Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Title: Wildfire
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Book Three in the Hidden Legacy Trilogy
Published By: Avon (July 25, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke. 

It is so hard going into what you know will be the last book in a series. You want to both devour the sucker and take your time and make it last forever. 

This series was one that, from the moment I picked up book two, so was very thankful that I had book two and three, because I needed more. It was so addicting in all it's Rogan and Nevada goodness that I just couldn't help myself. 

I don't want to go into any of the details but I will say that Nevada is even more kick butt as she slowly discovers what she can do and is capable of while still trying to stay the person that she is and being able to take care of her family and still have Rogan be a part of her's as well as dealing with all that her magic entails. She is one feisty kick butt heroine that is full of duty and full of heart and I adored her throughout this whole series. She has stayed constant and true to who she is no matter what the circumstances. 

And Rogan has of course, continues to be, well Rogan with maybe just a little bit more softness around the edges but still as strong and tough as ever. I loved seeing a bit more of a softer side to him ever now and then, it was nice but still made him ever bit of the bad a$& that we've come to  know and love. 

I loved how this ended. That while it was a conclusion to the story line, it was also a new beginning and yes, there is a part of me, maybe even a big part of me, that hopes that slightly open new beginning ending,  could lead somewhere down the road to a continuation of the series. 

Wonderfully written, plotted, and executed, this was a series worth waiting for.

*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 20, 2017

Review: Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price

Title: Grave Ransom
Author: Kalayna Price
Series: Book Five in the Alex Craft Series
Published By: Penguin Books (July 31, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:
In the thrilling fifth book in the USA Today bestselling Alex Craft series, Alex comes face to face with the walking dead.

Grave witch Alex Craft is no stranger to the dead talking. She raises shades, works with ghosts, and is dating Death himself. But the dead walking? That’s not supposed to happen. And yet, reanimated corpses are committing crimes across Nekros City.

Alex’s investigation leads her deep into a web of sinister magic. When Briar Darque of the Magical Crimes Investigation Bureau gets involved, Alex finds herself with an unexpected ally of sorts. But as the dead continue to rise and wreak havoc on the living, can Alex get to the soul of the matter in time? 

There are very few series that focus heavily on the fae that hold my interest and yet, The Alex Craft series has from the very beginning and with each new installment, I still can't seem to get enough of it. I think the blend of witch craft, a different kind of supernatural world, and of course the fae, all somehow make such an interesting read that I can't help but be sucked in by it. And while this series isn't unique in design, it does have some very unique elements and therefore, holds its own in the urban fantasy genre.

With a rag tag bunch of friends and people who aren't quite friends and not quite enemies, this series really is a fun one. With old faces (yay Briar!), new adventures, and a little bit of heartbreak along the way, this was a solid addition to the series and while I still wish somethings about Alex, would finally be mentioned and cleared up, it was nice to see Alex develop her powers and use them in new unexpected ways. 

With an ending that was less than happily ever after, it will be interesting to see where the author takes Alex, her love interests, and her friends next. This continues to be a series that I can count on for a fun time and will always give me a bit of the unexpected and unanticipated. 

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Discussion Post: Have Your Tastes Changed?

It occurred to me the other day when I was making my reading summer list how much over the past few years my tastes in books and genres have changed.

There was a time when I read nothing but mysteries and while I still love a good thriller or mystery, it seems more often than not, if I do make time to read one, it isn't strictly a mystery anymore. It has some supernatural or paranormal element to it. I use to read Mary Higgins Clark like it was crack, now, not so much. Is it because her writing has deteriorated or it is because my tastes have changed? I still love mysteries so what is my problem?

Same goes with romance. I think we all go through a romance stage. For me, it was Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson, I read every single romance they had and would be on edge waiting for their next release, now...I can't even remember when I last read one of their books, let alone a book that was strictly a "romance novel". 

Isn't it funny how our tastes change and grow over time?

I also think over time, as I've read more book I've become more picky. I know books that I read even two years ago that I gave five stars to, today if I read them I would only give them four. Why is that? Did my taste change or did those really good writers some how sway other work for me, as in, I don't think it was/is as good as theirs therefore I wouldn't rate it as high now. Have I become a book snob?

Ahhh the great mysteries of life. 

So what about you? Have you noticed a trend in your reading habits? Do you still read the same genres you always have or have they changed? Have you branched out or do you stick with what you like and love?

Along with genres, I can say the same about authors too. I use to read anything Charlaine Harris and Jeanine Frost wrote and now I don't even get excited when they get a new release. Is it the vampire thing and being so over it or something else?

I will say this though, no matter how much my reading habits have changed and how much I have branched out and tried over the years, especially since blogging, I am thankful that there are so many genres and new authors to try. 

Even five years ago, I never would have imagined I would like historical romance so much or UFs or PNR but here I am, reading them like crazy. And my once YA phase...not so much now. With a few exceptions of series and authors, I don't read this genre as much as I once did. Heck, there was a time when there was nothing but YA on here and very little anything else.

Anyways, apparently these are the things I think about when I should be writing a review and am stalling for time. ;) But I really am curious how much your reading habits have changed over time, either since you started blogging or just because, share with me, curious minds want to know! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

Title: The Garden of Small Beginnings
Author: Abbi Waxman
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Berkley Books (May 2, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Women's Fiction
My Rating: 5 Solid Stars!

Book Description:
Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not… 

It isn't often anymore that I connect so well with the characters of a story that they truly not only seem like friends and family, but that I'm so sad when it is over because it means that I will never see them again. It is also rare that I stay up late into the night reading because I love the story and characters so much and yet, Abbi Waxman managed to do both of those things for me with her debut novel The Garden of Small Beginnings.

I am so glad that Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings recommended me this story because honestly, I was asked to read it before and turned it down because it sounded sad and a bit depressing and while there are sadder moments in this story, it is about grief after all, there are so many happy and funny moments that they outshine anything else. 

I connected with this story, right from the beginning on a level that I honestly, wasn't expecting. I teared up, I laughed, I cried, I smiled but most of all through it all, I was rooting for every single character I met (expect maybe Dirto).

This wasn't a story about one women but instead a story about many people. Diverse people that come together in a tiny space of time and truly become so much more to each other. In fact, they become so much more than friends but instead, a family. A very diverse, crazy family and it couldn't have been more beautiful. 

Waxman created something beautiful in this story, so much more than how to move on or about grief. It's about being strong when you have to but realizing you don't always have to be strong. About coping and growing and becoming something so much more than you were before. Truly one of the best stories I've read in a really long time.

*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 6, 2017

Review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White

Title: Now I Rise
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Book Two in the Conqueror's Saga
Published By: Delacorte Press (June 27, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

There is nothing so alluring and so addicting as a fierce strong heroine that doesn’t take crap from anyone.

White has managed to not only put a remarkable and utterly believable twist on history in her character Lada (think Vlad the Impaler here) but has also managed to make her completely lovable in all her wickedness and harsh ways. Someone that isn't necessarily endearing but instead captivating. Fascinating simply because you never know what she will do next to prove herself and show the world the fierce, smart, and strong woman that she is in a world run completely by men. 

She is a no hold, balls to the wall kind of girl and it is hard not to fall in love with that ferocity that she shows the world and the determination that she has to take what is rightfully hers. With each new step in her journey, each new chapter in her story, I fall more and more in love with White's ability to twist this story into something new and unique. Something bloody and battle worn but also something beautiful and hopeful and with a heroine that is every bit as determined as she is feared by those around her.

What I love most about this series though is that White isn't afraid to tell it how it is, darkness and all. She gets her hands dirty and things aren't pretty. This is not a book of romance or of fun. It is a brutal trying time filled with a whole lot of death and blood, murder and deceit. There is very little happiness and no sunshine or rainbows. What it is instead is imaginative, captivating, and undeniably addicting, this story is truly something you don't want to miss out 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, June 5, 2017

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Title: Ash and Quill
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Book Three in the Great Library Series
Published By: Berkley (July 11, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
The unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire unite to save the Great Library of Alexandria from itself in this electrifying adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny....

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library....

This series continues to blow me away and cause me to read late into the night. Every time I start it I just know that I am in for something different and so well written that the hours reading it will just fly by and yet, by the end, it is never enough. I am always left wanting more and wondering how in the world Caine does it.

How did she come up with this imaginative yet so realistic world that is both utterly terrifying in it's realism as it is beautiful in it's unique imagery. 

With words that seem to flow right off the page and leave you grasping the air for more.

I am truly breathless while reading this, either because I am holding my breath on edge as to what will happen next or because I have suddenly lost all thoughts and the ability to breath because I am so immersed in the story and the knowing the danger that is right around the next bend.

Caine amazes me with just how well this story works. How believable it is and how utterly captivating. It sucks you in and refuses to let go. Truly a storyline that sticks with you and characters that are just as much diverse as they wonderfully unique and fleshed out. It has quickly become and will stay a favorite of mine from her and one for all ages, young and older alike. 

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