Book Reviews, Products I love!!

BLOG TOUR: THESE FEATHERED FLAMES by Alexandra Overy

On Sale: April 20, 2021

INKYARD PRESS

YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Fantasy/ Epic/Fairy Tales & Folklore/ Adaptations/Family/Siblings/Romance/LGBTQ+

About the Book

Three Dark Crowns meets Wicked Saints in this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

About the Author

ALEXANDRA OVERY was born in London, England. Ever since she was little she has loved being able to escape into another world through books. She currently lives in Los Angeles, and is completing her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. When she’s not working on a new manuscript or procrastinating on doing homework, she can be found obsessing over Netflix shows, or eating all the ice cream she can.

Excerpted from These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy © 2021, used with permission from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.

Chapter One

The prey wasn’t meant to be a child.

When Asya had smelled the sharp tang of magic—strong even before she emerged from the tree line—that possibil­ity hadn’t so much as fluttered across her mind. It was never meant to be a child.

But the scent of magic was undeniable. That indistinguish­able combination of damp overturned earth and the metallic copper of blood, cut through with the acrid burn of power. It was overlaid with the cloying sweetness of waterose, as if someone had tried to mask it.

A futile attempt.

And Asya was sure this time. The person they were look­ing for had to be here.

The comfort of the forest stood at her back, the dark can­opy of trees stretching behind her in every direction. The fading sunlight could not break through the writhing tan­gle of branches, so in the shadow of the trunks, it was dark as twilight.

Most people feared the forest. Stories of monsters that lurked in its depths, witches who lured unsuspecting children in and tore out their hearts. But to Asya it had always felt safe, the gnarled trunks and rustling leaves were like old friends.

“This is it,” Asya said, inclining her head toward the clear­ing in front of them.

A slight smile tugged at her lips. Two years ago, when her great-aunt had first deemed her ready to try tracking herself—to follow the magic with only her mortal senses once they were close enough to the source—she’d found it impossible. More often than not, she just led them in circles until Tarya gave up on her. But today, Asya had managed it.

She might not be as unwavering as her aunt, as strong or as dutiful, but at least Asya had succeeded in this.

She glanced over at Tarya, waiting for her reaction. But her aunt stood stiller than the trees, an immovable presence in their midst. The shadowed light filtering through the leaves cast her face in stark relief, carving deep hollows into her snow-white cheeks and emphasizing the wrinkles at her brow. She could have been a painting—one of the old oil portraits of the gods, soft brushstrokes of light adding an ethereal glow to her stern face.

It made her look otherworldly. Inhuman.

Which she was. One of the creatures that prowled these trees.

While Asya, or any other mortal, could smell the resid­ual magic, her aunt could feel it. No amount of waterose or burned sage—or any of the other tricks people tried—could hide magic from Tarya.

Her dark eyes flickered to Asya. “Correct,” her aunt mur­mured, a hint of satisfaction in her soft voice.

In front of them, the comforting trees gave way to an open paddock. It had been allowed to run wild, chamomile glint­ing yellow in the long grass, like sun spots on water. Pur­ple-capped mushrooms pushed their way through the weeds, intertwining with the soft lilac of scattered crocuses.

The tinge of pride in Asya’s chest melted away, replaced by a thrumming anticipation. The paddock could have been beautiful, she supposed. But the cold apprehension burning in her stomach overshadowed it, darkening the flowers to poisonous thorns and muting the colors like fog. It was al­ways like this. Ever since the first time Tarya had taken her on a hunt. Once she was left without a task to complete—a distraction—Asya couldn’t pretend to forget what came next. She’d hoped it would get better, but she still couldn’t shake the lingering fear.

She shifted her feet, trying to ignore the erratic rhythm of her heart. She hated waiting. Each frantic beat stretching out into an eternity.

She just wanted this to be over.

After all, her sister had always been the brave one.

But that was why Asya was here. Why she had to follow this path, no matter how she wavered. She owed it to her sister. They were the two sides of a coin, and if Asya failed, then her sister would too.

Tarya’s words—the words Asya had to live by—pounded through her. This is our duty. Not a question of right or wrong, but balance.

