrated and Merit is attacked by a vampire seemingly under the sway of dark magic, Merit and Ethan realize the danger is closer than they could have ever imagined. As a malign sorcery spreads throughout the city, Merit must go to war against supernatural powers beyond her comprehension. It’s her last chance to save everything—and everyone—she loves.


Disclaimer: This review is not going to contain any spoilers for Blade Bound but it could spoil earlier books in the series.

It's really hard to review the last book in such a long and epic series. To be honest, it still hasn't sunk in that there will be no more Ethan and Merit books after this one. I can't believe the series is over. I feel like we've come a long ways with the characters. Merit, Ethan, and the gang have changed so much since we were introduced to them in Some Girls Bite. I'm kind of not ready to say good bye to everybody.

Blade Bound starts about four months after the end of Midnight Marked on the eve of Merit and Ethan's wedding. It's been a somewhat peaceful period as everyone waits for the sorceress, Sorcha Reed, to come back to carry out her revenge on the Cadogan House and their allies for foiling her plans.

I enjoyed the heck out of this book and I think Chloe Neill delivered a great ending to the series. There were swoony Ethan moments, some kickass fight scenes, and some delicious food descriptions. This book felt a bit nostalgic as characters that haven't been seen for a few books make an appearance. I loved how Sorcha's magic manifested itself.

While I'm not ready to be done with Ethan and Merit, I'm quite pleased with where their story ended. It still makes me sad that it's over but I'm excited to get details on the spin-off series. I'm so happy we're going to get more of this world! I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that we'll see more of a certain badass necromancer as well as the Master and Sentinel of Cadogan House in the spin-off.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  4.5 / 5 Stars

Chloe has passed along an awesome swag packet for us to giveaway! The packet will include:
  • Three signed, limited edition, 8.5 x11 Merit posters
  • A Cadogan House lanyard
  • A Cadogan House tote bag
  • Cadogan House seal sticker
  • Bookmarks
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fun doesn’t stop here. Want more chances to win? You can also enter the Blade Bound Grand Prize Giveaway, which runs April 17 through April 28 on Chloe’s web site.

What is the Grand Prize Giveaway prize?
  • Engraved Cadogan House medal pendant
  • Signed 11×16 Merit poster
  • $50 Amazon gift card
  • $50 Garrett Popcorn Gift Card (Chicago’s hometown favorite!)
  • Tote bag containing Chicagoland Vampires and Devil’s Isle Swag

Our reviews of other books in this series:
Drink Deep by Chloe Neill
Biting Cold by Chloe Neill
House Rules by Chloe Neill
Biting Bad by Chloe Neill
Blood Games by Chloe Neill
Midnight Marked by Chloe Neill
Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Author Interview: Q&A with Marie Brennan

We're so excited to have the fantastic Marie Brennan on the blog today with an interview in celebration of the release of the last book in her The Memoirs of Lady Trent series. Our very own Rose Red has recently fallen in love with these books and she is ecstatic for the opportunity to ask Marie questions!

If you missed it, you can read Rose Red's review of the first book, A Natural History of Dragons, here.

Q & A With Marie Brennan

Rose Red: I'm a new reader to the series and I've adored what I've read so far! It's the naturalist fantasy-of-manners series I never knew I needed. Out of all of the mythical creatures out there, why did you choose dragons? Are there any dragon-related books outside of your series that you'd recommend to those of us that are obsessed with them?

Marie Brennan: It will come as no surprise that I had a thing for Pern back in the day. I also very much enjoy Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, which is set a little earlier in the nineteenth century (and in an alternate-history version of our own world). To be honest, I haven't read much dragon-related stuff in recent years, because I don't want to cross the streams too much! I've read and blurbed both Todd Lockwood's The Summer Dragon and Stephen S. Power's The Dragon Round, though, both of which pay attention to the biology and behavior of dragons in interesting ways.

RR: I immediately fell in love with Lady Trent! She's spunky and independent with a delightful sense of curiosity. Is there a specific person she was based on? Is she like you in any way?

