Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

Title: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow
Author: Mary Weber
Series: Book One in the Evaporation of Sofi Snow Series
Published By: Thomas Nelson (June 6, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Sci Fi/Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.

I normally am not one that is huge on sci fi, in any sub genre, but when I saw that Weber had a new book out, sci fi or not, I knew I had to read it.

I'm so very glad that I did because once again Weber shows us that the woman can write. She can create worlds whether, fantasy or science fiction, and make them completely believable. With characters that are lovable every bit as they are determined, single minded and fierce in doing what needs to be done, darn the consequences.

This was a fun read and one that I didn't struggle with at all, which was a relief because once I got into the story, it wasn't hard at all to want to shut out the outside world and read until I was done.

Set in a futuristic, almost game like feel to it, this was so easy to get into. With scientific jargon that wasn't complicated or hard to understand, instead you flowed easily right into the heart of the story which, like most of Weber's book, was full of secrets and lies and riddled with hidden agendas and mystery. 

All in all a wonderful story that will stuck you in and leave you wanting 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.*

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mini Review: Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon

Title: Valley of the Moon
Author: Melanie Gideon
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Ballantine Books (June 6, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Women's Fiction/Time Travel
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
The author of the critically acclaimed Wife 22 has written a captivating novel about a love that transcends time--perfect for readers of The Time Traveler's Wife, Time and Again, and the novels of Alice Hoffman. 
San Francisco, 1975. A single mother, Lux Lysander is overwhelmed, underpaid, and living on the edge of an emotional precipice. When her adored five-year-old son goes away to visit his grandparents, Lux takes a solo trip to Sonoma Valley--a chance to both lose herself and find herself again. 
Awakened at midnight, Lux steps outside to see a fog settled over the Sonoma landscape. Wandering toward a point of light in the distance, she emerges into a meadow on a sunny day. There she meets a group of people whose sweetly simple clothing, speech, and manners almost make them seem as if they are from another time. 
And then she realizes they are. 
Lux has stumbled upon an idyllic community cut off not only from the rest of the world but from time itself. The residents of Greengage tell a stunned and disoriented Lux that they've somehow been marooned in the early twentieth century. Now that she has inexplicably stepped into the past, it is not long before Lux is drawn in by its peace and beauty. 
Unlike the people of Greengage, Lux discovers that she is able to come and go. And over the years, Lux finds herself increasingly torn between her two lives. Her beloved son is very much a child of the modern world, but she feels continually pulled back to the only place she has ever truly felt at home. 
A gorgeous, original, and deeply moving novel about love and longing and the power that time holds over all of us, Valley of the Moon is unforgettable. 

Praise for Valley of the Moon .

A beautifully rich story told through time, both past and present with a love story that isn't your typical love story. 

Valley of the Moon was something unexpected, that swept me away into another time, both Lux's present and Lux's past. A story about a strong young women who doesn't quite fit into the time she was born, who is strong and fierce and hard working. A women that will steal your heart as you journey with her not only through time but through her struggles in the modern world and a world that is not her own. As she tries to come to terms with being a women, a mother, and a friend and leaving a man behind that she feels she is destined to be with.

Truly a remarkable story that will keep you turning the pages and wanting more. 

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Summer Reading List, Recommendations, and What Will You Be Reading?

With school about two weeks shy of being out and summer break just over the horizon, I thought this year it would be fun to actually have a place where I not only get some good recommendations for what to read, but also make a list of those books I want to (finally in some cases) get to. 

After seeing Rummanah Aasi's Summer Reading Plan, I decided she was brilliant and I too needed a list, because, after all who doesn't like checking things off a list?

So this is where I will be posting all those books I finally want to read this year but the fact is, most of them, the ones I always say I'm going to finally read, I can't remember. Call it an over taxed brain, or lack of sleep or maybe I'm just getting old, but I can't for the life of me, remember all the books I want to read this summer. So, that is where you, dear blogging friends, come in to play. Help me remember! Or better yet, just recommend me something that you've recently loved and I just must read. Sadly, more than likely I probably already own it somewhere on my kindle or bookshelf and have got forgotten about it. I should be embarrassed about that, but I'm not because there are worse things I could be spending my  money on and hoarding than books right? 

What I know I want to try this summer? This series by none other than writing duo Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I've heard so many great things about it, I think it is about time I try it.

My good friend Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings recommended me this book and when I was first approached to read and review it I turned it down because quite frankly it looked sad and I was so not in the mood for sad. But after she assured me it was so worth it, I know I want to read it now and have plans for it this summer.

This book doesn't even come out until almost the end of summer but it is the last in a series I've absolutely adored so I know I will be reading it as soon as it releases in August and I can't wait. It will be bittersweet to say the least.

I always say I'm going to finish this series and yet, I never make time for it. Well I think this summer is finally the summer I do it. At least keep your fingers crossed for me that I do. I loved the first book so I do't know what my problem is other than the love triangle maybe?

Yep, still not finished with this series but I'm almost there! Really only like, what four books to go. I can do it right? Plus if I'm being honest, I miss Rachel and Jinks!

I was thinking of starting this trilogy but I don't know. I'm afraid that I might have outgrown this genre for the most part so, if any of you have read it and loved it, let me know and I just might try it after all. 

And that is all that I can remember thinking I really wanted to try and I know, I know there are more. Gah! So this is where you come in, please recommend me something or if you remember me saying I wanted to try something you reviewed or read, let me know because seriously people, I'm drawing a blank and I so want a check list this summer. :D

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: Owl and the Electric Samurai by Kristi Charish

Title: Owl and the Electric Samurai
Author: Kristi Charish
Series: Book Three in the Adventures of Owl Series
Published By: Simon and Schuster (May 8, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
The third exciting novel starring the unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. From the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus) and for fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and fantasy lovers everywhere.

The International Archaeology Association (IAA) is responsible for keeping all things supernatural under wraps. They’re also responsible for ruining the promising archaeology career of Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl.

Needless to say, Owl’s still a little sore about that.

Just to keep Owl’s life lively, the IAA has opened a bounty on the two designers of World Quest, the online RPG that is much, much more than it seems. Owl needs to locate the notorious gaming duo before the other mercenaries do. But finding the gamers won’t be easy since every clue points to them hiding out in the legendary lost city of Shangri-La. Not to mention that the last time Owl and the game designers spoke, their conversation didn’t exactly end on the best note…

Meanwhile, undercurrents of supernatural politics are running amok in Tokyo, dragging Owl and her friends into a deadly game of wits with an opponent who calls himself the Electric Samurai. The cost of losing? All-out civil war between two powerful supernatural factions.

Who ever described Owl as a young female Indian Jones was so spot on, so much so that the person deserves a prize. There isn't a better phrase or a better character that comes to mind when I think of this series as a whole. It is just so much stinking fun. And like our beloved hero Indian Jones, you just know that with each new installment an exciting new adventure and outrageous predicaments are just around the corner. 

With danger, the odd supernatural, magic, and spells truly lurking in every dark and creepy crevice and cavern she can fin, this story keeps you on edge with one wild adventure after another. With just the right amount of romance to keep it interesting but not taking over the real heart of the story which truly is all about the escapades she can get herself into, and of course out of with the help of a whole lot of friends and friend-enemies a like. 

If you have been on the cusp of trying this series, my advice to you is this, step off that edge and do it. Fly face first, feet first, into the non-stop history, adventure, and fun that  inevitably awaits you. 

Be prepared though, this one ends on one heck of a cliffhanger. I 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, May 15, 2017

What Will You Be Binge Watching This Summer?

