Thursday, May 23, 2024

V. Casa: Vaieon

In her debut novel, Casa shows the strength of a woman who finds herself in the most unlikely place:

Lily is living a normal life with her husband and children until one night she feels her body falling, being pulled away. When she awakes, she find herself in the strangest place, first thinking it is a jungle but the plants don’t match and certainly the creature she just saw doesn’t match either. Lily has somehow found herself in the Cretaceous Era. This is her tale of survival and trying to find a purpose in this new Era. 

This is Casa's debut novel and I have to applaud her with taking the road less traveled. Many debuts that I read tend to be in safer genres, where there is more readily available avenues for inspiration for their book or ideas of how things should/could unfold. Personally, I have not read too many time travel books and secondly, I have never read one where the individual is taken back to the Cretaceous period.

This is very much character driven novel, so if you do not like character driven novels this will not be for you, but I think you would be missing out on a great character. Lily is really well written in this book, you feel her struggles especially at the beginning as she attempts to come to terms with where she is, even though she does not know how it happened. Honestly, I probably would have freaked out a lot more than she did. It was interesting to watch her adapt in order to ensure her survival but at the same time questioning whether she wanted to live as well, she contemplates a few times that being eaten may be a mercy for her. You really feel for her when she is missing human interaction. 

I really appreciate that Casa had the dinosaurs have some form of intelligence and that they were not as mindless beast as we often think they are or portrayed in some media. They are able to form bonds, within and outside of their species and I think that Casa did a great job in highlighting this. Baby Boy, was just a treasure in the story, and I look forward to the scenes with "him" especially at the beginning.

So the time travel aspect is never really explained in this book. There was this weird scene in the middle of the book, with, I don’t even know, what that was but it was supposed to explain how Lily ended up there, but honestly it just confused me more than anything. I think I would have preferred Lily not being able to ever figure out the time travel aspect, as she never really focuses on the ability to get home. She does accept that this is to be her life now fairly quickly.

This was a good debut novel, and after messaging with the author, it is going to be a series, which I was happy to hear (that ending I still had quite a few questions). For sure one to check out if you like survival books, character driven books and dinosaurs (but not the dino erotica phase that happened a few years ago).


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Thursday, May 16, 2024

John Marrs: Keep it in the Family

John Marrs, shows why you should always check the attic before you buy a new home:

Mia and Finn have fallen on some hard times that have forced them to move in with Finn's parents. To say that Mia and Debbie, Finn's mother, do not get along is an understatement and Mia wants out of the house as soon as possible. When a home comes up for sale, Mia and Finn jump on it and are determined to turn it into their dream home. As they are renovating, they come across some a strange message written behind the baseboards in one of the rooms "I Will Save Them from The Attic". This leads them to investigating the attic and making a gruesome discovery. Mia becomes obsessed with what they have found and wants to make some of it right out of it, she needs to in order to cope. Secrecy shrouds everything in the attics but the more she investigates the more she realizes that the threat of danger is not just in the past but the present now. She will do whatever it takes to protect her family, but what if it is too late?

I absolutely Loved loved this book and I think it is one of those books that you will either love or hate it as it deals with darker aspects, downright creepy, insane and well just F*ck up. However, I will be fair and say that the beginning of this book i was not sure about it, I was kind of waiting for things to happen and I will say that they do not happen quickly at the start of the book. Wow, this book was fantastic, full of suspense the entire way. This is how you write a domestic suspense book. This book is extremely dark and if you have triggers involving children in any way shape or form, then do not pick up this book. Marrs does not go into great description about what occurs to the children, but there is enough there that I could see it triggering people.

I really enjoyed the different timelines and POV as this added to really get to know each character, what is at stake as well as add to the atmosphere of the book as you didn’t know what Marrs was going to reveal next. Plus you get, the now famous i think, Chapter 39 that is just one word. I like how the darkness is not just in one timeline but is spread throughout both, but just in different ways. It is always interesting when there it POV of the bad guy and this one has that as a constant POV. You really get to know the main characters in the present POV, Finn, Mia, Debbie and Dave, and their personalities and motivations and who they are as people. You cannot help but feel sorry for Mai at several points in the story, especially with some of the vindictiveness that Debbie puts her through. Very much an hellish mother in law.

I was able to figure out who the killer was fairly early on but there were so many twists, turns and revelations along the way, that I don’t even care that I was able to figure it out early on, Marrs was still able to shock me constantly throughout the book. Like the shocks just keep coming until the end of the book.

