Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Forgotten in Death (In Death #53) – J.D. Robb

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Review:

I have no idea why I didn’t review this book the first time I read it when it was obviously a 5-star review for me and is one of my favorite series. But better late than never, right? And I can say that the second time around, Forgotten In Death was once again a 5-star review for me.

This new case from the first body to the second pulled at the heartstrings. It was just so sad and that sadness kept tugging at me. Their fates were so tragic. The case in itself was actually two cases and it was intriguing to see Eve tackling it from two different ends.

The conclusion to both cases was absolutely satisfying. I loved the ending chapters and how Eve found justice for her two victims. In every Eve Dallas book I read, I always find the strength and courage to keep going on. This series is one with values, justice, about doing the right thing. About hope.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

*Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: In the latest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas sifts through the wreckage of the past to find a killer. The body was left in a dumpster like so much trash, the victim a woman of no fixed address, known for offering paper flowers in return for spare change―and for keeping the cops informed of any infractions she witnessed on the street. But the notebook where she scribbled her intel on litterers and other such offenders is nowhere to be found. Then Eve is summoned away to a nearby building site to view more remains―in this case decades old, adorned with gold jewelry and fine clothing―unearthed by recent construction work. She isn’t happy when she realizes that the scene of the crime belongs to her husband, Roarke―not that it should surprise her, since the Irish billionaire owns a good chunk of New York. Now Eve must enter a complex world of real estate development, family history, shady deals, and shocking secrets to find justice for two women whose lives were thrown away…
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews

e-ARC Review: The Silence That Binds Us – Joanna Ho

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Mental Health, Asian, Racism

Release Date: 14 June 2022

Review:

First of all, that cover is absolutely apt for this book. It was what drew me to it. I have anxiety and depression and sometimes it feels like I’m drowning and the surface feels too far away. This cover emphasized that and resonated with me.

Maybelline’s brother was the perfect one, who had his life all figured out, who he wanted to be, where he wanted to go to college whereas Maybelline can’t seem to get her mother’s approval for even one achievement. Then the unthinkable happens and Danny takes his own life, leaving May and her family reeling in the aftermath.

The author’s writing was exceptional. She did a remarkable job emphasizing and showing difficult issues such as mental health and racism. I liked that she didn’t just focus on Asian but Black people and the ignorance of others over the prejudice they have to endure.

Best of all, you could see May’s character growth as she fell down and picked herself back up, how she learned to see the world as it was and not how she wanted it to be. And you couldn’t help but love Tiya, Marc, Hugh, and Celeste.

The emotions in the story surged through and had a huge impact on me. The grief and the guilt, the sibling love between May and Danny, the friendships, that glimmer of hope at the end. And there were scenes that ripped your heart out and left you in tears.

The fact that the author could pull these powerful emotions in me says it all. This is by no means an easy story, with powerful scenes that will change you forever. And that is exactly why you need to read it.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she’s proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May’s world is shattered.
In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May’s parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May’s father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It’s up to May to take back the narrative.

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Nightwork – Nora Roberts

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Intrigue

Review:

As a die-hard fan, I’m always on the lookout for new book releases of Nora Roberts and though lately there have been more misses than hits, Nightwork did not disappoint. From the get-go, I loved Harry Booth. He snuck in my heart and stayed there.

I empathized so much with him, over the huge responsibility he shouldered, what he took upon himself to try to pay the bills and take care of his mother. How can you fault him his choices?

I loved how the author portrayed him from a child to a teen to a young man, and as an adult. Harry Booth already had the maturity of an adult at a very young age but you could see the difference in age and experience as we followed his journey into adulthood.

The period of his life when he first met Miranda had me chuckling over how she baffled him. He needed that upheaval in his life. I can go on and on over how much I loved this book and it will still not be enough.

This story right here, is why I love Nora Roberts’ books so much. Her ability to craft a poignant story, with compelling characters, vivid descriptions, dashes of dark humor here and there, a deep abiding love, passion, intrigue, and an apt ending leaves me in awe.

