Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

Title: The Lucky Ones
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Mira Books (February 13, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
They called themselves “the lucky ones.” They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast. Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.

Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She's determined to find out what really happened that fateful night--was it an accident or, as she's always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?

But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she'll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.

A vivid and suspenseful tale of family, grief, love—and the dark secrets that bind everything together—Tiffany Reisz’s latest is enthralling to the final page.

When you pick up one of Reisz's books you know that you are going to get something so well written that even the taboo and almost scandalous topics inside of it are going to be made into something you understand and almost support. She has a way with settings, words and people, that you forget wrong is right and right is wrong and yet despite all that, she still pulls off a wonderfully told, wonderfully narrated story that not only makes you think but brings out all the feels along the way.

She knows how to pull out all the stops and not throw her punches and that is true in her latest novel as well. She never ceases to make me gasp, cringe, and even be horrified at what humanity and the characters she has created are capable of and in most cases, even though evil deeds are done, wrongs have been made, and mistakes are around every corner, we love her characters all the more for them. 

If I said this book shocked me, I would be both lying and telling the truth. The fact is, I was expecting to be shocked and maybe even appalled by what I was about to read but I wasn't expecting to also be fascinated with the whys and hows and the what the heck did I just read feels. Truly Reisz's knows how to bring out all the emotions and which is why, she continues to excel in this genre and will forever be an auto-buy author for me.

I don't even want to go into detail about this read other than to say I loved it and fans, need to buy it, read it, devour it, you won't regret it. 

*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 26, 2018

Series and Trilogies I Really Am Hoping to Get Caught Up on This Year.

Sometimes my TBR pile feels endless and while that is a good thing because hey, it means I always have something to read, it isn't always so good because it also means those series and trilogies I started (ahem) years ago, are still left undone. As in, I'm so behind I really need to finish them already and/or get caught up. 

For the past couple of years I've done less ARCs and more books from my TBR pile, which has been amazing but still I somehow manage to start new series instead of finishing ones I've already started. Why is that? Am I crazy? Maybe.

So this year, as my one and only reading resolution, I've decided to try and concentrate on those series that really need some love. 

I'm sort of embarrassed to even list all the book series I have started and want to finish, because let's face it, I don't want to finish them all because some of them, I think I've grown out of (Sookie Stackhouse series I'm looking at you) but others I do still really love and really do want to make a better effort at reading them. 

So here is my tentative list of series I would really like to put a dent in this year. Some, like the In Death series would seriously take me years to catch up on but hey, I can try right?

1. The In Death Series by J.D. Robb. I adore this series but I am so very behind on it. I think there are over 40 books now in the series and I'm sadly on book 15 so there is probably no way I can get caught up but I can get closer right?

2. The Hollow series by Kim Harrison. I love this series and there are only 13 books and I'm on 9 but these books are seriously long and for whatever reason, love them or not, I can only take them in small doses (i.e. I usually can't read more than one or two at a time). But, I'm almost done so there is an end in sight. 

3. The Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne. This series is so much fun and I love that it is a UF told in the male perspective. I'm only on book three but I love it so far, I even own all the other books. I just need to make time to get caught up. 

3. The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. This was originally a trilogy with two novellas but I see on Goodreads now, it looks like after a long hiatus, the author has decided to make this trilogy into a six book series (The Immortal Instruments anyone?). Not sure how I feel about that but I do want to at least finish this last book and then see how I feel about the other afterward. I do love this series though, love triangle and all. 

4 The Monster Haven series by R.L. Naquin. This series is such a fun little quirky series and it only has 6 books ( and a couple of novellas) and I'm on book 4 so really, it won't take me long to get there, I just have to remember to read it. Sounds weird I know but for some reason, it is never my go to series and I can't say why since I really do have so much fun with it. 

5. The Dispossessed by Page Morgan. I started this trilogy last year and read book one and I really liked it. I would love to finish book two and three this year and be able to check it off the list. 

6. I first read the Winner's Trilogy when I got an ARC of the first book and I loved it, I really did but for some reason, I never continued this series. How sad is that? I really would like to but I know I will have to re-read the first because it has been way too long since I've read it and I think that is what is stopping me from continuing it. How sad (and lazy!) is that?

So that isn't too bad right, if you don't take into account that I'm about 30 books behind on the In Death series? Ha!  :P  

What about you, have any series you really wish you would just finish already?
I really do want to read as many of these as I can this year so wish me luck! 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: This Fallen Prey by Kelly Armstrong

Title: This Fallen Prey
Author: Kelly Armstrong
Series: Book Three in the Casey Duncan Series
Published By: Minotaur Books (February 6, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
When Casey Duncan first arrived at Rockton, the off-the-grid, isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect. There are no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. She certainly didn't expect to become the town homicide detective. But, the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned. And she never thought that she'd have to be responsible for him. 

The longer Oliver Brady stays in town, the more people seem to die around him. When evidence begins piling up that someone inside Rockton is working as his accomplice, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he's truly responsible for committing.

I've loved this series from the very first book, from the rawness of it right down to the crazy residents that reside in Rockton and after reading book three, I can say without a doubt, that this series is just getting even more awesome as it goes.

From a fast paced mystery to the slow burn of romance to the unusual setting and the even more unusual characters that make up Rockton, this series stand out and not only shines, but blinds.

I loved this latest installment even more than the others, and with five star ratings for the other two books, that is saying something. 

Casey, Eric, Will, they are all just more that ever before. More fleshed out, more lovable, more crazy and even more outstanding.  Mathias, Petra, Diana, Jacob, Val...heck all of the characters are just ones that are unforgettable and with that hint of never quite knowing who you can trust, this series is hard to put down and even harder to stop thinking about once you've picked it up. I simultaneously want to devour the books and make them last forever. 

So very much happens in this. More backgrounds are revealed and exposed, more trust is broken, more friendships are made, and more than ever it is getting harder and harder to know the good guys from the bad guys.

And while the big mystery was solved at the end, even smaller ones are just beginning and are unraveling and that makes this installment even more exciting and even harder to wait for the next. Armstrong is one author that will continue to be on my auto-buy list and one I can continuously count on not to disappoint. 

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

It is no secret that I'm a huge fan of Raybourns and her latest series is no exception to that love. Her Veronica Speedwell series has been a pleasant and fun surprise and the latest installment is one of the best yet. Full of fun, intrigue and a hint of romance, it is hard not to be left wanting more. 

I'm so excited to be a part of this blog tour and spread the love for this author and this series. If you are a fan of both mystery and historical, you need to read this series!

Title: A Treacherous Curse (Book Three in the Veronica Speedwell series)
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Published By: Berkley (January 16, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Book Description:
Members of an Egyptian expedition fall victim to an ancient mummy's curse in a thrilling Veronica Speedwell novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries. 

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .

About the Author:

A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

Sometimes it is easy to forget how much you love two characters until you are immersed back into their world and then all those old feelings and thoughts about them resurface and you remember why this is one of your most favorite series and some of your most favorite people.

Veronica and Stoker are those people for me. This series is just so much fun with the Victorian old world London setting, mystery, and of course the adventures that always await these two. Not to mention the chemistry between them is off the charts. 

I would say there is very little romance in this series, if any at all in fact and yet these two have such a passion, such a spark that it is hard to resist reading about them and not sensing it and just waiting for that spark to ignite and set fire to the world.

With nonstop action, mystery and intrigue, this really has become a favorite and a series that is just getting better and better with time. Fans of the genre really need to pick this up, because I can guarantee that this series will be one that will not disappoint. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Blog Tour Review: Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

I'm so excited to be a part of this tour, not only do I love this author but this time around she is not only writing a heart stopping romance but an action packed mystery as well and I couldn't be happier about it. You guys, it was so much fun and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Title: Keep Her Safe
Author: K.A. Tucker
Published By: Atria Books (January 23, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)

Book Description:
Noah Marshall has had a privileged life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years: she doesn’t deserve her commendations or her medals—in fact, she deserves to be locked behind bars for what she did to a fellow officer to save her own reputation. When she finally succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life, she leaves Noah alone to carry the burden of this shocking secret, which she makes him vow never to share.

Gracie Reynolds wasn’t born into trailer park life, but after ten years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that she is a byproduct of a white mother and a black father. And they certainly don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop. Here, she and her mother can almost forget the shame he brought upon them…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep one night, asking questions.

Together, Noah and Gracie set out to uncover the truth about the Austin police department’s dark and messy past­—but the scandal they uncover is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined. 

About the Author:

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. 

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 14 books, including Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water, and her latest Adult Suspense novel, He Will Be My Ruin. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. 

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.

K.A. Tucker has a wonderful ability to be able to completely capture you with her stories from the very first page down to the last. They are captivating, thrilling and will leave you with an ending that is always as every bit as satisfying as it was fulfilling. 

Her mysteries even more so.

I read a lot of mysteries and because I have for many years now, I've come to be able to predict a lot of what is going to happen in a story and sometimes that can leave the story lacking. But Tucker manages to keep me on my toes and even guessing until the very end and I couldn't love her more for it. 

I love a story that is not only a tad bit darker than I expected but also has a romance that is every bit as sweet as I expected and this story has it in ten fold. 

There is something about a good cop murder mystery that is so alluring and when I saw the synopsis for this I knew I had to read it and even though it was hard to put this down, I wanted to savor it as well and take it all in and adsorb every last word of it. 

Truly another wonderfully told, wonderfully written story that many are going to be captivated by. 

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

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Dear Dwayne, With Love by Eliza Gordon

Title: Dear Dwayne, With Love
Author: Eliza Gordon
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Lake Union Publishing (January 23, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Wannabe actress Dani Steele’s résumé resembles a cautionary tale on how not to be famous. She’s pushing thirty and stuck in a dead-end insurance job, and her relationship status is holding at uncommitted. With unbearably perfect sisters and a mother who won’t let her forget it, Dani has two go-tos for consolation: maple scones and a blog in which she pours her heart out to her celebrity idol. He’s the man her father never was, no boyfriend will ever be—and not so impossible a dream as one might think. When Dani learns that he’s planning a fund-raising event where the winning amateur athlete gets a walk-on in his new film, she decides to trade pastries and self-doubt for running shoes and a sexy British trainer with adorable knees.

But when Dani’s plot takes an unexpected twist, she realizes that her happy ending might have to be improvised—and that proving herself to her idol isn’t half as important as proving something to herself.

Must Love Otters and it's predecessor were such fun and quirky reads that I couldn't wait to delve back into the crazy characters that Gordon knows how to create and draw you in with. And from the very first chapter, it didn't take me long at all to see that Dear Dwayne, With Love was going to be just as quirky and fun and crazy as her other books and I couldn't of been more excited about it. 

I don't even know how to describe this, it really was so unique and just downright fun. I know I keep saying that word but it really is the best one possible to describe not only Dani's crazy obsession with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson but just about everything else that happens in this story.

Not only Dani's obsession but her inner monologue had me cracking up numerous times not to mention her imagined conversations with The Rock and her blog posts, seriously, crazy funny stuff.

I loved that not only was this about one woman’s crazy (and maybe over the top) obsession but it was almost like a coming of age story for Dani, even though she is well into her twenties and on her way to her thirties. I loved watching her grow, not only within herself, but with her family and friends as well and even though the whole “Mommy” thing still creeps me out when I think about it, it someone worked with the story and the madness that was Dani's whole family and life. 

Another great story from Gordon that will be sure to please all of her fans and to create some new ones along the way.

*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 3, 2018

Spotlight and Excerpt: The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam

I'm excited to bring you an excerpt  The Lost Season of Love and Snow. As you all know I love historical novels and this one looks like it will be so good. I love this time period of Imperial Russia because it was so fascinating and yet such a tragic time too. Filled with hate and death and so much turmoil. But there was love and goodness to and I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

Title: The Lost Season of Love and Snow
Author: Jennifer Laam
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin (January 2, 2018)

Book Description:
The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin. 

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. 

With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

About the Author:

JENNIFER LAAM is the author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar and The Tsarina’s Legacy. She earned her master’s degree in History from Oakland University in Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. She has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, traveled in Russia and Europe, and worked in education and non-profit development. She currently resides in Northern California.


From The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam. Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.
A man says he will die for you. A woman is taught to lower her gaze and blush before hiding once more behind a silken fan. Men are given to self-aggrandizement, while women flatter egos and keep men tied to this earth. Such is the way of the world, or so I was taught in the days before I gained a reputation as the villain of St. Petersburg.

I know better now.

When a man declares he will die for you, sometimes a woman must take him at his word. For to allow one’s husband to perish on the field of honor is a shameful affair, worse even, than murdering him by your own hand.

The solemn men who gather at our flat fall silent as my husband draws his final breath. A prickly chill, like the first wave of a fever, washes over me as I realize my husband is gone. The sorrow tightens my chest and clamps down, squeezing until I think my body will snap in two. I sway on my feet and believe I will faint. Only the invisible force of my will keeps me upright. Dark blood still seeps from his abdomen and a sharp metallic scent clings to the air.
For two days my husband had been one of the waking dead, suffering a cruel and lingering death. Though I was not present at the duel where he fought to defend my honor, the image of Alexander collapsing, his blood staining the snow crimson, haunts my every thought. I have slid into despair, veering between hysteria and hopelessness, while Alexander’s wound festered and his once vibrant face distorted with agony.

His friends stand in a semicircle around his body, backs erect, mouths set in stern lines, and expressions stoic even as their eyes dampen with tears.

“What a waste,” I hear one of them mutter. “A genius lost over a woman.”
The words echo in my head. I was the wife of a distinguished man of letters, the greatest in our land, and I let his life slip through my fingers. These men suppose I care only for material comforts and romantic diversions and don’t believe I possess the wits about me to appreciate my husband’s talent. Rumormongers have convinced them I love the empty-headed Georges d’Anthès or have fallen prey to the advances of our iron-jawed tsar. They consider my behavior traitorous, as terrible in its own way as if I had joined the ranks of the Napoleonic soldiers who once threatened our very heartland.

I will confess to basking too long in the attention of Georges and even the tsar himself, yet I am no Jezebel, merely human, as vulnerable to flattery as any other creature. Much as I may wish to do so, I cannot change the past. The damage is done. A fresh wave of tears threatens and subsides, as though nothing remains inside me to expel. I wonder how long I will live with the torment of my guilt and the censure of those who claim to love my husband.