July 10, 2017

Suped Up: Soul Redeemed by @KeriLake #PNR

Series: Sons of Wrath 4
Format: Mobi
Release Date: June 27, 2017 
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Being half incubus sucks sometimes. Sure, the sex is great, but getting hounded by females gets old pretty fast. Especially when the only one Calix cares about has gone missing, propelling him into a downward spiral of depression and abstinence.

Trapped by a wannabe mad scientist inside a nightmare of her own, Ava longs to be free, even if it means going back to the only male she regrets having betrayed. All she needs is a single opportunity to lead the way.

Calix should hate Ava for the way she deceived him and his brothers. Yet, when she shows up looking like she’s been through a hell of her own, the sweet relief over her return battles the bitter sting of her betrayal, and Calix can’t bring himself to turn her away. Not to mention, an incubus who’s starved himself of sex for too long is a detriment to everyone—including his brothers—and the way Ava commands his body is exactly the release he needs.

Unfortunately, thanks to the lunatic who held her captive, she’s now a walking death trap to any male that tries to bed her. But danger is closing in, placing Ava’s life in jeopardy, and if Calix doesn’t find a way to control his virile urges, he might just be her deadliest threat.

First of all, thank you, Keri Lake, for granting me an ARC AND for being patient. The short of it is I've been too busy to even take a break so my reading pace and my blogging activities have come into a slow crawl.

On to SOUL REDEEMED, Sons of Wrath 4, that's years overdue! From my rating it was obviously worth the wait. This installment has the right amount of everything and a whole lot of sexy.

July 7, 2017

Shelley Loved: Dead in the Water by Hailey Edwards

Series: Gemini 1 
Format: Kindle | 188 pages
Release Date: January 30, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Svcs 
Source: Amazon
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Camille Ellis is the Earthen Conclave’s golden girl. Her peculiar talent solves cases with a touch. She isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty, but every bright star casts a shadow, and her deepest scars lurk just beneath the skin.
A routine consultation goes sideways when a victim’s brother gets involved in the investigation. Riding the edge of grief, the warg will go to any lengths to avenge his sister’s death. Even if it means ensuring Cam’s cooperation at the jaws of his wolf.

When the killer strikes again, Cam is caught between a warg and a hard place. To save the next victim, she must embrace her past. Even if it means dragging her darkest secrets into the light of day.

DEAD IN THE WATER is the first installment in author Hailey Edwards Gemini series. DEAD IN THE WATER is set in the same universe as the Black Dog series which means that there are several characters who will make an appearance. While some have recommended that you read Thierry Thackeray's series first, I truly believe that you can get through these first three books in the Gemini series without having to go back and reading Thierry's story. The first three books of the Gemini series (there are 6) follows Protagonist Camille Ellis.

July 2, 2017

Suped Up: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswall

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley via Edelweiss
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher
Genre: Women's Fiction

A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.

Every woman has a secret life...

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s "moral police." But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

Looking for something different to read? Well how about you pick up Balli Kaur Jaswal's EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS. It's a breath of fresh air, a palate cleanser, and a totally entertaining read that's sexy, heartwarming, and oozing with girl power. 

June 29, 2017

Suped Up: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Atria
Source: Publisher

Genre: Women's Lit | Literary Fiction

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

And it's a 2-0 for Taylor Jenkins Reid. Though not as wrenching as My First Two Loves, THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO drew me in and had me lost in Hollywood Icon Evelyn Hugo's desultory love life. Suffice to say that this was almost impossible to put down. It's subtle, very straightforward, and unintentionally romantic. Evelyn Hugo is an anti-heroine and she's quick to vilify herself, stressing that she's a calculating bitch who'll do what she has to do to get what she wants regardless of the means. 

And for all of Evelyn's awe inspiring life and love story, I also felt an overwhelming sadness, and at times anger towards her and on her behalf. TJReid didn't romanticize Hugo's flaws nor hid it behind the convenience of glamour of her status as a Hollywood icon, Evelyn is as human as you could possibly imagine, you could almost see her bleed through the pages. 

This novel is raw and emotionally grating, I felt challenged to find some redemptive quality of Hugo's to absolve her in the end. I could go wax poetic over how fantastic THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO is but where's the fun in that?! Aside from me boring you, I'd rather you read this for yourself and experience the magic that is Evelyn Hugo.

Talk Supe

June 27, 2017

Shelley Loved: Song of the Lioness Books 1 & 2 by Tamora Pierce

Series: Song of the Lioness 1
Format: Hardcover, 260 pages
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy

From Tamora Pierce, the first book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award.

“From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight.”

In a time when girls are forbidden to be warriors, Alanna of Trebond wants nothing more than to be a knight of the realm of Tortall. So she finds a way to switch places with her twin brother, Thom. Disguised as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page at the palace of King Roald. But the road to knighthood, as she discovers, is not an easy one. Alanna must master weapons, combat, and magic, as well as polite behavior, her temper, and even her own heart.

Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna’s first adventure begins—one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and make her a legend in the land

ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE is the first installment in author Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series. This is a series that was originally released nearly 30 years ago. The book I borrowed from my library was released in 2014. Set in the realm of Tortall, Alanna of Trebold is the main character. Alanna is a girl who wants to become a knight, while her twin brother Thom, wants to become a sorcerer. 

In this world, girls are sent to a convent called Daughters of the Goddess, while boys are sent to the King's court to learn how to be nobles of the Kingdom. This includes being trained as a page, squire, and later becoming a Knight of the Realm if they pass the grueling tests. When the story starts, Alanna is (8) years away from taking the challenge to become a Knight of the Realm. At the end of this story, Alanna has become a good student, who is fairly proficient with weapons, and can hold her own against almost anyone. 

June 23, 2017

Shelley Liked: If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock

Series: If I Run 2
Format: Hardcover | 384 pages
Release Date: March 21st 2017
Publisher: Zondervan
Source: Library
Genre: Thriller | Mystery

In this riveting sequel to the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness.

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail cell.

IF I'M FOUND is the second installment in author Terri Blackstock's If I Run trilogy. Picking up right where If I Run left off, Casey Cox is still on the run knowing full well that she is the key suspect in the murder of her best friend. With her DNA at the crime scene, the murder weapon found in her car, Casey knows that she is being set up by some very bad people, namely cops. After risking exposure to find a kidnapped girl, and barely walking away unscathed in If I Run, Casey is on the move. 

After changing her alias, again, Casey ends up investigating some really horrible people after an innocent man is accused of a very sick crime. Casey also ends up following a lead to the doorstep of a certain corrupt cops mistress and to the corrupt cop himself. One of the things that has been at the top of my list of things to like about this series, is Casey's determination to save others at the expense of being caught by the corrupt cops who continue to run her down. So, where does this lead Casey? To more trouble, to more people who need her help, to Dylan who has opened up Casey's eyes to faith, and to trusting that he is on her side without hesitation, or reservations.

June 19, 2017

Suped Up: Crown of Stars by Sophie Jaff

Series: Nightsong Trilogy 2
Format: eGalley via Edelweiss
Release Date:  June 7, 2017
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Source: Publisher
Recommended By: Books of Love
Genre: Dark Fantasy | Horror

Rumors of witchcraft have haunted Margaret ever since she was born. A strange, dark-eyed child, she was feared and then shunned by her medieval English village after her mother’s brutal murder. When her father remarries, Margaret—now a young woman—realizes that she must leave the village for good.

Hundreds of years later, as fall comes to Manhattan, Katherine Emerson prays her horrific summer is over. She survived a killer’s attack, but her roommate Andrea was not so lucky and now Katherine is raising Andrea’s son, Lucas. However, the rest of her world is in ruins: the man she loves has left her and she’s pregnant with his child. She accepts she’ll be a single mother—until he insists on doing “the right thing”, which means taking her and Lucas with him to London for his new job. Katherine hopes that maybe she too can start over.

But starting over doesn’t mean that the disturbing and dangerous encounters with strangers will end. As Katherine begins to fall apart, Margaret’s fight to survive in a hostile world reveals she has inherited her mother’s extraordinary gifts—but will she use them for good or evil? Can Margaret change the destiny of Katherine and her unborn child? And what will happen if she succeeds?

Nightsong Trilogy by Sophie Jaff is one of those series that deserves more attention and readership. I know a lot of you here are dark fantasy fans like me, we love myths that delve into the supernatural occult adorned with rich backstories, an interesting cast of characters, and a plot set in unassuming familiar places. Nightsong Trilogy touches on witchcraft, biblical myths, reincarnation, and serial killer themes that make for an unusual yet totally enthralling story. 

June 15, 2017

Shelley Loved: Badlands by Melissa Lenhardt

Series: Laura Elliston 3
Format: E-Galley
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Redhook-Orbit
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Fiction | Historical | Western

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in the conclusion to Melissa Lenhardt's fast-paced historical series

Laura's worst fears have been realized: Kindle has been taken into custody and she is once again on the run. The noose awaits her in New York, but Laura is realizing that there are some things worse than death. Finally running out of places to hide, it may be time for Dr. Catherine Bennett to face her past.

BADLANDS is the third and final installment in author Melissa Lenhardt's Laura Elliston trilogy. If you've read my first two reviews of Sawbones and Badlands, you know that this trilogy is centered around Dr. Catherine Bennett aka Laura Elliston. Bennett was accused of murdering a very well off patient at the start of this trilogy. Facing the distinct possibility of being hanged on sight because the deck was stacked against her by rich and powerful men, she chose to flee to Texas and later changed her name to Laura Elliston. Laura's journey has been anything but easy. 

June 6, 2017

Suped Up: The Party by Robyn Harding

Series: Standalone (?)
Format: eGalley
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary | Literary Fiction

Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found here

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.

THE PARTY by Robyn Harding took me by surprise. After reading the first few chapters I though I'll be witness to yet another entertaining suburban melodrama featuring a bored housewife and her seemingly perfect family. 

Well I did get that, but what I wasn't expecting is how THE PARTY got me by the balls from the get-go. Things did indeed take such a horrific turn after an accident happened in an otherwise wholesome and harmless Sweet Sixteen sleepover. 

June 5, 2017

Shelley Loved: Blood Oath by Melissa Lenhardt

Series: Laura Elliston 2
Format: E-Galley | 368 pages
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Redhook | Orbit
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Historical | Western

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this action-packed follow up to Sawbones.

Laura Elliston and William Kindle are on the run -- from the Army and from every miscreant in the West eager to claim the $500 bounty for Laura's capture as their own. But the danger isn't just from those pursuing them. Laura and Kindle have demons of their own and a past that won't stay dead. Exhausted, scared, scarred and surrounded by enemies, neither realize the greatest danger is yet to come.

BLOOD OATH is the second installment in author Melissa Lenhardt's Laura Elliston series. As you may have learned from reading my review for Sawbones, Lenhardt doesn't go easy on her characters. She doesn't give them easy ways out. She knows that the late 19th century was filled with unhappy Confederate soldiers, uncouth and unsavory bounty hunters looking to make their fortunes, and renegade Indians who massacred Whites, and Whites who in turn, massacred Indians. 

May 30, 2017

Suped up: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

Series: Menagerie 2
Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Sci-Fi | Fantasy

In this riveting sequel to New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent's acclaimed novel Menagerie, Delilah Marlow will discover that there is no crueler cage than the confines of the human mind…

When their coup of Metzger's Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of "exotic wildlife." Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle's owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price.

But Vandekamp's closely guarded client list isn't the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

Fuck. Warning: SPECTACLE by Rachel Vincent can and will elicit a visceral reaction from you, my fellow readers.

May 24, 2017

Loved It: Sin Eater by Jennifer Harlow

Series: F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation
Format: Mobi
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Devil on the Left Books
Source: Author
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The long anticipated installment of the best-selling and critically acclaimed F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series is finally here…


What’s a F.R.E.A.K. to do after all her hopes and dreams literally died in front of her? Telekinetic Beatrice Alexander went from flying around the country in a private jet, saving innocent lives from monstrous threats to living in her grandmother’s house, playing video games and drinking too much. Directionless, hiding from her problems and trauma, she will do anything not to confront her deadly actions that fateful night in North Carolina three months before. Any distraction will do.

Enter Lord Connor McInnis.

Drawn to the sexy, powerful ruler of San Diego, Beatrice soon loses herself in the passion and luxury of the vampire’s world. But when she finds herself caught in the middle of a centuries old vampire rivalry, Beatrice must decide: how far is she willing to go for those she loves…and for herself?

It's been a while since I've read book 4 of Jennifer Harlow's F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation series and I don't recall any of the books being as dark and angst-ridden as SIN EATER. Without giving away too much of the plot, High Moon (book 4) ended tragically which explains why Beatrice Alexander is such a hot mess and hard to like for the most part.  

May 22, 2017

Shelley Loved: Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt

Series: Laura Elliston 1
Format: Kindle E-Book | 432 pages
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Redhook
Source: Amazon
Genre: Historical | Westerns

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this fast-paced historical debut.

When Dr. Catherine Bennett is wrongfully accused of murder, she knows her fate likely lies with a noose unless she can disappear. Fleeing with a bounty on her head, she escapes with her maid to the uncharted territories of Colorado to build a new life with a new name. Although the story of the murderess in New York is common gossip, Catherine's false identity serves her well as she fills in as a temporary army doctor. But in a land unknown, so large and yet so small, a female doctor can only hide for so long.

SAWBONES is the first installment in author Melissa Lenhardt's Laura Elliston trilogy. This is a series that is set in 1871 and it begins in NYC where Dr. Catherine Bennett has struggled for years to gain a foothold in a male dominated world. She's fought tooth and nail and has done things that no male would ever dream of doing. After being attacked by an unknown assailant, Catherine learns from her best friend James that she is being accused of killing one of her patients.

James, who may be her only friend outside of her maid, and a madam at a whore house, suggests strongly that she leave NYC, which she does alongside her maid Maureen O'Reilly. As Catherine & Maureen make their way to Texas, she learns that the west is desperate for doctors and that there is a $500 reward for her capture hanging over her head. Catherine, now Laura Elliston, joins a wagon train heading for Colorado, and that, my friends, is where things get really dicey, really ugly, and especially dark.

May 19, 2017

Shelley Liked: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Series: If I Run 1
Format: Paperback | 305 pages
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Zondervan
Source: Publisher
Genre: Mystery | Suspense
Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.
Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

IF I RUN is the first installment in new to me author Teri Blackstock's If I Run trilogy. The story follows two characters: Casey Cox and Dylan Roberts. The author actually alternatives narratives between the two, and it's in the first person format. Casey is a woman who is between a rock and a hart place. After discovering her best friend Brent Pace dead, she chooses to run, instead of facing the justice system. Dylan, an army veteran with PTSD, is hired by Brent's parents to track Casey down and bring her back to face justice.

What's pretty obvious to me is that Casey did the correct thing when she decided to run and not look back. Without going into spoiler-y territory, Casey's past plays a huge role in what happens in this book. Casey is far from stupid in fact, she's quite smart at most of the things she does here. I say most, because Casey is the sort of person who doesn't like to turn a blind eye to injustices she sees even if her actions could come back to haunt her. After all, she's on the run. She is supposed to keep her head down while she tries to figure out a way to save herself.

May 16, 2017

Loved It: Owl and the Electric Samurai by Kristi Charish

Series: The Adventures of Owl 3
Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 8, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
The third exciting novel starring the unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. From the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus) and for fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and fantasy lovers everywhere.

The International Archaeology Association (IAA) is responsible for keeping all things supernatural under wraps. They’re also responsible for ruining the promising archaeology career of Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl.

Needless to say, Owl’s still a little sore about that.

Just to keep Owl’s life lively, the IAA has opened a bounty on the two designers of World Quest, the online RPG that is much, much more than it seems. Owl needs to locate the notorious gaming duo before the other mercenaries do. But finding the gamers won’t be easy since every clue points to them hiding out in the legendary lost city of Shangri-La. Not to mention that the last time Owl and the game designers spoke, their conversation didn’t exactly end on the best note…

Meanwhile, undercurrents of supernatural politics are running amok in Tokyo, dragging Owl and her friends into a deadly game of wits with an opponent who calls himself the Electric Samurai. The cost of losing? All-out civil war between two powerful supernatural factions.

If you like:

  • NON-STOP ACTION: Kristi Charish's The Adventure of Owl series is packed. You'll be breathless from all the running, hair splitting near-misses, and formidable foes Owl continues to encounter for three books so far. OWL AND THE ELECTRIC SAMURAI is just a thrilling as the others as Owl tries to out maneuver elves, game masters, mercenaries, and a naga among other things. And if I don't know any better, I think Captain bestowed some of his lives to Owl. She's had that many close encounters and if not for her quick thinking, my favorite antiquities thief won't be alive anymore; 

May 12, 2017

Liked It: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Series: Crazy Rich Asians 3
Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Doubleday
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary | Asian Literature

Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia's greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.

When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside--but he's not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park--a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore--the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife--a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid's reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold-leaf dancefloor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan's gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia's most privileged families.

Shout-out to Joy of Joyousreads for putting Kevin Kwan on my radar. Happy to meet an Asian author who tells it like it is. 

RICH PEOPLE PROBLEMS is the third in the Crazy Rich Asians book series. I haven't read the first two so I don't know if there's an overarching plot arc, I do know based on the blurbs of the books that the series has a permanent cast of characters and RICH PEOPLE PROBLEMS is a continuation of the Young family saga. Despite jumping into the series late not to mention the dizzying cast of characters and their connections, I managed to follow the story well because KKwan provided back stories and updates on long standing feuds and relationships. 

May 9, 2017

Shelley Liked: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Series: The Black Witch Chronicles 1
Format: E-Galley | 601 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy

A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother's legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she's been taught to hate and fear.

THE BLACK WITCH is the first installment in author Laurie Foster's The Black Witch Chronicles. THE BLACK WITCH is the authors debut novel, while Wandfasted (The Black Witch prequel, July 1, 2017, Harlequin TEEN) will be her first e-book novella. This is a story that features 17-year old Elloren Gardner. Elloren is a Gardnerian who lives in a place called Halfix. Her family has one of the strongest mage blood lines in the entire country. But, Elloren apparently doesn't have the same affinity for magic as others, including her younger brother.

Elloren does have some interesting quirks but it doesn't make her a bad character. She has led a sheltered life thanks to her Uncle. Which has therefore created a foundation on how she sees the other races like Fae, Lupines, Urisks, and Icarals. Her Aunt is one of the more underhanded individuals you will meet in the story. Is it Elloren's fault that she was sheltered for years by her uncle, and not allowed to see what the other races are capable of? No. The most fascinating part of her character is that she can tell the kind of tree wood came from with a touch. She also has a green finger in that things she plants, have a tendency of doing a whole lot better than others. 

May 3, 2017

Tiffany Reisz, You Wicked Mistress!

Oh Tiffany Reisz, the world of romance novels wouldn't be the same without you! More importantly, WHAT HAS YOUR WICKED BRAIN AND PEN (or keyboard) DONE TO ME!!! 

This review is overdue but as always, the words are taken out of my brain post-reading a TReisz novel. In this case it's a double dead kind of situation as I read THE BOURBON THIEF and THE NIGHT MARK back to back. My digital floor is cluttered with crumpled pieces of e-paper what with the number of drafts I wrote before I finally managed to organize a coherent string of thoughts for this post that should've gone live a month ago.

April 25, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This weeks Feature:

Top 10 Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT
Want to Read a Book!

1. BDSM - While others may like the kinky, I like my sex vanilla. Does that make me strange? 

2. Rape - As a survivor of rape, I do not care to have it reminded to me when I pick up a book and the author has crossed the line into sexual assault. This is my pet peeve with movies and TV shows as well. We, as a society, scream about rape culture, but we don't scream at writers or authors who can't find another way to tell their stories.

3. Overly involved synopsis' - I mean synopsis' that are overly explicit. Those that pretty much tell you EVERYTHING that is going to happen in a book. Why would I want to read a book when I already know what is going to happen?   

4. Typos, No Editing, Screwed up Formatting - You know the books right? Where you receive a copy from NetGalley, or Edelweiss and there are so many glaring errors, you wonder if the finished copy is going to fix them all. I understand that these are ARC's and that they are uncorrected versions. But, how do you read a book when there are so many run on sentences?

5. Books that feature politics, religion, and other issues that don't appeal to me. I've burned myself out on politics in real life. I don't want to read about politics in books, or be subjected being screwed at because I may have a different take on the issue. Some religion is OK, as long as we don't get into a shouting match about who is right, and who is wrong.

6. Books that are longer than 600 pages. Ok, yes I have read books from Sarah Maas that are longer, but I only have patience for so many before I flip through to get to the good parts. I am really comfortable with books in the 200-350 page range.

7. Love Triangles - Possibly the devil's own doing. Some love them, some hate them. I am in the later category. For years now, authors have chosen to go down this path. I know there is nothing we, as readers can do about it. But still....

8. Series that end without any resolution. Want to turn me off from reading a book from the author again? Do this! The character is hanging on for their lives. But, because of publishers, or what have you, we never find out what happened next. This happens to TV programs all the time. It's unfair to those who have infested time in finding out how things will be wrapped up

9. Books written by Politicians. Nope. You can waste your money if you like, I would rather spend my money on something else that appeals to me. Why would I want to give my money to a politician who is already making more money than I will in my entire life time? 

10. Use of stock models over and over again. I love to see originality. I don't like to see covers being used over and over again by several different authors. I think this happens mostly in Indie authors. Could you call it stealing, or is it just pure laziness?

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Follow Me: Gizmo's Reviews Blog | Facebook | @GizmosReviews | Goodreads

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April 21, 2017

Loved It: Snared by Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin 16
Format: ARC
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Urban Fantasy

If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

Reading Jennifer Estep is the equivalent of having a chilled glass of martini on a hot Summer night. It's refreshing, exciting, and the buzz Gin Blanco gives you is distinct and will make you come back for more. 

So it's killer v killer in SNARED. There's a serial killer in Ashland aptly named Dollmaker because he makes up his victims before brutally killing them. Although this appears to be an episodic part at first glance, this whole mess led Gin a small step closer to the Circle. 

April 18, 2017

The Graveyard Queen by Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens
The Graveyard Queen 4-6
Urban Fantasy | Horror
MIRA | Goodreads

Say it isn't so. Please tell me that we haven't seen the last of The Graveyard Queen series! I binge read the last three books for a week and I want more! There are so many things that went on in this story arc that I'm sure I'm not the only reader who thinks (or hopes) that the Amelia Gray is far from done!

THE VISITOR, THE SINNER, and THE AWAKENING is a new plot arc concerning an old and dangerous group called The Congè. Each book builds up the tension, the sense of foreboding while each investigation and experience caused Amelia's powers to grow.

April 11, 2017

I'm Back with my Genre Mash-up

Has it been three weeks since I’ve been away? It feels like forever! It's been busy several weeks for me and things have never been this good in a long time. And with all these happy changes that have been going on in my life, my mood readings have become more severe. I did a lot of genre hopping, unsure of what kind of story will appeal to me not to mention finding the time to read has also been a big challenge. Still, I’m happy that I’ve managed to squeeze in a few titles despite my busy schedule and all. Anyways, let me brass-tack my reading pile: 

Let me kick this off by saying that if you haven’t read The Others, not only are you missing out, I’m also begging you to pick up Written in Red! Anne Bishop simply wove a magical and truly unique world with this one. Everything about The Others is inspired, memorable, and truly enthralling. Each installment is a gem which is why it was a blow to this clueless reader that ETCHED IN BONE is the last of the Lakeside Courtyard arc. Part of me is happy that it ended on such a high note while the other part of me is dead curious about Meg and Simon’s relationship. These two is one of the cutest couple that I’ve come across with and I’m dying to know how they’re going to make their relationship work considering they’re essentially two different species. If you’ve read the series, you’ll understand that this couple goes beyond the usual were/shifter-human pair-up. Anyway, I’m happy that ABishop isn’t done with this world. Needless to say, I’m dying to get my hands on Lake Silence (2018), a new arc featuring new characters set in a human town. I just can’t get enough of this world and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying, KEEP IT COMING!

March 29, 2017

Shelley's Review - Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire #Urban Fantasy @seananmcguire @dawbooks

Series: InCryptid # 5
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: DAW
Source: Library
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The fifth book in New York Times-bestselling Seanan McGuire's witty urban fantasy InCryptid series about a family of cryptozoologists who act as a buffer between humans and the magical creatures living in secret around us.

Destiny, Noun: 

   1. The inevitable or irresistible course of events.
   2. The inescapable future.
   3. See also “Screwed.”

Verity Price is back on the West Coast and getting back into the swing of the family business: cryptozoology. She's rescuing cryptids from bad situations, protecting them from monster-hunters, and generally risking life and limb for the greater good, with her ex-Covenant partner/husband, Dominic, by her side. Her ballroom dance career is behind her...or so she thinks. 

When Verity gets the call from the producers of Dance or Die, the reality show she almost won several years before, she finds the lure of a comeback impossible to resist, and she and Dominic are off to L.A. for one last shot at the big time.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When two of her fellow contestants turn up dead, Verity will need every ally she can find—and a couple she wasn't looking for—in order to navigate the complicated steps of both the tango and a murder investigation without blowing her cover. It doesn't help that her official family backup is her grandmother, Alice Price-Healy, who thinks "subtle" is something that happens to other people.

Winning this competition may have just become a matter of life and death.

Chaos Choreography is the fifth installment in author Seanan McGuire's InCrypid series. When last we read about Verity Price in Midnight Blue-Light Special, she had left just Manhattan behind along with her paramour Dominic de Luca. 6 months later, Dominic and Verity, who are now married after a quickie stop in Vegas, are back in Portland, Oregon at the secretive survival ranch where the Price-Healy's have been holed up keeping out of sight and out of mind of the dreaded Covenant of St. George who believes they are traitors to the cause. 

The Price-Healy's are Cryptozoologists. What is a cryptozoologist you ask? Cryptozoology is the study of creatures whose existence has yet to be—or else cannot entirely be—proved or disproved by science. These creatures, known collectively as cryptids, include examples like the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Dragons, Plesiosaurs, Boogeymen, and the Himalayan Yeti. The Price family stands up for those who follow the law, and put down any who step out of line.

3 years ago, Valerie Pryor aka Verity Price, came in second place in a dance competition known as Dance or Die. Verity has dreamed about becoming a professional dancer all her life, but after her year in Manhattan dealing with the Covenant, and discovering something wonderful that was once thought extinct, Verity has leaned towards becoming a cryptozoologist full time. Then one phone call changes everything. The producers of Dance or Die have invited Valerie back to compete against the top four finalists from the previous (5) seasons. Think of Dance or Die as So, You Think You Can Dance? 

There's so much to talk about with this book. First, I have to guide your attention to the Aeslin Mice. They are freaking amazing and adorable and if someone doesn't send me one right now, I'm going to take my toys and go home. Right. Anyway! The Aeslin Mice are the Price-Healy family historians. They remember everything that ever happened to the family. They celebrate almost everything, including cheese and cake. They have slick names for all of the Price-Healy's. In Verity's case, she is called The Arboreal Priestess. 

“Breanna Kelly, meet Alice Price-Healy. Grandma, meet Breanna. No one is shooting, stabbing or immolating anyone in this hotel room."

"Please," added Dominic. "I have to sleep here."


Second, McGuire introduces readers to the enigma of the Price-Healy family. The reason why the family has been labeled as traitors by the Covenant and why they have to be careful to not bring too much attention to themselves. Meet Grandmother Alice Price-Healy. She doesn't age like you or me. She can actually pass as Verity's sister. She has tattoos which are really spells woven into her skin. Plus, she is a multidimensional traveler who has spent years looking for her missing husband. Alice is the most dangerous person in four dimensions. She is known to carry grenades with her, and she is one of the more brilliant characters that McGuire has created.

As Verity, Dominic, Alice, and a supporting case of characters work to find out what is happening to those who have been eliminated from the show and stopping an even bigger catastrophe from happening, things get rather interesting and choices are made that will have a severe impact on the rest of this series. If you love cliffhanger endings, well you get one that will blow your mind away. If you don't, well you get one anyway that will blow your mind away and push you towards reading the next book in the series called Magic for Nothing which features Verity's younger sister Antimony. 

Haven't read this series yet? You should. If you've been reading the authors October Daye series, then you know McGuire can write some really entertaining, as well as twisted storylines. Her characters are as fun to read about, as they are badass. I dare say that Verity is my favorite character in this series which is why I skipped over her older brother Alex's two books. I was able to pick up this book without having to figure how what happened in Alex's books, or if they would have any impact on this storyline. Also, if you love swoon worthy Italian men, well, Dominic will definitely make a lasting impression.

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