Pretty Guilty Women

img_1724

Author: Gina LaManna

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmarks

Pages: 336

Four old college roommates, all who’ve grown apart, reunite as Whitney is to become the new Mrs. Banks at a posh resort wedding. They each have their own reasons for attending, aside from seeing Whitney wed. If nothing, it should be a relaxing weekend at the fancy resort. 

Lulu is on her latest rich husband, a Banks relative, and they are coming up on their five year mark. She is sure that her husband is hiding something, and she plans to use this trip to find out what is going on and save her marriage. Something, however, goes terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. Someone’s dead. Four separate women confess to committing the murder alone. Why would the all confess? Who is telling the truth? 

I’ve read several of Gina LaManna’s Magic & Mixology series books, so I was very excited to receive the ARC to this book. For some reason, I always enjoy reading a great thriller in the summer, and this one didn’t disappoint. I loved that, like her previous series, this is full of strong female characters. All of these characters have a great story and are well developed. Even if you don’t love them right away, you come to root for them in the end. By the end of the book, I wanted to hang out and have some wine with these ladies! The author used descriptions freely, but not so much that they got in the way of the story. The plot moved along at a steady pace, with no very slow places. This book felt very much in the same arena as Big Little Lies, Not That I Could Tell, etc, with that great blend of women’s fiction and thriller. If you are a fan of those, I feel that you would really enjoy this. I look forward to reading more from this author! (P.S. If you’re a fan of books with a lot of fun and magic- check out her Magic & Mixology series! I love it!)

This releases on 9/3/19. 

Many thanks to the publisher for the ARC! 

Advertisements

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets

img_1660

Author: Molly Fader

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Graydon House

Pages: 368

Seventeen years after their last summer together, the one that drove them apart, the McAvoy sisters have moved on. Lindy has a new life in the city and never returned home. Delia, on the other hand, never left and raises her daughters in their hometown. Now, with their mother’s health going downhill and her daughter rebelling, Delia must welcome Lindy and her helping hands home. This may give them both a chance to get back something that they’ve both been missing. When old secrets surface, will it drive them further apart or finally bring the McAvoy sisters back together? 

This is the first book that I have ready by this author. It is a very well written and poignant family drama. The characters were well written, well developed, and thoroughly fleshed out. The main characters really give you someone to root for, which is always nice! The plot was well paced and didn’t feel like slowed in many places, as can happen sometimes in family dramas. The book finished well, and it didn’t feel like the author rushed the ending to tie things up. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m happy to have read it! 

This book releases on July 16, so if this sounds like something you’d like there’s plenty of time to pre-order! 

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy!! 

 

Cursed (Underground Encounters, Book 0)

img_1659

Author: Lisa Carlisle

Series: Underground Encounters

Genre: PNR

Publisher: Indie

Pages: 78

Gargoyle shifter Lucan finds out the hard way that one should never cross a witch! When Lucan has what he believes to be a fling with a witch, she turns vengeful and locks not only him but his two brothers in to their stone forms and turns their memories cloudy. How will the brothers handle this curse? 

This is a prequel novella to the Underground Encounters series, which I know that you have have seen me rave about. These characters and the world has already been incredible well developed, so I loved that we got to see how the story of these brothers being under this curse began. We get to see the reason that they were paced under this curse and how they came to be in the state in which we find them in their individual stories. This, like the others, was incredibly well written and moves along at a great pace. It’s, of course, a quick read as it is a novella. If you’re a fan of these stories, or shifters in general, pick this up! 

The Brief

img_1657

Author: Simon Michael

Series: Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Sapere Books

Charles Holborne is a Jewish Barrister from the East End who is ostracized by his classist colleagues who don’t want him to be a part of their profession. Welcome to the 60’s! All of his feelings and anger are taking a toll on his relationships, especially with his wife whose family family believes that she married beneath her. He’s hopeful that the case that he just landed will turn things around for him, but a crime is committed that may may just make things even worse. 

I am a big fan of British mysteries and thrillers, and this was no exception. The author obviously  has knowledge of the legal system, as he did a wonderful job of detailing the system without making it sound bogged down like an essay. I really enjoyed the 1960’s setting. It made for a most interesting setting and set up for this story. The plot moved along at a really nice pace with very few slow areas. The characters were all very well developed. The main character was complex and one that I could really root for, even when I might have questioned his actions a bit. He was a bit of an anti-hero, which I love in any story. The story had enough twists and turns to keep me intrigued. I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel to see what happens next in Charles’ story! 

From Breath and Ruin (Elements of Five, Book 1)

img_1474

Author: Carrie Ann Ryan

Series: Elements of Five

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Indie

Pages: 351

Lyric is a typical eighteen-year-old girl, who has no idea what direction her life is going to take. She hasn’t really thought tings out much, aside from attending college in the fall. For as long as she can remember, she has had nightmares about monsters and these two central figures that feel very real to her. She knows that they can’t be real, though, right? 

The Maison Realm was torn apart hundreds of years ago in to warring factions of Elemental Wielders. Now factions of both light and dark have been sent to the Earth realm in an effort to find the Spirit Priestess who is prophesied to wield the Elements of Five that will bring the fractured kingdoms together. Rhodes and his sister, Rosamund, were sent from the light realm  on this mission. 

