Callie and her best friend Olivia are looking for a new
start in an old place. They’ve purchased a North Carolina beach home that they’ve
admired since childhood and are fixing it up. When they’ve finished renovating it,
their new B&B should be ready for guests.
The next door neighbor is the rich, handsome Luke, who also
happens to be a bit of a playboy. Despite the fact that Callie has little time
or energy for a relationship, she finds herself drawn to her enticing neighbor.
When Callie and Olivia unearth a locked and long-forgotten
diary that’s filled with town secrets, what they find out might just destroy
Callie’s chances at happiness. And before the summer is over, a brewing storm
will strike (literally and figuratively!).
The Summer House has all the elements of a perfect summer romance: ocean air, sunny skies, handsome neighbors, and secret pasts. The descriptions are vivid and the essence of summer is palpable as you read. They electricity between Callie and Luke is strong. There are some character development issues that felt left out, but it didn’t interfere with my ability to get lost in the story. The Summer House is a sweet, heartwarming summer read.
I received a copy of The Summer House from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, Book 1) by Emily
century Tranavia and Kalyazia have been at war.
Hidden in a
mountain-top monastery, Nadya—a Kalyazi cleric with the ability to communicate
with the gods, all the gods—has been
living and training. When the Travanian forces breach the walls of the monastery,
she is forced to flee into the snow covered lands that have—until now—kept
invaders at bay. After fleeing, Nadya encounters a small band of rebels with
plans to infiltrate the Travanian palace and kill the king in an effort to end
the war. One of the rebels is Malachiasz, an escaped Travanian Vulture with a
treasonous plan and a dark secret of his own.
High Prince of Tranavia and a blood mage, has accomplished a victory that no
other military leader has, he’s conquered the mountain monastery that hides the
Kalyazi cleric. Even though she’s just barely slipped from his grasp, he can
feel that her power is far greater than anyone had guessed. And now, with her
so close to capture, he’s been called back to Tranavia by his father—for a
betrothal ceremony. But Serefin will find that his betrothal isn’t the only
danger that lies in waiting.
Wicked Saints is a dark and tantalizing fantasy that balances politics, magic and religion. Everything about the setting and characters seems to exist in the gray area between good and evil. The descriptions are vivid and the monstrous creatures are so well-described that they are easily visualized and horrific to imagine. Although I wasn’t as compelled by the romance as I’d hoped, and felt some of the secondary characters could have been better represented, I still found Wicked Saints to be an enjoyable read and look forward to the sequel.
I’m a fan of
historical fiction and I LOVE the Stolen Empire series—I can’t get enough of
it. I was thrilled when I found out there was going to be another book in the
series, and again when I receive a copy of Sherry Ficklin’s latest novella in
The Winter Queen is a prequel to the Stolen Empire series and focuses on the life of Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great and future Empress of Russia. This novella is a quick read, and thrusts us right into the upheaval of the Russian elite. We get to meet the Princess Elizabeth and her sister Petra, witness the death of the heir presumptive to the Romanov line, and then the death of Peter the Great.
mother in Russia, trying to maintain a hold on Russia and others trying to
secure the power for themselves, Elizabeth and Petra are suddenly in a very
tenuous position. They are sent to the “safety” of arranged marriages, but
Elizabeth was born a Romanov, and the throne is only just out of her grasp…for
I can’t wait
for the next installment of what’s sure to continue to be an exciting series
full of political maneuvering and intrigue.
*I received a copy of The Winter Queen
in exchange for an honest review
One of the stories from history that has
always intrigued me (and so many other people) is that of the Romanov family,
particularly Anastasia. So much mystery still surrounds the last hours and minutes
of her life, as well as her death. And so many theories have been entertained. In
Romanov author Nadine Brandes offers
her own creative imaginings about the life and death of young Anastasia “Nastya”
Romanov. This novel is historical fiction, but with an imaginative bit of magic
thrown into the mix.
The strongest part of the novel, in my
opinion, was the relationship between Nastya and her family. It was the one
aspect in which I felt a strong emotional connection with the storyline. The family
relationship felt loving, intense and authentic. Unfortunately, the rest of the
novel felt emotionally distant to me, I didn’t feel a connection to the
characters or action outside of that.
There were some historical inaccuracies
(perhaps creative stretching of facts to meet a storytelling goal?) and some
things that were glossed over that could have used more attention and flushing
out for a stronger storyline. The
inconsistencies in the novel as well as the historical inconsistencies were a
Another thing that could have used more
details was the world-building—especially the magic. It felt unformed and
All-in-all Romanov was a decent read, an
entertaining re-imaging of history, but it wasn’t as great as I’d hoped.
*I received a copy of Romanov from
NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Baby of the Family is a novel about the once influential Whitby family.
Roger Whitby, the four times married family patriarch, has died after squandering a majority of his wealth. He’s left what remains of his estate to his youngest (adopted) son, Nick, the son of his fourth wife. Nick is a young man who has been struggling to find a purpose in his life. As his father is dying, Nick becomes involved in an act of political activism, and then goes missing.
Brooke, Roger’s daughter from his second marriage, is dealing with her own issues. She’s pregnant by a man she doesn’t love, afraid to admit to the love she has for Allie, and her house—the one thing she has from her dad—has just become part of Nick’s inheritance. Brooke doesn’t even really know Nick and has no idea if she’ll be forced out of the house. She’s barely able to get by on her nursing job, and the thought of having to add rent or a mortgage to her financial plan—in addition to the cost of having a baby—has left her unsure of the right decisions.
Roger’s daughter Shelley is living with her mother in the New York apartment Roger walked out of years ago. Her mom has left after descending into a years-long cycle of depression. Desperate for income, Shelley takes a job with a very peculiar man, and ends up in a complex relationship with him.
Told from the point of view of these three Whitby children, each abandoned and let down by their father, it explores the complex relationships between children and their parents. It’s really about finding and being yourself, despite your familial relations.
It was hard to identify with the characters (for obvious reasons—the lack of my own family fortune), but they were interesting enough to keep me reading. Baby of the Family wasn’t a novel that drew me in and kept me on the edge of my seat, but I was passively interested enough to continue reading to find out what happens to each of the characters.
*I received an ARC of Baby of the Family from Netgalley and Dutton Books in exchange for an honest review
I love to share some of the great books I’ve read (and listened to!) every month. I’ve been doing this via my newsletter, but haven’t shared anything yet this year, so forgive this list, it may be a bit long!
The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus. A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic “hot” virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their “crashes” into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.
I was mesmerized by the description of Gilded Wolves and
thrilled when I received a copy. The promise of secret societies and art heists
in Paris during the late 1800’s were all the temptation I needed.
Gilded Wolves is a YA fantasy about an ancient order with a drastically
diminishing number of houses. Severin is an exiled member of his house—and an antiquities
thief–, trying to earn his way back by finding an ancient artefact. In order
to do so, he enlists the help of a group of colleagues and friends, each as
unique and varied in skill as well as personality.
This book is rich in magic and artistry, as well as multi-cultural
mythologies and beliefs. I found it very difficult to get in to, the first
several chapters were slow to grab me in all honesty. But once I was finally
drawn in to the story line, I was pulled along on a magnificent journey.
I adore how intricately the mythos was woven into the
storyline and the subtle undercurrent of history and science that happens throughout
this novel. Of course there are comparisons to Six of Crows, but I think Gilded
Wolves has set itself apart as it’s own unique world and Roshani Chokshi has
developed it beautifully.
*I received a copy of
Gilded Wolves from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Policy of Truth is a little outside of my usual reading
trends, but (as a fan of Sons of Anarchy) I was interested in giving it a try.
Policy of Truth has one thing in abundance: strong, complex,
bad-ass female characters. The female characters in this book, including main
character Tamra “Durty” Simons, are well-developed, strong and face a number of
real-world issues that happen in every day life, even if we prefer to not talk
about them (ie- domestic violence). While they’re all affected by the things
they’ve seen & endured, all these chicks are strong and maintain their own
positions in a male-dominated world. Sometimes they even dominate.
In addition to the bad-ass women, there’s a ridiculously
spicy love story that develops between Durty and “Sting” who’s equal parts
mysterious, dangerous and endearing.
Policy of Truth is an easy, engaging, and steamy read with a
great cliffhanger that’ll have you eagerly anticipating book 2.
*I received a copy of
Policy of Truth in exchange for an honest review*
Enter for your chance to win the Policy of Truth giveaway:
Jenneke is a human who’s been living amongst the goblins in the Permafrost since they raided her village a hundred years ago. When a fight between two powerful goblins leads to the death of the Erlking, a hunt ensues: the goblin who fells the escaped white stag (the embodiment of the goblin king’s power) will become the next Erlking.
Jenneke accompanies her master Soren on the hunt. Though he is one of the most powerful of goblins, Soren has treated Jenneke as more of a friend than subservient. But Soren’s biggest rival is his uncle Lydian, an appallingly brutal sort who has inflicted tortures on Jenneke that continue to haunt her. Jenneke is torn between her hate for the goblins for the destruction they caused her family and the kindness she feels toward Soren, who has done nothing other than protect her. To make matters worse, Jenneke discovers she may be transitioning into one of the monsters she hates most—a goblin. But can she accept becoming that which she hates most, and must she give up her last shred of humanity to do so?
White Stag (Permafrost #1) is an epic, fantastical journey ensues, ripe with battles and creatures. But the one thing I found was that, while the concept is rich, the world-building was not. I wanted more details, more to anchor me into the world and make me feel as if I was right there alongside the characters. Some of the dialogue also felt a bit stilted and lacked a natural rhythm.
Kara Barbieri has a brilliant concept, but sadly I was hoping to love this book more than I actually did.
*I received an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) courtesy of Wednesday Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*