Weekly Wrap Up: July 19th through July 25th 2020

Books I’ve Read:

Survive

Crossroads

Arrival of the Traveler

Of Lords and Commoners

Smolder

From This Moment On

Free Falling

The Cinderella Arrangement

True Light


Weekly Posts:

Its Monday! What Are You Reading

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday


Reviews I did this week:

Of Lords and Commoners (review here)

WWW Wednesday: July 22nd 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I am currently reading:

Of Lords and Commoners (Lords and Commoners #1)

Humans Have Always Had to Fight Plagues …

“This book was exactly what I was looking for. A breath of fresh air, as it tells the tale of a commoner thrust into a world of lords and vampires. It spans many years with many historical events, times, and places not like your average twilight telling in a high school back ground. I would recommend this book to anyone.”
— Sanders

The only future Vallachia could have imagined, as well as her wonderfully simple life disappears when she finds herself in a struggle to figure out the rules of a strange new world.

She longs for her old life and the one she truly loves remains out of reach, as she embarks on an inconceivable journey.

Vallachia quickly finds herself on the wrong side of a brewing battle for vampire domination. Not knowing who to trust could have fatal consequences … for millions of people.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


I recently finished reading:

Arrival of the Traveler (Waldgrave #1)

Portraits have been removed from the walls, and areas of the house are off limits. Some rooms even seem to have been walled off completely. No one will talk to her.

It’s been a difficult year for Abilene Collins. Since her father’s death, her whirlwind life of adventure and travel has come to an end.

Now, she’s living with her mysterious uncle. He’s a man with secrets, living almost alone in a ridiculously large mansion that he doesn’t own. He doesn’t like questions, and when Lena starts asking about his job, it isn’t hard to tell that he’s keeping some family secrets from her.

The young and ambitious groundskeeper has become her only friend, and one day he tells her that she was stolen from her mother years before. Lena’s family are all telepathic, and that isn’t all…they’re a religious pillar of the Silenti society. Her grandfather has used his standing to gain political power, decimating his rivals along with anyone who gets in his way.

Suddenly thrust into a life of political plots and religious fanatics, Lena finds herself struggling to navigate her own life. Some people aren’t fond of the Darays, and the family has nearly died out through assassination.

It appears Lena is the latest target.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Walmart eBooks


What books I think I’ll read next:

Smolder by [Desiree Douglas]

Scarlett Barrington left the small town of Greenshade behind forever, along with unspeakable emotional wounds. She is preparing to begin her dream job when she’s called home to help her estranged mother, a hoarder, clean out her mess or risk losing her house.

Reluctantly returning home, nothing prepares her for the shock of coming face to face with her first love. Brody Finch may have been Greenshade’s glorious football legend, but he is also the man who deserted her a decade ago, when she needed him the most.

As Scarlett attempts to handle her combative mother, she’s forced to come to terms with airing her family’s dirty laundry on the reality TV show, Packrats. Community members with agendas of their own rally to help, harm, or just plain gawk.

Unexpectedly, the cold case murder of her sister comes back into focus, and Scarlett finds her own life in danger as she struggles to discover the truth about what happened so long ago. In the midst of this chaos, a serial arsonist brings the small town to its knees.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Can Scarlett and Finch find the love they once shared and lost? And if they do, will she live through the process?

Purchase Links: Amazon

From This Moment On (Windswept Bay Book 1) by [Debra Clopton]

Hurt by her failed marriage and dashed dreams, Cali Sinclair returns home to Windswept Bay with her heart wary and closed to the dreams of true love she so desperately wanted. Determined to never again risk her heart, she throws herself into running the family’s small boutique resort on the Florida coast, a place so full of romance that it’s a reminder every day of what she’ll never have. But when renowned artist Grant Ellington shows up to paint a mural on the wall of the resort, she’s swept away by her response to the artist. Suddenly, every time he looks at her, Cali finds it harder than she ever thought possible to keep her heart protected.

Grant Ellington loves his ranch, his horses, and his life as a sought-after artist. But after walking away from a plane crash that killed his best friend and the young pilot, he’s still struggling with survivor’s guilt as he heads to Windswept Bay. Painting a sea life mural at the resort started out as a favor to his neighbor, but one meeting with the beautiful Cali and he feels alive again—and determined to spend time on the moonlit beaches with her in his arms…

But, like him, Cali has her own emotional scars—can they learn to trust the love that sparks between them and move forward from this moment on?

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Walmart eBooks

Free Falling: Book 1 of the Irish End Games by [Susan Kiernan-Lewis]

When David and Sarah Woodson take a much-needed vacation with their ten-year old son, John, their intention is to find a relaxing, remote spot to take a break from the artificial stimulation of their busy world back in Jacksonville, Florida. What happens within hours of settling in to their rural, rustic little cottage in a far-flung spot on the coast of Ireland is an international incident that leaves the family stranded and dependent on themselves for their survival. Facing starvation, as well as looters and opportunists, they learn the hard way the important things in life. Can a family skilled only in modern day suburbia and corporate workplaces learn to survive when the world is flung back a hundred years? When there is no internet, no telephones, no electricity and no cars? And when every person near them is desperate to survive at any cost?

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Audible | Walmart eBooks

The Cinderella Arrangement by [Vanessa Waltz]

Fake Cinderella. Real Romance.

Luke Pardini is many things: playboy, tabloid fodder, ridiculously attractive billionaire. He’s the Prince Charming every woman dreams of.

And he wants me to be his fake girlfriend.

I don’t want a relationship, even a make-believe one, but I do need the money. Writing isn’t paying the bills, and I hardly have time for a second job, let alone a romance. But he’s offering me a dream-come true.

I’ll get the fancy dresses, the formal dinners, the full Luke Pardini experience. I get to be Cinderella for a few weeks, then I’ll trade in the shoes. No problem, right?

Except I don’t have to pretend when he touches me, but he’s made it clear I only get to play his girlfriend for a few weeks. When midnight strikes, our Cinderella Arrangement is over.

He promised the arrangement would be simple.

I promised I wouldn’t fall in love.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | AbeBooks.com | Alibris | IndieBound | Audible | Walmart eBooks

True Light (From the Stars Book 1) by [G. Bailey]

Aura Scott didn’t want to move house, but her father didn’t give her a choice when he wanted an escape after the car accident that nearly killed them both. Trying to survive in a literal ghost town is never fun, but add in the neighbours from hell, well it’s becoming a nightmare.
Maxx and his brother have dark secrets, and Aura might want to run when she finds out the truth.
When two strangers move into Maxx’s house across the street, Aura finds out there is more than just secrets to be frightened of.

When light appears, so does darkness…

Purchase Links: Amazon | IndieBound

Alice Isn't Well (Death Herself, #1)

“There are lots of demons in the sky above London. The problem is, this one came crashing down to earth.”

Ten years ago, Alice Warner was attacked and disfigured by an attacker in her own home. She remembers nothing of the attack, and she has been in a psychiatric hospital ever since. When she’s finally released, however, she starts working as a security guard at an abandoned shopping mall. And that’s when she starts to realize that something is haunting her, keeping just one step out of sight at all times… Meanwhile, seventy years earlier, a little girl named Wendy is left orphaned after a World War 2 fighter plane crashes onto her house. Taken to a monastery, Wendy is quickly singled out by the nuns for special attention. They say she has been possessed by a demon, and that there’s only one way to save her soul. Fortunately for Wendy, however, there’s someone else who seems to know far more about the situation. What is the shocking connection between Alice and Wendy, reaching out across the years? Does a demon really lurk in the girl’s soul? And who is Hannah, the mysterious figure who tries to help Wendy, and who seventy years later begins to make her influence felt in Alice’s life too?

Alice Isn’t Well is the first book in the Death Herself series, about a dark figure who arrives in the night, promising to help deal with the forces of evil whenever they appear.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 20th 2020)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.


What I Read this past week:

Qualify (The Atlantis Grail, #1)

You have two options. You die, or you Qualify.

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there’s a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.

Because there’s a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition–including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her school, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die .

Compete (The Atlantis Grail, #2)

It’s one thing to Qualify…
But do you have what it takes to Compete?

With Earth about to be destroyed by an extinction level asteroid, teenage nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl Gwen Lark, and a few of her friends and loved ones, barely Qualified for rescue onboard one of the thousands of ark-ships headed to the ancient colony planet Atlantis.

Now faced with a year-long journey in space, life in a wondrously alien environment, and many tough life choices, Gwen must decide who or what she will become. Fleet Cadet or Civilian? Friend or lover? Average or extraordinary?

Can she make new friends? Can she trust the old ones, such as Logan Sangre, her sexy high school crush and an Earth special operative?

Time and time again, Gwen’s uncanny ability to come up with the best answer in a crisis saves her life and others. And now, her unique Logos voice makes her an extremely valuable commodity to the Atlanteans — so much so that her enigmatic commanding officer Aeson Kassiopei, who is also the Imperial Prince of Atlantis, has taken an increasingly personal interest in her.

Before the end of the journey, Gwen must convince him that she has what it takes to compete in the deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail.

It’s becoming apparent — the life of her family and all of Earth depends on it.

Win (The Atlantis Grail #3)

The Games are Forever!


It’s one thing to Qualify and Compete…

Now she must Win.


Gwen Lark, nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl, is among the lucky ones. She’s one of several million teenage refugees to escape the extinction-level asteroid barreling towards Earth and reach the ancient colony planet of Atlantis.


But Atlantis is a strange new world with higher gravity and a blazing white sun, where nothing is as expected. The new arrivals from Earth will now belong to the majority class of non-citizens who face a lifetime of hard work and limited rights.


