Book Reviews

More Books I’ve Read in the Last Six Months #BookReviews

Besides all the readathons I’ve taken part in, I’ve also read several books that don’t fit in anywhere. I’ve added those that I didn’t finish (DNF).

About the Book

Humans are vanishing from London’s streets.

After the Vampire Embassy is disbanded by Nexus, the supernatural police force, Rowan McQuaid vows to catch the vampire who betrayed them. When humans start disappearing without a trace, Rowan suspects the traitor is making good on their promise to build a vampire army.

A trail of dead bodies and recently turned vampires leads Rowan, and her vampire beau, Nate Hallewell, to a terrifying truth. They must stop this renegade vampire before they annihilate not only London, but all of magical society.

Fans of The Vampire Diaries and A Discovery of Witches will love this gritty, action-packed adventure by USA Today Bestselling Author, Rosie Wylor-Owen.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

“Every time I tell you not to do something, you not only do it, but do it so outrageously that You end up getting hurt. Perhaps I should just allow you to go ahead with your insane plans – with supervision, of course – and see if you don’t fare better.”

Doesn’t that sum Rowan up perfectly? LOL.

A fast-paced, thrilling adventure that neatly ties up some of the danger Rowan lives with, adds more twists and scary unknowns to her already tight-rope relationships, and fleshes out the supernatural world more.

Another fun read in this series.

*I received an ARC from the author and this is my honest opinion.

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book

A supernatural relic. A thousand-year-old conspiracy. A madman who turns death into art. It’s all in a day’s work for the agents of ARKANE.

When a priceless relic disappears from Canterbury Cathedral, ARKANE – the agency tasked with protecting the world from supernatural adversaries – fears the worst… and sends its best.

Now, ARKANE agents Morgan Sierra and Jake Timber are on the job. Across Europe, through historical cities and into spectral forests forgotten by time, Morgan and Jake will follow the bloody trail of hidden relics wherever it leads, whatever the cost.

But even they aren’t ready for what’s coming.

Their hunt will lead them beyond danger, beyond darkness to the shadowed heart of a hidden citadel where lives an evil unlike any they’ve ever seen… and to a dark choice that will change them both forever.

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author J.F. Penn invites you to brave her most thrilling adventure yet. A world of the strange. A world of the supernatural. A world… of the ARKANE.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

A new fast-paced adventure for Morgan and Jake.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the places they went, the history of the relics they sought, and the eerie citadel where everything ends.

I’m not sure the relic hunting, the main bad guy’s intentions and the final battle all aligned perfectly (like why did he want the long bones of the Magi?), but it was a fun and thrilling read.

*I received an ARC from the author and this is my honest opinion.

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book

This series was recommended to me on Instagram.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Check it out on Goodreads.

Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral…

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint? 

Check it out on Goodreads.

In Act Your Age, Eve Brown the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally.

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

I’ve heard great things about this book and the blurb intrigued. The prologue was good. But Red swearing for absolutely no reason from the word go made me stop reading. Look, if there’s a good reason to swear, do it, but not because you lack other ways to show you’re tough. DNF.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown

This came highly recommended. And I didn’t read past page one. If profanity is how the book starts, I assume that’s all I’m going to get. And I’m in no mood to try and bond with anyone with a foul mouth right now. DNF.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown

Looks like profanity is what I’m getting with the Brown sisters. For shock value? Or is this really how people (I don’t know) talk? I tried, but I just can’t get to know the Brown sisters. Too bad, I heard they’re hilarious. DNF.

About the Book

Winter Spell, a dark fantasy short story that explores the mythology of Cailleach Bheur, a Gaelic goddess and “Queen of Winter.”

*Newsletter subscriber story.

My Review

A quick short story about the Cailleach and someone who could see her. There’s her immortal life as a faery, her powers over winter, and her being doomed to be alone; contrasted to his frail mortality, spring-green eyes, warmth and ability to love and be loved. The description of the Cailleach and her magic was awesome.

A dark tale to enjoy while sipping a cup of tea.

3 unicorn star rating

About the Book

Who hasn’t watched the movie with Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest?

Practical Magic GIF credit.

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

Reads easy enough despite the lack of chapters (there are four parts). The omniscient narrator makes it impossible to bond with any one character. Pages span years. And if I hadn’t seen the movie, some things wouldn’t have made any sense. I’ve never said it before, but in this case, the movie is better than the book.

DNF 28%

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book

The Haunting of Hill House meets Get Out in this chilling YA psychological thriller and modern take on the classic haunted house story from New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson!

Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right?

As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

It’s scary. But only when the dog is threatened. Left in the car – he could have died. Sleeping in her room – with all the essential oils and other stuff she burns to chill, his allergies (yes, dogs have allergies) will drive him mad if his lungs don’t shut off first. She runs away from the house – and the ghosts – leaving him behind to fend for himself. Okay, now for purposeful scariness involving the dog: the whimpers from the basement were chilling and, of course, the alarms threatening the dog. But the rest? Meh. Perhaps that’s just me and the life experiences I’ve had. And perhaps I care more about an innocent animal than a girl who refuses to deal with her issues except with weed.

It was good until the “twist” where it changed from horror to psychological thriller and fell flat. The underlying psychological thriller aspect where people do horrible things out of fear was good. The horror aspect was meh. And seeing as this was touted as horror: I’m not impressed. The dog is the real hero in this book and the only one who actually knew what was going on and doing something about it.

And the ending? Really, that’s it? Everything on fire, the bad guys getting away with it, the dog safe. Sounds like real life, not horror. Disappointing.

2 unicorn star rating

About the Book

At the edge of a blood-stained, ancient spring, a pagan goddess awakens from a long sleep thirsty for sacrifice… 

When down-on-his-luck busker, Evan, arrives at the Christmas market, he expects to play tunes of festive cheer for the merry crowd — and to reap the reward for his music. 

But when an icy winter storm blows in and disaster strikes, Evan must make a choice that can only end in… A Midwinter Sacrifice.

A dark Christmas short story set in the bleak midwinter by USA Today bestselling author, J.F. Penn. 

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

A dark and twisty story. So much fun to read!

5 unicorn star rating

About the Book

Is victory worth blood, sweat, and flame?

Cass blows glass for a living — but when she’s not cranking out tourist pieces to pay the bills, she creates unique glass art with the dream of winning a prestigious award that might just change her life.

But Cass has a problem.

The heat and intensity of the glassblowing hot shop have damaged her eyesight — and time is running out.

She only has one chance left to win and a rival artisan stands in her way, the trophies on his shelf testament to his enduring popularity.

When his son comes to work alongside Cass, she must make a choice that will change their lives.

A choice that will cost Blood, Sweat, and Flame.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

A dark and twisty story. What she wouldn’t do for her art!

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book

What would it take to kill your own family?

1893. After Nate Hallewell investigates the attack on a Whitechapel brothel, he suspects vampires have returned to London.

When his demonic employee is plunged into a coma by a cursed package, Nate learns that his cousin, Josiah, has come to exact revenge on him. With the help of local witches, Nate turns to magic to protect his employees and friends from the onslaught of vampires who are out for their blood.

When Josiah forces his hand, Nate has an impossible decision to make: kill his sadistic cousin, or watch him destroy everyone he cares for.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

A fun and action-packed tale involving Nate, his psycho cousin, and various supernaturals. It’s the origin story of the tombs that are so important in the Valkyrie series.

Who is Florence and why is she so important?

If I hadn’t read the main series first, though, some things wouldn’t have flowed as well (e.g. who is Nate and why is he different in the first chapter).

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book

Z Unit doesn’t exist. So a knock on the door on Christmas Day brings more than one surprise to the special ops band of brothers.

Lincoln ‘Ace’ Kelly has traded everything for command of his unit and the girl who saved his life—even if she’s furry and sleeps on the floor. Every year at Christmas the boys of his unit put extra chairs around the table for the ones they’ve lost.

Next year, Lincoln expects to see new faces around the table and a whole lot more chairs.

When Hadleigh Rawson knocks on his door on Christmas Day, Linclon is reminded of what Christmas is about—gratitude for the band of soldiers who are more like brothers than employees, good food, better company and the hope that an old grunt might be worthy of redemption and love.

A Table for Ten is a COMPLETE short Christmas story that sets the scene for Z Boys.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

I enjoy trying out new series – especially when there’s a short, free introduction to it.

I like the Z Crew. But I’m not sure I like them enough to read the series.

There were some issues with the story, not big, but the “romance” part felt a bit forced. There were some typos (e.g. “Kelly” spelled “Kelley” at some point).

The best part of the book, for me, is the dog, Helix. Seeing her on the cover was why I downloaded the book in the first place.

2 unicorn star rating

About the Book

Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita have worked at Truviv, Inc. for years. The sudden death of Truviv’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Each of the women has a different relationship with Ames, who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women. Those whispers have been ignored, swept under the rug, hidden away by those in charge.

But the world has changed, and the women are watching this promotion differently. This time, when they find out Ames is making an inappropriate move on a colleague, they aren’t willing to let it go. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough.

Sloane and her colleagues’ decision to take a stand sets in motion a catastrophic shift in the office. Lies will be uncovered. Secrets will be exposed. And not everyone will survive. All of their lives—as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries—will change dramatically as a result.

“If only you had listened to us,” they tell us on page one of Chandler Baker’s Whisper Network, “none of this would have happened.”

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

This one was recommended to me last week by a friend and I just had to read it.

The cover says “furiously funny” and I absolutely agree. I first wrote “fiendishly funny” before double-checking, which works, too.

The “we” narrator that is almost like a voice-over as we move through scenes from four of the characters’ POV says all the things women know, feel, think and fear with a very matter-of-fact tone.

I liked that each of the POV characters had a different story, a different voice, a different view on things, but are still connected to the one thing that this book is about: harassment in various forms in the workplace.

Some things from their past I could guess at with their actions in the present. But though I thought I knew how their pervy boss ended up on the sidewalk, I was surprised by how it really happened.

The narrator is right: we need to stop whispering, protecting those who should feel the shame of their actions, and start valuing ourselves, stop making ourselves smaller because some men are threatened by women in every way.

Oh, and women who parrot misogynist men who say “she asked for it” or “she wants fame/fortune” for making it public: shame on you.

A good book. Besides the obvious trigger warning for sexual assault, there’s also a lot of swearing.

4 unicorn star rating

Have you read any of these books?

*FYI, my reviews are my honest opinion and if something bothers me, I tell it straight. How else will anything change? My opinions are based on being a voracious reader and book buyer, not an attack on the author.*

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