Category Archives: Book Reviews
I’d like to thank Rockstar Book Tours for letting me participate in this wonderful event, and to the publisher for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. If you would like to see all of the blogs involved in this tour, please click on the banner above. =^.^=
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Wow! I could leave this review there, but I realize that it is less than helpful in the grand scheme of things. Seriously though, my mind is still processing all that this book is and all that is yet to come. Filled with mystery, magic, suspense, and a plot twist that will leave your mind boggled, Young Adult readers and Maxwell fans are definitely going to enjoy this book!
Between the wonderful cover and the synopsis, I already knew that I was going to like this book, but I hadn’t expected to love it as much as I did, or to feel a wide-range of emotions both while I was reading and once I was done. This is one of those books which pulls you into the story from the first chapter and refuses to let you go until you’ve reached the end. There were moments when I laughed, moments where I sighed, moments where I got teary-eyed, moments when I screamed in frustration, and moments when I was holding my breath in anticipation waiting to discover what would happen next. It was everything I wanted and so much more.
Esta is an amazing young lady. She’s strong, determined, fierce, and I couldn’t get enough of her. She’s a thief with a conscious, one who is unwilling to take something simply for the sake of taking it, but also isn’t above stealing and manipulating others in order to protect those she cares about. She’ll do what she needs to do in order to survive. Harte, on the other paw, made me twitchy. He came across as selfish, vindictive, angry, and not above hurting others in order to reach his goal. I honestly didn’t trust or care for him most of the time. Part of this was because I couldn’t exactly pin down his true motive for wanting the book in the first place, another part was because I just couldn’t put my first impression of him aside in order to see what else was there. He’s truly complex character, and I’m still working through my feelings toward him as I write this. As far as their relationship goes, I can definitely say there is chemistry between them. There’s this love/hate vibe that leaves you wondering if they are going to end up together while they drive each other crazy trying to maintain the upper hand over the other. As for all the other characters, I enjoyed the rich complexity of personalities I found amongst them. Whether they were allies or villains, I was invested in their lives and anxious to find out what would happen to each of them.
What I really loved about this title though was both the world building and the twist that the plot took. The majority of the book is set in 1901 New York, though some parts of it take place during present day, and magic is differentiated between the real and the scientific (alchemy and such). Those with real magic, the Mageus, are feared while those of the Order, the alchemists, are hailed as heroes, or at the very least viewed as the lesser of two evils. The smells, the look/style, the people and the social classes, as well as the political and social atmosphere of this time are brought to life through Maxwell’s writing and makes the reader feel like they are actually there. As a result, though the book is a fantasy, the attention to these details gives it a historical feel too. At the same time, Maxwell’s strength in storytelling is highlighted by the twist that happens within the plot. There is much more here than meets the eye where this book is concerned, and I strongly encourage readers to pick it up and discover it for themselves.
Yes, I loved this book. Yes, I would recommend it to anyone who loves YA. And yes, I plan on reading the next book when it comes out. After how this one ended, I’d be a fool not to want to read the next one. It’s been a pleasure to see how much Maxwell’s writing has grown since her first novel, and I can’t wait to discover what she has planned next for everyone. =^.^=
About the Author:
Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep, Unhooked, & The Last Magician (Simon Pulse, Spring 2017). When she’s not writing books, she’s an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.
If you would like to enter for your chance to win a signed finished copy of The Last Magician and swag, please click on the Rafflecopter link below. Please note that this giveaway is open to US Residents only!
I’d like to extend my thanks to both Tasty Book Tours for letting me partake in this wonderful event, and to Kensington – Zebra for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you would like to see all of the blogs participating in this event, please click on the banner above, murr! =^.^=
Publisher: Kensington – Zebra
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Series: The Improper Princesses #2
I’ve conflicting feelings regarding this title. On the one paw, I greatly enjoyed some aspects of it, but on the other paw, there were some things which grated on my nerves and caused my fur to ruffle. Overall, while I did not absolutely love it, I did enjoy this story enough to recommend it to anyone who enjoys Kelly’s novels or is a fan of historical romance novels. There’s a little something for everyone within the pages of this book, from memorable characters, humorous misadventures, and more. And if you haven’t read the first book in this series, I promise that you’ll want to by the time you finish this one.
Lia is a headstrong, decisive, sometimes rather exasperating woman. She’s fiercely independent and loathes the idea of being indebted to anyone, especially those she considers family (of which Jack falls into that category). While I love these aspects of hers, I sometimes felt that they were proving to be more harmful than positive traits. Lia is forever getting into trouble because of her stubbornness and naiveté. But despite this, I found myself liking her immensely, even if I kept shaking my head in exasperation throughout the book. Jack, meanwhile, was hard for me to connect with. I applaud his desire to want to take care of Lia, but I couldn’t stand his overbearing behavior at the same time. And yet, I do agree that Lia needed some reining in, so in that regards I can’t fault him too much. Jack is very much the responsible individual who feels obligated to make amends for the wrongs done by his father and uncle. He’s also about as stubborn as Lia is on certain matters. As a couple, their relationship is all over the place. When they’re not butting heads, they’re fighting their desires for the other, and when they finally do come together…you’ll need a fan to cool off.
I loved that Gillian and Charles feature prominently in this book mostly because I simply adore Gillian. And it is her reappearance in this novel which leads me to say that if you’ve not read her story, you’ll want to by the time you finish this one. I also enjoyed meeting Chloe and her husband Dominic, and if I wasn’t already interested in reading Kelly’s Renegade Royal series, I’m even more interested in picking up the entire series at some point because I want to know more about them, as well as Steele and Endicott, and how they factor into this particular series. Yes, you read that right, characters from Kelly’s first major series play roles in this one. And this is a feature that I greatly enjoy because not many authors will pull characters from older series and feature them in newer books, and if they do, their cameos are usually brief. As for characters that I was not enamored with, well let me just say that while I can sympathize with Jack’s mother, Lady John, to a point, I desperately wanted to claw her eyes out every time she made an appearance. Her behavior and views toward Lia leave much to be desired, and oh did she push my buttons. Grrr. I also strongly disliked Lia’s mother, she had very little by way of any redeeming quality, and I would say her only saving grace was that she had the sense to marry Stephen, Lia’s step-father. But honestly though, talk about a mother who should never have had a child. Ugh!
This book put me through a wide-range of emotions. There were times when I couldn’t help but smile over the relationship between Lia and Jack, they very much came across as siblings through the first half of the book, and there were times when I hissed in frustration or downright disgust. I have to hand it to Kelly for her skill at invoking a reader’s emotions, it certainly adds an element of depth to her writing that is hit or miss with other authors.
My only complaint with this book is the synopsis and the title don’t come into play until the last quarter of the book. I’m not going to say that I didn’t enjoy getting to know Lia and Jack through their various encounters at Stonefell and in London, but I will say that I feel the synopsis needs to be changed in order to truly represent what happens in this book. Now some may feel that this is an issue that in the grand scheme of things is not worth making note of, but I strongly feel that I would be doing readers a disservice by not mentioning it. Yes, I encourage you to give this book a read, but don’t expect this to be a story entirely focused on Lia attempting to make Jack her protector and their creating a series of tests to find the perfect lover for her over the course of three weeks. As I said, this particular part of the plot only happens during the last quarter of the book, so be prepared for other events and adventures to occur first.
Having said all that, I still liked this book a great deal and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series once it comes out. So if you are looking for a book to read this summer filled with misadventure, steamy moments, a bit of humor, and a leading lady who will steal your heart, give this book and its series a try, murr!
About the Author:
Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.
Vanessa’s previous series, The Renegade Royals, was a national bestseller. She is currently writing a spin-off series called The Improper Princesses. My Fair Princess, book 1, was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month. Vanessa also writes USA TodayBestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.
If you would like to enter for your chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:
I’d like to thank Rock Star book Tours for letting me participate in this amazing tour, and also thank Alisha for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review! If you would like to see all of the blogs involved in this event, please click on the banner above. =^.^=
Publisher: Alisha Klapheke
Release Date: May 25, 2017
Series: Uncommon World #2
If you haven’t yet tried Klapheke’s novels, what are you waiting for? If you enjoy fantasy, magic, suspense, danger, political intrigue, and more, you’ll love this book. And before I go fully into my review, let me assure you that just because this claims to be the second book in Klapheke’s Uncommon World series, it doesn’t mean you can’t read it as a stand-alone. This book features a different set of characters from the previous books in the series, though you do meet Seren in Fever, the short novella that proceeds this. But even then, you don’t need to read Fever to read this one. But if I’m to be honest, don’t be surprised if you immediately go and get the rest of the series when you’re done because yes, it is that good, and yes, you’ll want to read the rest at some point! That being said, let’s get on with the review, shall we?
I greatly enjoyed this book. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down. With every chapter I found myself on the edge of my seat anxious to find out what would happen next. There is no question that Klapheke is skilled at drawing a reader into her stories and keeping them hooked until the very end. The world that she’s created is amazing, and it easily lends itself to many opportunities for more books in the future, which is great because I am greatly looking forward to seeing what she’s got planned next.
Now as much as I miss not seeing a return of Calev and Kinneret from the previous books, I enjoyed reading about Seren and her fight to become kyros. Admittedly I wasn’t originally impressed with her and thought that she was a bit too weak-willed in the beginning, but as the story progressed she grew tougher and learned to play the leader while still maintaining her caring nature. She’s intelligent, adamant about protecting those she loves, compassionate to a fault at times, and fierce when she needs to be. I wanted her to succeed, and by the end I was cheering when she proved her strength to those who opposed her.
But this isn’t just Seren’s story, though it is primarily about her, it is also Ona’s (Onaratta) in many ways. Ona’s a character who I initially loved, mostly because she was a kick butt and ask questions later kind of girl. She’s fierce, skilled in the arts of war, driven to avenge her aunt’s death, and not one who easily takes no for an answer. The problem is, those same attributes of hers began to grow on my nerves, and eventually I grew frustrated over her not seeing Seren’s side of things. Ona is yin to Seren’s yang. They both suffered hardships at the hands of the Invaders, and both want to avenge those they lost. And each has something to teach the other. The problem that comes up though is Ona is too stubborn to see beyond her need for revenge and this causes problems. In the end, I wanted to know what would happen next with her and see where she was headed in her life, even if I was a bit less enamored with her than at the start. I can only hope that we’ll get to see more of her in the next book, and that she eventually finds her way to the peace she so deserves.
What honestly impressed me was how into the book I got. As I said, once I started I quickly found myself immersed in the story and unwilling to leave except for only the most immediate of needs. I easily could see this book being made into a TV show as it has all the themes and plot points that would make for an amazing live action series, and it isn’t often that I feel this way about a book I read. Usually I prefer that stories I enjoy be left to the printed page rather than carried over to a different form of media, but I could see myself being happy if that happened with this. Between the vividly describe lands, the caste system, the inclusion of magic, and even the bits of romance (which were there, but this is by no means a romance novel), the story has everything to lend itself to amazing TV. Seriously, if any Hollywood producer is looking for a new project to take on, consider this series, please!
So, am I fan of this book? Most definitely. Would I recommend it to others? Do cat’s rules and dogs drool? Snag a copy of this book for yourself and enjoy! Believe me, you won’t be disappointed. =^.^=
About the Author:
Award-winning author Alisha Klapheke wants to infuse your life with unique magic, far-flung fantasy settings, and romance. Her inspiration springs from medieval art and artifacts, the world travel she enjoys with her husband, and the fantasy she grew up reading when she was supposed to be doing her math homework.
When she’s not writing, Alisha teaches Thai kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and krav maga at her family’s dojo just outside of Nashville. That may be why writing fight scenes is her favorite.
Kathleen Rushall of Andrea Brown Literary Agency represents Alisha in all things books.
If you would like to enter for your chance to win signed paperbacks of WATERS OF SALT & SIN, FEVER, and PLAINS OF SAND & STEEL & Swag (Stickers & A Signed Map), AND Paperbacks of AIR AWAKENS by Elise Kova & FIRST YEAR by Rachel E. Carter (US Only), or 1 of 3 eBooks of WATERS OF SALT AND SIN, FEVER, and PLAINS OF SAND AND STEEL (International), please click on the Rafflecopter link below:
I’d like to thank Tasty Book Tours for letting me participate in this tour, and extend my thanks to Avon Books for providing me a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review, murr! =^.^=
Date Released: May 30, 2017
Series: Rokesbys #2
I greatly enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to seeing what happens next with the Rokesby family. Filled with humor, memorable characters, and a mystery waiting to be solved, fans of Quinn’s writing are not going to want to miss this one.
It isn’t often that I read a historical romance that is set in America, so it was nice to experience a change in setting and get a glimpse into life “across the pond” sort to speak. It was this, along with the While You Were Sleeping type plot, that made me wish to pick this up and give it a read. While I do predominately enjoy books set in the United Kingdom during the Regency Era, the fact that this particular book was set in New York during the Revolutionary War makes this title standout from all of the other books I’ve read so far this year in the historical romance genre, and it added to my enjoyment of the read.
Cecilia is a wonderful character. She loves her brother and would do anything for him, even cross the Atlantic. She’s caring, devoted, quick with a joke, and extremely brave. I’d say my only fault with her was her continual putting off telling Edward the truth about their relationship. While I understand why she made the choice that she did, I was frustrated that she was willing to risk hurting him in order to get the answers that she sought regarding her brother. Edward, meanwhile, is just as quick-witted, as well as dependable and loyal. Even though their romantic relationship was built on a lie, the fact that they had corresponded with each other through Cecilia’s letters to her brother made me suspect that they probably would have ended up together even if Cecilia hadn’t traveled to the Colonies. It is clear from the start that they are attracted to each other through their correspondence, so to have Edward believe that they were already married just added a sense of ease to their eventual coming together. I greatly enjoyed the banter back and forth between them in the letters at the start of each chapter, as well as seeing them at ease with their role as a “married” couple.
As the plot says, Cecilia originally goes to America in order to take care of her brother, but instead she finds Edward in her brother’s stead. While most of the book focuses on her and Edward’s relationship, there are moments where they attempt to seek answers to her brother’s whereabouts. The mystery of where Thomas is and what happened to him, as well as the mystery of what lead to Edward’s lost memory make up the backdrop of this book, and my desire to find out the answers left me reading well into the early hours. Was Thomas acting as a spy for the Redcoats? Did he turn traitor and try to get Edward out of the way? Does Edward regain his memory of everything that happened? I could tell you the answers, but I think you’d have more fun discovering them for yourself. Heehee.
Now I’m going to be honest, I haven’t read any of Quinn’s Bridgerton series, thus the fact that this is a prequel to that series didn’t register while I was reading. So if you are hoping to hear about how this particular book ties in with that series, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you. I suspect there is more to the connection than simply Billie Bridgerton from the first book of this series, but I can’t say what that connection is. I can say, however, that I plan to read more of Quinn’s books in the future, especially if they are as fun as her Rokesbys series has been so far.
Quinn has an easy writing style that allows for quick connections with her characters that in turn lead to many an emotional reaction from the reader. When we finally do discover what happened to Cecilia’s brother…well, let me just say that you’ll want to keep a box of tissue handy just in case. At the same time Quinn is skilled at pulling the reader into her stories and holding their attention until the very end. I loved how she ended this book with George Rokesby gearing up to tell the story of Andrew Rokesby. I can’t wait to read his book once it comes out, murr!
Yes, I’m greatly enjoying the Rokesby family, and I’m glad to have finally discovered Quinn’s books. I don’t know why I haven’t tried her out prior to now, but I can promise that this won’t be the last series of hers I’ll be reading. If you love historical romance and are looking for a new author to try this summer, I highly recommend you check out Quinn for yourself. And if you are a returning fan who loved the Bridgeton’s, you’ll not want to miss the Rokesby men.
About the Author:
Julia Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels for Avon Books, and one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.
If you would like to win a print copy of Because of Miss Bridgerton and live in the US, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:
I’d like to extend my thanks to Tasty Book Tours for letting me participate in this tour event, and to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. If you would like to see a list of all of the blogs involved in this event, please click on the banner above, murr! =^.^=
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Series: The London Underground #1
After having read Leigh’s The Wicked Quills of London series and enjoying it, I knew I wanted to check out this new series of hers, and I can say without a shadow of doubt that it promises to be just as fun and steamy as her previous books, murr! If you are looking for a book that takes a different spin on the historical romance genre as you know it, this book if definitely for you.
Cassandra is an intelligent, determined, and courageous woman who has never had an easy time of it in life. Forced to swindle people in order to survive, she dreams of a life where she no longer has to worry about where she’s going to sleep for the night and where her next meal might come from. I instantly sympathized with her and her situation, and I couldn’t fault her doing what she needed in order to get by. Alex was a little harder for me to initially connect with. While I approved of his desire to want to protect Cassandra, I was frustrated by his inability to understand her situation. Cassandra got it right when she says that Alex is a man used to having everything his heart could desire readily given to him and thus doesn’t understand hardship. His heart’s in the right place, but he’s clueless about the reality of how the world outside his position as a duke moves and structures itself. To say that he receives an eye-opening glimpse of life outside the ton is a bit of an understatement in this book. Yet for all that, he does truly care about Cassandra’s well-being and he eventually comes to realize just how much she’s endured.
Together they are perfect for each other and their romantic moments are steamy to say the least. Though they already have an established romantic attachment at the start of the book, both Alex and Cassandra struggle to reconnect once the truth about her past comes to light. Cassandra must learn to trust that Alex won’t turn her over to authorities because of her past misdeeds and Alex must learn to trust that Cassandra won’t try to swindle him again after he’s helped her. Through all this, they dance between giving in to the desire that they already feel toward each other and fighting to protect their hearts.
What appealed to me was that Cassandra is older than most women featured in historical romance novels (31 if memory serves me right) and she’s not a member of society, high or working class. She is a thief, a con, a member of the lowest order, and yet she’s a member of high quality within the society that makes up the less savvy class of Londoners. From the Orchid Club, a place where people go to engage in sexual acts to a den of thieves where a different kind of queen reigns over all, we experience Cassandra’s world, one which isn’t often explored in this genre. And it is these elements which made this book a unique and intriguing read for me.
I’m curious to see just how far “underground” Leigh’s going to take us as she continues this series, and I greatly looking forward to returning to the Orchid Club for more adventures there with Amina. Don’t know who I’m talking about here? Grab a copy of this book for yourself and find out. Trust me, once you enter London’s Underground, you’ll not want to leave, murr!
About the Author:
Eva Leigh is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva and her husband live in Southern California.
If you would like to enter for your chance to win 1 of 5 print copies of From Duke Till Dawn, please click on the Rafflecopter link below: