Friday, March 29, 2024

Erin La Rosa: Plot Twist

Erin La Rosa, shows that maybe to understand love, one needs to go back and find out why it didn't work out before:

Sophie is a romance writer who has never been in Love. She has written one successful book and now her editor and publisher is wanting more, but Sophie is unable to write anything. With deadline looming Sophie decides to do something drastic, she decides to go visit her exes and try to determine why they never fell in love, what went wrong in their relationships. Maybe visiting the past will help shape her future. Especially, when her landlord, Dash Montrose (former Teen Heartthrob) has been interacting with her more. But Dash is not sure if he is in a good place to be in a relationship and not sure if he can offer the commitment that Sophie seems to want. All both know is that they do need to figure themselves out before the commit to anything else

This is the first book that I have read by La Rosa and I know that i will like to read another book by her. As far as I can tell this does have a slight tie in to one of her other books For Butter or Worse (love the title) but not enough of one to say that I was lost in the characters in this book. This one can be read as a standalone but beyond that it can be enjoyed as a standalone as well.

What can I say about Plot Twist other than it was a super cute read that for sure had a sweet and sexy side to it. The sexy scenes are pretty hot at times and especially the first one it seemed to come out of nowhere, but I was here for it. I like that it was unexpected and in an unexpected location compared to other romance books I have read (And I will be the first to admit it is not that many). I think many people (myself included) would not really want to talk to all my exes, that I had at different points in my life, so you have to applaud Sophie for doing it. And let’s just get this out of the way, Sophie is Bisexual, so she has exes with both women and men. I liked how La Rosa just made this feel normal and not at all forced or weird in any way.

I like that both Sophie and Dash want to focus on themself, in order to get themselves better than just wanting to jump into or need a relationship to function. Though they are going through different aspects about themselves it is at the same time nice they can bond over this as well. This book does deal with the mental health of both individuals quite well and that not everything is okay all the time.

Now this book has ALOT of Miscommunication throughout the book. I want to say that the book has the miscommunication trope but it happens throughout the whole book as Dash and Sophie are trying to figure out what they want in relationship and life, that it has just become part of their story as a whole. Another trope is the friend's older brother whom Sophie has had a crush on her entire life.

There is also a very toxic family aspect in this book, and you cannot help but fell sorry for Dash any time that he interacts with some member of his family and the lengths that they will go to to help him stay in the media spotlight when he has no desire to do so.

One of my favourite aspects of the book is how they bond over a squirrel (Richarad Gere), yep squirrel. It was super cute and funny at the same time.

Plot Twist is all around cute read, that I enjoyed. I look forward to reading more by La Rosa.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Vanessa Lillie: Blood Sisters

Vanessa Lillie takes readers to rural Oklahoma where missing women are just a fact of life:

Syd Walker spends her days trying to protect what is left is left of the indigenous past and lands. She is an archeologist with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and it is her job to help those that are found return home. When Syd receives a call that that brings her back home to discovers not only is she there for her job with the BIA but that her sister Emma Lou has vanished. Syd is afraid that Emma Lou will become another body buried in the vast desert only to be discovered in time and Syd is going to do everything in her power to get find her and get her back. But there are lots of people that are not happy with Syd returning, some due to the fact that she works for the BIA and some don’t want her looking too hard into Emma Lou's disappearance. All that Syd know is that the truth needs to be unearthed one way or another.

I was really excited to read this book as I liked the idea of an archeologist working on uncovering bodies of the missing First Nation women, but for me this aspect of the premise was never really met except for the beginning of the book when we are first introduced to Syd as she is on a dig site. The book does start out strong with the prologue and why Syd needs to go back home, but then the pace gets sluggish and does not pick up till a lot later in the book. Due to the fact that the story really slows down, I found that I did not really want to pick up this book to read. I mean I finished it but there were times that I really struggled.

At the beginning I liked Syd as a character, not only do i find the aspect of archelogy fascinating I appreciated that Syd chose to work with BIA in order to help families receive the closure. There are several times throughout the book where I thought to myself that Syd needs to stick to archeology and not detective work. Syd would often go into situations unprepared and without thinking or even telling someone where she will be or have back up. I feel like this info would be in the rules 101 of the BIA. I think that Lillie could have had an additional character in this book to fill the detective role and have Syd and this individual work together.

I really liked Ghost Luna as a secondary Character, she never leaves Syd's side and servers as an ever reminder of how she failed Luna. Luna also seems to be more of a deceive at times, pointing Syd in the right direction.

There is no denying that First Nation women go missing and are murdered at a much higher rate than any other race certainly within Canada and i think it is the same in the United States. Often these women are never found, and never returned home in any capacity and while this story highlights this throughout the book this is mainly seen when Syd in speaking with people in her home community, the plot aspect of the book does not play out till the end. There was no link suggested to Sister's disappearance with other missing people even by halfway through the book. Sure, it is thought about but there is no real evidence to support this theory. Syd does not continue to engage in what she knows best and that archelogy work, instead she decides to be a detective instead.

