Monday, September 16, 2019

Review: The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

Title: The Widow of Pale Harbor
Author: Hester Fox
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Historical/Fantasy
Published By: Graydon House (September 17, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Maine, taking a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives with a spinster maid in the eerie Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a twisted person inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbor will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

Hester Fox wowed me last year with her debut so it was easy to pick up her next book The Widow of Pale Harbor. And while I did love her sophomore book with all it's mystery and intrigue it didn't quite have the paranormal aspect that I was hoping it would. Having said that though, it was still such a fun and atmospheric read and I couldn't help but eagerly turn the pages to know more about Sophy and the town and all that was transpiring.

With references to Poe and darkness and death abound, I truly did enjoy this read and think that fans of Fox's debut, will feel the same and have just as much love for this one as they did the other. 

*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 10, 2019

Blog Tour Release Day Review: The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Title: The Vanished Bride
Author: Bella Ellis
Series: Book One in the Bronte Sisters Mystery Series
Genre: Historical Mystery
Published By: Berkley (September 10, 2019)
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Description:
Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery...

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson's daughters--the Brontë sisters--learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent "lady detectors." Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, "detecting is reading between the lines--it's seeing what is not there."

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman's place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril... 

About the Author:

It is always fun to have something a bit different than the norm. Something that is fun, entertaining, and stands out from your typical historical mysteries. The Vanished Bride managed to do all of those things and also added a bit of realism along the way.

Set in a time when the Bronte sisters still roamed the Earth, The Vanished Bride gives us a curious look at maybe what made them not only fantastic writers but maybe where all their imagination and ingenious ideas came from as well as giving us a fantastical mystery ripe with intrigue, secrets, and murder and with just a touch of the paranormal and unexplained.  

Perfect for lovers of historical fiction as well as lover's of the Bronte sisters themselves. The Vanished Bride will keep you turing the pages and wondering what kind of adventures and secrets they will uncover next.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Review: The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas

Title: Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan
Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Retelling
Published By: Tu Books (September 10, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 5 Solid Stars!!

Book Description:
CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan's father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty
Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling--the royal duke's son, who is also the handsomest man she's ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan's life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it's too late.

Inspired by wuxia martial-arts dramas as well as the centuries-old ballad of Mulan, The Magnolia Sword is perfect for fans of Renee Ahdieh, Marie Lu, or Kristin Cashore--a thrilling, romantic, and sharp-edged novel that lives up to its beloved heroine. 

If there was one person I knew I could trust to do a retelling of the Mulan ballad, it would be Sherry Thomas. 

I am so pleased to say that trust wasn't misplaced because not only was this an incredible read but it was captivating, entertaining and had enough of Sherry's creative imagination added to the story that it almost felt like it could stand up all on it's own and not even be a retelling, while still maintaining the integrity of the original. It short, it was breathtaking. 

So hard to put down, so beautifully done, and so completely addicting. I truly did not want this story to end and I loved every heart stopping, heart warming, heart pounding page of it.

*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 3, 2019

Release Day Review: The Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Title: The Serpent & Dove
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Book One in the Serpent & Dove Series
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published By: HarperTeen (September 3, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all. 

I need to start this review by saying, although this is labeled as YA, it does not feel at all. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that they are marketing it as such, I wouldn't of even believed it was. 

This story was amazing. All my favorite fantasy tropes and romance tropes all balled into one amazing, original and entertaining ride. 

Love the premises, the characters, the tropes, the magical and sometimes very dark world, and the very fact that I just couldn't get enough of this. I didn't want it to end and I certainly don't want to wait months for the next book. I truly was saddened to see this be over and had a book hangover like no other. 

This year has definitely not only been the year for YA to make a strong come back but for YA Fantasy to make one hell of a break through with more originality, more substance, and more action packed kick butt heroines than ever before. 

I truly am on edge to see where the author takes this series and eager for anything else she writes. She did an amazing job breaking into the world of YA. I never would have guessed this was a debut novel. Beautiful writing, a beautiful world, outstanding memorable characters and a unique enough premises to keep anyone reading, turning pages and left 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.*

Monday, September 2, 2019

Blog Tour Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

Title: The Passengers
Author: John Marrs
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Thriller
Published By: Berkley (August 27, 2019)
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Description:
You're riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, "You are going to die." 

Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.

From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, "Which of these people should we save?...And who should we kill first?" 

About the Author:

John Marrs is the author of The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Her Last Move and Welcome to Wherever You Are. 

A former freelance journalist based in London, England, he spent twenty-five years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines until becoming a full-time author in 2018.

He has written for publications including the Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online, Total Film, Huffington Post, Empire, Q, GT, the Independent, S Magazine and Company.

His books have been translated into twenty different languages and The One is soon to be a major new Netflix series.

A fast paced heart pounding thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat as it takes you from one wicked twist and turn to another. The Passengers is a blend of  realism mixed with sci fi that we can all envision in the not too distant future which is what makes this so very believable, captivating and hard to put down.

If you are looking for something different that will get your mind turning, your heart pounding and at times, on the edge of your seat, this is definitely something you should consider picking up. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Review: A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth

Title: A Treason of Thorns
Author: Laura E. Weymouth
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published By: HarperTeen (September 10, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.

Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.

When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.

Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.

Magical, mystical, enchanting, and with a setting that will sweep you back to old England, A Treason of Thorns will keep you engaged from the beginning clear to the action packed ending. 

Legends and lore, magical bindings, endearing stories of home, both those we are born to and those we create, and becoming who we want to be rather than what is expected of us, A Treason of Thorns was  beautifully done with effortless writing that was every bit as wonderful and emotional and it is magical. 

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

Monday, August 26, 2019

Review: Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

Title: Sword and Pen
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Book Five in the Great Library Series
Genre: Fantasy
Published By: Berkley Books (September 3. 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 5 Solid Stars!

