Friday, May 31, 2019

The Gems of Elsana

Alright y'all, so this was my first ARC that I was asked to review personally by the author. I normally wouldn't read something like this, but I did enjoy most of it. I will admit there some parts that I had to power through, but overall it was a good book. It was well written, and definitely has potential to be a great book. I wish Christian Sterling the best of luck when this goes on sale July 17th. With that being said I will not reveal as many details that I normally would in a review. Okay, here we go.

Our main characters are Falin the wizard, Melquin the sage, Carthon the drak warrior, Nym the elf assassian, Bossador the Madorian prince, Red the theif, and Jimbuah the skully. Falin is the youngest wizard in his clan that has yet to go on his journey to find the Gems of Elsana that enhances his powers when they are inserted into his staff. Malquin, Carthon, Nym, and Bossador are the original Champions selected to accompany Falin on his journey. Red and Jimbuah are two thieves that are captured and offered freedom if they help Falin through the Wildbarrens, which is like the most uncharted area of their world. It will take them many nights and a lot of traveling to get all four Gems for Falin. A journey that will of course include a few battles.

Their first battle is against a group of unruly draks that are taken down by Red and Jimbuah alone on their way to the Mortal Mountains which is where the first Gem is located. Once all the draks are defeated, the group raids their supplies and takes over the prepared camp overnight. A few days later they stop overnight in Rorkshire to rest and get more food, and are asked to save Princess Bloom who was "kidnapped" by a dragon.

Their second battle is against a bunch of blood draks, which are as dark as they come, in the Oldwoods after they encounter Airo, Falin's mentor, and had walked through the woods for two days. It is a bloody battle that requires everyone in Falin's group to defeat all of them. They don't all come out unscratched this time, but Melquin is able to heal any wounds they do have. Still walking through the Oldwoods to try to reach where Princess Bloom was last seen and to the first gem, the men of the group are captivated by a siren's song. Falin, Carthon, Bossador, Red, and Jimbuah follow the song blindly and are captured in vines once they reach the siren's trap. Thankfully along the way Melquin has bonded with a rabbit named Burlip who leads Melquin and Nym to where the guys are being held by the siren. Nym defeats the siren in a fierce battle, and they rest in that spot for the night. In the morning, they can't find their way back to their original camp, and have to continue their journey with just the clothes on their backs and their weapons.

When they finally decide to give finding their original camp, they start walking again towards Mortal Mountains. Along the way, Nym and Carthon discover a rupela tree, which Nym says can sustain them all for days. So with they gather up enough for all seven of them and go back to the group to continue the journey. After walking for most of a day they stop in a part of the Oldwoods that feels untainted by Darkness and evil powers, Falin offers to watch over the group while they sleep. Shortly after everyone falls asleep, a jackelope leads Falin to meet Boschi, the Spirit of Oldwoods. Falin meets Boschi in a part of the woods that has been untouched by anyone but the animals for centuries, and Boschi asks Falin to come back and help restore the woods to the way they were long ago. Falin agrees to once he has all the Gems, and in return Boschi grants him the gift to talk to all animals like Melquin. Falin returns to his Champions, and doesn't tell them about his meeting.

In the morning, they continue on their journey until they are finally out of the Oldwoods and in the Fields of Darva to save Princess Bloom from the dragon. Once they find the dragon, they confront it and find out that it can talk to them. The dragon and Bloom reveal that he didn't kidnap her, but helped her runaway from her father. The group ends up staying for a few days until they almost have a run in with some dark Warlocks that Airo had warned them about. So, since Princess Bloom was not kidnapped, they decided to leave her with the dragon and head off to Suntalla to retrieve the Gem from the Mortal Cave under the Mortal Mountains.

Once inside the Mortal Cave, they travel deeper and deeper until they run into a ghoul who kidnaps Melquin. They find her and the ghoul deeper into the cave by following a trail of pink flowers that Melquin left for them. They defeat the ghoul and Falin's staff leads them even deeper into the mountain until they find the place where the Gem is hidden. The first Gem will help Falin control water better, and they spend the night in the room where the Gem is found. The next Gem is in the Wilderbarrens, and they seek shelter for a couple nights in the Marrow Swamps. In the swamps, the group runs into the same Warlocks, and discover that they are also working towards strengthening their powers. There is Nyril the Coercer, Mulgus the Plague, and Silas the Clairvoyant, and it is Silas that reveals to Falin Nyril and Mulgus's plan. They part ways without a battle between the groups.

Now I won't reveal too much more simply because it is not available for sale yet. I hope that I have given enough detail to make you want to purchase this book for yourself when it becomes available.
For now the one link I have for now can of course be found on my page:

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Temp

Alright, so this is only part one of a three part book. It is an ebook that was sent to me by the author herself. I will admit that I don't normally read these short books like this, but I was glad to make an exception to help out an author. I am grateful that she reached out to me for my review.

Alright so we have Eve who has an art degree but always works as a temp inside company offices. She normally does small businesses that just need her help getting coffee and pushing around paper for a short time frame. However, she has been sent some photos that contain a secret that she never wants to see the light of day, and is told to simply wait for further instructions....

Soon she gets a phone call saying she has been requested specifically to work for Roman Industries, and she knows her blackmailer is behind the placement. Inside the building she meets her initial boss Trigger who is in the same boat she's in, and is willing to do what's necessary to keep his secret hidden. After a week of working as Trig's secretary, Mr. Roman Pierce the CEO of the company comes and requests that Eve work as his secretary instead. Eve has no choice but to do as Roman requests, because he appears to be the main target of her's and Trig's blackmailers. 

Unfortunately for Eve, she doesn't see her developing feelings for Roman despite the fact that they can't be together. Their professional lives would never allow them to have a relationship without violating some HR policy. Eve's trouble with the blackmailers reminds her that she can't just run away with Roman no matter how bad she wants to.

During Eve's final week as Roman's secretary leads to even more feelings, but mostly Eve just feels rejected and defeated. She knows she needs to just walk away from Roman, go back to working for Trig until her blackmailers are done with her, and go back to her normal life with her secret buried. However, she wants to also just give in to Roman and not worry about the circumstances. What will Eve decide to do?

Sadly, I still have questions and had to read a cliff hanger since this is only part one. I thought it was very well written and had just enough detail and tension between Eve and Roman to keep me reading and wanting to get the next two books, but I will not be able to just yet. Part of me really hopes that one day all three parts will be available in one book, but I will just have to wait and see as well. As always you can find links to get this book for yourself on my page:

Friday, May 24, 2019

Primrose's Curse

This cute, well written story has the honor of having a sixth grader for an author. I must admit that for a preteen, she wrote a lovely store about how even an audacious girl can battle evil and win when her family needs her help. I read this with my daughter, and we also listened to the audiobook, so this will be a review and a comparison. I loved it just as much as my daughter. I am very glad that I was approached about reviewing this book. Alright here we go...

So, we meet miss Primrose who is just an audacious girl of twelve years old. She has a mother, a father, and a brother. They all work to help contribute to the family finances. One day, Primrose's mother dies, and shortly afterwards her father falls ill. So Primrose decides that she has to set out to find a special nectar that will cure her father.

The next morning she sets out on her search when she runs into the Woodland Creatures: Hedwig the owl, Susan, Ashlynn, and Cynthia the deer triplets, Violet the rabbit, Pepper the skunk, and Acorn the squirrel. They all explain to her that they know she is destined to save humanity. Of course, at first Primrose doesn't believe them until they tell her details that no one could possibly know. After they explain that it will take a few days to get to Mystopical, a magical place made of two islands Heavenvue and Hellevue. Primrose decides that if going to Mystopical will save her father and all of humanity, then she must go. So, they all set off for Munchville to ask for help from Jax and his grandmother. Jax is a friend of Violet's and is also a baker.

Once they arrive in Munchville, they go to Jax's bakery for a very sugary lunch, and tell Jax that they need to see his grandmother. They go, tell his grandmother about their quest, show her and Primrose the magical mirror. When they look into the mirror, it shows them the evil queen of Hellevue, Evelyn, who talks about an evil spell. Then they tell Jax's grandmother that need help finding a new ship and a map that will take them the shortest way across the sea. It is then that she suggest they all go to Sweet Palace to talk to Queen Sarah, the queen of Munchville.

Finally they set off for Sweet Palace to seek help from Queen Sarah. When they arrive they find the queen preparing for her wedding that will take place later that evening. Primrose, the Woodland Creatures, Jax, and his grandmother all explain the quest that needs to happen and the help they need. Hedwig explains that they need a new ship and a map of the shortest sea route. Queen Sarah gladly helps, and invites them all to stay overnight so they can attend her wedding. They agree, and plan to set sail the next morning.

In the morning, Primrose and the Woodland Creatures set off on the ship that has the map and a few of Queen Sarah's solders to Hellevure. Along the way they encounter a bad storm and a whirlpool. The ship starts to sink and everyone has to jump overboard in life jackets while the captain loads the lifeboats with their supplies. Once everyone is safe in the lifeboats, they continue their journey to defeat Evelyn on the island of Hellevue.

Once they finally arrive to Hellevue, they take a secret passage that leads them directly to Evelyn's castle. It is gross, and slimy, but everyone continues on knowing that they are here to save humanity. Once they finally make it to the castle, they overhear someone telling Evelyn that their ship has been discovered on the beach. Evelyn and her army Commander set off to prepare for war. Eventually, Cynthia finds an exit to the passageway that leads directly into Evelyn's bedroom, and everyone decides to hide inside the bedroom. Once everyone has found a hiding spot, Evelyn comes back into her room so angry that when she leaves again she forgets to grab her spellbook and wand.

Now this is unfortunately where I must stop out of fear of giving away the ending. I know I'm awful, but this sweet girl and her father worked so hard on this book that I want to make sure I do my job and review this the way I normally would. Now I will give my daughter's thoughts and do the comparison for you guys.

My daughter loved every page, and finished it in one setting. She also listened to the audiobook with me. She loves the story itself, the pictures, and of course the ending. What she loves even more however is that a little girl like her wrote this book. She received a t-shirt in the package that had the book, and was so happy and grateful that the extra effort was put in. She plans to cherish the shirt and the book especially since it is a signed copy. When I asked her which she preferred between the audiobook and the physical book, and she chose the physical book.

Now the audiobook was good for many reasons, but her and I both agree that we will take a physical book any day. The audiobook is available on Audible, and I have left a short review on there as well. It was very well narrated. Steady pace, defined character voices, good timing, and kept to most of the exact wording. However, it didn't have the pretty pictures, so my daughter was not happy.

Well, I guess that's everything and I really hope that you guys enjoy this beautiful book like my daughter and I did. If you feel you must purchase this book for yourself, your daughter, or some special little girl that you know, you can find the links that I was provided on my page:

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Soulpower: the Motivation From Within

Alright y'all, I'm going to be honest and say that I don't normally read self-help books. I do acknowledge that there are a lot of them that many people benefit from, but I have never had the desire to pick one up on my own. However, Tanmay Kumar reached out to me to review his book, and I can honestly say that I could not stop reading it. It is not that long, but it held my attention from start to finish. There are a few grammatical errors, but that's ok. 

This is a self help book that focuses on your own personal happiness and awareness. Since this is a self-help book that is around a hundred pages I very obviously cannot write my review in the same format I have been, but I am going to point out parts that I liked, loved, or just did not resonate with me. After all, honesty is the best way to be when writing a review.

So, a couple parts that I just wasn't a fan of involve meditation and karate. I have tried meditation a number of times, and I don't know if I have just too much going on or can't clear my head long enough, but I just can't commit to it. I know that it's great for practicing your breathing and just focusing on the moment you are in which is great, but I have never been able to have a successful meditation session. That could also be why I can't get into yoga no matter how much I try. As far as the karate parts, I get what he is trying to show as far as how it will help you achieve better self discipline, but I just don't understand why people go to karate class. I could not see myself taking the class or signing up my children, but I do not judge or condone those that do. Do what is best for yourself or your family by all means, but this is about how I personally view the book.

The parts that I liked but had a few questionable lines are the parts about fully committing to the moment of now, deciding which beliefs are the most important, attitude of gratitude, and the replacement of bad habits through repetition of good ones. I liked the idea of committing to the moment of now for the simple fact that you can't always focus on the future as Tanmay points out, however, as a parent I know I have to look to the future a lot more often that I probably should. He also points out that focusing on your past which you cannot change is a waste of time. However, our past can help explain a lot of things about ourselves and in other parts of the book you have to look back and analyze your past. So, that part is what is questionable to me simply because you have to look to the future and examine your past a lot depending on your individual situation. In this book, he discusses how having multiple personal beliefs can actually hinder you. There are some beliefs that you may have that you don't fully agree with but have been ingrained into you by someone important in your life. Tanmay instructs you to truly analyze each belief you have and think about whether you truly need that belief to have a happy life. In another section, it is discussed that you need to have a daily attitude of gratitude, which we all know not every has, on a daily basis in order to stop stressing about what you don't have or envy someone else's life. The last section that I will mention is replacing bad habits, such as smoking or eating habits or laziness, can be replaced with good habits by practicing repetition of the good habit. By constantly practicing the good habit in place of the bad one you retrain your brain, and eventually you are happier and feel accomplished.

The parts that I absolutely loved and made me happy I finished the book in one night are about 22 truths that you just need to accept, emotions should be honored and accepted, increasing intelligence daily, and building self confidence. There is one section that is literally called "22 Truths That You Should Never Ignore," and I loved the honesty in it! A couple of the truths that Tanmay mentions are death is inevitable stop fighting it or worrying about it on a daily basis, you CAN'T make everyone happy stop trying, and value comes from time not money. I loved every truth that was listened, but why give them all away? A few of them I had already lived by personally, but I could think of a few people that didn't believe me were necessary, so having someone else write it down made me so happy. Emotions are valid and your own therefore you need to honor and accept them for what they are when they happen in order to help you be truly at peace. Too many times I know I have worried if my emotions were invalid for one reason or other, and this section reminded me that there are valid no matter what. Is there another emotion that I could be feeling that is being covered by the emotion being felt in that moment? Sure, and that is covered in this book as well. Tanamy has a section that talks about increasing your intelligence on a daily basis with things like reading, physical activity, and meeting new people. I already practice a few things that he mentions, but I am sure that there are a few people that could really benefit from this section alone. The last section that I will mention is about building your own self confidence every day with different good habits such as pep talks, strong body language, and overcoming your fears. This made me smile, because  I know that every day is different and every day someone, including myself, is struggling with their self-esteem. 

Now I did not reveal all the sections or activities or details that are in this book for the same reason that I don't reveal the ending to any of the books I read. I want you to buy this book for yourself. In this case, I especially want you to buy this book if you think it will help you. Yes, it's a self help book, but it doesn't tell you everything you are doing wrong or ask you to do things that you cannot do on a daily basis. This one asks you to evaluate what you currently have or are doing, and how to make it better through practical habits. 

I want to again say thank you to Tanmay Kumar for reaching out to me to review his book. I went in with an open mind, and am very happy that I read it. If you want to read this book for yourself, you can find links for it on my page:

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Fault in Our Stars

Yes, another teenage cancer story, but there's no happily ever after in this one. At least not the typical they live happily ever after type of ending. However, I love every page and every emotion. Yes, it is a movie now, but the movie doesn't compare to reading and feeling each moment.

In here we met Hazel, a teenage girl who has thyroid cancer and has tumors in her lungs that has made her dependent on an oxygen tank that goes everywhere. She hasn't been in school for three years even though she was in college classes for awhile. She doesn't have rebellious acts, and has almost no friends. She spends all her time with her parents, until her mom becomes convinced that she needs a support group to avoid the start of depression. It is in this support group that we met Isaac who has cancer in his eyes, and Augustus who has osteosarcoma (bone cancer) that has already claimed one of his legs.

During Augustus's first meeting in the support group, he catches Hazel's attention when he says he's afraid of oblivion. They have a small argument over it, and eventually go back to Augustus's, or Gus's, place to watch a movie.They slowly get to know each other, and eventually Gus becomes the one person Hazel has contact with besides her parents. They swap cancer stories, books, and then suddenly they start dating.

The book Hazel has shared with Gus is her favorite and is written by an author who has become a recluse in Amsterdam. They reach out to him, and are invited to go. Gus uses his Make-A-Wish request, and they're off. After a lot of arguments with medical boards for Hazel about going on such trip, Gus finds out that his cancer is back, but he doesn't tell anyone.

During this Amsterdam trip, they go on a romantic date, spend the night together, and met said author. Turns out this author is a complete a**hole, and it angers Hazel that Gus wasted his wish. However, Gus says it wasn't a waste because he loves her. That's right, they love each other, but like I said this isn't a happily ever after tale. Hazel finds out about Gus's cancer returning, and they have a living funeral for Gus.

I won't reveal much more even though I would love to reveal it completely, but I don't want to spoil the surprise ending. I cried and read this book three times before finally watching the movie and adding it to the bookshelf. I really hope that you read this book or watch the movie, because it's so worth it. I love oddball cancer books, and this was definitely not like your normal cancer stories that end in happiness and cures that we all know don't always happen. As always if you feel you must buy the book like I did, you can find links on my page:

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Winter Sister

Y'all, this one definitely had me trying to figure out what was next. It had the mystery that was to be expected, it tugged at your heart strings a little bit, and it had you wondering what happened truly all those years ago. I thought for sure I was not going to be able to finish this book, but by the middle I was hooked to the point I had a hard time putting the book down.

So first we met Sylvie as she starts to explain the night that changed her life forever. We learn about the night that her sister Persephone disappeared and how she thought that she was partially to blame. The weeks that follow are rough and hard on her, her mother, and her Aunt Jill. They take to the cops multiple times, deal with her mom locking herself consumed so highly in her own grief that no one else seems to exist, and Sylvie deals with feeling guilt over all the secrets she has kept.

Persephone is secretly dating a boy named Ben Emory, and in order to see him she sneaks out the window in their shared room every night. Each time she sneaks out, Sylvie is supposed to leave the window cracked and listen out for their mother. Every time Persephone comes back in through the window though, she comes home with new bruises in various places, and each time she asks Sylvie to paint over them. "It's not what you think," Persephone constantly tells Sylvie, but Sylvie has a hard time believing it. However, Sylvie says nothing to anyone about any of it. That is until she decides to lock the window the last time Persephone sneaks out and disappears. Then Sylvie must tell the cops everything about that night and every night that she has known about the secret relationship with Ben.

For years, Sylvie has been convinced that Ben is her sister's killer, but the case is still open and cold. The weeks after the investigation turns up nothing, Sylvie does everything she can to set herself up to get out of her hometown as soon as possible. She worked hard to get into RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) on a full scholarship, and leaves as soon as she graduates high school. Even after sixteen years, she still thinks that Ben is the killer.

Now on Sylvie's living her life and celebrating her thirtieth birthday when Aunt Jill calls saying she needs to come home to take care of her mom during her next round of chemo. With all the anxiety in the world, Sylvie finally agrees to come home and everything comes flooding back for her. All she can remember now is how her mother locked herself in her room, was always drunk anytime Sylvie came home for a visit, and just drowned in her grief. Now that her mom is sober, Sylvie decides that she needs to find out why her sister's murder was never solved as well as try to get to know who her mother truly was.

During one of her mother's treatments, Sylvie runs into Ben, who is now a nurse, and goes to the police to talk to the detectives that worked her sister's case. From there, she makes her feelings about Ben clear, and that's when he reveals that her mother dated his father a long time ago, and that her sister had a stalker that lived right down the road. She also discovers that her mother gave all of Persephone's belongings to this same boy for pills, because she believed that Persephone was friends with her stalker. Now Sylvie questions if she even knew her sister as all, or are there many layers to Persephone just like there seem to be with her mother?

The more time Sylvie spends in her hometown, the more she questions if she knew anything about her childhood, her mother, her sister, or anyone else in her life. She even starts to question why she didn't see everything she's discovering sooner. Is Ben the killer or is it the stalker boy from the neighborhood? Why is her mother always depressed to the point of not functioning every fifteenth of the month? Did Persephone truly think that Sylvie and their mother didn't love her? All these questions that Sylvie needs answers to, yet finds herself coming up with new questions with each answer or piece of information she gets.

The last one hundred pages y'all threw me for the biggest loop ever! I'm going to be completely honest here and say that I never thought in my wildest dreams the stuff that was revealed towards the end. Nor did I see what would happen with Ben, her mother's final confession on what happened all those years, or who the killer was this whole time. I won't give too much more away even though I so want to. If you are curious to find out all the secrets and the ending to this mystery, you can find links to buy the book for yourself on my page:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Mother's Day, Muffins, and Murder

 Alright, so I honestly bought this book simply because it had Mother's Day in the title, but I really did like it! It is the tenth book in a series, so that made me a little sad, but it gave enough background information that I didn't feel like I had missed out a key part. It was funny, and honestly really unexpecting.

We start out by meeting Ellie, who is a parent of two children at the elementary school in town and is volunteering during the last few weeks of the school year. During a special day at the school called "Muffins with Mommy" she is trying to make it to both children's classrooms before the bell rings to signal the start of the day. She makes it just in time to both rooms, and is on her way out the door when she bumps into Gabrielle who is also a volunteer at the school for the day. Gabrielle looks like she's seen a ghost, and tells Ellie that she just saw a body in the storage closet. Thankfully all the children at in class and do not hear this. They set off to find the principal, Mrs. Kirk, to tell them what Gabrielle has seen. They go back to the closet and see nothing.

The next day during the younger kids Field Day, a mother discovers a body inside one of the school's trashcans in the woods that divide the playground from the surrounding houses. Ellie sees the mom stopped in the trail while she is hunting down a Frisbee, and sees the trashcan herself. Sadly, it matches the description that Gabrielle gave the day before. Of course, they go to Mrs. Kirk after all the students have filed back into the school and tell her what they have discovered. The cops are called and the lead detective is one that Ellie has dealt with in the past. His name is Detective Waraday, and he is not the least surprised to find that Ellie is first on the scene.

During the next few weeks, a lot of secrets are discovered that most people would consider worth killing over, such as blackmail, a drug arrest, and snooping into other people's desks. The biggest secret of all has yet to be discovered by anyone when it comes to light that the very person that was killed to start the investigation was gathering evidence about everyone, which lead to her death. The woman who was blackmailing people is found dead in her own of an "overdose" and confesses to the murder and blackmail in a suicide note. However, something just doesn't sit right with Ellie, but she decides not to go snooping herself this time, but that plan doesn't go according to plan.

Now I won't give too much more away out of fear that it will take away the discovery of what this book has to offer in secrets and plot twists. I will admit that I did not see the ending coming since I thought that everything was solved neatly, but then it wouldn't be a good thriller now would it. It was a light read since I finished in about a day and a half, but it still captured my attention once I got to where I could put puzzle pieces together. As always you can find links to buy this beauty for yourself on my page:

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Girl in Ice

Alright, where do I begin with this one??? A crime novel set in London that not only is set around the murders that have taken place but also around one DCI in particular?! I absolutely loved it. Sadly, I was able to walk away from it a couple times, but after a certain point I was sucked in. It draws you in almost immediately, but there are a couple moments where it just kind of lulls in place in order to give you necessary details. I guess I should explain that. There were of course moments that had me on the edge of my seat that had me wondering what was going to happen next, but then there were a few moments where I knew I needed the details it was giving but wasn't necessarily like "oh my goodness that was exciting" or " I didn't see that coming." Overall it was a good book, especially for being the first in the series. I cannot wait to get my hands on book two and all the others in the series.

We start out by learning about the murder of a young girl. She has gone out for the night, and is walking down a road in anger. She pulls out two phones, one a time of course, and then is approached by a car. She gets pulled in the car, and is attacked by whoever is in the car. Next thing we know a random museum worker discovers her body in the frozen lake behind his workplace, and calls it in.

Now we met the DCI ( Detective Chief Inspector) Erica Foster. Erica is coming back onto the scene as a cop again after the tragic death of her husband. Everyone of course has concerns about her coming back too soon, but Captain Marsh knows that he needs her experience to solve the case of a dead heiress. This victim is from a very wealthy family that has a lot of political connections, which means that the pressure is on to find out who did this. Erica meets her team, including the two that will be helping her the most, Moss and Peterson, and gets started right away on working the case.

Sir Simon, the victim's father, constantly inserts himself in every step of the investigation and doesn't like that Erica is being brought in without knowing how things are truly run in this particular police station. As far as he's concerned Sir Simon is the most important person involved and therefore calls all the shots. Erica does everything she can to not only catch the killer, but to do things her way. She runs into a few hiccups and is brushed off when she comes up with her own theories. Moss and Peterson have her back every step of the way though, and they are able to help prove that Erica does know what she's talking about.

After Erica is attacked in her flat in the middle of the night by the killer, she knows she is getting closer to finding out the truth and fights back more than ever. She dives in to everything from the victim's past five years and discovers some secrets that she's sure the family would love to have stay hidden. However, all Erica's hard work and persistence finally pays off when she is finally able to connect everyone in the victim's lives to not just her murder, but to the murder of five other girls that were prostitutes as well.

Now I will admit that I definitely did not see the ending coming. It threw me for a loop. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the biggest shocker of all was thrown at me. I was so surprised by everything that Erica had to go through to catch her killer, and by the biggest secret this "locally royal" family had to hide. I am now on the hunt for the next book in the series to find out what is in store for Erica and her team. If you are just as curious as I was to find out the end you can find links to buy the book for your own pleasure on my page:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Bride Test

Let's just start off by saying that Helen Hoang is just flat out amazing! I absolutely love her unfiltered ability to write a love story once again involving someone on the Autism spectrum, and it feels totally honest. I laughed, cried, and could not put the book down. I finished in one day! Literally in one day, I started it around lunch time and was done and so completely happy with it by the time I put my youngest child in bed for the night. I really hope that you chose to read this and her other book The Kissing Quotient, which I have also reviewed and posted on here.

Anyways, we meet Esme in Viet Nam while she is cleaning the bathrooms for the thousandth time when she realizes that someone is crying in the stall next to her, and another comes in shortly after the first one leaves. Finally, an elderly lady comes in to the bathroom to just sit on the couch until she calls Esme over to her. She asks Esme to come to America to try to seduce her youngest son, Khai, into marrying her. Esme has a hard time believing that anyone in America still has arranged marriages, and thinks about how no one could want her since she is a single mother. However, Esme ultimately decides to go after talking to her mother, who tells her it's just for the summer. What could possibly happen in such a short time?

Next we met Khai, an autistic, successful, 26-year-old who just wants to be left to do things his way. Ten years prior, his favorite cousin, Andy, dies suddenly, and Khai decides to keep everyone at a distant. However, his mother has other plans for him, and reveals that she has arranged a young lady to come over from Viet Nam and stay with him for the summer. He is to treat her like a fiance for the whole summer, and has to actually try to make the relationship work. Khai of course protest at first, but gives into his mother thinking that he will simply do this and never have to go through it again when it fails horribly.

A few days later Khai picks Esme up from the airport, and it definitely starts off rocky, but slowly they start to get used to each other. Esme never even picks up that he is different in any way, despite the fact that he was diagnosed with autism in grade school. Esme simply decides that she is going to be nice, and show him what a good wife she will be. However, she doesn't tell him about Esme out of fear that it will make him instantly decide that this would never work. Slowly but surely, they show each other pieces of themselves that hasn't seen the light of day for as long as they can remember.

Now I;m afraid I can't give too much more away out of fear of spoiling the ending. Again I will say that I laughed, cried, and loved every single page. This is a raw, honest, and beautiful love story that has happened and can happen every single day. If you simply must own this book for yourself, you can always find links to buy this beauty on my page:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Two Girls Down

Alright y'all, this book was so well written, but still a little hard for me to read as a parent. It is literally a parent's worst nightmare while watching a relationship grow between the two P.I.s hired by the family to find the missing girls. It definitely has that pull at your heart strings moments, but it is still a thriller that keeps your attention.

We first met the mother, Jaime Brandyt, and her two little girls, Kylie and Bailey, as they make their way to a birthday party for one of Kylie's friends. They stop at a gas station where the girls beg for a Reese's to share. They take longer than Jamie expects and of course she panics a little, but it turns out Bailey just need to use the restroom. Then they make their way to a Kmart, where Jamie decides to run in alone while leaving the girls in the car to get a birthday present. Something that most parents have probably done every now and then, but when she comes out she realizes that the worst has happened... Her girls are gone. She searches every store in the parking lot of the shopping complex that houses the Kmart only to come up with nothing. Next step of course is to call the police and start the immediate search to find Kylie and Bailey.

A few days go by when Jamie's family sends an email to Alice Vega, a P.I. that has a perfect track record for finding missing persons, most of them alive. Alice is all the way out in California and has to travel all day to reach the town where the Brandyt family lives. When she finally arrives she gets started right away following all the leads that the cops currently have from the family. She has a guy that helps her dig up information like camera feeds and locations of people and their backgrounds. Vega goes to the police station and tries to open a line of communication with the Captian but he's no desire to help her since she is just a civilian in his eyes. So Vega reaches out a local P.I. named Cap to help her talk to cops that may be willing to help her even if the Captain isn't.

Cap used to be a cop himself until an unfortunate day where a junkie that came from a wealthy family dies in police custody, and Cap took the fall to cover for one of his friends and fellow cops. Now he just works as a P.I. mostly hired by spouses that are convinced they are being cheated on. He makes a decent living, is able to support himself and his teenage daughter. Vega approaches him about working together, and Cap says no at first. After his daughter talks him into it, Cap decides to help Vega after all.

As the days pass during their own investigation, Cap and Vega learn more and more about each other slowly. At first he just sees her as someone who got lucky every single time, but really she just does whatever she has to in order to find her missing person. Their relationship grows and they are finally brought in by the police once the Chief meets them and hears what they have found out so far. The Feds are even brought in, so it's a trio of different levels of investigation working together to find the girls.

Vega and Cap explore all options out there. They check the father that apparently disappeared years ago and hadn't been seen since. They talk to Jamie's ex-boyfriend who is a drug dealer. They talk to everyone that has ever come in contact with the girls at all. During this trail of people, the Feds reveal that there are three other girls that disappeared in the past four years that have some similarities to Kylie and Bailey. So now it is a hunt to not only find Kylie and Bailey, but to also find the same person that took the other three girls.

Now I know that there is not as much detail as I normally do, but there is so much that ties to the ending in throughout the book, and you should know by now that I never reveal the ending. I really hope that you still choose to read the book, despite it being every parents' worst nightmare. As always you can find links to buy the book for yourself on my page:

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Last Time I Lied

Alright, so I think we can all honestly say that this was just as amazing as Riley Sager's debut book, The Final Girls, but it is it's own book. It is definitely different and has it's own storyline but is written just as smoothly. I was sucked in almost immediately and had a hard time putting it down. I LOVED every single page and was on the edge of my seat all the way through.

A summer camp for girls that is closed due to three girls disappearing without a trace. Camp Nightingale instantly becomes famous after three camp veterans disappear leaving behind the youngest and newest camper in their cabin behind. Now fifteen years has gone, and Camp Nightingale is reopening in hopes that enough time has passed that it will no longer be haunted by that one summer's unbelievable end. The strategy to show that things has changed: invite campers from that summer back as teachers or counselors. Among those invited back is the girl that was the only one left out of the cabin, rising artist Emma.

Fifteen years ago, Emma is a late joiner to a very popular summer camp that her family has gone to for generations. It is usually only meant for those that can afford the sky high prices, and is commonly called Camp Rich Bitch at Emma's school. Despite Emma's protest about going to camp instead of spending the summer with her friends, her mother drives her up to the camp. Since Emma is a late arrival, she is put in the only cabin that has room. A cabin called Dogwood that mainly consist of older girls. Three older girls that have been going for years and consider themselves the most popular girls there. Emma is now forced to share a cabin with Vivian, Natalie, and Allison. 
Vivian is considered the queen bee while Natalie and Allison are her best friends and "blind followers." It looks like it may be an okay summer after all. That is until the three girls start excluding Emma.

Flash forward to now, Emma is returning to Camp Nightingale at the request of the owner Franny to be the art teacher. She is hesitant to do, but Franny is very insistent and persuasive during a personal tea time meeting. So, now here is Emma returning to the one place that she thought she left in her past. She has already seen everyone's disbelieve about her return on the camp's website. However, by agreeing to return Emma can't help but have flashbacks to that fateful summer that lead to the closing of the camp and the disappearance of three girls...

For years, there has been a black cloud over Franny's camp and family since Emma accused one of Franny's sons of having something to do with the disappearance of Vivian, Natalie, and Allison. There has also been a black cloud over Emma's mind to the point that she paints the girls over and over again in her studio. Now while dealing with the whispers and stares of everyone else at the camp, Emma relives pieces of that summer while deciding to investigate the camp itself.

Throughout the book we get bits and pieces of what happened that summer fifteen years ago while we read Emma uncover clues and pieces from that summer that she never expected to find. During this time though she is also once again bunking in Dogwood as an extra counselor that no one expected to show up. Now once again she is bunked with three girls that are just as curious as she is about what happened all those summers ago, but what happens towards the end of the book will shock you and give you a twist that you will never see coming.

As always, I won't give away the ending because I want you to find out for yourselves to see if you have the same feelings and reactions that I did. If you are compelled to own this book like I was when it made its appearance on Book of the Month, you can find links to buy this book on my page:

The Final Girls

What's not to love about this amazing thriller by Riley Sager?! It's written amazingly that at times I was honestly a little scared like I would be while watching a horror movie. I had a very hard time putting the book down! Highly recommend for thriller lovers! Now let's get into some details...

You hear about it a lot more often then we like to admit to ourselves; a group of people have been killed by a maniac and only one lives to tell the tale. That is unfortunately what has happened to three girls within years of each. There's first Lisa who has survived a drop out at her college taking the lives of her nine sorority sisters by turning his own knife on him. She is of course in the spotlight for a long time as people try to understand what has happened, the one thing that Lisa battles with herself daily. Then there's Sam who survived a serial killer known as the Sack Man during her shift at a hotel called Nightlight Inn. She is of course linked in with Lisa in the media as they start calling them the Final Girls each time they talk about their stories. Then finally there's Quincy who escaped a man who kidnapped her and five of friends by running  through the woods that surround the Pine Cottage until she finds a road. She is also called a Final Girl, and has to deal with the media while also trying to battle her own nightmares about what happened to her. 

Ten years has gone by since Quincy's horrific event and she has settled into what could be called a normal life. She is on Xanax to deal with her anxiety, and has a fiancee that helps her deal with daily challenges. She also runs a baking blog that actually helps keep her in a structured lifestyle. She knows about the other girls that the media has grouped her with, and has even met Lisa after Lisa's book gets published. She believes that the media nightmare that served as a constant reminder of what happened to her is over. That is until the news breaks that Lisa is found dead in her bathtub...

Quincy learns about Lisa's death from the only other constant person in her life, Coop. Coop is the cop that found her running out of the woods during his route to try to help find the missing group. Ever since Coop is the only other person that she has been able to talk to about the whole thing and has somewhat regular visits and communication with him. Coop tells her about how Lisa appears to have committed suicide, and warns her that the media is probably going to go into a frenzy about it all. However one thing happens that nether of them expected to: Sam shows up at outside Quincy's apartment building despite not being seen by anyone ever since she escaped the Sack Man.

Now Quincy and Sam spend time getting to know each other despite Quincy's fiancee being extremely cautious and saying it's a bad idea. During the course of Sam's visit and reappearance back into society, the media is all over them and watching their every move while they rehash all three women's stories of being the only survivor. However, Coop is also suspicious of Sam and warns Quincy that she's not what she appears to be. Both men in her life are dead set about having Sam around, convinced that she's really up to something besides wanting to connect in the midst of Lisa's death. 

However, Quincy starts to also question Sam when they start doing strange activities together like going to the park in the middle of the night to bait men into attacking them. Sam says it's to remind them that they are stronger than they think, but it takes a scary turn when they accidentally kill a man. Now Quincy must decide on telling the cops and being rid of Sam who is now pushing her to revisit the Pine Cottage in attempt to unearth all the suppressed memories Quincy has about what really happened during the time she was under the kidnapper's control...

Now I would love to reveal the twist that I didn't even see coming, but then that would give away the ending. I absolutely loved this book, even more so when I found out that this was his debut book. If you want to read this captivating thriller for yourself, you can always find links to buy the book on my page:

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Before She Knew Him

Let's start with how amazing this book is! I was very surprised by the fact that it is not a traditional who done it! I was also very surprised to find out that the main female character has bipolar and a history of accusing someone of murder! How crazy is that?! I thought it was wonderfully written, and very well paced. I had a very hard time putting the book down once I started it.

We first met Hen and her husband Lloyd at a block party for their new house, and Hen doesn't really want to go. Lloyd convinces her to go. It is here that they met Matthew and Mira for the first time. After some talking, Mira invites Hen and Lloyd over for dinner the following weekend. Despite not wanting to go, they agree, and during this dinner is when everything changes...

Once dinner is over, they take a tour of Mira and Matthew's house which has the same floor plan of Hen and Lloyd's, and it ends in Matthew's office. Hen finds that his office is unlike anywhere else in the house in style, design, and then she notices a trophy on the mantle. A fencing trophy that matches the description of one that was stolen during a murder she became obsessed with a few years ago during a manic episode. Hen is sure that she knows who is the killer, and they leave as calmly as possible. Hen doesn't tell Lloyd right away out of fear that he'll think she's off her meds again despite her taking them religiously.

Matthew realizes that Hen must have recognized the trophy and has made the connection to where it came from, and decides that he must get rid of it. He packs up the trophy along with a few other items that he remembers are from other murders he has committed over the years. He packs them into a box and takes them to Sussex Hall, the school where he teaches, and puts in the basement with some books that don't have his name in or fingerprints on. In this box he has packed the trophy, a an engraved lighter, a pair of Vuarnet sunglasses, and a well read copy of Treasure Island. All of these items are from the murders of Dustin Miller, Bob Shirley, Jay Saravan, and Alan Manso. All four met their fate at the hands of Matthew for one reason or another involving a woman.

Hen decides that she needs more evidence to prove that Matthew is behind the murder of Dustin Miller after she reviews all the articles about the case. She goes back over for another house tour only to discover that the trophy is gone. She finally tells Lloyd and she calls the police. An officer takes her word at first, and interviews Matthew at home the next day. Shortly later on, Hen is asked to come into the police station to give a formal statement, and that's when she realizes that they don't believe her because of something she did in college. While Hen was in college before she had her first manic episode, she became convinced that a fellow classmate had killed one student and was out to kill her next. She ended up attacking the girl herself during the paranoia that often accompanies manic episodes, and was told to never go near the girl again. Hen eventually left the school, and never thought of it again once she got her meds all straightened out.

Sometime later, Hen discovers that Matthew is planning another murder, and follows his next victim to try to stop Matthew. Sadly, Hen doesn't make it in time to save the man, but she is the only witness to Matthew killing Scott Doyle, who was a cheating boyfriend of Matthew's coworker. She tries to tell the police, and they question Matthew again. Mira is Matthew's alibi however, and they decide that Hen is just out to frame Matthew. Mira and Matthew are advised to file a protective order against Hen for their "physical safety".

Now once Hen realizes that the police don't believe her, and Mira has filed for a protective order against her, she decides to leave it alone. That is until Matthew tells her that he wants to confess to her. They both know that she'll never be able to go to the police about anything Matthew says without hard proof, and that she won't ever find any. So they met, and that's when their strange relationship begins. He tells her everything about Dustin Miller, and convinces her that Lloyd is cheating on  her. Turns out he's right, but Hen doesn't want Matthew to hurt him, so she doesn't tell him.

During the time it takes for Matthew to develop this odd relationship with Hen, he realizes that his brother Richard has done something unforgivable.  Richard is just like their abusive father, and has killed the one person that Matthew was trying to protect by killing Scott Doyle. His coworker, Michelle, is murdered in her own home and Matthew knows it was his brother since Richard left Michelle's house keys in Matthew's study. However, he can't decide what he does now. Richard is his brother, but he is also a murder of an innocent...

I won't give too much more away, especially not the ending, because I want you to read the amazing novel for yourself. I know that some of you probably don't enjoy that I leave the ending off of all my posts, but why give all the details away in a review. I want to give as much detail as it takes to get you to want to read for your own pleasure. As always you can find links to buy the book on my page:

Author Interview with J Lynn Hicks

Alright y'all, this is another amazing author that I met through the FB Group Dystopian Ink. I haven't read her books yet, but I did...