Sunday, May 31, 2015

Book Review: Ice Kissed

Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles, #2)Author: Amanda Hocking
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Series: Kanin Chronicles # 2

In the majestic halls of a crystal palace lies a secret that could destroy an entire kingdom…

Bryn Aven refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It’s a dream that brings her to a whole new realm…and the glittering palace of the Skojare.

The Skojare people need protection from the same brutal enemy that’s been threatening the Kanin, and Bryn is there to help. Being half Skojare herself, it’s also a chance for her to learn more about her lost heritage. Her boss, Ridley Dresden, is overseeing her mission, but as their undeniable attraction heats up, their relationship is about to reach a whole new level—one neither of them is prepared for.

As they delve deeper into the Skojare world, they begin to unravel a long-hidden secret. The dark truth about her own beloved Kanin kingdom is about to come to light, and it will change her place in it forever…and threaten everyone she loves.

I’d let the two greatest enemies of our kingdom get away.

The day started rough, and it ended with me falling asleep among stacks of books in the palace library.

“You can serve the King without betraying your own morality.”

I know that many book lovers are always a little weary of the second books in a series, and I must admit that I am often one of those readers. Not only was this book better than the first, but I even found myself reading it faster and dreading its end sooner. If you have never read an Amanda Hocking book, then you are in for quite a treat. This is the first series of books that I have followed by her, but her detailed descriptions and fantastical worlds are amazing. This book picks up in the troll world where the last one left off, and our main character, Bryn, is right in the midst of all the action and chaos. I would definitely argue that this installation is even more action-packed than the first. I do not want to give too much away, but I will say that Bryn is disappointed with herself in this book for not catching the “bad guys” from the first book.

This book was so fast-paced and I hated to see it end. I now have to wait until August to read the final book in the trilogy. The story ended leaving me in awe with questions and curiosities. When I say that I hated to finish reading this book, I really tried to prolong the last few chapters. This mystical realm is beautifully written and so difficult to say goodbye to. The concept of trolls was new to me, but I caught on and loved it very quickly. I cannot recommend this series enough and I would love to know that other readers are as hooked on it as I am.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishes at St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest review***

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Review: Searching For Beautiful

Searching for Beautiful (Searching For, #3)Author: Jennifer Probst
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Series: Searching For # 3

The highly anticipated third novel in the Searching For series from Jennifer Probst, one of the most exciting breakout novelists (USA TODAY), featuring a runaway bride and the man who wants to be more than just her best friend.

Genevieve MacKenzie has her life completely under control. About to wed the charming Chief doctor at the local hospital, she’s an up-and-coming surgeon with everything she could ever want. Until an escape through the church window on the day of her wedding sends her life into a tailspin, and flings her right into her best friend’s arms.

When Wolfe catches his best friend falling out a window on her wedding day, he doesn’t ask questions. He whisks her away, determined to watch over her and discover the truth behind her desperate escape. But when his feelings turn more than platonic, he realizes he may risk his most important relationship in order to protect his damaged heart, and the woman he loves.

Can Genevieve and Wolfe’s friendship turn into something deeper or is it already too late for true love?

Wolfe hit the speaker system and Gun N’ Roses blasted out, hard and loud and raw. He didn’t speak. Just drove.

Wolfe would take care of things. She’d retreat, make some decisions, and clean up the mess she made. But not now.

What he offered was enough. No expectations, only acceptance, respect, and love.

I love a good friends and lovers story! The story starts with Genevieve Mackenzie who we quickly find out is a runaway bride! Gen seems to have the perfect life; she is engaged to her successful, handsome boss, David, and should be more than happy with her about to fairytale ending…but she is not all that happy as she soon realizes. Gen quickly finds comfort in the hands of her long time best friend, Wolfe. Their relationship has always been platonic, but are things suddenly changing for them? Gen and Wolfe are both carrying some excess baggage from their past relationships. Probst does a nice job of making this an exceedingly happy tale, while still adding in some of the angst, regret, and heavy emotion that they are both carrying around. As you read, you will feel pain and you will feel happy. You will feel everything the characters feel; that is just how endearing they are.

I loved that the relationship did not just happen overnight. These two really had to battle with their feelings and deal with plenty of mixed emotions before they were ready to commit to the idea of a deeper relationship with one another. This made the story seem much more real. Wolfe’s character faces a more emotional and troubling past and it was hard to not want to strangle him at times, but I will say that if you like to read books where you can clearly see the characters grow and change, then this would be a great book for you. Gen and Wolfe learn to be together, but they also learn how to be better together. This book had such a gratifying finish!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Gallery Books in exchange for my honest review***

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: At The Corner of King Street

At the Corner of King StreetAuthor: Mary Ellen Taylor
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Berkley

The author of The Union Street Bakery presents a new novel about a woman searching for a fresh start—while unable to forget the past…

Adele “Addie” Morgan grew up in a house filled with pain and loss. Determined to live life on her own terms, Addie moves to the country and finds a job at a vineyard where she discovers stability, happiness, and—best of all—love with the kind owner, Scott.

But an unexpected call abruptly pulls Addie out of her new and improved life. Her sister has just given birth and Addie’s Aunt Grace wants her to return home to help the family—even if it means confronting things she’s tried so hard to forget.

When Addie arrives, she quickly realizes that she hasn’t truly let go of her former life, at least not completely. After making a surprising connection with her sister’s baby—and her sister’s ex-husband, Zeb—Addie must choose between her picture-perfect future with Scott and the family roots she thought she’d left behind for good…

Traveling into uncharted territory has an exotic, lovely sound to it.

The I-want-to-work-on-a-vineyard was officially exorcised, and I wanted my city life back.

No one really cares about glue. Until it’s gone and life falls apart. 

Having read Mary Ellen Taylor’s Union Street Bakery series before this one, I was of course expecting to love this new series just as much. Taylor has a very lyrical style of writing, but it is not too clichĂ© and has just enough flow and rhythm to allow you to read quickly and be swept up in each of the character’s lives. The main character, Addie, was very easy to connect to. She was dealing with issues that were very believable for our society today and her character was well-written. She had several issues from her past that have found themselves suddenly reappearing in her future and this story tells how she deals with all of that. I have really been in the mood for a lot of mystery and historical fiction lately, and this book even added family secrets in amongst all the other things I so desperately love. Before each chapter, there was a brief flashback that allows readers to get a glimpse into Addie’s family and know a little bit about their past. I loved those parts so much!

I am a huge fan of Southern Fiction! I love books that take a tiny, sweet, quaint little town and set an entire series there. This book takes place in Alexandria, Virginia, which is not that far from my home state. I loved the setting and the cozy places where I was easily able to picture the characters and actually hear the well-written dialogue take place. I really enjoyed some of the secondary characters just as much as the main ones. This book is not connected to the Union Street Bakery series, meaning it is not necessary that you read those books first, but I highly suggest looking into Mary Ellen Taylor’s other series because it is just as fabulous as this one. Treat yourself with these cozy little reads this spring!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Berkley in exchange for my honest review*** 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review: Every Bride Needs A Groom

Every Bride Needs a Groom (Brides With Style, #1)Author: Janice Thompson
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Revell Books
Series: Brides with Style # 1

Small-town girl Katie Fisher is planning her wedding. Sure, her boyfriend hasn't managed to pop the question just yet, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't enter a contest in "Texas Bride" magazine to win the dress of her dreams, right? But when her boyfriend breaks up with her and takes a job in another town--the very same day Katie wins her dream dress--her world is turned upside down. Should she claim her prize? And will the hunky former pro-basketball player who runs the swanky Dallas bridal shop--yeah, you read that right--catch on to her humiliation if she does? 

Janice Thompson designs a romance sure to delight, with plenty of fish-out-of-water moments, a hilarious supporting cast, and more of the wedding biz world her readers adore.

That whole thing about being a big fish in a small pond is more than just a saying, at least in my neck of the woods.

When you grow up in a sweeter-than-peaches town like Fairchild, Texas, you find yourself captivated by the love of family, friends, and neighbors.