I thought it might be fun to do something a little different and talk about what we all do, well, most of us any ways. You know what I'm talking about, binge watching. Oh that evil Netflix and it's ways of luring us in with (what seems like) unlimited seasons of TV shows we've never watched before or old favorites we want to live all over again. You know what I'm talking about. 

Those shows that suck up our time and completely hook us. We all do it and once in awhile, we even need it. Just to get away into fantasy land with no worries, no troubles, and just escape with mindless entertainment. 

Summer is my favorite time of year to do this because even though I love being outside during the day and playing with my kids and reading, at night is always all about TV, especially staying up late into the night and then being able to actually sleep in in the mornings.

So with that said, what in the world are you planning on binge watching this summer?

It occurred to me (as all my favorite fall shows will be off the air soon), I need something new to watch. Either new to me or actually new to Netflix/Hulu so give it to me. What are your favorites, what do you plan on watching and most importantly, what do you recommend?

What I love about this blogging community is that not only do most of us love the same genres and authors, but we tend to love the same movies and shows too and it is so much fun to talk about all of them. 

So with that being said, just to get an idea of what I do watch, here are a few of my favorites lately:

Supernatural. I mean come on, what is there not to love about Sam and Dean?

A new one for me but one I've been loving, Man in the High Castle. I love this era and to see this weird twist on what happened during it has been so much fun. Be warned for you moms out there, it is TV-MA because it does have language so be aware of that when having little ones in the room. 

I'm so sad this show is over but I loved every single season of it and it was so much fun to watch. I definitely love the supernatural world, both in my books and my TV shows apparently. 

This show was an unexpected one for me. I wasn't even sure I was going to watch it but so many people were and once I started I knew why, this freaking show pulls at the heart strings. I have yet to see an episode that didn't either make me cry or bring tears to my eyes.

We started watching Psych when it first aired and faithfully watched it every week. When Netflix  showed it a couple of summers ago, we started watching it again with my kids and they too were hooked on it. I'm so sad it won't be on Netflix this summer and with the movie coming out in December, I'm hoping they will add it on there again. I love this show, it is just so funny. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it, Shawn and Gus are the perfect example of a bro-romance that works.

I'm not caught up on this show yet so I will be watching it this summer to catch up but I thought I better throw it in the mix too in case some of you have something else close to it that you recommend. This is another one of my favorite time periods and I love it. I did try Downton Abbey and didn't like it, too soap opera-ish for me but any other recommendations I would absolutely love to have!

Some other shows I've watched and really like are: Sherlock, Bitten, Haven, Castle, Lizzy Borden, iZombie, The Walking Dead,  American Housewife, Timeless, Charmed (still watching this one), Buffy (although I never finished this either), Gilmore Girls, Golden Girls (don't laugh, this show is so funny! I love Sophia). Hopefully that gives you an idea of what to recommend. ;) 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Title: White Hot
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Book Two in the Hidden Legacy Trilogy
Published By: Avon (May 30, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice … 

I'm starting to think that there is nothing that the writing duo that is the Andrews, can't do.

Magic, sexual tension, murders, secrets, action, a kick butt heroine and a heart stopping, heart pounding (sometimes) hero? You betcha, this book has it and then some. 

The Andrew's Kate Daniels series has always been one of my most favorite UF series but for whatever reason I've never really branched out with their writing, but this year I decided it was time to let the tree grow and see where those branches would take me. I'm so very glad I did because I can say without hesitation, that I've found a new trilogy to love from them. I'm actually so sad that this will only be a trilogy because after finishing this, I can already tell, I will want more than just three books. 

I don't even know where to begin to describe this series. It's just...hot. 

It has the right blend of fantasy and romance with a whole lot of mystery and danger. It truly is unbelievably hard to put down. There is a reason that this series as a whole, is rated as well as it is and talked about as much as it it. It is just so much darn fun. I just can't even. Read the series, you won't regret it for a moment. 

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Review: The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye

Title: The Crown's Fate
Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: Book Two in the Crown's Game Series
Published By: Balzer & Bray (May 17, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Fate is the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Crown’s Game, an atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia.

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

I fell in love with Skye's beautiful lyrical writing style in her debut novel Crown's Game last year and was eager to be thrown back into the magical setting that she had created and with the slightly cliffhanger ending, I was eager to know what would happen next. 

This was quite the sequel. It was both happy and sad, maddening and infuriating. Beautiful and heartbreaking. So many things happened, came to an ending and came to a beginning and I'm still not sure if all of it was breathtaking or a complete disaster. 

This was...I don't even know. It was good and then again it was sort of...lacking at the same time. It was wonderful and sort of not. I think part of me wanted more. More magic, less drama, more romance and less madness and anger.

Overall it was a story that captured my attention and while it maybe didn't quite live up the first book for me, it was still a pretty solid sequel and still a good story. 

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Release Day Review: Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

Title: Cold Summer
Author: Gwen Cole
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Sky Pony Press (May 2, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy/Time Travel
My Rating: 3.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future. 
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him. 

I'm not going to lie, the cover is what first drew me to this story, it is outright gorgeous and was pretty hard for me to resist. Once I read the description and saw that this would be told through the point of view of both a male and female I knew I needed to read it. Through in the time traveling aspect and I was sold. 

I'll tell you a little secret, I love books about time traveling but for whatever reason, they very rarely actually work for me. Either the concept of the actual time traveling is too tedious to understand or it isn't explained enough to make it believable and some how ends up ruining the story for me. But still, I am drawn to them and can't seem to resist them. So I'll admit, I went into this with absolutely no expectations at all and knowing this was the authors debit novel, I think they might even have been lower than usual, nothing against the author of course, you just never know what to expect from a first time book.

But you know what? This worked for me. Even if everything wasn't explained, it still just worked. I think I was so focused on the actual story and not the time traveling aspect and it just simply worked. It was pretty well written and even if nothing was ever explained completely, yeah, it worked.

This was a fun debut novel and one that I'm glad I took the chance and time on to read.

*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 1, 2017

Mini Review: The Innkeeper Chronicles Volume One by Ilona Andrews

Title: The Innkeeper Chronicles
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: InnKeeper Chronicles
Published By: Subterranean Press (May 31, 2017)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Meet Dina Demille, a nice Texas gal who runs a seemingly ordinary, quaint B&B.  But Dina’s inn is a magic, thinking entity; her fluffy Shih-tzu, Beast really is a beast; and her guests are the kind that no one on earth is supposed to know about:  guests like a dethroned galactic tyrant with a massive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced—and superhot—alpha-strain werewolf.  

So don’t expect a normal stay…and don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage….

In Clean Sweep, Dina—with the unwanted assistance of newcomer (and alpha werewolf) Sean Evans and Arland, a cosmic vampire soldier—takes on an extraterrestrial killing machine that could destroy her Inn, her neighbors, and everything she holds dear.

Sweep in Peace, finds Dina hosting an anything-but peace summit between three warring intergalactic species; Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char.  

One Fell Sweep sends Dina to the galaxy’s worst penal colony to rescue her sister; and back home to fend off a clan of assassins in pursuit, all while saving a guest’s civilization from annihilation…and searching for her missing parents.

Anyone that knows the writing greatness that is the duo Ilona Andrews knows that when you open up on of their stories you are in for a treat. 

I am so glad I read these three books as a whole because it would have been so hard to wait until each new one was released and of course, after finishing the third, I'm already anxious for the fourth. 

Andrews gave us a treat in this series. It is a bit of something different, something other, a bit of something dangerous, and a bit of something completely all its own and I just couldn't get enough of it.

I loved the play on the “traditional” versions of supernatural species with a whole new twist and spin and then the whole sci fi aspect, which admittedly doesn't usually work for me, but so did in this series. I truly had so much fun with it and I want more. 

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