Mainstream Book Reviews

Reviews I’ve done of mainstream books

New Release! The Star Touched Queen! Don’t miss it!

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THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN (St. Martin’s Griffin; April 26, 2016) is a lush and vivid standalone debut young adult fantasy that seamlessly weaves the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone with Indian folklore.  Featuring a smart, independent anti-princess who must take her place as queen and a forbidden romance that defies the odds, debut author Roshani Chokshi pairs beautiful writing with a thrilling pace and compulsive plot, using her own Filipino and Indian heritage to create a culturally diverse and vividly imagined world.

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#5Star #ARCReview of #TruthWitch by Susan Dennard! Pre-Order it NOW! @NewLeafLiterary @torbooks @stdennard

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Quick Stats:

Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

Author: Susan Dennard

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Publication Date: January 5th 2016

356 ratings on Goodreads – 4.5 average rating

Amazon Pre-Order | B&N Pre-Order | Goodreads

My Rating: 4ibxdpbyT4ibxdpbyT4ibxdpbyT4ibxdpbyT4ibxdpbyT+

Synopsis:

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On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Review:

Let’s just take a second to thank Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary and Media! I didn’t believe I even had a CHANCE at an ARC of this book, but it appeared in my mailbox, and Suzie is now my fairy godmother! Thank you! 🙂

Before I read the book, i heard the hype. I listened to people fawn over it on BEA vlogs, and I saw Sarah J Maas gave it 5 stars (I was coming off a Court of Thorns and Roses Book Hangover), so I knew I must read it.

You will not regret pre-ordering this book. Not even once. The only thing you’ll regret is that Book 2: WindWitch isn’t ready yet. Prepare to read it in one day and wait.

I loved this book. I didn’t know if I would because the beginning starts out slow. You need to know the world, you need to know Safi and Iseult, and you need to know their powers. The book starts in the middle of some action, which for me is something I love, but though the world building and background is needed, it was slow for me, but I pushed onward. Why? Because I love that this book is feauring two kick ass best friends. Two strong females who would do anything for each other. Soul Mates of the friend variety. That’s rare, and Dennard does it well.

Once you hit about half way, this story will claim your life. It’s going to come first before work, parties, pizza (gasp, I know), movies, Netflix, and sleep. It burrows into your head, and it sits there going “READ ME”

I really couldn’t decide who to love and who to hate in this book. There’s so many diverse characters, male and female, and so many misconceptions and preconceived notions about them that you really have to dig out from under the layers to figure out who is truly good, who is chaotic good (they exist outside of D&D), and who’s truly bad. Dennard really did a masterful job at viewing prejudice from all different angles in this book, and showing what you’ve been told isn’t exactly what’s true.

Now, we discuss the love you/hate you, walking a thin line towards explosive relationship between Safi and Merik. Holy cow, those two. I couldn’t decide if I was firmly on bored, or if I though Safi was crazy at times (she is, but what females aren’t!). They have this dynamite chemistry that you can’t quite pin down, but it’s beautifully written and I’m dying for more! (Add me to book 2’s list ASAP!). There’s a scene where they dance together, and I swear, I didn’t breathe the whole time. Amazing.

I’d like a windwitch (hint hint book 2 & a man) of my own, please and thanks! 🙂

Finally, I loved how steeped in culture and belief this book was. Dennard created a lush and beautiful world, and filled it with myths, legends, religions and so much more. I’m a fantasy girl, through and through, and this ranks among the greats for me! I made a spot next to my Tolkien leather bound edition, and Game of Thrones books, and placed TruthWitch there (It didn’t stay long before my boyfriend snatched it up to read.) This book is well written, amazingly detailed, and it’s just lavish to read. You will get lost in Dennard’s world, and when you resurface, let me know. We can be hungover together until Book 2: WindWitch comes along.

This was one of the best books I’ve read in 2015, and I’ve read many books. It’s up there with Six of Crows, Court of Thorns and Roses, and Red Queen. Dennard is a powerhouse, and belongs on every shelf! I will be hunting down Dennard’s earlier works, as this is my first adventure with her, and I cannot wait for what’s to come! Pre-order your copy now, and get some cool bonus items! It’s worth it! I just one-clicked! 🙂

About The Author

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Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. With a masters degree in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to Asia one of these days!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series (from HarperTeen) as well as the forthcoming Witchlands Series (Tor, 2015). When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, exploring tidal pools, or earning bruises at the dojo.

You can learn more about Susan on her website,blog, newsletter, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Also, be sure to check out Tor TeenNew Leaf Literary and Media online!

Hope you’re glad to have me back in the blogging world! I’ve got tons of books to discuss!

Hausfrau: A Novel by Jill Alexander Essbaum – #Review & #Giveaway – @JAEssbaum #hausfraubook

Hausfrau

Release Day: March 17th, 2015

www.hausfraubook.com

Synopsis

Madame Bovary meets Fifty Shades of Grey.”*
 
Anna was a good wife, mostly. For readers of The Girl on the Train and The Woman Upstairscomes a striking debut novel of marriage, fidelity, sex, and morality, featuring a fascinating heroine who struggles to live a life with meaning—“a modern-day Anna Karenina tale.”**
 
ONE OF THE HUFFINGTON POST’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2015

Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno—a banker—and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zürich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her.

But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds it’s difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.

Intimate, intense, and written with the precision of a Swiss Army knife, Jill Alexander Essbaum’s debut novel is an unforgettable story of marriage, fidelity, sex, morality, and most especially self. Navigating the lines between lust and love, guilt and shame, excuses and reasons, Anna Benz is an electrifying heroine whose passions and choices readers will debate with recognition and fury. Her story reveals, with honesty and great beauty, how we create ourselves and how we lose ourselves and the sometimes disastrous choices we make to find ourselves.

Praise for Hausfrau

“Sexy and insightful, this gorgeously written novel opens a window into one woman’s desperate soul.”People

“With an elegance, precision, and surehandedness that recalls Marguerite Duras’s The Loverand Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac, Jill Alexander Essbaum gives us this exquisite tale of an expatriate American wife living in Switzerland and her sexual and psychic unraveling. Hausfraustuns with its confidence and severe beauty, its cascading insights into the uses of erotic life and the nature of secrets, the urgency of compulsion and the difficulty of freedom. This is a rare and remarkable debut.”—Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander

“The realism of Anna’s dilemmas and the precise construction of the novel are marvels of the form. . . . [Hausfrau] is masterly as it moves toward its own inescapable ending, and Anna is likely to provoke strong feelings in readers well after the final page.”Publishers Weekly(starred review)

“I was mesmerized by this book. Hausfrau creates a complete, engrossing, and particular world where nothing is as easy as it should be, according to the hopeful stories we tell ourselves. It’s a corrective novel, taking character, destiny, and our choices as seriously as a novelist can.”—Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?

“A racy mix of Gone Girl and Fifty Shades.”Grazia (U.K.)

*Sunday Express (U.K.)
**Glamour (U.K.)

Review

Grade: B+ (4 stars)

This was just an interesting book, outside of my normal reading but just as interesting and well written. Anna is a native american living in Switzerland, and feeling completely lost. She wants to be a good wife, but she ends up entangled in torrid affairs.

Normally, I like woman who are strong, who know what they want, and are going after it. Anna is not that woman. She’s passive, she’s flawed. Her phycological profile is intriguing, and God, I hated her. I loved hating her, and to be honest, it was refreshing it! It was a gripping well written novel, in which we didn’t love the characters. That takes talent on the part of the author. You’ve gotta have skills if your characters are so hated.

This novel is different, frustrating, wonderful and a breath of fresh air! Very good!

About The Author

Jill Alexander Essbaum’s publications include the full-length collections Heaven, Harlot, and Necropolis, and a chapbook of sonnets, Oh Forbidden. Her poems have appeared in religious journals, hoity-toity journals, online journals, formalist journals, and erotic publications. She is obsessed with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, her five cats, puns, sex, Old Time Radio, and God. And: Words. An associate editor for the online journal Anti-, and a blogger for the Best American Poetry blog, she’s presently at work on a novel vaguely based on the time she spent living in Zürich, Switzerland. She believes most firmly that wit trumps irony, clever beats disaffected, and, in all things, sincerity is key.

Giveaway

One lucky commenter will win a copy of this awesome book! Simply comment on this post and let us know you want to win!!

*Must be US

Giveaway closes in one week! 🙂

Thanks to Penguin/Random House & 20SomethingBlogger for this awesome chance! 🙂 Copy was provided for an honest review.

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#Review – You Really Got Me by Erika Kelly – Five Star Read!

You Really Got Me by Erika Kelly

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Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Synopsis:

The first irresistible novel in a hot new series about a rock star on his way up—and the woman he wants to take all the way…

Emmie Valencia has what it takes to be the music industry’s hottest band manager. She just needs to prove it. Determined to discover a killer new band, Emmie is ready to make her move. First stop: Austin, Texas.

As a sizzling-hot lead singer, Slater Vaughn has no trouble raising heart rates—but his band’s been flat-lining for years. When Emmie, his bandmate’s sister, crashes with them in exchange for some free management, her industry know-how lands them a spot in the biggest music festival in Texas. But it isn’t just her business acumen that catches Slater’s attention. Emmie is sexy and warm, and—for the first time in his life—he wants more.

But as irresistible as Slater is, Emmie is done with musicians. In her experience, a man can’t be a rock star and someone to trust with your heart—but Slater is determined to show her he’s both.

Review:
Grade: A (5 Stars)

Oh my!!!  I really enjoyed this book.  It was full of emotional turmoil and finding the one true love of your life.  Emmie and Slater were so good together.  I loved that Slater had it all figured out and knew what he wanted and that Emmie was the one that struggled with her feelings.  This was such  great book.  I loved all the characters, the writing style of the author is outstanding.  I look forward to reading more from this author.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good emotional read.

Reviewed by Catherine for sunshine & Mountains

**I was given a copy by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

About The Author:

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life—she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.

#Review – Some Like It Wild by M. Leighton – @mleightonbooks @BerkleyRomance #5StarRead

Some Like It Wild by M. Leighton

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Synopsis:

First was The Wild Ones. Now, the next book in M. Leighton’s Wild Ones series… How far will a good girl go for the bad boy she loves? Laney Holt is a preacher’s daughter. A good girl. Her only goal was to get married, have babies, and live happily ever after, just like her parents. Only that didn’t happen. The two people closest to her betrayed her, and Laney’s dreams came crashing down. Now she’s left with an empty space she doesn’t know how to fill. Until she meets Jake Theopolis, a daredevil with a death wish who has heartbreaker written all over him. Jake has no interest in thinking beyond the here and now. All he wants out of life is the next rush, the next “feel-good” thing to keep his mind off the pain of his past. His latest rush? Showing Laney there’s more to life than being a good girl—and that going bad can be so much fun. Her only concern now is how she can ever hope to satisfy the wild side of a boy like Jake. She’s looking forward to trying. And so is Jake. If you love The Wild Ones, you’ll be just as wild for M. Leighton’s Bad Boys series which includes Down to You, Up to Me, and Everything for Us.

 

“Some like it wild, but not me. At least not forever.” ~Laney

 

Review:

Review by Kayla

Grade: A (4.5 out of 5 Stars)

I really enjoyed Some like wild. I have always liked M. Leighton’s style of writing. She did an awesome job on this book. It was well worth the wait for it. I loved the Wild ones so I knew that this book would not disappoint. Laney is the daughter of a preacher. She is a good girl, and her goal in life is to get married and have babies and live that happily ever after. But that doesn’t happen for Laney. People that Laney has always looked to ruin her dreams and now she doesn’t know what to do and she feels very empty. Then Laney meets Jake. He is a risk taker and a heartbreaker. Jake is a living in the now person, and what makes him feel good. When he meets Laney, he wants to show her that life is more than just being a good girl and that life is worth living and taking risks. She is willing to give it a try and so is Jake. Laney had a lot of tension with her father but I think that was understandable under that circumstances. Her father wanted her to get back with her ex fiancé but she didn’t want to tell him that he had cheated on her. No daughter wants to have to tell her dad that. It is hurtful. I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and was a sweet and good read.

**I was given a copy of Some like it wild by Sunshine and Mountains book blog for an honest review.

#Review – The Way Back ‘Round by Brenda Sorrels – @brendasorrels #5StarRead

The Way Back ‘Round by Brenda Sorrels

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Synopsis:

Set in rural Minnesota in the 1930’s, The Way Back ‘Round follows young Jake Frye, who enjoys nothing more than sitting between his father’s legs while driving a wagon team of horses. However, when a large buck juts across their path and pitches Jake from the seat, his mother, tender from a string of miscarriages, reins him in. Jake’s frustration builds and he makes a devastating mistake. Rejected by his mother and wracked with guilt, Jake hops a freight train joining the thousands of men and boys riding the rails during the depression. He meets Franz, another runaway, and they become brothers. Picking fruit in California, and cotton in Texas, they beg at back doors, eat in soup kitchens, sleep in “jungle” camps – all under the threat of brutal railroad “Bulls” who patrol the tracks. While Franz dreams about marrying a red-headed girl, Jake yearns for his family. When a farmer tells them about Roosevelt’s Conservation Corps camps set up to help young men like themselves, they head to California and join up.

 

Review:

Review by Kayla

Grade: A+ (5 Stars)

I was very excited that Brenda sent me a copy of this book to review for her. I loved the Bachelor farmer so I knew that I would love the way back ‘round as well. Brenda has a very unique way of writing and I absolutely love it. This book is set back in the 1930’s in Minnesota. This book follows Jake who enjoys sitting with his father on the wagon with the horses. Jake’s mother is always trying to rein him in and he hates it. As Jake gets more and more frustrated he makes a devastating mistake. Being rejected by his mother and full of guilt Jake gets on a train and rides the rail during the depression. He meets Franz, he is another runaway and they become brothers. They picked fruit in California, cotton in Texas and beg at people’s doors and eat in soup kitchens. They sleep in random places. Franz wants to marry a red headed girl and Jake misses his family. A farmer tells the boys about the Conservation Corps in California and they go to join up. This book has some adventure and heartbreak but it is a wonderful journey through these young men’s lives in the 1930’s. I really enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it. I loved it Brenda! Well done!

**I was given a copy of the way back ‘Round by Brenda Sorrels for an honest review.