Friday, September 29, 2017

Top Books I Read This Summer But Never Reviewed Here

So I would like to say I post a review here every time I read a book but the (very) sad FACT IS I don't, even when that book is fabulous. I do try to post on Goodreads and Amazon (when I remember Amazon) though because I think the author deserves that much but when it comes to here, not so much. 

So I thought it might be fun to post those top reads I read this summer that I absolutely loved but didn't get around to posting about here but that definitely deserve some love. 

Even though this hasn't been my genre lately, I took a chance and read this, and oh boy, did I love it. Like, love loved it. Seriously read this one, you won't regret it. 

And of course because I tried her YA book, I had to look into more of her reads which leaves this series. To imagine, I almost overlooked this series and I don't even know why I did other than the simple fact that book three is so hard to find and very expensive in kindle format but because I loved the first two, I broke down and got a copy anyway. I don't regret it. I still have the last book to read but so far, I have loved them all, even the novella. There is just something about UF that has a family dynamic (even one made up of friends), that  I just adore.

This next series is another that I overlooked (silly me) because I loved it too! Seriously, so much fun. Why do I overlook all these fabulous reads? 

After having fallen in love with The Bourbon Thief earlier, I had to try something else by this author and her next book, did not disappoint. I love the mystery and drama in these, so much fun.

This next one is labeled as YA but it is more historical and a mystery than anything else. Yes the main characters are teenagers but they don't act like them, maybe because this takes place during WWII? I don't know, either way it was a fun read and took me a little by surprise with it's originality. 

I love the In Death series but I'm seriously behind on them. I think the series is over 40 books strong and I haven't even made it to 20 yet but I do love Eve and Roarke and I truly do try to make time for them when I can.

This next series I am deliberately behind on. Why you ask? because I save them for when I really need a laugh. This series never fails to crack me up and put a huge smile on my face, I love them all and it has some of the best fleshed out characters I have ever read. They are all so lovable and memorable. I actually read three of these over the summer, I couldn't help myself I wasn't ready to put the series back down yet. I loved all three of them and was tempted to pick up the next but I resisted, just barely though.

This is one I couldn't resist reading (I actually just read it, so not quite over summer but close). It is a beautifully written ghost story with just the right amount of historic detail (set in the early '20's) and romance to keep me up late turning the pages.

You know those YA cliches that you tell yourself you are over with? Well, this is a case of those cliches, through and through and yet, I wanted to continue reading this story so on a whim late one night, I picked up this book and, I'm (almost) ashamed to admit, I had a really hard time putting it down. I once again fell right back into the story and all the tropes and cliches didn't even matter anymore, I was sucked in. *sigh* Now I have to finish the darn trilogy and novellas, all because I need more. Plus, I just saw on Goodreads that a fourth book is planned for early next year... so yeah, darn the author. 

I wasn't too sure about this series but I have yet to read anything by Caine that I haven't really liked so I gave it a chance. Book one was good but book two was even better. So glad I gave it a chance. 

So that's it for this summer, at least I think so. I could add so many books over the years that I've read and never reviewed here, it is so shameful but what's a girl to do right? I can't review them all! Well I could but who has time for that some weeks?

So are you guilty of this too, please say you are because if not, I will feel even worse and you don't want that now do you? ;) 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Blog Tour and Book Review: A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray

I'm excited to be a part of this tour because, this seems to be the year for historical fiction, whether mysteries or romances, you name it, there are some amazing books out there and this series truly was a treat to discover and kept me turning the pages up until the very end. 

Title: A Strange Scottish Shore
Author: Juliana Gray
Series: Book Two in the Emmeline Truelove Series
Genre: Historical Mystery/Fiction
Published By: Berkley Books
Release Date: September 19, 2017

Book Description:
Scotland, 1906. A mysterious object discovered inside an ancient castle calls Maximilian Haywood, the new Duke of Olympia, and his fellow researcher Emmeline Truelove, north to the remote Orkney Islands. No stranger to the study of anachronisms in archeological digs, Haywood is nevertheless puzzled by the artifact: a suit of clothing, which, according to family legend, once belonged to a selkie who rose from the sea in ancient times and married the castle’s first laird.

But Haywood and Truelove soon discover they’re not the only ones interested in the selkie’s strange hide, and when their mutual friend Lord Silverton vanishes in the night from an Edinburgh street, the mystery takes a dangerous turn through time, which only Haywood’s skills and Truelove’s bravery can solve… 

About the Author:

Juliana Gray is the pen name of New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams. She lives near the Connecticut shore with her long-suffering husband, two scheming cats, a beagle of dubious origins, and four largely unsupervised children.

I very rarely pick up books out of order in a series but since time was short and I really wanted to read this, I took a chance and dove right into the somewhat murky waters that is this series. 

Being that I at the time was craving the historical setting of Scotland, it was hard to resist such a story. I can say without a doubt that while I don't like just diving into a series, I did so with this one with relative ease and little discomfort. 

What I didn't expect was this not to be your typical historical mystery. Oh no, not by a long shot. With the added supernatural theme, a romance that is every bit as swoon worthy as you would expect from this time, and an unexpected time traveling element, this book kept me on my toes in a very good way. 

Overall it was a delightful read that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson

Title: Of Flame and Fate
Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Book Eight in the Weird Girls and Book Two in the Flame Series
Published: September 26, 2017
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.

I should have known once I picked this up, there would be no stopping. No breaks from the world that Cecy so meticulously and lovingly created, nor break from the onslaught of emotions it would bring with it.

Cecy's books never cease to bring out an array of emotions and feels in me. It just is something I have come to expect from her but I don't think any of her past books have quite brought out the emotions in me that this one did.

While I still smiled and laughed throughout this story, for the most part, this installment was darker than ever before and more often than not I was sad or angry at what was going on and wanted so much more for my beloved characters. 

As this series has progressed and the danger along with it, so have the characters. They have grown stronger and more sure of what has to be done than ever before. But along with that growth comes the certainty that their life is hard and at most times, unfair and with that realization, on both the characters and us the readers part, I think it brings a hint of despair to the story line. A hint of almost a depressed feeling, a hint of anger for all of us. Will they ever catch a break?

And while I felt that way through most of the story, I still devoured it. Still loved it and still flipped the pages and read as fast as I possible could because darkness or not, this story, this series, is still one of my top ten favorite UF series out there. I love everything about it and am always eager to get the next installment. 

I truly hope things get better for this beloved bunch, but either way, I will be there every step of the way with them, good or bad. 

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: The Hunt by Chloe Neill

Title: The Hunt
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Book Three in the Devil's Isle Series
Published By: Berkley Books (September 26, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires Novels--the hunter becomes the hunted in a New Orleans devastated by a Paranormal war....

When bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered that Claire Connolly was a Sensitive and infected with magic, he should have turned her in to be locked up in the prison district known as Devil's Isle. Instead, he helped her learn to control her power and introduced her to an underground group of Paranormals and humans who know the truth about the war and those who fought it. 

Now the weight of Liam's own secrets has forced him into hiding. When a government agent is killed and Claire discovers that Liam is the prime suspect, she races to find him before the government can. But she'll discover proving his innocence is no simple matter. Their enemies are drawing closer, and time is running out.... 

Picking up one of Neill's books is a lot like coming home. It is so good to see familiar cherished faces and a setting that is every bit as appealing and beautifully described as the plot is entertaining and hard to forget. In short, a place you don't mind going to time and time again and in fact, wish you could visit more often. A place you love and think about even when you aren't immersed in the world that she has created.

That is what it has been like each time I have picked up a book in the Devil's Isle series. A place I can't wait to go back to with characters that are so easy to like and love and a setting that is downright mystical and alluring. And with the way book two ended, I couldn't get my hands on this fast enough. 

Once again Neill entranced me with her writing and I easily fell into the story and into the very heart of NOLA itself. 

Neill once again brings both the mystery and supernatural element of this series to the very front and center with just enough romance to add that little something extra to the story but not overshadow everything else going on. With creatures and people unlike any others, this was every bit as entertaining and fun as it's predecessors. With more of Claire's history slowly unfolding and her abilities growing stronger all the time she really is becoming the warrior that we saw in the very beginning and then some. And with even more danger and war on the horizon, the next installment is promising to be every bit as good as the others. 

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: The Trust by Ronald H. Balson

Title: The Trust
Author: Ronald H. Balson
Series: Book Four in the Liam and Catherine Series (but can be read as a stand alone)
Published By: St. Martin's (September 19, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Murder Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
The newest novel from the author of Once We Were Brothers finds private investigator Liam Taggart returning to his childhood home for an uncle's funeral, only to discover his death might not have been natural.

When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral—a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members? 

As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.

Five top reasons you should read the Trust by Ronald H. Balson:

1. You love a good setting and what could be better than the lush land of Ireland?
2. Characters that are fleshed out, captivating and completely complex but still down to earth and believable. 
3. You love a good murder mystery.
4. You like a little bit of history mixed in with your fiction. I love how this story interwove the mystery of Liam's uncles death and the horrible chaos and strife that still runs rampant through Ireland. 
5. You never know what to expect. Just when you think you've learned it all, that all has been revealed, something new surfaces and you feel like you are right back at the beginning of the mystery but in a very good way. 

Overall this story was riveting and not at all what I was expecting. I am definitely intrigued to try the others he has written that involve both Liam and his wife Catherine. 

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: Whispers of Warning by Jessica Estevao

Title: Whispers of Warning
Title: Jessica Estevao
Series: Book Two in the A Change of Fortune Series
Published By: Berkley Books (September 19, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Mystery/Paranormal
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
The latest in a dazzling new historical mystery series featuring Ruby Proulx, a psychic with a questionable past who suddenly finds her future most uncertain…

Partially reformed con artist Ruby Proulx is starting to feel at home in her aunt’s seaside hotel. She loves the feeling of being rooted in one place and also feels a sense of purpose as she helps her aunt keep her business afloat by acting as a psychic medium for the hotel’s metaphysically inclined guests.

When one of the guests, renowned Spiritualist and outspoken suffragist Sophronia Foster Eldridge, checks into the hotel for a month-long stay, Ruby finds her sense of purpose expand outside the confines of home and family. Sophronia takes Ruby under her wing and mentors her in the mediumistic abilities, encouraging her to work for a woman’s right to vote. But not everyone is as happy with Sophronia’s appearance in Old Orchard. When her body is found floating in the saltwater plunge pool of a local bathhouse, Ruby takes it upon herself to solve the murder, and in the process learns that Sophronia was hiding some secrets of her own.

I was eagerly awaiting the release to the sequel Whispers Beyond the Veil. Having loved Estevao's debut historical mystery, I couldn't wait for more. 

I can say with absolutely conviction the Whispers of Warning was everything I was hoping it would be. A touch of mystery. A hint of danger, and the historical feel that I most certainly crave with a slight edge of the paranormal to really keep things interesting. 

I plowed through this faster than I did the first and soaked up every atmospheric line and page. It truly was such a delight and unlike most mysteries I read, one that truly kept me on my toes and guessing right up to the reveal of whodunnit. 

Estevao once again impressed me with her beautiful prose, wonderful seaside setting and her way of weaving accurate historical detail in with the fiction and paranormal that I so dearly crave. I couldn’t of been happier or more satisfied with how it all came together. My only regret, is that it will be a very long wait until Ruby's next adventure. 

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus
Author: Ryan Graudin
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Little Brown Books For Young Readers (September 26, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Sci Fi/Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

When I saw this one Netgalley I was immediately intrigued by it. I am inexplicably drawn to books about time travel. The allure of being able to wrong past mistakes and take in a part of history that we would never experience otherwise has always been something I've been fascinated by. Add in a small dose of sci fi and characters that you can't help but be drawn to and Invictus surprised me in the best ways possible. 

Truly from the alluring prologue this story captured my attention and refused to let go. Instead, one chapter turned into two and before I knew it I was reading late into the night and unable to fall asleep until my eyes grew so heavy I had no choice but to put it down and even then I resisted the Sandman's charm with superhuman strength I didn't even know I possessed.

This series was so much fun. From the characters to the whole time travel aspect to the sci fi appeal of what the future could be like if we're not careful to the mystery of Faraway and Eliot themselves, it was so addicting and so very hard to put down.  I was enthralled with the it all and once again I find myself being blown away by a story that not only took me by surprised but made me excited about this genre again. 

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

Friday, September 1, 2017

Review: Odd and True by Cat Winters

Title: Odd & True
Author: Cat Winters
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Amulet Books (September 12, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Historical/Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

I've always loved Winter's stories. The pure imagination that goes behind them as she merges both a historical feel and a paranormal element to every tale she weaves. Her latest, True and Odd Tales has to be one of my favorites yet.

Told in both Tru and Od's point of view as it weaves both through the past and present tenses, this story magical unfolds as each girl comes to find out not only about herself and their family secrets but about their past as well and what it means to be a Lowenherz  and the legacy that was left for them. 

I love that this story isn't just about hunting monsters, in fact it isn't really about that at all. In truth it is a story about growing up and dealing with the situation and circumstances that both Tru and Od have to go through as they get older, grow up and really learn about their family secrets. It's about Tru dealing with being crippled by Polio and Od's adventures, heartache, and having to deal with being the older sister and everything that comes with a family that isn't all that it seems and has secrets not only from the girls, but from each other as well. 

This was a fabulous coming of age story rip with intrigue and mystery and just enough of a touch of the maybe paranormal to get fans of both genres interested and curious and eagerly turning the pages. 

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