Touch of Smoke by Karissa Laurel

Touch of Smoke by [Laurel, Karissa]

5 Stars

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Date of publication: February 8th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult

Where you can find Touch of Smoke: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.


My Review:

Touch of Smoke was a fantastic read. I don’t give 5-star reviews easily. A book has to capture my attention and keep it. I have to form a connection with both the male and female lead. Touch of Smoke hit all those and then some.

Touch of Smoke has a dual plotline. One takes place in the past and the other in the present. Usually, I don’t like that type of plotlines. In my experience, this type of plotlines generally gets me confused. Which in turns makes me lose interest in the book. In this case, though, the author was obvious when she was switching from the past to the present/the present to the past. She also did not give away what happened in the past. There were hints, but nothing prepared me for what happened. She also did a fantastic job of merging the two storylines mid-book. It was flawless.

The main plotline of Touch of Smoke centers around Erika (or Rikki), Owen and what happened that night her best friend, Mina, was killed. Rikki came back to town to face her demons, which meant that she had to face Owen and his role in what happened that night. When an ancient evil arrives in Evansville, Rikki needs to make a choice. Will she trust Owen and help him? Or will Rikki stand aside and let that evil destroy him? If she does help him, what will be the price that she pays?

I loved Rikki. She was a tough cookie. She was also the hardest working character that I have come across in a while. This woman worked two jobs while going to a community college. She was an EMT, and she worked in stable, cleaning stalls. I did think she was silly for pushing Owen away. I wanted to reach through the book and shake her. Her actions at the end of the book were amazing. And selfless.

I fell in love with Owen every time he showed up in the book. Who wouldn’t? He was an Army veteran who fell head over heels with Rikki. I loved that he didn’t push her into doing anything that she didn’t want to do. He let her set the bar for their relationship. He did have his secrets, though. I liked how the author revealed them.

The romance angle of Touch of Smoke was terrific. I loved seeing Owen and Rikki’s relationship evolve. It wasn’t Instalove (far from it). The author chose to have Owen and Rikki date and go from there. The scene where Rikki decides to throw caution to the wind was poignant. Mainly because of what happened a few days (at least I think it was a few days) later.

The fantasy angle of Touch of Smoke was terrific also. I liked how the author took the jinn myth and made it her own. I had no issue believing that jinns weren’t like Genie from Aladdin. Instead, they were out for themselves. The story that Owen tells about the boy, the ring and the jinn explains everything.

The end of Touch of Smoke broke my freaking hearts into little bits. Like I mentioned above, what Rikki did was selfless. I was ugly crying in the chapter after that. Of course, I liked how the author had Owen explain everything to Rikki in a story, including what he did after. But still. Ugly Crying. In the middle of the day. Enough said!!


I would give Touch of Smoke an Older Teen rating. There is sex (nothing graphic). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Touch of Smoke. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

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

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WWW Wednesday: May 15th, 2019

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

The Three Ws are:

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


Personal:

Miss R: Everything was fine with Miss R until Friday. Friday, she went over a friend’s house after school. The mom took them to a local park/splash pad. When we were getting ready to leave, Miss R ran up a metal slide with wet feet and face planted on it. She hit her face hard enough to give herself a bruised nose and two black eyes. That night, she was complaining about her ear hurting her. Saturday morning, she was complaining about her other ear hurting her. So, I took her into the Dr. I figured the ear infections. What I didn’t figure was bronchitis. Then Sunday, I noticed her eyes were red and goopy. She has pinkeye. Wonderful. Monday, she got eye drops and the nurse told me to keep her out until Weds. Which meant she missed her Mother’s Day Tea concert and her T-Ball game. She is on the mend and she did go back to school today. We also had her spring parent/teacher meeting. She is ahead and her teachers told us that she should have it easy adjusting to kindergarten in September. It helps that 10 out of the 15 kids in her preschool class are attending the same elementary school.

Miss B: Nothing too much going on with her. Just your usual battles that a normal teenager puts parents through. She does have stuff going on later this week, but I will save that for the next WWW Wednesday.

Mr. Z: Nothing much going on with him either. Like Miss B, he does have stuff going on next week. And I will save that for the next WWW Wednesday.

Me: I did something last week which ticked off the people who live across the street. One of their cats had kittens under my house. That cat got hit by a car and then died. BK had gone under the house on Tuesday to fix something and heard them meowing. I called AC, they told me that they do not go under houses to retrieve animals (safety issues) but to call if we get them. So, Miss B went under the house and grab the kittens. 3 of them. All with blue eyes and ears that weren’t fully open yet. AC came and got them. Well, the lady across the street tried to make AC give her the kittens (saying that they were theirs and I had no right giving them away). AC turned around, told her that the kittens were found under my house, she wasn’t getting the kittens, and maybe she should spay the females he sees wandering around the yard (they are all obviously pregnant). He followed that up with a “I will be back.” So, yeah, she’s not happy with me. Oh well. She shouldn’t have opened her mouth. I did make sure that the kittens were not going to be put down. AC said that he had a rep from the Humane Society waiting for him. They were going to health assess the kittens and if they are healthy, they will go into foster homes until they can be adopted out. He was pretty positive that these kittens would be fostered.

Reading/Reviews/Blog:

I got through my entire WWW “what books I think I will read next” list over the week. Miss R being sick did help with that because I wasn’t able to go out. I spent Saturday through yesterday reading.

I have two reviews that I need to write. Which I will get to today. Other than that, I am caught up. Still trying to find my happy medium here.

Nothing new going on with the blog. I haven’t wanted to change the theme or the fonts or the background. It is safe to say that I am happy with it.


What I am currently reading:

Realm by [Weis, Alexandrea]

click on the picture for the Amazon link

Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

History tells his story. This is hers.


I recently finished reading:

Touch of Smoke by [Laurel, Karissa]

click on the picture for the Amazon link

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.


What books I think I’ll read next? (click on the pictures for Amazon links)

Attracted to the Earl (Imperfect Lords Book 3) by [Evans, Bronwen]

Unable to read or write, an earl discovers love in the last place he expects to find it—within the embrace of a brilliant woman—in this sexy, irresistible novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.

What’s an earl to do?
The Earl of Argyle has died suddenly, leaving his brother Guy Neville at a complete loss. The dull-witted second son, as his father used to call him, Guy is now responsible for the estate and his brother’s seat in the House of Lords. Shamed by an inability to read or write, his distress is multiplied by an inquiry from a dyed-in-the-wool bluestocking who wishes to use the Argyle library and study a rare plant on the estate. Guy’s first instinct is to decline her request—until he catches a glimpse of Miss Abigail Pinehurst.

How’s a girl to behave?
Abigail cares for only one thing: plants. She is unconcerned about how she looks, what she wears, or the impression she makes on men. An orphan who turned to books for solace in a miserly, cruel institution, she now makes her living illustrating the greenery she adores. Lord Argyle, in fact, with his uncanny memory and chiseled features, is the first man to capture her attention—a ridiculous distraction since he is so far above her station. But her unreasonable heart has a mind of its own.

The Scent Keeper: A Novel by [Bauermeister, Erica]

Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.

Unsuitable: A Forbidden Cove Novel by [Kent, Lavinia]

Cougar . . . MILF . . . Mrs. Robinson.

Jordan Robinson knows firsthand that when a woman marries a rich older man, people are going to talk. But now, with her husband gone, Jordan lives a quiet life of seclusion, managing her charities and staying away from the limelight. Then everything changes after an unexpected kiss leads to the best sex of her life—and a secret affair Jordan never wants to end.

A sexy young mogul who’s used to getting what he wants, Clay has wanted Jordan Robinson ever since he was seventeen and saw her emerge dripping from a swimming pool in a white bikini. But now he’s all grown up . . . and now she’s his. But when their relationship is exposed, the fallout is devastating. Yet Clay’s a man in his prime—and Jordan’s a woman worth fighting for. They may have started as a fling, but Jordan Robinson belongs in his bed, in his life . . . and forever in his heart.

Bright Burning Stars by [Small, A.K.]

Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.

But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.

Friends with Benefits (Beta Brothers: Book 2) by Hazel Kelly

Friends with Benefits: A Steamy College Romance (Beta Brothers #2) by [Kelly, Hazel]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: August 8th, 2018

Genre: Romance, New Adult

Series: Beta Brothers

My Best Friend’s Ex—Book 1

Friends with Benefits—Book 2

Where to find Friends with Benefits: Amazon

Synopsis:

Carter’s been crazy about Nina since the first time he saw her emerald eyes, but his fratastic reputation landed him in the friend zone before he even had a chance to say, “How you doin’?”

So when Nina suggests they become friends with benefits, he can’t believe his luck. 

After all, once he’s gotten in her pants, winning her heart should be easy… right?

**This is a full-length, standalone romance novel with no cliffhanger, no cheating, and a heart-swelling HEA. 


My review:

I am guilty of judging this book before I even read it. I thought this book was going to be all sex and minimal plot. The blurb and the cover didn’t add much to the opinion I formed. Then I read the book. I gotta tell y’all, I was surprised and pleased!! I love it when a book turns out to be the exact opposite of what I thought it was going to be.

I enjoy it when I read a romance where the main characters have some sort of friendship of sorts. Nina and Carter know each other through their best friends, who are dating. Their relationship was friendly for months before they hooked up. Their friendship made their transition into FB’s pretty easy.

Nina and Carter’s sexual relationship was hot. I did laugh when she was amazed by the size of Carter’s package. I would have had the same thoughts. I also liked that the sexual tension and attraction didn’t fade as I read the book. The author did a fantastic job of keeping it hot until the end of the book. 95% of the romances I read have the sex scene fizzle out after the first time.

I liked Nina and I agreed with Sadie after reading the first couple of chapters. She needed a FB. I understood why she didn’t want a relationship. If I had been treated that way by my exes, I would have the same feelings. I also understood why she had rules when she instigated to FB arrangement with Carter. She did kind of annoy me at points in the book. She got jealous way to easy. She was willing to believe that Carter was seeing other people besides her. She was too stubborn to see that Carter cared about her. Why else would he have brought her dinner (with cheesecake!!) on Valentines Day?

I loved Carter. He was perfect for Nina. I liked how he took things slow with her. He had feelings for before she approached him to be her FB. It was like Christmas and his birthday rolled into one when that happened. When they broke up, even though he instigated it, he was as hurt as she was. I loved seeing a guy who was in touch enough with his feelings to admit that.

The book ended on a positive note. I liked that everything was resolved. I liked that future plans were made. I can’t wait to see Nina and Carter in other books. I can’t wait to see how their relationship progressed.


I would give Friends with Benefits an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is some mild violence. There are triggers. They would be alcoholism. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Friends with Benefits. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Friends with Benefits.

All opinions stated in this review of Friends with Benefits are mine.

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

WWW Wednesday: January 30th, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

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


Personal

This has been a rough past week. “What, you say. As of last Wednesday, everything was fine, you say“. And it was. Then everything hit the fan starting Thursday.

The majority of the rough week was centered around Ms. R. She developed a cough on Wednesday. BK and I thought nothing of it because its the time of year everyone is getting sick. Thursday, the cough got worse and wet sounding. By Thursday night, she was coughing every 5 mins. Thursday night was the worse. I think she only slept an hour. At 1-2am, she started to feel hot, so I took her temp. 102. Gave her a Tylenol and tried to settle her back down. Friday morning, her temp was at 101 and she couldn’t stop coughing. By mid-morning, her temp was 103 and not coming down with Tylenol/Motrin. So, I took her to the Dr. She had a pretty severe case of bronchitis. They prescribed a 3-day z-pack. I also have to bring her back on Friday so they can check her lungs. Thankfully, she is feeling better. She is back to her sassy 5-year-old self. But man, she scared me. I haven’t had a kid that sick before.

I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but Ms. B has a boyfriend. It’s a cute, innocent relationship. He’s all she can talk about. No dates, it’s more of a school romance. Which is fine by me. Anyway, she came home yesterday with a huge chocolate red rose that he gave her. 13 years old and he’s acting better than most men older than him. I’m impressed.

Mr. Z. is being well, himself. He is a huge reader (takes after me) and is currently reading The Warriors series by Erin Hunter. He is on the last series, A Vision of Shadows. He has bought 90% of those books himself. He got about $150 in Amazon gift cards for his birthday and Christmas. The last two books, he bought last night. He looked at me and said, “Now what will I read?” So any suggestions will be great.

I’ll end this section with something I call “Why my preschooler threw a temper tantrum“.

Ms. R threw a temper tantrum yesterday because Alexa said that water isn’t wet. Yup, you read that right. If you have one, ask it. The answer is interesting. Even more interesting was how I calmed her down. I asked her if the water was dry, would that mean the air is wet to the dolphins, fish, and whales? 100% stopped her tantrum.

Reading/Reviews:

I am doing OK in the reading and review department. Which is good. I am actually starting to participate more booky things. More posts, cover reveals, blog tours…etc.

I have decided to undertake two huge tasks. One: I am reorganizing my Goodreads shelves. I realized yesterday that I didn’t have a TBR shelf. That all of my want to read and TBR books are mixed together. I started that yesterday and I am about halfway done. The other thing I am doing? Well, I am going back to the beginning of my blog and fixing my blog posts. Changing covers (if the covers have changed), fixing broken links, spell checking/grammar checking with Hemingway Editor, changing the blurbs if needed, adding publication date/publisher/genre. Fun times!!


What I am currently reading:

The Perfect Girlfriend

click on the picture for Amazon link

Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

I am about 25% into this book and I am loving it. I’m not going to give too much away except that Juliette is cray-cray. The Perfect Girlfriend is currently on pre-order. It’s expected publication date is March 26th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.


I recently finished reading

Shattered Reflections

Shattered Reflections: Fire and Ice were never meant to coexist (McAllister Justice Series Book 5) by [Garrett, Reily]

click on the picture for Amazon link

Strong-willed and stubborn, Kathryn Nugle enters a man’s profession, untested, inexperienced, and determined to solve a decade-old puzzle.

Intuition flagged her client’s deception but didn’t solve the mystery of his jacket’s crimson stain, yet blood doesn’t lie. When the victim leaves damning evidence behind, fate throws Kathryn into a cascade of events that will challenge her survival skills.
Mathew McAllister is the eldest of six siblings, all current or former detectives. Practical jokes and pranks are part and parcel of his daily life. The newest addition to the family fold is a wisecracking hacker who mangles his strained equanimity and tests his patience in Morse code, security breaches, and invasion of his cherished privacy.
When a vicious murder paints a target on one of their own, the McAllisters close ranks to ferret out the twisted intentions of a serial killer. For fans of Sandra Brown and Lee Child, Shattered Reflections is an exciting thriller with a romantic twist.

I actually finished this on Sunday. I haven’t had the time to write the review yet. But, I will say this…..it is good!!! This is one of my favorite series. Shattered Reflections is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is February 3rd, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.


What books I think I’ll read next? (click on the pictures for Amazon links)

Getting Hot with the Scot

IT’S TIME TO FLIRT WITH A MAN IN A KILT 

Cassie Crow, a pop-culture reporter for a TV talk show, is focused on becoming a “serious” journalist. But when she stumbles into a kilted Highlander with a killer accent, Cassie decides that taking one night off from work and spending it with a sexy Scot couldn’t hurt. . .

Logan Reid has built a career on his charm, hosting a series of off-the-wall hijinks on the Web. But when the Scottish prankster meets the all-American, equal parts intelligent and irresistible Cassie, Logan realizes that one night of fun won’t be enough. Could it be that this career-focused, commitment-phobic couple is finally ready to take a chance at true and lasting love?

This was from last weeks WWW Wednesday. What I wrote then about the book is still the same. Getting Hot with the Scot is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is April 30th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Highland Crown

Highland Crown (Royal Highlander, #1)

Inverness, 1820
Perched on the North Sea, this port town―by turns legendary and mythological―is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.

WANTED: Isabella Drummond
A true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery―and fury―in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters… .and her heart into flames.

FOUND: Cinaed Mackintosh
Cast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself… .until Isabella saved his life―and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?

This was a no brainer when I was approached to with the request to review this book. It takes place in Scotland and it takes place in my favorite era. Highland Crown is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is April 30th, 2019. Look for my review after that date.

Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits: A Steamy College Romance (Beta Brothers #2) by [Kelly, Hazel]

Carter’s been crazy about Nina since the first time he saw her emerald eyes, but his fratastic reputation landed him in the friend zone before he even had a chance to say, “How you doin’?” 

So when Nina suggests they become friends with benefits, he can’t believe his luck. 

After all, once he’s gotten in her pants, winning her heart should be easy… right? 

No real reason why I accepted the request to review email. I figured that I needed a hot, smutty read every once in a while. Friends with Benefits is currently available for purchase. Look for my review at some point within the next couple of weeks.

After She’s Gone

After She's Gone by [Grebe, Camilla]

In a small backwater town in Sweden, a young boy with a dark secret comes across a diary. As a cold case investigation suddenly becomes eerily current, a police investigator mysteriously disappears. What links these seemingly random events?

As atrocious acts from the past haunt the present and lives are changed forever, some will struggle to remember – while others struggle to forget . . .

I love a good mystery. After She’s Gone looks like a fantastic one!! After She’s Gone is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is February 26th, 2019. Look for my review after that date.

The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch: A Novel (Winternight Trilogy Book 3) by [Arden, Katherine]

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

I can’t even begin to tell everyone how excited I am to be reading this book. It was one of my must reads for 2019. I want to know how Vasya and Morozko’s story ends!! The Winter of the Witch is currently available to buy. Look for my review at some point within the next couple of weeks.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

WWW Wednesday: November 14th, 2018

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

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


What’s going on with me this past week:

Personal:

Nothing much. Because of no school on Monday (because of Veteran’s Day), I am off a day. I keep thinking that today is Tuesday. That meant I almost forgot to put out my trash last night (trash is Wednesdays here). I am in Thanksgiving prep mode here. We have the ham and turkey breast bought (ahead of time, which is a miracle for us). I am in the process of trying to figure out the sides, other than stuffing and potatoes. I am also in birthday mode. Mr. Z’s birthday is the 20th and Miss B’s is the 24th. Which means that they are 1 year apart for 4 days. It used to drive Miss B nuts when she was younger. She was convinced that Mr. Z would eventually grow older than her…lol.

Reading:

I am finally caught up with my reading. Which is a miracle considering that I had almost no time to do things this weekend. As for reviews, I will be caught up after today. Happy dance!!


What I am currently reading:

Accidents Happen

click on the picture for Amazon link

Tabitha was a true survivor – until she wasn’t. One week before her loveless marriage to a wealthy man, a freak accident causes her soul to trade places with a womanising lush paying penance for his sins as a soul collector. While she waits for Death to unravel the bureaucratic red-tape and return her to her life, she’s forced to take on Mort’s duties, accompanied by the sexiest but rudest man she’s ever met. 

Cooper was a bank manager until his demise, and he’s got a lot of making up to do. He’s determined to be the best damn soul collector heav…he…Death has ever seen. Saddled with baby-sitting the soul of a selfish, amoral airhead, he’s determined to teach her a lesson.

Can Tabitha convince Death to switch her back before her wedding and her reputation are ruined? Will Cooper make her see the error of her ways? Or will Fate have the last laugh and teach them all a lesson in love?

I started reading this last night, as BK was playing Battlefield 4. By the middle of the 1st paragraph, I was giggling. I didn’t get much further but I am hoping that the book delivers on its promise. Very promising start, though!!


What I recently finished reading:

What About Us (Panic, #4)

Click on the picture for Amazon link

Irresistible beats and tantalizing bodies heat up the night at South Beach’s most scandalous new club.

Alex: I hate doing business in clubs. Especially one like Duality. I’m here to seal a deal, not indulge in whatever hedonistic illusion they’re selling. Until, through all the skin and sex on display, I see her. Helen Blackwood. The girl who once filled my youthful fantasies, whose name is now synonymous with pain. Her father’s lies destroyed my family, leaving me with nothing to lose. And yet I can’t deny my electric response to her touch . . . or my urge to protect her when I see the bruise on her face.

Helen: Growing up, life prepared me for society galas and powerful men, not minimum-wage jobs or drunk exes with anger issues. But I’m a survivor. So here I am, practically naked, serving drinks at a Miami nightclub. I don’t mind the stares. Apparently, Alex Archer does. After twelve years, we aren’t exactly friends, but money is something we both understand. Something he knows I need. I’ll be his personal assistant, even if it means working with the man I hate . . . and the man I still want. 

No cheating. No cliffhangers. And no dress code.

I have read and reviewed the other 3 books in the Panic series. So, I had high expectations for this book. It didn’t fail me. Not going to go into it (the book will be published November 20th) but I loved this book. Be on the lookout for my review on or after the publication date.


What books I think I’ll read next? (click on the pictures for Amazon links)

Rend (Riven, #2)

After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

I had read, reviewed and loved Riven. So when I saw the Rend was up for review, I snapped it up. I am pretty excited to read it!!!

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4)

A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied… 

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

The title drew me in for this book. I love it when titles reference movies/songs. I had also liked the other book in the series. So, we’ll see how I like it.


Perfectly Inappropriate

A woman scorned and a politician with a wild side connect online—and explore their hottest fantasies in the flesh.