In the Fisher family, we celebrated traditions that went back dozens, if not hundreds, of years. 
This story hit so close to home with me. The story is about a young girl who has long dreamed of her wedding day and the planning and frills that go along with it. Katie Fisher thinks she has it all planned out, wedding including, when her long-time boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her and moves away. Katie is devastated, especially because she has just entered a contest that makes her eligible for the wedding dress of her dreams. Imagine her shock when she wins. Katie is forced to make some tough decisions, but eventually decides to embark on a new journey! Katie Fisher was a doll. The reason that I started this review by saying that this book hit close to home is because Katie is a small town southern girl, with close ties to family, and plans for her gorgeous dream wedding day – nothing could possibly remind me of myself more!

I loved the small town that Katie was from and the quirky people that made up her family and the new ones she met along the way. The atmosphere surrounding Katie, her family, and friends is so cozy and completely relatable. Katie’s character will be such an inspiration to all readers because of her willingness to embrace her faith and overcome the challenge that she is unexpectedly facing. Family was also very important to Katie and this made me love her all the more. I value family with all I have and I think it was so amazing to see Thompson weave the theme of family and comfort into this story so vividly. This was a fast-paced read that made me want to relive my wedding day all over again!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Revell Books in exchange for my honest review***

Friday, May 15, 2015

Book Review: Seriously Wicked

Seriously WickedAuthor: Tina Connolly
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen

The only thing worse than being a witch is living with one.

Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch.

Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose—and into Devon, the cute new boy at school.

Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance.

To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch...will that mean she’s wicked too?

The witch was fond of casting punishments on me whenever I didn’t live up to her bizarre standards of True Witchery.

The witch won’t get me a normal-person cell phone – mine only connects to other witches and the WitchNet so I can learn more about True Witchery, blah blah.

She flicked the wand at me and my hands turned into cooked noodles.

The demon was nine-feet high. He had orange horns circled by a brush of thick red hair. No, wait. They were green horns circled by a brush of thick blue hair. His skin was yellow, then it was turquoise, then it was baby blue. His size and shape didn’t change, but all his colors did. It was like watching a living rainbow.

I love when an author that I already love decides to try a new genre of books! Tina Connolly nailed this genre just like she did with her Ironskin trilogy before. Connolly has written a story that is quirky, fast-paced, and most importantly fun. Our heroine, Camellia “Cam” Hendrix, is a 15-year-old high school sophomore who lives with a seriously wicked witch. Unfortunately for Cam, there is not much she can do about the situation because the witch is her adoptive mother. Cam’s mother, Sarmine, summons this seriously wicked demon called Estahoth, who ends up possessing the cutest boy in school, Devon, who Cam is absolutely smitten with. Cam has to work quickly to figure out how to rid the Devon of this evil demon and work around her mom’s other scheming plots.

Demons, dragons, a phoenix, and pixies! Oh my! This book only took me a few hours to get through and it was such a joy to read. It is a bit eccentric and whimsical and will surely have you feeling like a teenager again. Cam is a truly awesome female lead; unlike most teenage protagonists, she is not whiny or annoying, but seems normal and tries her hardest to balance her school life with her not so normal life. She is trying to juggle so many things and readers get a chance to interact with so many magical beings like dragons and pixies; I cannot even begin to describe how fun this book was to read! It really feels like a fast-paced adventure and you will find yourself rooting for Cam from start to finish!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Tor Teen in exchange for my honest review***

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Early Book Review: Bone To Be Wild

Bone to Be Wild: A Sarah Booth Delaney MysteryAuthor: Carolyn Haines
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Series: Sarah Booth Delaney # 15

Sarah Booth Delaney is heartbroken: her fiancé Graf Milieu has decided to move to Hollywood permanently, leaving their relationship in shambles. Sarah Booth has a perfect distraction, however, in the form of the Black and Orange Halloween ball her best friends are throwing in New Orleans. Sarah Booth plans to dance the night away to the swinging tunes of her old flame Scott Hampton's blues band. But just as the party gets going, Scott receives a mysterious message that threatens his life and the lives of his bandmates. Sarah Booth knows that a new case is just what she needs to take her mind off her failed relationship with Graf, and she's ready to help Scott investigate. And then the message turns from threat to reality when the bartender from Scott's club is gunned down in a drive-by. Enlisting Sheriff Coleman Peters and the rest of her friends from Zinnia, Mississippi, Sarah Booth is caught in a race against the clock as she tries to stop a killer from striking again.

With a twist around every corner, Carolyn Haines will delight readers with Sarah Booth Delaney's latest zany adventure in Bone to be Wild.

“Sarah Booth, there is no certainty in life except uncertainty.”

“Death was stalking” was a peculiar way to phrase a threat.

Even in a tuxedo he still carried the scent of a starched shirt and sunshine.

Sarah Booth Delaney is a woman detective after my own heart! For quite a few years now I have followed this series and have anxiously awaited each new release every spring. I love emerging myself in the southern culture that makes up these stories because I just so happen to be a proud southern belle myself, so you can imagine that I have a lot in common with Sarah Booth. Each new book in the series is filled with many of the same loveable characters. This book hit a few heartstrings, however, because our lovable Sarah Booth is suffering from a broken heart and a broken engagement. At first I thought she was going to let it get the best of her, but we all know that she can never turn down a new mystery to solve! Plus, there are quite a few men in this book that she could easily “kill” time with while getting over her break up!

Sarah reconnects with quite a few people from her past, characters that have shown up in a few of the past installments to the series, and she actually ends up taking a case for an ex-beau of hers. Like I said, Sarah is suffering from her recent break-up, but she does her best to put all of those feelings past her. As always, the story is fast-paced and very easy to follow. Sarah’s loveable dog, Sweetie Pie, is just another endearing touch that makes this series worth following. Sarah is built to be a realistic character, written with flaws and good qualities alike; she is genuine and I have absolutely loved following her on each of her cases. I hope the series will continue and only get better and better.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Minotaur Books in exchange for my honest review***

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Early Book Review: Illusionarium

IllusionariumAuthor: Heather Dixon
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow

What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

“Fashionably late,” I said, half carrying her down the walkway. “You’ll be back in time for biscuits and punch, you can bet on it.”

She wasn’t back in time for biscuits and tea.

I stared. The scene could only be taken in by pieces, as everything all at once was too much whole.

My brain turned, fascinated and feverish.

Wow! What an excellent way to kick off the month of May! So, I have never read a book by Heather Dixon before, but I have read a lot of reviews where bloggers just cannot stop raving about her last book called Entwined. Illusionarium is a historical fiction novel with so many elements of steampunk and fantasy woven in as well. The cover is absolutely beautiful and is one of the first reasons why I decided to pick up this book; I am sucker for girls in beautiful dresses! Jonathan is our main character, and the son to one of the most esteemed scientists in Fata Morgana. Jonathan’s father, and soon Jonathan joins him, has been contracted to help discover a cure for the disease known as Venen. This disease only affects women; the queen of Fata Morgana has come down with the disease as well as Jonathan’s mother and sister. One of the things that I found most interesting about this book is the fact that there is no romantic subplot; this book follows Jonathan and highlights the love and admiration he has for saving his beloved family.

Any book that has steampunk laced within its pages must also have a degree of world building to go along with it, and let me just say that the world building in this book was one of the main reasons why I enjoyed it so much. I have read quite a few historical fiction novels lately, so I was really pleased to see this and steampunk both combined in this fantastical world that Heather Dixon has created. I usually am not a fan of books where the male is the main point of view and the only point of view, but Jonathan has such an eager spirit and is such a jovial character that you almost sometimes forget who is taking you through this journey, but instead you are just happy to be there and keen on finding out if he is able to save his mother and sister from this terrible, terminal disease.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Greenwillow Books in exchange for my honest review***

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Release Day Book Review: Some Like It Witchy

Some Like It Witchy (A Wishcraft Mystery, #5)Author: Heather Blake
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: NAL
Series: A Wishcraft Mystery # 5

Wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather can charm desires into reality, but as the national bestselling Wishcraft mysteries continue, she won’t be able to magically avoid trouble when death holds an open house….

The Enchanted Village is abuzz when the old Tavistock house finally goes up for sale. Darcy’s friend Curecrafter Cherise Goodwin is hoping she will have the winning bid on the home, but Darcy can’t shake the feeling that something bad is about to happen—and her magical instincts are usually right.

Sure enough, while Darcy and Cherise are looking at the property, they discover real estate agent Raina Gallagher stone-cold dead on the floor. Clutched in her hand is a gemstone amulet and, on the wall above her, a large red A. While Raina had no shortage of enemies, there’s also a dark legend about the house itself. To track down the killer, Darcy must unlock the secrets of both the deceased and the estate—and she’ll need to act fast, because revenge is a deal that never closes.…

Something wicked this way came.

There was evil in the air, whirling around as surely as the magic that made this village so special.

Being enchanted, however, didn’t mean this village was immune to wickedness. There’d been several murders here over the past eleven months.

If Cinderella’s fairy godmother had a cool hip sister, it would be Cherise.

Darcy Merriweather, the leading lady and our heroine, has come a long way since book one and I am happy to say that I have followed this series since book one. I am also happy to say that I think this series has only gotten better since book one too! If you are new to this series and are worried about catching up, I can confidently say that you do not need to worry if you have not read the other books in the series because Heather Blake does an excellent job of giving enough background information about the characters and what has happened in past books to catch any reader up. Darcy is, as always, my favorite character from the series, and I think her character has developed more than I ever expected her to. It is always fun to link back up with her and solve mysteries in The Enchanted Village.

The setting makes this series all the more enjoyable to follow. The Enchanted Village has a cozy charm to it and is full of a cast of characters that show up in each new book in the series. The same familiar characters are there to help Darcy solve the mystery and this time it is a diamond heist! This was quite the mystery for the people of the Enchanted Village. These books are a great mix of something supernatural, bewitching, fun, and full of enchanting characters! I recommend this book and series to fans and new readers!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at NAL in exchange for my honest review***

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Book Review: Overruled

Overruled (The Legal Briefs, #1)Author: Emma Chase
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Gallery
Series: The Legal Briefs # 1

Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled series, returns with the first installment of the Legal Briefs series!

A Washington, DC, defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing and with his southern drawl, disarming smile, and captivating green eyes, he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him, and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him. 

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan. 

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart, the mother of his beloved ten-year-old daughter. Jenny is getting married and to someone who isn’t him. 

That's definitely not part of the plan. 


Sofia Santos is a city-raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions. 

But when Stanton, her "friend with mind-blowing benefits," begs her for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi, to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves. Her head tells her she's crazy...and her heart says something else entirely. 

What happens when you mix a one-stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage, and a gun-toting Nana? 

The Bourbon flows, passions rise, and even the best-laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.

“You’re so stubborn – you’re so stuck on what you think is supposed to be there, that you’re missin’ what’s right in front of you.”

Young love is strong. First love is powerful. But what you don’t know when you’re young – what you can’t know – is how long life actually is. And the only dependable thing about it, besides death and taxes, is change.

We all know what happens when we play with matches – but I will not get burned. I’m like…the hand that passes through the flame of the candle without getting burned. I’m fireproof.

Sex with Stanton is exhilarating; working beside him is a privilege. But loving him…that just hurts.

I love a good Emma Chase story! The first book in a series always makes me nervous, especially if it is an author that I thoroughly enjoy. I am always hoping to love it and scared that I won’t. Of course, Emma Chase does not disappoint! The story starts with Stanton and Jenny, a young couple who got pregnant as teenagers. Stanton, after much hard decision, decides to take the full ride law scholarship that was offered to him and he and Jenny decide to maintain an open relationship. I will be honest and say that I did not know how to feel about this at first, but I promise you will learn to adjust as you read. Stanton stays in New York and maintains a long distance relationship with Jenny and his darling daughter. However, in New York he falls into a “friends with benefits” relationship with his sexy co-worker, Sofia. I LOVE Sofia. She is strong, confident, and sassy to her core. Sofia has no plans in messing up what Stanton has with Jenny, but can Stanton ever live without Sofia? That is the real question.

I usually do not like reading the male point of view, but then again I have never read it quite like Emma writes it. It is always exhilarating and very entertaining. This story is not easy to read because of the two women involved, but it is nice to see how it pans out in the end. Let’s not pretend that this type of relationship does not exist in today’s society because we know it does, even though that does not make it right. However, Emma is able to spin a tale so full of drama, love, angst, and real, raw emotion that most times you forget about Stanton’s flawed characteristics you just want so desperately to find out what is going to happen ultimately. I cannot wait to continue on with this series!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Gallery Books in exchange for my honest review***