Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty

Title: Willa of the Wood
Author: Robert Beatty
Series: Book One in the Willa Series
Genre: MG Fantasy
Published By: Disney-Hyperion (July 10, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Escape into the story of a brave and unusual girl brimming with the ancient powers of the forest. From Robert Beatty, the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina books, comes a thrilling new series filled with the history, mystery, and magic of the Great Smoky Mountains. Kirkus Reviews described WILLA OF THE WOOD as "A moving, atmospheric journey of hope."

Move without a sound. Steal without a trace.

Willa, a young night-spirit, is her clan's best thief. She creeps into the cabins of the day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won't miss. It's dangerous work--the day-folk kill whatever they don't understand--but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.

When Willa's curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day-folk world, she calls upon the old powers of her beloved grandmother, and the unbreakable bonds of her forest allies, to escape. Only then does she begin to discover the shocking truth: that not all of her day-folk enemies are the same, and that the foundations of her own Faeran society are crumbling. What do you do when you realize that the society you were born and raised in is rife with evil? Do you raise your voice? Do you stand up against it?

As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her forest home, Willa must decide who she truly is, facing deadly force with warmest compassion, sinister corruption with trusted alliance, and finding a home for her longing heart.

Not having been familiar with this author's other novels, I had zero expectations going into this, other than to have a great time. With the cute cover and fun sounding synopsis, I was sure, if nothing else, that was exactly what I was going to get. 

Can I just say that I love all the heart in this book?

It was so much fun but it was so much more than just a good read. It has meaning and feeling. I loved the unexpected depth of Willa's love for her people and her woods. The setting was perfect and so picturesque that it felt like you were transported right into the very heart of Willa's story. 

I loved Willa's adventurous heart and her strong spirit. The twists were a nice surprise, in fact the whole story was a delightful surprise and one I'm so very glad I took the time to read. It truly makes me want to pick up the author's other work and check it out as well. 

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

Review: The Serpent by Sarah Fine

Title: The Serpent
Author: Sarah Fine
Series: Book One in the Immortal Dealers Series
Genre: Fantasy
Published By: 47North (July 24, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
One woman is in a world of otherworldly trouble—and she’s going to have to bet her life to save humankind.

Ernestine “Ernie” Terwilliger has put her dreams aside to look after her eccentric mother. Case in point: saving her from a mysterious stranger who’s just stormed the terrified woman’s antique store wearing a rattlesnake tattoo, leveling threats, and brandishing the weirdest deck of cards Ernie’s ever seen.

When Ernie grabs some of the cards and runs, she’s launched into a world she never knew existed—one her mother may know more about than she’s revealing. With a handful of stolen cards, Ernie has just been made an unwilling player in a game of good versus evil. But she’s not even playing with a full deck, and its original owner is more than happy to kill to get his cards back.

Suddenly Ernie’s matching wits and plays with the supernatural Immortal Dealers, who can raise empires, damn souls, and shape the world’s destiny. It’s up to Ernie to defeat the most brutal member of their order. And if her roguish new ally isn’t bluffing, he can help. The mystery is all in the cards, and to save her life—and humanity—Ernie had better learn how to deal.

Sarah Fine is known for creating unusual premises for almost all of her books and series. She is someone you can count on for a bit of the different and sometimes, in some case, even a bit of the dark.

Which is why whenever I see she has something new out, I'm all over it.

Her latest is definitely in the realm of different and new. Something that will suck you in with it's interesting storyline and complex game of cards, mystery, and danger.

And while this was captivating in premises, it sadly lacked any real character connection for me. I found that while I was intrigued by the weird and original world she had created in Dealers and cards, I sadly cared little for the characters or felt anything for them. But it was okay because the world certainly kept me turning the pages wanting to see what direction the author was going to take with it all and by the end, I was left wanting to read the second book.

Overall a daring new series with an exciting new premises that I think those looking for something original and unique will enjoy. 

