Beneath the Skin: The Sam Hunter Case Files

Beneath the Skin cover

Author: Jonathan Maberry

Series: Sam Hunter

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: JournalStone

Pages: 412

 

Sam Hunter is an ex-cop, who was written up for excessive force one too many times. He now makes his living as a PI. When he takes on a client, he takes them in to his family, and protects them like one of his pack. He means that literally, because Sam Hunter is a werewolf. A benandanti, to be more precise. He takes on a wide range of cases that others wouldn’t touch, but that is his job, and he is damned good at it.

Jonathan Maberry has been on my tbr list for a while, and when I saw this book of short stories, I could not pass it up. Short stories are my favorite thing, and he did not disappoint (unless you count my being disappointed in myself that I have put off picking up Maberry’s work until now!). The characters all had great depth, which is sometimes tricky in short stories. The world building was very well done, as you could picture the gritty neighborhoods, seedy bars, etc, as well as the world with these “others” in it. Maberry’s writing is phenomenal. He knows how to easily break up a desolate situation with a bit of humor (wonderfully dry humor in this case), how to give enough back story and detail in a short timeframe to really get the reader invested in the characters, how to draw the reader in to a world that they do not want to leave. Sam Hunter is, I believe, one of my favorite new characters. I desperately hope that this was just an introduction to him, and that there will be more to follow. Now, you’ll excuse me while I go download the Pine Deep books….

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo cover

Author: Amy Schumer

Genre: Memoir/Humor

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 336

 

Amy Schumer has built her career on being honest- hilariously, brutally, honest- and I, and so many others, love her for that. She says the things that many think and won’t say, and she doesn’t sugarcoat it. This book is that, and so very much more. It had everything that I was hoping for out of a book written by Schumer. It had the stories of sex, drugs, drinking, and family drama delivered with her signature humor, sarcasm, and wit. What it had that I wasn’t expecting, though, was her being honest in a very different way about the subjects that have touched and affected her life: date rape, domestic violence, gun violence, body shaming, and her father’s MS diagnosis. It was very touching, and humanizing, to see her speak out on these topics in such an authentic way. This book was well written, in that it balanced the serious topics out with humor, so it didn’t become too heavy to read. It was very interesting to learn more about Schumer and her life, up to this point. I was a fan before, and I am even more so of one now!

The Nest

the nest cover

Author: Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Ecco

Pages: 368

 

The Plumb family takes family drama to a different level! They have each spent their early adulthood watching their trust fund, which they lovingly call “The Nest”, continually grow and have come to count on it. As they are on the brink of finally receiving it, their irresponsible brother gets behind the wheel, inebriated, with a nineteen-year-old passenger. The accident that follows puts them all in danger of losing The Nest. After confronting their brother, he promises to make things right. Will he follow through on his word, or leave them all and their lives, in circumstances that they never foresaw?

This is another novel that I have been looking forward to making my way to since I heard about it. I was very excited to finally get to it. Sadly, again, I was a bit disappointed. The characters were all, mostly, well developed. There were a couple that could have, possibly, been a bit more rounded out, but overall, they were fleshed out. The storyline was decent, and well thought out. I have no real qualms with that. The book just fell a little bit flat for me. I can’t exactly put my finger on what the issue was with it, I just wanted a little bit more from it. I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it, though. It just didn’t quite deliver for me, personally.

The Widow

The Widow cover

Author: Fiona Barton

Genre: Psych Thriller

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 336

 

Jean has people coming to talk to her from all directions. Everyone wants to know the truth, the truth about the crime that her husband was accused of committing. She has kept quiet up until this point, being the good wife. The wife who stands by her husband, no matter what, and defends him to everyone. The wife who does as her husband asks. Her husband is dead now, though, and Jean doesn’t have to keep her silence. She can say whatever she wants to say. What truth is she going to tell everyone, though?

This is a book that I was really looking forward to, from the time that I read the description and picked it up. Sadly, for me, it did not live up to my expectations. Told in alternating points of view, it gives the reader the story from the perspective of three different players: the widow, the reporter, and the detective. The characters could have been a bit better developed. They seemed to be lacking sound depth. The plot line was pretty good, and had great potential. I just had a hard time getting in to the story. It never quite grabbed me in the way that I want a psych thriller to. My expectations may have been a bit high going in to it, as it was compared to a couple of my favorite psych thrillers, but I was honestly ready for I to wrap up by the end. However, it has some great reviews on other sites, so don’t let me deter you if it sounds fantastic to you!

Knights of Stone: Calum (Highland Gargoyles, Book 5)

Knights of Stone Calum cover

Author: Lisa Carlisle

Series: Highland Gargoyles

Genre: PNR

Pages: 185

 

Calum is the thrill-seeking lead singer of the Knights of Stone. While on a flight one night, he sees a dragon attacking a Pegasus who wandered too far from her herd, and jumps in to help. The Pegasus turns out to be a shifter named Arielle, and he decides that he must help her, no matter what. Their adventure finds them lost in another realm, wondering if they will ever make it home. It also finds them turning in to more than they thought that they would. Will Calum help her find her way home, or will he convince her to stay?

It was a lot of fun to return to the Isle of Stone, and hang out with the Gargoyles again. This time a dragon and a Pegasus were added to the mix! The wonderful world building continued, with added realms. The character development also continued, adding more of Calum, and Arielle to the group. This turned out to be a lovely love story, but it definitely had enough action to keep me interested and entertained. I love that these stories are all a part of the same world and series, but each can stand alone with no problem. I jumped from book one to book five with no issue. This is a great addition to the series, and I’ll enjoy going back and catching up with the others!

Magic and Mayhem: Secrets, Lies, and Meatballs (Spaghetti Romances, Book 2)

Secrets lies and meatballs cover

Author: Jordan K. Rose

Series: Spaghetti Romances

Genre: PNR

 

According to her grandmother and her parents, The Meatball knows who Lena is supposed to marry, but Lena isn’t buying it. She has no interest in eating a meatball that has been simmering in what is, admittedly, delectable smelling gravy for thirty-three years! Especially is said meatball is supposed to make her fall in love with someone against her will. The issue: Someone stole her mate-ball, and ate it. Now she, and her magic, are going nuts. To make matters worse, family secrets have some to light that are seriously complicating matters for her. Is she willing to bend to the will of fate, and eat the meatball, to save those that she loves?

This is the second novella in the Spaghetti Romances series, which is a part of Magic and Mayhem Kindle Worlds. These novellas have been a great new series. They are laugh out loud funny, along with a great story. The characters are all great, and well developed, especially for the limited space to develop them in a novella. They all have their own quirky personalities, which allows the reader to identify with them and visualize them easily. The world building is well done, without any obvious holes. The story is well paced, so it doesn’t take too long to read it, but if you need to put it down it would be easy to pick back up where you left off. If you’re looking for a fun escape, try out this world of witches and shifters!

It’s out today, so check it out!

The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere, Book 2)

Ship Beyond Time cover

Author: Heidi Heilig

Series: The Girl from Everywhere

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Pages: 464

 

This sequel to The Girl from Everywhere finds us once again aboard the ship Temptation, where it is now Nix’s turn to take the helm and try and change fate- this time the fate is her own and Kashmir’s. After everything that happened in Hawaii, the crew find themselves back in New York where Nix finds out that it has been seen that she is destined to lose her love. She can’t imagine her life without Kash, and is determined to find a way to change this destiny, when the possibility presents itself. Is it possible to change fate? What is she willing to give up to change time?

This is one of those wonderful instances where the sequel was as good as, or possibly better than, the original book in the series. Heilig’s writing is rich and captivating. Her characters, even the secondary ones, all have great depth. The world building is absolutely phenomenal. I would say that it is even better in this installment than it was in the first. I loved that this book had some chapters told from Kash’s POV, so we got an even better look in to his mind and thoughts. Although I have always been a fan of the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genres, I have never been one to be caught up in anything involving time travel. This series, however, has grown to be one of my favorites. The only hesitation that I would have, is that this was originally slated to be a duology. The ending left it open to the possibility of further installments, though, if the author chooses to do so. I, for one, fervently hope that she does, because I would like to see the story go a bit further, and have some questions answered, before we call it the end.