Her aunt stepped forward. She moved silently, slipping like a shadow untethered from its owner, from the gnarled trees and out into the overgrown paddock beyond. She didn’t speak—she rarely did when she felt a Calling—but Asya knew she was meant to follow.

Asya took a shaky breath, touching one finger to the wooden icon around her neck. An unspoken prayer. She could do this.

Far less quietly, she followed Tarya into the uneven grass, wincing at the snapping twigs beneath her boots.

The paddock led to a small cottage, surrounded by more soft crocuses. Their purple seeped out from the house like a bruise. The building’s thatched roof had clearly been recently repaired, and the gray stone was all but consumed by creeping moss. The stench of magic grew with each step Asya took. Wateroses lay scattered on the ground, interspersed with dried rosemary sprigs. The too-sweet scent, cut through with the burn of magic, made her stomach turn.

Tarya stopped by the wooden door. Marks of various saints had been daubed across it in stark black paint, uneven and still wet. Acts of desperation. They felt out of place in the idyllic scene. The sight sent a prickle of unease through Asya’s gut.

“Your weapon,” Tarya prompted, her voice as low as the rustle of grass behind them.

Asya’s fingers jumped to the curved bronze shashka at her waist. A careless mistake. She should have drawn the short blade long before. She couldn’t let the apprehension clawing at the edge of her mind overwhelm her. Not this time.

She had to be sure. Uncompromising. She had to be like Tarya.

Asya unsheathed the weapon, the bronze glinting in the fading light, and forced her hand to steady.

Her aunt gave her a long look, one that said she knew just how Asya’s heart roiled beneath the surface. But Tarya just nodded, turning back to the freshly marked door. Sparks al­ready danced behind her eyes—deep red and burnished-gold flames swallowing her dark irises. It transformed her from ethereal into something powerful.

Monstrous.

Asya swallowed, pushing that thought away. Her aunt wasn’t a monster.

Tarya reached out and pressed her palm to the wood. Heat rolled from her in a great wave, making Asya’s eyes water. A low splintering noise fractured the air, followed by the snap of the metal bolt. The door swung open. All that was left of the painted sigils was a scorched handprint. Asya’s mouth went dry. She couldn’t help but feel that breaking the saints’ signs was violating some ancient covenant.

But Tarya just stepped inside. Asya tightened her grip on the blade, trying to shake off the sense of foreboding nipping at her heels, and followed.

The cottage was comprised of a single small room. Heavy fabric hung over the windows, leaving them half in shadow. As Asya’s vision adjusted, she took in the shapes of furniture—all overturned or smashed against the cracked walls. Clothes were strewn across the floor in a whirl, along with a few shat­tered plates and even a broken viila, its strings snapped and useless. A statue of Saint Meshnik lay on its side, their head several paces from their armored body. The room looked like it had been ransacked, perhaps set upon by thieves.

Or like someone wanted it to seem that way.

Tarya turned slowly, her sparking eyes taking in the room. Then her gaze fixed on a spot to her left, and flames reared across her irises again. Asya couldn’t see anything. But she knew her aunt was not really looking at the wall, she was feeling—reaching for those intangible threads that bound the world and using them to narrow in on her prey.

Asya waited, her breath caught in her chest.

Tarya moved in a flash, as though Vetviya herself had looked down and granted her secret passage through the In-Between. One moment beside Asya, the next in front of the wall. Flames, as golden and bright as sunlight, sputtered from her wrists, licking along her forearms. She put her hands on the wall, and the flames eagerly reached out to devour.

They burned away what must have been a false panel, re­vealing a tight crevice behind. Three faces stared out, eyes wide and afraid. Two children, a boy and a girl, clutching onto a man with ash-white hair, now covered in a faint sheen of soot.

“Oryaze,” he breathed, terror rising on his face like waves over a hapless ship. Firebird.

Bile burned in Asya’s throat. She took a halting step back, staring at the huddled family. It’s the man, she told herself. It had to be. The thought murmured through her, a desperate prayer to any god or saint who might be listening.

The man leaped forward, spreading his arms as though hid­ing the children from view might protect them. As though anything he did would make a difference. “I won’t let you touch her!” he cried, grabbing one of the broken chair legs and brandishing it like a sword.

Asya clenched her teeth, a sharp jab of pity shooting through her. It would be no use. Nothing would.

The flames coiled lazily around Tarya’s wrists as she watched the man with a detached curiosity. “The price must be paid.”

He let out a low sob, the chair leg clattering uselessly to the ground as he clasped his hands together as if in prayer. “Please, take it from me. She didn’t know what she was doing.”

The room was too hot, the flames scorching the very air in Asya’s lungs. This is what has to be done, she intoned. This is our duty. The same words her aunt had hammered into her. Asya’s knuckles shone white on the hilt of her shashka, the cool metal tethering her to the ground, to this moment, and not the rising guilt in the back of her mind. A panic that threatened to crush her.

“I cannot,” Tarya said, her voice hollow. “The price must be taken from the one who cast the spell.” With a casual flick of her wrist, a burst of fire sprang at the man. He dived aside, toppling into an overturned table.

The little boy was crying now, soft whimpers barely louder than the spitting flames. But the girl did not cry, even as Tarya wrapped an elegant hand around her arm and dragged her forward.

Asya saw the stratsviye clearly against the milk-white skin of the girl’s wrist. A mass of black lines that coalesced to form a burning feather, seared into her flesh like a brand. The mark of the Firebird. The mark that meant a debt had to be paid.

“Please,” the man said again, pulling himself from the col­lapsed table. “Please, she didn’t mean to—”

“Asya,” her aunt said, without looking up from the mark.

Asya knew what she was meant to do, but her legs took a moment to obey. Muscles protesting though her mind could not. But she moved forward anyway, placing herself between the man and the little girl, shashka raised in warning.

No one could interfere with the price.

The man scrambled for the chair leg again, leveling it at Asya with trembling hands. “She only did it to save her brother,” he pleaded, emotion cracking through his voice like summer ice. “He was sick. She didn’t know the conse­quences.”

Asya’s gaze slid to the little girl. To the determined set of her jaw, her defiantly dry eyes. That look wrenched something in Asya’s chest. The resolve she’d so carefully built crumbled around her. She knew what is was like to have a sibling you would do anything—risk anything—for.

But Tarya was unmoved. “Now she will know—magic always comes with a price.”

He lunged. He was clumsy, fueled by fear and desperation. Asya should have been able to stop him easily, but she hesi­tated. A single thought caught in her mind: Is it so wrong of him to want to protect his daughter?

That one, faltering breath cost her. The man swung the chair leg at her, catching the side of her head. Bright lights danced in front of her eyes. She stumbled into the wall as the man let out a fractured cry and threw himself toward Tarya.

Tarya did not hesitate.

Another tongue of flame reared from her, forcing the man back. This one was more than a warning. The acrid smell of burnt flesh sliced through the scent of magic. A low, broken sob trembled in the air as the man clutched his now-scorched left side.

Tarya’s head snapped to Asya, flames flashing bloodred.

Ignoring the throbbing pain in her head, Asya darted for­ward. She grabbed the man’s arm and twisted, sending the chair leg tumbling to the ground again. It was painfully easy. The injury made his attempt to swing back at her fly wide, and her hands fastened on him again. She spun him, one arm wrapping around him, the other holding the shashka to his throat. Her chest heaved, and her head reeled. But she didn’t move.

He let out a low whimper, still trying to struggle free. Asya pressed the blade deeper, almost wincing as a trickle of blood ran down his throat. “Don’t,” she said, half command, half plea. “You’ll just make it worse.”

Tarya had already turned back to her prey. Her gleaming eyes, still threaded with flame, stared down at the girl. There was no malice on her face, just a cold emptiness. Asya wasn’t sure if that made it better or worse.

“You must understand, child,” Tarya said. “The price has to be paid.”

And in a breath, she transformed.

Flames devoured her eyes, spreading from the pupils until they were no more than luminous orbs. Twin suns, captured in a face. But the fire did not end there. It rose up out of her like a living thing. Glinting golds and burnt oranges twisted with deepest crimson to form hooked wings, spread behind her like a blazing cape. Another head loomed above her own, a vicious, living mask. It formed a sharp beak, feathered flames rising from it to forge the great bird’s plumage. They arched up into an expression of cruel indifference, mirroring the human features below. The very walls of the cottage trembled.

The Firebird.

Asya felt her hand go slack. A deep, instinctual fear sank into her bones. She had seen her aunt transform before, more times than she could count. But that primal fear never went away. The mortal instinct that she should run from this crea­ture.

She was eleven when she’d first seen her aunt exact a price. Asya had been naive and desperate to shirk her new respon­sibility, to run back to her sister. Tarya had brought her on a hunt to see—to truly understand—the weight of this re­sponsibility.

It had terrified Asya then. It still terrified her now, six years later.

Everything about the flaming creature exuded power. Not the simple spells mortals toyed with, but the kind of power drawn from the depths of the earth, ancient and deadly.

The girl could not hide her fear now. It shone in her dark eyes like a beacon as she tried to back away, but Tarya’s curled fingers held her tight. The boy was screaming. The sound rose in Asya’s ears to a high keening, writhing through her insides.

The creature—Tarya—looked down at the girl, head cocked to one side. Considering.

Asya wanted to close her eyes. To pretend she was some­where far away, safe beneath a canopy of trees. But she couldn’t.

She had to do this. This was the duty the gods had chosen her for. The burden she had accepted.

And looking away would feel like abandoning the little girl.

Asya tried to take a breath to steady her whirling thoughts, but the very air was bitter and scorched. Please be something small, she thought. Not her heart.

She couldn’t stand back and watch that. Or, perhaps, she didn’t want to believe that she would just stand aside as this monster tore the girl’s heart from her body.

Because Asya knew she would. Knew she had to. That was her price.

The flames spread down Tarya’s left arm, coiling like a great serpent as they bridged across her fingers to the girl. A cry tore through the air, raw and achingly human. The greedy, blazing tendrils wrapped around the girl’s arm, as un­moved by the screams as their master. They consumed the flesh as if it were nothing more than parchment.

In only a few frantic beats of Asya’s heart, the girl’s left arm was gone. Not just burned, but gone. No trace of it remained. No charred bone, not even a scattering of ashes.

The price had been paid.

The flames receded, the creature folding back in on itself until it was no more than a spark in Tarya’s eyes. All that was left was a heavy smoke in the air, thick and choking.

Asya let her hand holding the shashka fall. The man threw himself forward—though Asya had a feeling he would have moved even if her blade had still been at his throat—and clutched the little girl, who was still half-frozen in shock. The boy flung himself at his sister too, his screams reduced to gasping cries.

Asya’s stomach curled as she stared down at the huddled family, enclosed in a grief she had helped cause.

She backed away. It was suddenly all too much. The suf­focating smoke. The man’s ragged sobs. The blistered stump that had been the girl’s arm. Her aunt’s impassive face, as empty as the carved saint’s head on the ground.

Asya whirled around, pushing back through the broken door. She doubled over as she stumbled across the threshold, leaning a hand against the moss-eaten stone to keep upright. Bile rose in her throat.

It had never been a child before. Despite all the hunts Tarya had taken her on, all the training lessons, Asya hadn’t thought of that possibility—that it could be a little girl desperate to save her brother.

Something wet trickled from the wound on Asya’s head, but she barely felt it. Her insides had been hollowed out.

All she could see were the little girl’s eyes. The ghastly re­flection of the Firebird in them, looming and monstrous. A creature of legend.

A creature that, one day, Asya would become.

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Covet by Tracey Wolff

Covet by Tracey Wolff Book Review, Book 3 in the Crave series 

53426743Overall: ***

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: *****

Publisher: Entangled Teen 

Recommend if you liked: Vampire Academy, Shadowhunters, Jennifer L Armentrout works

Spoiler for the prior books in the series Crave and Crush, but you can check out my spoiler free review of Book 1, Crave here

I was so so so excited for this book release. I very rarely read books as they come out but I could not help myself in needing to know what happened next after the way Tracey ended Crush. Overall this was another fast paced and fun book that I devoured in about two days. While overall the story was still fun, it took on more serious notes that the prior books and even had me tearing up a few times.

