Thursday, May 31, 2018

Books from the Backlog #10


Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks.

If you would like to join in, please feel free to enter your link and link back to this post, then spend some time visiting some of the other posts.  

This week's neglected book


Soulless by Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Release Date: October 1, 2009
Publisher: Orbit
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Why did I add Soulless to my bookshelf?

I bought the bundle of the first three books of this series on July 30, 2011.  I remember that I read the sample and really liked it before I decided to make the purchase.  I have no idea why I haven't read this yet.  It sounds like my kind of book and most of the reviews that I have seen for it are quite positive.  Maybe I will get around to it someday!

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






Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Review - Hello Again by Brenda Novak

Hello Again by Brenda Novak
Narrated by Therese Plummer
Series: Evelyn Talbot #2
Publisher: St. Martin's Press / Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Date Read: May 23, 2018
Length: 384 pages / 11 hours 27 minutes
Source: NetGalley / Audible Purchase
★★★★☆
From the New York Times bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.
Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world's worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?
When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except...Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . . .
My Review

I had a really good time with this book.  I actually liked this book a lot more than the previous installment and am really glad that I decided to continue with the series.  I thought that this book was very exciting and found myself wanting to keep reading for hours at a time just to find out how things would work out.

This is the second full length book in the Evelyn Talbot series and I do recommend reading this series in order since some parts of the story build on events from previous books.  Evelyn is continuing her work at Hanover House and has a new psychopath to work with, Lyman Bishop or the Zombie Maker.  Lyman is incredibly intelligent and somewhat challenging. Of course, there are other things going on around Evelyn as well so things are always interesting.

I really liked the complexity of the mystery in this book.  I wasn't quite sure what I should think about certain events until something else that was connected occurred and everything fell into place.   The way things were laid out really kept my interest level high.  I thought that the fact that there were several interconnected threads also kept things rather exciting and there were quite a few surprises worked into the story.  The relationship between Evelyn and Amarok does have a few developments but I thought that the story was much more balanced with the romantic aspect adding to the story and character development.

I thought that Therese Plummer did a great job with this book.  I really enjoyed the pacing of her reading and she has a very pleasant voice that is easy to listen to for long periods of time.  She was able to handle a fairly large cast of characters very well with distinct voices for each of the key players.  I thought the she added a lot of emotion to the story and made some of the intense scenes even more exciting.

I would recommend this book to others.  The series is really exciting and filled with wonderful characters.  I can't wait to read more of this series so I can find out what is next for Evelyn Talbot.

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the book from Audible.
The Series
Book #0.5 - Hanover House - My Review
Book #1 - Her Darkest Nightmare - My Review
Book #2 - Hello Again
Book #3 - Face Off - Coming August 28, 2018!
About the Author

BRENDA NOVAK and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children-three girls and two boys. When she's not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research. Brenda's novels have made The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and won many awards, including three Rita nominations, the Book Buyer's Best, the Book Seller's Best and the National Reader's Choice Award.

Author Link:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

New Releases - May 29, 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:


Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James
The handsome, rakish heir to a dukedom, Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde—known to his friends as North—left England two years ago, after being jilted by Miss Diana Belgrave. He returns from war to find that he's notorious: polite society has ruled him "too wild to wed."

Diana never meant to tarnish North's reputation, or his heart, but in her rush to save a helpless child, there was no time to consider the consequences of working as a governess in Lindow Castle. Now everyone has drawn the worst conclusions about the child's father, and Diana is left with bittersweet regret.

When North makes it clear that he still wants her for his own, scandal or no, Diana has to fight to keep from losing her heart to the man whom she still has no intention of marrying.

Yet North is returning a hardened warrior—and this is one battle he's determined to win.

He wants Diana, and he'll risk everything to call her his own.


Cowboy Bold by Carolyn Brown

Find it at:
With her sassy humor and sexy cowboys, USA Today bestseller Carolyn Brown launches her new Longhorn Canyon series.

One city girl, one die-hard rancher, and eight mischievous kids. What could go wrong?

Every summer Cade Maguire looks forward to opening his Longhorn Canyon Ranch to underprivileged city kids. But this year, he's having no luck finding a counselor for the children--until Retta Palmer walks through his door.

Flat broke after selling everything she owns to pay for her father's medical bills, Retta is thrilled to hear of an opening for a counselor position. She's not as thrilled about the ranching part, or the sexy cowboy with beautiful blue eyes who's her new boss.