Without giving much away, if you find the beginning slow push through, I promise it will get better and more twisty the further you read. This is the second book I have read by Marrs but I am going to be picking up his backlist as well as the new books he releases. Highly recommended book, especially those who like the darker side of things.


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Friday, May 10, 2024

Kamilah Cole: So Let them Burn

In her debut novel and the first in a series, Kamilah Cole shows the power of love between sisters:

When the her people needed a hero, a way to sway the war in their favour, Fallon prayed to the Gods and become the Child Empyrean. As the child Empyrean she was able to channel the power of the Gods. Five years later, Fallon still has all the powers, but no war to fight in. When she is forced to attend an international peace summit all she expects to show off her powers and go home but instead her older sister Elara find herself bonded to an enemy dragon. Both women have impossible choices to make in order not only to save themselves, their island and people but the world as well.

This is a good debut novel and I found myself invested early in the story and where Cole was going to take the characters. I really enjoyed that this book took more of a political that I thought was going to be but at the same time there was a lot less action than I thought there would be. As this is Cole's debut novel, I felt that there were some aspects in this book that you could tell it was. I think that this mainly seen in the world building, in the character arc of Fallon and the book was a bit predictable.

Elara was my favourite POV in this book and is a solid/interesting character right from the beginning. She is the older sister of the Child Empyrean and all she wants is to make her own way in the world get out of her sister’s shadow. I found that in her dragon situation there was more at stake and she was in a dangerous situation with the Dragon school she finds herself in. I also think that Elara has an interesting character Arc and how she has to adapt to the situation she finds herself in as well as question everything that she knows. I wish that Cole would have spent more time in the school aspect and how much Elara was out of place/different from all the other students there. There are some scenes, but I think that this is glazed over in this book.

I was not really interested in Fallon's POV. To begin with I thought that Fallon's POV was going to be interesting with her being the Child Empyrean and having the power of the Gods, but her POV really fell off for me. Fallon is supposed to be 17 but she acts like a petulant child at times, maybe this is due to her surviving war and being famous bringing but it seems like she has to be constantly reminded about the stakes, like she keeps forgetting them or something. She is constantly bored when her sister's life is at stake and she just proves many times throughout the book that she is just a child.

I wish there was more about the drakes, there is a lot made of them but we do not get that much interaction with them. And i wish there were more than one scene of Drake vs Dragon, I mean that is what the Drakes are there for, but we get very little action there.

This book is touted as a Jamaican fantasy novel, as I am not Jamaican and am not familiar about Jamaican culture, hell I have never even been to Jamaica, I cannot really comment about this aspect. However, I did find the world that Cole created interesting, but I felt that there were a lot of gaps along the way and we don’t really understand major aspects of the world and the war that occurred before this book until the latter part of this book, so there were points when i was questioning things. So much is made about the war that I actually checked (twice) to make sure that I was reading the first book in the series. I think this series would benefit with a novella placed before this book iron out a few of these points as well as have more about how Fallon became the Child Empyrean and her feats in the war and why she is revered now. 

Based upon the ending I will totally be picking up the next book. I loved the Arc of Elara’s character and need to know how Cole is going to move the story along. Totally an author for people to check out.

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Saturday, May 4, 2024

Jenny Holiday: Canadian Boyfriend

Jenny Holiday shows what happens when a Ballerina meets a Hockey player but this is not your typical Hockey Romance:

In order to have some support growing up Aurora created a fake boyfriend after meeting a hockey player at work one day, and it was extremely convenient for Aurora that her boyfriend was from Canada. What harm could having a fake boyfriend be, it is only when said fake boyfriend walks into her Dance studio that Aurora doesn’t know what to do. Mike Martin is feeling overwhelmed with his life. His life had recently passed away, discovering she may not have been as honest with him as he would like and he is raising his daughter alone. But Aurora just seems to get him and she becomes a pseudo nanny to his daughter it seems that they may just be able to help each other out.

This is the first book that I have read by Holiday, so I was not sure what to expect and in some ways I got more than what I was expecting but at the same time I got less than what I wanted out of this book. I would not call this a rom-com I didn’t feel like there were really that many funny moments and I wouldn’t call it a steamy romance either as most of these events happen behind closed doors. How I would describe this book is two people who are working on themselves end up helping each other more than they thought possible. 

This book is sweet and focuses on the importance of mental health which was amazing. Holliday does not glaze over the fact that both Mike and Aurora are working through things from their past and present and I like that Holiday does not repeat which mental health issues that they are dealing with. I also like that Mike and Aurora take different and similar paths to getting back to a more healthy mental state. 

Could that last 10% been a bit different, I think so, I don’t think it needed to play out how it did and I think Mike totally overreacted. So yeah you have probably guessed there is a third act breakup (really it happens pretty late in the book) and it just didn’t need to happen. And then the get back together seems so rushed and not fully developed in a way. I wished that Holiday would have spent more time on it.

This book was not quite what I was expecting, I thought it would be a more straight forward Hockey Romance but it was much more than that. I really enjoyed that Holidays focused on mental health in this book. Where Holiday lost me was the third act/ending area break up that just seemed forced, like that Holiday felt that she had to put it in there (she did not). I enjoyed this book enough to check out some other books from Holiday.


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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Luanne Bennett: Bloodlust Blues

In the first new a new series, Luanne Bennett shows what happens when a new creature sets it's site on a small town:

Crimson, Georgia is just like any other small town, one where people keep to themselves but are also up in everyone else's business. When a new restaurant opens up across from Charley's bar, The White Stag, she is curious about who the owners would be and it seemed a bit too fancy for their small town. The members of the community start to act strangely and some are starting to go missing Charley can't help but think it is due to this new restuarant, but how could a new restaurant be the cause of all the extra havoc in town, Charley doesn’t know but she is going to find out.

I am pretty well versed in the urban fantasy genre but I can honestly say I have not heard of Bennett before so I was really eager to check her out. I am always on the search for new urban fantasy author as that genre is one of my favourites and my favourite authors in it do not write fast enough.

This book was okay, did it add anything new and different to the urban fantasy genre, not really other than the power that Atticus had and what he was doing. I think that this was the most interesting aspect of the book, but there really wasn't any suspense or intrigue to get there. I think that right from the beginning it is pretty obvious who the Big Bad is in this book and Bennett does not do anything to dissuade this fact. 

Charley (why did she have to be named Charley I swear there are too many women named Charley in Urban Fantasy) was not a very memorable character other than the fact that she has some underdeveloped powers that she knows nothing about or how to control them. I mean Charley started off strong with her love of helping out Misfits, I was just expecting more out of her and she just felt flat at times, or completely different people. Most of the story seems like Charley is just going about her day at the White Stag. The only real interesting character in the book is Candy, an ex-stripper who is a powerful witch.

I really appreciated that there is no obvious love interest for most part of the book, which gave very early 2000 urban fantasy feel to it and i am here for. There is one that is hinted in the latter part of the book and I hope that Bennett lets it progress slowly and more naturally.

I do wish there was a bit more world building, though it did feel like a regular small town set in our world, just with paranormal creatures here and there. There is the typical people do not like vampires and they are on the other side of town type of thing, but there are exceptions to this rule. So world building was pretty typical as well and you can tell why Atticus chose this town to set up his restaurant.

This book was good but not great I think is the best way to sum up this book. I finished the book but I kept waiting for Bennett to push the envelope a little bit more and throw something really exciting and interesting in. I would continue on in the series to see where Bennett takes it but I cant really recommend anyone rush out and buy it.

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Monday, April 22, 2024

Sarah Barrie: Unforgiven

Sarah Barrie shows what happens when a once victim becomes the vigilante:

Lexi has dedicated her life in just trying to survive, she drinks to much and sleeps with whomever she likes as long as they pay her. But Lexi's true passion is as a Hacker. Tracking down pedophiles, gathering information about them to put them away. Lexi was the last victim of the notorious pedophile known has the Spider, oh so she thought as a new individual has come forward claiming to be the real Spider as they emulate the murderous acts. Now everything from before is being called into question, even the innocence of the man convicted of being the spider. Did they get it wrong all those years ago?

This is the first book that I have read by Barrie and I can tell you this will not be the last. This book is a dark, gritty thriller that you will not want to put down as you get caught up in the search for "copycat" serial killer. This book will seem darker than other thriller books and that is because the victims are children. I will say that Barrie does not go into detail of what happens to the victims but does give enough detail that you KNOW what has happened to them and it is heartbreaking and sick. So if you have triggers of child abuse then this book will not be for you, as I said not a lot of detail of what is happening but enough to know as a reader what is happening.

