Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: The Choice (The Dragon Heart Legacy #3) – Nora Roberts

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Review:

Welcome back to the world of Talamh, the world of the Fey, of magick & Sidhe & dragons – to the final conclusion of Breen’s destiny.  I wanted this last book to be epic but sadly it fell short of my hopes & expectations. I remember how disappointed I was with the first book, and how nice it was when the second book got better. I wanted so much to love The Choice but though I liked parts of it, sadly I just couldn’t love it.

The romance between the main characters was downplayed – mostly the emotional impact was lukewarm and that just tanked it for me. As for the plot, too much detail was given to everyday things and for the last book in a trilogy, it made the story even less dynamic.

The ‘how’ behind some of the magic was not revealed for at least two key turning points for Keegan and it felt like this was overlooked when it was so vital. I felt cheated because Nora Roberts always gets this right.

The ending felt rushed and again had that lukewarm feel to it that left me feeling disappointed.

The parts that I liked a lot were the LGBTQ element of it – Marco and Brian were my favorite couple – the trolls, and the dragons. Oh, there was one scene that was so heartbreaking it had me in tears.

What makes me feel sad is that this trilogy had the potential of being dynamic & epic but though NR’s writing was rich enough for the descriptions – the rich emotions that I’ve always loved in her storytelling were missing and I was left with a feeling of despondency at the end of it.

However, this series has some good scenes and is worth a read.

Thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK, Piatkus & NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
The conclusion of the epic trilogy from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Awakening and The Becoming.
Talamh is a land of green hills, high mountains, deep forests, and seas, where magicks thrive. But portals allow for passage in and out–and ultimately, each must choose their place, and choose between good and evil, war and peace, life and death…
Breen Siobhan Kelly grew up in the world of Man and was once unaware of her true nature. Now she is in Talamh, trying to heal after a terrible battle and heartbreaking losses. Her grandfather, the dark god Odran, has been defeated in his attempt to rule over Talamh, and over Breen–for now.
With the enemy cast out and the portal sealed, this is a time to rest and to prepare. Breen spreads her wings and realizes a power she’s never experienced before. It’s also a time for celebrations–of her first Christmas in both Talamh and Ireland, of solstice and weddings and births–and daring to find joy again in the wake of sorrow. She rededicates herself to writing her stories, and when his duties as taoiseach permit, she is together with Keegan, who has trained her as a warrior and whom she has grown to love.
It’s Keegan who’s at her side when the enemy’s witches, traitorous and power-mad, appear to her in her sleep, practicing black magick, sacrificing the innocent, and plotting a brutal destruction for Breen. And soon, united with him and with all of Talamh, she will seek out those in desperate need of rescue, and confront the darkness with every weapon she has: her sword, her magicks–and her courage…

 

Posted in Book Blog, 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 Blog, 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 Blog, 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 Blog, Book Reviews, Graphic Novel Reviews, Graphic Novels

Book Review: Sorceline (Sorceline #1) – Sylvia Douyé, Paola Antista (Illustrations)

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Graphic Novels, Comic Books, Middle-Grade

Review:

I came across this book on NetGalley and I was at once fascinated by that cute cover. Plus I love fantastic creatures and stories so of course, this book was right up my alley. Sorceline is a young girl who wants to study cryptozoology and when she gets into Professor Archibald Balzar’s school, it’s a dream come true. Now, if she could only get chosen as his apprentice, it would be icing on the cake.

The storyline wasn’t as exciting as I’d expected it to be. Some of the plot twists were quite obvious and there were plot holes as well that needed to be dealt with. That said, this book has a lot of potential. As it’s the first book in the series, I sure hope the storyline gets better. The dialogues felt a bit stunted at first but it was a nice surprise when I did get some witticism.

Now, quality of drawings—Graphic novels are such a visual medium rather than imagining the scenes in your head like with the written word, so the quality of the drawings is a deal breaker for me. I’m glad to say I loved the graphics in Sorceline! The drawings were beautifully drawn and made this book well worth it.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Welcome to the Island of Vorn, where mythical creatures roam free and only the brightest students are invited to study them. In Book 1 of this riveting new middle grade graphic novel series, a gifted young cryptozoologist-in-training must learn to tame powerful beasts—including her own inner demons.
For as long as she can remember, Sorceline has had a knack for the study of mythical creatures. Now a student at Professor Archibald Balzar’s prestigious school of cryptozoology, she’s eager to test her skills and earn a spot as one of Balzar’s apprentices.
But for all her knowledge of gorgons, vampires, and griffins, Sorceline is mystified by her fellow humans. While she excels in her studies, she quickly clashes with her classmates, revealing her fiery temper.
When one of her rivals suddenly disappears, Sorceline must set aside her anger and join the quest to find her. But the mystery only deepens, leading Sorceline on a journey far darker and more personal than she expected . . .