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

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Harry Booth started stealing at nine to keep a roof over his ailing mother’s head, slipping into luxurious, empty homes at night to find items he could trade for precious cash. When his mother finally succumbed to cancer, he left Chicago—but kept up his nightwork.
Wandering from the Outer Banks to Savannah to New Orleans, he dons new identities and stays careful, observant, distant. He can’t afford to attract attention—or get attached. Still, he can’t help letting his guard down when he meets Miranda Emerson. But the powerful bond between them cannot last—because not all thieves follow Harry’s code of honor. Some pay others to take risks so they can hoard more treasures. Some are driven by a desire to own people the way they own paintings and jewels. And after Harry takes a lucrative job commissioned by Carter LaPorte, LaPorte sees a tool he can use, and decides he wants to own Harry.
The man is a predator more frightening than the alligators that haunt the bayou—and when he strongarms Harry into robbing a Baltimore museum, Harry abandons Miranda—cruelly, with no explanation—and disappears. But no matter what name he uses or where he goes, LaPorte casts a shadow over Harry’s life. To truly free himself, he must face down his enemy once and for all. Only then can he hope to possess something more valuable than anything he has ever stolen…

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

eARC Review: The Tangleroot Palace – Marjorie M. Liu

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, PNR

Release Date: 05 Apr 2022

Review:

I came across this book on NetGalley and the title – “The Tangleroot Palace” was the first thing to intrigue me. I’m so glad I requested it and was lucky enough to get approved for it. From the first page, the author’s words caught my attention and held it, refusing to let go.

The Tangleroot Palace is a collection of 7 short stories and usually, for this type of novel, I’d review the book as a whole. But there was such depth and individuality to each story that it’s only fair to review each one.

1 – Sympathy For The Bones
This was such a creepy little story and bloody fantastic in its creepiness about fairness and justice and the difference between helping someone out of the kindness of your heart and helping only to keep someone beholden to you. A lesson the young girl forced into apprenticeship to a Blair-type witch learned in time to save as much of her soul as she could. Is there forgiveness and redemption for acts committed when you had no other choice to try to save your soul? I want to think so, at least for this young girl who should have had people to love and care for her.

2 – The Briar and The Rose
Stuck in your own body, helpless to do anything but watch and scream inside. And the desperation of one who would do anything to release that imprisoned soul. It was heartbreaking to see the struggle and the pain. I wanted more details on the conclusion but it was an apt ending so it didn’t disappoint.

3 – The Light and The Fury
There’s nothing pretty about war – no dignity, no honor. One woman alone, longing for peace but burdened with saving her people. Another intriguing plot-line, centering around crystal skulls, which can be fascinating but personally, I find kind of creepy at the same time.

4 – The Last Dignity of Man
I found this one to be a heartbreaking story despite the creepy element – the hopeless, never-ending search for a cherished wish and the desperate struggle to find a way to get past the heartbreak of knowing that wish would never come true. The ending hit me totally out of the blue, I did not see that coming but it stayed with me for a long time.

5 – Where The Heart Lives
Oh, this is definitely one of my favorites in this collection. I have a soft spot for paranormal romance and I loved the main characters. You couldn’t help but love Lucy and Barnabus. And the romance between them was intense yet sweet at the same time.

6 – After The Blood
Ah, this collection wouldn’t be complete without at least one vampire story with an apocalyptic bend to it, and tragedy and heartbreak. I loved Amanda and you can’t help but empathize with her and Henry, our tortured vampire.

7 – The Tangleroot Palace
One last story to round off the collection and leave you with smiles. I loved Salinda and Mickel and the plot-line was predictable but not without its charm.

For a collection of short stories, the 7 stories did not feel like short stories. They left a hell of an impact on me and with a wish for more. The author’s writing was a pleasure to read and I am definitely getting The Tangleroot Palace in hardback for my collection.

A big thanks to NetGalley & Titan Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.
Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods.
Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: 10 Blind Dates (Messina Family #1) – Ashley Elston

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Review:

10 Blind Dates is one of the books from my backlist that I finally got around to reading. Doesn’t the title itself intrigue you?

Blind dates are already anxiety-ridden experiences, and family being how they are – some relatives good, some bad, and some just plain mental, but in a cool way – now imagine being set up by those family members. These blind dates definitely promise to be interesting, if not unforgettable.

I started 10 Blind Dates without any idea what I was in for and don’t worry, not in a bad way. I think I read the first few pages without much enthusiasm but the second I met Sophie’s Nonna and the cousins and the rest of the extended family, I was hooked. Those first few pages made me think Sophie was a studious, average 16yo. But there was so much more to her and as I read on, I came to know her better and I gotta say the now-ex boyfriend, Griffin was an idiot to want a break from her.

I loved Sophie’s Nonna and the cousins! Charlie and Olivia and the rest of the family were such a hoot. They made me laugh so much with all their antics that it was hard to put down the book. Sophie got through some epiphanies and we all know how epiphanies can hurt like hell.

The author’s writing style was a pleasure to read and if you know me, you know I don’t say that about a lot of authors. What I loved most about this book was the sense of family and friendship. The tight-knit connection you can make with the good apples in your family. And that last date? It was the best ever.

That ending scene with Nonna was both touching and fantastic. One thing I can say about Nonna is she does things with panache. I can’t help but hope that when I’m her age I have even an ounce of her style.

This book left me in smiles long after I finished it. Actually, I read the ebook and ended up buying the hardback edition because I know I’m definitely reading this one again.

Readers, I do hope you give this one a try. Stay tuned.

∼Lyn 

Synopsis:
Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.
Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Fated Blades (Kinsmen #3) – Ilona Andrews

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi

Review:

Another delightful Kinsmen novella from Ilona Andrews! First of all, let’s have a big round of applause for that beautiful cover, shall we? It’s gorgeous and fits the characters to a T.

Ramona and Matias are the heads of their respective warring families and both are stuck in a marriage of convenience with people they don’t love. When they are both betrayed, they have no choice but to work together to protect their families from humiliation and the huge blow to their reputation.

Ramona was an amazing woman, strong yet not cold. There was a warmth to her that made her so much more than just a ruthless leader. I loved her integrity and her sense of fairness.

Ah, Matias! Of course, we needed a sexy counterpart who would value Ramona and see how priceless she was. Their interactions left me in smiles.

The plot-line was excellent as we’ve come to expect from Ilona Andrews’ stories and that world-building left me with vivid visuals. This might be a novella but it had all the depth of a full novel. Fated Blades was excellent and that ending scene wasn’t just fantastic, it was perfect.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
An uneasy alliance between warring families gets heated in this otherworldly novella from bestselling author Ilona Andrews.
At first glance, the planet Rada seems like a lush paradise. But the ruling families, all boasting genetically enhanced abilities, are in constant competition for power―and none more so than the Adlers and the Baenas. For generations, the powerful families have pushed and pulled each other in a dance for dominance.
Until a catastrophic betrayal from within changes everything.
Now, deadly, disciplined, and solitary leaders Ramona Adler and Matias Baena must put aside their enmity and work together in secret to prevent sinister forces from exploiting universe-altering technology. Expecting to suffer through their uneasy alliance, Ramona and Matias instead discover that they understand each other as no one in their families can―and that their combined skills may eclipse the risks of their forbidden alliance.
As the two warriors risk their lives to save their families, they must decide whether to resist or embrace the passion simmering between them. For now, the dance between their families continues―but just one misstep could spell the end of them both.

 

Posted in Movie Reviews

Movie Review: The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Romance

Review:

I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I watched the first Matrix movie. I think I must have been fifteen or sixteen, but what I do remember is the wonder The Matrix brought to an impressionable teen who was already crazy about sci-fi and fantasy. And let’s not forget totally crushing on Keanu Reeves after watching him in Speed (1994).

Now, 18 years after The Matrix Revolutions (2003) finished the trilogy off with a heartbreaking end, we were given one more installment. I have to say upfront that I’m a bit wary of additional sequels to franchises that wrapped up with perfect, albeit tragic endings. You know that feeling when a franchise ends with a finality that gave you a satisfying closure and you reconciled the emotions that came with it? And now to open that door again, with an anxiety that this new chapter could just ruin how you viewed and felt about it.

Book Dragons, especially, know this feeling when an author ends a series and then does a surprising addition to it that continues it. I call it a make-it-or-break-it plot twist. So of course I was both hyper and anxious about watching Matrix 4 – The Matrix Resurrections.

I am quite pleased to announce that I absolutely loved it. In my opinion, it was an interesting take on how the original trilogy ended, with new characters and changes to the timeline adding value to the story as a whole. And let’s be honest, how many of us wanted this since we first met Neo and Trinity?

Special Effects
When talking about The Matrix, you can’t not remark on the most important part—the special effects. I enjoyed them a lot and found the new changes a seamless merge to the original trilogy. The special effects were as wicked cool as always, the dystopian world of the machines’ domination as bleak as ever. And it was absolutely terrific!

Old & New Characters
I wanted to watch The Matrix Resurrections without any spoilers or even a glimpse into it so I had no clue which additional new actors I would see other than Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. It was a fantastic surprise to see some of my favorite actors from Sense8 in it. I was fangirling all the way. Now for Morpheus 2.0, the new face looked good lol and the update was pretty cool. As for the humorless, invincible Agent Smith, he was as evil as ever and the new actor, Jonathan Groff, portrayed the crazy evil antagonist to perfection.

Overall Plot-line
The overall story was intriguing, with twists and turns that kept me hooked in. Some die-hard Matrix fans might find fault with this new installment but I for one found none. I’m not a romantic, my default mode is cynic but I found The Matrix Resurrections to be at the root, a love story – a tribute to Neo and Trinity, that deep connection between them that surmounted all odds.

That’s my conclusion and no matter what anyone else says, I enjoyed this movie a lot and I give it 5 by 5 stars.

