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 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, Netgalley, Penguin Teen Canada

Book Review: When You Wish Upon a Lantern – Gloria Chao

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Published on: Feb 14, 2023

Review:

This was my first book by Gloria Chao & I really wanted to like it but though I love the cover, unfortunately, the book fell below my expectations.

The story had a lot of potential and I loved the plot, the characters, and even the unpleasant characters had their role in it. I loved the kindness depicted in the story with the wish-granting.

I really did enjoy some of the touching scenes but the writing felt lengthy and dragged the inner dialogue a bit too long until I wanted to grab Liya & Kai and give them a good, hard shake.

That said, I think the values interwoven in this story, the kindness, the sense of community, and friendship made the book worth it.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
Acclaimed author Gloria Chao creates real-world magic in this luminous romance about teens who devote themselves to granting other people’s wishes, but are too afraid to let themselves have their own hearts’ desires—each other.
Liya and Kai had been best friends since they were little kids, but all that changed when a humiliating incident sparked The Biggest Misunderstanding Of All Time—and they haven’t spoken since.
Then Liya discovers her family’s wishing lantern store is struggling, and she decides to resume a tradition she had with her beloved late grandmother: secretly fulfilling the wishes people write on the lanterns they send into the sky. It may boost sales and save the store, but she can’t do it alone . . . and Kai is the only one who cares enough to help.
While working on their covert missions, Liya and Kai rekindle their friendship—and maybe more. But when their feuding families and their changing futures threaten to tear them apart again, can they find a way to make their own wishes come true?

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: Secretly Yours (A Vine Mess #1) – Tessa Bailey

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Publication Date: Feb 07, 2023

Review:

I accepted this ARC on a whim though one of Tessa Bailey’s books, Reborn Yesterday, is a favorite of mine. Plus, I have a soft spot for grouchy characters and rom-coms. Once I read the blurb, I was all in.

It did take me a few pages to get into the story but the moment I got to Julian’s point of view I was hooked. It was hilarious how Hallie messed up his tight schedules and his neat plans, how she left him baffled and fascinated. Oh my god, his obsession with her had me cracking up!

Hallie was another unique character who left me in stitches. I do admit I was more interested in Julian’s POV, but I liked the plotline a lot. The meaningful conversations they had together that brought out their inner struggles tugged at the heartstrings and I loved these touching moments of deep connection between them. It doesn’t hurt that the chemistry between them was off the charts and let’s not forget the steamy scenes!

This book was a lot of fun to read with quirky characters and a hint of another story in the making. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Natalie’s story.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
A steamy new rom-com about a starchy professor and the bubbly neighbor he clashes with at every turn…
Hallie Welch fell hard for Julian Vos at fourteen, after they almost kissed in the dark vineyards of his family’s winery. Now the prodigal hottie has returned to their small town. When Hallie is hired to revamp the gardens on the Vos estate, she wonders if she’ll finally get that smooch. But the grumpy professor isn’t the teenager she remembers and their polar opposite personalities clash spectacularly. One wine-fueled girls’ night later, Hallie can’t shake the sense that she did something reckless–and then she remembers the drunken secret admirer letter she left for Julian. Oh shit.
On sabbatical from his ivy league job, Julian plans to write a novel. But having Hallie gardening right outside his window is the ultimate distraction. She’s eccentric, chronically late, often literally covered in dirt–and so unbelievably beautiful, he can’t focus on anything else. Until he finds an anonymous letter sent by a woman from his past. Even as Julian wonders about this admirer, he’s sucked further into Hallie’s orbit. Like the flowers she plants all over town, Hallie is a burst of color in Julian’s gray-scale life. For a man who irons his socks and runs on tight schedules, her sunny chaotic energy makes zero sense. But there’s something so familiar about her… and her very presence is turning his world upside down.

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: Mysteries of Thorn Manor (Sorcery of Thorns #1.5) – Margaret Rogerson

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Review:

Welcome back to the world of Sorcery of Thorns, where grimoires talk back and magic runs rampant. The cover of Sorcery of Thorns was an exceptional one and Mysteries of Thorn Manor follows that trend with another fantastic cover. I can’t wait to add this one to my collection and that should tell you right away how much I enjoyed this book.

Mysteries of Thorn Manor is a tasty little morsel of a book that was a delight to read. It picks up after the events of Sorcery of Thorns and I loved that we got to see Elisabeth and Nathaniel’s relationship evolve along with the chaos of magical mishaps.

I had a lot of fun reading it and found myself laughing out loud at some of the delightful scenes. This book was in equal measures packed with magic, humor, insight, deep emotions, and perhaps a glimpse into the making of the next book? 😉

Book Dragons, make sure you grab this book tomorrow when it’s published. It’s so worth it and I can guarantee you’ll have a blast reading it.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
In this sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas must unravel the magical trap keeping them inside Thorn Manor in time for their Midwinter Ball!
Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…
With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right.
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

e-ARC Review: The Rom-Com Agenda – Jayne Denker

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Publication Date: January 10, 2023

Review:

As you all know, along with my love for all things fantasy and paranormal romance, I have a soft spot for rom-coms. When I came across The Rom-Com Agenda, of course, I had to try it out. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started to read this book and I am so glad I chose to read it!

This book was full of vibrant characters and I don’t mean just the main characters. The Rom-Com Agenda has a superb cast who leave you laughing like a loon and endear themselves to your heart so they become part of you. You love them more and more as you get to know them.

The plotline is a predictable one but the writing is fun and witty with equal amounts of emotional depth. Let me put it this way – if you enjoyed the movie, Love Actually, you will love this book. It’s such a feel-good story, it leaves you with a smile and a warmth long after you finish it.

Book Dragons, you’re in for a barrel of laughs and a whole world of sweetness with this one.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Vibrantly funny, endearingly sweet, and a love letter to all things rom com, Jayne Denker’s The Rom Com Agenda is a story of two people finding love right when they least expect it.
You know how the story’s supposed to go…but love makes its own plans.
STEP 1: Find yourself
Leah Keegan is used to being alone, especially after taking care of her sick foster mother for the past year. But now there’s nothing keeping her in the sweet town of Willow Cove. It’s time to move on. Again.
STEP 2: Win back the one who got away
Eli Masterson thought he and Victoria were meant to be together until she decided to jet off to Rome for a year. Eli is determined to win her back. But how?
STEP 3: Become a romantic hero
Changing Eli’s physical appearance is easy, but to turn Eli into the sophisticated-yet-vulnerable ideal man, his girl pals force him to watch classic rom-coms. And take notes.
STEP 4: Fall in love?
Inadvertently drawn into the makeover scheme, Leah ends up being Eli’s guide through the wild world of meet-cutes and grand gestures. Even though she believes Eli doesn’t need to change a thing about himself. Even though she just might be falling for Eli . . . and Eli falling for her.