Posted in Book Blog, 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.
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Starburst Effect – Kelly Oram

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Review:

The book cover was the first thing to get my attention. It’s so cute, right? The author’s a familiar one too – I’ve read a couple of Kelly Oram’s contemporaries and I enjoyed the romantic comedies best, namely The Avery Shaw Experiment & If We Were a Movie.

The Starburst Effect has all the vagaries of high school – the popularity hierarchy, the turmoil and angst of being a teen with a kind heart, trying to do the right thing while being harassed by the bully next door. You can’t help but empathize with Lily who has a little brother to look out for.

Noah is your typical jerk, gorgeous, popular, a jock, and a bully. I wanted to punch him for everything he put Lily through. Then the accident happens. And everything changes. Noah learns firsthand the repercussions of his actions and the meaning of kindness and true friendship rather than the fake life he’d been living.

This story is a rollercoaster of emotions. It will make you angry and sad, make you laugh and cry. It’s filled with poignant emotions and a realness that will tug at your heartstrings.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

*Thanks to NetGalley e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
Lily Rosemont lives next door to the biggest jerk in high school. Noah Trask has bullied Lily for years, and now he’s ruined her senior year by making her a target and turning the whole school against her. On top of that, her parents are getting divorced, and her world is falling apart around her.
After an accident on the football field leaves Noah with a traumatic brain injury, shattering his life as he knew it and leaving him with a whole heap of new disabilities, he’s no longer at the top of the high school food chain. In fact, he’s right down at the bottom with Lily.
In a cruel twist of fate, if Noah wants to graduate high school on time, he needs Lily’s help to complete a project—a book he wants to write about his experience. Lily’s not sure she can put aside her anger and hate for the boy who destroyed her senior year, but she desperately needs this project to get a scholarship to college.
It doesn’t take long for Lily to realize that the Noah who got injured is not the same Noah who survived the accident. He’s different. Way different. Slowly, Lily softens to this new Noah, but can she find it in her heart to forgive him? Can the two most unlikely people find friendship in adversity and help each other pick up the pieces of their broken lives?
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 Book Blog, Book Reviews

e-ARC Review: The Holloway Girls – Susan Bishop Crispell

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Romance, Fantasy, Magic

Review:

Being a Holloway Girl means your kiss is literally magic. One kiss and good luck knocks on your door. Each Holloway girl gets one kissing season. But there are rules to follow. Break one of those rules and who knows what peril will befall you?

Remy’s older sister, Maggie, had her kissing season and now it’s Remy’s turn. She hopes and dreams of an amazing, successful season. Alas, her luck runs out with her choice for her first kiss, which starts a mess that spirals her life down the drain.

The story started out well, though I can’t imagine kissing anyone just to bestow luck. I did like Remy’s outlook on that, on being more selective than Maggie, on choices that actually meant something. I loved all the baked goods and the new characters were quite charming. I loved the intensity and pull between Remy and the new boy.

That said, the book dragged a bit at times, and the ending was kind of anticlimactic for me. I wanted the people who’d wronged Remy and her family to actually get their comeuppance and wished Remy had a stronger character. But all in all, it was a nice story.

I was going to review the book a day before the release date but decided to wait a few days because of my 3-star review. Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
When your kiss is good luck, the wrong kiss could change everything…
During the kissing season, one kiss from Remy or her older sister Maggie will give the boy—or girl—good luck. Or so it has been for all the Holloway girls before. But this year, Remy’s first season, she doesn’t follow the rules, dooming the boy she kisses to bad luck that almost kills him and leaving Remy with a cursed kissing season.
Now Remy is adamant about keeping her lips to herself. But the new boy in town is making it hard to keep her promise. Especially because he seems to really want to get to know her, and isn’t just using her for the Holloway luck. But before she can even think about kissing someone else, she’ll have to find a way to fix the curse, or else her family’s legacy will be tainted forever.

 

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…