Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson

Title: Of Flame and Fate
Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Book Eight in the Weird Girls and Book Two in the Flame Series
Published: September 26, 2017
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.

I should have known once I picked this up, there would be no stopping. No breaks from the world that Cecy so meticulously and lovingly created, nor break from the onslaught of emotions it would bring with it.

Cecy's books never cease to bring out an array of emotions and feels in me. It just is something I have come to expect from her but I don't think any of her past books have quite brought out the emotions in me that this one did.

While I still smiled and laughed throughout this story, for the most part, this installment was darker than ever before and more often than not I was sad or angry at what was going on and wanted so much more for my beloved characters. 

As this series has progressed and the danger along with it, so have the characters. They have grown stronger and more sure of what has to be done than ever before. But along with that growth comes the certainty that their life is hard and at most times, unfair and with that realization, on both the characters and us the readers part, I think it brings a hint of despair to the story line. A hint of almost a depressed feeling, a hint of anger for all of us. Will they ever catch a break?

And while I felt that way through most of the story, I still devoured it. Still loved it and still flipped the pages and read as fast as I possible could because darkness or not, this story, this series, is still one of my top ten favorite UF series out there. I love everything about it and am always eager to get the next installment. 

I truly hope things get better for this beloved bunch, but either way, I will be there every step of the way with them, good or bad. 

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: The Hunt by Chloe Neill

Title: The Hunt
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Book Three in the Devil's Isle Series
Published By: Berkley Books (September 26, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires Novels--the hunter becomes the hunted in a New Orleans devastated by a Paranormal war....

When bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered that Claire Connolly was a Sensitive and infected with magic, he should have turned her in to be locked up in the prison district known as Devil's Isle. Instead, he helped her learn to control her power and introduced her to an underground group of Paranormals and humans who know the truth about the war and those who fought it. 

Now the weight of Liam's own secrets has forced him into hiding. When a government agent is killed and Claire discovers that Liam is the prime suspect, she races to find him before the government can. But she'll discover proving his innocence is no simple matter. Their enemies are drawing closer, and time is running out.... 

Picking up one of Neill's books is a lot like coming home. It is so good to see familiar cherished faces and a setting that is every bit as appealing and beautifully described as the plot is entertaining and hard to forget. In short, a place you don't mind going to time and time again and in fact, wish you could visit more often. A place you love and think about even when you aren't immersed in the world that she has created.

That is what it has been like each time I have picked up a book in the Devil's Isle series. A place I can't wait to go back to with characters that are so easy to like and love and a setting that is downright mystical and alluring. And with the way book two ended, I couldn't get my hands on this fast enough. 

Once again Neill entranced me with her writing and I easily fell into the story and into the very heart of NOLA itself. 

Neill once again brings both the mystery and supernatural element of this series to the very front and center with just enough romance to add that little something extra to the story but not overshadow everything else going on. With creatures and people unlike any others, this was every bit as entertaining and fun as it's predecessors. With more of Claire's history slowly unfolding and her abilities growing stronger all the time she really is becoming the warrior that we saw in the very beginning and then some. And with even more danger and war on the horizon, the next installment is promising to be every bit as good as the others. 

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: The Trust by Ronald H. Balson

Title: The Trust
Author: Ronald H. Balson
Series: Book Four in the Liam and Catherine Series (but can be read as a stand alone)
Published By: St. Martin's (September 19, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Murder Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
The newest novel from the author of Once We Were Brothers finds private investigator Liam Taggart returning to his childhood home for an uncle's funeral, only to discover his death might not have been natural.

When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral—a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members? 

As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.

Five top reasons you should read the Trust by Ronald H. Balson:

1. You love a good setting and what could be better than the lush land of Ireland?
2. Characters that are fleshed out, captivating and completely complex but still down to earth and believable. 
3. You love a good murder mystery.
4. You like a little bit of history mixed in with your fiction. I love how this story interwove the mystery of Liam's uncles death and the horrible chaos and strife that still runs rampant through Ireland. 
5. You never know what to expect. Just when you think you've learned it all, that all has been revealed, something new surfaces and you feel like you are right back at the beginning of the mystery but in a very good way. 

Overall this story was riveting and not at all what I was expecting. I am definitely intrigued to try the others he has written that involve both Liam and his wife Catherine. 

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: Whispers of Warning by Jessica Estevao

Title: Whispers of Warning
Title: Jessica Estevao
Series: Book Two in the A Change of Fortune Series
Published By: Berkley Books (September 19, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Mystery/Paranormal
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
The latest in a dazzling new historical mystery series featuring Ruby Proulx, a psychic with a questionable past who suddenly finds her future most uncertain…

Partially reformed con artist Ruby Proulx is starting to feel at home in her aunt’s seaside hotel. She loves the feeling of being rooted in one place and also feels a sense of purpose as she helps her aunt keep her business afloat by acting as a psychic medium for the hotel’s metaphysically inclined guests.

When one of the guests, renowned Spiritualist and outspoken suffragist Sophronia Foster Eldridge, checks into the hotel for a month-long stay, Ruby finds her sense of purpose expand outside the confines of home and family. Sophronia takes Ruby under her wing and mentors her in the mediumistic abilities, encouraging her to work for a woman’s right to vote. But not everyone is as happy with Sophronia’s appearance in Old Orchard. When her body is found floating in the saltwater plunge pool of a local bathhouse, Ruby takes it upon herself to solve the murder, and in the process learns that Sophronia was hiding some secrets of her own.

I was eagerly awaiting the release to the sequel Whispers Beyond the Veil. Having loved Estevao's debut historical mystery, I couldn't wait for more. 

I can say with absolutely conviction the Whispers of Warning was everything I was hoping it would be. A touch of mystery. A hint of danger, and the historical feel that I most certainly crave with a slight edge of the paranormal to really keep things interesting. 

I plowed through this faster than I did the first and soaked up every atmospheric line and page. It truly was such a delight and unlike most mysteries I read, one that truly kept me on my toes and guessing right up to the reveal of whodunnit. 

Estevao once again impressed me with her beautiful prose, wonderful seaside setting and her way of weaving accurate historical detail in with the fiction and paranormal that I so dearly crave. I couldn’t of been happier or more satisfied with how it all came together. My only regret, is that it will be a very long wait until Ruby's next adventure. 

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus
Author: Ryan Graudin
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Little Brown Books For Young Readers (September 26, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Sci Fi/Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

When I saw this one Netgalley I was immediately intrigued by it. I am inexplicably drawn to books about time travel. The allure of being able to wrong past mistakes and take in a part of history that we would never experience otherwise has always been something I've been fascinated by. Add in a small dose of sci fi and characters that you can't help but be drawn to and Invictus surprised me in the best ways possible. 

Truly from the alluring prologue this story captured my attention and refused to let go. Instead, one chapter turned into two and before I knew it I was reading late into the night and unable to fall asleep until my eyes grew so heavy I had no choice but to put it down and even then I resisted the Sandman's charm with superhuman strength I didn't even know I possessed.

This series was so much fun. From the characters to the whole time travel aspect to the sci fi appeal of what the future could be like if we're not careful to the mystery of Faraway and Eliot themselves, it was so addicting and so very hard to put down.  I was enthralled with the it all and once again I find myself being blown away by a story that not only took me by surprised but made me excited about this genre again. 

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

Friday, September 1, 2017

Review: Odd and True by Cat Winters

Title: Odd & True
Author: Cat Winters
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Amulet Books (September 12, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Historical/Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

I've always loved Winter's stories. The pure imagination that goes behind them as she merges both a historical feel and a paranormal element to every tale she weaves. Her latest, True and Odd Tales has to be one of my favorites yet.

Told in both Tru and Od's point of view as it weaves both through the past and present tenses, this story magical unfolds as each girl comes to find out not only about herself and their family secrets but about their past as well and what it means to be a Lowenherz  and the legacy that was left for them. 

I love that this story isn't just about hunting monsters, in fact it isn't really about that at all. In truth it is a story about growing up and dealing with the situation and circumstances that both Tru and Od have to go through as they get older, grow up and really learn about their family secrets. It's about Tru dealing with being crippled by Polio and Od's adventures, heartache, and having to deal with being the older sister and everything that comes with a family that isn't all that it seems and has secrets not only from the girls, but from each other as well. 

This was a fabulous coming of age story rip with intrigue and mystery and just enough of a touch of the maybe paranormal to get fans of both genres interested and curious and eagerly turning the pages. 

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

Monday, August 28, 2017

Fall Releases I Can't Wait to Get My Hands On

With fall just around the corner and it finally cooling off a a little here (slowly) it is no wonder that all the latest releases are on my mind. With each new season also comes a slew of great new releases and some of them I am so excited to get my hands on. To old favorites to new authors and books I want to try, the fall months aren't lacking in new releases. Here are just a few that have caught my eye and many that are already on pre-order. 

 This is probably one of my most anticipated reads not only because I love this series to death but because of the way book eleven ended. It was a terrible heart wrenching cliffy and I need to know what happens next. 

It surprised me how much I liked book one in this series so I'm eager to see if the sequel will be just as good (hopefully better).

Even though this series isn't quite as beloved as it once once I still need to know how it ends and with this book being told all in Chaol's point of view, or at least a vast majority of it, I want to see what the author has in store for it. It will be interesting to see what the last two books hold.

I haven't been reading as much YA lately as I once had but it seems this is the year for YA to surprise me because what I have read has all been fantastic. Or maybe I am just more picky and choosey with what I have been reading either way, I loved this series and it was only a trilogy, or so we thought. With this latest release told in Noah's POV, I'm both anxious and nervous to see what the author does with it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't ruin the whole series for me as a whole. 

So there you have it all the ones I'm really excited about getting a hold of in the next few weeks. There are other but I was lucky enough to get ARCs of them so most I've either already read and absolutely loved or have coming up to read. I'll list them anyways though because seriously, the ones I have read already were all 4 or 5 star reads for me they were that good. 

Colleen Hoover's book is one I haven't read yet, I've been trying to wait closer to release date but so far, there isn't anything by her that I've read that I haven't loved so I just know this will be emotional and outstanding. 

Even though this next one is a YA series, don't discredit it, it is so addicting and the best part is that the second book was just as good as the first. 

Jamie Ford is a master at what he does and what he does is write a beautifully emotional story will fiction, riddled with history and real life events. It is amazing what the man can do. I can't recommend his work enough. 

And of course this series. I just adore it and even though the release for this hasn't even happened yet, I'm on edge for the next book.

This next series is a fun one and set in one of my favorite settings for UF series, NOLA, I think there is just something strange and mystical about the setting and the history of the place itself and it makes for a great story. The third book in the series was also just as much as the last two and we finally get a bit more romance so yay of that front. If you haven't tried this series yet you should, it really is fun. 

I can't resist a good time travel story and while this is classified in the YA department, it didn't feel YA to me with most of the characters being 18 or older. Still, it was a great read and took me by surprise. I really enjoyed it and am glad it didn't let me down and okay, I picked it up for the cover as much as I did for the description. ;)

While I've been trying to not read as much YA lately mostly because I've been burnt out on it and because it seems to be most of the same old same old, I couldn't resist this one. And while it seems cliche, it isn't. I haven't finished it yet (as of writing this post) but so far, 70% in, I really like it and once again am surprised by that LOL. Really it is something interesting and easy to pick up and read and get lost in.

So that's it. The books I'm (or were) most looking forward to this coming fall. What about you? See anything you like or something I missed?

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.*