After being left at the altar two years before by his fiancée, Cade isn't sure he can take another heartbreak. And Retta isn't even sure she wants to stay. But the sparks between them are absolutely undeniable. And with a couple of lovable kids and two elderly folks playing matchmaker, Cade and Retta may find that the best way to heal is with each other.

Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…

May
Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.

Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.

Alec
I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.

It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.

Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
In the vein of Wicked, The Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous reimagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s “evil” stepmother.

We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?

As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. . . .

A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice when she is only ten years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the celebrated princess who embodies everyone’s unattainable fantasies. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises.

Lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive, All the Ever Afters explores the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, all the while showing us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound, and ultimately more important, truth than the ideal of “happily ever after.”
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36373481-the-death-of-mrs-westaway?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36329818-legendary?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36137941-the-first-time-at-firelight-falls?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36425796-shelter-in-place?ac=1&from_search=true

Which new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Audiobook Review - Dying Bites by D.D. Barant

Dying Bites by D.D. Barant
Narrated by Johanna Parker
Series: Bloodhound Files #1
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication Date: June 29, 2012
Date Read: May 10, 2018
Length: 9 hours 13 minutes
Source: Audible Purchase

Her job description is the "tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers". What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek's brave new world - one in which only one percent of the population is human - is that a woman's work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day.

Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she's the best there is in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David's world - one that also includes lycanthropes and golems - is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does.

Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again....
My Review

I liked this book but I didn't love it.  I have had a copy of this book for years and finally decided to dust it off and give it a try.  There were some things about the book that I really enjoyed and other things that made me question why things happened the way that they did.  This was a pretty fast listen for me and I did enjoy the overall story.

I liked the overall premise of the story.  Jace is an FBI profiler that is pulled into an alternate reality to help solve a crime.  The alternate reality is filled with vampires, shifters, and other interesting beings with humans as a small minority.  The paranormal beings in this reality are not prone to mental illness but there is a killer on the loose targeting the paranormal population that happens to be human so Jace has been enlisted to help.

The population of these realities are so different but I was amazed by how much everything looked like our world.  Language was mostly the same.  Cars developed in the same manner.  There were some difference but I really would have thought that there would be a whole lot more since these really were different worlds.  According to the story, the worlds became different when guns were invented in our world and not used in theirs.  It just seemed strange to me.

I did think that the story was exciting.  The murders were quite interesting and I was really interesting in learning who was responsible.  There were several surprises along the way that I did not see coming.  I liked the characters in the book well enough.  Jace was tough and smart but I kept thinking that she adjusted to everything a whole lot faster than could be expected.  I really liked Charlie, her golem assistant, and thought that many of the other secondary characters were equally well done.

One of the reasons that I decided to pick up this audiobook was Johanna Parker's narration.  I am someone that listens to audiobooks at regular speed and don't like to speed things up.  I immediately felt this book was going really fast so I check to see if I had changed a setting on my device since the narrator seemed to be talking really fast.  I decreased the speed of the narration and was able to enjoy the story much more from that point forward.  I did like the range of voices that she used in this book although I did have a bit of trouble keeping everyone straight for a time. 

I would encourage anyone interested in the series to give it a try.  I thought that it had a lot of unique points and found it to be rather entertaining.   I am not sure if I will continue on with the series at this point but I am glad I gave this one a shot.

About the Author

D. D. Barant is a pen name of Don DeBrandt, a Canadian science fiction author who also writes under the name Donn Cortez. As Barant, he has authored the Bloodhound Files series.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Friday, May 25, 2018

Review - Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James @EloisaJames

Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #2
Publisher: HarperCollins - Avon
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Date Read: May 17, 2018
Length: 384 pages
Source: Edelweiss
★★★★☆
The handsome, rakish heir to a dukedom, Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde—known to his friends as North—left England two years ago, after being jilted by Miss Diana Belgrave. He returns from war to find that he's notorious: polite society has ruled him "too wild to wed."

Diana never meant to tarnish North's reputation, or his heart, but in her rush to save a helpless child, there was no time to consider the consequences of working as a governess in Lindow Castle. Now everyone has drawn the worst conclusions about the child's father, and Diana is left with bittersweet regret.

When North makes it clear that he still wants her for his own, scandal or no, Diana has to fight to keep from losing her heart to the man whom she still has no intention of marrying.

Yet North is returning a hardened warrior—and this is one battle he's determined to win.

He wants Diana, and he'll risk everything to call her his own.

My Review

I just loved Diana and North!  I have been looking forward to reading their story since finishing the first book in the series, Wilde in Love.  This book would work perfectly well as a stand alone but the ending of the first book really had me eager to read this second installment.  I went into this book with pretty high expectations and they were all surpassed.  I really had a fantastic time reading this book.

Diana and North were previously betrothed until Diana left without warning.  When Diana left, North decided to join the military and went off to war.  Diana had reasons for leaving the way she did and has paid a steep price for her decision.  When she runs out of options, Diana takes a job as a governess at Lindow Castle with North's family.  Things get really interesting when North returns home and learns all of the rumors surrounding his relationship with Diana.

I loved the characters in this book.  In the first book, we were introduced to the Diana and North that were for show but in this book we finally get to meet their true selves.  I liked getting to know the real Diana and North and enjoyed watching both of them really get to know each other.  It was interesting to watch them both realize that they really knew very little of each other when they had plans to marry.  Diana and North both prove to be strong people who will sacrifice to do what is right.  I thought that the chemistry between them was extremely well done.

It was really interesting to learn about all of the things that happened that brought both Diana and North to their current life situation.  North has fought a war and takes his responsibility as heir very seriously.  Diana's story was very interesting and I loved the fact that she was willing to give up so much in order to protect someone she loves.  They are both very responsible people who tend to put the needs of others above their own.  I had a great time watching them both get their happily ever after.

I would recommend this book to fans of historical romance.  This was such a smartly written romance filled with character you couldn't help but cheer on.  I can't wait to read more of this fantastic series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Avon Books via Edelweiss.
The Series
Book #1 - Wilde in Love - My Review
Book #2 - Too Wilde to Wed
Book #3 - Born to be Wilde - Coming July 31, 2018!
About the Author
Eloisa James is a New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Books from the Backlog #9


Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks.

If you would like to join in, please feel free to enter your link and link back to this post, then spend some time visiting some of the other posts.  

This week's neglected book


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Release Date: June 17, 2003
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher’s mind.

And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon’s choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debuts in years: a comedy, a heartbreaker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.
Why did I add The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to my bookshelf?

I am not sure how long this one has been sitting on my shelf at home.  I was at a book fair a couple of weeks ago and had a copy of this book in my cart for the longest time but eventually put it back because I had a feeling that I might already own it.  Yes, I do have a problem.  When I got home and took a good look at my shelves, I did in fact find a copy sitting there waiting to be read.  I probably bought this book originally because the main character is autistic and do hope to fit it in sometime soon.

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






Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review - Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson @ms_lilyanderson @RazorbillBooks

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Date Read: May 18, 2018
Length: 320 pages
Source: First to Read

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There's not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley's favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone's explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer...before the killer strikes again.
My Review

This was fun!  I was initially drawn to this book by its awesome cover and when I read the book's summary, I knew that I needed to have this book in my life.  This book had so many elements that I love including witchcraft and undead characters.  This ended up being a really quick read for me and I found myself liking the book more and more as I worked my way through the story.  I found this to be a really entertaining and original novel.

This book hooked me from the very start as it opens with Mila attending her best friend's funeral.  The story is told from Mila's point of view and her internal dialogue really made it easy to like her character right away.  Mila believes that her best friend, Riley, was murdered but everyone else is calling it a suicide.  Mila is a really low point as you would expect.  She misses her friend and is angry that nobody seems to think her death is a result of murder.  When a book shows up with a perfect spell, Mila decides to take action.

Mila and Riley practiced witchcraft together.  Mila decides to cast a spell that will bring her friend and two other girls back for a short window of time so that they can solve their deaths.  It was so much fun to watch this group of four girls try to figure out what to do with their time.  I thought that all four of them showed a lot of growth during the story.  The mystery at the core of the story had a few surprises and kept me guessing until the end. 

I would recommend this book to others.  I found this book to an entertaining look at friendships, zombie, and learning to move on.  This was the first book by Lily Anderson that I have read but I will definitely be reading more of her work in the future. 

I received a digital review copy of this book from Penguin Publishing Group - Razorbill via First to Read.
About the Author

Lily Anderson is a school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. She is also the author of The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You and Not Now, Not Ever.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Releases - May 22, 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:


Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong
Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.


Marek by Sawyer Bennett

Find it at:
When the Carolina Cold Fury’s hottest young star gets blindsided by an ex with a scandalous secret, it’s game on.

“One of the best voices in contemporary romance.”—New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne

Marek Fabritis is used to delivering blows, not receiving them. But when he gets tipped off by an anonymous email about his ex-girlfriend, the news leaves him ice cold—and it’s not because Gracen Moore is getting married to a total jerk. It’s the fact that Marek has a three-year-old daughter he never knew about. Now he’s going back home, not to play knight in shining armor but to make damn sure that no man takes what’s his. For the first time, there might be something more important than hockey.

Gracen Moore has always loved Marek. That’s why she let him go, so he could pursue a career in the NHL. And that’s why she never told him about Lilly. Only now does Gracen realize that she made an unforgivable mistake. But is that any reason for Marek to crash her wedding and make an epic scene? If the spark that still smolders between them is to be trusted, maybe. Still, Gracen’s not getting her hopes up. Because she knows better than anyone that appearances aren’t always what they seem. . . .

The Outsider by Stephen King

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother by Danielle Teller

Find it at:
Goodreads | LibraryThing
In the vein of Wicked, The Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous reimagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s “evil” stepmother.

We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?

As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. . . .

A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice when she is only ten years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the celebrated princess who embodies everyone’s unattainable fantasies. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises.

Lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive, All the Ever Afters explores the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, all the while showing us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound, and ultimately more important, truth than the ideal of “happily ever after.”
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30734631-the-strange-fascinations-of-noah-hypnotik?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36307262-hot-asset?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36700649-the-house-swap?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36723261-star-of-the-north?ac=1&from_search=true

Which new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Review - Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong @KelleyArmstrong

Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Date Read: May 9, 2018
Length: 384 pages
Source: NetGalley

Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.

My Review

This book was truly great.  I have to admit that when I first saw that this book would involve a school shooting I was really nervous about reading it.  Did I really want to read a book about such a terrible event especially in the current climate?  I really wasn't sure but I decided to add this book to my reading schedule because I wanted to see what Kelley Armstrong could do with such a terrible event.  I haven't read too many books written by Kelley Armstrong but I have really enjoyed the ones that I have read so I trusted that she would deliver a story worth reading.  This book ended up being one of those books that are almost impossible to put down.  I am so glad that I decided to give this one a try.

As previously mentioned, this book does involve a school shooting so I was really afraid that it would be one of those books that would break my heart to pieces.  In some ways, I guess it did because I hated everything they had gone through but it wasn't the traumatic reading experience that I had feared it would be.  The focus of this book is Skye, the sister of one of the teens responsible for the school shooting that tore her hometown apart just a few years earlier.  Skye is forced to move back home with her Aunt and go back to the school with the same kids who knew her brother and what he did.

Jesse was Skye's best friend and was possibly becoming more when everything happened.  His brother was one of the victims and his life is completely different than it was before the shooting took place.  Jesse not only lost his brother but also his best friend when Skye's family quickly left town.  Jesse isn't really sure what to think about Skye's return to their hometown.

This book was a whole lot about the characters.  Spending time with both Skye and Jesse as they work through their thoughts and feelings about everything going on was very eye opening.  This book was also a really well done thriller.  I think I might have actually missed the fact that there was some new issues when I first read the book's summary but I was quickly caught up in the events surrounding Skye and Jesse.  I had a few suspects but I was never quite sure who was responsible for all of the things going on and I found myself completely glued to the pages.  I really liked how Skye and Jesse were able to reconnect as they worked to figure things out.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others.  I found this to be a thought provoking page turner filled with wonderful characters.  I can't wait to read more from this talented author.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Children's - Crown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley.
About the Author

KELLEY ARMSTRONG graduated with a degree in psychology and then studied computer programming. Now, she is a full-time writer and parent, and she lives with her husband and three children in rural Ontario, Canada.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Stacking the Shelves #120


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 had one heck of a week.  On Monday, a neighbor's tree fell on the power lines leading to my house pulling the lines away from the house and doing a bit of damage including a small fire.  We were not home at the time so we are very thankful for a quick thinking neighbor who called 911 right away, preventing further damage.  I was without power from Monday night until Saturday morning.  It almost seems strange to have lights working in my house after going without for most of the week.  My daughter had finals all week and ended her school year on Thursday.

I did have some posts scheduled for the week so the blog continued as normal but I was not about to get around to visit blogs or interact a whole lot.  I am going to do my best to get around to everyone now that I have power again but please be patient.  I still have some damage that needs to be repaired to my house and I have a lot of groceries that need to be replaced.  I am just so thankful that nobody was hurt, my dogs were okay, and my home can be fixed.

Books Added This Week
Stray Magic by Kelly Meding (Edelweiss)
Face Off by Brenda Novak (NetGalley)

I didn't request any books this week but had a couple of requests approved.  I am really looking forward to both of these books.

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf (Publisher)

This package was a nice surprise this week.  The book looks pretty good so I am definitely going to try to work it into my reading schedule as soon as I can.

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!
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