MB: Well, I'm definitely a nerd -- but much less of a biologist than she is. (In terms of field of specialty, I'm much closer to Suhail, a character who shows up later in the series.) There's no single person she's based on, but there are a whole lot of historical women who contributed to the idea: Mary Kingsley, Gertrude Bell, Freya Stark, Isabella Bird (not actually my heroine's namesake, but a good match), and more.

RR: As a scientist myself, I loved Lady Trent's dedication and love for her field! I thought the narrative had the perfect balance of science and fantasy. What was your favorite part of writing the science? Was there any interesting research you got to do for the book?

MB: I wound up doing a whole lot of spontaneous reading about different kinds of animals along the way, because I used them as inspiration for several dragon breeds. Savannah snakes, for example, are behaviorally a lot like cheetahs. And because I work late at night, at one point it was something like 2 a.m. and I was googling giraffe vertebrae in order to make a point about what characteristics vary between species or stay the same -- so there was a whole lot of interesting research along the way. As for the favorite part, though, I think it was the fact that I could pull out all the stops on being precise and intellectual: I can have Isabella talking about obligate carnivores or monotremes or whatever, rather than feeling like I need to dial it back because my protagonist wouldn't think in scientific terms.

RR: One of my favorite things about the series was the world in which it is set. Did you base Scirland and the countries that surround it on real life places or is the world a product of your imagination?

MB: Every place Isabella goes is based on a real-world location, in terms of its culture and environment. Scirland is England, Vystrana is Romania with Russian overlords, Bayembe is a mix of West African societies like Mali and the Yoruba, Mouleen is the Congo, Coyahuac is Mesoamerica, Yelang is China, etc. But because it's a secondary world, I have some leeway to introduce new elements or tweak things, so that the Vystrani have Finnish-style saunas and the Keongans have a third gender and almost everybody in Scirland is Jewish. After all, the world has a different geography and a different history -- not to mention dragons -- so there's also a good reason for me to make things up.

RR: The last book in the series is set to come out today. Is there anything you're going to miss about working on these books now that it's over?

MB: I've compared the end of the series to a good friend moving away. Because of the style of narration -- first person, with Isabella aware that she's telling her story to an audience -- I feel like I've gotten to know her very well, and there's a part of me that's sad not to be continuing on with her. But I've finished the story I set out to tell, and I'd rather wrap it up when everyone still loves the story, rather than continuing on until it's grown stale.

RR: Thank you so much for answering answering our questions today! We have one more that we like to ask every author who stops by the Goldilox blog for an interview. What books have you read lately that you think that we need to add to our TBRs immediately?

MB: Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit. TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the Memoirs of Lady Trent -- it's science fiction about an interstellar empire -- but excellent worldbuilding, and the best example I've seen lately of an unavoidable team-up with a really untrustworthy ally.

 The last book in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, is on sale now!

About the Author
Marie Brennan holds an undergraduate degree in archaeology and folklore from Harvard, and completed graduate coursework in cultural anthropology and folklore at Indiana University in Bloomington. She now misapplies her professors’ hard work by using it as inspiration for her fantasy novels and short stories.

At present she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spends her time playing piano, studying shorin-ryu karate, dabbling in amateur photography, and playing a variety of role-playing games.

Her first novel was published in 2004. Since then she has sold a dozen books and more than forty short stories.

Review: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons
(Memoirs of Lady Trent #1)
Marie Brennan
Release: February 5, 2013
Goodreads Amazon
Everyone knows Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. Here, at last, in her own words, is the story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, prospects, and her life to satisfy scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the mountains of Vystrana, where she made discoveries that would change the world.

I loved this book! I knew I was going to love everything about it after reading only two pages. I'm finding it difficult to say anything right now because I'm trying not to gush about it. I loved it that much. This series has the potential to become one of my all time favorites if each of the next books proceed in the same vein. I'm so glad all the books are out now so I can binge read this whole series!

Although this book is called A Natural History of Dragons, it is less about dragons and really more about Lady Trent's origin story. I loved how we get to see the events of this book from the point-of-view of an older Lady Trent. It's like when my Grandma tells me stories about her younger years. It added a whole different perspective to everything. I found it fascinating how she initially became interested in dragons and how her first dragon studying expedition went. Lady Trent is amazing and I instantly fell in love with her!

