Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

Title: What the Wind Knows
Author: Amy Harmon
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary
Published By: Lake Union (March 1, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything…

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

Amy Harmon has always been a favorite author of mine, from her very first book I was hooked and as her stories progress, they truly only seem to get better.

I was so eager to get my hands on her newest release and for good reason, because let me tell you, it was riveting and so worth the wait. Once again, from the very first page,  I was pulled right into the story and it was so hard to put down.

Riddled with emotion, I was captured by the setting, the story line and the very real characters themselves. Everything about this story called to me. 

Set in Ireland during one of the islands worst events in its history, it was so enchanting. From the stories and lore to the very heart of the rebellion. Everything about it demanded that you pay attention and read on. 

I can't even begin to express how much I adored this story. From young Eoin right down to Thomas, so much about this story spoke and called to me in all the best ways that only Harmon seems to know how to do. 

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

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Release Day Mini Review: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Title: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss
Author: Kasie West
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published By: HarperTeen (Feb. 5, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Lacey Barnes has dreamt of being in a movie for as long as she can remember. However, while her dream did include working alongside the hottest actor in Hollywood, it didn’t involve having to finish up her senior year of high school at the same time she was getting her big break. Although that is nothing compared to Donavan, the straight-laced student her father hires to tutor her, who is a full-on nightmare.

As Lacey struggles to juggle her burgeoning career, some on-set sabotage, and an off-screen romance with the unlikeliest of leading men, she quickly learns that sometimes the best stories happen when you go off script.

Is there anything better than an adorable read in front of the fire place on a cool winter-y afternoon?

Nope, I believe not.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss, like most West books, was just so much fun. So cute and sweet and just the right thing to escape for a couple of hours and be left, by the very last page, with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart. 

Classic West with all the feels, friendships, and storyline that we've all come to know, count on, and love. 

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

Monday, February 4, 2019

Author Interview: Watch Hollow by Gregory Funaro

I'm excited to share a very exciting book with you today along with an author interview for Gregory Funaro's newest release, Watch Hollow. This book looks so fun and adorable and even a bit creepy and I'm so excited I get to introduce you to it today. 

Title: Watch Hollow
Author: Gregory Funaro
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: HarperCollins (February 12, 2019)

Book Description:
Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch Hollow stands the once-grand Blackford House, whose halls hold a magical secret: a giant cuckoo clock that does much more than tell time. But when the clock’s gears cease to turn, an evil presence lurking among the trees begins to come out of the shadows.

When Lucy and Oliver Tinker arrive in Watch Hollow, they have no idea that anything is wrong. A mysterious stranger has made their father an offer that’s too good for him to refuse. All Mr. Tinker needs to do is fix the clock at Blackford House and fistfuls of gold coins are his to keep.

It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that there is more to Blackford House than meets the eye. And before they can entirely understand the strange world they’ve stumbled into, Lucy and Oliver must join forces with a host of magical clock animals to defeat the Garr—a vicious monster that not only wants Blackford House for itself, but also seeks to destroy everything the Tinkers hold dear. 

About the Author:

Gregory Funaro is the NY Times best-selling author of Disney-Hyperion's ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODDITORIUM (an Amazon Best Book of the Month for January, 2015) and ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODD AQUATICUM (2016), which received a Kirkus STARRED review. Look for his latest book, WATCH HOLLOW, coming from HarperCollins in February, 2019. Gregory is also a drama professor at East Carolina University.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your upcoming novel, Watch Hollow.

A: I am a drama professor at East Carolina University and started writing children's books nine years ago after the birth of my daughter. I grew up in Rhode Island, so setting Watch Hollow there was a combination of coming home and exploring something new. Watch Hollow is a modern-day, Gothic flavored horror story in which a widower and his two children move into an eerie old house to fix its (unbeknown to them) magical clock. It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that something very strange is going on in Watch Hollow, and they ultimately join forces with a bunch of magical clock animals to defeat a monster who lives in the nearby woods.

Q: I see you've written in other genres before, which one is your favorite to write in?

A: Children's books, hands down. I've basically stopped maturing since I was twelve, so there you go. 

Q: When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?

A: I received an English award in ninth grade for some short stories I'd written. Then in the eleventh grade, I wrote a short horror story that my English teacher, Mr. Scaffardi, thought I'd plagiarized. After my initial terror, of course, I took it as a compliment, and looking back, I see now that those two events really planted the seeds. However, only after a much different career path in theatre, I started writing in my spare time. I began with screenplays in my 20s--and got pretty close with one of them--and then finished my first thriller in my late 30s. It was never sold, but it did land me the agent who sold my other two thrillers.

Q: If you could be one character, in any book you've written, whom would you choose and why?

A: Off the cuff, maybe Cleona from Alistair Grim's Odditorium? She's a banshee and can fly. I've always wanted to fly. Or maybe Kiyoko. She's a ninja. I've always wanted to be a ninja, too...

Thank you so much Gregory for being here today and sharing a little more about yourself and of course, Watch Hollow that releases this February!

Also check out this fun trailer for the book!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review: Fire Devil by J.L. Bryan

Title: Fire Devil
Author: J.L. Bryan
Series: Book Eleven in Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper
Published: January 19, 2019
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Source: ARC Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Ellie's pursuit of a possessed friend and her own worst enemy takes her across the United States into forgotten corners of the countryside through haunted hotels, ghost towns, and strange highways, and toward the site of a horrific fire haunted by hundreds of spirits. 

Together with her team, plus help from an eccentric exorcist from Texas, she prepares for the fight of her life, a fight destined since her own childhood. 

Ellie's past and present collide in a final confrontation that will give her a chance to finally be rid of her most dangerous personal demon—if he doesn't kill Ellie first, along with the people she cares about the most. 

With the agony that was the way the last book, Monster Museum, ended, I was so eager to get my hands on the newest installment. I had to know what happened next and I knew that it was going to be quite the adventure, both emotionally and physically for Ellie and all her friends and I couldn't of been more excited for it.

What I wasn't expecting was how much darker this whole book was going to be. Not only do we get dual point of views but one of those views, is from the very villain himself and I couldn't of been more thrilled about it. 

Oh boy, to be inside his head! The darkness, the rage, the pure horror of it all. Honestly, I loved it! It added such a wonderful touch to not only the book but the series as a whole. 

This really was an action packed read that had so many emotions to it. From the darker sadder aspects to the more heartwarming ones of friendship and true family. 

Truly a wonderful addition to the series and I'm hoping, even with all that transpired, we will still have many more volumes to come because I'm really not ready to say goodbye to Ellie and all her friends and the ghosts that thy hunt down. 

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

Monday, January 28, 2019

Review: Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

Title: Courting Darkness
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: Book One in the Courting Darkness Duology
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published By: HMH Books (February 5, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?

I have loved the His Fair Assassin trilogy since the very gruesome, action packed beginning and as the series progressed, it only seemed to get better but not only was the writing better but but as the story grew, as the characters grew, so did the very heart of the story itself. I was so sad to say goodbye to all the wonderful daughters of Death. I felt like I grew with them. Became friends with them and most of all, I cared about them and wanted to see them all happy, in whatever way that meant for each of them. 

When I learned that the series wasn't over but would in fact, have two more books added in a spin-off, I was beyond thrilled.

 Courting Darkness was every bit as deliciously dark, enthralling and exciting as the first three books. With everything we have come to expect and love about LaFevers books, characters and her ability to weave a tale of gods and darkness and death that only she can do, it had me turning the pages and not wanting to put it down. 

Every bit as enchanting as the first three, Courting Darkness will have you on edge, eagerly turning pages wanting to both devour it and make it last forever. I can not wait for more!

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

Friday, January 25, 2019

Promotional Post and Giveaway: The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo

Title: The Simple Art of Flying
Author: Cory Leonardo
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Aladdin (February 12, 2019)
Genre: Middle Grade

Book Description:
Quirky characters, plucky humor, and a heartwarming message come together in this big-hearted debut novel about friendship and the true meaning of family.

Sometimes flying means keeping your feet on the ground…

Born in a dismal room in a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape to bluer skies. He’d like nothing more than to fly away to a palm tree with his beloved sister, Aggie. But when Aggie is purchased by twelve-year-old Fritz, and Alastair is adopted by elderly dance-enthusiast and pie-baker Albertina Plopky, the future looks ready to crash-land.

In-between anxiously plucking his feathers, eating a few books, and finding his own poetic voice, Alastair plots his way to a family reunion. But soon he’s forced to choose between the life he’s always dreamed of and admitting the truth: that sometimes, the bravest adventure is in letting go. 

About the Author:

Cory Leonardo grew up believing she’d replace Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune, but when that didn’t pan out, she decided she’d turn letters and phrases in a different way (but minus the glittery dresses, sadly). A born and bred upstate New Yorker, she currently lives in the Syracuse area with her husband and three plucky children.

I'm very excited to offer one US resident a finished copy of The Simple Art of Flying. This looks like such a cute and fun read and I can't wait to read it!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Release Day Spotlight: The Suspect by Fiona Barton

Title: The Suspect
Author: Fiona Barton
Series: Kate Waters Book 3
Published By: Transword (January 10, 2019)

Book Description:

The new must-read standalone crime thriller from the author of Sunday Times bestseller, The Widow, and the Richard & Judy No. 1 bestseller, The Child - featuring unforgettable journalist, Kate Waters.

The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry. 

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years since he left home to go traveling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . . 

About the Author:

My career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. I have been a journalist - senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up my job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, have trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.
But through it all, a story was cooking in my head.
The worm of this book infected me long ago when, as a national newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew – or allowed themselves to know.
It took the liberation of my career change to turn that fascination into a tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim.
Much to my astonishment and delight, The Widow is available now in the UK, and around the world in the coming months.
However, the sudden silence of my characters feels like a reproach and I am currently working on a second book.
My husband and I are living the good life in south-west France, where I am writing in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is our cockerel, Sparky, crowing.