Friday, October 9, 2015

Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Title: Ice Like Fire
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Book Two in the Snow Like Ashes Series
Published By: Balzer & Bray (October 13, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

Fantasy has quickly become one of my favorite genres, something a year ago, I never would have imagined saying but, there you have it.

When I read the first book in the series. Snow Like Ashes, I knew the author had come up with something original and fun and I couldn't wait for more. In fact, it was one of my favorite fantasy reads of the year and so Ice Like Fire was one of my most anticipated reads for 2015.

This sequel crushed me. It tore me apart in some of the worst ways but also in some of the best.

It played with my emotions, stomped on them, laughed at their sorrow and then slowly built them back up with kind words, pretty gestures, and lovely smiles, only to start the process all over again.

To say I loved it, would be an understatement. This was everything I was hoping it would be.

Lies, deceit. Betrayals. Promises. Friendships, secrets. Gah! So much happens and I sadly can't talk about any of it. Meira grows so much in this. I adore her. She makes mistakes, she isn't perfect but she does it all for her people, for those she loves and cares about. She is fierce and determined but still loving and kind and that is why she is the true heroine of the story. I am so proud of the person she has become and the person she has yet to be. I am in love with this series and after all that transpired, I need more. I crave more. 

It is going to be a very long few months until the next. So I part with these final words, well done Ms. Raasch, well done. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review: Monsters in My Closet by R.L. Naquin

Title: Monsters in My Closet 
Author: R.L. Naquin
Series: Book One in the Monster Haven Series
Published By: Carina Press (July 30, 2012)
Source: Purchased
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
I stopped believing in monsters long ago. But I knew I wasn't imagining things when I found one in my kitchen baking muffins. I'd seen him before: lurking in my closet, scaring the crap out of my five-year-old self. Turns out that was a misunderstanding, and now Maurice needs a place to stay. How could I say no?

After all, I've always been a magnet for the emotionally needy, and not just in my work as a wedding planner. Being able to sense the feelings of others can be a major pain. Don't get me wrong, I like helping people--and non-people. But this ability has turned me into a gourmet feast for an incubus, a demon that feeds off emotional energy. Now, brides are dropping dead all over town, and my home has become a safe house for the supernatural. I must learn to focus my powers and defeat the demon before he snacks on another innocent woman and comes looking for the main course...

With quite a few heavier reads lately, I was so in the mood for something lighter and honestly, just something fun. I got exactly what I was looking for in Monsters In My Closet.

I am a huge sucker for secondary characters that are every bit as fleshed out and fun as the main characters. There is just something about knowing that someone has the protagonist's back that makes a read better for me. I need witty banter, humor, and a strong bond between people and thankfully this book delivered on all counts as well as making the main character downright lovable and endearing.

I had so much fun with this! Zoey was so fun and lovable, this read really did have a bit of it all. Humor, suspense, a slight romance, mystery, great unique paranormals, a great setting, really, need I say more.

I am seriously looking forward to reading book two and it definitely won't take me long to pick it up and dig right in. I can tell that these characters are going to be ones that will stick with me for some time.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WoW Pick of the Week

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is a chance to share those new releases were are super anxious to get our hands on and read.

This series will always be in my top five UF series. It truly has everything, I mean Every.Thing, I love in a UF series. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Book Description:

In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Blog Tour Book Review and Giveaway: Illusion by Lea Nolan

I'm excited to be a part of this tour because this series really has been a fun one and I'm so excited that book three is finally here and the best part, is that the other two books in the series got makeovers with gorgeous covers that all match so be sure to check them out as well! 

Series: Book Three in the Hoodoo Apprentice

Genre: YA Fantasy

Published By: Entangled Teen

Release Date: October 5, 2015

ARC Copy of this was provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Description:

New school. Cross-country move. Broken heart. If only these were Emma Guthrie’s worst problems. Instead, she must battle a trio of enemies—human and spectral—who may or may not have joined forces against her and everyone she loves. All while pretending to be over Cooper Beaumont, her ex-boyfriend and true love, to shield him from her arch-nemesis’s revenge.

Worse, when the fight escalates, Emma is tempted to use black magic, which will endanger her soul. As her enemies close in, join forces, and fight with new and dark magic she’s never seen before, Emma must harness the power within her to fulfill an ancient prophecy, defeat a centuries-old evil, save her family, and reclaim the only boy she’s ever loved.

About the Author:

Lea Nolan couldn’t read until the third grade. After a lot of hard work she finally got the hang of it and quickly learned the best way to get out of doing chores was to tell her parents she was reading. Soon she was hooked, devouring books by Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, and graduated to those by V.C. Andrews, Stephen King, and Anne Rice. Books provided a portal to enchanted lands where anything was possible and characters relied on their wits to wiggle out of sticky situations.

Today, Lea Nolan writes books for young adults featuring bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She also pens smart, witty contemporary stories for adults filled with head-swooning, heart-throbbing, sweep-you-off your feet romance.

With a master’s degree in women’s studies and public policy, and an undergraduate degree in history, she spent twenty years as a health policy analyst and researcher, writing hundreds of fascinating reports and articles tens of people enjoyed. Today, she teaches graduate courses in health policy, law, and financing, and takes on the occasional consulting gig.

Born and raised on Long Island, New York, she loves the water far too much to live inland. With her heroically supportive husband and three clever children, she resides in Maryland where she scarfs down crab cakes whenever she gets the chance.

Once picking this up and diving in, it didn't take me long to remember why I loved this series so much.
With it's rather unique premises and wonderful writing, I was quickly once again immersed in the story and couldn't wait to see how it all ended for Jack, Emma, and Cooper.

Filled with the eery, the magical, the wicked, and a fabulous southern background, I love the mystical side of this series. Fantastic characters that grow with each new installment and a darker side filled with hate, revenge, and the demonic, this series truly is fabulous and one that stands out in the genre. 

I love how much Emma grows in this, not only in powers and confidence but as a person, friend, sister, and daughter. I always say but it always bares repeating, I am all about the character growth. It is one of my most favorite things to see in a series, especially one like this where growing matters so much to keep the story flowing and going in the direction that it should.

Nolan did a wonder job tying everything up and ending this in a way that fit the theme and mood of the rest of the books. I absolutely had so much fun once again being immersed in this world and the wait for this, was so worth it. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

*All thoughts and opinions were my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Welcome to my stop for the A Madness So Discreet Tour! 

I'm so excited to have Mindy here today on the blog with a wonderful guest post!

Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books (October 6, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Historical

Book Description:

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us. 

About the Author:

Mindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. 

I have to be honest and admit that I went into this with very high expectations. I am already a fan og McGinnis and know what a writing genius she is so I wasn't expecting anything else from her latest novel, A Madness So Discreet.

Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed in the least.

Taken though a horrifying world and truth of what it meant not only to be a woman in the early 19th century but at the mercy of men that could lock you up in an asylum for no reason other than you were too opinionated.

We get a glimpse of what times were like for women like Grace and how horrible and awful those times were not to mention the facilities that she was imprisoned in. With medical technology about mental health still in its infancy, times were rough, tough, and so not okay.

But as horrifying as some of the living conditions and institutes (as well as those that ran them) were, the best part about this novel, was the relationship between those patients that were locked up against their will, with no sign of mental heath at all. The bond that they formed was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once and I adored Grace and the other girls in the Ohio Asylum. Their bond was unbreakable and I loved how they formed a family of their own. 

Overall this was a fun read even though it was slow paced in parts and the ending was a bit rushed and took some turns I didn't see coming that I'm still not sure how to feel about. But, in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this and am so glad that I read it.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Release Day Review: House of Whispers by J.L. Bryan

Title: House of Whispers
Author: J.L. Bryan
Series: Book Five in the Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper Series
Published: October 2, 2015
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
The luxurious Lathrop Grand Hotel is a Savannah institution that has entertained guests for more than a century and a half, offering some of the finest accommodations in the city. Famously haunted, the hotel draws tourists from around the world eager to encounter its numerous ghosts. The hotel is also known for being honeycombed with hidden doors and secret passages, enabling staff to appear and disappear quickly as they attend to the hotel's guests.

Now some of the spirits in the Lathrop Grand have turned violent, even murderous. Ellie and Stacey must determine which ghost has become dangerous and remove it from the hotel before it can claim any more lives. They soon learn the hotel has secrets even darker than the notorious string of nineteenth-century murders that made it famous, and the powerful entities inhabiting it don't intend to leave without a fight.

I love those series that you just know you can pick up at anytime anywhere and have a great time with them. The ones that give you everything you are expecting, looking for, and craving. Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper has become that series for me.

I love everything about it. From the creepy ghosts and shadow people, to the witty one liners. This truly is just a fun read that on more than one occasion has kept me up late reading into the night, with the lights on. And the very best part about this series is the simple fact that it just keeps getting better and better.

I so love the direction that this is going and I love all the characters. In fact, my only complaint about this fifth installment is that Michael wasn't in it more. I adore him and I really hope book six gives us more of him. The way he interacts with Ellie is just fun. In fact, the way all the characters get along and care about one another is endearing. 

I am so excited for book six and I truly can't wait for more!

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by an outside source. I was not compensated for this review.*

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review: Rikki by Abigail Strom

Title: Rikki
Author: Abigail Strom
Series: Book One in the Hart University Series
Published: September 22, 2015
Source: Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:
Ever since junior high and an ill-fated game of seven minutes in heaven, Rikki Eisendrath and Sam Payne have hated each others’ guts. But when they end up at the same college—and the same dorm—they figure it’s time to declare a truce. 

They even become friends… sort of. But when Sam asks Rikki to model for his sculpting project, they start spending more time together—and her feelings for him get more complicated. 

She tries to focus on the guy she’s been crushing on instead. But Sam’s the one she can’t stop thinking about, even though their arguments are starting to heat up as much as the chemistry between them.

With antagonism and attraction this intense, there’s bound to be an explosion. But when the dust settles, will Sam and Rikki be enemies, friends… or something more? 

It has been awhile since I have read anything in this genre because, if truth be told, I have been a bit burnt out on it. So it was with little expectation that I picked this up, even though I have loved Strom's work before. It wasn't anything against her, I just wasn't sure I was ready to dive back into the genre yet.

Boy was I wrong. This was such a fun read and it made me realize why I fell in love with this genre to begin with. 

It had just the right amount of fun, steam, and romance as well and character growth. 

All the fun romantic tropes I crave and love most, all packed into a little read that was so worth my time.

It left me with a smile on my face and just a complete feeling. Like seeing an old friend you haven't seen in forever and remembering why they were your friend to begin with.

Strom did a fun job delivering and making every aspect of this believable and entertaining and she reminded me why I trust her work to being with.

I can't wait for the next book!

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*