To make matters worse, Gwen’s rare and powerful talent, her Logos voice, is viewed as a potential weapon to be exploited by the Imperator, as well as a threat to the Kassiopei Imperial Dynasty and its uncompromising control over the people of Atlantis.


A last-minute heartbreak prior to arrival turns to joy, when Gwen receives a declaration of love from an unexpected source. The Wedding date is set, but before she can be joined with her true love, she is forced to compete in the brutal and deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail to save herself, her family, friends, and everything she cares about. Once again, her intelligence, quick thinking skills, resilience, and creativity are challenged to the breaking point.


The Games are monumental, intricate, lethal . . . and the Games are Forever.


This time Gwen must fight and figure her way through the most difficult and sophisticated contest she has ever faced. Terrifying Ordeals and impossible Challenges, ruthless skilled Competitors, vicious secret assassins, and dubious teammates she must work with but cannot trust, are just the beginning. . . .


Meanwhile, as the Games rage, the fate of two worlds is at stake as a new alien threat looms over Earth and Atlantis.


But Gwen Lark has a secret weapon of her own. It’s not her Logos voice and its untapped power to control orichalcum technology and perpetuate change.


It is Gwen herself.

Survive (The Atlantis Grail, #4)

The End is Here, in a Fiery Cosmic Apocalypse!

Gwen Lark knows how to Qualify, Compete, and Win…
The time has come to Survive.

The Games of the Atlantis Grail have come to a ground-shaking halt and Gwen Lark, nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl, survived the remarkable ordeal, for the time being.

But the worst is yet to come!

Now, both the colony planet Atlantis and Earth are under a threat of annihilation, and everything is up in the air, including dire and stunning wonders in the Atlantean skies.

Will there be a Wedding? Will there be a future for Gwen Lark, her beloved, and all their families, friends, and loved ones?

Is Gwen’s rare and powerful talent, the Logos voice of creation, enough to resolve the greatest mystery of the Kassiopei Imperial Dynasty and its role in the events of deepest antiquity since the dawn of time?

The fate of the entire human species is at stake, and now there can be no respite, not a moment to lose. The final battle is here, and Gwen, and everyone she knows and loves, are in for the greatest fight of their lives.

It is time to survive.


What I am reading now:

Crossroads (The Corax Chronicles Book 1)

The mythological god Raven, the living embodiment of the cautionary tale, is a veteran trickster with a charismatic-yet-erratic style all his own. As Raven has lived firsthand throughout the ages of mankind, he has a great deal of experience in getting into trouble, whether messing about with gods in Ancient Greece or racing across the American countryside on a stolen motorcycle. But when an enemy steals a power that Raven’s been guarding for thousands of years, Raven and his daughter Dora are abruptly thrust into a journey filled with magic, ghosts, gods, and seers in order to recover the irreplaceable thing he has lost.

At the same time, in the wake of three terrible hurricanes that struck the Mississippi River basin, a young shaman named Daniel begins a spirit quest for his lost medicine pouch, stolen from him on the worst night of the storms. When Daniel meets trouble on the road in the form of a woman named Vengeance, the two of them will have to work together to right the wrongs that set them on their shared path.

For all four of them, as they become steadily intertwined by power and circumstance, they are each driven towards a final crossroads that will change all of their lives forevermore.


What Am I Reading Next?

Arrival of the Traveler (Waldgrave #1)

Portraits have been removed from the walls, and areas of the house are off limits. Some rooms even seem to have been walled off completely. No one will talk to her.

It’s been a difficult year for Abilene Collins. Since her father’s death, her whirlwind life of adventure and travel has come to an end.

Now, she’s living with her mysterious uncle. He’s a man with secrets, living almost alone in a ridiculously large mansion that he doesn’t own. He doesn’t like questions, and when Lena starts asking about his job, it isn’t hard to tell that he’s keeping some family secrets from her.

The young and ambitious groundskeeper has become her only friend, and one day he tells her that she was stolen from her mother years before. Lena’s family are all telepathic, and that isn’t all…they’re a religious pillar of the Silenti society. Her grandfather has used his standing to gain political power, decimating his rivals along with anyone who gets in his way.

Suddenly thrust into a life of political plots and religious fanatics, Lena finds herself struggling to navigate her own life. Some people aren’t fond of the Darays, and the family has nearly died out through assassination.

It appears Lena is the latest target.

Of Lords and Commoners (Lords and Commoners #1)

Humans Have Always Had to Fight Plagues …

The only future Vallachia could have imagined, as well as her wonderfully simple life disappears when she finds herself in a struggle to figure out the rules of a strange new world.

She longs for her old life and the one she truly loves remains out of reach, as she embarks on an inconceivable journey.

Vallachia quickly finds herself on the wrong side of a brewing battle for vampire domination. Not knowing who to trust could have fatal consequences … for millions of people.