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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Review: Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Tile: Smoke and Iron
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Book Four in the Great Library Series
Genre: Fantasy
Published By: Berkley Books (July 3, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
To save the Great Library, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, and Ash and Quill put themselves in danger in the next thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The opening moves of a deadly game have begun. Jess Brightwell has put himself in direct peril, with only his wits and skill to aid him in a game of cat and mouse with the Archivist Magister of the Great Library. With the world catching fire, and words printed on paper the spark that lights rebellion, it falls to smugglers, thieves, and scholars to save a library thousands of years in the making...if they can stay alive long enough to outwit their enemies. 

The Great Library series has been a favorite from the very first, action packed story and with each new installment Caine has upped the greatness more and more until it feels like the very pages will explode with it.

This thrill ride of a read never fails to leave me with my heart pounding and on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen to this rag tag group of friends next and most of all, wishing like heck that by the end, the bad guys will have seen better days. 

Filled with non-stop action, decent, lies, and murder, this series is one that is sure to keep you on your toes and wanting more with each turn of the page. 

This time told in alternating point of views, this was another fun filled ride that I didn't want to end. It might be over 400 pages but it will go by way too quickly and leave you craving the next book. I can't wait to see how it all comes together and can't help but be nervous for all their fates.

A group of smart, fast thinking characters that leave me breathless with their cunning ability to be brave and selfless in the face of danger. These characters not only stand out because of their diverse personalities and background but because of the wonderful almost family like dynamic that has breed and grown between them all. It truly makes them stand out and shine and not only make this series original but unique and addicting as well with it's steampunkish feel set in a world very much something of the past and yet inventive of the future. 

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: Crossroads of Bones by Luanne Bennett

Title: Crossroads of Bones
Author: Luanne Bennett
Series: Book One in the Katie Bishop Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published By: Victory (July 19, 2017)
Source: Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Katie Bishop would have taken her secret to the grave, but . . .
a bunch of fat cat society folks smelled her out and made her an offer she couldn't refuse.

Katie just wants to run her tattoo business quietly under the radar. But when a man walks into her shop and hands her a drawing of the same tattoo she's been dreaming about for weeks, things start to spin out of control. The last two people who tried to apply that tattoo are dead.

Only half human, it's her other half that an elite group wants to hire-a group of Savannah's more privileged citizens, including the city's reigning coven of witches.

There's a rogue god on the loose, and Katie is the only one who can send him back to hell before he breaks open the crossroads and lets the underworld waltz right in-if he manages to get that deadly tattoo inked onto his back.

Crossroads of Bones was such a, pick up on a whim, not expect anything, but got a whole lot of fun, surprise kind of a read. I truly had no expectations going into this one other than I liked the cover and the synopsis sounded intriguing. 

I picked it up because I wanted something fresh and different and lets face it, I'm always on the lookout for a new UF series.

I got all of those things in Crossroads of Bones. It was fun, exciting, original, adventurous, and full of the voodoo hoodoo madness that I've come to expect in stories set in the south that are riddled with the unknown and the mysterious.

I devoured this in one day and I was sad that book two wasn't out yet. I loved Katie and her rag tag bunch of friends and I wasn't ready to say good bye to them yet. I can only hope that book two isn't that far away because I think this is a series I could truly get into and enjoy and love. 

So glad I took a chance on it and can't 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.*

Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: A Reckoning So Sweet by Candace Wondrak

Title: A Reckoning So Sweet
Author: Candace Wondrak
Series: Book Three in the Reckoning Trilogy
Genre: Fantasy
Published: July 1, 2018
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:
This is it. The end of the world. Armageddon. The apocalypse...and it isn’t going to be pretty.

I lost count how many months have passed since that fateful day, since I was betrayed by someone with a heavenly face. The world is dying. There’s hardly any water, hardly any food. What’s left of humanity is dying out, and I can’t do anything to stop it.

There’s more to this, though. Hades doesn’t just want revenge on Satan and Dagon—no, there’s something else he’s after. Something ancient with seven pairs of giant red eyes. I have to stop him. I won’t let him get away with what he’s done to us. To me.

This is a game to the gods, a prophecy to the Seraphs. The Reckoning is here. To fight Hades, I’ll go to the one place Dagon isn’t welcome, the one place no Angel can go. Olympus. Maybe with the gods’ help, I’ll figure out just what it all means.

