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I Belong

Cover Judge: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

February 19th, 2018 @ 12:08 am
Posted by Kristie under Cover Judge Tags: ,

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw is a book that I’ve seen a lot of on Instagram lately. I absolutely love the cover, it seems so simple but yet conveys exactly what the book is about: witches. But this book doesn’t just have a beautiful cover, it has a beautiful stamped hardcover with the moon and stars. If you haven’t seen it you should check out #bookstagram on Instagram. Simon Teen has posted gorgeous photo but I didn’t want to use it without permission. This post could also be a Waiting on Wednesday post because I am eagerly anticipating this one when it comes out on March 6, 2018 from Simon Teen.

Available March 6, 2018 from Simon Pulse

About this Book:

Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them.

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

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Review: Addiction by Calista Fox

February 19th, 2018 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kristie under Review Tags: , , , , ,

Title: Addiction

Author: Calista Fox

Genre: Erotic Romance

Series: Bayfront Billionaires (Book #5)

Publication Date: July 3, 2017

Format: eBook, 109 Pages

ISBN-10: 1250129125 (SMP Swerve)

ISBN-13: 978-1250129123 (SMP Swerve)

Reviewed by: Kristie


Everyone loves a secret…

Liv Tyner has an ultra-sexy one she’s been keeping all to herself. A sinfully delicious, forbidden secret that has inspired endless fantasy material late into her lonely nights. But when that secret is suddenly staring her in the face—in the form of two fantastically built and wildly successful men—not only does Liv have trouble keeping her one-time-only love triangle under wraps, she also longs for a repeat performance.

Step-brothers Nate Dalton and Tristan Reeves have built a global communications empire that laid the groundwork for their ten-year homecoming to Bayfront. But more important than success is winning the love of the one woman neither has gotten off his mind or out of his system no matter how much time and distance spans between them—sensational and highly addictive Liv Tyner!

As a slow seduction begins and all their juicy secrets are revealed, can these star-crossed lovers find themselves in the right place, at the right time, to make a more permanent love connection?

Quick & Dirty: Super sweet (and hot!) story about a trio of childhood friends who grow up to become lovers.

Opening Sentence: “Ah, bliss . . .” Liv Tyner sipped her mai tai while taking in the cloudless sky and the breathtaking coastal inlet and harbor sprawled before her.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Addiction by Calista Fox is a novella set in the Bayfront Billionaires series and continues to follow the wealthy and sexy residents of Bayfront, California as they find their true loves. This novella is super sweet and happy.  For me, a little too much. If you want to read something sweet, happy and super-hot then check this novella out. This story is definitely on the lighter side compared to the previous book in the series, Obsession.

Liv, Nate, and Tristan are childhood friends and were nearly inseparable as they grew up but after high school Liv became a Hollywood star while Nate and Tristan worked on their growing business empire and their physique. This novella is a homecoming of sorts because Nate and Tristan haven’t been back in quite a while (and their appearance has changed so much that people they went to high school don’t recognize them anymore). Liv has been thinking A LOT about the threesome she had with the guys back in Paris five years ago and seeing them is bringing back memories that she might want to relive again.

Addiction is a story about what you want in life and where you want to go. The story is in its own way heavy but it felt more light as a story overall. I don’t want to say too much more on the story since this is a novella but it does tie in with the characters from previous books. You don’t have to have read the previous books to enjoy this one but prior knowledge of the secondary characters might be a plus.

Nate and Tristan are stepbrothers (although I missed the background so I don’t know if that was revealed in a previous book) and they only have two goals in mind. One is to build up their business empire so they can fit in with the area where they grew up and second is to transform their physical appearance so they can be worthy of Liv. Nate and Tristan felt they needed to work on their looks because they felt they needed to look good for Liv, especially by lifting weights. So I honestly just felt kind of “meh” towards these guys but they are totally goal oriented.

Liv is used to being on her own and traveling the world whenever she wants. She is a bit lonely but she knows what she wants to do in life and is working on that goal. Her plans get derailed when she realizes what could be with her best friends. Liv seems to be an overly optimistic type person and generally happy but I also just felt kind of “meh” about her too.

I don’t think I was in quite the right frame of mind to read this novella only because I kept getting annoyed by how perfect these three characters were. They just seemed so happy and perfect for each other. They guys never had an issue with one being favored over another or anything, everything just seemed strangely serene between them when it came to Liv. I also felt the major conflict between these characters wasn’t a conflict at all. I know what I would have chosen. I actually feel like she would have more problems settling down than traveling since she travels all the time for work. (But that could be me projecting my own feelings towards what she initially wanted to do.) This novella was an okay read for me but I could definitely see where others may enjoy it more.

Notable Scene:

Liv frowned. What a double-edged sword she was suddenly balanced on the tip of.

Just thinking of another go-round with her menage lovers sent a wave of anticipation and excitement washing over her. But what if it was only meant to be a one-time thing and the cosmic forces subsequently conspired against them for greedily reenacting the guilty pleasure?

Damn. For so long, she’d have savored the memory of Nate and Tristan taking turns with her, but had always considered it “something that had just happened.” Not “something that could happen . . . again.”

Bayfront Billionaires Series:

1. Filthy and Rich: A Billionaire Menage Romance Box Set (Possession)

2. Seduction

3. Confession

4. Obsession

5. Addiction

FTC Advisory: SMP Swerve provided me with a copy of Addiction. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Spindle by E.K. Johnston

February 18th, 2018 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kristie under Review Tags: , , , , ,

Title: Spindle

Author: E. K. Johnston

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: A Thousand Nights (Book #2)

Publication Date: December 6, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 355 Pages

ISBN-10: 1484722280 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1484722282 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Kristie


The world is made safe by a woman . . . but it is a very big world.

It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen saved her country from fire and blood – but now the kingdom of Kharuf is threatened by a demon gathering power. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with her final blow: a curse that will cost that princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life.

The threads of magic are tightly spun, binding princess and exiled spinners into a desperate quest to break the curse. But the web of power is dangerously tangled – and they may not see the true pattern until it is unspooled.

Quick & Dirty: Middle eastern take on Cinderella with a hint of Rapunzel, but ultimately the slow pacing kept me from enjoying this novel as much as the first, A Thousand Nights.

Opening Sentence: We know exactly how we came to these cold, hard mountains, and we remember everything that we have lost since we arrived here.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Spindle by E.K. Johnston is a companion novel to A Thousand Nights and both novels are based off of famous stories, 1001 Nights and Cinderella. If you haven’t checked out these books yet, they are middle-eastern inspired twists to the original work with some added paranormal elements. (I know 1001 Nights is already middle-eastern but Cinderella is not.) I really enjoyed the different settings and culture that was portrayed. I loved A Thousand Nights but I just found Spindle to be an okay read. The story was really slow, the ending rushed and I just had a hard time seeing spinning as an addiction.

Spindle is set many years past the events of A Thousand Nights. The first book is referenced quite a few times as Spindle deals with some of the descendants of A Thousand Nights. Overall, I don’t feel like you have to have read A Thousand Nights but I do feel like you would get the references better if you did. (Plus, I loved the spin of A Thousand Nights. So definitely check it out!)

Spindle is told through the story of a young man named Yaasha from the country of Kharuf. He was a young boy when the Little Rose was cursed by a demon. He wasn’t even present at the event so he has to rely on stories from others to tell his story. At five years old, Little Rose was bestowed gifts and a curse because a demon decided that it wanted Little Rose as the perfect host when her body was ready to receive its essence. Like the original story, Little Rose is given a way out but it isn’t pleasant and, of course, involves a spindle. The demon makes sure that any spinners in the country will get deathly ill because it has to make sure that Little Rose can’t touch a spindle.

Yaasha’s story is about his mother, whom used to work as the top spinner at the court, and all the other spinners are effectively banished from the country and have to leave but they aren’t accepted in, Qamth, the country they seek safely in. His mother wants Yaasha to go on a quest to find the King of the country where they are seeking asylum and see if he can talk him into accepting all the foreign spinners. Yaasha decides to not go that route, he decides his best step is to find Little Rose and see if they can end the curse through her so that his mother can become a great spinner again and survive the wasting disease that is killing all the spinners from their home country.

There are portions of this story that I had some really issues with especially the spinning issue. Yaasha hated spinning but in the way he tells the story it is almost an addiction for some of the side characters. Their fingers are constantly moving like they are spinning but they can’t because they will get sick. In their home country, spinning makes them sick but it temporarily relieves their insanity too. Spinning is needed for employment but also for clothing that the country is running out of. Another issue I had was that this story just felt slow. Most of the story was told on the road during a journey that the characters didn’t really have any grasp of because they had a hard time deciding where to go and what to do.

Little Rose is an enigma all her own. I loved her attitude and her spunk. She loves her country and she hates what the demon has forced down upon everyone but to give up would leave herself vulnerable to the demon so she makes sure that doesn’t happen. Little Rose is forced to not learn anything because learning or “making” as the book keeps calling it will open Little Rose for the demon to use as it wishes. Learning things will help make Little Rose the proper host for the demon because the demon doesn’t want to fall into the same trap as the last powerful demon did in A Thousand Nights.

I’m very conflicted over the ending because in one sense I found the ending perfect (and beautiful) but I was also severely disappointed in it. I guess I was just hoping for something else but you can’t really change the ending of Cinderella, just some of the events surrounding it. The ending was rushed. All the major crazy events I was looking forward to happened in the last ten pages and was basically summed up through Roses’ point of view.

Overall, Spindle is a wonderfully creative book but fell a little flat of A Thousand Nights. I enjoyed the spin that E.K. Johnston wove with this tale. I had a few issues with why it seemed like spinning was an addiction (my guess is the demon messed with people’s heads that way) and really slow going. Reading the story, I had no idea where she was going with the ending and then having it wrap up so quickly didn’t help. If you are looking for something diverse and different in an old-fashioned fairy tale, I would still tell you to try this series because you may enjoy it better than I did. So please, give it a try!

Notable Scene:

“I should know so many things,” she said. “I should be able to bake bread, even though my kitchens will always have a bread mistress. I should know how to weave a tapestry and write a trade agreement. I should know, but I can’t. I was born and bred to do these things, and my heart cries out for them, and I can’t. I cannot make anything. Every stitch, every note, every letter, and every dance step would prepare me for the demon’s curse, and spinning would seal it. And I cannot take the piskey’s gift. I would sleep forever, but the demon would be free–the curse would remain unbroken–and then my kingdom, my people, would be queenless and cursed, both.”

A Thousand Nights Series:

1. A Thousand Nights

1.5 The Garden of Three Hundred Flowers

2. Spindle

FTC Advisory: Disney-Hyperion provided me with a copy of Spindle. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan

February 17th, 2018 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Stephanie under Review Tags: , , , ,

Title: Sins of Empire

Author: Brian McClellan

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Gods of Blood and Powder (Book #1)

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 624 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316407216 (Orbit)

ISBN-13: 978-0316407212 (Orbit)

Reviewed by: Stephanie


An epic new fantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the same world as his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy.

The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place – a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of a suppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.

The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with wile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.

As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.

Quick & Dirty: An addicting follow-up to the Powder Mage trilogy, full of action and great characters.

Opening SentencePrivileged Robson paused with one foot on the muddy highway and the other on the step of his carriage, his hawkish nose pointed into the hot wind of the Fatrastan countryside.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

It’s been ten years since the war that made Vlora Flint’s career and allowed her to start her own mercenary company. Her company is recalled to the city to aid the Lady Chancellor in rooting out a rebel who is causing no end of trouble for the government. While Vlora is in no way favorable towards said government, they are the ones paying her wage, so she will do what she’s told. In her efforts, she meets Blackhat (government spy) Michel, a man who holds more secrets than it initially appears. Michel has his own mission: find out who has been printing seditious pamphlets and distributing them throughout the city. Doing so will win him a long-desired promotion. Also in the city is Ben Styke, a legendary soldier who wound up in a labor camp for his actions. He finds himself freed by a mysterious benefactor and ordered to make himself available to Lady Flint. Styke will do so, but he also has his own agenda: revenge on the man who he feels is responsible for his time in a labor camp. As war looms on the horizon, these three will find themselves inextricably linked. Will they all make it out alive?

I was extremely excited to find this in my review pile, but also a little worried. I absolutely loved the Powder Mage trilogy and was so happy to see that a spinoff was happening. At the same time, I worried that the magic of the original trilogy could not be repeated with all new characters (save Vlora and Olem, of course). Happily, lightning has struck twice, as this first book in the new series is just as captivating as that original trilogy was. I will admit it had a bit of a slow start as we were introduced to the new characters, but once the plot got going, it never let up, and I found myself turning pages as quickly as possible to find out what would happen next.

I was really happy to get to see more from Vlora this time around, as I liked her in the original trilogy and was hoping she could carve out a life for herself. I loved getting to see where she and Olem are now and how they’ve grown together. As much as I loved Vlora though, I think my favorite narrator was Ben Styke. There is just something about him that I loved, and I really couldn’t get enough of the chapters that were from his point of view. As for our third narrator, I enjoyed Michel’s sections, but he was probably my least favorite, through no fault of his own really. I just preferred Vlora and Ben.

I honestly have nothing bad to say here. The slow start results in the 4 star ranking rather than a 5, but all in all, this was a great start to a new series. I think both old and new fans of McClellan will find a lot to love here. I can’t wait for the next one!

Notable Scene:

“I didn’t know you were that Ben Styke.”

“What do you mean by that Ben Styke? How many of us do you think there are?” Styke stood up, barely feeling the twinge in his knee through the anger. His head grazed the ceiling of the parole cell. For some reason, the tremble going through Raimy’s body made him even angrier. They’d spent countless days together in her unguarded office, even had a few laughs together. She’d flirted with him. And now she was shaking, terrified, even though she as behind an iron grate? “Are we friends?” he demanded.

“Yes,” Raimy squeaked.

Styke wrapped his good hand and the two working fingers of his bad hand around the bars of the grate. He tightened his grip and, with one solid yank, ripped it out of the wall. Raimy’s mouth fell open but she remained transfixed as he set the grate to one side and leaned in over her desk, fishing through her papers until he came to the last one.

It was a note on stationery from the office of the Lady Chancellor. It had three sentences:

Mad Ben Styke, formerly Colonel Styke of the Mad Lancers, is a violent murderer guilty of several war crimes. He must be denied parole. Make it convincing.

It was signed by Fidelis Jes, head of the Lady Chancellor’s secret police.

Styke could hear someone yelling in the hallway. They’d heard the racket, and the yelling was soon followed by the pounding footsteps of the guards. Styke crumpled up the note and flicked it into Raimy’s face. “You can stop your damned trembling, then. I don’t hurt my friends.”

He turned away from her, spreading his arms wide, and waited for the first guard to come through the door.

Gods of Blood and Powder:

1. Sins of Empire

2. Wrath of Empire (May 15, 2018)


FTC Advisory: Orbit provided me with a copy of Sins of Empire. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Snakewood by Adrian Selby

February 16th, 2018 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Stephanie under Review Tags: , , ,

Title: Snakewood

Author: Adrian Selby

Genre: Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: March 15, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316302309 (Orbit)

ISBN-13: 978-0316302302 (Orbit)

Reviewed by: Stephanie


Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through cunning, alchemical brews, and cold steel. Whoever met their price won.

Now, their glory days behind them, scattered to the wind, and their genius leader in hiding, they are being hunted down and eliminated one by one.

A lifetime of enemies has its own price.

Adrian Selby brings us into an unforgettable new world filled with magic, mystery, intrigue, bloodshed and betrayal.

Quick & Dirty: A slow moving story and unlikable characters make this one very hard to get through.

Opening Sentence: I never knew my father.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

It’s been 20 years since the mercenary group known as Kailen’s Twenty disbanded. They’ve all gone their own ways, and now, someone is bent on revenge. Kailen receives word that numerous former members of the group have been killed, leading him on a mission to find the remaining members and warn them before it’s too late.

Usually, I can read a 400-page book in a couple days, three tops. This one, it took me a month and a half. That more than anything shows how much I disliked this book. I just was not enthused to read it. The only thing that kept me going was that I haven’t DNFed a book yet for this site, so I was determined to see it through. Most nights, though, I could barely make it through five percent of the book at a time.

So what was wrong with it? For one thing, it felt very disjointed, not cohesive at all. We don’t find out until maybe the 50 percent mark what happened 20 years ago to make someone want to kill the members of Kailen’s Twenty. Up until that point, I just knew that something happened at Snakewood that pissed someone off enough to want to kill everyone. The novel also goes back and forth in time a lot, and even when everything starts to sync up towards the end, it just doesn’t feel cohesive.

Next, I just really could care less about all of the characters. There’s not one redeemable person in the whole bunch, and it just makes it very hard to read chapters from the perspective of people that I really don’t like. Add to that, the fact that Selby chooses to write in different dialects to reflect the background of the characters, and it just makes it very difficult to follow sometimes.

There also seemed to be a lot of description at times, and it honestly just made my eyes glaze over. With me not really knowing what was going on or why, the added description of scenery or history really didn’t help win me over. I just spent a lot of time feeling bored. When you have three kids and can only read at night, being bored does not help you stay awake to read more!

All in all, I just really didn’t like this one. The only thing keeping me from giving it just one star is that there were brief moments where I would find myself interested in what was happening, but that would only last for a page or two before I would lose interest again. I may at some point pick up another book by Selby, but this experience does not have me excited to do so.

Notable Scene:

Then I was alone. Sometime after that the water had gone.

I passed out of time on the Droop I’d re-concocted to escape my reliving of what had been done to me as a slave.

I had accepted death on this sea. Its vastness beneath and around me matched the perfect still blue of the sky. Both crushed me against this raft with their indifference, an unknowing of the fact I was alive. What more would a mountain have cared for a leaf floating on a pool on its flanks?

I recalled almost nothing of my old life. A stream of images were there but I could make little sense of them. I woke on occasion and had been talking, conversing with someone, but the sense, the answers, vanished as I did so. The colours my skin had bleached to were my only solid reference that I must have at some point fought and killed as a soldier, though the skin was burned and flaking. I wanted that missing part of me, for comfort, for something to give me strength. This other voice in me knew the man I was, and someone had taken it from me. This I knew, and I held this in my gut; it anchored me, the only comfort I had.

Sometime later I was weeping and singing in the night, silent white eyes beyond count above me. I remembered a boy and a girl I cared for. I knew I loved that girl somehow. There were other faces, a windmill, I was in somebody’s arms. I stared into a stream, entranced by the boy staring back, his nose running from crying. Then I was hacking at soil so hard from frost and vivid to my mind I woke screaming and was sick, so unlike was it to the rolling of this featureless, hopeless plain.


FTC Advisory: Orbit provided me with a copy of Snakewood. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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