Smolder

Scarlett Barrington left the small town of Greenshade behind forever, along with unspeakable emotional wounds. She is preparing to begin her dream job when she’s called home to help her estranged mother, a hoarder, clean out her mess or risk losing her house.

Reluctantly returning home, nothing prepares her for the shock of coming face to face with her first love. Brody Finch may have been Greenshade’s glorious football legend, but he is also the man who deserted her a decade ago, when she needed him the most.

As Scarlett attempts to handle her combative mother, she’s forced to come to terms with airing her family’s dirty laundry on the reality TV show, Packrats. Community members with agendas of their own rally to help, harm, or just plain gawk.

Unexpectedly, the cold case murder of her sister comes back into focus, and Scarlett finds her own life in danger as she struggles to discover the truth about what happened so long ago. In the midst of this chaos, a serial arsonist brings the small town to its knees.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Can Scarlett and Finch find the love they once shared and lost? And if they do, will she live through the process?

WWW Wednesday: July 8th 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I am currently reading:

Control Freakz (Control Freakz, #1)

Memories will haunt you.

Natalie has lost everything but herself, and she’s just one of thousands. After Protocol 00 is enacted, Natalie’s family is taken by the government, along with the families of her two best friends, Hunter and Ethan. With nothing to lose and the threat of government hitmen kidnapping them at any moment, the three must battle to survive in a horrid, post-apocalyptic world run by President Ash and his invasive government.

Risking ruthless leaders, attempted mind control, and her very existence on the planet, Natalie, along with Hunter and Ethan, will stop at nothing in their quest to regain everything they’ve ever known. But there are unrivaled powers working against them, and with impending doom looming at any moment, there is no one to trust and nowhere to hide. In a life devoid of hope, happiness, and safety, Natalie must battle both the darkness lurking inside and out of her in order to regain one fleeting memory of her past that has all but fallen away for good, but it might already be too late.


I recently finished reading:

Blackbird

Miguel was there when the girl that he loved was abducted.

It happened in broad daylight, less than a mile from her home, sixteen years from the day she was born. Left beaten and bloodied, all he could do was watch as the thugs drove away, her hands pressed against the back window, her mouth open in a soundless scream. When the local authorities, her friends, and her family give up on her, he sets off alone on a journey that takes him across the globe.

But Human Trafficking is an industry as old as the human race, built by the most dangerous and merciless of people. And he quickly finds himself swept up in a world that threatens to swallow him whole, where sometimes even death can be a blessing.

In a hole in Mexico City, Adrian Rucker lives out his meager existence, a shell of the man that he once was. An ex-British agent, discarded by his government and long past his prime, he struggles to find meaning in his life, while battling inner demons that conspire to destroy him. Then a teenage boy walks into the bar below his apartment, reeking of desperation and carrying a revolver. For better or worse, from that moment, their lives are linked.

Together, Miguel and Rucker will attempt to do the impossible and track down a single missing girl in a domain where the victims are never found. Together, they will brave the darkness and the monsters within, clinging to the hope that they will still recognize themselves when they emerge, if they emerge at all.

Shallow Graves (The Haunted #1)

Not all houses are made of brick and stone… Robert Watts is having the worst day of his entire life: first he’s laid off, then he finds out that his wife is having an affair… with his boss no less. And that’s only the beginning.

Before the month is out, Robert finds himself alone to raise his daughter with no money, no job, and a house that is minutes from being repossessed. Just when he hits rock bottom, a strange visitor arrives at the doorstep of his soon to be foreclosed house with a letter from an Aunt he didn’t know existed.

The offer is simple: look after Aunt Ruth during her dying days, and in return Robert will be bequeathed the Harlop Estate in which she currently resides. It’s a no brainer and Robert jumps at the opportunity, equally motivated by the prospect of financial security as he is for a fresh start.

Problem is, it only takes a few nights in the Harlop Estate before he begins to question Aunt Ruth’s claims that they are the home’s only inhabitants…

It’s the scratching he hears during the night, the voices that he can barely make out over the constant rain, and then there’s the girl with the rat…

With their house foreclosed and their bank accounts liquidated, Robert and his daughter Amy desperately need a place to live. But the question Robert soon finds himself struggling with is whether living in the Harlop Estate is worth it… and if he can survive until Aunt Ruth passes to collect his inheritance.

Shallow Graves is the first book in the Haunted Series, chilling, gruesome, and truly haunting tales with a twist that you will never see coming.

The Draig's Woman (Draig Clan, #1)

Rescuing the man tied to a tree seemed like a rational decision. Claire is a smart, capable bookkeeper who happens to work at a martial arts academy. She has no idea the door she walked through to save the bound man would leave her trapped in 13th century Scotland. She is unable to regret the night of passion shared with Ian, even though it happened with the threat of death just outside the door. She pretends to be content with Ian’s friendship, knowing his people must come first. Compelled by honor and tormented by desire, is being his woman, while he marries another, enough?

