Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Greythorne by Crystal Smith

Greythorne (Bloodleaf #2) by Crystal Smith

Overall: ***

Romance: **

Reading Rate: ****

Publisher: HMH Books

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Pages: 352

Recommend if you liked: The Remnant Chronicles

After the ending of Bloodleaf I was ready to dive right into Greythorne to find out what happened next with Aurelia and Zan!  I was very surprised to see that Smith took the storyline in a very different direction for this book so I struggled in the beginning with the shock of the character changes.

What I enjoyed:

  • New magic systems elements presented
  • As the story progressed and we learned more about the new characters I found myself getting sucked in again and enjoying the new twists.

What I struggled with:

  • While I enjoyed the overall story line, I struggled with the use of Spectral Travel and Time Travel to explain a large amount of the happenings in the story. I felt the use of these elements really did more to undo to story than to wrap it up.
  • The time travel gaps along with the recurring theme of people dying and coming back caused this book to fall short of its predecessor for me.

I also have to admit that I am sad about the cover change, the originals were some of my favorites.

Synopsis:

Princess Aurelia’s life is turned upside down when the kingdom she thought she saved turns to ruin, a loved one is tragically killed in a shipwreck, and her home country refuses to respect her brother’s legitimate claim to the throne. With no place left to call her own, Aurelia returns to Greythorne Manor—her best friend’s family mansion—only to get swept up in a coup d’état on the night of her brother’s coronation.

With everyone turned against her and enemies closing in on all sides, Aurelia has nothing left to lose in a mad fight to protect the only people she has left—her family. But in her darkest moments when all seems grim, will Aurelia find a spark of hope from a love she thought long lost?

Thank you to NetGalley and HMH Books for the opportunity to read Greythorne in exchange for my honest opinion.

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BLOG TOUR: Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody

I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody, out now!!

GAME OF THRONES meets THE DIVINERS in this thrilling fantasy — the highly anticipated final book in Amanda Foody’s THE SHADOW GAME series.

Return to the City of Sin, where the perilous final game is about to begin…The players? Twenty-two of the most powerful, most notorious people in New Reynes.
With no choice but to play, Enne and Levi are desperate to forge new alliances and bargain for their safety. But any misstep could turn deadly when a far more dangerous opponent appears on the board — one plucked straight from the city’s most gruesome legends. While Levi hides behind a mask of false promises, Enne is finally forced out from behind hers and as the game takes its final, vicious turn, these two must decide once and for all whether to be partners or enemies. Because in a game for survival, there are no winners…

There are only monsters.

About the author
Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a master’s in accountancy from Villanova University and a bachelor of arts in English literature from the
College of William and Mary.

Q&A with Amanda Foody

Q: What was the most challenging part to write in Queen of Volts?

A: The primary plot of Queen of Volts is a card game–twenty-two players, selected from among the most powerful people in the City of Sin. And every player has a target. As you can imagine, architecting such a game with twenty-two characters was incredibly complex, and I stressed about it for months over the drafting process. It was a complicated but rewarding endeavor.

 

Q: What was your most favorite part and why?

A: My favorite part was the fake dating arc. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but I absolutely loved the way these characters spun the classic trope. 

 

Q: . The Shadow Games series holds a lot of different POVs. Who was your favourite character to write through, and who was the hardest?

A: Over the course of the series, my favorite, steadfast character was Levi. His POV appears in all three books, and of all six of the various POVs over the course of the series, I see the two of us as the most similar. We are both analytical, and we react to conflict in similar ways. The most difficult character for me to write was Lola. She bit back at me with an anger and a resentment that I initially didn’t know what to do with. 

 

Q: What inspired you to model New Reynes after Atlantic City?

A: I grew up in Philadelphia, spending a good chunk of my summers at the south Jersey shore, a place known for sandy beaches, saltwater taffy, and boardwalks. Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and New York already have such a rich, connected history of organized crime in the early 20th Century. I relished the opportunity to pull elements of that setting into a high fantasy world. 

 

Q: How does it feel to be ending a trilogy, especially one as big and unique as this one?

A: It feels amazing, to be honest. From the beginning, my focus was always on creating a sprawling fantasy series that centered queer characters and teenage girls, and I’m endlessly grateful to my publisher for giving me free reign to accomplish that. Out of the six POVs in The Shadow Game series, three of them are queer, and the ratio also extends to the supporting cast. As a queer author, that means everything to me. 

