Ungrateful God (Unwilling Souls, Book 2)

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Author: Gregory Little

Series: Unwilling Souls

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Pages: 464

 

Ses and the Artisan Guild are on the run, after she unwittingly revealed their headquarters while saving her father and keeping the gods imprisoned. She placed her trust in the wrong person, Murien. They now must make the long journey to their new headquarters, Ocypode. Once they arrive, however, things are not the way that they expected them to be. They are worse. Meanwhile, Murien is sent undercover in the Pit to infiltrate the apprentice smiths. Things begin happening there, and he doesn’t know who he can trust- quite the turn of events. The gods have servants who are on the move, and putting plans in to action, and Ses is forced to team up with unlikely allies to get to the bottom of it.

I was blown away by the first book in this series, Unwilling Souls. Unfortunately, a lot of time when that happens, the sequels can’t live up to the original. I am so, very, happy to say that was not the case here! The phenomenal world building from the debut only got better. The character building continued, and the characters became more complex. This story was just as gripping as the last, and was so enjoyable to read. I look forward to much more from this author!

Strawberry Kisses (Rocky Harbor, Book 2)

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Author: Marianne Rice

Series: Rocky Harbor

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Limitless

 

Rachel Riley, Graham’s younger sister, is back in Rocky Harbor after being rescued from her abusive ex-boyfriend in California. She is home and safe now, but she is not back to herself at all. The only place that she seems to have found solace is in the comfort of the kitchen, where she is a fantastic chef. Lucy, their younger sister, decides to try to help Rachel find her strength again by signing them up to take a self-defense class.

The class happens to be taught by the bad boy turned good, Jake Morgan. Jake has a sordid past, but he has turned his life around, and teaching the class is part of his way of giving back. He takes a particular interest in Rachel, in a way that he has never done with a student before. The attraction is mutual, and they find themselves falling in love. When a huge part of their pasts collide, will their love be enough to see them through or will it all fall apart?

This is the second book in the Rocky Harbor series (the first was Staying Grounded, which you’ll remember- I LOVED!), and it was just as delectable as the first! The groundwork for Rachel’s character was laid in the Staying Grounded, as it was mentioned that she has been in an abusive relationship, but she continued to be built in to a character that you can’t help but fall in love with. Jake’s character was phenomenally well developed, and turned in to the ultimate book boyfriend. This story kept me just as engaged as the first, and I wanted to read it in one sitting (it ultimately took two). I highly recommend this book and series.

 

Big Little Lies

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Author: Liane Moriarty

Genre: Thriller/Psych Thriller

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 460

 

Someone is dead… Was it murder, an accident, or somewhere in between? Welcome to the Pirriwee Peninsula in the suburbs of Australia, where everyone knows everyone, or so it would seem. Jane, a young mother to five-year-old Ziggy, has just moved here to start over. She is young enough that she is mistaken as a nanny. She befriends Madeline, who is as outspoken as they come, has a teenage daughter whom she fears that she is losing, and a son in Ziggy’s class. Her ex-husband and his wife have also moved to the Peninsula, and have a daughter the same age, in the same class. We also meet Celeste, a beauty to behold, with rambunctious twin boys, a wealthy corporate husband, and a mind that is constantly running in circles. With them, along with the rest of the cast, we learn that it’s the little lies, that could have the largest impact.

This is the first of Liane Moriarty’s novels that I have read. I admit that I, initially, picked it up because I wanted to watch the miniseries, and I won’t watch until I have read the book. (Yes, I am one of those people!) I am very glad that I picked it up! This book reminds me of a cross between Pretty Little Liars and Desperate Housewives- It was delicious! Once I got in to it, I didn’t want to put it down. The characters are all well fleshed out, with very individual personalities that allow the reader to decide to love or hate them (or somewhere in between). It really took me until very close to the reveal to decide what the answer to the actual mystery was, but I didn’t see the twist coming! I will definitely give another of her books a try in the future.

Little Heaven

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Author: Nick Cutter

Genre: Supernatural Thriller/Suspense

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 496

 

It’s 1966 and Micah, Ebenezer, and Minerva are assassins for hire, the best mercenaries of their time, and they all end up in the same place to kill one another. Needless to say, this does not turn out well. They band together, and are all hired by a woman to do a welfare check on her nephew, who has been taken by her father in to a religious compound known as Little Heaven. This leads to them having to face off with the Biggest Bad that any of them have ever faced before. Cut to 1980 and Micah’s daughter has been taken by one of the bad dude’s minion’s as what he knows is a lure to lead them back to Little Heaven to face off once again.

