Monday, January 27, 2020

Review: Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

Title: Of Curses and Kisses
Author: Sandhya Menon
Series: Book One in the St. Rosetta's Academy Series
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published By: Simon Pulse (February 18, 2020)
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 When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can't shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

One of my absolute favorite fairy tales is Beauty and the Beast and so, I might be more picky about re-tellings because, it really is such a classic. And even though I can be picky and maybe even a bit harsh sometimes in what I do and don't like when it comes to those that mess with such an amazing classical tale, I have to say, I still pick them up and read them like they are candy.

Of Curses and Kisses was no exception. Combine and classic retelling of my absolute favorite fairy tale and an author I already love and adore and you had one read that is pretty much irresistible to this girl. 
And happily, I can say that neither the author nor the retelling disappointed.

I adored this book. The characters, the classic spin on an old favorite. The modernization, the diversity, the wit, the friendship, the family connections, truly, just all of it. Completely worth every single minute I spent reading it. So much fun and I am so excited it is going to be part of a series. I can't wait to see what she will do next with all of these fun loving and adorable characters. 

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Promo Post: The Vineyards of Champagne by Juliet Blackwell

Title: The Vineyards of Champagne
Author: Juliet Blackwell
Publisher: Berkley (January 21, 2020)
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Women's Contemporary

Book Description:

Beneath the cover of France's most exquisite vineyards, a city of women defy an army during World War I, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Carousel of Provence....

Deep within the labyrinth of caves that lies below the lush, rolling vineyards of the Champagne region, an underground city of women and children hums with life. Forced to take shelter from the unrelenting onslaught of German shellfire above, the bravest and most defiant women venture out to pluck sweet grapes for the harvest. But wine is not the only secret preserved in the cool, dark cellars...

In present day, Rosalyn Acosta travels to Champagne to select vintages for her Napa-based employer. Rosalyn doesn't much care for champagne--or France, for that matter. Since the untimely death of her young husband, Rosalyn finds it a challenge to enjoy anything at all. But as she reads through a precious cache of WWI letters and retraces the lives lived in the limestone tunnels, Rosalyn will unravel a mystery hidden for decades...and find a way to savor her own life again.

About the Author:

Juliet Blackwell is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels based in France, including The Vineyards of Champagne, The Lost Carousel of Provence, Letters from Paris and The Paris Key. She also writes the Witchcraft Mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover's Mystery series. A former anthropologist, social worker, and professional artist, Juliet is a California native who has spent time in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Review: Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Alone in the Wild
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Book Five in the Rockton Series
Genre: Mystery
Published By: Minotaur Books (February 4, 2020)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
In #1 New York Times bestseller Kelley Armstrong's latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.

Every season in Rockton seems to bring a new challenge. At least that's what Detective Casey Duncan has felt since she decided to call this place home. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there's always something to worry about.

While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms.

A town that doesn’t let anyone in under the age of eighteen, Rockton must take care of its youngest resident yet while solving another murder and finding out where the baby came from - and whether she's better off where she is.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong again delivers an engaging, tense thriller set in perhaps the most interesting town in all of contemporary crime fiction.

I adore this quirky little town with all it's quirky residents and most of all, the weird relationships and settlements that just simply work.

This might be a quiet little backwoods town but the residents themselves are anything but sleepy and still and the danger literally lurks around every corner. You just never know what you will get, who will show up next or even worse, who will be dead next.

This series is just so much fun. The mystery always keeps me on my toes and Armstrong never disappoints with what craziness can happen next. 

I love that this installment delved deeper into not only Casey and Eric's relationship and past but the past of Rockton as well. We finally get more information about the Settlements and the Hostiles. It was fascinating, enthralling, and I just wanted more. And even with all the information we received, Armstrong still left just enough unsaid and undone to leave us wanting more and forming more questions and theories about it all.

This series just keeps being entertaining, delightful and truly unlike anything I have ever encountered before. 

A stand out, town full of stand out characters that demand attention, respect, and so much more. I once again, will be eagerly awaiting the next release. 

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Release Day Review: Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

Title: Echoes Between Us
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Stand Alone (companion to Only A Breath Apart)
Genre: YA Contemporary/Paranormal
Published By: Tor Teen (Feb. 14, 2020)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Echoes Between Us is bestselling author Katie McGarry’s breakout teen contemporary novel about a girl with everything to lose and the boy who will do anything to save her.

Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother's ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it's something more...

Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.

A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose--can they conquer their demons together?

When you open one of McGarry's books, you not only know you are going to get one heck of a story but you know it will be one that will be filled with emotions and one that more often than not, will rock you to your core. Will change you in ways you didn't even know a story could do.

And like all her books, this was filled with romance, heart ache, happiness, friendships, love, and with it being something different, ghosts.

Like it's counter novel, Only a Breath Apart, Echoes Between Us has a touch of the paranormal that will not only keep you on edge it will keep you turning the pages wanting more, constantly looking over your shoulder and having a hard time deciding which makes your heart pound harder, the chance encounters with ghosts, or the steamy sweet romance and tender moments the McGarry is known for best. 

Filled with raw emotion and amazing characters, this is one novel you don't want to miss out on! 

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

Monday, January 13, 2020

Review: Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine

Title: Bitter Falls
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Book Four in the Stillhouse Lake Series
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published By: Thomas & Mercer (January 21, 2020)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

The Stillhouse Lake series has quickly become one of my most anticipated series with each new release.

It is fast paces, exciting, filled with intrigue and danger, and just down right fun, not to mention at times, extremely emotional. 

The things this family goes through, endures, and ultimately triumphs over is just amazing and you would have to have a heart of stone to not fill something for them as they struggle and try to overcome so much, most of which, is not their fault or even from their own actions but rather a stigma of those around them. 

This family has already overcome so much and with each new installment, I would like to say has less to overcome but the truth is, these people will always have issues but they never let those around them that want to see them fail, ever win. Instead they grow stronger, as individuals and as a family unit and I love that about this series. 

And if the strong family bond wasn't enough to lure you in, then the dark mysteries that somehow find this family surely will. 

Filled with danger, a darker look into the sometimes messed up human mind, this series never ceases to keep me on the edge of my seat rapidly flipping the pages until the very satisfying end. And let me tell you this latest installment is intense. 

So many emotions will reading this. I had to stop and collect myself numerous times along the way, in fact, this one may have taken me the longest to read because, it really was just that intense. 

Cain stuns with her writing in every imaginable way and I couldn't of been happier reading it. 

Truly her best yet in the series and I can't recommend it enough. 

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

Monday, January 6, 2020

Review: A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris

Title: A Longer Fall
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Book Two in the Gunnie Rose Series
Genre: Western/Mystery/Fantasy
Published By: Gallery/Saga Press (January 14, 2020)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
In this second thrilling installment of the Gunnie Rose series, Lizbeth Rose is hired onto a new crew for a seemingly easy protection job, transporting a crate into Dixie, just about the last part of the former United States of America she wants to visit. But what seemed like a straight-forward job turns into a massacre as the crate is stolen. Up against a wall in Dixie, where social norms have stepped back into the last century, Lizbeth has to go undercover with an old friend to retrieve the crate as what’s inside can spark a rebellion, if she can get it back in time.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse mysteries and Midnight, Texas trilogy) is at her best here, building the world of this alternate history of the United States, where magic is an acknowledged but despised power.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series. It wasn't something different and slightly strange and a whole lot entertaining, which is why, when I saw A Longer Fall, I didn't hesitate to pick it up. 

This had everything I loved in book one and just expanded on it. More magic, more danger, more adventure and more romance. I truly am in love with the world that Harris has created and so very glad that I decided to take a chance on this author again because this series really is one that all her fans, old and new is going to love.

I love the old timey western feel to it. The almost apocalyptic eeriness to the world she has created while still making it seem familiar and believable. The characters are rough and tough but still soft enough to be endearing and make you want to root for them to make it through one horrific fight scene and adventure after another. 

Truly a stand out series that I am so glad I get to read and so glad I took a chance on. 

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