Books List 2019, Reviews

Review: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

red, white and royal blueTitle: Red, White and Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston

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.

Advertisements
Books List 2019, Reviews

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?

Continue reading “Review: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher”

Books List 2019, Reviews

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. Continue reading “ARC Review: An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris”

Book List 2018, Reviews

Review: Building Forever by Kelly Jensen

building foreverTitle: Building Forever

Author: Kelly Jensen

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Romance

Summary:

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

My Thoughts:

Loooove is in the aaaaiiiir!

The love between the two main characters in this book. My love for the two main characters and the plot, and the author and everything.

Simon is a character who I just want to wrap in blankets and hug him so so so tight because he needs to learn how to open up. He needs love! Better love than stupid Brian provided him with.

And Charlie, oh wonderful father, wonderful writer Charlie who needs to look around him every so often and not into the past. He needs to learn how to look forward.

This book hurts, but it’s so good all at the same time and none of this review makes sense and I almost don’t care but you seriously just need to pick it up and read it. Go to your local bookstore, your local library and give it a read. You will thank me for bathing you in some wonderful warmth in the incoming holiday season, with all the cold weather upon us.

So good.

Book List 2018, Reviews

Review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

norse mythologyTitle: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: History, mythology, super awesome audiobook

Summary:

Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok. 

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

My Thoughts:

Oh my gods. This is one of the best books I’ve read and the best audiobook I have ever listened to.

I now own a full Neil Gaiman audiobook collection because this man is so nice to listen to. His care for his writing and subject matter really does shine through in his reading of this work.

I have long loved reading about the different myths, and legends from other countries, and did read rather extensively about the Norse Gods when I was in college, but this was one of the most wonderful re-tellings I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

There is no dryness to this writing, but rather life is breathed into every tale, injected with humour and tragedy where needed. The Gods come to life in a way they have not in many years, and with it a different point of view of Norse life.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves Gaiman, mythology, or just plain good literature.

Book List 2018

Review: Imperial Stout by Layla Reyne

imperial stoutTitle: Imperial Stout

Author: Layla Reyne

Genre: M/M Romance, Suspense

Series: Trouble Brewing

Summary: It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular.

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.

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

My Thoughts:

This book probably would’ve been a little bit easier for me to understand if I had previously read the series which it had spun off of.

Since I did not, I was in for a tiiiiny bit of confusion. And when I say tiny I mean that there was a few times where I actually found myself re-reading things, and whole chapters to make sure I understood what the heck was going on.

That being said, the banter, camraderie and teamwork between almost all of the characters in this novel kind of made it for me.

Cam and Nic made up the rest. They were interesting enough to keep me looking, and trying to imagine the scenarios they found themselves in. The backstory was there just enough to keep me from putting down the book and wondering if I should read the whole other series first.

It was refreshing in a way to have there be two characters who were within the LGBTQIA+ family and not have it be the end of the world for other characters, like some huge big thing. Because frankly it shouldn’t be. The two characters were accepted, without argument. It was nice. I enjoyed it.

I think before I do read the second one I will give Reyne’s other series a lookie-loo so that I fully understand what is going on this time around 🙂

Book List 2018, Reviews

Review: The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri

the witch of little italyTitle: The Witch of Little Italy

Author: Suzanne Palmieri

Genre: Magical realism?

Summary:

In Suzanne Palmieri’s charming debut, The Witch of Little Italy, you will be bewitched by the Amore women. When young Eleanor Amore finds herself pregnant, she returns home to her estranged family in the Bronx, called by “The Sight” they share now growing strong within her.

She has only been back once before when she was ten years old during a wonder-filled summer of sun-drenched beaches, laughter and cartwheels. But everyone remembers that summer except her. Eleanor can’t remember anything from before she left the house on her last day there.

With her past now coming back to her in flashes, she becomes obsessed with recapturing those memories. Aided by her childhood sweetheart, she learns the secrets still haunting her magical family, secrets buried so deep they no longer know how they began. And, in the process, unlocks a mystery over fifty years old—The Day the Amores Died—and reveals, once and for all, a truth that will either heal or shatter the Amore clan.

My Thoughts:

Funnily enough this is actually one of the first books I ever bought digitally. I then proceeded to not read it for a very long time for reasons I cannot explain.

When reading it I could not figure out why the heck it took me so long to read it because this book is captivating. There was just something about how the magic and the mystery of the Amore clan was woven into what could’ve been an almost over the top plot.

I know, I’m weird, to me it wasn’t the magic that was over the top, it was everything else.

It was the mysteries and the little touches of magic that kept me going within this book but I can’t really reveal too much without giving it away and spoiling the whole novel.

The cast of characters are interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed flipping the pages of this book, which definitely helped to pull me out of my reading slump.

 

Book List 2018, Reviews

Review: Love in a Small Town by Zoe York

love in a small townTitle: Love in a Small Town

Author: Zoe York

Genre: Romance

Series: Pine Harbor

Summary: 

Police officer and army reservist Rafe Minelli knows better than to tell his wife no, particularly since they aren’t married anymore. She can’t hightail it out of town, though, not when they’ve finally broken through the post-divorce cold war status quo.

Olivia Minelli needs to leave Pine Harbour. It’s just too hard to see Rafe moving on without her—even if he says he doesn’t want to. But when a new and exciting job falls into her lap, she needs to choose: protect her heart, or take the new job and risk getting emotionally entangled with her ex-husband. Again.

My thoughts:

Whenever I can’t get into reading again I always end up going for something like this. Something that is relatively light, something that can be read very quickly without too much investment.

That does not mean that this book is bad, because it’s not if you take it for what it is. It is a warm, sometimes sad, but mostly warm and romantic.

Olivia is a pretty independent character, but you get the impression that she wasn’t always. She’s learning to say what she wants, and how she wants to be treated which is something that I really do appreciate.

Rafe is kind of a mess, and unfortunately in my opinion he remained messy for quite some time.

Book List 2018

Review: In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan

in the belly of jonah.jpgTitle: In the Belly of Jonah

Author: Sandra Brannan

Genre: Thriller

Summary: In the Belly of Jonah is a fast-paced mystery with a likable protagonist and an intricately woven narrative brimming with bizarre yet believable twists. The first in a series, the book expertly lays the groundwork for Liv Bergen, amateur sleuth, and her love interest, FBI Agent Streeter Pierce. Liv becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of Jill Brannigan, a summer intern at the limestone mine Liv manages near Fort Collins, Colorado (a breathtaking setting that unwittingly becomes an accessory to crime). In doing so, she inadvertently puts her friends, her family, and herself at risk of being swallowed in the belly of a madman bloated with perverse appetites for women, surrealistic art, and renown.

As the gripping plot of In the Belly of Jonah unfolds, Liv Bergen takes her place alongside the best female crime-solvers as a woman with smarts, self-confidence, and intuitive savvy.

Review: 

This book was…very…extremely brutal. It was so well written, that my crazy imagination could sadly imagine every single gross detail. Sometimes I wish I couldn’t, but man Brannan is a master of getting you to be a little squicked.

The characters in this novel are full fledged, and interesting. Liv especially, with her fiery nature did capture my attention as did her relationship with Streeter.

This book is driven with strong female characters. And the plot is driven by a total psycho, one that you will not soon forget even after finishing reading the book. The crimes within it are so gruesome they feel real.

This book would be good for anyone who likes a good thriller, and a mystery that’s more on the side of hate, than a crime of passion.

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

Book List 2018

Review: True to You by Tony Correia

TRUE TO YOUTitle: True to You

Author: Tony Correia

Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA+

Summary: 

Jorge Gomez is a gay teen from a working-class family who is expelled from school after fighting with bullies on behalf of another kid. He starts training to become a pro wrestler, and finds that he has the talent that could make it a promising career. At the first wrestling show Jorge attends, he meets Thom, who is from a politically active upper middle-class family. It’s a case of opposites attracting, but Jorge feels threatened when he learns that Thom’s ex-boyfriend is determined to win Thom back.

Jorge tries to reconcile his sexual orientation with the image and loyalty demanded of a career as a wrestler. Looking to jumpstart his career, he switches to a wrestling club that promises to make him a star. When he adopts a flamboyantly gay “bad guy” wrestling persona, Thom calls him out for promoting homophobia. Jorge reacts badly with the result that he is kicked out of the club and is dumped by Thom. The crisis leads Jorge to find a way to be true to himself and who he is, and to reconcile with Thom.

Review:

Jorge Gomez is a character with a lot of heart. This is something you definitely see from the beginning of this novella. He can’t stand bullies, and he wants to be the best person that he can. But he also wants to be the best wrestler that he can which leads him down a path of almost self-hating homophobia.

Thom tries hard as well, and does his best to support Jorge but knows when not to. Therefore he knows when to step back for himself and Jorge, which is one of the most realistic things I’ve read in one of these stores.

That being said this would be all the better if it were just a little bit longer. The characters could have been fleshed out more, the story as well and it would have felt less rushed.

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