Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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.

Having loved her duology this one seems like a no brainer and seriously, look at that cover! I want it just for that alone. ;) 

Book Description:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Title: Long May She Reign
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Harper Teen (February 21, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 3.5-4 Stars!

Book Description:
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

I was drawn to this story after seeing the cover and reading the synopsis and that fascination, that curiosity just grew after the first chapter and even more so the further I got into the story.

The fact that this is a stand alone, made it even more appealing. The simple truth that it was somewhat addicting and hard to put down, even better. 

Let's face it, there are very little stand alone novels out there lately. Instead the market of both adult and young adult, are riddled with duologies, trilogies, and series, and while I love them, it is nice to have a read once in a while that you know will be all done, all wrapped up in one sitting. Add in a protagonist that is every bit as compassionate as she is headstrong and smart, you have a story that was down right irresistible. 

I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed this and I can't even completely say why other than it was just really fun and downright entertaining. It wasn't a completely new concept but it was a well written one and that mattered more to me than anything else. These days having a read that is just good and gives me what I want just when I want it, seems to matter more than originality or unique design.

If you are looking for something that will let you get away for awhile, entertain, and just let you have a good time, this is the read for you. 

*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 23, 2017

Review: A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

Title: A Darkness Absolute
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Book Two in the Casey Duncan Series
Published By: Minotaur Books (February 7, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
The follow-up to #1 NYT bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s acclaimed City of the Lost, Rockton town detective Casey Duncan makes a terrible—and dangerous—discovery in the woods outside of town.

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers. 

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that...before another victim goes missing.

Casey Duncan returns in another heart-racing thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

I was hooked on this series after reading the first book and was so eager to get my hands on this and start it right away. By the time I had finished the last page, I knew that I had come across a series that was every bit as unique and original and well written as they get.

Once again Armstrong has managed to write something that stands out and demands to be taken notice of. With characters that are every bit as dangerous and disarming and they are charming and endearing. 

There is something so backwards yet fascinating about the town they live in. The rules they abide by and of course the people who are chosen to live there.

This series, in a word is addicting. I have a hard time putting it down each time I pick it up and was left feeling almost bereft when I was pulled away from it and had to wait hours before I could pick it up again.

I am was truly like an addict waiting for their next hit. Itching to open the pages again and immerse myself once again in the crazy town of Rockton and all that happens there.

With a romance that light enough to not over shadow the true heart and mystery of the story but present enough to warm your toes and melt your heart, this series really does have a bit of it all. 

I am so sad I will have a long wait until the next book comes out, I wanted this story, these characters to last forever and will be on pins and needles waiting for the next one.

*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 20, 2017

Review: The Turn by Kim Harrison

Title: The Turn

Author: Kim Harrison
Series: Prequel to the Hollow Series
Published By: Gallery Books (February 7, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Kim Harrison returns to her beloved Hollows series with The Turn, the official prequel to the series that will introduce fans and readers to a whole new side of Rachel Morgan's world as they've never seen it before!

Can science save us when all else fails?

Trisk and her hated rival, Kalamack, have the same goal: save their species from extinction.

Death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government's new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague takes the world, giving the paranormal species an uncomfortable choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or to show themselves in a bid to save them.

Under accusations of scientific misconduct, Trisk and Kal flee across a plague torn United States to convince leaders of the major paranormal species to save their supposedly weaker kin, but not everyone thinks humanity should be saved.

Kal surreptitiously works against her as Trisk fights the prejudices of two societies to prove that not only does humanity have something to offer, but that long-accepted beliefs against women, dark magic, and humanity itself can turn to understanding; that when people are at their worst that the best show their true strength, and that love can hold the world together as a new balance is found.

Being a huge Hollows fan I was very eager to get the story behind the turn which is why I didn't even hesitate to pick The Turn up.

With it's familiar world and characters, it wasn't hard to jump right in. And while it did take me a moment or two to adjust to the different characters and the point of view not being Rach's, it really was fun seeing some familiar faces and some familiar places. 

I absolutely loved seeing where is all began and how exactly it all began and of course seeing some familiar faces (Al!) was just so much fun.

It was so interesting to see the rivalries and the relationships that came about and of course where the Hollows was (or wasn't yet as this case may be) in the 60's versus when the first book takes place. Trent's parents were...well interesting and while I can't say I ever liked his dad, I will say that I liked Quin and his mom more so than ever and of course Al! So good to see that he was the demon we've all come to know and even love from the very beginning. 

This was a fun addition to the series and I'm so glad we got this glimpse into it. It really does make me want to go back and read them all over again, or at the very least, to finally finish the series. 

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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

Title: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Book Eleven in the Charley Davidson Series
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin (January 24, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all. 

The Charley Davidson series is a series that will hook you from the very first book, heck, it will hook you from the very first chapter and as the series has progressed, that hook, that addiction, has only gotten better and even more addicting. 

Jones' eleventh book is every bit as good as it possible can be. After eleven books one would expect things to start to get to be too much or even too little but instead, each page is infused with just as much humor, fun, and adventure as always, not to mention one heck of a steamy romance. This truly is a series that has just gotten better with time.

Charley, Reyes and gang are some of my most favorite characters. With a plot line that always moves quickly and is always filled with the good stuff it truly is a series that is every bit as hard to resist as it is too put down. I always have to start this knowing that absolutely nothing else will get done that day until I have turned the very last page and wait for the next book begins. 

Where to start to review this one? It was emotional and so so, MUCH. So many things happened, so much once again is revealed and that freaking ending, that ending had to be the worst (and the best) yet. It is absolutely going to be torture waiting for book twelve. I can't even believe Jones tortures us the way she has over the course of this series but I, like many others, just keep coming back for more, we can't help ourselves, the allure of Reyes and Osh, Garret, Angel, and even Ubie, are just to much not too. I love all these characters even more so now and I truly am on edge 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, January 16, 2017

Review: Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn

Title: Martians Abroad
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Tor Books (January 17, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Sci Fi/Fantasy
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
A great new stand-alone science fiction novel from the author of the Kitty Norville series.

Polly Newton has one single-minded dream, to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. Her mother, the director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly's plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth—the one planet Polly has no desire to visit. Ever.

Homesick and cut off from her desired future, Polly cannot seem to fit into the constraints of life on Earth, unlike Charles, who deftly maneuvers around people and sees through their behavior to their true motives. Strange, unexplained, dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up. Charles may be right—there's more going on than would appear, and the stakes are high. With the help of Charles, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan so I went into this somewhat leery for what I was in for and with very little expectations one way or the other, which was probably a good thing honestly. Sometimes going into the unknown isn't a bad thing and with a genre that isn't a favorite, it can even be a good thing. 

While I did enjoy the otherworld aspect and details of what life on Mars and on space stations would be like, the plot did tend to be very slow moving for the first half of the book and never really picked up even when things did start to happen with the plot line. 

And while I could see some of the old cliches with the “new kids” going to a new school and the cliques that are sometimes associated with high school, for the most part, this wasn't anything unique other than where the “new kids” were from but it was very believable with the prejudices that still occur today with those that are labeled as different or other.

All in all this was an entertaining read even with the very slow pacing and ones that are fans of YA and coming of age stories with a twist of sci fi 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.*

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Title: By Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Harper Teen (January 31, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side? 

Any Kasie West book is hard to resist but throw in the setting and plot line for her latest, and for any book lover, it is downright impossible to say no to, which is why I didn't even think twice about getting it. West is an autobuy author for me, always has been and will continue to be so. Her latest book just reinforced for me why that statement is true.

I was expecting a fun light read filled with a heart stopping romance, with lovable, adorable characters and once again, West delivered. But this was also so much more than a good time. This felt believable and most of all with the beginning setting of being trapped in a library with a hot guy, also one most of us wouldn't mind happening to us in real life as well.

 Filled with tough issues, real life problems and so much more, West delivered in every way with her latest YA contemporary. It was one I plowed through in a matter of hours and one that left me with a warm feeling and a smile on my face. 

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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.

I loved Kemmerer's Elemental series and was excited last year when she came out with a new book but to say that book fell flat from her usual work is somewhat of an understatement. I'm really hoping this new release will be up to her usual standards and will be one that I will love. 

Book Description:

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Release Day Review: Poison's Kiss by Breeana Shields

Title: Poison's Kiss
Author: Breeana Shields 
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Random House For Young Readers (January 10, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves. This commercial YA fantasy is romantic and addictive like-- a poison kiss-- and will thrill fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. 

With a description that insinuates that both fans of Maas and Aveyard will love this debut novel, it was hard to not want to pick it up. Add in the eye catching cover and the alluring synopsis and it was pretty much hard for me to resist at all and I didn't find myself wanting to. So with fingers crossed I downloaded this and dove in. 

And while this was an imaginative it was also weirdly addicting. Even though it truly wasn't anything unheard of in the world of YA, it was very well written and executed and I found myself quickly turning the pages wanting more as the story went. With slight twists and turns and a romance that was sweet, this really was a fun read and one that I don't regret reading in the slightest. 

*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 9, 2017

Review: Roseblood by A.G. Howard

Title: Roseblood
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Amulet Books (January 10, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Retelling/Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known. 

With Howard's imaginative take on Alice in Wonderland with her Splintered series, it wasn't a surprise that I would want to see what she could do with another classic like Phantom of the Opera. A classic already riddled with dark intent, mystery, and an obsession that bordered the line of love and hate and most of all one that transcended time.

I wouldn't of expected anything short of fabulous and anything less than the strange, unusual, and the fantastical. 

Howard has a skill to not only recreate a classic but completely twist it up and give it not only a darker edge but one that makes it feel completely new. She never fails to create something almost unimaginable and yet so very believable all at the same time. Something beautiful and almost poetic in execution and design. 

This was a beautiful story that held true to the classic but still managed to hold up as its own story and was every bit as enchanting as the classic. 

*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 6, 2017

Review: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Title: A Perilous Undertaking
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Book Two in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery Series
Published By: Berkley Books (January 10, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Mystery
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries... 

London, 1887 . . Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman's noose in a week s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer. 

But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. 

From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed.... 

The Veronica Speedwell Mysteries, likes it predecessor The Lady Julia Gray Series, has quickly become a favorite. It has absolutely everything I loved about Raybourn's Lady Julia series except for all of the March's themselves but Veronica and Stoker are quite a match for Julia and Nicholas. 

The first book was so much fun and I knew I had found a new love in the series, spin off or not and with this second book, it just proves that I was not wrong in the slightest. 

Full of all the things I loved about the first book, this truly was so much fun. Filled with intrigue, danger, a mystery that kept me on my toes, and Raybourn's wonderful prose and feisty women, I couldn't help but be enchanted. 

This series is truly is vastly becoming a favorite and one I look forward to each new release. 

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

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review: City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

Title: City of the Lost
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Book One in the Casey Duncan Series
Published By: Sphere (January 2, 2016)
Source: Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author Kelley Armstrong delivers us to Rockton, a secret little town in the far north where the hunted go to hide. And where a hunter has now come to play.

Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. Since then she’s become a talented police detective, tethered only to her job, her best friend, Diana, and the occasional evening with her sexy, no-strings-attached ex-con lover, Kurt. But then Diana's abusive ex finds her again, despite all Casey has done to help her disappear. And Casey’s own dark past begins to catch up with her. The two women need to run—and Diana’s heard of a place where they won’t be found, a town especially for people like them…

I've been a fan of Armstrong's since first reading her YA series way back when and as my tastes have changed and grown and I finally branched out to her adult books, that love has never faltered. 

She is a fantastic writer, one that keeps you at the edge of your seat completely entertained and completely enthralled. When I saw a new thriller mystery from her set in an usual setting with characters ever bit as unique, I knew it was something that I needed to try.

I got every single thing from this book that I have come to expect from Armstrong's writing. An original storyline, uncharacteristic characters, and a mystery that kept me not only guessing but turning the pages.

It was hard not falling in love with the foul mouthed surly Dalton and the headstrong and smart Casey as well as the very rustic and slightly off town of Rockton. If you want something different, something different from the norm but so well written and plotted that it is every bit as believable as it is addicting, this is the story for you. I am completely hooked and 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.*