∼Lyn

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Faithless in Death (In Death #52) – J.D. Robb

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Futuristic

Review:

From the first time I read Naked In Death, I was hooked. To say that the In Death series is one of my favorite series is like saying water’s wet. This series became close to my heart, a part of me. Eve and Roarke’s story changed my life for the better, made me stronger.

The previous installment to the series, Shadows In Death was a disappointment when I had so much expectation over it and it left me with a worry that the newer installments would be equally as disappointing but I need not have worried.

I’ve followed Eve and Roarke’s journey from the first book to this latest addition, Faithless in Death, which I just read for the second time. It’s that good.

Eve’s latest case started out as a usual murder only to branch out in twisting, convoluted paths. I have to say that this is the kind of case that suits Eve Dallas and not the one in Shadows In Death.

I loved seeing my favorite characters in Faithless In Death and the interactions alone made this book priceless to me. I enjoyed the fantastic surprise, but no worries, I’m not giving away any spoilers.

As the case progressed, my heart went out to the victims. I couldn’t help but empathize with them over everything they suffered. I was right there with Eve & Roarke, all the cops in the homicide division, with all my favorite characters as they sought justice for the innocents who couldn’t protect themselves.

The ending chapters, that fantastic scene between Eve and Roarke delighted me. Faithless In Death showed all the values throughout the entire series—the integrity, loyalty, love, strength, the fight for justice—and was an absolute pleasure to read.

Faithless In Death was released on February 9th 2021.

∼Lyn

Synopsis: In the new Eve Dallas police thriller from #1 New York Times-bestselling author J. D. Robb, what looked like a lover’s quarrel turned fatal has larger–and more terrifying–motives behind it… The scene in the West Village studio appears to be classic crime-of-passion: two wine glasses by the bed, music playing, and a young sculptor named Ariel Byrd with the back of her head bashed in. But when Dallas tracks down the wealthy Upper East Side woman who called 911, the details don’t add up. Gwen Huffman is wealthy, elegant, comforted by her handsome fiancé as she sheds tears over the trauma of finding the body–but why did it take an hour to report it? And why is she lying about little things? As Eve and her team look into Gwen, her past, and the people around her, they find that the lies are about more than murder. As with sculpture, they need to chip away at the layers of deception to find the shape within–and soon they’re getting the FBI involved in a case that involves a sinister, fanatical group and a stunning criminal conspiracy.
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

ARC Review: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pub Date: 01 Sep 2020

Review:

One fateful night leaves Fable without a mother and abandoned on an island where she has to fend for herself until the day she finds passage off it with the help of a young trader, West. And so begins the start of unlikely alliances as they strive to navigate peril and keep their head above water.

Fable’s story, how she had to strive to live, to survive, broke my heart. I felt so much pain for this young girl, left to fend alone, having to stay on guard all the time. I wanted to hug her and make her life better. Give her food, shelter, protect her. The author wove such a heartbreaking character with a core of steel that you couldn’t help but feel for her.

As for West? He was an enigma, layers and layers of complications and secrets. I wanted to know everything about him, and finding those answers, getting to know him better – drew me in deeper. The ending chapters? Oh, I tipped over the edge and fell for him.

The side-characters, the crew of the Marigold—each one with their unique voices, charmed and endeared me to their plights. As secrets are revealed and pacts made, this story grabs you and hooks you in to the last page.

The world-building and descriptions were excellent. The author’s writing was a pleasure to read and the cliffhanger left me in high anticipation for more. This was my first book by Adrienne Young, and I have to say she completely won me over. I cannot wait to read the next book.

*Thanks to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.⁣

Synopsis: As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father. But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive. Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

ARC Book Review: Hideaway – Nora Roberts

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense

Review:

Hideaway is the story of Cate Sullivan, the prodigy of a famous Hollywood family. She is kidnapped as a child and that trauma, with its underlying hurtful revelations, ripples throughout her life, re-shaping it from what could have to what can be, disrupting her set path, affecting not just her but her entire family and that of Dillon Cooper’s and forcing her to turn into a new direction.

I have to say upfront, I couldn’t believe it when I was lucky enough to get approved for the ARC of this book. Nora Roberts is my favorite author in the world. Her books saved my life, shaped my future and I can’t thank her enough for her stories. So I was over the moon when I got the ARC. My first ever Nora Roberts ARC! I was both excited and terrified to read Hideaway. The excited part is easy to understand but dread because, what if I hated the book? Or what if the story didn’t speak to me? My principles wouldn’t allow me to give a less than honest opinion. I can’t in good faith ever fake a positive review when I don’t like the book. But thankfully, my fears turned out to be groundless. Continue reading “ARC Book Review: Hideaway – Nora Roberts”