 

Q: What’s a typical writing day for you?

A: The absolutely best part about being a full-time writer is that I can wake up whenever I feel like it, which is usually a little after 8:30 a.m. I’m the sort of the writer who normally juggles multiple projects at once, so I usually split my day between Book A and Book B, hopefully with some free time for exercise and/or lunch in between. 

 

Q: Where do you like writing and why? Favorite snacks and/or beverages?

A: I usually write in one of two places: on my bed, where it’s very comfy; or on the floor of my living room. I’m not a big snacker, generally, but I love tea. I often brew a quart of it the night before and sip green or oolong iced tea throughout the day.

 

Q: What was your last 5-star read and why?

A: Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald. Emanuela, the main character of this book, is nothing short of a queer icon. In the category of Girls-Who-Do-Not-Apologize-For-Shit, Emanuela has the gold medal. I love her dearly.

 

Q: How would your main character(s) fare with a stay-at-home order?

A: I’m going to stick to Levi and Enne for this one. I think that Enne would ultimately fare well, surrounded by her friends in the Spirits, also quarantined with her. She’d probably plow through her collection of Sadie Knightley novels. Levi would be restless and bored of defeating the other Irons at the same card games over and over again.

 

Q: Is there anything you can tell us about the book that is not a spoiler and not on the blurb? Something you’d like to share with us?

A: This book has a heavy emphasis on mental illness. As the third book in a trilogy, these characters have faced a huge amount of dangers and stress leading up to this finale, and it’s not the sort that any of them can simply brush off. They’re scared. They’re grieving. And it was important to me to explore how these traumatic experiences have shaped their various journeys. I don’t write assume that just because a character flees a line of fire that they’ve escaped it unscathed. 

 

Q: What was your inspiration for writing the book?

A: I have always been fascinated with magic systems. As fantasy writers or fantasy writers, we often have such narrow expectations for the way that magic is described, but magic is ultimately magic. It has so much untapped potential. My inspiration for The Shadow Game series was a world where magic was currency. From that, I engineered an entire world shaped by greed. 

 

Q: What came first, the novel or the title?

A: For Queen of Volts, the title. My editor actually suggested it on my very first call with her when she offered to buy Ace of Shades. She had it simmering for three years before Queen of Volts released!

 

Q: Which character/s do you relate to the most?

A: I relate to Levi the most–I often feel that he and I share a similar mixture of ambition and cynicism. I did also put a lot of myself and my manifestos into Enne. I love clothes, make-up, and so much of what our culture deems to be “girly” and therefore less than. But on a purely personal level, Enne and I are very different people. She is sensitive and reactive in a way that I am not. 

 

Q: What do you like most about writing?

A: I love the immersion it offers into a fantasy world. It is so different than the experience of a reader. When I am describing a setting in my books, I am not describing everything I imagine–I am only describing what I deem is necessary. But I still envision every unspent detail in my own mind. In the scene, I am there. I see it all. I hear it. I smell it. That degree of imagination is addictive.

 

Q: What scene, in the book, are you most proud of?

A: That is incredibly hard to choose. There is a scene of Sophia and Harrison in a car that I love dearly. A scene of Levi and Tock. Countless scenes of Levi and Enne. I don’t know how to discuss them without spoilers, but they were all important to me, in their own ways.

 

Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer? 

A: Even though I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, I did not consider myself a writer until I was 17, when I decided unequivocally that I wanted to be an author. Before that point, I had thought being a novelist was unpragmatic and borderline impossible. It took redefining my own image of myself to turn an impossibility into a goal. 

 

Q: What would you like to say to aspiring/beginning writers in the community?

A: If you’re serious about writing, make it your study. Read books about craft. Read books lauded for their craft. I don’t think it’s important to study creative writing or attain any degree in it, but it is important to think of yourself as a student, to devour as much information about the craft as you can find. I personally always err on the side of taking myself too seriously. Otherwise, I might not get anything done. 

Social Links:
Author website: http://www.amandafoody.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amandafoody
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandafoody/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37545599-queen-of-volts

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Queen-Volts-Shadow-Amanda-Foody/dp/1335145869

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/queen-of-volts-amanda-foody/1133810276

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335145864

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

Fable by Adrienne Young (Book 1 of the Fable Duology) 

Overall: ***.5

Romance:***

Reading Rate: ***

Publisher: Wednesday Books 

Pages: 368

Release Date: 9/1/2020

Recommend if you liked: Pirates of the Caribbean

This was a short and sweet adventure novel on the high seas!

What I liked:

  • I really enjoyed the writing and the characters that Young developed in such a short time.
  • I love ocean travel stories and this one had a great mix of time in port, on islands, and at sea. 
  • Also could this cover get any more beautiful!!! 

What I struggled with:

  • While the story was enjoyable the storyline was very similar to others and it made it easy to predict how the book would progress.
  • I could have done with a bit more romance but this novel is at the young end of the YA scale so I feel like it fit the desired audience. 

The book does end of a cliffhanger so I hope to see some unexpected twists and turns in the sequel!

Synopsis:
As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

 

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Book Review: The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson, book 2 of The Storm Crow duology. 

  • Overall rating: ****
  • Reading rate: ****
  • Romance: **
  • Pages: 368
  • Release date: July 7, 2020
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Spoilers for Book 1 of the Duology below, if you have not read the first book check out my spoiler free review of The Storm Crow here.

The Crow Rider is the fact paced, action packed conclusion to the Crow Rider Duology. I was a little hesitant going into the book after the first one left me a bit wanting but I am glad I gave it another shot.  We pick up right where the first one left off with Thia, Res and the crew escaping Illucia and headed to meet potential rebel allies to save their world. Josephson started such a unique world and magic system, so I really enjoyed the further world building and getting to know the characters more. I really wish this story had been a bit longer to go into more detail but was still entertaining and look forward to seeing how Josephson grows in her writing in future novels….hopefully more in this world!

What I liked:

  • I enjoyed the quicker pace and action scenes much better in this story.
  • Super quick to read, only took me about two days to finish
  • I enjoyed getting to knew Res and additional characters. I struggled to connect with the MC in the first book (want to shake her a few times) but I was much more connected with her in this installment.
  • Without spoilers I have to say I was really happy with the way the story wrapped up.

What I struggled with:

  • I felt like some additional elements were added to the story that really could have used some additional build out. This really could easily have been a trilogy with time taken to add more details and feel less rushed.

Synopsis:

The thrilling conclusion to the epic Storm Crow duology that follows a fallen princess as she tries to bring back the magical elemental crows taken from her people.

Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.

But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.

As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.

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Top Tuesday June Release Books

Even with all of the changes going on in the world June has still managed to be a hot month for book releases here are some of the books I scooped up this month and cannot wait to read!

1. Crowning Destiny by Amelia Hutchins- This is final book in the Fae Chronicles Series (technically Part 2 of the final book). This is a very dark and steamy adult paranormal romance series.

The final battle for Faery is here!
War has come to Faery, and there’s no escaping the final battle.
We thought we were ready for anything.
We were wrong.
I couldn’t change who I was, so Destiny stepped in, forcing me to become what Faery needed to face down our enemies.
Can I forgive what happened and move past the lies and betrayals? Or will I destroy a world to bring the man I love to his knees, requiring us to become the monsters the world wants us to be?

2. The Shadow Wand by Laurie Forest

 This is the third book in The Black Witch Chronicles series. This series is so so so good, I have never heard anyone give it negative feedback, and it deals with a lot of themes related to equality we are encountering in our real world today.

HER WORLD-ALTERING SECRET CAN’T BE HIDDEN MUCH LONGER

Elloren Gardner hides the most powerful secret in all Erthia—she is the Black Witch of Prophecy, and destined to triumph…or be used as the ultimate weapon of destruction.

Separated from everyone she loves, isolated and hunted, Elloren must turn to the last person she can trust—her fastmate, Commander Lukas Grey. With the Mage forces of Gardneria poised to conquer all of Erthia, Elloren has no choice but to ally with Lukas and combine their power to keep herself out of the hands of Gardnerian leader Marcus Vogel…the holder of the all-consuming Shadow Wand.

With just weeks to train to become a warrior, and no control over her magic, Elloren finds unexpected allies among those under orders to kill her. It’s time to step up. To fight back. And to forge onward through the most devastating loss yet.

3. Rage and Ruin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This is the second book in JLA’s Harbinger series which is a spin off series to her Dark Elements series so if you liked that series or any of her works you have to give this one a try. I read the first book Storm and Fury last year and loved it so I cannot wait to see what she does next with this world.

Dangerous secrets and forbidden desires lead to shocking consequences… Don’t miss book two of the fantastical Harbinger trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout.

4. The Boundless  (The Beholder 2) by Anna Bright

This breathtaking sequel to The Beholder will take you on a journey into a darkly sparkling fairy tale, perfect for fans of The Selection and Caraval.

When Selah found true love with Prince Torden of Norway, she never imagined she’d have to leave him behind. All because the Beholder’s true mission was a secret Selah’s crew didn’t trust her to keep: transporting weapons to the rebels fighting against the brutal tsarytsya, whose shadow looms over their next port of Shvartsval’d. A place Selah hoped she’d never go.

But gone is the girl who departed Potomac filled with fear. With a stockpile of weapons belowdecks and her heart hanging in the balance, Selah is determined to see the Beholder’s quest to its end

5. Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S. A Chakraborty

 I read the first two books in this series this month and really enjoyed them, I cannot wait until my copy of Empire of Gold arrives so I can see how this trilogy ends.

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

6. Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings in a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.

7. Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik, Susan Dennard, and Netflix’s The Witcher!

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood―an ancient forest possessed by souls―to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

8. Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano 

For fans of Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor, a perfect storm lies ahead in this riveting fantasy duology opener from award-winning author Elle Cosimano.

One cold, crisp night, Jack Sommers was faced with a choice—live forever according to the ancient, magical rules of Gaia, or die.

Jack chose to live, and in exchange, he became a Winter—an immortal physical embodiment of the season on Earth. Every year, he must hunt the Season who comes before him. Summer kills Spring. Autumn kills Summer. Winter kills Autumn. And Spring kills Winter.

Jack and Fleur, a Winter and a Spring, fall for each other against all odds. To be together, they’ll have to escape the cycle that’s been forcing them apart. But their creator won’t let them go without a fight.

9. TrueLife (LIFEL1K3 #3) by Jay Kristoff

Best friends have become enemies. Lovers have become strangers. And deciding whose side you’re on could be the difference between life and death. For Eve and Lemon, discovering the truth about themselves–and each other–was too much for their friendship to take. But with the country on the brink of a new world war–this time between the BioMaas swarm at CityHive and Daedalus’s army at Megopolis, loyalties will be pushed to the brink, unlikely alliances will form and with them, betrayals. But the threat doesn’t stop there, because the lifelikes are determined to access the program that will set every robot free, a task requiring both Eve and Ana, the girl she was created to replace. In the end, violent clashes and heartbreaking choices reveal the true heroes . . . and they may not be who you think they are.

10. The Obsidian Tower (Books and Ruin) by Melissa Caruso 

One woman will either save an entire continent or completely destroy it in a captivating epic fantasy bursting with intrigue and ambition, questioned loyalties, and broken magic.

“Guard the tower, ward the stone. Find your answers writ in bone. Keep your trust through wits or war–nothing must unseal the door.”

Deep within Gloamingard Castle lies a black tower. Sealed by magic, it guards a dangerous secret that has been contained for thousands of years.

As Warden, Ryxander knows the warning passed down through generations: nothing must unreal the Door. But one impetuous decision will leave her with blood on her hands–and unleash a threat that could doom the world to fall to darkness.

 

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Blog Tour: More Than Neighbors by Shannon Stacey

MORE THAN NEIGHBORS by Shannon Stacey (on-sale June 16, 2020)

The only thing they have in common is a property line! Cam Maguire is in Blackberry Bay to unravel a family secret. Meredith Price has moved next door with her daughter. He’s unattached. She’s a widowed single mom. He’s owned by a cat. She’s definitely team canine. All these neighbors have in common is a property line. One they cross…over and over. And Cam thought he knew what he wanted—until his family’s secret changes everything.

cover image_More Than Neighbors_Shannon Stacey_Harlequin SE

About Shannon Stacey: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and off-roading with her friends and family.

Excerpt, MORE THAN NEIGHBORS by Shannon Stacey (Harlequin Special Edition)

“So you’re staying for the summer, you said? Where do you usually live?”

“New York City, actually.”

Her hazel eyes widened. “Wow. That’s quite a change in pace.”

“It is, but I was ready to get away for a while.” “What do you do in the city?”

“I work for my dad,” he said, which wasn’t technically a lie, but wasn’t entirely accurate, either. “A lot of accounting and paperwork and boring stuff like that.”

She was cute when she wrinkled her nose. “I’m not a fan of boring math-related paperwork.”

A yelp from across the yard caught her attention and she turned to see Elinor swipe at the white puff-ball. Sophie was frowning and picked the dog up, turning her body so the cat couldn’t see him any-more.

“Your cat appears to be bullying my dog.”

“She’s not my cat. And you’re embarrassing your dog by even making that claim right now.”

She arched an eyebrow at him. “If you don’t think cats can bully dogs, you don’t spend a lot of time on the internet.”

“She just wants the dog to know who’s boss, I guess.”

“It’s his yard,” she pointed out.

“She’s a cat.”

“Point taken.” A genuine smile lit up her face and made her eyes crinkle. “They’ll get used to each other. And speaking of that, now that I know you’re going to be my neighbor for a while, I should prob-ably introduce myself properly. I’m Meredith Price, and that’s Sophie and Oscar.”

“Calvin Maguire,” he said, extending his hand. “But everybody calls me Cam.”

As she shook his hand, he noted how soft the skin was and had to resist rubbing his thumb over it.

She tilted her head as she smoothly pulled her hand away from his. “How do you get Cam from Calvin?”

“My initials. Calvin Anthony Maguire.” His mouth twisted in a wry smile. “The fourth.”

“Interesting.”

“It was a better alternative than being Little Cal for my entire life.” He didn’t really want to open him-self up to more questions about his family, since they were the last thing he wanted to talk about. “Since Oscar’s from California, let me guess. Oscar de la Renta?”

She laughed. “Oscar the Grouch.”

“You’re kidding.” He looked at the dog again, who looked like the kind they put on the packaging of fancy dog food. “I don’t really see the resemblance, but maybe it’s a personality thing.”

“He’s actually named after Sophie’s favorite book at the time, and trust me, we spent days explaining to her why we couldn’t make his hair green.”

“He doesn’t bark a lot, does he?”

“I wouldn’t say he barks a lot.” She glanced at the dog before giving him a sheepish look. “It’s more like a really high-pitched yip.”

“That’ll be fun while I’m reading over spread-sheets,” he said, picturing spending his summer being harassed by a stubborn cat and a high-strung dog. “Maybe I should have packed my noise- canceling headphones.”

She looked startled for a second and then her eyes narrowed. “I have a child and a dog, so I guess you’ll just have to figure out how to make it work.”

“Maybe a muzzle?” he asked, but he wasn’t re-ally serious. Yipping dogs weren’t his favorite, but he wasn’t a total jerk.

She stared at him for a long moment before giving him an arch look. “I don’t know if I can find one in your size, but I can try.”

Cam chuckled, appreciating her comeback, but she didn’t even crack a smile. Maybe she hadn’t been joking. And maybe she’d thought he wasn’t, either.

“If you’ll excuse me, we just arrived and I have a lot to do.”

“Nice to meet you,” he said as she walked, and she held up her hand in what looked more like a dis-missive gesture than a wave.

That was fine. If she wanted to play that game, she’d find out he didn’t really care that much. She and her yipping dog could stay in her yard and he’d stay in his.

He had better things to do, anyway. Like learning more about Carolina Archambault, and figuring out how to convince her cat he was the boss.

 

Author social links:
– Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49875473-more-than-
neighbors?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=BPmoRsG1Za&rank=1
– Author website: https://shannonstacey.com/
– Twitter: https://twitter.com/shannonstacey
– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shannonstacey.authorpage
– Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shannonstacey/

 

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Book Review: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles

  • Overall rating: *** 40144224
  • Reading rate: **
  • Romance: ***
  • Pages: 464 pages
  • Release date: August 25, 2020
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Recommended if you liked: Caraval, The Night Circus

You get a bit of Caraval and The Night Circus vibes in this slow build dark fantasy threaded mystery. The story revolves around a magical contest and a world where women are not allowed to be showmen, Kallia aims to change the game…and everyone is trying to hide their past.

This book was one of my most anticipated new releases of the year, but it did fall a bit short for me. It was a very slow start where you are left with all kinds of mystery and not a lot of answers, so I struggled to continue reading at times. While I thoroughly enjoyed the MC Kallia overall, I was not a huge fan of the other characters POVs and the sudden shifts in POV without any page/chapter break were difficult to adjust to.

The book started to take off around the final quarter and while it ended in a lot of excitement and was not totally predictable, I still found myself needing more answers to be sufficiently involved in the world and attached to the characters. The story does leave you with a cliffhanger ending and I while the first book was not right on the mark for me, I look forward to seeing how to second book in the series delivers.

Synopsis:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for a copy of Where Dreams Descend in exchange for my honest review.

 

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Blog Tour: The Green Door by Heather Heather Kindt

Happy Release day to Heather Kindt and The Green Door!!!!
The Green Door is the first book in Heather Kindt’s young adult fantasy series. If you like strong female leads, adventure, snarky attitudes, and sexy sirens, then you’ll love the first installment in the Eternal Artifacts series.
COVER REVEAL: The Green Door by Heather Kindt
The game was supposed to be easy… enter the door, find the object, collect the prize money.

But nothing is ever that easy for Meg Covington. Her dad keeps a roof over her head, but college is out of the question. Her best friend, Brek, will leave for school, and she’ll be trapped in her hometown—that is until Meg discovers the flyer for Rosenbaum’s game hanging in the entryway of the record store.

Within the basement of the mansion lies the white passage, a hallway lined with colorful doors. When each door turns out to be a portal to another world, things get complicated quickly. If they find the object within the world, Meg will take her first step towards freedom. But is it really just a game, or a one-way ticket to something much more dangerous? 

Amazon link:
Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Blog Tour: Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

I am so excited to be a part of the Harper Collins tour for Kimberly Belle’s June 9th release of Stranger in the Lake.

STRANGER IN THE LAKE cover

About the Book:

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

About the Author:

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including the forthcoming Stranger in the Lake (June 2020). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Excerpt:

The town of Lake Crosby isn’t much, just three square blocks and some change, but it’s the only town in the southern Appalachians perched at the edge of the water, which makes it a popular tourist spot. Paul’s office is at the far end of the first block, tucked between a fudge shop and Stuart’s Craft Cocktails, which, as far as I can tell, is just another way to say “pretentious bar.” Most of the businesses here are pretentious, farm-to-table restaurants and specialty boutiques selling all things overpriced and unnecessary.

For people like Paul, town is a place to socialize and make money—in his case, by selling custom house designs for the million-dollar lots that sit high on the hills or line the lakeshores. My old friends serve his drinks and wait his tables—but only the lucky ones. There are ten times more locals than there are jobs.

The covered terrace for the cocktail lounge is quiet, a result of the off-season and the incoming weather, the sign on the door still flipped to Closed. I’m passing the empty hostess stand when I notice movement at the very back, a tattered shadow peeling away from the wall. Jax—the town loon, the crazy old man who lives in the woods. Most people turn away from him, either out of pity or fear, but not me. For some reason I can’t put into words, I’ve never been afraid to look him straight on.

He takes a couple of halting steps, like he doesn’t want to be seen—and he probably doesn’t. Jax is like a deer you come up on in a meadow, one blink and he’s gone. But this time he doesn’t run.

His gaze flicks around, searching the street behind me. “Where’s Paul.” A statement, not a question.

Slowly, so not to spook him, I point to the sleek double doors on the next building, golden light spilling out the windows of Keller Architecture. “Did you check inside?”

Jax shakes his head. “I need to talk to him. It’s important.”

Like every time he emerges from out of the woods, curiosity bubbles in my chest. Once upon a time, Jax had everything going for him. High school prom king and star quarterback, the golden boy with a golden future, and one of Paul’s two best friends. Their picture still sits atop his desk in the study, Paul and Jax and Micah, all tanned chests and straightened smiles, three teenage boys with the world at their feet.

Now he’s Batty Jax, the raggedy, bearded boogeyman parents use as a warning. Do your homework, stay out of trouble, and don’t end up like Jax.

He clings to the murky back of the terrace, sticking to the shaded spots where it’s too dark for me to make out much more than a halo of matted hair, the jutting edges of an oversized jacket, long, lean thighs. His face is dark, too, the combination of a life outdoors and dirt.

“Do you want me to give Paul a message? Or if you stay right there, I can send him out. I know he’ll want to see you.”

Actually, I don’t know; I only assume. Jax is the source of a slew of rumors and petty gossip, but for Paul, he’s a painful subject, one he doesn’t like to talk about. As far as I know, the two haven’t spoken since high school graduation—not an easy thing to do in a town where everybody knows everybody.

Jax glances up the street, in the direction of far-off voices floating on the icy wind. I don’t follow his gaze, but I can tell from the way his body turns skittish that someone is coming this way, moving closer.

“Do you need anything? Some money, maybe?”

Good thing those people aren’t within earshot, because they would laugh at the absurdity of the trailer-park girl turned married-up wifey offering the son of an insurance tycoon some cash. Not that Jax’s father didn’t disown him ages ago or that I have more than a couple of bucks in my pocket, but still.

Jax shakes his head again. “Tell Paul I need to talk to him. Tell him to hurry.”

Before I can ask what for, he’s off, planting a palm on the railing and springing over in one easy leap, his body light as a pole vaulter. He hits the cement and takes off up the alley. I dash forward until I’m flush with the railing, peering down the long passage between Paul’s building and the cocktail lounge, but it’s empty. Jax is already gone.

I push through the doors of Keller Architecture, an open space with cleared desks and darkened computer screens. The whiteboard on the back wall has already been wiped clean, too, one of the many tasks Paul requires his staff to do daily. It’s nearing five, and other than his lead designer, Gwen, hunched over a drawing at her drafting table, the office is empty.

She nods at my desk. “Perfect timing. I just finished the Curtis Cottage drawings.”

Calling a seven-thousand-square-foot house a “cottage” is ridiculous, as are whatever reasons Tom Curtis and his wife, a couple well into their seventies, gave Paul for wanting six bedrooms and two kitchens in what is essentially a weekend home. But the Curtises are typical Keller Architecture clients—privileged, demanding and more than a little entitled. They like Paul because he’s one of them. Having a desk is probably ridiculous, too, since I only work twenty hours a week, and for most of them I’m anywhere but here. My role is client relations, which consists mainly of hauling my ass to wherever the clients are so I can put out fires and talk them off the latest ledge. The job and the desk are one of the many perks of being married to a Keller.

“Thanks.” I tuck the Curtis designs under an arm and move toward the hallway to my left, a sleek tunnel of wood and steel that ends in Paul’s glass-walled office. “I’m here to pick up Paul. There’s something wrong with his car.”

When he called earlier to tell me his car was dead in the lot, I thought he was joking. Engine trouble is what happens to my ancient Civic, not Paul’s fancy Range Rover, a brand-new supercharged machine with a dashboard that belongs in a cockpit. More money than sense, my mother would say about Paul if she were here, and now, I guess, about me.

Gwen leans back in her chair, wagging a mechanical pencil between two slim fingers. “Yeah, the dealer is sending a tow truck and a replacement car, but they just called to say they’re delayed. He said he had a couple of errands to run.”

I frown. “Who, the tow truck driver?”

“No, Paul.” She swivels in her chair, reaching across the desk behind her for a straightedge. “He should be back any sec.”

I thank her and head for the door.

On the sidewalk, I fire off a quick text to Paul. I’m here, where are you?

I wait for a reply that doesn’t come. The screen goes dark, then black. I slip the phone into my jacket pocket and start walking.

In a town like Lake Crosby, there are only so many places Paul could be. The market, the pharmacy, the shop where he buys his ties and socks. I pop into all of them, but no one’s seen him since this morning. Back on the sidewalk, I pull out my phone and give him a call. It rings once, then shoots me to voice mail. I hit End and look up and down the mostly deserted street.

“Hey, Charlie,” somebody calls from across the road, two single lanes separated by a parking strip, and I whirl around, spotting Wade’s familiar face over the cars and SUVs. One of my brother’s former classmates, a known troublemaker who dropped out sophomore year because he was too busy cooking meth and raising hell. He leans against the ivory siding of the bed-and-breakfast, holding what I sincerely hope is a hand-rolled cigarette.

“It’s Charlotte,” I say, but I don’t know why I bother.

On my sixteenth birthday, I plunked down more than a hundred hard-earned dollars at the courthouse to change my name. But no matter how many times I correct the people who knew me back when—people who populate the trailer parks and shacks along the mountain range, people like Wade and me—no matter how many times I tell them I’m not that person anymore, to them I’ll always be Charlie.

He flicks the cigarette butt into the gutter and tilts his head up the street. “I just saw your old man coming out of the coffee shop.” Emphasis on the old man. “If you hurry, you can probably catch him.”

I mumble a thanks, then head in that direction.

Just past the market, I spot Paul at the far end of a side street, a paper cup clutched in his hand. He’s wearing the clothes I watched him pull on this morning—a North Face fleece, a navy cashmere sweater, dark jeans, leather lace-up boots, but no coat. No hat or scarf or gloves. Paul always dresses like this, without a second thought as to the elements. That fleece might be fine for the quick jogs from the house to his car to the office door, but with the wind skimming up the lake, he must be freezing.

The woman he’s talking to is more properly dressed. Boots and a black wool coat, the big buttons fastened all the way to a neck cloaked in a double-wrapped scarf. A knitted hat is pulled low over her ears and hair, leaving only a slice of her face—from this angle, her profile—exposed.

“There you are,” I say, and they both turn.

A short but awkward silence. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he looks surprised to see me.

“Charlotte, hi. I was just…” He glances at the woman, then back to me. “What are you doing here?”

“You asked me to pick you up. Didn’t you get my text?”

With his free hand, he wriggles his cell from his pocket and checks the screen. “Oh. Sorry, I must have had it on Silent. I was on my way back to the office, but then I got to talking and…well, you know how that goes.” He gives me a sheepish smile. It’s a known fact that Paul is a talker, and like in most small towns, there’s always someone to talk to.

But I don’t know this woman.

I take in her milky skin and sky blue eyes, the light smattering of freckles across her nose and high cheekbones, and I’m positive I’ve never seen her before. She’s the kind of pretty a person would remember, almost beautiful even, though she’s nothing like his type. Paul likes his women curvy and exotic, with dark hair and ambiguous coloring. This woman is bony, her skin so pale it’s almost translucent.

I step closer, holding up my hand in a wave. “Hi, I’m Charlotte Keller. Paul’s wife.”

The woman gives me a polite smile, but her gaze flits to Paul. She murmurs something, and I’m pretty sure it’s “Keller.”

The hairs soldier on the back of my neck, even though I’ve never been the jealous type. It’s always seemed like such a waste of energy to me, being possessive and suspicious of a man who claims to love you. Either you believe him or you don’t—or so I’ve always thought. Paul tells me he loves me all the time, and I believe him.

But this woman wouldn’t be the first around these parts to try to snag herself a Keller.

“Are you ready?” I say, looking at Paul. “Because I came in the boat, and we need to get home before this weather blows in.”

The talk of rain does the trick, and Paul snaps out of whatever I walked into here. He gives me that smile he saves only for me, and a rush of something warm hits me hard, right behind the knees.

People who say Paul and I are wrong together don’t get that we’ve been waiting for each other all our lives. His first wife’s death, my convict father and meth-head mother, they broke us for a reason, so all these years later our jagged edges would fit together perfectly, like two pieces of the same fractured puzzle. The first time Paul took my hand, the world just…started making sense.

And now there’s a baby, a perfect little piece of Paul and me, an accidental miracle that somehow busted through the birth control. Maybe it’s not a fluke but a sign, the universe’s way of telling me something good is coming. A new life. A new chance to get things right.

All of a sudden and out of nowhere I feel it, this burning in my chest, an overwhelming, desperate fire for this baby that’s taken root in my belly. I want it to grow and kick and thrive. I want it with everything inside me.

“Let’s go home.” Without so much as a backward glance at the woman, Paul takes my hand and leads me to the boat.

Excerpted from Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle, Copyright © 2020 by Kimberle S. Belle Books, LLC. Published by Park Row Books.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.kimberlybellebooks.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimberlybelle

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WNX6ZZS

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stranger-in-the-lake-kimberly-belle/1133065677

 

 

Book Boxes, Products I love!!

Unboxing and Review: April Illumicrate

  • Theme: Squad Goals
  • Overall: **
  • Cost: $52 shipped to the US
  • Shipping: ** Second month in a row that boxes have been damaged and items have been broken or missing.
  • Quality of items: ** A few of the items seem like free products you get at a convention and the print included is regular paper and not even stock or photo paper. I was also bummed to find that we only had a book plate vs a signed book this month, even though the edition is gorgeous.
  • Value for the money: ** Hopefully some of the items can be sold for enough to make up the cost, especially since I don’t want anything the box but the book

Sadly this was another disappointing box for me and all I want to keep is the book. Unfortunately due to US shipping there is only a few dollars difference between the book only and the whole box so I keep trudging on for those special editions :-).

Whats in the box:

April Illumicrate Unboxing Dangerous Remedy