Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best of the Best 2019

Hope everyone is having an amazing week and is planning on doing something fun tonight to celebrate a new year, a new decade and new beginnings! 

I debated on doing a best of the best this year because I have a tab where I keep track of all my favorite reads for the year but, I decided those amazing books, stories, and authors deserve a shout out so here I am making a post at the last minute.

Blogging has been a challenge for me this year with my life and my families being so much more active, on the go, and just busy and sometimes stressful but, I've stuck with it (sort of) and even though some days I think it would just be better to stop blogging all together, I still do love it and the community and it's mostly thanks to you guys!

Thanks so much for sticking with me and still commenting and visiting. You guys really do make it all worth it!!

Okay, enough mush and on to some of my most favorite reads this year!

I was so nervous when I saw that this author was rebooting this series because let's be honest, most times it just doesn't work but happily I can report not only did this work but I loved it. So excited for more! 

I really do adore this series. It isn't big on romance or even nice supernaturals like most books in this genre are and yet, it is so entertaining, fun, and always a page turner. I love it and I always look forward to each new release. While I love all the towns we have visited in this series continuation so far, this one is my favorite and I hope we get another book set in this town with these characters. 

This series might be labeled as YA but don't let that stop you from picking it up because it is amazing and I adore it! It just keeps getting better. It's hard to explain but it has quickly become my favorite series from this author. So well written and I love all the lore and the setting. Truly amazing.

All of Esteps series are fun but I love love this one! Filled with murder and mayhem and magic, it is so good and if you love fantasy, you need to try it. 

I don't always love retellings even though I love to read them but this one held it's own so nicely. It was dark and mysterious and rich in detail. This was the author's debut novel and it was gorgeous! 

Love love that not only does this author do something we don't see a lot in it's main characters but I always love how diverse the characters are, in almost every way they could be. I loved her book last year and this one was just as good. I can't wait for this author to write more. Her writing is just stunning and I never fail to connect with the characters on levels I didn't even think I could.

Mysteries have always been one of my most favorite genres and there is just something about this quirky town full of even quirkier residents that I adore and can't get enough of. 

I love a good story that will make me think and completely mess with my head and this book did all of that and then some! If you haven't read it, I can't recommend it enough. 

This was a new series for me that I took a chance on. It's self published and I don't always do well with those but this is so well written and so much fun. I've devoured all of them and look forward to the newest book that comes out this week! It is so much fun and again, I can't recommend it enough. 

Cecy always amazes me with her writing in whatever genre she writes in but I really loved this new series. It was different and fun and very addicting. I can't wait for more! This is one author that never lets me down! 

It was so sad saying good bye to this series, this world and these amazing characters but I couldn't of asked for a better conclusion and wrap up. Caine did an amazing job with this whole series. One of my absolute favorites and one that will always be in my top 10. 

I adore this series and I am so glad it is still going strong. I can't wait for the next book and it really is one I look forward to each year, plus her spin off series from this one that coincides with these books, Alpha and Omega, is pretty amazing as well. 

If you love a good dose of humor and romance and a whole lot of feels, this is an author you need to try. Her books never fail to bring out all the emotions in me and I always connect and feel for her characters. She is an amazing writer and knows what she is doing. 

Not going to lie, I went into this expecting noting and came out on the other side not only fascinated but absolutely enthralled with it. It was so good! 

This author writes some of the best historical mysteries I have even read and this series is one of my favorites. It just keeps getting better and better. 

If you love this era as much as I do, then you need to pick this up. So eye opening and heart warming and so well done. 

Such a great story! I don't even know what else to say about it other than READ IT.

I am not one for self help, self discovery types of reads, they just usually aren't for me but this book was definitely an eye opener and I loved all the messages in it about self love and not being judgmental about ourselves or others. It was really good and if I could, I think I would make everyone read it. 

I don't read a lot in this genre anymore but there are a few authors I still make exceptions for and this is one of them! Her writing is so good and her stories are some of the best out there. I loved this and resonated with it a lot for whatever reason.

Plus, this same author wrote and new fantasy series below, that I couldn't get enough of as well so check that one out as well!

My absolute favorite Beauty and the Beast with a twist retelling ever! 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Review: Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Title: Jane Anonymous
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary
Published By: Wednesday Books (January 7, 2020)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

Slightly dark, definitely heartbreaking, Jane Anonymous is everything you would expect from this author and the subject matter. 

This is a story that will resonate with you, shake you up and dump out all the pieces again as you struggle and grieve right along with Jane, with her parents, and with her friends as the story slowly unfolds from “then” and “now”.

All the feels! Stolarz takes you on a wild roller coaster of a ride through the ups and downs, the heartache, the triumphs, and the dark dark lows. Emotional, endearing, triumphant, heart wrenching, eye opening, and most of all, a deep connection to this so very broken character that you will be thinking about her long after her story has ended. 

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

Monday, December 9, 2019

Review: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Title: Regretting You
Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary
Published By: Montlake Romance (December 10, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us comes a poignant novel about family, first love, grief, and betrayal that will touch the hearts of both mothers and daughters.

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

CoHo never ceases to amaze me with her ability to really have you connect with her characters and to feel all the emotions they feel. To be rooting for them, to care for them, and to love them. Her latest is one of my favorites from her in a long time. Don't get me wrong, everything this woman writes is amazing but her blend of both YA and contemporary together was pure magic. 

I adore these characters, both young and old and felt so very much for them all as they struggled through this thing called life.

The alternating POVs was so fitting to the story and added an extra element to it that wouldn't of been there otherwise and I love both of these strong women and their stories, their growth and their connection as they came together through something that those of us with loved ones, fear on a daily basis.

This was such a heartfelt story and one that I quickly devoured and was sad to see end. 

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

Monday, November 25, 2019

Review: The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Title: The Wives
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Published By: Graydon House (December 30, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife? 

In a very classic Fisher move and style, The Wives completely messed with my head and if I'm being honest, is exactly why I pick up her stories time and time again. I know she will consistently deliver not only an outstanding story that will have me rapidly turning the pages, but one that will leave me reeling at the end. 

It will mess with you in all the right ways and then some. Leave you breathless, heart beating rapidly, and literally, on the edge of your set in suspense. In short, her books are amazing and everyone needs to read them and starting here, is a great place to do it.

Fans will both adore this and gobble it up and wish there were more. And those trying her for the first time? They are going to become fans for life and want to read 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, November 18, 2019

Review: Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen

Title: Dangerous Alliance
Author: Jennieke Cohen
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Historical Mystery/Romance
Published By: HarperTeen (December 3, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen in this witty, winking historical romance with a dash of mystery!

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

A Dangerous Alliance was an enchanting, heart warming and enthralling mix of history, romance, and mystery. With charming comparisons to some of Jane Austen's most famous novels and characters, it truly was a delight to read. 

With engaging characters, a wonderful old world English setting, and a mystery that will keep you on your toes, I couldn't read this one fast enough. I devoured every single page and was sad when it was over because I wasn't ready to say goodbye. 

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

Monday, November 11, 2019

Review: Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh

Title: Crown of Oblivion
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published By: HarperTeen (November 12, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.

But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.

From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.

With an enchanting blend of fantasy and dystopian, The Crown of Oblivion was a breath of fresh air.
Wholly entertaining with flairs of magic, espionage, and a race to the death, it was a story that kept me engaged and rapidly turning the pages.

If you want something a bit different without being wholly unique but still fresh and new enough to keep you engaged and entertained, I definitely recommend giving this a try. It truly held my attention and left me captivated until the very end.

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Of Flame and Fury by Cecy Robson

I adore this series and am so excited a new book is coming out. I can't wait to read it and look at that cover, it is gorgeous! 

 Title: Of Flame and Fury
Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Book Nine in the Weird Girls Series; Book Three in the Flame Series
Published: February 25, 2020

Book Description:
Taran Wird, the loudmouth mistress of flame and lightning, didn’t want to attend the formal gathering of the supernatural elite. She did so only to help to unite the supreme beings in attendance in one common goal: protecting Taran’s sister, Celia.

Celia is pregnant with alpha werewolf Aric Connor’s child, the same child prophesized to save the world from uprising evil. Evil wants this child dead before he is born and, more importantly, before he can grow strong enough to stop it.

Taran and her werewolf lover, Gemini, put plans in place to protect Celia. Master Vampire Misha Aleksandr and his clan also swear their allegiance to Celia and vow to keep her from harm. The witches even cast protection spells around the manor to curse anyone with malintent who enters. Nothing was supposed to go wrong, except everything did.

Creatures that shouldn’t exist stalk the grounds and invade the premises, and every curse meant to shield the guests turns against them. No one counted on the powerful being who arrived uninvited. But he’s here, manipulating the magic enclosing the estate to work in his favor.

As body counts rise and allies become enemies, chances are Celia won’t survive the night. But evil never counted on how hard Taran Wird would fight, even at the expense of her life.

About the Author:

CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Title: The Family Upstairs
Author: Lisa Jewell
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published By: Atria (November 5, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

This was my first Lisa Jewell book even though I have heard tons about this author, for whatever reason I had yet to pick one of her books up. 

I am so glad I finally did and also kicking myself for waiting so long to do so.

This book was so much fun! And while it was a tiny bit slow to start, once it did pick up it was pretty hard to put down.

There is just something fascinating about mysteries isn't there? When done right, in multiple point of views with characters that can't be trusted, they really do stand out and make a fun read that is constantly not only leaving you turning the pages, but guessing at what will happen next, who the bad guys are, who the good guys are and even if such a thing exists in a story like this one. 

I loved the bizarre life these children had and how their story, their horrors slowly unfolded and all came together. I love how that ending totally messed with my head and left me with even more questions than what I started out with and even wanting a very short sequel, to see what would happen next. 

Truly an exciting read that was well written, well plotted out, and just so entertaining. I will definitely be picking up more of this author's work in the future. 

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