Saturday, March 31, 2018

Stacking the Shelves #113


I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

My Life
I have been on vacation this week which is always nice.  This wasn't really a relaxing vacation though.  We had 4 college visits for my daughter scheduled which are actually very time consuming.  I took my daughter to three of the visits but stayed home with the dogs and a book for the college that is out of state.  My daughter will probably end up going to the school that is about 3 1/2 hours away but we feel like we need to check out all of the possibilities.

It has rained almost every day during my vacation.  So we have had a muddy backyard and 3 dogs that are stuck in the house because they do not want to get wet to deal with most days which is just a lot of fun. The sun did come out on Friday and I hope it decides to stick around for a bit.

Books Borrowed
Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen (Library via Hoopla)

I adored the forth book in Sarina Bowen's True North series so I thought it was time to check out the beginning of the series.  I hope to get started with this one soon.

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Review - Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason @colleengleason

Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason
Series: The Gardella Vampire Hunters #2
Publisher: Avid Press
Publication Date: July 18, 2015
Date Read: March 29, 2018
Length:  302 pages
Source: Edelweiss
★★★★☆
The saga of Victoria Gardella continues as the glorious nineteenth-century city of Rome gives rise to a new threat from the immortal undead....

Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy has been a vampire slayer for just over a year, balancing her life as a peer of Society with the dangerous role that takes her out on moonlit streets, stake in hand. She has learned brutal and heartbreaking lessons about the sacrifices that must be made in order to save humanity from the evil that secretly preys upon it, but she has not wavered in her vow to fight on.

Now, in Italy, a powerful vampire is amassing the power to control the souls of the dead. As Victoria races across Europe to stop what could be the most deadly army the Gardellas have ever faced, her unlikely companion is Sebastian Vioget--a man as tempting as he is untrustworthy.

But when Victoria discovers she has been betrayed by one of her most trusted allies, the truth will challenge all her powers as a Venator...and as a woman.

My Review

I had a great time reading this book and thought it was even better than the first book in the series.  I have had the first three books from this series sitting in my review pile unread for a couple of years.  I am so glad that I am finally reading the series because I am really enjoying it.  I ended up reading most of the book in a single day simply because I didn't want to put it down.

This is the second book in the Gardella Vampire Hunter series and the series really does need to be read in order.  This book really assumes that the reader knows everything that happened in the first book and picks up shortly after that installment ends.  Victoria has been through a lot and seems stronger now as a result.  I really felt for her as she struggled to find herself again.  I thought that the opening scene of the book really did a fantastic job of illustrating how dark her world has become.

I really liked seeing how much Victoria has grown in this book.  Everything she has been through has really changed her and she seems to have a harder edge in this book.  She doesn't worry as much about society and actually has a lot more freedom in that area.  She is both physically and mentally strong which she proves many times in this story.  It was really wonderful to get to know some of the other characters a bit better.  Sebastian was great in this book.  I was never quite sure if he should be trusted but I really wanted him to prove to be trustworthy.  I was never quite sure if I liked his character in the first book but I loved him in this one.

This book really had everything I hoped to find when I started reading.  There is a whole lot of excitement and action spread throughout the book to really keep things moving forward.  I love that the vampires in this book are definitely the enemy and are not romanticized.  There was enough mystery in the story to really keep me guessing until the very end and a few shocking scenes that made me doubt everything I thought I knew.  The chemistry between the characters was also really well done and a bit of a surprise.

I do recommend this series to others.  It really was one of those books that are just really hard to put down.  I can't wait to start the next book in the series so that I can find out what is in store for Victoria next!

I received a review copy of this book from Avid Press via Edelweiss.

The Gardella Vampire Hunters: Victoria Series
Book #1 - The Rest Falls Away - My Review
Book #2 - Rises the Night
Book #3 - The Bleeding Dusk
Book #4 - When Twilight Burns
Book #5 - As Shadows Fade
About the Author

Colleen Gleason is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author. She has written more than two dozen novels in a variety of genres, including the internationally bestselling Gardella Vampire Hunters series and the young adult steampunk Stoker & Holmes books. Her novels have been translated into a number of different languages. She lives in the Midwestern United States with her family and two dogs and is always working on her next book.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Books from the Backlog #1


I was looking through some of my old books recently and thought it would be fun to feature some of them on the blog even though I may not be able to fit them into my reading schedule anytime soon.  These are books that I am still as enthusiastic about reading as I was when I added them to my collection.  

Maybe your encouragement is all I need to finally crack some of these books open!


The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
Series: Graveyard Queen #1
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer, and to his other victims, lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10945492-the-restorer
Why did I add The Restorer to my bookshelf?

I purchased a copy of The Restorer for my kindle back on May 19, 2012.  I read and enjoyed the prequel to the series, The Abandoned, so I jumped on this book when it went on sale for $1.99.  I have since collected the entire series (yes, I do have a problem) but still haven't started reading it.

What are your thoughts? Have you read this book?  Would you recommend it to others?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review - Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks @KerrelynSparks @SMPRomance

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #3
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Date Read: March 27, 2018
Length: 448 pages
Source: NetGalley

From the brilliant imagination of Kerrelyn Sparks comes a bold new fantasy romance series in which passion and magic collide. Behold the Embraced…

Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. But when the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…

Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart?

My Review

This book was just a whole lot of fun!  I have been a huge fan of this series since I read an early copy of the first book so I was really looking forward to this newest installment.  The fact that I knew that there would be dragons in the book made it all just a little bit better.  I went into this book with some pretty high expectations and I am happy to report that they were all met.  I read most of this book in a single sitting because I didn't want to put the book down. 

This is the third book in the Embraced series and while this book could be read as a stand alone, I do think that this is a series that works best read in order whenever possible.  I have grown to love the characters that appear in this series and had a nice time seeing how some of them are doing.  This book focuses on Gwennore and it was really nice to get to know her better in this story.  I really like Brody's character and was happy to find that he played a large role in this story as well. 

Gwennore is an elf and like her adopted sisters she has a special power due to her birth date.  She has the ability to determine the cause of an illness through touch which makes healing possible.  She has a close relationship with her sister's daughter and doesn't hesitate to put her life on the line to protect the child when she is kidnapped by a dragon.  Gwennore soon learns that she can speak to dragons and forms a bond with her rescuer, Puff.

Silas is highly respected and carries himself with authority.  He is also very easy on the eyes and is the kind of man that can make things happen. He has decided to watch over Gwennore while she is at the castle and takes on the role of protector.  With her skills as healer, she can help the people of his country along with the queen. 

I loved Silas and Gwennore together.  I really thought that all of their feelings towards each other felt completely authentic.  Silas is able to see things in Gwennore that others have missed.  She is used to be treated poorly because she is an elf so she is surprised to find that Silas is genuinely interested.  They had a lot of chemistry together and I loved the spark that seemed to fill the page when they shared a scene. 

I would recommend this series to others.  This was a book that brought a big smile to my face as I turned the pages.  I loved that there was just a bit of humor mixed into the story at just the right times.  I cannot wait to read more books in this fun series. 

I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press.

The Series

Book #1 - How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days - My Review
Book #2 - So I Married a Sorcerer - My Review
Book #3 - Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon
About the Author

Jennifer Berry Studio
Kerrelyn Sparks apparently has issues with reality. After writing more than a dozen books about vampires, she has now completely gone off the deep end and wound up on another planet. But how thrilling that she can share this magical new world with her readers! Although she is best known (so far) for the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list, she hopes her readers will love The Embraced as much as they did her merry band of vamps and shifters. To learn more about her paranormal, historical, and upcoming out-of-this-world fantasy romances, please visit Kerrelyn on Facebook, Twitter, or her website at www.kerrelynsparks.com.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

New Releases - March 27, 2018 #newreleases #newbooks


It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:


Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks
From the brilliant imagination of Kerrelyn Sparks comes a bold new fantasy romance series in which passion and magic collide. Behold the Embraced…

Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. But when the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…

Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart?


I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

Find it at:
A powerful story of empathy and friendship from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of If I Stay.

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.

An emotionally cathartic story of losing love, finding love, and discovering the person you are meant to be, I Have Lost My Way is best­selling author Gayle Forman at her finest.

Changing the Rules by Erin Kern

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
This alpha athlete is about to meet his match...

Cameron Shaw knows exactly what he's doing when it comes to coaching high school boys on the football field, but caring for a six-year-old girl is a whole different ballgame. When a gorgeous, highly opinionated woman shows up with his niece in tow and claims he's Piper's new guardian, Cameron's first response is "hell no." But he can't abandon a little girl who just lost her mother....

Audrey Bennett wasn't planning to stick around town, but Piper's gruff, way-too-good-looking-for-his-own-ego uncle clearly needs help. The longer she stays-watching Cameron teach Piper to make pancakes and tie her sparkly pink shoelaces-the harder it is to leave. Especially when he stops arguing and gives Audrey the most toe-curling kiss of her life. But just as she thinks he might be the one, a secret he's been keeping threatens to tear apart their happy little family.

Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives.

So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he wonders whether they are even related. Still, whether or not they’re family, Rayna is Anders’s only true friend. She’s nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away.

In order to rescue her, Anders must enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shapeshifting force of all.
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35068682-be-a-good-girl?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35559672-twice-bitten?from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35534548-hot-and-badgeredhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35534628-the-disappeared

Which new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, March 26, 2018

Review - The Murderer's Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

The Murderer's Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman
Publisher: Random House - Ballantine
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Date Read: March 23, 2018
Length:  384 pages
Source: NetGalley
★★★★☆
From the #1 New York Times bestselling creator of the acclaimed Alex Delaware series comes a tour de force standalone novel that illustrates perfectly why “Jonathan Kellerman has justly earned his reputation as a master of the psychological thriller” (People).

A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents' death in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace's harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace's renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she'd outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she'd long ago fled.
My Review

I enjoyed this book!  I have always wanted to try Jonathan Kellerman's work so I decided to give this book a try.  Unfortunately, life got a little busy when I had originally planned to read this book and my review is about two and a half years late.  I really wish that I had read this book when I first got my hands on it because it was really good. 

This really is Grace's story.  Grace was a wonderful character and incredibly complex.  She had a less than ideal childhood but as adult, she is a highly respected psychologist.  I loved the fact that we get to know Grace both as a child and as an adult.  I thought the contrast between the two periods was really well done.  I wouldn't really say that I ever liked Grace but I really did enjoy trying to figure her out and was very curious about her past.

Grace does have a bit of a secret life and that life intersects with her professional life early in this book.  As she tries to figure out what really happened, she finds that things may be connected to her past.  I thought that the mystery side of this book was really just okay.  It was rather complex and I never had everything quite figured out but it wasn't the most enjoyable part of the book for me.

I thought that the first parts of the book were the strongest.  I really enjoyed all of the book that focused on Grace as a child.  Adult Grace was really more interesting to me during the first part of the book as well.  The book continued to bounce back and forth from past to present but as the story progressed the two timelines grew much closer to each other.  As the focus of the book moved towards bringing the mystery to a conclusion, it seemed to fizzle out just a bit. 

I would recommend this book to others.  I really enjoyed the writing style and found this to be the kind of book that was easy to keep reading.  I do hope to read from this author in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley.

About the Author

JONATHAN KELLERMAN has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to numerous New York Times bestselling tales of suspense translated into two dozen languages, including the Alex Delaware novels. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. He and his wife, the novelist Faye Kellerman, have four children, including the novelists Jesse Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman.

Author Links: Website | Facebook

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Stacking the Shelves #112


I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

My Life
This was a good week.  I was lucky enough to get to go to the Obisidio event last Saturday with my daughter and had a great time.  I spent most of my week at work trying to get caught up with everything since I have next week off.  I am so happy to officially be on vacation right now.  We are going to be very busy this coming week since we are tying to fit in a lot of college visits.  It is hard to believe that it is time to start making those kind of decisions.



Books for Review
Brief Cases by Jim Butcher (NetGalley)
Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell (First to Read)

I love Harry Dresden so requesting Brief Cases was a no-brainer for me.  I can't wait to start reading this collection of Dresden short stories.  I finally got around to downloading Nothing Left to Burn from First to Read and hope that I like it as much as some other bloggers have.

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Review - Mind of a Killer by Simon Beaufort

Mind of a Killer by Simon Beaufort
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: April 1, 2018
Date Read: March , 2018
Length:  192 pages
Source: NetGalley
★★★★☆
Newspaper reporter Alec Londale discovers that a series of seemingly random murders may be connected in this absorbing historical mystery.

London, 1882. Alec Londale, a young reporter on the Pall Mall Gazette, is working on a story about a fatal house fire. But the post-mortem on the victim produces shocking results: Patrick Donovan's death was no accident. But why would someone murder a humble shop assistant and steal part of his brain?

When a second body is discovered, its throat cut, and then a third, Lonsdale and his spirited female colleague, Hulda Friederichs, begin to uncover evidence of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest echelons of Victorian society.

My Review

I liked this one a lot.  I added this book to my reading list on a complete impulse.  I liked the cover and when I took a closer look at the book's description, I thought it sounded like something I would like.  That impulse worked out well in this case.  I did take me a bit to really get into the story but once I was hooked, I didn't want to stop reading.  I am so glad that I made the decision to read this book.

I really liked that the book was set during the Victorian period.  I thought that the era was well represented in the story and I really liked seeing how a crime might have been solved with the resources that they had on hand.  I found the scenes from the mortuary really interesting and found myself wondering how many crimes were missed.  There were a lot of descriptions that really made the period come to life so it was really easy to visualize what was happening.

The mystery in this book is very solid.  I usually read a book's description once when deciding if I want to read it and then promptly forget any details.  I was shocked when the discovery was made about what was taken from the murder victim.  I couldn't figure out what the killer's motive might have been and I had no idea who might have been behind the crimes.  This is a book that kept me guessing until the very end.

The characters in the book were very well done.  Londale was determined to find out what had happened and I liked the way that he went about finding out.  He was smart and resourceful.  I found myself liking him more and more as the book progressed.  Hulda was such a fun character.  She is the only female reporter working at the newspaper and she doesn't seem to worry if she is acting like a proper lady most of the time.  When she needs to play a part to get someone to open up, she can quickly fit into just about any role and you never seemed to know what she might say or do.  Londale and Hulda made a really good team and I liked the way they interacted with each other.

I would recommend this book to mystery fans.  This had so many wonderful elements that came together to tell a rather thought provoking and entertaining story.  I do hope to see more books featuring this amazing group of characters very soon..

I received a digital advanced reader edition of this book from Severn House Publishers via NetGalley.
About the Author

Simon Beaufort is the pseudonym of a husband and wife writing team. They lived in Cambridge for many years, where they were members of the University, before moving to west Wales. Beau Riffenburgh is a historian, specializing in the history of exploration, and has published a number of books on popular history. He was also a writer for the American National Football League before turning to an academic career. Liz Cruwys is a former police officer-turned marine biologist, specializing in environmental contamination in the polar regions. She also writes under the pseudonym Susanna Gregory.

Author Links: Website

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review - Changing the Rules by Erin Kern @erinkern04 @ForeverRomance

Changing the Rules by Erin Kern
Series: Champion Valley #3
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Date Read: March 19, 2018
Length:  352 pages
Source: Publisher
★★★★☆
This alpha athlete is about to meet his match...

Cameron Shaw knows exactly what he's doing when it comes to coaching high school boys on the football field, but caring for a six-year-old girl is a whole different ballgame. When a gorgeous, highly opinionated woman shows up with his niece in tow and claims he's Piper's new guardian, Cameron's first response is "hell no." But he can't abandon a little girl who just lost her mother....

Audrey Bennett wasn't planning to stick around town, but Piper's gruff, way-too-good-looking-for-his-own-ego uncle clearly needs help. The longer she stays-watching Cameron teach Piper to make pancakes and tie her sparkly pink shoelaces-the harder it is to leave. Especially when he stops arguing and gives Audrey the most toe-curling kiss of her life. But just as she thinks he might be the one, a secret he's been keeping threatens to tear apart their happy little family.

My Review

I liked this romance quite a bit.  I decided to read this book because I was in the mood for a romance even though I was in the middle of two mysteries. I really didn't know a lot about the book but it ended up being one of those books that I didn't want to put down.  It is the third book in the Champion Valley series but I read it as a stand alone without any difficulty.  I am really glad that I stumbled upon this sweet romantic story.

I loved the characters in this story.  Audrey and Cameron were both wonderful on their own and even better together.  They both have had some things to deal with in their past which really still affects the way that they approach relationships.  I thought that the chemistry between was very well done.  Piper was such a fun kid and incredibly resilient.  I thought that the Bee Hive gang were all great characters that added just a touch of humor at just the right times.

The story starts with Audrey bringing Piper to her new guardian.  Audrey's best friend and Piper's mother recently died and Piper's uncle is to be her new guardian.  Cameron was not close to his sister and the idea of becoming the guardian of a 6 year old girl is more than frightening for him.  Audrey is fiercely protective of Piper and plans to stick around until everyone is comfortable with the situation. 

I really enjoyed watching this trio figure things out.  Cameron didn't know his niece until everything happened but he seemed to be a natural with her right from the start.  Audrey has a hard time letting others take control but she is willing to try things Cameron's way at times.  Cameron and Audrey had a ton of chemistry from the start but they are both very focused on putting Piper's needs first.

My biggest issue with the story was the whole guardianship issue.  In this story, Piper's mother knows she is dying and has time to make plans.  It didn't make sense that she would leave her daughter with a brother she really didn't know over a best friend that has been there with her every step of the way.  I also had a few moments in the story where I wanted to tell the adults to stop talking about certain issues in front of the child.  Young kids are sponges and will pick up every little thing you say whether you want them to or not.  I had no problem putting those issues aside and just rolling with the story so it really is a very minor issue.

I would recommend this book to others.  This was a really sweet romantic story with very limited heat.  There are some adorable moments in the story, some great chemistry, and a few laughs.  This was my first experience reading any of Erin Kern's work and I do hope to read more in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing).
About the Author

Erin Kern lives in north Texas with her husband, two kids and their dog. She loves BBQ, Texas sunsets, antiquing and high school football games. The Champion Valley series was inspired by Erin's love of Texas football, small towns and happy endings. When she's not at the computer working on her next tale, she can be found spending time with her kids or curled up with a good book.

Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Review - Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben
Publisher: Harlequin - Hanover Square Press
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Date Read: February 21, 2018
Length:  336 pages
Source: NetGalley
★★★☆☆
A wise, old dog travels through the courts and battlefields of Europe and through the centuries in search of the master who granted him immortality.

Tomorrow tells the story of a 217 year-old “give or take a year or so” dog traveling in search of his lost master.

His adventures take him through the London Frost Fair, the strange court of King Charles I, the wars of the Spanish succession, Versailles and the world of the Sun-King and to nineteenth century Venice. As he travels through Europe he befriends both animals and humans, falls in love (only once) marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for war and gains insight into both the strength and frailties of the human spirit.

With the rich historical vision of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and the captivating canine perspective of A Dog’s Purpose, Tomorrow draws us into a unique, century-spanning tale of the unbreakable connection between dog and human.
My Review

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed by this book.  I went into this book with incredibly high expectations so some of that disappointment is of my own making.  When I first saw this book's cover, I knew that I had to read it.  Then I read the book's synopsis and knew that I would love it.  I ended up liking the book but I didn't love it. 

This is Champion's story and is told from his point of view.  Champion is not just an any dog.  He is immortal and has lived for 217 years.  Champion was separated from his master in Venice over 100 years ago and has spent that time waiting for him as he was told to do.  He has made connections with others and even rescued another dog, Sporco, but he never stops looking for his master. 

The timeline of this story does jump around a bit.  We see Champion after waiting for more than 100 years for his master before going to search for him and we also see different points in the past before they lost each other.  I never found the time sequence to be confusing. It really seemed like the points in the past were important to the story and felt more like memories.  I really liked the historical setting of the novel which spans from the 1600's into the 1800's which I thought added a lot to the story.

I really enjoyed Champion's journey to find his master more than any other part of the book.  Sporco was my favorite character by far and I enjoyed his love of life.  I really felt like Sporco felt much more dog-like than Champion did.  Champion has lived a very long time and is wiser than most humans.  His most dog-like quality would be his loyalty to his master.

The book felt a bit uneven to me with some parts falling flat. I liked the parts of the book that were focused on what the dogs were doing the most.  During the last part of the book, the focus seemed to shift more to the humans as witnessed by the dog which wasn't as enjoyable for me.  There were times that the book felt like it was longer than it needed to be and dragged at points.

I think that a lot of readers will enjoy this one a bit more than I did.  It is a really unique story set in a vividly described period of time.  I didn't love the book as much as I had hoped I would but I am glad that I made the decision to read it.  I would definitely read more of Damian Dibben's works in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Harlequin - Hanover Square Press via NetGalley.
About the Author

Damian Dibben is the creator of the internationally acclaimed children’s book series The History Keepers, translated into 26 languages in over 40 countries. Previously, he worked as a screenwriter and actor on projects as diverse as The Phantom of the Opera, Puss in Boots and The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones. He lives, facing St. Paul’s Cathedral, on London’s South Bank with his partner, Ali, and dog, Dudley.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

New Releases - March 20, 2018 #newreleases #newbooks


It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:


Tomorrow by Damian Dibben
A wise, old dog travels through the courts and battlefields of Europe and through the centuries in search of the master who granted him immortality.

Tomorrow tells the story of a 217 year-old “give or take a year or so” dog traveling in search of his lost master.

His adventures take him through the London Frost Fair, the strange court of King Charles I, the wars of the Spanish succession, Versailles and the world of the Sun-King and to nineteenth century Venice. As he travels through Europe he befriends both animals and humans, falls in love (only once) marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for war and gains insight into both the strength and frailties of the human spirit.

With the rich historical vision of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and the captivating canine perspective of A Dog’s Purpose, Tomorrow draws us into a unique, century-spanning tale of the unbreakable connection between dog and human.


Fast Burn by Lori Foster

Find it at:
For the woman who’s his perfect match, he’s willing to break the rules…

The moment Brand Berry meets beautiful, driven Sahara Silver, the connection between them is electric. It’s also something he can’t pursue. Sahara wants him, sure—to join Body Armor, where his MMA skills, size and cocky attitude make him perfect for her elite crew of bodyguards. For Sahara, the agency always comes first, and Brand needs more. Yet when she’s kidnapped by men searching for her missing brother, he doesn’t hesitate.

Somewhere along the way, flirting with Brand for the sake of business turned very personal. Despite his refusal to join Body Armor, it’s Brand who steps up when Sahara needs him most. Now there’s no more time for games, and no point denying the hunger they both feel. They’ll escape together or not at all. But if they survive, can Sahara finally surrender control to claim this blazing passion?

Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate

Find it at:
Goodreads
A modern day Fatal Attraction meets The Girl on the Train, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling new adult author Courtney Cole, now writing dark psychological suspense under the name Courtney Tate Evans.

From the outside, Dr. Corinne Cabot is living the American dream: a successful ER physician, she is married to a hardworking and handsome psychologist. Together they own a charming house in the Chicago suburbs. But Cabot has a dark personal past and her memory has holes she tries to fill in. Her sleep is ravaged by recurring nightmares of that night when, as a teenager, she found her father standing next to the bodies of two people he had shot dead. It is what she can't remember about that night that utterly haunts her. Her father is still alive in jail for that terrible crime. At times now, despite her success, she fears she is truly unable to determine what is real and what is not. Then she starts to suspect that something is amiss with her husband and realizes that nothing--and no one--in her life is as it appears.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
A suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare...

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . .
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34848621-dirty-games?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35135020-the-brightest-sun?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37651721-claws-for-alarm?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35791514-wanderlust?ac=1&from_search=true

Which new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Audiobook Review - Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde @cryanhyde

Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Narrated by Nick Podehl and Teri Schnaubelt
Publisher: Brillance Audio
Publication Date: December 13, 2016
Date Read: February 8, 2018
Length: 9 hours 41 minutes
Source: Purchased
★★★★☆
On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love with a man like Calvin. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.
My Review

I enjoyed this book.  I really thought that this was going to be a book about a dog based on the cover.  I obviously did not read the book's summary prior to starting this audiobook.  There is a dog in the book but that dog is really not the main focus of the story.  This was a story about race, love, and what really makes up a family.  I am so glad that I stumbled upon this wonderful story.

This book is told from two points of view.  Dr. Lucy takes care of animals and the occasional human that comes to her for help.  She lives a rather isolated life on her ranch and likes it that way.  Pete is a 12 year old boy that happens upon a wounded dog laying on the side of the road and feels compelled to help.  Pete finds help for the dog in Dr. Lucy and so much more.

The characters in this book were wonderful and they all had their own complex story to tell.  Dr. Lucy has been through a lot.  The book is set in a time where people do not want to take a female doctor seriously so Lucy uses her skills to help animals.  Pete has had a lot to deal with in his short life.  Despite the way he is treated, he is still such a good kid and works hard to do what he feels is right.  Justin and his father, Calvin, are new in town.  The town has not been welcoming to them and has treated them poorly because of the fact that they are African American.

I loved the way that the relationships between these characters developed.  If the rest of the world would simply go away, these four people would be very happy.  Pete and Justin have so much in common and I loved watching their friendship progress.  Lucy goes from being alone most of the time to have a real connection to Pete, Justin, and Calvin.  Everything about their interactions seemed natural and it made me very angry that the local citizens did everything they could to not allow any of the connections to exist.

The narrators both did a great job with this story.  I really do enjoy it when audiobooks utilize multiple narrators.  Nick Podehl did a great job with Pete's point of view which was no small task since the character is a 12 year old boy.  Teri Schnaubelt voices the parts that were told from Dr. Lucy's point of view.  Both narrators were able to bring a lot of emotion into the story telling and were very pleasant to listen to for long periods of time.  I would not hesitate to listen to either of these narrators again in the future.

I would recommend this book to others.  This was a very well told story that really care about the characters.  This was the first book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I have read but I wouldn't hesitate to read more of her work in the future.

About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-three published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture, made the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA's Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts, as well as the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.

Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. An avid equestrian, photographer, and traveler, she lives in California.

Author Link:  Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter 
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