Save Aether (The Trinity Key Trilogy: Book 3) by L.M. Fry

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Publisher: Eleah Enterprises

Date of publication: March 30th, 2016

Genre: Dystopia, Steampunk, Fantasy

Series: The Trinity Key Trilogy

Into Aether – Book 1 (review here)

Escape Aether – Book 2 (review here)

Save Aether – Book 3

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Julia never had a real family until meeting Theo and Valera. Now that they are united by the Trinity Key, they are plagued by nightmares. Danu, the goddess of Aether, is in agony and calls out to them to free her.
However, the Elders who rule Aether don’t want to give up their power and warn the girls to stay away from Danu’s tomb. Julia must decide whether to trust the Elders or to follow her instincts and unleash Danu upon the world. 

My review:

Save Aether starts where Escape Aether ends, with the girls on trial for combining the Trinity Key.

I will have to say that while I didn’t care for Julia in the first couple of books, I liked her in this one. She was so snarky, such a wiseass that I was dying laughing while reading. Slammy Magee (aka Slammy) was a favorite nickname of mine that she gave one of the Elders. She was more of an act first then think later kid, and it did help her out a few times in the book.

Valera continued to blossom into her own person in the book, and I loved it. She was not the timid, meek girl that we met in Into Aether. She was not afraid to stand up for herself or her friends. Even if that meant destroying her relationship with her mother, her brother, and her siblings.

Theo got even stronger in this book. She was the brains and the backbone of the group, and she always thought things through before acting. Theo also had the most control of her powers (behind Valera….Julia was last). Her relationships with Victor and her parents meant everything to her. But she was going to do what was right by freeing Danu.

I loved the Danu storyline. If any of you guys are into Celtic mythology, Danu is the mother goddess of the Tuatha De Dannan. At one point in my life, I was very much into Irish folklore and Irish mythology. So when I see it being used in a book, I get very excited (I know, complete nerd). The author did a great job of using the concept of Danu and giving her a huge spin. I wasn’t ready for that spin when I read it.

The ending was perfect for the series, and I don’t think I could have written it more perfectly if I tried.

How many stars will I give Save Aether? 5

Why: A great ending to a great trilogy. This book packs a punch and pulls at your heartstrings.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age Range: Teen

Why: Very clean (no sex) and moderate violence

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Undoing Time (The Fine Art of Deception: Book 1) by Alyssa Richards

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Publisher: 

Date of publication: January 18th, 2015

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Series: Undoing Time

The Fine Art of Deception – Book 1

Somewhere in Time – Book 2

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Art appraiser Addison Montgomery just wants a normal life. One where she can ignore the vicious ghosts who follow her. One where she’s free from her “gift” of touching an object and seeing the owner’s deepest secrets. And one where she can fall in love without having all of the above get in the way.

But when tall, dark, and dangerous gallery owner Blake Greenwood enters her life, normal is the last thing she’s feeling. The man has more secrets than the priceless art he sells, giving Addison’s quest for normal no chance. That, and he may just hold the key to uncovering the truth behind her father’s unexplained disappearance.

Despite her paranormal gifts warning her to stay away, she feels an inexplicable, captivating fascination for him, something that goes deeper than attraction. There’s something between them that’s older than time, and if she can learn to give him her trust, it may just save her life.

My review:

I felt awful for Addie in the first few chapters of this book. She had a horrific breakup with her ex-fiance. At first, she glossed over the details. He left her to be with her best friend But, no, her ex-bestie and himself decided to ruin Addie at her job. The author didn’t get into what they did, but whatever it was, it was awful and caused Addie to become a hermit of sorts. She didn’t find comfort at home. Addie has special psychic powers. She is an empath, can see and talk to ghosts, and if she touches an object, she can see past owners and events attached to the object. All 3 of these “gifts” have made her life a living hell.

I couldn’t even imagine living as she did. She barely slept, barely went out, and lived like a hermit. I am a homebody, but it would drive me nuts to not run to the store. Her only comfort is a sapphire ring that she bought while in Paris. For some reason, she dreams that she is the woman (named Sassy) and she has a lover named Jack.

She decides to apply for a job at her grandfather’s old art agency that is now being run by her grandfather’s partner. She has always loved art and decided that this would be a great career for her.

Now, this is where the book got fascinating. Addie meets Blake and has an instant attraction to him. She was almost pulled to him, and she was scared to death. I mean, who wouldn’t be after what she went through.

Speaking of Blake, I liked him…even when he was less than honest with Addie. But he did get on my nerves, a little bit, with his secretiveness. While I understand why he was so secretive, it still bugged me— what a way to start a relationship.

I also liked that the book was pretty cut and dry with who the bad guy was. No guessing, no red herrings…which was excellent.

The chemistry between Blake and Addie was intense, and the sex was through the roof. I did think that they were going to go “let’s go bareback because you haven’t had any partners for a while and I am clean” but it didn’t. I did a fist pump and praised the author for doing that. Hooray for fictional safe sex.

I will say that the ending was pretty satisfying. More secrets come out, and there were a couple in there that surprised me. Kept me interested enough to want to read the next book and see how everything is resolved.

How many stars will I give The Fine Art of Deception? 4

Why? Great storyline and great characters.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex, language, some violence

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Pilots Hockey: Book 4) by Sophia Henry

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: October 18th, 2016

Genre: Romance

Series: Pilots Hockey

Delayed Penalty – Book 1

Power Play – Book 2

Interference – Book 3

Unsportsmanlike Conduct – Book 4

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

The author of Delayed Penalty returns with the story of a free spirit who believes she’s found forever with a playboy on a singles cruise. Discover why Kelly Jamieson calls the Pilots Hockey series “fun and flirty, warm and sweet.”

Kristen Katsaros wants a life full of adventure and laughter. After a difficult childhood, her motto is to live each day like it’s her last—because it just might be. So when Kristen’s parents send her on a post-grad singles cruise in the Caribbean to meet a Greek husband, she promptly hooks up with the hottest guy she’s ever met. Pasha’s decidedly not Greek, but Kristen gives him a pass because he’s got fun written all over his rock-hard abs.

Pavel Gribov, the cocky playboy of the Detroit Pilots hockey team, can score any girl he wants. But when a teammate drags him on a singles cruise, he can’t resist the chance to help out a drop-dead gorgeous damsel in distress by pretending to be her boyfriend. Before long, the fake fling turns intimate, fueled by something much deeper than lust.

Kristen and Pasha both agree to walk away once the cruise is over, but reality hits like a slap shot when Kristen finds out Pasha lied about everything. Just when she’s ready to start living again, the two stubborn survivors must decide if they can bear to lose the best thing that ever happened to either of them

My review:

Do not judge this book by the blurb or the cover. Please don’t because they are misleading (even though the guy is uber hot on the cover).

I went into this book, thinking that it was going to be about a cruise ship romance that continued after the cruise. And it does but (and stress but) the story is so much more. There is an actual story in this book. It isn’t all about sex after Kristin and Pasha do the dirty, and that is what I loved about this book.

I am not one to give spoilers, at all, but to provide an honest review, I am going to have to let one slip here. So, stop reading here and skip to the end if you don’t want spoilers.

I loved Kristin’s attitude towards life and in general. She was the most upbeat, positive person that I have ever read in a book. She has Cystic Fibrosis. Her outlook on Cystic Fibrosis is positive. While she will die from it, she manages it through medications, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. She also believes that she will not find a man who will stick by her after her HS boyfriend dumped her and told her that.

The only reason she was on that cruise was to please her parents. It was a singles cruise, and the man who her parents want her to marry went on it too, which didn’t please Kristin too much. To get him off her back, she starts flirting with the first guy she crashes into which happens to be Pavel Gribov.

Oh my, let’s talk about Pavel (aka Pasha) for a minute. He is a hot mess. I mean, someone who tries to screw up his best friend’s relationship has issues, which he has. He blames himself for the deaths of his mother and abusive father. He drinks too much, has casual sex with too many ladies (manwhore alert!!) and throws himself into hockey. He was only on the ship to accompany his friend, not to meet anyone. But he meets Kristin, and his world (and hers) gets turned upside down.

He isn’t honest with her at all, which is a pretty sucky way to start any relationship. She knows this but is still surprised when she finds out WHO he is and WHAT he does for a living. Remember the best friend, well, his best friend is getting married to Kristin’s best friend. So, yeah, I can see why he wouldn’t mention it to Kristin. And when she finds out, she is beyond upset.

The sex was hot, but as I said above, the focus of this book was more on the relationship between Pasha and Kristin. While it started as instalust, it evolved into love (and not within the week…over 3-4 or so months). It was sweet, it was sad, and it was perfect.

The ending was what I thought it would be, and the epilogue made me happy for both of them. I might have to buy the next book to see if there is any mention of them.

How many stars will I give Unsportsmanlike? 4

Why? It was more than a boy meets girl/has sex/falls in love/finds her outside of the cruise. So much more and I loved it!!!

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and language

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

No Witness but the Moon (A Jimmy Vega Mystery) by Suzanne Chazin

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Publisher: Kensington Books

Date of publication: October 25th, 2016

Series: Jimmy Vega Mystery

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where can the book be found: Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis:

On a clear, moonlit night in December, police detective Jimmy Vega races to the scene of a reported home invasion in an upscale New York community. As Vega arrives, he spots a Hispanic man who fits the description of the armed intruder, running from the victim’s estate. Vega chases him into the woods. When the suspect refuses to surrender—and reaches into his pocket—Vega has only seconds to make a life-or-death decision.

What begins as a tragic mistake takes an even darker turn when Vega uncovers disturbing links between the dead man and his own mother’s brutal, unsolved murder. Vega’s need for answers propels him back to his old Bronx neighborhood, where he is viewed as a disgraced cop, not a homegrown hero. It also puts him at odds with his girlfriend, Adele Figueroa, head of a local immigrant center, who must weigh her own doubts about his behavior. 

When a shocking piece of evidence surfaces, it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want Vega to put all the pieces together—and is willing to do whatever it takes to bury the truth. Only by risking everything will Vega be able to find justice, redemption, and the most elusive goal of all: the ability to forgive himself.

My review:

This is the first book I have ever read by Suzanne Chazin, and I loved it. Because of the world we live in, everyone lives under a microscope, including the police. So when a police officer shoots an unarmed man, it makes national news. This story is about a police shooting. It is also about illegal immigrants, which is another hot topic in America. So combine these two hot topics, and you get a story that keeps you riveted to the pages.

I liked Jimmy’s character. I do think that putting off seeing the psychologist and not taking his friends advice was stupid. Real stupid, and it made me shake my head. But, he did get some good solid leads about his mother’s murder and his impending court case.

Adele’s character was written great, and I loved how torn she was on Jimmy’s shooting case. When the going got hot, she didn’t buckle under pressure and kept her cool. Which meant distancing herself from Jimmy while investigating his case on her own.

The trio of storylines (Jimmy’s, his mother’s death and the other one) were tied together beautifully at the end. The twist that happened in the last chapters of the book kept me awake afterward going “No way, not this person.” I also loved how the author resolved each storyline in a way that no one else got hurt (well Jimmy did).

How many stars will I give No Witness But the Moon? 5

Why? Like I said in my first sentence, this book takes 2 hot topics (police shootings and illegal immigrants) and skillfully tells a tale that intertwines both.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range? Adult

Why? No sex. Violence, which includes a pretty vivid description of a head being blown off at below the chin.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World: Book 1) by P.C. Cast

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin Griffin

Date of publication: October 18th, 2016

Series: Tales of a New World

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Moon Chosen – Book 1

Where you can find this book: Amazon|Barnes and Nobles

Goodreads synopsis:

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

My review:

I am going start by warning you that this book is long, 608 pages. One of the longest I have read to date. But the character and world building in it is beyond anything that I have read before.

Mari is introduced as she is sketching the myth, Narcissus and Echo. It is a game that her mother and herself play to amuse themselves. Mari and Leda are Earth Walkers, and Leda is a Moon Woman. A Moon Woman brings down the moon to Wash her Clan, males of anger and Night Fever and females of sorrow. This has to be done every three days, or the males go, for lack of a better word, batshit crazy.

We also find out that Mari is a half-breed. She is half Earth Walker and half Companion. Companions are a race of people who live in the trees. They have Shepherds or Terriers that are connected to them, and they can read each other’s thoughts. The Earth Walkers live in fear of the Companions. Whenever they appear, people disappear. So it was surprising that a Companion and an Earth Walker fell in love and had a child. Mari was an infant when her father was killed. He was killed for committing what amounts to treason in the Companion society. He took fronds from a Mother Plant and refused to tell where he was bringing them.

The book then shifts to Dead Eye, a young man chosen to be a Harvester of his People, the Skin Stealers. They are a cannibalistic tribe that lives in what used to be cities. Dead Eye has had an epiphany of sorts. He has realized that The Reaper, a Goddess that his people worship, has gone mute. She hasn’t spoken in years, perhaps decades. He realizes that eating the flesh of The Others is killing his people. While on a hunt outside his cities limits, he kills a stag and strips the body of its flesh, which he packs around his cracked skin. It heals him, and he takes it as a sign that he is the Champion. After pronouncing The Reaper dead (well that’s what I got from it), he kills the Watchers, older women, who can speak to her. That’s when he meets Dove, an eyeless brunette beauty who calls herself an Oracle of the God. She becomes Dead Eye’s mate.

We also meet Nik, a Companion who lives in the trees. Nik is upset because he hasn’t been chosen by a Guardian (the Shepherds and Terriers) yet. He is hoping that the newest litter will have a pup choose him. What ends up happening, instead, is that the last puppy of that litter disappears while Nik has taken him down to the ground to use the bathroom. This leads to some pretty significant events in the book that include Mari.

The author does explain what happens to divide a civilization. There were several solar flares that decimated Earth’s population. The flares drove people to the forests, to the trees, or they stayed in the cities. Beyond killing all technology, the solar flare mutated both animals and insects. Spiders and roaches are mentioned, a lot, and I got so skeeved out reading about them. The animals can communicate with their chosen Companions. The remaining people formed into the Earth Walkers, Skin Stealers and Companions.

I am not going to go into the book much more after this because this post would take forever. Friendships are formed, people are saved, people die, and new alliances are formed. I can’t wait for book 2 to come out because I want to see what happens.

How many stars will I give Moon Chosen? 5

Why? A well written dystopian/fantasy. The world building and character building in this book, like I said above, is beyond anything that I have ever seen and I think has spoiled me for other books in the future.

Will I reread? Yes!!!

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range? Adult

Why? Violence, a scene of the after-effects of rape and a scene of attempted rape.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Dream Maker (Nashville Nights: Book 2) by Erin McCarthy

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: October 18th, 2016

Series: Nashville Nights

Heart Breaker – Book 1 

Dream Maker – Book 2

Love Taker – Book 3 (review here)

Genre: Romance

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

The bestselling author of Heart Breaker returns with another sultry Nashville Nights novel of country hits and stolen kisses, as a one-night stand turns into the beginning of an irresistible partnership.

Shane Hart loves the ladies. Like hit records, he can never have too many. Shane swore long ago never to treat a woman the way his abusive father treated his mother, but his traumatic past has kept him from making any solid commitments—even to a fiery redhead like Avery O’Leery. Shane’s happy enough to rescue her from a tight spot, but that’s as far as their connection goes—until their unforgettable liaison has him rethinking his impulse to love ’em and leave ’em.

Avery has big plans: first, shake the dust of small-town Kentucky from her boots; second, become a bona fide songwriter; and third, keep the truth hidden about her birth father  from everyone in Nashville. Nowhere on that list is she supposed to land in bed with a sexy stranger who rescues her off the street at midnight, especially if that stranger is Shane Hart. Avery’s trying not to fall for the dreamy music producer who could make or break her career. But her best-laid plans seem to be no match for a love that feels like destiny.

My review:

Before I write the review, I suggest you guys look at the titles of the author’s book and tell me what song/artist she got the title’s from. I had a clue (the lyrics kept going through my head, but I was drawing a blank on the name of the artist). It wasn’t until I decided to google the lyrics in my head that I got a hit and I was impressed.

Now, let’s get on topic with this review.

I didn’t think I would like this book. It did start on a funny note. The first  two sentences went like this:

Shane Hart never went out of the house with the sole intention of hooking up with women. Getting laid just happened to him.

I giggled when I read that because it set the tone of the first few chapters perfectly. I know I will have people reading what I wrote and go, “What is so funny about a guy who sleeps around. A manwhore?” I have a skewed sense of humor about stuff like that because when the manwhores do fall in love, they fall hard.

Shane is the brother/producer to country star Jolene Hart and her fiance/husband. The night he meets Avery O’Leery, who had been left on the side of the road by her cheating boyfriend, Ben. Shane decides to wait with her while she gets her purse back. The chemistry between them was electric, and I wasn’t surprised when they ended up together. I was surprised that Avery was a virgin when she slept with Shane and Shane was too. I also was surprised that she walked away from her encounter and left him a note that said, “Thanks for being decent.” Of course, he takes it the wrong way.

Fast forward three months later and Avery is doing pretty well for herself. She got her life together within weeks of breaking up with Ben. She landed her dream job as a junior songwriter for a publisher called Rusted Truck. She has fantastic roommates and is pretty happy with herself. But she keeps on thinking about her night with Shane.

She happens to meet Shane again when he stops by Rusted Truck, shopping. They (her boss and Shane) happen to hear her playing a song that she had written and wanted to run it by his sister. While there, he also fuels the rumor mill when he asks her out to dinner. He also asks her if she was pregnant in front of her friend and coworker. I was mentally shaking my head at this point. Avery could get fired because she isn’t supposed to be involved with clients in any way outside of the office.

Avery also has a huge secret that she is keeping. Not going to tell.

Shane has a secret too. His mother was beaten on an almost daily basis by his father, and if Shane got between them, he would get beaten also. He has been affected by what happened (I mean who wouldn’t be) to the point where he doesn’t ever celebrate his birthday. I felt awful for him because he was almost held hostage by what his father did, years ago, and it nearly cost him his relationship with Avery.

The end of the book was pretty explosive. A whole lot of stuff happened and was revealed. But it ended in what I consider a HEA.

How many stars will I give Dream Maker? 3.5/4

Why? A sensual romance that keeps you reading. There was a small lag in the middle of the book but the author did a great job of getting momentum up in the book.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

Why? Lots of hot steamy sex, some violence (which includes a fist fight in a music studio) and language.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Escape Aether (The Trinity Key Trilogy: Book 2) by L.M. Fry

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Publisher: Eleah Enterprises

Date of publication: March 30th, 2016

Series: The Trinity Key Trilogy

Into Aether – Book 1 (review here)

Escape Aether – Book 2

Save Aether – Book 3

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Valera longs to escape her sheltered life and overbearing mother. She just never imagines that her opportunity would arrive after being kidnapped.
Now she has a decision to make: face a world filled with danger and discover her own power, or return home where it’s safe and live in a gilded cage.

My review:

What an amazing 2nd book of the Trinity Key Trilogy!!

Escape Aether starts right where Into Aether leaves off, Valera being shoved off the airship platform. Julia kidnapped Valera because she believes that Valera can help her merge the rest of the Trinity Key. After saving Valera, they head straight away to Subterria. That’s where Julia thinks that her father had kept her part of the Trinity Key. Unfortunately, Subterria is in the middle of a civil war, caused when Julia’s father attacked Harmony’s Circus and Harem of the Horrific. While they are there, they meet up with Marcus Corvus, Valera’s step-uncle. Who was even eviler than I remembered in the first book. It is in Subterria that Valera starts harnessing aether and discovers that she can use/control heat.

Then the book shifts to Theo, who is still in Aetherland with her mother, father, Victor, Vivi, Nessie, and Victoria. Theo had discovered that she could cause storms and control lighting. She can also speak to Valera in her mind, but that link has been muted for some reason. The only reason that she knows Valera is alive is that she can still draw on aether. If Valera were dead, then she wouldn’t be able to draw on it. She makes the decision, with Victor and Nessie, that she is going back to Subterria to get Valera back. They get to Subterria shortly after Julia and Valera but get held up after Theo is attacked by Rufus Corvus. She is saved from him (and well, he was pushed to his death) by Victor and Benji, the strong man of Harmony’s circus. His death was awful. I had dreams of being crushed beneath gears for a few nights after I finished the book.

While they are there, they find out that Valera is willingly with Julia and that upsets both Theo and Victor. Valera does apologize to Theo and she wants Theo to tell her family that she loves them.

I’m sorry Theo. This is something I have to do. Tell my family that I love them.

They also find Titus, Victor and Valera’s stepfather, in the dungeon and decide to take him home to Victoria. When they arrive home, they are met by members of the Elder’s guard, which Theo takes out with aether. After she is taken into custody, she is charged, by the Elders of Aether, with heresy and treason. All because she and Valera combined their two keys.

On the Julia and Valera front, things aren’t going as well. After finding out that her father didn’t have the key, Julia decides to head to Boulder, Colorado. She is looking for a town called Goldsville. That is where her father’s vault is. While they were out on their adventure, Marcus finds Goldsville and where he thinks the vault might be, Azure Springs. So they head off to there.

Not going to go much into the book after this point. But I will say there is so much packed into the last half of the book, that it was hard for me to put down. Also, to see Julia and Valera’s transformations during the book was excellent.

I had started off the book not liking Julia. But as the book went on, and I read more and more about her life, I began to feel bad for her. Let’s say that she had it rough.

Valera had been hidden from the world by an overprotective mother and it showed. By the time Marcus came into the story, she was starting to develop a backbone. Her interactions with Marcus made her stronger.

The ending was not what I expected, but it was perfect. Not everything gets resolved and there are even more problems. I can’t wait to read the next book and see how the trilogy ends!!

How many stars will I give Escape Aether? 4

Why? A well-written steampunk/dystopia/fantasy. Very vividly written with great world-building, this is a series that stays with you even after you are done reading it.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Teen

Why: Very clean. No sex (just a few kissing scenes with Theo and Victor). Mild violence and no language.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

A Raven’s Heart (Secrets and Spies: Book 2) by K.C. Bateman

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: October 18th, 2016

Series: Secrets and Spies

To Steal a Heart – Book 1

A Raven’s Heart – Book 2

Genre: Romance

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

When a bookish codebreaker and a dashing spy are reunited in this steamy historical romance from the author of To Steal a Heart, their lives depend on their ability to resist temptation. But fate is a mistress who cannot be denied. . . .
 
In the war against France, Heloise Hampden is a high-value asset to the Crown. She’s cracked the enemy’s most recent communication, and for that, someone is trying to kill her. However, it’s the agent assigned to protect Heloise who poses the greatest threat to her heart: William de l’Isle, Viscount Ravenwood. Heloise has quarreled with the man they call Raven since childhood, yet always maintained a chaste distance. She’s sure nothing will change, thanks to the disfiguring scar on her face. So why is she so enchanted by the sight of Raven’s jet-black hair, rakish smile, and wicked green eyes?
 
Nothing has changed. Raven still wonders how Hell-cat Hampden’s lithe body would feel pressed against his, but for the mission he must remind himself that the woman takes more pleasure in ancient languages than she does in seduction. His imprisonment six years ago broke him in a way that makes the prospect of love impossible. Still, his heart beats like mad whenever he’s within ten paces of Heloise, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even if that means taking her to Spain as an unwilling hostage. Protecting her from danger will be a challenge; protecting her from desire will be pure agony.

My review:

I love to read historical romance and have been reading them since I was 14. Something about them sparked my interest and fueled my obsession with historical romances.

So saying that, when I got the email that I was accepted (through NetGalley) to read this book, I was excited. It sounded perfect. Regency Era romance plus spies, the ideal read!!

It was, for the most part.

I liked the book and am interested in reading not only the 1st book but any afterward. But, Heloise got on my nerves. Raven is trying to protect her and she is going out of her way not to follow his orders.The Altamira Caves was a huge one. Raven tells her to stay put, and she goes, with an armed escort, anyways. At that point in the book, I was sick of her headstrongness and wanted to smack her and say ,”Listen to him, you idiot.

I did like her, though. She had a fantastic bucket list. I loved it when Raven took her diary, was reading them out loud and then rewriting them. I cracked up laughing. I also cracked up laughing at all the mentions of her fancy undergarments. Heloise surprised Raven but having such decadent things.

Raven drove me nuts too. All his inner dialogue was about Heloise. How she was perfect and how he wasn’t. How he didn’t deserve her because of what he went through when he was kidnapped. When he was abducted, thoughts of her kept him sane. How he wrote her name, her name with his last name. Put his crest of arms, her crest of arms and what he thought a combined crest of arms would be. There are more examples, but I won’t bore you guys with them. After a while, it got tedious and at one point I said out loud, “Tell her how you feel, ding-dong.

Other than that, the book was great. Heloise and Raven had a rocky relationship at the beginning of the book that turned into a great relationship by the end. They had fantastic chemistry together. The pages sizzled with looks and Heloise’s tongue wetting her lips (that drove Raven crazy). When they ended up having sex, it was off the page hot.

The end of the book was a little bit of a surprise, and there was a lot of action. People die, people makeup, and people do things that even they didn’t think they were going to do. The epilogue was perfect!!!

How many stars will I give A Raven’s Heart? 3.5/4

Why? Great romance with steamy sex scenes but Heloise was too headstrong and Raven was stuck in the past. Once he moved past his self-doubts, the book became fantastic.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and violence

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Shadows of Men (The Watchers: Book 1) by M. Lee Holmes

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Publisher: Self published

Date of publication: July 21st, 2016

Series: The Watchers

Shadows of Men – Book 1

Genre: Fantasy

Where to find: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

When Rhada, High Protector of Kaena, is commanded by the King to travel north to investigate a suspicious disturbance, she is less than thrilled to spend over a month on the road. As her companion, she chooses Captain Mayvard Stoneward, the only person who can bear her company. The two of them set off on a journey that will forever change their lives- a journey where Rhada’s past seems to follow her everywhere she goes- a past that the people of the realm have not so easily forgotten.
Meanwhile, Lord Ivran Cassius has plans to overthrow the throne, and at his side is the entire realm, eager to rid themselves of the man who calls himself King. Rhada’s absence leaves King Firion vulnerable, and Lord Ivran only needs to find the right moment to strike.
But none of them are expecting the darkness that has gathered in the north- an ancient sorcerer, seemingly returned from the dead. He is a man who can raise the dead from their graves and control the minds of his prey- a man desperately seeking vengeance. 
The realm of Kaena will have to come together to fight this new evil, and only one person can save them all.

My review:

This book starts on a horrifying note. Viktor, who is the High Protector of Kaena, is choosing his successor. That wasn’t horrifying; it was the way the successor gets elected. His sword tells him (well its more like a ringing, very hard to explain and is better described in the book) the name of who it wants. They go, get him, stab him through the chest, and the sword gives him his life back. Viktor is trying to ignore the sword because who the sword wants because of the gender of that person. After the 3rd person is killed, he tells his King who the sword wants, and the chapter ends. I got so frustrated at that point because I wanted to know WHO it was. But it compelled me to keep on reading.

In the next chapter, which takes place years later, it is revealed who the successor is. Her name is Rhada and she is the most feared and hated person in the realm of Kaena. It is explained that she is responsible for a massacre at a city called South Fort, which was done by the King’s command. She is summoned to the King and Queen after the Sorceress Myranda has a vision of a city. Her exact vision is this:

North, in the city of Tyos, the blood of the innocent people has flooded the streets and a great wall of flame has swallowed the Blood Sea entirely

King Firion and Queen Scarlet order Rhada to go to Tyos, investigate if it happened, and report back to them. She decides to take her Captain, Mayvard Stonewall, with her, which anger Myranda. They are supposed to be married within three days, and now the wedding is on hold. At this point in the book, I didn’t like Rhada. She came across as cold, mean, and unfeeling.

As Rhada and Mayvard are preparing for their journey towards Tyos, a group of rebels is meeting in the city of Mordrid to discuss A) when to kill Rhada and B) when to attack and kill the King. Unbeknownst to them, there is a spy for King Firion in their midst.

I won’t go much into the book after that point but to say that Rhada had a tough time of it for the rest of the book. I went from not liking her to feeling bad for her. I kept thinking to myself”Thank God for Mayvard“, especially at the end of the book.

There were a few smaller storylines that were wrapped up by the end of the book, but the main storylines were not. I was very disappointed when the book ended. There were a few things that I wanted to know and now I will have to wait for the next book to find out. I did find the epilogue fascinating.

How many stars will I give Shadows of Men? 4

Why? A great fantasy that kept my attention. The author did a great job writing vivid characters and a world that came alive. Also, and I never comment on this, the cover totally lived up to the book.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence, sex, a pretty graphic chapter of torture and one rape scene.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Best Friend by Shalini Boland

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Publisher: Adrenalin Books

Date of publication: October 20th, 2016

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

‘I can tell we’re going to be the best of friends…’

When Louisa Sullivan takes her little boy to his first playdate at a new friend’s house she doesn’t realise life is about to change for her family. Because she’s about to meet Darcy Lane.

Darcy is a woman who has everything – a dream house, a powerful husband and enviable wealth.

She’s the perfect wife. 

The perfect friend. 

The perfect liar

From the top ten bestselling author of The Secret Mother and The Child Next Door, this utterly gripping psychological thriller will have you up all night reading. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Wife Between Us this book is for you.

My review:

Shalini Boland is fast becoming my favorite thriller/suspense/mystery author. She can creep me out to the point where I jump if interrupted while reading her books!!. I had done a review for The Girl From the Sea back in September that was creepy and thought it couldn’t be beaten. The Best Friend proved me wrong.

I liked Louisa from the beginning, even though I was convinced that she was overreacting. They were great friends at first and then things started to head south with their friendship. It was after Joe’s birthday party, and her being let go from her newspaper job, that Louisa seemed to go off the deep end. It wasn’t until something awful happened and that I started seeing Darcy in a different light.

I was convinced that Darcy was innocent in all this until about a few chapters from the end. The things that Louisa was harping on could have been written off as Darcy having Mom brain. But then little things started going on that started casting doubt on Darcy.

While the Louisa/Darcy drama is playing out, there is a substory going on. It’s about a girl named Nicole and her brother Callum. Nicole and Callum are abused by their alcoholic mother. They were taken from her after Callum (and Nicole) got caught stealing from a local grocery store. The first time they were mentioned, though, was when Nicole was 6 and Callum was 3. Then they are mentioned every 3-6 years, ending when Nicole is 22. How they are tied into the Louisa/Darcy drama is explained at the end of the book.

The ending of the book was not what I expected. It was good, but 100% not what I expected and the epilogue was even better!!!

How many stars will I give The Best Friend: 4

Why: A very well written psychological thriller that kept me guessing and on my toes for the entire book

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age Range: Adult

Why: Violence and language. No sex.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

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