When an incident occurs while out on a hike, Lyric’s whole world is turned upside down. Everything that she thought couldn’t be true suddenly seems incredibly real and very dangerous. She is suddenly in a battle for her, and others’, survival. 

This is the first book in a new YA Fantasy series out from author Carrie Ann Ryan. She is multiple best selling author of many series in the adult arena, but this is her first foray in to the YA world. Let’s dive in! Ok, the premise: Honestly, it can be very difficult to come up with something in the YA Fantasy world that isn’t tropey or hasn’t been done and re-hashed before. Guess what- she found it! This felt fresh and not overdone. This didn’t feel like something that I have read over and over again, and I really enjoyed it. The pacing was great. It slowed a little in a couple of parts, but that happens in the first books of multiple book fantasy series when building the foundation, and it picked right back up. The characters were engaging and fleshed out well. I enjoyed learning their stories and she gave me someone to root for. The world building was wonderful! Now, this is not something new for this author. She writes PNR in the adult arena (also, if you read PNR check hers out), but this is much more detailed world building and she did a lovely job of it. I’m hoping that it keeps building even more in the books to come. Overall, I would say that Ryan’s venture in to the YA Fantasy world is a success, so far! 

The Next book in the series, From Ash and Flame, is due out in mid November & I can’t wait! 

 

Here There Are Monsters

img_1360

Author: Amelinda Berube

Genre: YA Fantasy/Thriller

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Pages: 352

Skye has grown up being the protector to her younger sister, Deirdre. Deirdre was always caught up in her games of queens, castles, and knights, and drug Skye in to them with her. She named Skye the Queen of Swords, the one that would protect her against everything, and that’s what she became. She also became an outcast because of it, the weird girl’s weird sister. When they moved to their new home, far away from their previous residence, Skye felt it was time for a new start. When they arrive, Deirdre is delighted that their new home is surrounded by woods and swamps to explore and create new kingdoms in. Skye, however, is done playing Deirdre’s games and makes a new circle of friends to call her own. Left to care for Deirdre while their parents are out one evening, Skye falls asleep and is awoken by her mother frantically looking for Deirdre. Deirdre is gone. Rescue crews continue searching to no avail, until Skye knows that she is the one who must go and find her. She must become her sister’s protector and play the games once again. 

Let’s start with the cover of this book. How creepy and beautiful is that?! It’s very fitting with the tone and story, and I just love it. Now that I got that out of the way, on to the book itself. It started out a bit slow for me, so I was a bit anxious that I wasn’t going to like it and I was not happy about that, as I went in to this very hopeful (this is definitely my kind of read!). Fortunately, it did pick up after a bit and I got in to it. The story is told in alternating time periods, as it flashes back between earlier in the girls’ childhood and present day. I did enjoy that as it gives a clearer picture as to what may have led up to the present day situation. The characters, especially the main characters, were well developed. The two main characters, Deirdre and Skye, however, were not particularly likeable characters in my opinion. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the main characters do not have to be likable for a book to read well. I do know that some readers are put off by this, so I wanted to throw it in in case this is a sticking point for you. There are some supernatural elements that come in to play as the book moves on, and this was a fun element. It is a very atmospheric book, which I believe may have been my favorite thing about the writing of this book. The author did a wonderful job of building the world/atmosphere and making it fit the story well. Where the beginning of the book suffered from a bit of a slow start, the end could have used a bit of a slow down. It felt a bit rushed to tie everything up, and left me feeling like a may have missed something. Overall, though, it was a solid read and if the author were to write something else in the same genre, I’d pick it up. 

This book will be released on August 1.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to review this.

Black Wolf (Natalya Ivanova, Book 2)

img_1326

 

Author: G.D. Abson

Genre: Crime Fiction/Thriller/Noir

Publisher: Mirror Books

Pages: 336

A woman is found dead outside of St. Petersburg. After investigating, Captain Natalya Ivanova links her to an anti-Putin activist group. A government group that has been looking in to this group steps in and shuts down her investigation before it gets anywhere. After another activist disappears, Natalya is forced to go undercover in an attempt to discover what is really going on and find the murderer. This decision could put not only her career, but her family and personal life at risk. 

I was hoping for something a bit different than my “normal” thriller when I received this copy of Black Wolf, and boy did I get it with this wonderfully written crime fiction noir. This novel grabbed me and pulled me in to the story from the very beginning, and I did not want to put it down. The writing is beautifully atmospheric, and although I’ve never been to Russia, I could picture everything vividly. The story is very much character driven, so thankfully the author does a wonderful job of writing complex and multifaceted characters. I enjoyed getting to know each of them and their stories, especially Natalya, who presented a wonderful strong female lead. This was exactly the gritty crime drama that I was looking for, and I enjoyed it immensely! This is the first of Abson’s books that I have read, but it is the second in this series. The first is Motherland, and you can bet that I will be picking that one up! 

This title releases on May 16. 

Many thanks to Mirror Books for the ARC!