Author: Evelyn Skye
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Sora and her gemina, Daemon, are apprentices in the Society of Taigas- warriors who are chosen by the goddess Luna and trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect Kichona. The kingdom has been relatively free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion a decade before, when the now Empress Aki had to fight her twin, Prince Gin, to the death for rule of Kichona. He was letting the power go to his head and was set to lead the kingdom in a dangerous direction. While on a scouting mission in the time leading up to their graduation, Sora and Daemon come up on an encampment that seems a bit off. They make a decision that may change Sora’s life and the life of everyone’s life around her forever.
This is the first book in a new duology from the phenomenal Evelyn Skye (you’ll remember her from my gushing about The Crown’s Game duology!)!! This book was beautiful! I mean that in every way. The cover was beautiful, the writing was beautiful, the plot was beautiful, you get the point. Let me break it down for you, though. Obviously, you can see the cover, and it is even prettier in person (I’m a sucker for a pretty hardcover). The characters were all so well developed. The two main characters, Sora and Daemon, were obviously the most fleshed out, as they are the focal point of the story. The secondary characters, however, also have great stories, were incredibly well developed through the story, and a couple of them actually ended up being some of my favorites. The plot is fresh and new, which is something that I was looking for. It moved along at a great pace, so this long book really read quickly. Honestly, The Crown’s Game duology is one of my absolute favorite series (one that I recommend very often), so I was a little afraid. Trust me when I say that I was not disappointed in the least! I’m just sad I have to wait for the next one to find out what happens now. If you’re looking for a new, fun YA fantasy give this one a try!
Author: Jamie Lee Scott
Series: Gotcha Detective Agency
Publisher: Novels & Coffee
Mimi and Nick have gotten married and have settled in to their beautiful new home. Married life seems to be going well, and all seems to be just perfect. But is anything ever really as perfect as it seems? Something always has to come along and rock the boat. When Charles offers Mimi cruise tickets as a way to escape the chaos she, of course, jumps at the opportunity. With Charles and Mimi on board, though, a relaxing cruise was never going to be just a relaxing cruise!
It was so much fun to be back in the world of the Gotcha Detective Agency! I had been waiting to see what happened after the end of book eleven, and book twelve did not disappoint! The ongoing storyline just got better, and the new mystery was a lot of fun. There was a bit of a “closed-door” mystery feel to it, as it was on a ship with limited access and limited suspects. Those have always been some of my favorite mysteries to read. The central characters have, of course, been well fleshed out over the course of twelve books. Scott did a wonderful job, however, with the introduction of the new characters and giving them great personalities, stories, and giving me a reason to feel some way about them. She also succeeded in giving this book great setting and atmosphere, as it was set mostly in a different setting than the usual Gotcha book. Overall, it was the reading experience that I was waiting for, and I’m looking forward to the next one!
Author: Lisa Carlisle
Series: Highland Gargoyles
Gavin, the last single member of his and his brothers’ band, fully intends to stay that way: single, wild, and free. That is until he meets Fiona, the woman that he can’t seem to get off of his mind. She’s a human, though. Surely she, of all creatures, can’t be his mate. Fiona is a reporter that has been drawn to the world of supernaturals since the death of her friend when they were children. When a stranger comes snooping around asking about Gavin and his brothers, Fiona is weary. Although there are rumors of things that happen at some of their concerts, she has no reason to truly believe that Gavin is anything other than human. She has, after all, seem him up close and personal. Gavin can never let the truth about he and his brothers out in to the world, or it would put them all at risk. To what lengths will they all go, in the end, to find out the truths that they seek and protect what they love?
As with the previous books in this series, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well written, as always, and as fleshed out as possible for a book that is under 200 pages. They were all interesting and were pretty easy to either root for or dislike. As this is the seventh and last book in the series, the world building is complete, however the author did a wonderful job of rounding it out in this installment. I will admit that Gavin’s story was not my favorite of the brothers’ stories in this series, but it was still a great story and a strong way to finish it out. It was fun to return to this world again. Though this is the final book in the series, it can be read as a standalone like the others (although, I would recommend reading them- they’re all a good time!). I’m sad to have to leave the unique gargoyle shifters behind, but I’m sure I’ll return to their Isle from time to time to visit!
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books
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!
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Genre: Psych Thriller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
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.
Author: Michelle Obama
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.
Author: EXO Books
Genre: Picture Book/Holiday
Publisher: EXO Books
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!