Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Lately, I've been in the mood to read thriller books. It's unusual for me because it's not my usual genre. I think it's because there has been a lot of hype for the thriller genre lately on booktube, and I watch a lot of booktube. I see Stillhouse Lake all the time on Amazon, and it catches my eye, so I decided to pick it up. I loved everything about it.

Stillhouse Lake was a suspenseful thrill ride every second that I spent reading it. Just when I thought that the book was going t be predictable because I had everything figured out, the plot would go in a completely different direction, and throw me off again. It kept me second guessing everything I thought I knew. I never did figure out the two big plot twists before they were revealed. I was shocked. I just sat there thinking "No, this can't be happening, this can't be right!" as I was reading. My jaw dropped.

Rachel Caine has a way of writing that makes it easy to be drawn into her character's worlds. I loved the main character, Gwen. She was a strong woman that did whatever it takes to keep herself and her kids safe, no matter what else she has to sacrifice along the way. It's a sign of a great writer that can make you feel all of the emotions the main character is reading. When Gwen was scared, I felt myself tensing up and having anxiety as I was reading. There were several times where I cried as well, due to the situations she was going through, and being able to feel her emotions.

I loved Stillhouse Lake so much. The book is one of my favorite thrillers that I've read over the past few years. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Killman's Creek. The ending of Stillhouse Lake absolutely killed me with the somewhat cliffhanger that happened. I need ot know what happens next, especially between Gwen and a certain side character that I really trusted and liked that betrayed her. I will probably end up starting Killman's Creek today, and just marathoning the whole thing in one day because I can't get enough.  

I give Stillhouse Lake: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://rachelcaine.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelcainefanpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelcaine
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelcainewriter/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15292.Rachel_Caine

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Hate F*@k 1-3 by Ainsley Booth

I push her buttons. I want to push them in the good way. Dirty, up-against-the-wall, my-hand-in-her-pants kind of way.
But that’s not possible, because I’m dark and she’s light, and we both know it.
So I push her buttons in the bad way, making her hate me.

If a genie granted me three wishes, I’d ask for Cole Parker to never look at me again, that I’d forget the dark promise in his eyes, and that just once, before he vanished from my life completely, that he’d push me up against a wall and make me scream.
Then I’d go wash my mouth out with soap. 

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Sometimes, I have a bad habit of picking up books for strange reasons. I like reading books based on their cover, or an interesting, weird, or funny title. Therefore, when I saw Hate F*@k by Ainsley Booth, I knew I had to read it based on the title alone. Unfortunately, it left me disappointed. I didn't enjoy the book at all.

There were so many things that I didn't like about Hate F*@k that I'm not sure where to start. I guess I should start with the male main character, Cole. He was a jerk, borderline on being emotionally and mentally abusive. He was very controlling and possessive. Sometime with alpha male characters, that's not a bad thing. However, he took it too far, especially int he first part of the book. It made me extremely uncomfortable to read, and definitely made the whole series a less enjoyable reading experience. He did get better towards the third part, but still not enough to forgive him for his previous actions.

Another thing I didn't like about the Hate F*@k is that things weren't explained clearly. With Cole's job, the reader is kind of left in to infer what happens. I don't like that. The author does try to explain it at one point, but it's explained in such a confusing way that the reader is still left to infer a lot of the important details by the end of the third part. Speaking of, I also didn't like how abruptly the book ended. It seemed like there were a lot of unresolved issues going on with the Cole, Hailey, and The Horus Group. There is a sequel, but it's not about the same characters, so I don't know that all of those will get resolved.

All in all, I did not enjoy Hate F*@k at all. The love interest was controlling, among other things, almost to the point of being borderline abusive. The only reason why I'm giving it two stars is because I really enjoyed Wilson's character. He cracked me up in his interactions with Hailey. I also loved his knitting scenes. There is a sequel to this book. I own it because I got it free on Kindle quite some time ago. I don't think that I will read it though because of how much I disliked this book. 

I give Hate F*@k: 2/5. 

Want to know more about the author?
Website:  http://ainsleybooth.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ainsleyboothreadergroup/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ainsleyboothwrites/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10796196.Ainsley_Booth

I received parts 1-3 from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon


Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.
As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently, I've been trying really hard to finish books that have been on my TBR for a long time. There are authors that I own almost every single book of theirs, and have only read one or two. Amy Harmon is one of those authors. I've bought all of her books because a Facebook group I am in hypes up her books all the time. I recently decided I wanted to read some of those books, so I started with From Sand and Ash. I'm so glad I did. It was a heartbreaking, beautiful book.

When going into From Sand and Ash, I expected it to be a hard hitting book due to the time period it was set in, and the subject matter. I still wasn't prepared for the emotion the book made me feel. I listened to it on audiobook from Audible, and I think that heightened my emotions. Amy Harmon wrote such an impactful story that the reader can't help but be moved while reading. There were several times where I just started sobbing because I was so heartbroken for these characters and what they went through, and what millions of people went through in real life. Before reading this, I knew quite a bit about WWII for the Germans, but never knew much about how it impacted the Italian community. It was eye opening, and heartbreaking, to learn about the issues they faced.

Not only did Amy Harmon write a great story line, but she wrote some of my favorite characters that I've read about so far this year. I loved watching the dynamic between Eva and Angelo. I loved seeing their love, not only for each other, but for those around them as well. They loved with all of their heart and soul, regardless of the consequences. They might be some of the most compassionate characters I've ever read about, which I loved. Amy Harmon has a way of making you fall in love with all of her characters, even the side characters. There wasn't a single character in this book that I absolutely hated. Even some of the villains, I felt a brief moment of compassion for. That's the sign of a reading a book by a great writer.

From Sand and Ash is one of those books that pulls the reader in, and doesn't let go until you've finished the book hours later. I loved it. I couldn't move from my seat until I had finished listening to the whole thing. It makes me even more excited to read the backlog of Amy Harmon books that I own. I think the next one I'm going to pick up will be What the Wind Knows, her most recent release, because I want more of her writing set in the early 1900s.

I give From Sand and Ash: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.authoramyharmon.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramyharmon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aharmon_author
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amy.harmon2/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoramyharmon/
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/amy-harmon
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbxWykpRGYyQOzwhNgtH-QA
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829056.Amy_Harmon

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Vampire Knight volume 1 by Matsuri Hino

Yuki Cross has no memory of her past prior to the moment she was saved from a vampire attack ten years ago. She was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and now works alongside Zero to guard the Academy's secret. Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy's dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires!
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I love reading manga. It's been a hobby of mine ever since I was in middle school about fifteen years ago. Every now and then I like to re-read a favorite manga series of mine to remember why I fell in love with reading manga in the first place. I recently decided to re-read the first volume of Vampire Knight, which was one of my favorites when I was younger. It definitely held up to the test of time.

I've always loved the premise of Vampire Knight. A school just for vampires during the night, and a girl who is one of the only humans to know about both day night and night class has always intrigued me. The manga has some of my favorite tropes, such as a girl trying to decide between the good guy and the bad guy, vampires, and a secret school/secret classes. In fact, the only thing I don't like about the first volume of Vampire Knight is that when it is in black and white, Zero and Kaname are drawn so similarly that it can be hard to tell them apart. After the first few chapters, it gets easier because you can recognize their different personalities. Before that, it can be a little frustrating though.

I've always loved Vampire Knight, but re-reading the first volume as an adult gave me a whole new appreciation for this series. I remembered why I loved it so much in the first place, even though parts of it can be a little frustrating. I plan on reading the rest of the series because I own all of it. After that, I think I will binge watch the anime as well. I've only ever seen the first season all the way through, so that should be a really fun time.  

I give Vampire Knight volume 1: 4/5.

Want to know where to buy this book?
 I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Deepest Poison by Beth Cato

Octavia Leander, a young healer with incredible powers, has found her place among Miss Percival's medicians-in-training. Called to the frontlines of a never-ending war between Caskentia and the immoral Wasters, the two women must uncover the source of a devastating illness that is killing thousands of soldiers. But when Octavia's natural talents far outshine her teacher's, jealousy threatens to destroy their relationship—as time runs out to save the encampment.

Fans of Beth Cato's debut, The Clockwork Dagger, will love this journey into Octavia's past—as well as an exclusive excerpt from the sequel, The Clockwork Crown!

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Usually I'm not a big fan of reading half books in a series (0.5, 1.5, 2.5, etc etc). I find them to be random filler just used to make money off of a series that fans love ninety-nine percent of the time. On a whim, I decided to pick The Deepest Poison, which is book 0.5 in the Clockwork Dagger series because I needed something to increase my Goodreads challenge. I'm glad I did. I was shocked to find that I loved it.

The Deepest Poison has slightly changed my mind about how I feel about half books in a series. For being just a few pages, it had a fascinating plot that I found intriguing. The book also did well with making the magic system easy to understand without fully explaining it. I found it to be incredibly intriguing. I was pulled into the world immediately. Lastly, I was shocked that I found myself actually caring a lot about the characters. For only having a short time to be introduced to them, I found myself dying to know what was going to happen to them. By the end of the book, I felt connected to both of them, and wanted to read more about their lives.

For being such a short novella, I was surprised how much I loved The Deepest Poison. Even though it was so short, it packed a powerful punch. It made me want to be more open minded about reading half books in a series, even though I usually dislike them. As soon as I finish typing this review, I plan on binge reading the rest of The Clockwork Dagger series. I want to learn more about these characters, and about this intriguing world.  

I give The Deepest Poison: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.bethcato.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beth.cato
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BethCato
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2937730.Beth_Cato

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kiss the Girl by Tara Sivec

A struggling antiques collector finds herself falling in love with a millionaire playboy; but can she ever be a part of his world?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

While her friends have broken free of their insecurities, Ariel Waters is struggling to come out of her shell. Her ex-husband took away her voice and her self-confidence, and Ariel is drowning under a sea of debt to afford the alimony she has to pay him. She refuses to ever fall for a man’s charms again, and is determined to make her own way.

When her house and her beloved antiques are taken by the bank after too many missed payments, Ariel finds herself adrift until the infuriatingly charming Eric Sailor comes to her rescue. Although she can’t stand the millionaire playboy, Eric’s kindness and unconditional support reveal hidden depths and a love that Ariel never imagined she could find.

But there are outside influences who will stop at nothing to keep them apart; can Ariel and Eric weather the storm and find a way to be together?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
This year, one of my main reading goals has been to complete series that I've started. Due to that, I recently decided to pick up the last book in the Naughty Princess Club series, Kiss the Girl. The series is by one of my favorite authors, Tara Sivec. I've read most of her books and loved them. Kiss the Girl was no exception to that.

Out of all of the books in the Naughty Princess Club series, I was looking forward to Kiss the Girl the most. It definitely didn't disappoint. Ariel is my favorite character in this series, so I loved reading from her perspective. I love her sassy, sarcastic humor that she uses as a coping mechanism. She makes me laugh so much with her outlandish, vulgar humor. She's definitely someone that I would love to have as a best friend in real life. She always sticks up for her friends, and doesn't take any crap from anyone. I especially loved a certain scene between her and her ex Sebastian towards the end of the book. She's such a strong, kick butt female.

There was only one thing that kind of took away from my reading experience, which was a minor detail. In the first two books in the series, the comparisons to Disney princess are more subtle. In this book, it feels like the reader is being hot over the head with them. The references are constantly shoved in the readers face, which can be slightly annoying at times. I think that's more of a personal preference though. I enjoy when books are more subtle about their hints and references to other things because it's almost like a treasure hunt trying to find them while reading.

Even with that minor annoyance, I loved Kiss the Girl. In fact, I loved the Naughty Princess Club series in general. From my understanding, Tara Sivec has said that she's not going to write anymore books in this series. I wish she would though because I really want more of these characters and this world. There is a character that shows up for the first time towards the end of Kiss the Girl that I kept picturing as Jasmine, based on her looks. I would love a book about her.

I give Kiss the Girl: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://tarasivec.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaraSivec.authorpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tarasivec
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authortarasivec/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/tarasivec/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6422281.Tara_Sivec

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange or an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Infraction by Rachel Van Dyken


Pro footballer Miller Quinton would do anything for his best friend and teammate—including “fake dating” his friend’s sister. What no one knows is that seven months ago in Vegas, Miller and Kinsey did a whole lot more than just kiss. Miller knows that this cheerleader is off-limits to him and any guy on the team. Still, he can’t stop himself.

Kinsey’s whole world is on the verge of crumbling. Her dad has cancer. Her overprotective brother is falling apart. Dating Miller may be a fake-out, but he’s the one guy who can make her forget about everything—including all the reasons she stayed away from football players. With each heated moment, Miller feels more like a safe place…even though he’s not safe at all.

Now temptation is testing every rule in the game of love. But how long can they go on playing when winning is a harder goal than either of them imagined?
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently, I read Fraternize, which is the first book in the Player's Game duology by Rachel Van Dyken. I loved the book. I've made it a goal of mine this year to marathon series until I have completed them, that way I don't forget anything in between books. I picked up the next book in the series, Infraction, almost as soon as I was done typing my review for Fraternize. I loved it even more than the first book.

Just as an FYI, my review of Infraction will contain spoilers for the first book in the series, Fraternize. There's no real way to talk about the plot of Infraction without spoiling Fraternize, so stop here if you haven't read the first book. All of that being said, I thought that Infraction was a great sequel. I loved the chemistry between Miller and Kinsey. I didn't think it was possible, but I love them even more than I loved Sanchez and Emerson. I think it's because Kinsey is such a snarky female main character. She doesn't take any crap from anyone. She also uses her sarcasm as a coping mechanism to hide her pain, which I can definitely identify with. I think that, among other things, makes her a very relatable character that you can't help but love. I would go into my thoughts on Miller as well, but everyone who has read my review of the first book already knows that I loved his character.

Infraction was definitely a step up from the first book in the series as far as the plot goes as well. If you read my review of Fraternize, you know I had a couple of issues with some plot points. Those were fixed in Infraction. I didn't find this book to be predictable at all. Kinsey's big secret floored me. I had no idea that was what was going to be revealed. I also didn't predict what was revealed about Jax and the woman he ended up being with at the end at all. Even the plot hole that I had an issue with in Fraternize was resolved, which was a relief to me. It was one of the main things that drove me crazy in the first book, so having it resolved made Infraction such a much more enjoyable reading experience.

Rachel Van Dyken's books are always are some of my favorite things to read. Infraction definitely continued that trend in my life. I could easily see this becoming one of my favorite books of the year when I make my list at the end of the year. It really took the characters that I knew and loved from Fraternize, and stepped it up. It also did the same with the plot. My advice is that if you're going to listen to the audiobook, don't do it in public though. I cried like a baby throughout the last fourth of the book because she makes you feel such an emotional connection to the characters, and what they are going through. I can't wait to catch up on more of her books that I've recently missed out on.

I give Infraction: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachvd/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4882127.Rachel_Van_Dyken

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.