Review: The Vanishing Staircase by Maureen Johnson

vanishing stairGenre: YA, Mystery, Thriller

Summary:

The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie for years. It’s the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate was murdered, and her parents quickly pull her out of school. For her safety, they say. She must move past this obsession with crime.

Stevie’s willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, be back with her friends, and solve the Truly Devious case. Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. And when Stevie finally returns, she also returns to David: the guy she kissed and the guy who lied about his identity—Edward King’s son.

But larger issues are at play. Where did the murderer hide? What’s the meaning of the riddle Albert Ellingham left behind? And what, exactly, is at stake in the Truly Devious affair? The Ellingham case isn’t just a piece of history—it’s a live wire into the present.

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ARC Review: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

red, white and royal blue

 

Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA+

Release Date: May 14th, 2019

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Summary:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. 

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

My Scattered Thoughts:

How much do I love this book? Oh, let me count the ways.

Alex is one snarky, snarky boy. I love it. He is full of humour, and yes angst and I do enjoy his character quite a lot. He is not flawless, in fact he is never even thought of as infallible and there were a few moments I was horridly embarrassed for him.

Henry. Oh loveable, secretly nerdy Henry ❤ He is so awkward. It is so amazing, and he’s funny, and a bit tragic.

This book is good. It’s liberal, angry, and seeking justice even as it weaves a romantic tale around our two lovely main characters.

It’s mushy at times, heart-wrenching at others, but through it all I just felt good whilst I was reading it. I was also reluctant to leave it behind, wanting to slow my pace almost as much as I was desperate to get to the end.

Review: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

this lie will kill youTitle: This Lie Will Kill You

Author: Chelsea Pitcher

Genre: Horror, Mystery, YA Fiction

Summary: 

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

ARC Review: An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

an easy deathTitle: An Easy Death

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Dystopia, Magic, Wild West-ish

Series: Gunnie Rose

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Summary: 

In a new trilogy that presents a chilling alternate history of the United States where everyone believes in magic—but no one is sure whether they can trust it.

Gunnie Lizbeth Rose has been hired by a pair of Russian sorcerers as both their local guide and muscle through the small towns of East Texas as they search for a distant relative of an infamous sorcerer whose bloodline can help save their emperor-in-exile as an ever-increasing number of assassins tries to stop them.

After the assassination of FDR in the 1930s, the US collapses and is picked off by the UK, Canada, Mexico, and Russia. We find ourselves in the southwestern states now known as Texoma. It is here that the gunnie Lizbeth Rose tries to piece out a life, running security on runs from Texoma, across the border to Mexico where work and prospects are stronger. When two Russian magicians come looking for a man named Alex Karkarov, they hire Lizbeth to find him or his family, but there are problems: The man they’re looking for is dead, but he has a daughter they now need to find, as an ever-growing set of sorcerers and gunnies do not want them to succeed. It’s a good thing Lizbeth is a deadly gunfighter; too bad she hates sorcerers, even the ones she has to learn to rely on.

ARC Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

slayerTitle: Slayer

Author: Kiersten White

Genre: Horror-ish/Urban Fantasy/YA Fiction

Series: Slayer

Connected to: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996-2003)

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Summary: 

Into every generation, a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead, she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

what if it's usTitle: What If It’s Us?

Author(s): Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Genre: LGBTQIA+, YA, Romance

Summary: 

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

Better Not Pout - Banner Graphic 1.2

“Annabeth Albert delivers another charmer with Better Not Pout. A sweet and sexy holiday read that finds a grumpy St. Nick charmed by a do-gooder elf and his snowy town. Better Not Pout will warm your heart and soul this holiday season.”

— Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whiskey and Trouble Brewing series

Better Not Pout was charming, sweet, and sexy all at once! I love everything Annabeth Albert writes and this was no exception.” — Cat Sebastian, author of The Soldier’s Scoundrel, The Ruin of a Rake, and The Regency Imposters series

BETTER NOT POUT by Annabeth Albert 9781488038686 Front CoverBetter Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

Publisher:

Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook):

Ebook: Monday November 12, 2018

Print (mmp): Tuesday November 27, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook):

Ebook: 288

Print (mmp): 288

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance, Male/Male Romance, Holiday Romance, Military Romance

Order at:

Carina Press

Barnes & Noble (mmp)

Barnes & Noble (ebook)

Amazon

Book Synopsis:

One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

***

Annabeth Albert says that, “BETTER NOT POUT is a male/male holiday romance featuring endearing characters with a fun, flirty plot that will remind readers of their favorite holiday rom-coms.”

Excerpt:

        Not that this cranky Santa seemed particularly enamored of him or easy to get to know, but Teddy was determined to give the guy a pleasant day, especially after the disastrous start. Not that he’d call it a disaster—any time he got a glimpse of a muscled ass that spectacular was a win—but Nick’s discomfort had been almost palpable. And yeah, he seemed to be rather attached to his rank and title, but Teddy simply wasn’t that formal. Commander Grace had always insisted that they call her Miriam, and he was on a first name basis with plenty of other military personnel.

“So the first stop is the old Lee barn,” he said. “That’s outside of town, then we’ll work our way back to the resource center with a few other stops.”

“Are people really going to be able to guess one barn from another?” Nick sounded highly skeptical.

“Oh yeah. The Lee barn is part of a historic estate and it’s open for tours during daylight hours.”

“But after dark…” Rhonda laughed knowingly. “The estate is a favorite make-out spot for teenagers, and no amount of chase off from the police can stop them. Everyone will recognize the barn, but no one will want to cop to why. That’s why it’s perfect.”

“I see. Watch the road, MacNally. Posted limit is fifty-five. You don’t need a ticket.”

“We’re good.” Teddy tried not to show his irritation at the rebuke. He supposed he could have compromised and let Nick drive himself to the sites, but as usual Teddy had had a plan and didn’t want to deviate from it, even if it meant putting up with the backseat driving. “And it’s Teddy. There are so many MacNallys in and around Mineral Spirits that you’ll get twenty heads swiveling if you call for MacNally.”

Review:

This book is so good, and cute, and lovely, and wonderful and definitely provides some warmth in the holiday season.

Teddy is like the holiday spirit in the form of an actual person, and I wouldn’t have him any other way. I love that he is such a good person, and it’s just so great to have a character like him, who is flawed but inherently good.

Nowicki is also a good person, he just doesn’t want anyone to know it but it does get revealed piece by piece in reading this book. It’s a good novel, especially at this time of year, and in the climate we’re in where everything seems to be going wrong.

It’s a comfort to see something go right.