Posts By: Lizzy

Apr 28

Sunday Post #6 – Just Breathe

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. I’m trying to be consistent with these, since I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

Divider

Final exams were this week! It was…well, pure hell, to be honest. I stress so hard and my anxiety levels go through the roof. I already got the grade back on the chemistry one, and it was ok, so now I just have to wait on the rest. Oh, and I have one more to actually TAKE on Monday. Phew. That’s pretty much where all of my energy and thoughts have been this week.

Oh, our oldest pupper graduated from level one obedience class! It was, apparently, exhausting.

“I’m sooooo tired, Mama…can’t you get ready for bed faster?” Well, I don’t know, could you be any cuter? 

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • The Cold is in Her Bones – YA historical/fantasy review
  • Deposing Nathan – YA modern review + blog tour
  • May 2019 New Book Releases

Around the Blogosphere

Divider

        
If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 25

What Angels Fear (St. Cyr #1)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

What Angels Fear (St. Cyr #1)What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr, #1) by C.S. Harris
Published by Berkley Books on October 3, 2006
Pages: 410
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars
three-flames

It's 1811, and the threat of revolution haunts the upper classes of King George III's England. Then a beautiful young woman is found raped and savagely murdered on the altar steps of an ancient church near Westminster Abbey. A dueling pistol discovered at the scene and the damning testimony of a witness both point to one man, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, a brilliant young nobleman shattered by his experience in the Napoleonic Wars.

Now a fugitive running for his life, Sebastian calls upon his skill as an agent during the war to catch the killer and prove his own innocence. In the process, he accumulates a band of unlikely allies, including the enigmatic beauty Kat Boleyn, who broke Sebastian's heart years ago. In Sebastian's world of intrigue and espionage, nothing is as it seems, yet the truth may hold the key to the future of the British monarchy, as well as to Sebastian's own salvation....

What Angels Fear is the first in C.S. Harris’ Regency mystery series, which as of this writing is at fourteen books. STOP THE PRESSES! I’ve found a new favorite historical series! Ok, so I’ve only read the first one but I am completely head over heels and am spending WAY too much time searching for a copy of the out-of-print hardcover. Ahem.

“Life is full of scary things. The trick is to not let your fears get in the way of your LIVING.”

Feels

Creepy, atmospheric, complicated, and even a little bit sexy! So many red herrings, so many things going on…and people with so many different layers to them. Holy cow. The murder mystery here is gruesome and horrible, and through the course of the book I really came to care about the victim and desperately wanted some justice for her. The overall tone was very gothic and at times creepy but not overly so.

Characters

Sebastian is SUCH an intriguing person. I love heroes and heroines that are somewhat morally gray, and he definitely falls into that category. He’s 28 years old, has never had a happy home life (though his family has always been gentry and he’s never wanted for creature comforts), and endured things during the war (possibly DID things during the war) that no human being should ever have to go through. Not all of his story is revealed in this book, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about him and his very strange family in the next installments. OH! He has some rather different physical abilities, that had me doing some serious side-eyeing when I first started reading…but what do you know, the author actually based them on an real genetic syndrome found most often in people of Welsh descent. AWESOMESAUCE.

Kat – an Irish-born actress with whom Sebastian has a history – is an equally fascinating character, and I really hope she appears more in the later books. I love how she’s made her own way in the world, regardless of what society says about her or how she should conduct herself. She really seems to have a heart of solid gold and is someone I would love to get to know better.

Tom is a street urchin who basically adopts Sebastian despite his best efforts to dislodge the boy. Convinced that Sebastian won’t last a day on the streets (being gentry, after all) without his help, Tom quickly endeared himself. I just want to scoop him up and hug him. And feed him.

There is a slew of interesting side characters as well! I’m hopeful some of them may become more prominent in the later books.

Setting

First of all, while C.S. Harris actually has a Ph.D. in history and the telling of the story definitely feels like it drops you into historical London, some liberties have definitely been taken with the language. Also, the main female characters in this book have some VERY modern ideas of themselves and their rights – which I thoroughly enjoyed, but is probably not very historically accurate. I’m not a historian myself, by any means, but the rest seems fairly true to the time period. There are cramped alleys, injustice, starving children, and grave robbers.

Plot

There is a LOT going on here, no joke. Political intrigue, sex scandals, murders (yes, plural), family secrets, broken hearts…AHHH! I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Of course the main focus of this book is on the murder of the young woman found dead in front of a church altar, and Sebastian’s quest to prove that it was NOT him that killed her, but there are so many other threads woven through this book that are just as fascinating as the whodunit.

Flame Rating

3/5 flames! Sebastian and Kat still practically steam whenever they’re in a room together, and there are some sexy scenes (without being very detailed about specifics). They have chemistry and don’t want to admit it…until they do. Hah!

Divider

5/5 stars, and I can’t wait to get to the next one! See what happens when you start reading some backlist books? Highly recommend if you like historical fiction, a good whodunit, with a little sexual tension thrown in.

Divider

        
If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 24

Can’t Wait Wednesday #1 – The Girl in Red

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Divider

Can’t Wait Wednesday #1 – The Girl in RedThe Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Published by Berkley on June 18, 2019
Pages: 304
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon

It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods....

Cue ALL the flailing. OMG, a feminist retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and by CHRISTINA HENRY?!?

I have been sold on anything Christina Henry writes since I read her dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

Also, check out this fabulous UK cover. I might have to buy both.

What do you think? Will you be reading this?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 22

All We Could Have Been

Book Reviews 1

All We Could Have BeenAll We Could Have Been by T.E. Carter
on April 23, 2019
Pages: 304
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads

Five years ago, Lexie walked home from school after her older brother failed to pick her up. When she entered her house, her brother sat calmly, waiting for the police to come arrest him for the heinous crime he had just committed.

Treated like a criminal herself, Lexie now moves from school to school hiding who she is—who she's related to. She struggles with loving her brother, the PTSD she now suffers from, and wanting to just live a normal life. But how can she be normal when she can’t even figure out how to just live?

This is a powerful look at the assumptions we make about people. Lexie's emotional journey to separate her brother's horrific act from herself is stunning and heartbreaking. This is Lexie’s story and journey—not her brother's—and it will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Divider

For all the ways I want to disappear and not let people see me, it still cuts me every time they don’t.

All We Could Have Been was a very emotional book. While it is YA, it tackles some very adult themes and thoughts – maybe because the main characters, while still teenagers, have both experienced life events that forced them to grow up very quickly. It seems to be marketed as a thriller, which isn’t entirely accurate as it mostly focuses on the aftermath of a crime rather than the events around the crime. There are some flashback sort of memories about it though, so I guess maybe that’s why…YA thriller seems to be a hard genre to pin down.

Feels

I hurt so much for Lexi. For Marcus, too, but mainly for Lexie. She has been so scarred by her brother’s actions and the hatred that people in general turned on her family after his crime, that she has (as many of us do) started to believe it of herself.

You ruin everything, I remind myself. There’s nothing you can keep safe. 

Lexie’s parents have tried, but they’ve been dealing with their own trauma, and haven’t entirely kept up with their very nearly adult daughter. Their best advice to her is to lay low, not attract attention, and please-for-the-love-of-god maybe consider not color coding her clothes to the day of the week. Despite sending her to a therapist, they seem to have no grasp of how important coping mechanisms are to Lexie, even something as small as clothing colors.

I also caught a case of the feels for Lexie and Marcus together. They aren’t the most romantic couple – their relationship is built more on a need for support and understanding that they can’t seem to find from anyone else. While I wouldn’t ever *recommend* a romantic relationship based on such, the fact is that it happens often, I’ve been IN a relationship like that, and sometimes it is what people need at that time. Such relationships may not be the most lasting, but they have their place.

Lexie grew SO MUCH in the course of this story. She’s not perfect, or “fixed” as some might be inclined to call it, but she makes so much progress. She keeps trying. Which, as anyone with depression or anxiety can tell you – IS HUGE. Sometimes it is so difficult to keep trying.

Characters

Aside from Lexie, there is an entire cast of other interesting people! This made me really happy because often secondary characters are so similar I can’t remember who is who or did what.

  • There is, of course, Marcus – who is supposed to be this bad boy with a horrible reputation, when all he really seems to be is a kid who did what he had to do to survive and ended up getting swept under the rug by the school system.
  • Ryan is Lexie’s first real friend at her new school, and he has a secret too, but one that’s entirely personal. View Spoiler » I really like Ryan, until about the middle of the book, when he does something that seems entirely selfish and unreasonable and very out of character, IMO. Meh.
  • Chloe – Chloe is somewhat petty and self-centered, but she has a respect for human feeling that a lot of people don’t. I can respect her, in the end, even if I didn’t really like her.
  • Aunt Susie – I love adult characters that I can empathize with. This is probably less of a big deal for the intended audience of All We Might Have Been, but as an adult reader I totally felt a kinship with her. She is Lexie’s mother’s sister, and while she is trying to be the “parent” figure Lexie’s parents want her to be, she ends up treating Lexie more like an adult. Huge props.

Setting

Most of the book takes place in and around Lexie’s high school – the one she’s starting at the beginning of her senior year in hopes she can make it 160 days. Normally I’m annoyed by school settings, but this one didn’t bother me, I think because it was much more character focused than it was on any particular setting.

Negatives

Mainly Ryan’s abrupt character switch in the middle of the story. I felt like it was unnecessary and really sad – and very NOT in character for him. It really dampened the entire rest of the book. Also in the beginning there is some weird, over-the-top descriptions that really threw me for a loop…I think maybe the author was trying to get Lexie’s sort of dry, sarcastic humor across but it really just felt strange.

Divider

        
If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 21

Sunday Post #5 – Finals are Looming

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s been a LONG time since I did a Sunday Post, but I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

Divider

This week has been stressful. STRESS.FUL. I have one more day of classes, officially, and then finals start on Wednesday. As always, I have procrastinated way more than I should. As always, I’m freaking out. Which means I’m not sleeping well and my stress is rubbing off on my husband and even the dogs. Sigh. But, this time next week, I’ll have everything except one final complete for the semester and then I have the month of May off!

Today my husband’s family is having an “Easter dinner,” i.e., breakfast for dinner where everyone has to wear PJs. I’m not entirely sure where this idea came from and I don’t personally celebrate Easter, but I’m always down for breakfast food!

Gratuitous dose of adorableness, courtesy my sweet Noah.

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • All We Could Have Been – YA thriller ARC review
  • What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1) – historical mystery review

Around the Blogosphere

Divider

        
If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 18

The Pumpkin War Review

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

The Pumpkin War ReviewThe Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young
Published by Wendy Lamb Books on May 21, 2019
Genres: Children's Lit, Middle Grade
Pages: 192
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars

"Cathleen Young's characters will forever have a place in my heart." --Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s

Former best friends compete to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin and win the annual giant pumpkin race on the lake. A great pick for fans of Half a Chance and Gertie's Leap to Greatness.

At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults and kids across the island grow giant, 1000-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out, and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.

Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn't care much about winning, or at least Billie didn't think so until last summer's race, when his pumpkin crashed into hers as she was about to cross the finish line, and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin, and beat Sam in the race. It's a tricky science to grow pumpkins, since weather, bugs and other critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Pumpkin War (due out on May 21, 2019) is a story of friendship and family, of getting back to the earth and enjoying the small things in life – and all this in a beautiful setting, with writing that seems just perfect for a middle grade audience! I was quite impressed. Usually books that try to take on this scope of feelings and events end up falling flat in one way or another, but this one is just right. I feel like Goldilocks, dancing around with glee after finding the three bears’ house and baby bear’s “just-right” porridge.

Billie is 12 years old, the oldest of three siblings. Their dad is Irish and their mom is Ojibwe, and they live on a Canadian island. Billie is fiercely competitive in all ways, and ESPECIALLY when it comes to growing monster pumpkins! She has been in an almost year-long standoff with the boy who used to be her best friend, since she is convinced he knocked her out of last year’s pumpkin race on purpose.

I loved the depiction of rural life in Canada. Billie not only takes care of her pumpkins, but also bees. Bees! Also there is more about fishing, and gardening, and the traditions of the Ojibwe. It was just so…homey. Down to earth. I loved it, and I think middle-school-me would have loved it as well. Also, adult-me loved her parents! Their differences in background were lightly touched on, and Billie obviously embraces both sides of her heritage. She even finds out about some “family secrets” part way through the book (nothing adult level), and has a part in reconciling her dad with his past. Also, Billlie’s youngest sibling is born near the beginning of the book and the struggles of adding a new baby to family life are also portrayed – Billie’s mom and dad aren’t perfect, and I totally sympathized with them.

Billie struggles all summer long to come to terms with what happened with Sam in the last race. Despite his efforts, she’s not quite willing to forgive him. Will she let a mistake ruin their friendship? Is being first more important? I thoroughly enjoyed the way this played out, and also the fact that the author didn’t make her competitive nature a bad thing (as happens so often when it is a girl character being competitive).

5/5 stars. This book will be going on my shelf!

Divider

        
If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 16

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

Thomas Wildus and the Book of SorrowsThomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen
Published by Elandrian Press on February 2, 2019
Pages: 352
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads four-stars

Thomas thinks he's an ordinary twelve year old, but when a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes gives him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows, the world he knows is turned upside down. Suddenly he’s faced with a secret family legacy, powers he can hardly begin to understand, and an enemy bent on destroying everything he holds dear. The more he reads and discovers, the deeper the danger to himself and the people he loves. As the race to the final showdown unfolds, Thomas must turn to trusted friends and uncertain allies as he seeks to prevent destruction at an epic scale.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Magic is real, Thomas. No matter what happens, always remember that magic is real.”

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows feels like the start of something big. While there’s not a TRUE cliffhanger ending, there is so much unfinished business – I was happy to see this is supposed to be the first of five books!

Thomas is an ordinary kid, obsessed with comic books and having doodle wars with his best friend, Enrique. His dad disappeared years ago and his mom is an insanely busy professor, but he’s mostly pretty happy and knows he has a good life. Then weird things start to happen, weird things involving a book with a changing cover, and strange people appearing and seeming to stalk him. So yes…this book falls into the “chosen one” trope…but tropes only become tropes because people love them. We all just have our favorites. 😉

The first half of the book was setup. Which was…slightly off-putting. I was convinced this was going to be a 3 star read until I was over halfway through, but the last parts of the story bumped it up to a solid 4 stars! The writing during the first half is at times kind of clunky and awkward, not unlike the middle school audience the book is aimed at but hopefully not enough to put them off.

THEN, the action starts. And I was intrigued by the puzzles and the magic and the intrigue. It was really cool and I just kept finding more things to be curious about. This is also where all those loose ends start to appear, which obviously are leading into a huge epic adventure for the series. Thomas is kind of pulled in two directions here, as he’s uncertain who to trust – and who wouldn’t be, with all the things he thought he knew about himself and the world in general, suddenly appearing to be lies – and wants to both be loyal to his family and friends, and save the world. *wink wink* He’s an incredibly likable character, as (so far) he has stayed humble and true to himself even with the discovery of his special abilities.

The bad guy, who stays in the background for most of the book, appears only in about the last quarter. And then,  what do you know! Is he REALLY a bad guy? Oh boy. Who is Thomas supposed to believe? I love that this presents a somewhat (only somewhat) morally gray appearing character in a story for this age group.

Obviously, there is a lot more to come in this story, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel, Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria. Also, I’m totally on board with the galaxy-ish looking covers for these books.

 

Many thanks to Book Publicity Services for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

Divider

        
If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

four-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 15

Demon Magic and a Martini Blog Tour!

Book Tours 0

I absolutely love this series by Annette Marie, so I’m super happy to be participating in the blog tour for the 4th book! If you’re interested, you can check out my reviews of the first book here, and the second one here. Be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway and read the excerpt!

Demon Magic and a Martini
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound #4)
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: April 12th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

When I first landed a bartending job at the local guild, I didn’t know a thing about magic. These days, I’m practically an expert on the different magical classes, but there’s one nobody ever talks about: Demonica.

Turns out they have a good reason for that. My guild is strictly hellion-free, because who wants to risk life and limb to control the biggest bullies on the mythic playground?

Well, some people do, and now a demon has been loosed in the city. My three best friends are determined to slay it, but even badass combat mages are critically out-magicked. And that’s not all. The monster they’re tracking—it’s not hiding. It’s not fleeing. It’s not leaving a trail of corpses everywhere it goes.

The demon is hunting too. And in a city full of mythics, it’s searching for deadlier prey.

If we can’t unravel the demon’s sinister motivations, more innocent people will die, but finding the answers means digging into dark secrets … and learning truths I never wanted to know.


Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.


THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUND
Three Mages and a Margarita (#1)
Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (#2)
Two Witches and a Whiskey (#3)
Demon Magic and a Martini (#4)

Goodreads / Amazon

Divider

EXCERPT:

“Speaking of worry …” Sin’s eyes narrowed. “I heard all about how you went demon hunting with Aaron, Kai, and Ezra. I have to ask … what the hell were any of you thinking?”

“Um, well—”

“You aren’t combat trained, and demons are the fiercest, deadliest opponents out there! Why would Darius even approve it? You’re all idiots.”

I managed a bleak smile. “Thanks, Sin. Appreciate the vote of confidence.”

She sniffed angrily. “You know you aren’t ready for that, and I’d really prefer my friend not get herself killed.”

Couldn’t argue with her there. I’d also prefer not to get killed.

Lifting the tattered book off her lap, she smacked it down on the bar. “We need to look at options.”

“Uh … options for what?”

“Defensive alchemy.” She cast me a flinty stare. “Since you’re all for the dangerous jobs now, you need to be armed with more than a couple of artifacts. I heard you used a smoke screen. What else did you take?”

Bemusedly, I watched her flip the book open. “Just flash-bang potions. What is that thing?”

“My grimoire. All Arcana mythics have one—where we record all the spells or transmutations we’ve learned or invented.” She turned several spotted, liquid-stained pages covered in handwriting and diagrams. “I can make smoke bombs and flash-bangs easily enough, but you need something to stop an opponent. Personally, I don’t like sleep potions. It’s easy to get it on your own skin and then you’re asleep instead of them.”

“Yeah, that’d be bad.”

She skimmed a few more pages. “Enhanced strength is useful, but it doesn’t last long, and unless you’re in excessively good shape, you’ll crash hard
afterward. Let’s see … amnesia, no. Fasting potion, no. Enhanced speed, no.”

“What’s wrong with speed? I’d like to be faster.”

“It’s hopelessly impractical. Your body gets faster, but your reflexes don’t, so it’s difficult to control without training and practice. You’ll spend the potion’s duration tripping over your own feet and running into things.”

“Oh.” Too bad. “What’s a fasting potion?”

“Drink it and you won’t need food, water, or a bathroom for about forty-eight hours. Good for certain situations, but you pay for it afterward.” She perused more recipes. “Enhanced perception, air buffer, true sight, anti-emotionalizer, allure-fume—none of these are useful.”

“Allure-fume?” I repeated. “What’s that?”

She winced. “Uh, it’s a … um … perfume.”

I stared at her pointedly, waiting for an explanation, and her cheeks turned pink.

“A few drops on the skin will make the wearer especially alluring to the opposite sex. Like pheromones.”

“Why do you know a potion like that?”

“I tried it out when I was younger, okay?” she muttered defensively. “Lesson learned. You don’t have to lecture me.”

“What happened?”

“I wore it on a first date with this guy I really liked.”

“Did it work?”

“It worked on him, plus every male who got within twenty feet of me. I spent our entire dinner date pushing random men out of our booth. I’ve never been hit on so many times in one evening. Most of the men were twice my age and married.”

Fighting back a snicker, I asked, “Did you go on a second date with your crush?”

“No.” She hung her head over the grimoire. “An early sign that my love life was doomed.”

Divider

Author Bio:

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 13

1st Quarter Reading Challenge Update 2019

Uncategorized 0

It’s April! That means the first quarter of 2019 is gone. Over, done with. That’s…somewhat shocking, and somewhat relieving. I’ve managed to stay with my classes so far (only two weeks left to go! also finals, but that’s another subject all together), I’ve actually been reading and blogging, and my house doesn’t ENTIRELY look like a tornado hit it. I call that a win.

Photo courtesy PBT shop

So how am I doing with the various reading challenges I’m working on for 2019? Eh, well. Some better than others! The counters in the sidebar update as I post reviews here, but not all books are getting blog posts (some I only review on GoodReads, due to length or content). I’m keeping track of EVERYTHING I read in my lovely little Bookworm Life Planner, from the PeanutButterTaco Etsy store. Lots of amazing bookish stickers over there, as well as this awesome planner (which I now can’t live without), so go check it out (not affiliated, just a super happy customer!). I’ve also been using a couple of spreadsheets, which I plan to do an entire post on later. So let’s have at it!

Divider

52 Books in 2019

42/52. I am CRUSHING this one. Somehow. I’m honestly astounded. I admit I’ve read more middle grade and kids’ lit books than I have in previous years…but I’ve read plenty of “regular” books too, and even some nonfiction! I’m pretty happy. You can see ALL my read books for 2019 here.

Beat the Backlist 2019 (hosted by NovelKnight)

15/20 – Apparently not doing too badly on this one either, which surprises me. You’ll see why when we get to the next challenge, hehe. I actually finished an entire series that was backlist, Annette Marie’s Steel and Stone series. Still in the process of reviewing all of them, but I have put up reviews for Book 1 and Book 2.

2019 New Release Challenge (hosted by unConventional Bookworms)

27/20. Ahem. What was that I said in my original post back in January, about reading fewer new releases? OBVIOUSLY that isn’t happening…but oh well. I’m enjoying what I’ve read this year, so far, very much!

Diversity Reading Challenge 2019 (hosted by Celebrity Readers)

12/25. Almost exactly halfway. While more and more diverse books are being published, the fact that only about a quarter of the 42 books I’ve read so far could truly be counted as diverse, in any way (i.e., something other than white, heterosexual, fully abled) is really rather sad. I’m making an effort to read books that include more people, and this challenge is helping to remind me of that.

2019 Debut Author Challenge (hosted by Love Your Shelf)

5/12. Again, almost halfway. Not bad at all, for the first quarter. And, most of them I totally enjoyed! I count that a big plus, since I always feel kind of like I’m gambling when trying a debut.

Divider

How are your reading challenges going for this year? Are you surprising yourself with where your reading is taking you?

Divider

       
If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider

Apr 11

The Haunting of Elmwood Manor – Review and Tour

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½



The Haunting of Elmwood Manor – Review and TourThe Haunting of Elmwood Manor (Pekin Dewlap Mystery, #1) by Pamela McCord
on March 1, 2019
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads three-half-stars

Pekin Dewlap hasn’t seen a ghost since she was twelve. But she’d do anything to get them back. Starting a ghostbusting business with her two best friends, Amber and Scout, seems like the perfect way to accomplish her goal. Of course, playing with ghosts isn’t high on their wish list, so Pekin has to do some arm-twisting to get them on board.

Once committed, Pekin and her friends find themselves in deep, trying to solve the disappearance of fourteen-year old Miranda Talbert. Miranda went missing in 1918, and her spirit has wandered the halls of Elmwood Manor for the last hundred years.

In the midst of finding Miranda, discovering her budding feelings for Scout, and consoling a terrified Amber, Pekin is met by an angry ghost set on thwarting her plans. Will the Ghosties be able to help Miranda, or will Pekin’s business die before she solves the mystery?

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

Divider

I’ve really been on a middle-grade kick lately and I was super excited to get to review this book! Ghosts and ghost stories have fascinated me since I was a kid, so as soon as I read the synopsis I was all on board. Overall I gave it 3.5/5 stars!

Things I Liked:

  • The ghost bits were particularly well done. I found the hairs on the back of my neck raising at several passages! Eeeesh.
  • Descriptions of the old house were awesome. I looooove old houses and exploring. The author did make sure to not have the kids trespass – due to Pekin’s “business,” they have the permission of the current owner to go snoop.
  • I liked the difference in ghosts. Hard to say more without spoiling, but I really liked that there were distinct differences.
  • Scout and Pekin were cute. Very young teenager-y. 😉 I loved all the bumbling and muddling about over their feelings, but there wasn’t TOO much drama.

Things I Didn’t Like So Much

  • It really feels like the author doesn’t know modern teenagers very well. They are supposed to be fifteen and sixteen years old, but most of the time they seem to act much younger. Yes, this is a middle grade book…so why not have middle-grade age characters? Maybe it’s just me.
  • The adults are stupid. Ridiculously so. Their interactions are just…not…believable, for the most part. But they’re a minor part of the story.
  • The whole “love saves the day” vibe. UGH. Didn’t need that, but ok. Still thought the couple was cute!

Divider

 

Author Bio:

Pam was born in Arkansas several decades ago. She’s not sure if that makes her a Southern Girl or if moving to Southern California when she was five revokes her Southern Girl card. She started writing later in life when she was challenged by a friend to create a book out of his story idea. Reaching the first 5,000 words was a milestone, but with time and hard work she managed to finish an entire book, much to her surprise. Since then, she’s written several novels, in several genres. Romance, middle grade and paranormal comprise most of her work. Pam has spent over 40 years working as a legal secretary at a law firm in Orange County, California. Aside from writing, she follows the stock market, buying, selling and trading stocks and options. In contrast to that, she loves trips to Las Vegas where she can spend many happy hours at the Pai Gow tables. She shares a condo with her very own My Cat From Hell TV star, Allie, who manages to exude just enough affection to make her scary feral ways tolerable.

Website / Facebook

 

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

three-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 708 other subscribers

Divider