Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Dark Whisper (Dark #32) – Christine Feehan

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Published on: Nov 1, 2022

Review:

New characters in the Carpathian world are always cause for excitement, as it means fantastic new storylines and more books, not to mention bright hope for our beloved Ancient warriors to find their lifemates. And Dark Whisper was full of intriguing new characters.

It was good to see one more Ancient, Siv, find his lifemate and Vasilisa was sassy and a fierce fighter, more than a match for him. And Christine Feehan crafts a fantastic new plotline, continuing on with the underlying story woven in-between. And let’s not forget the phenomenal fight scenes and all the twists and turns.

The best part about this book was seeing some of my favorite characters, especially the ones I have soft spots for. I can’t wait for the next Carpathian story.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Blurb:
Embrace the seductive call of the latest novel in Christine Feehan’s #1 New York Times bestselling Carpathian series.
Vasilisa Sidkorolyavolkva is a Lycan of royal blood. She knows what is expected of her, but all she wants is to be out from under her family’s watchful eyes. There is a fire inside her that is building. A restlessness coupled with a sense of growing dread. Every day she feels the weight of the legacy passed down through generations. The prophecy that says a man will come to claim her as his mate, and that she will guard his soul. She knows nothing about him except that he is hers. But nothing seems real until the night she meets him in the flesh….
Afanasiv Belan is a Carpathian, an ancient one. In all the centuries of his existence, no one has ever affected him like Vasilisa. He can see into her mind and feel what is in her heart. They are so alike, warriors bound by honor and plagued by secrets. They both know they must reveal the darkest parts of their souls if they hope to survive and protect the ones they love.
But if they claim each other as lifemates, it will change them down to the bone. They will become something more—something feared by both of their kinds….

 

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: 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.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night – Amélie Wen Zhao (Song of the Last Kingdom #1)

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

Review:

This book was an absolute cover love for me! Look how gorgeous it is! I love dragons and I’ve always been interested in Chinese folklore so I was super excited to read it. I can attest upfront that this story did not disappoint.

Lan and Zen were compelling characters, each with their own traumas and their secrets—secrets that the author dribbled throughout the story with a clever hand, keeping you wanting for more. The plotline was intriguing with twists that some I saw coming and others I so did not and enjoyed the surprise of those revelations.

The side characters were excellent additions and knit the threads of this story tight. I did expect more from the main characters by the ending chapters, especially Zen but I understand that this is only the first in a duology.

I read this book in one sitting because I just couldn’t stop and I was dying to know what happened next! What I loved best about this story, was the author’s fascinating descriptions of the magic, the abilities, and the vivid scenes that I could see in my mind. Amélie Wen Zhao is a new author for me but I am already impressed by her writing style and can’t wait to try her other books.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis: In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation’s past—and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China. Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died. The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life. Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs. When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime. Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world. Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Salt and Sugar – Rebecca Carvalho

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Romance

Review:

Rebecca Carvalho is a new author for me so I had no idea what to expect going in. At first, I wasn’t too impressed by the main characters and I didn’t like how Pedro was such a bully. Then, I don’t when it happened – without me even noticing, I fell in love with Larissa and Pedro and I found myself rooting for them.

I fell deeper and deeper as I got to know them and I loved their friends. The author painted strong, unforgettable characters and intense emotions that swept me along with them. I laughed and I cried and the plotline was a really good one too with unexpected twists that kept me engrossed in finding what would happen next.

There was heartbreak as there is with generational feuds, love of family, and the values and bonds that keep us connected. The author did a really good job of crafting this story. And of course, how can I end my review without mentioning all the mouth-watering goodies? The descriptions of the cakes and other baked goodies made me feel like I could almost taste the delicacies. The author’s writing was rich and heartwarming and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for new books from her.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
The grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries fall in love despite their families’ feud.
Trust neither thin-bottomed frying pans nor Molinas.
Lari Ramires has always known this to be true. In Olinda, Brazil, her family’s bakery, Salt, has been at war with the Molinas’ bakery across the street, Sugar, for generations. But Lari’s world turns upside down when her beloved grandmother passes away. On top of that, a big supermarket chain has moved to town, forcing many of the small businesses to close.
Determined to protect her home, Lari does the unthinkable—she works together with Pedro Molina to save both of their bakeries. Lari realizes she might not know Pedro as well as she thought—and she maybe even likes what she learns—but the question remains: Can a Ramires and a Molina truly trust one another?

