Tuesday, June 18, 2024

#Review ~ Turning Up the Heat by Lizzy Hunter #ElizabethHunter #LizzyHunter @EHunterWrites #Romance

 

ASIN: ‎ B0D217MQY4
Publisher: ‎ Recurve Press, LLC
Publication date: ‎ May 14, 2024
Print length: 338 pages
Goodreads

About the Book:

If you can’t take the heat, get out of his kitchen.

Kelsey Rankin has worked for years to earn her reputation as one of the best writers at California’s top food-and-wine journal. She’s left her rural roots in wine country and moved to the city to pursue her dreams.

Then a work trip back home to cover the wine harvest puts her right in the path of Chef Oskar Olson, an internationally recognized chef and the newest resident of her hometown.

Oskar knew he wanted a break from big-city life when he moved to a small town. He wants to make his restaurant one that people talk about, and a review from Kelsey’s magazine might push his restaurant into the spotlight.

One explosive night could change everything for these two culinary hotshots and make them question everything they think they want.

Turning Up the Heat is a steamy, stand-alone romance for lovers of sizzling chemistry, mouthwatering food, and sweet happily-ever-afters.

My Review:

Turning Up the Heat is a wonderful contemporary romance featuring Kelsey Rankin, a food writer, and Oskar Olson, internationally recognized chef. Oskar is living in Kelsey's hometown, and Kelsey moved out prior to his arrival, and landed in the city. When they finally meet when work brings her back home, spark fly and the chemistry between the two is undeniable. 

I loved everything about this book. The realism behind Kelsey and Oskar's long-distance relationship took me down memory lane. I met my husband 17 years ago (on MySpace) and we lived an hour-and-a-half away from each other. We worked different shifts (I worked 10am-7pm) and he worked 3rd shift (10pm-7am) so talking during the week was difficult. We emailed each other for a while before moving to phone calls/texts, and I didn't have a computer. In order to talk to him for the first couple weeks, I had to go the library (about a block from my townhouse) before work to check my emails. We decided to move to the exchanging phone numbers stage and that made things a little easier. I'd call him in the morning before I left for work, and he'd call me at night before he left for work and I went to bed. I love it when scenes in books coincide with an event that happed in my life. It draws me closer to the characters and I can definitely better relate to them. 

Elizabeth Hunter is one of my all-time favorite authors. Everything she writes is phenomenal. She has writing skills that draw the reader in from the very beginning. When I was originally approached to review the ARC of A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries, Book One) in 2011, never did I expect as much literary power to come from within the pages of a brand-new author. Every single book I've read from Elizabeth Hunter since then carries that same power. I have been mesmerized by her books from the very beginning.

I was provided a copy of this book.

My Rating:



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Monday, June 17, 2024

Cover Reveal ~ Nine Levels by Elana Gomel ~ Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Greek Mythology ~ @MirrorWorldPub @ElanaGomel

Mirror World Publishing and Sapphyria's Book Promotions present the cover reveal for 
Nine Levels by Elana Gomel.

About Nine Levels:

Waking up on the beach in Greece after a midnight party, Cleo, a British-Greek tourist, sees a stranger sitting next to her. The stranger has a giant spider on his forearm.

So begins an incredible odyssey through the nine levels of the mysterious mountain populated by an odd assortment of monsters, demons, and avatars of dead gods. Still grieving the unsolved disappearance of her twin sister Cora, Cleo is thrust into the world whose rules she does not understand and whose inhabitants confound everything she thought she knew about Greek mythology. Confronted by Woven Women, masked huntresses, sentient graffiti, and Mother of Monsters, Cleo has to make sense of it all. And meanwhile, a mysterious Call reverberates in her brain: You have to go up. You have to find your sister.

A story of self-discovery, courage, and breathtaking adventure, Nine Levels is a highly imaginative, innovative, and engrossing retelling of familiar legends with a twist you won’t see coming.


Release Date: July 17, 2024

Meet the Author:


Born in Ukraine and currently residing in California, Elana Gomel is an academic, an award-winning writer, and a professional nomad. She is well-known for her work on speculative fiction and narrative theory, represented by her academic books, which Beyond the Golden Rule, Bloodscripts, and The Palgrave Handbook of Global Fantasy. Twelve years ago she published her first fantasy novel and has never looked back. She is the author of more than a hundred short stories, two collections, several novellas, and seven novels. She writes dark fantasy, dark SF, fairy tales, and hard-to classify dreamlike stories, some of them connected to her roots in the former USSR. Her stories won several awards, and “Mine Seven” was featured in the Best of Horror 13 edited by Ellen Datlow. Her latest fiction publications are the dark fairy tale Nightwood (Silver Award in the Bookfest 2023 competition) and Girl of Light, an alternative history of the USSR with monsters. Many of her stories and novels have mythological and folkloric overtones, inspired by her travels and her academic research. Having lived in several countries including Israel, Italy, the UK, and Hong Kong, she now resides in the magical – and sinister – redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains with her husband.

Amazon Author Profile: https://amzn.to/3z5FHeU

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Release Day #Review ~ The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps! by Gabrielle Balkan (Author) and Sol Linero (Illustrator) #The50States #NetGalley #ChildrensBook #States #UnitedStatesOfAmerica #America


Book Details:

ASIN: ‎ 1847807119
Publisher: ‎ Wide Eyed Editions; Illustrated edition (October 1, 2015)
Hardcover: ‎ 112 pages
ISBN-10: ‎ 9781847807113
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1847807113
Reading age: ‎ 5 - 9 years, from customers
Grade level: ‎ 2 - 5


Goodreads

About the Book:

In 51 charmingly illustrated infographic maps, explore every state of the USA from Alabama to Wyoming and the nation’s capital to discover more than 2,000 facts that celebrate the people, cities, nature, and historic events that have helped make America what it is today. You'll also get an expansive guide to the state flags and US presidents.

Ghost towns, swamp tours, the center of the universe…bacon donuts, brainy berries, salmon jerky…The French Fry King, The Mother of Oregon, The Queen of Blues…be inspired by the inventiveness, beauty, and diversity of the United States in this curious collection of fact-filled maps.

On each wonderful map, find:
A welcome box with a short introduction to the state
Key facts, including the capital; state bird, flower, and tree; and statehood order
State icons celebrating the state’s people, places, and history
Six inspiring people who have a connection to the state
Region spotlight bubbles to allow you to discover more about one particular place
A moments to remember box with a list of significant dates and their events in the state’s history

Each state’s map also contains information about which states it neighbors, its bodies of water and borders, as well as where it is situated in the country. Did you know that while Hawaii shares its border with no one, both Missouri and Tennessee border eight other states? Many state parks, battlefields, national forests, and reservations are also included to inspire you to respect and explore the great outdoors.

So pack your bags and say later ‘gator…the great States await!

My Review:

The 50 States is a wonderful educational tool for children. Filled to the brim with historical data, facts about each state, and other tidbits of information, children of all ages will find this book informative. The colorful and vibrancy of the illustrations grab your attention. 

I loved the historical facts, state information, and the spotlights on famous and influential people who came from each particular state. The "Moments to Remember" included on each page feature historical events and the dates they occurred. I enjoyed learning different things about each state, but especially my own state of Michigan. This a great tool for educating everyone about the United States.

I was provided a copy of this book.

My Rating:


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Friday, April 19, 2024

A Twinkle of Trouble (A Fairy Garden Mystery) by Daryl Wood Gerber ~ #cozymystery #Review ~ ThereIsAGive@way

 

A Twinkle of Trouble (A Fairy Garden Mystery) by Daryl Wood Gerber

About A Twinkle of Trouble:

 

A Twinkle of Trouble (A Fairy Garden Mystery)

Cozy Mystery

5th in Series

Setting - California

Publisher: ‎ Kensington Cozies (April 23, 2024)

Paperback: ‎ 304 pages

ISBN-10: ‎ 1496744934

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1496744937

Kindle ASIN: ‎ B0CFGF36NM

Carmel-by-the-Sea garden shop owner Courtney Kelly sees things others can’t—like fairies, and hidden motives for murder . . .

Courtney is delighted when her tiny friend Fiona returns from the fairy realm, appearing at the base of a Cypress tree. When her Ragdoll cat, Pixie, emerges from her own portal—aka the cat door—the three set off for a busy day. Busier than usual, since Courtney has rented a small plot of land at the Flower Farm, where she hopes to grow her own supplies for her fairy-garden business. Plus, the annual Summer Blooms Festival is coming up, and Courtney has booked a booth . . .

But the murder of Courtney’s friend, Genevieve, casts a pall over the festival. Ever since Genevieve sold her floral business, she’d been building a career as an influencer. She was perennially opinionated—but in her new role she’d become surprisingly vicious, dissing local entrepreneurs with nasty posts and unwarranted bad reviews. That’s landed a couple of Courtney’s other friends on the suspect list—including Flower Farm owner Daphne Flores. And when a second victim is discovered, seeds of doubt about Daphne’s innocence sprout in Courtney’s mind. With only a germ of a clue, Courtney will have to overturn every rock to get the dirt on the real killer . . .

My Review:

A Twinkle of Trouble is the fifth book in the Fairy Garden Mystery series. Featuring fairies, cats, and a wonderful cast of characters, A Twinkle of Trouble is another slam dunk cozy mystery.

Courtney Kelly's fairy garden shop is booming. Between walk-in private lessons, group lessons, and individual sales, Open Your Imagination has become a popular destination for both believers and non-believers. Courtney even hosts fairy garden parties.

Courtney's fairy friend has returned from the fairy realm. Fiona had been gone a month, much to Courtney and her feline companion Pixie's dismay. Life can now get back to normal, and Courtney can focus on the Summer Blooms Festival and her quarter-acre of land at the Flower Farm. Except, the death of Courtney's friend Genevieve dims the happiness and excitement of the festival and farm.

This is a very unique story with unique elements. I enjoyed the fairy garden shop setting, complete with a live fairy. The characters are fun and exciting. I enjoyed Courtney's character. Her business is successful and thriving. She cares about her friends and citizens in Carmel-by-the-Sea and makes it her mission to help solve the crime, even when a couple of her friends appear as suspects. The author delivers several suspects with means and motive, and figuring out who committed the crime was difficult. There are twists and turns and red herrings, and while I may have suspected who committed the crime, I never was really sure until the end.

I was provided a copy of this book to read.

My Rating:


About Daryl Wood Gerber:

 

Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling mysteries, including the Fairy Garden Mysteries and Cookbook Nook Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she penned the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. In addition, Daryl writes suspense including the well received The Son’s Secret, Girl on the Run, and the popular Aspen Adams series. Recently Daryl, who loves a challenge, published a Christmas romance, Hope for the Holidays. Fun Tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, garden, read, and walk her frisky Goldendoodle. Also she has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. You can learn more on her website: https://darylwoodgerber.com

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Saturday, April 13, 2024

#Review ~ Red Kingdom: A Dark Little Red Riding Hood Retelling (Fairy Tale Retellings, Book 2) by Rachel L. Demeter @RachelLDemeter #DarkHistoricalRomance #Medieval

 

Red Kingdom: A Dark Little Red Riding Hood Retelling 
Fairy Tale Retellings Book 2

ASIN: B0CTK1TB8N
Publisher: 1st edition
Publication date: April 10, 2024
Print length: 439 pages

About the Book:

Little Red Riding Hood reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

Princess Blanchette’s world shatters when the Black Wolf tears apart her castle and everything she holds dear. All she clings to is the vow she made to her grandmother on her deathbed.

Hailed as the people’s champion, Sir Rowan Dietrich liberates the capital in a quest for vengeance. He takes Winslowe Castle with an army at his back and his wolf, Smoke, at his side.

United by a shared cause and powerful attraction, Rowan and Blanchette embark on a journey of self-discovery and redemption—a path filled with loss, transformation, and ultimately, the healing power of love.

Can Norland’s resplendent princess, with her captivating beauty and spirit, tame the fabled Black Wolf?

Inspired by the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Red Kingdom is a passionate, slow-burn historical romance about the enduring quest for love and the longing for a world at harmony.

*Red Kingdom is a standalone installment in a series of reimagined fairy tales.

Disclaimer: This is not your grandmother's Little Red Riding Hood. Red Kingdom is a dark historical romance set in a war-torn kingdom. As such, it contains graphic content and mature themes, including grief, strong violence, offscreen rape and suicide, and animal/human death. Reader discretion is advised.

My Review:

Red Kingdom is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling and I'm here to tell you it is not the children's fairytale you were told as a child. Red Kingdom is an epic romance in a dark, medieval setting. There is death, lots of death. There is violence and content unsuitable for youngsters. The story is intense, suspenseful, and at times, scary. I was captivated by the story, characters, and setting. 

Blanchette and Rowan are on opposite sides of the war that has been brought to her castle's front gate. Now that her family has been torn apart, her home under siege, and friends have become foes, Blanchette flees through the castle's underground and secret passages. She escapes but found again by Sir Rowan Dietrich, aka the Black Wolf.

Rowan liberates the land of Norland from a tyrannical King; one who had the best of everything while his constituents were starving and dying. A King who committed horrific acts against those most loyal to him. A King who didn't consider anyone but himself. Hellbent on revenge, Rowan lays claim to his vengeance and takes control of Winslowe Castle, and with it the Raven princess. 

The enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn romance was not without peril. They both have scars, old and new. There is the issue of trust. How can Blanchette trust the man who destroyed her entire life? How can Rowan trust the woman whose father committed such atrocities? As the story unfolds, both characters peel away layers from themselves and each other. What is left leaves them bare, conflicted, and emotionally raw. I loved watching them pick up the pieces and flourish together. 

Red Kingdom is a beautifully written tale of hardship and love. Living in medieval times was no joke and the author reiterates that in this action-packed and romantic retelling. The characters have depth, layers, and emotions. The story is complex with treachery and betrayal, but also attraction and eventually, love. 

I was provided a copy of this book.

My Rating:


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

#Review ~ Tim Burton: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work by Ian Nathan ~ #TimBurton #NetGalley


Publisher : ‎ White Lion Publishing; New edition 
Publish Date: March 5, 2024
Hardcover: ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10: ‎ 0711292612
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0711292611

Amazon
Goodreads

About the Book:

This new and updated edition covers the full life's work of iconic director Tim Burton, including the Netflix phenomenon Wednesday and the start of development on Beetlejuice 2.

Tim Burton is one of the most popular and remarkable filmmakers of the last 30 years, being responsible for such films as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland. He is famed for the visually arresting style of his films combined with highly original storylines.

A truly international filmmaker, Tim Burton has carved a reputation as one of the world's greatest creative directors. This stunning treasury explores the influences on his development as a filmmaker and assesses how he has captured the fruits of his imagination on screen.

Illustrated with many behind‑the‑scenes photographs and stunning film stills, chapters analyze the success and style of films such as Beetlejuice, Ed Wood and Mars Attacks!, and examine how Burton breathed new life into well‑known stories that include Batman, Planet of the Apes,Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,Alice Through the Looking Glass and Dumbo.

Tim Burton: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work is a must for anyone who enjoys the creativity of films and is a fitting appreciation of one of Hollywood’s most dynamic movie directors. It takes you through his films, explaining how he got to where he is and why his films are so revered.

My Review:

Lovers of anything Tim Burton are sure to enjoy the updated edition of Tim Burton: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work by Ian Nathan. 

Tim Burton's movies are quite recognizable. Featuring gothic and spooky vibes and undertones, each movie is brilliantly written and superbly cast. There is no mistaking the films that are Tim Burton's handiwork. 

I love many of his creations including Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, James and the Giant Peach (my favorite book as a kid), and my absolute favorite Tim Burton movies: Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow. These movies, plus others are recounted in this book. I can't wait to see Beetlejuice Beetlejuice!

Included on the pages are pictures, behind-the-scenes views, and wonderful depictions of Tim's work.
This book explores Tim Burton from childhood through the present, giving readers a glimpse of what makes him tick. This is an amazing tribute to an even more amazing film director. This would be a wonderful gift and coffee table book for those who adore Tim Burton.

I was provided a copy of this book.

My Rating:


Monday, March 25, 2024

#MafiaRomance #Review ~ Brutal Prince (Brutal Birthright, Book #1) by Sophie Lark @SourcebooksCasa @Sourcebooks #DarkContemporaryRomance #Romance


Book Details:

ASIN: ‎ B08BNLPH6D
Publisher: ‎Sourcebooks (Bloom Books)
Publication Date: ‎ July 15, 2020
Print Length: ‎ 376 pages

Amazon

Goodreads

About the Book:

A Match Made in Hell

The Griffins and the Gallos have been battling for control of Chicago’s underworld for generations.

Their bitter rivalry reignites when Aida, the youngest and wildest Gallo sibling, crashes a party at the Griffin mansion, accidentally setting fire to the library.

To stave off all-out war, her father arranges a marriage with Callum Griffin, eldest son and heir.

Cold, ambitious, and brutal, Callum is determined to tame his headstrong bride. Aida is more than capable of giving as good as she gets – starting with poisoning Callum on their wedding night.

In their struggle for dominance, who will break first?

My Review:

Brutal Prince is a mafia romance by a great author. I've been reading Sophie Lark's books since her Colors of Crime series (now known as the Underworld series) started. I love her creativity with her characters and world-building. 

Aida Gallo and her brothers crossed a line when attending a party at the Griffin mafia. Sneaking into the home of the Irish Mafia wasn't even the worst part. Aida goes snooping around and gets cornered in the library. Hoping to escape without being recognized, Aida starts a small fire. Unfortunately, her plan doesn't work and while they do get away, they don't get away unscathed. What ensues is a marriage pact between the Gallos and the Griffins, and Aida is right in the center.

Mafia romances have become one of my favorite tropes. Realistically speaking, the mafia and the mob are not organizations that are romantic. Authors, however, are able to romanticize the idea and create magnificent stories filled with romance, suspense, and difficult paths to a happily ever after.

The characters were written well and I enjoyed meeting and getting to know them. Aida does make a mistake at the beginning of the book that alters the course of another's life, and for that, she was not one of my favorites. As the story moved along, however, I found myself warming up to Aida. The relationship that developed between Aida and Callum was a true enemies-to-lovers story. The hatred is palpable, believable, and intense. Their road to romance is not smooth and even but filled with bumps and barriers. Their path is also filled with undeniable chemistry and animal attraction.

The suspense and twists in the story keep me on the edge of my seat. Lyrically, the author is a star. Her use of descriptive language, metaphors, and vivid imagery take this book to the next level. Brutal Prince hit all of positives for story, character development, world building, passion, and suspense.

Thank you for the paperback copy, Bloom Books and Sourcebooks!

My Rating: