Thursday, June 25, 2020

Book Review: Queen of Swords (The Banished Gods, Book #1) by L.A. McGinnis

Book Details:

Print Length: 268 pages
Publisher: Fool's Journey Press
Publication Date: February 19, 2019


About the Book:

Morgane Burke wanted revenge.

Instead, she discovered a secret that could destroy the world.

When evil rises, she forges a tenuous alliance with an immortal god to survive. But even Loki cannot protect her when the Goddess of Death comes to claim her soul. Together, they discover love is more powerful than betrayal, and sometimes all you need in this world is each other. Escape into this sexy urban fantasy, where an ancient race collides with the God of Chaos in an epic quest to save the world.

My Review:

After the death of her dad and murder of her sister and mother, Morgane Burke, wants revenge. The monsters that killed her sister and mother were not visible to her at the time. After the monsters took her to the brink of death and modern medical personnel brought her back, Morgane knew who killed her family and vowed to kill each and every one of them. What transpires is an intervention by Loki and his family of trapped gods when Loki discovers the person "hunting" in Odin's territory is mere mortal. Except, Morgane shouldn't be able to see the monsters, let alone kill them, putting a target on her head by Odin, his deal with the Goddess of Death. If only they all knew exactly what the Goddess of Death has in the works with the deadly God of Chaos.

Queen of Swords is an interesting take on Norse mythology with a modern-day twist. I enjoyed the grittiness of the story and the romantic elements. Morgane is a strong character who might be putting her own life in danger but she does it as revenge for the death of her family, and to maybe prevent other families from suffering the same fate. The fact that she goes head-to-head with Odin, Mir, and Hel shows she not only stands up for herself, but that might be a tad bit crazy. :) I mean who goes up against Norse Gods and Goddesses and lives to tell the tale!

Loki and Morgane's attraction is evident but I did find the unfolding of their feels to happen quite rapidly. The romance makes sense but I would have liked to see it grow a little slower. The quick romance didn't detract from the story and actually played a huge part in certain aspects.

The story is fast-paced and pulled me in and kept me thoroughly captivated. Morgane and Loki are wonderful characters and the supporting cast are all great in their own right. I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the setting. The book is full of twists and events I never saw coming. I look forward to the next installment of this thrilling series.

I was provided a copy of this book to read.

My Rating:

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Book Review & #Giveaway ~ Crimson Winter Vol. 1: Ruins of Sapphire by Justine Alley Dowsett ~ Young Adult, SciFi, Fantasy, Adventure @MirrorWorldPub

About the Book:

When Japanese high school student Yukari Namikoya finds herself suddenly and inexplicably on another planet, she must quickly come to terms with the fact that she may never see Tokyo again. With a sun that never sets, the desert world of Crimson Winter is on the brink of extinction and day-to-day survival can be difficult; especially for someone used to the modern-day conveniences of Earth.

Following the only clue she has to a way home – a cryptic message from a woman long dead – Yukari heads into the desert searching for the Temple of Sapphire. There, she finds the temple in ruins, but what waits there for her is her destiny as a Chosen of the gem god Sapphiros.

Stranded on this new world and hunted by the Vile Emperor and his vast forces simply for being what she is, Yukari has no choice but to learn how to fulfill the role she’s been cast into and become the long-awaited saviour of a dangerous planet she doesn’t yet understand.

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Book Details:

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Publication Date: June 17, 2020

My Review:

Ruins of Sapphire is a wonderful young adult science-fiction novel. Tokyo native Yukari Namikoya finds herself trapped in Ground Hog's Day scenario (only her repeat day is a Tuesday) with subtle differences. After a few days of Tuesday resetting, Yukari and her friends find themselves in another land, on another planet. As they try to figure out where they are, they discover the world is not like their beloved earth and modern amenities are lacking. On the run, Yukari must embrace who she is on a planet she knows nothing about.

I enjoyed this young adult, sci-fi novel by J. A. Dowsett. The story is well-written and I was engaged from the very beginning. The character development progresses well as Yukari's story is told. The world building allows the reader the visualize the story and feel the emotions of the characters. You can't help but get pulled in and root for Yukari. The Yukari's character is strong, cast into a role that makes her a savior. That's a lot for the shoulders of a teen.

Ruins of Sapphire is a fun adventure full of action. I look forward to reading book 2.

I was provided a copy of this book to read.

My Rating:

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing

Meet the Author:

Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing.
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Monday, June 22, 2020

Release Day Review of Loud Mouth by Avery Flynn @AveryFlynn ~ Contemporary Romance ~ Ice Knights, Book 3 @EntangledPub

Release Day Review

About the Book:

I never meant to say a word, not one single word.

But I did.

Now because of something I leaked—without even realizing it—I've inadvertently broken up one of the Ice Knights’ most legendary bromances. And worse—I've kicked hockey star Ian Petrov's grumpy level to insane levels of grump.

And what could make it worse? How about the two of us being trapped together in a remote cabin after a massive blizzard. Neither of us can leave. Just us, the snow, his resentment, and OMG sexual tension so thick it would take a snowplow to break through it.

I’ve got to get out of here before I do something even dumber than I’ve already done and kiss the sexy, snarly grump with his misplaced anger and perfect pecs. That would be the worst, the absolute worst. But… would it be terrible if we gave in? Just a little? It’s not like we’re ever going to have to spend time together again.

Until the next morning when we’re told we have to play chummy for the press until this news cycle blows over.


Book Details:

Amazon US

Print Length: 207 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: June 22, 2020
Sold by: Macmillan

My Review:

Loud Mouth is a wonderful addition to the Ice Knights series. Shelby Blanton accidentally revealed a secret about two players on the Ice Knights hockey team. The reveal alienated Ian Petrov and his former best friend to the point of hatred, and added Shelby to Ian's "ruiner of lives" list. When Shelby and Ian them find them snowed in at the same AirBnb, tension runs thick and it's not just because they don't want to be together. Succumbing to the sexual tensions seems like a safe bet because Ian and Shelby won't ever have to be together again....until they are pulled together into a publicity stunt.

Shelby is an independent, hard-core blogger with rocker hair, tattoos, and piercings galore. Who would have thought she was a hockey fiend with the most popular hockey blog. She's a strong character that has overcome a huge obstacle and led to the person she is today. Ian Petrov is continuously living the shadows of his slimy father, a hockey great. Ian has worked very hard to earn his own way in hockey. After he was sucker punched with information about his dad being a cheater and his best friend having insider information he neglected to share with Ian, he just crumbles. When Shelby and Ian unite after the catastrophe, their enemies-to-lovers story practically melts the pages. Their mutual hostility slowly disappears into a wonderful love story that almost wasn't.

I love Shelby and Ian's story. I enjoyed the way the author gave the characters flawed backgrounds, family issues, and true-to-life situations to handle. He might be a popular hockey player and she the blogger behind a wildly popular hockey blog, but they are not perfect. They don't need each other to fix the damage, deal with their pasts, or handle their present issues, but as support persons as they muddle their way through life. Of course, it's not easy and there are obstacles but Avery Flynn does a magnificent job of unraveling their layers and helping them move beyond the issues, especially Ian. I enjoyed the path the author took Shelby and Ian on in order find their happily-ever-after.

Avery Flynn is a wonderful storyteller with unique characters, themes, and settings. Her stories pull you in and keep you thoroughly engaged and entertained. I have enjoyed all three books in the Ice Knights series.

I was provided a copy of this book to read.

My Rating:

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Book Review: Grave Consequences by Lena Gregory @LenaGregory03 ~ #CozyMystery ~ Bay Island Psychic, Book 5

My Review:

I'm excited to be back on Bay Island with Cass, Bee, Stephanie, Tank and Luke.

Cass's mystical talents are hitting an all time high - she hears voices of the departed constantly. The voices bombard her as she tries to run her business and go about her normal routine. When she hears about the haunting of the Bay Island lighthouse, she can decipher if the voices are warning her about the lighthouse or something else. Then, one of the local lighthouse keepers falls to his death out of one of the lighthouse windows. Cass now isn't sure if his death was accidental or on purpose, or rooted in the mundane or the mystical. Either way, Cass finds herself right in the middle of the investigation. The victim was not faultless and the author gives the reader plenty of means, motives, and opportunities to figure out along the way.

Grave Consequences is another fabulous book in the Bay Island Psychic series. I feel like Cass, Bee, and Stephanie are friends and I enjoy their characters, actions, and antics. Their dynamics create a warm and emotional friendship, where they all have each other's backs and best interested at heart. Cass is a very down-to-earth character and has been likable from the beginning of the series. I find her easy to connect to, whether you believe in her abilities or not. Stephanie and Bee are excellent sidekicks, always there for her and supportive.

I enjoy the flow of the story, the just right pacing, and the smooth conversational dialogue between everyone. As with all of the books in the Bay Island Psychic series, I find myself totally immersed in the plot, the characters, and the setting. I visualize the story and find myself wanting to tag along with Cass, Bee, and Stephanie on their many adventures.

I may have been provided an ebook of this series to review but I will be buying a paperback for my bookshelf.

My Rating:

Book Details:

Title: Grave Consequences
Series: Bay Island Psychic, Book 5
Author: Lena Gregory
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing
Pages: 310
Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Book Review ~ Assault and Buttery (Popcorn Shop Mystery, Book #3) by Kristi Abbott ~ #CozyMystery

Book Details:

Series: A Popcorn Shop Mystery (Book 3)

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Berkley 
Publish Date: November 7, 2017

ISBN-10: 0425280934
ISBN-13: 978-0425280935

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About the Book:

Repairs are under way at Rebecca Anderson's gourmet popcorn shop. With production of her tasty treats on hold, Rebecca has plenty of time to read the old diary she discovered hidden in the shop's walls. It's a fun peek into her town's history...until the diary's abrupt ending leaves Rebecca wondering whether she's actually stumbled upon a cold case.

Unfortunately for Rebecca, mysteries are popping up right and left. When local busybody Lloyd McLaughlin is found dead, the police suspect he was poisoned by Rebecca's popcorn. But Rebecca has only made one batch of popcorn recently, and it wasn't intended for Lloyd. Nothing about Lloyd's death makes sense--until Rebecca discovers a startling connection between the missing diary-writer and the murdered man.

Now, with her reputation on the line, Rebecca must discover who's been cooking up murder--both in the past and in the present.

My Review:

Book 3, Assault & Buttery, begins with the repairs in The Popcorn Shop after the tragic ending in book 2. Rebecca keeps herself busy with old journal discovered in the wall during the reno. The magic and mystery of the old journal intensify when the makings of a cold case begin to appear within the pages.

Meanwhile, local citizen Lloyd McLaughlin is discovered dead. It appears his death is suspicious and when the autopsy concludes, fingers point directly to Rebecca. Her popcorn appears to be the culprit. We readers, of course, know it wasn't her that poisoned the popcorn, so who did? Rebecca has even more reason to find the killer - her reputation as a business woman and respectable citizen depends on it! With a lot of hard work and effort, Rebecca turns up several potential suspects that keeps the reader guessing around every turn. Each potential suspect has solid means and motives, and opportunities.

The world building is wonderful, and I felt like I was in the story. The author continues character development, providing more details about Rebecca, Garrett, Antoine, Dan, and Haley. Rebecca is becoming more comfortable, has wonderful friends, and a great boyfriend. I enjoyed Assault & Buttery, and the previous books in the series. The characters are fun, the mystery is creative, and I love the small-town setting and Rebecca’s popcorn shop.

I'm disappointed this series was not continued after book 3 with another publisher.

My review copy came from my public library’s interlibrary loan program.

My Rating:

Monday, June 1, 2020

#Book #Review ~ Yule Be Dead (Victoria Square Mystery, Book #5) by Lorraine Bartlett with Gayle Leeson

Book Details:

Series: Victoria Square Mystery (Book 5)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: November 27, 2018
ISBN-10: 0425266001
ISBN-13: 978-0425266007


About the Book:

A Christmas crime shocks the merchants of a quaint shopping district in this latest installment of The New York Times bestselling Victoria Square series.

It's Christmastime, but not everyone is jolly--especially not Vonne Barnett. Her dead body has been found in Victoria Square. Katie Bonner, the manager of Artisan's Alley, happens to be at the tea shop Vonne's mother, Francine, owns when the news is delivered.

Vonne left a trail of men behind her so the suspects are many--but the clues are few. A broken teacup leads Katie to one of the suspects, but before she can investigate, she's attacked. Katie may be closing in on a murderer, but time is ticking because the murderer is definitely closing in on her.

I started reading this series with this book and I was hooked. I will be going back and reading the series from the beginning. 

Yule Be Dead takes place around Christmas. All the merchants are gearing up for the Dickens Festival, and Katie is gearing up for a visit from former mother-in-law, Margo. When Katie's husband Chad was alive, neither Katie nor Margo could see eye-to-eye, yet, after his death there seemed to be a bond and both of them miss Chad horribly. 

On top of all of the festivities, the daughter of one of the Square's merchants is found dead. Vonne Barnett's death is classified as a murder and the number of suspects is long. Katie starts looking into who may have been to one who wanted to end Vonne's life. Vonne's line of male companions, current and those discarded, is long and filled with any number of them who may have wanted her dead. 

Another side story involves Katie wanting to buy the local tea shop. Francine Barnett bought the shop and her daughter, Vonne, was supposed to help run the day-to-day operations. When Vonne got bored, she stopped helping, and Vonne can't run it alone. Francine plants the seed in Katie's mind and the thread is developed along with the other side stories and main murder mystery.

Katie is a likable character. She is very invested in her town, her business adventures, and the people she loves. When her friends are in trouble she is the first to volunteer to help fix the problem. In most cases, Katie is a very strong character. She has proven she can manage businesses, be chair of the Merchant Association, and aid in murder investigations (even though the local police department would prefer she stay out of their investigations). Katie is quite insecure when it comes to Andy and Erikka. Her imperfections make her human and relatable. I enjoy all of the secondary characters and the way the author portrays them. Each person is vital to Katie's successes, whether professionally or personally.

I enjoyed Yule Be Dead and can't wait for the next book.

Review copy courtesy of my bookshelf.

My Rating: