Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

It is no secret that I'm a huge fan of Raybourns and her latest series is no exception to that love. Her Veronica Speedwell series has been a pleasant and fun surprise and the latest installment is one of the best yet. Full of fun, intrigue and a hint of romance, it is hard not to be left wanting more. 

I'm so excited to be a part of this blog tour and spread the love for this author and this series. If you are a fan of both mystery and historical, you need to read this series!

Title: A Treacherous Curse (Book Three in the Veronica Speedwell series)
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Published By: Berkley (January 16, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Book Description:
Members of an Egyptian expedition fall victim to an ancient mummy's curse in a thrilling Veronica Speedwell novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries. 

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .

About the Author:

A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

Sometimes it is easy to forget how much you love two characters until you are immersed back into their world and then all those old feelings and thoughts about them resurface and you remember why this is one of your most favorite series and some of your most favorite people.

Veronica and Stoker are those people for me. This series is just so much fun with the Victorian old world London setting, mystery, and of course the adventures that always await these two. Not to mention the chemistry between them is off the charts. 

I would say there is very little romance in this series, if any at all in fact and yet these two have such a passion, such a spark that it is hard to resist reading about them and not sensing it and just waiting for that spark to ignite and set fire to the world.

With nonstop action, mystery and intrigue, this really has become a favorite and a series that is just getting better and better with time. Fans of the genre really need to pick this up, because I can guarantee that this series will be one that will not disappoint. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Blog Tour Review: Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

I'm so excited to be a part of this tour, not only do I love this author but this time around she is not only writing a heart stopping romance but an action packed mystery as well and I couldn't be happier about it. You guys, it was so much fun and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Title: Keep Her Safe
Author: K.A. Tucker
Published By: Atria Books (January 23, 2018)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)

Book Description:
Noah Marshall has had a privileged life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years: she doesn’t deserve her commendations or her medals—in fact, she deserves to be locked behind bars for what she did to a fellow officer to save her own reputation. When she finally succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life, she leaves Noah alone to carry the burden of this shocking secret, which she makes him vow never to share.

Gracie Reynolds wasn’t born into trailer park life, but after ten years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that she is a byproduct of a white mother and a black father. And they certainly don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop. Here, she and her mother can almost forget the shame he brought upon them…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep one night, asking questions.

Together, Noah and Gracie set out to uncover the truth about the Austin police department’s dark and messy past­—but the scandal they uncover is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined. 

About the Author:

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. 

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 14 books, including Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water, and her latest Adult Suspense novel, He Will Be My Ruin. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. 

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.

K.A. Tucker has a wonderful ability to be able to completely capture you with her stories from the very first page down to the last. They are captivating, thrilling and will leave you with an ending that is always as every bit as satisfying as it was fulfilling. 

Her mysteries even more so.

I read a lot of mysteries and because I have for many years now, I've come to be able to predict a lot of what is going to happen in a story and sometimes that can leave the story lacking. But Tucker manages to keep me on my toes and even guessing until the very end and I couldn't love her more for it. 

I love a story that is not only a tad bit darker than I expected but also has a romance that is every bit as sweet as I expected and this story has it in ten fold. 

There is something about a good cop murder mystery that is so alluring and when I saw the synopsis for this I knew I had to read it and even though it was hard to put this down, I wanted to savor it as well and take it all in and adsorb every last word of it. 

Truly another wonderfully told, wonderfully written story that many are going to be captivated by. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or the publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Dear Dwayne, With Love by Eliza Gordon

Title: Dear Dwayne, With Love
Author: Eliza Gordon
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Lake Union Publishing (January 23, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Wannabe actress Dani Steele’s résumé resembles a cautionary tale on how not to be famous. She’s pushing thirty and stuck in a dead-end insurance job, and her relationship status is holding at uncommitted. With unbearably perfect sisters and a mother who won’t let her forget it, Dani has two go-tos for consolation: maple scones and a blog in which she pours her heart out to her celebrity idol. He’s the man her father never was, no boyfriend will ever be—and not so impossible a dream as one might think. When Dani learns that he’s planning a fund-raising event where the winning amateur athlete gets a walk-on in his new film, she decides to trade pastries and self-doubt for running shoes and a sexy British trainer with adorable knees.

But when Dani’s plot takes an unexpected twist, she realizes that her happy ending might have to be improvised—and that proving herself to her idol isn’t half as important as proving something to herself.

Must Love Otters and it's predecessor were such fun and quirky reads that I couldn't wait to delve back into the crazy characters that Gordon knows how to create and draw you in with. And from the very first chapter, it didn't take me long at all to see that Dear Dwayne, With Love was going to be just as quirky and fun and crazy as her other books and I couldn't of been more excited about it. 

I don't even know how to describe this, it really was so unique and just downright fun. I know I keep saying that word but it really is the best one possible to describe not only Dani's crazy obsession with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson but just about everything else that happens in this story.

Not only Dani's obsession but her inner monologue had me cracking up numerous times not to mention her imagined conversations with The Rock and her blog posts, seriously, crazy funny stuff.

I loved that not only was this about one woman’s crazy (and maybe over the top) obsession but it was almost like a coming of age story for Dani, even though she is well into her twenties and on her way to her thirties. I loved watching her grow, not only within herself, but with her family and friends as well and even though the whole “Mommy” thing still creeps me out when I think about it, it someone worked with the story and the madness that was Dani's whole family and life. 

Another great story from Gordon that will be sure to please all of her fans and to create some new ones along the way.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Spotlight and Excerpt: The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam

I'm excited to bring you an excerpt  The Lost Season of Love and Snow. As you all know I love historical novels and this one looks like it will be so good. I love this time period of Imperial Russia because it was so fascinating and yet such a tragic time too. Filled with hate and death and so much turmoil. But there was love and goodness to and I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

Title: The Lost Season of Love and Snow
Author: Jennifer Laam
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin (January 2, 2018)

Book Description:
The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin. 

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. 

With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

About the Author:

JENNIFER LAAM is the author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar and The Tsarina’s Legacy. She earned her master’s degree in History from Oakland University in Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. She has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, traveled in Russia and Europe, and worked in education and non-profit development. She currently resides in Northern California.


From The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam. Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.
A man says he will die for you. A woman is taught to lower her gaze and blush before hiding once more behind a silken fan. Men are given to self-aggrandizement, while women flatter egos and keep men tied to this earth. Such is the way of the world, or so I was taught in the days before I gained a reputation as the villain of St. Petersburg.

I know better now.

When a man declares he will die for you, sometimes a woman must take him at his word. For to allow one’s husband to perish on the field of honor is a shameful affair, worse even, than murdering him by your own hand.

The solemn men who gather at our flat fall silent as my husband draws his final breath. A prickly chill, like the first wave of a fever, washes over me as I realize my husband is gone. The sorrow tightens my chest and clamps down, squeezing until I think my body will snap in two. I sway on my feet and believe I will faint. Only the invisible force of my will keeps me upright. Dark blood still seeps from his abdomen and a sharp metallic scent clings to the air.
For two days my husband had been one of the waking dead, suffering a cruel and lingering death. Though I was not present at the duel where he fought to defend my honor, the image of Alexander collapsing, his blood staining the snow crimson, haunts my every thought. I have slid into despair, veering between hysteria and hopelessness, while Alexander’s wound festered and his once vibrant face distorted with agony.

His friends stand in a semicircle around his body, backs erect, mouths set in stern lines, and expressions stoic even as their eyes dampen with tears.

“What a waste,” I hear one of them mutter. “A genius lost over a woman.”
The words echo in my head. I was the wife of a distinguished man of letters, the greatest in our land, and I let his life slip through my fingers. These men suppose I care only for material comforts and romantic diversions and don’t believe I possess the wits about me to appreciate my husband’s talent. Rumormongers have convinced them I love the empty-headed Georges d’Anthès or have fallen prey to the advances of our iron-jawed tsar. They consider my behavior traitorous, as terrible in its own way as if I had joined the ranks of the Napoleonic soldiers who once threatened our very heartland.

I will confess to basking too long in the attention of Georges and even the tsar himself, yet I am no Jezebel, merely human, as vulnerable to flattery as any other creature. Much as I may wish to do so, I cannot change the past. The damage is done. A fresh wave of tears threatens and subsides, as though nothing remains inside me to expel. I wonder how long I will live with the torment of my guilt and the censure of those who claim to love my husband.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Best of 2017 in Mysteries and Thrillers!

I had forgotten how much I love this genre until I really started reading it again. I've always read it and loved it but it wasn't until I made it a priority again that I completely remembered that it is one of my most favorites and for good reason.

Who doesn't like to be on edge guessing who done it and feeling like you have to look over your shoulder at any time because what if the bad guys have some how found you too and know you are reading their story and might out them at any moment?

I read so many great ones this year, it was hard to narrow my list down to just a few but here they are in no particular order, those books that shocked me, kept me turning the pages and most of all, kept me guessing.

I did not expect to fall in love with this series but come on, it's an Armstrong book, I should have known I would love it and love it I do in all it's weird backward glory. So addicting and the good news is that book three that comes out early next year, is just as fabulous as the first two. 

I loved Bernard's debut series and it was no surprise that her stand alone was just as good. I seriously had a hard time putting this one down, so good and unexpected. I did guess (in a way) what was going on but it was okay because I didn't guess it all and it was still so stinking good, I loved it.

This one is actually the first book in the duology but you need to read them both in order for it to make sense, either way, this series is crazy good and just plain crazy in general. I don't even want to go into details because it would give too much away but, read it, you won't regret it. 

This is one of the few YA mysteries that actually held my attention right up until the end. Usually I figure everything out way too early and then the book just isn't fun for me anymore. And while I did figure things out way early in the story, it was still an engaging read and I devoured it. I had to know if I was right about everything and that says a lot to be honest about the author's writing ability. 

This book. I don't even know what to say about it other than it is a take on a King classic and if you are a fan, you need to read it. 

Another hit in the genre and while this one could also be classified as historical, takes place during WWII, it is deep in mystery and with a slight paranormal twist, makes it almost irresistible. 

And there you have it, my most favorite mysteries and thrillers of 2017. See any on your list as well? Any recommendations?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Blog Tour Book Review: Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels

Book Title: Bad Call
Author: Stephen Wallenfels
Published By: Disney-Hyperion (December 19, 2017)
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

Book Description:
It was supposed to be epic.

During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can’t be broken.

So the first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite.
But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up.

A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there’s a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that’s not including the ridiculously heavy ax that Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can’t figure out what their deal is.

And then one of them doesn’t make it back to the tent.
Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences.

About the Author:

Stephen Wallenfels lives in Washington state with his wife.  His day job is the creative director and IT manager at a large health club, but he has held the following jobs in no specific order: apple picker, onion topper, omelette chef, grill cook, legal gofer, ESL teacher, school custodian, freelance journalist, tennis instructor, soccer coach, graphic designer, and his favorite of all, novelist.  Stephen has lived in igloos, lean-to's, slept under bushes and in trees.  His passions are family, hiking, cooking, reading, movies, climate change, and especially writing.  "I love to share my passion for the written word, especially with kids.  Reading is the key to everything. Give me a room full of book lovers eager to learn about the craft of writing, and I'm in heaven.

Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels was quite the read. One filled with jealousy, deceit, anger,  and misconceptions but it was also one about friendship and making wrongs right and yes, even a tiny bit of romance, or at least something that could be romance..eventually... maybe. 

But mostly, it was one heck of a thrill ride. One where you weren't always sure which direction it was going to take and exactly what the heck was going on, but in a good way, not a bad way and one that was almost always filled with darkness. 

From the moment you read the first chapter you know this isn't going to be a story filled with rainbows and sunshine. You know it will be darker and you love it because of it. I mean, four boys, one girl in the wilderness during a freak rain/snow storm and no one knows where they are. What could possibly go wrong.

This story  was about not giving up and hanging in there and believing in who you are and what you are capable of. It was about struggling and fighting and succeeding when it really mattered.  

With suspense, tension, and danger literally lurking in all shapes and forms, this is a read you don't want to miss out on. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Best of Historical Fiction and Contemporary in 2017

With this year concentrating on reading more of the books and genres I love instead of ARCs, I've come back to reading more and more of not only the classics, but historical fiction too and I've loved it so much! I had forgotten how much of this genre I can devour and not get tired of. And while I still haven't read a ton of contemporary, there are a couple that I've read this year that I think need to be talked about so I'm combining the two genres for my best of the best of 2017 post.

Jamie Ford first impressed me with his book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet many years ago and when I saw he had another in a similar setting and theme, I didn't hesitate to pick it up. I'm so glad I did, it was another one that will stay with me for a very long time. So good and I loved the historical detail mixed in with the story. 

I've always loved Sherlock Holmes books and themes and when I saw Sherry's take on it last year with her first book in this series I knew it was one I had to try. I loved it and her latest in the series A Conspiracy in Belgravia was just as fantastic. This series has a bit of it all, mystery, intrigue, a dash of romance, I adore it. 

Another series that even though it is only two books in, is so addicting. I had a hard time putting this one down. I love how each book has a unique setting and with it legends, lore, a beautiful historical setting and of course just enough romance and mystery to have you eagerly turning the pages. 

You all know how I feel about series that have a lot of hype and yet this one lives up to all the hype and then some. While I have yet to read the last book, I devoured the first two and can't wait to dive into the last. Truly addicting in all it's western feel to it. 

Letters to the Lost was just so unexpected this year. A book dealing with loss, love, and grief, I couldn't put it down. It was just so touching and emotional and I loved every page of it. A winner from Kemmerer for sure.

I've been pretty lucky this year in this genre, I've read very few books in it but so far, all of them have been beyond fabulous and that includes this next one. So far, I've read two of this author's book and I've adored them both, so darn good!

Is there anything this author can't write? I don't think so. I'm starting to think that Bennett is gold in whatever genre she writes but this one, happens to be my favorite. I so look forward to more from her.