I enjoyed the idea of this story, but I do not think that the profession that lily chose for Syd matched what she wanted to achieve in this book. I appreciate that Lily brought the missing and murdered First Nation women to the forefront of this book and is not a topic that I have seen often in fiction writing, but I just was not able to get into the story. 


Instead of This,
Check These Books Out:

Monday, March 18, 2024

Hannah Kaner: Godkiller

In her Debut novel, Hannah Kaner has four individuals forced together on a quest to find answers from the Fallen Gods:

Kissen is a Godkiller. She makes her way in the world by killing the Gods who are still around and determine to make plight against Humans. Kissen has every reason to hate Gods, as she was once destined to be a sacrifice for one. Kissen enjoys what she does and there has never been a God that she has refused to kill, until she meets a young girl name Inara, who somehow has a God bound to her. If Kissen were to kill the God it may kill her as well. This is why they are on a journey together, to try and find an Old Gol who can tell them how to break the bond. Along the way the meet a mysterious man Elos the baker, who is more than he seems, but with the darkness and treachery on the trail another set of eyes is reluctantly welcome. Especially when the world is in a time of upheaval, demons stalk the night and a civil war is brewing and all must face their reckoning.

This Kaner's debut novel and what a novel to debut with. I will say that this book does not read like a debut with the writing, plot and characters so well developed. The book reads like it was written by a seasoned writer, so I was really shocked to discover this was her debut. This book really hooked me in the first chapter, but I will admit that the next 50ish pages are a bit slow as we meet the characters of the book but after that it is really interesting when the quest really starts.

This book has a simple world so not much world building is required, as it had a very medieval feel to it and that Gods were once prevalent throughout the land are no more or not as strong as they once were. Gods feed on prayers and offering and as they have dried up so have the Gods and their powers. I would also classify it as Fantasy Light due to this fact, as the world is not that complex as High fantasy novel. I'm personally okay with the world building taking a side to the quests that our characters are on, as this is not a very long book I feel like excessive world building would have gotten in the wat of the plot.

I loved that there were Gods for everything really, anything that people have ever prayed to. There were the more known Gods like God of War and God of fertility and such but there was also God of Little White Lies (Skedi), God of different rivers and water and even buttons. I liked the creativity that Kaner had on this aspect.

I really enjoyed that we get the view of a fledgling God, Skedi as he tries to make sense of his purpose in life and the things that he desires among everything else, for offerings and prayers. Each POV is unique in this book, there is really no repetitiveness between the characters. I can’t help but like all the characters in their own way. Kissen’s with her path of vengeance against all Gods for what was done to her. Elo’s never wavering loyalty and love for his King, Inara a girl who has lost everything but the God who is bound to her and Skediceth (Skedi) a God of white lies who yearns to be free and wants to be a true God.

This was a great debut novel and I really enjoyed this book. I felt like I was invested in all four characters, which I don't think has happened before in a book for me. I can't wait to read the next book in this series to see where Kaner takes this story especially with that ending and what comes to light in this book.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Rachel Hawkins: The Heiress

Rachel Hawkins, shows that the most complicated relationship you have is one with your Family:

The McTavish family name has always had money and power in the small town in North Carolina, and when the heiress Ruby dies and leaves the fortune and Ashby House to her adopted son Camden, everyone is shocked that he wants nothing to do with it. Camden flees and becomes a teacher and wants to forget everything that is associated to the McTavish Name and Ashby House. But as much as Camden wants to forget his relatives and house keep calling, and he wife Jules finally convinces him that it is finally time to go home and confront everything. Everyone has their secrets and all of them seem to buried in Ashby house, it's whether they are buried deep enough to keep them safe that matters.

This is a good domestic suspense book as it is all about family and all the complications that families have. This is especially true when the family has money and influence, and the feeling like they are being left out with the money. This is really seen when Jules and Cam return to the house and the ugliness and pettiness that comes out of Cam's cousins and great Aunt is just appalling. I do not think that there is one nice things said to them while they are there, everything is extremely petty, snide or cruel. You can understand why Camden left and never wanted to return.

There are so many lies secrets, double crosses that you don’t know which voice to trust in this book, as you can tell that they are all holding on to a few secrets along the way. There is quite a bit of family meddling that goes on in both timelines and sometimes that meddling is between people that you did not think that it would occur between.

This was a quick and interesting read once you get into it, but I will say that I found the very beginning a bit slow. It wasn’t until we got the first few chapters from Ruby's POV that I really found myself invested in the book. I found that Ruby's POV was the most interesting one, but not the only one with twists. I was able to figure out Jules' twist but only some of Camden's. Really, I think that if Hawkins did Camden's character a disservice, he could have been interesting and I wish that Hawkins would have had more to him. I do find it interesting that although he wanted nothing to do with Ashby House and the money, yet he never actually got rid of either. Maybe it was just a small act to keep going what Ruby wanted, but it is never really explained why he did decide to still hold on to it.

I enjoyed the letter format that Hawkins used for Ruby's part and it just makes sense overall in the context of the book as it allows for 2 timelines of events but have them interact in a seamless way. I also liked that Jules breaks the fourth wall throughout the book, makes it feel like she is talking directly to you as the reader.

This was a good book and once I was able to get into the story I did enjoy it. If you enjoy a book that has a lot of family meddling and secrets, then you will enjoy this one. Another good book from Hawkins and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Jennifer Estep: Protect the Prince

As this is the second book in a series you will need to read the first book Kill the Queen to understand the dynamics and people in this book, it is also a great read full of gladiators battles and magic so what is not to love there.

Jennifer Estep is back with the second book in her Crown of Shards book and this time Evie is looking to protect people from death instead of inflicting it:

Everleigh Blair might have started as the low in the court as one could be, became a gladiator and then became the Queen of Bellona. Court Life has not gotten better since becoming Queen, instead of being in the background, she now has to deal with meddling nobles. Unfortunately, Evie remembers every slight that has ever occurred against her. If that was not enough Evie an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room. Despite all the dangers, Evie knows that she needs allies more than ever, which is why Evie needs to go to the Kingdom of Andvari to talk alliance. But there are Dark forces at work inside the Kingdom of Andvari and soon Evie realizes that no one is safe.

This one basically picks up right when the first book left off, only a few months have passed, and I appreciated that, as there has not been that many times for actions to be taken against Evie. This book has less action than the first as this is not gladiators based like the first one so I did miss that aspect at times but loved the court and political intrigue. But with the less fighting we get a book that is more spy and cunningness that Evie and all the other individuals in the group.

Evie is a great character doing what it takes to not only survive but protect her kingdom. Nice to see more development of her power. I also like that Evie is ever protective of the people around her. It was nice to get more of a history about Evie and how she became an orphan.

The book are still light on world building, so I still have questions. Why do the Morton’s hate everyone and want to rule it all. There has to be a story there. Love the magic system and variety of powers that are presented throughout the book. 

I was able to figure out who the traitor was as well as one other aspect of the book that I will reframe from talking too much about as it is a bit of a spoiler (though I thought it was pretty obvious).

I really enjoyed this book and it was a great follow up book to the first one. Cant wait to get to the third and final book in this series to see what Estep has in store for readers next.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Friday, March 1, 2024

Amy Tintera: Listen for the Lie

In Listen for the Lie, Amy Tintera shows that a town is ready to convict a woman for murder even though she has no memories of the event that happened:

Five years ago, Lucy's best friend, Savvy, was murdered, not only is this devastating to Lucy, but Lucy was found wandering, covered in Savvy's blood. What starts out as Lucy also being a victim is twisted into Lucy being the one to kill Savvy. Lucy should be able to clarify what happened that night, but Lucy has no memory of that night. With not enough to charge Lucy, but a town willing to convict her. Lucy left, to find a place where no one knows who she is. That changes when the Pod Cast Listen for the Lie decides to look into Savvy's death and is drumming up notoriety that Lucy does not want. When the host decides to visit her home town, Lucy is forced to go back and confront the past and horrible events she ran away from, she doesn’t want to regain those memories just in case she did it, just in case she really did kill her best friend.

This is the first book that I have read by Tintera and after reading this one it will not be the last. The twists keep on coming in this book both related to the murder of Savvy and the craziness of secrets in this small town will knock you back each time. I enjoy that Tintera did not just focus on the murder of Savvy but realized that the small town secrets all affected what happened to Savvy.

You cannot help but feel sorry for Lucy for a good chunk of the book. Not only does she not remember what happened to her best friend, but everyone around her (including her parents) believe that she murdered Savvy. This leads her to questioning herself, could she have killed Savvy. I enjoyed and that it was unique that Lucy murders people in her head and this happens basically every interaction that she has especially when she doesn’t like someone. Lucy gets creative in the ways she murders people and always takes into account what she has on hand to use. This is a constant in the book, and really adds weight to Lucy’s thoughts that she may have killed Savvy.

Does it add anything to the Pod Cast book genre. I would say yes and no, it is hard to really add anything new to this sub-genre but I will say that Trenten did feature more people in the Podcast than I have read in other books, which i appreciated as it really showed that most of the town was against Lucy and in doing so reveal additional secrets of the town. I would like to know in real life how podcasters choose which unsolved murder(s) in random small town that they choose. What are the boxes that need to be ticked to choose that one over others.

I really enjoyed this book by Tintera, and although I was able to guess what happened to Savvy, I will say that Tintera had me questioning my guess till the very end. Highly recommended book, you're going to want to read this one in one sitting.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too: