Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Scythe

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine and is a fun way to see what books other bloggers just can't wait to get their hands on!

Neal Shusterman
Young Adult/Dystopian
Releases November 22nd from Simon & Schuster

From Goodreads:

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

First, I really, really don't want to live in this world. I would one hundred percent be randomly killed for population control purposes, I know it. Second, while pitting two young people against one another in an epic battle to the death is not a new plotline, it's one that never fails to grab my attention and hold it. I can't help but want to know what happens (sidenote: I'll definitely be reading the end first)! The synopsis doesn't give us very much information about either Citra or Rowan, so I have no idea if I'll be rooting for one over the other or both:)   

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cathy Reviews: Serenity's Plain Secrets

My mother in law, and lately my co-blogger, Cathy is back today with her latest review!

Karen Ann Hopkins
Available Now

Lamb to the Slaughter (Book 1)
From Goodreads:

Lamb to the Slaughter is a story about the intertwining lives of three unlikely people in an Indiana Amish Community and the devastating results when a rebellious teenage girl is found shot to death in a corn field during the harvest. Serenity Adams is the newly elected young sheriff in the country town of Blood Rock and besides dealing with the threatening behavior of her predecessor, she now has a dead Amish girl on her plate. At first glance, the case seems obvious. The poor girl was probably accidently shot during hunting season, but when the elders of the Amish community and even the girl’s parents react with uncaring subdued behavior, Serenity becomes suspicious. As she delves deeper into the secretive community that she grew up beside, she discovers a gruesome crime from the past that may very well be related to the Amish girl’s shooting. Serenity enlists the help of the handsome bad-boy building contractor, Daniel Bachman, who left the Amish when he was nineteen and has his own dark reasons to help the spunky sheriff solve the crime that the family and friends who shunned him are trying desperately to cover up. Serenity’s persistence leads her to a stunning discovery that not only threatens to destroy her blossoming romance with Daniel, but may even take her life in the end.

The Serenity's Plain Secrets series first came to my attention because Jenny designed all their beautiful covers. Jenny did an amazing job setting the scene for each book. You can look at the covers and know exactly where these mysteries occur and with just the right amount sinister eeriness to draw you in. So the series was on my shelf and were so pretty that I didn't want to crack the spines, but you know how I love a good mystery. So I very carefully began turning to the first page of book one and before I knew it, I had finished three! I thought I would give you a mini review of the first three books so that you, too, can add them to your shelves.

Lamb to the Slaughter is the first in the series. We meet newly appointed sheriff Serenity Adams. She has returned to her hometown and her new territory which includes the nearby Amish community. She is a strong female character, which I love in a mystery. What also adds to the mystery is just the general mystic of the Amish culture. In this book we follow the story from several points of view, including that of the murdered Amish girl, Naomi. This really adds depth to the story. Serenity is a very by-the-book person and truly has a difficult time with the secretiveness of the Amish men. So, in an effort to understand and infiltrate the Amish she needs help. Meet Daniel - he used to be Amish but has left. He also becomes the love interest. Poor Serenity has to face a lot of frustration in this book, but for us it just adds to the suspense.

Whispers from the Dead is book two. Serenity's reputation at solving crimes, especially in the Amish community, finds her invited to another community having problems with arson. Then a body is found in one of the burned out barns. The intrigue in this story is intermingled with past crimes that had taken place in the town. She runs into that town's sheriff and definitely meets with not only resistance but outright animosity. The secretive nature of all the men in this book elevates the mystery and suspense. Daniel helps again with solving this case and putting himself closer to Serenity.

Secrets in the Grave is book three and it brings Serenity and Daniel back to the community Daniel grew up in. A new healer moves to the Amish community and a young pregnant woman bleeds to death. Checking into his past, it's found that this is not the first woman to die, even his wife had died. Is he a healer or a killer?  Even though Daniel has been shunned, his help with the case brings him closer to the community and his family.

All three books were pages turners. I think that the Amish overtones of secrecy add to the mystery and suspense. I like a little romance that is equally frustrating thrown in for good measure. I am so glad that Jenny did these covers so that they were put on my radar.


Find Karen:

Friday, August 19, 2016

The 5 Series Topping My Must-Read List

Happy Friday Everyone!

I've found that quite a bit recently I seem to be leaving comments along the lines of "I need to read this series!" on my favorite blogs, so I thought it would be fun to list for you the top 5 series that have had me leaving such a comment of late.

With the exception of Jessica Shirvington's Embrace series, YA angel novels have been largely misses for me. I can't pinpoint why exactly, they just don't seem to draw me in the same way other epic paranormal or fantasy titles do. I've heard nothing but outstanding things about this series though, particularly about one intriguingly sexy guy named Rafa. I must meet him.

This is probably the one series on this list that I've said I need to read most often, and dammit, this year I'm going to do it! I said it last year about The Others series by Anne Bishop, and with the help of Nick, I devoured it earlier in the year and loved every minute. I feel like this doesn't have quite as much romance as I might want, but I think Darrow and his journey will more than make up for it!

I've actually read this first book, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I didn't LOVE it the way I expected to given the hype, so I've delayed reading the rest of the series out of fear I'll be disappointed. And thus the black sheep of the Charley Davidson fandom. Boo. This might be a series that just gets better as it goes though (I'm looking at you Kate Daniels), so I'm thinking I need to give it another shot!

Ilona Andrews. The creators of Kate and Curran. WHAT AM I WAITING FOR? *runs off to Amazon*

Okay, so this isn't quite a series yet as there's only one book out, but the second is well in the works and due to release early next year, so it counts. I've been seeing this around a lot lately with all sorts of delicious talk about the chemistry between Cat and Griffin, and I know it's going to be a read that's right up my sexual tension alley.

Have a great weekend you guys!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Review: If I Only Had a Duke

The Disgraceful Dukes #2
Lenora Bell
Historical Romance
384 pages
Available August 30th
Source: eARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart...and he’s losing it to Thea.

Lenora Bell wowed with her historical debut How the Duke Was Won, and has followed it up with an utterly delightful sequel.

Thea is the woman her half-sister Charlene was hired to impersonate in the first book, making a brief appearance toward the end before stepping into the limelight in this second installment. While she ticks every single box Society requires for young ladies of the Ton, she has absolutely no interest in being an accessory who toddles behind her husband when he makes public appearances. Instead, she desires a quieter life in Ireland, studying female painters relegated to obscurity due to their gender rather than their talent, but though she longs for quiet, she's not afraid to reveal a wicked sense of humor and a backbone of steel to ensure she gets it. She refuses to take no for an answer (in a shows-gumption rather than irritating kind of way), and proves herself to be a rescuer of dukes every bit as much as the Duke is a rescuer of damsels in distress.

Dalton is of course the perfect counterpoint to Thea, a touch more severe where she shows a bit of whimsy and an ability to adapt to various situations with a smile on her face, but he knows how to turn on the charm and send a girl's thoughts spiraling straight into the gutter. He's on a mission to avenge his younger brother's murder at the age of five, and though he has neither the time nor the inclination for a female companion on his quest for vengeance, he can't help but be amused by Thea's approach to life. Around the three quarter mark he is guilty of the classic "you're too good for me so I'm going to push you away" move, but Thea holds her own and the drama shifts from inside the relationship to outside quickly enough that we're swept up in the dangers a wayward journey holds before we can work up any frustration.

Overall, If I Only Had a Duke is every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor, and Ms. Bell is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me in this genre.

Rating: 4/5

Find Lenora:

This book was sent to me by the publisher  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Hunted

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine and is a fun way to see what books other bloggers just can't wait to get their hands on!

Meagan Spooner
Young Adult/Fantasy/Retelling
Releases March 2017 from HarperTeen

From Goodreads:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite fairy tale, so whenever a retelling pops up it takes absolutely no convincing to get me to add it to my must-have list. I'm also a huge fan of Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman's Starbound trilogy, so I'm hoping this one blows me away in much the same way. Curses, ruined castles, and a beauty vs. beast plotline? YES PLEASE!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal

Spindle Cove #5
Tessa Dare
Historical Romance
Available September 27th
Source: eARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.
•Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?
•Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?
•Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit … and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

The entire Spindle Cove series is a must-read for those who want a lot of humor with their heat, but this fifth installment is arguably the best yet. With the trademark sexual chemistry Ms. Dare does so well comes a number of laugh out loud moments that have us wanting to start from the beginning as soon as we read the last page.

Charlotte has been a secondary character from book one, her delightfully quirky sisters and completely outrageous matchmaking mother scene-stealers every time they appeared on page. Now sliding into the role of heroine Charolotte makes us fall in love with her all over again, somehow having emerged from her upbringing with the ability to find humor in her mother's desperate attempts to find advantageous marriages for her daughters. She knows people laugh at her family and keep their distance so that her reputation doesn't bleed from her person and stain theirs should they stand too close, and yet she still holds her head up high and approaches every situation with a joy for life we can only admire.

While Piers is everything a historical romance hero should be and certainly worthy of a full paragraph (and more, but I write relatively short reviews ;-) dedicated to his many delicious attributes, there are a couple scenes in this book that cannot go without mentioning. One involves a mother-daughter "what to expect on your wedding night" chat complete with fruit and vegetable visual aides, and another involves a too-truthful perfume shop owner and the many ingredients involved in the making of various fragrances. The entire book is sure to win readers over with ease, but those two moments are particular highlights, and should have you adding this book to your lists as soon as possible.

Though this is the fifth installment and the Highwoods have been players in the previous books, Charlotte's story does stand on its own in terms of the romance, and will certainly cause all who pick it up to trip over themselves in their haste to collect the whole series.

Rating: 5/5

Find Tessa:

This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.