The Gilded Wolves

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Author: Roshani Chokshi

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 400

In 1889 Paris, the Order of Babel manage and guard all of the Forged artifacts and the secrets of the Babel Fragments that make it possible to forge minds and artifacts. Severin Montagnet-Alarie is a well known hotelier and a treasure hunter, which allows him to keep his thumb on the pulse of the city and has afforded him the ability to collect artifacts and secrets of his own. The Order has certainly taken things from Severin, but they coerce him to help him on a mission in exchange for a treasure that he never dreamed possible: his true inheritance. Severin puts together a team no one would dream up to take on this mission: to find an ancient artifact and possibly change the course of history…but only if they survive. 

I was looking forward to this book from the time that I read the first blurb on it, and I was so excited to receive a galley copy of it! Guys, this book did not let me down. It was everything that I was hoping that it would be. Chokshi took the time to create a beautiful, rich fantasy world within the backstop of what we know historical Paris to be. The character development is incredibly well done. The characters are well fleshed out throughout the book, as they alternate chapters and we get to learn the backstories of each. If you’re a fan of fantasy, you can tell that this is the beginning of a fantasy series, as the author is taking the time to set up the world, etc, which can get a bit tedious at times but it never felt stale. There were wonderful twists, riddles, puzzles, and delightful banter to keep me fully engaged throughout the book. I’m anxiously awaiting the next! 

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An Anonymous Girl

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Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Genre: Psych Thriller

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 384

Jessica sees an ad seeking women ages 18-32 to participate in a psychological study on morality and ethics. It promises generous compensation, which she desperately needs. Thinking that she will only need to answer some questions on a survey and be on her way, she signs up without much hesitation. The questions are a bit more invasive than Jess believed they would be, but the real trouble begins when Dr. Shields asks her to participate in a more in depth study. She becomes more and more paranoid, and can no longer tell reality from what is being twisted by Dr. Shields and her psychological experiment. She soon finds out that some obsessions can become deadly. 

This is the psychological thriller that I have been looking for, y’all! This book had everything that I wanted it to have. It had characters that were all well fleshed out; some that were likable and relatable, and some that were not so much. The story flowed really well, and didn’t really lag at all. I was invested from the beginning, and didn’t want to put it down. The best part, though, was that the plot line was twisty and suspenseful enough that it gave me chills and  made my heart race in places. This is exactly what I’m looking for in a great psychological thriller! This was a great read to start my year off with, and I hope this is a good omen for the rest of the year! 

 

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to review this book for them.

Becoming

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Author: Michelle Obama

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 448

Publisher: Crown Publishing

I don’t think that I need to tell anyone who the author of this memoir is. Michelle Obama, a brilliant, beautiful former first lady, but she is so much more. She is a wife, mother, Princeton and Harvard Law graduate; a very accomplished woman well before she ever in the public eye as the First Lady of the United States. Inside this memoir, Mrs. Obama opens up her world and tells the readers of her life experiences, both good and bad, and how they molded her in to the woman that she is today. 

I have long admired Michelle Obama as a woman of intellect, grace, and integrity. I can truly say, after reading her memoir, that I admire her even more. She opened up in this book about her whole life. We learn about her upbringing in Chicago, where she was encouraged to use her intelligence to move forward and make a difference. She speaks about her married life, which hasn’t always been roses and butterflies but they worked through it and it is real. She tells us, of course, about their time in politics and the White House and the highs and lows of that life. And we learn what her life is beginning to look like now, as she is settling in to “normal” life again. 

I loved this memoir, because Michelle Obama was so real in it. She told her truth in no uncertain terms. She was raw, honest, witty, poignant, funny, and relatable. There were criticisms of those who followed she and President Obama, but they were measured and not unwarranted or nasty. She made me feel that it was ok if “leaning in” didn’t necessarily work to get me where I needed to be, and I had to go a different route. She, overall, left me with a feeling of hope- not false hope- but hope that we can become more. 

Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer

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Author: EXO Books

Genre: Picture Book/Holiday

Publisher: EXO Books

Pages: 60

Larry and his family are the only Jewish reindeer inhabitants of the North Pole. Larry, however, is even further excluded as he is relentlessly bullied, called names, and just treated in an all-around horrible way. That all comes to an end, though, when Larry comes up with a brilliant plan to save Christmas. 

This was such a cute and sweet book! It had everything, from laugh out loud funny parts, to all the feels parts, and a great message wrapped up in it. It is a fresh new take on a classic holiday tale. The illustrations are lovely, and really bring it to life. This would make a wonderful addition to anyone’s holiday library! 

Marshmallows and Mistletoe Review

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Author: Marianne Rice

Genre: PNR

Publisher: Star Hill Press

Pages: 145

Noel, much as her name would suggest, adores Christmas and everything about it: decorating, cooking, family time, presents, all of it! While she is visiting her parents’ home, she finds herself alone when the power is taken out during a storm. Ian and his young son have been having a pretty rough go of it, but he is really hoping that their move to Maine will be a new start for them. While taking him to see Santa, he slides off the road a crashes right in to Noel’s parents’ mailbox. Now he finds himself stranded in a strange home, with a strangely enthusiastic woman. Will this turn in to a nightmare, or turn out to be exactly what they both have been needing? 

Guys, I was not wrong to be excited about reading this while I was on my little vacation! This turned out to be exactly that “holiday movie in a book” that I was looking for. It gave me all the feels! As always, the characters were nicely developed, and felt like people that you’d want to get to know better and hang out with, The setting was wonderfully atmospheric. This was just so much fun to read and get lost in. If you’re looking for a sweet holiday romance to round out your December reads, I recommend giving this one a try! 

A Christmas Date (First Comes Love, Book 3)

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Author: Camilla Isley

Series: First Comes Love

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Pink Bloom Press

Pages: 231

 

Nikki is not a Christmas fan. In fact, she could be described as quite the grinch. She dreads the holidays and having to having to go home to face her family every year. It has been increasingly difficult since her younger sister has been in a serious relationship, and she has been seen as the “old maid”. This year is looking to be even worse, as Nikki just found out that her sister and her boyfriend (whom Nikki has long been in love with) are now engaged. Dreading this Christmas more than any in recent memory, she takes the advice of her assistant and decides to hire someone to play her boyfriend while she’s home. Luckily, her job gives her access to the perfect database to find her man. There’s only one thing that may pose a problem…she may have trouble separating business and feelings.

This was the first book in my foray in to the sweet, cozy, wintry, holiday reads that I told you guys in a previous post that I was wanting to read this season, and I will say that it was a good start. It had some fun, interesting characters. Some were maybe not completely fleshed out, but this was a short book, so it would have been a bit difficult to flesh out the secondaries more than they were. The story moved quickly, and it was all there. It is a great read if you’re looking for a sweet little holiday romance. This is the third in a series, but it is the first one that I read, and I didn’t feel that I was missing anything as far as the plot or storyline. If this is the type of book that you’re feeling in this season, give it a try!

It’s out now!

 

Breakfast, Bouchy, & Murder: A Willa Friday Food & Wine Cozy Mystery (Willa Friday Culinary Cozy Mystery, Book 4)

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Author: Jamie Lee Scott

Series: Willa Friday

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Novels & Coffee

Pages: 162

 

Willa Friday has sworn off amateur sleuthing. She is completely focused on her food blogging business. That is until a series of events drags her back in… While she is at a blogging convention, her assistant goes missing. He isn’t returning any calls, texts, or emails, which is completely unlike him. Willa returns home, and there is still no sign of him. Meanwhile, Hattie (her mother-in-law) and her girlfriends are all set for a fun day in San Francisco which should have nothing to do with Willa, until an urgent phone call from Hattie drags her in to yet another murder investigation. Are these events linked? What will Willa and Hattie get in to next?

This book was so much fun, guys! Of course, the main characters are already really well developed as this is the fourth book in the series. However, there are some new characters introduced that add some great depth to the story, and they are well fleshed out, as well. This is a cozy mystery, so there is nothing really dark or horrific, but there are still some great twists that the reader may not see coming. If you’ve been following the series, there are some fun reveals in this installment! If you’re a cozy mystery fan, I recommend this series to you. It has great characters and ongoing plot line (plus fun recipes!). You can jump in at this book and you would be able to pick up and not feel too terribly lost, but I would definitely recommend going back to the first book of the series, Pasta, Pinot, & Murder. Here is my review of that, if you’d like to see it: Pasta Pinot & Murder: A Food & Wine Cozy Mystery (Willa Friday, Book 1).

This is out now, and the buy link is below! Go, read, enjoy!!