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.