Wednesday, May 23, 2018

THE THIEF'S DAUGHTER by Jeff Wheeler Kingfountain #2

Owen Kiskaddon first came to the court of the formidable King Severn as a prisoner, winning favor with the stormy monarch by masquerading as a boy truly blessed by the Fountain. Nine years hence, the once-fearful Owen has grown into a confident young man, mentored in battle and politics by Duke Horwath and deeply in love with his childhood friend, the duke’s granddaughter. But the blissful future Owen and Elysabeth Mortimer anticipate seems doomed by the king’s machinations.

A pretender to Severn’s throne has vowed to seize the crown of Kingfountain. But Severn means to combat the threat by using Elysabeth as bait to snare the imposter—and forcing Owen, as a pawn in the dangerous charade, to choose between duty and devotion. With poisoners and spies circling ominously, and war looming on the horizon, Owen must make painful sacrifices to beat back the advancing shadows of death and disaster. Will Owen’s conflicted heart follow the king’s path or risk everything for his love?


Opening line:
"Owen Kiskaddon wasn't comfortable wearing a full suit of armor."

Since I enjoyed THE QUEEN'S POISONER so much I decided to try the second book as well. I really enjoyed! It's been nine years since the last book. Owen and Elysabeth have grown up and fallen in love. They are together or in touch a lot and the tension builds between them as Owen tries to be brave enough to kiss her.
But like the last book, there are things that the reader just know is going to happen. But just because we know doesn't mean we know who everything will be resolved. 
I'm ready to listen to the next book! 

5 STARS 


Saturday, May 19, 2018

SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield — her brother, fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
Opening line:
""They're coming.""


I want to add so much more to that opening line because there is so much more!
The book opens with the Aska and the Riki fighting. Why? We don't really know except it's like two tribes battling it out in an age-old war. These clans are raised, both boys and girls, knowing they will train as warriors because they will fight the enemy.
Eelyn is the kick butt heroine of the story; she's strong, smart and loyal to her family and clan. But her character isn't in your face with how awesome she is. She fights because this is all she knows, because she is protecting her family and because this fight, or death, will bring honor.
But something goes wrong in this opening battle--Eelyn thinks she sees her dead brother fighting for the enemy. This starts the path of self-discovery she is at forced first to take, then she discovers many life lessons on her own.
The characters were well written and I cared for them and their families. I LOVED how much family was important in this book--both blood and chosen!
The world was easy to read and understand. Harsh climates, harsh living, trying to stay alive were part of the world building and done well.
The romance was Spot. On. I felt it was very realistic and I loved it. I loved when the dimples finally came out in a smile. SWEET
Overall, this was a great, un-put-downable read. There is a lot of fighting in this book (because that is what they know to do) but I didn't think it was graphic. No swearing. Some kissing. I feel comfortable recommending this book!

Thanks to netgalley and Wednesday Books for the early read!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Plastic Magician by Charlie N Holmberg NEW RELEASE! Happy book birthday!

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.

Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.

Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.

To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

"While Alvie was rather excited to be receiving her diploma, she could not stop starring at M. Jefferson's mustache."

This is a perfect way to introduce the reader to a lovable and memorable main character. Alvie Brechenmacher is amazing with numbers and calculations, can magick plastic, and loves to wear pants (which isn't proper in her day). One of the cute things she said in the book when asked if she was all right: "My feet are a little sore, and I'm in a skirt, but other than that, I'm fine." She is also a bit of a klutz.
Alvie is lucky enough to become an apprentice to a well-known Polymaker named Marion Praff in London. She sets on an adventure where she meets new people, makes new friends (and a boyfriend!), and comes out with an exceptional invention that can change the world of medicine.

A fun read that any reader will enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

WORTH THE RISK (Pine Valley #1) by Heather Moore

USA Today bestselling author Heather B. Moore welcomes you to Pine Valley:

WORTH THE RISK is Alicia and Jeff's Story

When Alicia moves back to Pine Valley to help her mom through a serious addiction, the last person she wants to see is her teenage crush, Jeff Finch, who destroyed their friendship in one single disastrous night. But Alicia is determined to not let anything about Jeff affect her, especially since she hasn’t seen him in ten years. All she knows is that he’s living a successful and charmed life, and she is more than happy to keep anything between them in the past. But when he shows up with a date at the restaurant where she works, Alicia realizes she’s still not over her feelings, and Jeff is definitely looking at her in a way he never has before. 








Books in the Pine Valley series:

Worth the Risk
Where I Belong
Say You Love Me
Waiting for You


   
Opening line:
"Alicia Waters hid a grimace as she looked up to greet the next patrons walking into the Alpine Lodge."


I LOVE this new series by Heather B. Moore! And I LOVE the covers! I want to have ALL of them on my shelf so I can show them off. They are so pretty and totally match the stories!

This book is a great start to what I think will be a fantastic new series! 


5 STARS

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

LEGENDARY (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun.


 Opening line:
"While some rooms on the estate had monsters hiding beneath the beds, Tella swore her mother's suite concealed enchantment."


I thouroughly enjoyed CARAVAL and waited anxiously for the next book to come out. LEGENDARY did not disappoint. It was full of intrigue, magic, daring escapades, fights, drool-worthy men, and new characters.

Tella is a stronger character in this book, meaning, she choose better and tried to do what was right. She learns where her missing mother is and how she can be rescued. Of course, there is a bargain struck, a price to pay and a game to win. And the cards don't always tell the truth.

This book isn't so much about the game or players (which Ms. Garber set up brilliantly in her last book) but more about the mission Tella is on and all the obstacles she has to overcome. Scarlett is there too but they don't interact near as much as the last book but they do just enough to keep the story line going.

Dante is his miserable self but I came to love him and how he treated Tella. There is a bit of a love triangle but not annoyingly so. It's more because of the bargain Tella has struck. READ IT! I'm giving you anymore clues!

I too thought this was the last book but it better not be! There are enough loose ends that need to be knotted to fill another book.

Thanks to netgalley for the early review!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

BRIGHTLY BURNING by Alexa Doone HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.


  Opening line:
"The gravity stabilizers were failing again."

Jane Eyre among the stars. I loved the retelling. Obviously, it's going to be different than the original Jane Eyre. I liked some of the differences. There was an interesting twist toward the end.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

SEEKING MANSFIELD by Kate Watson

Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram's son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver's constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she'd finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram's, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver's stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn't want to be won, and she doesn't want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver's heart—and keep her own—she'll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight
.

  

 Finley Price is content to lay low and not cause any waves, or even little teeny ripples, in life. He movie star dad died and her mom turned to drugs, alcohol and abusing Finley and her brother so Finley is taken out of the home and placed with her godparents.  So techinically, Oliver Bertram is her godbrother (is that possible?), whom she is secretly in love. 
Oliver has felt protective of Finley since she was the scared little girl who moved in with his family. And he's been in love with her too. Of course, neither Oliver nor Finley know the other is crushing and neither will admit it as they feel their restraint is helping the other. 
THEN Hollywood moves in next door and Finely can't stay hidden any longer, espeicalyy once Harlan Crawford decides he's going to draw her out of her shell and force her to see how aweomse and beautiful she really is. Harlan's sister, Emma, decides Oliver will now be her boyfriend. 

SEEKING MANSFIELD is an engaging story of love, dreams, relationships and finding out who you really want to be. 
I loved the characters and their interactions! Ms. Watson wrote deep characters with motives and desires and agendas that all translates to growing and learning. I loved the different inside jokes and games the siblings had and the talk of theater and movies added depth to the story. 

No swears (that I remember)
Kissing
No violence

Saturday, April 14, 2018

YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by Mitali Perkins

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture--for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve her Bengali identity--award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.



  





Opening scene:

"The swimmers have finished their races and are basking in the sun."

I loved the culture, characters, food and family love in this book.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

DAUGHTER OF THE SIREN QUEEN by Tricia Levenseller

Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.



  


Opening line:

"The sound of my knife slitting across a throat feels much too loud in the darkness."

This book drew me in from the very beginning in this fast paced pirate story full of mostly female, kick butt characters who very individual and fun to read.
Alosa has all the pieces to the treasure now (after killing a TON of pirates) and now she and her dad can go and take the siren treasure together. That is until she learns more about her dad and her mom and things take a huge turn and she's not sure who to trust, including herself.
I love the way Alosa takes care of and cares for her crew. She's fiercely loyal to them as they are to her. They would follow her to the ends of the earth and to death if that's what she thought was the best for people.
I'm ready for the next book!

Language: over 30 swears
Sex: kissing, makeouts,
Violence: who crews of pirates killed, fighting,

Thanks to netgalley for the early read

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Never That Far by Carol Lynch Williams HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Libby Lochewood is twelve years old in 1967 when her grampa dies of a heart attack. She is devastated at losing her best friend. Now that Grampa's passed on, it's just her and her father, and he is so overcome by grief that he can barely get out of bed in the morning.

The night of the funeral, though, Grampa's spirit appears in Libby's bedroom and tells her three important things: first, that she isn't alone or forgotten--"The dead ain't never that far from the living," he says; second, that she has "the Sight"--the ability to see family members who have died; and three, that there is something special just for her in the lake. Something that could help her and her father--if she can find it. He kisses Libby on the cheek and vanishes in a soft glow of light and color.

Libby begins her search along with her friends Bobby and Martha, but it's hard to know if they've found what Grampa wanted her to find since they don't really know what it is. As Libby's father falls deeper and deeper into depression, Libby and Grampa work together on a plan to help her father believe that their loved ones who have died are much closer than he thinks. But it will take all of Libby's courage and her gift of Sight to convince her father and help him believe that the dead are never truly gone.

Never That Far is set in the lush, rural landscape of southern Florida and is a middle-grade novel about friendship, hope, and the power of family love.


  Opening line:
""What you doing, girl?" Daddy said when the burying was done.

Libby is going through a hard time. Her very best friend, her grampa, just died and her daddy isn't paying any attention to her. He's caught up in his own sorrows that stem back before this new death.
That night, her grampa's spirit visits her to comfort her and tell her a few important things. The most important: "The dead ain't never that far...". He also tells her there is a treasure out at the lake on their property. Libby's adventures are about to begin with the help of her new friend Bobby. She finds peace and love and something very, very special, more special than gold bouillon.
If there is a child or parent going through the loss of a loved one, this story is a great reminder that our loved ones are always close, even if we don't see them

NEVER THAT FAR is a story of love, family and most importantly, finding a soft spot to land surrounded by a loving family, both past and present.


Thanks to netgalley and Shadow Mountain for the early read.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

MY DEAREST ENEMY by Jennifer Moore HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Struggling alone on the family farm, Abigail Tidwell knows exactly who to blame for her hardships: the Americans. If it weren’t for their part in the war, her father and brothers would be home rather than fighting abroad. But no amount of antipathy could have prepared her for the shocking sight of a wounded American soldier on her property, a man in dire need of her help. Grudgingly, Abigail tends to the soldier’s injuries and anticipates the satisfaction of turning him over to the authorities once he is healed. But fate has other plans. Captain Emmett Prescott remembers little of the ambush on his men by a group of Shawnee Indians and even less about how he arrived in the unfamiliar barn.

After being nursed back to health by beautiful, if reluctant, Abigail, Emmett would do anything to save the men he left behind—including forcibly enlisting Abigail’s help. Soon, Abigail finds herself caught between two countries at war. And as her attraction for Emmett grows, her conflicted heart engages in its own silent battle. But when she is accused of treason for her actions, her survival rests in the hands of the very man she once considered her enemy.



  Opening line:

""Blast the United States of America," Abigail Tidewell spoke in a loud voice, feeling very self-satisfied at the echo the words produced in the empty woodbox."

I always learn a history lesson or two from Jennifer Moore. I had no idea how far north American armies ventured in the war of 1812.
I enjoyed the two main characters, Abigail and Emmet, as well as the secondary characters. They were very well written and came to life on the page. The romance was slow and sweet and just right. The tension in the romance, the war, the enemies kept the story well-paced and flowing well. This may be one of my favorites of Ms. Moore.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

THE SPACE BETWEEN WORDS by Michele Phoenix

"There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned."

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn't left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they'd planned before the tragedy.

"The pages found you," Patrick whispered.

"Now you need to figure out what they're trying to say."

During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before--her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.

"I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival."

Determined to learn the Baillard family's fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn't understand.

Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica's survival?


  Opening line:
"My name is Adeline Baillard, and my life may end today."

Jessica, Vonda and Patrick have one last night in Paris and decide to have some "fun." Fun to Patrick was going to an art gallery opening and fun to the girls was going to a concert at the Bataclan where the 2015 terrorist attacks happens. The girls escape but Jessica is sent to the hospital. Patrick is with her every day and talks her into one last flea market trip before heading to back to the states.
While doing their "treasure" hunts, Jessica comes across an old sew basket and is immediately drawn to it. She buys it and finds a secret drawer with old papers inside. This draws her into another adventure and tries to find the owners of the pages and make sure the daughter is "found" and the family is together again.
I enjoyed learning about the Bataclan shootings and the Huguenots annihilation, PTSD, loyalty, compassion and true friendship.
This book wasn't what I expected but I really enjoyed reading the mysteries in the story.

Thank you to netgalley for the early read.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Lost Crow Conspiracy by Rosalyn Eves HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!

Sixteen-year old Anna Arden was once just the magically barren girl from an elite Luminate family. Now she has broken the Binding—and Praetheria, the creatures held captive by the spell, wreak havoc across Europe. Lower-class citizens have access to magic for the first time, while other Luminates lose theirs forever. Austria and Hungary are at odds once more.

Anna Arden did not know breaking the Binding would break the world.

Anna thought the Praetheria were on her side, content and grateful to be free from the Binding. She thought her cousin Matyas's blood sacrifice to the disarm the spell would bring peace, equality, justice. She thought her future looked like a society that would let her love a Romani boy, Gabor.

But with the Monarchy breathing down her neck and the Praetheria intimidating her at every turn, it seems the conspiracies have only just begun.

As threat of war sweeps the region, Anna quickly discovers she can't solve everything on her own. Now there's only one other person who might be able to save the country before war breaks out. The one person Anna was sure she'd never see again. A bandit. A fellow outlaw. A man known as the King of Crows. Matyas.


  Opening line:
"There is a feeling a hunted creature gets: a prickling of fine hairs at the back of the neck, a sense of unseen eyes crawling across one's spine, a shift in the air."

Ms. Eves brings Russian history and folklore alive once again with her second book, Lost Crow Conspiracy (it's an excellent second book!).
The book goes between Anna's point-of-view and the Crow King's (loved it). So many characters--both new and familiar to the reader--to distinguish and learn from and come to hate/love. I was a bit lost because of the foreign names and history but it all rolled along into a very enjoyable story of trying to do what's right and the consequences (can't everyone just get along??).

I can't wait for the next book!

I loved this quote:
"There was no conduct manual for how to live with oneself after changing the world."

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A NIGHT IN GROSVENOR SQUARE by Sarah M. Eden, Annette Lyon, Heather B Moore

Three brand new Regency Romance novellas by Sarah M. Eden, Annette Lyon, and Heather B. Moore
Another great Regency antholgy from three fantastic authors!

A Match for Princess Pompous by Sarah Eden
"If Adelaide Northrop had to listen to one more ode praising Charity Goddard's eyes, she was absolutely going to strangle the offending amateur poet with his own overlarge cravat."

Love this one about the matchmaker!

Confections and Pretense by Annette Lyon
"In the back of Gunter's Tea Shop, Anne eased the back of mold into a basin of tepid water, then slowly counted to ten before pulling it out again, just long enough to release the ice cream from the metal."

Loved the American hero!

Little London by Heather B. Moore
"Harpshire Village was a far cry from London in both architecture and entertainments, and the type of people who lived in the village were simple fold."

I LOVED how the two love birds meet in this story.


Thanks for the early read! 



A MATCH FOR PRINCESS POMPOUS by Sarah M. Eden
Matchmaker Adelaide Northrop may be embarking on her greatest challenge yet. Miss Odette Armistead has been dubbed “Princess Pompous” by Society’s elite, and Odette’s parents are desperate to see her married off to a respectable gentleman. When Adelaide first meets Odette, she is expecting a young lady who fits the pompous description. Instead, Adelaide discovers that Odette is far from conceited, but has chosen to wear a mask in a desperate attempt to hide her love for a gentleman who has been chosen for someone else. It seems that Adelaide has far more than matchmaking to accomplish.

CONFECTIONS AND PRETENSE by Annette Lyon
Anne Preston dreams of opening her own dessert shop some day and saves every spare penny she earns working at Gunter’s Tea Shop. She makes ice cream molds to perfection, bakes and decorates cakes, and hopes to one day be an independent shop owner. When an American man orders an ice, Anne is immediately taken with Davis Whitledge, but he is far above her station in life, so she tries to forget about his cordiality. Soon, she finds herself in a dangerous situation when confronted by two troublemakers, and Davis happens to be nearby. He sends the scoundrels on their way, but this only makes Anne more of a target. He doesn’t understand London ways, and his generosity has the potential to steal Anne’s dreams, or to make them soar.

LITTLE LONDON by Heather B. Moore
Ellen Humphreys has never had a Season, has never danced the waltz, and will likely never do so while confined to watching over her ill mother at their country estate. Therefore, Ellen creates her own Little London, and imagines all the gentleman she’d dance with and all of the friendships she’d have with other young ladies, if only she were allowed to have a Season. When Quinn Edwards, the Marquess of Kenworth, comes upon her quite by happenstance while Ellen is imagining herself in a London ballroom, she is mortified about her playacting. But a chain of events is set off from this one meeting that has Ellen questioning if her reputation would ever survive a Season or another encounter with the marquess.

Books in the Timeless Regency Collections:
AUTUMN MASQUERADE
A MIDWINTER BALL
SPRING IN HYDE PARK
SUMMER HOUSE PARTY
A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS
A SEASON IN LONDON
FALLING FOR A DUKE
A NIGHT IN GROSVENOR SQUARE
ROAD TO GRETNA GREEN

Books in the Timeless Victorian Collections:
SUMMER HOLIDAY
A GRAND TOUR
THE ORIENT EXPRESS

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY

Ashes on the Moor is the inspiring love story of one Victorian woman's courage to fight against all odds, and the man whose quiet strength gives her the confidence to keep trying.


 Opening line:
"Through a thick fog of grief, Evangeline Blake suffered the blow of each clang of the distant funeral bells."

Another lovely romance from Sarah M. Eden.
Evangeline Blake lost almost everyone in her family, except her younger sister, whom she promised would always be with her. Her mean, bullying aunt has different ideas, however.
Dermot McCormick is an Irish man in England and feels very excluded in the little village where he and his son are now living. He keeps to himself and works hard to prove himself. And he's just fine staying away from everyone--until he meets Evangeline.
This is an interesting story about change; not only in circumstances and of the heart, but change that makes us a better human. Evangeline came from wealth and privilege and is thrust into poverty and hard work. She's stubborn enough and determined enough to make her way that she changes and her heart is opened to the village and their children. The same can be said of Dermot and of the village. They all find they can be strong and change (except maybe on person who I wanted to kick really hard).
I really enjoyed learning the history of the era and the dialect and hardships these people faced. And I REALLY loved what Evangeline did to help the children.

Thank you for the early read netgalley and Shadow Mountain!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Rogue Queen by Emily R. King HAPPY BOOK RELEASE!

Despite the odds, Kalinda has survived it all: Marriage to a tyrant. Tournaments to the death. The forbidden power to rule fire. The icy touch of a demon.

