Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Review: Fireblood by Elly Blake

Title: Fireblood
Author: Elly Blake
Series: Book Two in the Frostblood Saga
Published By: Little Brown Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
In this action-packed sequel to Frostblood, the future of Ruby's world and a court ruled by the love of her life depends on the uncovered secrets of her past..

Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby's powers and past....

Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax--which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.

The first book in the Frostblood series completely captivated me. I plowed through it in no time at all. It was completely addicting and hard to put down. I was surprised that this was the author's debut novel and even more surprised that something that seems like it's been done before could so capture my attention and seem new and exciting. 

With her sequel Fireblood, she proved that Frostblood was no fluke, this woman can write and weave a story that both seems unique and is completely compelling and once again, hard to put down. I read into the wee hours of the morning to finish this and I don't regret the bags under my eyes or the loss of sleep, not. One. Single. Bit. 

I can't even begin to describe how much this series hooked me. The writing, the fast paced story line, the very heart of the characters themselves, all of it. It is just one of those series that you truly need to try and experience for yourself to truly get it and understand how addicting it can be. I seriously can not recommend it enough. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Friday, August 18, 2017

Review: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Title: The One That Got Away
Author: Melissa Pimentel
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Penguin (August 22, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Women's Contemporary/Retelling
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
'A smart, funny retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion that's perfect for a poolside read' Red

'An easy, breezy read' Daily Mail

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren't.

Now, ten years later, Ruby is single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There's barely time for a trip to England for her little sister's wedding. And there's certainly not time to think about what it will be like to see Ethan again, who just so happens to be the best man.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can't help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago. Because there is nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . .

I've loved Jane Austen since I read my first book by her years ago and after that, I was hooked and had to read all of them. And while Pride and Prejudice will always be a favorite of mine, Persuasion is right up there with it. It is hard to resist Captain Wentworth and all his charm. 

I am never one to turn down the chance to visit an old classic with a new modern spin and even though ore often than not I've been burned by Pride and Prejudice retellings, I thought it was just about time that I read a Persuasion retelling. 

This was a cute and a very much modern take on the classic and while it was a good weekend escape read, it didn't quite live up to Anne and Wentworth but then again, that really is something very much hard to accomplish.

I sort of wish the author instead of calling this a retelling would have just called it a second chance romance because after all, more than anything, that is what this story is and I think lovers of Austen. While they will like it, will have a hard time comparing the two stories with each other and not feeling the slightest bit disappointed that it isn't something more. 

But if you can look past all of that and instead focus on the heart of the story, two people who meet too young and just weren't ready for each other yet, to later come back together and try again, you will enjoy this story and maybe even love it. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

Title: Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Author: Jamie Ford
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Ballantine Books (September 12, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World's Fair feels like a gift. But only once he's there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off--a healthy boy "to a good home."

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known--and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he's always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion--in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.

Ford's debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was one of my absolute favorite reads, not only of the year I read it but one I still think about and consider in my top reads of all time, so it was no wonder how crazy excited I got when I saw he had another release coming out and in the same vein as his first. I don't think I've ever hit a request button so quickly as I did for it. In fact I stalked Netgalley until it was available because I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I knew it was going to be something special, something emotional and something so worth my time and all the feels I would go through while experiencing it. 

Ford knows how to weave a tale riddled with history and heartbreak, hope, and love unlike any other author out there. He truly is a master at what he does. It isn't often that one can make you crave history, romance, and a happily ever after, along with struggling and feeling right along with the characters. To be both sad and happy at once, along with heartbroken and angry for everything we put one another through as a people and as a country and as a nation. 

His words are powerful in every way imaginable and it is so incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the story and the characters themselves until you are completely consumed by them and want nothing more than to see how it will all come together and wishing like crazy that there will be a happily ever after when all is said and done. 

This story moved me. It touched my heart and rocked my world. The characters, the setting, the circumstances. I couldn't have asked for a more heart felt, emotional read. I loved every single minute of it and I didn't want it to end but at the same time, was eager to see how it would.

Once again Ford has exceeded all my expectations and once again touched my heart and soul with his beautifully written stories and unforgettable characters. This story will forever live on in my thoughts and memories. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher, I was not compensated for this review.*

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review: A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

Title: A Conspiracy in Belgravia
Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: Book Two in the Lady Sherlock Series
Published By: Penguin (September 5, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Mystery
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body that surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London? 

It was so much fun diving back into the atmospheric and mysterious Victorian London world that Thomas has created in her Lady Sherlock series. Once again Charlotte and her friends were a treat to see and conspire with. As a mystery always rich in detail and curiosity slowly unfolds as Charlotte puts her deductive talents into play and figures it all out before anyone else and before the danger becomes too great to those she knows and loves. And she does it all while trying to keep it a secret as much as possible from those who don't know that the famous Sherlock Holmes, is none other than Charlotte herself. 

Set in a time and place that women were suppose to be almost anything other than clever and ambitious, I love that Charlotte doesn't turn away from the challenge to shock those around her and stand tall and true to who she is with little thought to what society will think about it. 

This book, this series, has some of the most romantic lines that never were. Lines that are thought but never spoken out loud. Truly swoon worthy and in large part other than the whole this book rocks all by itself already thing, it is one of the main reasons I keep coming back time and again to Ms. Thomas' writing. It is just so well written and so beautiful in both mystery and prose and the tragic love story that might never be. 

I devoured this in a night and was sad that I didn't take longer with it. I wanted to both savor and eat it up. I sincerely hope the next book will be here before I know it. I just can't get enough of this series, rich with a mystery that keeps me on my toes and characters that are every bit as fun and intriguing as the story line itself. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: This is Not the End by Chandler Baker

Title: This is Not the End
Author: Chandler Baker
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Disney-Hyperion (August 8, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can't move on? 

This Is Not The End is one of those books that from the very first page, from the very beginning, the prologue, jumps out at you and grabs your attention. The kind that urges you to keep on reading, keep turning those pages because you need to know the before just as much as you need to know the after of the events that took place. The start and maybe even the end, of it all. 

It is so hard to describe this book without giving something away so I will try to keep this short and to the point. This book was fun. It was different and it was full of things I didn't see coming. Twists that were unexpected. Some added to the story and others, I think didn't but were there more for the sake of added mystery ad drama but nonetheless still worked. 

The whole concept of the story, resurrection was something you don't see very often and that more than anything else, made me want to read this story. And while it did focus on that, I felt that it could have gone so much further with the story if a bit more was explained and compounded but otherwise this was a very engaging story and something different from the norm, especially for this genre that is full of the generic. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Photobucket Woes and What I've Been Watching This Summer

As many of you may have noticed a lot of my images on my blog last week, including my blog button, was replaced by the ugliest Photobucket image ever (see above) and then later last week disappeared all together. I was hit, sadly by the Photobucket devil (as I so unlovingly like to call it now). 

Yep, Photobucket decided to be really big jerks and start charging people (*cough*$400peryear*cough*) to use their "free" hosting site. So with that, I had to redo all my buttons. *sigh* 

Thankfully my amazing husband got it back up and running. Sadly though this means that those of you that were using my button now have to replace it with the new one in the left hand sidebar. So sorry guys! But hey, it made me realize how outdated my own blog roll is as well and I've slowly been updating it so there has been some good mixed in there with the Photobucket devil nightmare right? Right? Blah.

On a positive note, I wanted to share with you what I've been binge watching this summer (see my beginning of summer post HERE). 

Don't laugh but I've been making my girls watch Little House on the Prairie

You guys, I forgot how awesome this show is and that it can still make me cry. I adore it, cheesiness and all. We are up to season three and there is no way we will finish it but it's been so fun having my girls (and occasionally my husband) watch it with me. They don't make them like that anymore. I like the wholesome feel to it and the life lessons each episode has. It's been fun reliving a little bit of my childhood with re-watching them again.

Another show I watched was Crimson Road. It originally aired on PBS and takes place during WWI and I loved it! There was only one season on Amazon so I had to look it up. I was heartbroken to learn that it was cancelled after the first season (only 6 episodes darn it!). But while searching for that I ran across another PBS hit Mercy Street and even though I haven't watched it all yet, I'm really liking it.  It takes place during the Civil War period and it is so interesting!

I've also caught some episode of A Handmaid's Tale and holy crap this show is freighting in a really messed up sort of way. I don't know if I should be horrified or fascinated by it. I don't even know what to think about it. It is strangely addicting and yet so wrong at the same time. Have you watched it? What do you think about it?

So not a whole lot of TV watching around here for me but at least I've really liked what I have watched. It's been fun watching something different from my norm and in a small way I feel like I'm learning something along the way too with the history rich details some of these shows have. 

So tell me what you've been watching this summer. Anything new and interesting? Any recommendations? 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Urban Enemies by: Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, Jonathan Maberry..

Title: Urban Enemies
Author(s): Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Joseph Nassise, Steven Savile, And Jeff Somers
Series: Anthology
Published By: Gallery Books (August 1, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Villains have all the fun—everyone knows that—and this anthology takes you on a wild ride through the dark side! The top villains from sixteen urban fantasy series get their own stories—including the baddies of New York Times bestselling authors Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Kelley Armstrong, Seanan McGuire, and Jonathan Maberry.

For every hero trying to save the world, there’s a villain trying to tear it all down.

In this can’t-miss anthology edited by Joseph Nassise (The Templar Chronicles), you get to plot world domination with the best of the evildoers we love to hate! This outstanding collection brings you stories told from the villains’ point of view, imparting a fresh and unique take on the evil masterminds, wicked witches, and infernal personalities that skulk in the pages of today’s most popular series.

The full anthology features stories by Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files), Kelley Armstrong (the Cainsville and Otherworld series), Seanan McGuire (October Daye), Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), C.E. Murphy (Walker Papers), Steven Savile (Glasstown), Caitlin Kittredge (the Hellhound Chronicles and the Black London series), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Sam Witt (Pitchfork County), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), and Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches). 

Who doesn't love a good villain? I mean come on, we all love to hate them and even sometimes, hate to love them. When I found out some of the top authors in the urban fantasy genre were going to be writing not only short stories set in some of the best series out there, but also in the point of view of their villains, I was so all over it. And even though some of these series I have yet to try, it didn't stop me from diving right in and seeing what their writing and bad guys were all about.

While all of these stories were good, like most anthologies, some stuck out to me more than others. 

I loved  Even Hand by Jim Butcher. In fact I liked it so much so that I plan on starting the Harry Dresden Files because of it. I mean who doesn't love witches and all things that go bump in the night?

Kelley Armstrong's Hounded from her Cainville Series was every bit as I expected it to be and I loved getting inside the Huntsman's head and seeing what makes him tick. It was a great bonus addition to the series and I'm so glad I read it.

Kiss by Saintcrow made me also want to start her series. Her villain was creepy and like the author has mentioned before, being inside his head makes you want to take a shower and scrub yourself clean afterward. 

I already knew I liked the Iron Druid series by Kearne and seeing Loki  and Lucifer featured in his short The Naughtiest Cherub, was just so much fun. It reminded me all over again, why I love his books. The humor is like no other and it's super hard to resist and UF series all set from the male POV. 

Truly I could go on, all of these stories were great and while I liked some more than others, there weren't any that I hated, which was a nice change for me. Usually with these type of books you always get that odd ball story that doesn't seem to fit and you would rather have not wasted time on. Overall this was a fun filled, villainous read that I'm glad I took a chance on. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*