This book also deals with the struggles Lady Trent has to deal with being a female in a society that looks down on particularly on smart and independent women. I loved this pseudo-Victorian England setting and how it was combined with the fantasy and science in a world with dragons. I can't wait to see how the world expands in later books! And as if an awesome heroine, cool worldbuilding, and dragons weren't enough, there are these absolutely gorgeous illustrations throughout the whole book! It was amazing!

This book has everything I love in a fantasy-of-manners novel: the humor, the spunky heroine, the romance, the science... Gah! I just really loved everything about it. Okay?

I really don't have any complaints but the one thing I felt that this book was lacking was the development of the side characters. They kind of felt two-dimensional and I hope that we'll see them become three-dimensional as the series progresses.

Overall, if you love a good fantasy of manners book with a spunky, headstrong female protagonists or books about dragons, this one is for you!

Review copy provided by the publisher

  4.5 / 5 Stars

Monday, April 24, 2017

Snared by Jennifer Estep Blog Tour: Excerpt, Early Review and Giveaway

We're always excited about a new Elemental Assassin novel, even after 15 books in the series. Number 16 is Snared and it's out tomorrow. But we're going to tell you all about it today and give you a chance to win your own copy. (Or if you just can't wait, all the buy links are at the end of the post too.)


Not only was Rivera a trust-fund baby, living off his family’s wealth, who’d never worked a day in his life, but he’d also never faced any consequences for any of the despicable things he’d done.

And he had done plenty of despicable things.

Silvio Sanchez, my personal assistant, had only been looking into Rivera for a few days, but he’d already found several arrests, mostly for DUIs, stretching all the way back to when Damian was a teenager. Rivera also had a violent temper and some serious anger-management issues. He’d beaten more than one girlfriend over the years, servants too, and had even put a couple of them in the hospital with broken bones and other serious injuries.

But all of that was nothing compared to the woman he’d killed.

One night during his college years, Rivera had gotten into his SUV and decided to see how fast he could drunkenly steer around Ashland’s mountain roads. He’d come around one curve, crossed the center lane, and plowed head-on into a sedan being driven by a single mother of two. She’d died instantly, but Rivera had walked away from the crash with only minor injuries. He’d never been charged in the woman’s death, thanks to his mother, who’d pulled all the right strings and paid off all the right people to cover the whole thing up.

But Damian hadn’t learned his lesson. He hadn’t learned anything, since he’d been arrested for another DUI on New Year’s Eve a few days ago. But he wouldn’t face any consequences for that one either. His mama was long dead, but Damian still had someone to clean up his messes—Bruce Porter, a dwarf who’d been the Rivera family’s head of security for years.

(Elemental Assassin #16)
Jennifer Estep
Release: April 25, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.


Gin Blanco is finally finding names for some of the mysterious members of The Circle, starting with Damian Rivera. But before she can corner him and beat some answers out of him, her friend Jade Jamison's sister disappears. Gin's investigation leads her to a shocking discovery - a serial killer in Ashland. And of course, she makes it her mission to find him and save the girl before it's too late.

I had most of the mystery figured out by the halfway point, but it's always fun to watch Gin work her magic. She really takes a beating in her amazing action scenes! But she still makes time for a few swoony Owen moments, and great banter with Finn. I think I could watch these characters do just about anything. As long as Gin made some food and Finn supplied some snark while they read the phone book, I'd be a happy camper.

While she's playing Criminal Minds, Gin uncovers some buried memories about the day her mother was killed. She also finds some clues about The Circle's leader and it looks like she's about to begin her hunt. I have some theories about how everyone's connected so I'm looking forward to the next book to see if I'm right. I rarely am so it's not likely, but I can't wait to find out.


Our reviews of other books in this series:

Buy Links:

About Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Snared, book #16, will be released on April 25.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series. She is also the author of the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

There’s a tour-wide giveaway for copies of SNARED and a $20 Amazon gift card!
 Open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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