Book Reviews, Products I love!!

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.

 

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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:
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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

 

 

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Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi Book Review

  • Overall: ****
  • Romance: ****
  • Reading Rate: *****
  • Pages: 338
  • Publication Date: November 15, 2011
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager 
  • Recommend if you like: Divergent, The Remnant Chronicles
  • Purchase on Amazon here

Shatter Me is one of those series I keep hearing about over and over and with the final book in the series releasing this month I decided I needed to finally dive in…. and of course to try and avoid some spoilers if possible.

For the record I LOVE Dystopian worlds in print and in movies…though this genre may not be your cup of tea I think there is enough of a romance element that it could still draw in some readers who normally would not take the plunge.

What I liked:

  • Really great mix of dystopian and YA romance. Adam and Juliette give me Tris and Four vibes from Divergent but with a little more steam.
  • I really liked the overall concept of the book. I normally don’t do well not having a lot of information but the book is set up to keep you guessing on whats real and who you can trust and I just ate it up. I feel like it was a great set up for a series with endless possibilities.
  • Fast paced. I listened to the audio book  through Scribd and blew through it I 2 days (admittedly during “social distancing”).

What I struggled with:

  • The writing style and the repeating of words a lot was a bit challenging to listen to so I imagine would have been much harder to read. The way things were written do give you good insight into Juliette’s mental state which overall was valuable to the story.

Overall I really enjoyed the story and dove right into listening to the sequel to find out what happens next… and if my ship can sail!

Synopsis:

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I’m more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

 

 

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Book Review: Storybound by Emily McKay

Storybound (Book #1) by Emily McKay

  • Overall: ****
  • Romance: *
  • Reading Rate: ****
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher:  Entangled: Teen
  • Release Date: May 5th 2020
  • Recommend if you like: The Unicorn Chronicles
  • Purchase on Amazon here

Such as cute book!!! This book is on the younger side of the YA scale but was still a fun and unique read for all ages. What book lover can’t relate to wishing they could get sucked into their favorite series and meeting their Book Boyfriend?

What I liked:

  • The whole premise of the book is super fun and they way the author tied the parallel worlds together
  • I feel like it was a little love letter to use bookworms.
  • Really fast paced story all the way through, I almost finished the entire book the first night I picked it up.

What I struggled with:

  • There was still a lot left unsaid and unknown, but this is the first book in a series so I am sure a lot more information to come in future installments.

The book did wrap up in a way that left me satisfied (no cliffhanger) while leaving the door wide open for a lot more. I will definitely be on the look out for future books in this series to find out what happens next!

Synopsis:

I’ve lived in nine towns in the past six years. I know my mom feels bad about it, but I don’t mind. Who wants friends anyway?

All I’ve ever needed are my books. I’ve lived a thousand lives, had adventures I couldn’t even begin to imagine. To me, the places I discovered between the pages of a book are as real as the world I live in.

When I walk into my favorite bookstore, the last thing I expect is to walk out onto the pages of the kingdom of Mithres…or that the book boyfriend I’ve loved more than life, Kane the Traveler, really exists. And he has no clue the fate that awaits him in book five…

Now that I know the truth, I have a chance to save Kane. But if I change the story, will I ever find my way home?

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled:Teen for a copy of Storybound in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Blog Tour- SUNRISE ON HALF MOON BAY by Robyn Carr

SUNRISE-ON-HALF-MOON-BAY-Blog-Tour

I am so excited to be a part of the Harlequin Blog tour for Robyn Carr’s release of Sunrise of Half Moon Bay.

Releasing on April 14, 2020 check out the Synopsis and an Expert o the book below!

Synopsis:

Sometimes the happiness we’re looking for has been there all along…

Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don’t really know each other.

When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.

Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.

Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it.

Set in the stunning coastal town of Half Moon Bay, California, Robyn Carr’s new novel examines the joys of sisterhood and the importance of embracing change.

Sunrise on Half Moon BayExcerpt: 

“Has it ever occurred to Scott to get a serious job?” Adele asked. “I mean, forgive me, since I haven’t had a serious job in my life.”

Justine smiled patiently. “Your jobs have all been serious, and without you we’d have been lost. If you hadn’t dedicated yourself to Mom’s care, it would have cost our whole family a fortune. We’re indebted to you. And I agree it would help if Scott worked more than part-time, but I think that ship sailed years ago. He’s only worked part-time since Amber and Olivia came along.”

Adele adored her nieces, ages sixteen and seventeen. She was much closer to them than she was to Justine.

“I’m sorry you’re going through this,” Adele said. “I wish there was something I could do.”

“Well, the thing is, the future is looking very uncertain. I might need your help,” Justine said.

“What could I do?” she asked.

“Adele, I don’t like to push you, but you have to get it to­gether. We have to make some decisions about what you’re going to do, what we’ll do with the house. I realize what I’ve given you for your hard work hasn’t been much, but I don’t know how long I can keep it up—paying for the maintenance on this house, the taxes, a modest income for you… I don’t want to panic prematurely,” Justine said. “Maybe I’ll be able to work everything out without too much hassle, but if I run into trou­ble… Money could get very tight, Addie. All those promises I made—that I’d help financially while you fix up the house, that I’d give you my half of the proceeds when and if you sold it… I might not be able to come through. I know, I know, I promised you it would be yours after all of your sacrifice, but you wouldn’t want me to ignore the girls’ tuition or not be able to make the mortgage…”

“But Justine!” Adele said. “That’s all I have! And I was con­sidering finishing school myself!” Though if she was honest, she had no plans of any kind.

Justine reached out to her, squeezing her hand. “We’re a long way from me needing money. I just felt it was only fair to tell you what’s going on. If we’re in this together, we can both make it. I swear, I will make this all work out. I’ll make it right.”

But as Adele knew, they had never really been “in it together” in the past, and they wouldn’t be for very long in the future. Addie’s dedication to their parents allowed Justine to devote herself to her career. For that matter, it should be Justine and Scott shoring each other up. At least until Justine had a better idea. But where was Scott today? Golfing? Biking? Bowling?

Adele realized she had some difficult realities to face. When she dropped out of school to help her mother care for her fa­ther, she wasn’t being completely altruistic. She’d needed a place to run away to, hiding an unplanned pregnancy and covering her tattered heart. She’d never told her family that her married lover—her psychology professor—had broken down in tears when he explained he couldn’t leave his wife to marry Adele, that the college would probably fire him for having an affair with a student. For her, going home was the only option.

At the time Justine and Scott had been riding the big wave and didn’t lust after the small, old house in Half Moon Bay. That house was chump change to them. So, they worked out a deal. Adele had become her mother’s guardian with a power of attorney. But the will had never been adjusted to ref lect just one beneficiary rather than two. In the case of the death of both parents, Adele and Justine would inherit equal equity in the eighty-year-old house and anything left of the life insur­ance. At the time, of course, neither Adele nor Justine had ever considered the idea that Adele would be needed for very long. But before Adele knew it, eight years had been gobbled up. She was thirty-two and had been caring for her parents since she was twenty-four.

Adele, as guardian, could have escaped by turning over the house, pension, social security to a care facility for her mother and gone out on her own, finding herself a better job and her own place to live. She wasn’t sure if it was her conscience or just inertia that held her in place for so long.

“I just wanted to make sure you understood the circumstances before anything more happens,” Justine said. “And since you don’t have any immediate plans, please don’t list the house for sale or anything. Give me a chance to figure out what’s next. I have children. I’ll do whatever I can to protect them and you. They’re your nieces! They love you so much. I’m sure you want them to get a good education as much as I do.”

Does anyone want me to have a real chance to start over? Adele asked herself. This conversation sounded like Justine was pull­ing out of their deal.

“I’ll think about this, but Scott has responsibilities, too,” she pointed out.

“He’s been out of the full-time workforce for so long…” Jus­tine said.

“Just the same, we all have to live up to our adult commit­ments and responsibilities. And you’ve had a highfalutin job for a long time. You’ve made a lot of money. You can recover. I haven’t even begun.”

“I need your help, Addie,” Justine said. “You need to come up with a plan, something we can put in motion. Make plans for your next step, put a little energy into this old house, make suggestions of what we should do with it, everything. Let’s fig­ure out what to do before I find myself short and unable to help. I’m sorry, but we have to move forward.”

Excerpted from Sunrise on Half Moon Bay, Copyright © 2020 by Robyn Carr. Published by MIRA Books.

Social Links:

Author Website: https://www.robyncarr.com/

Twitter: @RCarrWriter

Facebook: @RobynCarrWriter

Instagram: @RobynCarrWriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/107767.Robyn_Carr?from_search=true

 

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Queen of Nothing by Holly Black Book Review

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) *There are potential spoilers in this review*

Overall: ***

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: ***

Publisher: Little Brown

Pages: 308

Release Date: November 19, 2019

Purchase on Amazon here

I hate to be super negative on here, but guys I was so so disappointed. I thought the first two books in the series were good (not blown away) and the way the ended was left at Wicked King had me so ready to read this final installment. As soon as I got my hands on the book I was nervous about how thin it was… but it started out on a high note with a dual and then the arrival of Taryn needing help due to Locke being dead.

I was all ramped up to see Jude back in Fairy so soon in the story, but it all went downhill from there. I expected to binge read the book like I did the first two, but I found myself losing interest and it took me over a week to get through, which is unusual for a book so short.  I felt like the closing of the story was completely rushed and then ending of the last book was totally written off by it being a joke from Cardan, and that as Queen Jude could have pardoned herself at any time and come back. By the time the last quarter of the book came around it was almost predictable, which throwing me for a loop was something I admired about this series.

I did appreciate the ending being wrapped up nicely with really no questions left hanging… I would like for there to have been a bit more betrayal and less happiness at the end for the “wicked” characters though.

Maybe it was just the final book curse, what did you think? Tell me below in the comments.

 

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Reverie by Ryan La Sala Book Review

 

Reverie by Ryan La Sala Book ReviewOverall: ***

Romance: *

Reading Rate: ***

Pages: 416

Recommend if you liked: I am Number Four series

Release Date: December 3, 2019

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Purchase on Amazon here

What I liked:

  • I enjoyed the premise of Reverie and the overall story line, the “reveries” were a unique and whimsical element.
  • The plot of Reverie draws you in from the very beginning as you start out with the main character’s POV right after a mysterious incident and the loss of his memory. As you being to meet more characters you are left wondering what is real and who to trust, I just had to know how it ended!

What I struggled with: The characters and world building are where I struggled.

  • I found the characters, especially the MC Kane very immature and tended to fall back in rushed and repeated emotions.
  • I would have enjoyed the book much more if the characters acted more mature and had been really built out. There were hints at complex characters with complicated pasts that defined who they were now, there just was no real chance to get to know them in the single book.
  • The book was really focused around one part of a larger issue. I feel they won a battle but were not even sure what the war was just yet.
  • There were also a lot of questions let open about how the Reverie’s and Posey came about although room is left for more books in the same world that might explain later.

Synopsis:

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different. 

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know. 

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

Thank you to Net Galley and Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of Reverie in exchange for my honest opinion.