Review: Little Fires Everywhere

little fires everywhereTitle: Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng

Genre: Contemporary

To buy: Indigo (Affiliate Link)

Summary: In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

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Review: Legendborn

LEGENDBORNTitle: Legendborn

Author: Tracy Deonn

Genre: Fantasy, Arthurian

Release Date: 15 September 2020

To preorder: Indigo

Summary: Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her previous life, family memories, or her childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at a local university seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure reveals Bree’s own, unique magic and unlocks a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that she knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, Bree will do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn by becoming one of their initiates. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur and his knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

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Review: Relationship Material

relationship materialTitle: Relationship Material

Author: Jenya Keefe

Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary

Trigger Warning: Prostitution, Sexual assault, murder, violence, torture, drug use.

Summary: 

It’s not always possible to meet in the middle.

Registered nurse Evan Doyle doesn’t consider himself fit for more than occasional hookups. He has a good life, but the emotional aftermath of a horrific crime makes him feel too damaged to date. So when his sister’s hot bestie, Malcolm Umbertini, comes on to him, he turns him down flat. Mal is Relationship Material: the kind who thinks in the long term. What would Evan do with a man like that?

As a prosecuting attorney, Mal’s learned how to read people, and he knows there’s more to Evan than meets the eye. Mal has faced his own hardships since his family kicked him out as a teen, and he respects Evan’s courage and emotional resilience. More than that, he wants Evan—in his bed and in his life. But can he weather another rejection?

Both wary, they agree to a no-strings fling. Mal knows that Evan wants things to stay casual, but he’s falling in love a little more with each encounter. With health, happiness, and bruised hearts on the line, Mal and Evan must risk everything for love.

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Review: Find Someone to Love

someone to loveTitle: Find Someone to Love

Author: Divya Sood

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+

Summary:

Set in the surprisingly charming world of New York City opticians, Find Someone to Love follows Priya, a young optician working for a Queens practice full of characters. There’s Sam, whose life revolves around his store, 20/20. There’s Ed, who always loves a good snack and has a mysterious past. And then there is Dr. Bello, who is a colorful woman, to say the least. Things in Priya’s world get turned upside down when Dr. Bello is replaced by a new optometrist, who is an unexpected, but beloved, blast from her past. Priya’s routine world changes when she has to answer questions of herself she was always too afraid to ask. With a mixture of humor and heartache, Find Someone To Love explores the power of the past and the ephemeral nature of the present, the redemptive power of love, and the bonds of friendship. 

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Review: You Asked for Perfect

you asked for perfectTitle: You Asked for Perfect

Author: Laura Silverman

Genre:  YA, Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

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Review: Maybe This Time by Kasie West

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, RomanceMaybe This Time Kasie West

Summary:

One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . Fall in love?

Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.

Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all…

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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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Review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

listen to your heart.jpgTitle: Listen to Your Heart

Author: Kasie West

Summary: 

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere. 

My Thoughts:

Do you like happiness? Do you like sunshine? Do you like lakes? Do you like romance? What about podcasts?

If you answered yes to most of those, no to romance then maybe this is not the book for you. But if you answered yes to any of those, and yes to romance then maybe you should pick up this lovely summer read and give it a go.

This book is not perfect. No book ever is. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t find this one perfectly enjoyable for a summer day that’s cool where it’s supposed to be warm.

The protagonist, Kate, or Kat if you hate her is unsure, yet confident in herself in a way I appreciate.

Her best friend is loyal in a way a lot of teenage girls are not portrayed.

Diego is lovely. He’s awkward and charming and my kind of lead. He’s sweet and yet sucks at being straight forward and should probably learn to be so but it makes for some great reading in this case so I won’t complain too much.

The podcast as a plot device was very entertaining and I found myself wanting more of those snippets as they were really enjoyable.

 

Re-Read Review: Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

bone crossed.jpgTitle: Bone Crossed

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson/Mercyverse

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Summary: 

By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she’s out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won’t be Mercy’s blood Marsilia is after.

It’ll be her friends’.

Review: 

Oh and you thought the vampires were creepy as hell before? Well they just went and got creepier! They saw your thoughts as a challenge, my friends, and they came back badder than ever.

That being said, so did Mercy.

She is a total badass. The baddest around in fact,so far.

Her relationship with Adam is growing in this book, in a very natural and organic sort of way. Often you pick up the next book and the characters are all in but Patricia Briggs is allowing a slow progression that feels more real.

Her friendships are changing and evolving, and it feels more like family this time around with many of the secondary characters.

The villain in this is creepy as hell, and I found myself squirming in discomfort when he was on the page because damn, some people are just flat out maniacal and I don’t think I realized what that meant until now. Now I know. I partly wish I didn’t.

This is a solid installment in the Mercy-verse and I have no complaints to speak of.

Oh just one actually, more Warren please. It’s really more of a  request than a complaint. I love that good ol’ country boy.

Review: “Rituals” by Kelley Armstrong

58

Title: Rituals

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Defying genres and taking names.

Summary:

Olivia Jones must make a choice. Caught between two rival supernatural forces, Liv was granted a brief period in which to make her decision. Now that time has run out. Whichever side she chooses, someone she loves will pay. Her lover, Ricky. Gabriel Walsh, the man she knows she cannot, must not love. Her parents, already trapped in prison.

And now there is a new, terrifying power rising – one that doesn’t distinguish between good and evil intentions. It feeds on chaos and destroys without mercy. Unless Liv acts fast, no one will survive. In this gripping thriller, international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong brings the Cainsville series to a powerful, richly rewarding climax. 

Review:

What should I say about this book? The last in a beloved series, whose characters I held close as though they were friends I wished to cherish.

This is a book that grasped me from the first word. It fulfilled my hopes for the three main characters, and yet it still left me wanting more. I am not one who wants to let go, and these stories and characters are going to be hard to let go of, even those I don’t like.

The plot was strong, twisting and turning, introducing new characters still, who I loved (some of them) and abhorred (one of them) which really is just the mark of good writing.

Liv, Gabriel and Ricky are each so different, but carry some similarities, and in this book you get to see what characteristics they’ve taken on from each other.

The thing that I think I appreciated most about this book is how there was humour imbued within it, even when bad things were happening it didn’t feel too dreadful and heavy.

I understand Kelley Armstrong will be writing more short fiction in Cainsville, which is good, because I don’t yet want to leave.