What I liked:

  • I loved that I was not sure what was going to happen, while I jumped ship to #teamhudson towards the end of Crush I still had no idea which guy Grace was going to end up with.
  • The crew got out of the school even more in book and we got to see a lot of new places and meet new characters/creatures.
  • While the whole love triangle is going on there is still this whole other in depth story line that is still being built, the romance does not steal or stop the show.

What I struggled with:

  • Some things were a bit repetitive with school activities and interactions between characters.
  • While the characters make some rash and not well thought out decisions I have to keep in mind that most of the characters even with being supernatural are still only in High School.

Needless to say I cannot wait for the final book Crowned to release in September to find out how Tracey ends this story…. And to put me out of my misery (JK, JK).

Synopsis:

I may have reached my breaking point. As if trying to graduate from a school for supernaturals isn’t stressful enough, my relationship status has gone from complicated to a straight-up dumpster fire.

Oh, and the Bloodletter has decided to drop a bomb of epic proportions on us all…

Then again, when has anything at Katmere Academy not been intense?

And the hits just keep coming. Jaxon’s turned colder than an Alaskan winter. The Circle is splintered over my upcoming coronation. As if things couldn’t get worse, now there’s an arrest warrant for Hudson’s and my supposed crimes—which apparently means a lifetime prison sentence with a deadly unbreakable curse.

Choices will have to be made…and I fear not everyone will survive.

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Corrupt (Devil’s Night #1) by Penelope Douglas 

27837695. sy475

  • Overall: ****
  • Reading Rate: ****
  • Romance: ****
  • Pages: 461
  • Recommend if you liked: Den of Vipers, Unsainted other Penelope Douglas works

*Multiple potential triggers are present in this book

After I finished reading the first book in Douglas’ Bully series I was looking for something a little more adult so was recommended trying out her Devils Night Series…. So glad I did guys. 

This book follows the stories of Michael and Erika as their worlds collide again after a fateful night in High School. But things are different now because Michael and his friends are out for revenge and Erika is enemy #1. 

What I liked:

  • This is marketed as romantic suspense  or dark romance and my goodness I was on the edge of my seat for the entire book
  • It is dark and twisty and you really have no idea if the story is going end on a high note or crash and burn. I had to know what happened next but didn’t want it to end
  • It was quite “steamy” (that will be funnier after you read) and the romance and sex are on the darker side which I really enjoyed.

What I struggled with:

  • I personally do not have a lot of triggers but acknowledge that this book is not for everyone and could be very triggering. The books is 100% adult and has mature themes throughout even though it bounces back and forth from high school to college.
  • The thing that kept me from giving the books five stars was that as the reader seeing both sides of the story we were clearly able to see the major flaw with the revenge plot line of the book. Its a personal pet peeve of mine where issues are created in a book solely because characters fail to communicate but without that element there would be no story so I am only a tiny bit mad at it. 

P.S. The entire series is available on Kindle Unlimited for ebooks and Scribd for audiobooks!

Synopsis:

Erika
I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.

His name is Michael Crist.

My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He’s handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.

But I noticed him.

I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid… For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.

Because he’s finally noticed me.

Michael
Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.

My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.

Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.

In my city.

Unprotected.

The opportunity is too good to be true, as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

 

Have you read Corrupt? What did you think? Any other books like this one you think I should read?

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Hollow Heathens by Nicole Fiorina

Hollow Heathens (The Tales of Weeping Hollow #1) by Nicole Fiorina 

54343218. sy475

  • Overall: *****
  • Romance: ****
  • Reading Rate: *****
  • Pages: 571
  • Recommend if you like: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Punk 57, Shadowhunters

Guys you know I do not give out 5 star ratings lightly so was so pleasantly surprised when this book just blew me away. I have been on a huge dark romance kick and basically reading anything recommend by @ashhob1229 on Instagram. After hearing her rave about Hollow Heathens and Fallon and Julian I had to give it a shot.