Olivia Watts knows that her problems are painfully average. She got engaged, and her fiancé cheated. She gave up on her dream job—street photographer—and settled on a more practical one: graphic designer. She scrimped and saved to buy a home, only to realize how empty it was. So when Olivia hears about an exclusive dating app that matches subs with highly trained doms, she does something she never thought she’d do in a million years: She signs up. The last thing she expects to find is a man whose sizzling touch reawakens the woman she used to be. . . .

Noah Grant has no time for relationships. His sole purpose is to win reelection. That’s why he pays a premium to the discreet app that satisfies all his dark desires. But after sweet, innocent Olivia is vetted and arrives for their week together in his penthouse, it’s blatantly clear that she’s running from her demons. Noah’s more than willing to be her escape—until their emotions get tangled up in their games. Now, to become worthy of Olivia’s heart, Noah will have to prove that he’s more than a fantasy.

I am not normally a fan of erotica or BDSM. But when the blurb, I thought the story was a good one. After reading the reviews, I can’t wait to read the book!!


The Duke I Once Knew (Unlikely Duchesses, #1)

First love is always the sweetest. 

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her aging parents and the children of her siblings. Now, eager to make her own life, she takes a position as governess on the neighboring estate. It shouldn’t matter that her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the infamous rake who once broke her youthful heart. Surely he’s forgotten her, for he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years. At least, that is, until he arrives unexpectedly.

Max is incensed to meet his sister’s new governess. But why does Abby appear just as displeased to see him when it was she who’d rejected him all those years ago? Why is he so drawn to the independent spinster she has become? And why is there a sparkle in her beautiful blue eyes that suggests they might have a second chance at love?

I like second chance love stories. Add in that this is a historical romance. So, yeah. I had to read it. I am hoping that I absolutely love it!!


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

The Storyteller’s Throne by Jocelyn Bates

The Storyteller's Throne

2 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles

Date of publication: April 24th, 2018

Genre: New Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Where you can find The Storyteller’s Throne: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Grace was born a storyteller with a beautifully brilliant mind. Trauma twisted her reality into a tale of darkness. Now, at eighteen, Grace has found herself on the shores of a shadow world created to heal a generation. A world whose purpose is to release our emotions from the bonds of youth.

But she is not alone. It’s a world inhabited by others, those working on their own hearts and one other like herself. An amazing and yet afflicted empath and musician by the name of Kai that Grace feels inexplicably drawn to.

Will she be able to handle the suppressed memories of her youth? Accept the vulnerability necessary to explore her own heart and that of another? Fulfill the true purpose it seems she is destined to serve?

Come along with Grace as she learns to uncover her past, harness her gift, open her heart to love and embrace her future.


My review:

I was intrigued when I read the blurb for The Storyteller’s Throne. A woman, scarred by traumatic events that happened in her life, finds herself in a world that can help her heal. It caught my interest. I wanted to know how this world would help her heal. I also wanted to know who Kai was and why Grace had such a connection to him. So I decided to read the book. For the most part, I liked the book. But it was the direction the book took towards the end that made me go “WTH” and give it the rating I did.

Grace’s story disturbed me. She was raped by someone when she was 6 years old. I didn’t like having to read about a 6-year-old being raped. I understood why the author chose to have Grace react the way she did to the rape. Her unresolved feelings led her down a road of self-harm. But once she got into the Shadow Lands, she was forced to face and accept what she went through. But, then her story took a turn that I didn’t expect. Her romance with Kai wasn’t expected as was her traveling into the future. I will get into that later in the review. I couldn’t connect with her.

I felt bad for Kai. His story was different from Grace’s but it was also similar. Kai didn’t speak. He could speak but chose not too. He chose to speak through his music. His entire life, he had been compared to his older brothers and fell short. Falling into addiction, Kai ends up in The Shadow Lands the same time as Grace. I would have loved it if the author kept his character on that path. Instead, he went down a path where he fell in love with Grace. It almost seemed like an obsessive love, to be honest. He was more relatable to than Grace but I still didn’t have a connection.

I would have been fine with the book if it hadn’t gone into an anti-medication rant. Then Grace went into the future. There the adults were medicating themselves and the kids to keep them easy to manage. But the minute that mental health medication was blamed for the kids being zombies, I went “Oh no. This book didn’t go there.” That affected my rating.

Also, I didn’t like that there was Instalove. Instalove is fine in some books but in this one, no. I couldn’t with this book. I also couldn’t deal with Grace and Kai having sex. While I understand that it was healing, it didn’t do it for me.

The end of The Storyteller’s Throne confused me. I am not going to get into it but there were several situations that made me go “What!!” and “How on earth did she not know that?” and “Well, chaos didn’t happen, so now what“. None of the storylines were wrapped up. Which either was an oversight or the author is planning a book 2. I was left unsatisfied with the ending.


I gave The Storyteller’s Throne a 2-star rating. I could not connect with any of the characters. I would have been OK with the book if it hadn’t turned into an anti-medication rant. And there was Instalove.

I would give The Storyteller’s Throne an Older Teen rating. There is sex. There is violence. There is mild language. There are triggers. There are child rape, self-harm, and drug use. Also, there is a strong anti-medication for mental illness in the last half of the book. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would not reread The Storyteller’s Throne. I also would not recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Storyteller’s Throne.

All opinions stated in this review of The Storyteller’s Throne are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read The Storyteller’s Throne?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy: Book 1) by Mikayla Elliot

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy, #1)

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association, Member’s’ Titles

Date of publication: July 31st, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, New Adult

Where you can find Snow: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Series: Black Ice Trilogy

Snow – Book 1

Blizzard – Book 2

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Taken from all she has ever known and loved, Neva finds herself swept into a world of vampires where she learns she will determine their future. Yet she quickly discovers she is the target of a vampire, Zachariah, seeking to stop her from altering the vampire lineage. She must decide which path she will take while trying to protect the family she left behind and discovering a past she cannot escape.

My review:

When I started reading this book, I thought that it was going to be a vampire Snow White type of book. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. If I paid more attention to the blurb, I would have seen that.  Oh well.

I don’t understand how Snow was labeled as a young adult novel. Neva, the main character, was married. If I were to guess at her age, I would put her in her early to mid-’20s. I thought that his book was better suited for the NA genre than YA. But that’s me. Someone else could have a different take on it. Which is a wonderful thing about writing reviews. No one’s opinions are wrong. Unless you didn’t read the book and give your opinion, then I don’t pay attention to those reviews.

I liked the plot of Snow. I thought that it was original. Neva is brought into the vampire world when her life was almost taken in an attack. She is thrust into the middle of a conspiracy that will leave everyone reeling. Can Neva bring Zachariah to his knees and save the vampire lineage? Or will she become a pawn in an ancient war?

I liked Neva but I found her whiny for most of the book. Yes, she had a terrible shock when she was turned. It would have been a huge shock for anyone. Even after Thedryk explained why she was turned and who she was, she still whined about it. She didn’t understand the danger she was in. For an adult, she didn’t act like one. I did like that she wised up during the last half of the book. Seeing what happened to her family shocked her into wising up.

I didn’t think that Zachariah wasn’t that bad of a guy for most of the book. Yes, he didn’t like Neva and yes, he was only with Eliza because he cared about the power. The author showed a 100% different side to him when he was interacting with his adopted daughter. He cared for them. I honestly don’t think that he is going to be as bad as he was made out to be. I do think it is awful what he did in the last half of the book. But it didn’t go with what the author showed. I wonder if there is more to his story and if it will be revealed in book 2.

I loved what the author did with the vampires in this book. While these vampires need human blood, they don’t need it that often. They can eat regular food but it doesn’t do anything for them. Not everyone can be turned into a vampire, though. The author explained that people can be turned into vampires have a special aura. The vampires can see it but can only turn if they have permission from the Council. If someone is turned who doesn’t have the special aura, they become something out of a nightmare. The author also had the vampires have a special gift. Some are stronger than others but everyone has it.

There is even a science fiction angle of Snow. There is a vampire that can open portals into different dimensions. It is explained more thoroughly in the book. I found it fascinating and wished that it has been added sooner in the book.

The end of Snow was action packed and moved very fast. What happened to Zachariah, he deserved it. But it was the end of the book that made me go what. First with the introduction of a famous fictional character. Then it was who was introduced in the very last pages of the book. It is that revelation that makes me excited to read the next book in the series.

What I liked about Snow:

A) How the vampires were portrayed

B) Neva’s storyline

C) The science fiction angle

What I disliked about Snow:

A) Neva. She was a whine bag for most of the book

B) Zachariah. I was on the fence with him for most of the book. But the ending events turned me

C) What happened to Neva’s family

I would give Snow an Older Teen rating. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is violence. There is no language.

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

I would like to thank Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Snow.

All opinions stated in this review of Snow are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**