Book Description:
With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it's worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.

It is so very hard to review the last book in a very much beloved series. This series has been amazing and stand out since the very first book and it has continued to astonish and blow me away with each new installment. 

This last installment might very well be my most favorite one of them all. 

Entertaining, action packed, thrilling, fast paced and full of all the great stuff and characters that have made this series so outstanding from the very beginning, Sword and Pen blew me away.

It made me cry, laugh, get angry, smile, be sad, feel so many emotions, but most of all, it made me love. Love for these fleshed out characters I have learned to care about and that have felt like family over the course of the series. I have been invested in them and truly worried about all their outcomes.

This wasn't an easy read. It was ugly at times and yes, people die, lots of people. This is war after all but most of all, it stayed true to the rest of the series. We knew there would be casualties. We knew these rag tag diverse group of people would die defending the things they love and the library and books they cherish. They have become a family over the course of their time together and all that being a family sometimes mean. The good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly. 

I couldn't have anticipated and more entertaining and better ending than the one Caine delivered. Truly everything I hope it would be. 

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

Review: Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Title: The Lady Rogue
Author: Jenn Bennett
Series: Stand Alone (may become a series)
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical
Published By: Simon Pulse (September 3, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 5 Solid Stars!!

Book Description:
The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

Is there anything better than a Jenn Bennett book? Why yes there is. A book by Jenn Bennett that is unlike anything that she has every written before. A touch of the magical and mysterious. Romance and even better still, set all in a beautiful mysterious historical setting and time that appeals to my ever love of the genre itself. 

I never knew what I was missing until this book came into my life. Jenn Bennett writing a historical mystery with a touch of romance, danger, and the paranormal. Goodness, yes please! 

And all I can say is WOW! This meet my expectations and then thoroughly blew them away. I loved every single things about it. To the legends, lore, witchcraft. Curses. Black magic, love, family dynamics, mystery...goodness, just all of it. I want more. I am hoping, wishing and keeping my fingers crossed that this becomes a series but heck yeah does this girl want more. 

Theodora was everything I love in a stubborn, smart, and strong willed heroine. Huck in a fun loving, support, and swoon worthy hero and her father, even he was hard to like, but not to love. ;) 

So well done, so much fun, and so addictive. I need 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, August 12, 2019

Review: The Nobody People by Bob Proehl

Title: The Nobody People
Author: Bob Proehl
Series: Book One
Genre: YA Fantasy/Dystopian/Action
Published By: Del Rey  (September 3, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
After decades in hiding, a group of outcasts with extraordinary abilities clashes with a world that is threatened by their power.

When Avi Hirsch learns that his daughter Emmeline has special abilities, he tries to shield her against an increasingly hostile society. Carrie Norris can become invisible, but all she wants is to be seen by the people she loves. Fahima Deeb has faced prejudice her entire life, but her uncanny connection to machines offers her the opportunity to level the playing field. These are just a few of the ordinary nobodies with astonishing gifts who must now band together against bigotry and fear, even as one of their own actively works to destroy a fragile peace. Will their combined talents spark a much-needed revolution--or an apocalypse? 

I saw another review where someone referred to this as having a very X-Men feel to it and after reading and considering it, I couldn't agree more which I was thrilled about. The X-Men were some of my favorite movies and comics (and cartoons!) growing up. 

I need to start by saying, there is a lot going on in this story as it is told in multiple point of views but if you hang in there and stick with it, it does get easier to navigate and keep track of. 

And while there are similarities to other stories out there, some from long ago, this story did hold it's own. Very action packed and full of diverse characters and situations that I think most readers will love.

My biggest complaint is the pacing of the story which tended to drag at times and all the multiple point of views could get confusing if you weren't keeping track and paying attention. While the story was engaging even with the slower pacing, the ending was a bit of a shock. As others have mentioned it didn't end so much as just completely stop. As in someone put on the brakes and left so much unsaid, undone, and untold. 

I know that book two will hopefully start where this left off and answers all those things left unsaid but it was a bit jarring but will definitely make readers want to pick up book two when it comes out.

Having said all that, I do think this was a rather good start to a series that I think will appeal to a lot of comic books dystopian, action/adventures readers that are looking for something new but not too new or overdone. 

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

Monday, August 5, 2019

Blog Tour Review: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

I'm so excited about this blog tour. Truly K.A. Tucker has become one of my auto-buy authors because all her stories are so heartfelt and real and just so enjoyable and her latest is no exception. If you haven't tried her yet, you are missing out. I can't recommend her enough. 

Title: Say You Still Love Me
Author: K.A. Tucker
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary
Published By: Atria (August 6, 2019)
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Description:
Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multi-billion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences. 

About the Author:

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

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. 

Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher's Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family.

K.A. Tucker has this amazing ability to bring all her characters to life. Until they feel like real people that you would know and love and want to be friends with. Characters that you feel for on a real emotional level. People you can relate to and most of all, want the very best for.

Her latest release Say You Still Love Me, is just as spectacular, emotional and moving as all her previous novels. With characters that you instantly like, love and most of all, connect with. 

I devoured this and was rooting for Piper and Kyle the whole time. Caught up in the then and the now and loving every heart wrenching, heart warming second of it. 

I ate it up and even though I never wanted it to end, I was completely satisfied with the very real feeling ending. It wasn't all rainbows and sunshine for these two and so their story needed to end realistically and I am happy to say that while it was a happy ending, it was also a very believable one and I love that most about her stories. Things aren't always perfect and you can see that all her couples are going to have to work hard to make things work but you also know that they will and I truly do adore that about her stories. 

This was another outstanding read that I can't recommend enough for both fans and new readers alike.