Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Windward Shore (The Dancing Realms #3) by Sharon Hinck

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring Windward Shore (The Dancing Realms #3) by Sharon Hinck releasing May 11. I've LOVED this series and am excited to read this conclusion, yet a little sad to say goodbye to these characters and this wonderous world.

About the Book
The island world of Meriel faces an old adversary and a new danger. Will the reformed Order die before it has a chance to blossom?

Storm clouds loom on the horizon as Carya and Brantley struggle to overcome wounds of the past and build a future together. The fragile new Order is on shaky ground, with too few dancers and sparse resources. Then trouble erupts—and now an insidious rebellion and a new foe threaten their entire world.

When she uncovers an old enemy behind all the destruction, Carya realizes the past is not done with her. With conflict tearing apart the dancers and villages, rimmers are soon overrun, and Carya must unite her people by leading the battle to protect the very heart of her world … or lose it all.


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting?

Monday, April 12, 2021

Double Review: A Rom-Com and A Post-Apocalyptic Novel

I've got a couple more reviews from the books I've been trying to finish during my nighttime reading. I'm sad to say that this go-around wasn't very successful. These stories just didn't resonate with me, but I guess that's the way it goes sometimes. 

The first story is a novella from the Rom-Com boxset Love in the City. I'm guessing the set has already been disbanded because I can't find it on Amazon anymore. I've only read the first story in here, but I'm hopeful that I'll enjoy the rest of the entries more. My second review is for a full-length Christian post-apocalyptic novel. I've read a couple other books from this author and really enjoyed them, but I had a lot of issues with this one. 

All's Fair in Love and War by Sariah Wilson

After her dream job was stolen out from under her by handsome rival Bennett, Jane decides to open her own bakery, but doesn't have the capital to do so on her own. She hopes an investor will take a chance on her, yet he's not willing to risk it for an unproven no-name like her. So to get him to change his mind, she's going to prove herself by winning the Best Dessert in the Taste of Cincinnati competition. Her plan goes sideways when she finds out Bennett is also competing. Talk about awkward. It's not long before sparks fly as the competition heats up.

This story frustrated me to no end. It was told in first person from Jane's point of view and the fact that she was such an unsympathetic character made this a difficult read. The conflict between her and Bennett was so lame. The problem between them was all made up in Jane's mind. If she had just communicated, there wouldn't have been so much animosity on her part. She created so much needless drama and was quite childish.

Bennett was a saint for putting up with Jane's nonsense. He seemed like the perfect guy. Maybe too perfect, though, because he was quite one dimensional in his blind devotion to Jane. Seriously, she ghosted him for months and attacked him the next time she saw him, yet he felt no animosity whatsoever? So not believable.

I fully expected to enjoy this story because I've loved some of this author's previous works, but this one was just not for me.

2 STARS


Tribulation, Book 1: Saints by Jamie Lee Grey

I really wanted to like this book. It had so much promise but I just had too many issues with it and couldn't get into it. I got a little past 40% and stopped.

The premise was intriguing. Christians and Jews were being targeted, hunted down, and “eliminated” unless they submitted to the new government's wicked edicts. Grace and her aunt fled to a mountain hideout with a small group of other believers to try and ride out the coming storm.

It sounded exciting, but the pacing was very uneven. There would be lots of danger and some action, and then, a whole lot of nothing. I expected a fast-paced apocalyptic novel, but what I got was more like a “how-to” guide for surviving in the wilderness. It was nothing at all like what I was expecting. Although, I do have to say there were some helpful and good tips.

There was another big issue I had with it. There was a lot of judgment from the main character about whether someone else was “Christian” enough. I understand they had to be cautious about possible "spies" in their midst, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. That sort of attitude and sentiment really irritates me. It instantly turns me off of a book. And while I read on and wanted to finish the book, I just couldn't.

I hate not finishing a book and even more so writing a bad review. But there's too many other books out there for me to spend my time on something I'm not enjoying. I know this will appeal to a lot of people, it just wasn't for me. Maybe if I'd read it at another time, I would've enjoyed it more.

DNF


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Manor for Sale, Baron Included (A Romance of Rank #1) by Esther Hatch

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two.

This week I'm featuring a fun Victorian romance, Manor for Sale, Baron Included (A Romance of Rank #1) by Esther Hatch.

About the Book
She has everything Lord Farnsworth wants, including his manor.

Lord Farnsworth would rather rot in debtor’s prison than sell the one place that feels like home to him—his mother’s manor. That is, until he meets the woman who wants to buy it. Sally Duncan is beautiful, intelligent, and as rich as a baron—a rich baron, not a cash-strapped one like Lord Farnsworth. She’s the solution to every one of his financial problems and is bewitching to boot. All he needs to do is sell her his beloved manor and then charm her to the altar, and the manor will be his again. Simple, right?

But nothing is simple when Sally starts tearing apart his ancestral home and renovating it in a way no one would consider tasteful. She is wreaking havoc on everything, but he cannot give up on owning his mother’s estate again, nor can he imagine anyone but Sally as his wife.

And so he sticks with his plan.

What a horrible mistake.

Book Beginnings
Jonathan's solicitor was a horrible human being.

Friday 56
Miss Duncan's soft laughter was so out of place in his world of boxing that he landed flat on his left foot. If she hadn't been so delighted with herself about missing his jab, she could've caught his kidneys with a quick hook. But she hadn't noticed him losing his rhythm. He stepped away and went back to his defensive stance once again. "Well done."

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Mortal Sight (The Colliding Line #1) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

About the Book
When Worlds Collide, Shadow Wrestles Light

Seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe wants a normal life; one where she and her mom can stop skipping town every time a disturbing vision strikes. But when a girl she knows is murdered by a monster she can't explain, Cera's world turns upside down.

Suddenly thrown into an ancient supernatural battle, Cera discovers she's not alone in her gifting and vows to use her visions to save lives. But why does John Milton's poem Paradise Lost keep interrupting her thoughts?

In a race against time and a war against unearthly creatures, will decoding messages embedded in the works of classic literature be enough to stop the bloodshed and protect those she loves?


My thoughts

Mortal Sight was a great YA urban fantasy. I was fully invested from the very beginning. It grabbed me and didn't let go. The fast pace didn't let up but just kept building. The intrigue and mystery surrounding Cera's “visions” were so compelling.

Cera was the kind of character who was easy to root for. She's dealt with a lot in her life, but every time she got knocked down she got right back up again and fought even harder. She's fierce, kind, and giving...most of the time. She's also the typical teenager, too, with an attitude that could sometimes get on my nerves. It was quite the combo, lol. I'd go back and forth between wanting to scream at her in frustration and then wanting to give her a big hug because I was so proud of her.

As soon as I finished this book, I rushed to my computer to preorder the sequel, Realms of Light. I'm very eager to find out what happens next. If you're a fan of YA and/or urban fantasy, I recommend giving this book a try. It was so good.

Four stars

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding releasing April 23.

About the Book
Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting?

Monday, April 5, 2021

Early Review: Plot Twist by Bethany Turner

About the Book
An aspiring screenwriter has a chance encounter with an actor on his way to an audition. Over the next ten years, she’ll write the story . . . but will he end up being the star?

February 4, 2003, is just another day for Olivia Ross—a greeting card writer whose passion project is a screenplay of her own. After she and a handsome, struggling actor have a near-magic encounter in a coffee shop, they make a spontaneous pact: in ten years, after they’ve found the success they’re just sure they’re going to achieve, they’ll return to the coffeehouse to partner up and make a film together. The only problem? Olivia neglected to get the stranger’s name. But she doesn’t forget the date.

For the next ten years, every February 4, Olivia has an exceptional day, full of coincidences and ironies. As men come and go and return to her life, and as she continues to write her screenplay, she still wonders about the guy from the coffee shop—the nameless actor she’s almost certain was Hamish McDougal, now a famous member of the Hollywood elite.

But a lot can happen in ten years, and while waiting for the curtain to rise on her fate, the true story of Olivia’s life is being written—and if she’s not careful, she’ll completely miss the epic romance playing out right before her eyes.

*Pre-order is available now. Release Date is June 14.

My thoughts

I LOVED this book! It was another laugh out loud, hilarious read from Bethany Turner. I've loved every one of her books, and this one was no different. It was awesome. I didn't think there was any possible way Turner could top Hadley Beckett's Next Dish, but she somehow did.

I was so totally invested in this book. I felt like I was in the story with these wonderful characters. Olivia was such a personable narrator. I experienced every emotion she did. Good, bad, and everything in between. Her lifelong friendship with Fiona was so sweet and genuine. Fi was the epitome of a best friend and I loved reading about all of her various fancy jobs. But my absolute favorite character was Liam. His dreaminess kinda snuck up on me and I ended up having a major crush on him.

I never knew what was gonna happen next, and I was so curious about what new crazy, absurd, and ironic things would happen to Olivia on the next February 4. Was some suspension of belief required for a few of the things that happened? Yes, but I thought those parts were so much fun. Would those things ever happen? No, probably not. But isn't it fun to imagine that it could?

I was left with the best kind of book hangover when I finished. I wanted to read it again immediately. If you're a fan of romantic comedies, Plot Twist is a must read. It felt like a wonderful and highly entertaining homage to all the great rom-coms through the years. I highly, highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Five stars

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Mortal Sight (The Colliding Line #1) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two.

This week I'm featuring Mortal Sight (The Colliding Line #1) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads, a really great YA urban fantasy. The sequel comes out April 13 and I've already preordered it. 

About the Book
When Worlds Collide, Shadow Wrestles Light

Seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe wants a normal life; one where she and her mom can stop skipping town every time a disturbing vision strikes. But when a girl she knows is murdered by a monster she can't explain, Cera's world turns upside down.

Suddenly thrown into an ancient supernatural battle, Cera discovers she's not alone in her gifting and vows to use her visions to save lives. But why does John Milton's poem Paradise Lost keep interrupting her thoughts?

In a race against time and a war against unearthly creatures, will decoding messages embedded in the works of classic literature be enough to stop the bloodshed and protect those she loves?

Book Beginnings
Some girls want to change the world. Others want to rule it. Me? I'd be happy if fall never came. Weird, I know. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty I'd like to change - a lot of things, in fact, but as soon as the autumn wind blasts through town and the leaves turn aspen yellow, I know what's coming.

Friday 56
From the darkness, a shadow rises. The mist evolves into a deformed human shape with elongated arms drooping lower than possible. It has flaky ashen skin too pale to be human. The creature doesn't walk. It has a cloud of mist where feet should be. And the face, distorted and deformed with caverns for eyes. My skin prickles. I've seen this creature before - it's the sallow man from my visions.

What have you been reading lately?