This book was strange, thrilling, and had nice horror elements all at once. It shifts between the “original” story of 1966 and the “present day” story of 1980, so the reader gets some nice world building for the supernatural elements, and a great backstory. The character development for the main characters was very well done, aside from the “standard” of using rape as one of the female’s main motivations. It is overused, overdone, and I know I am not the only one that is really wishing that authors would, please, come up with another backstory to use for their female characters to motivate them. It is not discussed often throughout this novel, really only in the divulging of her story, but if the mention of it is a trigger- here is your trigger warning. It is also a bit heavy on the racist slurs as part of the dialogue. That could have been cut down a bit. As to the story itself, I really enjoyed it very much! This was my first Cutter book, and his writing style reminded me a bit of King whom I am a huge fan of. It even seemed to borrow some elements from King stories, although not shamelessly or in any sort of a plagiarized manner. If you are a fan of the horror/supernatural suspense genre, I think that you would probably enjoy this novel. I will definitely be reading more Cutter novels in the future.

Thanks to Gallery Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Shanghai Bandit

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Author: Eric Qiao

Genre: Fiction/Light Thriller

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Pages: 276

 

It all started with a bank robbery…by two parties…at once… Oh, right, then one robber has a stroke during the heist. Enter Vietnam Vet turned bank teller Major Chin, who offers to help the robber escape, and take the dude to the hospital. While travelling, the guy recovers from his stroke, and decides to hijack the earnings. Major Chin decides that he has a better plan for a heist, and they’re off for another robbery…

This was a quick read, that was quite a bit of fun to get through. It was filled with a great cast of characters, who each had personality. The main characters were pretty well fleshed out, and were fun to follow, though maybe not as well as in his debut (I will give that the debut focused on fewer characters and was bit longer). The book had some nice, subtle commentary on racial profiling/stereotyping, that is relevant to our society at present, but was nicely tempered with the abundant humor throughout the book, so it didn’t feel like it was being forced upon the reader. After reading this sophomore novel, it is clear that Qiao is finding his writing style, and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

The Library at Mount Char

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Author: Scott Hawkins

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Broadway Books

Pages: 388

 

Carolyn and her adopted siblings have been raised in the Library, by Father, since their parents were all killed in an incident many years before. They are all Librarians, in the broadest sense. They are tasked with, collectively, learning literally everything- each about their own catalog. Father, however, wrote the Library. He is what one would consider a god of the age. The problem: Father is missing, and possibly dead. The Librarians know that there will be a battle brewing to take his place, and Carolyn has been preparing for that. She has a plan…

 

This was one of the strangest, and most odd, novels that I have read in a very long time possibly ever- and I loved every second of it! This dark fantasy gripped me from the beginning, because I just needed to figure out what was going on. Honestly, I’m not sure that I really did until close to the end. The structure was laid out in a very different way, but it really worked for this novel. The characters were all very well developed, and fully fleshed out, especially the MCs. I wasn’t entirely sure what to think about Carolyn, the protagonist, throughout most of the book. I liked her, I disliked her, then I rooted for her again. The world building was spectacular. While it is technically set in “our world”, it’s a different world altogether. (Sorry, it’s a bit difficult to explain without spoilers!) I will reveal to you that there were some scenes that may be a bit difficult for some readers. They are not gratuitously placed, in my opinion, they fit in to the plot of the novel. If you want a story that will keep you wondering what is going to happen next, scratching your head, and that is wholly original (not something I can say very often!)- this book may just be for you!

Fangs for the Memories (Dragon Tails Book 2)

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Author: Annette Blair

Series: Dragon Tails

Genre: PNR

Publisher: MacMillan

Pages: 222

 

Darkwyn is a Scottish warrior whose clan was cursed to turn in to dragons long ago, and banished to an uncharted island on another plane. He has once again been turned to man, as he was sent through the veil to Salem, in search of his heart mate. Only in finding her and aligning his life goals with hers, will he be able to defeat Killian, the evil crone who cursed his clan. Bronte and her nephew, Zachary, are on the run from the mob. Upon seeing her as he first arrives, Darkwyn knows that she is to be his heart mate. The problem: she is reluctant to admit that she feels it too, and that she needs him as much as he needs her. Will they be able to work together to save both of their families?

As she has done previously, with the now entitled Eating Bees in Bed, Fangs for the Memories is a re-worked version of an earlier Blair novel, Vampire Dragon. It has some altered scenes, character alterations, etc in order to improve the novel. This is one of Blair’s novels that I have not read before, so I cannot give an honest comparison to the original work. I can say that I truly enjoyed this version. The characters were well fleshed out, and had great personality. The scenes were all descriptive enough to give the reader great visualization and imagery. The story flowed beautifully, and there was never a lull in the storyline, which allows the reader to get lost in the story easily and makes it read quickly. This was a lovely end to this duology (this is book 2 of 2), as it wrapped up the story with a very satisfying ending. If you like shifters (this one is dragons, which are my favorite!), I think that you will really enjoy these!

I have been a fan of Annette Blair for quite a while; since I read Kitchen Witch several years ago. Hers was the first paranormal that I read, and the reason that I fell in love with this genre. Her writing is always beautiful, and a joy to read. She is a legend in her genre, and I am so thrilled to see new releases from her! If you are looking for fun PNR, I highly recommend her work!