Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: Identity – Nora Roberts

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance

Publication Date: May 23, 2023

Review:

You think you have your whole life planned, you work hard on your goals, doing the best you can, projecting when you’ll have “made it”. Then life hits you with a horrible blow and all those careful plans, that well-aligned path you set for yourself—all gone and you’re left with nothing.

Morgan learns this terrible lesson when her identity is stolen by the man she’d just started seeing and he steals everything she has, including the life of her closest friend. Grieving, broken, it takes all her strength and courage to remake herself.

I loved the main and side characters a lot—Morgan’s mom and grandmother, the Jameson clan. I enjoyed all the interactions and the romance had a sweetness that was endearing. The story was well-paced and the plot was a good one too. The values and women’s power in this story were my favorite part, and I’m looking forward to re-reading it again in the future.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
A new thriller about one man’s ice-cold malice, and one woman’s fight to reclaim her life.
Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan’s job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party—attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who’d been chatting her up at the bar—her carefully built world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina lies dead on the floor.
Soon, a horrific truth emerges: It was Morgan who let the monster in. “Luke” is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.
What the FBI tells Morgan is beyond chilling. Nina wasn’t his type. Morgan is. Nina was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Morgan’s nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother’s home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn’t flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn’t forgotten the one who got away.

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: Yellowface – R.F. Kuang

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Literary Fiction, Mystery Thriller

Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Review:

This was my first experience reading a book by R.F. Kuang and let me tell you, the writing was excellent! Engaging, intriguing, with that spark that keeps you hooked in from the first page. I enjoyed the writing a lot, so much that I read Yellowface in one sitting. That’s how good the writing was.

The main character was so mired in her exaggerated sense of self-importance that she’d built this whole reality where she was the victim. I kept reading to see just how far she’d go and how she’d rationalize to herself every awful thing she did. It was like watching a Final Destination movie. You know it’s going to get horrible but you’re hooked and you can’t stop watching, i.e. reading in this case. And that ending? Yet another twist.

I think it took a lot of courage to write and publish this story. Kudos to the author. It’s made me an instant fan and I cannot wait to read R.F. Kuang’s other books.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
What’s the harm in a pseudonym? New York Times bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American–in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from R. F. Kuang.
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.
So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song–complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: The Firefly Summer – Morgan Matson

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Middle-Grade, Mystery, Adventure, Family

Publication Date: May 02, 2023

Review:

One summer that becomes your defining moment and changes everything you know about yourself and the world around you. Ryanna finds that out when she gets an invite from her maternal grandparents, whom she knew nothing about, to spend her summer at their old summer camp. Ryanna agrees, determined to find out why her grandparents and her dad stopped talking after her mother’s death.

This was such a feel-good story, centered on family, with a wonderful cast of characters who tug at your heartstrings and make you laugh out loud at the same time. One of the genres I’ve always enjoyed is middle grade and this type of story is the reason why. The characters were authentic and delightful, flaws and all.

The plot was engaging and interesting, with a little mystery sprinkled in and I credit all that to the author’s excellent writing. The words were a pleasure to read and I enjoyed this little gem a lot. This was my first book by Morgan Matson and I can’t wait to try her other books!

Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn 

Blurb:
The Penderwicks meets The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street in a story about a young girl who gets to know her mom’s side of the family and hunts for hidden treasure over the course of one chaotic summer.
For as long as Ryanna Stuart can remember, her summers have been spent with her father and his new wife. Just the three of them, structured, planned, and quiet. But this summer is different. This summer, she’s received a letter from her grandparents—grandparents neither she nor her dad have spoken to since her mom’s death—inviting her to stay with them at an old summer camp in the Poconos.
Ryanna accepts. She wants to learn about her mom. She wants to uncover the mystery of why her father hasn’t spoken to her grandparents all these years. She’s even looking forward to a quiet summer by the lake. But what she finds are relatives… so many relatives! Aunts and uncles and cousins upon cousins—a motley, rambunctious crew of kids and eccentric, unconventional adults. People who have memories of her mom from when she was Ryanna’s age, clues to her past like a treasure map. Ryanna even finds an actual, real-life treasure map!
Over the course of one unforgettable summer—filled with s’mores and swimming, adventure and fun, and even a decades-old mystery to solve—Ryanna discovers a whole new side of herself and that, sometimes, the last place you expected to be is the place where you really belong.
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: In the Lives of Puppets – T.J. Klune

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIAP+, Retellings, Sci Fi, Adult Fiction

Publication Date: Apr 25, 2023

Review:

Three robots and a human, Victor—an unlikely family, joined by heart, if not by blood, in the truest sense of the word, made their home in a forest, hidden from others, caring for and protecting each other. When Victor brings home another android, that one action wreaks havoc in his safe little world and pushes him to reevaluate everything he thought he knew.

What a marvelous cast of characters this story held! I loved Nurse Ratched and Rambo. The author wrote them so well, at times they felt so human you wouldn’t believe they were robots. Victor was as unique as they were and kudos to the author for the emphasis on mental health. And Hap? Just my type of grouchy lol. I truly enjoyed all the characters and their quirks.

The plot-line was intriguing and kept me hooked from the first to the last page. The only jarring note for me was that Victor is supposed to be twenty-one in the story but his portrayal was more that of a seventeen-year-old. In the Lives of Puppets was my first book by T.J. Klune and oh, the writing alone was a pleasure to read.

Thanks to Tor Publishing Group, Tor Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots–fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.
The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio-a past spent hunting humans.
When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.
Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?
Author TJ Klune invites you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts.

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: Both Feet in the Grave – Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress # 2.5, Bones #2)

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires

Publication Date: Apr 18, 2023

Review:

I love re-reading my favorite books but re-reading a story from a different perspective? Knowing what will happen, but reading it knowing the thoughts and feelings of one of the main characters which previously had not been given? A whole new, thrilling experience! For years, I’ve wondered how Bones fared during those four years he and Cat were separated. At last, I have the answers now.

Reading the second book from Bones’ POV broke my heart. How he searched for Cat for years, the pain and despair when he couldn’t. And finding her again? The reconciliation and all the sacrifices he made just to be with her. I loved the faith he had in both of them, that they could beat all the odds if they were together.

Cat still annoys me with her recklessness but those moments when she puts him first tug at the heartstrings.

I read this book in one sitting. I just couldn’t stop. I wanted to keep reading. Right after I finished, I needed more of Bones so I re-read the 3rd Night Huntress book, At Grave’s End. I can’t wait to get Bones’ POV for the 3rd book!

Thanks to Independent Publishers Group, NYLA on NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
If you thought you learned more about the dangerous and sexy alpha vampire, Bones, in the USA Today bestselling scorcher, THE OTHER HALF OF THE GRAVE, you haven’t seen anything yet…
Cat disappeared from Bones’ life to protect him, but this Master vampire will keep his promise to find her.
Two hundred years of bounty hunting made Bones the best at what he does, yet it’s still taken him four long years to find Cat, the half vampire now known as the “Red Reaper.” There’s a price on Cat’s head, and not even her job as a secret government agent can save her. Only Bones can. But has time hardened Bones too much to love again? Or will his passion for Cat burn through every obstacle—alive, undead, or otherwise—between them?
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Night Huntress series comes a fresh, new perspective on the origin saga of Cat and Bones, in Bones’ own words…

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Other Half of the Grave – Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress # 1.5, Bones #1)

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires

Published on: Apr 26, 2022

Review:

I remember when I first read the Night Huntress series how I always wanted Bones’ POV (point of view). He was my favorite character throughout the whole series, even more than Cat. In fact, as from the 4th book, I didn’t like Cat much anymore, but Bones remained one of the loves of my life. So, imagine my excitement at the news that Jeaniene Frost was writing the books again, from Bones’ POV this time.

I admit I started The Other Half of The Grave with some trepidation, wondering if finding Bones’ innermost thoughts would make me stop liking him. But I loved him even more! It was amazing to read the story again from Bones’ POV. His feelings, the reasons why he did everything he did. How he fell in love with Cat.

The Other Half of the Grave was excellent! After I finished it, I wanted more of Bones and I am impatient to read more of the books from his POV.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb: From the New York Times bestselling author of the Night Huntress series comes a thrilling new look at the iconic origin story of Cat and Bones, as experienced by Bones…from the other half of the grave. There are two sides to every story–and the sizzling British alpha vampire, Bones, has a lot to say… Ever wondered what Bones was thinking and feeling when he and half-vampire Cat Crawfield first met? Or how their story might differ if he were the one telling it? Now, relive the beginning of Cat and Bones’ bestselling love story through Bones’ point of view, which reveals a darker, sexier take on their early days, as well as a deeper dive into Bones’ past, the vampire world, and other things that Cat didn’t see when their story was told only through her eyes in Halfway to the Grave. Cat had her say. Now, it’s Bones’ turn.

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley, Penguin Teen Canada

e-ARC Review: Silver in the Bone (Silver in the Bone #1) – Alexandra Bracken

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Arthurian, Magic

Publication Date: Apr 04, 2023

Review:

How cool is this cover? I loved it from the moment I saw it and I couldn’t wait to read this book. A quest for a magical relic, Arthurian lore, magic, mayhem, and let’s not forget, curses. All the criteria for a fantastic story.

I loved all the characters, and Tamsin’s definitely my favorite. The odds were stacked against her but she never quit. She kept going on, one foot in front of the other, even when the problems seemed insurmountable. And that sarcastic point of view? Brilliant! I enjoyed the banter between the characters a lot.

The book was a bit slow at the start but picked up pretty fast. Excellent plot-line which wowed me away. All the twists and turns gripped my complete attention and I definitely did not see them coming. Secrets woven within secrets and red herrings that kept you guessing. I couldn’t believe all the things that happened in this story!

This was my first book by Alexandra Bracken and I enjoyed it so much, I read it in one sitting! I’m already super excited to read her other books. Plus, I can’t wait for the sequel of Silver In The Bone.

Thanks to Penguin Teen Canada for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
A series opener inspired by Arthurian legend and fueled by love, revenge, and pure adrenaline!
Tamsin Lark didn’t ask to be a Hollower. As a mortal with no magical talent, she was never meant to break into ancient crypts, or compete with sorceresses and Cunningfolk for the treasures inside. But after her thieving foster father disappeared without so much as a goodbye, it was the only way to keep herself—and her brother, Cabell—alive.
Ten years later, rumors are swirling that her guardian vanished with a powerful ring from Arthurian legend. A run-in with her rival Emrys ignites Tamsin’s hope that the ring could free Cabell from a curse that threatens both of them. But they aren’t the only ones who covet the ring.
As word spreads, greedy Hollowers start circling, and many would kill to have it for themselves. While Emrys is the last person Tamsin would choose to partner with, she needs all the help she can get to edge out her competitors in the race for the ring. Together, they dive headfirst into a vipers’ nest of dark magic, exposing a deadly secret with the power to awaken ghosts of the past and shatter her last hope of saving her brother. . . .

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Edelweiss

e-ARC Review: Greymist Fair – Francesca Zappia

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery

Publication Date: 28 Mar 2023

Review:

The first thing that grabbed me about this book was the amazing cover. The blurb definitely finished me off. And let’s not forget that intriguing title. Greymist Fair is a tiny village in the middle of nowhere with a spooky forest harboring strange happenings and dark creatures. The book starts out with a mystery that deepens with each scene and raises more questions that keep you turning the page.

My favorite characters were Heike and Wenzel and I loved the connection between them. I enjoyed how the plot was crafted, how the characters were woven in, one at a time, like interlocking jigsaw pieces, revealing the secrets of Greymist Fair little by little until you see the story as a whole.

The writing was rich and brought the story to life so I was fascinated by how everything was unveiled. I enjoyed the diverse cast of characters and the multiple points of view gave a deeper insight into their lives and beliefs. There was one moment I found truly heartbreaking though I should have really seen it coming. Greymist Fair was well-written and definitely a keeper.

Thanks to Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins) for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
Two roads lead into a dark forest. They meet at Greymist Fair, the village hidden in the trees, a place kept alive by the families that never leave. The people of Greymist Fair know the woods are a dangerous and magical place, and to set foot off the road is to invite trouble.
When Heike, the village’s young tailor, discovers a body on the road, she goes looking for who is responsible. But her quest only leads to more strange happenings around Greymist Fair.
Inspired by the original, bloody, lesser-known fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, acclaimed author Francesca Zappia crafts an enthralling murder-mystery that will keep readers turning the pages. Told from multiple points of view, with each narrative building on the crime discovered by Heike, Greymist Fair examines the themes of childhood fears, growing into adult responsibilities, and finding a place to call home amid the trials of life and death.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Elsewhere – Dean Koontz

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy, Thriller

Published on: Oct 06, 2020

Review:

It’s been a while since I last read a Dean Koontz book & it felt good to read his writing again. Elsewhere pulled me in, right into everywhere. Dean Koontz crafted a clever little plot about multiple worlds, hope, and valor.

Once upon a time, Jeffy had his happy-ever-after—his wife, Michelle, and their beautiful treasure—his daughter, Amity. Then his wife left, shattering his world. He picked up the pieces and went on for his daughter’s sake, and the two of them rebuilt their world. Then one day, their tiny world is sent into yet another upheaval, in the hope of finding Michelle again.

I liked the main characters a lot and the plot twists kept me hooked. I enjoyed the different worlds, not to mention the anticipation and adrenaline at danger. The ending was quite a satisfactory one & a good fit for the story.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
Since his wife, Michelle, left seven years ago, Jeffy Coltrane has worked to maintain a normal life for himself and his eleven-year-old daughter, Amity, in Suavidad Beach. It’s a quiet life, until a local eccentric known as Spooky Ed shows up on their doorstep.
Ed entrusts Jeffy with hiding a strange and dangerous object—something he calls “the key to everything”—and tells Jeffy that he must never use the device. But after a visit from a group of ominous men, Jeffy and Amity find themselves accidentally activating the key and discovering an extraordinary truth. The device allows them to jump between parallel planes at once familiar and bizarre, wondrous and terrifying. And Jeffy and Amity can’t help but wonder, could Michelle be just a click away?
Jeffy and Amity aren’t the only ones interested in the device. A man with a dark purpose is in pursuit, determined to use its grand potential for profound evil. Unless Amity and Jeffy can outwit him, the place they call home may never be safe again.

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, HarperCollins Canada, HCC Frenzy

Book Review: My Flawless Life – Yvonne Woon

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult

Published on: Feb 14, 2023

Review:

This book was a total cover love for me. I was caught by the bright colors like a magpie and I love that little play on “Life” & “Lie” in the title. That was pretty clever, and I understood why when I got to the end of the story.

At first, I did like Hana—I even admired how she turned her life around when her father was arrested for the hit-and-run he was involved in. But as I got to know her better, there was just something that kept nagging at me.

James, on the other hand, was my favorite character and I liked how genuine he was.

My Flawless Life had a gripping storyline—secrets woven within secrets—and the author did a fantastic job crafting this story so you don’t see that monumental twist coming.

Reviews are highly subjective, and though I keep mine spoiler-free, my values and moral principles have a huge impact on how a book affects me. I believe in people being held accountable for their actions and I’m not forgiving by nature so the ending didn’t sit right with me, including one of the characters who supposedly tried to make things right but was no better.

That said, I liked the author’s writing style and would have enjoyed the story more with a different ending.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
My Flawless Life features a compelling narrator who grapples with the secrets of her private school classmates as well as her own life.
At the most elite private school in Washington, DC., whenever anyone has a problem that they need to go away, they hire Hana Yang Lerner.
Hana is a fixer. She knows who to call, what to say, and how to make sure secrets stay where they belong–buried. She can fix anything. Except her own life, which was destroyed when her father, senator Skip Lerner, was arrested for an accident that left one woman nearly dead.
Now Hana’s reputation is ruined and her friends are gone. So when she gets a job from an anonymous client called “Three” to follow her former best friend, Luce Herrera, Hana realizes this might be her way of getting back her old life.
But the dangerous thing about digging is that you never know what you’ll unearth. As Hana uncovers a dark truth about her supposedly flawless classmates, she’s forced to face a secret of her own.