That same demon now disguises itself as Rajah Tarek, Kalinda’s late husband and a man who has never stopped haunting her. Upon taking control of the palace and the army, the demon brands Kalinda and her companions as traitors to the empire. They flee across the sea, seeking haven in the Southern Isles.

In Lestari, Kalinda’s powers are not condemned, as they are in her land. Now free to use them to protect those she loves, Kalinda soon realizes that the demon has tainted her with a cold poison, rendering her fire uncontrollable. But the lack of control may be just what she needs to send the demon back to the darkest depths of the Void.

To take back the empire, Kalinda will ally with those she distrusts—and risk losing those most loyal to her—to defeat the demon and bring peace to a divided nation.



 LOVELOVELOVE

Review coming soon!

EDITED for review:
Opening line:
"The burial starts at daybreak, before the heat of the jungle evaporates the dew and suffocates the morning breeze."

Another well-written, fantastical ride from debut author Emily King! Every scene, I could picture the world; every character, I came to know better; every turn of phrase drew me in further and further into Kalinda and Deven's world.
New characters promise more depth and story lines in this book and the next. Loss, betrayal and love will be the undoing of some, the strengthening of others.
This story does not disappoint nor does it slow down. There are very few moments of rest and recovery, which is just fine with me. I can't wait for the next book!

Thank you netgalley for the early read!!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Tarnished City by Vic James HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

  A corrupted city. A dark dream of power.

Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own.

New alliances and old feuds will remake the nation, leaving Abi and Luke questioning everything – and everyone – they know. And as Silyen Jardine hungers for the forgotten Skill of the legendary Wonder King, the country’s darkest hour approaches. Freedom and knowledge both come at a cost. So who will pay the price?






Opening line:
"Jenner reined his horse to a halt, and it stamped and snorted in the long blue-black shadow of the trees."

YES! You know how sometimes the second book reads a little weak in a trilogy? This one does NOT. If anything, this book is stronger than the first and maybe a little jam packed with characters, crazy twists and magic system details. WHOA and WOW.
What the heck Gavar, Jenner, Sylyen? So. Many. Secrets.
All is not as it seems with the story, the landscape, the characters, and magic. The chapters change point of view, which I really enjoyed. I liked getting insight into different aspects of the story and the lives of the people affected by Skill and Unskilled, and how they treat each other.
This story is definitely dark than the first book. We get to see deeper into certain dark behaviors and actions and it's positive and negative effect on others. I really, really wanted to see certain characters killed off, but then, does that thought make me a monster??
You will need to read GILDED CAGE before reading this book. I can't wait for the next book and I might need to read the first two again before I read the 3rd.

Thanks for the early read netgalley!

Some language
Lots of violence
Dark story
Some suggestions of rape

Friday, January 26, 2018

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson


A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


 Opening line:
"My parlor smelled of linseed and spike lavender, and a dab of lead tin yellow glistened on my canvas."

A painter, a fae prince and romance; what could be better?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.



Apparently, I don't have a review for this one except WOW!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown

Maddie is a normal twelve-year-old girl. Well, except for the fake mustaches she carries in her pocket. She likes to make people laugh and slapping on a mustache, especially a fuzzy pink or neon green one, always gets a smile. Maddie hopes that the class queen, Cassie, will find her mustaches as funny as she does and want to play with her at recess. She's been self-conscious lately because her right arm only feels normal when it's curled against her chest and she's constantly tripping over her feet. But that's probably just part of growing up and not something weird, right?

It will take all of Maddie's vibrant imagination, a lot of kindness-both given and received-and of course, the perfect mustache to overcome the tough stuff ahead of her.


  


Opening line:
"Fact: mustaches are hilarious."

A perfect start to a story about a twelve-year old happy, thoughtful girl who finds a way simple way to be brave and funny: wear a mustache.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. A story from the parents point of view about their daughter's brain tumor or a sad story about how they coped with a medical scare or...I don't know what. What I did read was a fun, inspiring story told from a twelve-year old's perspective and how she, Maddie, handled her daily challenges and triumphs.
This a great book to hand to any young reader who is facing any challenge, be it bullies or sickness or loss. I love the aspect of being accepting and kind to others woven throughout the story! I also love that the authors/parents were able to turn their perspective into such a inspirational and rich lesson.

Thank you netgalley for the early, wonderful read!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ever the Brave by Erin Summerill

Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.

The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.


  Opening line:
"A minute spent in a Shaerdanian tavern is a minute too long."

I couldn't stop reading! I love Erin's writing and characters and plots and twists. And twists.
This book was faster paced than the first one and full of new characters and intrigues.
It is written between three points of view: Britta, Cohen and the king. I enjoyed reading from each of their perspectives and REALLY loved watching them grow and change. It seemed they could neveer catch a break! There wasn't much down time in the fight for good. That being said, each of the three main characters learned some hard lessons, fought for what was right and came to accept who they were and their responsibilities.
The biggest take away for me was that we can choose who we are and what we want to become. No one should do that for us, not parents, not friends, not anyone. We know ourselves best. We should know our best selves.

Language: Some
Sex: kissing, skin-to-skin for survival heat
Violence: fighting, killing

Thank you to netgalley for the early read!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

Soooooo... 
I didn't add a review of this book. I do remember being taken in by the writing and the characters. The story is sweet, profound and strong. I would have loved to read this one to my kids.
 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Bear and the Nightingale AND The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

 At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.


 Opening line:
"It was late winter in northern Rus', the air sullen with wet that was neither rain nor snow."

I really loved being immersed in the folklore of Russia in this book. Vasya is a fantastic protagonist! She's witty, stubborn, adventurous, and finds herself getting into a lot of trouble. But she's okay with that because moves to her own beat. She sees "creatures" around the house and woods and becomes a friend and protector to them. She was raised to leave food and other treats for them to pay them for protecting the town.
But two things happen that cause problems and heartache for the town: Vasya's father remarries and a priest moves in. The stepmother sees the creatures too but she has a negative view of them which is ironically opposite of her stepdaughter. She comes across as mentally unstable and the villagers stay clear of her.
The priest takes it upon himself to cleanse the village of the heretics and their beliefs. In the process, he turns the villagers against their own beliefs, which leads to the village being vulnerable to more evil and death.
There are a lot of Russian names that I found hard to keep track of until about half way through the book when I understood who was related to who, etc. I enjoyed learning about Russia in this time period through the story.

Thanks to netgalley for the early review!




Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.



 Opening line:
"A girl rode a bay horse through a forest late at night."

The Girl in the Tower is every bit as good as the The Bear and the Nightingale. I love the main character, Vasya, and her strength, determination and love for her family. When Vasya is left with no choice to live her own life, she escapes by dressing up as a boy and riding a magical horse across Russia in the depth of winter. She is united to a brother, sister and cousin who are all unwitting players in a play of lies, deception and evil rulers.
Each character is painted in rich colors as well as the landscape and homes of Russia. And against the austere and bleak backdrop of Russia, Vasya shines even more as a strong, intelligent woman who will do what she knows is right.

Thank you netgalley for this early read! I loved it!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Delilah's Desserts by Melanie Jacobson, Heather b. Moore, Julie Wright

Welcome to Tangerine Street

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. Delilah's Desserts, situated in the middle of this charming collection of shops and caf├ęs on Tangerine Street, is a bakery that offers a different variety of desserts each day. The emotions that Delilah bakes into these desserts have a strange effect on customers, sometimes altering the course of their lives . . .



  
A Taste of Magic by Melanie Jacobson
"Delilah stepped back from the giant mixes and brushed a stray lock of her hair out of her face."

The Art of Love by Heather Moore
"Roxy Randall hated her name all through elementary school."

Much Ado about Cupcakes by Julie Wright
"KC glanced at her watch before taking a sip of her lemon-infused water."

I LOVE the stories from Tangerine Street!

2017 Readying Update

I read 137 books.
Which equals over 45,000 pages.
My longest read (I actually listened to it) was:



Here are a few of my favorite reads (in particular order) from last year: