Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Winter, White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore

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 Winter, White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore releasing October 13.

About the Book
Mad Max: Fury Road meets Frozen in this striking YA fantasy about a rig driver’s journey to save her friend

Twice-orphaned Sylvi has chipped out a niche for herself on Layce, an island cursed by eternal winter. Alone in her truck, she takes comfort in two things: the solitude of the roads and the favor of Winter, an icy spirit who has protected her since she was a child.

Sylvi likes the road, where no one asks who her parents were or what she thinks of the rebels in the north. But when her best friend, Lenore, runs off with the rebels, Sylvi must make a haul too late in the season for a smuggler she wouldn’t normally work with, the infamous Mars Dresden. Alongside his team—Hyla, a giant warrior woman and Kyn, a boy with skin like stone—Sylvi will do whatever it takes to save her friend.

But when the time comes, she’ll have to choose: safety, anonymity, and the favor of Winter—or the future of the island that she calls home.


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting?

Monday, September 28, 2020

Review: The Craft of Being Covert (The Sidekick's Survival Guide #6) by Christy Barritt

About the Book

Time is running out for apprentice PI Elliot Ransom. She must find the information her father hid before he died or face devastating consequences. She’ll do anything to protect the ones she loves—even if it means sacrificing herself.

As a masked man taunts her, Elliot plunges herself into her father’s cloak-and-dagger world. Mastering the craft of being clandestine is a challenge. In order to survive, she must examine everything she thought to be true.

Will confronting her troubles ruin everything? Or will it provide Elliot’s family a new start? Either way, who would have ever thought being covert could cause such chaos?


My Thoughts

What a fantastic conclusion to this series! All the lingering questions were answered. We finally find out the secrets surrounding Elliot's dad and his mysterious death. And wow, what an unbelievably exciting ride it was! I just thought that the previous book was intense, but this one beats it! The danger is ramped up even more. The stakes have never been higher and the cost of failure never so steep.

If you're looking for an unputdownable mystery series, The Sidekick's Survival Guide is a must read. I highly recommend it.

Four Stars

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: One Little Lie (Pelican Harbor #1) by Colleen Coble

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 One Little Lie (Pelican Harbor #1) by Colleen Coble

About the Book
It started with one little lie. But Jane Hardy will do everything in her power to uncover the truth.

When Jane Hardy is appointed interim sheriff in Pelican Harbor, Alabama, after her father retires, there's no time for an adjustment period. He is arrested for theft and then implicated in a recent murder, and Jane quickly realizes she's facing someone out to destroy her father.

They escaped from a cult fifteen years ago, and Jane has searched relentlessly for her mother—who refused to leave—ever since. Could someone from that horrible past have found them?

Reid Bechtol is a well-known journalist who makes documentaries, and his sights are currently set on covering Jane's career. Jane has little interest in the attention, but the committee who appointed her loves the idea of the publicity.

Jane finds herself depending on Reid's calm manner as he follows her around taping his documentary, and they begin working together to clear her father. But Reid has his own secrets from the past, and the gulf between them may be impossible to cross.

Book Beginnings
Button eyed the compound's exit and forced herself to trudge behind her parents as the pain intensified in her belly. She stifled a groan and filed into the Mount Sinai meeting hall.

Friday 56
A soft explosion of laughter escaped, and she put her hand over her lips. She tended to laugh at the most inappropriate times, mostly when she was stressed like now. But her dad would think she didn't care what he was going through.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

About the Book
1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the "Watchman," she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa's search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk's shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot's history, she's also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.


My Thoughts

I absolutely loved this book! Nobody does dual timelines quite like Jaime Jo Wright and this one did not disappoint. Combining her trademark gothic-style with a circus setting, The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus was sure to be a winner. It's one of my favorite reads of the year.

Captivated from the very first sentence, I became totally immersed in Pippa and Chandler's stories, intrigued by the mysteries surrounding them both, and fascinated by how the two timelines came to intersect. Once I neared the end, I was reading as fast as I possibly could. There was twist after shocking twist and reveal after surprising reveal. I didn't see them coming! What a ride!

Five Stars

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Apprentice (Collective Underground #1) by Kristen Young

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 Apprentice (Collective Underground #1) by Kristen Young releasing October 13.

About the Book
The Love Collective is everywhere.
It sees everything.
Be not afraid.


Apprentice Flick remembers everything, except the first five years of her life. And for as long as she can remember, Flick has wanted to enter the Elite Academy—home to the best, brightest, and most loyal members of the Love Collective government.

Flick's uncanny memory might get her there, too … even if it is the very thing that marks her as a freak. But frightening hallucinations start intruding into her days and threaten to bring down all she has worked so hard to accomplish. Why is she being hijacked by a stranger's nightmare over and over again?

Moving to the Elite Academy could give Flick the future she's always wanted. But her search for truth may lead to a danger she cannot escape.


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Review: Stealing Embers (Fallen Legacies #1) by Julie Hall

About the Book
A realm of monsters. A world of lies. She belongs to both.

My name is Emberly, and everything I’ve ever been told is a lie.

Monsters don’t exist. Wrong.
The nightmarish spectrum world is just my imagination. Wrong.
In a few months, I’ll finally be free. Wrong.

It takes being dragged to a secret training academy in the mountains to unravel the truth. My captors--an elite race of angel-born warriors called Nephilim.

The deadliest of them all is an arrogant shape shifter, Steel. He’s gorgeous, lethal, hot-headed . . . and convinced I’ll be the death of them all.

Maybe he’s right. As soon as I show up, the monsters that have haunted me my entire life breach the academy walls. My only hope of saving my new friends is learning how to control my powers, but when a stunning betrayal hurts someone I care about, I have an impossible choice.

Stay and fight for a place to belong . . . or decide once and for all that I’m better off alone.

Enter the spectrum world, a realm in-between worlds where shadow beasts draw blood, reality is a maze of twisted lights and sounds, and life goals are whittled down to just one: survive.

Fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Cassandra Clare will love this Crescent City meets Crave mash up!


My Thoughts

Oh my goodness! This book was absolutely amazing! Julie Hall's Life After series is one of my all-time faves, so there was no way that the start to her new series could be as good. Right? Wrong! It shattered my ridiculously high expectations. The world-building was fantastic and intriguing, the action was almost nonstop, the characters were wonderful, and that chemistry between a certain couple of someones. Wow, it was off-the-charts!

Emberly's such an awesome leading lady. She's so fierce and sassy and endearingly awkward. It was so easy to like her. The rest of the cast of characters were great too. Fully fleshed out, layered, and distinct. Sometimes with a large cast I can get some of the characters confused or just completely forget who someone is. Not here. Ash, Steele, Grey, Sterling, Nova, Sable, and Tinkle, oh goodness, I can't forget to mention Tinkle, lol. The list could go on and on. I love when an author can bring characters to life like this and I so enjoyed getting to know them.

I had so many interruptions while I was reading this book. It was getting kinda ridiculous. All I wanted to do was get back to it and see what would happen next, but it felt like the world was conspiring against me. My Kindle even died on me and I had to get a new one. But thank goodness I was finally able to get things sorted and when I found some uninterrupted time, I zoomed through the last half in an afternoon. It's seriously so good and I highly recommend it to fans of YA urban fantasy. It's one of the best books I've read this year.

I received a copy of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my honest opinion.

Five Stars

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

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 The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright.

About the Book
1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the "Watchman," she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa's search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk's shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot's history, she's also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

Book Beginnings
Life was not unlike the wisp of fog that curled around the base of a grave marker, softly caressing the marble before dissolving into the violet shadows of the night.

Friday 56
Richard Ripley shoved Jake aside, and Jake jerked his shoulder away. His eyes grew hard. Pippa noticed his jaw clench, and she winced, silently begging him. No more fights. No more thrown fists. Especially not against her father. 

What have you been reading lately?

Review: A Killing Frost (October Daye #14) by Seanan McGuire


About the Book

When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie's archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future.... and the man who represents her family's past.


My Thoughts

Fourteen books in and this series just keeps getting better. There's not much I enjoy more than visiting this world of Faerie. You never know what's gonna happen. Good, bad, ugly – it's always an interesting, entertaining, and enlightening experience. And I love every second of the journey with these characters I've come to love.

This time around, Toby has to find Simon Torquill, her mother's husband and, according to Faerie law, her legal father. For her wedding with Tybalt to happen, Toby has to invite Simon to the event or else break one of the unspoken rules of Faerie, which could have dire consequences.

This was one of the more slower paced books in this series, but that didn't negate how good it was or how much I enjoyed it. We got some answers to some long held questions. Man, did we get answers! Some new questions too, but, gosh, I can't wait to see what comes next as a result of these answers. Gah, I'm so excited!

NOTE: This book does contain some strong language.

Favorite Quotes:
Tybalt describing Toby: “I trust her to be wild and impulsive and bold and self-destructive when it means someone else might be saved. I trust her to be the month she was named for, cold and kind by turns, endlessly storming, so that nothing can stand in her path but risk being blown away. I trust her to be October, and what I’ve learned, what’s done nothing to stop my heart being given to her care, is that to be October is to be constantly in the path of destruction and not always to have the sense to step aside. I’m uncomfortable not because I don’t trust her, but because I trust her too well.”

Sometimes family means being willing to be the one who buries the hatchet and takes the first step. Sometimes family means they’ve already buried the hatchet, in your back.

We carry ourselves forward through time, with no possible way of knowing what’s on the other end. We have to keep going, because standing still isn’t an option. It never has been.

Five Stars

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Point of Danger (Triple Threat #1) by Irene Hannon

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 Point of Danger (Triple Threat #1) by Irene Hannon releasing October 6.

About the Book
Radio talk show host Eve Reilly is used to backlash from her pot-stirring on-air commentary and interviews, but now it seems a disgruntled listener is resorting to more than angry words to express their displeasure. When a suspicious package arrives on her doorstep, Eve turns to law enforcement for help.

Police detective Brent Lange can't find any evidence to link the string of unsettling incidents that follows, but he's convinced they're connected. As the harassment grows more menacing, it becomes clear someone wants Eve's voice silenced--permanently.

But unless he can track down her foe, fast, the gutsy woman who is willing to take risks for what she believes--and who is swiftly winning his heart--may not survive.

Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon is back with a heart-stopping new series that will have you turning pages well into the night.


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Monday, September 14, 2020

Review: The Skill of Snooping (The Sidekick's Survival Guide #5) by Christy Barritt

About the Book
Apprentice PI Elliot Ransom is thrust into the case of her life when Velma, her quirky friend and coworker, goes missing. Even more chilling: Elliot suspects the notorious Beltway Killer may have taken her.

The countdown to find her intensifies as the killer’s usual timeline creates a ticking bomb. To make matters even more complicated, Elliot’s partner is distracted by an unexpected guest. With Velma’s life on the line, being sidetracked isn’t an option.

Tensions continue to mount as Elliot races to find answers and save her friend. Who would have thought a little snooping could mean the difference between life and death?


My Thoughts

The Skill of Snooping, the fifth installment of the Sidekick's Survival Guide, is the best, and most intense, one yet!

Elliot's coworker and friend Velma has disappeared and Elliot's worried that the Beltway Killer has taken her. It's a mad dash race against the clock to find her. To add even more chaos to an already stressful situation, someone from Michael's past shows up and really complicates things.

There's so much going on in this book. The suspense was off the charts! I literally couldn't read it fast enough. I had to know if everything was gonna be okay. Like I've come to expect from Barritt's books, the mystery was great and kept me guessing. I had a niggling bit of suspicion about the guilty party but pushed that aside because there were so many other viable suspects.

I'm so excited for the next book, the conclusion to this series. I can't wait to solve the mystery surrounding Elliot's dad.

Five Stars

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: A Killing Frost (October Daye #14) by Seanan McGuire

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 Killing Frost (October Daye #14) by Seanan McGuire. This is my favorite urban fantasy series and this newest installment did not disappoint. It's so, so good!

About the Book
When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie's archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future.... and the man who represents her family's past.

Book Beginnings
"We're going to have to discuss dresses eventually, October," said May, holding up a bridal magazine and waving it at me like a weapon. "Something pretty. Something lacy. Something - and this is the part I can't stress enough - that you're actually willing to wear."

Friday 56
The water next to me churned, before the head of a large gray-purple octopus broke the surface, alien eyes fixed on me. 

What have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: A Couple Cinderella Retellings

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 two Cinderella retellings releasing September 22. I'm always in the mood for a good fairytale retelling, especially Cinderella ones. Both of these authors are new to me and I'm so excited to check them out.

Met By Midnight by Janeen Ippolito

About the Book
An outcast prince. A captive healer. A single night that changes their destinies.

She lives a nightmare.

As a Mender, Renna is held captive to an endless cycle of receiving and recovering from the physical ailments of others—a cycle that led her mother to an early grave. When her father becomes deathly ill, Renna is desperate to save her only remaining family. Even if it means allying with criminals and taking an illegal mission into the royal palace on the night of their greatest ball.

He’s haunted by dreams.

Unable to be Mended, Prince Jaric’s existence is a curse to his family’s fa├žade of health and security. Marrying him off at the ball and sending him to a distant dukedom is the royal solution—but Jaric has his own plans. For years he’s dreamed of a young woman, a strong-hearted Mender he would give everything for. When she arrives the night of his betrothal, he’s determined to discover her true identity.

Met by midnight, their fates are entwined.

While escape seems the only answer, powerful forces conspire to keep Renna and Jaric within their cages. Forces that undermine the foundations of the kingdom itself—and threaten any hope of a future together.

This YA romance features Cinderella in an original fantasy world with a dystopian twist.


About the Book
Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.

When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake.

Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?

A rugged YA Cinderella retelling set in a fantasy world with light steampunk elements.



What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Review: Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams

About the Book
The Handmaid's Tale meets Wilder Girls in this unique, voice-driven novel from Kelly McWilliams.

Agnes loves her home of Red Creek--its quiet, sunny mornings, its dusty roads, and its God. There, she cares tirelessly for her younger siblings and follows the town's strict laws. What she doesn't know is that Red Creek is a cult, controlled by a madman who calls himself a prophet.
Then Agnes meets Danny, an Outsider boy, and begins to question what is and isn't a sin. Her younger brother, Ezekiel, will die without the insulin she barters for once a month, even though medicine is considered outlawed. Is she a sinner for saving him? Is her sister, Beth, a sinner for dreaming of the world beyond Red Creek?

As the Prophet grows more dangerous, Agnes realizes she must escape with Ezekiel and leave everyone else, including Beth, behind. But it isn't safe Outside, either: A viral pandemic is burning through the population at a terrifying rate. As Agnes ventures forth, a mysterious connection grows between her and the Virus. But in a world where faith, miracles, and cruelty have long been indistinguishable, will Agnes be able to choose between saving her family and saving the world?


My Thoughts

Agnes at the End of the World was an absolutely riveting read. Why is it that cults and potential world-ending viruses go so well together? This is at least the third book I've read with those elements and I enjoyed it. I couldn't read it fast enough.

Agnes is the kind of character who's easy to root for. She's doing what she feels is the right thing, yet still trying to remain true to her faith. It's not an easy journey for her, but what an incredible journey it was!

There were a few things that irritated me, and a couple...revelations, I guess you could call them, that were kinda baffling. I wish I could explain my issues in more detail, but to do so would be some major spoilers. Despite those issues, it was still a very captivating read that held my full attention. Kelly McWilliams is an author I'll definitely be watching for more from.

NOTE: This book does contain some strong language.

3.5 Stars

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Forsaken Island (The Dancing Realms #2) 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 Forsaken Island (The Dancing Realms #2) by Sharon Hinck releasing September 15. The first book in this series, Hidden Current, is one of my favorites I've read this year. I was super excited when I learned the sequel was releasing so soon. I've got it preordered and am so ready to see what these characters are up to this time.

About the Book
On an uncharted world, happiness is effortless and constant ... but can true joy exist without sacrifice?

The people of Meriel have long believed their island world floats alone in the vast ocean universe, so they are astonished when another island drifts into view. With resources becoming scarce, Carya and Brantley quickly volunteer to search the new land for supplies.

After navigating a barrier of menacing trees, the pair encounter a culture of perpetually happy people who readily share their talents and their possessions. But all is not what it seems. At the core of the island is a horror that threatens everyone, including Brantley and Carya.

Freeing the villagers of the bondage they've chosen may cost Carya and Brantley more than they could have imagined. Even if the two succeed, they'll have to find a way to return to Meriel quickly ... or be cut off from their home forever.

What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?