I was also super excited to get back to some paranormal with my dark romance. The story starts out with Fallon driving to the mysterious town of Weeping Hollow to take care of her ailing Grandfather. Fallon’s Nanny had told her bedtime stories about the town but she wrote them off as pure fantasy and soon discovers there may be more to the stories than she thought as she tries to settle in amongst the strange residents and the Heathens.

What I loved:

  • I love the creepy aesthetic of the whole town and the world building
  • The mystery and the angst are so so good!
  • The characters, I love that Fallon is unusual… I mean she is a mortician! Please don’t get me started on Julian
  • The romance! While the characters are adults there is a lot of innocence about them so it reads more like a YA story with some adult content.

What I struggled with:

  • I did not struggle but I think some folks could struggle with the lack of information you have throughout the book. It is so so worth it so push through!

Guys I could not put this book down! I was terrified about how the story was going to end and just knew I was going to be totally crushed!!! While this book can be read a a standalone Fiorina will be writing more stories in the same world. In the meantime I am going to go read everything else she has written to try and cure my hangover.

Synopsis:

A forbidden, timeless, and haunting love story.

Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Fallon who was taken far away from home shortly after she was born.

A home that held more than strange traditions and bizarre superstitions.

Twenty-four years later, she returned to Weeping Hollow, a town she’d only heard about in stories during restless nights under a marble moon, in the middle of the night to take care of her last living relative.

They called the nosy mortician a freakshow–a ghastly thing.

They said I couldn’t go near her.

Still, there was this aching pull to Fallon Grimaldi that I couldn’t escape.

A nostalgic pull as if we’d been here before.

Once upon a time, there lived a mysterious boy named Julian with a curse as old as centuries wrapped around his soul.

He was one of the four Hollow Heathens, the very dark creatures who caused the town’s people to live in fear.

And the Blackwell name was stained with darkness and death.

They called him a monster. Cold and hollow.

They said I shouldn’t go near him.

Still, there was this aching pull to Julian Blackwell that I couldn’t escape.

A nostalgic pull as if we’d been here before.

 

Have you read any books by Nicole Fiorina? If so, what did you think?

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

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/

 

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Crave by Tracy Wolff

Crave (Crave #1) by Tracy Wolff

  • Overall rating : ****
  • Reading rate: *****
  • Romance:*****
  • Pages: 592
  • Release date: April 7, 2020
  • Publisher: Entangled: Teen
  • Recommended if you liked: Jennifer L. Armentrout works, Vampire Academy

This book was all over Instagram and I kept hearing great things so I had to hop on board. This book has been blurbed as a comparable to Twilight and while the cover does very closely resemble the series I didn’t find a lot of similarities outside of a few specific references.

What I liked:

  • INTALOVE!! Total sucker for it and there was some definite steam…. Jaxon (swoon)
  • Fun and fast paced, I don’t think there was a lull in action the whole book.
  • Left with a smidgen of a cliffhanger but not so much I was dying to know what happens next… I will 1005 be grabbing the next book to find out though.
  • I often struggle with a lack of information on a world, but the book is written so you are finding things out as the MC does so everything still made sense and flowed well…. I cant wait to learn more in future installments.
  • I also loved the bit of extra content after the end from Jaxon’s perspective.

What I struggled with:

  • A bit predicable
  • Dated writing, really targeted references and writing style for the current teen crowd. Made me feel too old to be reading the novel and I think will put off a lot of non YA aged YA fans

Overall it is not a work of literary art or anything of that caliber but if you are looking for a fun and fast paced Paranormal Romance read i highly recommend! The title and cover for book #2 Crush have already been released and I will 100% be reading as soon as it is released.

Synopsis:

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait. 

Book Boxes, Bookish Merch, Products I love!!

Bite Me Box- February Unboxing and Review

Bite Me Box- February Unboxing and Review

Bite Me Box Dystopian Romance Unboxing and Review

  • Theme: Dystopian Romance
  • Overall: ***
  • Cost: $55 USD shipping included
  • Quality of items: ***
  • Shipping: *** They struggled a bit with shipping for this months box. They ship with Fedex which is a down side for me as I always seem to have challenges with them. My box arrived damaged and they responded very quickly at first saying they would get replacements out. I reached out to follow up over a week later and the request had not yet been put in, but was successful this time and I received the replacement items in a bubble envelope a little over a week later.
  • Value for the money: **** While the box did come with three books that are exclusive prints most of the books chosen for the boxes I have found can be read for free through Kindle Unlimited. So while it is neat to have them in print and often with a signed book plate it is quite costly in comparison.

Whats in the box:…. once you get past that steaming lid…

  • 3 Books with book plates- all Bite me Box Prints
    • Taken by the Alpha by
    • Lawless by Crytstal Ash
    • Wolf Hollow by Nikki Jefford
  • Bio hazard themed lip balm
  • Recyclable Pen with plant seeds
  • Bullet themed metal reusable water bottle
  • Bag of provisions (Tootsie rolls)
  • Bite me box charm
  • Packet of extra content from the authors
  • Signed book mark from Crystal Ash

Bite Me Box Dystopian Romance Unboxing and Review

Bite Me Box has decided to take a hiatus like many other bookish companies due to concerns and shipping delays due to COVID-19. They advised they also plan to do some revamping and come back ever better than before. While this box was not a 5 star for me, I enjoyed others that I have seen and will for sure be giving them another try when they come back.

Have you tried Bite Me Box? Or are there other adult boxes you think I should try out?

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Gilded Ruins by Chantal Gadoury Book Review

Gilded Ruins (Blinding Night 2) by Chantal Gadoury Book Review

  • Gilded Ruins (Blinding Night Book 2) by [Gadoury, Chantal]Overall: **
  • Romance: ***
  • Reading Rate: ***** Short and fast paced, finished in a single day
  • Publication Date: May 12th 2020
  • Publisher: The Parliament House Press
  • Purchase on Amazon here

Gilded Ruins is the second book in the Blinding Night duology which is a Hades and Persephone retelling. This book will contain spoilers for Blinding Night so check out my prior review of Book 1.

We pick up right where we left off at the end of book one with Darce and Summer heading to face Zues and Demeter to try and obtain her freedom to return to the underworld.

What I liked:

  • Very interesting take on the Greek Mythology

What I struggled with:

  • It seemed like the same scene repeated several times with slight variations.
  • The FMC was a challenge to deal with in this story as she was very insecure and whiny, she would start each interaction saying she was going to be string and then quickly crumble.
  • The author started a bit of a love triangle in this book but then never really took it anywhere
  • It almost seemed like she started to build out the plot and decided to just end the story instead of tying everything together.

Overall both books were worth the read. I feel this duology would actually have been better as a single stand alone book, taking out some of the repeated instances and wrapping up the ending.

Synopsis:

The Story Continues. . .

Summer and Darce are summoned by the order of Zeus himself to travel to the home of the Gods: Mount Olympus, where they’re to face even more ancient Gods and Goddesses.

Summer braces to confront her mother again, illuminating secrets about the truth of her tragic pasts, while also persuading Zeus to allow her to stay with the God of the Underworld, her true love – Darce.

Aboard Poseidon’s luxury yacht, Summer meets her mythological family, while also uncovering what exactly happened to her past lives – and the true roles her mother and Darce played.

When Darce and Summer suddenly find themselves separated, Summer must find her inner power and unite them together, before her mortal time runs out.

Thank you to Chantal Gaudry for a free copy of Gilded Ruins in exchange for my honest opinion

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Blinding Night by Chantal Gadoury Book Review

Blinding Night (Blinding Night #1) by Chantal Gadoury Book ReviewBlinding Night (Blinding Night #1) by Chantal Gadoury

  • Overall: ***
  • Romance: ***
  • Reading Rate: *****
  • Pages: 330 for the paperback, however I read on Kindle
  • Release Date: October 2, 2018
  • Publisher: The Parliament House Press
  • Purchase on Amazon here
  • Recommend if you liked: ACOTAR, Shade of Vampire

This is a really cute Hades and Persephone retelling and the first book in a duology. The main character is a 20 year old art student from Rhode Island whose entire life changes when Hades swoops in the retrieve her from the hospital after her parents are killed in a car accident while traveling to Greece.

While this story does have a lot of ACOTAR similarities it is heavily tied to the romance story line between Persephone and Hades with the events of the broader world being more a sub plot. But she is an artist, rough relations with her family, the inner circle, etc.

What I liked:

  • This was a cute fast paced read, I love a good quick romance story.
  • The romance line was carried throughout with a little steam here and there, nothing that would not fall within what you commonly see in other YA books today.
  • I enjoyed the mythology aspect and the takes on traditional stories of the Gods.

What I struggled with:

  • While the MC is 20 years old but she acted much younger in my opinion. She was very resentful towards her parents and thought their affections were “icky” basically. She did seem sheltered and spoiled with an overprotective mom so this may be really where they were trying to get at but I had a hard time with it. I think she also took the death of her parents and change in her world a bit too well, but maybe just not time in the story to capture that recovery timeline.
  • The story never made it clear why Persephone had no choice of her own in staying with Hades vs returning to her mother. We also never received any insight into the mother’s side of the story. Hoping this gets cleared up in the second book in the duology.
  • There were also a handful or spelling/grammar errors as well as a few small contradictions in the story, nothing to the larger plot line.

Synopsis:

What if you were the missing piece in one of the world’s most epic legends?

Despite being an art history student, Summer isn’t thrilled to be stuck with her archeologist family all summer in Greece. While the rest of her college friends are posting a million selfies by the pool together, Summer is stuck alone, trying to entertain herself alone in a place where she doesn’t even speak the language.

Upon her arrival to Greece, strange dreams and even stranger shadows seem to haunt Summer, leaving her to ponder the meaning of pomegranate seeds and twisted, darkened faces.

Suddenly, her stay abroad leads to tragic twists, leaving Summer in the arms of a dark stranger, who claims to be the god, Hades, whom she feels like she knows from another life. In a whirlwind through the busy streets of Athens, Summer is seduced to the lowest point of Greece where Hades’ lair awaits…the Underworld. Determined to find out who she is and where she belongs in an age-old myth, Summer joins Hades to discover that the secrets about her past life are beyond anything she could have ever imagined.

Thank you to Chantal Gadoury and the Parliament House Press for a copy of Blinding Night in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

 

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Ruthless Gods Book Review

Ruthless Gods Emily DuncanRuthless Gods by Emily Duncan, Book 2 of the Something Dark and Holy trilogy

Overall: ****

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: ***

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Pages: 432

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Purchase on Amazon here

I recommend if you liked: The Bear and the Nightingale, Shadow & Bone Trilogy, Throne of Glass

*Spoilers for Wicked Saints- click here to check out my spoiler free review of book 1.

This book hurt so good! As soon as I put down Wicked Saints I needed the sequel right away…. And now I need the final book soooo bad!!! Ruthless Gods picks up shortly after Wicked Saints left off with the Nadya dealing with the silence of her Gods, Malachiasz missing after his betrayal, and Serefin trying to deal with his new status as king as well as being God touched.  If you enjoyed Wicked Saints you will love this journey as our main characters and also some new faces try to fix the cracks they made in the world… but will their quest to right their wrongs for each of their countries right the wrongs, or break the world entirely.

In the beginning this book was little more difficult to get through and did a lot more world building and filling in some of the knowledge gaps on the gods from books 1. I honestly feel I need to read the book again to really get everything, and I certainly will when the physical copies release! Several times a character’s section had me saying what on earth was happening and rereading entries several times. But all of that building (and Malachaisz/Nadya teasers) was well worth it in the last quarter of the book, and OMG what and ending and set up for what is sure to be an AMAZING final installment. Duncan did such a great job of stringing me along needing answers and holding out hope for my favorite characters redemption, I love it when an author keeps me guessing! I have no idea how I am going to handle to wait for  book 3 to find out how everything ends!

While book one seemed heavily inspired by the Grishaverse the author really changed things up and left that path for book 2. It almost had Bear and the Nightingale vibes with the mythology and creatures added in.

I am usually great at predicting how books are going to flow and Duncan steps up to say challenge accepted. I may get part of the idea but then she jumps right on over it an rips my heart out… and I love it so much!

Synopsis:

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone…or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for a copy of Ruthless Gods in exchange for my honest opinion.