Lexi is a straightforward but also complex character at the same time. I love that Barrie did not sugar coat her past or make it seem like what she lived though has not affected her, it has and Barrie does not shy away from this. Lexi is trying to recover from her past and help those who cannot help themselves yet at the same time she is unable to forgive herself for what happened and what almost happened to her sister. Lexi has chosen to be an escort as she believes that is really all she is good for, but Lexi is nothing but a survivor and she always will be. I appreciate that Barrie does take time to explain Lexi's history as well as the link between her and DI Rachel as their history brings some of tension that is felt throughout the book.

This book had quite a few twists and turns along the way and I like that all the evidence is not just handed to the police or Lexi. Lexi does a lot of digging on the internet so that type of information can take time to dig through, especially the type of groups that Lexi has had to infiltrate over times. I will also totally admit that I did not see that final twist coming. 

In the real world would the let Lexi be as involved as was probably not but I’m okay with how Barrie dealt with it in the plot, I mean this is a work of fiction so you need to dispel things a bit. And how Barrie presents it in the story works.

This was a terrific read, Highly recommend this book if you like thriller books and be prepared to read this one in one sitting. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series, Lexi is the type of character I am drawn to in these types of books. 


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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Megan Boley: The Darkness All Around Us

In her debut novel Megan Boley explores what happens when you give a pharmaceutical company too much power:

Pharmmatrox was on the cutting edge of medical science, they had created incredible drugs that were supposed to save the world, no on would ever get sick again. But instead of curing people, they created an additive drug called Dust, that eventually turns the user into a zombie like creature.  Stella is just trying to survive and keep her promise to find her friends before people started turning on mass. But Stella has a few problems, no only is she a user of Dust she is also on the run from a woman who is hunting her believing she is the reason why there are turned in the first place. Stella knows her time is running out in more ways than one and she has to try and find her friend and hopefully do some damage to the company that caused this in the first place.

When I read the premise of this book, I knew it was one that i would want to read. I am all for books where there are morally grey characters, and when the book is presented as Dark and Gritty. I have not read a zombie based book in quite some time, I think many have moved away from the genre for awhile (it did get oversaturated there for awhile), but I am happy to delve back into the genre. I like Boley's take on how the zombies are created, this is not your typical you get bitten you become a zombie. No this is if you use this addictive drug too long, it is going to turn you into one and all those who take it know this. However, like in many zombie or apocalyptic novels, the zombies are really the least of your worries, it is the other survivors you need to worry about. I think that Boley does a great job of showing how far humanity can fall and how the two different groups The Faction and Pharmatrox (troxies), are battling each other for control.

I struggled to get into this book at the beginning, I wish there had been a prologue to give readers the general idea of the dystopia we are about to step into, the two sides and why they are fighting. Instead, we have to wait till chapter 10 in order to get even a hint of what occurred before. I wasn't able to understand why people hated Troxies and wanted them all dead or how people were becoming zombies, so I felt like I was muddling through the first few chapters trying to figure it all out. 

I think I saw a review where some people had a hard time believing one of the twists in the book, I personally thought it was quite obvious, and not surprising and it just made since when you think of most dystopia/end of the world type books; everyone changes in some way or another, from who they are to their names, people have to change and adapt in order to survive. The other twist I did not see coming at all, and does it really affect things in the book, not really, so I am fine with it.

I appreciate that Boley does not waste the side characters in this book, they are not just there to be there, but feel like they are fully fledged people and different from each other even though they do not get their own POV. Each of them has a purpose in this story, especially those around Stella and I enjoyed that we got to know them as well. They also helped keep Stella grounded in certain situations which Stella needed quite a bit of in this book. I mean how can you not like Quinten. 

Death was an interesting addition and I wasn’t sure of her purpose until halfway through the book, so if you find the Death character confusing to begin with don’t worry. Their presence is explained and I actually wish there was more of Death at times (Death starts to fade out the farther you get into the book), to really show the downward spiral of Stella and her Dust usage and in the same way explain why she continued to use.

Overall, this is a really good debut novel and for most of the book you do not think that you are reading one. Boley does not let up on the action, suspense or darkness throughout the book. There are times when I wish the stakes were a little bit higher (but I don’t want to give any spoilers). I look forward to reading what Boley puts out next and I better not have to wait long for book 2.


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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Rebecca Ross: Divine Rivals

In the first book in a duology Rebecca Ross shows the power of the letter:

Gods have awoken after centuries of sleep and they are at War again. Some hear the cry to volunteer to join while other are forced to. Iris' older brother Forrest heard the call to war and is now serving on the front lines of it. In order to try to hold the family together for his return, Iris Winnow takes a postion with the Oath Gazette, but what she does not realize that she has a rival for the colomnist position a hansome man named Roman Kit. In order to help stave off her loanliness Iris begins to write letters to Forrest, as she has not received any from him, and slips them under her wardrobe door, where they have started to vanish. Iris did not know where they were going, and hoped that they were going to Forrest, only to discover a letter had been written back to her one day by an anymous person. 

I have heard of Rebecca Ross and have been meaning to read her book A River Enchanted but somehow I ended up reading this book first and it really wants makes we want to move A River Enchanted up on my TBR list. This book was extremely well written that a reader just falls into the story and characters. I did not want to put this down, I found that the book was really enchanting and I enjoyed it more that I thought I would (I think I read this book at the perfect time for me when i was craving something a bit lighter) and I would say that it lives up to the hype that has been created around it. 

I think that people need to be aware that this is not a High Fantasy book, as how the premise is written I think a few people would make this mistake. I went into this book not really knowing what it was about, only that it was one of the best books from last year (at least according to Goodreads). 

I would classify this book in the fantasy light genre as while there are mention of Gods, and it is there war that is causing WWI, as well as using creatures to fight this war, there is very little interaction with them. The most mgical or fantasy based aspect we get is the enchated typewriters that Kit and Iris use to exchange messages. This book is also classified as Young Adult but it falls some place between young adult and new adult in my opinion just based upon the age of the characters and the subject covered. Though I don’t think that this classification should disway you from reading this book.

I absolutely loved the relationship between Iris and Kit, how they are rivals at the newspaper, are from two different classes and that they open up to each other in letters. I think what I loved most about the letters is how sincere they were in them, even when they didn't know who was on the receiving end of them and how those words could lead to something more. I appreciated that Ross gave equal time to their POV and further demonstrated how the same and different Iris and Kit were but their love of the written word was strong for both of them.

This is such a sweet and cute read that really draws you into the story and relationship of the two main charters. You’ll want to pick up the next book in the series right after that ending, I can't wait to pick up the next book in this duology.


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Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Eve Kellman: How to Kill a Guy inTen Ways

In her debut Novel Eve Kellman, flips the table on Men who try to take advantage of Women:

Millie Masters has set up a hotline for women, Message M, when they feel that unsafe to get home. Millie sees the worst of men in these situations, looking to take advantage of women Night after Night. Sometimes she even sees the same guy over again and that the men will just continue to do the same thing night after night. Millie is sick of them getting away with it with no consequences especially when an assault happens close to home. Millie decides it's time to switch things up and take the law into her own hands.

This is Kellman's debut novel and I appreciate the premise that she has presented here. I mean you do not often get the read about female serial killer (in Fiction or real life) and you know you are getting something along those lines based upon the title of this book. I think that when you realize the men that Millie is choosing, the question becomes, can you really blame her for the men she decides to kill? And when does it change along the way.

I struggled reading this one and I don’t know why, I found I wasn’t in the mood to read it when I first started it. I will admit that the book picks up and gets interesting the further you go into the book it just take a bit to get there. There was a point at around the 3/4 marks where I fully said holy fuck out loud with where Kellman took a plot point. it was totally unexpected, and I was there for it. I think people will either love or hate the ending, but I was there for the ending as it was not your typical one at all.

This book was really hindered by having long chapters. I’m just not a fan of them and it just seemed like each chapter went on and on and on and didn’t really give readers a break to process what was going on. I felt like there were places that Kellman could have broken the chapters up a bit instead of forcing them on. I feel like most people prefer shorter chapters than longer ones.

Millie as a character is fascinating and the moral ground and questions that she asks herself, especially at the beginning are really interesting. It is when you find Millie later in the book where she sees that she may not be just killing for saving women anymore. I like that Millie really started out just wanting to help women get out of situations that are just uncomfortable to downright dangerous with her Message M number and side job that she has. It is this side of her life where she feels purpose and excels, and I feel like there is a job that she could make of this somehow.

I would have liked a POV from someone else in the book, I'm not really sure who maybe James, not at the beginning as we have not met him yet but later in the book would have been great. Just break it up a bit, and then once again this could have broken up the longer chapters. I just felt that the book felt a bit stagnant with only having one POV.

I will not deny that this was an interesting read and Millie as a character was truly fascinating. I think that you can tell that this was Kellman's debut novel with the chapter length and the overall flow of the book. But that last 25% of the book and ending made me happy that I pushed through on this one. I do look forward to seeing what Kellman comes out with next.


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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.


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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. 


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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.


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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.


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