Ian, Laird of the Draig Clan, is a man trapped by fate. Forced by necessity to marry a woman he has never met, her dowry is essential to save his clan. However, he is in love with the woman who saved his life and then spent one night in his arms. Duty prevents Ian from being able to marry Claire as custom, honor, and his heart demand. Drawn to her, believing they share the same desires and dreams in life, he finally offers her the only option available, a place by his side and in his bed.

Claire and Ian are bound together in love and then ripped apart by deception and a plot to destroy the Draig clan. Facing the final battle alone and unarmed, Claire saves them all. The ultimate challenge is forgiving Ian for sending her away.


What books I think I’ll read next:

What Haunts Me - Ghost Killer - Book 1

The ghosts that wander among the living do not haunt in the traditional sense; instead, they plague the innocent with disease, deformity and addiction. And once a ghost finds its victim, it will haunt them for a lifetime… or kill them quickly.

After George gets ill, the dreams begin. Suppressed memories are triggered, allowing him to see ghosts, and a deeply buried instinct emerges. George finds out he can kill these monsters, and heal their victims. The ability to save lives is something George cannot ignore, but it soon becomes an obsession and begins to eat away at his sanity.

His quest for understanding leads him to new friends and allies, and exposes him to enemies he could have never imagined. In the end, can you really ever kill something that’s already dead?

The Grid 1: Fall of Justice (The Grid Trilogy, #1)

A fortress city. A terrifying prison. A survivor determined to beat the odds.

Joe Parsons’ father has just disappeared. Growing up in a post-plague world, he knows that justice is in short supply, but he craves answers. He hacks into the sinister Fortrillium network, but when he’s caught red-handed, he’s in for the shock of his life.

Joe is thrown into The Grid, a prison lined with inhumane cages where the only hope of a trial comes from surviving a series of terrifying challenges. Only one person has ever escaped the deadly, gamified colosseum. Hunted by his enemies and in constant danger, Joe must find a way to survive. What he discovers along the way will change his life forever… if he can manage to escape.

Fall of Justice is a gripping work of dystopian sci-fi. If you like tension-filled suspense, fascinating apocalyptic futures, and characters who come to life, then you’ll love the first book in Paul Teague’s The Grid Trilogy.

Beware the Ranger

Twelve years ago, Kaitlyn Russell had a dream: living happily ever after with Clay Morgan. Except her grandmother had bigger plans for her beloved granddaughter and they didn’t include life in the small town of McKenna Springs as the wife of a young, poor deputy. Kaitlyn’s heart was broken when Clay and her grandmother convinced her to pursue her second love, Broadway stardom.

Texas Ranger Clay Morgan is a widower with a young son to raise. A dozen years before, he had to make the most difficult decision of his life when he agreed to let go of the only woman he’d ever loved so that she could pursue her dreams.

Now, fate and an old woman’s guilty conscience conspire to bring Clay and Kaitlyn back together once more. Will they be able to lay the past to rest and rekindle their love from the ashes?

Qualify (The Atlantis Grail, #1)

You have two options. You die, or you Qualify.

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendents of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there’s a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.

Because there’s a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition—including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her class, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die.

Crossroads (The Corax Chronicles Book 1)

The mythological god Raven, the living embodiment of the cautionary tale, is a veteran trickster with a charismatic-yet-erratic style all his own. As Raven has lived firsthand throughout the ages of mankind, he has a great deal of experience in getting into trouble, whether messing about with gods in Ancient Greece or racing across the American countryside on a stolen motorcycle. But when an enemy steals a power that Raven’s been guarding for thousands of years, Raven and his daughter Dora are abruptly thrust into a journey filled with magic, ghosts, gods, and seers in order to recover the irreplaceable thing he has lost.

At the same time, in the wake of three terrible hurricanes that struck the Mississippi River basin, a young shaman named Daniel begins a spirit quest for his lost medicine pouch, stolen from him on the worst night of the storms. When Daniel meets trouble on the road in the form of a woman named Vengeance, the two of them will have to work together to right the wrongs that set them on their shared path.

For all four of them, as they become steadily intertwined by power and circumstance, they are each driven towards a final crossroads that will change all of their lives forevermore.

Stolen Gypsy by Elizabeth Horton-Newton

Stolen Gypsy by [Horton-Newton, Elizabeth]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: April 15th, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense

Where you can find Stolen Gypsy: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

“Her parents are dead. The government has failed her. Now she doesn’t even know who she is. Terza Blackstone is rescued by handsome Irishman Tristan Devlin and that begins the search for her true identity. When everything you thought was yours has been stolen from you, there’s only one thing to do. Steal it all back. What do gypsies, the Witness Protection Program, a drug cartel, and a young girl running for her life have in common?” 


My Review:

I made the mistake of judging this book but not only the cover but the blurb. I thought that this was going to be your typical young adult/mystery/suspense. I was expecting the usual drama that goes along with a Young Adult novel. So, when I started reading Stolen Gypsy, I was shocked to be proven wrong. This book was nothing like what I thought.

The plot of Stolen Gypsy was simple and then got hard to follow as the book went on. Terza was orphaned when her parents were killed in a car accident. After another car accident, which takes the life of her temporary guardian/lawyer, Terza is rescued by Tristan. She realizes that everything she has been told is a lie. She also realizes that some powerful, dangerous forces want her. One group wants to reclaim her, another group wants to hide her, and the last group wants to kill her. Terza needs to figure out who she can trust and who she can’t. What will happen to Terza? Will she be able to live a normal life? Or will she be on the run for the rest of her life?

I couldn’t help but feel bad for Terza. Her life had been unsettled, and she never formed a real relationship with her parents. Because of that, I could understand why she didn’t feel grief when they were killed. I thought that she dealt with everything that leads up to Tristan, helping her well. But, then again, she didn’t have time to process what was happening to her. Even after that, she barely got time to process the information that was piled on her. I was in awe that she didn’t have a full-fledged breakdown. Because I know I would have. By the end of the book, she wanted everything to end. I didn’t blame her. I would have been tired of dodging cartels and gypsies at every turn. 

Tristan was a huge part of the book. I did think that he was going to have some secret identity as a spy or something. It was the way he acted at the beginning of the book. It was a let down when he was revealed to be an average guy. But that let down didn’t last long. I developed a massive crush on him by the end of the book. If only he were real…sigh.

Peter was also a considerable part of the book. I didn’t know what to make of him for most of it. I thought that he was working either for the gypsies or the cartel at one point in the book. I didn’t care for his backstory with Nora and Tristan, but it gave their relationship an edge that was needed.

I wasn’t a massive fan of a Terza/Tristan romance. She was in high school, and he was older. I know its a double standard for me, but I kept cringing whenever they would almost kiss or exchange significant looks. That’s where the author kept it. Except for one kiss, it was innocent.

The plotline had a few twists in it. A couple, I saw coming. But there were some that I didn’t see coming. Most of those happened at the end of the book, so that I won’t get into it. I will say that I was shocked.

The end of the book was satisfying. Not only because of what was implied but also because there were two alternate endings. I loved both of them!!


I would give Stolen Gypsy an Older Teen rating. There is no sex (there are two steamy kissing scenes). There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Stolen Gypsy. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

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


Have you read Stolen Gypsy?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know!!

In Her Shadow by Kristin Miller

In Her Shadow: A Novel by [Miller, Kristin]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: April 21st, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find In Her Shadow: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A pregnant young woman becomes obsessed with the disappearance of her lover’s wife–only to discover that she may be headed for the same fate–from New York Times bestselling author Kristin Miller.

Once his secretary, Colleen is now pregnant with Michael’s baby. When he brings her to his opulent estate, Ravenwood, she is abruptly thrust into a life of luxury she’s never known. But Colleen finds the immense house suffused with the memory of Michael’s beautiful wife, Joanna, who left months ago and who haunts her imagination. It quickly becomes apparent that there is little room for a new mistress of this house: The staff greets her with hostility, and there are entire wings and corridors from which she is prohibited to enter.

Then bones are unearthed in the grove across the street.

When Michael falls under the suspicion of the detectives investigating the case, the soon-to-be mother of his child finds herself hurled deeper into her boyfriend’s dark past–a past that threatens to upend all her dreams. But the terrifying secrets lurking in the shadows of Ravenwood pale in comparison to the drastic measures Colleen will take to stake a claim to her new life.

Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, In Her Shadow is the chilling story of one woman’s desperate desire to be loved and the ghosts that get in her way–but only if she lets them.


First Line:

“Help.”

In Her Shadow by Kristin Miller

My Review:

When I read the blurb for In Her Shadow, I was intrigued. Seeing the comparisons to Rebecca caught my interest right away. The blurb deepened my interest in the book. It sounded perfect for me. Then I read it. While I liked some parts of the book, there were other parts that I didn’t like. Those parts did factor in my rating of the review.

In Her Shadow had a fast plotline, which I liked. The book takes place within a week of Colleen moving into Michael’s house, Ravenwood. There were no dropped characters and, more importantly, no dropped storylines. The flow of the book was ok. Because the book had several different POV’s (always in 3rd person), the flow did get interrupted. I felt that if the author kept to Colleen, Michael, and maybe Joanna’s POV, the book would have had a better flow to it. I did not need to read about the detective, Michael’s friends, the cook, or the maid’s POV.

I liked, and felt terrible, for Colleen during the first half of In Her Shadow. She was thrust into a world that she did not know about. She had to deal with a staff that treated her like she was invisible. Adding to that, she was pregnant, and it was high risk. I didn’t blame her for feeling that she was overshadowed in the first days there. I also didn’t blame her for becoming obsessed with Joanna and her legacy. But, saying that, I wasn’t expecting what she found out.

I didn’t like Michael. From the beginning, he came across as skeevy. I had my doubts about him from the start. I mean, who moves on less than a month after his wife disappears? And then gets his new girlfriend pregnant? That was a huge WTF for several people in the book and me. But, as skeevy as he was, I didn’t quite believe that he killed Joanna. He was a coward and a bit of a wuss, but he didn’t spark that “I’m a killer” vibe to me.

The secondary characters most definitely made the book. From the police detective to Joanna’s best frenemy to Michael’s best friend, those characters breathed life into the book when it needed it.

The mystery angle of the book (Joanna’s disappearance) was well written, but it held no mystery for me. I was able to guess what happened to her before the author got there. I also guessed certain specific details that occurred before they happened (if that makes sense).

The thriller angle of the book was very well written. The author was able to keep me on my toes during those scenes.

The end of In Her Shadow was intense. Considering the prologue, I was expecting the book to end a certain way. I was not expecting what happened to happen. But, as I mentioned in the above paragraph, there was a huge plot twist that took me by surprise. I was not expecting what was revealed. I also was not expecting the final chapter or the countdown. Does that mean another book is in the works?


I would give In Her Shadow an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread In Her Shadow. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

The New Husband by [Palmer, D.J.]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: April 14th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The New Husband: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone–presumably drowned while fishing on his boat–so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted–or dangerously possessive.

But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.


First Line:

It was a chilly predawn morning when Anthony Strauss eased Sweet Caroline, his seventeen-foot Boston Whaler, from the trailer into the water so dark it was indistinguishable from the sky.

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

My Review:

I am going to be in the minority for this review, but I wasn’t a fan of The New Husband. I love psychological thrillers. Honestly, I can’t read enough of them. While The New Husband hit all the markers for what I like in psychological thrillers, it fell flat.

The New Husband’s plotline was medium paced. The author did attempt to ramp up the speed at the end, but it didn’t quite get there. There was a significant amount of lag towards the end of the book. The author did try to get the book back on track, but it didn’t quite get there. There weren’t dropped storylines or characters.

Except for Maggie and Ben, I found the characters in The New Husband fell flat. I had no connection with Nina or Simon. Their interactions annoyed me. Nina came across as too needy and desperate to keep her man. I mean, that whole hair cutting scene and the follow up when she went to get it touched up, made me roll my eyes. Simon and Maggie’s interactions were scary, but what scared me more was Nina’s total disregard for what Maggie was telling her. I wanted to reach in the book and tell Nina that no man should come before her kid. But, then again, Nina did learn that the hard way.

I do wish that the author labeled who the chapters belonged to. The first time that I read Maggie’s chapters (from her POV), I was confused. I had no idea that it was Maggie until I reread the first few paragraphs in that chapter. I don’t particularly appreciate having to do that.

With my complaining about the characters, I did think that the thriller angle of the book was well written. It also kept this book from being a lower rating than what it was. The author did keep me guessing about Simon and his intentions. She also kept me guessing about Glen.

There was a massive twist in Glen’s plotline that made me drop my jaw and say “No way” when I read it. Of course, there was a smaller twist towards the end of the book, but it didn’t pack the punch that the first one did.

The storyline with Nina looking into Simon’s past was fascinating. I liked seeing a pattern emerge from what she found out. I also liked how the author connected Simon’s history to the future.

The end of The New Husband was interesting. I say interesting because of who wrote it and to where it was written. I liked the update, but I can’t say that it surprised me.


I would give The New Husband an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I am on the fence if I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The New Husband. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram: Book 1) by Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine: A Novel (Sunshine Vicram Series Book 1) by [Jones, Darynda]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Sunshine Vicram

A Bad Day for Sunshine—Book 1

Where you can find A Bad Day for Sunshine: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff–an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in–and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.


First Line:

Sunshine Vicram pushed down the dread and sticky knot of angst in her chest and wondered, yet again, if she were ready to be sheriff of a town even the locals called the Psych Ward.

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

My Review:

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read A Bad Day for Sunshine. It kept popping up on my NetGalley homepage. Then I got a Read Now email from them and decided to bite the bullet.

I was surprised at how I felt about the book while reading it. Usually, I either like it or hate it right from the beginning. But in this case, I was neither about it. That “meh” feeling continued throughout the book, and it did play a massive part in why I gave the book a 3-star rating.

I felt that the plotline was dragged down by too many secondary storylines (no matter how brief). I wanted full attention on Sybil’s kidnapping and Sunshine’s past kidnapping. I kept getting overwhelmed with information while I read. I also felt that I should have kept notes because there was a point in the book where I couldn’t keep track of everything.

Saying that I did like the characters. They were all well written, and each had an individual personality, which appealed to me. Sunshine was amazingly strong in overcoming what she did. I also liked that she wasn’t stupid, and she was able to piece together clues fast. She did have a weak spot for attractive men (her BFF, Levi, the other agent), but I didn’t hold it against her. It made her more human in my eyes.

I thought Auri was adorable. She was determined to find out what happened to her friend, Sybil, no matter what. I loved how tough she was also. She dealt with a lot in this book. I won’t go into it, but how she dealt with everything that was happening to her was a testament to her inner strength.

The mystery angle of the book was well written. The author did a great job of keeping who the kidnapper was and why Sybil was taken under wraps until the end of the book. I was shocked by who it ended up being.

Sunshine’s kidnapping was brought up frequently in the book. By the end of the book, it had become one of those plotlines that would be stretched across a couple of books. I know I sound jaded, but I have a feeling I know who took her and who Auri’s father was.

The end of the book was ok. The main storyline, Sybil’s kidnapping, was wrapped up. The author set up for the next book. Do I want to read the next book? Maybe. I am interested in seeing if my theory about Sunshine’s kidnapping is correct.


I would give A Bad Day for Sunshine an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread A Bad Day for Sunshine. I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Weekly Wrap Up: March 1st through March 7th 2020

Books I’ve Read:

Master’s Mistress

For the Win

Hometown Girl

Losing Kyler

The Only Good Indians


Books with Pending Reviews:

The Only Good Indians—Review coming May 19th


Books with Published Reviews:

Losing Kyler—Review Here

You Are Not Alone—Review Here

Queen of the Unwanted—Review Here (DNF)

Starting Over at Blueberry Creek—Review Here

Odriel’s Heirs—Review Here


Author/Publisher Requests:

Tigers, Not Daughters—Algonquin Young Readers

Tsarina—St. Martin’s Press


NetGalley Requests:

Playing Nice


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

You Are Not Alone: A Novel by [Hendricks, Greer, Pekkanen, Sarah]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: March 3rd, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find You Are Not Alone: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.


First Line:

Two wine glasses are on the coffee table, evidence of a romantic night.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Review:

I was super excited when I saw that Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen had another book out. I had loved their previous books. When I got the email from the publisher asking me to review, I downloaded that book so fast that I think I got whiplash on my pointer finger.

When I started to read You Are Not Alone, I was a bit suspicious, though. I had built this book up in my head that I was afraid it was going to flop and disappoint me. Well, happily, it didn’t. It lived up to my internal hype and then some.

You Are Not Alone is the story about Shay. Shay is a shy 30 something living in New York City. She has no friends, other than her roommate. She keeps a book of statistics. She has done this since she was a child, living with an emotionally and verbally abusive stepfather. Then one day, her life changed for the worse. She witnessed a woman commit suicide by throwing herself in front of a train. Going to Amanda’s (the woman who died) memorial, she meets Cassandra and Jane, Amanda’s best friends. After meeting them, Shay’s life seems to get better. A new apartment, new friends, a new job, a new haircut, and self-confidence. But, Shay starts to notice that things aren’t all that they seem with Cassandra and Jane. A series of events have Shay questioning everything that happened to her after Amanda’s suicide. What do Cassandra and Jane want? And why do they have Shay in their crosshairs?

You Are Not Alone had a fast-moving plotline. Shay’s portion of the book was well written and fast. I believe that all of the events took place within a couple of months of Amanda’s suicide. There was no lag, and there no dropped storylines. But, I did have issues with the book going back in time with several characters. Cassandra, Jane, Amanda, Daphne, Beth, and Stacey all had their backstories told in flashback. The only characters whose backstory was vital to the book were Amanda, Daphne, and Valerie (but only at the end of the book). I didn’t need to read about Cassandra, Jane, Beth, and Stacey’s backstories. They dragged down the main plotline.

I liked Shay. I did have my doubts about her at the beginning of the book. But, as the author revealed the different layers of her character, I started to form a connection with her. She was desperately lonely and awkward. She always felt like she was on the outside looking in. So, I didn’t blame her for connecting with Cassandra and Jane or taking up their offers of friendship. When things went sideways for her, though, I was surprised at her strength. I admired her.

The mystery angle of the book (why Amanda jumped) was well written. There is a twist in that angle that did surprise me. I didn’t see it coming, but it made sense once revealed.

The suspense/thriller angle was well written also. I loved seeing how Shay was built up, and then everything was yanked out from underneath her. I loved how Shay’s mental state was portrayed in the last half of the book. I honestly was wondering if she was going to go off the deep end.

The end of the book was unbelievable. It was one of the best endings that I have read in a physiological thriller to date. And the twist at the very end. I said, “Holy crap,” out loud a few times. I wasn’t expecting Shay to admit what she admitted!!

I do want to throw in a trigger warning. There is a scene where a woman is raped, and there is a scene where a teenager is sexually assaulted.


I would give You Are Not Alone an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread You Are Not Alone. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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