Tag Archive | NetGalley

REVIEW: The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton

The Last Beekeeper Book Cover The Last Beekeeper
Julie Carrick Dalton
Women's Fiction
Forge Books
March 7, 2023
E-Book
384
NetGalley
January 31 - February 18, 2023

Julie Carrick Dalton's The Last Beekeeper is a celebration of found family, an exploration of truth versus power, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair.

"Fans of Delia Owens will swoon to find their new favorite author.” (Hank Phillippi Ryan)

It’s been more than a decade since the world has come undone, and Sasha Severn has returned to her childhood home with one goal in mind—find the mythic research her father, the infamous Last Beekeeper, hid before he was incarcerated. There, Sasha is confronted with a group of squatters who have claimed the quiet, idyllic farm as their own. While she initially feels threatened, the group soon becomes her newfound family, offering what she hasn't felt since her father was imprisoned: security and hope. Maybe it's time to forget the family secrets buried on the farm and focus on her future.

But just as she settles into her new life, Sasha witnesses the impossible. She sees a honey bee, presumed extinct. People who claim to see bees are ridiculed and silenced for reasons Sasha doesn't understand, but she can't shake the feeling that this impossible bee is connected to her father's missing research. Fighting to uncover the truth could shatter Sasha's fragile security and threaten the lives of her newfound family—or it could save them all.

Julie Carrick Dalton's The Last Beekeeper is a celebration of found family, an exploration of truth versus power, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair. It is a meditation on forgiveness and redemption and a reminder to cherish the beauty that still exists in this fragile world.

Review

This book stole my heart. 

The Last Beekepeeris the story of Sasha, the daughter of the world’s last known beekeeper. The story takes place in the future, after we terrible humans have killed all of the pollinators with the use of pesticides and GMOs. The story takes place a decade or so after the last of the bees, the last of all of the pollinators, have died. Without pollinators, the food system collapsed. People starved; died.

Sasha’s father was keeping bees illegally, and due to an extremely unfortunate event, was discovered and put on trial and sent to prison, leaving 11-year old Sasha to live first with her uncle, and then in a group home. Fast forward, Sasha has aged out of the system and has returned home to the farmhouse her grandparents built, which had been seized by the government upon her fathers imprisonment and has been empty and neglected all the years she’s been gone. 

It’s at her old home that Sasha finds a group of squatters who reluctantly let her stay for a week, which turns into a month, and so on. All the while, Sasha keeps her true identity a secret. She’s only gone home to find the research she knowsher father has hidden somewhere on the property. If her new found-family finds out who she is, she fears they’ll turn on her and kick her out. She’s spent her whole life being hated for being the daughter of the Last Beekeeper. 

This book gave me a whole range of feels from sadness to optimism to anger to joy. Overall though, this book gave me a sense of peace and calm. The world Sasha lives in is depressing and difficult, but at the same time, she’s living the simple life. She’s tending her garden to feed her and her friends, she’s riding a bike to get around. It just sounds… peaceful. Plus, Sasha’s connection to the bees throughout her childhood is beautiful. I’m terrified of bees, but this book has made me respect them just a little more.

Chapters alternate between Sasha as a 20-something, and Sasha as a child. Slowly we learn what led to her fathers imprisonment. And the other secrets he’s harboring. 

This is a beautiful book. I would absolutely read this again and will recommend it to everyone.

The Last Beekeeper is on it’s way to being my top read of 2023, and the year has barely started! 

REVIEW: Sweeter Than Chocolate by Lizzie Shane

Sweeter Than Chocolate Book Cover Sweeter Than Chocolate
Lizzie Shane
Contemporary Romance
Hallmark
January 17, 2023
Audiobook
328
NetGalley Audiobook
January 15-30, 2023

Soon to be a Hallmark Channel original movie!!! Do the “Cupid chocolates” from Lucy’s shop really help people meet their One True Love? Dean, a TV reporter, has his doubts…

Lucy’s chocolate shop, How Sweet It Is, has been in her family for generations…along with the secret recipe for Cupid chocolates. Rumor has it that if you eat one on February 14, you’ll meet your soulmate. Lucy herself isn’t sure if it’s magic or just romantic optimism, but a family legend is at stake. Besides, with her grandmother to support and a rival bakery opening up across the street, it certainly doesn’t hurt to believe. Dean, an ambitious and skeptical TV reporter, doesn’t like the idea of a business taking advantage of romantic desperation. He doesn’t count on Lucy joining him as he tracks down and interviews couples supposedly brought together by the chocolates. Together, they find that the truth can be complicated…especially when it comes to their own hearts.

I am WOEFULLY behind on reviews, so get ready for the onslaught. Starting…. NOW! (I’ll also probably post a January recap soon… even though we’re already 10 days into February. Where does the time go??? ☠️)

My Review

Finally! FINALLY I was approved for an audiobook by NetGalley! You guys, I can DEVOUR like, 10 audiobooks in the time it takes me to read an ebook or print book. Come on NetGalley, give this girl more Audiobooks!

Okay. Enough of that. Onto the book!

Sweeter Than Chocolate is a Hallmark book, and TBH, that scared me. I thought, “Oh boy, this is going to be so unbelievably cheesy, what if I can’t read more than a page without rolling my eyes?”

Well, fellow readers, I’m happy to announce that I was so off base! This book was absolutely adorable and not at all overly cheesy. 

Lucy is a woman with a good head on her shoulders. Her family has a legend about the Cupid Chocolates they make in their chocolate shop: if you eat a Cupid Chocolate you will find your true love. And the magic is strongest on Valentine’s Day. Lucy isn’t quite sure if she buys into the magic of the Cupid Chocolates, but she’s open to the possibilities of her chocolates bringing true love to her patrons.

Meanwhile, Dean is a TV news journalist sent to film a puff piece about Lucy’s Cupid Chocolates when they go viral on social media, but what he’d really love to do is create an expose about the fraud Lucy is perpetuating. Chocolates that make you fall in love? What a joke! Unfortunately for Dean, to salvage his career, he has to stick to the puff piece to show his softer side.

After a rocky start, Lucy and Dean soon become allies. But when everything starts to fall apart for Lucy, she starts to believe that the curse also associated with the magic love chocolates, is at work. 

This was an adorable slow burn romance. Learning about both Lucy and Dean was so interesting. Dean especially had interesting character growth. But watching Lucy learn to let go and accept the success of the chocolates was heartwarming. 

I definitely recommend this adorable contemporary romance to anyone… and not just around Valentine’s Day!

NetGalley Roundup – January 2023

I’m going to try something new, in order to hold myself accountable and keep myself in check with NetGalley.

Each month (theoretically…) I will list the new NetGalley titles that I’ve been approved to read, the publication date and genre, a very brief summary, and why I chose this book.

I will also include my current, at time of writing the monthly roundup, feedback ratio. (This is the percentage of reviews I’ve submitted in comparison to the total number of books I’ve been approved for.)

This first one is going to be a big one, as I’ll be including everything from my backlog that I plan to tackle.

Here goes!

Current Feedback Ratio: 75%

Four Found Dead by Natalie D. Richards

Four Found Dead by Natalie D. Richards (May 2, 2023) – YA Thriller

ABOUT: A group of teens get trapped in a defunct shopping mall with a killer on their last day of working at the attached movie theatre.

WHY I chose it: I chose this book because 1. I used to work for a movie theatre (it’s where I met my hubs!) and 2. I’ve read two other books by Richards, years ago from NetGalley, and really enjoyed them. I’m currently reading this one and not liking it AS much as I remember the previous, but I’m still enjoying it.

Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell (March 6, 2017) – YA Fantasy

ABOUT: A burlesque troupe of slave girls escape during a performance, enlisting the help of a dangerously charasmatic wanted man.

WHY I chose it: I’m just now getting back into YA fantasy (THANKS C. J REDWINE!) and this sounded like an interesting read. There are at least 3 books in this series. And I liked the cover. 🥴

Financial Fives by Gary Grewal

Financial Fives by Gary Grewal (October 16, 2020) – Non-Fiction, Finance

ABOUT: “…a quick-read personal finance book with actionable tips on each page.”

WHY I chose it: Let’s be real, I’m not getting any younger, and I’d like to retire someday! LOL I will take any and all personal finance tips.

Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur

Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur (May 25, 2021) – YA Romance

WHAT: a “rom-com about a hopeless romantic who vows to show his childhood crush that romance isn’t dead by recreating iconic dates from his favorite films…”

WHY I chose it: The cover on this one is super cute. I also thought the concept was super cute!

Pusheen the Cat’s Guide to Everything

Pusheen the Cat’s Guide to Everything by Claire Belton (January 10, 2023) – Comic

ABOUT: “Pusheen the Cat is back with a brand-new collection of adorable comics, expert advice, and silly antics featuring Pusheen and all her friends!”

WHY I chose it: It’s Pusheen. Do I need any other reason to have requested this book??? I’ve flipped through some of the pages, but have not yet sat down to read it. I need to get both my kids together and sit down with them and just page through, because I know they’ll appreciate it as much as I will, if not more!

Sweeter Than Chocolate by Lizzie Shane

Sweeter Than Chocolate by Lizzie Shane (January 17, 2023) – Romance

ABOUT: Lucy’s chocolate shop—and their secret recipe for Cupid chocolates—has been in the family for generations. Rumor has it, if you eat one on Valentine’s Day, you’ll meet your soulmate. Now, her family’s chocolate shop legend is at stake.

WHY I chose it: FINALLY I’m getting approved for audiobooks! Y’all, I can fly through audiobooks like nobody’s business, but books I have to read with my eyeballs take MUCH longer. I selected this book because 1. It was an audiobook!!!! and 2. I’ve been on a cute romance kick lately. (I’ll have to get some of my recent reads, from before I started blogging again, here on the blog.) Anyway, this one seemed really cute.

Off the Map by Trish Doller

Off the Map by Trish Doller (March 7, 2023) – Romance

ABOUT: “Trish Doller’s idyllic romance Off the Map proves sometimes a wrong turn can lead to the exact right destination.”

WHY I chose the book: This sounded like a cute “travel” book with two characters who aren’t looking for love. It just sounds cute.

Mr. & Mrs. Witch by Gwenda Bond

Mr. & Mrs. Witch by Gwenda Bond (March 7, 2023) – Paranormal Romance

ABOUT: “…a couple discovers at the altar the surprising secret identities they’ve kept from each other.”

WHY I chose this book: It’s basically Mr. & Mrs. Smith (the movie with Brangelina), except SHE’S a secret witch, and HE’S a secret witch hunter! This sounds like absolute chaos in the best way!

The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton

The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton (March 7, 2023) – Mystery/Thriller – Women’s Fiction

ABOUT: “Sasha Severn has returned to her childhood home with one goal in mind—find the mythic research her father, the infamous Last Beekeeper, hid before he was incarcerated.”

WHY I chose this book: I love a good mystery/thriller, especially if there’s personal drama involved. This one could be really good, or really boring. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know once I get around to reading it!

Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller

Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller (March 28, 2023) – Historical Romance

ABOUT: Hotel of Secrets is chock full of banter-filled shenanigans, must-have-you kisses, and romance certain to light a fire in the hearts of readers everywhere.”

WHY I chose it: For starters, the cover is pretty. Nothing super unique about it, but I’m a sucker for a pretty cover! Secondly, on occasion, I enjoy a good historical romance. Plus that little blurb above sounds fun!

Tell Me What Really Happened by Chelsea Sedoti

Tell Me What Really Happened by Chelsea Sedoti (April 4, 2023) – YA Mystery/Thriller

ABOUT: “There are stories about the woods around Salvation Creek and the people who have gone missing. Now their friend is one of them. A riveting, fast-paced YA mystery told entirely through first person police interviews of four teens over the course of a few hours.”

WHY I chose it: Not gonna lie, when I decided to start reading & reviewing on NetGalley again at the end of 2022, I went on a spree requesting YA mystery/thrillers. This was one of those. I’m intrigued by the fat that it’s told entirely through police interviews, I want to see if Sedoti can pull this off.

Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose

Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose (April 4, 2023) – Mystery/Thriller – Women’s Fiction

ABOUT:She was the perfect wife, with the perfect life. You would kill to have it... Then Ciara is found murdered in her own pristine home, and the house of cards she’d worked so hard to build comes crumbling down. Everyone seems to have something to gain from Ciara’s death, so if they don’t want the blame, it may be the perfect time to air their enemies’ dirty laundry.”

WHY I chose it: Okay, NetGalley has GOT to stop sending me emails with books they want me to read, because whey they sound as good as this one, I’m GOING to request it! Look at that blurb above! How could I pass this one up???

Throwback by Maureen Goo

Throwback by Maureen Goo (April 11, 2023) – YA Romance

ABOUT: “A time-hopping, big-hearted adventure about a teen who travels back to the ’90s to team up with her teenaged mother.”

WHY I chose it: I’m an 80’s baby that grew up in the late 90’s, early 2000’s so I am REALLY looking forward to this blast from the past! I’m so excited for this one, I think it may jump in front of some of the earlier books! I’ve heard about Maureen Goo for many years, but have never actually read one of her books. Maybe I’ll be a new fan? Plus, I’m hoping to learn a little more about Korean culture. Both of my sisters are adoptees from Korea.

You Won’t Believe Me by Cyn Balog

You Won’t Believe Me by Cyn Balog (June 27, 2023) – YA Mystery/Thriller

ABOUT: “Willow is alone, confined to a bed with restraints. She can’t remember how she got there…or how long she’s been there. An old lady appears in her room to feed her twice a day. Granny doesn’t talk, but Willow can hear thumping from somewhere beyond her door. It’s not Granny’s shuffling steps. It’s too loud to be Granny’s cat. Is it someone? Something?”

WHY I chose it: This was another casualty of my mystery/thriller NetGalley request binge. I’ve read another book by Cyn Balog and I liked the twisty ending enough on that one to request this one!

Gwen & Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher

Gwen & Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (Nov 28, 2023) – LGBTQIAP+ YA

ABOUT: “It’s been hundreds of years since King Arthur’s reign. His descendant, Arthur, a future Lord and general gadabout, has been betrothed to Gwendoline, the quick-witted, short-tempered princess of England, since birth. The only thing they can agree on is that they despise each other… ” Too bad Art is into Gwen’s brother, and Gwen has a huge crush on lady knight Bridget Leclair.

WHY I chose it: Did you READ what I wrote above? This isn’t enemies to lovers, this is enemies to allies. Because according to the rest of the blurb, they team up to cover for one another. I can’t wait to see where this goes! NetGalley has actually given me a CRAZY long time to read this one (yay!) so I won’t get to it for a while… unless the mood strikes me. 🙂

And that’s it… for now!

As I acquire new NetGalley titles (OH PLEASE NO! I already bit off more than I can chew! 😂 ) I will be adding them to my reading list, linked in the top menu.

So, did any of these titles catch your interest? Share in the comments!

REVIEW: Not Your Ex’s Hexes by April Asher

Not Your Ex's Hexes Book Cover Not Your Ex's Hexes
Supernatural Singles #2
April Asher
Paranormal Romance, RomCom
St. Martin's Griffin
February 7, 2023
Ebook ARC
352
NetGalley
November 14, 2022 - December 27, 2022

In April Asher’s next Supernatural Singles novel, Not Your Ex's Hexes, a one-night-stand between a willful witch and a broody half-demon conjures an adventure that wouldn’t be complete without several magical mishaps. For her entire life, Rose Maxwell trained to become the next Prima on the Supernatural Council. Now that she’s stepped down, it’s time for this witch to focus on herself. And not think about her impulsive one-night stand with Damian Adams, a half-Demon Veterinarian who she can’t get out of her head. Neither of them is looking for a relationship. But when Rose is sentenced to community service at Damian’s animal sanctuary it becomes impossible for them to ignore their sparking attraction. A friends-with-benefits, no feelings, no strings arrangement works perfectly for them both. After a sequence of dead-end jobs, it’s not until Rose tangos with two snarly demons that she thinks she’s finally found her path. However, this puts Damian back on the periphery of a world he thought he left behind. He doesn’t approve of Rose becoming a Hunter, but if there's one thing he's learned about the stubborn witch, it was telling her not to do something was one sure-fire way to make sure she did. Working—and sleeping—together awakens feelings Damian never knew he had...and shouldn't have. Because thanks to his ex's hex, if he falls in love, he'll not only lose his heart—but his humanity.

My Review

What a cute story! The book is far sexier than the cover implies.

Rose is a witch who has just stepped down from being next in line to be Prima (head witch) not to mention just got out of a REALLY bad relationship. She’s not looking for anything permanent in her life, just some sexy fun.

Enter veterinarian Damian, a demon with a hex from his witchy ex who, like Rose, has no intention of starting anything serious.

What starts as friends with benefits soon turns into more. But can Rose and Damian defeat Damian’s hex?

Very cute book. Filled with all kinds of witchy puns and catch phrases (“Hex me!” and referring to your girls as “Bwitches” among other things.) I’ve already checked the audiobook of book 1 from the library to read Rose’s sister Violet’s story.

Special thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for a complimentary ARC in exchange for my honest review!

REVIEW: Hello Again by Brenda Novak






Hello Again Book Cover




Hello Again




The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #2





Brenda Novak





Romantic Thriller




St. Martin's Press




October 3, 2017




E-ARC




384




NetGalley




October 13 - 22, 2017



SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.
Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world's worst serial killers. But she's about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered--or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?
When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except...Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends--and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . . .

My Review

I think Hello Again might be even better than the first book in the Evelyn Talbot series. Seriously, I thought the stakes were great in that book, but it had nothing on this one!

I think you could jump into this book without reading the previous, but I do recommend reading the first. Because it was amazing. And you’ll better understand the characters and their motives.

So in Hello Again, Evelyn and Amarok are still together, and things start out the same as the previous book, with Evelyn still not ready to fully commit. Their relationship does start to change though, but I won’t spoil how.

Meanwhile, Amarok has been watching for any signs that Jasper, the man who brutally tortured and left Evelyn for dead when she was 16, is still killing. When he thinks he might have found him, he sets off for the Southwest USA, leaving Evelyn alone in Alaska, dealing with her latest psychopath who has you questioning his innocence the whole time…

What’s really cool about this book is that we get a bigger peek into Jasper’s head, and let me tell you, he is a twisted mofo! (Just see the quote below!)

This is a page turner, just like the first book. I had a hard time putting it down. And just like the first book, each chapter starts with a quotation from a real serial killer, some more known than other, all equally crazed.

If you like romantic thrillers – or just thrillers in general – read this series!!!


Quotes

“Let’s talk about something else,” she said. “I can tell this is upsetting you.”
“I would upset anybody!” He snapped. “Which is why I worry about you, being constantly immersed in details of the worst of human behavior.”

He shoved a hand through his hair. “I hope this goes my way.”
“Or…”
“I’ll find out what it feels like to have my heart broken, something I’ve managed to avoid for thirty years.”

Some people—most of Alaska—loved San Diego. But he wasn’t overly impressed. He preferred Alaska.

Amarok seemed determined. He’d made a bold move, flying all the way to San Diego to approach Stanley and Maureen. One that required nerve. And one for which Jasper was determined to make him pay dearly.

Everything they had should belong to him someday and would have if only Evelyn had died in that shack like she was supposed to. She’d ruined his life—and deserved what she was going to get.

“There are too many people in the world. I actually perform a vital function. As far as I’m concerned, there needs to be more killers like me.”


My (Writing) Life

Wow, I’m literally the worst.

It’s been over a MONTH since I last posted! It’s been a crazy few weeks, so I’m going to use that as my excuse! ((wink))

So, what’s new? PEACE IN FLAMES WENT LIVE!!! You can snag your very own copy from Amazon HERE! If you’re in Kindle Unlimited you can save yourself the 99c and read for free. If you don’t know what the book is about I’ll give you the short explanation: High School + Boy Obsessed With Girl + Arson = Peace in Flames.

In other news I’m making my way through the FINAL draft of SUMMER OF PEACE, my New Adult Romance (stand alone) follow up to PEACE IN FLAMES. I’ve had so many drafts of this book it’s not even funny. Something was always missing or a little off, but I think I’m finally almost there and happy with the end result!

Once I finish this draft and send it off to my editor, I’m going to re-read the 16k words I have written for my full length YA romance Something I’m Good At and get back to work on that story. I think you guys are going to love these characters. My hero, Kane, is absolutely hilarious.

As for my LIFE, we’re painfully short staffed at my hotel job which means everything is a thousand times more stressful. I’ve been working every weekend, usually around 30 hours in those three days, and then spending all my “free” time working on my publishing job and trying to find time to write. I’m pretty sure I still have a husband and two kids, I just rarely see them! Actually, The Husband and I had a date night last Thursday which was much needed, but sent me even further behind with my at home work. Ugh.

As of yesterday I accepted a NEW JOB ((HAPPY DANCE)) for a local company. Minimal customer interaction. Four hours per day. Five days per week. Much better money than I’m making at my hotel job. So… I cut back my hours at the hotel and I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a better work/life balance with this new position.

I’ll try not to stay away for so long next time. I’m not reading as much as I’d like to, since I’m really focusing on writing more, but I’ve got a back log of reviews to get posted. Like this one I’m posting today. That I read in last few months of 2017….

So, go grab yourself a copy of PEACE IN FLAMES, leave a review whether you loved it, hated it, or just thought it was meh, and I’ll see ya next time!

Blog Tour: Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron (review + giveaway!)






Sea of Strangers Book Cover




Sea of Strangers




The Ryogan Chronicles #2





Erica Cameron





YA Fantasy




Entangled Teen




December 5, 2017




E-ARC




340




NetGalley




Flights of Fantasy




November 26 - December 7, 2017



Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.

Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

I don’t usually partake in blog tours, because, let’s be honest, I’m not usually organized enough for that!

However, when I learned of this tour for Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron I had to sign up! I read the first book in The Ryogan Chronicles earlier this year and knew I needed to find out what happened next.

Read on for my review of Sea of Strangers, and some other goodies!

I’ll try to make this as spoiler free as possible, but if you’d rather just check out my review of book 1, Island of Exiles, you can find that HERE.

You can also find the FULL SCHEDULE for all stops on this blog tour HERE.


Review

I received a copy of the first book in the Ryogan Chronicles, Island of Exiles, earlier this year, so I jumped when I had a chance to read the continuation of this story in Sea of Strangers.

If you read and loved Island of Exiles, you will not be disappointed with Sea of Strangers. The stakes are higher, the missions are deadlier, and things start to heat up between Khya and Tessen.

Like the first book, I had trouble keeping up with all the new terminology, but there is a handy glossary in the back for those who really want to get to know the terms, or if you’re too lazy to keep flipping (like me!) you can still enjoy the story even if some of the words make no sense to you.

This book ended with a BANG and left me wanting the third book in the series ASAP. It feels like this might be a trilogy, but I don’t know, it could probably stretch longer if the author chooses.

If you love epic fantasy, pick up this series. It will be well worth your time and money!

 

Special thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

 

 

 

 


About the Author

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

 

 

 


Giveaway

Sea of Strangers Prize Pack, including:**

* A signed copy of Sea of Strangers

* A $20 Visa gift card

* A swag pack

**For international: 1 copy from book depository and a $20 Visa gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: The Bookworm and the Beast by Charlee James






The Bookworm and the Beast Book Cover




The Bookworm and the Beast





Charlee James





Entangled Publishing (Bliss)




December 4, 2017




E-ARC




140




NetGalley




12 Books of Christmas




November 13, 2017



When quiet, bookish Izzy Simon accepts a two-week assignment as an assistant for an author of children’s books, it seems like the perfect way for her to make some much-needed extra money, but the grumpy author claims he doesn’t want or need her services. He might be as handsome as a storybook prince, but his prickly personality and resistance to all things Christmas are sure to make for a chilly holiday season.

Derek Croft never agreed to the cheery temp his staff arranges for him while they’re on vacation. Izzy is his polar opposite, but Derek soon realizes she could be the perfect solution to his interfering family…if he can get her to agree to pretend to be his live-in girlfriend. Before long Izzy’s sweet disposition and unflappable optimism has him decorating a tree and looking forward to late night hot cocoa, but he’s all too aware their time together can’t last.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my TWELFTH contribution and… I miscounted, so watch for a BONUS Christmas book review TOMORROW!

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Hands down, this is my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling. Okay, I think I’ve only read one other, but this one was a total winner in my book.

You have Izzy, the very determined woman who accepts a job through a temp agency working for Derek. Then you have Derek, the man who never wanted a temp, but thanks to his meddling staff (whom he’d given the holidays off) he now has.

Derek was dark and brooding, full of backstory. Izzy was bright and optimistic, with her own sad backstory as well. They were fleshed out enough that they weren’t JUST characters in the book, they had layers and personality.

You know how in the original Disney version of Beauty and the Beast where suddenly he starts to warm up to her and if you blink you miss that moment where annoyance turns to admiration? I saw that little spark in this book.

This book adds and extra layer with a little plot twist in which Izzy is asked by Derek to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to get his stepmother to stop trying to set him up with every girl she can think of. It was great!

For me, this was the perfect holiday romance slash (modern) fairy tale adaptation.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

Why couldn’t the client have been a sweet old man, or bald and frumpy? Instead, she had to trail a dark featured version of Thor, who had the disposition of a porcupine, around the endless mansion while tying to avert her eyes from his backside.

 

He’d tried to get rid of her less than an hour ago, and now he was asking her to stay as his mock girlfriend? There was no way she’d add another layer of frosting to the towering cake of implication currently baking inside the castle’s curved walls.

 

Gosh he was good-looking. And salty—he looked very, very salty.

 

It was the ugliest sandwich she’d ever seen, and it made her grin ear to ear. Maybe part of Derek did care, after all.

 

The castle, the dashing good looks, the spirit of the holidays swarming in the air, those kisses that lit her soul on fire. It wasn’t so cut and dry for her. When she was committed to something, it was one hundred percent. Had she found the one shed dreamed of her entire life in Derek? Or was it just that—a dream that would evaporate in less than two days, no matter how hard she fought to hold on to the edges of it?


My (Writing) Life

I’m writing this in the past (last night) and scheduling this to post in the future (right now!).

I just survived hosting Christmas for my family. It was a lot of fun, a lot of food, and plenty of presents for my parents seven grandchildren.

Tomorrow…er, today… is Christmas Eve and I’m at work. If you’re reading this the day it posts, I’m probably currently folding laundry. Or maybe eating left over pork loin covered in bacon (because how else would you eat pork loin???) Tomorrow is Christmas and I fortunately do not have to work! I get to spend the day with family, enjoying more food and cookies and gift giving.

And then life returns to morning, just with more clutter in the house.

I don’t really have a point to any of this. I’m exhausted and rambling. So I’m going to end this now so that I can play a bit of Long Live the Queen before I crash for the night.

Merry Christmas, everyone! (And if you don’t celebrate, happy Sunday!)

REVIEW: Married Till Christmas by Christine Rimmer






Married Till Christmas Book Cover




Married Till Christmas




The Bravos of Justice Creek #9





Christine Rimmer





Contemporary Romance, Christmas




Harlequin




November 21, 2017




E-ARC




224




NetGalley




12 Books of Christmas




December 2017



An impulse wedding...

Strong, sexy Nell Bravo won't be fooled again. After all, Declan McGrath already shattered her heart into pieces--not once, but twice. When alluring CEO Deck sweeps Nell off her feet in Las Vegas, though, she tumbles headlong into an "only in Vegas" fling with her first love. But Nell sure didn't bargain on a Vegas wedding

...a lifetime of love?

It's taken a long time for Deck to finally capture the one who got away. And this time, he's charmed her straight to the altar. But Nell will stay married to him only until Christmas Day--unless Deck can prove that this time, it's for keeps. With the clock ticking, can Deck convince Nell that he truly is her one and only...or has Mr. Love-'Em-and-Leave-'Em broken a Bravo's heart for the last time?

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my TENTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final four reviews over the next couple days.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Right off the bat, I had some problems with this book. Who the hell goes to Vegas and ACCIDENTALLY marries someone? I don’t care how drunk or buzzed she was, Nell knew exactly what she was doing.

Aside from that impulsive choice she tried to pretend she didn’t make… I liked Nell. She was strong and tough and didn’t put up with Deck’s bullshit.

And speaking of Deck, what an alpha male ass. I did not like anything about him. I think he had a sweet side, but it was buried deep, deep down.

Because of my disbelief of the whole plot conflict and my dislike of Deck, I didn’t love this book. There were plenty of lines and scenes that I enjoyed and made me laugh, but this is one that I won’t be remembering. There was also a LOT more sex in this book than anything else.

On a whole, average as best IMO. I think the author probably has better books out there and I just picked a dud to introduce myself to her writing, which style-wise I had no issues with.

So…. take that however you will.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

After a month or so of turning up just about everywhere she went, he’d called her again and asked her straight out for a date. She’d said, “Absolutely not and do not call me again.”

 

She met those eyes and felt as light as a sunbeam, fizzy as a just-opened bottle of Don Perignon. It had to stop. She needed to remind him that they’d said goodbye last night. And then she needed to leave.

 

“You wont get away, Nellie,” he whispered. “I wont blow it this time. You and me. That’s how its supposed to be.”

“Don’t go there.” She made her voice as low and rough as his. “Or I’m leaving.”

They glared at each other, a battle of wills. And then he gave her that slow, dangerous grin.

 

But sometimes, even though you don’t believe it could ever happen when life is crappy, things do get better.

 

He just sat there, looking infuriatingly drool worthy with his bed-messy hair and his scruffy, square jaw, his broad, muscled heat and that mouth that could kiss her like no other mouth ever had. He just sat there and said, “I’ve always loved you.”

 

“How about this, Ma? You tell me that you’re sorry.”

“Why? We both know I’m not.”

 

He left the flower shop grinning. His guess? Nell hadn’t told anyone in her family that shed married him in Vegas. Should that bother him? Probably. But he couldn’t help thinking that he might use that information to his advantage. A better man would do no such thing. But he’d never claimed to be any kind of saint.

 

He flashed her a look—annoyed, but maybe a little abashed, too. Being Deck, he went with annoyed. “You’re pissing me off.”

“Welcome to married life. It’s called compromise, Deck. And we’re both going to be doing a lot of it—oh, and as for your fabled need for control? You’ll have to let some of that g, I’m afraid.”

 

He was branded on her heart, the one shed loved and lost and somehow miraculously found again.

 

“I believe I am mildly offended.”

“Only mildly? Good. I can work with that. This could be hot.”


My (Writing) Life

I literally spent my entire day away from the computer until after 10 pm.

Grocery shopping 3 days before Christmas… with both kids.

Cleaning, and attempting to get the kids to help clean… followed by cookie baking. I figured cookies might take 2 hours? HA! Try 4.5 hours.

Once the kids were in bed it was back to cleaning.

I think we’re nearly ready for the party tomorrow. I hope….

REVIEW: Can’t Miss Christmas by Miranda Liasson






Can’t Miss Christmas Book Cover




Can’t Miss Christmas




Mirror Lake #3.5 (stand alone novella)





Miranda Liasson





Contemprary Romance




November 7, 2017




E-ARC




74




NetGalley




12 Books of Christmas




November 2017



Here comes a charming standalone Christmas novella by Amazon bestselling author Miranda Liasson. Fans of both Mirror Lake series will recognize familiar elements and people along the way.

It’s two days before Christmas and bestselling children’s author Grace Alberts needs to fulfill a promise—to make it to a book signing for the kids at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the place that did so much for her during a very rough time. But the weather’s getting awful and all flights are cancelled out of Boston, where she’s wrapping up her book tour. Then in walks her annoying but extremely sexy ex-husband, who (as usual) thinks he’s got all the answers.

Graham Walker just stopped by to get a book signed for Grace’s biggest fan, his niece, and wish Grace a Merry Christmas—why not? But he soon finds himself troubleshooting her dilemma. He’s got a Range Rover that can plow through a hundred-year Nor’easter. He’s even headed home to Philly. Trouble is, Grace's and his past is a disaster, something he has no intention of reliving while driving through a winter storm, no matter how much he once loved her. And maybe still does.

Bad weather has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people, and when a run in with some deer antlers leads them to a forced stop in Mirror Lake, Connecticut, anything can happen, naughty or nice. Maybe a bit of enforced alone time and some Christmas magic can be just what it takes for them to face their past—and each other—once and for all.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my SIXTH contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


My Review

When I started reading this story I had no idea that A. It was a short novella, and B. It was a part of a series (Mirror Lake).

I have a love hate relationship with novellas because sometimes they’re just too light on plot or substance, but that wasn’t the case with this story.

This ended up being a perfect second chance romance with a holiday theme as a bonus. Graham and Grace used to be married, but their marriage fell apart after the premature birth and death of their son. Neither knew how to handle the grief and pushed the other away. Years later, on a joint cross-state car ride, their feelings are rekindled and they’re forced to deal with all of the old feelings they never talked about between their sons death and their divorce.

The characters were likable. Graham was a business owner and Grace was a children’s book author, which added to their interest.

Toward the end they wind up in the town of Mirror Lake, and at that point very minor characters were suddenly name dropped and I realized this was part of a bigger series. Readers of the Mirror Lake series will love it, but me as an outsider, I was thrown a bit at first. That said, I kind of want to go read the rest of the Mirror Lake series and see what other stories those characters have!

A mild content warning: The subject matter may be triggering for those who have lost children. Also, 99% of this book is clean, but there is one sex scene.


SHOULD YOU READ IT?
This is a sweet story of love lost and found. If you want a contemporary romance holiday story, but don’t have a lot of time, this might be worth the read.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


QUOTES

All it would take was one of them reaching out to the other, to tear down the barriers between them. Everything that had happened to them since he’d walked into the bookstore yesterday—maybe it had all happened for a reason.

 

Being with him was like being covered by a soft blanket, or wearing a comfy pair of jeans—unlike anything she’d felt before, except with him.

 

He wanted to be a part of her world too, and for the first time, he felt like it was possible to leave their past behind and start again. If he could just convince her to believe it.

REVIEW: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz






Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe Book Cover




Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe





Melissa de la Cruz





Contemporary Romance, Christmas




St. Martin's Press




October 17, 2017




E-ARC




225




NetGalley




12 Books of Christmas




October 31 - November 2, 2017



Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

 

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my FIFTH contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


My Review

I don’t know why I keep reading retelling of Pride & Prejudice. None of them live up to the original story and this book was no different.

First, I need to preface this by saying I’ve tried to read exactly one other book by Melissa de la Cruz and I hated it and quit after about two chapters. I am clearly not her ideal reader. That said, this sounded like a cute Christmas story and perfect for my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. If you’ve enjoyed the author’s other work, you may fall in love with this story.

So, we’ll start off with the good things. I love that the author chose to do a gender swap, it’s always nice to shake things up a little bit that way. I also really liked the sub-characters, specifically Bingley and Luke’s brother… who’s name I can’t even remember anymore. I like that the author chose to include a same-sex couple, that really helped to modernize the classic tale. Darcy was a self-made woman who left home all on her own to live the life she wanted, not the one her parents wanted for her, and I love and respect that.

Unfortunately my list of dislikes far surpassed my likes. Most importantly, I hated Darcy. While I loved that she was self-made and successful, she was just so immature. I hated almost everything about her and the way she behaved. I didn’t like how Luke acted either half the time. Neither of them held the charm that Lizzy and Mr. Darcy from the original tale possessed, and unfortunately they came across as unlikable and their actions were unredeemable in this reader’s eyes.

Honestly, this book just left a bad taste in my mouth. Darcy and Luke’s lack of communication with one another and their personal hang ups and immaturity made them perfect for one another, because I’d hate for anyone else to be saddled with them.

At least I can say that my time reading this is over, and I know to never pick up another Melissa de la Cruz book in the future.

So, should you read this? I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends, but if you’re a fan of the authors previous work you may fall in love with this one.


Quotes

See, it is an assumption universally made that any beautiful, brilliant, single woman who is rich as hell will be in want of a husband. She’d heard it time and time again.

 

Wanting to be near family and actually being near family were two completely different things.

 

There had been a part of her that thought maybe, after all these years, there was no way he could still be so mad, or so hurt, whichever it was.

 

Mr. Fitzwilliam’s wishes for his daughter were twofold, and the second fold involved her doing what a truly good and honorable woman would do: give birth to children and dedicate her life to raising them.

 

From their very first kiss until now, his kissing technique had evolved in no way whatsoever. It had always been good, sure, but not incredible. It was nice, practiced, wholesome, almost regulated. He had reliable rhythm and predictable moves.