Book Review: The Journal of Curious Letters

review-cover-the journal of curious lettersTitle: The Journal of Curious Letters [The 13th Reality 1]

Author: James Dashner

Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Rating: 5 Stars



What if every choice you made created an alternate reality? InThe Journal of Curious Letters, Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day he receives a strange letter informing him that dangerous— perhaps even deadly—events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself. Tick will be sent twelve riddles that, when solved, will reveal the time and place of an extraordinary happening. Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues and discover the life he was meant to live? Tick’s journey continues in The Hunt for Dark Infinity! Mistress Jane and the Chi’karda are back. Tick and Mistress Jane race to find the deadly Dark Infinity weapon. But who will destroy it—and who will become its master?


What a gem! I picked up this book for my 12-year-old daughter and we ended up reading it together. I’m glad to say that I honestly found this to be a joy to read.

The book was exceptionally well written and full of colorful characters. There were funny, heartwarming, action-filled, and even creepy moments throughout the book as Tick worked to solve the mystery of the 13 clues he received from one very odd Master George and his companions, Rutger and Mothball (who was definitely one of our favorite characters).

One of my favorite aspects of the book as a parent, though, was the relationship Tick had with his father. Where most children’s books seem to either omit the parents, or fall into the trope of having the parents not believe their children, James Dashner crafted The Journal of Curious Letters in such a way that not only did Tick turn to his father with his worries, but Tick’s father believed his son—and helped him! It was a great moment to witness in a children’s book, and I and my daughter had a great talk about how important it was for kids to talk to their parents about their worries, and for parents to listen to them and take them seriously.

Overall, we found loved the book. It was exciting, funny, and full of interesting characters. It’s a bit of a long book, but I’m not complaining—we never wanted to put it down, and often read 5-10  chapters together a night until it was finished.

Book Review: My Heart’s Desire

review-cover-my heart's desireTitle: My Heart’s Desire [Barrett 1]

Author: Andrea Kane

Genre: Historical, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars



Caught in the crossfire of war, they were shipwrecked on an idyllic island, where they tasted perfect passion and tenderness. But Drake dreaded the day of their rescue-when his love would discover that the virile man she adored was at the pinnacle of the aristocracy she despised.


My Heart’s Desire by Andrea Kane, was yet another solid historical romance – although I’ll admit, it does fall a bit into the formulaic side of romance—but I’m okay with that.

Overall, the writing was nearly flawless. I did run into a typo or two, but nothing that pulled me out of the narrative or otherwise halted the flow of the story for me. The typos were minor, and easily skimmed over, and other than that, the writing was clean, clear, and flowed a nice pace.

Though there was a touch of the simpering maiden to the main female lead, Alexandria, for the most part, I found her character better described as stubborn, head-strong, and caring. She had her moments of fit, where she lost her head, but for the vast majority of the story, she  did what she thought was best. I liked her as a lead character quite a bit.

As for Drake… well… he was often arrogant, and easily as headstrong as Alex, and I understand completely why she lost her head with him at times—he could certainly be infuriating—but like Alex, he usually kept his head. He was strong, and intelligent, and had a softer side that he tried to mask, but didn’t always succeed. The romance between Alex and Drake was steamy and filled with tension, and kept the story going.

Overall, I loved the book. I liked the characters, the easy world building, the plot and it’s many conflicts… the only trouble I ran into was that although warranted in order to tie up all the little bits of the plot, the ending did seem a few chapters too long. I’d expected it to end long before it did, and that may have been a bit of a pacing issue. Regardless, I enjoyed the story, and I was entertained. If you enjoy historical romances, you are certain to enjoy this one.

Book Review: Into The Flames

review-cover-into the flamesTitle: Into The Flames [Firehouse Fourteen 4]

Author: Lisa B. Kamps

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 5 Stars



Dale Gannon has sworn off women. He’s seen more than his share of crazy and not all of it has been during his job as a firefighter. His youngest sister, Lindsay, is currently in jail awaiting trial for the attempted poisoning of his other sister, Lauren. Guilt still eats at him, making him wonder if there was something he could have done to prevent Lindsay’s fall. Could he have been more supportive? More encouraging? What if…no, he was done with what-ifs. Done with women. Done with people, period. What he needs is peace, quiet…and time to come to grips with everything that’s happened in the last six months.

And then he meets the neighbor from hell: a sassy free-spirited woman who quickly turns his life upside down.

Melanie Reeves has always seen things differently, viewing life as an array of color. Bright and vibrant, dark and moody. She captures them, breathes them, gives life to them on canvas. But her obnoxious neighbor is a mystery, one she can’t solve, one she can’t even read clearly—and one she tries her best to ignore.

Until she discovers the deep guilt that plagues him—guilt he won’t admit to or even acknowledge. Can she help him find his way to the surface before the darkness completely engulfs the inner vibrancy she senses in him? Or will he drag her with him into the flames, where they both run the risk of losing who they really are?


I love a good romance read—it’s one of my favorite genres—and this, by no means, was any exception. The book was wonderfully well written. I didn’t run into any grammar problems, typos, or other technical errors. The narrative was clean and flowed smoothly from beginning to end at a nice pace that was neither too slow nor too fast. I have no complaints.

The characters were interesting and dynamic, though I’ll admit, Dale was by far my favorite of the two main characters. Melanie, though artistic and spunky, just wasn’t my cup of tea. I couldn’t get a real handle on her strange penchant for seeing… well, I guess the closest thing word would be “aura’s”. She saw people’s moods as colors, and while it fit her artistic personality… I guess I kind of viewed her as a bit spacey and odd. Dale, on the other hand, was a solid character. He had some definite baggage and issues to work through, but despite those problems, he never came across as needlessly brooding or angry as I’d expected.

The romance between the characters was steamy, and complicated, and full of humorous moments that made it a pure joy to read. I loved the use of the nicknames for the characters, and how those little endearments soon became part of a complication for the couple. Overall, I loved it. It was a solid, quick read, and I have no major complaints about it. If you like Steamy romance with some humor thrown in, you’re probably going to enjoy this book. I definitely did!

Book Review: Sacred Planet

review-cover-sacred planetTitle: Sacred Planet [The Dominion 1]

Author: Austin Rogers

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Rating: 3 Stars



Only one woman can stop it. Only one man can save her.

After centuries of expansion into the galaxy and no contact with intelligent, extra-terrestrial life, humanity is split into three superpowers, each dominating one of the spiral arms closest to Earth: Orion, Carina, and Sagittarius. Divided along political, cultural, and religious lines, these galactic mega-states have grown alien to each other over time. Inter-arm relations have eroded. Minor differences have become dangerous disparities.

Now a ruthless religious faction threatens to plunge the galaxy into a catastrophic war.

Conflict sparks when Sierra Falco, the Carinian prime minister’s daughter, is attacked on her space yacht by a powerful and shadowy enemy. As a popular advocate for peace, Sierra’s loss destabilizes the fragile balance of the galaxy. But her attackers’ plans are disrupted when a rugged band of scavengers stumble across the yacht and jump at the opportunity to make a profit. Davin, captain of the scavenger ship, is caught between the lure of fabulous wealth and the nag of conscience as he is dragged into a conspiracy bigger than he can imagine.

A race begins between those who seek to prevent war and the secretive forces who want to escalate it-apparently with Earth in their crosshairs.

In this universe, Earth-the Sacred Planet, the epicenter of human civilization-holds the coveted key to victory.

Whoever controls Earth controls the galaxy.


I’m making a strange sort of exception with this book that I wouldn’t normally make. Here’s the thing: I didn’t like it—but I’m going to give it three stars anyway. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Technically speaking, this book was exceptionally well written. There were no obvious typos or grammatical errors. The writing was clean and easy to follow. I have zero complaints about the writing itself.

The characters were colorful and interesting—the crew of the Fossa being by far, my favorite characters of the book. They acted and spoke like real people, and as a whole, were very well crafted. I especially liked Sierra and Davin, and found myself gravitating towards their chapters as the story wore on.

The world building was intricate. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a book with so much thought put into the politics, the religion, the customs and slang and… well, everything.

But… I was bored—and that’s not the author’s fault. The book shifted characters constantly. There were chapters full of religion and political intrigue. There were space battles and distrust.. and a whole bucket-full of amazing scenes filled with grand imagery… and those are all things I just don’t enjoy. I like character driven fiction. I’m bored by  war and politics. It’s not anything the author or the book did wrong or offended me with—it’s just that this particularly well crafted book, wasn’t my cup of tea. I honestly wanted to stop reading about the time the third chapter rolled around (but I stuck with it), and it was a slog the entire time.

So even though I really didn’t like the book (and normally would have given it one or two stars), I’m going to give it three, because I do think it was a very well written book, and I’m positive that there are science fiction readers out there that will absolutely love it… but for someone who spends most of their year reading the Romance genre and YA fiction, this just wasn’t a great fit.

If you enjoy science fiction, particularly Sci-Fi with lots of intrigue and political machinations, I encourage you to pick up a copy. It is a very well crafted book.


Wow, you guys. I’ve been busy. You may have noticed that the last few review days and Free Fiction Fridays have gone un-posted over the last few weeks. Don’t worry. As some of you may have noticed from previous years, August-> December is one of the busiest times of the year in this household. Between a ton of birthdays, holidays, and the beginning of the new school year, things get crazy. That doesn’t mean that the reviews are on hold though! I’ve just been doing a bit of catch-up.

I’ve gotten in an astounding amount of review requests over the last month, far more than previous years (we’re talking 40 a day) and I’ve just now managed to sort through them all, send out e-mails to authors, and updated my TBR list. I’ve got some great book reviews headed your way, and very soon! I’ve just been taking a little time to get organized and ready for the push to the end of the year – so hang onto your seats!

Want to see what’s coming up? Below is a list of the books on my TBR and a little bit about them – check them out!

TBR1The Infernal Lands [The Aionach Saga 1] by J.C. Staudt

Genre: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy

Across the heat-blasted wastelands of a post-apocalyptic world, ages of high technology lay in ruin. Mutants and madmen roam vast derelict cities while nomads and monsters haunt the edges of a brutal wilderness. Armies rise up to war over what yesterday left behind.

But something larger than war is brewing beneath the Aionach. The inhabitants of this lawless realm are beginning to unearth mysteries from a forgotten age. Mysteries that may reveal the true nature of their dying world and unlock its darkest secrets.

The Infernal Lands is a tale of survival and heroism that follows a stunning cast of characters: the vengeful drifter, the council of kinetic mages, the cult priestess with a taste for human sacrifice, the bitter mercenary, the slaver king, and the sand sorceress who wields the power to command the very ground she walks on.

TBR2Bentwhistle the Dragon in a Threat From The Past [Bentwhistle the Dragon 1] by Paul Cude

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past is an adventure story children and adults alike will love, about the present day world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them. Three young dragons in their human guises become caught up in an evil plot to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past? Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes? In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon sports, you’ll get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile! You’d be flamin’ mad to miss it.

TBR3Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Chilling Revelation [Bentwhistle the Dragon 2] by Paul Cude

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

Following his harrowing and near death experience at the talons of the evil dragon Manson in ‘A Threat From The Past’, Peter Bentwhistle, the human shaped dragon and reluctant hero, finds himself on the slow path to recovery.
Helped by his dragon friends, Tank and Richie (both in their human forms), he finds solace in his new found friendship with the dragon king. But the three friends are soon unwittingly drawn into a deadly plot, when a straight forward meeting with the monarch sees them helping an injured dragon agent, straight back from his mission in Antarctica with news of a devastating encounter with another ancient race.

Blackmail, intrigue, forbidden love interests, a near fatal mantra gone wrong, a highly charged rugby match in which Tank takes a beating, combined with enough laminium ball action to please dragons the world over, stretch the bonds of the dragons’ friendship like never before. New friends and ancient enemies clash as the planet braces itself for one of the most outrageous attacks it has ever seen. Lost secrets and untold lore come to light, while sinister forces attempt to steal much coveted magic.

Explosive exploits, interspersed with a chilly backdrop and unexpected danger at every turn, make for an action-packed, electrifying adventure.
‘Snow way you’ll wanna miss this!

TBR4Beyond The Sapphire Gate [The Flow of Power 1] by R.V. Johnson

Genre: Fantasy

Some magic should remain untouched.

Beyond the Sapphire Gate is the fascinating world of Astura, a world where a frothing, river of magic addicts those who use the power it holds.

Indentured to a private artifact collector on a dying world of high technology, Crystalyn naively activates a gateway. The temptation to touch the gate is irresistible for her sister Jade, who vanishes when she does. Crystalyn follows, stepping into a vibrant world infused with magic and those that Use.

Aided by symbol magic killing her with each use, the defining line between good and evil is not as clear as Crystalyn once believed. The Dark Users want to help her, the Circle of Light wishes to use her. The War of a Hundred Seasons makes her choose.

Half a world away, equipped with a seemingly useless ability to read auras, Jade embarks on a harrowing journey to escape the Dark Citadel with her soul intact.

Propelled to Astura by a devious assault, Garn has only two desires. Reuniting family and destroying those enforcing his servitude.

TBR5Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully [Ceruleans 5] by Megan Tayte

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult, Paranormal

The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

With her mother’s life hanging in the balance, Scarlett is devastated – and done with being in the dark. She wants answers, all of them.

But when was her pursuit of the truth ever straightforward?

Pulling a single thread impels a great unraveling. And each revelation will force Scarlett to rethink what she thought she knew about the Ceruleans, the Fallen, her family – herself.

All that came before was a mere prelude to this, the last journey. From London to Twycombe to Hollythwaite to Cerulea, Scarlett will be stalked by the ghosts of what has been, what may have been and what may come to pass. Until she reaches the place where it all began, and it all must end.

But in the final reckoning, none will survive unscathed. And some will not survive at all.

In this explosive conclusion to The Ceruleans series, all must be defined by their actions: sinner, saint… or something more beautiful entirely?

TBR6I Am Sleepless: Sim 299 by Johan Twiss

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Young Adult

While the others slept, Aidan spent hours each night running sim after sim. Although he was only a twelve-year cadet, he had completed more simulations than any prime— ever.

“You are setting history,” General Estrago told him. “No one has ever made it to the current simulation you are attempting. The other Masters and I are eager to see what comes next.”

So was Aidan.

The planet Ethos is at war with a mysterious enemy known as the Splicers. Their only successful defense is the Prime Initiative. All newborns with the compatible genetic code are taken from their families and injected with the Prime Stimulus. Each child that survives the stimulus develops an extraordinary ability and is conscripted into the military for training.

After turning twelve, Aidan is moved to the upper-class at the Mount Fegorio training complex. His special gifts allow him unprecedented success in the virtual training simulations, advancing him further than any prime cadet in history. No one knows what lies after sim 299, not even Director Tuskin, the ruthless and reclusive ruler of their planet. But something, or someone, has been guiding Aidan there. If he can pass the final tests, he may discover the key to ending the Splicer War.

TBR7Dead Silver by Max Florschutz

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

It’s been almost a year since Hawke Decroux had his run-in with adventure, and in that time he’s settled back to his usual day-to-day standard. Work as a humane animal control officer isn’t always riveting, but it’s steady and pays the bills. Plus, it’s pretty easy when your Unusual talent lets you speak with animals. For Hawke, life is right where he wants it.

At least until an old friend, an NSAU spook named Jacob Rocke, calls him with an intriguing offer. Silver Dreams, New Mexico is suffering a rash of animal attacks, all signs pointing towards a chupacabra as the culprit—a creature so rare no one has never taken one alive. Rocke is convinced that if they work together, they’ll have a good chance of catching it—and claiming the fifty thousand dollar live reward—for themselves. And if that doesn’t work out, it’ll still be fun to catch up and take a bit of a vacation.

But when Hawke arrives in Silver Dreams, things aren’t as hoped. Rocke has gone missing. The animal attacks are growing more violent in both size and scope. Townspeople are vanishing in the dead of night, walking out their doors and leaving no trace of their whereabouts. As the attacks pile up and the body count rises, Hawke is certain of only one thing: this definitely isn’t the vacation he had planned.

TBR8My Journey Through War and Peace: Explorations of a Young Filmaker, Feminist and Spiritual Seeker by Melissa Burch

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

“My Journey Through War and Peace: Explorations of a Young Filmmaker, Feminist and Spiritual Seeker” is based on Melissa Burch s experiences as a war journalist for BBC, CBS, and other networks. Her team was one of the first documentary crews allowed in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and she was featured in a New York Times story about her time in Afghanistan. She was just in my twenties when she traveled with the moujahedeen, filmed an attack on a Soviet convoy, slept with an Afghan commander, and climbed 14,000-foot mountains in the Hindu Kush. My Journey Through War and Peace examines how, through outward action and inward exploration, life can unfold in mysterious ways, far beyond cultural and family expectations. In looking back at this momentous decade, Burch shares why she pursued such dangerous and difficult circumstances at such a young age and continued to live on the edge. She now understands that she was seeking self-discovery, a connection to something greater, and ultimately inner peace. This exciting memoir will resonate with fans of “Eat Pray Love,” “Wild,” and other popular memoirs that describe extraordinary inner and outer journeys.

TBR9An Empire of Traitors [Of Hate And Laughter 1] by Serban V.C. Enache

Genre: Epic, Dark Fantasy

Flesh will bleed. Bones will break. Swords will turn.

An Empire Of Traitors follows several principal storylines simultaneously. It’s been eight years since the end of the civil war between the Inquisition and emperor Zygar Ferus, worshiper of blood gods. Eight years into the aftermath, a new emperor sits the Sun Throne, and the Inquisition is no more.

In the five realms of the Empire things are stirring. Driven by ambition or wounded pride, many nobles like the dog-headed serpent of Stoneweed seek to change their fortunes, even with the price of treachery. And from exile, from the heathen nations of the Lowlands, another Sunborn scion of house Mero gathers strength behind his claim. No family, great or small, shall remain indifferent to fate’s whim. It takes an emperor to rule an empire, but it takes numbers and honored oaths to keep both crown and throne.

In the Westlands, Drakanes, a sister of the temple finds herself in the role of witness and proctor, of passing judgment on a man accused of murder, who claims to have been possessed. The trial’s proceedings enlighten her as to the truth of it all, and the good sister is willing to, out of pure stubbornness, risk death for justice. Emperor Hagyai Rovines Mero fears for the continuation of his line, and sends Sycarus on an errand to the Desertlands to bring back an Aharo maiden for his son and heir. It is said that the Aharo savage women always give birth to healthy babes. Hagyai Rovines desires a betrothal between the prince heir and a savage girl – trying to emulate a long dead custom of the Sunborn emperors. Such a move is most unpopular, and the whispers of another civil war are once again in the air.

The imperial chancellor warns Birus Mandon, lord of Rivermark and warden of the Streamlands, of a plot against the emperor, a plot made by his exiled brother, Amarius Soronius. Mandon tries to gather knowledge on the schemes of potential oathbreakers, but his trade is not that of a spy. When he hires the Mounted Arrows Company of Narak al Zull, Birus learns more than mere outlandish tactics; he finds a new source of strength in the sellsword’s foreign warrior god.

Kalafar Sodomis, lord of Weiyenor and warden of the Northlands, has seen his brother get married, and he himself is tried by notions of passion toward a certain lady of a southern house. But as the conflict breaks out, Kalafar needs to act as a proper lord, as a man, not a boy. He summons his vassals for a council at Devil Mound, to decide if the north will go to war or no; and there to also perform a certain ritual to honor the dead of Fengard and Wyrm.

TBR10A Heretical Divide [Of Hate And Laughter 2] by Serban V.C. Enache

Genre: Epic, Dark Fantasy

A Heretical Divide picks up right where An Empire Of Traitors left off. The Inquisition proves itself a hydra of murderers and schemers. The ram’s war in the Winterlands gets mired in betrayal, and the hawk’s vengeance comes to the devil’s home under sorcery and ploy. Even with a new emperor, the Sun Throne’s vassals are still brewing; each house following its own petty interests. Death’s breath looms upon the weak and strong, upon country and sovereign. The princes of ruin have many servants upon the earth – many souls to claim by storm and blood.

TBR11October 32 by Larry Rodness

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

It’s October 31, and insurance agent Alexander Malefant is sent to picturesque Elora during its annual Halloween festival. No sooner does Alexander arrive than he witnesses the near-drowning of a boy bobbing for apples. Shortly after that, a group of children are attacked by crows. Later that evening, all the children in the village suddenly disappear. Soon, every person becomes a suspect as residents frantically try to discover what happened to the children. Who or what is behind these disappearances, and can they get the children back before it’s too late?

TBR12Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Crime, Fantasy, Thriller & Suspense

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he’s determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer’s trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.

TBR13Devil’s Cove by R.C. Matthews

Genre: Gothic, Historical Romance

Shrouded in unspeakable horror and spoken of only in whispers, the abandoned Devil’s Cove Manor lures Captain Devlin Limmerick and his unquenchable thirst for revenge to its doors. Feared as the Devil on the high seas, the pirate’s desire to avenge his past is matched only by his hunger for the powerful young medium he has coerced to aid him in his nefarious quest.

Blinded from youth and touched with an ability to communicate beyond the grave, Grace is both feared and revered by the uneasy town folk. Yet she is powerless against the unrest brewing within the manor walls and finds herself drawn to the Devil’s darkness. Still, she refuses to sacrifice her soul to set Devlin’s unspeakable plans in motion.

But an evil lurks within these walls, and their very souls are in jeopardy. Grace’s presence at the manor spurs inexplicable happenings, forcing Devlin to believe nothing is as dead as it seems—not even his heart. Plunged into the throes of passion and danger, they discover the only way out is to search deep within and summon the courage to believe in true love.

TBR14Chakana by W.E. Lawrence

Genre: Historical Romance

Can a romance save the world? Maybe this one could. Chakana is a historical romance novel filled with action, adventure, suspense, and intrigue.

In 1939, before the start of World War II, James Fleming, the original British secret agent, races on a high-stakes chase to track down the ancient lost treasure of King Huascar of the Incas. He must recover it before the Nazis do or the whole world will be in imminent danger.

But this is no ordinary treasure hunt. The Incas have proven their cunning and intellect in not only how they hid their treasure, but how they protected it. Fleming joins forces in the remote ruins of Peru, South America with Kate Rhodes, a policewoman on leave from the United States, her archaeologist brother, Nick, and their college professor, Dr. Charlie. Together, they must decode, interpret the clues, and face the challenges of the Chakana on their hunt for the treasure.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, the group is hounded throughout their search of the ancient Sacred Valley by international artifact smugglers, familiar with the Chakana and working with the Nazis, who are determined to acquire the treasure to help finance their war effort. Intrigue, danger, suspense, action, adventure, and even romance abound in this brave band’s quest to save the free world.

Vanish by Becca J. Campbell

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery

Reviewer’s Note: There’s not a lot I can say about this book. It arrived in my inbox with a 2-line teaser and an agreement to read it within a narrow 3-week period. I was intrigued, and agreed. I read it, it was a 4-star read, and is currently being edited based on reviewer’s feedback. I’m not sure when this book is going to be released, but I’m really excited for it to come out so I can tell you a bit more about it. Here’s the teaser:

Eva had two secrets. The second was that she periodically vanished into thin air.

TBR15Resurrecting Ghosts [Kings of Chaos 4] by Shyla Colt

Genre: Romance

Ruthie Gregg was the independent woman who had everything together. A homeowner with a successful job in advertising, and a busy social life, she never wanted to get serious with a man. Things with Kings of Chaos member, Skull, were meant to be fun and light. Then she made the mistake of catching feelings without discussing their relationship status. Misunderstandings and indiscretions lead her to call things off. But life is a cruel mistress who wasn’t done uprooting her perfectly managed existence. To get the life she’s dreamed of, she must put her past behind her, and fight for her future with a man who just may be the love of her life.

Tritt “Skull” Matthews was a man who wanted nothing to do with love. After watching the four letter word and mental illness destroy his family, he opted to take the path of a permanent bachelor. His brothers in the Kings of Chaos MC were all the family he needed until he took up with Ruthie. The mouthy red head with her vintage style and a strong back bone derailed his plans. When denial, drinking, and self-sabotage doesn’t shake her from his soul, he starts a new mission, to get her back at any cost.

Happiness is within their reach if they’re willing to lay the resurrected ghosts in their lives to rest. The things they fear the most holds them captive in invisible chains. Breaking free is imperative, lest they are doomed to repeat the past.

TBR16Lie to Me [A Touched Trilogy 1] by Angela Fristoe

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Phoebe Matlin has always felt broken. While one of her sisters sees the future, and the other can heal people, Phoebe has come to accept that her truth telling gift just doesn’t work.

Then her best friend, Tonya, lies to her and Phoebe’s gift flares to life. With Tonya pissed at her, being a Truth Teller suddenly doesn’t seem like such a great gift. Although, it is nice knowing she was the reason her crush, Nathan, dumped his stalker girlfriend.

But in lies, intention is everything and Tonya’s lies are a cry for help. The fear that her friend is covering darker and more serious truths is something Phoebe can’t ignore. But knowing when someone is lying is the easy part. Now she has to decide what to do about it. And with Nathan and his doubts about her ability confusing things, finding a way to help Tonya isn’t as easy as Phoebe thought it would be.

TBR17Inarticulate by Eden Summers

Genre: Contemporary Romance

At first sight, Savannah is drawn to the harsh appeal of a man who refuses to talk to her. Keenan’s hard stare is arrogant and unapologetic. The quirk of his sensuous lips is cocky and in control.

But there’s more. There’s something deeper he’s trying to hide behind those steely grey eyes—a slight hint of vulnerability which captures her intrigue.
She’d been warned, told that his silence hides a myriad of lies capable of affecting her career and relationships with loved ones. Only she can’t help herself. Testing Keenan’s defenses is an addiction she can’t deny.

TBR18My Heart’s Desire [Barrett 1] by Andrea Kane

Genre: Historical Romance

Never were there two more unlikely people to fall in love… Lady Alexandria Cassel scorned London’s frivolous social whirl, seeking adventure as a stowawayaboard a merchant ship. Drake Barrett was the vessel’s powerful captain — and a cynical duke who disdained a noble’s shallow life. At sea he revealed neither his origins nor his wealth, and to Alexandria he was simply a man who made her cool reserve fly with the winds…whose desire for her was as wildas the ocean they sailed. Caught in the crossfire of war, they were shipwrecked on an idyllic island, where they tasted perfect passion…and tenderness. But Drake dreaded the day of their rescue — when his love would discover that the virile man she adored was at the pinnacle of the aristocracy she despised. Hardlydid they suspect the base treachery that would soon threaten them…and the dangers each would brave to join forever their hearts and lives!

TBR19Samantha [Barrett 2] by Andrea Kane

Genre: Historical Romance

Samantha Barrett is looking for a hero. He can’t be just any man, but one worthy of her girlish fantasies. Dashing. Dangerous. Forbidden. Exactly like the mesmerizingly handsome stranger who just strode into the smoky tavern. Except he isn’t a stranger, he’s Remington Worth, earl of Gresham. London’s most notorious rake. Though tempted by Samantha’s beauty and innocent desire, Remington cannot allow her to be tainted by his perilous exploits. For he isn’t the man she thinks he is. As the Crown’s most loyal covert agent, the former navy captain and war hero leads a dangerous double life. But as passion builds between them, risking his life for his country is nothing compared to how far Remington will go to keep Samantha safe—and locked in his arms forever.

TBR20Beautiful Chaos by Alex Tully

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

While most seventeen year-olds work part-time delivering pizzas or whipping up frappuccinos, Brady O’Connell’s job is a little less conventional. Helping his dad with the family ‘business’ is a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly, especially when thousands of dollars are being exchanged. There are rules to be followed, timetables to be kept. But when his best friend Jay gets backstage concert tickets, and business interferes with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet their favorite band, Brady decides to break the rules, just one time.

And one time is all it takes to send his life spinning out of control. When an envelope full of cash ends up in the wrong hands—specifically in the hands of a pretty red-head named Vivienne—things get messy in a hurry. Where Vivienne goes, a whole lot of chaos seems to follow.

But sometimes…chaos is a beautiful thing.

From the author of Hope for Garbage comes another fast-moving, emotionally-charged tale, full of plot twists that will keep you guessing, and true-to-life characters you will root for. Most of all, this is a story of first love—crazy, chaotic first love—love that hits us hard, and never lets go.

TBR21The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings

Genre: Supernatural, Mystery

Would you like to know – I mean, REALLY know – what they’re doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain’t just writing.

See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters.
Of course, you probably already knew that.
But did you ALSO know that…
every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.

Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.

Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.

I’M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell books, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.

It’s not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you’d never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.

TBR22Tormented By Ghosts: True Life Experiences by Lynda Bogert

Genre: Non-Fiction, Paranormal, Memoir

She wants to be normal, but the spirit world has other plans. Tormented by Ghosts is a true story about unfortunate encounters with ghosts and other otherworldly paranormal phenomena that have greatly affected Lynda’s life. The struggles include harrowing encounters of unwanted Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), her Near Death Experience (NDE), her horrifying visit from a demonic apparition, and mysterious bone-chilling ghostly visits. This book encompasses her thirty years of coping to learn and educate herself to understand and utilize her spiritual abilities and tools to help herself and others. Her daily battle is to overcome the paranormal and control the abilities that she has been given! Is she seeing and hearing ghosts that may have a message for her or to let themselves be known or to simply taunt her? This is a story with many stories. You’ll want to sleep with the lights on because it could also happen to you, too…

TBR23Sacred Planet [The Dominion 1] by Austin Rogers

Genre: Science Fiction

Only one woman can stop it. Only one man can save her.

After centuries of expansion into the galaxy and no contact with intelligent, extra-terrestrial life, humanity is split into three superpowers, each dominating one of the spiral arms closest to Earth: Orion, Carina, and Sagittarius. Divided along political, cultural, and religious lines, these galactic mega-states have grown alien to each other over time. Inter-arm relations have eroded. Minor differences have become dangerous disparities.

Now a ruthless religious faction threatens to plunge the galaxy into a catastrophic war.

Conflict sparks when Sierra Falco, the Carinian prime minister’s daughter, is attacked on her space yacht by a powerful and shadowy enemy. As a popular advocate for peace, Sierra’s loss destabilizes the fragile balance of the galaxy. But her attackers’ plans are disrupted when a rugged band of scavengers stumble across the yacht and jump at the opportunity to make a profit. Davin, captain of the scavenger ship, is caught between the lure of fabulous wealth and the nag of conscience as he is dragged into a conspiracy bigger than he can imagine.

A race begins between those who seek to prevent war and the secretive forces who want to escalate it-apparently with Earth in their crosshairs.

In this universe, Earth-the Sacred Planet, the epicenter of human civilization-holds the coveted key to victory.

Whoever controls Earth controls the galaxy.

TBR24Bite of a Vampire [Bite of a Vampire 1] by Anna Belsky

Genre: Paranormal Romance

I never was a romance novel kind of girl, maybe that’s why I decided to get in the business of proving that love was meant to be unfaithful. Call me bitter but my full name is Emily Johnson, and I work as a private investigator for Jonesville Extramarital Affairs. It’s my daily job to investigate, snap photos of and usually proves that a spouse has found someone else to dilly-dally with. It was a bit of a dream job after having my own respect and dignity broken so many times in college by a guy named Robert, Bob for short. I don’t hold a grudge against him, he was my first, and he taught me that love relationships are not really things that exist. My best friend Abby doesn’t believe me so I decided to prove my point and become a Private Investigator.

On this night Emily’s world turns upside down when she comes across a vampire attacking one of her investigations. She is swept into a world of the supernatural and must draw from all her experiences as Private Investigator to survive… or so she thinks until she meets Michael.

TBR25Candlelight [Ember Series Novella] by Stacy McWilliams

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Life was full of nothing but darkness for Nathan Stevenson until Jasmine appeared in his life. She brought his innermost desires to the surface. She burned her way through to his heart to become embedded in his soul. He knew she was dangerous but would she break down his wall as he dreamed of her touch and fought against the impulse to protect her?Would their love be enough to defeat his demons? Was he strong enough to resist her or would her light burn irrevocably?

TBR26Luminosity [Escaping Demons Saga 1] by Stacy McWilliams

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy, Urban fantasy, Horror, Romance
Jasmine Johnstone’s life was relatively normal until she was forced to live with the Stevenson family. As she stayed she found she had no choice but to battle mythical creatures. Strengths she never knew she possessed began to surface, surprising those around her. Her only chance of surviving the rising tide of evil was Nathan Stevenson. Could she really trust him as he fought against his love for her? With the world against them and time running out, would their love be enough to defeat demons?

TBR27Ignition [Escaping Demons Saga 2] by Stacy McWilliams

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Horror, Romance

Life has never been Easy for Jasmine Johnstone, but failing for Nathan Stevenson brings a whole new level of difficulty. He is sworn to kill her, and fights against his love for her more than ever, but he knows he can’t live without her.

As they run from monsters, and each other, can their love survive?
Time begins to run out and with new friends and enemies in the strangest places, will they learn who to trust in time?

With their love stronger than ever, but forces pulling them apart, is love enough to keep them together or will Nathan’s parents win and pull them apart?

Book Review: His Hostage

review-cover-his hostageTitle: His Hostage

Author: Anna Adler

Genre: Romance, Erotica, Contemporary

Rating: 4 Stars (3.5)



Evelyn thought she was the luckiest girl in the world when she married Jack Moorland, the handsome heir to a software fortune, after knowing him only for a few months. The fairytale soured when Jack turned out to be selfish, controlling, and unable to perform in bed. Kind and weak-willed Evelyn finds herself trapped in a loveless and sexless marriage. She wants out of her gilded cage, but lacks the confidence to stand up to Jack, who has no intention of letting her go. Being kidnapped by the mysterious burglar Hal becomes a liberating experience. Is it Stockholm syndrome, or is this professional thief exactly the man Evelyn needs in her life?


I’m going to give this book the benefit of the doubt and give it 4 stars – even though realistically, it was more of a 3.5 for me.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. There were no obvious typos, grammatical errors, or punctuation problems, and the narrative and dialogue flowed smoothly throughout. Zero Problems.

But, here’s the thing: There were moments in this book that stuck out to me as red flags. As steamy and even sweet as the romance between Evie and Hal was at times, there were definite moments when Hall threatened Evie with bodily harm and even rape…. and he was serious. I had genuine concerns at times that Evie wasn’t safe, and in real life, she would have been in serious danger – despite the couple’s attraction to each other.

On the other side of the coin, however, I know this is fiction. It is erotic romance, and for the most part, I think this book caters to readers who may share the fantasy of being kidnapped and seduced by a handsome, dangerous stranger. I get it. I do. Everyone has a dark fantasy or two in the deep recesses of their brain. That’s okay… but it didn’t keep me from wanting to cringe.

As far as the sex went, this book was steamy. There were a few tip of the hats to voyeurism, anal, oral, rough sex, and kidnap/restraint fantasies, and if that’s your thing… you’re going to enjoy this book. If, however, you are put off by anything mentioned above, you may find this book a little too hot to handle. Overall, I liked it. There were some questionable moments that made me cringe, but for the most part, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the story as a whole, even if it wasn’t entirely to my liking.

Book Review: Aftermath

review-cover-aftermathTitle: Aftermath [After The Fall 1]

Author: Tom Lewis

Genre: Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Alien Invasion, Young Adult

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)



The end of the world came fast. Between the time the warning had sounded on the TV, till when 16-year-old Paige O’Connor awakened sometime later, civilization had been crushed.

The attacks had come by “them” – those things in the ships in the sky that had appeared suddenly, and without warning.

And as Paige would soon discover, the attacks had only been the beginning.


I tried to like this book. I did. I picked it up multiple times, read a little bit, put it down, re-read it again—but I just couldn’t get past the writing. The story itself was interesting at first look. It followed a girl, her friends, and family, as aliens invade earth and her hometown is wiped off the map. There was action, mystery, and from what I saw of the story, the characters were well fleshed out.

But all was not hugs and puppies. I had a serious problem with not only the logic of the character’s decisions but also the way the story itself was written. There was an obvious moment in the first four chapters of the book where the main character and her best friend witness an electrical surge, and the traffic lights and other electrical systems start to fail all over town…I mean, power poles fell. Then, she gets home to where her brother and his friends are having trouble getting the TV to work, and instead of mentioning that something weird is going on with the electrical grid – something that was still very fresh in her and her friend’s mind and should have stuck out as odd – she basically tells them “did you try unplugging it and plugging it back in?” I was mystified that the main character would completely skim over the fact that something was so obviously wrong and not mention it to anyone.

The writing itself, though, was my largest complaint. It started off okay. The characters were a little cliché, but nothing stood out too much. Then, I noticed moments where the author messed up the POV. The fourth wall was broken. Things that should have been said in dialogue, were stated in the narrative. Words were left out of sentences. At points, the narrative said one thing, and then the characters showed me something contradictory. Exclamation points were used in abundance! Everywhere!

It got to the point where the writing style just devolved into an overdramatic mess of exclamation points and declarations, and when I got to a sentence that read “It was punishing, pushing beyond any level of tolerance, and blasting their sanity.” I was just done.

The style of the narrative just wasn’t something I enjoyed, and though I tried to push past it and into the story, every time I picked the book back up to give it another chance, I’d run into another narrative problem that made me roll my eyes and kept me from wanting to read any further. I have no doubt that there is someone out there that will love this story… but they’re the type of person who’s going to have to be okay looking past the  inadequacies of the writing, and that’s just not something I’m able to do.