What Makes Us Stronger (Well Paired, Book 3)

What Makes Us Stronger cover

Author: Marianne Rice

Series: Well Paired

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Star Hill Press

Pages: 312

 

Lily has built a wonderful life for herself in Crystal Cove. She has a fantastic job, great friends, and no one has asked too many questions about her past. The only thing missing is the hot guy that she would really like to land…who also happens to be to be her friend’s brother, Ty. Ty returned to Crystal Cove after his stint in the Army, and is now working as a carpenter. He has lived a pretty quiet life, without having to face any major problems, until the day that he sees smoke coming from Lily’s place. His adrenaline kicks in, and he rushes to help, only to find Lily in her thong. There is no denying that there are sparks between them, and a romance begins to blossom. Will the secrets that Lily is hiding end this budding love, or will she trust Ty enough to tell him the truth?

I don’t know how many times that I can tell you guys (but I’ll keep telling you until I find out!) how much I love Marianne Rice’s books! Like all of her books, the characters are all well developed. They really feel like someone that you know, or are friends with, or maybe just want to be friends with (or friends with benefits, whatever!). They are real, beautiful, and flawed. The imagery throughout is all great. The reader can really picture all of the beautiful scenery while reading. As I’ve said before, and will say again, if you like contemporary romance (or just want to try it) this is an author that I would recommend every time. This is the third novel in the Well Paired series, but like all of the other can be read as a standalone (but just go ahead and grab them all!).

Go! Read! Enjoy!

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For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire, Book 1)

For a Muse of Fire cover

Author: Heidi Helig

Series: For a Muse of Fire

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Pages: 512

 

Jetta and her parents are shadow players, and thanks to Jetta’s powerful ability, they have become the most famous troupe in Chakrana. Jetta, you see, holds the power of blood magic. She is able to see the souls of the departed and, using her blood, bind them to her shadow puppets (or paper, leaves, people…). This allows her to control the puppets without strings. It is also forbidden under the new regime. In their war-torn country, however, their skill is the best way for them to earn money and a way to Aquatan. Rumor has it that the Mad King found a spring there that helped to cure his melheur. Jetta needs that cure… As they are on the way, they are forced to join forces with a young smuggler (Leo) who has secrets of his own, and eyes that seem to see right through to the heart of Jetta’s secrets. As they make deals with one another, and attempt to make their way forward, they must all face decisions and truths that they never imagined and wonder if they will make it out alive.

This is the first book in a new trilogy from the lovely Heidi Heilig. It is much different from The Girl From Everywhere duology, but one can definitely tell that it is Heilig’s voice in this novel. It took me a little while to write this review, because I have a lot to say, but was not really sure how to start. First, the writing is absolutely beautiful. It moves at a smooth pace, and doesn’t ever really waver. There were no really slow parts, that books of this length can sometimes suffer from. It wasn’t overly wordy, it just had a lot to say. The story itself was interwoven with sheet music, letters, excerpts from plays, maps, and other documents that truly enriched the storyline. The world building was phenomenal. The rich Asian cultural elements mixed with the French-inspired colonialism paints a vivid picture. Once that it combined with the beautifully written folklore and Heilig’s writing of this fantasy world, it is definitely hard to put down.

Now, let’s get to the characters. As it should be, this was the heart of the story. These characters, not only the leading lady but the more secondary players as well, were so well written and multi-dimensional that I truly felt for them, and felt that I knew them, by the end of the book. Jetta, is struggling. It has been confirmed as canon that she is bipolar, but if you have ever known and loved someone who is bipolar you won’t need me to tell you that. She makes these amazingly impulsive decisions while in these high, manic periods that feel so right at the time that she is making them. She is sure that they will work out, and that she is doing the only thing that can be done. She then goes in to her depressive periods that leave her tired, weary, and questioning all of the decisions that she made while in her manic state. She believed that she was seeing things clearly, but it’s like everything slows down, and she can see it all in slow motion and truly grasp what has happened and the possible consequences. Heilig allowed this to be very visible to the reader, so it truly made Jetta a more relatable character and showed the drive behind her decision-making processes. On another note, the reader may catch that Jetta appears to be drawn to several different characters at different times- it has also been confirmed as canon that she is queer, which just makes her character even more interesting and well rounded. Leo is another wonderfully complex character. I mentioned earlier that he has his own secrets (which I won’t reveal here), but he is incredibly well fleshed out, complex, and so well written. Jetta’s parents, too, have their own secrets that they are hiding, their own struggles, worries, and concerns, and are very well rounded and relatable characters. You can feel their struggles as they are attempting to make the decisions that are the smart decisions, not the easy ones.

I can easily say that this is the best book that I have read thus far this year, and it is going to be very difficult to beat. If you are a fan of wonderful, rich fantasy, please give this one a try!

 

 

The Impossible Girl

The Impossible Girl cover

Author: Lydia Kang

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Pages: 364

 

Cora Lee was born in the 19th century, and floats between the upper crust and the slums and graveyards in New York. She makes her living as a resurrectionist, meaning that she spends her nights in the graveyards (dressed as her “twin” brother) procuring freshly dead bodies with interesting afflictions for anatomists. They pay her incredibly well for doing this job. The job also allows her to stay a step ahead of those that are looking for her. She is hunted for being one of those with an interesting affliction- Cora was born with two hearts. Now there are murders happening closer and closer to her, and she doesn’t know who she can trust, because she is being hunted down by someone who wants her before she dies her natural death.

This new release from Lydia Kang was phenomenal! It was full of everything that I hoped that it would have from the description: action packed, science, medicine, history, some romance (but not enough to overtake the story), a twisty thriller, and a wonderfully strong female lead. The writing was beautiful and flowed well. The characters were very well fleshed out, and showed great growth throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

It’s out today!!!

https://www.amazon.com/Impossible-Girl-Lydia-Kang/dp/1503903389/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537317904&sr=1-1&keywords=the+impossible+girl

Enticed by the Gargoyle (Stone Sentries Boston, Book 2)

Enticed cover

Author: Lisa Carlisle

Series: Stone Sentries

Genre: PNR

Publisher: Indie

Pages: 180

 

Larissa, a Boston police officer, had an unfortunate encounter with some demons while on patrol. Now, she is left with more questions than answers and a friend who is in an incubus-induced coma. During the attack, Larissa was able to fight off the demons and managed to somehow shoot energy at them with her eyes. Her gargoyle lover, Roman, believes that these “gifts” come from her being a witch. Larissa, however, knows nothing about this and wants answers. To make matters worse, she is now having a vision of another supernatural threat. Is this her imagination, or a vision of things to come?

This is the second book in the Stone Sentries Boston series, and it was as fantastic as the first. Roman and Larissa are a great pairing. As always, the character development is fantastic. I have really enjoyed some of the other elements that have been brought in to this series, as it has added nicely to the world building without feeling like we are just being given a supernatural soup (you know what I’m talking about!). These are quick, fun reads, so if you are in the mood for some PNR, I recommend giving them a try. There are definitely still some questions, so I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next installment of Roman and Larissa’s story! Enjoy!!

Combust (Underground Encounters, Book 7)

Combust cover

Author: Lisa Carlisle

Series: Underground Encounters

Genre: PNR

Publisher: Indie

Pages: 124

 

During the fire at Vamps, Nike was bitten by a vampire. In a fit of bloodlust, she did something that she is unable to forgive herself for. The love of her life, Michel, travelled to Europe in search of a cure for her to no avail. Growing weary of walking between two worlds, she must make a decision that will change the rest of her life. Meanwhile, her best friend Maya is preparing for the rest of her life, as well. She is planning her wedding, and desperately wants Nike to be her maid of honor. Nike, however, is cutting herself off from everyone (Maya included) after her act of bloodlust, and won’t return her calls. At the same time, Maya has decided to find out more about where she comes from and asks her adoptive parents for more information about her birth parents. She is shocked by what she finds when she goes seeking more information.

I was absolutely left with questions after Nike and Maya’s first books, and I am so happy to have this follow up to get some answers!! This new installment, in my opinion, has more twists than previous books and I loved it! Nike and Maya were two of my favorites in this series, so another book with them was right up my alley. Their characters were able to become more complex through this book, and I feel like Carlisle did a wonderful job of giving them even more depth. Where most of the books in this series can be read as standalones, I highly recommend that you read Smolder and Fire first so that you get the background on Nike and Maya. Go, read, enjoy!!!

Where There’s Hope

Where There's Hope cover

Author: Marianne Rice

Series: Well Paired

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Star Hill Press

Pages: 272

 

Hope and her daughter live a comfortable, quiet life in a small Maine town. It has been Hope’s safe place, until Cameron Smithfield arrives. He is a stranger to Hope, but she has hated him for years. Cameron, the man who killed her daughter’s father, the man that she loved, is in town and doing a wonderful job of becoming a town favorite.

Cameron had his life turned upside down the night that he killed his brother in that car accident. After serving his time, he is determined to make amends with his niece, and help in any way that he can. Her mother, however, won’t let him in. This isn’t the shocking part…What shocks him is what he is feeling for her.

Hope has hated Cameron from afar for many years, and now he has shown up wanting to be in her daughter’s life. She had no intention of letting him in at all, but suddenly she is having feelings that she never expected to have. When all signs point to him as the culprit, will she believe the evidence or her heart?

I swear, it is Marianne’s goal to make me in to a romance reader one series at a time. This is another great read from this author! It sucked me in by the second chapter, and before I knew it I was almost done with the book! The characters are all very well fleshed out, as I have come to expect. The reader can feel their complex emotions and inner turmoil as they are going through the process of figuring them out. The secondary characters are well rounded, as well, so maybe we’ll see some of them get their own books?? Anyway, if you’re looking for a fun romance read and/or you’ve liked her previous series’ definitely pick this one up! It’s the second in the series, but can be read alone with no problem. Enjoy!!!

 

Stone Cursed: A Zodiac Sifters Paranormal Romance: Taurus

Stone Cursed cover

Author: Lisa Carlisle

Series: Highland Gargoyles

Genre: PNR

Publisher: Indie

Pages: 137

 

You guys!!! The Gargoyles are back!!!

Alec has not been very happy since he had to leave with his clan from the Isle of Stone to relocate to the Scottish Highlands. Settling in a run-down castle, he missed the sound and smell of the ocean and the feel of flying over it. While off sentry duty one night, he notices a strange green light in the distance, and decides to check it out. He finds that last things that he expects, or wants, to find: witches- the enemy of the gargoyles. These particular witches have left their coven in search of ley lines in order to increase their power. Alec is discovered by Kai, the male leading this offshoot of the coven, and he uses dark magic to entrap Alec in stone. He has no idea how he will get a message to his brothers to warn them of the danger, and to get help, until Veda (the most gorgeous witch he’s ever seen) comes to his rescue. Now they both must run, or face the wrath of Kai…

Yay, more Gargoyles!!! This was a great novella within the Highland Gargoyle series and can be read without reading the rest of the series if you’d like (you really should read the others, though!). Carlisle’s wonderful world building continues on in to the Scottish Highlands and allows the reader to perfectly picture the world that she has envisioned. The character development is up to the standard that we have some to expect from Carlisle. This was just a quick, fun read, that is a wonderful addition to this series.