One mistake is all it takes. One mistake to unravel everything. When failing’s not an option, what happens after I make the worst mistake of all?

I always said the Devil couldn’t have me, but that was the biggest lie of all.

He can.

A Reckoning So Sweet starts off, well, I really don't know. Weeks? Months? After the last book ended and while the time line might be unclear it is clear that the world we left behind in A Betrayal So Cruel, is nothing like the new world. One full of darkness and danger. So much darkness and danger that from the very first chapter, you know this book is different. Darker, more bleak, and somewhat depressing and you love it for it because finally, we are getting to the knitty gritty of what we knew was coming from the very first book. The reckoning is here and with it more danger, more enemies and creatures lurking around every corner out to harm those left behind and those left behind, are in serious trouble. 

I absolutely loved the crazy blend of biblical things and mythology. It really gave the whole story a unique take on an apocalyptic world and constantly kept me guessing on what would happen next. 

I love how much each character changed and grew throughout the series and the ending was very much as true to the rest of the books as it was satisfying. Overall a really fun series that I think anyone can and will appreciate. 

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

Monday, June 4, 2018

Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Title: Jar of Hearts
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Minotaur Books (June 12, 2018)
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
"Jar of Hearts grabs you by the throat! The perfect blend of riveting characters, chilling details, and gasping twists in this standout thriller will keep you frantically reading until the explosive end.” – Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Right Behind You

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

A Jar of Hearts is intense in almost every sense of the meaning. It had me gasping, holding my breath and sometimes gripping my kindle in anticipation of what would happen next. It was, in short, an extreme read. 

It was thrilling and horrifying and I never knew what was going to be said or revealed next. It was brutal and raw and even tough to read at times and yet, tough or not, brutal or not, it drew you in and refused to let go. It was like a leech, sucking all the air out of the room until you finished it. Your breath stolen from the horror of what was happening, what was done and what you knew was coming.

Told in parts and alternating between the past and present, it was a train wreck that I couldn't look away from. It was oh so addicting in all the wrong ways and I couldn't help but love it in-spite of  all the feels and wrongness of the story unfolding before my very eyes. 

It was everything I like in a good mystery and everything I love to hate in a thriller. It truly was a stand out read that is sure to garner a lot of fans and a lot of talk. 

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Review: A Betrayal So Cruel by Candace Wondrak

Title: A Betrayal So Cruel
Author: Candace Wondrak
Series: Book Two in the Reckoning Trilogy
Published: June 1, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: ARC Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Solid Stars!

Book Description:
Welcome to the end of the world. Entrances to the Underworld are to the right, and the road to Hell is on the left.

Humanity wasn’t prepared for Armageddon. We didn’t think anything could take us down. How stupid. All it took was the Four Horsemen and a vengeful Hades, along with a crazy cult that Deb ran from. We’ve lost so much along the way, but it isn’t over.

It will never be over, not until Hades gets what he wants. What does he want? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out and make sure he never gets it. He hates me, hates Dagon, and for that, I hate him. I don’t care about his reasons. Earth and its people are not toys for the gods and Angels.

And Dagon—oh, Dagon. Despite it all, he can be sweet. But I don’t want sweet. I want danger. I want to live before I’m forced to play a part in this ancient war.

I’m being watched, lied to. I can’t trust anyone anymore. I can’t depend on anyone. Nothing is true in this apocalypse. Those with the prettiest of faces are the worst offenders of all.

The Devil cannot have me…but that won’t stop him from trying.

A Betrayal so Cruel is the second in The Reckoning trilogy, an Urban Fantasy/Apocalyptic mashup perfect for fans of Buffy, Supernatural, and quirky characters!

I loved A Mark Unwilling, just how different it felt from your typical UF. Yes it has monsters and supernaturals and yes there is magic and danger but it still felt some how unique and like a story I hadn't heard before which is why after reading it, I had no hesitation whatsoever picking up book two. 

I'm so glad I did because if I thought book one was good, it was nothing compared to book two. A Betrayal So Cruel was so much...more. More danger, more deceit, more lies, more mystery, more romance, just..more. 

I loved all the Greek mythology mixed in with the supernatural. Being a huge lover of both, it just made this read so much more fun and it wasn't long before I found myself quickly devouring it page by page. 

I'm so excited to see what book three will hold and where they all will go from here. 

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review: The Bird and The Blade by Megan Bannen

Title: The Bird and the Blade
Author: Megan Bannen
Series: Stand Alone

Published By: Balzer + Bray (June 5, 2018)
Genre: Fantasy/Retelling
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
As a slave in the Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom … until she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father as they flee from their enemies across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into a hopeless love.

Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die.

Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom—and his very life—on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of ... even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.

THE BIRD AND THE BLADE is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from debut author Megan Bannen. 

I honestly can't remember the last time a book tore my heart out and stomped on it as hard as this one did. 

I can't remember the last time I cried, truly cried and didn't want to stop because of  the emotions that I felt not only all through this story, but especially at the end.

Oh my poor heart and soul. I may never be the same again.

Filled with beautifully rich history and a strange friendship that blooms and grows, this truly was a wonderfully heartfelt , wonderfully written story that should be experienced by everyone.

Magnificently done and presented, this will be one that I won't soon be forgetting. I adored absolutely everything about it, even the agonizing and heartbreaking ending. 

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

Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Aftermath
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Crown Books For Young Readers (May 22, 2018)
Genre: YA Mystery
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter. 

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye. 

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.

There really isn't  a whole lot that Armstrong can't write, in virtually any genre.

The very fact that she combined a very sensitive topic with a mystery and somehow made it both mysterious and heartfelt make it work, is truly a talent not a lot of authors have. 

I love that this kept me on the edge of my seat wondering exactly if the main character wasn't slightly unhinged herself or if she really was being bullied and pranked by those that really didn't want her there. 

Truly a great stand alone read that fans of Armstrong are going to love and new fans will be glad they took a chance on. 

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

Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone

Title: Little Do We Know
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Disney Hyperion (June 5, 2018)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 3.5 to 4 Stars

Book Description:
Next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Hannah and Emory haven’t spoken in months. Not since the fight—the one where they said things they couldn’t take back.

Now, Emory is fine-tuning her UCLA performing arts application and trying to make the most of the months she has left with her boyfriend, Luke, before they head off to separate colleges. Meanwhile, Hannah’s strong faith is shaken when her family’s financial problems come to light, and she finds herself turning to unexpected places—and people—for answers to the difficult questions she’s suddenly facing.

No matter how much Hannah and Emory desperately want to bridge the thirty-six steps between their bedroom windows, they can’t. Not anymore.

Until their paths cross unexpectedly when, one night, Hannah finds Luke doubled over in his car outside her house. In the aftermath of the accident, all three struggle to understand what happened in their own ways. But when a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory’s argument ultimately comes to light, they must all reexamine the things they hold true.

In alternating chapters, a skeptic and a believer piece together the story of their complex relationship and the boy caught somewhere in the middle. New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone deftly crafts a moving portrait of faith, love, and friendship.

Top Five Reason Little Do We Know one to add to your TBR pile.

1. Memorable characters with narrative told in alternating POVS
2. You like an array of emotions that will sucker punch you right where it counts each and every time.
3. A story that will stick with you and have you thinking about it even when you aren't reading it.
4. You like YA books that don't necessarily read like they are YA.
5. Messages that are both relatable and teachable not to mention heartwarming and thought provoking. 

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

Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Title: Listen To Your Heart
Author: Kasie West
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Point (May 29, 2018)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Talking to other people isn't Kate Bailey's favorite activity. She'd much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school's podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she'll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate's surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend ... until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West's adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

Is there anything better than a Kasie West book? 

I mean truly. 

They are always feel good, put a smile on your face and make you go aww, kind of reads. I can always count on her for a heartfelt story that is just what I need when I need it and once again she delivered.

This was such a great read. I adored it completely and couldn't get enough of it. From the family dynamic to the friend dynamic to the podcasting at school. It truly was so much fun and I couldn't read it fast enough. 

West truly outdid herself and I couldn't of asked for a better read or cuter characters. 

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