Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Retreat by Mark Edwards

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Lucas has gone to retreat for writers in his hometown in Wales. He has been struggling to write his new book, and he hoped that reconnecting with his past would help him come up with an idea. He is floored when Julia tells him about how her husband died and her daughter disappeared. He decides that he needs to help her find out.

So he hires a private investigator to look into Lily's disappearance. She finds a couple of leads before she too disappears. Soon Lucas is looking into it on his own when he finds out the story of the Widow. He wonders what secrets this place holds. Meanwhile, at the retreat strange things are happening.

Lucas hears a little girl singing a song in Welsh, but think he is crazy another guest hears it as well. Soon they are all wondering if there is a ghost or something darker in this sleepy Welsh town. Can Lucas uncover the truth before it is too late?

I am not totally sure how realistic this was, but it was engaging and I was trying to figure out if it would be a simple human thing or something with an edge of paranormal. I couldn't stop reading it. I really like Lucas and Julia. Most of the other characters were not very likable, but all added to the story in some way.

Not sure I love the ending but way to keep it shocking. I can't wait to read more by this author.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak

Thank you to Page Street Books for a copy of the ARC in exchange for a fair review.

Gemma is going to meet the King Above and she is baring bad news, but she is even more shocked when Prince Tollan meets her and informs her that he is the new King Above, and he is taken aback when she informs him that she is the new Queen Below.

However, they both know something is wrong when they compare the way the King and Queen died and it was similar and when Prince Tollan falls ill, Gemma begins to suspect the mage women are behind all of this.

As she works with Tollan and others to figure out what is going on the conspiracy deepens even further. When she barely survives an assassination attempt she knows that time is running out.

I have to say this rather short compared to most fantasy type books. However, it was interesting with a lot of good concepts. I think it would have been amazing if this more than a standalone or if it had been fleshed out a tad more as a standalone. I felt like I was just hitting the surface and didn't get deep enough.

I am not sure I had a chance to connect or care about any of the characters or their relationships. Which is a shame because several of them were really interesting and I wanted to care. Overall for a debut novel it is good book and I look forward to seeing what else this author comes up with.

Obscura by Joe Hart

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Gillian Ryan has been working on a cure for Losian's since her husband was diagnosed with it. She has been running out of funding and time since her daughter was diagnosed as well. Losian's is new aggressive form of dementia. Once her funding runs, she surprised by a visit from an old boyfriend.

Carson is offering the chance of the lifetime for Gillian. She has a chance to go to space and study people who are affected by similar symptoms as Losian's. The difference is no one is for sure what is causing their symptoms except that they were all using a teleportation device.

But, Gillian has a bit of a secret too, since her daughter was diagnosed she has slipped back into her addiction.  She secretly hopes this trip will help her get clean, but shortly after they leave she finds out that she was lied too, and they aren't going to a nearby space station. They are on there way to Mars, and Gillian isn't happy.

I would get into more but spoilers. I have to say this isn't what I was expecting. I didn't actually read the whole synopsis so I was expecting a mystery and I did get that, but I also got a fantastic space read. It reminded me of some movies or movie that I have seen (the names are eluding me at the moment) where the narrator is unreliable or maybe something crazy is going on. So you don't know what is going, who is crazy, and all in the setting of space which just seems to fit that situation so well that they are made for each other.

This might not have been the thriller I was expecting but it was science fiction done right. I am weird about my science fiction. It is very hit or miss for me, sometimes I love certain things and I will hate something else. This appealed to everything I love a dark mystery, space, crazy, violence, and one woman desperately trying to figure it all out or is she just crazy?

Friday, May 4, 2018

The hidden character in A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight just dropped into the public's hands this Tuesday May 4th and the collective fandom is already losing their minds. (Me included) 

This is a "spoilery" review so if you'd rather be left in the dark about what happens I can respect that and caution you not to read any farther.  If you are desperate for any nugget of information that you don't care about spoilers then read ahead but either way YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

So I finished the first read of this new novella in a day. It's not necessarily a long read but there are a lot of elements weaving in out of each other between all of the characters which is exactly what you would expect to see in a bridging novella. We're going to explore a lot of those elements in future blog posts but for today I want to talk about about the hidden character in each of S.J. Maas's ACOTAR books. We hear of this character for the first time in a very vague sense in A Court of Thorns and Roses when Tamlin is explaining to Feyre that his family was killed by a rival court which we later discover was Rhysand's court but that's not the whole story. It's later discovered by Feyre that the reason behind this slaying is because Tamlin's family (minus Tam's mom) killed Rhysand's mother and sister and the slaying of Tamilin's family was revenge for that crime. 

In A Court of Mist and Fury we hear a bit more about this character as Rhys expresses his admiration for the woman who raised him. He calls her "soft fire", he explains to Feyre that she was low born, a seamstress, and the mate to his father. She is the one who gives the ring to The Weaver of the Wood and then extracts a promise from Rhysand that he'll make whoever he plans to marry retrieve it from her. We get to further know about the characters as Cassian tells the story of how the three of them met at the Illyrian camp when they were all children. Weaving in and out of all four of the now published books is the story of Rhysand's mother. I call her the "hidden character" because her story is subtle but important and in this latest book we discover what is perhaps the most sought after answer in all of the books. 

"Where does Rhysand get the dresses he puts Feyre in?" 

We've all theorized about these dresses. S.J. Maas goes to great length to describe these garments in her books going so far as to have Morrigan herself make numerous remarks on them. Some of us wanted to believe that it was Rhysand who created them. Some theorized it was The Weaver of the Wood and Rhysand working together, still other's believed it could have been dresses worn by previous high ladies to the Night Court but whatever your theories were NONE of us expected it to be Rhysand's MOM! For me that was the biggest reveal in this whole book. We finally get to know who made those dresses. If you read that scene and it didn't hurt your heart then you are dead inside my friend. Dead inside!

Now as a mother with two sons I can say in complete confidence that Rhys's mom is GOALS for all moms with sons. 

1. She realizes early on that her son will be hunted form the moment she conceives him and so pursues an upbringing that will give him the tools he needs to not only survive bu to Flourish!

2. She figures out that her mate is a cold blooded, ruthless, jerk and correctly theorizes that it's the exposure to this noxious court that may have twisted her mate. So she comes up with a brilliant solution. Raise him outside the court after he turns 8. She brings him to the Illyrian camp under the guise of having him trained as an Illyrian warrior and sharing her culture with her son. She manages to not only raise him away from the court (thereby ensuring she limits the corruption) but ALSO has him live in a humble house, continues his lessons, shows compassion to a bastard born nobody, demonstrating the correct behavior to her son at all times. #MOMGOALS

3. She knows exactly what the rest of the world thinks of her mate and their territory. She knows exactly what it's going to take  for a woman to be a fitting mate for her son and she takes steps to ensure that that woman is worthy. Not just worthy but capable of doing what needs to be done. A woman that would be a true equal to her son and she gives the ring to the weaver in the wood to ensure it. Then she goes one step farther and makes Rhysand promise that whatever mate he has he'll make her retrieve  the ring from the Weaver and explains to him that if she can't survive that task she'll never survive the marriage.

4. She's a seamstress by trade by Rhysand tells us she actually loved doing this work. That means she created and made all of these beautiful clothes for her son's future mate out of love. Lover for her son and for the future woman her son would love. 

5. My theory about all of this is that Rhysand's mother some how knew or guessed that she wouldn't be around to ensure these things herself so she put her thought, time, and energy into safe guarding her only child even if she were dead. She had to know about Feyre because each of these dresses is sewn to fit her. So some kind of way she knows what Feyre looks like, she knows enough about her future daughter in law to sew dresses for her Trousseau. 

Rhysand's mom is the real MVP of this series!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What you Want to See by Kristen Lepionka

Thank you to Netgalley and Minotaur Books for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Roxane is back, she had been tailing Marin to see if she was being unfaithful until the client's check bounced. Now however, Tom and another Detective have shown up at her door and are asking her questions about Marin. It seems that someone shot her, and they think it was Arthur her client.

Roxane heads back to Arthur's to see what he has to say, but he seems more confused than ever. Although he did find out that Marin was stealing money from him. Roxane begins to dig deeper into Marin and soon the rabbit hole is out of control.

Will Roxane be able to find and stop the killer before her family pays the price? Will she unravel all the strands fast enough?

Usually I would say quite a bit more about the story but this had so many strands that I didn't want to reveal one of them and give things away. This was another brilliant Roxane story. What I love most about this was it so realistic to a degree. All the tangled webs of people not being exactly who we think they are.

It allows to realize that we don't always know the people we think we know, and that we don't always know what they are capable of. I read this in one sitting, I couldn't put it down. I also love that you don't necessarily need to read the first one, although I highly recommend you start there to read and understand this one. I can't wait to see what Roxane does next!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Dying To See You by Kerena Swan

Thank you to Bloodhound Books and Netgalley for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Sophie has taken on a new position as a carer for Ivy. At first, she doesn't realize that meeting Ivy's grandson Max is going to change everything. But lately she is feeling like someone is watching her. As her relationship with both Ivy and Max deepens little does she know that is it is going to cause problems.

Ivy doesn't like that Max is growing closer to Sophie. She is jealous of it and Max knows that this is dangerous. So Sophie is blindsided when Max fires her company as carers for Ivy.

I know this is vague even by my standards, but there is a lot going on in this novel and I feel like revealing some things will take away from the story. That being said I also didn't like this novel as much as I thought I would. It was confusing because the story was told from a couple different points of views and alternated between first and third which added to the confusion.

For me this was a bit of a let down, I was not all that thrilled because I spent most of my time being confused as to what any twist would be, so when it was revealed I wasn't invested at all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Girl I used to be by Mary Torjussen

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Gemma is successful real estate agent with her own company. She is married with a young son, and is feeling the pangs of the housing market and her husband staying at home to raise their son. She heads off to London for a few days to attend a conference. She is surprised when she runs into David a potential client.

She agrees to meet him for dinner and after too many glasses of wine she is feeling more than a little drunk. But when she wakes up in the morning she can't remember anything past the kiss at her hotel door. She puts it out of her mind and really doesn't think anything of it, until the receipt from the restaurant is mailed to her. Even then it all easy to dismiss until the picture arrives, and the instagram messages.

She hasn't said a word to Joe, but now she afraid of what happened or what she can't remember and all the lies she has told him. She decides to go to the police with what has happened so far especially since she has discovered that David isn't who he says he is. Little does she know that her past is coming back to haunt her.

I always feel like I don't say enough about what is going on in the book, and sometimes I worry I have said too much. It is always a fine line especially with thrillers or mysteries. Because the twists are everything and you can say too much and spoil the book. Initially, I had no idea where it was all going or what the past had to do with any of it.

Mary delivered it all masterfully, some of it became clearer once some things were revealed, but I was on the edge of my seat rooting for her the whole time. I am really becoming a fan of Mary, this is my second book by her and I can safely say that she becoming a go to author for me. I will have to add her to my automatic buy or read list.