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews

Book Review: Katzenjammer – Francesca Zappia

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Horror, Young Adult, Mental Health, Mystery

Review:

There was something heartbreaking about this story even from the first page. A shroud of gloom hanging over me, following behind like a shadow. A melancholy that stayed with me throughout the whole book. It takes exceptional writing to be able to project that solemnity through words and I think Francesca Zappia achieved that because this was a difficult story to write.

I could tell going in that Cat’s life wasn’t going to be easy, that there had to be a reason she couldn’t remember why she was trapped in school, why she and the other students were slowly transforming. There was an underlying symbolism between Cat’s lost memories to the horror in school, and things slowly come to light as you read on. How you can live the span of a lifetime in a heartbeat, how senseless cruelty can break you, how your mind shapes your world to shield you against hard truths.

I’m a person who firmly believes that the traumas you go through don’t give you the right to lash out at others and I don’t say that lightly, because I know what it’s like to be belittled, cut down to pieces until you’re nothing. But I also know that there are always consequences to every action, ripples and cracks that spread to break a person when you’re not strong enough to hold at bay the tsunami of water crashing to drown you.

I know many people won’t like this book. The events in this book are not easy or just, and a lot of people would hate the ending, but it was always going to end that way, and the author stayed true to the truths she was trying to convey.

Terrible truths that shape our reality and the world we live in. There are three sides to every story – yours, theirs and the unvarnished, unbiased truth. A lot of people won’t get that. This wasn’t a happy story but one that was necessary and needed to be told, one which took courage to write.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis: Cat lives in her high school. She never leaves, and for a long time her school has provided her with everything she needs. But now things are changing. The hallways contract and expand along with the school’s breathing, and the showers in the bathroom run a bloody red. Cat’s best friend is slowly turning into cardboard, and instead of a face, Cat has a cat mask made of her own hardened flesh. Cat doesn’t remember why she is trapped in her school or why half of them–Cat included–are slowly transforming. Escaping has always been the one impossibility in her school’s upside-down world. But to save herself from the eventual self-destruction all the students face, Cat must find the way out. And to do that, she’ll have to remember what put her there in the first place. Includes interior illustrations from the author.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance #3) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Orion Lake is an idiot. A big, fumbling idiot. Don’t get me wrong, I still like him. I still think he’s cute but he’s still a big annoying idiot. Anyone else who read The Golden Enclaves with me on this? Well, even if you’re not I still think he’s an idiot.

Just when the students of the Scholomance thought they’d gotten off scot-free, that the hard part was behind them, Naomi Novik throws us yet another curveball. Make that a dozen curveballs all hitting you at the same time so there’s no way to catch them all or time to run for cover. With this conclusion to the Scholomance trilogy, will El stay the course or finally step into the dark side?

Without giving away any spoilers, there were so many big excruciating, horrific revelations in TGE I felt bad for El who had to live through it all, endure all the pain and heartache. But we did get all the reasons why.

I have to admit that at times, it was annoying when the writing got too lengthy and wordy over scenes that could have been short and I was also a bit disappointed at the ending. I guess I wanted more ‘Oomph’ and a more deserving resolution for some things but I would still endorse the Scholomance series for its originality, fantastic storyline, and awesome characters.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Saving the world is a test no school of magic can prepare you for in the triumphant conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate.
The one thing you never talk about while you’re in the Scholomance is what you’ll do when you get out. Not even the richest enclaver would tempt fate that way. But it’s all we dream about, the hideously slim chance we’ll survive to make it out the gates and improbably find ourselves with a life ahead of us, a life outside the Scholomance halls.
And now the impossible dream has come true. I’m out, we’re all out–and I didn’t even have to turn into a monstrous dark witch to make it happen. So much for my great-grandmother’s prophecy of doom and destruction. I didn’t kill enclavers, I saved them. Me, and Orion, and our allies. Our graduation plan worked to perfection: we saved everyone and made the world safe for all wizards and brought peace and harmony to all the enclaves of the world.
Ha, only joking! Actually it’s gone all wrong. Someone else has picked up the project of destroying enclaves in my stead, and probably everyone we saved is about to get killed in the brewing enclave war on the horizon. And the first thing I’ve got to do now, having miraculously got out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Senior year – now, what exciting new ways will the Scholomance come up with to make life hell for El and the other students? Sweeter yet, all the delightful ways to off you, make you kick the bucket, give up the ghost, go way of all flesh, croak, perish in the most excruciating of ‘accidents’ and eventually, rest in peace. You get the idea. 😉

In this second installment, El is put through further ordeals to lure her over to the dark side and turn her into the beautiful, evil sorceress that she has all the makings for. But our sarcastic, sassy heroine is determined to thwart all the signs leading to her dreadful destiny of reign of terror. I absolutely love her snarky attitude.

And we can’t forget our cute bumbling hero, Orion Lake, sending hopeful looks in her direction. The interactions between them just crack me up. It was even funnier this time around as they both tried to figure out if they were actually in a relationship or not.

The plotline got better, more complicated in The Last Graduate. The intensity level racked up, stakes got higher. By the end of it, I was in a shell-shocked state and of course, that is all the reason you need to devour this book.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
A budding dark sorceress determined not to use her formidable powers uncovers yet more secrets about the workings of her world in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education, the start of Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking crossover series.
At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year—and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . . .
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Ever since I read Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik’s become one of my favorite authors. So of course, I follow all her new releases. The only reason I didn’t start A Deadly Education when it first came out is because I’m on a self-imposed Incomplete-Series ban. I still am — it kills me to have to wait for the last book in a trilogy/series so now I just hoard until the last book is out and I can binge-read. But A Deadly Education was so worth the wait.

Welcome to the Scholomance, a dark school of wizardry unlike any other, with monsters lurking at every corner—one second of inattention and you could end up really, really dead. I love this darker tint to wizardry, a grim outlook of magic and all the baggage that came with it. It was unique and fascinating with all its workings and dangers.

The main character, our beautiful sorceress-in-the-making, one Galadriel “El” Higgins, with her snarky point of view and her Wednesday Addams attitude, was a dark delight. She was such a myriad of contradictions and always, always fighting her own nature. She was a pretty amazing character. I loved all the insight into her personality, the little childhood stories which provided dark humor at times.

Now, onto her nemesis, the heroic, fumbling Orion Lake in awe of the dark sorceress. Oh my God, I found Orion just too cute with all his quirks. I enjoyed the interactions between these two a lot. And let’s not forget the side-characters who were compelling on their own.

I had a lot of fun reading this book! A Deadly Education is the kind of book that makes you love reading and that is the highest kudos I can give it.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.
There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.
El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Girl Next Door – Jennifer Hanks

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Review:

This book was such a surprising discovery for me and this author new to me. I hadn’t come across Jennifer Hanks’ books before and I have to admit I got this one mostly because the cover’s so cute. Plus, I just love the girl-next-door/boy-next-door trope. I started it on a whim and it was so much fun I read it in one sitting.

Millie Solanski is not your typical woman. She redefines the meaning of ‘original’ & ‘eccentric’. She marches along to the beat of her own drums, knows exactly who she is, and makes no apologies for it. She was such a fun, unique character, I absolutely loved her.

Who could blame Colin Campbell for being fascinated with her? Especially after his hard past, his regrettable choices, his need for atonement, and his hopes and determination to build a good, safe home for his son, Noah. The boy is adorable and kids always make life so much fun, right?

The characters were relatable and I had the best time reading this book. Some of the scenes were so hilarious, they left me in stitches. Some of the conclusions to the plot twists were a bit lukewarm but otherwise, this book left me in smiles long after I finished reading it.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

 

Synopsis:
After a disastrous marriage and an even worse divorce, Colin Campbell is looking forward to a fresh start with his son in their new home, and the calm that will bring to his life.
The quiet life he’s been craving is well within his reach.
Until he meets his new neighbor.
Millie Solanski.
Uninhibited.
Outspoken.
And maybe even a little crazy.
Somehow, he finds himself involved in her world and the ridiculous situations she seems to constantly find herself in, squashing any hope for the life he wants.
Or at least the life he thought he wanted.
Before he met the girl next door.