Book List 2018

Re-Read: Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Title: Cry Wolf

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha and Omegas aka The Mercyverse

Summary:

Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna’s inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.

It is recommended you read the prequel “Alpha & Omega” before reading Cry Wolf.

Review:

The second book chronologically in the Mercy-verse, which is the order I decided to re-read this series in this follows Moon Called, and the novella Alpha and Omega which you definitely need to check out before reading this one or it might not make much sense.

Anna is a character borne of a vulnerable situation with a whole lot of strength. So much strength that she isn’t even quite aware of it, but those around her definitely are.

This novel also shows us more into the world of the Marrok, and his sons which is something I was so interested to see even from the time I read Moon Called. Bran seems like a gentle soul but he’s got a spine of steel, and an even tougher soul, which is shown in this novel.

Charles has a tough outer shell but a bit of a marshmallow centre when it comes to his mate, which definitely shows as well. He is a character with layers, unlike a lot of male characters in this genre.

The plot of this book is an intriguing one as well, melding the world of werewolves with long histories with the world of magic, witches and rogues.

It is a great book, very easy to imagine what is happening in your head.

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Book List 2018

Review: Kasie West novels

A little while ago I was lucky enough to receive a copy of By Your Side by Kasie West and I absolutely adored it, so last month I departed on a path through quite a few of her books. So here are my thoughts and feelings on her works, and my excitement for her upcoming book.

the distance between usTitle: The Distance Between Us

Genre: Romance, YA

Summary:  Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

My thoughts: 

I quite enjoyed this novel. It is an interesting take on the old school trope of the rich “saving” the poor, in that it turns it on its ass. I won’t go into details because I don’t believe in spoilers.

I will let you know that Caymen is a character with a lot of strength, that the romance in this book is not overly schmoopy and that I read it so quickly I immediately went back and read it again.

Xander is a character that is more insecure than he seems, but with a certain charm and wit about him.

This is a story about family, and how sometimes even when we know them we can’t always know them as much as we should, or as deeply as we should.

This is good for anyone wanting a quick read, who likes rags to riches stories, but wants something with a little bit of a different ending for that familiar trope.

Continue reading “Review: Kasie West novels”

Book List 2018

Review: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra

tiny (1).jpgA Tiny Piece of Something Greater

Publisher: Interlude Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): Out Now!

Length (Print & Ebook): 258 Pages

Subgenre: LGBT, Interracial/Multicultural, New Adult

Editor’s Note: Some readers may find some of the scenes in this book difficult to read. We have compiled a list of content warnings, which you can access at interludepress.com/content-warnings

About this Book: 

Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.

jude pic.jpgJude Sierra talks A Tiny Piece of Something Greater: I want readers to walk away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of what it is like to thrive with mental illness—or strive toward it—and what it is like for two people to be and fall in love in these situations. I’d love for readers to come away knowing that love doesn’t cure mental illness, nor should it. Reid and Joaquim love each other as they are.

About Jude Sierra: Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include HushWhat it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews.

Connect with Jude: Site | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest

Teaser: 

Joaquim’s body is beautifully settled into the rhythms of his deep, sleeping breaths. Reid is no longer angry. Well, he’s a little angry at himself. If I wake Joaquim with kisses, will that be enough? Will he remember the apology from last night and let it stand?

Eyes closed, Reid scoots closer to Joaquim and puts a hand on his hip. He promised to talk to Joaquim. And even without that promise, they should talk. Joaquim is the potential for a healthy relationship, finally.

When Reid’s body heat comes into contact with his, Joaquim stills and then stretches. Joaquim’s body is a luxury: muscles tensing and loosening, all stunning bones and inviting skin. Reid wants. He wants to glut himself on this man, to soak up every moment with him while he can.

Review: 

This book was a good read, but a hard one, so that is definitely something you should go into knowing.

The depth of the writing about mental illness was what drew me into this novel, because at no point does it treat mental illness like something that is not real, or something that is to be disparaged. Instead it is treated with a thoughtfulness, and consideration that is deserved of anyone who has been diagnosed with something that might make them a little bit different.

Reid is a character with a lot of humour despite his circumstance and has a sweet centre as he tries to figure out what his life will be. There is a major character evolution with his character throughout this book that made it captivating to read.

Joaquim however is my darling. I loved him so much. He was so sweet and kind, with good philosophies on life, and life’s journey and where it should take you. His consideration toward Reid was amazing.

This book was upsetting at times, but in the end I was so glad to have read it, because it is such a kindly written novel, with a lot of humanity in it.

Buy Now!

Interlude Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Apple | Kobo | Indiebound

 

Book List 2018

Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

leahTitle: Leah on the Offbeat

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: YA Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+

Summary:

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Review:

Leah is such a smartass and I love her. She is also bitter sometimes, which causes me want to give my head a shake, reach into the book and tell her to buck up. To trust the people she is friends with to accept her for who she is, her whole identity.

This book is filled with strife, and palpable angst. It is a young adult book through and through but yet is so very identifiable.

We’ve all had feelings for people we maybe shouldn’t have feelings for, we’ve all loved people who maybe we shouldn’t love.

This book is not as light as Simon, which is amazing to say, because Simon is not light. But this is heavy, and emotional, and often at times because of how frustrated I would get with the characters, was very hard to read.

It doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, and that it was not well written because it definitely was. Becky Albertalli is one of my favourite writers, and I’ve pretty much established that I will read anything she wants to write. Literally anything.

This book is good. It’s solid. Read it.

 

Book List 2018

Review: Wheels and Heels by Jaime Samms

wheels and heelsTitle: Wheels and Heels

Author: Jaime Sams

Genre: LGBTQIA+, Romance

Summary:

As a teenager, Ira Bedford fled a troubled home life and people who didn’t understand his penchant for feminine things. In the city, he fell in with Cedric, who found him work as an underage stripper. It took him years to escape Cedric’s influence and try to build a life of his own.

Now, he just wants to be left alone to create his art. But Cedric’s on-going harassment means Ira had to drop out of art school, is squatting in a friend’s apartment, and is still relying on his allure as a sexy, skirt-wearing exotic dancer to pay his bills.

Then he meets Jed. Part-time bartender and the apartment building’s superintendent, Jed is just the right mix of strong, kind, and protective to pull Ira out of hiding. He also welcomes Ira into his chosen family at the Hen and Hog Pub. But Ira yearns for more. Still, he doesn’t dare to hope that Jed will want him and his questionable past, his skirts and high heels, his hang-ups, and the profession he seems unable to escape. But Jed will do anything to prove him wrong.

Review:

The strength in this book lies within the warmth of it’s characters, even the minor ones. Ira is unabashedly, unapologetically himself, which is something I can admire in fiction and real life. It just so happens that being yourself, no matter what, can sometimes result in people being dickheads, as seen within the pages of this book. Luckily, sometimes you can find people who will stand with you no matter what.

Jed is one of those people and he is an absolute delight. Burly, and a biker with an ooey gooey warm center that I just LOVE. He doesn’t judge people based on appearance. Hell, he doesn’t even judge people based on circumstance.

Basically he’s my kind of guy.

These two together just make it, and although the time line was a little confusing, as in how much time does pass in this book? And the fact that its the opposite of a slow burn, I still enjoyed it.

One of the delights of this book for me was also that it takes place in a city I know, love, have lived in and was born in ❤ I will always read about Canada.

The only part I couldn’t get through was the sex scenes but that’s a very it’s not you it’s me situation.

I do look forward to reading more of the Hen and Hog series.

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

Book List 2018

Review: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

fawkes
Gorgeous cover art is always a plus!

Title: Fawkes

Author: Nadine Brandes

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Release Date: 10 July, 2018

Summary: 

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Review: 

This book has so much in it that I love, so I’m just going to start with that. I’ve been a fan of YA fantasy since…well since I was the age that YA is usually geared towards. However it was very rare that something as good as this came along, especially something that included real life historical events.

The plot of this book comes together really well, winding the historical facts in with the fiction, and the fantasy weaving it all together in one beautifully written package.

The magic within the book is encompassing and wonderful. It was interesting to read how the masks help the users control, or invigorate their magic.

The writing in this book, and the descriptive nature carried me through the streets of London at a time very different from now. It had me clutching my eReader in fear for Thomas, a character I grew to care about extremely quickly.

This is definitely one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I wished for more the minute I turned the last page, and then proceeded to order a copy to be delivered to myself on release day. After all I am definitely going to lend it to everyone I know as soon as I can.

And I will be reading more of Nadine Brandes’ books for as long as she keeps writing.

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

 

Book List 2018

Review: Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee

Title: Bygone Badass Broads – 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World35888416

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Genre: Badass non-fiction

Summary:

Based on Mackenzi Lee’s popular weekly Twitter series of the same name, Bygone Badass Broads features 52 remarkable and forgotten trailblazing women from all over the world.

With tales of heroism and cunning, in-depth bios and witty storytelling, Bygone Badass Broads gives new life to these historic female pioneers.

Starting in the fifth century BC and continuing to the present, the book takes a closer look at bold and inspiring women who dared to step outside the traditional gender roles of their time.

Coupled with riveting illustrations and Lee’s humorous and conversational storytelling style, this book is an outright celebration of the badass women who paved the way for the rest of us.

Review:

This book is everything.

I needed this book when I was growing up, unsure of myself and what being a girl meant, what becoming a woman would mean.

I need this book now when everything seems so confusing and women are still being degraded, and treated as something less, or disrespected for speaking out, for speaking their minds.

These women are badass. Not were. They are. Their legends should loom large and be researched and passed on from generation to generation, inspiring more women like them. Inspiring future generations to have fight in them, to have rebellion and be able to say what’s what and do what’s right.

Mackenzi Lee writes about these women in a way that makes them seem so relatable. It makes it seem like she’s talking about a friend of a friend instead of someone who has long passed through history.  At this point I am thinking that basically if Mackenzi Lee has written something, I am definitely going to be reading it.

I would recommend this book to everyone. I would also recommend having a notebook in hand because as you’re reading you’re going to want to find out as much about these people as you can, because they were definitely badass. 

They’ll also leave you thinking, “Hey, maybe I can be badass too.”

And you can. You absolutely can.

Book List 2018

Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

36101070
Gorgeous cover art.

Title: Emergency Contact

Author: Mary H.K. Choi

Genre: YA

Release Date: 27 March, 2018

Summary: 

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him. 

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Review: 

The verdict is in after much deliberation and I’ve decided I like this book quite a lot. It just took me a while while reading to come around to doing so, and I hate myself for the reason why.

I found it awkward to have a male character who wore his emotions on his sleeve so much, who felt so deeply that he couldn’t help but let it show.

I want you to know, people or persons reading this, that this is not a statement of something wrong with the book but rather a statement of what I have become as a reader, and as someone who didn’t even realize they bought into society’s shitty ideals of what people should be.

So thank you, author, for reminding me that there is nothing wrong at all with anyone of any gender who feels so deeply that it shows. In fact it is downright refreshing, as was much of this book.

It’s not your run of the mill oh let’s meet and fall in love kind of book. It is awkward, as romance can be awkward. It is angsty, and in some ways it hurts, but when it’s going good, it’s going extremely well. This book felt good to read. So good in fact that I read it twice.

Once I realized that I suck, the book got better. It’s a challenge in a way, and I’m not sure the author intended that but I would like to thank Mary H.K. Choi nonetheless because she re-opened my heart in a way, and I think that’s really all I can ask for.

So this cynic would like you all to read this book. Please. With an open mind.

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

 

Book List 2018

Review: A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell

36502081Title: A Study in Honor

Author: Claire O’Dell

Genre: Dystopian, Holmesian, Mystery

Set in a near future Washington, D.C., a clever, incisive, and fresh feminist twist on a classic literary icon—Sherlock Holmes—in which Dr. Janet Watson and covert agent Sara Holmes will use espionage, advanced technology, and the power of deduction to unmask a murderer targeting Civil War veterans.

Dr. Janet Watson knows firsthand the horrifying cost of a divided nation. While treating broken soldiers on the battlefields of the New Civil War, a sniper’s bullet shattered her arm and ended her career. Honorably discharged and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, she returns to the nation’s capital, a bleak, edgy city in the throes of a fraught presidential election. Homeless and jobless, Watson is uncertain of the future when she meets another black and queer woman, Sara Holmes, a mysterious yet playfully challenging covert agent who offers the doctor a place to stay.

Watson’s readjustment to civilian life is complicated by the infuriating antics of her strange new roommate. But the tensions between them dissolve when Watson discovers that soldiers from the New Civil War have begun dying one by one—and that the deaths may be the tip of something far more dangerous, involving the pharmaceutical industry and even the looming election. Joining forces, Watson and Holmes embark on a thrilling investigation to solve the mystery—and secure justice for these fallen soldiers.

Review: 

This is a futuristic sci-fi/dystopia genderbent and relatively awesome book.

Watson is more cynical than ever within this book, and if possible even tougher than in the originals. She is a woman who is near broken but still refuses to give up. She’s got gumption, shall we say.

Holmes is a little more…blase in this novel than in other Holmes novels or reiterations. I did wish that more of her was seen in this book as I did not really get attached to her in any way in this novel because to be honest she wasn’t in it too often.

That being said I don’t think this book lacks because of the lack of Holmes, as Watson’s introspection, and the characterization of her is enough to satiate me as a reader.

The nature of this book is woven in mystery and questions, and not all of them get answered, but not in a bad way, just in a way that definitely made me want more of this book so I do hope it may be the beginning of a series.

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

Book List 2018

Review: City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

city of the lostTitle: City of the Lost

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery

Summary: Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. But that’s not why she’s on the run. Her best friend’s ex has found Diana again, despite all Casey has done to protect her. And Diana has decided the only way she’ll ever be safe is if she finds the mythical town she’s heard of where people like her can go to hide. Turns out the town really exists, and will take Diana, but only if Casey, a talented young police detective, comes too.

Imagine a hidden town, isolated in the Yukon wilderness, where everyone is pretending to be someone they’re not. Even good people can get up to some very bad stuff. The laconic town sheriff dispenses his own frontier justice, but he’s more accustomed to sobering up drunks in the horse trough, than attempting to solve the series of brutal murders that has rocked the town. As much as he hates it, he needs Casey. As for Casey, coming to the far North may have started out as a sacrifice she was willing to make for her best friend. But maybe, just maybe, she needs Rockton as much as the town needs her.

Reviews:

This is my third time reading this book. I still “Oh my god” and flail at the right times, or attempt to hide from what’s going on even though I’m holding the book in hand which is quite a feat as I’m sure you can imagine.

Kelley Armstrong has never done me wrong, and this series is no different. It is electric, fresh, and so well written I wish she would lend me just a tiny bit of her writing mojo so that I could write something just half as good as this.

This book has characters who are all entirely independent and different from each other, but share a very human commonality; they are in situations beyond their control and trying in spite of it. Their vulnerability does not become weakness, instead it becomes something that gives them strength.

I could gush for hours about Casey, and Dalton, but frankly, I think you would get sick of it. But I love them so much. And Anders.

The setting is a Canadian one, but a Canada unfamiliar to someone like me. It is wilderness, and beauty and danger all rolled into one. It is solitude and isolation. This world is an adventure, rife with adversity and yes, in this case, murder.

The wild awakens something in people that might not have been there before in this novel, or was it always there? And it just needed a push? That is the ultimate question.

Do yourself a favour, and pick this book up. You won’t regret it.